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Unorthodox conception of being: a synthe 


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An Unorthodox 
Conception of Being 

A Synthetic Philosophy of Ontology 

William Ellsworth Hermance 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 
XTbe IRnicfterbocfter iPress 




TEbe Imfcfeerboclter liress, new Jlotk 


THE first draft of this work was written in the latter 
part of the nineteenth century. During the decade 
or more since its inception a wider reading has revealed 
to the author that, although the ideas herein expressed 
are independent, they, with few exceptions, have 
already been expressed by others. This might be 
taken as demonstrating that "There is nothing new 
under the sun," but this is true only in part. There 
certainly are new forms. Not only new forms in the 
arrangement of the material, but also new forms of 
the expression of ideas. Although each idea embraced 
in the composition of a conception might be old, yet 
a different combination of these ideas wotdd give a 
philosophy of existence differing in many respects 
from any philosophy heretofore given and possibly 
more nearly in accord with the actual facts of Being. 

We grant that the ordinary material elements are 
not new; that they have been known for centuries, and 
have existed from infinity; yet combinations of these 
elements are constantly being made, giving us com- 
pounds that in all probability have not before existed 
on this earth. 

The developer of a new chemical combination or the 
inventor of a new mechanical arrangement is a practical 
benefactor, giving forth material facts that can be easily 
understood and appreciated, but the formulator o^ 



ideas, the philosopher, the theorist, the metaphysician 
is accounted nothing more than a dreamer, for whom 
the ordinary, practical man has but contempt. This 
is a superficial view to take, for metaphysics has the 
same relation to physics that the foimdation has to 
the building, and although the foundation may be hid- 
den and obscure, primarily on the correct laying of the 
fotmdation depends the durability of the building. 
Making this illustration logical, we must conclude that 
in the history of man, physics came first, for the first 
building had no foundation. The ideas of existence 
conceived by primeval man were no doubt as crude as 
their mud huts and as devoid of fotmdation. The 
material existed at that time for the modem skyscraper, 
but the form as a building did not exist. The same 
natural processes existed at that time as at present, 
but the ideas of them in their proper relation, or as laws, 
did not then exist in the human mind. 

Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon, Newton, Dar- 
win, and a host of such minds perceived ideas nearer 
to the reality of existence, and knowledge was increased 
in the world, but these ideas were essentially meta- 
physical. Not one of these men acquired fame by 
originating a new material combination or form, but 
each became famous because he perceived ideas of 
existence which men now accept as being more nearly 
in accord with the facts of Being than the ideas men 
previously held. 

Thousands of years ago men were bom, lived, and 
died after the same manner as they do now. Millions 
are now living who know not, neither do they care, 
whether the earth rotates or "the Sun do move"; 
whether things fall because they are heavy or are heavy 
because they fall; whether their weight depends on the 

Preface v 

square of the distance or inversely upon the cube of 
the distance; whether the universe was made in six 
days or was ever made at all ; and to come to the point, 
these millions live their days as full of contentment as 
you or I. Why, then, do we take the trouble to elu- 
cidate an idea? Because you and I believe that mate- 
rial existence is not all that is necessary for man's 
development; that the aspiration and the inspiration 
of the mental and spiritual are what makes him more 
than an animal. Also as Heine says: 

We do not take possession of our ideas, but are possessed 

by them. 
They master us and force us into the arena, 
Where, like gladiators, we must fight for them. 

As one author excellently expresses it : 

The inward life of thinking for one's self, the within or 
behind tradition constitutes the very Spirit of Truth him- 
self in our own spirit, and the coming of the spirit, in so far 
as it occurs at all, never seems to any of us dreary. 

As for the fine drawn distinctions and airy abstractions, 
no distinction is ever too subtile for you at the moment 
when it occtirs to you to make that distinction for yourself, 
and not merely to hear that somebody else has made it, 
and no abstraction seems too airy in the hour when you 
rise upon your own wings to the region where just that 
abstraction happens to be an element in the concrete ful- 
filment of your thoughtful life. 

Now it chances to be a truth of metaphysics, as it is an 
experience of religion, that just when you are most indivi- 
dual, most alone as it were in your personal thinking about 
tiltimate and divine matters, you are most completely at 
one with the universal Spirit of Truth, of which we just 
spoke. Hence, not the character of the principle of which 
we think, but rather our own sluggishness in thinking is 

vi Preface 

responsible for the supposed dreariness of the theory of 
Being. The dreariness which we often- impart to meta- 
physics is merely the dreariness of not understanding the 
subject. A sort of dreariness for which indeed there is no 
help, except learning to understand. 

The mental and spiritual development of man in- 
creases in a direct ratio, as he perceives ideas which 
are in accord with the facts and truth of Being and 

Philosophical ideas are, of course, expressed only as 
theories or hypotheses. The theory which more nearly 
accords with all known facts shotdd be the acceptable 
theory. The hypothesis most easily workable should 
be the one chosen. Experience will eventually prove 
the truth or falsity of any theory or hypothesis. 

But not wishing to wait upon experience, and without 
adequate material measures to test philosophical ideas, 
it might be suggested that to be correct ideas must be 
absolutely logical and absolutely consistent. It may 
be some time before we reach the absolute, but it is 
obvious that the nearer we approach the standard, the 
nearer we are to a correct knowledge of the true rela- 
tion of the various aspects of Being. 

Did we not believe that the ideas as herein combined 
are a nearer approach to the truth, there would be no 
excuse for their being published. Should the author 
appear dogmatic or prove to be incorrect in any parti- 
cular, he wishes it understood that he realizes and 
wishes to be guided by the fact that the fundamental 
principle of scholarship is loyalty to truth, wheresoever 
it leads and whatsoever it involves. 

Some common nouns used as specific terms are 
capitalized. By so doing it is not the intention always 

Preface vii 

to deify their meaning but to emphasize the word in 
the connection used. 

Power and Force, Desire and Pear are no more when 
capitalized than when not, but these words are used 
with such a distinctive meaning that it is necessary to 
use some method of holding the attention to these dis- 
tinctions. It is necessary to use certain terms with a 
distinctive meaning in order to be logical and consistent 
and give a definite philosophy. 

A dictionary is the chief authority for our defini- 
tion of words, but when the lexicographers disagree, 
who shall decide? When any dictionary gives several 
definitions of a word, the most that can reasonably be 
asked is that the writer take any one of the definitions 
and consistently use the word according to that 

The specific object of the author in writing this book 
is to give expression to his ideas regarding man's exist- 
ence and environment. It is a conception of Being not 
exactly orthodox according to any of the general beliefs, 
therefore, he calls the conception Unorthodox. 

He thinks that if he points out to some extent a few 
of the so-caUed facts and the fallacies of the modern 
physics and metaphysics before giving his own ideas, 
the contrast will give additional weight to the opinion 
herein expressed. 

In criticising the opinions or conceptions of others, 
their right to have and believe those opinions is not 
challenged. Perfect liberty in the reception and ex- 
pression of thought is essential to the best mental 
and spiritual development. 

W. E. H. 

Norfolk, Va. 
June, 1913, 



I Metaphysics 






Undulatory Theory 






Power . 












Desire . 



Force . 



The Senses . 



Sound . 



Light . 



Magnetism . 



Electricity . 



Dissipation of Energy 



Earth .... 


X Contents 


XVIII Biology 307 

XIX Ego 323 

XX Devil 338 

XXI Jesus Christ 345 

XXII Faith 366 

XXIII Equity 375 

XXIV Liberty 388 

XXV Man 408 

XXVI Ontology 430 

Index ~ . . . .443 

An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

An Unorthodox Conception 
of Being: 

A Synthetic Philosophy of Ontology 



THE different conceptions of Being, now orthodox, 
may be classified under four general hypotheses: 

I. Idealism. That objective Being is wholly vision- 
ary — ^an illusion ; that it is no more real substance than 
a dream. This Idealistic view has been held by many 
from the followers of Buddha to the Christian Scientist. 

II. Materialism. That Being is solely material; 
the matter taking shape mechanically, according to an 
absolute law; that all change is infallibly linked as 
cause and effect. This Materialistic view is held as 
ptire science. 

III. Dualism. That Being was created and given 
form by a Power exterior to and separable from the 
matter of which the forms are composed. "In the 
beginning God created the heaven and the earth." 
This orthodox, Theistic view has been and probably is 
yet held by the great majority of the people. 

2 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

IV. Monism. That Being is the manifestation of 
power; that primarily the forms are the effect of the 
spontaneous movement of forces inherent in the mate- 
rial. This Positivistic view is held by probably an 
ever-increasing number of people. 

Any two persons classified under any one of the hypo- 
theses might differ more widely in their specific beHefs 
than two people classified under dififerent headings. 
In fact, the more nearly persons are in accord in their 
fundamental beliefs, the more strongly will they mag- 
nify their differences, and frequently they are at greater 
enmity than those who radically differ. It is well known 
that factional quarrels are the most bitter. As widely 
different as these four general hypotheses may appear, 
I am under the impression that the wide difference 
we give to 'the interpretation of similar words cause 
the beliefs based upon them to appear more diverse than 
they really are. "Define terms, and discussion ceases " 
might be true if it were possible to define terms. 

Consistency has been mentioned as a vital point in 
philosophy, but so rare is this that it has given rise to 
the saying, "Consistency, thou art a jewel." My idea 
of consistency is not to get in a rut and consistently 
remain there. It is to recognize the proper relation of 
things and to relate things properly, no matter how 
diverse they may seem. To hold to one point of view 
is narrow-minded. To get at the viewpoint of others 
is broad-minded. 

You may recall the legend of the Knights and the 
Shield, where the contestants fought on account of 
their difference in opinion, and in the end each found 
that the other was right. One of the most common 
statements, "I am right, and therefore, you who differ 
with me are wrong," generally contains a fallacy. 

Metaphysics 3 

To illustrate: You have seen those signs which 
appear different at diflEerent angles of observation. 
"A" was standing in front of one of these signs and 
read, "Man is but grass"; "B," on his right, read, 
"Man is an animal"; "C," on his left, read, "Man is 
a God." Each asserted that he read the sign aright, 
and therefore, the other must be wrong in his reading. 
Each was right in his first proposition, but wrong in 
the second. " A " doubted his infallibility and put him- 
self in "B's" place and perceived that both were right 
and wrong. "A" wanted " B " to look at it from " A's" 
former position, but " B " said that to do so would be to 
show a doubt, which he was not willing to do. When 
"C" heard "A's" statement, he also doubted his own 
infallibility, and moved around and found that the 
sign was far more complex than he at first supposed, 
and, continuing to investigate, came to the conclusion 
that the sign itself was contradictory. "A" continued 
the investigation, and, whUe admitting that the sign 
was apparently not absolutely consistent in its state- 
ment, yet thought if they could comprehend the mean- 
ing of each statement, they would ultimately find out 
that each was true. 

You may readily recognize in this illustration the 
various positions taken by different persons on any 
question. It is evident that "A" and "C" by doubt- 
ing their infallibiUty are willing to change positions, 
and are more apt to gain new knowledge and have a 
better chance of reaching ultimate truth than "B," 
who dogmatically asserts that he is right and the others 
are wrong. 

It is evident that to an investigator no statement is 
authoritative. A premise based on a mere statement 
is fallible. 

4 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

When it was the general opinion that the earth was 
flat, premises were based on that idea. There was no 
demonstration made to show that it was flat; it was 
taken for granted. When some minds recognized 
facts that did not correspond with the idea of a flat 
earth, they sought for a theory that would correspond 
with the recognized facts. When the theory was stated 
that the earth was round, the premise was then taken 
by those who opposed the theory, that "I am standing 
with my head up, and if the earth is round and people 
are on the opposite side, they must be standing with 
their heads hanging down, a position plainly impossible, 
therefore, contradicting the theory." This argument 
at one time was unanswerable, for the facts were not 
yet recognized that made it known that up and down 
were positions, relative not to each of us but to a com- 
mon centre. No matter how strongly we find ourselves 
entrenched in the propositions of our premises, a newly- 
recognized truth may show that we are mistaken. To 
me this chronic state of doubt does nor necessarily show 
incapacity, but may designate a willingness to advance 
to new positions, grasping the truth recognized in fact, 
for to know the truth is essential to knowledge. Every 
fact must be a part of the truth, and to ignore it is to 
faU that far short of perfection. 

It seems quite natural that in the search for knowl- 
edge fallacies should be more numerous than facts, but 
it is necessary to recognize the fallacies in order to know 
the facts. 

The first step in advancement is to doubt. This 
seems contrary to the general idea, which puts faith as 
the essential to salvation; but let us take man on any 
plane of intelligence, and if he has perfect confidence 
that his knowledge and behefs are correct, there will 

Metaphysics 5 

be no change. If he is wrong in any way, he can know 
it only by recognizing his fallibility, and to do that is 
to doubt his infaUibiUty ; thus, to doubt is the first step 
toward a broader intelligence. This would not be nec- 
essary if man were correct in his conception from the 
beginningi but experience shows that he is not. 

It is not necessary to doubt to the extent of an 
Agnostic, that is, to "know nothing." It is much 
better to say with Cicero, "I wiU never be ashamed to 
confess that I know not that which I do not know," 
than to say with Socrates, "The one thing I know, is 
this, that I know nothing." 

One must discriminate between infallible facts and 
fallible beliefs. There can be no rule laid down by which 
we can correctly discriminate, any more than one can 
be given to make all think aUke; but the more knowl- 
edge we get, the more facts we recognize as a common 
basis for our varied ideas. Though we deduce various 
theories from the same facts, yet, as we approach the 
truth, we get nearer together in our conclusions, and 
finally, man may be of one mind on essentials and can 
co-operate on any work for which he exists. 

The submission to authoritative opinion is one thing 
that has kept people from progressing more rapidly 
towards a universal conception of Being. Aristotle was 
authority for many minds, and when young Galileo 
pointed out his errors in regard to the velocity of falling 
bodies, and even proved his point so none ought to deny, 
yet so strong was the respect for authority, that on ac- 
count of his presumption Galileo was forced to vacate 
his position as professor in the University of Pisa. The 
critic now meets with about the same reception as in 
the days of Galileo, People dislike to change their 
minds or remodel their theories. In science they are 

6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

often forced to do so, but a metaphysical or religious 
theory generally runs its course, long or short, accord- 
ing to whether or not it forms a reasonable working 

If, in a proposition of Newton's, a school child detects 
and proves a mathematical or logical error, is n't he of 
equal authority on the point of issue? It is much easier 
to detect errors than it is to evolve an acceptable theory. 
Theories, to be accepted as facts, should satisfactorily 
account for all phenomena in connection with the 
events which they endeavor to explain. One of the 
common errors is teaching theories or beliefs as facts. 
This is seen not only in religious teachings, but in scien- 
tific text-books. 

Many words are used by scientists to denote theo- 
retical conditions, and these words are copied by some 
metaphysical writers to designate known states; it is 
as though they used "X" to designate a definite, known 
condition because they have seen it frequently used, 
but yet without knowing that it means "Unknown." 
Until in the evolution of man, thought-transference 
shall become a practical way of communication, we will 
have to depend on language for an interchange of ideas. 
If language is God-given and perfect, then man's per- 
ception of its meaning is imperfect, for certain it is that 
we do not thoroughly comprehend the speech of our 
fellow men. 

It has been said, "Language was given to conceal 
thought," but for whatever purpose it was given, it is 
very frequently used to conceal the lack of thought. 

To know that one is logical and consistent, the lan- 
guage must be definite. Wherein lies the cause of 
vagueness? When we read a book or an article and fail 
to comprehend just what the writer means, it may be 

Metaphysics 7 

our lack of comprehension or the weakness of language, 
but I believe it is frequently because the writer himself 
does not comprehend, or at least fails to comprehend, 
his idea in its proper relation to other ideas or facts. 
Instead of describing facts of reality as he supposes, 
he is describing imaginary conditions, which, though 
they may be facts of consciousness, are not facts that 
can be demonstrated to others. Though this is a com- 
mon failing of all classes, it is a typical fault of the 
Idealist, which would naturally arise from a belief that 
demonstrable facts do not exist. 

In Materialism or pure science there are.used to a large 
extent symbols and technical language, which admit of 
so Uttle chance of misinterpretation that science has a 
reputation for accuracy, which by comparison seems 
to be absolute. But a close analysis will demonstrate 
that even science is far from absolute accuracy. 

In the concrete we have a ready means of reference, 
while in the abstract, once lost, we do not know whether 
it is ourself or the other who is astray. My little child 
said at the table, "Please, give me a bot boll." "I 
don't know what you mean," said I. She immediately 
pointed to a hot roll and I instantly tmderstood. Had 
it been an abstraction, it would have taken some time 
to have reached an understanding. 

Some words have various definitions or interpreta- 
tions, and much ambiguity comes from using the same 
word in the same connection, but with a different mean- 
ing. Such words as Spirit, Sotd, Life, and Mind are so 
much used, or rather misused, that they have no de- 
finite meaning. To express ideas accurately we must 
use our words with a more strictly definite meaning. 

There is a common misuse of the word "Cause." 
In the ordinary usage it does not make much difference, 

8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

but in philosophical works it is the source of many 
illogical conclusions. Every phenomenon has two as- 
pects : the Space aspect and the Time aspect. " Cause " 
corresponds to the Space aspect and usually answers 
the question, "How?" "Occasion" corresponds to the 
Time aspect and usually answers the question, "Why?" 
That is, it gives the specific reason for the initiation of 
a specific movement. I wiU give two illustrations: 

1. How are the tides caused.? By attraction. 
Why are there specific movements or variations in the 
tides? Because' the attracting bodies are periodically 
changing their relation. This periodicity being a time 
relation "occasions" the high and low tides. 

2. What caused the explosion of the charge of the 
gun? One might say "a signal," "an action of a 
finger," "a movement of the trigger," "the falling of 
the hammer." Let us take these given causes (?) in 
turn. A signal could not cause an action of a finger 
although it might occasion the action. The action of 
the finger might cause the movement of the trigger, but 
the movement of the trigger is inadequate to cause the 
falling of the hammer. The movement of the trigger 
occasioned the movement of a spring whose action 
caused the fall of the hammer. The fall of the hammer 
is not sufficient to account for the restdt following the 
explosion. But without defining each intermediate 
step we might say it "occasioned a change in the rela- 
tion of the forces in the powder, which change is mani- 
fest as the explosion." The only adequate cause of the 
explosion is the forces changing relation, that is, a 
relative change in the form of motion. The so-called 
causes previously given are only successive occasions 

' " Because" is equally applicable to " for the reason " as to " by the 

Metaphysics 9 

for various actions which terminated in the explosion. 
If you asked why the powder exploded, meaning at 
that time, it is pertinent to say, the given signal — ^the 
action of the finger — ^the movement of the trigger — or 
the falling of the hammer. But if you ask how the 
powder exploded, we readily see that these answers are 
not sufficient and that what occasions the phenomenon 
is not the cause of the phenomenon. 

It is impossible to do the best work with a poor tool. 
Language becomes a good tool for expressing ideas in 
the proportion to which it is made definite. 

Primarily, language, as weU as ideas, is vague. The 
evolution is from the vague to the definite. The less 
intellectual the person, the more easily is he satisfied 
with illogical theories. The masses of people are not 
only satisfied with illogical theories, but they do not 
even reaUze that their ideas are illogical. Any apparent 
contradictions in their conception of Being are taken for 
granted as a proof of the finiteness of man. 

Early philosophers were and stiU are considered great, 
not because they are definite, but because they grasped 
new ideas of the relation of Being. Compared to the 
crude ideas or lack of ideas then commonly existing, 
the various philosophers expressed ideas that were 
comparatively rational, and in fact many that were 
not so definite as to be capable of being proved false, 
are still current. Diogenes is famous for his tub and 
lantern, but he was one of the first to put forth ideas of 
"Soul," "Principle of Life," "Vital Force," etc., words 
of absolutely no definite meaning, because they are 
subject to various interpretations. 

There is one society, whose alleged millions of mem- 
bers accept "Vital Force" as quite a concrete thing, 
and start with the proposition that to know the secret 

lo An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

of "Vital Force" would be to obtain perpetual life. 
They then say the thing that gives vitality is "Glame" 
and by obeying the laws of nature and continuing to 
breathe as they direct, life will be prolonged, say, two 
hundred years, though that is not really given as a hmit. 
If one dies before that time, he has disobeyed the laws of 
nature or ceased to breathe as they direct, and, of course, 
under such circumstances they cannot be held account- 
able. The use of the word "Glame" simply mystifies. 
Until we know the cause of life, how can we know the 
cause of vitality, which is simply the prolongation of 
life? And how can we obey the laws of nature xmtil we 
know them, and to know the laws of nature is to know 
the truth, i. e., to have knowledge. 

The effort to describe one abstraction by the use of 
another is futile. The effort to show that one abstrac- 
tion is the cause of another is useless, because it is in- 
capable of any reasonable proof. I suppose it is so 
constantly used because to an equal extent it is as 
incapable of disproof. The tendency of modem 
thought is to eliminate all unnecessary and extraneous 

An early theory regarding the existence of the earth 
was that it was held up by an elephant, which in turn 
rested on the back of a turtle. The first and second 
unknown causes seemed to satisfy the philosophers of 
that day, and even now there are many philosophers 
who have at least two abstractions, one behind the 
other, primary and secondary unknown causes. Did 
I find it necessary to resort to a cause so remote, I 
would not leave it so quickly. I would say, "The earth 
rested on an elephant, and the elephant stood on a 
turtle, and the turtle sat on a log, and the log floated 
on the water, which in its depths became attenuate 

Metaphysics 1 1 

into the ethereal ether that forms the astral body of 
the universe"; and that description wotild be as concise 
and definite as are many of the descriptions of the 
mystic-scientific writers of the day. But would such 
a description come any nearer to relating the earth 
properly to the other facts of Being? 

Idealism, from its very nattire, gives rise to more 
vagueness than any other conception. Idealistic con- 
ceptions are amenable to no rules or regulations. Al- 
though the ideas are wonderfully diverse, they are 
usually expressed by positive statements. Their as- 
sumptions are based on hypothetical ideas and their 
conclusions may or may not conform to the facts of 
Being. If not, so much the worse for the facts. From 
the standpoint of a htiman being many of the assump- 
tions seem to be misstated. "All is God"; "God is 
perfect"; "Then aU that has real existence must be 
perfect"; therefore, "We who are not perfect do not 
exist." The correct form of the statement should 
begin with the speaker, "We do not exist," and this is 
a negation. These propositions are a sample of the 
Idealistic philosophy and while incapable of proof, 
they cannot be refuted. It is simply a question of 

The very fact that abstractions are so mobile has 
caused the philosophies of the Idealists to be the most 
complete, comprehensive theory of existence from a 
purely abstract conception. "Karma," "Nirvana," 
and such words express and embrace more abstract 
ideas than we can do with words in our language. 
Unadulterated Idealism has been perfected by the 
Orientals as a working hypothesis to a degree of con- 
sistency that the Anglo-Saxon race can never expect 
to attain. That a large portion of the human race is 

12 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

not satisfied that this is the true conception of Being 
is sufficient reason for the dissatisfied turning to some 
other hypothesis. 

By the very nature of our conception of ideas, they 
are first Idealistic. When ideas are properly formu- 
lated they are ideal. When we get our ideas or an idea 
properly related to the facts of Being it ceases to be an 
ideal, and becomes real. 

Materialism has been established on a solid basis 
and has become the storehouse for our facts and there 
we have accumulated a great fund of knowledge. But 
the acquisition of this knowledge is due not nearly so 
much to one fact leading to the discovery of another 
fact (arguing from the known to the unknown), as it 
is on accoui;it of the Idealistic theories conceived by 
the Scientists, but being Materialists instead of Idealists, 
they put forth their effort to demonstrate their theories 
by mechanics and mathematics instead of being satis- 
fied with an abstract elucidation of the ideas. In the 
history of scientific acquisitions we find that exploded 
theories and discarded hypotheses form quite a large 
ratio to those which are now accepted. 

Simply the cognition of sense impression does not 
constitute knowledge. A recognition of these impres- 
sions singly would not aid, as our senses constantly 
deceive us. It is the relation of sense impressions; 
the realization that they are persistent under certain 
circumstances; the summing up of these impressions 
under the head of experience and properly relating 
them, that constitutes knowledge. We do not know 
that the mental states are real, any more than we know 
that the causes of sense impressions are real. A mental 
state or a sense impression by itself has no real meaning. 
It is only by relating it to something else that it can 

Metaphysics 13 

have meaning. On account of this, inteUigent people 
doubt the statement of events called supernatural and 
miraculous. They beKeve that all events are related 
by cause and effect. 

It is not an easy thing to differentiate what we 
know from what we beUeve. There may be incon- 
sistencies in what we believe, but there should be 
no contradiction in what we know. It is a prime re- 
quisite of belief in vague theories that the believer 
shall be blind to the inconsistencies. When one 
sees the inconsistencies, it is to admit of a doubt of 
the truth of the belief. Many evade this by claim- 
ing that the inconsistencies are only apparent, owing 
to the inability of the mind of the believer to cor- 
relate the apparent inconsistencies, and not in the 
statement or philosophy of the belief. 

Unless we can arrive at some agreement as to what is 
an absolute truth, it is plainly impossible for us to 
arrive at any common conclusion. An absolute truth 
in statement and idea is essential for a base. We may 
draw different inferences from this truth, but to make 
a conflicting statement would invalidate the argument 
and the agreement. I say that the shortest distance 
between two points is a straight line. "B" admits it 
but says also that the shortest distance between two 
points is a curved Une. I say the two statements are 
inconsistent. "B" says they are only apparently in- 
consistent, because we have not developed sufficiently 
yet to comprehend the truth of both statements. I 
cannot prove this is not so, for it is impossible to define 
the limits of human development, but under such cir- 
cumstances, I cannot come to an agreement with "B." 
As I have said before, it is, therefore, essential that we 
have some ftmdamental truths admitted in order to 

14 An. Unorthodox Conception of Being 

come to an agreement, and that these truths once 
admitted be not controverted or contradicted or even 


We must accept as an axiom of our philosophy the 
statement that "Human knowledge exists." This 
statement may be denied but not disproved. To deny 
it is to deny any sure basis of agreement and leave no 
ground for argument. To accept it is to admit that 
such human knowledge as exists is infallible. This 
does not limit the probable fallibility of the human 
mind but does limit "knowledge" to that which is true. 
Much of which passes current for knowledge is simply 
beUef, supposition, theory, opinion, etc. 

A great fallacy is giving to a premise the weight of 
an absolute truth. The nearest we can come to defin- 
ing this terifi is as follows: "An absolute truth is that 
which has been gained through experience, and from 
which there has been no deviation and from which it is 
not reasonable or desirable that there ever should be 
any deviation." This embraces what we term knowl- 
edge or known facts. Statements of absolute truths 
are often given in what we term axioms, but each state- 
ment called an axiom is not necessarily an absolute 
truth. A safe philosophy woiald be to take the known 
truths and argue from the known to the imknown to 
elucidate a theory, although the theory in its first con- 
ception may be wholly ideal. Some take a premise 
and from that evolve a theory that shall be sufficient 
grotind for a hypothesis upon which a belief can be 
founded, which they insist must be accepted as a fact. 
Many metaphysical theories are as absolutely vague 
from premise to conclusion, as the above sequence 
would indicate. 

No matter how perfect an Idealistic conception of 

Metaphysics 15 

Being may be as a theory, the negation of the imperfect 
conditions, such as exist now, invalidates it as a work- 
ing hypothesis by which to give us a conception of 
Being, embracing in its proper relation the present 

It is a fact that I believe -matter exists (the word 
matter being properly defined) and not only exists but 
is indestructible. Now, I am not able to spontaneously 
change my belief, and really believe that this is an il- 
lusion. What is the cause of my believing as I do, if 
it has no basis in fact? If this belief is an imperfection, 
the hypothesis of an illusion does not satisfactorily 
account for the imperfection. 

Dreams are real, even if the substance of a dream is 
not real, and if the dreams persist in being unpleasant, 
we try to find the cavise and by so doing are able to 
remove the unpleasantness of the dream. It may be 
indigestion causing nightmare, or drugs causing hallu- 
cination, but we always premise a cause. If man's 
condition is not perfect, what is the cause of the imper- 
fection? If his beliefs are not perfect, what is the 
cause? We do not want to wait until the hereafter to 
know; we want to know now. 

I believe in Idealism, but I am of the opinion that 
many of the theories are more in the nature of ultimate 
truths than primary truths. They may be truths, but 
it wiU take time to properly prove them as such. I do 
not expect to know all the truths now; to know the 
proper relation of the tmiverse of things would require 
an eternity. It is essential to tmderstand the probleriS 
of human life as it is, and to do that, it is necessary 
to have a definite conception of the relation of 
things that are pertinent to the present just as they 
now exist. 

i6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

My conceptions are Idealistic in theory; Material- 
istic in fact ; Dualistic in energy, and Monistic in action, 
but as combined the conception is different from that 
of the adherents of any one of these schools. ^ 

' As the author beheves it embraces the essential truths in each of the 
other conceptions, he thinks it is entitled to be called "comprehensive." 



WITH these few cursory criticisms on metaphysical 
ideas we will leave, for the present, the Idealistic 
conception and take up the Materialistic conception. 
Here we are supposed to be on solid ground, in the world 
of facts, where nothing exists but matter and energy; 
where the law of cause and effect is stronger than that 
of the Medes and Persians. 

But what causes such a wonderful variety in the 
forms of matter and energy? such a co-ordinated 
scheme of things? such a co-operation of the working 
parts? This is so apparent as to lead some of the 
Materialists, in an unguarded moment, to say that it 
might easily be taken for the work of some Supreme 
Intelligence. Science is not prepared to answer this. 
Materialism has nothing to do with metaphysics or 
first causes; at least Materialists are supposed to confine 
themselves to facts. In reality they do not do so. 
Idealists may theorize in metaphysics, but they are 
generally practical in their daily lives; so Materialists 
may insist that they Hve only on facts, but the most 
successful of them theorize and perform mental and 
spiritual gymnastics equal to any metaphysician. 
From my limited observation, I think that if the aver- 
age Materialist were placed beside the average Idealist, 

a 17 

1 8 An Ur^orthodox Conception of Being 

they could not be told apart, unless labelled. The 
general opinion seems to be that the one should look 
like a pugilist, and the other like a seraph. He is 
mistaken who thinks that the Materialists confine 
themselves to facts for their conception of Being. 

Theories regarding the relation of things generally 
precede the actual knowledge of such relation. To 
illustrate : The law of gravitation is supposed to be the 
most firmly established fact of all the so-called laws of 
nature. Judging from the literature on the subject, 
the popular conception of its discovery seems to be 
about like this : Newton wanting to know what kind of 
law governed the motions of the bodies composing the 
solar system, sat down and figured day and night for 
twenty years, and then exultingly shouting, "Eureka," 
waved to all anxiously-awaiting public the answer: 
The law of gravitation ; bodies are drawn toward each 
other according to the product of their masses and 
inversely to the square of their distance. Such a 
sequence of events is not only an absiirdity, it is an 
impossibility. When Newton was asked by what 
method he arrived at his discoveries, , he answered, 
"By always thinking to them, I keep the subject 
constantly before me, and wait till the first dawn- 
ings open slowly, little by little, into a clear and full 

His conception of the law which would apply alike 
to apple and moon was precedent to the demonstration. 
In his first application of the law to the motion of the 
moon there was a failure to accord with the apparent 
facts or known quantities which are : velocity of falling 
bodies; (Had Newton believed Aristotle instead of Gali- 
leo this would not have been correct.) distance of the 
bodies; volume of the bodies. Of the latter it would 

Physics 19 

seem that there might be less known ot the moon than 
the earth, but the mistake came from accepting the 
authoritative "sixty miles to the degree" as the circum- 
ference of the earth. That his faith in his opinion was 
stronger than his belief in the supposed facts is shown 
by his action on hearing that Picard had determined 
a degree to be 69.5 miles. Newton with feverish haste 
resumed his calculations. He applied his law as a known 
quantity accounting for the momentary deflection of 
the moon's curvilinear orbit from the direct line of the 
tangent. He anticipated the result and was so over- 
powered by nervous agitation that he was unable to go 
on, and requested a friend to finish it for him. When 
finished, it exactly established the inverse square as 
the true measure of the moon's gravitation, thus 
furnishing the key to the whole system. 

Others may have before this stated the law as a 
theory. One at least took the theory that "according 
to the cube of the distance" was correct, as solids were 
proportionate to their cubes, but the specific gravity 
so discovered would hardly be within reason. Newton's 
conception of the law of gravitation was Idealistic. 
The first statement of it was a philosophical theory. 
Newton always referred to it as a theory. 

Many philosophers would have been satisfied with 
such a statement, or, at most, showing why such a law 
should apply. Newton was not solely a philosopher, 
but a scientist, and was not satisfied with simply stat- 
ing a theory. If it was capable of demonstration, he 
must demonstrate it and so at intervals for twenty 
years he worked to give a mathematical demonstration 
that the celestial bodies were related and moved ac- 
cording to a given law. Newton never said that these 
bodies moved or possessed mass because of this law. 

20 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

The law is simply a description of a certain relation of 
these bodies. If you asked a person why a car was 
moving on a track, and he told you that it was because 
it was going sixty rmles an hour, you would probably 
think him a fool, or that he was jesting. Ask any one 
what causes a body to fall to the earth, and the chances 
are that you will be told that it is the law of gravitation 
which causes it. 

Newton, the demonstrator of this law, said, that, to 
him, it was utterly inconceivable how an apple could 
faU to the ground ; how one body could influence another 
body through space. Once, when I repeated this 
statement of Newton's one man replied that Newton 
must have been a fool not to know that the apple fell 
because it was heavier than the air. This answer is 
about as satisfactory as that it fell because of the law 
of gravitation. 

My illustration shows that the idea of the relation 
came before the acceptation of it as a fact, and before 
it could be known as a fact to the demonstrator. I wish 
now to bring out a point to which I shall make more or 
less frequent reference; viz., the distortion of facts. 
We all agree that the law of gravitation is a fact (within 
certain limitations which I wiU hereafter mention), but 
a fact of what? Not a fact of cause. We give no ex- 
planations as to the cause. It is simply a fact of 
relation. Glance over the historical references to this 
discovery, and what do we find? Materialists pro- 
claiming that the motions of the heavenly bodies are 
now fully accoimted for without the necessity of an 
ultimate cause, and the theologians bringing down 
anathemas on their heads for doing away with their 
God. Galileo was damned for making the earth move, 
and now Newton was equally damned for showing how 

Physics 21 

it moved, i. e., that its motion was definitely related to 
the motions of other bodies. 

The use of the expression "law of gravitation" as a 
cause instead of a relation is pernicious. One scientist, 
whom I criticised regarding this, said, "You should no 
more object to the use of that expression in that way, 
than you would to the expression, ' sunrise, ' and ' stm- 
set': every one knows what is meant." I would also 
object to these expressions, only they are such a fixed 
part of our language as to make it useless to object. 
No statement should be made, if it can be avoided, 
which distorts facts and gives an incorrect idea of the 
true conception of Being. Some may object that this 
is simply quibbling over non-essentials, but I think 
whoever makes incorrect statements, or, I should say, 
statements incorrectly (one being a lie, and the other 
a mistake) is like one of my pupils, who seemed to give 
the correct answer to his problems, but when I looked 
over them, I could not comprehend them. He ex- 
plained that he made a 5 for a 2, and a 2 for a 3, and a 
3 for a 5. • He knew what he meant, but I did not. 
This is the impression given by many of the so-called 
popular scientific articles. 

The arithmetic from which I taught the boy just 
mentioned had the rule for subtraction, from which 
this is an extract: "If any figure of the subtrahend is 
larger than the figure of the minuend, borrow ten and 
add to that figure of the minuend before subtracting, 
then carry one and add to the next figure of the sub- 
trahend." An inconsistent conglomeration, but fol- 
lowing the rule will bring the answer, and that seemed 
sufficient reason for its persistence, for all the arith- 
metics I ever saw until those of recent date had a like 

22 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

The geography said that the earth rotated on its axis 
once each day, and revolved around the sun once each 
year. I often wondered what the author thought would 
happen if it should get a little ahead or behind time. 

The text-books on physics said that air was perfectly 
elastic; that water was perfectly elastic; that sound 
travelled through water faster than through air, be- 
cause of its greater elasticity. 

These are samples of the distortion of facts. Scient- 
ists may disclaim responsibility for such errors, but 
even if the Materialistc conception of Being were true, 
a distortion of the facts would prevent a conception of 
the facts in their true relation. 

We will take up another of the great triumphs of 
Materialism: evolution. With the exception of the 
change wrought by the recognition of the true relation 
of the attraction and motion of celestial bodies, no 
one thing has had such an effect on the ideas of men as 
the modem conception of their relation to other animate 
beings. Once again belief in the power of God was dis- 
carded for the force of the law. Scientists proclaimed ' 
the first cause Materialistic and theologians bewailed 
the waning power of God. 

What is evolution? It is not a cause. It is an effect 
or result. Referring to a revolution we would say, 
"What was the cause or reason of the revolution?" 
So of evolution, we should speak of it as something 
accomplished. Evolution was no new idea even in 
Darwin's time, but previous to that time it was only a 
philosophical idea. As a philosophical idea it was not 
very disturbing. As the Church told one of the sci- 
entists in substance: "It is alright to make your state- 
ments as philosophical theories, but when you attempt 
to demonstrate them as facts,. it is all wrong." 

Physics 23 

Darwin, being a scientist, wished to demonstrate, so 
he secured as much evidence as possible to show that 
evolution as a condition was the result of material causes. 
His hypothesis, elaborated by others, was that evolu- 
tion was caused by natural selection and survival of the 
fittest; meaning that heredity and environment were 
sufficient to account for all of the various differences 
of animate being. No need of any special creations 
here. We know what ' ' environment " is, but who knows 
what "heredity" is? Heredity is as incomprehensible 
as attraction. Darwin tried no more to show the 
cause of heredity than Newton did to show the cause 
of gravitation. 

Here we have a condition with one of its supposed 
causes acknowledged as incomprehensible, and yet this 
word, "evolution," is used as though it were the "open 
sesame" to all biological knowledge. 



IT is taken for granted that certain inconsistencies 
may exist in our theological beliefs because of our 
inability to comprehend the nature of God and man's 
true relation to Him, but when it comes to physics it is 
equally taken for granted that the facts (?) taught in 
our text-booKs are consistent. 

We might make a statement of belief that would 
perfectly satisfy a primitive Christian, but such a state- 
ment might not at all satisfy a Christian of advanced 
ideas. In stating his advanced idea enough of the 
idioms would be retained to maintain orthodoxy, but 
the interpretation of them would be so different as to 
amount to a different belief. 

It is just the same with various sci<^ntists. Haeckel 
says, "Science never retreats from a position once 
taken. ' ' The meaning conveyed is that any theory once 
acceptable to science is never given up until it is proved 
a fact. What he reaUy means (though it does not sound 
so grand), is that when science once discovers a fact it 
becomes a part of knowledge and is indestructible. 

Bacon says, "If false facts in Nature be once on foot, 
what through neglect of examination, the countenance 
of antiquity, and the use made of them in discourse, 
they are scarce ever retracted." 


Undulatory Theory 25 

It is much easier for advanced Christians to interpret 
differently the tenets of their belief than to discard 
them entirely; so it is much easier for a scientist to re- 
interpret a theory that has become current than to 
discard the idioms of that theory. 

In order to be specific I will consider the phenomena 
of sound according to the undulatory or wave theory 
of transmission. 

The pertinent point of this theory is the definition of 
the term "wave." Tyndall, Helmholtz, Mayer, and 
many others have defined and described it, and any 
text-book on physics will show a repetition of one or 
the other of these definitions. 

Ask one of the scientists of advanced ideas to define 
a wave, he will reply by giving a geometrical formula 
and possibly describe it in words by saying "a wave 
is anything periodic both in time and space." In 
refusing to be any more definite he will affirm that 
it is incomprehensible that a wave, according to the 
ordinary conception of the word, could occur in 
a medium and account for the various facts of the 

In other words, they mean that by defining and de- 
scribing the sound-wave the scientists of the past and 
the majority of the present have taken a position which 
is imtenable. But rather than repudiate the commonly 
accepted and continuously taught and supposedly 
comprehensible wave theory, they reinterpret the 
definition of wave, and in order to be orthodox still 
maintain the integrity of the wave theory. 

According to the limited definition of wave given 
above, there is absolutely no attempt to define the 
mechanism of the transmission of the sound. 

The current theory of sound does attempt to do this, 

26 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

and in my criticism of what I think is an erroneous 
conception, I admit that advanced physicists recognize 
these errors. 

I will quote as briefly as possible the current theory 
of sound and call attention to the point, that where 
the language is definite it is inconsistent; and when 
indefinite, it is interpreted in more than one way; and 
as a mechanism, it is not consistent with mechanical 

The chief inconsistency is in not discriminating 
between the mechanical movement of the air and the 
atomic movement of its particles. The fundamental 
error is in assuming that sound and its transmission are 
due to such mechanical movements of the air as are 
demonstrated to occur. 

If we say a'table is in motion, meaning that only the 
atoms of the table are in motion, we are by such a 
statement distorting the fact, because usually when we 
say "a table," we mean the form or body and not the 
material of which the body or form is composed. 

When we say undulations of the air, we must con- 
sistently mean movements of the mass of the air and 
not an atomic movement such as causes or occasions 

In the following description of sound, you will note 
that sometimes it indicates a motion of the air and 
sometimes a motion of the atom ; sometimes an undula- 
tion of the mass and sometimes a vibration of the 


Amid the grosser phenomena of acoustics the mind was 
first disciplined, conceptions being thus obtained from direct 

Undulatory Theory 27 

observation, which afterward applied to phenomena of a 
character far too subtile to be observed directly. ' 

So I will start with this theory of sottnd, which is 
the acknowledged basis for other theories of physical 
phenomena. Authorities agree, and their phraseology 
is similar, as to the theory of sound, so I will quote 
Tyndall further as an illustration. ' 

Sound we know to be due to vibratory motion. A 
vibratory tuning-fork, for example, moulds the air around 
it into imdulations or waves, which speed away on all sides 
with a certain measured velocity, impinge upon the drum 
of the ear, shake the auditory nerve, and awake in the brain 
the sensation of sound. When sufficiently near a sounding 
body we can feel^ the vibrations of the air. A deaf man, for 
example, plunging his hand into a bell when it is sounded, 
feels through the common nerves of his body those tremors, 
which, when imparted to the nerves of healthy ears, are 
translated into sound. There are various ways of render- 
ing those sonorous vibrations, not only tangible, but visible; 
and it was not tmtil numberless experiments of this kind 
had been executed that the scientific investigator abandoned 
himself wholly, and without a shadow of misgiving, to the 
conviction that what is sound within us, is outside of us, 
a motion of the air. 

It is made very plain that by this theory (which is 
the theory commonly taught for a fact), sound is a 
vibration of the air that can be actually felt by the hand, 
and which, when intercepted by the ear, is translated 
into that audibility of which we are conscious through 
the sense of hearing. 

It is recognized that sound is applied first as a term 

' Fragments of Science, page 80. 
" In each instance the italic is mine. 

28 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

representing the motion of the air, and second, as that 
of which we are conscious as being audible. When 
there is not a constant relation between the different 
methods of appHcation, there must arise ambiguity, 
unless they are identified. I will call the first the 
" sound-wave" and the second, simply "sound." 

Physics treats of the sound-wave, and its laws are 
based in accordance with the laws of physics. Our 
consciousness of sotind is on account of its audibility. 

Let us take the laws of sound (i. e., sound-wave), 
and apply them to sound. I will quote Tyndall again. 
He gives in this illustration the explosion of a toy 
balloon : 

In the case of our exploding balloon the wave of sound 
expands on all sides, the motion produced by the explosion 
being thus diffused over a continually augmenting mass of 
air. It is perfectly manifest that this cannot occur without 
an enfeeblement of the motion. Take the case of a thin 
shell of air with a radius of one foot, reckoned from the 
centre of explosion. A shell of air of the same thickness, 
but of two feet radius, will contain four times the quantity 
of matter; if its radius be three feet, it will contain nine 
times the quantity of matter; if four feet, it wiU contain 
sixteen times the quantity of matter, and so on. Thus the 
quantity of matter set in motion augments as the square of 
the distance from the centre of explosion. The intensity 
or loudness of sound diminishes in the same proportion. 
We express this law by saying that the intensity of the 
sound varies inversely as the square of the distance. ' 

Let us test this law. Standing first one foot from a 
person speaking in an ordinary tone of voice, we judge 
of its loudness, and then move to ten feet and find that 

^ Sound, page 41. 

Undulatory Theory 29 

the voice is only a hundredth part as loud; or to invert 
the experiment we stand ten feet from a person speaking, 
and upon advancing nine feet, we find that the voice 
is one hundred times louder. Try the law another 
way. A whistle at one foot would sound just as loud 
as one hundred such whistles at ten feet. You do not 
believe it? Open any text-book on "Sound" and see 
if that is not the law. 

Again, you are one hundred feet from a band playing^ 
but when you move up to ten feet, it sounds equal to 
one hundred such bands, and if you should have the 
temerity to advance within one foot, it would be one 
thousand times louder than at first. Abstird? Un- 
doubtedly, and it would be even more absurd if the law 
were made logical. 

Tyndall says, "Take a thin shell of air at one foot, 
and a thin shell of air at two feet. "Thin," according 
to his law, must mean of no measurable thickness, but 
every particle of air between the one and two feet radius 
is moved. Suppose you try to move a ball of matter 
whose radius is twice that of another ball, would you 
need only to exert four times the force ? Try it, and you 
will find that the balls are proportionate to the cubes of 
their radius, instead of proportionate to their squares. 

While the perception of various persons vary, the 
average or normal person is the judge as to the intensity 
of sound, and when theory says "the intensity of sound 
varies inversely as the square of the distance from its 
source," we know that it is not so. If the physicist 
should say, "the intensity of mechanical vibration of 
the mass of the conducting material, which is incident 
upon the generation of the phenomena which we call 
sound, decreases inversely as the square of the dis- 
tance," it would be a correct statement. 

30 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

According to the undulatory theory of sound, thou- 
sands of tons of air are set in motion by a bird singing, 
and the text-book remarks that it is wonderful how 
much energy can originate in the throat of a Httle bird. 
It is indeed wonderful, and if it were so stated in the 
Bible, instead of a text-book on physics, it would be 
called a miracle. 

It has been estimated what is the least amount of 
energy that wiU set in vibration the tympanum of the 
ear, and from the result of this, which may be found in 
a Harvard University text-book, it is estimated that a 
locust which can be heard one mile must exert energy 
enough to lift or set into vibration (which means to lift 
for a measurable distance, which distance, is called the 
amplitude), over sixty million tons. 

If scientists can accept a theory which necessitates 
such admissions, they ought not to hesitate to believe 
that the walls of Jericho fell at the blast of the horns. 

The undulatory, or "wave" theory, of soimd is based 
on the ideas of waves on the surface of the water, which 
radiate from a central disturbance. These waves have 
a length (from crest to crest is a wave length) and an 
amplitude, which is the depth of the wave from crest 
to depression or vaUey. 

There is always a certain proportion or relation 
maintained between the length and height of a water 
wave, or, as we have termed it, between the length and 
the amplitude. In the soimd-wave the air is supposed 
to be condensed to a maximum, -then it reacts, causing 
a rarefaction. The wave-length is from condensation 
to condensation, but there is no amplitude to this 
wave. The amplitude refers to the vibration of the 
source of the air wave, and the particles composing the 
air wave, and there is no relation preserved between 

Undulatory Theory 31 

the wave-length and the amplitude. The amplitude 
of vibration of one ttming-fork may produce air waves 
of twice the length of an equal amplitude in another 

Suppose we have one tuning-fork giving two hun- 
dred vibrations a second, and another one giving four 
hundred vibrations a second, but of equal length of 
vibration (amplitude), it would necessitate one fork 
vibrating faster than the other one. In the first case 
the wave-length would be about five feet, and in the 
second about half that. It is plain that the analogy 
of waves of water to waves of air is not logical unless 
all the relations are preserved. The use of the word 
"amplitude" not having any fixed relation to the wave- 
length is apt to be indefinite. In the undulatory theory 
of sound the particles of air are supposed to move only 
a short distance when the resistance of the other air 
particles force them to stop, and then to recoil. This 
motion, Uke a penduliim, is accelerated and retarded, 
having a maximum velocity at a certain point. I will 
quote again: 

"The intensity of the sound is proportional to the 
square of this maximum velocity."' 

"The distance through which the air particle moves 
to and fro, when the sound-wave passes it, is called the 
amplitude of the vibration. The intensity of the sound 
is proportional to the square of the amplitude." 

It is plain from the wording of the above laws (which 
being quoted verbatim from an authoritative source 
ought to be definite), that velocity and amplitude 
must bear a fixed relation, for if intensity is proportional 
to the square of each of them, then when intensity 
varies, each must vary in a like degree {i. e., the relation 

' Sound, page 42. 

32 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

must be constant) ; but we have seen from the illustra- 
tion previously given that velocity may be doubled 
and the amplitude remain the same, and the intensity 
(or loudness) would not necessarily be changed. 

That which would be changed is called the "pitch." 
If the pitch remains constant, then the law might 
apply to the mechanical movement. 

There seem to be three terms necessary in the eluci- 
dation of theories of the propagation of sotmd- waves ; 
— ^velocity, amplitude, and wave-length. Velocity is 
the essential in the corpuscular theory, amplitude is 
the essential in the vibratory theory, and wave-length 
is the essential in the undulatory theory. 

The condensation and rarefaction of the air with its 
accompanying generation of heat and cold is the key 
to the undulatory theory. But look through the 
illustrations of experiments and you will find none of 
them will work, if carried beyond where there is an 
actual mechanical disturbance of the air. For instance, 
let an instrument be fixed to give out twenty beats a 
second at fixed intervals, which would give wave- 
lengths of about fifty feet; let us fix a thermopile at 
four wave-lengths, and see if there is any variation in 
heat; let us fix the condenser and see if we can focus 
the sound-waves; let us fix an instrument that wiU cut 
a wave in half, in front of our ear, and see if our ear will 
detect . the variation. The mere statement of these 
experiments is sufficient to convince any one that they 
would be futile. 

Returning to Tjmdall again, we find this: 

Thus each shell of air, if I may use the term, surround- 
ing the balloon took up the motion of the shell next 
preceding, and transmitted it to the next succeeding shell, 

Undulatory Theory 33 

the motion being thus propagated as a pulse or wave through 
the air. 

The motion of the pulse must not be confounded with the 
motion of the particles which at any moment constitute the 
pulse. For while the wave moves forward considerable 
distances, each particular particle of air makes only a 
small excursion to and fro. ' 

This is quite plain that it is the pulse or wave that 
propagates the sound. He then proceeds to illustrate 
by a series of balls what he means by particles. 

The process may be readily represented by the propaga- 
tion of motion through a row of glass balls, such as are 
employed in the game of solitaire. Placing the balls along 
a groove, each of them touching its neighbor, and urging 
one of them against the end of the row; the motion thus 
imparted to the first ball is delivered to the second, the 
motion of the second is delivered to the third, the motion of 
the third is imparted to the fourth ; each ball, after having 
given up its motion, returning itself to rest. The last ball 
only of the row flies away. In a similar way is sound con- 
veyed from particle to particle through the air. The particles 
which fill the cavity of the ear are finally driven against the 
tympanic membrane which is stretched across the passage 
leading from the external ear toward the brain. 

This makes it quite plain that it is the particles that 
convey the sotind. 

Unless there is a difference between the meaning of 
the words "propagate" and "convey," there must be 
no difference as to the method of transmission; yet, we 
are cautioned not to confound the "motion" of the 
particles with the "motion" of the pulse. If we use 
the "pulse," it is the wave theory. If we use the 

' Sound, page 32. 


34 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

"particles," it is the vibratory theory. There is ab- 
solutely no fixed relation of one to the other, nor is 
there any continuity of explanation in the text-books, 
as the author shifts from one to the other. 

Why, it may be asked, is there this lack of definiteness 
and consistency in a theory so commonly accepted? 
Simply because the theory has no more bearing on 
practical life than the various reHgious theories or 
beliefs have. 

When we come to the manufacture of musical instru- 
ments, and practical acoustics, no attention is paid to 
these theories and laws of sound. Theory and practice 
in this respect absolutely do not accord. If a pipe- 
organ were built according to the laws of sound, as 
taught in our text-books, it would be of no practical 
use. Then what is the use of the text-book theories? 
Can any one tell? 

In the last quotation of Tyndall he says it is the 
"particles" which affect the tympanic membrane. 
In his previous quotation, he says, it is the "undulations 
or waves" which impinge upon the drum of the ear. 
Now, we might not think this made much difference, 
but you see we have been cautioned not to confound one 
motion with the other. You might say this ambiguity 
is the fault of the author from whom I quote, but no 
other writer that I have read is more definite. 

As I have said before, some advanced physicists 
escape the dilemma by refusing to be definite. 

The fault is with the theory, which if incorrect, 
must of necessity be indefinite in shifting from one 
phenomenon to another. 

The theory of transmission of sound is the same 
whether the medium is air, liquid, or solid. If, in the 
foregoing definition, we substitute the word "iron" 

Undulatory Theory 35 

where "air" is used, the absurdity of the description 
will be evident. 

I will now refer to the velocity of the particle in the 

When a common pendulum oscillates it tends to form 
a condensation in front and a rarefaction behind. But it 
is only a tendency; the motion is so slow, and the air is so 
elastic, that it moves away in front before it is sensibly con- 
densed, and fills the space behind before it can become 
sensibly dilated. Hence waves or pulses are not generated 
by the pendulum. It requires a certain sharpness of shock 
to produce the condensation and rarefaction which consti- 
tute a wave of sound in the air. "■ 

When Tyndall says the motion of the pendulum is 
too slow, as a contrast, he should have said it required 
a "swifter motion," instead of saying a "sharpness of 
shock." This is remedied on page 95 where he says: 

How are we to picture to ourselves the condition of the 
air through which this musical sotmd is passing? Imagine 
one of the prongs of the vibrating fork swiftly advancing; 
it compresses the air immediately in front of it, and when it 
retreats it leaves a partial vacutun behind, the process 
being repeated by every subsequent advance and retreat. 
The whole function of the tuning-fork is to carve the air 
into these condensations and rarefactions, and they, as 
they are formed, propagate themselves in succession through 
the air. A condensation with its associated rarefaction 
constitutes, as already stated, a sonorous wave. 

Here he mentions the "prongs swiftly advancing" 
as accounting for the condensation. Now as a matter 
of fact the prongs of a tuning-fork do not move through 

' Sound, page 35. 

36 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

space with as great a velocity as the pendulum. It is in 
various places stated that the velocity of the moving par- 
ticles is dependent on the velocity of vibration of the 
fork, and this would seem to be a mechanical necessity. 
As a wave is composed of these vibrating particles how 
can the wave have any greater velocity than the particles? 
Yet we know that velocity of transmission of sound is 
not dependent on the velocity of the initial vibration. 

It is stated that velocity of transmission is dependent 
on the elasticity and density of the transmitting 
medium. But that statement in no way aids to a 
comprehension of the mechanism of the transmission. 

The essential part of the undulatory or wave theory 
is the condensations and rarefactions. It is plain that 
without these there could be no wave in the substance. 
The chief way in which the physicists claim to have 
demonstrated these waves is by so-called interference. 
In the experiments on interference in sotmd there is 
no demonstration but what is misstated or misleading. 
When a student tries these experiments and does not 
get the authorized result, he does not say that authority 
is mistaken, but thinks, of course, he himself is in error 
from inaccuracy. When authority says, "turn the 
tuning-fork so the comers of the fork are toward the 
ear and absolute silence results," and the student does 
this and gets only comparative silence, he thinks he or 
the fork is to blame, for surely authority knows the 
difference between ' ' absolute ' ' and ' ' comparative. ' ' The 
student has been told that this "absolute silence," (?) 
when the comers of the fork are turned toward the ear, 
is caused by the wave from one prong interfering with 
the wave from the opposite prong, i. e., condensation 
from one prong coinciding with the rarefaction from 
the other prong. If the student happens to notice that 

Undulatory Theory 37 

the same result occurs when there is only one prong or 
single vibrating bar, i. e., at certain angles the intensity 
of the sound is less, he may wonder where the inter- 
ference comes from, but as there is comparative silence 
he supposes it must come from somewhere and 
so accepts interference as a necessary cause and 
investigates no farther. 

In all cases of the so-called demonstrations of the wave 
theory by interference, the comparative lessening of 
sound can be explained in other ways, and many cases of 
lessening intensity of sound cannot be at all explained by 
using the interference interpretation of the wave theory. 

Many other criticisms could be made of the un- 
dulatory theory of the transmission of sound but space 
forbids. It is hardly likely that any scientist will 
change his opinion on account of these criticisms, for 
psychology shows that when one absolutely believes 
in a thing or theory it is difificult to receive any exterior 
suggestion contrary to that belief. 

I win go one step farther on this subject of sotmd. 
We finally reached the tympanum of the ear, by which- 
ever route you prefer, "particles" or "waves." How 
the sound-wave is translated into soimd is more 
of a study in physiology than physics. About the 
only attempt at explanation of the fimction of any 
of the various organs in the translation is the theory 
that the Corti cords vibrate in synchronism with 
the various sound-waves that enter the ear. When 
it is objected that it is a physical impossibility 
for a definite number of fixed cords of definite size to 
vibrate in an infinite variety of ways, the physiologist 
explains that some auditory nerve perceives the pitch, 
and excites a muscle, which regulates the tension of 
the cords. While this is theoretically possible, it is 

38 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

practically Impossible; but even if it were possible, of 
what use would the cords be if there is a nerve which 
could perceive and recognize the variation in pitch, 
previous to the action of the Corti cords? 

Rather than accept such a crude explanation, it were 
better to leave it and say with Tyndall, "it is a mystery 
which the human mind cannot fathom." 

In leaving the subject of sotmd, I wish to emphasize 
one point: when we, as human beings, speak of sound, 
we ordinarily mean that which is audible; which is 
perceived as sensation through the sense of hearing, 
and we may through this sense of hearing perceive 
sound, when no motion of any kind can be detected 
by any instrument made by man. 

I wiU endeavor later to give a consistent theory of 
the transmission of sovmd. 

In taking up the subject of light, I will quote again 
from Tyndall: 

We never could have measured the waves of light, nor 
even imagined them to exist, had we not previously exer- 
cised ourselves among the waves of sound. Sound and 
light are mutually helpful, the conceptions of each being 
expanded, strengthened, and defined by the conceptions 
of the other. 

The ether which conveys the pulses of light and heat not 
only fills celestial space, swathing suns, and planets, and 
moons, but it also encircles the atoms of which these bodies 
are composed. It is the motion of these atoms, and not that 
of any sensible parts of bodies that the ether conveys. 
This motion is the objective cause of what, in our sensa- 
tion, are light and heat. An atom, then sending its pulses 
through the ether, resembles a tuning-fork sending its 
pulses through the air. ' 

' Fragments of Science, page 83. 

Undulatory Theory 39 

You will notice that the undulatory theory of light 
is based on that same theory of sound, and all the 
arguments that might be used against the validity of 
such a theory applies here. Then it will be noticed 
that the same ambiguity is present as to whether it is 
the motion of the particles {i. e., atomic vibration), or 
the waves or pulse which occasions this conveyance. 

In addition, with the effect of intensifying the ambi- 
guity already existing, a new medium is brought into 
existence to perfect the undulatory theory of light. 
This medium, called the " luminif erous ether," is some- 
thing which has not been described except in a 
self-contradictory way, which is acknowledged to be 
absolutely inconceivable as a substance, and which is 
not supposed to be at all necessary except as a part 
of the undulatory theory of light. 

What do we ordinarily mean by light? We mean 
that which is perceived by our consciousness as lumi- 
nosity. When we talk about the "invisible light 
waves," it is a paradox. 

We frequently see the assertion that heat, electricity, 
and ligh't are interchangeable; but light is not inter- 
changeable with heat as may be shown by two illu- 

1. Before an ordinary ray of the stm or electric 
lamp, place a screen of a proper iodide compound and 
the luminous portion of the ray is cut off, but the heat 
and actinic rays are uninterrupted. 

2. On placing a proper ammonia compound in the 
ray, the heat and actinic rays are cut off while the 
luminous rays pass. 

In hundreds of recorded tests of these experiments, 
there is in the first no measurable loss of energy by the 
abstraction of the light rays; and in the second there 

40 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

is no way of measuring the intensity of the light rays, 
as there is present in these rays no measurable amount 
of energy. Regarding these experiments I insert this 
quotation from Molecular Physics'^ : 

In other words, the luminous radiation intercepted, 
though competent to excite vividly the sense of vision, 
was, when expressed in terms of actual energy, absolutely 
incapable of measurement. 

We find it is true of light as of sound that the organs 
of sense can detect forms of energy which are absolutely 
immeasurable by any instrument made by man. Be- 
cause rays are known to exist and instruments are 
made to detect heat, actinic, and various other rays of 
which we would otherwise be unconscious, some jump 
to the conclusion that these instruments are more sensi- 
tive than the eye. But the eye is no more intended to 
detect any ray but the luminous ray, than the nose is 
made to see. Quite to the contrary, the eye is especially 
formed to cut off any other kind of ray. In the first 
experiment, just stated, the non-luminous rays with an 
intensity sufficient to kindle wood or melt iron might 
be focused directly into the pupil of the eye, and no effect 
would be perceived; that is, no sensation would result. 

It can be seen that light can be separated from the 
heat and actinic rays which usually accompany it, 
and that there is no measurable relation between them; 
yet, all the laws, rules, and regulations are made from 
observed measurements of heat or actinic rays, and 
then by analogy applied to light. When the law thus 
derived tells us that one candle at one foot from the 
eye is as bright as one hundred candles at ten feet, 
our sense of sight does not sanction the law. 

' Page 266. 

Undulatory Theory 41 

I will consider the part of physics called heat. 

The subject of heat is so thoroughly complicated 
and indefinite that I hardly know how to approach it. 
There is no authoritative definition of heat. Most 
people would say, "It is the higher variations of tem- 
perature." It is frequently inferred as a cause, by 
the expression, "the expansive power of heat." It is 
scientifically accepted as a "mode of motion." If we 
accept heat as a "mode of motion," what definite terms 
have we to apply to "the force of expansion," "the 
repulsive power," "the innate elasticity," etc.? 

This word heat has no constant definition. Ex- 
pressing either cause or effect, and frequently expressing 
both in the same sentence, it is useless to try to give 
any common conception of heat. But whatever the 
conception we must take the language as we find it. 

"Radiation of heat" is a frequent expression. Tyn- 
dall said: 

Ages ago the elementary constituents of our rocks clashed 
together and produced the motion of heat, which was taken 
up by the ether and carried away through stellar space. 
It is lost forever as far as we are concerned. 

Proctor says': 

It may be asked what becomes of the heat that is radiated 
from the sun and other stellar bodies? We cannot tell, 
all we know is that it is not lost. 

That reminds me of the little boy, who, when cross- 
ing the ocean, dropped his knife overboard, and being 
twitted upon having lost it, he answered: "It is not 
lost, for I know right where I dropped it." So of the 

'Other Worlds than Ours, page 91. 

42 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

heat which scientists say has for endless ages been 
radiating into space. We know it is all out there in 
space, because it could not get away. It may be "lost 
to us forever," but it is there. A satisfactory sort of 
conception, is n't it? 

I wish to insert here an extract from a work of Sir 
Oliver Lodge': 

Heat like water can travel in only two ways, by conduc- 
tion and by convection. Radiation is not conveyance 
of heat. If water were dissociated in one planet and carried 
to another planet as gas and there recombined as water it 
would not be water travelling from one planet to another. 
Nor would that which travelled obey the laws of the motion 
of water. 

What is it that has travelled? For water and gas 
we have a common name, "Matter." Have physicists 
a common name for "heat" and "radiation"? 

Let us examine this radiating closer, and see if we 
can find out how it is done. The definition of radiation 
is "shooting out" or "throwing off." If a ball is 
thrown off the earth, the initial throwing force, being 
terminated, is finally overcome by the power of attrac- 
tion, which is constant, and the ball returns. At the 
outward end of its radius there is nothing "thrown off." 
It might touch a spider's web without bending it. The 
ball returns intact. Because for an infinitely small 
space of time the motion of the ball has ceased, we 
would not say that it had been radiated. 

Now instead of the ball, let us take one exterior atom 
in the chromosphere of the sun. This atom is thrown 
off by some force, but is held by the power of attraction. 
We might suppose this atom to be expelled beyond the 

' Modern Ideas of Electricity, page 66. 

Undulatory Theory 43 

power of attraction to draw back, but to suppose this 
would be to admit the old corpuscular theory of light, 
which we do not beHeve accords with facts. But if we 
agree that the atom does not go beyond the pale of 
attraction, then there is a time when the attraction, 
which is constant, must overcome the initial force 
which is terminated. We have said the outward 
motion is overcome by attraction. There is nothing 
else to stop it. There is no friction from a passage 
through the atmosphere, for this is part of the atmos- 
phere. It is not stopped by contact with other atoms, 
for this is supposedly the outside atom. It is not 
stopped by the ether for, according to the description 
of ether, it is a non-resisting medium. 

We say of the ball that in its fall to the earth it gener- 
ates just as much force as was first required to throw it 
off. Why should not this hold good of the atom, and 
why should it not in its rettim generate energy equal 
to the initial force? But to come again to the point; 
just what is it that is radiated? We agree that the 
atom is not radiated into space. Is it the motion? 
We said of the ball that no motion was lost, and it 
seems equally true of the atom. But suppose it were 
a motion. Has any Materialist made the attempt to 
define a motion apart from a thing moved ? Suppose we 
say it is the ether that moves. What moves the ether? 
Unless we admit that the ether is a resisting medium, 
the atom could not have moved it. Is it the force which 
is radiated? If so, what is the force? It cannot be heat, 
for scientists say, "heat is simply a mode of motion." 
But if they insist that it is a force which moves the 
ether, then I say, that to assert that an immaterial, un- 
named force moves an immaterial, indescribable medium, 
is to sink physics pretty deeply into metaphysics. 

44 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Practically the only accuracy in physics is found in 
that part which might be classed under the head of 
mechanics and mathematics. 

If the theories of physics were in accordance with 
the facts, that is, if our conception of Being was cor- 
rect, there need be no indefiniteness in our descriptions 
or definitions of anything which we could really 

As I have said before, the misconception arising from 
the use of certain words limits the effect of the language 
by which we must try to define this conception, — but 
I shall make the attempt nevertheless. 

A different conception is not necessarily a revolu- 
tionary conception. I think that my conception is not 
revolutionary though some of the theories might be 
called "revolutionary theories." (The reason for call- 
ing them revolutionary theories may be seen farther 
on.) As a conception it is more in the nature of shift- 
ing the relations than of generating or opening any new 
mine of knowledge. 



BEFORE entering on an expression of my own 
conception, I wish to consider briefly the orthodox 
theological views. 

Practically all of the theological views are Dualistic. 
Not a great many years ago people were ready to fight 
for their theological views, and to compel others by 
physical force to adopt their opinions. This proselyt- 
ing by force has now happily passed, and even the spirit 
of intolerance and religious ostracism is rapidly passing. 
I wish to add a word to accelerate the passing. 

The fact should be emphasized that knowledge, 
opinion, beUef, and faith are not synonymous terms. 
No matter how loud a man may shout, " I know that 
my Redeemer Hveth," he is using incorrect language. 
That quotation may express the opinion of many; 
many may believe it implicitly ; and their faith that it 
is so may be immovable, but "knowledge" is a super- 
lative term, which shotdd be more sacred than to be 
used to define things that cannot be known. 

The writings of various religions, which are believed 
by many to be inspired and to be infallible, have no 
authoritative weight with those who do not so believe. 
The proper interpretation of these writings is a matter 
of faith with some, a matter of belief with many, and a 


46 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

matter of opinion with few, but it is a matter of knowl- 
edge to none. 

So far as I am concerned, I do not believe that 
"eternal salvation" could hinge on the interpretation 
and acceptance of a statement which could be misin- 
terpreted or be subject to a doubt. 

Paul may have known that he saw Christ in a cloud, 
but when he tells me that he saw him, should I find it 
necessary to form an opinion, I may believe that he did 
see him, or I may believe it to be an illusion or a delu- 
sion; and then again, I should feel perfectly free to 
think it a wilful lie, if the evidence tended that way. 

It will no doubt be said that I am antagonizing re- 
ligion. The truth of the assertion will depend on the 
definition we give rehgion. I might fill pages with 
equally authoritative definitions of religion. I will 
give four covering a wide range of opinion. 

Seneca — To know God and imitate Him. 

Kant — Religion consists in our recognizing all our duties 

as Divine commands. 
Dr. Martineau — Religion is a belief in an everlasting 

God; that is, a Divine mind and will, ruling 

the Universe, and holding moral relations with 

RusKiN — Our national religion is the performance of church 

ceremonies, and preaching of soporific truths (or 

untruths) to keep the mob quietly at work while 

we amuse ourselves. 

I will add my own definition: "To know God." 
This last definition I think shotdd be first. (However, 
according to my conception the word "God" as used 
here is tautological.) 

To one who shies at the name of Cod, my opinion 

Theology 47 

will appear ultra-religious. To one who has (or thinks 
he has) a comprehensive conception of God and an 
opinion of how He is to be imitated, my opinion may 
appear Atheistic. To one who thinks our duties call 
for a sacrifice of the Here to the Hereafter, my opinion 
may appear iconoclastic. To one who is satisfied with 
his belief in God, my opinion may appear to be sacri- 
legious. To one whose faith is simply credulity, as 
Ruskin suggests, my opinion will probably not appear 
at all except in a very indirect way. Because many 
religious people are pious, that pretence we term 
"pietism" commonly parades as religion, which has 
resulted in bringing obliquity on the word "religion." 

"But," says one, "while you may have a form of 
religion, you attack Christianity." The truth of that 
assertion would depend on the definition we give to 
Christianity. There is no accepted authoritative 
definition. In fact, no definition can be formulated 
that would be at all characteristic of each and every 
class professing to be Christians. Think for a moment 
how wide a range of diversified opinions are necessarily 
grouped tmder the word "Christian." We can readily 
see that an opinion cannot be expressed without assail- 
ing or being in opposition to some other opinion. 
Defining a Christian as a follower of Christ is no more 
definite than the word itself. If any Christian form of 
religion can be embraced within my definition of 
religion, well and good. 

But any form of religion, be it Christian or anti- 
Christian, which is found to be inconsistent, with the 
facts or our increasing knowledge of God, must of 
necessity be abandoned eventually. This statement 
appears incontrovertible. Therefore, in otu: search 
after God that we may know Him, let us not dispute 

48 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

about the forms of the religion which we may eventually 

Heterodoxy is no longer considered a crime. While 
every heterodoxy may never be orthodox, certain it is 
that every orthodoxy was once heterodox. 

To those who believe the Bible, let me refer them to 
the place where Christ said': 

"I have yet many things to say, but ye cannot bear 
them now." 

Patdsaid in substance^: 

Ye have need of milk, because ye are not able to 
bear meat. Only those are able to bear meat who by 
use of their reason know good from evil. 

If you believe the Bible, you must believe that some- 
times people by the use of their reason will know good 
from evil and wiU be ready to be weaned from the 
traditional beliefs, rules, and regulations, and advance 
to something higher. Because the babe grows and 
prospers on milk is no good reason why it shoidd never 
give up such a diet. If, through a weak fear of a change, 
it is not 9:iven or will not take any different diet, it will 
never attain the stature of a man. If God ever could 
speak to man. He can speak to him now; so it were 
better to get the mind advanced from the message of 
two thousand years ago, and open it for the reception 
of the message of to-day. 

I do not believe a correct conception of God's message 
will be revolutionary, but evolutionary. Our concep- 
tions of Being have not all been wrong, but we wiU agree 
that some of them have been wrong and some of them 
may still in part be wrong. Let us be free to compare 
our own opinions and beliefs with those of others and 
choose that which is good. 

•St. Johnxvi: 12,13. » Hebrews v: 11. 

Theology 49 

No doubt criticism will be made by those to whom 
the terms "religion" and "Christianity" convey a 
specific idea. To many they may seem synony- 

The greatest difficulty encotintered is to cause single 
words to convey the exact idea intended ; many words, 
such as power, desire, force, fear, law, love, spirit, 
express ideas susceptible of different construction. It is 
impracticable to modify each word each time it is used. 
It is also impossible to convey a definite idea of this 
conception in any single statement or chapter. 

When reading this over, do not jump at conclusions 
and by putting your own construction on words think 
they express ideas contrary to the truth. 

So great a man as Daniel Webster, when walking on 
the bank of a river one day, disputed his friend's word. 
The friend had said that they were on the other bank 
of the river. Webster denied it and immediately 
offered to bet a hat that his friend could not prove the 
statement. "Done," said the friend, "that is one 
bank over there, is it not?" pointing across the river. 
"Certainly," said Webster. "Well, this is the other 
bank, is it not?" Webster could not deny it, so lost 
the hat. 

Now I do not want to prove that we are on the 
other bank of the river; but I think, without a quib- 
ble, I can show you that the other bank is not so far 
off as we usually think, and possibly may be right 
under our feet. 

Members of the human race all over the earth are 
struggling for a solution of the question, "How can 
we obtain our desires and be happy?" There are 
thousands of different and seemingly contradictory 
answers and most of them have that final despondent 

50 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

reply, "Not until we get to the other bank of the 

Where, in the teachings of Christ or the Apostles, 
can you find proof of such necessity? "Now is the 
accepted time; now is the day of salvation." 



IN my conception of Being I am governed by certain 
simple principles which may be more easily com- 
prehended from an understanding of the philosophy of 
the conception than from a statement of these prin- 
ciples in advance. Yet with the hope of aiding the 
reader to keep the drift of the conception, I will give a 
brief statement of the essential points. 

There are two and only two first causes or uncaused 
Entities or Essences. These I term Power and Force. 
As these names give only a physical conception I name 
them also Desire and Fear. Power is atomic in its 
structure, each atom being an individual Desire, pos- 
sessing consciousness, memory, and volition. Associ- 
ated with each atom of Power is a certain (not constant) 
amount of Force, which, as a motor, is essential in all 
material forms and manifestations of energy. The 
Power of an atom never changes. The Force associated 
with an atom may change from one atom to another 
but always as some peculiar form of motion. Univer- 
sally, Power controls Force; locaUy, Force may over- 
come Power. Power and Force are manifest as the 
Supreme Being or Universe. 

I am asked to define Power and Desire, Force and 
Pear. Can the Idealist define the Absolute? Will 


52 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the Materialist attempt to define Nature? Does the 
DuaUst give a definition of God? Must the Monist 
define the Universe? 

Socrates has already been quoted. "Define terms 
and discussion ceases"; but it is impossible to define 
the indefinite. 

Suppose I am asked to define eternity, and I say that 
eternity is the infinite or indefinite extension of time. 
I define by saying that it is indefinite, which is negative 
or no definition at all. That definition may give you 
some idea of what I mean by the term eternity and that 
my use of the word designates a time relation and not 
a space relation. 

We must assume that some ideas are comprehensible. 
We may claim to comprehend that the relation of an 
hour to a minute is definite because it is measurable. 
Time is a definite term only to the degree in which we 
can measure it. When we, in our conception, extend 
the idea of time to where, by any figure of speech or 
by imagination, it is impossible to measure it, and we 
call it eternity, we express by the term a time relation, 
but an absolutely indefinite, unmeasurable, and in- 
comprehensible relation, excepting that it is a time 

This definition of what I mean by the term eternity is, 
I think, practically what any one means by the word, 
for the reason that eternity is the only term used in 
our language to express this particular idea. All agree 
that I use the word in the proper form because all use 
it in that manner. 

When I attempt to define what I mean by the terms 
Power and Desire, Force and Fear, I do not find so 
ready acceptance of my definition, because these specific 
terms are used in expressing other and different ideas, 

Power 53 

and the ideas which I wish to express by these terms 
are also expressed by a great variety of terms. 

The choice of the term is, of course, simply arbitrary. 
I might, as many have done before, invent new terms 
and thus avoid a conflict, but the extra mental effort 
necessary to carry an old idea through the vehicle of a 
new word more than offsets any advantage gained. 

The use of two terms to define one entity is to me an 
absolute necessity because I am making the attempt 
to more definitely relate the abstract to the concrete, 
noumena to the phenomena, than I think is done by 
other conceptions. 

We accept intervals of time as being definite and 
measurable, but they are measurable only by a given 
body moving a definite distance through space. In- 
numerable pages have been wasted in the effort to 
elucidate an idea of time and space, independent of 
each other and of material being. 

Time and space are aspects of the relation of material 
being, but are actually inseparable aspects, although 
abstractly we use the terms separately. 

Power and Desire, Force and Fear are inseparable 
actually, but as aspects we must consider them 

Time and space, right and left, top and bottom, 
centre and circumference, are inseparable as aspects 
but separate in reality. 

Power and Desire, Force and Fear, are inseparable 
in reality but are separable as aspects. 

