Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/250

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portant contribution to the total worth of existence, but they do not abolish the evils of that experience on which they reflect with such ruthless satisfaction. The satisfaction is due to a private flood of emotion submerging the images present in fancy, or to the exercise of a new intellectual function, like that of abstraction, synthesis, or comparison. Such a faculty, when fully developed, is capable of yielding pleasures as intense and voluminous as those proper to rudimentary animal functions, wrongly supposed to be more vital. The acme of vitality lies in truth in the most comprehensive and penetrating thought. The rhythms, the sweep, the impetuosity of impassioned contemplation not only contain in themselves a great vitality and potency, but they often succeed in engaging the lower functions in a sympathetic vibration, and we see the whole body and soul rapt, as we say, and borne along by the harmonies of imagination and thought. In these fugitive moments of intoxication the detail of truth is submerged and forgotten. The emotions which would be suggested by the parts are replaced by the rapid emotion of transition between them; and this exhilaration in survey, this mountain-top experience, is supposed to be also the truest vision of reality. Absorption in a supervening function is mistaken for comprehension of all fact, and this inevitably, since all consciousness of particular facts and of their values is then submerged in the torrent of cerebral excitement.