Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

LESSING ON PRE—EXISTENCE. 
345 
regarded the soul as intermediate between body and spirit. In 
the Alexandrian philosophy, we have the pneuma denominated 
as the rational soul, and the psyche as the sensitive soul, that 
which desires or lusts. Irenæus says, “There are three of 
which the perfect man consists: flesh, soul, spirit; the one, the 
spirit, giving figure; the other, flesh, being formed. That, 
indeed, which is between these two is the soul, which some¬ 
times* following the spirit is raised by it; and sometimes con¬ 
senting to the flesh, falls into earthly lusts ” Dr. George Bush 
held that the pneuma is to the psyche what the soul is to the 
body. The psyche is the spiritual body or body of the spirit. 
This view does not differ much from the teachings of Kardec. 
Schubert regarded the soul as the inferior part of our intel¬ 
lectual nature, — that which shows itself most distinctly in the 
phenomena of our dreams, — the power of which also is situated 
in the material constitution of the brain. The spirit, on the 
contrary, is that part of our nature which tends to the purely 
rational, the lofty, the divine ! 
That profound and intrepid thinker, Lessing, who anticipated 
by a century much of the advanced thought of the present, re¬ 
marks as follows on this subject of pre-existence : “ Why may 
not each individual man have existed more than once in this 
world? Is this hypothesis, therefore, so ridiculous because it is 
the oldest?* because it is the one which the human understand¬ 
ing immediately hit upon before it was distracted and weakened 
by the sophistry of the schools ? . . . Why should I not return, 
as often as I am able, to acquire new knowledges, new talents? 
Is it because I carry away so much at one time as to make it not 
worth the while to return? Or, because I forget that I have been 
here before ? It is well for me that I forget it. The remem¬ 
brance of my former states would allow me to make but a 
poor use of the present. Besides, what I am necessitated to for- 
* Delitzch pronounces this statement incorrect. Franck, on the other hand, says 
that metempsychosis was the .earliest form in which the dogma of immortality pre¬ 
sented itself to the human mind. But again we find immortality, but no metempsycho¬ 
sis, in the most ancient poems of India, the 44 Rig-Veda,” for example.
        

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