It is, however, possible that the success of the common rat may be due to its having possessed greater cunning than its fellow-species, before it became associated with man. To maintain, independently of any direct evidence, that no animal during the course of ages has progressed in intellect or other mental faculties, is to beg the question of the evolution of species. We have seen that, according to Lartet, existing mammals belonging to several orders have larger brains than their ancient tertiary prototypes.
It has often been said that no animal uses any tool; but the chimpanzee in a state of nature cracks a native fruit, somewhat like a walnut, with a stone. It thus also removed the soft rind of fruit that had a disagreeable flavour. Another monkey was taught to open the lid of a large box with a stick, and afterwards it used the stick as a lever to move heavy bodies; and I have myself seen a young orang put a stick into a crevice, slip his hand to the other end, and use it in the proper manner as a lever.
The tamed elephants in India are well known to break off branches of trees and use them to drive away the flies; and this same act has been observed in an elephant in a state of nature. In these several cases stones and sticks were employed as implements; but they are likewise used as weapons. Brehm 40 states, on the authority of the well-known traveller Schimper, that in Abyssinia when the baboons belonging to one species C. The Geladas roll down great stones, which the Hamadryas try to avoid, and then both species, making a great uproar, rush furiously against each other.
Brehm, when accompanying the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, aided in an attack with fire-arms on a troop of baboons in the pass of Mensa in Abyssinia. It deserves notice that these baboons thus acted in concert. In the Zoological Gardens, a monkey, which had weak teeth, used to break open nuts with a stone; and I was assured by the keepers that after using the stone, he hid it in the straw, and would not let any other monkey touch it. Here, then, we have the idea of property; but this idea is common to every dog with a bone, and to most or all birds with their nests.
The Duke of Argyll 42 remarks, that the fashioning of an implement for a special purpose is absolutely peculiar to man; and he considers that this forms an immeasurable gulf between him and the brutes. This is no doubt a very important distinction; but there appears to me much truth in Sir J.
From this step it would be a small one to break the flints on purpose, and not a very wide step to fashion them rudely. This latter advance, however, may have taken long ages, if we may judge by the immense interval of time which elapsed before the men of the neolithic period took to grinding and polishing their stone tools. In breaking the flints, as Sir J. The anthropomorphous apes, guided probably by instinct, build for themselves temporary platforms; but as many instincts are largely controlled by reason, the simpler ones, such as this of building a platform, might readily pass into a voluntary and conscious act.
The orang is known to cover itself at night with the leaves of the pandanus; and Brehm states that one of his baboons used to protect itself from the heat of the sun by throwing a straw-mat over its head. In these several habits, we probably see the first steps towards some of the simpler arts, such as rude architecture and dress, as they arose amongst the early progenitors of man.
This difficulty arises from the impossibility of judging what passes through the mind of an animal; and again, the fact that writers differ to a great extent in the meaning which they attribute to the above terms, causes a further difficulty. If one may judge from various articles which have been published lately, the greatest stress seems to be laid on the supposed entire absence in animals of the power of abstraction, or of forming general concepts.
But when a dog sees another dog at a distance, it is often clear that he perceives that it is a dog in the abstract; for when he gets nearer his whole manner suddenly changes if the other dog be a friend. A recent writer remarks, that in all such cases it is a pure assumption to assert that the mental act is not essentially of the same nature in the animal as in man. If either refers what he perceives with his senses to a mental concept, then so do both.
Now do not these actions clearly shew that she had in her mind a general idea or concept that some animal is to be discovered and hunted? It may be freely admitted that no animal is self-conscious, if by this term it is implied, that he reflects on such points, as whence he comes or whither he will go, or what is life and death, and so forth.
But how can we feel sure that an old dog with an excellent memory and some power of imagination, as shewn by his dreams, never reflects on his past pleasures or pains in the chase? And this would be a form of self-consciousness. On the other hand, as Buchner 45 has remarked, how little can the hard worked wife of a degraded Australian savage, who uses very few abstract words, and cannot count above four, exert her self-consciousness, or reflect on the nature of her own existence.
It is generally admitted, that the higher animals possess memory, attention, association, and even some imagination and reason. We see at least that such powers are developed in children by imperceptible degrees. That animals retain their mental individuality is unquestionable. When my voice awakened a train of old associations in the mind of the before-mentioned dog, he must have retained his mental individuality, although every atom of his brain had probably undergone change more than once during the interval of five years.
The teaching that atoms leave their impressions as legacies to other atoms falling into the places they have vacated is contradictory of the utterance of consciousness, and is therefore false; but it is the teaching necessitated by evolutionism, consequently the hypothesis is a false one.
It is a more remarkable fact that the dog, since being domesticated, has learnt to bark 49 in at least four or five distinct tones. Although barking is a new art, no doubt the wild parent-species of the dog expressed their feelings by cries of various kinds. With the domesticated dog we have the bark of eagerness, as in the chase; that of anger, as well as growling; the yelp or howl of despair, as when shut up; the baying at night; the bark of joy, as when starting on a walk with his master; and the very distinct one of demand or supplication, as when wishing for a door or window to be opened.
According to Houzeau, who paid particular attention to the subject, the domestic fowl utters at least a dozen significant sounds. The habitual use of articulate language is, however, peculiar to man; but he uses, in common with the lower animals, inarticulate cries to express his meaning, aided by gestures and the movements of the muscles of the face. Our cries of pain, fear, surprise, anger, together with their appropriate actions, and the murmur of a mother to her beloved child are more expressive than any words.
That which distinguishes man from the lower animals is not the understanding of articulate sounds, for, as every one knows, dogs understand many words and sentences. In this respect they are at the same stage of development as infants, between the ages of ten and twelve months, who understand many words and short sentences, but cannot yet utter a single word. It is not the mere articulation which is our distinguishing character, for parrots and other birds possess this power.
Nor is it the mere capacity of connecting definite sounds with definite ideas; for it is certain that some parrots, which have been taught to speak, connect unerringly words with things, and persons with events. As Horne Tooke, one of the founders of the noble science of philology, observes, language is an art, like brewing or baking; but writing would have been a better simile.
It certainly is not a true instinct, for every language has to be learnt. It differs, however, widely from all ordinary arts, for man has an instinctive tendency to speak, as we see in the babble of our young children; whilst no child has an instinctive tendency to brew, bake, or write. Moreover, no philologist now supposes that any language has been deliberately invented; it has been slowly and unconsciously developed by many steps.
I have given the foregoing details to shew that an instinctive tendency to acquire an art is not peculiar to man. With respect to the origin of articulate language, after having read on the one side the highly interesting works of Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, the Rev. Farrar, and Prof. Schleicher, 55 and the celebrated lectures of Prof. When we treat of sexual selection we shall see that primeval man, or rather some early progenitor of man, probably first used his voice in producing true musical cadences, that is in singing, as do some of the gibbon-apes at the present day; and we may conclude from a widely-spread analogy, that this power would have been especially exerted during the courtship of the sexes — would have expressed various emotions, such as love, jealousy, triumph — and would have served as a challenge to rivals.
It is, therefore, probable that the imitation of musical cries by articulate sounds may have given rise to words expressive of various complex emotions.
The strong tendency in our nearest allies, the monkeys, in microcephalous idiots, 56 and in the barbarous races of mankind, to imitate whatever they hear deserves notice, as bearing on the subject of imitation. Since monkeys certainly understand much that is said to them by man, and when wild, utter signal-cries of danger to their fellows; 57 and since fowls give distinct warnings for danger on the ground, or in the sky from hawks both, as well as a third cry, intelligible to dogs , 58 may not some unusually wise apelike animal have imitated the growl of a beast of prey, and thus told his fellow-monkeys the nature of the expected danger?
This would have been a first step in the formation of a language. As the voice was used more and more, the vocal organs would have been strengthened and perfected through the principle of the inherited effects of use; and this would have reacted on the power of speech. But the relation between the continued use of language and the development of the brain, has no doubt been far more important. The mental powers in some early progenitor of man must have been more highly developed than in any existing ape, before even the most imperfect form of speech could have come into use; but we may confidently believe that the continued use and advancement of this power would have reacted on the mind itself, by enabling and encouraging it to carry on long trains of thought.
A complex train of thought can no more be carried on without the aid of words, whether spoken or silent, than a long calculation without the use of figures or algebra. It appears, also, that even an ordinary train of thought almost requires, or is greatly facilitated by some form of language, for the dumb, deaf, and blind girl, Laura Bridgman, was observed to use her fingers whilst dreaming. We have, also, seen that animals are able to reason to a certain extent, manifestly without the aid of language.
The intimate connection between the brain, as it is now developed in us, and the faculty of speech, is well shewn by those curious cases of brain-disease in which speech is specially affected, as when the power to remember substantives is lost, whilst other words can be correctly used, or where substantives of a certain class, or all except the initial letters of substantives and proper names are forgotten. Several writers, more especially Prof. Max Muller, 62 have lately insisted that the use of language implies the power of forming general concepts; and that as no animals are supposed to possess this power, an impassable barrier is formed between them and man.
