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automatic organisms. If this were so, our apparent Will would be a delusion, and Professor Huxley's belief—" that our volition counts for something as a condition of the course of events," would be fallacious, since our volition would then be but one link in the chain of events, counting for neither more nor less than any other link whatever.
If, therefore, we have traced one force, however minute, to an origin in our own Will, while we have no knowledge of any other primary cause of force, it does not seem an improbable conclusion that all force may be will-force; and thus, that the whole universe, is not merely dependent on, but actually is, the Will of higher intelligences or of one Supreme Intelligence. It has been often said that the true poet is a seer; and in the noble verse of an American poetess, we find expressed, what may prove to be the highest fact of science, the noblest truth of philosophy:
God of the Granite and the Rose!
Soul of the Sparrow and the Bee!
Through countless channels, Lord, from thee.
Through every grade of being runs,
Its glory flames in Stars and Suns.
These speculations are usually held to be far beyond the bounds of science; but they appear to me to be more legitimate deductions from the facts of science, than those which consist in reducing the whole universe, not merely to matter, but to matter conceived and defined so as to be philosophically inconceivable. It is surely a great step in advance, to get rid of the notion that matter is a thing of itself, which can exist per se, and must have been eternal, since it is supposed to be indestructible and uncreated,—that force, or the forces of nature, are another thing, given or added to matter, or else its necessary properties,—and that mind is yet another thing, either a product of this matter and its supposed inherent forces, or distinct from and co-existent with it; —and to be able to substitute for this complicated theory, which leads to endless dilemmas and contradictions, the far simpler and more consistent belief, that matter, as an entity distinct from force, does not exist; and that Force is a product of Mind. Philosophy had long demonstrated our incapacity to prove the existence of matter, as usually conceived; while it admitted the demonstration to each of us of our own self-conscious, ideal existence. Science has now worked its way up to the same result, and this agreement between them should give us some confidence in their combined teaching.
The view we have now arrived at seems to me more grand and sublime, as well as far simpler, than any other. It exhibits the universe, as a universe of intelligence and will-power; and by enabling us to rid ourselves of the impossibility of thinking of mind, but as connected with our old notions of matter, opens up infinite possibilities of existence, connected with infinitely varied manifestations of force, totally distinct from, yet as real as, what we term matter.
The grand law of continuity which we see pervading our universe, would lead us to infer infinite gradations of existence, and to people all space with intelligence and will-power; and, if so, we have no difficulty in believing that for so noble a purpose as the progressive development of higher and higher intelligences, those primal and general will-forces, which have sufficed for the production of the lower animals, should have been guided into new channels and made to converge in definite directions. And if, as seems to me probable, this has been done, I cannot admit that it in any degree affects the truth or generality of Mr. Darwin's great discovery. It merely shows, that the laws of organic development have been occasionally used for a special end, just as man uses them for his special ends; and, I do not see that the law of "natural selection" can be said to be disproved, if it can be shown that man does not owe his entire physical and mental development to its unaided action, any more than it is disproved by the existence of the poodle or the pouter pigeon, the production of which may have been equally beyond its undirected power.
The objections which in this essay I have taken, to the view,—that the same law which appears to have sufficed for the development of animals, has been alone the cause of man's superior physical and mental nature, —will, I have no doubt, be over-ruled and explained away. But I venture to think they will nevertheless maintain their ground, and that they can only be met by the discovery of new facts or new laws, of a nature very different from any yet known to us. I can only hope that my treatment of the subject, though necessarily very meagre, has been clear and intelligible; and that it may prove suggestive, both to the opponents and to the upholders of the theory of Natural Selection.