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“I began by pointing out that Nature exercises many forms of Energy, which are not directly observable by the senses. In fact, the History of Science for the last hundred and fifty years or so has consisted principally of the discovery of such types, with their analysis, measurement and manipulation. There is every reason to suppose that many such remain to be discovered.
But what has in no case been observed is any trace of will or of intelligence, except through some apparatus involving a nervous and cerebral system.
At this point I want especially to call your attention to certain species of animals (bees and termites are obvious cases) where a collective consciousness seems to exist, since the community acts as a whole in evidently purposeful ways, yet the units of that community are not even complete in themselves. (Isn't there some series of worms, each sub-type able only to subsist on the excrement of its preserver in the series?)
Then there are the phenomena of mob psychology, where a crowd gleefully combine to perform acts which would horrify any single individual. And there is the exceeding strange and interesting psychology of the ‘partouse’—this is a little more, in my judgment, than a spinthria.
In all such cases the operative consciousness does not reside in any single person, as one might argue that it did when an orator ‘carries away’ his audience. But these remarks have rather shunted one into a siding away from the main line of argument. My most important point is to insist that even with the most familiar forms of energy, man has done no creative work so ever. He has discovered, examined, measured (rather clumsily) and used, but in no case has he understood, still less explained, the causes of phenomena. Sometimes he cannot even reconcile different ‘laws of Nature.’ So we find J.W.N. Sullivan exclaiming ‘The scientific adventure may yet have to be abandoned,’ and to me personally he confessed ‘It may yet turn out that the mathematical approach to Reality may have to be supplanted by the Magical.’”