Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 84.djvu/275

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
271
THE WORLD VERSUS MATTER

THE WORLD VERSUS MATTER
By WM. E. RITTER
LA JOLLA, CALIF.

JUDGING from what one hears and reads, there is a great variety of opinion as to what sort of a thing the world in which we live really is. Indeed, so diverse are these opinions that one can hardly help wondering if we all do actually live in the same world.

A correspondent, unknown to me personally, writes that after having lived eighty years, he finds with every passing year and day the world becoming to him more marvelous and interesting; and this as the culmination of a career which seems to have been particularly well filled with affairs at arms, in business and of the intellect.

An artist friend is so laid hold upon by the glories of color and form that abound in each spot, new or old, in which she finds herself, that nothing could convince her that the essential frame and substance of the world is not beauty. Shift the motive of this type of person slightly, from that of delineative art to that of the discursive interpretation of nature, and you have the Jefferies, the Muirs and the Burroughs—the emotional naturalists.

Through many centuries and lands there has been the religious humanist who has taken to his soul the words "Behold, I have given you every herb-yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed," and has rejoiced as he has repeated "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good."

But alongside the radiant-faced religious humanist there has stood the sour-visaged religious ascetic, muttering:

Hence lying world, with all thy care,

With all thy show of good and fair,
 Of beautiful or great!
Stand with thy slighted charms aloof,
Nor dare invade my peaceful roof,

 Nor trouble my retreat.

And there has been, too, the sweet-voiced religious ascetic, saying:

 Ah, love, let us be true
To each other! for the world which seems