Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:36 am

Part 6 of 6

§ 14. Some Observations on my own Philosophy

There is scarcely a philosophical system so simple and composed of so few elements as is mine; and so it can be taken in and comprehended at a glance. This is due ultimately to the complete unity and agreement of its fundamental ideas and is generally a favourable indication of its truth; indeed truth is akin to simplicity: [x], simplex sigillum veri. [94] My system might be described as immanent dogmatism, for its doctrines are indeed dogmatic, yet they do not go beyond the world that is given in experience. On the contrary, by analysing it into its ultimate elements, they explain merely what the world is. Thus the old dogmatism that was overthrown by Kant (and likewise the blarney and humbug of the three modern university sophists) is transcendent since it goes beyond the world in order to explain it from something different; it makes the world the consequent of a ground, such ground being inferred from the consequent itself. My philosophy, on the other hand, began with the proposition that there are grounds and consequents solely within the world and on the assumption thereof, since the principle of sufficient reason or ground in its four aspects is merely the most universal form of the intellect, but that in this intellect alone, as the true locus mundi, the objective world exists.

In other philosophical systems, consistency is effected by inferring one proposition from another. But this necessarily demands that the real content of the system exists already in the very first propositions, whereby the remainder, as derived therefrom, can hardly prove to be other than monotonous, poor, empty, and tedious, since it merely develops and repeats what was already stated in the basic propositions. This dismal consequence of demonstrative deduction is most noticeable in Christian Wolff; but even Spinoza, who strictly followed this method, was unable entirely to escape its drawback, although through his intellect he was able to compensate for it. My propositions, on the other hand, for the most part do not rest on chains of reasoning, but directly on the world of intuitive perception itself, and the strict consistency to be found in my system as much as in any other is, as a rule, not obtained on the merely logical path. On the contrary, it is that natural agreement of the propositions which inevitably results from the fact that all are based on the same intuitive knowledge, that is to say, on the intuitive apprehension of the same object that is successively contemplated from different points of view and hence of the real world in all its phenomena, by virtue of the consciousness wherein it presents itself. And so I was never concerned about the harmony and agreement of my propositions, not even when some of them seemed to me to be inconsistent, as was occasionally the case for a time. For agreement subsequently appeared automatically according as the propositions all came together numerically complete, since with me such harmony or consistency is simply nothing more than the agreement of reality with itself, which of course can never go wrong. This is analogous to our sometimes not understanding the continuity and connection of a building's parts when we look at it for the first time and from only one direction; yet we are certain that such continuity is not wanting and that it will appear as soon as we have walked right round the building. But this kind of consistency is perfectly certain by virtue of its original nature and because it is constantly under the control of experience. On the other hand, the deduced consistency that is brought about solely by the syllogism can easily prove to be false in some particular, that is to say, as soon as some link in the long chain is not genuine, is loosely fitted, or is otherwise of a faulty nature. Accordingly, my philosophy has a wide basis whereon everything stands directly and thus securely; whereas other systems are like tall towers where, if one support breaks, the whole edifice collapses. All that I have said here may be summarized by saying that my philosophy has arisen and is presented on the analytical path, not on the synthetical.

I may mention, as a special characteristic of my philosophizing, that I try everywhere to go to the very root of things, since I continue to pursue them up to the ultimate given reality. This happens by virtue of a natural disposition that makes it wellnigh impossible for me to rest content with any general and abstract knowledge that is therefore still indefinite, with mere concepts, not to mention words. On the contrary, I am urged forward until I have plainly before me the ultimate basis of all concepts and propositions which is at all times intuitive. I must then let this stand as the primary phenomenon, or, if possible, I still resolve it into its elements, but in any case I follow out to the utmost the essential nature of the matter. It will, therefore, be recognized one day (though naturally not in my lifetime) that the treatment of the same subject by any previous philosopher appears shallow and superficial when compared with mine. Thus mankind has learned much from me that will never be forgotten and my works will not sink into oblivion.

Even theism represents the world as proceeding from a will; the planets are represented as being guided in their orbits by a will, and a nature as being produced on their surface. But theism childishly puts this will outside the universe and causes it to act on things only indirectly, through the intervention of knowledge and matter, in human fashion. With me, on the other hand, the will acts not so much on things as in them; indeed they themselves are simply nothing but the very visibility of the will. However, in this agreement we see that we cannot conceive the original of things as anything but a will. Pantheism calls the will that operates in things a God and the absurdity of this has been censured by me often and severely enough. I call it the will-to-live because this expresses what is ultimately knowable therein. This same relation of mediateness to immediateness appears once again in morality. The theists want a reconciliation between what a man does and what he suffers; so do I. But they assume such a reconciliation first by means of time and of a judge and avenger; whereas I do this directly, since I point out the same essential nature in the doer and the sufferer. The moral results of Christianity up to the most extreme asceticism are found in my works based on reason and the connection and continuity of things, whereas in Christianity they are founded on mere fables. Belief in these is daily disappearing and people will, therefore, have to turn to my philosophy. The pantheists cannot have any seriously meant morality, for with them everything is divine and excellent.

I have often been criticized for having represented, in philosophy and thus theoretically, life as wretched, full of misery, and by no means worth desiring. Yet whoever shows practically the most decided disregard and contempt for life is praised and even admired, whereas the man who is carefully concerned over its preservation is despised.

My works had scarcely excited the attention of a few, when the dispute as to priority arose with regard to my fundamental idea, and it was stated that Schelling had once said 'willing is original and primary being', and anything else of this kind that could be adduced. With regard to the matter itself, it may be observed that the root of my philosophy is to be found already in the Kantian, especially in Kant's doctrine of the empirical and intelligible characters, but generally in the fact that, whenever Kant brings the thing-in-itself somewhat nearer to the light, it always appears through its veil as will. I have expressly drawn attention to this in my 'Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy', and accordingly have said that my philosophy is only his thought out to the end. Therefore we need not wonder if the philosophemes of Fichte and Schelling, which also start from Kant, show traces of the same fundamental idea, although they there appear without sequence, continuity, or development, and accordingly may be regarded as a mere foreshadowing of my doctrine. In general, however, it may be said on this point that, before every great truth has been discovered, a previous feeling, a presentiment, a faint outline thereof, as in a fog, is proclaimed, and there is a vain attempt to grasp it just because the progress of the times prepared the way for it. Accordingly, it is preluded by isolated utterances; but he alone is the author of a truth who has recognized it from its grounds and has thought it out to its consequents; who has developed its whole content and has surveyed the extent of its domain; and who, fully aware of its value and importance, has therefore expounded it clearly and coherently. On the other hand, in ancient and modern times, one has expressed a truth on some occasion, semi-consciously and almost like talking in sleep; and accordingly it can be found there if it is expressly looked for. Yet this does not signify much more than if such a truth were before us totidem litteris, [95] even although it may exist totidem verbis. [96] In the same way, the finder of a thing is only the man who, knowing its value, picked it up and kept it, not he who once accidentally took it up in his hand and dropped it again. Or again Columbus is the discoverer of America, not the first shipwrecked sailor there cast up by the waves. This is precisely the meaning of the saying of Donatus: pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerunt. [97] If, on the other hand, opponents wanted to admit such chance utterances as priorities against me, they could have gone back much further and quoted, for example, what Clement of Alexandria said (Stromata, lib. II, c. 17) : [x] (Velle ergo omnia antecedit: rationales enim facultates sunt voluntatis ministrae. [98] See Sanctorum patrum opera polemica, vol. v, Wurzburg, 1779: Clement of Alexandria, Opera, Tom. ii, p. 304). Spinoza also said: Cupiditas est ipsa unius cujusque natura seu essentia [99] (Ethics, Pt. III, prop. 57, demonstr.) and previously: Hic conatus, cum ad mentem solam refertur, Voluntas appellatur; sed cum ad mentem et corpus simul refertur, vocatur Appetitus, qui proinde nihil aliud est, quam IPSA HOMINIS ESSENTIA. [1] (Pt. III, prop. 9, schol., and finally Pt. III, Defin. I, explic.) He;vetius quite rightly says: Il n'est point de moyens que l'envieux sous l'apparence de la fustice n'emploie pour degrader le merite ... C'est l'envie seule qui nous fait trouver dans les anciens toutes les decouvertes modernes. Une phrase vide de sens ou du moins inintelligible avant ces decouvertes, suffit pour faire crier au plagiat. [2] (De l'esprit, IV, 7.) On this point I make so bold as to recall yet another passage from Helvetius; but I ask the reader not to ascribe my quotation to vanity and presumption, but simply to bear in mind the correctness of the idea expressed in it and to leave it an open question whether or not anything contained in it could apply to me. Quiconque se plait a considerer l'esprit humain voit dans chaque siecle cinq ou six hommes d'esprit tourner autour de la decouverte que fait l'homme de genie. Si l'honneur en reste a ce dernier, c'est que cette decouverte est, entre ses mains, plus feconde que dans les mains de tout autre; c'est qu'il rend ses idees avec plus de force et de nettete; et qu'enfin on voit toujours a la maniere differente, dont les hommes tirent parti d'un principe ou d'une decouverte, a qui ce principe ou cette decouverte appartient [3] (De l'esprit, IV, I).

In consequence of the old and implacable war that is always and everywhere waged by incapacity and stupidity against intellect and understanding-by legions on the one side against individuals on the other-anyone producing anything valuable and genuine has to fight a hard battle against want of understanding, dullness, depraved taste, private interests, and envy, all in worthy alliance, of which Chamfort says: en examinant la ligue des sots contre les gens d'esprit, on croirait voir une conjuration de valets pour ecarter les maitres. [4] For me there was in addition an unusual adversary; the majority of those whose business and occasion it was to guide public opinion in my branch of knowledge were appointed and paid to propagate, laud, and even extol to the skies, the worst of all systems, namely Hegelry. But this cannot succeed if at the same time we are willing to accept the good even only to some extent. This may explain to later readers the fact, otherwise so puzzling to them, that to my contemporaries I have remained as strange and unknown as the man in the moon. Yet a system of thought which, even in spite of an absence of any co-operation on the part of others, is capable of ardently and incessantly engaging its author throughout a long life, and of spurring him on to unremitting and unrewarded labour, possesses in this very fact a testimony as to its value and truth. Without any encouragement from outside, love for my work alone sustained my efforts and did not let me grow weary throughout the many days of my life during which I looked down with contempt on the noisy trumpeting of the bad. For when I entered life, my genius offered me the choice either of recognizing truth but then of pleasing no one, or with others of teaching the false with encouragement and approbation; and for me the choice had not been difficult. Accordingly, the fate of my philosophy was so entirely the opposite of that enjoyed by Hegelry that we can regard the two as the opposite sides of the same sheet, corresponding to the nature and character of the two philosophies. Hegelry, devoid of truth, clearness, intelligence, and even of common sense, appearing moreover in the cloak of the most nauseous nonsense ever heard of, was a subsidized and privileged chair-philosophy and consequently a species of nonsense that nourished its man. Appearing simultaneously with it, my philosophy indeed had all the qualities which it lacked; but such a philosophy was not cut out for any ulterior aims, was not at all suited for the chair at that time, and hence, as we say, there was nothing to be made out of it. It then followed, as day follows night, that Hegelry became the banner to which all flocked, whereas my philosophy met with neither approbation nor followers. On the contrary, it was universally and deliberately ignored, suppressed, and, where possible, smothered because through its presence that fine old game would have been upset, as is the shadow-play on the wall by the incoming light of day. Accordingly, I became the iron mask or, as the noble Dorguth says, the Caspar Hausers of the professors of philosophy, secluded from air and light so that no one would see me and my natural claims might not gain authority. But now the man who was killed by the silence of the professors of philosophy, has risen again from the dead, to their great consternation, for they do not know at all what expression they should now assume.

_______________

Notes:

1 ['The doctrine of meaning'.) 
 
2 ['The doctrine of truth '.]

3 [' Whereas in the doctrine of truth he (Melissus) declares that what exists is one, in the doctrine of meaning he asserts that there are two (many) of them.']

4 [' Mind' and 'homogeneous elements of things'.]

5 ['Love and hatred'.]

6 ['Copies, likenesses'.]

7 ['The good can be spoken twice and also thrice.' (Proverb.)]

8 ['Something of everything is to be found in everything.']

9 [' Everything is indeed blended with everything.']

10 [' A vast field of evil'.]

11 [' Agreement of all peoples'.] 

12 [The Editiones Bipontinae were editions, mainly of the Greek and Latin classics, published in Zweibrucken in Germany, from 1779 onwards.]
 
13 (' For the properties and proportions of numbers are the basis for the properties and relations of things, as for example, the double, one and a third, one and a half.']

14 (This work was not written by Plutarch.]

15 (' The Pythagoreans said that an active fire is to be found in the middle and centre of the earth which gives warmth and life to the earth.']

16 ('The ten principles' (of the Pythagoreans).]

17 ['In the beginning was the word.')

18 ['"The emotions are material numerical relations;" and shortly after, "for the numerical relation is the form of the thing.''')

19 ['Creative reason' (containing the germs of all things).)

20 ['However, we cannot pass over in silence the followers of Pythagoras when they say: God is one; but he is not, as some imagine, outside the universe, but inside it. He is the entire sphere as overlord of all origin, as pervading everything. He exists eternally and is a master of all his own forces and works, a light in the heavens, father of the universe, spirit and inspiration of the whole world-orbit, movement of the universe.'] 

21 ['"An old opinion finds favour with the natural philosophers that the homogeneous is knowable for the homogeneous." Shortly afterwards: "But in the Timaeus Plato makes use of this very method of proof to demonstrate the incorporeal nature of the soul. For if, he says, the face is adapted to light because it is susceptible to light, and hearing is aerially conditioned because it perceives the concussion of the air, namely the tone, and smell because it experiences fumes and vapours, is at all events so conditioned, and taste is similarly adapted because it tastes juices, then the soul must also be of necessity an incorporeal essence because it knows incorporeal ideas as, for example, those in numbers and those to be found in the forms of bodies." ']

22 [' But if thought is a kind of imagination, or takes place not without imagination, then something of the kind cannot take place without body.']

23 [' In the intellect there is nothing that has not previously existed in the senses.']

24 [' Eternal truths'.)

25 ['The thinking substance and the extended substance are one and the same substance which is comprehended now under this attribute, now under that.')

26 ['To think is to perceive.')

27 ['Therefore let us take another starting-point for our consideration.']

28 ['What matter of importance can be promised by this opening of the mouth?']
  
29 [' Commonplaces, platitudes'.]

* The older authors who ascribe to Aristotle actual theism, take their proofs from the books De mundo which are definitely not by him. This, of course, is now generally accepted.

30 [' Every being of nature strives to preserve itself.']
  
31 ['Creative reason' (containing the germs of all things).]

32 ['Calmness', 'serenity', 'equanimity'.]

33 ['From us'.]

34 ['Of concern to us'.]

35 [' Sequence of ideas'.)

36 [' Out of the East comes the light.')

37 ['The desires of souls (before their birth) contribute most to the shaping of their course of life, and we do not look as if we had been formed from without, but from out of ourselves we come across the elective decisions whereby we live.']

38 [Being by and of itself. All other being are ab alio, dependent in their existence on a creator (God).]

39 ['We do not look as if we had been formed from without.']

40 [' On the essential nature of the soul.']

41 ['Whether all souls are one.']

42 ['For there is for this universe no other place than the soul or mind.']

43 ['We should not accept time outside the soul or mind.']

44 [' The world of Ideas and the world of the senses'.]

45 ['Up there and here below'.]

46 ['The purification and perfection of the soul and the liberation from becoming; ... the fire at the sacrifice delivers us from the fetters of becoming.']

47 ['Willy-nilly'.]

48 [' Sin is causeless ... it is entirely causeless and insubstantial.']

49 [' Everything was very good.' 'Hence those tears.')

50 ['From sheer wantonness'.)

* For the rest, the spiritus animales occur as something well known in Vanini, De naturae Arcanis, Dial. 49. Their originator is possibly (De anatome cerebri; De anima brutorum, Geneva, 1680, pp. 35 ff.) Flourens, De la vie et de l'intelligence, vol. ii, p. 72, ascribes them to Galen. Indeed even Jamblichus in Stobaeus (Eclogues, lib. I, c. 52, § 29) mentions them pretty clearly as a doctrine of the Stoics.

51 ['Physical influence'.]

52 ['We see everything in God,']
  
53 [' The most perfect of all beings'.)

54 [' Cause of itself': that whose nature cannot be conceived as not existing.)

55 [A logical inconsistency between a noun and its modifying adjective, such as ‘round square'. 'wooden iron', 'cold fire', 'hot snow'.)

56 [' The first false step'. i.e. the fault in a premiss which is the cause of the conclusion's also being false.)
  
57 [' Confusion of ground and consequent'.]

58 ['The cowl does not make a monk.')

59 [' Besides human beings, we know of no individual being in nature whose mentality could give us pleasure, and with whom we could be united through friendship or through any kind of association.']

60 ['Indispensable condition'.)

61 ['Which he saw through the mist as it were'.)

62 [' Simplicity is the stamp of truth.']

63 ['Vicious circle'.]

64 ['He begins by doubting everything and ends by believing everything'.]

65 ['By hook or by crook'.)

66 Here I observe once for all that the pagination of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, from which I usually quote, is also appended to Rosenkranz's edition.

[The page numbering of the German first edition is given in square brackets in the text of Prof. Max Muller's English translation (1881; repr. with additions, 1896) of the Critique of Pure Reason.]

67 [' What transcends the power of algebra'.] 

* The Critique of Pure Reason has transformed ontology into dianoiology.

* Just as our eye produces green, red, and blue, so does our brain produce, time, space, and causality (whose objectified abstraction is matter). My intuitive perception of a body in space is the product of my sense-function and brain-function with x.

* Everything has two kinds of properties, those that can be known a priori, and those that can be known only a posteriori. The former spring from the intellect that apprehends them, the latter from the essence-in-itself of the thing which is what we find in ourselves as will.

68 ['This could be asserted and could not be refuted.']

* Nowadays the study of the Kantian philosophy is still specially useful in showing us how low philosophical literature in Germany has sunk since the Critique of Pure Reason was written. Kant's profound investigations are in such striking contrast with the crude twaddle of today; and in connection with this we imagine we see, on the one hand, hopeful candidates and, on the other, barbers' assistants.

69 See the preface to my Fundamental Problems of Ethics.

70 [' One must be a sage to recognize a sage.']

71 ['The mind alone is capable of understanding the mind.']

72 ['Willy-nilly'.]

* Since the above was written, things with us have changed. In consequence of the resurrection of time-honoured and ten-times-exploded materialism, philosophers have appeared from the druggist's shop and the dispensary, men who have learnt nothing but what belongs to their profession, and who now quite innocently and honestly lecture on their old-women's speculation and dispute over' body and soul' and their relation to each other, as though Kant had just been born. Indeed (credite posteri! ['believe it, posterity!']), they show that the seat of the aforesaid soul is in the brain. Their audacity merits the reprimand that one must have learnt something to be allowed to join in the discussion and that they would be wiser not to expose themselves to the unpleasant allusions to apothecaries and the catechism.

73 [' Begging of the question'; a fallacy involving the assumption, as premisses, of one or more propositions that are identical with (or equivalent to) the conclusion to be proved.]

74 [It is possible that 'ein Fixstern', rather than 'kein Fixstern' should be the reading here. On this point the Translator consulted Arthur Hubscher, the editor of the German edition. Since 'kein Fixstern' does make sense, and since it is the reading of all the earlier editions from the first onwards, neither felt justified in making this emendation.)

* If things are considered quite realistically and objectively, it is as clear as daylight that the world maintains itself. Organic beings subsist and propagate by virtue of their own inner and original vital force. Inorganic bodies bear within themselves forces whereof physics and chemistry are the mere description; and the planets proceed in their courses from inner forces by virtue of their inertia and gravitation. Hence for its subsistence the world needs no one outside itself. For this is Vishnu.

But to say that at some point in time this world with all its indwelling forces did not exist at all, but was produced out of nothing by a foreign force lying outside it, is a wholly vain and futile notion that is incapable of any proof or support, more especially as all its forces are bound up with matter, whose arising or passing away cannot even be conceived by us.

This conception of the world will do for Spinozism. It is very natural for men in their extreme anguish to have conceived everywhere beings who control the forces of nature and the course thereof in order to be able to invoke them. The Greeks and Romans, however, were content to let the matter rest with the control exercised by each being in its own sphere. It never occurred to them to say that one of them had made the world and the forces of nature.

75 [' Existence does not pertain to the essence of anything. ')

76 ['Cause of itself, i.e. which exists by and through itself and is conceived through itself; hence it requires nothing else in order to exist.')

77 ['Conjuring trick'.)

78 [' Grain of salt'.]

* As regards the genesis of this divine consciousness, we recently had a remarkable pictorial illustration, namely a copper engraving depicting a mother and her three-year-old child kneeling on the bed with hands folded, whom she is teaching to pray. This certainly is a frequent occurrence constituting the genesis of the divine consciousness; for there is no doubt that after the brain has been moulded in this way at the tenderest age and in the first stage of its development, the divine consciousness has become as firmly embedded as if it were actually inborn.

79 ['Nature naturing', 'creative nature'; the term is used by Spinoza and other philosophers.) 

80 [' Nature natured'. 'created nature'; the complex of all created things; the term is used by Spinoza and other philosophers.]

81 ['Proof is incumbent on the man who makes a positive assertion.']

82 ['The right of first occupancy'.]

83 [A logical inconsistency between a noun and its modifying adjective, such as 'round square', 'wooden iron', 'cold fire', 'hot snow'.)

84 Caspar Hauser (1812?-33) was a German foundling youth of mysterious and controversial origins.

85 In an essay on his religion given by him to a Catholic bishop, the Zaradobura, the Chief Rahan (High Priest) of the Buddhists in Ava, reckons as one of the six damnable heresies the doctrine that a being exists who created the world and all things therein and is alone worthy of worship; Francis Buchanan, On the Religion of the Burmas, in the Asiatic Researches, vol. vi, p. 268. Here it is also worth mentioning what is said in the same series, vol. xv, p. 148, namely that the Buddhists do not bow down before any idol, giving as their reason the fact that the primary being permeates the whole of nature and consequently is also in their heads. Similarly, I. J. Schmidt, the profoundly erudite orientalist of St. Petersburg Academy, says in his Forschungen im Gebiete der alteren Bildungsgeschichte Mitelasiens, St. Petersburg, 1824, p. 180: 'The system or Buddhism knows no eternal, uncreated, single, divine being who existed prior to all time and created everything visible and invisible. This idea is quite foreign to it, and not the slightest trace of it is found in Buddhist books. Just as little is there a creation', and so on. Where, then, is the 'divine consciousness' of the professors of philosophy who have been embarrassed by Kant and the truth? How is this to be reconciled with the fact that the language of the Chinese, who constitute about two-fifths of the human race, has no expressions at all for God and Creation? Thus the first verse of the Pentateuch cannot be translated into Chinese, to the great perplexity of the missionaries whom Sir George Staunton wished to help with his book entitled: An Inquiry into the proper mode of rendering the word God in translating the Sacred Scriptures into the Chinese Language, London, 1848.

* From God, who was originally Jehovah, philosophers and theologians have stripped off one covering after another until in the end nothing is left but the word.

86 [' Proof is incumbent on the man who makes a positive assertion.')

87 ['A being who has received everything can act only in keeping with what has been given to him; and all the power of God which is infinite could not make him independent.']

88 ('The will's free decision, uninfluenced by any antecedent determination.']

89 [' Of such animals that incline to the earth and serve their bellies'. (Sallust, Catilina, c. 1.)]

90 [Being by and of itself. All other beings are ab olio, dependent in their existence on a creator (God).]

91 [' I am all these creatures, every one of them, and besides me no other being exists.')

* The real religion of the Jews, as presented and taught in Genesis and all the historical books up to the end of Chronicles, is the crudest of all religions because it is the only one that has absolutely no doctrine of immortality, not even a trace thereof. When he dies, each king, each hero or prophet, is buried with his fathers and with this everything is finished. There is no trace of any existence after death; indeed every idea of this kind seems to be purposely dismissed. For example, Jehovah delivers a long eulogy to King Josiah and ends it with the promise of a reward. It says: [x] ['Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace.' 2 Chronicles 34: 28); thus he shall not live to see Nebuchadnezzar. But there is no idea of another existence after death and with it of a positive reward instead of the merely negative one of dying and of suffering no further sorrows. On the contrary, when Jehovah has sufficiently used up and tormented his handiwork and plaything, he throws it away into the ditch; that is the reward for it. Just because the religion of the Jews knows no immortality and consequently no punishments after death, Jehovah can threaten the sinner, the one who prospers on earth, only with punishing his misdeeds in the persons of his children and children's children unto the fourth generation, as may be seen in Exodus 34:7, and Numbers 14: 18. This proves the absence of any doctrine of immortality. Likewise the passage in Tobias, 3: 6, where the latter begs Jehovah to let him die, [x] ['that I may be saved, and return to dust']; nothing more, no notion of an existence after death. In the Old Testament the reward promised to virtue is to live a really long time on earth (e.g. Deuteronomy 5:16 and 33); in the Veda, on the other hand, it is not to be born again. The contempt in which the Jews were always held by contemporary peoples may have been due in great measure to the poor character of their religion. What is said in Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20 is the true sentiment of the Jews' religion. If immortality is alluded to, as in Daniel 12:2, it is as an imported foreign doctrine, as is evident from Daniel, :4 and 6. In the second book of Maccabees, chapter 7, the doctrine of immortality appears clearly to be of Babylonian origin. All other religions, those of the Indians, both Brahmans and Buddhists, of the Egyptians, Persians, and even of the Druids, teach immortality and, with the exception of the Persians in the Zendavesta, metempsychosis as well. D. G. v. Ekendahl establishes in his review of the Svenska Siare och Skalder of Atterbom, in the Blatter fur litter. Unterhaltung, 25 August 1843, that the Edda, especially the Voluspa, teaches transmigration of souls. Even Greeks and Romans had something post letum ['after death'], namely Tartarus and Elysium, and said:

unt aliquid manes, letum non omnia finit:
Luridaque evictos effugit umbra rogos.
Propertius, IV. 7.

['The shades of the departed are still something, death does not end all: the lurid shadow rises triumphant from the fiery flames.']


Speaking generally, the really essential element in a religion as such consists in the conviction it gives that our existence proper is not limited to our life, but is infinite. Now this wretched religion of the Jews does not do this at all, in fact it does not even attempt it. It is, therefore, the crudest and poorest of all religions and consists merely in an absurd and revolting theism. It amounts to this that the [x] ['Lord'], who has created the world, desires to be worshipped and adored; and so above all he is jealous, is envious of his colleagues, of all the other gods; if sacrifices are made to them he is furious and his Jews have a bad time. All these other religions and their gods are stigmatized in the Septuagint as [x] ['abomination']; but it is crude Judaism without any immortality that really merits this description. It is most deplorable that this religion has become the basis of the prevailing religion of Europe; for it is a religion without any metaphysical tendency. While all other religions endeavour to explain to the people by symbols and parables the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry in the struggle with other nations. Lessing's Erziehung des Menschmgeschlechts should be called education of the Jewish race, for the whole of the human race with the exception of these elect of God was convinced of that truth. The Jews are the chosen people of their God and he is the chosen God of his people. And this need not trouble anyone else. [x] ['I will be their God, and they shall be my people'] is a passage from one of the prophets, according to Clement of Alexandria. But when I observe that the present nations of Europe to a certain extent regard themselves as the heirs to that chosen people of God, I cannot conceal my regret. On the other hand, Judaism cannot be denied the reputation of being the only really monotheistic religion on earth; for no other religion can boast of an objective God, creator of heaven and earth.

92 ['The spirit fell in love with its own origin.']

93 [' But it did not itself recognize its own creation.']

94 [' Whoever has truth to tell expresses himself simply. Simplicity is the seal of truth.']

95 [' With just so many letters'.]

96 [' With just so many words'.)

97 [' Down with those who, prior to us, have expressed our ideas.']

98 ['Therefore willing precedes everything; for the forces of reason are the handmaidens of willing.')

99 ['Cupidity is precisely that which constitutes everyone's nature or true essence.']

1 ['This impulse is called will when it is referred to the mind alone; it is called appetite when it is referred simultaneously to mind and body; and it is nothing but man's real essence.']

2 ['There are no means which an envious man, in the guise of justice, will not employ to belittle merit ... It is mere envy which makes us find among the ancients every modern discovery. A phrase devoid of meaning, or at any rate unintelligible prior to those discoveries, suffices to bring an accusation of plagiarism.']

3 [' Whoever takes pleasure in observing the human mind sees how in every century five or six men of intellect wander round the discovery that is made by a man of genius. If the honour of that discovery rests with the latter, this is because the discovery is in his hands more fruitful than in those of everyone else; because he expresses his ideas with greater force and precision; and finally because we can always see from the different ways in which men make use of a principle or discovery to whom that principle or discovery belongs.']

4 [' When we see the league of blockheads against men of intelligence, we think we are witnessing a conspiracy of servants to overthrow their masters.']

5 [Caspar Hauser (1812?-33), a German foundling youth of mysterious and controversial origins, claimed to have spent most of his life in solitary confinement.]
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:34 pm

Part 1 of 4

ON PHILOSOPHY AT THE UNIVERSITIES

[x]

-- Plato, The Republic, Book VII.

['Philosophy has fallen into contempt because people are not engaged in it to the extent that it merits; for not spurious, but genuine, philosophers should devote themselves to it.']


On Philosophy at the Universities

THE teaching of philosophy at universities certainly benefits it in various ways. Thus it obtains an official existence and its standard is raised before the eyes of men whereby its existence is constantly brought to mind and men are made aware of it. But the main advantage from this will be that many a young and capable mind is made acquainted with it and is encouraged to study it. Yet it must be admitted that, whoever is capable and thus in need of it, would also come across it and make its acquaintance in other ways. For those who cherish one another, and are born for one another, readily come together; kindred souls already greet one another from afar. Thus such a man will be more powerfully and effectively stirred by every work of any genuine philosopher which happens to come into his hands than is possible through the lectures of a chair-philosopher, such as are given by the day. Plato should also be carefully read on the classical side of schools because he is the most effective means for stimulating the philosophical mind. But, in general, I have gradually formed the opinion that the above-mentioned use of the chair-philosophy is burdened with the disadvantage which philosophy as a profession imposes on philosophy as the free investigation of truth, or which philosophy by government order imposes on philosophy in the name of nature and mankind.

In the first place, a government will not pay people to contradict directly, or even only indirectly, what it has had promulgated from all the pulpits by thousands of its appointed priests or religious teachers; for in so far as such a proceeding were effective, it would inevitably render ineffective the former organization. For it is well known that judgements cancel one another not merely through contradictory, but also through merely contrary, opposites. Thus for example, the judgement 'the rose is red' is contradicted not merely by 'it is not red', but also by 'it is yellow', a judgement that in this respect achieves just as much or even more. Hence the maxim improbant secus docentes. [1] But through this circumstance university philosophers land themselves in a very curious position whose open secret may here receive a few words. In all the other branches of knowledge the professors are obliged only to teach as far as possible and to the best of their ability what is true and correct. But only in the case of professors of philosophy are we to understand the matter cum grano salis. [2] Thus we have here a curious state of affairs due to the fact that the problem of their science is the same as that about which religion also in its way gives us information. I have, therefore, described religion as the metaphysics of the people. Accordingly, the professors of philosophy are also, of course, supposed to teach what is true and correct; but this must be fundamentally and essentially the same as that which is also taught by the established religion that is likewise true and correct. This is the origin of that naive utterance, already quoted in my 'Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy', which was made in 1840 by quite a reputable professor of philosophy. He said: 'If a philosophy denies the fundamental ideas of Christianity, then either it is false, or, even if true, it is of no use.' From this we see that in philosophy at the universities truth occupies only a secondary place and, if called upon, she must get up and make room for another attribute. And so at universities it is this that distinguishes philosophy from all other branches of knowledge that are taught there.

In consequence of this, university authorities will always permit only such a philosophy to be taught so long as the Church lasts. Framed with general regard to the established religion, this philosophy runs essentially parallel thereto; and so, being perhaps intricately composed, curiously trimmed, and thus rendered difficult to understand, it is always at bottom and in the main nothing but a paraphrase and apology of the established religion. Accordingly, for those teaching under these restrictions, there is nothing left but to look for new turns of phrase and forms of speech by which they arrange the contents of the established religion. Disguised in abstract expressions and thereby rendered dry and dull, they then go by the name of philosophy. Yet if someone or other wants to do anything besides this, he will either wander off into neighbouring branches of knowledge or have recourse to all kinds of innocent fudge, such as carrying out difficult analytical computations on the equilibrium of mental pictures in the human head, and similar jests. Meanwhile, university philosophers, restricted in this way, are quite happy about the matter, for their real concern is to earn with credit an honest livelihood for themselves and also for their wives and children and moreover to enjoy a certain prestige in the eyes of the public. On the other hand, the deeply stirred mind of the real philosopher, whose whole concern is to look for the key to our existence, as mysterious as it is precarious, is regarded by them as something mythological, if indeed the man so affected does not even appear to them to be obsessed by a monomania, should he ever be met with among them. For that a man could really be in dead earnest about philosophy does not as a rule occur to anyone, least of all to a lecturer thereon; just as the most sceptical Christian is usually the Pope. It has, therefore, been one of the rarest events for a genuine philosopher to be at the same time a lecturer on philosophy.* In the second volume of my chief work, chap. 17, I have already discussed with reasons and results why Kant himself presented this exceptional case. Moreover, Fichte's well-known fate affords proof of the conditional existence of all university philosophy which I have just revealed, although at bottom this man was a mere sophist and not a real philosopher. Thus in his philosophizing he had dared to disregard the doctrines of the established religion with the result that he was dismissed and, in addition, insulted by the mob. In his case the punishment proved to be effective since, after his subsequent appointment in Berlin, the absolute Ego or I was most obediently converted into the good Lord, and the whole doctrine generally assumed an extremely Christian complexion; evidence of this is furnished in particular by 'Instructions on how to live a happy life'. It is a remarkable circumstance of his case that he was charged mainly with saying that God is nothing but the moral world-order itself; whereas such a statement differs only slightly from the utterance of St. John: 'God is love'. In 1853 a similar fate befell Dr. Fischer, a privat docent [3] of Heidelberg, who had his jus legendi withdrawn because he taught pantheism. Hence the solution is: 'eat up thy pudding, slave, and give out as philosophy Jewish mythology!' But the jest of the matter is that these men call themselves philosophers and as such pass judgement on me; in fact with an air of superiority they cut a dash at my expense. For forty years they did not deign to look down at me, regarding me as not worth their notice. But the State must protect its own people and should, therefore, pass a law forbidding anyone to make fun of professors of philosophy.

