The Soul of the Far East
by Percival Lowell
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But though the Japanese may be said to be all Buddhists, Buddhist is by no means all that they are. At the time of their adoption of the great Indian faith, the Japanese were already in possession of a system of superstition which has held its own to this day. In fact, as the state religion of the land, it has just experienced a revival, a regalvanizing of its old-time energy, at the hands of some of the native archaeologists. Its sacred mirror, held up to Nature, has been burnished anew. Formerly this body of belief was the national faith, the Mikado, the direct descendant of the early gods, being its head on earth. His reinstatement to temporal power formed a very fitting first step toward reinvesting the cult with its former prestige; a curious instance, indeed, of a religious revival due to archaeological, not to religious zeal.

This cult is the mythological inheritance of the whole eastern seaboard of Asia, from Siam to Kamtchatka. In Japan it is called Shintoism. The word "Shinto" means literally "the way of the gods," and the letter of its name is a true exponent of the spirit of the belief. For its scriptures are rather an itinerary of the gods' lives than a guide to that road by which man himself may attain to immortality. Thus with a certain fitness pilgrimages are its most noticeable rites. One cannot journey anywhere in the heart of Japan without meeting multitudes of these pilgrims, with their neat white leggings and their mushroom-like hats, nor rest at night at any inn that is not hung with countless little banners of the pilgrim associations, of which they all are members. Being a pilgrim there is equivalent to being a tourist here, only that to the excitement of doing the country is added a sustaining sense of the meritoriousness of the deed. Oftener than not the objective point of the devout is the summit of some noted mountain. For peaks are peculiarly sacred spots in the Shinto faith. The fact is perhaps an expression of man's instinctive desire to rise, as if the bodily act in some wise betokened the mental action. The shrine in so exalted a position is of the simplest: a rude hut, with or without the only distinctive emblems of the cult, a mirror typical of the god and the pendent gohei, or zigzag strips of paper, permanent votive offerings of man. As for the belief itself, it is but the deification of those natural elements which aboriginal man instinctively wonders at or fears, the sun, the moon, the thunder, the lightning, and the wind; all, in short, that he sees, hears, and feels, yet cannot comprehend. He clothes his terrors with forms which resemble the human, because he can conceive of nothing else that could cause the unexpected. But the awful shapes he conjures up have naught in common with himself. They are far too fearful to be followed. Their way is the "highway of the gods," but no Jacob's ladder for wayward man.

In this externality to the human lies the reason that Shintoism and Buddhism can agree so well, and can both join with Confucianism in helping to form that happy family of faith which is so singular a feature of Far Eastern religious capability. It is not simply that the two contrive to live peaceably together; they are actually both of them implicitly believed by the same individual. Millions of Japanese are good Buddhists and good Shintoists at the same time. That such a combination should be possible is due to the essential difference in the character of the two beliefs. The one is extrinsic, the other intrinsic, in its relations to the human soul. Shintoism tells man but little about himself and his hereafter; Buddhism, little but about himself and what he may become. In examining Far Eastern religion, therefore, for personality, or the reverse, we may dismiss Shintoism as having no particular bearing upon the subject. The only effect it has is indirect in furthering the natural propensity of these people to an adoration of nature.

In Korea and in China, again, Confucianism is the great moral law, as by reflection it is to a certain extent in Japan. But that in its turn may be omitted in the present argument; inasmuch as Confucius taught confessedly and designedly only a system of morals, and religiously abstained from pronouncing any opinion whatever upon the character or the career of the human soul.

Taouism, the third great religion of China, resembles Shintoism to this extent, that it is a body of superstition, and not a form of philosophy. It undertakes to provide nostrums for spiritual ills, but is dumb as to the constitution of the soul for which it professes to prescribe. Its pills are to be swallowed unquestioningly by the patient, and are warranted to cure; and owing to the two great human frailties, fear and credulity, its practice is very large. Possessing, however, no philosophic diploma, it is without the pale of the present discussion.

The demon-worship of Korea is a mild form of the same thing with the hierarchy left out, every man there being his own spiritual adviser. An ordinary Korean is born with an innate belief in malevolent spirits, whom he accordingly propitiates from time to time. One of nobler birth propitiates only the spirits of his own ancestors.

We come, then, by a process of elimination to a consideration of Buddhism, the great philosophic faith of the whole Far East.

Not uncommonly in the courtyard of a Japanese temple, in the solemn half-light of the sombre firs, there stands a large stone basin, cut from a single block, and filled to the brim with water. The trees, the basin, and a few stone lanterns—so called from their form, and not their function, for they have votive pebbles where we should look for wicks—are the sole occupants of the place. Sheltered from the wind, withdrawn from sound, and only piously approached by man, this antechamber of the god seems the very abode of silence and rest. It might be Nirvana itself, human entrance to an immortality like the god's within, so peaceful, so pervasive is its calm; and in its midst is the moss-covered monolith, holding in its embrace the little imprisoned pool of water. So still is the spot and so clear the liquid that you know the one only as the reflection of the other. Mirrored in its glassy surface appears everything around it. As you peer in, far down you see a tiny bit of sky, as deep as the blue is high above, across which slowly sail the passing clouds; then nearer stand the trees, arching overhead, as if bending to catch glimpses of themselves in that other world below; and then, nearer yet—yourself.

Emblem of the spirit of man is this little pool to Far Oriental eyes. Subtile as the soul is the incomprehensible water; so responsive to light that it remains itself invisible; so clear that it seems illusion! Though portrayer so perfect of forms about it, all we know of the thing itself is that it is. Through none of the five senses do we perceive it. Neither sight, nor hearing, nor taste, nor smell, nor touch can tell us it exists; we feel it to be by the muscular sense alone, that blind and dumb analogue for the body of what consciousness is for the soul. Only when disturbed, troubled, does the water itself become visible, and then it is but the surface that we see. So to the Far Oriental this still little lake typifies the soul, the eventual purification of his own; a something lost in reflection, self-effaced, only the alter ego of the outer world.

For contemplation, not action, is the Far Oriental's ideal of life. The repose of self-adjustment like that to which our whole solar system is slowly tending as its death,—this to him appears, though from no scientific deduction, the end of all existence. So he sits and ponders, abstractly, vaguely, upon everything in general,—synonym, alas, to man's finite mind, for nothing in particular,—till even the sense of self seems to vanish, and through the mist-like portal of unconsciousness he floats out into the vast indistinguishable sameness of Nirvana's sea.