I mean by the term Power to convey the idea of the 
primary cause of phenomena, which might be designated 
by such terms as attraction, gravity, cohesion, affinity, 
love. This, according to my idea, is the Supreme or 
greatest motor. 

54 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I conceive this Power to have an intelligent motive, 
and this aspect I designate as the Desire. 

I conceive of no spontaneous movement without a 
motive and as the movement would be a materialization 
of the Power, so it would also be a manifestation of the 
Desire. In the materialization of Power and the mani- 
festation of Desire, I conceive there is necessary a 
resistancy or a different form of motion; the cause of 
this I term Force. To every form of Desire there is a 
certain inhibitive which I term Fear. 

I consider that we, as human beings, are a material- 
ization of Power and a manifestation of Desire, and that 
in the evolution of this form Force and Fear are essential. 
The manifest materialization which we term Being is 
cognized, recognized, perceived, interpreted, and con- 
ceived only through that material portion called the 
five sense organs. It is immaterial to us, as htmian 
beings, whether or not there are other manifestations of 
the Supreme Desire. It is not important what specific 
terms be used to designate the First Causes, but if true, 
it is pertinent to a correct conception that we recognize 
that there are two and only two entities which are the 
primary cause and Occasion of all phenomena. 

The truth in an idea makes it ideal and when there is 
a definite and true relation between the real and the 
ideal, the ideal may be realized and become a reality. 

The foregoing principles so briefly stated must be 
sufficient to account for all the phenomena of nature, 
consistently, logically, and as a whole, more simply 
than any other conception, or it is lacking in value. 

I wish, however, to have the reader governed by 
certain standards of criticism. The conception is 
philosophic rather than scientific. 

I wish the reader to thoroughly comprehend the 

Power 55 

difference between scientific and philosophic. Science 
treats of phenomena and their relation, and its facts are 
demonstrated by universally admitted assumptions. 
The causes of phenomena are considered abstractly on 
account of their being metaphysical. 

Philosophy treats of the causes of phenomena con- 
cretely and endeavors to demonstrate logically by 
assumptions which are not universally admitted and 
which may be with equal weight denied. A falling ball 
may be a scientific fact, but gravitation at one time was 
only a philosophic idea. And that there could be a 
"law of gravitation" was quite an advanced philosophic 
idea. That gravitation is caused by attraction is solely 
a philosophic assumption. 

Philosophic ideas become scientific only as they 
become universally admitted, and yet the tiniversal 
admission of an idea does not determine the truth of 
the idea. 

Scientist and theologian must be dogmatic. The 
philosopher is inconsistent if he is dogmatic. The 
scientist assumes to know physical facts. The theo- 
logian assumes to know spiritual facts. The philosopher 
assumes certain relations to exist between the physical 
and the spiritual. The scientist also knows that to the 
physical there is a co-existent psychical (spiritual). 
The theologian also knows that spirituality must have 
an object. The philosopher tries to make the records 
accord and be in concord. Each is a specialist. Each is 
a necessity in the development of humanity. But as 
each is impressed with his own importance he is prone 
to discredit the relative importance of the other. 

To my mind the term philosopher is the highest 
designation ever applied to man. The ordinary artisan 
may call himself a scientist and every pulpit pounder 

56 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

does call himself a theologian, but of those who have 
attained a place in history you will notice that the ma- 
jority have "and philosopher" appended to their other 
qualifications, and it was being a philosopher (thinker) 
that occasioned their advance in their specialties. 

Returning our attention to the expression of the 
conception we will admit that to be true it must be 
consistent, not only internally with its various state- 
ments and definitions, but with demonstrable facts. 
It must be logical and desirable. It must be as lucid 
as possible, which is accomplished to a degree by premis- 
ing no secondary "unknown causes" nor complicating 
the conception by having more attributes of the "first 
causes" than actually necessary to completeness. 

Materialists and Monists will admit that we do not 
yet know all that may be known of Nature and its 
Laws. Idealists and Dualists will admit that we do 
not yet know all that may be known of God and 
His will. Each will admit that the other does know 

Do not consider me presumptuous or lacking in 
appreciation of the work of others when I attempt to 
take thesv? somethings which may be apprehended by 
one and not the other and form them together as one. 
I call it a synthetic philosophy; a conception new only 
in its synthecism. 

Naturally the first thing to consider in a conception 
of Being is what is commonly spoken of as matter, that 
which composes the things of Nattire. Idealists say, 
"Things are not what they seem." MateriaHsts pre- 
mise all phenomena on matter. DuaHsts make matter 
a result external to the cause. Monists say that the 
cause is inherent. These are various ways of conceiving 
matter, but they are not irreconcilable. 

Power 57 

We say we know that matter exists because it has 
weight, but we assume it has weight because it is at- 
tracted. Then attraction causes weight. We say we 
know that matter exists because it is impenetrable, has 
density. But we assume it has density because it is 
attracted. Then attraction causes density. Matter 
has affinity; but affinity is only a specific name for 
attraction. Attraction causing weight we term gravi- 
tation. Attraction causing density we term cohesion. 
Attraction causing compounds we call affinity. There 
are other special ways in which attraction acts to 
which we give special names, but all are some form of 
attraction, and in all these numerous ways we say 
attraction is the power or cause of various phenomena 
in matter. In reality the most comprehensive defini- 
tion of matter is this: "Matter is the manifestation of 
the power of attraction." This does not mean that 
attraction has the power to create matter, nor does it 
mean that attraction is the same as matter. It means 
that primarily there is a power and that matter is a 
manifestation of that power, but not necessarily that 
it is the only manifestation of that power. Now, all 
will admit the existence of power. Idealists may call 
it a Good Spirit, Nirvana, or any other name. Mate- 
rialists may call it Attraction, First Cause, or any other 
name. DuaUsts may call it God, Deum, or any other 
name. Monists may call it the Ultimate, Absolute, 
or any other name. 

We agree that there is a power. We will call it a 
Supreme Power because it is the greatest power. One 
side will admit that Attraction is the greatest power 
known, while the other side will assert that God is the 
greatest power. Even this difference in a name is a 
quibble. A definition of Attraction and Love may be 

58 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the same, and "God is Love." Now I do not expect 
to bow my knee to the name of God, or Baal, or Nature, 
nor do I expect you to do so. 

Let us start with A Power, or The Power, and you may 
presume that I mean any Deity that you prefer. You 
may suggest that it is not philosophic to start from the 
"unknown," but that which all admit, must be known. 
We all admit the existence of A Power. Also, we must 
admit there has been no known deviation of this Power, 
nor is it desirable that there ever should be any devia- 
tion; therefore, according to a previous statement, this 
is as near as we may come to an absolute truth. Then 
according to any standard of logic, nothing could be 
more positively known than the existence of The 
Power. Starting then from an admitted assumption, 
the existence of The Power, we will go a step farther 
in the conception of Being. 

Admitting the existence of the Power, what is the 
next essential to a Being? or to a manifestation of 
that Power? It is Desire. Any manifestation of 
Power with no Desire would be chaos, but under any 
conception of Being chaos does not exist. One side 
says that Power is manifest according to the Law of 
Nature; the other side says that the manifestation is 
according to the Will of God. I say that the Desire 
of the Power is manifest in Being. The real meaning 
in each expression is the same, the wording simply 
showing that the conceptions differ. I think Desire 
is the most expressive word. Law seems to properly 
express the Materialistic idea of mechanical action. 
Will seems to properly express the Dualistic idea of 
exterior wisdom. Desire seems to properly express the 
conception of an intelligent spontaneous manifestation. 
The manifestation must come from the dictates of 

Power 59 

Desire to the Power; or wording it differently, the 
manifestation is according to the dictates of the Desire 
of the Power. 

Power and Desire are two different aspects of the 
One. There is no one word which expresses both 
aspects, so of necessity I use two; but always bear in 
mind that in the conception they are inseparable, one 
and the same. That I may sometimes refer to them as 
plural and sometimes as singular does not invalidate 
the conception, because nowhere is the idea of separate- 
ness necessitated. Power would be void without 
Desire. Desire would be impotent without Power. 

Now we wUl take the third step. The Desire of the 
Power would be futile unless it were manifested. The 
Desire of the Power must be manifested to be perfected. 
If a Supreme Power had a Desire, there would be 
nothing to prevent a manifestation of that Desire. Its 
manifestation or materialization following of necessity 
would be an integral part. Therefore, the Power, the 
Desire, and the Materialization are One. It is difficult 
to conceive of either as separate from the other. 

Scientists speak of "the forces of Nature," "the Law 
of Nature," and the material in which Nature is mani- 
fest; each a different aspect of Nature, but an essential 
and inseparable part of Nature. The Power of Being, 
the Desire for Being, and the Manifestation as Being 
express exactly the same thing. 

Theologians speak of the Power of God; and the 
Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost; and the Son of God, 
or God made manifest in the flesh. They speak of 
them as "Three in one, the same and inseparable," 
"The mysterious Trinity." It is a mystery so far as 
the Trinity of Nature is a mystery, so far as Being is a 
mystery, so far as anything beyond otur actual com- 

6o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

prehension is a mystery. Yet it is as simple as any 
fact of metaphysics. 

Every conception of Being must contain in some 
form these three elemental ideas: Power, Desire, Mani- 
festation. The triune aspect of the One. 

Being, as a whole or in part, or any phase of Being, 
is the MateriaKzation or the Manifestation of Power, 
presupposing Desire which occasions it to be as it is; 
or we may conceive Being as the Materialization or 
Manifestation of Desire, which presupposes the Power 
to be what it is. 

So far, I expect the reader to agree with me,x)f course, 
with mental reservation as to the construction he will 
put on the language. I admit that the statement, 
"Being is the Manifestation of Power and Desire," 
is not absolutely definite. It might be Idealistic or. 
Materialistic, as one chose to interpret the language. 

I do not wish by being too definite to awaken an- 
tagonism in the beginning, but I wish to emphasize the 
fact that this conception is that of a human being, and 
stated in language that is to be taken literally and it is 
given in words as definite as I am able to find. 

As human beings we claim to be conscious and have 
a degree of intelHgence. As Beings we are a part of 
the Manifestation of the Power and Desire. 

Now right here is where my readers are going to fly 
off at a tangent, just because I am going to be a little 
more specific in my definitions. And they will depart, 
some one way and some another. Yes, I mean that 
every particle of Being is a manifestation of that Power 
and that Desire. I do not mean that God through 
His Power and according to His Desire created us out of 
nothing and wound up the Being of the Universe and 
after that remained a mere passive spectator. Nor do 

Power 6i 

I mean that pre-existent material was set in motion by 
some unknown Power and according to an Absolute 
(but unconscious and therefore tmintelligent) Law we 
have developed to our present conscious state. I mean 
that I, as a human being, form my conception of the 
Power and Desire from its manifestations. 

I am conscious, I cotdd not act intelligently imless I 
were conscious. The Power could not act on impulse 
from the Desire unless it were conscious of that Desire. 
The Desire could not dictate an act imless it were con- 
scious of that Power. So, I say, the Power and Desire 
are conscious or self-conscious, if such a word is more 

A continued consciousness is memory. This is ne- 
cessary for what we call experience. We see actions 
of manifestations which are not the result of the 
experience of that specific part of that manifestation, 
and therefore we are forced to conclude that the ex- 
perience is from the memory of the Power and Desire. 
(This statement will be illustrated farther on.) 

One other attribute must be admitted, unless we sup- 
pose Being to be the result of mechanical and automatic 
movement (in which case consciousness and memory 
would be useless), and that attribute is Volition. 

Consciousness, memory, and volition are not crea- 
tions of the Power, but are attributes of the Power. 
Each one of these attributes will be considered more 
fully in other chapters. 

"I" am an individual. That statement sounds 
simple and I hear no protest. But I must try to define 
my meaning. First, the meaning of "individual"; 
I use the word in its primary meaning, single, one, 
indivisible. According to this definition "I" cannot 
mean only the objective human being, for that is divis- 

62 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

ible. It does not. " I " in this case means the individ- 
ual who is conscious as an individual, who has memory 
and volition; the Ego; an atom, often conceived as the 
Soul. This is a statement with which some will agree 
and some will not. But in any case it is incapable of 
proof or disproof. Science accepts the atomic theory, 
but it is not proven. There has been some controversy, 
but here I think the acceptance of the definition of 
terms would stop the controversy. 

The definition I take is, "An atom is the smallest 
division of matter." We all admit that matter is 
divisible. Take a division we call a tree. We can 
divide it until it ceases to be a tree, but it is a tree unto 
the smallest division which contains its characteristic 
form. A subdivision of this would be a piece of wood. 
This can be divided until it ceases to be wood, but it 
continues to be wood down to the smallest piece that 
can retain its characteristic fibre. It then becomes 
organic substance, which under frequent division it 
continues to be until it loses its characteristic features. 
Still it is a particle of material. This may be theoret- 
ically divided into molecules. A molecule is the 
smallest particle of matter which can maintain its 
character as a compound. There might be one molecule 
of water but if this were divided it would cease to be 
water. Theoretically there is no point at which division 
must cease, but practically there must be such a point 
or matter would be homogenous, which it demonstrably 
is not. Instead of saying, "All matter is infinitely 
divided," it seems more lucid to say, " Matter is divided 
into particles of tmdefinable limits, which particles we 
call atoms." 

If, under the Supreme Power and Desire, there are 
limits to the division of matter (although these limits 

Power 63 

are to us indefinite), and these limits have not been 
transcended, then we can presume to say logically 
that the smallest divisions are indivisible, which they 
must be, as no greater Power exists to transcend the 

Approaching this differently we might say, "The 
atom is the primary materiaHzation of the Power and 
Desire"; or we might say, "The atoms are the elements 
of the matter which is the manifestation of the Power 
and Desire." These atoms are sometimes called "Cen- 
tres of force," or "Power centralized." (A certain 
theory as to the construction of matter has brought 
into use the terms ions and electrons, which are called 
smaller divisions of matter than atoms, which is con- 
trary to our definition of atom, but this wiU be referred 
to later.) 

I have said that the Supreme Power dictated by 
Desire is manifested in material Being. As a whole we 
might call this the Supreme Being, or the Universe. 
I have premised that it is atomic in structure and its 
attributes are consciousness, memory, and volition. 

I will lirnit my terms here by an illustration. I have 
spoken of myself as a human being, also as an Ego. 
As a human being, because I have being or a body; 
and as a "human" in contradistinction to other beings. 
I spoke of myself as an Ego, because I believe I have a 
consciousness, memory, and voUtion, which observation 
teaches me is not possessed by the body as a separate 

As a human being I am composed of a physical part, 
a mental part, and a material part. My physical 
power cannot be known xmtil it is shown. My mental 
power cannot be known until it is displayed. It is 
through the material body that these powers are de- 

64 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

monstrated. Let the combination cease and there 
are no physical or mental powers visible. The material 
body is no longer called a human being. The physical 
and mental powers are wholly spiritual and can be 
manifested only through the material. The Power 
and Desire are spiritual, but are manifested to us 
only as objective Being. 

You may say if the Ego is conscious, with memory 
and volition, why do not these attributes continue 
after separation from the body. I suppose they do, 
but to be frank I wiU say that I know nothing about 
that; My conception of Being is wholly from the 
standpoint of a being of which the body is an essential 
part, and which gives the ability to comprehend, to 
recollect, and to display will. The assumption I wish 
to make is that my consciousness, memory, and volition 
as a human being are attributes of the Ego, and not of 
the body. You may think the parts cannot have at- 
tributes which are not possessed by the whole, but they 
can. A specific form may have attributes, which are 
the cause of the characteristics of that special thing. 
The mass may have attributes not in any way possessed 
by the parts. Let us take a mass of matter; we say 
this matter is a manifestation of Power according to 
a certain Desire. (This idea of matter will be much 
modified as we progress.) This mass we see is dense 
and soft and ductile. We may call this "Gold." Do 
we mean that the Power is dense, the Desire soft, and 
each atom ductile? No, we mean that the Desire of 
that specific part of the Power causes it to manifest 
itself in that form and the characteristics of that form 
are its attributes, which differentiate it from other 
forms or manifestations. 

Conditions being the same, the manifestation is 

Power 65 

always the same. So firmly do we beKeve this that if 
at any time the manifestation is different, we say the 
conditions are not the same, rather than that the Power 
or Desire has changed; or as it is commonly stated, 
"Rather than that there was any change in the energy 
or matter, or the laws governing them." The theory 
of conservation of energy and the indestructibihty of 
matter premise the same thing. 

If the Power and the amotmt of Power does not 
change, what makes any change? I said that condi- 
tions change. What are conditions? Conditions are 
the relations between the various manifestations of the 
Power and Desire. Power is limited and tmchangeable. 
Theologians say that God is the same yesterday, to-day, 
and forever. Desire is unlimited excepting that its sat- 
isfaction requires time, and for its fulfilment requires 
eternity. When I say that Power is limited, I do not 
mean that the Supreme Power has measurable limits, 
but that an atom is the manifestation of a definite amount 
of Power, which is not changeable. What all the desires 
or the future desires of these atoms may be we have no 
way of knowing. Our individual desires cannot be 
known to another tmless they are in some way expressed. 
We ourselves do not know what desires we may have in 
the future. A definite Power and an indefinite Desire 
necessitates change in manifestation. If there is a 
change, there is a diflference in the relation of the various 
parts and as this relation is condition, we say that condi- 
tions change. The modifier of this change is time. The 
change of the relation of certain of the manifestations are 
so regular that we have used them to measure time and 
designated it as consisting of days and years, but these 
terms simply express the specific changes of relation 
between certain specific manifestations. 

66 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Exception is taken to the conception that Power and 
Desire are one and the same, yet Power may be limited 
and Desire tmlimited. If we suppose the mass of the 
Universe unchangeable, it of necessity follows that it is 
limited to that mass. We know there is change and 
if change continues throughout eternity, it is of neces- 
sity unlimited. The change I conceive is according to 

"God is unchangeable." "Matter is uncreatable." 
"Power is limited." All are equivalent expressions 
according to the various conceptions. Saying that 
Power, as the physical aspect of Being, is limited; and 
Desire, as the psychical aspect of Being, is tmlimited, 
I do not believe involves an inconsistency in the 

The rapidity of this change is limited, therefore, 
when I say, "Desire is limited by time" ; it is a quanti- 
tative limit, which merges it into the physical aspect 
As the prolongation of time is unlimited the qualitative, 
varieties of change, is unlimited. 

Nature and God are recognized by the Materialist 
and DuaKst as being both limited and unlimited, and 
this involves no more contradiction than the assump- 
tion that an imaginary line is both limited and unlimited. 
It is limited or imchangeable in its width and unlimited 
or changeable in its length. 

Conditions change, but to what degree they are 
changeable is a question. Scientists say that conditions 
are absolute, that all change is according to an absolute 
law and requires a definite time, and that every event 
is absolutely fixed by cause and eifect. Theologians 
say that God is Omnipotent and Omniscient. I think 
neither conception is entirely correct and will take up 
this point later. I said that the particles of gold are a 

Power 67 

manifestation of a definite amount of Power, and that 
it is manifest in that way on accoimt of the Desire of 
its atoms, and that Power and Desire are conscious. 
But I do not mean that the gold is conscious. Nor 
do I mean that the Desire of those special atoms 
which are manifest as gold is entirely fulfilled by such 

The fulfilment of Desire is necessarily limited by 
conditions which I say are modified by time. Con- 
ditions may also show another relation which is 
measured by space. The spatial relation limits the 
Power. Only a certain amount of Power can be con- 
tained in a certain space. This is referred to as the 
"impenetrability of matter." If a certain amoimt 
of Power is moved through space, it does not 
change in amount (mass), but the conditions being 
changed, its relation (weight), may be changed. 
Cohesion is a term which also describes Power imder 
certain conditions. 

In my conception of Being I consider in its various 
relations that time and space are as absolute measures 
as mathematical measures are. That there is anything 
Unconditioned or Omnipotent in the superlative sense 
is a mere assertion which I do not feel compelled to 

When I say that Power is limited by space and Desire 
is limited by time, I do not mean that space and time 
are entities or that they are a sort of mysterious ab- 
straction. I might say that Power and Desire are self- 
limited in their manifestation, which limitation we 
perceive as space and time. The forms of the mani- 
festations of Power and Desire are dependent upon 
these conditions. What the bounds of these conditions 
are is a study of metaphysics and psychology, no less 

68 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

than of physics and physiology. The correct concep- 
tions of Being will be of prime importance in a knowl- 
edge of conditions on which depends our future 



PHYSIOLOGIST and psychologist have made every 
endeavor to show that consciousness is in some 
degree the result of energy, but with no success. 

I will make no effort to explain consciousness, al- 
though the condition expressed by the word is one of 
such great importance. I will say, though, that my 
meaning of the word is the most simple. I use it to 
express a condition absolutely passive. I do not mean 
any function similar to conscience. 

In saying that consciousness is an attribute of the 
Ego, I do not mean that it is in any way different as an 
attribute of the Ego than as an attribute of the atom. 

Consciousness is recognized as an essential to knowl- 
edge. Consciousness seems to be ability to receive 
and cognize impressions. Primarily impressions are 
from atomic movements, but in material manifesta- 
tions, original impulses must be from mechanical 
causes in some cases ; that is, the impressions are caused 
by movements of the material. If we knew how such 
impressions were transferred to the Ego, that is, how 
the molecular vibrations could be transmitted and 
translated so that the Ego as an atom could cognize 
the meaning of the original impulse, we might then 

comprehend the interpretations as a mechanical move- 


70 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

ment. We might also be able to demonstrate, if there 
is any, the difference between the atom and the Ego. 
Each responds to exterior impressions; therefore, each 
must have consciousness ; each is influenced by experi- 
ence; therefore, each must have memory. It is im- 
possible to demonstrate that consciousness in one is 
different from consciousness in the other. But one 
knows so much more than the other, you say. Well, 
an intelligent man knows much more than an il- 
literate man, but we would not say that he had more 

I do not think that the word consciousness should be 
made to bear the meaning of comprehension. It is 
frequently so used, as when we speak of an insane man 
being tmconscious of his deeds. The real meaning is 
that he ddes not comprehend or realize the meaning of 
his deeds. If an arm is paralyzed, we are not conscious 
of any feeling in that arm ; we do not really mean that 
consciousness is effected, but that the connecting link 
between the arm and consciousness is broken so that 
consciousness receives no impression from the arm. In 
all probability this is the exact condition in any portion 
of the body when reference is made to loss of conscious- 
ness. It is, instead, the loss of one or more of the 
connecting links from sensation to consciousness. The 
brain is the machinery of transmission as well as of 
comprehension, and when this machine is diseased or 
broken, of course consciousness is not aware of the 
original impulses, sensual or mental, that may occur. 
Consciousness is passive and cognizes only that which 
is transmitted to it, and recognizes only that which is 
interpreted to it. 

We naturally say that we are conscious of many things 
that we do not comprehend. We may be conscious of 

Consciousness 71 

impressions, the meaning of which we do not compre- 
hend, but when we are conscious that we do not com- 
prehend certain things, this is the result of a mental 
impression, which means that our experience has not 
been wide enough, and, therefore, in the memory there 
is not the necessary material with which to properly re- 
late this new impression so that it can be comprehended. 
To put it in another way: we are not conscious of the 
special meaning of the thing which we do not compre- 
hend, any more than we are conscious of a black spot. 
We may be conscious of the light aroiind the black 
spot and conscious of the absence of the light at that 
spot, but if it is absolutely black, we receive absolutely 
no impression from it. We are conscious of there 
being certain places we cannot see and we call them 
black or blank. So of the mental impressions of ideas ; 
we know there are parts that we cannot properly relate, 
and therefore we say we cannot comprehend, but in 
reality it is on account of some part being absent, and 
not on account of that which is present, that we do not 
comprehend. We may also be conscious of impressions, 
and these impressions become a part of memory, but 
by our inability to recollect and properly relate we may 
fail to comprehend. ' 

I wish to point out more clearly as I proceed that my 
ideas of consciousness and memory are different from 
my ideas of comprehension and recollection. 

The chief sentient atom of a microbe may be just as 
conscious as the Ego of a man, limited only in the 
quantity and variety of impressions of which it may be 
conscious. A microbe may have no mental impression. 
Their impressions may be wholly physical or sensual. 
To that degree, the channels of impressions being less, 
their experience would be less, their comprehension 

72 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

would be less, and the microbe would be conscious of 
less. But that is no evidence that the microbe is less 
conscious or has a different kind of consciousness. 

Biologists generally admit that all living organic 
forms are conscious to some degree. But how of the 
inorganic? If it is admitted that the motion of the 
atom in chemical affinity is spontaneous instead of 
mechanical; that is equal to saying that it is conscious 
of an impression, and if it responds in the same way 
repeatedly under the same conditions, that would show 
that it must have memory. If the organic contains no 
new or different elements from the inorganic, then these 
inorganic atoms possess memory, because it is only 
through the experience of association and organization 
that they collectively increase in comprehension, and 
are able to' manifest themselves in higher forms. 

If I am unable to define my own consciousness, I 
certainly am unable to define the consciousness of the 
atom. There is one essential difference, which I wish 
to emphasize, not regarding consciousness itself, but the 
way in which it is impressed. We are forced to view 
matter as of two planes: the material and the spiritual. 
The single atom is not material, it is spiritual; that is, 
it is simply a definite amount of Power, and the Power 
alone would be absolutely immaterial. I can give no 
other name to it but spiritual, though I do not mean 
spiritual in any religious sense. The atom is a definite 
amount of the attractive Power and has a definite 
relation to other atoms according to conditions of 
location or motion. The varied impressions of the atom 
is the Power of attraction in its varied forms on account 
of these varied conditions. The response to these 
impressions (to be modified and described farther on) 
give us the material. The atoms aggregating take form, 

Consciousness 73 

i.e., become materialized from the spiritual on account 
of this response to the varied kinds of impressions. I 
will designate the cognizance of these primary impres- 
sions by the atom as being conscious on the spiritual 
plane. By this statement I do not mean that a chair 
is conscious that I am sitting on it, any more than I 
mean that my thumb nail is conscious of what I am 
writing. Premising that the atoms are conscious is 
totally different from stating that the material is con- 
scious. The inorganic atoms (the atoms unorganized) 
are not conscious on the material plane {i.e., material 
is not conscious) . One of the errors of Materialism is 
in assuming that matter under certain forms may be 
conscious, as in the brain. They assume that as we 
are conscious, it must be some material portion of the 
person that is conscious. There is absolutely no proof 
that consciousness is created either as a result of motion 
or form, which is the Monistic idea; or that it is a 
physical product due to a pectdiar combination of 
matter, which is the idea of some Materialists. 

It is true that we are conscious on the material plane 
and it is also true that within the accepted meaning of 
the word we are conscious as human beings, only on the 
material plane. To be in touch with other atoms 
the Ego would necessarily be conscious on the spiritual 
plane as well as on the material and it seems paradoxical 
that we do not know it. 

According to any hypothesis which admits of matter, 
we know that each atom of our body is compelled to 
respond at some period to energy, but of none of the 
various forms, such as cohesion, chemical affinity, etc., 
are we directly conscious. It would be acceptable to 
me to call all this certain class of impressions the 
"subconscious," if it is not understood thereby to be a 

74 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

different kind of consciousness. I believe that con- 
sciousness is one and the same anywhere, but that ours 
(the consciousness of the Ego of a human being) is 
fixed along or is impressed through certain channels 
of attention and comprehension. The Ego is the chief 
conscious atom in the body, which body is fitted to 
direct and interpret to the Ego a certain class of im- 
pressions which are different or differently translated 
than those ordinarily impressing the atoms. These 
are material impressions, and not only material impres- 
sions but a very limited class of the material impres- 
sions. These impressions are not necessarily mechanical 
or measurable but are perceived as designating material 
origin. It is pretty generally admitted that different 
sense impressions arise from the different rates of 
vibration, by which the nerve termini are stimulated. 
One set of nerves respond to rates of vibration within 
certain limits and another set respond to vibrations 
within other limits, but outside of these limits in either 
direction are rates of vibration to which they cannot 
directly respond. We, then, as human beings, are 
limited as to the openings by which consciousness 
can be reached, and of these openings five only are 
within the field of our consciousness, and of this 
field we are more or less limited by our attention and 
comprehension. Should any impression come to con- 
sciousness through any other opening, it must, to be 
recognizable, be translated in terms of the vibrations 
which enter at one of the five openings. That is, noth- 
ing is sensible, no matter how it may be received or 
perceived, unless it can be translated into the terms of 
one of the five senses. This is our limitation as a 
human being, and I do not believe it has been tran- 
scended, nor do I believe that it is necessary or 

Consciousness 75 

desirable that it should be to perfect the existence of 
human beings. 

Some speak of thought transference, clairvoyance, or 
various other phenomena as a sixth sense, but it is no 
more so than wireless telegraphy. A variation of 
impression does not mean a variation of the senses. I 
admit the possibility of a sixth sense, but it would be 
absolutely useless unless it could be translated into 
terms which are at present sensible, and if that cotdd be 
done, there would be no use for it anyhow. In other 
words, a sixth sense is of no use until there is a use for 
it. So far we have not reached near the limit of use- 
fulness of our present senses. That is, there is much to 
be learned yet which lies within the scope of our five 
senses if we will use them. 

In limiting the human to five senses I mean the use 
of them as means of interpretation of impressions 
on the material plane. I believe introspection or the 
reception of impressions through the spiritual plane 
which may be interpreted into sensible terms is a possi- 
bility ; not only a possibility but a probability which 
offers the greatest chance for the mental and spiritual 
development of the human race. I believe it is these 
introspective impressions which give the aspirations 
and inspirations to humanity. 

Psychic investigation shows that many give voice to 
impressions that apparently did not obtain access to 
the consciousness through exterior sources, but so in 
dreams we are conscious of ideas which so far as we 
know had no origin in the world of reality. It may be 
an open question whether or not all these mental 
phenomena originate in the brain solely. I believe the 
Ego may be conscious of much on the spiritual plane 
that might be translated to the material plane, if the 

76 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

brain was rightly developed and our attention was right. 
I think ordinarily the right combination is not obtained. 
Men of good brain development force themselves to 
confine their attention to what is caUed sensible and 
practical things. Comparatively few scientists are 
found willing to even investigate psychic phenomena. 
On the other side, a person with a brain predisposed to 
receive psychic impressions, has a brain comparatively 
undeveloped, or at least tmevenly developed and unfit 
to comprehend and translate any but the most common 
place impressions, which may as well have had any 
other origin. 

In order to show what I mean by my use of the words 
transmitting, translating, and interpreting, I will use 
an illustration. 

An army general, incapacitated from being present on 
the field of manoeuvres, dictates to his stenographer the 
orders of the day. The short-hand notes are transcribed 
to the typewritten page and given to a telegraph 
operator, who wires the orders to the city near the camp. 
The operator there telephones the orders out to the 
colonel at camp headquarters. A member of the staff 
writes down the orders and gives them to the band 
master, who translates them into symbols for the 
buglers, who, when the time comes, interprets them into 
vibrations which are understood by horse and man. 

Notice particularly in what a variety of forms this 
order consecutively exists. As an idea, vocal vibration, 
air vibration, short-hand symbols, typewritten, electric 
vibrations, metallic dots and dashes, vibrations of 
telephone receiver and- transmitter, script written, 
musical bars, musical metallic vibrations, auricular 
vibration, sensual impressions, motor impressions. 
What a vast difference ! Many of these forms, as mani- 

Consciousness tj 

fested, are utterly unintelligible to certain of the links 
in this chain of communication. Some of the links 
transmitting mechanically, some spontaneously; some 
interpreting, some translating. There is absolutely no 
physical resemblance between the typewritten page 
and the electric vibrations; no grounds of material 
comparison between the idea and the bugle call. Yet 
through all these changeable forms the order is trans- 
mitted and the idea is finally formulated in the 

This wonderful process of communication has 
gradually grown possible through intelligent use of 
experience. The spontaneous links of the chain are 
intelligent stations capable of translating and trans- 
mitting the orders. Any one of these might not be 
able to comprehend the meaning of the order. The 
work in this connection may be to a great degree 
automatic and enter to but a small degree into the 
conscious life of the actors, but yet consciousness, 
memory, and intelligence are primarily necessary to the 
transmission of the order by that special link in the 

I will here define my meaning of the words "mechani- 
cal," "spontaneous," and "automatic." A mechanical 
movement is one executed wholly on account of exterior 
pressure or forces, as a ball thrown up in the air; a 
spontaneous movement is one executed from inherent 
power, or associated force, as a ball falling to the earth ; 
an automatic movement, as applied to animate beings, is 
one that through force of habit is executed without 
special thought or attention. An automatic machine is 
one working without special thought or attention on the 
part of an attendant, or a movement without special 

78 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 


In the various forms of the general's order in the 
illustration, one may see each of these kinds of move- 
ment, singly or in combination. 

As wonderfully diverse as are the processes through 
which the general's order goes, as given in the illustra- 
tion, there is no reason to doubt that the message in 
its passage through a man from the exterior physical 
impressions to the consciousness of the Ego undergoes 
equally as wonderful and diverse processes. 

I wish to draw from this illustration one other analogy 
to point the comparison. As we see the troops of 
cavalry respond to the bugle calls, it apparently is a 
movement as of one body. A perfect response to the 
order would give the observer no reason to think that 
each separate entity received the order and obeyed 
spontaneously as separate entities, yet we know that 
it is through the personal consciousness of not only the 
men, but the horses as well, that a perfect evolution is 
performed. And the nearer perfect the evolution, the 
more nearly automatic it is apt to be. Primarily the at- 
tention was required. The movements in the illustra- 
tion being quite artificial and special, it required much 
training to make them automatic, but in movements 
that through generations become to a degree natural, 
a proportionately less time is required for the motion 
to become automatic. We see this in the special 
adaptability of men and animals for kinds of work 
that had been performed by their ancestors. 

If we watch a flock of certain kinds of birds in their 
flight, or a school of fish, we shall see a response to 
impressions or orders that give evolutions in which the 
accuracy and simultaneousness of the manoeuvres have 
never been approached by any body of men, however 
much they may have been trained to act together. 

Consciousness 79 

These movements are primarily spontaneous, but to a 
great degree are automatic; however, previously there 
must have been conscious attention and to a certain 
degree there must still be a consciousness of impressions. 
Even in this material fact, which any one may witness, 
we do not know how or by whom the impulse is given, 
how it is transmitted, or how it is received and trans- 
lated in order to give such a simultaneous movement of 
separate bodies. It is not from the training or experi- 
ence of these specific bodies, for minute minnows show 
as wonderftd accuracy in the spacing and actions of 
their manoeuvres as a school of older fish. 

A muscle of the body in response to stimulus acts as 
a whole and is ordinarily thought of as a simple thing. 
It is supposed that when poked with a nerve, the muscle 
jumps, just as a frog jumps, when poked with a stick. 
This apparently is a simple action but it is not quite 
so simple as it seems. The muscle is not one solid 
entity, it is composed of tissue, and the tissue is com- 
posed of cells, and the cells are composed of molectdes, 
which are in turn made up of atoms. Not only is it the 
muscle that acts ; it is the tissue that acts, and not only 
the tissue but the cells of which the tissue is composed, 
each spontaneously performing its part. This much 
can be demonstrated. Is it illogical or tmreasonable to 
say the motion must primarily be carried back to the 
molecule and the atom? If it is so carried, then the 
atom or the individual is where the consciousness lies. 
These atoms move with a certain form, composing the 
molecules, and these combine to form material, and 
these combine to form cells, and these combine to form 
tissue, and these combine to form muscle or sinew or 
bone or brain, but it is not the molecule or any of its 
combinations, even the brain, that is conscious, any 

8o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

more than it is the company of soldiers of the regiment 
that is conscious. It is the individuals of which the 
regiment is composed that are conscious. And the 
individual would not mean the body of the soldier. 
In neither tooth or toe nail or any other part of the 
body is the Ego conscious. 

But it takes more than an Ego to make a human 
being, just as much as it takes more than a general to 
make an army. It takes more to constitute what we 
mean by an army than even all the persons which 
compose the army. The personal constituents of a 
mob might be exactly the same as those of the army. 
The difference is that one is organized and the other 
is not. This organization is not wholly the work of 
the general. The organization may have been practi- 
cally perf^ted before the general was appointed, and 
to a degree the movements may be independent of the 
general, that is, the movements may be in accordance 
to general orders instead of a general. So also the 
units that compose the body are the same units that 
exist in earth and air, but in the animate beings they 
are organized. 

Not only in the organic forms do we see organization; 
every snowflake shows an organized movement more 
accurate even than the movements of the army, the 
school of fish, or the muscle. There is absolutely no 
physical reason why a snowflake should be always the 
same in certain features, and always different in other 
features. There is no physical reason why the forms of 
coral should vary, not in an irregular or disorderly way, 
but always within definite limits, and always under 
certain conditions with a certain kind of variation. 
Why should some polyps build up bone coral and 
others build up brain coral? The snowflake and coral 

Consciousness 8i 

show the result of organization of movement as much 
as the bone and brain of man show the results of organ- 
ization. Under no other hypothesis than the con- 
sciousness of the atom can we account for organization 
of the atoms, excepting on the hypothesis that there is 
an exterior power which mechanically forces them to 
take the various forms. By the latter hypothesis we 
not only remove the cause one degree, but must have 
an hypothesis as to how the force can act mechanically 
on the atom if the atom is inert. 

By the hypothesis that the atom is the Power, the 
materialization is its action. By the hypothesis that 
it is conscious and spontaneous in its action, then, as 
conditions permit, without anything other than inherent 
Desire, these atoms can organize in special forms. 
The lower of these forms we call simply material; the 
next higher degree, so to speak, we call crystallization ; 
the next higher form is the organic, of which form man 
is the highest representative. (Higher here is meant 
to convey the idea of complex.) 

Materialists agree that man is the highest organic 
form of matter, but say this form grew according to an 
absolute law, which is inanimate and without conscious- 
ness or intelligence. 

Dualists agree that man is the highest organic form 
of matter, but say that the essential part of man is not 
the matter but the soul or spirit that is placed in the 
material body by another spirit, called God, ^^ho 
created the body as a receptacle of the soul. 

The Monists agree that man is the highest organic 
form of matter, but say that this form arose from the 
spontaneous combination of its units, and that the law 
is only a description of the action of these tmits; that 
not only is the form called man created in this way, 


82 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

but the attributes we see connected with man, such as 
consciousness, memory, and voHtion, are the necessary 
accompaniments of this form, but exist only on account 
of the form and have no existence excepting only as the 
form exists. When the form is destroyed, the accom- 
paniments, consciousness, memory, and volition are 
also destroyed. 

My hypothesis diflEers from that of the Materialists 
by premising primarily the existence of consciousness 
and intelligence. I agree with the Monists' definition 
of "law," that the actions of the material in creating 
the forms, and the relations of these forms, are not 
made according to or by a law, but that the law is a 
statement of the manner or method of creation of these 
forms and relations. I do not believe with the Dualists 
that all the consciousness and intelligence is in a spirit 
separable from that which is manifest in the various 
forms of Being. I do not agree with the Monists that 
consciousness is a creation and condition dependent on 
form and that there is no intelligence superior to that 
which we collectively as human beings can and do 
comprehend. My hypothesis is that the Universal 
Power is conscious and intelligent; that each part {i. e., 
atom or unit) is conscious and intelligent, but, as parts 
cannot each be equal to the whole, so no atom or Ego 
is equal in intelligence to the whole. On the other 
hand, I believe the whole is no greater than all of its 
parts collectively and organically, and each part is as 
essential to the whole, proportionately, as the whole is 
to the part. 

I wish to emphasize the distinction between Power as 
definite in the atoms, and the forms in which the atoms 
are manifested as material body. A human being is a 
"form," and I do not believe any specific form or body 

Consciousness 83 

is at all essential ; that is, that a specific human form is 
of necessity of any more importance than a specific 
tree. Each form is important only as it performs its 
part in a more complex or higher organization. The 
Ego is an essential part, but I do not know that the 
Ego is primarily designed for or delegated to a more 
prominent part than any other atom. 

Materialists deny the existence of an Ego. Dualists 
admit its existence, but say it is in essence essentially 
different from the atoms of the body. Monists say 
that "form" creates the Ego. I say the Ego exists, is 
of the same essence (essentially the same) as the atoms 
which compose the body, and is different only in that it 
is the general of the form of atoms composing the body 
and to a degree responsible for the action of this body. 
I do not' believe that the relation of the Ego to the body 
is the same in each body. The body is not necessarily 
organized by the Ego. The body is the result of the 
efforts of the atoms to organize, influenced by a Desire 
of which they are conscious, but which they may not 
comprehend. The existence of the Ego is stated only 
as a premise. There is no way of demonstrating its 
existence. It is a fact of consciousness that I exist, 
but only a premise that I, in my consciousness, am 
an indivisible unit. When a Materialist sees that the 
existence of this special unit cannot be demonstrated, 
when he demonstrates the result of consciousness as 
existent in various portions of the body, when he shows 
that the ganglia have proportionately all the attributes 
of the brain ; it is natural for him to conclude that the 
soul is a mjrth. He fails to demonstrate that conscious- 
ness is material, but he does not consistently say that 
consciousness also is a myth, but says that, not being 
material, it is not within his sphere of operations, and 

84 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

simply classifies it with the unexplained phenomena 
of nature. I take it as a fact of consciousness that I 
exist, and when I say " I " here, I do not mean my body 
or my person, but an indivisible entity. I do not 
think that I am a combination of several entities. I 
may not always be of a single mind, and I may be 
divided in my purpose, but I say this is the result of 
different exterior impulses. The other atoms of the 
body have desires which strive for fulfilment. In 
the orthodox expression, the spirit is at war with the 
flesh and the devil. 

Granting the existence of an Ego, at what stage of 
the organization did the Ego become related to the 
body? I do not know, do you? The majority of 
people in this world believe that there is a soul, or spirit, 
in the body. If any one of them will give a consistent 
and reasonable explanation of when and how it got there, 
I am content to accept such an explanation. I have 
no idea whether the Ego is primarily in the male or 
female, or whether it is inspired with the first breath 
of life. I know of but three ways or reasons by 
which one atom may occupy a position different from 
another atom: through one of the various Desires 
which are inherent in, and animate the atoms, through 
opportunity, or, through volition. 

The Desires, which are given expression in the ele- 
ments, seem fixed and their opportunities are limited. 
If volition exists at all, which cannot be demonstrated, 
we do not know how far it can effect opportunity. If 
condition is the only thing which governs, then the 
Materialistic hypothesis would be correct. If it is 
impossible for any one to demonstrate that the Ego, or 
man, can change conditions, that he has a Desire other 
than that imposed by environment, or that he has 

Consciousness 8^ 

volition except in his imagination, then it is certainly- 
useless to try to demonstrate that the Ego has an 
influence or even any use in the body in its early stages. 
I suppose it is there, but I do not know it for a fact. 
The earliest point at which the presence of the Ego 
seems to be essential is when such impressions are made 
that will be necessary, as experience, to a future acqui- 
sition of knowledge and comprehension. 

For experience, knowledge, and comprehension, mem- 
ory is necessary. As part of my hypothesis memory is 
also an attribute of the Ego. 



THERE is no knowledge as to what constitutes the 
mechanism of memory. It is a general supposi- 
tion that the brain in some way is a storehouse for 
sensation and ideas, and that by certain stimulus 
reproduces them to the consciousness. 

A ball may have a great variety of motions at one 
and the same time, or rather its motion may be varied 
from a simple one to an intricate one, as the result of 
many different causes. Given sufficient data, that is, 
the necessary machinery of calculation, and we could 
translate these effects of motion back into their several 
causes. Some liken the motions to the memory, and 
the translation of these motions to the recollection. 
No physiologist supposes that for each sensation there 
is created a new brain cell or convolution. There is 
nothing to show that those possessing great memory 
or power of recollection have a larger brain, or one with 
any more convolutions than that of another person 
equal in intellectual development. Certainly the power 
of recollection is not at all in proportion to the degree 
of intelligence, that is, a person cannot accurately 
predicate the one from the other. 

If memory is the result of machinery, it is so refined 
that no physicist has even given any adequate hypothe- 


Memory 87 

sis of its formation. Many authorities believe that it 
must in some way be a form of motion preserved by 
the various brain particles, as in the illustration of the 
ball, but even so, the numerous details of the memory 
would necessitate a refinement of motion so great that 
the chemical change necessary for nutrition, the capil- 
lary influence necessary in the circulation, the ordinary 
changes of temperature, etc., would have far more 
influence on the motion of the various molectdes of the 
brain than the energy left by a sensual impression. 

If a refinement of sensation, a sub-material condition, 
is essential to account for memory, why limit it to the 
general matter of the brain? Why not let memory also 
be translated back as an attribute of the Ego ? 

It is just as easy to talk of the pigeon-holes of the 
brain as it is to imagine the pigeon-holes of a desk, but 
when we get down to a consistent analysis of the hypo- 
thesis, we find that whether we consider it as a mechan- 
ism or the motion of a mechanism or a material entity, 
as a matter of fact memory has become unmeasurable, 
that is, the method of memory or recollection is beyond 
oiu- comprehension. At least, not having heard of 
any one who pretends to actually comprehend how 
memory is effected or caused, I take it for granted that 
it is not known, and therefore suggest that this being 
the case, it is reasonable and permissible to call the Ego 
the seat of memory. 

If the energy of the brain cells constituted memory, 
then drawing on this energy for a recollection would in 
time exhaust it, but the contrary is true. The more 
frequently we recollect a thing, the more vivid it appears 
to our consciousness. Now if the Ego is the seat of 
memory, and the brain the machinery of recollection, 
that hypothesis would be consistent with the known 

88 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

operations of the body, for the more frequently a muscle 
is used the stronger it is. Of course, I do not mean 
that the brain acts as a whole as a muscular action. 
Athletes who are good walkers, runners, jumpers, or 
bicycle riders have their leg muscles well developed, 
but one who may excel in jumping does not necessarily 
have the ability to excel in running, but a development 
of a special set of muscle will cause development to a 
certain extent of the related muscles. This is so with 
the reproducing' faculties. As the leg muscles may be 
developed without a corresponding development of the 
arm muscles, so the reproductive organs used in the 
recollection of a certain class of sense impressions 
may be well developed and others poorly developed. 
Muscles of one person may respond quickly, those of 
another strongly, while another persons may show 
great endurance, etc. The same difference is notice- 
able in the faculty of recollection. Brain as a repro- 
ductive organ is analogous to muscle, but brain as a 
storehouse is not. 

Memory is a retention of conscious impressions. 
Recollection is the reflux of consciousness, and con- 
sciousness is limited by comprehension. A dog can see 
a beautiful picture and not comprehend it, but it is not 
a picture to the dog, it is an object. He comprehends 
that this object is not good to eat and it awakens no 
impression of appetite in his consciousness. The 
degree to which the picture would appeal to our con- 
sciousness would be just the degree of our comprehen- 
sion. Consciousness and comprehension are frequently 

'There is no authority for the use of the tenns "reproducing" 
and " reproduction" in this connection, but no other words seem able 
to convey the intended meaning that recollection is a reproduction of 
memory to consciousness on the material plane. 

Memory 89 

erroneously used as sjmonymous terms. Memory 
and the power of recollection are also erroneously used 
synonymously. The Ego is surrounded by the machin- 
ery (sense-organs and brain) for translating sensations 
to its consciousness, and for reproducing them (the 
stored perceptions) from memory. 

As we grow in experience and the brain develops 
(machinery improves), we have a broader comprehen- 
sion and to a certain extent we can recollect ideas of a 
more complex character. This is due to the machinery, 
i. e., brain, which has its equivalent in any organization 
of atoms. 

As the details of memory increase, the quality of 
that stored in memory may 'improve, that is, there may 
be an increased complexity of ideas and the Ego is 
conscious of a greater degree of comprehension. 

The increased complexities of the perception stored 
in memory and the increased complexity of the machin- 
ery of comprehension and recollection may be coexistent, 
but they are not necessarily coextensive. According to 
my conception a specific spirit is no more imlimited in 
its extension than a specific particle. I assume that 
memory and the power of recollection are not the same. 
At least there are different processes; the retention of 
the impression and the reproduction of the impression. 
The retension of impression is spiritual and the repro- 
duction of the impression is material. 

We speak of a vivid impression being easily memor- 
ized, but the vivid impression is one that is frequently 
recmring to our consciousness. A startling scene or 
a bright idea is, especially in the period soon after the 
impression, reproduced a great many times. Other 
impressions may be reproduced fewer times, or even not 
at all. Now in the case of a frequent reproduction, as 

90 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I have said before in the analogy of the muscle, that 
particular portion of the reproducing machinery is 

Memory is constant while recollection is intermittent. 
Some might say that memory is potential recollection 
as energy is potential in the muscles. That is the 
illogical point. There is only a certain amount of 
energy potential in the muscle, and when that is ex- 
hausted, it must be replenished from sources other than 
the muscle itself. So if the brain were the storehouse, 
it would become in time exhausted. 

A phonograph record may be called the material 
memory of a song. If this record were photographed 
and reduced to microscopic size, it would still be a 
memory, translated into a different form. There is no 
physical reason why as a reflux this photograph could 
not be enlarged, and by a process of electrotyping, 
produce a record similar to the original, then the song 
could be reproduced through sensation to the conscious- 
ness. This song so reproduced would be nearer like 
the original than a recollection of it reproduced by the 
brain from memory. The photograph as a memory is 
but a minute particle in comparison to the machinery 
necessary for the reproduction or recollection. It is 
true that in this illustration, which is mechanically 
possible, the memories, if sufficiently numerous, might 
equal or exceed in btdk the machinery of reproduction, 
but suppose it were possible to superimpose or photo- 
graph one record over another, on the same material, 
then there would be no increase in the bulk of memory. 
This refinement of impression might be abstractly 
carried to infinity. A wax or rubber record would 
ultimately become worn out, certainly the deterioration 
would be just in proportion to its use,while the opposite 

Memory 91 

is true of the photograph or of memory. Suppose we 
use this photograph as the illustration or analogy of 
memory. This photograph could be translated into 
a sound record an infinite number of times without 
any deterioration. The sound (wax or rubber) record 
and the phonograph could be likened to the brain, the 
reproducing machine. This might wear but could be 
renewed. Now taking into consideration the difference 
between a machine and an organism, the one deterio- 
rates and the other improves by use (within recognized 
limits, of course), and our analogy is perfect. The 
hypothesis seems to be consistent with known facts. 
The seat of memory is comparatively an vmchangeable 
entity, this I designate as the Ego. The organs of 
recollection are changeable entities, these I designate 
as the reproducing faculties or reproductive organs of 
the brain. 

The substance 01 one photograph may be practically 
the same as the substance of another photograph, but 
the two may be translated in widely different ways. 
One might be reproduced, as we have said, through 
sound, another through sight, or a series of these sight 
photographs might be reproduced through a moving- 
picture machine, and it would appeal to our conscious- 
ness far more vividly than any mental recollection of a 
similar scene. The photographs might be intact, but 
if the machinery of reproduction shotdd be injured or 
broken, we would fail to reproduce the original impres- 
sion. The phonograph might be broken or impaired, 
so we coidd not reproduce sound, or at most imperfectly ; 
there might be one of the records broken, and only that 
specific one would fail of a reproduction, but the failure 
to be able to perfectly reproduce any or all of the sound 
records might not impair the ability to operate the 

92 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

moving-picture machine. We know that a destruction 
of one part of the brain may effect the power of recol- 
lection of a certain class of sense impressions. A lesion 
of the brain may be so small as to effect only the power 
to recollect a certain specific word or object. Should 
a portion of the brain so large as to correspond to the 
phonograph of our illustration be destroyed, it is seldom 
or never repaired, but in a lesion, say small enough to 
compare to one of the wax records, there is frequently 
a recovery, as we hear often, "He has regained his 
memory of certain things that seemed to -be lost." 
Now if the wax record was the ultimate record, it would 
be impossible ever to make another like it, in case it 
were broken. If a pigeon-hole in a desk, with its con- 
tents, were removed and destroyed, it would be im- 
possible for it to grow in again. It would have to 
be replaced from exterior sources. So if a portion of 
the brain were removed and a specific memory destroyed 
it would be impossible ever to replace it, excepting as 
a similar impression should be given from an exterior 
source. Assuming that this specific portion of the 
brain was the ultimate record or memory of the specific 
idea or impression, it would be impossible to reproduce 
this on accoiuit of its loss. But this is not the case. A 
repairing of a lesion or a fitting of another portion of the 
brain substance to act in the place of the lost part 
enables one to again become conscious of the same idea 
or impression, which seems to show that the memory of 
it must have had a constant existence. On the material 
plane we are not conscious of memory but only of 

Of memory itself I have no conception. If we saw 
a microscopic photograph of a song record, it would 
awaken no consciousness of a song or the singer ; yet, ia 

Memory 93 

all probability, there is much less physical resemblance 
between a memory, and that which is memorized, than, 
between a singer with his song and a phonograph with 
its record. 

In the illustration of the phonograph we can trace 
the energy through its various forms from a singer, 
song, recorder, receptacle, record, and refinement, to 
final photograph; then, the return action reproducing 
that which again gives us an impression of the song 
and a perception of the singer. But suppose a person 
wholly unfamiliar with this process observed it, he 
would not at all comprehend the method. He would 
most naturally say that the music was in, the machine. 
In any process of metaphysical deduction would not 
the chances be very great against his hitting the correct 
sequence of operation? Suppose there should be an 
imperfect reproduction; would such a person be able 
to tell wherein lay the cause of the defect? Even an 
expert, did he not have access to the various parts of 
the machinery, might be unable to locate the trouble. 

Most people are unfamiliar with the process of per- 
ception from impressions to memory and the reversion 
through recollection to consciousness again. Physio- 
logist and psychologist are able in a certain degree to 
trace the process, and can often locate the cause of any 
imperfection or obstacle in the process, but the process 
itself, that is, how one form of energy can be interpreted 
into a corresponding form wholly diflEerent, is, thus far, 
beyond our comprehension. 

Consciousness, memory, and volition, though appar- 
ently primarily the result of energy, yet are translated 
to such a refined degree that they are possessed of no 
measurable amount of energy; that is, they cannot be 
demonstrated as really material. Such being the case, 

94 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

it seems that it is a fair hypothesis to assume that 
consciousness and memory are attributes of the Ego. 

The amount of which one may be conscious (which 
we might call the quality of consciousness, or complexity 
of consciousness) , is due to and measured by comprehen- 
sion. This comprehension comes from experience, 
memory being the accumulation of this experience. 
There is no apparent degree in consciousness. There 
are degrees in comprehension. A baby is not less 
conscious than an adult, but is conscious of less. It is 
necessary for an understanding of my hypothesis, to 
give due weight to this distinction. 

A dog looking out of a window sees just as much as 
a man does, the field of vision being equal. The dog 
is just as conscious of what he sees as the man is ; that 
is, he is just as conscious of the light impressions that 
strike the retina of his eye as the man is; but the man 
is conscious of much more than the sight sensation. 
He might be conscious of the relation of the vegetable 
to botany, of the animal to biology, of the landscape to 
geography, of the water to hydrography. These rela- 
tions and numerous other relations and interrelations 
form mental impressions, which would be limited only 
by his comprehension. Without consciousness and 
memory there would be no comprehension. 

We may memorize a verse of poetry when young; 
our consciousness of this might be limited to a mere 
knowledge of an aggregation of sound impressions. In 
later years, on recollecting the verse, we might com- 
prehend its beauty and the ideas expressed; thereafter 
the memory would include the perception of the ideas 
involved as well as the sound impression. Though the 
verse is the same, there is much added to consciousness 
and memory regarding it, solely on account of compre- 

Memory 95 

hension. Now the brain seems to be the mechanism of 
comprehension of impressions and also the machinery 
of recollection. 

Consciousness requires no mechanism, comprehension 
does; memory requires no machinery, recollection does. 
And the more complicated the machinery, the greater 
may be the comprehension and therefore the material 
for occasioning recollection. 

The large yard of a railroad terminal is more than 
an aggregate of tracks. . There are interlacing switches, 
and the more intricate this system of tracks and 
switches, the more rapidly can a train of cars be dis- 
tributed or made up. The more intricate the convolu- 
tion of the brain, the more systematically can varied 
impressions be properly related and co-ordinated, and 
a train of thought composing an idea can the more 
quickly be completed ; that is, the more complicated the 
machine, the greater the amount of work, and the more 
diverse the quality of the work it may accomplish. 
Train yards, machines, or brains of equal capacity 
might not be used to their capacity. Volition and 
opportunity would effect the equation. 

It may be suggested that certain inferior brains show 
comparatively greater powers of recollection. An 
illiterate may recite the whole Bible, name each of a 
thousand sheep, or describe various minute differences 
in vegetation. A philosopher might be able to do none 
of these things, and even be called so deficient in 
memory as to be absent-minded. But notice, the 
recollection of the illiterate is of a certain class of 
impressions; that is, the portions of the brain possibly 
that reproduce impressions of form are abnormally 
developed. The brain as a whole is not necessarily 
more intricate. The philosopher, while apparently 

96 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

absent-minded, may recollect a greater variety of mental 
impressions, and relate them in a greater variety of 
ways than the illiterate could possibly comprehend. 
Take any one who may be noted for an exceptionally 
good memory and you will find that his recollection is 
of a certain allied class of impressions. 

The thinker develops his brain to reproduce mental 
impressions and generally to quite a noticeable extent 
there is lack of development of the part which repro- 
duces objective impressions. On this accotmt it is a 
common saying that philosophers are absent-minded 
and oblivious to their surroundings. Few realize that 
mental impressions and recollections are of a much more 
varied nature than sense impressions. And the more 
abstract, the more intricate the machinery necessary 
to recollect the material for a complete idea. I think 
from these illustrations it is obvious that the greater 
the power of recollection, the more intricate the ma- 
chinery necessary; also that by the greater powers of 
recollection I mean not so much the quantity of a certain 
class of perceptions, as I do the variety of the classes 
of perceptions. 

I wish to explain a little further what I mean by 
conscious impressions. The centre of our field of vision 
is the point upon which our eyes are focused. Objects 
near the edge of the field of vision are less impressive 
than those near the centre, but we do, to a degree, 
perceive them. The centre of our field of consciousness 
is the impression to which we are at that moment 
attentive. Other impressions which comprise this 
field are being made ; some to which we give apparently 
no attention, that is, of which at that time we are 
apparently not conscious, are affixed in memory. 
Some relation later might cause these impressions to 

Memory 97 

be recollected, and we then realize that we were really 
conscious of the impression when made. Had we not 
been conscious of it, the relation could not have been 
made, and there would not have been any recollection 
of this impression. We are not immediately conscious 
on the material plane of all the Ego cognizes. It is 
only that which the brain is capable of re-cognizing 
(comprehending) that becomes conscious to the Ego 
on the material plane. This re-cognizing, recollecting, 
and relating are functions of the brain. 

I speak of recollection and relation as though they were 
consecutive, while they apparently must be simultane- 
ous, but I am not making the attempt to show the process 
of recollection ; I am simply relating memory to recollec- 
tion by assuming memory as constant and recollection 
as intermittent, the Ego as the seat of memory, and 
the brain as the seat or machinery of recollection. 

The question may arise. Is memory perfect? I have 
nothing on which to arrive at a conclusion regarding 
that point. We might argue that no impression can 
ever be absolutely obliterated, as we hear some say 
that every impulse of energy goes on and on forever 
and cannot be lost ; or, on the other side, we might say 
that as so many impressions are apparently useless and , 
will never serve as a relation to any reasonable thing 
in the future, they will in process of time become extinct. 
It would seem that the constant increasing accumulation 
of impressions would prohibit a recollection of all of 
them at any future time. However, we do know from 
experience that the limits of memory have never been 
found, while the power of recollection is so limited as to 
be to us a constant source of trouble ; therefore, why 
be troubled about the limits of memory, while the 
machinery of recollection is a sufficient cause of anxiety? 



THERE is no other concept in metaphysics so wholly 
abstract and so lacking in definement as volition. 

When I state as my hypothesis that volition is an 
attribute of the Ego, as also are consciousness and 
memory, I must limit it as to definition. That which 
makes the Ego conscious of more than the atom is the 
comprehension given through the aid of many atoms as 
organized in human beings in what we call the brain. 
This same brain serves to recall the conscious impres- 
sions of the past, which the Ego retains as memory. 
I do not define consciousness as the ability to com- 
prehend. I do not define memory as the ability to 
recollect, nor do I define volition as the liberty of action. 
I do not define it as the motive or as the cause of action. 
I define consciousness as a passive cognizance of im- 
pressions. I define memory as a preservation of these 
impressions. I will define volition as the power to 
choose. In my conception as a human being I limited 
consciousness by comprehension; I limited memory 
by recollection ; I limit volition by conditions. 

When I define volition as the power to choose with 
the power limited by conditions, I am not describing 
volition nor giving it any new values. Some may say 
that this is no definition, but if any one cannot under- 


Volition 99 

stand my meaning and use of the word by this definition, 
a use of additional words would only serve to increase 
the misunderstanding, for each additional word would 
have to be defined, etc. It seems to me the use of the 
word in that sense is legitimate, not to say authoritative. 
Authoritative definitions might fill a volume. I will 
give in substance two or three to show that definitions 
may vary. One psychology says volition is the creation 
of a combination of desire, choice, and motive ; and then, 
through many pages, shows how each is an essential 
part of voHtion. Another author is more concise. 
He says, "Volition is the power to will what we will." 
He does not say whether the second will is redundant 
or explanatory. One writer of magnificent accomplish- 
ment says, "It is puerile to say voUtion is the choice 
between two things," and then describes volition so as 
to make it synonymous with character. I might 
multiply indefinitely these definitions, but in all cases 
where there is any effort to be logical at all, the defini- 
tions are given with a view to making the explanations 
accord with the theory. 

I must do the same way, as I use the term volition 
with a distinctive meaning. The way I use the word 
excludes the idea of will, which I believe to be a function 
of the brain. I would define will as the motor impulse 
following mental and physical desires, so far as we are 
conscious of them. Will is used as a synonym for 
desire as frequently as it is for volition. To obviate 
confusion, the term "free will" is often used, but this 
term only adds to the dilemma for this still may bear the 
definition of desire and convey the idea that we may be 
free to do as we desire. 

My use of the term volition, as I define it, has no 
similarity to will as desire. When I use the word will 

100 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

in the superlative sense I mean the motor of a desire 
strong enough to overcome conflicting desires. I 
claim there is absolutely no will except as a motor for 
an exact equivalent desire, the consciousness of which 
desire may be of physical, mental, or spiritual origin. 

Is there such a thing as power of choice? The actual 
point of this question is nearly always denied, contra- 
dicted, or evaded. 

Let us see how my definition will be treated tmder 
the different conceptions of Being. Power of choice, 
limited by conditions, is an attribute of the Ego, which 
I call volition. 

The Idealists admit it, but make the "conditions" 
so abstract that it causes no limitation. They say, 
"If you wish you can choose, and if you choose you 
can have faith, and if you have faith to believe, you can 
have such power as not to be subject to any material 
limitations." They worship the fetish, "The Uncon- 

Materialists may admit the definition; then make 
conditions limit to such a degree as to eliminate choice. 
They, in effect, deny volition. Some deny it in toto, 
and say the law maker, the law breaker, and the law 
enforcer are all products of and parts of condition, and 
all alike irresponsible. Extreme Materialism is Fatal- 
ism. They worship the fetish, "Cause and effect." 

Dualists admit and consent unqualifiedly to the 
definition, but in addition say: "There is an Omni- 
scient Being, who knows all the conditions; therefore, 
knows what the choice will be." This is contradictory. 
First, they do not seem to realize that if conditions 
limit volition, then to a certain extent those conditions 
are modified by volition. Second, they do not seem to 
comprehend that if an Omniscient Being knows the exact 

Volition loi 

way I am to follow, and the exact deeds I am to do, I 
certainly can follow no other way and do no other deeds. 
To assert that Omniscience transcends logic is to say 
that it is useless to try to get a consistent conception 
of Being. 

A preacher of great authority in a sermon showed 
that volition as "free will" was a law of nature, and 
"foreordination" the law of the gospel, and in summing 
up said: "Now, how do we reconcile these apparently 
contradictory facts? We do not try to reconcile them. 
Man being finite cannot comprehend infinity." Now, 
facts never contradict. Doctrines and theories may 
contradict, but facts are a part of truth, and truth is 
not contradictory. The Dualists worship the fetish, 

The Monists admit that there is a power of choice and 
that the limitations are not such as to amount to the 
fatalism of the Materialists. They substitute for 
fatalism the word ' 'determinism. ' ' One of their writers 
of repute says: "There is a choice not influenced by 
compulsion, but all choice is influenced by something, 
desires, wishes, etc., and of necessity the stronger 
influence decides the choice." He says: "One must 
comprehend here the distinction between compulsion 
and necessity." To make it easier to comprehend, he 
illustrates by the needle of a compass. If the needle 
were to be moved by the finger, it would be compulsion, 
but when moved by attraction or magnetism, it moves 
of necessity. One is mechanical, by exterior force; 
and one is spontaneous, by interior power. This dis- 
tinction is quite clear, but I fail to comprehend where the 
element of "choice" comes in. The Monists do not 
want to worship any fetish. They fear to admit of any 
unknowable element, as that would border on the super- 

102 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

natural and be a possible subject of worship, at least 
something incomprehensible to the human mind. To 
them there rhust be no attribute of power, but what 
can be plainly demonstrated as materializing according 
to some known cause, and no cause must there be that 
one must call infinite. 

To say that volition is power to choose in spite of 
causes or contrary to causes is to make it the absurdity 
that it seems to many Materialists. 

It is wholly impossible to demonstrate that there is 
"a power of choice." The more that we attempt to 
show that there is a volition in any degree uncondi- 
tioned the more it seems like an absurd myth. To 
show logically that there is volition («. e., power of 
choice) we would have to show that conditions which 
should influence the choice are so evenly divided as to 
neutralize each other; practically that there are no 
causes remaining uncancelled which might influence the 
decision. This seems an unusual condition, yet in the 
infinite variety of conditions which exist, is it saying 
too much if we state that at some time, at some point, 
conditions which might influence the choice are evenly 
balanced? If such were the case, inherent volition 
would be essential to a movement of that point at that 

The ass that starved midway between two straw 
stacks because he cotdd not make up his mind which 
way to turn, is used as an illustration by the Material- 
ists to show what might happen if there were no cause 
to definitely decide. I think it should illustrate what 
would happen if the causes were equal (as the stacks 
represent) and there was no volition. 

Volition is no part of the objective mind. The will 
is a function of the form (brain) which chooses or moves 

Volition 103 

to the act, but this choice, if it may be so called, is 
according to the compulsions or necessities (conflicting 
desires), and it is only when these causes balance that 
volition could decide. 

There is no question at all of this will, or brain func- 
tion, but the "free will" or "volition" is subject to 
question. It may neither be affirmed nor denied. 

There are only two reasons which cause me to con- 
ceive of the existence of volition. 

First, I believe it does exist. I feel that under certain 
conditions I have the ability to choose either of two 
ways. This feeling is no proof. I feel sometimes as 
though I could spontaneously fly, but I have not done 
so yet. The general feeling among human beings that 
they have the power of choice adds to the weight of 
the conception, but is not sufficient for proof. 

I am conscious of the feeling of will, but I am not 
conscious of volition. I am not conscious of memory, 
but only of that which I recollect. I am not conscious 
of voUtion, but am conscious of the power to will ; but 
the power to will is causable. 

I do not conceive volition is free to choose in spite of 
causes. The definition limits volition by conditions, 
these conditions are the conditions which limit or 
prompt will, and we might say the will, therefore, is 
the condition which limits volition. Volition prompts 
the will only in the absence (balancing) of other causes 
and is, therefore, a first cause or attribute of the first 
cause, i. e., uncaused. 

Let us take a concrete example to show what is com- 
prised in the expression "power to choose." We will 
assume that a very young child is influenced in but two 
ways, by heredity and by environment; acting solely 
under these influences, we say the child is not respon- 

104 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

sible, but in time the child reaches an age of responsi- 
bility. We will take, at this stage, one specific act or 
opportunity to act. Say it is the first opportunity to 
take a glass of wine. Supposing the child to be of 
intemperate parentage, with indifferent raising, this 
opportunity gives no freedom of choice regarding the 

Suppose the child to be of temperate ancestry and 
of Puritan training and no offsetting environment, 
then there is no temptation and, therefore, no choice 
is given. 

But suppose the child is of degenerate parents but 
of temperate training; or of excellent ancestry but bad 
environment, that is, where the physical influence and 
abhorrence, or the mental temptation and inhibition are 
balanced, 'we could by terms of physiology, psychology, 
or metaphysics show how he might be influenced one 
way or another. But suppose finally we should show 
an exact division of causes, these being neutral, there 
might be freedom of choice without cause to infiuence. 
If the act is influenced by a specific cause, that specific 
cause is responsible for the act. If the causes are equal, 
they neutralize each other ; that is, the causes are equal 
to nothing as an influence on the choice. It seems an 
absurdity to say that any certain act could be without 
specific cause, but volition is an absurdity from a 
rationalistic standpoint. 

There might be brought into the equation the "help 
of God" and the "prompting of the Devil," but ad- 
mitting these influences to exist, they but add to the 
general sum, and if either one is a sufficient cause of an 
act, that one is the source of responsibility. Although 
the effect of the act may fall on the specific being com- 
mitting the act, yet, if there was a cause that infiuenced 

Volition 105 

or overpowered the power to choose, it in reality 
modified or conditioned that power, and there was, 
therefore, no voHtion in that act. 

It surely does seem to be an absurdity to say there can 
be no definable cause for an act of volition, yet, to make 
the Ego or individual responsible, there must be freedom 
from an influencing cause, which would be responsible. 

To be in any degree responsible there must be power 
to choose or volition. It may be asked who gives 
this power to choose? Such a question is really just 
as absurd as to ask, "Who made God, or What made 
God do so?" 

There is no cause for volition, memory, or conscious- 
ness. If these attributes were effects, then there would 
be a cause, but for the power of choice there is no cause. 
Even granting volition, that any specific act is an act 
of volition is incapable of proof. 

As a human being we measure our consciousness by 
our ability to comprehend; we measure our memory 
by our ability to recollect ; and volition must be meas- 
ured by our opportunity, or in other words, it is limited 
by conditions. An untutored savage is a human being 
whose Ego possesses the same consciousness, memory, 
and volition as mine, but as a human being his com- 
prehension, his recollections, and his opportunity to 
choose are not equal to mine, nor could they possibly 
be on account of his condition. 

Stating that the Ego has volition, does not necessarily 
mean that each human being has power to choose at any 
time. The volition of the Ego is, in the body, limited by 
conditions, as stated in the definition. We admit that 
in some bodies, imbecile, insane, etc., there is no volition 
{i. e., responsibility). How much the conditions limit 
the power of choice in any body I do not know. 

io6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

It would seem that as comprehension and experience 
are increased, as the machinery becomes more intricate, 
as we grow in mentality, that is, that more intelligence 
is manifested in the higher forms, that there will be 
greater opportunities, and the conditions will be less 
limiting to power of choice. Certainly it seems ortho- 
dox to say that the greater our intelligence, the greater 
our responsibility. 

In this connection there naturally arises the question 
of justice. We admit the fact that all are not equally 
responsible, and that, therefore, the laws as laid down 
by us for our government are not, as executed, abso- 
lutely just to the beings who are the governed. 

Many defer the idea of justice to a future when an 
Omniscient Judge, who knows all the opportunities 
and con4itions, can reward or punish according to the 
merits of the case. But if a decisive act results from 
a cause which cannot be forestalled, the cause is respon- 
sible, and if there is no definite cause for an act, then 
it was an act without reason, and one who acts without 
reason is not held responsible. 

I do not believe there is any responsibility for human 
acts, except those resulting to the human body or to the 
Ego on account of its relation to the body. If I assume 
that there is no justice here, and no equalization of 
the injustice hereafter, I am denying the existence of 

I do deny the existence of justice at any definite time, 
now or in the future, if by justice we mean equal 
opportunity or equal improvement of the opportunities, 
or an equalization of the results caused from an im- 
provement or non-improvement of the opportunities, 
that is, an equalization by rewards or punishments 
coming from an external source. 

Volition 107 

If we offer a boy a green persimmon and a lucious 
peach to eat, and he chooses the peach, should we reward 
him further? If from ignorance he chooses the persim- 
mon, should we punish him further for his choice ; or if 
from an idea of mortifying the flesh, he ate the persim- 
mon, should he have a reward to offset the pleasure of 
the boy who ate the peach? 

Our ideas of injustice come from a futile effort to 
equalize those things which are intrinsically tanequal. 

In every form of nature inequalities exist. The 
Desire manifest in one form conflicts which those 
manifest in another form. This brings me to my second 
reason for conceiving volition. My first reason was 
because I think volition is a fact. I feel that I am a 
responsible being. How I am responsible I do not 
know any more than I know how I am conscious, or 
how my food nourishes me. But I no more cease trying 
to choose what I think is right, because I do not know 
whether I am acting from heredity, environment, or 
volition, than I cease eating because I do not imderstand 
why one organ secretes and another absorbs. While 
pure reason will not decide one way or another for 
volition, yet the absolute impossibility of demonstrat- 
ing its existence and the necessity of making it an 
attribute of the First Cause, therefore uncaused, would 
be sufficient reason for my eliminating it from my 
conception if there was no additional reason to the one 

The second reason is absolutely heterodox, yet, to 
me, it is of great weight in forming a consistent concep- 
tion of Being. The second reason is because volition 
could occasion vmforeseen variety in manifestations. 

If you had a garden for pleasure, ' would you wish that 

'Rev. iv., II. 

io8 Ah Unorthodox Conception of Being 

garden to put forth every sprout and leaf and flower 
according to a mathematical plan, to be each day as 
you expected it to be; or would a variety of growth, 
of progress, and of development give more pleasure? 

If you had a child, would you desire that child to be 
exactly as you suggested? to have him be perfectly 
mechanical and automatic, whose every move and 
action you could predict and foretell; or would you 
take more pleasure in a child with a will and a way of 
its own, whose development you could watch as some- 
thing new; whose character you could believe to be 
original? I think from an intellectual standpoint there 
is but one answer. 

Now I conceive Being as developing in a variety of 
ways, because of a variety of Desires, but if there was 
no volition, there would be an absolute manifestation 
of the Power according to the Desire, no matter how 
great the variety, in a mechanical and automatic way 
which could be foretold and foreseen. But if these 
atoms have volition, there would be unknown variety 
of action to the limits of the conditions which bound 
them. As it cannot be demonstrated that the Ego has 
volition, there is much less chance to demonstrate that 
any other atom has volition. 

On this question of volition hangs one of the greatest 
problems of Being. If we have volition, to what extent 
is it limited by conditions, and to what extent can we 
control our conditions? We are conscious of our 
Desires, some of which we say are inspirations and 
aspirations; how much of them are ideal? To what 
extent are they practical? 

In the ordinary inorganic material manifestations, 
conditions appear absolute, but that may be, and I 
think is, in appearance only. In organic plant life 

Volition 109 

conditions are so binding as to give but few illustrations 
of even apparent volition. In animal life there is 
apparent power to choose, but it is only when we 
reach the mental manifestations of man that conditions 
become so abstract as to allow a current acceptance of 
the idea of free will. 

If we are merely animals with a moral nature, which 
must be tested ; if this earth is simply a hot-bed for the 
propagation of souls, whose home ds not in the Here, 
but in the Hereafter, then, there is no problem of Being. 
But I believe man has volition, and could, if conditions 
permitted, follow the highest Desire of which he is 
conscious, and following these inspirations would 
develop a comprehension and give experience for a 
future work in this world that now seems impossible, 
because we are so limited by conditions. 

I have just said that Being is the manifestation of 
Power according to a Desire. This Being shows evi- 
dence of an intelligent plan. Now if each atom of this 
Being has volition, could not the plan be rendered futile? 
This is another form of the old question of the wUl of 
God versus the free will of man. 

Is it possible the Desire shall not be fulfilled? Let 
me illustrate how such a question may be answered. 
We may say the inherent desire of a seed is to germinate, 
grow, and bring forth fruit. I have here a single seed; 
is it possible that the desire of this seed be not fulfilled? 
Certainly. I have the power to kill the seed. Is it 
possible for any one of the many seeds to be killed ? Yes 
it is possible for any of them to be killed or to die to-day ; 
then, if it is possible for any one of them to die to- 
day, it seems logical to admit that it is possible for all 
of them to die to-day. 