As far as concerns infants of from ten to eleven months old, and deaf-mutes, it seems to me incredible, that they should be able to connect certain sounds with certain general ideas as quickly as they do, unless such ideas were already formed in their minds. The same remark may be extended to the more intelligent animals; as Mr.
And the capacity to understand is as good a proof of vocal intelligence, though in an inferior degree, as the capacity to speak. Why the organs now used for speech should have been originally perfected for this purpose, rather than any other organs, it is not difficult to see. Ants have considerable powers of inter-communication by means of their antennae, as shewn by Huber, who devotes a whole chapter to their language.
We might have used our fingers as efficient instruments, for a person with practice can report to a deaf man every word of a speech rapidly delivered at a public meeting; but the loss of our hands, whilst thus employed, would have been a serious inconvenience. As all the higher mammals possess vocal organs, constructed on the same general plan as ours, and used as a means of communication, it was obviously probable that these same organs would be still further developed if the power of communication had to be improved; and this has been effected by the aid of adjoining and well adapted parts, namely the tongue and lips.
The possession by them of organs, which with long-continued practice might have been used for speech, although not thus used, is paralleled by the case of many birds which possess organs fitted for singing, though they never sing. Thus, the nightingale and crow have vocal organs similarly constructed, these being used by the former for diversified song, and by the latter only for croaking. The formation of different languages and of distinct species, and the proofs that both have been developed through a gradual process, are curiously parallel. We find in distinct languages striking homologies due to community of descent, and analogies due to a similar process of formation.
The manner in which certain letters or sounds change when others change is very like correlated growth. We have in both cases the re-duplication of parts, the effects of long-continued use, and so forth. The frequent presence of rudiments, both in languages and in species, is still more remarkable. The letter m in the word am, means I; so that in the expression I am, a superfluous and useless rudiment has been retained.
In the spelling also of words, letters often remain as the rudiments of ancient forms of pronunciation. Languages, like organic beings, can be classed in groups under groups; and they can be classed either naturally according to descent, or artificially by other characters. Dominant languages and dialects spread widely, and lead to the gradual extinction of other tongues. A language, like a species, when once extinct, never, as Sir C.
Lyell remarks, reappears. The same language never has two birth-places. Distinct languages may be crossed or blended together. The better, the shorter, the easier forms are constantly gaining the upper hand, and they owe their success to their own inherent virtue. The survival or preservation of certain favoured words in the struggle for existence is natural selection. The perfectly regular and wonderfully complex construction of the languages of many barbarous nations has often been advanced as a proof, either of the divine origin of these languages, or of the high art and former civilisation of their founders.
Thus F. This is especially the case with the Basque and the Lapponian, and many of the American languages. With respect to perfection, the following illustration will best shew how easily we may err: a crinoid sometimes consists of no less than , pieces of shell, 71 all arranged with perfect symmetry in radiating lines; but a naturalist does not consider an animal of this kind as more perfect than a bilateral one with comparatively few parts, and with none of these parts alike, excepting on the opposite sides of the body.
He justly considers the differentiation and specialisation of organs as the test of perfection. So with languages: the most symmetrical and complex ought not to be ranked above irregular, abbreviated, and bastardised languages, which have borrowed expressive words and useful forms of construction from various conquering, conquered, or immigrant races.
From these few and imperfect remarks I conclude that the extremely complex and regular construction of many barbarous languages, is no proof that they owe their origin to a special act of creation. Sense of Beauty. I refer here only to the pleasure given by certain colours, forms, and sounds, and which may fairly be called a sense of the beautiful; with cultivated men such sensations are, however, intimately associated with complex ideas and trains of thought. When we behold a male bird elaborately displaying his graceful plumes or splendid colours before the female, whilst other birds, not thus decorated, make no such display, it is impossible to doubt that she admires the beauty of her male partner.
As women everywhere deck themselves with these plumes, the beauty of such ornaments cannot be disputed. As we shall see later, the nests of humming-birds, and the playing passages of bower-birds are tastefully ornamented with gaily-coloured objects; and this shews that they must receive some kind of pleasure from the sight of such things. With the great majority of animals, however, the taste for the beautiful is confined, as far as we can judge, to the attractions of the opposite sex. The sweet strains poured forth by many male birds during the season of love, are certainly admired by the females, of which fact evidence will hereafter be given.
If female birds had been incapable of appreciating the beautiful colours, the ornaments, and voices of their male partners, all the labour and anxiety exhibited by the latter in displaying their charms before the females would have been thrown away; and this it is impossible to admit. Why certain bright colours should excite pleasure cannot, I presume, be explained, any more than why certain flavours and scents are agreeable; but habit has something to do with the result, for that which is at first unpleasant to our senses, ultimately becomes pleasant, and habits are inherited.
With respect to sounds, Helmholtz has explained to a certain extent on physiological principles, why harmonies and certain cadences are agreeable. But besides this, sounds frequently recurring at irregular intervals are highly disagreeable, as every one will admit who has listened at night to the irregular flapping of a rope on board ship.
The same principle seems to come into play with vision, as the eye prefers symmetry or figures with some regular recurrence. Patterns of this kind are employed by even the lowest savages as ornaments; and they have been developed through sexual selection for the adornment of some male animals.
Whether we can or not give any reason for the pleasure thus derived from vision and hearing, yet man and many of the lower animals are alike pleased by the same colours, graceful shading and forms, and the same sounds. The taste for the beautiful, at least as far as female beauty is concerned, is not of a special nature in the human mind; for it differs widely in the different races of man, and is not quite the same even in the different nations of the same race.
Judging from the hideous ornaments, and the equally hideous music admired by most savages, it might be urged that their Aesthetic faculty was not so highly developed as in certain animals, for instance, as in birds. Obviously no animal would be capable of admiring such scenes as the heavens at night, a beautiful landscape, or refined music; but such high tastes are acquired through culture, and depend on complex associations; they are not enjoyed by barbarians or by uneducated persons.
Many of the faculties, which have been of inestimable service to man for his progressive advancement, such as the powers of the imagination, wonder, curiosity, an undefined sense of beauty, a tendency to imitation, and the love of excitement or novelty, could hardly fail to lead to capricious changes of customs and fashions.
There is also reason to suspect that they love novelty, for its own sake. Belief in God — Religion. On the contrary there is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travellers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed, and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their languages to express such an idea.
Nor is it difficult to comprehend how it arose. As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence. As Mr. Tylor has shewn, that dreams may have first given rise to the notion of spirits; for savages do not readily distinguish between subjective and objective impressions. The tendency in savages to imagine that natural objects and agencies are animated by spiritual or living essences, is perhaps illustrated by a little fact which I once noticed: my dog, a full-grown and very sensible animal, was lying on the lawn during a hot and still day; but at a little distance a slight breeze occasionally moved an open parasol, which would have been wholly disregarded by the dog, had any one stood near it.
As it was, every time that the parasol slightly moved, the dog growled fiercely and barked. Students, who should know better, perpetually speak as though the hidden side of things were intentionally concealed, as though knowledge with regard to it ought to be in the hands of all men, but was being deliberately withheld by the caprice or selfishness of a few; whereas the fact is that nothing is or can be hidden from us except by our own limitations, and that for every man as he evolves the world grows wider and wider, because he is able to see more and more of its grandeur and its loveliness.
As an objection against this statement may be cited the well-known fact that, at each of the great Initiations which mark the advance of the neophyte along the path of the higher progress, a definite new block of knowledge is given to him. That is quite true, but the knowledge can be given only because the recipient has evolved to the point at which he can grasp it.
It is no more being withheld from ordinary humanity than the knowledge of conic sections is being withheld from the child who is still struggling with the multiplication-table. When that child reaches the level at which he can comprehend quadratic equations, the teacher is ready to explain to him the rules which govern them. In exactly the same way, when a man has qualified himself for the reception of the information given at a certain Initiation, he is forthwith initiated.
But the only way to attain the capacity to imbibe that higher knowledge is to begin by trying to understand our present conditions, and to order our lives intelligently in view of the facts which we find. Occultism, then, is the study of the hidden side of nature; or rather, it is the study of the whole of nature, instead of only that small part of it which comes under the investigation of modern science. At the present stage of our development, by far the greater part of nature is entirely unknown to the majority of mankind, because they have as yet unfolded only a minute proportion of the faculties which they possess.
The ordinary man, therefore, is basing his philosophy so far as he has any upon entirely inadequate grounds; his actions are moulded more or less in accordance with the few laws of nature which he knows, and consequently both his theory of life and his daily practice are necessarily inaccurate. The occultist adopts a far more comprehensive view; he takes into account those forces of the higher worlds whose action is hidden from the materialist, and so he moulds his life in obedience to the entire code of Nature' s laws, instead of only by occasional reference to a minute fragment of it.