At first sight Buddhism is much more like Christianity than those of us who stay at home and speculate upon it commonly appreciate. As a system of philosophy it sounds exceedingly foreign, but it looks unexpectedly familiar as a faith. Indeed, the one religion might well pass for the counterfeit presentment of the other. The resemblance so struck the early Catholic missionaries that they felt obliged to explain the remarkable similarity between the two. With them ingenuous surprise instantly begot ingenious sophistry. Externally, the likeness was so exact that at first they could not bring themselves to believe that the Buddhist ceremonials had not been filched bodily from the practices of the true faith. Finding, however, that no known human agency had acted in the matter, they bethought them of introducing, to account for things, a deus ex machina in the shape of the devil. They were so pleased with this solution of the difficulty that they imparted it at once with much pride to the natives. You have indeed got, they graciously if somewhat gratuitously informed them, the outward semblance of the true faith, but you are in fact the miserable victims of an impious fraud. Satan has stolen the insignia of divinity, and is now masquerading before you as the deity; your god is really our devil,—a recognition of antipodal inversion truly worthy the Jesuitical mind!

Perhaps it is not matter for great surprise that they converted but few of their hearers. The suggestion was hardly so diplomatic as might have been expected from so generally astute a body; for it could not make much difference what the all-presiding deity was called, if his actions were the same, since his motives were beyond human observation. Besides, the bare idea of a foreign bogus was not very terrifying. The Chinese possessed too many familiar devils of their own. But there was another and a much deeper reason, which we shall come to later, why Christianity made but little headway in the Far East.

But it is by no means in externals only that the two religions are alike. If the first glance at them awakens that peculiar sensation which most of us have felt at some time or other, a sense of having seen all this before, further scrutiny reveals a deeper agreement than merely in appearances.

In passing from the surface into the substance, it may be mentioned incidentally that the codes of morality of the two are about on a level. I say incidentally, for so far as its practice, certainly, is concerned, it not its preaching, morality has no more intimate connection with religion than it has with art or politics. If we doubt this, we have but to examine the facts. Are the most religious peoples the most moral? It needs no prolonged investigation to convince us that they are not. If proof of the want of a bond were required, the matter of truth-telling might be adduced in point. As this is a subject upon which a slight misconception exists in the minds of some evangelically persuaded persons, and because, what is more generally relevant, the presence of this quality, honesty in word and deed, has more than almost any other one characteristic helped to put us in the van of the world's advance to-day, it may not unfittingly be cited here.

The argument in the case may be put thus. Have specially religious races been proportionally truth-telling ones? If not, has there been any other cause at work in the development of mankind tending to increase veracity? The answer to the first question has all the simplicity of a plain negative. No such pleasing concomitance of characteristics is observable to-day, or has been presented in the past. Permitting, however, the dead past to bury its shortcomings in oblivion, let us look at the world as we find it. We observe, then, that the religious spirit is quite as strong in Asia as it is in Europe; if anything, that at the present time it is rather stronger. The average Brahman, Mahometan, or Buddhist is quite as devout as the ordinary Roman Catholic or Presbyterian. If he is somewhat less given to propagandism, he is not a whit less regardful of his own salvation. Yet throughout the Orient truth is a thing unknown, lies of courtesy being de rigueur and lies of convenience de raison; while with us, fortunately, mendacity is generally discredited. But we need not travel so far for proof. The same is evident in less antipodal relations. Have the least religious nations of Europe been any less truthful than the most bigoted? Was fanatic Spain remarkable for veracity? Was Loyola a gentleman whose assertions carried conviction other than to the stake? Were the eminently mundane burghers whom he persecuted noted for a pious superiority to fact? Or, to narrow the field still further, and scan the circle of one's own acquaintance, are the most believing individuals among them worthy of the most belief? Assuredly not.

We come, then, to the second point. Has there been any influence at work to differentiate us in this respect from Far Orientals? There has. Two separate causes, in fact, have conduced to the same result. The one is the development of physical science; the other, the extension of trade. The sole object of science being to discover truth, truth-telling is a necessity of its existence. Professionally, scientists are obliged to be truthful. Aliter of a Jesuit.

So long as science was of the closet, its influence upon mankind generally was indirect and slight; but so soon as it proceeded to stalk into the street and earn its own living, its veracious character began to tell. When out of its theories sprang inventions and discoveries that revolutionized every-day affairs and changed the very face of things, society insensibly caught its spirit. Man awoke to the inestimable value of exactness. From scientists proper, the spirit filtered down through every stratum of education, till to-day the average man is born exact to a degree which his forefathers never dreamed of becoming. To-day, as a rule, the more intelligent the individual, the more truthful he is, because the more innately exact in thought, and thence in word and action. With us, to lie is a sign of a want of cleverness, not of an excess of it.

The second cause, the extension of trade, has inculcated the same regard for veracity through the pocket. For with the increase of business transactions in both time and space, the telling of the truth has become a financial necessity. Without it, trade would come to a standstill at once. Our whole mercantile system, a modern piece of mechanism unknown to the East till we imported it thither, turns on an implicit belief in the word of one's neighbor. Our legal safeguards would snap like red tape were the great bond of mutual trust once broken. Western civilization has to be truthful, or perish.

And now for the spirits of the two beliefs.

The soul of any religion realizes in one respect the Brahman idea of the individual soul of man, namely, that it exists much after the manner of an onion, in many concentric envelopes. Man, they tell us, is composed not of a single body simply, but of several layers of body, each shell as it were respectively inclosing another. The outermost is the merely material body, of which we are so directly cognizant. This encases a second, more spiritual, but yet not wholly free from earthly affinities. This contains another, still more refined; till finally, inside of all is that immaterial something which they conceive to constitute the soul. This eventual residuum exemplifies the Franciscan notion of pure substance, for it is a thing delightfully devoid of any attributes whatever.

We may, perhaps, not be aware of the existence of such an elaborate set of encasings to our own heart of hearts, nor of a something so very indefinite within, but the most casual glance at any religion will reveal its truth as regards the soul of a belief. We recognize the fact outwardly in the buildings erected to celebrate its worship. Not among the Jews alone was the holy of holies kept veiled, to temper the divine radiance to man's benighted understanding. Nor is the chancel-rail of Christianity the sole survivor of the more exclusive barriers of olden times, even in the Western world. In the Far East, where difficulty of access is deemed indispensable to dignity, the material approaches are still manifold and imposing. Court within court, building after building, isolate the shrine itself from the profane familiarity of the passers-by. But though the material encasings vary in number and in exclusiveness, according to the temperament of the particular race concerned, the mental envelopes exist, and must exist, in both hemispheres alike, so long as society resembles the crust of the earth on which it dwells,—a crust composed of strata that grow denser as one descends. What is clear to those on top seems obscure to those below; what are weighty arguments to the second have no force at all upon the first. There must necessarily be grades of elevation in individual beliefs, suited to the needs and cravings of each individual soul. A creed that fills the shallow with satisfaction leaves but an aching void in the deep. It is not of the slightest consequence how the belief starts; differentiated it is bound to become. The higher minds alone can rest content with abstract imaginings; the lower must have concrete realities on which to pin their faith. With them, inevitably, ideals degenerate into idols. In all religions this unavoidable debasement has taken place. The Roman Catholic who prays to a wooden image of Christ is not one whit less idolatrous than the Buddhist who worships a bronze statue of Amida Butzu. All that the common people are capable of seeing is the soul-envelope, for the soul itself they are unable to appreciate. Spiritually they are undiscerning, because imaginatively they are blind.

