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A Pluralistic Mystic
by [?]

“It is our habit to think of life as dear, and of death as cheap (though Tithonus found them otherwise), or, continuing the simile of the picture, that paper is cheap while drawing is expensive; but the engraver had a different estimation in one sense, for all his labor was spent on the white ground, while he left untouched those parts of the block which make the lines in the picture. If being and non-being are both necessary to the presence of either, neither shall claim priority or preference. Indeed, we may fancy an intelligence which, instead of regarding things as simply owning entity, should regard chiefly their background as affected by the holes which things are making in it. Even so, the paper-maker might see your picture as intrusive!”

Thus “does the negation of being appear as indispensable in the making of it.” But to anyone who should appeal to particular forms of being to refute this paradox, Mr. Blood admits that “to say that a picture, or any other sensuous thing, is the same as the want of it, were to utter nonsense indeed: there is a difference equivalent to the whole stuff and merit of the picture; but in so far as the picture can be there for thought, as something either asserted or negated, its presence or its absence are the same and indifferent. By its absence we do not mean the absence of anything else, nor absence in general; and how, forsooth, does its absence differ from these other absences, save by containing a complete description of the picture? The hole is as round as the plug; and from our thought the ‘picture’ cannot get away. The negation is specific and descriptive, and what it destroys it preserves tor our conception.”

The result is that, whether it be taken generally or taken specifically, all that which either is or is not is or is not by distinction or opposition. “And observe the life, the process, through which this slippery doubleness endures. Let us suppose the present tense, that gods and men and angels and devils march all abreast in this present instant, and the only real time and date in the universe is now. And what is this instant now? Whatever else, it is process–becoming and departing; with what between? Simply division, difference; the present has no breadth for if it had, that which we seek would be the middle of that breadth. There is no precipitate, as on a stationary platform, of the process of becoming, no residuum of the process of departing, but between the two is a curtain, the apparition of difference, which is all the world.”

I am using my scissors somewhat at random on my author’s paragraphs, since one place is as good as another for entering a ring by, and the expert reader will discern at once the authentic dialectic circling. Other paragraphs show Mr. Blood as more Hegelian still, and thoroughly idealistic:–

“Assume that knowing is distinguishing, and that distinction is of difference; if one knows a difference, one knows it as of entities which afford it, and which also he knows; and he must know the entities and the difference apart,–one from the other. Knowing all this, he should be able to answer the twin question, ‘What is the difference between sameness and difference?‘ It is a ‘twin’ question, because the two terms are equal in the proposition, and each is full of the other. . . .

“Sameness has ‘all the difference in the world’–from difference; and difference is an entity as difference–it being identically that. They are alike and different at once, since either is the other when the observer would contrast it with the other; so that the sameness and the difference are ‘subjective,’ are the property of the observer: his is the ‘limit’ in their unlimited field. . . .