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mills and galvanic loving-batteries soon. What a lot of wear and tear it would save! I should go about covered with a number of electric love-wires for the force to play upon.
F. I think this matter wants clearing up, Mr. Germsell. Why don't you write a book on mental and emotional physics?
Mr. Rollestone. I would venture with great diffidence to remark that the confusion seems to me to arise from the limit we attach to the meaning of the word employed. It may be quite true that no idea or emotion can exist except as the result of physical force; but it is also true that its effect must be conditioned on the quality of the force. There is as wide a difference between the physical forces operant in the brain, and which give rise to ideas, and those which move a steam-engine, as there is between mind and matter. Both, as Mr. Germsell will admit, are conditioned manifestations of force; but the one contains a vital element in its dynamism which the other does not.
apply as much physical force by means of a galvanic battery to a dead brain as you please, but you can't strike an idea out of it; and this vital force, while it is "conditioned force," like light, heat, motion, and matter, differs in its mode of manifestation from every other manifestation of force, even more than they do from each other, in that it possesses a potency inherent to it, which they have not, and this potency it is which creates emotion and generates ideas. The fallacy which underlies the whole of this system of philosophy is contained in the assumption that there is only one description of physical force in nature.
G. No more there is. Why, Mr. Spencer says that the law of metamorphosis, which holds among the physical forces, holds equally between them and the mental forces; but mark you, what is the grand conclusion at which he arrives? I happen to remember the passage. "How this metamorphosis takes place; how a force existing, as motion, heat, or light, can become a mode of consciousness; how it is possible for aërial vibrations to generate the sensation we call sound; or for the forces liberated by chemical changes in
the brain to give rise to emotion--these are mysteries which it is impossible to fathom."
Lord F. [aside to Mrs. Gloring]. What a jolly easy way of getting out of a difficulty!
D. Of course, if you admit such gross ignorance as to how it is possible for aërial vibrations to generate the sensations we call sound, I don't wonder at your not hearing the tom-tom in the Himalayas we were listening to just now. If you knew a little more about the astral law under which aërial vibrations may be generated, you would not call things impossible which you admit to be unfathomable mysteries. If it is an unfathomable mystery how a sound is projected a mile, why do you refuse to admit the possibility of its being projected two, or two hundred, or two thousand? Under the laws which govern mysteries, which you say are unfathomable, if the mystery is unfathomable, so is the law, and you have no right to limit its action.
R. To come back to the question of a possible distinction in the essential or inherent qualities of dynamic or physical forces. There is nothing in the hypothesis which may not be reasonably assumed and tested by experiment; and before any man has a right to affirm that. there is only one quality of physical force in nature, which, by undergoing transformation and metamorphosis, shall account for all its phenomena, I have a right to ask whether the hypothesis, that there may be another, has been experimentally tested. It would then be time for me to accept the conclusion that there is only one, and that it is an unfathomable mystery how this one force should be able to perform all the functions attributed to it.
G. I admit that the forces called vital are correlates of the forces called physical, if you choose to call that a distinction; but their character is conditioned by the state of the brain, and it comes to the same thing in the end. The seat of emotion as well as of thought is the brain, and it entirely depends on its chemical constitution, on its circulation, and on other causes affecting that organ, what you think, and feel, and say, and do. People's characters differ because the rains do, not because
there is any difference in the vital force which animates them.
R. You might as well say that sounds differ because their aerial vibrations differ, but those vibrations only differ because the force makes them differ which is acting upon them. They don't generate tunes, but convey them. And the result, so far as our hearing is concerned, depends upon what are called the acoustic conditions under which the vibrations take place. Just so the brain possesses no generating function of its own; it deals with and transmits the ideas and emotions projected upon it according to the organic conditions by which it may be affected at the time, whether those ideas and emotions are produced by external stimuli, or apparently, but only apparently, as I believe, owe there origin to genesis in the brain itself. In the one case the brain is vibrating to the touch of an external force, in the other to one that is internal and unseen, just as the air does when it transmits sound, whether you see the cause which produces it or not; and the mystery which remains to be fathomed, but which I do not admit to be unfathomable until somebody tries to fathom it, is the nature of those unseen forces.
