Page:Appearance and Reality (1916).djvu/406

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two aspects of one principle. For clearly, if more than a certain amount of external conditions are brought in, the ideal identity of the beginning and of the end is destroyed. And, if so, obviously the result itself was not there at the first, and could in no rational sense have already appeared there. The ordinary example of the egg, which itself later becomes a fowl, is thus a legitimate application of potential existence. On the other hand to call every man, without distinction, a potential case of scarlet fever, would at least border on inaccuracy. While to assert that he now is already such products as can be produced only by his own disintegration, would be obviously absurd. Potential existence can, in brief, be used only where “development” or “evolution” retains its proper meaning. And by the meaning of evolution I do not understand that arbitrary misuse of the term, which has been advocated by a so-called “System of Philosophy.”

Under certain conditions, then, the idea of potential being may be employed. But I must add at once that it can be employed nowhere with complete truth and accuracy. For, in order for anything to evolve itself, outer conditions must come in; and it is impossible in the end to assign a limit to the extent of this foreign matter. The genuine cause always must be the whole cause, and the whole cause never could be complete until it had taken in the universe.[1] This is no mere speculative refinement, but a difficulty experienced in working; and we met it lately while enquiring into the body and soul (Chapter xxiii.). In strictness you can never assert that a thing will be, because of that which it is; but, where you cannot assert this, potential existence is partly inaccurate. It must be applied more or less vaguely, and more or less on sufferance. We are, in brief, placed between two dangers. If, with anything finite, you refuse wholly to pre-

  1. And this is impossible. See Chapters vi. and xviii.