Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/68

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of that disordered drama have their exits and their entrances; and their cues can be gradually discovered by a being capable of fixing his attention and retaining the order of events. Thereupon a third step is made in imaginative experience. As pleasures and pains were formerly distributed among objects, so objects are now marshalled into a world. Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, said a poet who stood near enough to fundamental human needs and to the great answer which art and civilisation can make to them, to value the Life of Reason and think it sublime. To discern causes is to turn vision into knowledge and motion into action. It is to fix the associates of things, so that their respective transformations are collated, and they become significant of one another. In proportion as such understanding advances each moment of experience becomes consequential and prophetic of the rest. The calm places in life are filled with power and its spasms with resource. No emotion can overwhelm the mind, for of none is the basis or issue wholly hidden; no event can disconcert it altogether, because it sees beyond. Means can be looked for to escape from the worst predicament; and whereas each moment had been formerly filled with nothing but its own adventure and surprised emotion, each now makes room for the lesson of what went before and surmises what may be the plot of the whole.

At the threshold of reason there is a kind of choice. Not all impressions contribute equally to