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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/643

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633
MENTAL ENERGY.

You will observe that in our arithmetic we have ten numerals which can be divided into fractions. In our music we deal with seven notes and their variants. In our alphabet we have twenty-six letters. These factors correspond in some measure to what we call elements in nature. There is a limit to the number of combinations that can be made of the numerals and their fractions, to the notes of music and their variants, and of the letters of the alphabet; but in each case this limit is so remote as to be negligible, like the exhaustion of the heat of the sun. May we not deal with the elements of nature in the same way? Can any one prescribe a limit to their conversion and reconversion to the use of mankind? Is it not in these processes of conversion that we derive our subsistence?

We make nothing. All that we can do is to move something. We move the soil and we move the seed; nature gives the harvest. We direct the currents of falling water, of heat and of steam; nature imparts the force or energy to which man has only given a new direction. We are now imparting new directions to the force that we call electricity, and to what we call cold. What is the force from which we derive this power of transforming physical energy? May we not call it mental energy? Is not mental energy the factor in mankind by which he is differentiated from the beast? Does not man only accumulate experience, and is there any limit to the power of mind over matter?

If these points are well taken, mental energy is the fourth and paramount factor in providing for material existence, and the science of political economy, which deals with land, labor and capital, becomes a purely metaphysical science when we admit the force of mental energy into the combination.

We deal, as I have said, with sixty elements, so-called, more or less, but the unity of nature is the most important fact ever proved by science; the correlation of all forms of physical energy leading logically from the idea of manifold forces or gods to the unity of creation, necessarily ending in the conception of unity of a creator, or the one God. This modern development of mental science is but the Hebrew concept of the creation in a new form. The Hebrew race was the first one of the historic races with whom the unity of creation and the unity of the creator became an article of faith. I doubt not that it was in that concept and the power derived from it that the Hebrew intellect asserted its preƫminence in the history of the world. According to that concept, to man is given "dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." By what force does man hold dominion unless it is through his mental energy and his capacity to accumulate experience?

All the industrial arts are antedated by the industries of animals. The tailor finds his prototype in the tailor bird; the mason in the