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Title: Prolegomena to the Study of Hegel's Philosophy - and Especially of his Logic
Author: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, Wallace, William
Language: English
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PROLEGOMENA

TO THE STUDY OF

HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY

AND

_ESPECIALLY OF HIS LOGIC_

BY

WILLIAM WALLACE, M.A., LL.D.

FELLOW OF MERTON COLLEGE

AND WHYTE'S PROFESSOR OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND AUGMENTED

OXFORD

AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

1894



IN REMEMBRANCE OF

B. JOWETT

LATE REGIUS PROFESSOR OF GREEK

AND

MASTER OF BALLIOL COLLEGE

OXFORD



PREFACE


The present volume of Prolegomena completes the second edition of my
LOGIC OF HEGEL which originally appeared in 1874. The translation,
which was issued as a separate volume in the autumn of 1892, had been
subjected to revision throughout: such faults as I could detect had
been amended, and many changes made in the form of expression with the
hope of rendering the interpretation clearer and more adequate. But,
with a subject so abstruse and complicated as Hegel's Logic, and a
style so abrupt and condensed as that adopted in his _Encyclopaedia_,
a satisfactory translation can hardly fall within the range of
possibilities. Only the enthusiasm of youth could have thrown itself
upon such an enterprise; and later years have but to do what they may
to fulfil the obligations of a task whose difficulties have come to
seem nearly insuperable. The translation volume was introduced by a
sketch of the growth of the _Encyclopaedia_ through the three editions
published in its author's lifetime: and an appendix of notes supplied
some literary and historical elucidations of the text, with quotations
bearing on the philosophical development between Kant and Hegel.

The Prolegomena, which have grown to more than twice their original
extent, are two-thirds of them new matter. The lapse of twenty years
could not but involve a change in the writer's attitude, at least in
details, towards both facts and problems. The general purpose of the
work, however, still remains the same, to supply an introduction to the
study of Hegel, especially his _Logic,_ and to philosophy in general.
But, in the work of altering and inserting, I can hardly imagine that
I have succeeded in adjusting the additions to the older work with
that artful juncture which would simulate the continuity of organic
growth. To perform that feat would require a master who surveyed from
an imperial outlook the whole system of Hegelianism in its history
and meaning; and I at least do not profess such a mastery. Probably
therefore a critical review will discern inequalities in the ground,
and even discrepancies in the statement, of the several chapters. To
remove these strains of inconsistency would in any case have been a
work of time and trouble: and, after all, mere differences in depth
or breadth of view may have their uses. The writer cannot always
compel the reader to understand him, as he himself has not always
the same faculty to penetrate and comprehend the problems he deals
with. In these arduous paths of research it may well happen that the
clearest and truest perceptions are not always those which communicate
themselves with fullest persuasion and gift of insight. Schopenhauer
has somewhere compared the structure of his philosophical work to the
hundred-gated Thebes: so many, he says, are the points of access it
offers for the pilgrims after truth to reach its central dogma. So--if
one may parallel little things with his adventurous quest--even the
less speculative chapters, and the less consecutive discourse, of
these Prolegomena may prove helpful to some individual mood or phase
of mind. If--as I suspect--the Second Book should elicit the complaint
that the reader has been kept wandering too long and too deviously in
the _Porches of Philosophy_, I will hope that sometimes in the course
of these rovings he may come across a wicket-gate where he can enter,
and--which is the main thing--gather truth fresh and fruitful for
himself.

Fourteen chapters, viz. II, XXIV, and the group from VII to XVIII
inclusive, are in this edition almost entirely new. Three chapters of
the first edition, numbered XIX, XXII, XXIII, have been dropped. For
the rest, Chaps. III-VI in the present correspond to Chaps. II-V in
the first edition: Chap. XIX to parts of VII, VIII: Chaps. XX-XXIII to
Chaps. IX-XII: Chaps. XXV-XXX to Chaps. XIII-XVIII: and Chaps. XXXI,
XXXII to Chaps. XX, XXI. But some of those nominally retained have been
largely rewritten.

The new chapters present, amongst other things, a synopsis of the
progress of thought in Germany during the half-century which is
bisected by the year 1800, with some indication of the general
conditions of the intellectual world, and with some reference to the
interconnexion of speculation and actuality. Jacobi and Herder, Kant,
Fichte, and Schelling have been especially brought under succinct
review. In the first edition I did Kant less than justice. I have now,
so far as my limits allowed, tried to rectify the impression; and even
more perhaps, by a clear palinode, to tender my apology for the meagre
and somewhat inappreciative notice I gave to the great names of Fichte
and Schelling. For like reasons, and from a growing perception how
much post-Kantian thought owed to the pre-Kantian thinkers, Spinoza
and Leibniz have been partly brought within my range. If, furthermore,
I may seem to have transgressed the due amount of allusions and
comparisons drawn from Plato and Aristotle, Bacon and Mill, the excuse
must be sought in that fixture of philosophical horizon which can
hardly but creep on after a quarter of a century spent in teaching
philosophy under the customs and ordinances of the Oxford School of
Classical Philology.

It would be to mistake the scope of this survey to seek in it a
history of the philosophers of the period I have named. They have
been presented, not in and for themselves, but as _momenta_ or
constituent! factors in producing Hegel's conception of the aim and
method of philosophy. To do this it was necessary to lay stress on
their inner purport and implications: to treat the individual thinker
in subordination to the general movement of ideas: to give, as far as
was possible, a constructive conception of them rather than an analysis
and chronicle. Yet as the picture had to be done, so to say, with a few
vigorous touches, and made characteristic rather than descriptive, it
cannot have that fairness and completeness which only patient study of
every feature and untiring experiment in reconstruction can enable even
the artist to produce. I may have seemed to confine the environment
too exclusively to continental thinkers: but this is not, I think,
due to any anti-patriotic bias. English (by which term, I may explain
to my countrymen, I mean English-writing) thought, if it has its own
intrinsic value, has after all been only an occasional influence,
of suggestion and modification, in Germany. It is not therefore an
integral portion of my theme. Even in Kant's case, too much may be made
of the stimulus he received from Hume.

Even twenty years ago, my translation could hardly be described
literally as a voice crying in the wilderness. But since that time
there has been a considerable out-put of history, translation, and
criticism referring to the great age of German philosophy, and a
comparatively numerous group of writers, more or less familiar with
the aims and principles of that period, have treated various parts
of philosophy with notable independence and originality. To these
writers it has sometimes been found convenient to give the title
of Neo-Kantians, or Neo-Hegelians. The prefix suggests that they
do not in all points reproduce the ideal or the caricature which
vulgar tradition fancied, and perhaps still fancies, to be implied
in German 'transcendentalism.' And that for the good reason that the
springs of the movement lie in the natural and national revulsion of
English habits of mind. Slowly, but at length, the storms of the great
European revolution found their way to our intellectual world, and
shook church and state, society and literature. The homeless spirit
of the age had to reconsider the task of rebuilding its house of
life. It may have been that some of the seekers, in the fervour of a
first impression, spoke unadvisedly, as if salvation could and would
come to English philosophy only by Kant and Hegel. Yet, there was a
real foundation for the belief that the insularity--however necessary
in its season, and however admirable in some of its results--which
had secluded and narrowed the British mind since the middle of the
eighteenth century, needed something deeper and stronger than French
'ideology' to bring it abreast of the requirements of the age. Whatever
may be the drawbacks of transcendentalism, they are virtues when set
beside the vulgar ideals of enlightenment by superficialisation. Mill
has well pointed out how the spirit of Coleridge was for the higher
intellectual life a needful complement to the spirit of Bentham. Yet
the spirit of Coleridge had but caught some of the side-lights and
romantic illuminations: it had not dared to face the central sun either
in literature or philosophy. The scholar who has given us excellent
versions of Fichte's lighter works, those who have translated and
expounded Kant, and the great author who opened German literature
to the British public, have brought us nearer the higher teaching
of Germany. In Germany itself it has always been the possession
only of the few. Even at the height of the classical period there
were litterateurs who vended thousands of their books for Goethe's
hundreds, and the great philosophers had ten opponents to one follower
even amongst the teachers of their day. Yet Goethe and not Kotzebue
gave the permanent law to literature; Hegel, and not Krug or Fries,
has influenced philosophy. To have had the resolution to learn in
this school is the merit of 'Neo-Hegelianism.' It has probably not
found Kant free from puzzles and contradictions, or Hegel always
intelligible. But the example of the Germans has served to widen and
deepen our ideas of philosophy: to make us think more highly of its
function, and to realise that it is essentially science, and the
science of supreme reality. And it has at least familiarised many with
the heresy that dilettantism and occasional fits of speculativeness are
worth as little in philosophy as elsewhere. To have striven for dignity
in its scope, and scientific security in its method, is something. If
the Neo-Hegelian has not given philosophy a settled language, it may
be urged that a philosophical language cannot be created by the easy
device of inventing a few Hellenistic-seeming vocables.

I could have wished to make these volumes a worthier contribution
to the work whereby these and other writers have recently enriched
our island philosophy. Not least because of the honoured name I have
ventured to write on the dedication-page. If, as Epicurus said, we
should above all be grateful to the past, the first meed is from the
scholar due to the teachers of earlier years, and not least those who
have now entered into their rest. I do not forget what I, and others,
owed to T. H. Green, my predecessor in the Chair of Moral Philosophy;
that example of high-souled devotion to truth, and of earnest and
intrepid thinking on the deep things of eternity. But at this season
the memory of my Oxford tutor and friend is naturally most prominent.
The late Master of Balliol College was more than a mere scholar or
a mere philosopher. He seemed so idealist and yet so practical: so
realist and yet so full of high ideals: so delicately kind and yet
so severely reasonable. You felt he saw life more steadily and saw
it more whole than others: as one reality in which religion and
philosophy, art and business, the sciences and theology, were severally
but elements and aspects. To the amateurs of novelty, to the slaves
of specialisation, to the devotees of any narrow way, such largeness
might, with the impatience natural to limited minds, have seemed
indifference. So must appear those who on higher planes hear all the
parts in the harmony of humanity, and with the justice of a wise love
maintain an intellectual _Sôprosyné_. On his pupils this secret power
of an other-world serenity laid an irresistible spell, and bore in upon
them the conviction that beyond scholarship and logic there was the
fuller truth of life and the all-embracing duty of doing their best to
fulfil the amplest requirements of their place.

In earlier days Jowett had been keenly interested in German philosophy,
and had made a version (most of which was still extant in 1868) of the
Logic I have translated. But Greek literature, and above all Plato,
drew him to more congenial fields. It was on his suggestion,--or shall
I say injunction--at that date, that the work I had casually begun was
some years later prosecuted to completion. It was his words, again, two
years ago, that bade me spare no labour in the work of revision.

OXFORD,

_December_, 1893.



FROM THE PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION


The 'Logic of Hegel' is a name which may be given to two separate
books. One of these is the 'Science of Logic' (Wissenschaft der Logik),
first published in three volumes (1812-1816), while its author was
schoolmaster at Nüremberg. A second edition was on its way, when Hegel
was suddenly cut off, after revising the first volume only. In the
'Secret of Hegel,' the earlier part of this Logic has been translated
by Dr. Hutchison Stirling, with whose name German philosophy is chiefly
associated in this country.

The other Logic, of which the present work is a translation, forms the
First Part in the 'Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences.' The
first edition of the Encyclopaedia appeared at Heidelberg in 1817; the
second in 1827; and the third in 1830. It is well to bear in mind that
these dates take us back forty or fifty years, to a time when modern
science and Inductive Logic had yet to win their laurels, and when the
world was in many ways different from what it is now. The earliest
edition of the Encyclopaedia contained the pith of the system. The
subsequent editions brought some new materials, mainly intended to
smooth over and explain the transitions between the various sections,
and to answer the objections of critics. The work contained a synopsis
of philosophy in the form of paragraphs, and was to be supplemented by
the _viva voce_ remarks of the lecturer.

The present volume is translated from the edition of 1843, forming the
Sixth Volume in Hegel's Collected Works. It consists of two nearly
equal portions. One halt here printed in more open type, contains
Hegel's Encyclopaedia, with all the author's own additions. The first
paragraph under each number marks the earliest and simplest statement
of the first edition. The other half, here printed in closer type, is
made up of the notes taken in lecture by the editor (Henning) and by
Professors Hotho and Michelet. These notes for the most part connect
the several sections, rather than explain their statements. Their
genuineness is vouched for by their being almost verbally the same with
other parts of Hegel's own writings.

The translation has tried to keep as closely as possible to the
meaning, without always adhering very rigorously to the words of the
original. It is, however, much more literal in the later and systematic
part, than in the earlier chapters.

The Prolegomena which precede the translation have not been given in
the hope or with the intention of expounding the Hegelian system. They
merely seek to remove certain obstacles, and to render Hegel less
tantalizingly hard to those who approach him for the first time. How
far they will accomplish this, remains to be seen.

OXFORD, _September,_ 1873.



CONTENTS

BOOK I.

OUTLOOKS AND APPROACHES TO HEGEL.

CHAPTER I.

WHY HEGEL IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND 3

CHAPTER II.

WHY TRANSLATE HEGEL? 14

CHAPTER III.

ENGLISH PHILOSOPHY AND HEGEL 21

CHAPTER IV.

HEGEL AND THEOLOGY 30

CHAPTER V.

PSEUDO-IDEALISM: JACOBI 37

CHAPTER VI.

THE SCIENCES AND PHILOSOPHY 57

CHAPTER VII.

ANTICIPATORY SKETCH OF THE SCOPE OF PHILOSOPHY 72

CHAPTER VIII.

THE SCEPTICAL DOUBT: HUME 88

CHAPTER IX.

THE ATTEMPT AT A CRITICAL SOLUTION: KANT 98

CHAPTER X.

THE CRITICAL SOLUTION (_continued_): KANT 112

CHAPTER XI.

SYNTHESIS AND RECONSTRUCTION: FICHTE 124

CHAPTER XII.

THE BEGINNINGS OF SCHELLING 136

CHAPTER XIII.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF NATURE AND IDEALISM 147

CHAPTER XIV.

TRANSITION TO HEGEL 163

BOOK II.

IN THE PORCHES OF PHILOSOPHY.

CHAPTER XV.

THE TWO AGES OF REASON 175

CHAPTER XVI.

THE NEW IDEALISM 189

CHAPTER XVII.

METHODS, ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL 202

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE RANGE OF PERSONALITY 230

CHAPTER XIX.

GENESIS IN MENTAL LIFE 261

CHAPTER XX.

GENERAL LAW OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 277

CHAPTER XXI.

ABSTRACT AND CONCRETE: AND THE ORDINARY LOGIC 292

CHAPTER XXII.

FROM SENSE TO THOUGHT 307

CHAPTER XXIII.

FIGURATE OR REPRESENTATIVE THOUGHT 323

CHAPTER XXIV.

FROM SUBSTANCE TO SUBJECT 335

CHAPTER XXV.

REASON AND THE DIALECTIC OF UNDERSTANDING 348

BOOK III.

LOGICAL OUTLINES.

CHAPTER XXVI.

THOUGHT PURE AND ENTIRE 365

CHAPTER XXVII.

ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE: OR THE CATEGORIES 383

CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE THREE PARTS OF LOGIC 394

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE SEARCH FOR A FIRST PRINCIPLE 404

CHAPTER XXX.

THE LOGIC OF DESCRIPTION: NATURAL REALISM: BEING 415

CHAPTER XXXI.

THE LOGIC OF EXPLANATION AND REALISTIC METAPHYSICS:

ESSENCE 440

CHAPTER XXXII.

THE LOGIC OF COMPREHENSION AND IDEALISM: THE NOTION 459



PROLEGOMENA

Book I

_OUTLOOKS AND APPROACHES TO HEGEL_



CHAPTER I.


WHY HEGEL IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND.


'The condemnation,' says Hegel, 'which a great man lays upon the
world, is to force it to explain him[1].' The greatness of Hegel, if
it be measured by this standard, must be something far above common.
Interpreters of his system have contradicted each other, almost as
variously as the several commentators on the Bible. He is claimed
as their head by widely different schools of thought, all of which
appeal to him as the original source of their line of argument. The
Right wing, and the Left, as well as the Centre, profess to be the
genuine descendants of the prophet, and to inherit the mantle of his
inspiration. If we believe one side, Hegel is only to be rightly
appreciated when we divest his teaching of every shred of religion and
orthodoxy which it retains. If we believe another class of expositors,
he was the champion of Christianity.

These contradictory views may be safely left to abolish each other. But
diversity of opinion on such topics is neither unnatural, nor unusual.
The meaning and the bearings of a great event, or a great character,
or a great work of reasoned thought, will be estimated and explained
in different ways, according to the effect they produce on different
minds and different levels of life and society. Those effects, perhaps,
will not present themselves in their true character, until long after
the original excitement has passed away. To some minds, the chief value
of the Hegelian system will lie in its vindication of the truths of
natural and revealed religion, and in the agreement of the elaborate
reasonings of the philosopher with the simple aspirations of mankind
towards higher things. To others that system will have most interest
as a philosophical history of thought,--an exposition of that organic
development of reason, which underlies and constitutes all the varied
and complex movement of the world. To a third class, again, it may seem
at best an instrument or method of investigation, stating the true
law by which knowledge proceeds in its endeavour to comprehend and
assimilate existing nature.

While these various meanings may be given to the Hegelian scheme
of thought, the majority of the world either pronounce Hegel to be
altogether unintelligible, or banish him to the limbo of _a priori_
thinkers,--that bourne from which no philosopher returns. To argue with
those who start from the latter conviction would be an ungrateful,
and probably a superfluous task. Wisdom is justified, we may be sure,
of all her children. But it may be possible to admit the existence of
difficulties, and agree to some extent with those who complain that
Hegel is impenetrable and hard as adamant. There can be no doubt of
the forbidding aspect of the most prominent features in his system.
He is hard in himself, and his readers find him hard. His style is
not of the best, and to foreign eyes seems unequal. At times he is
eloquent, stirring, and striking: again his turns are harsh, and his
clauses tiresome to disentangle: and we are always coming upon that
childlikeness of literary manner, which English taste fancies it can
detect in some of the greatest works of German genius; There are faults
in Hegel, which obscure his meaning: but more obstacles are due to the
nature of the work, and the pre-occupations of our minds. There is
something in him which fascinates __ the thinker, and which inspires
a sympathetic student with the vigour and the hopefulness of the
spring-time.

Perhaps the main hindrance in the way of a clear vision is the contrast
which Hegelian philosophy offers to our ordinary habits of mind.
Generally speaking, we rest contented if we can get tolerably near our
object, and form a general picture of it to set before ourselves.

It might almost be said that we have never thought of such a thing as
being in earnest either with our words or with our thoughts. We get
into a way of speaking with an uncertain latitude of meaning, and leave
a good deal to the fellow-feeling of our hearers, who are expected to
mend what is defective in our utterances. For most of us the place of
exact thought is supplied by metaphors and pictures, by mental images,
and figures generalised from the senses. And thus it happens that, when
we come upon a single precise and definite statement, neither exceeding
nor falling short in its meaning, we are thrown out of our reckoning.
Our fancy and memory have nothing left for them to do: and, as fancy
and memory make up the greater part of what we loosely call thinking,
our powers of thought seem to be brought to a standstill. Those who
crave for fluent reading, or prefer easy writing, something within
the pale of our usual mental lines, are more likely to find what they
seek in the ten partially correct and approximate ways commonly used
to give expression to a truth, than in the one simple and accurate
statement of the thought. We prefer a familiar name, and an accustomed
image, on which our faculties may work. But in the atmosphere of
Hegelian thought, we feel very much as if we had been lifted into a
vacuum, where we cannot breathe, and which is a fit habitation for
unrecognisable ghosts only.

Nor is this all. The traveller, as his train climbs the heights of
Alps or Apennines, occasionally, after circling in grand curve upon
the mountain-side, and perhaps after having been dragged mysterious
distances through the gloom of a tunnel, finds himself as it would seem
back at the same place as he looked forth from some minutes before; and
it is only after a brief comparison that he realises he now commands a
wider view from a point some hundreds of feet higher. So the student
of Hegel--(and it might be the case with Fichte also) as the machinery
of the dialectical method, with its thesis, antithesis, and synthesis,
carries him round and round from term to term of thought--like the
_Logos_ and the Spirit, which blow us whithersoever they list--begins
to suffer from dizziness at the apprehension that he has been the
victim of phantasmagoria and has not really moved at all. It is only
later--if ever--that he recognises that the scene, though similar,
is yet not altogether the same. It is only later--if ever--that he
understands that the path of philosophy is no wandering from land to
land more remote in search of a lost Absolute, a vanished God; no
setting forth of new and strange facts, of new Gods, but the revelation
in fuller and fuller truth of the immanent reality in whom we live, and
move, and have our being,--the manifestation in more closely-knit unity
and more amply-detailed significance of that Infinite and Eternal,
which was always present among us, though we saw but few, perhaps even
no, traces of its power and glory.

To read Hegel often reminds us of the process we have to go through
in trying to answer a riddle. The terms of the problem to be solved
are all given to us: the features of the object are, it may be, fully
described: and yet somehow we cannot at once tell what it is all about,
or add up the sum of which we have the several items. We are waiting
to learn the subject of the proposition, of which all these statements
may be regarded as the predicates. Something, we feel, has undoubtedly
been said: but we are at a loss to see what it has been said about.
Our mind wanders round from one familiar object to another, and tries
them in succession to see whether any one satisfies the several points
in the statement and includes them all. We grope here and there for
something we are acquainted with, in which the bits of the description
may cohere, and get a unity which they cannot give themselves. When
once we have hit upon the right object, our troubles are at an end: and
the empty medium is now peopled with a creature of our imagination. We
have reached a fixed point in the range of our conception, around which
the given features may cluster.

All this trouble caused by the Hegelian theory of what philosophy
involves--viz. really beginning at the beginning, is saved by a device
well known to the several branches of Science. It is the way with them
to assume that the student has a rough general image of the objects
which they examine; and under the guidance, or with the help of this
generalised image, they go on to explain and describe its outlines more
completely. They start with an approximate conception, such as anybody
may be supposed to have; and this they seek to render more definite.
The geologist, for example, could scarcely teach geology', unless he
could pre-suppose or produce some acquaintance on the part of his
pupils with what Hume would have called an 'impression' or an 'idea' of
the rocks and formations of which he has to treat. The geometer gives
a short, and, as it were, popular explanation of the sense in which
angles, circles, triangles, &c. are to be understood : and then by
the aid of these provisional definitions we come to a more scientific
notion of the same terms. The third book of Euclid, for example, brings
before us a clearer notion of what a circle is, than the nominal
explanation in the list of definitions. By means of these temporary
aids, or, as we may call them, leading-strings for the intellect, the
progress of the ordinary scientific student is made tolerably easy.
But v in philosophy, as it is found in Hegel, there is quite another
way of working. The helps in question are absent: and until it be seen
that they are not even needed, the Hegelian theory will remain a sealed
mystery. For that which the first glance seemed to show as an enigma,
is only the plain and unambiguous statement of thought. Instead of
casting around for images and accustomed names, we have only to accept
the several terms and articles in the development of thought as they
present themselves. These terms merely require to be apprehended. They
stand in no immediate need of illustration from our experience. What we
have to bring to the work, is patience, self-restraint, the sacrifice
of our cherished habits of mind, the surrender of the natural wish to
see at once what it all comes to, what it is good for, how it squares
with other convictions. As Bacon reminded his age, Into the kingdom
of philosophy, as into the kingdom of heaven, none can enter, _nisi
sub persona infantis_: i. e. unless he at least steadfastly resolve to
renounce that world which lieth in the Evil.

Ordinary knowledge consists in referring a new object to a class of
objects, that is to say, to a generalised image with which we are
already acquainted. It is not so much cognition as re-cognition.
'"What is the truth?"' asked Lady Chettam of Mrs. Cadwallader in
_Middle-march_. "The truth" he is as bad as the wrong physic--nasty to
take, and sure to disagree." "There could not be anything worse than
that," said Lady Chettam, with so vivid a conception of the physic
that she seemed to have learned something exact about Mr. Casaubon's
'disadvantages.' Once we have referred the new individual to a familiar
category or a convenient metaphor, once we have given it a name, and
introduced it into the society of our mental drawing-room, we are
satisfied. We have put a fresh object in its appropriate drawer in
the cabinet of our ideas: and hence, with the pride of a collector,
we can calmly call it our own. But such acquaintance, proceeding from
a mingling of memory and naming, is not the same thing as knowledge
in the strict sense of the term.[2] 'What is he?' 'Do you know him?'
These are our questions: and we are satisfied when we learn his name
and his calling. We may never have penetrated into the inner nature of
those objects, with whose _tout ensemble,_ or rough outlines, we are
so much at home, that we fancy ourselves thoroughly cognisant of them.
Classifications are only the first steps in science: and we do not
understand a thought because we can view it under the guise of some of
its illustrations.

In the case of the English reader of Hegel some peculiar hindrances
spring from the foreign language. In strong contrast to most of the
well-known German philosophers, he may be said to write in the popular
and national dialect of his country. Of course there are tones and
shades of meaning given to his words by the general context of his
system. But upon the whole he did what he promised to J. H. Voss--the
translator of Homer, and the poet of the _Luise,_ in a letter written
from Jena in 1805. He there says of his projects: 'Luther has made the
Bible, and you have made Homer speak German. No greater gift than this
could be given to the nation. So long as a nation is not acquainted
with a noble work in its own language, it is still barbarian, and does
not regard the work as its own. Forget these two examples, and I may
describe my own efforts as an attempt to teach philosophy to speak in
German.[3]

Yet, in this matter of nationalising or Germanising philosophy, he only
carried a step further what Wolff and even Kant had begun; just as, on
the other hand, he falls a long way short of what K. C. F. Krause, his
contemporary, attempted in the same direction. Such an attempt, by its
very nature, could never command a popular success. It runs directly
counter to that tendency already noted, to escape the requirement to
think and think for ourselves, by taking refuge under the shadow of
a familiar term, which conceals in its apparent simplicity a great
complex of ill-apprehended elements. The ordinary mind--and the more
readily perhaps the more vulgar it is--flees for ease and safety to a
cosmopolitan term, to the denationalised vocable of learned origin, to
the language of general European culture. To such an ordinary mind--and
up at least to a certain extent we all at times come under that
heading--the effort to remain in the pellucid air of our unadulterated
mother-tongue is too embarrassing to be long continued. Nor, after all,
is it more than partially practicable. The well of German undefiled
is apt to run dry. Hegel himself never shrinks when it is needful to
appropriate non-Teutonic words, and is in the habit of employing the
synonymous terms of native and of classical origin with a systematic
difference of meaning [4]

Hegel is unquestionably par _excellence the_ philosopher of
Germany,--German through and through. For philosophy, though the
common birthright of full-grown reason in all ages and countries,
must like other universal and cosmopolitan interests, such as the
State, the Arts, or the Church, submit to the limits and peculiarities
imposed upon it by the natural divisions of race and language. The
subtler _nuances_, as well as the coarser differences of national
speech, make themselves vividly felt in the systems of philosophy,
and defy translation. If Greek philosophy cannot, no more can German
philosophy be turned into a body of English thought by a stroke of the
translator's pen. There is a difference in this matter, a difference
at least in degree, between the special sciences and philosophy. The
several sciences have a de-nationalised and cosmopolitan character,
like the trades and industries of various nations; they are pretty much
the same in one country and another, especially when we consider the
details, and neglect the general subdivisions. But in the political
body, in the works of high art, and in the systems of philosophy, the
whole of the character and temperament of the several peoples finds
its expression, and stands distinctly marked, in a shape of its own.
If the form of German polity be not transferable to this side of the
Channel, no more will German philosophy. Direct utilisation for English
purposes is out of the question: the circumstances are too different.
But the study of the great works of foreign thought is not on that
account useless, any more than the study of the great works of foreign
statesmanship.

Hegel did good service, at least, by freeing philosophy from that
aspect of an imported luxury, which it usually had,--as if it were an
exotic plant removed from the bright air of Greece into the melancholy
mists of Western Europe. 'We have still,' he says, 'to break down the
partition between the language of philosophy, and that of ordinary
consciousness: we have to overcome the reluctance against thinking what
we are familiar with[5].' Philosophy must be brought face to face with
ordinary life, so as to draw its strength from the actual and living
present, and not from the memories or traditions of the past. It has
to become the organised and completed thinking of what is contained
blindly and vaguely in the various levels of popular intelligence, as
these are more or less educated and ordered. It must grow naturally, as
in ancient Greece, from the necessities of the social situation, and
not be a product of artificial introduction and nurture: the revelation
by the mind's own energy of an implicit truth, not the communication
of a mystery sacramentally received. To suppose that a mere change of
words can give this grace, would be absurd. Yet where the national life
pulses strong, as that of Germany in those days did at first in letters
and then in social reform, the dominant note will make itself felt
even in the neutral regions of speculation. It was a step on the right
road to banish a pompous and aristocratic dialect from philosophy, and
to lead it back to those words and forms of speech, which are at least
in silent harmony with the national feeling.


[Footnote 1: Hegel's _Leben_ (Rosenkranz), p. 555.]

[Footnote 2: 'Das Bekannte überhaupt ist darum, weil es bekannt ist,
nicht erkannt.' _Phenomenologie des Geistes,_ p. 24.]

[Footnote 3: _Vermischte Schriften,_ vol. ii. p. 474.]

[Footnote 4: e. g. _Dasein_ and _Existenz: Wirklichkeit_ and
_Realität_: _Wesen_ and _Substanz._ It is the same habit of curiously
pondering over the tones and shades of language which leads him to
something very like playing on words, and to etymologising, as one may
call it, on unetymological principles: e. g. the play on _Mein_ and
_Meinung_ (vol. ii. 32: cf. _Werke_, ii. 75): the literal rendering of
_Erinnerung_ (_Encycl._ §§ 234 and 450); and the abrupt transitions,
as it would seem, from literal to figurative use of such a term as
_Grund._ At the same time it is well not to be prosaically certain
that a free play of thought does not follow the apparently fortuitous
assonance of words.]

[Footnote 5: Hegel's _Leben_ (Rosenkranz), p. 553.]



CHAPTER II.


WHY TRANSLATE HEGEL?


'But,' it is urged, 'though it be well to let the stream of foreign
thought irrigate some of our philosophical pastures, though we should
not for ever entrench ourselves in our insularity--why try to introduce
Hegel, of all philosophers confessedly the most obscure? Why not be
content with the study and the "exploitation" of Kant, whom Germans
themselves still think so important as to expound him with endless
comment and criticism, and who has at length found, after some
skirmishes, a recognised place in the English philosophical curriculum?
Why seek for more Teutonic thinking that can be found in Schopenhauer,
and found there in a clear and noble style, luminous in the highest
degree, and touching with no merely academic abstruseness the problems
of life and death? Or--as that song is sweetest to men which is the
newest to ring in their ears--why not render accessible to English
readers the numerous and suggestive works of Eduard von Hartmann,
and of Friedrich Nietzsche--not to mention Robert Hamerling[1]? Or,
finally, why not give us more and ever more translations of the works
in logic, ethics, psychology, or metaphysics, of those many admirable
teachers in the German universities, whom it would be invidious to
try to single out by name? As for Hegel, his system, in the native
land of the philosopher, is utterly discredited; its influence is
extinct; it is dead as a door-nail. It is a pity to waste labour and
distract attention, and that in English lands, where there are plenty
of problems of our own to solve, by an attempt, which must perforce be
futile, to resuscitate these defunctitudes?'

That Hegelianism has been utterly discredited, in certain quarters, is
no discovery reserved for these later days. But on this matter perhaps
we may borrow an analogy. If the reader will be at the trouble to take
up two English newspapers of opposite partisanship and compare the
reports from their foreign correspondents on some question of home
politics, he may, if a novice, be surprised to learn that according
to one, the opinion e. g. of Vienna is wholly adverse to the measure,
while, according to the other, that opinion entirely approves.

It is no new thing to find Hegelianism in general obloquy. Even in 1830
the Catholic philosopher and theologian Günther[2]--an admirer, but by
no means a follower of Hegel--wrote that, 'for some years it had been
the fashion in learned Germany to look upon philosophy, and above all
Hegelian philosophy, as a door-mat on which everybody cleaned his muddy
boots before entering the sanctuary of politics and religion.' What
is true as regards the alleged surcease of Hegelianism is that in the
reaction which from various causes turned itself against philosophy in
the two decennia after 1848, that system, as the most deeply committed
part of the 'metaphysical' host, suffered most severely. History and
science seemed to triumph along the whole line. But it may be perhaps
permissible to remark that Hegelianism had predicted for itself the
fate that it proved had fallen on all other philosophies. After the
age of Idealism comes the turn of Realism. The Idea had to die--had to
sink as a germ in the fields of nature and history before it could bear
its fruit. Above all it is not to be expected that such a system, so
ambitious in aim and concentrated in expression, could find immediate
response and at once disclose all its meaning. His first disciples
are not the--truest interpreters of any great teacher. What he saw
in the one comprehensive glance of genius, his successors must often
be content to gather by the slow accumulation of years, and perhaps
centuries, of experience. It is not to Theophrastus that we go for
the truest and fullest conception of Aristotelianism; nor is Plato to
be measured by what his immediate successors in the Academy managed
to make out of him. It is now more than a century since Kant gave his
lesson to the public, and we are still trying to get him focussed in a
single view: it may be even longer till Hegel comes fully within the
range of our historians of thought. Aristotelianism too had to wait
centuries till it fully entered the consciousness even of the thinking
world.

It is to be said too that without Hegel it would be difficult to
imagine what even teachers, like Lotze, who were very unlike him, would
have had to say. It does not need a very wide soul, nor need one be a
mere dilettantist eclectic, to find much of Schopenhauer's work far
from incompatible with his great, and as some have said, complementary
opposite. It is not indeed prudent as yet for a writer in Germany who
wishes to catch the general ear to affix too openly a profession of
Hegelian principles, and he will do well to ward off suspicion by some
disparaging remarks on the fantastic methods, the overfondness for
system, the contempt for common sense and scientific results which,
as he declares, vitiate all the speculations of the period from 1794
to 1830. But under the names of Spinoza and of Leibniz the leaven of
Hegelian principles has been at work: and if the Philistines solve the
riddle of the intellectual Samson, it is because they have ploughed
with his heifer,--because his ideas are part of the modern stock of
thought,--not from what they literally read in the great thinkers at
the close of the seventeenth century. Last year saw appear in Germany
two excellent treatises describable as popular introductions to
philosophy[3], one by a thinker who has never disguised his obligations
to Hegel, the other by a teacher in the University of Berlin who may in
many ways be considered as essentially kindred with our general English
style of thought. But both treatises are more allied in character to
the spirit of the Hegelian attempts to comprehend man and God than to
the formalistic and philological disquisitions which have for some
years formed the staple of German professorial activity. And, lastly,
the vigorous thinker, who a quarter of a century ago startled the
reading public by the portent of a new metaphysic which should be the
synthesis of Schelling and Schopenhauer, has lately informed us[4] that
his affinity to Hegel is, taken all in all, greater than his affinity
to any other philosopher'; and that that affinity extends to all that
in Hegel has essential and permanent value.

But it is not on Eduard von Hartmann's commendation that we need rest
our estimate of Hegelianism. We shall rather say that, till more of
Hegel has been assimilated, he must still block the way. Things have
altered greatly in the last twenty years, it is true; and ideas of
more or less Hegelian origin have taken their place in the common
stock of philosophic commodities. But it will probably be admitted by
those best qualified to speak on the subject, that the shower has not
as yet penetrated very deeply into the case-hardened soil, still less
saturated it in the measure most likely to cause fruitful shoots to
grow forth. We have to go back to Hegel in the same spirit as we go to
Kant, and, for that matter, to Plato or Descartes: or, as the moderns
may go back--to borrow from another sphere--to Dante or Shakespeare.
We do not want the modern poet to resuscitate the style and matter of
_King Lear_ or of the _Inferno._ Yet as the Greek tragedian steeped his
soul in the language and the legend of Homeric epic, as Dante nurtured
his spirit on the noble melodies of Mantua's poet; so philosophy, if it
is to go forth strong and effective, must mould into its own substance
the living thought of former times. It would be as absurd, and as
impossible to be literally and simply a Hegelian,--if that means one
for whom Hegel sums up all philosophy and all truth--as it is to be at
the present day in the literal sense a Platonist or an Aristotelian.
The world may be slow, the world of opinion and thought may linger: _e
pur si muove._ We too have our own problems--the same, no doubt, in a
sense, from age to age, and yet infinitely varying and never in two
ages alike. New stars have appeared on the spiritual sky; and whether
they have in them the eternal light or only the flash and glare of a
passing meteor, they alter the aspects of the night in which we are
still waiting for the dawn.

A new language, born of new relations of ideas, or of new ideas, is
perforce for our generation the vehicle of all utterances, and we
cannot again speak the dialect, however imposing or however quaint, of
a vanished day.

And for that reason there must always be a new philosophy, couched
in the language of the age, sympathetic with its hopes and fears,
conscious of its beliefs, more or less sensible of its problems--as
indeed we may be confident there always will be. But, perhaps, the
warrior in that battle against illusion and prejudice, against the
sloth which takes things as they are and the poorness of spirit
which is satisfied with first appearances, will not do wisely to
disdain the past. He will not indeed equip himself with rusty swords
and clumsy artillery from the old arsenals. But he will not disdain
the lessons of the past,--its methods and principles of tactics and
strategy. Recognising perhaps some defects and inequalities in the
methods and aims of thought most familiar to him and current in his
vicinity, he may go abroad for other samples, even though they be not
in all respects worth his adoption. And so without taking Hegel as
omniscient, or pledging himself to every word of the master, he may
think from his own experience that there is much in the system that
will be helpful, when duly estimated and assimilated, to others. There
is--and few can be so bigoted__ or so positive-minded as to regret
it--there is unquestionably a growing interest in English-speaking
countries in what may be roughly called philosophy--the attempt,
unprejudiced by political, scientific, or ecclesiastical dogma, to
solve the questions as to what the world really is, and what man's
place and function is. 'The burthen of the mystery, the heavy and the
weary weight of all this unintelligible world' is felt--felt widely
and sometimes felt deeply. To the direct lightening of that burthen
and that mystery it is the privilege of our profoundest thinkers and
our far-seeing poets and artists to contribute. To the translator of
Hegel there falls the humbler task of making accessible, if it may be,
something of one of the later attempts at a solution of the enigma of
life and existence,--an attempt which for a time dazzled some of the
keenest intellects of its age, and which has at least impressed many
others with the conviction, born of momentary flashes from it of vast
illuminant power, that--_si sic omnia_--there was here concealed a key
to many puzzles, and a guard against many illusions likely to beset the
inquirer after truth.


[Footnote 1: A book by V. Knauer published last year (_Hauptprobleme
der Philosophie_), a series of popular lectures, gives one-sixth of its
space to the 'Atomistic of Will' by the Austrian poet Hamerling.]

[Footnote 2: Hegel's _Briefe_, ii. 349.]

[Footnote 3: J. Volkelt, _Vorträge zur Einführung in die Philosophie
der Gegenwart_ (München 1892): F. Paulsen, _Einleitung in die
Philosophie_ (Berlin 1892).]

[Footnote 4: E. v. Hartmann, _Kritische Wanderungen_, p. 74.]



CHAPTER III.


ENGLISH PHILOSOPHY AND HEGEL.


Although we need not take too seriously Hegel's remark (vol. ii. p.
13) on the English conception of philosophy, it may be admitted that,
by the dominant school of English thought, philosophy, taken in the
wide sense it has predominantly born abroad, was, not so very long
ago, all but entirely ignored. Causes of various kinds had turned the
energy of the English mind into other directions, not less essential to
the common welfare. Practical needs and an established social system
helped--to bind down studies to definite and particular objects, and to
exclude what seemed vague and general investigations with no immediate
bearing on the business of life. Hence philosophy in England could
hardly exist except when it was reduced to the level of a special
branch of science, or when it could be used as a receptacle for the
principles and methods common to all the sciences. The general term
was often used to denote the wisdom of this world, or the practical
exhibition of self-control in life and action. For those researches,
which are directed to the objects once considered proper to philosophy,
the more definite and characteristic term came to be Mental and Moral
Science.

The old name was in certain circles restricted to denote the vague and
irregular speculations of those thinkers, who either lived before the
rise of exact science, or who acted in defiance of its precepts and its
example. One large and influential class of English thinkers inclined
to sweep philosophy altogether away, as equivalent to metaphysics and
obsolete forms of error; and upon the empty site thus obtained they
sought to construct a psychological theory of mind, or they tried to
arrange and codify those general remarks upon the general procedure
of the sciences which are known under the name of Inductive Logic. A
smaller, but not less vigorous, school of philosophy looked upon their
business as an extension and rounding off of science into a complete
unification of knowledge. The first is illustrated by the names of J.
S. Mill and Mr. Bain: the second is the doctrine of Mr. Herbert Spencer.

The encyclopaedic aggregate of biological, psychological, ethical
and social investigation which Mr. Spencer pursues, under the
general guidance of the formula of evolution by differentiation
and integration, still proceeds on its course: but though its
popularity--as such popularity goes--is vast and more than national,
it does not and probably cannot find many imitators. Very differently
stand matters with the movement in psychology and logic. Here
the initiative has led to divergent and unexpected developments.
Psychology, which at first was partly an ampler and a more progressive
logic, a theory of the origin and nature of knowledge, partly a
propaedeutic to the more technical logic and ethics, and pursued in
a loosely introspective way, has gravitated more and more towards
its experimental and physiological side, with occasional velleities
to assume the abstractly-mathematical character of a psycho-physical
science. Logic, on the other hand, has also changed its scope. Not
content to be a mere tool of the sciences or a mere criterion for the
estimation of evidence, it has in one direction grown into a systematic
effort to become an epistemology--a system of the first principles of
knowledge and reality--a metaphysic of science; and in another it has
sought to realise the meaning of those old forms of inference which
the logicians of half a century ago were inclined to pooh-pooh as
obsolete. Most remarkable--and most novel of all--is the vast increase
of interest and research in the problems of ethics and v of what is
called the philosophy of religion--subjects which at that date were
literally burning questions, apt to scorch the fingers of those who
touched them. In all of this, but especially marked in some leading
thinkers, the ruling feature is the critical--the sceptical, i. e. the
eager, watchful, but self-restrained--attitude towards its themes. Ever
driving on to find a deeper unity than shows on the surface, and to get
at principles, the modern thinker--and in this we see the permanent
and almost overwhelming influence of Kant upon him--recoils from the
dogmatism of system, at the very moment it seems to be within his grasp.

Thus the recent products of English thought have been, as Mr. Spencer
has taught us to say, partly in the line of differentiation, partly
of integration. At one moment it seems as if the ancient queen of the
sciences sat like Hecuba, _exul, inops,_ while her younger daughters
enjoyed the freedom and progress of specialisation. The wood seems lost
behind the trees. And at another, again, the centripetal force seems to
preponderate: every department, logic, ethics, psychology, sociology,
rapidly carries its students on and up to fundamental questions, if
not to fundamental principles. Philosophy--the one and undivided
truth and quest of truths--emerges fresh, vigorous, and as yet rather
indeterminate, from the mass of detailed investigations. That the
position is now altered from what it was in times when knowledge had
fewer departments, is obvious. The task of the 'synoptic' mind--which
Plato claims for the philosopher--grows increasingly difficult: but
that is hardly a reason for performing it in a more perfunctory way.
It seems rather as if in such a crisis one of the great reconstructive
systems of a preceding age might be in some measure helpful.

If we consult history, it is at once clear that philosophy, or the
pursuit of ultimate reality and permanent truth, went hand in hand with
scientific researches into facts and their particular explanations.

In their earlier stages the two tendencies of thought were scarcely
distinguishable. The philosophers of Ionia and Magna Graecia were also
the scientific pioneers of their time. Their fragmentary remains remind
us at times of the modern theories of geology and biology,--at other
times of the teachings of idealism. The same thing is comparatively
true of the earlier philosophers of Modern Europe. The seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, in spite of Bacon and Newton, endeavoured
to study the mental and moral life by a method which was a strange
mixture of empiricism and metaphysics. In words, indeed, the thinkers
from Descartes to Wolff duly emphasise, perhaps over-emphasise, the
antithesis between the extended and the intellectual. But in practice
their course is not so clear. Their mental philosophy is often only a
preliminary _medicina mentis_ to set the individual mind in good order
for undertaking the various tasks awaiting a special research. They are
really eager to get on to business, and only, as it were, with regret
spend time in this clearance of mental faculty. And when they do deal
with objects, the material and extended tends to become the dominant
conception, the basis of reality. The human mind, that _nobilissima
substantia_, is treated only as an aggregate, or a receptacle, of
ideas, and the _mens_,--with them all nearly as with Spinoza,--is only
an _idea corporis,_ and that phrase not taken so highly as Spinoza's
perhaps should be taken. In the works of these thinkers, as of the
pre-Socratics, there is one element which may be styled philosophical,
and another element which maybe styled scientific,--if we use both
words vaguely. But with Socrates in the ancient, and with Kant in the
modern epoch of philosophy, an attempt was made to get the boundary
between the two regions definitively drawn. The distinction was in the
first place accompanied by something like turning the back upon science
and popular conceptions. Socrates withdrew thought from disquisitions
concerning the nature of all things, and fixed it upon man and
the state of man. Kant left the broad fields of actually-attained
knowledge, and inquired into the central principle on which the
acquisition of science, the laws of human life, and the ideals of art
and religion, were founded.

The change thus begun was not unlike that which Copernicus effected in
the theory of Astronomy. Human personality, either in the actualised
forms of the State, or in the abstract shape of the Reason,--that
intellectual liberty, which is a man's true world,--was, at least by
implication, made the pivot around which the system of the sciences
might turn. In the contest, which according to Reid prevails between
Common Sense and Philosophy, the presumptions of the former have
been distinctly reversed, and Kant, like Socrates, has shown that it
is not the several items of fact, but the humanity, the moral law,
the thought, which underlies these doctrines, which give the real
resting-point and true centre of movement. But this negative attitude
of philosophy to the sciences is only the beginning, needed to secure
a standing-ground. In the ancient world Aristotle, and in the modern
Hegel (as the inheritor of the labours of Fichte and Schelling),
exhibit the movement outwards to reconquer the universe, proceeding
from that principle which Socrates and Kant had emphasised in its
fundamental worth.

Mr. Mill, in the closing chapter of his Logic, has briefly sketched
the ideal of a science to which he gives the name of Teleology,
corresponding in the ethical and practical sphere to a _Philosophia
Prima_, or Metaphysics, in the theoretical. This ideal and ultimate
court of appeal is to be valid in Morality, and also in Prudence,
Policy and Taste. But the conception, although a desirable one, falls
short of the work which Hegel assigns to philosophy. What he intended
to accomplish with detail and regular evolution was not a system of
principles in these departments of action only, but a theory which
would give its proper place in our total Idea of reality to Art,
Science, and Religion, to all the consciousness of ordinary life, and
to the evolution of the physical universe. Philosophy ranges over
the--whole field of actuality, or existing fact. Abstract principles
are all very well in their way; but they are not philosophy. If the
world in its historical and its present life develops into endless
detail in regular lines, philosophy must equally develop the narrowness
of its first principles into the plenitude of a System,--into what
Hegel calls, the Idea. His point of view may be gathered from the
following remarks in a review of Hamann, an erratic friend and
fellow-citizen of Kant's.

Hamann would not put himself to the trouble, which in an higher sense
God undertook. The ancient philosophers have described God under the
image of a round ball. But if that be His nature, God has unfolded it;
and in the actual world He has opened the closed shell of truth into a
system of Nature, into a State-system, a system of Law and Morality,
into the system of the world's History. The shut fist has become
an open hand, the fingers of which reach out to lay hold of man's
mind, and draw it to Himself. Nor is the human mind a self-involved
intelligence, blindly moving within its own secret recesses. It is no
mere feeling and groping about in a vacuum, but an intelligent system
of rational organisation. Of that system Thought is the summit in point
of form: and Thought maybe described as the capability of going beyond
the mere surface of God's self-expansion,--or rather as the capability,
by means of reflection upon it, of entering into it, and then when the
entrance has been secured, of retracing in thought God's expansion of
Himself. To take this trouble is the express duty and end of ends set
before the thinking mind, ever since God laid aside His rolled-up form,
and revealed Himself[1].'

Enthusiastic admirers have often spoken as if the salvation of the time
could only come from the Hegelian philosophy. 'Grasp the secret of
Hegel,' they say, 'and you will find a cure for the delusions of your
own mind, and the remedy which will set right the wrongs of the world.'
These high claims to be a panacea were never made by Hegel himself.
According to him, as according to Aristotle, philosophy _as such_ can
produce nothing new. Practical statesmen, and theoretical reformers,
may do their best to correct the inequalities of their time. But the
very terms in which Bacon scornfully depreciated one great concept of
philosophy are to be accepted in their literal truth. Like a virgin
consecrated to God, she bears no fruit[2]. She represents the spirit
of the world, resting, as it were, when one step in the progress has
been accomplished, and surveying the advance which has been made.
Philosophy is not,' says Fichte, 'even a means to _shape_ life: for
it lies in a totally different world, and what is to have an influence
upon life must itself have sprung from life. Philosophy is only a means
to the _knowledge_ of life.' Nor has it the vocation to edify men, and
take the place of religion on the higher levels of intellect. 'The
philosopher,' Fichte boldly continues, 'has no God at all and can have
no God: he has only a concept of the concept or of the Idea of God. It
is only in life that there is God and religion: but the philosopher as
such is not the whole complete man, and it is impossible for any one
to be _only_ a philosopher[3].' Philosophy does not profess to bring
into being what ought to be, but is not yet. It sets up no mere ideals,
which must wait for some future day in order to be realised. Enough
for it if it show what the world _is,_ if it were what it professes
to be, and what in a way it must be, otherwise it could not be even
what it is. The subject-matter of philosophy is that which is always
realising and always realised--the world in its wholeness as it is and
has been. It seeks to put before us, and embody in permanent outlines,
the universal law of spiritual life and growth, and not the local,
temporary, and individual acts of human will.

Those who ask philosophy to construe, or to deduce _a priori_ a
single blade of grass, or a single act of a man, must not be grieved
if their request sounds absurd and meets with no answer. The sphere
of philosophy is the Universal. We may say, if we like, that it is
retrospective. It is the spectator of all time and all existence: it
is its duty to view things _sub specie aeternitatis_. To comprehend
the universe of thought in all its formations and all its features, to
reduce the solid structures, which mind has created, to fluidity and
transparency in the pure medium of thought, to set free the fossilised
intelligence which the great magician who wields the destinies of the
world has hidden under the mask of Nature, of the Mind of man, of
the works of Art, of the institutions of the State and the orders of
Society, and of religious forms and creeds:--such is the complicated
problem of philosophy. Its special work is to comprehend the world,
not try to make it better. If it were the purpose of philosophy to
reform and improve the existing state of things, it comes a little
too late for such a task. 'As the thought of the world,' says Hegel,
'it makes its first appearance at a time, when the actual fact has
consummated its process of formation, and is now fully matured. This is
the doctrine set forth by the notion of philosophy; but it is also the
teaching of history. It is only when the actual world has reached its
full fruition that the ideal rises to confront the reality, and builds
up, in the shape of an intellectual realm, that same world grasped in
its substantial being. When philosophy paints its grey in grey, some
one shape of life has meanwhile grown old: and grey in grey, though
it brings it into knowledge, cannot make it young again. The owl of
Minerva does not start upon its flight, until the evening twilight has
begun to fall[4].'


[Footnote 1: _Vermischte Schriften_, vol. ii. p. 87.]

[Footnote 2: _De Augm. Scient._ iii. 5.]

[Footnote 3: The passages occur in some notes (written down by F. in
reference to the charge of Atheism) published in his _Werke,_ v. pp.
342, 348.]

[Footnote 4: _Philosophie des Rechts_, p. 20 (_Werke,_ viii).]



CHAPTER IV.


HEGEL AND THEOLOGY.


Even an incidental glance into Hegel's Logic cannot fail to discover
the frequent recurrence of the name of God, and the discussion of
matters not generally touched upon, unless in works bearing upon
religion. There were two questions which seem to have had a certain
fascination for Hegel. One of them, a rather unpromising problem,
referred to the distances between the several planets in the solar
system, and the law regulating these intervals[1]. The other and more
intimate problem turned upon the value of the proofs usually offered
in support of the being of God. That God is the supreme certitude of
the mind, the basis of all reality and knowledge, is what Hegel no more
put in question, than did Descartes, Spinoza, or Locke. What he often
repeated was that the _matter_ in these proofs must be distinguished
from the imperfect _manner_ in which the arguers presented it.
Again and again in his Logic, as well as in other discussions more
especially devoted to it, he examines this problem. His persistence
in this direction might earn for him that title of 'Knight of the
Holy Ghost,' by which Heine, in one of the delightful poems of his
'Reisebilder,' describes himself to the maid of Klausthal in the Harz.
The poet of Love and of Freedom had undoubted rights to rank among the
sacred band: but so also had the philosopher. Like the Socrates whom
Plato describes to us, he seems to feel that he has been commissioned
to reveal the truth of God, and quicken men by an insight into the
right wisdom. Nowhere in the modern period of philosophy has higher
spirit breathed in the utterances of a thinker. The same theme is
claimed as the common heritage of philosophy and religion. A letter
to Duboc[2], the father of a modern German novelist, lets us see how
important this aspect of his system was to Hegel himself. He had been
asked to give a succinct explanation of his standing-ground: and his
answer begins by pointing out that philosophy seeks to apprehend in
reasoned knowledge the same truth which the religious mind has in its
faith.

Words like these may at first sight suggest the bold soaring of ancient
speculation in the times of Plato and Aristotle, or even the theories
of the medieval Schoolmen. They sound as if he proposed to do for the
modern world, and in the full light of modern knowledge, what the
Schoolmen tried to accomplish within the somewhat narrow conceptions
of medieval Christianity and Greek logic. Still there is a difference
between the two cases. While the Doctors of the Church, in appearance
at least, derived the form of exposition, and the matter of their
systems, from two independent and apparently heterogeneous sources,
the modern Scholastic of Hegel claims to be a harmonious unity, body
finding soul, and soul giving itself body. And while the Hegelian
system has the all-embracing and encyclopaedic character by which
Scholastic science threw its arms around heaven and earth, it has also
the untrammeled liberty of the Greek thinkers. Hegel, in short, shows
the union of these two modes of speculation: free as the ancient, and
comprehensive as the modern. His theory is the explication of God;
but of God in the actuality and plenitude of the world, and not as a
transcendent Being, such as an over-reverent philosophy has sometimes
supposed him, in the solitude of a world beyond.

The greatness of a philosophy is its power of comprehending facts.
The most characteristic fact of modern times is Christianity. The
general thought and action of the civilised world has been alternately
fascinated and repelled, but always influenced, and to a high degree
permeated, by the Christian theory of life, and still more by the
faithful vision of that life displayed in the Son of Man. To pass that
great cloud of witness and leave it on the other side, is to admit that
your system is no key to the secret of the world,--even if we add, as
some will prefer, of the world as it is and has been. And therefore
the Hegelian system, if it is to be a philosophy at all, must be in
this sense Christian. But it is neither a critic, nor an apologist of
historical Christianity. The voice of philosophy is as that of the
Jewish doctor of the Law: 'If this council or this work be of men,
it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it,
Philosophy examines what is, and not what, according to some opinions,
ought to be. Such a point of view requires no discussion of the 'How'
or the 'Why' of Christianity. It involves no inquiry into historical
documents, or into the belief in miracles: for to it Christianity
rests only incidentally on the evidence of history; and miracles, as
vulgarly explained, can find no reception in a philosophical system.
For it Christianity is 'absolute religion': religion i. e. which has
fully become and realised all that religion meant to be. That religion
has, of course, its historical side: it appeared at a definite epoch
in the annals of our race: it revealed itself in a unique personality
in a remarkable nation. And at an early period of his life Hegel had
tried to gather up in one conception the traits of that august figure,
in his life and speech and death. But, in the light of philosophy,
this historical side shrivels up as comparatively unimportant. Not the
personality, but the 'revelation of reason' through man's spirit: not
the annals of a life once spent in serving God and men, but the words
of the 'Eternal Gospel are henceforth the essence of Christianity.

Thus the controlling and central conception of life and actuality,
which is the final explanation of all that man thinks and does, has
a twofold aspect. There is, as it were, a double Absolute--for under
this name philosophy has what in religion corresponds to God. It is
true that in the final form of his system the Absolute Spirit has three
phases--each as it were passing on into and incorporated with the
next--Art working out its implications till it appears as Religion,
and Religion calling for its perfection in Philosophy. But in the
_Phenomenology_, his first work, the religion of Art only intervenes
as a grade from 'natural' religion to religion manifest or revealed;
and in the first edition of the _Encyclopaedia_ what is subsequently
called Art is entitled the Religion of Art. It is in entire accordance
with these indications when in the Lectures on Aesthetics[3] it is
said 'the true and original position of Art is to be the first-come
immediate self-satisfaction of Absolute Spirit'; though in our days (it
is added) 'its form has ceased to be the highest need of the spirit.'
It is hardly too much then to say that, for Hegel, the Absolute has two
phases, Religion and Philosophy.

The Hegelian view presents itself most decisively, though perhaps
with a little lecture-like over-insistance, in the Philosophy of
Religion[4]. 'The object of religion as of philosophy is the eternal
truth in its very objectivity,--God and nothing but God,--and the
"explication" of God. Philosophy is not a wisdom of the world, but
cognition of the non-worldly: not a cognition of the external mass of
empirical existence and life, but cognition of what is eternal, what
is God, and what flows from His nature. For this nature must reveal
and develop itself. Hence philosophy "explicates" itself only when
it "explicates" religion; and in explicating itself it explicates
religion.... Thus religion and philosophy coincide: in fact, philosophy
is itself a divine service, is a religion: for it is the same
renunciation of subjective fancies and opinions, and is engaged with
God alone.'

Again, it may be asked in what sense philosophy has to deal with God
and with Truth. These two terms are often synonyms in Hegel. All the
objects of science, all the terms of thought, all the forms of reality,
lead out of themselves, and seek for a centre and resting-point. They
are severally inadequate and partial, and they crave adequacy and
completeness. They tend to organise themselves; to call out more and
more distinctly the fuller reality which they presuppose,--which must
have been, otherwise they could not have been: they reduce their first
appearance of completeness to its due grade of inadequacy and bring out
their complementary side, so as to constitute a system or universe; and
in this tendency to a self-correcting unity consists their progress
to truth. Their untruth lies in isolation and pretended independence
or finality. This completed unity, in which all things receive their
entireness and become adequate, is their Truth: and that Truth, as
known in religious language, is God. Rightly or wrongly, God is thus
interpreted in the Logic of Hegel.

Such a position must seem very strange to one who is familiar only
with the sober studies of English philosophy. In whatever else the
leaders of the several schools in this country disagree, they are
nearly all at one in banishing God and religion to a world beyond
the present sublunary sphere, to an inscrutable region beyond the
scope of scientific inquiry, where statements may be made at will,
but where we have no power of verifying any statement whatever.
This is the common doctrine of Spencer and Mansel, of Hamilton and
Mill. Even those English thinkers, who show some anxiety to support
what is at present called Theism, generally rest content with
vindicating for the mind the vague perception of a Being beyond us,
and differing from us incommensurably. God is to them a residual
phenomenon, a marginal existence. Outside the realm of experience
and knowledge there is not-nothing--a something--beyond definite
circumscription: incalculable, and therefore an object, possibly of
fear, possibly of hope: the reflection in the utter darkness of a great
What-may-it-not-be? He is the Unknown Power, felt by what some of
these writers call intuition, and others call experience. They do not
however allow to knowledge any capacity of apprehending in detail the
truths which belong to the kingdom of God. Now the whole teaching of
Hegel is the overthrow of the limits thus set to religious thought. To
him all thought, and all actuality when it is grasped by knowledge, is
from man's side, an exaltation of the mind towards God: while, when
regarded from the divine standing-point, it is the manifestation by God
of His own nature in its infinite variety.

It is only when we fix our eyes clearly on these general features in
his speculation, that we can understand why _he_ places the maturity
of ancient philosophy in the time of Plotinus and Proclus. Not that
these Neo-Platonists are, as thinkers, of power equal to their master
of Athens. But, in the realm of the blind the one-eyed may be king. The
later thinkers set their vision more distinctly and persistently on the
land that is eternal--'on the further side of being,' to quote Plato's
phrase. It is for the same reason Hegel gives so much attention to the
religious or semi-religious theories of Jacob Böhme and of Jacobi,
though these men were in many ways so unlike himself.


[Footnote 1: Hegel's _Leben_, p. 155. It was in his dissertation
_de Orbitis Planetarum,_ that the notorious contretemps occurred,
whereby, whilst the philosopher, leaning to a Pythagorean proportion,
hinted--in a line--that it was unnecessary to expect a planet between
Mars and Jupiter, astronomers in the same year discovered Ceres, the
first-detected of the Planetoids. A good deal has been made out of
this trifle; but it has not yet been shown that the corroboration was
anything but the _luck_ of the other hypothesis.]

[Footnote 2: _Vermischte Schriften_, vol. ii. p. 520. Duboc was a
retired hatter, of French origin, who had settled at Hamburg (Hegel's
_Briefe_, ii. 76 seqq.).]

[Footnote 3: _Werke_, x. I, p. 131.]

[Footnote 4: _Werke,_ xi. p. 21.]



CHAPTER V.


PSEUDO-IDEALISM: JACOBI.


It is hazardous to try to sum up the net result of a philosophy in
a few paragraphs. Since Aristotle separated the pure 'energy' of
philosophy from the activities which leave works made and deeds
done behind them, it need scarcely be repeated that the result of a
philosophical system is nothing palpable or tangible,--nothing on which
you can put your finger, and say definitely: Here it is. The spirit of
a philosophy always refuses to be incarcerated in a formula, however
deftly you may try to charm it there. The statement of the principle
or tendency of a philosophical system tells not what that system is,
but what it is not. It marks off the position from contiguous points
of view; and on that account never gets beyond the borderland, which
separates that system from something else. The method and process of
reasoning is as essential in knowledge, as the result to which it
leads: and the method in this case is thoroughly bound up with the
subject-matter. A mere analysis of the method, therefore, or a mere
record of the purpose and outcome of the system, would be, the one as
well as the other, a fruitless labour, and come to nothing but words.
Thus any attempt to convey a glimpse of the truth in a few sentences
and in large outlines seems foreclosed. The theory of Hegel has an
abhorrence of mere generalities, of abstractions with no life in them,
and no growth out of them. His principle has to prove and verify itself
to be true and adequate: and that verification fills up the whole
circle of circles, of which philosophy is said to consist.

It seems as if there were in Hegel two distinct habits of mind which
the world--the outside observer--rarely sees except in separation.
On one hand there is a sympathy with mystical and intuitional minds,
with the upholders of immediate knowledge and of innate ideas, with
those who find that science and demonstration rather tend to distract
from the one thing needful--who would 'lie in Abraham's bosom all the
year,'--those who would fain lay their grasp upon the whole before they
have gone through the drudgery of details. On the other hand, there
is within him a strongly 'rationalising' and non-visionary intellect,
with a practical and realistic bent, and the full scientific spirit.
Schelling, in an angry mood, could describe him as 'the quintessence
of all that is prosaic, both outside and in[1].' Yet, seen from other
points of view, Hegel has been accused of dreaminess, pietism, and
mystical theology. His merging of the ordinary contrasts of thought
in a completer truth, and what would popularly be described as his
mixing up of religious with logical questions, and the general
unfathomableness of his doctrine,--all seem to support such a charge.
Yet all this is not inconsistent with a rough and incisive vigour
of understanding, a plainness of reason, and a certain hardness of
temperament. This philosopher is in many ways not distinguishable from
the ordinary citizen, and there are not unfrequent moments when his
wife hears him groan over the providence that condemned him to be a
philosopher[2]. He is contemptuous towards all weakly sentimentalism,
and almost brutal in his emphasis on the reasonableness of the actual
and on the folly of dreaming the might-have-been; and keeps his
household accounts as carefully as the average head of a family. And,
perhaps, this convergence of two tendencies of thought may be noticed
in the gradual maturing of his ideas. In the period of his 'Lehrjahre,'
or apprenticeship, from 1793 to 1800, we can see the study of religion
in the earlier part of that time at Bern succeeded by the study of
politics and philosophy at Frankfort-on-the-Main.

His purpose on the whole may be termed an attempt to combine breadth
with depth, the intensity of the mystic who craves for union with
Truth, with the extended range and explicitness of those who multiply
knowledge. 'The depth of the mind is only so deep as its courage
to expand and lose itself in its explication[3]. It must prove its
profundity by the ordered fullness of the knowledge which it has
realised. The position and the work of Hegel will not be intelligible
unless we keep in view both of these antagonistic points.

The purpose of philosophy--as has been pointed out--is, for Hegel--to
know God, which is to know things in their Truth--to see all things in
God--to comprehend the world in its eternal significance. Supposing
the purpose capable of being achieved, what method is open to its
attainment? There is on one hand the method of ordinary science
in dealing with its objects. These are _things,_ found as it were
projected into space before the observer, lying outside one another in
_prima facie_ independence, though connected (by a further finding)
with each other by certain 'accidents' called qualities and relations.
Among the objects of knowledge, there are included, by the somewhat
naïve intellect that accepts tradition like a physical fact, certain
'things' of a rather peculiar character. One of these is God: the
others, which a historical criticism has subjoined, are the Soul and
the World. And whatever may be said of the thinghood, reality, or
existence of the World, there is no doubt that God and the Soul figure,
and figure largely, in the consciousness of the human race as entities,
differing probably in many respects from other things, but still
possessed of certain fundamental features in common, and thus playing a
part as distinct realities amongst other realities.

Given such objects, it is natural for a reflecting mind to attempt
to make out a science of God and a science of the Soul, just as of
other 'things.' And to these, a system-loving philosopher might add a
science of the world (Cosmology)[4]. It was felt, indeed, that these
objects were peculiar and unique. Thus, for example, as regards God,
it was held necessary by the logician who saw tradition in its true
light to prove His existence': and various arguments to that end were
at different times devised. With regard to the human Soul, similarly,
it was considered essential to establish its independent reality as a
thing really separate from the bodily organism with which its phenomena
were obviously connected,--to prove, in short, its substantial
existence, and its emancipation from the bodily fate of dissolution and
decay. With reference to the World, the problem was rather different:
it was felt that the name suggested problems for thought rather than
denoted reality. How can we predicate of the whole what is predicable
of its parts? This or that may have a beginning and a cause, may have
a limit and an end: but can the totality be presented under these
aspects, without leading to self-contradiction? And the result of
these questions in the case of 'Cosmology' was to shed in the long run
similar doubts on 'Rational' Theology and 'Rational' Psychology.

Practically this metaphysical science--which is so called as dealing
with a province or provinces of being _beyond_ the ordinary or natural
_(physical)_ realities--treated God and the Soul by the same terms
(or _categories_) as it used in dealing with 'material' objects. God
e. g. was a force, a cause, a being; so, too, was the Soul. The main
butt of Kant's destructive _Criticism of pare Reason_ is to challenge
the justice of including God and the Soul among the objects of
science,--among the things we can know as we may know plants or stars.
To make an object of knowledge (in the strict sense), to make a thing,
the prerequisite, Kant urges, is perception in space and time. Without
a sensation--and that sensation, as it were, laid out in place and
duration--an object of science is impossible. No mere demonstration
will conjure it into existence. And with that requirement the old
theology and psychology, which professed to expound the object-God and
the object-soul, were ruled out-of-order in the list of sciences, and
reduced to mere dialectical exercises. The circle of the sciences,
therefore, does not lead beyond the conditioned,' beyond the regions
of space and time. It has nothing to say of a 'first cause' or of an
ultimate end.

Such was the result that might fairly be read from Kant's _Criticism of
pare Reason_,--especially if read without its supplementary sequels,
and, above all, if read by those in whom feeling was stronger than
thought, or who were by nature more endowed with the craving for faith
than with the mind of philosophy. Such a personality appeared in J.
H. Jacobi, the younger brother of a poet not undistinguished in his
day. Amid the duties of public office and the cares of business, he
found time to study Spinoza, the English and Scotch moralists, and
above all to follow with interest the development of Kant from the year
1763 onwards. His house at Düsseldorf was the scene of many literary
reunions, and Jacobi himself maintained familiar intercourse with
the leaders of the literary and intellectual world, such as Lessing,
Hamann, Goethe. His first considerable works were two novels, in
letters,--Allwill, begun in a serial magazine in 1775, and Woldemar,
begun in another magazine in 1777; both being issued as complete works
in 1781. Both turn on a moral antithesis, and both leave the antithesis
as they found it. _Here_ pleads the advocate of the heart: 'it is the
heart which alone and directly tells man what is good': 'virtue is a
fundamental instinct of human nature': the true basis of morals is an
immediate certainty; and the supreme standard is an 'ethical genius'
which as it were discovered virtue and which still is a paramount
authority in those exceptional situations in life when the 'grammar
of virtue' fails to supply adequate rules, and where, therefore, the
immediate voice of conscience must in a 'licence of sublime poesy[5]'
dare, as Burke says, to 'suspend its own rules in favour of its own
principles.' _There_, on the other hand, is the champion of reason,
who declares all this sentimentalism 'a veritable mysticism of
antinomianism and a quietism of immorality[6]': 'To humanity,' he says,
'and to every man (every complete man) principles, and some system
of principles, are indispensable.' Woldemar concludes with the pair
of mottoes: 'Whosoever trusts to his own heart is a fool,' and 'Trust
love: it takes everything, but it gives everything.'

In 1780 Jacobi had his historic conversation with Lessing at
Wolfenbüttel[7]. The talk turned on Spinoza. For many years the
philosophy of Spinoza had seemed to vanish from the world. His name
was only heard in a reference of obloquy, as if it were dangerous to
be even suspected of infection with the taint of Atheism. But both
Lessing and Jacobi had found him out. The former saw in him an ally in
that struggle for higher light and wider views which he undertook in
a spirit and with a scope hardly surmised by those he usually wrought
with. Jacobi, on the contrary, saw in him personified the conjunction
of all those irreligious tendencies which all philosophy in some degree
exhibited: the tendency to veil or set aside God and personality. 'I
believe,' says Jacobi, as he began the conversation 'in an intelligent
personal cause of the world.' 'Then I am going,' replied Lessing, 'to
hear something quite new': and he dryly put aside the other's rhapsody
on the 'personal extra-mundane deity with the remark 'Words, my dear
Jacobi, words.' Jacobi's work _Letters on the doctrine of Spinoza_
(it appeared in 1785) was the beginning of a controversy in which
Mendelssohn and Herder took part, and in which Goethe took an interest
under Herders tutorship. To the exact philological study of Spinoza
it did not contribute much: for the Spinoza whom Herder and Goethe
saw as their spiritual forefather was transfigured in their thought
to a figure to which Leibniz had almost an equal right to give his
name. He upheld to them the symbol of the immanence of the divine in
nature: he was the leader in the battle against 'philistine' deism and
utilitarianism.

With the Kantian criticism of the pseudo-science of theology Jacobi had
in one way no fault to find. That reasoning by its demonstration cannot
find out God, was to him an axiomatic belief. But the 'man of feeling'
felt uneasy at the trenchant methods of the Königsberg man of logic.
He seemed to see the world of men and things passing under Kant's
manipulation into a mere collection of phenomena and ideas of the mind.
Still more was he sensible to the loss of his God. That surrogate of an
argument for theism which Kant seemed to offer in the implications of
the Moral Law did not give what Jacobi wanted. Mere morality is a cold
and mechanical principle--he thinks--compared with that infinite life
and love which we deem we have in God. The son of man, he felt, was, in
virtue of an indwelling genius of conscience, supreme over the moral
law: how much more, then, the Absolute and Eternal on a higher grade of
being than its mechanical regularities!

If the way of reasoning will not carry us to the Absolute, still
less (and that is whither Jacobi wishes to reach) to God, there must
be another way: for something in him, which may be called Faith
or Feeling, Spiritual Sense or Reason, proclaims itself certain
of the reality both of God and Nature. There _is_ an objective
reality--outside and beyond him--yet somehow to be reached by a daring
leap,--whereby, out of sheer force of will, he, shutting his eyes
to the temporal and the mechanical, finds himself carried over the
dividing gulf into the land of eternal life and love.

'I appeal' he says in his latest utterances[8] 'to an imperative, an
invincible feeling as the first and underived ground of all philosophy
and all religion,--to a feeling which lets man become aware of and
alive to the fact that he has a sense for the supersensuous.' 'As it
is religion which makes man man,' he continues, 'and which alone lifts
him above the animals, so it also makes him a philosopher.' Such an
organ for the supersensuous is what in his later writings he calls
_Vernunft_ (Reason) and distinguishes from _Verstand_ (Understanding).
'This reason,' says Coleridge (to whom we owe this use of the terms in
English) in the _Friend,_ 'is an organ bearing the same relation to
spiritual objects as the eye bears to material phenomena,' It is 'that
intuition of things which arises when we possess ourselves as one with
the whole and is opposed to that 'science of the mere understanding'
in which 'transferring reality to the negations of reality (to the
ever-varying framework of the uniform life) we think of ourselves
as separated beings, and place nature in antithesis to the mind, as
object to subject, thing to thought, death to life.' But this Reason
is even more than this. It is the direct contact with reality, which
it affirms and even _is._ It apprehends the _me_ and the _thee,_ it
apprehends above all the great _Thee,_ God: apprehends, and we may even
say appropriates[9]. And it apprehends them at one bound--in one _salto
mortale_--because it is really in implicit possession of them. Call the
step a miracle, if you will: you must admit, he adds, that 'some time
or other every philosophy must have recourse to a miracle[10].'

And yet the asseveration rings false--it shows a womanish wilfulness
and weakness in its reiteration. He has the reality; yet he has it
not. 'Were a God known,' he says in one place, 'He would not be God.'
He yearns with passionate longing to find the living and true: he
feels himself and the Eternal clasped in one: his faith effects the
reality of things hoped for. But, he adds, 'We never see the Absolute':
the primal light of reason is but faint. It is but a presage--a
pre-supposition--of the Everlasting. This reason, in short, needs
discipline and development, it needs the ethical life to raise it:
'without morality no religiosity,' he says. 'Light,' he complains,
'is in my heart,' but at the moment I want to bring it into the
understanding, the light goes out.' And yet he knows--and Coleridge
repeats--'the consciousness of reason and of its revelations is only
possible in an understanding.'

'There seem to be one or two motives acting upon Jacobi. The 'plain
man,' especially if he be of high character and of 'noble' religiosity,
has a feeling that the lust of philosophising disturbs the security of
life, and endangers things which are deservedly dear to him. In such
an one the 'enthusiasm of logic'--the calm pursuit of truth at all
costs, so characteristic of Lessing--is inferior to the 'enthusiasm
of life,'--a passion in which the terrestrial and the celestial are
inextricably blended, where one clings to God as the stronghold of
self, and sets personality--our human personality--in the throne of
the Eternal. He will be all that is noble and good, if only he be not
asked utterly to surrender self. So, too, Jacobi's God--or Absolute
(for he leaves his 'non-philosophy' so far as to use both names), is
rather the final aim of a grand, overpowering yearning, than a calm,
self-centred, self-expanding life which carries man along with it.
It would be, he feels, so very terrible, if at the last there were
no God to meet us--to find the throne of the universe vacant. Avaunt
philosophy, therefore! Let us cling to the faith of our nature and our
childhood, and refuse her treacherous consolations! With the central
proposition of Jacobi, Hegel, for one, is not inclined to quarrel. He
too, as he asks and answers the question as to the issues of this and
of the better life, might say

                                      'Question, answer presuppose
    Two points: that the thing itself which questions, answers,--_is,_ it
        knows;
    As it also knows the thing perceived outside itself--a force
    Actual ere its own beginning, operative through its course,
    Unaffected by its end,--that this thing likewise needs must be;
    Call this--God, then, call that--Soul, and both the only facts for me.
    Prove them facts? that they o'erpass my power of proving proves
        them such:
    Fact it is, I know, I know not something which is fact as much.'

But when Jacobi goes on to say that it is the supreme and final duty
of the true sage 'to unveil reality,'--meaning thereby that, given the
feeling, he has only to

                    'Define it well
    For fear divine Philosophy
    Should push beyond her mark and be
    Procuress to the Lords of Hell,'

Hegel withdraws. It is the duty of philosophy to labour to make the
perception--the fleeting, uncertain, trembling perception--of faith,
a clear, sure, inwardly consistent knowledge: to show, and not merely
to assert, that 'the path of (this world's) duty is the way to (that
world's) glory.' There is, Hegel himself has said more than once,
something opposed to ordinary ways of thinking in the procedure of the
philosopher. To the outsider, it seems like standing on your head.
It involves something like what, in religious language, is termed
conversion--a new birth--becoming a new man. But though such a change
always seems to culminate in a moment of sudden transformation,--as if
the continuity of old and new were disrupted, the process has a history
and a preparation. Of that pilgrim's progress of the world-distracted
soul to its discovery of its true being in God, philosophy is the
record: a record which Hegel has written both in the _Phenomenology of
Mind_, and, more methodically, in his _Encyclopaedia._ The passage from
nature to God--or from man's limitations to the divine fullness--must
be made, he urged, in the open day and not in the secret vision when
sleep falls upon men. When the aged Jacobi read these requirements of
Hegel, he wrote to a friend: 'He may be right, and I should like once
again to experiment with him all that the power of thinking can do
alone, were not the old man's head too weak for it[11].'

'For a philosophy like this,' says Hegel[12], 'individual man
and humanity are the ultimate standpoint:--as a fixed invincible
finitude of reason, not as a reflection of the eternal beauty, or as
a spiritual focus of the universe, but as an ultimate sense-nature,
which however with the power of faith can daub itself over here and
there with an alien supersensible. Let us suppose an artist restricted
to portrait-painting; he might so far idealise as to introduce in the
eye of a commonplace countenance a yearning look, and on its lips a
melancholy smile, but he would be utterly debarred from depicting the
Gods, sublime over yearning and melancholy--as if the delineation of
eternal pictures were only possible at the cost of humanity. So too
Philosophy--on this view--must not portray the Idea of man, but the
abstraction of a humanity empirical and mingled with short-comings, and
must bear a body impaled on the stake of the absolute antithesis; and
when it clearly feels its limitation to the sensible, it must at the
same time bedeck itself with the surface colour of a supersensible,
and point the finger of faith to a something Higher.

'But the truth cannot be defrauded by such a consecration if finitude
be still left subsisting; the true consecration must annihilate it.
The artist, who fails to give actuality the true truth by letting
fall upon it the ethereal illumination and taking it completely in
that light, and who can only depict actuality in its bare ordinary
reality and truth (a reality however which is neither true nor real)
may apply the pathetic remedy to actuality, the remedy of tenderness
and sentimentality, everywhere putting tears on the cheeks of the
commonplace, and an O God! in their mouth. No doubt his figures in
this way direct their look over the actual heavenwards, but like
bats they belong neither to the race of birds nor beasts, neither to
earth nor heaven. Their beauty is not free from ugliness, nor their
morals without weakness and meanness: the intelligence they haply may
show is not without banality: the success which enters into it is
not without vulgarity, and the misfortune not without cowardice and
terror; and both success and misfortune have something contemptible.
So too philosophy, if it takes the finite and subjectivity as absolute
truth in the logical form habitual to her, cannot purify them by
bringing them into relation with an infinite: for that infinite is not
itself the true, because it is unable to consume finitude. But where
a philosophy consumes the temporal as such and burns up reality, its
action is pronounced a cruel dissection, which does not leave man
complete, and a forcible abstraction which has no truth, above all
no truth for life. And such an abstraction is treated as a painful
amputation of an essential piece from the completeness of the whole:
that essential piece, and absolute substantiality being believed to
consist in the temporal and empirical, and in privation. It is as if
a person, who sees only the feet of a work of art, were to complain,
should the whole work be unveiled to his eyes, that he was deprived of
the privation, that the incomplete was decompleted.'

Jacobi has been spoken of as the leader of this 'Un-philosophy' of
faith. As such his allies lie on one side among philosophers who hold
by the deliverances of 'common sense,' by the consciousness of the
unsophisticated man shrinking from the waywardness of an idealism that
deprives him of his solidest realities. The type of such a philosopher
has been drawn by Hegel[13] in Krug. But, on the other side, Jacobi
touched hands--though not in a sympathetic spirit--with a somewhat
motley band which also had set its face to go to the everlasting gates,
but had turned aside to aimless wandering on the Hill Difficulty, or
sought too soon the repose of the Delectable Mountains, without due
sojourn in the valley of Humiliation or descent under the Shadow of
Death. Like Wordsworth, they felt that the world is too much with
us: that our true self is frittered away into fragments and passing
stages, in which we are not ourselves,--whereby we also lose the true
perception of the essential life of nature. Gradually we have sunk
into the deadening arms of habit, reduced ourselves to professional
and conventional types, and lost the freer and larger mobility of
spiritual being. We have grown into _verständige Leute_--people of
practical sense and worldly wisdom. To such, philosophy would come--if
it could come--as the great breath of life--of 'reason' (_Vernunft_)
which transcends the separations inevitable in practical will and
knowledge. But to this band--which has been styled the Romantic School
of Germany--the liberation came in ways more analogous to that craved
for by Jacobi. Their way was the way of Romance and Imagination. The
principle of Romance is the protest against confining man and nature
to the dull round of uniformities which custom and experience have
imprisoned them in. Boundless life, infinite spontaneity is surging
within us and the world, ready to break down the dams convention
and inertia have established. That inner power is an ever-fresh,
ever-restless Irony, which sets up and overthrows, which refuses to be
bound or stereotyped, which is never weary, never exhausted,--free in
the absolute sense. It is the mystic force of Nature, which they seemed
to see ever on the spring to work its magic transformations, and burst
the bulwarks of empirical law. It is the princely _jus aggratiandi,_
the sportive sovereignty of the true artist, who is able at any moment
to enter into direct communion with the heart of things.

The beginning of the nineteenth century in Germany, as well as in
England, was a period of effervescence:--there was a good deal of fire,
and naturally there was also a good deal of smoke. Genius was exultant
in its aspirations after Freedom, Truth, and Wisdom. The Romantic
School, which had grown up under the stimulus of Fichte's resolve to
enact thought, and had for a time been closely allied with Schelling,
counted amongst its literary chiefs the names of the Schlegels, of
Tieck, Novalis, and perhaps Richter. The world, as that generation
dreamed, was to be made young again,--first by drinking, where
Wordsworth led, from the fresh springs of nature,--afterwards when, as
often has happened, doubts arose as to where Nature was really to be
found, by an elixir distilled from the withered flowers of medieval
Catholicism and chivalry,

    'Since the Mid-Age was the Heroic Time'

and even from the old roots of primeval wisdom. The good old times of
faith and harmonious beauty were to be brought back again by the joint
labours of ideas and poetry.--

    'So, all that the old Dukes had been, without knowing it,
    This Duke would fain know he was without being it.'

To that period of incipient and darkling energy Hegel stands in
very much the same position as Luther did to the pre-Reformation
mystics, to Meister Eckhart, and the unknown author of the 'German
Theology.' It was from this side, from the school of Genius and Romance
in philosophy, that Hegel was proximately driven, not into sheer
re-action, but into system, development, and science.

To elevate philosophy from a love of wisdom into the possession of real
wisdom, into a system and a science, is the aim which he distinctly
set before himself from the beginning. In almost every work, and every
course of lectures, whatever be their subject, he cannot let slip the
chance of an attack upon the mode of philosophising which substituted
the strength of belief or conviction for the intervention of reasoning
and argument. There may have been a strong sympathy in him with the
end which these German contemporaries and, in some ways, analogues
to Coleridge, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Byron had in view. No one who
reads his criticism of Kant can miss perceiving his bent towards the
Infinite. But he utterly rejects the vision of feeling, whether as
longing faith or devout enjoyment, as an adequate exposition of the
means to this end. Whereas these fantastic seers and sentimentalists
either disparage science as a limitation to the spirit, in the calm
trust of their life in God, or yearn throughout life for a peace
which they never quite reach, Hegel is bent upon showing men that the
Infinite is not unknowable, as Kant would have it, and yet that man can
not, as Jacobi would have it, naturally and without an effort enjoy
the things of God[14]. He will prove that the way of Truth is open, and
prove it by describing in detail every step of the road. Philosophy for
him must be reasoned truth. She does not visit favoured ones in visions
of the night, but comes to all who win her by patient study.

