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The Consciousness of the Atom - The Evolution of Substance
When we speak of energy there must be that which energizes, that which is the source of energy and the origin of that force which demonstrates in matter. It is here that I seek to lay the emphasis. Whence comes this energy, and what is it?

Scientists are recognizing ever more clearly that atoms possess qualities, and it would be interesting if one were to take the different scientific books dealing with the subject of atomic matter, and note which of the many and varying terms applied to them could be applied to a human being also. On a small scale I have attempted this, and found it very illuminating.

First of all, as we know, the atom is spoken of as possessing energy, and the power to change from one mode of activity to another. One writer has remarked that "absolute intelligence thrills through every atom in the world." In this connection I want to point out to you what Edison is reported by an interviewer as having said in Harper's Magazine for February 1890, and which is enlarged upon in the Scientific American for October 1920. In the earlier instance he is quoted as follows:

"I do not believe that matter is inert, acted upon by an outside force. To me it seems that every atom is possessed by a certain amount of primitive intelligence. Look at the thousands of ways in which atoms of hydrogen combine [39] with those of other elements, forming the most diverse substances. Do you mean to say that they do this without intelligence? Atoms in harmonious and useful relation assume beautiful or interesting shapes and colors, or give forth a pleasant perfume, as if expressing their satisfaction... gathered together in certain forms, the atoms constitute animals of the lower order. Finally they combine in man, who represents the total intelligence of all the atoms."

"But where does this intelligence come from originally?" asked the interviewer.

"From some power greater than ourselves," Edison answered.

"Do you believe, then, in an intelligent Creator, a personal God?"

"Certainly. The existence of such a God can, to my mind, be proved from chemistry."'

In the long interview quoted in the Scientific American, Edison laid down a number of most interesting surmises from which I have culled the following:

  1. Life, like matter, is indestructible.
  2. Our bodies are composed of myriads of infinitesimal entities, each in itself a unit of life; just as the atom is composed of myriads of electrons.
  3. The human being acts as an assemblage rather than as a unit; the body and mind express the vote or voice of the life entities.
  4. The life entities build according to a plan. [40] If a part of the life organism be mutilated, they rebuild exactly as before...
  5. Science admits the difficulty of drawing the line between the inanimate and the animate; perhaps the life entities extend their activities to crystals and chemicals...
  6. The life entities live for ever; so that to this extent at least the eternal life which many of us hope for is a reality.

In an address given by Sir Clifford Allbut, President of the British Medical , as reported in the Literary Digest of February 26th, 1921, he speaks of the ability of the microbe to select and reject, and in the course of his remarks he says:

"When the microbe finds itself in the host's body it may be wholly out of tune, or wholly in tune, with any or all cells that it approaches; in either case presumably nothing morbid would happen... morbid happenings would lie between this microbe and body-cells within its range but not in tune with it. Now there seems to be reason to suppose that a microbe, on its approach to a body-cell only just out of its range, may try this way and that to get a hitch on. If so, the microbe, at first innocuous, would become noxious. So, on the other hand, body-cells may educate themselves to vibrate in harmony with a microbe before dissonant; or there may be mutual interchange and co-adaptation... [41]

"But, if things be so, surely we are face to face with a marvelous and far-reaching faculty, the faculty of choice, and this rising from the utter bottom of biology to the summit - formative faculty - 'auto-determination,' or, if you please, 'mind."'

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