Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/209

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every object in history and nature with infinite and true suggestions, making it doubly interesting, fruitful, and potent over the mind. The naturalist accordingly welcomes criticism because his constructions, though no less hypothetical and speculative than the idealist’s dreams, are such legitimate and fruitful fictions that they are obvious truths. For truth, at the intelligible level where it arises, means not sensible fact, but valid ideation, verified hypothesis, and inevitable, stable inference. If the idealist fears and deprecates any theory of his own origin and function, he is only obeying the instinct of self-preservation; for he knows very well that his past will not bear examination. He is heir to every superstition and by profession an apologist; his deepest vocation is to rescue, by some logical tour de force, what spontaneously he himself would have taken for a consecrated error. Now history and criticism would involve, as he instinctively perceives, the reduction of his doctrines to their pragmatic value, to their ideal significance for real life. But he detests any admission of relativity in his doctrines, all the more because he cannot avow his reasons for detesting it; and zeal, here as in so many cases, becomes the cover and evidence of a bad conscience. Bigotry and craft, with a rhetorical vilification of enemies, then come to reinforce in the prophet that natural limitation of his interests which turns his face away from history and criticism; until his system, in its monstrous un-