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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 2


page 4 of 6 | page 1 | The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Volume 2

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

_P._ There seems to me an insurmountable objection to the idea of absolute coalescence; - and that is the very slight resistance experienced by the heavenly bodies in their revolutions through space - a resistance now ascertained, it is true, to exist in _some_ degree, but which is, nevertheless, so slight as to have been quite overlooked by the sagacity even of Newton. We know that the resistance of bodies is, chiefly, in proportion to their density. Absolute coalescence is absolute density. Where there are no interspaces, there can be no yielding. An ether, absolutely dense, would put an infinitely more effectual stop to the progress of a star than would an ether of adamant or of iron.

_V._ Your objection is answered with an ease which is nearly in the ratio of its apparent unanswerability. - As regards the progress of the star, it can make no difference whether the star passes through the ether _or the ether through it_. There is no astronomical error more unaccountable than that which reconciles the known retardation of the comets with the idea of their passage through an ether: for, however rare this ether be supposed, it would put a stop to all sidereal revolution in a very far briefer period than has been admitted by those astronomers who have endeavored to slur over a point which they found it impossible to comprehend. The retardation actually experienced is, on the other hand, about that which might be expected from the _friction_ of the ether in the instantaneous passage through the orb. In the one case, the retarding force is momentary and complete within itself - in the other it is endlessly accumulative.

_P._ But in all this - in this identification of mere matter with God - is there nothing of irreverence? [_I was forced to repeat this question before the sleep-waker fully comprehended my meaning_.]

_V._ Can you say _why_ matter should be less reverenced than mind? But you forget that the matter of which I speak is, in all respects, the very "mind" or "spirit" of the schools, so far as regards its high capacities, and is, moreover, the "matter" of these schools at the same time. God, with all the powers attributed to spirit, is but the perfection of matter.

_P._ You assert, then, that the unparticled matter, in motion, is thought?

_V._ In general, this motion is the universal thought of the universal mind. This thought creates. All created things are but the thoughts of God.

_P._ You say, "in general."

_V._ Yes. The universal mind is God. For new individualities, _matter_ is necessary.

_P._ But you now speak of "mind" and "matter" as do the metaphysicians.

_V._ Yes - to avoid confusion. When I say "mind," I mean the unparticled or ultimate matter; by "matter," I intend all else.

_P._ You were saying that "for new individualities matter is necessary."

_V._ Yes; for mind, existing unincorporate, is merely God. To create individual, thinking beings, it was necessary to incarnate portions of the divine mind. Thus man is individualized. Divested of corporate investiture, he were God. Now, the particular motion of the incarnated portions of the unparticled matter is the thought of man; as the motion of the whole is that of God.