Now the grosser soul-envelopes of the two great European and Asiatic faiths, though differing in detail, are in general parallel in structure. Each boasts its full complement of saints, whose congruent catalogues are equally wearisome in length. Each tells its circle of beads to help it keep count of similarly endless prayers. For in both, in the popular estimation, quantity is more effective to salvation than quality. In both the believer practically pictures his heaven for himself, while in each his hell, with a vividness that does like credit to its religious imagination, is painted for him by those of the cult who are themselves confident of escaping it. Into the lap of each mother church the pious believer drops his little votive offering with the same affectionate zeal, and in Asia, as in Europe, the mites of the many make the might of the mass.

But behind all this is the religion of the few,—of those to whom sensuous forms cannot suffice to represent super-sensuous cravings; whose god is something more than an anthropomorphic creation; to whom worship means not the cramping of the body, but the expansion of the soul.

The rays of the truth, like the rays of the sun, which universally seems to have been man's first adoration, have two properties equally inherent in their essence, warmth and light. And as for the life of all things on this globe both attributes of sunshine are necessary, so to the development of that something which constitutes the ego both qualities of the truth are vital. We sometimes speak of character as if it were a thing wholly apart from mind; but, in fact, the two things are so interwoven that to perceive the right course is the strongest possible of incentives to pursue it. In the end the two are one. Now, while clearness of head is all-important, kindness of heart is none the less so. The first, perhaps, is more needed in our communings with ourselves, the second in our commerce with others. For, dark and dense bodies that we are, we can radiate affection much more effectively than we can reflect views.

That Christianity is a religion of love needs no mention; that Buddhism is equally such is perhaps not so generally appreciated. But just as the gospel of the disciple who loved and was loved the most begins its story by telling us of the Light that came into the world, so none the less surely could the Light of Asia but be also its warmth. Half of the teachings of Buddhism are spent in inculcating charity. Not only to men is man enjoined to show kindliness, but to all other animals as well. The people practise what their scriptures preach. The effect indirectly on the condition of the brutes is almost as marked as its more direct effect on the character of mankind. In heart, at least, Buddhism and Christianity are very close.

But here the two paths to a something beyond an earthly life diverge. Up to this point the two religions are alike, but from this point on they are so utterly unlike that the very similarity of all that went before only suffices to make of the second the weird, life-counterfeiting shadow of the first. As in a silhouette, externally the contours are all there, but within is one vast blank. In relation to one's neighbor the two beliefs are kin, but as regards one's self, as far apart as the West is from the East. For here, at this idea of self, we are suddenly aware of standing on the brink of a fathomless abyss, gazing giddily down into that great gulf which divides Buddhism from Christianity. We cannot see the bottom. It is a separation more profound than death; it seems to necessitate annihilation. To cross it we must bury in its depths all we know as ourselves.

Christianity is a personal religion; Buddhism, an impersonal one. In this fundamental difference lies the world-wide opposition of the two beliefs. Christianity tells us to purify ourselves that we may enjoy countless aeons of that bettered self hereafter; Buddhism would have us purify ourselves that we may lose all sense of self for evermore.

For all that it preaches the essential vileness of the natural man, Christianity is a gospel of optimism. While it affirms that at present you are bad, it also affirms that this depravity is no intrinsic part of yourself. It unquestioningly asserts that it is something foreign to your true being. It even believes that in a more or less spiritual manner your very body will survive. It essentially clings to the ego. What it inculcates is really present endeavor sanctioned by the prospect of future bliss. It tacitly takes for granted the desirability of personal existence, and promises the certainty of personal immortality,—a terror to evildoers, and a sustaining sense of coming unalloyed happiness to the good. Through and through its teachings runs the feeling of the fullness of life, that desire which will not die, that wish of the soul which beats its wings against its earthly casement in its longing for expansion beyond the narrow confines of threescore years and ten.

Buddhism, on the contrary, is the cri du coeur of pessimism. This life, it says, is but a chain of sorrows. To multiply days is only to multiply evil. These desires that urge us on are really cause of all our woe. We think they are ourselves. We are mistaken. They are all illusion, and we are victims of a mirage. This personality, this sense of self, is a cruel deception and a snare. Realize once the true soul behind it, devoid of attributes, therefore without this capacity for suffering, an indivisible part of the great impersonal soul of nature: then, and then only, will you have found happiness in the blissful quiescence of Nirvana.

With a certain poetic fitness, misery and impersonality were both present in the occasion that gave the belief birth. Many have turned to the consolations of religion by reason of their own wretchedness; Gautama sought its help touched by the woes of others whom, in his own happy life journey, he chanced one day to come across. Shocked by the sight of human disease, old age, and death, sad facts to which hitherto he had been sedulously kept a stranger, he renounced the world that he might find for it an escape from its ills. But bliss, as he conceived it, lay not in wanting to be something he was not, but in actual want of being. His quest for mankind was immunity from suffering, not the active enjoyment of life. In this negative way of looking at happiness, he acted in strict conformity with the spirit of his world. For the doctrine of pessimism had already been preached. It underlay the whole Brahman philosophy, and everybody believed it implicitly. Already the East looked at this life as an evil, and had affirmed for the individual spirit extinction to be happier than existence. The wish for an end to the ego, the hope to be eventually nothing, Gautama accepted for a truism as undeniably as the Brahmans did. What he pronounced false was the Brahman prospectus of the way to reach this desirable impersonal state. Their road, be said, could not possibly land the traveller where it professed, since it began wrong, and ended nowhere. The way, he asserted, is within a man. He has but to realize the truth, and from that moment he will see his goal and the road that leads there. There is no panacea for human ills, of external application. The Brahman homoeopathic treatment of sin is folly. The slaughtering of men and bulls cannot possibly bring life to the soul. To mortify the body for the sins of the flesh is palpably futile, for in desire alone lies all the ill. Quench the desire, and the deeds will die of inanition. Man himself is sole cause of his own misery. Get rid, then, said the Buddha, of these passions, these strivings for the sake of self, that hold the true soul a prisoner. They have to do with things which we know are transitory: how can they be immortal themselves? We recognize them as subject to our will; they are, then, not the I.

