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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD

living body, the dead body would live again. This has been done by
artificially restarting the heart; but owing to the* rapidity wilh which
irreversible changes take place in dying cells, this has so far proved
possible only within a very short time alter death (or, if you prefer,
what otherwise would have been death) has occurred.

But if the world-stuff is both matter and mind in one; if there is no
break in continuity between the thinking, feeling adult human being
and the inert ovum from which he developed; no break in continuity
between man and his remotepre-amoebic ancestor; no break in con-
tinuity between life and not-life—why, then, mind or something of
the same nature as mind must exist throughout the entire universe.
This is, I believe, the truth. We may never be able to prove it, but it
is the most economical hypothesis: it fits the facts much more simply
than does any dualistic theory, whether a universal clualism or one
that assumes that mind is suddenly introduced into existing matter at
a certain stage, and very much more simply than one-sided idealism
(in the metaphysical sense) or one-sided materialism.

The notion that there is something of the same nature as human
mincl in lifeless matter at first sight appears incredible or ridiculous.
Let us, however, illustrate its possibility by considering certain well-
established biological facts concerning electricity. Apart from light-
ning, the only powerful electric phenomena known before the late
eighteenth century were the electric shocks produced by the electric
eel, the electric ray, and one or two other kinds of fish. The produc-
tion of electricity by life might justly have appeared as something rare
and sporadic. However, as physiology progressed, it was found that
electric currents pass when a nerve is stimulated, when a muscle
contracts, when a gland secretes; in fact, we now know that all vital
activities, of whatever kind, from conscious thought to the fertiliza-
tion of the egg, are accompanied by some electrical activity. The
electrical charges are extremely minute and can be detected only
by the most refined instruments; but they arc always there. They
are there because what we call electricity is one aspect of all
matter (indeed, when we get clown to the ultimate units of matter,
such as electrons, their electrical properties seem to be the most
essential).
In the electric eel, certain muscles have been modified so that,
though they have lost their original function of contraction, their
electric discharges are accumulated as in a galvanic pile, and the
total voltage and current arc quite respectable. Whereas in the great
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