Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/205

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149
ARTIFICIALITY

So far, we have regarded the canals only statically, so to speak; that is, we have sketched them as they would appear to any one who observed them in sufficiently steady air, once, and once only. But this is far from all that a systematic study of the lines will disclose. Before, however, entering upon this second phase of their description, we may pause to note how, even statically regarded, the aspect of the lines is enough to put to rest all the theories of purely natural causation that have so far been advanced to account for them. This negation is to be found in the supernaturally regular appearance of the system, upon three distinct counts: first, the straightness of the lines; second, their individually uniform width; and, third, their systematic radiation from special points.

On the first two counts we observe that the lines exceed in regularity any ordinary regularity of purely natural contrivance. Physical processes never, so far as we know, end in producing perfectly regular results; that is, results in which irregularity is not also discernible. Disagreement amid conformity is the inevitable outcome of the many factors simultaneously at work. From the orbits of the heavenly bodies to phyllotaxis and human features, this diversity in uniformity is apparent. As a rule, the divergences, though small, are quite perceptible;