As a man, he taught, becomes conscious that he himself is something distinct from his body, so, if he reflect and ponder, he will come to see that in like manner his appetites, ambitions, hopes, are really extrinsic to the spirit proper. Neither heart nor head is truly the man, for he is conscious of something that stands behind both. Behind desire, behind even the will, lies the soul, the same for all men, one with the soul of the universe. When he has once realized this eternal truth, the man has entered Nirvana. For Nirvana is not an absorption of the individual soul into the soul of all things, since the one has always been a part of the other. Still less is it utter annihilation. It is simply the recognition of the eternal oneness of the two, back through an everlasting past on through an everlasting future.

Such is the belief which the Japanese adopted, and which they profess to-day. Such to them is to be the dawn of death's to-morrow; a blessed impersonal immortality, in which all sense of self, illusion that it is, shall itself have ceased to be; a long dreamless sleep, a beatified rest, which no awakening shall ever disturb.

Among such a people personal Christianity converts but few. They accept our material civilization, but they reject our creeds. To preach a prolongation of life appears to them like preaching an extension of sorrow. At most, Christianity succeeds only in making them doubters of what lies beyond this life. But though professing agnosticism while they live, they turn, when the shadows of death's night come on, to the bosom of that faith which teaches that, whatever may have been one's earthly share of happiness, "'tis something better not to be."

Strange it seems at first that those who have looked so long to the rising sun for inspiration should be they who live only in a sort of lethargy of life, while those who for so many centuries have turned their faces steadily to the fading glory of the sunset should be the ones who have embodied the spirit of progress of the world. Perhaps the light, by its very rising, checks the desire to pursue; in its setting it lures one on to follow.

Though this religion of impersonality is not their child, it is their choice. They embraced it with the rest that India taught them, centuries ago. But though just as eager to learn of us now as of India then, Christianity fails to commend itself. This is not due to the fact that the Buddhist missionaries came by invitation, and ours do not. Nor is it due to any want of personal character in these latter, but simply to an excess of it in their doctrines.

For to-day the Far East is even more impersonal in its religion than are those from whom that religion originally came. India has returned again to its worship of Brahma, which, though impersonal enough, is less so than is the gospel of Gautama. For it is passively instead of actively impersonal.

Buddhism bears to Brahmanism something like the relation that Protestantism does to Roman Catholicism. Both bishops and Brahmans undertake to save all who shall blindly commit themselves to professional guidance, while Buddhists and Protestants alike believe that a man's salvation must be brought about by the action of the man himself. The result is, that in the matter of individuality the two reformed beliefs are further apart than those against which they severally protested. For by the change the personal became more personal, and the impersonal more impersonal than before. The Protestant, from having tamely allowed himself to be led, began to take a lively interest in his own self-improvement; while the Buddhist, from a former apathetic acquiescence in the doctrine of the universally illusive, set to work energetically towards self-extinction. Curious labor for a mind, that of devoting all its strength to the thinking itself out of existence! Not content with being born impersonal, a Far Oriental is constantly striving to make himself more so.

We have seen, then, how in trying to understand these peoples we are brought face to face with impersonality in each of those three expressions of the human soul, speech, thought, yearning. We have looked at them first from a social standpoint. We have seen how singularly little regard is paid the individual from his birth to his death. How he lives his life long the slave of patriarchal customs of so puerile a tendency as to be practically impossible to a people really grown up. How he practises a wholesale system of adoption sufficient of itself to destroy any surviving regard for the ego his other relations might have left. How in his daily life he gives the minimum of thought to the bettering himself in any worldly sense, and the maximum of polite consideration to his neighbor. How, in short, he acts toward himself as much as possible as if he were another, and to that other as if he were himself. Then, not content with standing stranger like upon the threshold, we have sought to see the soul of their civilization in its intrinsic manifestations. We have pushed our inquiry, as it were, one step nearer its home. And the same trait that was apparent sociologically has been exposed in this our antipodal phase of psychical research. We have seen how impersonal is his language, the principal medium of communication between one soul and another; how impersonal are the communings of his soul with itself. How the man turns to nature instead of to his fellowman in silent sympathy. And how, when he speculates upon his coming castles in the air, his most roseate desire is to be but an indistinguishable particle of the sunset clouds and vanish invisible as they into the starry stillness of all-embracing space.

Now what does this strange impersonality betoken? Why are these peoples so different from us in this most fundamental of considerations to any people, the consideration of themselves? The answer leads to some interesting conclusions.

Chapter 8. Imagination.

If, as is the case with the moon, the earth, as she travelled round her orbit turned always the same face inward, we might expect to find, between the thoughts of that hemisphere which looked continually to the sun, and those of the other peering eternally out at the stars, some such difference as actually exists between ourselves and our longitudinal antipodes. For our conception of the cosmos is of a sunlit world throbbing with life, while their Nirvana finds not unfit expression in the still, cold, fathomless awe of the midnight sky. That we cannot thus directly account for the difference in local coloring serves but to make that difference of more human interest. The dissimilarity between the Western and the Far Eastern attitude of mind has in it something beyond the effect of environment. For it points to the importance of the part which the principle of individuality plays in the great drama daily enacting before our eyes, and which we know as evolution. It shows, as I shall hope to prove, that individuality bears the same relation to the development of mind that the differentiation of species does to the evolution of organic life: that the degree of individualization of a people is the self-recorded measure of its place in the great march of mind.

