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2020-09-20 10:59:56


So far, we have only considered belief in its relation to the re-distribution of political, social, and national forces. But behind all such forces there is a deeper and more perennial cause of intellectual revolution at work. There is now in the world an organised and ever-growing mass of scientific truths, at least a thousand times greater and a thousand times more diffused than the amount of positive knowledge possessed by mankind in the age of the Antonines. What those truths can do in the future may be inferred from what they have already done in the past. Even the elementary science of Alexandria, though it could not cope with the supernaturalist reaction of the empire, proved strong enough, some centuries later, to check the flood of Mahometan fanaticism, and for a time to lead captivity captive in the very strongholds of militant theological belief. When, long afterwards, Jesuitism and Puritanism between them threatened to reconquer all that the humanism of the Renaissance had won from superstition, when all Europe from end to end was red with the blood or blackened with the death-fires of heretics and witches, science, which had meanwhile been silently laying the foundations of265 a new kingdom, had but to appear before the eyes of men, and they left the powers of darkness to follow where she led. When the follies and excesses of the Revolution provoked another intellectual reaction, her authority reduced it to a mere mimicry and shadow of the terrible revenges by which analogous epochs in the past history of opinion had been signalised. And this was at a time when the materials of reaction existed in abundance, because the rationalistic movement of the eighteenth century had left the middle and lower classes untouched. At the present moment, Catholicism has no allies but a dispirited, half-sceptical aristocracy; and any appeal to other quarters would show that her former reserves have irrevocably passed over to the foe. What is more, she has unconsciously been playing the game of rationalism for fifteen centuries. By waging a merciless warfare on every other form of superstition, she has done her best to dry up the sources of religious belief. Those whom she calls heathens and pagans lived in an atmosphere of supernaturalism which rendered them far less apt pupils of philosophy than her own children are to-day. It was harder to renounce what she took away than it will be to renounce what she has left, when the truths of science are seen by all, as they are now seen by a few, to involve the admission that there is no object for our devotion but the welfare of sentient beings like ourselves; that there are no changes in Nature for which natural forces will not account; and that the unity of all existence has, for us, no individualisation beyond the finite and perishable consciousness of man.

Here we need no deliverance from troubles and indignities which are not felt; nor do we need to be prepared for death, knowing that we can never die. The world will no longer look askance at us, for we have ceased to concern ourselves about its reformation. No scepticism can shake our convictions, for we have discovered the secret of all knowledge through the consciousness of that which is eternal in ourselves. Thus the world of outward experience has dropped out of our thoughts, because thought has orbed into a world of its own.




What progress devotional feeling had made during the interval which separated Apuleius from Plutarch and his school, may be illustrated by a comparison of the terms which they respectively employ in reference to the Egyptian Isis. The author of the treatise on Isis and Osiris identifies the goddess with the female or material, as distinguished from the formative principle in Nature; which, to say the least of it, is not giving her a very exalted rank in the scheme of creation. Apuleius, on the other hand, addresses her, or makes his hero address her, in the following enthusiastic language:—

It is remarkable that the spontaneous development of Greek thought should have led to a form of Theism not unlike that which some persons still imagine was supernaturally revealed to the Hebrew race; for the absence of any connexion between the two is now almost universally admitted. Modern science has taken up the attitude of Laplace towards the hypothesis in question; and those critics who, like Lange, are most imbued with the scientific spirit, feel inclined to regard its adoption by Plato as a retrograde movement. We may to a certain extent agree with them, without admitting that philosophy, as a whole, was injured by departing from the principles of Democritus. An intellectual like an animal organism may sometimes have to choose between retrograde metamorphosis and total extinction. The course of events drove speculation to Athens, where it could only exist on the condition of assuming a theological form. Moreover, action and reaction were equal and contrary. Mythology gained as much as philosophy lost. It was purified from immoral ingredients, and raised to the highest level which supernaturalism is capable of attaining. If the Republic was the forerunner of the Catholic Church, the Timaeus was the forerunner of the Catholic faith.

