Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/371

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clear ideas, there is no other alternative than to view the three as distinct but incomprehensible existences. Consciousness reveals itself through matter and energy. Energy reveals itself through matter and consciousness. Matter reveals itself through energy and consciousness. Take away any one of the three and the other would be unknown. How could we know matter but for vibrations? How could we know energy but for matter? How could we know consciousness but for sensations induced by energy? No one of these can be known without the other. Mr. Fiske's world of pure consciousness is as inconceivable as a world of motion where there is nothing to move. We do not and cannot know what the substance of matter is. We only know the sensations it produces in us through its vibrations. The theory that assumes the existence of matter is accepted because no other will explain our experiences. We meet precisely the same difficulties when we assert that matter is the result of the combination of consciousness and energy, or that energy is the result of the combination of consciousness and matter, as when we declare that consciousness is the result of matter and energy. Let any person attempt to conceive of whatever pair he may choose of this trinity producing the third and he will find every effort in vain. Take them pair by pair, and the difficulty will be the same in every pair, thus revealing a common guarantee for the identity of each as distinct from the other. Men talk glibly of the production of consciousness by organization, but the words are mere meaningless jargon. When we see what is meant by such an expression, we shall learn that the idea has equal lucidity with that of a round square. Evolution deals only with the forms of this trinity. Forms evolve, but the substances are eternal. As dissolution follows evolution, the forms of each are resolved into their elements, to be refashioned again into new forms. Matter may form a tree, a crystal, a man, or a world; energy may form heat, light, electricity, or sound; and consciousness may be fashioned into memory, intellect, color, or emotion. These are the transient manifestations of the enduring verities.

Men in prescientific times lost sight of the persistence of matter because they looked upon the form as the reality. When fuel ceased to show a solid, compact form after combustion, they thought it was annihilated. Up to a later date they looked upon the form of energy as the reality, and when that form vanished they were content to declare it as swept from the universe. When motion changed to heat, they thought it was annihilated. The form being destroyed, as that form was mistaken for the reality, they thought the reality had vanished from existence. With broader and more enlightened views this method of reasoning on energy and matter became obsolete, but it still continues to be applied to consciousness. Intellect, memory, or emotion, being put forward for consciousness, how can we refrain from thinking that it goes when these go? As energy determines the form of