Accordingly, it is easy for us to see that, under such circumstances, the chair-philosophy cannot very well help acting like

A long-legged grasshopper appears to be,
That springing flies, and flying springs;
And in the grass the same old ditty sings. [4]


The hazardous part of the business is also the mere possibility, still to be admitted, that the ultimate insight into the nature of things attainable by man, into his very being and that of the world, might not coincide exactly with the doctrines which were in part made known to the former little race of the Jews and in part appeared in Jerusalem eighteen hundred years. ago. In order to dispel this doubt once for all, the professor of philosophy called Hegel invented the expression C absolute religion' with which he also attained his object, for he knew his public. For the chair-philosophy it is also actually and really absolute, in other words, such as should and must be absolutely and positively true, or else ... ! Again, others of these investigators of the truth weld philosophy and religion into one centaur which they call philosophy of religion; they too are in the habit of teaching that religion and philosophy are really the same thing. Such a statement, however, appears to be true only in the sense in which Francis I is supposed to have said in a very conciliatory tone with reference to Charles V: 'what my brother Charles wants is also what I want', namely Milan. Others again do not stand on such ceremony, but talk bluntly about a Christian philosophy, which is much the same as if we were to speak of a Christian arithmetic, and this would be stretching a point. Moreover, epithets taken from such dogmas are obviously unbecoming of philosophy, for it is devoted to the attempt of the faculty of reason to solve by its own means and independently of all authority the problem of existence. As a science, philosophy has nothing whatever to do with what mayor should or must be believed, but merely with what can be known. Now if this should turn out to be something quite different from what we have to believe, then even so faith would not be impaired, for it is so by virtue of its containing what we cannot know. If we could also know this, then faith would appear as something quite useless and even ridiculous, just as if a dogma were set up over the themes of mathematics. If, however, we are convinced that the truth, whole and entire, is contained and expressed in the established religion, then we should restrain ourselves and give up all philosophizing; for we should not pretend to be what we are not. The pretence of the impartial investigation of truth, with the resolve to make the established religion the result, indeed the measure and control, of truth, is intolerable and such a philosophy, tied to the established religion like a dog to a chain, is only the vexatious caricature of the highest and noblest endeavour of mankind. Meanwhile, that very philosophy of religion, described as being like a centaur, is one of the principal articles offered for sale by university philosophers. In its way, it really amounts to a kind of gnosis or knowledge, to a philosophizing on certain favourite assumptions that are not confirmed at all. Programme-titles such as De verae philosophiae erga religionem pietate, [5] a suitable inscription over such a philosophical sheepfold, clearly indicate the tendency and motives of professorial philosophy. It is true that these tame philosophers occasionally make a dash that appears to be perilous; but we can with composure bide our time, convinced that they will arrive at the goal they have fixed once for all. Indeed at times we feel tempted to think that they had finished with their seriously meant philosophical investigations even before their twelfth year and that at that age they had for the rest of their lives settled their view on the nature of the world and on everything pertaining thereto. We feel so tempted because after all the philosophical discussions and dangerous deviations under venturesome leaders, they always come back to what is usually made plausible to us at that tender age and appear to accept this even as the criterion of truth. All heterodox philosophical doctrines, with which they must at times be concerned in the course of their lives, appear to them to exist merely to be refuted and thus to establish those others the more firmly. We are bound even to admire the way in which they have managed to retain so unsullied their inner philosophical innocence, spending their lives as they do among so many mischievous heresies.

Anyone who, after all this, is still in doubt concerning the spirit and aim of university philosophy, should consider the fate of Hegel's pretended wisdom. Has it in any way been discredited by virtue of the fact that its fundamental ideas were the absurdest fancy, a world turned upside down, a philosophical buffoonery, [6] or by virtue of its contents being the hollowest and most senseless display of words ever lapped up by blockheads, and its presentation, as seen in the works of the author himself, being the most repulsive and nonsensical gibberish, recalling the rantings of a bedlamite? No, not in the least! On the contrary, it has flourished these twenty years as the most brilliant chair-philosophy that has ever brought in fees and emoluments; it has grown fat and been proclaimed throughout Germany in hundreds of books as the final pinnacle of human wisdom and the philosophy of philosophies; in fact it has been lauded to the skies. Students were examined in it and professors appointed to teach it. Anyone not wishing to go with the rest was declared to be a 'fool on his own responsibility'? by the impudent tutor of its author, as docile as he is dull; and even the few who ventured a feeble opposition against such mischief, were diffident and shy in face of the recognition and acknowledgement of the 'great mind and boundless genius '-that preposterous philosophaster. Proof of what is here said is furnished by the whole literature of this pretty business which, now as completed documents, passes through the outer court of sneering and mocking neighbours to that seat of judgement where we all meet again, to the tribunal of posterity. Among other weapons wielded by that tribunal, a bell of infamy is tolled which can be rung even for a whole age. Now what has finally happened to bring that glory so suddenly to an end, to occasion the fall of the bestia trionfante, and to disperse a whole host of its mercenaries and simpletons, except a few remnants who, herded together as stragglers and marauders under the banner of the Halle'sche Jahrbucher, were still permitted for a while to carryon their mischief, to the extent of a public scandal, and with the exception of a few miserable duffers who even today believe in and hawk round what was imposed on them in the years of their youth? Simply that someone had the mischievous idea to point out that this is a university philosophy agreeing with the established religion only apparently and in the letter, but not actually and in a real sense. By itself this reproach was well founded, for it was this that Neo-Catholicism subsequently demonstrated. German or Neo-Catholicism is thus nothing but popularized Hegelry. Like this, it leaves unexplained the world which is just there without any further information. The world merely receives the name God, and mankind the name Christ. Both are an 'end in itself', in other words, they exist so that one can have a good time as long as this brief life lasts. Gaudeamus igitur! [8] And the Hegelian apotheosis of the State further leads to communism. A very complete description of Neo-Catholicism in this sense is given by F. Kampe, in his Geschichte der religiosen Bewegung neuerer Zeit, vol. iii, 1856.

But that such a reproach could be the Achilles' heel of a prevailing philosophical system, shows us

You know the quality that can
Decide the choice, and elevate the man, [9]


or what is the real criterion of truth and the admissibility of a philosophy at German universities and on what it depends. Moreover, an attack of this kind, even apart from the contemptible nature of every charge of heresy, was bound to have been quite briefly disposed of with [x]. [10]

Whoever requires yet further proofs of the same view, should consider the sequel to the great Hegel farce, namely Herr v. Schelling's immediately following and extremely well-timed conversion from Spinozism to bigotry and his subsequent transfer from Munich to Berlin, accompanied by the trumpetings of all the newspapers. According to their hints and allusions, one might imagine that he was bringing the personal God in his pocket for whom there was such a great demand; whereupon the throng of students became so great that they even climbed through the windows into the lecture-room. Then at the end of the course, the great diploma for men was most submissively handed to him by a number of professors of the university who had attended his lectures; and altogether he kept up without a blush the whole of the extremely brilliant, and no less lucrative, role in Berlin; and this in his old age when in nobler natures concern over the reputation a man leaves behind outweighs every other. At anything like this, one might in the ordinary way feel depressed; indeed one might almost imagine that the professors of philosophy themselves ought to raise a blush, yet that would be expecting too much. Now anyone who, after considering such a consummation, has not had his eyes opened to the chair-philosophy and its heroes, is past help.

Fairness, however, demands that we should judge university philosophy not merely as here, from the standpoint of its alleged purpose, but also from that of its true and proper aim. In fact, it comes to this that the junior barristers, solicitors, doctors, probationers, and pedagogues of the future should maintain, even in their innermost conviction, the same line of thought in keeping with the aims and intentions that the State and its government have in common with them. I have no objection to this and so in this respect have nothing to say. For I do not consider myself competent to judge of the necessity or needlessness of such a State expedient, but rather leave it to those who have the difficult task of governing men, that is to say, of maintaining law and order, peace and quiet among many millions of a boundlessly egoistical, unjust, unfair, dishonest, envious, malicious, perverse, and narrow-minded race, to judge from the great majority, and of protecting the few who have acquired property from the immense number of those who have nothing but their physical strength. The task is so difficult that I certainly do not presume to argue with them over the means to be employed in this case; for my motto has always been: 'Thank God, each morning, therefore, that you have not the Roman realm to care for!' [11] But it was these constitutional aims of university philosophy which procured for Hegelry such unprecedented ministerial favour. For to it the State was 'the absolute perfect ethical organism', and it represented as originating in the State the whole aim of human existence. Could there be for future junior barristers and thus for state officials a better preparation than this, in consequence whereof their whole substance and being, their body and soul, were entirely forfeited to the State, like bees in a beehive, and they had nothing else to work for, either in this world or the next, except to become efficient wheels, co-operating for the purpose of keeping in motion the great State machine, that ultimus finis bonorum? [12] The junior barrister and man were accordingly one and the same. It was a real apotheosis of philistinism.

But the relation of such a university philosophy to the State is one thing and its relation to philosophy proper is another. In this connection, it might as pure philosophy be distinguished from the former as applied. Thus pure philosophy knows no other aim than truth; and then it might follow that every other aim, aspired to by means thereof, would tend to prove fatal to this. Its lofty goal is the satisfaction of that noble need, called by me the metaphysical, which at all times among men makes itself deeply and ardently felt, but which asserts itself most strongly when, as at the present time, the prestige and authority of dogma have been ever more on the decline. Thus dogma is intended for, and suited to, the great mass of the human race; and as such it can contain merely allegorical truth that it nevertheless has to pass off as truth sensu proprio. Now with the ever-greater extension of every kind of historical, physical, and even philosophical knowledge, the number of those whom dogma can no longer satisfy becomes ever greater and they will press more and more for truth sensu proprio. But then in view of this demand, what can such a nervis alienis mobile [13] chair-puppet do? And yet how far shall we get with the subsidized petticoat-philosophy, with hollow word-structures, with fine flourishes that mean nothing and render unintelligible by a torrent of words the commonest and most obvious truths, or even with Hegel's absolute nonsense? On the other hand, if from the wilderness the righteous and honest John were actually to come who, clothed in skins and living on locusts and untouched by all the terrible mischief, were meanwhile to apply himself with a pure heart and in all seriousness to the investigation of truth and to offer the fruits thereof, what kind of a reception would he have to expect from those businessmen of the chair, who are hired for State purposes and with wife and family have to live on philosophy, and whose watchword is, therefore, primum vivere, deinde philosophari? [14] These men have accordingly taken possession of the market and have already seen to it that here nothing is of value except what they allow; consequently merit exists only in so far as they and their mediocrity are pleased to acknowledge it. They thus have on a leading rein the attention of that small public, such as it is, that is concerned with philosophy. For on matters that do not promise, like the productions of poetry, amusement and entertainment but only instruction, and financially unprofitable instruction at that, that public will certainly not waste its time, effort, and energy, without first being thoroughly assured that such efforts will be richly rewarded. Now by virtue of its inherited belief that whoever lives by a business knows all about it, this public expects an assurance from the professional men who from professor's chairs and in compendiums, journals, and literary periodicals, confidently behave as if they were the real masters of the subject. Accordingly, the public allows them to sample and select for it whatever is worth noting and what can be ignored. My poor John from the wilderness, how will you fare if, as is to be expected, what you bring is not drafted in accordance with the tacit convention of the gentlemen of the lucrative philosophy? They will regard you as one who has not entered into the spirit of the game and thus threatens to spoil the fun for all of them; consequently, they will regard you as their common enemy and antagonist. Now even if what you bring were the greatest masterpiece of the human mind, it could never find favour in their eyes. For it would not be drawn up ad normam conventionis; [15] and so it would not be such as to enable them to make it the subject of their lectures from the chair in order to make a living from it. It never occurs to a professor of philosophy to examine a new system that appears to see whether it is true; but he at once tests it merely to see whether it can be brought into harmony with the doctrines of the established religion, with government plans, and with the prevailing views of the times. After all this he decides its fate. But if it were yet to carry its point and proved to be instructive and to contain information; even if it attracted the attention of the public and were worth studying, then to this extent it would inevitably deprive the chair-philosophy of that same attention, in fact of its credit and, worse still, of its sale. Di meliora? [16] Therefore such a thing must not be allowed to happen and all must resist it to a man. The method and tactics for this are furnished by a happy instinct, such as is readily given to every being for its self-preservation. Thus to challenge and refute a philosophy that runs counter to the norma conventionis, especially where one detects merits and certain qualities that are not conferred by a professor's diploma, is often a risky business on which, in the last resort, one should certainly not venture. For in this way, works whose suppression is indicated would acquire notoriety and be sought after by the inquisitive; but then extremely unwelcome comparisons might be drawn and the result might be critical and precarious. On the contrary, as brothers of the same turn of mind and also of like ability, they unanimously regard such an inconvenient piece of work as non avenu. [17] In order to suppress and smother it, they regard with the greatest unconcern the most important as quite unimportant and what has been thoroughly thought out and has existed for centuries as not worth talking about. They maliciously compress their lips and remain silent, yes silent with that silentium quod livor indixerit [18] that is denounced even by old Seneca (Epistulae, 79). At times, they crow the more loudly over the abortive intellectual offspring and monsters of the fraternity, comforted by the thought that what no one knows is as good as non-existent, and that things in the world pass for what they seem to be and for what they are called, not for what they are. This is the safest and least dangerous method against merit and accordingly I might recommend it as the best for all shallow minds who seek their livelihood from things that call for higher talent and ability, yet without my vouching for the ultimate consequences of this.

However, the gods should certainly not be invoked here over an inauditum nefas, [19] All this is only a scene from the play which we have before us at all times and in all arts and sciences, that is to say, the old conflict between those who live for the cause and those who live by it, or between those who are it and those who represent it. To some it is the end in view to which their life is the mere means; to others it is the means, indeed the irksome condition, for life, well-being, enjoyment, and domestic happiness in which alone their true earnestness lies, since it is here that nature has drawn the boundary to their sphere of activity. Whoever wishes to see examples of this and become more closely acquainted therewith, should study the history of literature and read the biographies of great masters of every kind and in every art. He will then see that it has been so at all times and will understand that it will always remain so. Everyone recognizes it in the past, hardly anyone in the present. The illustrious pages of the history of literature are at the same time almost invariably the tragic. In all branches of knowledge they show us how, as a rule, merit has had to wait till the fools had stopped fooling, the merry-making had come to an end, and all had gone to bed. It then arose, like a ghost in the dead of night, to occupy the place of honour that was withheld from it, yet ultimately still as a shadow.

Here, however, we are concerned solely with philosophy and its advocates. In the first place, we now find that very few philosophers have ever been professors of philosophy, and even relatively fewer professors of philosophy have been philosophers. Therefore it might be said that, just as idioelectrical bodies are non-conductors of electricity, so philosophers are not professors of philosophy. In fact this appointment, almost more than any other, obstructs the independent thinker. For the philosophical chair is to a certain extent a public confessional, where a man makes his confession of faith coram populo. [20] Again, hardly anything is so obstructive to the actual attainment of a thorough or very deep insight and thus of true wisdom, as the constant obligation to appear wise, the showing off of so-called knowledge in the presence of pupils eager to learn and the readiness to answer every conceivable question. Worst of all, however, is that a man in such a position is seized with anxiety when any idea occurs to him, whether such will fit in with the aims and intentions of his superiors. This paralyses his thinking to such an extent that such ideas themselves no longer dare occur. The atmosphere of freedom is indispensable to truth. I have already mentioned what is necessary concerning the exceptio quae firmat regulam [21] that Kant was a professor. Here I merely add that even his philosophy would have been more remarkable, firmer, purer, and finer had he not been invested with that professorship. Nevertheless, as far as possible, he very wisely drew a distinction between the philosopher and the professor, since from the chair he did not lecture on his own doctrine (See Rosenkranz, Geschichte der Kantischen Philosophie, p. 148).

Now if I look back at the so-called philosophers who have appeared in the half-century that has elapsed since Kant's activities, I am afraid I see no one of whom I could say to his credit that he was really and seriously concerned with the investigation of truth. On the contrary, I find them all, although not always clearly conscious of this, zealously bent on the mere semblance of the business, on producing an effect, on imposing and even mystifying in order to obtain the approbation of their superiors and subsequently of their students. In this connection, the ultimate aim is always to spend the proceeds of the business on living comfortably with wife and family. But it is also really in keeping with human nature which, like the animal, knows as its immediate aims only eating, drinking, and the care of offspring, that it has obtained in addition, as its special apanage, a mania for shining and showing off. On the other hand, the first condition of real and genuine achievements in philosophy, as in poetry and the fine arts, is a wholly abnormal disposition which, contrary to the rule of human nature, puts in the place of the subjective striving for the well-being of one's own person, a wholly objective striving, directed to an achievement that is foreign to one's own person and precisely on this account is very appropriately called eccentric and sometimes even ridiculed as quixotic. But even Aristotle said: [x] (Neque vero nos oportet humana sapere ac sentire, ut quidam monent, quum simus homines; neque mortalia, quum mortales, sed nos ipsos, quoad ejus fieri potest, a mortalitate vindicare, atque omnia facere, ut ei nostri parti, quae in nobis est optima, convenienter vivamus. [22]. Nicomachean Ethics, x. 7). Such an intellectual tendency is certainly an extremely rare anomaly; but precisely on that account its fruits in the course of time benefit the whole of mankind, since fortunately they are such as can be preserved. On further consideration, we can divide thinkers into those who think for themselves and those who think for others; the latter are the rule, the former the exception. Accordingly, the former are original and independent thinkers in a double sense and egoists in the noblest sense of the word; it is they alone from whom the world obtains instruction. For it is only the light that a man kindles for himself which afterwards radiates for others so that the converse of what Seneca asserts in a moral regard, namely alteri vivas oportet, si vis tibi vivere [23] (Epistulae, 48) is true from an intellectual point of view: tibi cogites oportet, si omnibus cogitasse volueris. [24] But this is precisely that rare anomaly which is not to be enforced by any resolution and good will, yet without which no real progress in philosophy is possible. For others or generally for indirect aims, a man never undergoes the greatest mental exertion which is required for this purpose and which demands just the forgetting of self and of all aims; on the contrary, he stops at the mere semblance and pretence of things. Possibly a few concepts are found and combined in several different ways so that out of them is fashioned a house of cards, as it were; but in this way nothing new and genuine comes into the world. Moreover, there is the fact that those whose real aim is their own wellbeing, thinking being merely the means thereto, must always keep in view the passing needs and inclinations of contemporaries, the aims and intentions of those in authority, and so on. Here one cannot aim at the truth which, even when honestly looked for, is infinitely difficult to come across.

But speaking generally, how is anyone who seeks an honest living for himself and his family to devote himself simultaneously to truth, which has at all times been a dangerous companion and everywhere an unwelcome guest? Presumably it appears naked because it brings nothing and has nothing to bestow, but is sought merely for its own sake. We cannot at the same time serve two such different masters as the world and truth which have nothing in common but the same initial letter; [25] such an undertaking leads to hypocrisy, toadyism, and opportunism. For it can happen that a priest of truth becomes a champion of fraud and deception who earnestly teaches what he himself does not believe, and thus wastes the time and ruins the minds of trusting and gullible youth. Renouncing all literary conscience, he devotes himself to the praising and crying up of influential blunderers and sanctimonious blockheads, or makes a point of deifying the State, of making it the pinnacle of all human efforts and all things because he is paid by the State for State purposes. In this way, he not only turns the philosophical lecture-room into a school of the shallowest philistinism, but in the end, like Hegel for instance, he arrives at the revolting doctrine that man's destiny is identified with the State, somewhat like that of bees in a beehive; whereby the highest goal of our existence is entirely withdrawn from view.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:35 pm

Part 2 of 4

In his descriptions of the Sophists whom he contrasts with Socrates, Plato has shown that philosophy is not suitable for breadwinning; but at the beginning of the Protagoras he has described, delightfully and with matchless humour, the activities and successes of these men. With the ancients money-making with philosophy was always the sign that distinguished the sophist from the philosopher. The relation between the two was, therefore, entirely analogous to that between girls inspired by true love and paid prostitutes. I have already shown in my chief work, vol. ii, chap. 17, that on this account Socrates put Aristippus among the sophists and even Aristotle reckoned him to be one. Stobaeus reports that the Stoics also held similar views (Eclogae ethicae, lib. II, c. 7): [x]. [26] (See Stobaeus, Eclogae physicae et ethicae, ed. Heeren, 2nd Pt., vol. i, p. 226.) The passage in Xenophon, quoted by Stobaeus in the Florilegium, vol. i, p. 57, also runs according to the original (Memorabilia, I. 6. 17): [x]. [27] Ulpian also puts the question: An et philosophi PROFESSORUM numero sint? Et non putem, non quia non religiosa res est, sed quia hoc primum PROFITERI eos oporlet, MERCENARIAM OPERAM SPERNERE.  [28] (Lex, I, §4, Digesta de extraordinana cognitione, 50. 13.) Opinion on this point was so unshakeable that we find it in full force even under the later emperors; for even in Philostratus (lib. I, c. 13), Apollonius of Tyana reproaches his opponent Euphrates mainly with [x] (sapientiam cauponari),  [29] and also in his fifty-first epistle he writes to this very man: [x] (Reprehendunt te quidam, quod pecuniam ab imperatore acceperis: quod absonum non esset, nisi videreris philosophiae mercedem accepisse, et toties, et tam magnam, et ab ilio, qui te philosophum esse putabat.) [30] In keeping with this, he says of himself in the forty-second epistle that he would accept alms in case of necessity, but never a reward for philosophy, not even in case of destitution: [x] (Si quis Apolionio pecunias dederit et qui dat dignus judicatus fuerit ab eo; si opus habuerit, aecipiet. Philosophiae vero mercedem, ne si indigeat quidem, aecipiet), [31] This time-honoured view is well founded and is based on the fact that philosophy has very many points of contact with human life, both public and private. And so if profit is being derived from it, intention at once gains an ascendancy over insight and from self-styled philosophers we get mere parasites of philosophy. But such men will by hostile obstruction oppose the activities of genuine philosophers; in fact they will plot against them merely to assert what their cause is promoting. For as soon as it is a case of profit, it may easily happen that, where interest and advantage demand it, every kind of mean and low device, every form of connivance and coalition and so on, are employed in order to procure for material ends a favourable reception and acceptance for· the false and the inferior. It therefore becomes necessary to suppress the true, the genuine, and the valuable that are opposed to them. But no man is less a match for such stratagems than the genuine philosopher who with his cause might have come under the activities of these tradesmen. Little harm is done to the fine arts, even to poetry, by their serving for gain; for each of their works has by itself a separate existence, and the bad can no more supplant the good than it can eclipse it. But philosophy is a whole and thus a unity; it is directed to truth, not to beauty. There are many kinds of beauty but only one truth; many Muses but only one Minerva. For this reason, the poet may cheerfully disdain to censure what is bad, but the philosopher may find himself in the predicament of having to do so. For now the bad that has found favour opposes the good with downright hostility and the luxuriant weed chokes the useful plant. By its very nature, philosophy is exclusive; in fact it is the basis of the manner of thought of the age; and so the prevailing system, like the sons of sultans, will not tolerate beside it any other. Add to this the fact that judgement is extremely difficult, indeed the procuring of data for it is arduous and laborious. Now if by tricks and stratagems the false is brought into circulation and is everywhere noised abroad by paid stentorian voices as the true and genuine, then the spirit of the times is poisoned, all branches of literature are ruined, all higher flights of the mind are at a standstill, and a bulwark is set up against all that is really good and genuine, and it lasts for a long time. These are the fruits of the [x]. [32] Let us see, by way of illustration, the mischief that has been done to philosophy since Kant's time and what has come of it. But it is only the true story of Hegelian charlatanry and of the ways in which it has been spread about which will one day afford a fitting illustration of what has been said.

In consequence of all this, the man who is concerned not with State and comic philosophy, but with knowledge and hence with the investigation of truth that is meant seriously and without regard for others, will have to look for it anywhere but at the universities, where its sister, the philosophy ad normam conventionis, [33] is in command and writes the bill of fare. Indeed I am more and more inclined to the view that for philosophy it would be more wholesome if it ceased to be a money-making business and no longer appeared in ordinary life and represented by professors. It is a plant which, like the rhododendron and flowers that grow on precipices, thrives only in free mountain air, but which with artificial cultivation degenerates. Those who represent philosophy in ordinary life do so in much the same way as an actor represents the king. Were the sophists, whom Socrates challenged so indefatigably and Plato made the theme of his derision, in any way different from the professors of philosophy and rhetoric? Is it not really that very old feud which I am still carrying on at the present time, since it is has never entirely ceased to exist? The highest efforts of the human mind are at once incompatible with profit; their noble nature cannot be amalgamated therewith. Perhaps philosophy at the universities might still pass muster if its appointed teachers, after the manner of other professors, thought of satisfying their vocation by passing on to the rising generation the knowledge of their particular subject as it exists and passes for truth at the moment, and thus by truly and accurately explaining to their hearers the system of the most recent genuine philosopher and going over in detail all the points. This, of course, would be the case if only they were to apply to their task enough judgement, or at any rate discernment, not to regard as philosophers mere sophists, such as a Fichte or a Schelling, not to speak of a Hegel. But they not only lack the aforesaid qualities; they also labour under the fatal and erroneous idea that it appertains to their office themselves to play the part of philosopher and to present the world with the fruits of their profound thought. From this erroneous idea there now result those productions, as deplorable as they are numerous, wherein commonplace minds, and indeed such as are not even commonplace, deal with those problems on whose solution the greatest efforts of the rarest minds, equipped with extraordinary abilities, have been directed for thousands of years. Forgetting about their own persons through their love for truth, such minds have occasionally been thrown into prison and even driven to the scaffold by their passionate striving for the light. Such minds are so exceedingly rare that the history of philosophy which for two thousand five hundred years has run concurrently with that of nations as its ground-bass can hardly show one-hundredth as many famous philosophers as political history can show famous monarchs. For there are no minds other than those that are wholly isolated wherein nature had come to a clearer consciousness of herself. But these very minds are so remote from the crowd that well-merited recognition comes to most of them only after their death or at best late in life. For instance, Aristotle's really great fame, which later became more widespread than any other, first began, according to all accounts, two hundred years after his death. Epicurus, whose name is known to the vast majority even at the present time, lived in Athens entirely unknown up to his death (Seneca, Epistulae, 79). Bruno and Spinoza were accepted and honoured only in the second century after their death. Even so clear and popular a writer as David Hume was fifty years old before people began to pay any attention to him, although he had produced his works many years previously. Kant became famous only after the age of sixty. With our present-day chair-philosophers matters certainly move more quickly, for they have no time to lose. Thus one professor proclaims as the finally attained pinnacle of human wisdom the doctrine of a prosperous colleague at a neighbouring university, and the latter is at once a great philosopher who promptly occupies his place in the history of philosophy, that is to say, in the one that is being prepared by a third colleague for the next fair. Quite unconcerned, he now tacks on to the immortal names of the martyrs of truth from all the centuries the worthy names of his well-appointed colleagues who at the moment are flourishing, as just so many philosophers who can also enter the ranks, for they have filled very many sheets of paper and have met with universal consideration from colleagues. For example, we see written 'Aristotle and Herbart', or 'Spinoza and Hegel' , 'Plato and Schleiermacher', and an astonished world cannot fail to see that philosophers, whom parsimonious nature formerly managed to produce only singly in the course of centuries, have during recent decades everywhere shot up like mushrooms among the Germans who, as we know, are so highly gifted. Naturally, this glory of the age is pushed forward in every way; and so whether in literary journals or even in his own works, one professor of philosophy will not fail to take into careful consideration the absurd and preposterous notions of another, and will do this with weighty countenance and official gravity so that it quite looks as though we were actually dealing here with real advances in human knowledge. In return for this, his own abortive efforts soon receive the same honour and indeed we know that nihil officiosius quam cum mutuum muli scabunt. [34] But seriously speaking, a thoroughly deplorable spectacle is presented by so many ordinary minds who, for the sake of office and profession, think themselves obliged to represent what nature had least of all intended them to do, and to assume burdens that require the shoulders of intellectual giants. It is painful for the hoarse to listen to singing and for the lame to watch dancing, but it is intolerable to watch a limited intellect philosophize. Now, to conceal a want of real ideas, many make for themselves an imposing apparatus of long compound words, intricate flourishes and phrases, immense periods, new and unheard-of expressions, all of which together furnish an extremely difficult jargon that sounds very learned. Yet with all this they say-just nothing; we obtain no new ideas and do not feel our insight increased, but are bound to sigh: 'We hear quite well the clattering of the mill, but do not see the flour.' Indeed we see only too clearly what paltry, common, shallow, and crude views are hidden behind this high-sounding bombast. If only we could give such comic philosophers a notion of the real and terrible seriousness with which the problem of existence grips the thinker and stirs his innermost being! Then they could no longer be comic philosophers; no longer concoct with composure frivolous rubbish about the absolute thought or the contradiction that is said to be found in all fundamental concepts, or enjoy with enviable satisfaction such hollow nuts as 'the world is the existence of the infinite in the finite', and 'the mind is the reflection of the infinite in the finite', and so on. It would be hard on them, for now they want to be philosophers and at the same time quite original thinkers. Now it would be just as likely for a common mind to have uncommon ideas as for an oak to bear apricots. On the other hand, everyone already has ordinary ideas and does not need them for lecturing; consequently nothing can ever be achieved here by ordinary minds, since in philosophy it is merely a question of ideas, not of experiences and facts. Conscious of the drawback, some have laid in a store of strange ideas that are most imperfectly and always superficially understood; and in their heads, of course, such ideas are always in danger of evaporating into mere phrases and words. They shift these about and perhaps try to fit them to one another like dominoes; thus they compare what one has said with what another has said, and again a third with a fourth, and from all this they try to appear clever and smart. In such men we should look in vain for a firm and fundamental view of things and the world, one based on intuitive perception and therefore thoroughly consistent and coherent. For this reason, they have no decided opinion or fixed and definite judgement about anything, but with the ideas, views, and exceptions learnt by them, they grope about as in a fog. Properly speaking, they have directed their efforts to knowledge and learning for the purpose of imparting further instruction. That might be so; but then they should not play the part of philosophers, but should learn how to distinguish the oats from the chaff.

The real thinkers have aimed at insight, and indeed for its own sake, since they ardently desired in some way to render comprehensible the world in which they happened to be; but this they did not do in order to teach and talk. And so, in consequence of constant meditation, there gradually grows in them a fixed, coherent, and fundamental view which always has as its basis the apprehension of the world through intuitive perception. From this paths radiate to all special truths which again reflect light on to the fundamental view. It follows also from this that they have at any rate a definite, well understood, and coherent opinion concerning every problem of life and the world; and so they do not need to square anyone with empty phrases, as do thinkers of the other kind. We always find the latter occupied with a comparison and consideration of the opinions of others instead of with things themselves. Accordingly, it might be imagined that it was a question of far countries about which we had to make a critical comparison of the accounts written by the few travellers who had been there) and not one of the real world that is spread out and clearly lies before their eyes. But with them it is a case of:

Pour nous, Messieurs, nous avons l'habitude
De rediger au long de point en point,
Ce qu'on pensa, mais nous ne pensons point. [35]

-- Voltaire


But the worst feature of the whole business) which otherwise might be allowed to continue for the curious dilettante, is that it is in their interest that the shallow and insipid pass for something. But this it cannot do, if the genuine, the great) and the profound make their appearance and at once come into their own. Thus to stifle the good and to let the bad take its course unhindered, they get together, as do all the feeble and impotent, and form themselves into cliques and parties. They take possession of the literary journals in which, as also in their own books, they discuss their respective masterly achievements with profound reverence and an air of gravity, and in this way a short-sighted public is led by the nose. Their relation to real philosophers is somewhat like that of former master-singers to poets. By way of illustration of what has been said, one has only to see the scribblings of the chair-philosophers which regularly appear along with the literary journals that play their tune. Whoever is conversant therewith should consider the cunning with which the latter, should the occasion arise, are at pains to gloss over and hush up the significant as something insignificant, and should note the tricks employed by them for diverting the public's attention from it, mindful of the aphorism of Publilius Syrus: Jacet omnis virtus, fama nisi late patet. [36] (See P. Syri et aliorum sententiae, recension of J. Gruter. Meissen, 1790, 1. 266.) Now with such considerations in mind, let us go back on this path to the beginning of the nineteenth century and see how, previously the Schellingites, and then far worse the Hegelians, recklessly sinned in this direction. Let us overcome our reluctance and turn over the pages of the nauseating rubbish, for no man can be expected to read it! Then let us consider and calculate how much time, paper, and money the public must have wasted on these bungling works in the course of half a century. The patience of the public is certainly incomprehensible, for year in year out it reads the endless twaddle of dull and insipid philosophasters, regardless of the tormenting tedium that broods like a thick fog over it, just because one reads and reads without ever gaining possession of an idea. For the writer who has nothing clear and definite in his mind heaps words on words and phrases on phrases; and yet he says nothing because he has nothing to say, knows nothing, and thinks of nothing. Yet he wants to talk and so chooses his words not in accordance with how they express his ideas and judgements more strikingly, but with how they more skilfully conceal the lack of them. Yet such stuff is printed, bought, and read, and half a century has elapsed without readers being aware that they papan viento, as the Spanish say, that is, gulp down mere air. However, in fairness I must mention that, to keep going this clattering mill, a very peculiar device is often employed whose invention is traceable to Messrs. Fichte and Schelling. I refer to the artful trick of writing abstrusely, that is to say, unintelligibly; here the real subtlety is so to arrange the gibberish that the reader must think he is in the wrong if he does not understand it, whereas the writer knows perfectly well that it is he who is at fault, since he simply has nothing to communicate that is really intelligible, that is to say, has been clearly thought out. Without this device Fichte and Schelling could not have established their pseudo-fame; but we know that no one has practised this same trick so boldly and to such an extent as has Hegel. At the very outset, he should have explained in clear and intelligible words the absurd fundamental idea of his pretended philosophy, namely that of turning the true and natural course of things upside down and accordingly of making universal concepts the primary, the original, the truly real thing (the thing-in-itself in Kant's language), concepts which are abstracted from empirical intuitive perception and therefore arise through our thinking away the modifications, and which are in consequence the more void the more universal they are; for only as a result of the truly real or thing-in-itself does the empirically real world first have its existence. He should have clearly explained this monstrous [x], [37] indeed this really crazy notion, adding that such concepts without our assistance think and move by themselves. If he had done this, all would have laughed in his face, or would have shrugged their shoulders and regarded the tomfoolery as not worth their notice. But then even venality and baseness would have sounded the trumpet in vain in order to proclaim to the world as the highest wisdom the absurdest thing ever seen and for ever to compromise with its power of judgement the German learned world. On the contrary, under the veil of incomprehensible grandiloquent nonsense, it passed off and the crazy folly was a success:

Omnia enim stolidi magis admirantur amantque,
Inversis quae sub verbis latitantia cernunt. [38]

-- Lucretius, 1.642.