G. How would you propose to try and fathom it?
R. By experiment: I know of no other way. The forces which generate emotions and ideas must possess a moral quality: the experiments must therefore be moral experiments.
G. How do you set to work to experimentalize morally?
R. As the process must of necessity be a purely personal one, carried on, if I may use the expression, in one's own moral organism, I have a certain delicacy in attempting to describe it. In fact, Lady Fritterly, if you will allow nie to say so, as the whole subject which has been under discussion this afternoon is the most profoundly solemn which can engage the attention of a human being, I shrink from entering upon it as fully as I would do under other circumstances. If people begin to want a new religion because it is the fashion to want one, I venture to predict that they will never find it. If they want a new religion because they can't come up to the moral
standard of the one they have got, then I would advise them to look rather to that unseen force within them, which I have been attempting to describe to Mr. Germsell, for the potency which may enable them to reach it.
Lady F. Indeed, Mr. Rollestone, we are all exceedingly in earnest. I never felt so serious in my life. Of course this London life must all seem very frivolous to you; but that we can't help, you know. We can't all go away and make moral experiments like you. What we feel is, that we ought all to endeavor as much as possible to introduce a more serious tone into society. We want to get rid of the selfishness, and the littleness, and the petty ambitions and envyings, and the scandals that go on.
Don't we, Louisa, dear? And you can't think how grateful I am to Lord Fondleton for having given me the pleasure of your acquaintance. I hope I may often see you; I am sure you would do us all so much good. You will always find me at home on Sunday afternoons at this hour.
Mrs. A. It is so refreshing to meet any one so full of information and earnestness as you are, in this wicked, jaded London. Please go on, Mr. Rollestone; what you were saying was so interesting. Have you really been experimentalizing on your own moral organism? How quite too extraordinary!
Lord F. [aside to Mrs. Gloring]. By Jove! I had no idea old Rollestone could come out in this line. He is a regular dark horse. I should never have suspected it. He will be first favorite in London this season, and win in a canter.
C. You will excuse me, Mr. Rollestone, but I really am interested, and I really am serious. It was with no idle curiosity that I was waiting to hear your answer to Mr. Germsell's inquiry, as to the nature of the moral experiment necessary to test the character of this unseen force.
R. I can only say that any experiment which deals with the affectional and emotional part of one's nature must be painful in the extreme. There is, indeed, only one motive which would induce one to undergo the trials, sufferings, sacrifices, and ordeals which it involves-and that is one in which you
will sympathize: it is the hope that humanity may benefit by the result of one's efforts. Indeed, any lower motive than this would vitiate them. I will venture to assert to Mr. Germsell, who is so sceptical as to the existence of any other quality in that force, which he can only fathom so far as to know that it is physical, that I will put him through a course of experiment which will cause him more acute moral suffering than his brain could bear, unless it was sustained by a force which by that experimental process will reveal attributes contained in it not dreamed of in his philosophy.
G. I have no doubt you could strain my mind until it was weak enough to believe anything, even your fantastic theories. Thank you, I would rather continue to experiment with my own microscope and forceps than let you experiment either upon my affections or my brains.
F. [aside to Mr. Rollestone]. You could not make anything of them even if he consented-the former don't exist, and the latter are mere putty-but I can quite understand your desire to begin in corpore vili.
Lord F. [aside to Mrs. Gloring]. Allow me freely to offer you my affections as peculiarly adapted to experiments of this nature.
R. It has always struck me as strange that men of science, who don't shrink from testing, for instance, the value of poisons, or the nature of disease, by heroically subjecting their own external organisms to their action, should shrink from experimenting on that essential if remote vitalizing force, which can only be reached by moral experiment, and disorder in which produces not only moral obliquity and mental alienation, but physical disease as well.
F. Thus a man may die of apoplexy brought on by a fit of passion. Cure his temper, and you lessen the danger of apoplexy; that, I take it, is an illustration of what you mean.
