Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/46

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The efficacious or physical order which exists at any moment in the world and out of which the next moment’s order is developed, may accordingly be termed a relative chaos: a chaos, because the values suggested and supported by the second moment could not have belonged to the first; but merely a relative chaos, first because it probably carried values of its own which rendered it an order in a moral and eulogistic sense, and secondly because it was potentially, by virtue of its momentum, a basis for the second moment’s values as well.

Human life, when it begins to possess intrinsic value, is an incipient order in the midst of what seems a vast though, to some extent, a vanishing chaos. This reputed chaos can be deciphered and appreciated by man only in proportion as the order in himself is confirmed and extended. For man’s consciousness is evidently practical; it clings to his fate, registers, so to speak, the higher and lower temperature of his fortunes, and, so far as it can, represents the agencies on which those fortunes depend. When this dramatic vocation of consciousness has not been fulfilled at all, consciousness is wholly confused; the world it envisages seems consequently a chaos. Later, if experience has fallen into shape, and there are settled categories and constant objects in human discourse, the inference is drawn that the original dis-