Leibniz - On Prophecy
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
From Fragments Philosophique – ed. Cousins
Letter to Pierre Coste [ Locke's French translator], about the so-called "French Prophets" who caused quite a stir in England in the first decade of the eighteenth-century.
If it were true, sir, that your Cevennois were prophets, this circumstance would not be contrary to my hypothesis of pre-established harmony, indeed, it would strongly agree with it. I have always said that the present is pregnant with the future, and that there is a perfect interconnection between things, no matter how distant they are from one another, so that someone who is sufficiently acute could read the one from the other.
I would not even oppose someone who maintains that there are spheres in the universe in which prophecies are more common than in ours, just as there might be a world in which dogs have noses sufficiently acute to smell their game at 1,000 leagues; perhaps there may also be spheres in which genii have greater leave than they have here below to interfere with the actions of rational animals.
But when it is a question of reasoning about what actually happens here, our presumptive judgment must be based on what is usual in our sphere, where these kinds of prophetic views are extremely rare. We cannot swear that there are no such prophets, but, it seems to me, it is a good bet that those in question aren't. . . I beg you to send me more information about this very curious and important matter.