Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/230

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

sciousness. What gives the material world a legitimate status and perpetual pertinence in human discourse is the conscious life it supports and carries in its own direction, as a ship carries its passengers or rather as a passion carries its hopes. Conscious interests first justify and moralise the mechanisms they express. Eventual satisfactions, while their form and possibility must be determined by animal tendencies, alone render these tendencies vehicles of the good. The direction in which benefit shall lie must be determined by irrational impulse, but the attainment of benefit consists in crowning that impulse with its ideal achievement. Nature dictates what men shall seek and prompts them to seek it; a possibility of happiness is thus generated and only its fulfilment would justify nature and man in their common venture.

It is the seat of value.Satisfaction is the touchstone of value; without reference to it all talk about good and evil, progress or decay, is merely confused verbiage, pure sophistry in which the juggler adroitly withdraws attention from what works the wonder—namely, that human and moral colouring to which the terms he plays with owe whatever efficacy they have. Metaphysicians sometimes so define the good as to make it a matter of no importance; not seldom they give that name to the sum of all evils. A good, absolute in the sense of being divorced from all natural demand and all possible satisfaction, would