ON SEEING VISIONS
The postman (or rather the postwoman) brought me among other things this morning a little paper called The Superman, which I find is devoted to the stars, the lines of the hands, and similar mysteries. I gather from it that “Althea,” a normal clairvoyant, and other seers, have visited the planets—in their astral bodies, of course—to make inquiries on various aspects of the war. Althea and “the other seers” seem to have had quite a busy time running about among the stars and talking to the inhabitants about the trouble in our particular orb. They seem really to have got to the bottom of things. It appears that there is a row going on between Lucifer and Arniel. “Lucifer is a fallen planetary god, whose lust for power has driven him from his seat of authority as ruler of Jupiter. He is the evil genius overshadowing the Kaiser and is striving to possess this world so that he may pass it on to Jupiter and eventually blot out the Solar Logos,” etc., etc.
I do not know who sent me this paper or for what purpose; but let me say that it is sheer waste of postage stamps and material. I hope I am not intolerant of the opinions of others, but I confess that when people talk to me about reading the stars and the lines of the hand and things of that sort I shut up like an oyster. I do not speak of the humbugs who deliberately exploit the credulity of fools. I speak of the sincere believers—people like my dear old friend W.T. Stead, who was the most extraordinary combination of wisdom and moonshine I have ever known. He would startle you at one moment by his penetrating handling of the facts of a great situation, and the next moment would make you speechless with some staggering story of spirit visitors or starry conspiracies that seemed to him just as actual as the pavement on which he walked.
I am not at home in this atmosphere of mysteries. It is not that I do not share the feeling out of which it is born. I do. Thoreau said he would give all he possessed for “one true vision,” and so long as we are spiritually alive we must all have some sense of expectancy that the curtain will lift, and that we shall look out with eyes of wonder on the hidden meaning of this strange adventure upon which we are embarked. For thousands of years we have been wandering in this wilderness of the world and speculating about why we are here, where we are going, and what it is all about. It can never have been a greater puzzle than now, when we are all busily engaged in killing each other. And at every stage there have been those who have cried, “Lo, here!” and “Lo, there!” and have called men to witness that they have read the riddle and have torn the secret from the heart of the great mystery.