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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Mind and Matter               83

smaller than a certain size; and, if we can know nothing
about it when so divided, then, qua us, it has no existence
and therefore matter, qua us, is not infinitely subdivisible.


We often say that things differ in degree but not in kind,
as though there were a fixed line at which degree ends and
kind begins. There is no such line. All differences resolve
themselves into differences of degree. Everything can in
the end be united with everything by easy stages if a way
long enough and round-about enough be taken. Hence to
the metaphysician everything will become one, being united
with everything else by degrees so subtle that there is no
escape from seeing the universe as a single whole. This in
theory; but in practice it would get us into such a mess
that we had better go on talking about differences of kind as
well as of degree.

Union and Separation

In the closest union there is still some separate existence
of component parts; in the most complete separation there
is still a reminiscence of union. When they are most separate,
the atoms seem to bear in mind that they may one day have
to come together again ; when most united, they still re-
member that they may come to fall out some day and do not
give each other their full, unreserved confidence.

The difficulty is how to get unity and separateness at one
and the same time. The two main ideas underlying all
action are desire for closer unity and desire for more separate-
ness. Nature is the puzzled sense of a vast number of things
which feel they are in an illogical position and should be
more either of one thing or the other than they are. So they
will first be this and then that, and act and re-act and keep
the balance as near equal as they can, yet they know all the
time that it isn't right and, as they incline one way or the
other, they will love or hate.

When we love, we draw what we love closer to us; when
we hate a thing, we fling it away from us. All disruption
and dissolution is a mode of hating; and all that we call
affinity is a mode of loving.