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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

76                 Mind and Matter

we try to think of matter apart from every Attribute of
matter (and this I suspect comes ultimately to apart from
every attribute of mind ") we get no image before our closed
eyes—we realise nothing to ourselves. Perhaps we sur-
reptitiously introduce some little attribute, and then we
think we have conceived of matter pure and simple, but this
I think is as far as we can go. The like holds good for mind :
we must smuggle in a little matter before we get any definite
idea at all.


Matter and mind are as heat and cold, as life and death,
certainty and uncertainty, union and separateness. There is
no absolute heat, life, certainty, union, nor is there any
absolute cold, death, uncertainty or separateness.

We can conceive of no ultimate limit beyond which a
thing cannot become either hotter or colder, there is no
limit; there are degrees of heat and cold, but there is no
heat so great that we cannot fancy its becoming a little
hotter, that is we cannot fancy its not having still a few
degrees of cold in it which can be extracted. Heat and cold
are always relative to one another, they are never absolute.
So with life and death, there is neither perfect life nor perfect
death, but in the highest life there is some death and in the
lowest death there is still some life. The fraction is so small
that in practice it may and must be neglected ; it is neglected,
however, not as of right but as of grace, and the right to
insist on it is never finally and indefeasibly waived.


An energy is a soul—a something working in us.

As we cannot imagine heat apart from something which is
hot, nor motion without something that is moving, so we
cannot imagine an energy, or working power, without matter
through which it manifests itself.

On the other hand, we cannot imagine matter without
thinking of it as capable of some kind of working power or
energy—we cannot think of matter without thinking of it as
in some way ensouled.


Matter and mind form one another, i.e. they give to one
another the form in which we see them. They are the help-