Is it possible for any one animal, man included, to 

I lo An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

be killed or to die to-day? Certainly it is possible. 
Then we might admit that if it is possible for any one 
to die, it is possible for all to die to-day. Yet, of what 
weight is this admission? We immediately say it is 
not at all probable, and in fact so utterly improbable that, 
had we not already admitted it to be possible, we should 
as quickly say that it is impossible for every seed and 
every a imal in the world to die to-day. As the 
possible merges into the improbable, so the improbable 
must merge into the impossible. Where the line is we 
do not know, and therefore, it is useless to try to agree 
just how far volition can give variety without neutral- 
izing the Supreme Desire. We recognize certain 
limits to change, and we define these limits according to 
a "law of probabilities." But that does not mean that 
we know why such limits exist or where such limits are. 
We know that a certain frame building is liable to 
bum. We know that any one of a million such build- 
ings are liable to burn, but according to this law of 
probability, we say that if the million are unexposed 
they will not all bum the same year. Suppose one 
hundred insurance companies were organized to carry 
these risks, and the probability of loss was figured at 
one per cent. ; there are plenty of level-headed, practical 
business men who would be glad to carry the risk for 
two per cent., or on a margin of one per cent., which 
would give a one hundred per cent, profit, less expense, 
providing this probability held good. If the loss re- 
sulted according to the probabilities, ten thousand 
houses would burn during the year, and these losses 
would be very evenly divided between the one hundred 
companies, the class of the risk being equal. If each 
company has ten thousand risks, and ten thousand 
losses occur during the year, is there any reason why 

Volition 1 1 1 

the losses should not aU be ia one company, and none 
in the others? There is no reason at all, but the state- 
ment of this possibility would not cause a panic among 
the stockholders of any one company. So solidly- 
founded is the belief in the impossibility of such an 
occurrence, or anything approaching it, that the busi- 
ness is established on that basis, and even a fluctuation 
to two per cent, of losses would bankrupt the strongest 
company in existence. Statistics show that the fluctu- 
ation in a large number of like risks is within a small 
fraction of one per cent, of the amount of the insurance 
in force. The fluctuations in reality in existing com- 
panies (though rarely exceeding one per cent.) are 
caused by many risks to one exposure (conflagration 
risks), or some excessively heavy risk in proportion to 
the number of risks. 

One further point: while the fluctuation is less in 
proportion to the increased number of risks and the 
extension of time, yet in any one company we see that 
the losses are in groiips. Make a chart of the losses 
for a number of years, and it would look like the waves 
of the ocean, and fully as regular. (The noticeable 
deviations from the regular being due to unequalled 
risks.) But why not a dead level of loss? What 
influence causes any deviations? Aside from certain 
astrological theories of planetary influence (where post- 
mortem illustrations seem far more accurate than 
ante-mortem predictions), I have seen no theory to 
account for these occurrences. I like to formulate 
theories, but I like to be plausible, and there seems no 
plausible reason why there should be one per cent, of 
fire losses in a certain class of risks, or why losses of a 
certain class of risks should be unevenly but periodically 
distributed in time. 

112 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Now all this may seem to be a long way from the 
subject of volition but it illustrates my point. I said 
there could be no cause or reason for an act of volition. 
If an act resulted from a cause it would be predictable, 
for given the causes, other things being equal, we will 
know the result. A man of good character does not 
do a certain evil deed, but instead does a good deed. 
These are not acts of volition in all probability, but 
acts of reason, of habit, which are really acts of cause. 
If acts of volitions are not acts of reason, then they are 
acts of chance, and as any other acts of chance, could, 
if we only were able to segregate these acts, be given 
a law of probability. 

Reasonable human beings cannot agree as to our 
ability as human beings to perform acts of volition. 
A human being is unable to demonstrate that he is able 
to do one of two things absolutely uninfluenced by any 
cause or reason other than his own power of choice. 
Therefore, I am unable to demonstrate that volition 
exists or to segregate the acts of volition if it does exist. 

We cross two varieties of a plant, we say the result- 
ing plants are a chance, because we do not know the 
exact degree of hereditary influence. Suppose the 
governing atom in each germ has volition, that is, when 
unlimited by other conditions, having power of choice 
as to whether it would be like its male or female ancestor 
or a combination of both. Such a possibility exists, 
as much as there is a possibility for us to be able to 
perform an act of volition, and if such acts do occur, 
they are indeed acts of chance, in fact, as well as in 
appearance. If in chemical affinity the attractions of 
an atom are equal in opposite directions, there must be 
volition to decide. The Materialists say such a condi- 
tion of affairs would upset all calculations on which 

Volition 113 

science is based, but I do not admit this. The op- 
portunities for choice may be few with most atoms, 
and the law of probabilities applicable to such oppor- 
tunities might fix the normal at the minutest fraction 
of one per cent. 

The problem, what proportionate number of the acts 
of the atom or Ego are subject to variation, is insoluble, 
for no data exists upon which to form an opinion. But 
we do know that organization of the atoms with their 
conflicting desires gives variety in manifestation; that 
complexity is almost a synonym for variation. In that 
most complex of beings, man, we know the actions of 
the more complex intelligent man are of greater variety 
and therefore less predictable than the actions of an 
illiterate savage. 

When I say that every atom possesses volition, I no 
more mean that it is possible for an atom or a person 
under any conditions to choose either of two ways 
than I mean that it is possible for every living thing to 
die to-day, and every structure to be consumed, just 
because I say it is possible for any one living being to 
die, or any certain structure to be consumed. 

We have great faith in our tables of fire rates and 
mortality tables, and we believe in the stability of 
material forms, in a certain trueness to type in plants 
and animals, in a solidity in the social and economic 
affairs of man. Yet there is a certain unstability or 
variety, and I believe a certain amount of this is due 
to voUtion, or chance, if you prefer to call it chance. 

Two entities may be so related that either one would 
constantly govern, or they might be related so either 
one would govern according to the strength of the desire. 
There also might be a time when strength of desire 
would be equal but in opposite directions. In such a 

1 14 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

case they might act upon the suggestion that instead 
of separating they draw lots to decide. The Material- 
ists might demonstrate that every movement of this 
action of drawing lots could be accurately measured 
and the result shown to be equal to an exact cause. 
The Dualist might affirm that an Omniscient Being 
decided to whom the lot should fall, or at least by 
Onmiscience knew to whom it would chance to fall. 
It is not denying either one of these statements to say 
that so far as the decision is concerned from the stand- 
point of the principals, it is a chance. But I go to a 
greater extreme than this illustration. I conceive 
volition as arbiter of the choice ; to be uncaused, there- 
fore, there would exist no Omniscience that could know 
which would be the choice. 

I will try to state this so as to show that it is the only 
logical conclusion. I have said that Power and Desire 
are One and the same, but with two such different 
phases as to be inexpressible with the use of one word. 
I have also said that the Power is conscious of the Desire 
and the Desire is conscious of the Power. Of the other 
two attributes (memory and volition), each phase 
seems to possess or to be able to utilize only one. The 
Desire possesses memory. A specific amoimt of Power 
might be utilized at various times in various ways 
according to the Desire. The Power is directed by 
Desire and, therefore, memory is essential to Desire 
and useless to Power. On the other hand, if the Desire 
is influenced by causes equally strong, it were powerless 
to decide of itself, but the Power of choice does decide. 
Power is conscious of the conflict and decides, but it is 
a pure chance decision, for not possessing memory, it 
cannot act as judge on the merits of the case; and it is 
not necessary, for the Desire from its attribute of 

Volition 115 

memory is as omniscient as is possible, and when there 
is a strongest Desire or influence, that strongest Desire 
is omnipotent. It is only when the causes are equal 
that it is possible for the Power of choice to decide. 
The choice of Power is what I term an act of volition. 

To me this conception is simple, logical, and consist- 
ent. Power is manifesting or materializing according 
to its various Desires. As each individual Desire 
possesses memory it dictates the acts with intelligence, 
but on account of the variations of the Desire there is 
necessary conflict, which, when the conflict is equal, 
is decided by the volition of the Power, and as this 
decision is pure chance, the varieties of form are to a 
certain extent unknown. But the only difference in 
condition resulting from this wotdd be a delay of the 
maturing or fulfilment of one class of Desires instead 
of another. This conception may apply to a specific 
movement of the atom, the action of the animal, the 
conduct of man, the formation of a System, or the 
involution and evolution of the Universe. 

That such a combination of ideas, as a practical 
fact, is incomprehensible is no argument against the 
conception. The relation of the phases of Being accord- 
ing to any conception is incomprehensible. To the 
ordinary non-thinking man his conception seems 
comprehensible, in fact as well as in idea, because it is 
taken as a matter of fact without analysis. But another 
conception appears to him incomprehensible because it 
must be analysed to be at all understandable. 

A volition which is pure chance (which is the only 
logical kind) does not necessitate chaos, nor does it 
imply that there is no intelligence or knowledge which 
in comparison to ours might seem omniscient. 

Let me illustrate this conception of volition in a 

ii6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

different maimer. If there were a God with omnipo- 
tence and omniscience in the superlative degree, who 
could act but in one way, these acts would be like the 
Materialistic Law, which is equivalent to Fatalism. 

If there were two ways in which He might act at any 
given time, there must be Power to choose. To say 
that the way to be chosen would already be known is 
to foreordain the omnipotent and to say that it could 
not be foreknown is to limit the omniscience. It seems 
to me plain that as applied to the One Being, om- 
niscience and volition could not co-exist. Also, that in 
exact proportion to the opportunities for acts of voUtion 
must there be a decrease in omniscience. In other 
words, the greater the number of chance variations, the 
less accurate may be the prediction. Between the two 
conflicting attributes I unhesitatingly choose volition. 

When we glance over our fire risks or mortality risks, 
we cannot tell which risk will be a loss this year, or 
which risk will remain unharmed. We know within 
a slight variation that a certain number will be lost and 
a certain number will not be lost. This to one who 
knew nothing of statistics might seem equivalent to 
omniscience. Suppose the so-called Omniscent Being 
viewed our actions as so many risks or chances, experi- 
ence would give Him knowledge of the probabilities of 
the fulfilment of Desire inherent in each one. 

We, as human beings, are first animal, and then what 
we call mental or spiritual. The animal desires are as 
essential as the spiritual desires, in fact, they are re- 
cognized first ; but when a spiritual aspiration or higher 
desire of the Ego is in conflict with an animal desire or 
a desire for complete existence as a material being, 
which will win? What are the probabilities of the 
chance for the higher desire? I will grant that the 

Volition 117 

so-called Omniscient Being might know the probabilities 
to a fraction, under the conditions existing ; but if man 
has volition, He does not know what the individual 
choice will be, when there is opportunity for a choice. 
I have deviated here in viewing Being from the stand- 
point of Omniscience, but I wished to show that volition 
or chance, according to my definition of the word, does 
not necessarily conflict with science or theology. 

Determinism and free will are the extreme concep- 
tions. Determinists look at the risks as a whole and 
say there is little variation. Free will looks at the 
individual and seeing such great liability to change, 
concludes there must be much freedom. One says 
there is no possibility of any great loss, and the other 
says there is a possibility of all being lost. One says 
there is no chance, everything being the effect of a cause 
according to an absolute law and there can be no 
individual responsibility. The other says there is 
individual responsibility, because there is individual 
power of choice, which takes the act out of the law of 
cause and effect as well as the law of chance and 

It seems that any interpretation of volition must 
effect the general interpretation of responsibility. 

The theological conception of responsibility seems 
to be that we are not only answerable for our choice, 
but must answer to an external Power, that is, that 
either here or in the hereafter, a person shall be addi- 
tionally ptmished for a wrong choice and rewarded for 
a right choice. 

We will suppose that there is a Judge who is able to 
fix accurately the responsibility for each choice, and at 
a certain day render judgment, distributing the pen- 
alties and rewards so there shall be absolute justice. 

ii8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Then to preseive the equity from that moment, our 
characteristics must change. We must cease to possess 
memory, or at least the power of recollection, for one 
person might recollect only the things which would 
cause misery and another only the things which would 
cause happiness. We must cease to possess what is 
termed free will, for a single act of volition might render 
unequal the things which had been made equal. 

Determinists claim for their conception absolute 
justice, because where everything is according to an 
absolute law of cause and effect, there could be no 

Theologians acknowledge injustice' through man's 
free will, therefore think it necessary that these 
inequalities be arbitrarily adjusted by a competent 

I see no necessity of going to either extreme. Some 
abhor the idea of a God who could say: "I will visit 
the sins of the fathers upon the children even unto the 
third and fourth generation." But that is not simply 
a traditional -conception of a God, it is a fact of Being. 
We all know it to be a material fact, and so far as it is 
a fact, the child shares the responsibility with the 
father, and just to the extent to which the child is 
answerable is he held responsible. So it is on all sides. 
We are to a certain extent responsible for the acts of 
others and are not held responsible for all of our own 

"But," says one, "we mean the moral responsibility; 
the one who ought to be answerable will finally be made 
to answer." If this were possible, then the one who has 
already shared this responsibility must be in some way 
rewarded. But in what way can he be? As I said 
before, we think the loss to the individual risk is great 

Volition 119 

and unequal, therefore iinjust. Our sense of injustice 
is from our comprehension.which is on the material 
plane conscious only to the Ego. The atoms of the 
body are probably not conscious of any injustice. 
When I spoke of sharing responsibility, I did not mean 
to limit it to the Ego. The results of each act are 
shared by the atoms of not only our body, but possibly 
those of many other bodies. The responsibility of the 
Ego, aside from its result to the body, must be limited 
to memory and what results may come from that in 
the future we do not know. I believe there will be 
results, but have no idea of how or where, as I have 
nothing on which to base a conception. ' 

Whenever the choice is one of volition, it cannot be 
a deliberate choice knowingly between good and evil. 
But the choice being made, will, according as it is good 
or evil, result in causes which in turn will influence a 
later act, which act, therefore, will not be one of volition. 
My efforts may or may not effect my chances of being 
right in the acts of volition, but my efforts to do right 
and continue right must improve my opportunities to 
choose between two rights and to a degree eliminate 
the necessity of choosing between two wrongs. 

It seems plain that a knowing choice between right 
and wrong could not be a choice of volition, for a person 
must be good or bad, in order to make such a choice, 
and previous acts were responsible for such a condition. 
This condition would apply only to a specific act or 
class of acts. One may be right in one thing and wrong 
in another. If I merit no praise because chance made 
me choose the good, then he who chooses the bad 

' Theosophy and other Idealistic conceptions, as well as some of the 
Dualistic, explain the celestial future to the satisfaction of whoever is 
thereby satisfied. 

I20 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

deserves no condemnation, but each to a degree is 
conditioned by his choice. 

I must illustrate further what is meant by saying 
volition is limited by conditions. Mr. A boards the 
train at New York City, with a through ticket to 
Chicago. I say to Mr. A; "You can, if you wish, 
get off at Albany, and let the train go on without you, 
or you can keep your seat and go on with the train." 
Mr. A. may admit that he has the power to choose, 
and therefore the choice is one of volition. Let us go 
still farther and say: "Mr. A, you may get off at 
yonder crossroad and let the train go on, or remain in 
your seat and go on with the train." Mr. A may 
admit that he has the power of choice in this case ; if so, 
this would apply to every crossroad between New York 
and Chicago, and it could be applied to every person 
travelling from one city to another. And yet how 
absurd it would sound to say that it is possible that 
every person who starts next year from New York to 
Chicago will get off at a certain crossroad at the sug- 
gestion to "stop here and buy a lot!" It is so utterly 
improbable that we quickly say it is impossible. So I 
say that the volition or the opportunity for it to choose 
is so limited by conditions as to make for its exercise 
an unknown quantity. I have not the faintest idea 
whether the opportunity to exercise volition or power 
of choice comes once a day, once a year, or once in a 

What an absurd conception, says the Materialist, 
that any act may be without cause, that the laws of 
nature are in the faintest degree subject to chance! 
Yet this conception is not so extreme as that of the 
Materialist who says there can be no act of volition. 

What an absurd conception, says the theologian. 

Volition 121 

that man has not perfect free will to choose between 
right and wrong, anywhere, at any time! Yet this 
conception is not so extreme as the idea that every act 
is one of volition and that man has absolute power to 
do or not to do in each movement, and in addition 
maintain the idea that there is a Greater Power who 
knows, before the choice is made, just what the choice 

Let us see how we would operate under the different 
conceptions. Materialists say, we recognize that it is 
perfectly natural for man to take what he wants, if 
he has the chance, the same as any animal. We also 
recognize the fact that it is better for humanity that 
man take that only which rightly belongs to him. We 
can teach a cat or a dog by punishment to leave things 
.alone, so we can teach man. We specify certain acts 
which are wrong and fix the penalties. We say : ' ' Thou 
shalt not steal," and through fear of going to jail, he 
refrains from stealing. There is no question of volition. 
The fear of the law is part of the environment which 
influences him or causes him to be honest. Some may 
want more than they fear, and yielding to the tempta- 
tions, they become dishonest. Some are caught and 
punished, and thereby some are reformed by the 
increased fear they have of the law and are additional 
warnings to others. 

Theologians say: We believe man is different from 
the animal. Man has a moral sense. You could 
never teach a cat or dog to refrain from stealing solely 
by a promise of future reward. We recognize that it is 
natural for man to steal, but we believe this is not 
right, for God says in His commandments "Thou 
shalt not steal. " Now if you will obey God's command- 
ments. He will take you home to heaven with Him 

122 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

when you die. This hope of heaven causes many to 
be honest. 

There are some, we may say, who rely on a belief of 
forgiveness of sin, and break a commandment when 
convenient, and by a simple penance or repentance are 
again firm in their hope of heaven. Again, there are 
some who say: "I have sized up this idea of heaven 
and hell, and do not believe the difference is worth the 
cost." Such a person certainly is not a hypocrite, 
and as a man honest in his opinion, the theologians 
have no way of reaching him. 

These are very bald statements, but accurately 
portray the conception of many of each class. 

I wiU admit with the others that it is as natural for 
man to steal or to take what he wishes as it is for any 
other aMmal to do so. (Of course, we all recognize the 
fact that the inherent tendency is more or less strong 
in different persons and in cat and dog as well as man.) 
I recognize with either side that fear and hope are great 
bars to dishonest acts, but in spite of these barriers we 
hear an honest man referred to in terms of great respect. 
We hear the statement: "He is a thoroughly reliable 
man," spoken in such an expressive way as to give the 
impression that a man is now as rare as in the time of 
Diogenes. But honesty is not an absolute virtue; it 
is only comparative. Suppose all men were honest, 
the very word honest would become obsolete. So far 
as fear or hope influence a man to be honest, they are 
the causes of his action, and therefore, are conditions 
which limit volition. 

Now, if we endeavor to make conditions so there is 
no incentive to dishonesty; to arrange affairs so that 
it pays man better to be honest than dishonest, are we 
not improving the conditions of society? In neither 

Volition 123 

case have I mentioned what may be called the innate 
morality of man. To the innately honest man the 
fear of punishment, the hope of reward, or the lack of 
opportunity are alike inapplicable, and whether through 
volition he started toward becoming innately honest, 
certainly he could not then by volition become dishonest . 
I have used honesty here as a term by which to illustrate 
any or all of the other terms representing goodness 
that might be used. As we believe that innate goodness 
is not yet a universal trait, we must each try according 
to our conception to influence men to the right, either 
by fear, by hope, or by improved environment. 



THE idea expressed by the word "Desire" would 
ordinarily seem simple in its analysis. But this, 
like all metaphysical ideas, might be and is in the 
analysis interpreted in various ways. In fact, many 
say that desire is not a metaphysical idea at all but 
purely physical. They really mean that desire is purely 
objective in its origin. But anything of purely objec- 
tive or material origin must be mechanical, admitting 
of mathematical demonstration, and in the ulti- 
mate comprehensible. "I want a dollar," seems to 
be a simple desire definitely expressed, but on analysis 
we see that it is not a dollar I want but what the dollar 
will obtain. Also on further analysis we see that it is 
not the bread or book obtained with the dollar that I 
want but the gratification of a desire, which gratifica- 
tion I expect from the bread or book. And when we 
go to analyze this desire we find ourselves on the de- 
batable ground between physics and metaphysics. 

It is impossible for any one to demonstrate the 
primary origin of Desire. It is impossible to demon- 
strate that Desire exists except as a fact of consciousness. 

Desire, either the individual, the collective, or the 
supreme is incomprehensible and incapable of mathe- 
matical or mechanical demonstration. Our individual 


Desire 125 

desire is a fact of consciousness, that is as much as we 
can declare. 

Various organisms appear to have desire. Nature 
appears to act as though some inteUigent Desire were 
being gratified. 

I have emphasized the point that we as human 
beings are conscious only on the material plane. We 
could in no way understand what were the meaning of 
the demands of desire except they could be interpreted 
in sensible terms. We know in a way how we feel 
when we are hungry, but we have no way of knowing 
how the other atoms of the organization feel. They 
must feel, for it is only through their feelings that the 
Ego is conscious of hunger. We see some luscious 
fruit that makes our mouths water and we say it 
awakens an appetite; we see a loathsome object and 
we say it has an opposite effect. So far as there could 
be any material transmission of sensation, it must be 
equivalent in each case. The different effect, then, is 
solely one of interpretation of the impressions. Then 
absolutely the same amount of sensation may be inter- 
preted in various ways. Various perceptions may 
result frpm equivalent impressions. 

One who did not know anything of optics could 
hardly be convinced solely by reason that the rays 
coming from a prism were equivalent to those entering 
the prism. In saying that we as individuals, and the 
various atoms, and the various diflferent organisms 
which are composed of the atoms, have the same desire, 
we do not mean that it is identical but that the desire 
is equivalent. 

A baby, although conscious that it is hungry, does 
not at all comprehend what htmger is. We may desire 
a breath of fresh air but we are not conscious of a specific 

126 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

desire for the mechanical movement necessary to 
breathing, yet that movement being spontaneous in 
its initiation must be desirable to some or all of the 
atoms party to that movement. This idea of the 
conscious Desire of the atoms is the only one consistent 
with the facts of Being. The cells of the acting mus- 
cular tissue are not directly kept alive by the move- 
ment of breathing, and the idea that unconscious inert 
material could spontaneously execute an intricate 
mechanical movement is certainly an inconsistent idea. 

The manifestation of Desire in a material form, the 
perception of these forms through other forms organ- 
ized for this special purpose (to thus function) is of 
coiirse incomprehensible, but if we rid ourselves of the 
idea that consciousness necessitates comprehension, 
and realize that we can have no idea of the conscious 
interpretation of Desire either primarily or as re- 
cognized as necessities of an organism, excepting ac- 
cording to our own consciousness, then the conception 
of universal atomic consciousness becomes simple and 
easily understandable as being perfectly consistent 
with the facts of Being. 

Those who say desire is of physical origin assert 
that it is impossible for any desire to exist except as it 
arises through experience. The materialistic idea that 
evolution is caused wholly by environment (hereditary 
traits being primarily effected by environment are a 
secondary occasion of evolution) necessitates the organ 
before the function. Many scientists rebel against 
this conception and assert that the function must be 
first. Now what is function? It is simply a desire , 
which incites atoms to organize in a form to gratify 
the desire, which form we call the organ. 

I have spoken of the higher form as one which is 

Desire 127 

more complex. The higher desire is coexistent with 
the higher form but it requires a separate definition. 
One desire is higher than another desire when its grati- 
fication gives a greater degree of satisfaction. This 
definition might be misinterpreted and some one would 
say that to many the gratification of appetite gives a 
greater degree of satisfaction than the gratification of 
the mental desires. In order to avoid such a criticism 
I will define the higher desire as one whose continued 
gratification, as conditions permit, will give the greater 
degree of satisfaction. This we readily recognize as a 
fact of experience. The lower or gross desires are more 
quickly satisfied and then a continued gratification 
causes disgust instead of satisfaction. By observation 
we are led to believe that the gratification of the mental 
desires of the intellectual man causes a greater degree 
of satisfaction than does the gratification of the physical 
desires of the savage. Experience teaches us that 
continued gratification of the so-called good desires 
gives a greater degree of satisfaction than the continued 
gratification of the so-called bad desires. In fact there 
is no measure of good and bad except as the result of 
this experience, and in spite of the belief in aspiration 
and inspiration, if experience did not prove there was 
greater satisfaction from following them, there would be 
no evolution. No organism would continuously do 
a thing unless there was a degree of satisfaction in such 
action. We know that each man does not do as ex- 
perience directs, for which we will soon be able to 
formulate a reason. 

It is admitted that an intellectual man is a more 
complex form than a savage, that consequently his 
desires will be more varied (the gratification of these 
desires making a more complex environment) and that 

128 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

by the gratification of these higher desires there is a 
greater degree of satisfaction. We will no doubt 
admit that even in the lowest savage there is a certain 
mental desire, the gratification of which gives to the 
life of the savage a greater degree of satisfaction than 
that of a lower order of animal. Observation would 
certainly cause us to assume that an animal gets a 
greater degree of satisfaction out of life than a plant 
does. From this we can consistently assume that the 
organism gets a greater degree of satisfaction out of 
life than the inorganic does out of mere existence. 
By this assumption we have a simple reason why the 
atoms organize and why there is evolution. 

When I assume that, as conditions permit, atoms 
organize spontaneously because they have a desire 
(functidh) which organizing (evolving organs) will 
enable them to gratify; when the Materialist assumes 
that the atoms organize because they are compelled 
to by the laws of nature ; when the Dualist assumes that 
the atoms organize as an essential action in the fulfil- 
ment of the will of an exterior God; there is in these 
various conceptions no contradiction in fact, nor any 
effort by either to explain how the organization is 
accomplished. The only difference is in the conception. 
In the Materialistic conception there is really no answer 
to the why. Saying " Because compelled by the laws of 
nature" does not give an intelligent reason. In the 
Dualistic conception there is an intelligent answer to 
the why. There is a satisfaction of an intelligence. 
But on account of the physical difficulties of the actual 
operation under this conception and with no apparent 
material necessity for a Dualism, there has arisen, as a 
natural consequence, a repudiation of the Dualism by 
those termed Materialists. Many recognize that the 

Desire 129 

Materialists have repudiated too much and in an eflfort 
to avoid the extremes we have the Monistic conception, 
which, to my mind, comes the nearest to expressing 
the true relations of Being of any of the four historical 
conceptions. Monism seems to me Materialism grafted 
with spiritistic ideas. But the Monists wish the 
material to spontaneously create an intelligent God 
(consciousness), which is as spiritually difficult to do 
as it is (to satisfy our intellect) physically difficult for 
an intelligent, exterior, spiritual God to create mechan- 
ically a material universe. 

I think the Comprehensive Conception obviates 
certain intellectual difficulties inherent in each of the 
other conceptions. The how is incomprehensible under 
any conception. The why is more logically plausible 
under the Comprehensive Conception. 

The higher form, the organ for the manifestation of 
the higher desire, is simply a greater capacity for 
enjoyment. One pertinent point I wish to make here is 
that the capacity is increased more by doing than by 
being done for. ' ' Only those are able to bear meat who 
by use of their reason know good from evil " ; not those 
who utilize alone the reason of others, or try to know 
good from evil by printed directions. Those who do 
physically; those who think mentally; those who act 
spiritually are the ones who develop an increased 
capacity. Following the higher Desire is evolving a 
higher form and giving to the gratification of Desire 
a greater degree of satisfaction. 

Materialists have started at the bottom and by 
working up have proved evolution. I will accept 
evolution as a fact and by starting at the top wiU give 
a few illustrations to show why evolution is necessary. 

Man says stealing is wrong and the majority refrain 

130 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

from stealing. Why? Solely because it is wrong? 
No, but because in the organization of society experience 
has taught that a greater degree of satisfaction exists 
when property is sacred. This idea must have been an 
inspiration primarily but which has been ratified or 
made right by experience. 

We empty slop into a trough and the hogs will crowd 
and squeal, fight for the morsels and defile them with 
their feet. Place food before man and he will not 
ordinarily act like a hog ; not because it is wrong to do 
so, but because there is a greater degree of satisfaction 
from the possession of table manners. This is not 
solely an evolution of the individual but an evolution 
of society of which the individual is a part. Table 
manners are probably one of the first steps in the evolu- 
tion of society, yet so slow is evolution, or the effect 
of experience, that I have seen a family of Indians 
where the members helped themselves from the contents 
of a single pot and in their eagerness upset the pot and 
tumbled the contents into the dirt. Whenever a 
number of civilized people are placed in a position 
bordering on starvation, they will generally revert to 
animalism. All Desire is persistent but the ability 
of any Desire to a persistent control of the organism 
seems to be proportionate to the duration of the ex- 
perience of such an organism {i. e., the oldest forms are 
the most stable). 

Suppose a man has an idea that the organization of 
a fire insurance association would be a good thing and 
he suggests to a number of men the advisability of 
organizing. Assuming this to be a new idea, we can 
readily see there would be reluctance to enter such 
an organization, and, provided the organization was per- 
fected, if conditions caused it to fail of its object, there 

Desire 131 

would be still greater difficulty to the perfection of a 
second organization within the sphere of the experience 
of the first. But no matter how many failures, the 
desire being persistent, there would sooner or later be 
a time when some organization would succeed. This 
continued, would give experience aiding successive 
organizations. These organizations might increase 
until their very multiplicity would occasion the failure 
of some of them. This illustration. shows the necessity 
of the desire before the action; the function before the 
organ. It also shows that the growth of the materialized 
desire and its stability hinges on the experience, i. e., 
the result of conditions, otherwise termed "the survival 
of the fittest." 

The efforts of plants to protect exposed or irritated 
parts; the formation of a pearl (result of protection 
from exterior source of irritation) ; the organization of 
a fire assurance association, may each b§ a manifesta- 
tion showing the varied interpretation of an equivalent 

We can see that according to this assumption it 
would be impossible for an intrinsically bad desire to 
have a continuous existence. I, therefore, conclude 
there are primarily no bad desires. A desire may be 
incorrectly interpreted; may be badly executed; or 
improperly located; or wrongly conditioned; or in 
various ways appear evil, but primarily that desire was 
essential to evolution, and its gratification gave a 
certain degree of satisfaction. 

Reverting to our efforts to organize the first assurance 
association, the causes for and against such an organi- 
zation might be equal : the desire to obtain the supposed 
benefits, the fear of a failure, the desire for something 
new, the reluctance to depart from precedent. The 

132 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

pros and cons balancing, I assume that volition decides. 
From observation and experience we say that in the 
long run chances are even, therefore, sooner or later 
even if left to volition, there must come' a time when 
there would be an organization, and then its develop- 
ment would depend on conditions. 

I wish to make another point here to show why I am 
optimistic regarding the necessity of continued evolu- 
tion of human organizations. I speak of those desires 
as animal whose fulfilment is essential to a development 
of the animal. There is practically but little increase 
of these desires in number or variety. The mental 
and spiritual desires are rapidly increasing in number 
and variety. That is becoming manifest. If it is 
true that a higher desire is one whose gratification gives 
a greatef degree of satisfaction and that the mental 
and spiritual desires are higher than the animal desires, 
then the increase in the number and variety of these 
desires will continually augment the number of cases 
in which the conflict between animal desires and mental 
or spiritual desires becomes equal. And if we believe 
that "chances are in the long run equal," then by voli- 
tion there would be a continued increase of cases where 
the mental or spiritual desire would be the choice, and 
the action following this choice would be a step in the 
evolution of the conduct of man. Our measure of the 
importance of the conduct of a man is according to 
the degree to which such conduct has been instrumental 
in perfecting an organization, political, economic, edu- 
cational, or religious, whereby our animal, mental, or 
spiritual desires could be the more completely gratified. 

When it is realized that there are no known limits to 
man's mental and spiritual evolution here, we will 
proceed to utilize the greater portion of that enormous 

Desire 133 

energy which is now being used (not utilized) in pre- 
paring for an imaginary hereafter. Then optimism 
wUl be justified. 

The stability of the social organisms are proportionate 
to the experience. The integrity of the family and 
table manners are examples of the most stable, or fixed, 
because of the longest duration. Political and eco- 
nomic organizations are much less stable, or fixed, 
because of shorter duration. The latter are more 
complex in their organization and when through experi- 
ence and proper conditions the organization is perfected 
the satisfaction accruing from such an organization 
will be proportionately great. This does not mean 
that an economic organization will give greater satis- 
faction than a family, but that the satisfaction of 
individual and fanuly may be proportionate to the 
perfection of the economic organizations. 

I speak of the desire of the atoms causing a co- 
operative organization or organism. I do not mean 
that a number of atoms may have a desire to read a 
book and with premeditated forethought spontane- 
ously form into a man. We say hunger is the desire 
for food, but it is impossible to describe hunger in the 
abstract. The desire for food is simply the desire of 
the atoms to maintain the organism. The atoms 
wotdd continue to exist without food, but the organism 
would not; therefore it is to the atoms, just as it is to 
the Ego, a psychical consciousness of a physical need, 
not of the individual but of the organism. 

Our comprehension being so definitely limited to 
the material plane, we do not in any way know what 
consciousness on the atomic or spiritual plane may be 
like. I shall continue to speak definitely of Desire, 
although it must be distinctly understood that sub- 

134 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

jectively we do not comprehend even our own desires. 
It is only objectively or through the object of the desire 
that it becomes comprehensible, and is fulfilled. And 
the object of our desires is never as far from us as a 
desire to read a book is from an unorganized swarm 
of atoms. However, the steps from object to object 
leads some of the atoms, as conditions permit, inevit- 
ably from matter to man, and if we were able to follow 
these steps, they would probably be as plain as the 
steps from family to State in the human organizations. 

I assume that the process of evolution is the same 
anywhere, due allowance being made for the degree 
of comprehension. We have no means of knowing 
how many forms of organisms have failed from not 
being suitable to the conditions. Not only must the 
conditions be right, but usually those forms would 
best succeed which varied least, i.e., were best able to 
utilize experience. But occasionally there might be 
organized a form which was exceptionally well condi- 
tioned and it might succeed better than previously 
evolved forms. This radical departure from type 
occasioning rapid strides in evolution has been one of 
the puzzles of biology. This evolution by "sports" is 
a theory in opposition to Darwinism. I believe man 
to be one of these radical departures. 

The complex form is less stable than the simple form, 
not only on account of its life being based on less ex- 
perience but on account of the greater number of 
conflicting desires which compose the more complex 
forms. If the gratification of the cells of my body, 
gives me satisfaction, and the gratification of the various 
sense organs gives me pleasure, there is just as much 
reason for assuming that the recognition by the Ego 
of a spiritual aspiration gives aU the atoms of my body 

Desire 135 

a certain degree of satisfaction. This I conceive is the 
reason for the atoms organizing in a form (brain) 
capable of recognizing mental and spiritual impressions 
or desires on the material plane or with an objective. 
We, as human beings, had nothing to do with the 
organization of the form. As conditions have permitted, 
the forms which have best served the purpose of giving 
to the gratification of desire the greatest degree of 
satisfaction have been the ones that have evolved and 
succeeded. Desire has been the instigator and experi- 
ence has been the arbiter. 

The development of the persons of the genus homo 
has been under various conditions and with each person 
the conditions vary with time. We must realize that 
while we can formulate ideas from general experience 
(knowledge), it is much more difficult to regulate 
specific actions by general experience. Knowledge 
counts for less in the evolution of the person than 
habit. Personal experience (habit) counts for less in 
the evolution of the race than the collective experience 
(heredity), on account of the various conflicting bodily 
desires satisfied by personal experience. With no 
arbiter but personal experience, the strongest desire 
would invariably control. We may readily perceive 
that "strongest" and "highest" are not necessarily 
synonymous terms. Two persons have each a desire 
for food. We may easily assume that under certain 
conditions the desire in each for food could be so strong 
as to obscure the desire for culture. We may also 
easily bring to mind two persons, one of whom we say 
would give up much more quickly the higher desire 
for culture for the stronger desire for food; in other 
words, would sacrifice much less for culture than the 
other. The reason for this action we assume to be 

136 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

either from the restilt of organic collective experience 
(heredity); personal experience (habit), or general 
experience (knowledge); in either case modified by 
will, which in turn is more or less strong as a result of 
any or all of the above causes. To the above reasons 
for a variation of action according to a specific desire, 
add an infinite variety of objective impulses from en- 
vironment and we readily see that to find that which 
actually occasions a given action is not simple. Prom 
microbe to man the more complex the structure the 
more complex may be the cause or occasion for a given 
motion. Every spontaneous action, whatever may be 
its occasion, is instigated by desire. This is a simple 
conception, but as every action is composed of a multi- 
tude of motions of various organisms, which from 
molecule 'to cell and from tissue to organ may be in 
accord with the final action, but which frequently have 
desires strongly opposed to the action, we see that any 
given action is not easily comprehensible. We know 
from experience and observation that under certain 
circumstances a certain person wiU in all probability 
act in a certain manner and we say this typifies or 
manifests his character. We will all admit the various 
causes previously given as influencing the formation of 
character, but just as soon as we attempt to fix the 
definite cause of character the conception will influence 
the definition. Idealists will emphasize desire (psychic) ; 
Materialists will emphasize conditions (material); 
Dualists will emphasize volition (free will); and 
Monists will emphasize necessity (spiritual). Accord- 
ing to the Comprehensive Conception, each of the other 
conceptions may be right under certain circumstances 
but each is not right under aU circumstances. Desire, 
volition, exterior conditions, either material or spiritual, 

Desire 137 

may singly or in combination form a man's character. 
I do not expect those having a different conception to 
agree with the above statement any more readily than 
they agree with their opponents. The following for- 
mulation of a reason why each man does not do as 
experience dictates may be acceptable to those who 
agree with the previous statements. It is because 
experience itself is different when viewed from an 
organic, personal, or general standpoint, and in any 
event is not to any single person wide enough to cover 
specific actions under all circumstances. 

The motion of the atom, the action of the organism, 
the conduct of man are each a manifestation of Desire. 
The impulses for these manifestations are consciously 
equivalent, but to each the anticipation is not equally 
comprehensible. Each is primarily spontaneous but 
automatic according to the amount of experience. 
Conduct embraces action and motion. Action embraces 
motion. The words "motion," "action," and "con- 
duct" express steps in evolution. 

The forms of organization, social and civic, con- 
structed by human beings are the most imperfect of 
organizations because of the lack of experience. The 
gathering of general experience by history, and the 
ability to accumulate it through the art of printing has 
been rapidly perfecting many human organizations. 
The human being as an animal is the least perfect of any 
of the animals. The reasons have been given, but to 
repeat: the hiunan is of comparative recent origin and 
the organism is the most complex, therefore the action 
of the organism is the least automatic. But perfection 
of form is not the goal. The goal is to organize a form 
that will allow the gratification of Desire its greatest 
degree of satisfaction. We believe that for this purpose 

138 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the human form is the nearest perfect and, that with the 
exception of a continued increased complexity of the 
organism of the brain and the further elimination 
of some useless organs, the human forms are, for its 
purpose, perfect. That is, it is the assumption that no 
higher form of animal wUl be evolved. The evolution 
of atomic organization is about completed. The evolu- 
tion of human organizations has just begun. The human 
organizations may be perfected more speedily on 
account of our progressive ability to accumulate and 
utilize experience (get knowledge). 

The statement, "there is no such thing as dead 
matter," has become very common lately. It is so 
familiar as to seem like the orthodox expression of some 
great organization. What does it mean? If it has 
any meaning, it must mean that "all matter is alive." 
Being more definite, this latter statement sounds more 
absurd, if we use any ordinary definition of "alive." 
Some say that alive means to respond to impressions, 
but we all know that any material may respond to 
impressions or, if disputed, we could prove it by knock- 
ing a ball into the air. We might say that one ball had 
more life than another ball, meaning a greater elasticity, 
but that is not what a Monist means when he says 
matter is not dead. If instead of saying "matter is 
alive," we say, "the atoms are conscious," we sub- 
stitute a more definite statement for an indefinite state- 
ment. The only reason why such a statement is not 
made is because the term "consciousness " has carried 
the conception of comprehension, and the idea immedi- 
ately occurs that if the atoms were conscious, then 
when a man sits on a tack the tack ought to yell as 
loud as the man does. 

There is one trouble in getting a consideration of a 

Desire 139 

new conception, it is measured by a preconception, and 
as it fails to correspond, it is necessarily absurd. Various 
Idealistic conceptions are received because they are 
vaguely, not to say vainly, expressed or described. 
If being definite results in killing this Comprehensive 
Conception, I am going to be so. There seems no 
vagueness, nor is anjrthing meant in a mystical sense 
when I say "there is a Powerful Desire, or a Desirous 
Power, which is manifest as Nature." Every particle 
of the Universe is a materialization of that Power, and 
every form is a manifestation of that Desire. Every 
atom being conscious and having memory and volition, 
the forms that are desirable are organized as conditions 
permit. The conflict of these Desires form the condi- 
tions we term heterogeneous. Desire is fulfilled as the 
form is organized which gratifies that Desire with the 
greatest degree of satisfaction. Through ages of expe- 
rience (possible only on account of memory) various 
forms have been perfected. Many have served their 
term of usefulness and have become extinct. But it 
is the form, not the Power or the Desire, that is dead 
and gone. Desire is ever yotmg yet persistent. It con- 
tinues when conditions permit to create a crystal or 
organize a ceU; but also, when conditions permit, it 
assays a greater fulfilment. 

We hear it said that man's organizations are faulty 
because they are human, while natural forms are perfect 
because made by God. But "God is in all," or in 
nothing. If He is "all in all," then He is imperfect, 
because none but the simplest forms, such as crystals 
and ceUs, are perfect. The insistence on a perfect God 
has caused many to say, "then there is no God." Our 
conception of the perfection or imperfection of God 
(or Nature) must depend on the definition of perfect. 

I40 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I have said that man was the least perfect of the animals 
and also that he was the nearest perfect. The degree 
of perfection must depend on the standard of measure- 
ment. A perfect square cannot at the same time be a 
perfect sphere. While the word perfect is superlative, 
as an idea it is essentially comparative, and to say that 
the Universe, Nature, or God is perfect is no more rever- 
ent or pertinent than to say it is imperfect, for there is 
no other with which to effect a comparison. I am not 
afraid to say that I believe God is all in all and of 
necessity imperfect because always changing. This is a 
contradiction to the expression previously used, "God 
the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." The con- 
tradiction comes from trying to make one word (God) 
answer /or the three phases of Being. When I use the 
terms Power, Desire, Manifestation, or say that the 
Supreme Being (Universe) is the Materialization of a 
Powerful Desire, I use words that have a definite 
meaning and they form a sensible, therefore. Compre- 
hensive Conception. If it will conciliate any one, I am 
willing to say that the Power and the Desire are perfect 
and that it is only through the conflict of the individual 
Desires that the Manifestation is imperfect. 

Many writers, in advancing new ideas, unconsciously 
through fear of being heterodox or consciously through 
fear of assault, seek to cover their advance behind 
orthodox symbols. They are like Cambyses, who, 
when advancing against the Egyptians, placed a row 
of ibises in front. The Egyptians, it is said, suffered 
defeat rather than discharge an arrow which might 
wound the birds they worshipped. This may be good 
policy, and I would have no hesitancy in adopting it 
if I were primarily interested in the acceptance of this 
conception or feared that it is vulnerable. Nor is it 

Desire 141 

that I am certain that it is invulnerable, but that if it 
is vidnerable, it deserves to die. But no, it may, like 
Apollo, be vulnerable in only a minor part, and if so, 
it might be worth preserving. I do feel that a correct 
conception of Being is of great importance. When I 
see the temples erected to the unknown and admittedly 
unknowable God, I feel like crying with Paul, "Whom, 
therefore, ye ignorantly worship. Him declare I unto 

No doubt many will cry Atheist, Pantheist, and 
various other names meant to express disapprobation. 
The most effective way to express disapprobation is to 
ignore. Many a worthless book has been sold on 
account of the criticisms of the preacher. If this 
Comprehensive Conception "fills a long felt want," 
dentmciation cannot kill it. If the truth be not in it, 
it wiU not live but be like all misconceptions. 



I HAVE stated that in my conception of Being there 
is a Power and Desire. It may be termed a Power 
with a Desire to act, or a Desire with Power to act, 
and that the act is manifest in the materialization which 
we term Being. The structure of Being is atomic, 
and in each atom are inherent consciousness, memory, 
and voUtion. But this Power alone, even with its 
attributes, is not sufficient to account for the material- 
ization, or the various forms of Being as we perceive 

I will give five illustrations to show that there is 
another essential. 

First — Let us take (in imagination) two atoms of a 
maximum of attraction (I have no reason for thinking 
there is any difference in the Power of each atom, but 
I say maximum to cover the point), and if these two 
atoms should come together in contact, there would be 
no power to separate them. This statement seems so 
self-evident that there is no use in an effort to elucidate 
the point. 

Second — Let us take a tight vessel containing a 
mixture of oxygen and hydrogen gas of a specific gravity 
even less than air, and in some way spark them. The 
result is g, terrific explosion. What part has our Power 


Force 143 

had in this? We find of our oxygen and hydrogen a 
few drops of water. That form of the power of attrac- 
tion, which we call affinity (and cohesion), has drawn 
together these atoms into a form which we call water. 
But what caused the explosion? The only attempts 
I ever saw at an explanation are similar to the statement 
that, "The atoms in forming molecules took up more 
space in performing the necessary evolution than they 
occupied as a gas, and the sudden occupancy of the 
space caused the explosion." Does it look plausible 
that the amount of mattef represented in a few drops 
of water, but occupying space many times greater, 
and even more space than the normal, would require 
still more space to condense from gas to liquid? But 
even granting the statement, that does not mechanically 
explain how an attractive Power could in the very act 
of attracting, repel itself. 

Third — ^Again; let us take an air-tight vessel con- 
taining a small amount of carbon (ordinary coal) and 
sufficient oxygen to unite with it, spark them and what 
is the result? If the coal was stifficiently fine, there 
would be an explosion, but ordinarily there would occur 
what we call combustion. We have in the vessel, as 
a result, carbon dioxide, a union of carbon and oxygen, 
but they are occupying less space than they did before 
the union; that is, the power of attraction, in what 
we call chemical affinity, has drawn the atoms closer 
together. This would seem simple enough, but some- 
thing else has occurred. The walls of the vessel have 
been heated, they have expanded, the surrounding 
atmosphere has been repulsed. What has done this? 
Certainly no variety of the attractive Power could 
account for it. All the attractive Power is still there. 
It weighs just as much. The affinity is just the same. 

144 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

What affected the walls of the vessel and the surround- 
ing atmosphere? Says one: "Why, heat has been 
radiated." What is this heat? Nothing has gone 
which was there before so far as can possibly be detected 
in any material way. "Why, heat is only a mode of 
motion, and the motion has been transferred to the 
vessel," etc. But the ultimate motion was in the 
contrary direction, it was away from the vessel, for 
the material occupies less space than it did before the 
union. "Yes, but in uniting it took a vibratory or 
ossilating motion and in the outward movement or 
swing the atom came into contact with the sides of the 
vessel, and this motion was by contact conveyed by 
the vessel to the air, and so on." That seems plausible, 
but when the carbon and oxygen come together, why 
should they come in such a roundabout way? What 
peculiar part of affinity is it which causes these atoms 
to shoot off at a tangent with so great a force that it 
stretches the walls of the vessel, which are held together 
by a cohesion apparently much stronger than the 
affinity, which draws together the atom of this carbon 
and oxygen? 

Fourth — As another illustration, let us exert force 
on a material by pressure or friction beyond its ability 
to resist, and what is the result? This force flows off 
in what we call electricity or lightning. We see a 
definite amount of force come from the cloud to the 
earth, and in its passage, rends asunder the air, and 
repels the earth as it strikes. I cannot conceive of any 
phase of the attractive Power being the sole cause of 
this stroke of lightning (according to any ordinary 
material conception) . 

Fifth — ^As a final illustration, take gas compressed 
so it exerts a force of hundreds of pounds to the square 

Force 145 

inch, and what is the force which causes the exertion? 
The mechanical compression, which may be due to 
gravitation, in no way explains the expansive force, 
which maintains a constant tension under constant 

From the foregoing illustrations, which are but a 
sample of the phenomena found in practically every 
form of energy, it wUl be seen that attraction, although 
it may be called the Supreme Power, is not the only 
Power. My conception of Being requires another and 
different Power. 

In science we see a constant reference to terms 
expressive of a reptdsive power, heat, electricity, ether, 
elasticity; and none of these phenomena accountable 
wholly and directly to any form of attraction. There 
is no definite name or description of this tacitly re- 
cognized force which is in opposition to attraction. All 
religions have their God and Devil; the latter, the 
Prince of Darkness, more vaguely defined; but dimly 

There are many scientists who acknowledge the 
power of attraction, but assert that all phenomena may 
be attributed solely to that power. There are many 
theologians who say there is but one God, and there 
are no secondary gods or devils. 

But no matter how strongly physicists or theologians 
may insist on but the one Power, each in some way will 
admit something that shows a characteristic contrary 
to the Power as defined, and find it necessary to explain 
in many contradictory ways, how and why these 
opposite qualities exist. 

I assume the existence of an opposition to the Power. 
To prevent confusion I wUl call this opposition Force — 
the Power of attraction and the Force of expansion. 

146 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I conceive that in Power and Force lies the source of all 
the phenomena of nature ; that in the Universe nothing 
is known to exist nor is it necessary to assume the 
existence of any other entity than these two: Power 
and Force. 

I will take up various examples of the phenomena of 
nature, or the various phases of Being, and try to show 
how in these manifestations Power and Force are 

I have already defined one as Power with the Desire, 
or the Desire with Power. It is easy to see that these 
two words express different aspects of the same part of 
Being, and that it is wholly spiritual, but that the Power 
and Desire is known to us, only by its Materialization. 

I feel as though I must emphasize here by a repetition. 
We, as human beings, are conscious only on the material 
plane, and it is absolutely impossible for us so consti- 
tuted to comprehend "spirit." You may be skeptical 
of that statement, but please consider it. Nothing is 
comprehensible but what is sensible, and nothing is 
sensible but what can be interpreted in terms of one 
or more of the five senses. We cannot comprehend 
nothing. We indirectly form an idea of nothing as a 
negation of a certain something. We can conceive of 
no "immaterial" without in some way relating it to a 
material. Spirit, to us as human beings, is nothing 
unless manifest or materialized. 

Power is materialized according to its Desire. I do 
not wish to be misunderstood when I say that no Power 
exists but as matter, but that expresses my meaning. 
I will modify this by saying, I do not mean that we have 
or can now recognize all the existent manifestations of 
matter in a definite space, but I assume that there is a 
definite amount in a definite space. To put it in forcible 

Force 147 

language, I mean there is no Power (God, Man, or 
Devil), that can make one pound of gold weigh two 
pounds under the same conditions. 

A scientist would say that matter is uncreatable and 

A theologian would admit that God could not make 
another God equally as great as himself, nor could he 
cut himself in two and annihilate one half, so we really 

The simple materialization of Power, as matter, 
woidd not give much variety. Practically we would 
get nothing but density and weight. Density being the 
amount of Power, or the number of atoms in a given 
space; and the weight, the ratio of atoms in a given 
space to the number of atoms in another given space. 

What we know of matter solely as a materiaUzation 
of Power is Uttle or nothing. The greater the natural 
density, the greater the weight, but the less the elasti- 
city. Elasticity, however, brings in Force as an 
essential part of the form, and there is no material 
without some degree of elasticity. 

The manifestations of matter or its materialization 
is the phenomena with which we are familiar. These 
manifestations are due not only to a Power, but a 
Force. The Power and Force are two distinct entities, 
never interchangeable or annihilating. The Power is 
materialized but the Force is never materialized.' 

' The flow or flux of Force from one atom to another is divided into 
pulses, beats, or waves. The minimum division is probably an aliquot 
part of any larger division and is called by the advanced scientists the 
"magnetic atom" or "magneton." Whether or not these magnetons 
retain their individuality, or coalesce and cease to maintain distinctive 
parts under new divisions, is of course unknown. The essential differ- 
ence between the electron and the magneton wherein the former has 
mass, therefore can be materialized, while the latter does not possess 

148 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

We comprehend Power (when materialized) and it is 
wholly through or by Power in motipn that we get our 
conception of space. 

Though Power and Force are exactly opposite, Force 
is essential to Power in its various manifestations. We 
can conceive of this Force and its relation to the Power 
by analyzing these manifestations, but any exact 
definition or description of the Force (or the Power 
either) is impossible, because, as I said before, it is 
itself immaterial and, therefore, incomprehensible. 

Force is not necessary in making matter. Matter 
is a manifestation of Power. But what we recognize 
in our conception of Being is a manifestation of Power 
cw^ Force in what we call forms of energy, or the forms 
of matter, i. e., the material. 

It would be rather difficult if not impossible to pick 
out any phase or specific form of Being that was not 
produced through the joint effort of Power and Force. 
In giving a physical illustration of the relation between 
Power and Force it is not supposed to be comprehensive, 
but merely analogical. 

The atom has been defined as a centre of attractive 
Power surrounded by an atmosphere of repulsive Force. 
I will try to give a conception, which I think is nearer 
their true relation. I will use a homely illustration, 
which I think will express my meaning. 

If molasses is allowed to drop on a stick, a certain 
amount will adhere to it. If the stick is rotated, then 
stiU more of the substance will adhere to it, and the 
faster it is rotated the more of the substance will adhere, 
to a certain limited extent. If the stick is then revolved, 

mass, therefore can be manifest only indirectly, is of such vital import- 
ance that the magneton should not be classed with the electron by 
calling it an atom; I therefore say that Force is not atomic. 

Force 149 

it can retain on it still more of the molasses than if it 
were simply rotated, and the faster it is revolved, to a 
certain degree, the more will adhere to it. If the orbit 
of the revolution becomes larger, still more will adhere, 
and if the rapidity of the revolution and the size of the 
orbit are increased in a correct ratio to the rotation, a 
very large amount will adhere, providing it could be 
placed on during these motions. Now, in each case 
mentioned, suppose the adhering matter is the means 
of propulsion; then, the more molasses is applied, the 
faster it will rotate to its limit ; then the more molasses 
is applied, the faster would be the revolution; then 
the more molasses applied, the larger the orbit; or 
the size of the orbit may be increased first, and 
the rapidity of the rotation last, or the sequence 
may be in any one of several different ways. In 
each case the proper proportion or ratio of the 
various movements would be maintained if a maxi- 
mum amount of Force was absorbed. This is a 
crude illustration of the movement of atoms upon the 
addition of Force. Different classes of atoms have 
the ability according to their Desire to move differently. 
Some will, upon the application of Force, expend the 
whole of it in an enlarged orbit of revolution; others, 
on a more rapid revolution, and some will use a great 
deal on a more rapid rotation. In an increased sized 
orbit the effect is directly manifest and we say the Force 
has expanded the material; that the temperature has 
increased. In the increased rotation it is not immedi- 
ately manifest. We would not know that there was 
any more Force present, if we did not know it had gone 
in, or if we did not see (?) it come out. Under such 
conditions we say the Force is latent. 
Now I conceive Power as existing, so that every atom 

150 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

has related to it a certain amount of Force. The 
normal Desire of some atoms maintains a larger amount 
of the Force than others. 

The Desire of each atom tends to fix a normal state 
for that atom ; conditions modify or change that state. 
The Power in the atom never fluctuates, the Force 
related to the atom does fluctuate. The measure of 
this Force is such motion of the atom as is not caused 
by the attractive Power. From this we can draw the 
inference that any transformation in the form of energy 
within a given space is due wholly to the Force. The 
Desire of the atom is manifest by the way it acts under 
this Force. There may be an accelerated rotation, a 
more rapid revolution, or an enlarged or a peculiar 
excentric orbit, or various combinations of these 

We must, in getting a correct conception of the forms 
of energy, free ourselves from the idea of mechanism. 
It requires material for mechanism; Power and Force 
are not material. One able scientist says: "We must 
conceive the atoms as having points d'appui by which 
the attractive and expansive forces can maintain a 
hold. " If it were like that, we could comprehend it, and 
the word "conceive" need not be used. We must be satis- 
fied to only conceive some things. "Comprehend" is 
far more limited than "conceive" in its meaning; that 
is, we may conceive much more than we can comprehend. 
I have a conception of Being, but I make no pretence 
to the comprehension of Being. We often stretch 
the correct use of the word "comprehend." I may say 
that I comprehend that four billions is twice two bil- 
lions, but I really do not comprehend at all what even 
one billion is. I would really mean that I comprehend 
that twice two is four, and conceive that it applies to 

Force 151 

billions as well as to units. I wish to emphasize the 
fact that we are extremely limited in our comprehension, 
and comparatively unlimited in our conceptions; also 
that I am speaking of the conceptions of Being ; there- 
fore, there is no weight in the criticism, that when I 
mention a Force which is never materialized, I am 
speaking of something entirely incomprehensible. 

I said I could not comprehend a billion, but I readily 
conceive of a billion as being a definite enlargement of 
a definite number of comprehensible amotmts. The 
conception, to be satisfactory, must be well based on or 
well related to the comprehensible. This is the reason 
why mathematics is the most satisfactory branch of 
science, — physics occupying a middle place, with 
metaphysics ordinarily the least satisfactory. So 
unsatisfactory is metaphysics that only a small portion 
of mankind have any interest in it. But to this small 
but growing portion this interest is gratified with a 
greater degree of satisfaction than any other. 

I have digressed in order to emphasize the point that 
when I use illustrations to make plain my meaning in 
the conceived relations of Power and Force, I do not 
intend by these illustrations to infer that these relations 
can be comprehended. They may aid you to compre- 
hend my meaning, and get my view-point of conception, 
but I expKcitly deny that I, as a htunan being, can 
comprehend Power or Force, or how they maintain 
their relations. But I do affirm that I believe that 
my conception of the relations of Power and Force is 
more easily comprehensible than some other concep- 
tions, and to my mind at least, certainly the most 

I will now get back to the work of relating the sources 
of energy. 

152 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Hydrogen is supposed to be the lightest of substances ; 
that is, there is supposed to be less atoms in a given 
volume of hydrogen than in an equal volume of other 
substance. A larger orbit of the atom with a more 
rapid motion is necessitated to give the required equal 
pressure under a less specific gravity. In a given 
volume of hydrogen we can readily conceive that the 
ratio of Power to Force is much less than in some other 
substances. In a like volume of oxygen of equal 
pressure we can readily conceive that there is a larger 
quantity of Power, because there is more weight and 
greater density. We might naturally asstune that, as 
the quantity of Power is greater, the portion of Force 
is less. In such an assumption we would be wrong. 
As I have said before, the chances for a wrong assump- 
tion are ihuch greater than the chances for striking the 
right one. A scientist wiU say that: "In a given 
volume of hydrogen there is a definite number (not 
definable) of atoms, with a definite motion (not de- 
scribable)." What is meant by "not definable" and 
"not describable" is that it is not demonstrable, which 
limitation I accept in my conception. 

I say that a certain volume of hydrogen contains a 
definite number of atoms (each atom a definite amount 
of Power), and in relation thereto there is a definite 
amount of Force, and this relation is shown by a definite 
amount of motion. Motion is the result, not the cause. 
Cause and effect here are co-existent ; that is, they are 
not to be separated. As a metaphysical proposition, 
motion is never a cause, that is, one motion never causes 
another motion. A weight on one end of a teeter board 
may depress that end and elevate the other end. The 
motion due to gravitation may cause a motion in the 
opposite direction of a less weight at the other end. 

Force 153 

This is a comprehensible mechanical motion. The mani- 
festation is wholly physical and mechanical, but the 
assumption that the transfer of motion of the atom is 
also mechanical is, I think, a misconception, which I 
wiU endeavor to show as we proceed. 

That motion of the atom exists is demonstrated by 
osmose. Two gases, we will say oxygen and hydrogen, 
are separated by a parchment, which is practically 
impermeable to the gas as a mass of material, but the 
atoms of the gas will gradually filter through. We 
shall find that (relatively) more oxygen atoms penetrate 
the parchment, but, on the assumption that there is 
more or greater motion of the hydrogen atoms, this 
ought not to be the fact. "But," says some scientist, 
"the hydrogen atoms are larger, so they do not so 
readily penetrate the parchment." Let us see what 
this assumption means. Scientists say the hydrogen 
atoms are lighter, and now we assume they are bigger. 
If one atom is lighter than another, it must be because 
of a less amount of the power of attraction, and if it is 
bigger, with the same weight, it must be less dense. 
If one atom is more dense than ancfther, what causes it? 
Density, as an attribute of the atom, is a wholly incon- 
sistent term. Density of material is a comprehensive 
expression and refers to the comparative ntimber of 
atoms which occupy a given volume or space. 

I do not conceive of any density whatever of the 
atoms. Density is an attribute of the material, and 
one atom is not material, it is spirit, and has no material 
attributes. This is a typical point of difference between 
my conception and the Materialistic conception. If 
the atom of hydrogen does not penetrate the parchment 
as readily as the atom of oxygen does, why? Unless the 
oxygen atom is smaller, why does it penetrate better? 

154 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I say, because the revolution (or vibratory motion) of 
the oxygen atom is far more rapid, therefore, it will 
more readily penetrate the parchment. The expansive 
Force being greater, more is forced through. "But," 
says the scientist, "the expansive force is equal, because 
the pressure is equal." It is true that pressure is the 
only measure we have for energy, but it is known that, 
given two equal volumes of water of equal weight and 
mass, which necessitates an equal pressure, one may 
contain more energy than the other. Scientists admit 
this, but say that the energy or "heat " is latent. Now, 
I do not try to conceive of a latent Force any more than 
I, or any one of these scientists, try to conceive of latent 
gravitation. I conceive of Force in as constant action 
{i. e., as motion) as is attraction, but the motion of a 
changing 'orbit is the only one that can be measured. 
This is what we call expansion, i. e., pressure. The 
Force existent as velocity either of rotation or revolution 
cannot be measured so long as it remains such a motion 
of these special atoms, but when it is transferred to 
other collections of atoms, it may be detected. What 
do I mean, then, by it being transferred? The Force 
or the motion? When I have admitted that Force 
and motion are co-existent, it may seem a quibble to 
insist that it is the Force which is transferred, and not 
the motion. 

I will repeat an illustration, now, with its explanation, 
which will show the deviation in my conception from 
the orthodox conceptions. Let us again take the 
vessel with the piece of coal (carbon) and a sufficient 
quantity of oxygen to imite with it. Through what 
we call combustion, the union is made. We say this 
union is due to chemical affinity, which is a form of 
attraction. There is in one or the other of these ele- 

Force 155 

ments, or both together, a source of energy, which not 
only permits the motion of the vinion, but gives motion 
to the surrounding substance, which can readily be 
measured as expansion or pressure. Now where is the 
source of energy? The answer is almost unanimous, 
"In the coal lies the source of energy." How often 
have we read the scientific articles on the wonders of 
nature, which through ages stored up the energy of the 
sun through the vegetation, and hid it in the bosom of 
the earth as coal for the use of man! But chemists 
say that carbon is a substance devoid of energy, for it 
is insoluble in all known liquids, and at an ordinary 
temperature does not combine with anything. Now 
let us trace, if we can, the proper relation in this union 
of the coal and oxygen. We will take every care to be 
logical and consistent in the use of terms. We will 
agree that "energy" is a term expressive of motion of 
whatever kind. Motion may be atomic or material, 
but whatever it may be, energy is its expression. It 
may be manifest {i. e., sensible, measurable) ; or it may 
be latent (*, e., neither sensible nor measurable). We 
speak of latent energy, but latent motion is a para- 
doxical expression. To me latent is just as paradoxical 
when coupled with energy, as latent means quiet, 
without motion, and I do not conceive of energy with- 
out motion, or motion except as an expression of energy. 
I will use the word latent, however, because it is com- 
monly used, but in this connection it must be understood 
that it means insensible, imperceptible, immeasurable 
{i. e., not to be measured in its present condition), and 
not as meaning immoving. According to this definition 
we agree that energy is latent in the carbon or oxygen, 
or both. The two tmite and the energy becomes 
sensible, measurable. 

156 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

First, what caused the union? The natural answer 
is, chemical affinity (i. e., a form of attraction). Where 
was this chemical affinity before the iinion began? 
Some one may unwittingly reply it was latent, but it 
is as absurd to speak of latent attraction in the chemical 
affinity, as it is to speak of latent gravitation. Attrac- 
tion is absolute and constant. Had I the ability and 
patience of Newton, I feel certain that, with sufficient 
data, I could demonstrate that attraction no more 
varies in its various aspects, as cohesion, chemical 
affinity, etc., than it varies in gravitation because a 
certain quantity of gold weighs less in one location than 
it does in another. In asserting that in this change 
from carbon and oxygen to carbon dioxide there is no 
deviation of the quantity of attraction, I am eliminating 
chemical affinity as a source of energy, or at least of 
that energy which becomes sensible; which we say is 
radiated. This statement is rather iconoclastic, and 
will render me absurd unless I can, in a further analysis 
of the operation, make it appear plausible. When our 
chemist said that carbon is inert, and without energy, 
we take it that he meant comparatively. We suppose 
that matter in any material form is the joint product 
of Power and Force, which is simply saying that no 
material is without motion, therefore, has some energy. 
We have no way of knowing the quantitative value, 
or even the relative value, of Power and Force as a 
whole. In their manifestations we measure the relative 
value according to those manifestations. For instance, 
in a balance I may know that in one pan is a pound 
more than in the other pan, without knowing how much 
is in either, so when we fix the weights and measures 
in physics, we use them to establish definite relations 
one with another. In taking carbon as a substance 

Force 157 

of no energy, I mean as a source of energy which may 
be radiated. Relatively, now, we say the carbon has 
no motion. Under the form of carbon dioxide, the 
carbon has motion or energy, an enlarged orbit, shown 
by occupying more space. If it did not previously 
possess it, and it did not originate in the attraction oi 
either the carbon or oxygen, and came from no external 
source, then it must have come from the energy of the 
oxygen. This surplus energy must have been due to 
Force, as attraction is constant. This I conceive as 
being really the case. Oxygen has a great deal of energy, 
that is, there is much Force present in oxygen in its 
gaseous form, which is shown, not only in its large orbit, 
which makes it a gas, but in the rapidity of revolution 
in its orbit. Now, a portion of this Force is transferred 
to the carbon, resulting in an increase of the orbit of 
the carbon, and if this transformation of energy is 
insufficient to lower the orbit of the oxygen. Force is 
radiated so there can be a union with the carbon. 
The very fact of a vmion necessitates a close relation 
or synchronism of the orbits. The affinity of the 
carbon and oxygen, in other words, the Desires of these 
atoms to unite, is fulfilled when conditions are right. 
The surplus Force given up by the oxygen has gone into 
adjacent substances, increasing the size of the orbit of 
the atoms composing these substances, so that it is 
sensible and measurable. The old expression that this 
is the expansive power of heat is much nearer correct 
than to say that heat is only a mode of motion. When 
the scientist found that he could create heat, surrounded 
by ice, simply by motion, he took a poor screen. A 
lens may be made from a piece of ice and enough heat 
or force pass through it to set fire to any inflammable 
matter. In every experiment to demonstrate heat as 

158 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

a mode of motion, the motion is taken as a cause and, 
obviously, as motion cannot be destroyed, it follows 
any transfer of energy from one substance to another. 
The scientists see the motion of the union of the carbon 
and oxygen and say that this motion is the cause of the 
motion of the surrounding substanqe, which becomes 
hotter. The combustion is incident to the heating, 
but there is no more motion during the combustion 
than before it commenced, or after it is over. There 
is less motion {i. e., energy) in the carbon dioxide 
than there was in the oxygen, and that surplus motion 
(i. e., energy) has become measurable in the surrounding 
substance. The chemical afifinity did not cause the 
radiation of this motion {i. e., energy) but the union of 
the atoms having affinity occasioned it. (This me- 
chanical equivalent of heat is definitely described 
farther on.) 

I have gone at some length into this illustration, 
endeavoring to make plain my conception of Power and 
Force as separate sources of energy; that the Power 
is constant and never varies in one atom or another, 
and is never transferred from one atom to another, or 
from one substance to another; that Force is transferred 
from one atom to another, causing a variation in rapid- 
ity of rotation, rapidity of revolution, or an increased 
size of the orbit ; that this latter variation is the only way 
in which such energy can be mechanically measured. 

I will continue this illustration farther to more 
strongly emphasize my point. Without going into 
the subject here I will assume that electricity is the 
purest or most condensed form of Force with which we 
are familiar ; by this I mean the ratio of Force to Power, 
subject to change, is greater in this form than any other 
ordinary form. 

Force 159 

Let us take our carbon dioxide and discharge in it an 
electric spark, which spark contains a definite amount of 
Force. What may be the result? We might naturally 
assume that an introduction of energy would increase 
the size of the orbit (i. e., expand the substance). So 
it would, if it could be introduced gradually and rightly 
synchronized, but time is a part of the condition which 
effects or alters results in every phenomenon of nature. 
As we know, carbon dioxide is one atom of carbon 
with two atoms of oxygen. (I use the term atoms 
here as chemists use it, to indicate combining weight.) 
Carbon is slow to change its state (j. e., to either in- 
crease or decrease its motion) ; oxygen is very quick to 
change. (This time consideration holds good with 
aU elements. A substance that is slow to increase its 
Force is slow to give it up.) This electric spark, or 
definite amount of Force, is delivered suddenly, and 
must manifest itself some way. The carbon is slow 
to respond, so the energy is absorbed in an increased 
motion of the oxygen, but not indiscriminately. If 
both atoms of the oxygen in the combination should 
increase their energy or motion suddenly, the carbon 
atom would have to be equally quick to maintain the 
relation essential to a combination, which it cannot do; 
or it would have to give up its motion or energy, which 
it needed to enter the combination, which action would 
be equally as quick, therefore impossible. In this 
dilemma one atom of oxygen in every combination or 
molecule of carbon dioxide takes the amount of energy 
to enable it to maintain its motion as oxygen in its 
original condition. We now have in the vessel the 
amount of oxygen which represents the energy existing 
in the spark; the carbonic oxide («'. e., the remaining 
atoms of oxygen with its atoms of carbon), and such 

i6o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

of the carbon dioxide as was not affected, the total 
occupying a larger volume (or with increased pressure) 
on account of the increased energy in the oxygen. 

Continue the experiment by taking out the remaining 
carbon dioxide and we have left in the vessel the 
carbonic oxide and the oxygen. Let us pass another 
spark in this mixture and see what happens. It is 
not always possible to predict what will happen, and 
the calling of the chemist is one of some danger, as the 
result of this experiment will show. There is an 
explosion. After the explosion we find that the vessel 
contains only carbon dioxide, and if we measure the 
force of the explosion, we find that it just equals the 
energy of the two sparks of electricity. Now, did 
the union of the oxygen with the carbonic oxide cause 
the explosion by requiring more room for the formation 
of the molecules (as in a statement previously given 
illustrating the current theories)? Not at all. The 
second spark of electricity gave sufficient energy to the 
remaining atoms of oxygen in the carbonic oxide, to 
regain their original state, but it left the carbon in a 
state that could not be changed so quickly, also in a 
state that would admit of forming the compound of 
carbon dioxide as at first, and as quick as the condition 
was present, the oxygen gave up the surplus motion 
(i. e., energy) and resumed the relationship as carbon di- 
oxide and the energy (or really the Force, which is mani- 
fest as energy), so suddenly liberated, enters into and 
expands the substance surrounding it just as quickly. 
In the case of combustion the elimination of Force was 
comparatively slow, the expansion was gradual, and 
we called it heat; in this case the union being quick, 
the elimination of Force is rapid and the points of least 
resistance giving suddenly away, we called it an explo- 

Force i6i 

sion. Unless the weakest part of the vessel is equal to 
the strain, the vessel is shattered. The energy of the 
explosion is just equal to the energy of the combustion; 
although the effect in the surrounding material may be 
quite different. 

Let us continue this line of experimenting. In a 
vessel containing oxygen we pass an electric spark. 
Now here is a substance (oxygen) whose energy is 
great, whose orbit cannot be enlarged in such a sudden 
way, and should the speed of rotation or revolution be 
increased, we might not be able to be sensible of it. 
On the supposition that our term "expansive force" is 
explicit, we may be surprised at the result. The 
volume has decreased. The specific gravity or density 
has increased, but as the total weight has not increased, 
the Force has not been inverted into gravitation. But 
as the substance has contracted, it certainly looks as 
though the Force has acted in a way contrary to its 
name. Let us try an experiment to see if the nature 
of the force has changed. We take equal weights of 
oxygen, and of this new substance (which we call ozone) 
and combine each with one-half its atomic weight of 
carbon. We get from the combustion', in each case, an 
equal volume of carbon dioxide. In the case of the 
ozone not having so large a volume we might assume 
the orbit of its atom not to be so large, and, therefore, 
the surplus energy (motion or heat) would not be so 
great, but we find that it is greater and the increase of 
the surplus energy or heat from the union of the ozone 
and carbon, over the union of the oxygen and carbon, 
is just equal to the energy of the electricity used in 
changing the oxygen into ozone. This experiment 
shows the Force is not changed in its character, that 
none of it was lost, and that the conception of Force, 

1 62 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

instead of motion, as the cause of the expansion (or 
heat) holds good. But it gives no clue to the action 
of the Force in contracting the ozone. As an analogy 
I will give an illustration to which I may refer frequently 
in the future, as it is suggestive of many points. We 
have seen a spinning top, which has a rotary motion 
and also at times an orbital motion. At first the orbital 
motion is caused by the momentum of its body after 
the impact. Recovering from this motion, we know 
there is only the rotary motion ; later we see the orbital 
motion again and know that its rotary motion is les- 
sening. If we impart to it additional energy (which 
may be done with the whip top), we see it assume the 
perpendicular, and lose its orbital motion. Let us 
assume a number of tops spinning with a certain orbital 
motion from a lack of sufficient rotary force. Then, 
if force were supplied, it would result in a decrease in 
the orbital motion, and if there was no friction sufficient 
to prevent, attraction would draw them together, and 
the volume (space occupied by the tops) would decrease. 
The contraction would be from the attraction and not 
from the addition of Force, and if there were no friction, 
this form of motion would continue until conditions 

Now these movements of the tops are perfectly com- 
prehensible, and we account for each cause and effect. 
The modifying cause is friction, or a radiation of the 
energy through mechanical contact with exterior 
substances. But friction and mechanics do not exist 
as a relation between Power and Force, and taking out 
these terms, their movements become incomprehensible 
although conceivable. 

I have not the slightest idea how the application of 
Force to one class of atoms will cause an enlarged orbit, 

Force 163 

and to another class an increased rotation. We can 
see from their manifestations that various changes are 
characteristic of certain atoms. These changes are in 
many cases such as to alter the entire nature of sub- 
stances. It is not at all equal as to quality of the change. 
For instance, in the application of Force {i. e., heat) 
to water, during a definite time the orbit enlarges 
(water expands), then for a definite time the heat be- 
comes latent (goes to increase the speed of revolution 
or rotation), and this process alternates always at the 
same definite, although not equal, intervals. Finally, 
the form of motion has become so different that we 
call the mass vapor instead of liquid. 

I say that given the required condition, i. e., time 
and force properly proportioned, the motion is accord- 
ing to the Desire of the atom. Materialists say motion 
is governed by the conditions. This is an equivalent 
statement, but the conception inferred is different. 
The latter statement supposes that mechanical laws 
can account for every motion, while I suppose our 
knowledge of the laws to be drawn from our observa- 
tions of the motions whose manifestations prove to 
my satisfaction that they were co-ordinated by an 
intelligence superior to ours. 

I will give a few more illustrations regarding the 
relation of Power and Force. If we combine the 
proper proportions of oxygen and hydrogen, we change 
a given weight of gas of large volume to a like weight 
of water of small volume. If this change is by degrees, 
we call it combustion (comparatively rapid in this case) ; 
if it is instantaneous, we call it an explosion. In either 
case we have released a definite amount of energy, 
force, heat, or whatever you wish to term it. The 
difference in the effect from the combustion and explo- 

i64 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

sion is on account of the time occupied, as already 
explained. In the union of hydrogen and oxygen we 
find we get more surplus Force («'. e., a greater quantity 
of heat) than from an equivalent weight of oxygen and 
carbon. (A pound of oxygen wUl radiate the same 
amount of heat in combination with hydrogen, but 
there is much more heat latent in the water — H^O — 
than in the gas — C O "".) This is on account of two con- 
ditions. First, the hydrogen obviously has more 
energy than the carbon, but more important is the fact 
that the oxygen loses a much greater portion of its 
Force. In its compound with carbon the oxygen still 
remains a gas after some Force is expended in making 
a gas of the carbon, but combining with hydrogen in 
the form of water both are reduced to a liquid, and all 
that surplus energy (not really the energy but Force, 
the source of energy), essential to the motion of the 
atoms as gas is transferred to adjacent substances. 
Reverse the experiment and by applying Force (i. e., 
heat) to the water we elevate it to a vapor, and by a 
sufficient amount of Force (viz., two thousand degrees 
of heat) we separate it again into its constituent ele- 
ments. This may be done directly by passing elec- 
tricity into the water. This Force is instantly absorbed 
in changing the water into gas. This is one of the most 
simple illustrations showing that heat and electricity 
are manifestations of the same Force. Continuing this 
line of experimenting, we find that an equal amount 
of oxygen will release or radiate about twice as much 
heat when combining with anything, in which it takes 
the form of a solid, as iron, zinc, etc. I do not mean by 
this that the entire amount of surplus Force liberated 
is from the oxygen, for no doubt there is less Force in 
the irQn, zinc, etc., as it exist§ in this new form of oxide. 