It is difficult for the man who knows nothing of the occult to realise how great, how serious and how all-pervading are his own limitations. The only way in which we can adequately symbolise them is to suppose some form of consciousness still more limited than our own, and to think in what directions it would differ from ours. Suppose it were possible that a consciousness could exist capable of appreciating only solid matter-- the liquid and gaseous forms of matter being to it as entirely non-existent as are the etheric and astral and mental forms to the ordinary man.
We can readily see how for such a consciousness any adequate conception of the world in which we live would be impossible. Solid matter, which alone could be perceived by it, would constantly be found to be undergoing serious modifications, about which no rational theory could be formed. For example, whenever a shower of rain took place, the solid matter of the earth would undergo change; it would in many cases become both softer and heavier when charged with moisture, but the reason of such a change would necessarily be wholly incomprehensible to the consciousness which we are supposing.
The wind might lift clouds of sand and transfer them from one place to another; but such motion of solid matter would be entirely inexplicable to one who had no conception of the existence of the air. Without considering more examples of what is already so obvious, we see clearly how hopelessly inadequate would be such an idea of the world as would be attainable by this consciousness limited to solid matter. What we do not realise so readily, however, is that our present consciousness falls just as far short of that of the developed man as this supposed consciousness would fall short of that which we now possess.
Theosophical students are at least theoretically acquainted with the idea that to everything there is a hidden side; and they also know that in the great majority of cases this unseen side is of far greater importance than that which is visible to the physical eye. To put the same idea from another point of view, the senses, by means of which we obtain all our information about external objects, are as yet imperfectly developed; therefore the information obtained is partial. What we see in the world about us is by no means all that there is to see, and a man who will take the trouble to cultivate his senses will find that, in proportion as he succeeds, life will become fuller and richer for him.
For the lover of nature, of art, of music, a vast field of incredibly intensified and exalted pleasure lies close at hand, if he will fit himself to enter upon it. Above all, for the lover of his fellow-man there is the possibility of far more intimate comprehension and therefore far wider usefulness. We are only halfway up the ladder of evolution at present, and so our senses are only half-evolved.
But it is possible for us to hurry up that ladder-- possible, by hard work, to make our senses now what all men' s senses will be in the distant future. The man who has succeeded in doing this is often called a seer or a clairvoyant. A fine word that-- clairvoyant. All this is irregular and unscientific; in many cases it is mere charlatanry and bare-faced robbery. But not always; to foresee the future up to a certain point is a possibility; it can be done, and it has been done, scores of times; and some of these irregular practitioners unquestionably do at times possess flashes of higher vision, though usually they cannot depend upon having them when they want them.
But behind all this vagueness there is a bed-rock of fact-- something which can be approached rationally and studied scientifically. It is as the result of many years of such study and experiment that I state emphatically what I have written above-- that it is possible for men to develop their senses until they can see much more of this wonderful and beautiful world in which we live than is ever suspected by the untrained average man, who lives contentedly in the midst of Cimmerean darkness and calls it light.
The truth is all about you, if you will only take the bandage from your eyes and look; and it is so wonderful, so beautiful, so far beyond anything that men have ever dreamt of or prayed for, and it is for ever and for ever. He assuredly meant far more than this of which I am writing now, but this is a step on the way towards that glorious goal of perfect realisation.
If it does not yet tell us quite all the truth, at any rate it gives us a good deal of it. It removes for us a host of common misconceptions, and clears up for us many points which are considered as mysteries or problems by those who are as yet uninstructed in this lore. It shows that all these things were mysteries and problems to us only because heretofore we saw so small a part of the facts, because we were looking at the various matters from below, and as isolated and unconnected fragments, instead of rising above them to a standpoint whence they are comprehensible as parts of a mighty whole.
It settles in a moment many questions which have been much disputed-- such, for example, as that of the continued existence of man after death. It explains many of the strange things which the Churches tell us; it dispels our ignorance and removes our fear of the unknown by supplying us with a rational and orderly scheme. Besides all this, it opens up a new world to us in regard to our every-day life-- a new world which is yet a part of the old. It shows us that, as I began by saying, there is a hidden side to everything, and that our most ordinary actions often produce results of which without this study we should never have known.
By it we understand the rationale of what is commonly called telepathy, for we see that just as there are waves of heat or light or electricity, so there are waves produced by thought, though they are in a finer type of matter than the others, and therefore not perceptible to our physical senses. By studying these vibrations we see how thought acts, and we learn that it is a tremendous power for good or for ill-- a power which we are all of us unconsciously wielding to some extent-- which we can use a hundredfold more effectively when we comprehend its workings.
The occultist studies carefully all these unseen effects, and consequently knows much more fully than other men the result of what he is doing. He has more information about life than others have, and he exercises his common-sense by modifying his life in accordance with what he knows. In many ways we live differently now from our forefathers in mediaeval times, because we know more than they did. We have discovered certain laws of hygiene; wise men live according to that knowledge, and therefore the average length of life is decidedly greater now than it was in the Middle Ages.
There are still some who are foolish or ignorant, who either do not know the laws of health or are careless about keeping them; they think that because disease-germs are invisible to them, they are therefore of no importance; they don't believe in new ideas. Those are the people who suffer first when an epidemic disease arrives, or some unusual strain is put upon the community.
They suffer unnecessarily, because they are behind the times. But they injure not only themselves by their neglect; the conditions caused by their ignorance or carelessness often bring infection into a district which might otherwise be free from it. The matter of which I am writing is precisely the same thing at a different level. The microscope revealed disease-germs; the intelligent man profited by the discovery, and rearranged his life, while the unintelligent man paid no attention, but went on as before.
Clairvoyance reveals thought-force and many other previously unsuspected powers; once more the intelligent man profits by this discovery, and rearranges his life accordingly. Once more also the unintelligent man takes no heed of the new discoveries; once more he thinks that what he cannot see can have no importance for him; once more he continues to suffer quite unnecessarily, because he is behind the times.
Not only does he often suffer positive pain, but he also misses so much of the pleasure of life. To painting, to music, to poetry, to literature, to religious ceremonies, to the beauties of nature there is always a hidden side-- a fulness, a completeness beyond the mere physical; and the man who can see or sense this has at his command a wealth of enjoyment far beyond the comprehension of the man who passes through it all with unopened perceptions. The perceptions exist in every human being, though as yet undeveloped in most. To unfold them means generally a good deal of time and hard work, but it is exceedingly well worth while.
Only let no man undertake the effort unless his motives are absolutely pure and unselfish, for he who seeks wider faculty for any but the most exalted purposes will bring upon himself a curse and not a blessing. But the man of affairs, who has no time to spare for a sustained effort to evolve nascent powers within himself, is not thereby debarred from sharing in some at least of the benefits derived from occult study, any more than the man who possesses no microscope is thereby prevented from living hygienically.
The latter has not seen the disease-germs, but from the testimony of the specialist he knows that they exist, and he knows how to guard himself from them. Just in the same way a man who has as yet no dawning of clairvoyant vision may study the writings of those who have gained it, and in this way profit by the results of their labour. True, he cannot yet see all the glory and the beauty which are hidden from us by the imperfection of our senses; but he can readily learn how to avoid the unseen evil, and how to set in motion the unseen forces of good. So, long before he actually sees them, he can conclusively prove to himself their existence, just as the man who drives an electric motor proves to himself the existence of electricity, though he has never seen it and does not in the least know what it is.
We must try to understand as much as we can of the world in which we live. We must not fall behind in the march of evolution, we must not let ourselves be anachronisms, for lack of interest in these new discoveries, which yet are only the presentation from a new point of view of the most archaic wisdom. There is a difference, however, between theoretical acquaintance and actual realisation; and I have thought that it might help students somewhat towards the grasp of the realities to have a description of the unseen side of some of the simple transactions of every day life as they appear to clairvoyant vision-- to one, let us say, who has developed within himself the power of perception through the astral, mental and causal bodies.
Their appearance as seen by means of the intuitional vehicle is infinitely grander and more effective still, but so entirely inexpressible that it seems useless to say anything about it; for on that level all experience is within the man instead of without, and the glory and the beauty of it is no longer something which he watches with interest, but something which he feels in his inmost heart, because it is part of himself.
The object of this book is to give some hints as to the inner side of the world as a whole and of our daily life. We shall consider this latter in three divisions, which will resemble the conjugations of our youthful days in being passive, middle and active respectively-- how we are influenced, how we influence ourselves, and how we influence others; and we shall conclude by observing a few of the results which must inevitably flow from a wider diffusion of this knowledge as to the realities of existence. WHEN we look upon the world around us, we cannot hide from ourselves the existence of a vast amount of sorrow and suffering.
