06 | CR Book II, Chapter 3 & 4 & 5 - Book III
Chapter 3 - When regarded, more scientifically, as events, or as
units of operations and actions, things can easily be shown to have no
Units of inorganic matter have no fixed limits. Interpreted mechanic-
ally, the units have no contents whatsoever. They are empty. When
physical events are regarded or interpreted as "fields" of physical
action, or as waves, or as radiations, their limits extend indefinitely.
Chapter 4 - The range of an organism extends indefinitely owing
to the close and complex interrelations and interactions between the
organism, and its organic and inorganic environment. Again, no clear
and definite boundaries are discernible.
The species is real, and an essential constituent of the individual.
The "ideal" plant has reality as a statistical average, and as a law of
growth. It may be called "ideal" because it is a norm, and because its
material basis is yet almost unknown. The species is a reality because it
regulates and restricts the individuals. It further manifests itself as real
in the simultaneous variations of many individuals. By destroying
extreme variations, the environment seems sometimes to co-operate
with the inner constitution in maintaining specific identity. An individual
organism, taken as a unit, includes the species. The present constitution
of an individual organism contains essentially a definite reference to the
future, and to the past, of the entire species, and possibly of related
An organism can be, further, regarded as forming one unit with its
specific environment, i.e. with the essential features of its environment.
Chapter 5 - If things are taken as existing in the production of
effects and operations, one may hope to isolate a separate chain of events.
As cause and effect two events seem to be so intimately, invariably and
exclusively connected that one may comprehend them as one event.
Without the aid of subsidiary conditions, however, a cause can produce
no effects. There is no objective distinction between cause and condition.
Cause and conditions are kept apart by the shifting and capricious
considerations of our dominant practical interest at the moment.
The thing then may loose its own nature by being swallowed up in
the conditions of its existence. where do the conditions stop, and where
does the thing begin? Each event, indeed, is, or tends to be, the totality
of all events. If cause plus conditions produce the effect, one set of
subsidiary conditions will become operative only under certain further
conditions. Else they would be combined with the thing all the time, and
the effect would be there all the time. These further conditions require
others again, and we get a regressus ad infinitum. An event becomes
identical with the sum total of its conditions. Each event implies the
entire state of the universe. The cause is the entire state of the universe
at one time, and so is the effect.
BOOK III - INFLATION AND CONTRACTION OF SELF
The self is not a fixed thing, but a process which moves either in the
direction of contraction, or in that of inflation. The range of things which
we regard as ours, or as belonging to us, depends largely on whether we
try to inflate, enrich, fill, or to contract, impoverish, empty ourselves.
Inflation of self takes place when a person extends or spreads himself
by incorporating, appropriating, and conquering lots of other things