Page:Appearance and Reality (1916).djvu/69

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


present identical. But, during the lapse of this one period, there have been present countless successive differences in the state of B; and the coincidence in time, of B’s unchanging excitement with the healthy succession of A’s changes, shows that in the same interval we may have present either motion or rest.” There is hardly exaggeration here; but the statement exhibits a palpable oscillation. We have the dwelling, with emphasis and without principle, upon separate aspects, and the whole idea consists essentially in this oscillation. There is total failure to unite the differences by any consistent principle, and the one discoverable system is the systematic avoidance of consistency. The single fact is viewed alternately from either side, but the sides are not combined into an intelligible whole. And I trust the reader may agree that their consistent union is impossible. The problem of change defies solution, so long as change is not degraded to the rank of mere appearance.

I will end this chapter by some remarks on the perception of succession, or, rather, one of its main features. And I will touch upon this merely in the interest of metaphysics, reserving what psychological opinions I may have formed for another occasion. The best psychologists, so far as I know, are becoming agreed that for this perception some kind of unity is wanted. They see that without an identity, to which all its members are related, a series is not one, and is therefore not a series. In fact, the person who denies this unity is able to do so merely because he covertly supplies it from his own unreflecting mind. And I shall venture to regard this general doctrine as established, and shall pass to the point where I think metaphysics is further interested.

It being assumed that succession, or rather, here, perceived succession, is relative to a unity, a ques-