'For those,' he says, 'who ask for a royal road to science, no more
convenient directions can be given than to trust to their own sound
common sense, and, if they wish to keep up with the age and with
philosophy, to read the reviews criticising philosophical works, and
perhaps even the prefaces and the first paragraphs in these works
themselves. The introductory remarks state the general and fundamental
principles; and the reviews, besides their historical information,
contain a critical estimate, which, from the very fact that it is
such, is beyond and above what it criticises. This is the road of
ordinary men: and it may be traversed in a dressing-gown. The other
way is the way of intuition. It requires you to don the vestments of
the high-priest. Along that road stalks the ennobling sentiment of the
Eternal, the True, the Infinite. But it is wrong to call "this a road.
These grand sentiments find themselves, naturally and without taking
a single step, centred in the very sanctuary of truth. So mighty is
genius, with its deep original ideas and its high flashes of wit. But
a depth like this is not enough to lay bare the sources of true being,
and these rockets are not the empyrean. True thoughts and scientific
insights are only to be gained by the labour which comprehends and
grasps its object. And that thorough grasp alone can produce the
universality of science. Contrasted with the vulgar vagueness and
scantiness of common sense, that universality is a fully-formed and
rounded intellect; and, contrasted with the un-vulgar generality of
the natural gift of reason when it has been spoilt by the laziness and
self-conceit of genius, it is truth put in possession of its native
form, and thus rendered the possible property of every self-conscious
reason[15].'

These words which were taken to heart (unnecessarily, perhaps) by the
patron of the _Intellectual Intuition_ rung the knell to the friendship
of Hegel with his great contemporary Schelling. Yet this hard saying
is also the keynote to the subsequent work of the philosopher. In
Hegel we need expect no brilliant _apergus_ of genius, no intellectual
legerdemain, but only the patient unraveling of the clue of thought
through all knots and intricacies: a deliberate tracing and working-out
of the contradictions and mysteries in thought, until the contradiction
and the mystery disappear. Perseverance is the secret of Hegel.

This characteristic of patient work is seen, for example, in the
incessant prosecution of hints and glimpses, until they grew into
systematic and rounded outline. Instead of vague anticipations and
guesses at truth, fragments of insight, his years of philosophic study
are occupied with writing and re-writing, in the _V_ endeavour to clear
up and arrange the masses of his ideas. Essay after essay, and sketch
after sketch of a system, succeed each other amongst his papers. His
first great work was not published before his 37th year, after six
years spent in university work at Jena, following as many spent in
preliminary lucubration. The notes which he used to dictate some years
afterwards to the boys in the Gymnasium at Nürnberg bear evidence
of constant remodelling, and the same is true of his professorial
lectures.

Such insistance in tracing every suggestion of truth to its place
in the universe of thought is the peculiar character and difficulty
of Hegelian argument. Other observers have now and again noticed,
accentuated, and, it may be, popularised some one point or some one
law in the evolution of reason. Here and there, as we reflect, we
are forced to recognise what Hegel termed the dialectical nature in
thought,--the tendency, by which a principle, when made to be all that
it implied, when, as the phrase is, it is carried to extremes, recoils
and leaves us confronted by its antithesis. We cannot, for example,
study the history of ancient thought without noting this phenomenon.
Thus, the persistence with which Plato and Aristotle taught and
enforced the doctrine that the community was the guide and safeguard
of the several citizens, very soon issued in the schools of Zeno and
Epicurus, teaching the rights of self-seeking and of the independent
self-realisation of the individual. But the passing glimpse of an
indwelling discord in the terms, by which we argue, is soon forgotten,
and is set aside under the head of accidents, instead of being referred
to a general law. Most of us take only a single step to avoid what has
turned out wrong, and when we have overcome the seeming absoluteness of
one idea, we are content and even eager to throw ourselves under the
yoke of another, not less one-sided than its predecessor. Sometimes
one feels tempted to say that the course of human thought as a whole,
as well as that branch of it termed science, exhibits nothing but a
succession of illusions, which enclose us in the belief that some idea
is all-embracing as the universe,--illusions, from which the mind is
time after time liberated, only in a little while to sink under the
sway of some partial correction, as if it and it only were the complete
truth.

Or, again, the Positive Philosophy exhibits as one of its features an
emphatic and popular statement of a fallacy much discussed in Hegel.
One of the best deeds of that school has been to protest against a
delusive belief in certain words and notions; particularly by pointing
out the insufficiency of what it calls metaphysical terms, i. e. those
abstract entities formed by reflective thought, which are little else
than a double of the phenomenon they are intended to explain. To
account for the existence of insanity by an assumed basis for it in
the 'insane neurosis,' or to attribute the sleep which follows a dose
of opium to the soporific virtues of the drug, are some exaggerated
examples of the metaphysical intellect which is so rampant in much
of our popular, and even of our esoteric science. Positivism by its
logical precepts ought at least to have instilled general distrust of
abstract talk about essences, laws, forces and causes, whenever they
claim an inherent and independent value, or profess to be more than
a reflex of sensation. But all this is only a desultory perception,
the reflection of an intelligent observer. When we come to Hegel, the
Comtian perception of the danger lying in the terms of metaphysics is
replaced by the Second Part of Logic, the Theory of Essential Being,
where substances, causes, forces, essences, matters, are confronted
with what Mr. Bain has called their 'suppressed correlative[16].'


[Footnote 1: Aus Schellings Leben (Plitt.), ii. 161.]

[Footnote 2: Hegel's _Briefe_, ii. 377.]

[Footnote 3: _Phenomenologie des Geistes,_ p. 9.]

[Footnote 4: Cf. Notes and Illustrations in vol. ii. 396, and chapter
iii. of the _Logic._]

[Footnote 5: Jacobi's _Werke_, v. 79, III, 115, 417.]

[Footnote 6: Ibid., i. 178.]

[Footnote 7: Jacobi's _Werke,_ iv. i. Abth. p. 55 seqq.]

[Footnote 8: Jacobi's _Werke_, iv. i, p. xxi.]

[Footnote 9: Jacobi's _Briefwechsel,_ i. 330.]

[Footnote 10: Jacobi's _Werke_, iii. 53.]

[Footnote 11: Jacobi's _Briefwechsel_, ii. 468.]

[Footnote 12: Hegel's _Werke,_ i. 15.]

[Footnote 13: Hegel's _Vermischte Schriften,_ i. 50.]

[Footnote 14: Compare pages 121-142 of the _Logic._]

[Footnote 15: _Phenomenologie des Geistes_, p. 54 (_Werke_, ii).]

[Footnote 16: _Practical Essays,_ p. 43.]



CHAPTER VI.


THE SCIENCES AND PHILOSOPHY.


By asserting the rights of philosophy against the dogmatism of
self-inspired 'unphilosophy,' and by maintaining that we must not feel
the truth, with our eyes as it were closed, but must open them full
upon it, Hegel does not reduce philosophy to the level of one of the
finite sciences. The name 'finite,' like the name 'empirical,' is not
a title of which the sciences have any cause to be ashamed. They are
called empirical, because it is their glory and their strength to found
upon experience. They are called finite, because they have a fixed
object, which they must expect and cannot alter; because they have an
end and a beginning,--presupposing something where they begin, and
leaving something for the sciences which come after. Botany rests upon
the researches of chemistry: and astronomy hands over the record of
cosmical movements to geology. Science is interlinked with science; and
each of them is a fragment. Nor can these fragments ever, in the strict
sense of the word, make up a whole or total. They have broken off,
sometimes by accident, and sometimes for convenience, from one another.
The sciences have budded forth here and there upon the tree of popular
knowledge and ordinary consciousness, as the interest and needs of the
time drew attention closer to various points and objects in the world
surrounding us.

Prosecute the popular knowledge about any point far enough,
substituting completeness and accuracy for vagueness, and especially
giving numerical definiteness in weight, size, and figure, until
the little drop of fact has grown into an ocean, and the mere germ
has expanded into a structure with complex interconnexion,--and
you will have a science. By its point of origin this luminous body
of facts is united to the great circle of human knowledge and
ignorance. Each special science is a part, which presupposes a total
of much lower organisation, but much wider range than itself: each
branch of scientific knowledge grows out of the already existent
tree of acquaintance with things. But the part very soon assumes an
independence of its own, and adopts a hostile or negative attitude
towards the general level of unscientific opinion. This process of what
we may, from the vulgar point of view, call abnormal development, is
repeated irregularly at various points along the surface of ordinary
consciousness. At one time it is the celestial movements calling for
the science of astronomy: at another the problem of dividing the soil
calling for the geometrician. Each of these outgrowths naturally
re-acts and modifies the whole range of human knowledge, or what we
may call popular science; and thus, while keeping up its own life, it
quickens the parent stock with an infusion of new vigour, and raises
the general intelligence to a higher level and into a higher element.

The order of the outcome of the sciences in time, therefore, and their
connexions with one another, cannot be explained or understood, if we
look only to the sciences themselves. We must first of all descend
into the depths of natural thought, or of general culture, and trace
the lines which unite science with science in that general medium. The
systematic interdependence of the sciences must be chiefly sought for
in the workings of thought as a whole in its popular phases, and in the
action and reaction of that _general_ human thought with the sciences,
those definite organisations of knowledge which form sporadically round
the _nuclei_ here and there presented in what would superficially be
described as the inorganic mass and medium of popular knowledge. Thus,
by means of the sciences in their aggregate action, the material of
common consciousness is expanded and developed, at least in certain
parts, though the expansion may be neither consistent nor systematic.
But so long as this work is incomplete, so long, that is to say, as
every point in the line of popular knowledge has not received its due
elaboration and equal study, the sciences merely succeed each other in
a certain imperfect sequence, or exist in juxtaposition: they do not
form a total. The whole of scientific knowledge will only be formed,
when science shall be as completely rounded and unified, as in its
lower sphere and more inadequate element the ordinary consciousness of
the world is now.

Up to a certain point the method of science is but the method of
ordinary consciousness pursued knowingly and steadily. But ere long
the method acquires a distinctive character of its own. It shakes
off the pressure of that immediate subservience in which ordinary
knowledge stands to man's needs, wishes and interests. Knowledge
is pursued--within a wide range--for its own sake, and by a class
more or less definitely set apart by humanity for its scientific
service,--which is thus performed more systematically and continuously.
But the great step which carries ordinary knowledge into its higher
region is the discovery, due to reflection and comparison, that
there is a double grade of reality-a permanent, essential, uniform,
substantial being, which is contrasted with an evanescent, apparent,
varying and accidental. To know a thing is in all cases to _relate it_
to something else: to know it in the higher sense_--vere scire_--is
to relate it to its essence, its substantial or universal form, its
permanent self. Ordinary knowledge, e. g., fixes a thing by referring
to its antecedents: scientific knowledge refers it to its 'invariable,
'unconditional' or 'essential' antecedent,--to something which
contains it implicitly, and necessarily, and is not merely by accident
or juxtaposition associated with it. To discover this permanent,
underlying substance or reality comes to be the problem of science--a
problem which may be taken in the widest generality, or restricted
to some one group of existences. What is asked for, e.g., may be
the uniformity and essence in the appearance of the diurnal journey
of the sun, or it may be the underlying, invisible, nature which
displays itself in all the variety of minerals, and in animal and plant
life. The one-and-the-same in a diversity of many; the type-form in
individuals: the cause which is the key to understanding an effect that
always and unconditionally follows it; the force which finds different
expression in actions--are what Science seeks.

In that search two points emerge as regards the method. The first is
the importance of quantitative statements or numerical appreciations,
and the general law that variations in the qualitative are in some
ratio concomitant with variations in the quantitative. Mathematics,
in a word, is found to be an invaluable instrument for recording
with accuracy the minutest as well as the most immense differences
of quality. First, it is seen that qualitative differences within a
given range, e.g. various colours or various musical notes, can be
accurately expressed by a numerical ratio. But, secondly, it soon
appears that even greater divergences of quality, e.g. those of colour
and of chemical quality, may possibly be reduced to stages on one
quantitative scale. It is not unnatural that such experiences should
give rise to a hope--and in sanguine minds, an assurance--that all the
phenomena of nature are ultimately phases of some common nature--some
elementary being--which runs through an infinite gamut of numerically
defined adjustments.

But the numerical prepossession--as we may call it--creates another
assumption. Every number consists of units: every cube can be regarded
as an aggregation of smaller cubes, and in measurement is (implicitly
at least) so regarded. Transferring this to the physical world, every
object is regarded as a composite--a Large, made up by the addition
and juxtaposition of many (relatively) Littles. The essentials of the
composite are here the elements that compose it: these, by a natural
tendency, we proceed to conceive as remaining always unchanged, and
giving rise by their peculiar juxtaposition to certain perceptions in
the human being. You whirl rapidly a blazing piece of wood, and instead
of a discontinuous series of flashes you see one orbit of luminous
matter: or, let falling rain-drops take up a particular position in
reference to your eyes and the sun, and a rainbow is visible. In both
cases there is what may be called an illusion--the illusion, above
all, of unity and continuity. Now what is in these cases obviously
and demonstrably seen, is, as Leibniz in particular has reminded us,
the general law of all matter as such. In the extended and material
world there is nowhere a real unity discoverable. The small is made
up of the smaller _ad infinitum_[1]. But the conclusion (which
Leibniz drew)--that unity belongs only to v,' Monads and never by any
possibility to a material substance, was not that commonly reached
or accepted. There are--or there must be,--said the prevalent creed,
ultimates, indivisibles, indecomposables, simples, atoms. These are the
final bricks of reality, out of which the apparent universe is built:
each with a maximum,--a _ne plus ultra_--of resistibility, hardness,
fullness, and unsqueezable bulk.

Into further details of these ultimate irreducibles we need not enter.
It is sufficient to denote the general purport of the conception, and
the tendency it implies.

In these ultimates supreme reality is understood to lie; and on them
at last, and indeed always, rests whatever reality truly exists in
any object. All else is secondary--and, comparatively speaking,
illusory,--unreal. Any phenomena that may be noted only affect the
surface or show of these reals: the inner reality continues one
and unchanged. Outside them, around them, is the void--emptiness,
non-entity. Yet null and void as it may be, we may, in passing,
reply,--this circumambient is the source of all that gives these
masses of atoms any distinctive reality--any character of true being.
Space may be empty enough,--a mere spectre-shell; and yet it is their
differences in spatial circumstance that bring out and actualise what
they implicitly are. These '_individua_' these units of reality, these
atoms, are real and knowable only in their relations. So too Time may
be contemptuously treated as a passive receptacle: yet it is only by
its connexions in the past and the future that the present moment has
any actuality it may claim. And time and space are potent agencies--in
popular mode of utterance--whatever the mechanical philosophy may say.

But all of these relations are in the realm of unreality. The atoms
alone _are_: and yet the void, which ought _not_ to _be,_ in an
unmistakable way _is_ also. To this mysterious vacuum which lies
outside (and yet not outside) reality, to this not-being which _is,_
there can only be given a half-negative and baffling name. Let it
be called Chance--or let it be called Necessity; let it be called
inexplicable Law of co-existence and sequence,--the Force which is the
beginning of motion. It is the ultimate key to the mystery--but it is
at least a key which no human hand can use, or even lay hold of. It is
enough for science if, leaving this ultimate inexplicability untouched,
it trace in each separate instance the exact equation between the sum
of the constituents and the total which they compose,--if it prove that
the several items when put together exactly give the sum proposed.
Identification--the establishment of quantitative equations--is the
work of science. Identity is its canon, working on the presumption
or axiom that there can be nothing in the result which was not in
the antecedents or conditions. _Ex nihilo nihil fit._ The quantity
of energy must always be the same, though its phases may vary, or
temporarily avoid detection. Matter, i.e. the ultimate reality, is
indestructible. In short, the method of analysis and synthesis, as that
of addition and subtraction, is a calculus which takes the form of an
equation.

So far the inorganic, inanimate world has been mainly in view. If we
now turn to the organisms, we find the popular creed expressed in the
adage _Omne vivum e vivo._ No eye has ever seen--though fanatical
observers have sometimes so deluded themselves as to think they saw--a
living being directly emerge from inorganic stuff. The saner student
of physiology contents himself with leaving for the while the crux of
the genesis of Life, and examining only the building up of the living
creature out of its constituents. Here the atom is called the cell:
every organism is a synthesis of cells, and in the cell we have the
primary element of organic reality: _Omnis cellula e cellula,_ In the
atom we have the ultimate element; in the cell a relative element,--the
absolute beginning of a new order of things,--which we may, if we
like, choose to treat (though only for logical simplicity's sake) as a
gradual development from the other and more primitive, but which, so
far as experience and history teach, is equally ultimate in its kind.
But be the final constituent (physical) atom, or (physiological) cell,
the relation of these constituents is at first conceived by science
only as composition, or mechanical synthesis. It is only gradually
that science begins to have doubts as to the inviolability and
unalterableness of the elements. When the idea--not altogether new--of
a 'latent meta-schematism' and latent process within the constituents
is entertained and carried out in earnest, science has passed on to a
new stage: from mechanical atomism to a dynamic and organic theory of
existence. And the governing ideas of scientific logic have then ceased
to be co-existence, and sequence, correlation and composition: the new
category is intus-susception, development, adaptation not only external
but internal.

_Divide et impera_ is the motto of Science. To isolate one thing
or one group of facts from its context,--to penetrate beneath the
apparent simplicity, which time and custom have taught ordinary eyes
to see in the concrete object, to the multitude of underlying simple
elements,--to leave everything extraneous out of sight,--to abolish the
teleology which imposes upon Nature a permanent tribute (direct or
indirect) towards the supply of human wants,--and to take, as it were,
one thing at a time and study it for itself disinterestedly; that is
the problem of the sciences. And to accomplish that end they do not
hesitate to break the charmed links which in common vision hold the
world together,--to disregard the spiritual harmony which the sense of
beauty finds in the scene,--to strip off the relations of means and
end, which reflection has thrown from thing to thing, and the sensuous
atmosphere of so-called 'secondary' qualities in which human sense has
enveloped each; and finally to sever its connexion by which

    'the whole round world is every way
    Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.'

In those days when reflection had not set in,--when humanity had not
yet found itself a stranger in the house of Nature, and had not yet
dared to regard her as a mere automatic slave, men had no doubts as to
the meaning of things. They lived sympathetically her life.

         'Man, once descried, imprints for ever
    His presence on all lifeless things: the winds
    Are henceforth voices, wailing or a shout,
    A querulous mutter, or a quick gay laugh.'

To the extent of his abilities and his culture, indeed man has in all
ages read himself into the phenomena external to him. Such readings, in
times when he feared and loved his kinsfolk of Nature, were fetichism
and anthropomorphism. Gradually, however, forgetting his community, he
claimed to be the measure and master of all things: to decree their use
and function. But in course of time, when the sciences had emancipated
themselves from the yoke of philosophy, they refused to borrow any such
help in reading the riddle of the universe, and resolved to begin,
_ab ovo_, from the atom or cell, and leave the elements to work out
their own explanation. Modern science in so doing practises the lessons
learned from Spinoza and Hume. The former teaches that all conception
of order, i. e. of adaptation and harmony in nature, and indeed all
the methods by which nature is popularly explained, are only modes of
our emotional imagination, betraying how imperfect has been in most
of us the emancipation of human intellect from the servitude to the
affections[2]. The latter points out that all connexions between things
are solely mental associations, ingrained habits of expectation, the
work of time and custom, accredited only by experience[3]. There must
be no pre-suppositions allowed in the studies of science, no help
derived prematurely from the later terms in the process to elucidate
the earlier. Let man, it is said, be explained by those laws, and by
the action of those primary elements which build up every other part
of nature: let molecules by mechanical union construct the thinking
organism, and then construct society. The elements which we find by
analysis must be all that is required to make the synthesis. Thus in
modern times science carries out, fully and with the details of actual
knowledge in several branches, the principles of the atom and the void,
which Democritus suggested.

The scientific spirit, however, the spirit of analysis and abstraction
(or of 'Mediation' and 'Reflection'), is not confined in its
operations to the physical world. The criticism of ordinary beliefs
and conventions has been applied--and applied at an earlier period--to
what has been called the Spiritual world, to Art, Religion, Morality,
and the institutions of human Society. Under these names the agency of
ages, acting by their individual minds, has created organic systems,
unities which have claimed to be permanent, inviolable, and divine.
Such unities or organic structures are the Family, the State, the works
of Art, the forms, doctrines, and systems of Religion, existing and
recognised in ordinary consciousness. But in these cases, as in Nature,
the reflective principle may come forward and ask what right these
unities have to exist. This is the question which the 'Encyclopaedic,'
the 'Aufklärung,' the 'Rationalist' and 'Freethinking' theories,
raise and have raised in the last century and the present. What is
the Family, it is said, but a fiction or convention, which is used to
give a decent, but somewhat transparent covering to a certain animal
appetite, and its probable consequences? What is the State, and what
is Society, but a fiction or compact, by which the weak try to make
themselves seem strong, and the unjust seek to shelter themselves from
the consequences of their own injustice? What is Religion, it is said,
but a delusion springing from the fears and weakness of the crowd, and
the cunning of the few, which men have fostered until it has wrapped
humanity in its snaky coils? And Poetry, we are assured, like its
sister Arts, will perish and its illusions fade away, when Science,
now in the cradle, has become the full-grown Hercules. As for Morality
and Law, and the like, the same condemnation has been prepared from
of old. All of them, it is said, are but the inventions of power and
craft, or the phantoms of human imagination, which the strength of
positive science and bare facts is destined in no long time to dispel.

When they insisted upon a severance of the elements in the
vulgarly-accepted unities of the world, Science and Freethinking, like
Epicurus in an older day, have believed that they were liberating the
world from its various superstitions, from the bonds which instinct
and custom had fastened upon things so as to combine them into systems
more or less arbitrary. They denied the supremacy and reality of those
ideas which insist on the essential unity and self-sameness in things
that visibly and tangibly have a separate existence of their own, and
branded these ideas comprehensively as mysticism and metaphysics.
They sought to disabuse us of spirits, vital forces, divine right of
governments, final causes, _et hoc genus omne._ They were exceedingly
jealous for the independence of the individual, and for his right to
demand satisfaction for the questioning, ground-seeking faculty of
his nature. But while they did so they hardly realised how entirely
the spectator is the part, the product of what he surveys, and while
surveying treats as if it were but a spot or mark on the circumference
of the circle that lies--some way off--around him. 'Phenomenalism,' as
this mode of looking at things has been called, is false to life, and
would cut away the ground from philosophy.[4]

To some extent philosophy returns to the position of the wider
consciousness, to the general belief in harmony and symmetry. It
reverts to the unity or connexion, which the natural presumptions of
mankind find in the picture of the world. The _nolo philosophari_
of the intuitivist, in reaction from the supposed excesses of the
sciences, simply reverted to the bare re-statement of the popular
creed. If science, e. g., had shown that the perception of an
external world pre-supposed for its accomplishment an unsuspected
series of intermediate steps, the mere intuitivist simply denied
the intermediation by appealing to Common Sense, or to the natural
instincts and primary beliefs of mankind. Conviction and natural
instinct were declared to counterbalance the abstractions of science.
But philosophy which seeks to comprehend existence cannot take the
same ground as the intuitional school, or neglect the testimony of
science. If the spiritual unity of the world has been denied and lost
to sight, mere assertion that we feel and own its pervading power will
not do much good. It is necessary to reconcile the contrast between
the wholeness of the natural vision, and the fragmentary, but in its
fragments elaborated, result of science.

The sciences break up the rough generalisations or vulgar concepts of
everyday use, and make their fixed distinctions yield to analysis.
They thus render continuous things which were looked at as only
separate. But they tend again to substitute the results of their
analysis as a new and permanent distinction and principle of things.
They are like revolutionists who upset and perturb an old order, and
set up a new and minuter tyranny in its place. Gradually, the general
culture, the average educated intelligence gathers up the fruit of
scientific research into the total development of humanity: and uses
the work of science to fill up the _lacunae,_ the gaps, which make
popular consciousness so irregular and disconnected. A sort of popular
philosophy comes to sum up and estimate what science has accomplished:
and therein is as it were the spirit of the world taking into his own
hand the acquisitions won by the more audacious and self-willed of
his sons, and investing them in the common store. They are set aside
and preserved there, at first in an abstract and technical form, but
destined soon to pass into the possession of all, and form that mass of
belief and instinctive or implanted knowledge whence a new generation
will draw its mental supplies. Each great scientific discovery is in
its turn reduced to a part of the common stock. It leaves the technical
field, and spreads into the common life of men, becoming embodied in
their daily beliefs,--a seed of thought, from which, by the agency of
intelligent experience, new increments of science will one day spring.

Philosophy properly so called is also the unification of science,
but in a new sphere, a higher medium not recognised by the sciences
themselves. The reconciliation which the philosopher believes himself
to accomplish between ordinary consciousness and science is identified
by either side with a phase of its antagonist error. Science will
term philosophy a modified form of the old religious superstition.
The popular consciousness of truth, and especially religion, will
see in philosophy only a repetition or an aggravation of the evils
of science. The attempt at unity will not approve itself to either,
until they enter upon the ground which philosophy occupies, and move
in that element. And that elevation into the philosophic ether calls
for a tension of thought which is the sternest labour imposed upon
man: so that the continuous action of philosophising has been often
styled superhuman. If anywhere, it is in pure philosophy that proof
becomes impossible, unless for those who are willing to think for
themselves[5]. The philosophic lesson cannot be handed on to a mere
recipient: the result, when cut off from the process which produced
it, vanishes like the palace in the fairy tale.

'The whole of philosophy is nothing but the study of the specific
forms or types of unity.[6] There are many species and grades of this
unity. They are not merely to be enumerated and asserted in a vague
way, as they here and there force themselves upon the notice of the
popular mind. Philosophy sees in that unity neither an ultimate and
unanalysable fact, nor a deception, but a growth (which is also a
struggle), a revealing or unfolding, which issues in an organism or
system, constructing itself more and more completely by a force of its
own. This system formed by these types of the fundamental unity is
called the 'Idea,' of which the highest law is development. Philosophy
essays to do for this connective and unifying nature, i. e. for the
thought in things, something like what the sciences have done or
would like to do for the facts of sense and matter,--to do for the
spiritual binding-element in its integrity, what is being done for
the several facts which are more or less combined. It retraces the
universe of thought from its germinal form, where it seems, as it were,
an indecomposable point, to the fully matured system or organism, and
shows not merely that one phase of pure thought passes into another,
but how it does so, and yet is not lost, but subsists suspended and
deprived of its narrowness in the maturer phase.


[Footnote 1: Leibniz, ed. Gerhardt, iii. 507: 'Les atomes sont l'effet
de la foiblesse de nostre imagination, qui aime à se reposer et à se
hater à venir à une fin dans les sous-divisions et analyses: il n'en
est pas ainsi dans la nature qui vient de l'infini et va à l'infini.']

[Footnote 2: Spinoza, _Ethica,_ i. 36, App. '_Quoniam ea nobis prae
ceteris grata sunt quae facile imaginari possumus, ideo homines ordinem
confusioni praeferunt; quasi ordo aliquid in natura praeter respectum
ad nostram imaginationem esset... Videmus itaque omnes rationes quibus
vulgus solet naturam explicare modos esse tantummodo imaginandi._' Cf.
_Eth._ iv. praef.: Epist. xxxii.]

[Footnote 3: 'This transition of thought from the Cause to the Effect
proceeds not from Reason. It derives its origin altogether from
Custom and Experience.' Hume, Essay V. (Enquiry concerning Human
Understanding.) 'All inferences from Experience therefore are effects
of Custom.' (Ibid.)]

[Footnote 4: J. Grote, _Exploratio Philosophica._]

[Footnote 5: Cf. vol. ii. p. 4.]

[Footnote 6: _Philosophie der Religion,_ i. p. 97: 'Die ganze
Philosophie ist nichts Anderes als das Studium der Bestimmungen der
Einheit.' See especially _Encycl._ § 573 (Philosophy of Mind, pp. 192
seqq.).]



CHAPTER VII.


ANTICIPATORY SKETCH OF THE SCOPE OF PHILOSOPHY.


The psychology of the Greeks has to all appearance given the mere
intellect an undue pre-eminence, if it has not even treated it as man's
essential self. Whether the appearance is altogether sound might be
a profitable inquiry for those who most criticise it. At any rate, a
later psychology has taught us to regard man as at once a cognitive, an
emotional, and a volitional being. It has arrived at this conclusion as
it looked at the division that parted off the systems of science from
the sphere of conduct and social life, and both from the inner life of
sentiment, of love, admiration and reverence. And the inference was
justifiable, in the same way as Plato's when, as he surveyed the triple
sphere into which the outward world of his contemporary society was
divided, he concluded a triplicity of the soul. If it was justifiable,
it was also, as in his case, somewhat misleading. In the outward
manifestation, where the letters are posted up on a gigantic scale,
one tends to forget that they only spell one word. Their difference
and distance seem increased, and we fail to note that, though there
are three aspects, yet there is only one power or soul, which exhibits
itself under one or other of the three tones or modes. In the actual
human being, cognition is always of some emotional interest and always
leads up to some practical result. From different points of view one or
other is occasionally declared to be primary and original; the others
derivative and secondary. At any rate we may say that in the ordinary
human being who is still in the garden of preparation and has not yet
stepped forth on one of the separate routes of life, his knowledge, his
emotional and his active life are in a tolerable harmony, and that each
in its little development is constantly followed by the other.

But with the outward differentiation an inward went hand in hand. In
some cases the intellectual or scientific, in others the emotional, in
others the active faculties became predominant. Human nature in order
to attain all its completeness had first of all, as it were, to lose
its life in order to gain it. The individual had to sacrifice part of
his all-sided development in order that he might gain it again, and
in a larger measure, through the medium of society. This process is
the process of civilisation: the long and, as it often seems, weary
road by which man can only realise himself by self-sacrifice: can only
reach unity through the way of diversity, and must die to live. It is a
process in which it is but too easy to notice only one stage and speak
of it as if it were the whole. It is possible sometimes to identify
civilisation with the material increase in the means of producing
enjoyment, or with the progress of scientific teaching as to the laws
of those material phenomena on which material civilisation is largely
dependent. It is possible sometimes to take as its test the stores of
artistic works, and the extension of a lively and delicate love of all
that is beautiful and tasteful. One may identify it with a high-toned
moral life, and with an orderly social system. Or one may maintain that
the real civilisation of a country presupposes a lofty conception and
reverent attitude to the supreme source of all that is good, and true,
and beautiful.

The question is important as bearing on the relation of philosophy to
the special sciences. Philosophy is sometimes identified with the sum
of sciences: sometimes with their complete unification. Philosophy,
says a modern, is knowledge completely unified. It is of course to some
extent a question of words in what sense a term is to be defined. And
no one will dispute that the scientific element is in point of form the
most conspicuous aspect of philosophy. Yet if we look at the historical
use of the term, one or two considerations suggest themselves.
Philosophy, said an ancient, is the knowledge of things human and
divine. Again and again, it has claimed for its task to be a guide and
chart of human life--to reveal the form of good and of beauty. But to
do this, it must be more than a mere science, or than a mere system
of the sciences. Again, it has been urged by modern critics that Kant
at last discovered for philosophy her true province--the study of the
conditions and principles of human knowledge. But though epistemology
is all-important, the science of knowledge is not identical with
philosophy: nor did Kant himself think it was. Rather his view is on
the whole in accord with what he has called the 'world's (as opposed
to the scholar's) conception of philosophy[1],' as the science of the
bearing of all ascertainable truths on the essential aims of human
reason--_teleologia humanae rationis_,--in accord, too, with the
world's conception of the philosopher as no mere logician, but the
legislator of human reason.

This, it need hardly be added, is the conception of philosophy which
is implicitly the basis of Hegel's use. Let us hear Schelling. 'A
philosophy which in its principle is not already religion is no true
philosophy[2].'

Or again, as to the place of Ethics: 'Morality is Godlike disposition,
an uplifting above the influence of the concrete into the realm of the
utterly universal. Philosophy is a like elevation, and for that reason
intimately one with morality, not through subordination, but through
essential and inner likeness[3].' But, again, it has more than once
been felt that philosophy is kindred with Art. It has been said--not
as a compliment--that philosophy is only a form of gratifying the
aesthetic instincts. Schopenhauer has suggested--as a novelty--that
the true way to philosophy was not by science, but through Art. And
Schelling before him had--while asserting the inner identity of the
two--even gone so far as to assert[4] that 'Art is the sole, true and
eternal organon as well as the ostensible evidence of philosophy.'

Philosophy, therefore, is one of a triad in which the human spirit has
tried to raise itself above its limitations and to become god-like. And
philosophy is the climax; Art the lowest; Religion in the mean. But
this does not mean that Religion supersedes Art, and that Philosophy
supersedes religion; or, if we retain the term 'supersede,' we must add
that the superseded is not left behind and passed aside: it is rather
an integral constituent of what takes its place. Philosophy is true and
adequate only as it has given expression to all that religion had or
aimed at. So, too, Religion is not the destruction of Art: though here
the attitude may often seem to be more obviously negative. A religion
which has no place for art is, again, no true religion. And thus again,
Philosophy becomes a reconciler of Art and Religion: of the visible
ideal and the invisible God. Art, on the other hand, is a foretaste
and a prophecy of religion and philosophy.

But Art, Religion, and Philosophy, again, rest upon, grow out of, and
are the fulfilment of an ethical society-a state of human life where an
ordered commonwealth in outward visibility is animated and sustained by
the spirit of freedom and self-realisation. And that public objective
existence of social humanity in its turn reposes on the will and
intelligence of human beings, of souls which in various relations
of discipline and interaction with their environment have become
free-agents, and have risen to be more than portions of the physical
world, sympathetic with its changes, and become awake to themselves and
their surroundings. Such is the mental or spiritual life as it rises to
full sense of its power, recognises its kindred with the general life,
carries out that kindred in its social organisation, and at length
through the strength social union gives floats boldly in the empyrean
of spiritual life, in art, religion, and philosophy.

But, what about the special relationship of philosophy to the sciences?
Undoubtedly the philosophers of the early years of the century
have used lordly language in reference to the sciences. They have
asserted--from Fichte downwards--that the philosophical construction,
of the universe must justify itself to itself--must be consistent,
continuous, and coherent--and that it had not to wait for experience
to give it confirmation. Even the cautious Kant[5] had gone so far
as to assert that the 'understanding gives us nature'--i. e. as he
explains, _natura formaliter spectata_, viz., the order and regularity
in the phenomena--that it is the source of the laws of nature and
of its formal unity. The so-called proofs of natural laws are only
instances and exemplifications, which no more _prove_ them, than we
prove that 6 x 4 = 24, because 6 yards of cloth at 4s. must be paid
for by 24 shillings. To assert that this instance is no proof, is
not to reject experience--still less to refuse respect to the new
discoveries of science. But it is unquestionably to assert that there
is something prior to the sciences--prior, i. e. in the sense that Kant
speaks of the _a priori,_ something which is fundamental to them, and
constitutes them what they are--something which is assumed as real if
their syntheses (and every scientific truth is a synthesis) are to be
possible. The analysis and exhibition in its organic completeness of
this Kantian _a priori_ is the theme of the Hegelian Logic.

The Philosophy of Nature stands in the Hegelian system between Logic
and Mental or Spiritual Philosophy. Man--intelligent, moral, religious
and artistic man--rests upon the basis of natural existence: he
is the child of the earth, the offspring of natural organisation.
But Nature itself--such is the hypothesis of the system--is only
intelligible as the reflex of that _a priori_ which has been
exhibited in Logic. The whole scheme by which the natural world is
scientifically held together, apprehended by ordinary consciousness
and elaborated by mathematical analysis, presupposes the organism
of the categories--these fundamental habits of thought or form of
conception which are the framework of the existence we know. Yet
Nature never shows this intelligible world--the Idea--in its purity
and entirety. In the half-literal, half-figurative phrases of Hegel,
Nature shows the Idea beside itself, out of its mind, alienated, _non
compos mentis._ 'It is a mad world, my masters,' 'The impotence of
nature_--Ohnmacht der Natur_[6]--is a frequent phrase, by which he
indicates the a-logical, if not illogical, character of the physical
world. Here we come across the negation of mind: chance plays its part:
contingency is everywhere. If you expect that the physical universe
will _display_ unquestioning obedience to the laws of reason and of the
higher logic, you will be disappointed. What you _see_ is fragmentary,
chaotic, irregular. To the bodily sense--even when that sense has been
rendered more penetrating by all the many material and methodical
aids of advanced civilisation--the Idea is in the natural world
presented only in traces, indications, portions, which it requires a
well-prepared mind to descry, still more to unite. Yet at the same
time the indications of that unity are everywhere, and the hypothesis
of the logical scheme or organisation of the Idea is the only theory
which seems fully to correspond with the data. Nature[7], says Hegel,
is the Idea as it shows itself in sense-perception, not as it shows
itself in thought. In thought a clear all-comprehending total; in sense
a baffling fragment. The Idea--the unity of life and knowledge--is
everywhere in nature, but nowhere clearly, or whole, or otherwise
than a glimpse; not a logical scheme or compact theory. Nature is the
sensible in which the intelligible is bound--the reality which is the
vehicle of the ideal. But the ideal treasure is held in rough and
fragile receptacles which half disclose and half conceal the light
within. Nature in short contains, but disguised, the idea, in fainter
and clearer evidences: it is the function of man, by his scientific
intelligence and ethical work, building up a social organisation,
to provide the ground on which the ultimate significance and true
foundation of the world may be deciphered, guessed, or believed, or
imaginatively presented. The verification of the guess or deciphering,
of course, lies in its adequacy to explain and colligate the facts.
The true method and true conception is that which needs no subsequent
adjustments--no epicycles to make it work--which is no mere hypothesis
useful for subjective arrangement, but issues with uncontrollable force
and self-evidence from the facts.

What Hegel has called the 'impotence of nature,' Schopenhauer has
styled the irrational Will, and it is from that end, so to speak, that
Schopenhauer's philosophy begins. Nature--the basis of all things--the
fundamental prius--is an irresistible and irregular appetite or craving
to be, to do, to live,--but an _appetitus_ or _nisus_ which ascends
from grade to grade--from mere mechanical forces acting in movement up
to the highest form of animal activity. But as this 'Will' or blind
lust of being and instinct of life gets above the inorganic world, and
manifests itself in the animal organism, there emerges a new order of
existence--the intellect, or the ideal world. Seen from the underside,
indeed, all that has appeared now in the animal is a brain and a
nerve-system--a new species of matter. But there is another side to the
Mind which has thus awakened out of the sleep of natural forces. This
intellect is unaware and can never be made aware that it is a child of
nature: it acknowledges no superior, and no beginning or end in time.
Its natal day is infinitely beyond the age when the cosmic process
began its race; before stars gathered their masses of luminosity, and
the earth received the first germs of life. As the genius of Art, it
arrests the toiling struggle of existence to produce new forms and
destroy old ones; it sets free in typical forms of eternal beauty
the great ideas that nature vainly seeks to embody, and as moral and
religious life its aim is to annihilate the craving and the lust for
more and ever more being and to enter in passionless and calm union
with the One-and-All.

Thus it is, if not absurd, at least misleading, to speak of Hegel's
system as Panlogism. Strictly speaking, it is only of the Logic
that this is the proper name: there, unquestionably, reason is all
and in all. Yet to hold that reason is the very life and centre of
things is for philosophy the cardinal article--the postulate which
must inspire her first and last steps and guide her throughout. But
the Logical Idea, if put at the beginning, is at first only put as a
presupposition, which it is the task of human intelligence to work
out and organise. If it be the key which is to explain nature and
render it intelligible, it is a key which has only been gained in the
process--the long process--by which man has risen from his natural
origin--never however parting company with it--to survey and comprehend
himself and his setting. The faculty of 'pure thinking,' which is the
pre-condition of Logical study, is the result of a gradual development
in which animal sense has grown, and metamorphosed, and worked itself
up to be a free intelligence and a good will capable of discerning
and fulfilling the universal and the eternal. Thus in the Logic the
system constructs the pure Idea--the ideal timeless organisation of
thoughts or λόγοι on which all knowledge of reality rests--the diamond
net which suffers nothing to escape its meshes: in the Philosophy of
Nature it tries to put together in unity and continuity the phases
and partial aspects which the physical universe presents in graduated
exemplification of the central truth: and in the Philosophy of Mind it
traces the steps by which a merely natural being becomes the moral and
aesthetic idealist in whom man approaches deity.

It is indeed Hegel's fundamental axiom that actuality is reasonable.
But the actuality is not the appearance--the temporary phases--the
succession of event: it is the appearance rooted in its essence--the
succession concentrated (yet not lost) in its unity. There is room
for much so-called irrationality within these ranges. For, when
human beings pronounce something irrational, they only mean that
their practical intelligence would have adopted other methods to
arrive at certain conclusions. They judge, in fact, by their limited
understandings and not _ex ordine universi._ Hegel's doctrine is after
all only another way of stating the maintenance of the fittest; and
it is liable to the v same misconception by those who employ their
personal aims as the standards of judgment.

So too there is reason--there is the Idea--in Nature. But it is
there only for the artist, the religious man, and the philosopher;
and they see it respectively by the eye of genius, by the power of
faith, by the thought of reason. They see it from the standpoint
of the absolute_--sub specie quadam aeternitatis._ It is therefore
a recalcitrant matter in which Nature presents the Idea: or, if
recalcitrant suggests a positive opposition, let us say rather a realm
in which the Idea fails to come out whole and clear, where unity has to
be forced upon and read into the facts. Science, says one writer, is
an ideal construction: it implies an abstraction from irregularities
and inequalities: it smoothes and sublimates the rough and imperfect
material into a more rounded and perfect whole. Its object, which it
terms a reality, is a non-sensible, imperceptible reality: what one
might as well call an ideality, were it not that here again the popular
imagination twists the word into a subjective sense to mean the private
and personal ideas of the student.

But the obvious individual reality never quite in its obviousness
equals the 'golden mediocrity' of the ideal. Its myriad grapes must be
crushed to yield the wine of the spirit.

    'It's a lifelong toil till our lump be leavened'

--till the ore be transformed into the fine gold. But the gold is
there, and in the great laboratory of _natura_ _naturans_ is the
principle and agent of its own purification. 'Nature is made better by
no mean, but nature makes that mean'--for nature is spirit in disguise.

It is on this side that a certain analogy of Hegel's and Schelling's
philosophy of nature with the Romantic school comes out. Nature
is felt, as it were, to be spirit-haunted, to give glimpses of a
solidarity, a design, a providentiality, which runs counter to that
general outward indifference in which part seems to have settled beside
part, each utterly indifferent to the other. Romance is the unexpected
coincidence, the sudden jumping together of what seemed set worlds
apart and utterly alien. It was the sense of this Romance which wove
its wild legends of nymph and cobold, of faun and river-god, of imp and
fairy, wielding the powers of the elements and guiding the life of even
the so-called inanimate world. But it is no less the theme of the fairy
tale of science. Even in the austere demonstrations of geometry, and
the constructions of mechanics, the un-looked-for slips upon us with
gipsy tread. Who has not--in his early studies of mathematics--been
fain to marvel at the almost unexpected consilience of property with
property in a figure, suddenly placing in almost 'eery' relief the
conjunction of what was apparently poles asunder? It is not a mere
form of words to speak of beautiful properties of a conic section or
a curve. Custom perhaps has blunted our sense for the symmetries of
celestial dynamics, but they are none the less admirable, because we
are otherwise engrossed. To the first generation of our century the
phenomena of chemistry, magnetism and electricity appealed--as they
have never since done--with a tangible demonstration of that _appetitus
ad invicem,_ that instinct of union Bacon speaks of; and this time in
a higher form than in mere mechanism. Polarity--the bifurcation of
reality into a pair of opposites which yet sought their complement
in each other--eternally dividing only eternally to unite, and thus
only to exist--became a process pressed into general service. Lastly,
what more admirable than that adaptation of the individual to the
environment--and of the environment to the individual--of the organs in
him to his total, and of his total to his organs. One in all and All in
one: one life in perpetual transformation, animals, plants, and earth
and air; one organism, developing in absolute coherence. This was the
vision which the genius of Schelling and his contemporaries saw--the
same vision which, by accumulation of facts and pictorial history,
Darwin and his disciples have impressed in some measure even on the
dullest.

But there is a profound difference between the spirit of a Philosophy
of Nature and the aggregate of the physical sciences. Each science
takes the particular quarry which accident or providence has assigned
to it, and does its best to 'put out' every piece of rock it contains.
But it seldom goes, unless by constraint, and in these days of
specialisation it does so less and less, to examine the neighbouring
excavation, and see if there be any connexion between the strata. Even
within its own domain it is ashamed to put forward too much parade of
system. Its method is often like that of the showman in the travelling
menagerie: 'And now, please pass to the next carriage.' It respects
the compartmental arrangement into which it finds the world broken up,
and often thinks it has deserved well if it has filled the compartment
fuller than before, or succeeded in creating a few sub-compartments
within the old bounds. Even the so-called mental and moral sciences
when they lose their philosophical character tend to imitate these
features. Yet in every science there is an outlook and an outlet,
for whosoever has the will and the power, to emerge from his narrow
domain on the open fields and free prospect into the first fountains
and last great ocean of being. Always, and not least in our own day,
the physicist, the chemist, the physiologist, the psychologist, the
sociologist, and the economist, have made their special field a
platform where they might discourse _de omnibus rebus,_ and become
for the nonce philosophers and metaphysicians. It would be a silly
intolerance and a misconception of the situation to exclaim _Ne sutor
ultra crepidam_. In the organic system of things 'each "moment" even
independent of the whole is the whole; and to see this is to penetrate
to the heart of the thing.' We need hardly go to Hegel to be told that
to know one thing thoroughly well is to know all things. The finite,
which we inertly rest content with, would, if we were in full sympathy
with it, open up its heart and show us the infinite. And yet if the
specialist when he rises from his shoe-making, with a heart full of
the faith that 'there is nothing like leather,' should proclaim his
discovery of it in regions where it was hitherto unsurmised, one may
smile incredulous and be no cynic.

Philosophy then keeps open eye and ear--as far as may be no doubt for
the finer shades and delicate details--but essentially for the music
of humanity and the music of the spheres--for the general purpose and
drift of all sciences--from mathematics to sociology--as they help to
make clear the life of nature and further the emancipation of man. It
will seem occasionally to over-emphasise the continuity of science
and to make light of its distinctions: it will seem occasionally more
anxious as to the order than as to the contents of the sciences: it
will remind the sciences of the hypothetical and formal character of
much of their method and some of their principles: and sometimes will
treat as unimportant, results on which the mere scholar or dogmatist
of science lays great weight. From his habit of dealing with the
limitations and mutual implication of principles and conceptions,
the philosopher will often be able--and perhaps only too willing--to
point out cases where the mere specialist has allowed himself to
attribute reality to his abstraction. He will tell the analyst of
the astronomical motions that he must not take the distinction of
centrifugal and centripetal force, into which mechanics disintegrate
the planetary orbit, as if it really meant that the planet was pulled
inward by one force and sent on spinning forward by another[8]. And
the scientist, proud of his mathematics, will resent and laugh at
the philosopher who lets fall a word about the planets moving in
grand independence like 'blessed gods.' The philosopher will hint to
the chemist that his formulae of composition and decomposition of
bodies are, as he uses them, somewhat mythological, picturing water
as atom of oxygen locked up with atom of hydrogen; and the chemist
will go away muttering something about a fool who does not believe
in the well-ascertained chemical truth that water is composed of
these two gases. If the philosopher further hints that it is not the
highest ideal of a chemical science to be content with enumerating
fifty or sixty elements, and detecting their several properties
and affinities[9]; that it would be well to find some principle of
gradation, some unity or law which brought meaning into meaningless
juxtaposition, the mere dogmatist, whose chemistry is his living and
who shrinks from disendowment, will scent a propensity towards the
heresy which sinks all elements in one. And yet, even among chemists,
the instinct for law and unity begins to demand satisfaction.

A still richer store of amazing paradox and perplexing analogies awaits
anyone who will turn over the volume in Hegel's _Werke_ (vii. i) and
select the plums which lie thick in the lecture-notes. He will find
a great deal--and probably more, the less he really knows of any of
the subjects under discussion--that he cannot make head or tail of:
language where he cannot guess whether it should be taken literally or
figuratively. For Hegel seriously insists on the essential unity and
identity of all the compartments of the physical universe; he will not
keep time and space on one level, matter and motion on another, and
senses, suns, plants, passions, all in their proper province. Going
far beyond the theory which supposes that all the complex difference
of organisation has grown up in endless, endless ages from a primitive
indistinctness, so that the gap of time acts as a wall to keep early
and late apart, Hegel insists upon their essential unity to-day. And
that sounds hard--the herald of anarchy, of the collapse of the ordered
polity of the scientific state. It is no doubt probable that Hegel,
like other men, made mistakes; that he over-estimated the supposed
discoveries of the day: that he indulged in false analogies, and that
he was attracted by a daring paradox. All this has nothing to do with
his main thesis: which is, that the natural realm is as it stands an
a-logical realm where reason has gone beside itself, and yet containing
an instrument--man, and that is mind--by which its rationality may be
realised and restored. In that point at least he and Schopenhauer are
at one.


[Footnote 1: Kant's _Kritik d. r. Vernunft_: Methodenl. Architektonik
d. r. Vern.]

[Footnote 2: Schelling's Werke, v. 116.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid. v. 276.]

[Footnote 4: Ibid. iii. 267.]

[Footnote 5: Kant, _Kritik d. r. Vern.,_ Deduction of the Categories,
Sect. III.]

[Footnote 6: _Encyclopaedie_, § 250.]

[Footnote 7: _Encycl._ Sect. 244 (_Logic,_ p. 379).]

[Footnote 8: _Encyclop._ §§ 266, 269; cf. the lecture-note as given
in _Werke_ vii i. p. 97. A large number of paradoxical analogies
from Hegel's _Naturphilosophie_ has been collected by Riehl in his
_Philosophisher Criticismus_, ii. 2, 120.]

[Footnote 9: See notes and illustrations in vol. ii. 419.]



CHAPTER VIII.


THE SCEPTICAL DOUBT: HUME.


We have seen that an innate tendency leads the human mind to connect
and set in relation,--to connect, it may be erroneously, or without
proper scrutiny, or under the influence of passions or prejudices,--but
at any rate to connect. Criticism occasionally has impatiently banned
this tendency as a mere fountain of errors. The human mind, says
Francis Bacon, always assumes a greater uniformity in things than it
finds; it expects symmetry, is bold in neglecting exceptional cases,
and would fain go beyond all limits in its everlasting cry, Why and To
what end. It varies in individuals between a passion for discovering
similarities and an intent acuteness to every shade of unlikeness. But
notwithstanding these warnings of the hen, the ugly duckling Reason
_will_ go beyond what is given: it knows no insuperable limitation.
It may be guilty of what Bacon calls 'anticipation'--an induction
on evidence insufficient--or it may subdue itself to the duty of
'interpretation' of nature by proper methods: in either case, it is
an act of association, synthesis, unification. For Nous _is_ archè,
and knows that it is: it will not yield to clamour or mere rebuke: it,
too, cannot be commanded, unless by first obeying it: and Bacon, having
duly objurgated the 'mind left to itself,' is obliged to let it go to
gather the grapes before they are quite ripe, and to indulge it with
a 'prerogative' of instances. As Mr. Herbert Spencer and many others
are never weary of telling us: 'We think in relations. This is truly
the form of all thought: and if there are any other forms they must be
derived from this[1].' Man used to be defined as a thinking or rational
animal: which means that man is a connecting and relation-giving
animal; and from this, Aristotle's definition, making him out to be
a 'political' animal, is only a corollary, most applicable in the
region of Ethics. Here is the ultimate point, from which the natural
consciousness, and the energies of science, art, and religion equally
start upon their special missions.

In ordinary life we attach but little importance to this machinery of
cognition. We incline to let the fact of synthesis drop out of sight,
as if it required no further study or notice, and we regard the things
connected as exclusively worth attending to. The interest centres
on the object--on the matter: the formal element--the connective
tissue--is _only_ an instrument of no importance, except in view of
the end it helps us to. We use general and half-explained terms, such
as development, evolution, continuity, as bridges from one thing to
another, without giving any regard to the means of locomotion on their
own account. Some one thing is the product of something else: we let
the term 'product' slip out of the proposition as unimportant: and
then read the statement so as to explain the one thing by turning it
into the other. Things, according to this opinion, are all-important:
the rest is mere words. These relations between things are not open
to further investigation or definition: they are each _sui generis,_
or peculiar: and even if the logician in his analysis of inference
finds it advisable to deal with them, he will be content, if he can
classify them in some approximate way, as a basis for his subdivision
of propositions. This is certainly one way of getting rid of
Metaphysics--for the time.

But there are epochs in life, and epochs in universal history, when the
mind withdraws from its immersion in active life, and reflects upon its
own behaviour as on the proceedings of some strange creature, of which
it is a mere spectator. At such seasons when we stop to reflect upon
the partial scene, and close our eyes to the totality, doubts begin to
arise, whether our procedure is justified when we unify and combine the
isolated phenomena. Have we any right to throw our own subjectivity,
the laws of our imagination and thought, into the natural world? Would
it not be more proper to refrain altogether from the use of such
conceptions?

Philosophy, said one of the ancients[2], begins in wonder, and ends in
wonder. It begins from the surprise that something could _be_ what it
purports to be: it ends in the marvel of our having _thought_ anything
else possible. Such a phrase well becomes the naive age in which the
soul goes freely forth, wandering from one novelty to another, curious
to find out all that can be known,--like the young wanderer on the
sea-shore whom fresh pebbles and new shells tempt endlessly to fill his
basket. But as the ages roll on, and the accumulations of the past grow
heavier in the receptacle, the need of a re-examination of the stores
becomes imperative. The bright colours have faded--and generally
they fade soon: there has been much picked up in the inexperience of
youthful enthusiasm which maturer reflection hardly can think worth
carrying further.

The duty of doubt and of re-examination of what tradition has
bequeathed has been enforced by philosophy in all ages. For it is the
cardinal principle of philosophy to be free--to possess its soul--never
to be a mere machine or mere channel of tradition. But, in some ages,
this assertion of its freedom has had for the soul a pre-eminently
negative aspect. It has meant only freedom _from_--and not also freedom
_in_ and _through_--its environing, or rather constituting, substance.
Such an epoch was seen in the ancient world when the _New Academy_,
with its sceptical abstention from all objective assertions, had to
protest against the dogmatism of the Stoic and Epicurean schoolmen.
In modern times the initial shudder before plunging in has been a
recurrent crisis. Each thinker--as he personally resolved to thread his
way through the wilderness of current opinion to the realm of certified
truth--has had to remind himself (and his contemporaries) that in
knowledge at least no possessions are secured property unless they have
been earned by the sweat of their owner's brow. This is the common
theme of Bacon's aphorisms in the beginning of the _Novum Organum_, of
Descartes' _Discourse of Method_, and of Spinoza's unfinished essay
on the _Emendation of the Intellect._ There is indeed a discrepancy
in these utterances as to the measure in which they severally think
it needful to insist as preliminary on a kind of moral and religious
consecration of life to the service of truth. But a more compelling
division arises. The maxim may be understood to say, 'Divest thy mind
of its ill-gotten gains, its evil habits, prejudices, and system,
and in childlike simplicity prepare thine eye and ear to receive in
pure vessels the stores of truth which are ready to stream in from
the world.' Or it may rather be held to say, 'Remember that thou art
a conscious, waking mind, and that every idea thou hast is thine by
thine own assent: insist upon thy right of free intelligence, and give
no place to any belief which thou hast not raised into full light of
consciousness, and found to be completely consistent with the whole
power and content of thy clearest thought.' And, we may add, if the
maxim be obeyed too exclusively in either way, it will be obeyed amiss.

With Locke the question comes into even greater prominence. On
what conditions can I have knowledge? How can I be certified that
my ideas--the subjective images in _my_ mind--have a reference to
something objective and real? Locke's answer is, not unnaturally
perhaps, somewhat prolix, and wanting in fundamental precision of
principles. After dismissing the view that, even before experience,
there are certain common ideas spontaneously and by original endowment
present in all human beings, he goes on to show how we can sufficiently
account for the ideas we actually find by supposing in us an almost
unlimited power of joining and disjoining, of comparing, relating,
and unifying the various elementary 'ideas' which make their way into
the empty chambers of our mind by the senses. As to the source, the
channel, and the nature of these sense-ideas, Locke is obscure and
apparently inconsistent: though clearly it should be all important
to know how an idea can be caused by, or spring from, a material
thing. When in his fourth book he comes to the question of what is the
reality, or the _meaning_ of our ideas, he does not really get beyond a
few--rather dubiously reasoned-out--conclusions that, although strictly
we cannot go beyond 'the present testimony of our senses employed
about the particular objects that do affect them,' we may for practical
purposes allow a good deal to the presumptions of general probability.

But Locke had also begun to criticise our ideas, in his account of
their formation out of the 'simple ideas'-- (which neither Locke
nor any other atomist of mind has succeeded in making clear)--which
the several senses give, and by observing or reflecting on what
goes on or is present in _our_ minds, _we_ 'form,' he says, various
ideas. In a style of discussion which is on the borderland between
vulgar and philosophical analysis-- (never quite false, but nearly
always inadequate, because it almost invariably assumes what it
ostensibly proposes to explain,) Locke tells us how we get one idea by
'enlarging,' another by 'repeating,' as we please, the bounteous data
of the touch and sight. But amongst the compounds there are some of
more disputable origin. There are some--e.g. ideas of punishable acts
or legalised states--which are 'voluntary collections of ideas put
together in the mind independent from any original patterns in nature,'
These, though entirely subjective, are entirely real, because they only
serve as patterns by which we may judge or designate things so and so.
It is worse with the idea of power, which we only 'collect' or 'infer,'
and that not from matter, where it is invisible, but only in a clear
light when we consider God and spirits. Still worse, perhaps, is it
with the idea of substance, which is a 'collection' of simple ideas
with the 'supposition' of an 'incomprehensible' something in which the
collection 'subsists.'

Hump put all this rather more pointedly. We have 'impressions,' i.
e. lively perceptions by sense. We have also 'ideas,' i. e. fainter
images of these, but otherwise identical. An idea _should_ be a copy
of an impression. If you cannot point out any such impression, you
may be certain you are mistaken when you imagine you have any such
idea. There is prevalent in the mental world a kind of association; a
'gentle force' connects ideas in our imagination according to certain
relations they possess. This 'mind' or this 'imagination' is only a
bundle or collection of impressions and ideas; but a collection which
is continually and rapidly changing in its constituents, and in the
scale of liveliness possessed by each constituent. When an idea is
particularly fresh and forcible, it is a _belief_ or it is believed in:
when faint, not so. Or, otherwise put, the object of an idea is _said_
to _exist_, when the idea itself is vividly _felt_[3]. Really there is
no such thing as 'external existence' taken literally. 'Our universe is
the universe of the imagination': all existence is for a consciousness.

Impressions arise in certain orders of sequence or co-existence. When
two impressions frequently recur and always in the same order, the
custom binds them so closely together, that, should one of them only be
given as impression, we cannot help having an idea of the other, which,
growing more vivid by the contagion of the contiguous impression,
creates, or is, a belief in its reality. Between the perceptions
as such, there is no connexion; they are distinct and independent
existences. They only get a connexion through _our feeling; we feel_
a 'determination' of our thought to pass from one to another. The
one impression has no power to produce the other; the one thing does
not cause the other. 'We never have any impression that contains any
power or efficacy[4],' Hence the power and necessity we attribute to
the so-called causal agent and to the connexion are an illegitimate
transference from our feeling, and a mistranslation of _our_
incapacity to resist the force of habitual association into a real
bond between the two impressions _themselves,_ The necessity is in the
mind--as a habit-caused compulsion--not in the objects.

As with the relation of cause and effect, so it is with others. The
identity of continued existence is only another name--an objective
transcript--of the feeling of smooth uninterrupted succession of
impressions in which our thought glides along from one in easy
transition to another. And here the coherence and continuity of
perceptions need not be absolute. A vivid impression of unbroken
connexion in a part will, if predominant, by association fill up the
gaps and weak points, and behind the admitted breaks in the line of
our ideas will suppose--invent--or create an imperceptible but _real_
continuity in the supposed things. And by this fiction of a continuous
existence of our perceptions, we easily lapse into the doctrine that
our perceptions have an independent existence as objects or things in
themselves:--a doctrine which according to Hume is contrary to the
plainest experience.

But if the world is always the world of imagination--of
_Vorstellung_--of mental representation, Hume is aware that we must
admit two orders or grades of such representation. We must distinguish,
he remarks[5], 'in the imagination betwixt the principles which
are permanent, irresistible and universal (such as the customary
transition from causes to effects and from effects to causes), and the
principles which are changeable, weak and irregular. The former are
the foundation of all our thoughts and actions,' There are, in other
words, normal and general laws of association--such as the relation
of cause and effect--which persuade us of real existence. By its own
laws, therefore, within the realm of _Vorstellung_ or Mental idea,
there grows up a permanent, objective world for all, contrasted with
the temporary, accidental perception of the individual and of the
moment; and this serves as the standard or the one common measure by
which occasional perturbations are to be measured. Within the limits of
the subjective in general there arises a subjective of higher order,
which is truly objective. This same change of front--as it may be
called--Hume makes in morals. There the mind can modify and control
its passions according as it can feel the objects of them near or far;
and though each of us has his 'peculiar position,' we can--so creating
the ethical basis--'fix on some steady and general points of view, and
always in our thoughts place ourselves in them, whatever may be our
present situation[6]': we can 'choose some common point of view,' and
from the vantage-ground of a permanent principle, however distant, we
have a chance of gaining the victory over our passion, however near.

Thus far Hume had gone in the development of idealism,' Whether his
theory is consistent from end to end, need not be here discussed. But
it is evident that Hume was not lost in the quagmire of subjective
idealism. The objective and the subjective are with him akin: the
objective is the subjective, which is universal, permanent, and normal.
The causal relation has, in the first instance, only a subjective
necessity; but through that subjective necessity or its irresistible
belief, it generates an objective world. But it has been and is the
fortune of philosophers to be known in the philosophical world by some
conspicuous red rag of their system which first caught the eye of the
bull-like leaders of the human herd. It was so notably with Hobbes
and Spinoza; and most of the thinkers whose names appear in the pages
of Kant suffer from this curtailment. Descartes, Locke, Leibniz,
Berkeley, Hume, are _there_ not the real philosophers, discoverable in
their works, but the creatures of historic reputation and of popular
simplification who do duty for them.

Kant's Hume is therefore a somewhat imaginary being: the product,
partly of imperfect knowledge of Hume's writings, partly of
prepossessions derived from a long previous training in German
rationalism. Such a Hume was--or would have been, had he existed--a
philosopher who 'took the objects of experience for things in
themselves,' who 'treated the conception of cause as a false and
deceptive illusion,' who did not indeed venture to assail the certainty
of mathematics, but held--as regards all knowledge about the existence
of things-- 'empiricism to be the sole source of principles,' founding
his conclusion mainly on an examination of the causal nexus[7]. This
'note of warning' sounded against the claims of pure reason--as he
calls Hume's _Enquiry_ was what about 1762 broke Kant's dogmatic
slumber and forced him to give his researches in speculative philosophy
a new direction. His first step was to generalise Hume's problem from
an inquiry into the origin of the causal idea into a general study
of the synthetic principles in knowledge. His next was to attempt to
fix the number of these concepts and synthetic principles. And his
third was to 'deduce' them: i. e., to prove the reciprocal implication
between experience or knowledge and the concepts or categories of
intelligence.


[Footnote 1: _First Principles_, p. 162. It may be as well to remark
that Relation is scarcely an adequate description of the nature of
thought as a whole. We shall see when we come to the theory of logic,
that the term is applicable--and then somewhat imperfectly--only to the
second phase of thought, the categories of reflection, which are the
favourite categories of science and popular metaphysics.]

[Footnote 2: Arist. _Metaph._ i. 2. 26.]

[Footnote 3: _Treatise of Human Nature_ (Understanding), iii. 7 and ii.
6.]

[Footnote 4: Ibid. iii. 14.]

[Footnote 5: _Treatise of Human Nature_ (Understanding iv. 4.)]

[Footnote 6: _Treatise of Human Nature_ (Morals), iii. i.]

[Footnote 7: Kant, _Prolegomena_ to Metaph. Introduction and _Crit. of
Practical Reason_ (on the Claim of Pure Reason, _Werke,_ viii. 167).]



CHAPTER IX.


THE ATTEMPT AT A CRITICAL SOLUTION: KANT.


The _Criticism of Pure Reason_ has been described by its author as a
generalisation of Hume's problem. Hume, he thought, had treated his
question on the 'relations of ideas' in their bearing upon 'matters of
fact' mainly with reference to the isolated case of cause and effect.
Kant extended the inquiry so as to comprise all those connective and
unifying ideas which form the subject-matter of metaphysics. In his own
technical language--which has lost its meaning for the present day--he
asked, 'Are Synthetic judgments _a priori_ possible?'--a question which
in another place he has translated into the form, 'Is the metaphysical
faith of men sound, and is a metaphysical science possible?' By a
metaphysics he meant in the first instance the belief in a more than
empirical reality, and secondly the science which should give real
knowledge of God, Freedom and Immortality,--a science whose objects
would be God, the World, and the Soul. From a comparatively early date
(1762-4) Kant had been inclined to suspect and distrust the claims
of metaphysics to replace faith, and to give knowledge of spiritual
reality; and he had tried to vindicate for the moral and religious life
an independence of the conclusions and methods of the metaphysical
theology and psychology of the day. But it was not till some years
later--in 1770--that he formulated any very definite views as to the
essential conditions of scientific knowledge: and it was not till 1781
that his theory on the subject was put together in a provisionally
complete shape.

What then are the criteria of a science? When is our thought knowledge,
and of objective reality? In the first place, there must be a given
something--a sens_-datum_--an 'impression' as Hume might have said. If
there be no impression, therefore, there can be no scientific idea,
no real knowledge. There must be the primary touch--the feeling--the
affection--the _je ne sais quoi_ of contact with reality. Secondly,
what is given can only be received if taken up by the recipient, and
in such measure as he is able to appropriate it. The given is received
in a certain mode. In the present case, the sensation is apprehended
and perceived under the forms of space and time. Perception, in other
words, whatever may be its special quality or its sensuous material,
is always an act of dating and localisation. The distinction between
the mere lump of feeling or sensibility and the perception is that
the latter implies a field of extended and mutually excluding parts
of space, and a series of points of time, both field and series being
continuous, and, so far as inexhaustibility goes, infinite. Thirdly,
even in the reception of the given there is a piece of action and
spontaneity. If the more passive recipiency be called Sense, this
active element in the adaptation may be termed Intellect. Intellect is
a power or process of choice, selection, comparison, distinguishing and
dividing, analysis and synthesis, affirmation and negation, numeration,
of judgment and doubt, of connexion and disjunction, differentiation
and integration. Its general aspect is by Kant sometimes described
as Judgment--the act of thought which correlates by distinguishing;
sometimes as Apperception, and the unity of apperception. It is, i.
e., an active unity and a synthetic energy; it unifies, and always
unifies. It links perception to perception, correlating one with
another--interpreting one by another; estimating the knowledge-value of
one by the rest. It thus 'apperceives.' It is a faculty of association
and consociation of ideas. But the association is inward and 'ideal'
union: the one idea interpenetrates and fuses with the other, even
while it remains distinct.

Kant's work may be described--in its first stage--as an analysis and a
criticism of experience. The term Experience is an ambiguous one. It
sometimes means what has been called the 'raw material' of experience:
the crude, indigested mass of poured-in _matter_-of-knowledge. If
there be such a shapeless lump anywhere,--which has to be considered
presently--it, at any rate, is not on Kant's view properly entitled to
the name of Experience. The Given must be felt and apprehended: and--to
put the point paradoxically--to be felt it must be more than felt,--it
must be perceived. It must, in other words, be projected--set in space
and time: let out of the mere dull inner subjectivity of feeling into
the clear and distinct outer subjectivity of perception. But, again,
to be perceived, it must be apperceived: to be set in time and space,
it must first of all be in the hands of the unifying consciousness,
which is the lord of time and space. For in so far as space and time
mean a place and an order--in so far as they mean more than an empty
inconceivable receptacle for bulks of sensation, in the same degree
do they presuppose an intellectual, synthetic genius, which is in all
its perceptions one and the same,--the fundamental, original unity of
consciousness. And this analysis of experience is transcendental.'
Beginning with the assumed datum--the object of or in experience--it
shows that this object which is supposed to be _there_--to exist by
itself and wait for perception--is created by and in the very act which
apprehends it. Climbing up and rising above its habitual absorption
_in_ the _thing_, consciousness (that of the philosophic observer and
analyst) sees the thing in the act of making, and watches its growth.

We have seen that Kant made free use of the metaphor of giving and
receiving. But it is hardly possible to use such metaphors and retain
independence of judgment. The associations customarily attached to the
figurative language carry one away easily, and often for a long way, on
the familiar paths of imagination. The analogy is used even where--if
all were looked into--its terms become meaningless. No reader of Locke
can have failed, e. g., to notice how he is misled by his own images of
the dark room and the empty cabinet:--images, useful and perhaps even
necessary, but requiring constant restraint in him who would ply them
wisely and to his reader's good. From what has been said above it will
be clear that the acquisition of experience, the growth of knowledge,
is a unique species of gift and acceptance. The consciousness which
Kant describes may be the consciousness of John Doe or Richard Roe:
but as Kant describes it, the limitations of their personality,
i.e. of their individual body and soul, have been neglected. It is
consciousness in general which is Kant's theme, just as it is granite
in general--and not the block in yonder field,--which is the theme
of the geologist. Once get that clear, and you will also see clearly
that consciousness is at once giver and recipient--neither or both:
at once receptivity and spontaneity. But--you may reply--does not the
material object _act_ (chemically, optically, mechanically, &c.) on
the sense-organ on the periphery of my body, does not the nerve-string
_convey_ the impression to the brain; and is not perception the
_effect_ of that process, in which the material object is the initial
_cause_?

In this exposition--which is not unknown in vulgar philosophy--there
is a monstrous, almost inextricable, complication of fact with
inference, of truth with error. So long as there is an uncertainty--and
metaphysicians themselves, we may be reminded, are not agreed upon the
matter--as to what we are to understand by cause, effect, and act,
what an impression is, and how brain and intelligence mutually stand
to each other, it is hardly possible to pronounce judgment upon this
mode of statement. Yet perhaps we may go so far as to say that while
the terms quoted bear an intelligible meaning when applied within the
physiological process they are vain when used of relations of mind to
body. There is a sense in which we may speak of the action of mind
on body, and of body on mind: but what we mean would perhaps be more
unmistakably expressed by saying that the higher intellectual and
volitional energies are never in our experience entirely independent
of the influences of the lower sensitive and emotional nature. In
the metaphysical sense which the terms are here made to bear, they
mislead. Action and re-action can only take place in the separateness
of space, where one is here and another there: (though, be it added,
they cannot take place even on these terms, unless the here and the
there be somehow unified in a medium which embraces both). _Mens_, said
Spinoza, is the _idea corporis_[1]: he would hardly have said _Corpus
habet ideam_. What he meant would scarcely have been well described by
calling it a _parallelism_ or mutual independence, yet with harmony or
identity, of body and mind. Apart from body, no doubt, mind is for him
a nullity: for body is what gives it reality. But, on the other hand,
Mind is the enveloping and including 'Attribute' of the two: idealism
overlaps realism.

This was the fundamental proposition which Kant contended for; what he
spoke of as his own Copernican discovery: though, in reality, for the
_student_ of the history of philosophy it was only the re-statement,
in some respects the clearer statement, of the idealism which even
Hume, not to mention Spinoza and Leibniz, had maintained. The world
of experience--the empirical, objective, and real world--is a world
of ideas, of representations which have place only in mind, of
appearances. Space and time are subjective: the forms of thought are
subjective: and yet they constitute phenomenal or empirical or real
objectivity. Such language is--it would seem inevitably--misunderstood:
and in his second edition, Kant--besides many other minor modifications
of statement,--had to defend himself by inserting a 'confutation of
idealism,' i.e. of the theory which holds that the existence of objects
outside us in space is doubtful, if not even impossible. But no end
of argument will ever confute the view that Kant's doctrine is such
idealism: until people can be got to rise to a new view of what is
subjectivity--what is an idea--and what is existence outside us.

By 'subjective' the world is in the way of understanding what is due
to personal prepossession, void of general acceptability, a product of
individual feeling, peculiar and inexplicable tastes. By subjective
Kant means what belongs to _the_ subject or knowing mind as such and
in its generality: what is constitutive of intelligence in general,
what sense and intellect are _semper et ubique_. Into the question
how the human being came to have such an intellectual endowment--the
question which Nativist psychology is supposed to settle in one way;
and Evolutionism in another--Kant does not enter; he merely says
where there is knowledge, there is a knower,--a knowing subject _so_
constituted. It comes after all to the tautology that the reality we
know is a known reality: that knowledge is a growth in the knower,
and not an accidental product due to things otherwise unknown. The
predicate (or category) _'is'_ is contained, implicit, in the predicate
'_is known,_' or what '_is_' puts implicitly, '_is known_' puts
explicitly and truly.

By 'appearance' the world understands a sham, or at least somewhat
short of reality. By appearance Kant understands a reality which has
appeared: or, as that is going too far, a something which is real
so far as it goes (a _prima facie_ fact), but only a candidate for
admission into the circle of reals. And such reality depends on nothing
more than its thorough-going coherence with other appearances, its
explaining the rest, and being in turn explained by them,--its absolute
adaptation to its environment. And this environment all lies in the
common field of consciousness, and in the one correlating and unifying
apperceptivity of the ego,--that Ego which is the inseparable comrade,
vehicle, and judge, of all our perceptions. It is the appearance--but
as yet not the appearance _of_ something,--but rather an appearance
_to_ or _for_ something.

By an 'idea' the world in general understands what it is sometimes
ready to call a _mere_ idea. And by a mere idea is meant something
which is _not_ reality, but a peculiarity of an individual mind, or
group of minds-a fancy, without objective truth:--something, we may
even add, which for many people is located in their own head or brain,
cut off by blank bone-walls from the open air of real being. By idea
(representation, _Vorstellung_) Kant meant that an object is always
and essentially the object of a mind: always relative to a subject
consciousness, and implying it, just as a subject consciousness always
implies an object.

And by 'existence outside us' the world probably means--for it is
imprudent to define and refine too much in this hazy medium of words
where we all drowse--existence of things on an independent footing
beyond the limits of our personal, i. e. bodily and sentient, self.
As regards _our own_ trunk and limbs, most of us, except in some most
strange insanity, are not likely ever to be in doubt, and are indeed
more likely, after Schopenhauer's model, to take the knowledge of these
_personalia_ as the one thing immediately and intuitively certain. We
talk freely enough, it is true, about existence outside our own minds;
but it is only a drastic method of stating the difference between a
fancy and a fact. And probably we labour under a half-unconscious
hallucination that our minds are localised in some material 'seat,'
somewhere in our bodily limits, and more especially in the central
nerve-organs.

But, as has been said elsewhere[2], the point of view under which Mind
is regarded by Kant is that of Consciousness, and especially perceptive
consciousness. He describes, as we have put it above, the steps or
conditions under which the single sense-observation is elevated into
the rank of an experience claiming universality and necessity. But
the whole machinery of consciousness--the form of sensibility and the
category of intellect--is originally set in motion by an impetus
from without: or at least the manipulating machinery requires a raw
material on which to operate. Consciousness, or the observer who
takes this point of view, feels that it is being played upon by an
unknown performer--or that it is attempting to apprehend something,
which, because the act of apprehension is also to some extent (and to
what extent, who can say?) a transmutation, it must for ever fail to
apprehend truly. It is haunted by the phantom of a real,--a thing in
its own right, which can only appear in forms of sense and intellect,
never in its own essential being. It is only a short step further--and
Kant, if one may judge him by several isolated passages, has more than
once crossed the interval,--to treat, after the manner of uneducated
consciousness and of popular science, the thing in its independent
being as the cause which produces the sensation, or as the original
which the mental idea reproduces under the distortions or modifications
rendered necessary by the sensuous-intellectual medium. For, if under
the terms of one analogy the perception is an _effect_ of the thing,
under those of another it is an _image_ or copy of external reality.

If this be Kantian philosophy--and it can quote chapter and verse in
its favour--Kantian philosophy is one version of the great dogma of
the relativity of knowledge. That unhappy phrase seems to have many
meanings, but none of absolutely catholic acceptation. It may mean that
knowledge of things states their relations--the way they behave in
reference to this or that, in these or those circumstances; and that
of an utterly unrelated and _absolutely_ isolated thing, our knowledge
is and must be _nil._ Of a thing-in-itself we can know nothing; for
there is nothing to know. It may mean that knowledge is relative to the
recipient or the knower,--that it is not a product which can stand
by itself, but needs a vehicle and an object in close relation. In
this way, too, knowledge is relative to age and circumstances: grows
from period to period, and may even decay. And thirdly, the relativity
of knowledge may be taken to mean that we (and all human beings) can
never know the reality; because we can only know the phenomenon, i.
e. the modified, transmuted, reflected thing which has reconstituted
an image of itself after passing the interfering medium. For, first
of all, we must strip it--this 'image' so-called (the vulgar call
it the 'thing')--of the secondary qualities (sound, colour, taste,
resistance) which it has in the consciousness of a being dependent on
his sense-organs: and then, we must get rid also of those quantitative
attributes (figure, number, size) which it has in the consciousness
of a spatially and temporally perceptive being;--and then;--but the
prospect is too horrible to continue further and face the Gorgon's head
in the outer darkness, where man denudes appearance in the hope to meet
reality.

The fact is, there are too many strands in the web which Kant is
weaving, for him or perhaps for any man to keep them all well in hand
and lose none of the symmetry of the pattern he designs. To be just, we
must, in dealing with him as with any other philosopher, try to keep
in view the unity of that design instead of insisting too minutely and
too definitely upon its occasional defects. It is easy to work the pun
that a 'critical' philosophy must itself expect to be criticised; it is
more important to remember that by a criticism Kant meant an attempt to
steer a course between the always enticing extremes of dogmatism and
scepticism,--an attempt to be fair, i. e. just to both sides, and yet
neither to sink into the systematised placidity of the former, nor to
rove in a mere guerilla warfare with the latter. And it is the mere
privateer who in the popular sense of the word is the mere critic.

Of Kant we must remember that he has the defects of his qualities.
He prides himself on his distinctions of sense and intellect, of
imagination and understanding, of understanding and reason; and with
justice: but his distinctions are sometimes so decisive that it is
hard work both for him and for his reader to reconstitute their
unity. He is fond of utilising old classifications to embody his new
doctrine: and occasionally the result is like what we have been taught
to expect from pouring new wine into old bottles. He draws hard and
fast lines, and then has to create, as it seems, supplementary links
of connexion, which, if they operate, can only do so because they are
the very unity he began by ignoring. One gets perfectly lost in the
multitude of syntheses, in the labyrinth of categories, schemata, and
principles, of paralogisms, antinomies, and ideals of pure reason. One
part of this formalism _may_ be set down to the pedantry and pipeclay
of the age of the Great Frederick--pedantry, from which, as we console
ourselves, our modern souls are freed. But it arises rather from the
necessity of pursuing the battle between truth and error through every
complicated passage in that great fortress which ages of scholasticism
had--on various plans--gradually constructed. Kant is always a little
of the martinet and the schoolmaster; but it is because he knows that
true liberty cannot be secured without forms and must capture the old
before it can plant the new. The forms as they stand in his grouping
may often appear stiff and lifeless: but a more careful study, more
sympathetically intent, will find that there is latent life and
undisplayed connexion in the terms. Unfortunately the classified
cut-and-dried specimens are more welcome to the collector, and can
more easily be put in evidence in the examination-room.

Thus the original question, Are synthetic judgments _a priori_
possible? is answered--somewhat piecemeal--in a way that leads the
reader to suppose it is a question of psychology. He hears so much of
sense, imagination, intellect, in the discussion, that he fancies it is
an account of a process carried on by the faculties of an individual
mind. And of course nobody need suppose these processes are ever
carried on otherwise than by individual thinkers, human beings with
proper names. But scientific investigation is concerned only with
the essential and universal. For it, really, sense, imagination, &c.
are not so many faculties in a thinking agent: they are grades and
aspects of consciousness,-- 'powers' in a process of gradual mental
complication (involution). Kant is really dealing with a 'normal'
thought with its distinguishable constituent aspects. Only--he fails
to 'make this explicit and clear. The individualism--the un-historical
prepossession--of his age is upon his phraseology, if not upon his
thought: and one hardly realises that he is really engaged on human
thought and knowledge as a substantial subject of itself apart from its
individual vehicles,--on that thought, which lives and grows in social
institutions and products,--in language, science, literature, and moral
usage,--the common stock which one age bequeathes to the next, but
which the later-comer can only inherit if he works for and creates it
afresh. If it be a psychology, therefore, it is a psychology which does
not assume a soul with qualities, but which expounds the steps in the
constitution of a normal intelligence.

One may note, without insisting on them too much, the defects of his
treatment of the forms of thought. It may be said that, in the _first_
place, the table of the categories was incomplete. It had been
borrowed, as Kant himself tells us, from the old logical subdivision
of judgments, derived more or less directly from Aristotle and the
Schoolmen. Now many of the relations occurring in ordinary thought
could not be reduced to any of the twelve forms, without doing violence
to them. But Kant expressly disclaims exhaustiveness in detail. He
could, if he would: but that is for another season. In the _second_
place, the classification did not expressly put forward any principle
or reason, and gave ground for no development. That there should be
four fundamental categories, each with three divisions, making twelve
in all, seems as inexplicable as that there should be four Athenian
tribes in early times and twelve Phratriai. The twelve patriarchs of
thought stand as if in equal authority, with little or no bearing upon
one another. We have here, in short, what seems an artificial and not
a natural classification of the types of thought. But Kant himself has
given some explanation of the triad, and a sympathetic interpretation
has shown how the four main groups are steps in the solution of one
problem[3] In the _third_ place, the question as taken up seems largely
psychological, or subjective, concerning the constitution of the human
mind as a percipient and cognitive faculty. But this is necessary,
perhaps, to the restricted nature of Kant's problem. He is dealing with
the elements that form our objective or scientific consciousness of
the physical world. The deeper question of the place and work of mind
in life in general, in law and morality and religion, does not at this
stage come before him. That problem in fact only gradually emerges
with the Criticism of the Moral Faculty and the Aesthetic Judgment.
Logic--as the doctrine of the _Logos_ which is the principle of all
things, even of its own Other--had to wait for its preparation till it
could be matured.

In Hegel, the question assumes a wider scope, and receives a more
thorough-going answer. In the _first_ place the question about the
Categories is transferred from what we have called the epistemological
or psychological, to what Hegel terms the logical, sphere. It is
transferred from the Reason subjectively considered as a mere
receptive and synthetic human consciousness to the Reason which is in
the world and in history,--a Reason, which our Reason, as it were,
touches, and so becomes possessed of knowledge. In the _second_ place,
the Categories become a vast multitude. The intellectual telescope
discovers new stars behind the constellations named in ancient lore.
There is no longer, if there ever was, any mystic virtue supposed to
inhere in the number twelve: while the triadic arrangement is made
radical and everywhere recurs. The modern chemist of thought vastly
amplifies the number of its elementary types and factors, and proves
that many of the old Categories are neither simple nor indecomposable.
_Thirdly_, there is a systematic development or process which links
the Categories together, and shows how the most simple, abstract, and
inadequate, inevitably lead up to the most complex and adequate. Each
term or member in the organism of thought has its place conditioned by
all the others: each of them is the germ, or the ripe fruit of another.


[Footnote 1: Spinoza, _Eth._ ii. 7-13.]

[Footnote 2: _Encyclopaedia_, §§ 415, 420. Consciousness is only as it
were the surface of the ocean of mind; and reflects only the lights and
shadows in the sky above it.]

[Footnote 3: It is not the least of the merits of the exposition in
Caird's _Critical Philosophy_ of Immanuel Kant, vol. i. to have brought
out this.]



