Essay On The Importance Of Discipline.
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“I had a mind to know from prince Maurice’s own mouth the account of a common, but much credited story, that I heard so often from many others, of an old parrot he had in Brazil during his government there, that spoke, and asked, and answered common questions like a reasonable creature: so that those of his train there generally concluded it to be witchery or possession; and one of his chaplains, who lived long afterwards in Holland, would never from that time endure a parrot, but said, they all had a devil in them. I had heard many particulars of this story, and assevered by people hard to be discredited, which made me ask prince Maurice what there was of it. He said, with his usual plainness and dryness in talk, there was something true, but a great deal false of what had been reported. I desired to know of him what there was of the first? He told me short and coldly, that he had heard of such an old parrot when he had been at Brazil; and though he believed nothing of it, and it was a good way off, yet he had so much curiosity as to send for it: that it was a very great and a very old one, and when it came first into the room where the prince was, with a great many Dutchmen about him, it said presently, What a company of white men are here! They asked it what it thought that man was, pointing to the prince? It answered, some general or other; when they brought it close to him, he asked it, D’ou venez vous? It answered, De Marinnan. The prince, A qui estes vous? The parrot, A un Portugais. Prince, Que fais tu la? Parrot, Je garde les poulles. The prince laughed, and said, Vous gardez les poulles? The parrot answered, Oui, moi; et je sçai bien faire; and made the chuck four or five times that people use to make to chickens when they call them. I set down the words of this worthy dialogue in French, just as prince Maurice said them to me. I asked him in what language the parrot spoke, and he said, in Brasilian; I asked whether he understood Brasilian; he said, no, but he had taken care to have two interpreters by him, the one a Dutchman that spoke Brasilian, and the other a Brasilian that spoke Dutch; that he asked them separately and privately, and both of them agreed in telling him just the same thing that the parrot had said. I could not but tell this odd story, because it is so much out of the way, and from the first hand, and what may pass for a good one; for I dare say this prince at least believed himself in all he told me, having ever passed for a very honest and pious man. I leave it to naturalists to reason, and to other men to believe, as they please upon it: however, it is not, perhaps, amiss to relieve or enliven a busy scene sometimes with such digressions, whether to the purpose or no.”
Short Essay On Discipline In Simple Words | a good …
§ 28. Another idea we have of body is the power of communication of motion by impulse: and of our souls, the power of exciting motion by thought. These ideas, the one of body, the other of our minds every day’s experience clearly furnishes us with: but if here again we inquire how this is done, we are equally in the dark. For to the communication of motion by impulse, wherein as much motion is lost to one body as is got to the other, which is the ordinariest case, we can have no other conception, but of the passing of motion out of one body into another: which, I think, is as obscure and unconceivable, as how our minds move or stop our bodies by thought, which we every moment find they do. The increase of motion by impulse, which is observed or believed sometimes to happen, is yet harder to be understood. We have by daily experience clear evidence of motion produced both by impulse and by thought; but the manner how, hardly comes within our comprehension: we are equally at a loss in both. So that however we consider motion, and its communication, either from body or spirit, the idea which belongs to spirit is at least as clear as that which belongs to body. And if we consider the active power of moving, or, as I may call it, motivity, it is much clearer in spirit than body; since two bodies, placed by one another at rest, will never afford us the idea of a power in the one to move the other, but by a borrowed motion: whereas the mind, every day, affords us ideas of an active power of moving of bodies; and therefore it is worth our consideration, whether active power be not the proper attribute of spirits, and passive power of matter. Hence may be conjectured, that created spirits are not totally separate from matter, because they are both active and passive. Pure spirit, viz. God, is only active; pure matter is only passive; those beings that are both active and passive, we may judge to partake of both. But be that as it will, I think, we have as many, and as clear ideas belonging to spirit, as we have belonging to body, the substance of each being equally unknown to us, and the idea of thinking in spirit as clear as of extension in body; and the communication of motion by thought, which we attribute to spirit, is as evident as that by impulse, which we ascribe to body. Constant experience makes us sensible of both these, though our narrow understandings can comprehend neither. For when the mind would look beyond those original ideas we have from sensation or reflection, and penetrate into their causes, and manner of production, we find still it discovers nothing but its own short-sightedness.