Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/248

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Here we come upon one of those initial irrationalities in the world which theories of all sorts, since they are attempts to find rationality in things, are in serious danger of overlooking. In estimating the value of any experience, our endeavour, our pretension, is to weigh the value which that experience possesses when it is actual. But to weigh is to compare, and to compare is to represent, since the transcendental isolation and self-sufficiency of actual experience precludes its lying side by side with another datum, like two objects given in a single consciousness. Successive values, to be compared, must be represented; but the conditions of representation are such that they rob objects of the values they had at their first appearance to substitute the values they possess at their recurrence. For representation mirrors consciousness only by mirroring its objects, and the emotional reaction upon those objects cannot be represented directly, but is approached by indirect methods, through an imitation or assimilation of will to will and emotion to emotion. Only by the instrumentality of signs, like gesture or language, can we bring ourselves to reproduce in some measure an absent experience and to feel some premonition of its absolute value. Apart from very elaborate and cumulative suggestions to the contrary, we should always attribute to an event in every other experience the value which its image now had in our own. But in that case the pathetic