Force 165 

I will take up one more substance in its relation 
to Force. Nitrogen constitutes four-fifths (approxi- 
mately) of the mixture we call air, the other fifth being 
oxygen. Nitrogen in the air is called passive, neutral. 
Nitrogen in this form as a gas is inactive, that is, it does 
not unite easily with other substances. That it does 
not possess as much Force as the oxygen is shown by 
the fact that, when liquid, it volatilizes much quicker 
under the same conditions. With some few substances, 
such as borum, titanium, magnesium, etc., it unites 
in combustion, giving up the Force which makes it gas 
(radiates heat), and as a part of such compounds, it is 
very stable and non-volatile. But the characteristic 
which renders nitrogen a wonderful and valuable 
element is its ability or desire to change its condition 
and retain all of its Force, with additional Force added. 
We saw how by the addition of Force (electricity) to 
oxygen, its volume was reduced, and it became in this 
new condition what we call ozone, possessing more 
Force in proportion to its weight than it did as oxygen. 
In connection with nitrogen, oxygen may be condensed 
to an even greater degree, but the ability to be so con- 
densed is undoubtedly by virtue of the nitrogen Desires, 
for nitrogen will condense in this same manner with 
other gases. Take a vessel containing nitrogen and 
oxygen (air) and pass into it an electric spark, and 
the two gases combine, but the combination is much 
different from that resulting from the union of the 
oxygen and hydrogen. In that case there was an 
explosion or combustion, with an elimination of Force ; 
in this case there is an absorption of Force. In the 
case of hydrogen and oxygen one spark of electricity 
or fire would give a kindling point, and the whole 
volume, no matter how great, would combine spontane- 

1 66 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

ously (spontaneously in this connection usually means 
starting without external means, but I mean here that 
it continues without external means), but with the 
nitrogen and oxygen, nitric oxide is formed only so 
long as the sparking continues, i. e., proportionately 
to the Force introduced. With the electric spark in 
water, the Force raised a liquid to a gas, but in this 
combination we have the Force turning the gas to a 
liquid (in combination with water it is the liquid "nitric 
acid ") . We have a right to expect this liquid to possess 
characteristics different from water, as it must possess 
much more Force. A simple experiment will show we 
are correct in this assumption. Place some of the 
nitric acid on any combustible substance and a union 
occurs with its elimination of heat or Force. I wish 
to emphasize the point again that the heat arises not 
from the union or combustion, but from the elimination 
of the Force existing in this case in the nitric acid, which 
Force is not essential in the new combinations. 

Nitrogen as gas possesses the ability, under the proper 
conditions of access to Force, to condense even to a 
solid, and the many nitrogen compounds are the great- 
est source of energy in plant and animal life. This 
energy is not from the union of the various elements, 
but from the ability of the nitrogen to quickly change 
its form through an absorption or elimination of the 
Force, i. e., by changing the manifestation of the Force 
from a rapid rotation to an enlarged orbit or vice versa. 

We assumed in the analogy of the top that a de- 
creased size of orbit was caused by an increased speed 
of rotation ; this speed of rotation might be increased in- 
definitely, and it would be directly immeasurable. If, 
in the case of the tops rotating rapidly, we could knock 
them over, all the energy of the rotation would go to- 

Force 167 

ward an enlarged orbit; the tops would scatter. If, in 
solid form, nitre is nitrogen with a restricted orbit and 
an intense speed of rotation, and if, as in the explosion of 
gunpowder, this form of motion was quickly reversed, 
would not that account for the explosion? 

We will find that in all explosive substances some one 
or more of their elements are condensed, not by a release 
of the force, but with an absorption of the Force, that is, 
the condensation has been endothermal instead of 
exothermal. Of all common substances nitrogen pos- 
sesses the Desire or ability to so concentrate its Force 
in the greatest degree. Uranium, radium, etc., sub- 
stances more rare, seem to possess this ability to an 
even greater degree. 

I will give a brief synopsis of this conception of Force. 
Each atom of Power possesses the ability, according 
to its Desire, to maintain a certain amount of Force, 
which varies according to conditions. This Force may 
be assumed to be manifest in the changed movements of 
the atoms, as rotation, revolution, size and excentricity 
of the orbit. The Force is always proportionate to 
these movements and coexists with them. Upon the 
transfer of Force from one atom to another the portion 
of motion is transferred. Force is always transferred, 
never transformed; the resulting motion and energy 
may be transformed. 

Atomic motion, as rotation and revolution, is im- 
measurable, incomprehensible, but conceivable. An 
a^ggregate atomic motion becomes mechanical, measur- 
able only by an enlarged orbit of the atom. The result 
of atomic motion or variation in the atomic motion 
may be sensible, but to become measurable it must 
become mechanical (measurable meaning by means of 
instruments, physical or chemical). 

1 68 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

In the relation of Force to the atom {i. e., a specific 
amount of Power), there is no such thing as friction, 
momentum, or mechanics. Eliminating these or any 
other material attributes from our conception of the 
relation of Force to Power compels us to admit that 
such relations are then utterly incomprehensible. But, 
we as human beings, are incapacitated from compre- 
hending anything but what is sensible on the material 



FROM the foregoing chapter on Force one might 
conclude that Force was the chief source of energy. 
When I said that chemical affinity in combustion did 
not cause the radiated heat, and when I said that the 
Force existing with the various forms of nitrogen was the 
chief source of energy in plant and animal, it certainly 
seemed to leave a small part for the Power. This is 
indeed the trend of many scientists at the present day ; 
that is, to resolve aU phenomena into electrical terms, 
making ions and electrons synonymous with Force, 
and assuming them to be the fundamental elements 
of the atoms. 

While we are without measure of the absolute relative 
value of Force and Power, I am inclined to think that 
Force is of secondary value, and as a whole is controlled 
by Power. It may be that the reader does not clearly 
grasp my meaning when I say that Force is never 
manifest except through Power, and therefore is never 
by itself mechanical. Mechanical action necessitates 
material, and Force is never materialized. Hoping to 
make it a little clearer I will give an illustration to show 
the difference between a transfer of Force and a me- 
chanical movement. Let us take two bars of equal 
length and size, one of copper and the other of iron. 


170 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Let us fix stationary one end of each, and at the other 
end put instruments to test any variation in conditions 
arising from our experiment. We will place at the 
centre of each bar an equal means for heating them. 
What is the result? The copper bar exhibits the effect 
first, the thermometer at the end shows an increased 
temperature. The next effect is on the iron bar, the 
pressure needle shows the bar has expanded. The 
instrument at the copper bar shows no expansion and 
the instrument at the iron bar shows no heat. Here 
are two different effects from the same cause. Let us 
analyze the action and see if we can see, inferentially, 
the modus operandi. The copper bar is slow to heat, 
that is, the orbit of its atoms increased in size slowly. 
The Force is used in an increased speed of the revolution. 
This Force is transferred quickly from one atom to 
another until it reaches the end of the bar, it is there 
shifted to the mercury of the thermometer, or our 
fingers, and this Force is utilized differently by the 
mercury, and our fingers, to what it is by the copper 
atoms. The Force, when transferred to the mercury 
or fingers, causes an increase in the size of the orbit, i. e., 
an expansion, which we call heat or temperature, but 
this heat or motion would have been impossible of 
discovery directly in the copper. We discovered it, 
not by any mechanical or material difference in the 
copper, but by the Force which issues from the copper 
and acts on the thermometer and our fingers in a measur- 
able and sensible way. This Force passes rapidly 
through the copper or from one atom to another from 
the source of the Force {i. e., heat at the centre of the 
bar) , and on account of this rapid transmission we say 
that copper is a good conductorof heat. If there is some- 
thing at the end of the bar, like water, which is a good 

The Senses 171 

absorber of heat, it would be impossible to heat to any 
great degree the copper bar itself, provided, of course, 
the amount of the heat was proportionate to the size 
of the bar. If more heat was applied than could be 
transferred by an increased speed of revolution, it 
would be manifest in an increased orbit, and we would 
have the measurable expansion of the bar. 

In the iron bar the heat, i. e.. Force, is directly used 
in an increase in the size of the orbit, which is soon 
noticeable and measurable. Atoms requiring more 
room in their enlarged orbit push back the adjacent 
atoms, and the extreme end of the bar is moved. The 
instrument shows the end move, although there is as yet 
none of that specific Force near the end, and our fingers 
and thermometer are not effected. This mechanical 
motion is only possible on account of the attraction 
as cohesion, which maintains a solidity of the material 
of the bar. Force becomes measurable only when it 
is manifest in an increased size of the orbit of the atoms, 
and it is by such expansions that we say motion becomes 
mechanical. The Force does not become mechanical, 
but the manifestation of the Force (increased size of 
orbit of the atom), being measurable, does become 
mechanical. The results of the Force, as increased 
speed of revolution or rotation, are immeasurable so 
long as they remain as such atomic motion. A small 
portion of the Force in a given body may be transferred 
and the motion transformed into a measurable form, and 
we may compute the Force innate in the whole. Such 
kind of measuring we do with certain meters. 

I will mention one other contrast in the action of the 
two bars. The copper heats slowly; therefore cools 
slowly. It will be hot to the touch long after the iron 
is cool, for the iron heating quickly will cool quickly. 

172 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

This time consideration holds good of all materials in 
every instance. If I am asked why the atoms of copper 
act differently from the atoms of iron under the same 
conditions, I reply that the normal atomic motion varies 
according to the Desires of those atoms, and the mani- 
festations of these Desires are given expression in their 
motions, which characterize the various elements and 

An analysis of the senses and to what they are 
sensitive will make us more fuUy realize that aU we 
know directly of the Power is the variation of the 
motions of the atoms, and that knowledge reveals to 
us what we know of the Desire, which is manifest in 
the forms through which the atoms materialize. 

The se^se of touch or feeling is the first of the senses. 
It is the most vague. Development is always from the 
vague to the definite. This sense of touch or feeling is 
transferred by nearly aU the nerves of the body, and 
is interpreted to consciousness in many different forms. 
Primarily and in the ultimate, nerve is not necessary 
for sensation of touch or pressure, and it must be 
pressure or resistance to its motion, of which every 
atom is conscious. As the atoms combine into mole- 
cules and organize into particles, the pressure or resist- 
ance must vary, and the interpretation of these varying 
pressures enable these atoms to act automatically in 
the spontaneous manner in which they do, and for 
which mechanics can give no satisfactory explanation. 
The senses of taste, smell, hearing, and sight are but 
specialized developments of the sense of touch. 

Taste is the first sense to be specialized, and this 
specialization occurs with the very earliest forms of 
organic life. The organism must know what to accept 
and what to reject as food, as a first step in the process 

The Senses 173 

of assimilation. In the most minute forms we see that 
this knowledge exists, and must come from the sense of 
taste. In all these lower forms, as also in most vege- 
table forms, the food comes to the organism instead of 
the organism going to the food, and when the contact 
comes, the sensation of what is acceptable is certainly 
a sense of taste. 

As the organism develops to higher forms, it begins 
to move, and henceforth touch and taste are not suffi- 
cient. There must be a sense that will tell it where to 
go for food, therefore the sense of smell is developed. 

In the stiU higher stage of development, when 
fectmdity will not protect sufficiently against possible 
extermination, the sense of hearing is specialized to 
enable the organism to guard against the approach of 
an enemy. 

The sense of seeing follows soon after, and in some 
varieties probably evolves even before the sense of 

The foregoing is an assumption of the development 
of the senses, which is not meant to be applied literally 
to each special development, but as a rule it holds good 
of natural forms in general. 

It is not meant that the nerves or organs of the 
senses are, in other organisms, just like they are in the 
human being, but that the classification of the effects 
of sensation and their perception in all forms of Being 
known to us come naturally imder these heads. ' 

' The tendril of a vine may reach toward- a projecting nail and if the 
position of the nail be changed, the tendril will, after an interval, change 
its direction toward the new position of the nail. This may be repeated 
so frequently as to preclude any idea that the change is due to a coin- 
cidence. This is only one illustration of many that might be used to 
show that it would be difficult to classify exactly the sense of the lower 
order of plaat and animal. 

174 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

The keenness of perceptions by any of these senses 
vary greatly in all organisms, even that of the human 
being, but the higher specialized forms have propor- 
tionately greater specialized organs of sense. 

The sense of touch is practically co-extensive with the 
form. The sense of taste is the more confined or 
limited, proportionate to the development, but even in 
the human being the nerves of taste extend over the 
tongue and part of the palate, and the different parts 
are sensitive to only certain tastes ; one part is sensitive 
to sourness, another to salt, etc. 

The sense of smell is concentrated to less surface 
and is affected by more delicate impressions. 

The sense of hearing is still more highly specialized 
and the organs more elaborate, though the nerve termini 
cover even less surface. Still the sense of hearing may 
be effected by impressions, other than those entering 
through the auricular orifice, as we can perceive by 
holding a resounding body in the teeth. 

The sense of seeing reaches the maximum of de- 
finiteness, being able to locate the object of sensation 
with far greater accuracy than the senses of smell or 
hearing. The organs of sight are highly specialized, 
and no other organ can in the slightest degree be sensi- 
ble to luminosity.' 

I assume that all of the organs of sense are impressed 
by motion, and perceive the variation of motion; that 
the senses are specialized to receive each its special 
variety of motion. 

' That the primary origin of the sight organ is probably due to 
actinism in no way invalidates the fact, that the human eye is more 
sensitive to luminosity than to actinism, and that any physical or 
chemical phenomena due to light may be performed by calorific or 
actinic rays in the entire absence of luminosity. 

The Senses 175 

We will agree that touch, as a sense, is impressed by 
motion, or by pressure, which is the same thing in the 
ultimate, being resistance to motion. The relative 
value of motions is interpreted in various ways by the 
different nerves of touch. They are all vague and give 
relative qualities only. If we take our hands, one from 
cold water and one from hot water, and put them into 
water of intermediate temperature the water will feel 
warm to the cold hand and cool to the warm hand. This 
is an example of what I mean by relative values. Con- 
sciousness perceives the relation only. Appetite and 
pain are each due to the sense of touch, but they ap- 
parently have little in common. 

I have previously said that in sound and light there 
is no measurable amount of energy. I will assert that 
no measurable amount of energy is necessary to impress 
any of the senses. I wUl illustrate this statement as I 
proceed. You may think that it is easy to measure the 
energy of a blow which we feel. That is true, but we 
may be more sensitive to a light blow than a heavier 
one. The sensation even of feeling does not truly 
measure the amoimt of energy concurrent with the 
impression. Many of the nerves of touch are developed 
so they are a measure of certain forms of energy, but 
we can feel many forms which are measurable in no 
other way except by the sense of touch. I may enjoy 
a good appetite or suffer from the pangs of hunger. 
The desire for food which I feel in each case is the same, 
except in degree. No mechanical instrument will 
measure the relative degree of difference. 

Advancing to the sense of taste, and we have an 
example which brings out the point more clearly. Take 
the oil of lemon and let it stand in the light and it will 
turn to oil of turpentine. There is no measurable 

176 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

change which the physicist can detect, but our sense 
of taste shows a difference. There certainly is no 
difference in the elements of the substance, therefore 
the only difference there can be is in the form of the 
motions of its atoms, and this, while perceptible to 
taste, is measurable in no mechanical way. 

Take hydrogen as gas, liquid, or solid and it is not 
sour, yet everything sour owes its characteristic to 
hydrogen. If the hydrogen is not sour, the sourness 
must come from a change of motion essential in the 
formation of its various acid compounds. This changed 
motion is not measurable, that is, the orbit of hydrogen 
is not measurably different in the acid from what it is 
in water. 

This same test and example holds good in the sense 
of smell. It has been supposed the sense of touch was 
impressed by a definite degree of pressure, and that 
taste was affected by the contact of solid particles and 
smell by the contact of the lighter particles or cor- 
puscles. The corpuscular theory has been discarded 
as the theory for sound and light, but is still retained 
for smell. The old stock illustration of the divisibility 
of matter, is the particles of musk which expels its odor 
carrying particles for an infinite time without any 
noticeable reduction in volume. Even on the corpus- 
cular theory it must be admitted that the size of the 
corpuscle is immeasurably small. But the corpuscular 
theory is not correct. The sense simply detects the 
variation in orbital motion. 

Let us take the example just given, and see the real 
process of transmission. Musk, as well as other 
pungent odors, has a nitrogen element in its compound. 
In all such compounds nitrogen is unstable and volatile, 
that is, it is relatively easy for it to change from its 

The Senses 177 

condensed condition to its original gaseous condition. 
And this process of changing its form of motion, or 
variation, is what the sense of smell detects. The 
motion is still characteristic of the compound, and the 
variety of motions gives variety of odors. There is one 
other point which may be brought out here. We saw 
in a previous illustration that in condensing, nitrogen 
absorbed much more force than it normally possessed; 
in returning to its gaseous state, this force is radiated 
and the immediate effect of this force is to give the same 
characteristic motion to the mobile atoms which com- 
pose the atmosphere. In this way the odor might be 
transferred and be detected without a particle of the 
original substance entering the nostril. Hydrogen, in 
condensing, does not absorb additional force as nitrogen 
does, and the odors caused by the return of hydrogen 
from a condensed state to a gaseous state we aj^Jy 
characterize as heavy, dead, noxious. Odors from 
putrefying organisms are chiefly from the hydrogen 
element. Hydrogen has neither taste nor odor, it is 
a variation in the orbit of its atoms, ' which we detect 
through our senses, and these variations are measurable 
in no other way. 

Oxygen is without odor but ozone we say has odor. 
This is solely because it is unstable and we, by the sense 
of smell, detect the transformation of the ozone to its 
enlarged orbit as oxygen. 

Sulphur we say has odor, but sulphur may exist in 
at least three different and distinct forms. It is only 
when changing from one form to another that the odor 

' It is probable that I err in speaking of an atom of hydrogen or 
oxygen as much as one errs in speaking of "an atom of water." The 
recognized "elements" form our present limits of divisibility and are 
used as the only means of necessary illustration. 


178 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

may be detected. It is the peculiar /onw of motion and 
not the element which we detect through the sense of 
smell. No element has odor while in a stable and 
intransitory form. 

It may be said that litmus paper will detect acid when 
the tongue will not. This objection wotdd show the in- 
correct conception of sense. It might be as reasonably 
objected that because I cannot understand music, 
therefore my eyes are not as good as another person's. 
I want to emphasize the point that our senses detect 
only variations in motion, and that the minimum of 
these variations are not measurable. The senses are 
no measure of absolute values. It is through experience 
that we are able, by the use of our senses, to judge of 
values. A farmer may judge by sight the weight of a 
hog, but we know that sight does not give weight, 
riij^ther does the sense of touch. It is only by experi- 
ence that we judge of weight, i.e., value of pressure, 
by touch. Acids have a certain value, that is, can be 
graded mechanically, but the sense of taste is no 
measure of that value. While sourness is a character- 
istic of acids in general, it is not an essential. Of two 
solutions equally acid one might be sour and the other 
not, and while there would be a sensible difference to 
taste there would be no measurable difference. 

AU of the foregoing examples and illustrations of the 
senses are but to emphasize the criticism herein made 
of the current theory of sound and light, and to make 
apparent the correctness of my own theory. 

In the development of the senses from the vague sense 
of feeling to the higher specialized sense of taste, we see 
that the amount of energy required to impress the sense 
decreases. In a dilute solution of quinine the particles 
of quinine which affected taste would be too minute to 

The Senses 179 

affect any nerve of touch. In the odor of the musk, 
the refinement of motion would be such that it could 
not effect taste. Or to put it in a parallel way: the 
amount of hydrogen that might be detected in odor 
would be insufficient to be detected by taste in acid, 
and even a less portion than would hydrate substance 
enough to affect smell, would be visible in a luminous 
spectrum by its variation of color, or be visible in an 
actinic cloud. While in each case the quantity is 
immeastirably small, still by the quantity present in 
the compotmds used, we might know the comparative 
quantity necessary to affect the various senses. 

We see it so frequently stated that a specific amount 
of energy is necessary in order to be sensible to us. 
Let a quart of water absorb sufficient heat energy to 
raise its temperature one degree, we can neither feel it, 
smell it, hear it, nor see it, because this amount of 
energy is not in a form to impress the senses. But this 
amount of energy might, in a different form, affect the 
senses. We may measure the minimum amount of en- 
ergy which we can transform in order to excite the sense, 
but we cannot measure the minimum part of the amount 
of this energy which is necessary to affect the sense. 

Under the current theories of the senses, mechanical 
pressure for touch, molecular pressure for taste, and 
corpuscular pressure for smell, there is an acceptance 
of the idea of a diminishing degree of energy necessary 
to impress the sense. We agree on this part at least. 
Now, would it not be logical to think that in the next 
specialized sense, which is hearing, that there would 
be still less energy required to impress the sense? It 
would certainly seem so, yet in the quotation given in 
a previous chapter we see a comparatively enormous 
amount of energy is required to impress th^ sense of 

i8o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

hearing. "In the faintest audible tone the total energy 
reqtiired to set the tympanum of the ear in vibration 
is 2. 2 iJi [A mg."' There we have authorities giving not 
only a measurable quantity of energy, but the least 
quantity of energy by which hearing can be affected. 

When Tyndall said that a deaf man might put his 
hand in a bell and feel the sound, he might also have 
said that a man without the sense of taste could put 
his hand in acid and feel the sourness ; one statement is 
as apt and true as the other and exactly parallel. 

I assert that it takes even a less amount of energy 
to affect hearing than to affect any of the previously 
evolved senses. In other words, the organs of hearing 
are constructed to detect slighter variations in the 
orbit of the atoms than are the organs of taste or smell. 
If we take an iron rod or wire one hundred feet long and 
hold one end in the teeth, let the other end be scratched 
or tapped with a pin, the sound is distinctly audible. 
If the scratch was in the centre of a ball of iron one 
hundred feet in radius, it would be heard equally as 
plain at any point on the surface of the ball as at the 
end of the rod or wire. The fact that sound will be 
transmitted better through air enclosed in a pipe is due 
to the fact that the vibrations of the air are confined 
by the more dense substance, but this does not hold good 
of the wire. According to the current theory of sound, 
the energy of the scratch would not only have to be 
enough to set in vibration all the supposed tympanums 
that might surround the ball of iron, but set in vibra- 
tion as well every particle of iron in the ball. We will 
admit that the energy of the scratch can be measured 
and designated by figures, and from these figures, 
according to the current law of the intensity of sound, 

' New Psychology, page 325. 

The Senses i8i 

we could determine the amount of energy at a given 
space at the circumference of the ball, which space 
might equal the size of the tympanum of the ear. I 
have no idea the result would indicate near so much as 
the figures given as the minimum of energy required 
for sound, and I am satisfied that the amoiuit would 
be immeasurable. In other words no instrument or 
means at the command of man could directly measure 
or indicate that there was any motion or other effect 
of one end of a wire one hundred feet long if faintly 
scratched at the other end. 

I will express this idea in statements acknowledged 
by physicists but not generally recognized. 

Many forms of energy can be measured mechanically 
which are not directly perceptible to the senses. 

Many variations in the sensible forms of energy may 
be measured mechanically when too minute to be 
detected by the senses. 

Forms of energy may exist in such minute quantity 
as to be sensible, yet not directly mechanically measur- 

The difference in these last two statements expresses 
the difference between measurable and sensible, between 
mechanical motion and atomic motion, between the 
materialization and manifestation, also, I might say, 
between the material and the spiritual. 

Our senses are the connecting link between the un- 
conscious objective material and the conscious subjective 

Our senses, including the organs of sense, are the 
result of an atomic organization whose function it is 
to interpret to the Ego certain forms of energy or atomic 
motion and this function can be performed by no 
machine made by man. 

1 82 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

From molecule to man is a complex development, but 
it is a development of complexity only. The physical 
ability and mental comprehension is one solely of 
degree. The continued development of this function 
in man we call experience, reason, knowledge. This 
development is not of the Ego, or soul, or spirit, but of 
the body and brain; a machine not made by man but 
by the Spirit in man. 



MY theory of sound and the transmission of a sound- 
wave is based on "atomic motion" instead of 
' ' mechanical motion. ' ' 

I assume that the variation of the size of the orbit of 
the atoms of any body may, within certain limits, be 
perceived as sound. The amount of variation impresses 
us as intensity. The number of atoms from which a 
variation initiates we interpret as volume. The fre- 
quency with which these variations occur we perceive 
as pitch. 

The energy of the abnormally large orbit is transmit- 
ted to adjacent atoms. The velocity of this trans- 
mission is proportionate to the speed of the revolution 
of the atoms of the transmitting medium; the close- 
ness of the atoms (density of the medium); and the 
ratio of Force to Power (as temperature) which might 
change the speed of revolution of the atoms of a given 

I assume the atoms to be in constant revolution. 
The transmission of a sound-wave is the transmission 
of the variation in the size of the orbits of this revolu- 
tion. It is, therefore, atomic and in no sense mechanical. 

I will refer again to the illustration of the spinning 
tops. Let us assume an area filled with tops without 


1 84 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

motion, another area of tops whose rotation is not 
sufficient to prevent a certain degree of orbital motion 
with just sufficient space between them for the orbit. 
Now, with a definite degree of energy, insert a stick in 
the centre of the area of motionless tops. The resulting 
movements of the tops would be proportionate to the 
energy necessary to insert the stick. That is, the 
area of the tops would have to be limited to a quantity 
that could be moved by the definite amount of energy 
used in the movement. The absolute lateral motion 
of each top in the circumference would be much less 
than the motion of the tops adjacent to the centre. 
This relative motion could be accurately computed 
according to the law applicable to such cases (inversely 
as the square of the diameter). This illustration is 
quite an accurate analogy to the current theory of 
sound. It is asserted that the energy producing the 
vibration lifts the air and that the effect at any given 
circumference, sensible as sound, is computed by the 
same law as that just mentioned. That the lifting is 
done by steps, i. e., by condensation and rarefaction, 
makes no difference as to the actual amount that must 
be lifted, or the distance (amplitude) which that amount 
must be lifted to affect the tympanum. The only 
difference is the time consideration; and as the air 
must be lifted through a definite space (amplitude) at 
the rate of over one thousand feet a second, the time 
consideration does not materially affect the analogy. 

I will take the second area of tops for the analogy of 
my theory of the transmission of sound. I have as- 
sumed in the conception of the relation of Force to 
Power that each atom has a rotary and revolutionary 
movement of which these tops may be an illustration. 
If we insert the stick in the centre of the area of spinning 

Sound 185 

tops with just the same amount of force as required 
before, we find a different result. The immediate effect 
would be to check the rotation and thus indirectly to 
increase the orbit, which woiild be repeated in turn 
tmtn it reached each top in the area. At the circum- 
ference of the area, how would the lateral motion of a 
top compare with the lateral motion of the outside 
top in the first illustration? We can readily perceive 
that it would be greater. We would, therefore, be 
enabled to enlarge our area of tops and yet get the same 
effect or degree of lateral motion as we did in the first 
case. Now this is much different from saying that we 
get an increased amount of mechanical energy. There 
is reaUy no more energy expressed in the second case 
than in the first. If I wish to demonstrate ocularly, 
lateral space, I could, by passing a shadow through that 
definite space, do so with much less expenditure of en- 
ergy than by passing a substance through that space. 
So to a certain degree can sovmd be affected with less 
expenditure of energy by a deviation of the orbit of a 
moving atom than by moving that atom the same 
distance laterally. 

I might more definitely illustrate this by taking two 
suspended balls in contact. I put a stick between 
them, and a certain amotmt of energy is required in ad- 
dition to the energy of moving the stick, which amount 
is the energy required to move the balls. Now suppose 
the baUs separated and to be revolving with scant 
contact as their orbits coincide. Now we can insert 
the stick with less necessary energy than before, as we 
do not have to move the balls. As the balls come in 
contact simultaneously with the stick the lateral effect 
is greater than before, with less expenditure of energy 
on our part. In further experiment we would see that 

1 86 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the effect on the pendulums was not dependent upon 
the insertion of the stick, excepting as to the size 
of the stick, but to a greater degree upon the quality 
or composition of the stick, and to the greatest degree 
upon the speed of the revolution and size of the orbit 
of the balls. 

The intensity or carrying quality of sound does not 
depend upon the energy used in producing it. More 
energy is required to beat a base drum and blow a tuba 
than to beat a bell or blow a whistle, yet the bell and 
whistle may be heard to a further distance. In our 
illustration of the revolving balls, I said that the energy 
necessary would be in proportion to the size of the stick 
used. So in sound, the energy used is in proportion to 
the amount of air lifted, but this has but the slightest 
part to do with the sound ; it is a necessary mechanical 
operation in connection with our production of various 
kinds of sounds. This required energy is in proportion 
to the surface of the body vibrated and ampHtude of 
the vibration, quality of the body being equal. But 
it is never the vibrating body, and frequently not even 
an atom of the first vibrating body which gives the sound. 
We draw a bow across the strings of a violin, and we 
hear sound which the authorities say is produced by 
the vibration of the strings; but suppose the body of 
the violin should be rubber, the energy and vibration 
of the strings is the same, but what kind of sound do 
you get? When we play a violin we vibrate the strings. 
Our required energy is proportioned wholly and solely 
to the surface of the vibrating strings (weight of bow 
and reaction of the resonant body not considered) and 
the speed of their vibration, and that may be, as in the 
case of the rubber body, as great, but with little sound. 
Ordinarily this vibration is transferred by mechanical 

Sound 187 

contact to the resonant body of the violin. As I said 
in the illustration of the revolving balls, the quality 
of the stick has more to do with the sound than the 
energy of lifting the stick ; and in producing sound, the 
quality of the resonant body from which the impulse 
issues, is represented (in my illustration) by the 
"quality" of the stick. A correct idea of this point 
is of great importance. A resonant body can be set 
into vibration with much less energy than an inelastic 
body. Imagine trying to give the bugle calls on an 
instrument of lead. While the sound to a great extent 
depends on the resonant body as a whole (a cracked 
comet would give, energy being equal, a less volume of 
sound, and a less pure tone than a perfect one) , yet the 
sound is not from the vibrating body or even the visible 
intemodes in the body. This vibrating body mechani- 
cally vibrates the air, which I acknowledge can be felt 
by a deaf man, and these air vibrations are those used 
in the illustrations in text books on physics. The 
mechanical bodily movement of the air does not cause 
the sound. It can be demonstrated that the mechanical 
movement of the air varies more in its velocity than the 
variation of sound ; that is, the velocity of the mechan- 
ical movement of the air is greater in proportion to the 
intensity of the vibration and decreases in proportion 
to the distance, while the velocity of sound-wave varies 
but slightly according to the intensity, and there is 
practically no variation in its velocity according to the 

In the phenomenon of the sound-wave there coexist 
two distinct forms of motion, the mechanical and the 
atomic. It so happens that in air these two motions 
are transmitted with a velocity so nearly equal that it 
has permitted an acceptance of the theory that they 

1 88 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

are one and the same. The confusion of the phenomena 
characteristic of each causes all the inconsistencies. 

I will give several illustrations regarding these 
phenomena. When we have an explosion in the air, 
such, for instance, as results in a clap of thunder, there 
are several effects, two of which I will mention here : 

1. The adjacent air is compressed and is mechani- 
cally forced back and this condition is transmitted as 
a condensation, followed by the necessary rarefaction. 
This travels in much the same manner as the orthodox 
theory of sound. But its velocity is, to a certain extent, 
proportionate to its intensity and decreases with dis- 
tance and cannot, with an equal amount of energy 
similarly utilized, be transmitted as far as sound. 

2. The atomic variation which we perceive as sound. 
The first effect, the mechanical compression of the 

air, is perceived as a shock, a jar, sometimes shaking 
the windows. This may come (at a half-mile distance, 
let us say) fifty to one hundred feet ahead of the sound, 
and (at a mile distance, we will say) , fifty to one hundred 
feet behind the sound, which would mean that, in a 
mile, there would be a variation of a tenth to a fifth 
of a second. 

Tyndall' gives an experiment where a series of 
explosions are so rapid as to cause a musical sound, 
and says: "The sound of this tube becomes powerful 
enough to shake the floor and seats and a large 
audience that occupies the seats of this room." 

This tube could have been muffled so that very little 
sound would have been heard and the audience would 
have been shaken just the same, or the sound could 
have been intensified and no shaking at all effected. 

" Sound, page 264. 

Sound 189 

And yet this authority on sound ascribes this 
phenomenon to sound. 

We have all heard of the bridge that might, by the 
synchronous tramp of men, vibrate to the breaking 
point; we have all heard of an explosion that would 
shake a room, but did we ever dream that sotmd in 
either instance did the shaking? 

The discrepancy in velocity of the two motions is 
easily perceived and corrected in arriving at the proper 
length of organ pipes. Frequency of vibration is 
interpreted by our sense of hearing as pitch. Frequency 
of vibration divided into velocity gives wave-length. 
The length of the organ pipe proportionate to its 
diameter is supposed to regulate wave-length, therefore 
pitch. This length is figured by physicists, but the 
figures do not agree with the facts. The actual length 
of an organ pipe necessary for a given pitch is found 
empirically and varies from the theoretical length all 
the way from a fraction of an inch to several inches. 
This is because the velocity of the mechanical move- 
ment and the velocity of the transmission of the atomic 
movement are not the same. 

By an illustration it is easy to show that the sound 
is from the transmission of atomic motion instead of 
from the mechanical movement. Let us take a tube 
with a plunger. Shoving the plunger into the tube we 
condense the air and the effect is perceived at the other 
end. The experiment will quickly show that the 
velocity of the transmission of this condensation has a 
certain ratio to the velocity of the movement of the 
plunger. That is, the velocity of the transmission of 
the mechanical condensation is changeable according 
to the initial movement. The velocity of the trans- 
mission of the atomic motion, or sound-wave, is not 

190 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

changeable by the initial movement. It is plain that 
if the sound of the pipe organ depended on the trans- 
mission of the mechanical condensation and rarefactions 
of the air within the pipe, a quicker injection of air into 
the pipe would change the time as well as the intensity, 
and under those conditions time could never be main- 
tained in the music. 

This difference is much more easily observable in 
water. If we hit the surface of water with a stick we 
cause the two distinct effects ; the first one is visible as 
a mechanical movement of the water in waves, the 
other is a variation of the vibratory movement. When 
stick and water come into contact this vibrating move- 
ment may be heard at some distance, first by one ear 
in water, and next by one ear in the air, according to the 
variation of the velocity of the transmission in these 
different mediums. An equal sound effect may be 
produced by exploding a small fulminating cap at the 
surface of the water, but there would be comparatively 
no mechanical effect on the water. 

In the generation of a sound-wave, certain of the 
extreme atoms in the intemodes of the vibrating body 
attain an orbit sufficiently different from the normal 
to effect what we call sound. These could effect the 
orbits of the surrounding atoms and cause a similar 
deflection, as the stick would effect the orbits of the 
balls. If these surrounding atoms moved with a greater 
or less rapidity, the transfer would be more or less rapid ; 
accordingly, the velocity of sound wUl depend on the 
velocity of the revolution of the atoms of the surrounding 
or transmitting medium (elasticity), as well as on the 
size of the orbits of the atoms of the surrounding or 
transmitting medium (density). 

This conception of the variation in the size of the 

Sound 191 

orbits of the atoms and the speed of their revolution 
would easily account for the variation in the velocity 
of sound in gas, liquid, or solid, or in the various forms 
of substances in these various conditions. 

A sudden expansion of the body vibrating would have 
the same effect on the surrounding revolving atoms as a 
solid stick would have if inserted so as to conflict with 
the orbit of the two swinging balls. 

The cause of sound then, according to my conception, 
is a variation of the atom from its normal orbit, which 
variation, within certain limits, we perceive by the 
organs and nerves of hearing, and by them is trans- 
mitted and interpreted to the consciousness as sotmd. 

Now, as to the perception of these variations. It is 
the current theory that the tympanum of the ear must, 
by the air waves, be bent "once in and once out" to 
make a sound. I say, the tympanum is not at all 
essential to the perception of sotmd. Any one can 
easUy find by trying that sound can sometimes be 
perceived by touching a vibratory medium with the 
teeth, when these vibrations are insensible through 
the ear. We have an epidermis, but it does not aid 
the sense of touch. The tympanum Uke the epidermis 
is a guard or protection. It vibrates whenever there 
is a mechanical vibration of the air sufficient to vibrate 
it. If it were not for this protection the delicate nerves 
of hearing would be impaired, as we find when from any 
cause the tympantmi is destroyed. But the destruction 
of the tympanum wiU not destroy utterly the power to 
hear, and the vibrations transferred from contact by 
the teeth will still be perceived, but from lack of constant 
.practice the perceptions thus received are not so well 
translated or interpreted. 

The wave theory necessitates a mechanical move- 

192 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

ment of the air, not a movement of the atoms singly, 
nor a molecular movement of whatever description, 
but a movement in mass in quantities sufficient to 
embrace condensation and rarefaction, and with force 
enough to mechanically move the tympanum. Accord- 
ing to my idea, sound may be heard, and in most 
ordinary cases is heard, without any vibration of the 
tympanum as a whole. There is continuous atomic or 
molecular movement of the tympanum of the ear, in 
common with all bodies, which, when the sound enters 
that way, is, according to its thickness, a proportionate 
part of the medium of the transmission, and, as a con- 
stant medium, is part of the normal conditions. When 
the tympanum is changed by inflammation or any cause 
it changes the normal condition, of our hearing, because 
the movement of the atoms and molecules which 
compose it are changed. 

Now regarding the intensity of sound. We know 
one mosquito sounds louder one foot away than one 
hundred mosquitos ten feet from the ear, and that one 
hundred whistles ten feet from the ear sound louder 
than one whistle one foot from the ear. In each case 
they ought to be equal according to the law given by 
the physicists. 

It may be asserted that in the illustrations I have 
given, it is volume of sound that has increased and 
diminished. This is true, but mechanics does not 
discriminate. If we increase a given sound ten times, 
there is no comprehensible mechanical way of telling 
whether we have ten times the intensity or ten times 
the volume. Our organs of hearing can interpret 
whether the orbit has increased in size or whether more;, 
atoms have an enlarged orbit. 

Scientists prefer to depend on a law mechanically 

Sound 193 

correct than on an interpretation by the ear. Our 
interpretation of the intensity and volume of sotind 
comes from experience, but even if otir interpretation 
was perfect, in order to know the correct law of the 
intensity of sound we would have to have data on all 
the essential parts to the phenomena, none of which 
are absolutely constant. We would have to know the 
structure of every vibrating body; to know the rate 
of revolution and size of the orbit of the atoms, which 
affect the quality of the sound ; the various movements 
of the atoms in the structure of the medium which 
transmits the sound ; the proportion of Force to Power, 
and their relation in all of these atoms; and finally, 
the conditions of the organs of hearing. 

It would seem that the tendency of the organ is to 
minimize intense variations and magnify sHght varia- 
tions. In other words the sense of hearing is so delicate 
that we recognize the variations in the lower register 
more readily than those in the higher. This is true of 
all other organs of sense. We notice the variation 
between nine and ten quicker than proportionate 
variations between ninety and one hundred. 

The experiment of the singing flame, etc., ought to 
prove the undulatory theory incorrect. The slightest 
variation of the motion of the air will cause a flame to 
flutter, but in these experiments the flame does not di- 
rectly flutter, and is not affected at all except indirectly 
from the effect of the variations of the vibration at 
the vibrating point, that is, where the gas issues from 
the orifice, and this vibration can be regulated so as to 
correspond to some one of many variations. In any 
text-book on sound we may see the cut of the tuning- 
fork carving the air into sound-waves of condensation 
and rarefaction. Holding the tuning-fork near a flame, 

194 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

we see the mechanical effect of this mechanical wave in 
the fluttering of the flame, but carry the tuning-fork 
farther away and the flame is not so affected; the 
mechanical motion has decreased according to the law, 
which is erroneously called the law of intensity of 
sotmd. The flame, or smoke jet, or water jet, may be 
affected from a still greater distance, but it is affected 
by the synchronous vibration of its most intensely 
vibrating part, and not directly affected at the part 
most sensitive to mechanical air waves. 

Scientists wonder why people still submit to be lead 
by the traditionary dogmas of religion. It seems 
equally as wonderful to many why some scientists still 
conform their opinions to traditionary theories, when 
a little thinking ought to convince them that some of 
their theories are not consistent with facts. 

I might call my theory of sound the revolutionary 
theory, because I conceive impressions of sound to be 
caused by a variation in the orbit of the revolutions of 
the atom, rather than mechanical waves in the substance. 

I might go on at length and show how in each pheno- 
menon this theory of variation in atomic vibration is 
more nearly consistent with facts than is the wave 
theory, but I think enough has been said to give one an 
idea of the theory, and to aid in forming an opinion 
of its worth. But bear in mind, our opinions, one way 
or another, wUl not change the facts, whatever they 


LIGHT admitted that the undulatory theory of light is 
•»• based on the same claims as the undulatory theory 
of sound. If that theory of sotind is weak in any of 
its claims, that of Ught is still more so, as it has the 
added weakness of necessitating in its theory the 
addition of a suppositional medium which is called 
ether. Ether, as defined, is not a demonstrable sub- 
stance, and is contradictory in its theoretical nature 
to any known substance. There is no reason for 
conceiving ether to exist (as described) only as a 
necessity in an undulatory theory of light. 

Many have been misled into accepting unquestioned 
current theories of sound and light, because of the won- 
derful discoveries due to measurements and knowledge 
of facts relating to sotmd and light, but it must be 
distinctly understood that these discoveries are not 
due to these theories. Eclipses were predicted and 
verified before there was any scientific theory of light. 

Ptolemy computed eclipses while supposing the sun 
to revolve around the earth. Newton believed in the 
corpuscular theory of light. Theories or no theories, 
mathematical and mechanical knowledge advances. 
This advance no doubt would be expedited by a correct 
conception of the relation of the causes and effects of 
the phenoniena. 


196 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

There is no question but what the undulatory theory 
of Hght accounts for a larger number of the phenomena 
of Hght, and is more consistent in its explanation than 
the corpuscular theory. But that it does not account 
for all the facts in connection with the phenomena, 
and is therefore not absolutely the correct theory, 
scientists should not hesitate to admit. 

The idea of inertia in matter may be discarded, but 
there is still an inertia of mind, which causes it to 
decline to revise its theories and creeds. Of course 
this trait is an essential one in nature in order that some 
fixity of type may be maintained, but between the in- 
ertia of Materialism and the erraticness of Idealism 
there must be a mean which is the shortest way to truth 
and knowledge. 

When delicate means of measurement showed there 
was no accretion of mass under continuous absorption 
of light, the corpuscular theory of light was weakened. 
When variation in the assumed wave-lengths seemed to 
account for color, the undulatory theory of light be- 
came established, and no matter for how much it may 
fail to account, it will remain the accepted theory until 
some theory more nearly accords with all the known 
phenomena of light. 

In giving a different theory of light, I am impelled 
to do so, not so much to explain this special phenomenon 
as to bring this as one of all phenomena tmder my 
general conception of the relation of Force to Power 
in my conception of Being. 

If Force is manifest only through the varied motion 
of Power, and Power is only known through its atomic 
structure, and the motion of these atoms may by 
analogy be conceived as rotating and revolving or 
both, with varying degrees of speed, then I must 

Light 197 

conceive light as being one of the variations of one 
or more of these motions. 

Referring again to the illustration of the tops. 
Suppose we have a top spinning on a plate ; the lessened 
friction at the point will allow it to revolve with the 
shape of the plate as the path of its orbit. If we touch 
the top, it will take an additional orbital motion. 
This complex motion might be called an eccentricity 
of the orbit, and in tops of a different specific gravity, 
with an equal speed of rotation and revolution, or with 
the same composition and different speed, this eccen- 
tricity would vary. If the orbit and speed of the 
revolution should remain the same, this eccentricity 
would be at the expense of a slight loss in the speed of 
rotation, or a slight acquisition of Force might be 
utilized equivalent to the eccentricity. It would take 
much less energy to give the top this variation in orbit 
than it would to vary the size or general shape of the 
orbit {i. e., from round to oval, etc.). In the top this 
wotdd be on account of friction, but in atomic motion 
pressure would be an equivalent impediment to an 
enlarged orbit. 

To be consistent with my idea of the development of 
the senses, it must show that sight is impressed by a 
slighter variation of motion than hearing. But first 
we must define what the sense of sight is. The sense 
of sight is that sense which is impressed by some motion 
or variation of motion, and is transferred and inter- 
preted to consciousness as the phenomenon of light, 
i. e., luminosity. 

Shape, distance, etc., are conceptions only formulated 
by co-ordinate experience in conjunction with the 
other senses. Light or luminosity is a variation of 
motion so slight as to be absolutely immeasurable by 

198 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

anything except the sense of sight. Generally that 
which we perceive as light is accompanied by other 
motions, which we call heat and actinic rays, both of 
which are measurable. The heat ray mechanically 
and the actinic ray chemically. 

Tyndall, in one of his experiments, estimated that of 
a measurable amount of heat in a non-luminous ray, 
which was not in any way sensible to the eye, though 
focused directly therein, less than one thirty -thousand- 
millionth part of that heat energy, if it could have 
been converted into light motion, would have been 
sensible as luminosity. 

From a ray from a given source, assuming waves of 
varying lengths, meaning of varying refrangibility, 
we wotdd get a spectrum. If that spectrum showed 
at one end calorific rays, in the middle luminous rays, 
and at the other end actinic rays, then the wave theory- 
would seem plausible. But when we find the calorific 
and actinic rays not only meeting in the centre, but 
lapping, and we are able to wipe off from the spectrum 
all the luminous rays without measurably affecting 
the calorific or actinic rays, it is palpable that a simple 
difference in the wave-length could not account for this 
difference in the phenomena. Now, I claim that in 
the ordinary ray, so called (or rather in the interception 
of the ray), there is an actual transfer of force, which 
is measurable as heat and mechanical energy. This 
phenomenon I will take up later, but in luminosity 
there is no transfer of force other than that necessary 
to cause a variation of the motion of the adjacent atoms 
in a like manner, which is sensible, but so slight as to 
be measurable in no other way, i. e., is not in sufficient 
amount to cause a manifestation in a different and 
measurable manner. 

Light 199 

It is commonly stated that light is white, but may be 
divided into primitive colors, but this is a misleading 
statement. No light can be divided that is not pre- 
viously combined. In other words, no light from a 
single elemental cause is white. Various kinds of atoms 
have characteristic variations in their motions, and 
each variation is classed as a certain color. A com- 
bination of certain of these colors in definite proportions 
gives what we perceive as white light. A solid body 
coming into incandescence passes through several of 
the variations, which we perceive from red to violet, 
and then, as all these motions are combined by the 
organs of sight, we perceive it as white. 

There is quite a difference in the perception of the 
ear and eye. The ear can separate the sound variations, 
and in a melody of sounds each may be perceived as a 
different variation, but this is not because the ear is a 
more delicate and discriminating organ, it is because 
the variation of sound motion is of so much greater 
lateral diameter and of much less frequency than that 
of light. The eye has a far more delicate perception. 
The ear could not locate sotmd to within probably a 
possible five or ten degrees of error, but the eye could 
locate light to within a very minute fraction of one 
degree of error. The eye can also perceive slight 
variations in color quicker than the ear can perceive 
slight variations in pitch. 

Before going farther I will try to give a more definite 
idea as to the conception of the primary movements 
of the atom. The proportion of Force to Power might 
exist and be indefinitely increased: First, in the speed 
of the rotation of the atoms, which would be absolutely 
immeasurable and insensible (latent); second, in the 
revolution of the atoms, which would be measurable. 

20O An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

relatively by the diameter of the orbit (density); 
third, in the variation in the shape of the orbit, round, 
elliptical, etc., which might be perceived as a variation 
to the senses, but not measurable (possibly the charac- 
teristic difference in taste and odor); fourth, in 
rate of the revolution, which would be measurable 
relatively only by results (elasticity); fifth, there 
may be an eccentricity in the orbit, i. e., path of the 
orbit which may be perceptible as a variation but not 
measurable (luminosity) . In the transmission of sound 
there is a difference in velocity according to the medium 
and conditions of the medium, dependent on density 
and elasticity. Density being equal, the variation in 
elasticity is simply the difference in rate of revolution. 
Again this relation may be perceived when the Force 
is used to increase the size of the orbit, and we call the 
material an absorber ; or when the Force goes to increase 
the speed of the atom in its revolution, and we call the 
material a conductor. 

I have said there seemed to be no necessity for 
assuming that there is any difference in the size of the 
atoms. Assuming an equal amount of attraction in 
each atom, or the atom as the smallest division and a 
definite amount of Power, every condition of the 
material is conceivable as a variation of the proportion 
of Force related to each atom. So far, we have been 
regarding the atoms as not having a proportion of 
Force sufficient to prevent their being within the range 
of the attraction of each other, so there might be mani- 
fest that which we perceive as material. While we 
acknowledge that the attractive power of the atoms 
does not vary, yet we know that the effect of this 
attractive power, i. e., weight and density, does vary. 
A ball of a mass equal to one potmd weight might be 

Light 201 

revolving around the earth at such a velocity (resistance 
not considered) as to have no weight, i. e., would not 
fall to the earth. ' We might say that to increase the 
mass of the ball would give it weight and it would fall 
to the earth. This, of course, would follow unless we 
at the same time increased the velocity in the correct 
proportion to keep up the revolution, and if this were 
done the result would be the same condition as before. 
This same law must hold good regarding the atomic 
attraction, which we term cohesion. 

In the gases there is less cohesion than in liquid 
or solid, but there is some cohesion or there would be 
no variation in pressure. The velocity of an atom of 
hydrogen at one mile from the earth would more than 
offset gravitation, but it never is so great as to more 
than offset cohesion, and this connecting link of 
cohesion enables gravitation to increase the density 
and cause the pressure to be greater at one foot from 
the earth than at one mile. Suppose the velocity of 
the revolution of these atmospheric atoms increased 
many times the present velocity, the cohesion would 
certainly be less, therefore, the pressure would be less, 
and its weight less. Sound would then be transferred 
through it with greater proportionate velocity, but 
with less intensity. If the effect on the sense was 
equivalent, the impression could be made from a 
greater distance with an equal amount of energy, or, 
to put it another way, the sense might be affected with 
a less expenditure of energy. Such is the case with 

We wiU assume that there is an atmosphere in which 
the atoms are moving in their orbits with an intense 
velocity as compared with the velocity of such atoms 
as constitute the air, in fact nearly eight hundred 

202 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

thousand times such velocity. Such being the case, 
other things being equal, instead of an impulse being 
transferred from atom to atom at the rate of nearly a 
quarter of a mile a second, it would be transferred at 
the rate of nearly two hundred thousand miles a second. 
There would be no difference in the process, nor any 
difference in the medium, excepting the proportion of 
Force to Power would be about eight hundred thousand 
times that of the ordinary atmosphere. If one of 
these atoms were disturbed in its orbits by the addition 
or excretion of Force or the intrusion of another atom 
in its orbit, four changes could occur. The rotation 
might increase or decrease in rapidity ; the rate of revo- 
lution might increase or decrease; the size of the orbit 
might increase or decrease ; the path of the orbit might 
become more or less eccentric. The increase in rapidity 
of rotation might be transferred as actinic force, the 
increase of speed in the revolution might be transferred 
as calorific force. The increase in the size of the orbit 
might be transferred as electric force, and the various 
eccentricities of the orbit might be transferred as color 
or luminosity. 

A checked rotation would give a sharper rebound, 
like rays of the greatest refrangibility, as the actinic 
rays; a checked revolution would give a rebound of 
greater angle, like rays of less refrangibility, as the 
calorific rays; and the larger orbit would give rays of 
still greater refrangibility, like the electric rays. The 
eccentricity of the orbit might give in its transfer any 
variety between the first and second, according to the 
eccentricity as color and luminous rays. 

A statement of the reason for assuming that ether is 
atomic, or rather that there is no such thing as ether, 
but that space is filled with atoms, which I term "light 

Light 203 

atoms," may legitimately be demanded. Even if 
such a theory is consistent with no more facts than 
is the ethereal or undulatory theory, it ought to be 
accepted, for by this theory no artificial, unreasonable, 
and illogical substance is assumed. 

Two reasons might be immediately brought up to 
contradict this atomic theory. First, such atoms would 
cause resistance to the passage of the celestial bodies. 
Leaving aside hardness and tenacity, attributes which 
I have not yet explained and which do not enter into 
the equation here, resistance is in some way proportion- 
ate to density, but not directly proportionate. In 
decreasing the density, the resistance decreases much 
more rapidly than the density. Taking the computed 
density of lead as i, water as .12, and air as .0009, we 
can readily see that a projectile moving with a velocity 
sufficient to penetrate lead one foot (not ptmcture a 
lead plate one foot thick, but to enter one foot in a 
solid block of lead where there could be no expansion of 
the material within the duration of the penetration of 
the projectile) would go much more than nine thousand 
feet with no other resistance than that of the air. On 
the assumption that density is caused by cohesion 
(density may of course be caused by pressure, but 
pressure could not have such an influence in a universal 
medium that could not be restrained) the density of the 
light medium might be little or much as the cohesion 
would be limited by the velocity of its atoms. On the 
assumption that light atoms move at the rate given we 
might fix the resulting density of the light medium at 
.000,000,007. To have increasing resistance there must 
be compression. The scientists assume that the ether 
may be compressed as is necessary to obtain the con- 
densation and rarefaction essential to the wave theory. 

204 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I assume that a body of these atoms cannot be com- 
pressed (except as I shall hereafter describe), first, not 
by another moving body, because they are mobile, i. e., 
have a quicker motion than any other body of atoms. 
Second, not by enclosure, because from lack of cohesion, 
as explained, and rapidity of motion they penetrate 
all material, i. e., pass between the molecules and the 
atoms of all cohesive bodies. 

I have said the ether offered little resistance to any 
body of atoms, or material movements. I mean at 
the velocity usual to such bodies. To a body moving 
with slight velocity, mercury, on account of the mobility 
of its atoms, does not offer as much resistance to pene- 
tration as lead does, but to a body moving at sufficient 
velocity it would be fully as impenetrable as the lead. 
With a body moving at a velocity of a few miles a second, 
the ratio of motion is so little that no resistance of the 
ether is measurable. But as the velocity approaches 
that of the velocity of the atomic motion of the ether, 
the resistance is so great that it is supposed no motion 
cotild be of a greater velocity than light. 

The second reason to be brought against this theory 
would be the effect of the mass on gravitation. This 
law of gravitation is generally supposed to be very 
definite, and all data derived therefrom to be accurate 
and absolute. I wish to state again that the phenomena 
that can be verified, such as an eclipse, etc., do not 
depend for their prediction upon a knowledge of this 
law, or of gravitation, or upon any other theory. 
Space and time are two items of an equation that we 
know with mathematical precision ; volume and velocity 
specifically represent them, and from these bases 
practically all the absolute knowledge is derived. 

Newton's first attempt at the verification of his idea 

Light 205 

of a law of gravitation failed because of an incorrect 
assumption of the volume of the earth (the correct 
diameter was not known). This law is, other things 
being equal, bodies attract each other according to the 
product of their masses and inversely according to the 
square of the distance. Very seldom do you see this 
first clause quoted, but "other things being equal" 
is a necessity in an application of the law. Our only 
measure of attraction as gravitation is "weight." We 
know that weight varies, therefore we may compute the 
distance by this variation of weight in a known mass, 
but always we must know where all other things are 
equal. As an experiment let us have balanced on the 
arms of the scales two bodies; let us raise a vessel of 
water so as to immerse one of the bodies, and they will 
no longer balance, which seems to show that one weighs 
more than the other. We see by this that one of the 
things that must be equal is the medium in which the 
attracting bodies exist. As they mutually represent 
the attracting power of the earth we can immerse them 
both in water and, volume and density being equal, we 
find that they again balance; therefore knowing the 
weight of one we say the weight of the other is the same, 
and we know that the attractive power has not changed. 
But we wiU suppose the second body does not balance 
our known weight in this medium, as it did in the other 
medium. We know then that the volume being equal 
the specific gravity differs. Now, the only difference 
which could arise from the assumption of "mass" in 
the ether would be a change in the computed specific 
gravity of the bodies of the solar system. There could 
be no difference in the attraction, as it would be the 
same in all directions from all bodies. Assuming 
"mass" in the ether necessitates a certain amount of 

2o6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

resistance proportionate to the velocity of the moving 
body. In assuming resistance it must be shown that 
a mistake has been made in computing the weight, or 
specific gravity, of the bodies of the solar system. 

We will take for our illustration the moon in its orbit 
around the earth. Knowing the rate of falling bodies 
and the velocity of the revolution of the moon, we know 
there must be a definite proportionate weight existing 
between the moon and the earth. This has been 
figured to the satisfaction of the scientists with no 
allowance being made for any resistance in the medium 
in which these bodies swing. If there is resistance, 
then these bodies must be heavier, i. e., have more mass 
than computed. That such is the case I will try to 
show. A§ I said in the beginning, if a school child can 
point out an error in a proposition of Newton's, he is 
of equal authority on the point at issue. I will point 
out one error which will be evident when seen. 

Newton, in his seventy-fifth proposition, says that 
a body at the surface of the earth is attracted by the 
earth the same as if the whole attracting force issued 
from one single corpuscle placed in the centre of the 
sphere. This appearing plausible, he goes on in sub- 
stance as follows: assuming that the radius of the earth 
is four thousand miles and using this as our first unit 
of measurement, according to the law that the weight 
of a body will decrease inversely as the square of the 
distance, a body weighing one hundred pounds at the 
surface of the earth will weigh twenty-five pounds at 
a distance of four thousand miles above the surface. 
The error in this assumption can be better shown by 
a concrete illustration. Let us suspend a spring scale, 
that will indicate one hundred pounds, to measure the 
weight of our body ; and suspend from this a ring (of 

Light 207 

neuter weight) to represent the body. We know that 
weight is the measure of the attractive power we term 
gravitation. Now we will attach to this ring three 
spring scales to represent and measure the attractive 
power. We will puU straight down on the central one 
of the three scales until it indicates eighty pounds. 
The attraction being eighty pounds, our weight measur- 
ing scales also indicate eighty pounds.' Now let the 
two side scales be pulled so each is indicating a pulling 
or attractive power of ten pounds. We will have these 
pulling down at an angle of forty-five degrees from the 
perpendicular, so as to represent the pull of the earth to 
its circumference on each side. The aggregate of our 
three scales now shows an attractive power of one hun- 
dred pounds. (Although the ratio may not be exact, 
this is certainly the way bodies at the surface of the 
earth are attracted, the larger portion directly down, 
and a lessening portion angling even up to ninety 
degrees when it is naught. If I were in any degree as 
able a mathematician as Newton, I would be able to 
give exactly the correct proportion, but for the illustra- 
tion it does not matter. Any one can readily see that 
it is representative of the way any body is attracted 
by the earth.) As our scales showing eighty plus ten 
plus ten aggregate an attractive power of one hundred 
pounds, we might expect our weight scales to show a 
weight of one hundred pounds. While we might expect 
it, no one who gives it a moment's thought will expect it. 
The weight scale will indicate nearer ninety pounds 
than one hundred pounds (that is, when attraction is 
one hundred weight is only ninety). Let us swing the 

'The fact that it would require more energy to effect a like change 
in two pairs of spring scales than it would in one pair does not in any 
way affect the pertinency of the illustration. 

2o8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

two outside scales down the same as the eighty pound 
scales ; then our weight will show the aggregate attrac- 
tive force of one hundred pounds ; that is, changing the 
assumed pull to the centre increases the weight. Let 
us swing the outside scales out and the weight scales 
will show a decrease until we reach within ninety degrees 
(which is the horizontal) and our weight scale will 
then show only eighty pounds. I can hardly imagine 
any one of intelligence denying the result of this experi- 
ment or illustration, so I will go on to the application. 
You will note, by referring again to the seventy-fifth 
proposition, that Newton said that a body at the surface 
is attracted by the earth the same as if the whole attractive 
force issued from the centre. I do not dispute this. 
He might just as truthfully have said that a body is 
attracted by the earth just the same when it is foiu" 
thousand miles above its surface. The attraction does 
not vary a particle, but you will notice that not a word 
was said in that proposition about weight. Had he 
said the weight of a body at the surface of the earth 
would remain the same if the whole attracting force 
issued from one single corpuscle placed at the centre 
of the sphere, any one would have seen the error. Our 
illustration with the scales shows that the attractive 
power remaining the same, when we transfer it from 
its natural pull to an assumed ptill to the centre, we in- 
crease the weight. But in Newton's demonstration, 
no allowance is made for this. Now all reckoning on 
weight is made from conditions as they exist, and the 
pound or other measure is defined as a specific mass, 
taken at a fixed altitude, in a specific medium, at a 
definite temperature, etc. When Newton or any other 
scientist says: "One hundred pounds at the surface of 
the earth," he means actual weight as defined, and not 

Light 209 

a mass that would weigh one hundred pounds if the pull 
was all toward the centre, and, therefore, when Newton 
says that a body weighing one hundred pounds at the 
surface of the earth will decrease to twenty-five pounds 
at an elevation of four thousand miles, he is in error, 
for his proposition that attraction is the same, involves 
the assumption that weight is the same, which it evi- 
dently is not, and, therefore, the result at which he 
arrives, i. e., that the gravity of the earth is one one- 
thirty-sixth-hundredths as strong at the moon's orbit 
as at the earth's surface, is not accurate. 

It is true that the result of the error grows less as 
the distance causes the angles of side attraction to grow 
less, but I claim that scientists have no right to say 
that my theory, which permits of a resisting universal 
medium, is contrary to facts, until they shall give 
mathematical demonstrations that are free from any 
erroneous assumptions. 

Let us compare the theory of the revolving atoms 
with the theory of the tmdulatory ether, and see which 
is more plausible. We know light travels or is trans- 
mitted in a straight line, i. e., moves on one plane. 
By the theory of a passive medium there is no plausible 
reason for this phenomenon. To make this mechani- 
cally plausible, cohesion would have to be assumed as 
an attribute of the ether, but as no one can conceive 
attraction without matter, cohesion has not yet been 
given as one of the attributes of ether. It is simply as- 
serted as a fact that light travels only on one plane with- 
out making any attempt to describe why it does. Now, 
by the theory of swiftly revolving atoms, it is easy to 
conceive that only those atoms might be affected by an 
impulse, whose plane of the orbits were perpendicular 
to the impulse, and those at an angle would not respond. 

210 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Again it is known that light has different velocities 
in different mediums. How is this accounted for? 
They say that the ether penetrates all substance, that 
it is impossible to make a vacuum in which no ether 
will enter, that between every atom and molecule 
there is a certain amount of ether. In short, that 
ether is homogeneous substance, and we have the atoms 
swinging in this medium more or less numerous in any 
given volume. Now, what should hinder the passage 
of light through this medium? To be definite there 
seem but two answers. 

First, we might say that the light in passing through 
these material atoms is more or less delayed, but it has 
not been assumed that the ether penetrates the atom, 
and to assume that the light passes through the atom 
without any other medium than the atom would be to 
discard the undulatory theory. 

Second, we might say that the light took a longer 
time in passing around the atoms, but that is not con- 
sistent with the idea of light travelling in a straight 

The way this subject is usually treated is to say that 
the velocity of light passing through different substances 
varies according to the density, elasticity, and molecular 
structure of the substance. But without defining the 
terms used, this does not make it mechanically clear 
why light does or does not pass through any substance. 
We can readily admit by the atomic revolutionary 
theory that the revolution of the atoms would be more 
or less effected in the orbit, and size of the orbit by the 
influence of the motions of other atoms. The con- 
sistency of this point will be more fully brought out 
in connection with phenomena that will be described 
later on. 

Light 211 

Again, we know that light is reflected and refracted. 
How is this explained by the wave theory? I wish to 
again emphasize the point that the wave theory is 
founded on the analogy of the waves on the surface of 
water, and we are constantly referred to that illustration 
for comparison. (In justice I repeat that some physi- 
cists are honest and logical enough to say that in the 
phenomena of sound and light there is really nothing 
like a "wave" in the medium, that word being used 
merely as a convenience of expression). We are cau- 
tioned to remember that the particles of the waves 
make, in the forward and backward or up and down 
movement, but a smaU fraction of the actual length 
of the wave (scientists are usually correct to a minute 
fraction, but I have never seen, yet, where one has 
given the definite fraction representing the ratio of 
this motion), and that the wave is the essential thing in 
this theory. Now we know that waves on the water 
are deflected, interfere, etc., but I must again repeat 
that wave-length is only a result of the amplitude, and 
the relation of length and amplitude is as absolutely 
fixed as the swing of the pendulum by its weight and 
the length of its cord. The amplitude is the direct 
cause and the length of the waves is the result with a 
fixed relation. But in sound and light there is not 
only no fixed relation, but no apparent relation whatever. 
The length of the water waves has nothing whatever 
to do with the angles of its rebound, only as a direct 
result of its amplitude, as its relation is fixed. Again, 
I repeat, in the water waves the amplitude is the 
essential part, while length is a natural result. In the 
wave theory of sound and light they make all pheno- 
mena hinge on wave-length, but I have never yet seen 
a sensible, mechanical explanation of how a wave- 

212 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

length can account for a definite angle of refraction. 
In the atomic revolution theory it is quite apparent 
that the reflection, deflection, and refraction mi ht be 
a simple result (I do not mean easily computed, but 
simple in its conception, if conceived as mechanical), 
arising from the varied movements of rotation and 
revolution of the interfering atoms, and the varied 
motions of the atoms composing the substance which 
they strike, or through which they pass. ("They" 
refer to the varied forms of motion by which Force is 
manifest and not to the individual atoms.) 

In this connection, I might speak of the computed 
velocity of light. Roemer's computation from the 
movement of the satellites of Jupiter, gives 186,000 
miles a second as the velocity of light. This has been 
verified by Hertz's computation with the aid of a 
mechanical apparatus by which light is passed through 
a slot and, reflected back from a distant mirror, passing 
through another slot when the machine is gauged 
correctly. This gives the same velocity, 186,000 
miles a second. In the first instance only a minute 
fraction of the Ught passes through our atmosphere, 
and in the second instance it passes wholly through the 
atmosphere. Now where is the difference in velocity 
upon a change of medium that is necessary in the 
explanation of refraction? Possibly this necessity was 
not thought of, and a httle fixing was done to make 
the figures agree. 

In an article in a prominent magazine,' a professor 
in one or our largest universities said, in speaking of 
the cheating by psychic mediums, that they ought not 
to be censured too harshly, for scientists were not above 
doing a little of that, when for the good of the cause it 

' William James, American Magazine, vol. 68, page 582. 

Light 213 

was necessary to make things come out according to 
prediction. Theologians are frequently charged with 
twisting texts and making verbal quibbles in the effort 
to sustain their particular dogmas. Are scientists on 
a moral plane so much higher that their statements are 
absolutely reliable while others are subject to doubt? 
I suspect that some are prone to value their pet theories 
more highly than they do the truth. 

But to return again to our subject of light. The 
various rays are classed as light, actinic, calorific, and 
electric, and the difference in their character is wholly 
owing, it is said, to the difference in wave-length, but 
I have yet to see the first reasonable explanation of how 
a variation in the wave-length can make any difference 
in effect. But even granting that the effect would 
vary as the length of the wave, that does not satisfy 
us how different effects come from the same wave- 
length. Let us take in the spectrum of siuilight a 
certain band in the blue. We see it is luminous, our 
thermopile shows heat and our nitrate of silver shows 
a chemical change. Here we have one wave-length, 
and three various and different effects. Why, if 
thermal, luminous, and chemical effects are due to a 
difference in wave-length, are all three effects derived 
from one wave-length? There is no explanation of this 
phenomenon by the wave theory. I have already 
given an explanation of this by the atomic theory. 
Theoretically, even one atom could give all three effects, 
the eccentricity of the orbit would give blue; the change 
in velocity of the revolution of the atom in relation 
to the size of the orbit of the revolution would give that 
specific amount of heat; and the checking of its rotation 
would give the intensity of force essential to a chemical 
change. As I have said before I do not mean to infer 

214 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

that these actions are as mechanical as the language 
suggests, but that the conception is plausible and can 
be expressed in language that makes the perception 
seem mechanically reasonable. Scientists assert that 
the length is the only difference in waves. I would be 
pleased to hear any one give an explanation that is 
mechanically reasonable of how a wave of ether of a 
specified length (and the scientists will tell you to a 
millionth part of an inch just how long that wave is) 
can produce so different effects, and confine themselves 
to the length as a differentiating cause. 

Wave-length in the undulatory theory is a parallel 
term or an adaptation of the term "periodicity" or 
"frequency" in the vibratory theory. I will consider 
it from thi^ point. In the chapter on "Force" I gave 
an illustration showing that iron was a quick absorber 
of heat and copper a quick conductor. The frequency 
of a change in size of orbits could be greater in iron and 
the frequency in change in speed of revolution could be 
greater in the copper. This thermal difference in the 
change designates a conductor or absorber. In either 
of these cases the period of maximum frequency would 
be comparatively long. In a vibration where change 
of motion could be more frequent we might have sound. 
The ability of a body to respond to such frequency 
would be designated as resonance. The atoms of a 
resonant body must then have a motion that can in 
some way synchronize with the transmitting medium. 
Let us take, now, a substance of greater mobility, for 
instance, incandescent sodium. In this condition the 
atoms of sodium are in such a state of motion that they 
can synchronize with the motion of the atoms of the 
ether (light atoms). The equilibrium is such that the 
variation of the ratio of Force to Power is of such 

Light 215 

great frequency as to be sensible as luminosity. This 
variation of ratio may be from one atom to another 
and also a constant reaction with the atoms of the ether. 
This Force cannot be radiated into the ether, that is, 
be absorbed by the ether, but it can be transmitted 
by the ether. This point will be brought out more 
definitely in the chapter on " Radiation." 

I wish to refer again to the phenomenon known as 
interference. I will give this extract from Tyndall': 

Thus it is possible by adding the sound of one fork to that 
of another to abolish the sound of both. 

We have here a phenomenon which, above all others, 
characterizes wave motion. It was this phenomenon 
manifested in optics that led to the undulatory theory of 
sound, the most cogent proof of that theory being based 
upon the fact that, by adding light to light, we may produce 
darkness, just as we can produce silence by adding sound 
to sound. 

Did not most authors use practically this same 
language we might call it a lie, for no lie could be more 
misleading to one who did not know the facts. If I 
say that by putting a mirror in a beam of light I thereby 
create darkness, you know the language is not correct. 
While it is dark where before it was light, we know that 
the beam of light is simply deflected or reflected to 
some other place. 

Now this is exactly what is done in all cases of inter- 
ference of light or soimd. Where there is a synchronism 
of motion in crossing rays, the revolving atoms of one 
ray interfere with those of the other and cause a slight 
deflection (not in the least degree an annihilation) and 
in the case of sound we have what is called "beats" 

'Sound, page 381. 

2i6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

and in the case of light there is a division into "bands. " 
Wherever there is a dark band, the adjacent light 
bands are to an equal degree intensified, so there is 
absolutely as much light as there was before. This 
result (which is the true one) instead of being cogent 
proof of the wave theory is most cogent proof against it. 



MAGNETISM and electricity are not, according to 
my conception, extremely complex phenomena, 
but I find it extremely difficult to explain them satisfac- 
torily because the asstunption upon which this explana- 
tion is based brings in relations which, if existing, have 
not been recognized. The advanced scientists have 
boldly repudiated the idea of an incomprehensible 
luminiferous ether because it failed satisfactorily to 
accotmt for so many of the phenomena, and in its place 
substitute the assumption of a medium which can be 
electro-magnetic in its action. The essential weakness 
in many scientific hypotheses is in endeavoring to make 
one phenomenon the cause or explanation of another 
phenomenon, whereas the real relation is that of 
diiferent manifestations of a common cause. 

According to my conception of Being there is no 
essential part that can be separated, analyzed, and 
definitely described. All essential parts of Being are 
inseparably associated; in fact, the microcosm is repre- 
sentative of the macrocosm; certain of the forms 
manifest phenomena in a contradictory manner, and 
my explanation must necessarily cover these extreme 

Before proceeding to relate various phenomena accord- 


2i8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

ing to my conception, I will refer to the electron theory 
so widely discussed. Regarding the electron theo- 
ry of electricity it is frankly stated that "the new 
theory does not pretend to give a reason for the cause of 
electric phenomena. There still remains a mystery. 
. . . The electron theory is much more a theory of 
matter than a theory of electricity, or rather, in the new 
system, electricity is set up in the place of matter, the 
existence of which was, on the whole, not much better 
understood than is the essence of electrons at the pres- 
ent time." Briefly stated, the electron theory starts 
with supposing that these electrons combine to make 
atoms. An atom with one electron more or less than 
normal becomes an ion. This electron theory is sup- 
posed to account for attraction, and therefore explains 
matter. Attraction is explained by stating that atoms 
are tmstable, that is, having one more or less electron 
than normal, they become positive or negative ions, 
and unequal atoms, i. e., ions, are attracted in order to 
equalize. If we admit this, it only accounts for the 
"why" of attraction, and not for the "how." Even 
crediting this theory with all that it claims, it does not 
explain the cause of the power of attraction or the 
jorce of electricity, or the existence of ether or any other 
medium of transmission, nor of the transmission. Why, 
then, is it so frequently stated that this theory upsets 
all the old ideas of matter? The orthodox conception 
of matter is, that it is indestructible and that its mass 
is unchangeable. It has been demonstrated (to the 
satisfaction of some scientists) that the mass of the 
electrons is not stable, that is, that the mass of a given 
number and volume of electrons may change. When 
we remember how the scientists have computed the 
infinitesmal smallness of the atoms, and we are now told 

Magnetism 219 

that the electron is to an atom as a dust mote is to a 
church in size, we must have great respect for the 
physicist and mathematician who work with electrons 
as glibly as a mechanic does with a two-foot rule. Their 
work is both creditable and credible. It is all beyond 
my ability, but not beyond my admiration. But I 
have no more respect for their assumptions and theories 
based on the discovered facts than I have for my own 

Computation of the mass of the electrons is based on 
the heat which is developed by the particles themselves 
when they strike an obstacle. The velocity being 
known and the heat being estimated, the mass can be 
computed. By different methods, different physicists 
have demonstrated the ratio of mass and velocity of 
moving electrons by an agreement relatively closer 
than two mechanics would agree on the length of a 
given board, and in each case they assumed that the 
only source of energy is the mass and observed velocity. 

Suppose we drop two balls of equivalent mass equal 
distances through a vacuum ; the velocity of each would 
be the same and the energy developed we suppose would 
be equal. But, suppose we have one of the balls rotat- 
ing with intense speed; the velocity and mass of each 
are equal, but the energy developed by each is not the 
same. Now, if we have the velocity, and energy {i. e., 
heat) developed by each, ignoring the rotational 
velocity, we would erroneously compute the mass of 
one as being greater than the other. 

Again, suppose we have a given mass of water passing 
through a nozzle at a given velocity and striking an 
obstacle; we get the development of a specific amount 
of energy. Let us now presume an equivalent mass of 
liquid oxygen and hydrogen, mixed in proper proper- 

220 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

tion to represent water, passing through a nozzle at a 
velocity equal to the above, theoretically we would get 
a development of heat, i. e., energy, just equal to that in 
the previous illustration. But practically, we would 
not find the experiment in agreement with the theory. 
We might get a serious explosion, but otherwise we 
would not get the development of much heat. If the 
physicist could not investigate this experiment with 
any more data than is obtainable regarding electrons, 
he would certainly demonstrate mathematically that 
the atoms of the liquid last ejected had much less mass 
than the first. Now, we immediately think that we 
could notice the difference in the surrounding air. 
Granted ; but if the air were practically incompressible 
and uncontrollable, we could not know that it had 
weight, mass, or pressure, and there could be in it no 
such measure as temperature. This is practically the 
condition of the ether, and when its electrons are 
demonstrated to have varying mass, there is no way yet 
of telling but what their motion (not lateral velocity) 
under the conditions just given is abnormally small, 
and under those conditions it would be analogically 
parallel to liquid air, and the heat developed would not 
be at all in proportion to the real mass and velocity. 
The absorption of force under those conditions would 
not be perceptible. It seems a more simple solution 
of the condition to assume a variation in the latent 
energy (which I have stated elsewhere is conceivable 
as a change of motion) than to repudiate one of the 
basic ideas of science, "the immutability of matter." 

I wish to draw attention to another point, which, 
if true would invalidate the conclusion of a necessary 
change in mass. We know that the velocity of falling 
bodies is not proportionate to the mass of these bodies, 

Magnetism 221 

except as the surfaces of such bodies meet with resist- 
ance in the medium through which they fall. In air 
this resistance is calculated and allowance is made. 
No allowance is made for the resistance of the ether, 
for at the ordinary velocity of moving bodies no resist- 
ance has ever been detected. It is only when the 
velocity becomes so great as to approach the velocity 
of the light atoms that measurable resistance occurs. 
Resistance of the air accounts for a variation of velocity 
and a change of energy developed by falling bodies. 
If this resistance was not known or even suspected, then 
every variation of developed energy, velocity and 
volume being known, must be supposed to be from a 
change of mass, and unless and until mass was declared 
stable it would be impossible to detect and demonstrate 
resistance of the air. On the supposition that mass is 
unchangeable, the resistance of air has been demon- 
strated and defined. On the experiments of compara- 
tively slow-moving bodies it had become an accepted 
idea that the ether was not a resisting medium. On 
the assumption that the ether is not a resisting medium 
when the electrons with a known velocity develop 
varying degrees of energy, the physicists claim that 
this is a sufficient demonstration that mass varies. I 
claim that it is impossible to demonstrate that mass 
varies until it is conclusively proved that there is no 
resistance of the light atoms (ether) and if there is 
resistance, to prove there is no variation of resistance, 
or else to know the exact variation that may exist. 