Encouraged by such examples, almost every wretched scribbler has since taken a delight in writing with affected and fastidious abstruseness so that it might look as though no words could express his lofty or profound thoughts. Instead of endeavouring in every way to make himself clear to his reader, he seems to call out tauntingly to him: 'I am sure you cannot guess what is in my mind!' Now if, instead of replying: 'Then I'll go to blazes' and throwing the book away, the reader wearies himself to no purpose, then in the end he thinks it must be something extremely clever, exceeding even his power of comprehension, and. with raised eyebrows he now calls his author a profound thinker. One of the consequences of this pretty proceeding is that, when anyone in England wishes to describe something as very obscure or even quite unintelligible, he says it is like German metaphysics, [39] in much the same way as the French say: c'est clair comme la bouteille a l'encre. [40]

It is perhaps superfluous to mention here, yet it cannot too often be said, that as a contrast good authors always make strenuous efforts to urge the reader to think exactly what they themselves have thought; for the man who has something worth imparting will see to it that it is not lost. And so good style depends mainly on whether a writer really has something to say; it is simply this small matter that most of our present-day authors lack and is responsible for their bad style. But in particular, the generic characteristic of the philosophical works of the nineteenth century is that of writing without really having something to say; it is common to them all and can therefore be just as well studied in Salat as in Hegel, in Herbart as in Schleiermacher. Then according to the homoeopathic method, the weak minimum of an idea is diluted with a fifty-page torrent of words and now with boundless confidence in the truly German patience of the reader the author calmly continues the twaddle on page after page. The mind that is condemned to such reading hopes in vain for real, solid, and substantial ideas; it pants and thirsts for any ideas as does a traveller for water in the Arabian desert-and must remain parched. On the other hand, let us take any genuine philosopher, no matter from what period or country, be he Plato or Aristotle, Descartes or Hume, Malebranche or Locke, Spinoza or Kant. We always come across a fine intellect pregnant with ideas which has and produces knowledge, but which in particular always honestly tries to communicate it to others. And so the receptive reader of such a thinker is immediately rewarded for the trouble of reading every line of him. At bottom, what makes the writings of our philosophasters so exceedingly poor in ideas and thus tormentingly tedious, is really the poverty of their intellect, but primarily the fact that their mode of expression generally moves in highly abstract, universal, and extremely wide concepts and thus usually parades only in vague, indefinite, and ambiguous expressions. But they are forced to this aerobatic course because they must guard against touching the earth where, by encountering the real, the definite, the individual, and the clear, they would run on to those dangerous rocks whereon their verbal schooners might be shipwrecked. For instead of firmly and steadily directing the senses and understanding to the world that lies before them in intuitive perception and thus to what is really and truly given, to what is pure, genuine, and in itself not exposed to error, and hence to that by which we have to fathom the essence of things-they know nothing except the highest abstractions, such as being, essence, becoming, absolute, infinite, and so on. They start from these and build systems whose contents ultimately amount to mere words. Thus such words are really only soap-bubbles which can be played with for a while, but cannot touch the ground of reality without bursting.

If, with all this, the harm done to the branches of learning by incompetent interlopers were merely that they achieve nothing therein, as is at present the case with regard to the fine arts, we could console ourselves with the fact and disregard it. But in philosophy they do positive harm, first by all being in a natural league against the good in order to keep up the reputation of the bad, and by exerting every effort to prevent the good from finding favour. For do not let us deceive ourselves; at all times and in all circumstances, all over the globe, there exists a conspiracy, framed by nature herself, of all the mediocre, inferior, and dull minds against intellect and understanding. Against these they all constitute a large body of loyal confederates. Or are we so artless as to believe that they just wait for superiority in order to acknowledge, admire, and proclaim it and thus see themselves rightly set at naught? Not likely! But tantum quisque laudat, quantum se posse sperat imitari. [41] 'In the world there shall be bunglers and none but bunglers so that we may be something!' This is their real motto, and preventing capable men from finding favour is an instinct as natural to them as catching mice is to a cat. The fine passage of Chamfort, quoted at the end of the previous essay, may also be recalled here. Let the open secret be once expressed and the moon-calf be brought to light, strange as it may appear therein; narrow-mindedness and stupidity always and everywhere, in all situations and circumstances, detest nothing in the world so heartily and thoroughly as understanding, intellect, and talent. Here mediocrity remains true to itself, as is shown in all the spheres and affairs that relate to life, for it endeavours everywhere to suppress, indeed to eradicate and exterminate, superior qualities in order to exist alone. No kindness, no benevolence can reconcile it with intellectual superiority. Thus it is unalterable and will ever remain so; and what a formidable majority it has on its side! This is one of the main obstacles to mankind's progress in every sphere. Now in such circumstances how can there be progress in that sphere where not even plenty of brains, diligence, and tenacity of purpose are enough, as in other branches of knowledge, but quite special gifts are required even at the expense of personal happiness? For assuredly the most disinterested sincerity of purpose, the irresistible urge to solve the riddle of existence, the earnestness of deep thinking that strives to fathom the innermost essence of things, and a genuine enthusiasm for truth-these are the first and indispensable conditions for the hazardous enterprise of stepping up once more to the ancient sphinx with another attempt at solving its eternal riddle, at the risk of falling headlong into the dark abyss of oblivion whither so many have already gone.

Further harm that is done in all branches of knowledge by the activities of unauthorized interlopers is that a temple of error is erected, and superior minds and upright characters have to toil and moil at its subsequent demolition, sometimes throughout their lives; and so it is in philosophy, in knowledge that is most general, most important, and most difficult! If we want special proofs of this, let us look at the hideous example of Hegelry, that shameless pretended wisdom, which for one's own careful and honest thought and investigation substituted as a philosophical method the dialectical self-movement of concepts and hence an objective thought-automaton that gambols on its own account freely in the air or in empyrean and whose traces and footprints are the scriptures of Hegel and the Hegelians. Such, however, are merely hatched out of very thick and shallow skulls; and far from being something absolutely objective, they are exceedingly subjective and the invention of very mediocre subjects at that. And so let us contemplate the height and duration of this Babel-structure and reflect on the incalculable harm such a philosophy of absolute nonsense, forced on studious youths by strange and extraneous means, was bound to do to the generation that grew up on it, and thus to the whole age. Are not innumerable minds of the present generation of scholars thoroughly distorted and deranged by it? Are they not crammed with corrupt views, and do they not accept hollow phrases, meaningless twaddle, and nauseating Hegel-jargon where thoughts and ideas are expected? Is not their entire view of life crazy and has not the most insipid, philistine, and even vulgar way of thinking supplanted noble and lofty thoughts which were still the inspiration of their immediate predecessors? In short, are not the youths who have grown to maturity in the incubator of Hegelry like men intellectually castrated, incapable of thinking, and full of the most ludicrous presumption? Indeed, they are constituted in mind as were certain heirs to the throne in body who were formerly rendered unfit to govern or even to propagate by attempts to debauch or drug them. They are mentally enervated, robbed of the regular use of their reason, an object of pity, a lasting theme for paternal tears. Now let us hear from the other side what scandalous opinions are spread abroad concerning philosophy itself and generally what groundless reproaches there are against it. On closer examination, it is found that these detractors understand by philosophy nothing but the senseless and purposeless twaddle of that wretched charlatan and its echo in the hollow heads of his silly and absurd admirers; this is what they mean by philosophy! They simply do not know any other. In fact, almost the whole of the younger set has been infected with Hegelry as it has been with venereal disease; and just as this evil poisons all the humours of the body, so has that other ruined all their mental powers. Thus the younger scholars of today are, as a rule, no longer capable of sound thought or even of any natural expression. In their heads there exists not only no single correct notion, but not even one clear and definite idea about anything; the confused and empty verbiage has dissolved and dispersed their powers of thought. Moreover, the evil of Hegelry is just as difficult to eradicate as is the disease just compared to it, when once it has penetrated in succum et sanguinem. On the other hand, it was fairly easy to establish it and spread it in the world, for insight and intelligence are soon enough driven from the field when designs and intentions are marshalled against them, in other words, when material ways and means are used for the spreading of opinions and the stipulation of judgements. Guileless and unsophisticated young men go to the university full of childlike trust and gaze with awe at the self-styled possessors of all knowledge and now even at the presumptuous investigator of our existence, at the man whose fame they hear enthusiastically proclaimed by a thousand tongues and whose lectures they see attended by elderly statesmen. And so they go there ready to learn, believe, and revere. Now if these innocent youths without judgement are presented, under the name of philosophy, with a complete chaos of thought that is turned upside down, a doctrine of the identity of being and nothing, an assortment of words that cause all thought to vanish from a sound mind, a twaddle recalling bedlam, all this trimmed with touches of crass ignorance and colossal stupidity, as irrefutably and incontestably shown by me from Hegel's compendium for students-this I did in the preface to my Ethics in order to cast in the teeth of the Danish Academy, that happily inoculated encomiast of bunglers and patron of philosophical charlatans, its summus philosophus-then these youths will revere even such stuff. They will merely think that philosophy must indeed consist in such abracadabra and will go forth with minds paralysed in which henceforth mere words pass for thoughts; thus they will for ever be incapable of producing real ideas and so will be mentally castrated. As a result, there grows up a generation of impotent, perverse, yet excessively pretentious minds, swelling with plans and purposes and intellectually anaemic, such as we have before us at the present time. This is the mental history of thousands whose youth and finest faculties have been infected by that pretended wisdom, whereas they too should have partaken of the benefit which nature prepared for many generations when she succeeded in producing a mind like Kant's. Such abuses could never have been practised with real philosophy that is pursued by free men simply for its own sake and has no other support except that of its own arguments, but only with university philosophy that is primarily a State expediency. We see, therefore, that the State has at all times interfered in the philosophical disputations of the universities and has taken sides, no matter whether it was a question of Realists and Nominalists, or Aristotelians and Ramists, or Cartesians and Aristotelians, of Christian Wolff, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, or anything else.

In addition to the harm done by university philosophy to that which is genuinely and seriously meant, we have in particular the supersession, already mentioned, of the Kantian philosophy by the vapourings of the three trumpeted sophists. First Fichte and then Schelling, both of whom were not without talent, but finally Hegel, that clumsy and nauseating charlatan, that pernicious person, who completely disorganized and ruined the minds of a whole generation, were proclaimed as the men who had carried forward Kant's philosophy, had gone beyond it, and so, by really climbing on to his shoulders, had attained an incomparably higher degree of knowledge and insight. From this height they then looked down almost with pity on the labours of Kant which paved the way to their splendour so that they were the first to be the really great philosophers. It was not to be wondered at that young men, without any judgement of their own and that often very wholesome distrust of teachers which only the exceptional mind brings to the university, that is to say, one endowed with power of judgement and so also with a feeling for this-that these young menjust believed what they heard and consequently imagined that they need not waste much time on the heavy preparatory work to the new lofty wisdom and thus on the old and formal Kant. On the contrary, they hastened to the new temple of wisdom where those three windbags accordingly sat in succession on the altar to the song of praise of stultified adepts. But now, unfortunately, there is nothing to be learnt from those three idols of university philosophy; their writings waste time and also ruin minds, Hegel's indeed most of all. The result of this state of affairs has been that those with a real knowledge of the Kantian philosophy have gradually died; and so, to the disgrace of the times, this most important of all the philosophical doctrines ever put forward could not continue its existence as something vivid and sustained in men's minds. It exists only in the lifeless letters of its author's works, to await a wiser, or rather less infatuated and mystified, generation. Accordingly, we shall hardly find a thorough understanding of the Kantian philosophy except among a few of the older scholars. On the other hand, the philosophical authors of our day have shown the most scandalous ignorance of it. This is seen to be most shocking in their descriptions of this doctrine, and it clearly stands out whenever they come to speak on the Kantian philosophy and affect to know something about it. We then become indignant when we see that men who live by philosophy do not really and truly know the most important teaching which has been advanced during the last two thousand years and is almost contemporary with them. In fact, they even go so far as to misquote the titles of Kant's works and occasionally represent him as saying the very opposite of what he did say. They mutilate his termini technici to the point of absurdity and use them without having the slightest idea of what he signified by them. Naturally it is not possible, indeed it is a ludicrous presumption, to suppose that we can become acquainted with the teaching of that profound mind by hastily scanning Kant's works, as befits such book scribblers and philosophical tradesmen who, moreover, imagine that they' got through' all this long ago. Kant's first apostle Reinhold said that he fathomed the real meaning of the Critique of Pure Reason only after he had strenuously studied it five times. From the descriptions furnished by such men, an accommodating public led by the nose imagines once more that it can assimilate Kant's philosophy in the shortest time and without any effort! But this is absolutely impossible. Without our own strenuous and frequently repeated study of Kant's chief works, we shall never obtain even a mere notion of these most important of all the philosophical phenomena that have ever existed. For Kant has perhaps the most original mind ever produced by nature. To think with him and in his way is something that cannot possibly be compared with anything else; for he possessed a degree of clear and quite peculiar balance of mind such as has never fallen to the lot of any other mortal. We partake of this enjoyment when, initiated through careful and serious study and by reading the really profound chapters of the Critique of Pure Reason and giving our whole attention to the subject, we now succeed in actually thinking with Kant's mind and thus in being elevated far above ourselves. This is the case, for example, when we once again go through the' Principles of the Pure Understanding'; when we consider especially the 'Analogies of Experience' and now fathom the profound idea of the Synthetic Unity of Apperception. We then feel ourselves removed and estranged in a marvellous way from the wholly dream-like existence in which we are submerged. For we take up each of its primary elements by itself and now see how time, space, and causality, connected by the synthetic unity of apperception of all phenomena, render possible this empirical complex of the whole and its course wherein our world, so greatly conditioned by the intellect, consists, being precisely on this account mere phenomenon. The synthetic unity of apperception is thus that connection of the world as a whole which rests on the laws of our intellect and is therefore inviolable. In its description Kant demonstrates the primary and fundamental laws of the world where they converge into one with the laws of intellect and before us he holds them up strung out on one thread. This method of consideration which is exclusively Kant's own, may be described as the most detached view that has ever been cast on the world and has the highest degree of objectivity. To follow this method affords an intellectual pleasure perhaps unequalled by any other. For it is of a higher order than that provided by poets who are, of course, accessible to everyone, whereas the pleasure here described must have been preceded by effort and exertion. But what do our present-day professors of philosophy know about it? Really nothing. Recently I read a psychological diatribe by one of them in which much turned on Kant's 'synthetic apperception' (sic); for they love to use Kant's technical expressions although, as here, these have only been half picked up and rendered meaningless. Now he imagined that, by this, concentrated attention was to be understood! These and similar small matters thus constitute the favourite themes of their kindergarten philosophy. In fact, those gentlemen do not have either the time, the inclination, or the urge to study Kant; they are as little concerned with him as they are with me; for their refined taste quite different men are needed. Thus what the acute and discriminating Herbart, the great Schleiermacher, or even 'Hegel himself' has said is the stuff for their meditation and its suits them. Moreover, they are heartily glad to see the' all-crushing Kant' relegated to oblivion, and hasten to make him a dead historical phenomenon, a corpse, a mummy, whom they can then face without fear. For in all seriousness, he has in philosophy put an end to Jewish theism; but they like to hush this up, to conceal and ignore it because without this theism they cannot live-I mean eat and drink.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:36 pm

Part 3 of 4

After such a set-back from the greatest advance ever made in philosophy, we need not wonder why the so-called philosophizing of these days has fallen into a wholly uncritical method, an incredible coarseness concealed behind high-sounding phrases and a naturalistic fumbling far worse than it had ever been before Kant. For instance, with an impudence born of ignorance, men everywhere summarily speak of moral freedom, as though it were a settled affair, indeed as something absolutely certain, and likewise of the existence and essence of God as things that are self-evident, and of the' soul' as a person known to all. Even the expression 'inborn ideas', which since Locke's time had had to slink into a corner, again ventures forth. Here may also be mentioned the gross impudence with which Hegelians in all their works talk at great length without ceremony or introduction about the so-called 'spirit'. They rely on our being far too dumbfounded by their grandiloquent nonsense to tackle the professor, as would be right and proper, with the question: 'Spirit? who is the fellow? Whence do you obtain your knowledge of him? Is he not rather an arbitrary and convenient hypostasis which you do not even define, let alone deduce or demonstrate? Do you think you have before you a public of old women?' This would be the language appropriate to such a philosophaster.

In connection with 'synthetic apperception', I have shown an amusing characteristic of the philosophizing of these tradesmen that, although they do not use Kant's philosophy as being very inconvenient and also much too serious for them and because they can no longer really understand it, they like to make lavish use of the expressions thereof, to give their twaddle a scientific touch, in much the same way as children like to play with papa's hat, stick, and sword. For instance, the Hegelians do this with the word 'categories' with which they express all kinds of wide and universal concepts, blissfully innocent of and unconcerned about Aristotle and Kant. Further, the important question in the Kantian philosophy concerns the immanent and transcendent uses, together with the validity, of our knowledge or cognitions. To embark on such dangerous distinctions would not, of course, be advisable for our comic philosophers; but yet they would have liked the expressions very much because they sound so learned. In fact, since their philosophy always has as its main subject only the good Lord, who now appears as a good old acquaintance needing no introduction, they employ these expressions, and now argue as to whether he is within the world or remains outside, that is to say, resides in a space where there is no world. In the former case, they call him immanent, and in the latter transcendent; and naturally they do all this very seriously and learnedly and talk Hegel jargon as well. It is a delightful jest that reminds the older ones among us of the copper engraving in Falk's satirical almanac that shows Kant ascending to heaven in a balloon, casting to earth all the articles of his wardrobe including his hat and wig, and monkeys picking them up and putting them on.

There is no doubt that the supplanting of Kant's serious, profound, and honest philosophy by the vapourings of mere sophists who are guided by personal aims, has had a most pernicious influence on the culture of the age. The eulogy of so utterly worthless, indeed so mischievous, a mind as Hegel's, as the first philosopher of this or any age, has certainly been the cause of the complete degradation of philosophy and, in consequence thereof, of the decline generally during the last thirty years of superior literature. Woe to the time when in philosophy impudence and nonsense supplant insight and understanding, for the fruits assume the taste of the soil in which they have grown. What is loudly, publicly, and universally praised, is read and is thus the mental pabulum of the generation that is arriving at maturity; but this has the most decided influence on its lifeblood and subsequently on its creations. Thus the prevailing philosophy of an age determines its spirit, and so if there now prevails a philosophy of absolute nonsense; if absurdities invented and advanced under bedlamite twaddle pass for great thoughts, then the result of such sowing is the pretty race of men such as we now have before us. They are without intellect, love of truth, honesty, taste, and are devoid of any noble impulse or of an urge for anything lying beyond material, including political, interests. From this we can explain how the age when Kant philosophized, Goethe wrote, and Mozart composed, could be followed by the present one of political poets and even more political philosophers, of hungry men of letters who earn a living in literature by falsehood and imposture, and of ink-slingers of all kinds who wantonly ruin the language. It calls itself with one of its home-made words, as characteristic as it is euphonious, the 'present time'; [42] present time indeed, in other words, because one thinks only of the Now and does not venture to glance at the time that will come and condemn. I wish I could show this 'present time' in a magic mirror what it will look like in the eyes of posterity. Yet this present time calls that past age, just eulogized, the 'age of pigtails'; but attached to those tails were heads; [43] it now seems as though the fruit has also vanished with the stalk.

Hegel's followers are accordingly quite right when they assert that their master's influence on his contemporaries was immense. To have completely paralysed mentally a whole generation of scholars, to have rendered them incapable of all thought, indeed to have brought them to such a pass that they no longer know what thinking is, but regard as philosophical thinking the most wanton, as well as the most absurd, playing with words and concepts, or the most thoughtless rubbish on the stereotyped themes of philosophy with fabricated assertions, or with propositions wholly devoid of sense and even consisting of contradictions-all this has been the boasted influence of Hegel. Let us for once compare the textbooks of the Hegelians, which they have the audacity to publish even today, with those of an age that is disparaged but especially regarded with infinite contempt by them and all post-Kantian philosophers, the so-called eclectic period shortly before Kant. We shall then find that the latter are always related to the former not as gold to copper, but as gold to dung. For in those works by Feder, Platner, and others, we invariably find a rich store of real, partially true, and even valuable ideas and striking remarks, an honest ventilation of philosophical problems, a stimulation to individual reflection, a guide to philosophizing, but above all an honest method of treatment throughout. On the other hand, in a similar product of the Hegelian school, we search in vain for any real idea-it does not contain a single one: for any trace of serious and sincere thinking-this is foreign to its business. We find nothing but audacious word combinations which seem to have a meaning, indeed a profound one, but which, when examined, are unmasked as absolutely hollow shells and flourishes of words that are entirely devoid of sense and ideas. With them the writer certainly does not try to instruct his reader, but merely to mislead him, and the latter believes he is dealing with a thinker, whereas the former is a person who does not know what thinking is, a transgressor without any insight and moreover without knowledge. This is the consequence of the fact that, whereas other sophists, charlatans, and obscurantists adulterated and corrupted only knowledge, Hegel ruined even the organ thereof, the understanding itself. Through his forcing misguided men to cram into their heads, as rational knowledge, a farrago of the grossest nonsense, a tissue of contradictiones in adjecto, [44] a babbling from a madhouse, the brains of the poor young men who read such stuff with faithful devotion, and tried to assimilate it as the highest wisdom, were so deranged that they for ever remained incapable of real thought. Accordingly, we see them going round, even at the present time, talking in the nauseating Hegel jargon, praising the master, and quite seriously imagining that sentences like' Nature is the idea in its other being' mean something. Thus to disorganize fresh young minds is really a sin meriting neither forgiveness nor forbearance. This, then, has been Hegel's boasted influence on his contemporaries, and unfortunately it has really spread far and wide; for here too the consequence was commensurate with the cause. Just as the worst that can befall a State is for the most depraved class, the dregs of society, to come into office, so nothing worse can befall philosophy and everything dependent thereon, and thus mankind's whole knowledge and intellectual life, than for a commonplace mind that is distinguished, on the one hand, merely by its obsequiousness and, on the other, by its effrontery to write nonsense, consequently for a Hegel to be proclaimed, with the strongest and most unprecedented emphasis, as the greatest genius and the man in whom philosophy has attained, finally and for all time, its long-pursued goal. For the consequence of such high treason against the noblest of mankind is eventually a state of affairs such as that of philosophy and thus of literature generally at the present time in Germany. Ignorance at the top fraternizing with impudence, cliquishness in place of merit, utter chaos of all fundamental concepts, totally wrong orientation and disorganization of philosophy, flat-heads as reformers of religion, the impudent appearance of materialism and bestiality, ignorance of the ancient languages, mutilation of our own by senseless word clippings and the infamous counting of letters at the discretion of duffers and blockheads, and so on, and so onlook round for yourselves! Even as the external symptom of the coarseness that is gaining the upper hand, you see its constant concomitant, the long beard, that sign of sex in the middle of the face which states that a man prefers the masculinity he has in common with the animals to humanity, since he wants first to be a male (mas), and only subsequently a human being. Shaving off beards in all highly civilized ages and countries is the result of a correct feeling to the contrary by virtue whereof one would like to be first of all a human being, to some extent a human being in abstracto, setting aside the animal sexual difference. On the other hand, length of beard has always kept pace with barbarism, which its name seems to imply. Thus beards flourished in the Middle Ages, that millennium of coarseness and ignorance whose style and fashion our noble present-timers [Jetztzeitler] strive to imitate. * Also we cannot omit to mention the further and secondary consequence of the treachery to philosophy which we are here discussing, namely contempt for the nation on the part of neighbours and for the age on the part of posterity. For as we make our bed so must we lie on it, and we shall not be spared.

I have already spoken of the powerful influence of intellectual nourishment on the age. Now this is based on the fact that such nourishment determines the form as well as the material of thought; and so very much depends on what is praised and therefore read. For thinking with a genuinely great mind strengthens our own, gives it regular exercise, and puts it in the right frame. It works in much the same way as does the writing-master's hand when guiding the child's. On the other hand, to think with men who have really aimed at- mere pretence and hence at deceiving the reader, men like Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, ruins the mind to an equal extent; this is no less true of thinking with cranks or with those who, like Herbart for instance, have turned their intellect inside out. Speaking generally, however, it is a deplorable waste of time and energy to read the writings of only ordinary minds in those branches of knowledge where it is not a question of facts or their discovery, but an author's own ideas constitute the subject matter. For what such men think can also be thought by anyone else. The fact that they have expressly adjusted and applied themselves to thinking does not improve matters at all; for it does not enhance their powers and, when a man expressly turns to thinking, he often does the minimum. Moreover, their intellect remains true to its natural destiny of working in the service of the will, for this is just the normal thing. And so an intention or purpose always underlies their thoughts and actions; at all times they have an aim or end in view and recognize only what relates and thus corresponds thereto. Activity of the intellect that is freed from the will is the condition of pure objectivity and thus of all great achievements, but it remains eternally foreign to ordinary men and is in their hearts a fiction. Only aims and ends are of interest to them and have for them any reality; for in them willing remains predominant. It is, therefore, doubly foolish to waste time on their productions. But the aristocracy of nature is what the public never recognizes and understands because it has good reasons for not wanting to. It therefore soon lays aside the rare and the few to whom nature, in the course of centuries, had entrusted the noble mission of reflecting on her or even of presenting the spirit of her works, in order to make itself acquainted with the productions of the latest bungler. If a hero has ever existed, the public soon puts some miserable wretch beside him, as being similar to him. When in her most propitious mood nature has once allowed to proceed from her hands the rarest of her creations, a mind really gifted above the average; when fate in a generous vein has allowed it to be developed; indeed when its works have finally 'triumphed over the opposition of a stupid world', [45] and are acknowledged and recommended as the standard, then it is not long before men come along with a clod who is dragged from their own coterie in order to put him on the altar beside the gifted intellect simply because they do not understand, or even suspect, how aristocratic nature is. She is so to such an extent that not one truly great mind is to be found in three hundred millions of her manufactured articles. We should, therefore, become thoroughly acquainted with that mind and regard its works as a kind of revelation; we should read them assiduously and wear them out diurna nocturnaque manu. [46] On the other hand, we should have nothing to do with all the commonplace minds and should regard them as what they are, as something just as common and ordinary as flies on a wall.

In philosophy the state of affairs just described has arisen in a most deplorable way. Fichte is invariably mentioned with Kant and is described as just like him; 'Kant and Fichte' has become a standing phrase. 'See how we apples swim!' [47] said the ---. Schelling meets with a similar honour and, proh pudor! [48] even Hegel, that scribbler of nonsense and destroyer of minds! The summit of this Parnassus was ever more widely trodden. To such a public we should like to exclaim what Hamlet said to his infamous mother: 'Have you eyes? have you eyes?' Alas! they have none. They are always the same. Everywhere and at all times, they have allowed genuine merit to perish in order to pay homage to mimics and mannerists of all kinds. Thus they imagine they are studying philosophy when they read the extensive creations of minds in whose dull consciousness even the mere problems of philosophy make as little sound as does a bell in a receptacle that is exhausted of air. Strictly speaking, such minds were made and equipped by nature for nothing but quietly earning an honest living like the rest, or for cultivating the field and providing for an increase in the human race; yet they imagine they must be 'jingling fools' [49] on account of their official duty. Their constant butting in and desire to have their say make them like deaf people who join in a conversation. Thus the effect on those who at all times appear only sporadically and naturally have the calling and therefore the real urge to work at the investigation of the loftiest truths, is only like that of a disturbing and bewildering noise, even when it does not, as is very often the case, purposely stifle their voice. For what such isolated minds assert does not serve the purpose of those men for whom there can be nothing serious except intentions and material aims and who, by virtue of their considerable numbers, soon raise such a clamour that a man can no longer hear himself speak. Today they have set themselves the task, in spite of truth and the Kantian philosophy, of teaching speculative theology, rational psychology, freedom of the will, a total and absolute difference between man and the animals by ignoring the gradual shades of intellect in the animal series. In this way, they act only as a remora [50] to the honest investigation of truth. If a man like me speaks, they pretend that they have heard nothing. The trick is good although it is not new. However, I want to see whether or not a badger can be dragged out of his hole.

Now it is obvious that the universities are the centre of all those games that are played with philosophy by purpose and intention. Only by this means could Kant's world-wide epoch-making achievements in philosophy be supplanted by the vapourings of a Fichte which were again supplanted shortly afterwards by fellows like him. This could never have happened with a really philosophical public, that is to say, with one that looks for philosophy merely for its own sake and without any other object, and hence with that public which is, of course, at all times an extremely small number of genuine and earnest thinkers who are deeply impressed by the mysterious nature of our existence. The entire philosophical scandal of the last fifty years has been possible only through the universities with a public that consists of students who religiously take in all that the professor is pleased to tell them. Here the fundamental error is to be found in the fact that the universities, even in matters of philosophy, arrogate to themselves the last word and decisive voice which possibly belong to the three principal faculties each in its own sphere. But the fact is overlooked that in philosophy, as a science that is first to be discovered, matters are different. One also disregards the fact that, with the appointment to chairs of philosophy, not only are the abilities of the candidates taken into consideration, as with other branches of knowledge, but even more so are their views and opinions. Accordingly, the student now thinks that, as the professor of theology is thoroughly conversant with his dogmas, the professor of law with his pandects, and the professor of medicine with his pathology, so too the professor of metaphysics who is appointed to the highest place must be a master of his subject. The student, therefore, attends the course of lectures with childlike trust, and as he finds there a man who, with an air of conscious superiority, looks down on and criticizes all the philosophers who have ever existed, he has no doubt that he has come to the right place and is as faithfully impressed by all the bubbling wisdom there as if he were sitting before the tripod of Pythia. Naturally from now on, there is for him no other philosophy but that of his professor. The real philosophers, the instructors of hundreds and even thousands of years, are left unread as being obsolete and refuted, but their works solemnly wait in silence on the shelves of bookcases for those who desire them; like his professor, the student has 'done with' them. On the other hand, he buys the regularly appearing mental offspring of his professor whose frequently repeated editions can be explained only from such a state of affairs. For after his years at the university, every graduate as a rule continues to be faithfully devoted to his professor whose turn of mind he early assumed and whose manner he has adopted. In this way, such philosophical monstrosities obtain an otherwise impossible circulation and their authors a lucrative reputation. How otherwise could such a complex of absurdities, like Herbart's Einleitung in die Philosophie for instance, have run through five editions? Thus the fatuous presumption again appears (e.g. on pages 234-5 of the fourth edition) with which this decidedly perverse mind condescendingly looks down on Kant and indulgently puts him right.

Considerations of this kind, and especially a retrospective glance at the whole business of philosophy at the universities since Kant's death, establish ever more firmly in me the opinion that, if there is to be a philosophy at all, that is to say, if it is to be granted to the human mind to devote its loftiest and noblest powers to incomparably the weightiest of all problems, then this can successfully happen only when philosophy is withdrawn from all State influence. Accordingly, the State will do it a great service and sufficiently show its humanity and magnanimity, if it does not pursue philosophy but gives it free play and allows it to exist as a free art, which after all must be its own reward. In return for this, the State can consider itself exempt from spending money on professorships of philosophy, since the men who want to live on philosophy will be just those extremely rare ones who really live for it, but occasionally there may be even those who furtively plot against it.

Official chairs of learning belong by rights only to those branches of knowledge which are already formed and actually exist and which one, therefore, need only have learnt in order to be able to teach. Thus, speaking generally, such branches of knowledge are merely to be passed on, as is implied by the tradere in use on the blackboard; yet here it is still open to more capable minds to enrich, correct, and perfect them. But a branch of knowledge which in fact does not yet exist and has not yet attained its goal and which does not even know for certain its path, in fact whose very possibility is still in disputeto allow such a branch to be taught by professors is really absurd. The natural consequence of this is that each of them thinks his vocation to be the creation of the still missing branch of knowledge, without taking into consideration that such a calling can be entrusted only by nature not by the Ministry of Education. He therefore makes the attempt as best he can, speedily places his abortion in the world, and gives it out as the long-desired wisdom; and there will certainly not be wanting an obliging colleague who at the christening will act as its godfather. These gentlemen, accordingly, become bold enough to call themselves philosophers because they live on philosophy; and so they imagine that the last word and decision in philosophical matters rest with them. In the end, they even announce meetings of philosophers (a contradictio in adjecto, [51] for rarely are there two philosophers simultaneously in the world and hardly ever more than two), and then they flock together to compare notes on the advantage of philosophy!*

Nevertheless, such university philosophers will first of all endeavour to give philosophy that tendency which is in keeping with the aims they have at heart or rather have taken to heart. For this purpose they will, if necessary recast and misrepresent and even falsify the teachings of earlier genuine philosophers, simply in order that the result will be what they need. Now as the public is so childish as to rush after the latest authors whose writings, however, bear the title of philosophy, the result is that, through the absurdity, perversity, senselessness, or at any rate the tormenting tedium thereof, sound minds with a propensity for philosophy are again deterred therefrom whereby it gradually falls into discredit, as is already the case.

