Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/156

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that body its seat and thermometer. The thermometer for these passions is, on the contrary, the body of another; and the little dream in us, the quick dramatic suggestion which goes with our perception of his motions, is our perception of his thoughts.

A sense for alien thought is accordingly at its inception a complete illusion. The thought is one’s own, it is associated with an image moving in space, and is uncritically supposed to be a hidden part of that image, a metaphysical signification attached to its motion and actually existing behind the scenes in the form of an unheard soliloquy. A complete illusion this sense remains in mythology, in animism, in the poetic forms of love and religion. A better mastery of experience will in such cases dispel those hasty conceits by showing the fundamental divergence which at once manifests itself between the course of phenomena and the feelings associated with them. It will appear beyond question that those feelings were private fancies merged with observation in an undigested experience. They indicated nothing in the object but its power of arousing emotional and playful reverberations in the mind. Criticism will tend to clear the world of such poetic distortion; and what vestiges of it may linger will be avowed fables, metaphors employed merely in conventional expression. In the end even poetic power will forsake a discredited falsehood: the poet himself will soon prefer to describe nature in