Book: "Raymond or Life and Death"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

Availability: Out of Print

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- Part 2 - Supernormal Portion -



I have made no secret of my conviction, not merely that personality persists, but that its continued existence is more entwined with the life of every day than has been generally imagined; that there is no real breach of continuity between the dead and the living; and that methods of intercommunion across what has seemed to be a gulf can be set going in response to the urgent demand of affection, - that in fact, as Diotima told Socrates (Symposium, 202 and 203), LOVE BRIDGES THE CHASM.

Nor is it affection only that controls and empowers supernormal intercourse: scientific interest and missionary zeal constitute supplementary motives which are found efficacious; and it has been mainly through efforts so actuated that I and some others have been gradually convinced, by direct experience, of a fact which before long must become patent to mankind.

Hitherto I have testified to occurrences and messages of which the motive is intellectual rather than emotional: and though much, very much, even of this evidence remains inaccessible to the public, yet a good deal has appeared from time to time by many writers in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, and in my personal collection called The Survival of Man. No one therefore will be surprised if I now further testify concerning communications which come home to me in a peculiar sense; communications from which sentiment is not excluded, though still they appear to be guided and managed with intelligent and on the whole evidential purpose. These are what I now decide to publish; and I shall cite them as among those evidences for survival for the publication of which some legitimate demand has of late been made, owing to my having declared my belief in continued existence without being able to give the full grounds of that belief, because much of it concerned other people. The portion of evidence I shall now cite concerns only myself and family.

I must make selection, it is true, for the bulk has become great; but I shall try to select fairly, and especially shall give in fair fulness those early communications which, though not so free and easy as they became with more experience, have yet an interest of their own, since they represent nascent powers and were being received through members of the family to whom the medium was a complete stranger and who gave no clue to identity.

Messages of an intelligible though rather recondite character from "Myers" began to reach me indeed a week or two before the death of my son; and nearly all the messages received since his death differ greatly in character from those which in the old days were received through any medium with whom I sat. No youth was then represented as eager to communicate; and though friends were described as sending messages, the messages were represented as coming from appropriate people members of an elder generation, leaders of the Society for Psychical Research, and personal acquaintances. Whereas now, whenever any member of the family visits anonymously a competent medium, the same youth soon comes to the fore and is represented as eager to prove his personal survival and identity.

I consider that he has done so. And the family scepticism, which up to this time has been sufficiently strong, is now, I may fairly say, overborne by the facts. How far these facts can be conveyed to the sympathetic understanding of strangers, I am doubtful. But I must plead for a patient hearing; and if I make mistakes, either in what I include, or in what for brevity I omit, or if my notes and comments fail in clearness, I bespeak a friendly interpretation: for it is truly from a sense of duty that in so personal  a matter I lay myself open to harsh and perhaps cynical criticism.

It may be said - Why attach so much importance to one individual case? I do not attach especial importance to it, but every individual case is of moment, because in such a matter the aphorism Ex uno disce omnes is Strictly applicable. If we can establish the survival of any single ordinary individual we have established it for all.

Christians may say that the case for one Individual was established nearly 1900 years, ago; but they have most of them confused the issue by excessive though perhaps legitimate and necessary emphasis on the exceptional and unique character of that Personality. And a school of thought has arisen which teaches that ordinary men can only attain immortality vicariously - that is, conditionally on acceptance of a certain view concerning the benefits of that Sacrificial Act, and active assimilation of them.

So without arguing on any such subject, and without entering in the slightest degree on any theological question, I have endeavoured to state the evidence fully and frankly for the persistent existence of one of the multitude of youths who have sacrificed their lives at the call of their Country when endangered by an aggressor of calculated ruthlessness.

Some critics may claim that there are many stronger cases of established survival. That may be, but this is a case which touches me closely and has necessarily received my careful attention. In so far as there are other strong cases-and I know of several-so much the better. I myself considered the case of survival practically proven before, and clinched by the efforts of Myers and others of the S.P.R. group on the other side; but evidence is cumulative, and the discussion of a fresh case in no way weakens those that have gone before. Each stick of the faggot must be tested, and, unless absolutely broken, it adds to the strength of the bundle.

To base so momentous a conclusion as a scientific demonstration of human survival on any single instance, if it were not sustained on all sides by a great consensus of similar evidence, would doubtless be unwise; for some other explanation of a merely isolated case would have to be sought. But we are justified in examining the evidence for any case of which all the details are known, and in trying to set forth the truth of it as completely and fairly as we may.



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