CHAPTER X.


THE CRITICAL SOLUTION, CONTINUED: KANT.


Kant's answer to his question was briefly this. Intelligence is
essentially synthetic, always supplementing the given by something
beyond, instituting relationships, unifying the many, and thus
building up concrete totalities. In pure mathematics this is obvious:
the process of numeration shows it creating number out of units, and
geometry shows elementary propositions leading on to complicated
theorems. In abstract physics it is hardly less obvious: there, e.g.,
the principle of reason and consequent or the persistence of substance
are rational and legitimate steps beyond the mere datum. The more
important question follows. How are these 'pure' syntheses applicable
to real fact? To that Kant replies: They apply, because in all that
we call real or objective fact there is a subjective element or
constituent. What appears to be purely given, and independent of our
perceptions, is a product of perceptual and conceptual conditions,--is
constituted by a synthesis in perception, imagination, conception. Our
world is a mental growth--not our individual product, but the work of
that common mind in which we live and think, and which lives and thinks
in us. Anyhow it is not an isolated self-existing un-intelligent world
for ever materially outside us--an other world, eternally separate
from us; but bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, the work realised
by our great 'elder brother,'--the Idea of human collectivity--the
Reason or Spirit in which we are all one soul. It is therefore no
unwarranted step on to a foreign property when we apply the categories
of thought and forms of sense to determine objective reality: for
objective reality has been for ever made, and is now making, objective
and reality by the conscious or unconscious syntheses of perception and
imagination.

There remains the answer to the same question as regards the objects
of Metaphysics. These objects are according to Kant inferences, and
illegitimate inferences. They are not necessary elements or factors
in the constitution of experience. In order that there should be
experience, knowledge, science, there must be an endless hold of
space and time in which to stow it clearly and distinctly away: and
there must also be ties and relations binding it part to part, links
of reference and correlation, a sort of logical elastic band that
will stretch to include infinitely copious materials. But each real
knowledge attaches to a definite assignable perception, in a single
place and time. From this point we can travel--by means of like
points--practically without limit in any direction. But though the old
margin fades forever and forever as we move, a new margin takes its
place: the limitation and finitude remain: and new acquisitions are
always balanced in part by the loss of the old. Yet the heart and the
imagination are clamorous, and the intellect is ready to serve them.
Such an intellect Kant has called Reason, and its products (Platonic)
'Ideas.' The (Platonic) Idea expresses not so much an object of
knowledge as a postulate, a problem, an act of faith. The 'Vaulting
ambition' Intelligence 'o'erleaps itself and falls on t'other,'
Unsatisfied with a bundle of sensations and ideas, it demands their
abiding unity in a substantial Soul. To simplify the endlessness of
physical phenomena, it sums them up in a Universe. To gather all mental
and physical diversities and divisions into one life, it creates the
ideal of God.

Each single experience, and the collected aggregate of these
experiences, is felt to fall short of a complete total: and yet this
complete total, the ultimate unity, is itself not an experience at
all. But, if it be no object of experience, it is still an idea on
which reason is inevitably driven: and the attempt to apprehend it, in
the absence of experience, gives rise to the theories of Metaphysics.
Everything, however, which can be in the strict sense of the word
known, must be perceived in space and time, or, in other words, must
lie open to experience. Where experience ends, human reason meets a
barrier which checks any efficient progress, but refuses to recognise
the check as due to a natural limit which it is really impossible to
pass. The idea of completeness, of a rounded system, or unconditional
unity, is still left, after the categories of the understanding have
done their best: and is not destroyed although its realisation or
explication is declared to be impossible.

There is thus left unexplained a totality which encompasses all the
single members of experience--a unity compared to which the several
categories are only a collection of fragments--an infinite which
commands and regulates the finite concepts of the experiential
intellect. But in the region of rational thought there is no objective
and independent standard by which we can verify the conclusions of
Reason. There are no definite objects, lying beyond the borders of
experience, towards which it might unerringly turn; and its sole
authentic use, accordingly, is to see that the understanding is
thorough and exact, when it deals in the co-ordination of experiences.
In this want of definite objects, Reason, whenever it acts for itself,
can only fall into perpetual contradictions and sophistries. Pure
Reason, therefore, the faculty of ideas, the organ of Metaphysics, does
not of itself 'constitute' knowledge, but merely 'regulates' the action
of the understanding.

By this rigour of demonstration Kant dealt a deadly blow, as it seemed,
to the dogmatic Metaphysics, and the Deism of his time. Hume had
shaken the certainty of Metaphysics and thrown doubt upon Theology:
but Kant apparently made an end of Metaphysics, and annihilated
Deistic theology. The German philosopher, as Hegel has said and Heine
has repeated, did thoroughly and with systematic demonstration what
Voltaire did with literary graces and not without the witticisms with
which the French executioner gives the _coup de grâce._ When a great
idea had been degraded into a vulgar doctrine and travestied in common
reality, the Frenchman met its inadequacies with graceful satire, and
showed that these half-truths were not eternal verities. The German
made a theory and a system of what was only a sally of criticism; and
rendered the criticism wrong, by making it too consistent and too
logical[1].

Science--such is Kant's conclusion--is of the definite and detailed,
of the conditioned. It goes from point to point, within the
enveloping unity of what we call experience, and which rests upon the
transcendental and original unity of consciousness. But a knowledge
of the whole--of the enveloping unity--is a contradiction in terms.
To know is to synthetise: you cannot synthetise synthesis. Knowledge
is of the relative: but an absolute and unconditional totality has no
relations. We may therefore, possibly, feel, believe in, presuppose
the absolute: but know it in the stricter sense, we cannot. It may be
the object of a rational faith. But as for knowledge, we can get on
in psychology without the invisible and immortal soul: we can carry
out sciences of the physical universe, without troubling ourselves
about the 'cosmological' questions of ultimate atoms or ultimate
void, of first beginning and final end: and no proofs will ever prove
the _existence_ of that 'ideal' of reason--briefly termed God--which
transcends and completes and creates all existence. Not that such Ideas
are useless even in science. They represent--if not without risks--the
faith and the presupposition which underlie the spirit of scientific
progress, and set before it an ideal perfection which it will do well
to strive after, though it can never get beyond approximations. What
is perhaps more important: this faith of reason science is as little
competent to disprove, as it is incompetent to prove it. Science is not
all in all: we are more than mere theoretical and cognitive beings.
The logic of science is not the sole code of our spiritual or higher
intellectual life;

    'We live by admiration, hope, and love.'

The sequel and development of the first Criticism are found in Kant's
works on ethics, aesthetics, teleology and religion. Only in one
supplementary chapter, and in casual indications as need arises, has
Kant made any pronouncement on his view of Philosophy as a whole and as
a system. That it is and can only be a system, when it really engages
on reconstruction in theory, was of course his fundamental insight.
But in his stage of _Zetesis_[2], of testing and sifting the sound
from the professed, he has confined himself to breaking up the mass
piecemeal, and leaving each result in its turn to corroborate and
correct the other. Sense and intellect may spring from a common stem;
but let us, he says, deal with them in their apparent separateness.
Reason practical must no doubt be identical at bottom with reason
theoretical: all the more convincing will be the undesigned coincidence
between the results of an inquiry into the principles of science, and
one into the principles of morals. We have seen that science ultimately
rests--though it does not discuss it and would indeed be incompetent
to do so--on a faith, a hope, a postulate of the ultimate supremacy of
intelligence,--the faith of reason in its own power (not verifiable
indeed by an exhaustive list of actual results)--or in the rationality
of the world. For science--though a kind of action and a part of
conduct--is a sort of inactive action: an _enclave_ in the busy world,
a period of preparation for the battle of life. In the field of conduct
the ultimate presupposition, which was for the luxury of science called
a reasonable faith or faith of reason, makes itself felt in the more
forcible form of a categorical imperative.

Or, at least, so it seems on first acquaintance. The command of duty,
addressed to the sensuously-conditioned nature, brooks no opposition
and condescends to no reasons in explanation or promises by way of
attraction. The moral law claims unconditional authority: towards its
sublime aspect reverence and sheer obeisance is due, utter loyalty to
duty for duty's sake. Nothing short of this absolute identification
with the Ought and a willingly willed self-surrender of the whole self
to it can entitle an agent to the full rank of moral goodness. Such is
the form--the synthetic link which joins the sensuous will indissolubly
with the will reasonable of moral law. Now for its explanation.
Humanity, though in the world of appearance and experience always
subject to sensuous conditions, is also a power of transcending these
conditions. Man is more than he can ever show in visibly single act.
He has in him the hope, the faith, the vision of absolute perfection
and completeness: but has it not as positive attained vision, but as
the perpetual unrest of unsatisfied endeavour, as the feeling and
the anticipation of an unachieved idea. And that perfection, that
completeness he believes himself to be; he even in some sense is.
Lapses and ill-success cannot quench the faith: for so long as there is
life, there is hope.

As he pictures out this invisible self, it may assume various forms
more or less imaginative. At times it may seem a far away, and yet
intimately near, being of beings,--the common father of all souls, the
eternal self-existent centre of life and love, the omnipresent bond
of nature, the omniscient heart of hearts,--on whom he can lean in
closest communion; though he is only too well aware how often he lives
as if God were not, and human beings were roaming specks in chaos. At
other times, he looks up to it as to an inner and better self, his
conscience, the true and permanent being, which controls his choices
and avoidances, which approves and disapproves, commands and condemns:
his soul of soul, genius, and guardian spirit. In such a mood to be
true to his own self--to follow the very voice of his nature--is to
realise his law of life. His Ego is the absolute ego--the reason which
is all things. And lastly, there are times when he conceives this
better self and true essence as the community of the faithful, as the
congregation of reasonable beings, of all perfected humanity.

In Kantian phraseology, man under one visible form is the union of
an intelligence and a sensibility, of a noümenal with a phenomenal
being. He is, indeed, says Kant, the former only in idea: it is only
a standpoint which he assumes. But it is a standpoint he always does
assume, if he is to be practical, i. e. if he is to move and modify
the world he finds around him. And what standpoint is that? What is
the law that has to govern his action, the law of the spiritual world?
Its supreme law is the law of liberty; and that law is autonomy.
Action--always under law--but that law a self-imposed one. So act
that thy will may be thy law, and with thy will the law of all others
whatsoever; so act that no other human being may by thy act be deprived
of full freedom and treated merely as a thing: so act as to respect the
dignity of every human being as implicitly a sovereign legislative.
In other words, Morality is a stage of struggle and of progress
which bears witness to something beyond. The 'I ought' represents a
transition stage towards the 'I will,' or rather it is the translation
of it into the language of the phenomenal world.[3] Morality, in a
sense-being, always presents itself as a contest between the good
and the evil principle: but in the transcendent and noümenal being
which such a being essentially is,--in the reasonable or good will,
the victory is already won by the good. Good is the law which governs
the world, and which is the strength of the individual life. To the
sensuous imagination, indeed, which here is apt to usurp the place of
reason, things appear under a somewhat different aspect. There the
certainty of self-conquest is forced by the difficulties of apparent
failure to veil itself under the picture of a perpetual approximation
through endless ages towards the standard of perfect goodness:
the confidence that the world is reasonable is presented under the
conception of a God who makes all things work together for good to the
righteous: and the autonomy of reason presents itself as the postulate
of freedom to begin afresh, absolutely untrammeled by all that has
gone before. Thus the kingdom of reason is represented as having its
times and seasons; as making determinate starts, and working up to a
consummation in the end of ages. But implicitly Kant's idea of reason's
autonomy,--of the 'I ought' as in its supreme truth an 'I will,'--is
an eternal truth. The 'standpoint,' so to call it after Kant, is the
standpoint which explains life and conduct and which makes conduct
possible. It is the assertion that the completeness _is,_ and is my
inmost being, the source of my action, my chief good, and that chief
good not a gratification or satisfaction to be looked forward to as
reward, but essential life and self-realisation. And this joy is what
is hidden under the austere gravity of the categorical imperative.

The Criticism of the Judgment-faculty is Kant's next step towards
providing a completer philosophy. Ostensibly it owes its origin to
the need of supplementing the treatment of Understanding and Reason
by a discussion of Judgment, and of considering our emotional as well
as our cognitive and volitional appreciations. What it really does
is to minimise still further the gulf left between the intellect
and nature--between the natural and the spiritual world. The
intellect, said the first criticism, makes nature: it makes possible
the general outlines of our conception of the world around us as
a causally-connected system, in which a permanent being undergoes
perpetual alteration, and manifests phenomena subject to mathematical
conditions. Intellect, in short, has staked out the world which is
the object of the practical man, and of his adviser the scientist.
But there is another world--the world of beauty and sublimity--the
world which art imitates and realises. The interpretation Kant gives
to the aesthetic world is as follows. The fact of beauty is a witness
to the presence in the mere copiousness of sensible existence of a
sub-conscious symmetry or spirit of harmony which realises without
compulsion and as if by free grace all the proportion and coherence
which intellect requires. Nature itself has something which does the
work that intellect was charged with, and does it with a subtle secret
hand which does not suggest the artificer. The fact of sublimity, on
the other hand, indicates the presence of an even greater spirit.
For beauty may seem--from what has been said--to be only an unbought
accrement to the commodities of life--facilitating the task of the
practical intellect. But the sublime in nature speaks of something
which is greater than human utilities and practical conveniences. It
reveals a something which is in sympathy with our essential and higher
self, and therefore stirs within us the keen rapture of the traveller
who sees from afar his home in 'rocky Ithaca,' but a something which
is cold to daily wants and vulgar satisfactions, and therefore strikes
upon us a gelid awe.

Another world yet remains, which appeals neither to our utilitarian
science, nor to our higher sentiments of artistic perfection. This is
the world as the home of organic life, and perhaps itself an organism.
The organism is apt to be a poser for the ordinary categories of
mechanical science. Here the part contains the whole, not less than the
whole contains the part: the cause is an effect, as well as cause, of
its effect. One thing is in another, and the other in it: 'the present
is charged with the past, and pregnant of the future,'--as the great
founder of modern teleology often said. In the plant and the animal
the natural world has to a certain degree reached an ideal unity which
is also real. Reason--the syllogism--is here not merely introduced
from without, as when man manipulates, but is the immanent law of a
natural life,--the end working out itself by its own means and act.
The fact admitted in these creatures suggests extending the conception
of organism (or teleology) to nature as a whole. From this point of
view Nature may almost be said to have a history--because it is almost
conceived as having one abiding self which in apparent unconsciousness
wonderfully simulates the purposive adaptation of conscious life.
The older vulgar teleology was somewhat mechanical: it regarded the
natural world outside of--or as it said, below--man as having no end
of its own, but in its series subserving man's commodities. In the
teleology of Kant the supreme end is still in a way man, and still
there is a little of the mechanical about it: but it is not to promote
man's happiness, understood as that probably _must_ be in a selfish
sense, but to produce in him the worthiest agent to carry on to its
highest the rational process of development. The struggles and pains
of natural existence, the laws of life, the competition of rivals, are
all means in the hands of nature to produce an autonomous being. Kant
says, a moral agent. But a moral agent has been already explained as
an intelligence certified unto truth and a self-centred will whose law
is the law of the cosmos,--whose plan of life, if we so put of it, is
essentially a concentration in miniature and in individuality of the
system ordained by the all-present God.

It is true that Kant, after all these soarings, checks enthusiasm by
the words 'not that we can know this, or that it is so: but our nature
with unmistakable tendency bids us act _as if_ it were so. Logic will
hardly justify it--but life seems to demand it.' And some have replied:
'let us trust the larger hope.'


[Footnote 1: Hegel's _Werke_, vol. i. p. 140.]

[Footnote 2: Kant from 1762 onwards continues to insist on the
necessity for philosophy taking up an analytic and critical attitude to
current conceptions: see especially _Werke,_ i. 95 and 292.]

[Footnote 3: Foundation of Metaph. of Eth. (_Werke_, viii. 82, 89):
'Dieses Sollen ist eigentlich ein Wollen.']



CHAPTER XI.


SYNTHESIS AND RECONSTRUCTION: FICHTE.


To get the full effect of a new doctrine it must be brought into
contact with a mind unshackled by those traditional prepossessions
which clung to its original author. Kant, essentially by training a
man of the school, was by heart and character essentially a seeker
after the wider ends of the larger world. His lesson is on one hand
the scholar's disproof of pretended science, and on another an appeal
and an example to the mere scholar to make his philosophy ample for
the whole life, and co-extensive with the whole field of reality. His
first disciples who stand forward as teachers caught only the first
part of his message, and sought to set theoretical philosophy on a
sounder basis. Johann Gottlieb Fichte--perhaps the least professional
of great philosophical professors--with a resolute will, a passion for
logical thoroughness, and great impulse to force mankind to be free
and to realise liberty in an institution--was the first who really
grappled with the searching questions that arose out of Kant's message
to his age. His was a Kantism, not certainly always of the letter, nor
indeed always of the spirit: yet for all that, there was substantial
justice in his claim that his system supplied the presupposition which
gives meaning and interconnexion to Kant's utterances[1]. It is, says
the proverb, the first step that costs. And Fichte took that step.
Before his impetuosity the cautelous clauses which besmirched the great
purpose of Criticism shrunk away, the central truth was disengaged from
its old-fashioned swaddling clothes, and openly announced itself as a
renovating, almost a revolutionary principle.

But, as was to be expected, the unity and force are paid for by a
considerable surrender of catholicity. If Kant's utterances are
fused into comparative simplicity, the unification does not embrace
the whole of the Kantian gospels. What Fichte did in his earlier
stage--the stage by which he counts in the history of philosophy--was
to emphasise and exhibit in his systematic statement that priority or
supremacy of the 'practical' over the 'theoretical' reason which Kant
had enunciated, and to put in the very foreground that self or Ego
which Kant had indicated, under the title of 'transcendental unity
of apperception,' as the focus which gives coherence and objectivity
to experience. But to put the final presupposition at the head and
front of all, as a principle originating and governing the whole line
of procedure, is really to modify in a thorough-going way the whole
aspect of a doctrine and its inner constitution. Kant's way is quiet
analysis: from the given, or what is supposed given, up regressively
to its final presuppositions, its latent _prius._ He shows you the
thing is so, apparently without effort, by judicious application of
the proper re-agent, as it were. Fichte, on the contrary, pours forth
a strong current of deduction: Let it be assumed that so and so is,
then _must,_ or then shall, something else be; and so onwards. Instead
of a glance at the secret substructure of the world, you see it, at a
magician's mandate, building itself up; stone calling to stone, and
beam to beam, to fill up the gaps and bind the walls together. And you
must not merely read or listen. You are summoned as a partner in the
work; a work the author feels, only half-consciously, he has not yet
quite accomplished, and where therefore he complains of the bystander's
dullness.

This, one may say, was a new conception, certainly a new practice,
of philosophy. Kant had indeed hinted that the pupil in philosophy
must 'symphilosophise'; but practically, even his aim had been to
describe or narrate a process of thought with such quasi-historical
vividness and detail that the listener was sympathetically carried
through the succession of ideas which were called up before him. What
had been generally given in philosophical literature was a sort of
historical account of how thoughts happened: a succession of pictures
presented with the interposition here and there of a little reasoning,
expository of connexions. You enlisted your reader's sympathy: you
set his imagination to work by translating the logical process into a
historical event--the _Logos_ into a _Mythos_--and blending with your
narrative a little explanation as to general drift and relations, you
left him to himself to enjoy the _Theoria._ The nearest approach Fichte
makes to this polite and easy method is in the 'Sun-clear Statement,'
where he, as he says, attempts to '_force_ the reader to understand'
him. But probably these things cannot be forced. And for the rest
Fichte's characteristic attitude is to request, or command, his reader
(or pupil) to think with him, to put himself in the posture required,
to perform the act of thought described. He has not merely to be
present at the lecture, but personally to perform the experiment. It
is not a mere story to be heard and admired and forgotten. _De te_ O
pupil! _fabula narratur._ If it be a play, you are the actor as well as
the onlooker: and the play is not a play, but the drama--the nameless
drama--of the soul transacted in the unseen sub-conscious depths which
bear up its visible life.

You do not therefore begin by getting a fact put before you. Your
_fact,_ in philosophy, must be your own _act_: not something done
and dead, passive, a thing, but something doing, alive, active: your
introspection must be, let us say, an experiment in the growing,
responsive, quick life, not anatomy of the mere _cadaver._ Think,
therefore, and catch yourself in the act of thinking. Get something
before your mind's eye, and see what it involves. It matters not what
you perceive or feel: only realise it fully and penetrate its meaning
and implications. It is of course the perception of something here and
now. And you would be, in ordinary life, eager to get on to something
else--to associate the present fact to something perceived elsewhere,
to draw conclusions about things yet to come. But if you philosophise,
you must check this practical-minded impatience and concede yourself
leisure to ponder deeply all that the single perception involves. Be
content to sit awhile with Mary, by the side of Rachel of old. Let
Martha bustle about. Fichte tells you that your perception rests,--and
you, you _see_ that it rests, on the 'I am that I am,'--on the I = I,
i. e. on the continuity, identity, and unity of the percipient self.
Make the statement of what you perceive, believe it, that is, assert
it: and you have--done what? You have pledged your whole self_--falsus
in uno, falsus in omnibus_--to its truth: its background is your whole
and one mental life. And is that all? You have also called the world to
witness: your statement--if, as it professes, it form an item however
slight in the realm of knowledge--requests and expects every other 'I'
to acknowledge your perception. Your certainty of the fact rests on
the certainty of your self: and your self is a self certified by its
ever-postulated identity with other selves, so on _ad infinitum_. In
affirming this (whatever be your statement) you affirm the Absolute
Infinite Ego. Heaven and earth are at stake in every jot and tittle[2].

At which plain frankness there was much cachinnation and even
muttering among the baser sort. Even wiser heads forgot--if they
ever knew--that Leibniz a century before had startled the world of
his day by a view that 'the Ego or something like it[3] was, under
the name of _monad_, the presupposition of each and every detail of
existence in any organic total. It was useless for Fichte to repeat[4]
that his philosophical Ego was not the empirical or individual ego
which he in this every-day world had to provide clothes and company
for. It is hard to persuade the world that it does not know that 'I
am I,' and what that means. Later, therefore, Fichte, going along
with the movement of contemporary speculation, and willing to avoid
one source of confusion, tended to keep off the name of Ego from
the absolute basis of all knowledge and experienced reality. But
unquestionably the absolutising of the Ego is the characteristic note
of his first period in philosophy: and it rings with the spirit of
the heaven-storming Titan. It means that the cardinal principle and
foundation of man's conscious moral and intellectual life is identical
with the principle of the Universe, even if the Universe seem not to
know it. It means that self-consciousness--the certainty that I am I
and one in all my manifestations--is the highest word yet uttered. In,
or under, the surface of human knowledge and belief in reality, there
is a transcendental Ego--a self identical with all other selves,--
infinite, unlimited, unconditional, absolute. The certainty of human
knowledge--and therefore of all reality in consciousness--is the
Absolute,--an absolute certainty and knowledge--but an absolute with
which I identify myself,--which I am, and which is me. This is the
absolute _thesis_--the nerve and utter basis-laying--at the ground, or
rather under the ground, of all I know, feel, and will.

This, then, is the thesis at the very foundation of all _Wissenschaft_:
and therefore figures at the head of the _Wissenschaftslehre_,--the
name Fichte gives his fundamental philosophy. But alone it is
powerless. A foundation is only a foundation, by being built upon. The
position must be defined by counterposition: thesis by antithesis: ego
by non-ego. Ego, in fact, is first made _such_, as set against _you._
In other words, the perception we assumed to start with does not merely
_suppose_ and indeed pre-suppose the absolute Ego; but it sets in
the absolute Ego an ego and a non-ego,--sets against the lesser ego,
something limiting and limited, something defining it in one particular
direction; or, if the original consciousness we started to examine was
an act of will, then, it may be said, the non-ego appears as about to
be limited and defined by the Ego. Be our consciousness, therefore,
practical or theoretical, of action or of knowledge, its fundamental
characteristic is the conjunction (correlation with subjugation)
of an ego and a non-ego. It is always a synthesis of an original
antithesis[5]; of self and not-self. But every such synthesis which
brings together into one a self and a not-self, is possible only in the
original thesis of a greater self--an absolute Ego--which includes the
not-self and the self it contrasts within its larger self. The unity
of the first principle[6] (A = A, or I = I) parting or distinguishing
itself into the opposition of A versus not-A, Ego set against non-ego,
re-asserts itself again in consciousness (perception of objects, and
action upon them by will) as synthesis, i. e. a conjunction (not a real
union). And this synthesis is either the limitation of the Ego by the
non-ego or the limitation of the non-ego by the Ego. The former gives
the formula of theoretical, the latter that of practical consciousness.

We begin with the absolute Ego. It is absolute activity, utter
freedom. It is the source of all action, all life. Yet if thus
implicitly everything, it is actually nothing. To be something, it
must restrict itself, set up in itself an antithesis:--by the setting
up of a not-self, at once limit and realise itself: translate itself
from ideal absoluteness and unconditionality into a reality which
is also limited and partial. All consciousness and action exhibit
this antithesis of a limited self and an outside and adversative
other-being; but the antithesis rests upon the medium of a larger life,
a thesis which transcends and includes the antithesis, and which leads
to that alternating adaptation of the two sides to one another (their
synthesis) which actual experience presents as its recurring phase[7].
The _Wissenschaftslehre_ leaving the absolute Ego in the background
deals with the play that goes on in human experience between the
correlatives to which it has reduced itself;--the antagonism, but the
moderated and overruled antagonism, of Ego and non-ego.

Observe the contrast to the ordinary methods of expression. Popular
language--if the popular philosophers are to be trusted as its
exponents--says 'an impression is produced by an external object on
the senses, and causes an idea in the mind.' The 'object' works a
series of marvellous effects on a mind, which--to begin with--is hardly
describable as anything more than an imagined point of resistance,
getting reality by being repeatedly impinged upon.[8] Fichte's
statements are rather interpreters of the vulgar phrases, which say
'I hear, I see';--as if, forsooth, the 'I' did it all. According to
Fichte, the 'I,'--the absolute 'I,' is the real (but secret) source
of the position in which consciousness finds itself limited by a
non-ego. But within the finite ego and its consciousness there is
no reminiscence or awareness of this its great co-partner's--the
absolute ego's--act. For the finite consciousness, the beginning of its
activity--i. e. of all empirical consciousness, lies in an impulse or
stimulus from without--a mere somewhat of which we can predicate the
very minimum of attributes. It is only _felt_ as opposing: and this
is the first stage or grade of theoretical consciousness: Sensation.
But in the perpetual antithesis--in the self-opposition which is the
radical act of consciousness--the mere limitation of Ego by non-Ego is
confronted by the underlying activity of the Ego which re-asserts the
limitation as its own act. Thus while we are, as it were, impressed, we
re-act against that impression--we set it forth before us, as ours, and
free ourselves from its immediate incumbency and oppression. Instead
of mere sentiency or feeling, we have a perception (or intuition) of it.

It would be out of place, here, to try to write the interpretation
of that marvellous and difficult piece of dialectic--the
_Wissenschaftslehre_;--a theme to which Fichte returned again and
again up to his death, ever modifying details, selecting new modes of
exposition, and gradually, perhaps, changing the centre of gravity
of his system. It will be sufficient to note the two purposes which
it keeps in view. On the one hand it is a systematic theory of the
categories. It begins, as we have seen, with the three co-ordinates of
all reflection,--identity, difference, and reason why; it proceeds to
the co-relative principles of activity and passivity; to condition,
quantity, &c. And its work is to show how these forms naturally emerge
in the recurrent antithesis which arises in consciousness, and how
again they are brought together by the overmastering Absolute thesis
into a synthesis, from which the same process re-appears. How much this
corresponds in general conception to the Hegelian Logic is obvious, and
Fichte has the merit of the original suggestion. With this however he
conjoins--what Hegel has relegated to his Psychology--an evolutional
or developmental theory of the mental powers. We have already seen how
sensation is forced by the latent intelligence to rise into perception
(_Anschauung_): the line of psychological development is carried on by
Fichte through imagination to understanding and reason. Hegel's work is
far more complete, definite, and detailed: but that need not keep us
from giving due homage to the suggestive sketch of the originator of
the conception[9].

But the theoretical consciousness is not all; and as we already know,
the practical Ego is supreme over it. In it lies the key to the mystery
of the stimulus--the shock from the unknown--which awakened the
activity of the Ego. The non-ego is only a mass of resistance created
by the Ego so that it may be active; only a stepping-stone on which
it may walk; a spring-board from which it may bound. Only so much
reality has the non-ego; the reality of something which may be shaped,
made, made use of. Call the something which the stimulus (_Anstoss_)
pre-supposes, the thing-in-itself (after Kant): and if you ask How are
things-in-themselves constituted, you get from the _Wissenschaftslehre_
the answer: 'They are as we should make them[10],' Or, as it is said
in another place: 'My world is--object and sphere of my duties and
absolutely nothing else[11]:' if you ask whether there is really
such a world, the only sound reply I can give is: 'I have certainly
and truthfully these definite duties, which take the form of duties
_towards_ such, and _in_ such, objects; and it is only in a world such
as I there represent and not elsewhere that I can perform these duties
which I cannot conceive otherwise,'

This is a grand word: and yet we feel that, in the intensity of
intellectual consecutiveness and moral inflexibleness, we have lost
some elements to which Kant had given their place in the philosophy
of life. The third of Kant's three Criticisms is conspicuous by its
absence from the Fichtean field of view, and has no recognition in
this scheme of the universe: and the great conception of the natural
world as an organism, in which natural man is only a part, and all
is controlled by an autonomous principle of life, has been for the
while allowed to drop. Even more than in Kant religion tends to be an
epilogue or appendix to morality: and God is identified with the moral
order of the world. It is customary to speak of Fichte's idealism as
ethical, or as subjective: and so long as these words are understood,
no harm is done. But to call it subjective does not mean that Fichte
was so far beside himself as to believe the world was only a picture
or a function of his individual brain. It means that he throws the
weight too much on the side of subjectivity. The Absolute is, for him
in his first stage, described as an Absolute Ego--and thereby the
natural world seems to be left without God: and subjective duty has too
exclusively thrown on it the weight of certifying objective existence.
The world, as we shall see, and have indeed indirectly gathered from
Kant, is too good and worthy to be the mere block of stone out of
which our duties are to be hewn. And similarly, to call Fichte an
ethical idealist is only to name him right, when we add that his were
idealist ethics. The world is not here merely that social decorum may
be maintained, and that puritanical virtue may pronounce that all is so
well, that thenceforth there shall be no cakes and ale, nor ginger be
hot in the mouth. The friend of the two brothers Schlegel, and their
remarkable wives, Dorothea and Caroline, touched hands with a social
group[12] which, for good and for ill, had emancipated itself from all
codes except that which bids

                    'To thine own self be true:
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.'

To him, as to Kant, morality presented itself as autonomy, as the
dignity and grace of human nature in freest development; but to him,
more than to Kant, there commended itself the ideal of a city of
reason, a thoroughly socialised community[13], in which the welfare of
each would be an obligation on all, and the machinery of government
would be so marvellously self-corrective that all would do right and
all fare well.

Fichte's place in the annals of philosophy depends on his academic
treatises of 1794-98, and on his more popular works from the first
date down to 1808. In a study of the philosopher as a whole it would
be necessary to go beyond these dates, and take account of the
displacement which a development of thought, which there is no good
reason to suppose other than gradual, made in the scale of his earlier
views. But for our purposes that is out of the question. In justice,
however, it must be added that some things that seem inadequately
treated, some shortcomings in catholicity of mind, would appear in
another light if the later writings--not published till after Hegel's
death--were duly taken into account. But even at the close of the
century the advancing thought of Germany was seeking other leaders.


[Footnote 1: Cf. notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 399.]

[Footnote 2: Cf. notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 387.]

[Footnote 3: Leibniz, _Werke,_ ed. Gerhardt, iv. p. 392.]

[Footnote 4: Cf. notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 393.]

[Footnote 5: The _antithesis_ has two members: the partial ego, and the
non-ego, which confronts. The _synthesis_ is a putting together two
separate things, so as to correlate them; but it falls short of what
would be understood in some present usage by 'synthetic unity' which
has a certain mystical ring. It is important for a student of Schelling
or Hegel to remember this distinction of synthesis from 'absolute unity
e.g. Schelling, _Werke_, v. 43.]

[Footnote 6: _A = A_ is the more purely logical formula: _I=I_ presents
it as a personal and metaphysical identity. The _A_, which is _-A,_ is
to be distinguished from the _A_ which is opposed to _not-A._ But it is
Fichte's standpoint to insist on their being one Ego.]

[Footnote 7: To give this interpretation of the larger Ego as Life and
Blessedness is to assume that the teaching, e. g. of the _Anweisung zum
Seligen Leben,_ is the logical deepening of the earlier language about
the Ego.]

[Footnote 8: Cf. the description of mind as 4 a bundle of impressions.']

[Footnote 9: Especially given in the Grundriss des Eigenthümlichen der
Wiss. (_Werke,_ i. 331). Of course Fichte goes through a corresponding
'deduction' of the emotional or moral nature. Schelling (_System des
transcend. Idealismus_) works out the 'deduction' still more at length.]

[Footnote 10: Fichte, _Werke_, i. 286.]

[Footnote 11: Ibid. ii. 261.]

[Footnote 12: It is perhaps hardly necessary to say that the state of
affairs alluded to, which has its literary memorials in F. Schlegel's
_Lucinde_, and in the warm defense of that book by Scheiermacher, was
only a passing experiment in which a high-strung idealism amid a lax
society sought for truth at all costs and dared a noble lie.]

[Footnote 13: In the _Geschlossener Handelstaat_ (of 1800), the
'classical' document of characteristic German Socialism in its earlier
and idealist phase.]



CHAPTER XII.


THE BEGINNINGS OF SCHELLING.


Schelling and Hegel had been fellow-students at Tübingen, where,
besides the ostensible lessons of the class-room, they had drunk gladly
of the springs of thought Lessing had set running, had felt the hopes
and the fears of the struggle republican France waged against the
German powers, and had seen that Kantian criticism contained within
it a fire which would burn up the hay and stubble of old theology.
Hegel, five years the elder of the two, had passed through his college
career in a very creditable but by no means brilliant way. Among his
fellows he had gained the reputation of a quiet, and rather reflective
mind, which, however, under an old-fashioned exterior, breathed a deep
impassioned zeal for that higher life of which the nobler spirits among
the young then, as now, longed to accelerate the advent. Schelling,
singularly gifted with speculative ability, literary art, and the
receptivity of genius to catch and string together the theories
that rose to the top in science and letters, had already made his
mark as a philosophic writer, while his senior compatriot, leading
the inconspicuous life of a private tutor, was only working up and
widening his ideas. Schelling's first essays in metaphysics trod the
same lines as Fichte; but in 1797 (when he was aged 22) appeared his
_Ideas towards a Philosophy of Nature._ A year later he was lecturing
at Jena, in friendly association with the Schlegels, and with Fichte,
who, however, soon quitted the place. In 1800 appeared the _System of
Transcendental Idealism_, and in 1801 the _Exposition of my System_;
followed in 1802 by _Bruno_, and in 1803 by the _Lectures on University
Studies._ Brief periods of academic teaching at Würzburg, Erlangen, and
Munich, and after 1841 at Berlin, broke the silence which set in after
his _Inquiries into the nature of human liberty_ in 1809; but little
certain was known to the outside public of the final standpoint till
the publication of his collected works (1856-61).

An involuntary touch of sadness falls upon they historian as he surveys
Schelling's career. Seldom had a thinker's life begun with better
promise, and more distinguished performance; seldom had a nobler
inspiration, a more liberal catholicity of mood, guided and propelled
the intellectual interest; seldom had expectation of greater things
yet to come followed a writer's traces than was the lot of Schelling.
On one hand, a lively and active appropriation of the results of
scientific discovery, at least in its more suggestive advances: on the
other, a mastery of words and style which fitted him to hold his own
amongst the literary leaders; and, again, a sympathy, that seemed to
be religious, with the movement which sought _lucem ex Oriente_, and
wisdom from the treasures of the world's purer youth. And yet--in the
main--the net result, oblivion more complete than has ever befallen a
great thinker. At first, one is inclined to pass on with the remark
that even books and thinkers have their fates, and that some momentary
forgetfulness let the tide slip unused. But it is possible to be less
oracularly-obscure: and without detracting from the splendid faculty
and great achievement of Schelling to note some of the causes of his
lapse into a mere episode.

In the first place, though his conception is of a system, his
performance is only a succession of fragments. The nearest approach
to an encyclopaedic exposition of his ideas is found in his popular
_Lectures on the Studies of University._ More than once he starts
on the task of exposition, but lets it break off about the middle.
Again, at each new occasion, the features of his scheme of thought
have slightly altered, and not merely does his philosophy profess
at first to present two distinct sides, but these two sides of the
shield vary. Thirdly, the interest in scientific novelties, always
disposed to seek the curious, the far-reaching and suggestive, more
than the sounder generalisations, tends as time goes on to fasten too
greedily on the miraculous and mysterious night-side of nature, on
magic powers and mystic discernments--a path which descends to the
abyss of a 'positive,' i.e. a quasi-materialistic, theosophy. The
matter-of-fact rationalists (both the Catholics in Bavaria, and the
Protestant theologian Paulus, once a friend, but latterly his bitterest
foe) regard him as a crypto-catholic, the advocate of medieval
obscurantism so hateful to true enlightenment. Even his literary art
renders him suspected: for there is an old quarrel between philosophy
and fiction; and grave-eyed wisdom is jealous of her gipsy rival.
Ill-advised indications of a sense of lofty superiority to the average
teacher increased the numbers and the venom of his opponents. Nor is
it perhaps beneath the dignity of history to suggest that his first
wife, Caroline, with all her wonderful attractions of intellect and
character, and notwithstanding all that she had been to Schelling in
encouragement and counsel, was too clever and too critical not to sow
many jealousies, and to add through the female line to the ranks of
those with whom he stood suspect.

But perhaps the real reason of Schelling's failure was a certain
excess of objectivity. Fichte had drawn attacks down by an abnormal
subjectivity which would fain reform the surroundings wherever he
went. Schelling stood more apart--animated by an immense curiosity,
a boundless interest in all the expanse of objective existence; but
withal he seemed not to have his heart, deeply set and pledged to
a distinctively human interest. His first love is the Romance in
nature; and when he turns to history it is by preference to ages far
remote. His ideal of philosophy is to see it achieve its work by
the instrumentality of Art. Religion seems to culminate for him in
a mythology. Reflection and speculation are to him always somewhat
of a disease--whence philosophy is to carry us--almost magically if
possible--to rest again in the primeval unity of life. It is only an
instrument towards a great end--and that end a godlike, even if you
like a religious, Epicurean life. From such a standpoint it would be
easy, in youth, to relapse into naturalism; it would be equally easy,
in later life, to fall into supernaturalism. Philosophy--at least as
Hegel understood it--is merely neither: but the life, which never
can quite cease to be an effort, of idealism. And so Schelling could
not earn the confidence which only goes to those who are felt to be
fellow-fighters with those they lead.

With Schelling occurs the confluence, into the main current of
philosophy, of streams of idea and research which had already
exercised a stimulative effect on the tone and products of the higher
literature of Germany. As early as 1763 (at the very date Kant let the
English and Scotch 'empiricists' shake him out of his 'rationalist'
dogmatism) Lessing--in a couple of pages _On the reality of things
outside God_--threw doubts on the tenability of the ordinary deistic
arrangement of his day, which set God _there_ and man and his
surroundings _here,_ each side, for the time at least, undisturbedly
enjoying his own. Lessing read Leibniz by the light of Spinoza, and
Spinoza by the light of Leibniz: and, if he emphasised the absolute
right to the completest individual self-development on one hand, he no
less declared on the other that 'nothing in the world is insulated,
nothing without consequences, nothing without eternal consequences.'
'I thank the Creator that I must,--must the best,' he adds (1774). Of
his conversations on these high topics with Jacobi, we have already
spoken. While Spinoza and Leibniz were either decried, or--what is
worse--misunderstood, by the established masters of instruction, they
were welcomed by a more sympathetic and, with all its drawbacks, more
appreciative study from the non-academic leaders of thought.

Amongst these one of the most interesting and influential was Herder.
Herder, who had been amongst Kant's students in 1763, and who has
expressed his admiration of his then teacher, came as years passed-by
to consider himself the appointed antagonist of the Kantian system.
The two men were mentally and morally of different types: and in
Herder's case, a sense of injury, in the end, positively blinded
him to the meaning no less than to the merits of a doctrine he had
decreed to be pernicious. In Herder's opinion, the Kantian system
laboured throughout from the fault of a dead logical formalism and
abstractness: it inhabited a sort of limbo, cut off alike from the
fresh breath of nature and the growing life of history, and from the
eternal spirit of divine truth: it undermined (so his experience at
Weimar[1] indicated) the traditional faith, and inspired its 'adepts'
with a revolutionary superciliousness to all dogma. Its cut-and-dried
logicality, its trenchant divisions and analyses were obnoxious to his
poetically-fervid, largely-enthusiastic, and essentially-historical
soul. Man--in his concrete completeness, in his physical surroundings
and his corporeal structure, in his social organisation, in his
literary and artistic life, above all in his poetry and traditions of
religion--was the theme of his studies; and he looked with distrust on
every attempt to analyse and disintegrate the total unity of humanity
by a criticism first of this, and then a criticism of that side of
it, carried on separately. Ossian had been an early favourite of his;
and the twilight that hovers with the haze of pensive myth around the
figures of that visionary world hangs with a charm and a confusion
around the ultimate horizon of Herder's ideas.

In 1774 and 1775 Herder wrote and wrote again an essay (published 1778)
for a prize offered by the Berlin Academy on the subject of 'Sensation
and Cognition in the human Soul.' Its fundamental points are that
'no psychology is possible, which is not at every step a distinct
physiology': that 'cognition and volition are only _one_ energy of the
soul': that 'all our thought has arisen out of and through sensation,
and in spite of all distillation still contains copious traces of
it': that there are not separate faculties of thought, but one divine
power, which unifies all the broad stream of inflowing sensation,--'one
energy, and elasticity of the soul, which reaches its height through
the medium of language.' 'What is material, what non-material in
man, I know not,' he says; 'but I am in the faith that nature has not
fastened iron plates between them,' 'Man is a slave of mechanism (but
a mechanism disguised in the garb of a lucid celestial reason) and
fancies himself free,' 'Self-feeling and fellow-feeling (a new phase of
expansion and contraction) are the two expressions of the elasticity of
our will': they vary directly with each other: and 'love therefore is
the highest reason'--a proposition, adds Herder, for which 'if we will
not trust St. John, we may trust the undoubtedly more divine Spinoza,
whose philosophy and ethics turn wholly upon this axis.'

Herder's great work, however,--which, side by side with Lessing's
_Education of the Human Race,_ and with Kant's _Idea for a Universal
History_, helped to constitute that conception of history, as
philosophy in concrete form, which appears in Schelling, Schlegel, and
Hegel,--was the _Ideas for a Philosophy of History._ It is the pendant
and contrast to Kant's three Criticisms, with which it is nearly
contemporaneous (1784-91). Even in history Kant emphasises the work of
intelligence, of reason: and puts the intelligently-organised state--if
possible, the world-commonwealth, when war shall be transformed into
merely stimulating competition,--as the final triumph of the reason.
To Herder, while on the one hand the nature-basis is all-essential,
and must form the foundation of any genetic explanation of spiritual
phenomena, the ideal of humanity presents itself rather as a free
development of the many-sided individual--a development tempered by
the association of the family and the claims of friendship. In Kant's
view of civilisation, natural reason by its indwelling presuppositions
works out the end of culture: Herder, on the contrary, allows himself
to introduce--but only in and from the dim background--a supernatural
aid to actualise the germs of rationality latent in man's nature.
Yet, though at the first step into history the Godhead appears, and
a deified humanity looms ahead as the consummation of the process
of evolution, the development between these two extreme poles is
homogeneous and indeed one. The same law governs it throughout:

'Ethics is only a higher physics of the mind.' Man is from the
first endowed with tendencies which, through the medium of society
and tradition, carry him on to the double end, so hard to combine,
of 'humanity and happiness,' 'humanity and religion.' But, for
this training of the spirit he is prepared by a special natural
endowment of the body: and Herder can go so far as to say that 'in
order to delineate the duties of man, we need only delineate his
form.' Developing under the influence of cosmic and geographical
conditions, and formed of the same protoplasm and on the same type
as other animals, man possesses an unique organisation, a definitely
proportioned mechanism, which is his distinctive and permanent specific
character. General identity of plan and condition prevails for man
and animals; but Herder keeps back from the Darwinian inference which
interprets the graduated diversity of type as indicating that man is
the phase reached _pro tempore_ in the gradual slide along which the
continuous change of environment carries the unstable types which
earlier environments have helped to form. For Herder's conception of
nature there are fixed differences beyond which research cannot go; and
we shall see that both Schelling and Hegel accept this reservation.

Herder, finally, struck a blow in the war that was waged after
Lessing's death between the friends and foes of Spinozism. His little
book _God_ (1787) is a vindication v of Spinoza against Jacobi's
attack. Antiquarian accuracy it can lay no claim to: the picture
of Spinozism, one-sided at the best, is further vitiated by an
interpretation of the doctrine which leavens it to indistinctness with
the ideas of Leibniz and Shaftesbury. It was a grand--but it was also
an audacious--vision of Spinozism which found it not inconsistent with
a fundamental theism on one side and with the poetry of nature on the
other. Yet Herder had the merit of being perhaps the first to pierce
the hard logical shell of rationalism under which Spinoza had lain
hidden, and to reveal the mystic passion for God which so quaintly
called itself _amor erga rem infinitam et aeternam._ 'Spinoza,' says
Herder, 'was an enthusiast for the being of God,' Even where he
translates Spinoza's terms into ample equivalents, he does service by
teaching men that the vapid inanities they associate with terms like
_substance_, _mode, cause_, are inadequate to interpret the intensity
of meaning they had for the philosopher. To remove the seals which
rendered both Leibniz and Spinoza a mystery for the world was to
prepare the way for Schelling and Hegel[2].

It is under the aegis of Spinoza and Leibniz that Schelling begins
his first characteristic work,--the _Ideas towards a philosophy of
Nature._ In these thinkers he found first proclaimed as the fundamental
standpoint of philosophy the unity of the finite and the infinite, of
the real and the ideal, of the absolutely active and the absolutely
passive. They differed indeed in this, that whereas this unity is
pre-supposed by Spinoza as infinite and absolute substance, of which
all separate existence, body or mind, is only a _modus_, it is taken
by Leibniz as the universal characteristic of every individual being.
Every monad--and the human soul is the typical monad--is at once finite
and infinite, real and ideal, active and passive. But--whether as
underlying substance, or as unity of reality--both hold the cardinal
doctrine that the absolute (the 'Object' of philosophy) is the unity
and unification--the identity--of what outside it appears as two
sides or orders of being, the real and the ideal. To philosophise,
therefore--or to see things in the absolute--is (not as Hegel's
malicious joke puts it[3], to look at them 'in the night when all cows
are dark,'--but) to see them in the intense light that proceeds from
the identity of the _Spirit_ within us with the _Nature_ without us.

Fichte had caught hold of this standpoint. He had seen that the
original antithesis which confronts us, and the conjunction (synthesis)
of its members, presupposed a still more fundamental and indeed
absolute thesis,--an aboriginal and active unity. That antithesis is
the opposition of ego and not-ego; that synthesis is every act of
knowledge and will, by which each of these powers is in turn limited
by the other. Such a synthesis (volition or cognition) would be
impossible unless on the fundamental thesis (or hypothesis) of a unity,
or identity, which gives rise to the antithesis and has the power of
overcoming it. Such an original unity is what he calls the absolute
Ego. I am what I know and will, and what I know and will is Me. Such
is the equation (briefly written, I = I) which identifies subject
and object (of knowledge and will). But the associations clinging to
the terms Fichte used gave this thought a one-sided direction. The
'_I_' is opposed to the _'Thee,'_ and the '_Them,_' and the 'It.' The
'thing'--or non-ego--is depreciated as compared with the thinker and
willer. It is postulated _ad majorem gloriam_ of the Ego: in order that
I may work out the full fruition of my being. It is what I ought to
make out of it. It _is_ nothing but what it _will be_--or will be if
I do what I ought to do. The identity of the two sides therefore is
left as 'the object of an endless task, an absolute imperative.' The
Absolute is not yet:--it is only the forecast of a postulated result.

'If this be what Fichte teaches, and be called subjective idealism,
then for Schelling the first thing is to quit the house of bondage. Let
us leave out of view the Ego, with its misleading associations, and
begin with the two fields which are known to us, the fields of Nature
and Spirit. Nature--not Matter--is the one side: Mind or Spirit the
other. Each of them furnishes the object of one branch of philosophy--a
philosophy of Nature, on one hand, and a transcendental idealism on the
other. The former is new, and more especially Schelling's own proper
continuation of Kant: the other partly a continuation of Fichte's work.
But as they are both philosophy, they must coincide or meet. The whole
philosophy may therefore call itself a philosophy of Identity; but, for
the while, it will present itself under the two aspects of a philosophy
of Nature, conceived as the blind and unconscious, a philosophy of Mind
and history, as the free and conscious product of intelligence.[4]


[Footnote 1: He held posts of large general superintendence over church
and school affairs at Weimar.]

[Footnote 2: See notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 420.]

[Footnote 3: Hegel, _Werke_, ii. 13.]

[Footnote 4: See notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 392.]



CHAPTER XIII.


THE PHILOSOPHY OF NATURE AND IDEALISM.


What is meant by a 'philosophy of Nature'? 'To philosophise on Nature,'
says Schelling, 'means to lift it up out of the dead mechanism in
which it appears immersed,--to inspire it, so to speak, with liberty,
and to set it in free process of evolution: it means, in other words,
to tear ourselves away from the vulgar view which sees in Nature only
occurrences, or at the best sees the action _as a fact, not the action
itself_ in the action[1].' There is in short a process in nature
parallel in character to what Fichte had exhibited for consciousness.
The natural world is no longer subordinated, but to appearance
co-ordinate: and evolution or development, exhibited under the logical
title of a 'deduction,' is the common law of both. The real order and
the ideal order of the world are equally the work of an infinite and
unconditioned activity, 'which never quite exhausts itself in any
finite product, and of which everything individual is only as it were a
particular expression.' The nature which we see broken up in groups and
masses, and individual objects, is to be explained as a series of steps
in a process of development: the steps in a single continuous product
which has been arrested at several stages,--which presents distinct
epochs, but nevertheless all approximations, with divergences, to a
single original ideal.

In Nature, as in Mind, the most typical phenomenon is an original
heterogeneity, duplicity, or difference, which, however, points
back to a still more fundamental homogeneity, unity, or identity.
This primary unity or ground of unification does not indeed appear
to sight; the 'soul of Nature,' the _anima mundi,_ nowhere presents
itself as such in its undivided simplicity; but only as the perpetually
recurring re-union of what has been divided. But though unapparent,
the absolute identity is the necessary presupposition of all life
and existence, as of all knowledge and action. It is the link or
'copula' which perpetually reduces the antithesis to unity, and the
heterogeneity to homogeneity, and the different to redintegration. To
this fact of antithesis, presupposing and continually reverting to an
original unity, Schelling gives the name 'Polarity,' 'It is impossible
to construe the main physical phenomena without such a conflict of
opposite principles. But this conflict only exists at the instant
of the phenomenon itself. Each natural force _awakes_ its opposite.
But that force has no independent existence: it only exists in this
contest, and it is only this contest which gives it for the moment a
separate existence. As soon as this contest ceases, the force vanishes,
by retreating into the sphere of homogeneous forces[2].' Polarity,
therefore, is a general law of the cosmos.

A ceaseless, limitless activity, therefore, as the basis or groundwork
of all, for ever crossing, arresting, and limiting itself: an eternal
war, which, however, is always being led back to peace,--a process
of differentiation which rests upon, is the product of, and is for
ever forced back to integration, is the perpetual rhythm of the
natural universe. It is a process in which can be traced three grades,
stages, or 'powers' (first, second, and third, &c.). By its more
generally descriptive name it is called Organisation. 'Organism,'
says Schelling, 'is the principle of things. It is not a property
of single natural objects; but, on the contrary, single natural
objects are so many limitations, or single modes of apprehending the
universal organism[3].' 'The world is an organisation; and a universal
organism itself is the condition (and to that extent the positive)
of mechanism[4].' 'Mechanism is to be explained from organism: not
organism from mechanism.' 'The _essential_ of all things is _life_: the
_accidental_ is only the _kind_ of their life: and even the dead in
Nature is not utterly dead,--it is only extinct life.'

But if the conception of an organism be thus the adequate or
complete idea of Nature as a whole, that idea is only realised as
a third 'power' supervening on, and by means of two subordinate or
inferior ranges or 'powers.' The first stage is that occupied by the
mathematical and mechanical conception of the world,--the bare skeleton
or framework which has to be clothed upon and informed with life and
growth. This first 'power' in the world-process of antithetical forces,
under the control of, and on the basis supplied by, the original
thetic unity which synthetises them, is Matter. In Matter we have the
equilibrium and statical indifference of two opposing forces--one
centrifugal, accelerating, repulsive, the other contripetal, retarding,
attractive--which, working under the synthetising unity supplied by the
force of universal gravitation, build up in their momentary arrests
or epochs the various material forms. In this first 'power' we have
as it were the scheme or machinery through which organisation will
work: the outward and 'abstract, organism. And the essential feature
of this 'construction' or 'deduction' of matter is that it does not
take material atoms and build them into a world, but 'deduces' the
properties of matter as issuing from the play of opposing forces, and
as due to the temporary syntheses resulting from the presence of unity
making itself felt in the opposites.

A second and higher 'power' is seen in the physical universe as it
presents, itself to the sciences of electricity, magnetism, and
chemistry. If the former briefly be denominated the mechanical,
this is the chemical world. The law of polarity is here especially
prominent: the neutrality or indifference of parts is replaced by an
intenser antithesis and affinity: and the return from heterogeneity
to homogeneity takes place with more striking and even sudden effect.
Here, matter, even as inorganised, has a certain _simulacrum_ of life
and sensibility: there is in it the trace of a spirit which emerges
above the mere contiguity and juxtaposition of mechanical atoms. The
atomic theory shows itself less and less adequate as an attempt to
represent the whole phenomena of inanimate matter, and the material
universe is already charged with sympathies and antipathies which are
full of the promise and the potency of the organic world.

The mechanical theory of the universe, in the ordinary sense, which
deals with the mathematical formulation of the laws of planetary
movement, had been the work of the seventeenth century. The eighteenth
century had seen attempts to explain the _status quo_ of the
planetary system as a resultant from the evolution of an elementary
molecular state of the cosmic mass. With the close of the eighteenth
century there appeared a group of new sciences dealing with subtler
energies of matter,--with electricity, galvanism, and above all with
the connexions of chemical, electric, and magnetic science. The
ideas thus suggested--embraced with some generality under the title
Polarity--threw light backward upon the old mechanical conceptions,
and gave them a decidedly dynamic character. Even the tranquil rest
of geometrical figures came to be explained as a meeting point and
transition moment of opposite forces. But these ideas produced an even
greater effect on biology. Here, too, the need of a special 'vital
force' to explain life and organisation disappeared: organism was
but a higher stage, a completer truth of mechanism: and both found
their explanation in the antithesis and synthesis of forces, or in
differentiation and integration of what has recently been termed an
'idée-force.' In this direction, so far as Schelling was concerned,
the obvious stimulus came from the programme sketched by Kielmeyer at
Stuttgart in 1793, in a lecture 'on the proportions of organic forces,'
According to Kielmeyer there are three types of force in the animal
organisation, sensibility, irritability and reproduction[5]. The last
of these is the basic force which builds up and propagates the animal
system. With irritability, or contraction in response to external
stimuli--material adaptation to environment--a higher level of animal
life is reached. But the highest of all forces in the living being is
sensibility. In this same order may we reasonably conceive that the
'plan of nature' proceeds. Her first products show little beyond that
reproductive power which makes broad and high the pyramid of life. But
as the creature acquires increasing heterogeneity and a comparatively
independent position, it plays the part of a re-agent against stimuli,
and a source of movements. Lastly, it not merely responds to, but
assimilates and appropriates the impression into a sensation: it
internalises the external, and carries within itself by means of the
sensibility an ever-increasing picture of the world around it.

The idea of Evolution or Development, thus introduced by Schelling into
philosophy as a governing principle in the study of matter and of mind,
is not to be confused either with the older use of these terms or with
their current applications to-day[6]. By evolution (or development)
and involution (or envelopment) the earlier speculation on biology had
denoted the view that the organic germ contained _in parvo_ all that
the matured organism showed in large. As the mature bulb of the healthy
hyacinth shows, when cut open, to the naked eye, the stem and flowers
that will issue from it next spring; so in general the seed can be
treated as a miniature organism needing only an increase of bulk to
make it fully visible in details. Growth is thus not accretion, but
explication and enlargement of a microscopic organism subsisting in the
germ.

Evolution, in the present time, and especially since Darwin, means
something more than this. It implies a theory of descent of the variety
of existing organisms from other organisms of a previous age, less
individualised in forms and functions. From comparatively simple and
homogeneous creatures there have issued in the course of ages creatures
of more complex, more highly differentiated structure; and this process
of gradual differentiation may be conceived as going on through an all
but infinite period. At one end we may conceive matter, just endowed
with the faculties of life and organisation, but in a minimal degree;
at the other end of the developmental process, creatures which have
organised within themselves powers, maximal both in range and variety.
The result (so far as we at present go) is a genealogy of organism
which, to quote Darwin, pictures before us a 'great tree of life which
fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth and
covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.'

Even Bugon, seeing how naturally he could regard 'the wolf, the fox,
and the jackal' as 'degenerate species of a single family,' concluded
we could not go wrong in supposing that 'nature could have with
time drawn from a single being all other organised beings.' Erasmus
Darwin (1794) had insisted on the power of 'appetency' in the organs
of a living creature to create and acquire new structures which it
handed down to its posterity. G. R. Treviranus[7] in his _Biology_
(1802-5) had noted the influence of environment, and Jean Lamarck in
his _Philosophie Zoologique_ (1809) had--after assuming that 'nature
created none but the lowest organisms'--maintained that need and use
(or disuse) can so effectively modify a creature that it may even
produce new organs, and give rise by imperceptible degrees to a variety
of creatures as widely divergent as they now appear. E. g. 'The giraffe
owes its long neck to its continued habit of browsing upon trees.' And
gradually it had become recognised by speculators on this subject that,
as Mr. H. Spencer wrote in 1852, 'by small increments of modification
any amount of modification may in time be generated.' Finally, in 1859,
Darwin, with an ample resource of illustrative examples, enforced the
doctrine that the existing fauna and flora of the earth represent the
result of a struggle for existence, protracted during vast ages, in
which those creature's have been preserved (selected to live) which,
among all the variously-endowed offspring of any kind, were best fitted
to appropriate the means of subsistence in the circumstances in which
they for the time found themselves placed. The circumstances of life
on the globe are perpetually varying from place to place and time to
time: progeny never exactly reproduce their parents, and diverge widely
from each other: hence each form of life is perpetually sliding on from
phase to phase, and only those survive which are best adapted to the
new conditions of life.

So far as Darwinism is an attempt to show that the classes of plants
and animals are not a mere juxtaposition and aggregation, but are to be
explained by reference to a single genetic principle, it is in harmony
with the Evolution taught by Schelling and Hegel. Both alike overthrow
the hard and fast lines of division which semi-popular science insists
upon, and restore the continuity of existence. Both regard Nature as
an organic realm, developing by action and re-action within itself,
living a common life in thorough sympathy and solidarity, and not a
mere machine in which the several parts retain without change the
features and functions impressed upon them at creation by some supernal
architect. But they differ in other points. Ordinary Darwinism,
at least, talks as if circumstances and organism were independent
originally, and only brought as it were, incidentally, in contact
and correlation. It fails to keep hold of the fact--of which it is
abstractly aware--that the two act upon and modify each other because
they are members of a larger organism. It forgets, in short, what
Schelling so thoroughly realised, that the organic and inorganic,
ordinarily so called, are both in a wider sense organic. It wants the
courage of recognising its own tacit presuppositions.

But the characteristic difference between the evolution theory of
to-day and that meant by the philosophers is different from this,
though connected with it. 'The assertion,' says Schelling, 'that
the various organisms have formed themselves by gradual development
from one another, is a misconception of an Idea which really lies in
reason[8].' And Hegel no less decidedly asserts that 'Metamorphosis'
(as the term was then applied, e. g. by Goethe, to what we now call
Evolution) really _exists_ as a fact only in the case of the living
individual,--not in the supposed or theoretical continuity of the
species. 'It is an awkward way both ancient and modern speculative
biology have had of presenting the development and transition of one
physical form and sphere into a higher one as an outwardly-actual
production,--which, however, in order to make it clearer, has been
thrown back into the darkness of the past.'[9] Yet notwithstanding
these and even later protests, there is a great charm for many minds in
the evolutionist picture, e. g., of the horse of to-day as the literal
descendant through nearly fifty great stages (called species) from
some creature of the eocene age, which gradually transformed itself in
consequence of innate instability or variability of construction and in
obedience to changes in its environment. But whatever value there may
be in these as yet hypothetical aids to the imagination in grasping and
unifying the variety of organic life, they run on another line from the
philosophical evolution. That evolution is in the _Idea_, the _Notion._
It is the 'fluidity' of terms of thought that is here sought, not
of the kinds of things,--except in a secondary way. And above all,
philosophy does not deal with a problem in time, with a mere sequence;
if it deals with a history of nature, the agents of that history are
powers and forces--and powers which are ideal no less than real.

A nearer approach to the philosophic conception is to be found in the
views which modern physiology takes of the nature of organic structure
and function[10]. In the simplest phases of protoplasm, the apparently
homogeneous mass is really undergoing a series of changes, and indeed
only exists as such, because it is the ever-renewed resultant of
two correlated processes,--a movement up (anabolic change) by which
dead matter is assimilated and built into it, and a movement down
(katabolic changes) by which its composing elements are disintegrated
and left behind, with accompanying liberation of energy. Protoplasm or
'living matter' is the incessantly formed and re-formed thin line on
which these two currents for the moment converge,-a temporary crest
of white foam, as it were, raising itself on the Heraclitean wave of
vicissitude, where all things flow on and nothing abides. But wherever
protoplasm arises and maintains itself on this borderline of ascending
and descending states, it exhibits the three well-known properties of
assimilation, contractility, and sensitiveness. Protoplasm, placed
as it were in the mean between these two processes, is or has the
synthetic power which governs them and keeps them in one. It is no
mere chemical substance, undergoing composition and decomposition,
but rather, if looked at from the somewhat speculative standpoint of
molecular physics, a kind of intricate movement or dance of particles,
a shape or 'form' instinct with the power of producing and reproducing
itself, and, ultimately, in some highly differentiated phases
(nerve-system), with a power of producing and reproducing a world of
imagination.

A philosophy of Nature is only half a philosophy. Its purport is
to set free the spirit in nature, to release intelligence from its
imprisonment in material encasements which hide it from the ordinary
view, and to gather together the _disjecta membra_ of the divine into
the outlines of one continuous organisation. It seeks to spiritualise
nature, i. e. to present the inner idea, unity, and genetic
interdependence of all its phenomena: to delineate _natura formaliter
spectata_ not as a logical skeleton of abstract categories, but in its
organisation and continuous life. There remains the problem of what
Schelling calls 'Transcendental Idealism':--called 'transcendental'
to avoid confusion with the vulgar idealism which supposes the world
to be what it calls a mere 'idea' or phantom of the mind. Schelling's
is on the contrary an 'Ideal-Realism': it 'materialises the laws of
intelligence to laws of nature[11].'

We need not in details consider the genesis of Reality from the action
of the Ego. Substantially it is the same as that given by Fichte.
An activity, which is at once self-limiting and superior to all
limit, rises through stage to stage, from sensation and intuition,
to reflection and intelligence, till it becomes the consciousness of
a world of ob; ective reality. 'Give me,' says the transcendental
philosopher, 'a nature with opposing activities, of which the one
goes to infinity, and the other endeavours to behold itself in this
infinity,--and from that I will show you intelligence arising with the
whole system of its ideas[12].' In the first phase the 'ideal-real'
world arises by the synthetic action of the 'productive intuition,'
Ideas, as it were, live and move: they grow and build up: causality
is neither a category nor a schema, but an intelligent 'form' which
is also a force--an 'idée-force,' They are (in the Hegelian sense)
'Ideas,' i.e. neither merely objective nor merely subjective, but both
at once. But such an ideal world is outside and beyond consciousness:
it belongs to the same region as that higher Ego where there is no
distinction between the Ego I am and the Ego I know. To follow the
movement in this region needs a combination of mental vision and visual
intellect, which Schelling has called the 'Intellectual Intuition.'
It is a power which rising above the materialism of sense yet retains
its realism; which, while intellectual, is free from abstractness.
It is synthetic, and widely different from mere logical analysis.
It is, in short, analogous to the artistic genius: it creates a
quasi-objectivity, an ideal-reality, without which the mere words of
the speculator are meaningless. By means of this 'organ,' philosophy
can 'freely imitate and repeat the original series of actions in which
the one "act" of self-consciousness is evolved[13].

But the 'productive intuition' is, as Kant would say, blind: it is
unconscious in its operation: and it is only after an arrest, a Sabbath
when it surveys and judges its work, that it begins to realise itself
through a process of analysis and reflection which elicits and fixes
the categories that have been operative in it. By this abstraction
intelligence rises out of mere production to intelligent and conscious
production, i.e. to volition, where it has an ideal and realises it.
With volition and voluntary action, objectivity is to appearance
further certified and fortified. It is as active, i. e. as free, and
even moral, agents, that we set forward categorically the reality of
the world. So, too, Fichte had declared. But, as Schelling reminds
us, with this intensified assertion of a law and an ideal to which
the real must and shall correspond,--with the declaration that the
realm of absolute consistency and ideal truth of reason is the true
and real for ever and ever--we come across the fundamental antithesis
of the 'Is' and the 'Ought,5 of the objective and subjective, of
unconscious necessity and self-conscious freedom. With an attempt to
get a philosophy of history,--i. e. of man and mind as the culminating
truth of things, we see ourselves confronted with the opposition of
fatalism and chance. On one hand history is only possible for beings
who have an ideal in view,--one persistent aim and principle which
their work and will is the means of realising. And yet it is an ideal
which only the series of generations, only the whole race, can realise.
Man's license to do or to refrain rests upon a larger, latent, divine
necessity which constrains it. What human agents by their free choice
determine and carry out, is carried out, in the long run, by the force
of an everlasting and unchanging order, to which their wills seem but
a mere plaything. But that man's free agency should thus harmonise
with the constrained uniformities of nature is only possible on the
assumption that both are phenomena of a common ground, or basis of
identity, of an 'absolute identity, in which there is no duplication,
and which for that reason, because the condition of all consciousness
is duplication, can never reach consciousness. This ever-Unconscious,
which, as it were the everlasting Sun in the spirit-kingdom, is hidden
in its own undimmed light, and which, though it is never an object,
still impresses its identity on all free objects, is simultaneously
the same for all intelligences, the invisible "root" of which all
intelligences are only the "powers," and the everlasting mediator
between the self-determining subjective in us and the objective or
percipient,--simultaneously the ground of the uniformity in freedom,
and of the freedom in uniformity of the objective[14].' To rise to the
sense of this Absolute Identity, as common basis of harmony between the
'Ought' and the 'Is,' is to recognise Providence: it is Religion.

But this 'Absolute' is never in history completely revealed--we cannot
_see_ free action coincide with predetermination. Thus if History as
a whole be> conceived as a 'continuous and gradual self-revelation;
of the Absolute,' 'God never _is,_ if _is_ means exhibition; in the
objective world: _if God were, we_ should not be[15].' Nor is the
Absolute so revealed in Nature. Yet, even as the apparent contingency
of human action throws us back on an everlasting necessity which is
yet freedom, so the apparent uniformity of natural order shows us in
organic life the traces of a free self-regulating development. To
apprehend the truth at which both seem to point we want an organ of
intelligence which shall unite in itself the conscious activity of
free production with the unconscious instinct of natural creation.
Such an organ is found in they aesthetic power of genius, in the
Artist. The artistic product is the work of two intimately-conjoined
principles:--of the art (in the narrower sense) which can be taught
and learned, and is exercised consciously and with reflection, and of
that 'poesy in Art,' the unconscious grace of genius which can neither
be handed down nor acquired, but can only be inborn by free gift of
nature. In the work thus brought to birth there is something definite,
precise, and capable of exposition in finite formulae: there is also
something which no 'prose' can ever explicate, something which tells us
of the infinite and eternal, which ever reveals and yet conceals the
Absolute and Perfect. Art, thus springing from 'imagination, the one
sole power by which we can think and conjoin even the contradictory,'
gives objectivity and outward shape to that 'intellectual intuition' by
which the philosopher subjectively (in his own consciousness) sought to
realise to himself the unity of thought and existence.

'To the philosopher,' Schelling concludes, 'Art is supreme, because it
as it were opens to him the Holy of Holies, where in everlasting and
original unity there burns, as it were in one flame, what is parted
asunder in nature and history, and what in life and conduct, no less
than in thinking, must for ever flee apart. The view the philosopher
artificially makes for himself of nature is for Art the original and
natural. What we call nature is a poem which is locked up in strange
and secret characters. Yet could the riddle be disclosed, we should
recognise in it the Odyssey of the mind, which, strangely deceived, in
seeking itself, flees from itself: for through the sense-world there
is a glimpse, only as through words of the meaning, only as through
half-transparent mist of the land %of imagination, after which we
yearn. That splendid picture emerges, as it were, by the removal of the
invisible partition-wall which sunders the actual and the ideal world,
and is only the opening by which those figures and regions of the world
of imagination, that but imperfectly glimmer through the actual, come
forward in all their fulness. Nature is to the artist no more than
it is to the philosopher, viz. the ideal world as it appears under
constant limitations, or only the imperfect reflex of a world which
does not exist outside him, but within him.'

'If it is Art alone, then, which can succeed in making objective
and universally accepted what the philosopher can only exhibit
subjectively, it may also be expected that philosophy, as it was in
the infancy of science born and nourished by poetry, and with it
all those sciences which were by it carried on towards perfection,
will after their completion flow back as so many single streams into
the universal ocean of poetry from which they issued. Nor is it in
general hard to say what will be the means for the return of science
to poetry: for such a means has existed in mythology before this, as
it now seems, irrevocable separation took place. But as to how a new
mythology,--which cannot be the invention of the single poet, but of
a new generation, as it were representing only a single poet,--can
itself arise, is a problem, the solution of which is to be expected
only from the future destinies of the world and the further course of
history[16].'


[Footnote 1: Schelling, _Werke_, iii. 13. (References always to the
first series.)]

[Footnote 2: Schelling, _Werke,_ ii. 409.]

[Footnote 3: Schelling, _Werke_, ii. 500.]

[Footnote 4: Ibid. ii. 350.]

[Footnote 5: Compare vol. ii. 360 and 429.]

[Footnote 6: See notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 424.]

[Footnote 7: 'Every inquiry into the influence of general nature on
living beings,' says Treviranus, 'must start from the principle that
all living forms are products of physical influences which still go on
at the present time and are altered only in degree and direction.']

[Footnote 8: Schelling, _Werke_, iii. 63.]

[Footnote 9: Hegel, _Encyclopaedie,_ § 249.]

[Footnote 10: See e. g. Professor Michael Fosters article on Physiology
in the _Encyclopaedia Britannica._]

[Footnote 11: Schelling, iii. 352, 386.]

[Footnote 12: Ibid. iii. 427.]

[Footnote 13: Schelling, iii. 397.]

[Footnote 14: Schelling, iii. 600.]

[Footnote 15: Ibid. iii. 603.]

[Footnote 16: Schelling, iii. 628.]



CHAPTER XIV.


TRANSITION TO HEGEL.


Thus far Schelling (aetat. 25) had gone in 1800. Two sides of
philosophy had been alternately presented as complementary to each
other; and now the task lay before him to publish the System itself
which formed the basis of those complementary views. To that task
Schelling set himself in 1801 (in his Journal for Speculative Physics):
but the _Darstellung meines Systems_ remained a torso. The Absolute
was abruptly 'shot from the pistol': but little followed save a
restatement in new terms of the Philosophy of Nature. Meanwhile Hegel,
who had inherited some little means by his father's death, began to
think that the hour had struck for his entrance into the literary and
philosophical arena, and wrote in the end of 1800 to Schelling asking
his aid in finding a suitable place and desirable surroundings from
which to launch himself into action. What answer or advice he received
is unknown: at any rate in the early days of 1801 he took up his
quarters at Jena, and in the autumn he gave his first lectures at the
University. Gossip suggested that Schelling, left alone (since Fichte's
departure) to sustain the onset of respectability and orthodoxy upon
the extravagances of the new Transcendentalism, had summoned his
countryman and old friend to bear a part in the fray. And the rumour
seemed to receive corroboration. The two friends issued conjointly
a _Critical Journal of Philosophy,_ which ran through two years. So
closely were the two editors associated that in one article it seems as
if the younger had supplied his more fluent pen to expound the ideas of
his senior.

The influence of Hegel is to be seen in the _Bruno_, _or on the Divine
and Natural Principle of Things_, published in 1802. It is a dialogue,
in form closely modelled after the _Timaeus_ of Plato, dealing with the
old theme of the relation of art (poesy) and philosophy, and with the
eternal creation of the universe. It presents philosophy as a higher
than Art; for while Art achieves only an individual truth and beauty,
philosophy cognises truth and beauty in its essence and actuality
(_an und für sich_). Philosophy itself Bruno (the chief speaker of
the dialogue) does not profess to set forth, but 'only the ground and
soil on which it must be built up and carried out': and that soil
is 'the Idea of something in which all antitheses are not so much
combined, as rather one, and not so much superseded, as rather not at
all parted,'--'a unity, in which unity and antithesis, the self-similar
with the dissimilar, are one[1].' From such a standpoint it is not
wonderful that 'in the finite understanding (_Verstand,_) compared with
the supreme Idea and the way in which all things are in it, everything
seems reversed, and as if standing on its head, exactly like the things
we see mirrored on the surface of water[2].'

This supreme Unity is essentially a trinity: an Eternal, embracing
infinite and finite; an eternal and invisible father of all things,
who, never issuing forth from his eternity, comprehends infinite and
finite in one and the same act of divine knowledge. The infinite,
again, is the Spirit, who is the unity of all things; while the finite,
though potentially equal to the infinite[3], is by its own will a God
suffering and made subject to the conditions of time[4]. This trinity
in unity (which is the Absolute) is by logic--a mere science of
understanding--rent asunder: and the one Subject-object of philosophy
becomes for reflection and understanding the three independent objects
which such a 'logical' philosophy calls respectively the Soul (erewhile
the infinite), the world (once the finite), and God (the eternal
unity). 'Opposing and separating the world of intelligence from the
world of nature, men have learned to see nature outside God, and God
outside nature, and withdrawing nature from the holy necessity, have
subordinated it to the unholy which they name mechanical, while by the
same act they have made the ideal world the scene of a lawless liberty.
At the same time as they defined nature as a merely passive entity,
they supposed they had gained the right of defining God, whom they
elevated above nature, as pure activity, utter "actuosity," as if the
one of these concepts did not stand and fall with the other, and none
had truth by itself[5].'

The problem therefore of philosophy is on one hand to 'find the
expression for an activity which is as reposeful as the deepest repose,
for a rest which is as active as the highest activity[6].' On the
other hand; 'to find the point of unity is not the greatest thing, but
from it also to develop its opposite, this is the proper and deepest
secret of art[7].' The world as it first presents itself labours under
a radical antithesis: it offers a double face, body and soul, finite
and infinite. But to an absolute philosophy, or that high idealism
which sees all things in the light of the Eternal, the two sides are
not so separate as they first appeared. Each is also the whole and
one, but under a phase, a '_Differenz_' a preponderating aspect which
disguises the essential identity of both. Behind mind, as it were,
looms body: through body shines mind. The ideal is but a co-aspect with
the real. The difference of nature and spirit presupposes and leads
back to the indifference of the Absolute One. 'Wherever in a thing soul
and body are equated, in that thing is an imprint of the Idea, and as
the Idea in the Absolute is also itself being and essence, so in that
thing, its copy, the form is also the substance and the substance the
form[8].'

'Thus,' so Bruno concludes, 'we shall, first in the absolute equality
of essence and form, know how both finite and infinite stream forth
from its heart, and how the one is necessarily and for ever with the
other, and comprehend how that simple ray, which issues from the
Absolute and is the very Absolute, appears parted into difference and
indifference, finite and infinite. We shall precisely define the mode
of parting and of unity for each point of the universe, and prosecute
the universe to that place where that absolute point of unity appears
parted into two relative unities. We shall recognise in the one the
source whence springs the real and naturals world; in the other, of
the ideal and divine world. With the former we shall celebrate the
incarnation of God from all eternity; with the latter the necessary
deification of man. And while we move freely and without resistance up
and down on this spiritual ladder, we shall, now, as we descend, see
the unity of the divine and natural principle parted, now, as we ascend
and again dissolve everything into one, see nature in God and God in
nature[9].' Such was the programme which Schelling offered. Hegel
accepting it,--or perhaps helping to frame it--made two not unimportant
changes. He attempted in his _Phenomenology_ to lead up step by step
to, and so warrant, that strange position of idealism u which claims to
be the image of the Absolute. He tried in his _Logic_ to give for this
point of view a systematic basis and a filling out of the bare Idea of
a Unity, neither objective nor subjective, neither form nor substance,
neither real nor ideal, but including and absorbing these. He tried, in
short, to trace in the Absolute itself the inherent difference which
issued in two different worlds, and to show its unity and identity
there.

A _System_ of philosophy, and a philosophy of the _Absolute!_ The
project to the sober judgment of common sense stands self-condemned,
palpably beyond the tether of humanity. For if there be anything agreed
upon, it is that the knowledge of finite beings like us can never be
more than a--comparatively poor--collection of fragments, and can
never reach to that which--and such is the supposed character of the
Absolute--is utterly un-related, rank non-relativity. But in the first
place, let us not be the slaves of words, and let us not be terrified
by unfamiliar terms. After all, a System is only our old friend the
unity of knowledge, and the Absolute is not something let quite loose,
but the consummation and inter-connexion of all ties. It is no doubt
an audacious enterprise to set forth on the quest of the unity of
knowledge, and the completion of all definition and characterisation.
But, on the other hand, it may perhaps claim to be more truly modest
than the self-complacent modesty of its critics. For ordinary belief
and knowledge rest upon presuppositions which they dare not or will
not subject to revision. They too are sure that things on the whole,
or that the system of things, or that nature and history, are a realm
of uniformity, subject to unvarying law, in thorough interdependence.
They are good enough, occasionally, to urge that they hold these
beliefs on the warranty of experience, and not as, what they are
pleased to call, intuitions, _a priori_ ideas, and what not. But to
base a truth on experience is a loose manner of talking: not one whit
better than the alleged Indian foundation of the earth on the elephant,
and the elephant erected on the tortoise. For by Experience it means
experiences; and these rest one upon another, one upon another, till
at length, if this be all that holds them together, the last hangs
unsupported, (and with its superincumbent load), ready to drop in the
abyss of Nought.

This 'transcendental,' 'absolutist,' '_a priori_' philosophy, which
stands so strange and menacing on the threshold of the nineteenth
century, is after all only, as Kant sometimes called it, an essay
to comprehend and see the true measures and dimensions of this
much-quoted Experience. All knowledge rests _in_ (not _on_) the unity
of Experience. All the several experiences rest in the totality
of one experience,--ultimate, all-embracing, absolute, infinite,
unconditioned; universal and yet individual, necessary and yet
free,--eternal, and yet filling all the nooks of time,--ideal, and yet
the mother of all reality,--unextended, and yet spread through the
spaces of the universe. Call it, if you like, the experience of the
race, but remember that that apparently more realistic and scientific
phrase connotes neither more nor less (if rightly understood) than
normal, ideal, universal, infinite, absolute experience. This is the
Unconditioned, which is the basis and the builder of all conditions:
the Absolute, which is the home and the parent of all relations.
Experience is no doubt yours and mine, but it is also much more than
either yours or mine. He who builds on and in Experience, builds on
and in the Absolute, in _the_ System--a system which is not merely
_his._ In his every utterance he claims to speak as the mouth-piece of
the Absolute, the Unconditioned; his words expect and require assent,
belief, acceptance;--they are candidates (not necessarily, or always
successful) for the rank of universal and necessary truth: they are
dogmatic assertions, and even in their humblest tones, none the less
infected with the fervour of certainty. For, indeed, otherwise, it
would be a shame and an insult to let them cross the lips.

It is the aim of the Absolute _a priori_ philosophy to raise this
certainty to truth: or, as one may rather say, to reduce this certainty
to its kernel of truth. It seeks to determine the limits--not _of_ this
absolute and basic experience (for it has no external limits)--but
_in_ this experience: the anatomy and physiology of the Absolute,--the
correlations and inclusions, the distinctions and syntheses in the
unconditioned field. It examines the _foundation_ of all knowledge.
But--if this be the phrase--we must be on our guard against a
misapprehension of its terms. The foundations are also knowledge:
they are _in_ all knowledge and experience, its synthetic link and
its analytic distinctions. We must not shrink from paradoxes in
expression. The house of knowledge, the world of experience, is as
self-centred and self-sustaining, and even more so, than the planetary
system. It is a totality in which each part hangs upon and helps to
hold up the others, but which needs no external help, resting and yet
moving, self-poised and free.

We may be spared, therefore, verbal criticism on the Absolute and
Unconditioned. The Absolute, and Infinite, and Eternal is no mere
negation:--the only pure negation is NOT, and even that has a flaw in
its claim. It is perfectly true--and it can only be babes and sucklings
that need to be reminded of the fact--that none of us realises and
attains the _ne plus ultra_ of knowledge and that all our systems
have their day,--have their day and cease to be. 'The coasts of the
Happy Isles of philosophy where we would fain arrive are covered only
with fragments of shattered ships, and we behold no intact vessel in
their bays[10].' So too the whole earth is full of graves; and yet
humanity lives on, charged with the attainments of the past and full
of the promise of the future. Let us by all means be critical and
not dogmatic: let us never entirely forget that each utterance, each
science, each system of ours falls short of what it wanted to be,
and for a moment at least thought it was. But let us not carry our
critical abstinence into dogmatic non-intervention: or, if so, let us
silently accept the great renunciation of all utterance henceforth.
System we all presuppose in our words and deeds, and should be much
hurt if our defect in it were seriously alleged: the Absolute we all
rest in, though amid so many self-imposed and other distractions we
feel and see it not. The philosopher proposes for his task--or rather
the philosopher is one on whom this task forces itself as for him the
one thing inevitable--to determine what is that system and what that
Absolute, or, if the phrase be preferred, the philosopher traces to its
unity, and retraces into its differences that Experience--that felt,
known, and willed synthesis of Reality,--that realised ideal world--on
which and in which we live and move. He does not make the system, nor
does he set up the Absolute. He only tries to discover the system, and
to construe the Absolute.

It may be said that the best of philosophers can do no more than
give us _a_ System and _an_ Absolute. Undoubtedly that is so. Each
philosophy is from one point of view a strictly individualist
performance. It is not, in one way, _the_ Absolute truth, which it
promises or hopes to disclose. The truth is seen through one being's
eyes; and his 'measure,' as Protagoras might have said, is upon it. Yet
it is still _the_ Absolute, as seen through those eyes; it is still
in a marvellous measure that truth, that absolute truth, 'which the
actual generations garble.' For both the artist and the philosopher,
if they create, only re-create or imitate; if they are makers, they
are still more seers: and their power of 'imitation' and of 'vision'
rests on their capacity to de-individualise themselves of their
eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, and to bring out only that in them
which is the common truth of all essential thought and vision. In
proportion as they purge themselves of this _evil_ subjectivity are
they true artists and philosophers. They are both--and so, too, is
the religious genius--idealists: but the test of the value of their
idealism is its power of including and synthetising reality. That is
their verification: that, and not their concord with this or that
opinion, this or that theory of individuals or of groups. Not that the
views either of groups or individuals are unimportant. But often they
are but frozen lumps in the stream, temporary islands which have lost
their fluidity, and which imagine themselves continental and permanent.