All life, whether organic or inorganic, consists, as we know, in a change from a state of simple homogeneity to one of complex heterogeneity. The process is apparently the same in a nebula or a brachiopod, although much more intricate in the latter. The immediate force which works this change, the life principle of things, is, in the case of organic beings, a subtle something which we call spontaneous variation. What this mysterious impulse may be is beyond our present powers of recognition. As yet, the ultimates of all things lie hidden in the womb of the vast unknown. But just as in the case of a man we can tell what organs are vital, though we are ignorant what the vital spark may be, so in our great cosmical laws we can say in what their power resides, though we know not really what they are. Whether mind be but a sublimated form of matter, or, what amounts to the same thing, matter a menial kind of mind, or whether, which seems less likely, it be a something incomparable with substance, of one thing we are sure, the same laws of heredity govern both. In each a like chain of continuity leads from the present to the dim past, a connecting clue which we can follow backward in imagination. Now what spontaneous variation is to the material organism, imagination, apparently, is to the mental one. Just as spontaneous variation is constantly pushing the animal or the plant to push out, as a vine its tendrils, in all directions, while natural conditions are as constantly exercising over it a sort of unconscious pruning power, so imagination is ever at work urging man's mind out and on, while the sentiment of the community, commonly called common sense, which simply means the point already reached by the average, is as steadily tending to keep it at its own level. The environment helps, in the one case as in the other, to the shaping of the development. Purely physical in the first, it is both physical and psychical in the second, the two reacting on each other. But in either case it is only a constraining condition, not the divine impulse itself. Precisely, then, as in the organism, this subtle spirit checked in one direction finds a way to advance in another, and produces in consequence among an originally similar set of bodies a gradual separation into species which grow wider with time, so in brain evolution a like force for like reasons tends inevitably to an ever-increasing individualization.

Now what evidence have we that this analogy holds? Let us look at the facts, first as they present themselves subjectively.

The instinct of self-preservation, that guardian angel so persistent to appear when needed, owes its summons to another instinct no less strong, which we may call the instinct of individuality; for with the same innate tenacity with which we severally cling to life do we hold to the idea of our own identity. It is not for the philosophic desire of preserving a very small fraction of humanity at large that we take such pains to avoid destruction; it is that we insensibly regard death as threatening to the continuance of the ego, in spite of the theories of a future life which we have so elaborately developed. Indeed, the psychical shrinking is really the quintessence of the physical fear. We cleave to the abstract idea closer even than to its concrete embodiment. Sooner would we forego this earthly existence than surrender that something we know as self. For sufficient cause we can imagine courting death; we cannot conceive of so much as exchanging our individuality for another's, still less of abandoning it altogether; for gradually a man, as he grows older, comes to regard his body as, after all, separable from himself. It is the soul's covering, rendered indispensable by the climatic conditions of our present existence, one without which we could no longer continue to live here. To forego it does not necessarily negative, so far as we yet know, the possibility of living elsewhere. Some more congenial tropic may be the wandering spirit's fate. But to part with the sense of self seems to be like taking an eternal farewell of the soul. The Western mind shrinks before the bare idea of such a thought.

The clinging to one's own identity, then, is now an instinct, whatever it may originally have been. It is a something we inherited from our ancestors and which we shall transmit more or less modified to our descendants. How far back this consciousness has been felt passes the possibilities of history to determine, since the recording of it necessarily followed the fact. All we know is that its mention is coeval with chronicle, and its origin lost in allegory. The Bible, one of the oldest written records in the world, begins with a bit of mythology of a very significant kind. When the Jews undertook to trace back their family tree to an idyllic garden of Eden, they mentioned as growing there beside the tree of life, another tree called the tree of knowledge. Of what character this knowledge was is inferable from the sudden self-consciousness that followed the partaking of it. So that if we please we may attribute directly to Eve's indiscretion the many evils of our morbid self-consciousness of the present day. But without indulging in unchivalrous reflections we may draw certain morals from it of both immediate and ultimate applicability.

To begin with, it is a most salutary warning to the introspective, and in the second place it is a striking instance of a myth which is not a sun myth; for it is essentially of human regard, an attempt on man's part to explain that most peculiar attribute of his constitution, the all-possessing sense of self. It looks certainly as if he was not over-proud of his person that he should have deemed its recognition occasion for the primal curse, and among early races the person is for a good deal of the personality. What he lamented was not life but the unavoidable exertion necessary to getting his daily bread, for the question whether life were worth while was as futile then as now, and as inconceivable really as 4-dimensional space.

We are then conscious of individuality as a force within ourselves. But our knowledge by no means ends there; for we are aware of it in the case of others as well.

About certain people there exists a subtle something which leaves its impress indelibly upon the consciousness of all who come in contact with them. This something is a power, but a power of so indefinable a description that we beg definition by calling it simply the personality of the man. It is not a matter of subsequent reasoning, but of direct perception. We feel it. Sometimes it charms us; sometimes it repels. But we can no more be oblivious to it than we can to the temperature of the air. Its possessor has but to enter the room, and insensibly we are conscious of a presence. It is as if we had suddenly been placed in the field of a magnetic force.

On the other hand there are people who produce no effect upon us whatever. They come and go with a like indifference. They are as unimportant psychically as if they were any other portion of the furniture. They never stir us. We might live with them for fifty years and be hardly able to tell, for any influence upon ourselves, whether they existed or not. They remind us of that neutral drab which certain religious sects assume to show their own irrelevancy to the world. They are often most estimable folk, but they are no more capable of inspiring a strong emotion than the other kind are incapable of doing so. And we say the difference is due to the personality or want of personality of the man. Now, in what does this so-called personality consist? Not in bodily presence simply, for men quite destitute of it possess the force in question; not in character only, for we often disapprove of a character whose attraction we are powerless to resist; not in intellect alone, for men more rational fail of stirring us as these unconsciously do. In what, then? In life itself; not that modicum of it, indeed, which suffices simply to keep the machine moving, but in the life principle, the power which causes psychical change; which makes the individual something distinct from all other individuals, a being capable of proving sufficient, if need be, unto himself; which shows itself, in short, as individuality. This is not a mere restatement of the case, for individuality is an objective fact capable of being treated by physical science. And as we know much more at present about physical facts than we do of psychological problems, we may be able to arrive the sooner at solution.

Individuality, personality, and the sense of self are only three different aspects of one and the same thing. They are so many various views of the soul according as we regard it from an intrinsic, an altruistic, or an egoistic standpoint. For by individuality is not meant simply the isolation in a corporeal casing of a small portion of the universal soul of mankind. So far as mind goes, this would not be individuality at all, but the reverse. By individuality we mean that bundle of ideas, thoughts, and daydreams which constitute our separate identity, and by virtue of which we feel each one of us at home within himself. Now man in his mind-development is bound to become more and more distinct from his neighbor. We can hardly conceive a progress so uniform as not to necessitate this. It would be contrary to all we know of natural law, besides contradicting daily experience. For each successive generation bears unmistakable testimony to the fact. Children of the same parents are never exactly like either their parents or one another, and they often differ amazingly from both. In such instances they revert to type, as we say; but inasmuch as the race is steadily advancing in development, such reversion must resemble that of an estate which has been greatly improved since its previous possession. The appearance of the quality is really the sprouting of a seed whose original germ was in some sense coeval with the beginning of things. This mind-seed takes root in some cases and not in others, according to the soil it finds. And as certain traits develop and others do not, one man turns out very differently from his neighbor. Such inevitable distinction implies furthermore that the man shall be sensible of it. Consciousness is the necessary attribute of mental action. Not only is it the sole way we have of knowing mind; without it there would be no mind to know. Not to be conscious of one's self is, mentally speaking, not to be. This complex entity, this little cosmos of a world, the "I," has for its very law of existence self-consciousness, while personality is the effect it produces upon the consciousness of others.