True, much of it is obviously the fault of the sufferers, and might easily be avoided by the exercise of a little self-control and common-sense; but there is also much which is not immediately self-induced, but undoubtedly comes from without. It often seems as though evil triumphs, as though justice fails in the midst of the storm and stress of the roaring confusion of life, and because of this many despair of the ultimate result, and doubt whether there is in truth any plan of definite progress behind all this bewildering chaos.
It is all a question of the point of view; the man who is himself in the thick of the fight cannot judge of the plan of the general or the progress of the conflict. To understand the battle as a whole, one must withdraw from the tumult and look down upon the field from above. In exactly the same way, to comprehend the plan of the battle of life we must withdraw ourselves from it for the time, and in thought look down upon it from above-- from the point of view not of the body which perishes but of the soul which lives for ever.
We must take into account not only the small part of life which our physical eyes can see, but the vast totality of which at present so much is invisible to us. Until that has been done we are in the position of a man looking from beneath at the under side of some huge piece of elaborate tapestry which is in process of being woven.
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The whole thing is to us but a confused medley of varied colour, of ragged hanging ends, without order or beauty, and we are unable to conceive what all this mad clatter of machinery can be doing; but when through our knowledge of the hidden side of nature we are able to look down from above, the pattern begins to unfold itself before our eyes, and the apparent chaos shows itself as orderly progress. A more forcible analogy may be obtained by contemplating in imagination the view of life which would present itself to some tiny microbe whirled down by a resistless flood, such as that which rushes through the gorge of Niagara.
Boiling, foaming, swirling, the force of that stream is so tremendous that its centre is many feet higher than its sides. The microbe on the surface of such a torrent must be dashed hither and thither wildly amidst the foam, sometimes thrown high in air, sometimes whirled backwards in an eddy, unable to see the banks between which he is passing, having every sense occupied in the mad struggle to keep himself somehow above water. To him that strife and stress is all the world of which he knows; how can he tell whither the stream is going? But the man who stands on the bank, looking down on it all, can see that all this bewildering tumult is merely superficial, and that the one fact of real importance is the steady onward sweep of those millions of tons of water downwards towards the sea.
If we can furthermore suppose the microbe to have some idea of progress, and to identify it with forward motion, he might well be dismayed when he found himself hurled aside or borne backwards by an eddy; while the spectator could see that the apparent backward movement was but a delusion, since even the little eddies were all being swept onwards with the rest.
It is no exaggeration to say that as is the knowledge of the microbe struggling in the stream to that of the man looking down upon it, so is the comprehension of life possessed by the man in the world to that of one who knows its hidden side. Best of all, though not so easy to follow because of the effort of imagination involved, is the parable offered to us by Mr.
Hinton in his Scientific Romances. For purposes connected with his argument Mr. Hinton supposes the construction of a large vertical wooden frame, from top to bottom of which are tightly stretched a multitude of threads at all sorts of angles. If then a sheet of paper be inserted horizontally in the frame so that these threads pass through it, it is obvious that each thread will make a minute hole in the paper. If then the frame as a whole be moved slowly upwards, but the paper kept still, various effects will be produced.
When a thread is perpendicular it will slip through its hole without difficulty, but when a thread is fixed at an angle it will cut a slit in the paper as the frame moves. Suppose instead of a sheet of paper we have a thin sheet of wax, and let the wax be sufficiently viscous to close up behind the moving thread. Then instead of a number of slits we shall have a number of moving holes, and to a sight which cannot see the threads that cause them, the movement of these holes will necessarily appear irregular and inexplicable.
Some will approach one another, some will recede; various patterns and combinations will be formed and dissolve; all depending upon the arrangement of the invisible threads. Now, by a still more daring flight of fancy, think not of the holes but of the minute sections of thread for the moment filling them, and imagine those sections as conscious atoms. They think of themselves as separate entities, they find themselves moving without their own volition in what seems a maze of inextricable confusion, and this bewildering dance is life as they know it.
Yet all this apparent complexity and aimless motion is in fact a delusion caused by the limitation of the consciousness of those atoms, for only one extremely simple movement is really taking place-- the steady upward motion of the frame as a whole. But the atom can never comprehend that until it realises that it is not a separated fragment, but part of a thread. So long as we confine our consciousness to the atom, and look on life only from this earthly standpoint, we can never understand what is happening in the world.
But if we will raise our consciousness to the point of view of the soul, the thread of which the bodily life is only a minute part and a temporary expression, we shall then see that there is a splendid simplicity at the back of all the complexity, a unity behind all the diversity. The complexity and the diversity are illusions produced by our limitations; the simplicity and the unity are real.
The world in which we live has a hidden side to it, for the conception of it in the mind of the ordinary man in the street is utterly imperfect along three quite distinct lines. First, it has an extension at its own level which he is at present quite incapable of appreciating; secondly, it has a higher side which is too refined for his undeveloped perceptions; thirdly, it has a meaning and a purpose of which he usually has not the faintest glimpse. To say that we do not see the whole of our world is to state the case far too feebly; what we see is an absolutely insignificant part of it, beautiful though that part may be.
And just as the additional extension is infinite compared to our idea of space, and cannot be expressed in its terms, so are the scope and the splendour of the whole infinitely greater than any conception that can possibly be formed of it here, and they cannot be expressed in any terms of that part of the world which we know. The extension spoken of under the first head has often been called the fourth dimension.
Many writers have scoffed at this and denied its existence, yet for all that it remains a fact that our physical world is in truth a world of many dimensions, and that every object in it has an extension, however minute, in a direction which is unthinkable to us at our present stage of mental evolution. When we develop astral senses we are brought so much more directly into contact with this extension that our minds are more or less forced into recognition of it, and the more intelligent gradually grow to understand it; though there are those of less intellectual growth who, even after death and in the astral world, cling desperately to their accustomed limitations and adopt most extraordinary and irrational hypotheses to avoid admitting the existence of the higher life which they so greatly fear.
Because the easiest way for most people to arrive at a realisation of the fourth dimension of space is to develop within themselves the power of astral sight, many persons have come to suppose that the fourth dimension is an exclusive appanage of the astral world. A little thought will show that this cannot be so. Fundamentally there is only one kind of matter existing in the universe, although we call it physical, astral or mental according to the extent of its subdivision and the rapidity of its vibration.
Consequently the dimensions of space-- if they exist at all-- exist independently of the matter which lies within them; and whether that space has three dimensions or four or more, all the matter within it exists subject to those conditions, whether we are able to appreciate them or not.
It may perhaps help us a little in trying to understand this matter if we realise that what we call space is a limitation of consciousness, and that there is a higher level at which a sufficiently developed consciousness is entirely free from this. We may invest this higher consciousness with the power of expression in any number of directions, and may then assume that each descent into a denser world of matter imposes upon it an additional limitation, and shuts off the perception of one of these directions.
We may suppose that by the time the consciousness has descended as far as the mental world only five of these directions remain to it; that when it descends or moves outward once more to the astral level it loses yet one more of its powers, and so is limited to the conception of four dimensions; then the further descent or outward movement which brings it into the physical world cuts off from it the possibility of grasping even that fourth dimension, and so we find ourselves confined to the three with which we are familiar.
Looking at it from this point of view, it is clear that the conditions of the universe have remained unaffected, though our power of appreciating them has changed; so that, although it is true that when our consciousness is functioning through astral matter we are able to appreciate a fourth dimension which normally is hidden from us while we work through the physical brain, we must not therefore make the mistake of thinking that the fourth dimension belongs to the astral world only and that physical matter exists somehow in a different kind of space from the astral or mental.
Such a suggestion is shown to be unjustified by the fact that it is possible for a man using his physical brain to attain by means of practice the power of comprehending some of the four-dimensional forms. I do not wish here to take up fully the consideration of this fascinating subject; those who would follow it further should apply themselves to the works of Mr. Hinton-- Scientific Romances and The Fourth Dimension -- the former book for all the interesting possibilities connected with this study, and the latter for the means whereby the mind can realise the fourth dimension as a fact.
For our present purposes it is necessary only to indicate that here is an aspect or extension of our world which, though utterly unknown to the vast majority of men, requires to be studied and to be taken into consideration by those who wish to understand the whole of life instead of only a tiny fragment of it.
There is a hidden side to our physical world in a second and higher sense which is well known to all students of Theosophy, for many lectures have been delivered and many books have been written in the endeavour to describe the astral and mental worlds-- the unseen realm which interpenetrates that with which we are all familiar, and forms by far the most important part of it.
A good deal of information about this higher aspect of our world has been given in the fifth and the sixth of the Theosophical manuals, and in my own book upon The Other Side of Death; so here I need do no more than make a short general statement for the benefit of any reader who has not yet met with those works. Modern physicists tell us that matter is interpenetrated by aether-- a hypothetical substance which they endow with many apparently contradictory qualities.
The Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin
The occultist knows that there are many varieties of this finer interpenetrative matter, and that some of the qualities attributed to it by the scientific men belong not to it at all, but to the primordial substance of which it is the negation. I do not wish here to turn aside from the object of this book to give a lengthy disquisition upon the qualities of aether; those who wish to study this subject may be referred to the book upon Occult Chemistry , p. Here it must suffice to say that the true aether of space exists, just as scientific men have supposed, and possesses most of the curious contradictory qualities ascribed to it.
It is not, however, of that aether itself, but of matter built up out of the bubbles in it, that the inner worlds of finer matter are built, of which we have spoken just now. That with which we are concerned at the moment is the fact that all the matter visible to us is interpenetrated not only by aether, but also by various kinds of finer matter, and that of this finer matter there are many degrees. To the type which is nearest to the physical world occult students have given the name astral matter; the kind next above that has been called mental, because out of its texture is built that mechanism of consciousness which is commonly called the mind in man; and there are other types finer still, with which for the moment we are not concerned.
Every portion of space with which we have to do must be thought of as containing all these different kinds of matter. It is practically a scientific postulate that even in the densest forms of matter no two particles ever touch one another, but each floats alone in its field of aether, like a sun in space. Just in the same way each particle of the physical aether floats in a sea of astral matter, and each astral particle in turn floats in a mental ocean; so that all these additional worlds need no more space than does this fragment which we know, for in truth they are all parts of one and the same world.
Man has within himself matter of these finer grades, and by learning to focus his consciousness in it, instead of only in his physical brain, he may become cognisant of these inner and higher parts of the world, and acquire much knowledge of the deepest interest and value. The nature of this unseen world, its scenery, its inhabitants, its possibilities, are described in the works above mentioned.
It is the existence of these higher realms of nature that makes occultism possible; and few indeed are the departments of life in which their influence has not to be considered. From the cradle to the grave we are in close relation with them during what we call our waking life; during sleep and after we are even more intimately connected with them, for our existence is then almost confined to them.
Perhaps the greatest of the many fundamental changes which are inevitable for the man who studies the facts of life is that which is produced in his attitude towards death. This matter has been fully treated elsewhere; here I need state only that the knowledge of the truth about death robs it of all its terror and much of its sorrow, and enables us to see it in its true proportion and to understand its place in the scheme of our evolution. It is perfectly possible to learn to know about all these things instead of accepting beliefs blindly at secondhand, as most people do; and knowledge means power, security and happiness.
The third aspect of our world which is hidden from the majority is the plan and purpose of existence. Most men seem to muddle through life without any discernible object, except possibly the purely physical struggle to make money or attain power, because they vaguely think that these things will bring them happiness.
They have no definite theory as to why they are here, nor any certainty as to the future that awaits them. They have not even realised that they are souls and not bodies, and that as such their development is part of a mighty scheme of cosmic evolution. When once this grandest of truths has dawned upon a man' s horizon there comes over him that change which occidental religion calls conversion-- a fine word which has been sadly degraded by improper associations, for it has often been used to signify nothing more than a crisis of emotion hypnotically induced by the surging waves of excited feeling radiated by a half-maddened crowd.
His one object then is to qualify himself to help the world, and all his thoughts and actions are directed towards that aim. He may forget for the moment under the stress of temptation, but the oblivion can be only temporary; and this is the meaning of the ecclesiastical dogma that the elect can never finally fail. Discrimination has come to him, the opening of the doors of the mind, to adopt the terms employed for this change in older faiths; he knows now what is real and what is unreal, what is worth gaining and what is valueless.
He lives as an immortal soul who is a Spark of the Divine Fire, instead of as one of the beasts that perish-- to use a biblical phrase which, however, is entirely incorrect, inasmuch as the beasts do not perish, except in the sense of their being reabsorbed into their group-soul. Most truly for this man an aspect of life has been displayed which erst was hidden from his eyes. It would even be truer to say that now for the first time he has really begun to live, while before he merely dragged out an inefficient existence.
THE first fact which it is necessary for us to realise is that everything is radiating influence on its surroundings, and these surroundings are all the while returning the compliment by pouring influence upon it in return. Literally everything-- sun, moon, stars, angels, men, animals, trees, rocks-- everything is pouring out a ceaseless stream of vibrations, each of its own characteristic type; not in the physical world only, but in other and subtler worlds as well.
Our physical senses can appreciate only a limited number of such radiations. We readily feel the heat poured forth by the sun or by a fire, but we are usually not conscious of the fact that we ourselves are constantly radiating heat; yet if we hold out a hand towards a radiometer the delicate instrument will respond to the heat imparted by that hand even at a distance of several feet, and will begin to revolve.
We say that a rose has a scent and that a daisy has none; yet the daisy is throwing off particles just as much as the rose, only in the one case they happen to be perceptible to our senses, and in the other they are not. From early ages men have believed that the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars exercised a certain influence over human life. In the present day most people are content to laugh at such a belief, without knowing anything about it; yet anyone who will take the trouble to make a careful and impartial study of astrology will discover much that cannot be lightly thrown aside.
He will meet with plenty of errors, no doubt, some of them ridiculous enough; but he will also find a proportion of accurate results which is far too large to be reasonably ascribed to coincidence. His investigations will convince him that there is unquestionably some foundation for the claims of the astrologers, while at the same time he cannot but observe that their systems are as yet far from perfect. When we remember the enormous space that separates us from even the nearest of the planets, it is at once obvious that we must reject the idea that they can exercise upon us any physical action worth considering; and furthermore, if there were any such action, it would seem that its strength should depend less upon the position of the planet in the sky than upon its proximity to the earth-- a factor which is not usually taken into account by astrologers.
The more we contemplate the matter the less does it seem rational or possible to suppose that the planets can affect the earth or its inhabitants to any appreciable extent; yet the fact remains that a theory based upon this apparent impossibility often works out accurately. Perhaps the explanation may be found along the line that just as the movement of the hands of a clock shows the passage of time, though it does not cause it, so the motions of the planets indicate the prevalence of certain influences, but are in no way responsible for them.
Let us see what light occult study throws upon this somewhat perplexing subject. Occult students regard the entire solar system in all its vast complexity as a partial manifestation of one great living Being, and all its parts as expressing aspects of Him. Many names have been given to Him; in our Theosophical literature He has often been described under the Gnostic title of the Logos-- the Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God; but now we usually speak of Him as the Solar Deity. All the physical constituents of the solar system-- the sun with its wonderful corona, all the planets with their satellites, their oceans, their atmospheres and the various aethers surrounding them-- all these are collectively His physical body, the expression of Him in the physical realm.
In the same way the collective astral worlds-- not only the astral worlds belonging to each of the physical planets, but also the purely astral planets of all the chains of the system such, for example, as planets B and F of our chain -- make up His astral body, and the collective worlds of the mental realm are His mental body-- the vehicle through which He manifests Himself upon that particular level.
Every atom of every world is a centre through which He is conscious, so that not only is it true that God is omnipresent, but also that whatever is is God. Thus we see that the old pantheistic conception was quite true, yet it is only a part of the truth, because while all nature in all its worlds is nothing but His garment, yet He Himself exists outside of and above all this in a stupendous life of which we can know nothing-- a life among other Rulers of other systems.
Just as all our lives are lived literally within Him and are in truth a part of His, so His life and that of the Solar Deities of countless other systems are a part of a still greater life of the Deity of the visible universe; and if there be in the depths of space yet other universes invisible to us, all of their Deities in turn must in the same way form part of One Great Consciousness which includes the whole. I am not speaking here of our usual division of the worlds and their subsections-- a division which is made according to the density of the matter, so that in the physical world, for example, we have the solid, liquid, gaseous, etheric, super-etheric, sub-atomic and atomic conditions of matter-- all of them physical, but differing in density.
The types which I mean constitute a totally distinct series of cross-divisions, each of which contains matter in all its different conditions, so that if we denote the various types by numbers, we shall find solid, liquid and gaseous matter of the first type, solid, liquid and gaseous matter of the second type, and so on all the way through.
These types of matter are as thoroughly intermingled as are the constituents of our atmosphere. Conceive a room filled with air; any decided vibration communicated to the air, such as a sound, for example, would be perceptible in every part of the room. Suppose that it were possible to produce some kind of undulation which should affect the oxygen alone without disturbing the nitrogen, that undulation would still be felt in every part of the room. If we allow that, for a moment, the proportion of oxygen might be greater in one part of the room than another, then the oscillation, though perceptible everywhere, would be strongest in that part.
Just as the air in a room is composed principally of oxygen and nitrogen, so is the matter of the solar system composed of these different types; and just as a wave if there could be such a thing which affected only the oxygen or only the nitrogen would nevertheless be felt in all parts of the room, so a movement or modification which affects only one of these types produces an effect throughout the entire solar system, though it may be stronger in one part than in another.
This statement is true of all worlds, but for the sake of clearness let us for the moment confine our thought to one world only. Perhaps the idea is easiest to follow with regard to the astral. One realizes that he must distance himself from his younger playmates, the second experiences the bitter reality of life through his own failure, the third is drawn into a dubious scheme of his father's, the fourth must take his mother's place in the work of the community, and the fifth experiences first love.