But not only are the professors' own productions in a bad way; the period since Kant also shows that it is not even capable of keeping and preserving the achievements of great minds which are acknowledged as such and are accordingly committed to their charge. Have they not allowed the Kantian philosophy to be trifled with at the hands of Fichte and Schelling? Do they not in a most scandalous and defamatory way always mention the windbag Fichte with Kant as being roughly his equal? After the above-mentioned two philosoph asters had supplanted and declared obsolete Kant's teaching, did not the most unbridled and fantastic notions take the place of the strict control that was imposed by Kant on all metaphysics? Have they not partly contributed to this and to some extent refrained from firmly setting themselves against this with the Critique of Reason in their hands? Was this not because they found it more advisable to make use of the lax observance that had set in either to offer for sale their concocted trivialities, such as Herbart's fudge and Fries's grandmotherly gossip, and generally the whims and fancies of everyone, or even to be able to smuggle in as philosophical conclusions the doctrines of the established religion? Has not all this paved the way to the most scandalous philosophical charlatanry at which the world has ever had to blush, to the activities of Hegel and his miserable fellows? Did not even those who opposed the mischief at the same time always speak with much bowing and scraping about the great genius and powerful intellect of that charlatan and scribbler of nonsense, thereby showing themselves to be simpletons? Are not Krug and Fries alone to be excluded from these (in the interest of truth, be it said) who, resolutely denouncing the mind-destroyer, have merely shown him that forbearance that is now irrevocably shown by every professor of philosophy towards another? Have not the noise and clamour that are raised by the philosophers at German universities in admiration of those three sophists at last attracted general attention even in England and France which on further investigation degenerated into laughter? But they prove to be the perfidious warders and keepers of truths which in the course of centuries were acquired with great difficulty and were finally entrusted to their charge, especially when these do not suit their purpose, that is to say, do not harmonize with the results of a shallow, rationalistic, optimistic theology that is really only Jewish. It is such theology that is the secretly predetermined goal of their whole philosophizing and its lofty phrases. And so they will attempt to obliterate, disguise, suppress, misrepresent, and drag down to the level of what fits in with their plan for educating students and with the aforesaid petticoat philosophy, all those doctrines which serious philosophy, not without great efforts, has managed to bring to light. A shocking instance of this is afforded by the doctrine of the freedom of the will. After the strict necessity of all human acts of will had been irrefutably demonstrated by the united and successive efforts of great minds like Hobbes, Spinoza, Priestley, and Hume, even Kant had accepted the matter as already fully established, [52] they suddenly act as if nothing had happened, rely on the ignorance of their public, and in God's name even at the present time assume in almost all their manuals that the freedom of the will is an established and even immediately certain fact. What sort of name does such a method merit? If such a teaching, as firmly established as any by all the philosophers just mentioned, is nevertheless concealed or denied by the professors for the purpose of imposing on students the positive absurdity of free will because it is a necessary ingredient of their petticoat philosophy, are not these gentlemen really the enemies of philosophy? And since (for conditio optima est ultimi, [53] Seneca, Epistulae, 79) the strict necessity of all acts of will is nowhere demonstrated so thoroughly, clearly, consistently, and completely as in my essay that was fairly awarded a prize by the Norwegian Society for Scientific Studies, we find that, in accordance with their old policy of everywhere meeting me with passive resistance, this essay is not mentioned anywhere either in their books or in their learned journals and literary periodicals. It is most rigorously concealed and is regarded comme non avenu, [54] just as is everything that does not serve their contemptible purpose like my ethics generally, indeed like all my works. My philosophy just does not interest those gentlemen; but this is because the investigation of truth does not interest them. On the contrary, what does interest them are their salaries, the guineas they charge, and their titles as privy councillors. It is true that philosophy also interests them in so far as they earn from it their daily bread. They are what Giordano Bruno has already characterized as sordidi e mercenarii ingegni, che, poco o niente solleciti circa la verita, si contentano saper, secondo che comunmente e stimato il sapere, amici poco di vera sapienza, bramosi di fama e reputazion di quella, vaghi d' apparire, poco curiosi d'essere. [55] (See Opere di Giordano Bruno published by A. Wagner, Leipzig, 1830, vol. ii, p. 83.) And so what would my essay 'On the Freedom of the Will' be to them, even ifit had been awarded a prize by ten academies? On the other hand, the drivel that has since been written on the subject by the dullards of their company is puffed up and recommended. Do I need to qualify such conduct? Are these the men who represent philosophy, the rights of reason and freedom of thought? Another instance of the kind is afforded by speculative theology. The fact that Kant removed all arguments that constituted its props and completely overthrew it, does not in the least prevent my friends of the lucrative philosophy, even sixty years later, from giving out speculative theology as the real and wholly essential subject of philosophy. However, since they do not attempt to take up once more those exploded arguments, they now talk incessantly without more ado about the absolute, a word that is nothing but an en thyme me, a conclusion from premisses not expressed. This they do for the purpose of masking and establishing in a cowardly and cunning manner the cosmological proof which, since Kant's time, can no longer appear in its own form and must, therefore, be smuggled in in this disguise. It is as though Kant had had a presentiment of this last trick, for he expressly says: ' Men have at all times talked of the absolutely necessary being and have taken the trouble not so much to understand whether and how a thing of this nature could even be conceived, as rather to prove its existence- For to reject by means of the word unconditioned all the conditions that are always required by the understanding, in order to regard something as necessary, does not by any means enable me to understand whether through a concept of something unconditionally necessary, I am then thinking of something, or possibly of nothing at all.' (Critique of Pure Reason, 1st edn., p. 592; 5th edn., p. 620.) Here I recall once more my doctrine that to be necessary implies absolutely and everywhere nothing but to follow from an existing and given reason or ground, such ground thus being the very condition of all necessity. Accordingly, the unconditionally necessary is a contradictio in adjecto, and is therefore no thought at all, but a hollow expression, a material that is, of course, frequently used in the structure of professorial philosophy. Further, it may here be mentioned that, in spite of Locke's great epoch-making and fundamental doctrine of the nonexistence of innate ideas and of all progress since made in philosophy on this basis particularly by Kant, the gentlemen of the [x] [56] quite coolly impose on their students a 'divine consciousness', in general an immediate knowledge or understanding of metaphysical subjects through the faculty of reason. It is of no avail that Kant demonstrated with a display of the rarest acumen and depth of thought that theoretical reason can never arrive at objects that lie beyond the possibility of all experience. The gentlemen pay no regard to anything of the sort, but for fifty years have summarily taught that the faculty of reason has positively direct and absolute knowledge, that it is really a faculty originally based on metaphysics, one that immediately knows and positively grasps, beyond all possibility of experience, the so-called supersensuous, the absolute, the good Lord, and whatever else there is said to be. But it is obviously a fairy-tale, or more bluntly a palpable lie, that our reason is a faculty of such a nature that it knows the required objects of metaphysics not by means of conclusions or inferences, but immediately. For we need only an honest yet otherwise not difficult self-examination to convince ourselves of the groundlessness of such an allegation; moreover, the case was bound to be quite different with metaphysics. Yet one of the worst results of philosophy at the universities is that such a lie, which is thoroughly pernicious for philosophy and lacks all motive except confusion and the cunning intentions of its propagator, has for half a century become the regular dogma of the chair, and has been repeated thousands of times and imposed on young students, in spite of the evidence of the greatest thinkers.

However, in keeping with such training, the real and essential theme of metaphysics is for the chair-philosophers the discussion of the relation between God and the world; its most detailed arguments fill their textbooks. Above all, they deem themselves appointed and paid to settle this matter and it is then amusing to see how precociously and learnedly they talk about the Absolute or God, putting on quite serious airs as if they really knew something about it; we are reminded of the seriousness with which children pursue their games. For at every fair a new system of metaphysics appears which consists of a most detailed account of the good Lord and explains how matters really stand with regard to him and moreover how he came to make the world, or give birth to it, or otherwise produce it, so that it seems as if every six months we receive the latest news about him. Yet in this connection, many now come up against a certain difficulty whose effect is extremely comic. Thus they have to teach about a regular personal God as he appears in the Old Testament; this they know. On the other hand, Spinoza's pantheism according to which the word God is synonymous with world has for about forty years been the absolutely predominant and universal mode of thought among scholars and even those of ordinary education. But they would not like to give this up entirely and yet they dare not reach out for this forbidden dish. They now try to extricate themselves, as usual by means of obscure, vague, and confused phrases and hollow verbiage, from a position in which they shuffle and wriggle pitiably. We then see some of them assert in the same breath that God is totally, infinitely, and utterly, really utterly, different from the world, but is at the same time wholly and in every way united and identical with it, in fact is in it up to the ears. This always reminds me of Bottom, the weaver, in Midsummer Night's Dream, who promises to roar like a terrible lion, but can at the same time sing as softly as any nightingale. In this performance they encounter the strangest difficulty; for they assert that there is no place for him outside the world and yet they cannot make use of him within the world, and now bandy him about until they fall with him between two stools.*

On the other hand the Critique of Pure Reason with its proofs a priori of the impossibility of all knowledge of God is to them twaddle by which they do not allow themselves to be confused; for they know the purpose of their existence. To reply to them that nothing more unphilosophical can be imagined than to be for ever talking of something about whose existence we have no knowledge based on any evidence, and of whose real nature we have absolutely no conception, is impertinent interference on our part; for they know the purpose of their existence. They know me as one who is far beneath their notice and attention and through the complete disregard for my works they imagine that they have revealed what kind of man I am (although in precisely this way they have revealed what manner of men they are). And so it will be like talking to the winds, as it is with everything I have produced in the last thirty-five years, if I tell them that Kant was not joking when he said that philosophy is really and quite seriously not theology and never can be, but on the contrary is something quite different. In fact we know that, just as every other branch of knowledge is spoilt by an admixture of theology, so too is philosophy, and indeed most of all as is testified by its history. That this is also true even of morality has been very clearly demonstrated by me in my essay 'On the Basis of Ethics'. Therefore the professional gentlemen, true to their tactics of passive resistance, have also been as quiet as mice over this work. Thus theology covers with its veil all the problems of philosophy and so renders impossible not only their solution, but even their comprehension. Hence, as I have said, the Critique of Pure Reason was quite seriously the letter of the retiring ancilla theoiogiae [57] in which once for all she gave notice to her gracious mistress. Theology has since been content with a hireling who occasionally dons the discarded livery of the former servant merely for the sake of appearance; just as in Italy similar substitutes are frequently to be seen especially on Sundays and are, therefore, known by the name of Domenichini.

But of course Kant's Critiques and arguments were bound to be wrecked on the rocks of university philosophy. For there it says: sic volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. [58] Philosophy shall be theology even if twenty Kants were to prove the impossibility of the thing; we know the purpose of our existence; we exist in majorem Dei gloriam. [59] Every professor of philosophy is a defensor fidei, [60] just as was Henry VIII, and herein he recognizes his primary and principal vocation. Therefore after Kant had so thoroughly dissected the nerve and sinew of every possible argument of speculative theology that no one has since been able to have a hand in them, philosophical effort has consisted, for almost fifty years, in attempts of all kinds to slip in theology quietly and surreptitiously, and philosophical writings are frequently nothing but fruitless attempts to resuscitate a lifeless corpse. For instance, the gentlemen of the lucrative philosophy discovered in man a divine consciousness that had so far escaped the whole world and, emboldened by their mutual agreement and by the innocence of their immediate public, they rashly and impudently cast it about and thus in the end led astray even the honest Dutch of Leiden University. Sincerely regarding the tricks and dodges of the professors of philosophy as advances in science, the Dutch quite ingenuously set the following prize-question on 15 February 1844; Quid statuendum de Sensu Dei, qui dicitur, menti humanae indito, and so on. [61] By virtue of such a 'divine consciousness', that which all philosophers up to Kant toiled so hard to demonstrate would be something immediately known. But what simpletons must all those previous philosophers have been who all their lives had exhausted themselves in furnishing proofs of a thing whereof we are directly conscious, implying as it does that we know it even more immediately than that twice two are four, which certainly needs reflection. To want to demonstrate such a thing must be like wanting to prove that eyes see, ears hear, and noses smell. And what irrational brutes the Buddhists must be, that is to say, the followers of the principal religion on earth, to judge by the number who profess it. Their religious fervour is so great that in Tibet almost one man in six is in holy orders and submits to the celibacy thereby entailed. Their doctrine supports and sustains an extremely pure, sublime, loving, and strictly ascetic morality (which has not, like Christianity, forgotten the animals). This doctrine is not only decidedly atheistic, but even expressly rejects theism. Thus personality is a phenomenon, known to us only from our animal nature and so, when separated therefrom, is no longer clearly conceivable. Now to make such a phenomenon the origin and principle of the world is always a thesis that will not occur at once to any mind, much less have its roots and residence therein. On the other hand, an impersonal God is a mere subterfuge of professors of philosophy, a contradictio in adjecto, an empty expression for silencing those without ideas, or for appeasing the vigilant.

Thus the writings of our university philosophers manifest the liveliest enthusiasm for theology, but very little desire for truth. Without any respect for truth, sophisms, surreptitious methods, misrepresentations, and false assertions are with unheard-of effrontery used and even accumulated. As previously stated, immediate, supersensuous knowledge and hence innate ideas are ascribed, or more correctly falsely imputed, to the faculty of reason, all this simply to bring out theology; only theology, theology at any price! With due deference, I should like to leave the gentlemen to consider that theology may after all be of very great value, but I know of something that in any case is of even greater value, namely honesty; honesty in business as also in thinking and teaching. I would not part with it for all the theology in the world.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:37 pm

Part 4 of 4

But as matters now stand, whoever has taken seriously the Critique of Pure Reason and has been quite honest about it, and accordingly has no theology to offer, is of course bound to come off second best vis-a-vis those gentlemen. Were he to bring even the most excellent and admirable thing the world has ever seen and serve up all the wisdom of heaven and earth, these men would still avert their eyes and ears if there were no theology. In fact the more merit his case has, the more will it excite not their admiration but their resentment; the more determined will be their passive resistance to it and hence the more malicious will be the silence with which they will attempt to stifle it; at the same time, the more blatantly will they sing encomiums over the delectable intellectual offspring of the fellowship that is so fertile in ideas. This they do merely in order that the voice of insight and sincerity, so hateful to them, may not make itself heard above the others. And so in this age of sceptical theologians and orthodox philosophers, this is demanded by the policy of the gentlemen who with wife and family support themselves on that branch of knowledge to which my whole being throughout a long life has sacrificed all its strength. For them the only question is one of theology in accordance with the hints and suggestions of their superiors; everything else is of secondary importance. At the outset each defines, in his own language, turns of phrase and veiled expressions, philosophy as speculative theology, and states quite naively that chasing after theology is the essential purpose of philosophy. They know nothing of the fact that we should approach the problem of existence freely and impartially and consider the world, together with the consciousness wherein it exhibits itself, as that which alone is given, as the problem, as the riddle of the old sphinx before whom we have boldly appeared. They cleverly ignore the fact that, if theology wants to be admitted into philosophy, it must first produce its passport, as must all other doctrines, and this is then examined at the office of the Critique of Pure Reason, as that which still enjoys the highest prestige among all thinkers, a reputation that has certainly not in the least been impaired by the comic grimaces that the chair-philosophers of the day have tried to make at it. And so without a credential of its own, theology obtains no admission; nor should it either by threats, cunning, or even by an appeal to the fact that the chair may not have anything else for sale. Let them shut up shop! For philosophy is not a church or a religion. It is that tiny spot in the world, accessible to extremely few, where truth, always and everywhere hated and persecuted, shall for once be free from all pressure and coercion; where its saturnalia, permitting as it were free speech even to slaves, shall honour, exalt, and even have the prerogative and final word; where truth shall reign absolutely alone and admit nothing else along with it. Thus the whole world and everything therein is full of intention, and often low, mean, and evil intention. Only one tiny spot shall, as a matter of course, remain free therefrom and be open simply to insight, indeed to that insight into relations that are of the utmost importance to all. This is philosophy; or are we to understand the matter differently? If so, then everything is a joke and a comedy-' As haply now and then the case may be. '6: Of course to judge from the compendiums of the chair-philosophers, one would rather imagine that philosophy is a guide to godliness or an institution for training church-goers. For speculative theology is often quite openly assumed to be the essential aim and object of the whole business and to that end is piloted with rudder and full sail. But it is certain that each and every article of faith contributes to the positive ruin of philosophy. Such articles may now be introduced openly and avowedly into philosophy, as was done in Scholasticism, or they are smuggled in by petitiones principii, [63] false axioms, fictitious inner sources of knowledge, divine consciousnesses, sham arguments, high-sounding phrases, and grandiloquent nonsense, as is customary at the present time. Everything of this kind ruins philosophy because it renders impossible the clear, impartial, purely objective conception of the world and our existence, this first condition of all investigation of truth.

To lecture on the fundamental dogmas of the established religion under the name of philosophy and in strange guise, dogmas that are then given the title of 'absolute religion' according to one of Hegel's worthy expressions, may be a very profitable business. For it makes students better fitted for the purposes of State and likewise strengthens the reading public in the faith; but to give this out as philosophy is really equivalent to selling something for what it is not. If this and all the abovementioned things continue their course undisturbed, then philosophy at the universities is bound to become more and more a remora [64] of the truth. For it is all over with philosophy when something other than pure truth alone is taken as the standard of its criticism or even as the guiding rule of its propositions, the truth that is so hard to arrive at even with a thoroughly honest investigation and the concentration of the highest mental powers. It degenerates into a mere fable that is agreed upon as true, or into a fable convenue [65] as Fontenelle called history. If we philosophize in accordance with a prearranged goal, we shall never advance even one step in the solution to the problems with which we are confronted on all sides by our infinitely mysterious existence. But, of course, no one will deny that such philosophizing is the generic characteristic of the various species of present-day university philosophy; for it is only too obvious that they all collimate their systems and propositions on to the one target-point. Moreover, this is not even New Testament Christianity proper or the spirit thereof which is too lofty, too ethereal, too eccentric, too little of this world, and thus too pessimistic for them and therefore totally unsuited to the apotheosis of the 'State'. On the contrary, it is merely Judaism, the doctrine that the world has its existence from a supremely eminent personal being and hence is also a most delightful thing and [x]. [66] For them this is the kernel of all wisdom to which philosophy should lead, or be led if she shows any resistance. Hence too the war that, since the collapse of Hegelry, is waged by all professors against so-called pantheism in the unanimous condemnation of which they try to outdo one another. Can this zeal have arisen from the discovery of cogent and convincing reasons against it? Or rather do we not see with what embarrassment and alarm they look for reasons against that adversary that calmly stands in its original strength and smiles at them? And so can anyone still doubt that mere incompatibility of that doctrine with 'absolute religion' is the reason why it is not to be true, shall not be, even if the whole of nature proclaimed it from thousands of throats? Nature is to keep quiet so that Judaism may have its say. Now if there is still anything besides 'absolute religion' which is taken into consideration by them, it will, of course, be the other wishes of an important ministry that has the power to grant and withdraw professorships. This indeed is the Muse that inspires them and directs their lucubrations; and it is, therefore, regularly invoked at the beginning in the form of a dedication. To me these are the men to pull truth out of the well, to tear down the veil of deception, and to challenge all obscurity.

In no branch of learning, by the nature of the case, are men of supreme ability, imbued with a love of knowledge and eagerness for truth, so positively necessary as in the passing on, by word of mouth, to the flower of a new generation the results of the highest exertions of the human mind on the most important of all affairs, or indeed where there should be awakened in this generation the spirit of research. On the other hand, ministries consider that no branch of learning has so much influence on the most intimate views of future scholars and hence of the class that really rules the State and society, as precisely this branch. It must, therefore, be only in the hands of the most devoted men who trim their teaching wholly in accordance with the will and prevailing views of the ministry. Naturally it is the first of these two requirements that must take second place. Now to anyone unacquainted with this state of affairs, it may seem at times as though the most decided dunderheads had strangely devoted themselves to the study of Plato and Aristotle.

Here I cannot refrain from remarking incidentally that situations as private tutors are a very pernicious preparation for a professorship of philosophy; and nearly all who have ever held such situations after their studies at the university have for some years overlooked this fact. For such situations are a suitable training ground for submissiveness and docility. In such a post a man is especially in the habit of entirely subjecting his teachings to the will of his employer and of knowing no other aims than those of his master. This early acquired habit strikes root and becomes second nature so that afterwards, as professor of philosophy, a man finds nothing more natural than to trim and fashion even philosophy exactly in accordance with the wishes of the ministry in charge of professorships. In the end, the results are philosophical views or even systems which seem as though they were made to order. Truth then has a fine game! Here, of course, it is clear that, in order to pay absolute homage to truth and really to philosophize, so many conditions have to be fulfilled, but there is also one that is almost indispensable, namely that we stand on our own feet and recognize no master; accordingly the [x] [67] is in a certain sense also applicable here. At any rate, most of those who ever achieved anything great in philosophy were in the same situation. Spinoza was so clearly aware of this that he declined the professorship that was offered to him.

[x]
[x] [68]


Real philosophizing demands independence:

[x]
[x] [66]

-- Theognis


There is also a passage in Sadi's Gulistan (translated by Graf, Leipzig, 1846, p. 185) in which it says that whoever is burdened by the cares of earning a living cannot achieve anything. With reference to this, the genuine philosopher is by nature one who is easily satisfied and does not need much in order to live independently; for his motto will always be Shenstone's remark that 'liberty is a more invigorating cordial than Tokay.'

If, therefore, it were now only a question here of encouraging philosophy and of progressing on the path of truth, the best recommendation I should make would be to stop the prevarication and humbug that are carried on in its name at the universities. For these are really not the place for philosophy that is seriously and honestly meant; only too often is its place there occupied by a puppet dressed up in its clothes which, as a nervis alienis mobile lignum, [70] must gesticulate and make a show. Now if such a chair-philosophy still tries to replace genuine ideas by incomprehensible, mind-stupefying phrases, newfangled words, and unheard-of notions, the absurdities of which are called speculative and transcendental, then it becomes a parody of philosophy, and brings it into discredit; such has been the case in our day. With all this business how can there exist even the mere possibility of that profound seriousness which, together with truth, disregards everything and is the first condition of philosophy? The way to truth is steep and long; and no one will cover the distance with a block tied to his foot; on the contrary, wings would be necessary. Accordingly, I should be in favour of philosophy's ceasing to be a means of livelihood; with this the sublimity of its aspiration is incompatible; indeed this was recognized even by the ancients. It is quite unnecessary for a few shallow talkers to be kept at every university for the purpose of putting young men against philosophy for the rest of their lives. Voltaire is quite right when he says: les gens de lettres qui ont rendu le plus de services au petit nombre d'etres pensans repandus dans le monde, sont les lettres isoles, les vrais savans, renfermes dans leur cabinet, qui n' ont ni argumente sur les bancs de l'universite, ni dit les choses a moitie dans les academies: et ceux-la ont presque toujours ete persecutes. [71] All help that is offered to philosophy from without is, by its nature, suspect. The interest of philosophy is of too lofty a nature for it to be capable of entering into a sincere alliance with the activities of this evilly disposed world. On the contrary, it has its own guiding star that never sets; we should, therefore, give it full play without assistance but also without hindrance. We should not let the serious pilgrim who by nature is endowed and ordained for the elevated temple of truth associate with a fellow who is really concerned only with a meal and a good night's lodging; for it is to be feared that such a man will push an obstacle in the path of the pilgrim in order to be after these amenities himself.

As a result of all this, leaving aside the purposes of State and considering only the interests of philosophy, I regard it as desirable that all instruction therein at the universities be strictly limited to lectures on logic as a complete and accurately demonstrable science and to a history of philosophy. The latter should be given quite succinctly in a series of lectures, and should cover in one term of six months the period from Thales to Kant, so that in consequence of its brevity and lucidity of style as little scope as possible is given to the professor's own views and it appears merely as a guide to the student's own future course of study. For only in their own works and certainly not from second-hand accounts can we become really acquainted with philosophers; and I have given the reasons for this in the preface to the second edition of my chief work. Moreover, reading the original works of genuine philosophers in any case has a beneficial and encouraging influence on the mind, since it puts it into immediate touch with a superior and independent thinker. On the other hand, with those histories of philosophy, the mind always receives only the movement that can be imparted to it by the stiff and wooden train of thought of a commonplace intellect, one that has arranged matters in its own way. I should, therefore, like to limit those professorial lectures to a general orientation in the field of philosophical achievements to date and to eliminate from its presentation all arguments and pragmatism that would go further than demonstrate the unmistakable points of contact of successively appearing systems with those previously existing. And so this is in complete contrast with the presumption of Hegelian writers of the history of philosophy who show each system as necessarily taking place, and accordingly construct a priori the history of philosophy and demonstrate that every philosopher must have thought exactly what he did think and nothing else. In this connection, the professor very conveniently and haughtily ignores them all, even if he does not smile at them. The sinner! as though all this had not been the work of individual and isolated minds who had to be pushed about for a while in the evil company of this world so that such work would be rescued and saved from coarse and stupid gangs; minds who are as individual as they are rare and hence to each of whom Ariosto's natura il fece, e poi ruppe la stampa [72] applies in the fullest sense. And as though another would have written the Critique of Pure Reason had Kant died of smallpox, for instance, one of those manufactured articles of nature with her trade-mark on his forehead, someone with the normal ration of three pounds of coarse brain of pretty tough texture, well preserved in a skull an inch thick, with a facial angle of 70 degrees, feeble pulse, dull inquisitive eyes, strongly developed mouth organs, a stammer, and a heavy slouching gait in keeping with the toad-like agility of his ideas. Yes indeed, you just wait! they will make Critiques of Pure Reason and even systems for you whenever the moment that is calculated by the professor arrives and it is their turd, that is to say, when oaks bear apricots. Of course, the gentlemen have good reasons for ascribing as much as possible to upbringing and education, even for flatly denying innate talents as some actually do, and for entrenching themselves in every way against the truth that everything depends on the way in which a man proceeded from the hands of nature, what father begot him and what mother conceived him, and indeed even at what hour. Therefore no man will write Iliads whose mother was a goose and whose father was a dullard, even if he has studied at six universities. But still it is no different; nature is aristocratic, more so than any feudal or caste system. Accordingly, her pyramid rises up from a very broad base to a very sharp apex. Even if the mob and rabble who will tolerate nothing over them succeeded in overthrowing all aristocracies, they would still have to allow this one to exist; and for this they shall get no reward; for it is quite properly 'by the grace of God'.

_______________

Notes:

1 ['We reject and condemn the man who teaches something different.']

2 ['With a grain of salt'.]

* It is quite natural that the more godliness, the less erudition is required of a  professor, just as in Altenstein's day it was enough for a man to be acquainted with  Hegel's nonsense. But since in the appointment to professorships godliness can be  substituted for erudition, these gentlemen do not trouble themselves about the  latter. The Tartuffes or sanctimonious hypocrites should restrain themselves and  ask: 'who will believe us when we say that we believe this?' That these gentlemen are  professors is a matter of interest to those who appointed them; I know them to be  simply bad authors against whose influence I am working. I have been looking for  truthh, not for a professorship. On this rests, in the last resort, the difference between  me and the so-called post-Kantian philosophers. This will be more and more  recognized with the passing of time.

3 [A privat docent is an unsalaried lecturer at a German university.]

4 [Goethe's Faust, Pt. 1, Bayard Taylor's translation.]

5 [' On the piety of true philosophy compared with religion'.)

6 See my 'Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy' at the end of the first volume of my chief work.

7 [From Goethe, Den Originalen.]

8 ['Therefore let us rejoice!']

9 [Goethe's Faust, Bayard Taylor's translation.]

10 ['Does not concern Dionysus' (i.e. the dramatic performance got up in his  honour; a frequent exclamation at the festival of Dionysus).]
 
11 [Goethe's Faust, Bayard Taylor's translation.]

12 [' The ultimate goal of good things'.]

13 [A wooden doll that is moved by extraneous forces' (Horace, Satires, II. 7 82)

14 [' First live and then philosophize.']

15 ['According to the current pattern'.]

16 [' God forbid! ']

17 ['Not having occurred'.]

18 ['The silence imposed by envy'.]

19 ['Unheard-of transgression'.]

20 ['In public'.)

21 ['The exception that confirms the rule'.]

22 ['But we should not, as the poets remind us, ponder as human beings over human things and as mortals over mortal things; but we should, as far as possible, aspire to the immortal and should do everything in order to live in accordance with what is noblest in us.']

23 ['You must live for others if you wish to live for yourself.']

24 [' You must think for yourself if you wish to have thought for all.']

25 (The two words in German are Welt and Wahrheit.)

26 ['A difference is to be drawn between those who confess that they just teach as sophists, namely impart for money the doctrines of philosophy, and those who think that to teach as a sophist merits a rebuke, since it is a peddling and bartering of ideas, and who declare that it is not permitted to take money for the education of those in search of knowledge, as this kind of money-making is not conducive to the dignity of philosophy.']

27 ['Those who sell wisdom for money to anyone wanting it are called sophists.']

28 ['Are philosophers also to be included among the professors? I think not; not because it is not here a question of something carried out with conscientious care, but because it behoves them above all publicly to confess that they disdain to work for reward.']

29 ['To barter with wisdom'.]

30 ['Some reproach you with having taken money from the king. This would not be inadmissible, if you did not give the impression of having taken it for philosophy, indeed so often and in such large sums, and moreover from one who was bound to think that you were a philosopher.')

31 [' If anyone offers money to Apollonius and is deemed worthy to give it, then Apollonius will accept it if he needs it; but he will take no reward for philosophy, not even if he were in need of the money.')

32 (' Philosophy serving for remuneration'.]

33 [' According to the current pattern'.]

34 ['Nothing is more dignified than when two mules scratch each other.']
 
35 ['With regard to ourselves, gentlemen, we are accustomed to criticize at  length and in detail what others have thought, but we do not think for ourselves at  all.')
 
36 ['There on the ground lies virtue, deprived of fame.']

37 [Making the consequent an antecedent; inverting the logical order by explaining a thing in terms of something which presupposes it.]

38 ['Fools admire and love to excess everything that is said to them figuratively and in queer or puzzling words.']

39 [Schopenhauer's own words.]

40 ['There's no making head or tail of it.']

41 ["Everyone praises only as much as he himself hopes to achieve.']

42 [The German word is Jetztzeil, one of many which Schopenhauer in an essay on the mutilation of the German language condemned as cacophonous.]

43 [Schopenhauer plays on the words Zopf (tail) and Kopf (head).]

44 [Logical inconsistencies between nouns and their modifying adjectives, e.g.  'round square', 'hot snow'. 'cold fire'.]
* It is said that the beard is natural to man; certainly, and so it is quite suitable to him in a state of nature, just as, on the contrary, shaving is suitable to him in the civilized state, since it indicates that the rough brutal power, whose distinctive mark is that excrescence characteristic of the male sex and palpable to everyone, has had to yield to law, order, and civilization.

The beard exaggerates and renders conspicuous the animal part of the face and thus gives it a strikingly brutal appearance. We have only to contemplate the profile of such a bearded man while he is eating!

They would like to pretend that the beard is an ornament. For two hundred years we have been accustomed to see this only on Jews, Cossacks, Capuchins, prisoners, and highwaymen.

The atrocious ferocity, given to the countenance by the beard, is due to the fact that a relatively inanimate mass occupies half the face, and moreover the morally expressive half. Besides, all hairiness is brutal. Shaving is the symbol (standard token) of higher civilization. In addition, the police are authorized to forbid beards since they are half-masks that make it difficult for them to recognize their man again, and thus encourage all kinds of mischief.

45 [From Goethe's Epilog zu Schiller's Glocke.)

46 ['Day and night'.]
 
47 [A translation of the Latin proverb ut nos poma natamus.]

48 ['What a scandal!']

49 [From Goethe's Faust, Pt. I. Sei er kein schellenlauter Thor. (Beware, a jingling fool to be!)]

50 ['Hindrance'.]

* 'No philosophy having the sole disposal of the means of grace!' exclaims the meeting of philosophasters at Gotha, which means in plain language: 'No attempt at objective truth! Long live mediocrity! No intellectual aristocracy, no autocracy of nature's favourites, but mob rule instead! Let each of us speak without the least reserve and let one have as much influence as another!' The rascals then have great fun! Thus even in the history of philosophy they would like to displace the constitutional monarchy hitherto existing and introduce a proletarian republic. But nature lodges a protest; she is severely aristocratic!

51 [A logical inconsistency between a noun and its modifying adjective, e.g. 'round square', 'hot snow', cold fire'.]

52 With him his postulate of freedom, based on the categorical imperative, is of merely practical, not theoretical validity. See my Fundamental Problems of Ethics, 'Freedom of the Will', chap. 4; 'Basis of Ethics', §6.

53 ['The last man is in the most favourable position.']

54 ['As not having occurred'.]

55 ['Sordid and mercenary fellows who pay little or no heed to truth; they are content with knowledge that is ordinarily regarded as such and have little love for genuine wisdom. They crave for the reputation and prestige that are furnished by wisdom; they desire to appear something and are little concerned at being something.']
 
56 ['Philosophy serving for remuneration'.]
 
* From an analogous embarrassment comes the praise some of them now give me  to save the honour of their good taste, since my light is now no longer hidden under  a bushel. But they hasten to add the assurance that in the principal point I am  wrong, for they will take care not to agree with a philosophy which is something  quite different from Jewish mythology, disguised as this is in high-sounding  verbiage and strangely trimmed-a thing that with them is de rigueur.

57 ['The handmaid of theology'.]

58 ['I wish that it shall be so; the wish exempts me from giving reasons,' (Juvenal, Satires, VI. 223.)]

59 ['To the greater glory of God'.]

60 ['Defender of the faith'.]

61 ['What is the opinion regarding the divine consciousness that is innate in our minds?']
 
62 [Goethe's Faust, Pt. I, Bayard Taylor's translation.]

63 ['Begging of the question'. Fallacies that involve the assumption as premisses of one or more propositions which are identical with (or in a simple fashion equivalent to) the conclusion to be proved, or which would require the conclusion for their proof.]
 
64 ['Hindrance'.]

65 ['A fable that is agreed upon as true.']

66 ['(And God saw) every thing (that he had made, and, behold, it) was very good.' (Genesis 1:31.)]
 
67 ['Give me a foothold' (and I move the earth.)]

68 [' For thundering Zeus takes away half the excellence of a man as soon as the day of bondage overwhelms him.' (Homer, Odyssey, xvii. 322f.)]

69 ['Everyone oppressed by poverty is unable to say or do what he likes; his tongue is no longer free.' (11. 177-8.)]

70 [' A wooden doll that is moved by extraneous forces' (Horace, Satires, II. 7. 82).]

71 ['Those authors who have rendered the greatest service to the small number of world-famous thinkers are the isolated writers, the genuine scholars shut up in their studies, who have neither expounded their arguments from a university chair nor in academies put forward half-truths; and it is they who have almost always been persecuted.']

72 ('Nature stamped it and then smashed the mould.')  
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:24 am

TRANSCENDENT SPECULATION ON THE APPARENT DELIBERATENESS IN THE FATE OF THE INDIVIDUAL

[x]

-- Plotinus, Enneads, IV, lib. 4, c. 35.

[' Chance has no place in life, but only harmony and order reign therein.']