Truth, then, reasoned truth, harmonious experience, absolute system,
is the theme of philosophy. Or, in Hegelian language, its theme is
the Truth, and that Truth, God. Not alum, an aggregate, or even what
is ordinarily styled a system, of truths: but the one and yet diverse
pulse of truth, which beats through all: the supreme point of view in
which all the parts and differences, occasionally standing out as if
independent, sink into their due relation and are seen in their right
proportion.


[Footnote 1: Schelling, iv. 231, 235, 236.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid. 244.]

[Footnote 3: 'In things thou seest nought but the misplaced images of
that absolute unity; and even in knowledge, so far as it is a relative
unity, thou seest nought but an image--only drawn amiss in another
direction--of that absolute cognition, in which being is as little
determined by thought as thought by being.']

[Footnote 4: Schelling, iv. 252. See further, iv. 327: 'The pure
subject, that absolute knowledge, the absolute Ego, the form of all
forms, is the only-begotten Son of the Absolute, equally eternal with
him, not diverse from his Essence, but one with it.']

[Footnote 5: Schelling, iv. 306. Cp. for actuosity, notes in vol. ii.
396. Spinoza, Cogit. Met. ii. 11, speaks of the actuosa essentia of
God.]

[Footnote 6: Schelling, iv. 305.]

[Footnote 7: Ibid. iv. 328.]

[Footnote 8: Ibid. iv. 306.]

[Footnote 9: Schelling, iv. 328.]

[Footnote 10: Hegel, Werke, i. 166.]



PROLEGOMENA

BOOK II

_IN THE PORCHES OF PHILOSOPHY_



CHAPTER XV.


THE TWO AGES OF REASON.


The eighteenth century--it has been often said--was a rationalising,
unhistorical, age: and, in contrast, the nineteenth has been declared
to be _par excellence_ the founder and the patron of the historical
method. In the one, the tendency governing the main movement of
European civilisation was towards cosmopolitan and universal
enlightenment. A common ideal, and, because common, necessarily rather
general and abstract, perhaps even somewhat vulgarly utilitarian,
pervaded Western Europe, and threw its influence for good and evil
on literature and art, on religion and polity. It grew out of a
revulsion, in many ways natural, from the religious extravagances
of the century-and-a-half preceding, which had led prudent thinkers
to reduce religion to a 'reasonable' minimum, and to reject all
things that savoured of or suggested enthusiasm, fanaticism, and
superstition. In politics the same one type or system of government
and laws was aimed at, more or less, in all advancing states. National
peculiarities and patriotism were looked at askance, as unworthy of
the free 'humanity' which was set forward as the end of all training.
To simplify, to level, to render intelligible, and self-consistent was
the task of enlightenment in dealing with all institutions. To remove
all anomalies and inequalities, to give security for liberty and to
facilitate the right to pursue happiness[1], was the chief watchword
of this movement. Its questions were--Is religion, Is art and science,
Is political organisation, a source of happiness? Are poetry, and a
belief in divine things, and abstruse knowledge, upon the whole for
human advantage and benefit? Only such civilisation can be justified
as, taken all in all, is a blessing; if not (cried some) we may as well
cling to the happiness of the barbarian.

That these are important questions, and that the purposes
above-mentioned are in many ways good, is clear. But before we can
answer the questions, or decide as to the feasibility of the aims,
there are some things to be brought and to be kept in view. And these
things were not as a rule brought and kept in view. It was assumed that
the standard of adjudication was found in the averagely educated and
generally cultured individual among the class of more or less 'advanced
thinkers' who asked the questions and set up the aims. That class,
already denationalised by function, forming a commonwealth or rather a
friendly fraternity throughout the capitals of Europe, had cut itself
off from the narrower and the deeper sympathies of the national life.
Forming a sort of mean or middle stratum in the social organisation,
they tended to ignore or despise equally the depths below them and
the heights above. They took themselves as the types of humanity, and
what _their_ understandings found acceptable they dubbed rational: all
else was a survival from the ages of darkness. They forgot utterly
that they were only a part, a class, a member in the social body:
and that they could only be and do what they were and did, because
what they were not and did not do was otherwise supplied. It takes
all sorts of people to make a world: but each class--and the order of
literature and intelligence is no exception--tends to set itself up as
the corner-stone (if not something more) of the social edifice. What is
more: in such a loose aggregate as the intelligent upper-middle class,
the individual tends more and more to count as something, detached and
by himself, to be an equal and free unit of judgment and choice, to be
emancipated from all the bonds which hold in close affinity members
of a group whose functions are unlike each other's, and yet decidedly
complementary. Such a class, again--though there are of course
conspicuous exceptions--is, by the stress of special interests, removed
from direct contact with nature and reality, and lives what in the main
may be styled an artificial life.

When such a class asked what were the benefits of art or religion,
it thought first of itself; and it looked upon art and religion--and
the same would be true of philosophy and science, or of political
sanctions--as _merely_ objective and outward entities, foreign to the
individual, yet by some mechanical influences brought into connexion
with him,--as one might apply to him a drug or a viand. But clearly
to a person of practical aims, bent on conveying information and
enlightenment, bent on making all men as like each other as possible
in the medium range of cultivation which he thinks desirable, the
utility of some of these things is questionable and limited. It is
only a little modicum of religion, of art and of science, which can be
justified by its obvious pleasure-giving power; and it is easy to point
the thesis against enthusiasm in these regions, by reference to the
disastrous wars fanned by religion, to the license that has followed
the steps of art, and to the lives wasted in the zeal for increasing
knowledge. In his ideal of human life such a practical reformer
will tend to suppress all that bears too clear a trace of natural,
infra-rational, non-intelligent kindred,--all that ties us too closely
to mother earth and universal nature.

But if this was the dominant tone of the literary teachers who had
chief audience from the public ear, there was no lack of dissentient
voices who appealed to nature, who loved the past, who set sentiment
and imagination above intellect, and who never bowed the knee to
the great idols of enlightened middle-class utilitarianism. Even
in the leaders of the enlightening host--amongst the chiefs of the
_Aufklärung_--there is a breadth and a depth of human interest which
sets them far above their average followers, and which should prevent
us from joining without discrimination in the depreciatory judgments
so often passed on the eighteenth century. The pioneers in the great
emancipatory movement of modern times should not be allowed to suffer
from the exaggerations and haste of their more vulgar imitators--still
less refused the meed of gratitude we owe them. But when their ideas
were violently translated into reality, when the levelling, unshackling
process was set at work by vulgar hands, the shortcomings of their
theories were made to show even greater than they were: and inevitable
reaction set in. Even the revolutionist himself has come to admit that
fraternity at that time came badly off in comparison with liberty and
equality[2]. But these drawbacks were accentuated when the cosmopolitan
reform-movement, by its haste and intolerance, awakened the spirit
of national jealousy. The deeper instincts of life rose in protest
against the supposed superiority of intellect: the heart claimed its
rights against the head: the man of nature and feeling was roused up to
meet the man of reasoning and criticism. The spirit of war evoked those
energies of human nature--some of them not its least valuable--which
had slumbered in times of easy-going peace. The days of adversity and
humiliation taught men that the march of literary culture is not the
all-in-all of life and history.

It was made apparent, practically at least, that intelligence, with
its hard and fast formulae, its logical principles, its keen analysis,
was not deep enough or wide enough to justify its claim to the august
title of reason. To be reasonable implies a more comprehensive,
patient, many-sided observation than is necessary to prove the claim
to mere intelligence. To be intelligent is to seize the right means
to execute a given or accepted end--it is to be quick and correct in
the practice of life, to carry out in detail what has been determined
on in general. Understanding plays upon the surface of life and deals
with the momentary case: and its greatest praise is to be fleet in
the application of principles, apt to detect the point on which to
direct action, correct in its estimate of means to ends. Clearsighted,
prudent, and direct, it is the supreme virtue in a given sphere: but
the sphere must be given, and its end constituted in the measured round
of practical life, its system complete: or, understanding is bewildered
before a hopeless puzzle. Understanding is--the improvident cynic might
say--a certain animal-like sagacity--(such cynical philosophers were
perhaps Hobbes and Schopenhauer[3])--a mere power of carrying out a
given rule in a new but similar case, and of doing so, perhaps, through
a long chain of intermediate links and means.

But there are more things in heaven and earth than are heard of in
the philosophy of the logical intellect. The _subtilitas naturae_[4]
far surpasses the refinements of the practical intellect: and if the
latter is ever to overcome or be equal to the former, it must, so to
speak, wait patiently upon it, as a handmaiden upon the hands of her
mistress. Such a trained and disciplined intellect which has conquered
nature by obedience is what the philosophers at the beginning of this
century called _reason_[5]. It is in life as much as in our mind. It
comes not by self-assertion, by the attempt to force our ends and
views on nature, but by feeling and thinking ourselves in and along
with nature. Or, briefly, it breaks down the middle wall of partition
by which man had treated nature as a mere world of _objects_--things
to be used and to minister to his pleasure--but always alien to him,
always mere matter to be manipulated _ab extra._ Yet even to get full
use and enjoyment out of a thing it is well to be in closer community
with it, and on terms of friendly acquaintance. The function of this
fuller reason cannot be performed without something analogous to
sympathy and imagination. Sympathy, which realises the inner unity
of the so-called 'thing' with ourselves: imagination, which sets it
in the full circumstances of those relationships which the practical
intelligence is inclined to abstract from and to neglect. Yet only
something _analogous_ to sympathy and imagination: if, as may well be
the case, we attach to these terms any association of irregular or mere
emotional operation. The imagination in question is the 'scientific'
imagination--the power of wide large vision which sets the object fully
in reality, and is not content with a mere name or abstract face of a
fact--a name which represents a fact no doubt, but represents it, as
many such 'agents' or deputies do, in a hard and wooden spirit. The
sympathy in question is the transcending of the antithesis between
subjective and objective; not a fantastic or fortuitous choice of one
or a few out of many on whom to lavish locked-up stores of affection,
but the full recognition of unity as pervading differences, and
reducing them to no more than aspects in correlation.

What has been said of sympathy and imagination, as the allies and
ministers of reason, might be extended and applied to humour,
to wit, to irony. These also it may be said--and with the same
qualifications--are essential to a philosopher in the highest
sense. The humour, viz., which strides over the barriers set up by
institution and convention between the high and the humble, and
sees man's superficial distinctions overpowered by a half-grim,
half-jubilant _Ananke_,--which notes how human proposal is overcome,
not without grace, by divine and natural disposal, how the deep inner
identity in all estates breaks triumphantly through the fences of
custom and deliberate intention. The wit, which upsets the hardened
fixity of classes and groups, flits from one to another, shows
glimpses of affinity between remote provinces of idea, and all this,
without laboured and artificial search for analogies, though to the
slower-following practical mind, hampered by its solid limits, these
leaps from province to province seem paradoxical and whimsical.
The irony, which notes the tragicomedy of life under its apparent
regularity of prose,--which detects the vanity of all efforts to check
the flux of vitality and make the volatile permanent; which contrasts
the apparent with the real, the obviously and officiously meant with
the truly desired and willed, and shows how diplomatically-close design
is dissipated in a jest, or the soul bent on many years of enjoyment
is plunged into torment. Thus, in a way, imagination, sympathy, wit,
humour, irony and paradox are elements that go to the making of a
philosopher: but in the serenity of reasoned wisdom they lose their
frolicsome and fantastic mood, and fill their minor place with sober
cheer. Wedded to the lord of wisdom, the Muse of poesy and wit loses
her sprightly laugh and her dancing step, becoming a subdued, yet
gracious matron, who, with her offspring, sheds gleams of brightness
and warmth and colour in the somewhat austere household. Yet still the
free maiden of poesy, in the open fields where the shadow of reflective
thought has not yet fallen, has the greater charm; and a certain
jealousy not unfrequently reigns between the married sister and the
virgin yet untamed.

But though poetry and the allied arts of words were very helpful to
philosophy--witness the services which, though in widely different
ways, Goethe and Schiller rendered to the higher thinking of
Germany--even more stimulative and fruitful was the research into
nature and history. Nature _and_ history: but they lie closer together
than the conjunction suggests. It is true that in recent times we have
been forcibly taught to separate civil from natural history, if we have
not even been further taught that the latter is an improper application
of the term. But when Aristotle said that 'Poetry is more philosophical
than History' he was probably not restricting his remark to the story
of nations and states; even as when Bacon set history as the field
of memory beside the fields of imagination and reasoning, he was not
solely referring to the records of the human past. The distinction
between natural and civil history is no doubt for practical education
a distinction of supreme importance. But it is so, because in this
scholastic phase the conception of both, under these comprehensive
names, was superficial and abstract. Natural history meant only the
classificatory description of animals, plants, and minerals: civil
history the tale composed to string together the succession of human
actions on the public and national field of life.

We have seen in an earlier chapter the advances which Lessing, Kant,
and above all Herder, made in this direction[6]. Emphasising in their
several ways the great dictum of Spinoza that human passions, and the
whole scheme of human life, are _res naturales, quae communes naturae
leges sequuntur_, they gave to history a higher, more philosophical,
more scientific scope than what the name used to connote. Neither in
Spinoza himself, nor in these his followers, did this insistence on
the unity of nature at all lead them to neglect the difference--almost
equivalent, it may be said, in the end to an _Imperium in imperio_--by
which rational man marks himself off to a special kindred with the
divine[7]. We have seen too what Schelling did to show that history, if
in one aspect it be the product of free human volitions, is, in another
and as he thought a superior aspect, the realm subject to a divine or
natural necessity. The whole tendency of this epoch of thought--the
tendency which entitles it above all to the name of speculative--is its
impulse to over-ride this distinction between Nature and History; to
over-ride it, however, not in the sense of simply ignoring or denying
it, but of carrying it up into a unity which would do justice to both,
without exclusively favouring either, and hardly without clipping
both of any extravagant claims. The distinction remains,--no longer
an abrupt division, but now tempered and mellowed by the presence of
a paramount unity. Nature now has a real history: no longer a mere
factitious aggregate of classified facts, it is the phenomenon of
a 'latent process,' due to a 'latent schematism,' and a 'form' or
principle of organisation. Classification does not cease: but it ceases
to be an end in itself, and becomes only subordinate or auxiliary to a
higher scientific end. The main theme is to construe the complete cycle
of life-change and the complete organisation of life-state from the
evidence pieced out and put together from the various orders, classes,
and species of living creatures. And on the other side the mere tale
or narrative of history, with its gossip of personalities, and its
accidents of war and intrigue, tends to become insignificant in the
presence of the great popular life, in its deep and subtle connexion
with agencies of nature hitherto unsurmised, in its dependence upon
necessities and uniformities which envelope or rather permeate and
constitute the human will. It is not indeed that the force of great
personalities has come to be treated as a quantity we may neglect. The
force of the great leader, of the genius, of the hero, is not less
admirable to the wise philosophical historian to-day than it ever was
to his story-telling predecessor. But he flatters himself that he
understands better, and can better take account of, the conditions
which make the genius and the hero possible. Achilles still counts for
more than a thousand common soldiers, and Homer himself is not merely
the composite image by which a long tradition has fused into a dim
pictorial unity the countless bards who sang for ages on the isles of
Greece and the coasts of Ionia. Yet we feel sure that Achilles did
what he did, because of the race he sprang from, the inspiration he
felt around him, the companionship in body and spirit of his peers. We
feel that the hero derives his strength from earth and air, from the
spiritual and material substance in which he draws his breath. True,
we cannot explain him, as if he and his heroisms were a mere product
of mathematical and mechanical forces. But where we once recognise
that behind the single visible deed and agent there is a spiritual
nature--an underlying agency--which, unperceived, keeps the hearth-fire
of public life burning in the celestial temple of Vesta, we can at
least see that though genius is a marvel and a mystery, yet it is
according to law, and no mere will-o'-the-wisp.

But when we say that the actions and sayings even of the foremost
individuals are to be comprehended only in the light of universal
forces and laws, there is an error which is only too ready to
substitute itself for the truth. It soon appears for example that,
among the general causes which control the development of civilisation
and the acts of individuals, the economical condition is of great and
prominent effect. And, above all, it is easily measurable, and subject
to palpable standards (such as statistics of exports and imports,
&c.). It was natural therefore that a school of historico-social
philosophers should arise who maintained that the economical state of
a given society was the fundamental principle or form of its life,
of which all other phases of its civilisation, religious, aesthetic,
&c., were only variable dependent functions. This view, which comes
out in the socialist theory of Marx, is clearly the exaggeration or
abstract statement of a partial truth into a pseudo-complete theory.
The truth is one which found expression as early as Plato. It is this:
that in the economical system of a society we find the first and
somewhat external or mechanical suggestion of the organism to which
the state is yet to grow. In the economic law of reciprocity there is
a 'certain faint image' of the principle of social organisation or
political life. But when we go beyond, and interpret this first phase
to mean the original foundation, we are stating a figment which has a
plausibility only when by the economic state we mean a great deal more
than abstractly economic facts include. And this again arises because
it is really impossible to carry out thoroughly the abstraction of one
aspect of social life from the others. There are no purely economic
facts which are independent of other social influences,--of ideals, e.
g. moral or aesthetic,--ideals which nobody would call economic, though
they never quite part company from economical conditions.

So again there is occasionally a tendency to magnify the influence of
what in the narrowest sense may be termed political systems. Forms
of government, and titles of sovereignty are regarded as forces to
which individuals--even the highest--must bow. But here again the
exaggeration of a principle need not tempt us to rush with Tom Paine
into the opposite extravagance that government and state-power are
superfluities, or quasi-ornamental additions to a social fabric, which
can do without them and, like other beasts of low organisation, can,
when shorn of them, reproduce them with ease. And thus though we may
dissent from the view that laws and constitutions are omnipotent, we
may admit that in them the central unity and controlling principle of
social life finds its dominant expression in great outlines. We shall
not agree with him who said 'Let who will make the laws of a nation
if I may make its ballads': because we know that the nation will in
the end have the chief voice in determining what are to be its ballads
no less than its laws. We shall not quite accept the dictum that the
intellectual class which formulates ideas and sets up programmes of
ideals gives the real lead to the process of civilisation; for we shall
remember that real ideas are not formed by individuals, but are the
slow work of concrete experience in the so-called inorganic masses,
finding at length utterance through the lips of those appointed to that
end by the natural and divine order. Yet we shall, on the other hand,
see that the high things of the world are dependent on the lowly: that
a song-maker is sometimes not less potent than a legislature: that
pecuniary conditions are effective in the sanctuaries of religion and
the high places of art: and that the noblest ideas of great thinkers
draw their strength and life through roots that run unseen through very
humble ground.

_La Raison_, says Leibniz, _est l'enchainement des vérités._[8] Truth
linked into truth, and so made truer: truth, with which all things
harmonise and nothing cries dissent: truth, which is neither the
prerogative of the mere _demos_, nor of the intellectual aristocracy,
but of that rarer unity which, when they can exercise several and
mutually-tendered self-abnegation, is the real spirit of both: truth,
thus conceived, is that king of life, that sun of Reason which lighteth
every man. Truth--to use again the language of Leibniz,--which is not
merely the aggregate of monads,--but the monad of monads, their mutual
penetration and corrective completion, in that Idea-reality where they
retain their individuality, but retain it in the fullness and fruition
of the absolute which each essentially or implicitly is. This kingdom
of suffering and yet triumphant truth is the true age of Reason--not
outwardly-critical, individualistically-reforming, mere intellectual
and abstract intelligence,--but intelligence, charged with emotion,
full of reverence, reverent above all to the majesty of that divinity
which, much disguised, and weather-beaten, like Glaucus of the sea,
resides in common and natural humanity. This is the Reason of German
idealism at the commencement of the century. To the clear-cut dogmas of
the abstract intellect it savours of mysticism. If it is friendly to
distinctions and constantly makes them, it is the pronounced enemy of
hard and fast separations. Begin where you like, the reason of things,
if you allow it to work, carries you round till you also see identity
where you only saw difference, or effects where you only looked for
causes. You begin, as the inductive logician, with the belief that
the process is from the known to the unknown. You start with your
basis of fact, as you called it. The nemesis of things forces you
to admit that your facts were partly fictions which waited for the
unknown to give them a truer and fuller reality. You talk at first of
induction, as if it were a single and simple process, which out of
facts builds up generalities and uniformities. You learn as you go on
that the only induction that operates, except in cases which have been
artificially simplified by supposing half the task done before you
apply your experimental methods, is an induction of which the major
part is deductive, and where your conclusion will be recurrently made
your premiss. Your induction only works on the basis of a hypothesis,
and must itself be linked in the 'concatenation of truths,'--a
concatenation which is also a criticism and a correction.


[Footnote 1: 'We hold,' says the American Declaration of Independence
(1776), 'these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created
equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness,' &c.]

[Footnote 2: Louis Blanc, _History of the Revolution_, vol. i.]

[Footnote 3: Hobbes, _Leviathan_, Part I. chaps. 2 and 3; and
elsewhere. Schopenhauer, _Welt als Wille_, Book I. § 6.]

[Footnote 4: Bacon, _Novum Organum_, i. 10.]

[Footnote 5: See notes and illustrations in vol. ii. p. 400.]

[Footnote 6: See Chapter XII.]

[Footnote 7: Cf. _Ethica,_ iv. 37, Schol. I. contrasting _rerum
externarum communis constitutio_ with _ipsa hominis natura, in se sola
considerata._]

[Footnote 8: See the _Discours préliminaire_ to the _Theodicee_.]



CHAPTER XVI.


THE NEW IDEALISM.


This new idealism which conjures by the name of Reason is a different
thing from the pseudo-idealism of Jacobi, as it is from the
'rationalism,' so-called, of the mere intellectualist. Its ideal is not
a desperate refuge from the hard and bitter reality, only to be reached
by the plunge of faith,--which seems rather the leap of despair: not
a _mere_ other-world,--always _other_, longed for, presaged, beheld
in dreamy vision, but unperceived by the clear light of intelligence:
clutched at, but elusive of every effort. It is not won by turning
the back on reality and flying on the wings of morning faith to the
better land and the presence of the divine: but by persistence in
unfolding, expanding, adjusting, re-combining, and fortifying those
partial glimpses of the unseen which occur in every vision of the seen.
It is true the ideal is, in a way, always an other world: but not a
_mere_ other world; it is another, and yet not another, but the same,
seen, if you like to say, transfigured, idealised. But idealisation,
if so applied, means not an addition here and a subtraction there
made in reality, from some source outside--from some indeterminable
Whence (Whence indeed should such additions come?). It does not mean
a correction of faults and failures in the real, at the will of an
artist who is dissatisfied with his subject-model and would mend it
out of other faces and forms stored up in memory or sketch-book.
This idealism does not in that sense idealise (so as to falsify). It
means complete reality; absolute, systematic, unconditioned reality:
nowhere fragmentary, nowhere referring outside, but completing itself
in all its members. It means--to quote the Hegelian term--seeing all
things in the Idea--their notion (or ideality), i. e. their unifying
'grip,' reflecting itself in their objectivity, and their reality
completing itself in art, religion, and philosophy to that ideal which
to the non-artistic, non-religious, non-philosophic mood is only dimly
suggested and partially supposed. Still less is it an idealism which,
as popularly understood, turns reality and historic fact into _mere_
ideas.

But, as perhaps may have been apparent, to call this way of thought
idealism need not keep us from acknowledging that the same philosophy
is also realism. If it insists, so to say, on the idealism of--what
we sometimes call material--nature, it no less insists on the realism
of--what is supposed immaterial--mind. The mental or spiritual world
loses its unsubstantial intangibleness, its mere supposedness, its
'ideal' or _merely_-ideal character. To the older, and we may say
vulgar, view the mind or soul was a mere 'thought,' something of
which all that could be seen were certain acts or phenomena. It was
a _mere idea_, which one could pretty well get on without--so long
as he kept, as the phrase was, to the phenomena--phenomena without
reality. How vague and aery again was the subject-matter of morals! A
few virtues and vices, confessedly general descriptive titles, a talk
about will and conscience,--all of them merely several predicates of an
unknown, spoken of, postulated, but unproducible. Compared with this
mere supposedness the spiritual world in Schelling and Hegel acquires
the reality of a quasi-organism (really supra-organic), growing
and constituting itself, and making room in it for a host of human
relationships. The abstract faculties of mind get reality (not indeed
sensible): the intangible notions of morals become almost palpable: the
kingdom of mind becomes a real pendant to the kingdom of nature. And,
on the other hand, the kingdom of nature gets its ideality recognised:
its unity and continuity made effective in an Idea which embraces,
co-ordinated and systematised, its disparate and unconnected portions.

This new Idealism, if it led men back from the historical world to
nature, was yet hardly in all respects a pupil of Rousseau. Not 'Back
from civilisation and artificiality to nature and the freedom of the
woodland,' was its cry: but rather 'Remember that man always rests
on and grows out of nature, always has his ideals made directly or
indirectly visible in physical (sensible) structures; and that, when
culture turns away from sense and nature to some supposed higher, it is
really entering on a path which leads to abysses,' Its voice, in fact,
was much like the longing expressed in Schiller's _Gods of Greece;_
it wished man more godlike and the divine more human. But instead of
backward,--its motto was forward: or back to nature, only to resume the
true starting-point, and retreat from a path of civilisation whose end
is perdition. Man also was nature[1]--if he is never _mere_ nature, i.
e. the nature unexalted to its truth--but he brought to expression,
and might bring to ever clearer and fuller expression, a something
which was in infra-human nature, but which nature elsewhere had
failed adequately to present. Thus the relation of Man to Nature was
apparently twofold. On one hand, the physical world was essentially a
world of reason and intelligence--though of intelligence petrified[2].
So far Hegel agreed with Schelling. But, on the other hand (and here
Hegel took up the great paradox of Fichte), man's place in the universe
is to fulfil the promise and implication of Nature to the full reality
of Spirit, to fulfil it by law and morality; but (here he completes
Fichte by the help of Schelling) also in higher measure, by art,
religion, and science. The world of intelligence and reason which man
constructs as an ethical, artistic, and religious being, is the full
truth of the natural world,--the higher meaning, and fuller, more
consistent, and complete reality of the sensible: and it is so, because
the lord of Nature is one with the lord of the human soul. The new way
of philosophy therefore, if it could be ever charged with saying that
the so-called real things of ordinary life were only ideas, or mental
images, meant that, as taken by the unthinking or imperfectly thinking
perception, they were something of which all that could be said was to
describe their relations to something else, of which in turn the same
remark might be made; so that--as far as they went--reality was never
with us, but only an assurance (soon to be proved vain) that it was
next door[3]. On the contrary--in _its_ use of the term Idea--what this
idealism asserted rather was that the objects of Nature in their _prima
facie_ apprehension were not yet an Idea: if, i.e., an Idea is a mental
or spiritual reality which explains and completes itself, instead of
sending us on endless fool's errands elsewhere--, is a concept which
is exactly adequate to reality, and has gathered in it the power of
reality.

The new idealism is not subversive of realism, but includes it and
makes it the reality it professed to be. It may therefore, as Schelling
proposed[4], be called an ideal-realism, or a real-idealism. If any
body likes, he may even, if he is no Greek scholar, call it Monism;
but in that case he had better begin by admitting to himself that any
Monism, which can stand its ground and serve for an explanation of the
universe, will not exclude Dualism. All is indeed one life, one being,
one thought; but a life, a being, a thought, which only exists as it
opposes itself within itself, sets itself apart from itself, projects
its meaning and relations outwards and upwards, and yet retains and
carries out the power of reuniting itself. The Absolute may be called
One: but it is also the All; it is a One which makes and overcomes
difference: it is, and it essentially is, in the antithesis of Nature
and Spirit, Object and Subject, Matter and Mind; but under and over the
antithesis it is fundamental and completed unity. Monism, literally
understood, is absurd--for it ignores, what cannot be ignored, the
many: and Dualism, which is offered sometimes as a competitive scheme,
is not much better; unless we understand the Dualism to be no fixed
bisection, but an ever-appearing and ever-superseded antithesis which
is the witness to the power and the freedom of the One,--which is not
alone, but One and All, One in All, and All in One.

The central or cardinal point of Idealism is its refusal to be kept
standing at a fixed disruption between Subject and Object, between
Spirit and Nature. Its _Idea_ is the identity or unity (not without the
difference) of both. In its purely logical or epistemological aspect
one can easily see that, as Schopenhauer was so fond of repeating,
There is no Object without a Subject and no Subject without an
Object[5]. The difficulty arises in remembering these excellent truisms
when one of the correlatives is out of sight, and the other seems
to be independent and to come before us with a title to recognition
apparently all its own. When the Subject figures as the individual
consciousness, encased, it may perhaps be added, in an individual body,
and the Object as a thing apparently out there in a world beyond all
by itself, then the lapse from this rudimentary idealism becomes easy.
In the practice of life and business, each of us, self-conscious and
autonomous _subject_ as he may be, comes to rank in the estimate of
others, and ere long to some extent in his own, as also a part of the
aggregate of objects. All reality and substance seem as it were to
slide over into the object-side. The conscious subject counts as a mere
onlooker or the passive spectator of a performance that goes on in an
outside field of event,--yet that outside is his own object-mind; his
mind counts as a mere idea, or rather as a succession of ideas, i. e.
of mental pictures with a certain meaning in them. A little step more
and the very subject-mind itself is turned into an object. There stands
indeed--according to the ordinary introspective psychology--as it
were in one corner, or at one loop-hole of vision, a mind looking on,
observing and criticising another thing which is also called a mind;
but the mind observing can only reflect or register, and the mind which
is observed is very much thing-like, apparently acted upon by other
things, and acting upon them in turn. This object-mind, a real among
other reals, in relations of cause and effect with them, does not,
if we can trust the _words_ of those who tell about it, see itself,
but lies open to the inspection of this other mind, represented by the
psychological observer, who is good enough to report to us something
of its blind and dark estate. Its re-actions, he informs us, exhibit a
remarkable peculiarity. They are equivalent to states of consciousness:
and even to acts of will and knowledge. As when a violin is touched in
certain ways by the bow, you get a musical note, so when certain agents
come in contact with this peculiar real, they elicit a re-action,
termed sense or idea.

To distinguish in this manner between mental passivity and activity is
natural and right. The basis of all consciousness and mental activity
is an original division, a 'judgment' or dijudication of self from
self. But, once the dijudication made for such ends, it is a mistake
to forget its initiation and lose sight entirely of the fact that
the observing mind is also the active, and that the object-self is
not merely in relation to the subject-self, but in a higher unity is
identifiable therewith. Still the thing is done, habitually done. We
all profess this faith of ordinary realism in our first reflections
upon ourselves. And the effect of the oblivion is that we seek
elsewhere for the initial activity, which we have abstracted from and
lost sight of. The receptive passive mind,--called subject still, but
now become a subject in the sense of the anatomist,--has to be set in
motion, to be impinged upon or impressed. The psychical event which you
_call_ knowledge, and which no doubt _means_ knowledge,--the mental
'state' which you observe--or, it may even, if your authority is a
particularly obstinate and _intransigcant_ realist, be the molecular
change in brain cells,--requires an antecedent event to account for
it. The origin of the movement which issued in the given psychical
or molecular change is sought in a self-subsistent thing which _out
there_ gives rise to a series of movements which _in here_ result
in a sensation. Or, a thing somehow produces an attenuated image of
itself in the brain, or in the mind; for, in this mythological tale
of psychical occurrence, accuracy is unattainable, and one must not
seek to be too precise. In any case the relationship between thing
and idea is conceived after the analogy of the nexus of cause and
effect, or original and copy; and the verbal imagination of the
analogical reasoner is satisfied. What Hegel, after Schelling, teaches,
on the other side, is that the process of sense-impression and the
manipulations to which it is subjected by intellect presuppose, for
their existence and their objective truth, a Reason which is the unity
of subject and object, an original identity uniting knowledge to being.

But the same defect of unphilosophic consciousness has another
phase which philosophy has to remember. Popular language speaks of
_things_,--of things here and things there, which act upon each other
and upon the so-called mind: i. e. on this imagined and supposed
passive mind. For things, a more 'scientific' conception has been
substituted--that of _forces_; which, whether attached to atoms or not,
are asserted to be the real sources of the change and event which fill
the world of our experience. And as, according to some psychologists,
the mind is only a vacant ground or space with more or less narrow
limits of room, on which the entities called ideas are for that reason
forced into more or less close relationships, without any nearer or
more essential tie; so, too, the mind is apt to be treated by others
only as a battle-field or wrestling-ground of opposing forces. Here
the atom-forces, as in the other case the atom-ideas, are, it is
assumed, merely and purely independent: and yet such is the force of
a limited environment--shall we say, in more popular language, the
force of space and time?--that they must meet with one another, must,
as it were, form associations, connexions, relationships. Great,
verily, is the force of juxtaposition. Space and time, because they are
essentially limiting, correlating, defining, weld links which the great
prophet of this empirical school has not scrupled to call insoluble,
ineradicable, inseparable. Space and time, says his great successor,
are infinite. But they are infinite only in the sense that they can
never be exhausted: they are everywhere, and for ever: but as real they
are only here and now. Time can precede time, and space fade away into
remoter space: but every space and every time is finite, defining,
limiting, relative, and synthetic. And, if we look closer, space and
time may come to seem the visible, ghostly, abstract outline--on one
hand stiffening and bodying-out the ideal synthesis of thought and
intelligence, on the other, faintly reproducing or fore-casting the
real synthesis of organisation and living nature.

In saying this we give the reasonable interpretation of
'association':--so far at least as association is supposed to be
brought about by juxtaposition in time and space. Time and space, as
Kant might say, give the schema--the sensible and visible reflex of the
eternal and universal thought-relation: they are _a priori_ because
they are in the physical world the _primitive_, the first phase and the
lowest manifestation of that unity which as we know it in nature and
mind always blends with sense, or displays itself in sensible forms.
They are the first stamp of reality, of real Nature: with them we are
in Nature, but it is an abstract shadowy nature. They mark the ascent
(which only from the mere logician's standpoint shall we call the
descent) of the abstract (pure) idea into the element of multiplicity,
of opposition, of life and consciousness. In the psychical and
intellectual world, again, as it rises to more perfect ideality (as it
elicits more _meaning_ from crude _fact_) they lose their prominence;
they sink into the powers of memory and imagination, which build up
past and future into the unity of the ever present, until in their
consummation they leave as their residual product the abstract element
of pure thought: a thought which claims the attributes of universality
and eternity, which claims, i. e., to merge or submerge in it all space
and all time[6].

It is evident therefore that if an associationist theory, like that of
Hume, proposes to explain the actual field of mental life by elements
given in it, and by no other, it can only do so on certain assumptions,
which may be summed up in the proposition that the mind--the real
mental space and time even (and not its supposed 'image')--is at once
subjective and objective, at once real and ideal, at once the field
of operation, the force which directs operations, and the mind which
is aware of itself and its acts. To say, as Hume appears to do, that
an unintermittent long-established custom breeds _in us_ certain
irresistible and essential habits of thought, can only refer to an
unexplained and unnoticed duplication of the self. There is here, one
self, which is only a bundle of fragments, of ideas intrinsically
separate and only incidentally connected by outside pressure, which
enter into ties, peradventure necessary or indissoluble, though not
due to inner affinity. And there is another self which is a self-same
unity, dividing and growing, or assimilating, acted upon but only
because it solicits action, and in a way controlling the process going
on within it. The difficulty for the investigator is to realise that
these two selves are one. No amount of ingenuity will ever succeed in
honestly showing unity to be the mere resultant--even should it be
a fictitious or phenomenal unity--of the collisions and fortuitous
attachments or detachments of different and independent reals. The
reals which behave in such a way as to engender unities, to cause
syntheses, are reals in a mind; and the mind must not merely, as it
were, flow around them, but have them fluid members of itself. If they
are reals, they are ideal-reals. You must begin with an ideal-unity
which is also a real-unity, in which variety can play and by which it
is controlled.

'Forces,' no less than 'things,' are terms of thought, names of reality
indeed, but inadequate because due to an abstraction and leaving
their correlatives out of sight--names of momentary elements seized
in the flux, and made with more or less success to indicate 'moments'
and 'factors' or 'aspects' in the total sum and power of reality.
Explanation by permanent and separate forces labours under the same
disadvantages as that by things. Science, grown more self-critical,
begins to see that in forces, &c., it has names and formulae which
are not the full reality, but only useful (_if_ useful) abstractions.
Neither things nor forces, though called real, are so in the full
sense. Hume said,--and said not untruly, though with some relish of
paradox,--that we never had any real impression or idea of power
and force. The statement should be taken along with another that
what we mistake for power in things is only our own want of power to
overcome a suggested association, or to break a customary train of
ideas. Lotze, again, has remarked that the supposed consciousness of
power exerted in voluntary movement is confused with a feeling of
work done, or inertia overcome. Whatever may be the truth about the
psychological experience, there can be no doubt for the epistemologist
that the so-called perception of force is an interpretation of one
aspect of experience which, with a certain amount of arbitrary arrest
and simplification, renders it intelligible and real by means of an
antithesis and correlation. Force in fact only exists, or arises, in
relation or opposition to a counter-force: action and re-action are
always equal and opposite, says the mathematical formula. Two forces
are as little independent as an up and a down, or as a west and a
north; force solicits force, and force only _is_ in so far as it is
solicited. The soliciting can only solicit because it is solicited.
In other words, it is not enough to say that the forces which thus
confront each other are correlatives. The relationship must be carried
up a stage higher: the forces themselves get their pseudo-real
character, only so long as they are kept apart forcibly or by inertia.
Carry out their implications: and they re-unite (not however to the
loss of all distinction) in a higher idea, an intelligible unity which,
by its division and return to unity, makes possible and real their
contention. It is this carrying-out of implications to their explicit
truth which is at the root of Schopenhauer's playing fast and loose
with the distinction between force and will. But with him the two terms
are taken up vague and indefinite, in the haze of popular conception or
want of conception, and are without effort or justification identified:
whereas in Hegel, there is, on the lowest estimate, an _attempt_ made
to trace the somewhat intricate steps which mediate the metamorphosis.

The new idealism thus maintains the organic and even supra-organic
nature of thought and being. The world of experience, when taken in its
reality and fullness, is an organism which lives and knows and wills,
and which is life, action, knowledge; its own means and its own end.
The subject acting, living, knowing is action, knowledge, life. In the
ordinary organism there is a subject of functions, a being in relation
to an inorganic world. In the world-organism (if the inadequate name
is still to be retained) there is no outside world, no inorganic
or extra-organic thing. In the world-organism the organ and its
environment is combined in one, re-united: the plant or animal is not
without its place, and its place is not without plant or animal. They
are not merely in correlation, but essentially and actually one. _Quid
prosunt leges sine moribus?_ asks the moralist: but in the Absolute or
the supra-organic Idea, law and morality are not apart: the necessity
is also freedom: the law is not severed from its phenomenon. Such an
organism which is life, thinking, will, is what Hegel calls the Idea:
an organism which is completely organic, with no mere matter: and that
Idea is the foundation of his Idealism. Conceived under its conditions,
the forces which are sometimes represented as struggling with each
other on the field of man's life, are no longer independent; still less
completely separable forces. They are the inner division by which the
spirit re-establishes and makes secure its unity: their antagonisms
are the breath of life. And they have their relations in their common
service, building up one life. They form a certain hierarchy of
organisation; in which however the higher or more developed does not
merely supervene upon the cruder, but in a way supersedes it, and yet
contrives to retain its worth and its real truth.


[Footnote 1: Cf. Spinoza's remark on Body, _Eth._ III. pr. 2 Schol.:
'Etenim quod corpus possit, nemo hucusque determinavit; hoc est neminem
hucusque experientia docuit quid corpus ex solis legibus naturae
quatenus corporea tantum consideratur possit agere,' &c.]

[Footnote 2: See vol. ii, notes and illustrations, p. 392.]

[Footnote 3: Schopenhauers well-known description of this recurrent
throwing back of the responsibility of reality on something else is
here suggested ('World as Will and Idea,' § 17).]

[Footnote 4: See p. 157 (chap. xiii).]

[Footnote 5: _Satz vom Grunde,_ § 16: _Welt als Wille und Vorstellung:
Ergänzungen._ Cap. i.]

[Footnote 6: See later, chapter xxvi.]



CHAPTER XVII.


METHODS, ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL.


When modern philosophy took its first steps, it was disdainful and
depreciatory to the past, both Medieval and Old-Greek. Bacon and
Hobbes, Descartes and Spinoza,--be their other differences what they
may--all echo the same disparagement. Like Wordsworth's _Rob Roy_, they
cry--

                    'What need of books?
    Burn all the statutes and their shelves.

    We'll show that we can help to frame
           A world of other stuff.'

On this iconoclastic age supervenes the attempt of Leibniz to combine
in one all that was good in the new corpuscular philosophy with
all that was precious in the old Platonic idealism as expanded by
Aristotle. So, at the later philosophic crisis towards the close of
the eighteenth century, the somewhat destructive and revolutionary
tendencies of Kant and Fichte lead up by a natural revulsion and
complement to the reconstructive systems of Schelling and Hegel. In
them the conservative instinct comes to supplement the defects of
the radical go-ahead. Instead of tossing the past away to the winds,
and crying out _Écrasez l'infâme_,--instead of throwing medievalism
behind, breaking all the restrictions on individual liberty which
feudal Europe had created to secure and safeguard the communities that
housed its early freedom, the new spirit of the time saw that the
problems of modern life were not solved by merely throwing overboard
as encumbrances and refuse all checks and forms. On the contrary, the
reflective mind saw that forms and checks so-called there must be, and
that the art of statesmanship, though it could not entirely consist in
copying the old, had still to work in some way after the analogy of the
old methods: i. e. to do under new circumstances what would solve the
same requisites, as the old constitution had done for its time. The
change is well illustrated by the attitude towards state organisation
shown by William von Humboldt at different epochs of his life.

People talk glibly of the Historical Method, and what it has done for
us. To hear what is sometimes said it might be supposed that this was
the method that had been always habitual in history, but which in
these latter days had been applied to other topics, and had proved its
value on the new ground by achieving results that had hitherto been
mere desiderata. This however is pretty nearly to reverse the true
state of the case. It was long till history came to have any method
worthy of the name. In most of those who figure as great historians
the object had been to tell a good tale, to keep the thread of events
distinct, to subordinate incidents to the main issue, to portray
personal and public character and its influence on events. History was
practised--we may even say--more as an art than as a science. If it
dealt with causes, it dealt with individual, concrete, living causes,
not with cold, dead abstractions of forces, laws, or tendencies. If it
did not altogether ignore the suggestions of a quest for principles to
be found in Thucydides and Polybius, it was much more enamoured of the
art of Livy and Tacitus, or even of the naïveté of Herodotus. Of such
history who has not felt the power; who has not admired the genius that
reconstructs the men and circumstances of the past, and makes them
live over again their deeds, and again in the end yield the palm to
inevitable fate! But it was not from such history that the historical
method arose.

The historical method was the product of the new conception of nature
and mind in their mutual relations which has been already noted. To
estimate the labours of thinkers towards this view of history would
be an interesting but complex inquiry. Leibniz in particular by
his principles of development, of continuity, of general analogy,
should have made two things for ever clear. And these two results
that might have been supposed secure were, first, that the present
existence (which at first seems to be alone real) is only a narrow
transition line between a past and a future,--a line of points
intersecting a complex movement or development; and secondly, that
all development is of something which is essentially infinite, which
requires nothing external, no fillip from circumstances or from an
external providence, to set it going, but is in itself a synthesis of
active and passive force in a something at least analogous to an Ego.
The first principle is embalmed in Leibniz's maxim: 'The present is
laden with the past, and full of the future': and the second, in the
maxim 'the Monads have no doors or windows.' In virtue of the first,
the existent (of this instant) is only a stage or grade, rooted in
what has been, and insignificant unless in reference to what is to
come. In virtue of the second, all development is from within, and
presupposes therefore that the developing individual includes within
it a great deal which a cursory view would at first sight assume to
be without it, and only accidentally in contact with it. It might
indeed be well to add a third principle--what Leibniz has sometimes
called the Law of Continuity--the law that, as he says, distinct and
noticeable perceptions are the resultants of an infinite number of
insensible or little perceptions. But continuity proper is not this:
continuity proper or identity is a pure idea. The visible or sensible
discontinuity reposes on, and is to be explained by, an invisible or
ideal continuity. Each body, for instance, in nature, appearing to have
a separate existence of its own, is only a stage isolated or insulated
in a continuing process: and that process, binding, as it does, past
to future, is the process of a Mind. _Omne Corpus_, wrote Leibniz in
1671, _est mens momentanea seu carens recordatione._ Every physical
and material object is an intelligence, but an intelligence which
neither looks before nor after, but is limited _for itself_ to the mere
instant: an intelligence which has no history. Yet to the intelligent
observer it has a past,--it has a memory, it bears in it the traces
of its antecedent. Yet to read that book of memory, to decipher the
'insensible perceptions' which are buried beneath the momentary
present, beneath its unspiritual reality, and to knit present with past
and future, is the work of an intelligence, in and to whom the material
discloses its store of meaning, or in whom it is re-spiritualised. In
other words, the presupposition of this historical method is the ideal
continuity of being, transcending and absorbing the differences of time.

But the teaching of Leibniz--even more perhaps than that of
Spinoza--fell on an evil age: if it was not actually choked with
thorns, it found a soil with little depth, and its brief verdure was
soon followed by a fearful withering. Anxious as Leibniz was to commend
his theories to all men,--and not least perhaps to win the suffrages
of some illustrious and intelligent women--he was led to present them
under forms and phrases which were to each correspondent specially
familiar. And the natural consequence was not absent. The forms of
accommodation were what told: they stuck, and the truth they were
meant to convey slipped away: the Leibnitian theory was re-interpreted
into the doctrines it had been meant to supersede. As with Spinoza,
so with Leibniz, a keen apprehension of his meaning came first to the
thinkers on the borderland of literature and philosophy, to Lessing and
Herder, and found an appreciative welcome in the more academic systems
first from Schelling and Hegel. Above all, this theory of 'petites
perceptions' so closely bound up (as was to be expected) with his
mathematical discoveries in the Calculus, is what marks him as having a
finer ear for the secret harmonies and principles of existence than the
coarser organs of popular philosophy could catch up or appreciate.

'In order,' says Leibniz, 'to get a clearer idea of the little
perceptions which we cannot distinguish in the crowd, I am accustomed
to employ the example of the roar or noise of the sea which strikes
us upon the shore. To hear this sound, as we do hear it, we must hear
the parts which compose this total, i. e. the sounds of each wave,
though each of these little sounds only makes itself perceptible in the
confused assemblage of all the others together, (that is to say, in
that same roar,) and would not be noticed if this wave which causes it
were alone. For we must be a little affected by the movement of that
wave, and we must have some perception of each of these sounds, however
small they may be; otherwise we should never have the perception of
a hundred thousand waves, since a hundred thousand zeros would never
make anything.... These little perceptions are of greater efficiency by
their consequences than we suppose. It is they which form that _Je ne
sais quoi_, those tastes, those images of sensible qualities, clear in
the assemblage, but confused in the parts; those impressions made upon
us by surrounding bodies which envelop the infinite, that _nexus_ which
each being has with all the rest of the universe. It may even be said
that in virtue of these little perceptions the present is big with the
future and laden with the past, that everything conspires together: and
that in the least of substances, eyes as piercing as those of God could
read the whole sequel of the things of the universe.

'These insensible perceptions, further, mark and constitute the
same individual, who is characterised by the traces or expressions
which they preserve of the preceding states of that individual, thus
forming the connexion with his present state. These may be known by
a superior spirit, though that individual himself should not feel
them, i. e. though express memory should no longer be there. But these
perceptions also supply the means of rediscovering that memory, at
need, by periodic developments, which may one day happen.... It is
also by these insensible perceptions that I explain that admirable
pre-established harmony of mind and body, and even of all monads or
simple substances,--which takes the place of the impossible influence
of one upon another.... After this, I should add but little if I
said that it is these small perceptions which _determine_ us in many
conjunctures without our thinking of it, and which deceive the vulgar
by the appearance of an _indifference of equilibrium_, as if we were
entirely indifferent whether we turned, e. g., to right or to left.

'I have remarked also that in virtue of insensible variations two
individual things could never be perfectly alike, and that they ought
always to differ more than _numero._ And with this we have done once
for all with the empty tablets of the mind, a soul without thought,
a substance without action, the void of space, the atoms, and even
parcels not actually divided in matter; we have done with pure repose,
entire uniformity in a portion of time, of place or of matter,...
and a thousand other fictions of philosophers which come from their
incomplete notions, fictions which the nature of things does not
suffer, and which our ignorance and the little attention we have for
the insensible lets pass, but which could never be rendered tolerable,
unless we confine them to abstractions of the mind which protests that
it does not deny what it puts aside and considers out of place in any
present consideration. Otherwise, if we took it quite in earnest, to
mean that things which we do not perceive do not exist in the soul or
body, we should fail in philosophy as in politics by neglecting τὀ
μικρόν, insensible steps of progress:--whereas an abstraction is not an
error provided we know that what we put out of sight is still there.'

This was the conception which Bacon had shadowed out, which Leibniz
had presented under many names and with many applications, as the
olive-branch between Plato and Democritus; it now became through
philosophical and extra-philosophic acceptance a current maxim in the
general field of knowledge. Nature assimilated to history, and history
assimilated to nature: freedom built upon necessity, and efficient
causes rounded off, though not entirely merged, in final. It is the
recognition of law, order, causality in the psychical world, yet not
of _mere_ so-called natural law; and therefore without reducing it to
a merely physical and material world. It is in fact the new method
which is inevitable and necessary, as soon as it is manifest that
life, organisation, development is the underlying truth and central
notion of things. You look at the world at first, let us say, as a mere
collection of separate things in varying degrees of juxtaposition:
and all that you think of doing to them, either by way of theory or
practice, is to put them together, to link them closer, or separate
them more widely. You do so from outside by an arranging force; for
they are assumed to be purely passive, waiting to be touched, each set
in its place--from which it can only be moved by a push or a pull.
This is the method of mathematics or mechanics. It shows the dexterity
of the agent or of the expositor: but you feel that it is artificial,
and arbitrary. It is analytic or synthetic--but not auto-analysis
or auto-synthesis. The director of the movement (we may call it
'construction') may no doubt have the real secret: he may work the
things well and fairly, and unite or divide them according to inner
affinities; but we cannot, as matters stand, be sure of this. The
things, in fact, he deals with have been already emptied of all life
and peculiarity of their own: they are alike in quality, only differing
by a more or less,--a difference which at any moment may be altered by
an act of subtraction or addition. No doubt you can build up what are
_called_ systems--compounds of a kind--in this way: but they do not
really hang and grow together; they are only prevented from breaking
up by the absence of any empty place to which the parts may withdraw.
Bit holds up bit; but how all the bits have found themselves so caged
up without exit is a mystery. Absolute neutrality or indifference of
each part to others, and yet absolute equilibrium[1] in the total
composite,--such is the situation.

The chemical method (taking chemistry as a type of the sciences
like optics, electricity, &c.) is a revelation of a different state
of affairs. The elements of things are here seen to be unique and
incomparable; yet in each there is a latent sympathy ready to break out
when the proper occasion arrives. Bring two things together, and their
affinity suddenly, in the proper circumstances, leads to their complete
fusion: a product arises which, when formed, hardly betrays its origin
and composition. In a way this is the converse of the mechanical or
mathematical method. In it was no fusion, no inner mixture: each part
after composition lay beside the other, and their union was only in the
ideas of the onlooker. It was mere juxtaposition still,--though now
closer: an abnormally keen eye would still have been able to descry the
dividing lines and measure the gaps. At least mere mechanical physics
tends so to conceive it. Here, on the contrary, there is union--but
only at the moment of fusion: once that is accomplished, the result is
apparently simple, and bears no suggestion of being a compound. In the
mechanical union the result is exactly equal to the sum of the elements
which go to make it: in the chemical there is something positively new,
something, i. e., of which the premises gave no indication and made no
promise.

Either of these methods,--of these conceptions of existence--works
well in a certain region. But both of them only do their work on a
certain hypothesis, or with a certain abstraction. The mechanical
method supposes that objects are all qualitatively alike, differing
only in quantity or weight: all therefore entirely comparable with
each other, and capable of being substituted for each other in an
equation. Where this assumption holds good, the method of addition and
division, the method of the calculus does its work[2]. The chemical
method works on another assumption,--the assumption of a number of
qualitatively-differenced elements, of elements which also are, so to
speak, set on edge against some, and ready to leap into the arms of
others. If the observer in the first case had the game entirely in his
own hand,--could build up and separate at his pleasure, could determine
results _a priori_: he is here baffled by the unexpected, and can only
wait and watch to learn _a posteriori_ the behaviour of the bodies
possessed of this occult and non-predictable affinity. At the best he
can only formulate what he observes, try to classify it, ascertain
any common principles running through it, any serial recurrences,
or the like: and that is all that chemical philosophy can achieve.
Chemical affinity--the fact that certain elements combine in certain
ways, and refuse to enter into certain alliances--is a great fact:
but to _a priori_ reasoning or abstract syllogising it is an entire
inexplicability, one of the accidents in the universe which must be
reckoned with, but cannot be understood.

It is probably evident that, if we want to get a comprehension of
the life and concrete reality of things, neither of these methods
will quite answer the purpose. With the first alone, if it could be
universally carried out, the universe would be thoroughly explained:
everything would be exactly equivalent to some sum or multiple of
every other: there would be no mystery, nothing unique, and strictly
individual. Given time, we could find a formula for every reality,
and a predicate exactly fitted to any subject. Yet even mathematics
has to confess the existence of irrationals, surds, infinite series,
and the like. For our unities and standards are always arbitrary,
artificial, and one-sided, and fall short of the subtlety of nature.
Even our simpler types of surfaces--the circle and the square--remain
irreducible to each other: and we only avoid the collision by the
remark that practically and with any required amount of exactness
the discrepancy between the two can be adjusted. If we turn to the
chemical method, again, there is a nearer approach to actuality in the
recognition of the presence of something more than mere composition
and juxtaposition. It is not that there is something which is _not_
juxtaposition: but rather it is much _more than mere_ juxtaposition.
There may be degrees of this something more: but it is only to a gross
or abstract view that it is not present at all. Mere cohesion even
shows a unity in things juxta-posed. Mere contact is contagious: it
infects. 'When a violin has been played on frequently by a tyro,' says
G. H. Lewes, 'its tone deteriorates, its molecules become re-arranged,
so that one mode of vibration is more ready than another[3].' 'Toute
impression,' he quotes from Delboeuf, 'laisse une certaine trace
ineffaçable.' So-called chemical composition is only a conspicuous
instance, with peculiarities, of this alteration in state produced
by what, from the mechanical standpoint, are called inner molecular
displacements. But to recognise a fact is one thing: to give its
explanation is another. Yet, on the other hand, to recognise the fact
is to note an important point which had been omitted by the mechanical
construction of things. There the result could hardly be called new:
it was exactly equal to its constituent elements: and the equation was
transparent. And it was transparent because the whole process, analysis
and synthesis, was not a work or process of the observed thing, but
the work of the observing mind: it makes the (artificial) unities,
numbers them, and adds them or subtracts. But with the chemical result,
though it also is equal to its elements, there is something new.
Water, no doubt, is oxygen and hydrogen, but here, at least, there
is no doubt that the _plus_ sign unduly simplifies the relationship,
and rather indicates or represents a nexus than accurately defines
it. And yet, there is nothing in water which was not, in some--shall
we say mysterious?--way, in the oxygen and the hydrogen. Chemical
physics, therefore, brings out clearly, or comparatively clearly,
something which the ordinary and coarser simplicity-loving theory is
obliged and is able to neglect: it realises the virtue that lies in
juxtaposition, and shows that the mere outer change of quantity goes
with a deeper inward and qualitative one. The result does more than
sum up and condense what was spread out in extension and dispersed
in parts before: it brings out or reveals something which previously
was unsurmised. Always, in a liberal interpretation of the maxim, it
is true that _Ex nihilo nihil fit:_ but here, especially, the effect
actually discloses what was--but was latent or unperceived--in the
premises. The maxim, to be fairly treated, must be read backwards as
well as forwards.

But we must go a step further if we wish the full explanation. If the
premises are to be adequate to support the conclusion, they must be
restated in terms which hint at the conclusion--which in a way contain
it, but contain it in potentiality and promise, not in act. This is
the method of development, which is the method that is applicable to
full concrete reality, not like the others to parts abstracted from
or insulated in reality. So long as you deal with these selected
bits of fact--abstracted from their surroundings, subject to strict
observation or strict experiment, you can apply a comparatively simple
and straightforward method. You are dealing with abstracted, mutilated,
prepared fact. You are guided in these cases by the canons of identity
and difference: you add and subtract, or subtract and add; and that
is all. You use what are called the rules of experimental method. But
these canons do not directly apply--except by happy accident--to the
real world, where antecedent and consequents are not separate and
tabulated, as the logical canons, the rules of formal logic, require.
In dealing with this concrete reality, a much more complex method is
needed, a method which has to blend induction with deduction, and
to start from both ends in the series of causation at once. You can
apply observation or experiment, only when the issues have already
been extremely simplified and narrowed down: when the question has
been rendered so definite that it is next-door to the answer, and the
removal of a slight partition-wall will as it were make the two one
clear space. Where observation and experiment are available, indeed, is
where the general outlines and principles of the subject are settled,
where the scheme of reality is defined in large, but a variety of minor
issues still remains to be settled. Unless this general framework is
fixed, neither observation nor experiment, with their canon of identity
and difference, are of any avail. These methods, therefore, only apply
in sciences which are in principle or substantially complete, though
admitting of possibly infinite extension in details and particulars.
Where the science is yet to constitute, i. e. in dealing with the
kinds of real things in their completeness, and not as viewed in
some definite aspect, induction and deduction must go hand in hand
and help each other at every step: and if they, as they must, have
recourse to experiment and observation, it will be at first in a very
unsatisfactory and tentative way.

Such is the way the contrast between the simplicity belonging to an
artificial method dealing with picked instances, and the complexity
that real concrete organic nature demands, presented itself to J. S.
Mill as he advanced in his inquiry. The only complete method for the
investigation of unsophisticated nature, not yet mapped out and defined
in general departments, is the deductive-inductive method in which
induction and deduction separately have a subordinate place,--using
induction in the narrow sense the term has been hitherto allowed to
bear. And that sense, it may be added, is, as in some passages of
Aristotle, little else than a reverse of syllogism, or to speak more
accurately, it is a syllogism which goes up to generals instead of
descending from them. It is like the syllogistic deduction formal and
abstract in character. The (deductive) syllogism assumes the existence
of major premises--of general propositions which in the last resort,
if they are real bases, must be primary and true, or self-evident
facts. But a critic, like Mill, had little difficulty in showing
that a general truth rests upon and presupposes the very particular
conclusions which it is used to establish. Unless every singular is
true, the universal which embraces or unifies them cannot really be
true. Therefore the conclusion is really implied and presupposed in
the principles of its premises. But, unfortunately for the application
and supposed sequel of this not unjust remark, a similar remark may
be made on the ordinary exposition of the inductive method. Induction,
it is said, infers from or on a basis of single facts. But if a single
truth is really, i. e. unconditionally true, it is indistinguishable
from the universal. If it is really true once, it is true for ever.
The assertion of the individual proposition as true, if it can be
supported--(and unless it be true, what basis can it afford for
the general conclusion?)--implies the truth of the universal it is
sometimes used to establish. The inductive logician tells us to build
on singular and definite facts, on truths of definite and individual
experience: but a definite or determinate truth rests upon universality
(indeed is a universal), and cannot be found unless we have already
found the special total or organism of truth in which it forms a part.
Individuals and universals presuppose each other, and do not, as the
first impression leads us to think, stand apart as two unconnected
termini, from either of which, if we happen to be so located, we can
without road or railway make a legitimate passage to the other.

If it be urged, as it may naturally be, that on this showing there is
no solid or 'absolute' starting-point at all, the contention may be
conceded. The only fixed and steady points in knowledge are points
hypothetically fixed,--certified, that is, for the time and in the
circumstances we employ them. But in the open field--or rather in
the wilderness--of knowledge, where the ground of fact is not staked
off, and the unexpected may always turn up, the only test of truth is
the corroboration given by the consilience of paths initiated from
different points: it is only by an undesigned coincidence in the
results of independent operations that you can succeed in orienting
yourself. You begin your road at two ends, and you meet: you locate
or fix your point by drawing its co-ordinates to two direction-lines
taken anyhow at first, and only in formed science diverging at a fixed
angle. And in the absolute your direction-lines cannot be supposed
fixed: you can only gradually adjust them to each other as you
proceed. Intelligence, says Aristotle, is a principle, a beginning;
and intelligence, he says again, supplies beginnings[4]. Science, in
the technical sense, only comes into operation,--or, in other words,
deduction and (in the narrower sense used by Mill, and proceeding by
_pure_ observation and experiment) induction only find a way,--where
beginnings and principles have been set up, where an approximate order
or provisional system has been established. And if logic, in its
stricter sense, is the method of sciences already made and in their
essentials constituted, then logic can be asked to do no more than
to provide a theory of such formal processes. If it traces the path
which leads 'from the known to the unknown,' if it always proceeds on
the hypothesis of a given knowledge, then such induction or deduction
(from certain and approved singular facts, or from certain and approved
general truths) fully satisfies the practical need of the scientific
reasoner. But if Logic be, as it sometimes is, and may very reasonably
be, taken in the wider sense of an epistemology,--a theory of the
nature and origin of knowledge as a whole, and not of mere inference
or syllogism;--if it does not merely ask how we can satisfactorily
get from one piece of knowledge (we are supposed to have) to another
(not yet supposed to be), but how we come to have knowledge at all;
then its problem must go behind the rudiments of vulgar induction and
deduction. It must ask--what, so far as one can see, Mill and his
mere followers have never seriously asked at all--what induction
is, what are its relations with deduction, and what is the place of
either in the process of knowledge. And as the process of knowledge
is the path to reality, it must also ask about the nature of this
goal,--reality and truth. It is all very well for the narrower Logic
to formulate in terms the methods actually employed in sciences: to
state in abstract canons what is there seen in life and action. But
a _Science of Logic_--an epistemology--(and a genuine epistemology
cannot claim to be anything short of an ontology) must face the fact of
science itself--must ask how the ideas of the knower must--or otherwise
they are not knowledge--embrace and contain the reality of the known.
The other and narrower Logic is and will remain a theory of forms of
reasoning-a transcript in fainter terms of the procedure of science in
any given step it takes upward to generals or downward to particulars:
but the logic which deals with knowledge as such, in its systematic
entirety,--the transcendental Logic, in short, must have a real value,
an invincible relation to reality. The formal Logic--the logic of Mill
and Hamilton--must be carried back to its principles, to its first
step: and that first step which will also be the last step, and the
inspiring principle of every intermediate step, is that of Intelligence
(Aristotle's Νοῡς), of which the products or manifestations are λόγοι,
i. e. definite conceptions, categories, formulations of rules and
principles of definite range,--determinations or special types of unity.

Mill really faced the problem of method to better effect when he came
to deal with a class of questions in which he was really interested,
and which moreover have for epistemological purposes the advantage of
being as yet unreduced into the rank and file of disciplined science.
These questions are those dealing with man, his mental and moral
nature, and history. Even its advocates or patrons occasionally admit
that there is no accepted idea of what Sociology is or does. Its name
at least expresses a longing towards a unity, or a presentiment that
there is some underlying unity and common method in the group of what
are loosely called the moral, or the historical, or the social and
political sciences. But sociology is, as most people will allow, the
name of a science unrealised--the felt and consciously-apprehended
need of a science, and the dissatisfaction with the existing state of
knowledge in certain departments. And undoubtedly it was with problems
of social science,--problems of politico-economic and socio-ethical or
socio-religious matters, that Mill's interests were mainly engaged.
Like his master in this department, Auguste Comte, he wanted to carry
into the topics which he was chiefly bent upon that 'scientific'
precision which they by pretty general admission lacked, and which
revolutionary movements had shown they greatly needed. But he could
not help seeing that the 'induction' of dynamics and physics was not
exactly the instrument he was in search of. Theory and hypothesis
here demanded a much larger share in the process than in the more
mathematical sciences. Causes and effects in reality here rolled round
into each other, instead of remaining calmly fixed, one set here, and
the other there. Of course even here--i. e. in organic and concrete
sciences--it is possible to introduce observation and experiment,--no
doubt, with greater effort and constraint, but still not altogether
impracticable. But the artificial and mutilative character of such
experimentation is felt here in a way different from its pressure in
other cases. And what is more important, to institute an experiment or
set on foot a scientific observation (and to observe means to _watch_
a definitely restricted natural process with a view to answer some
question about it), presupposes--as we have already seen--a tolerably
definite provisional theory as to the general lie of the country to be
investigated. Only when the country has been reasonably well mapped out
in provinces and provided with some system of roads, can these problems
of detail--questions to be answered Yes or No--be profitably put. And
it is--in some parts of the historical sciences at least--somewhat
premature to put questions requiring a categorical reply. There is
only the vague _malaise_ of felt difficulty to guide us. We do not,
in many cases, know what it is that we want to know; for, it demands
a good deal of wisdom and trained art to put the proper or reasonable
question,--so much so, indeed, that to succeed in formulating your
question fully is equivalent or nearly equivalent to being able to
answer it. The value of observations and experiments--which are ways of
putting nature to the question and it may be to the torture--depends
entirely upon the knowledge and the command of general ideas possessed
by the observer and experimenter. And the same may be said of the
reduced and tabulated conspectuses of the results of many observations
and experiments which are called Statistics. Their value depends on
the truth and breadth of view which presided at their collection and
arrangement[5].

The historical or genetic method is the method of Science in general,
but considered and employed under a limited aspect. And under its
more comprehensive aspect it may be called--though no name is
unimpeachable--the method of development. Now the essence of the idea
of development--as was clearly shown by Leibniz--is the refusal to
admit external interference, and the resolve to let a thing explain
itself by itself. It does not, like the mechanical method, manipulate
the thing from outside--try to add it up out of factors or items
fashioned and fabricated after some external standard. Nor does it,
like the chemical, look at the result as an inexplicable alteration,
due apparently to a mere stroke of combination or disintegration--yet
not obviously reducible to a mere equivalent of its elements. On
the contrary, it recognises in the object a certain independence or
originality, yet also the presence of an immanent law which does not
wait for the outsider to put it together, but constructs itself, as it
were, after a plan of its own. There is in the so-called object, though
we do not at first sight recognise it, the same originative principle
both analytic and synthetic, as we own in thought. The object is--in
a true logic--a process, a self-completing process, and not merely an
object, mechanical, or other object. It changes, grows or decays, while
we observe, unless for brief instants we cut it off from its connexions
and arrest its development. And our observation, if truly scientific,
must be sympathetic with its process of change. It is neither a mere
thing to be explained and construed _ab extra_: nor a mystery of sudden
transformation to be passively accepted; but a growth, a history, to be
sympathetically watched and understood,--understood, because it follows
the same order as the movement of our own thought in the process of
knowledge. _Similia similibus cognoscuntur_[6].

One sometimes hears it asked by paradoxical critics at which end
a history should begin. And to ordinary dogmatic recklessness,
paradoxical the question may well seem. Begin at the beginning, no
doubt, is the vulgar reply; which in this case is understood to
mean from the earliest point in date (that, of course, being easily
ascertained, and a thing known to all men). But,--so Plato long ago
well raised the difficulty which will always confront us,--are we to go
from the beginnings, or towards the beginnings? And it does not quite
solve the question to say that we are to begin with what is known:
for under that word the same difficulty re-appears. Can you really
know one end without the other? To the vulgar partisan of historical
method, its precept means Go to the earlier, if you wish to understand
the meaning, the value, and the elements constitutive of the later and
subsequent. Begin with origins, with the earliest elements, the phases
that first appear; and thus you will get light to see the later as they
really stand. That this is a common interpretation of the historical
method is notorious. To explain _Homo sapiens_, one is told to study
the ape,--the nearest analogue of his lost or missing progenitor: to
understand the contemporary horse, go to eohippus, or hipparion, or
however his early prototype may be at present named and recognised.
And in all this there is a truth--or least a half-truth. But let us
equally recognise the other half of the truth. If past throws light on
present, present throws not less light on past. You propose, let us
say, to write a history of Greece. A wordy philosophy, wise in its own
conceit and in fine phrases, will advise you to approach the subject
without prepossession or prejudice. So far, good. But what is meant
by the absence of prepossession or prejudice? Not a blank openness
to impression, not a mere passivity; but if passivity at all, a wise
passivity: if openness, the openness of the trained judge.

The advice, so often associated with Francis Bacon, to get rid of all
false pre-conceptions, of all _idola,_ is one which it is easy to
mistake in an over-zeal to follow it. That mere negation of prejudices
which we call childish innocence is no match for the craft by which
Nature seeks to keep or disguise her secrets. The free consciousness,
the unbiassed mind, is not the easy result of one great act of
renunciation, but the work of continued self-discipline, self-conquest,
self-realisation. If you are not to impose upon the thing a
pre-conception alien to it, neither must you rashly give yourself away
to the thing, or to the first whims which accident puts upon you as the
thing. What seems a fact or thing is only a candidate for the post of
thing or fact: and its credentials need to be examined, and compared
with other evidences. To detect a fact, therefore, is only possible for
a tried and tested consciousness which by patience and self-mastery has
won the key of interpretation. What Bacon apparently meant--though,
as often happens, in his eagerness to combat a prevailing folly, he
sometimes overshot himself in statement--was to insist on the eternal
wedlock of the mind and things, of things and the mind, as the sole
and sufficient condition for the reality of knowledge and truth. The
mind may not presume to do without things, or things to domineer the
mind;--or the result is a windy and frothy vanity. And the wedlock
is eternal: in his own eloquent words, 'the mind itself is but an
accident to knowledge[7],' and he might have added, so also are things:
for, as he says, 'the truth of being and the truth of knowing is all
one': only in the bond of knowledge are things true and real,--being
otherwise only 'permanent possibilities,' or possibilities barely even
permanent--or not even possibilities. Yet he scarcely realised that
his 'due rejections and exclusions' and negations were a fundamental
_constitutive_ element in those facts of which he habitually emphasises
only the positive side.

He therefore who would understand--or would write--the history of
Greece must really in his studies begin at both ends--both at the
Greece of to-day, and at the Greece of Solon, or what earlier period
may be taken as the start of Greek history. With perhaps the least
qualified dogmatism, one may assert that he will begin with the
Greece of to-day; or if he deals solely with Ancient Greece he will
begin with the full blaze of Hellenic civilisation which still has a
pale reflection in the modern world, and gradually work back to the
beginnings. It is no doubt customary to begin Greek history, say, with
the Homeric Age, and work downwards, as it is customary to begin a
formal treatise on geography with the general features of the earth's
shape and surface. But that beginning represents really the temporarily
accredited and accepted result of a process which, starting from the
other end, has worked backwards to commencements or origins. And the
teacher, in particular, will do well not to imitate too slavishly the
method of the formal treatise. A day may come--or may have come--for
example, for Greek history to start from periods long anterior to the
supposed or traditional date of the wars around the wall of Troy. But
when it does so, it will have done so by more thoroughly ransacking
the Greece of to-day: and so disclosing the secrets of what is termed
pre-historic Greece. Then, conversely, when modern diggings on Greek
soil reveal the features of an earlier than what was erewhile to older
historians its earliest past, the reconstruction of that early people's
life reflects a new light on the directions and the limitations of
its subsequent civilisation. We see better into the reality of Homer,
and even of Demosthenes--into their ideal glory and their historical
limitations, when we explore the cradle in which their race's life was
erst fostered, and the rock out of which they and nature hewed them.
And this is no peculiarity of Greece. The deepest research into the
social institutions which control the England of to-day is the best
propaedeutic for the study of Anglo-Saxon times; and the same is true
_vice versa_.

Nor, again, is the truth of the proposition confined to what we
ordinarily mean by history. The Greek poet has said 'Art had to wait on
and welcome chance, and chance to wait on Art': or as we may paraphrase
it, if every invention and discovery is in a measure a lucky chance,
it is a luck that only falls to the wisely prepared head and hand. The
casual event falls as a germ of new construction or theory only on an
intelligence ready to welcome it,--prepared with its complement in the
spirit of an idea, eager to take shape. The means again, in the arts
and crafts, is not only a means to something else; it is also a means
to its own end, to realise or perfect itself. The rude tool of the
savage, for instance, is not merely a means to supply his wants: it
is also a means towards completing and improving itself, and towards
perfecting itself by constructing an ampler tool, which supersedes it,
because it can do all and more than all the work of the earlier, or
can do it more economically. All progress that deserves the name is
an incessant and continuous revision of a first step: a re-adaptation
of an old instrument: a repeated and unending self-correction. It
is only a partially-true symbol of human advance to speak of it as
a line: unless we add, by another piece of symbolism, that the line
is only the protracted or extended phase in which the form of time
drags out for us the magnified and organised point-nucleus. It is a
truth--which we are only too ready to forget or discount--that the
savage (and he bears with justice both epithets, 'the noble savage,'
and 'the brute barbarian') is not something left happily behind us, in
the onward march of civilisation; but that he is, however much we may
fancy him suppressed and superseded, still present, at least 'ideally'
in the finest products of humanity, and may hap only too likely--as
the Russian is said, when scratched, to betray his original Tartar
breed--to burst put on provocation into a grim reality. The Pullman
car of to-day retains within it for the archaeologically-trained eye
the rudiments of the primitive wain of the primitive nomade: and
the careful study of either end of the scale will not merely throw
a marvellous light on the excellencies or the defects of the other,
but will probably also tend in the impartial observer to moderate the
self-gratulations of modern advance. For it is only those whose view
ranges within narrow limits that are over-impressed by the magnitude of
the advance made in the 'last new thing.'

If progress were but the addition of bit to bit, of new bits to what
is already there, or if we could change _this,_ and leave _that_
unchanged,--as the word perhaps verbally means, and as many people at
any rate seem to understand it, progress might indeed seem an easy
thing, and to be undertaken with a light heart. For, it would appear
as if we could lose nothing, and might probably (indeed, as enthusiasm
and forgetfulness of the merits of the past are in certain periods
ready to urge, must certainly) gain. But it is a more serious matter
when we realise that we must move altogether, if we really are to move
at all; i. e. really are to make progress, and not merely change, so
to speak, from one foot to rest on another. For progress,--if it be
what it is expected to be, and what it must be if it does what it is
expected to do--is an organic, and not merely a mechanical or chemical
change. A mechanical change is only a nominal or formal change: a
chemical is more than change; but in organic change, that which changes
also abides, and the new is not merely other than the old, and not
merely a re-arrangement of the old, but the old transmuted,--the same
yet not the _mere_ same[8]. Progress in short is always the unity of
differentiation and integration. It must not be an externality, nor a
mere dead product of a transformation scene, but a continuous growth,
inwardly digested, made part and parcel of the collective life, which
it has thereby rendered more full, real, and not merely made less
intense at the cost of some extension. In true progress, which is only
another name for true growth, nothing is quite lost, but only changed,
retained in a richer shape and a fuller reality. How far such progress
is possible, except in limited and finite spheres: how far progress in
one involves necessarily deterioration in another and how, therefore,
progress is not attributable to the Absolute, are questions we need not
here discuss. But so far at least we may go as to say that a progress
which does not follow the natural law of development and carry on into
the future the worth and substance of the past, is not a progress which
any general enthusiasm ought to be spent upon.

Development then has two faces, one to the future and another
to the past. And what is called the historical method is apt to
emphasise only one of the two aspects, just as, it may be added,
practical considerations are often likely to produce an opposite but
equally partial bias in favour of the future. The historical method
in incapable hands is liable to lead to unprofitable sighs,--not
unaccompanied by a certain luxury of tears--over the lowly hole of
the pit--it may even be the filth and brutishness, out of which so
much of noble humanity (for thither the interest of development
always reverts) has been dug; and in empty heads the practical,
the vulgarly-utilitarian satisfaction is liable to equally vain
fits of self-applause on our magnificent progress. But both the
self-depreciation of him who loiters regretfully round the beggarly
rudiments, and the self-laudation of glorious 'improvements' looking
derisively on less glorious days, are unworthy of the reasonable and
scientific spirit. The philosophical method does not allow itself to
be imposed upon by the lapse of time, and insists that in a sense
the past contained the present--that, as the poet says, the child
is father of the man. Not indeed contained in any grosser or more
delicate mechanical way. The coming development does not necessarily
lie prefigured--if we had the proper microscope to see it--as a germ
in the first and original state. That may be, or may not be. Yet
prefigured it is by the law of its structure, or in the intelligible
unity by which only can its existence be understood and construed.

But if this be the method of real development, in the growth of nature,
and the progress of history, it is also the method of that supreme
product of historical progress, the spirit and system of philosophy.
Thought, also, the culminating stage in which the spirit of man becomes
conscious of itself and of its universe, will move or grow on the same
lines as that of which it is the comprehension and theory. It will
begin at the two ends, and each beginning will complete and presuppose
the other. Nature will suppose and yet lead up to Spirit or Mind:
Spirit or Mind will throw light on the mystery of Nature: Being will
point to knowledge or Idea; and Idea show itself the basis of Being.
Or, if we consider the triple division of the philosophic system, as it
runs in Hegel's _Encyclopaedia_, we can see how misleading it may be to
take that one order as absolute. To understand it thoroughly we must
begin with each of the three in turn: so as thus to realise that each
does not except figuratively succeed the other, but that in each an
aspect of the whole truth is presented which had been put by the other
parts somewhat in the background. In each part there is a definition
and a revelation of the Absolute. But each is also, as it were, a
projection, a perspective view, a condensed or expanded image of the
other. In each the Absolute is one and whole, in some more veiled,
more restricted, and more meagre than in others; but the veil, and the
restriction, and the emptying, are self-imposed: and for that reason
the veil is really transparent, the restriction is negatived, and the
emptying is not only a self-humiliating but a self-ennobling irony--the
irony of the Absolute.


[Footnote 1: Of course the term 'equilibrium' may be used loosely to
mean a great deal more than this,--how much will depend on the context.
These quasi-mathematical analyses have great fascination: their
apparent simplicity imposes upon us.]

[Footnote 2: The distinction, it will be observed, lies between the
method of mathematical physics and that of physics which has learned
something from the researches of electricity or chemistry. If the
method or principles of chemistry are thus said to be reduced to those
of physics, this is because the conceptions of physics have been
revolutionised from the side of chemistry, &c., and even of biology.
This tendency of modern science is precisely in the line indicated by
Schelling and Hegel.]

[Footnote 3: _Problems of Life and Mind_, iii. p. 58.]

[Footnote 4: _Eth._ vii. 7 ὁ νοῡς ἀρχή: 6. 6 νοῡς ἐστι τῶν ἀρχῶν.]

[Footnote 5: Statistics only define--and primarily for the
imagination--the general laws and principles on which they rest. The
clear-cut mathematical form strikes and 'catches on,' where a more
universal statement sounds vague and glides off. Hence, as one says,
they may prove _anything._ The fact is, they prove _nothing._ They only
illustrate in diagrammatic form the theory which presided at their
collection. To emphasise the fundamental nature of ethics for human
development you need only say that conduct is three-fourths or (as to
some minds the precision rises with the denominator of the fraction
17/20) of human life.]

[Footnote 6: The resolute misinterpretation--as it often seems--of
the maxim that like is known by like,--is a curious chapter in the
history of Logic. All knowledge is based upon,--or, to speak more
simply, _is_--the identity of differents: of differents, which in
knowledge are identified,--of identity which in knowledge is put under
difference. And yet the ordinary meaningless talk on this matter seems
to assimilate knower and known to two separate things (or persons),
who casually and, we may add, inexplicably know each other: which is
mythology, perhaps, but not epistemology.]

[Footnote 7: Bacon: 'In Praise of Knowledge' (a mere leaflet of much
significance towards estimating his true grandeur). On the _Conjugium_
of _Mens_ and _Universus_ see _Novum Organum_, distrib. op.]

[Footnote 8: The said _mere_ same is not really the same at all.
Nobody in his senses predicates sameness except where he also sees
differences: or, the term always implies relation.]



CHAPTER XVIII.


THE RANGE OF PERSONALITY.


The difference between the conceptions of reality held by Aristotle and
Plato respectively is that where Plato said Being, Essence or Substance
(οὐσία), Aristotle said Activity (ἐνέργεια). To be is to act, to be
active. To the outsider--the plain man of philosophic legend, it seems
at first that a thing must _be_ before it can _do_: that you must have
an agent before you get an action. And, in a way, Aristotle admits
this not quite satisfactory criticism. Every activity presupposes, he
allows, a power to act, a potentiality: every actual presupposes an
implicit or a mere possibility. Existence seems, as it were, to be
doubled; or the mere surface-being is turned into a subject which has
a predicate. But if the existence is to be real, it has to include
both elements, and with the latter or the actuality, as its crown.
Nor is this all. The possibility which issues forth in action may be
fairly called self-realisation. That is to say: A--the hypothetical
agent--acts, does something: and in so doing, seems to go forth and
beyond itself, to externalise itself. Or, A is acted upon, and thus
seems to be diminished. But what it externalises, or puts forth, is
after all what it _is_: it puts forth itself: and, on the other hand,
if it be a patient, it is no less an agent and self-limitative. What a
thing really is, is what it _makes_ itself be: what it allows itself to
be made, that it really is. Yet further, if the word self-realisation
be taken in its fullness of meaning,--if there be really a _self,_
and it be realised, then this self-realisation, which is the truth
or more developed conception of being, seems to imply or postulate
in it a self-consciousness, an awareness of the process of completed
being,--completed in its return from utterance of possibility to
self-fruition or in its re-assumption of itself.

To us, of course, as beings aware of what we do and achieve, this
is simple enough: but it is also true of _things,_ that we only
understand them, in so far as we put them in, or invest them with, the
same activity and apperception of activity as we are familiar with
in our own experience. The veriest materialist cannot help speaking
of things as agents, as behaving, as having a function. He would, no
doubt, if he were to be cross-examined, refuse to identify himself
with the primitive anthropomorphism, or at least zoömorphism of the
natural man who sees the river run and the clouds sweep the sky; and
he would probably mutter something referring to people who cannot see
when they ride a metaphor to death. Still less, perhaps, would he
be inclined to adopt the spiritualistic or animistic hypothesis of
philosophising physicists, like Fechner, who would accredit even the
plants at our feet, and the stars in the sky, with souls, or soul-like
centres of their life. But, however he may shrink from what we may call
the ontological consequences of his language, there is no doubt that
for him the meaning of the world, its reality and truth, is obtained
by an interpretation in terms which, rigidly employed, imply their
environment by a self-consciousness to which they are relative. Take
from him the tacit assumption (which he often finds it difficult to
realise just because it is the foundation of all his language) that
reality is in the last resort a self-conscious reality, and his words
become meaningless, or what he might think worse, metaphorical.

To Bacon, who, though not without a strong speculative impulse,
approached philosophic dicta from the standpoint of an average
intelligent Englishman (and it is on that account that his remarks are
often so instructive), it seemed a grave fault of the Stagirite to
define the soul, that 'most noble substance,' by words of the second
intention. Without substance--a solid something as basis of act and
event--the reality of the soul seemed likely to fare badly. Behind
consciousness he, like many others, felt there must be a something of
which consciousness is the state, act, or predicate and attribute. The
thinking must come from a thinker. There must be a permanent subject of
thought--a persistent substance which does not disappear when thinking
for the nonce stops. And thinking is according to common experience
very liable to stops and interruptions. Both Bacon and Locke felt that
without this refuge to fall back upon, personal identity was in a bad
way, or personality itself little better than a delusion. And therefore
when Aristotle, and his modern followers, treated soul and mind as
essentially definable by the terms activity, self-realisation, it has
been freely urged against them that they are tampering with the pearl
of great price which all our hopes and aspirations fondly guard.

