Sir Oliver proceeds to analyze what he regards as the two main propositions of Haeckel's philosophy, namely: (1) the theory of the inorganic origin of life, will, and consciousness; and (2) the theory of persistence as a test of real existence. The first is declared to be "quite unsupported by the facts of science as at present known," and the second rests on doctrines which are "very far from being axiomatic." "It is singular," adds Sir Oliver, "that even during Haeckel's lifetime the atom shows signs of breaking up into stuff which is not ordinary matter; and it is quite likely that before long fresh atoms of matter may be brought into being in a laboratory." He goes on to say: "I admit, however, that a certain speculative hypothesis, really underlying Haeckel's contention, tho not explicitly formulated by him, deserves consideration. It is not a scientific theory, but it is a plausible assumption. There is a sense in which the guess is plausible that real existence is a permanent thing; that anything which really and fundamentally exists, in a serious and untrivial and non-accidental fashion, can be trusted not suddenly to go out of existence and leave no trace behind. Arbitrary collocations may and must be temporary, but there may be in each a fundamental substratum which if it can be reached will be found to be eternal." There is a sense, continues Sir Oliver, in which matter and mind may be "different aspects of some fundamental unity." A lofty kind of monism can be true, he thinks, just as a lofty kind of pantheism can be true; but "the miserable degraded monism and lower pantheism which limits the term 'god' to that part of existence of which we are now aware — sometimes indeed to a fraction only of that — which limits the term 'mind' to that of which we are ourselves conscious, and the term 'matter' to the dust of the earth and the other visible bodies, is a system of thought appropriate perhaps to a fertile and energetic portion of the nineteenth century, but not likely to survive as a system of perennial truth." He says, in conclusion: "The essence of mind is design and purpose. There are some who deny that there is any design or purpose in the universe at all: but how can that be maintained when humanity itself possesses these attributes? Is it not more reasonable to say that just as we are conscious of the power of guidance in ourselves, so guidance and intelligent control may be an element running through the universe, and may be incorporated even in material things? If we could grasp the entire scheme of things, so far from wishing to shatter it to bits and then remold it nearer to the heart's desire, we should hail it as better and more satisfying than any of our random imaginings. The universe is in no way limited to our conceptions: it has a reality apart from them; nevertheless they themselves constitute a part of it, and can only take a clear and consistent character insofar as they correspond with something true and real. Whatever we can clearly and consistently conceive, that is ipso facto already existent in the universe as a whole; and that, or something better, we shall find to be a dim foreshadowing of a higher reality. "That is my creed, and, optimistic tho it be, it seems to me the only rational creed for a man of science who, undeterred by any accusation of dualism, realizes strongly that our entire selves — our thoughts, conceptions, desires, as well as our perceptions and our acts — are all but parts of one stupendous whole."Shatter it to bits and then remold it nearer to the heart's desire also sounds familiar.
The current icon shows Polistra using a Personal Equation Machine.