- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 114MB
"My dear sir, I know who she is. From the very moment that Bruce told his strange story I felt pretty certain that the Spanish business was a disguise.""Quite, sir," the lawyer responded. "According to the papers drawn up at the time, you can take possession and demand your money at any moment. You are in the same position as a landlord distraining for rent. If you want us to act----"
Such a thinker was Xenophanes, of Colophon. Driven, like Pythagoras, from his native city by civil discords, he spent the greater part of an unusually protracted life wandering through the Greek colonies of Sicily and Southern Italy, and reciting his own verses, not always, as it would appear, to a very attentive audience. Elea, an Italiote city, seems to have been his favourite resort, and the school of philosophy which he founded there has immortalised the name of this otherwise obscure Phocaean settlement. Enough remains of his verses to show with what terrible strength of sarcasm he assailed the popular religion of Hellas. Homer and Hesiod, he exclaims, have attributed to the gods everything that is a shame and reproach among mentheft, adultery, and mutual deception.12 Nor is Xenophanes content with attacking15 these unedifying stories, he strikes at the anthropomorphic conceptions which lay at their root. Mortals think that the gods have senses, and a voice and a body like their own. The negroes fancy that their deities are black-skinned and snub-nosed, the Thracians give theirs fair hair and blue eyes; if horses or lions had hands and could paint, they too would make gods in their own image.13 It was, he declared, as impious to believe in the birth of a god as to believe in the possibility of his death. The current polytheism was equally false. There is one Supreme God among gods and men, unlike mortals both in mind and body.14 There can be only one God, for God is Omnipotent, so that there must be none to dispute his will. He must also be perfectly homogeneous, shaped like a sphere, seeing, hearing, and thinking with every part alike, never moving from place to place, but governing all things by an effortless exercise of thought. Had such daring heresies been promulgated in democratic Athens, their author would probably have soon found himself and his works handed over to the tender mercies of the Eleven. Happily at Elea, and in most other Greek states, the gods were left to take care of themselves.
60Planing machines of the most improved construction are driven by two belts instead of one, and many mechanical expedients have been adopted to move the belts differentially, so that both should not be on the driving pulley at the same time, but move one before the other in alternate order. This is easily attained by simply arranging the two belts with the distance between them equal to one and one-half or one and three-fourth times the width of the driving pulley. The effect is the same as that accomplished by differential shifting gearing, with the advantage of permitting an adjustment of the relative movement of the belts.
The power which Socrates possessed of rousing other minds to independent activity and apostolic transmission of spiritual gifts was, as we have said, the second verification of his doctrine. Even those who, like Antisthenes and Aristippus, derived their positive theories from the Sophists rather than from him, preferred to be regarded as his followers; and Plato, from whom his ideas received their most splendid development, has acknowledged the debt by making that venerated figure the centre of his own immortal Dialogues. A third verification is given by the subjective, practical, dialectic tendency of all subsequent philosophy properly so called. On this point we will content ourselves with mentioning one instance out of many, the recent declaration of Mr. Herbert Spencer that his whole system was constructed for the sake of its ethical conclusion.101I never dreamed youd be suspicious of me! I made friends with you all and tried you out to be sure you were dependable and honest and all thatand I did bring you to this place because it is so far from telephones and railroads. But I didnt think youd get the wrong idea. I only wanted you in a place it would take time to get away from if you refused to help me.
Returning to Epicurus, we have next to consider how he obtained the various motions required to bring his atoms into those infinite combinations of which our world is only the most recent. The conception of matter naturally endowed with capacities for moving in all directions indifferently was unknown to ancient physics, as was also that of mutual attraction and85 repulsion. Democritus supposed that the atoms all gravitated downward through infinite space, but with different velocities, so that the lighter were perpetually overtaken and driven upwards by the heavier, the result of these collisions and pressures being a vortex whence the world as we see it has proceeded.163 While the atomism of Democritus was, as a theory of matter, the greatest contribution ever made to physical science by pure speculation, as a theory of motion it was open to at least three insuperable objections. Passing over the difficulty of a perpetual movement through space in one direction only, there remained the self-contradictory assumption that an infinite number of atoms all moving together in that one direction could find any unoccupied space to fall into.164 Secondly, astronomical discoveries, establishing as they did the sphericity of the earth, had for ever disproved the crude theory that unsupported bodies fall downward in parallel straight lines. Even granting that the astronomers, in the absence of complete empirical verification, could not prove their whole contention, they could at any rate prove enough of it to destroy the notion of parallel descent; for the varying elevation of the pole-star demonstrated the curvature of the earths surface so far as it was accessible to observation, thus showing that, within the limits of experience, gravitation acted along convergent lines. Finally, Aristotle had pointed out that the observed differences in the velocity of falling bodies were due to the atmospheric resistance, and that, consequently, they would all move at the same rate in such an absolute vacuum as atomism assumed.165 Of these objections Epicurus ignored the first two, except, apparently, to the extent of refusing to believe in the antipodes. The third he acknowledged, and set himself to evade it by a hypothesis striking at the root of all scientific86 reasoning. The atoms, he tells us, suffer a slight deflection from the line of perpendicular descent, sufficient to bring them into collision with one another; and from this collision proceeds the variety of movement necessary to throw them into all sorts of accidental combinations. Our own free will, says Lucretius, furnishes an example of such a deflection whenever we swerve aside from the direction in which an original impulse is carrying us.166 That the irregularity thus introduced into Nature interfered with the law of universal causation was an additional recommendation of it in the eyes of Epicurus, who, as we have already mentioned, hated the physical necessity of the philosophers even more than he hated the watchful interfering providence of the theologians. But, apparently, neither he nor his disciples saw that in discarding the invariable sequence of phenomena, they annulled, to the same extent, the possibility of human foresight and adaptation of means to ends. There was no reason why the deflection, having once occurred, should not be repeated infinitely often, each time producing effects of incalculable extent. And a further inconsequence of the system is that it afterwards accounts for human choice by a mechanism which has nothing to do with free-will.167Lucretius dwells much on the dread of death as a source of vice and crime. He tells us that men plunge into all sorts of mad distractions or unscrupulous schemes of avarice and ambition in their anxiety to escape either from its haunting presence, or from the poverty and disrepute which they have learned to associate with it.181 Critics are disposed to think that the poet, in his anxiety to make a point, is putting a wrong interpretation on the facts. Yet it should be remembered that Lucretius was a profound observer, and that his teaching, in this respect, may be heard repeated from London pulpits at the present day. The truth seems to be, not that he went too far, but that he did not go far enough. What he decries as a spur to vicious energy is, in reality, a spur to all energy. Every passion, good or bad, is compressed and intensified by the contracting limits of mortality; and the thought of death impels men either to wring the last drop of enjoyment from their lives, or to take refuge from their perishing individualities in the relative endurance of collective enterprises and impersonal aims.
Herr Kronin paused, overcome by deep distress. His eyes behind the big glasses looked appealingly at Bruce.