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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Mind and Matter                75

unchangeable underlying substance " as I am afraid I did
in the last pages of Luck or Cunning ? but I am not going to
be at the trouble of seeing. For, if the substance is eternal
and unknowable and unchangeable, it is tantamount to
nothing. Nothing can be nearer non-existence than eternal
unknowableness and unchangeableness.

If, on the other hand, the substance changes, then it is
not unknowable, or uncognisable, for by cognising its changes
we cognise it. Changes are the only things that we can
cognise. Besides, we cannot have substance changing without
condition changing, and if we could we might as well ignore
condition. Does it not seem as though, since the motions or
states are all that we cognise, they should be all that we
need take account of ? Change of condition is change of
substance* Then what do we want with substance ? Why
have two ideas when one will do ?

I suppose it has all come about because there are so many
tables and chairs and stones that appear not to be moving,
and this gave us the idea of a solid substance without any
motion in it.

How would it be to start with motion approximately
patent, and motion approximately latent (absolute patency
and absolute latency being unattainable), and lay down that
motion latent as motion becomes patent as substance, or
matter of chair-and-table order; and that when patent as
motion it is latent as matter and substance ?

I am only just recovering from severe influenza and have
no doubt I have been writing nonsense.

Matter and Mind
i

People say we can conceive the existence of matter and
the existence of mind. I doubt it. I doubt how far we have
any definite conception of mind or of matter, pure and
simple.

What is meant by conceiving a thing or understanding it ?

When we hear of a piece of matter instinct with mind, as
protoplasm, for example, there certainly comes up before
our closed eyes an idea, a picture which we imagine to bear
some resemblance to the thing we are hearing of. But when