The prime object of any theory in science is to make 
the physical phenomena mechanically comprehensible. 
Scientists, or, in fact, any one, who can realize the 
difference between comprehend and conceive, cannot 
comprehend how an apple can fall to the ground, or, 

222 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

in other words, there is no acceptable theory of attrac- 
tion or of how Power or Force can act through space. 
The advocates of the electron theory claim that by this 
theory attraction is made comprehensible. 

I will give but two instances to show that the diffi- 
culty of comprehending is only shifted back one degree. 
They say if we can tell how one atom is attracted to 
another, then it wotdd be simple to tell how the moon 
is attracted to the earth without material connection. 
Then we are given the idea that one atom of hydrogen 
is one electron short, and another atom has an electron 
too many, and on account of the difference they are 
attracted to each other and an exchange is made. That 
is apparently simple, but according to the computed 
relative distances between an electron of a negative 
atom, or ion, and a positive atom, or ion, it is sometimes 
greater than the distance from the earth to the moon. 
If we cannot comprehend how the earth can attract the 
moon, how can we comprehend that a negative ion can 
attract a positive ion because it has an electron it wants, 
though the space separating them is relatively greater 
than the distance separating the earth from the moon? 

As a second instance, I will give two extracts from an 
authoritative work, describing certain phenomena of 
the Crookes tubes, where the existence of electrons is 

In the first case the phenomena is explained by an 
attraction exerted on the ions by the objects near which 
they pass. In the second case, the two conductors attract 
and hold the ions which carry a charge opposite in sign to 
their own and so remove them from the gas. 

These electrons move with accelerated motion and rapidly 
acquire a velocity sufEcient to make them capable of 

• Augusto Righi, Modern Theories of Physical Phenomena, page 42. 

Magnetism 223 

ionizing by impact the gas molecule, at some distance 
from the cathode. . . . The electric force drives the 
positive ions created in this manner toward the cathode. ' 

It will be noted that attraction as a power, and 
electricity as a force, are given as causes of results in 
the very experiments meant to show the existence of 
the electrons as a cause. Then, in the second quotation 
it will need considerable explaining to show how elec- 
trons expelled from the positive pole, or anode (with 
no suggestion in the theory that there is any attraction 
in the negative pole, or cathode), can move with an 
"accelerated motion," and by what means it can "ac- 
quire a velocity." Nowhere in the theory is it main- 
tained that electrons can spontaneously generate electric 
force. Of course, assuming that a thing can spontane- 
ously move with "accelerated motion," and "acquire 
a velocity," then the impact and driving which follow 
as a result are comprehensible. The point of the 
criticism is, that by this or by any other theory the 
attempts to explain Power or Force as phenomena 
simply remove the impossible one stage, like making 
the elephant rest on the back of the turtle. 

I called these electrons "light atoms" and assumed 
their existence before electrons were demonstrated to 
exist or were given a name, but I did not and do not 
now assume that they are any different from any 
other atom. It is frequently assumed that the qualities 
of matter are in the atom, that the hydrogen atom is the 
lightest, etc. Given two equal number of atoms, and 
if one lot were revolving in an orbit twice the radius 
of the other lot, we, being without the means of knowing 
this, might assume that, taking equal volumes, each 

' Page 50. 

224 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

atom in the one lot was four times as large as each atom 
in the other lot. We would naturally assume the size 
of the orbit to be the size of the atom. We know abso- 
lutely nothing about the atom, even assuming the atom 
to exist. We know something of the material as it is 
manifested, and, assuming that it is atomic in its 
structure, we presume certain things of the atoms. 
The oldest idea of the solid, inert atom which is com- 
prehensible, taken by itself, is being, or in reality, has 
been abandoned by most authorities because it is not 
only incomprehensible when taken in connection with 
physical phenomena but is not in accordance with 
demonstrated facts. The chemical nomenclature and 
symbols prevent the practical abandonment of the 
idea of atoms of varying weight. We say that two 
atoms of hySrogen combine with one atom of oxygen, 
making one molecule of water, and that each atom of 
oxygen weighs sixteen times as much as each atom of 
hydrogen. As a matter of fact, no one knows whether, 
in a molecule of water, there is one atom of hydrogen 
and a thousand atoms of oxygen, rather than one atom 
of oxygen and a thousand atoms of hydrogen. There 
is absolutely nothing known of the absolute or relative 
size and mass of any single atom (the ultimately 
indivisible). This statement may seem startling, but 
it is true. Now, where nothing is known, I have as 
much right to conceive and assume as has any one else. 
I prefer to assume that an equivalent number of atoms 
are of equal mass; that the apparent difference in 
volume and weight arises wholly from the difference 
in the size of their orbits; and that this difference, as 
well as the velocity of rotation and revolution, arises 
wholly from the varying ratio of the Force to Power, 
which combined, cause the various physical phenomena. 

Magnetism 225 

I wish, by an illustration, to show that two different 
phenomena (cathode rays and light rays) may be due 
to a simple difference in the motion instead of a difference 
in the medium. It can be demonstrated that the 
cathode ray (or some portion of it at least) is corpus- 
cular, and that the particles composing the ray are 
subject to attraction and repulsion, and therefore are 
material, while the ordinary electric, actinic, and light 
rays are not subjected to attraction and repulsion and, 
it is assumed, must therefore be ethereous, i. e., not 
material. Then again, these light rays have ten times 
the velocity of the maximum velocity of the electrons, 
so this is taken as additional proof that the rays of 
light are not propagated by a material medium. We 
will take for our illustration in this analogy Tyndall's 
row of elastic balls to which we have already referred. 
"Urge one ball to the row, and the ball at the opposite 
end will be repulsed." Assuming elasticity to be per- 
fect and friction nil, the amount of energy developed 
by the last ball will be just the same as though the first 
ball had gone unobstructed to the end where the energy 
was delivered, but there would be one perceptible 
difference. It would take much longer to deliver the 
energy, if the first baU went to the end, than if the 
energy passed through the row of balls. Our energy 
has been delivered in less time but, taking conditions 
as a whole, there has been no net gain. The value of 
the time gained is just what it would cost in time to 
place the first ball in the position formerly held by the 
last ball. 

As a variation of this illustration, suppose we have 

two tubes one being empty and one practically filled 

with elastic balls in contact. Let a ball be projected 

into each tube with equal energy, and at the opposite 


226 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

end we get the delivery of a ball with the same amount 
of energy, but in one case in less time than in the other. 
Suppose, now, that we knew nothing of conditions 
excepting the projection of a certain amount of energy 
at one end and the reception of energy at the other end, 
we would then say that in one case the velocity in the 
ray of energy is much greater because it has travelled 
from end to end in less time. And would it not be very 
natural to say that the reason must be because there is 
less material obstruction in one tube than in the other? 
And would it not be rather surprising to find that the 
tube which gave the greatest velocity was the tube 
that was nearly filled with elastic balls? If these balls 
were in synchronous oscillation, the effect would be the 
same as if they were in contact, excepting a slight 
variation in time (as a practical illustration, this latter 
would be impossible, as gravitation would immediately 
destroy the synchronism, but friction, gravitation, 
imperfect elasticity, or any mechanical exceptions do 
not enter into the atomic motion). 

Let us vary the illustration again and assume the 
balls to be on a smooth table and without the restraint 
of the tubes, and subject to the influence of a repulsive 
wind or some form of attraction. The ball that 
traversed the whole length would be deviated from its 
path by the repulsion or attraction and the energy 
would be delivered at a point out of a straight line; 
but the string of halls woiild deliver the energy true in 
a straight line without deviation. 

Now, the point I wish to make by these illustrations 
is, that a transfer of energy is no less material in one 
case than in the other. In one case the energy was 
carried from one end to the other in the identical volume 
of material; in the other case, the energy, or its equiv- 

Magnetism 22^ 

alent in force, was transferred from one specific volume 
of material to another specific volume of material ; and 
that in spite of the greatly increased volume of material 
implicated and the numerous transfers of energy, or 
force, it was finally transferred and delivered in less 
time than if it had been carried the whole distance in 
the original specific volume of material. This is the 
logical result, because it requires more time to change 
through space a specific amount of material than a 
specific amount of Force related to that material. 
This is, to me, one proof that Power, of which material 
is the manifestation, is of greater relative value than 
Force, although Force in union with Power is essential 
in causing the matter to be manifest. 

Taking these illustrations as an analogy, we may 
assume that, with light atoms or electrons, with a 
period of revolution or oscillation eight hiuidred thou- 
sand times that of the atoms composing the ordinary 
atmosphere, the transfer of force as light could be 
atomic just as conceivably as the transfer of force as 
sound is conceived as atomic; and from this analogy, 
when we see the electrons given off from the cathode 
giving a certain effect in a certain time by a corpuscular 
transfer of energy, and we see a like effect in less time 
where there is no transfer of the corpuscle, i. e., elec- 
tron, I have a right to assume that there were more of 
these corpuscles engaged in the work, and that the 
force was transferred from one to the other in less time 
than when the specific electron traversed the distance. 
I have no idea what law would apply in computing the 
time, but if the rate of revolution of one atom is eight 
hundred thousand times greater than another of equiv- 
alent orbit, then the ratio of Force to Power must be 
greater, certainly eight hundred thousand times as 

228 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

great, and under certain conditions of relations of 
Force and Power, the greater the ratio of Force the 
greater the conductivity of Force. I say, under certain 
conditions of relation, because there might be a million 
times as much relative Force and Power in certain 
material, and if it were latent as rotation, its stability 
as such might cause the material to show no elasticity 
excepting under certain conditions. If the size of the 
orbit of the electrons were smaller in the ether than in 
other material the rate of revolution would have to be 
proportionately greater than that given. 

Seeing nothing in the realm of scientific fact to conflict 
with the asstunption that space is filled with atoms 
revolving with such a speed as to prevent the usual 
conditions whjch permit the manifestation of attraction, 
as cohesion, I will make this assumption as part of my 
conception of Being. 

I have frequently referred to the constitution of 
matter as not being so simple as formerly supposed. 
I have no conception of what matter would be like were 
it the result only of the materialization of the Power of 
attraction. To say that the imiverse would be an 
inert mass were there nothing but attraction, is as 
superfluous as predicting what would happen if the 
moon were green cheese. 

It is conceivable that all the Power in the Universe 
might be concentrated in an infinitely small space and 
that it might be rotating with such a velocity as to 
represent aU the Force in the Universe. This con- 
ception would be no more absurd than many Idealistic 
conceptions of the Absolute. But now, if we were to 
assume a revolution, then there must of necessity be 
occupied a definite amount of space. And if we assume 
the Power to have parts and each part revolving, then 

Magnetism 229 

the space occupied would be proportional to the number 
of, the parts and the size of their orbits. It is rather 
difficult to conceive of attraction directly increasing 
or decreasing the size of the orbits of the revolving 
atoms, but by assuming a contrary Force the con- 
ception becomes simple and intelHgent. While thus 
relating Power and Force as entities makes the concep- 
tion simple, it is not in reference to specific phenomenon 
as comprehensible as the Materialistic or Dualistic 

It is tacitly, if not authoritatively, recognized by 
physicists that there is an "expansive force." I con- 
ceive that every atom of Power has associated with it 
a certain (not specific) amount of Force. How the 
association exists or how the relation is maintained I 
have not the faintest conception. As an analogy, I 
refer to it as the atoms being in motion, and the variety 
of motion, rotating, revolving, etc., with varying 
velocities as representing the ratio of Force to Power. 
I conceive the atoms to be different only on account 
of the difference in the normal ratio of Force to Power 
and the way the relation is maintained. I conceive 
the motion of the atoms of the molecules to be as 
intricate and yet as orderly as the motion of the mem- 
bers of our Solar System, and I have no doubt that the 
velocities and distances are relatively as great. What 
we perceive as material is the forms the matter assumes 
under the joint action of Power and Force. These 
forms I conceive as developing according to the 
"Supreme Desire," limited only by the conflict of the 
individual desires. Scientists now realize that it is 
not only the organic forms that manifest intelligence 
in their construction, but that any particle of material 
will show to the physicist and to the chemist wonderful 

230 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

forms and shapes and a perfect co-ordination of parts. 
This proof of inteUigent design is satisfactory to many, 
and I, in my conception of Being, assume it to exist 
and term its result the "Manifestation of the Desire." 
When I speak of the form in which matter is manifest, 
I do not mean alone the shape and condition of the 
perceivable material, but the relation of one part to 
the other like, for instance, our Solar System. On 
our Earth, the varying ratio of Power to Force causes 
solid, liquid, and gaseous states in which the stability 
varies. In its equiUbrium, at least, the liquid is less 
stable than the solid, and the gaseous form still less 
stable, that is, both as to its atoms and mass, the gas 
has a greater latitude of movement. I conceive the 
atmosphere which fills space (ether) as being still less 
stable, that is, not only the atoms but the mass is also 
in a state of relatively extreme motion. But there is 
one vast difference between the ether and the air; the 
pressure of the air is according to its volume, that is, 
if there were more air, other conditions being equal, 
the pressure would be greater. In the universal 
medium, i. e., ether, the pressure is an unknown quan- 
tity. It might be infinitely great or infinitely small. I 
conceive it to be great, but not infinitely great, at least 
relatively not so great but what certain conditions may 
cause in portions of it a change of density. (We may 
take mercury as an illustration to show that density 
does not bear a fixed relation to mobility.) When we 
compress air, we restrict the size of the orbit of the 
revolution of its atoms, and the force thereby repre- 
sented is discreted, being absorbed by the adjacent 
material, and as the orbits of revolution of the atoms 
of this adjacent material increase in size, or as the 
material expands, we say it is heated. Now, when we 

Magnetism 231 

compress or change the condition of any body or particle 
of material, the light atoms (electrons) confined therein 
are restrained in their orbits, and the force thus repre- 
sented is expelled to the other electrons, or atoms. 
As the Earth is surrounded by the air, so is each specific 
body of material permeated and surrounded by its 
atmosphere of light atoms more or less dense or in 
greater or less degree of motion according to the 
material composition of the body. 

Material is commonly supposed to be a heterogen- 
eous conglomerate of atoms and molecules, possibly 
with some sort of motion but nothing very definite 
or exact. There is no apparent relation in the move- 
ments of aU the various bodies of the universe. The 
comparatively modern discoveries give us the know- 
ledge that a few of the bodies are related in their 
movements, and these, we say, compose our Solar 
System. This is not enough to give any idea as to a 
plan of movement of the other great bodies of the 
universe. But the knowledge that there is a definite 
and very exact relation between the bodies of the Solar 
System causes most physicists to have the idea that 
aU the bodies of the tmiverse have movements in some 
way related to each other. 

Now, I believe that every particle of stone, ice, or 
wood or anything in which there is an organic cohesive 
connection is built up with an exactness and definite- 
ness, and for intelligent reasons, producing forms that 
surpass the mechanical ability and knowledge of man. 
I beUeve the action of every atom to be spontaneous 
and conscious. While the primary movement of the 
atoms may be in response to its Desire, yet the result 
of its action is not necessarily comprehensible to the 
atom itself. In fact, the ultimate result of the action 

232 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

may be practically different from the result aimed at, 
as all things are subject to conditions. I wUl illustrate 
my meaning in this way ; when conditions are such that 
the molecules of water get close enough so there can 
be organic action of the atoms, they proceed to build 
up a beautiful structure which we call a crystal. This 
crystal may be mechanically perfect in its structure 
but its special form is not mechanically necessary. 
If it were, each crystal formed under the same condi- 
tions would be absolutely like all others. While there 
is a family likeness in crystals of each definite substance, 
there is very great personal difference. I believe that 
each crystal is formed by a conscious response of the 
atoms to the impulse or Desire to perform a certain 
action. Now, this does not necessarily mean that any 
one of the atoms comprehends the shape of the crystal, 
its composition, or use; but even granting that they 
did realize and appreciate the building of which they 
are a part, the building may be quickly crushed or only 
imperfectly formed, and ice instead of snow is the result. 
Thus we see that conditions may control the resulting 
action of the primary Desire. But even in the ice there 
is still evidence of an organization under the conditions 
imposed, and there are cells and lines of cleavage, 
etc. There are characteristics even in ice. 

Materialists claim that this is aU done from mechani- 
cal necessity. The Dualists claim that it is mechani- 
cally done by the direction of an exterior Power. I 
claim that it is a spontaneous action of the parts, and 
that our idea of mechanical necessity comes from our 
experience and observation of the manifestations of 
these parts. 

An atom of the earth bears a natural relation to each 
of the other atoms of the earth. The conscious Desire 

Magnetism 233 

of an atom bears a natural relation to the conscious 
Desire of the Ego, but during the ages there has been 
organized a machine (human brain) which demonstrates 
to the Ego a certain comprehensiveness of the limitations 
of time and space, which is probably not given to 
the less-favored atoms. These limitations exist. The 
individual Desires are of small avail against conditions 
and are practically powerless at any specific time 
except through co-operation or organization. Varied 
conditions arise or exist from the conflict of individual 
Desires or their concerted efforts, to construct or 
maintain various forms. 

Any of the heterogeneous conglomerate manifesta- 
tions that may exist apparently in the material are the 
result of conditions. Conditions change; the Desire 
is persistent. I was saying that each particle of 
material was, in a way, permeated and surrounded by 
an atmosphere of light atoms and that their relative 
motion was affected according to the composition of 
the material. In most cases the particles of material 
are of such a conflicting character as to neutralize any 
noticeable effect, but in many cases the material is of 
such a character that the effect is quite apparent. Any 
specific kind of atom under certain specific conditions 
of temperature, as gas under a definite pressure, will 
have a motion giving a very definite result (osmosis). 
The movement of these same atoms as a solid may 
be as definite, according to its condition, but its 
movements under such conditions are not so easily 
determined because difficult or impossible to demon- 
strate. But, when a specific mass of atoms without 
apparent change produces different results, we are 
forced to conclude that it is from some motion of the 
atoms or some peculiar, unseen change in the molecular 

234 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

structure which these movements build. When a steel 
bar is magnetized, there is no apparent difference in 
its structure, and yet its relation to its atmosphere is 
changed. The demonstration of this peculiar atmos- 
phere, termed the "magnetic field," has brought it 
within the realm of fact. Of what this atmosphere 
consists, and the cause of its various motions is still 
theoretic. I assume that this atmosphere (ether) is 
composed of light atoms revolving with great velocity. 
The motions of this medium show a large ratio of 
velocity to density, or as I would term it. Force to 
Power. An extreme velocity would give the atmos- 
phere the quality of rigidity. This atmosphere per- 
meates dense bodies and is influenced to some degree by 
them, or rather according to the sjmchronism of the 
vibration, thfere is a closer relation and a greater possi- 
bility of an interchange of their force. Ice, water, and 
vapor show great changes in form simply by having 
an increased ratio of Force to Power. Changes of no 
greater difference than this may occur in the vmiversal 
medium, and be what we call electricity, magnetism, 
and other ethereous conditions. Of late years this 
idea is beginning to be recognized by physicists, but 
the chief thing against its admission is that the idea 
cannot be made mechanically comprehensible. 

As I have stated, I conceive ether to be atoms with an 
intense velocity of motion. The portions of this which 
is in or near other substances may act and be acted 
upon by these substances so that the velocity is changed, 
that is, that the ratio of Force to Power is changed. 
Thus, some of the atoms may have less motion than 
normal, and some may have more. (What I mean by 
normal is not very definite. The normal motion of a 
hydrogen atom would vary according to conditions. 

Magnetism 235 

We would not say that the normal condition was in 
water any more than in ice or vapor or in acid. But 
if some atoms existed as ice and some as vapor in a room 
whose temperature was forty degrees, we would say 
that condition was abnormal, and as fast as force could 
be obtained, the ice would melt, and as fast as force 
could be radiated, the vapor would condense. Under 
those conditions, the movement of the atoms in the ice 
would be abnormally small and in the vapor abnormally 
large. These changes, which are always spontaneous, 
from the abnormal to the normal, is what we recognize 
and term transformations of energy.) 

With the physicists the idea seems to persist that 
motion means expended energy and work done; that 
all motions must be ultimately down^hiU. But I 
believe that down-hill is no more applicable imiversally 
than is the old idea that people on the other side of 
the earth are hanging with their heads downward. I 
believe that for every down-hiU motion there is an up- 
hill motion. What we perceive as motion or energy is 
a change in the material form, and the change we 
desire as work done is, relative to us, generally of 
an up-hill nature. Therefore, the energy we use in 
accomplishing this is the down-hiU movement. 

In a spinning top, we say the energy represented is 
proportionate to the mass and velocity. If the motion 
were in a straight line or in an orbit, it would be just 
the same. If there were no friction, this motion would 
persist; would continue forever as such a motion. 
But we see at the point of the top some friction. The 
energy is changed, and a greater motion is seen to arise 
in the material at the point of contact. The mass of 
the top is practically unchanged, but its motion is 
changed, that is, the velocity of the motion is less. 

236 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Therefore, as the energy is proportionate to the mass 
and velocity, there is now less energy represented by 
the top, and an equal amount of energy is present in 
the other material. I have said that the rotating and 
revolving tops might by analogy represent the atoms, 
but it is only by analogy. How Power and Force, or 
Mass and Motion can be associated is incomprehensible. 
Two atoms are never in contact ; their associated Forces 
may be in contact, but when we speak of the contact 
of an immaterial Force, it carries no meaning whatever. 
Scientists may say that it is unthinkable how force can 
act at a distance, ~but I say that it is unthinkable how 
Force can act at all. Vortexes, corpuscular bombard- 
ment, electric stress, magnetic flux, and all such efforts 
to make Power and Force and their primary movements 
mechanically comprehensible, seem but to add distance 
to the absolutely incomprehensible First Cause. I 
digress so frequently to enforce this point because 
material philosophers seem to insist that there is no 
essential part of any phenomenon but which may be 
made comprehensible. Almost every new discovery 
in science is heralded as, if not the last, almost the last 
step in the solution of any mystery there is in Being. 
When I premise the existence of Power and Force as 
the sole composition of the universe, I make no pretence 
to a comprehension of Power and Force nor of the 
manner of their relation. When I premise that the 
Desire of the Power governs this relation, I make no 
pretence of comprehending how it is done. I do con- 
ceive, in my conception of Being, a ratio of Force to 
Power, and that in the various parts of the Being this 
ratio varies, and by analogy I get a conception of the 
general working of specific parts of Being. 

Scientists generally speak of matter and energy as 

Magnetism 237 

though they were the two different parts. So far as 
we perceive the material, there is none but what shows 
the joint manifestation of Power and Force, and this 
is necessarily so, as we can only perceive the material 
on account of a transformation of energy, i. e., change of 
relation of Power to Force in one part of the material 
to a change of relation of Power and Force in another 
part of the material. We are sensible of nothing but 
a change in the form of energy, and furthermore, as I 
have stated before, the specific part of the changing 
energy perceptible (sensible) to us, is absolutely im- 
measurable in any other way. It is this incontrovertible 
fact that has given the Idealists such justifiable ground 
for many vague conceptions of Being. I do not try 
to weaken my idea that two and two are four, because 
some Idealist says that two and two may be five, in 
the next world. So, I accept our sensible experience 
of facts as of prime importance in my conception of 
Being, and try to make that conception as compre- 
hensible of the whole as possible, without believing 
that it will be or could be entirely so. 

I often use the terms "matter" and "energy" 
(atomic motion), but in no sense is it to be construed 
as an intermediate or secondary cause. I speak of 
Power as being manifest as matter, and Force as being 
manifest as motion, but matter is never separable 
from motion, therefore, Power is never manifest only 
as material in which form it is perceptible through 
pectdiarities of motion. The difference between the 
amount of motion of the atoms of the material in 
one condition and the amount of motion of the same 
mass of material in another condition we term energy. 
Physicists grant that "matter" is an abstraction and 
that material only is concrete. 

238 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

With this long "interamble," I will go back to the 
point where I said that ether may act and be acted upon 
by other matter. We will take a magnet for instance : we 
will suppose the movements of the atoms and the con- 
dition of the molecules composing the magnet to be 
such that the ether may be compressed, i. e., become 
more dense. We recognize that density may come from 
three causes; first, from cohesion, as lead, where the 
ratio of Force to Power is relatively small (apparently) ; 
second, from spontaneous and inherent change of the 
kind of motion, as nitrogen in nitrates, where the ratio 
of Force to Power may remain relatively high ; third, 
from gravity or mechanical pressure, as the lower 
strata of air, where the ratio of Power to Force is pro- 
portionate to the pressure. The greater density of the 
ether which exists in the magnet, or in the magnetic 
field, whichever place we may believe it is more dense, 
is somewhat different in cause and effect. In the above 
three instances the movements seem to be normal and 
stable so long as the conditions are stable, that is, there 
is no sign of interatomic contest — ^no perceptible strain. 
The variation of density assumed in the magnet gives 
rise to phenomena more like air or water unequally 
heated. Take a vessel of water and apply heat to the 
one portion, and we get up a current in the water. 
This comes from the unequal density under the equal 
pressure. In this experiment we have energy (kinetic). 
In the magnet and the magnetic field, we have a cir- 
culation which must be an effort to relieve the stress 
due to an unequal density under equal pressure. But 
in this instance, there is no energy (kinetic), rather 
the energy is so continuously equalized as to be 

What is a magnet? Pumping water attracts no 

Magnetism 239 

attention, but suppose a person had never before seen 
such a similar operation. The first impression would 
naturally be that the machine manufactured the water. 
If it was explained that the water was in the ground, 
then the idea would occur that the plunger in the pump 
must have some sort of attraction or aflBnity for the 
water, and thus lift it. Some learned person might say 
that it was the pressure of the air which forced the water 
up to the plunger; a real scientist might advance his 
knowledge by informing him that it was really the power 
of gravitation which puUed the air down and gave it 
the pressure which enabled it to force the water up. 
The person might then think that he was ready to 
graduate in physics, but I would not be satisfied to let 
him go until I had said that there really was some 
attraction of the plunger for the water, as without 
cohesion there would be. no suction which is necessary 
to cause a vacuum; that, also, the force of the air 
essential to a change of pressure with a change of 
density is just as essential as the power of gravitation 
which causes the density. 

The moral of this story follows : A dynamo is a com- 
plex magnet. There are people who think a dynamo is 
a machine to manufacture electricity — some people 
even believe this who know that a pump does not 
manufacture the water. But most people think they 
know that the electricity already exists, and that the 
magnetic part is really what attracts the electricity, 
and that the rest of the dynamo is what pumps it out 
through the wires. Some learned person will say that 
it is really the pressure of the ether on the magnet, 
which is a vacuum, and the momentum of the entering 
ether which forces some of the electricity out at the 
valves, where it is caught up by the revolving field and, 

240 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

by centrifugal force, thrown through the brushes on 
to the wires. Then, some scientist will say that what 
causes this pressure is really electrical attraction; that 
certain of the electrons are absent in the atoms, which 
are, therefore, ions having a negative charge ; and that 
certain ones have a positive charge, and that they are 
unequally distributed around the magnet, and the 
efforts to get together cause the disturbance. Of 
course, these are but parodies on the theories, but it is 
sufficient to say that the knowledge of what electricity 
is, or its cause, is theoretic, and that the theories do 
not agree. ^ ' ' The impossibility of finding a satisfactory 
mechanical representative of the supposed electric de- 
formation of the ether made it soon apparent that even 
under the new order of idea, the conception of the 
nature of electricity still remained obscure." In the 
last few years a number of facts have been demonstrated 
which have eliminated many theories and given rise 
to many more, but, to my knowledge, nothing has 
occurred to change my original conception. 

In rewriting my book, I decided to use the term 
"electron" more frequently than "light atom" because 
that word now conveys some more definite meaning. 
Of course, what electrons are, is no more known than 
what atoms are. I do not suppose that there is any 
difference, except as to their motion. 

I must make a few more digressions before I am ready 
to give my answer as to what a magnet is. If we take 
a strip of steel and fasten one end, we can set the steel 
into vibration. We say that the duration of the vibra- 
tion, other things being equal, will be in proportion to 
its elasticity. But what is elasticity? Before answer- 
ing this point I must go back still farther. What is 

' Righi, Modern Theories of Physical Phenomena, page 12. 

Magnetism 241 

steel? The relation of Power to Force, in its simplest 
form in the elementary gases and liquids, may be 
relatively simple, because there is comparatively no 
complexity in the forms. But, let this relation, in a 
minute drop of water change, and we have a snowflake. 
I have an idea that the movement of every atom in 
that flake bears an accurate relation to the movement 
of every other atom; that the cohesion and expansion 
essential to its parts are expressible by an absolute law. 
All these might be computed mathematically, explained 
mechanically, and expressed algebraically, at the expense 
of pages of figures, words, and signs. And then we 
could not comprehend how or why the snowflake was 
formed. Now, in this simplest of forms, with a minute 
change of the ratio of Force to Power, what a difference 
in the material. Compress enough of the flakes 
together to give us a body, as ice, and we have the 
quality of hardness, which was not possessed by the 
water. From this, I draw the conclusion that hardness 
is a result of the "form" which is brought about by 
the relation of Force to Power in this condition. Hard- 
ness is not an attribute of matter, but of certain forms 
which some matter takes. It seems easier, or more 
natural, for some classes of matter to take on this form, 
or, as I express it, the Desire of some atoms causes them 
to take the form characteristic of iron, which is com- 
paratively hard ; and it is more desirable for some other 
atoms to take the form characteristic of lead. And if 
the Desire of these atoms is unchangeable, it is certainly 
admissible to say that atoms of iron or lead are elemen- 
tal. We say that certain atoms are apt to take certain 
characteristic forms ; but the attribute is of the form 
of the materials and not of the atoms. 

Coming back, now, to the steel rod, we conceive the 

242 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

difference between this rod and a stream of molten 
metal is one more of form than a simple variation in the 
ratio of Force to Power, as we perceive in a liquid more 
or less hot. The difference in combination and the 
various processes of manipulation offer conditions for 
formations that, no doubt, are at least as accurately- 
proportioned and as artistically fashioned as if planned 
by a human architect. Steel, then, is a material with 
a characteristic form of motion. 

I wish to make the point of difference between "form" 
and "shape. " Shape is the spacial aspect observed by 
us; by form, I mean the peculiarity of motion. The 
shape of the formation may be changed, as snow is 
changed to ice by mechanical pressure, but there still 
persists a form of motion which gives the ice its charac- 
ter. So, in tlie steel, the crystals of the iron may be 
mechanically changed or modified, and the form of the 
motion give different results, but it is the form of the 
material as well as the matter in the material that gives 
it character. The shape of the rnaterial has practically 
no bearing on "form." 

If we bend down one end of the steel rod, then release 
it, we see it spring back. We say it is elastic. Con- 
ceding elasticity as the attribute of form, we might, 
from the foregoing, define elasticity as "the ability 
of the material to regain its characteristic form." In 
the case of gas, there is no definite shape, but there is 
a form. When the pressure is removed from a gas 
which has been compressed, it immediately expands to 
its original form (volume). If tmder the compression, 
a portion of the Force of the gas is taken away, it can 
expand only as it can regain the Force from the surround- 
ing material. Because gas has this power to take 
this necessary expansive Force from the surroimding 

Magnetism 243 

material and regain its normal form, we say that gases 
are perfectly elastic. Now, hydrogen is not perfectly 
elastic, but the gas, hydrogen, is perfectly elastic. Or to 
put it in another way, hydrogen in the form of a gas, is 
perfectly elastic. So, iron in the form of steel is elastic. 
The text-book says that, "elasticity is a strain in the 
material, and the cohesion of the convex side and the 
expansive force compressed on the concave side doubly 
aid the relieving of the stress." I will admit that 
"strain" and "stress" are words expressing the same 
phenomena, and that elasticity is the antonym. But 
let us look a little closer at these given causes. 

1. On the convex side the atoms are drawn apart. 
Now, when atoms are drawn apart, according to the 
law of gravitation (which cannot be proved not to 
apply), the cohesive effect would be less. 

2. On the concave side, the expansive force is not 
compressed but pressed out, which is shown by the 
adjacent material expanding, i. e., becoming heated, 
and therefore there is .in this side of the material, less 
expansive force than formerly. 

These explanations contradict both the causes given 
for elasticity. I may be rash in contradicting the cause 
for elasticity as given in any text-book on physics, but 
I win try logically to maintain my position. Cohesion 
as a form of attraction can directly have but one result, 
which is, in increasing the density of the material, i. e., 
contracting the material to the least resisting volume. 
(So far as tenacity is used to express cohesion, it is not 
directly a form of attraction, but indirectly a character- 
istic of the form.) Take, for instance, air, which may 
be compressed to the form of a liquid, supposing the 
Force (heat) to be abstracted during this process of 
compression (this supposition is necessary to illustrate, 

244 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

as air may be compressed to a density greater than 
liquid air and yet not be in the form of a liquid), and 
if in a proper receptacle, we may see a gas remaining 
for a definite time in a liquid form, yet it is in reality a 
gas and not a liquid. It is perfectly elastic, that is, it 
is able to regain its characteristic or normal form if it 
can get the force necessary to that formation. Some 
presume that the ability lies in the Force and that the 
mass is inert. I conceive the ability to be in the mass, 
or that Power has the control and Desire dictates to 
Force so far as conditions permit. I have said before 
that, so far as we might judge by energy. Force seemed 
to predominate, but I have seen one man control 
tremendous forces and direct more energy than was 
reqiiired to create the man himself. It is not necessarily 
this absolute "ratio of Force to Power that indicates 
the controller. 

I claim that Attraction is the Supreme Power, and 
that the Desire of this Power manifests itself as material 
through the aid of (or by directing the opposition) 
Force; that this Power is atomic in its structure {i. e.^ 
that each particle of Power is a specific part of that 
Power and can be no more or no less), but that accord- 
ing to the Desires of these parts, they may, as conditions 
permit, maintain a greater or less proportionate amount 
of Force ; that these atoms (on account of consciousness, 
memory, and volition) are able to co-operate and take 
form, each form having its characteristic; that the 
conflict of these Desires causes a transfer of Force from 
one to the other; that this Force, as transferred from 
one to the other, is what we call energy, and which is 
the sole method by which we, as human beings, have 
our consciousness impressed with the perception that 
there is any such thing as Being. 

Magnetism 245 

Now, after this recapitulation, we will come back to 
elasticity. Saying that elasticity is the ability of a 
material to regain its characteristic form, does not 
explain this ability. A man may mechanically de- 
scribe a steam engine, but he cannot mechanically 
explain how it can run without ultimately using some 
word, such as Power or Force, which cannot be mechan- 
ically explained. The property of elasticity can be 
described, and its relation to the other properties can 
be demonstrated, but the effort to give a mechanical 
explanation of elasticity is, I believe, futile. This 
same statement holds good with any other of the 
characteristics of a material. Hardness, tenacity, 
ductility, etc., can be described, and, given sufficient 
data, any one of them could be predicated, but I do not 
believe the ultimate cause of these attributes in the 
form of the material can be expressed any more 
definitely than is expressed by saying, it is "a Mani- 
festation of the Desire of the Power." It is true 
that it is expressed more concisely by saying that 
it is "a law of nature" or the "will of God," and I 
would use either of these expressions, but they would 
not convey to most people my conception. (I do 
not know that the language which I use will even do 

I have dwelt on the attribute of elasticity rather 
more than on any other because this is apparently the 
most important characteristic in all ordinary forms of 

When we bent the steel rod, we used a certain amount 
of energy. We now have in the rod a strain or stress, 
which means that the material is out of its normal 
form, and, as an elastic body, it has the ability to regain 
this normal form, providing conditions will allow it to 

246 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

do so. This is very different to saying "when condi- 
tions compel it to do so." If it were an iron rod, the 
energy used in bending it would be manifest as heat in 
the rod, or in the material surrounding the rod. In 
the steel rod, the heat, i. e., force, expelled from the 
concave side is, to an equal quantity, absorbed by the 
convex side. So, the energy is manifested in the strain, 
or rather, because of its failure to manifest, we say the 
energy is potential in the stress. This is a current 
scientific phrase, but "energy potential in the stress" 
no more explains why the material will, if permitted, 
takes its characteristic form than the phrase "because 
it has the ability." This latter phrase is more apt to 
convey the idea that the steel is part of an Intelligent 
Being than the other phrase, even if it does not convey 
as much meaning to a scientific mind. 

I think we are now ready to come back toward the 
magnet. (I say "toward" but not to it yet.) We 
will say that the steel rod is formed by atoms which 
have a characteristic motion; that it is permeated by the 
ether whose atoms have a characteristic motion. Some 
scientists say the ether permeates all atoms. I do not 
believe it. I conceive of atoms occupying a definite 
space, and that the volume as well as mass of each 
atom is unchangeable.' But I conceive that a large 
number of atoms may revolve through the same space, 
and if the size of the orbit gives the impression of the 

" This of course is a mechanical and material conception that is not 
assumed as a literal fact. But if we do not have this conception we are 
compelled to give to the abstraction of space a mystery and admit 
that two bodies may occupy the same space at the same time. The 
moment we assume Spirit as occupying space we make it material and 
I must of necessity do this to make my conception sensible. 

The conception of Being may be comprehensible even though the 
relations conceived are not comprehensible. 

Magnetism 247 

size of the atom, then, to an equal extent, would we 
get the impression that one atom could absorb another, 
or that one atom could penetrate another. (As it is 
said that the electrons pass through the atoms of solid 
material.) But, under any arrangement of the revolu- 
tion of the atoms to economize space, there would be a 
Hmit to the number of atoms that could exist in a 
definite space. Now, if some of the atoms have an 
elliptical orbit (and I believe that most revolving bodies 
have), tmder any systematic form, when two materials, 
as the steel and ether occupy the same space (no two 
atoms occupying the same space at the same time), 
it is natural to suppose that the orbits would coincide ; 
that one or the other must curtail its orbit, or the two 
together occupy more space. Now, I claim this is the 
condition of the magnet. There is a contest between 
the steel and' the ether as to which shall maintain its 
characteristic form. As it takes time for an internal 
atom to reach tmoccupied space, the orbit must be 
curtailed. To say that the orbit is curtailed is the 
same as saying that the proportion of Force is lessened. 
As we have seen in a former illustration, the force could 
be shifted to the outside space quicker than the atom 
itself could be. While the pressure of the ether may be 
enormous, it is conceivably not so great as the combined 
pressure occurring from the effort of the steel and ether, 
each endeavoring to maintain its normal form, which is 
equivalent to sajdng that the ether is more dense inside 
the steel, which would again be equivalent to saying 
that the proportion of Force is greater just outside the 
steel, as certainly the mass of ether in its effort to main- 
tain its characteristic form could resist the efforts of 
the steel to compel an absorption of this surplus force. 
Under these conditions, we would have (supposing a 

248 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

continuous motion of the atoms in this essential way) 
a perfect continuously acting spring composed of two 
separable parts (the steel and ether), each of whose 
parts, Force and Power, are partially separable. The 
steel, a solid, occupying a definite location in space; 
the ether, a substance more mobile than gas, but the 
intense pressure and velocity of revolution of its atoms 
giving it a rigidity equal to the steel. Under these 
conditions is it difficult to conceive an effect that we 
know is manifest by a magnet? We see that there 
would be a continuous circulation of the ether. An 
increased density inside, and an increased force outside 
would give the same condition as would exist when 
water is heated in one part; in the heated part, more 
force, and in the colder part, greater density; and the 
more mobile the substance the greater would be the 
velocity of the circulation to relieve the strain. This 
conception of the magnet seems to fill the demonstrated 
conditions. We may call the density the negative 
electricity, and the increased force the positive elec- 
tricity ; or we may call the atoms that are deficient in 
force, "electrons," and the surplus force, "electric 
force." By this conception, which I believe accords 
with known facts, there is nothing unusual brought into 
the phenomena. Power and Force are the only con- 
stituents. Assuming these to exist with varying 
relation, admitting the ability of Power to control 
Force, and the conception is apparently logical. It 
may be asked, if Force is interchangeable and the same, 
why the surplus force cannot be utilized to expand the 
steel. I might say, because of the characteristic form 
of the motion of the atoms of the steel, which would 
be true. But I think it may be made even more com- 
prehensible than that. Atoms, to exchange their force, 

Magnetism 249 

must be, to a degree, in synchronous vibration. We 
naay, by analogy, illustrate it in this way: if upon a 
rotating grindstone water is ejected, the stone will 
carry the water through a partial rotation and reject it. 
On increasing the speed of the rotation we reach a speed 
when the water will not be carried around, but will be 
repeUed immediately upon striking the stone. But, 
if the water is ejected upon the stone with a speed 
somewhere nearly equal to the velocity of the circum- 
ference of the stone, say thrown from another stone 
rotating with equal speed, then the water would be 
carried around, or partially around, as at first. The 
difference in velocity or synchronism, is part of the 
characteristic form. This peculiarity is seen when a 
third body is necessary in a chemical union, its presence 
being necessary solely as a transformer to synchronize 
the motions. This process is termed catalysis and the 
third or intermediate body is termed a catalyst. 

To show that this conception of the magnet is logical, 
I will apply it further. I said that elasticity was the 
ability of the material to regain its characteristic form. 
We will take our strip of steel into an extremely low 
temperature; according to my conception, the orbits 
of the atoms will then become smaller, i. e., the material 
wiU have contracted and the ratio of Force to Power ■ 
is less. We bend out strip of steel, and before the end 
can move as far as it did in the higher temperature, it 
snaps in two ; it is brittle. This is a logical consequence. 
The orbits of the atoms have lessened, but the arc 
through which we bend the end of the strip is not pro- 
portionately lessened. So, the atoms on the convex 
side are separated beyond the limit of cohesion, and the 
strip is sundered. The strip might still be elastic, but 
the arc through which it could be bent and still retain 

250 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

its ability to regain its characteristic form, would be 
lessened. We see, by this explanation, that cohesion 
and heat, i. e., Power and Force, are both essential 
parts to elasticity. While under this condition, 
although the strip is less laterally elastic, it is still 
electrically elastic and remains a magnet, although 
not so powerful. 

Now let us take it to the other extreme ; the strip will 
retain a definite lateral elasticity through a much 
greater degree of high temperature, until finally the 
ratio of Force to Power is too great, and it will lose its 
elasticity. The character of the material changes with 
the changed form. It also ceases to be a magnet. 
Scientists say that, under heat, a magnet loses its 
electrical elasticity. I say that it does not and could 
easily provei-it. By increasing the ratio of Force to 
Power, the atoms enlarge their orbits, the material 
expands. Now, two conditions have changed; there 
is more space occupied according to mass, and therefore, 
less pressure on the enclosed ether; and there is also 
more proportionate Force ; therefore, the exact balance 
essential in an active spring is not present. It is not 
that the strip has lost its ability to regain its character- 
istic form, but that the conditions are not such that it 
' is losing this form, and, of course, the elasticity is not 
expressed tmtil the strain occurs. I will presently show 
how it can be made a magnet again imder this same 
condition of temperature. 

The circulation of the ether around the magnet, 
caused by the disturbance of its usual characteristic 
distribution of Force and Power, i. e., density, is 
marked by "lines of force".' I have dwelt on the 

■ The term "force" in this phrase has a different meaning from the 
word Force I sometimes capitalize. Here it is! used as at present 

Magnetism 251 

magnet at some length to illustrate a certain pheno- 
menon, and explain this phenomenon as an equal 
contest of the steel and the ether, each to regain or 
maintain its characteristic form. Now, in reality, the 
ether in any material body, is continually being dis- 
turbed. If every body is permeated by the ether, then 
a change of pressure will, to a certain extent, change 
the form of the ether just as the magnet does, but, 
under ordinary circumstances, the equilibrium is 
quickly regained. If we put two different materials 
in contact tmder pressure, the electrons will be more 
numerous in one of the bodies, the force excessive in 
the other, and if carefully separated, will each carry the 
unequally divided ether (positive and negative charge). 
But, like two vessels of water, one hot and the other 
cold, if they can be connected, they will equalize. The 
connecting by "lines of force" only indicates a strain, 
and not a physical connection. The electrons cannot 
cross the span because they have not the force, and the 
force on the other side is not sufficient to overcome the 
pressure of the intervening ether. But suppose there 
were a path of less pressure, then, along this path 
the equilibrium would be established. Under certain 
conditions, copper is such a path. The molecular 
vibration of copper seems to synchronize with these 

accepted by scientists as indicating a condition of strain or stress. 
Holding to such a definition of the term it would be as absurd to assume 
a "conservation of force" as it would be to assume the "indestruct- 
ibility of the strain." But the term force has in the past been used to 
define a cause of energy and as such was claimed to be indestructible. 
The misunderstanding arising from the use of the term "force" to 
designate both a cause and an effect gave rise about a half -century ago 
to a very heated controversy among scientists. I would have been 
pleased, had it been possible, to have chosen terms to use in the place 
of Power and Force that conflicted less with other accepted definite 
forms of usage. 

252 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

electrons, or to be of such a nature as, under force, to 
attain quickly to such a synchronism. Under pressure 
the copper is enabled to contain more than its normal 
amount of force, and that would give a result exactly 
opposite the magnet. There would be a large portion 
of force inside, and, therefore, a relative density outside. 
This is the condition of a wire along which a current of 
electricity is passing. While the pressure is, no doubt, 
from the inside, it is the outside atoms which respond 
to the increased vibrations. We say the electrons are 
at one end, and the force, or pressure, at the other, but 
they exist in equal or normal proportions along the wire. 
When the connection is made, there is simply a strain 
set up along the length of the wire, all the force, i. e., 
pressure, along the wire shifts toward the negative 
end, and all the electrons on the wire shift toward the 
positive, i. e., opposite end. 

If we take a coil of this wire over which a current is 
passing, we can predict that, within the coil, there is 
a region of excessive pressure with lines of force opposite 
to those in the magnet. When we heated the steel 
magnet, we found it ceased to be a magnet, and I said 
that the increased pressure within from the increased 
ratio of force, and the enlarged openings from the 
increased volume, made conditions so that there was no 
longer a conflict and, therefore, no chance to manifest 
elasticity. If we have a porous vessel full of water, 
by increasing the pressure on the water we find that it 
will ooze through the pores. By increasing the pressure 
on the outside of the vessel until it equals that on the 
water, the vessel will again retain the water as at first. 
Now, on heating our magnet, the pressure (internal) 
increased, and it also became porous (expanded), and 
the electrons leaked out. But, if we could increase 

Magnetism 253 

the exterior pressure, we might still retain the electrons. 
This we can do by surrounding it by the coil of wire 
through which a current of electricity is passing. Here 
we have the increased pressure, and we again have our 
active magnet, which shows that increased temperature 
did not destroy its electrical elasticity. It is even a 
stronger magnet than before. Why? Because its in- 
creased volume and the increased surrounding pressure 
enable it to hold more of the dense ether, i. e., electrons. 

Iron is similar in structure to heated steel, and 
becomes a magnet if inserted in a coil of electrified 
wire. If two unequally porous bodies are immersed in 
liquid under equal pressure, the one which is the more 
porous wiU, in equal time, absorb more liquid. This 
holds good of the iron as a magnet. The iron is as 
electrically elastic as the steel, but on account of its 
porosity, more pressure is needed to cause the density 
to be such that there may be a contest. When this 
condition is given, it is a stronger magnet than the 
steel would be, under like conditions of exposure. Just 
as soon as the pressure is relieved, the iron ceases to be 
a magnet. This condition is of great importance in 
the modem transformation of energy. This condition 
of receiving and relieving a strain is termed the magnetic 
flux. The movement of the electrons or the force 
essential to such a strain is termed the electric flux. 
The magnetic flux is a mass or mechanical movement 
of the ether; the electric flux is an atomic movement of 
the ether. These conditions necessarily accompany 
each other or are, as it were, reactions of one condition 
on the other. 

Magnetism may exist as in a magnet, without 
mechanical movement or any sign of electricity. 
Electricity may exist as in a Ley den jar, without 

254 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

mechanical movement or any sign of magnetism. A 
mechanical movement may exist without being accom- 
panied by either magnetism or electricity. But let 
any two of these co-exist in relation and the third is 
invariably present. Therefore, a "flux" indicates the 
coexistence of all three conditions. 

I must mention here one other thing which is called 
a property of matter, viz., inertia. The general idea 
of inertness conveyed by the word "inertia," is so 
foreign to my conception of matter that I dislike to use 
it. The quality of a body remaining quiet tmtil moved 
is called inertia, and the quality of a moving body 
continuing in motion until checked is also called inertia. 
It is frequently stated that it requires a certain amount 
of energy to overcome the "inertia" of a body, and as 
every one knows that it requires more energy to start 
a body than it does to keep it moving, this statement 
passes current as a scientific fact. Now, a body in 
motion has mass and velocity. Other things being 
equal, these two give what is called momentum. 
Before we start a body to moving it has no velocity; 
therefore, no momentum. After we start it, it has 
velocity; therefore, momentum. We may keep this 
body moving with this same velocity, and, as we are 
not adding to the momentum, we do not need an 
additional amount of energy. So, we say it requires 
less energy to move it after it is in motion. Our extra 
energy in the beginning, used to start the body into 
motion, was not used to overcome the inertia of the 
body, for no such quality exists, but to give the body 
momentum, which, when stationary, it did not have. 
I hope this explanation will make it clear as to 
my meaning of the word "inertia" when I have 
occasion to use it. 

Magnetism 255 

Every moving body must have momentum, whether 
the earth or an atom, but it is much easier to compute 
the momentum of the earth than it is to compute the 
momentum of the atom, providing we take the known 
data of each. It is true that we do not know the 
velocity of the Solar System through space, which 
would make our computed restJt regarding the earth 
questionable; but, of the atom, we do not know the 
speed of either its rotation or revolution. As a mat- 
ter of fact, so long as the earth and the atom con- 
tinue in their characteristic motion, it makes no material 
difference what that momentum may be. Momentum 
is manifest only when the moving body is checked, and 
it is as absolutely impossible for us to stop the motion 
of the atom as it is to stop the motion of the earth. 
Certain specific motions of a specific body of atoms or 
a specific portion of the earth, may be stopped, and it 
is with these portions we have to deal. Any lateral 
movement of a specific volume of anything has momen- 
tum. We easily recognize this in the case of solid 
bodies; with liquids, it is less noticeable, because of 
their mobility. But, under pressure, a liquid acquires 
a rigidity that makes its momentum practically useful, 
as at the hydraulic mines of the West we may see a 
small stream of water disintegrating the rock and 
tearing down the mountain. With air, it is stiU less 
noticeable, but, under sufficient pressure, such as is 
evident in cyclonic disturbances, we see heavy bodies 
moved, steel rails twisted, etc. With ether, it is diffi- 
cult to get conditions that could show momentum, as 
its pressure is so great and so equalized as not to permit 
of a perceptible increase of pressure. But the imper- 
manent magnet is such a condition. By our ability 
to create a magnet instantaneously, we change an equal 

256 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

pressure to an tinequal pressure and this necessitated 
change in density means that a specific volume must 
move laterally and be checked, which gives the momen- 
tum as energy. In the permanent magnet, this 
momentum cannot be utilized because the inequality 
is in a constant or continuously equalizing state. 

I have said that there was increased density inside 
and increased pressure outside ; but the material motion 
of equalizing tends to pass the density more to one end, 
and, therefore, the pressure more to the other end. 
This is not distributed absolutely, but relatively. 
When within the influence of our magnet is brought 
another magnet, or even anything that may be 
magnetically influenced, there is a disturbance of the 
unstable equilibrium of force ratios and a chance for 
momentum to be demonstrated. With our magnet- 
ized iron, as before mentioned, we have a greater 
capacity, or more of the ethereous material is subject 
to change. We have relatively no greater momentum, 
but more of the surplus force can be captured and 

It is useless to go into any description of the modem 
generators. It is sufficient to say that the force, 
electric force, we may call it, or electricity, is no different 
here from elsewhere. Conditions enable us to accu- 
mulate it and give it great pressure. We measure the 
current strength by the unit ampere ; and the potential, 
by the unit volt ; and the quantity passing in a second 
of time, by the unit coulomb; or in an hour, by the 
watt-hour; and we are enabled to do this because it 
has a fixed relation to the amount of work it can do. 

Now, we must not consider this Force as being 
disassociated from Power. It is simply that the relation 
of Force to Power is greater and more abnormal here 

Magnetism 257 

than anywhere else, and that it will seek a position of 
less strain. We will try to regard the conducting wire 
which completes the circuit as a continuation of the 
magnet, under reverse conditions: the pressure on the 
interior, and the density on the exterior; the density 
coming from the negative end of the magnet, and the 
pressure from the positive end. As we bring the ends of 
the wire together, we have the circuit completed and 
the strain released. The density (electrons), coming 
from the negative (cathode), and the pressure coming 
from the positive (anode), unite, and the form is normal. 
I will try to be more definite in this. When I say that 
the density is on the inside, and toward one end of the 
magnet, and the pressure is on the outside and toward 
the other end, I do not mean that there is any marked 
line of division, like a bag of peas at one end and a pail 
of water at the other; and when I say the condition on 
the conducting wire is just the reverse, and the electrons 
travel from the one end and the pressure from the other 
to equalize, I do not mean that any specific electron 
travels over the wire. The condition already exists 
on the wire. Many have the idea that the electricity 
traverses the wires, similar to putting water into one end 
of a pipe and letting it come out at the other end. The 
process is more nearly like having a pipe fuU of water 
and using it as a piston cylinder. The water, being 
nearly incompressible, and elastic, could be used as 
a medium by which to transfer the pressure from one 
end to the other. If each end of the pipe be covered 
by an elastic diaphragm, not a drop of the water need 
be lost. The wire is composed of atoms with a form 
of motion such that there may be an intimate associa- 
tion and exchange of force; the strain is taken by the 
wire as a step ; then, when the communication is estab- 

258 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

lished, the wire is barely a path. While there is a 
shifting of the electrons toward the positive end (which, 
in case the wire is cut, would he. from the negative end), 
I have no doubt that, as force is transferred more 
quickly than power (that is, with less energy), the 
actual equalization is practically all brought about by 
the transfer of the surplus Force to the Power. I have 
purposely shifted from the use of one term to the other 
to try and hold the mind to my conception. Power, 
density, electron, negative — each refers to the same 
entity. Force, pressure, electric force, positive — are 
used to indicate their opposites. 

One point more I wish to make here. This strain, 
or separation of the electrons from the electric force, or 
rather, this comparatively slight shifting of the relative 
amount of force, is simply a change back to and from the 
normal. The Power which, in this case, is the electrons, 
or light atoms, has the Desire which fixes the normal or 
characteristic motion. When this motion is limited 
or curtailed by the motion of the atoms of the magnet, 
it is much easier for the electrons with the deficient 
amount of force to regain this force from other sources 
than for the electrons with the excessive amount of 
force to get rid of this force, providing the conditions 
are the same. This is demonstrated by the greater 
permanence of the positive charge. It is also a logical 
result from the assumption that the light atoms (ether) 
are the most stable oj all atoms in their characteristic forms 
of motion. They are only unstable in their equilibrium. 

We have assumed that the ratio of Force to Power 
in the electrons was at least eight hundred thousand 
times that of Force to Power in the atoms of the atmos- 
phere. That would mean that, if we could take the 
force from one electron and transfer it to the air, it 

Magnetism 259 

would double the force in a volume of air eight hundred 
thousand times as great; or, to put it in another way, 
if we could increase the pressure on a given volume of 
ether one eight-hundred-thousandth part of the normal, 
we could double the force in a like volume of air. This 
latter condition of change is more Ukely to be the one 
that exists to a greater or less extent in all bodies. As 
ether permeates aU bodies, therefore, if friction or 
pressure occurs on or in that body, there is a strain 
established just in the ratio in which the ether is unable 
to escape from the pressure. As I have said before, 
I have no idea what proportion of the total amount of 
force of an atom is transferred when its motion is 
lessened. The amount that is transferred is all that 
we can measure. We can never know the absolute 
value of an atom until we catch one and make sure 
that its rotating and revolving motion is transferred, 
and that it is perfectly stationary relative to the 
universe. No one is liable to undertake this task. 
Even the absolute zero would give only the mimimum 
sized orbit. 

I must refer to the magnet again. Take a common 
horseshoe magnet, and we know there is in and around 
it a condition of stress. We place aciross the ends a 
steel or iron bar of suitable size, called the armature, 
and it is impossible for us to demonstrate that, as a 
whole, it is now different from any other ring of iron. 
No lines of force can be demonstrated to exist. It is 
not an active magnet. Let us, by mechanical energy, 
pull the armature away. The mechanical energy has 
now caused the force to be manifest, there is a strain 
and lines of force. It required mechanical energy to 
move the armature; we will say moving the armature by 
ftiechanical ^mw illustrates, va, the simplest mwaer, 

26o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

our dynamo. Now, let the armature go free, and it 
moves to the magnet. It is not now moved by me- 
chanical energy. Its movement is spontaneous; it is 
moved by Force. The armature is within the lines of 
force and its structural form gives a path of least resist- 
ance to the current of force in its effort to equalize the 
strain of its abnormal form of motion. Saying that 
the armature is attracted by the magnet does not 
describe the conditions. The magnet is an essential 
condition. The cause is the force which is imequally 
distributed in and around the magnet and uses the 
armature as a path of least resistance in its efforts to 
equalize and naturally makes it become the shortest 
path allowed by the condition. If we have a string run 
through hollow links loosely arranged in the shape of 
a square, a motion of the string will tend to draw in the 
corners and make the links take the shape of a circle. 
We could not say that this contraction is due to any 
attraction. So the contraction of the space between 
the magnet and its armature is not necessarily due to 
attraction. Without contending over the proper form 
of expression "The magnet attracts the armature" or 
"the armature is forced to the magnet," we must 
certainly admit" that, whether it is Attraction or Force, 
it is not mechanical energy which causes the movement. 
In this spontaneous movement the cause of the motion 
is within itself and we may caU it a mover or "motor." 
As the Force in and around the magnet and arma- 
ture causes one or both to move, so the electric Force 
causes the motor to move and to mechanically move 

We mechanically separate the armature from an 
active magnet ; it is a dynamo. We allow the armature 
and magnet to spontaneously move together; it is a 

Magnetism 261 

motor. The dynamo is moved mechanically ; the motor 
moves spontaneously. 

This may seem a simple description of the wonders 
of an electrical system and the distinction between 
dynamo and motor, but I do not believe that pages of 
technicalities would elucidate any more clearly the 
primary difference between dynamo and motor, or 
the difference between the mechanical transfer of 
energy (by mechanism) and the transfer of mechanical 
energy (by Force). 



LET us follow Force in its various relations to Power, 
and see if its transfer seems logical and consistent. 
We will start with one of the most familiar phenomenon 
— a fire. We have our coal surrounded by oxygen, but 
although we §ay there is a very strong affinity between 
the oxygen and the carbon, they do not unite. As I 
have said before, there must be a certain synchronism 
of motion before there can be a transfer of force. This 
is done by increasing the size of the orbit of the carbon, 
or as we say, heating it to the kindling point (the point 
where its motion synchronizes with that of the oxygen) . 
This may be done by rubbing two pieces of coal together, 
but let us apply our friction to something that has a 
lower kindling point— the substance on the head of the 
match. This starts the match; the match starts the 
wood ; the wood starts the coal. There is absolutely no 
beginning to a transfer of force ; so we will have to jump 
into the circle and get a starting-point. We will 
start with the oxygen uniting with the coal (carbon). 
As I have said before, the oxygen in uniting with the 
carbon gives up some of its force. A portion of this 
force goes to heat the coal, that is, to increase the size 
of the orbits of its atoms. The surplus force is trans- 
ferred in various ways, but we will follow only one. It 


Electricity 263 

goes to Increase the size of the orbits of the atoms of 
adjacent material ; we will say it is the iron of a boiler. 
The force travels from one atom to another of the iron, 
increasing the size of the orbit of each, and we say this 
force is heat, and travelling by conduction. It is then 
transferred to the water and travels by convection; as 
the atoms increase the size of their orbits, we see that 
the water expands, and being enclosed, we measure 
this expansion by the pressure. If the temperature 
is great enough, some of the water takes the form of a 
gas or vapor — steg^, we generally call it. The change 
from water to steam is not gradual but sudden. The 
increased force in the water has increased the size of 
the orbits of its atoms to some extent, but much of it 
has gone to increase the speed of the revolution. Finally 
this is inverted and is changed to increase the size of 
the orbit, and the expansion is greatly increased. By 
this expansion the pressure is greatly increased. We 
will now let some of the steam pass through a pipe. As 
an enlarged pipe, we called it a cylinder along which 
slides a movable partition called a piston head. The 
pressure of the steam, which really means the effort of 
the steam to gain its characteristic form as a gas (it is 
here too compressed to be normal) ,overcomes the resis- 
tance on the piston head, and the piston rod is moved. 
This movement of the piston rod is a mechanical 
movement. We are now moving a given mass of ma- 
terial through a given space at a given velocity; and, 
whether by cranks, shafts, belts, or pulleys, no matter 
what the complication of the machinery, it is mechanical. 
When we apply this mechanical transfer of energy to 
pulling the armature from a magnet and creating a 
strain, we are really changing again and going from the 
mechanical transfer of energy to the actual transfer of 

264 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Force, which may be manifest through the strain or 
electric force, which is resisting the movement of the 

Before continuing we must consider at greater length 
one of the steps in the transfer. This step is one of the 
great changes that occur in nature, for which physicists 
can give us no reason. At a certain temperature 
(varying according to pressure) liquid will take the 
form of gas. There is no more force in the gas at that 
temperature, but its characteristic form as a gas requires 
more room; in other words, the speed of revolution is 
changed to size of orbit, and thereby the pressure is 
greatly increased. That this pressure could be utilized 
was the great discovery of Watt. When water changes 
to vapor (evaporates), it displaces a definite amount of 
material, requiring a specific amount of pressure to do so. 
This displacement is a mechanical movement. We 
did not use the expansion of the iron or the water, so, 
we did not take that into consideration ; but now, there 
is a displacement of the piston head, and we have a me- 
chanical movement, the immediate cause of which is 
Force. We do not have this movement (displacement 
of the piston head) in addition to the other (displace- 
ment of the air) but in place of the other. If the in- 
creased pressure could all be utilized in moving the 
piston head, there would be no steam at all ; it would be 
recondensed to water. If it condensed at 212°, the piston 
head would return by air pressure to its first position. 
If it condensed at a lower temperature, there would be a 
gain by the piston head equal to the temperature lost , 
But this force must, of necessity, have gone to heat 
adjacent bodies. One other peculiar condition comes 
in here to aid this transfer. Under an equal amount 
of force (heat) gas expands to a much greater proportion 

Electricity 265 

than a solid or a liqtiid. Therefore, in addition to the 
increased pressure coming from the change of a liquid 
to a gas, we have the increased expansion of the gas 
from the addition of heat. The best constructed engine 
can utilize only a portion of the force, that is, some 
steam will escape as gas, in which case it displaces the 
atmosphere instead of the piston head. I wish to 
emphasize the point that the release of Force from the 
oxygen results in the expansion of the adjacent material 
(as heat), and in case of the water, it increased the speed 
of the revolution of the atoms and could not be detected 
(the energy becomes latent) ; that when the form of the 
material of which it was a part changed, the change 
was on account of a change in the form of motion 
(from the speed of revolution to increased size of orbit) ; 
and that the derived pressure is exerted and manifested 
somewhere. Because we use some of it on the piston 
head and caU it "work done," is no reason why we 
should say we have changed our Force into mechanical 
energy. We may transform energy, but we never 
transform Force. We may change its form of motion, 
and when that change is an increase in the size of the 
orbit it always is manifest in a measurable movement 
which is mechanical, and may be transferred as me- 
chanical energy. As a physical basis of measuring 
mechanical energy, "the mechanical , equivalent of 
heat," is all right, but, when from this one gets the 
conception that Force, as heat, is annihilated, and 
mechanical energy or movement of a mass of material 
takes its place, I believe that one has a wrong conception 
and one which hinders a correct conception; for, as one 
scientist says': 

However attractive the hypotheses, they are ruthlessly 

' Trowbridge, What Is Electricity?, page 3. 

266 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

abandoned as soon as the touchstone, the measurement of 
the heat equivalent of motion, is not satisfied by the 

Water at 212° has more Force than its temperature 
would indicate. At the point of least resistance or 
pressure, some of the water changes its form of motion' 
(With rare exceptions, no body of water contains 
enough force to change its whole body instantly into 
steam.) With the change in form, there is no change 
in temperature, that is no heat is manifest, but there 
has been an expansion equal to fifteen pounds of pres- 
sure. But this lifting of fifteen pounds to a height 
equal to the increased volume is not mechanically 
available, as that is only equal to the air pressure. If 
we have any pressure in addition to the air pressure, 
such as repredfented by our piston head, it will require 
more Force (heat). This is manifest first in increased 
temperature, but it does not require a doubling of the 
force, as temperature, to get fifteen pounds more 
pressure, for, as we said before, the expansion of gas 
under equal heat is greater that the expansion of liquid. 

Now, under a temperature of 250°, we have lifted 
our piston head, representing fifteen pounds, a given 
distance. Could we create a vacuum back of it, the 
same pressure would lift it as far again. But we will 
take it in the position to which it has been moved, and 
it represents so much mechanical energy; we have 
moved a given mass of matter a given distance, but by 
so doing, we have lost no force. The steam under the 
piston head would, if released, from the pressure of the 
piston head, expand the fifteen pounds necessary to 
lift the atmosphere. It may be asked why we cannot 
put a catch under the piston head and let out the steam, 
which will then expand the atmosphere the same as if 

Electricity 267 

it had not raised the piston head, thus having a net gain 
of the fifteen pounds of material elevated. It might 
also be asked why not create a vacuum, when the 
pressure would raise thirty pounds; then put the catch 
on, let the air pressure on above and the steam pressure 
out below, and have thirty pounds net gain. The 
only catch we have in this is the fact that nowhere in the 
transformation of energy can we stop our experiment 
and show a net gain. We know that to create the 
vacuum would necessitate a pressure of fifteen pounds, 
thus offsetting our last supposed gain. We ought also 
to know that the fifteen pounds in the first case repre- 
sents the total pressure in excess of the air pressure, 
and the only way to relieve it is to exert an equal pres- 
stue in some other way. In other words, in relieving 
the pressure, we let our piston head drop where it was 
at first. I claim ; that, when Force is changed from its 
latent or potential form, as speed of revolution or 
rotation, to its manifest or kinetic form, as increased 
size of orbit, the pressure resulting therefrom is me- 
chanical energy; that an equivalent movement of 
material always occurs, whether it is imperceptible in 
the atmosphere, dispersed in the ocean, or concentrated 
on a piston head, there is no difference in the gross or 
net; that Force is never transformed into mechanical 
energy ; that Force or heat is never measxirably manifest 
except as mechanical energy. This assumption is of 
such importance to my conception that I will repeat 
an illustration to emphasize it. Reversing the experi- 
ment, let our piston head represent a certain amount 
of mechanical energy; we utilize this to compress the 
air in the cylinder. (It is generally said that the air 
is heated by compression. I say the orbits of the atoms 
are curtailed, and the force essential to such an orbit is. 

268 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

therefore, transferred to adjacent material.) To ex- 
pand this air again under the pressure will require 
exactly the same amount of force (heat) as was trans- 
ferred or radiated. But suppose we sturound the 
cylinder with ice, and by mechanical means continue 
working the piston; we can gradually melt the ice. 
This is accepted as proof by some that heat (force) has 
been created by mechanical energy. I say, the air 
being perfectly elastic, that is, having the ability to 
regain its characteristic form, can get the force essential 
to its expansion under ordinary conditions, and that 
this force might pass through a solid mass of ice. But 
the surrounding conditions might be such that it could 
not get the force (heat), and then it would not expand. 
We know that this ability to get the force necessary to 
expansion will reduce the temperature of surrounding 
bodies, and it will even liquidize the air surrounding, 
but, at some point, it may fail to be able to extract 
heat, and, therefore, will fail to expand. Of course, 
I know that the scientist can bring out his algebraic 
formtda to show that it does not expand because at 
certain temperatures certain elastic properties are 
limited by certain cohesive properties, etc. But this 
formula will not answer the question whether pressure 
exists because of force, or force exists on account of 
pressure ; whether low temperature is caused by absence 
of heat, or whether heat is absent on account of low 

All experiments of "creating heat by friction" are 
similar to that of the foregoing illustration. If Force 
caimot be transformed into mechanical energy, then 
mechanical energy cannot be transformed into Force 
(heat). The fact that heat is there may be accotmted 
for in any one of several different ways. I will give 

Electricity 269 

two or three. In any body, the changing of its charac- 
teristic form causes a strain. In elastic bodies, the 
force (heat) eliminated under the strain is immediately 
absorbed in regaining the form. In bodies where the 
structural form is permanently deformed, the conditions 
are different. As I have said before, the characteristic 
form is probably due to a variation in the form of 
motion, rotation, revolution, and size of orbit, and a 
variation in the systematic relation of the atoms in 
the molecules and also of the molecules themselves. 
With sufficient resistance, and the breaking down of the 
structural form, the force latent in speed of revolution 
and rotation might be transferred into increasing the 
size of the orbit (heat). Then, also, there might be 
air between the particles of material, which could be 
compressed, and, unless the experiment were conducted 
with more care than most of them are, there would be 
an apparent evolution or creation of heat under the 
pressure (friction) . 

The other way I will suggest seems to be the more 
probable. Under the conditions where such experi- 
ments have been made, there are conditions for great 
pressure or great resistance. Under such conditions 
the enclosed light atoms (ether electrons) would be 
subject, at some points, to a pressure that would change 
their characteristic form of motion, and this would, 
even if to a very slight degree evolve (discrete, not 
create) force (heat). The light atoms affected, in 
gaining their characteristic form would draw their force 
from a point where there was less resistance, which 
point might be remote. This theory would seem the 
more probable from the fact that, if the revolution of 
the frictional part be rapid enough, a magnetic strain 
will be established and electric force be evolved. 

270 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Physicists do not accept the theory that magnetism 
and electricity are "a mode of motion," as they term 
"heat," nor that they can be created, but that onl - the 
conditions, for their manifestation can be created. 
Therefore, if we see all of these manifestations (pheno- 
mena) resulting from this single experiment, it hardly 
seems consistent to say that "heat" was "created," 
while for the others, only the conditions were created, 
and the magnetic stress and electricity manifested 
themselves. By mechanical energy, we compress air, 
and heat (force) manifests itself by expanding the 
adjacent material. By mechanical energy, we take off 
the pressure, and elasticity manifests itself. We say 
this is due to the heat (force) which it has absorbed 
from the adjacent material, which has, therefore, 
become colder! By mechanical energy, we may, under 
certain conditions, compress the ether, and force (heat), 
as magnetic or electric force, is manifest. The only 
difference I conceive in heat and electric force is the 
rate of revolution of the atoms from which they were 
discreted or the rate of the revolution of the atom which 
may be excited by their absorption. 

Physicists commonly assume that all phenomena 
may be classified as matter and energy. I do not 
consider this as a suitable classification. 

Matter, in the form in which we perceive it (material) , 
carmot be, at least has not been, demonstrated to be 
simple, that is, composed of only one constituent. I 
conceive the material to be "formed" by the relating 
of two causes. Power and Force. 

Energy, in the form in which we perceive it (me- 
chanical), cannot be, at least has not been, demonstrated 
to be simple, that is, due to only one constituent. I 
conceive energy to be the result of the movement of the 

Electricity 271 

material, caused, sometimes by Power, and sometimes 
by Force, and always the one cause limited by the 
other. Material and Energy are both results rather 
than causes. 

I think that, classifying the causes of the manifesta- 
tions as Power and Force will make the comprehension 
and solution of phenomena more simple, log'cal, and 
consistent. I have dwelt at much length on this point, 
as it is a critical one of difference between my concep- 
tion and the orthodox, material conception. 

Let us go over these changes. We started with the 
Force in the oxygen. After the union of the oxygen 
with the carbon, the surplus force expanded the iron, 
water, steam, and air. In this expansion something or 
another was moved. If it was not one thing, it was the 
other ; and if it was the one thing, it was not the other. 
That is, if it was expansion, it was not displacement; 
and if it was displacement, it was not expansion. 
(Of course, both words may express the same meaning, 
but I here want them to express a difference.) We 
will choose to follow the displacement, which is repre- 
sented by our piston head, which in turn represents all 
of the machinery imaginable in mechanical engineering, 
which finally, through our dynamo, gives the condition 
for a manifestation of electric force. When we com- 
pressed our air by a mechanical movement and evolved 
heat, we said the air, on account of its compressibility 
and elasticity, was the medium by which we could 
compel the force to manifest its energy, as mechanical 
energy. That is, the force, which was an integral 
part of the air was the medium by which one form of 
mechanical energy (pressure) was changed into another 
form of mechanical energy (expansion). Now, in the 
case of our mechanically acting dynamo, the ether, on 

272 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

accotint of its compressibility and elasticity, is the 
medium by which we compel force to manifest itself. 
We wUl now follow this force (electric force) through 
some of its mechanical manifestations. 

Before taking the next step, I will refer to the charac- 
ter of the transfer. I conceive the transfer of this force 
along a wire to be by etherions atomic motion ; that the 
whole circuit is just like an elongated magnet with the 
lines of force reversed. As this force is manifest on 
account of a specific amount of mechanical energy, it is 
proportionate to that amount of energy. The transfer 
of a given quantity in a given time may be in great 
quantities with low velocity, or in small quantities with 
greater velocity. The limits of transfer are more 
quickly reached by the first method, and we will take 
that first. Tlie pressure is from within and the density 
is outside, with the tendency to go in. The lateral 
transfer is on the outside. The more nearly a wire 
synchronizes with the orbital movement of the electrons, 
the better conductor it is. The number of electrons 
that can be held is limited by the circumference of the 
wire. The transfer of force from electron to electron 
is practically with the same velocity as light, limited 
to a degree by the variation of the density of the 
electrons on the wire, etc. By the velocity of the cur- 
rent is meant the number of impulses given per second. 
These are limited only by the mechanism. When the 
quantity of force per impulse is greater than can be 
transferred, the wire is said to be overloaded. As I 
said before, a portion of the electrons are able to secure 
their normal amount of force, thus leaving on the 
wire a surplus of force, this surplus force not being 
able, under the excess pressure, to be transferred by the 
electrons, must be transferred by the atoms of the wire 

Electricity 273 

itself. When the limit of the atoms for this work is 
reached, then the force is manifested in an increased 
orbit of the atoms of the wire. The increased size of 
the wire by heating gives greater capacity, and also 
greater proportionate waste (by synchronizing the 
motion to heat). By a continued overload the wire 
may be made hot enough to melt. This heat is the 
mechanical manifestation of the Force manifest by 
the magnet. This heat is wholly quantitive. There 
is no heat except as a material manifestation of the 
Force. Its intensity is wholly according to the quantity 
supplied, and not, in the least, due to the way in which 
it is supplied. 

The heat supplied by combustion is limited by the 
difference in Force which the tmiting bodies possess 
before and after uniting. The halogens seem to possess 
more Force normally than the other elements, but even 
they are limited in the amount with which they can 
part. While the light atoms possess a much greater 
ratio of force, the rapidity of vibration would prevent 
a synchronism, thus preventing a union with other 
atoms in combustion. Combustible bodies can only 
unite exo-thermally by getting rid of some of the force 
which, possessed by one or both, would hinder their 
synchronous union. To get rid of this force, there must 
be some body that is able to absorb it. That is the 
reason why there can be no combustion at temperatures 
exceeding a certain limit. Between 10,000° and 12,000° 
is the probable limit of temperature at which any two 
atoms are able to unite as a compound. Physicists 
acknowledge this as a demonstrable fact, and yet talk 
about the processes of combustion in the sun, the 
chemical action and reaction necessary for heat, etc. 
There may be some explanation given as to how com- 

274 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

bustion could occur at the temperature which is said 
to exist on the sun, but I have failed to see it. In the 
electrical furnace, the only limit to the temperature is 
the amount of force which, by the mechanism, can be 
made to manifest itself as heat. There must be great 
resistance of the material to create such a temperature, 
and this resistance reacts on the mechanism which is 
transferring the Force. Therefore, I say the tempera- 
ture is limited only by the mechanism. 

We have, by this method, already gone far beyond 
the point where any compound will be dissociated. In 
any conducting body, the dissociation is the same, 
whether the current passes through the body, or whether 
the body is subject to the high temperature. In fact, 
the effect is the same. The resistance of the non- 
conducting "body results in the Force being absorbed 
by the atoms, and in the case of a compound, there is 
dissociation instead of heat, such as is manifest in a 
conducting body of high resistance. Sometimes the 
force is absorbed and utilized by the atoms in the way 
to which reference has already been made. Nitrogen 
as nitrates, oxygen as ozone, and the halogens (as 
chlorides, etc.,) especially, are manufactured commer- 
cially by the electric current, or the heat evolved 
therefrom. It will be interesting to note that, in such 
cases as these, when it requires a large amount of force 
for dissociation or concentration, under the reverse 
process there is an equally large evolution of Force 

The products from this commercial use of electric 
force are not all of this nature, and it is these apparent 
exceptions that will show the weakness of any theory 
or conception that does not approximate to correctnes . 
There are certain compounds that are so stable as to 

Electricity 275 

require extraordinary force to dissociate, and it may be 
the inert element that is the one of value, and not the 
one that has absorbed the force. This is the case in 
the manufacture of aluminum, magnesium, etc. The 
oxygen, in tmiting with these, evolves more heat, that 
is, gives up more of its force, than in uniting with other 
combustibles. Therefore, other elements have not 
force enough to separate the aluminum oxide, but under 
the great force in the electric furnace, the oxygen can 
get, or is compelled to take, the force essential to its 
gaseous form, and the aluminum is left. (That the 
actual operation is neither simple or direct, does not 
affect this explanation.) 

