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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/626

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pearance throughout. Enough has been said to indicate the diversity of various minds in these respects, and the importance of recognizing and studying these distinctions, alike for their educational utilization and as a contribution to a scientific psychology.



SOME months ago, shortly after I had resigned my office of Judge of the High Court, I was expressing to a friend my fear of the effect of having no compulsory occupation, when he said, by way of consolation, "Never mind, 'for Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.'" You may possibly in the course of this evening think he was right. I have chosen a title for my lecture which may not fully convey to your minds the scope of the views which I am going to submit to you. I propose to adduce some arguments to show that "antagonism," a word generally used to signify something disagreeable, pervades all things; that it is not the baneful thing which many consider it; that it produces at least quite as much good as evil; but that, whatever be its effect, my theory—call it, if you will, speculation—is that it is a necessity of existence, and of the organism of the universe so far as we understand it; that motion and life can not go on without it; that it is not a mere casual adjunct of Nature, but that without it there would be no Nature, at all events as we conceive it; that it is inevitably associated with unorganized matter, with organized matter, and with sentient beings.

I am not aware that this view, in the breadth in which I suggest it, has been advanced before. Probably no idea is new in all respects in the present period of the world's history. It has been said by a desponding pessimist that "there is nothing new, and nothing true, and nothing signifies," but I do not entirely agree with him; I believe that in what I am about to submit there is something new and true in the point of view from which I regard the matter; whether it signifies or not is for you to judge. The universality of antagonism has not received the attention it seems to me to deserve from the fact of the element of force, or rather of the conquering force, being mainly attended to, and too little note taken of the element of resistance unless the latter vanquishes the force, and then it becomes, popularly speaking, the force, and the former force the resistance.

There are propositions applying more or less to what I am going to say of some antiquity. Heraclitus, quoted by Prof. Huxley,

  1. Lecture delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, on April 20, 1888.