All of them must try to deal with newly awakened feelings and a sense of self-discovery. Along the way, the foreign readers will get a glimpse into the everyday life of Japanese school children. This literary work, which is designed with a very original, eloquent cover, will leave the reader with a certain wistfulness. Hoshi no furuyoni When stardust falls Tokyo: Fuzambo, ISBN Stag - Nature - Adventure - Night - Lost A young stag who lives in the woods with his parents gets lost one evening due to his fascination with a shooting star. Following the river in which the sparkling star is reflected, the young stag comes to an empty city and the a meadow.
Only at dawn does he find his parents again. Hiroshi Senju, painting in the style of modern Japanese art, has created a wordless picture book in his own unique style. On the left side of each double-page spread there is nothing but a small map of the course being followed by the young stag. The visual interaction of map and illustration enables the observer to experience the spaciousness of nature and the stillness of the night in the same way the stag does. The fine distinction between sky, water and landscape imbues the entire picture book with a very delicate atmosphere.
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, A highly unconventional beginning reader, it deals with the integration of two new first- graders, a Japanese boy and a Spanish girl, into the class. The ways in which their two cultures differ is cleverly interwoven in the story in a precise and humorous narrative, which is supported by convincing illustrations.
An interesting Japanese contribution to the topic of cultural integration. The strong-willed, curious Cassie and her two intelligent, hybrid friends manage to break out of the enclosure. After their disastrous flight to freedom they return reluctantly to Parkland, where they finally break the mastery of the keepers and learn why those extraterrestrial beings had become "cosmic gardeners" with a mission to maintain diversity and harmony in the galaxy.
This masterly written novel with strong characterizations challenges the imagination of the reader on every page and poses basic questions about human life, attitudes toward fellow creatures, and the ability to create and control life and society. In this picture book for primary school children Kevin, son of a logger, takes a walk for the first time in the local rainforest with environmentally concerned classmates whom he had once dubbed "the greenie mob. The at times lengthy text serves to describe the habits and needs of the various animal species, making Kevin's growing social awareness plausible.
While the intention of the book is undoubtedly moralistic, it is tastefully presented in a very attractive and informative format. Power and glory St. ISBN Video game - Family life - Challenge By dealing with an activity close to their hearts and high on their minds, children who are reluctant to read might be drawn to this story about a video game player.
In fact an book with an unconventional layout, it employs repetitive, situational vocabulary and hilarious caricatures of family life situations. The narrative tension between the all-absorbing challenge of a video game of skill and adventure and the continual interruptions by parents, siblings and pet, each with their own demands is as hilarious as it is realistic.
Geoff Kelly has chosen an avant-garde style of illustration which resembles but in no way imitates video graphics. ISBN Stepparent - Family problems Even if this book by one of England's best contemporary authors had appeared anonymously, its success would be guaranteed by the immediately absorbing narrative with its masterful combination of suspense and sensitive delving into the hearts and minds of appealing and believable main characters.
Five twelve- year-old classmates who know each other only superficially accidentally discover the memoir of a man with a tragic family history in a hidden room of an old spooky manor. A chance find, a cryptic word from their teacher and an all-night round of storytelling begins, in which each tells about his or her own family problems and gains insight into the difficult choices and emotional turmoil facing each of the others.
The common bond between them all is the presence of stepparents in their lives. This is a book which will be read in one sitting and still be hauntingly memorable long after. Way home London: Andersen Press, ISBN Homelessness - Boy - Cat - Friendship His white-on-black text and the skillfully composed dark, somber illustrations immediately identify this book as one dealing with a "problem": the underside of life, street life, in a metropolitan city in a modern affluent society.
It depicts an hour in the life of a boy of the street - in which such a picture book would have no place - who empathizes with and adopts a stray cat as company. Together they return through the ugly back alleys to the hole he proudly calls "home. The four Conroy sisters, aged between thirteen and six years, have not changed a bit in this sequel to the Guardian award-winning title The Exiles They get involved in numerous escapades by sitting for the baby next door, selling packed lunches at school, robbing the postbank, selling their mother's books, or gardening for an elderly couple.
Each of the girls has a distinctive personality within the family, and alone or together their actions and idiosyncratic reasoning ensure the reader one laugh after another. Who's for the zoo? London: Orchard, text first publ. With this sixth installment in her "Woodside School Stories series" the versatile Jean Ure manages to portray a cast of individual characters and tackle a topic of social concern.
When one pupil in her classroom hesitantly reveals her dismay at the planned school excursion to the zoo, the teacher finds a clever way to let the rest of the pupils reflect on how it might feel to be kept in a cage and gawked at. The somewhat larger type and black-and-white sketches make these titles attractive additions for home, school and public libraries, while the choice of topics makes them suitable for readers of English as a second language. Johnson, Charles forward Rites of passage. Stories about growing up by black writers from around the world. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, ISBN Blacks - Racial discrimination - Self- discovery The syntax, vocabulary and content of these seventeen stories is uniquely rooted in the so-called black experience without making them any less universal, inspiring and entertaining for readers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds.
The manifold effects of belonging to a minority which collectively has been economically and socially disadvantaged for so long are sometimes blatant, sometimes quite subtle elements in these poignant and finely tuned tales about crucial moments in the process of coming of age, of learning to see the real world from a new perspective.
This international anthology includes authors who grew up and still write today about contemporary life in North America, Latin America, Africa, England, or Australia. The protagonist, twelve-year-old Shortning, is quite capable of recognizing and verbalizing his disadvantaged situation but seeks anyway to get his father released from the chain gang. By chance he saves the life of a white boy, Hawk, who begins to recognize his own prejudices and misconceptions of blacks. Though they are each still bound by strict social conventions. Hawk helps Shortening succeed in his plan.
The solid plot and natural, honest dialogues create an authentic, gripping story of resilience and solidarity in the face of adversity. The story of a Bosnian refugee family Wien: Dachs, In this book she relates her experiences of war in the former Yugoslavia, her childhood in her hometown of Zvornik on the Drina River - which is not lost to her - and her escape, the confusion. Her contacts to her friends in Bosnia with whom she went to school - whether Serb or Muslim children - are not broken off.
This book deserves particular attention not only because of its current relevance - about which the media is full of necessarily one-sided and short journalistic reports. Here is a report of the personal experiences of younger and older people, completely lacking in sensationalism. They try to understand and survive their involuntary entanglement in the catastrophe of war. There is no mention of the gruesome acts which happened and are still happening, only of the wish of the civil population to live in peace in their homeland.
The editor and co-author has included notes of history-making dates and geographical names. Wolfsaga The wolf saga Wien: Herder, ISBN Wolf- Dictatorship - Utopia The great black wolf Schogar Kan, stronger than all the other wolf leaders, wants to create heaven on earth for his pack. He wants there to be only one great pack of wolves whose lives and survival is to be ensured with force against the rest of nature and other animals. He tolerates no opposition.
Fighting and war crop up in Arcadia. Nonetheless or precisely because of it, the dictatorship must fall. His negative utopia of life, based on despotism, stands in contrast to the traditional, nature-given rules and to Waka, the eternal laws of creation. Schogar Kan is not conquered by counterforce, but rather loses his power through the gentle art of persuasion of a weaker one. In this narrative the author portrays the laws which nature herself has created. The animals decide for or against anti-nature and violence in the form of the great wolf and bear the consequences of their decision.
Kathe Recheis impressively presents a mighty question here. With her protagonists of her saga of the natural world she dreams of an ideal, and above all of an achievable ideal world. Wir leben gern bei euch zuhaus We would like to live at your house Wien: Betz, If the proper minimal prerequisites and attitudes are present and proper care is given - as demonstrated here for twelve of the most common and beloved European house pets in text and pictures - both children and adults can have pleasure in a lively and healthy pet without pangs of conscience.
This is set out in an informative and detailed manner in this picture book which is suitable even for smaller children. At least that is how it used to be. The word "education" is not part of the Tuvinian language. Children learn the rules of behavior for specific situations as part of a group; everything else is learned by listening, observing, imitating and helping.
The most important beings in the life and surroundings of the young narrator are his "grandmother," an unknown older woman who came once upon a time into the tent village. Ail, and stayed on because the child "chose" her and they no longer wanted to part, and the dog Arsylang, leader of the pack and their faithful companion, "my brother-instead-of- a-brother" as the author calls him.
The climax and end of this narrator's childhood is a long hard winter which the little family barely manages to survive along with a very few of their herd. For the dog Arsylang the new period, with its technical possibilities, brings a fateful danger when he eats the poison that the father sets out for the maraurading predators.
The enormous force of the text lies in its long "inner wind," which challenges the imagination and con- veys the rhythm of tension and restfulness in the life of the Ail. The author of this autobiographical memoir, Galsan Tschinag, was born into a Tuvinian family of nomadic animal-herders in the Mongolian People's Repubulic in He studied German in East Germany between and , and wrote this novel in German.
