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

 
 
Life After Life. "Star-Shine and Immortal Tears."
(S685: 1911)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter to the Editor of The Clarion, printed on page 5 of their edition of 20 January 1911. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S685.htm


    Sir,--I have read the letters on "Life after Life" in this week's Clarion, and that of Mr. Rose last week, but as, so far, the correspondence rests wholly on the individual likes and dislikes of the writers, with a few dogmatic assertions, that a future life is "wholly opposed to evolution and to science," etc., I see no use whatever in taking part in it. Let us suppose that a century ago a number of well-educated and enlightened men discussed the possibilities or probabilities of communicating across the great oceans in a few minutes or seconds, and each one expressed his anticipation or hopes, his likes or dislikes of such a possibility--would such opinions or feelings be of any value whatever? I think not; and chiefly because they were not acquainted with the slender but very suggestive amount of facts in electrical science even then known. And as to the dogmatic assertions as to what is "scientific" or "rational" or "probable," or opposed to science and to evolution, what is the value of such opinions as opposed to those of men like Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, the Earl of Crawford, Professor W. F. Barrett, of Dublin, the late Robert Chambers, and Professor Lombroso, besides a hundred others who have been convinced by facts, carefully and thoroughly investigated, that there is life, after this life, that the "bourne from which no traveller returns" is a figment of the imagination--a fallacy due to the ignorance of an unscientific age.

    Your correspondents, so far, seem to be totally ignorant of the fact that in every civilised country in the world there are millions of educated men and women who, against all their prepossessions and beliefs, have become convinced by direct evidence that the so-called dead do return; that every civilised country possesses numerous societies and many periodicals devoted to this inquiry and dealing with a vast mass of well-sifted evidence; and that there exists a literature of several thousand volumes devoted to it, for the most part as well written and as closely founded on observed facts as those dealing with any of the recognised sciences.

    What should we think of people who discussed the future possibilities of electricity without even a rudimentary knowledge of it?

    My only contribution to this discussion will be to name a few of the easily accessible books which set forth some of the evidence to which I have alluded, and without a knowledge of which no one can have the slightest pretensions to express an opinion upon the subject:

    (1) "Report on Spiritualism," by the Committee of the Dialectical Society (cheap edition, 1873).

    (2) "Automatic Speaking and Writing--A Study," by Edward T. Bennett (for twenty years Assistant Secretary to the Society for Psychical Research).

    (3) "Psychic Philosophy as the Foundation of a Religion of Natural Law," by V. C. Desertis.

    (4) "Footfalls on the Boundary of another World," by Robert Dale Owen.

    (5) "The Debateable Land Between This World and the Next," by Robert Dale Owen.

    (6) "Miracles and Modern Spiritualism," by Alfred R. Wallace.

    I mention this last book because to my own knowledge many persons have, by its perusal, been led to study the subject practically, and have obtained through such study a complete assurance of the reality of "Life After Life."

    --Yours very truly, Alfred R. Wallace.


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