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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/108

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

would be of no avail to argue that, even in the possession of weight, they were entirely passive, inasmuch as they simply yielded to the attraction of the globe. Were this correct, the difficulty would only be shifted; the earth as a whole would then be credited with an activity denied to separated portions of it. It is, however, evident that, in its fall toward the center of the earth, the falling body is just as active as the earth itself, since it is proved that each molecule of the body in question attracts an equivalent portion of the earth quite as much as it is itself attracted, though, owing to the enormous preponderance of the earth's attraction, its action alone is perceptible. Finally, in regard to a host of other phenomena of equal universality, thermal, electric, and chemical, matter plainly presents a very varied spontaneous activity of which it is impossible for us henceforth to regard it as destitute. . . . It is beyond all question that the purely passive state in which bodies are conceived to be when studied from the point of view of abstract mechanics becomes under the physical point of view a complete absurdity." Nearly sixty years have elapsed since this was written; and yet, as Mr. Stallo's book proves, there is a necessity for repeating and re-enforcing it today. The same may be said of the doctrine that all our knowledge of objective reality depends upon the establishment and recognition of relations; or, in other words, that the properties of things by which we know them are their relations to other thing This doctrine lies at the very foundation, not only of the Positive Philosophy, but of all true philosophy, and yet, according to the statement of our author, it has been almost wholly ignored by men of science, as well as by metaphysicians, who constantly put forward the view that whatever is real must exist absolutely"; or, in other words, that nothing which does not exist absolutely can be real. Hence have arisen the endless discussions as to absolute motion and rest. That motion could be real, and yet only relative, L rued, even to such eminent thinkers as Newton, Leibnitz, and Descartes, wholly impossible; yet far from there being any impossibility in the matter, the truth is that it is only relative motion that can have to our apprehension the character of reality. Absolute motion could in no way be distinguished from absolute rest.

 

THE TREE THAT BEARS QUININE.
By O. E. BACHELER. M. D.

THE introduction of cinchona-culture into India was commenced in 1862. The rapid destruction of the cinchona-tree in South America, owing to the reckless method of gathering the bark, and the consequent high price of quinine in a country where that drug holds