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The exclusionary ‘nothing but’ should be replaced by ‘not only, but also’

The exclusionary ‘nothing but’ should be replaced by ‘not only, but also’ The exclusionary ‘nothing but’ should be replaced by ‘not only, but also’
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Materialism and mentalism—the philosophies of ‘nothing but.’ How wearily familiar we have become with that ‘nothing but space, time, matter and motion,’ that ‘nothing but sex,’ that ‘nothing but economics’! And the no less intolerant ‘nothing but spirit,’ ‘nothing but consciousness,’ ‘nothing but psychology’—how boring and tiresome they also are! ‘Nothing but’ is mean as well as stupid. It lacks generosity. Enough of ‘nothing but.’ It is time to say again, with primitive common sense (but for better reasons), ‘not only, but also.’

Socrates was accused by his enemies of having affirmed, heretically, that the moon was a stone. He denied the accusation. All men, said he, know that the moon is a god, and he agreed with all men. As an answer to the materialistic philosophy of ‘nothing but’ his retort was sensible and even scientific. More sensible and scientific, for instance, than the retort invented by D. H. Lawrence in that strange book, so true in its psychological substance, so preposterous, very often, in its pseudo-scientific form, Fantasia of the Unconscious. ‘The moon,’ writes Lawrence, ‘certainly isn’t a snowy cold world, like a world of our own gone cold. Nonsense. It is a globe of dynamic substance, like radium or phosphorus, coagulated upon a vivid pole of energy.’ The defect of this statement is that it happens to be demonstrably untrue. The moon is quite certainly not made of radium or phosphorus. The moon is, materially, ‘a stone.’ Lawrence was angry (and he did well to be angry) with the nothing-but philosophers who insist that the moon is only a stone. He knew that it was something more; he had the empirical certainty of its deep significance and importance. But he tried to explain this empirically established fact of its significance in the wrong terms—in terms of matter and not of spirit. To say that the moon is made of radium is nonsense. But to say, with Socrates, that it is made of god-stuff is strictly accurate. For there is nothing, of course, to prevent the moon from being both a stone and a god. The evidence for its stoniness and against its radiuminess may be found in any children’s encyclopaedia. It carries an absolute conviction. No less convincing, however, is the evidence for the moon’s divinity. It may be extracted from our own experiences, from the writings of the poets, and, in fragments, even from certain textbooks of physiology and medicine.

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