Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/197

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and as revelations of a truth implicit in the soul, so that Plato could plausibly take them for recollections of prenatal wisdom. But a rocket that bursts into sparks of a dozen colours, even if expected, is expected with anxiety and observed with surprise; it assaults the senses at an incalculable moment with a sensation individual and new. The exciting tension and lively stimulus may please in their way, yet the badge of the accidental and unmeaning adheres to the thing. It is a trivial experience and one quickly forgotten. The shock is superficial and were it repeated would soon fatigue. We should retire with relief into darkness and silence, to our permanent and rational thoughts.

It is a remarkable fact, which may easily be misinterpreted, that while all the benefits and pleasures of life seem to be associated with external things, and all certain knowledge seems to describe material laws, yet a deified nature has generally inspired a religion of melancholy. Why should the only intelligible philosophy seem to defeat reason and the chief means of benefiting mankind seem to blast our best hopes? Whence this profound aversion to so beautiful and fruitful a universe? Whence this persistent search for invisible regions and powers and for metaphysical explanations that can explain nothing, while nature’s voice without and within man cries aloud to him to look, act, and enjoy? And when someone, in protest against such senseless oracu-