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Chapter III. Sleep and Death


Now there are thinkers whose observations have led them beyond the opinion that a man is built by purely inherited forces from without. They rise to the thought that a spiritual being, an individuality, exists before life in the body, and fashions it; but many of them find it impossible to conceive that there are repeated earthly lives, and that the fruits of former lives are moulding forces during the intermediate state between two lives. Let us take one instance from among the ranks of these thinkers. Immanuel Hermann Fichte, son of the great Fichte, in his Anthropology (p. 528) gives the observations which led him to the following conclusion: “Parents are not generators in the full sense of the word. They supply organic substance, and not alone this, but also that intermediate element of mental and sense nature which appears in temperament, colouring of character, definite tendencies, and so on, the common source of which proves to be ‘imagination’ in the wider sense indicated by us. In all these elements of personality, the mingling and particular combination of the souls of the parents is unmistakable; it is therefore a perfectly well-grounded assertion that this combination is simply the result of procreation, even if we regard procreation, as we must do, as really a soulprocess. But the real ultimate centre of the personality is just what is lacking here; for a deeper and more searching observation reveals the fact that even those peculiarities of disposition are but a covering and an instrument for the containing of the individual's really spiritual and ideal capabilities, and are qualified to aid these in their development or to hinder them, but in no wise able to originate them.” It is further stated in the same work (p. 532): “Every individual pre-exists as regards the fundamental form of his spirit, for no individual, from a spiritual point of view, resembles another, just as no species of animal resembles another species.” These thoughts reach only far enough to allow a spiritual being to come into the human body; but as the forces shaping such