In he was awarded the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize in Munich. Betrayed by his physical appearance, he is beaten up, teased, and finally taken away and sterilized by doctors. His parents are able to save him just before deportation and hide him for many long months in a lonely garden house. Only at the end of the war does he learn that he was a child of gypsies and had been taken in by a foster family.
Muscha's story is told from the perspective of another school boy and the reader, as Muscha himself, is kept in the dark about the real grounds for his suffering until the end of the novel. Only in an epilogue does it become clear that the story of Muscha is absolutely authentic. They are hindered only by the chains which bind them to Happy Juran's caravan wagon. Though Zadek feels chained up, Mischa has forgotten what freedom is. Only as a bear cub could he run over meadows and rob beehives of honey, before Juran made him into a dancing bear.
The two runaways make their dreams come true; now and then one sees them roaming happily through the woods. The text is pleasing on the one hand for its unsenti- mental portrayal of the sad lot of captive animals and still it offers the most splendid situational comedies which arise from man and animal trying to live together but having only a limited amount of mutual tolerance.
Full-sized black-and-white pictures by Reinhard Michi contribute to this reading pleasure. Hanna Johansen has made use of this fact to create a poetic case for the individualists of this world, wherever they may be hiding. Mother Mole loves her little children, her "closest to her heart little silk worms" as much as any other concerned mother.
The little moles get along together, fight and battle with one another, become independent. They dig their own tunnels. The little girl mole, much to her own surprise, even tolerates a guest in her wing of the tunnel once. And soon she builds a nest of her own and has her own little "closes to her heart silk worms" to take care of, at least for a while.
But the story in this book is not quite so thin. There are the most marvelous odors in the mole tunnels, they are crawling with little bugs and insects, "friends" of the moles. That is how the life of a mole is - friends are those you can eat, enemies are those who can eat you. The art of storytelling needs few words, just the right ones. Hanna Johansen uses this art to create new worlds which provide adults and children unexpected, funny and ironical insights into their own world.
Mia, was ist ein Trip? Mia, What is a trip? Mia is a junkie and one day she cannot conceal it from Matthias any longer. His parents forbid him to see her any longer. When he meets her, her condition is already incura- ble. The boy takes on a big project: some- day he will work with drug addicts. Al- though it is quite clearly a problem-centered picture book, conceived in cooperation with the Swiss Central Agency for Addic- tion Prevention, the text and illustrations convey an atmosphere of security in Mat- thias's home as well as the vulnerability of: homeless drug addict.
This book provides an opportunity for discussion and lets even younger children know how dangerous drugs are, but also that in certain cases addicts can be cured. He learns about a region where one can acquire as much land one is able to mark off by walking from sun-up to sundown. He decides to take up this good bargain but overtaxes himself with his march around his future land and dies. The German version of this Russian has been shortened and adapted for children.
The illustrations contain the traditional Russian folk art motifs in richly detailed and yet grandly playful, humorous and brightly colored variations. Interspersed with ironic jabs at the religious practices and everyday life in grand old Russia, there is a new picture world of men, women, angels and animals on each page.
Countryside and cities are boxed inside of one another, make-believe maps with cyrillic writing draw attention to themselves. The illustrator Elena Abesinova lives and works today in Kiev. ISBN 2 94 Clown - Toy - Dream - Personal Property In his dreams a young boy sees a clown dressed in white against an alternately dark yellow and an orange background. On the right side pages the text describes all the things he owns, on the reverse side it tells what he has lost.
He had a pink rose He had a purple pair of pants He had a nice red nose But when the clown wakes up the next morning he finds all his treasures gathered around him. Vivacious and expressive drawings betray the illustrator's gentle humor. She has succeeded in creating an enchanting book for the very young reader. ISBN Art appreciation - Humor - Donkey - Pegasus - Genius - Painting - Self- discovery This humorous picture book deals with a confused young donkey in his painting studio, which is empty except for three cans of paint. Yet quite unexpectedly he is able to fulfill his painter's ambitions.
In the end our donkey perceives himself to be a bud- ding genius, covering not only the canvas but also himself with colorful splats of paint. On wings of joy the pointer flies through the open window, upwards toward the sun. In a simple manner the author and the illustrator succeed in presenting the creative process with all its ups and down. The reader shares in the artist's joy and learns along the way quite coincidentally something about the theory of colors.
ISBN French ed. Boy - Elephant - Friendship - Disguise Hide-and-Seek - Family Conflict Hector takes in an elephant which has esca- ped from the zoo and hides it in his room. To protect his mother from any further sur- prise encounters with the giant animal - she faints each time - Hector tries out different disguises for his charge. But all his efforts prove to be unsuitable. In this series of slap- stick style surprises which climax in the mother's fainting spell the reader can even image hearing the thump of her fall. Such grotesque inventiveness is great fun! Thanks to his humorful inventiveness we are given a well-paced and diversified glimpse into the life of the French king, life at the royal court, and the origins of the Loire castles.
Gaussen cleverly embeds it into the social and historical context of the Renaissance. This illustrated informative book is designed as a stimulating piece of journalism and owes much to modern techniques of advertising. Divided into numerous short, very different chapters, the eye-catching headlines, the combination of old documents, photomontage, and contemporary caricatures awakens the reader's curiosity. This very new style of disseminating knowledge matches the times best of all. David is filled with the desire for revenge when he learns the fate of his parents at the end of the war.
He leaves Paris and the people who had given him a home. Searching for a new meaning to his life, he takes care of Jewish orphans, falls in love with Sarah, and follows her to Palestine on an adventure-filled crossing of Mediterranean by ship. But Palestine is still under British control. He experiences the hard and anonymous life in the refugee camps and kibbutz, the struggles against the occupying powers. In short, clipped sentences he tells of his bereavement, his anger, his sense of being lost, his inner vacuum.
But he is drawn into the tumultuous events around him. His love of literature, his feelings for the totally committed Zionisten Sara, the solidarity of the comrades are highlights in the struggle for survival. In a final identity crisis, he decides to return to France. Claude Gutman grew up in Israel; his descriptions of the arrival of Jewish refugees and the precarious daily life in Palestine are most impressive. In commemoration, Albin Michel has issued this splendid large-sized volume of fables.
Thirty well-known children's book illustrators and comic artists from France and also from other countries were commissioned to contribute illustrations. Whether traditional or idiosyncratic, their interpretations are extremely stimulating and awaken the well-known teachings of morality and cleverness to new life.
The final two pages are particularly humorous. The artists have written and drawn their own biographical sketches. This volume will please both young and old; a must for every library collection. Le loup est revenu! The wolf has returned! Upon receiving this threatening piece of news, various well- known figures of classic fairy tales seek refuge in the rabbit's home. The very last guest is the bad wolf himself.
But all turns out harmoniously with a common vegetarian feast. To top it all off, the wolf tells them scary wolf stories. It makes merry reading for young and old to follow these funny episodes of fairy tale spoofing. Famine: l' arme des tyrans Famine: The weapon of tyrants Paris: Syros, J' accuse! The name of the series is taken from Zola's famous outcry "J' accuse! Its principle is simple. Two stories frame an extensive documentary middle section. In this case, the first historical report deals with the events in the Ukraine during a great famine in , which was precipitated by the Soviet Union to gain access to power.
The author draws on documents and eye-witness accounts of refugees in France and survivors in the Ukraine. The second historical report is a diary of a humanitarian aid project in Kosovo in Because the author succeeds in maintain a distance to the events being described, the reader is able to deal with the gruesome suffering in an objective manner.
The elegant design of the volume contrasts with its content and weakens its effect to some extent. Une nuit, un chat A night, a cat The worried father follows his son secretly and intervenes discretely and unrecognized whenever danger arises. Breathlessly the reader follows Groucho's first adventures in the darkened city, which the illustrator has masterly staged in a series of pictures.
The nighttime scenery, the slanted rooftops, the motionless statues, the threatening shadows are impressive. On secret corners, on the large square, there is an active nightlife for cats. All the cat protagonists are attired in clothing and endowed with the human characteristics. Groucho has a happy and a dangerous encounter. The next night he goes out again. In this humorous and well- drawn picture book Pommaux succeeds once again in transposing general human experience to the animal world.
An unidentifiable monster began to terrorize the inhabitants, stealing sheep and chickens night after night. The case become more and more widely known, a public disgrace, but no solution was found - until by chance months later a large wolf was shot. The story is so lively written that it really seems authentic. The personalities in this small community in the mountains are superbly characterized, the ups and downs of hope and error make the reader smile.
With the help of the pencil drawings and colored prints of the well- known Swiss animal artist Hainard the publisher has succeeded in creating a minor work of art. With illus. Two children, a boy and a girl, discover page after page the passive role of the woman, who is supposed to be young and beautiful, and the prejudices under which women suffered in past epochs. The lovely, meticulously laid-out book is not only an interesting work on cultural history but also a history of women's liberation.