But we may push our inquiry a step further, and find in imagination the cause of this strange force. For imagination, or the image-making faculty, may in a certain sense be said to be the creator of the world within. The separate senses furnish it with material, but to it alone is due the building of our castles, on premises of fact or in the air. For there is no impassable gulf between the two. Coleridge's distinction that imagination drew possible pictures and fancy impossible ones, is itself, except as a classification, an impossible distinction to draw; for it is only the inconceivable that can never be. All else is purely a matter of relation. We may instance dreams which are usually considered to rank among the most fanciful creations of the mind. Who has not in his dreams fallen repeatedly from giddy heights and invariably escaped unhurt? If he had attempted the feat in his waking moments he would assuredly have been dashed to pieces at the bottom. And so we say the thing is impossible. But is it? Only under the relative conditions of his mass and the earth's. If the world he happens to inhabit were not its present size, but the size of one of the tinier asteroids, no such disastrous results would follow a chance misstep. He could there walk off precipices when too closely pursued by bears—if I remember rightly the usual childish cause of the same—with perfect impunity. The bear could do likewise, unfortunately. We should have arrived at our conclusion even quicker had we decreased the size both of the man and his world. He would not then have had to tumble actually so far, and would therefore have arrived yet more gently at the foot. This turns out, then, to be a mere question of size. Decrease the scale of the picture, and the impossible becomes possible at once. All fancies are not so easily reducible to actual facts as the one we have taken, but all, perhaps, eventually may be explicable in the same general way. At present we certainly cannot affirm that anything may not be thus explained. For the actual is widening its field every day. Even in this little world of our own we are daily discovering to be fact what we should have thought fiction, like the sailor's mother the tale of the flying fish. Beyond it our ken is widening still more. Gulliver's travels may turn out truer than we think. Could we traverse the inter-planetary ocean of ether, we might eventually find in Jupiter the land of Lilliput or in Ceres some old-time country of the Brobdignagians. For men constituted muscularly like ourselves would have to be proportionately small in the big planet and big in the small one. Still stranger things may exist around other suns. In those bright particular stars—which the little girl thought pinholes in the dark canopy of the sky to let the glory beyond shine through—we are finding conditions of existence like yet unlike those we already know. To our groping speculations of the night they almost seem, as we gaze on them in their twinkling, to be winking us a sort of comprehension. Conditions may exist there under which our wildest fancies may be commonplace facts. There may be

"Some Xanadu where Kublai can a stately pleasure dome decree,"

and carry out his conceptions to his own disillusionment, perhaps. For if the embodiment of a fancy, however complete, left nothing further to be wished, imagination would have no incentive to work. Coleridge's distinction does very well to separate, empirically, certain kinds of imaginative concepts from certain others; but it has no real foundation in fact. Nor presumably did he mean it to have. But it serves, not inaptly, as a text to point out an important scientific truth, namely, that there are not two such qualities of the mind, but only one. For otherwise we might have supposed the fact too evident to need mention. Imagination is the single source of the new, the one mainspring of psychical advance; reason, like a balance-wheel, only keeping the action regular. For reason is but the touchstone of experience, our own, inherited, or acquired from others. It compares what we imagine with what we know, and gives us answer in terms of the here and the now, which we call the actual. But the actual is really nothing but the local. It does not mark the limits of the possible.

That imagination has been the moving spirit of the psychical world is evident, whatever branch of human thought we are pleased to examine. We are in the habit, in common parlance, of making a distinction between the search after truth and the search after beauty, calling the one science and the other art. Now while we are not slow to impute imagination to art, we are by no means so ready to appreciate its connection with science. Yet contrary, perhaps, to exogeric ideas on the subject, it is science rather than art that demands imagination of her votaries. Not that art may not involve the quality to a high degree, but that a high degree of art is quite compatible with a very small amount of imagination. On the one side we may instance painting. Now painting begins its career in the humble capacity of copyist, a pretty poor copyist at that. At first so slight was its skill that the rudest symbols sufficed. "This is a man" was conventionally implied by a few scratches bearing a very distant relationship to the real thing. Gradually, owing to human vanity and a growing taste, pictures improved. Combinations were tried, a bit from one place with a piece from another; a sort of mosaic requiring but a slight amount of imagination. Not that imagination of a higher order has not been called into play, although even now pictures are often happy adaptations rather than creations proper. Some masters have been imaginative; others, unfortunately for themselves and still more for the public, have not. For that the art may attain a high degree of excellence for itself and much distinction for its professors, without calling in the aid of imagination, is evident enough on this side of the globe, without travelling to the other.

Take, on the other hand, a branch of science which, to the average layman, seems peculiarly unimaginative, the science of mathematics. Yet at the risk of appearing to cast doubts upon the validity of its conclusions, it might be called the most imaginative product of human thought; for it is simply one vast imagination based upon a few so-called axioms, which are nothing more nor less than the results of experience. It is none the less imaginative because its discoveries always accord subsequently with fact, since man was not aware of them beforehand. Nor are its inevitable conclusions inevitable to any save those possessed of the mathematician's prophetic sight. Once discovered, it requires much less imagination to understand them. With the light coming from in front, it is an easy matter to see what lies behind one.

So with other fabrics of human thought, imagination has been spinning and weaving them all. From the most concrete of inventions to the most abstract of conceptions the same force reveals itself upon examination; for there is no gulf between what we call practical and what we consider theoretical. Everything abstract is ultimately of practical use, and even the most immediately utilitarian has an abstract principle at its core. We are too prone to regard the present age of the world as preeminently practical, much as a middle-aged man laments the witching fancies of his boyhood. But, and there is more in the parallel than analogy, if the man be truly imaginative he is none the less so at forty-five than he was at twenty, if his imagination have taken on a more critical form; for this latter half of the nineteenth century is perhaps the most imaginative period the world's history has ever known. While with one hand we are contriving means of transit for our ideas, and even our very voices, compared to which Puck's girdle is anything but talismanic, with the other we are stretching out to grasp the action of mind on mind, pushing our way into the very realm of mind itself.

History tells the same story in detail; for the history of mankind, imperfectly as we know it, discloses the fact that imagination, and not the power of observation nor the kindred capability of perception, has been the cause of soul-evolution.