And this is a subject on which there is inevitably a good deal of
misunderstanding. And the misunderstanding will probably last so long
as one set of writers flaunts over it that blessed word Personality
as a holy, a sacrosanct thing, like the visionary cross with its
inscription _In hoc signo vinces_: and as another set treats it as a
mere fetish, under which is hidden nothing better than stock or stone,
or a heap of old bones. Perhaps some concessions might well be made
on both sides. And the first of them would be to try to come to some
clearer understanding what the term in question means. And, on that
point, if we follow the example of Aristotle and examine popular usage,
to see if it can help us to any consistent use of the term, we shall
find that by personal as opposed to real we mean something peculiarly
attached to the individual, of which he cannot divest himself as
of other outward things, though it also is an outward thing[1] The
person in this narrowest sense means the body; and if the epithet
is further extended it still expresses what is directly manipulated
through the members of the living agent, and is more or less closely
attached to it. Yet if it means the body, we must be careful to add
that it is the body, regarded not as such but as the representative,
the outward manifestation, the inseparable sign or symbol of a spirit,
an intelligence and a will. The person is the visible or tangible
phenomenon of something inward,--the phase or function by which
an individual agent takes his place in the common world of human
intercourse and interaction--his peculiar and definite part in the
general or universal world and field.

Personality thus mingles or unifies in it an universal and an
individual aspect or element: it hints that the universal work always
has in reality an individually-determinate tone,--that nothing in
the world, even if it be called the same, is really and actively
the same. _Si duo idem faciunt, non est idem quod faciunt._ Thus,
what separates personality from individuality is simply that in the
narrower or abstracter use of the latter term there is an absence
of the due subordination of all individuality to universality, and
of all universality to individuality. Personality, in short, is an
individuality which is not a mere freak, not merely different from
other things, but also in itself charged with a universal meaning
or function. Yet even this is not enough to describe it. It is the
individuality of an intelligence: the flesh and blood, and, in a
secondary degree, the outward things, stamped with intelligence.
Every member of a kind, every natural existence, has this double
character; this convergence or union of universal and individual. In
being this individual object, it is at the same time a universal, and
_vice versa._ But in the attribution of personality there is involved
something beyond what is common to all creatures. And that something,
we may first of all say, is this. Whereas in the case of other _things_
the individuality is distinctly subordinate, and each is reckoned
primarily by its kind, in the case of _persons_ we can almost declare
that the universality is subordinate to the individuality. This
union of individuality and universality in a single manifestation,
with the implication that the individuality is the essential and
permanent element to which the universality is almost in the nature
of an accident, is what forms the cardinal point in Personality. And
one can understand, when the distinction is thus put, the obvious and
palpable antagonism in which the view stands to the central principles
of Spinoza[2] We speak of a man as a Personality when we wish to note
the fact that he is no mere manufactured article, the representative
of a common type, with nothing to choose between him and a thousand
others, but that he is, as it were, one of a thousand, one 'Whom
nature printed and then broke the type,' that he has in the highest
sense 'distinction,' the nobility of nature's own patent. Other things
exist, so to speak, for the sake of their kind, and for the sake of
other things; a person, in the strictest sense, is never a mere means
to something beyond, but always at the same time an end in itself
or himself. Other things are mere examples in illustration of a law
that rides superior to them and overrules them: the person is a law
unto himself. He has the royal and divine right of creating law--of
starting by his exception a new law which shall henceforth be a canon
and a standard. For in such a personality when he claims his full
rights there is the visible immanence of the divine and universal--or
there is the visible unity of the eternal and the temporal. He rules
as the natural king, the great ruler whose judgment and authority are
better than the complex code of common laws: he guides as the artistic
genius who sees truth steadily in a single intuition and in that single
picture sees it whole[3].

But when we ask if such a personality is found in the field of
actual experience and history, there arises a divergence of
opinions. It is at any rate matter of common experience that there
is a good deal of unjustified identification of the self with the
universal--identification in which the universal suffers violence and
is taken by force. There are only too often cases where the personal
interest is allowed to disguise itself under a semblance of zeal for
the common good, and that even without conscious intent or act of
deception. No good and noble deed, Hegel has said, can ever be done
without faith in its goodness, and zeal for its attainment: without a
holy passion and fervour of devotion, which exceeds the cold service of
duty rendered for duty's sake[4]. But it is equally true and equally
to be remembered that this interference of personal passion and
disinterested interest has defaced the noblest causes and made flow
endless torrents of fanaticism and persecution. A personality in which
the universal was perfectly incarnated in the individual would be in
truth a God amongst men. And it is probably a more likely occurrence
that where the individual as such arrogates to himself the privilege of
the universal, there should be seen not the deeds of the god, but the
ebullitions of the beast that is in man.

A personality, then, in popular language, and perhaps also in popular
philosophy, is the living and conscious individual in whom general
forces, truths, or ideas become real, active, efficient forces,
truths, and ideas. And the importance of the conception resides in the
safeguard thus supposed to arise, which will prevent the realities of
the world from being dissipated away into the endless and restless
flux of the terms of thought,

    'La bufera infernal che mai non resta.'

To such a common frame of mind ideas, truths, forces are vacant,
ghostly forms, devoid of true life and reality: to get such they need
blood and flesh to clothe them, to give them substance and power. Now
Hegel, no less than those who offer this criticism, regards ideas
(in the ordinary sense of that term), truths and forces, also as
abstractions which need something to make them powers in the real
world of nature and the ideal world of mind. Hegel, like Schelling,
has a sublime contempt for mere universals. But as to the something
else, there is a divergence of view. Two well-known answers are given
by the popular philosophy known as materialism or spiritualism: two
systems which are probably not so wide apart as the contrast of
their names might imply. According to the former, thinking, ideas,
truths, goodness and beauty are special functions (the grosser
materialists say secretions) of a special kind of matter--of something
which is accessible to ordinary mechanical and chemical tests, but
which exhibits also, in certain cases, the exceptional phenomena of
consciousness. Here the essential reality is a something, permanent
and essentially indestructible,--something which no man has seen,
nor indeed can see,--but which is called Matter. The spiritualistic
philosopher (as distinguished from the _idealist_) regards as the
essential realities in the universe what he calls spirits. What these
are, also, nobody has as yet (any more than in Kant's time[5]) given
any very authoritative account, but so far as the quasi-scientific
expositions in regard to them throw any general light on the subject,
we may say that they suggest only a differently-constituted matter, a
matter e. g. of less or more dimensions than that we are most familiar
with.

Now the advocate of spiritual reality, who protests most strongly
against the injury done to personality by reducing it to something
fluid and not fixed, something in process and not in persistent
substance, seems mostly to lean to a quasi-spiritualistic hypothesis,
or to the--so-called--higher materialism. He is an advocate of what we
may describe as the soul-thing, of a permanent, (he would even hold,
an absolutely permanent) substance or substratum of psychical reality
which, no doubt, exhibits certain properties, but is always more than
any one, or any mere series of its phenomena. It has been said, indeed,
by one who spoke with authority that he that will save his soul shall
lose it, and he that will lose it shall find it. But this has always
been a hard saying, which has been as far as possible explained away
by exegesis. Yet its moral import is not so very far removed from its
philosophical equivalent. The true life is not that of self-seeking
pleasure, but the life spent in the service of truth and love, the
life dedicated to impersonal interests, and ideal good. So also the
reality of the human soul as we first know it lies not in itself, but
in its transfiguration, its purification, and liberation to higher
forms of being. The Soul, in its first avatar in each of us, is after
all of the earth, earthy, unless it continue on that path of growth
and development on which it has entered. It is as Aristotle said, and
said well, the first actualisation[6]--the proximate ideality of an
organic body. In soul organic body carries out its promise: in soul we,
the observers, or untrained psychologists, note our first awareness of
mental life in its organic environment. But there are other grades,
other heights of achievement, yet set before the principle of life,
which is more than mere life and mere soul: or soul contains a germ
which must bear higher fruit. To be itself, or to become all that it in
promise and potency contains, it must dispossess itself of what clings
to it and possess itself of what is its own; and so transmute its first
phase into one more adequate. The soul is, as Hegel has said, the
awakening of mind from the sleep of nature[7]: it is nature gathering
itself out of its absorption in its dispersion, the breath of life and
feeling striving through the scattered members of the material world,
and finding itself at first half-asleep, a pervading, unifying current
that flows through and makes continuous the various portions of the
universe. It is the earliest real, felt unity in which the logical or
synthetic pulse--as yet purely potential in Nature, and only surmised
by science--re-appears in the actual concrete world. And as the
earliest, it is, like first loves, what one clings to hardest as our
prime and fundamental _differentia._ Here at least we are something--a
centre of being, and not a mere centreless expanse of extension:
something emerging from the world of silence and of night--something in
which each feels

    'I am not what I see,
    And other than the things I touch.'

And that something we would not lose, at any cost.--But the only way
not to lose it, is to use it as a stepping-stone to higher things. The
metaphor, indeed, like metaphors in general, must not be pressed too
far. For it is more than a stepping-stone and it is never left behind
as a mere dead self: there is

    'Nothing of it that doth fade
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.'

And that richer result into which it is transformed is the
consciousness of a self, and the intelligence which wills and knows.

If it be asked in what respects the result is richer, the answer is
as follows. The soul,--this 'first entelechy--is exclusive, and it
is immersed in its natural limits of organic life. It has yet to go
through the school of self-detachment, the process of 'erecting itself
above itself'; and of thus extending its view and its range of control
over a wider field of objects. Gradually it attains to the rank of a
consciousness before which is unrolled the spectacle of a world of
objects set over against it, and even of a world within it; itself as
an object deposed to the rank of something to be surveyed. As such,
it seems almost to have left all immersion in corporeity completely
behind, and to have completely divested itself of any limitation. It
floats freely above the real psychical life out of which it emerged--a
detached but somewhat shadowy self, not burdened by any restrictions
of nature or circumstance. As such a mere Ego, or logical self--as the
mere theatre on which the play of ideas takes place, it surveys its
real psychical self far below; it finds itself as a strange sort of
thing, and says _This was me_ (which however is not exactly the same
as _I am I_, I = I). Yet it was a great step to have thus ceased to be
absorbed in its qualities, to be the mere breath of life and feeling,
stirring in its several affections and modifications. In order to
get forward, it was necessary to recoil a little: to save itself--and
that must mean to get itself in fuller and richer being--the mind had,
as it were, to measure and realise the full depth of its nonentity,
and to surrender all that it had hitherto clung to as its own. In an
attitude of reflection upon itself it fancies that it is the empty
room, the _tabula rasa_, on which experience is to write itself: but
in its secret heart it retains the faith and acts upon it, that it is
the power of intelligent and intelligible unity which makes the writing
intelligible, if it does not even itself play the writer. What it now
seems to find--what fills up its consciousness, presumed empty and
merely receptive,--it gradually recognises to be its very and original
own. Through labour and experiment it fills up the vacant form (the
passive half of itself to which it deposed itself) of consciousness;
and thus, as an intelligent self, a true mind, it has for itself and
realises as in itself all the life and reality which in its earlier
stage of soul it only was and felt itself naturally to be. But on this
stage of free intelligence it is no longer bound up with its natural
being in such a way as to feel itself a fixed and restricted centre,
sunk in the living environment so as to see no further, and to deem
itself in its seclusion the permanent reality, the exclusive fact.
It is no longer exclusive and self-concentrated, but inclusive and
all-embracing. It is no longer a mere consciousness--a mere receptive
and synthetic unity of apperception--but a reason and a mind. And a
reason and a mind already refuse to be narrowed and confined by the
same limits as seem appropriate to the soul. In the province of free
self-realised intelligence we at least seem to occupy a ground on
which others can equally come,--to have nothing peculiar or merely
individual. In Knowledge, which is reasoned perception, and in Will,
which is reasoned impulse, there is a king's highway, a public forum,
where souls meet and converse and perform a collective work;--and
in both _mere_, i. e. essentially restricted, individuality is at a
discount[8].

Such would be the course of development if we looked at it only in the
inwardness or subjectivity of psychical, conscious, and intelligent
life. But an analogous or parallel development may be observed if we
look at man as an active, i. e. a practical and moral being, a being
who makes Nature his own, stamps it with his title of possession, and
who gives to his fellowship with other souls an objective, outward
existence in the forms and institutions of social life. Here too
his first achievement is the affirmation of his individuality, the
distinction in outward and tangible shape of the Mine from the Thine:
the creation of property, and the projection of himself in a world of
mutually-recognised personalities. As the individual soul in the inner
life, so the personal being with its property is the solid, insoluble
basis of the life in public--the field of social ethics. The same
instinct, which in its dread of dissolution clings to the perpetuity
of the inner nucleus of soul, upholds the other as containing the
stable and eternal security of all social well-being. The immortality
of soul in the inner world: the sacro-sanctity of property in the
outer. But if these postulates are to be permitted, if individuality
and personality are to abide, they must, in the one case as in the
other, bow to the law of development, the law of history and of life.
They must correct themselves, re-adjust themselves,--include what they
excluded, and re-combine their elements, transmute themselves into
what we have, after Hegel, called their _truth_: must redintegrate
themselves with suppressed correlatives, and carry out their
implications of larger unity. The soul, exclusive and fast-clad in
its mere organic vestment, in which it is as yet only the name and
form of intellectual life, has first of all to retract itself into
the bare abstract consciousness, or mere self, on which the masses
of reality stream, to fill its vacant rooms and empty forms up with
ideas. So too the person--that close concretion or coalescence of mind
with material--that identification of self with its 'clothes,' its
property and all it can vulgarly be said to _own,_ is only an aspect
of truth which tends to be over-estimated when it is reflected upon,
and must notwithstanding be over-ridden and merged. Withdrawing itself
from its clothing of earth and water, and even perhaps from its inner
mansion of flesh and bone, personality floats in the free air as the
impersonal personality of conscience,--the ethereal realm where pure
practical reason rules. In that ether where morals reign absolutely is
the home of the categorical imperative, of the Stoical law of duty,
of the conscience which, here at least, has might as it has right. It
too, like its parallel, consciousness, in the inner mental life, has,
or seems to have, all its fulfilment from without. As even Kant admits,
it is itself a vacant form; yet a form of such influence as to impress
on whatever comes within its range an obligation to be universal and to
be uniform. Here too, as in the parallel stage, it was of inestimable
importance that mind should, in the socio-ethical sphere, see itself
supreme in its innermost dignity and personality,--the personality
which lies within,--even though that supremacy were at first no better
than as a law, a form, a category, recognised as authoritative and
imperative. For conscience, like the field of consciousness, is after
all only a quasi-passive self--a remarkable property or endowment,
a sort of innate principle or idea by which the mind was seen to be
distinguished in a unique way from all things else. To realise once
for all the fact that consciousness and conscience form an absolute
tribunal from which there can be no appeal: that the 'synthetic unity
of apperception' in the theoretical, and the 'autonomy of the rational
will' in the practical sphere, are the ultimate and final _a priori_:
this is a great thing to do,--even though it only expands and defines
the Cartesian principle of clear and distinct ideas, and will remain as
Kant's title of honour in the history of philosophy. He thus fenced off
or consecrated the sanctuary of the mental and moral life.

But it was not enough to set apart the sacred principle, the central
hearth-fire of truth and goodness. If at an earlier stage,--earlier,
i.e. in this logical analysis,--the formal was wholly sunk in the
material, if i. e. the mere series of legal formulae in their hard
and brittle outlines were absolutely identified--without doubt or
hesitation--with the morally and socially good; the formal side, or
mere spirit and will of good, the abstract principle of morality,
is now invested with an equally undue prominence. The actual or
concrete ethical community--be it family or state, or other social
organisation--is animated and maintained by a spirit which transcends
and includes alike the outward shell of civil law and the inward law
of conscience. For, curiously enough, as it may seem at first, both
conscience and civil legislation assume the form of imperative and
definite commands--laws political or civil, and laws moral. Both fall
therefore into an inflexibility, a rigorous and mechanical hardness in
their enouncements. Both worship the lord of what men call logic, i.
e. of formal consistency and formal uniformity, to an excess which
sometimes issues in fantastic irregularities. Their several maxims of
legal conformity and of duty for duty's sake are in first appearance
excellent: but a further reflection shows that the Law covers a good
many inconsistent or at least unrelated laws within its code, and Duty
is often sadly to seek in presence of the collisions between what offer
themselves as _prima facie_ duties in any given case. The amplest code
of laws that ever existed will always leave lots of loop-holes for
negligence and villainy, and would never work for an instant, were it
not for ever supplemented by the spirit of faith and love, by social
piety and political loyalty, by the thousand ties of sentiment and
feeling which really vivify its dry bones. So too the abstractions
of the conscientious imperative, of the law of duty, of the moral
tribunal, of the man within the breast, and of the dignity and beauty
of human nature, would effect nothing unless they could always tacitly
count on the support of recognised and authoritative social law and
usage. Outward rests upon inward; and rules direct feelings.

Here, again, as in the purely intellectual or cognitive sphere, it
is evident that the spirit of man has its source of life neither in
its abstract self-hood (in consciousness and conscience) nor in its
mere natural environment and organic endowment (in sense-affections,
and social law and usage), but in the unity of both,--a unity which
transcends either. Both individual and society live and grow, because
they are continuous and one: because they presuppose an ideal unity
or a living Idea at the root of their being, as their inner and
essential guiding-principle, at once constitutive and regulative of
their action. The machinery of language supplies to the intellectual
sphere a sort of sensible meeting-ground and common field in which
the development of knowledge becomes possible: and the same purpose
is subserved in the social sphere by the machinery of ethical and
political forms and institutions. These are the field, the home of
freedom, as the other are of knowledge. It is in these collective and
objective structures that we get the expression of the law of human
development: the visible sign, viz. of the essentially universal nature
of the individual. The individual in these attains his relative truth:
for they show the weakness of the individuality of the mere individual.
They show that his exclusiveness, his quasi-originality, is only an
appearance:--confronted, no doubt, by an appearance of an opposite
character, as if the originality and the reality lay in the environment
and the collective body. They point therefore beyond and behind both
foci to a common centre or inclusive unity of life.

But they do not destroy personality and individuality: they only
transform it and made it a more adequate and consistent representation
of reality, by giving in it a place to factors or 'moments' which,
though always effective, were not recognised as constitutive elements,
and treated only as externally interfering agencies. It may be a
question, of course, how far it is wise to retain the term after
its meaning has thus been altered by expansion and redistribution
of elements. On the whole it seems impracticable--and it would be
undesirable, perhaps, even if it were more feasible--to be too hard
and fast in our use of denotations. It is hardly the province of
philosophy to coin new terms in which to deposit the results of her
researches. A term no doubt--particularly if, as the phrase runs, it be
luckily discovered, or judiciously selected--may save the expenditure
of thought. But it is hardly the business of philosophy to encourage
economy in this direction. Much more is it the perpetual task of
philosophy to counteract the ossification that sets in in terms,--to
reinterpret the meaning which is absorbed in these 'counters of
thought,' and make them once more sterling money for the market of
life. What, for instance, is the work of Aristotle's Ethics, but to
set free the genii which the black magic of every-day intercourse has
incarcerated in the non-significant Greek term Εὐδαιμονία? Like our own
Happiness, it flits from lip to lip, little better than a mere name,
which is still prized, but--except for a few synonyms that are equally
vague with itself--is attached to things which a little reflection
shows it cannot truly denote. Aristotle seeks--we may say--to define
it. But the phrase 'definition' seems barely applicable to the complex
process thus implied,--a process of which definition, as ordinarily
understood, is only one small portion. For to define happiness, is to
reconstruct the conception. Or, to be more accurate, it is really to
construct it or reproduce in consciousness its construction. As it
stands, the thing to be defined is a name and a thing, of which certain
relations to other things soon begin to show themselves, which is more
or less similar to one thing, and more or less to be distinguished from
another. To mark it off from these co-terminous things, and to show how
they are related to it on different sides,--this would be what we may
perhaps call strict, or formal, or nominal, or _mere_ definition.

Now whatever be the other uses of such definitions--and they are
serviceable at the outgoing in any branch of enquiry,--they are
not precisely the work we expect a philosopher to do for us. And
assuredly it is not Aristotle who would stop short at that sort of
definitions. We find accordingly that for the purpose of realising
what happiness--the common name for human good--means, he is obliged
to bring into the field the whole system of his thought in its
cardinal notions of Energy, Soul, &c. Aristotle here as elsewhere
retraces the path of thought which carries us from mere, vulgar,
inadequately-apprehended happiness (he follows the same process in his
treatment of pleasure, friendship &c.--to take only ethical examples)
to true, essential and completely-apprehended happiness,--or, to use
Hegel's technical phrases, from happiness as it is _an-sich_ (in or
at itself) or as it is _für-sich_ (for or to itself), to happiness as
it is _an-und-für-sich._ In so 'defining' happiness Aristotle is thus
obliged to bring in his conceptions of man and of society, of human
life and its powers, of natural and acquired faculty, of mind in its
relations to nature; and if not to expound, at least to employ, his
fundamental categories of philosophical thought. Such a machinery can
hardly be called less than a construction, i. e. a re-construction by
conscious effort of the latent but actual concatenation of the elements
in the fact.

In this case we traverse the distance which separates mere happiness
from true happiness, from happiness imperfectly or abstractly conceived
to happiness adequately and concretely conceived. Of course when we say
real or true happiness, we use these terms as they are used within the
ordinary range of human speech. An ultimate and absolute in truth and
reality is for us at any given time only a comparatively or relatively
ultimate and absolute. It is that which, so far as we can see and
think (all philosophising presumably goes on under this stipulation,
tacit or express), gives an expression, an interpretation, a meaning
and a construction to reality which leaves no feature unrecognised, no
contradiction unsolved, no discord unreconciled, which leaves nothing
outside and alien to it, and suppresses without acknowledgment nothing
that has ever been recognised within it. It is, if you like so to
call it, the completest, or (if you are really in earnest with your
philosophising and have carried it on to what for you is the end) the
complete formula of the Absolute--of that which in a transcendent sense
_is,_ is _all,_ is the infinite and eternal _one._ Yet, after all, it
is a formula. But here that undying adversary of all thought steps
in and says A _mere_ formula. And to that we must here as elsewhere
rejoin: No, not a mere formula. A mere formula would be not even a
formula,--a formula only in name--and with no reality which it served
to formulate. It is a real and true formula, if it be a formula at all,
and not something which merely swaggers about under that title. Nay
more, if it be a true and real formula, it is the truth and the reality
in its day and generation, until at least a truer truth and a more real
reality shall have been discovered. Let us by all means be modest: but
there is a false humility which becomes no man and is the guise of
hypocrisy or insincere sincerity. Let us--in other words--never assume
that 'we are the men, and that wisdom will die with us': but equally
let us hold fast the faith of reason that what we know as true and
real can never be false, i. e. utterly false, however much it may turn
out one day to be surmounted. And, on the other hand, let us equally
remember that in the mere and abstract commencement--the unreal and
the untrue, as we must perforce style it by contrast with the (_pro
tempore_) truth and reality--there is no utter and sheer error or
unreality. It has always been felt to be one of the most loveable sides
of Aristotelianism--this recognition of the reasonableness of all
actual fact, or of the truth latent in the honest, though narrow and
ill-defined judgments of the mass.

Thus, coming back to personality, let us admit that the _mere_
personality which at first sight seemed only worth rejecting, is
an element, at least, in true personality,--or is a part which,
because an organic member and no mere mechanical part, is full of
traces and indications which involve and postulate the whole. The
true personality and the true individuality of being is something
which presupposes for its completeness the social state--the organic
community. It is no doubt familiar to us that, according to an old
but never quite dormant view, the collective community is but the
aggregate or congeries of individuals. But the individuals whose
aggregation makes the community are themselves products of the social
union. Complete, all-round, harmonious personality, it is sometimes
said, is the highest fruit to be yielded by social development. Or,
as the last century would have preferred to put it, the main or sole
aim of the State is furtherance towards Humanity--to the stature of
the perfect man. And these are true sayings,--but perhaps only half
true. If all must grow so that one and each may grow, so and not less
must each one grow so that the all--the commonwealth of reason and
the kingdom of God--may be more and more present, 'may come.' And
that kingdom only comes when All is in Each, and Each is in All: and
when, without loss or diminution, each is each and all is all. Then
and not till then does personality become true and infinite, free and
harmonious individuality, which is in the same instant universality.
The monad--to use the language of the great Idealist who did not find
individuality at all incompatible with universality--never ceases to
be a monad: it is eternal and indestructible, an absolute centre of
being. The monad in its individual measure 'expresses' or 'envelops'
the Infinite or Absolute: it is, i. e. under a subjective limitation,
identical with the absolute, a concentration or condensation of it
into an impenetrable, i. e. literally an individual, point,--but a
point which is in the psychical or intellectual world never entirely
_carens recordatione,_ or oblivious of its essential totality. But if
the monad 'expresses' the Absolute, it no less concords or sympathises
in harmonious development with all its congeners, the other monads: so
that while it neither interferes with them, nor suffers violence from
them, it yet exists and acts in an ideal identity, that is, in a real
fellowship, with them. Again, the monad has what may be called its
side of passivity, but passivity here does not mean _mere_ passivity,
but rather the essential limitation due to its special and peculiar
stand-point--a limitation which in the higher orders of being becomes
transparent or is transcended. How far Leibniz succeeds in reconciling
this apparent contradiction--how far even any one can reveal the mystic
indwelling of universal and individual in each other, this is a serious
question in its place: but it is only bare justice to Leibniz to say
that he at least never failed to emphasise both aspects of reality,
and that if one 'moment' is predominant and fundamental in his work it
is not the monad, but the Monad of Monads. If necessity be the right
word to express the relation of the Universal Law to the individual
being and to affirm that the individual is not a loose self-supporting
unit (and Leibniz, far from thinking so, always uses in its stead the
phrase _inclinat, non necessitat_[9], to emphasise the immanence of
law, or the autonomy of every completed being), then Leibniz is not
less, but more necessitarian than Spinoza. His difference from Spinoza,
in fact, lies mainly, if not solely, in his clearer recognition of
the transcendence, no less than the immanence, of the Absolute, which
Spinoza has somewhat veiled under the apparent insignificance of the
difference between _natura naturans_ and _natura naturata._ Yet the
Monad of Monads is no supra-mundane, or _merely_ transcendent God.

But if we further ask whether such personality is attainable in the
world of experience and describable in terms of thought--whether there
be any actual and visible agent possessed of this true personality,
as we have agreed to call it, we are in face with a higher stage of
the problem of personality. And that question in other words brings
us back to where we began. A true and real personality, a complete
individuality is something which so transmutes all that we are most
accustomed to call by that name that it is hardly any use clinging to
it, unless to protest against the danger of mistaking such expansion
and transmutation to be only a blank negation. Yet to cling to it too
much involves a danger for the true recognition of that transcendent's
universality. All human personality, all natural individuality is, as
Lotze has eloquently pointed out[10], something which falls far short
of what it professes to be. But in the general failure to unite the
universal with the particular, or the fact with the idea, there are
degrees; and we can at least affirm so much as this that the truest
individuality and the most real personality is not that which is least
permeated by thought, but that in which thought has had the largest
share. Individuality is something more than a mere sum of general
qualities;--that is certainly the fact; but it is not less the fact,
that for us an individuality and personality is more perfect and true
in proportion as more general function and universal character coalesce
into harmony and power in it. Assert then the initial presence and
virtue of individuality and personality in the human soul: but remember
that it has this virtue, not for what it is, but for what it promises
and may reasonably be expected to be, and that, to realise the promise,
it has to behave inclusively, rather than exclusively, gather up into
itself and make its own all content, rather than set itself up in
reserve and isolation.

We have seen that the social organisation, animated as it is by the
moral idea, is rather the arena on which the true union of mind and
matter, of idea and nature, of thought and fact may be worked for, than
itself the fruition of such an effort. All-important is the State;
all-important the ethical idea which pervades it. But the world of
freedom--the ideal world so far made actual--is not what it promised
to be. 'Is it not,' said Plato, 'the nature of things that the actual
should always lack the perfection of theory?' In the visible world the
State, indeed, rules supreme: 'it is,' as Hegel might say in the words
of his great predecessor in political theory, 'that Leviathan or mortal
God to whom under the immortal God we owe our welfare and safety.' But
there is something in the State which the State in its palpable reality
cannot adequately express. If it is highest in the hierarchy of this
world, the lowest in the ideal kingdom of the Absolute is higher than
it. Above the State as the embodiment and the guarantee of the moral
life, there is the realm of Art, Religion, and Philosophy. In them
man's craving for individuality and personality finds a satisfaction it
could never hope for below them: they at least restore the truth and
reality of man's life and of the universe in a measure far exceeding
what even morality could do. If we ask then what Art, Religion, and
Science have to show of Personality or true realised individuality,
the answer is briefly as follows. Had it not been that august names
have spoken of imitation as the essence of Art-work, we should hardly
have deemed it possible that men should speak of Realistic Art. Yet
here, as in Religion and in Science, the epithet is introduced to guard
against a misconception of the province of Idealism. All Art, all
Religion, all Science, are and must be idealistic: but they can never
be--as the familiar phrase puts it--merely idealistic, i. e. visionary,
fantastic, unreal. All of them, in other words, may be said to show
us 'the light that never was on sea or land'--the heavenly city--the
eternal truth of things. But they must, on their peril, show it here
and now, and not in a pretended or other world. They must--no less than
law and morality--work in terrestrial materials, and not with superfine
celestialities. _Mentem mortalia tangunt._ It is out of the oldest and
commonest realities of life and death that the poet and the painter
make the melodies of heaven sound in our ears, and gladden us with
the rays of the empyrean. It is out of the hard rock of the real that
the artist's rod must strike the well-spring of the ideal. So too, in
like manner, a religion must show the Divine, but show Him immanent:
an immanence which, on one hand, shall not drag Godhead down to the
level of casual reality, nor on the other set Him far off in lonely
transcendence.

The aesthetic faculty, awakened as it is by the natural response of
man's perceptions to the harmonies of existence, to the spontaneous
coherency of its many parts in a united whole, and stimulated by the
creative work of human art, which moulds even the naturally discordant
or unconnected into a concordant expression (sometimes it may be,
as in handicraft, only to satisfy human needs), lifts us above the
imperfections and fragmentariness of things, above our selfish interest
in them, into a frame of mind where they are seen whole and perfect,
and yet one and veritably individual. In its supreme or comprehensive
phase it does not deal merely with the beautiful, nor merely with
the beautiful and sublime. All true art, whether it awakes awe or
admiration, laughter or tears, whether it melts the soul, or steels it
to endurance, has a common characteristic; and that is to raise the
single instance, the prosaic or commonplace fact, into its universal,
eternal, infinite significance. It frees the fact from the limitations
which our distractions, our practicality, our temporary hopes and
fears, have deeply stamped upon it. It is still, after art has dealt
with it, to all appearance a single fact: but it now has the universe
behind it and within it. It carries us away from the incompleteness,
the pressure of externals, the solicitude for the future and the
regrets for the past, into a self-contained, self-satisfying totality,
into freedom and leisure, rest which is not stolid, and action which
involves no toil. Such a result is partly, as was said, the gift
of common nature, which speaks peace, comfort, joy, self-possessed
fruition for all her children when their sense is open and free: partly
it comes through those select ones among these children who have a
larger perception of the meaning and inner truth of her works, and who
can by a sensible reconstruction, which if it is fair and successful
will only bring out more clearly the unity and harmony which deeper
insight detects, help others to see and enjoy what they have felt and
rejoiced over. Such are the poets--in the widest sense--the makers, the
seers, who in verse, in music, in picture and sculpture--who, in human
lives, it may be even in the conduct of their own, show us how divine a
thing is nature and humanity: show us the secret and unheard harmonies
that to the full-opened ear absorb and transmute the lower discords of
life and vulgar reality. It is they who give immortality and divinity,
who make heroes and demigods[11]. Or, if they may not be said to make
them, they half-reveal and half-construct the ideal figures which stand
high and beneficent in the history of the world. And by those who
thus half-construct, and half-reveal, are meant not merely the single
artists in whom the process culminates to final outline and publicity,
but the many-voiced poesy of the collective human heart which out of
its myriad elemental springs constitutes the total figure, the august
image of the hero, and the saint, lending him from its plenitude all
that his abstract self seemed to want. It is on the tide of national
and human enthusiasm that the individual artist is lifted up to realise
the full significance of his ideal figure, and his imaginative craft
can only be inspired by the vigour and warmth of the collective passion
for noble ends and high action.

Nowhere it would seem is the ideal of personality and many-sided
individuality more adequately realised. Here, at last, the whole truth
of life, the indwelling of individual and universal in one body, seems
to be realised. But it is realised in an ideal. It is--if we analyse
it--a synthesis of three elements; partly in the material reality which
serves as bodily vehicle; partly in the conception and technique of the
artist; partly in the general mind which inspires both the material
and the form with its own larger life. It is--as its name implies--an
artificial product--a synthesis of elements which tend to fall apart.
Technique varies, conceptions lose their interest, the tone of general
culture alters, and materials are dependent on locality. When that
happens, the work of art is left high and dry: no longer a living
God, but a dead idol, still wondrous, but speaking no more its human
language.

So it is with the heroic figures who rise into the purer air of
universal history. They also--so far as they live with a personal
power--are works of art: works of real-idealism. For all history which
deserves the name, and is not mere abstract dry-as-dust chronicle (as
to the possibility of which utter aridity there may be legitimate
doubts), is a work of fiction or invention, of reconstruction. It
seeks to understand its characters. But to understand them it is not
(and as historical art cannot be) content with a mere reference to
motives acting on them from outside. It seeks to understand them with
and in their times--to see in them the full measure of contemporary
life and thought which elsewhere has found so meagre expression. Such
is the artistic completion of personality in the ideal,--whether in
what is called history, or what is called art. It exaggerates a truth,
because it loses sight of the background. And that background, which
helps to constitute such ideal personality, is no constant element.
The centuries and generations as they roll contribute their varying
quota to set, as they say, the historical character in its true light,
in its fulness and truth of reality. And thus this personality of
the great leaders of human life is only an image and a sign--a fruit
of development, no bare fact which remains unchanged and always the
same. It is rather a personification than a personality. It incarnates
the living spirit who is universal and eternal in the limits of a
sensuously-defined individual, and indeed incarnates there only so much
as the generation it speaks to can see of complete truth. It is only
after all a vehicle of truth; though a nobler vehicle than social and
personal ethics can afford.

As it is felt that the treasure of the idea--that the full power of
spiritual life--cannot be adequately stored in the earthen vessels
of mortality, the consummation of personality is forced to recede
into the invisible if it would be still conceived as attainable.
'True personality,' says Lotze, 'is with the Infinite,' What here is
fragmentary, is there a rounded total, a perfect unity: He alone is
absolutely self-determining, self-explaining: is all that He means to
be, and means all that He is. In a sense, philosophy does not hesitate
to countersign all this. But, in adopting it, philosophy must reserve
the right of noting the danger and the ambiguity of such language.
Religion does well, philosophy may say, in thus insisting upon the
dependence of all appearance on one Absolute reality; but it is well
also not to forget that all appearance is also the appearance of that
reality or Absolute. And in so saying, be it added, philosophy assumes
no essential superiority to religion. Religion in its fulness, and
apart from any theories that may grow up under its wing, is more than
theory, more than mere philosophy: it is the consummating unity of
life--the enthusiasm and supreme power of life, its consecration and
divinisation by its assured immanence in the eternal and universal.
It is, in short, as was long ago said of it, the true life, the light
which is the light and life of men; and its inspiring principles are
faith, hope, and love. But when unassisted religion proceeds to set
before itself the meaning and lesson of its life, when it proceeds to
formulate a theory of the world and set out a scheme of world-history,
it trespasses on the field of knowledge, and is amenable to the
criticisms of the reflective spirit--the spirit of philosophy. And
that criticism briefly is to the effect that the religious theory
in its ordinary form is an imperfect interpretation of the religious
experience. Nor is this to derogate from the prerogative of the friends
of God. It is only to criticise the formulae and phrases of dogmatic
theology--a theology, however, which is as old as religion itself,
and which takes different forms from age to age, and from one level
of thought to another, always in its measure translating religious
reality, truth, or experience into the categories, naive or artificial,
simple or complex, of the science (it may be the pseudo-science) of
the time. Philosophy, therefore, is the criticism of the science of
God--that is of theology--as it is the criticism of other sciences.
For criticism philosophy always is: always the reflection upon fixed
dogma, and the discussion of it till it becomes sensible of its
defects, and stands upon another and higher plane. And to some it may
seem that this is the sole function which philosophy can legitimately
undertake. 'Yet,' as Aristotle remarked, 'the good critic must know
what he criticises.' He must not merely reflect upon it from outside,
but deal with it from the plenitude of experience, from the abundance
of the heart. If he be a critic then, he cannot be a mere critic, but
also an agent in the work of reconstruction. Or, if we put the thing
otherwise; though, as Fichte said (p. 28), philosophy is a different
thing from life, the true philosopher can never be a mere philosopher,
but must, if he is to reach the height of his vocation, have also
entered into the full experience of reality, into the whole truth of
life. His philosophy will then not be outside of religion and aesthetic
perception. In its comprehension of all grades and forms of reality and
truth, goodness, holiness, beauty, will have their place. He also will
be among the theologians.

And when the philosopher deals with personality in this high, this
supreme sphere, he will submit that the truth of personality is
subordinate to the truth of spirituality. He will argue that by
sticking too closely and fixedly to personality we are running a risk
of bringing down the divine to the level of the human. If, with Dante,
he can say that in its very heart the Light Eternal

    'Mi parve pinta della nostra effige;'

he will undoubtedly add with Dante

    'Oh quanto è corto 'l dire e come fioco
         Al mio concetto;'

or, with the first philosophical theologian who interpreted the
experience of Christian life, he will rise from the historical Jesus to
the inward witness of the Spirit.


[Footnote 1: The legal use of the distinction between 'real' and
'personal' is only partly 'logical,' and largely retains traces of
the larger logic of life and history. Yet, roughly speaking, personal
property is what we can, so to speak, carry on our backs or in our
pockets.]


[Footnote 2: See Spinoza, _Cogitata Metaph_., Pars II. cap. 8: 'Nec
fugit nos vocabulum (_Personalitatis_ scilicet) quod theologi passim
usurpant ad rem explicandam: verum quamvis vocabulum non ignoremus
eius tamen significationem ignoramus: quamvis constanter credamus, in
visione Dei beatissima Deum hoc suis revelaturum.' For Hegel, it may be
noted, Person, so far as he uses the term at all, bears its restricted
legal and juridical sense. A person is a free intelligence, which
realises that independence by appropriating an external thing as its
sign and property. It probably belongs therefore to a world in which
people count rather by what they _have_ than by what they _are_; the
world of law where rights and duties tend to oppose each other. This is
not the highest kind of world for human beings.]

[Footnote 3: This one may call the Platonic ideal of the State, where
Equity rules supreme in the incarnate spirit of wisdom,--a guide
adapting its measures to circumstances, not tied down to the inflexible
letter of one law in an incoherent and imperfect code. See the
_Politicus_, p. 294; _Phaedrus,_ p. 275; and compare Aristotle's Wise
man whose conduct is not κατὰ λόγον but μετὰ λόγου.]

[Footnote 4: See e. g. _Encyclopaedia_, § 475.]

[Footnote 5: See his 'Dreams of a Spirit-seer, illustrated by Dreams of
Metaphysics.' (_Werke,_ ed. Ros. und Schub. Bd. VII. p. 38 sqq.)]

[Footnote 6: It is perilous and misleading (said the ancient Graiae,
who dwell on the way to the Hesperides of philosophy) to interpret an
old system by the language of modern (and especially German) idealism.
It is much worse, replied Perseus, not to interpret it at all, but to
repeat its magic _ipsissima verba_,--carefully Latinised, as if they
belonged to a cabinet of fossils.]

[Footnote 7: _Encyclopaedia_, §§ 387, 389.]

[Footnote 8: The above is an attempt to give a very condensed synopsis
of Hegel's Philosophy of Mind (_Encyclopaedia_).]

[Footnote 9: See especially in the _Theodicee,_ part I. § 43 seqq. Cf.
Nouv. Ess. II. § 9, _incline sans necessiter:_ I. § 13, _La nécessité
ne doit pas être confondue avec la détermination._]

[Footnote 10: _Microcosmus_, Book IX. chap. 4.]

[Footnote 11: See the well-known passage in _Wilhelm Meisters
Lehrjahre__,_ Book II. chap. a.]



CHAPTER XIX.


GENESIS IN MENTAL LIFE.


Aristotle, who saw into the nature of abstract entities, remarked that
the mind was nothing before it exercised itself[1]. The mind,--and
the same will turn out true of many things else where it is at first
unsurmised,--is not a fixed thing, a sort of exceedingly refined
substance, which we can lay hold of without further trouble. It is what
it has become, or what it makes itself to be. This point, that 'To be'
= 'To have become,' or rather to have made itself, is an axiom never
to be lost sight of in dealing with the mind. It is easy to talk of
and about conscience and freewill, as if these were existing things
in a sort of mental space, as hard to miss or mistake as a stone and
an orange, or as if they were palpable organs of mind, as separately
observable as the eye or ear. One asks if the will is free or not, as
glibly as one might ask whether an orange is sweet; and the answer can
be given with equal ease, affirmatively or negatively, in both cases.
Everything in these cases depends on whether the will has made itself
free or not, whether indeed we are speaking of the will at all, and
on what we mean by freedom. To ask the question in an abstract way,
taking no account of circumstances, is one of those temptations which
lead the intellect astray and produce only confusion and wordy war--as
a good deal of so-called popular metaphysics has done. The mind and
its phenomena, as they are called, cannot be dissected with the same
calmness of analysis as other substances which adapt themselves to the
scalpel: nor is dissection after all more than a part of the scientific
process, subject to the control of the synthesis in physiology.

The ordinary metaphysician makes his own task easy and his thoughtful
reader's a burden, by plunging too lightly _in medias res._ He wants
patience--often, perhaps, because he thinks too much of his reader's
impatience at analysis--to unravel the tangled mass which human
experience, when first looked at, presents. He is apt to catch at any
end which promises to effect a temporary clearance. True philosophy,
on the contrary, must show that it has got hold of what it means to
discuss: it has to construct its subject-matter: and it constructs it
by tracing every step and movement in its construction shown in actual
history. The mind is what it has been made and has made itself; and
to see what it is we must consider it not as an Alpha and Omega of
research, as popular conception and language tend to represent it,
but in the stages constituting its process, in the fluidity of its
development, in the elements out of which it results. We must penetrate
the apparent fixity and simplicity under which it comes forward,
and see through it into the process which bears it into being. For,
otherwise, the object of our investigation is taken, as if it were
the most unmistakable thing of sense and fancy,--as if everybody were
agreed that this and no other were the point in question.

But in this matter of stability and the reverse, there is a broad
distinction between the natural and the spiritual world. In Nature
every step in the organisation, by which the Cosmos is developed,
has an independent existence of its own: and the lowest formation
confronts the highest, each standing by itself beside the other.
Matter and motion, for example, are not merely found as subordinate
elements entering into the making of a plant or an animal. They have
a free existence of their own: and the free existence of matter in
motion is seen in the shape of the planetary system. So, too, chemical
or electrical phenomena can be observed by themselves, operating in
spheres where they are untrammeled by the influence of biological
conditions. It seems, at least at first sight, to be different in
the case of mind. There the specific types or several stages in the
integrating process of mental development seem to have no substantive
existence in the earlier part of the range, and to appear only as
states or factors entering into, and merged in, the higher grades
of development. This causes a peculiar difficulty in the study of
mind. We cannot seize a formation in an independent shape of its
own: we must trace it in the growth of the whole. Mental fusion and
coalescence of elements is peculiarly close, and hardly leaves any
traces of its constituent factors[2]. Sensation, for instance, in its
purity, as mere sensation, is apparently something which we can never
study in isolation. All the sensation which we can, in the strictly
psychological (as opposed to the physiological) mode of study, examine,
i. e. which we can reproduce in ourselves, is more than mere sensation:
it includes elements of thought, and probably of desire and will.
This, of course, makes the difficulties of so-called introspection:
difficulties so great and real that they have provoked in natural
reaction a set against introspection altogether, and the adoption of
the external observation (physiological or so-called psycho-physical)
employed in the 'objective' sciences. And hence when we accept the
name, such as intellect, conscience, will, &c., as if it expressed
something specially existent in a detached shape of its own, we make
an assumption which it is impossible to justify. We are reckoning
with paper-money which belongs to no recognised currency, and may be
stamped as the dealer wills. The consequence is that the thing with
which we begin our examination is an opaque point,--a mere _terminus a
quo_, from which we start on our journey of explication, leaving the
_terminus_ itself behind us unexplained.

The constituents of mind do not lie side by side tranquilly
co-existent, like the sheep beside the herbage on which it browses.
Their existence is maintained in an inward movement, by which, while
they differentiate themselves, they still keep up an identity. In
our investigations we cannot begin with what is to be defined. The
botanist, if he is to give us a science of the plant, must begin with
something whose indwelling aim it is to be itself and to realise its
own possibility. He must begin with what is not the plant, and end
with what is; begin, let us say, with the germ which has the tendency
to pass into the plant. The speculative science of biology begins with
a cell, and builds these cells up into the tissues and structures out
of which vegetables and animals are constituted. The object of the
science appears as the result of the scientific process: or, _a science
is the ideal construction of its object_. As in these cases, so in the
case of thought. We must see it grow up from its simplest element, from
the bare point of being, the mere speck of being which, if actually no
better than nothing, is yet a germ which in the air of thought will
grow and spread; and see it appear as a result due to the ingrowing and
outgrowing union of many elements, none of which satisfies by itself,
but leads onward from abstractions to the meeting of abstractions in
what is more and more concrete. The will and conscience, understanding
and reason, of man are not matter-of-fact units to be picked up and
examined. You must, first of all, make sure what you have in hand: and
to be sure of that is to see that the mind is the necessary outcome
of a course of development. The mind is not an immediate _datum,_
with nothing behind it, coming upon the field of mental vision with
a divinely-bestowed array of faculties; but a mediated unity, i. e.
a unity which has grown up through a complex interaction of forces,
and which lives in differences through comprehending and reconciling
antagonisms.

If the mind be not thus exhibited in its process, in the sum and
context of its relations, we may mean what we like with each mental
object that comes under our observation: but with as much right another
observer may mean something else. We may, of course, define as we
please: we may build up successive definitions into a consistent total:
but such a successful arrangement is not a real science. Unless we
show how this special form of mind is constituted, we are dealing with
abstractions, with names which we may analyse, but which remain as they
were when _our_ analysis is over, and which seem like unsubstantial
ghosts defying our coarse engines of dissection. They are not
destroyed: like immaterial and aery beings they elude the sword which
smites them, and part but to re-unite. The name, and the conception
bodied forth in it, is indeed stagnant, and will to all appearance
become the ready prey of analysis: but there is something behind
this materialised and solidified conception, this worn-out counter
or sign, which mere analysis cannot even reach. And that underlying
nature is a process or movement, a meeting of elements, which it is
the business of philosophy to unfold. The analyst in this case has
dealt with ideas as if they were a finer sort of material product, a
fixed and assailable point: and this is perhaps the character of the
generalised images, which take the place of thoughts in our customary
habits of mind. But ideas, when they have real force and life, are
not hard and solid, but, as it were, fluid and transparent, and can
easily escape the divisions and lines which the analytical intellect
would impose. Perhaps some may think that it is unwise to fight with
ghosts like these, and that the best plan would be to disregard this
war of words altogether. But, on the other hand, it may be urged that
such unsubstantial forms have a decided reality in life: that men will
talk of them and conjure by their means, with or without intelligence;
and that the best course is to understand them. It will then be seen
that it is our proper work as philosophers to watch the process, by
which the spiritual unity divides and yet retains its divided members
in unity. Even in the first steps we take to get a real hold of an
object we see this. To understand it, we must deprive it of its seeming
independence. Every individual object is declared by the logician to
be the meeting of two currents, the coincidence of two movements. It
concentrates into an undecompounded unit,--at least such it appears to
representative or material thought,--two elements, each of which it is
in turn identifiable with. The one of these elements has been called
the self-same (or identity), the universal, the genus, the whole: while
the second is called the difference, the particular, the part. And by
these two points of reference it is fixed,--by two points which are
for the moment accepted as stationary. What has thus been stated in
the technical language of Logic is often repeated in the scientific
parlance of the day, but with more materialised conceptions and in
more concrete cases. The dynamic theory of matter represents it as a
unity of attraction and repulsion. A distinguished Darwinian remarks
that 'all the various forms of organisms are the necessary products
of the unconscious action and reaction between the two properties of
adaptability and heredity, reducible as these are to the functions of
nutrition and reproduction[3]. The terms 'action and reaction' are
hardly sufficient, it may be, to express the sort of unity which is
called for: but the statement at least shows the reduction of an actual
fact to the interaction of two forces, the meeting of two currents.
The one of these is the power of the kind, or universal, which tends
to keep things always the same: the other the power of localised
circumstances and particular conditions, which tends to render things
more and more diversified. The one may be called a centripetal, the
other a centrifugal force. If the one be synthetic, the other is
analytic. But such names are of little value, save for temporary
distinction, and must never be treated as permanent differences which
explain themselves. The centre is relative, and so is the totality.

Thus it is that the so-called Evolutionist explains the origin of
natural kinds. They are what they severally are by reason of a process,
a struggle, by alliances and divisions, by re-unions and selections.
They are not independent of the inorganic world around them: it has
entered into their blood and structure, and made them what they are.
To understand them we must learn all we can of the simpler and earlier
forms, which have left traces in their structure: traces which,
without the existence of such more primitive forms, we might have
misunderstood, or have passed by unperceived. And, again, we learn
that our hard and fast distinctions are barely justified by Nature.
There, kind in its extreme examples seems to run into kind, and we do
not find the logically-exact type accurately embodied anywhere. Our
classifications into genera and species turn out to be in the first
instance prompted by a practical need to embrace the variety in a
simple shape. But though perfectly valid, so far as we use them for
such ends, they tend to lead us false, if we press them too far.

And when we have seen so much, we may learn the further lesson that
the variety of organisation, animal and vegetable, is only the
exhibition in an endless detail by single pictures, more or less
complementary, more or less inclusive of each other, of that one
vital organisation in principle and construction which we could not
otherwise have had presented to us. In a million lessons from the vast
ranges of contemporary and of extinct life there is impressed upon
the biological observer the idea of that system of life-function and
life-structure which is the goal of biological science. The interest
in the mere variety whether of modern or of primeval forms of life is
as such merely historical; its truer use is to enable the scientific
imagination to rise above local or temporary limitations. And thus in
the end the records and guesses of evolution in time and place serve
to build up a theory of the timeless universal nature of life and
organisation.

And what is true of Nature is equally true of the Mind. For these
two, as we have already seen, are not isolable from each other.
Neither the mind nor the so-called external world are either of them
self-subsistent existences, issuing at once and ready-made out of
nothing. The mind does not come forth, either equipped or un-equipped,
to conquer the world: the world is not a prey prepared for the spider,
waiting for the mind to comprehend and appropriate it. The mind and
the world, the so-called 'subject' and so-called 'object,' are equally
the results of a process: and it is only when we isolate the terminal
aspects of that process, and in the practical business of life forget
the higher theoretical point of view, that we lose sight of their
origin, and have two worlds facing each other. As the one side or
aspect of the process gathers feature and form, so does the other. As
the depth and intensity of the intellect increases, the limits of the
external world extend also. For the psychical life is just the power
which maintains a continuing correlation between the body and its
environment, and between the various elements in that environment. It
is the unity in which that correlation lives and is aware of itself.
It is the subject-object, which sets one element against another, and
gives it quasi-independence. The mind of the savage is exactly measured
by the world he has around him. The dull, almost animal, sensation
and feeling, which is what we may call his mental action, is just the
obverse of the narrow circumference that girdles his external world.
The beauty and interest of the grander phenomena of terrestrial nature,
and of the celestial movements, are ideally non-existent for a being,
whose whole soul is swallowed up in the craving for food, the fear of
attack, and the lower enjoyments of sense. In the course of history we
can see the intellect growing deeper and broader, and the limits of the
world recede simultaneously with the advance of the mind. This process
or movement of culture takes place in the sequence of generations, and
in the variety of races and civilisations spread over the face of the
world. But here too, the higher science, not resting in the merely
historical inquiry, takes no interest in the medium of time, and merely
uses it to supply material for the rational sequence of ideas[4].

The objective world of knowledge is really at one with the subjective
world: they spring from a common source, what Kant called the 'original
synthetic unity of apperception.' The distinction between them flows
from abstraction, from failure to keep in view the whole round of
life and experience. The subjective world--the mind of man--is really
constituted by the same force as the objective world of nature: the
latter has been translated from the world of extension, with its
externality of parts in time and space, into an inner world of thought
where unity, the fusion or coalescence of all types and forms, is the
leading feature. The difficulty of passing from the world of being to
the world of thoughts, from notion to thing, from subject to object,
from Ego to Non-ego, is a difficulty which men have unduly allowed to
grow upon them. It grows by talking of and analysing _mere_ being,
_mere_ thought, _mere_ notion, or _mere_ thing. And it will be
dispelled when it is seen that there is no _mere_ being, and no _mere_
thought: that these two halves of the unity of experience--the unity
we divide and the division we unify in every judgment we make--are
continually leaning out of themselves, each towards the other. But
men, beginning as they must from themselves, and failing to revise and
correct their stand-point till it became an _ἀρχὴ ἀνυπόθετος,_ argued
from a belief that the individual mind was a fixed and absolute centre,
from which the universe had to be evaluated. In Hegel's words, they
made man and not God the object of their philosophy[5]. So that Kant
really showed the outcome of a system which acted on the hypothesis
that man in his individual capacity was all in all. Hegel, on his own
showing, came to prove that the real scope of philosophy was God;--that
the Absolute is the 'original synthetic unity' from which the external
world and the Ego have issued by differentiation, and in which they
return to unity.

If this be so, then there is behind the external world and behind the
mind an organism of pure types or forms of thought,--an organism which
presents itself, in a long array of fragments, to the senses in the
world of nature, where all things lie outside of one another, and which
then is, as it were, reflected back into itself so as to constitute the
mind, or spiritual world, where all parts tend to coalesce in a more
than organic unity. The deepest craving of thought, and the fundamental
problem of philosophy, will accordingly be to discover the nature and
law of that totality or primeval unity,--the totality which we see
appearing in the double aspect of nature and mind, and which we first
become acquainted with as it is manifested in this state of dis-union.
To satisfy this want is what the Logic of Hegel seeks. It lays bare
the kingdom of those potent shades,--the phases of the Idea--which
embodies itself more concretely in the external world of body, and the
inward world of mind. The psychological or individualist conditions,
which even in the Kantian criticism sometimes seem to set up mind as an
entity parallel to the objects of nature, and antithetic to nature as
a whole, have fallen away. Reason has to be taken in the whole of its
actualisation as a world of reason, not in its bare possibility, not in
the narrow ground of an individual's level of development, but in the
realised formations of reasonable knowledge and action, as shown in Art
and Life, Science and Religion. In this way we come to a reason which
might be in us or in the world, but which, being to a certain extent
different from either, was the focus of two orders of manifestations.

To ascertain that ultimate basis of the world and mind was the chief
thing philosophy had to see to. But in order to do this, a good deal
of preliminary work was necessary. The work of Logic, as understood
by Hegel, involves a stand-point which is not that of every-day life
or reflection on experience. It presupposes the whole process from
the provisional starting-point which seems at first sight simplest
and universally acceptable, upwards to the unhypothetical principle
which--though at a long distance--it involves and leads up to, or
presupposes. We all know Aristotle's dictum ᾽Εν τοῐς αὶσθητοῐς τὰ
νοητά ἐστιν: _Nihil in intellectu quod non prius in sensu._ The fact
of sense and feeling _is_ the fact of experience: or rather the fact
and reality of experience is the underlying truth which the expression
of it in terms of sense and perception inadequately interprets. Even
in the principles of sensation there is judgment, thought, reasoning:
but it needs eliciting, re-statement, opening up, and explanation.
The Phenomenology of Mind is, as Hegel himself has said, his voyage of
discovery. It traces the path, and justifies the work of traversing
it, from the ill-founded and imperfect certainties of sense and
common-sense, up through various scientific, moral, and religious modes
of interpreting experience and expressing its net sum of reality,
till it culminates in the stand-point of 'pure thought,' of supreme
or 'absolute' consciousness. It is certainly not a history of the
individual mind: and equally little is it a history of the process of
the intellectual development of the race. In a way it mixes up both.
For its main interest is not on the purely historical side. It indulges
in bold transitions, in sudden changes of scene from ancient Greece
and Rome to modern Germany, from public facts and phases of national
life to works of fiction (compare its use of Goethe's _Faust_ and his
version of _Rameau's Nephew)._ It lingers--for historical accuracy and
proportion unduly--over the period of Kant and Fichte, and reads Seneca
by the light of the _Sorrows of Werther._ For its aim is to gather from
the inspection of all ways in which men have attempted to reach reality
the indication of their several content of truth, and of the several
defects from it, so as to show the one necessary path on which even all
their errors converge and which they serve to set out in clearer light.

Hegel's philosophy is undoubtedly the outcome of a vast amount of
historical experience, particularly in the ancient world, and implies
a somewhat exhaustive study of the products of art, science, politics,
and religion. By experience he was led to his philosophy, not by
what is called _a priori_ reasoning. It is curious indeed to observe
the prevalent delusion that German philosophy is the 'high _priori_
road,'--to hear its profundity admired, but its audacity and neglect of
obvious facts deplored. The fact is that without experience neither
Hegel nor anybody else will come to anything. But, on the other hand,
experience is in one sense only the yet undeciphered mass of feeling
and reality, the yet unexpounded psychical content of his life; or,
taken in another acceptation, it is only a form which in one man's case
means a certain power of vision, and in another a different degree. One
man sees the idea which explains and unifies experience as actuality:
to the other man it is only a subjective notion. And even when it is
seen, there are differences in the subsequent development. One man
sees it, asserts it on all hands, and then closes. Another sees it,
and asks if this is all, or if it is only part of a system. An appeal
to 'my experience' is very much like an appeal to 'my sentiments' or
'my feelings': it may prove as much or as little as can be imagined:
in other words, it can prove nothing. The same is true of the appeal
to consciousness, that oracle on whose dicta it has sometimes been
proposed to found a system of philosophy. By that name seems meant the
deliverances of some primal and unerring nucleus of mind, some real
and central self, whose voice can be clearly distinguished from the
mere divergent cries of self-interest and casual opinion. That such
discernment is possible no philosophy will seek to deny: but it is a
discernment which involves comparison, examination, and reasoning.
And in that case the appeal to consciousness is the exhortation to
clear and deliberate thinking. While, on another side, it hints that
philosophy does not--in the end--deal with mere abstractions, but with
the real concrete life of mind. And if an appeal to other people's
experience is meant, that is only an argument from authority. What
other people experience is their business, not mine. Experience
_means_ a great deal for which it is not the right name: and to give
an explanation of what it is, and what it does, would render a great
service to English methodologists.

There are, however, two modes in which these studies to discover the
truth may appear. In the one case they are reproduced in all their
fragmentary and patch-work character. They are supposed to possess a
value of their own, and are enunciated with all the detail of historic
incident. The common-place books of a man are, as it were, published
to instruct the world and give some hint of the extent of his reading.
But, in the other case, the scaffolding of incident and externality
may be removed. The single facts, which gave the persuasion of the
idea, are dismissed, as interesting only for the individual student on
his way to truth: or, if the historical vehicle of truth be retained
at all, it is translated into another and intellectual medium. Such a
history, the quintessence of extensive and deep research, is presented
in the Phenomenology. The names of persons and places have faded from
the record, as if they had been written in evanescent inks,--dates
are wanting,--individualities and their biographies yield up their
place to universal and timeless principles. Such typical forms are
the concentrated essence of endless histories. They remind one of the
descriptions which Plato in his Republic gives of the several forms
of temporal government. Or, to take a modern instance, the Hegelian
panorama of thought which presents only the universal evolution of
thought,--that evolution in which the whole mind of the world takes the
place of all his children, whether they belong to the common level,
or stand amongst representative heroes,--may be paralleled to English
readers by Browning's poem of _Sordello._ There can be no question
that such a method is exposed to criticism, and likely to excite
misconception. If it tend to give artistic completeness to the work,
it also tantalises the outsider who has a desire to reach his familiar
standing-ground. He wishes a background of time and space, where the
forms of the abstract ideas may be embodied to his mind's eye. In most
ages, and with good ground, the world has been sceptical, when it
perceived no reference to authorities, no foot-notes, no details of
experiments made: nor is it better disposed to accept provisorily, and
find, as the process goes on, that it verifies itself to intelligence.



[Footnote 1: _De Anima,_ iii. 4.]

[Footnote 2: A philological parallel may make this clearer. 'The
Indo-German,' says Misteli _(__Typen des Sprachbaues,_ p. 363),
'embraces or condenses several categories in a single idea in a
way which though less logical is more fruitful; for in this way he
procures graspable totals with which he can work further, and not
patch-work which would crumble away in his hands. Our _He_ includes
four grammatical categories, which work not separately, but as a
whole:--third person, masculine gender, singular, nominative; whereas
the Magyar _ö_ is the vehicle only of one category, the third person,
which is either determined as singular by the context, or as plural
by the addition of _k_: gender in these languages does not exist: and
as subject again _ö_ is specially interpreted from the context. The
unification of the four categories makes _He_ an individual and a word;
the generality and isolation of one category makes _ö_ an abstract and
a stem.']

[Footnote 3: Häckel, _Natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte_, p. 157.]

[Footnote 4: See above, pp. 155, 198.]

[Footnote 5: Hegel's _Werke,_ vol. i. p. 15.]



CHAPTER XX.


GENERAL LAW OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY.


'The order and concatenation of ideas,' says Spinoza, 'is the same as
the order and concatenation of things[1].' The objective world at least
of acts and institutions develops parallel with the growth and system
of men's ideas. In the tangled skein which human life and reality
present to the observer, the only promising clue is to be found in the
process by which in history the past throws light on the present and
gets light in return. There in the stream of time and in the expanses
of space the condensed results, the hard knots, which present life
offers for explanation, are broken up into a vast number of problems,
each presenting a different aspect, and one helping towards a fairer
and clearer appreciation of another.

The present medium of general intelligence and theory in which we live
embraces in a way the results of all that has preceded it, of all the
steps of culture through which the world has risen. But in this body of
intellectual beliefs and ideas with which our single soul is clad,--in
this common soil of thought,--the several contributions of the past
have been half or even wholly obliterated, and are only the shadows of
their old selves. What in a former day was a question of all-engrossing
interest has left but a trace: the complete and detailed formations
of ancient thought have lost their distinctness of outline, and have
shrunk into mere shadings in the contour of our intellectual world.
Questions, from which the ancient philosophers could never shake
themselves loose, are now only a barely perceptible _nuance_ in the
complex questions of the present day. Discussions about the bearings of
the 'one' and the 'many,' puzzles like those of Zeno, and the casuistry
of statesmanship such as is found in the Politics of Aristotle, have
for most people little else than an antiquarian interest. We scarcely
detect the faint traces they have left in the 'burning questions'
of our own age. We are too ready to forget that the past is never
altogether annihilated, and that every step, however slight it may
seem, which has once been taken in the movement of intellect, must be
traversed again in order to understand the constitution of our present
intellectual world. To outward appearance the life and work of past
generations have so completely lost their organic nature, with its
unified and vital variety, that in their present phase they have turned
into hard and opaque atoms of thought. The living forces of growth,
as geologists tell us, which pulsed through the vegetables of one
period are suspended and put in abeyance: and these vegetables turn
into what we call the inorganic and inanimate strata of the earth.
Similarly, when all vitality has been quenched or rendered torpid in
the structures of thought, they sink into the material from which
individuals draw their means of intellectual support. This inorganic
material of thought stands to the mind, almost in the same way as the
earth and its products stand to the body of a man. If the one is our
material, the other is our spiritual _substance_. In the one our mind,
as in the other our body, lives, moves, and has its being.

But in each case besides the practical need, which bids us consume the
substance as dead matter, and apply it to use, there is the theoretical
bent which seeks to reproduce ideally the past as a living and fully
developed organism. 'This past,' says Hegel, 'is traversed by the
individual, in the same way as one who begins to study a more advanced
science repeats the preliminary lessons with which he had long been
acquainted, in order to bring their information once more before his
mind. He recalls them: but his interest and study are devoted to other
things. In the same way the individual must go through all that is
contained in the several stages in the growth of the universal mind:
but all the while he feels that they are forms of which the mind has
divested itself,--that they are steps on a road which has been long
ago completed and levelled. Thus, points of learning, which in former
times tasked the mature intellects of men, are now reduced to the level
of exercises, lessons, and even games of boyhood: and in the progress
of the schoolroom we may recognise the course of the education of the
world, drawn, as it were, in shadowy outline[2].'

The scope of historical investigation therefore is this. It shows
how every shading in the present world of thought, which makes our
spiritual environment, has been once living and actual with an
independent being of its own. But it also reveals the presence of
shades and elements in the present which if our eyes had looked on the
present alone we should scarcely have suspected: and it thus enables us
to interpolate stages in development of which the result preserves only
rudimentary traces. And, when carried out in a philosophical spirit,
it shows further, that in those formations, which are produced in
each period of the structural development of reason, the universe of
thought, or the Idea, is always whole and complete, but characterised
in some special mode which for that period seems absolute and final.
Each form or 'dimension' of thought, in which the totality is grasped
and unified, is therefore not so simple or elementary as it may seem
to casual observers regarding only the simplicity of language: it is
a total, embracing more or less of simpler elements, each of which
was once an inferior total, though in this larger sphere they are
reduced to unity. Thus each term or period in the process is really
an individualised whole, with a complex interconnexion and contrast
included in it: it is _concrete._ No single word or phrase explains it:
yet it is one totality,--a rounded life, from which its several spheres
of life must be explained. But when that period is passing away, the
form of its idea is separated, and retained, apart from the life and
mass of the elements which constituted it a real totality; and then the
mere shading or shell, with only part of its context of thought, is
left _abstract._ When that time has come, a special form, a whole act
in the drama, of humanity has been transformed into an empty husk, and
is only a name.

The sensuous reality of life, as it is limited in space and time, and
made palpable in matter and motion, is however the earliest cradle
of humanity. The environment of sense is prior in the order of time
to the environment of thought. Who, it may be asked, first wrought
their way out of that atmosphere of sense into an ether of pure
thought? Who first saw that in sense there was yet present something
more than sensation,--that the deliverances of sense-perception rest
upon and involve relations, ties, distinctions, which contradict its
self-confidence and carry us beyond its simple indications?. Who laid
the first foundations of that world of reason in which the civilised
nations of the modern period live and move? The answer is, the Greek
philosophers: and in the first place the philosophers of Elea. For
Hegel the history of thought begins with Greece. All that preceded the
beginnings of Greek speculation, and most that lies outside it, has
only a secondary interest for the culture of the West.

But 'many heroes lived before the days of Agamemnon,' The records of
culture no longer begin with Greece. Even in Hegel's own day, voices,
like those of the poet Rückert (in his 'habilitation'-exercise), were
heard declaring that the true fountain of European thought, the real
philosophy, was to be sought in the remoter East. Since the time of
Hegel, the study of primitive life, and of the rise of primitive ideas
in morals and religion, has enabled us to some extent to trace the
early gropings of barbarian fancy and reason. The comparative study
of languages has, on the other hand, partly revealed the contrivances
by which human reason has risen from one grade of consciousness to
another. The sciences of language and of primitive culture have
revealed new depths in the development of thought, where thought is
still enveloped in nature and sense and symbols,--depths which were
scarcely dreamed of in the earlier part of the present century. Here
and there, investigators have even supposed that they had found the
cradle of some elements in art, religion, and society, or, it may be,
of humanity itself.

These researches have accomplished much, and they promise to accomplish
more. They help us perhaps to take a juster view of the early Greek
thinkers, and show how much they still laboured under conditions
of thought and speech from which their struggles have partly freed
us. But for the present, and with certain explanations to be given
later, it may still be said that the birthday of our modern world
is the moment when the Greek sages began to construe the facts of
the universe. Before their time the world lay, as it were, in a
dream-life. Unconsciously in the womb of time the spirit of the world
was growing,--its faculties forming in secresy and silence,--until
the day of birth when the preparations were completed, and the young
spirit drew its first breath in the air of thought. A new and to us
all-important epoch in the history of thought begins with the Greeks:
and the utterances of Parmenides mark the first hard, and still
somewhat material, outlines of the spiritual world in which we live.
Other nations of an older day had gathered the materials: in their
languages, customs, religions, &c., there was an unconscious deposit of
reason. It was reserved for the Greeks to recognise that reason: and
thus in them reason became conscious.

For us, then, it was the Greek philosophers who distinctly drew the
distinction between sense and thought, and who first translated the
actual forms of our natural life into their abbreviated equivalents in
terms of logic. The struggle to carry through this transition, this
elevation into pure thought, is what gives the dramatic interest to
the Dialogues of Plato and keeps the sympathy of his readers always
fresh. Socrates, we are told, first taught men to seek a general
definition: not to be content with having--like Pythagoreans--their
meaning wrapped up inseparably in psychical images and quasi-material
symbols. He taught them to refer word to fellow word, to elicit the
underlying idea by the collision and comparison of instances, to get
at the 'content' which was identical in all the multiplicity of forms.
He taught them, in--brief, to think: and Plato carried out widely and
deeply the lesson. The endeavour to create an ideal world, which, at
its very creation, seems often to be transformed into a refined and
attenuated copy of the sense-world, meets us in almost every page of
his Dialogues. In Aristotle this effort, with its concomitant tendency
to give 'sensible' form to the ideal, is so far over and past; and
some sort of intellectual world, perhaps narrow and inadequate,
is reached,--the logical scheme in which immediate experience was
expressed and codified. What these thinkers began, succeeding ages have
inherited and promoted.

In the environment of reason, therefore, which encompasses the
consciousness of our age, are contained under a generalised form and
with elimination of all the particular circumstances, the results won
in the development of mind and morals. These results now constitute
the familiar joints and supports in the framework of ordinary thought:
around and upon them cluster our beliefs and imaginations. During each
epoch of history, the consciousness of the world, at first by the mouth
of its great men, its illustrious statesmen, artists, and philosophers,
has explicitly recognised, and translated into terms of thought,--into
logical language,--that synthesis of the world which the period had
practically secured by the action of its children. That activity went
on, as is the way of natural activities, spontaneously, through the
pressure of need, by an immanent adaptation of means to ends, not in
conscious straining after a result. For the conscious or reflective
effort of large bodies of men is often in a direction contrary to
the Spirit of the Time. This Spirit of the Time, the absolute mind,
which is neither religious nor irreligious, but infinite and absolute
in its season, is the real motive principle of the world. But that
Spirit of the Time is not always the voice that is most effective at
the poll, or rings loudest in public rhetoric. It is often a still
small voice, which only the wise, the self-restrained, the unselfish
hear. And he who hears it and obeys it, not he who follows the blatant
crowd, is the hero. It is only to a mistaken or an exaggerated
hero-worship, therefore, that Hegel can be said to be a foe. Great
men are great: but the Spirit of the Time is greater: their greatness
lies in understanding it and bringing it to consciousness. The man,
who would act independently of his time and in antagonism to it, is
only the exponent of its latent tendencies. Nor need the synthesis
be always formulated by a philosopher in order to leaven the minds
of the next generation. The whole system of thought,--the theory of
the time,--its world, in short, influences minds, although it is not
explicitly formulated and stated: it becomes the nursery of future
thought and speculation. Philosophy in its articulate utterances only
gives expression to the silent and half-conscious grasp of reason over
its objects. But when the adaptation is not merely reached but seen and
felt, when the synthesis or world of that time is made an object of
self-consciousness, the exposition has made an advance upon the period
which preceded. For that period started in its growth from the last
exposition, the preceding system of philosophy, after it had become
the common property of the age, and taken its place in their mental
equipment.

Each exposition or perception of the synthesis by the philosopher
restores or re-affirms the unity which in the divided energies of
the period, in its progressive, reforming, and reactionary aspects,
in its differentiating time, had to a great extent been lost. By the
reforming, progressive, and scientific movement of which each period
is full, the unity or totality with which it began is shown to be
defective. The value of the initial synthesis is impaired; its formula
is found inadequate to comprehend the totality: and the differences
which that unity involved, or which were implicitly in it, are now
explicitly affirmed. But the bent towards unity is a natural law
making itself felt even in the period of differentiation. And it
makes itself felt in the pain of contradiction, of discord, of broken
harmony. And that pain--which is the sign of an ever-present life that
refuses to succumb to the encroaching elements--is the stimulus to
re-construction. Only so far as pain ceases to be pain, as it benumbs,
and deadens, does it involve stagnation: as pain proper, felt as
resistance to an inner implicitly victorious principle, it stimulates
and quickens to efforts to make life whole again. The integrating
principle is present and active. There is then an effort, a re-action;
the feeling has to do something to make itself outwardly felt: the
implicit has to be actually put in its place, forced as it were into
action and set forth[3]: and the existing contrasts and differences
which the re-forming agency has called into vigorous life are lifted
from their isolation, and show of independence, and kept, as it were,
suspended in the unity[4]. The differences are not lost or annihilated:
but they come back to a centre, they find themselves, as it were,
at home: they lose their unfair prominence and self-assertion, and
sink into their places as constituents in the embracing organism[5].
The unity which comes is not however the same as the unity which
disappeared, however much it may seem so. The mere _notion_--the
inner sense and inner unity--has put itself forward into the real
world: it is no longer a mere subjective principle, but as moulded
into actuality, into the objective world, it has become an Idea.
(_Begriff_ is now _Idee._) For the Idea is always more than a notion:
it is a notion translated into objectivity, and yet in objectivity
not sinking into a mere congeries of independent parts, but retaining
them 'ideally'--united by links of thought and service--in its larger
ideal-reality. It is all that the object ought to be (and which in a
sense it must be, if it is at all), and all that the subject sought to
be and looked forward to.

The mind of the world moves, as it were, in cycles, but with each new
cycle a difference supervenes, a new tone is perceptible. History,
which reflects the changing aspects of reality, does and does not
repeat itself. The distinctions and the unity are neither of them the
same after each step as they were before it: they have both suffered a
change: it is a new scene that comes above the horizon, however like
the last it may seem to the casual observer. Thus when the process
of differentiation is repeated anew, it is repeated in higher terms,
multiplied, and with a higher power or wider range of meaning[6]. Each
unification however is a perfect world, a complete whole: it is the
same sum of being; but in each successive level of advance it receives
a fuller expression, and a more complexly-grouped type of features[7].
Such is the rhythmic movement,--the ebb and flow of the world, always
recurring with the same burden but, as we cannot but hope, with richer
variety of tones, and fuller sense of itself. The sum of actuality, the
Absolute, is neither increased nor diminished. The world, the ultimate
reality of experience and life, was as much a rounded total to the
Hebrew Patriarchs as it is to us: without advancing, it has been, we
may say, in its expression deepened, developed, and organised. In one
part of the sway of thought, however, there is a harder, narrower,
insistance (by practical and business minds) on the sufficiency of
a definite principle to satisfy all wants and to make all mysteries
plain, and a disposition to ignore all other elements of life: at
another, there is a fuller recognition of the differences, gaps, and
contradictions, involved in the last synthesis,--which recognition
it is the tendency of scientific inquiry, of reforming efforts, of
innovation, to produce: and in the last period of the sway, there is
a stronger and more extended grasp taken by the unity pervading these
differences,--which is the work appointed to philosophy gathering up
the results of science and practical amendments.

To this rhythmical movement Hegel has appropriated the name of
Dialectic. The name came in the first instance from Kant, but
ultimately from Plato, where it denotes the process which brings the
'many' under the 'one,' and divides the 'one' into the 'many.' But how,
it may be asked, does difference spring up, if we begin with unity, and
how do the differences return into the unity? In other words, given a
universal, how are we ever to get at particulars, and how will these
particulars ever give rise to a real individual? Such is the problem,
in the technical language of the Logic of the 'Notion.' And we may
answer, that the unity or universal in question is either a true and
adequate or an imperfect unity. In the latter case it is a mere unit,
amid other units, bound to them and serving to recall them by relations
of contrast, complement, similarity. It is one of many,--a subordinate
member in a congeries, and not _the One_. If, on the contrary, it be
a true Unity, it is a concrete universal,--the parent of perpetual
variety. The unity, if it be its genuine shape which is formulated by
philosophers, is not mere monotony without differences. If it is a
living and real Idea, containing a complex inter-action of principles:
it is not a single line of action, but the organic confluence of
several. No one single principle by itself is enough to state a life,
a character, or a period. But as the unity comes before the eye of the
single thinker, it is seldom or never grasped with all its fulness of
life and difference. The whole synthesis, although it is implicitly
present and underlies experience and life as its essential basis,
is not consciously apprehended, but for the most part taken on one
side only, one emphatic aspect into which it has concentrated itself.
And even if the master could grasp the whole, could see the unity of
actuality in all its differences, (and we may doubt whether any man
or any philosopher can thus incarnate the prerogative of reason,) his
followers and the popular mind would not imitate him. While his grasp
of comprehension may possibly have been thorough, though he may have
seen life whole through all its differences, inequalities, and schisms,
and with all these reduced or idealised to their due proportions,
into the unity beyond, the crowd who follow him are soon compelled
to lay exclusive stress on some one side of his theory. Some of them
see the totality from one aspect, some from another. It is indeed the
whole which in a certain sense they see: but it is the whole narrowed
down to a point. While _his_ theory was a comprehensive and concrete
grasp, including and harmonising many things which seem otherwise wide
apart, theirs is abstract and inadequate: it fixes on a single point,
which is thus withdrawn from its living and meaning-giving context,
and left as an empty name. Now it is the very nature of popular
reasoning to tend to abstractions, in this sense of the word. Popular
thought wants the time and perseverance necessary to retain a whole
truth, and so is contented with a partial image. It seeks for simple
and sharp precision: it likes to have something distinctly before
it, visible to the eye of imagination, and capable of being stated
in a clear and unambiguous formula for the intellect. And popular
thought--the dogmatic insistence on one-sided truth--is not confined
to the so-called non-philosophic world: just as, on the other hand,
the inclusive and comprehensive unity of life and reality is seen and
felt and recognised by many--and felt by them first--who have no claim
to the technical rank of philosophers. Popular thought is the thought
which skims the surface of reality, which addresses itself to the level
of opinion prevalent in all members of the mass as such, and does not
go beyond that into the ultimate and complex depths of experience.

Thus it comes about that the concrete or adequate synthesis which
should have appeared in the self-conscious thought of the period,
when it reflected upon what it was, has been replaced by a narrow
and one-sided formula, an abstract and formal universal, a universal
which does not express all the particulars. One predominant side of
the synthesis steals the place of the total: what should have been
a comprehensive universal has lowered itself into a particular. Not
indeed the same particular as existed before the union: because it has
been influenced by the synthesis, so as to issue with a new colouring,
as if it had been steeped in a fresh liquid. But still it is really
a particular: and as such, it evokes a new particular in antagonism
to it and exhibiting an element latent in the synthesis. If the
first side of the antithesis which claims unduly to be the total, or
universal, be called Conservative, the second must be called Reforming
or Progressive. If the first step is Dogmatic, the second is Sceptical.
If the one side assumes to be the whole, the other practically refutes
the assumption. If the one agency clings blindly to the unity,--as
when pious men rally round the central idea of religion, the other as
tenaciously and narrowly holds to the difference,--as when science
displays the struggle for existence and the empire of chance among
the myriads of aimless organisms. They are two warring abstractions,
each in a different direction. But as they are the offspring of one
parent,--as they have each in their own way narrowed the whole down to
a point, it cannot but be that when they evolve or develop all that
is in them, they will ultimately coincide, and complete each other.
The contradiction will not disappear until it has been persistently
worked out,--when each opposing member which was potentially a total
has become what it was by its own nature destined to be. And this
disappearance of the antithesis is the reappearance of the unity in all
its strength, reinforced with all the wealth of new distinctions.

Thus on a large scale we have seen the law of growth, of development,
of life. It may be called growth by antagonism. But the antagonism
here is over-ruled, and subject to the guidance of an indwelling
unity. _Mere_ antagonism--if there be such a thing--would lead to
nothing. A mere positive or affirmative point of being would lead
to no antithesis, were it not, so to speak, a point floating in an
ether of larger life and being, whence it draws an outside element
which it overcomes, assimilates and absorbs. A bare national mind
only grows to richer culture, because it lives in a universal human
life, and can say _Nihil humani a me alienum puto._ So too the mere
unit is always tainted with a dependence on outside: or it is always
implicitly more than a mere unit: and what seems to come upon it from
outside, is really an enemy from within, and it falls because there is
treason within its walls. The revolution succeeds because the party
of conservative order is not so hard and homogeneous as it appears.
So, too, it is the immanent presence of the complete thought, of the
Idea, which is the heart and moving spring that sets going the pulse
of the universal movement of thought, and which reappears in every one
of these categories to which the actualised thought of an age has been
reduced. In every term of thought there are three stages or elements:
the original narrow definiteness, claiming to be self-sufficient,--the
antagonism and criticism to which this gives rise,--and the union which
results when the two supplement and modify each other. In the full life
and organic unity of every notion there is a definite kernel, with
rigid outlines as if it were immovable: there is a revulsion against
such exclusiveness, a questioning and critical attitude: and there is
the complete notion, where the two first stages interpenetrate.



[Footnote 1: _Eth._ ii 7.]

[Footnote 2: _Phenomenologie__des Geistes_, p. 22.]

[Footnote 3: Gesetzt.]

[Footnote 4: Aufgehoben.]

[Footnote 5: Idee: Ideeller Weise.]

[Footnote 6: Potenz.]

[Footnote 7: 'Nicht nur die Einsicht in die Abhängigkeit des Einzelnen
vom Ganzen ist allein das Wesentliche; ebenso dass jedes Moment selbst
unabhängig vom Ganzen das Ganze ist, und dies ist das Vertiefen in die
Sache.' (Hegels _Leben_, p. 548.)]



CHAPTER XXI.


ABSTRACT AND CONCRETE I AND THE ORDINARY LOGIC.


The ordinary logic-books have made us all familiar with the popular
distinction between Abstract and Concrete. By a concrete term they mean
the name of an existence or reality which is obvious to the senses, and
is found in time and place;--or they mean the name of an attribute when
we expressly or tacitly recognise its dependence upon such a thing of
the senses. When, on the contrary, the attribute is forcibly withdrawn
from its context and made an independent entity in the mind, the term
expressing it becomes in the usual phraseology abstract. Any term
therefore which denotes a non-sensible or intelligible object would
probably be called abstract. And there is something to be said for the
distinction, which, though unsuccessful in its expression, has some
feeling of the radical antithesis between mere being and mere thought.
It is true, that in the totality of sense and feeling, in the full
sense-experience, there is a concrete fulness, as it were, an infinite
store of features and phases waiting for subsequent analysis to detect.
In the real kind of actual nature there is an inexhaustible mine of
properties, which no artificial classification and description can
ever come to the end of. Every quality which we state, every relation
which we predicate, is a partial and incomplete element in this
presupposed reality, this implicit concrete; and as such is abstract,
and comparatively unreal. It is something forcibly torn out of and held
apart from its context. But on the other hand the concrete reality is
not at first real, but implicit: it becomes really concrete only as it
re-embraces, and re-constitutes in its totality the elements detected
by analysis. But the popular distinction forgets this, and gives the
title and rank of concrete to what very poorly deserves the name, viz.
to the yet undiscerned reality denoted by a substantive name. Yet
there can be little doubt that the popular use of these terms, or the
popular apprehension of what constitutes reality,--for that is what it
comes to,--is sufficiently represented by the ordinary logic-books.
So that, if the whole business of the logician lies in formulating
the distinctions prevalent in popular thought, the ordinary logic is
correct.