Its unusual perspective deserves particular attention. Somewhere in France there is a boy named Adolf who bears a fatal resemblance to a historical figure. His easy-going parents have no time for him. He leaves home and goes alone into the woods where he meets a group of Neonazis having a wild party and a woman who survived the concentration camps.
Both encounters are nearly fatal. Only when the old woman has explained to him the historical background does he begin to understand. This parable of the unreliability of memory, misleading appearances, and the necessity of passing on historical knowledge is consternating and foiling. The narrative seems to be fragmented, and little Hitler is a tragicomical figure. Nonetheless, or precisely therefore, it is a book which has a feeling of immediacy - enhanced by the style of the illustrations - and forms an important addition to the literature on this subject.
With illustrations ISBN X Mythology - Legend This illustrated volume takes an unaccustomed glimpse at the mythology of various cultures and epochs by placing the mythological figures - the heroes - in the foreground. Two aspects of this work make it especially attractive: first, the term "myth" is interpreted so broadly that no only classic, e. Greek or Germanic, myths are included, but also new, literary ones, such as the heart-breaker Don Giovanni. It would have made sense to include still-living myths of our modern society such as film stars.
Secondly, the author has dispensed with a geographic or chronological order and instead arranged the figures of various origins together by theme or motif. This creates quite surprising cross-sections and allows interesting comparisons. For example, Achilles is to be found alongside Siegfried in the group of "the vulnerable;" and among the group of "those born in an unusual manner" one finds Orion and also Pinocchio.
The volume is richly illustrated with pictures of art works, famous book illustrations, or scenes from films. Picture symbols make it easy for the reader to associate a figure with its origin. The novel depicts life in a small Italian town and the everyday life of a teenager and her three girlfriends who the reader already encountered in Ascolta il mio cuore , who are in the midst of puberty, and their idolization of American film stars.
Above all this is a tale about Italy in the s: "Even refrigerators were seen as a real rarity. There were no supermarkets, no hamburgers, neither Coca Cola, nor disposable diapers or frozen foods" The author's talent lays in very apt descriptions with a distinctive choice of words in a dynamic and humorous style. The well-known illustrator Quentin Blake has contributed congenial black-and-white wash illustrations.
Zampe di gallina Chicken feet Firenze: Fatayrac, But in this book there is a little house amidst the tall buildings and the loud traffic of a big city. While all the adults rush by blindly and have no idea that this house exists, the children ask what it is doing there. One day curious little Ulisse enters the house and makes friends with its occupants, a talking chicken and an old peculiar woman who can tell stories particularly well.
And that is what the book, with its imaginative, brightly colored illustrations, is all about: stories and storytelling, the unlimited possibilities of the imagination. ISBN X Latin America - City - Homeless Child - Poverty - Ostracization - Outsider This wordless picture book shows scenes of everyday life of a street boy caught up in the vicious circle of poverty, hunger and theft, between the cars in the heavy traffic of a big city where he scrapes a living as a streetside seller.
Though he appears to be in close contact with people, passersby react to him with fear and aggressively reject him. His yearning for security remains unfulfilled. The oppressive scenes on the black-bordered double-page spreads are bathed in an artificial light. The flat, glaring colors elucidate the aggressive, threatening atmosphere of the big city. Unusual perspectives underline the confinement and the chaos, everything is in motion, there is nothing offering him support or protection.
In this book Angela Lago shows a completely new side of her many-facetted talent. The Brazilian illustrator has already won several international prizes. Actually nothing more than a resort for day excursions, he imagines it to be more tempting than paradise. Under the provision that he and his brothers not get into too much trouble, the father, a very busy gynecologist, agrees to fulfill this dream.
In retrospect the nearly grown-up narrator depicts the often comical efforts the boys made to meet the father's requirement. But in the end it is all in vain. Paulo Rangel succeeds in giving a very vivid description of family life through his witty narrative and to-the-point portrayal of the catastrophes in everyday life. Scoundrel, traitor, you will die! Madrid: SM, These are also the Franco years of law-and-order, just after the end of the Spanish Civil War. So it was no wonder that a citation from a comic "Scoundrel, traitor, you will die" thoughtlessly scribbled on a stone sets off a considerable upcry, which ends sadly with the imprisonment of a solitary former Republican soldier who had been hiding in the mountains.
This is a wonderful story - enthralling, full of ideas, humane, sometimes serious, but without pathos and, despite the subject, on the whole quite witty, light and humorous. Out of loneliness and boredom he takes on a variety of roles: he becomes the horn-blower or the servant and even conducts war against himself, trying "at least to kill time.
Finally he even takes himself in marriage lust to be no longer so alone. His illusions dissolve in the end when a real-life shepherdess stands before the castle one day, bringing him back to reality and providing him with a happy-end. The humorous and at the same time poetic fairy tale is told in a simple voice. The text is aptly accompanied by numerous comic-like, delicately colored drawings. A young student of history, Giovanni, discovers a palace in ruins which is the object of dark legends. Mysterious events occur, persons appear and disappear, old documents provide coded clues. With sharp intelligence and the aid of covert helpers, Giovanni succeeds in discovering the secret of the ancient building.
Well known for his fantastic tales, which often have historical backgrounds, Gisbert combines here the elements of historical fiction, mystery and ghost stories. He is clever at leading his protagonists - and readers - astray. The decisive question here - what is real, what is imaginary - is answered only at the very end. A thrilling, entertaining and masterly told story. He passes through life with his eyes and ears wide open, snapping up words adults use and endowing them with his own meaning, telling the reader about his experiences and thoughts as best he can.
With staggering logic and a dry humor he depicts the various episodes of his daily life in a style reminiscent of Goscinny's "Little Nick, " With Manolito Gafotas, the hero of a favorite Spanish radio program since , the reader learns in an entertaining manner much about a child's life in a Spanish metropolis. These "protago- nists" are living beings just like people or animals, they have souls, and quite unspec- tacular experiences, which prompt the reader to think about our "neighbor," the tree. The well-known Spanish artist Asun Baizola created unusual color illustrations to accompany these lyrical texts.
With their sharp contours and glowing monochrome surfaces, the figures resemble linoleum cuts, but in fact they are the result of computer based graphics. Only a few books are being published in Greenlandic, an Eskimo language, leaving the children of Greenland dependent upon books in Danish. Thus the efforts of a few publishing houses which take an interest in Greenland's children's literature are to be commended. Even the dialect of East Greenlandic is given a place in this collection of folk tales for children.
Because it is hardly spoken anymore, these eight tales, retellings of old fairy-tale like traditional stories, are also printed in West Greenlandic, Danish and English. Knowledge of the dialect had nearly disappeared; the only one able to pass down the dialect today is the farmer Elisa Maqe, born in and granddaughter of a shaman. The realistic, slightly grotesque illustrations by a Greenland artist retain the authentic landscape of these fairy tale-like episodes. The naive realistic illustrations of the Greenland artist give an impressive portrayal of the scenes of the tale set in an authentic, pre- industrial Greenland.
ISBN France History — Illegitimate child-Vitality In this pleasantly short book one has all the world in a nutshell: love, death poverty, war, mercy, child-like hope, courage and good fortune. The foil to a chunk of real family history in France, as befits our century, could hardly be more dismal than that against which Georgette, a child born out of wedlock and soon orphaned, makes her way into a secure middle-class existence.
Stimulating and impressive are the illustrations - the work of an old master - which through their authenticity he traveled to France especially for this purpose take on an urgency that no reader, no child can escape The extremely reticent form of these black and-white pencil drawings are surprising for their concentrated atmosphere and dramatic force, which is enhanced in every sense by a nervous line of seldom found finesse, even by Spang Olsen himself.
Turn-of-the-century atmosphere, cityscape, tender mother-love, but also human baseness even to exhibitionism in action in the background, but clearly visible - everything that makes the eye keen and the imagination winged is found in abundance on these few pages. The rat is coming! Slockholm: Bonniers junior, ISBN Hobo - Social isolation - Oppression - Liberation - Remorse A hobo rat, who himself has turned mean through constant social ostracization and persecution, becomes an oppressor of weaker mice from whom he steals food.
But one heroic little mouse succeeds with her child-like optimism in stirring his heart so much that he feels remorse for his deeds. With this short story, Nilsson, who by now has made a name for himself as an author of fable-like animal stories for the best Swedish illustrators, takes issue with the in times of crisis all too readily accepted motto "homo monini lupus.
The phy- siognomy is apt and funny, the episodes are cleverly depicted. Jan Gustavsson is among the best realistic modern illustrators. Delfinen mellan mussia och moln The dolphin between shells and clouds Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, ISBN Loneliness - Self-knowledge - Strangeness - Understanding - Sibling rivalry Again and again one astounds at how popular this very individualistic illustrator is with Swedish readers.