Any attempt at a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of "crystal seering," to use an irregular but comprehensive term, would perhaps fall short of completeness, and certainly would depend largely upon the exercise of what Professor Huxley was wont to call "the scientific imagination." The reasons for this are obvious. We know comparatively little about atomic structure in relation to nervous organism. We are informed to a certain degree upon atomic ratios; we know that all bodies are regarded by the physicist as a congeries of atoms, and that these atoms are "centres of force." Primarily, the atomic theory would refer all heterogeneous bodies to one homogeneous substance, from which substance, by means of a process loosely referred to as "differentiation," all the elements are derived. These elements are the result of atomic arrangement, and the atoms of each are known to have various vibrations, the extent of which is called the "mean free path of vibration." The indestructibility of matter, the fact that all nature is convertible, and the absolute association of matter and force, lead to the conclusion that since every change in matter implies a change of force, matter must be ever living and active, and primarily of a spiritual nature. The great Swedenborg, no less a scientist than a spiritual seer, laid down his doctrine of "Correspondences" upon the primary concept of the spiritual origin of all force and matter. Matter, he argued, was the ultimate expression of Spirit, as Form was that of Force. Spirit was to Force what Matter was to Form—our ideas of Matter and Form being closely related. Hence, for every Spiritual Force there is a corresponding Material Form, and the material or natural world corresponds at all points with the world of spirit, without being identical. This, in brief, is the conclusion to which the "scientific imagination" of the present day, extending as it does from the known into the unknown, is slowly but surely leading up.
Taking as our postulate the scientific statement of the atomic structure of bodies, atomic vibration and molecular arrangement, we turn to consider the action exerted by such bodies upon the nervous organism of man.
The function of the brain—which must be regarded as the bulbous root of a nervous plant whose branches grow downwards—is twofold; to affect, and to be affected. In its active or positive condition it affects the whole of the vital and muscular processes in the man, finding expression in vital action. In its passive or negative state it is affected by impressions coming to it in different ways through the sense-organs, resulting in nervous and mental action. It is this latter phase of brain-function with which we are immediately concerned.
The range of our sense-perception puts us momentarily and continually in relation with the material world, or rather with a certain portion of it. We say a certain portion because we know from scientific experience that the scale or gamut of sense-perception is limited, both as to its extent and as to its quality....