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infinite, the same infinite which had impressed the mind of Vasishtha and Odysseus, and from which no one can escape who has eyes to see or ears to hear ?
The Infinitely Small. But there is another infinite, the infinitely small, which is even more wonderful than the infinitely distant and great. When we turn away our eyes from the immensity which surrounds us, and look at one small drop of water taken from the boundless ocean, a new universe seems to open before us. There are in that drop of water atoms of atoms moving about, some visible, some invisible, some hardly imaginable. A high authority, Sir Henry Roscoe, has told us that the chemists are now able to ascertain the relative position of atoms so minute that millions upon millions of them can stand upon a needle's point.' Is not that infinitude of atoms as wonderful as the infinitude of stars ?
Infinite Inseparable from Finite. I maintain then that the infinite is the necessary complement of the finite in every human mind, that it was involved in the first perceptions and became part of the silent clockwork within us, though it may have taken thousands of years before the necessity was felt to give it its final expression, as the Infinite, or the Unknown, or the Beyond.
The Concept of Cause. And it is the same with the idea of cause and
modern savages, who have no such word as cause. Does that prove that they had no other expression for that concept? When we now speak of the cause of the world, we could in the childhood of our thought and
language have said no more than the father or progenitor of heaven and earth,' ganitâ dyâ vâprithivyoh; or, if our thought dwelt more on the forming and shaping of the world, the carpenter of heaven and earth, tvashtâ (TÉKTWV) dyâvâprithivyoh. When afterwards it was felt to be less important to dwell on the act of begetting or shaping, when in fact it was felt desirable to drop these special features, human thought and language reduced the begetter and shaper to a mere maker or creator. And when those names also were felt to be too full of meaning, they were lightened once more till they conveyed no more than author, source, origin, principle, cause. This is the historical and genetic account of the concept of cause. It began with a real maker, like unto ourselves when we do a thing and see that it is done ; it ended with something that is neither human, nor divine, nor even real in the sense of perceptible by the senses-a mere cause.
I hope that I have thus made it clear in what sense I consider the perception of the infinite to have, from the very beginning, formed an ingredient, or if you like, a necessary complement to all finite know- . ledgel. I am quite willing to admit that finite and infinite are not always quite adequate terms to express all that we want to express, and that I sometimes should prefer visible and invisible, known and unknown, definite and indefinite. But every one of these expressions proves even more inadequate in certain circumstances than finite and infinite, and if technical terms have once been properly defined, I do not see how they can be misunderstood.
1 This point has been carefully reasoned out by D. G. Thompson in his Religious Sentiments, London, 1888.
THE INFINITE IN NATURE, IN MAN, AND IN THE SELF.
Positivist Objections. W HEN it has been my chief endeavour to show
V that religion did not begin with abstract concepts and a belief in purely extra-mundane beings, but that its deepest roots can be traced back to the universal stratum of sensuous perception, it is somewhat hard to be told that 'I must necessarily admit an extra-mundane Logos in man, and derive mythology and religion from extra-mundane causes' (Gruppe, p. 218). Still more extraordinary does it seem that the ground on which this charge is founded should be my holding in some modified form the opinion of Schleiermacher, Wuttke, Hellwald, and others, that
the infinite can be known in the finite only, and that it should be known here always and everywhere.'
Again, I am told (p. 222) that if I trace the concept of the infinite back to the most primitive percepts of not quite finite things, I must mean by the infinite 'a potentia of the infinite, the infinitely infinite, the infinite per se, the absolute. If these words have any meaning at all, they would show a complete misapprehension of my position. I spoke of the sensuous pressure of the infinite which is contained in the simplest perceptions of our senses, while I represented the pure concept of the infinite, to say nothing of the absolute, as the very last result of a long historical process of intellectual evolution. To fix the exact time when the indications of the infinite, which are latent in all sensuous perceptions, became recognised either in mythology or religion, and lastly in philosophy, is completely beyond our power. It is enough if we can show that the rudiments of later mythological, religious and philosophical expressions were present in what I call the early pressure of the infinite upon our senses. I do not object if, from another point of view, this may be called an intellectual pressure 1 also; but what is really important is to understand that mankind did not begin with the abstract concepts of infinity, still less of the absolute, whatever that may mean, but with the simplest perceptions which, in addition to their finite contents, implied likewise something beyond the finite.
The question, again, whether this evolution of thought, beginning with the simplest perceptions, and ending with the highest abstractions, was teleological or not-whether it was purposed, whether it was meant to lead us on to a higher conception of the world—does not concern us at present. It is enough for us that it was real, that it is strictly historical, and that it is at the same time intelligible. Whether it was meant or intended, by whom it was intended, and for what it was intended, these are questions which need not disturb our equanimity. So far as I can see, the evidence for and against a teleological interpretation is equally feeble, but, at all events it need not disquiet those who are only concerned with the establishment of facts, and with a suggestion of their possible origin.
1 Aber dieser Druck ist ein intellectueller. Gruppe, p. 225.
Historical Evolution. My principal object has always been to discover an historical evolution or a continuous growth in religion as well as in language. It seems strange, therefore, that while in England some Darwinians, though not Darwin himself, have attacked me for not being a thorough-going evolutionist, Professor Gruppe should try so very hard to prove that I am an evolutionist, and that therefore I am behind the time, as time is understood in certain quarters. Evolution, we are told (pp. 233, 235), is but the disguised sister of Hegelian speculation. We ought to be transformationists, and no longer evolutionists. I do not know what transformations may still await us, but for the present I certainly am and mean to remain an evolutionist in the study of language, mythology, and religion—that is to say, I shall always try to discover in them an intelligible historical growth. That I have not ascribed any evolutionary power to ideas or concepts by themselves, apart from the persons by whom they are held, and uninfluenced by the objective world by which they are determined, I need hardly attempt to prove, considering that I have always adopted as the foundation of all philosophy Kant's well-known principle, that concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. There are misapprehensions against which it is difficult to defend oneself, because it seems incredible that they should ever have been raised.
Positivist Point of View. Nor do I believe that Professor Gruppe or anybody else really thinks me capable of believing in selfevolving Hegelian ideas, floating about in metaphysical