Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/206

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cogency but for their practical relevance and truth.

Now, like the geometer and ingenuous theologian that he was, Plato developed the import of moral and logical experience. Even his followers, though they might give rein to narrower and more fantastic enthusiasms, often unveiled secrets, hidden in the oracular intent of the heart, which might never have been disclosed but for their lessons. But with a zeal unbecoming so well grounded a philosophy they turned their backs upon the rest of wisdom, they disparaged the evidence of sense, they grew hot against the ultimate practical sanctions furnished by impulse and pleasure, they proscribed beauty in art (where Plato had proscribed chiefly what to a fine sensibility is meretricious ugliness), and in a word they sought to abolish all human activities other than the one pre-eminent in themselves. In revenge for their hostility the great world has never given them more than a distrustful admiration and, confronted daily by the evident truths they denied, has encouraged itself to forget the truths they asserted. For they had the bias of reflection and man is born to do more than reflect; they attributed reality and validity only to logical ideas, and man finds other objects continually thrusting themselves before his eyes, claiming his affection and controlling his fortunes.

The most legitimate constructions of reason