Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/175

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a rational value. An idea is an expression of life, and shares with life that transitive and elusive nature which defies definition by mere enumeration of its materials. The peculiarity of life is that it lives; and thought also, when living, passes out of itself and directs itself on the ideal, on the eventual. It is an activity. Activity does not consist in velocity of change but in constancy of purpose; in the conspiracy of many moments and many processes toward one ideal harmony and one concomitant ideal result. The most rudimentary apperception, recognition, or expectation, is already a case of representative cognition, of transitive thought resting in a permanent essence. Memory is an obvious case of the same thing; for the past, in its truth, is a system of experiences in relation, a system now non-existent and never, as a system, itself experienced, yet confronted in retrospect and made the ideal object and standard for all historical thinking.

These arrested and recognisable ideas, concretions of similars succeeding one another in time, are not abstractions; but they may come to be regarded as such after the other kind of concretions in experience, concretions of superposed perceptions in space, have become the leading objects of attention. The sensuous material for both concretions is the same; the perception which, recurring in different objects otherwise not retained in memory gives the idea of roundness, is the same percep-