Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/221

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ments, which is the case whenever forces are being turned to good uses, whenever an organism is exploring its relations and putting forth new tentacles with which to grasp the world.

We saw in the beginning that the exigences of bodily life gave consciousness its first articulation. A bodily feat, like nutrition or reproduction, is celebrated by a festival in the mind, and consciousness is a sort of ritual solemnising by prayer, jubilation, or mourning, the chief episodes in the body’s fortunes. The organs, by their structure, select the impressions possible to them from the divers influences abroad in the world, all of which, if animal organisms had learned to feed upon them, might plausibly have offered a basis for sensation. Every instinct or habitual impulse further selects from the passing bodily affections those that are pertinent to its own operation and which consequently adhere to it and modify its reactive machinery. Prevalent and notable sensations are therefore signs, presumably marking the presence of objects important for the body’s welfare or for the execution of its predestined offices. So that not only are the soul’s aims transcripts of the body’s tendencies, but all ideas are grafted upon the interplay of these tendencies with environing forces. Early images hover about primary wants as highest conceptions do about ultimate achievements.

Thought is essentially practical in the sense