Is Life a Dream?

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  • Is Life a Dream?Author(s): Rudolph H. KlauderSource: The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), p. 266Published by: American Association for the Advancement of ScienceStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/19419 .Accessed: 08/05/2014 08:40

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  • 266 THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY

    apply, we can in short order show that the subiect is talking nonsense.

    DONALD B. CREECY, JR. Annapolis, Md.

    IS LIFE A DREAM?

    Far below the level of mind, where Mr. King finds it hard to imagine that the addition of life to matter-energy has not introduced something qualitatively different, we may detect the beginnings of the marvelous transformation that takes place when lifeless matter becomes alive. It is the trans- formation from passivity to activity, from indif- ference to interest; in short, with the birth of life comes also the birth of values.

    What a living thing does is good or bad; and, if it does not do right, it ceases to live. Further- more, it evaluates its environment; it chooses what it will have, whether of matter or energy, and rejects the other. We may say that the amoeba has conduct; we could never say that of a stone. It has an object in life-to fill the world with amoebae-and it pursues that object.

    We may even say that the "primordial proto- plasma globule" that first received the spark of life, immediately upon that endowment, began to seek truth. A change occurred in its environment. That change was of moment to it. It called for a reaction. Unless that reaction was correct, true to the meaning of the change, a wrong adjustment would be made. We possess the truth when we foresee consequences.

    Since it would he only nonsense to speak of lifeless things in this way, it seems to me Mr. King is on firm ground; but, of course, the mechanists call for proof, and we haven't got it. Who can measure life?

    RuDOLPH H. KLAUDER

    Ocean City, N. J.

    NOTA BENE

    My deepest gratitude,for, and appreciation of, your interest in high-school students. Participation in the activities of the A.A.A.S. is a supreme joy and of the highest inspiration to a young person who is interested in science.

    I attended the Richmond meeting of the Associa- tion in 1938 at the age of fifteen, upon the kind invitation of Dr. Herbert Zim, and became a member of the Association and a subscriber to THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY a few weeks later. I can assure you it was a great thrill and stimulus.

    HERBERT SCHEWARZ, JR. New York City

    TO A COPRINUS

    ON ACCIDENTALLY KICKING ONE OVER (With Apologies to Robert Burns)

    Wee modest flower of the dung Whose virtues yet remain unsung- Like all things living, old or7 young, Or low or high, Thou art from Nature's bosom sprung To live and die.

    In every alley, road, or lane Where equin-e excrement has lain Thou rearest up thy shaggy mane- A noble sight To charm the scientific brain With rare delight.

    Let none condemn thy lo00 degree Or habits of coprophily; For were it not for such as thee The myriad dead Would fill the earth from sea to sea Still undccayed.

    If Psalliota's lustrous fame Or Amnanita's evil name Are equally beyond thy claim- The fates have set A part for thee a higher aim And nobler yet.

    For thou hast yielded mysteries To scientists fromi learned Fries To Buller, Kniep, and Vandendries, Whose brains and wills Sought laws of sex and spore release Behind thy gills.

    Thou hast made dry and scarious Professors joy-delirious Who found that sexes various Existed in Coprinus fimetarius Instead of twin.

    0 fungus of the shaggy tress, Of gills that slowly deliquesce- When Man has sought eternal cesse Thou wilt remiiain To liquidate the dreary mess Left in his train.

    THORVALDUR JOHNSON

    Winnipeg, Man. Canada

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    Article Contentsp. 266

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Scientific Monthly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), pp. 181-268The Fish and Wildlife Service [pp. 181-198]That More People May Live Better [pp. 199-206]Progress in the Transformation of Energy [pp. 207-212]Trends of Vocational Achievement in Mental Disorder [pp. 213-216]Problems in Map Editing [pp. 217-226]Criminal Law for Atomic Scientists [pp. 227-230]The Research Council on Problems of Alcohol [pp. 231-233]Arranging Meetings of the A.A.A.S. [pp. 234-240]Nor Gauge the Fruit [pp. 240]The Cats-To-Clover Chain [pp. 241-242]Korean Scientists Organize [pp. 243-245]Populational Characteristics of American Servicemen in World War II [pp. 246-252]Book ReviewsToward Cosmic Energy [pp. 253-254]Easy Writing's Curst Hard Reading [pp. 254]The Literature of Propaganda [pp. 254]Progress and Poverty [pp. 255-256]Naturalists Observe-- [pp. 256-258]Gladly Wolde He Lerne, and Gladly Teche [pp. 258-259]Remembrance of Things Past [pp. 259]Most Punctual Miracle [pp. 259-261]From Murmansk to Vladivostok [pp. 261]Time Was of the Essence [pp. 261-262]Wartime Necessity [pp. 262-263]Rivaling the Silkworm [pp. 263-264]

    Comments and CriticismsOn the Nature of Entities [pp. 265-266]Is Life a Dream? [pp. 266]Nota Bene [pp. 266]To a Coprinus [pp. 266]

    Technological Notes [pp. 267]The Brownstone Tower [pp. 268]