Now the popular logic of the day,--the logic which has long been
taught in our schools and universities--has three sources.--In the
first place, but in a slight degree, it trenches upon the province
of psychology, and gives some account of the operation by which
concepts or general ideas are supposed to be formed, and of the errors
or fallacies which naturally creep into the process of reasoning.
This is the more strictly modern, the descriptive part of our
logic-books.--But, secondly, the logic of our youth rests in a much
higher degree upon the venerable authority of Aristotle. That logic,
within its own compass, was a masterpiece of analysis, and for many
centuries maintained an ascendency over the minds of men, which it
well deserved. But it was not an analysis of thought or knowledge as a
whole, and it treated its subject in fragments. It gave in one place
an analysis of science and in another an analysis of certain methods,
which could be observed in popular discussions and practical oratory.
As Lord Bacon remarked, it did little else than state and, it may be,
exaggerate the _rationale_ of argumentation. A high level of popular
thought it unquestionably was, which Aristotle had to investigate,--a
level which many generations of less favoured races were unable to
reach. But there were defects in this Logic which fatally marred its
general usefulness, when the limited scope of its original intention
had been lost sight of. The thoughts of Greece, it has been said, were
greatest and most active in the line of popular action for the city and
the public interest, in the discussions, the quibbles, the fallacies,
and rhetorical arts of the barber's shop and the 'agora.' The aim
of such exercises was to convince, to demonstrate, to persuade, to
overcome;--it might be for good and truth, but also it might not. And
accordingly the Logic of Aristotle has been said to have for its end
and canon the power to convince and to give demonstrative certainty.
There is some ground, it may be, for this charge. The ancient logician
seems to luxuriate in a rank growth of forms of sophism, and in an
almost childlike fondness for variety of argumentative method. He
seems resolved to trace the wayward tricks of thought and its phases
through every nook and cranny, to exhaust all the permutations and
complications of its elements. But let us be just, and remember that
all this was in the main a speculative inquiry--for the sake of theory.
It developed the powers of judgment and inference, just as the modern
research for new metals, new plants, or new planets, develops the
powers of observation. Both have some value in the material results
they discover: but, after all, the mental culture they give is the main
thing. And the talents quickened by deductive research are no whit
less valuable than those owed to the other. Forms are essential, even
if it be possible to make the terrible mistake of regarding them as
all-important to the exclusion of matter.

And then, this is not the whole truth. There is a perfectly serious
Greek science--Mathematics--a science of many branches: a science
which, from Plato downwards, always stood in alliance with the studies
of philosophy. Now, it might be said, perhaps with ground, that the
conception of mathematical method too much dominated all attempts to
get at the rationale of science, and led to the supremacy of syllogism.
It would be fairer perhaps to put this objection in another shape.
We should then say that the logic of Aristotle,--the _Analytics_--is
too much restricted to dealing with the most general and elementary
principles of reasoning. But this is not in itself a fault. It
becomes a fault only where there is no growth in philosophy--when
it is merely handed on from master to pupil; and where there is a
tendency to put philosophic doctrine to immediate use. To expend the
whole energy of intellect in laying bare the general principles, the
fundamental method, of knowledge and inference, is precisely what the
founder of a science has a duty to do. But the beginning thus made
requires development--and development which is fruitful must proceed
by correction and antithesis, no less than by positive additions. It
was not given to Aristotle's logic to be so carried on. His logic,
like his system in general, had no real successor to carry it on in
the following generation: and when in the less original ages of early
Byzantine rule it again found students, it had become a quasi-sacred
text which could only be commented on, not modified and developed. From
the great _Exegetai_ of Greece it passed westward to Boethius and
eastward to the Syrian and Persian commentators in the early centuries
of the Caliphate. From these, and from other intermediaries, it may be,
it finally culminated in the work of the Latin Schoolmen of the later
Middle Ages. But the very reverence which all these expositors felt for
the text of _the_ Philosopher rendered true development impossible.

Then, on the other hand, the lust of practical utility caused a
grave misconception of what logic can do. For Aristotle, logic
is a scientific analysis of the modes of inference; its uses are
those which follow intrinsically from all noble activity freely and
zealously prosecuted. But with the death of Aristotle the great days
of knowledge for the sake of knowledge and divine wisdom were over.
The Stoics into whose hands the chief sceptre of philosophy, directly
or indirectly, passed never rose above the conception of life as a
task and a duty, and of all other things, literature, science, and
art, as subservient to the performance of that task. The conception is
an ennobling one: but only with a relative or comparative nobility.
It ennobles, if it is set beside and against the view that life is a
frivolous play, a sport of caprice and selfishness. But it darkens and
narrows the outlook of humanity, when it loses sight of life as a joy,
a self-enlarging and self-realising freedom, of life as in its supreme
phase _θεωρία_--or the enjoyment of God. To the Stoic, therefore,--and
to the dominant Christian theory which entered to some extent on the
Stoic inheritance--logic, like the rest of philosophy, was something
only valuable because ultimately it helped to save the soul.

It thus sunk into the position of an Organon or instrument. To the
Stoic,--for instance to Epictetus--its value was its use to establish
the doctrines of the Stoic faith, by confuting the ill-arranged and
futile inferences on which were founded the aims and approvals of
ordinary worldly life. To the Christian, again, it served as a method
for putting into systematic shape (under the guidance of certain
supreme categories or principles also borrowed from Greek thought) the
variety of fundamental and derivative aspects which successive minds,
pondering on the power and mystery of the Christian faith, had set
forward as its essential dogmas. It thus helped to build up (out of
the leading ideas of Greek metaphysics, and the principles emerging in
the earliest attempts to formulate the law of Christ) that amalgam of
the power of a divine life with the reflective thought of the teachers
of successive generations, which constitutes the dogmatic creed of
Christendom. Such a reconstruction in thought of the reality which
underlies experience--(in this case the experience of the Christian
life), is inevitable if man is to be man, a free intelligence, and
not a mere animal-like feeling. But its success is largely, if not
entirely, dependent on the value of the logic and metaphysics which it
employs: and it would be a bold thing to say that the subtle, abstract,
and unreal system of Neo-Platonist and Neo-Aristotelian thought was an
organon adequate to cope with the breadth and depth, latent if not very
explicit, in the fulness and reality of the religious life.

Yet even as an Organon, Logic had to sink to a lower rank. As
traditionalism grew supreme, and religion ossified into a stereotyped
form of belief and practice, logic had less to do as an organiser
of dogma. It sank, or seemed to sink (for it would be rash to speak
too categorically of an epoch of thought so far removed from modern
sympathy and understanding as the age of the Schoolmen), into a futile
(and as it seems occasionally almost a viciously-despairing) play with
_pro_ and _contra_,--into a lust of argumentation which in masters
like Ockam comes perilously close to scepticism or agnosticism. More
and more, Scholastic thought, which, at one time, had been in the
centre of such intellectual life as there was, came to be stranded on
the shore, while the onward-flowing tide spread in other directions.
These were the great days of logical sway, when it seemed as if logic
could create new truth: as if forms could beget matter. So at least
ran an outside rumour, which was probably based on some amount of real
folly. But the more important point was that the old logic had lost
touch with reality. New problems were arising, which it was--without
a profound reconstruction--quite incapable of solving. Of these there
were obviously two--not unconnected perhaps, but arising in different
spheres of life. There was the revival of religious experience, growing
especially since the thirteenth century with an ever-swelling stream
in the souls of men and women, till it burst through all bounds of
outward organisation in the catastrophe of the Reformation. Luther may
have been historically unjust (as Bacon afterwards was) to the 'blind
heathen master,' as he called Aristotle: but he was governed by a true
instinct when (unlike the compromise-loving Melanchthon) he found the
traditional system of logic and metaphysics no proper organon for
the new phase of faith and theory. So, too, the new attempts at an
inception and instauration of the sciences grew up outside the walls
of old tradition, and were at first perhaps discouraged and persecuted
as infidel and heretical, and were, even without that burden, pursued
at much hap-hazard and with much ignorance both in aims and methods.
Intelligent onlookers,--especially if inspired by an enthusiasm for
the signs of an age happier for human welfare--could not but sec how
needful it was to come to some understanding on the aims and methods of
the rising sciences.

This want, which he keenly felt, Francis Bacon tried to satisfy. He
pointed out, vaguely, but zealously and in a noble spirit, the end
which that new logic had to accomplish. Bacon, however, could not do
more than state these bold suggestions: he had not the power to execute
them. He imagined indeed that he could display a method, by which
science would make incredible advances, and the kingdom of truth in a
few years come into the world. But this is a sort of thing which no
man can do. Plato, if we take his _Republic_ for a political pamphlet,
had tried to do it for the social life of Athens. What Plato could
not do for the political world of Greece, Bacon could not do for the
intellectual world in his time: for as the Athenian worked under the
shadow of his own state, over-mastered even without his knowledge by
the ordinances of Athens, so the Englishman was evidently enthralled
by the medieval conceptions and by the logic which he condemned. What
Aristotle had for ages been supposed to do, no philosopher could do for
the new spirit of inquiry which had risen in and before the days of
Bacon. That spirit, as exhibited in his great contemporaries, Bacon,
as he has himself shown, could not rightly understand or appreciate.
He failed, above all, to recognise the self-corrective, tentative,
and hypothetical nature, of all open inquiry. But one need not for
this disparage his work. It showed a new sense of the magnitude of the
modern problem: it set prominently forward the comprehensive aim of
human welfare: and by its conception of the 'forma' it kept science
pledged to a high ideal. But Bacon could only play the part of the
guide-post: he could not himself lay down the road. And negatively he
could warn against the belief that mathematics could _generate_ or do
more indeed than _define_ the sciences. The spirit of free science, of
critical investigation, of inductive inquiry, must and did constitute
its forms, legislation, and methods for itself. For no philosopher can
lay down laws or methods beforehand which the sciences must follow.
The logician only comes after, and, appreciating and discovering the
not always conspicuous methods of knowledge, endeavours to gather
them up and give them their proper place in the grand total of human
thought, correcting its inadequacies by their aid, and completing their
divisions by its larger unities. Or rather this is a picture of what
English logic might have done. But it does not do so in the ordinary
and accepted text-books on the subject. What it does do, is rather as
follows. To the second and fundamental part which it subjects to a few
unimportant alterations,--i. e. to the doctrine of terms, propositions,
and reasonings,--it subjoins an enumeration of the methods used in the
sciences.

To the rude minds of the Teutonic peoples the logical system of
Aristotle had seemed almost a divine revelation. From the brilliant
intellect of Greece a hand was stretched to help them in the
arrangement of their religious beliefs. The Church accepted the aid of
logic, foreign though logic was to its natural bent, as eagerly as the
young society tried for a while to draw support from the ancient forms
of the Roman Empire. So with the advance of the Sciences in modern
times some hopeful spirits looked upon the Inductive Logic of Mill in
the light of a new revelation. The vigorous action of the sciences
hailed a systematic account of its methods almost as eagerly as the
strong, but untaught intellect of the barbarian world welcomed the
lessons of ancient philosophy. For the first time the sciences, which
had been working blindly or instinctively, but with excellent success,
found their procedure stated clearly and definitely, yet without
any attempt to reduce their varied life to the Procrustean bed of
mathematics, which had once been held to possess a monopoly of method.
The enormous influence of the physical sciences saw itself reflected
in a distinct logical outline: and the new logic became the dominant
philosophy. Such for a while was the proud position of the Inductive
Logic. Enthusiastic students of science in all countries, who were not
inaccessible to wider culture, used quotations from Mill to adorn and
authorise their attempts at generalisation and theory. A period of
speculation in the scientific world succeeded the period of experiment,
in which facts had been collected and registered. A chapter on Method
became a necessary introduction to all higher scientific treatises. In
our universities methodology was prodigally applied to the study of
ancient philosophy. And so long as the scientific epoch lasts in its
one-sided prominence, so long the theory of inductive and experimental
methods may dominate the intellectual world.

But the Inductive Logic hardly rose to the due sense of its situation.
It has not held to the same high ideal as Bacon set before it. It has
planted itself beside what it was good enough to call the Deductive
Logic, and given the latter a certain toleration as a harmless lunatic,
or an old pauper who had seen better days. Retaining the latter with
certain modifications, although it has now lost its meaning in the
changed outlines of the intellectual world, Inductive Logic adds a
methodology of the sciences, without however founding this methodology
upon a comprehensive analysis of knowledge as a whole, when
enlarged and enlightened by the work of the sciences. Hence the two
portions,--the old logic, mutilated and severed from the Greek world it
grew out of, and the new Inductive or specially-scientific logic, not
going beyond a mere classification of methods,--can never combine, any
more than oil and water. And the little psychology, which is sometimes
added, does not facilitate the harmony.

But Inductive Logic should have adopted a more thorough policy. There
can only be one Logic, which must be both inductive and deductive, but
exclusively, and in parts, neither. To achieve that task however Logic
must not turn its back indifferently on what it calls metaphysics, and
it must rise to a higher conception of the problems of what it calls
psychology.

In these circumstances the ordinary logic, in its fundamental terms,
is more on the level of popular thought, than in a strictly scientific
region, and does not attempt to unite the two regions, and examine the
fundamental basis of thought on which scientific methods rest. The case
of Concrete and Abstract will illustrate what has been said. To popular
thought the sense-world is concrete: the intellectual world abstract.
And so it is in the ordinary logic. To Hegel, on the contrary, the
intellectual interpretation of the world of reality and experience
is a truer and thus a more concrete description of it than that
contained in a series of sense-terms. Now the difference between the
two uses of the term is not a mere arbitrary change of names. When the
philosopher denies the concreteness of the sense-world, and declares
that it, as merely sensible, is only a mass of excluding elements, a
'manifold,' and in the second instance a series of abstractions, drawn
out of this _congeries_ by perception, the change of language marks
the total change of position between the philosophic and the popular
consciousness. Reality and concreteness as estimated by the one line of
thought are the very reverse of those of the other. A mere sense-world
to the philosopher is a world which wants unity, which is made up of
bits imperfectly adjusted to each other, and always leading us to look
for an explanation of them in sources outside them. The single things
we say we perceive,--the here and the now we perceive them in--are
found, upon reflection and analysis, to depend upon general laws, on
relations that go beyond the single,--on what is neither here nor
now, but everywhere and timeless. The reality of the thing is found
to imply a general system of relations which make it what it is.
Sense-perception in short is the beginning of knowledge: and it begins
by taking up its task piecemeal. It rests upon a felt totality: and to
raise this to an intelligible totality, it must at first only isolate
one attribute at a time.

The apprehension of a thing from one side or aspect,--the apprehension
of one thing apart from its connexions,--the retention of a term or
formula apart from its context,--is what Hegel terms 'abstract.'
Ordinary terms are essentially abstract. They spring from the
analysis of something which would, in the first stage of the process,
in strictness be described not as concrete, but as chaos:--as the
indefinite or 'manifold' of sensation. But the first conceptions, which
spring from this group when it is analysed, are abstract: they are
each severed from the continuity of their reality. To interpret our
feeling, our experience as felt, we must break it up. But the first
face that presents itself is apt to impress us unduly, and seems more
real, because nearer feeling: on the other it is more unreal, because
less adequate as a total expression of the felt unity. In the same
sense we call Political Economy an abstract science, because it looks
upon man as a money-making and money-distributing creature, and keeps
out of sight his other qualities. Our notions in this way are more
abstract or more concrete, according as our grasp of thought extends
to less or more of the relations which are necessarily pre-supposed by
them. On the other hand, when a term of thought owns and emphasises
its solidarity with others, when it is not circumscribed to a single
relation, but becomes a focus in which a variety of relations converge,
when it is placed in its right post in the organism of thought,
its limits and qualifications as it were recognised and its degree
ascertained,--then that thought is rendered 'concrete.' A concrete
notion is a notion in its totality, looking before and after, connected
indissolubly with others: a unity of elements, a meeting-point of
opposites. An abstract notion is one withdrawn from everything that
naturally goes along with it, and enters into its constitution. All
this is no disparagement of abstraction. To abstract is a necessary
stage in the process of knowledge. But it is equally necessary to
insist on the danger of clinging, as to an ultimate truth, to the
pseudo-simplicity of abstraction, which forgets altogether what it is
in certain situations desirable for a time to overlook.

In a short essay, with much grim humour and quaint illustrations,
Hegel tried to show what was meant by the name 'abstract,' which in
his use of it denotes the cardinal vice of the 'practical' habit of
mind. From this essay, entitled 'Who is the Abstract Thinker[1]?'
it may be interesting to quote a few lines. A murderer is, we may
suppose, led to the scaffold. In the eyes of the multitude he is a
murderer and nothing more. The ladies perhaps may make the remark that
he is a strong, handsome, and interesting man. At such a remark the
populace is horrified. "What! a murderer handsome? Can anybody's mind
be so low as to call a murderer handsome? You must be little better
yourselves." And perhaps a priest who sees into the heart, and knows
the reasons of things, will point to this remark, as evidence of the
corruption of morals prevailing among the upper classes. A student
of character, again, inquires into the antecedents of the criminal's
up-bringing: he finds that he owes his existence to ill-assorted
parents; or he discovers that this man has suffered severely for some
trifling offence, and that under the bitter feelings thus produced
he has spurned the rules of society, and cannot support himself
otherwise than by crime. No doubt there will be people who when they
hear this explanation will say "Does this person then mean to excuse
the murderer?" In my youth I remember hearing a city magistrate
complain that book-writers were going too far, and trying to root out
Christianity and good morals altogether. Some one, it appeared, had
written a defence of suicide. It was horrible! too horrible! On further
inquiry it turned out that the book in question was the _Sorrows of
Werther._

'By abstract thinking, then, is meant that in the murderer we see
nothing but the simple fact that he is a murderer, and by this single
quality annihilate all the human nature which is in him. The polished
and sentimental world of Leipsic thought otherwise. They threw their
bouquets, and twined their flowers round the wheel and the criminal
who was fastened to it.--But this also is the opposite pole of
abstraction.--It was in a different strain that I once heard a poor
old woman, an inmate of the workhouse, rise above the abstraction
of the murderer. The sun shone, as the severed head was laid upon
the scaffold. "How finely," said the woman, "does God's gracious sun
lighten up Binder's head!" We often say of a poor creature who excites
our anger that he is not worth the sun shining on him. That woman saw
that the murderer's head was in the sunlight, and that it had not
become quite worthless. She raised him from the punishment of the
scaffold into the sunlit grace of God. It was not by wreaths of violets
or by sentimental fancies that she brought about the reconciliation:
she saw him in the sun above received into grace.'


[Footnote 1: 'Wer denkt abstrakt!' (_Vermischte Schriften_, vol. ii. p.
402.)]



CHAPTER XXII.


FROM SENSE TO THOUGHT.


Induction and Experience are names to which is often assigned the
honour of being the source of all our knowledge. But what induction
and experience consist in, is what we are supposed to be already
aware of; and that is--it may be briefly said--the concentration
of the felt and sense-given fragments into an intimate unity. The
accidents and fortunes that have befallen us in lapses of time, the
scenes that have been set before and around us in breadths of space,
are condensed into a mood of mind, a habitual shading of judgment,
or frame of thought. The details of fact re-arrange themselves into
a general concept; their essence gets distilled into a concentrated
form. Their meaning disengages itself from its embodiment, and floats
as a self-sustaining form in an ideal world. Thus if we look at the
larger process of history, we see every period trying to translate the
sensuous fact of its life into a formula of thought, and to fix it in
definite characters. The various parts of existence, and existence as
a whole, are stripped of their sensible or factual nature, in which we
originally feel and come into contact with them, and are reduced to
their simple equivalents in terms of thought. From sense and immediate
feeling there is, in the first place, generated an image or idea which
at least represents and stands for reality; and from that, in the
second place, comes a thought or notion proper, which holds the facts
in unity.

The phenomenon may, perhaps, be illustrated by the case of numbers. To
the adult European, numbers and numbering are an obvious and essential
part of our scheme of things that seems to need no special explanation.
But the experience of children suggests its artificiality, and the
evidence from the history of language corroborates that surmise. If
number be in a way describable as part of the sense-experience, or
total impression, it certainly does not come upon us with the same
passivity on our part as the perception of taste or colour, or even
of shape. It postulates a higher grade of activity. As Plato says, it
'awakes the intelligence': it implies a question and looks forward
to an answer: it is thus the first appearance of what in its later
fullness will be called 'Dialectic,' To put it otherwise: Numbering
can only proceed where there is a unit, and an identity: it implies a
one, and it implies an infinite repetibility of that one[1] It thus
postulates the double mental act, first of reducing the various to
its basis of identity, and, secondly, of performing a synthesis of
the identical units thus created. In the highly artificial world in
which we live all this seems simple enough. The products of machinery,
articles of furniture, dress, &c., &c., are already uniform items: and
the strokes of a clock seem almost to invite summation. But in free
nature this similarity is much less obviously stamped on things: and
the products of primitive art--of literal _manu_-facture--display an
individuality, an element of personal taste, even, which is necessarily
lacking in things turned out by machinery. Thus it was necessary,
before we could number, to reduce the qualitatively different to
a quantitative equality or comparability. There are indeed some
instances, in that nearest of things to us, the human body, which
might help. There is the obvious similarity of organs and limbs which
go in pairs, and which might easily suggest a dual, as, so to speak,
a sensuous fact amongst other facts. Again, there is the hand and its
five fingers, or the two hands and the ten fingers. The five or ten,
as a whole naturally given, suggest a grouping of numbers in natural
aggregates. The fingers, again, (and here we may keep at first to the
fingers proper, minus the thumb,) may be without much ingenuity said
to give us a set of four, naturally distinct, yet naturally alike,
and needing, so to speak, the minimum of intelligence to create the
numerical scale from one to four. It is by them, indeed, that Plato, it
may be unconsciously, illustrates the genesis of number. Here in short
you have the natural abacus of the nations, but one restricted, first,
perhaps to the group 1-4, secondly to the group 1-10.

We have seen how the dual was, in certain instances, almost a natural
perceptive fact. But when it is so envisaged, it is hardly recognised
as number strictly so called. It is only a fresh and peculiar sensuous
attribute of things: a thing which has the quality of duplication, not
a thought which is the synthesis of two identical units. It is a sort
of accident, not part of a regular system or series. So again with
the plural, which may appear in several shapes before it is assigned
to its proper place as a systematic function of the singular. If the
Malay, in order to say 'the king of all apes' has to enumerate one
after another the several sub-species of ape, or if to express 'houses'
he has to reduplicate the singular, to insert a word meaning 'all'
or 'many,' we can see that the conception of number is for him still
in the bonds of sense. It is not a synthetic category, but only a
material multitude. But in other cases the plural proper is almost
confounded with the so-called 'collective.' It is not an unfamiliar
fact in Greek and Latin that the plural has acquired a meaning of
its own,--not the mere multiple of its singular; as also that the
collective term is occasionally used as an abstract, occasionally
as the more or less indeterminate collection of the individuals.
Such plurals and such collectives represent a stage of language and
conception when the aggregate of singulars form a uniquely-qualified
case of the object. And the peculiarity of them is seen in the way
the plurality is immersed in and restricted to the special class of
objects: as e. g. when in English the plurality of a number of ships
is verbally stereotyped as against the plurality of a number of sheep,
or of partridges (fleet, flock, covey). In such instances the category
of number is completely pervaded and modified by the quality of the
objects it is applied to. So, in the Semitic languages, the so-called
'broken plural' is a quasi-collective, which grammatically counts as
a feminine singular (like so many Latin and Greek collectives): and
whereas the more regular plural is generally shown by separable affix,
this quasi-collective plural enters the very body of the word by
vowel-change, indicating as it were by this absorption the constitution
of a specifically new view of things. On the other hand, it may be
said, there is in this collective a trace of the emergence of the
universal and identical element through the generalisation due to the
conjunction of several similars all acting as one[2]

In a true plural, on the contrary, it is required that the sign of
number be clearly eliminated from any peculiarities of its special
object, and be distinctly separated from the collective. And similarly
the true numeral has to be realised in its abstractness, as a category
_per se._ And to do this requires some amount of abstraction. In
Greek, for example, we meet the distinction between numbers in the
abstract, pure numbers (such as four and six), and bodily or physical
numbers (such as four men, six trees)[3]. The geometrical aspect
under which numbers were regarded by the Greeks, e. g. as oblong or
square numbers, bears in the same direction. But another phenomenon
in language tells the tale more distinctly[4]. Abundantly in Sanscrit
and Greek, more rarely in Zend and Teutonic, and here and there in
the Semitic languages, we meet with what is known as the dual number,
a special grammatical form intended to express a pair of objects.
The witty remark of Du Ponceau[5] concerning the Greek dual, that it
had apparently been invented only for lovers and married people, may
illustrate its uses, but hardly suffices to explain its existence in
language. But a comparison of barbarian dialects serves to show that
the dual is, as it were, a prelude to the plural,--a first attempt to
grasp the notion of plurality in a definite way, which served its turn
in primitive society, but afterwards disappeared, when the plural had
been developed, and the numerals had attained a form of their own. If
this be so, the dual is what physiologists call a rudimentary organ,
and tells the same story as these organs do of the processes of nature.

The language of the Melanesian island of Annatom, one of the New
Hebrides, may be taken as an instance of a state of speech in which
the dual is natural. That language possesses a fourfold distinction of
number in its personal pronouns, a different form to mark the singular,
dual, trial, and plural: and the pronoun of the first person plural
distinguishes in addition whether the person addressed is or is not
included in the 'we-two,' 'we-three,' or 'we-many' of the speaker[6].
The same language however possesses only the first three numerals, and
in the translation of the Bible into this dialect it was necessary
to introduce the English words, four, five, &c. The two facts must
be taken together: the luxuriance of the personal pronouns and the
scanty development of numerals in such languages are two phenomena
of the same law. The numeral 'four' to these tribes is said to bear
the meaning of 'many' or 'several,' Another fact points in the same
direction. In many languages, such as those of China, Further India and
Mexico, it is customary in numbering to use what W. von Humboldt has
called class-words. Here it is felt that an artificial unity has to
be created, a common denominator found, and all reduced to it, before
any summation can be carried out. Scholars and officials, in Chinese,
can only be classed under the rubric of 'jewel' or dignity: and
animals or fish by 'tails,' as if thereby only could one get a handle
to hold them and count them. (The idiom still lingers in western
languages: as in English, heads of cabbage, or of cattle: or German,
_sechs Mann Soldaten._) So in Malay, instead of 'five boys' the phrase
used is 'boy five-man': in other words, the numerals are supposed to
inhere as yet in objects of a special kind or common occurrence[7].
And among the South Sea Islanders the consciousness of number is
decidedly personal: that is to say, the distinction between one and
two is first conceived as a distinction between 'I' and 'we two.' Even
this amount of simplification surpasses what is found amongst some
Australian tribes. There we find four duals: one for brothers and
sisters: one for parents and children: one for husbands and wives: and
one between brothers-in-law[8]. Each pair has a different form. We
thus seem to see to what early language is applied: not to designate
the objects of nature, but the members of the primitive family and
their interests. The consciousness of numbers was first awakened by the
need of distinguishing and combining the things that belonged to and
specially interested men and women in the narrow circle of barbarian
life[9]. It is not altogether imaginative in principle, though it may
be occasionally surmise in details, to connect the rise of grammatical
forms with the temperament and character of the people, and therefore
with its social organisation. If the Bantoo or Caffir languages of
Southern Africa instead of a single third personal pronoun and third
personal termination to the verb use the separate forms corresponding
to the ten class-prefixes of the nouns, it must be in accordance with
the general spirit and system of these tribes. The various plural
forms, if they persist, will reflect contemporary modes of life.

Numbers were at first immersed in the persons, and then, as things
came to be considered also, in the things numbered. The mind seems to
have proceeded slowly from the vague one to definite numbers. And the
first decided step was taken towards an apprehension of numbers when
two was distinguished from one, and the distinction was made part of
the personal terminations. The plural was a further step in the same
direction: the real value of which, however, did not become apparent
until the numerals had been separately established in forms of their
own. When that was accomplished, the special form of the dual became
useless: it had outlived its purpose, and henceforth it ceased to have,
any but that poetical beauty of old association which often adorns the
once natural, but now obsolete growths of the past. When the numerals
were thus emancipated from their material and sensuous environment,
quantity was translated from outward being in its embodiments into a
form of thought. At first, indeed, it was placed in an ethereal or
imaginative space, the counterpart as it were of the sensuous space
in which it had been previously immersed. It became a denizen of the
mental region, as it had been before a habitant of the sense-world.

The mind was informed with quantity in the shape of number: but it does
not follow from this, that the new product was comprehended, or the
process of its production kept in view. Like all new inventions (and
numeration may fairly be classed under that head), it was laid hold
of, and all its consequences, results, and uses estimated and realised
by the practical and defining intellect. In one direction, it became,
like many new inventions in the early days of society, a magic charm,
and was invested with mystery, sacredness, and marvellous powers. But
the intelligent mind,--the understanding,--resolved to make better use
of the new instrument: and that in two ways, in practical work and in
theory. On the one hand it was applied practically in the dealings
of life,--in commerce, contracts, legislation, and religion. On the
other hand, the new conception of number, which common sense and the
instinctive action of men had evolved, was carried out in all its
theory: it was analysed in all directions, and its elements combined
in all possible ways. The result was the science of arithmetic,
and mathematics in general. Such consequences did the reflective
understanding derive from the analysis of its datum,--the fact of
quantity freed from its sensuous envelope.

The general action of understanding, and of practical thought, is of
this kind. It accepts the representative images which have emerged from
sensation, as they occur: and tries to appreciate them, to give them
precision, to carry them into details, and to analyse them until their
utmost limits of meaning are explored. Where they have come from, and
where they lead to,--the process out of which they spring, and which
fixes the extent of their validity,--are questions of no interest
to the understanding[10]. It takes its objects, as given in popular
conception, as fixed and ultimate entities to be expounded in detail.

We have taken number as one example of the transference of a sensible
or sense-immersed fact into a form of thought: but a form which is
still placed in a superior or mental space. One advantage of taking
number as illustration, is that numbered things are distinguished from
numbers in an emphatic and recognised way. Nobody will dispute that
the abstraction, as it is called, has an existence of its own, and
can be made a legitimate object of independent investigation. But if
the process be more obvious in the case of the numerals, there must
have been a similar course of development leading to the pronouns, the
prepositions, and the auxiliary verbs--to what has been called the
'formal' or 'pronominal' or 'demonstrative' element, the connective and
constructive tissue of language. Whether these pronominal 'roots' form
a special and originally-distinct class of their own, or are derived
from a transmutation of more material or substantial elements, is a
question on which linguistic research casts as yet no very certain
light. It is true that on the one hand etymology is mainly silent on
the origin of pronouns, numerals, and the more fundamental prepositions
(i. e. cannot refer them to roots significant of qualitative being):
and one need not lay much stress on remarks, like that of Gabelenz[11],
that in the Indo-Chinese languages the words for _I, five, fish_
have a like sound, as do those for _thou, two, ear_, or that _I am,_
originally means _I breathe_. In all languages--though with immense
diversities of degree, this formal element has attained a certain
independence. And in many instances we can more or less trace the
process by which there grew up in language an independent world of
thought: we can see the natural existence passing out of the range of
the senses into spiritual relations. Before our eyes a world of reason
is slowly constituting itself in the history of culture: and we, who
live now, enter upon the inheritance which past ages have laid up for
us.

There is, however, a difference between the way in which these
results look to us now, and the way in which they originally
organised themselves. The child who begins to learn a language in the
lesson-books and the grammars finds the members of it all, as it were,
upon one level: adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and verbs confront
him with the same authority and rank. This appearance is deceptive:
it may easily suggest that the words are not members in an organism,
in and out of which they have developed. And this organism of thought
has its individual types, expressed in the great families of human
speech. Its generic form (as drawn out in a logical system) appears
in different grades, with different degrees of fullness, in Altaic
and Dravidian from what it does in Malay, or in Chinese, and these
again have their own predominant categories as compared with those
used in the American or African languages, or in Indo-Germanic and
Semitic. If the Altaic languages e. g. are wanting in the verb proper,
and manage with possessive suffixes and nouns; if the Semitic tenses
display a poverty which contrasts with their wealth in Greek; and
yet each group performs its function, we may infer that each speech
has a complete organism, though it does not bring all its parts to
adequate expression. All this distinction of 'parts of speech,' of
forms, prefixes and suffixes, &c., is part of the life of language,
embodying in more or less distinct organs the organisation of thought
in the individual form it reached in that speech-type. Thus in Chinese
there are strictly speaking no isolated words, nouns, or verbs: there
are only abstract parts of a concrete sentence; and grammar in Chinese
therefore has no accidence (no declensions, conjugations, &c.) but
only syntax. Yet it is these abstract fragments which exist and seem
to have independence and inherent meaning: whereas the unity in which
they cohere to form a concrete context is the fleeting sentence of
the moment. At the opposite extreme, again, the Mexican family of
languages tend to incorporate relations to subject and object with
the verb, in such a degree that the word almost becomes a sentence.
Facts like these suggest that a science of the forms of language, in
proportion as it generalises, tends to approach logic; and that logic
will have a converse tendency to elevate to an unduly typical position
the grammatical form of the languages with which the logician is best
acquainted.

If these points were remembered, there would be less absurd employment
of the grammatical categories of one group of languages to systematise
another. Greek and Sanscrit grammar plays sad havoc with the organism
of a Semitic tongue, and it is not less out of place as a schema
for delineating e. g. South African dialect. Isolated words even in
an Indo-Germanic language--even, we may say, in such a language as
English--are still fractional, and do not get life and individuality
except in their context. And it needs but a little experience to show
how various that individuality may be. It needs perhaps still more
meditation to realise that it is in this individuality that the real
life of language lies: in the words said and written to express the
thought of a personality. But, first, because language has its material
and mechanical side, and secondly, because in civilised countries it
further acquires a more stereotyped mechanism in written and printed
language, its parts tend to gain a pseudo-independence. It is one aim
of a philosophical dictionary to restore the organic interconnexion
which in the mere sequence of vocables in juxtaposition is apt to be
lost. What we call the meaning of a word is something which carries us
beyond that mere word,--which restores the connexions which have been
broken off and forgotten. In the form of a dictionary, of course, this
can only be done piece-meal: but if each piece is done thoroughly, it
can hardly fail to bring out certain comprehensive connexions. The mere
word seems a simple thing; and one is at first disposed to get rid of
its difficulty by substituting a so-called synonym. But a deeper study
reveals the fact that an exact synonym is a thing one can no more find
than two peas which are absolutely indistinguishable. A synonym is only
a practical _pis aller_. But every word is really as it were a point
in an infinitely complex organic life, with its essence or meaning
determined by the currents to and fro which meet in it.

Words as we see them _prima facie_ in a printed page do look separate
entities. They stand, one here and another there, in a quasi-extension,
with marks of direction and connexion pointing from one to another,
but of connexion apparently extraneous to the more solid points which
are represented by nouns and verbs, or names of substances, actions,
and attributes. Results, as they are, of that practical analysis which
the need of writing down language has led to, they are treated as
complete wholes, which by the speaker are forced into certain temporary
connexions. But this is an illusion which, because a thing changes
its relationships, assumes that it can exist out of all relationships
whatever. Every word of Language is such an abstraction, isolated from
its context. But amid these contexts there are certain similarities:
identical elements are detected: and these identical elements are the
common names of language, the terms of general significance. In all
cases, however, what an utterance of language describes or expresses
is a definite individual event or scene, conceived as a concrete
of several parts. Each separate vocable is a contribution to the
total: a step towards the real redintegration of the whole out of its
several parts. But the total itself--the content of fact in any single
sentence--is only an abstraction,--a part of the universe which human
interest and need have isolated from the comprehensive scope of things.
Thus, in two degrees, we may say, the picture produced in the sentence
falls short of the truth of things. Each statement is an arbitrary or
accidental cutting out of the totality: each element of the cutting is
dependent on that abstraction, and relative to it. But--as in a given
group of speech, the same sets of circumstances will naturally be
selected, and tend to recur again and again,--the terms which describe
them will acquire a certain association with the objects, and will come
to be called the common names of these agents, acts, and qualities.
They denote or 'represent' the things and acts, conceived however in
certain aspects and relations, and not in their entirety and totality
of nature.

In this product of intellectual movement above the limits of sensation
we have the 'representation'[12] as Hegel calls it, on which the
Understanding turns its forces. We have one product of the organic
whole of thought taken by itself as if it were independent, set
forth as a settled nucleus for further acquaintance: and this one
point discussed fully and with precision, elaborated in all detail
and consequence, to the neglect of its context, and the necessary
limitations involved in the notion. The process of name-giving may
illustrate this tendency in human thought to touch its objects only in
one point. The names given to objects do not embrace the whole nature
of these objects, but give expression only to one striking feature
in them. Thus the name of the horse points it out as 'the strong' or
'the swift': the moon is 'the measurer' or 'the shining one'; and so
in all cases. The object as expressed in these names is viewed from
one aspect, or in one point: and the name, which originally at least
corresponds to the conception, meets the object, properly speaking,
on that side only, or in that relation. The object is not studied in
its own nature, and in its total world, but as it specially enters the
range of human interest, and serves human utilities. One can at least
guess why it should be so: why a name should, in logical language,
express an 'accidens' and not the 'essentia' of the object. For the
investigation of primitive language seems to show that words, as we
know them in separate existence, are a secondary formation: and that
the first significant speech was an utterance intended to describe a
scene, an action, a phenomenon, or complex of event. In point of time,
the primary fact of language is an agglomeration or aggregate,--we
may call it either word or clause (λόγος in short)--which describes
in one breath a highly individualised action or phenomenon. The
spirit or unifying principle in this group might be the accent. Such
a word-group denotes a highly specialised form of being: and if we
call it a word, we may say that the earliest words, and the words of
barbarous tribes, are ingeniously special.[13] But it would be more
correct to say, that in such a group the elements of the scene enter
only from a single aspect or in a single relation. Accordingly when
disintegration begins, the result is as follows. The elements of the
group, having now become independent words held together by the syntax
of the sentence, are adopted to denote the several objects which
entered into the total phenomenon. But these words, or fragments of the
word-group, 'represent' the objects in question from a certain point
of view, and not in their integrity. The names of things therefore
touch them only in one point, and express only one aspect. And thus,
although different names will arise for the same thing, as it enters
into different groups, in each case the name will connote only a
general attribute and not the nature of the thing. These names are in
the Hegelian sense of the term 'abstract.' In popular phraseology, they
are only 'signs' of things: i. e. not 'symbols' (though they may have
been in some cases symbolic in origin), for in a symbol there is a
_natural_ correspondence or sensible analogy to the thing symbolised,
but something 'instituted,' due to an 'understanding' or convention.


[Footnote 1: See vol. ii. p. 190, (Logic, § 102).]

[Footnote 2: See Max Müller in Mind, vol. i. 345.]

[Footnote 3: Pure number is ἀριθμὸς μοναδικός: applied number is
ἀριθμὸς φυσικὸς or σωματικός. Aristotle, _Metaph_. N. 5, speaks of
αριθμὸς πύρινος ἤ γήϊνος. But this is only Greek idiom: as we say
'Greek history' instead of 'History of Greece:' or vice versa, when we
translate _Populus Romanus_ by 'people of Rome.' Aristotle is speaking
of 'proportions' or 'amounts' of fire or earth in the compounds of
these elements.]

[Footnote 4: See L. Geiger, _Ursprung und Entwickelung der menschlichen
Sprache und Vernunft_ (vol. i. p. 380). And Gabelenz 'Die melanesischen
Sprachen' in the _Abhandlungen der Sächsischen Gesellschaft der
Wissenschaften_ (VIII), 1861, pp. 89-91.]

[Footnote 5: _Mémoire sur le Systeme grammatical_, &c. p. 155.]

[Footnote 6: Cf. _nous_ and _nous autres_. The same distinction is
found in some American languages. There is a dual in the language of
the Greenlanders; but it is not, however, used when a natural duality
seems to call for it, but in cases when, though there might have been
several things, only two are actually found.]

[Footnote 7: W. von Humboldt, _Verschiedenheit des menschlichen
Sprachbaues_, p. 423 (ed. 1841); Misteli, _Typen des Sprachbaues_
(1893).]

[Footnote 8: Capt. Grey, _Vocabulary of the dialects of S. W.
Australia_, pp. xxi and 104 (1840).]

[Footnote 9: The sharp distinction between the first and second
personal pronouns and the third: the want of any apparent connexion
in the Indo-Germanic languages between the first and second persons
singular and the plural form seems to point in the same direction.]

[Footnote 10: Cf. vol. ii. _Notes and Illustrations_, p. 400.]

[Footnote 11: _Die Sprachwissenschaft_, p. 168.]

[Footnote 12: 'Vorstellung,' as distinguished from 'Begriff.']

[Footnote 13: Thus in Malay, there are about twenty words for
strike, according as it is done with thick or thin wood, downwards,
horizontally, or upwards, with the hand, with the fist, with the
flat hand, with a club, with the sharp edge, with a hammer, &c. (See
Misteli, _Typen des Sprachbaues_, p. 265.)]



CHAPTER XXIII.


FIGURATE OR REPRESENTATIVE THOUGHT.


The compensating dialectic whereby reason, under the guise of
imagination, overthrows the narrowness of popular estimates, makes
itself observed even in the popular use of the terms abstract and
concrete. Terms like state, mind, wealth, may from one point of view
be called abstract, from another concrete. At a certain pitch these
abstractions cease to be abstract, and become even to popular sense
very concrete realities. In the tendency to personification in language
we see the same change from abstract to concrete: as when Virtue is
called a goddess, or Fashion surnamed the despot of womankind. In
such instances, imagination, more or less in the service of art and
religion, upsets the narrow vulgar estimates of reality. But it upsets
them, so to speak, by giving to the abstraction (through its creative
power) that sensuous concreteness which the mere abstract lacks and
which the ordinary mind alone recognises as real. It 'stoops to
conquer.' Such a representation is, as Hegel says[1], 'the synthetic
combination of the Universal and Individual': 'synthetic,' because not
their free, spontaneous, and essential unity, but the supreme product
of the artistic will and hand, which, rather than let the universal
perish by neglect, build for it, the eternal and omnipresent, 'a
temple made with hands.' In mythology we can see the same process: by
which, as it is phrased, an abstract term becomes concrete: by which,
as we may more correctly say, a thought is transformed into, or rather
stops short at, a representative picture. The many gods of polytheism
are the fixed and solidified shapes in which the several degrees of
religious growth have taken 'a local habitation and a name': or they
bear witness to the failure of the greater part of the world to grasp
the idea of Deity in its unity and totality apart from certain local
and temporary conditions. So, too, terms like force, law, matter,--the
abstractions of the mere popular mind--are by certain periods reduced
to the level of sensuous things, and spoken of as real entities,
somewhere and somehow existent, apart from the thinking medium to
which they belong. Such terms, again, as property, wealth, truth, are
popularly identified with the objects in which they are for the time
and place manifested or embodied.

In these ways the abstract, in the ordinary meaning, becomes in the
ordinary meaning concrete. The distinction between abstract and
concrete is turned into a distinction between understanding and sense,
instead of, as Hegel makes it, a distinction in the adequacy and
completeness of thought itself. Thought (the Idea), as has been more
than once pointed out, is the principle of unification or unification
itself: it is organisation plus the consciousness of organisation:
it is the unifier, the unity, and the unified,--subject as well as
object, and eternal copula of both. An attempt is at first made in
two degrees to represent the thought in terms of the senses as a sort
of superior or higher-class sensible. When the impossibility of that
attempt is seen, common sense ends by denying what it has learned to
call the super-sensible altogether. These three plans may be called
respectively the mythological, the metaphysical, and the positive or
nominalist fallacies of thought. In the mythological, or strictly
anthropomorphic fallacy, thought is conceived under the bodily shape
and the physical qualities of humanity, as a separate unifying,
controlling, synthetic agent, through whose interference the several
things, otherwise dead and motionless, acquire a semblance of life
and action, though in reality but puppets or marionettes: that is to
say, it is identified with a subject of like passions with ourselves,
a repetition of the particular human personality, with its narrowness
and weakness. The action of the Idea is here replaced by the agency
of supposed living beings, invested with superhuman powers. In the
metaphysical or realist fallacy we have a feeble ghostly reproduction
of the mythological. The living personal deity is replaced by a faint
scare-crow of abstract deity. The cause of the changes that go on in
nature is now attributed to indwelling sympathies and animosities,
to the abhorrence of a vacuum, to selection, affinity, and the like:
to essences and laws conceived of as somehow existent in a mystic
space and time. In the positive or nominalist fallacy, the failure of
these two theories begins to be felt: and the mind, which had only
heard of unifying reason under these two phases and is meanwhile sure
of its sense-perceptions, treats the objective synthesis as a dream
and a delusion. Or, at best, it regards the synthesis as essentially
subjective--as a complementary idealising activity of ours which
ekes out the defects of reality, and brings continuity into the
discontinuous. Our thought--(it is only _our_ thought)--is but an
instrument, distinct from us and from the reality: yet acting as a
bridge to connect these two opposing shores--a bridge however which
does not really reach the other side, but only an artificial image,
which simulates to us, and will for ever simulate, the inaccessible
reality. This last view is the utterance of the popular matter-of-fact
reason, when in weariness and tedium it turns from the attempt to grasp
thought pure and simple, and instead of reducing the metaphysical
antitheses to the transparent unity of comprehension, relapses into
mere acceptance of a given reality.

In some of these cases the full step into pure thought is never
made. The creations of mythology, for example, display an unfinished
and baffled attempt to rise from the separation of sense to the
unity and organisation of thought. The gods of heathenism are only
individuals--and individuals only _meant to be,_ and by the act of
faith and devotion set forth as reality before the worshipper: but they
are individuals in which imagination embodies a unified and centralised
system of forces or principles. They _mean_ the powers of nature and of
mind, but the sceptre in their hands is only a sign of power attributed
by the believer; and far away, encompassing alike them and him, is the
great relentless necessity. In other cases there is a relapse: when
the higher stage of thought has been attained, it is instantaneously
lost. Terms which are really thoughts are again reduced to the level of
the things of sense, individualised in some object, which, though it
is only a representation or sign, is allowed to usurp the place of the
thought which it but partially and by extraneous institution embodies.
The intuition of the sensuous imagination at every step throws its
spells on the products of thought, and turns them into a representative
picture, which in popular use and wont occupies the place of the
notion. Instead of being retained in their native timelessness, the
terms of the Idea are brought under the laws of Sense-perception, under
the conditions of space and time.

The term 'representation,' which Hegel employs to name these
picture-thoughts or figurate conceptions, corresponds to the facts
of their nature. A 'representation' is one of two things: either a
particular thing sent out accredited with general functions, or a
universal narrowed down into a particular thing. Thus, as it has been
seen, a general name implies or connotes a universal relation or
attribute, but confines it to denote a particular object or class.
'Swift,' for example, was an epithet tied down to express the horse. In
the first instance we may suppose the name to be a sort of metaphor:
differing only by its simplicity and frequency of suggestion from those
endless epithets, which in Norse or Arabic poetry veil and adorn the
object which they are meant to designate. That is, we conceive the
object as an embodiment or representation of the quality, as an eagle
is the emblem of strength: only in the latter case we distinguish
between the object and its metaphorical signification. In the second
place, however, the object of experience is allowed completely to
coincide with the aspect discriminated by the selective epithet, and we
can no longer in ordinary thought separate the imaging object from the
general relation which it images forth. This is the level of thought to
which Hegel appropriates the term 'representation.' It includes under
it the three fallacies of thought already noted and saves the trouble
of comprehending the reality. In the Hegelian sense, a representation
is abstract; because it solidifies, hardens, and isolates the term of
thought, makes it a particular, and never rises above the single case
to the general notion embodied in it.

The world of representative thought is a world of independent points
in juxtaposition, which we arrange as seems best to us. It lies in
an undefinable borderland between us and things. It is a would-be,
but not an actual, reality. It is not like a true Idea--the unity of
subjective and objective: but only a make-believe. We have put it
there, and yet we credit it with an effective existence. When our mind
moves amongst these picture-thoughts, it can only institute external
relations between the terms. A judgment, in that case, is interpreted
to mean the conjunction of two terms, which at once step into the rank
of subject and predicate by means of the copula. A sentence is an
arrangement of words _ab extra_ in conscious or unconscious conformity
with the rules of grammar. The world of knowledge, or the Idea, as
a whole is turned into a plane surface with its typical terms,--the
members of the organism of reason,--like dots put in co-ordination and
juxtaposition, not spontaneously affected towards each other. Even if
they are not embodied and reduced to a sensuous level of existence,
they are held to be originally separate and unconnected. How they
all came into being, and whether they do not all by gradations and
differentiation-proceed from one root, are questions neither asked nor
answered.

The level of representative thinking--thinking i. e. which is not
the grasp (_Begriff_) of the reality, but only the apprehension of
something which stands for and represents it--is the level on which we
all come, more or less, to stand in our non-philosophic moments. It
is, in essentials, the realm of what Plato called _δόξα_,--the level
of consciousness which fails to rise to see the unity of essence in
the many single goods and beauties, which holds its knowledge (such
at is) at the mercy of accidents, not bound by the conclusions of
reasoning,--the realm which is not without reality, but an immature
and uncertain reality. It is, in essentials, the same as what, as
opposed to _intellectus_, Spinoza styled _imaginatio._ Imagination,
to Spinoza, is an understanding under the bondage of particular
passions and temporary interests, which loses sight of the great
bond of being or _Substantia_, and fixes its glance on the parts in
subordinate and infra-essential relationships: which is always finite,
i. e. never really comprehensive and self-sustaining in its view, but
always limited by a tacit reference to something outside itself. The
'Representation' is the idea, in the loose and inexact use of that
word, which goes with the phrase _mere idea_,--i. e. a mere mental
image, which is not the reality, though it is believed to do duty for
and to represent it[2]. Yet it is not a mere thought: rather its whole
aim and meaning is to refer to reality, to suggest it, to bring it
nearer us. Its fault is that it is an imperfect, partial, one-sided,
or even one-pointed idea. It is really an instance and phase of
the _ignava ratio_, to which a date or name serves as a ποῦ στῶ of
explanation.

    'At Kilne there was no weathercock,
    And that's the reason why.'

Such 'representation,' according to Hegel, is, e. g., the mode of
intelligence accessible to those who cling to the mere, or abstractly,
religious mood, and who cannot or will not rise to the comprehension
of their creed. Its facts or dogmas present themselves to such a
restricted conception as the parts of a picture or the stages of a
history, in visible or imaginatively-construable space, and in a
succession of times. The essence of religion, of course, for Hegel as
for other exponents of its inmost nature, is a feeling of certitude
or faith which transcends the gulfs and separations of the secular
consciousness, which sees with the believing soul the inner peace,
the absolute harmony of the true reality. _Pectus facit theologum._
The sense of utter dependence on God, in complete identity with the
sense of absolute independence in God--that strength of faith is the
very life of religion. But when religion seeks to give an intelligent
expression of her faith, when she tries to give a reason acceptable to
the outside world, she is apt, unless specially trained in the high
things of the spirit, to base her creed not on the rock of ages, but
on the signs and miracles of the times. She has tried to theorise the
faith: but, although her faith may be sound and true, the religious
spirit, unless it be also the spirit of wisdom and reasoned truth, runs
a risk of falling into the fallacy of _Post hoc_, _ergo propter hoc._
She descends therefore to the region of representation: she uses the
language of sense and analogy; she presents the spiritual under the
guise of the natural. Yet in her heart of hearts these things are only
a parable,--they are but

                    'Flesh and blood
    To which she links a truth divine.'

Hegel--in the introduction to his lectures on the Philosophy of
Religion--is reported to have given the following characteristics of
'representation,' (_a_) It is still trammeled by the senses. Thought
and sensation strive for the mastery in it. Thought is bound fast to
an illustration: and of this illustration it cannot as representative
thought divest itself:--the eternally living idea is chained to the
transient and perishable form of sense. It is metaphorical and material
thinking, which is helpless without the metaphor and the matter. (_b_)
Representative thought envisages what is timeless and infinite under
the conditions of time and space. It loses sight of the moral and
spirit of historical development under the semblance of the names,
incidents, and forms in which it is displayed. The historical and
philosophical sense is lost under the antiquarian. Representative
thought keeps the shell, and throws away the kernel. (_c_) The terms
by which such a materialised thought describes its objects are not
internally connected: each is independent of the other; and we
only bring them together for the occasion by an act of subjective
arrangement[3].

The thing--the so-called _subject_ of the properties, of which it is
really no more than the _substratum_--affords no sufficient ground
for the unity of the properties attached to it. The substratum or
subject of the proposition is given, and we then look around to see
what other properties accompany the primary characteristic for which
the name was applied. But the term of popular language is not a real
unity capable of supporting differences; it is only one aspect of a
thing, a single point fixed and isolated in the process of language
by the action of natural selection. And so, to ask how the properties
are related to the thing, is to ask how one aspect, taken out of its
setting, is related to another isolated aspect: which is evidently an
unanswerable question. Science is right in rejecting the 'thing' of
popular conception. If _a_ is _a,_ and nothing more, as the law of
Identity informs us, then it is for ever impossible to get on to _b,
c, d_, and the rest. The union between the thing divided or defined,
and its divided or defining members, is what is termed extra-logical;
in other words, it is not evident from what is given or stated in the
popular conception. That union must be sought elsewhere, and deeper.

And when _we_ step in to overcome the repugnance which the point of
conception, or what is supposed the subject, shows against admitting
a diversity of predicates,--when _we_ force it into union with these
properties: or when we try to remove the separation which leaves
the cause and effect as two independent things to fall apart; our
action, by which we effect a unification of differences, may, from
another and a universal point of view, be said to be the notion, or
grasp of thought, coming to the consciousness of itself. Thought,
as it were, recognises itself and its image in those objects of
representative conception, which seem to be given and imposed upon
the intellect. The two worlds, which the understanding accepts
as each solid and independent,--the world of external objects or
conceptions, and the world of self,--meet and coincide in the free
agency of thought, developing itself under a double aspect. It is
the 'original synthetical unity of apperception' (to quote Kant's
words), from which the Ego or thinking subject, and the 'manifold'
or body and world, are simultaneously differentiated. Thus, on the
one hand, we ourselves no longer remain a rigid unity, existing in
antithesis to the objects presupposed or referred to by representative
thought: and on the other hand the so-called thing loses its hardness
and fragmentary independence, as distinguished from our apprehension
of it. _Our_ action, as we incline to call it, which mends the
inadequacies of terms, is from a philosophic point of view, the notion
itself coming to the front and claiming recognition. The process of
thought is then seen to be a totality, of which our faculties, on
the one hand, and the existing thing, on the other, are isolated
abstractions, supposed habitually to exist on their own account.
To view either of these systems, the mental, on the one hand, and
the objective world, on the other, as self-subsistent, has been the
error in much of our metaphysics, and in the popular conceptions of
what constitutes reality. The idealism of metaphysicians has been
often as narrow and insufficient as the realism of common sense. An
adequate philosophy, on the contrary, recognises the presence of both
elements, in a subordinate and formative position. Representations
may be compared to the little pools left here and there by the sea
amongst the rocks and sand: the notion, or grasp of thought, is the
tidal wave, which left them there to stagnate, but comes back again to
restore their continuity with the great sea. In our thinking we are
only the ministers and interpreters of the Idea,--of the organic and
self-developing system of thought.

The difference between a representative conception and a thought proper
may be illustrated by the case of the term 'Money.' Money may be
either a materialised thought, i. e. a Representative Conception, or
a Notion Proper. In the former case, money is identified with a piece
of money. It is probably, in the first instance, embodied in coins of
gold, silver, and bronze. In the second place, a wide gulf is placed
between it and the other articles for which it is given in exchange.
If other things are regarded as money, they are generally treated on
the assumption that they can in case of need be reduced to coinage. The
conception of money by the unscientific vulgar considers it separately
from other commodities: and the laws which forbade its exportation
gave a vigorous expression to the belief that it was something _sui
generis_, and subject to conditions of its own. The scientific notion
of money modifies this belief in the peculiarity and fixity of money.
Science does so historically, when it can point to a time and a race
where money in our sense of the word does not exist, and where barter
takes the place of buying and selling. Science does so philosophically,
when it expounds what may be called the _process_ of money,--the
inter-action or meeting of conditions to which the existence of money
is due. The notion of money, as given in the _Ethics_ of Aristotle,
says that it is the common measure of utility or demand. When we leave
out of sight the specific quality of an object, and consider only its
capacity of satisfying human wants, we have what is called its worth
or value. This value of the thing,--the psychological fact which is
left, when all the qualities marking the objective thing are reduced
to their social efficiency--is the notion, of which the currency is
the representation, reducing thought to the level of the senses, and
embodying the 'ideality' of value in a tangible and visible object.
So long as this 'idea' of value is kept in view, the currency is
comprehended: but when the perception of the notion disappears, money
is left a mere piece of currency, the general notion being narrowed
down to the coinage. Thus the notion of money, like other notions in
their ideal truth, is not in us, nor in the things merely: it is what
from a minor point of view, when we and the things are regarded under
the head of want or need, may be called the _truth_ of both, the unity
of the two sides. Thus considered, money falls into its proper place in
the order of things.


[Footnote 1: _Werke,_ ii. 529, 555.]

[Footnote 2: Hegel's _Werke_, ii. 431: '_Wobei das Selbst nur
repräsentirt_ und vorgestellt ist, da ist es nicht wirklich: we es
vertreten ist, ist es nicht.' Cf. _ib._ 416.]

[Footnote 3: _Philosophie der Religion,_ i. p. 137 seqq.]



CHAPTER XXIV.


FROM SUBSTANCE TO SUBJECT.


'It is, in my view, all important,' says Hegel[1], 'to apprehend and
express the True not as _Substance,_ but equally much as _Subject_.'
Substance, as Spinoza defines it, is that which is in itself and
which is conceived through itself, something which does not need the
conception of something else by which its concept may be formed[2].
Substance, in other words, is something which serves to explain
itself, which is _causa sui._ The mind, looking out on the wide world
of mutable and manifold objects, finds its rest in the great calm of
a something at their base, the eternal nature which, itself unmoved,
is the one foundation, complete and sufficient, of all things,--a
_res aeterna et infinita,_ which can feed the mind with joy alone[3].
These words suggest only an object--a transcendent object--the basis
of an objective order. They seem to leave little for the contemplating
subject to do save to discern it and, so discerning, to rest in it
and to love. They seem to leave substance a mere datum, a far-off
all-embracing end in which the variety of human effort can find a
central object and a final close. Yet, in the end it appears[4] that
this _Res aeterna_ loves himself with an intellectual love, and
this love is identified with the love of man to God, so far at least
as man's mind, considered _sub specie aeternitatis_, can be said to
'explicate' Deity. From this conclusion it might be said that Spinoza
rises above the mere category of substance: God is no longer the mere
foundation of things--the absolute object of all objects. He rises in
human spirit (regarded in its eternal significance) to the rank of
a true subject. He is not merely known as the True; but He himself,
living and moving in the essential spirit of man, knows himself and
acquiesces in his infinite beatitude. But if this be the legitimate
inference to be drawn from the closing sections of the _Ethics_, it is
not the view ordinarily suggested by the mention of Spinoza's doctrine.
That doctrine, on the contrary, seems, as it first confronts us, and
as it has taken its place in history, to omit the subjectivity which
had found so decided a recognition in the commencement of Cartesianism.
In the _cogito ergo sum_ so much at least is clearly stated: true
being--the true--is not merely known, but itself knows; not a mere
object, but a subject: a subject-object, or, an Idea. It is to be
admitted, indeed, that Descartes hardly remains at this altitude, but
he touches it for a moment. Even when he finds in the conception of God
a security for truth and reality, and thus seems to base these on a
one-sidedly objective standard, he regards God as, on the other hand,
the truth and reality postulated and presupposed by the structural
system of our ideas. God--such seems the tendency of his so-called
'proof'--is the inevitable prius and presupposition of our thought and
being: He makes us know, as much as He is ultimately the object known:
He is the unity and the creator of subject and object.

But it is hardly possible to get in philosophy the full recognition of
the antithesis between subject and substance and the inclusion of both
in the fuller Idea, till after the time of Kant. Kant himself is, in
essentials, the antithesis of Spinoza, but it is not till Fichte that
the full force of that antithesis is expressly recognised. With Hegel,
the two opposite points of view are equally insisted on: the immanence
and the transcendence of the True, the Real, the Absolute: or, in
other words, the unity in it of subject and object, or of thought and
existence. Or, in the words of the religious spirit, though heaven and
the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, He dwells in the spirit of
the righteous, and is not far from any one of us. The truth is not the
correspondence or agreement of an idea with a further reality which it
represents. Such an idea or 'representation' is a projection which has
escaped from our hands, which has slipped from our grip, and which,
while owning its mere vicarious character, at the same time beckons
us on to seek a reality we can never find. The 'representation' is in
a way objective--it is set over against us: but yet it is not truly
objective, not self-subsistent and self-possessed. Its objectivity is
the objectivity of a name: a quasi-objectivity, which requires to be
dipped in the living waters of intelligence before it can really exist
and act. It seems, to the untrained observer, to point only outwards to
the real object which it copies or designates: to a deeper reflection,
it is seen to point equally inward to the mind which informed it and
projected it. Thus the knowing subject, and the known object, with the
representation which acts as a perpetual mediator to connect and yet
not unify the one of these terms with the other,--all at last take
their place, reduced and transfigured, in the unity of the Idea.

According to the Spinozist point of view, thought, it might seem by
a sort of miracle, dispels the mists that envelop and bewilder it,
sees through the multeity of modes, and the isolated pictures of
imagination, to the true reality, one, infinite and eternal. Before
that august vision of absolute wholeness the only attitude of a finite
mind would seem to be resignation, worship, reverence,--deeply shading
into the submission of absorption. For in it intellect and will are
declared to have no place[5]. With such a statement, we get that first
aspect of religion which has found its most imposing representative
in the faith of Islam. In every religion there must, however, be more
than this: or it would fail to do what all religion essentially does.
Sheer dependence_--Schlechthinnige Abhängigkeit_ (as Schleiermacher
has named it)--can never be the whole burden of a religious teacher's
message. Always--at least in the background--there is a contradictory
element--in apparent discrepancy with the first--the deification of the
worshipper. And as the Ethics of Spinoza--like every complete system
of speculative truth--deals with a problem parallel to, if not even
identical with, that of religion, its initial definitions and main
programme must never let us forget the tacit presuppositions worked out
to explicitness, as they are partly, in its conclusion. When Intellect
and Will are denied to the _Deus = Natura = Substantia,_ it is meant
that the Absolute is and has more than intellect and will can well
name, and that in Him (or Her, or It, for the pronominal distinctions
of gender matter nothing here), the separation of will from intellect
is a fallacy which can have no place. What Spinoza casts out are the
lower passions, the affections of weakness; these _as such,_ i. e. as
elements of weakness, can have no place in Him. But in God, as in the
free man who most resembles God, and in whose love He loves himself,
there is--but that also in terms we cannot fathom--abundance of
joy--the joy of infinite self-realisation.

Partly by the complementary theory of Leibniz, partly by the antagonist
theories of Kant, the way had been prepared for setting forth, and
in fuller outline, the implications so tardily admitted by Spinoza.
It was only by a misuse or mal-extension of a word that Herder's
God--a God who is Force--and the Force of Forces--could be supposed
an advance upon Spinoza. There is in Force an analogue of Life; but
it is life in dependence, life not self-centred, always going forth,
and when it goes forth dissipated. It is as it were pushed from
behind, and is lost in what comes after it. If a Force of Forces means
anything, it means something more than Force: it means a master of
force, a force-controller and force-adjuster, a unity and principle
of forces. And Substance, as Spinoza understood it, is more than
this variability, this deification of instability. It is the unity
in which the variety and disparity of existence, the multiplicity of
vicissitude, is merged and lost, only again to issue from it, and yet
not leave it behind, in the infinitely-various modes of its two great
and conspicuous attributes of consciousness and extensionality. If
Hegel then sought to go beyond Spinoza, he sought to find a formula
which would lose nothing that Spinoza had reached, but would at the
same time bring out what Spinoza had left an implication, or noted in
a partial rectification. As in religion, besides the utter dependence
on God (so that, God failing, I perish), there must be also an absolute
union, complete reconciliation--complete as culminating in unity and
identity (so that God shall not be God, unless I am I): so it is in
philosophy. The Absolute cannot merely _be_, and be far away--the last
goal in which the variety of life is made one, and the turmoil of the
passionate existences laid to rest. The Soul which is (as some of the
medieval Christians would say) still _in itinere_, a wayfarer, is such
because its glance is turned on outward circumstances: but country is
no accident: the soul even here carries with it that _patria_, 'which
is the heavenly,' in its longings, and has it, even while yet on
pilgrimage, in that strong possession of all things by itself, which
the theologian styles Faith. This goal determines the pilgrimage, fixes
its direction, gives progress to its steps.

In the myth-loving language of Plato (and of Wordsworth in his Platonic
ode) the Soul has in other spheres of being dwelt with the gods and
seen the secret of the world: it is itself one of the immortals, and
as it is here and now, is in a land of exile. At the morning of birth,
the living sample of humanity has left his original glory behind; and
a deep forgetfulness--only short of absolute--cuts it off from his
every-day consciousness. In his present reality he finds himself in a
land of darkness, fast bound in a hollow of the rock, looking out only
on the ghostly images that flit across his prison wall, cast there by
the objects that move between his back and the light of a mysterious
fire behind him and them. Such is his natural estate, as it meets the
bodily eye: the estate of the lowly savage, whom superstition and
ignorance seem to hold as their captive for ever. But, though his
high home and his glory of other days have left no conscious memory
in the soul, asleep and imbruted in its fleshly house, they have not
departed without leaving a trace behind. For forgetfulness is not
blank non-existence. The sample of humanity inherits the birthright
of his fathers--he has hopes and fears, duties and rights, which are
his, if he can mature himself to take possession of them. He suffers
from the pains of growth, from the sense of disparity between what
he is and what he may and should be--from the noble uneasiness and
dissatisfaction of a being who feels--if he does not know--his infinite
potentialities. For these potentialities--otherwise they have no title
even to that name--are also actualities, yet actualities which protest
their own incompleteness, and crave imperiously for what they lack.
What he has is his right, but his right only in so far as it is also
his duty. It is as such, and only as such, that he still retains the
soul in all its prerogatives: as the right, which is the duty, of
knowledge. Such a pre-figured and promised, but yet to be realised,
possession is what Plato has called _Eros_, or Love. But it is a Love
whose wings are at first invisible, and who often seems rather to crawl
among ignoble things than to soar in the free fresh air.

The process of experience has been by Plato called Anamnesis or
Recollection. But Recollection is not always an easy, and never a
merely passive, process; and sometimes the forgetfulness seems so deep
that no extraneous stimulus can at all move it. We have seen already
one of these stimuli which rouse the sleeping sense--the mystery of
numbers: and there are many others. But, we have also learned, that
in the psychical sphere items of memory are not, as reckless fancy
puts it, stored up in compartments, sorted and arranged, ready to be
pulled out. The process of recollection is a complicated affair: an
affair of give and take, of comparison and selection and rejection,
of construction and reconstruction. You cannot haul up ready-made
memories from the mine. And this perhaps was sometimes forgotten by
Plato; it certainly has been by more than one of his commentators.
You may, no doubt, call up ideas from the vasty deep: but they come
by laws and principles of their own. Even when they come, which they
sometimes do unexpectedly, they come as an echo of the calling mind.
Recollection involves intellectual process: as Kant said, the synthesis
of imagination reposes upon the synthesis in the concept. Yet--and this
is the point which Plato's title of _Anamnesis_ accentuates--unless
'the soul had been such as to be affected in this way' (the words are
those of Aristotle), unless the soul had been implicitly intellectual
in tone and faculty, it would not have grasped the presented universe
under the categories which it uses. There is, says Aristotle, in the
barest act of sensation a congenital power of judgment; there is, says
Plato, an eye of the soul--a natural virtue of intelligence, which can
never be put into it, and must always be presupposed in any theory of
its processes.

There are, therefore, no innate ideas, says Cudworth in explanation of
Plato, if these ideas mean formed and completed products of knowledge.
All ideas in this sense begin and grow within the range of experience,
and the history of their growth or development in literature and art
can be at least approximately traced. We can trace, that is, the
successions and connexions of the various types of beauty, or goodness:
can show how the idea at one time dwelt in one of its aspects, at
another in a different one. We can observe the variation, and it may
be the progress, in men's conception of God. But it is another matter
when we seek to explain these ideas themselves out of other elements,
heterogeneous to them. When that question is asked, then with Plato we
seem, in the absence of any theory of origins, obliged to own that it
is by the Beautiful that beautiful things come to be beautiful. The
μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένοs--the crossing of essential boundaries--which
Aristotle forbids to science, still raises its eternal barrier in
the logical, if it cease to hold good (as has been suggested) in the
physical sphere. In the totality which we call the world and experience
of reality there are, so to say, ultimate and irreducible provinces.
The utmost that philosophy, i. e. science, can do with these is to
co-ordinate them,--to show their mutual filiations, adaptations, and
harmonies,--to note their inadequacies and discrepancies. They are
not all of equal rank, perhaps; they have to yield to each other, it
may be in turn: but none of them can be arbitrarily expunged from
the totality, and none of them shown to be a mere phase of others.
To do that is to strip the universe of its variety and--it may be
added--of its beauty and its interest. If it be a false philosophy
that does it, there is a good deal of false philosophy abroad. There
is a lust of explanation which is never content till it has found an
equation for everything, till it has expressed everything in terms of
the common-place, till it has emptied everything of all that made it
individual and real, and turned it into an abstract, identical (as
only abstracts can be) with some other abstract. Such abstractions
are of course useful, and therefore need no excuse, when restricted
to a special sphere. So long, that is, as we remember that it is an
abstraction we are making, and that we are arbitrarily simplifying
the real natural problem, no harm is done by these artificial
constructions; and they are important steps in a larger process. But
what is correct and useful within a range whose limits we can define,
becomes dangerous when carried beyond all bounds. Its approximate truth
then becomes misleading error.

It is these irreducible elements--these great provinces in human
experience, in reality, in the system of reason--that correspond to
the more important of what are known as Platonic ideas. As ultimate
constituents of the actual world they are in the narrower sense
inexplicable. One does not amount to an exact sum of some others, nor
is one got from another by the simple process of subtraction. But
if they cannot be explained, by being reduced to multiples of some
one basis, they can be comprehended in the respective implication
and explication they exhibit with their co-realities. They can be
correlated, reduced, and unified: we may even say, they can be
identified; but if we use such a term, we must mean that there is
some totality beyond and above them in which they all find a place
and all are harmonious; in which all when brought to their Truth are
really one and the same. This birthright of human nature in all ages
and countries--this central essence of man's spirit--is the realm of
Platonic ideas. They are the great elements, or constituent members, of
humanity and of reality: the framework of his mind and of the world.
How in each case they may be wrought out in detail, to what degree
they may here be evolved, and there stunted, is a matter of historical
research. And, in a sense, even it is not wrong to try to trace them
one to another: to explain them, as the phrase is, one by another. For
they are essentially connected: they are members of one system: they
are unified and harmonised in a way for which even the word 'organism'
is wholly insufficient. They are the poles and lines on which the tent
of human life, of intelligent life, is stretched: but they are also the
invisible ties which bind together the earth and heavens, and all that
is therein.

These ideas therefore are immanent in man: for they are the basis
of human nature. But to name, to disentangle them, to measure out
their bounds and describe their connexions--that is no easy work.
And that is the work of Platonic recollection. That is the process
of historical experience. But it is a small thing for Plato to say
that these ideas are innate in man. What he is more concerned to make
clear is that in the possession or vision of these eternal forms, the
human soul is a partner of the gods, a citizen of the heavens. In
less mythical language, man, as an intelligent, artistic, moral, and
religious being, is not a mere accidental on-looker on the surface of
things, but near their central and abiding truth. The forms of his
mind, to speak after the manner of Kant, are the objective essences of
the real world of experience. Degrees there may be in the reality which
they possess--less or larger measures of truth to full experience--but
true and real they are: never mere falsity or emptiness. To estimate
the amounts of that reality is a problem Plato often tried. At one time
it seems as if the Good were in his estimate the form of forms, the
real of reals: but when we look closely, we see that it is a goodness
which is synonymous with real reality or perfect being. At another time
truth, i. e. reality, seems to be lord of all: at another, beauty:
and again he seems to confess his inability to lay down the order
of precedence in this hierarchy. Of one thing only he is perfectly
clear: and that is the unreality, the non-entity of the sense-world
as merely perceived, and the true being of the world of reason. But
he has no doubts as to the central truth that in the good, the true,
and the beautiful, there is a higher reality--a more far-reaching and
deep-piercing influence than in all the mere variety of sensation, the
mere multitude of sensible fact.

What Plato has sometimes called the act of reminiscence, what he has
sometimes called the instinct of Love, is also known to him as the
process of Dialectic. For reminiscence has to watch and wrestle with
the inertia of oblivion, has to set the imagined beside the real, and
to correct percepts by concepts, concepts by percepts, has to brace
up its energies, and to advance not by mere pressing onward, but by
tacking and zigzagging through contrary difficulties finally realise
itself. And love too is a battle, where the craving for union has to
measure its force with the instinct of independence, where selfishness
and self-surrender seek a reconciliation, and where in the close, if
the close be love, each is self-retained only as self-abandoned, and
each rises to a higher union in which lower selfhoods are absorbed.
Even so in the course of Dialectic. It is the art which divides
and conjoins, which unifies and distinguishes: the art of asking
and answering. To Plato it appears in the main as an action of the
intelligent subject: but an action which, as he hints, is almost a
natural instinct, which through discipline has become an art. In the
hands of its typical artist, it proceeds, or seems to proceed, as if
unconscious of its principle and end. Socrates has, as he professes,
no overt conception of the result: he has no knowledge of the positive
conclusion to be reached. It is the Logos--the logic of reality--which
sustains the movement. Abandoning any subjective humour of carrying
the argument to a preconceived end, one is swept on by the current of
real logic--the reason in things. The dogma we have set up and seemed
to see before us, will, if we are dispassionate, carry us on beyond
itself, and suggest aspects calling for recognition and acceptance. If
only we refrain from arresting the movement of criticism,--a course
to which prudence, ease, custom, and every form of the _ignava ratio_
counsel us,--truth will reveal itself in us, and by us. It is because
other aims, personal and particular, are so ever-present with us, that
speculative free inquiry seems so hard. It is we who insist on closing
up the door, not the truth that is reluctant to show itself.

Truth, then, is self-revelation or development. Not a result which is
to be accepted, bowed to, and reverenced: but the result issuing (and
only valuable as issuing) from a process in which we and objectivity
are fellow-workers. The truth may no doubt be presented--as Spinoza
does present it--in definitions, stating the net result as fundamental
fact. Fundamental fact it is; but as so stated, as Substance, it comes
as a stranger, almost as an enemy: the great vision, suddenly offered
to untrained eyes, overwhelms and alarms the living sense of self, of
personality. Hegel wishes to show it as a friend, as our very own,--as
Subject (but not merely subject). It is for this that philosophy runs
through its cycle and returns into itself. Man points to nature and
nature to man: universal to individual: thought to things: the self to
God, and God to the human soul.


[Footnote 1: Hegel, _Werke_, ii. 14.]

[Footnote 2: Spinoza, _Eth._ Def. 3.]

[Footnote 3: Spin. _De inteil. Em._ i. 10.]

[Footnote 4: Spin. _Eth._ v. 35.]

[Footnote 5: _Eth._ i. 17 schol.]



CHAPTER XXV.


REASON AND THE DIALECTIC OF UNDERSTANDING.


Representative conceptions, besides being the burden of our ordinary
materialising consciousness, are also the data of science, accepted
and developed in their consequences. Because they are so accepted,
as given into our hand, scientific reasoning can only institute
relations between them. Its business as thus conceived is progressive
unification, comparing objects with one another, demonstrating the
similarities which exist between them, and combining them with each
other. The exercise of thought which deals with such objects is limited
by their existence: it is only formal. It is finite thought, because
it is only subjective: it begins at a given point and stops somewhere,
and never gets quite round its materials so as to call them truly its
own. Each of the objects on which it is turned seems to be outside
of it, and independent of it. Each point of fact, again, when it is
carried out to its utmost, meets with other thoughts which limit it,
and claim to be equally self-centred. Such knowledge creeps on from
point to point. To this thinking German philosophy from the time of
Kant and Jacobi applied a name, which since the days of Coleridge has
been translated by 'Understanding'[1]. This degree or mode of thinking
--not a faculty of thought--is the systematised and thorough exercise
of what in England is called 'Common Sense.' In the first place, it is
synonymous with practical intelligence. It takes what it calls facts,
or things, as given, and aims only at arranging and combining them and
drawing from them counsels of prudence or rules of art. Seeing things
on a superficies, as it were so many unconnected points, here itself
and there the various things of the world, it tries to bring them into
connexion. It accepts existing distinctions, and seeks to render them
more precise by pointing out and sifting the elements of sameness.
Its greatest merit is an abhorrence of vagueness, inconsistency, and
what it stigmatises as mysticism: it wishes to be clear, distinct, and
practical. In its proper sphere,--and it has an indispensable function
to perform even in philosophy: wherever, that is, it is unnecessary
to go into the essential truth of things, and one has only to do good
work in a clearly defined sphere,--the understanding has an independent
value of its own[2] Nor is this true merely of practical life, where
a man must accommodate himself to facts: it is equally applicable
in the higher theoretic life,--in art, religion, and philosophy. If
intelligent definiteness does not make itself apparent in these, there
is something wrong about them.

It is only when this exercise of thought is regarded as a _ne plus
ultra,_ and its mandates to restrict investigation by the limits of
foregone conclusions find obedience, that understanding deserves
the reproachful language which was lavished upon it by the German
philosophers at the close of the last century. The understanding is
abstract: this sums up its offences in one word. Its objects, that
is the things it deals with and believes utterly real, are only
partly so, and when that incompleteness is unrecognised, are only
abstractions. Both in its contracted forms, such as faith and common
sense, and in its systematic form, the logical or narrowly-consistent
intellect, it is partial and liable to be tenacious of half-truths.
Only that whereas in feeling and common-sense there is often a great
deal which they cannot express,--whereas the heart is often more
liberal than its interpreting mind will allow--the reverse is true of
the logically-consistent intellect. The narrowness of the latter is,
in its own opinion, exactly equal to the truth of things: and whatever
it expresses is asserted without qualification to be the absolute
fact. Its business is, given the initial point (which is assumed to be
certain and perspicuous), to see all which that point will necessarily
involve or lead to. For example, Order may be supposed to be the chief
end of the State. Let us consider, says the intelligent arguer (without
wasting time on abstruse inquiries as to what Order is or means, and
what sort of Order we want), to what consequences and institutions
this conception will lead us. Or, again, the chief end of the State
is assumed to be Liberty. To what special forms of organisation will
this hypothesis (also assumed a self-evident conception) lead? Or we
may go a step further. It is evident, some will say, that in a State
there must be a certain admixture of Order and Liberty. How are we to
proceed--what laws and ordinances will be necessary, to secure the
proper equilibrium of these two principles? The two must be blended,
and each have its legitimate influence.

These are examples of the operation of Understanding. It can only reach
a synthesis (or conjunction), never a real unity, because it believes
in the omnipotence of the abstractions with which it began: but must
either carry out one partial principle to its consequences, or allow
an alternate and combined force to two opposite principles. Its canon
is identity: given something, let us see what follows when we keep the
same point always in view, and compare other points with the one which
we are supposed to know. Its method is analytic: given a conception
in which popular thought supposes itself at home, and let us see all
the elements of truth which can be deduced from it. Its statements are
abstract and narrow: or, in the words of Anaxagoras, one thing is cut
off from another with a hatchet[3]. In its excess it degenerates into
dogmatism, whether that dogmatism be theological or naturalistic.

The fact is that the Understanding, as this analytic, abstract, and
finite action of mind is called,--the thought which holds objective
ideas distinct from one another, and from the subjective faculties of
thought as a whole,--that this Understanding is, when it claims to be
heard and obeyed in science, not sufficiently thorough-going. It begins
at a point which is not so isolated as it seems, but is a member of a
body of thought: nor is it aware that the whole of this body of thought
is in organic, and even more than organic, union. It errs in taking too
much for granted: and in not seeing how this given point is the result
of a process,--that in it, in any thought or idea, several tendencies
or elements converge and are held in union, but with the possibility
of working their way into a new independence. In other words, the
Understanding requires, as the organon and method of philosophy, to
be replaced by the Reason[4],--by infinite thought, concrete, at
once analytic and synthetic. How then, it may be asked, can we make
the passage from the inadequate to the adequate? To that question the
answer may be given that it is our act of arbitrary arrest which halts
at the inadequate: that in complete Reason, which is the constituent
nature both of us and of things, the Understanding is only a grade
which points beyond itself, and therefore presupposes and struggles up
to the adequate thought. In other words, it is Reason which creates or
lays down for behoof of its own organisation the aims, conditions, and
fixed entities,--the objects, by which it is bound and limited in its
analytic exercise as understanding. Reason, therefore, is the implicit
tendency to correct its own inadequacy: and we have only to check
self-will and prejudice so far that the process may be accomplished.

The movement is not at one step: it has a middle term or mean which
often seems as if it were a step backward. Progress in knowledge is
usually described as produced by the mode of demonstration or the
mode of experience. Formal Logic prefers the first mode of describing
it: Applied Logic prefers the second. Either mode may serve, if we
properly comprehend what demonstration and experience mean. And that
will not be done unless we keep equally before us the affirmative and
the negative element in the process. The law of rational progress in
knowledge, of the dialectical movement of consciousness, or in one
word of experience, is not simple movement in a straight line, but
movement by negation and absorption of the premisses. The conclusion
or the new object of knowledge is a product into which the preceding
object is reduced or absorbed. Thus the movement from faith (which
is concentrated and wholly personal knowledge) to open and universal
knowledge, which is capable of becoming the possession of a
community,--truth and not merely conviction, must pass through doubt.
The premisses from which we start, and the original object with which
we begin, are not left _in statu quo_: they are destroyed in their
own shape, and become only materials to build up a new object and a
conclusion. It is on the stepping-stones of discarded ideas that we
rise to higher truth: and it is on the abrogation of the old objects
of knowledge that the new objects are founded. Not merely does a new
object come in to supplement the old, and correct its inadequacies by
the new presence: not merely do _we_ add new ranges to _our_ powers of
vision, retaining the old faculties and subjoining others. The whole
world--alike inward and outward,--the consciousness and its object--is
subjected to a thorough renovation: every feature is modified, and
the system re-created. The old perishes: but in perishing contributes
to constitute the new. Thus the new is at once the affirmation and
negation of the old. And such is the invariable nature of intelligent
progress, of which the old and not a few modern logicians failed to
render a right account, because they missed the negative element, and
did not see that the immediate premisses must be abolished in order to
secure a conclusion,--even as the grapes must be crushed before the
wine can be obtained.

This is the real meaning of Experience, when it is called the teacher
of humanity: and it was for this reason that Bacon described it as
'far the best demonstration.'[5] Experience is that absolute process,
embracing both us and things, which displays the nullity of what is
immediately given, or baldly and nakedly accepted, and completes it
by the rough remedy of contradiction. The change comes over both
us and the things: neither the one side nor the other is left as it
was before. And it is here that the advantage of Experience over
demonstration consists. Demonstration tends to be looked upon as
subjective only (_constringit assensum, non res_): whereas Experience
is also objective. But Experience is more than merely objective: it
is the absolute process of thought pure and entire; and as such it
is described by Hegel as Dialectic, or Dialectical movement. This
Dialectic covers the ground of demonstration,--a fragment of it
especially described and emphasised in the Formal Logic,--and of
Experience,--under which name it is better known in actual life, and in
the philosophy of the sciences[6].

Dialectic is the negative or destructive aspect of reason, as
preparatory to its affirmative or constructive aspect. It is the spirit
of dissent and criticism: the outgoing as opposed to the indwelling:
the restless as distinguished from the quiet: the reproductive as
opposed to the nutritive instinct: the centrifugal as opposed to the
centripetal force: the radical and progressive tendency as opposed
to the conservative. But no one of these examples sufficiently or
accurately describes it. For it is the utterance of an implicit
contradiction,--the recognition of an existing and felt, but hitherto
unrecognised and unformulated want. Dialectic does not supervene from
without upon the fixed ideas of understanding: it is the evidence of
the higher nature which lies behind them, of the dependence on a larger
unity which understanding implicitly or explicitly denies. That higher
nature, the notion or grasp of reasonable thought, comes forward, and
has at first, in opposition to the one-sided products of understanding,
the look of a destructive agent. If we regard the understanding and
its object, as ultimate and final,--and they are so regarded in the
ordinary estimation of the world,--then this negative action of reason
seems utterly pernicious, and tends to end in the subversion of all
fixity whatever, of everything definite. In this light Dialectic
is what is commonly known as Scepticism; just as the understanding
in its excess is known as Dogmatism. But in the total grasp of the
rational or speculative notion, Dialectic ceases to be Scepticism, and
Understanding ceases to be Dogmatism.

