referred to; for Edison, in addition to inventing the apparatus,
Three or four leaves of different ages stand living together at the place in the air where the end of each bough should be; of these the youngest are still tender and in the bud, while the older ones are turning yellow and on the point of falling. Between these leaves a sort of twig-like growth can be detected if they are looked at in certain lights, but it is hard to see, except perhaps when a bud is on the point of coming out. Then there does appear to be a connection which might be called branch-like.
The separate tufts are very different from one another, so that oak leaves, ash leaves, horse-chestnut leaves, etc., are each represented, but there is one species only at the end of each bough.
Though the trunk and all the inner boughs and leaves have disappeared, yet there hang here and there fossil leaves, also in mid-air; they appear to have been petrified, without method or selection, by what we call the caprices of nature; they hang in the path which the boughs and twigs would have taken, and they seem to indicate that if the tree could have been seen a million years earlier, before it had grown near its present size, the leaves standing at the end of each bough would have been found very different from what they are now. Let us suppose that all the leaves at the end of all the invisible boughs, no matter how different they now are from one another, were found in earliest budhood to be absolutely indistinguishable, and afterwards to develop towards each differentiation through stages which were indicated by the fossil leaves. Lastly, let us suppose that though the boughs which seem wanted to connect all the living forms of leaves with the fossil leaves, and with countless forms of which all trace has disappeared, and also with a single root- have become invisible, yet that there is irrefragable evidence to show that they once actually existed, and indeed are existing at this moment, in a condition as real though as invisible to the eye as air or electricity. Should we, I ask, under these circumstances hesitate to call our imaginary plant or tree by a single name, and to think of it as one person, merely upon the score that the woody fibre [sic] was invisible? Should we not esteem the common soul, memories and principles of growth which are preserved between all the buds, no matter how widely they differ in detail, as a more living bond of union than a framework of wood would be, which, though it were visible to the eye, would still be inanimate?
The mistletoe appears as closely connected with the tree on which it grows as any of the buds of the tree itself; it is fed upon the same sap as the other buds are, which sap-however much it may modify it at the last moment-it draws through the same fibres [sic] as do its foster-brothers-why then do we at once feel that the mistletoe is no part of the apple tree? Not from any want of manifest continuity, but from the spiritual difference-from the profoundly different views of life and things which are taken by the parasite and the tree on which it grows-the two are now different because they think differently-as long as they thought alike they were alike-that is to say they were protoplasm-they and we and all that lives meeting in this common substance.
We ought therefore to regard our supposed tufts of leaves as a tree, that is to say, as a compound existence, each one of whose component items is compounded of others which are also in their turn compounded. But the tree above described is no imaginary parallel to the condition of life upon the globe; it is perhaps as accurate a description of the Tree of Life as can be put into so small a compass. The most sure proof of a man's identity is the power to remember that such and such things happened, which none but he can know; the most sure proof of his remembering is the power to react his part in the original drama, whatever it may have been; if a man can repeat a performance with consummate truth, and can stand any amount of cross-questioning about it, he is the performer of the original performance, whatever it was. The memories which all living forms prove by their actions that they possess-the memories of their common identity with a single person in whom they meet-this is incontestable proof of their being animated by a common soul. It is certain, therefore, that all living forms, whether animal or vegetable, are in reality one animal; we and the mosses being part of the same vast person in no figurative sense, but with as much bona fide literal truth as when we say that a man's finger-nails and his eyes are parts of the same man.
It is in this Person that we may see the Body of God-and in the evolution of this Person, the mystery of His Incarnation.
[In "Unconscious Memory," Chapter V, Butler wrote: "In the articles above alluded to ("God the Known and God the Unknown") I separated the organic from the inorganic, but when I came to rewrite them I found that this could not be done, and that I must reconstruct what I had written." This reconstruction never having been effected, it may be well to quote further from "Unconscious Memory" (concluding chapter): "At parting, therefore, I would recommend the reader to see every atom in the universe as living and able to feel and remember, but in a humble way. He must have life eternal as well as matter eternal; and the life and the matter must be joined together inseparably as body and soul to one another. Thus he will see God everywhere, not as those who repeat phrases conventionally, but as people who would have their words taken according to their most natural and legitimate meaning; and he will feel that the main difference between him and many of those who oppose him lies in the fact that whereas both he and they use the same language, his opponents only half mean what they say, while he means it entirely... We shall endeavour [sic] to see the so-called inorganic as living, in respect of the qualities it has in common with the organic, rather than the organic as non- living in respect of the qualities it has in common with the inorganic."]
In my last chapter I endeavoured [sic] to show that each living being, whether animal or plant, throughout the world is a component item of a single personality, in the same way as each individual citizen of a community is a member of one state, or as each cell of our own bodies is a separate person, or each bud of a tree a separate plant. We must therefore see the whole varied congeries of living things as a single very ancient Being, of inconceivable vastness, and animated by one Spirit.