Transcendent Speculation on the Apparent Deliberateness in the Fate of the Individual

ALTHOUGH the ideas to be given here do not lead to any firm result, indeed they might perhaps be termed a mere metaphysical fantasy, I could not bring myself to consign them to oblivion, since to many a man they will be welcome, at any rate as a comparison with his own that he may have entertained on the same subject. Yet such a man should also be reminded that in them everything is dubious and uncertain, not merely the solution but even the problem. Accordingly, here we have to expect anything but definite information; rather the mere ventilation of a very obscure set of facts which have suggested themselves possibly to everyone in the course of his life, or when he has looked back on it. Even our observations on the subject may perhaps not be much more than a fumbling and groping in the dark where we note that something does exist, yet we do not really know where or what it is. If, however, in the course of my remarks I should occasionally adopt a positive or even dogmatic tone, let it be said here and now that this is done merely in order not to become dull and diffuse through the constant repetition of the forms of doubt and conjecture, and that in consequence this is not to be taken seriously.

Belief in a special providence, or eise in a supernatural guidance of the events in an individual's life, has at all times been universally popular, and even with thinkers who are averse to all superstition it is occasionally found firm and unshaken and entirely unconnected with any definite dogmas. Opposed to it in the first place is the fact that, like all belief in a God, it has sprung not really from knowledge, but from the will; thus it is primarily the offspring of our miserable state. The data for this, which might have been furnished merely by knowledge, could perhaps be traced to the fact that chance which plays us a hundred cruel and maliciously contrived tricks, does sometimes turn out particularly favourable to us, or indirectly ministers to our great benefit. In all such cases, we recognize therein the hand of providence and this most clearly when it has led us to a fortunate destiny against our own insight and even in ways that we abominate. We then say tunc bene navigavi, cum naufragium feci, [1] and the contrast between choice and guidance becomes unmistakably clear, but at the same time in favour of the latter. For this reason, when we meet with misfortunes, we console ourselves with that short maxim that is often proved true' who knows it may be some good?' This has really sprung from the view that, although chance rules the world, error is nevertheless its co-regent, since we are as much subject to the one as to the other. Perhaps the very thing that now seems to us a misfortune is a blessing. Thus we shun the blows of one world-tyrant and rush to the other in that we turn from chance and appeal to error.

Apart from this, however, to attribute to pure evident chance a purpose or intention is an idea of unparalleled audacity. Yet I believe that everyone has had at least once in his life a vivid conception of it. It is found among all races and in all faiths, although it is most marked among the Mohammedans. It is an idea that can be the absurdest or profoundest according as it is understood. Nevertheless, striking as the instances may at times be whereby it could be supported, there is always the standing objection to them that it would be the greatest marvel if chance never watched over our affairs as well as, or even better than, our understanding and insight could have done.

Without exception everything that happens takes place with strict necessity and this is a truth to be understood a priori and consequently to be regarded as irrefutable; here I will call it demonstrable fatalism. In my prize-essay 'On the Freedom of the Will' (chap. 3, at the end) it follows as the result of all previous investigations. It is confirmed empirically and a posteriori by the fact, no longer in doubt, that magnetic somnambulists, persons gifted with second sight, and sometimes even the dreams of ordinary sleep directly and accurately predict future events. * This empirical confirmation of my theory of the strict necessity of all that happens is seen most strikingly in second sight. For in virtue thereof we afterwards see happen something that was often predicted long previously; it occurs with complete accuracy and with all the attendant circumstances just as they were stated, even when we had purposely made every effort to prevent it or make the event differ, at any rate in some minor circumstance, from the communicated vision. This has always been futile, since the very thing that was to frustrate the predicted event always helped to bring it about. It is precisely the same both in the tragedies and the history of the ancients, the calamity predicted by oracles or dreams is brought about by the very measures that are employed to prevent it. As instances of this, I merely mention from many Oedipus Rex and the fine story of Croesus with Adrastus in the first book of Herodotus, cc. 35-43. In keeping with these, we find cases of second sight given by the thoroughly reliable Bende Bendsen in the third part of the eighth volume of the Archiv fur thierischen Magnetismus by Kieser (especially examples 4, 12, 14, 16), and also a case in Jung-Stilling's Theorie der Geisterkunde, § 155. Now if the gift of second sight were as frequent as it is rare, innumerable events predicted would happen exactly, and the undeniable factual proof of the strict necessity of all that happens would be generally evident and accessible to everyone. There would then no longer be any doubt that, however much the course of things was represented as being purely accidental, at bottom it was not so; on the contrary, all these accidents, [x], are themselves enveloped in a deeply hidden necessity, [x], whose mere instrument is chance itself. To gain an insight into this has from time immemorial been the endeavour of all soothsayers. Now from the divination just mentioned and founded on fact, it follows not merely that all events occur with complete necessity, but also that they are in some way determined beforehand and objectively fixed, in that they present themselves to the eye of a seer as something existing. At all events, this could still be traced to the mere necessity of their occurrence in consequence of the course of the causal chain. In any case the insight, or rather the view, that this necessity of all that happens is not blind and thus the belief in a connection of events in the course of our lives, as systematic as it is necessary, is a fatalism of a higher order which cannot, like simple fatalism, be demonstrated, but happens possibly to everyone sooner or later and firmly holds him either temporarily or permanently according to his way of thinking. We can call this transcendent fatalism, as distinct from that which is ordinary and demonstrable. It does not come, like the latter, from a really theoretical knowledge or from the investigation necessary for this, for which few would be qualified; but it gradually reveals itself from the experiences in the course of a man's own life. Of these certain events become conspicuous to everyone and, by virtue of their being specially and peculiarly appropriate to him, they bear, on the one hand, the stamp of a moral or inner necessity, yet, on the other, they carry the clear impression of an external and wholly accidental nature. The frequent occurrence of this gradually leads to the view, often becoming a conviction, that the course of an individual's life, however confused it appears to be, is a complete whole, in harmony with itself and having a definite tendency and didactic meaning, as profoundly conceived as is the finest epic.* But now the information imparted to him in this way would relate solely to his individual will which in the last resort is his individual error. For plan and totality are to be found not in world history, as professorial philosophy would have us believe, but in the life of the individual. In fact, nations exist merely in abstracto; individuals are what is real. Therefore world history is without direct metaphysical significance; it is really only an accidental configuration. Here I remind the reader of what I have said on this point in the World as Will and Representation, vol. i, § 35. And so as regards their own individual fate, there arises in many that transcendent fatalism which at some time occurs perhaps to everyone through an attentive consideration of his own life after its thread has been spun out to a considerable length. In fact, when he reflects on the details of his life, this may sometimes be presented to him as if everything therein had been mapped out and the human beings appearing on the scene seem to him to be mere performers in a play. This transcendent fatalism has not only much that is consoling, but perhaps much also that is true; and so at all times it has been affirmed even as a dogma.* As being quite unprejudiced, the testimony of an experienced courtier and man of the world, given moreover at a Nestorian age, deserves here to be mentioned, namely that of the ninety-year-old Knebel, who in a letter says: 'On closer observation, we shall find that in the lives of most people there is to be found a certain plan which, through the peculiar nature or circumstances that direct it, is so to speak sketched out for them. The states of their lives may be ever so variable and changeable, yet in the end there appears a totality that enables us to observe thereunder a certain harmony and consistency.-- However concealed its action may be, the hand of a definite fate is also strictly in evidence; it may be moved by external influence or inner impulse; indeed contradictory grounds may operate in its direction. However disorganized the course of life, motive and tendency, ground and direction, always make their appearance.' (Knebel's Litterarischer Nachlass, 2nd edn., 1840, vol. iii, p. 452.)

The systematic arrangement, here mentioned, in the life of everyone can be explained partly from the immutability and rigid consistency of the inborn character which invariably brings a man back on to the same track. Everyone recognizes immediately and with such certainty what is most appropriate to his character that, as a rule, he by no means receives it in clear reflecting consciousness, but acts according to it at once and, as it were, by instinct. In so far as this kind of knowledge passes into action without having entered clear consciousness, it is to be compared to the reflex motions of Marshall Hall. By virtue thereof everyone pursues and takes up what is appropriate to him as an individual, even without his being able to give a clear account of it to himself, and the power so to do does not come to him either from without or from his own false conceptions and prejudices. In the same way, the turtle in the sand, that is hatched out by the sun, at once goes straight to the water, even without being able to see it. And so this is the inner compass, the mysterious characteristic, that brings everyone correctly on to that path which for him is the only suitable one; but only after he has covered it does he become aware of its uniform direction. This, however, seems to be inadequate in view of the powerful influence and great force of external circumstances. Here it is very unlikely that the most important thing in the world, namely the course of a man's life purchased at the price of so much activity, trouble, and suffering, should obtain only the other half of its guidance, namely the part coming from without, simply and solely from the hand of a really blind chance that is absolutely nothing in itself and dispenses with all direction and order. On the contrary, we are tempted to believe that, just as there are certain images or figures called anamorphoses (Pouillet, II. 171) which reveal to the naked eye only distorted, mutilated, and shapeless objects, but, on the other hand, show us regular human figures when seen in a conical mirror, so the purely empirical apprehension of the course of the world is like that intuitive perception of the picture with the naked eye; the pursuit of fate's purpose, on the other hand, is like the intuitive perception in the conical mirror which combines and arranges what has there been scattered apart. Against this view, however, may still always be opposed the other that the systematic connection we think we perceive in the events of our lives, is only an unconscious working of our regulating and schematizing imagination similar to that by which we clearly and distinctly discern on a spotted wall human figures and groups, in that we bring into systematic connection spots that have been scattered by the blindest chance. Yet it may be supposed that what in the highest and truest sense of the word is for us right and beneficial, cannot really be what was merely projected but never carried into effect and hence has never obtained any other existence than the one in our thoughts-the vani disegni, che non han' mai loco [2] of Ariosto-whose frustration by chance we should then have to deplore for the rest of our lives. Rather is it that which is really stamped in the great image of reality and of which we say with conviction after recognizing its appropriateness, sic erat in fatis, [3] namely that it was bound to happen. Therefore there had to be some kind of provision for the realization of what is appropriate in this sense through a unity of the accidental and the necessary which lies at the very root of things. In virtue of that unity, the inner necessity showing itself as a kind of instinctive impulse, then rational deliberation, and finally the external operation of circumstances had to assist one another in the course of a man's life in such a way that, at the end thereof when it had been run through, they made it appear like a well-finished and perfected work of art, although previously, when it was still in the making, it had, as in the case of every planned work of art, the appearance of being often without any plan or purpose. But whoever came along after its completion and closely considered it, would inevitably gaze in astonishment at such a course of life as the work of the most deliberate foresight, wisdom, and persistence. Yet on the whole, it would be of significance according as its subject was ordinary or extraordinary. From this point of view, we might conceive the very transcendent idea that, underlying this mundus phaenomenon wherein chance reigns, there is generally to be found everywhere a mundus intelligibilis that rules over chance itself. Nature, of course, does everything simply for the species and nothing for the mere individual, since for her the former is everything, the latter nothing. But what we here assume as operative is not nature, but the metaphysical that lies beyond nature and exists whole and undivided in every individual to whom, therefore, all this is of importance.

To get to the bottom of these things, we should indeed first have to answer the following questions: is a complete disparity possible between a man's character and fate? or, looking at the main point, does the fate of everyone conform to his character? or finally, does a secret inconceivable necessity, comparable to the author of a drama, actually fit the two together always suitably? But on this very point we are in the dark.

Yet we think that at every moment we are masters of our actions; but if we look back on the course of our lives and in particular bear in mind our unfortunate steps together with their consequences, we often do not understand how we could do this or omit to do that, so that it looks as if a strange power has guided our steps. And so Shakespeare says:

Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
What is decreed must be, and be this so!

-- Twelfth Night, Act I, Sc. 5.


In verse and prose the ancients never weary of stressing the omnipotence of fate, showing thereby man's powerlessness by way of contrast. We see everywhere that this is a conviction with which they are imbued, since they suspect a mysterious connection of things which is deeper than the clearly empirical. (See Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead, XIX and xxx; Herodotus, lib. I, c. 91 and IX, c. 16.) Hence the many terms in Greek for this concept: [x] and possibly others. The word [x], on the other hand, shifts the concept of the thing in that it starts from voiis as something secondary, whereby it naturally becomes plain and intelligible, but also superficial and false.* Even Goethe says in Gotz von Berlichingen (Act v): 'We human beings do not direct ourselves; power over us is given to evil spirits which practise their mischievous tricks to our undoing.' Also in Egmont (Act v, last scene): 'Man thinks he guides his life and directs himself; and his innermost being is irresistibly drawn in accordance with his fate.' Indeed the prophet Jeremiah has said: 'I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.' (10:23). All this is due to our deeds being the necessary product of two factors one of which, our character, is immutably fixed and yet known to us only a posteriori and thus gradually; the motives are the other. These reside without, are necessarily brought about by the course of the world, and determine the given character, on the assumption of its fixed nature, with a necessity that is wellnigh mechanical. Now the ego that judges of the ensuing course of things is the subject of knowing; as such it is a stranger to both and is merely the critical spectator of their action. Then, of course, it may at times be astonished.

But if we have once grasped the point of view of that transcendent fatalism and from this aspect now consider the life of an individual, we at times behold the strangest of all spectacles in the contrast between the obvious physical contingency of an event and its moral metaphysical necessity. Yet this can never be demonstrated; on the contrary, it can only be imagined. To get a clear picture of this through a well-known example that, on account of its striking nature, is at the same time suitable as a typical case, let us consider Schiller's Gang nach dem Eisenhammer. There we see Fridolin's delay through attendance at mass brought about, on the one hand, just as accidentally as, on the other, it is so extremely important and necessary to him. If we carefully consider the matter, we shall perhaps be able to find analogous cases in our own lives, though not so important or so clear and definite. Many, however, will thus be driven to the assumption that a secret and inexplicable power guides all the turns and changes of our lives, indeed often contrary to the intention we had at the time. Yet it does this in such a way as to be appropriate to the objective totality and subjective suitability of our lives and consequently to promote our true and essential welfare. Thus afterwards we often recognize the folly of desires that were entertained in the opposite direction. Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt [4] (Seneca, Epistulae, 107). Now such a power that runs through all things with an invisible thread would also have to combine those, which without any mutual connection are allowed by the causal chain, in such a way that they would come together at the required moment. Accordingly, it would be just as complete a master of the events of real life as is the poet of those of his drama. But chance and error which disturb and encroach primarily and directly on the regular causal run of things, would be the mere instruments of its invisible hand.

What urges us more than anything to the bold assumption of such an unfathomable power that springs from the unity of the deep-lying root of necessity and contingency, is the consideration that the definite and thoroughly characteristic individuality of every man in a physical, moral, and intellectual respect which is all in all to him and must, therefore, have sprung from the highest metaphysical necessity, follows, on the one hand (as I have shown in my chief work, vol. ii, chap. 43), as the necessary result of the father's moral character, of the mother's intellectual capacity, and of the combined corporization of the two. Now, as a rule, the union of these parents has been brought about through obviously accidental circumstances. And so the demand, or metaphysical moral postulate, of an ultimate unity of necessity and contingency here irresistibly forces itself on us. However, I regard it as impossible to arrive at a clear conception of this central root of both; only this much can be said, that it is at the same time what the ancients called fate, [x], fatum, what they understood by the guiding genius of every individual, but equally also what the Christians worship as Providence, [x]. These three, of course, are distinguished by the fact that fatum is thought of as blind, whereas the other two are not; but this anthropomorphic distinction falls to the ground and loses all significance with that deeper metaphysical essence of things. In this alone do we have to look for the root of that inexplicable union of the contingent with the necessary which manifests itself as the mysterious disposer of all things human.

The notion of a genius or guardian angel that is assigned to every individual and presides over the course of his life, is said to be of Etruscan origin, yet it is widely current among the ancients. Its essential idea is contained in a verse of Menander which has been preserved for us by Plutarch (De tranquillitate animi, c. 15, also in Stobaeus, Eclogues, lib. I, c. 6, § 4, and Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, lib. v, c. 14):

[x]
[x]
[x]

 
(Hominem unumquemque, simul in lucem est editus, sectatur Genius, vitae qui auspicium facit, bonus nimirum.) [5] At the end of the Republic, Plato describes how before its next rebirth every soul chooses for itself a fate with a personality suited thereto and then says: [x]. [6] (lib. X, 621.) On this passage Porphyry has furnished a commentary that is well worth reading and is preserved for us by Stobaeus in Eclogae ethicae, lib. II, c. 8, § 37 (vol. iii, pp. 368 ff. especially 376.) But Plato had previously said in this connexion: [x] (fate that determines merely the order of choice) [x]. [7] The matter is very beautifully expressed by Horace:

Scit Genius, natale comes qui temperat astrum,
Naturtae deus humantae, mortalis in unum-
Quodque caput, vultu mutabilis, albus et ater. [8]

-- Epistles, II. 2. 187.


A passage on this genius or guardian angel, well worth reading, is found in Apuleius, De deo Socratis, p. 236, 38 ed. Bip. Jamblichus, On the Egyptian Mysteries, sect. IX, c. 6, De proprio daemone, has a short but important chapter on this. But even more remarkable is the passage of Proclus in his commentary to Plato's Alcibiades, p. 77, ed. Creuzer: [x]. [9] Theophrastus Paracelsus has most profoundly expressed the same idea, for he says: 'To understand fatum properly, it is that every man has a spirit that dwells outside him and has its seat in the stars above. He uses the bosses* of his master; it is he who presages and shows him forebodings, for they continue to exist after him. These spirits are called fatum.' (Works, folio, Strasburg, 1603, vol. ii, p. 36.) It is worth noting that this same idea is to be found in Plutarch, for he says that outside that part of the soul which is submerged in the earthly body there remains suspended over man's head another purer part presenting itself as a star which is rightly called his demon or genius and guides him, and which the more prudent man willingly follows. The passage is too long to be quoted; it is found in De genio Socratis, c. 22. The principal sentence runs: [x]. [10] Incidentally, I might mention that Christianity which, as we know, readily changed all the gods and demons of the pagans into the devil, appears to have made from this genius of the ancients the spiritus familiaris of scholars and magicians. The Christian description of Providence is too well known for me to have to dwell on it here. All these things, however, are only figurative, allegorical conceptions of the matter we are considering; for in general it is not granted to us to comprehend the deepest and most hidden truths other than in figures and similes.

In truth, however, that occult power that guides even external influences can ultimately have its root only in our own mysterious inner being; for indeed in the last resort the alpha and omega of all existence lie within us. But even in the most fortunate case we shall be able to obtain only a very remote glimpse of the mere possibility of this and here again only by means of analogies and similes.

The closest analogy to the sway of that power is seen in the teleology of nature, in that it shows us the appropriate and suitable as occurring without knowledge of the end in view, especially where external appropriateness appears, in other words, that which takes place between different and even heterogeneous beings and indeed in inorganic nature. A striking instance of this kind is afforded by driftwood which is carried by the sea in large quantities straight to the treeless polar regions. Another example is that the main mass of land of the planet lies entirely heaped towards the North Pole whose winter for astronomical reasons is eight days shorter and thus again much milder than that of the South. However, the inner suitability that is undeniably evident in the complete and exclusive organism, the surprising harmony, producing such suitability, between the technique and the mere mechanism of nature, or between the nexus finalis and the nexus effectivus (in this connection I refer to my chief work, vol. ii, chap. 26) enable us to see by analogy how that which proceeds from different and indeed widely remote points and is apparently a stranger to itself, nevertheless conspires to the ultimate end and correctly arrives at that point, guided not by knowledge but by virtue of a necessity of a higher order that precedes all possibility of knowledge. Further, if we conjure up in our minds the theory formulated by Kant and later by Laplace concerning the origin of our planetary system, whose probability amounts almost to a certainty, and arrive at considerations such as I have given in my chief work vol. ii, chap. 25, and thus reflect on how, from the play of blind natural forces that follow their immutable laws, this admirably arranged planetary world was ultimately bound to come about, then here we have an analogy that can serve generally and remotely to show us the possibility that even the course of life of an individual is, so to speak, systematically guided by events that are often the capricious sport of blind chance and in a way that is best suited to the true and ultimate good of the person.* On this assumption, the dogma of Providence, as being thoroughly anthropomorphic, could certainly not pass as true directly and sensu proprio; but it might well be the indirect, allegorical, and mythical expression of a truth and so, like all religious myths, would be perfectly adequate for practical purposes and for subjective consolation in the sense, for instance, of Kant's moral theology which is to be understood only as a scheme for finding our bearings, and consequently allegorically; in a word, therefore, such a dogma might not be in fact true, but yet as good as true. In those deep, blind, primary forces of nature, from whose interplay the planetary system results, the will-to-live that subsequently appears in the most perfect phenomena of the world is already the inner operating and guiding principle. In those forces it already works towards its ends by means of strict natural laws and prepares the foundations for the structure and arrangement of the world. For example, the most fortuitous thrust or oscillation determines for all time the obliquity of the ecliptic and the velocity of rotation, and the final result must be the presentation of its entire nature just because such is already active in those original forces themselves. Now in the same way, all the events that determine a man's actions together with the causal connection that brings them about, are likewise only the objectivation of the same will that manifests itself in him. From this it may be seen, although only very obscurely, that they must harmonize and agree even with the special aims of that man. In this sense, they then constitute that mysterious power that guides the fate of the individual and is spoken of allegorically as his genius or his Providence. But considered purely objectively, it is and continues to be the universal causal connection that embraces everything without exception-by virtue whereof everything that happens does so with strict and absolute necessity-a connection that takes the place of the merely mythical control of the world, and indeed has the right to be so called.

The following general consideration can help to make this clearer. 'Accidental' means the concurrence in time of that which is causally not connected. But nothing is absolutely accidental; on the contrary, even the most accidental is only something necessary that has come to us on a more distant path, since definite causes lying high up in the causal chain have long ago necessarily determined that that something was bound to occur precisely at this moment and, therefore, simultaneously with something else. Thus every event is the particular link in a chain of causes and effects which proceeds in the direction of time. But in virtue of space, there are numberless such chains side by side; yet they are not entirely foreign to one another and without any interconnection; on the contrary, they are intertwined in many ways. For instance, many causes now operating simultaneously, each of which produces a different effect, have sprung from a common cause higher up and are, therefore, related to one another as great-grandchildren are to their great-grandfather. On the other hand, a particular effect occurring now often requires the coincidence of many different causes which, each as a link in its own chain, have come to us from the past. Accordingly, all those causal chains, that move in the direction of time, now form a large, common, much-interwoven net which with its whole breadth likewise moves forward in the direction of time and constitutes the course of the world. Now if we represent those individual causal chains by meridians that would lie in the direction of time, then that which is simultaneous, and for this reason does not stand in direct causal connection, can be everywhere indicated by parallel circles. Now although all things situated under the same parallel circle do not directly depend on one another, they nevertheless stand indirectly in some connection, though remote, by virtue of the interlacing of the whole net or of the totality of all causes and effects that roll along in the direction of time. Their present co-existence is therefore necessary; and on this rests the accidental coincidence of all the conditions of an event that is necessary in a higher sense, the happening of that which fate has willed. To this is due, for example, the fact that, when in consequence of the migration of the German tribes Europe was overrun with barbarism, the finest masterpieces of Greek sculpture, the Laocoon, the Vatican Apollo, and others disappeared at once as if by a trap-door by finding their way down into the bowels of the earth, there to await unharmed for a thousand years a milder, nobler era that would understand and appreciate the arts. When that time finally arrived at the end of the fifteenth century under Pope Julius II, those masterpieces reappeared as the well-preserved specimens of art and the true type of the human form. In the same way, the arrival at the right moment of the decisive and important occasions and circumstances in the course of an individual's life rests on the same ground; finally even the occurrence of omens, the belief in which is so general and ineradicable that not infrequently it has found a place even in the most superior minds. For nothing is absolutely accidental; on the contrary, everything occurs necessarily and even the simultaneity itself of that which is causally not connected, and thus what we call chance, is necessary since what is now simultaneous was as such already determined by causes in the remotest past. Therefore everything is reflected and echoed in everything else and that well-known utterance of Hippocrates that applies to the cooperation within the organism is applicable also to the totality of things: [x]. [11] (De alimento, opp. ed. Kuhn, Tom. ii, p. 20.) Man's ineradicable tendency to observe omens, his extispicia and [x], [12] his opening of the Bible, his telling of fortunes by cards, his casting of lead for the purpose of foretelling the future, his looking at coffee-grounds, and similar practices testify to his assumption (defying rational explanation) that it is somehow possible to know from what is present and clearly before his eyes that which is hidden by space or time and thus is remote or in the future, so that from the present he could read the future or the remote if only he had the true key to the cipher.

A second analogy that from an entirely different angle can help towards an indirect understanding of the transcendent fatalism we have been considering, is given by the dream to which life generally bears a resemblance that has long been recognized and often expressed, so much so that even Kant's transcendental idealism may be conceived as the clearest exposition of this dream-like nature of our conscious existence, as I have observed in my criticism of his philosophy. Indeed it is this analogy with the dream which enables us to observe, although again only remotely and obscurely, how the mysterious power, governing and controlling the external events that affect us with a view to their purpose for us, might yet have its root in the depths of our own unfathomable nature. Thus, even in the dream, circumstances by pure chance coincide and there become the motives of our actions, circumstances that are external to and independent of us and indeed often abhorrent. But yet there is between them a mysterious and appropriate connection since a hidden power that is obeyed by all the incidents in the dream controls and arranges even these circumstances and indeed solely with reference to us. But the strangest thing of all is that this power can ultimately be none other than our own will, yet from a point of view that does not enter our dreaming consciousness. And so it happens that the events in a dream often turn out quite contrary to our wishes therein, cause us astonishment, annoyance, and even mortal terror, without the fate that we secretly direct coming to our rescue. In the same way, we eagerly ask about something and receive an answer whereat we are astonished. Or again, we ourselves are asked, say in an examination, and are incapable of finding the answer, whereupon another, to our shame, gives a perfect answer; whereas in the one case as in the other, the answer can always come only from our own resources. To make even clearer this mysterious guidance of the events in the dream, a guidance that comes from ourselves, and to make its operation more intelligible, there is yet another explanation that alone can do this, but it is necessarily of an obscene nature. I therefore assume that my worthy readers will neither take offence nor treat the matter as a joke. It is well known that there are dreams of which nature avails herself for a material purpose, namely the discharge of the overfilled spermatocysts. Dreams of this kind naturally indicate lascivious scenes. But sometimes the same thing also occurs with other dreams that do not at all have or achieve that purpose. Now here there is a difference that in dreams of the first kind attractive women and the opportunity soon prove favourable to us, whereby nature attains her object. In dreams of the other kind, however, the path to the thing most ardently desired by us is constantly obstructed by fresh obstacles which we vainly attempt to overcome, so that in the end we still do not reach the goal. But what creates these obstacles and constantly frustrates our ardent wish is simply our own will, yet from a region that lies far beyond the representing consciousness in the dream and thus appears therein as inexorable fate. Now might it not be possible for fate in real life and for that systematic planning which perhaps everyone comes to know from an observation of his own life. to be analogous to the position set forth in the dream?* It sometimes happens that we have devised and enthusiastically adopted a plan from which it is evident that it was by no means suited to our true welfare. Yet while we are eagerly pursuing it we experience against it a conspiracy of fate, which sets in motion all its machinery to defeat it. In this way. fate finally thrusts us back, against our will, on to the path that is truly suited to us. In view of such opposition that appears intentional. many a man uses the phrase: 'I note that it ought not to be;' others call it ominous; others again call it a hint from God. All, however, share the view that, when fate opposes a plan with such obvious doggedness, we should give it up since, as it is unsuited to our destiny that to us is unknown, it will not be realized and by wilfully pursuing it we simply draw down upon us the harder blows of fate until in the end we are again on the right track; or because, if we succeeded in forcing the issue. this would tend merely to our harm and undoing. The above-mentioned ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt [13] is here fully endorsed. In many cases, it actually turns out subsequently that the frustration of such a plan has in every way been beneficial to our true welfare. And so this might also be the case where it is not generally known to us. especially if we regard as our true welfare the metaphysically moral. Now iffrom here we look back to the main result of the whole of my philosophy, namely that what presents and maintains the phenomenon of the world is the will that also lives and strives in every individual; and if at the same time we call to mind the universally acknowledged resemblance of life to a dream. then, summing up all that has been said so far. we can quite generally imagine as possible that. just as everyone is the secret theatrical manager of his dreams. so too by analogy that fate that controls the actual course of our lives ultimately comes in some way from the will. This is our own and yet here. where it appears as fate, it operates from a region that lies far beyond our representing individual consciousness; whereas this furnishes the motives that guide our empirically knowable individual will. Hence such will has often to contend most violently with that will of ours that manifests itself as fate, with our guiding genius, with our 'spirit which dwells outside us and has its seat in the stars above', which surveys the individual consciousness and thus, in relentless opposition thereto, arranges and fixes as external restraint that which it could not leave the consciousness to find out and yet does not wish to see miscarry.

In the first place, a passage from Scotus Erigena may help to reduce the surprising extravagance of this bold sentence where it must be borne in mind that his Deus which is without knowledge and of which time, space, and Aristotle's ten categories are not to be predicated, indeed for which generally only one predicate remains, namely will-that his Deus is obviously nothing but what I call the will-to-live: Est etiam alia species ignorantiae in Deo, quando ea, quae praescivit et praedestinavit, ignorare dicitur, dum adhuc in rerum factarum cursibus experimento non apparuerint [14] (De divisione naturae, p. 83, Oxford edition). Shortly afterwards he says: Tertia species divinae ignorantiae est, per quam Deus dicitur ignorare ea, quae nondum experimento actionis et operationis in effectibus manifeste apparent; quorum tamen invisibiles rationes in seipso, a seipso creatas et sibi ipsi cognitas possidet. [15]

Now if, to make somewhat clearer to ourselves the view we have expounded, we have availed ourselves of the acknowledged similarity of the individual life to a dream, we should nevertheless note the difference that in the mere dream the relation is one-sided, that is to say, only one ego actually wills and feels, whereas the rest are nothing but phantoms. In the great dream of life, on the other hand, a mutual relation occurs, since not only does the one figure in the dream of the other exactly as is necessary, but also that other figures in his dream. Thus by virtue of a real harmonia praestabilita, everyone dreams only what is appropriate to him in accordance with his own metaphysical guidance; and all the dreams of life are so ingeniously interwoven that everyone gets to know what is beneficial to him and at the same time does for others what is necessary. Accordingly, some great world event conforms to the fate of many thousands, to each in an individual way. Consequently, all the events in a man's life are connected in two fundamentally different ways; first in the objective causal connection of the course of nature, secondly in a subjective connection that exists only in reference to the individual who experiences them. It is as subjective as his own dreams, yet in him their succession and content are likewise necessarily determined, but in the manner in which the succession of the scenes of a drama is determined by the plan of the poet. Now those two kinds of connection exist simultaneously and yet the same event, as a link in two quite different chains, exactly fits them both, in consequence whereof one man's fate is always in keeping with another's, and everyone is the hero of his own drama, but at the same time figures also in that of another. All this, of course, is something that surpasses all our powers of comprehension and can be conceived as possible only by virtue of the most marvellous harmonia praestabilita. On the other hand, would it not be on our part a want of courage to regard it as impossible that the lives of all men in their mutual dealings should have just as much concentus [16] and harmony as the composer is able to give to the many apparently confused and stormy parts of his symphony? Our aversion to that colossal thought will grow less if we remember that the subject of the great dream of life is in a certain sense only one thing, the will-to-live, and that all plurality of phenomena is conditioned by time and space. It is the great dream that is dreamed by that one entity, but in such a way that all its persons dream it together. Thus all things encroach on and are adapted to one another. Now if we agree to this; if we accept that double chain of all events, by virtue whereof every being, on the one hand, exists for his own sake, behaves and acts with necessity according to his own nature, and pursues his own course, but, on the other, is also as completely determined and adapted for perceiving another being and for influencing him as are the pictures in his dreams, then we shall have to extend this to the whole of nature, and hence to animals and beings without knowledge. Once more, then, we have the prospect of the possibility of omina, praesagia, and portenta, since that which necessarily occurs in the course of nature is again to be regarded, on the other hand, as a mere image or picture for me, as the subject-matter of my life-dream, happening and existing merely with reference to me, or even as a mere reflection and echo of my action and experience. Accordingly, that which in an event is natural and can be causally demonstrated as necessary, does not by any means do away with the ominous element therein; and in the same way, the ominous element does not eliminate the other. And so those people are entirely mistaken who imagine they remove the ominous element of an event by their demonstrating the inevitability of its occurrence, in that they show quite clearly its natural and necessarily operating causes and also, when it is a natural event, do so physically and with an appearance of learning. For no reasonable man doubts these and no one will pretend that the omen is a miracle; but precisely from the fact that the chain of causes and effects that stretches to infinity with the strict necessity and eternal predestination peculiar to it has inevitably established the occurrence of this event at such a significant moment, does the event acquire an ominous element. And so the would-be wise, especially when they become physically minded, should specially remember Shakespeare's words: 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy' (Hamlet, Act I, Sc. 5). Yet with the belief in omens we see the doors reopened to astrology; for the most trifling event that is regarded as ominous, the flight of a bird, the meeting of a person, and so on, is conditioned by a chain of causes just as infinitely long and as strictly necessary as is the computable position of the stars at any given time. Of course, the constellation is high enough in the heavens to be seen at the same time by half the inhabitants of the globe, whereas the omen appears only in the sphere of the individual concerned. Moreover, if we wish to picture to ourselves the possibility of the ominous, we can do so by comparing the man who sees a good or bad omen and is thus warned or confirmed at an important step in his life whose consequences are still hidden in the future, to a string which, when struck, does not hear itself and yet hears the sound of another that is emitted in consequence of its vibration.

Kant's distinction of the thing-in-itself from its phenomenon, together with my reference of the former to the will and of the latter to the representation, enables us to see, although only imperfectly and remotely, the compatibility of three antitheses.

They are:

(1) That between the freedom of the will-in-itself and the universal necessity of all the individual's actions.

(2) That between the mechanism and technique of nature, or between the nexus effectivus and the nexus finalis, or between the purely causal and the teleological explicability of the products of nature. (In this connection see Kant's Critique of Judgement, § 78, and my chief work, vol. ii, chap. 26.)

(3) That between the obvious contingency of all the events in the course of an individual's life and their moral necessity for the shaping thereof in accordance with a transcendent fitness for the individual, or in popular language, between the course of nature and Providence.

The clearness of our insight into the compatibility of each of these three antitheses, although not perfect with any of them, is yet more adequate with the first than with the second, but is least in the case of the third. At the same time, an understanding of the compatibility of each of these antitheses, although imperfect, always sheds light on the other two by serving as their image and simile.