Still there can be no doubt that the Dialectic of reason is dangerous,
if taken abstractly and as if it were a whole truth. For the thoughts
of ordinary men tend to be more abstract than their materials warrant.
Men seek to formulate their feelings, faith, and conduct: but the
_rationale_ of their inmost belief,--their creed,--is generally
narrower than it might be. Out of the undecomposed and massive
'substance,' on which their life and conduct is founded, they extract
one or two ingredients: they emphasise with undue stress one or two
features in their world, and attach to these partial formulae a value
which would be deserved only if they really represented the whole
facts. Hence when the narrow outlines of their creed are submitted
to dialectic,--when the inlying contradictions are exposed, men feel
as if the system of the world had sunk beneath them. But it is not
the massive structure of their world, the organic unity in which they
live, that is struck by dialectic: it is only those luminous points,
the representative terms of material thought, which float before their
consciousness, and which have been formulated in hard and fast outlines
by the understanding. These points, as so defined and exaggerated, are
what dialectic shakes. Not an alien force, but the inherent power of
thought, destroys the temporary constructions of the understanding. The
infinite comes to show the inadequacy of the finite which it has made.

In philosophy this second stage is as essential as the first.
The one-sidedness of the first abstraction is corrected by the
one-sidedness of the other. In the Philosophy of Plato, as has been
noted, the dialectical energy of thought is sometimes spoken of
under the analogy of sexual passion--the Love which, in the words of
Sophocles, 'falls upon possessions' and makes all fixed ordinance of
no account, and finds no obstacles insuperable to its strong desire.
But Love, as the speaker explains, is a child of Wealth and Want:
he is never poor, and never rich: he is in a mean between ignorance
and knowledge[7]. Thus is described the active unrest of growth, the
'_inquietude poussante_,' as Leibniz called it,--the quickening force
of the negative and of contradiction.

At the word 'contradiction' there is heard a murmur of objection,
partly on technical, partly on material grounds. There are, it is said,
other ways of getting from one idea to another than by contradiction:
and it is not right to give the title to mere cases of contrast and
correlation. Now it may be the case that the relations of ideas are
many and various. In particular there is to many people a decided
pleasure in the mere accumulation of bits of knowledge. In their mental
stock there are only aggregates,--conjunctions due to accidents of
time and place,--associations and fusions which do not reach organised
unity. In all of us, perhaps, there are more or less miscellaneous
collections of beliefs, perceptions, hopes, and wishes, in no very
obvious connexion with one another. An united self, one, harmonious,
and complete, is probably rather an ideal of development than a fact
realised. There are in each two or three discordant selves,--among
which it might sometimes be difficult to select the right and true
one (for that will depend on the momentary point of view). The deeper
consciousness may go on entirely independent of the train of the more
superficial ideas: the world of reality may glide past without touching
the world of dream or of fiction: our business part may live in a
region parted off from our religion by gulfs inscrutable. In all these
cases there cannot be said to be any contradiction.

But Hegel speaks of the essential progress of knowledge, and of that
true self or real mind which has attained complete harmony--the self
and mind that is implicitly or explicitly Absolute. In such a mind
where the finite has passed or is passing into the infinite, in a mind
that is really becoming one and total, its parts must meet and modify
each other. At each phase, if that phase is earnest, self-certain, and
real, it claims to be complete, and can brook no rival. The bringer
of new things must appear as an enemy: for the old system, however
imperfect as a mere form, has behind it the strength of an infinite
and perfect content: it is more than it has explicated: but as it
(from its imperfection and honesty) identifies itself with its form,
it is resolved to resist change. Progress then must be by antagonism:
it cannot be real progress otherwise, but only the mere shifting of
dilettante doubt and dilettante toleration. Both new and old are worth
something, and they must prove their value by neither being lost, but
both recognised, in a completer scheme of things.

Yet there is a difference in the measure of contradiction at different
stages of thought. It is always greatest when there is least to be
opposed about. The more meagre an idea, a creed, a term of thought,
the more violent the antitheses to it. The more abstractly we hold a
doctrine, the more readily are we disposed to sniff opposition. And as
in more concrete belief, so in the more abstract terms of thought. They
seem so wide apart--like 'Is' and 'Is not'--and yet, taken alone, they
are really so ready to recoil into one another. As thought deepens,
contradiction takes a more modified form. The relativity of things
becomes apparent: and what were erewhile opposed as contradictory,
turn out as pairs of correlatives, neither of which is fully what it
professed to be, unless it also is all that seemed reserved for the
other. Lastly, and in the full truth of development, progress is seen
to be not merely a sudden recoil from one abstraction to another,
nor merely a continual reference to an underlying correlative, but
the movement of one totality which advances by self-opposition,
self-reconciliation, and self-reconstruction. In this stage, the
weight and bulk of unity keeps the contradiction in its place of due
subordination. But both elements are equally essential, and if the
unity is less palpable in the abstract beginnings, and the divergence
less wide at the close, at neither beginning nor close can either be
absent.

But if we merely look at the differentiation or negation involved
in the action of reason, we miss the half of its meaning: and the
new statement is as one-sided as the old. We have not grasped the
full meaning until we see that what, as understanding, affirmed a
finite, denies, as dialectic, the absoluteness or adequacy of that
finite. Both the partial views have a right to exist, because each
gives its contribution to the science of truth.[8] If we penetrate
behind the surface,--if we do not look at the two steps in the process
abstractly and in separation,--it will be seen that these two elements
coincide and unite. But we must be careful here. This coincidence or
identification of opposites has not annihilated their opposition or
difference. That difference subsists, but in abeyance, reduced to an
element or 'moment' in the unity. Each of the two elements has been
modified by the union: and thus when each issues from the unity it
has a richer significance than it had before. This unity, in which
difference is lost and found, is the rational notion,--the speculative
grasp of thought. It is the product of experience,--the ampler
affirmative which is founded upon an inclusion of negatives.

We began with the bare unit, or simple and unanalysed point,
which satisfied popular language and popular imagination as its
_nucleus_:--the representation which had caught and half-idealised a
point, moment, or aspect in the range of feeling and sensation. In this
stage the notion or thought proper is yet latent. In the first place,
the _nucleus_ of imagination was analysed, defined, and, as we may
surmise, narrowed in the Intellect. And this grade of thought is known
as the Understanding. In the second place, the definite and precise
term, as understanding supposes it, was subjected to criticism: its
contradictions displayed; and the very opposite of the first definition
established in its place. This is the action of Dialectic. In the third
place, by means of this second stage, the real nature or truth was seen
to lie in a union where the opposites interpenetrate and mould each
other. Thus we have as a conscious unity,--conscious because it, as
unity, yet embraces a difference as difference--what we started with
as an unconscious unity, the truth of feeling, faith, and inspiration.
The first was an immediate unity:--that is to say, we were in the midst
of the unity, sunk in it, and making a part of it: the second is a
mediated unity, which has been reached by a process of reflection, and
which as a conscious unity involves that process.

Reason, then, is infinite, as opposed to understanding, which is finite
thinking. The limits which are found and accepted by the analytic
intellect, are limits which reason has imposed, and which it can
take away: the limits are in it, and not over it. The larger reason
has been laying down those limits, which our little minds at first
tend to suppose absolute. Let us put the same law in more concrete
terms. It is reason,--the Idea,--or, to give it an inadequate and
abstract name, Natural Selection--which has created the several forms
of the animal and vegetable world: it is reason, again, which in
the struggle for existence contradicts the very inadequacies which
it has brought into being: and it is reason, finally, which affirms
both these actions,--the hereditary descent, and the adaptation--in
the provisionally permanent and adequate forms which result from the
struggle.

The three stages thus enumerated are therefore not merely stages
in our human reason as subjective. They state the law of rational
development in pure thought, in Nature, and in the world of Mind,--the
world of Art, Morals, and Science. They represent the law of thought
or reason in its most general or abstract terms. They state, mainly
in reference to the method or form of thought, that Triplicity, which
will be seen in those real formations or phases to which thought
moulds itself,--the typical species of reason. They reappear hundreds
of times, in different multiples, in the system of philosophy. The
abstract point of the Notion which parts asunder in the Judgment, and
returns to a unity including difference in the Syllogism:--the mere
generality of the Universal, which, by a disruption into Particulars
and detail, gives rise to the real and actual Individual:--the Identity
which has to be combined with Difference in order to furnish a possible
Ground for Existence:--the baldness and nakedness of an Immediate
belief, which comes to the full and direct certainty of itself, to
true immediacy, only by gathering up the full sense of the antithesis
which can separate conviction from truth, or by realising the Mediation
connecting them:--all these are illustrations of the same law really
applied which has been formally stated as the necessity for a defining,
a dialectical, and a speculative element in thought. The three parts
of Logic are an instance of the same thing: and when the Idea, or
organism of thought, appears developed in the series of Natural forms,
it is only to prepare the kingdom of reason actualised in the world of
Mind. The Understanding, on the field of the world, corresponds, says
Hegel[9], to the conception of Divine Goodness. The life of nature
goes on in the independence and self-possession of all its parts, each
as fixed and proud of its own, as if its share of earth were for ever
assured. The finite being then has his season of self-satisfied ease:
while the gods live in quiet, away from the sight of man's doings.
The dialectical stage, again, corresponds to the conception of God as
an omnipotent Lord: when the Power of the universe waxes terrific,
destroying the complacency of the creatures and making them feel their
insufficiency,--when the once beneficent appears jealous and cruel, and
the joyous equanimity of human life is oppressed by the terrors of the
inscrutable hand of fate. The easy-minded Greek lived for the most part
in the former world: the uneasy Hebrew to a great extent in the latter.
But the truth lay neither in the placid wisdom of Zeus, leaving the
world to its own devices, nor in the jealous Jehovah of Mount Sinai:
the true speculative union is found in the mystical unity of Godhead
with human nature. In this comprehensive spirit did Hegel treat Logic.

This Triplicity runs through Hegel's works. If you open one, the main
divisions are marked with the capitals A, B, C. One of these, it may
be, is broken up into chapters headed by the Roman numerals I, II, III.
Under one or more of these probably come severally the Arabic numerals
1, 2, 3. Any one of these again may be subdivided, and gives rise to
sections, headed by the small letters a, b, c. And, lastly, any one
of these may be treated to a distribution under the three titles α,
β, γ. Of course the division is not in each case carried equally far:
nor does the subject always permit it: nor is Hegel's knowledge alike
vigorous, or his interest in all directions the same.


[Footnote 1: 'Verstand,']

[Footnote 2: 'Die Vernunft ohne Verstand ist Nichts; der Verstand doch
Etwas ohne Vernunft.' Hegel's _Leben_, p. 546.]

[Footnote 3: Ὃτι οὐ κεχώρισται ἀλλήλων τὰ ἐv τῷ ἑvi κόσμῳ ἀὐδὲ
ἀποκέκοπται πελέκεϊ. Simplic. Phys. fol. 38 a (ed. Diels, p. 176).]

[Footnote 4: 'Vernunft.']

[Footnote 5: _Novum Organum_, Book I. 70.]

[Footnote 6: _Phenomenologie des Geistes_, p. 67.]

[Footnote 7: Plato, _Symposion,_ 203.]

[Footnote 8: Cf. Dante, _Parad._ iv. 130.]

[Footnote 9: See in the _Logic_ (vol. ii. p. 145).]



PROLEGOMENA

BOOK III

_LOGICAL OUTLINES_



CHAPTER XXVI.


THOUGHT PURE AND ENTIRE.


The English reader may probably be taken to be familiar with the
conception of Logic as the Science of the _Form_ of Thought. He may
also have heard this explained as equivalent to the Science of Thought
as Thought, or of Thought as Form, or of Formal Thought. But, probably,
also, he brings to the lesson no very high estimate of _form_ as
such. In the old language of Greek philosophy, transmitted through
the Schoolmen of the West, and still lingering in the phraseology of
Bacon and Shakespeare[1], Forms and substantial forms were powers in
the world of reality. But a generation arose which knew them not: to
which they were only belated survivals of the past. The forms had lost
connexion with matter and content, and had come to seem something
occult, transcendent, and therefore, to a practical and realistic age,
something fantastic and superfluous. Yet it may be well to recall
that the same author who has put on record his view that forms are
only mental figments, unless they be fully 'determinate in matter,'
has equally laid it down that the so-called 'causes' of vulgar
philosophy--the matter and the agent--are only 'vehicles of the form,'
Thus spontaneously did Bacon reconstruct the Aristotelian theory of the
interdependence of form and matter, that form is always form _of_ (or
_in_) matter, and that matter is always _for_ form.

The relativity of form and matter, or of form and content, is indeed
almost a commonplace of popular discussion on logical subjects.
But like other uncritical applications of great truths, this is
both carried beyond its proper bounds, and is not carried out with
sufficient thoroughness. There cannot--it is said--be a formal logic,
because every exercise of thought is internally affected or modified by
the material--the subject-matter--with which it deals. It is implied
in such an argument that the 'subject-matter' finds no difficulty
in existing by itself, but that the 'thought' is a mere vacuity or
un-characterised something which owes its every character to the
said matter. But a subject-matter which has content and character
has therefore form: it is already known, already thought. And as to
this thought, which is said to approach its matter with a self so
blank, so impartial, so neutral--what is it? It is a thought or a
thinking which has never as yet thought,--which is only named 'thought'
by right of expectation, but is itself nothing actual. Of such
--fictitious--thought there can hardly be a science.

On the other hand, that may be easily called a formal logic, which is
much more than formal: and that may be called material, which is only
a species of formal. Great indeed is the virtue of names, to suppress
and to replace thought. When forms hang on as mysterious names after
their day is passed--when they are retained in a certain honour, while
the real working methods have assumed other titles; then these forms
become purely formal and antiquated. Thus the Logic of Aristotle seemed
in its unfamiliar language to a later generation to be purely formal
and superfluous. It was only another side of the same mistake when
the new forms--the forms efficient and active in matter,--were not
recognised as formal, but were boldly styled material: and the Logic
which discussed such matter-marked forms was called a material Logic.

The phrase Matter of Thought, like its many congeners, is a fruitful
mother of misconceptions. Caught up by the pictorial imagination, which
is always at hand to anticipate thought, it suggests a matter, which is
not thought, but is _there,_ all the same, lying in expectation of it.
It suggests two things--(for are there not two words, and a preposition
or term of relation between them?). But there are not two things.
This _matter_ is just as much a nonentity as the aforesaid _thought_:
a matter of thought is a thought matter,--matter, thought once, and
possibly to be thought again.

All this talk about the Relativity of form and matter is insincere,
and semi-conventional. It is (like the well-known antithesis between
Matter and Mind, of which indeed it is only a variation) a halting
between two views. That which it chiefly leans to, is that there can
be no form without matter, though there may well be matter which is
not yet formed. At the best it goes no further than to admit or assert
that _besides_ the one there is _also_ the other. It establishes a
see-saw, and is proud of it. This is Dualism. Its maxim is, Don't
forget that there is an Other. You have explored the One: you have
perhaps done well. But there is also and always the Other. The second
view is not the mere negation of this dualism. That there is a
dualism is a fact which it acknowledges.[2] All life and reality is
manifested in dualism--in antithesis: but the life and the reality
is one. Mind--_Geist_--actualised and intelligent experience--is
the one ultimate and essential reality.[3] In the face of its unity,
mere matter is only a half-truth, and mere thought is only another.
The reality, the unity, and the truth, is matter as formed, nature as
reflected in mind. In the reality of experience there is always the
presence of thought: and thought is only real when it is wedded with
nature in the truth of man's mind. So far Bacon and Hegel coincide.
Man--in so far as he is Mind--and of course Mind in its fullness is not
merely subjective nor merely objective, but absolute--is the measure of
all things, the central and comprehensive reality. Such a man--and such
a mind--is, we need hardly add, not the man in the street, nor the man
in the study: but the infinite, universal, eternal mind in whom these
and all others essentially have their being. Such truth of Man--such
Mind--is the Absolute: it is sometimes named God: it is the ideal of
all aspiration, and the fountain of all truth.

'Logic,' says Hegel[4], 'is the science of the Idea in the medium of
mere thought.' It exhibits the truth in one partial aspect, or shows
one appearance of the total unity of the world,--the aspect it would
wear if we could for a moment suppose the reality of Nature to vanish
out of sight, and the ideality of Mind reduced to a ghost. It dissects
the underlying organisation--the scheme of unification--which the world
of mental or spiritual experience presents in all its concreteness.
And it does so because it exhibits the last result of the ever clearer
and clearer experience which Mind achieves as it comes to see and
realise itself. The logical skeleton is the sublimated product of
a rich concrete experience. It has been a curious delusion of some
who were probably satisfied by a casual glance at Hegel's _Logic_,
especially in its earlier chapters, to suppose that the Logic was
meant to be the absolute beginning: and that pure or mere thought was
the congenital endowment of the heaven-born philosopher[5]. To Hegel,
on the contrary, Logic was an abstraction from a fuller, more concrete
reality. He did not indeed suppose that the symbolical conception of
Movement--in its popular pictorialness--would be an adequate substitute
or representative for thought; but he knew that the energy of mental
development was the fact, and the truth, of which 'becoming' is a
meagre, abstract phase.

Logic, then, is not the Science of mere or pure thought, but of the
Idea (which is co-terminous with reality)--of the Mind's synthetic
unity of experience--looked at, however, abstractly, in the medium
of pure thought. Just so, Nature-philosophy is the same Idea, as it
turns up bit after bit distracted, fragmentary, and more or less
mutilated, in the multiplication, the time and space division, of
physical phenomena. But as science requires us to go from the simple
to the more complex, as the truth has to prove itself true, by serving
in its conclusion as the corroboration of all its premisses or
presuppositions; so the system of philosophy begins with the Logic.
Yet it can only begin there, because it has already apprehended itself
in its completeness: and it can only move onward because it is the
concentrated essence--the implicit being--of all that it actually and
explicitly is. It may appear to emerge from a point: but that point
has at its back the intellectual unity of a philosophy which embraces
the world. It presupposes the complete philosopher who shall be the
complete organ of absolute intelligence, of universal and eternal
Spirit.

A satisfactory Logic then presupposes or implies a complete system of
philosophy. No doubt, for a logic which deals with the minor problems
of ratiocination or formal induction, all that is needed is a certain
general acquaintance with popular conceptions, and with the results or
methods of physical science. But if logic takes its business seriously,
it must go behind these presuppositions. It must trace back reasoning
to its roots, fibres, and first principles. And to do that it is not
enough to put at the front a psychological chapter. Far from helping,
psychology in these matters is much more in need of being helped
itself. Till it has learned a little of the puzzle of the one and the
many, the same and the diverse, being, quality, and essence, psychology
will be as little use to Logic as blind guides generally are. Nor need
this prevent us from saying that when psychology has thoroughly learned
these mysteries, it will give fresh life and reality to the logic which
it touches upon. The principles of Logic lie in another field,[6] and
are deeper in the ground, than obvious psychological gossip.

If Logic then deals with form, it deals with a form of forms--the
form of the world, of life, and of reality. It is a form, which
is a unity in diversity, an organism,--a form which is infinitely
manifold, and yet in all its multiplicity one. Logic is the morphology
of thought,--of that thought which in Nature is concealed under
the variety and divisions of things, and which in the theory of
mental and spiritual life is resumed into a complete biology of the
world-organism. The problem of Logic then demands an abstraction--an
effort of self-concentration--an effort by which the whole machinery
of the sensible universe shall be left behind, and the accustomed
clothing of our thoughts be removed. To move in this ether of pure
thought is clearly one of the hardest of problems.

Like Plato, we may occasionally feel that we have caught a glimpse of
the super-sensible world unveiled; but it disappears as the senses
regain their hold. We can probably fix a firm eye on one term of
reason, and criticise its value: but it is less easy to survey the
Bacchic dance from term to term[7], and allow them to criticise
themselves. The distracting influence of our associations, or of
outside things, is always leading us astray. Either we incline to treat
thoughts as psychological products or species, the outcome of a mental
process, which are (_a_) given to us from the beginning, and so _a
priori_ or innate, or which (_b_) spring up in the course of experience
by mutual friction between our mind and the outside world, and so are
_a posteriori_ or derivative. Or disregarding the subjective side of
thoughts, we act as if they were more correctly called things: we
speak of relations between phenomena: we suppose things, and causes,
and quantities to form part of the so-called external universe, which
science explores. The one estimate of thought, like the other, keeps in
view, though at some distance, and so as not to interfere with their
practical discussions, the separate and equal existence of thoughts
and things. The psychologists or subjectivists of logic scrutinise the
world within us first of all, and purpose to accomplish what can be
done for the mind as possessing a faculty of thought, before they turn
to the world of things. The realists or objectivists of logic think it
better for practical work to allow thought only the formal or outside
labour of surveying and analysing the laws of phenomena out of the
phenomena which contain them. Neither of them examines thought--'the
original synthetic unity'--in its own integrity as a movement in its
own self, an inner organisation, of which subject and object, the
mind and the things called external, are the vehicles, or, in logical
language, the accidents.

If it is possible to treat the history of the English Constitution as
an object of inquiry in itself and for its own sake, without reference
to the individuals who in course of time marred and mended it, or
to the setting of events in which its advance is exhibited, why not
treat the thought, which is the universal element of all things, of
English Constitution, and Italian Art, and Greek Philosophy, in the
same way,--absolutely, i. e. in itself and for its own sake? When
that is done, distinctions rigidly sustained between _a priori_ and
_a posteriori_ become meaningless because now seen to belong to a
distinction of earlier and later in the history of the individual
consciousness. There is at best only a modified justification for such
mottoes and cries, as 'Art for Art's sake,' or 'Science must be left
free and unchecked,' or 'The rights of the religious conscience ought
always to be respected': but there can be no demur or limitation to the
cry that Thought must be studied in Thought by Thought and for the sake
of Thought. For Art, and Science, and Religion are specialised modes
in which the totality or truth of things presents itself to mankind,
and none of them can claim an unconditioned sway: their claims clash,
and each must be admitted to be after all a partial interpretation, a
more or less one-sided interpretation of the true reality of the world.
Thought on the other hand is unlimited: for it exists not merely in
its own abstract modes, but interpenetrates and rules all the other
concrete forms of experience, manifesting itself in Art and Religion,
not less than in Science. And thus when we study Thought, we study that
which is in itself and for itself,--we study Absolute Being. On the
other side it must be noted that in Logic it is Absolute Being, only
when and as it is _thought,_ which we study. The two sides, Being and
Thought, must both come forward: and come in unity, although in some
phases of the Idea the thought-element, in others the being-element is
more pronounced.

Thought, too, is Being. An old distinction of the Stoics, which not
inaptly represents popular views on this matter, set on one side ὄντα,
existences (which were always corporeal, whether they were the things
we touch and feel, or the words and breathings by which we utter them),
and on the other side the meanings or thoughts proper or σημαινόμενα
(which were incorporeal). These λεκτά, as they were otherwise called,
were to the Stoics the proper sphere of Logic. In the sense therefore
which the Stoics and popular consciousness give to being, the object of
logic does not possess being. It is not corporeal. It cannot however
be said to be in the sphere of non-being. It is rather a part of
reality--of concrete being--which can be considered apart, as if it
stood alone. Alone it does not stand. And yet it holds a position so
fundamental,--is the same theme again and again repeated under endless
variations,--is so obviously the universal of things--that it may
properly form the subject of independent study.

It is, moreover, a part of Reality, which may well claim to stand for
the whole. It is, so to say, the score of the musical composition,
rolled up in its bare, silent, unadorned lineaments; the articulated
theme, besides, and not the mere germinal concept, of all the variety
of melody. But it is only laid up there _in abstracto_, because in
the soul of the composer it had already taken concrete form, due to
his capacity and training, his mental force, his art and science. It
is there that the score has its source. But secondly, the musical work
exists in the performance of the orchestra: in the manipulations of the
several instruments, in the notes of the singers, in all the diversity
of parts which make up the mechanism for unfolding the meaning or
theme--that unreality, that mere thought, which to the stricter Stoic
might be said to have no ὔπαρξις, or bodily subsistence. And there are
still people who will be disposed to assert that it is only in the
multitude of notes of violin, trombone, flute, &c., that the music is
real:--though perhaps these hardy realists do not quite mean what they
say. For what they probably mean, and what is the fact, is that the
music exists as a complete reality in those who have ears and minds
capable of comprehending and enjoying it: in those who can reunite
meaning and theme to execution and orchestration: and we may even add
that it is more and more real, in proportion to the greater power with
which they can bring these two into one.

We shall rather say then that thought points to reality, and that mere
nature seeks for interpretation: that mere thought and mere being both
seek for reunion. Yet if in the complete reality we thus distinguish
two elements, we may follow Hegel in setting the pure Idea first. It
is no doubt in a way true that, as has been said, Hegel may be often
read most easily if we first begin with his concluding paragraphs. In
psychology and ethics the fundamental principles have assumed a more
imposing, a larger, a more humanly-interesting shape, than they bear
in the intangible outlines of Logic. There they are written in blacker
ink and broader lines than in the grey on grey. But after all, it is
only for those who have grasped the faint--yet fixed--outlines that the
full-contoured figure speaks its amplest truth. The true sculptor must
begin with a thorough study of anatomy. For those therefore who do not
care merely for results, it is indispensable to begin--or at least to
turn back to the beginning--to the Logic. No doubt the full tones of
the heard and sounded harmony are the true and adequate presentation
of the composer's purpose: but they will be best comprehended and
appreciated by those who have thoroughly grasped the score.

In Logic, so regarded, thought is no longer merely our thought. It is
the constructive, relational, unifying element of reality. Without it
reality would not articulately be anything for us: and such thoughts
seem to be its net extract, its quintessence, its concentrated meaning.
But really they are only the potent _form_ of reality. Or, more
exactly, in its limits, under its phases, must come all reality if it
is to be part and parcel of our intelligent possession, our certified
property. Such a thought is the frame-work, the shape-giver of our
world, of our communicable experience. It is the formative principle of
our intelligent life, as it is the principle through which things have
meaning for us, and we have meaning for and fellowship with others.
It is not so rich as religion and art, perhaps it does not have the
intensity of feeling and faith: but it is at the very basis of all of
these, or it is the concentrated essence of what in them is explicated
and developed. Humanity in these its highest energies is more than mere
thought--more than mere logic: but it is still at the root thought, and
it is still governed by the laws and movement of this higher logic. For
this is a logic which is no mere instrument of technical reasoning,
for proof or disproof: no mere code of rules for the evaluation of
testimony. It is a logic which deals with a thought--or an Idea in
thought-form--which is the principle of all life and reality: the way
of self-criticism which leads to truth: a thought which is at home in
all the phases and provinces of experience.

Under the same name, Logic, therefore, we find something quite
different from what the example of Aristotle and his ancient and modern
followers had accustomed us to.[8] Under the auspices of Kant and his
'Transcendental logic' there has emerged the need of something more
corresponding to the title. For the word itself was not used either by
Aristotle or the Stoics. Neither the Analytics and Topics of the one,
nor the Dialectic of the other, exhaust the conception of the science,
or, to put it more accurately, they are only inceptions of a science,
the fulfilment of which was reserved for a later time. Bacon and Locke,
Descartes and Spinoza, all the thinkers of modern Europe call for a
deeper probing of the logical problem: for a grasp of it which shall
be more worthy of its conventional name, Logic, the theory of Reason.
And we may even say that what is wanted is a unification of the problem
of the Organon with that of the first philosophy, a unification of
Logic with Metaphysics: a recognition that the problem of reason is
not merely the method of reasoning, but the whole theory as to the
correlations of perception and conception, of thinking and reality.

This conception of Logic as the self-developing system of Thought
pure and entire, is the distinctive achievement of Hegel. 'I cannot
imagine,' he says, 'that the method which I have followed in this
system of Logic, or rather the method which this system follows in
its own self, is otherwise than susceptible of much improvement, and
many completions of detail: but I know at the same time that it is the
only genuine method. This is evident from the circumstance that it is
nothing distinct from its object and subject-matter: for it is the
subject-matter within itself, or its inherent dialectic, which moves it
along.'[9]

But how is this universe of thought to be discovered, and its law of
movement to be described? From times beyond the reach of history,
from nations and tribes of which we know only by tradition and vague
conjectures, in all levels of social life and action, the synthetic
energy of thought has been productive, and its evolution in the field
of time has been going on. For thousands of years the intellectual city
has been rearing its walls: and much of the process of its formation
lies beyond the scope of observation. But fortunately there is a help
at hand, which will enable us to discover at least the main outlines in
the system of thought.

The key to the solution was found somewhat in the same way as led
to the Darwinian theory concerning the Origin of Species. When the
question touching the causes of variation and persistence in the
natural kinds of plants and animals seemed so complex as to baffle all
attempts at an answer, Darwin found what seemed a clue likely to lead
to a theory of descent. The methods adopted in order to keep up, or to
vary, a species under domestication were open to anybody's inspection:
and those principles, which were consciously pursued in artificial
selection by the breeder, suggested a theory of similar selection
in free nature. In studying the phenomena of thought, of which the
species or types were no less numerous and interesting than those in
organic nature, it was perhaps impossible to survey the whole history
of humanity. But it was comparatively easy to observe the process of
thought in those cases where its growth had been fostered consciously
and distinctly. The history of philosophy records the steps in the
conscious and artificial manipulation of what for the far greater part
is transacted in the silent workshops of nature. Philosophy, in short,
is to the general growth of intelligence what artificial breeding is to
the variation of species under natural conditions. In the successive
systems of philosophy, the order and concatenation of ideas was, as it
were, clarified out of the perturbed medium of real life, and expressed
in its bare equivalents in terms of thought, and thus first really
acquired. Half of his task was already performed for the logician,
and there remained the work, certainly no slight one--of showing the
unity and organic development which marked the conscious reasoning,
and of connecting it with the general movement of human thought. The
logician had to break down the rigid lines which separated one system
of philosophy from another,--to see what was really involved in the
contradiction of one system by its successor,--and to show that the
negation thus given to an antecedent principle was a definite negation,
ending not in mere zero or vacuity, but in a distinct result, and
making an advance upon the previous height of intelligence.

To say this was to give a new value to the history of philosophy.
For it followed that each system was no _mere_ opinion or personal
view, but was in the main a genuine attempt of the thinker to give
expression to the tacit or struggling consciousness of his age. Behind
the individual--who is often unduly regardless of his contemporaries
and predecessors, and who writes or thinks with little knowledge or
sympathy for them, there is the general bearing and interest of the
age, its powerful solidarity of purpose and conception. The philosopher
is the prophet, because he is in a large part the product of his age.
He is an organ of the mind of his age and nation; and both he and it
play a part in the general work of humanity.

On the other hand, it is dangerous to insist too forcibly on the
rationality of the history of philosophy. For it may be taken to
mean--probably only by blinded or wooden commentators--that each
step in the evolution and concatenation of the logical idea is to be
identified with some historical system, and that these systems must
have appeared in this precise order. And this would be to expect
too much from the 'impotence of nature' which plays its part in the
historical world also: as that on one side forms part of the Natural.
There is Reason in the world--and in the world of history; but not in
the pellucid brightness and distinct outlines proper to the Idea in
the abstract element of thought. It may take several philosophers to
make one step in thought; and sometimes one philosopher of genius may
take several steps at once. There may even be co-eval philosophies:
and there may be philosophies which appear to run on in independent
or parallel lines of development. It may well be that Hegel has
underestimated these divergencies, and that he has been too apt to see
in all history the co-operation to one dominant purpose. But these
errors in the execution of a philosophy of history, and especially of
the history of philosophy, should not diminish our estimate of its
principle.[10]

At first this process was seen in the medium of time. But the
conditions of time are of practical and particular interest only. The
day when the first leaves appear, and the season when the fruit ripens
on a tree, are questions of importance to practical arboriculture. But
botany deals only with the general theory of the plant's development,
in which such considerations have to be generalised. So logic leaves
out of account those points of time and chance which the interests of
individuals and nations find all-important. And when this element of
time has been removed, there is left a system of the types of thought
pure and entire,--embalming the life of generations in mere words. The
same self-identical thought is set forth from its initial narrowness
and poverty on to its final amplitude and wealth of differences. At
each stage it is the Absolute: outside of it there is nothing. It is
the whole, pure and entire: always the whole. But in its first totality
it is all but a void: in its last a fully-formed and articulated
world,--because it holds all that it ever threw out of itself resumed
into its grasp.

In these circumstances nothing can sound higher and nobler than the
Theory of Logic. It presents the Truth unveiled in its proper form and
absolute nature. If the philosopher may call this absolute totality
of thought ever staying the same in its eternal development,--this
adequacy of thought to its own requirements--by the name of God, then
we may say with Hegel that Logic exhibits God as He is in His eternal
Being before the creation of Nature and a finite Mind.[11] But the
logical Idea is only a phantom Deity--the bare possibility of a God
or of absolute reality in all the development of its details.

The first acquaintance with the abstract theory is likely to dash
cold water on the enthusiasm thus awakened, and may sober our views
of the magic efficacy of Logic. 'The student on his first approach
to the Science,' says Hegel, 'sees in Logic at first only one system
of abstractions apart and limited to itself, not extending so as
to include other facts and sciences. On the contrary, when it is
contrasted with the variety abounding in our generalised picture of
the world, and with the tangible realities embraced in the other
sciences,--when it is compared with the promise of the Absolute Science
to lay bare the essence of that variety, the inner nature of the mind
and the world, or, in one word, the Truth,--this science of Logic
in its abstract outline, in the colourless cold simplicity of its
mere terms of thought, seems as if it would perform anything sooner
than this promise, and in the face of that variety seems very empty
indeed. A first introduction to the study of Logic leads us to suppose
that its significance is restricted to itself. Its doctrines are not
believed to be more than one separate branch of study engaged with the
terms or dimensions of thought, besides which the other scientific
occupations have a proper material and body of their own. Upon these
occupations, it is assumed, Logic may exert a formal influence, but
it is the influence of a natural and spontaneous logic for which the
scientific form and its study may be in case of need dispensed with.
The other sciences have upon the whole rejected the regulation-method,
which made them a series of definitions, axioms, and theorems, with the
demonstration of these theorems. What is called Natural Logic rules
in the sciences with full sway, and gets along without any special
investigation in the direction of thought itself. The entire materials
and facts of these sciences have detached themselves completely
from Logic. Besides they are more attractive for sense, feeling, or
imagination, and for practical interests of every description.

And so it comes about that Logic has to be learned at first, as
something which is perhaps understood and seen into, but of which the
compass, the depth, and further import are in the earliest stages
unperceived. It is only after a deeper study of the other sciences that
logical theory rises before the mind of the student into a universal,
which is not merely abstract, but embraces within it the variety
of particulars.--The same moral truth on the lips of a youth, who
understands it quite correctly, does not possess the significance or
the burden of meaning which it has in the mind of the veteran, in whom
the experience of a lifetime has made it express the whole force of its
import. In the same way, Logic is not appreciated at its right value
until it has grown to be the result of scientific experience. It is
then seen to be the universal truth,--not a special study beside other
matters and other realities, but the essence of all these other facts
together.[12]


[Footnote 1: E. g. 'formal' in _Hamlet_, iv. 5. 215; 'informal' in
_Measure for Measure,_ v. 236.]

[Footnote 2: _Encycl._ § 574 (_Philosophy of Mind,_ p. 196).]

[Footnote 3: _Encycl._ § 377.]

[Footnote 4: _Logic_, vol. ii. p. 30.]

[Footnote 5: The criticisms of A. Trendelenburg, in his _Logische
Untersuchungen,_ rest on such assumptions. 'Trendelenburg,' says
Hartmann, 'means low-water mark in German philosophy.']

[Footnote 6: See above all Bradley's _Principles of Logic_, and
Bosanquet's _Logic_, &c.]

[Footnote 7: 'Das Wahre ist der bacchantische Taumel, an dem kein Glied
nicht trunken ist; und weil jedes, indem es sich absondert, ebenso
unmittelbar sich auflöst,--ist es ebenso die durchsichtige und einfache
Ruhe.' _Phenom. des Geistes,_ p 35.]

[Footnote 8: Prantl, _Geschichte der Logik,_ i. 87.]

[Footnote 9: _Wissenschaft der Logik_, i. p. 39.]

[Footnote 10: See _Encyclop._ § 549 _(Philosophy of Mind_, pp. 148
seqq.). It is, of course, quite another question--to be answered by
intelligent research--how far in particular cases Hegel has accurately
studied a thinker, and faithfully interpreted him. Some of his critics
in this line appear to mistake philology--which is a highly important
authority in its own field--for philosophy: and will no doubt go on
doing so.]

[Footnote 11: Hegel's _Werke_, iii., 33.]

[Footnote 12: _Wissenschaft der Logik_, i. p. 43.]



CHAPTER XXVII.


ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE: OR THE CATEGORIES.


According to the strict reasonings of Kant in his _Criticism of Pure
Reason_, and the somewhat looser discussions of Mr. Spencer in his
_First Principles_ a science of Metaphysics or theory of the Infinite,
Absolute, or Unconditioned is impossible. As a result of the criticism
by Kant, Jacobi claimed the Absolute for Faith: and Spencer banishes
the Absolute or Unknowable to the sphere of Religion to be worshipped
or ignored, but in either case blindly. As we have already seen, Hegel
does not accept this distribution of provinces between religion and
philosophy. There is only one world, one reality: but it is known more
or less fully, more or less truly and adequately. It is presented in
one way to the sensuous imagination: in another to the scientific
analyst: in a third to the philosopher. To the first it is a mere
succession or expanse of pictures, facts, appearances: and outside
it--somewhere, but not here,--there is a land, a being of perfect
wholeness and harmony. To the second it is an unending chain of causes
and effects, of one thing simplified by being referred to another till
at last a mighty all-explaining nullity, called an 'Ultimate Cause,'
is presumed to linger, eternally unperceived at the infinitely-distant
end of the series. To the third everything is seen in connexion, but
not a mere uni-linear connexion: each, when studied, more and more
completes itself by including those relations which seemed to stand
outside: each fully realised, or completely invested with its ideal
implications, is seen no longer to be an incident or isolated fact, but
an implicit infinite, and a vice-gerent of the eternal. Philosophy thus
releases both ordinary and scientific knowledge from their limitations;
it shows the finite passing into the infinite. And Hegel, accordingly,
purposes to show that this unfathomable Absolute is very near us, and
at our very door: in our hands, as it were, and especially present
in our every-day language. If we are ever to gain the Absolute, we
must be careful not to lose one jot or tittle of the Relative[1]. The
Absolute--this term, which is to some so offensive and to others so
precious--always presents itself to us in Relatives: and when we have
persistently traced the Proteus through all its manifestations,--when
we have, so to speak, seen the Absolute Relativity of Relation, there
is very little more needed in order to apprehend the Absolute pure and
entire. One may say of the Absolute what Goethe[2] says of Nature: 'She
lives entirely in her children: and the mother, where is she?'

It is a great step, when we have detected the Relativity of what had
hitherto seemed Absolute,--when a new aspect of the infinite fullness
of the world, the truth of things, dawns upon us. But it is even a
greater step when we see that the Relativity which we have thus
discovered is itself Relative. And this is one advantage of first
studying the value of the categories of ethics and physics on Logical
ground. On the concreter region of Nature and Mind, the several grades
and species into which reality is divided have a portentous firmness
and grandeur about them, and the intrinsic dialectic seems scarcely
adequate to shaking the foundations of their stability. They severally
stand as independent self-sustaining entities, separate from each
other, and stereotyped in their several formations. But in the ether of
abstract Idea, in the fluid and transparent form of mere thoughts, the
several stages in the development of the Absolute, the various grades
of category, clearly betray their Relativity, and by the negation of
this Relativity lead on to a higher Absolute.

To the practical man,--so long as his reflection does not go deep,--the
concepts on which his knowledge and faith are built seem eternal,
unshifting rock, parts of the inmost fabric of things. He accepts them
as ultimate validities. To him matter and force, cause and effect,
distinctions between form and content, whole and part, quantity and
quality, belong to the final constitution of the world. (And so, in a
sense, they do.) If he ever overcome the absoluteness which popular
thought attributes to the individual things of sense and imagination,
and show their relativity, he does so only to fall under the glamour
of a new deception. Causes and matters, forces and atoms, become new
ultimates, new absolutes, of another order. Fictions or postulates of
the understanding take the place of the figments of imagination. The
ordinary scientific man labours especially under the 'metaphysical'
fallacy: he realises abstractions in their abstractness. As against
this it is the business of the logician to show how such terms are to
be interpreted as steps in a process of interpretation--containing so
much that others of simpler structure have handed on, and themselves
presupposing by implication a great deal they fail properly to
explicate. Thus, the logician evinces at one blow the relativity of
each term in its mereness, abstractness, or false absoluteness, and the
ideal absoluteness which always carries it beyond itself, and makes it
mean more than it says.

The natural mind always hastens to substantiate the terms it employs.
It makes them a fixed, solid foundation, an hypostasis, on which
further building may be raised. If such pseudo-absolutising of concepts
is to be called metaphysics, then logic has to free us from the
illusions of metaphysics, to de-absolutise them, to disabuse us of a
false Absolute. The false Absolute is what Hegel calls the Abstract:
it is the part which, because it succeeded in losing sight of its
dependence, had believed itself to be a whole. Logic shows--in the
phrase of Hegel--that each such term or concept is only an attempt
to express, explicate, or define the Absolute[3]: a predicate of the
Absolute, but falling short of its subject, or only uttering part of
the whole truth of reality. But while Logic shows it only to be an
attempt, and therefore in an aspect relative, it equally shows its
ingrained tendency to complete itself, to carry out to realisation
its ideal implication,--shows, in short, that e. g. force is more
than _mere_ force, that thing-in-itself is not properly even a thing;
that a veritable notion (_Begriff_) or grasp of a thing is more than
a _mere_ (subjective) notion, &c. Thus the true Absolute is not the
emptiest and most meagre of abstractions,--what is left as a residual
after the relative in all its breadth and length has been cut out
of it; it is the concretest of all being, the whole which includes
without destroying all partial aspects. Yet as it includes them, it
shows itself their master and more than master: making each lose and
win in the other, till all are satisfied in unity, and no shade of
individuality is utterly lost in the totality of the Universal.

Accordingly, Metaphysics and Logic tend to form one body. For the
distant and transcendent Absolute, which was the object of older
Metaphysics, was substituted an Absolute, self-revealing in the terms
of thought. Being is deposed from its absoluteness, and made the
first postulate of thought. Former Metaphysics had dashed itself in
vain against the reefs that girdle the island of the supersensible
and noümenal, the supposed world of true Being: and the struggle at
last grew so disastrous that Kant gave the signal to retreat, and to
leave the world of true Being, the impregnable Thing-in-itself, to its
repose. His advice to metaphysicians[4] was that, while scientific
research continued to concentrate the attack of analysis upon single
experiences conforming to certain conditions, they should investigate
these' conditions of possible experience or foundations of objectivity.
In other words, he turned observation to what he called Transcendental
Logic. It was by means of this suggestion, understood in the widest
sense, that Hegel was led to treat Logic as the science of ultimate
reality. He had to show how these conditions when carried out in
full gave the Unconditioned. He attacked the Absolute, if we may say
so, in detail. The Absolute, as the totality, universe or system of
Relativity, lays itself open to observation by deposing itself to a
Relative. It possesses the differentiating power of separating itself
as an object in passivity, from itself as a subject in action,--of
deposing itself to appearance, of being _for_ itself, and also _in_
and _for_ itself. And thus Thought is the active universal,--which
actualises itself more and more out of abstraction into concreteness.

Hegel, then, solved the problem of Metaphysics by turning it into
Logic. The same principle, Thought, appeared in both: in the former
as a fixed and passive result, showing no traces of spontaneity,--in
the latter as an activity, with a mere power of passing from object
to object, discovering and establishing connexions and relations. The
two sciences were fragments, unintelligible and untenable, when taken
in abstract isolation. This is the justification, if justification
be required, for Hegel's unification of Logic and Metaphysics. The
Hegelian Logic falls into three parts: the theory of Transitory Being:
the theory of Relative Being: and the theory of the Notion. The first
and second of these in his Science of Logic are called Objective Logic;
they also might be described as Metaphysics. The third part is more
strictly on Logical ground. Or perhaps it is best to describe the whole
as the Metaphysics of Logic.

The Logic of Hegel is the Science of Thought as an organic system of
its characteristic forms, which in their entirety constitute the Idea.
These forms or types of thought, the moulds in which the Idea confines
itself in its evolution, are not unlike what have been otherwise called
the Categories. (Of course the foreign word 'Categories' does not
commend itself to Hegel).[5] They are the modifications or definite
forms, the articulated and distinct shapes, in which the process of
Thought ever and anon culminates in the course of its movement. The
Infinite and Absolute at these points conditions itself, and as so
conditioned or differentiated is apprehended and stamped with a name.
They specify the unspecified, and give utterance to the ineffable.
They are the names by which reason grasps the totality of things,--the
names by which the truth (or God) reveals itself, however inadequately.
From one point of view they constitute a series, each evolved from
the other, a more completely detailed term or utterance of thought
resulting by innate contradiction from a less detailed. From another
point of view the total remains perpetually the same; and the change
seems only on the surface. The one aspect of the movement conceals the
Absolute: the other puts the Relative into the background.

What then are the Categories? We may answer: They are the ways in
which expression is given to the unifying influence of thought: and we
have to consider them as points or stations in the progress of this
unification, and in the light of this influence. These Categories are
the typical structures marking the definite grades in the growth of
thought,--the moulds or forms which thought assumes and places itself
in,--those instants when the process of thought takes a determinate
form, and admits of being grasped. The growth of thought, like
other growths, is often imperceptible and impalpable. And then,
unexpectedly, a condensation takes place, a form is precipitated out of
the transparent medium. A new concept, a new grasp of reality, emerges
from the solution of elements: and a name is created to realise the
new shade of the Idea. These thought-terms are the world of Platonic
forms, if we consider his 'form of Good' as corresponding to the 'Idea'
of Hegel. For if we look carefully into this mystic word 'Good' which
plays so brilliant a part in ancient philosophy, we shall see that it
only expresses in a more concrete and less analytic form, as ancient
thought often does, the same thing as so many moderns love to speak
of as Relativity, and which is also implied in Aristotle's conception
of an End. To see things _sub specie boni_--which Plato describes
as the supreme quality of the truth-seeker who is to guide men into
uprightness, or into conformity with the true nature of things,--is
to see them elevated above their partial self-subsistence into the
harmony and totality of that which is always and unvaryingly its real
self. The Good is the sun-light in which things lose their earlier
character (which they had in the days of our bondage and ignorance) of
mysterious and perplexing spectres of the night. In the light of the
Good, things are shorn of their false pretence of self-subsistence and
substantiality, deposed by comparison with the perfect and unspotted,
and as it were stung into seeking a higher form of being by struggle.
And this is the abstract moral way of looking. But to see them in the
form of Good means also that they are seen to be more and better than
we thought, that they are not condemned to inadequacy, but bear in them
the witness and revelation of infinity and absoluteness. And this is
rather the faith of religion and the vision of art. And the 'form of
Good' is only a brief and undeveloped vision of an Absolute, which is
the 'form of Relativity,'--Relativity elevated into an Absolute.

A Category is often spoken of as if it were the highest extreme of
generalisation, the most abstract and most widely applicable term
possible. If we climb sufficiently far and high up the Porphyry's tree
of thought, we may expect, thought the old logicians, to reach the
'_summa genera_' or highest species of human thought. Nor have modern
logicians always refrained from this byway. But these quantitative
distinctions of greater and less, in which the Formal Logic revels,
are not very suitable to any of the terms or processes of thought,
and they certainly give an imperfect description of the Categories.
The essential function which the Categories perform in the fabric
of thought and language is, in the first place, to combine, affirm,
demonstrate, relate, and unify,--and _not_ to generalise.[6] Their
action may be better compared to that fulfilled by those symbols in
an algebraical expression, which like _plus_ and _minus_ denote an
operation to be performed in the way of combining or relating, than
to the office of the symbols which in these expressions denote the
magnitudes themselves.

To the student of language the Categories sometimes present themselves
as pronominal, or formal roots,--those roots which, as it is said, do
not denote things, but relations between things. He meets them in the
inflections of nouns and verbs; in the signs of number, gender, case,
and person: but, as thus presented, their influence is subordinate to
the things of which they are, as it were, the accidents. He meets them
in a more independent and tangible shape in the articles, pronouns,
prepositions, conjunctions, and numerals, and in what are called the
auxiliary verbs. In these apparently trifling, and in some languages
almost non-existent words or parts of words, we have the symbols of
relations,--the means of connexion between single words,--the cement
which binds significant speech together. There are languages, such as
the older and classical forms of Chinese, where these categorising
terms are, as it were, in the air: where they are only felt in accent
and position, and have no separate existence of their own. But in
the languages of the Indo-European family they gradually appear, at
first in combination, perhaps, with the more material roots, and only
in the course of time asserting an independent form. Originally they
appear to denote the relations of space and time,--the generalised or
typical links between the parts of our sense-perceptions: but from
there they are afterwards, and in a little while, transferred into
the service of intellect. These little words are the very life-blood
of a language,--its spirit and force. It is in these categories,
as they show themselves in the different linguistic families, that
a nation betrays its mode and tone of thought. The language of the
Altaic races, e. g., expresses activity only as a piece of property,
an appropriation of a substance, and knows no true distinction of noun
and verb: the Semitic Tongues in their tense-system perhaps betray the
intense inwardness of the race: whereas the immense inflectionalism of
the Indo-European seems not unconnected with his greater versatility
and energy. Complete mastery in the manipulation of these particles
and forms is what makes an idiomatic knowledge of a language, as
distinct from a mere remembrance of the vocabulary. And philosophy
is the recognition of their import and significance. Thus in Greek
philosophy the central questions turn upon such words as Being and
not-Being: Becoming: that out of which: that for the sake of which: the
what-was-being: the what is: the other: the one: the great and small:
that which is upon the whole: what is according to each: this somewhat:
&c.[7] And again in Modern Philosophy, how often has the battle raged
about the meaning of such words as I: will: can: must: because: same
and different: self: &c.!


[Footnote 1: Cf. Herbart's maxim, 'Wie viel Schein, so viel Hindeutung
auf Sein.' (_Hauptpunkte der Metaphysik._)]

[Footnote 2: _Die Natur_ (1780): 'Sie lebt in lauter Kindern: und die
Mutter, wo ist sie?.... Sie ist ganz und doch immer unvollendet.... Sie
verbirgt sich in tausend Namen und Termen, und ist immer dieselbe.']

[Footnote 3: _Logic (Encyclop.)_ §§ 85, 87, 112, 194, &c.]

[Footnote 4: Metaphysic is, in Kant's usage, ambiguous. It means (_a_)
a supposed science of the supersensible or unconditioned reality;
(_b_) a study of the conditions or presuppositions--the Kantian _a
priori_--of some aspect of Experience, e. g. a Metaphysic of Moral
rules.]

[Footnote 5: His usual term is _Denkbestimmungen,_ the several
expressions or specific forms of the unification which thought is.
The term Categories has been identified by Kant with his list of
_Stammbegriffe._ and by Mill with his classes of nameable things,--with
some critical remarks on Aristotle's use of the word. That use--to
denote the elements of predicable reality, what Grote called _ens_--is
probably not so 'rhapsodical' as Kant, with his new-born zeal for the
contrast of sensibility and intellect, was inclined to suppose. A real
history of the Category-theory would be almost a history of philosophy.
Perhaps the name might be more sparingly used.]

[Footnote 6: Generalisation is only one small aspect of thought, with
specialisation as its, at least as important, pendant. To read certain
logics, one might think the all-comprehensive virtue of truths were to
be general,--not to be true.]

[Footnote 7: ὅν and μὴ ὅν: τὸ γιγνόμενον: τὸ ἐξ οὗ: τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα: τὸ τί
ἦν εἶναι: τὸ τί ἐστι: θάτερον: ἕν: τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν: τὸ καθ' ὅλου:
τὸ καθ' ἔκαστον: τόδε τί.]



CHAPTER XXVIII.


THE THREE PARTS OF LOGIC.


Logic, as it is understood in these pages, is the critical history
of the terms of thought by which reality, the sum of experience, the
world, is described or expressed. It is the philosophical criticism
of the concepts, or elements of conception, by which we define or
develop the Totality, the Absolute. It describes the constitution
of the intellectual realm, by and in which we give body, coherence,
unity, and system to reality. It is the self-developing organisation
of the thoughts by which we think things, and by which things are
what they are. It is the ripe fruit of the experience of the ages of
humanity, and it therefore bears in itself a principle of growth. But
if it be a fruit, it is a fruit which can watch its own growth, which
reflects upon its own life. Its three parts show the main stages of its
development, beginning with the least adequate and most abstract or
general description of reality.

The first part of Logic, the theory of Being[1], may be called the
theory of unsupported and freely-floating Being. We do not mean
something which _is,_ but the mere 'is,' the bare fact of Being,
without any substratum. The degree of condensation or development,
where substantive and attribute, or noun and verb, co-exist, has not
yet come. The terms or forms of Being float as it were freely in the
air, and we go from one to another, or--to put it more correctly--one
passes into another. The terms in question are Is and Not: Become:
There is: Some and Other: Each: One: Many: and so on through the
terms of number to degree and numerical specificality. This Being is
immediate: i.e. it contains no reference binding it with anything
beyond itself, but stands forward baldly and nakedly, as if alone;
and, if hard pressed, it turns over into something else. It includes
the three stages of Quality, Quantity, and Measure. The ether of
'Is' presumes no substratum, or further connexion with anything: and
we only meet a series of points as we travel along the surface of
thought. To _name,_ to _number_, to _measure_, are the three grades
of our ordinary and natural thought: so simple, that one is scarcely
disposed to look upon them as grades of thought at all. And yet if
thought is self-specification, what more obvious forms of specifying
it are there than to name (so pointing it out, or qualifying it), to
number (so quantifying it, or stating its dimensions), and to measure
it? These are the three primary specificates by which we think,--the
three primary dimensions of thought. Thought, in so determining,
plays upon the surface, and has no sense of the interdependence of
its terms. And if we could imagine a natural state of consciousness
in which sensations had not yet hardened into permanent things, and
into connexions between things, we should have something like the
range of Immediate Being. Colours and sounds, a series of floating
qualities, pass before the eye and the ear: these colours and sounds
are in course of time counted: and then, by applying the numbers to
these qualities, we get the proportions or limits ascertained. When
this process in actual life,--the advance from the vague feelings
which tell us of sweet, cold, &c., by means of a definite enumeration
of their phenomena, to the rules guiding their operation,--is reduced
to its most abstract terms, we have the process of Being. It would
be the period when a distinction between things and their actions
or properties has not arisen. The demonstrative pronouns and the
numerals are among the linguistic expressions of Being in its several
stages. Perhaps too we may illustrate it by the so-called 'impersonal'
verb--which has hardly reached the stage of verb proper, having no
subject: or by the name which still fluctuates between the stage of
substantive or adjective.

The first sphere was that of Being directly confronting us, and using
the demonstrative pronouns first of all. The second is Relative or
Reflective Being: and in this we have to deal with the relative
pronouns. The surface of Being is now seen to exhibit a secondary
formation, to involve a sort of permanent standard in itself, and to
be essentially relative. The mere quality, when reduced to number, is
seen to be subjected to a certain measure, rule, sort, or standard:
and this reflex of itself always haunts it, modifying and determining
it. Thus instead of qualities, we begin to speak of the properties of
a thing: we have, as it were, two levels of Being, in intimate and
necessary connexion, where there was only one before. At first it was
but a mere surface-picture, one thing here and another there: a this
and a that; one, _now,_ and another, _then. This,_ it might be, was
round, and _that_ square: _now,_ it was bright, and _then,_ it was
dull: _here_ was a head, and _there_ was a limb. But the comparison of
quality with quantity, measuring one by the other, gave rise to the
conception of something permanent, a true nucleus amid the changes. The
fact, previously single, is now become double: the mere event is now a
phenomenon, a temporary and outward manifestation of something inner.
We now see each that _is,_ in the halo of what it _has been,_ or will
be: the passing modification in the light of the permanent type. But as
yet the permanent and the passing are separate, and only throw light
on each other: A explaining itself by B and B by A. We have apparently
two facts; neither of which can however stand by itself and therefore
refers us to the other. But to get a real rest in this incessant round
of mutual reference of one to another we must take a higher stand-point.

In this sphere of Relativity the terms expressive of things come in
pairs: such as Same and Different, Like and Unlike: True Being and Show
or Semblance: Cause and Effect: Substance and Accident: Matter and
Form: and the like. If we compare mere Being to the cell in its simple
state, we may say that in the second sphere of Logic a nucleus has been
formed,--that a distinction has sprung up between two elements, which
are still in closest interconnexion. We have penetrated behind the
seeming simplicity of the surface: and in fact discovered it to be mere
seeming in the light of the substratum, cause, or essence, upon which
it is now reflected. In immediate Being one category, or specificate,
or dimension of thought passes over into another, and then disappears:
but in mediated Being one category has a meaning only by its relation
to another,--only by its reflection on another,--only by the light
which another casts upon it. Thus a cause has no meaning except in
connexion with its effect: a force implies or postulates an exertion
of that force: an essence is constituted by the existence which issues
from it. Instead of 'is,' therefore, which denotes resting-upon-self,
or connexion-with-self, the verb of the second sphere is 'has,'
denoting reference, or connexion-with-something-else: e.g. the cause
_has_ an effect: the thing _has_ properties. Instead of numerals,
come the prepositions and pronouns of relation, such as which, same,
like, as, by, because. The only conjunction in the first stage or
Being was 'And,'--mere juxtaposition; and even that conjunction was
perhaps premature, and due to reflective thought, going beyond what was
immediately before it, and tracing out connexions with other things.
The first stage, as we have seen, treated of the terms of natural
thought present in the action of the senses: the second stage--that of
Essential Being--deals with scientific, reflective, or mediate thought.
What, why, are the questions: comparison and connexion the methods: the
establishment of relations of similarity, causation, and co-existence,
the purpose in this range of logical method. Its categories are those
most familiar to science in its reflective and comparative stage. It
is the peculiar home of what are known as Metaphysical subtleties. The
natural but delusive tendency of reasoning is to throw the emphasis
on one side of the relation, and to regard the other as accessary and
secondary. Contrasts between _essentia_ and _existentia: substantia_
and _modi_: cause and effect: real and apparent: constantly occur.

If the first branch of Logic was the sphere of simple Being in a point
or series of points, the second is that of difference and discordant
Being, broken up in itself. The progress in this second sphere--of
_Essentia_ or Relative being--consists in gradually overcoming the
antithesis and discrepancy between the two sides in it--the Permanent
and the Phenomenal. At first the stress rests upon the Permanent
and true Being which lies behind the seeming--upon the essence or
substratum in the background, on which the show of immediate Being has
been proved by the process in the first sphere really to rest. Then,
secondly, Existence comes to the front, and Appearances or Phenomena
are regarded as the only realities with which science can deal. And
yet even in this case we cannot but distinguish between matter and
form, between the phenomena and their laws, between force and its
exercises: and thus repeat the relativity, though both terms in it are
now on the whole transferred into the range of the Phenomenal world.
The third range of Essential Being is known as Actuality, where the
two elements in relation rise to the level of independent existences,
essences in phenomenal guise--bound together, and deriving their very
characteristics from that close union. Relativity or correlation is
now clearly apparent in actual form, and comprises the three heads of
Substantial Relation, Causal Relation, and Reciprocal Relation. In
this case while the two members of the relation are now indissolubly
linked together, they are no more submitted to each other than they
are independent. According to Reciprocity everything actual is at once
cause and effect: it is the meeting-point of relations: a whole with
independent elements in mutual interconnexion. Such a total is the
Notion.

This brings us to the third branch of Logic,--the theory of the
Notion, or Grasp of Thought.[2] The theory of Causality, with which
the second branch closed, continued to let the thought fall asunder
into two unequal halves--always however in relation or connexion with
each other. But in the present part of the Logic the two halves are
re-united, or in their difference their identity is also recognised.
Instead of a cause of a thing (which is separate from it in order), we
have a concept which is its principle of unity, its universal in which
it is individualised. Instead of incessant and endless Relativity,
we have Development. By development is meant self-specification, or
self-actualisation: the thing is what it becomes, or while it changes
it remains identical with itself. The Category or Development is the
category or method of philosophic or speculative science: just as
Being corresponded to natural thought, and Relativity or Reflection to
metaphysical and realistic science. According to the law of Development
diversity and unity both receive their due. Mere unity or Being
reappears now as Universality or Generality. Mere diversity, or the
relativity of essence, re-appears as Particularity, or the speciality
of details. And the union of the two is seen in the Individualised
notion or real object. In other words, the true thought which really
grasps and gets all round its object, which is a real whole, is a
Triplicity: it is first seen all as the ground or self-same, the
possibility--secondly, all as the existence in details, and difference,
the actuality or contingency--and thirdly, all as the self-same in
difference, and the possible in actuality. Every object in its full
reality is an innate movement; and to grasp it wholly we must apprehend
it as such a self-evolving and self-involving unity of elements, in
each of which however it is whole and entire. Thus the Notion embraces
the three elements or factors of universal, particular and individual.
These three elements first rise to independence and get their full
significance or explication in the syllogism, with its three terms
and judgments, exhibiting the various ways in which any two of these
elements in thought are brought into unity by means of the third. This
adequate form is a system or organic unity which contains in itself the
premisses of its conclusion or the means to its realisation,--which is
a process within itself, and when complete and self-supporting perforce
gives itself reality.

The Notion or _Begriff_ is where Hegel makes his special mark on
Logic. Schelling, even, following on Kant, had (like Schopenhauer
after him) lauded the merit of the Intuition at the expense of the
mere notion[3] and expressed himself surprised at Hegel's use of the
word. But what Hegel wants first to insist upon is that the Intuition
or Perception (_Anschauung_) is built upon the Notion--that it is
only because there is a universal principle in its details that the
individual reality of the percept is assured. That we can elicit a
notion from a perception is only possible because it is implicitly
dominated by a universal. Secondly, Hegel wishes to note (as elsewhere)
that the full adequate notion, the notion as self-explaining and
self-constituting, is all that is meant by the object. Thus the Notion
or Subject_--Causa Sui_--when it is fully realised in the plenitude
of its elements or differences,--when each element has scope of its
own, is the Object--the actual and individualised total of thought, or
syllogism in reality. This objective world or Object appears in three
forms. An Object is either a mechanical, a chemical, or a teleological
object. The terms mechanical and chemical are not to be understood in
the narrow sense of a machine or chemical compound. They are to be
taken in an analogical sense, just as J. S. Mill speaks of a chemical
or geometrical method of treating social problems. The object or
realised notion is mechanical, when the unification of the members in
the totality comes or seems to come from without, so that the whole
or universal they form is external and almost indifferent to the
particulars, and only arranges them. An object is chemical, when the
connexion or genesis of the compound from its factors is not evident:
when the elements are as it were lost, and only give rise to a fresh
particular. An object is teleological, when the universal is, though
not distinctly conceived as realised, still always as tending to be
realised by the particulars. And in each of these grades the object
comes more and more to be seen to be a self-enacting, self-legislating
being; more and more a due pendant to the subject-notion. Modern
science is a vehement opponent of teleology: and with justice, so
far as in teleology, means and end fall apart. But it is mistaken in
supposing itself to return to the mechanical point of view. On the
contrary its success is most generally secured by rising to the point
of view given by the Idea of Life, and by looking upon the objective
world as an Organism, that is, as the notion in objectivity, soul
indissolubly united with body. But even the Idea of Life, in which we
enter the third stage of the notion, is defective as a representation
of the truth of Objectivity: for body and soul must part. The
conception of an Organism or living being is too crude. Reality is no
doubt well described as alive: the Absolute well defined as Life. But
here again Life is taken in a higher than its sense of _mere_ Life:
it is life as intelligent and volitional energy. If the universe--the
Absolute--can be said to be living, it must be said also that it is
more than Living. Such a life--such existence--is what Aristotle has
called _θεωρία_ and ἐνέργεια of the highest in man. It is mental and
spiritual life. In its consummation it is the Idea--the absolute
Idea--the totality which is and is aware of itself,--the developed
unity of the Notion with Objectivity. This unity thus presented is
what lies implicit to our perception in Nature: and thus the Idea,
as developed in Logic, forms the prologue and presupposition to the
Philosophy of Nature.


[Footnote 1: Being (_das Seyn_) probably conveys much more to an
English reader than is here meant or wanted. It is Being, where the
distinction between essence and appearance has not yet emerged or been
thought of. If being = τὸ ὄν, then essence (_Wesen_) = _τὸ ὄντως_ ὄν,
the being which underlies and yet includes appearance. _Wesen_ has more
right to the substantival vocable of Being: _Seyn_ is little better
than an 'Is' or 'Be.'

In writers of Locke's time, 'Being seems to mean a reality, an actually
existing object, e.g. Clarke: 'There has existed from eternity some one
unchangeable and independent Being.' 'What the substance or _essence_
of that Being is, we have no idea.' 'Essence,' says Locke, 'may be
taken for the very being of anything, whereby it is what it is.' Of
course Aristotle long ago noted Being as one of the terms with variety
of implication; and his own fluctuation about _οὐσία_ is an obvious
illustration of this.

In the translation of the _Logic_, _Wesen_ is occasionally rendered by
Being (e. g. Supreme Being); _Seyn,_ by existence. _Seyn_ here means
so little that one can hardly find any word of sufficiently minimal
content for it.]

[Footnote 2: No doubt, as Dr. W. T. Harris remarks, _Notion_ (used
by Dr. Stirling) is a quite insignificant rendering of Hegel's
_Begriff_:--for which he proposes Self-activity. But, as he admits,
that is just Hegel's way: he coins brand-new the old terms, and forces
us, if we will follow him, to think full meaning into them.]

[Footnote 3: See vol. ii, Notes and Illustrations, p. 408.]



CHAPTER XXIX.


THE SEARCH FOR A FIRST PRINCIPLE.


If there be one thing which, more than another, distinguishes Modern
Philosophers from the Ancient Philosophy of Athens, it is the desire
to discover a First Principle of certainty, a handle by which they
may get hold of and set in due order the perplexed mass of reality.
They find themselves born to an inheritance of tradition, a mass of
belief and lore which overwhelms where it does not support. The long
watches of the Middle Ages had been a time of preparation--even if
the 'cerebration' had been somewhat unconscious. The mind had been
by discipline trained to freedom. As it worked amid the material and
tried to order it and defend it, the intellect grew to recognise its
lordship over the load of authority. Overt revolts indeed against
coercion by decrees and by canons of dogma had never been wanting even
in the quietest of the so-called 'ages of faith.' But it is not in the
loudest outcry or the most rampant dissent that progress shows its most
effective course. The 'catholic' and 'orthodox' tradition equally bears
witness to a movement to emancipation, to self-centred intelligence.
Such an emancipation however cannot be complete and self-realised
without a sharp and painful wrench at the moment of mental birth.
The great word of disruption, of self-assertion, of defiance to the
past and to the dominant, must be said: and, as human beings are
constituted, it will be said in a tone of acerbity for which neither
the revolutionist nor the reactionary are severally alone responsible.

Thus to hear the brave words and the bold defiance hurled out by
the thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, one might
fancy they, like Archimedes, sought a supernal vantage-ground from
which they could move the world. Yet, unlike the material earth,
the intellectual globe is a burden we each carry with us,--which we
find upon us when--if ever--we begin to shake ourselves out of the
slothful unconsciousness of our merely vegetative life. For though
we all carry it, we do not all feel its weight. In some individuals
and in some ages there is so accurate a proportion between the inner
power and the outer pressure that the load of belief and custom is
but a well-fitting garb, almost a second nature. To others there
is a felt disproportion, a sense of superincumbent clothes and
uncongenial, unnatural trappings. Out of such struggles to be free,
grow, occasionally, philosophers, and reformers. To the former the
burden is the burden of the unintelligible: to the latter the burden of
the unbearable and intolerable. To the philosopher the removal of the
burden consists in such a re-adjustment of the intellectual world that
it shall be no longer a foreign thing, but bone of his bone and flesh
of his flesh. But, to re-adjust and to re-organise, one must stand
back from the objective: one must cast it forth, and look about for a
clue to an exit from the maze of confusion. The given and subsistent
is put on probation: not rejected, but for the moment declined: not
denied, but asked to present its credentials.[1] This is the ἐποχή
of the sceptical schools of later Greece; the invitation to doubt
addressed by Descartes to his own soul. It is the protest against that
vulgar precipitancy which in primitive and modern credulity is ready to
give itself away to any doctrine which has the voice and the garb of
outward authority. Or is it the assertion! of the royal and inalienable
sovereignty of the Subjectivity to be _certain_ of whatever claims to
be objective and _true_: the assertion that what is true must be seen
and experienced to be true. Or it is, in another way, the principle of
Socrates: that the beginning of knowledge, the first step in the way
of wisdom, is to know that you know nothing--to realise the absolute
supremacy of self-consciousness.

It is in short the same demand as Augustine's. There is indeed a wide
gulf of temperament and circumstances dividing the bishop of Hippo from
the mathematician Descartes and the rationalist Spinoza. But in the cry
for the knowledge of 'God and my Soul' as the first, the indispensable,
the sole knowledge: as the _one_ knowledge which binds the finite and
the infinite together,--the knowledge on which turns the truth of
science, and the reality of experience, the great thinkers of these
diverse ages are at one.[2] They turn their backs upon the external
that they may find rest in the truly internal, on the inner certainty,
which is not a mere subjective but a very objective also: not a mere
_anima mea,_ but in close unity therewith _Deus meus._ This is perhaps
more explicit in Spinoza, in some points, than in Descartes, and in
many respects more decisively put by Augustine than by either. But this
is what is really meant by the initial concentration of suspense: this
is what is sought when a Principle is sought. Nothing short of this
unity of subjective and objective in an Absolute--we may say--Ego, is a
principle.

But 'principles' like other terms are sometimes lightly taken; and can
be in the plural--just as in lower levels of religion and society there
can be gods many and lords many. Nor in a way wrongly. For, as has been
before pointed out, a principle is the unity of beginning and end: it
is only caught hold of by approaching from different directions: it
loses its life and power when cut off from the many organs by which it
distributes itself so as to grasp reality. If it be essentially one,
it is not a bare unit: it cannot, without injury, be reduced to utter
simplicity, and accepted in the shape of a single term. And yet this is
what almost inevitably happens to every so-called principle.

Like a _deus ex machina_, or a trick of the trade, it is applied to
unloose every knot, and to clear any difficulties that arise. But a
principle of this stamp possesses no intimate connexion or organic
solidarity with the theory which it helps to prop. It is always at
hand as a ready-made schema or heading, and can be attached to the
most incongruous orders of fact. Thus in the works of Aristotle, the
principle of 'End' or 'Activity' has sometimes seemed to be applied
to whatever subject comes forward, and like a hereditary official
vestment to suit all its wearers equally well or equally ill. What is
true 'on the whole' is not always true 'of each': the _καθόλον_ never
quite equals the _καθ' ἔκαστον._ The modern principle of Utility is
equally flexible in its application to the problems of moral and social
life. It costs no trouble to pronounce the magic word, and even 'such
as are of weaker capacity' may make something out of such a formula.
But an abstract formula, which is equally applicable to everything,
is not particularly applicable to anything. While it seems to save
trouble, and is so plain as to be almost tautological (as when the
worth of a thing or act is explained to mean its utility), it really
suggests fresh questions in every case, and multiplies the difficulty.
Having an outward adaptability to every kind of fact, the principle
has no true sympathy with any: it becomes a mere form, which we use as
we do a measuring-rod, moving it along from one thing to another. We
are always reverting to first principles as our last principles also.
Even Aristotle, when he remarked that an object had to be criticised
from its own principles and not from general formulae, saw through the
fallacy of this style of argument.

This is like asking for bread and getting a stone. The philosopher,
who ought to take us through the shut chambers of the world, merely
hands us a key at the gate, telling us that it will unlock every door,
and then the insides will speak for themselves. But we would have our
philosopher do a little more than this. Not being ourselves omniscient,
we should be glad of a guide-book at the least, and perhaps even of
the services of an interpreter to explain some peculiarities, some
startling phenomena, and sights even more unpleasant than those which
appalled the spouse of the notorious Bluebeard. Or, dropping metaphor,
we wish the formula to be applied systematically and thoroughly.
When that is done the formula loses its abstractness; it gains those
necessary amplifications and qualifications, as we call them, without
which no theory explains much or gives much information. And thus,
instead of fancying that our initial formula contains the truth in a
nutshell, we shall find that it is only one step to be taken on the
way to truth, and that its narrow statement sinks more and more into
insignificance, as its amplified theory gains in significance.

But an adequate principle must have other qualities.[3] What has been
said up to this point, only amounts to a condition, that our principle
must cease to be abstract and formal, and must become concrete and
real. What we want, it may be said, is a Beginning. But a beginning is
not exactly the same thing as a principle: a beginning is to a large
extent a matter of choice and convenience,--a matter depending on the
state and prospects of the beginner; and the main point is not where we
should begin, but that we should be thorough in our treatment. It is
otherwise, however, in the present case. For the skill of the expositor
simply lies in the exactitude with which he reproduces the spontaneous
movement of growth in his object. His art is _celare artem:_ to
retire, as it were, into the background, and seem to leave the object
to expound itself. In a dramatic work it is no doubt the hand of the
dramatist that seems to set the whole of the characters in motion, that
weaves destinies and snips the thread of life. And yet in a perfect
work of dramatic art everything must seem to flow on by a necessity of
character, a consecution of inner fate. The true artist dare not act or
allow the _deus ex machina._ So every genuine work of science--which
is more than a compilation, a school-book, a bundle of notes, and
contributions toward a subject--must be a self-determined unity--a
self-justifying scheme in which the personality of the worker enters
into and is absorbed in the system of his work.

If this is generally true, it is above all a canon to rule the
logician. He at least must follow the Logos and the Logos alone. His
theme must be a law unto itself: all its movements must be freely
and nobly objective. For his subject-matter is at least an organism,
and develops according to an inward law. But it is even more than an
organism: it must not merely develop, as organisms do,--not merely
live and grow--but _know_ that it develops and as it were _will_ its
own development--and in that harmony of being, willing, and knowing,
be essentially one. In Hegelian language it must not merely be
implicit_--an sich_ or _für uns_--the subject of a change which it
undergoes and feels, but without definitely realising,--the subject
of a change which we (the historians) perceive. It must also be _für
sich_: aware of its modifications, an agent in bringing them about:
and yet withal in so looking forth and willing, be self-possessed, and
self-enjoying.

The principle of Hegelianism is the principle of Development, the
principle of the Notion--but a Notion which is objective as well as
subjective--the Idea. That principle then determines the beginning
of Logic. We must know the whole course of growth and history before
we can say where is the true commencement. It must be that out of
which the end can obviously and spontaneously issue. In a sense, it
must implicitly contain the end. It must show us the very beginning
of thought, before it has yet come to the full consciousness of
itself,--when the truth of what it is still lurks in the background and
has to be developed. We must see thought in its first and fundamental
calling. As the biologist, when he describes the structure of a plant,
rests upon the assumption of a previous development of parts, in an
existing plant, which has resulted in a seed,--but begins with the seed
from which the plant is derived: so the logician must begin with a
point which in a way presupposes the system to which it leads. But in
its beginning this presupposition is not apparent: and in fact, the
presupposition will only appear when the development of the system
is complete. The first step in a process, just because it is a step,
may be said to presuppose the completed process. Thus the beginning
of Logic presumes the fullest realisation of Mind, as the beginning
of botany can only be told by one who knows the whole story of the
plant. It is from this circumstance that Hegel describes philosophy as
a circle rounded in itself, where the end meets with the beginning, or
says that philosophy has to grasp its original grasp or conceive its
concept. In other words, it is not till we reach the conclusion that
we see, in the light thus shed upon the beginning, what that beginning
really was. From the general analogy of the sciences we should not
expect that the beginning of thought would be full-grown thought, or
indeed seem to the undiscerning eye to be thought at all. In many
cases, the embryonic organism shows but little similarity to the adult,
and occasionally a violent abruptness seems, on cursory glance, to
mark off one stage of a creation's growth from the next. Who that knew
not the result could in the seed prefigure to himself the tree? The
beginning is not usually identifiable with the final issue, except by
some effort to trace the process of connexion. The object of science
only appears in its truth when the science has done its work.

The beginning of philosophy must hold a germ of development, however
dead and motionless it may seem. But it must also to some extent
be a result,--the result of the development or concentration of
consciousness;--of the other forms of which it is the hypothetical
foundation, or, of which it is (otherwise viewed) the first
appearance. The variety of imaginative conception, and the chaos
of sense, must vanish in a point, by an act of abstraction, which
leaves out all the variety and the chaos,--or rather by an act
of distillation, which draws out of them their real essence and
concentrated virtue. This variety, when thoroughly examined and tested,
shrivels up into a point:--it only _is._ Everything definite as we call
it, the endless repetitions of existence, have disappeared, and have
left only the energy of concentration, the unitary point of Being.

We may describe the process in two ways. We may say that we have left
out of sight all existing differences,--that we have stripped off
every vestige of empirical conceptions, and left a residue of pure
thought. The thought is pure, perhaps, but it is not entire. In this
way of describing it, pure thought is the most abstract thought,--the
last outcome of those operations which have divested our conceptions
of everything real and concrete about them. But thus to speak of the
process as Abstraction would be to express half of the truth only:
and would really leave us a mere zero, or gulf of vacuity. In the
beginning there would then be nothing--the mere annihilation of all
possible and actual existence. And it is certainly true that in the
beginning there can be nothing.--On the other hand, and secondly, there
is affirmation as well as negation involved in the ultimate action
by which sense and imagination pass into thought. They are not left
behind, and the emptiness only retained: they are carried into their
primary consequence, or into their proximate truth. They are reduced
to their simplest equivalent or their lowest term in the vocabulary
of thought: which is Being. The process which creates the initial
point of pure thought is at once an abstraction from everything, and a
concentration upon itself in a point:-- which point, accordingly, is
a unity or inter-penetration of positive and negative. This absolute
self-concentration into a point is the primary step by which Mind
comes to know itself,--the first step in the Absolute's process of
self-cognition--that process which it is the purpose of Logic to trace,
so far as it is conducted in the range of mere thought.

The bare point of Being and nothing more is the beginning in the
process of the Absolute's self-cognition: it is, in other words, our
first and rudimentary apprehension of reality,--the narrow edge by
which we come in contact with the universe of Reason. For these are two
aspects of the same. The process of the self-cognition or manifestation
of the Absolute Idea is the very process by which philosophers (not
philosophers only) have built up the edifice of thought. What the
one statement views from the universal side or the totality, the
other views in connexion with the several achievements of individual
thinkers. Of course the evolution of the system of thought, as it
is brought about by individuals, leaves plenty of room for the play
of what is known as Chance. The Natural History of Thought or the
History of Philosophers has to regard the action of national character
upon individual minds, and the reciprocal action of these minds upon
one another. The History of Organic Nature similarly presents the
dependence of the species upon their surroundings, and of one species
upon another in the medium of its conditions. Gradually Physical
Science reduces these conditions to their universal forms, and may
try to exhibit the evolution of the animal through its species in all
grades of development. So in the Science of the development of this
Idea the accidents, as we may call them, disappear: and the temporary
and local questions, which once engrossed the deepest attention, fade
away into generalised forms of universal application. Philosophy, as
it historically presents itself in the world, is not an accidental
production, or dependent on the arbitrary choice of men. The accident,
if such there be, is that these particular men should have been the
philosophers, and not that such should have been their philosophy.
They were, according to their several capacity for utterance, only
the mouth-pieces of the Spirit of the Times,--of the absolute mind
under the superficial limitations of their period. They saw the
Idea of their world more clearly and distinctly than other men; and
therein lies their title to fame: but really their words were only
a reflex,--an almost involuntary and necessary movement, due to the
pressure of the cosmical reason. The great philosophers are, like all
men in all estates, and according to their measure, the ministers of
the Truth,--apostles charged to bring about that consummation of the
times in which reality is more fully apprehended and more adequately
estimated. Necessity is laid upon them to consecrate themselves to the
service of the Idea, and to devote their lives to the noble but austere
work of speculation--the work which seeks _sine ira et studio_ to
reconstruct that city of God which is the permanent, if it often be the
hidden, foundation of human life.


[Footnote 1: Cf. p. 90.]

[Footnote 2: Augustin. _Soliloq._ i. 7. 'Deum et animam scire cupio.
Nihilne plus? Nihil omnino.']

[Footnote 3: 'A Principle,' says Herbart (_Psychologie als
Wissenschaft,_ Einl.) 'should have the double property of having
originally a certainty of its own, and of generating other certainty.
The way and manner in which the second comes about is the Method.']



CHAPTER XXX.


THE LOGIC OF DESCRIPTION: NATURAL REALISM: BEING.


The antithesis between thought and being, between idea and actuality,
between notion and object, is almost a commonplace of criticism.
Between the ideas of the subject and objectivity a great gulf seems
to yawn fixed and impassable. Thinkers, like Anselm and Descartes,
have (it is asserted) attempted by a trick which cheated themselves
to get from the notion to the object. But--as Kant is supposed to
have for ever shown--these _decepti deceptores_ are now universally
discredited.[1] Yet the same Kant had shown that the 'things' of
ordinary experience are only ideas or appearances in consciousness.
These latter ideas, however, were verified by the necessity of
interdependence in which they stood, as given by sense. From the
notions which Anselm and Descartes proposed to invest with objectivity,
there was absent the feature of sense-perception. They were not limited
and real ideas, but synthetic laws, general and abstract aspects of
reality, modes of conception. They were not definite and individualised
things, but terms or conditions for all concepts and realities. They
were forms,--forms essential to the explication of reality--and never
mere parts of reality.

With such 'forms' or 'thought-terms,' such abstractions, Logic (_à
la mode de Hegel_) has to deal. And in dealing with them it has to
counteract this popular distinction (which Kant inclines toward) which
sets up an insuperable division between thought and being, between
reality and syllogism, between is and is known. Certain of these
denominators which thinking employs to describe reality the popular
mind wholly identifies with reality. That being is a thought, that
force and thing are only modes of conception, sounds to the untrained
intellect only a verbal quibble. Things, beings, are there_--out
there_, it says: force is 'ultimate reality.' It is perhaps ready
to allow that _substances_ are only mental figments: but it is more
doubtful about causes, and inclines to assume them to be in outside
nature, and to generate a real necessity in things. On the other hand,
it has little doubt that concepts and syllogism are only our ways of
looking at reality,--the reality of substances and phenomena, with
quality and quantity: that 'final cause' is a mere subjective principle
of explanation: and that ideas and knowledge are altogether additions
superinduced on a real world.

Now what the Logic shows is that, on one hand, all these terms are
ideal and regulative; and on the other that they are real, because
constitutive of reality. Showing--or shall we say, reminding us--that
being is after all a form of thought, it shows us that knowledge, at
the other end, contains or implies reality. It is the business of logic
as a fundamental philosophy to dispel the illusion that sensations are
fixed reality: that causes and effects are an absolutely real order;
whereas concepts and sciences and still more aesthetic and moral
principles are not. Its doctrine is that all Our thought-terms, the
most vulgar and the most delicate, are, as we may put it, symbolical of
reality: explications and manifestations of it. Absolutely real--if
that means utterly unideal--none of them are. On the other hand,
absolutely ideal,--if that means utterly unreal--none of them are
either. If you call them real, their reality is that of thought. If you
call them ideal, it is an ideality of a real. Being is not a fixed and
solid substratum, a hard rock of reality, on which we may build our
relations and further determinations. It also is a thought: it also
lives in relation, and becomes more real by further determination.[2]
But the habit comes natural to the majority to attribute essential
and independent reality (total reality) to the thought-modes it is
familiar with in practice: whereas the modes familiar to more advanced
intelligence are put aside as merely ideal.

Thus in proportion as Logic insists on the reality of idea, it insists
also on the ideality of being. Being is after all a thought: when
separate from the relations of experience, a very poor thought. A
'supreme being' even is a thought. And the question of questions for
Logic is what degree of reality, what amount of truth does each result
of unification express. Is it self-consistent and complete, or does it
imply further elements, and if so, in what direction does it suggest
and receive completion? But at the best the reality of a logical
term is an abstract or formal reality, and consists in its power to
interpret, to expound, to define the Absolute. Its more concrete and
material reality it has in Nature and in Mind. There however Philosophy
has in a further measure to repeat its earlier lesson and show that
Nature is not without its ideal aspect, and that Mind is founded on
physical reality.

