LAWS AND FORCES
8. If one of those unknown beings who spend their ephemeral existence in the depths of the dark regions of the ocean, if one of those polygrastic animals, one of the nereids, miserable animalcules, who only know the ichthyophagous fish and the submarine forests, received suddenly the gift of intelligence, the faculty of studying their world, and of establishing a reasonable idea of that living nature which develops in their midst, and of the terrestrial world which is not now included in the field of their observation.
If by the marvelous effect of some new power this strange race of beings should be lifted out of their unbroken darkness to the surface of the sea, not far from the fertile banks of an isle covered with luxuriant vegetation, to the genial sun, dispenser of a beneficent warmth, — what judgment would they pass? What theories of universal creation would be theirs, — theories to be soon effaced by larger appreciation, but by theories still as relatively incomplete as the first? Such is, O man! an image of all your speculative science. *
* Such is the state of those who deny the spiritual world, when, after having been despoiled of their fleshly envelope the horizons of this world are revealed to their vision, they comprehend the emptiness of the theories whereby they attempted to explain everything by matter alone. However, these horizons hold yet for them mysteries which are successively unveiled as they are raised to greater heights of wisdom by purification; but on their entrance into this new world they are first to recognize their blindness, and how far they were from the truth.
9. Now, as I come to treat of the laws and forces which rule the universe, I who am, like you, a being relatively ignorant of real science, notwithstanding the apparent superiority which is given me over my Earthly brothers, the opportunity which is mine of studying questions in nature which is withheld from them in their position, my object is only to expose to you a general idea of universal laws, without explaining in detail the methods of operation, and nature of the special forces dependent upon them.
10. There is an ethereal fluid which pervades space and penetrates bodies. This fluid is ether, or primitive cosmic matter, generatrix of the world and beings. There are inherent forces in ether which preside at the metamorphoses of matter — the necessary and immutable laws which rule the world. These multiple forces, indefinitely varied according to the combinations of matter, localized according to masses or bulk, diversified in their modes of action according to circumstances and places, are known upon Earth under the names of weight, cohesion, affinity, attraction, magnetism, and active electricity; the agent of the vibratory movements, those of sound, light, heat, etc. In other worlds they are presented under other aspects, offer other characters unknown in this, and in the immense extent of the heavens an indefinite number of forces are developed upon an unimaginable ladder, the grandeur of which we are as incapable of estimating as the crustacean animal in the depth of the ocean is of understanding the universality of terrestrial phenomena. *
Now, just as there is but one simple primitive substance generatrix of all bodies, but diversified in its combinations, even as all forces depend upon a universal law diversified in its effects, and which in the eternal decrees has been everywhere imposed upon creation in order to constitute harmony and permanent stability.
*Should we bring to this all that we know, we should not comprehend more fully that which escapes our senses than the blind man so born comprehends the effects of light and the use of eyes. Therefore, there can be in other places properties of cosmic fluid and combinations, of which we have no idea, of effects appropriated to needs unknown to us, giving place to new and other modes of perception. We do not, for example, comprehend how we can see without bodily eyes and without light; but who says that there exist no other agents than the light affecting special organisms? The somnambulic sight, which neither distance, material obstacles, nor darkness can arrest, offers us an example? Let us suppose that in some world the inhabitants are normally that which our somnambulists are exceptionally, they will have no need of the light or of eyes like ours, and they will see that which we cannot see. It is the same with all other sensations: the conditions of vitality and perceptibility, sensations and needs vary according to places.
11. Nature is never opposed to itself. The coat-of-arms of the universe has for its only device: unity - variety. In climbing the ladder of the worlds, one finds unity in harmony in all creation. At the same time there is an infinite variety in this immense garden of stars. In passing through the degrees of life from the lowest being even to God, the great law of continuity is recognizable. In considering the forces in themselves, one can find a series whose result, mingling with the generatrix, is the universal law.
You cannot appreciate this law to the full extent, since the forces which represent it in your field of observation are restrained and limited. However, gravitation and electricity can be regarded as a large application of the primordial law which reigns beyond the heavens.
All these forces are eternal, — we will explain this word, — universal as the creation. Being inherent in the cosmic fluid, they necessarily act in all things everywhere, modifying their action by their simultaneous working or their succession, predominating here, effacing themselves farther on; powerful and active at certain points, latent or secret at others, but finally preparing, directing, preserving and destroying worlds in their diverse periods of life, governing marvelous works of nature, wherever they are exerted, assuring to creation eternal splendor.