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4. At Maidenhead H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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"That is not a bad statement of the scientific point of view. I suppose I have much the same general idea of the world. On rather more psychological lines."

"We think, I suppose, said Sir Richmond, of life as something that is only just beginning to be aware of what it is--and what it might be."

"Exactly," said the doctor. "Good."

He went on eagerly. "That is precisely how I see it. You and I are just particles in the tarnish, as you call it, who are becoming dimly awake to what we are, to what we have in common. Only a very few of us have got as far even as this. These others here, for example . . . ."

He indicated the rest of Maidenhead by a movement.

"Desire, mutual flattery, egotistical dreams, greedy solicitudes fill them up. They haven't begun to get out of themselves."

"We, I suppose, have," doubted Sir Richmond.

"We have."

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The doctor had no doubt. He lay back in his chair, with his hands behind his head and his smoke ascending vertically to heaven. With the greatest contentment he began quoting himself. "This getting out of one's individuality--this conscious getting out of one's individuality--is one of the most important and interesting aspects of the psychology of the new age that is now dawning. As compared with any previous age. Unconsciously, of course, every true artist, every philosopher, every scientific investigator, so far as his art or thought went, has always got out of himself,--has forgotten his personal interests and become Man thinking for the whole race. And intimations of the same thing have been at the heart of most religions. But now people are beginning to get this detachment without any distinctively religious feeling or any distinctive aesthetic or intellectual impulse, as if it were a plain matter of fact. Plain matter of fact, that we are only incidentally ourselves. That really each one of us is also the whole species, is really indeed all life. "

"A part of it."

"An integral part-as sight is part of a man . . . with no absolute separation from all the rest--no more than a separation of the imagination. The whole so far as his distinctive quality goes. I do not know how this takes shape in your mind, Sir Richmond, but to me this idea of actually being life itself upon the world, a special phase of it dependent upon and connected with all other phases, and of being one of a small but growing number of people who apprehend that, and want to live in the spirit of that, is quite central. It is my fundamental idea. We,--this small but growing minority--constitute that part of life which knows and wills and tries to rule its destiny. This new realization, the new psychology arising out of it is a fact of supreme importance in the history of life. It is like the appearance of self-consciousness in some creature that has not hitherto had self-consciousness. And so far as we are concerned, we are the true kingship of the world. Necessarily. We who know, are the true king. . . .I wonder how this appeals to you. It is stuff I have thought out very slowly and carefully and written and approved. It is the very core of my life. . . . And yet when one comes to say these things to someone else, face to face. . . . It is much more difficult to say than to write."

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The Secret Places of the Heart
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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