Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Reply. The Philosophy of Spiritualism

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Reply. The Philosophy of Spiritualism is an article published in the Cape Times (Cape Town, South Africa) on 24 november 1928 including a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Reply. The Philosophy of Spiritualism

Cape Times (24 november 1928, p. 15)

Must Walk Before We Run.

Past Mercifully Shrouded From Us.

To the Editor, "Cape Times."

Sir, — The questions of your correspondent were so long and so metaphysical that it would have taken too large a proportion of the limited time at my disposal, if I had answered them at the meeting. I would say, however, in advance that in psychic matters we must walk before we run, and that to begin to explore the most remote questions where we should be engaged in getting firm ground for the basic position of death and survival, is against all scientific law. Build up your essentials first, and attain the more distant objects. Your correspondent has the clever analytical mind of the theologian, the weakness of which as that it tends to neglect the simple, obvious things, and tangle itself up over intricate and obscure possibilities.

Pre-Natal Existence.

In dealing with pre-natal conditions I agree with your corespondent that one cannot be born in time for eternity. I have never satisfied myself upon the subject of reincarnation, but I am convinced that either in this world or on some other place the spirit has slowly evolved. Bodily evolutions has taken millions of years, and the spirit has kept parallel with it. As to not remembering these things we cannot even remember the first two years of the life we are now living.

I think, that our past is mercifully shrouded from us, as it would complicate the present, but that the day will at last come when we shall look back and see all the rungs of the great ladder. All is governed by Divine law, and that law is at present against it.

"Amply Proved."

If the extension of our own personalities is not "interesting," then I could not imagine what would be. But in any case the universe is not regulated by our whims or preferences. That we do carry on us amply proved by the researches of those who have studied the matter, and who furnish such examples as I quoted on Wednesday night. I usually find that those who deny our position are quite unacquainted with our literature and have no idea of the strength of the evidence. I would recommend such a book as Drayton Thomas' "Life Beyond Death," Nea Walker's "The Bridge," Or Von Reuter's "Psychical Experiences." Sir William Crookes' "Researches" are also conclusive upon the physical side.

Time in the Spirit World.

The question of time is interesting. There seems to be no time in our sense it the spirit world. When they (the spirits) come into contact with the material world they adjust themselves to our system. As to the instantaneous intervention of psychic forces in order to screen us from danger, our own unconscious self may have enlarged powers which act in this way. It is possible also that those who throw themselves open to such influences have an actual spirit guardian who is near them and who wraith correspond to the guardian angel of the Catholics. I remember that Oliver Baldwin, the son of the Prime Minister, told me that he had several times had audible warnings, telling him to stop when he was running into danger. The incident of the golf ball to which allusion is made was a trivial one which I merely mentioned incidentally in conversation.


As to Einstein's relativity, it seems to me to be very remote from the subject. Let us not lose ourselves in a maze of conjecture, but let us build up a science and incidentally a religion, where every fact can be tested and proved in turn, laying brick upon brick from the foundation upwards. This is what the Spiritualists are doing, and if their edifice is by no means complete, it is at least far the most solid structure which Religious Philosophy has ever yet been able to raise. It is Fact not Faith. — I am, etc.,

Arthur Conan Doyle
November 22.