Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/226

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

tion of everything in nature, including the mind, it cannot rob what it abstracts from of its natural weight and reality: a thread that may suffice to hold the pearls together is not the whole cause of the necklace. But this pregnancy and implication of thought in relation to its natural environment is purely empirical. Since natural connection is merely a principle of arrangement by which the contiguities of things may be described and inferred, there is no difficulty in admitting consciousness and all its works into the web and woof of nature. Each psychic episode would be heralded by its material antecedents; its transformations would be subject to mechanical laws, which would also preside over the further transition from thought into its material expression.

This inclusion of mind in nature, however, is as far as possible from constituting the mind’s function and value, or its efficacy in a moral and rational sense. To have prepared changes in matter would give no rationality to mind unless those changes in turn paved the way to some better mental existence. The worth of natural efficacy is therefore always derivative; the utility of mind would be no more precious than the utility of matter; both borrow all their worth from the part they may play empirically in introducing those moral values which are intrinsic and self-sufficing. In so far as thought is instrumental it is not worth having, any more than matter, except for its prom-