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itself a decoy. That which the soul seeks is reso lution into being above form, out of Tartarus and out of heaven, — liberation from nature.
If speculation tends thus to a terrific unity, in which all things are absorbed, action tends directly backwards to diversity. The first is the course or gravitation of mind; the second is the power of nature. Nature is the manifold. The unity absorbs, and melts or reduces. Nature opens and creates. These two principles reappear and interpenetrate all things, all thought; the one, the many. One is being; the other, intellect: one is necessity; the other, freedom : one, rest; the other, motion : one, power; the other, distribution: one, strength; the other, pleasure: one, consciousness ; the other, definition: one, genius; the other, talent: one, earnestness ; the other, knowledge: one, possession ; the other, trade : one, caste; the other, culture : one, king; the other, democracy : and, if we dare carry these generalizations a step higher, and name the last tendency of both, we might say, that the end of the one is escape from organization, — pure science ; and the end of the other is the highest instrumentality, or use of means, or executive deity.
Each student adheres, by temperament and by habit, to the first or to the second of these gods of the mind. By religion, he tends to unity; by in. tellect, or by the senses, to the many. A too rapid unification, and an excessive appliance to parts and particulars, are the twin dangers of speculation
To this partiality the history of nations corresponded. The country of unity, of immovable insti. tutions, the seat of a philosophy delighting in abstractions, of men faithful in doctrine and in practice to the idea of a deaf, unimplorable, immense fate, is Asia ; and it realizes this faith in the social institution of caste. On the other side, the genius of Europe is active and creative : it resists caste by culture ; its philosophy was a discipline ; it is a land of arts, inventions, trade, freedom. If the East loved infinity, the West delighted in boundaries.
European civility is the triumph of talent, the extension of system, the sharpened understanding, adaptive skill, delight in forms, delight in manifestation, in comprehensible results. Pericles, Athens, Greece, had been working in this element with the jos of genius not yet chilled by any foresight of the detriment of an excess. They saw before them Do sinister political economy; no ominous Malthus; Do Paris or London ; no pitiless subdivision of classes, — the doom of the pin-makers, the doom of the weavers, of dressers, of stockingers, of carders, of spinners, of colliers ; no Ireland; no Indian
caste, superinduced by the efforts of Europe to throw it off. The understanding was in its health and prime. Art was in its splendid novelty. They cut the Pentelican marble as if it were snow, and their perfect works in architecture and sculpcure seemed things of course, not more difficult than the completion of a new ship at the Medford yards, or new mills at Lowell. These things are in course, and may be taken for granted. The Roman legion, Byzantine legislation, English trade, the saloons of Versailles, the cafés of Paris, the steam-inill, steamboat, steamcoach, may all be seen in perspective; the town-meeting, the ballot-box, the newspaper and cheap press.
Meantime, Plato, in Egypt and in Eastern pilgrimages, imbibed the idea of one Deity, in which all things are absorbed. The unity of Asia and the detail of Europe ; the infinitude of the Asiatic soul and the defining, result-loving, machine-making, surface-seeking, opera-going Europe, – Plato came to join, and, by contact, to enhance the energy of each. The excellence of Europe and Asia are in his brain. Metaphysics and natural philosophy expressed the genius of Europe ; he substructs the religion of Asia, as the base.
In short, a balanced soul was born, perceptive of the two elements. It is as easy to be great as to be small. The reason why we do not at once be. lieve in admirable souls is because they are not in our experience. Iu actual life, they are so rare as to be incredible ; but primarily there is not only no presumption against them, but the strongest presumption in favor of their appearance. But whether voices were heard in the sky, or not; whether his mother or his father dreamed that the infant man-child was the son of Apollo ; whether a swarm of bees settled on his lips, or not; – a man who could see two sides of a thing was boru. The wonderful synthesis so familiar in nature ; the upper and the under side of the medal of Jove the union of impossibilities, which reappears in every object; its real and its ideal power, — was now also transferred entire to the consciousness of a man.
The balanced soul came. If he loved abstract truth, he saved himself by propounding the most popular of all principles, the absolute good, which rules rulers, and judges the judge. If he made transcendental distinctions, he fortified himself by drawing all his illustrations from sources disdained by orators and polite conversers; from mares and puppies; from pitchers and soup-ladles ; from cooks and criers; the shops of potters, horse-doctors, butchers and fishmongers. He cannot forgive in himself a partiality, but is resolved that the two poles of thought shall appear in his statement
His argument and his sentence are self-poised and spherical. The two poles appear; yes, and be come two hands, to grasp and appropriate their own.
Every great artist has been such by synthesis. Our strength is transitional, alternating; or, shall I say, a thread of two strands. The sea-shore, sea seen from shore, shore seen from sea; the taste of two metals in contact ; and our enlarged powers at the approach and at the departure of a friend ; the experience of poetic creativeness, which is not found in staying at home, nor yet in travelling, but in transitions from one to the other, which must therefore be adroitly managed to present as much transitional surface as possible; this command of two elements must explain the power and the charm of Plato. Art expresses the one or the same by the different. Thought seeks to know unity in unity ; poetry to show it by variety ; that is, always by an object or symbol. Plato keeps the two vases, one of æther and one of pigment, at his side, and invariably uses both. Things added to things, as statistics, civil history, are inventories. Things used as language are inexhaustibly attractive. Plato turns incessantly the obverse and the reverse of the medal of Jove.
To take an example : — The physical philosophers bad sketched each his theory of the world;