There is another industry which may be mentioned 
here. The production of corundum, carborundum, 
diamonds, etc. Carbon in any of its forms is not easily 
fusible. The greater the density, the less heat ratio 
it possesses. Charcoal, under pressure, will evolve 
heat. After such a process, it requires more heat 
(force) to change it to a gaseous form, therefore, in its 
union with oxygen, not so many heat units are evolved, 
that is, not so much force is given off as a surplus. 
Graphite is a still more dense form of carbon, and the 
diamond the most dense of all. Carbon will fuse 
under the intense heat of the electric furnace. If on 
cooling it is subjected to great pressure, it will give up 
its heat (force), and crystallize. Under this pressure 
the same conditions may exist which occasion water 
to change into ice instead of crystallizing into snow- 
flakes. The greater the pressure consistent with the 
formation of ice, the harder will be the ice, and so also, 
of the crystalHzation of the carbon. In this process 
we have: first the intense heat to fuse the material; 
then the intense pressure caused by the contracting 

276 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

occasioned by the material of the matrix cooUng from 
such a high temperature; and also the ability of the 
carbon to discrete its heat (force) necessitating its 
absorption by the matrix, which in turn can radiate it ; 
all combine to give the conditions for the production of 
the dense forms of the carbon. The Force does not 
enter into their production, only indirectly and in fact 
mechanically. The phenomena we have mentioned 
are the result of force transmitted with a low velocity. 

Force as heat is never manifest except as a mode of 
motion. I agree with the conception of heat as a pheno- 
menon, if it is distinctly understood that it is a specific 
manifestation of Force, and not the specific result of 
mechanical energy. A particular kind of mechanical 
energy enables or causes the force to manifest itself as 
heat, a mode of motion of the atoms which is solely a 
larger orbit than the normal, showing a greater ratio 
of force, and being abnormal, it is variable. This 
variability, or change in form, is what enables us to 
perceive that such a mode of motion as heat exists. 
In any critical analysis of the subject, note that when 
heat is perceived as a phenomenon it cannot logically be 
conceived as a cause oi that phenomenon. 

It seems more natural to conceive of atoms as rotat- 
ing and revolving than to conceive of their having other 
forms of motioni On the assumption that the relation 
of Force to Power results in such motions, varying 
according to their ratio, then upon the accretion of a 
definite amount of force to the atom, there might result 
any one of fifteen different effects. The addition of 
force might affect the speed of rotation, the speed of 
revolution, or the size of the orbit; or it might affect 
any two of these in direct or inverse order, which would 
give six combinations; or it might affect all three in 

Electricity 277 

inverse order, which would give six still different 
combinations; making fifteen different results. Sup- 
plementing these results there may be eccentricities 
in the orbits, which might be infinite. The ultimate 
condition in some of these series might appear to be 
the same. So in many chemical compoiinds the results 
might be predicated to be equal because the same 
elements are combined with equal energy-, but there are 
many variations in compounds which are empirically 
known although they could not be a priori known. 
These differences I assume to be on account of the 
variation in the procession of the change in the motion 
of the atoms. Any one of these various results might 
come psychically from the Desire of the atom to act in a 
certain way upon the accretion of a specific amount 
of Force ; or it might come physically on account of the 
manner of the form of motion of the atoms which 
discreted the force. 

There must be a certain degree of synchronism of 
atoms to allow an exchange of force. For this reason 
the light atoms (ether) do not absorb (transfer) what 
is termed the obscure forms of heat. When the oscil- 
lations are of great frequency, then the force may be 
transferred to the light atoms (ether). These disturb- 
ances resulting in rays, are, according to their frequency 
(generally called length of wave) termed electric, 
calorific, actinic, and Hght. These disturbances or 
rays are dependent for the velocity of their transmission 
on the rate of the revolution of the light atoms. All 
rays of this nattire travel with equal velocity. The 
result (that is, the character of ray), therefore, does 
not depend on the velocity of the transfer. Nor can 
it depend solely on frequency of disturbance (wave- 
length), or there would be no overlapping of effects. 

278 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

We have, then, only one alternative condition by vhich 
to account for the different effects. That condition 
is the form of motion as it is being transmitted. 

We must realize that in the transmission there is no 
lateral movement of the atom excepting in the case of 
the enlarged orbit, which is a lateral movement equal 
to the increase in size of the orbit. In passing through 
material bodies, it is the form of the motion which is 
transferred, and not the atom. Therefore, other things 
being equal, the form of motion occasioning the least 
resistance from the material would be most easily 
transmitted. The forms of motion of the atoms of 
different materials vary. Those forms which more 
nearly synchronize with the specific form of motion 
that is being transmitted by the light atoms will more 
quickly absorb the force existing as such motion. This 
accounts for transparency or opaqueness of various 
materials to the various rays. Atoms of incandescent 
iron have a peculiar form of motion which form of 
motion s transferred by the light atoms (ether) . This 
peculiar form of motion is more quickly absorbed by 
atoms of iron than by any other atoms. 

The character of a ray depends: (i) on its origin, 
(2) on the transmitting medium. Our final analysis 
of the ray is also influenced by the character of the 
intercepting material. 

It must be understood that an electric ray is as 
different from an electric current, or stroke of light- 
ning, as the rays which issue from a flame are different 
from the flame. 

We will take as the base of our next illustration a 
specific phenomenon which has already been given, 
namely, the electric spark which preceded the thunder. 

We speak of a "streak" of lightning, but it is in reality 

Electricity 279 

a spark or succession of sparks, passing so rapidly, or 
with an oscillation so frequent, as to appear continuous. 
We will treat it as one spark. This is a specific amount 
of force, abnormally large in relation to its atomic 
centre (which may be either an elemental or light atom). 
The accretion of force finally becomes so great as to 
overcome the pressure, and it is compelled to equalize 
through the path of least resistance. The reader 
should bear in mind the conception that force is always 
considered as coexistent with the motion of some atom, 
and that the motion may be greater or less than normal. 
When it is greater a transmission can be easily made 
to another where it is less provided there is a syn- 
chronism in the form of their motion. When the force 
has to synchronize their motions it is more difficult, but 
if the difference in ratio accentuates, the pressture or 
force reaches a point where some atoms will synchronize. 
This excessive amount of force existing as a greatly 
abnormal motion is finally transmitted, radiated, dis- 
sipated. The immediate effect of this dissipation of 
the force of our electric spark is to expand the adjacent 
material. This material exists as air and ether. 

We will first review the atmospheric effects. We 
have already seen that there are two effects, (i) 
The mechanical movement of the material which may 
be felt and measured. This movement is transmitted 
with varying velocity. (2) The atomic movement 
which is perceived as sound. This movement is 
transmitted with uniform velocity. 

We will now consider the ethereous effects. There 
are in the ether the same two effects, (i) The me- 
chanical movement of the material. The mechanical 
condensation of the ether is an effect which is transmit- 
ted with varying velocity ; a velocity bearing the same 

28o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

relation to light as the velocity of an explosive impulse 
in the air bears to the velocity of sound. I would call 
these transmissions the magnetic rays. They are 
really a strain of the ether (an absolute lateral move- 
ment of the ether). These are the transmissions which 
are utilized in wireless telegraphy. I predict that it 
will sometime be demonstrated that the velocity of 
these rays vary, while all rays transmitted by atomic 
motion will, of necessity, be of the same velocity, the 
conditions and medium being the same. (2) The 
atomic movement which according to the form of 
motion we perceive as four well-known variations, 
electric, calorific, actinic, and luminous. 

(i). We will assume that the electrical rays result 
from an increase in the size of the orbit of the light 
atoms ; such a change would mean an actual expansion 
in the material causing a rarefaction and condensation 
during the length of time of the oscillation. If the 
medium were not perfectly adiabatic it would result 
in a heating of its material. (We have, however, no 
method of measuring temperature in ether.) Ether 
being relatively incompressible is a superior conductor. 
Air being relatively compressible is a superior absorber. 
The mechanical movement of the air is transmitted, 
amount of energy being equal, to a less distance than 
the atomic movement sensible as sound. The opposite 
effect occurs in ether. The mechanical movement of 
the ether (as a magnetic wave) is transmitted, amount 
of energy being equal, to a greater distance than the 
atomic movement in the form of an electric ray. 

On account then of the nature of these electric rays, 
the distance to which they can be transmitted is limited ; 
in the first place by a limitation of the initial, mechani- 
cal, or material energy available; in the second place. 

Electricity 281 

by the amount of Force which can be accumulated for 
transmission in the short interval between oscillations. 
The electric wave gives the condition whereby certain 
bodies are electrically charged and certain electrified 
bodies are discharged. This condition is generally 
quickly neutralized, that is, the force used in such a way 
is absorbed (the form of the motion is converted). 

(2). We will assume that the calorific rays are a 
variation in the speed of revolution. The varieties 
of oscillation that could effect the speed of revolution 
would be more limited than those that could affect the 
size of the orbit. All resistance due to mechanical 
pressure necessarily developed bv an enlarged orbit 
is absent in a variation of speed of revolution, therefore, 
an equal amount of force could be transmitted to a 
much greater distance. We never get an electric ray 
from the sun, but we do get the calorific ray. 

(3) • W^ will assume that the actinic rays are a varia- 
tion in the speed of rotation. It sounds mechanically 
reasonable to say that the rotation might be affected 
by a less degree of force. That is, the speed of rotation 
could be doubled with less force than the speed of 
revolution covild be doubled. This assumption logically 
leads to the demonstrable fact that actinic transmission 
requires less energy than calorific transmission. It is 
transmitted through greater density and to greater 

(4). By assuming the luminous rays to be an excen- 
tricity of the orbit we have a variation of a form of 
motion which would require less energy than any other 
form of variation. This assumption corresponds to the 
fact that luminosity requires less energy than either of 
the other variations. Luminosity is limited so far as 
we know only by our organs of sight. 

282 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I said that an equilibrium of the ether was quickly 
established after the "electric wave." In the action 
and reaction incident to establishing the equilibrium 
there may be traced the various motions as manifested 
in the great variety of special rays, to some of which I 
will refer later. Each of the five variations mentioned 
do not necessarily attend each impiilse. The first two 
(magnetic and electric) are always inversely proportion- 
ate but never entirely separate. A certain amount of 
force evolved with sufficient frequency of vibration 
but with a relatively small degree of pressure gives an 
electric wave. A certain amount of force evolved with 
a sufficient frequency of vibration but with a relatively 
large degree of pressure gives the magnetic wave. An 
electric wave is transmitted by a variation of a move- 
ment of the atdims of the ether. A magnetic wave is 
transmitted by a movement of the ether. I will try 
to show this difference plainer by an illustration. 
Instead of varying the amount of force we will vary the 
condition of the medium which is to transmit the force. 
Let us take two long bars of iron differing only in 
diameter. Let us strike one end of each bar an equal 
blow with a mallet. The larger bar does not move; 
the smaller bar does move. There is a variation of the 
atomic movement in the large bar for we may feel that 
it is hotter. There is relatively no variation of atomic 
movement of the smaller bar. These two different 
effects may be combined by striking a bar of inter- 
mediate size, but of necessity the effects would be 
inversely proportionate. 

For the electric wave and the magnetic wave the 
medium is the same but the application of force and 
the manner of its delivery differing, we get the different 
effects resulting from the variation either of the atomic 

Electricity 283 

or the mass motions; never absolutely separate but 
always inversely proportionate. The heat or atomic 
motion of the large bar could be changed to magnetism, 
and the energy of the moving small bar could be changed 
to electricity. So in any complete cycle of an electric 
wave or a magnetic wave, these two forms of motion 
might and probably do equalize. 

If we have a series of cog-wheels in rotary motion 
and apply additional force to one of the wheels, we will, 
if the force is properly timed or applied, increase the 
speed of rotation of the wheels; but if the force is 
applied too quickly, or in too great quantity to be 
absorbed, or in a wrong plane, there may be a movement 
of the mass of wheels but there may be no variation in 
their rotation. It seems, as these various conditions 
are known to exist as a physical fact in the material, 
it would be simple as a conception to assume them by 
analogy to exist as a relation between the atoms. 
Then by realizing that in solid, liquid, gaseous, and 
ethereous forms of material there are definite variations 
in the atomic motion, as well as measurable mass move- 
ments of the material, and then by scientific observation 
of facts properly relating these forms of motion, we 
might obtain a theory of electricity, magnetism, heat, 
light, actinism, and sound that would be consistent 
with itself, with each other, and with facts. 



THE great bugbear to physical science, according to 
the accepted dynamical theory of matter and 
energy, has been the tiltimate ending of things within a 
comparatively short time. A few milUon more short 
years is all they can figtire to give us on this mundane 
sphere. It seems to be with a sigh of intense relief 
that many of the scientists have accepted the atomic 
disintegration theory according to wljich the end will 
be postponed, and, "at one bound, the possible limits 
of time have been enormously extended. " Of course, 
it is admitted that the extent of the probable dtiration 
of time is merely increased. You can take your choice 
of the eternal hell of the theologian, or the final, ulti- 
mate zero of physical science. I have already said 
enough to indicate that I should not accept either 

On the assumption that there is only one source of 
energy, and that this energy must finally be dissipated 
by an equal distribution in the movement of the ma- 
terial, or by a separation from the material, leaving 
that finally inert, there would be no alternative in 
physical science. But, I do not admit this. I assume 
that there are two sources of energy — Power and Force; 
that it is the varied relation between these two that is 


Dissipation of Energy 285 

manifest to us as material and energy; that it is the 
Desire of the Power which fixes this relation and gives 
the characteristic forms to the motion. But, in the 
formation into complex shapes there is much conflict, 
and this result is as much a part of the conditions which 
govern as are the Power and Force, which are the causes. 
As I said before, there is no beginning to a cycle, but 
we must take a starting-point in following it. 

We consider the sim as the greatest immediate 
source of energy. The physicists figure that, from the 
amount of energy we receive on a given surface, there 
must be a certain definite amount radiated into space. 
They estimate that 2,300,000,000 times as much is 
radiated as is absorbed by the earth. They demon- 
strate that, if the sim were composed of the most 
energetic of combustibles, they could not, in uniting, 
last more than 5000 years. When the dynamical theory 
forced this conclusion on them, they accepted the theory 
that falling bodies might give the necessary continuance 
of energy. Then again, some assumed that contraction 
would offset radiation, and claimed that a contraction 
of sixteen feet of diameter per year would account for 
the heat. To become convinced of the weakness of these 
theories one has only to note how quickly they were 
deserted when radio-activity gave a new source of 
explanation. Qf course, this late theory would con- 
tradict the evidence of the spectroscope, but only in the 
absolute truth of a conception can there be an escape 
from inconsistencies. 

In my criticism of radiation, I have already given an 
idea of my conception, but I will state it in another way, 
which, after what I have said about electricity may be 
more comprehensible. I conceive the sun to be com- 
posed of atoms as we have them on the earth, accepting 

286 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the evidence of the spectroscope. I conceive that, under 
present conditions, there can be no combustion, no 
chemical action, no compounds. There is the same 
relation, atomically, between Power and Force. The 
absolute ratio of Force to Power may be great, as 
the great temperature would indicate. We cannot be 
certain, however, for temperature is but one of many 
ways of indicating this ratio. As an unstable body 
(and certainly large portions of it must be unstable, 
if we accept the measure of the corona), there must be 
great variation in pressure. Variation in pressure 
wotild act and be acted upon by the ether. Now, it is 
b}'' these disturbances of the ether that we get our 
impressions of the sun. The old, orthodox idea that 
the ether is an unknowable medium that accepts all 
impulses and never gives back any, is contrary to the 
idea that action and reaction are equal and in opposite 
direction. So long as there is action, there is reaction, 
and to trace these each in the opposite direction, would 
be to ultimately establish a cycle. Within this cycle 
of pressure or action, there is a strain. This strain 
might be mapped out by lines of force the same as may 
be done with the magnet. No physicist supposes that, 
because these lines of force exist around a magnet, the 
magnet is "dissipating force or energy." The lines 
'of force may be cut, the strain shifted, the energy 
transformed; all of this is acknowledged. I conceive 
the contest in the sun to give the same condition as is 
present in the magnet, modifying it by saying that the 
pressure in the magnet is to maintain its characteristic 
form, while in the stm, the pressure is from the unstable 
equilibrium of the mass, on account of the varying 
ratio of Power and Force. Also, the rapidity of the 
oscillation is such as to give the immediate effect of 

Dissipation of Energy 287 

the various rays. According to this conception, the 
ability of the etherous atoms (electrons) to maintain 
their characteristic form of motion equals the ability 
of the energy of the Power and Force in the atoms of the 
sun to disturb this form within certain circles, each 
circle being dependent for its size on the amount of 
force necessary for a variation from its characteristic 
motion. I claim that, neither within these circles, nor 
from one circle to another, nor beyond the circles, 
is there the slightest dissipation of energy; excepting, 
as bodies within one or more of these circles would, by 
cutting the lines of force, relieve the strain and absorb 
a certain amotmt of the force which caused it. 

Let us, so far as we have gone, compare this concep- 
tion with ovix conception of the magnet. We have a 
central magnet, and can demonstrate that it is sur- 
rotmded by lines of force. We compute the energy 
exerted on a given surface of a piece of metal at a given 
distance, and we say that, as so much energy is being 
exerted on this surface, an eqtiivalent amount is being 
exerted on all equal surfaces, i. e., is being radiated into 
space. Of course, the absurdity of this as applied to 
the magnet is apparent, but the absurdity of it as 
appUed to the sim has not been apparent on account of 
the mistaken conception as to the constitution of the 
ether and the undulatory theory of transmission. 
According to my conception, there is absolutely no 
dissipation of energy of the magnet, except as an ab- 
sorbing body comes within the lines of force. If we 
drop a particle of metal, it adheres to the magnet, but 
every particle dropped will decrease the limits of the 
lines of force, until finally there may be no lines of 
force perceptible. We do not beHeve the energy to be 
annihilated any more than the physicists believe the 

288 An Unortkodox Conception of Being 

radiated heat energy of the sun to be annihilated. 
Attempt to move a particle of metal from the magnet, 
and we find that the force is stiU there. 

Of the bodies within the lines of force of the sun, we 
wiU take only our earth. There must be some circles 
which we do not intercept. Those we might term the 
limit of atmospheric disturbance, such as here we 
perceive as mechanical movements of the air from 
explosions; the atomic movement as sound; the elec- 
trical disturbances from varying pressure. There must 
be a strain within certain limits due to similar phe- 
nomena in the stin, but we are out of that Emit, and 
all the energy of such phenomena must be still 
contained within their circles. 

Conditions sometimes extend the next circle to in- 
clude the earth. I wiU call this the magnetic circle. 
Conditions sometimes exist here when a strain wiU 
end in an explosion. The bursting of a "Prince Rupert 
Drop" may serve as an illustration of such an explosion 
in the case of a soKd ; and the action of a spherical body 
of water on a hot stove as an illustration in the case of 
a liquid. I conceive that conditions may exist in the 
sim where compression of the atoms enclosing a sphere 
may compress the contents to an extent that would 
eventually end in a bursting of the encircling envelope. 
' The atoms at the point of rupture would be ejected with 
an unusual force. This energy would be transmitted 
as a lateral movement of mass in a certain direction, 
but which, on account of its ability to spread or dis- 
perse, could not travel as far as an atomic transmission. 
The only difference I conceive as existing in the cause 
of an electric wave and a magnetic wave is: the elec- 
trical disturbance is caused by a large quantity of 
force at low pressure (this may be, and is, quickly 

Dissipation of Energy 289 

dissipated as heat, i. e., an enlargement of the orbits of 
the atoms); the magnetic wave is caused by a small 
quantity of force at high pressure (this wave may ob- 
viously be transmitted a greater distance). 

As I have said before, I believe that the velocity of 
the transmission of this magnetic strain is somewhat 
proportionate to the intensity of the disturbance, with 
an average velocity throughout its effective limits 
approaching that of light. That this is a strain of the 
body of the ether is shoyvn by its transmission not being 
intercepted by intervening bodies. Such bodies are 
affected, however, for the magnetic needle will turn to 
conform with the strain. The normal strain of magnets 
will be changed, and, in various ways, it is demonstrated 
that the magnetic disturbance is one of pressure in- 
stead of atomic movement. This hypothesis would 
also account for the spread of the nebulous emissions 
from a new star. These emissions spread in an irregu- 
lar manner, as they would from an explosive effect, 
and with an initial speed ten to twenty times the 
velocity of light. Scientists have no acceptable theory 
for this speed, as light is their symbol of the greatest of 
possible velocities. 

The next circle will be that reached by the variation 
of the light atoms (electrons) which I assume to be 
speed of revolution, and which we call the calorific 
rays. The next circle will be that reached by the 
variation in speed of rotation resulting in the actinic 
rays, and, finally, the circle where the eccentricity of 
the orbit gives the luminous rays. It may be said that 
the actinic circle extends farther than the light circle, 
as we are able to photograph stars that are invisible. 
But such a photography is a cumulative process made 
possible by a mechanism which will give a long exposure. 

290 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

If we could extend the surface of our eye or the tele- 
scope as we can extend the time of exposure, I believe 
that we might see stars that would make no calorific 
or actinic impression. 

I have expressly stated that these various motions 
are given as an analogy. I do not believe that we can 
comprehend atomic motion, because it is not mechani- 
cal, not material, and, therefore, not comprehensible. 
But I do believe that these motions have a definite 
relation one to the other; that the movement of each 
class of atoms bears a fixed relation to the motions of 
other classes of atoms, and that these relations may all 
be expressed mathematically. In other words, it is 
the conditions which exist, which cause mathematics 
to be possible. That four is twice two, is not an arbi- 
trary decision;* it is so because conditions make it so. 
That the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angle 
triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other 
two sides, is not so because mathematicians have agreed 
to let it be so, but because conditions have made it so. 
While I may be able to comprehend this much of 
mathematics, there is more that I do not comprehend. 
But no matter how much of mathematics there may be 
that I do not comprehend, I do not conceive that any 
mathematical demonstration may be reliable if any of 
its assumptions are contrary to conditions ; nor contrari- 
wise could any conception of conditions be true that is 
contrary to mathematics. If a person claims to be 
mathematician enough to "square the circle, " I do not 
believe him. If he claims to conceive a condition where 
the circle may be quadrated, I do not consider his 
conception reliable. AU of which means that, while the 
truth of mathematics is fixed by conditions, conditions 
cannot be contrary to true mathematical demonstra- 

Dissipation of Energy 291 

tion. A mathematical demonstration is not neces- 
sarily a true mirror of conditions. It may be accurate 
as a demonstration; it may be arithmetically correct, 
but if aU the assumptions are not correct, the result is 
invalidated. When I perceive a false assumption, I 
do not need to be a mathematician to disbelieve the 
resulting conclusion. I might apply this to many 
things; hypergeometry ("foturth dimension") for in- 
stance, but right here I will apply it to "rate of dissi- 
pation of energy. ' ' The assumption of the mathematician 
is, that space is absorbing energy from the sun at a 
ratio equivalent to what is supposed to reach the 
earth. There is no more real reason for saying that 
energy is being dissipated continuously by the motion 
of the atoms of the sim than for saying that energy is 
being dissipated by every movement of the atoms of 
the earth. I assume that the action and reaction 
between the atoms of the sim and the atoms of the 
ether are equal, therefore energy cannot be unlimited] y 
radiated into space. A certain amount of energy may 
be existent in the strain which exists, and the distance 
to which the action of this strain extends may be great, 
but there is a Kmit. Our earth is within the limit and 
so far as conditions differ, our earth may be said to 
absorb some of the energy. 

If the sun can lose no energy except that absorbed by 
the bodies cutting the lines of force which surround it, 
that would extend the supposed limit of life of the sun 
without the aid of any impossible combustion, or a 
theoretic meteoric bombardment, or an inadmissible 
(radiiim) elemental constitution. But even this ab- 
sorption of the energy by the surrotmding bodies might 
eventually diminish the energy, though this could be 
done only by increasing the energy in these other bodies, 

292 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

i.e., by equalizing the conditions of all. It is not 
generally supposed that the earth is getting any hotter, 
as such a condition would necessitate. It may be said 
that the earth radiates the heat which it absorbs. 
The same argument applies to the earth which appHes 
to the sun. The action of the radiation can extend 
only to certain definite circles, limited by the amount 
and intensity of the force radiated. Any radiation at 
an angle toward the sun would offset an equal radiation 
coming toward the earth, as it would relieve the strain 
that much ; and any amount radiated away from the sun 
would tend to make up for any rays intercepted by the 
earth, and, therefore, requiring just that much less 
energy from the sun to replace. There can be no net 
radiation from the earth unless there is a body within 
its circle of action which can absorb such radiation. 
There may be a net absorption, but this is of such a 
small quantity as to have made no historical records. 
The results of such a conclusion as this may seem rather 
disturbing, but, in another chapter I wiU, I feel sure, 
escape from any apparent dilemma. 

The conception that the ether is no more essentially 
different from other parts of Being than gas is different 
from solid, is, I think, a more simple conception. 
Under such conditions, however, the difficulties of the 
'mathematician may be increased in computing the re- 
sults of these variations in motion. 

The phenomena of Being exists. I feel certain that 
the nearer we approach to the Ultimate Cause, the 
more simple its manifest movements (the phenomena). 
Because, the further along we get in the constructive 
forms of Being, the more complex it is. I do not mean 
by this that cause may be comprehended in the Ulti- 
mate, for not the simplest elemental thing is compre- 

Dissipation of Energy 293 

hensible. But I mean that the true conception will 
be the most simple. While truth may be stranger than 
fiction it must be more simple. This seems a logical 
necessity. A comprehensive conception must, how- 
ever, embrace all the essential truths. There might 
be a conception of a Being more simple, and some 
Idealistic conceptions may be simple in their oneness, 
but they fail to include demonstrable facts, and facts 
constitute the truth and are a part of the Being we are 
endeavoring to conceive. 



OUR conception has logically brought us to the earth 
with practically little net energy absorbed from 
the sun, and certainly none radiated from the earth. 
Here we are up against a condition, not a theory. A 
man sitting on the hot sands of the desert is ready to 
swear that the sun is burning; and when night comes 
with its chill, sihd even ice forms under the straw at his 
side, he is equally ready to swear that the heat has been 
radiated. A man up in a balloon swears that the heat 
is not up there; so it must have been dissipated into 
space. Not being able to convict the man on the ground 
of perjury, we must either accept the conclusion or 
prove that the man in the balloon did not know how to 
look for the heat. 

It is an accepted statement of physicists that the 
ether does not transmit rays from an obscure source. 
• The method of preserving liquid air, and the various 
therm o bottles seem to give ample proof of this state- 
ment. The ether, however, is transmitting or returning 
all rays reflected from the earth ; therefore, the only net 
gain to the earth is the rays that are actually absorbed, 
less any that may be given off by fires, etc., which 
radiate into the ether We may see by this that only 
a small percentage of the rays are actually absorbed 

by the earth as a net gain. The heat, then, which we 


Earth 295 

have at the beginning of night is a small part of what 
is believed to have come from the sun all through the 
day. The absorption by the aqueous vapor is far 
greater than the net absorption by the earth's surface. 
We will follow first the heat which exists in the burning 
sand of the desert. This seems to be great, but, in 
reality, is much less than in a more favored location, 
the specific heat of sand being small. This heat is 
taken by convection, not by radiation, and the whole 
amotmt is transformed as a greater motion of the upper 
strata of air. The expansion of the upper strata 
means more heat, i. e., force, but it wotdd not be notice- 
able as temperature, for temperature is modified by 
conditions the same as weight. That is, there is no 
measure that will indicate the absolute temperature 
of any body. Any thermometer will indicate differ- 
ences, but the differences do not have a fixed ratio 
under all conditions. We generally think that, when a 
body absorbs heat from an adjacent body, the absorbing 
body must first be colder; but this is not so. The 
characteristic form varies with conditions, and in the 
higher altitude there is a larger orbit (and possibly a 
swifter movement), which, being characteristic tmder 
the conditions, is not sensible as temperature. A 
specific mass of air secured at a high altitude would, if 
submitted to a pressure reducing it to a given volume, 
evolve more heat than an equal mass of air taken from 
a lower altitude reduced to an equal volume, due 
allowance being made for the difference in temperature. 
From similar demonstrations of this fact physicists say 
that air is not a perfect gas because it is not strictly 
adiabatic in its expansion and contraction. The superior 
ability of water to absorb the heat at high pressure 
(low altitude), and the superior ability of air to absorb 

296 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

heat at a low pressure (high altitude), is what causes the 
continuous and perpetual motion of evaporation and 
rainfall. In either case, by condensation of vapor or 
by convection from the hot surface beneath, the upper 
strata of air would be finally over-charged, if there 
were no process of getting rid of the accumulated 
heat (force). I will mention a few of the ways in which 
this is accomplished. 

In the process of combustion, I said that carbon- 
dioxide was formed by the oxygen giving up some of its 
force to increase the size of the orbit of the carbon, 
the surplus being radiated. The carbon-dioxide is a 
gas, dense, to be sure, but if we were to endeavor to 
condense it to a liquid, we wotild have to expend con- 
siderable mechanical energy. This gas condenses itself 
with no expenditure of energy whatever. We know the 
gas is absorbed by liquid and with no elimination of 
heat; therefore, the process must be just between the 
endothermal and the exothermal, that is, it retains 
all of the energy (force) of a gas, while it really becomes 
as condensed as a liquid. The spontaneous, automatic 
action of this gas in preserving its equilibrium in the 
atmosphere is a wonderful provision of nature. If 
chemically absorbed by the water, it is carbonic acid. 

Every way in which gases or liquids are intensified 
by the artificial electric current is an actual continuous 
process of nature. I have already referred to the con- 
densation of oxygen and nitrogen. These actually 
absorb force in addition to the amount they possess 
themselves. Compare the nitric acid, which is one 
of such formation, TOth the carbonic acid mentioned 
previously. We see the nitric acid is much more 
energetic, which seems a logical result of its absorbing 
more force in its formation, 

Earth 297 

Another way in which heat is absorbed, is by the 
groAs^h of vegetation. But tliis heat is not stored in 
the vegetable. The bulk of the plant is composed of 
carbon taken from the carbon-dioxide. The oxygen, 
beside the force which it retained in its condensing^ 
takes a portion from the atmosphere, and is able to 
appear again as the gas oxygen (in which state we first 
mentioned it) with the energy which scientists say is 
stored up in the plant which it just left. But this 
energy of the oxygen did not come directly from the 
sun. It has absorbed it from the atmosphere. 

Physicists figiu-e on the assiunption, that from the 
absorption of calorific and actinic rays perceptible on 
a specific surface, the same ratio of absorption is abso- 
lutely necessary for the total surface, just the same as 
there is an average rainfall over a certain surface even 
when the high places drain into the lower places. I 
claim that there is absolutely no energy taken but what 
is absorbed (of course, some of the reflected rays are 
absorbed indirectly). All rays reflected, as I said 
before, simply relieve the strain in an equal ratio. The 
leaves of plants are especially constructed to reflect 
the calorific rays. If plants required the heat of the 
sun to grow, they would not make such growth at night. 
You may say that this heat comes indirectly from the 
sun. The point I am making is, that there are ways 
for the heat to be absorbed from the atmosphere other 
than by radiation into space. This latter is the ordi- 
nary way of disposing of it, which I say is neither 
reasonable nor possible. 

When, by the rapid condensation of vapor with its 
elimination of heat, and the natural increase of pressure, 
the heat thus accruing may not be absorbed in any of 
the ways previously mentioned, there may be dis- 

298 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

charges of the force, as lightning to the earth and to 
other intervening bodies deficient in force. 

Then, in the third stratum of air, there is a lateral 
movement of the air of intense velocity, which would 
disperse the heat to the antipodes, relieving the 
condition more simply than by having to send it to 
the limits of the universe. 

All of the ways given are known to exist, but have not 
been looked upon as having much bearing because of 
the enormous quantity of heat which was supposed to be 
constantly absorbed and as constantly being radiated 
into space. 

One other way there is in which I think heat is ab- 
sorbed, — not exactly another way, but an unorthodox 
application of the way. It is known that vapor cannot 
condense unltess there is something to condense upon. 
A fall in temperature is not sufiScient; there must be 
a nucleus. This is usually supposed to be a dust particle. 
In absolutely clean air, there may be supersaturation 
without condensation. If an electric discharge is sent 
into this air, the moisture will condense. A late 
theory is that the atoms are ionized and by having 
different electric charges the molecules of vapor are 
attracted and so condensed. I would not ventxare to 
differ with the physicists who have so magnificently 
elaborated the electron theory, did I not feel that a 
more simple explanation would suffice. It is known 
that certain elements will spontaneously condense endo- 
thermaUy: oxygen to ozone; nitrogen to nitre, etc. 
I believe that other less known elements have this power 
even to a greater degree. We know that in the air 
there are atoms of argon, helium, etc. In the quantity 
of air used in the ordinary experiments, as suggested 
above, the amount of helium would not be detected. 

Earth 299 

We will assume that, under an impulse of excess of 
force, so many of the helium atoms as were affected were 
to change their form of motion, in the same way as we 
have supposed the oxygen to do in forming ozone^ 
and take the form of radium. In this change, possibly 
more force is necessary than the electric charge fur- 
nished, and it is absorbed from the adjacent atoms. 
The particles of vapor, in this way, may lose their 
heat (force) and condense around or independent of the 
atom of helium, which occasioned the change. By this 
explanation there is nothing new or unusual brought 
in. We know that this spontaneous condensation of 
elements does occur. We know that, under those 
conditions, the condensation of the vapor would follow 
as a natural consequence. We know that helium exists 
in a condensed form as radium, uranium, etc. 

Except after extraordinary disttirbances, the air in 
the upper strata is comparatively free from solid par- 
ticles. It is known that there is a larger percentage of 
helium, argon, etc., in the upper strata of air than in 
the lower. Every part of Being is co-ordinated, so 
far as we know. And we know that every process of 
nattire is reversible. If radium can be changed to 
heKum, then helium can change to radium. If, in one 
change, it is exothermal, then, in the other, it is endo- 
thermal. Some of the products thus made might 
accumulate in the earth, and some might immediately 
reverse the action, which would account for the radio- 
activity of fresh fallen rain-water and snow. This 
seems to be not only a logical and consistent explanation 
of the phenomenon, but requires no new or imusual 
terms of expression. If scientists can figure the great 
potential possibiKty of energy (force) to be evolved 
from radium, then I may use their every argument to 

300 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

show the great potential possibilities of heHum as a 
potential absorber of force (heat) from the atmosphere. 

This seems to be a fit place to refer to radium. 
Physical science has its place in the elevation of human 
beings, but it is not an overstatement when I say that 
certain physicists are bigoted. Scientific achievement 
is measured by discoveries and inventions, but philo- 
sophic and religious advancement is no less great 
because less concretely measured. A short time ago 
liquid air was to revolutionize the world. Now, it is 
radium that is to prove our eternal salvation — at least, 
the eternal salvation or extension of the life of the 
universe now seems to hinge on radium, uranium, or 
their progenitors. 

I will refer to some of the phenomena in connection 
with radium, showing how these phenomena conform 
to the conception I have already given. There is 
no more reason why radium and heKum should be 
called different elements than there is that ozone and 
oxygen should be called different elements. So far as 
that goes, we do not know that any of the so-called 
elements are the tdtimate, simplest form of the atoms 
which compose them. We know enough, however, to 
convince a reasonable being that, expecting to gain 
energy by changing one element into another is as 
futile as trying to get an excess of energy through 
perpetual motion. We cannot change oxygen to ozone 
and profit by the increased energy in the ozone. Yet, 
ozone, in transforming, gives oxygen and energy (force) ; 
radium, in transforming, gives helium and energy 
(force). The explosive energy of the transformation 
gives an initial velocity of from twelve to seventeen 
thousand miles per second. When this velocity is 
reduced to five thousand miles per second, it cannot be 

Earth 301 

detected. Thus ozone, in transforming to oxygen, or 
even water changing into vapor, might have absolutely 
the same action, different only in the initial velocity 
(which diflference we know exists), and there is, at 
present, no way of detecting it. I believe the differ- 
ence is one only of degree. 

Let us take the phenomena connected with this 
transformation. There are three distinct effects, called 
the "a," "b," and "c" rays. The "a" ray is the 
expulsion of the heHum atom by a change in the form 
of its motion. This is just the same as the evaporation 
of water. The actual change may occiu- in the interior, 
but is, of necessity, transferred to the surface to be 
manifested. The change of a molecule of water from 
a liquid to vapor is an explosion. Ordinarily, we do 
not notice it, for its initial velocity is not great, and the 
ratio of force to power is not so great. And, further- 
more, there is no force eliminated in the transformation. 
The heat manifested is not evolved by the change. 
In the transformation of radium, there seems to be an 
evolution of heat, as in the transformation of ozone 
to oxygen. The immediate transformation of radium 
is proportional to surface, as in the evaporation of 
water, while the total force eliminated is proportional 
to mass, the same as in a heated body of water. We will 
suppose a body of water to be heated internally. The 
evaporation would be proportional to the surface from 
which it could take place, but the radiation of heat 
would be proportional to the mass. If this body of 
water could be spread over a large surface, the evapora- 
tion would increase in proportion, but the elimination 
of heat would not increase; therefore, the elimination 
of heat per square of surface would proportionately 
decrease. But, if this body of water is restored to its 

302 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

original vessel, no heat will be radiated for some time, 
as the force was used in the excessive evaporation. 
This is just the way radium acts. We increase the 
surface by dissolving it, and the emanation is increased, 
while, on condensing the solution, there are no "b" 
and "c" rays, and a reduced amount of "a" rays. 
Water must absorb heat before it can radiate it. But, 
on evaporation, much more energy is evolved than was 
apparent in the water so far as its temperature might 
indicate. Radium has been formed endothermally, 
and the force is inherent or latent in the form of its 
motion, which, we may say, is an increased speed of 
rotation of its atom. If helium had an affinity for any 
other element, so that this change could be effected 
with all the atoms at the same instant, we wotild have 
an explosive far exceeding anything we know. As 
it is, the change is limited by the pressure exerted by 
the changing atoms upon the others, and the reaction 
on the ether and the pressure exerted by that. 

The "a" ray, or particle of helium, is positively 
charged, i. e., has more force in ratio to power than is 
natural in its present condition. This force is now 
expansive as it is being eliminated; a specific part is 
absorbed by the adjacent bodies. The initial velocity 
of the change is so great that the ether is affected as well 
as the atmosphere. This initial velocity is not one of 
vibration, but of lateral movement, which is mechani- 
cally transferred to the ether, which, in turn, is condensed 
and we have a magnetic strain. That is, in the imme- 
diate vicinity, the light atoms (electrons) are pro- 
portionately more numerous and the force which is 
displaced is transmitted to the next circle, and in the 
enlarged circumference is finally absorbed or manifest 
as calorific or actinic energy. The condensed part, or 

Earth 303 


'b" rays, is negatively charged, i. e., is composed of 
atoms deficient in force necessary to give the natural 
form of motion. The "c" ray is this surplus of force 
or positive charge. I said these rays were caused by 
the lateral movement of the explosion; I should have 
said, by the force eliminated incident to the explosion. 
The explosion, or energy of the explosion, ejects the 
helium atom a given distance, as the popping of a grain 
of com will eject that grain a given distance. There is 
in the case of radio-active bodies an elimination of force 
incident to, or preparatory for, the condition of explo- 
sion. This is eliminated under a pressure which causes 
a lateral movement of the ether. A lateral movement is 
a mechanical movement. 

I have previously described how the energy might be 
transformed into the energy of mechanical movement, 
and the energy of mechanical movement might again be 
transformed into atomic or molecular energy or motion. 
The actual transfer of energy in the case of the "b" 
and "c" rays is mechanical, although the first cause 
and final effects are atomic. Whenever the transfer 
of energy is by atomic vibration (rotation or revolu- 
tion) it is subject to polarization, reflection, or refraction. 
Whenever the transfer of energy is by lateral movement 
of the atoms, it is subject to magnetic influence. One of 
these forms of transfer may, at any time, change to the 
other form; also phenomena like electricity co-ordinate 
both forms in the same transfer. 

I spoke of the emission of radium; this seems to be 
one of the intermediate forms between radium and 
helium. There may be, as some suggest, in each atom 
of radium fifty-six atoms of helium. In each atom of 
the emission, there may be still fifty-five atoms of 
helium, and at each elimination of helium, there may be 

304 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

a change in the formation of the remainder. This is a 
theory which, whether correct or not, makes no material 
difference in my conception. In the emission itself 
there is no more energy manifest than in the radium. 
It is only when a transformation occurs that energy is 
manifest. Ninety-nine per cent, of the energy manifest 
is in the "a" ray, that is, the latent energy of the 
radium is manifest, as in evaporation of water, in the 
increased volume occupied by the vapor. 

The "h" and "c" rays are incidental, and represent 
an elimination of force equal to only one per cent. The 
"b" rays, as I have explained, are the same as the rays 
from the negative, or cathode, of the electric wire. 
The "c" rays are the same as the "X" or Roentgen 
rays, and result from the lateral movement of the "b" 
rays. No ' doubt complexities of motion exist, but 
variation of forms of energy do not necessitate a variety 
of causes. 

I wish, now, to refer again to the estimate of the mass 
of the electrons whereby the physicists say the old idea 
of the immutability of matter cannot be maintained. 
I have already shown how, in three different ways, a 
mistake could have been made: (i) In assuming that 
the total energy of velocity could be computed by meas- 
uring its lateral movement only ; (2) in assuming that 
it must necessarily evolve heat (force) by contact, when 
it might absorb heat (force) by a change in the form 
of motion; (3) in assuming that there is no resist- 
ance of the ether. 

I will now show where there might be another mis- 
taken assumption. In the illustration given of the 
condensation of vapor by an electric charge, I said it 
might be from the change in the form of motion of the 
helivmi atom, with the absorption of heat (force) making 

Earth 305 

that a condensing nucleus for the molecules. The 
physicists say that each electron becomes or forms an 
ion, which becomes a condensing centre, and from the 
number of drops of water formed, they estimate the 
number of electrons ejected on a given charge of 
electricity. When the electrons of an equal charge are 
ejected against an obstruction, the heat evolved is 
measttred, and from the velocity and the number of 
electrons as derived from the above experiment, the 
mass of each is computed. When from this experiment 
it is found that mass varies, it is asserted that attraction 
can be only an effect, subject to electrical conditions 
(force). This may be so, but the inference does not 
convince me. If the cause of the condensation is the 
contractive movement of the helitim atom, then they 
have no basis at all for the assumption. Even granting 
that part of their theory correct it cannot be proven 
that every one of the electrons must necessarily ionize 
an atom. If there should be a mistake in the count of 
the electrons, there would certainly be a mistake in 
the computation of the specific mass of any one of 
them that would invalidate the estimate of the total 

Electrons, ions, waves, the various rays from "a," 
"b," and "c" to "X," like my orbit, rotation, revolu- 
tion, various forms of motion, and ratio of Power and 
Force, are differences in terminology used in an en- 
deavor to express a conception. The words themselves 
are of minor importance; the conception is important 
proportionate to its truth. Whenever any part of my 
conception is proved untrue, that is, contrary to fact, 
I will hasten to change it, But, when physicists state 
the restilts of certain observations as facts, and I see 
that the observations themselves are not based on 

3o6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

facts, but on the assumption of a theory as a fact, I do 
not feel compelled to change my conception to conform 
to their conclusions. 

It may be asked: If any of these conclusions of the 
physicists are not absolute facts, why are they so 
generally received? It is because they come nearer 
to according logically and mathematically with phe- 
nomena than do previous theories. Even if my con- 
ceptions were absolutely true, that is, free from error 
(which I dp not claim), it would not be accepted by the 
physicists, because I am tmable to demonstrate the 
theory mathematically. Their time is too fuUy occu- 
pied to be given to demonstrating the truth or fallacy 
of every hypothesis put forward. Therefore, making 
no claim to the attention of the physicist, I will leave 
the physical and mechanical aspects of Being, and take 
up the part which may be termed the biological. 



MY conception of Being reduces the difEculty of 
going from the inorganic to the organic that is 
usually met w'ith in other conceptions. I do not think 
it necessary to appeal to an exterior power for life, or 
to bring in, by mechanical means from other worlds, the 
essential vital spark. 

Before going farther, it may be weU for me to define 
what I mean by "life," which is a characteristic of the 
organic. The above expression is really a definition. 
Life is a characteristic of organic manifestation. Life 
is not a cause ; it is a condition. According to my con- 
ception, life is just Hke a flame; it exists so long as the 
conditions exist which make it apparent. It is the 
name of a condition. A flame is not a definite thing; 
it does not depart. There would be a great difference 
in the terms used were physicists to begin defining the 
condition designated by the word "flame." And so 
there are various expressions used among biologists 
to define the condition designated by the word "life." 

My definition of life may not be tmiversally satis- 
factory, but it fulfils the necessities of my conception. 
This is my definition : Life is a characteristic condition 
of a body, which, by a process of spontaneous assimi- 
lation and elimination, maintains its existence, identity, 


3o8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

and essential functions. I say life is a condition, and I 
define the condition ; what more can I say? I know that 
many enlarge upon the attributes of life. I say, life 
has no attributes. In the condition of life there is a 
process of essential functions, which process begins in 
the lowest forms with the assimilation of a neighboring 
atom and grows spontaneously until it reaches the 
point where in the higher forms there is the expression 
of a sensible idea. 

In biologic writings, heredity is an effective term, but 
it is descriptive, not definitive. What is heredity? 
The transmission of like qualities from parent to child. 
What causes the transmission of like qualities from 
parent to child? Heredity. How lucid! How com- 
plete and unanswerable! It is no wonder that when 
one half the people stand in fear of the Great God and 
the other half stand in awe of Science, that the little 
god (Puck) with curling lip says, "What fools these 
mortals be". I am criticised for treating with levity 
such serious subjects, but I feel that I am more profit- 
ably engaged (although the profits may not be so great) 
when I am secularizing a sacred subject than were I, 
like many others in play and novel, writing seriously of 
lewd subjects. 

When a cat is bom with five toes from four-toed 
ancestors, what is the answer? Certainly not the 
ancestor. "No, ' ' they say, ' 'it 's a case of malformation, ' ' 
meaning, with the intent to convey the impression, 
that it is a mechanical deformation of the material. 
Try to imagine in a microscopic speck of protoplasm 
an embryo cat and try, even in imagination, to split 
its toe with a cleaver. Impossible, incomprehensible. 
Then my conception can be no worse. I say, in the 
organization of the atoms there was a misinterpretation 

Biology 309 

of instruction, Kterally a misconception. What is the 
difference? One is a physical conception, which tries 
to make the process mechanically comprehensible and 
renders itself absurd, the other is a psychical conception, 
which is absurd only because it acknowledges that the 
process is incomprehensible. 

I believe the physical and psychical are inseparable; 
simply different aspects of the indivisible, and that to 
render comprehensible this relation or difference is as 
impossible as to demonstrate the difference or relation 
between the two sides of a geometrical line. Buckle 
insisted there was a difference and, therefore, not being 
defined, "no problem in geometry has been exhaustively 
solved. " ' I believe that so long as MateriaHsts contend 
that the psychic is non-essential and that phenomena are 
occasioned wholly by mechanical means, they will be 
involved in absurdity. And I believe that so long as 
Dualists contend that God, the Spirit, is All (excepting 
only the Universe, which is his foot-stool; or is it the 
earth only which is trodden underfoot?) and that matter 
is only incidental, being immaterial and non-essential, 
there will be a growing lack of respect for their opinions. 

My definition may describe my idea of the conception 
of life, but it does not, in any way, express a conception 
of the cause of the condition. Materialistic biologists 
claim that, given the first living organism, and it is 
mechanically easy to evolve the complex organisms 
following. Suppose that we foUow them one step. We 
will take the first simplest form of bioplasm, a minute 
spherical form that must grow by a spontaneous assimi- 
lation and eHmination. This it does for a time; but 
soon its limit is reached. The material assimilated 

' History of Civilization in England, American edition, volume ii., 
page 342. 

310 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

must be from its surface ; but its surface increases in a 
much less ratio than its bulk increases. Therefore, it is 
in great danger of starving to death. There is no heredi- 
tary instinct to tell it what to do ; for this is assumed to 
be the first living form. There is only one way, 
then, in which it may be taught — that way is environ- 
ment. And what is there in environment to teach it 
what to do? I venture the assertion that, if their life 
depended upon it, as, in reality, does the life of the 
bioplasm, there is not one out of ten human beings the 
world through that would know what to do to preserve 
life. Now, here is the first step in the evolution of the 
bioplasm, and conditions (environment) are as unable 
to aid us in making this step as it would be in originat- 
ing the conditions. But the bioplasm does not starve 
for want of knowledge. It does the obvious : it follows 
and utilizes a self -enforcing law; it divides itself; its 
surface is increased and its bulk is decreased. It 
continues thereby not only to live but to miiltiply. 
Many of the succeeding steps of evolution are just as 
simple as they are obvious: a physical and mechanical 
necessity in the evolution of the forms. They are 
following and utilizing a natural law; but that in no way 
explains why or how the forms came to take those steps. 
Dana says: 

There is, therefore, in the living; organism something 
besides mere physical forces, or the chemistry of dead 
nature, something that ceases to be when life ceases. There 
is a vital condition, in which molecules have powers 
that lead to resulting seed-bearing structures widely differ- 
ent from those of inorganic nature, and standing on alto- 
gether a higher level. There is a power of evolution, an 
architectural power, that not only exalts chemical results, 
but evolves a diversity of parts and structure and a 

Biology 31 1 

heritage of ancestral qualities, of which the laws of material 
nature give no explanation. 

It seems to be granted that, given the conditions, the 
rest is comprehensible. Think for one moment what 
this assumption involves. Take the generative fluid 
of an animal; we know that tliis is formed out of wholly- 
unrelated material, secreted and eHminated within the 
duration of a few moments, and yet, thus suddenly, 
we have this fluid teeming with organic, living forms. 
Does physics, mechanics, or rnathematics aid the mind 
to comprehend this miracle? Not in the slightest. Of 
the origin of life upon this earth, I cannot give a com- 
prehensible explanation, but I do say that when the 
germination of any living form is not comprehensible, 
that conception is the most logical which accords to 
each manifestation the same explanation. It is the 
Desire to be manifest in various forms, and, as con- 
ditions permit, these forms are manifest. Conditions 
may modify the forms, but conditions (environment) 
did not cause the forms. Whenever conditions permit, 
living forms are manifest. This is a parallel statement 
to the following: whenever conditions permit, snow- 
flakes form. Apparently there is nothing in these 
statements to deny. We can make conditions where 
snowflakes will form. We know that it is one of the 
essential functions of the living body to make con- 
ditions where other living forms are manifest. We 
know the usual conditions; and the manifestations 
following create no surprise, although the formation 
of either the snowflake or the living form is absolutely 
incomprehensible. I say, given the proper conditions, 
and living forms will be manifest. Whether these con- 
ditions do exist or have existed independently of other 

312 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

living forms is a question I am able to answer only from 
results. I say there must have been such a condition, 
at least once, in the history of this earth. I have no 
such definite results to enable me to say whether such 
conditions existed more than once or not. Whether 
they have at other times existed in the past, or whether 
they will exist in the future, makes no difference ac- 
cording to my conception. Continuity of life is not an 
essential, although the decision on that point means the 
difference between materialistic evolution and special 

According to my conception. Desire is limited by 
conditions, and it is wholly a question of the condi- 
tions governing. Conditions might have permitted 
the manifestation independent of living f oims ; or, if the 
conditions pdimitted a more rapid development of the 
Desire through the forms already living, then, such 
conditions governed or marked the path of evolution. 
Future investigation may or may not settle this. It 
is possible that it may prove that special creations is a 
fact as well as evolution. It would seem that in the 
primordial period, chemical and climatic conditions 
existed where spontaneous generation might be more 
frequent, and an endless variety of monera might have 
had their beginning. 

Whenever conditions permit, living forms are mani- 
fest. In view of our definition of life, this means that 
whenever conditions permit, there begins a process of 
assimilation and elimination, with the essential func- 
tions, which we call life. The condition which permits 
this organization is one that would be difficult to make 
chemically, and after we have it apparently chemically 
correct, there may be in the form of motion of the atoms 
or molecules composing it a variation from the necessary 

Biology 313 

conditions. In the conditions imposed for a test, boil- 
ing and filtering wotild destroy the unstable compounds 
essential for the spontaneous manifestation of Hfe. 
The condition of the material is essentially one of 
great chemical unstability, permitting a variation and 
the building or organizing into a complex form or shape 
with the minimum of energy. 

Aqueous clouds in the atmosphere sometimes have 
shape, but this shape is formed by the exterior resist- 
ance of the atmosphere. Actinic clouds sometimes 
halve shape, but when in rarefied atmosphere, where 
resistance is at a minimum, forms are organized which 
appear wholly independent of environment. Such a 
large portion of them are co-ordinated and life-like as to 
preclude the idea of chance, such as occasions the 
life-like forms of some atm^ospheric clouds. Many 
aqueous forms of life are so fragile that on removal 
from their natural environment they collapse into a 
chaotic mass. I believe that when conditions permit, 
living forms are manifest in the actinic clouds, but they 
are of so transitory and fragile a nature that the 
slightest change of pressure will destroy the form. 
Scientists acknowledge spending hours watching these 
beautiful, apparently living, forms but in affirming 
the continuity of life, they could not admit that the 
forms organized in the actinic clouds were actually 
alive, even though that life might be brief. 

Under the conditions of generation, as we know them, 
for every separate form that matures, there are probably 
a million which conditions do not permit to develop 
at all. No record remains of these undeveloped forms. 
So, also, there might exist, from the earliest ages to the 
present time, conditions in which life is manifest inde- 
pendent of other living forms, and if they did not 

314 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

develop we could never know it. If we find any de- 
veloped, as we do find innumerable of the lower living 
forms, we cannot tell whether or not some have organ- 
ized independently of other forms. Suppose, in the 
crude alchemy of those who have tried the experiment 
there should, by chance, be the proper condition, and 
life should manifest itself, such a miracle would be 
denied. But in case it could be demonstrated to the 
satisfaction of biologists, why, the whole materialistic 
world would have a jubilee, while the theologian would 
mourn for the loss of one of the few remaining preroga- 
tives of God — the giving and taking of life. If Kfe 
is a thing that can be given and taken, it is no less a 
miracle to have it given within the relation of the Uving 
forms. If life is a condition, it is no more wonderful, 
independent of other living forms, than in conjunction 
with them. In either or any of these cases, the actual 
organization of material into a living form is incompre- 
hensible to the htiman mind. In cases where we cannot 
comprehend, I say we must only try to conceive. 

My conception is, that Power and Desire (two words 
being necessary to express the one) is manifest as Being. 
That it is atomic in its structure, and that each atom 
has consciousness, memory, and volition; that each atom 
has related to it a certain amount of Force, which I 
characterize as giving it a form of motion. I do not 
conceive that one atom is independent of another atom, 
excepting in its individuality. How atoms can receive 
an impression, or act in accordance with a co-operative 
or organic Desire, is as incomprehensible as how there 
can be mutual attraction. We say gravity exists, 
and we know that organisms exist. The intermediate 
"How?" or "Why?" is only a conception. Is it com- 
prehensible how human beings co-operate? Because 

Biology 315 

they have means of communication, you say. How? 
By means of their five senses, you say. The five 
senses are only five specialized ways of impressing 
consciousness; and what or where consciousness is, we 
do not know. Even the physical amount of energy 
essential to the perception is absolutely immeasurable. 
In other words, we are conscious of a variation of motion 
so slight as to be absolutely immeasurable, and we 
interpret these variations "sensibly," as we say. 
As a process, it is utterly incomprehensible. Only 
those who are fools enough to know "how" an apple 
falls will dispute this. 

With this admission, is it, then, any more absurd 
to conceive that atoms may consciously receive and 
respond to impressions that are immeasurably sKght? 
Materialists conceive that atoms are mechanically 
forced into position according to an immutable law. 
Dualists conceive that each atom is guided into place 
by an exterior God. Monists believe that each atom 
is spontaneous, but unconscious in its movements, and 
that consciousness is a result and not a cause. I 
conceive that the atoms are just as conscious as we are, 
but are not conscious of so much as we are, because 
through owe organic body consciousness is subjected 
to a greater variety of impressions. I call the Power 
in each atom its "mass."' Some speak of mass as 

" By mass I mean quantity of Power, and not any separate manifes- 
tation of Power. A pound of feathers may have the same mass as a 
pound of lead, and with each in the same location it is the assumption 
that they do; but I do not admit it or deny it, for we have no data show- 
ing the relation between gravity and cohesion or whether or not they 
may be invertible. My impression is that they are the same, only that 
gravity is the material relation of measurable bodies and that cohesion 
is an equivalent relation between the immeasurable parts of these 
bodies; and that whatever law may be applied to one relation may be 
applied to the other. 

3i6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

being inherent in the atom, but this is not technically 
correct. We can easily conceive that, if all the universe 
were annihilated but one atom, that that atom would 
have no mass. As the mass of an atom is dependent 
on the relation of one to aU, so the Desire of the atom 
is not inherent in the sense that it is separable. The 
mass of an atom is never different, or subject to change; 
the Desire of an atom may change and certainly varies. 
(It might be substituted that it is the interpretation of 
Desire that changes.) While the mass (power) 
does not change, its manifestation changes according 
to conditions. The same mass may weigh twenty-five 
pounds in one place, and one himdred pounds in another 
place. So, of the Desire; at one place and time it may 
be one htuidred poimds of inorganic material, at another 
time and place this same material may be a highly 
complex organic body. The change in condition has 
allowed this difference in manifestation. Whenever 
conditions permit, these higher forms are manifest. 
It is the intent of Desire to make these conditions, but, 
as I have said before. Desire is limited by time, as 
Power is limited by space. The same conditions under 
which bioplasm could generate and develop, might not 
permit the development of man. 

I think the idea of the theologian, that the Power 
(God) has complete control over conditions, is extremely 
untrue in one direction ; and the idea of the Materialist, 
that Desire (Mind) has no influence at all over condi- 
tions, is extremely untrue in the other direction. The 
time fixed by biologists for the evolution of man is 
anywhere from 100,000 to a 1,000,000 years, which 
time woiild seem all too short, were there no causes for 
variation other than environment. When conditions 
permit, life is manifest. So fast as conditions permit, 

Biology 317 

forms of life more complex are jnanifest. It is not 
necessary to affirm that the original conditions permit- 
ting the manifestations of any form of higher complexity 
will never occur again. The procreative condition 
given may fully satisfy the Desire for the continuation 
of that special form. According to material evolu- 
tionists, whenever the original conditions arose again, 
there would of necessity be an independent generation 
of a similar species; or, in other words, the conditions 
tmder which any fixed type or species were formed have 
never reoccurred. According to my conception, if the 
Desire was satisfied with an existing evolution of a 
specific complex form, it would not again begin develop- 
ing that form on a lower plane. 

Given two twelve-room residences, they may have 
been built under different conditions. One may have 
started with one room, and as the necessities or re- 
quirements demanded, the additions, room by room, 
were made until it became a residence well calculated 
to fulfil all the requirements of a family. The other 
house, we will say, is built according to an architectural 
plan, having in view the ultimate requirements of the 
family. Even if this house is built room by room, 
according to the conception, the condition of its building 
is different. It is easy to see that not so many condi- 
tions would necessarily delay the completion of the 
second house as the first. Suppose we were told that 
two houses were erected tinder the above conditions, 
which one would we expect to show the greater archi- 
tectural beauty and practical adaptability? The first 
plan is according to the Materialistic evolutionary 
idea. The second plan is according to the Dualistic 
idea. Materialists say that the second method is 
possible only on account of the experience derived from 

3i8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the first method, and, according to their conception, 
this objection is unanswerable. I do not believe that 
experience is limited in its meaning to a knowledge 
and recollection of things already done. I believe that 
knowledge enables us to predicate conditions that have 
never before occurred. We say, a child learns by 
experience; but it may learn by instruction or the laiow- 
ledge of others. In this sense, knowledge is equivalent 
to experience. Now, I believe that the knowledge of 
the Supreme Being is fully as much greater than that of 
the human part of Being as the knowledge of humanity 
is greater than my individual knowledge, and I am 
not so egotistical as not to admit that this is quite a 

I have been, criticised for having a conception which 
limits, in the least degree, the knowledge of the Supreme 
Being. I am asked what limits I put to this fore- 
ordained plan. Some lower forms of life plan for the 
future a few months; some human beings plan ahead 
for a few years; does the Supreme Being plan ahead 
for a few centuries or a few aeons? I would not care 
to define the time by measure, but, should I say a 
million years, it would seem to me less absurd than to 
say that the plan extended to all eternity. By saying 
this, we limit eternity by the plan, which must be 
limited to be definite. A definite plan is essentially 
limited. Eternity is essentially unlimited. 

I have said that Desire (in which word is incorporated 
the idea of knowledge, but not omniscience) is limited 
by time. This not only means that the fulfilment of 
a certain Desire requires a specified time, but that the 
plan and knowledge thereof are necessarily limited 
by time. We measure time by the rotation and revolu- 
tion of the earth. Any plan or knowledge regarding 

Biology 319 

the earth must be limited by the dtiration of the earth. 
This seems indisputable, and as there is no reason for 
our interest at present extending beyond this, I do not 
feel that the conception should be criticised as too 
limiting on account of my limiting the plan to terres- 
trial time. The real point is not that the plan and 
knowledge may be too incomplete or too extended, but 
that the manifestation of the Desire according to any 
plan is demonstrably subject to conditions. I conceive 
that there is a plan, a definite aim, a design, an ultimate, 
to be accomplished by Desire, but that conditions may 
modify or even change this Desire in its manifestation. 

If this conception is true, then the condition of neither 
one of the two houses referred to is illustrative of Being 
as manifest. If the first, or evolutionistic, conception 
were true, there is no explanation of the perfect adapta- 
bility of parts or the architecttiral beauty of the com- 
plete forms, such as we see in nature. If the second, 
or Dualistic conception were true, then there is no 
explanation of the defects of construction or of the 
unusable and even objectionable parts of the material 
forms which demonstrably exist. This condition, then, 
is more accurately illustrated by a building started on 
a definite plan, for a definite purpose, but in the con- 
struction of which, conditions arose which caused the 
plans to be modified and the structure to be altered, 
with here and there a possible defect caused by inter- 
ference from some exterior source. 

The Materialist does not comprehend his law, or 
why it applies; the Dualist does not comprehend his 
God, or his mysterious ways; I do not comprehend 
Desire, or the methods of its manifestation. The 
only advantage I claim for my conception is that it is 
more consistent with observed facts. I realize that, in 

320 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

proportion to the novelty of this conception, it will 
appear absurd ; but I do not believe that the conception 
is essentially absurd. 

In olden time, the existence of both God and Baal 
was acknowledged, but there was a contest as to which 
was the greater. In modem time, the existence of 
both God and the Law of Nature is acknowledged; 
and there is a contest as to which is the greater. I 
might say, with the Atheist, "There is no such thing as 
God"; or I might say, with the Monist, "There is no 
such thing as the law of nature." In this age the idea 
of the separate existence of God and Baal seems to us 
absurd. The time will come when the idea of the 
separate existence of God and Nature will be equally 
absurd. In just the degree to which that idea be- 
comes absurd, will my conception cease to be regarded 
as absurd. 

It used to be supposed that there was an absolute 
difference between a solid, a liquid, and a gas. While, 
in definite cases the difference is absolute, yet the 
conditions and cases vary so much that no definition 
of any of the three can be used to differentiate them 
and acciu-ately apply to all. 

It used to be supposed that there was a difference in 
the fiesh of a fish and the flesh of a fowl. It used to be 
supposed that there was an absolute difference between 
vegetable and animal, but it is now known that the 
two merge so closely that a body may be part vegetable 
and part animal at the same time, or vegetable part 
of the time and animal part of the time. It is also 
beginning to be recognized that the line of demarcation 
between the living and the non-living is not as definite 
as is usually supposed. I claim that the difference is 
one of condition only ; that there is no more real differ- 

Biology 321 

ence between protoplasm and bioplasm than between 
a particle of water and a snowflake. I do not conceive 
of a vis viva, a vital principle, a Hving energy, or any 
thing that may be implied by such expressions. 

If we will stop to think that otir consciousness as a 
human being (on the material plane) has nothing to do 
with the construction of that human being, and has no 
perception of how that being functions, we may realize 
that consciousness is not at all sjmonymous with life. 
Consciousness is an attribute possessed by all atoms; 
life is a condition resulting from an aggregate of atoms. 
One separate atom cannot be aHve; therefore, there 
cannot be an individual life. When an amoeba divides, 
forming two, neither of them can be said to be the 
progenitor. A slip may be taken from a plant or a tree, 
and grow to the size and likeness of the original. A 
worm may be cut in twain, and each part grow into a 
perfect whole. There is no individuality in life. 

In the spermatozoa we see an apparently perfect, 
living form, needing only the food of the ova to enable 
it to develop and mattire. In the fertile ova we see a 
development that demonstrates it to be a perfect body, 
each part differentiating into its appropriate organ. 
In each of these cases, the physical development seems 
to depend only incidentally upon the other. In some 
forms of life this is so in fact. In others, and most of 
the higher forms, in the union of spermatozoa and ova 
(combination of the gametes) there is a perfect coales- 
cing, an inter-absorption and re-formation, which we 
might say was a re-generation. This process refutes 
the idea of a continuous individual life. 

Tracing life from the lowest forms to the highest, 
and tracing the life of any given body from its inception 
to its end, there seems to be no proof, or even suggestion 

322 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

of oneness and individual separateness. At some point 
in the life of each Hving body, there is a degree of merg- 
ing with another, which fact dispels the proof of in- 
dividuality. ■ Working up from beginning to end, with 
all the physical and material data obtainable, the logical 
and consistent conclusion is that a living body is a 
combination of separable parts, and that no one part is 
the essential representative or soul of the whole. If my 
life may go out as a flame and my body disintegrate to 
its original forms, where am I? 



IN closing the last chapter, "I" was in a dilemma. 

* The Ego, as an individual, seemed to have slight 

claim to notice or existence. In spite of the evidence, 

I cannot help believing that "I" exist separable 

from my life and my body. In all my conception, this 

is the most absurd of the assumptions, because it is, 

of aU of them, the least capable of substantiation. 

Although I suppose that nine-tenths of the human race 

believe it, yet it is with some diihdence that I proclaim, 

with Elihu, " There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration 

of the Almighty giveth him understanding. " 

What is this spirit, this Ego.? It may be well to 

state first what it is not. It is not divisible, and, 

therefore, it is not the body; it is not a condition, 

therefore, not the life. By the word "soul" many may 

have the same conception which I give to the word, 

"Ego," but the original and authoritative use of the 

word "sotd" makes it synonymous with life. In but 

two places in the Bible is the soul referred to as existing 

after death, and in those places, only in an allegorical 

way. I believe that Christ and the majority of his 

followers thought the soul might become immortal, 

that is, that life could continue undeterminated and the 

Kingdom of Cod be established. When results showed 


324 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

that this belief was, apparently, unfounded, there was 
a gradual reinterpretation, which placed the Kingdom 
of God in the heaven above, and made life die to live 
again, and thus making it possible for the "soul to be 
saved." Of course, controversy on Biblical interpre- 
tation is futile. I have said this much to show that 
the use of the word "soul, " for the piirpose of defining 
an immortal entity, was without authoritative sanction 
until of recent date, and the fact that it is now so used 
does not carry with it the right of asserting that it was 
used in this signification two thousand years ago. 

From the physical standpoint, there is nothing to 
differentiate man from the animal except as a genus 
homo. The brain development is only one of degree. 
Every faculty of man has its counterpart in one or the 
other of the lower animals. Is there anything in man 
inherently or intrinsically different or superior to other 
animals? Compare the most degraded of mankind 
with the most intelligent of animals, and it must be 
admitted that man, at least, is not superior. And from 
this admission it is easy to say that the only difference 
is the construction, which permits of a higher degree of 
development and a greater comprehension. The Ma- 
terialists and Monists come to this logical conclusion. 
Physically and mentally, I agree that man is but a 
superior form of animal. The physical corresponds 
to Power, and answers the How? The mental corre- 
sponds to Desire, and ajiswers the Why? How does 
the bioplasm divide? Physically, by Power. Why 
does it divide? Mentally, instigated by Desire. These 
are not really separable, but are accentuations of the 
different phases of life. 

But there are limits to the mental development of 
animals. They have no aspirations, no inspirations. 

Ego 325 

"There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the 
Almighty giveth him understanding." This spirit, 
assuming tliat it exists, I will call the Ego, and it is 
through this that man has understanding. Granted 
that an animal may learn to count; no one pretends to 
think that an animal can appreciate mathematics. 
Some men appreciate mathematics. Why? There is 
no more appropriate answer than "the inspiration of 
the Almighty giveth him understanding. " It may be 
said that the intuitions of animals are parallel to the 
inspirations of man ; they are parallel, but they lack the 
essential nature of being aspirations. 

Saying that the Ego is a spirit makes it no different 
physically (if I may use the word in this way) from 
any other atom. It is simply the specific atom through 
which the Desire is to manifest itself in the highest form. 
The elephant and ape, the horse and dog, do not have 
aspirations; not because they are physically incapaci- 
tated, but because the Desire for the spiritual imder- 
standing has chosen to come through man, or has 
developed a form through which it may come. 

If understanding and comprehension depended on 
brain development alone, the animals would make some 
degree of progress. It has been said that, through 
observation and experience, man has developed his 
imderstanding; but I believe that inspiration and aspira- 
tion have been the prime causes of man's development, 
and these are not faculties of the brain at all. 

This, then, I claim, is the only reason why man is a 
superior animal; he is the chosen instrument of spiritual 
inspiration. The physical and mental development 
is a co-operative one. Man's animal desires are not of 
the Ego, but an aggregate of the Desire of the organized 
atoms. The spiritual aspiration is not of the body, 

326 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

but of the Desire. It is only through the Ego and its 
body that these aspirations and inspirations can be 

I will go back a little to the conscious perception of 
impressions. Our impressions must all be interpreted 
sensibly, i. e., through one of five ways. We are power- 
less even to conceive what consciousness may perceive 
on the atomic or spiritual plane. On the material 
plane we know there is a vast difference in the percep- 
tions, and there is fully as much difference in the final 
interpretation of these impressions. The way these 
perceptions are interpreted is generally a matter of 
training. Place a city man and a country man in the 
same environment, and each would perceive some im- 
pressions that, the other would not, and of the percep- 
tions common to each, there would be a difference in 
their interpretation. The brain interprets. How it 
does it I do not know. I said the physical and mental 
development was an organic development, and not 
individual. When a cow sees com in an adjoining 
field, and looks for a low place in the fence to jump 
over, it shows mental development. There must be a 
degree of comprehension to allow the optical impression 
of the com field to be interpreted as something at a 
distance and not in the eye. There must be a degree 
of comprehension of distance and dimension. These 
interpretations are mental. I cotild give illustrations 
to show that the mental processes extend back to the 
very earliest stages of organic life or even to inorganic 
processes. But it is sufficient, at present, to state 
that comprehension is a process of the brain and not an 
attribute of the Ego. 

^The impressions are not limited to exterior sources, 
but there are perceptions of thoughts or ideas, a con- 

Ego 327 

sciousness of purely mental processes. We assume that 
a dog dreams, and if this is a fact, then the dog is 
conscious of a mental process. The mental process 
of the human brain is more complex, and, therefore, 
comprehension is greater. But if comprehension were 
limited to exterior impressions it could not embrace a 
love for mathematics, or philosophy, or for any abstract 

The greater the ratio of mental impressions to those 
from exterior sources, the greater the chance for 
mistaken interpretation. Experience has taught us 
this, and, therefore, says measure each mental impres- 
sion by exterior comparison. In other words, be guided 
only by concrete reason. This is one of the fallacies 
of an intelligent mind. History shows that the greatest 
ideas of the human race were inspirational; that is, 
at the time they were conceived they were contrary to 
reason. This is a fact. But it is also a fact that the 
greatest advance of mankind has been made when 
governed by reason. There is a vast difference in these 
statements. Reason is not meant for a guide. Reason 
is consequent on observation and experience. Reason 
is the result of the past ; it is not the precursor of the 
future. Reason is the rudder which is to prevent the 
erratic course of the mind. Reason is not the guide. 
Nothing in the past may be a guide to anj^hing greater 
or higher in the future. Bibles and saintly examples, 
science and philosophy can guide us to nothing higher 
than they themselves have reached. I wish strongly 
to emphasize this point. Reason and morality are 
not guides, but governors. Think over the wonderful 
steps in the advance of civilization and you will see that 
each was, at the time, apparently unreasonable, and 
was derided by the mtiltitude. Precedence prevents 

328 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

progress. But do not expect to push progress by a too 
previous process. If you have an inspiration, let it 
mature. The immature is tmseasonable ; therefore, 
remains unreasonable. 

Returning to the perceptions of the Ego, we may 
acknowledge that many of them are hallucinations, 
i. e., they are misinterpreted. Physical, mental, and 
spiritual perceptions are all subject to this misinter- 
pretation. Physical perceptions are from sensual 
impressions. When a man has "Bats in his belfry," 
or "Snakes in his boots," we say he is suffering from 
hallucination. It is simply a case of the impression 
being misinterpreted to consciousness. A man may 
have weird and wonderftd ideas that are useless and 
absurd, and he may think they are equal to the Theorems 
of Euclid. In these cases, generally, the portion of the 
brain which gives us reason, does not properly function. 
There are exceptions (of which De Quincey is a notable 
example) where the consciousness perceives, through 
reason, that the other perceptions are misinterpreted. 
A sensual impression may, in its ramifications through 
the brain, be interpreted to consciousness as a dream. 
Reason is in abeyance. How the brain thinks, and 
how the organs secrete, are alike incomprehensible and 
may be in no way comparable. These are involuntary 
actions, but to a degree are subject to control. As I 
have said before, the functioning is not as a mass, but 
is the organic action of the atoms. We suppose these 
atoms are separated by distances relatively far greater 
than the distances separating the units of an army. 
Although action at a distance is acknowledged incom- 
prehensible, yet it occurs in a wonderfully intricate 

The impressions, perceptions, and interpretations 

Ego- 329 

are not, in any measurable or comprehensible way, 
mechanical. When the impression of a pin-prick is 
made, it is in some way conveyed to the ganglia, and 
it is some one or more of the atoms composing this that 
is conscious of the impression, and it is the function of 
the ganglia (the atoms organized in this form) to 
interpret these impressions, and it (one or more of the 
atoms composing it) issues orders not only to one set of 
muscles to contract, but to the apposing set to relax. 
It is not the muscle which is conscious of the order, but 
the atoms which are organized as muscle and whose 
function it is to act. Conceiving this aU to be atomic 
may seem extreme, but it is consistent, and anything 
short of this would not be a logical conclusion. In 
conceiving the atoms of the ganglia and muscles to be 
conscious, it is not necessary to suppose that they 
comprehend what the pin is as we do. But as to that, 
how little do we comprehend how the pin-prick is 
translated into pain. We cannot, at least I do not, 
conceive of the slightest similarity. The interpretation 
of every physical impression may be called, to a degree, 
mental. AU purely mental perceptions must be 
interpreted in physical (sensible) terms. While every 
psychological action must be a physiological action, 
the two are not necessarily equal to a given mechanism. 
A pin-prick occasions the arm to jerk; the jerk is more 
than a transformation of the energy of the prick. At 
some point there was an interpretation from sensory 
to motor. That this is more than the moving of a 
switch or lever releasing a given amount of energy can 
be shown in various ways. One is sufficient : the same 
sensation or a Hke sensation may be variously inter- 
preted. The answer, that it is because it awakens 
different ideas, does not show that the process of 

330 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

awakening ideas is of necessity in any way mechanical. 
Experimental psychology may in the future come much 
nearer tracing the actual material and physiological 
process, but I doubt that it can be made in any way 
mechanically comprehensible how a physical impression 
can become consciousness, or rather how the spiritual 
can become conscious on the material plane. The 
existence of physical or sensuail impressions, and the 
mental impressions or ideas, will be acknowledged by all. 
But that the third class of impressions, the spiritual 
inspirations, exist and may be perceived wiU be 
admitted by few. 

