WE are left, in this final chapter, with more problems than
we can easily enumerate. This is as it should be. Let us say
our farewell to the reader on the crest of a hill, even a rather
bleak hill, provided only it gives us a wide view of unexplored
regions. If the horizon is hidden in mist, if the great spread
of country unfolding itself at our feet reminds us for what a
little way we have enjoyed each other's company, it is better
so than that the final handshake should occur in the shelter
of some pleasant grove where no outlook tempts to further
adventure. We would rather have the reader feel that he had
been brought to a starting point than to a resting place.
Right in the foreground of our view the land rises to another
hill. This represents the problem how a diathete can control
Matter. In the preceding pages we have only proved that this
does happen. We have not even asked how it happens.
This hill looks steep and difficult to climb. For when we
say that Matter is controlled we mean that material objects
are caused to reach specified positions. When this happens
forces are exerted on the objects. And forces are part of the
Material Universe and can only originate in Matter. They are
tied to location. A thing which is pushed, is pushed from
somewhere, and a thing which is pulled, is pulled from
Hence we must never, never make the mistake of regarding the forces which move the objects as diathetes. Though
Bergson's none-too-happily chosen word "élan" is translated
into English by the still less happy word "force", we must
remember that forces do not control things; they themselves
may be controlled or uncontrolled. When their movement
is due only to the forces exerted on them things fly about
indiscriminately. We then speak of the effect of "uncontrolled
In this phrase we reveal our insight into a fundamental
truth. That which exercises control cannot exert a force,
and that which exerts a force cannot exercise control. Diathetes
perform the one function and Matter the other and they can
never change places or do each other's jobs.
Hence we have to face the puzzle that at the points of
contact between the Material Universe and the Diathetic
Universe no forces are applied. We must not picture diathetes
as taking hold of pieces of Matter and placing them in their
specified positions as a bricklayer picks up bricks and builds
them into a wall. Such a picture would be too anthropomorphic. Reworded, our problem is how diathetes can
control forces without applying any. But we must leave its
consideration to another occasion.
Thus clearly stated, the problem which we have propounded,
and do not propose immediately to solve, looks like an obstacle
barring the way to further progress. Will this rouse the reader's
eagerness for further adventure or will he be discouraged? It
depends, no doubt, on his temperament. There are some for
whom the difficulty of a problem adds to its attractiveness
and others who regret the ground they have already covered
as soon as they meet a serious obstacle.
These will now be tempted to retrace their steps. They
will tell us that they cannot accept even the most cogent
proof that a thing happens until they can also understand
how it happens. Perhaps they will strain after arguments to
prove that specifications are never followed, perhaps they
will relapse into the habit of idealizing Matter and attributing
organizing power to that which is a force, namely, mass
multiphed by acceleration. Materialists have always vacillated
between the two theories that either there are no diathemes
or that Matter is a diathete. Our purpose has been to reveal
the absurdity of these two theories and to show that materialism cannot be maintained without the one or the other
of them. Having done this we have completed our present
Into the remaining, unknown, country which we can discern
from our present hilltop others will prove better guides, for
the further we look the less does this country resemble that
in which the engineer has been taught to find his way.
Immediately behind the hill which represents the problem of
how a diathete may influence Matter is another which represents the twin problem of how Matter may influence a diathete.
One of its features represents the problem of perception, but
the outline is not clearly discernible from here. We cannot
even see by which path it should be approached.
Near these hills is another which represents the problem
whether the word "Life" should stand for one single entity
such as Bergson's expression "élan vitale" seems to suggest,
or whether the Life in control of each living organism is
something separate and discrete. The unity of all living
things in their common ancestry seems to lead to one answer,
individual personality seems to lead to the other. We do not
know which to prefer.
Again, there is the problem of the relation between Life
and Mind. Is Mind but a manifestation of Life or is it something distinct? Are some events in the organic world not
only doubly determinate but trebly determinate: firstly by
Matter, secondly by Life, thirdly by Mind?
As we let our gaze follow the horizon we see yet two other
hills. We cannot distinguish them clearly, for in that direction
we have the sun in our eyes. One of these represents the
question whether the Soul of Man is immortal. Deprived of
its workshop, does Life cease to exist or does it find another
sphere of activity? We have, at least, gone a little way towards
this problem. We have shown that Life is a real entity and
a non-material entity. We have proved that the materialist
is wrong when he asserts that there is nothing to survive.
But whether it does survive is another question. Maybe the
problem of immortality will one day be solved by science;
maybe the only path to it is that of faith! Who knows?
The second of the hills which is just under the dazzling
sun represents the question: Can the existence of a God be
proved by science? Maybe this hill is separated from us by
some impassable ravine. But even if it be so we should like
to be able to reach the edge of that ravine. We should like
to explore as much of the landscape before us as may be
within man's feeble powers to traverse. But we, the engineer,
have none of the equipment needed for travel into such
distant regions. Those who, like us, wish to adventure there
must seek other guides. They will be found, we believe,
among theologians, philosophers, biologists and physicists.
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