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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/362

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

riences; but in these experiences this notion lies latent. When producing motion in his limbs, and through them motion in other things, he is aware of the accompanying feeling of effort. And this sense of effort which is the antecedent of changes directly produced by him becomes the conceived antecedent of changes not produced by him—furnishes him with a term of thought by which to represent the genesis of these objective changes. At first this idea of muscular force as anteceding unusual events around him carries with it the whole assemblage of associated ideas. He thinks of the implied effort as an effort exercised by a being wholly like himself. In course of time these doubles of the dead, supposed to be workers of all but the most familiar changes, are modified in conception. Besides becoming less grossly material, some of them are developed into larger personalities presiding over classes of phenomena which, being comparatively regular in their order, foster the idea of beings who, while far more powerful than men, are less variable in their modes of action. So that the idea of force as exercised by such beings comes to be less associated with the idea of a human ghost. Further advances, by which minor supernatural agents become merged in one general agent, and by which the personality of this general agent is rendered vague while becoming widely extended, tend still further to dissociate the notion of objective force from the force known as such in consciousness; and the dissociation reaches its extreme in the thoughts of the man of science, who interprets in terms of force not only the visible changes of sensible bodies, but all physical changes whatever, even up to the undulations of the ethereal medium. Nevertheless, this force (be it force under that statical form by which matter resists, or under that dynamical form distinguished as energy) is to the last thought of in terms of that internal energy which he is conscious of as muscular effort. He is compelled to symbolize objective force in terms of subjective force, from lack of any other symbol.

See now the implications. That internal energy which in the experiences of the primitive man was always the immediate antecedent of changes wrought by him—that energy which, when interpreting external changes, he thought of along with those attributes of a human personality connected with it in himself—is the same energy which, freed from anthropomorphic accompaniments, is now figured as the cause of all external phenomena. The last stage reached is recognition of the truth that force as it exists beyond consciousness can not be like what we know as force within consciousness; and that yet, as either is capable of generating the other, they must be different modes of the same. Consequently, the final outcome of that speculation commenced by the primitive man is, that the Power manifested throughout the universe distinguished as material is the same Power which in ourselves wells up under the form of consciousness.

It is untrue, then, that the foregoing argument proposes to evolve