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James H. Hyslop

>    Life after Death: Problems of the Future Life and its Nature

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James H. Hyslop
>   Life after Death: Problems of the Future Life and its Nature

 

Secretary of the American Society for Psychical Research and formerly Professor of Logic and Ethics in Columbia University

New York
1918

 

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PREFACE

 

MOST of the material in this book is new. Two chapters and a part of a third are reproductions of previously published matter, and they are incorporated because they are so relevant to the main object of the work. But the rest of it has been suggested by the need of discussing some problems which are sequels of the scientific collection of facts with which psychic research has so long occupied itself in the effort to ascertain whether man survived bodily death or not. I have not taken the pains in this work to quote the facts which tend to prove such a claim. The material is too plentiful and voluminous, as well as complex, to take the space for it. The publications of the various Societies for Psychical Research supply the evidence in such quantity and quality that it would require a volume by itself to quote and explain its import. I assume here sufficient intelligence on the part of most people who have done critical reading to see the cogency of it and to accept the proof of survival in it, though there are associated problems not so well secured against difficulty. The trouble with most people is that, in estimating the evidence, they take with them certain preconceived ideas of what a spirit is and so adjudge the evidence accordingly,

The scientific man, however, assumes nothing about a spirit except that it is a stream of consciousness existing apart from the physical body. How it may exist, he does not inquire, until he is convinced that there is evidence of the fact of it, and then a large number of associated problems arise. I have under taken here to discuss these connected problems and so I assume that survival has sufficient evidence for its acceptance to make a tentative effort to satisfy some curiosity about the further questions that have more interest than the purely scientific problem of the continuity of life.

At the present day there is the usual, perhaps more than the usual, passion to know whether, if a man die, he shall live again, and it takes the form of an intenser interest in the nature of the life after death than in the scientific question of the fact. This problem is discussed at some length in this work. It is not easy to satisfy inquirers on this point. Most of them suppose that, if we can communicate with the discarnate, they can easily tell us all about the transcendental world. But this is an illusion and the sooner that we learn that there is a very large problem before us in that matter the better for our intellectual sanity. It is comparatively easy to prove survival, when you have once eliminated fraud and subconscious fabrications. But it is a very different matter to determine just what we shall believe or how we shall conceive the nature of the existence beyond the grave. It will be a matter of long investigation and all that I can hope to do in this work is to suggest the considerations that must be taken into account when discussing the problem.

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