Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/160

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relegated to his private mind, nor explained by his personal endowment and situation. To take these private feelings for the substance of other beings is evidently a gross blunder; yet this blunder, without ceasing to be one in point of method, ceases to be one in point of fact when the other being happens to be similar in nature and situation to the mythologist himself and therefore actually possesses the very emotions and thoughts which lie in the mythologist’s bosom and are attributed by him to his fellow. Thus an imaginary self-transcendence, a rash pretension to grasp an independent reality and to know the unknowable, may find itself accidentally rewarded. Imagination will have drawn a prize in its lottery and the pathological accidents of thought will have begotten knowledge and right reason. The inner and unattainable core of other beings will have been revealed to private intuition.

This miracle of insight, as it must seem to those who have not understood its natural and accidental origin, extends only so far as does the analogy between the object and the instrument of perception. The gift of intuition fails in proportion as the observer’s bodily habit differs from the habit and body observed. Misunderstanding begins with constitutional divergence and deteriorates rapidly into false imputations and absurd myths. The limits of mutual understanding coincide with the limits of similar structure and common occupation, so that the dis-