Only in a very general way can it be stated what is really meant ultimately by the whole of this mysterious guidance of the individual's course of life which we have been considering. If we stop at individual cases, it often appears that such guidance has in view only our transient welfare for the time being. Yet this cannot seriously be its ultimate aim, in view of the insignificant, imperfect, futile, and fleeting nature of that welfare. And so we have to look for this ultimate aim in our eternal existence that goes beyond the life of the individual. And then it can be said only quite generally that the course of our life is so regulated by means of that guidance that, from the whole of the knowledge accruing to us in the course of it, there arises metaphysically the most suitable impression on the will as being the kernel and essence-in-itself of man. For although the will-to- live obtains its answer generally in the course of the world as the phenomenon of its striving, yet every man is that will-to- live in quite a unique and individual way. He is, so to speak, an individualized act thereof; and so its adequate answer can be only a quite definite shaping of the course of the world, given in events and experiences that are peculiar to him. Now as we have recognized from the results of the serious part of my philosophy (in contrast to mere professorial or comic philosophy) the will's turning away from life as the ultimate aim of temporal existence, we must assume that everyone is gradually led to this in a manner that is quite individually suited to him and hence often in a long and roundabout way. Again, as happiness and pleasure militate against that aim, we see, in keeping therewith, misery and suffering inevitably interwoven in the course of every life, although in very unequal measure and only rarely to excess, namely in tragic events where it then looks as if the will should to a certain extent be forcibly driven to turn away from life and to arrive at regeneration by a Caesarian operation so to speak.

Thus that invisible guidance, that shows itself only in a doubtful form, accompanies us to our death, to that real result, and, to this extent, the purpose of life. At the hour of death, all the mysterious forces (although really rooted in ourselves) which determine man's eternal fate, crowd together and come into action. The result of their conflict is the path now to be followed by him; thus his palingenesis is prepared together with all the weal and woe that are included therein and are ever afterwards irrevocably determined. To this is due the extremely serious, important, solemn, and fearful character of the hour of death. It is a crisis in the strongest sense of the word-a day of judgement.

________________

Notes:


1 ['I then had a good voyage, although I was shipwrecked.']

* In The Times of 2 December 1852 the following judicial statement is found: At Newent in Gloucestershire, Mr. Lovegrove the coroner held an inquest on a man named Mark Lane whose body was found in the water. The brother of the deceased stated that, on first hearing that his brother Mark was missing, he at once replied that he had been drowned, for the previous night he had dreamed that he stood in deep water and tried to pull him out. On the following night he again dreamed that his brother had been drowned near the sluice at Oxenhall and that a trout was swimming close to him. The next morning he went with his other brother to Oxenhall and there saw a trout in the water. At once he was convinced that his brother must be lying there and actually found the body at the spot. Thus something as fleeting as the swimming of a trout was some hours previously foreseen exactly to the second.

 * If we very carefully turn over in our minds many of the scenes of the past,  everything therein appears to be as well mapped out as in a really systematically  planned novel.
 
* Neither our action nor our course of life is our work, but rather our essence and existence, which no one regards as our work. For on the basis of this and of the circumstances that happen in strict causal connection, and also of external events, our action and the course of our life take place with absolute necessity. Accordingly, at his birth the whole course of a man's life is already determined irrevocably down to its details, so that, at the height of her powers, a somnambulist could foretell it exactly. We should bear this great and certain truth in mind when we consider and judge the course of our life, our deeds, and our sufferings.

2 ['Vain plans that never have reality'.]

3 ['Thus it was decreed in fate'.]

* It is extraordinary how much the ancients were inspired and imbued with the notion of an omnipotent fate ([x], fatum). Not only poets especially in tragedies, but also philosophers and historians are evidence of this. In Christian times the idea receded into the background and was less insisted on, since it was superseded by the notion of Providence, [x], which presupposes an intellectual origin and, starting from a personal being, is not so rigid and unalterable and also not so profoundly conceived and mysterious. Hence it cannot replace the former idea; on the contrary, it has reproached this with infidelity.

4 ['Fate leads the willing but drags along the unwilling.')

5 ['With a man at his birth is associated a good genius which guides him in the mysteries of life.']

6 [' But after all the souls had chosen their courses of life, they stepped in succession by lot before Lachesis. But she associated with each the genius he had chosen to be his guardian through life and to fulfil all his choice.']

7 ['No genius will obtain you by lot, but you will select the genius. But the man who has first drawn the lot (that determines the order of succession) shall first choose the course of life, and thereto will he adhere with necessity.']

8 ['This is known only by the genius who tempers the fateful oracle of the stars, a mortal god of human nature who to everyone is different and changeable, now of bright and now of sombre form.']

9 [' For he who guides our whole life, realizes our elective decisions that took effect before birth, allots the gifts of fate and of the gods born of fate, and also  assigns and apportions the sunshine of Providence-he is the genius or guardian  angel.']
 
* Bossen, types, protuberances, bumps, from the Italian bozza, abbozzare, abbozzo; from this we have bossieren, and the French bosse.

10 ['That which runs in the body in an undercurrent is called soul ([x]), but the imperishable is called spirit ([x]) by the majority who imagine that it resides within them. Those, however, who have the correct opinion assume that it is outside man and call it genius ([x]).']

*
[x]
[x]

-- Menander in Stobaeus, Florilegium, vol. i, p. 363.

[' For things continue to develop from themselves, even while you sleep, for your welfare as well as for the opposite thereof.']

  
11 ['It is only a flowing, only a blowing; all is in sympathy.')

12 ['Prediction from the entrails of victims and augury from the flight of birds'.]

* Objectively considered, the course of an individual's life is of universal and strict necessity; for all his actions appear just as necessarily as do the movements of a machine, and all external events appear on the leading line of a causal chain whose links have a strictly necessary connection. If we adhere to this, we need not be so surprised when we see the course of an individual's life suitably turn out for him as if it were systematically planned.

13 ['Fate leads the willing but drags along the unwilling.']
  
14 ['It is yet another kind of ignorance in God in so far as we say that he does not know that which he foreknows and has predetermined, so long as it has not yet shown itself in the course of the actual things of experience.']

15 ['A third kind of divine ignorance consists in our saying of God that he does not know that which has not yet come to light in effects through the experience of doing and performing, although in himself he possesses the invisible grounds as such which he himself has created and which are known to himself.']

16 ['Harmony, concord'.]
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:43 am

Part 1 of 4

ESSAY ON SPIRIT SEEING AND EVERYTHING CONNECTED THEREWITH

Und lass dir rathen, habe
Die Sonne nicht zu lieb und nicht die Sterne.
Komm, folge mir ins dunkle Reich hinab!

-- Goethe.

['Take counsel, cherish not the sun and stars; come, follow me down into the realm of gloom!']


Essay on Spirit Seeing and everything connected therewith

THE apparitions in the past century, over-wise and all-too knowing in spite of all previous ones --
apparitions that were everywhere not so much exorcized as outlawed, have during the last twenty-five years been rehabilitated in Germany as was magic a short time before. Perhaps not without good reason; for the proofs against their existence were partly metaphysical, resting as such on uncertain grounds, and partly empirical, proving only that in those cases where no accidental or intentionally arranged deception had been discovered, there also existed nothing that could have acted on the retina by means of the reflection of light-rays, or on the ear-drum by means of vibrations of the air. Yet this argues merely against the presence of bodies whose presence, however, no one had asserted, indeed whose demonstration in the aforesaid physical manner would abolish the truth of a ghostly apparition. For the notion of a spirit or spectre really consists in its presence becoming known to us in a way quite different from that in which we know the presence of a body. What a spirit seer who really knew his own mind and was able to express himself would assert is merely the presence in his intuitively perceiving intellect of a picture perfectly indistinguishable from that caused in his intellect by bodies through the medium of light and his eyes, and yet without the actual presence of such bodies. Similarly in respect of something audibly present, noises, tones, and sounds, exactly like those produced in his ear by vibrating bodies and air, yet without the presence or movement thereof. Here lies the source of the misunderstanding which pervades all that is said for and against the reality of ghostly apparitions, namely that the spirit apparition presents itself wholly like a bodily phenomenon, yet is not and cannot be such. This distinction is difficult and requires special knowledge, indeed philosophical and physiological. For it is a question of understanding that an impression, like that made by a body, does not necessarily presuppose the presence of such.

First of all, then, we must here recall and in all that follows bear in mind what I have often demonstrated in detail (especially in the second edition of my essay On the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 21, and also in my work On Vision and Colours, § 1, Theoria Colorum, Pt. II, World as Will and Representation, vol. i, § 4; vol. ii, chap. 2), namely that our intuitive perception of the external world is not merely a question of the senses, but is mainly intellectual, in other words, is (objectively expressed) cerebral. The senses never give us more than a mere sensation in their organ and thus a material in itself extremely inadequate. From this the understanding first builds up this corporeal world through the application of the law of causality that is known to it a priori and of the forms of space and time that are just as a priori inherent in it. The stimulation of this act of intuitive perception in the waking and normal state definitely starts from sensation since this is the effect to which the understanding refers the cause. But why should it not for once be possible for a stimulation that starts from quite another direction and thus from within, from the organism itself, to reach the brain and there be elaborated like the other by means of the brain's peculiar function and in accordance with the mechanism thereof? But after this elaboration it would no longer be possible to detect the difference in the original material, just as in chyle it is no longer possible to recognize the food from which it has been made. In any actual case of this kind, the question would then arise whether even the remoter cause of the phenomenon thus brought about could never be sought farther than within the organism; or whether with the exclusion of all sensation it could nevertheless be an external cause which naturally in this case would not have acted physically or corporeally; and if so, what relation the given phenomenon could have to the nature of so remote an external cause; and thus whether it contained evidence of this, or indeed whether the real essence thereof were expressed in it. Accordingly, as in the corporeal world, we should here be brought to the question concerning the relation between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself. But this is the transcendental standpoint the result of which might possibly be that ideality attached to the spirit apparition neither more nor less than to the bodily phenomenon which, as we know, is inevitably subject to idealism and can, therefore, be traced back to the thing-in-itself, in other words, to the truly real, only in a roundabout way. Now as we have recognized the will to be this thing-in-itself, this enables us to suppose that perhaps such a will underlies both spirit and bodily phenomena. All previous explanations of spirit phenomena have been spiritualistic; precisely as such, they are the subject of Kant's criticism in the first part of his Traume eines Geistersehers. Here I am attempting an idealistic explanation.

After this comprehensive and anticipatory introduction to the investigations that now follow, I take the more leisurely course that is appropriate to them. Here I merely observe that I assume the reader to be acquainted with the facts to which they refer. For my business is not to state or expound the facts, but to theorize about them. Moreover, I should have to write a bulky volume if I were to repeat all the cases of magnetic sickness, dream visions, spirit apparitions, and the like that form the basic material of our theme and are already dealt with in many books. Finally, it is not my business to combat the scepticism of ignorance whose over-wise gestures are daily falling out of favour and will soon be current only in England. Whoever at the present time doubts the facts of animal magnetism and its clairvoyance should be called not a sceptic but an ignoramus. But I must take for granted something more, namely an acquaintance with at least some of the works which exist in large numbers on ghostly apparitions, or a knowledge of them that has been acquired in some other way. Even the quotations that refer to such books are given by me only when it is a question of special statements or debatable points. For the rest, I assume on the part of the reader, who, I imagine, is already acquainted with me in some other way, confidence in me, so that when I assume something to be founded on fact, it is known to me from reliable sources or my own experience.

First, then, is the question: whether images or pictures of intuitive perception can actually arise in our intuitively perceiving intellect or brain, complete and indistinguishable from those caused therein by the presence of bodies that act on the external senses, and yet without such influence. Fortunately, a very familiar phenomenon, the dream, removes all doubt on this point.

To try to pretend that dreams are mere thought-play, mere pictures of the imagination, testifies to a want of sense or honesty for it is obvious that they are specifically different from these. Pictures of the imagination are feeble, colourless, incomplete, one-sided, and so fleeting that we are barely able to retain for more than a few seconds the picture of one who is absent, and even the most vivid play of the imagination bears no comparison with that palpable reality that is presented to us in the dream. Our graphic ability in the dream far and away surpasses our power of imagination. In the dream every object of intuitive perception has a truth, perfection, completeness, and consistent universality down to its most accidental properties, like reality itself, from which the imagination is infinitely remote. And so, if only we could select the object of our dreams, reality would furnish us with the most marvellous spectacles. It is quite wrong to attempt to explain this from the fact that pictures of the imagination would be disturbed and enfeebled by the simultaneous impression of the external world of reality, for even in the deepest silence of the darkest night the imagination is incapable of producing anything that could in any way approach that objective clearness and vivid reality of the dream. Moreover, pictures of the imagination are always produced by the association of ideas or by motives and are attended by an awareness of their arbitrary nature. The dream, on the other hand, stands out as something wholly foreign and extraneous which, like the outside world, forces itself on us without our intervention and even against our will. The totally unexpected nature of its events, even the most insignificant, impresses them with the stamp of objectivity and reality. All its objects appear to be definite and distinct, like reality itself, and to be given not merely in reference to us and thus superficially and from one point of view, or only in the main and in general outline, but worked out exactly down to the smallest and most accidental particulars and attendant circumstances that stand in our path and obstruct us. For every object casts its shadow, every body falls with a heaviness that corresponds exactly to its specific weight, and every obstacle must first be set aside precisely as in real life. Its thoroughly objective nature is further seen in the fact that its events often turn out contrary to our expectation and frequently against our wish and at times even excite our astonishment. The actors in the dream behave towards us with a shocking want of consideration, and in general the objective nature of the dream is seen in the purely objective, dramatic accuracy of the characters and their actions, which has given rise to the pleasant remark that while dreaming everyone is a Shakespeare. For the same omniscience in ourselves, which enables every natural body in the dream to act exactly in accordance with its essential properties, also enables every man to act and speak in complete accord with his character. In consequence of all this, the illusion that is engendered by the dream is so strong that reality itself which stands before us when we wake up often has to struggle at first and needs time before it can put in a word, in order to convince us of the deceptive nature of the dream that now no longer exists. Also,as regards memory, we are -- in the case of unimportant incidents -- sometimes in doubt whether they were dreamed or actually took place. If, on the other hand, anyone doubts whether something took place or was merely imagined by him, he is suspected of madness. All this shows that the dream is a thoroughly characteristic function of our brain and is entirely different from the mere power of the imagination and its rumination. Even Aristotle says: [x] (Somnium quodammodo sensum est): [1] De somno et vigilia, c. 2. He also makes the fine and correct observation that in the dream itself we still picture to ourselves absent things through the imagination. But from this it may be inferred that during the dream the imagination is still available and is, therefore, not itself the medium or organ of the dream.

On the other hand, the dream bears an undeniable resemblance to madness; for what mainly distinguishes dreaming from waking consciousness is a lack of memory or rather of coherent, sensible recollection. In dreams we see ourselves in strange and even impossible situations and circumstances, and it would never occur to us to examine their relations to the absent person and the causes of their appearance. In the dream we do absurd things because we are unmindful of that which opposes them. In our dreams people long since dead figure again and again as living persons because in the dream we do not remember that they are dead. We often see ourselves again in the circumstances of our early years, surrounded by those who were alive at that time and with everything as of old because all the changes and transformations that have since occurred are forgotten. It actually seems, therefore, that in the dream, in spite of the activity of all the mental powers, memory alone is not really available. Its resemblance to madness is due precisely to this, for madness, as I have shown (in the World as Will and Representation, vol. i, § 36, and vol. ii, chap. 32), is traceable essentially to a certain derangement of the faculty of recollection. From this point of view, therefore, the dream may be characterized as a brief madness, madness being looked upon as a long dream. On the whole, the intuitive perception of the present reality in the dream is, therefore, absolutely perfect and even minute. On the other hand, our intellectual horizon therein is very limited, in as much as the absent and the past, and even the fictitious, enter consciousness only to a small extent.

Just as in the real world every change can occur solely in consequence of another that preceded it as its cause, so too is the entry of all thoughts and conceptions in our consciousness subject to the principle of sufficient ground or reason in general. Therefore such thoughts must always be called into existence either by an external impression on the senses, or by an idea that precedes them in accordance with the laws of association (see chapter 14 of the second volume of my chief work); otherwise they could not occur. Now, as regards their occurrence, dreams must also be subject in some way to that principle of sufficient reason, for it is the principle of the dependent and conditional nature of all objects existing for us and is without exception. But it is very difficult to determine in what way they are subject to it, for the characteristic of the dream is the condition of sleep essential thereto, in other words, the cessation of the normal activity of the brain and senses. Only when such activity is at rest can the dream occur, just as the pictures of a magic lantern can appear only after the lights of the room have been extinguished. Accordingly, the occurrence and consequently the material of the dream are not brought about in the first instance by external impressions on the senses. Isolated cases, where during light dozing external sounds and even odours have penetrated the sensorium and influenced the dream, are special exceptions which I here disregard. Now it is very remarkable that dreams are not brought about through the association of ideas; for they arise either during deep sleep when the brain is really at rest, a repose which we have every reason to assume is complete and therefore entirely unconscious; accordingly even the possibility of the association of ideas here falls to the ground; or again they arise while we are passing from waking consciousness to sleep and thus while we are falling asleep. Here they never entirely fail to appear, and in this way they afford us an opportunity of becoming fully convinced that they are not connected through any association of ideas with the mental pictures we have when awake, but leave the thread of these untouched in order to take their material and motive from somewhere quite different, we know not where. These first dream-images of the man who falls asleep are always without any relation to the thoughts he had when falling asleep, as may easily be observed. In fact, they are so strikingly different therefrom that it looks as if, from all the things in the world, they had intentionally selected the very thing about which we thought least of all. And so the man who thinks it over is forced to ask himself in what way their selection and nature could be determined. Moreover, they have the distinctive characteristic (finely and correctly observed by Burdach in the third volume of his Physiologie) of not presenting us with any connected event, and in most cases we ourselves do not as actors appear in them as we do in other dreams; on the contrary, they are a purely objective spectacle that consists of isolated pictures suddenly arising when we fall asleep, or they are very simple events. As we often reawake with a start, we can fully convince ourselves that these dreams never have the slightest resemblance, the remotest analogy, or any other relation to the thoughts that existed in our minds just a moment previously, but that they rather surprise us by the wholly unexpected nature of their contents. These are just as foreign to our previous train of thought as is any object of real life which in our state of wakefulness suddenly enters our perception through the merest chance and is indeed fetched from afar and selected so strangely and blindly, as if it had been determined by fate or by the throwing of dice. Thus the thread that is put into our hands by the principle of sufficient reason here seems to be cut off at both ends, the inner and the outer; but this is impossible and inconceivable. Some cause must necessarily exist which produces and fully determines those dream-forms so that from this it must be possible to explain exactly why, for example, there suddenly appears to me, who up to the moment of dozing off was occupied with quite different thoughts, a tree in blossom swaying gently in the breeze and nothing else, at another time, however, a girl with a basket on her head, or again a line of soldiers, and so on.

Now with the origin of dreams, either when we are falling or have already fallen asleep, the brain, that sole seat and organ of all representations or mental pictures, is cut off from the external excitation through the senses as well as from the internal through ideas. And so we are left with no other assumption than that the brain receives some purely physiological excitation from within the organism. Two paths to the brain are open to the influence of this, namely that of the nerves and that of the blood-vessels. During sleep, that is, during the cessation of all animal functions, the vital force is centred entirely on organic life and, with some reduction of breathing, pulse, warmth, and almost all secretions, it is there mainly concerned with slow reproduction, the reparation of all waste, the healing of all injuries, and the elimination of deep-rooted disorders. Sleep is, therefore, the time during which the vis naturae medicatrix [2] produces in all illnesses the beneficial crises wherein it then gains a decisive victory over the existing malady. With the certain feeling of approaching restoration to health, the patient then wakes up with joy and a sense of relief. But even in the case of the healthy man, this force operates in the same way, although to an incomparably lesser degree, at all points where it is necessary; and so he too on waking up has a feeling of restored vitality. It is especially during sleep that the brain receives its nutrition, which is not feasible when we are awake; and a consequence of this is a restored clearness of consciousness. All these operations are under the guidance and control of the plastic nervous system and thus of all the large ganglia which in the whole length of the trunk are connected with one another by leading nerve-cords and constitute the great sympathetic nerve or inner nerve-centre. This is completely separated and isolated from the outer nerve-focus, the brain, which is exclusively concerned with the direction of external relations and therefore has an outwardly directed nervous apparatus and representations or mental pictures occasioned thereby. Thus in the normal state, the operations of the inner nerve-centre do not enter consciousness and are not felt. However, it has an indirect and feeble connection with the cerebral system through long, attenuated, and inosculating nerves. By way of these that isolation is to some extent broken down in the case of abnormal states or even internal injuries which therefore force their way into consciousness as a dull or distinct pain. In the normal or healthy state, on the other hand, the sensorium receives on this path only an extremely feeble and faint echo of the events and movements in the very complicated and active workshop of organic life, only a stray echo of the easy or difficult development thereof. When we are awake, the brain is fully occupied with its own operations, with receiving external impressions, with intuitive perception when these occur, and with thinking, and that echo is not noticed at all. On the contrary, it has at most a mysterious and unconscious influence, whence arise those changes of disposition whereof no account on objective grounds can be given. Yet when we fall asleep, when the external impressions cease to operate and the activity of ideas gradually dies away in the interior of the sensorium, those feeble impressions that spring in an indirect way from the inner nerve-centre of organic life are then noticed in the same way as every slight modification of the blood circulation is communicated to the brain-cells. This is like the candle that begins to shine when the evening twilight comes, or the murmuring of the spring which is heard at night but was rendered inaudible by the noises of the day. Impressions far too feeble to affect the alert and active brain can, when its own activity is completely suspended, produce a faint stirring of its individual parts and of their powers of representation; just as a harp, while being played, does not re-echo a strange tone, but possibly does when it is not played. Here, then, must be found the cause of the origin and also, by means thereof, the general and fuller determination of those dream-forms that appear when we fall asleep, and likewise the cause of those dreams that spring from the absolute mental calm of deep sleep and have dramatic association. As, however, these occur when the brain is already in a state of profound peace and is wholly taken up with its own nutrition, an appreciably stronger excitation from within is necessary for them. And so it is only these dreams that in isolated and very rare cases have a prophetic or fatidical significance, and Horace rightly says:

post mediam noctem, cum somnia vera. [3]

[Google translate: after the middle of the night, when my dream comes true.


For in this respect, the last dreams of morning are related to those when we fall asleep in so far as the rested and restored brain is again capable of being easily stimulated.

Therefore it is those feeble echoes from the workshop of organic life which penetrate into the brain's sensory activity (an activity that lapses into or is already in a state of apathy), and which feebly stimulate it, moreover in an unusual way and from a direction different from that when the brain is awake. Nevertheless, as access to all other stimulations is barred, that activity must for its dream-forms seize the occasion and substance from those echoes, however different those forms may be from such impressions. Thus the eye through mechanical shock or internal nervous convulsion may receive sensations of brightness and luminosity exactly like those that are caused by light from without; in consequence of abnormal events taking place in its interior, the ear occasionally hears sounds of all kinds; the olfactory nerve receives quite specifically definite odours without any external cause; and the gustatory nerves are affected in a similar manner. And so sensory nerves can also be stimulated to their characteristic sensations from within as well as from without. In the same way, the brain can be influenced by stimuli coming from the interior of the organism to perform its function of intuitively perceiving forms that fill space. For phenomena that have originated in this way will be quite indistinguishable from those that are occasioned by sensations in the sense-organs which were produced by external causes. Thus, just as the stomach forms chyme from everything it can assimilate and from this the intestines form chyle wherein no traces of its original substance are seen, so too does the brain react to all the stimulations that reach it by its carrying out the function that is peculiar to it. This consists first in tracing out pictures in space in all three dimensions, space being the brain's form of intuitive perception; then in moving these pictures in time and on the guiding line of causality, time and causality being likewise functions of the brain's own peculiar activity. For the brain will always speak only its own language; and so in this it interprets those feeble impressions that reach it from within while we are asleep, just as it does the strong and definite impressions coming to it from without in the regular way while we are awake. Thus the former impressions furnish it with the material for pictures that are exactly like those arising from an excitation of the external senses, although between the two kinds of impressions that cause the pictures there may be scarcely any similarity. But here its mode of action is comparable to that of a deaf man who from several vowels that reach his ear composes a complete yet false sentence; or it is comparable even to that of one mentally deranged who, in keeping with his fixed idea, is brought to a state of wild ravings by the chance use of some word. In any case, it is those feeble echoes of certain events in the interior of the organism which disappear right up into the brain and give rise to its dreams. These, then, are more specially determined by the nature of those impressions in that they have at any rate obtained the cue therefrom. In fact, however much they may differ from those impressions, they will nevertheless in some way correspond to them analogously or at least symbolically, and indeed most exactly to impressions that are capable of stimulating the brain during deep sleep, for, as I have said, these must already be considerably stronger. Further, as these internal events of organic life also act on the sensorium, regulated as it is for the apprehension of the external world, after the manner of something strange and external to it, the intuitive perceptions arising in it on such an occasion will be quite unexpected forms, wholly foreign to and different from its train of thought that probably still existed just previously. We have an opportunity for observing this when we fall asleep and again quickly wake up.

At the moment, the whole of this discussion tells us nothing more than the immediate cause or occasion for the appearance of the dream. Such a cause, it is true, must influence the substance of the dream; yet in itself it is bound to be so different therefrom that the nature of its relationship remains a mystery to us. Even more mysterious is the physiological process in the brain itself, in which dreaming really consists. Thus sleep is the resting of the brain, yet the dream is a certain activity thereof; and so to avoid a contradiction, we must declare the former to be merely a relative activity and the latter to be in some way limited and only partial. Again, we do not know in what sense it may be so, whether in accordance with the parts of the brain, with the degree of its excitation, or with the nature of its internal movement, or in what way it really differs from the state of wakefulness. There is no mental power that never proves to be active in the dream; yet the course of the dream as well as our own conduct therein often shows an extraordinary lack of power of judgement as well as of memory, as I have already discussed.

As regards our principal subject, the fact remains that we have a capacity for intuitively representing objects that fill space and for distinguishing and understanding sounds and voices of every kind, both without the external excitation of the sense impressions. These, on the other hand, furnish the occasion, the material, or the empirical basis of our intuitive perception when we are awake; yet they are certainly not for that reason identical therewith, for intuitive perception is entirely a matter of the intellect and not merely of the senses, as I have often shown and have mentioned above [in] the main relevant passages. Now we must stick to this fact that is not open to any doubt, for it is the primary and fundamental phenomenon to which all our further explanations refer, since they will demonstrate only the extensive activity of the faculty we have described. To give it a name, the most descriptive expression would be that very appropriately selected by the Scots for a particular form of its manifestation or application, for they were guided by that correct judgement that is vouchsafed by one's own experience; it is called second sight. For the ability to dream, here discussed, is indeed a second faculty of intuitive perception and is unlike the first that is brought about through the medium of the external senses. Yet the objects of that second faculty are the same in kind and form as those of the first and the conclusion to be drawn from this is that, like the first, it is a function of the brain. That Scottish term would, therefore, be the most suitable for describing the entire species of phenomena here considered, and for attributing them to a fundamental faculty. As, however, its authors have used it for denoting a particular, rare, and extremely remarkable manifestation of that faculty, I cannot make use of it, much as I would like to, for denoting the whole species of those intuitive perceptions, or more precisely the subjective faculty that manifests itself in all of them. And so for this I am left with no more suitable term than that of dream-organ which describes the entire mode of intuitive perception we are discussing by that manifestation of it which is well known and familiar to everyone. I shall, therefore, use it to describe the faculty of intuitive perception which has been shown to be independent of the external impression on the senses.

The objects which this faculty presents to us in the ordinary dream are usually regarded by us as quite illusory, for they vanish when we wake up. This, however, is not always the case and, with regard to our theme it is very important to become acquainted with the exception to this from our own experience. Possibly everyone could do this if he gave adequate attention to the matter. Thus there is a state in which we certainly sleep and dream; yet we dream only the reality itself that surrounds us. We then see our bedroom with everything therein; we become aware of people entering the room; and we know that we are in bed and that everything is correct and in order. And yet we are asleep with our eyes shut; we dream; only what we dream is true and real. It is just as if our skull had then become transparent so that the external world now entered the brain directly and immediately instead of by an indirect path and through the narrow portal of the senses. This state is much more difficult to distinguish from wakefulness than is the ordinary dream because, when we wake up from it, there occurs no transformation of the surroundings and hence no objective change at all. But now waking up is the sole criterion between wakefulness and the dream (see World as Will and Representation, vol. i, § 5), which accordingly is here abolished as regards its objective and principal half. Thus when we wake up from a dream of the kind we are discussing, there occurs merely a subjective change which consists in our suddenly feeling a transformation of the organ of our perception. Yet this is only slightly perceptible and since it is not accompanied by any objective change it may easily remain unnoticed. For this reason, acquaintance with those dreams that present us with reality will in most cases be made only when forms have been interposed which do not belong to reality and so vanish when we wake up; or again when such a dream has received an even greater intensification about which I shall speak in a moment. The kind of dream we are describing is that which has been called sleep-waking, not so much because it is an intermediate state between sleeping and wakefulness, but because it can be described as becoming awake in the sleep itself. I should, therefore, prefer to call it a dreaming of reality. [5] It is true that in most cases we shall observe it only in the early morning as also in the evening some time after falling asleep. This is due merely to the fact that, only when the sleep was not deep, did the waking up occur sufficiently easily to leave behind a recollection of what was dreamed. This dreaming certainly occurs much more frequently during deep sleep, according to the rule that the somnambulist becomes the more clairvoyant the more deeply she sleeps; but then no recollection of this is left behind. On the other hand, that such a recollection sometimes occurs when the dreaming has taken place during lighter sleep can be explained from the fact that, even from magnetic sleep, if it was quite light, a recollection can pass over into wakeful consciousness by way of exception, and an example of this is to be found in Kieser's Archiv fur thierischen Magnetismus, vol. iii, Pt. II, p. 139. And so according to this, the recollection of such directly and objectively true dreams remains only when they have occurred in light sleep, in the morning for example, when we can immediately wake up from them.

Now this kind of dream, whose peculiarity consists in our dreaming the most immediately present reality, is occasionally enhanced in its mysterious character by the fact that the range of the dreamer's vision is somewhat extended so that it goes beyond the bedroom. Thus the curtains or shutters cease to be obstacles to vision and the dreamer then perceives quite distinctly what lies behind them, the yard, the garden, or the street with the houses opposite. Our astonishment at this will grow less if we bear in mind that here no physical vision takes place, but a mere dreaming; yet it is a dreaming of that which actually exists now and consequently a dreaming of what is real, and so perception through the dream-organ, which as such is naturally not tied to the condition of the uninterrupted passage of rays of light. As I said, the skull covering was itself the first diaphragm through which this strange kind of perception at first remained unimpeded. Now if it is enhanced still more, then even curtains, doors, and walls no longer act as barriers to it. But how this happens is a profound mystery; all we know is that here the dreamer dreams what is real and consequently that a perception through the dream-organ takes place. Thus far does this elementary fact take us for our consideration. What we can do to explain it, in so far as this is possible, is first to compile and classify properly by grades all the phenomena connected therewith, with the object of discovering their mutual relationship and in the hope of thus one day arriving at a closer insight into it.