The savage is but little of an imaginative being. We are tempted, at times, to imagine him more so than he is, for his fanciful folk-lore. The proof of which overestimation is that we find no difficulty in imagining what he does, and even of imagining what he probably imagined, and finding our suppositions verified by discovery. Yet his powers of observation may be marvellously developed. The North American Indian tracks his foe through the forest by signs unrecognizable to a white man, and he reasons most astutely upon them, and still that very man turns out to be a mere child when put before problems a trifle out of his beaten path. And all because his forefathers had not the power to imagine something beyond what they actually saw. The very essence of the force of imagination lies in its ability to change a man's habitat for him. Without it, man would forever have remained, not a mollusk, to be sure, but an animal simply. A plant cannot change its place, an animal cannot alter its conditions of existence except within very narrow bounds; man is free in the sense nothing else in the world is.

What is true of individuals has been true of races. The most imaginative races have proved the greatest factors in the world's advance.

Now after this look at our own side of the world, let us turn to the other; for it is this very psychological fact that mental progression implies an ever-increasing individualization, and that imagination is the force at work in the process which Far Eastern civilization, taken in connection with our own, reveals. In doing this, it explains incidentally its own seeming anomalies, the most unaccountable of which, apparently, is its existence.

We have seen how impressively impersonal the Far East is. Now if individuality be the natural measure of the height of civilization which a nation has reached, impersonality should betoken a relatively laggard position in the race. We ought, therefore, to find among these people certain other characteristics corroborative of a less advanced state of development. In the first place, if imagination be the impulse of which increase in individuality is the resulting motion, that quality should be at a minimum there. The Far Orientals ought to be a particularly unimaginative set of people. Such is precisely what they are. Their lack of imagination is a well-recognized fact. All who have been brought in contact with them have observed it, merchants as strikingly as students. Indeed, the slightest intercourse with them could not fail to make it evident. Their matter-of-fact way of looking at things is truly distressing, coming as it does from so artistic a people. One notices it all the more for the shock. To get a prosaic answer from a man whose appearance and surroundings betoken better things is not calculated to dull that answer's effect. Aston, in a pamphlet on the Altaic tongues, cites an instance which is so much to the point that I venture to repeat it here. He was a true Chinaman, he says, who, when his English master asked him what he thought of

"That orbed maiden With white fires laden Whom mortals call the moon,"

replied, "My thinkee all same lamp pidgin" (pidgin meaning thing in the mongrel speech, Chinese in form and English in diction, which goes by the name of pidgin English).

Their own tongues show the same prosaic character, picturesque as they appear to us at first sight. That effect is due simply to the novelty to us of their expressions. To talk of a pass as an "up-down" has a refreshing turn to our unused ear, but it is a much more descriptive than imaginative figure of speech. Nor is the phrase "the being (so) is difficult," in place of "thank you," a surprisingly beautiful bit of imagery, delightful as it sounds for a change. Our own tongue has, in its daily vocabulary, far more suggestive expressions, only familiarity has rendered us callous to their use. We employ at every instant words which, could we but stop to think of them, would strike us as poetic in the ideas they call up. As has been well said, they were once happy thoughts of some bright particular genius bequeathed to posterity without so much as an accompanying name, and which proved so popular that they soon became but symbols themselves.

Their languages are paralleled by their whole life. A lack of any fanciful ideas is one of the most salient traits of all Far Eastern races, if indeed a sad dearth of anything can properly be spoken of as salient. Indirectly their want of imagination betrays itself in their every-day sayings and doings, and more directly in every branch of thought. Originality is not their strong point. Their utter ignorance of science shows this, and paradoxical as it may seem, their art, in spite of its merit and its universality, does the same. That art and imagination are necessarily bound together receives no very forcible confirmation from a land where, nationally speaking, at any rate, the first is easily first and the last easily last, as nations go. It is to quite another quality that their artistic excellence must be ascribed. That the Chinese and later the Japanese have accomplished results at which the rest of the world will yet live to marvel, is due to their—taste. But taste or delicacy of perception has absolutely nothing to do with imagination. That certain of the senses of Far Orientals are wonderfully keen, as also those parts of the brain that directly respond to them, is beyond question; but such sensitiveness does not in the least involve the less earth-tied portions of the intellect. A peculiar responsiveness to natural beauty, a sort of mental agreement with its earthly environment, is a marked feature of the Japanese mind. But appreciation, however intimate, is a very different thing from originality. The one is commonly the handmaid of the other, but the other by no means always accompanies the one.

So much for the cause; now for the effect which we might expect to find if our diagnosis be correct.

If the evolving force be less active in one race than in another, three relative results should follow. In the first place, the race in question will at any given moment be less advanced than its fellow; secondly, its rate of progress will be less rapid; and lastly, its individual members will all be nearer together, just as a stream, in falling from a cliff, starts one compact mass, then gradually increasing in speed, divides into drops, which, growing finer and finer and farther and farther apart, descend at last as spray. All three of these consequences are visible in the career of the Far Eastern peoples. The first result scarcely needs to be proved to us, who are only too ready to believe it without proof. It is, nevertheless, a fact. Viewed unprejudicedly, their civilization is not so advanced a one as our own. Although they are certainly our superiors in some very desirable particulars, their whole scheme is distinctly more aboriginal fundamentally. It is more finished, as far as it goes, but it does not go so far. Less rude, it is more rudimentary. Indeed, as we have seen, its surface-perfection really shows that nature has given less thought to its substance. One may say of it that it is the adult form of a lower type of mind-specification.

The second effect is scarcely less patent. How slow their progress has been, if for centuries now it can be called progress at all, is world-known. Chinese conservatism has passed into a proverb. The pendulum of pulsation in the Middle Kingdom long since came to a stop at the medial point of rest. Centre of civilization, as they call themselves, one would imagine that their mind-machinery had got caught on their own dead centre, and now could not be made to move. Life, which elsewhere is a condition of unstable equilibrium, there is of a fatally stable kind. For the Chinaman's disinclination to progress is something more than vis inertiae; it has become an ardent devotion to the status quo. Jostled, he at once settles back to his previous condition again; much as more materially, after a lifetime spent in California, at his death his body is punctiliously embalmed and sent home across five thousand miles of sea for burial. With the Japanese the condition of affairs is somewhat different. Their tendency to stand still is of a purely passive kind. It is a state of neutral equilibrium, stationary of itself but perfectly responsive to an impulse from without. Left to their own devices, they are conservative enough, but they instantly copy a more advanced civilization the moment they get a chance. This proclivity on their part is not out of keeping with our theory. On the contrary, it is precisely what was to have been expected; for we see the very same apparent contradiction in characters we are thrown with every day. Imitation is the natural substitute for originality. The less strong a man's personality the more prone is he to adopt the ideas of others, on the same principle that a void more easily admits a foreign body than does space that is already occupied; or as a blank piece of paper takes a dye more brilliantly for not being already tinted itself.

