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utterly unlikely, things we have discovered by this method in organic life! why should not hidden and utterly unlikely things reveal themselves, by use of the same method, in the opposite direction ?. And what could be of more certain use, than if we should prove that vital relations-processes, and ends akin to those of our own lives—rule all around us ? · It were unworthy here to give the reins to fancy; but there is one simple point on which already it is right to dwell. In organic life the processes are cyclical; we never see one action without its complement, its oppo- . site. In this respect we see Nature there most truly; and in so far as this character seems absent from the . inorganic, there our perception is in fault. The
thought of any process as unconformed to this law, and as complete without that completeness—of showing us a Cycle-is one which demands to be banished from our minds. In this, all processes are as the vital processes, and by the aid of these we may better learn to see them.
But the chief good to us of learning that the organic and inorganic worlds are one, would be that it would deliver us from the conception of ourselves as exalted above the rest of the universe ; endowed with higher prerogatives, and bound therefore by special and higher laws. We wrong ourselves when
we deem that the laws Nature obeys are mere mechanical necessities, and therefore unsuitable for us ; they claim from us a study more reverent, more open-eyed. Who took as the type of the true man, the wind ?the wind that blows where it likes; and of which no man need ask whence or whither; he may be sure that it is going where it is needed to keep Nature's balance true. Were not the wind's law, law enough for us?
Our thought of Nature influences all our other thoughts; nor can we, while that continues false, read aright our own destiny or even our own duty.
TO THE PAPER ON A LAW OF HUMAN LIFE.'
(See p. 33.)
I HAVE said that, in the intellectual life of man, the correction of the premiss is the introduction into our thought of some element unperceived by sense.
We may give perhaps to this fact another form of expression, It has now become customary to say that our perception is modified by “subjective elements : that is, that something within us affects our perceiving, and causes that of which we are conscious to be different from that which truly exists. In so far as sense is concerned, we see that this 'subjective element'-or that which is from ourselves-is, that there are things which we do not perceive; or that there is more in that which exists than our perception includes. That is, the “subjective element' is a nonperception; or, to speak more generally, the subjective element, so far as we have knowledge of its
nature, is a negative. The advance from falsity to truth is by a casting out of a negation or of a non-perception: that is, by our coming to perceive more fully. Now there is at least strong probability that, in this instance, of the senses as compared with the reason, there is shown to us the nature of the difference of our perception from the truth in every case : namely, that it differs by a negative-by that which answers to a non-perception. The correction of the premiss, then, we may define as the casting out of a non-perception : and it is effected either by the reason casting off bonds laid on it by the senses, through incomplete perception on their part, or by some process parallel to this. 1
I do not take into account the assumed introduction of light by the eye, or of sound by the ear, &c.; because these are by no means established to be subjective. The resolution of colour and sound, and other sensations of our own, into motion, is simply putting the impressions of one sense for those of another; and is done only because the latter furnishes convenient formulæ for universal application. Expressing all the phenomena of Nature in terms of motion is like reducing incommensurable fractions to a common term ; but it neither is, nor now professes to be, a truer apprehension. Whether our perceptions by ear, eye, taste, smell, &c., or those by touch, be the truer, remains an open question ; and it is evident that those of touch, as involving exertion, whereby alone there comes to us the sensation of force, are presumably those which are most modified.
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