When we buy an egg over the counter we buy very much more than we can see or feel. The inorganic yolk and the amorphous jelly of the white are the least part of our bargain. We have secured possession of a mysterious factor capable of transforming these inert materials into a self-contained, intensely living, little universe. Beneath the feathers of a broody hen, enbosomed in the silence and the dark, bathed in congenial warmth, and molded by an unseen artificer, the formless jelly is transmuted into a conscious chick complete in all its parts.
There was a time in aeons long gone by when the whole solar universe was formless like the egg. A filmy cloud of firemist floated dispersedly throughout the vast abyss, big with the possibilities that slept in every atom's heart. There was as yet no universe, only an innumerable assemblage of formative patterns and plans of rock and crystal, fern and flower, and bird and beast and creeping things, their abstract essence, formless as yet, but destined as the ages rolled away to beautify and populate the rocky earth we tread today. The "builders," too, waking to active life after the Night of Brahma, known to the Greeks as cosmocratores, were as invisible as the ethereal substances on which they worked; and as the cosmos curdled and congealed, in its desire for physical expression, they traced rough outlines of the detailed whole, to which result they worked with tireless zeal.
In boundless space, as we are told, there exists a treasury of ideal forms, the garnered harvest and final result of former periods of evolution. These are the "dimensionless ideas" that lie even more remote from our conception than the sketchy outlines that, helped by the builders' art, are slowly acquiring clear definition upon the Screen of Time. Eternal in the heavens, says Plato, lives the unwithering amaranth, that prophecy and plan of all the waving, many-colored multitudes that beautify the meadows in the spring.
To our comrades, and to ourselves in our more intuitive and lucid intervals, our lives must often appear selfish and circumscribed; but let us remember that the section of ourselves exposed to public view is not by any means the whole. What we aspired to be should give us hope and courage, for the impalpable idea in the mind today may become the evident fact of tomorrow.
There hovers over human life a silent presence, an invisible spectator who waits for our permission to come in and blend his life with ours, to purify its grossness and to make it beautiful and strong. So far as physical expression is concerned it is only a splendid possibility, and is as non-existent as the possibility we buy when purchasing an egg; and yet what matters most about an egg is the assurance of future fulfilment that is as yet no more than a promise and a hope.
A promise from a man of proved integrity is something that as yet has neither substance nor reality in our world of fact and actuality, and yet the definite undertaking of such a man is rightly regarded as being almost as good as its achieved accomplishment, because it moves irresistibly on its way backed by the steady force of character of him who made it. Great is the efficacy of the unseen possibility that watches over every traveler on the everlasting way. Though unperceived, and unexpressed in action it only waits for our consent to lead us from the sordid present to a future shining with a splendor of celestial day on which the evening shadows never fall.