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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Mind and Matter                  77

meets to one another that cross each other and undo each
other and, in the undoing, do and, in the doing, undo, and so
see-saw ad infmilum.

Organic and Inorganic

Animals and plants cannot understand our business, so we
have denied that they can understand their own. What we
call inorganic matter cannot understand the animals' and
plants' business, we have therefore denied that it can under-
stand anything whatever.

What we call inorganic is not so really, but the organisa-
tion is too subtle for our senses or for any of those appliances
with which we assist them. It is deducible however as a
necessity by an exercise of the reasoning faculties.

People looked at glaciers for thousands of years before
they found out that ice was a fluid, so it has taken them and
will continue to take them not less before they see that the
inorganic is not wholly inorganic.

The Power to make Mistakes

This is one of the criteria of life as we commonly think of
it. If oxygen could go wrong and mistake some other gas
for hydrogen and thus learn not to mistake it any more, we
should say ox3-Tgen was alive. The older life is, the more
unerring it becomes in respect of things about which it is
conversant—the more like, in fact, it becomes to such a
thing as the force of gravity, both as regards unerringness
and unconsciousness.

Is life such a force as gravity in process of formation, and
was gravity once—or rather, were things once liable to make
mistakes on such a subject as gravity ?

If any one will tell me what life is I will tell him whether
the inorganic is alive or not.

The Omnipresence of Intelligence

A little while ago no one would admit that animals had
intelligence. This is now conceded. At any rate, then,
vegetables had no intelligence. This is being fast disputed,