Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/354

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tion. The decline of intelligence and of our power to control circumstances may be conceived as beginning when old ideas are advocated merely because the first impression is that they are plausible, and particularly when certain books, purely intellectual, are avoided merely because the reader fears to find something unanswerable and convincing. By all means let us have free trade in ideas, from the theory of materialization advanced by Robert Dale Owen at one extreme to the scientific exactness of Herbert Spencer at the other. Let there be no protection of ideas, and let each one maintain its hold by virtue of its truth and power. Owing to the varying tendencies and views of men, the truth overlooked by one may be seen by another, so that if we encourage the expression of peculiar combinations or combining powers in minds, much suffering arising from our lack of knowledge may be escaped. Those who do not realize the value of ideas ought to reflect that, largely owing to our want of ingenuity and perception, we are still in the main at the mercy of particles in ways which could be spared us if we knew or had discovered more, or had more control of the onward march of the closely knit network of events and influences that make up our short lives. Lack of observation in a trifling matter, or short-sighted heed to the convenience of the present hour, may restrict the possible development of the finest powers, and so the development of intelligence, by widening these limits, indirectly as well as directly, may add to the power of men in a steadily increasing proportion. Those who do not see the helping power of science, or at least the promise of it, ought to remember that every omission to use the best intelligence in themselves, or to encourage it in others, results in a continuance of the amount of pain and disappointment now existing, which can only be lessened by the general development of intelligence, and by the use of the increasingly difficult and more subtile researches of men of science.


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RELIGIOUS RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT.[1]

By HERBERT SPENCER.

UNLIKE the ordinary consciousness, the religious consciousness is concerned with that which lies beyond the sphere of sense. A brute thinks only of things which can be touched, seen, heard, tasted, etc.; and the like is true of the untaught child, the deaf-mute, and the lowest savage. But the developing man has thoughts about ex-

  1. This article will eventually form the closing chapter of "Ecclesiastical Institutions" Part VI of "The Principles of Sociology." The statements concerning matters of fact in the first part of it are based on the contents of preceding chapters. Evidence for nearly all of them, however, may also be found in Part I of "The Principles of Sociology," already published.