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Balzac, Honoré de - Seraphita - 03 The Gift of Specialism



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

SERAPHITA  By Honore De Balzac  Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley

“Seraphitus,” said Minna one evening a few days after Wilfrid’s arrival in Jarvis, “you read the soul of this stranger while I have only vague impressions of it. He chills me or else he excites me; but you seem to know the cause of this cold and of this heat; tell me what it means, for you know all about him.”

“Yes, I have seen the causes,” said Seraphitus, lowing his large eyelids.

“By what power?” asked the curious Minna.

“I have the gift of Specialism,” he answered. “Specialism is an inward sight which can penetrate all things; you will only understand its full meaning through a comparison. In the great cities of Europe where works are produced by which the human Hand seeks to represent the effects of the moral nature was well as those of the physical nature, there are glorious men who express ideas in marble.

The sculptor acts on the stone; he fashions it; he puts a realm of ideas into it. There are statues which the hand of man has endowed with the faculty of representing the noble side of humanity, or the whole evil side; most men see in such marbles a human figure and nothing more; a few other men, a little higher in the scale of being, perceive a fraction of the thoughts expressed in the statue; but the Initiates in the secrets of art are of the same intellect as the sculptor; they see in his work the whole universe of his thought.

Such persons are in themselves the principles of art; they bear within them a mirror which reflects nature in her slightest manifestations.

Well! so it is with me; I have within me a mirror before which the moral nature, with its causes and effects, appears and is reflected.

Entering thus into the consciousness of others I am able to divine both the future and the past.

How? do you still ask how?

Imagine that the marble statue is the body of a man, a piece of statuary in which we see the emotion, sentiment, passion, vice or crime, virtue or repentance which the creating hand has put into it, and you will then comprehend how it is that I read the soul of this foreigner—though what I have said does not explain the gift of Specialism; for to conceive the nature of that gift we must possess it.”

The source of the experience

Balzac, Honoré de

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps