Franklin had in the previous few days an insight that he believed "played a vital part in clearing the way for the illumination that occurred later". The insight had to do with his concept of the relationship of empty space to matter. He had gradually come to perceive that so-called empty space was in fact full and substantial, while material objects were in fact a kind of "partial vacuum". The effect was that his senses began to be capable of perceiving empty space as the substantial foreground while physical objects receded into the background.
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