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240. Yet another hypothesis has been produced, which starts with the assumption that all matter is in some simple sense alive. Looking upon the atom as the essential thing in the universe, the various motions of the atom are by this school supposed to be accompanied by a species of consciousness inconceivably simple. Under certain circumstances this eternal and immortal consciousness is supposed to be consistent with that which we call the life of the individual, while under other circumstances these two lives are not consistent with one another. The individual then dies, but nevertheless the simple immortal lives of the atoms which compose his body remain attached to them as truly as before.

There is no disappearance of anything from the universe, only the mode in which the simple immortal life becomes manifested has undergone a change of expression, just as energy may be supposed to undergo a change without disappearing. It is thought by the members of this school that such a hypothesis satisfies the Principle of Continuity more fully than any other. For, looking at things from the old point of view, we see that certain atoms are concerned in the manifestation of consciousness, as for instance the particles of our brains, while certain other atoms are not so concerned, as for instance the inorganic matter we see around us.

Here then, it is argued, we have a breach of the Principle of Continuity, inasmuch as certain things of the universe (brain particles) have a function assigned to them in their association with consciousness, which other things (gold, silver, etc.) do not possess in any measure, if the distinction between organic and inor

ganic be an essential one. To avert this breach, it is essential that all matter should be considered as in some sense alive. It is furthermore argued, that by this hypothesis there is no difficulty in accounting for the introduction of life, inasmuch as life always accompanies matter, the mode of manifestation of the one being regulated by the mode of collocation of the other.

241. Now it appears to us that this school of thought are justified in declining to accept a hypothesis which attributes to certain substances of the universe a power which is entirely wanting in others, or that gives to the same substance at one time a fundamental power or property that is entirely wanting at another. It is not so much the premiss as the conclusion of this school to which we object. For let us consider for a moment what is implied in the astounding inference that the atom is the true abode of immortal life in the universe, and that its life is of an extremely simple kind.

It implies, in the first place, that the atom is eternal, and to this we object. It implies, in the next place, that the atom is extremely simple in its constitution, and to this we object. It implies, thirdly, that for the antecedents of the motions of the atom it is unnecessary to resort to anything beyond the atom itself, and to this we object.

242. We have in other places sufficiently set forth our objection to regarding the atom either as eternal or as extremely simple in constitution, let us now state our objection to regarding the motions of the atom (in this generalisation) apart from the surrounding universe.

Our objection is, that in order to conceive the nature of the forces by which atoms act upon each other, we are driven at once, if not to the very hypothesis of Le Sage, at least to something which implies the existence and agency of the Unseen Universe.

But when once we have taken this step, we are not permitted to rest, for another journey is before us, and after that another, and so on. In fine, there is no end to the process, and no halting-place for the mind, except in the belief that the universe as a whole participates in every motion which takes place even in the smallest of atoms.1

Undoubtedly as regards certain practical scientific results, it is allowable to regard the atom as a thing. by itself, and to sum up the apparent actions of the various atoms as if each were independent of everything else. But when we come to a generalisation so fundamental as this hypothesis regarding life, we are forced to ask whether the apparent and visible action of atoms on one another is really everything which takes place, and then we find, as we have just shown, that we are driven at once into the Unseen Universe, and thence into an endless complexity of antecedent.

In fine, we conclude that inasmuch as the universe in its various orders participates in every conceivable motion, the consciousness which accompanies this motion cannot logically be confined to the apparently moving body or atom, but must in some sense extend to the Unseen Universe in its various orders. But

1 The Rev. James Martineau has, we perceive, taken up a similar line of argument. (See Art. on 'Modern Materialism,' Contemporary Review, February 1876.)

this is only another way of expressing the conclusions at which we have already arrived, for (of course) if we imagine a Divine Agency to be resident in the universe, we cannot but suppose that every motion of any kind is accompanied with a consciousness of this Divine Agency.

In fine, we maintain that what we are driven to is not an under-life resident in the atom, but rather, to adopt the words of a recent writer, a Divine over-life in which we live and move and have our being.

243. Here it is desirable to consider what we gain by this hypothesis. Our gain is simply in the way in which we regard the functions of matter, and a little reflection will convince us that neither form of this hypothesis, whether we hold by an under or an over life, will enable us to explain the introduction of life into the visible universe by natural laws alone, and without resorting to some peculiar action of the unseen. As a matter of fact we are led by science to receive the law of Biogenesis as expressing the present order of the world. But the introduction of

life into the world does not become more consistent with this law by virtue of an hypothesis which associates a consciousness of some sort with every motion of the universe.

It still remains a fact as much as ever, that there is a marked distinction between the living and the dead-the organic and the inorganic. And it still remains true that, as a matter of universal scientific experience, a living thing can only be produced from a living thing, and that the inorganic forces of the visible universe can by no means generate life.

In fine, our hypothesis, in which the material as well as the life of the visible universe are regarded as having been developed from the Unseen, in which they had existed from Eternity, appears to us to present the only available method of avoiding a break of continuity, if at the same time we are to accept loyally the indications given by observation and experiment. It may be said (just as anything else may be said) that the visible universe is eternal, and that it has the power of originating life; but both statements are surely opposed to the results of observation and experiment. Now we must be content in such matters as these to be guided by probabilities, and it certainly appears most probable that the visible universe is not eternal, and that it has not the power of originating life. In fine, life as well as matter comes to us from the Unseen Universe.


244. Let us here again pause for a moment and review the position which we have reached. taking the universe as we find it, and regarding each occurrence in it, without exception, as something upon which it was meant that we should exercise our intellects, we are led at once to the principle of Continuity, which asserts that we shall never be carried from the conditioned to the unconditioned, but only from one order of the fully conditioned to another. Two great laws come before us: the one of which is the Conservation of Mass and of Energy; that is to say, conservation of the objective element of the universe; while the other is the law of Biogenesis, in virtue of which the appearance of a living Being in the universe denotes the existence of an antecedent possessing life. We are led from these

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