The habit of taking thought for the morrow in material...

The Christian Science Monitor

The habit of taking thought for the morrow in material ways grows out of two things; first, the dense materiality of the human mind, second, the intense belief of that mind in the power of evil. Ultimately, of course, these two things are the same thing, for the belief in the power of evil is itself a product of the materiality of the human mind. The moment, consequently, that a man begins to lose his materiality, that moment his belief in the power of evil begins to lessen, and he unconsciously begins to cease taking thought for the morrow—as well he may.

To the materialist, thought for the morrow is in the nature of a necessity. Believing that houses and fields, ships and warehouses, banks and churches, represent substance in themselves, he must, in common prudence, take thought to add house to house, and field to field. There are only so many fields, there is only so much gold in the world, and if he does not get his share, and more than his share, he must, as he sees it, take his place in the ranks of the world failures. No such excuse, of course, exists for the philosophic idealist, the man who insists that matter is a state of consciousness and has no objective reality. When you have once admitted that matter exists solely as a mental picture it is obvious that your whole reckoning must be with mind. But it is precisely here that the difficulty arises. Post hoc propter hoc, after which because of which, the mind which pictures matter must be itself material, and so again, after which because of which, the idealist of the philosophic school has gained wonderfully little over the rank materialist; for even if, as Mr. Balfour once said, he has explained matter away, he has explained it away in the terms of material-mindedness, and it matters extremely little whether his house or his field exists subjectively in his mind or objectively independently of it, only he holds title deeds. That is really why, as Huxley was wont to insist, the philosophic idealist is apt to become a mired logician.

The material mind, then, thinking in terms of matter, the philosophic idealist naturally takes thought for the morrow with the whole-hearted thoroughness of the convinced materialist. If he is faced by a difficulty in his business, he does not get very much further by declaring that houses or fields are not made out of clay or stone, but are mental pictures, for the simple reason that the sole origin of the material clay or the material brick is a material mind which, just because it is material, cannot express itself in anything but matter. As a consequence, such a business man is involved in a vicious circle of material thinking from which he can no more escape than the materialist who shrugs his shoulders resignedly before the ponderous mass of a mountain, and dryly insists that he has never seen the faith that will move even a little hill.

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November 15, 1919

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