The requirements which Epicureanism failed to meet, were, to a great extent, satisfied by Stoicism. This philosophy had, from a comparatively early period, won the favour of a select class, but had been temporarily overshadowed by the popularity of its hedonistic and anti-religious rival, when a knowledge of the Greek systems first became diffused through Italy.169 The uncouth language of the early Stoics and the apparently unpractical character of their theories doubtless exercised a repellent effect on many who were not out of sympathy with their general spirit. These difficulties were overcome first by Panaetius, and then, to a still greater extent, by Posidonius, the elder contemporary and friend of Pompeius and Cicero, who was remarkable not only for his enormous learning but also for his oratorical talent.267 It seems probable that the lessons of this distinguished man marked the beginning of that religious reaction which eventually carried all before it. We have already seen how he abandoned the rationalistic direction struck out by his predecessor, Panaetius; and his return to the old Stoic orthodoxy may very well have responded to a revival of religious feeling among the educated Roman public, who by this time must have discovered that there were other ways of escaping from superstition besides a complete rejection of the supernatural.

The truth is that while our philosopher had one of the most powerful intellects ever possessed by any man, it was an intellect strictly limited to the surface of things. He was utterly incapable of divining the hidden forces by which inorganic nature and life and human society are moved. He had neither the genius which can reconstruct the past, nor the genius which partly moulds, partly foretells the future. But wherever he has to observe or to report, to enumerate or to analyse, to describe or to define, to classify or to compare; and whatever be the subject, a mollusc or a mammal, a mouse or an elephant; the structure and habits of wild animals; the different stages in the development of an embryo bird; the variations of a single organ or function through the entire zoological series; the hierarchy of intellectual faculties; the laws of mental association; the specific types of virtuous character; the relation of equity to law; the relation of reason to impulse; the ideals of friendship; the different members of a household; the different orders in a State; the possible variations of political constitutions, or within the same constitution; the elements of dramatic or epic poetry; the modes of predication; the principles of definition, classification, judgment, and reasoning; the different systems of philosophy; all varieties of passion, all motives to action, all sources of conviction;—there we find an enormous accumulation of knowledge, an unwearied patience of research, a sweep of comprehension, a subtlety of discrimination, an accuracy of statement, an impartiality of decision, and an all-absorbing enthusiasm for science, which, if they do not raise him to the supreme level of creative genius, entitle him to rank a very little way below it.

Institute of Plasma Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (ASIPP, HFIPS) undertakes the procurement package of superconducting conductors, correction coil, superconducting feeder, power supply and diagnosis, accounting for nearly 80% of China's ITER procurement package.

"I am so proud of our team and it’s a great pleasure for me working here," said BAO Liman, an engineer from ASIPP, HFIPS, who was invited to sit near Chinese National flay on the podium at the kick-off ceremony to represent Chinese team. BAO, with some 30 ASIPP engineers, has been working in ITER Tokamak department for more than ten years. Due to the suspended international traveling by COVID-19, most of the Chinese people who are engaged in ITER construction celebrated this important moment at home through live broadcasting.

One of ASIPP’s undertakes, the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (or PF6 coil) , the heaviest superconducting coil in the world, was completed last year, and arrived at ITER site this June. PF6 timely manufacturing and delivery made a solid foundation for ITER sub-assembly, it will be installed at the bottom of the ITER cryostat.

Last year, a China-France Consortium in which ASIPP takes a part has won the bid of the first ITER Tokamak Assembly task, TAC-1, a core and important part of the ITER Tokamak assembly.

Exactly as Bernard BIGOT, Director-General of ITER Organization, commented at a press conference after the ceremony, Chinese team was highly regarded for what they have done to ITER project with excellent completion of procurement package.


The kick-off ceremony for ITER assembly (Image by Pierre Genevier-Tarel-ITER Organization) 


the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS) 


ITER-TAC1 Contract Signing Ceremony (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS)

World dignitaries celebrate a collaborative achievement

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