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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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On the Making of Music, Pictures and


Thought and Word

THOUGHT pure and simple is as near to God as we can get;
it is through this that we are linked with God. The highest
thought is ineffable ; it must be ielt from one person to
another but cannot be articulated. All the most essential
and thinking part of thought is done without words or con-
sciousness. It is not till doubt and consciousness enter that
words become possible.

The moment a thing is written, or even can be written, and
reasoned about, it has changed its nature by becoming tangible,
and hence finite, and hence it will have an end in disin-
tegration. It has entered into death. And yet till it can be
thought about and realised more or less definitely it has not
entered into life. Both life and death are necessary factors
of each other. But our profoundest and most important
convictions are unspeakable.

So it is with unwritten and indefinable codes of honour,
conventions, art-rules—things that can be felt but not
explained—these are the most important, and the less we
try to understand them, or even to think about them, the


Words are organised thoughts, as living forms are organised
actions. How a thought can find embodiment in words is
nearly, though perhaps not quite, as mysterious as how an
action can find embodiment in form, and appears to involve a