All Forms of Matter
Science teaches us that all forms of matter are compiled of minute particles called molecules. A molecule is the smallest particle of matter that is possible, unless the chemical atoms composing the matter fly apart and the matter be resolved into its original elements.
For instance, let us take the familiar instance of a drop of water. Let us divide and subdivide the drop, until at last we get to the smallest possible particle of water. That smallest possible particle would be a
"molecule" of water. We cannot subdivide this molecule without causing its atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to fly apart--and then there would be no _water_ at all.
Well, these molecules manifest a something called Attraction for each other. They attract other molecules of the same kind, and are likewise attracted. The operation of this law of attraction results in the formation of masses of matter, whether those masses be mountains of solid rock, or a drop of water, or a volume of gas. All masses of matter are composed of aggregations of molecules, held together by the law of attraction.
This law of attraction is called Cohesion. This Cohesive Attraction is not a mere mechanical force, as many suppose, but is an exhibition of Life action, manifesting in the presence of the molecule of a "like" or "love" for the similar molecule. And when the Life energies begin to manifest on a certain plane, and proceed to mould the molecules into crystals, so that we may see the actual process under way, we begin to realize very clearly that there is "something at work" in this building up.
But wonderful as this may seem to those unfamiliar with the idea, the manifestation of Life among the atoms is still more so. The atom, you will remember, is the chemical unit which, uniting with other atoms, makes up the molecule. For instance, if we take two atoms of the gas called hydrogen and one atom of the gas called oxygen, and place them near each other, they will at once rush toward each other and form a partnership, which is called a molecule of water.
And so it is with all atoms--they are continually forming partnerships, or dissolving them. Marriage and divorce is a part of the life of the atoms. These evidences of attraction and repulsion among the atoms are receiving much attention from careful thinkers, and some of the most advanced minds of the age see in this phenomena the corroboration of the old Yogi idea that there is Life and vital action in the smallest particles of matter.
The atoms manifest vital characteristics in their attractions and repulsions. They move along the lines of their attractions and form marriages, and thus combining they form the substances with which we are familiar. When they combine, remember, they do not lose their individuality and melt into a permanent substance, but merely unite and yet remain distinct. If the combination be destroyed by chemical action, electrical discharge, etc., the atoms fly apart, and again live their own separate lives, until they come in contact with other atoms with which they have affinities, and form a new union or partnership.
In many chemical changes the atoms divorce themselves, each forsaking its mate or mates, and seeking some newer affinity in the shape of a more congenial atom. The atoms manifest a fickleness and will always desert a lesser attraction for a greater one. This is no mere bit of imagery, or scientific poetry. It is a scientific statement of the action of atoms along the lines of vital manifestation.
The great German scientist, Haekel, has said: "I cannot imagine the simplest chemical and physical processes without attributing the movement of the material particles to unconscious sensation.
The idea of Chemical Affinity consists in the fact that the various chemical elements perceive differences in the qualities of other elements, and experience pleasure or revulsion at contact with them, and execute their respective movements on this ground." He also says: "We may ascribe the feeling of pleasure or pain (satisfaction or dissatisfaction) to all atoms, and thereby ascribe the elective affinities of chemistry to the attraction between living atoms and repulsion between hating atoms."
He also says that "the sensations in animal and plant life are connected by a long series of evolutionary stages with the simpler forms of sensation that we find in the inorganic elements, and that reveal themselves in chemical affinity."
Naegli says: "If the molecules possess something that is related, however distantly, to sensation, it must be comfortable for them to be able to follow their attractions and repulsions, and uncomfortable for them when they are forced to do otherwise."