In fact, to-day colloids may be regarded as an important, perhaps the most important connecting link between the organic and the inorganic
World. (7) WOLFGANG PAULI
In our researches, let us follow the natural order and give a brief structural account of what we know, empirically, about the medium in which life is found; namely, about the colloids. The following few elementary particulars show the empirical importance of structure, and so are fundamental in the present work.
At present, physicians are usually too innocent of psychiatry, and psychiatrists, although they often complain about this innocence of their colleagues, seldom, if ever, themselves pay any attention to the colloidal structure of life; and their arguments about the 'body-mind' problem are still scientifically incomplete and unconvincing, though the 'body-mind' problem has been present with us for thousands of years. It is a very important semantic problem, and, as yet, not solved scientifically, although there is a simple solution of it to be found in the colloidal structure of life.
The reader should not ascribe any uniqueness of the 'cause-effect' character to the statements which follow, as they may not be true when generalized. Colloidal science is young and little known. Science has accumulated a maze of facts, but we do not have, as yet, a general theory of colloidal behaviour. Statements, therefore, should not be unduly generalized.
We shall only indicate a few structural and relational connections important for our purpose.
When we take a piece of some material and subdivide it into smaller pieces, we cannot carry on this process indefinitely. At some stage of this process the bits become so small that they cannot be seen with the most powerful microscope. At a further stage, we should reach a limit of the subdivision that the particles can undergo without losing their chemical character. Such a limit is called the molecule.* The smallest particle visible in the microscope is still about one thousand times larger than the largest molecule. So we see that between the molecule and the smallest visible particle there is a wide range of sizes.
♦This statement is only approximate, because there is evidence that chemical characteristics change as the molecule is approached.