R. In its most external application it is; the question is where this bad temper comes from, and whether, as Mr. Germsell would maintain, it is entirely due to his cerebral condition, and not to the moral qualities inherent in the force, which, acting on peculiar cerebral con
ditions causes one man's temper to differ from another's. It is not the liberated force which generates the temper. For that you have to go farther back; and the reason why research is limited in this direction is not because it is impossible to go farther back, but because it must inevitably entail, as I have already said, acute personal suffering. Nor, as these experiments must be purely personal, and involve experiences of an entirely novel kind, is it possible to discuss them except with those who have participated in them. One might as well attempt to describe the emotion of love to a man whose affections had never been called forth. If I have alluded to them so fully now, it is because they justify me in making the assertion, for which I can offer no other proof than they have afforded to me personally, that a force does exist in nature possessing an inherent spiritual potency--I use the word for lack of a better-which is capable of lifting humanity to a higher moral plane of daily living and acting than that which it has hitherto attained. But I fear I am trespassing on your patience in having said thus much.
Lady F. Oh no, Mr. Rollestone; please go on. There is something so delightfully fresh and original in all you are saying, I can't tell you how much you interest me.
G. [aside]. I know a milkmaid quite as fresh and fresh and rather more original. [Aloud, looking at his watch.] Bless me! it is past six, and I have an appointment at the club at six. So sorry to tear myself away, dear Lady Fritterly. I can't tell you how I have enjoyed he intellectual treat you have provided for
Lady F. I thank you so much for coming. I hope you will often look in on our Sundays. I think you know that these little conversations are so very improving.
G. You may rely upon me; it is impossible to imagine anything more interesting. [Mutters as he leaves the room.] No, Lady Fritterly, this is the last time I enter this house, except perhaps to dinner. You don't catch me again making one of your Sunday collection of bores and idiots. What an insufferable prig that Rollestone is!
F. [aside to Drygull]. Thank heaven, that pompous nuisance has taken himself off!
D. [aside to Fussle]. I don't know which I dislike most-the Pharisee of science or the Pharisee of religion.
R. If, then, you admit that the human organism not only cannot generate force, but that the emotions which control the body are in their turn generated by a force which is behind it, but which is dependent for its manifestation on its own special conditions, as well as those of its transmitting organic-medium, I venture to assert that experiment in the direction I have suggested will prove to our consciousness that the moral or spiritual quality of the original invading force is a pure one, and that the degree of its pollution in the human frame is the effect of inherited and other organic conditions; and the question which presents itself to the experimentalist is, whether by an effort of the will this same force may not be evoked to change and purify those conditions. Indeed the very effort is in itself an invocation, and if made unflinchingly, will not fail to meet with a response. Much that has heretofore been to earnest seekers unknowable, will become knowable, and a love, Mr. Coldwaite, higher, if that be possible, than the love of humanity, yet correlative with and inseparable from it, will be found pressing with an irresistible potency into those vacant spaces of the human heart, which have from all time yearned for a closer contact with the Great Source of all love and of all force. It is in this attempt to sever the love of humanity from its Author that the Positivist philosophy has failed: it is the worship of a husk without the kernel, of a body without the soul; and hence it will never satisfy the human aspiration. That aspiration is ever the same; it needs, if you will allow me to say so, Lady Fritterly, no new religion to satisfy its demands. If the world is of late beginning to feel dissatisfied with Christianity, it is not because the moral standard which that religion proposes is not sufficiently lofty for its requirements, but because, after eighteen hundred years of effort, it has altogether failed to reach that standard. Christianity seems a failure because Christians have failed-have failed to
understand its application to everyday life, have failed to embody it in practice, and have sought an escape from the apparent impossibility of doing so, by smothering it with dogmas and diverting its scope from this world to the next. It will be time to look for a new ligion when we have succeeded in the literal application of the ethics of the one we have got to the social and economic problems of daily life. It is not by any intellectual effort or scientific process that the discovery will be made of how this is to be done, but by the introduction into the organism of new and unsuspected potencies of moral force which have hitherto lain dormant in nature, waiting for the great invocation of wearied and distressed humanity. There is no stronger evidence of the approach of this new force, destined to make the ethics of Christianity a practical social standard, than the growing demand of society for a new religion. It is the inarticulate utterance of the quickened human aspiration, in itself a proof that these new potencies are already stirring the dry bones of Christendom, and a sure earnest that their coming in answer to that aspiration will not be long delayed.