All science tends to carry us over the hard lines of separation which
practical interests treat as if ultimate disruptions. The sciences of
Nature, for instance, in their completed circle must carry us from
the inorganic to the organic: must in some way make a path from the
lifeless to the alive. The science of thought has a corresponding task.
It has to show that the incommensurability between thought and being,
or between the idea and actuality, disappears on closer examination.
When we trace the development of thought sufficiently far, we see that
Being is an imperfect or inadequate thought,--certainly not adequate
to the Idea, but not for that reason generically differing from it.
The fixity of Being as more than, and superior to, mere Thought is a
habit of mind, due to the same worldly-minded immobility as leads us
all to believe (and, within the limited practical range, to believe
rightly) that the earth is solidly at rest, notwithstanding all the
demonstrations of the Copernicans. But Thought has not deposited all
its burden, or uttered all its meaning in Being. Being is the veriest
abstraction,--the very rudiment of thought--meagre as meagre can be.
It is on one side the bare position or affirmation of thought: on the
other hand it is the very negation of thought,--if thought be only
possible under difference. For a mere 'Is' is a mere indescribable
without-difference. There is no such thing as mere Being: or mere Being
is mere nothing: _mere_ Being is not.

The first category of Ontology is that of Being. It is the merest
simplicity and meagreness, with nothing definite in it at all: and
for that very reason constantly liable to be confused with categories
of more concrete burden. It denotes all things, and connotes next
to nothing. It does not however mean something which has being; it
does not mean definite being: still less does it mean permanent and
substantial being. Ordinary language certainly uses being in all these
senses. But if we are to be logical, we must not mix up categories with
one another: we must take terms at their precise value. Mere Being then
is the mere 'Is,' which can give no explanation or analysis of itself:
which indescribable in itself: which is an 'Is' and nothing more. The
simplest answer to those who invest Being with so much signification,
is to ask them to consider the logical _copula_. 'Every school-boy
knows' that the 'Is' of the copula disappears in several languages:
that it is far from indispensable in Latin: that in Greek e. g. the
demonstrative article serves the same purpose. In Hebrew too the
pronouns officiate for the so-called substantive verb: and the same
verb probably does not exist in the Polynesian family of languages,
where its place is supplied by what we call the demonstrative
pronoun.[3] In the copula, which according to M. Laromiguiere, as
quoted by Mr. Mill, expresses only '_un rapport spécial entre le sujet
et l'attribut_,' we encounter the mere undeveloped and unexplained
unifying of thought, the very abstraction of relativity[4].

In the beginning, then, there is nothing and yet that nothing is. Such
is the fundamental antithesis of thought: or the discrepancy which
makes itself felt between each several term of thought and the whole
Idea of which they are the expression. Being is the term emphasised
as absolute by understanding: then the dialectical power, or the
consciousness of the whole, steps in to counteract the one-sided
element. In other words, thought, the total thought, asks what is
Being, mere and simple; and answers mere nothing.[5] The one aspect
of the point is as justifiable as the other. In other words the two
aspects are indissoluble: they are in one. The term 'Unity,' applied to
the relation of Being and Not, may perhaps mislead: and it is therefore
better to say that the two points of view are (as Mr. Spencer puts
it) at once 'antithetical and inseparable,' An unrelated being, an
'absolute' (i. e. separate and transcendent) reality is an Unknowable,
i. e. an ineffable, an unspeakable of which we can legitimately
predicate a not- , leaving imagination to fill up the blank after the
hyphen. A mere Not, with no substratum which it negatives, is mere
Being: and a mere Being, which has no substratum, is a mere Not. The
movement upward and the movement downward are here illustrated: and
it is evident that they are the same movement[6],--the same unrest,
only differentiated as up and down by some _termini_ not yet explicitly
brought into view. Each--Is and Not--as it seeks to differentiate
itself, to make itself clear, passes into the other. In fact, the very
vocation, calling, or notion of Being and Nothing, is not Being and
Nothing, but the tendency of each to pass into the other. Their truth,
in short, is not in themselves, but in their process,--and that process
by which the one passes into the other is 'To become.' Try to get at
mere Being and you are left with Nought: of mere Nought you can only
say it is. The two abstractions have no truth except in the passage
into one another: and this passage or transition is 'To become.' Take
reality apart from what it leads on to, and from what it has come from,
apart from its end or purpose and from its cause, take it as mere
being: then this being in its supposed singleness and self-subsistence
is really annihilated: _stat magni nominis umbra_: but it is the name
of nothing. True being is always on the way to or from being: to stop
is fatal.

This unity or inseparability of opposite elements in a truth or
real notion is the stumbling-block to the incipient Hegelian. The
respectable citizens of Germany were amazed, says Heine, at the
shamelessness of J. G. Fichte, when he proclaimed that the Ego produced
the world, as if that had cast doubts on their reality; and the ladies
were curious to know whether Madame Fichte was included in the general
denial of substantial existence[7]. If easy-going critics treated
Fichte in this way, they had even better source for amusement in Hegel.
That Being and Nothing is the same was a perpetual fund for jokes,
too tempting to be missed. Now, in the baldness, and occasionally
paradoxical style, of Hegel's statements, there is some excuse for such
exaggerations. Being and Nothing are not merely the same: they are also
different: they at least tend to pass into each other. In the technical
language of logicians, the question is not what being denotes, but what
it connotes. The word 'is' had, it may be, originally a 'demonstrative'
meaning, a 'pronominal' force, which in course of time passed from
a local or sensuous meaning to express a thought. No doubt 'is' and
'is not' are wide enough apart in our application of them as copula
of a proposition: but if we subtract the two terms and leave only
the copula standing, the difference of the two becomes inexpressible
and unanalysable. In both there is the same statement of immediacy
or face-to-faceness: that two things are brought to confront each
other,--united, as it were, without producing any real or specific sort
of union. If Thought be unifying, Being is the minimum of unification:
if Thought be relating, Being is the most abstract of relations. So
abstract, indeed, that its relativity is completely lost sight of: so
utterly one, that it vanishes in a point. And just because it _is_
(as it seems) out of relations, it must be nothing. No doubt, between
the two terms Being and not-Being a difference is meant; when they
are employed, a difference is thrown into them; and then they are not
the same: but if we keep out of sight what is meant, and stick to the
ultimate point which is said, we shall find that mere being and mere
nothing are alike inapprehensible by themselves, and that to institute
a difference we must go out of and beyond them. Perhaps some approach
to the right point of comprehension may be made, if we note that when
two people quarrel and can give no reason or further development to
their opposite assertions, the one person's 'is' is exactly equal
(apart from subsequent explanations) to the other's 'is not.' The mere
'Is' and 'Is not' have precisely the same amount of content: a mere
affirmation or assertion, which is mere nothing,--because connecting,
where there is nothing to connect.

The truth of 'is' then turns out 'become': nothing _is_: all things are
coming to be and passing out of being. This illustrates the meaning of
the word 'truth' in Hegel. It is partly synonymous with 'concrete,'
partly with the 'notion.' With concrete: because to get at the truth,
we must take into account a new element, kept out of sight in the mere
affirmation of being. With notion: because if we wish to comprehend
being, we must grasp it as 'becoming.' For truth lies in transcending
the first or merely given. We have to go forward, and to go backward,
as it were: forward from being, backward to being: we look before and
after. The attempt to isolate the mere point of being is impossible
in thought: it would only lead to the 'representation' of being,--i.
e. the notion of being would be arrested in its development, and
identified probably with a sensible thing, i. e. with _something_, and
some concrete thing said to be.

If being, however, is truly apprehended as a passage from the unknown
to the known, or as emergence from bare vacuity, then it implies a
definiteness, which we missed before. Somewhat has become: or the
indeterminate being has been invested with definiteness and distinct
character. Mere being (mere _Is)_ is nothing: to be something is
must be not something else. The second step in the process to
self-realisation therefore is reached: Being has become Somewhat; which
is more, because it professes less. The fluid unity or movement from
'is' to 'is not,' and _vice versa_, has crystallised: and 'There is'
is the still imperfectly unified result precipitated. By this term we
imply the _finitude_ of being,--imply that a portion has been cut off
from the vague, and contrasted with something else. In the ordinary
application of the word, Being is especially employed to denote this
stage of definite being[8]. Thus we speak of bringing something into
being: by which we mean, not mere being, but a definite being, or,
in short, reality. Reality is determinateness, as opposite to mere
vagueness. To be real, it is necessary to be somewhat,--to limit and
define. Whatever is anything or is real, is _eo facto_ finite. Even an
infinite therefore to be real must submit to self-limitation. This is
the necessity of finitude: in order to be anything more and higher,
there must come, first of all, a determinate being and reality. But
reality, as we have seen, implies negation: it implies limiting,
distinction, and dependence. Everything finite, every 'somewhat,' has
somewhat else to counteract, narrow, and thwart it. To be somewhat
_(esse aliquid)_ is an object of ambition, as Juvenal implies: but it
is only an unsatisfactory goal after all. For somewhat always implies
something else, by which it is limited: whereas mere being, just
because it is nothing, is free from the check of an other.

This, then, is the price to be paid for rising into reality, and coming
to be somewhat: there is always somewhat else to be minded. The very
point which makes a 'somewhat,' as above a mere 'nothing,' is its
determinateness: and determinateness, as at first determinateness from
outside, a given and passive determinateness, is also a negation and
limit. Now the limit of a thing is that point where it begins to be
somewhat else: where it passes out of itself and yields to another.
Accordingly in the very act of being determined, somewhat is passing
over into another: it is altering, and becoming somewhat else. Thus a
some-thing' implies for its being the being of somewhat else: its being
is as it were only to be beside something else,--it is finite, and
alterable, a _this_ with a _that_ always in the neighbourhood. Such is
the character of determinate being. It leads to an endless series from
some to an other, and so on _ad infinitum:_ everything as a somewhat,
as a determinate being, in reality, presupposes a something else, and
that again has some third thing; and so the chain is extended with
its everlasting _And,_ And, And, (as in the children's way of telling
a story). Somewhat-ness is always vexed by the fact that it is not
somewhat else: and for that very reason, ceasing to be the primary
object, it becomes somewhat else itself; and the other term becomes the
somewhat. And so the same story is repeated in endless progression,
till one gets wearied with the repetition of finitude which is held out
as infinite.

Thus in determinate being as in mere being we see the apparent fixity
resolved into a double movement--the alteration from some to somewhat
else, and _vice versa._ But a movement like this implies after all
that there is a something which alters: which is alterable, but which
alters into somewhat. This somewhat which alters into somewhat, and
thus retains itself, is a being which has risen above alteration, which
is independent of it because including it: which is _for itself,_ and
not for somewhat else. Thus in order to advance a step further from
determinate and alterable being, we have only to keep a firm grasp
on both sides of the process, and not suffer the one to slip away
from the other. We must not merely _say,_ but energise the unity of
the two 'antithetical yet inseparable' elements we are naturally
disposed to take and leave only as One _and_ an Other. Something
becomes something else: in short, the one side passes on to the other
side of the antithesis, and the limitation is absorbed. The new result
is something _in_ something else: the limit is taken up within: and
this being which results is its own limit, i. e. no restrictive limit
at all, but self-imposed characteristic and definiteness. It is
Being-for-self:--the third step in the process of thought under the
general category of Being. The range of Being which began in a vague
nebula, and passed into a series of points, is now reduced to a single
point, self-complete and whole.

This Being-for-self is a kind of true infinite, which results by
absorption of the finite. The false infinite, which has already come
before us, is the endless range of finitude, passing from one finite
to another, from somewhat to somewhat else, until _satiety_ sets in
with weariness. The true infinite is _satisfaction_,--the inclusion
of the other being into self, so that it is no longer a limit, but a
constituent part in the being. Such inclusion in the unity of an idea,
of elements which are realistically separate, is termed 'ideality.' The
antithesis is reduced to become an organic and dependent part. It still
exists, but as no longer outside and independent. Thus in determinate
being the determinateness is found in somewhat else: in being-for-self
the determinateness is self-realisation. Being-for-self may be shortly
expressed by 'one' or 'each': as determinate being a, or an, or by
'some': and Being simple has no nominal equivalent. As 'some' is always
fractional or partial, 'each' is always a whole or unit. Mere Being has
not the consistency of any noun or pronoun: it is the bare (impersonal)
verb.

But 'each for self' expresses the sentiment of an armed neutrality
with implicit leanings to universal war,--the _bellum omnium contra
omnes._ Each is self-centred, independent, resting upon self, and not
minding anything else,--which is now thrown out as indifferent into the
background. Each is centripetal; anything else is for it a matter of no
moment. If determinate being was something to be explained by something
other, this is or professed to be self-explanatory, and rests upon
itself. It seems purely affirmative, and promises to give a definite
unity. But we cannot free thought from negation in this sphere, any
more than in the earlier. We may, if we like, assert the absolute
self-sufficingness, primariness, and unalterability of each; but a
very little reflection shows the opposite to be true. The very notion
of each is exclusiveness towards the rest: a negative and, as it were,
polemical attitude towards others is the very basis of Being-for-self.
One after one, they each rise to confront each, each excluding each,
until their self-importance is reduced to be a mere point in a
series of points, one amongst many. When that is clearly seen, their
qualitative character has disappeared: and there is left only their
quantity.[9] The negative attitude of each to each forms a sort of
bond connecting them. If to the reference which connects we give the
name of attraction, then we may say that the repulsion of each against
each is exactly equal to their mutual attraction. And thus, in the
language of Hobbes, the universal quarrel is only the other side of the
general union in the great Leviathan: repulsion, in the shape of mutual
fear, is the principle of attraction. Thus each for self is repeated
endlessly: instead of the atom or unit we have a multitude, utterly
indifferent to what each is for itself. The mere fact that it is,
entitles it to count, and so constitutes quantity. Here we may shortly
recapitulate the categories of Quality or Being Proper. It forms three
steps or grades: those of indeterminate being: determinate being:
self-determined being: or if we speak of them as processes, we have
becoming: alteration: attraction and repulsion[10]. From the extreme of
abstraction and concentration thought, under the form of Being, passes
on to greater determinateness and development. The fixity of mere
Being is seen to imply a distinction of elements, and a dependence of
one upon the other: where the 'is' and 'is not' part from each other
sufficiently to let us distinguish them. This is the stage of finitude:
when we say that there is somewhat, but there are others, and imply
that any one has an end, a limit, a negation in its nature. These
words describe the finite scene,--a fragmentary being which makes an
advance upon indeterminateness, but loses its wholeness and is always
and necessarily leading on to something else. It is the revulsion
from the vague and yet unspecified universal to definite and limited
particulars. In the third stage the limit is uplifted and included in
the particular, which now contains its negation in itself,--is (by
accepting its dependence) independent, is its own ground, and may be
called an individual. But an individual, again, implies an aggregate
of ones, or a multitude. This being-for-self is an individual or atom:
it is the basis of those higher developments known as subjectivity and
personality. These are, as it were, higher multiples of it.

This first sphere of thought, apparently so abstruse and unreal in its
abstractions, had to be thus narrowly discussed because it presents
all the difficulties and peculiarities of Hegel in their elementary
form. They are clearly the fundamental problems of ancient Greek
philosophy--of that first or fundamental philosophy which discusses
Being and its intrinsic attributes or accidents. Modern superficiality
has sometimes reproached these old thinkers (who, forsooth, 'knew no
language but their own') for their tiresome insistence on this problem
of Is and Is not. Compared, indeed, with what are called topics of
interest, e. g. the Soul and the Hereafter, or the origins of the
Cosmic process, tiresome such inquiry is. But it is the bitter lesson
of experience that till such fundamentals are at least critically
surveyed, the interesting topics will still (and in more than one
sense) belong to the Unknowable. Herbart not less than Hegel sees it is
the prime business of philosophical criticism (i. e. of philosophy) to
examine thoroughly those primary notions on which the whole structure
of thought rests. It is on the comprehension of the radical limitations
latent in the seemingly simplest terms of thought, that the profoundest
problems of human interest ultimately turn.

Thus, in the first place, the process of Being, as seen in the light
of the whole system of Logic, shows that reality is truly known only
as a trinity,--or perhaps rather as a duality in unity. This is the
'Notion' or 'Grasp' of Being. First, reality seems an unspecialised
and self-centred being,--and that by itself is mere nothing: a mere
_universal._ Second, it appears a specialised and differentiated being
of some and other: a mere _particular_, limited by other particulars,
and so finite. Third, as a combination of the two earlier stages:
as wholeness with determinateness, as unity; and so an _individual_
which is the _true_ or complete and authentic character of all being.
In the _metaphysics_ of Being these three elements follow, one after
another: but in the _logic_ of the notion they interpenetrate, and
each of them is the others and the total. The truth or the notion of
being takes it in Being-for-self as a universalised particular or
as an individual.--In the second place: the sphere of mere Being is
that of _mere_ identity: that of determinate being is the sphere of
otherness, difference: that of self-determined being is the sphere of
well-grounded existence.--Thirdly: the first sphere may be illustrated
by the freedom of indeterminateness, expressed by the word 'may': the
second by necessity or determinateness, expressed by the word 'must':
and the third, by the freedom which even in its determinateness
is self-determining, expressed by the word 'will.'--Fourthly:
these steps illustrate the meaning of the Hegelian technical terms
_setzen_: _aufheben: an sich_: _für sich_: _Idealität: Realität._
Thus Determinate Being or somewhat is _an sich_ or implicitly (by
implication) somewhat else: and the process of determinate being
is to lay it down or express (_setzen_) it as such. When this
explicitly-stated 'other' or limit is included in the Being, and
reduced into a unity with somewhat in each Being-for-self, it is said
to be '_aufgehoben_'--uplifted, as it were, so that it is no longer a
separate existent, but is still an efficient element. As being partly
_this,_ and partly _that,_ now _one,_ and now an _other,_ which limits
and is limited, determinate being is _Realität._ The characteristic
of reality is externality of its parts, which are thus left side by
side quasi-independent: that of ideality is unity and solidarity of
function. When the mutual dependence of elements is tightened till
it becomes equivalent to unity and totality, these elements are seen
in their Ideality (_Idealität_). Such a total has the others in it
as elements (_Momente_); they are there ideally (_ideëller Weise,_)
as it were (in the loose analogical use of that term) organically:
that is, they are denied the privilege, which their total has, of
being-for-themselves. They do not enjoy the benefit of their own being,
though their presence is felt.--Fifthly: Being-for-self is absolute
negativity; i.e. the negation of negation. Determinate being was a
negation of Being mere and simple: Being-for-self is the negation of
this, and so a return to true affirmation, as including the element of
negation.

Being seemed to describe a complete reality. But its latent limitation
has become explicit. It only retains itself by a self-assertion which
leaves it a mere abstract unit, or atom,--a unit with nothing in it
to be united,-and where it matters not whether it be somewhat or
other. The quality of Being, in which all qualitative attributes are
lost and sunk, is Quantity: the characteristic of which is to be a
matter of no importance to Being, as it originally presents itself.
In other words, whilst Quality is identical with Being,--while Being
means qualitativeness, and the Being of a thing means its quality, or
constitution; Quantity is external to Being, and a thing is, while its
quantity undergoes all sorts of variation. At least this is true within
certain limits: for quantity is not an ultimate category any more than
quality. But for the present the truth of quality is quantity; or, in
other words, if a thing is to be anything definite it must ultimately
rest on a solid atom: must be a unit and amenable to measurement. First
come qualities, such as sweet, green, and the like: these seem to be
truth and reality to the senses and the natural mind: and in their
universality are represented by the abstract terms of qualitative
being. The first step in the progress of knowledge consists in seeing
that quality presupposes quantity. Number, in short, is the proximate
truth to which the vague qualitative distinction of _a, some,_ and
_each_ is to be reduced. The qualitative differences of sounds are
reduced to relations or ratios of number: and so are the other data of
sensation. We see this truth recognised in the Atomic School, which
may be taken to represent the summing-up of that period of thought
which begins with the 'Being' of Parmenides, and the 'Becoming' of
Heraclitus. When Democritus says that, although bitter and sweet are
conventional distinctions, yet in reality there is only atoms and
void[11], he is introducing a distinction between real and apparent.
But again the irregular and sporadic appearances of species of quality
are replaced by a gradual and regular series of quantities. With mere
Being you have a conception quite unfit for describing the manifold
reality. But by breaking up the whole Being into a countless number of
atoms of being, you get the means of establishing an equation between
a given sensible and some multiple of the atomic unit. Thus Atomism,
with its many bits of being and its interfluent non-being in which they
can unite, replaces the total and complete universe of being and its
attendant shadow of unreality, the world of opinion. Still the _Is not_
clings to the _Is_: if each atom seems complete, they are subject to a
necessity which forces them by negation, i. e. by the void (as Atomism
figuratively calls the repulsion of the atoms) to meet each other and
form apparent unities. Before a step could be made to higher problems,
it was necessary to see that the proximate truth of the qualitative
world,--or world of sense proper (ἰδία αἴσθησις) is in its simplest
terms a quantitative world, or world of common sensibles (κοινὰ
αἴσθητα), universalised sensibles, number and quantity.

The sphere of quantity need only be briefly sketched. It has its three
heads: (1) quantity in general,--the universal and vague notion of
quantitativeness, the mere conception of reality as the Great and the
Little, or the More and Less[12]: (2) Quantum, or defined quantity,
expressed in the shape of a number: and (3) the quantitative ratio
or degree, which is the individualisation or self-determination of
numbers, or their application to one another,--which gives the real
meaning and value of numbers. The fundamental antithesis, which
we found in quality, comes before us here more definitely as the
opposition of many ones in one number. In every quantity there are the
two elements: the 'one,' unity or solidarity, which renders a total
number possible, and the 'many' or multiplicity, which gives it real
body and character. By this quantitative law, reality must always be
both Continuous and Discrete. Thus when I regard a line as consisting
of a number of points I treat it as a discrete quantity: as many in
one. When, on the other hand, I regard the line as the unity of these
points, it becomes a continuous quantity. These distinctions are not
so trivial as they may appear: they lie at the bases of paradoxes like
those by which Zeno disproved the ordinary representations of motion,
and when a M.P. informs the House of Commons that it is impossible
to divide 73l. 1s. 6d. by 1l. 2s. 6d., he is, like Zeno, and perhaps
more unconsciously, forgetting that these quantities are not merely
continuous but discrete.

The Pythagoreans, according to the tradition of antiquity,
philosophised number. In it they found the reality, or the principle
of things,--the characteristic feature which dominated existence, and
by which the world in all its multiplicity could be made coherent
and intelligible. They saw it composed of two elements: a limit or
limiting, and an unlimited: the latter as it were a dark ground,
measureless and endless, on which definiteness was gradually marked
out. Such a limiting principle would be e. g. the unit of number. But
the full definiteness of number only comes out when a numerical scale
is fixed on, in which each number bears a definite ratio to what goes
before and what comes after. Each number in such a scale is really a
multiple of its unit: a product of its unity into its multeity, of the
monad into the indefinite duad. It is this view of each number, as the
product of its prime unit with the ratio, which comes explicitly to
the fore in Degree, or quantitative ratio. Each so-called quantitative
statement is thus a ratio between a given quantity in the object and an
assumed standard or unit of number.

These implications latent in quantitative order or determination come
out in mensuration. If quantitative or numerical precision is to have
a real basis, it presupposes the existence of a qualitative atom or
unit which shall be the Measure. Measure is therefore the truth and the
unity of quantity and quality: each refers forward and backward to the
other, and both lead up to or imply a modulus, or standard unit. Such
a standard unit may seem, at first sight, to be a matter of arbitrary
choice and imposition. There seems to be no ultimate reason for taking
the foot or the cubit as unit of measurement: and if the original foot
or cubit be the king's limb, it is easy to say that the whole thing is
conventional and artificial. But it is evident on further reflection,
first that the foot or the pace is the natural and primitive measurer
of lengths of space for the human being, and secondly that the
particular foot which is imposed as the measure is taken as being
normal and typical. So too it is partly arbitrary choice which fixes
upon the starting-point for the scale of temperatures: but here also
the range from freezing-point to boiling-point of the commonest of
liquids affords a sufficient standard from which naturally to carry on
the scale above or below it.

What happens is therefore that what is the rule, the standard,--we
may also say, the test of being, is the natural mean or average. The
measure presents itself as the permanent and regular proportion of
quantity and quality. It is the amount or quantity at which things
settle down in equilibrium and produce the quality or characteristic
feature of the object. To say that Measure is the supreme category
or the truth of being--of that superficial being which merely is--of
the mere fact of perception--is to say that the prime or governing
feature of reality, its obviously dominant characteristic in this
sphere, is a self-imposing harmony and proportion. It naturally
arranges itself--defines and describes itself in rhythmic series, in
regular scales, in symmetrical schemes. All things are in geometrical
proportion, self-defined and uniformly graded. Such a conception and
category of reality may be said to be peculiarly Greek. The doctrine
of the Mean is well known as a principle of their popular Ethics. But
the Mean is an average which is regarded as a Normal,--a regular and
permanent mode of being which is equivalent to a standard. The rule is
given by the logic of facts and of nature. There is in it an apparent
optimism--a belief that what is predominant and fundamental is right:
a doctrine of immanent symmetry and order. The mere habitual custom
is as such held to be the right and good. It is true, no doubt, that
Protagoras came to point out that this Measure was not inherent in
things, but came from Man, the measure of all things: and that the
later philosophy had to show how the conception of reality should
be re-construed, if the objectivity of Measure and symmetry in the
universe were still to be maintained. Still even with this correction
the belief remained down to the Stoic School that being is essentially
self-ordering: that Nature is immanent proportion.

The Measure thus emerging as the Mean, which stands out as the
permanent background or recurrent same amidst varying extremes, is
set against these divergencies and used to measure them. It has to
serve as a denominator for all of these: or each of these differences
has a definite ratio to it. For that purpose it must be so graded or
present such a scale that the smallest difference from it that exists
may be measured, estimated and defined in terms of it. It is here out
of place to consider how this can be accomplished,--how mensuration in
any case is solved as a problem of scientific determination. What is
more important is to note the fact that appearances everywhere start up
to testify to the incompatibility of the two elements in measure,--to
their tendency to fly away from each other. It is only within certain
ranges that quantity and quality change proportionately to each other.
The colour spectrum, the scale of musical notes, the series of chemical
combination, the order of the planets, all are found in experience up
to some point to follow a symmetrical order, and exhibit a measure.
But after that point is reached, a sudden change or transition occurs.
There is a break in the continuity of being: without warning, a new
series of physical manifestation, having a new rule or measure, emerges
by a sort of catastrophe. So also, it is only to a certain portion of
the process of physical order in the human body that psychical changes
are found to correspond. Everywhere the correspondence or harmony or
proportion of immediate fact has its breaks,--its sudden emergencies
into a new range of being.

It is on the repeated evidence of this fact--the discontinuity of
immediate being, the inexplicable gulfs which separate its ordered
provinces from one another, that we rise to the distinction of two
orders or grades of being: a double aspect of reality. The primitive
consciousness is, we may suppose, confined to one level of being, one
world. And so long as the facts remain within limits there is no need
to go further. The measure is the rule. But the uniformity breaks
down abruptly[13]: the rule has its inevitable exceptions: it is no
law or principle, but only the factual majority within a fixed range.
Thus the measure, to fulfil all that is expected of it, and be a full
expression or definition of reality, must go beyond a mere measure:
must become the essence, or rather give place to the essence. In order
to explain the irregularity and want of measure which turns up if we
exceed the narrow provinces of being, we are forced on the conception
of a being, one permanent and the same, set in relation, antithetical
but inseparable, to an other being, manifold, changing, and different.
The undying rhythm, the ceaseless symmetry retreat into the further
region--the world beyond: while the older surface-being, as set against
it, comes to be a mere phenomenon or appearance, a derivative and
dependent something, which has its roots of being in the underlying
law and essential reality. But the two planes are still in intimate
connexion, in a correlation which becomes more and more palpable as its
implications are disclosed and realised.

This change from Measure to Essential Being is one which Greek
philosophy seems to exhibit in the step from Pythagoreanism to
Platonism. Plato himself has noted the passage from what have been
called the mathematical to the metaphysical categories, and insisted
on the essential and higher truth to which mathematics only point.
Mathematical terms give the supreme definiteness to the world of being;
they show it as in its several compartments a world immanently ordered
and measured. As in Greek Art, all seems to be fully brought to the
surface: as the image suggests no further and deeper meaning, but
affords an absolute identity of aspect and purport; so the natural and
semi-popular philosophy of Greece was satisfied for its ethics with the
proportionate, the becoming, the beautiful. Plato however passes beyond
the surface, and reflects the apparent fact on a deeper permanent
reality behind. That reality is still, in name, only the 'form' or
'shape'-- only the regular and permanent type--only the measure. But
it is called the really real, the _ὄντως ὄν_,--the being of being. In
it the truth is clear, transparent, one and systematic, which in the
sensible or immediate world is obscure, confused, multiple. It is the
key to explain the difficulties and irregularities of the first and
visible scene. Yet even Plato never for a moment forgets the essential
correspondence of the two realms, however he may insist upon their
separation, and however hard he may find it to explain how being can be
duplicated, how the one can be many and yet not cease to be one, how
appearance has part in reality.

This indeed is not a difficulty confined to Plato. It is, after all,
the same antithesis as we found in the beginning: the Is which lapses
into the Is not. It now becomes the play of positive and negative--of
perpetual relativity: of a known dependent on an unknown, and an
unknown interpreted by a known: an essence guaranteed by its show
or seeming and a _Schein_ which supposes permanent _Sein._ How can a
thing be, and yet not be true? How can pleasures seem and not be real?
Aristotle, taking up the Platonic antithesis of true and apparent
being, carries it on into greater detail. Matter and form: possibility
and actuality: are amongst his cardinal pairs of correlatives. But
he is anxious to maintain their essential relativity: to show that
reality only is and maintains itself as the unity of the two poles of
universal and particular, reason and sense, or as a syllogism and a
development. So far as he succeeds in doing this, Aristotle rises above
the correlational view of reality into the comprehension of it as a
unity, which carries itself through difference into self-realisation.


[Footnote 1: What he did show was that these Ideas were not objects in
the vulgar sense of reality, or things.]

[Footnote 2: Cf. the controversy between Schiller and Goethe as to idea
and observation, quoted by Whewell, _Scientific Ideas_, i. 36.]

[Footnote 3: The use of the substantival form _Being_ for the verbal
(participle, infinitive, or indicative) suggests an idea of permanence
and substance, or essence. So potentiality seems much more real than
_may_ or _can._ And yet the phrase He knows δυνάμει is only equivalent
to He can or may know (δύναται or ἐνδέχεται).]

[Footnote 4: When it is said that: 'It is strange that so profound a
thinker as Hegel should not have seen that the conception of definite
objects, such as a _dog_ and _cat_, is prior no less in nature than in
knowledge to the conception of abstract relations, such as _is_ and _is
not,'_ it is difficult to say what the writer meant. Had he ever heard
of geometry? Both in nature and in knowledge (i. e. in the natural
process from sense to thought) chairs and tables are prior to lines
and surface. The mathematical point and line are abstractions, i. e.
thoughts, and no image of sensuous reality. It is also true that the
ordinary conception of the sun's movements was 'prior no less in nature
than in knowledge' to the theory of the earth's rotation. And no doubt
Hegel, sedate though his boyhood was, had made the acquaintance of dog
and cat in his pre-logical days: as of balls and windows before he was
turned upon Euclid. See Mansel's _Letters_, _Lectures_, &c., p. 209.]

[Footnote 5: As _Being_ to ordinary unthinkingness seems to mean a
great deal it cannot expound, so the mind full of the mystic depths of
time and space is disgusted to find them turn so empty and shallow when
it would set forth its wealth. See Augustin. _Confess._ xi. 14.]

[Footnote 6: This may be illustrated by saying that to _affirm_ is the
same energy of thought as to _deny,_ and that the difference lies in
the terms related by the judgment. _In themselves,_ the one act is as
empty or meaningless as the other.]

[Footnote 7: Heine, _Ueber Deutschland (Werke),_ v. 213.]

[Footnote 8: πᾱσα οὐσία δοκεῑ τόδε τι σημαίνειν (Ar. _Cat._ 5).]

[Footnote 9: Hence the disparaging sense in which the term 'individual'
may be used.]

[Footnote 10: These latter terms being used in a metaphorical sense.]

[Footnote 11: νόμῳ γλυκὺ καὶ νόμῳ πικρόν ἐτεῇ δὲ ἃτομα καὶ κενόν.
Democritus ap. Sext. _Empir. adv. Math._ vii. 135.]

[Footnote 12: Aristotle's μᾱλλον καὶ ἦττον: see _Metaph._ i. 6 τὺ μέγα
κaὶ τὸ μικρον.]

[Footnote 13: Thus, the sharp break at death suggests the reference of
vital phenomena to a substantial soul.]



CHAPTER XXXI.


THE LOGIC OF EXPLANATION AND REALISTIC METAPHYSICS: ESSENCE.


The coherence and consistency of being was, it appeared in the last
chapter, only to be maintained by assuming it to fall into two planes,
or orders, always however relative to each other. The need of a measure
forced itself upon even the superficial student. In the ordinary
business of economical life one commodity of common use or of general
acceptability steps into the place of a common measure. At first it is
no more than one amongst many, a more suitable and convenient means of
discharging the task of mensuration. But gradually it draws away into
a world of its own, and acquires in common estimation a unique and
peculiar dignity. It becomes a commodity of a higher order than the
common, and is even treated as if it had intrinsic and inherent worth,
apart from all relations of exchange. In a further stage it rises to
rank as an invariable and almost supersensible standard, which amid all
the fluctuations of currency tends to remain unchanged. One loses sight
of the movement out of which it grew and in which it exists--the social
give and take, the interaction of individual needs and general opinion.

The characteristic feature of this sphere of thought is the perpetual
antithesis of terms. And its tragedy is the result of the tendency to
separate the terms, and treat them as independently real. It matters
not how often this error may be detected. Each side of the antithesis
no doubt reflects itself upon the other. But we as constantly fail to
note that reflection. Even the philosopher who most loudly preaches
relativity falls into the common trap, and speaks of relatives as
ultimate and absolute. He talks of an Unknowable, as if it could be
without a Known (or Knowable): whereas no such term fully manifests
itself. Each term owes its distinct existence to its correlative:
each gives itself over to the other, and invests it with meaning
and authority. Accordingly when even the ordinary mind, which takes
these categories as they are given, is asked what each means, it can
only reply by referring to the other. A cause is _that_ which has an
effect. The dialectic in the nature of thought,--its self-revising
self-conscious nature--which was concealed in the First Part of Logic,
where one term, when carried to its extreme, passed over into another,
is made obvious in the Second Part, where each term postulates and even
points to its correlative, and, however it may be contra-distinguished,
cannot be thought without it. Thus, force is a meaningless abstraction
without the correlative expression or utterance of force: and matter
means nothing except in its distinction from, and yet reflection on,
form. These, it may be said, are simple and tautological statements.
They are principles, however, which every day sees disregarded. Have
they, for example, been remembered by those theorists who tell us
that everything is ultimately reducible to matter, or who propose to
improve upon that theory by explaining that matter is after all only
another name for force? Forgetting how this reduction is made, they are
dealing with abstractions or mental figments, and losing their way in
an endless maze of metaphysics. Do those who speak so confidently of
laws of nature as something real and effective ever reflect that the
two terms are more or less relative to each other, and that there is
some latent metaphor in the phrase? Or if they prefer to speak of laws
of phenomena, on which word is the accent to be laid? Those who thus
speak of matter and force, really speak of a matter which is formed and
form-possessed, capable of determining its own form, and of a force
which can rule its own exertions: and for such conceptions the words in
question are scarcely adequate representatives. They use the language
of the Second, to express notions which properly belong to the Third
branch of Logic.

The whole range of Essence or Relativity exhibits a sort of see-saw:
while one term goes up in importance, the other term goes down. The
several antitheses, too, have their day of fashion, and give place to
others. Those inquirers who speak of the phenomena of nature shrug
their shoulders at the very mention of essences: and the practical
man, whose field is actuality, acquires a very pronounced contempt
for both abstractions. One class of investigators glories in the
perpetual discovery of differences, and stigmatises the seekers after
identity and similarity as dreamers: while the latter retort, and
name the specialisers empiricists. One intellect considers an action
almost solely by its grounds or motives: another almost solely by
its consequences. Some console themselves for their degradation by
piquing themselves on what they might have been: others despise these
'would-be' minds for what they practically are. What a wealth there
lies in each of us, which our nearest friends know nothing of, and
which has never been made outward! But in this mode of thought, it is
the persistent delusion, misleading science no less than metaphysics
and the reflective thinking of ordinary life, to suppose that either of
two relative terms has an existence and value of its own. In Germany
paper-money is sometimes known as 'Schein' or Show. That term marks its
relativity to the gold or silver currency of the realm: and it would
be as absurd to pay with Austrian paper-money in Persia, as to take
one term of Essence apart from its correlative. The disputes about
essences, about matters and forces, about substance, about freedom and
necessity, or cause and effect, are generally aggravated by a forced
abstraction of one term from another on which its meaning and existence
depend.

The essence may be roughly defined as that measure or standard which
corresponds to the variation of immediate being, and yet remains
identical in all variation. Or, if we like, we may say that this
immediate being, which, as derivative, may now be called existence[1],
has its ground in the essence. The essence is the ground of existence:
and essence which exists is a 'thing,' Such an existing essence or
thing subsists in its properties; and these properties are only found
in the thing. Thus the essence, when it comes into existence as a
thing, turns out to be a mere phenomenon or appearance.--Such briefly
stated is the development of essence proper into appearance.

With the idea of essential being--a permanent which yet changes, there
emerge the problems connected with the double aspect of relation as
identity and difference,--the favourite categories of reflection. These
terms indeed the popular logician would fain avoid as savouring of
pedantic accuracy, and prefers the psychological titles of similarity
and contrast. These, he tends to insinuate, are unique experiences,
direct feelings, beyond which it is impossible to go in analysis.
The logician, on the other hand, must insist on dealing with the
more radical phase of the terms. And he must note their essential
interdependence and their intrinsic contradictoriness. Abstract
sameness, or sameness which does not presuppose a tinge of difference,
is a fiction of weak thought, which wishes to simplify the subtlety
of nature. Identity is a relative term, and for that very reason
presupposes difference: and for the same reason difference presupposes
identity and is meaningless without it. The whole dispute about
'Personal Identity,' as it descends from one English psychologist to
another, is enveloped in the obscurity which springs from failure to
grasp the logical antinomy on which the question turns. When I feel
that my friend whom I have not met for years is still the same, should
I take the trouble to express myself in this manner, unless with
reference to the difference betwixt Then and Now? If I remark that
two men are different, would the remark be worth making or hearing
unless there was some identity which made that difference all the
more striking? The essence is, in short, the unity of sameness and
difference: and when so apprehended, it is the ground by which we
explain existence. The essence, ground, or possibility, is at once
itself and not itself: if it is self-identical, it is for the same
reason self-distinguishing. If it is to be itself, it can only be so
by negativing what in it is other than itself. The affirmation of self
implies the negation of the other of self,--the redintegration (though
not the blank absorption) of the other in it. This is the _crux_ which
lies in _Ex nihilo nihil fit:_ what exists must not be other than
the essence (the effect not more than the cause), and yet unless it
is other and different, there has been no passage from essence to
existence.

The tendency to identify, and the tendency to distinguish, alternate
both in scientific thought and in general culture. But whichever
prevail for the moment, it is only as a re-action and a protest against
the one-sided predominance of the other. And thus both ultimately
rest upon and presuppose a ground of existence which is neither mere
sameness nor mere difference. It is only when the two tendencies meet
and interpenetrate that science accomplishes its end, and discovers
the ground of existence. In the first instance the world presents to
incipient science the aspect of mere identity and of mere difference.
Likeness is confounded with sameness, and unlikeness with diversity.
The popular and the infant minds do not draw fine distinctions. Things
to them are either the same or different: one point of sameness may
in certain conditions obliterate whole breadths of difference; and
tiny divergence may make as nothing all the many points of agreement,
purely and simply, i. e. abstractly. But the process of comparison,
setting things beside each other, teaches us to refine a little, and
speak of things as Like or Unlike. One thing is like another when the
element of identity preponderates: it is unlike, when the difference
is uppermost. Thus while we distinguish things from one another, we
connect them. From mere variety, and mere sameness, we have risen,
secondly, to distinctions of like and unlike. But, thirdly, this
distinction of same and different is in the thing itself. Everything
includes an antithesis or contradiction in it: it is at once positive
and negative. One can only be virtuous, so long as one is not utterly
virtuous.[2] To be a philosopher, implies that you are not wholly or
merely a philosopher. The rational animal is so, because of an inherent
irrationality, and is so, only as rising upon and superseding it. Every
epithet, so to speak, by which you describe any reality, presupposes in
it the negative of the quality. Not only does every negation presuppose
an attempted or surmised affirmation, but an affirmation is always,
it may be said, a re-affirmation against an incipient doubt. Every
stage of reality involves the presence of antithetical but inseparable
elements: every light implies a shadow to set it forth. The epithet
of each real is only _a potiori._ While it retains itself, it must
lose itself. Its positivity is only secured by its self-negation and
its identity is based upon its self-distinction. Every proposition
which conveys real knowledge is a statement that self-sameness is
combined with difference. Every such proposition is synthetical: it
unites or identifies what is supposed to be implicitly different,
or differentiates what seemed only identical. Here we have that
_coincidentia oppositorum,_ which is the truth of essence. Thus, e. g.
the essence of the Self is the contradiction between its self-centred
unity and its existence by self-differentiation into elements.

Essence, thus comprehended as the unity of identity and difference,
as that which is and is not the same, is the Ground, from which an
Existence comes as the Consequent. Or, otherwise expressed, the ground
is the source of the differences,--the point where they converge into
unity, and whence they diverge into existence. Everything in existence
has such a ground: or, as it is somewhat tautologically stated in the
common formula, a sufficient ground. On that account, it is no great
matter to give reasons or grounds for a thing, and no amount of them
can render a thing either right or wrong, unless in reference to some
given and supposedly fixed point. For the ground only states the same
thing over again in a mediate or reflected form. It carries back the
actual fact to its antecedent: and thus deprives it of its abruptness
or inexplicability, by showing you it was there implicitly; and
therefore as you accepted the ground you cannot complain of what but
serves to continue it. To refer to the ground is to say there is really
nothing new: and as you raised no objection before, you need raise none
now.

The Existent world--a world of existents, each conditioning and
conditioned--is popularly described as a world of Things. These
Things are the solid hinges on which turns our ordinary conception of
change and action. They act, and exhibit properties. Being is partly
substantive, partly adjective. The Thing itself is the ground of
its properties: i. e. each thing is looked upon as a unity in which
different relations converge, or an identity which subsists through its
changing states. This is the side emphasised in ordinary life, when
a thing is regarded as the permanent and enduring subject, which has
certain properties. But a little science or a little reflection soon
turns the tables upon the thing, and shows that the properties are
independent matters, which, temporarily it may be, converge or combine
into a factitious unity which we term a thing. But these very matters
cannot be independent or whole, just because they interpenetrate each
other in the thing. The thing, which from one point of view seemed
permanent, and the properties, which from another point of view seemed
self-subsistent matters, are neither of them more than appearance. For
they must be at one, and at one they cannot be. And if we reduce the
various matters to one, and speak of Matter in general, we have a mere
abstraction--a something which only becomes real by being stamped with
a special form. _Mere_ Matter like _mere_ Thing (thing in itself) is a
knowable Unknowable.

In this way we pass from the talk about essence, things, and matter
into an other range of the sphere of relativity. We no longer have
one order of being behind or in the depth, and another referring back
to it. We now speak (as Mill does) of Phenomena:--not phenomena of
an unknown, but, simply disregarding the background, we find all we
want upon the surface. For neither is thing more real than property,
nor essence than existence. Each is exactly equal in reality to the
other, and that reality is its relation to the other. The thing and
the essence with their claim to truth disappear. Nothing truly is:
but only appears to be. The semblance (_Schein_) may refer to an
essential. But the appearance (_Erscheinung_) only refers to another
appearance, and so on. The phenomenal world is all on one level:--as
was the world of immediate being. But, there, each term of being
presented itself as independent: here, nothing is independent--nothing
ever really _is,_ but only represents something else, which is in its
turn representative. Yet even here there is a pretence of hierarchy
in existence. In the phenomenon a certain superiority is attributed
to its Law. But the conception of Law is hard to keep in its proper
place. Either it assumes a permanency--even were it but a permanent
possibility--as contrasted with the coming and passing phenomenon:
and then it is apt to be confounded with a real Essence. Or, on the
other hand, it comes to be looked on as a mere way of colligating
phenomena,--as a mere appearance in the variety of appearance (as it
were an iris in the rain-drops)--a phenomenon of a phenomenon. Such a
distinction between the phenomenon and its law; therefore, is and must
be illusory, or itself only an appearance. As such it is described as
the difference of Form and Content: two terms, which are incessantly
opposed, but which more than most antitheses reveal when pressed the
hollowness of their opposition. For true or developed Form is Content,
and _vice versa._

Instead however of this practical identification of the law of the
phenomenon with the duly-formulated phenomenon itself, it is more
natural to emphasise the discordance of the two aspects of reality,
and yet to acknowledge their essential relativity. This essential
relativity in the phenomenon has a threefold aspect: the relation of
whole and parts; of force and the exertion of force; of inward and
outward. The relation of whole and parts tends to explain by statical
composition: the relation of force and its exertion, by dynamical
construction. According to the former the parts are constituted by
their dependence upon and in the whole, and yet the whole is composed
by the addition of the several parts together. Each extreme is what
it is only through the other. Only those parts can make up a whole,
which somehow have the whole in them: and to become the whole, they
must contrive to wholly obliterate their partitional character. A
better exhibition of the inner unity and the difference between form
and contents is seen in the relation of a force to its exertion. Here
the contents appear under a double form: first, under the form of mere
identity, as force,--secondly, under the form of mere distinction,
as the manifestation of that force. Yet a force is only such in its
utterance or manifestation, while in that utterance, if abstracted
from the force it carries forth, all energy has been superseded.
This separation of content and form, or of content as developed in
two forms, appears still more clearly in the third relation: that
of outward and inward. This is a popular distinction of very wide
application in reference to phenomena. But neither outside nor inside
is anything apart from its correlative. If the elements implied in the
conception of phenomena are to have full justice done them, it must be
expanded so as to give expression to these two phases, to include the
outward and the inward. But at first only by reverting to something
like the old distinction of essence and existence,--an essence however
which is existent or phenomenal, and an existence which stands
independent, though in correlation. Such being is Actuality--being, i.
e. which is what it must be, and must be what it is.

Actuality, though it comes under the general head of Essence, tends
to pass away into another sphere. Here, as elsewhere, we see that
the general rubric of a sphere is only partially applicable to some
of its subordinate sections. In essence proper there were, or were
assumed to be, two grades of being--a real or essential, and an
unessential or seeming: or being was regarded (contradictorily) both
as ideal (as one thing) and real (as having several properties). In
Appearance or Manifestation the aspects of being are supposed to lie
on a level; but they are always a pair of aspects, one side of which
is entirely dependent for its explanation on a reflection from the
other, e. g. whole and parts, the favourite category for explaining
the larger unities. But in the category of actuality there is nothing
so merely potential, so unessential as mere essence recognised: and
each actual is something firm and self-supporting which does not,
like a phenomenon, merely borrow its reality from its antithesis or
correlative. Thus we have, in a way, got back to the characteristics
of immediate being: only, as we find it, we have this affirmation of
the self-subsistence of reals contradictorily accompanied with the
conviction of their necessary interdependence. It is a reflective (or
correlated), not an immediate reality. There is no other world of being
to have recourse to for explanation now: nor can we play back and
forward from aspect to aspect of a reality which never comes forward
itself, but only as a reflection on or from another. The world of
reality is a self-contained world: its parts and phases are each hard
realities: and for that reason they bear hard upon each other in the
bond of necessity.

The total actuality falls naturally in our conception into three
elements. We separate first the central fact--the nucleus of the
business, the concentrated reality in reality: the fact in its
mere identity and inner abstractness: the ultimate drift or inner
possibility of things. Then we turn to the rest of the concrete
fact--all without which the fact would not be itself--the detail
and particularity: this we treat as a sort of materials or passive
conditions from which the real fact is to be produced, on which it
is dependent and which precede it in time. Lastly, in order to get
back the unity of the fact from these two unconnected elements, we
refer to some agency which puts them together. The End--or thing to
be realised--(so to speak) has to be brought out by a motive agency
(efficient cause) which imposes the form (or general character) on
the matter and makes these one. By this analysis, however, we have
only put asunder what is one experience and introduced a mechanical
(external) unifier needlessly. The name of _conditions_ is given to the
particulars or details, considered apart from the rest of the fact,
and hypothetically invested with an existence anterior to it, with
the implication, first, that they are self-subsistent, and secondly,
that they to some extent involve the rest of it. Again, the general
fact, the fact in its mere nominal or abstract generality or essence,
its mere possibility, does not exist separately: every fact when in
thought completed has its so-called conditions not outside it, but as
constituent elements, aspects, or factors in it. Lastly, the so-called
agency is the active element itself in the act, an aspect or factor
in the totality: the aspect which keeps actuality together as a
self-energising fact--a _Thathandlung_ and not a mere _Thatsache_ (to
quote Fichte's phrase). Our practical and technical habits, where the
agent is other than his materials and aims, lead us to draw the same
distinctions in the realm of total Nature: they are aspects useful _in
ordine ad hominem_ which we, without due modification, apply _in ordine
ad Universum._

It is originally in our practical operations that the distinctions
of necessary and possible emerge,--with a view to the accomplishment
of our desires and purposes. That is necessary which is required and
needed if some bare plan is projected and is to be actualised: it is
the condition or conditions without which the end cannot be attained.
It is an epithet of the means. Possible, on the contrary, is an
epithet of the end or plan, and denotes that there are means for its
attainment, without however always specifying that this is known of the
present or given instance. It is clear that everything as regards the
application of these terms will depend on the definiteness with which
the plan is conceived, both in itself so to speak and in its relations
with the rest of the circumstances. On the other hand, when a result
emerges without being included in the purpose, and without any means
having been employed for attaining it, it is said to be a chance,
accident, or contingency.

These terms are applied by analogy to the uses of theoretical
explanation. Just as in will you have a general aim to begin with,
which becomes more and more determinate as it moves forward in the
volitional process to execution; so in the attempt to understand the
world you suppose it first of all the mere shadow or phantom of itself,
a promise and potentiality of things to come: a next-to-nothing,
which however you credit with a magic wealth of potential being. So
much indeed may this possibility be emphasised that nothing more
is needed: it is possible, and, without a thought of difficulties
and counteractives, you could swear that it is actual[3]. Being
removed above this solid land of actuality, cut off from the ties
and bonds of conditions, it fancies itself moving in its vacuum;
and being free from all bonds of actuality fancies itself actually
free, or self-disposing, whereas it can only claim this _liberum
arbitrium indifferentiae,_ so long as it remains bare and powerless
possibility--a mere may-be, which, apart from all conditions, would
exist only by a mere contingency, or freak of chance. This mere
potentiality--being only an ante-dated, presupposed, and hypothetical
actuality--being only a substance or substratum--must be raised out
of its supposititious existence into reality by means of appropriate
conditions. These conditions are necessary to its resuming its place
or reaching a place in actuality. Thus each object becomes actual or
real from a presupposed possibility by means of an external necessity.
As in the former case the possibility was identified with power,
and conditions were left out of sight as comparatively unimportant:
so here the possibility--taken to lie at the root of the thing--is
made a mere susceptibility, which would be nothing actual unless
stimulated and necessitated from outside. This necessity in the very
heart of actuality (which is its characteristic to the reflectional
mode of mind) thus arises from the separation and hypostatisation
of its elements into independent powers which are so far in stress
and opposition. This is the climax of metaphysics--if metaphysics
be the investiture of the dynamic factors of the notion with the
power and character of supposed agents or forces. It appears in
three phases, with the three categories of substance, cause, and
reciprocity. To the first, reality is regarded as dominated by its
mere underlying potentiality: the reality of the mere superficial
contingents is controlled by the necessity of its latent or substantial
being. To explain event or incident, here, is merely to bind it
to the generic nature or the intrinsic doom, which--unexplained
and inexplicable--manifests itself in an extrinsically fluctuating
appearance of facts: e. g. the single crime is explained as the product
of social conditions. Under the conception of Causality, each thing is
a mere might-be which owes all its actuality to a definite antecedent
or cause,--an antecedent termed for the moment unconditional, but anon
reduced to dependence on further conditions. The effect is as a fact:
but would not have been so unless for an earlier fact--i. e. unless the
effect in a supposed earlier stage of its growth had been helped on by
certain conditions or circumstances to acquire actual and full being in
the effect. And cause and conditions can change places, according to
what we happen to regard as the central nucleus or inner possibility
of the effect. Lastly, the conception of reciprocity recognises that
causality is rather an arbitrary simplification of reality into strands
of rectilinear event; it remembers that Substance emphasises the
dependence of each non-independent element on the supposed totality
which they grow from, and doing so, it lays down the reversibility
and essential elasticity of the causal relation. The cause in causing
re-acts upon itself, and the effect is itself a cause of the effect,
active as well as passive. The dependence in short is all-environing:
nowhere is there any loop-hole to escape from necessity. Motives act
on purpose, and purpose acts on motives: the stone hurls back the hand
that hurled it.

Explanation is thus baffled and thus forced to recognise its own
limitations. The simplest fact is beyond all the powers of explanatory
science to do full justice to: for to know fully the 'flower in the
crannied wall' after this method of explanation would involve endless
multiples of action and re-action. The antinomy between necessity
and contingency arose by following out the antithesis, so natural to
us, between selfsame and different, essence and existence, substance
and accidents, till they were invested with a right to independent
place and function. But the separation of the abstract receptacle
of possibility, self-same and essential, from the equally abstract
conditions which fill it up and make it actual, is only the great
human instrumentality of comprehension, which however is not reached
until each thing is realised and idealised as an individual, which
has universality and has particularity, but never either alone.
Its universality is possibility--its particularity the aspect of
contingency: but these aspects are in submission to an inclusive unity.
The real when ill known seems contingent; when somewhat better known
it seems necessary by external (physical) compulsion; in its truth
to intelligence, the real is a self-active, a _causa sui,_ or it is
necessary by that self-determination which is the freedom of autonomy.

The view of the world under the category of actuality (Reality), and
as dominated by the law of causality, is the culminating stand-point
of scientific or reflective realism. It began with a mere descriptive
science, naming and qualifying the successive aspects of being,--with
description which passed through numeration into the definiteness
of measurement. But all such determination was found to imply the
existence of a permanent reality, or at least to involve the reference
of one reality to another, outside of it, and yet not independent
of relations to it, which had to make part of its nature. To the
scientific realist the sum of fact presents itself independent of
consciousness, as a complicated mass of real elements governed by
laws and subject to necessities. Each thing or state of a thing is
explained by reference to something outside it, which is its cause, and
measured by something inside it which is its unit or atomic standard.
Alternately the reference, and the unit are designated arbitrary
(contingent) and necessary (essential): i. e. they are sometimes
considered as only a way of looking at reality[4]--and sometimes as
inevitable implications and conditions of reality.

All this is Objective Logic: or, so far as it does not realise
its implications, it is Metaphysics. Its terms of thought[5] are
in practice treated as elements of a reality which is what it is,
apart from thought-conditions, apart from consciousness. As Hegel
exhibits them in their interdependence, they hint their underlying
thought-nature, which in their empirical applications is hardly
apparent. For to the realistic stand-point mind and subjectivity are
left out of account as only passive onlookers. The realist may no
doubt speak of a Subject: but he means a real, a corporeal self, an
actual amongst other actuals. If he speaks of mind and will, such mind
and will are parts and ingredients in a general scheme of causes and
effects; they are points of transition through which passes the moving
stream of event. They also are things and substances. They are agents
and patients, always both, no doubt but the chief circumstance to note
is that they are actuals, and that even knowledge and will are regarded
as species of action and motion.

When Protagoras laid down his maxim that _Man is the measure of all
things_, he stated, apparently in an ambiguous manner, that the fact
of measure (and all that mensuration implies), and (we may add)
the existence of correlation in actuality, presupposed for their
explanation the assumption of Mind and subjectivity. Mind thus became
the basis of all actuality which claimed to be objective--claimed, in
short, to be actual. The truth and objectivity of the objective lies in
the subjective; Mind is its own measure, i. e. the absolute measure,
and it is self-relation. So Kant had taught and Fichte enforced. The
basis of objectivity is the subjective; but a subjective different
from that so-called by the plain man or by the naive psychologist. By
the subjective he does not, as the plain man, understand the compound
of body and soul, the living and breathing organism amid outer
objects--nor, as the psychological idealist does, a psychical process,
a series or bundle of states of consciousness, always contrasted
with a reality, _the_ reality outside consciousness. It is true that
his language resembles the language of psychology: as Herbart and
others have said, that is to be expected, for he talks of mind and
consciousness. But the consciousness he speaks of is a unity that
includes all space and all time: it is one and all-embracing, infinite,
because not as individual (psychological) consciousness set in
antithesis to reality, as the other half of the duality of existence.
It is consciousness generalised_--Bewusstsein überhaupt--_ an eternal,
i. e. a timeless consciousness, an universal i. e. not a localised,
mind:--a necessary Idea, but with an inward self-regulating necessity.
Such a consciousness Fichte called the Absolute Ego: but as we saw
before, the adjective transforms the substantive. Such a consciousness,
which is absolute self-consciousness, is the Idea:--no psychical event,
but the logical condition and explanation of reality whether physical
or psychical. The Idea is the presupposition of epistemology, but
of an epistemology which claims to occupy the place of old usurped
by metaphysics. Metaphysics has no higher category than actuality:
transcendental logic shows that actuality rests in the Idea,--reality
conceived and conception realised.


[Footnote 1: _Existence,_ as opposed to _Dasein_, should thus imply
the emergence into efficient being from a state of quietude or passive
latency (_Wesen_).]

[Footnote 2: As Aristotle says, The brave man stands his ground, yet
fearing: (cf. Tolstoi: _Siege of Sevastopol_). If he does not fear,
brave is not the word for him.]

[Footnote 3: Put into Greek, the mere ἐνδέχεται (_licet,_ or
_forsitan_) is taken as equivalent to δύναμαι (_possum_).]

[Footnote 4: Herbart's _Zufällige Ansicht_, or contingent aspect.]

[Footnote 5: 'Denkbestimmungen.']



CHAPTER XXXII.


LOGIC OF COMPREHENSION AND IDEALISM: THE NOTION.


The distinction between the psychical or psychological idea and the
logical concept has been more than once alluded to. The idea or
representation is under psychical form exactly equivalent to the
undigested and passively accepted thing to which we give the title of
physical or external. It is the ideal, in the sense of the psychical,
pendant to the real: and hangs up in the mental view in the same way as
the real object to the physical perception. It is in brief the crude
object, considered not as existing, but as a state of consciousness--it
is a reduplication in inner space of the thing in outer space. If we
cannot say it is altogether mythological, we must however note that
it is simply a psychical reflex, which has an existence only through
abstraction, and is neither more or less than the object apprehended
without comprehension.

The concept or notion is more than an image, and less than an image. An
idea-image is symbolical of the unanalysed totality of the thing. But
the notion is in the first instance due to an analysis, and secondly,
a reconstruction of the thing. It takes up the thing in its relations:
it thinks it, i. e. it abstracts and mutilates it, and artificially
recombines. It implies analysis and synthesis. It produces a sort of
manufactured thing: a mental construction. But the construction--as
contrasted with the passivity that says first A and then B and a
connexion of them--has the traces of subjective or mental violence
about it: for violence there is in the act of comprehension. We have
however got together in unity what actuality in the process of history
let fall asunder, and could only, at the best, show as independent
reals held against their will in ubiquitous relations of reciprocity.
But the unity in which the individual sets the universal and the
particular is an imported unity, which though it gives place and
explanation to the elements of reality, seems to impose its synthesis
upon reality. So far the concept is subjective only. It is an ample
explanation including the facts, but not quite self-explanatory. _We_
conceive, and judge, and reason: but all this is alien to the object.

But there is a counterpart almost in antagonism to this. There is
a concept, i. e. a grouping of existence into totals mediated by
necessary links, which presents itself as embodied in things: and
this embodied concept is the objective world. That world, apart from
our interpretation and conception, offers itself as a synthesis of
universal, particular and individual. It groups itself into systems,
mechanical, chemical, and teleological. But in all of these there
is lacking the evidence of the inward and subjective principle of
unification. The unity is external, the members are held in a vice:
their unity is given as a fact: it follows through certain laws and
does not reveal itself. There is a want of perspicuity of connexion:
logic--the need of inner explanation--in short, is not satisfied by
this logic of facts. It is rather a realm of necessity than of freedom.
It wants life; wants true self-activity. As in the subjective notion,
the facts resented the hand of the logician (for here is the sphere
of logic proper in the old Aristotelian sense), and refused to show
themselves in the simple and transparent transitions of his argument:
so the objective synthesis of the members of a mechanical system, or
of a kingdom of means and ends, lacks the freedom and lucidity of
inner movement which logical insight demands. Objectivity--the logic
of fact--is a syllogism of necessity, so hardened and fixed that the
necessity of the conclusion is more obvious than the self-determination
by the syllogism.

The third stage of the Notion shows the union of the pellucidity and
ideality of the syllogistic progress with the necessity and reality
of the objective order. Here actuality and the concept are at one. At
first as a mere fact--or more fact than idea. Life, organic life, is
no doubt development: a totality which is in all its parts, and where
parts have their being in the total. But life as such, the so-called
vital principle, does not emancipate itself to a true universal: it is
immersed in its particulars. Intellectual life, on the contrary,--the
form of consciousness--rises independent and distinct from the
totality of life. Psychology follows Biology. But as such--under the
form of intellect and will--it has an antithesis no less fatal to its
absoluteness than the opposite one-sidedness of life. There is--to
put it in language more familiar to the present day--there is an
analogue of life in all nature; and all reality, even the rock and the
crystal, has its life-history. There is, properly speaking, no mere
inorganic reality: organic life is universal. And then, going a step
further, we attribute to all reality something analogous to a soul, or
a consciousness. We talk, in rash moods, of mind-stuff and feelings,
even in molecules. But as Spinoza has reminded us, terms like Will
and Intellect have about them something finite, because they imply
an antagonism to an object: they are predominantly subjective. The
reality in its final truth must be a subject-object: the adequacy of
thought and being, the equation of real and ideal, the intellection
which is life. And this is called Absolute Idea. It is natural to
translate such an equation, when made a result, into a mere blank.
And a blank it would be, if we suppose all that has gone before
obliterated, and only the result left. Then, in the coincidence of
opposites, we have only a zero of a gulf of negation. A life which _is_
consciousness may seem to fade away like a vague ideal with no reality.
A consciousness which _is_ life can be no consciousness at all. The
_is_ and the _is known_ dare not coincide or they perish both.

A categorical proposition, says Hegel, can never express a speculative
truth. That is to say: the subject over-rides the predicate, or the
predicate makes you ignore the subject. The affirmation keeps out
of sight the negation. To say that life _is_ consciousness makes us
forget that the very assertion would not and could not be made, unless
also life were other than consciousness. In its full proportion of
meaning, therefore, the proposition must imply a return to unity
through difference, to identity through otherness. Affirmation,
fully realised, is re-affirmation through negation. Cognition is but
recognition deepened by contrast. This law which governs--or rather
which is--logic; the principle of identity through contradiction--must
not be lost sight of in the supreme struggle of thought. The Idea is
the unity of life and consciousness: but it is a unity in which they
are (_aufgehoben_)--not a zero in which they utterly collapse.

We may illustrate in two ways. In the first we may compare the
'Ενεργεια of Aristotle. That is his formula of reality. Nominally
it only means activity and actuality: and sums up the metaphysical
formula for what really is,--the hard fact of being. But through it
there glimmers the meaning of consciousness. It not merely is, but
it means what it is. Energy of Soul is the end of life--the supreme
fulfilling of desire, and consummation of tendency. As such it is, and
feels that it is. It is the virtuous deed, which is its own reward. But
Aristotle seems sometimes to fall from that identification of being and
consciousness. The world of _praxis_ parts from the world of _Theoria._
In that case the activity is a mere activity--the outward shell of
action: and then, as a supplement or complement to the abstract result
of the activity the consciousness of achievement gets a distinct
position as Pleasure: and the activity, now no consummation, but only
a means to an end, get its completion from this arbitrarily abstracted
shadow of reality.[1]

The second illustration may come from Mr. Spencer.

'We can think of Matter only in terms of Mind. We can think of Mind
only in terms of Matter. When we have pushed our explorations of the
first to the uttermost limit we are referred to the second for a
final answer: and when we have got the final answer of the second we
are referred back to the first for an interpretation of it.' Beyond
this see-saw indeed we cannot go, so as to leave it behind: but in
reality we transcend it. The Mind that is in terms of Matter is partly
the region of psychic event, partly the world of science, art and
religion. And psychic event is always antithetical to physical reality.
But the spiritual world already includes the antithesis of psychical
and physical, and including it keeps it as a principle of life and
consciousness. The supreme or absolute mind does not indeed rise above
Physis and Psyche so as to have no antagonism: but it is the unity of
antitheses.

What those who crave for something higher than this rest in unrest,
this life in consciousness and consciousness in life, want, would
destroy the very condition of reality. Still philosophising, they would
be above philosophy. They want an objective reality in which they may
still their beating hearts,--a 'repose which ever is the same' and
yet is not annihilation:--to sink into the great sea of being, and
leave consciousness with its radical division behind. Such a craving
philosophy, in Hegers hands, has no power of satisfying. It cannot, in
the sense in which Jacobi and Schelling used the words, reveal Being.
It cannot get at the _That_ except by means of the _What,_ and is the
eternal antithesis and correlation of these two. It will always be
rational and logical--for it is its function to think being: and it
will re-affirm that an unthought and a-logical being is a mere name,
which in the language of humanity at least has no meaning, whatever
it may stand for in the Volapük of imagined gods. To go beyond this
correlation of Being and Thought is therefore no advance, but a relapse
into the _Natura Naturans_, which, in its abstract completeness, _is,_
but dare not be anything. Philosophy therefore in its supreme Idea is
still the 'Ενεργεια of θεωρία, and not bare Οὐσία. For it mere Being
is always Nothing. And to be actual it must live in antithesis and
live victorious over antithesis. It follows the law of humanity _(Und
das heisst ein Kämpfer sein_)--which can only exist in warfare as a
church militant, but for continuous existence must also be a church
triumphant. Like religion and art, it sometimes craves for utter union
in the fullness of Being. Such a fullness is the unspeakable and the
vain,--which we may picture as the apathy of Nirvana; but which is the
absorption of Art, Religion and Philosophy,--the cease of consciousness
and an abyss. We may call it--it matters not--Being.

These stages of the Notion must be examined in somewhat fuller detail.
The subjective notion is the effort at the comprehension (at first
subjective) of the two correlated elements into which actuality as
such has been seen to fall--and to fall again and again without
end. It brings out, or explicates (and with some opposition to the
divisions of reality) the unity which was presupposed by the antagonist
and inseparable reals. Hitherto we have had two things or aspects
in relation and move from one to the other by an act of reflection.
But to get two points in relation, they must belong to or exist in
a unity. The divided reality of cause and effect must, if it is to
be intelligible, submit to a unification of its elements. It is
comparatively easy to get on if we are always allowed to have one foot
on solid ground, and can move the other. Give us a standing-point, and
explanation is simplified. But to get a notion of things is, it may
seem, to transcend them, or get beneath them, and take a stand-point
outside actuality which shall unify them. If we added to immediate
being a further element to explain it, it may be said we now superadd
a third to explain the two others. Over and above the different and
related elements, there is assumed to be a unity. And at first it is
certainly such a superimposed element, added to the facts, and regarded
as our way of looking at them, as a subjective notion or grasp, holding
together what is in itself reluctant to be unified.

The three aspects or factors in a Concept are the Universal, the
Particular, and the Individual. These are what Hegel calls the
'moments' or 'vanishing factors' of the notion. They are 'vanishing,'
because in their logical mobility they form a pellucid union: if they
are distinct, yet they refuse to be independent of one another. Or, we
may say, each in its truth is the meeting-ground and unification of
the two others, thus forming a sort of cycle of perpetual movement.
And in this way we may see that the addition of the third has really
been a simplification: it has made two one. For the Unit which welds
together is not a _tertium quid_, but simply the explicit statement
and assertion of the truth implied in the antithesis, which was yet
inseparability, of the two others. And for the same reason, neither
mere universal nor mere particular nor mere individual are full
reality, when taken apart. One can understand how Hegel could speak of
the 'Bacchantelike intoxication' of the concept. It may be illustrated
by the following utterances in which a modern psychologist labours
to express the complex unity of mental fact. First we are told that
a 'nervous shock,' e. g. the awakening caused by a sudden blow, or a
simple sensation (so-called), is the ultimate unit of consciousness.
And if this were all, it would correspond to the qualities of immediate
being, which we can suppose measurable: we should get a science of
purely empirical psychology based on psychical atoms. But, immediately
after, it appears that the 'relational element' is never absent from
the lowest stage of consciousness. Accordingly, besides feelings, there
_must be_ relations between feelings. And that means a good deal:
especially if we also note the proposition that, in truth, 'neither a
feeling nor a relation is an independent element of consciousness,'
Evidently you cannot have either without both, and it seems difficult
to have both when neither is independent. Nor does it mend matters to
learn that 'a relation is a momentary feeling': for that only seems
a way of implying that it is, and yet is not, a feeling. Such are
the difficulties that beset the sincere attempt to comprehend. The
fixed points of explanation stagger under the burden of truth; and
their unsteadiness shows that they lack the full foundation. Yet that
foundation--it must be repeated--is not something extra: it is the
underlying unity which gives life to the relativity of the separates.

For the peculiarity of the Notional stand-point is that it insists on
thorough comprehension. The usual explanation refers us from a later to
an earlier, from a strange to a familiar, from a complex to a simple,
from compound to elements. It keeps analysis and synthesis, induction
and deduction apart. To comprehend is, on the other hand, to light up
earlier by later and later by earlier, and carry both into their unity.
It does not merely refer existence to its ground, phenomenon to law,
or effect to cause; because beyond these it has still to reveal the
unity of nature which carries on one of these into the other. Thus, the
explanatory method in Social Science may either refer us to the simple
elements or parts out of which the total is composed, or to an earlier
stage in the same institution's life. The analytical sociologist
does the former: the historical the latter. Neither really faces the
problem. For if the whole is made up of parts, it is made up of parts
which have been characterised by the whole. If the later has come
from the earlier, that only shows that the nature of the earlier was
inadequately ascertained. Development--which implies a permanent which
changes, an identity which is also different,--is thus more than mere
reference to an antecedent; because the antecedent must also figure as
a simultaneous. _Cessante causa, cessat et effectus._ But here, in the
concept (or λόγος) or syllogism, the permanent exists as the--may we
call it--consciousness which binds together the elements of reality,
as the life and the history, which is ideally continuous through real
changes, and is a real unity through the distinctions of appearance.

Such a comprehension e. g. of the State would show that though it
must have a universal aspect, a particular, and an individual, yet
these are not severally identifiable with the divisions of sovereign,
executive, and people, but that in each of the latter the three
moments of the notion must appear, and that e. g. the people is not
mere people, but also executive and sovereign, just as the sovereign
is no mere sovereign, but also executive and of the people. The same
may be illustrated in the so-called individual. A man in his special
department and sphere of action may very likely lose the sense of his
wholeness and his integrity,--perhaps in more senses than one! He
may reduce himself to the limits of his profession. But in so doing
he becomes untrue, or, in Hegelian parlance, abstract: he fails to
recognise the universality of his position. All work, however petty,
which is done in the right spirit, is holy.

    'One place performs, like any other place,
    The proper service every place on earth
    Was framed to furnish man with: serves alike
    To give him note, that through the place he sees
    A place is signified he never saw.'

It is a false patriotism, for example, which is inconsistent with the
spirit of universal brotherhood: and there is something radically wrong
with the religion, on the other hand, which cannot be carried into act
amid the pettiness of ordinary practical interests. The universal,
again, is not a world beyond this world of sense and individuals: if it
were so, it would itself be a mere particular. It is rather the world
of sense unified, organised, and, if we may say so, spiritualised.
And an individual which is merely and simply individual is an utter
abstraction, which is quite meaningless, and in the real world
impossible. Or, if we prefer to express the same thing in connexion
with the mind, sensation apart from thought is an inconceivable
abstraction. Sensation is always alloyed with thought, and we can at
the most _suppose_ pure sensation to exist amongst the brutes. The mere
individual opens out and expands: and in that expansion we see the
universal: (sensation is thought in embryo). But, on the other hand,
the developed universal concentrates itself into a point: (thought
returns into the centre of feeling).

The same process of particular, individual and universal, which thus
goes on under the apparent point of the notion, is more distinctly
and explicitly seen, with due emphasis on the several members, in
the evolution of the notion into the Judgment and the Syllogism. The
judgment is the statement of what each individual notion implicitly is,
viz. a universal or inward nature in itself, or that it is a universal
which individualises itself. The judgment may, therefore, in its
simplest terms be formulated as: The Individual is the Universal. The
connective link,--the copula 'is,' expresses however at first no more
than a mere point-like contact of the two terms, not their complete
identity. By a graduated series of judgments this identity between the
two terms is drawn closer, until in the three terms and propositions of
a syllogism the unity of the three factors of the notion finds its most
adequate expression in (subjective) thought.

It may be a question how far syllogisms as they are ordinarily found
are calculated to impress this synthesis of the three elements upon the
observer. The three elements there tend to bid each other good-bye, and
are only kept together by the awkward means of the middle term, and
the conjunction 'therefore.' In these circumstances it becomes easy
to show, that the major premiss is a superfluity, not adding anything
to the cogency of the argument. But under the prominence of this
criticism of form, we are apt to let slip the real question touching
the nature of the syllogism. And that nature is to give their due place
to the three elements in the notion: which in the syllogism have each
a quasi-independence and difference as separate terms, while they are
also reduced to unity. The syllogism expresses in definite outlines
that everything which we think, or the comprehension which constitutes
an object, is a particular which is individualised by means of its
universal nature. As always, thought refers to reality; and a notion
has to be carried out into objectivity. But as Aristotle complained,
matter is recalcitrant to form. The objective appears at first only as
an opposite, and instead of revealing, it rather obscures and condenses
the features of subjectivity.

Objectivity, or the thought which has forgotten its origin and stands
out as a world, may be taken in three aspects: Mechanical, Chemical,
and Teleological. That is to say, the mode in which groups or systems
naturally present themselves in the objective world, is threefold. The
contradiction which stands in the way of comprehending objectivity
comes from the fact that it contains subjectivity absorbed in it. In
other words, the object is at once active and passive; as thought and
subjectivity it should be its own synthetiser, as objectivity it is
necessitated to interdependence, and the subjectivity, at this stage,
is in abeyance. Consequently, either the two attributes co-exist, or
they cancel each other, or they are in mutual connexion.

(1) In the first case the objects are independent, and yet are
connected with one another. Such connexion is an external one, due
to force, impulse, and outward authority. The principle of union is
implied: but the objects are mutually determined from without. The
more, for example, an object acts upon the imagination, the more
vehement is the reaction of the mind towards it.--(2) But if the
object is independent, as has been allowed, then the determination
from without must really come from within. Thus desire is a turning or
bent towards the object which draws it. The desiring soul leans out of
itself. It gravitates towards a centre: and it is its own nature to be
thus centripetal. The lesser objects of themselves draw closer around
the more prominent object.--(3) But if this gravitation were absolute,
the objects would lose their independence altogether, and sink into
their centre. Accordingly if the independence of these objects is
to remain, there must be, as it were, a double centre, the relative
centre of each object, and the absolute centre of the system to which
it belongs. In each of these three forms of mechanical combination,
the objects continue external and independent. A mechanical theory of
the state regards classes as independent, seeks to produce a balance
between them, separates individuals and associations from the state,
and, in short, conceives the state as one large centralising force with
a number of minor spheres depending upon it, but with a greater or less
amount of self-centred action in each of them.

The fact is that an object cannot really be thought as thus
independently subsistent. Its real nature is rather affinity,--a
tendency to combine with another: it requires to receive its
complement. Every object is naturally in a state of unstable
equilibrium, with a tendency to quit its isolation and form a union.
This theory, which is called the Chemical theory of an object,
regards it as the reverse of indifferent: as in a permanent state
of susceptibility. When objects thus open and eager for foreign
influences combine, there results a new product, in which both the
constituents are lost, so far as their qualities go. The qualities
of the constituents are neutralised. A man's mind, for example,
prepared by certain culture, meets a new stimulus in some strange
doctrine, and the result is a new form of intellectual life. But at
this point the process, which such a form of objectivity represents,
is closed: all that remains is for the product to break up one day
into its constituent factors. There is no provision made for carrying
it on further. Hence if we are to have a self-regulating system of
objectivity, we must rise above the Chemical theory of objects. And
to do that, the first course is to look at the objective world as
_regulated_ (though not immanently constituted) by the Notion.

The Notion as regulative of objectivity,--as independent and
self-subsistent, but as in necessary connexion with Objectivity,--is
the End, Aim, or Final Cause. According to this, the Teleological
and practical theory of the Universe[2], the object is considered as
bound to reproduce and carry out the notion, and the notion is looked
upon as meant to execute itself in reality. The two sides, subjective
and objective, are, in other words, in necessary connexion with each
other, but not identical. This is the contrast of the End and the
Means. By the 'Means' is meant an object _which is determined by an
End_, and which operates upon other objects.--(1) The End is originally
subjective: an instinct or desire after something-- a feeling of
want and the wish to remedy it. It is confronted by an objective
mass, which is indifferent to these wishes: and manifests itself as a
tendency outwards,--an appetite towards action. It seizes and uses up
the objective world.--(2) But the End in the second place reduces this
indifferent mass to be an instrument or Means: makes it the middle term
between itself and the object.--(3) But the means is only valuable as
a preparation to the End regarded as Realised, which thus counts as
the truth of the thing. These are the three terms of the Syllogism of
Teleology: the Subjective End, the Means, and the End Realised. It is
the process of adaptation by which each thing is conceived as the means
to some end, and which actively transforms the thing into something
by which that end is realised. In the last resort it presents us with
an objective world in which utility or design is the principle of
systematisation: and in which therefore there is an endless series of
ends which become means to other and higher ends. After all is done,
the object remains foreign to the notion, and is only subsumed under
it, and adapted to it. We want a notion which shall be identifiable
with objectivity--which shall permeate it through and through, as soul
does body. Such a unity of Subjective and Objective--the Motion in (and
not merely in relation to) Objectivity--is what Hegel terms the Idea.

The first form of the Idea is Life, taking that as a logical category,
or as equivalent to self-organisation. The living, as organisms, are
contrasted with mere mechanisms. The essential progress of modern
science lies in its emphasis on this aspect of the Idea: which includes
all that the teleological period taught about adaptation, and only sets
aside the externality of means to ends there found. The savant of the
last century and the beginning of the present dealt with the object
of his inquiries as a mechanical, chemical, or teleological object.
The modern theorist tends to see the world as one self-evolving Life.
According to the naturalist of last century, kinds of animals and
plants were viewed as convenient, and perhaps arbitrary arrangements:
according to the moderns, these kinds represent the grades or steps in
the life of the natural world.

What, then, is the nature of the process which we call Life? Is it
adequately or definitely defined as 'a continuous adjustment of
internal to external relations'? Or is it a good deal more than
anything the word 'correspondence' implies? According to Hegel it is
nothing so simple, but a syllogism with three terms, and a syllogism
moreover which permutates its terms and premisses. There is, in the
first place, the term, which is also a process, of self-production. The
living must articulate itself, create for itself limbs and members, and
keep up a perpetual re-creation of morphological and structural system
of parts. Secondly, there is the assimilation of what is external to
the living individual. If there is to be life, spiritual or bodily,
there must be a physiological intus-susception of foreign elements.
Without this the first term or process is impossible. Thirdly, there
must be a term or process of Reproduction or generation by which
the living being passes itself on as a new unit. All life, mental
or bodily, involves Reproduction.--These are the three terms of the
process of vitality.

But such a life, considered as merely organic, the life studied in
Biology, is only a fragment. The truer life is in the genus, not in the
individual: the consciousness, the sensation which inwardly unifies the
diversity of organic processes. The universal has become the medium
in which the Idea exists: it exists no longer in immediacy. The mere
natural life gives place to the life of the Spirit. The life of the
Spirit has the double form of Cognition and Will:--the theoretical and
the practical action of the Idea: or Truth and Goodness. In short, the
Idea divides into two halves, which yet remain the same at bottom:
Reason and the World: but yet there is reason in the world. The action
of the Idea, or its process at this stage, is to bring these two terms
into connexion, and show their ideal unity. Beginning with Reason, it
goes on to discover reason in the World. Truth consists in the adequacy
of object to notion. Such adequacy is the Idea: and an object which
thus corresponds with its notion is an ideal object. The ideal man is
the True Man. Truth is the revelation of rationality from the objective
world: and Cognition is the name for that process. On the other hand,
Goodness is the realisation of rationality in the objective world:
and the Will is the name for that process. Truth proceeds from the
Objectivity: Goodness from the Subjectivity. But truth can only proceed
(analytically) from the objective world, in so far as it is produced
(synthetically) by the subjectivity. And, on the other hand, when the
good is realised in objectivity, it is submitted to the process of
Cognition.

With the unity of Life and Consciousness, the Absolute Idea, we reach
the supreme effort of Logic. In Bacon's words, 'the truth of being and
the truth of knowing is all one' (cf. p. 224). That is the absolute
condition of comprehending reality: the principle of Absolute Idealism,
so far apart from its psychological wraith, and yet compelled to
employ the same language. But after all it is Logic, i. e., only the
supreme logical condition of the reality of the physical and psychical
world. And it gains reality at the cost of the disruption of its
elements: it lets the Is slip from the Is known-- the _est_ from the
_cogitatur_--Being from consciousness. Or, in less mysterious language,
fundamental philosophy, or Logic, gives place to the concreter system
of Philosophy--the Philosophy of the Outward and of the Inward
actuality,--of Nature and Mind.

The reader of the _Divina Commedia_ may hardly need to be reminded
that, at each of the grander changes of scene and grade in his
pilgrimage, Dante suddenly finds himself without obvious means
transported into a new region of experience. There are catastrophes
in the process of development: not unprepared, but summing up, as in
a flash of insight, the gradual and unperceived process of growth.
There is birth and death in the spiritual world: and such are moments
of sudden lapse, abrupt conversion, when the waters of Lethe close
around, and thereafter all things are new. There are such moments of
accumulated and abnormal intensity also in the Hegelian philosophy when
a new cycle of idea suddenly appears. Such are the epochs of change at
the great crises from Being to Essence, and from Essence to Notion.
There is a revulsion, a sharp turn of the path which dialectic can
enforce but cannot smooth away,--on that path which dialectic indeed,
as opposed to the old logic of identity, shows not to be a mere smooth
continuity. All development is by breaks, and yet makes for continuity.

This is again exemplified in the passage from Logic to Physics. The
reality which presents itself to the philosopher as Nature is a world
of reason--but, as it stands, it only lives as some speechless work
of art. It is, so to speak, the picture on the wall--the reflection
that is cast by the fuller reality of experience. Reason here is
in the garb of sense-perception. Nature is the silent image--the
_tableau vivant_--which becomes intelligent, speaking, and real, in
the observing and comprehending mind. It is the statue of Condillac,
not yet invested with the minimum of sensibility and consciousness.
Nature is or shows all that the Idea contained, but contained only
in possibility, as a logical condition of reality. It shows it in
reality--and that is a reality spread through endless times and spaces.
Its unity, its meaning, its continuity are broken up into fragments.
Yet as Nature, i. e. in its structural unity, and not in the dispersion
of things and elements, it is all a unity of development and has a
life-history written in its organism for intelligence to read and to
reconstitute, on the assumption that all its accident and irregularity
is but the inevitable imperfection of reality as given in parts and
successions.





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