As this point is one of the most important to my con- 
ception, I must try to define just what I mean by it. 
Theologians claim for the Scriptures a spiritual inspira- 
tion. But they conceive of the inspiration as automatic 
and infallible, like the working of a perfect printing 
press; that God spake and man wrote. But "God's 
thoughts are not our thoughts. " In other words, the 
inspiration is always subject to interpretation, or 
misinterpretation if there are two or more ways of 
interpreting it. Many of the great and sublime writings, 
I believe, were inspired, but because they were inspired, 
does not make them necessarily true. Many that are 
true have been preserved, and many that have equal 
claims to inspiration have, because of their unworthi- 
ness, been relegated to oblivion. According to my 
conception, an inspiration is not necessarily infallible. 

The theologian expressly disclaims that any secular 
knowledge could be of inspirational origin. I claim 
that the physicist and philosopher may be inspired to 
an equal degree with the priest and the prophet, and 
from the same source. It may be said that the Desire 
of every atom is an aspiration or an inspiration to that 

Ego 331 

atom, but I prefer to use these terms as applying 
solely to the Ego. The Ego I will define, then, as 
the atom through which Desire is able to make itself 
conscious on the material plane, and give aspirations 
and inspirations to a human being. 

Materialists say that man is no different from a dog 
except in form and in function. Materialists seem to 
think that form and ftmction are incidental, that 
function is dependent on form, and can and will pro- 
gress only as environment will permit. Immortality is 
not considered. 

Monists say that man is no different from a dog 
except that the ftmction and form are so high that it 
(its highest form, consciousness) may be immortal. 
Monists conceive the form as the essential, making 
function, which they claim is first, therefore its creator, 
dependent on form, the creature. They conceive that 
function and form are each tmpremeditated ; that 
conditions shaped form, and that it is only on account 
of its value in functioning that the highest form (con- 
sciousness) merits immortality; having no logical reason 
for a belief in immortality except that it has proven 
too good to be thrown away. Immortality is incidental. 

Dualists say that man differs from a dog not only in 
form and function, but by having a soul (whether 
created for the body or by the body is not definitely 
stated), which shall be judged by the deeds done by the 
body; and when the body which did these deeds dies, 
like a dog, the soul is sent to eternal damnation or 
salvation. DuaHsts conceive of form and function as 
wholly incidental ; man is of no more value than a dog, 
except so far as the results of the functioning are a test 
of the soul. Immortality of the soul (spirit) is the 

332 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Now, I conceive that function is the cause of the 
form, except when modified by conditions, though I 
realize of course, that this is an old, metaphysical 
problem which admits of no settlement. The essential 
nature of each is on account of the manifestations 
(results) that may. be effected by the functioning of 
the form. I differ from the Materialists because I 
believe that the form and functions are manifestations 
of an intelligent plan not yet completely fulfilled. I 
differ from the Monists because I believe not only that 
form is for the purpose of functioning instead of function 
following on account of the form, but that consciousness, 
memory, and volition are not functions at all. Con- 
sciousness, desiring to function, gives the organ of 
comprehension; memory, desiring to function, gives 
the organ of recollection; volition, desiring to function, 
gives the organ of will. I differ from the Dualists 
because I believe that the form and function are of 
essential importance, and that immortality, instead of 
being of essential importance, is of no importance 
nor worthy of consideration except incidentally. Preach- 
ing a doctrine of getting the mind off the essential 
while here and placing it on a problematic existence 
in the hereafter is, according to my conception, the 
height of folly. 

I have, as little as possible, blamed the English 
language for my inability to convey concisely and 
definitely my various conceptions. But it really has 
limitations. When I say "I am hungry," and "I 
long to hear again that beautiful music," does the 
"I" in each sentence really convey the same meaning? 
Does not one convey a physical conception, and the 
other a mental? Again, when I say that I believe the 
statement, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall 

Ego 333 

make you free," and affirm that I ardently yearn for 
the truth; and when I affirm that my ardently yearning 
for the truth, so far as I can perceive, is not primarily 
for the freedom which I believe will follow, though this 
freedom may be physical, mental, and spiritual, does 
this "I" convey the same meaning as in the other 
cases, comprising the same and nothing more? It 
may to some; I think that it will not to all. In each 
case we will say that the "I" is the Ego. In the first 
case, the Ego is conscious of an impression interpreted 
as a physical need. It originates in the physical body. 
It wiU be satisfied only by providing the substantial 
physical requirements. In the second case, the Ego 
is conscious of an impression interpreted as a mental 
need. It originated in the brain from a recollection of 
former impresvsions. It will be gratified only by a 
transmission of mechanical energy, so small in the 
ultimate that the final amount required to fulfil the 
requirements will be immeasurable. In the third 
case, the Ego is conscious of an impression that is 
interpreted as a mental and, possibly, as a physical 
need, but it did not originate in the physical because 
it is not an essential physical requirement; and it did 
not originate in the brain, or it would then have been 
in the form of a recollection of former impressions. 
The aspirations for something intrinsically better 
than has been given in the past, though it may be as 
physical, mental, or spiritual, I conceive as coming from 
neither brain nor body, and, therefore, from the Desire. 
Desire is manifest through the atoms. Each atom has 
not only a personal Desire (or as I have said before, 
each atom is a part of the Desire), but taken together 
each has an organic Desire, which might be termed a 
consciousness of the necessities of the organism. There- 

334 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

fore, when I say "I am hungry," neither the Ego nor 
any single atom of the body is hungry; it is simply a per- 
ception of a condition. When the brain is given a men- 
tal stimulant, probably the unstable atomic condition 
is impressed with a degree of energy relatively as great 
as is manifest in the stomach when it is impressed by food. 

Without going into the question as to what consti- 
tutes pain or pleasure, I use the foregoing to show that, 
while each atom has a Desire or willingness to co- 
operate, the forms then manifest are not, or only in an 
incidental way, expressive of the personal desires of the 
atoms. In reaching this conclusion, we see that, if 
any human being exists who has no aspirations, that 
human being advances the Desire only in so far as he 
may indirectly be mechanically available to aid others 
in manifesting their inspirations. We may say that 
countless millions of germs are formed on the chance 
that some will germinate. We may say that countless 
bodies are formed on the chance that some will be 
useful. I say, on the contrary, that every germ and 
every body is useful, but when there is germination or 
availability, it is more useful. 

If any human being exists without an aspiration, it 
might be denied the name according to the conception 
that the Ego is an essential part of the human being, 
as the atom which allows Desire to be conscious of these 
aspirations and inspirations on the material plane. 
There may be such a being in human form but I doubt 
it, stUl, abnormal conditions may prevent one's con- 
sciousness of aspiration and of inspiration. Aspirations 
are precedent to inspirations. To a man who does not 
want to know any more of the truth, it is useless to 
reveal the truth. By yielding, then, to aspirations, 
we have the condition prepared for inspirations. 

Ego 335 

I claim that every advance, from the lowest human 
form, has been through aspirations and inspirations. 
The alchemist and astrologer may have been acting 
under inspirations no less than the chemist and astrono- 
mer whose names are famous. Who can prove whether 
an original idea is a mental suggestion or spiritual 
inspiration? They come; they possess us. The in- 
ventor may measure his ideas by mechanics; the 
physicist may measure his by law; the poet may 
measure his by meter; the mathematician may measure 
his by formtilas; the philosopher may measure his by 
logic; the preacher may meastire his by morality; 
"the crank" may have no measure ait all. In any case, 
the measure, reason, was not what produced the idea. 

Let us condense the foregoing. To every Ego there 
is (i) Aspiration, to which, if one yields, there follows 
(2) Inspiration, which, to be of value, must be correctly 
interpreted (measiired) by (3) Reason. Let us see 
what has prevented a rapid advance according to this 
sequence. First, I must emphasize the point that the 
manifestations of the Supreme Being in the material 
form are limited by conditions. I owe no allegiance 
to any God who can personally write his laws on tablets 
of stone and who does not break them himself over the 
heads of some who maliciously disobey them. Aspira- 
tion, inspiration, and reason have been subject to 
conditions of development. Suppose many people to 
have possessed the aspirations of Newton; we may 
easily formulate many reasons — ^various bodily neces- 
sities; numerous sensual desires; infinite mental inabili- 
ties — to account for their inhibition. If to a million 
people the suggestion were given that the same influence 
caused the tides to rise as caused the apple to faU, how 
many would have pronounced it absurd? And of 

336 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

millions of millions, how many would have taken the 
trouble or the time to investigate or demonstrate the 
truth in such a suggestion? If aspiration, inspiration, 
or reason could be propagated separately, there might 
be more frequent manifestation ; but each is dependent 
on the other for the elucidation of a new truth. Above 
all, the result of wisdom is but to a small degree cumula- 
tive, except insofar as it gives us a larger collection of 
admitted facts. Yet there is no doubt that the average 
brain of to-day is of slightly greater capacity than in 
the past, and there is no doubt that the accumtilated 
facts give greater latitude to reason. That is, an 
inspiration might to-day be admitted as reasonable 
that would not have been so admitted even a few years 
ago. With the average brain of greater capacity, there 
will be here &nd there one above the average, and of 
these, there will be here and there one with aspirations 
and inspirations, and greater range of reason will 
permit a comprehension and proper interpretation. 
So the conceptions of truth will multiply in a greater 
ratio in the future than they have in the past. 

There is one thing we all recognize which I think 
is an equal barrier to manifestations of aspirations and 
inspirations, and this is, I believe, a psychic entity 
which I term, Fear. It exists as fear of lack of physical 
necessities. The great majority of mankind must 
spend their energy in earning a Hving, with scant time 
to entertain an aspiration. Many a man would trade 
off his chances of attaining his aspirations for an instir- 
ance of his bodily necessities. It also exists as fear of 
ridicule. The fear of bodily harm from the Inquisition 
is now happily passed, but we know it was a barrier 
in its day. This fear now exists in a different form, such 
as the fear of public opinion, social ostracism, etc., 

Ego 337 

which axe nearly equally oppressive. There are many 
who fear to express an opinion that may seem heterodox. 
This fear is not confined to theology. It may seem 
stronger in religion, as there is the additional fear of 
Eternal Damnation (which, as a matter of fact, I do 
not believe is nearly so strong as the fear of the adverse 
opinion of people), but it exists in politics, society, and 
societies. Loyalty to the legion is of far greater im- 
portance than loyalty to the individual conception of 
truth. Tolerance is a gift of the gods, and it is no 
coincidence that the nearer a man comes to God, the 
more tolerant he becomes; which is also equivalent to 
saying, "All who say, 'Lord, Lord, ' shall not enter into 
the Kingdom." On every side, we see this fear. The 
poor fear poverty; the rich shudder under the respon- 
sibility of money; society fears a loss of prestige; 
authors fear the loss of fame. In some form or other 
we all fear our fellow-men. At present we are powerless 
to escape from it. 

Does not this word "fear" embrace practically every- 
thing in our life which makes against happiness? For 
every Desire there seems to be some offsetting Fear. 
I believe that every form of fear which conflicts with 
our chance of happiness may be eliminated by the 
proper co-operative effort on the part of man toward 
this end. 



A PREACHER once told me that while he did not 
understand very well my philosophy, one thing 
he did Kke about it was that I retained the Devil, 
whereas the modem tendency, not only in philosophy 
but in religion, was to abolish the Devil. Logically, 
I must, of necessity, retain the Devil. In the orthodox 
presentation of the Devil he seems quite a suitable 
foil for the One Who engraved on stone the expressed 
fear that, "Thou shalt have no other God before me. " 
Of cotirse, so long as we make the Devil a lesser god, 
we are not breaking this commandment. 

While probably nine-tenths of the people in the world 
believe in a Devil or Evil Spirit, it is not with the hope 
of in any way satisfying these that I assume the exis- 
tence of a Devil. In fact, I do not believe the orthodox 
theologian will be any more pleased with my devil than 
he is with my God. The creation of a Devil on a philo- 
sophic or scientific basis wotdd hardly be orthodox. 
There is orthodoxy regarding the Devil as there is 
regarding other religious things. As my conception of a 
God embracing the whole imiverse in a Supreme Being 
seems more sublime than the ordinary anthropomor- 
phic one, so is my conception of the Devil extremely 
different from the prevalent one of a personage with 
horns and hoofs. 


Devil 339 

I have made the broad statement that the Supreme 
Power and Desire is manifest as a Supreme Being, 
which is the Universe. But, I also said that Power 
in materializing required an opposing Force; that 
every atom of Power had related to it a specific but 
changeable amount of Force. Scientific philosophy- 
does not recognize either as a cause, but all measures 
of phenomena are in terms of some manifestations of 
Power. It is only in the electro-magnetic theories of 
the last few years that Force seems to have xmdue 
prominence, but in all these phenomena the measures 
are in terms of Power. Power has a material mani- 
festation; Force is manifest only as motion. Even 
then, it is not Force that moves; it is the atoms (Power). 
Force is, indeed, the Prince of Darkness, for it is always 
hidden and only manifest through Power. As one of 
the causes of motion, existing only as motion, this 
expansive Force (as heat) is also well typified as Lucifer; 
always red, the calorific color, and truly the signal of 

If we assume Power to be conscious (and I hardly 
see how one escapes from that, as an assumption or a 
conclusion, for if human beings only are conscious, we 
ought to be able to overpower anything that is un- 
conscious), there seems to be no logical reason why we 
should deny consciousness to Force. In fact, when I 
maintain that atomic action is not mechanical, it 
becomes logically necessary to assume Force as con- 
scious; otherwise, the change of Force from one atom 
to the other wotdd have to be a mechanical change. 
To draw a consistent conclusion, we must say that 
every mechanical change is simply apparent, and in 
reality is the sum of many atomic changes; that there 
may be a mechanical movement as of a rolling ball, 

340 An Unorthodox Conception of Being ; 

but a mechanical change is a mass of atomic changes, 
each of which, voluntarily or involimtarily, is a con- 
scious move in response to an impression, the change 
being according to the interpretation of that perception. 
This is a logical conclusion; it is not an absurdity. 
That it is novel, I will admit. But, if one wiU free him- 
self of the conception that consciousness is a product of 
the brain, it wiU not seem so extreme an assumption, 
for something must be the seat of consciousness. 

Again, I have said that our consciousness, as human 
beings, is on the material plane and limited in its 
interpretation to the five senses. Does any reasonable 
person wish to maintain that there could be no con- 
scious movement or perception except within the Hmits 
of movements which we know compose our sensual 
impressions? Unless this is maintained, consciousness 
cannot be assumed to be a function of the brain only. 
Impressions are perceived and actions are performed 
in an intelligent manner by the microscopic protococcus ; 
and the conjugation of the spirogyra prove that there is 
communication at a distance. Take from consciousness 
the idea of comprehension and there should be no 
diflficidty in conceiving every atom to be conscious. 
Force, not being atomic in its structure, would not be 
dividually conscious. 

Assuming Power as attempting to manifest its Desire 
as a corporate being, the Force either attempting to 
prevent such formation or to destroy any body already 
formed. Force being an essential opposite to Power in 
its material manifestation, is thus a necessary evil, 
or Devil. To me, this is not an allegory based on 
mythology, but a statement of the absolute truth, a 
condition from which all similar ideas have had their 
origin. It is difficult to prove the existence of Force 

Devil 341 

in physics ; it is even more difficult to prove the existence 
of a Devil in psychology. 

If Force is a necessary Devil, then all form of evil 
is necessary. The saying that "Fire is a good servant, 
but a poor master, " could not have been more truly 
worded if the originator had then in mind the Devil 
or evil. 

I have already brought out the idea that "I desire 
food" did not mean that any atom was hungry, or that 
the Supreme Being was suffering, but that a certain 
condition was perceived by the Ego (as well as the other 
atoms of the body) as abnormal. An abnormal condi- 
tion was said to be a variation in the correct ratio of 
Force to Power. There is always an effort on the part 
of the atoms to regain a normal condition (normal not 
being absolute, but relative). The condition of abnor- 
mality (so far as atomic consciousness may be compared 
to our material consciousness), I conceive to be one of 
pain, and the normal one of pleasure. This variation 
in impression is the one conveyed to the Ego from any 
organ of the body. If everj^thing were in its right 
relation, or with a slight deviation, I think that this 
would afford a correct guide, but the abnormal might 
become the normal, and thus the perception is an 
incorrect guide, as in cases of perverted appetite. 

"Dirt is matter out of place," and "Too much of a 
good thing is good for nothing, " are sayings that apply 
in this connection. Most things are not intrinsically 
evil, but an excess may bring pain. A continued excess 
may bring a chronic abnormality called bad habit, 
which condition, tmder most cases, will cause pain to 
correct, as the abnormal had become the normal. 
These are all physical or mental impressions, and are 
indirectly representative of the personal Devil. 

342 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Is there anything evil that bears the same relation 
to the Ego that aspiration and inspiration do? I 
think there is. As I said, it could not be proven that a 
given impression was an aspiration instead of a sug- 
gestion, so we cannot prove that a given evil impulse 
comes from the Devil instead of from the brain. I 
reaUy believe that many physical, mental, and spiritual 
deformities are caused by continued obedience to evil 
impulses. After the abnormal condition exists, it is 
easy enough to assert that the cause is physical or 
mental. But, in the beginning, does it not seem rather 
difficult sometimes to trace the cause to heredity or 
environment? If the Ego is an atom, it must have its 
specific ratio of Force. Really, when one comes to 
think of it, it sounds orthodox to say that every man is 
more or less possessed of the Devil. It seems as though 
certain typical forms of evil, as fear, anger, hatred, envy, 
etc., were in some cases as difficult to relate to physical 
or mental impulses as it is in some cases to show that 
certain inspirational ideas have their origin from exterior 
sources. We will use one of these as an illustration. 

It is said that "the fear of God is the beginning of 
wisdom." I agree with this and might add that 
"the fear of God decreases in direct ratio to the wisdom 
gained. " This is only another way of saying what was 
said in much better language some two thousand years 
ago: "Perfect love casteth out fear." If God is love, 
and Fear is the evil, could it be worded better? If 
Force is essential to Power, physically, then Fear is 
an essential concomitant to Desire, psychologically. 
In the beginning, Fear is an essential. Fear warns 
the mind as pain warns the body; both are indicative 
of evil. In the savage state the first recognition of a 
Supreme Being is a Fear of the harm that such a Being 

Devil 343 

might do, and there is an endeavor to propitiate such 
a Being. Oh, how firmly fixed is this conception of the 
Supreme Being! But where fear may be necessary in 
the beginning to guard the person, it is not good to 
incite it in others. The impluse to cause fear and 
suffering so commonly seen in youth, and many times 
never corrected or outgrown, may be an ancestral trait, 
but I think it more consistent to say that it is a natural 
trait following an impulse of the Devil on the Ego. 

Fear is not only a mental evil, but a physical one as 
well. We all know that after being frightened, or 
when recovering from a fit of anger, the system is 
deranged. This is an actual physical effect. There is 
a frequently repeated story of how a mother nursed 
her baby after a fit of angry temper, and the baby died 
from convulsions caused by the poisoned secretions. 
This may be fictitious, but it is not fiction that the bite 
of a mad cat, rat, or dog is far more dangerous than it 
would be if not so irritated. 

Some years ago a certain chemist sectued secretions, 
from various sources, of people under the influence of 
fear, anger, or pain, and in such cases the secretions 
were poison to animals inoculated therewith. Coloring 
the secretions with certain reagents showed that there 
was a marked difference chemically. A secretion from an 
angry person showed up quite red, and the story went 
the rounds of the press that "sin is red. " A different 
reagent, however, might color it green. In further 
experiments it was found that animals inoculated with 
secretions from persons under the influence of a spe- 
cial pleasure or good impulse showed benefiting and 
invigorating effects. 

Suppose the human being could, for years, be freed 
from all unnecessary fear, anger, envy, etc. , and instead 

344 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

of these injurious emotions have substituted perfect 
love and a maximum of unalloyed pleasure, should we 
expect the organs of the body to be benefited? Would 
the brain f miction more freely? Would there be a 
better chance for aspirations to be received and 
inspirations to be perceived? Let us try it. 



MANY clericals have, on a variety of occasions, and 
in rather peremptory tones, asked me, "What 
are you going to do with Jesus Christ?" While I do 
not recognize the authoritative right of any one to 
demand an answer, I am willing to answer the question 
in the spirit in which it is asked. 

I believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be an historical 
personage with a record much more meagre than I 
would desire. Two or three lines ascribed to Josephus 
and a few pages in the Bible, the cuUings of some 
thirty thousand odd manuscripts, embrace it all. It is 
not agreed whether or not Jesus spoke the words ascribed 
to him; but some one spoke them, and I will give him 
the credit. According to my idea (and I have as much 
right to my interpretation as has the next one), the 
literature the world over will not produce so many 
sayings portraying the true conception of Being. I 
take His sayings Hterally (excepting, of course, the 
parts with which I do not agree, and those, like any 
other preacher, I take figuratively). The conclusion 
to which I come regarding Him is that He was abso- 
lutely sincere. As a miraculous, know-it-aU God, He 
would not be impressive. But he was a man of lowly 
origin, humble, sensitive, lacking the invulnerableness 


34^ An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

of the egotist, and filled by inspiration with wonderful 
ideas regarding the most important subject in the world, 
our relation to the Supreme Being, ideas that were as 
contrary to orthodoxy as weU could be. 

He conceived that God was not a person, nor a 
respecter of persons, nor a respecter of days; that he 
was not worshipped in temples made with hands; that 
he cared not for the blood of sheep and goats; that 
sacrifice would not be pleasing to Him, or bring sal- 
vation; and above all, that the Kingdom of God was 
right here, and it was up to man to possess it. Try 
to imagine a sensitive person fiUed with this wonderful 
idea, and filled with the aspiration to convince and 
save humanity, going out before a bigoted and perverse 
generation with such a conception. 

Nothing is written that would give the impression 
that Christ was an egotist or megalomaniac, and 
whenever He delegated to Himself God-Hke proclivi- 
ties, it was as one of the common brotherhood of 
man. He stood in God's place ; so does every other man. 
He was God manifest in the flesh ; so is every other man. 
He is the Son of God; so is every other man. "Is it 
not written in your law, I said Ye are Gods? say ye of 
Him, Thou blasphemest?" 

Christ had the ability of healing the sick, as many 
have had since, but He was honest. He did not say 
that it was a personal power. "Thy faith hath made 
thee whole. " It is not recorded that He charged two 
doUars for absent treatment. But it is recorded that 
"He did not many mighty works there because of 
their lack of faith. " He seemed really to believe that 
people might be saved from sin, sickness, and death, 
here. He did not give very specific directions as to 
how this was to be done. His commands were few. 

Jesus Christ 347 

He did say, "Love thy neighbor as thyself. " "Perfect 
love casteth out fear." "This is my commandment, 
that ye love one another." And "Fear not at all." 
A lot of deaconly sharks will bend every energy six 
days in the week to getting the better of their neighbor, 
meanwhile trembling in fear lest the neighbor should get 
the better of them, and then meet in solemn conclave 
on Sunday and confer about the boy who played baU 
the Sunday before and cursed when he got hit, and 
"church him," that is, put him out into eternal dam- 
nation. Do you get indignant? What is the use? 
Fuming over conditions will not remedy them. Christ 
got indignant and drove the money-changers from the 
temple. But they came back, and are there still. 

While Christ did not give many commands per- 
sonally, those he did give were very simple. They are 
beautiful; some, pectdiar in style, are called the "Beati- 
tudes. " Not one of the simple commandments of 
Christ is used, literally as recorded, for a test of Church 
membership. They are too sacred for every-day use. 
As a matter of fact, the present conditions of society 
will not permit an obedience to them. And fturther- 
more, simple obedience to them would not bring the 
higher life and the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ realized 
this, and for guidance He directed man to go to the 
source of inspiration, the Spirit of God. "I am the 
way, the truth, and the life." "I," the "Ego," there is 
where man must look for direction. Christ's whole 
life contradicts the interpretation that he supposed that 
He, personally, was a way to life. He often spoke in 
God's stead, as when he said, "I am the vine, ye are 
the branches. " 

"Jesus wept." Why? Did you ever think of any 
logical reason why He should weep? If you were a 

348 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

person of unusual power, and you should happen upon 
a family with an apparently incurable affliction, and, 
when by a word, you knew you could cure it and change 
all this grief to joy, would you sit down and weep? 
Let us look at it from another standpoint. Here was 
a family with which He was intimate; to whom He, 
no doubt, revealed His ideas in a most intimate way. 
Perfect love casteth out fear; mind receptive to the 
Spirit of God, and faith in the power of God would save 
man, giving him life and establish the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Yet, here in this family, where of all places 
He might expect restdts, what does He find? One 
member dead and btuied ; another member meets Him 
with the story, stating that if He (Christ) had been 
there it would not have happened (implying a dele- 
gation of special power which He always repudiated), 
also affirming that she was convinced there might be 
life hereafter, instead of in the -here as Christ taught; 
and the third member at home in hopeless despair. 
Assuming that my interpretation is correct, would it 
not be cause for a man to weep? Is it not enough to 
make a God weep to witness the apparently hopeless 
blindness of the human race? 

There is a modem tendency to shy at the miracles. 
Could there be a greater miracle than raising a man four 
days dead? I have said hfe is a condition. Some 
years ago, if a person had been under the water and 
remained unconscious ten or fifteen minutes, his con- 
dition was considered hopeless. Now, it is not con- 
sidered hopeless after an hour, two, or even three 
hours, and many physicians say there is only one stue 
test of death, that of decomposition, the condition in 
which Lazarus was supposed to be, but it is not stated 
that he was really in such a condition. 

Jesus Christ 349 

Take the temptations of Jesus Christ. According 
to the common interpretations, they are rendered 
ridiciilous. Could a man with millions be tempted to 
give it up for dimes? Could a God be tempted by a 
Devil? But suppose we view it after another fashion. 
Here was a poor carpenter, who, through listening to 
aspirations, had given time to telling mankind of 
His inspirations by which He conceived that man was 
the manifestation of God Himself in the flesh, and 
that through this manifestation He wished to establish 
His Kingdom on earth. This poor carpenter found 
Himself possessed of unusual powers, which He believed 
were not essentially personal, but which might be 
possessed by any one who would open his mind as 
He had done to the aspirations and inspirations of the 
Father. "Not these works, but greater than these 
shalt thou do." When He said, "I am the way; no 
one Cometh to the Father only through me," the 
context would lead me to conclude that it meant not 
that they must foUow him personally but that they 
must come the same way He did; not through any 
exterior plan of salvation or sacrifice, but through the 
reception of the Holy Spirit. 

Especially did He emphasize that they must listen 
to the Word of God. By this He did not mean the 
books of the Old Testament, for, when he referred to 
them, He said, "The Scriptures." He did not mean 
the books of the New Testament, for they had not been 
written. And much less did He mean His own words. 
Of the three himdred times this expression. Word of 
God, is used in the Bible, not in a single instance does 
it refer to or mean the Bible itself. It always means 
the Spirit of God speaking to man. 

In spite of all His efforts, His words were misinteiT' 

350 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

preted and His object misunderstood. He was reviled 
by some, envied by some, feared by some, honored by 
a few lowly ones, but none comprehended His inspira- 
tion. After three years of preaching. He saw that it was 
a useless effort, an impossible task. The trial must end 
sooner or later in some way or another. With what 
influence He had, and with a little catering to ortho- 
doxy, He might be elevated to a position of honor. 
With the power He had of healing the sick, He might 
suppose He could become rich. He must have believed 
that almost any position could have been His by work- 
ing for it. These were the temptations. Yielding meant 
the giving up of His aspirations to convince mankind 
that His inspirations were correct and from God. 
But they were^ hopeless anyhow. Possibly, by waiting, 
and after obtaining riches and honor, He might then 
be in a better position to help mankind. This insidious 
form of temptation, I believe, has transformed and 
deformed many an aspiration and inspiration. Riches, 
honor, position! How much good I might render 
humanity did I possess them along with my good 
intentions! It sounds plausible, but Christ concluded 
that man may be saved and elevated only in one way, 
that is by listening to the Word of God. 

I have not the slightest idea that Christ thought 
that by His renunciation He would be elevated to a 
seat at the right hand of God. He had been asked, 
"If a man die, shall he live again?" without answering 
or possibly being able to answer the question. I think 
to one imbued with an inspiration, the question of the 
reward does not appeal. 

Consider Jesus Christ for a moment in this position. 
On one side everything to gain, riches, honor, position, 
and with these apparently the only practical hopes of 

Jesus Christ 351 

doing any good to his fellow-man. On the other side, 
nothing to lose, as His task was apparently hopeless. 
Nothing to lose but His God-given aspirations, and of 
what use were they? And were they God-given? He, 
a poor peasant of Galilee, pitting His opinions against 
those of the intellect and piety of the ages. The sug- 
gestion may have forcibly impressed him that He was 
wrong in His conception, and that His power was 
given to Him personally to use for the benefit of man- 
kind. Would it not be flying in the face of Providence 
to refuse to use it as His friends in high position advised? 
Everything to gain, and nothing to lose. My friend, 
did you ever have an aspiration, or inspiration, and give 
it up for less? I have. My fear of conditions outweighs 
my faith in Power. I am the proud possessor of a 
little reason which I allow to govern. Christ was led 
by the Word of God. But, after refusing to accept 
everything, what would nothing benefit His fellow-man? 
Living in honor. His immediate followers would look 
up to Him; but in living without following His aspira- 
tions, His life would not permanently benefit humanity. 
If He continued His work. He knew that He, like many 
another, would be crucified for His opinions. Not that 
these opinions mattered to those others, only that they 
were bringing Him into a prominence which the "powers 
that be" could not tolerate. 

Now that death was the alternative chosen, how could 
that death be made to benefit man? If He simply 
gave up and died with no especial preparation. He and 
His message would speedily be forgotten. If He made 
his departure too spectacular, they might centre their 
thoughts on Him and venerate Him as a departed 
prophet, reverencing His words and honoring His 
memory, possibly thinking of Him as one of the Gods. 

352 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

But neither way would advance mankind in a reali- 
zation of the conception He taught. Study His 
preparation for death in the light of this dilemma and 
according to His conception. His followers did not com- 
prehend Him then ; how could He aid them to do so by 
His death? In His farewell talk, He tried to impress 
upon them His conception, with the method of continu- 
ing and developing it afterward. In reiterative language 
He said, "I am in the Father, and the Father in me." 
"I am in my father, and ye in me, and I in you." 
"Abide in me and I in you." "I sanctify myself that 
aU may be one." "If I go not away the Comforter 
will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send 
Him unto you." "I will not leave you comfortless. 
He shall give you another Comforter, even the Spirit 
of Truth." "When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, 
He will guide you into all truth." 

He gave none of the current orthodox phrases: 
"I 'm going home to glory, be good so as to meet me 
in heaven." By the promise to return again, Jesus 
gave them hope of living. He tried to impress upon 
them the fact that God was a spirit, conceived of and 
worshipped only through the mind, that He could not 
appear only as manifest in the flesh, and that man was 
His representative on earth, who, by heeding the 
aspirations and inspirations given by the Holy Spirit 
of God, would be instnimental in establishing here the 
Kingdom of God. 

When we realize that it was not until years after, 
when the hope of His second coming had been aban- 
doned and a general reinterpretation given to His words 
to make them conform more nearly to conceptions of 
God previously existing; when the leadership of the 
Holy Spirit had been given up and there was drawing 

Jesus Christ 353 

by lots for those who should be delegated to lead ; and 
when manuscripts were collected and a small part 
declared authoritative as representative of Christ's 
Hfe and teaching, and only that part declared canonical 
which could be interpreted to represent the conception 
of the Chtuch at that time (three hundred years after) ; 
then, by so realizing, some may see that the interpre- 
tation which I give is warranted by the records. 

As an interpretation it may be right ; it may be wrong. 
I would not dogmatize. It satisfies my ethical ideas 
and religious feeUngs, and were I able to meet Jesus 
Christ, I should fear nothing from Him for my frank 
answer to the preacher. 

While on this subject of Biblical inspiration, I must 
say a Kttle more. I do not believe that a thing is true 
because it is in the Bible, but I believe the Bible to 
be the most wonderful of books, because it contains so 
many wonderful truths, and it seems to me that many 
of them could have been conceived by man only through 
inspiration. Many things recorded in the Bible could 
not have come by observation. The first chapter 
of Genesis is the most wonderful account of creation 
extant. As an automatic, infallible production direct 
from an Omniscient Being, it may be subject to criti- 
cism (though I think time will even lessen that), but, 
as a guess at the evolution of mundane being, it should 
be a scientific wonder. But, before this was written, 
some one must have conceived the idea of One God. 
Some one must have been foimder of the Hebrew race- 
In the Bible this is credited to one and the same person, 
Abram. From the ability to conceive of a God, and 
the aspiration to be his representative, and the inspira- 
tion to let his children and his children's children be 
this God's chosen people, it would be a natural conse- 

354 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

quence that the results were such as manifested. Later 
on, laws were conceived for the government of the race. 
Nowhere is there a compendium of law equal to the 
Ten Commandments. It is claimed that they are 
copied, or adaptions. But, whenever they were first 
conceived, they were inspired. I claim that it is an 
impossibility for man from physical impressions to 
have conceived a precept better than he himself, for 
in that case, the creatiu-e would be better than the 
creator. I claim tljat every advanced idea is by in- 
spiration. As I have said before, this maturing of the 
inspiration depends on aspiration and the reasonable- 
ness of the perception as interpreted to consciousness. 
As a physical, verbal agreement between a Supreme 
Being and man, the Mosaic conception appears to me 
as ludicrous as Paine and IngersoU have pictured; but 
to a human being at that stage of development, such a 
conception of man's relation to God is sublime. If man 
would obey the laws, he would Uve long upon the land 
which the Lord God had given him. And to keep this 
fresh in their minds, there was frequent sacrifice to 
obtain the blood of the covenant, showing that the 
testator was dead and they were really heirs, and as 
gods, stood in his place, and must, therefore, be good 
and make the land fruitful and multiply. It is adaptive 
to a degree, for all conceptions, to be comprehensive, 
must be adaptive to appeal to the people. But, as a 
conception, it is equal to any in history. The mistakes 
arising under this covenant were many. The law is 
weak, and it is only a makeshift. Through a later 
inspiration, it was perceived there must, in time, be a 
change; another covenant. They, the Hebrews, God's 
chosen people, had failed under the law which God had 
given them, and a means of salvation would finally come. 

Jesus Christ 355 

The new covenant was prophesied. What was this 
new covenant promised them, and to which, by faith, 
they looked forward, and by their faith preserved 
themselves a unique people in the world? Jesus Christ 
thought and taught that all people might become heirs 
under the new covenant. By this conception he 
incurred the lU-will of His own people, the Jews, and 
was reviled by the Gentiles, for who, at that time, would 
want to be heirs of the Jews' God? Christ died an 
apparent failure. Many a tear have I shed in sympathy 
for Him — something I never did when I believed Him 
to have died a glorified God. His disciples believed 
in Him and expected His return, but it is plain that they 
did not comprehend His teaching. The perception 
came to Paul of the truth of Christ's conception, and 
with such force as to nearly paralyze his mind. This 
mental paralysis (ecstasy), under conscious perception 
of a great truth, is a matter of record in many cases, 
and is a well-known phenomenon to psychologists. 

The logical mind of Paxil soon began to fit in the 
teachings of Christ to the previous conception of God. 
Not all of Paul's ideas or logic are correct. When he 
said that the graft partakes of the nature of the vine, 
he was mistaken; when he said that a seed must die to 
live again, he was mistaken; and we have just as much 
right to think that when he gave, as being literally true, 
the quotation that Jonah was three days in the whale's 
belly, he was again mistaken. These are not proofs 
that there is no inspiration, but illustrations showing 
that all that may be written under inspiration is not 
necessarily infallible. 

Paul brought out forcibly the idea that, according to 
Christ's conception, the time of the new dispensation 
was come; that Christ was the mediator of the new 

356 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

covenant, and that, to make it more forcible, He had 
given His own blood, which sealed the covenant, and 
that under this covenant the old dispensation had 
passed and the old law was of non-effect and that they 
were aU heirs under the new covenant. The new 
covenant, or testament, — what is this new testament — 
this revised will of God? If an attorney went before 
a judge and stated that his clients were living under a 
will or testament that he was prepared to show was 
superseded; that a will or testament of a later date had 
been found, and according to its terms should now be in 
effect, and he wished the old will with its requirements 
to be set aside, and that his clients be allowed to live 
and inherit tmder the provisions of the new wiU, the 
judge would g,sk him to produce his new testament. 
Now, suppose at this point the attorney should say, 
"Well, judge, I cannot produce the exact testament, but 
I can tell you the tenor of it. I know what it means. 
You can take my word for it. I know just how the 
people should live under this new testament, and I have 
a lot of books written about it, called the ' Books of the 
New Testament,' which I will submit, if you wish." 
What would be the probable reply of the judge? We 
will assume that this is what the judge (people) said 
to him: "Why, you are the hundredth person who has 
come here representing himself as the attorney for that 
new testament, and not one of you has produced it ; and 
no two of you agree as to what it means, or just how 
your client is to be benefited by it. Now, you get 
out of here, and do not come back until you can produce 
the testament. " 

Of all the preachers I ever asked not one has been 
able to tell me off-hand what is this new testament, 
this new will of God, for which he is supposed to be an 

Jesus Christ 357 

attorney. My Christian friend, you who are pre- 
tending to Uve under this new dispensation, do you 
know the words of the new testament? Do you know 
what is now the Will of God? A new covenant that 
was put into effect because the old was weak and because 
the people should not Uve thereby. If your^ preachers 
do not know, and you do not know, how do you know 
that you are getting your rights under the will of God? 
Jeremiah and others prophesied the words of this 
new testament. Christ claimed that the time had 
arrived to have it enforced, and Paul, repeating its 
words, said that Christ had sealed it with His blood. 
I will quote: 

This is the covenant : I will put my laws into their mind, 
and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a 
God, and they shall be to me a people. And they shall not 
teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, 
saying, Know the Lord ; for all shall know me f ronl the least 
to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unright- 
eousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember 
no more. 

Nowhere else in the Bible is there any language stating 
anything different from this, as being a new covenant, 
and I claim that any one who claims to give to the Bible 
any authoritative value is estopped from preaching 
anything contrary to the wording of this new testament. 
When I come as a client of the attorney and ask to be 
told what are my rights under the new covenant, I am 
told that in addition to the Mosaic Laws, there are 
added a lot of Christian Laws and Pauline Laws, all 
of which are written in some books called the "Books 
of the New Testament, " and all of which I must obey 
to be saved. And not only must I speak privately to 

358 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

my neighbor and brother, saying, "Know God," but 
must chip in to keep the paid pulpiteer, who will 
proclaim publicly, saying, "Know God," and to cap 
the climax I am told, "And if you do not believe this 
and do this, God will know and remember, and damn 
you through all eternity. " When the attorney teUs me 
that this is the new testament, when any one may see 
that it is exactly contrary to the new testament, should 
you, my friend, be surprised if I denounce him in 
language equally as forcible? 

I believe the new covenant ; therefore, I do not believe 
the popular preacher. I believe the new covenant, 
not because it is in the Bible, but because it accords 
with my idea of the relation of man to the Supreme 
Being. When this document, purporting to be the 
latest will of God, is worded so concisely, so wonderfully, 
so truly, I say that it was conceived by inspiration. Were 
I able to conceive anything more wonderful than this, 
I would proclaim it as the "Latest Will of God. " But 
the new covenant, as prophesied by the prophets of old, 
and placed as the central gem in the books surrounding 
this new testament, seems to be a final document. 

God in the mind and heart ; all to know God ; none to 
fear God, for our sins are to be remembered no more. 
What a wonderful conception ! How old, and yet how 
different from what we hear from the pulpit! No 
written laws to be misinterpreted, to cause contests 
and divisions, conflicts and wars. No duties imposed 
to hamper and hinder the aspirations and inspirations, 
which result from God in the mind. No rewards 
offered, and still better, no ptmishments threatened, 
to deter one that might fear to listen to this "still 
small voice," which, on accoimt of one's not listening, 
has seldom been impressive. No wonder the preachers 

Jesus Christ 359 

say this conception was meant for the millennium. 
But who is to bring about this millennial condition? 

I know this is visionary and ideal, but it is the Will 
of God. We have been living under the law, lo! these 
many years; we have had our priests and preachers, 
our guides and teachers, yet, do we "Know God"? 
Suppose God could appear? — ^but that is an impossible 
conception. Suppose Christ could appear and be 
recognized by each individual? How many would drop 
in terror of the judgment? "They that live by the 
law shall be judged by the law." "For, if that first 
covenant had been faultless, there should no place 
have been found for the second. " 

Reader, is it safer to follow a written law or to follow 
God's aspiration and inspiration in the mind? Which 
will teach us more of God? Which will quicker mark 
one as the child of God? And then, when aU shall 
know God from the least to the greatest, that is only 
the beginning. When men are capable of being guided 
by the "Holy Spirit of God" (Highest Desire), following 
the aspirations and inspiration, naturally, without 
hope of reward or fear of punishment, then is just the 
beginning. Then will man be in a fit condition to do 
that for which he is manifest on earth — a work which 
God can do only through man, and man may know how 
to do only through the direction of God. Then, the 
Desire revealed to us as aspiration and inspiration, but 
with a conception more correctly interpreted by an 
increasing knowledge, will cause us to establish a king- 
dom of heaven of which Christ and Paul had but a first 
and faint conception. 

Impossible! is the usual exclamation. Yes, im- 
possible, under these innumerable, conflicting laws and 
contending leaders. And so long as there is no proof 

360 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

that one is more nearly right than the other, there is 
little chance for unity. But when we have liberty to 
follow Desire and utilize Power, then will we appear 
supernatural. There are hundreds of organizations, 
but, from all indications, no person is any nearer to 
knowing God in one than in another, — at least there is 
no evidence to that effect. It is a mere matter of 
belief, which, no matter how it came to be fixed, is 
well-nigh unchangeable by exterior suasion. But there 
is a continually increasing number of minds that 
have independent ideas, and if these ideas are inspira- 
tional, and there is but one source of inspiration, and 
these minds becoming more reasonable, or, with more 
knowledge, will more correctly interpret these aspira- 
tions and inspirations, that will mean a unity of mind. 
If there were an association of minds on a platform so 
broad that there would be no conflict, and the organiza- 
tion should produce results that were convincing in 
their benefits, such a band would aggregate and attract 
to itself a number who might unconsciously bring about 
the millennium. 

It is generally assumed that there is in every person 
something that is good. Were such the case, the 
Highest Desire in such a person must be good, and in 
any person must be the best incentive to action or 
the incentive to the best actions. Granting this, 
could we logically say that there could be a better 
leadership than the Highest Desire within us? You 
may say, "Who is to be the judge of what is the Highest 
Desire?" Who judges now? We are judged by the 
preacher, priest, and the people. Who made them 
judges? Are they competent judges? They judge 
according to their own idea, and they are apt to criticise 
just as quickly one who has inspirations above their 

Jesus Christ 361 

comprehension as one who has low inclinations; not 
only as quickly, but with a more severe judgment. 
The case of Christ and Barabbas continually repeats 
itself in the history of human judgment. 

We recognize in the present stage of civilization the 
necessity of laws and penalties for the government and 
organization of man's conduct in the economic and moral 
bearing to his fellow-man, but there are thousands who 
care not for the laws and penalties in use for the pur- 
pose of regulating their denominational religious conduct. 

To the millions who fear the judgment, no matter 
what the means by which they think they are to be 
judged, I say, there is only one authoritative leader, 
the Highest Desire within you, that is God's law written 
in the mind and heart. I might, in all sincerity, add 
this supplication: "I beseech you, dearly beloved, 
to follow this Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake, Amen." 

There is a sasdng, "There is no great loss without 
some small gain." And I believe there is an equal 
amount of truth in this: "There is no great gain 
without some small loss. " The feeling of responsibility 
still attends the feeHng of liberty, for liberty always 
denotes a latitude of license into which each man more 
or less departs. We may sometimes wish to shun com- 
pletely this responsibility. What man is there who at 
some time does not have that same feeling that ani- 
mated him as a boy and caused him to throw himself 
into his mother's arms and say, "Oh, mother, I 've 
been so bad, won't you forgive me?" And when his 
mother fondled him and forgave him with a kindly 
chiding, what a relief he felt at this responsibility for 
wrong,, as a burden rolled away! Was it real relief? 
As real as anjrthing on earth. And all of us, at some 
time, echo in our hearts: 

362 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Backward, turn backward, oh, Time, in thy flight, 
Make me a child again just for to-night. 

Just for to-night, not all the time, but just long 
enough to get rid of that load of responsibility. Mil- 
lions have the satisfaction of their imaginary God, to 
whom they go in prayer. Does it seem cruel or wicked 
to do anything to destroy this faith in the efficiency of 
this God? No more cruel than it is for nature to permit 
a child finalty to grow into the statture of a man. 

I doubt the existence of a God that can hear prayer. 
The belief in such a God has been, in the past, a soiu-ce 
of great satisfaction, as it is now to millions. And even 
now, what satisfaction it would be to me to have a God 
that would forgive all my sins, rectify all my mistakes, 
and lift the .burden and let me start fresh! But I 
regard that just as impossible as the ttiming backward 
of time in his flight. 

When I cut my finger, I know it is apt to heal up, 
but I do not therefore continue to cut it. When I do 
wrong, it may, in time, be rectified, but there may 
remain a scar. To one who gets any satisfaction from 
cutting the finger, or from doing wrong rather than 
right, I can only say that I believe there is more satis- 
faction to be gained from the normal than from the 
abnormal. And the correct condition of the human 
being is to follow the Highest Desire, which will lead 
to a physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. A 
normal condition, with normal surroimdings, would be 
a condition practically free from fear. The happiness 
to be attained from such a condition is, I believe, only 
the normal condition of man. Man is not in a normal 
condition, now, but in a transitory condition, nearer 
animal than inspirational ; influenced more by fear than 

Jesus Christ 363 

by faith. "Now, faith without works is dead." Who 
is to direct our works? 

I am thoroughly impressed with the idea that sub- 
missively following human authority (and all exterior 
authority is human, whatever its origin) accounts for 
the slow progress of humanity to a higher state of 
mentality and spirituaUty. The millions who are 
following the guide of books or man should realize that 
there is no authority in them, only such as is delegated 
to them by their followers. The Supreme Being has 
not delegated the power to any one to lead you or me. 
I wish that you could be impressed by the idea that 
if in following these self-appointed leaders, you are not 
following the Highest Desire within you; or, if by listen- 
ing to them, you close your perception to aspiration, 
and inspirations, your responsibility cannot be shifted 
to those who are your guides. If the blind lead the 
blind, and they both fall in the ditch, the followers 
suffer just the same as the leaders. 

Refusing to acknowledge any authority superior to 
the Highest Desire within us does not necessitate our 
going contrary to all other authority. On the other 
hand, we will be surprised when following our Highest 
Desire to reaHze how thoroughly we are in accord with 
the best teachings of aU sects and denominations. 

As I said in the introduction, it is the difference 
which we magnify that makes our conflicts and troubles. 
What makes this situation so ludicrous is the fact that 
these differences are not fimdamental, but are differ- 
ences in opinions and beliefs in the unknown, and many 
times unknowable things. Let us admit what all 
sects teach : that man is individually responsible for his 
choice of right or wrong. Now, let each individual 
decide what is his Highest Desire, and follow it. Will 

364 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the condition be better or worse than if we each try to 
force the other to follow some exterior gtiide which is 
fuUy as apt to be misinterpreted as are the aspirations 
and inspirations within? Organizing under the leader- 
ship of the Holy Ghost impressed me twelve or fourteen 
years ago as such a reasonable solution of our denomi- 
national difficulties that I proposed an outline of such 
an organization. At the time, I was surprised that 
any one should refuse to join such an association. But 
now I realize that no matter how good or how true a 
thing may be, there must be a certain synchronism of 
opinion to allow a person to be able to accept it. There 
wiU sometime be an association of kindred spirits, 
and whether formally or informally organized, they 
will become recognized. Did every one who acknowl- 
edges no leadership but the Highest Desire claim mem- 
bership in such an organization, how many would there 
be? In another place I wUl give my outline for such 
an organization. 

To succeed, man must necessarily have faith in his 
aspirations and inspirations, that is, in his interpretation 
of his Highest Desire. The teaching of most forms of 
religion is to discredit the Ego; to direct the mind and 
place the faith on some exterior source of guidance. 
As I have said before, it is characteristic of the mass of 
mankind to be subservient to exterior authority. This 
may have been necessary in the past, and may be for a 
limited time in the future ; but sometime in the future, 
man will have to discriminate, and, while he may have 
faith to believe in what another knows, he wiU not have 
such immitigated credulity in what another can only 
suppose. Man must have faith in something; whether 
it be in a prophet, priest, or preacher, a book, or a law, 
or a teacher, or in the personal aspirations and in- 

Jesus Christ 365 

spirations, each has his faith. Whether faith comes by 
volition, will, or conditions, or is subject to voluntary 
change, I do not know. However, I am satisfied that 
faith is an essential part of progress. 



FAITH is a wonderful thing. Confidence is sublime 
even when it is ridictdous. The effect of faith 
and confidence has no fixed relation to the truth or 
falsity of the object of faith. 

I might define faith as the ability undoubtingly to 
accept perceptions deduced from suggestions, whether 
the suggestions are sensual, mental, or inspirational. 
Faith may be modified by the faculty of reason. Deduc- 
tion and induction are processes of interpretation which 
are functions of the brain, but which extend in a less 
degree to the ganglia, and, by an infinitely reduced 
degree, to any organized combination of atoms. 

When it is admitted that matter is incomprehensible, 
and that mind is incomprehensible, it is no more absurd 
to say that matter thinks than to say that mind thinks. 
But the fixed idea that matter is inert and mind active 
causes one statement to seem more absurd than the 

I have said that matter was the manifestation of 
Power and Desire. The material aspect is of the Power ; 
the mind aspect is of the Desire. These are not simply 
inseparable; they are one and the same, although the 
aspects are so different. According to this conception, 
it would not be consistent to say that mind is the intelli- 


Faith 367 

gent part of matter. Mind is matter no less than 
matter is mind. Each term represents an abstraction 
which we do not comprehend. Matter is materialized, 
and we are conscious of it on the material plane. We 
may call that function of the brain which interprets 
these sensual impressions the objective mind; that is, 
it is the medium between object and subject. It is 
developed by observation and experience. 

A suggestion is in no way different from an impres- 
sion, though we use the latter more frequently as 
indicating an objective, material source. A mental 
or an inspirational suggestion must be interpreted in 
sensible terms, i.e., in terms of sense, no less than the 
objective impressions. We may call the ftmction 
of the brain which interprets these inspirational sug- 
gestions the subjective mind, that is, it is the medium 
between spirit and subject. 

As I said before, each suggestion or impression, from 
whatever source, may be interpreted to consciousness 
either inductively by concrete reasoning (objective 
mind), or deductively by abstract reasoning (subject- 
ive mind) . I see no reason for thinking that the objective 
mind and subjective mind are ftmctions of two different 
entities. The inductive process, taking more time 
and energy, undoubtedly requires more machinery, 
and a larger part of the brain dedicated to practical 
reason may be used especially in that process. We may 
arrive at the solution of a problem algebraically or 
arithmetically; the true answer will be the same in 
either case. If a question be suggested, the true 
answer would be the same, whether by the process of 
deduction or induction. That the answers do not always 
agree shows that the process of interpretation is faulty. 
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. 

368 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

When the algebraical, deductive method will work, it 
is quicker, less liable to error, and wiU give answers 
to questions incapable of solution by the other method. 
But as most of us are still ignorant as yet, we must use 
the more laborious, arithmetical, inductive method, 
arriving at conclusions by the slow process of concrete 
reason. If the two processes were by two separate 
entities, there would be no relation. But the correct- 
ness of the perception by the deductive method depends 
in most cases on the development or ability of the brain 
to interpret by the inductive method. Were this not 
so, there would be no necessity for getting learning 
and developing reason in order to acquire knowledge. 

I have rather strained the ordinary use of the term 
"deduction" in making it cover the idea of intuition. 
But there cdUld not possibly be a consciousness of an 
intuition without deduction or induction, for, as stated 
before, a single thing has absolutely no meaning until 
related to some other thing. And this relating is a 
function of the brain which always acts deductively or 
inductively, or, it might be said, either philosophically 
or scientifically. 

The more one depends on the inductive power of 
concrete reason, the less dependence there is on the 
deductive power of abstract reason. This, by no 
construction means that the more knowledge, the less 
faith. The more knowledge, the more there is which we 
know that we know not, and on gaining perceptions of 
the unknown, we may be guided in our actions resulting 
from inspiration and aspiration, either by faith or by 

So long as people act by faith alone, there will be 
many cases of misplaced confidence. So long as people 
act by reason alone, there will be but little progress. Of 

Faith 369 

the two, I would prefer faith; of the two, I am prone to 
act by reason. Scepticism is not pleasant, but it 
seems necessary. 

Faith can have its greatest reward only when founded 
on truth. What is truth? When we know that we 
are not walking by faith but by knowledge. Is there 
no infallible guide to right? No answer to prayer so 
plain that there is no chance to err? To the average 
man I would say emphatically, "No," for the average 
man is not normal. It sounds queer, but you must 
admit that correctness is the normal state, though it 
may not be the usual state. Perfect health is the nor- 
mal physical state, but few enjoy it. To the drunkard 
or glutton, the appetite is not a correct guide to physical 
needs. To the moral pervert or fanatic, the conscience is 
not a correct guide. When the body is normally healthy, 
appetite is a suitable guide. When the brain is normally 
healthy, the conscience is a suitable guide. And when 
body and brain are normally healthy, and one is con- 
scious of an aspiration and an inspiration, then, when 
there is a contest between faith in the Desire and the 
reason for not following it, which shall decide? I say 
(and it reaUy does so in most cases) let Fear decide. 
This may seem queer to say : when between the Devil 
(Pear) and the Deep Sea (reason) to allow the Devil 
to decide. But, remember, in the normal, Force is 
controlled by Power. Fear is controlled by Desire. 
Force and Fear are necessary; they have their place 
and their work. Fear, in the beginning, is used as a 
signal of danger, and, in a perfectly normal state, might 
be a safety stop. You avoid the road which you fear 
the most. 

As knowledge gives more reason, and as one gets 
more faith in the value of inspiration, it might seem that 

370 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the chance of error would be greater, but I conceive the 
opposite to be the case. For each time the right path 
is chosen, the chances are less for taking the wrong 
one the next time. In other words, the more we util- 
ize this deductive part of the faculty of perception, 
the more nearly correct will be the interpretation of 

Excuse me for taking so many words to say so little. 
All this was expressed in a few words two thousand 
years ago, when Paul said, "But, strong meat belongeth 
to them of full age, even those who, by reason of use, 
have their senses exercised to discern both good and 
evil." I think many moons ago man might have 
attained to an age when he was ready for meat had he 
exercised his senses to discern good and evil instead of 
asking the priest, or looking in the Bible, or going to 
the Lord in prayer. 

When I started this chapter on Faith, I intended to 
consider it in its physical and mental aspects, but I 
got into the more important spiritual aspect, and the 
inspirational or religious aspect may have so many 
interminable ramifications that I always move in danger 
of getting far from the original subject. 

The effect of faith is not simply conscious perception, 
or concept of the Ego; it reacts on mind and body 
(mental and physical conditions). "If thou have faith 
as a grain of mustard seed, thou mayest say unto this 
mountain, 'Be removed,' and it would be removed." 
I have seen a granite rock, weighing many tons, that 
had been split three feet apart by the faith of a seed. 
Year after year the towering elm forces farther apart 
the sides of the immense rock. Suppose one had never 
seen this or similar restdts. Given a little seed; in 
the seed, a desire to gain to fuU perfection its charac- 

Faith 371 

teristic form; a cleft in the rock only wide enough to 
contain the seed; an aspiration to grow; but look at the 
impossible conditions ! Were you conscious of such a 
position, would you allow faith or reason to decide 
the possible result? Scientists who have viewed this 
tree say, "Wonderful, but all from natural forces." 
So are all results of faith from natural causes, but the 
point is, to have the faith when you can see no natural 
cause to bring about the desired result. Comparing 
the size of the man to the size of the seed, were his 
faith in the same proportion, what would be the size 
of the mountain he might remove? Christ concluded 
the sentence by saying, "and nothing shall be impos- 
sible to you. " Is it well for me to dispute it? 

I have said that conditions limit Desire. I also 
asked to what extent we may change conditions. In 
answering this I will say I believe that faith is far more 
able than reason to change conditions. Faith may fail 
a million times, but if it succeeds once in accomplishing 
the apparently unreasonable, it has done more than 
reason, for reason wotdd not have made the attempt. 
Of course, I mean the person acting by faith or reason. 
I wiU make some practical applications. In medical 
jurisprudence, I venttu"e to say that more discoveries 
and restilts have been derived from the unforeseen 
termination of experiments than from the facts that 
were inductively perceived by reason and afterward 
demonstrated. More cases of an obscure nature are 
treated by faith in the remedies (experiments) than are 
treated by a knowledge of what correctly applies. In 
other words, in advancing into the unknown, there is 
usually more of faith than of reason. 

When a subject has been told by the hypnotist that 
his arm is paralyzed, the arm is paralyzed, To every 

372 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

physical test, there is paralysis of the arm. Were the 
suggestion enforced, the arm would continue in that 
condition of helplessness and finally shrivel from non- 
use. This is a physical result following a mental 
impression. The brain was conditioned so that the 
reason was restrained, confidence gained, and the 
suggestion received, not only by the consciousness of 
the Ego but by the consciousness of the atoms con- 
trolling the organ affected. They all believe the sug- 
gestion. They have faith that the impression is true. 
BeUeving that it is useless to act, they will not, cannot 
act. Reverse the conditions. Suppose a person's 
arm to be paralyzed from a shock, and the impression 
was so permanent as to cause the controlling atoms to 
refuse to act, and then suppose some person could gain 
their confidence, and, through restraint of reason, 
suggest that apparently impossible idea, that the arm 
could move. The belief in the suggestion, and the faith 
that it could be done, allowed, in the abeyance of 
reason, the effort to be made and the arm moved. 
Call it suggestion, hypnotism, mental therapeutics, 
faith, or a miracle. So far as known, the process is 
the same. 

How most medicines act is not known. In rare 
instances are they mechanical in their action; in but 
few instances is the chemical action to be traced and its 
reaction identified. In most cases, it seems that certain 
drugs make an impression that is interpreted so as to 
cause a certain action of the organ affected. These 
actions are known by empirical means. No ca^se can 
be given for the effect. Could the same impression be 
given mentally, the result would be the same. It is 
well known that the action and reaction of the mental 
and physical are pronounced. That the mental atti- 

Faith 373 

tude has great influence over the physical condition 
is a phase of faith that is well illustrated by a prominent 
sect. Where faith can act, it is a most valuable cure. 
Are there cases where conditions prevent the action of 
faith? I think so. But I have said that I suffer from 
a moiety of reason. Faith seems to be essential in 
the various phenomena called psychic. I have said 
the perceptions of the Ego were physical, mental, and 
inspirational, as they originated from the body (physi- 
cal), brain (mental), or Desire (spiritual).. One function 
of the brain is to interpret the various impressions in 
sensible terms. The attitude of the mind is according 
to the method of use. If it is called to interpret music, 
it is apt to do it better if it has had frequent use for 
that purpose. If it interprets by reason, it may give a 
different answer than if it interprets by a fixed rule, 
or by impulse, or by chance. If there be prejudice, it 
cannot be just. At present, conditions compel prejudice. 

The only difference I am able to give in the phases 
of faith expressed as confidence, or as credulity, is that 
one is well placed and the other misplaced. To one 
person, you may appear as a man of great faith; to 
another, you may appear as a poor, credulous fool. 
I had rather be called a poor, crediolous fool than to 
have no faith in anything and no confidence in any one. 
There is truth, and there is righteousness. Blessed are 
they who have their faith rightly placed. 

I have not answered the question, how far can faith 
influence conditions; for I do not know. I can say this 
without fear of dispute, that all the improved conditions 
for which man hopes will be realized only by faith and 
works, and if aU the faith and works were rightly 
placed, conditions would change so quickly that it 
would weU be called a miracle. Men do not agree as 

374 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

to what is of paramount importance, — economic or 
moral conditions. I think perfection in one would 
necessitate perfection in the other. I also think that 
under the present economic conditions, no one can be 
morally perfect. From this I infer that, at present, the 
improvement of economic conditions is of paramount 
importance. Few doubt that economic conditions 
might be improved. There are many plans and plat- 
forms, but apparently little chance for agreement. It 
would seem to me that the best chance for an agreement 
would be on a plan that would meet with the least 
opposition ; a plan that permitted, instead of compelled. 
In the following chapter I will give an outline of the 
kind of economic plan that I suggest. In the succeeding 
chapters, I will enlarge on the present and probable 
futvure conditions of man. 



THE failure to make a success of business is, in most 
cases, I believe, due more to the economic fal- 
lacies of our present business system than to the lack 
of ability in the individual. 

The saying, "competition is the life of trade," is 
being recognized by the capitalists as an economic 
fallacy. They are therefore ceasing their competition 
and are combining their mutual interests. 

The reason the mass of the people do not see that 
co-operation is better than competition is because they 
believe that each or any one of them has a chance to 
succeed in business and to secure an income sufficient 
to support him in his declining years. Now, certainly 
not more than one fourth of the people succeed by any 
kind of labor or business in securing an income that 
will support them without labor. Every person does 
not have that chance, but some few have it, and each 
one in his ignorance of the future fondly imagines 
that by merit or luck he may be one of those who suc- 
ceed. But state it another way. Seventy-five per 
cent, of the people will absolutely fail in gaining an 
independent income, i.e., in being supported in affluence 
by the labor of others. If a majority of the people 
realized that they were included in this number, would 


376 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

it be imagining too much to think they would formulate 
a plan whereby the results of labor would have a more 
eqioitable distribution? 

There is an ethical difference between a profitable 
exchange and the profit of exchange. The latter, the 
profit system, the desire to advance by the labor of 
others, to gain something beyond an exact equivalent, 
is the basis of our economic laws, and the belief of the 
majority that they will eventually be among the ones 
profited continues those laws in effect. 

The successftil tell how to succeed, but the advice is 
fallacious, for it is meant for exceptional and not 
general application. "Never go in debt, but save all 
you can, putting your money where it will bring inter- 
est, " is a specimen of the advice. In the first place, 
if each one savbd all he could, there would be a universal 
disaster to various kinds of industries ; and in the second 
place, if no one went in debt, who would pay interest 
on the money saved? 

Another says, "Invest all you can borrow, so your 
brains will make it yield a larger profit than the interest 
you pay. " Probably this advice has been followed to a 
successful issue in more cases than the other, but the 
number of failures show that something is lacking to 
make the advice infallible. 

The man who invests his money is considered more 
meritorious than the man who spends his money. Any 
one who spends his first thousand dollars beyond the ne- 
cessities of life for any other purpose than to make more 
money is called a spendthrift and fool. The one who 
invests it at five per cent, has, in twenty years, two 
thousand dollars, and in forty years four thousand 
dollars, three fourths of which he has not produced, 
but he is spoken of in terms of respect. He is a capital- 

Equity 377 

ist. They say: "He has made his money earn more 
money." But this is another fallacious saying, for 
money cannot earn money. 

Otir civilization necessitates our production being 
carried on by accumulated labor in the shape of machin- 
ery, manufacturing plants, etc., which we call invested 
capital, of which money simply represents the exchange 
value. The capitalist trades on this necessity to obtain 
a portion of the new production, which he himself had 
no part in producing. 

It is said that the capitalist, the mantifacturer, is 
a public benefactor, that he gives employment to thou- 
sands of laborers, but if the capitalist and his millions 
were annihilated, laborers would continue to produce 
and Uve. The manufacturer claims that it is his 
brains, his management, that makes the capital produc- 
tive; but the expense account is charged with interest 
on investment, as well as with the services of the pro- 
prietor, if actively engaged, at a salary which equals 
his brain worth in any other institution, and if the 
balance sheet does not show a profit in addition to all 
this, he thinks the business has been a failure. 

In most large corporations many of the stockholders 
have no knowledge of the business whatever. The 
largest stockholders are frequently officers on Hberal 
salaries, but they seldom conduct the business. There 
are managers, overseers, engineers, etc., who have the 
technical knowledge necessary to conduct the business, 
but they are working for wages because their earlier 
earnings went toward getting this technical knowledge, 
and then their later earnings are spent in enjoying, as 
best they may, this small part of the fruits of then- 

A few of the animals have the faculty of accumula- 

378 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

tion, though none but humans use such accumulations 
as a means whereby other animals are forced to support 
them. Certain men have this faculty of accumulation, 
and conditions cause this accumulation to become 
necessary to others, thus enabling them to levy an 
unrighteous, though legal, tax, which is called interest. 
We also have a system of distribution whereby is 
extorted the commonly considered legitimate "profit 
of exchange." In addition to these taxes are the 
extra expenses, which the competitive method has 
placed on all industries, but which have ultimately to be 
borne by the laborer. One object of trust organization 
is, by escaping these expenses, to lower the cost of 
production and exchange, but the power which enables 
the combiners to do this, also makes them able to put 
this saving in their own pockets, instead of allowing the 
producer or consumer to have the benefit. 

The laborer says, "competition is the life of trade," 
and wants to "bust the trust, " but he does not believe 
that competition in labor improves the life of the 
laborer. Not long ago laborers fought against the 
introduction of labor-saving machinery. It came in 
competition with them. It threw them out of work. 
But the fight was useless. Inventions multiplied, and 
gradually the laborer saw he was benefited thereby. 
Even if the benefits are unequally divided between the 
machine and the man, between capital and labor, yet 
the laborer is better off. 

Power saved is equal to so much power discovered. 
If natural power exists, we think it ought to be utilized, 
even if it does come in competition with horse-power or 
man-power, but the laborer does not want all the man- 
power utilized. He opposes the laborers of other 
countries. He even antagonizes his fellow-laborers 

Equity 379 

here. The labor platform proposes to support all 
convicts in idleness, for fear they will come in com- 
petition with other laborers ; as logically only one mem- 
ber of a family should be permitted to work for the 
support of an entire family, in order to prevent the 
other wage-earners in that family from coming in 
competition with families containing but one wage- 

Another fallacy is the idea that the law of supply 
and demand is superior to conditions, an immutable 
law, which man is powerless to modify. This law, now, 
has nothing in common with the many wants and 
Hmited gratification of the mass of the people. It is 
true that usually the price of the supply is influenced 
by its ratio to demand, but only those who have money 
are in a position to demand. A thousand starving 
families without money cause no fluctuation in the 
market. Demand is the bear of the market, and supply 
is the bull of the market, but there is no fixed law by 
which the price is graded or governed according to any 
ratio of supply to demand. When the ratio of supply 
is less, the price is just as high as the bulls can boost it, 
which is close to the figiure which the highest buyer wUl 
give. When the ratio of supply is greater than the 
demand, the price is just as low as the bears can bring 
it, which is close to the figures for which the lowest 
supply will sell. There is no fixed schedule of fluctua- 
tion, but each side takes every advantage the conditions 
allow, no matter how foreign they may be to the needs 
of the people; therefore, the extremes of the market 
are far greater than the actual difference in cost of the 
supplies would warrant. 

Trusts are to some degree able to control and prevent 
these fluctuations, but the ability of monoplies to buy 

38o An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

at their own price and sell at a price which they con- 
sider profitable, is believed by some people to be a 
dangerous power, and they wish it destroyed by law, 
but the law did not confer that power nor can it destroy 
it, unless it also has the right and power to prevent 
any two men from going into a partnership. 

Experience has demonstrated that trusts cannot be 
suppressed. Nor do I believe it desirable to go back 
to the old competitive methods. The trusts are a 
step in the ultimate, complete co-operation of manjcind. 
If the laborer and producer could adopt their methods, 
they ought to have the advantage, for capital cannot 
create labor, while labor is the creator of capital. 

The laborer should realize that three fourths of his 
class has absolutely no chance of living, excepting by 
their own labor. And that imder existing economic 
conditions they not only support themselves but the 
other one fourth who live on incomes from capital, and 
also a large proportion of the actual laborers who are 
engaged in unproductive labor or work, useless under a 
co-operative method. If laborers realized this and 
would co-operate under a plan that would give each one 
an equitable proportion of the products, it seems plain 
that they would be better off. 

AU competition or co-operation should be to benefit 
* the many, not to gain an advantage over the many; 
yet credit is given to the man who gains an advantage 
and lives off his fellow-man. A righteous plan would not 
interfere directly with property rights, nor radically 
change existing laws, but wotild enable the laborer to co- 
operate, and become less dependent on the capitalist. 

The essential is to obtain an equitable distribution 
of the products. The following propositions seem like 
axioms: (i) Co-operative production and distribution 

Equity 381 

are essential to our present and future civilization. 
(2) The greater the proportion of producers, including 
the necessary distributors, to the total population, the 
greater may be the production. (3) The greater the 
production, the greater (ought to be) the wealth and 
prosperity of the whole people. Probably no one will 
contradict the first proposition. We may also accept 
the second proposition, but we are doing all we can to 
repudiate and nullify it. Instead of trying to increase 
the niimber of producers by becoming or remaining one, 
we are each trying to reach the point where we can 
have an income: that is, live off the labor of others. 
The third proposition seems Hke a logical conclusion 
from the other two, but it is contradicted by experience. 
In spite of the idea that the truly great man is he who 
makes two spears of grass grow where only one grew 
before, a financial panic would result if he should double 
the grain crop for two consecutive years. But whom 
or what could we blame, the great man, a bountiful 
nature, or our present economic laws of exchange? 

It is acknowledged that our present plans of pro- 
duction and exchange are not equitable. Theories have 
been offered to remedy it, but most of them are too 
radical or too complex. Co-operation of laborers in 
commimities has accomplished a limited success, but 
the trials have always lacked the items necessary to a 
general success. There has usually been an absence 
of individual right in receipts and expenditures, and 
the presence of a chance for dishonesty among the 
leaders; but chiefly a limited co-operation gives no such 
advantage as is gained by a trust or monopoly. 

The following plan of co-operation in distribution is 
submitted. The enactment of a law would be necessary, 
but in its simple passage there would be no need of 

382 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

radical change of existing laws. The effect would 
depend wholly on the advantage labor might have 
under the law, of which these should be the main 
features : 

When a stated number of people shall petition the 
government, there may be established an exchange in 
such locality, and with such a manager as may be 
selected by the petitioners. 

The manager shall be provided with sufficient scrip, 
amply protected from counterfeit, to be given in pay- 
ment for all products; market price to govern, but 
modified by an estimate of time and intrinsic value.' 
This scrip shall be redeemable with products through 
any exchange at a sufficient advance in price to cover 
rtmning expenses of exchange {i.e., cost of distribution). 

In case of foreclosures, bankruptcies, failures, etc., 
of any firm or corporation in any line of business, the 
assets shall be turned into the nearest exchange, and 
the market value of same shall be paid to the creditors 
in scrip. When one of the larger interests fail, a receiver 
shall be elected to conduct the business the same as 
though he were manager of an exchange. 

The products of all jails, reformatories, workhouses, 
penitentiaries, etc., shall be turned into the most con- 
venient exchange, the scrip therefor to be redeemed 
by the exchange with supplies to be used for the 
institution, and the surplus to be paid out proportion- 
ately to prisoners on the expiration of their sentence. 

All real estate placed in charge of an exchange, also 

' The essential diflference between this idea and Owen's "Eqiu table 
Bank of Labor Exchange" is that in this exchange "market value" 
must govern, which would be following the natural law of supply and 
demand. Owen and Weitling each endeavored to compel exchange on 
the basis of time cost of production, or ' ' labor value. ' ' Many Socialistic 
theories involve the fallacious idea embraced. in this latter plan. 

Equity 383 

government lands not otherwise used, shall be rented 
for scrip at a low rate on its estimated value. 

Upon application and payment of pro-rata share 
on actual cost, insurance shall be given against loss 
by fire, water, wind, or lightning, accident or sickness, 
and to support actual dependents in case of death or 
disability of supporter. 

The anticipated results of such a plan would be a 
perfect co-operation of exchange at actual cost of 
distribution. Such a combination would eliminate the 
profits of the middlemen. It would tend to make the 
producer independent of the capitalist. There would 
be a great saving in the cost of distribution by elimina- 
ting advertising expenses, duplicate and excessive 
stores, superfluous clerks, soliciting agents, drtimmers, 
etc., necessary to competition, and the excessive rents 
occasioned by rivalry for choice location, also a saving 
on interest, taxes, licence, insurance, salaries, etc. 
There would be, in fact, all the advantages that the 
present trusts and monopolies confer without their 
disadvantages. It would make the laborer a partner 
instead of a competitor. 

Under the present plan, the greater the production, 
the lower the price, which usually restilts in a loss 
instead of a gain; but with an equitable system of 
exchange the more one produced, the more one would 
have. There wotild be a greater incentive to produc- 
tion. Co-operation of producers would naturally follow, 
not to limit production, as combines do at present, 
but as a mutual benefit to increase production. Pro- 
duction would not slack imtil every want was supplied; 
then more time would be taken to enjoy the benefits 
tmtil recreation and labor balanced. 

There would be less chance for dishonesty. Though 

384 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

the scrip would be negotiable, it should not be legal 
tender as an equivalent for currency, or interest bearing. 
With the insurance feature there would be no need of 
hoarding money. It would allow the same individual 
preference as now in the matter of spending or accumu- 
lating. The accumulation either as personal property 
or as working capital would be beneficial, but it would 
not give the compelling advantage that it does at 
present. This plan would not be paternalism. It is 
simply a method to give producers a chance co- 
operatively to exchange independently of capitalists. 
As in the case of other monoplies, it would cause the 
failure of other institutions, which would under the 
law become part of the new scheme. It would be but 
a question of time until all laborers and productive 
enterprises would be included in this monopoly. 

One essential point in this plan is its relation to 
bankrupts. It would not be unconstitutional or in- 
volve the taking of property for public use without 
rendering due equivalent. The creditor need not 
force the assignment, but if he should do so, he would 
have the option of taking the assets, less the commission, 
as at present; or as a just compensation he would get 
scrip, which would make the assets equal a like amount 
of any other commodity, but this would no more be 
legal tender than the goods assigned. It is not the 
payment of the debt, for bankruptcy acknowledges the 
inability to pay the debt. 

The bond and stockholders of railroads or of 
semi-public corporations which might be forced into 
receivers' hands, or voluntarily placed in the exchange, 
would be paid according to actual value of residue of 
property, and it would be run for twenty years at five 
per cent, additional to actual cost. The property would 

Equity 385 

then belong to the exchange and become the working 
capital of the people, under their government. The 
scrip given in pajment thereof would caU for commodi- 
ties from the exchange until it had all been absorbed 
by producers, and then the original holders of bonds 
and stock would have to become producers. Labor 
would cease to pay income to capital. Capitalists 
would have the return of their principal, but no more, 
nor are they entitled to more. Though this gives 
the debtor an equal advantage, it repudiates no moral 
obligations. It gives the creditor his pound of flesh 
without permitting him to take the heart's blood. 
This is one method of obtaining government ownership 
of public utilities. 

Actual government laborers might be permitted to 
exchange their wages to a limited extent for scrip, 
and the money thus obtained would pay for the neces- 
sary transportation between exchanges until such 
time as the transportation lines would take scrip or 
until they became part of the exchange system. Ulti- 
mately all government work would be carried on from 
the commissions deducted as a part of the expense for 
labor necessary to distribution and exchange. This 
would eliminate the intermediate profits and much of 
the expense necessitated by oiu: present system of 
exchange, taxes, and legal tender. 

Instead of having labor and its products both on the 
supply side, it would put labor on the demand side. 
At first there would, no doubt, be some discrepancy in 
quality and quantity of supply to demand, but under 
more equal liberty to demand, it could not work any- 
thing like the inconvenience or irregularity that it 
does at present. I have seen acres of potatoes lying 
undug on account of low prices, with farmers lacking 


386 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

shoes ; and at the same time the shoe factories shut down 
on account of a glutted market, the laborers idle and 
wanting potatoes. Nothing as bad or foolish could be 
possible tmder the equitable exchange system. 

Co-operation of a varied class of producers would be 
necessary at first to form a complete stock. The cost 
of production based on time, trouble, and talent, could 
in a comparatively short time be determined, and a 
greater equality in price would natiiraUy result. The 
compensation of the distributors could be arranged in 
the same way. Shortage on production from unpre- 
ventable cause, not covered by other insurance, could 
be compensated according to the present plan of 
average when goods are jettisoned. Or by a mutual 
insurance and sale of futures there would be a purely 
mutual gain or loss by good or poor crops. 

The smaU per cent, of gain of one line of production 
over another would hardly influence the supply to such 
a degree as at present, where competition plays such a 
disturbing part. One can hardly imagine over-pro- 
duction for some time to come, when one sees how great 
a want there is at present for the necessities of life; and 
when these are supplied there is inexhaustible Art, 
Literattu'e, and Travel to be suppUed to those who now 
hardly dream of such things as possibilities. 

Wlien trusts and monopolies shall have closed the 
channels to individual advancement, and the mass sees 
that it wUl be virtually impossible to get into the class, 
some change wiU be made. This exchange plan with 
its results or something equivalent must appeal to all 
who are not dishonest enough to want to Uve by the 
labor of others without giving equitable return. 

