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  1. #1
    jacob123 is offline Member
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    Lightbulb in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    What does "in the best condition to weigh evidence" mean? does "psychic powers of man" refer to "watching the unseen cavalry"?


    A British officer, replying to Mr. Machen in the London Evening News (September 14, 1915), mentions that he was fighting at Le Cateau on August 26, 1914, and that his division retired and marched throughout the night of the 26th and during the 27th. He says: On the night of the 27th I was riding along in the column with two other officers. We had been talking and doing our best to keep from falling asleep on our horses. As we rode along I became conscious of the fact that, in the fields on both sides of the road along which we were marching, I could see a very large body of horsemen. These horsemen had the appearance of squadrons of cavalry, and they seemed to be riding across the fields and going in the same direction as we were going, and keeping level with us. The night was not very dark, and I fancied that I could see the squadron of these cavalrymen quite distinctly. I did not say a word about it at first, but I watched them for about twenty minutes. The other two officers had stopped talking. At last one of them asked me if I saw anything in the fields. I then told him what I had seen. The third officer then confessed that he, too, had been watching these horsemen for the past twenty minutes. So convinced were we that they were really cavalry that, at the next halt, one of the officers took a party of men out to reconnoitre, and found no one there. The night then grew darker, and we saw no more. The same phenomenon was seen by many men in our column. Of course, we were all dog-tired and overtaxed, but it is an extraordinary thing that the same phenomenon should be witnessed by so many people. I myself am absolutely convinced that I saw these horsemen; and I feel sure that they did not exist only in my imagination. I do not attempt to explain the mystery—I only state facts.This evidence sounds good, and yet it must be admitted that in the stress and tension of the great retreat men's minds were not in the best condition to weigh evidence. On the other hand, it is at such times of hardship that the psychic powers of man are usually most alive.

    "The History of Spiritualism," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Last edited by jacob123; 03-Oct-2020 at 13:07.

  2. #2
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    Quote Originally Posted by jacob123 View Post
    What does "in the best condition to weigh evidence" mean?

    The phrase "not in the best condition" means:

    - not in good condition
    - in poor condition
    - in poor shape
    - not healthy enough
    - not functioning well enough
    - not working will enough

    The phrase "weigh evidence" means:

    - evaluate
    - consider
    - judge


    Does "psychic powers of man" refer to "watching the unseen cavalry"?

    No. It doesn't refer to anything outside the sentence it's in. You can rearrange the sentence this way: Our psychic powers are most alive during hardship.

    I think I've already mentioned that all sentences should begin with capital letters.


    A British officer, replying to Mr. Machen in the London Evening News (September 14, 1915), mentions that he was fighting at Le Cateau on August 26, 1914, and that his division retired and marched throughout the night of the 26th and during the 27th. He says: On the night of the 27th I was riding along in the column with two other officers. We had been talking and doing our best to keep from falling asleep on our horses. As we rode along I became conscious of the fact that, in the fields on both sides of the road along which we were marching, I could see a very large body of horsemen. These horsemen had the appearance of squadrons of cavalry, and they seemed to be riding across the fields and going in the same direction as we were going, and keeping level with us. The night was not very dark, and I fancied that I could see the squadron of these cavalrymen quite distinctly. I did not say a word about it at first, but I watched them for about twenty minutes. The other two officers had stopped talking. At last one of them asked me if I saw anything in the fields. I then told him what I had seen. The third officer then confessed that he, too, had been watching these horsemen for the past twenty minutes. So convinced were we that they were really cavalry that, at the next halt, one of the officers took a party of men out to reconnoitre, and found no one there. The night then grew darker, and we saw no more. The same phenomenon was seen by many men in our column. Of course, we were all dog-tired and overtaxed, but it is an extraordinary thing that the same phenomenon should be witnessed by so many people. I myself am absolutely convinced that I saw these horsemen; and I feel sure that they did not exist only in my imagination. I do not attempt to explain the mystery—I only state facts.This evidence sounds good, and yet it must be admitted that in the stress and tension of the great retreat men's minds were not in the best condition to weigh evidence. On the other hand, it is at such times of hardship that the psychic powers of man are usually most alive.

    "The History of Spiritualism," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    I'm glad you're not reading Shakespeare!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. #3
    jacob123 is offline Member
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    Re: in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I'm glad you're not reading Shakespeare!
    So, I am asking myself why the author talked about "psychic powers of man"? What is the relation between watching an spiritual cavalry and psychic powers of man. Doesn't it refer to the fact that our psychic powers enable us to see such things during hardship?

    And let me ask differently. Does "men's minds were not in the best condition to weigh evidence" mean "we cannot trust their evidence because they could not weigh the evidence in that particular moment"?

    It seems that you misunderstood it. I know the literary meaning of the words but I want to discover the relation between this statement and the earlier paragraph.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by jacob123; 03-Oct-2020 at 13:53.

  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    Quote Originally Posted by jacob123 View Post
    Does "men's minds were not in the best condition to weigh evidence" mean "we cannot trust their evidence because they could not weigh the evidence in that particular moment"?
    That's not what the sentence means, but yes, that's what the author is implying.
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  5. #5
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    This evidence sounds good, and yet it must be admitted that in the stress and tension of the great retreat men's minds were not in the best condition to weigh evidence.

    This sentence concedes that the testimonies of the soldiers may not be reliable, since the men were very stressed and tired.

    On the other hand, it is at such times of hardship that the psychic powers of man are usually most alive.

    This sentence aims to look at things from a different angle—the fact that the men were stressed and tired may make their testimonies even more reliable than if they had not been stressed and tired.

  6. #6
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    Quote Originally Posted by jacob123 View Post
    So, I am asking myself why the author talked about "psychic powers of man"? What is the relationship between watching a spiritual cavalry and the psychic powers of man.

    The relationship is that you need to be psychic to see spirits.


    Doesn't it refer to the fact that our psychic powers enable us to see such things during hardship?

    Yes, it does. And at any other time, too.

    And let me ask it differently. Does "Men's minds were not in the best condition to weigh evidence" mean "We cannot trust their evidence because they could not weigh the evidence in that particular moment"?

    Yup, pretty much.


    It seems that you misunderstood it.

    I precisely answered your precise question.


    I know the literal meaning of the words, but I want to discover the relationship between this statement and the earlier paragraph.

    Thanks.
    You're welcome!
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 03-Oct-2020 at 15:06.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. #7
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: in the best condition to weigh evidence,psychic powers of man

    In short, they saw something that wasn't there--an illusion. Is it remarkable that they all saw more or less the same thing? Not really. What were they? Cavalrymen! What did they see? Cavalrymen!
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