Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Miracles and Modern Spiritualism (S527a: 1896)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter to the Editor printed on page 298 of the 20 June 1896 issue of the Spiritualist journal Light. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S527A.htm


     Sir,--Your correspondent, 'Scriba,' has overlooked the fact that both the passages he quotes from the latest editions of my books appeared in the first editions, about twenty years ago. 'Natural Selection' was published in 1870, and the chapter from which he quotes is reprinted without alteration, as shown in the preface, where all additions or alterations are referred to. My 'Miracles and Modern Spiritualism' was published in 1874, and no alteration has been made in the chapter quoted. I do not myself see any inconsistency in the passages quoted by your correspondent. I believe that the individual human spirit is developed in and by means of the body, and that the mental powers and faculties of the spirit are developed along with, and by means of, the brain. When it leaves the body it possesses the exact grade of development and amount of knowledge it had acquired in the body, the spirit of a child possessing the mind of a child, and that of a philosopher the mind of a philosopher. The statement that 'size of brain is one of the most important elements which determine mental power or capacity,' is in perfect harmony with the other statement that it is 'spirit alone that feels, and perceives, and thinks'; though, so long as the spirit is in the body, it does so by means of the brain and nervous system which formed an essential condition of its development. If this were not so, if the spirit were mentally independent of the organism it is here bound up with, there would be no close relation between the mental powers and characters of the spirits of infants and adults, or those of fools and wise men, who, the moment they got rid of the body, would be alike in mental power and knowledge. But all the facts and all the teaching of spirit phenomena show us that this is not so, but that the spirit is exactly what it was here, and starts on its further development from the exact point it had reached here.

     I am obliged to 'Scriba' for pointing out the misprint on p. 124, and I shall esteem it a favour if he will send me any other misprints or errors he has detected in order that I may have an errata slip inserted in all unsold copies.

Alfred R. Wallace


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