Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/277
his constituency so confidently of Mr. Spencer's paucity of knowledge and his general decrepitude does not seem to know that intellect, feeling, and will are three departments of mind, and that Mr. Spencer's statement is applied to one only. "Intellectual operations" are not all the operations of mind. What Mr. Spencer says he may be criticised for, not what his blind critic avers that he says. Yet this perversion with its comments occupies a long paragraph. I have not space for further illustration of the heedless, dogmatic, crude, and false statements with which this worthless critique abounds; but the public will be exposed to its like so long as anonymity is the fashion in book reviews.
Daniel Greenleaf Thompson.
New York, October 30, 1893.
Editor Popular Science Monthly:
Dear Sir: Struck with M. Binet's paper, The Problem of Colored Audition, in The Popular Science Monthly for October, without questioning the facts, when consulting my own recollections I was unable to recall any one who possessed such curious powers.
Happening to meet to-day a young lady, the talk was about pleasant or unpleasant voices, such as are in use in ordinary conversation. Both of us commented on the voice of a person of our acquaintance, when the lady said: "So-and-so has a green voice. It always sounds green to me."
Without bringing M. Binet to the front, I questioned the lady in regard to this color comparison. I found that voices, intonations, and sounds had positive color effects on her mind. There was a gentleman whose voice was "red" to her. Then I asked her if she had read M. Binet, and she said she had no acquaintance with the article published by you, nor had she any conception that there was anything peculiar in her associating tones with colors. She said she always did it.
Respectfully, Barnet Phillips.
Brooklyn, October 6, 1893.
SCIENCE AND CIVILIZATION.
THE close of the great Columbian Exposition at Chicago naturally suggests reflections as to its general significance and import. The Exposition was meant to furnish a conspectus, as it were, of what the art of man is able to accomplish toward the end of the nineteenth century; and, as a memorial of the civilization of to-day, its general catalogue would be to future ages a most important document. That the Exposition as a whole was a vast and overwhelming demonstration of the resources of modern life, no one can question. Until the riches of the world are gathered together in some such way we wholly fail to realize, and even when they have been so gathered together, we but imperfectly — very imperfectly indeed — realize what the achievements of our age have been. When the idea has, however, in some measure been brought home to us, we involuntarily ask, What has made our age to differ so much from past ages, when whole centuries would pass with very little change in the outward conditions of society? The answer lies on the surface: The modern world has found the key to real knowledge. In former ages a certain number of useful arts were discovered empirically and more or less fortuitously; to-day we have learned how to make discoveries, as it were, by rule. We regard Nature as a book, every leaf of which contains useful lessons, written sometimes in characters difficult to decipher, but always decipherable in the end if but proper pains be taken and proper methods pursued. In former ages men's minds were possessed by a number of absolute notions and a priori principles which they applied to the interpretation, or rather misinterpretation, of Nature; and as a consequence the discovery of truth lagged and languished. How greatly, for example, was the progress of astronomy retarded by the assumption that as the circle was a perfect figure, the planets must move in circles; that