However, even for the man who in this matter has no experience of his own, the above-mentioned perception through the dream-organ is irrefutably confirmed by spontaneous somnambulism proper or sleep-walking. It is quite certain that the victims of this malady are fast asleep and do not see at all with their eyes; yet they perceive everything in their immediate vicinity, avoid every obstacle, go long distances, climb up to the most dangerous precipices on the narrowest paths, and perform long jumps without missing their mark. In sleep some of them accurately carry out their daily domestic affairs while others draw and write without making mistakes. In the same way, somnambulists who are artificially put into a magnetic sleep also perceive their surroundings and, when they become clairvoyant, even the remotest object. Further, the perception certain people in a trance have of everything that goes on around them while they lie rigid and unable to move a limb is undoubtedly of the same nature. They too dream of their present surroundings and thus bring them to their consciousness on a path different from that of the senses. Great efforts have been made to obtain a clue to the physiological organ or seat of this perception; but so far without success. It is incontestable that, when the state of somnambulism is complete, the external senses have entirely suspended their functions; for even the most subjective of these, namely bodily feeling, has so completely disappeared that the most painful surgical operations have been performed during magnetic sleep without the patient's having betrayed any sensation of them. Here the brain appears to be in a state of the deepest sleep and thus of complete inactivity. This and certain utterances and statements of somnambulists have given rise to the hypothesis that the state of somnambulism consists in the complete removal of the brain's power and in the accumulation of the vital force in the sympathetic nerve. According to this hypothesis, the larger reticula of this nerve, especially the plexus solaris, would now be transformed into a sensorium and so, acting as deputy, would take over the functions of the brain which they would now exercise without the aid of external sense-organs and yet with incomparably greater perfection than would the brain. This hypothesis, first advanced by Rei, I believe, is not without plausibility and has since been much in vogue. Its mainstay is the statements of almost all clairvoyant somnambulists that their consciousness now has its seat entirely in the pit of the stomach where their thinking and perceiving are carried on as they were previously in the head. Most of them also arrange for objects they wish to examine closely to be laid on the epigastric region. Nevertheless, I consider that the thing is impossible. We have only to look at the solar plexus, this so-called cerebrum abdominale, to see how very small is its bulk and how extremely simple its structure, consisting as it does of rings of nerve substance together with some slight protuberances! If such an organ were capable of fulfilling the functions of intuitively perceiving and thinking, then the law natura nihil facit frustra [6] [Google translate: Nature does nothing in vain] which is everywhere else borne out would be overthrown. For what then would be the purpose of the bulk of the brain, weighing usually three pounds and in isolated cases over five, as elaborate as it is protected, with the extremely ingenious structure of its parts? These are so complicated and intricate that it requires several entirely different methods of analysis frequently repeated merely in order to obtain some idea of the structural relation of this organ and to be able to form a tolerably clear picture of the wonderful form and connection of its many parts. Again it must be borne in mind that the steps and movements of a sleep-walker conform with the greatest promptness and precision to the immediate surroundings that are perceived by him through the dream-organ, so that he at once avoids most adroitly every obstacle in a way in which no one could do so in wakefulness; and he also hurries with the same skill towards the goal he has in view. But now the motor nerves spring from the spinal cord that is connected through the medulla oblongata with the cerebellum, the regulator of movements, this again is connected with the cerebrum, the seat of the motives that are representations or mental pictures. In this way it then becomes possible for movements to conform with the greatest promptitude even to the most fleeting perceptions. Now if the representations that, as motives, have to determine movements were shifted to the abdominal ganglionic network for which a difficult, feeble, and indirect communication with the brain is possible only by devious paths (hence in the healthy state we feel absolutely nothing of all the activities that occur so vigorously and restlessly in our organic life); how could the representations or mental pictures there originating guide the perilous footsteps of the sleep-walker and indeed with such lightning speed?* Incidentally, the sleep-walker runs faultlessly and fearlessly along the most perilous paths as he could never do if he were awake, and this is explained by the fact that his intellect is not wholly and positively but only partially active, namely in so far as it is required to guide his footsteps. In this way, reflection and with it all hesitation and irresolution are eliminated. Finally, with regard to the fact that dreams are at any rate a function of the brain, the following fact of Treviranus (Uber die Erscheinungen des organischen Lebens, vol. ii, sect. 2, p. 117), quoted according to Pierquin, gives us even absolute certainty: 'There was a girl the bones of whose skull were partially destroyed by caries so that her brain was quite exposed. It swelled up when she woke up, and subsided when she fell asleep. During peaceful sleep the depression was at its greatest and with vivid dreaming turgescence took place.' But it is obvious that somnambulism differs only in degree from the dream; its perceptions also occur through the dream-organ; it is, as I have said, an immediate dreaming of what is real.*

However, the hypothesis here in dispute could be modified to the extent of saying that the abdominal ganglionic network would not itself become the sensorium, but would take over only the role of the external organs thereof, and thus of the sense-organs that have here likewise become powerless, and consequently that it would receive impressions from without which it would then transmit to the brain. This would then elaborate them in accordance with its function and would now shape and build up from them the forms of the external world, as it otherwise does from the sensations in the organs of sense. But here too the difficulty recurs of the lightning transmission of the impressions to the brain that is so completely isolated from this inner nerve-centre. Then, according to its structure, the solar plexus is just as unfit to be the organ of sight and sound as it is to be that of thought; moreover, it is entirely shut off from the impression of light by a thick partition of skin, fat, muscle, peritoneum, and intestines. Therefore, although most somnambulists (like v. Helmont in the passage, quoted by several, Ortus medicinae, Leiden, 1667, demens idea, § 12, p. 171) state that their seeing and thinking take place in the epigastric region, we have no right at once to assume that this is objectively valid, the less so as several somnambulists expressly deny it. For instance, the well-known Auguste Muller in Karlsruhe states (in the report on her, pp. 53 ff.) that she sees not with the pit of the stomach but with her eyes. She says, however, that most of the other somnambulists see with the pit of the stomach. To the question whether the power of thought can also be transplanted to the pit of the stomach, she replies that it cannot, but that the power of seeing and hearing can. In keeping with this, is the statement of another somnambulist in Kieser's Archiv, vol. x, Pt. II, p. 154; asked whether she thinks with the whole of her brain or with only a part thereof, she replies that she thinks with the whole of it and becomes very tired. The real conclusion from all somnambulistic statements seems to be that the stimulation and material for the intuitively perceiving activity of their brain comes not from without and through the senses as it does when we are awake, but, as was previously explained in connection with dreams, from the interior of the organism whose director and controller are, as we know, the great reticula of the sympathetic nerve. And so with regard to nervous activity, these act on behalf of and represent the whole organism with the exception of the cerebral system. Those statements can be compared with the remarks we make when we imagine we feel the pain in the foot which we actually feel only in the brain and which, therefore, ceases as soon as the nervous connection thereto is interrupted. It is, therefore, an illusion when somnambulists imagine they see and even read with the epigastric region, or assert that in rare cases they can perform this function even with their fingers, toes, or the tips of their noses (for instance the boy Arst in Kieser's Archiv, vol. iii, Pt. 11; further the somnambulist Koch, vol. x, Pt. UI, pp. 8-21; also the girl in Just Kerner's Geschichte zweier Somnambulen, 1824, pp. 323-30, who, however, adds that 'the seat of this vision is the brain as in wakefulness'). For although we may try to think of the nervous sensibility of such parts as so greatly enhanced, vision in the real sense, that is, by means of rays of light, remains absolutely impossible in organs that are deprived of every optical apparatus, even if they were not, as is the case, covered with thick coats, but were accessible to light. Indeed it is not merely the high sensibility of the retina which enables it to see, but likewise the extremely ingenious and complicated optical apparatus in the pupil. In the first place, physical vision requires a surface that is sensitive to light; but then the dispersed light-rays outside must again be collected and concentrated on this surface by means of the pupil and of the light-refracting, diaphanous media that are combined with infinite ingenuity so that a picture, or more correctly a nerve impression exactly corresponding to the external object, arises by which alone the delicate data are furnished for the understanding. From these the understanding then produces intuitive perception in space and time through an intellectual process that applies the law of causality. On the other hand, the pit of the stomach and the tip of the finger could in any case receive only isolated reflections of light, even if skin, muscle, and so on were transparent. And so it is just as impossible to see with them as it is to make a daguerreotype in an open camera obscura without a convex lens. A further proof that it is not really these alleged sense-functions of paradoxical parts and that here there is no seeing by means of the physical effect of light-rays, is furnished by the circumstance that the above-mentioned boy of Kieser read with his toes, even when he was wearing thick woollen stockings, and saw with the tips of his fingers only when he expressly willed this; otherwise he groped round the room with his hands in front. The same thing is confirmed by his own statement about these abnormal perceptions (ibid., p. 128): 'He never called this vision, but to the question how he knew what was going on there, he replied that he just knew it to be something new.' In the same way, a somnambulist in Kieser's Archiv, vol. vii, Pt. I, p. 52. describes her perception as 'a seeing that is no seeing, an immediate vision'. In the Geschichte der hellsehenden Auguste Muller, Stuttgart, 1818, it is reported on p. 36 that 'she sees perfectly clearly and perceives all persons and objects in the most impenetrable darkness where it would be impossible for us to see in front of us our own hand.' The same thing bears out Kieser's statement with regard to the hearing of somnambulists (Tellurismus, vol. ii, p. 172, 1st edn.) that woollen cords are particularly good conductors of sound, whereas wool is known to be the worst of all conductors of sound. On this point, however, the following passage from the above-mentioned work on Auguste Muller is particularly instructive: 'It is remarkable and yet it is also observed in the case of other somnambulists that she hears absolutely nothing at all that is said by people in the room even when they are quite close to her, if the talking is not definitely directed to her. On the other hand, every word addressed to her, however softly, even when several persons are talking together, is definitely understood and answered. It is much the same when she is read to; if the person reading to her thinks of something different from what he is reading, she does not hear him'. p. 40. Again on p. 89; 'Her hearing is not hearing in the ordinary way through the ear, for this can be tightly closed without her hearing being impeded.' Similarly in the Mittheilungen aus dem Schlafleben der Somnambule Auguste K. in Dresden, 1843, it is repeatedly stated that at times she hears solely through the palm of her hand and indeed the silent word that is expressed through the mere movement of the lips. On page 32 she herself warns us not to regard this as a hearing in the literal sense.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:44 am

Part 2 of 4

Accordingly, with somnambulists of all kinds it is certainly not a question of sensuous perceptions in the real meaning of the word; but their perceiving is an immediate dreaming of what is real [Wahrtraumen] and therefore takes place through the very mysterious dream-organ. The fact that the objects to be perceived are placed on her forehead or the pit of her stomach, or that, in the individual cases quoted, the somnambulist directs on to them her outstretched finger-tips, is merely an expedient for guiding the dream-organ on to these objects through contact with them in order that they may become the theme of its dreaming of the real. And so this is done merely to direct her attention definitely to them or, in technical language, to put her in closer touch with these objects; whereupon she then dreams of them and indeed not merely of their visibility, but also of their audibility, their language, and even their odour. For many clairvoyants state that all their senses are transferred to the pit of the stomach. (Dupotet, Traite complet du magnitisme, pp. 449-52.) Consequently, it is analogous to the use of the hands in magnetizing where these do not really act physically, but that which operates is the will of the magnetizer. But it is just this that obtains its direction and determination through the application of the hands. For only the insight that is derived from my philosophy can lead to an understanding of the magnetizer's complete influence through all kinds of gestures, with and without contact, even from a distance and through partitions; namely the view that the body is wholly identical with the will and thus is nothing but the will's image arising in the brain. The vision of somnambulists is not one in our sense of the word and is not physically caused through the medium of light. This already follows from the fact that, when enhanced to clairvoyance, it is not impeded by walls; in fact it extends sometimes to distant countries. We are afforded a special illustration of this by the inwardly directed intuitive self-perception that occurs in the higher degrees of clairvoyance. In virtue of it, such somnambulists clearly and precisely perceive all the parts of their own organism, although all the conditions for physical vision are here entirely wanting not only on account of the absence of all light, but also by reason of the many diaphragms that lie between the intuitively perceived part and the brain. Thus we can infer from this the nature of all somnambulistic perception, and so of that which is directed outwards and to a distance, and accordingly of all intuitive perception generally by means of the dream-organ and consequently of all somnambulistic vision of external objects, all dreaming, all visions while we are awake, second sight, the bodily apparition of those who are absent, especially of the dying, and so on. For it is evident that the above-mentioned vision of the internal parts of one's own body results only through an influence on the brain from within, probably through the agency of the ganglionic system. Now, true to its nature, the brain elaborates these inner impressions just as it does those that come to it from without, moulding, as it were, a foreign material into forms that are peculiar and habitual to it. From them just such intuitive perceptions arise similar to those that result from impressions on the external senses, and the former like the latter then correspond in degree and meaning to the things intuitively perceived. Accordingly, every case of vision through the dream-organ is the activity of the intuitively perceiving brain-function that is stimulated by inner instead of outer impressions as previously.* That such an activity, however, can have objective reality and truth, even when it relates to external and indeed remote things, is a fact whose explanation could be attempted only in a metaphysical way, from the restriction of all individuation and separation to the phenomenon in contrast to the thing-in-itself; and to this we shall revert. That the connection between somnambulists and the outer world is in general fundamentally different from that which we have when we are awake is proved in the clearest manner by the circumstance, frequently occurring in the higher degrees, that, whereas the clairvoyante's own senses are inaccessible to any impression, she feels with those of the magnetizer. For example, she sneezes when he takes a pinch of snuff, tastes and determines exactly what he is eating, and hears even the music that is ringing in his ears in a distant room of the house (Kiesers' Archiv, vol. i, Pt. I, p. 117.)

The physiological course of events in somnambulistic perception is a difficult riddle to whose solution, however, the first step would be a genuine physiology of the dream, that is, a clear and certain knowledge of the nature of the brain's activity therein, of the way in which this really differs from the activity during wakefulness, and finally of the source of the stimulation to it, consequently a closer definition of the course it takes. So far only this much may be assumed with certainty as regards the whole intuitively perceiving and thinking activity in sleep; first that its material organ, notwithstanding the brain's relative repose, cannot be anything but this brain; and secondly that the stimulation to such intuitive dream perception must take place from the interior of the organism, for it cannot come from without through the senses. But as regards the correct and precise relation, unmistakable in somnambulism, of that intuitive dream perception to the outside world, it remains a riddle to us whose solution I am not undertaking; but later on I shall give only a few general suggestions concerning it. On the other hand, I have worked out in my mind the following hypothesis as the basis of the above-mentioned physiology of the dream and thus for explaining the whole of our intuitive dreaming perception; and in my view this hypothesis is highly probable.

Since during sleep the brain receives its stimulation to the intuitive perception of spatial forms from within, as we have stated instead of from without, as during wakefulness, this impression must affect it in a direction the opposite of the usual one that comes from the senses. In consequence of this, its whole activity and so the inner vibration or agitation of its filaments assume a tendency which is the opposite of the usual one; it begins to move antiperistaltically, so to speak. Thus instead of taking place, as previously, in the direction of the sense impressions and thus from the sense nerves to the interior of the brain, it now occurs in the reverse direction and order; but in this way it is sometimes carried out by different parts. Thus it may not be the lower surface of the brain instead of the upper, but possibly the white medullary substance instead of the grey cortical matter which must function, and vice versa. Thus the brain now works the other way round. In the first place it is clear from this why no recollection of the somnambulistic activity passes over into wakefulness, as this is conditioned by a vibration of the brain-filaments in the opposite direction which obliterates every trace of that which previously existed. Incidentally, as a special confirmation of this assumption, the very common but strange fact might be mentioned that, when we at once reawake from the first dozing off, we often experience a complete absence of direction. It is of such a nature that we are forced to look at everything in the reverse sense and thus to imagine that what is on the right of the bed is on the left and what is behind is in front. Moreover, we are so positive about this that in the dark even rational deliberation that things may be the other way round is incapable of obliterating that false imagination, for which purpose touching and feeling are necessary. But in particular, that remarkable liveliness of intuitive dream perception, the above-mentioned apparent reality and corporeality of all objects that are perceived in the dream, is easy to understand from our hypothesis, namely that the stimulation of the brain's activity that comes from the interior of the organism and starts from the centre in a direction contrary to the normal, finally forces its way through and extends ultimately as far as the nerves of the sense-organs, which now become really active, stimulated as they are from within as they previously were from without. Accordingly, we actually have in the dream sensations of light, colour, sound, smell, and taste, only without the external causes that previously stimulated them, merely in virtue of an inner excitation and in consequence of an impression in the opposite direction and in the reverse order of time. Hence from this is explained that corporeality of dreams whereby they differ so powerfully from mere fantasies. The picture of the imagination (in wakefulness) is always merely in the brain; for it is only the reminiscence, although modified, of a previous material excitation of the brain's intuitively perceiving activity that occurs through the senses. On the other hand, the dream apparition is not merely in the brain, but also in the nerves of the senses and has arisen in consequence of a material, actually effective excitation of those nerves which comes from the interior and penetrates the brain. Accordingly, since we actually see in the dream, what Apuleius represents the Grace as saying when she is about to put out the eyes of the sleeping Thrasyllus, is extremely apt, fine, and indeed profoundly conceived: vivo tibi morientur oculi, nec quidquam videbis, nisi dormiens [7] [Google translate: have lived that I shall die of the eye, and there was nothing you will see, but when you lie down] (Metamorphoses, VIII, p. 172, ed. Rip.). The dream-organ is, therefore, the same as the organ of conscious wakefulness and intuitive perception of the external world, only grasped, as it were, from the other end and used in the reverse order. The nerves of the senses which function in both can be rendered active from their inner as well as from their outer end, somewhat like a hollow iron globe which can be made red-hot from within as well as from without. Since, when this occurs, the nerves of the senses are the last to become active, it may happen that such activity has only just begun and is still in progress when the brain is already waking up, in other words, when ordinary intuitive perception is taking the place of intuitive dream perception. Having just woken up, we shall then hear sounds, such as voices, knocks on the door, rifleshots, and so on, with a clearness and objectivity that perfectly and completely resemble reality. We shall then firmly believe that it was sounds of reality, from without, which in the first instance woke us up; or in rarer instances we shall also see forms with complete empirical reality, as is mentioned by Aristotle in De insomniis, c. 3 at the end. Now, as I have already adequately explained, it is the dream-organ, here described, whereby somnambulistic intuitive perception, clairvoyance, second sight, and visions of all kinds are brought about.

From these physiological observations, I now return to the previously discussed phenomenon of dreaming what is real. This can occur in ordinary sleep at night where it is then at once confirmed by our merely waking up, namely when, as in most cases, it was direct, in other words, extended only to the immediate vicinity, although in rarer instances it goes a little beyond this, to the other side of the nearest partition walls. This extension of the range of vision can, however, go very much farther not only in respect of space, but even of time. The proof of this is given by clairvoyant somnambulists who in the period of the extreme climax of their condition can at once bring into their intuitive dream perception any locality whatsoever to which they are led and can give a correct account of the events there. But occasionally they can even predict that which does not yet exist but still lies hidden in the womb of the future and only in the course of time comes to be realized by means of innumerable intermediate causes that come together by chance. For all clairvoyance in somnambulistic sleep-waking [Sehlafwachen], both artificially produced and naturally induced, all perception therein that has become possible of the hidden, the absent, the remote, or even the future, is simply nothing but a true dreaming thereof whose objects are thus presented to the intellect palpably and plainly like our dreams; and so somnambulists speak of seeing them. Meanwhile, we have in these phenomena as also in spontaneous sleep-walking positive proof that that mysterious intuition which is conditioned by no impression from without and is familiar to us through the dream, can stand to the external world of reality in the relation of perception, although the connection with that perception which facilitates this remains to us a mystery. What distinguishes the ordinary dream at night from clairvoyance or sleep-waking generally is first the absence of that relation to the outside world and hence to reality, and secondly the fact that very often a recollection of it passes over into wakefulness, whereas such a recollection does not take place from somnambulistic sleep. But these two characteristics might well be connected and related to each other. Thus the ordinary dream leaves behind a recollection only when we have immediately woken up from it. And so it is probably due simply to the fact that waking up results very easily from natural sleep which is not nearly so deep as somnambulistic. For this reason, an immediate and therefore rapid waking up from the latter cannot occur, but a return to conscious wakefulness is possible only by means of a gradual transition. Thus somnambulistic sleep is only one that is incomparably deeper, more highly effective, and more complete in which, therefore, the dream-organ is able to develop its fullest capacity whereby the correct relation to the external world and hence the continuous and coherent dreaming of what is real becomes possible for it. Probably such a dreaming occasionally occurs in ordinary sleep, but precisely only when such sleep is so deep that we do not immediately wake therefrom. On the other hand, the dreams from which we wake up are those of lighter sleep; in the last resort, they have sprung from merely somatic causes that appertain to one's own organism and thus have no reference to the outside world. Yet we have already seen that there are exceptions to this in the dreams that present the immediate environment of the person who is sleeping. Nevertheless, even of dreams that make known the distant or future event, there is, by way of exception, a recollection; and indeed this depends mainly on our immediately waking up from such a dream. For this reason, at all times and among all peoples, it has been assumed that there are dreams of real objective significance and in the whole of ancient history dreams are taken very seriously so that in it they play an important part. However, of the vast number of empty and merely illusory dreams the fatidical have always been regarded only as rare exceptions. Accordingly, Homer tells (Odyssey, XIX, 560) of two portals of entry for dreams, one of ivory by which insignificant dreams enter, and one of horn for fatidical dreams. An anatomist might perhaps feel tempted to interpret this in terms of the white and grey matter of the brain. Those dreams that relate to the dreamer's state of health most frequently prove to be prophetic; and indeed in most cases these will predict illnesses and even fatal attacks. (Instances of these have been collected by E. Fabius, De somniis, Amsterdam, 1836, pp. 195 ff.) This is analogous to the case where clairvoyant somnambulists foretell with the greatest frequency and certainty the course of their own illness together with its crises and so on. Again external accidents, such as conflagrations, powder explosions, shipwrecks, but particularly deaths, are sometimes presaged through dreams. Finally, other events, sometimes fairly trivial, are dreamed in advance and in minute detail by some people, and of this I am convinced from an unquestionable experience of my own. I will record it here for it also puts in the strongest light the strict necessity of all that happens, even of the most accidental. One morning I was preoccupied with writing a long and very important business letter in English. When I had finished the third page, I picked up the ink-bottle instead of the writing-sand and poured all over the letter ink which flowed from the desk on to the floor. The maid who appeared when I rang the bell fetched a pail of water and scrubbed the floor to prevent the stains from soaking in. While doing this she said to me: 'Last night I dreamed that I was here rubbing out ink-stains from the floor.' Whereupon I said: 'That is not true', but she again said: 'It is true and when I woke up I mentioned it to the other maid who was sleeping with me.' At this moment the other maid aged about seventeen happened to enter to call away the one who was scrubbing. I went up to her and asked: 'What did she dream last night?' Her reply was 'I do not know'. But I said ' Yes you do, she told you about it when she woke up.' And the young girl said: 'Oh yes, she dreamed that here she would scrub inkstains from the floor.' This story which puts theorematic dreams beyond all doubt, since I vouch for its absolute truth, is no less remarkable from the fact that what was dreamed beforehand was the effect of an action that might be called involuntary or automatic in so far as I performed it without any intention whatever and it depended on the most trivial slip of my hand. Yet this action was determined beforehand with such strict necessity and inevitability that its effect existed several hours earlier as a dream in the consciousness of another person. Here we see most clearly the truth of my proposition that all that happens necessarily happens. (The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics, 'Freedom of the Will', Pt. III.) For tracing prophetic dreams back to their immediate cause, we have, as we all know, the circumstance that no recollection either of natural or magnetic somnambulism and its events occurs in conscious wakefulness, but that such occasionally passes over into the dreams of natural ordinary sleep and these are subsequently remembered when the person wakes up. And so the dream becomes the connecting link, the bridge, between somnambulistic and waking consciousness. According to this, we must, therefore, first attribute prophetic dreams to the fact that in deep sleep dreaming is enhanced to a somnambulistic clairvoyance. Now since from dreams of this kind no immediate waking up and thus no recollection as a rule take place, those dreams that form an exception to this, and therefore prefigure the coming event directly and sensu proprio and have been called theorematic, are the rarest of all. On the other hand, a man will often be able to retain a recollection of a dream of this kind, when its contents are of great importance to him, by his carrying it over into the dream of lighter sleep from which he may immediately wake up. Yet this cannot be done directly, but only by means of a translation of the contents into an allegory. Clad in this garment, the original prophetic dream now reaches conscious wakefulness where it still requires interpretation and explanation. This, then, is the other and more frequent form of fatidical dreams, the allegorical. In his Oneirocriticon, the oldest book on dreams, Artemidorus drew a distinction between the two kinds, and called the first theorematic. Man's natural tendency, by no means accidental or artificial, to brood over the meaning of his dreams has its root in the consciousness of the ever-present possibility of the above-mentioned course of events. When this tendency is cultivated and methodically perfected, it gives rise to oneiromancy. But this adds the assumption that the events in the dream had a fixed meaning valid once for all about which a lexicon could therefore be made. But such is not the case; on the contrary, the allegory is expressly and individually suited to each and every object and subject of the theorematic dream that forms the basis of the allegorical. For this reason, the interpretation of allegorical fatidical dreams is for the most part so difficult that in most cases we understand them only after their prediction has come true. But then we are bound to admire the utterly strange and demon-like cunning of the wit which is otherwise quite foreign to the dreamer and with which the allegory has been constructed and worked out. But till then we retain these dreams in our memory, and this can be attributed to the fact that they are through their outstanding clearness and even vivid reality more deeply impressed than the rest. Practice and experience will certainly conduce to the art of interpreting dreams. It is not Schubert's well-known book, however, which contains nothing of any use except the title, but old Artemidorus from whom we can really become acquainted with the 'symbolism of the dream', especially from his last two books. Here in hundreds of examples he renders intelligible the mode, manner, method, and humour that are employed by our dreaming omniscience in order, where possible, to impart something to our lack of knowledge when we are awake. This can be far better learnt from his examples than from his previous theorems and rules on the subject.* That Shakespeare had also perfectly understood the above-mentioned humour [8] of the thing is seen in Henry VI, Part II, Act III, Sc. 2, where at the quite unexpected news of the Duke of Gloucester's sudden death, the villainous Cardinal Beaufort who knows best how matters are exclaims:

God's secret judgement:- I did dream tonight
The duke was dumb, and could not speak a word.


Here, then, is the place to introduce the important remark that, in the utterances of the ancient Greek oracle, we again find exactly the above-mentioned relation between the theorematic and allegorical fatidical dream that reproduces it. Thus those utterances, like the fatidical dreams, very rarely make a direct statement sensu proprio, but veil it in an allegory which requires interpretation and indeed is understood often only after the oracle has come true, like allegorical dreams. I quote from numerous examples merely to illustrate the point; thus, for instance, in Herodotus, lib. III, c. 57 the oracular utterance of Pythia warned the Siphnians of the wooden host and the red herald by which they were to understand a Samian ship painted red and bearing a messenger. The Siphnians, however, did not at once understand this or even after the ship's arrival, but only when it was too late. Further in the fourth book, chapter 163, the oracle of Pythia forewarned King Arcesilaus of Cyrene that, if he should find the kiln full of amphorae, he should not bake these, but send them away. But only after he had burnt the rebels together with the tower to which they had fled did he understand the meaning of the oracle and then became alarmed. The many instances of this kind definitely point to the fact that the utterances of the Delphic oracle were based on ingeniously produced fatidical dreams and that these could sometimes be enhanced to the most distinct clairvoyance. The result was then a direct utterance that spoke sensu proprio. This is testified by the story of Croesus (Herodotus, lib. I, cc. 47, 48) who put the Pythia to the test by his envoys having to ask what he was doing far away in Lydia at that very moment on the hundredth day after their departure, whereupon the Pythia stated precisely and accurately what no one but the king himself knew, namely that with his own hands he was cooking turtles and mutton in a brazen cauldron with a brazen lid. It is in keeping with the suggested source of the oracular utterances of Pythia that they were consulted medically on account of bodily ailments; Herodotus, lib. IV, c. 155, gives an instance of this.

From what has been said, theorematic fatidical dreams are the highest and rarest degree of prophetic vision in natural sleep, allegorical dreams the second and lower degree. Now in addition, there is yet the final and feeblest emanation from the same source, namely mere presentiment or foreboding. This is more often of a melancholy than a cheerful nature, just because there is in life more misery than mirth. A morose disposition, an uneasy expectation of the coming event, has without any apparent cause taken possession of us after sleep. According to the above description, this can be explained from the fact that that translation of the theorematic true dream, existing in deepest sleep and foreboding evil, into an allegorical dream of lighter sleep was not successful. Therefore nothing of that theorematic dream was left behind in consciousness except its impression on the disposition, that is, the will itself, that real and ultimate kernel of man. That impression now re-echoes as a presentiment or gloomy foreboding. Yet this will occasionally take possession of us only when the first circumstances that are connected with the misfortune seen in the theorematic dream appear in reality; for example, when a man is on the point of embarking on a ship that is going to founder; or he approaches a powder-magazine that is going to blow up. Many a man has been saved by obeying the evil presentiment that suddenly occurs to him, or the inner apprehension that comes over him. We have to explain this from the fact that, although the theorematic dream is forgotten, there is nevertheless left over from it a feeble reminiscence, a dull recollection. It is true that this cannot enter clear consciousness, but its clue is renewed by the sight in real life of the very things that affected us so terribly in the forgotten dream. Also of the same nature was the daimon of Socrates, that inner warning voice that dissuaded him from anything disadvantageous as soon as he resolved to undertake it; yet it always advised against never in favour of a thing. A direct confirmation of the theory of presentiments here expounded is possible only by means of magnetic somnambulism which divulges the secrets of sleep. And so we find such a confirmation in the well-known Geschichte der Auguste Muller zu Karlsruhe, p. 78. 'On 15 December in her nocturnal (magnetic) sleep, the somnambulist became aware of an unpleasant event concerning her which greatly depressed her. At the same time, she remarked that all the next day she would be anxious and uneasy without knowing why.' Further, a confirmation of this case is given by the impression, described in the Seherin von Prevorst (1st edn., vol. n, p. 73; 3rd edn., p. 325), which certain verses, relating to somnambulistic events, made during wakefulness on the clairvoyante who knew nothing of them. Also in Kieser's Tellurismus, § 271, we find facts that throw light on this point.

As regards all that has been said so far, it is very important to understand and bear in mind the following fundamental truth. Magnetic sleep is only an enhancement of natural sleep, or perhaps a higher potential thereof; it is an incomparably deeper sleep. In keeping with this, clairvoyance is only an enhancement of dreaming; it is a continuous dreaming of the real [Wahrtraumen]; but here such dreaming can be guided from without and directed to what we want. Thirdly, the directly wholesome effect of magnetism, which is verified in so many cases of illness, is also nothing but an enhancement of the natural healing power of sleep in all of them. Indeed sleep is the true and great panacea, for in the first place, by means of it, the vital force is relieved of the animal functions and becomes wholly free, now to appear with all its strength as the vis naturae medicatrix, [9] and in this capacity to remove all the disorders that have taken root in the organism. Thus a complete absence of sleep rules out any recovery. Now this is achieved in a much higher degree by the incomparably deeper magnetic sleep; and so when it occurs of itself for the purpose of curing grave illnesses that have become chronic, it sometimes lasts for several days, as for instance in the case published by Count Szapary (Ein Wort uber den animalischen Magnetismus, Leipzig, 1840). Once in Russia a consumptive somnambulist in the omniscient crisis ordered her doctor to put her into a trance for nine days. During that time her lung had the benefit of complete rest and was thus restored so that she woke up with health completely recovered. Now the essence of sleep consists in the inactivity of the cerebral system and even its wholesomeness comes precisely from the fact that that system with its animal life no longer absorbs and consumes any vital force so that this can now be devoted entirely to organic life. Yet it might appear to be inconsistent with its main purpose that precisely in magnetic sleep there sometimes emerges an exceedingly enhanced power of knowledge which by its nature must in some way be an activity of the brain. But first we must remember that this case is only a rare exception. Of twenty patients affected generally by magnetism, only one becomes a somnambulist, in other words, understands and talks in sleep; and of five somnambulists barely one becomes clairvoyant (according to Deleuze, Histoire critique du magnitisme, Paris, 1813, vol. I, p. 138). When magnetism acts beneficially without producing sleep, it does so merely by rousing the healing power of nature and directing it to the injured part. But in addition, its effect primarily is only an extremely deep sleep that is dreamless; in fact the cerebral system is reduced in power to such an extent that neither sense-impressions nor injuries are felt at all. It has, therefore, been used with the greatest benefit in surgical operations, although for this purpose it has been supplanted by chloroform. Nature really lets it reach clairvoyance, whose preliminary stage is somnambulism or talking in sleep, only when her blindly operating healing power does not suffice to remove the disease, but remedies from without are needed which the patient himself in the clairvoyant stage now correctly prescribes. Thus for this purpose of self-prescription, nature brings about clairvoyance, for natura nihil facit frustra. [10] Here her method is analogous and akin to that followed by her on a large scale with the first production of creatures when she took the step from the plant to the animal kingdom. Thus for plants movement on mere stimuli had sufficed; but now the more special and complicated needs, whose objects had to be sought, selected, subdued, or even duped, rendered necessary movement on motives and therefore knowledge in all its many degrees. Accordingly, this is the peculiar characteristic of animal existence, that which is not accidental but really essential to the animal and which we necessarily think under the concept of animal. On this point I refer to my chief work, vol. i, § 27; also to my Ethics, 'On the Freedom of the Will', Pt. III; and to On the Will in Nature, 'Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Plants'. And so in the one case as in the other, nature kindles for herself a light in order to be able to seek and procure the help that is required by the organism from without. Turning the now developed gift of the somnambulist's second sight to things other than her own state of health is merely an accidental use, or really an abuse, thereof. It is also an abuse if we arbitrarily bring on through long-continued magnetization somnambulism and clairvoyance, contrary to nature's purpose. On the other hand, where these are really necessary, nature produces them quite automatically after a brief magnetization indeed sometimes as spontaneous somnambulism. They then appear, as I have said, as a dreaming of what is real [Wahrtraumen], first only of the immediate environment, then in ever-widening circles, until in the highest degrees of clairvoyance such dreaming can reach all the events on earth to which its attention is directed; and occasionally it penetrates even into the future. The capacity for pathological diagnosis and therapeutic prescription, first for oneself and then by way of abuse for others, is in keeping with these different stages.

With somnambulism in the original and proper sense and hence with morbid sleep-walking, such a dreaming of the real occurs, yet here only for direct use and thus extending merely to the immediate surroundings just because in this case nature's end is already attained. In such a state, therefore, the vital force, as vis medicatrix, [11] has not suspended animal life as in magnetic sleep, spontaneous somnambulism, and catalepsy in order to be able to apply its whole strength to organic life and to eliminate the disorders that have taken root therein. On the contrary, vital force appears here as an abnormal excess of irritability by virtue of a morbid depression to which the age of puberty is most exposed. Nature now endeavours to free herself from this excess and, as we know, in sleep this is done by walking, working, climbing to the most dangerous heights and most perilous leaps. At the same time, nature calls forth that mysterious reality-dreaming as the attendant of those perilous steps. But such dreaming here extends only to the immediate environment, for this suffices to prevent accidents that the released irritability would inevitably cause if it acted blindly. Here, then, this dreaming has only the negative object of preventing harm, whereas in clairvoyance it has the positive one of finding help from without; hence the great difference in the range of vision.

Mysterious as is the effect of magnetization, it is nevertheless clear that it consists primarily in the suspension of animal functions in that the vital force is diverted from the brain, that mere pensioner or parasite of the organism, or rather is driven back to organic life as its primitive function; for now its undivided presence and effectiveness as vis medicatrix are required there. But within the nervous system and thus the exclusive seat of all sensuous life, organic life is represented and replaced by the guide and governor of its functions, the sympathetic nerve and its ganglia. Thus the event can also be regarded as a repression of the vital force from the brain to the sympathetic nerve; but generally the two can also be looked upon as mutually opposite poles; and so the brain, with the organs of movement attached thereto, can be regarded as the positive and conscious pole, and the sympathetic nerve, with its ganglionic networks, as the negative and unconscious. Now in this sense, the following hypothesis could be given concerning the course of events in magnetization. It is an action of the magnetizer's brain-pole (and hence of his external nerve-pole) on the homonymous pole of the patient; and so it acts on the latter by repulsion in accordance with the universal law of polarity, whereby the nervous force is driven back to the other pole of the nervous system, to the inner, the gastric ganglionic system. Therefore men in whom the brain-pole prevails are best fitted for magnetizing, whereas women in whom the ganglionic system predominates are most susceptible to being magnetized and to the consequences thereof. If it were possible for the female ganglionic system to be capable of acting in just the same way on the male and so also by repulsion, then through the reverse process an abnormally enhanced cerebral life, a temporary genius, would inevitably result. This is not feasible because the ganglionic system is not capable of acting outwards. On the other hand, the magnetizing bucket might well be regarded as an attracting magnetization through the action on each other of heteronymous or unlike poles, so that the sympathetic nerves of all the patients sitting round the bucket which are connected thereto by iron rods and woollen cords running to the pit of the stomach and which operate with united force enhanced by the inorganic mass of the bucket, would draw to themselves the individual brainpole of each of the patients, and so lower the potential of animal life, causing it to be submerged in the magnetic sleep of all. This could be compared to the lotus that is submerged every evening in the flood. In keeping also with this is the fact that, when the ladder of the bucket had once been laid on the head instead of on the pit of the stomach, violent congestion and headache were the result (Kieser, Tellurismus, 1st edn., Vol. i, p. 439). In the sidereal bucket, the bare unmagnetized metals exert the same force. This appears to be connected with the fact that metal is the simplest and most original thing, the lowest grade of the will's objectification, and consequently the very opposite to the brain as being the highest development of that objectification; and hence that it is the thing remotest from the brain. Moreover, metal offers the maximum mass in the minimum space. Accordingly, it recalls the will to its original nature and is related to the ganglionic system as, conversely, light is to the brain, and so somnambulists shun the contact of metals with the organs of the conscious pole. The sensitivity to metals and water of those so disposed can also be explained in this way. With the ordinary magnetized bucket, what operate are the ganglionic systems, connected thereto, of all the patients who are assembled round it and with their united force draw down the brain-poles. This also helps to explain the contagion of somnambulism generally as also the communication, akin to it, of the present activity of second sight through the mutual contact of those endowed with it, and the communication and consequently the communion of visions generally.

