Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 July 2009
Henry Sidgwick told me something about his spirits, but nothing new. He spoke on a more important subject, [letter incomplete]John Addington Symonds to Henry Graham Dakyns, May 3, 1864
Sidgwick's life project, as should by this point be clear, involved an effort to find some evidence for the thin theistic postulate capable of resolving the dualism of practical reason and, of course, undergirding his casuistry. If his psychical research was a logical development of his theological and ethical interests – his chosen path for restoring the moral order of the universe in a way that recognized the force of egoism as part of the religious hope for a happy immortality – it was also yet another manifestation of his Apostolic love of intimate fellowship in the service of inquiry into the “deepest problems.” Such inquiry, as it transpired, positively demanded new forms of intimacy and sensitivity, new horizons for the Millian and Mauricean attempt to achieve sympathetic unity. The confessional had become the depth psychological, the romantic the experimental, the empathetic the telepathic. In an age of transition, the notion of a clerisy had itself been transformed, but there was still a good deal of the poetic and romantic inspiring Sidgwick's transfigured utilitarianism. His educational ideal of culture may have underscored the importance of science, but his conception of science was being reconfigured by something akin to the depth psychological recognition that intimate confession and drawing out were what it took to get at the deeper truth about human nature.