Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/88

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82
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY


toward the unraveling of the great puzzle. Those who know most are least hopeful that we shall ever know all, but many will subscribe to the statement that the resolution into electrons is the last station suspected at the present time on the road which we are travelling. It is an interesting question, therefore, to consider what we shall have accomplished when we have resolved man by analytical methods until we can name each one of the electrons of which this remarkable being may possibly be composed.

In the distant future some Super-Zeiss may possibly make a lens more powerful and strange than Aladdin's lamp. In its focus, a man, with electrons as large as coffee-beans, would be but the transparent ghost of his real self, and the rush and swirl of his elephantine heart and the monstrous hailstorms rushing in and out of the elastic cloud-like lungs would startle and confuse even the hardened physiologist of those days. Under the circumstances the self-control constantly employed by every good observer might easily leave him and his cries of astonishment would probably be answered by cataclysmic tossings among huge masses of the illuminated brain of the man who was told to keep still and pay no attention to the professor.

The knowledge implied in all this transcends the whole of human experience, but there is no man of science worthy the name, who would not welcome it, or who does not hope that some day we shall understand these things better than now. If we throw ourselves into the future when the sort of knowledge to be got with the Super-Zeiss Illuminating Magnifier shall have become common property, we can imagine even the men on the street possessed, not only of astronomical acquaintance with living bodies, but also with the world in which these bodies live. These super-men may know that certain changes in the movement of the surrounding electrons are invariably followed by certain movements of the electrons in the brains and hearts of their fellow-men; they may know exactly what torrents and back-eddies of corpuscles occur when two friends who have not seen one another in twenty years meet on the pavement, and they may be able to describe in much detail the wild turmoil in the nervous system of the lunatic. But they will not be able to see the joy which friends experience on meeting nor the delusions of the insane. We may confidently expect them to have their own joys, sorrows, and imaginings, and that they may know what the physical concomitants of pleasure and pain in others are, but no feeling or thought will be theirs except their own. In this respect they shall be no wiser than we are, for we too can tell pleasure and pain when we meet them, but whereas we recognize them by smiles, laughter, lined faces and tears, the men of to-morrow may know these things by the movements among electrons.

Although physical analysis of men can never give us more than the