D. Of course, I entirely disagree with you as to any such necessity in regard to the moral requirements of the world existing. You must have met, in the course of your travels, that more enlightened and initiated class of Buddhists, with whom I sympathize, who are quite indifferent to considerations of this nature.
R. And who were too much occupied with their subjective prospects in Nirvana, to be affected by the needs of terrestrial humanity.
D Quite so.
Mrs. A. And, Mr. Allyside, I am afraid you are equally indifferent.
Ali S. I am certainly not indifferent to the discovery of any force latent in Christendom which may check the force of its cupidity, and put a stop to the exploitation and subjugation of Eastern countries for the sake of advancing its own material interests, under the specious pretext of introducing the blessings of civilization.
C. You have certainly presented the matter in a light which is altogether new.
to me, Mr. Rollestone, and upon which, therefore, I am not now prepared to express an opinion. I should like to discuss the subject with you further privately.
R. It is a subject which should never be discussed except privately.
Mrs. A. Now, I should say, Mr. Rollestone, on the contrary, that it was just a subject you ought to write a book about. You would have so much to tell all your personal experiments, you know; now do.
F. Take my advice, Mr. Rollestone, and don't. You would have very few readers, and those who read you would only sneer at what they would call your crude ideas; and indeed, you will excuse me for saying so, but I am not sure that they would not be right.
Lord F. I quite disagree with you, Mr. Fussle. If Rollestone would write a book which would put a stop to this 'religion of the future'' business, he would earn the gratitude of society. Do you know, I am getting rather bored with it.
F. Not if he introduced instead a latent force, which should overturn all existing institutions, and revolutionize society-which it would inevitably have. to do if we were all coerced by it into adopting literally the ethics of Christianity, instead of merely professing them. Why, the Sermon on the Mount' alone, practised to the letter, would produce a general destruction. Church and State, and the whole economic system upon which society is based, would melt away before it like an iceberg under a tropical sun. I don't mind discussing the religion of the future as a subject of interesting speculation; but, depend upon it, we had better let well alone. It seems to me that we-at least those of us who are well off-have nothing to complain of. Let us trust to the silent forces of evolution. See how much they have lately done for us in the matter of art. What can be pleasanter than this gentle process of æsthetic development which our higher faculties are undergoing? With due deference
to Mr. Rollestone, I think we shall be far better employed in cultivating our taste, than in probing our own organisms in the hope of discovering forces which may enable us to apply a perfectly unpractical system of morality, to a society which has every reason to be satisfied with the normal progress it is making.
Mrs. G. Indeed, Mr. Rollestone, I agree with you a great deal more than with Mr. Fussle. I should like to call out a higher moral force in myself-but I should never have the courage to undergo- all the ordeals you say it would involve; I am too weak to try.
Lord F. Of course you are-don't! You are much nicer as you are. Why, Rollestone, you would make all the women detestable if you could have your way.
R. I don't think there is any immediate cause for alarm on that score.
Mrs. A. [rising]. Dearest Augusta, I am afraid I must run away: thank you so much for such a treat. [All rise.] Mrs. Gloring, we have all been so deeply interested, that we have scarcely been able to exchange a word, but I hope we shall see a great deal of each other this year. I have a few people coming to me to-morrow evening; do you think you can spare a moment from your numerous engagements? Lady Fritterly and Lord Fondleton are coming; and perhaps, Mr. Drygull, you will come, and bring Mr. Allyside. Mr. Fussle, I know it is useless to expect you; and I cannot venture to ask Mr. Rollestone to anything so frivolous. But perhaps you will dine with me on Thursday-you will meet some congenial spirits.
R. Thank you, but I fear it will be impossible, as I leave London to-morrow. Good-by, Lady Fritterly. For give me, an utter stranger, for having so far obtruded my experiences upon you, and for venturing finally to suggest that it is in our own hearts that we should search for the religion that we need; for is it not written The kingdom of heaven is within you ?"-Blackwood's Magazine.