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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1909 edition. Excerpt: ... THE TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS CHAPTER I THE BELIEF THAT THE SOUL CAN BE SEPARATED FROM MAN'S BODY JET us first consider the belief that man -■--' has a soul which can be separated from his body, or, to express the idea by a metaphor, that the connection of the soul with the body is that of a guest with a house in which he stays and lives, with the intention of leaving it after a certain lapse of time. So far as we can tell, this idea can be traced to the earliest periods of man's mental history. In modern times the popular conclusion that a "soul" exists, is usually deduced from the phenomena of "thought, perception, and will ": man has a soul, because he can think, feel, and will. In the uninterrupted activity of these normal intellectual functions, we believe that we may observe, so to speak, the pulsation which indicates their vitality. Primitive man reasoned very differently: his attention, like that of a child, was first attracted, not by the normal and its constant regular recurrence, but by the abnormal, which struck him as strange and extraordinary. Now man was confronted by one abnormal fact, which even now he has not entirely ceased to regard as unusual, the fact of death. Death, then, must first be considered when we ask what led men to infer the existence of the soul. What is the chief fact that distinguishes the living man from the dead? The only outward sign is the cessation of respiration. With the last breath a " something " leaves the body, which existed within it during life. A window or door is thrown open when a man dies, a custom still widespread among our own country folk. Similarly, Hottentots, Fiji Islanders, Samoyeds, Indians, Siamese, Chinese, and others make a hole in the roof of the house or hut in which a...
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