Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/65

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


have said on his death-bed that science was mere trifling and that nothing was real but love. Love, for such a man, doubtless involved objects and ideas: it was love of persons. The same revulsion of feeling may, however, be carried further. Lucretius says that passion is a torment because its pleasures are not pure, that is, because they are mingled with longing and entangled in vexatious things. Pure pleasure would be without ideas. Many a man has found in some moment of his life an unutterable joy which made all the rest of it seem a farce, as if a corpse should play it was living. Mystics habitually look beneath the Life of Reason for the substance and infinity of happiness. In all these revulsions, and many others, there is a certain justification, inasmuch as systematic living is after all an experiment, as is the formation of animal bodies, and the inorganic pulp out of which these growths have come may very likely have had its own incommunicable values, its absolute thrills, which we vainly try to remember and to which, in moments of dissolution, we may half revert. Protoplasmic pleasures and strains may be the substance of consciousness; and as matter seeks its own level, and as the sea and the flat waste to which all dust returns have a certain primordial life and a certain sublimity, so all passions and ideas, when spent, may rejoin the basal note of feeling, and enlarge their volume as they lose their form. This loss of form may not be unwelcome, if it is the formless that,