Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/611

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concealed. Astonishingly, however, you see in it nothing less than a contrivance of Providence for counteracting the materialism of the present. This is to me the most incomprehensible part of your essay. I see in spiritualism, on the contrary, a sign of the materialism and the barbarism of our time. From early times, as you well know, materialism has had two forms; the one denies the spiritual, the other transforms it into matter. The latter form is the older. From the animism of the popular mythologies, it passes into philosophy, in order to be by the latter gradually overcome. As civilized barbarism can experience relapses into all forms of primitive conditions, so it is not spared from this also.

That, in your person, philosophy too has shared in this relapse, I count most melancholy. Above all else, however, I deplore the possible influence of your example upon our academical youth, among whose instructors you belong. What would become of science, if pursuits which your views only too easily encourage should become prevalent among our students; if earnest work and the emulation of scientific studies should become supplanted among them by an aimless chase after wonders and by rapping-spirit clubs? I have such firm confidence in the sound sense of our youth, that I am sure these fears will not be realized. Nevertheless, I held it to be my duty no longer to remain a silent spectator, but to answer your challenge. I sincerely hope, at the same time, that my answer may succeed in prompting you to another careful consideration of the subject. Then perhaps I may not entirely relinquish the hope that we may one day find ourselves with a common feeling concerning this question.

With this wish, I remain, with high esteem, yours,

W. Wundt.


THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE LAND.—Let us now proceed to consider how these materials, sedimentary and crystalline, have been put together, so as to constitute the solid land of the globe.

It requires but a cursory examination to observe that the sedimentary masses have not been huddled together at random; that, on the contrary, they have been laid down in sheets one over the other. An arrangement of this kind at once betokens a chronological sequence. The rocks can not all have been formed simultaneously. Those at the bottom must have been laid down before those at the top. A truism of this kind seems hardly to require formal statement. Yet it lies at