Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/238

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clearly conscious of the result. The eye that does its duty gives no report of itself and has no sense of muscular tension or weariness; but it gives all the brighter and steadier image of the object seen. Consciousness is not lost when focussed, and the labour of vision is abolished in its fruition. So the musician, could he play so divinely as to be unconscious of his body, his instrument, and the very lapse of time, would be only the more absorbed in the harmony, more completely master of its unities and beauty. At such moments the body’s long labour at last brings forth the soul. Life from its inception is simply some partial natural harmony raising its voice and bearing witness to its own existence; to perfect that harmony is to round out and intensify that life. This is the very secret of power, of joy, of intelligence. Not to have understood it is to have passed through life without understanding anything.

The analogy extends to morals, where also the means may be advantageously forgotten when the end has been secured. That leisure to which work is directed and that perfection in which virtue would be fulfilled are so far from being apathetic that they are states of pure activity, by containing which other acts are rescued from utter passivity and unconsciousness. Impure feeling ranges between two extremes: absolute want and complete satisfaction. The former limit is reached in anguish, madness, or the agony of death, when the accidental flux of things in contradiction has