Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/227

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ise; it must terminate in something truly profitable and ultimate which, being good in itself, may lend value to all that led up to it. But this ultimate good is itself consciousness, thought, rational activity; so that what instrumental mentality may have preceded might be abolished without loss, if matter suffices to sustain reason in being; or if that instrumental mentality is worth retaining, it is so only because it already contains some premonition and image of its own fulfilment. In a word, the value of thought is ideal. The material efficacy which may be attributed to it is the proper efficacy of matter—an efficacy which matter would doubtless claim if we knew enough of its secret mechanism. And when that imputed and incongruous utility was subtracted from ideas they would appear in their proper form of expressions, realisations, ultimate fruits.

The incongruity of making thought, in its moral and logical essence, an instrument in the natural world will appear from a different point of view if we shift the discussion for a moment to a transcendental level. Since the material world is an object for thought, and potential in relation to immediate experience, it can hardly lie in the same plane of reality with the thought to which it appears. The spectator on this side of the foot-lights, while surely regarded by the play as a whole, cannot expect to figure in its mechanism or to see himself strutting among the actors on the boards. He listens and is served,