That in the heart of matter there was always a germ of spirit seems to me as much a truism as it would be to say that in a grape-seed lies the potentiality of the vine, the vine-leaves, and the grapes that actually grow out of it. 'Potentiality' does not signify the pre-existence of eventual things; it signifies only the existence of the conditions which, according to the process of nature, will bring those things about. I smile at the acrobatic logic of Leibnitz, who convinced himself that little feelings and ideas must exist in every minutest particle of cosmic substance. Anaxagoras had reasoned in that way in his qualitative atomism, thinking that metamorphosis must be as impossible in nature as in the realm of essence.
I have become aware that anyone's sense of what is good and beautiful must have a somewhat narrow foundation, namely, his circumstances and his particular brand of human nature; and he should not expect the good or the beautiful after his own heart to be greatly prevalent of long maintained in the world.
The purpose itself arises by virtue of the ripening of certain actions, or impulses in the organism; these impulses, before the sort of action in question has been often performed or observed, come clothed only in vague feelings of uneasiness or impatience: but when the appropriate action is well-known, they come clothed in images picturing that action by anticipation: and the purpose in that case can prefigure graphically its probable or normal fulfilment. The issue is not called forth or shaped by that image in the mind: but the first images accompanying the purpose may be very like the images which perception of the result will arouse in the end: and this natural congruity in two pictures will be transformed by superstitious haste into the power of the first imagewhose causes are ignoredto produce the material event which the second image reports to the same minds.
[By interpreting behaviourism idealistically, we] shall then be brought back to psychologism, the theory which conceives nature to be composed exclusively of various strands of feelings, and thoughts. Psychologism is one of the modern forms of idealism, transcendentalism being the other: and since transcendentalism can escape materialism if it remains a romantic attitude, without any dogmatic cosmology, dogmatic history, dogmatic psychology, or dogmatic memory, so too psychologism may escape materialism if it remains purely literary, like the world of a novel, and when pressed to specify where the existential elements of its literary landscapes are to be found, retires into the citadel of transcendentalism, and says they are found by being feigned, or by being actually experienced. But if transcendentalists find it impossible, in constructing a system, to avoid some dogmatic beliefs, say as to the course of events, the psychologists do not even attempt such rigour; and they take for granted that perfectly well-known experiences fall to everyone''s share: that these persons communicate their feelings, know of one another's existence, and receive the same hard knocks at assignable times, without there existing any common environment, any spatial relations, or any connecting medium between their various experiences. Such, at least, would be their doctrine, if they had one . . . .
The words entelechy and act or actuality, which I have used often to designate consciousness, are borrowed from Aristotle; and indeed I think no other philosopher has conceived the relation of the body to the mind that animates it so fairly and squarely.
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The essence thought of once may of course be thought of again, and the fact that it has been thought of before may be thought of later. But attention itself doesn't offer an objective to contemplation. If people chose to deny that attention existed or was diverted from one object to another, the only experimental evidence we could offer would be indirect. We might point out the way in which the eyes are turned or the brow knit; or we might point out that objects sometimes come into view at intervals and with such a variable intensity as can hardly be attributed to their own nature. But these arguments could be eluded by saying that neither of these facts is what we mean by attention. Attention is interpolated by us into our view of those facts in what we conceive to be their natural relations and their way of hanging together: but attention is not to be found among the observable facts themselves.
To say that it [the psychical or mind] cannot have arisen because it is different from its basis is equivalent to saying that it is an impossible thing altogether: because its essence is to be a supervening fact that a situation involves, according to the order of nature. This doesn't have to be accepted as an inexplicable coincidence, except in the sense in which all facts and all laws are inexplicable. It is the most natural and plausible thing in the world, as much so as the law of gravity or the generation of children.
I do not despise you priests, all time, the world over,
My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,
Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern,
Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years,
Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the gods, saluting the sun,
Making a fetich of the first rock or stump, powowing with sticks in
the circle of obis,
Helping the llama or brahmin as he trims the lamps of the idols,
Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic procession, rapt and
austere in the woods a gymnosophist,
Drinking mead from the skull-cap, to Shastas and Vedas admirant,
minding the Koran,
Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone and knife,
beating the serpent-skin drum,
Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing
assuredly that he is divine,
To the mass kneeling or the puritan's prayer rising, or sitting
patiently in a pew,
Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till
my spirit arouses me,
Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land,
Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits.
If you mean that [Plotinus'] system of the universe is not a map of it, is not scientifically correct or in scale, of course I agree. But it seems to me a very great system, very "good philosophy" . . . . The doctrines of Plotinus are flights in the same direction as the doctrines of Christianity: they are not hypotheses intended to explain facts, but expressions invented for sentiment and aspiration. The world, he feels, is full of the suggestion of beauty and goodness, but of the suggestion only. In fact, it betrays and obliterates everything it tries to express, like an inscription in invisible ink that should become luminous only for a moment. And his question is What does the world say, what does life mean, what is there beyond . . . that might lend significance and a worthy origin and end to this wonderful apparition and to our passionate love and passionate dissatisfaction in its presence? His system is an elaborate answer to this question. It is not a hypothesis but an intention, and such rightness as it has is merely fidelity and fineness in rendering moral experience. Of course all those things he describes do not exist; of course he is not describing this world, he is describing the other world, that is, deciphering the good, just beyond it or above it, which each actual thing suggests. Even this rendering of moral aspiration is arbitrary, because nature really does not aspire to anything, and each living thing aspires to something different, in diverse ways. But this arbitrary aspiration, which Plotinus reads into the world, sincerely expresses his own aspiration and that of his age. That is why I say he is decidedly a "good philosopher." . . . . It seems to me better than Christian theology in this respect, that it isn't mixed up with history, it isn't half Jewish, half worldly. It is the Greek side of Christian theology isolated and made pure; and that is the side of it which seems to me truly spiritual, truly sacrificial and penitentially joyful. That it is terribly superstitious and turns all physics into magic is an integral part of its poetic and expressive virtue. Every passion, every force, must be a devil or an angel, because it is agreed to begin with we are looking for the spirit in things.
If it be still asked how intent can fix upon a thing at a distance, or of a different nature from the present sense datum and make it its present object, the answer must be, in brief, that sense data are initially signs: and that we may be cognisant of the object signified either antecedently, in consequence of some direct earlier perception (as we know the sound of a printed word from having heard it), or subsequently by merely yielding to the suasion of the symbol and exploring what it points toas when we raise our eyes on being startled by a sound, or follow a scent, or feel the strong attraction of beauty. That the sign is a sign, and that there is something behind it, is a fact conveyed to us by the concomitant reaction of the rest of our organism to that particular impression. This reaction is not caused by knowledge, it is itself the ground of knowledge. . . . Stupidity is the conscious expression of sluggishness, intelligence that of plasticity. Transitive knowledge simply recognises in a judgment the actual relation in which our living bodies stand to their environment. [I]t makes all the moral difference between animals and vegetables, or even between organic and inorganic bodies . . . .