Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death by F.W.H. MyersThis work, first published in the 19th century, was the culmination of more than 20 years of research into the survival of consciousness after death. Declaring the soul able to survive the death of the body was extremely daring at a time when the scientific communitys leaning toward materialism made it risky to even express the belief that man possesses a soul. The authors fascination with spiritualism and mediumship led him to examine mediumistic communications in particular and psychic functioning in general.
Frederic W. H. Myers
Myers , the son of an English clergyman, was a classics scholar turned scientist by his interest in psychic phenomena and mediumship. An after-death communication from his first wife confirmed Myers' belief in the survival of human consciousness. In , he cofounded the Society for Psychical Research and was a major contributor to its success for the next twenty years. Myers wrote Human Personality , the culmination of his research, at a time when scientific pioneering was proceeding toward materialism—when simply expressing the belief that man possesses a soul was a very daring act. Risking even more, Myers declared the soul able to survive the death of the body. The object of his work was, in his mind, "to do what can be done to break down that artificial wall between science and superstition. The task next incumbent on us therefore seemed plainly to be the collection and analysis of evidence of this and other types, pointing directly to the survival of man's spirit.
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IN the long story of man's endeavours to understand his own environment and to govern his own fates, there is one gap or omission so singular that, however we may afterwards contrive to explain the fact, its simple statement has the air of a paradox. Yet it is strictly true to say that man has never yet applied to the problems which most profoundly concern him those methods of inquiry which in attacking all other problems he has found the most efficacious. The question for man most momentous of all is whether or no he has an immortal soul; or—. In this direction have always lain the gravest fears, the farthest-reaching hopes, which could either oppress or stimulate mortal minds. On the other hand, the method which our race has found most effective in acquiring knowledge is by this time familiar to all men. It is the method of modern Science—that process which consists in an interrogation of Nature entirely dispassionate, patient, systematic; such careful experiment and cumulative record as can often elicit from her slightest indications her deepest truths.
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