One great advantage to be gained is, by making the 
laborer feel assured of a living, to eliminate the constant 

Equity 387 

fear of being thrown out of work. It does not seem 
likely that man is created so his life must be given 
solely to supporting its physical necessities, yet the 
life of the majority of men is so spent, and is often 
troubled with fear that even that scant measure of 
success will not continue. It seems as though the 
necessities of life should be provided as surely and 
almost as automatically as the air we breathe, leaving 
sufl^ent time to devote to the actual objects of life 
whenever in the futtue we may determine what these 
purposes are. 

The Society of Equity, it seems, contemplates bringing 
about vdtim^tely a condition imder which there will 
be a more equitable distribution. 

Equity among men is essential to a perfect manhood, 
and reaUy we must make some effort to attain to the 
measure of the Golden Rule before we may expect to 
receive other inspirations guiding us to a knowledge of 
the glorious age to come. 

Let us co-operate to obtain greater .economic free- 
dom in order that we may have more liberty to follow 
our Highest Desire. 



LIBERTY is freedom to follow and utilize a self- 
enforcing law. Any natural law is a self-en- 
forcing or rather a spontaneously-enforcing law. 

The term law has several definitions. I have criti- 
cised the use of the phrase, "law of gravitation," as a 
cause. We Taiow, or suppose we know, what the 
law of gravitation is, but we do not know what attrac- 
tion is. Therefore, when we say that bodies faU toward 
each other "on account of," instead of "according 
to," the law of gravitation, we assume to know what the 
cause is. 

There is a tendency to use modes of expression which 
convey the impression that the cause of phenomena is 
known. The cause of phenomena is unknown except 
so far as it may be conceived through its manifestation 
as phenomena. The cause of inspiration is unknown 
except so far as it may be known through the percep- 
tions of the inspirations. 

Law is a description or definition of a mode of motion, 
action, or conduct. Spontaneous motions and actions 
are grouped under various definitions and descriJDed as 
natural laws. These laws are usually expressed as 
statements. Actions and conduct, which are to a 
greater degree artificial, are grouped tmder various 


Liberty 389 

definitions and inscribed as statute laws. These laws 
are usually expressed as commands or commandments. 
Our perceptions and conceptions of law are usually 
that it is a command that must be enforced, and action 
and conduct coerced to comply with the command. 
Similarly we assume that the natural law is a command 
given to matter by an external God, whereby its motions 
are to be coerced (mechanically) in a definite manner. 
I think we will be nearer correct if we reverse the as- 
sumption. Let us assume that according to its Desire, 
the Power moves in its materialization and acts in its 
manifestation in such a definite maimer that we, by 
observation and inspiration, are able to describe their 
motions and actions and express them in statements 
which we term laws of nature, or natiu-al laws. We 
may also suppose that the actions and conduct of the 
higher forms must, to manifest properly the Higher 
Desire, be definite and bear some specific relation one 
to another. These limitations we, by observation and 
inspiration, perceive, describe, and express as commands 
to be enforced for the good of one and all. 

That there is a definite relation between certain parts 
of Power and their movements (planetary motions) 
is of comparatively recent discovery. That the natural 
law, which is supposed to be confined to the physical 
world, extends into the spiritual world is a recent 
statement received more as a romance than as a fact. 

If the same Desire instigates the various forms of 
motion, action, and conduct, and if the forms of motion, 
i.e., natural phenomena, can be grouped and described, 
and their relation expressed as natural laws, I think 
it logically follows that the various forms of action and 
conduct can be grouped and described and their re- 
lations expressed as natural laws. On account of their 

390 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

manifold complexities, action and conduct are not so 
definite in their relations as are the motions, but the 
commands or statutes to which action and conduct are 
supposed to conform are just and righteous in the 
proportion to which they conform to the natural laws. 

Motion, action, and conduct, I assume, are always to 
satisfy Desire. Desire, by a co-operation of its various 
parts, is ever seeking through more complex or higher 
forms to be gratified with a greater degree of satisfaction. 
This Desire is the self-enforcing principle in the evolu- 
tion of form. Self-enforcing does not mean instan- 
taneously-enforcing. If it did, motion, action, and 
conduct would all be absolutely automatic. 

The diversity of individual Desires occasions conflict, 
and the hindjance which one Desire may occasion 
another gives a certain latitude to the motions, action, 
and conduct. This latitude increases according to the 
complexity of form. A specific action may represent 
the aggregate latitude of a great aggregate of motions, 
and the latitude of conduct may represent the aggregate 
latitude of an aggregate of actions. This latitude I 
will term license. 

License is the freedom to depart from a self-enforcing 
law. Liberty is limited by artificial laws. License is 
limited by self -enforcing or natural laws. 

We admit that Power exists : we assume that it is 
atomic in its structure : we state that by motion it is 
manifest. ' The simplest motion that could be made 
would be that of two atoms moving toward each other 
in a straight line. An aggregate of such motions 
within a given space would be manifest as density; or 
relating the atoms in one part of the space to the atoms 
in the other, the relations would be manifest as weight. 
These motions are manifest only through their resis- 

Liberty 391 

tance to some exterior motion. Resistance is a natural 
law of the manifestation of motion. 

This resistance we may overcome and there will be 
in this given space less density and less weight. But we 
have not overcome or annihilated the Power which had 
been manifest within that space. The decreased den- 
sity in the given space necessitates an increased density 
in some other space. The decrease in the relative 
weight necessitates an increase in some other relative 
weight. The mass remains the same. We assume that 
the Power is persistent in its attraction. Persistence 
of motion is another natural law. 

If it is demonstrated that any material has only the 
attribute of density and weight, we would have to 
acknowledge that Power could be manifest as a single 
and separate entity, but I am not aware of any material 
but what has other attributes. In the chapter on 
Force I tried to show that material was not solely a 
manifestation of Power. 

If two atoms moving toward each other in a straight 
line should by a resisting Force be stopped in their 
progress, the motion of the Power being persistent, 
there is only one possible way in which this motion 
cotild exist. That motion is as rotation. If the atoms 
were deflected in their progress, the deflection being 
persistent would necessitate a motion as revolution. 
If this motion of rotation or revolution were simply a 
transformation of the straight line motion, the speed of 
rotation and revolution could be no greater than the 
velocity of the lateral motion. In some material there 
is an energy of motion (insensible and immeasurable, 
often termed latent, which I assume exists as a motion 
of rotation and revolution of its atoms) much greater 
than could be generated by a lateral velocity of the 

392 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

mass. Therefore, I assume that this greater energy, 
or excessive motion of rotation or revolution is due to 
the energy of the Force. 

The resistance and persistence of the energy of these 
motions is a natural law. Resistance to a certain 
motion may overcome that specific motion, but it ■wiU 
be thereby transformed into another motion. Force, 
the cause of motion, is persistent. We have assumed 
now a Power which is persistent in its motion and a 
Force which is persistent in its motion. These two 
entities are manifest to each other through their mutual 
resistance. The density and weight, manifestations of 
Power, are overcome in one place and dispersed to an- 
other place by the expansive Force. In that other place 
the excessively large orbit of a revolution is overcome 
and curtailed iDy the attractive Power and its peculiar 
form of motion transformed or dispersed ; that is, there 
is a constant shifting in the relations of Power to Force. 
Assiiming a persistent Power and a persistent Force 
whose forms of motions are mutually resistant, we 
have a self-imposed condition which we might think 
wotdd be extremely chaotic in its manifestation. 
Saying that the condition is self-imposed does not mean 
that it is arbitrarily imposed or could be primarily 
changed. Saying that two and two are four is a self- 
imposed condition and law of mathematics, does not 
mean that there is a God of Arithmetic who has made 
this law and could change it if he wished. There are 
many who believe the condition of sin and suffering 
is imposed, or at least permitted, by an Omnipotent 
God who might in answer to prayer change the con- 
ditions if he would. Because God does not change these 
conditions in answer to prayer many take the advice of 
Job's wife, "Curse God and die." 

Liberty 393 

Under the assumption that Power and Force are 
an unintelligent and unconscious energy, physical only, 
we have no explanation of Being as it is. Under the 
assumption that there is an exterior psychic will or 
law that directs the energy, there is an explanation, 
but the explanation perplexes the intellect of one who is 
sufficiently developed to comprehend its weakness. 
Under the assumption that the Power and Force are 
conscious and intelligent, and are moving in accordance 
with a Desire which is giving to the motions a form of 
ever-increasing complexity, and that it is doing this 
because these higher or complex forms are allowing and 
enabling the Desire to be gratified with an ever-in- 
creasing degree of satisfaction, we have an explanation 
which seems logical in itself, consistent with facts, and 
simple as a conception of Being. 

That the evolution is not more rapid is because the 
conditions prevent, but this does not signify that the 
steps of evolution are equal in length or are taken at 
equal intervals. Observation shows us that in the 
culmination of an action the final motions are more 
rapidly executed than they are in its incipiency; also 
that each successive higher form has been completed in 
relatively less time. From this I draw the conclusion 
that the higher complex forms of organization essen- 
tial to the government of man in his future evolution 
will be perfected in relatively less time than was neces- 
sary for the evolution of any of the present forms of 

The question arises, can evolution be delayed or 
expedited? Defining evolution as an ever-increasing 
complexity of form; and that form is motion, action, 
and conduct; and that motion is persistent and resist- 
ant, — we may conclude that a specific form would be 

394 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

expedited or retarded according to whether in its 
formation it freely followed the Desire or whether it 
was inhibited by Fear. But there may be more in the 
issue. It will depend on whether the parties (atoms or 
man) essential to the forms have liberty to move as 
impelled by Desire, the self-enforcing law. There 
must be not only the willingness to move according to 
the Desire but there must be the energy essential to 
the motion. If a certain amount of energy is essential 
to a specific action and this specific amount of energy 
is used in some other action, it is plain that the specific 
action cannot be performed at that time: that is, that 
the evolution will be delayed. Again, if we contemplate 
a certain action — say, splitting a block of wood — and 
we try to split it across the grain, we delay the action. 
If we are compelled to complete the action by cutting 
across the grain, we have not liberty of action: that is, 
we are not free to utilize a self -enforcing law. 

Desire is always right, the Highest Desire is righteous. 
While it may be true that "whatever is, is right," it 
does not follow that whatever is, is righteous. Fol- 
lowing the Highest Desire is the nattural and shortest 
road of evolution. As stated before, a certain deviation 
from the straight and narrow road is allowed, which 
deviation or latitude we term license. This license is 
limited by the self-enforcing law of Desire, but to the 
exact degree to which we take advantage of license just 
to that degree is the evolution delayed. 

Liberty is not only curtailed by the inhibition of 
Fear, and by artificial laws or comptilsions, and by 
license and the necessities of the lower Desire, but also 
by ignorance or absence of knowledge of how to utilize 
the self-enforcing or nattual laws. The development 
of the various parts of Being, as ordinarily manifest, 

Liberty 395 

we term natural growth. If a specific form persists 
in following a lower Desire or is compelled to refrain 
from following a higher Desire, we say such a condition 
is unnatural. Suppose a specific form had liberty and 
did follow a higher Desire, and had imusual knowledge 
of how to utilize the self-enforcing or natural laws, it 
is certain that we should call many of the actions of 
such a form supernatural. Many of the actions of the 
civilized man to-day would seem supernatural to the 
man of three or four centuries ago, just as many of the 
actions of men diuing the period of the Inquisition 
seem unnatural to the men of to-day. 

By the terms unnatural or supemattu-al actions we 
do not mean actions contrary to or without the natural 
law, but simply actions that are extremely below or 
above the ordinary and usual modes of action essential 
in the development of man. 

If these asstmiptions are true, then in proportion to 
man's Kberty will his actions seem supemattu^al. 
Liberty is essential to a rapid development. The 
development of the various social organizations, reli- 
gious, political, economic, etc., is to a great degree free 
from the material conditions which impose the greatest 
resistance to the development of physical forms. Pear 
is fast failing as a barrier to our gaining the road to 
Uberty. When we realize that neither the permission 
of man nor the sanction of Chturch nor the artificial law 
can make license equal liberty, or the gratification of a 
lower Desire equal the gratification of a higher Desire 
in giving the greatest degree of satisfaction, then we 
will recognize that the proper ftmction of Fear is to 
guard the paths that deviate from the highway of 
liberty to the byways of license. 

When we realize that by acting according to our 

396 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

aspirations and inspirations, we are forming a conduct 
whose character is righteous — ^not essentially because 
the motives and' motions of the conduct are right, but 
because in its formation we are following a Desire whose 
gratification will give us the greatest degree of satis- 
faction — then we will cease to be impressed by the idea 
that we are "giving up the pleastu-es of the world" in 
becoming righteous, but that, on the contrary, we are 
increasing our capacity for enjoyment. When we 
realize this, then instead of saying, "the spirit is willing 
but the flesh is weak," we may say, "the spirit is 
strong and the flesh is willing. " 

It seems obvious that the artificial or written law, 
which the more nearly conforms to the natural law, will 
allow the greater degree of liberty. I will give a few 
specific examples to illustrate the statement. That 
form which man may organize to aid him, whether it 
be a machine, a law, or a society, is best which is the 
most effective with the least degree of responsibility 
to the individual; that is, which curtails least the 
liberties of the man. We see this law enforced through 
the efforts of inventors to make machines to be to as 
great a degree as possible automatic, dispensing with the 
attention of man, relieving him of responsibility and 
increasing his liberty. That the liberty thus gained 
may be immediately curtailed by some other condition 
does not damn the machine or detract from the truth 
of the statement. 

Under the restrictions of partnership law each part- 
ner was responsible for all liabilities, on account of which 
responsibility the business required considerable atten- 
tion of each person connected therewith. This re- 
striction was eliminated under a form of corporate law 
which relieved the individual of all but a limited amount 

Liberty 397 

of responsibility and gave him liberty to diversify his 
investments, also liberty to attend to something else 
other than the details of a specific business. This law 
gave a great advantage to capital. It is freely admitted 
that had it not been for this corporate law, removing 
the restrictions of the partnership law, the wonderful 
industrial organizations and the magnificient utility 
plants would not have developed so rapidly. That the 
advantages and liberty thus gained may have been 
curtailed by other conditions is no proper excuse for 
"busting the trust," or good reason for denying that 
co-operation is a natural and self-enforcing law of 

That the automatic machine originated by man is an 
aid to his liberty is denied by few. That the monopo- 
listic organization of man is an economic aid and a 
natural evolution is being more freely admitted. That 
in spite of these developments the condition of man has 
not improved proportionately to the machine and 
organization is also freely admitted. If not, why not? 
We may agree as to the condition, but as to the remedy 
there is certainly disagreement. We must have liberty : 
to have liberty is to be free to follow and utilize a self- 
enforcing law. We must be free to follow our aspira- 
tions and be free to fully utilize all available power in 
manifesting our inspirations. What hinders us from 
so doing? Some say, human nature. If this were so, 
there would not be much hope of rapid improvement, 
for human nature seems to be much the same the world 
over, and in the present the same as in the past. In- 
stead of blaming nature for our troubles we would 
better blame our ignorance and search for the special 
artificial barrier to our progress. 

We will further illustrate by an instance where we 

398 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

are not following and utilizing a sdf-enforcing law. 
In our system of exchange and distribution we use as a 
medium of exchange what we term money. Money, 
according to our present standard, must, in the first 
place, possess equivalent value; in the second place, be a 
standard of price, and in the third place, be a medium 
of exchange. It is acknowledged impossible for any 
specific thing to possess or successfully fulfil these 
three conditions at one and the same time. It is like 
the sides of a triangle. One side cannot be changed 
without necessitating a change in either one or both the 
other sides. One angle cannot be changed without de- 
stroying the relativeness which previously existed. If 
the equivalent value changes, as it does when the process 
of obtaining gold is cheaper, it changes its relation to 
the standard of price. The fluctuating standard is 
sure to cause a fluctuation of the quantity of the medium 
available and always in the opposite direction to that 
which the situation demands. If two sides of the 
triangle are fitted to the situation, changing the third 
side in an endeavor to also make that side fit will 
immediately upset the other correct relations. 

Suppose between two points we have a transportation 
line with the quantity of vehicles of exchange sufficient 
to transport a normal traffic. If the traffic increases, 
the number of cars (which are the medium of the 
exchange) may not accommodate the traffic, the goods 
are delayed in the process of exchange, traffic is con- 
gested, and business is stagnated. Some shippers may 
through fear or favor get more than their share of the 
cars and thus obtain an advantage. Some may get 
more cars than they can immediately use, but instead of 
allowing some one else the privilege of using them, they 
hoard them, for the chai;ce of loss in not getting the 

Liberty 399 

cars when needed offsets the demurrage (interest) 
paid for keeping the cars on hand. This aggravates 
the congestion of freight and increases the demand for 
cars. The shippers begin bidding against each other 
for the use of the cars, and continue to do so vmtil the 
cost of the transportation is greater than the supposed 
profits of exchange. Some, through inabiUty to bid 
high enough for their cars, are tmable to fill their orders 
or fulfil their obligations. Others, not wishing to fill 
their orders at a loss, cancel their obligations. Thus, 
this transportation panic passes through the well- 
known phases of a financial panic, and in a short time 
cars are idle, awaiting a business which has ceased to 

Is there no way of preventing a periodic occiurence 
of these troubles? The obvious remedy would be to 
have an unlimited supply of cars or medium of exchange. 
This seems impractical in transportation, for cars have 
an equivalent value. But suppose a new transpor- 
tation line was organized which could put on cars of 
practically no equivalent value that would do the work 
of transportation or exchange just as well. Then, as 
there would be no question of supply in time of need 
and no capital invested in cars, there is no question but 
what the new line would be able to command the busi- 
ness. This may not be immediately applicable to 
transportation but it may be applied to the methods of 
exchange. By the use of scrip instead of money of 
intrinsic value, as suggested in the chapter on Equity, 
the Exchange would have an advantage that would 
soon command the business. 

The institution of a corporation law did not compel 
the abandonment of partnership, but under the per- 
mission to do business in that way people were impelled 

400 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

by self-interest to incorporate their business. The 
permission to use a scrip of no intrinsic value would 
relieve people of the responsibility of endeavoring to 
maintain a triangular form of currency whose angles 
are constantly shifting, changing the relations of the 
sides. The equivalent value is fluctuating according 
to cost of production. Silver was demonetized on this 
account. As a standard of price, it is shifting according 
to supply and demand, and locally sometimes doubles 
or halves within a short time (call loans). As a medivun 
of exchange it varies in its available quantity, varying 
always the wrong way for the interest of the producers 
of the products to be exchanged. 

The criticism which would be immediately made to 
the plan of using scrip as a medium of exchange is 
that, as it has no equivalent value, it could not be a 
measure of value (standard of price). But it can meas- 
ure value without being the equivalent of that value. 
We can measure weight on a spring scale, and we can 
measure length with a quadrant, neither measure being 
in any way equivalent to the standard. There is a 
standard yard; a yardstick may be intrinsically equiva- 
lent to the standard, therefore, an acctirate measure 
of a yard, but if yardsticks should be tendered you as a 
medium of exchange for yards of cloth, you might 
realize the paradox of our present monetary system. 

The tmit of our money measure is a dollar and the 
standard dollar is fixed by law as 25.8 grains of gold, 
nine-tenths fine. This is supposed to fix its value, 
making it a "safe and sane" standard. Capitalists 
say if we have a medium of exchange whose value is not 
fixed, we will have chaos in business. Some Socialists 
say we can fix something else as a standard of value 
that will do as well as gold. They are both wrong. 

Liberty 401 

Business does not depend on fixing value. Values 
cannot he fixed, and there is no such thing as an absolute 
value which may bear a fixed relation to other things. 
The endeavor by capitalists or Socialists to have an 
absolute, fixed standard of value is not following and 
utilizing a self -enforcing law, because it is contrary to 
natural law. 

Value must be appraised in three distinct ways, which 
have no fixed relation the one to the others. These vari- 
ous ways exist and no law can prevent their existence 
or make them bear a fixed relation to a single standard. 
I will term these various ways of appraising value: 

(i) Time Value: the cost in time and energy of 
producing a specific thing (equivalent value). 

(2) Intrinsic Value: the worth of the specific thing 
to the user as a source of maintaining life, developing 
mentality, giving pleasure, increasing spirituality, etc. 
(use- value). 

(3) Market Value: the price which a specific thing 
will bring in the market, which is fixed or fluctuates 
according to supply and demand (exchange- value). ] 

No one value can be fixed independent of the other 
for there is an inseparable relation, but not a fixed or 
definite relation. A few illustrations may make this 
idea plain. 

Take, for instance, a bushel of wheat. The time 
value, intrinsic value, and market value might, at a 
given time, be equal. But suppose that the wheat 
becomes weevily : the time value remains the same; the 
intrinsic value decreases, but still may be more than 
nominal, as it cotild be used to make starch or feed 
chickens. But the market value would depend upon 
whether or not there was a demand for it for any such 

402 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

Take two paintings. The time value may be equal, 
the intrinsic value of one may be little and of the other 
very great. Circumstances might be and often are 
such that the one of least intrinsic value would have 
the greatest market value. 

Take a hat in a milliner's window. We will be 
credulous enough to assume that the price card fairly 
represents its time value, intrinsic value, and market 
value. It is sold, and we will hope that the piu-chaser 
got value received. A similar hat is put in its place. 
It remains unsold. Finally we notice a card: "Your 
choice of these $5.00 forms for twenty-five cents. " 
The fashion has changed; the time value and intrinsic 
value are practically the same, but the market value has 
disappeared. No matter how credulous one may have 
been about its 'stipulated values at first, no one would 
be credulous enough to believe that any law could be 
enforced making women give these hats a market 
value such as they had at first. 

Take the old cent that was ploughed up the other day. 
It did not cost a cent in time, its intrinsic value is doubt- 
ful, but its market value is over two hundred dollars. 
Could the law fix its absolute value, or if it did, should 
a written law define which of the numismatists shotild 
have possession? 

But, it may be said, the measure of the value in each 
case, whether much or little, was in dollars and cents, 
and without that standard we would be lost in any 
endeavor to transact business. If there were two 
standard yards and through process of time it was 
discovered that one standard was only half that of 
the other, most people would try to buy by the long 
standard, and sell by the short standard, and this would 
occasion more or less confusion. This was the condition 

Liberty 403 

when we had the silver and gold double standard, there- 
fore one of the standards was eliminated. That the 
people were nearly evenly divided as to which of the 
standards should be chosen shows that many did not 
believe that a specified equivalent value of the dollar 
was essential to transact business. But, it may be 
said, they agreed that there should be some standard, 
some absolute value to the real dollar. 

How many times have you ever taken the trouble 
to exchange your currency for real money? How many 
times have you ever known of its being done solely 
for the purpose of having the real gold doUar instead 
of the ideal paper dollar? How many times is it ever 
done in practical business? So seldom that we might 
say never. Between nations there is still a certain 
fetish of fear which compels the balance to be paid in 
gold, but the gold used is not money. It is not counted 
or treated as money, but as a commodity. It is weighed, 
analyzed, and priced at its market or exchange value. 
"The stamp which makes the dollar good the world 
over" cuts no figure with another nation nor anywhere 
else except in financial fiction. The capitalizing stamp 
can no more fix the value of a dollar and prevent the 
fluctuation of the value of the gold under it, than a 
Socialistic ukase can fix the value of a bushel of wheat 
and prevent its fluctuation. 

I think that from the illustrations given (which are 
only samples of many that might be given, each one 
differing from the other in some respect) it may be 
seen that the market or exchange value will fluctuate, 
and that it is fixed only at the time of the exchange by 
the natural law of supply and demand. The natural 
law of supply and demand is the only factor which can 
fix an exchange price. That the natural supply is some- 

404 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

times curtailed and the price increased, and that some- 
times the supply is increased and the price curtailed ; 
that the natural demand is sometimes unnaturally 
limited and the price decreased, or that it is some- 
times abnormally developed and the price increased, 
does not affect the statement that the supply and 
demand are the deciding factors as to the basis of an 
exchange. Any law which endeavors to fix an arbi- 
trary basis of exchange will curtail our liberty. We 
can enhance our liberty by in aU ways possible becom- 
ing free to follow and utilize this self -enforcing law of 
supply or demand. 

I conceive the first step toward this freedom is to 
make the medium of exchange free. That may be 
done by allowing those who wish it the privilege of 
exchanging their labor freely, not troubled by being 
compelled to use a medium of exchange which has an 
equivalent value so great that sometimes its interest 
is more than the profit of exchange, causing the dis- 
tributer to refuse to trade, congesting business, and 
paralyzing the producer; but by being allowed to use a 
scrip of no time value (costing little), though given 
a protection equal to that given to currency. This 
scrip would be simply a medium of exchange and a 
measurer of value. It would have no absolute value 
and could give no value to the supply. Values are 
given by the demand. As a measurer of value, or as 
a medium of exchange, the scrip could not fluctuate, 
being unlimited in supply. Therefore, the measurer 
and the medium would have a fixed relation in the 
scrip, which would be impossible if it also had eqttiva- 
lent value. If trade were relieved of the periodic and 
local stringency in the money market, then the process 
of exchange and distribution would continue more 

Liberty 405 

nearly the average and there would not be the inequali- 
ties in transportation that there are under the present 

The currency of our country and even the bonds are 
supposed to be redeemable in gold, and it is asserted 
that this redeemability is what maintains its value as 
money. In times of panic we know that gold is at a 
premium. Suppose that every one who had currency 
or mattired bonds should at a stated time demand 
gold? What would be the price of a gold dollar? If 
the demand was imperative, and it should be satisfied 
pro rata, one gold dollar might redeem a ten-dollar bill 
or possibly a one-hundred-dollar bond (I do not know 
the exact relation), but we all know that the cturency 
of this or any other cotmtry is not redeemable in gold 
excepting when the demand does not exceed the supply. 
It is obvious that this is a self-enforcing law. The 
producers should be free to follow and utilize this 
self -enforcing law by having a scrip plentiful enough 
to represent and redeem anything which may be 
produced and not be limited to the amount propor- 
tionate to the part which it is supposed may actually 
demand to be redeemed in gold. 

Currency redeemable in gold? Why, you cannot 
even get your own currency from the bank in time of 
panic, to say nothing of having it redeemed in gold. 
The reluctance to adopt a scrip of no equivalent value 
is because the ordinary mind firmly believes that money, 
to be good, must possess a fixed, redeemable value. 
They weigh with a potmd weight and measure with 
a yard measure, which are standard and remain in- 
trinsically the same and are boimd to remain the same 
for an infinite period. They buy with a gold dollar 
that is standard, but this measure of value does not 

4o6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

remain equivalently and intrinsically the same. It 
is subject to constant fluctuation. Some authorities 
say that the value of gold has decreased at least one 
half during the last ten years, but the price remains 
the same, for an artificial law says a specific niunber of 
grains of gold shaU be worth a dollar. Thus we have 
a standard of price which is itself changing in value. 
So rapid has been this change that many financiers 
advise increasing the amount of gold in the standard 
dollar. It should be plain to any thinking person that 
there has never been anything that is an tmchanging 
standard of value, which is constantly equivalent to 
that value, and that it is impossible that there shall 
be. If a thing is limited in supply, the value increases 
in some ratio to demand; if the supply is tmlimited, it 
has no estimable value; therefore, a thing possessing 
time value cannot be an unfluctuating standard of value. 
If our present monetary system is contrary to a 
natural law, then it might be said to be based on an 
unnatural law, and as such it is more advantageous to 
an unnatural person. An unnatural person has been 
defined as one who persists in following a lower Desire, 
that is, one who is below the average according to the 
highest standard of development. It is freely admitted 
by intellectual people that the profit system of exchange, 
'which is essential when the medium of exchange has 
time value, has a tendency to debase the higher ideas: 
that is, that man is not free to follow his highest Desire, 
when, for the protection of himself and family, he is 
impelled to attempt to profit by an exchange. Man's 
economic condition is easily susceptible of improvement, 
if honest, high-minded men will demand their freedom 
and adopt some plan where they are at liberty to pro- 
duce freely and exchange their products equitably. 

Liberty 407 

Another step that wotild make us free to follow and 
utilize the self -enforcing law of supply and demand is 
to have a scientific knowledge of the time value and 
the intrinsic value of at least the staple articles of 
commerce. Probably the only authorized attempt 
which has ever been made to get this knowledge was by 
the Btueau of Mines. This does find intrinsic value 
of varieties of coal according to the ntimber of heat 
units evolved, which knowledge it is said has benefited 
both producer and consumer. I believe, however, it 
is one of the duties of the present Tariff Commission 
to gain this information on protected articles. This 
knowledge would act simply as a balance or governor 
and give more intelligent reason to our demand. A 
self-enforcing law wiU in time impel man to demand 
that which is of the most worth to him. Then a 
knowledge of intrinsic values will be useful. Now 
those who are most able to demand give little thought 
to intrinsic value. Does the increased expenditure 
of money by the rich increase their worth as an indi- 
vidual in a like ratio? Aside from absolute main- 
tenance, man's labor must make him worth more; 
his knowledge must make him worth more ; his pleasures 
must make him worth more, or they are wasted so far 
as the man or humanity is concerned. That man is 
worth the most who has attained the greatest degree 
of liberty; that man is the most worthless who is the 
most licentious. One man may be intellectually free 
and physically bound by sin, another man may be 
physically free from sin and licensed to preach lies. 
Men crave liberty. Liberty is freedom to follow the 
highest Desire and utilize Power. "Ye shall know the 
truth and the truth shall make you free." What is 
truth? Simply natural law. 



1SAID in the introduction that my conception of 
Being embraced ideas regarding man's existence. 
I did not mean that I had any conception of what the 
ptirpose of man's existence embraces. The common 
conception of the pitrpose of man's mtmdane existence 
is that it is a probation for the ptirpose of testing his 
fitness for an eternal celestial existence in personal 
companionship with the Creator. "Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. " The test 
of this belief is a conformity to certain Church laws and 
the doing of a certain amount of work (paying for a 
substitute will answer) to get others to believe, with 
the possible tdtimate of getting all to believe and be 
saved. That this was the conception of Christ and 
Paul I do not believe. That future immortality is no 
part of the Hebrew religion is plain to many. As they 
had no inspiration on that point, they were divided in 
opinion among themselves. 

The definition of the term "salvation," as interpreted 
according to the different religions, will vary. In one 
it means individual life after death ; in another it means 
an immerging of the individual into the whole; in 
another, it means the final perfection of man on earth. 
Salvation, according to these conceptions more or less 

vague, with sundry variations thereon, forms the 


Man 409 

central theme of all religions. The first definition is 
accepted by many, Christian and SpirituaKst. The 
second definition is accepted by many, Materialists 
and Buddhists. The third definition is accepted by 
many, as Elihu, Paul, and myself (it is easy, on paper, 
to get into good company). 

I believe the object of man's existence as a human 
being is to be matured on this earth, and as soon as 
man, or a sufficient number of men, is in a condition 
near enough perfection to permit, the revelation of the 
object of man's existence will be manifest in some form. 

Let us analyze man's present condition. We may 
view it in five relations: as -physical, mental, moral, 
economic, and spiritual. 

Man's physical condition is perfected. To avoid 
criticism I must define this broad statement. The 
genus homo is as nearly perfect as any other genus. 
It may be true that the erectile ear muscles, the coccyx, 
the vermiform appendix, etc., are useless remnants of 
former conditions and that in the future these may more 
fully atrophy. But, with the exception of the adaptive 
development of certain parts of the separate person, 
there is no proof or even suggestion that the character 
of the genus homo has altered in the geological past, 
or must alter in the futvue. We say, therefore, that 
the physical man is perfected. The physique of the 
individual is modified by heredity and environment. 
Each of these in turn depends to a great degree on the 
economic condition. The term "economic" will be more 
ivlly defined later. Here it may be admitted that the 
man who works too hard on too little nourishment, and 
the man who works too little with appetite satiated, 
will physically deteriorate, and there will be more or 
less tendency to transmit such deterioration to his 

4IO An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

descendants. The present economic condition of civi- 
lized people shows its results on the physique. Take a 
number of persons at random from a civilized commu- 
nity, and an equal number from an aboriginal tribe, 
where natural opportunities are equally as good, and 
those of the civilized class will show a greater divergence 
from the type, and rather more below than above the 
normal line of physical perfection. This, we say, is 
the result following the unnatural condition of civiliza- 
tion, and may be remedied by getting back to the 
"simple life." I wish to interpolate here that I do 
not believe that getting back is a solution of any 
imperfection, for, if any former condition had been 
satisfactory, there would have been no aspirations 
which would have resulted in changing those conditions. 
The physical condition, which I, in common with all, 
admit might be bettered by the simple life, is only one 
part of the general condition of man. 

Man's mental condition is not perfect. By mental 
condition I mean the condition contingent on brain 
development. I do not mean that it is essentially 
imperfect, but that it is in process of development. 
This development depends, in a great degree (some say 
entirely) on heredity and environment. And, as I 
said before, these in turn depend to a great degree on 
economic conditions. It is a recognized fact that 
pupils in school cannot develop mentally unless properly 
nourished, and it is a fact (frequently exaggerated) 
that the majority of the pampered children of the rich 
fall below the average requirements of mental develop- 
ment. Take a number of persons at random from any 
civilized community and an equal number from any 
aboriginal tribe, and those of the civilized class will 
show a great divergence from the mental type, but the 

Man 41 1 

divergence is above the normal line, instead of below, 
as before. As I said that the proper development of 
the mental condition, as well as a perfect physical 
condition, depended, to a degree, on economic con- 
ditions, and as getting back to the simple life will not, 
in the ultimate, develop the mental condition, my 
definition of a proper economic condition cannot be 
synonymous with the simple life. This synonsmiy 
is an orthodox belief with many. 

Before defining my idea of a proper economic con- 
dition, we must consider man's moral condition. My 
term "moral " is susceptible of many descriptions. It 
might, by combining the various definitions, be easy 
to show that one man was as moral as any other man, 
or that every man was whoUy immoral. Morality may 
be measured by rules, laws, utility, sympathy, religion, 
motives, conscience, etc., giving so many standards 
that, in speaking of man's moral condition, it is possible 
only to generaUze. Let us take an equal number of 
any race of people, and, judging by their own standard 
of morals, one race is no way morally different from 
another. Take an equal number from any of the 
various religions, and, judging by their standard of 
morals, one class of believers is no more moral than 
the other. Take, even, two congregations of the same 
denomination, say a Methodist congregation in the 
city and another in the mountains of West Virginia. 
Their religion and creed are the same, yet the moral 
standard of the two is different. Theatre-going and 
bridge would damn one in the country, while feuds and 
moonshining would equally damn one in the city. 
While their religion or creed does not sanction these 
practices in any case, yet the moral standard does 
allow to a degree practices in one place that would not 

412 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

be allowed in the other place. But all classes, accord- 
ing to their own standard, are equally moral. Take an 
equal number of the "bloated monopolists," members 
of the Bar, "Wall Street sharks, " East Side merchants, 
and denizens of the Bowery dives; all these are classed 
as thieves by some, but extend the classes to embrace 
the artists of Bohemia, and farmers in a specific com- 
munity, and the commission men who handle their 
produce; it is obvious that all these classes are not 
botmd by the same standard of morals, or, as it is 
usually expressed, "code of ethics." 

Designating one phase of morality, honesty, most of 
us would impulsively say that the farmers were as a 
class the most honest. "The honest old farmer, " is a 
current expression. But, of a certain number of farmers, 
what proportion would stand to lose half their fortune 
by simply a nod of the head or a wave of the hand? 
Or, to put it more direct, if you had the nod of the 
head of ten brokers, "on change," confirming a deal 
which meant the loss of a thousand dollars to each and 
a gain of a thousand dollars to you from each, and, on 
the other hand, if you had the unwitnessed word of 
each of ten farmers, confirming a deal, which maturing 
before any other security was given, showed a net loss 
to each of a thousand dollars and a like gain to you, 
through which source would you expect to come the 
more nearly getting your ten thousand dollars? In 
spite of the obvious answer, the broker would not pose 
as more honest than the farmer. The standard of 
morals enforced in their business is different. Between 
these two classes, who shall decide which standard is 
the higher? In aU these classes there will be about an 
equal degree of conformation of the individuals to the 
standard by which they are governed. 

Man 413 

The moral standard is gauged by its bearing finan- 
cially, socially, and religiously. Nowhere and in no 
class is there a recognized standard of morals. Therefore, 
instead of saying that people are governed by a standard 
of morals, it might be more nearly correct to say that 
the condition of the class to which the individuals belong 
fixes their kind of moral standard. 

Is it not obvious that if we are given the financial, 
social, and religious condition of the people in a com- 
munity, or of a specific number of people in any com- 
munity, we may arrive at a standard of morals to which 
each individual will so closely conform that we say that 
he is governed by that standard? Condensing this 
further, we may say that the condition of a class of 
people fixes their morals, or man's moral standard is 
fixed by conditions. This conclusion may be more 
obvious than enlightening. 

So far man's condition has been related as physical 
and mental, and it has been stated that these conditions 
depended to a large degree on his economic condition. 
If morals depend on a condition not defined, the only 
condition we have mentioned by which it can be defined 
is the economic condition. 

Before going on to consider the economic condition, 
I will draw another obvious conclusion regarding the 
moral condition. Let us compare the various stand- 
ards of morality by which we say the various classes are 
governed. According to our ideas of morality, we say 
some standards are high and some are low. The 
purely physical standard, which prevents one from 
IdlHng another tmless he is able, or keeps one from 
stealing from another, while being watched, seems to be 
one of the first standards, which, as a condition, we 
would enforce. The higher physical standard, given 

414 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

authority in some of our statute laws, may be too high 
for some and is certainly too low for others. The mental 
standards, called utilitarian, or altruistic, are still 
higher, and takes one into conditions that are as yet 
ideal, and, therefore, give a standard difficult ^to follow. 
This difficulty is well brought out by Tolstoi, who 
says in My Religion (not quoting verbatim but in sub- 
stance). "I divide my substance with the poor. I 
have only a crust and a blanket left ; here comes a poor 
beggar with neither. I share with him my crust; I 
share with him my blanket. I arise in the morning 
and find the blanket covered with the beggar's vermin. 
I bid him take the blanket, for, to me, cleanliness is 
next to godliness. I am naked and hungry, and have 
naught left but my reHgion. " 

Now, viewmg the various standards of morals of 
high and low degree, the obvious conclusion I wish to 
draw is this: of that class governed by the low standard 
of morals, a larger proportion will live rather above the 
standard; while of that class governed by the high 
standard of morals (including even the "wholly sancti- 
fied"), more will fall below the standard than will 
live above it. This is obvious, not only from observa- 
tion, but from the fact that the mean is between the 
extremes. I can imagine many ready to criticise this 
way of neutralizing man's moral condition, and armed 
with any number of arguments to show that man's 
physical, mental, and economic condition are all de- 
pendent on man's moral condition. Will such critics 
claim that man's spiritual condition depends on his 
moral condition, instead of vice versa? I think not, 
so let the criticism pass until we have finished. 

The position of neutrality which I give morality 
comes, not only on account of its mean position between 

Man 415 

the physical and mental, and the economic and spiritual 
conditions, but on account of the utter lack of a specific 
standard of morality. The motive is frequently taken 
as a measure of morality. I have no doubt that the 
motives of the Thug and of the Nihilist are as good as 
yours or mine. But, for all that, we do not Hke their 
standard of morals. While we will all agree that our 
standard is the correct one, we will likewise disagree 
in any attempt to define it. ^ 

I win go on now to consider the economic condition 
of man. __We said that man's physical condition was 
perfect, personally modified by his heredity and environ- 
ment, and influenced by economic conditions. We said 
that man's mental condition was developing, and, in- 
dividually, this development was modified by heredity 
and environment, and influenced by economic condi- 
tions. As we said that civilization showed a tendency 
towards physical deterioration, but a mental develop- 
ment, civilization cannot be synonymous with the best 
economic condition. I wiU define economic condition 
by saying that it is the condition in which and whereby 
man maintains his being. That would then be the 
best economic condition which would best preserve a 
perfect physical condition and would best aid the 
development of the mental condition. And if morality 
is subject to conditions, or is a condition, that of 
necessity would also correspond. 

So far the definitions and assumptions will hardly be 
denied, but I do not expect such an agreement with my 

■ According to the Comprehensive Conception, high or low morals 
simply confonn to high or low Desire, and that Desire is Highest 
whose continued gratification yields the greatest degree of satisfaction. 
Opinion as to which Desire would lead to the greatest degree of satis- 
faction would naturally vary according to the development of the 
comprehension, and conditions may hinder or aid the development. 

4i6 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

description of this condition. One might impulsively 
say that the man who had the most money was in the 
best economic condition. This might hold, if financial 
and economic were synonymous terms. The Hotten- 
tot in his tent and the magnate in his mansion are at 
opposite extremes of the financial scale, but the natural 
effects of their economic condition may be equally de- 
plorable. When Solomon said, "give me neither pov- 
erty nor riches, " he seemed to recognize the fact that 
riches did not perfect condition, though, like the most 
of us, had we Hke opportunities, his faith in the assertion 
was not strong enough to cause him to refuse the riches. 

Before describing the best economic condition, I must 
define my meaning of two words to be used. All that 
has been produced by man may be divided into two 
parts called '^vealth and capital. Any specific kind 
of thing may be in either class. Wealth is that which 
represents the necessities and luxuries of life. Capital 
is that which is used in producing or distributing, or as 
a source of income. House, clothing, and food we will 
call necessities; carpets, pictures, and piano we will 
call luxuries. As a man may rent his house and owe 
for his piano, he is using another man's capital. So, 
in speaking of a man's wealth, I wiU mean only the net 
part which is free from incumbrances. Capital might 
be defined as aU that which is used as the tools of labor, 
or as a means of profit, and wealth be defined as the 
balance. House, clothes, pictures, or education might 
be either capital or wealth, according to its use. While 
this use of the words is not without authority, I will 
admit that it is rather arbitrary, but, as it is for the 
purpose of defining a condition, such use should be 
admissible. Having defined the words " wealth " and 
"capital," I wiU continue. 

Man 417 

The best economic condition is that in which the 
personal capital is the nearest to the average, and the 
wealth the greatest above the average, with each 

I will make various applications according to this 
description and see if it holds good. We will first 
suppose that all have ap. average capital. This is 
practically the state of aboriginal man, where all have 
to work to an equal degree for a living, and capital is 
small. This may, in various ways, be brought up to 
the point where the capital is very large, but, being 
used in common, the average is maintained and all 
have to work to an equal degree for a living, although, 
on account of the increase of capital, each would not 
have to work so hard and the work would bring greater 
proportional results. It will hardly be denied that a 
certain amotmt of work is necessary for the best physical 
and mental condition and even the moral condition. 
Work would be a necessity according to the best 
economic condition. This does not define whether the 
work is two hours a day or ten hours a day. Nor, 
according to the definition, with education (meaning 
mental or special talent of any kind), classed as capital, 
would it mean that each should perform an equal 
amoimt of manual labor. Nor does it mean that, 
with the same capital, each would be restricted to the 
same amount of production. It really means that, so 
far as production goes (distribution being essential, 
is understood), that is the best economic condition 
which gives each one the nearest to his eqidtable share 
of his production and the greatest amount of production 
according to his labor. This statement is so self-evident 
that he who contradicts it is self -convicted of selfishness. 
There is no way of evading the fact that, for each 

4i8 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

amount that one gets above his share, some one or more 
must have an equivalent amount below. The chapter 
on Equity showed how capital might be quickly 
equalized to a certain degree by co-operation of the 
producers competing with the capitalists. Then, if 
capital was rendered tinproductive from lack of labor, 
it would qtiickly exchange for products. That is, go 
from the hands of capitalists to the hands of producers. 
The equaHzation of the opportunity to produce will 
not, of itself, be the best economic condition. This 
equalization, and even an equal division of the products, 
forms the essential feature of many Socialistic proposals 
to solve the problem. Men are not equal, nor do I 
believe they ever wiU be, and, therefore, equality forms 
no part of mjj ideal existence. Equity is essential to 
our highest development but equality is not essential 
or material. 

Under equal opportunity of production (meaning 
the same as possessing average capital), some wotild 
produce more than others; some, by working longer 
hotus, and some by working more skilfully or intelli- 
gently. The way in which the products are utiUzed 
fixes man's economic condition no less than the ability 
to produce. Ordinarily, according to the present eco- 
nomic plan, the greater the proportion of the product 
that is converted into capital, the better financier is 
such a producer supposed to be. The object of this 
is supposed to be to obtain a greater income. The 
income obtained from capital beyond a certain amount 
is almost invariably at the expense of a part of some 
other one's share of the product. There are many at 
present, who are unable to expend their income, even 
by extravagant means, and this excess is of necessity 
issued as capital. This inverted pyramiding of capital 

Man 419 

must, of mathematical certainty, have its limit. This 
limit is extended, at present, by increased gold produc- 
tion, increased banking facilities, increased inflation of 
securities, increased credit, and increased prices. The 
increased income must be taken from the producers' 
share. Whenever, for any reason, there is inability of 
the laborer to give his share (scarcity of labor), or there 
is imwillingness of the income class to accept the pro- 
ducts (over production), there is depression, prices are 
affected, credit shrinks, and securities depreciate. 
That is, a certain amount of capital ceases topayincome, 
and that relieves, to some extent, the effect of the 
inverted pyramiding. A few are able to take advantage 
of these depressions, but with these few exceptions, 
every panic has a tendency toward equalizing capital. 
The few who are able to take advantage are those who 
do not have to sacrifice securities, whose credit is 
better than that of some other one. Every panic 
helps to make the rich richer, but not, as many say, 
"and the poor poorer. " It shakes back into the pro- 
ducing class thousands who supposed they were getting 
into the income class. Were this not so, it would be 
only a question of time before twenty-five per cent, 
of the people would be supporting the other seventy- 
five per cent., instead of seventy-five per cent, support- 
ing the other twenty-five per cent. It is the thousands, 
yes, millions, and I have no doubt the vast majority 
who have evolved into the "near rich," on accoimt of 
their owning some stock, even if it is no more than in a 
paper gold mine, and who having a taste or an antici- 
pation of a taste of an income, make almost any co- 
operative plan inoperative, if that plan has a tendency 
to sacrifice the income dream. 

It would conform to the idea of equal capital if, like 

420 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

in the good old time, each one raised all he used 
and used all he raised, but economic civilization has 
enforced a co-operation. Manufacturing plants and 
railroad systems are but a co-operative evolution. By 
enforced monopoly or mutual co-operation, this will 
necessarily extend through all productive and distri- 
butive channels to the economical limit. 

The individual carmot win in competition with the 
monopoly. Individual producers must co-operate. 
Monopolists cannot win in competition with co-oper- 
ative production. 

At present, even the best of the laborers, mechanics, 
artisans, chemists, inventors, etc., are dependent on the 
capitalist. Co-operative evolution would absorb the 
best producers, for they will want the best, and there 
can be no better for an honest man than getting his due 
share of his production. This wiU gradually leave the 
capitalist more and more dependent on what is now 
considered the most dependent class, the weak, the 
shiftless, the lazy, the degenerate. These, to the degree 
to which they had less capital than the average, would 
have to labor for those whose capital was above the 
average. Economic conditions would gradually elim- 
inate these classes. For the present, we will consider 
them negligible and continue with the application. 

Legal compulsory co-operation cannot succeed any 
more than legal compulsory competition can succeed. 
Legal Socialism would be as futile as are the anti-trust 
laws. Successful co-operation must be spontaneous, 
but when successful, economic conditions will force in 
the recalcitrant just as they are now forced into the 
trust. According to a plan similar to that outlined in 
the chapter on Equity, the bankrupt property placed 
in the exchange, essentially capitalistic in its nature, 

Man 421 

such as factories, railroads, banks, etc., would remain 
as capital, but bankrupcty is not legal compulsion; 
though its form of receivership is under legal direction. 
True independence can come only by co-operation. 
The evolution may be gradual. 

Simply equalized capital is not the best condition, 
but, granting an equal opportunity to the producer, let 
us see how he might improve his condition. Co-opera- 
tion means more product with equal labor, or the same 
product with less labor. Those who retain, for any 
reason, a disinclination for labor, will produce just 
sufficient to satisfy, and the latter option, of less labor, 
will be chosen. Others, who have greater requirements, 
wiU labor more and obtain a greater production. What 
is done with this production will fix, to a degree, the 
economic condition. The result of one's labor will go, 
as it does now, according to the personal inclination, 
but under the differing conditions, there will be different 
inclinations than at present exist. There would be 
limitation to the incomes, which limitation, being 
known, would eliminate the present incentive to "put 
on," to give the impression of a "near rich," and a 
"has arrived." Then, there would be no need to put 
on style to obtain credit, for there woidd be no credit. 
"No credit!" I hear the financier howl in derision; 
"Why, the whole economic fabric of the cotmtry is 
built up on credit; business is maintained by credit." 

Now, I do not mind being heterodox in finance any 
more than I do in science or religion. "Business is 
maintained by credit," sounds orthodox, does it not? 
Business is maintained by debts, sounds foolish, does 
it not? Yet the statements are absolutely alike. Every 
credit is a debt. But, debts or credits, checks or cash 
have no influence whatever on the productive ability 

422 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

of this country. They simply represent the unequal 
distribution of capital, and, under a co-operative basis, 
debtor and creditor would cease to be antagonistic. 
To return to the disposition of the products. Some 
might squander them in riotous living, but that would 
injure the physical condition, and such a condition 
would not maintain the best economic condition. The 
product, aside from the portion essential to an increase 
of capital, represented by improved machinery, addi- 
tional distributing facilities, etc., must necessarily go 
in such a way as to show that man's other conditions 
are preserved or improved. We do not directly seek 
to improve our moral condition. We each think we 
can be more or less moral irrespective of conditions. 
The physical condition is maintained by a certain 
amoxmt of work, and refraining from spending the 
products thereof to the injury of the body. We now 
have left only the proper development of the mental 
condition. After absorbing a sttfficient quantity of the 
product as food, clothing, and shelter to sustain the 
body, and increasing the capital as stated, there should 
remain a fair portion as net wealth, acciimulating in 
quantity and quality according to individual inclina- 
tions. As production would depend (capital and hours 
of labor being equal) not only on the physical but the 
mental condition, the wealth would give the necessary 
material for mental development. Wealth does not 
mean simply accumulated material, but worth. Many 
a mansion has books and pictures of no worth because 
they are there to give the impression that the owner 
has a mental condition that is entirely lacking. The 
books are not read, the pictures are not appreciated, 
and their position renders them worthless. That wealth 
is of most worth which, by its accumulation, tends best 

Man 423 

to a development of the mental condition. That which 
would best develop one brain would not be best for 
another. A year's travel might be wealth to one; the 
acquisition of a Stradivarius might be wealth to another. 
The mental requirements are of such contrasting variety 
that wealth would have no absolute standard. To set 
its standard by its use in mental development according 
to the increased productive power would be to capitaKze 
it and, to that extent, degrade it. Many believe there 
is something essential to the welfare of man aside from 
the purely utilitarian. I will make no attempt to 
show the difference. I have made my application in 
such a way that I hope my meaning is plain, even if it 
is not accepted. I say that the best economic condition 
is when capital is nearest the average and wealth the 
greatest above the average, and each increasing. 

I will now consider the spiritual condition of man. 
The Idealists say that these imperfect conditions are 
illusions which faithful ignoring will dispel ; that Being 
must of necessity be perfect. Materialists and Monists 
say that the conditions I have considered are all the real 
conditions there are; that there is no real spiritual con- 
dition ; that Being must of necessity be imperfect. Dual- 
ists say there is a spiritual condition, but measure it by 
adherence to Chiurch creed or a spectacular foray against 
the Devil and his works, or by an ascetic fight against 
the flesh and the appurtenances thereof, or by a sublime 
renunciation of the world and all therein. They make 
psychic religions and spiritual conditions synonymous. 

I conceive the spiritual condition of man to be that 
condition which permits a cognition and interpretation 
of the Desire of the Ego. The interpretation would of 
necessity be sensual, and the result of the manifestation 
would be physical, or mental which could be manifest 

424 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

in an objective form. Therefore, the Materialists say 
they are of physical or mental origin. So obvious is it 
that there are no purely spiritual results here, that 
Dualists say the results are to be in the Hereafter. 

The best spiritual condition is that in which the 
individual can best perceive and follow his aspirations; 
when he can best cognize and most accurately interpret 
his inspirations; when he can best comprehend and 
follow his Highest Desire. The best economic condition 
will give the opportunity for the best spiritual condition. 
It seems obvious that it gives the best opportunity for 
following aspirations, but other things so affect the 
equation that the results would show many exceptions. 
In the first place, every man would have to be his own 
judge as to whether or not he was following his Highest 
Desire in his accepted aspiration. Time would tell 
whether or not his aspirations were correctly interpreted 
and executed. It is plain, from my definition of 
volition, that aspirations and inspirations would be 
more subject to volition than would be the physical 
and mental impressions. With inspiration especially 
subject to volition, and volition subject to no definite 
cause, it is plain that it would be a mere speculation to 
definitely co-ordinate the best spiritual condition with 
the best of the other conditions. 

The spiritual, or inspirational, condition of Shake- 
speare and Poe was good, but, from the records, we would 
say that their other conditions were not good. If 
the spiritual condition of Byron and Goethe were good, 
it is plain that, according to the general standard, it 
is not synonymous with the moral condition. While 
the best physical, mental, and economic conditions will 
not, of necessity, give the best spiritual conditions, yet, 
to say that the best spiritual condition is independent 

Man 425 

of these wotild be to say that it was through chance 
that Spinoza was a Caucasian instead of a Tasmanian. 

The suggestion of the Highest Desire, which we 
cognize as being an aspiration and inspiration, is no 
more like the interpretation which we give it, although 
the interpretation may be correct, than a pain is like 
a pin. I believe that all that can be known a priori as 
a fact could be known intuitively, deductively, but it 
would be a thousand chances to one against any specific 
intuition being correct, that is, being correctly inter- 
preted. Mathematics would be the least subject to 
misinterpretation. There have been numerous mathe- 
matical prodigies of whom Zera Colbum is the best ex- 
ample. He would answer instantaneously mathematical 
questions which would require many hours for mathema- 
ticians to solve. His solutions were by the deductive 
method, but when he was educated to use the inductive 
method, or reason, he lost the ability to interpret by the 
deductive method. His mental condition improved, but 
his spiritual condition failed. It points the contrast in my 
use of the word spiritual, v/ithout casting any reflection, 
when I say that he then became a Methodist minister. 

I have tried to make plain that, according to my 
conception, evolution is on account of Desire. It is 
primarily aspirational, inspirational. While I use the 
words as applying to the Ego, yet it is in no liigher 
sense than atomic desire (except as already defined). 
Man's mental evolution as manifest in civilization 
and knowledge is primarily aspirational, inspirational, 
spiritual. This is applicable to every phase of man's 
development, secular as well as sacred. It is hard to 
understand how any one believing in the immanence of 
God can find a radical difference in the application of 
these two words, secular and sacred. 

426 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

"The idea possesses the man." Intuitions, aspira- 
tions, inspirations. Inner Light, Comforter, Holy Ghost, 
Spirit of Truth, Highest Desire, are all terms expressing 
the same conception. It seems to me that Highest 
Desire is the most expressive of what we are to find 
in the introspective search for a personal guide. It 
designates the abstract with a definite meaning. 

The potter may be as necessary as the painter. A 
mental failure might have succeeded as a "fiddler on a 
saw buck." "Now there are diversities of gifts, but 
the same spirit. " "Nay, much more those members of 
the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. " 
In the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters of 
I. Corinthians, Paul brings out this subject much more 
clearly than I could. 

But, granting that man may finally reach a condition 
in aU respects nearly perfect; what then? In answer to 
that, I will say, I do not know. I cannot even conceive. 
I believe that such a condition is the essential condition 
of man for the beginning of the accomplishment of the 
object of his mundane existence. It will reqtiire some 
work to get ready to begin. We must be saved first. 
We must work out our own salvation with fear and 
trembling, not in fear and trembling, but with them. 
When we can get rid of these we are saved. 

The economic condition of man is the most concrete 
of the given conditions. It is the one condition which 
seems to be under otir control. It is the one condition 
on which, to a greater or less degree, the previously 
mentioned conditions depend. ' I have defined the best 

' It seems that this idea has been fully worked out by Marx and Engels 
and is now recognized by the phrase "economic determinism," first 
applied to it by Enrico Ferri, Socialism and Modern Science, page 163: 

"If we leave out of consideration the two unscientific explanations 

Man 427 

economic condition. I have vaguely outlined a plan 
which might aid in bringing about such a condition. 
But I have admitted that the best spiritual condition 
wotild not necessarily follow. As a supplementary 
aid to the establishment of the best spiritual condition, 
and in lieu of or in addition to the present denomi- 
national organizations, but with an authoritative 
head higher than any of the churches acknowledge, I 
submit the following plan; to which plan you are at 
liberty of pledging yoturself without waiting for the 
consent of any other person or nation on earth. 


Certificate and Pledge of active Membership in the 
Association of Love. 

1. Our only Officer, Leader, and Lawgiver in this 
Association is the Highest Desire within Us. 

2. Our Corporate Name is Love. 

3. Our Aggressive Motto is, "Perfect love casteth 
out fear. " 

4. Our Defensive Motto is "Judge not that ye be 
not judged. " 

5. Our Object in Organizing is to Free Ourselves 
and Others from Fear. 

6. Our Result will be Freedom from Fear, which 

State is Happiness. 


of free will and divine providence, we find that two one-sided and there, 
fore incomplete, although correct and scientific, explanations of human 
history have been given. I refer to the physical determinism of Montes- 
quieu, Buckle, and Metchnikofif, and to the anthropological determinism 
of the ethnologists who find the explanation of the events of history in 
the organic and physical characteristics of the various races of man. 
" Karl Marx sums up, combines, and completes these two theories 
by his economic determinism. " 

428 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

The word happiness as used here has been criticised. 
If you know of any other word more expressive of 
man's consciousness of a relatively perfect condition, 
use it. The condition is of more importance than the 
word used to typify that condition. 

There has never been any need to fear God. Many 
men are recognizing this fact. The fear of the Devil 
is needless so long as we obey the law and preserve our 
liberty. The fear of man is an actual condition. But 
this fear we may escape at some time more or less re- 
mote, through concerted efforts similar to The Society 
of Equity and The Association of Love. 

The last enemy to be conquered is Death. Then, 
may we say, "O death, where is thy sting, O grave, 
where is thy victory?" This cannot be logically 
interpreted as an escape from spiritual death or anni- 
hilation. It means just what it says, that "this mortal 
must put on immortality. " It is an entirely different 
conception from that expressed by "we shall shufHe 
oflf this mortal coil." Death comes. Many think it 
is a necessary occurrence within a duly appointed time. 
There is no agreement by scientists as to why it is 
necessary in the case of man. Niimbers of the infusoria, 
several of the tree family, and probably the tortoise 
or turtle die through accidental causes only. So far as 
known every cause of death of man is theoretically 
preventable, even those causes which are usually lumped 
under the head of "old age." The practical applica- 
tion to meet all the emergencies of any individual case 
may be exceedingly complex, though I am under the 
impression that, in the evolution of medicine and sug- 
gestive therapeutics, the final solution will be relatively 

By a mental suggestion, we may cause certain glands 

Man 429 

to secrete saliva. Under the proper suggestion, properly 
given, any gland in the body would secrete or inhibit a 
secretion. The secretion of a proper opsonin by sug- 
gestion would seem more simple as well as more practical 
than causing the secretion by the injection of dead 
germs as they do at present; and the prevention of 
toxin would seem logically better than injecting anti- 
toxin. However, we had to crawl before we could 
walk, and there was quite a spell of walking before we 
could fly. 

In psychology as well as hygiene a correct diagnosis 
of the trouble is the essential point, and in "fact the 
longest step toward a remedy. While I do not say that 
freedom from Fear will insure immortality, I believe 
it will constitute an important and essential feature. 
And when I say that I believe that freedom from Fear 
can come only through perfect Love, and that God is 
Love, why should the orthodox "damn " my heterodoxy? 
My only defence is, "Judge not that ye be not judged. " 



IN speaking of the immortality of man, I do not mean 
to convey the idea that this human form wotild 
continue to all eternity, but even at that, I would prefer 
the human form to the angelic, with the incumbrance 
of two wings and a harp. My family history shows that 
I never was an angel — I am sure I have never wanted 
to be one, and my Christian friends are equally sure 
that I never will be one. 

I can be no more definite in my limitation of immor- 
tality than I was in my limitation of time. Some Hmit 
it to the Millennium (a thousand years, I think, is the 
figure). I do not believe that any limit is fixed for 
the duration of life. 

There is a common sa3dng that "man proposes, but 
God disposes." I think this is transposed; it should 
be, "God proposes, but man disposes." If we should 
follow the Highest Desire; if we should live according to 
the Will of God; if we should obey the laws of nature 
(you may take your choice of the statements, they mean 
the same thing), you will acknowledge that our condi- 
tion would be better. God is disposed to do well by us, 
but we do not have the disposition to follow His law 
written in the mind and heart. "In vain do ye worship 
Him, for ye accept for doctrine the commandments of 


Ontology 431 

men." Without fixing a limit to immortality (which 
state has yet to be attained), I am satisfied that where 
there is a beginning, there is an ending. I have not 
made even an effort to conceive a thing with only one 
end. This is as applicable to the angelic state (shotild 
there be such a state) as to the human state. 

Of the transcendental ideas relating to man, the first 
in sequence would be that of a beginning. I have said 
that the Ego is eternal, having neither beginning nor 
end, Kant has shown rather conclusively that this 
idea (eternity), as well as the idea of individuality 
(simplicity), and volition (liberty), and inteUigent 
desire (design), as a thesis or antithesis, may be proved 
or disproved according to his accepted rules of logic. 
But he admitted that, while not warranted by Ptire 
Reason, yet, to satisfy the mind, the thesis must be 

The mental development of man on the deductive side 
reached its high tide during the time of the Scholastics. 
The Scholastic philosophy was naturally antecedent 
to the philosophy of Hume and Kant. Deductive 
philosophy, ungovemed by the inductive, is erratic. 
Himie and Kant, by Pure Reason, put an everlasting 
limit to the erraticism of the Scholastic schisms. The 
Baconian inductive method had already begun to be 
effective. Knowledge was building on a sure foun- 
dation. So thoroughly were the deductive methods 
discredited that many denied that such methods were, 
or could be, of any effect. So far to the other extreme 
have the MateriaUsts gone that they do not agree with 
Kant's arbitrary admission of the thesis, but, with a 
greater degree of dogmatism, insist that anything but 
the antithesis is an insult to the mind. I think the 
high tide of Materialism has been reached. The 

432 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

scientific publications of the present century show 
theories that are much more nearly akin to deductions 
than to inductions. Philo says, "Inspiration comes 
ahead of demonstration. " I believe that the scientists 
of the future will not be ashamed to acknowledge that 
the deductive function of the brain is as valuable as 
the inductive; that inspiration really preceded reason, 
and that a progress where each is balanced, and devel- 
oped, will be greater than by either alone. 

Let us see if an agreement in the thesis and anti- 
thesis of the transcendental idea is necessary to co- 
operation in following the Highest Desire. 

(i) Was there no begiiming (eternity)? We will 
all probably admit that every form had a beginning, 
and will in all probability have an ending; or at least 
we are bound to admit that every form is changing 
and the time of a complete change is the measure of the 
duration of that form. This admission would cover 
every form from a molecule to a universe, and is cer- 
tainly all the agreement that is necessary. In fact, 
anything more definite would be unprofitable. 

(2) Is there an individual (Ego)? Is there an 
indivisible atom (electron — simplicity)? We can agree 
that, so far as we are concerned, there is, and always 
will be, an ultimately indivisible. I may call this 
psychically, the Ego; physically, the atom. You 
may call it psychically, the soul; physically, the cor- 
puscle or electron. Psychically or physically they can 
be no different, for, in admitting the individuality, we 
deny the essence (essential parts). Also, I think, we 
will be forced to agree that whatever names are even- 
tually found to best aid the logical conception of Being, 
will receive authoritative (popular) sanction. 

(3) Is there such a thing as volition (liberty)? 

Ontology 433 

I think we will agree in this; that Fatalists and Deter- 
minists who disbelieve it, and various others through all 
degrees to and including the Dualists who believe that 
every motion or thought is subject to volition, all 
perform their acts entirely uninfluenced by such belief 
or unbelief. Therefore, the admission or denial of 
volition will make absolutely no difference in our pro- 
gress. But Materialists and Monists have no right to 
deny the existence of volition and then criticise my 
right to affirm its existence. My right to affirm is based 
on as pure reason as their right to deny. If they will 
say that they do not know whether it exists or not, I 
wiU say the same. So we either agree or agree to 
disagree, and the argument is ended without making 
any difference. 

(4) Is there an intelligent Desire (Designer) ? 
We may agree that atoms act as though they were 
conscious. They respond accurately to impulse. There 
is a periodicity of their arrangement (atomic weight) 
and of their motion (octave of sound and spectrum of 
light). We may admit that nature would give the 
impression of being designed. To me it seems more 
plausible to think that nature manifests the Designer 
by a spontaneous response of its atoms to a conscious 
Desire, which varied Desire appears as Design, than 
to think that the atoms move mechanically according 
to an unconscious law, and these automatically result 
in nature ; or to think that they are moved by mechani- 
cal means by an exterior, objective Designer. When I 
assume the existence of a conscious Desire (Designer), 
no Materialist who denies its existence has a right to 
criticise my affirmation, for my dogma is based on as 
pure reason as his. If he says he does not know whether 
One exists or not, I will reluctantly agree that I do 


434 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

not know, but I will immediately affirm that my belief 
in such an Intelligent Desire is so firmly fixed that the 
denials of others, no matter how great the majority, 
would not change that belief. 

My conception of God may have changed since youth, 
but it is still a belief, and I feel with Job, "though he 
slay me, yet will I trust in him." But, whatever we 
affirm as the nature of the Highest Desire, we must 
admit that, of the Desires of which we are conscious, 
one is the Highest, and that when there is apparent 
conflict, the Highest would be the best one to follow. 
Unless there is Design in this Desire, I see no reason 
why following the right is preferable to following the 
wrong. Aiding the Designer is following the Desire ; is 
doing the Will o^God ; is conforming to the law of nature. 

One other idea, that is not so much transcendental 
as metaphysical, is the conception of the two anti- 
thetical entities. Power and Force. This special idea 
I supposed to be imique. Of course, there are Spirit and 
Material; God and Devil; Matter and Motion; but 
none of these combinations were expressive of enough, 
and nowhere is there an attempt to make them, in a 
logical way, include all. Even if there were one word 
embracing the idea of Power and Desire, and another 
word embracing the idea of Force and Fear, the new 
words would find less use than these which express the 
physical and psychical aspects. 

I said I supposed the conception comprising the whole 
universe in the two entities to be unique, but on reading 
Poe's philosophical work, Eureka, ' I found that he had 

' [Published as "Eureka: A Prose Poem, " Geo. P. Putnam, New York, 
1848, and dedicated to Alexander von Humboldt.] 

[To the few who love me and whom I love — to those who feel rather 
than to those who think — to the dreamers and those who put faith in 

Ontology 435 

the same idea. He uses similar words (Attraction and 
Repulsion). It is true that he reverses them, saying 
Repulsion and Attraction; conceiving Force, the unseen 
as the more spiritual, and Power, the material, as the 
baser part; Force, the supernatural, and Power, the 
natural. That this idea, elaborated in the longest of 
Poe's works and embellished with his ability, should 
have apparently sunk into oblivion augurs poorly for the 
acceptance of my independent idea. Unless perchance 
his prophesy shall come true that, "It will rise again 
to the Life Everlasting. " 

We may admit the existence of the Absolute; 
acknowledge that it is unsearchable; agree that it 
is unknowable; and yet consistently claim that the 
conception of its Being may be simple. The statement, 
that, "all is God, which is perfect, and all else is illu- 
sion," seems simple, but when we observe that the 
most we perceive is imperfect, we think the statement 
should be, "all is Illusion but god. " It is much easier 
to ignore the little "god" than the prominent illusion. 
Those who say that all is mind ignore the complexity 
of phenomena. Those who have deduced, and the 
many who have adopted, the statement, "all is elec- 
tricity, " admit that the positive and negative charges 
are not the same, nor is it affirmed that they are 

dreams as in the only realities — I offer this Book of Truths, not in its 
character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its 
Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an 
Art-Product alone: — let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too 
lofty a claim, as a Poem. 

What I here propound is true: — therefore it cannot die: — or if by any 
means it be now trodden down so that it die, it will "rise again to the 
Life Everlasting. " 

Nevertheless it is as a Poem only that I wish this work to be judged 
after I am dead.] 

436 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

I have used the term Dualists, for that is an authori- 
tative name designating those who beUeve in a Creator 
separate from the creature, but the name is not com- 
prehensive enough, for practically all Dualists believe 
also in a personage (Devil) with the ability to conduct 
a successful rebellion against the Creator, corrupt the 
creatures, and attempt to bribe the Creator's Son to 
join his side. Such ideas are comprehensible, but to 
take them as comprehensible and try to correlate them 
with other facts of Being, makes what to me at least 
is an impossible conception. 

The Monists are Idealistic Materialists. — I have been 
called that myself as well as all other words expressive 
of heterodoxy. The Materialists are practical Monists. 
The Monists insist on one entity. It is true that my ad- 
mission that Force is never manifest (physically) except 
as motion is nearly equivalent to saying that there is 
only matter and motion. To many this is the more sim- 
ple conception, and it presents fully as great possibili- 
ties, but, to me, it seems rather inert. While I admit 
that matter in motion is all there is, yet, when I see the 
motions vary while the co-relative mass does not vary, 
I cannot help but conceive a separableness which 
demolishes absolute Monism. If a specific amount of 
motion is separable from a specific amount of matter 
'(and, apparently, they may be separated), which is 
the cause? Is it matter in motion or motion in matter? 

The words Power and Force have an expression of 
virility. It seems easy to conceive of Power and Force, 
the two universal entities, as being conscious. But it 
reqtiires an effort (which I am not surprised the Monists 
do not make), to conceive that motion and matter are 
conscious. When we say that Power is manifest as 
matter, and Force is manifest as motion, and that these 

Ontology 437 

are materialized and become objectively perceptible 
to us through energy, and subjectively -perceptible 
to us as Desire and Fear, we have a logical sequence 
and a consistency of expression. This seems to me a 
simple yet comprehensive conception. 

While this conception is my religion, because it 
embraces my relation to the Supreme Being, yet I do 
not advance any idea as a new religion. I make no 
statement as having any authoritative weight. If my 
conception appeals to any one, or aids any one in an 
independent conception, I shall be pleased. 

Equity, or the immediate improvement of the 
economic condition of man, is a practical subject which 
; should appeal to all. Some things have been tried and 
failed. Let us try something else. Continued failures 
may bring the necessary experience for success. Eu- 
genics, or some other method of man's future develop- 
ment, may become more practical as the ideal future 
seems attainable. If the energy used, and practically 
wasted in preparing for the hereafter, coidd be utilized 
in improving the here, wonders might be accomplished. 
Ontology, or the study of Being as a whole, may not 
appeal to many, but, to the thinkers of the age, the 
solution of its problems must appeal. Chemical action, 
planetary motion, psychic phenomena, and all other 
phenomena are related within the scope of man's 

Is it worth while to endeavor to obtain a correct 
conception of Being? 

Physicists of the past century have accumulated a 
wonderful aggregate of facts, many of them related, 
some left unrelated logically because they cannot be re- 
lated mechanically. Materialists insist that they con- 
ceive of Being only as phenomena. Idealists say the 

438 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

phenomena are changeable, fleeting, cannot be eternal, 
and therefore, are of far less iraportance than the 
noumena. Each looks at one side of the shield only. 
There are two sides. The practical side is the one to 
which we, as human beings, belong. Practically Being 
is all phenomena. Every sensation is based on phe- 
nomena, and every action must be expressed as phe- 
nomena. Yet our reason is not satisfied alone with 
phenomena. Materialists say it is all we can know. 
True, but knowledge is not built on facts alone, but on 
the correlation of facts. "Man cannot live on bread 
alone, but by the word of God. " To conceive of Being 
means to go beyond what we know of Being. What we 
know has advanced civilization, but I doubt if to any 
individual the knowledge has been any more satis- 
factory than the acquisition of the knowledge, nor, if 
we can take Spinoza's word, was the result any more 
profitable than the pursuit. 

In any comprehensive conception of Being, the 
noimiena is as essential as the phenomena. Power and 
Force are the noumena ; material and energy the phe- 
nomena. Power and Force, alias a thousand other 
names, afford great scope for the Idealistic romancer. 
Confined to the noumena it is essentially a romance, for 
it caimot be known as a fact. When one aims to 
philosophize with these abstracts alone, the logical 
entanglements are many and but few have met with 
much success. It is doubtful if Gautama has ever been 
surpassed. When one aims at a synthetic philosophy 
relating the noumena to the phenomena in a logical 
consistent way, it is building with little precedent. 
This may be an advantage. It is much easier than the 
more complex pursuits — just have a few ideas and a 
few facts ; then patch them together logically and con- 

Ontology 439 

sistently. This is what I have aimed at in this book. 
I do not know that I have even hit the target. I have 
shot my independent ideas in that direction, and it is 
some fun shooting, anyhow. When others have aimed 
and shot (I am deeply convinced it is worth gunning 
for), we may, in time, get some one to write a standard 
of synthetic philosophy, a Critique equal to Kant. I 
might, by dogmatism, have caused some to believe in 
my ideas, but I much prefer that these ideas should 
suggest to some one a line of thought that will lead to 
good, or that some one may be persuaded to search for 
an inspiration and be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

One criticism that may be made of the book is that 
it is superficial. How could a conception of Being ex- 
pressed in f otir hundred pages be otherwise than super- 
ficial? I have expressly avoided taking up any phase 
of Being except such as seemed essential to show my 
conception to be consistent with phenomena. I also 
try to show it to be consistent with other conceptions. 

I say there is nothing but what is or may be manifest 
in the materialization of Power and Force. This is 

I say there is nothing but what is or may be a mani- 
festation of Desire limited by Fear. This is Idealism. 

I say there is no form but what is or may be created 
by Power and Desire (God and Holy Spirit), limited by 
Force (Devil), and that these forms are the creatures. 
This is Dualism. 

I say there is nothing materialized but what is the 
result of spontaneous movement of the atoms which are 
identical in their essence (essentially alike). This is 

There are in these statements no meaningless words 
used, and no qtiibbling or unequivocal language, yet, 

440 An Unorthodox Conception of Being 

with but a slight deviation, they are similar. What is 
the diiJEerence? Simply a difference of conception. 
These are the iow historical conceptions of Being. 
Each and every one is reconciled in my conception, 
not necessarily to the satisfaction of their adherents 
but to my own satisfaction. For, unless I am able to 
reconcile that which is true in each, I am not satisfied. 
There is truth in each, or they would not be historical. 
It is the refusal to recognize truth co-ordinated that 
sects or separates the people. 

I say, with the Materialists, that man is nothing but 
a bunch of atoms (or electrons, to satisfy Idealistic 
Materialists). I say, with the Idealists, that man is 
formed by mind (Desire). I say, with the Dualists, 
there is an immortal spirit in man (the atom, Ego). 
I say, with the Monists, that man is the restilt of the 
spontaneous movement of the atoms. 

These simple statements do not by any means explain 
the complexities of man. The life of every cell of the 
body might merit volumes and teach only physiology. 
We could go all over it again with the same cells, and 
teach only psychology; and then again and teach only 

It seems simple to differentiate the physical body and 
the mental brain. The brain is no less physical than 
the body. With every cell a living entity, every gan- 
glion a conscious centre, the body is ho less mental than 
the brain. Assume in addition to body and brain an 
Ego, the seat of the individual consciousness, memory, 
and volition. Desire of the Ego, as aspiration or in- 
spiration, to be manifest to others, must be displayed, 
by an action of the body. Consciousness must, to be 
sensible, be interpreted. Memory, to become cognized 
by consciousness, must be recollected. Volition is only 

Ontology 441 

manifest by will. Each of these mental reactions is a 
function of the brain. The various organs of the body- 
have their different functions. The various parts of 
the brain are each identified with a special mental 
function. Man is admittedly the most complex, but 
all organic structures and even the inorganic are 
indescribably complex. 

I have made no attempt in this book to describe my 
conception of Being except in its simplest relation. 
Only the most profound of the specialistic scientists 
have any conception of the complexities of the relations, 
and they all admit that the further they are able to 
penetrate the intricacies of even the simplest forms, the 
more are they amazed at tne wonders of nature. 

Some may criticise my presumption in calling this a 
comprehensive conception, or for even expressing such a 
conception. Such a criticism would be unjust if it is 
understood that I make no pretence of giving it au- 
thoritative value. Whether these ideas are valueless 
remains to be seen. They are simply my independent 
ideas. They might be more graphically and logically 
expressed and the language in which they are clothed 
might be changed so as to have literary merit. But 
that there could be any better relation of man to God 
than I have defined, or any higher work for man than I 
have faintly suggested, or any better guide for this 
work than man's Highest Desire, I cannot conceive.