Decorative Initial In the October 1, 1855 The Westminster and Foreign Quarterly, an essay entitled "Theism" analyzes a treatise by Reverend J. Tulloch, D.D., Professor of Theology at St. Mary's College, entitled "Theism: The Witness of Reason and Revelation to an All-wise and Beneficient Creator." The critical writer expands upon a controversy involving the philosophy of theism versus that of positivism, and devotes much length to the concept of the human mind as one's primary source of experience.

"The controversy has come down to our own time vested with unabated interest, waged with unwearied viguor, and if possible, increasing subtlely (322)," the article reads. Essays appearing in the Bridgewater Series were said to do great harm, exhibiting theology as "trembling for its own position" and representing man's faith as dependent on certain outward evidence (323). But Tulloch, the journalist writes, provides a simple yet sturdy argument: "Order universally proves Mind: the works of nature discover Order: therefore the works of nature prove Mind (325)" Whereas positivists Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill refute the theory of the mind as a singular or efficient cause of energy (325), Tulloch argues that the

idea of power or efficiency is not derived by any process whatever from without; it is not communicated through any phase of sensational experience. It is the vital utterance of our own self-consciousness, coincident alike as to its origination and its proof with the emergence of the Ego as self-consciousness (326). . . Mind, then, is not only a singular, it is the only true cause we know (327). . . Spirit claims for man relationship to the Creator so entirely peculiar, that all nature mirrors itself in him. [329]

Tulloch, the journalist reprots, says that "human consciousness must be to man the basis of all truth" (328).

In George MacDonald's Phantastes, the mind and the imagination serve as Anodos' passports into the fantastic land through which he travels. This fairyland, of course, could not be visualized without Anodos' mental skill. Ironically, the surreal world he witnesses parallels the reality in which one spends his lifelong journey. As C.S. Lewis points out in the novel's introduction (xii): "The quality which had enchanted me in his imaginative works turned out to be the quality of the real universe, the divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic reality in which we all live."

In Chapter 11, Anodos encounters a library housed inside a palace of marble and silver. In the following passage, Anodos grapples with the notions of discovered truth and spiritual truth and he mentions that his evil shadow (representative of the ego) troubles him. Discussing the peculiarity of the books as symbols of knowledge, he says, "If, for instance, it was a book of metaphysics I opened, I had scarcely read two pages before I seemed to myself to be pondering over discovered truth, and constructing the intellectual machine whereby to communicate the discovery to my fellowmen. With some books, however, of this nature, it seemed rather as if the process were removed yet a great way further back; and I was trying to find the root of a manifestation, the spiritual truth whence a material vision sprang; or to combine two positions, both apparently true (75-76)." In these lines, Anodos ponders the origin of the knowledge which, by reading, he has attained. Specifically, he considers metaphysic and spiritual information discovered truth.

Tulloch's treatise and Anodos' philosophy agree, and the books in Phantastes represent sources of the consciousness about which the essayist felt passionate. Anodos says that when he read metaphysics, an area of study which the positivists denounce, he could contemplate discovered truth and also become able to construct the intellectual machinery whereby he can share the discovery with his fellow men. This passage essentially states that Anodos gains knowledge by way of metaphysics, instead of materialistic methods. In discussing spiritual truth, Anodos calls the process of gaining knowledge similar to finding the root of a manifestation, a piece of truth from which a material vision came. This information alone suggests the spiritual as a superior source, from which the world or the material develops.

Tulloch, writing about the existence of God and the importance of self-consciousness, discusses issues similar to those Anados ponders. On the subject of scepticism, the journalist writing about Tulloch explains that Hume denies man's right to make experience the basis of a universal hypothesis, "or to assume, on the ground of our knowing Mind as an originating force through which certain forms or order emanate, that always and everywhere Mind is the causal force and originator of Order,”(325). Certainly, Anodos believes in the importance of metaphysical study and spiritual understanding. Knowledge is attained through these forces, and the material world is not the fundamental source of understanding. The imagination and mentals processes are, for Anodos, keys to discovery. Tulloch applauds the opening of Anodos’ figurative books and praises the theist and spiritual doctrines.

Victorian Web Overview Fantasy George MacDonald Phantastes

Last modified 1993