What Is Fact?

Chapter VI from "The Scientific Proofs of the Existence of the Soul"
by Benito F. Reyes, M.A., Prof. of Philosophy, Far Eastern Univeristy
(published by The Lotus Press, 1949)

Comments: Mr. Reyes is intentionally using the term "soul" in a loose sense, to mean that intangible aspect of man which is the experiencer, the knower. For the purposes of this discussion, he does not distinguish between "mind" and "soul." Also, I would freely acknowledge that the principle of "scale of observation" is not a perfect analogy for the difficulties encountered in trying to measure the mind or soul, if by scale you mean size. If by "scale" you mean realm, level of consciousness and criterion of measurement, it is correct.--Stephen S.

Official science sponsored and championed by orthodox cerebrocentric scientists, seems quite sure of the assumed fact that the soul is not a fact. In other words, there is no such thing as soul. It does not exist. It is not a fact.

This assertion of official science is, of course, only an assumption. It is based largely on prejudice.

The burden of proof rests, naturally, on the shoulders of the soul idea proponents. It is their function to prove that the soul exists.

Just the same, official science may still be asked why it rejects unqualifiedly the existence of the soul.

And we ask this question, because it is fundamental. Science must have some sort of criterion to determine what exists and what does not exist, what is factual and what is not factual.

Millions of people believe that the soul exists. The soul-idea is a persistent idea. The primitives believe in it. All religions, extinct and extant, teach it. Even some modern psychologists accept it. William McDougall sponsors it. William James endorses it. The psychic experiences of thousands of people corroborate it.

Are they all wrong, all the time, everywhere?

"Quod Semper, Quod Ubique"
If we should test the probability of the existence of the soul on the basis of the famous maxim of Vincentius Lirenensis (Vincent of Lirens, 5 A.D.), it would appear that a good case has been established for accepting it.

This maximum, enunciated in Vincent's treatise entitled "Commonitorium," may be regarded as an axiom by which we may test the probability, at least, of all sorts of beliefs and traditions.

It is stated thus: "Quod semper, quod ubique, quod abomnibus traditum est."(1)

Translated freely, it means that we are to believe whatever tradition has been at all times, in all places, and by all persons handed down.

In other words, what always, what everywhere, and what by all has been believed as true cannot be altogether false, even if official science should say so.

It must have some foundation in truth. Anyway, its probability, at least, cannot be denied.

Lincoln paraphrased this axiom in a simpler and more emphatic way. He said that we can deceive one man all the time or all men one time, but not all men all the time.

It would seem, on the basis of this paraphrase, that the belief in the existence of the soul has deceived all men all the time everywhere.

Or is the belief true, after all?

The character of the soul-idea, its persistency in the minds of men, its universality, and its ubiquity seem completely to satisfy the requirements of Vincent's famous maximum.

Why Official Science Rejects the Soul
The maximum of Vincentius Lirenesis does not, of course, prove conclusively that the soul exists.

But it establishes rather a strong point in favor of its existence, or the probability of its existence.

Even on this ground alone, science has no right to reject the soul-idea as unscientific.

It could have accepted it at least as a datum or subject for study and investigation.

But it did exactly the opposite. Carried away by the materialistic spirit of nineteenth century thought, it unreservedly and unqualifiedly rejected the idea of the soul, or anything resembling it, as unfit even for scientific discussion.


Because, says science, it is not a fact. It is only an assumption without proof, a belief without foundation in the real, the existential.

In brief, it does not exist.

How does science know that it does not exist?

Because it cannot be verified. It cannot be touched, it cannot be seen, it cannot be heard, it cannot be tasted, it cannot be smelled, it cannot be weighed.

In other words, it cannot be observed or experimented upon.

It is, in the technical language of science, unverifiable.

What science does not seem to understand here, of course, is that the soul cannot be touched, seen, heard, tasted, smelled, weighed, or observed, because it is itself the toucher, the seer, the hearer, the taster, the smeller, the weigher, and the observer.

Here, then, lies the greatest fallacy of official science; that assuming a criterion for determining what is fact and what is not fact based solely on one scale of observation, largely the sensory and physical scale, it considers all other criteria, based on other scales of observation, as false.

From the sensory and physical scale of observation, the soul is not a fact.