The third result, the remarkable homogeneity of the people, is not, perhaps, so universally appreciated, but it is equally evident on inspection, and no less weighty in proof. Indeed, the Far Eastern state of things is a kind of charade on the word; for humanity there is singularly uniform. The distance between the extremes of mind-development in Japan is much less than with us. This lack of divergence exists not simply in certain lines of thought, but in all those characteristics by which man is parted from the brutes. In reasoning power, in artistic sensibility, in delicacy of perception, it is the same story. If this were simply the impression at first sight, no deductions could be drawn from it, for an impression of racial similarity invariably marks the first stage of acquaintance of one people by another. Even in outward appearance it is so. We find it at first impossible to tell the Japanese apart; they find it equally impossible to differentiate us. But the present resemblance is not a matter of first impressions. The fact is patent historically. The men whom Japan reveres are much less removed from the common herd than is the case in any Western land. And this has been so from the earliest times. Shakspeares and Newtons have never existed there. Japanese humanity is not the soil to grow them. The comparative absence of genius is fully paralleled by the want of its opposite. Not only are the paths of preeminence untrodden; the purlieus of brutish ignorance are likewise unfrequented. On neither side of the great medial line is the departure of individuals far or frequent. All men there are more alike;—so much alike, indeed, that the place would seem to offer a sort of forlorn hope for disappointed socialists. Although religious missionaries have not met with any marked success among the natives, this less deserving class of enthusiastic disseminators of an all-possessing belief might do well to attempt it. They would find there a very virgin field of a most promisingly dead level. It is true, human opposition would undoubtedly prevent their tilling it, but Nature, at least, would not present quite such constitutional obstacles as she wisely does with us.

The individual's mind is, as it were, an isolated bit of the race mind. The same set of traits will be found in each. Mental characteristics there are a sort of common property, of which a certain undifferentiated portion is indiscriminately allotted to every man at birth. One soul resembles another so much, that in view of the patriarchal system under which they all exist, there seems to the stranger a peculiar appropriateness in so strong a family likeness of mind. An idea of how little one man's brain differs from his neighbor's may be gathered from the fact, that while a common coolie in Japan spends his spare time in playing a chess twice as complicated as ours, the most advanced philosopher is still on the blissfully ignorant side of the pons asinorum.

We find, then, that in all three points the Far East fulfils what our theory demanded.

There is one more consideration worthy of notice. We said that the environment had not been the deus ex materia in the matter; but that the soul itself possessed the germ of its own evolution. This fact does not, however, preclude another, that the environment has helped in the process. Change of scene is beneficial to others besides invalids. How stimulating to growth a different habitat can prove, when at all favorable, is perhaps sufficiently shown in the case of the marguerite, which, as an emigrant called white-weed, has usurped our fields. The same has been no less true of peoples. Now these Far Eastern peoples, in comparison with our own forefathers, have travelled very little. A race in its travels gains two things: first it acquires directly a great deal from both places and peoples that it meets, and secondly it is constantly put to its own resources in its struggle for existence, and becomes more personal as the outcome of such strife. The changed conditions, the hostile forces it finds, necessitate mental ingenuity to adapt them and influence it unconsciously. To see how potent these influences prove we have but to look at the two great branches of the Aryan family, the one that for so long now has stayed at home, and the one that went abroad. Destitute of stimulus from without, the Indo-Aryan mind turned upon itself and consumed in dreamy metaphysics the imagination which has made its cousins the leaders in the world's progress to-day. The inevitable numbness of monotony crept over the stay-at-homes. The deadly sameness of their surroundings produced its unavoidable effect. The torpor of the East, like some paralyzing poison, stole into their souls, and they fell into a drowsy slumber only to dream in the land they had formerly wrested from its possessors. Their birthright passed with their cousins into the West.

In the case of the Altaic races which we are considering, cause and effect mutually strengthened each other. That they did not travel more is due primarily to a lack of enterprise consequent upon a lack of imagination, and then their want of travel told upon their imagination. They were also unfortunate in their journeying. Their travels were prematurely brought to an end by that vast geographical Nirvana the Pacific Ocean, the great peaceful sea as they call it themselves. That they would have journeyed further is shown by the way their dreams went eastward still. They themselves could not for the preventing ocean, and the lapping of its waters proved a nation's lullaby.

One thing, I think, then, our glance at Far Eastern civilization has more than suggested. The soul, in its progress through the world, tends inevitably to individualization. Yet the more we perceive of the cosmos the more do we recognize an all-pervading unity in it. Its soul must be one, not many. The divine power that made all things is not itself multifold. How to reconcile the ever-increasing divergence with an eventual similarity is a problem at present transcending our generalizations. What we know would seem to be opposed to what we must infer. But perception of how we shall merge the personal in the universal, though at present hidden from sight, may sometime come to us, and the seemingly irreconcilable will then turn out to involve no contradiction at all. For this much is certain: grand as is the great conception of Buddhism, majestic as is the idea of the stately rest it would lead us to, the road here below is not one the life of the world can follow. If earthly existence be an evil, then Buddhism will help us ignore it; but if by an impulse we cannot explain we instinctively crave activity of mind, then the great gospel of Gautama touches us not; for to abandon self—egoism, that is, not selfishness is the true vacuum which nature abhors. As for Far Orientals, they themselves furnish proof against themselves. That impersonality is not man's earthly goal they unwittingly bear witness; for they are not of those who will survive. Artistic attractive people that they are, their civilization is like their own tree flowers, beautiful blossoms destined never to bear fruit; for whatever we may conceive the far future of another life to be, the immediate effect of impersonality cannot but be annihilating. If these people continue in their old course, their earthly career is closed. Just as surely as morning passes into afternoon, so surely are these races of the Far East, if unchanged, destined to disappear before the advancing nations of the West. Vanish they will off the face of the earth and leave our planet the eventual possession of the dwellers where the day declines. Unless their newly imported ideas really take root, it is from this whole world that Japanese and Koreans, as well as Chinese, will inevitably be excluded. Their Nirvana is already being realized; already it has wrapped Far Eastern Asia in its winding-sheet, the shroud of those whose day was but a dawn, as if in prophetic keeping with the names they gave their homes,—the Land of the Day's Beginning, and the Land of the Morning Calm.


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