The Doctrine Of The Subtle Body In Western Tradition


THE notion that the physical body of man is as it were the exteriorization of an invisible subtle embodiment of the life of the mind is a very ancient belief.

Conjectures concerning it vary with every stage of culture and differ within every stage. But the underlying conception invariably holds its ground, and makes good its claim to be one of the most persistent persuasions of mankind in all ages and climes.

It is, however, the prevailing habit of the sceptical rationalism of the present day to dismiss summarily all such beliefs of antiquity as the baseless dreams of a prescientific age, and to dump them all indiscriminately into the midden of exploded superstitions. But this particular superstition, I venture to think, cannot be justly disposed of in so contemptuous a fashion.