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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Vibrations                       67

I would make not only the mind, but the body of the
organism to depend on the characteristics of the vibrations
going on within it. The same vibrations which remind the
chicken that it wants iron for its blood actually turn the
pre-existing matter in the egg into the required material.
According to this view the form and characteristics of the
elements are as much the living expositions of certain vibra-
tions—are as much our manner of perceiving that the vibra-
tions going on in that part of the one universal substance are
such and such—as the colour yellow is our perception that a
substance is being struck by vibrations of light, so many to
the second, or as the action of a man walking about is our
mode of perceiving that such and such another combination
of vibrations is, for the present, going on in the substance
which, in consequence, has assumed the shape of the par-
ticular man.

It is somewhere in this neighbourhood that I look for the
connection between organic and inorganic.

The Universal Substance

We shall never get straight till we leave off trying to
separate mind and matter. Mind is not a thing or, if it be,
we know nothing about it; it is a function of matter. Matter
is not a thing or, if it be, we know nothing about it; it is
a function of mind.

We should see an omnipotent, universal substance, some-
times in a dynamical and sometimes in a statical condition
and, in either condition, always retaining a little of its opposite;
and we should see this substance as at once both material and
mental, whether it be in the one condition or in the other.
The statical condition represents content, the dynamical,
discontent; and both content and discontent, each still
retaining a little of its opposite, must be carried down to the
lowest atom.

Action is the process whereby thought, which is mental,
is materialised and whereby substance, which is material,
is mentalised. It is like the present, which unites times
past and future and which is the only time worth thinking of
and yet is the only time which has no existence.