Henry George Atkinson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1851
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511693908.017
Subjects: History of ideas and intellectual history
H. M. to H. G. A.
There is so much in your last letter, that it has been longer than usual under my hand.
Thank you for your detail of facts and evidence as to the blind lady's case. I should still like more, if you can obtain them; for I can conceive of nothing more momentous.
As for the resolution of Matter into forces, it does not, to my mind, convey any notion of immaterial existence. I observe you use the word spirit, and spiritual forces, in regard to the virtues of the magnet, and the mutual operation of billiard balls. I do not object to the word, understanding as I do, that by “spiritual” you do not mean “immaterial:” but I should not have ventured to use the word to you. I suppose the German term, “Nerve-spirit” is of the same class. I wish we had a term; as people in general mean by “spiritual” that which is not matter, and which is in antagonism with it. I do not know what term we have but “force.”—Here we find ourselves in the dim regions where Berkeley and Kant, and so many more, have sat down and tried to make out what they saw, with such varying results.