From the extrasensory (ESP) and superphysical scale, however, it is a fact.

A fact, in other words, is largely a matter of scale of observation. In the words of Lecomte du Nouy, "It is the scale of observation which creates the phenomenon."(2)

Charles-Eugene Guye's Principle
This fundamental fact that it is the scale of observation which creates the phenomenon was first pointed out by Professor Charles-Eugene Guye, a brilliant Swiss physicist who died in 1942.

It is probably one of the most basic principles of knowledge enunciated in the twentieth century.

And it is, sadly enough, the one principle that many orthodox scientists often forget.

Let Lecomte du Nouy explain it(3):

"Certain of our mental illusions are due to the fact that we consider a phenomenon, as we observe it, in the frame of our current life. Motion in a straight line, for instance, is real with respect to the earth, and false with respect to the universe. This does not apply only to sensory illusions. It applies to all our human observations which are always relative to the system of reference chosen.(4) By system of reference we simply mean the scale of observation. This demands an explanation.

"Let us suppose that we have at our disposal two powders. One white (flour) and the other black (finely crushed charcoal or soot). If we mix them we will obtain a gray powder which will be lighter in color if it contains more flour and darker if it contains more soot. If the mixture is perfect, on our scale of observation (that is, without the help of a microscope), the phenomenon studied will always be a gray powder. But let us suppose that an insect of the size of the grains of flour or of soot moves around in this powder. For him there will be no gray powder, but only black or white boulders. On his scale of observation the phenomenon, "gray powder," does not exist. (Mine: In other words, it is not a fact.)

"The same is true of any print or engraving. When examined with a magnifying glass, the nose of George Washington will look to us like a succession of black and white points. Under the microscope, we will see nothing but the grain of the paper, gray, black, or white according to whether it has been covered by ink or not. The principal phenomenon, the design, the portrait of Washington, has disappeared. It only existed on our normal scale of observation.

"In other words, one can say that from the standpoint of man it is the scale of observation which creates the phenomenon. Every time we change the scale of observation we encounter new phenomena.

"On our scale of human observation, as pointed out before, the edge of a razor blade, is a continuous line. On the microscopic scale, it is a broken but solid line. On the chemical scale we have atoms of iron and carbon. On the sub-atomic scale we have electrons in perpetual motion which travel at the rate of several thousand miles per second. All these phenomena are in reality the manifstations of the same basic phenomenon, the motions of the electrons. The only difference which exists between them is the scale of observation."

The Congenital Deaf-Mute and Color-Blind
Sometimes one is almost constrained to think, that many orthodox physicalistic scientists are intellectual deaf-mutes or color-blind people. Anyway, the similarity is very striking.

From the standpoint of Charles-Eugene Guye's principle, it would be illogical, it would be wrong to reject anything as false, just because it is non-existent on a given scale of observation.

It would be wrong for the color-blind and the deaf-mute to reject color and sound as false, just because they are non-existent on their abnormal scales of observation.

The soul is not a physical fact. Therefore, we cannot expect our physical sense-organs, which are, by nature and by habit, capable of perceiving only physical facts, to perceive it.

It is, none the less, a fact, although a non-physical one. As such, it can be reasonably supposed to be perceivable by the use of non-physical sense-organs, like clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, and other non-physical organs of perception which now pass under the well-known name coined by Dr. J. B. Rhine, ESP, or extra-sensory perception.

Any proof of the existence of the soul, therefore, to be reasonable, just and fair, must proceed along extra-sensory and non-physical scales of observation and not along sensory and physical scales.

To demand that the soul be seen or touched or smelled or tasted before its reality can be accepted is to demand that our consciousness or intelligence be seen or touched or smelled or tasted before we accept its undeniable reality.

The important question, then, that we must now answer is the following:

Is there a way of proving the existence of the soul along the well-recognized four steps of the scientific method, provided we change our scale of observation, as du Nouy suggested and in accordance with the principle of Guye, from the sensory to the extra-sensory, from the physical to the non-physical?

1) Robert Ingham Cleff 33°: "Mackey's Symbolism of Freemasonry," pp. 54-55.
2) Lecomte du Nouy: "Human Destiny," p. 11.
3) Lecomte du Nouy: "Human Destiny," pp. 10-11.
4) Underscorings are mine.


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