What is Dust?

Cosmopolitan Magazine, June 1907

Vol. XLIII No. 2, p. 233

By Benjamin De Casseres

MAN is but highly organized dust. So says modern materialistic philosophy. It is true. But do you know what dust is? Do you know that dust contains the possibility of everything that can exist? Do you know what is latent in a speck of dust? Is there any proof that a grain of dust cannot evolve into a brain?

We see the marvelous metamorphosis of the cocoon into a butterfly before our eyes. Why then should not dust evolve a Hamlet or a Don Quixote? The finest imagination in the world may be only dreaming dust. The greatest philosopher in the world may be only reasoning dust. It is more marvelous that dust should ever become mind than that mind should return to dust.

Nature is a gigantic crucible. All is alchemy. But who has discovered the Alchemist? Evolution teaches us that man has evolved from protoplasm. But what microscope can tell us what protoplasm is? We know it only as a veiled force. And dust is a veiled force. Who knows what is cradled in the atom?

Despised dust! But what is Dust?


Reprinted in The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), July 15, 1917, p. 16, with the erroneous headline “What is Lust?”