Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/122

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that the function of intelligence should be altogether misconceived and in consequence denied, when it was discovered that figments of reason could never become elements of sense but must always remain, as of course they should, ideal and regulative objects, and therefore objects to which a practical and energetic intellect will tend to give the name of realities. Matter is a reality to the practical intellect because it is a necessary and ideal term in the mastery of experience; while negligible sensations, like dreams, are called illusions by the same authority because, though actual enough while they last, they have no sustained function and no right to practical dominion.

Let us imagine Berkeley addressing himself to that infant or animal consciousness which first used the category of substance and passed from its perceptions to the notion of an independent thing. “Beware, my child,” he would have said, “you are taking a dangerous step, one which may hereafter produce a multitude of mathematical atheists, not to speak of cloisterfuls of scholastic triflers. Your ideas can exist only in your mind; if you suffer yourself to imagine them materialised in mid-air and subsisting when you do not perceive them, you will commit a great impiety. If you unthinkingly believe that when you shut your eyes the world continues to exist until you open them again, you will inevitably be hurried into an infinity of metaphysical quibbles about the discrete