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Book: "Why I Believe in Personal Immortality"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

Availability: Out of Print

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Foreword

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          ARGUMENTS in favour of human survival, or that death is mainly a bodily transaction, are as old as humanity. One set of arguments may be classed as Theological, being based on the postulate of the goodness and reasonableness of a Creator; while another set, which might be called anthropological, is based on manís instinctive revulsion from the idea of annihilation, and on the postulate that evolved instincts must have some correspondence with reality. In this book I do not stress either of these arguments, though I respect them. I do not really wish to argue at all. My whole contention rests on a basis of experience, and on acceptance of a class of facts which can be verified at first hand by others if they take the trouble. I know how weighty the word "fact" is in science, and I say without hesitation that individual personal continuance is to me a demonstrated fact. This conviction has been reached through a study of obscure human faculty not yet recognized by orthodox science, and apparently not approved as a rule by Theologians. It is permissible therefore, and perhaps even obligatory, to give from time to time some excuse or apologia for my steady perseverance in the enquiry and my assured conviction about the results.

Incidentally it is clear that the word Immortality in the title is used in its conventional significance, for no assertion about infinity can come within our scope. Survival of personality is all that we can hope to establish. The real step or apparent breach of continuity in human life is taken at the grave and gate of death. If we survive that wrenching experience, it is hardly likely that we shall encounter and succumb to some other discontinuity of still greater magnitude; but of further adventures in the future we know nothing. All that we have evidence for concerns our individual Continuance after separation from this material body: what lies in the dim and distant future it would be presumptuous to pretend to know. Truly that is a morrow for which we need at present take no thought. Sufficient, here and now, is the knowledge that this present life is not the end of existence for us as individuals; and, further, that if we use it rightly it is the early stage of a long-continued opportunity for ever-increasing service ó the kind of service which is in harmony with our true nature and is therefore equivalent to perfect freedom. In Ia sua volontade Ť nostra pace.

 

Chapters

Contents / Foreword / Chapter 1  / Chapter 2  / Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 / Chapter 4a / Chapter 4b / Chapter 4c / Chapter 4d / Chapter 4e / Chapter 5 / Chapter 6 / Chapter 7

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