Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/111

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the issue of which was human thought. The idea could thus suggest itself—favoured also by remembering inopportunely the actual psychological situation—that all experience, in every sense of the word, had supernatural antecedents, and that the dialectical conditions of experience, in the highest sense, were efficient conditions of experience in the lowest.

It is hardly necessary to observe that absolute experience can have no natural conditions. Existence in the abstract can have no cause; for every real condition would have to be a factor in absolute experience, and every cause would be something existent. Of course there is a modest and non-exhaustive experience—that is, any particular sensation, thought, or life—which it would be preposterous to deny was subject to natural conditions. Saint Lawrence’s experience of being roasted, for instance, had conditions; some of them were the fire, the decree of the court, and his own stalwart Christianity. But these conditions are other parts or objects of conceivable experience which, as we have learned, fall into a system with the part we say they condition. In our groping and inferential thought one part may become a ground for expecting or supposing the other. Nature is then the sum total of its own conditions; the whole object, the parts observed plus the parts interpolated, is the self-existent fact. The mind, in its empirical flux, is a part of this complex; to say it