But if we wished to venture on an even bolder application of the above hypothesis which concerns the course of events in magnetization and starts from the laws of polarity, then it might be deduced from this, although only schematically, how, in the higher degrees of somnambulism, the relation can go to such lengths that the somnambulist shares all the ideas, knowledge, manners of speaking, and even the sensations of the magnetizer. She is thus present in his brain, whereas his will, on the other hand, has a direct influence on her and he is so completely her master that he can fix her by his spell. Thus with the galvanic apparatus, now most commonly used, where the two metals are immersed in two kinds of acids that are separated by earthenware partitions, the positive current flows through these liquids from the zinc to the copper, and then externally in the electrode from the copper back to the zinc. Hence by analogy, the positive current of vital force, as the will of the magnetizer, would flow from his brain to that of the somnambulist, controlling her and driving back to the sympathetic nerve and thus to the epigastric region, to her negative pole, her vital force that produces consciousness in the brain. But then the same current would again flow from here back into the magnetizer, to his positive pole, his brain, where it meets his ideas and sensations; and then in this way does the somnambulist share them. These, of course, are very bold assumptions, but with the extremely obscure matters that here constitute our problem every hypothesis is admissible which leads to some understanding, although such may be only schematic or analogical.

The extremely marvellous and positively incredible feature of somnambulistic clairvoyance, difficult to believe until it was corroborated by the consistency of hundreds of cases of the most trustworthy evidence -- a clairvoyance to which are revealed the hidden, the absent, the remote, and even that which still slumbers in the womb of the future -- loses at any rate its absolute incomprehensibility if we reflect that, as I have so often said, the objective world is a mere phenomenon of the brain. For the order and conformity to law thereof which are based on space, time, and causality (as brain-functions), are to some extent set aside in somnambulistic clairvoyance. Thus in consequence of the Kantian doctrine of the ideality of space and time, we see that the thing-in-itself, that which alone is the truly real in all phenomena as being free from those two forms of the intellect, knows no distinction between near and remote, between present, past, and future. Therefore the separations that are due to those forms of intuitive perception prove to be not absolute; on the contrary, they no longer offer any insuperable barriers to the method of cognition here discussed which is essentially changed by the transformation of its organ. On the other hand, if time and space were absolutely real and appertained to the essence-in-itself of things, then that prophetic gift of somnambulists, as well as all distance-vision and prevision generally, would certainly be an absolutely incomprehensible miracle. On the other hand, even Kant's doctrine to a certain extent obtains positive confirmation from the facts here discussed. For if time is not a determination of the real nature of things, then, in respect thereof, before and after are without meaning; accordingly, it must be possible for an event to be known just as well before it has happened as after. The art of soothsaying, whether in the dream, somnambulistic prophetic vision, second sight, or anything else, consists only in discovering the path to the freedom of knowledge from the condition of time. The matter can also be made clearer by the following simile. Thing-in-itself is the primum mobile [12] in the mechanism that imparts motion to the whole complicated and variegated plaything of this world. By its nature and constitution the former must, therefore, be different from the latter. We indeed see the connection of the separate parts of the plaything in the levers and wheels (time-sequence and causality) that are purposely revealed; but that which imparts the first motion to all these we do not see. Now when I read how clairvoyant somnambulists foretell the future so far in advance and so accurately, it seems to me as if they had reached that mechanism which is hidden in the background, and from which everything originates. And so that which is seen externally, that is, through our optical lens of time, as merely something that will come in the future, is already at this moment present in that mechanism.

Moreover, the same animal magnetism to which these marvels are due, has for us testified to a direct action of the will on others and at a distance. But such a thing is precisely the fundamental characteristic of what is described by the notorious name of magic. For this is a direct action of our will itself which is freed from the causal conditions of physical action and hence of contact in the widest sense of the word. I have discussed this in a special chapter in my work On the Will in Nature. Magical action is, therefore, related to physical as the art of soothsaying is to rational conjecture. It is a real and complete actio in distans, [13] in the same way as genuine soothsaying, for example somnambulistic clairvoyance, is passio a distante. [14] Just as in the latter the individual isolation of knowledge is abolished, so in the former is the individual isolation of the will. Therefore in both, independently of the limitations imposed by space, time, and causality, we achieve what we can otherwise and ordinarily do only under these limitations. Therefore in them our innermost being, or the thing-in-itself, has cast off those forms of the phenomenon and emerges free therefrom. And so the trustworthiness of the art of soothsaying is akin to that of magic and doubt about both has always come and gone at the same time.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:45 am

Part 3 of 4

Animal magnetism, sympathetic cures, magic, second sight, dreaming the real, spirit seeing, and visions of all kinds are kindred phenomena, branches of one stem. They afford certain and irrefutable proof of a nexus of entities that rests on an order of things entirely different from nature. For her foundation nature has the laws of space, time, and causality, whereas that other order is more deep-seated, original, and immediate. Therefore the first and most universal (because purely formal) laws of nature are not applicable to it. Accordingly, time and space no longer separate individuals and their separation and isolation, which are due to those very forms, no longer place insuperable barriers in the way of the communication of thoughts and the direct influence of the will. Thus changes are brought about in a way quite different from that of physical causality with the continuous chain of its links; in other words, they are produced merely by virtue of an act of will that is brought to light in a special manner and thereby intensified to a higher potential beyond the individual. Accordingly, the peculiar characteristic of all the animal phenomena here considered is visio in distans et actio in distans, [15] [Google translate: The vision at a distance and action at a distance] both as regards time and space.

Incidentally, the true conception of actio in distans is that the space between the causative and the caused, whether full or empty, has absolutely no influence on the effect, but it is quite immaterial whether it amounts to an inch or a billion times the orbit of Uranus. For if the effect is in any way diminished by the distance, then it is either because a matter that already fills space has to transmit it and therefore, by virtue of the constant counter-effect of that matter, the effect is diminished by it in proportion to the distance; or it is because the cause itself consists merely in a material emanation which disperses in space and thus becomes the more attenuated the greater the distance. On the other hand, empty space itself cannot in any way offer resistance to and invalidate causality. And so where the effect grows less in proportion to its distance from the starting-point of the cause, like the effect of light, gravitation, the magnet, and so on, there is no actio in distans; and just as little is there where the effect is merely delayed through distance. For matter alone is that which is movable in space; and so it would have to be the bearer of such an effect and cover the distance. Accordingly, it would be compelled to act only after it arrived, consequently first on contact and so not in distans.

On the other hand, the phenomena that are here discussed, and were previously enumerated as the branches of one stem, have as their specific characteristic, as I have said, precisely actio in distans and passio a distante. [16] But in this way, as already mentioned, they first afford a confirmation, as unexpected as it is certain and factual, of Kant's fundamental doctrine of the contrast between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself and of the antithesis between the laws of both. Thus according to Kant, nature and her order are mere phenomenon. As the opposite thereof, we see all the facts that are here considered and can be called magical, rooted directly in the thing-in-itself and in the world of appearance giving rise to phenomena that can never be explained in accordance with the laws thereof. They were, therefore, rightly denied until the experience of hundreds of cases no longer allowed this. Not only Kant's philosophy, however, but mine also obtains on a closer investigation of these facts important corroboration, namely that in all these phenomena the will alone is the real agent, whereby it proclaims itself as the thing-in-itself. Accordingly, touched in his own empirical way by this truth, Count Szapary, a well-known Hungarian magnetizer, apparently knowing nothing of my philosophy and possibly not much about any other, called the very first essay' Physical Proofs that the Will is the Principle of all Spiritual and Physical Life' in his work Ein Wort uber den animalischen Magnetismus, Leipzig, 1850.

Now in addition to and quite apart from this, the above-mentioned phenomena furnish in any case an effective and perfectly certain refutation not only of materialism but also of naturalism. In chapter 17 of the second volume of my chief work, I have described materialism as physics installed on the throne of metaphysics. These phenomena show that the order of nature, which materialism and naturalism would have us believe to be the absolute and only one, is a purely phenomenal, and therefore merely superficial, order that is based on the essence of things-in-themselves, an essence that is independent of the laws of that order. But the phenomena we are discussing are, at any rate from the philosophical point of view, incomparably the most important of all the facts that are presented to us by the whole of experience. It is, therefore, the duty of every scholar and man of science to become thoroughly acquainted with them.

The following more general observation may help to elucidate this discussion. Belief in ghosts and apparitions is inborn in man; it is found at all times and in all countries, and perhaps no man is entirely free from it. Indeed the great majority at all times and in all countries distinguish between the natural and the supernatural, as being two fundamentally different orders of things which nevertheless exist simultaneously. They unhesitatingly attribute to the supernatural miracles, predictions, ghosts, and magic; yet in addition they admit that generally in the last resort there is nothing absolutely natural through and through, but that nature herself rests on something supernatural. It is, therefore, easy to understand ordinary people when they ask whether this or that happens naturally or not. Now this popular distinction coincides essentially with the Kantian between phenomenon and thing-in-itself, only that this defines the matter more precisely and accurately. Thus the natural and supernatural are not two different and separate kinds of being, but are one and the same which, taken in itself, should be called supernatural since only while it appears, in other words, comes into the perception of our intellect and thus enters the forms thereof, does it manifest itself as nature; and it is precisely nature's merely phenomenal conformity to law which we understand by the term natural. Now for my part I have again elucidated Kant's expression, for I have called the 'phenomenon' [Erscheinung] in plain terms representation or mental picture [Vorstellung]. And now, if we bear in mind that, whenever in the Critique of Pure Reason and the Prolegomena Kant's thing-in-itself appears even only occasionally from the obscurity in which he keeps it, it makes itself known at once as the morally accountable within us and hence as the will, we shall see also that, by showing the will to be the thing-in-itself, I have merely elucidated and sustained Kant's idea.

Considered, of course, not from the economical and technological, but the philosophical, point of view, animal magnetism is the most significant and pregnant of all the discoveries that have ever been made, although for the time being it propounds rather than solves riddles. It is really practical metaphysics, as magic was defined by Bacon; to a certain extent it is an experimental metaphysics. For the first and most universal laws of nature are set aside by it and hence it renders possible what was deemed impossible even a priori. Now if even in mere physics the experiments and facts are still far from showing us a correct insight, but for this purpose their explanation is required which is very often difficult to discover, how much more will this be the case with the mysterious facts of that empirically appearing metaphysics! Rational or theoretical metaphysics will therefore, have to keep abreast with it so that the treasures here discovered may be unearthed. However, a time will come when philosophy, animal magnetism, and natural science, that has made unparalleled progress in all its branches, will shed so bright a light on one another that truths will be discovered at which we could not otherwise hope to arrive. In this connection, we should not pay any attention to the metaphysical utterances and theories of somnambulists, for they are often paltry views which have sprung from the dogmas that were learnt by the somnambulist and are an admixture of these with what she happens to find in the mind of the magnetizer; they are, therefore, not worth considering.

Through magnetism we see also the way opened up to information concerning spirit apparitions which have at all times been just as obstinately affirmed as they have been persistently denied. Nevertheless, it will not be easy to come across this path, although it must lie midway between the credulity of our Justin Kerner, so estimable and meritorious in other respects, and the view, still prevalent in England, which admits of no other order of nature than a mechanical, so that everything going beyond this can be brought into line and concentrated the more certainly in a personal being who is quite different from the world and arbitrarily governs it. By opposing with incredible insolence and impudence every form of scientific knowledge so that the matter has gradually become a scandal to our continent, obscurantist English parsondom is mainly guilty of injustice through its encouraging and cherishing all prejudices that favour the 'cold superstition that it calls its religion' [17] and through its hostility to truths that are opposed thereto. Animal magnetism must have suffered such an injustice in England where, after it had been acknowledged in theory and practice in Germany and France for forty years, it was still untested and, with the confidence of ignorance, laughed at and condemned as a clumsy fraud. 'Whoever believes in animal magnetism cannot believe in God' was a remark made to me by a young English parson even in 1850; hinc illae lacrimae! [18] [Google translate: therefore those tears!] Yet even in the island of prejudices and priestly imposture, animal magnetism has at last raised its standard, to the repeated and glorious confirmation of the saying magna est vis veritatis et praevalebit, [19] [Google translate:
an extraordinary force of the truth will prevail] that fine passage from the Bible at which the heart of every Anglican parson rightly quakes for his benefices. On the whole, it is high time that missions of reason, enlightenment, and anti-clericalism were sent to England with v. Bohlen's and Strauss's biblical criticism in the one hand and the Critique of Pure Reason in the other in order to stop the business of those self-styled reverend parsons, the most arrogant and impudent in the world, and to put an end to the scandal. In this respect, however, we may hope for the best from steamships and railways that are just as favourable to the exchange of ideas as to that of goods, whereby they greatly imperil the vulgar bigotry which is nurtured in England with such cunning solicitude and sways even the upper classes. Thus few read but all chatter, and for this purpose those institutions afford opportunity and leisure. That by the crudest bigotry those parsons degrade the most intelligent nation, which is in almost every respect the first in Europe, to the lowest level and thus make it an object of contempt is something that should no longer be tolerated, at any rate if we consider the means whereby they attained that end, namely by arranging the education of the masses entrusted to them so that two-thirds of the English nation are unable to read. Here their impudence goes to the length of attacking with wrath, sneers, and shallow ridicule in newspapers even the positive and universal results of geology. For they are anxious in all seriousness to uphold the Mosaic myth of creation, oblivious of the fact that in such attacks they are merely hitting an iron pot with an earthenware.* Moreover, the law of primogeniture is the real source of that scandalous English obscurantism that hoaxes the people, namely the law that makes it necessary for the aristocracy (taken in the widest sense) to provide for younger sons. If these are not fit for the Navy or Army, the 'Church Establishment' (characteristic term) with its revenue of five millions a year affords them a charitable institution. Thus for the young country gentleman a 'living' is procured (also a very characteristic expression), either through favour or for money. Such livings are very often offered for sale in the newspapers and even for public auction,** although for decency's sake they do not sell the actual living, but the right of bestowing it once ('the patronage'). But as this transaction must be completed before the actual vacation of the living, appropriate padding is added to the effect that the present incumbent, for instance, is seventy-seven years of age. Also one never fails to praise the fine opportunities for hunting and fishing that attach to the living, and the well-appointed vicarage. It is the most shameless simony in the world. From this it is easy to see why in good, one might say genteel, English society all ridicule of the Church and its cold superstition is regarded as bad taste and rather unseemly, in accordance with the maxim quand le bon ton arrive, le bon sens se retire. [20] [Google translate:
when the right tone comes, common sense withdraws] For this reason, the influence of the parsons in England is so great that, to the lasting disgrace of the English nation, Thorwaldsen's statue of Byron, her greatest poet after the incomparable Shakespeare, was not allowed to be set up in Westminster Abbey, her national Pantheon, with other great men. This was simply because Byron had been honest enough not to make any concessions to Anglican parsondom, but went his own way unhampered by them; whereas the mediocre Wordsworth, the frequent target of his ridicule, had his statue suitably installed in Westminster Abbey in 1854. By such baseness do the English write themselves down 'as a stultified and priest-ridden nation'. Europe quite properly laughs at them. Yet it will not always be so; a future and wiser generation will carry Byron's statue in triumph to Westminster Abbey. Voltaire, on the other hand, who wrote against the Church a hundred times more than ever Byron did, gloriously reposes in the French Pantheon, the church of Sainte Genevieve. He was fortunate in belonging to a nation that does not allow itself to be led by the nose and ruled by parsons. The demoralizing effects of this priestly imposture and bigotry naturally are bound to appear. The effect must be demoralizing when parsons tell the people a pack of lies by saying that half the virtues consist in spending Sundays in idleness and blabbing in church, and that one of the greatest vices, paving the way to all the others, is 'Sabbath-breaking', that is, not spending Sundays in idleness. And so in those papers that often give accounts of criminals under sentence of death, they explain that their whole career of crime arose from that shocking vice of 'Sabbath-breaking'. On account of the above-mentioned charitable institution, unhappy Ireland, thousands of whose inhabitants die of starvation, must, in addition to her own Catholic clergy voluntarily paid for from her own resources, maintain an idle army of Protestant clergy with an archbishop, twelve bishops, and a host of deans and rectors, although not directly at the expense of the people, but from Church property.

I have already drawn attention to the fact that the dream, somnambulistic perception, clairvoyance, vision, second sight, and possibly spirit seeing are closely related phenomena. Their common feature is that when we lapse into them, we obtain an intuitive perception that objectively presents itself through an organ quite different from that used in the ordinary state of wakefulness, that is to say, not through the external senses, but yet wholly and exactly as if by means thereof. I have accordingly called such an organ the dream-organ. On the other hand, what distinguishes them from one another is the difference of their relation to the empirically real external world that is perceivable through the senses. Thus in the dream that relation is, as a rule, not direct at all, and even in the rare fatidical dreams, it is in most cases only indirect and remote, very rarely direct. On the other hand, in somnambulistic perception and clairvoyance, as also in sleep-walking [Nachtwandeln], that relation is direct and quite real; in the vision and possibly in spirit seeing it is problematical. Thus the seeing of objects in the dream is acknowledged to be illusory and hence one that is merely subjective, like that in the imagination. But the same kind of intuitive perception in sleep-waking [Schlafwachen] and somnambulism becomes wholly and really objective; in fact, in clairvoyance it even obtains a range of vision that is incomparably greater than that of a man who is awake. Now if it extends here to the phantoms of the departed, it will again be acknowledged as merely a subjective seeing. Yet this does not conform to the analogy of that progressive development, and only this much can be asserted, that objects are now seen whose existence is not verified by the usual intuitive perception of someone who happens to be present and awake; whereas at the immediately preceding stage there were such objects for which the person awake first has to search at a distance or bide his time. Thus from this stage we know clairvoyance to be an intuitive perception which extends also to what is not immediately accessible to the brain's waking activity, but which nevertheless really and actually exists. Therefore we have no right at any rate forthwith to deny objective reality to those perceptions that the waking intuition is unable to follow even by covering a distance of space or an interval of time. Indeed by analogy, we might even suppose that a faculty of intuitive perception which extends to what is actually in the future and does not yet exist, might well be capable also of perceiving as present what once existed and now no longer exists. In addition, it is still not certain that the phantoms in question cannot reach even conscious wakefulness. They are perceived most frequently in the state of sleep-waking [Schlafwachen], and thus when we correctly see the immediately present environment, although we are dreaming; now as everything that we see is here objectively real, the phantoms appearing therein are presumed to be real primarily per se.

Moreover, experience now teaches that the function of the dream-organ, which as a rule has as the condition of its activity lighter ordinary sleep or deeper magnetic sleep, can also, by way of exception, be exercised when the brain is awake and hence that that eye with which we see dreams may well be capable of opening once when we are awake. There then stand before us forms so deceptively like those that enter the brain through the senses that they are confused with and mistaken for these, until it is seen that they are not links in the concatenation of experience which connects all those objects, consists in the causal nexus, and is what we understand by the term corporeal world. Now this comes to light either at once by reason of their nature, or only subsequently. A form thus showing itself will now be given the name of hallucination, vision, second sight, or spirit apparition, according to that in which it has its remoter cause. For its nearest cause must always reside in the interior of the organism since, as was previously shown, it is an impression coming from within which stimulates the brain to an activity of intuitive perception. It wholly permeates the brain and extends as far as the nerves of sense whereby the forms thus manifesting themselves then acquire even the colour and lustre as well as the tone and voice of reality. Nevertheless, in the case where this occurs imperfectly, those forms will appear only feebly coloured, pale, grey, and almost transparent; or by analogy when they exist for hearing, their voice will be abortive and sound hollow, scarcely audible, husky, or squeaky. If anyone who sees these looks at them with keener attention, they usually vanish because the senses that now turn with effort to the external impression actually receive this and, as the stronger that takes place in the opposite direction, it overpowers and represses that entire brain activity that comes from within. Just to avoid this collision, it sometimes happens that with visions the inner eye projects the forms as far as possible to where the outer eye sees nothing, into dark recesses, behind curtains that suddenly become transparent, and generally into the darkness of night which merely for this reason is the time of ghosts and spirits. For darkness, silence, and solitude eliminate external impressions and allow full scope to that brain activity that starts from within. And so in this respect, it can be compared to the phenomenon of phosphorescence which is also conditioned by darkness. Midnight in noisy company with the light of many candles is not the hour for ghosts or spirits, but only the midnight of darkness, silence, and solitude, since here we are instinctively afraid of the appearance of phenomena that manifest themselves as wholly external, although their immediate cause lies within ourselves; accordingly we are really afraid of ourselves. Thus whoever fears the appearance of such phenomena takes someone with him.

Now although experience teaches that the phenomena of the whole class we are considering certainly take place in wakefulness and are thereby distinguished from dreams, I am still doubtful whether this wakefulness is complete in the strictest sense. For the necessary division of the brain's power of representation seems to require that, when the dream-organ is very active, this cannot occur without a deduction from the normal activity, and so only under a certain lowering of the power of the waking outwardly directed sense-consciousness. Accordingly, I suspect that, during such a phenomenon, the consciousness that is certainly awake is veiled, as it were, with an extremely light gauze whereby it acquires a certain yet feeble dreamlike tinge. In the first place, it might be explained from this why those who have actually had such phenomena have never died of fright, whereas false and artificially produced spirit apparitions have sometimes had a fatal effect. Indeed actual visions of this kind do not, as a rule, cause any fear at all; but it is only afterwards when we reflect on them that we begin to feel a shudder. This, of course, may be due to the fact that, while they last, they are taken for living persons and only afterwards is it obvious that they could not be. I believe, however, that the absence of fear, which is even a characteristic of actual visions of this kind, is due mainly to the above-mentioned reason since, although we are awake, we are lightly veiled by a kind of dream consciousness. Thus we find ourselves in an element to which the fear of spiritual apparitions is essentially foreign just because in it the objective is not so abruptly separated from the subjective as in the workings of the corporeal world. This is confirmed by the easy and artless way in which the clairvoyante of Prevorst cultivates her spiritual acquaintances, for example, vol. ii, p. 120 (1st edn.), where she quite calmly lets a spirit stand and wait until she has had her soup. J. Kerner himself also says in several places (for example, vol. i, p. 209) that she seemed to be awake, but yet never entirely. At all events it might be possible to reconcile this with her own statement (vol. ii, p. II, 3rd edn., p. 256) that, whenever she sees spirits she is wide awake.

Of all such intuitive perceptions that occur in the state of wakefulness by means of the dream-organ and present us with wholly objective phenomena similar to intuitive perceptions through the senses, the immediate cause, as I have said, must always lie in the interior of the organism. Here, then, it is some unusual change which acts on the brain by means of the vegetative nervous system that is already related to the cerebral system and hence through the sympathetic nerve and its ganglia. Now through this impression the brain can always be stimulated only to the activity that is natural and peculiar to it, namely objective intuitive perception that has space, time, and causality as its forms, precisely as happens through action on the senses that comes from without. And so here also the brain now exercises its normal function. But its perceiving activity that is now stimulated from within even reaches as far as the nerves of sense which accordingly are likewise stimulated to their specific sensations from within as previously they were from without; and they endow the appearing forms with colour, tone, odour, and so on and thus invest them with the complete objectivity and corporeal reality of what is sensuously perceived. This theory obtains a noteworthy corroboration from the following statement of a clairvoyant somnambulist named Heinekens concerning the origin of somnambulistic intuitive perception: 'In the night after a quiet and natural sleep it at once became clear to her that the light develops from the occiput, thence flows to the sinciput and after this comes to the eyes and now renders visible the surrounding objects. Through this light that resembles twilight she clearly saw and recognized everything round her.' (Kieser's Archiv fur den thierischen Magnetismus, vol. ii, Pt. III, p. 43). The immediate cause of such intuitive perceptions that are stimulated in the brain from within must itself again have one which is accordingly its remoter cause. Now if we should find that this is not always to be looked for merely in the organism, but sometimes outside, then in the latter case that brain-phenomenon which hitherto manifested itself just as subjectively as mere dreams, indeed as a mere day-dream, would again be assured of real objectivity, that is, of actual causal connection with something existing outside the subject, from an entirely different direction and thus again come in through the back-door, so to speak. Accordingly, I shall now enumerate the remoter causes of that phenomenon in so far as they are known to us. In the first place, I here mention that, so long as these reside only within the organism, the phenomenon is given the name of hallucination; yet it discards this and receives others when a cause lying outside the organism is to be demonstrated, or at least must be assumed.

(1) The brain phenomenon in question is most frequently caused by grave and acute illnesses, especially high fevers that bring on delirium, where the aforesaid phenomenon is universally known by the name of fever hallucinations. Obviously this cause resides merely in the organism, although the fever itself may be brought on by external causes.

(2) Madness is sometimes, though by no means always, accompanied by hallucinations. Their cause is to be regarded as the morbid states that give rise to madness in the first instance and frequently exist in the brain, but often in the rest of the organism as well.

(3) In rare cases, fortunately completely verified, hallucinations occur without the presence of fever or any other acute illness not to mention madness, and these appear as human forms that bear a deceptive resemblance to real ones. The best-known case of this kind is that of Nicolai, for in 1799 he lectured on it at the Berlin Academy and had the lecture specially printed. A similar case is found in the Edinburgh Journal of Science by Brewster, vol. iv, No. 8, October-April 1831; others are furnished by Brierre de Boismont, Des hallucinations, 1845, second edition, 1852, a very useful book for the entire subject of our investigation, to which I shall therefore frequently refer. Of course, it does not by any means give a thorough and detailed explanation of the phenomena in question; unfortunately, it is not even really systematically arranged, but is so only apparently. Nevertheless, it is a very copious compilation, carefully and critically prepared, of all the cases that in some way refer to our theme. In particular, observations 7, 13, 15, 29, 65, 108, 110, 111, 112, 114, 115, 132 relate to the special point we are now considering. But it must be assumed and borne in mind that, of the facts relevant to the whole subject of our present discussion, one that is officially recorded suggests a thousand like it news of which, for various reasons easily understood, has never got beyond the narrow circle of their immediate environment. And so the scientific consideration of this subject has dragged on for hundreds or even thousands of years with a few isolated cases, reality dreams, and spirit narratives, the like of which have since occurred hundreds of thousands of times, but which have not been officially made known and thus incorporated in literature. As instances of those cases that have become typical through endless repetition, I mention merely the reality dream recorded by Cicero in De divinatione, 1, 27, the ghost in Pliny's Epistola ad Suram, and the spirit apparition of Marsilius Ficinus, according to the stipulation with his friend Mercatus. But as regards the cases considered under the present number of which Nicolai's illness is typical, they all seem to have arisen from purely corporeal abnormal causes that are situated entirely within the organism itself, not only by virtue of their trifling contents and the periodical nature of their recurrence, but also through the fact that they always yielded to therapeutic remedies, in particular to blood-letting. And so they too come under the category of hallucinations and, properly speaking, should be so called.

(4) After these come certain phenomena (incidentally similar to them) of objectively and externally existing forms which are nevertheless distinguished by a significant and often sinister character that is intended for the person who sees them; and their real significance is frequently placed beyond doubt by the shortly ensuing death of the person to whom they appeared. As an example of this kind, we can consider the case, recorded by Sir Walter Scott in letter 1 of his On Demonology and Witchcraft, and also repeated by Brierre de Boismont. It is that of a law-officer who for months always vividly saw first a cat, then a master of ceremonies, and finally a skeleton, whereupon he wasted away and ultimately died. Of exactly the same nature is the vision of Miss Lee to whom her mother's apparition accurately foretold the day and hour of her death. It is narrated first in Beaumont's Treatise on Spirits (German translation by Arnold, 1721), then in Hibbert's Sketches of the Philosophy on Apparitions, 1824, again in Horace Welby's Signs before Death, 1825, likewise in J. C. Henning's Von Geistern und Geistersehern, 1780, and finally also in Brierre de Boismont. A third example is furnished by the story of Mrs. Stephens on p. 156 of Welby's above-mentioned book, who on waking saw a corpse lying behind her chair and died a few days later. Also in this category are the cases of self-vision in so far as they occasionally, though certainly not always, augur the death of the person who sees himself. Dr. Formey of Berlin recorded a very remarkable and unusually well-verified case of this kind in his Heidnischer Philosoph. It is found fully reproduced in Horst's Deuteroskopie, vol. i, p. 115, and also in his Zauberbibliothek, vol. i. It should, however, be observed that here the apparition was really seen, not by the man himself who unexpectedly died very soon afterwards, but only by his relations. Of self-vision proper Horst reports a case, guaranteed by himself, in the second part of Deuteroskopie, p. 138. Even Goethe relates (Aus meinem Leben, eleventh book) that he saw himself on horseback and in a riding habit in which he actually rode at that very spot eight years later. Incidentally, this apparition really had the object of consoling him since it allowed him to see himself riding in the opposite direction to visit once more after eight years his beloved to whom he had just bidden a very poignant farewell. Thus for a moment it lifted the veil of the future in order to predict for him in his grief a reunion. Apparitions of this kind are now no longer mere hallucinations, but visions; for they present us either with something real or refer to actual events in the future. And so they are in the waking state what fatidical dreams are in sleep which, as I have said, refer most frequently to the dreamer's own state of health especially when this is bad; whereas mere hallucinations correspond to the ordinary insignificant dreams.

The origin of these momentous visions is to be sought in the fact that that mysterious faculty of knowledge which is concealed within us and is not restricted by relations of space and time and is to that extent omniscient and yet never enters ordinary consciousness, but is for us veiled in mystery -- yet casting off its veil in magnetic clairvoyance -- that that faculty of knowledge has once espied something of great interest to the individual. Now the will, as the kernel of the whole man, would like to acquaint cerebral knowledge with this matter of interest; but then this is possible only by means of the operation in which it rarely succeeds, namely of once allowing the dream-organ to arise in the state of wakefulness and so of communicating this its discovery to cerebral consciousness in the forms of intuitive perception either of direct or allegorical significance. It had succeeded in this in the above briefly mentioned cases. Now all these related to the future; yet even something happening just now can be revealed in this way; however, it naturally cannot concern one's own person, but that of another. For example, the death of my distant friend that takes place at this very moment can become known to me through the sudden appearance of his form, as realistic as that of a living person, without it being necessary for the dying man himself to contribute to this in any way through his vivid thoughts of me. On the other hand, this actually does take place in cases of another kind which will be discussed later. Here I have also introduced this merely by way of illustration, for under this number I am really speaking only of those visions which relate to the man himself who sees them, and which correspond to the fatidical dreams analogous to them.

(5) Again corresponding to those fatidical dreams that relate not to one's own state of health but to quite external events, are certain visions that stand nearest to the above. They presage not dangers that spring from the organism, but those that threaten us from without and naturally often pass over our heads without our being in any way aware of them. In this case, we are unable to establish the external connection of the vision. To be visible, visions of this sort require conditions of many kinds, the chief being that the subject in question is peculiarly susceptible to them. On the other hand, if this is the case only in the lower degree, as in most instances, then the declaration will prove to be merely audible and will then manifest itself by sounds of different kinds, most frequently by tapping. This usually occurs at night, especially in the early hours of the morning, and it is such that we wake up and immediately afterwards hear a very loud knocking on the bedroom door which has all the distinctness and clearness of reality. It will come to visions that can be seen, and indeed in allegorically significant forms that are indistinguishable from those of reality, only when a very grave danger threatens our lives or we have fortunately escaped such a peril, frequently without knowing this for certain. They then congratulate us, so to speak, and announce that we have still many years to live. Finally visions of this kind will also occur for making known an inevitable misfortune. Of the latter kind was the well-known vision of Brutus before the battle of Philippi that manifested itself as his evil genius, as also the very similar vision of Cassius Parmensis after the battle of Actium which is narrated by Valerius Maximus (lib. I, c. 7, § 7). In general, I imagine that the visions of this category have been a main reason for the myth of the ancients concerning the genius that is assigned to everyone, and also for the spiritus familiaris of Christian times. In the Middle Ages the attempt was made to explain them by astral spirits, as is testified by the passage of Theophrastus Paracelsus quoted in the previous essay: 'To understand fatum properly, it is that every man has a spirit that dwells outside him and has its seat in the stars above. He uses the bosses' (fixed types for works in high relief, from which we have the word emboss) 'of his master; it is he who presages and shows him forebodings, for they continue to exist after him. These spirits are called fatum.' In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, on the other hand, the words spiritus vitales were used to explain these and many other phenomena and, as ideas were lacking, these words appeared at the right time. The actual remoter causes of visions of this kind obviously cannot reside simply within the organism, when their relation to external dangers is established. Later on I shall investigate how far we are able to understand the nature of their connection with the external world.

(6) Visions which no longer concern at all the man who sees them and which nevertheless directly present exactly and often in all their details future events occurring soon or some time after them, are peculiar to that rare gift called second sight or deuteroscopy. A comprehensive collection of accounts of them is contained in Horst's Deuteroskopie, two volumes, 1830. More recent facts of this kind are also found in the different volumes of Kieser's Archiv fur thierischen Magnetismus. The strange faculty for visions of this kind is by no means to be found exclusively in Scotland and Norway, but occurs also in our country, especially with reference to cases of death. Accounts of it are found in Jung-Stillings' Theorie der Geisterkunde, §§ 153 ff. The famous prophecy of Cazotte seems also to depend on something of this kind. Even among the Negroes of the Sahara Desert second sight is frequently met with (see James Richardson's Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa, London, 1853). Indeed even in Homer (Odyssey, xx, 351-7) we find a description of actual deuteroscopy that bears a strange resemblance to the story of Cazotte. A perfect case of deuteroscopy is likewise reported by Herodotus, lib. VIII, c. 65. Thus in this second sight, the vision that here first springs as always from the organism, attains the highest degree of real objective truth and thereby discloses in us a connection with the external world of a kind entirely different from the usual physical one. As a condition of wakefulness, it runs parallel to the highest degrees of somnambulistic clairvoyance. It is really a complete dreaming of the real in wakefulness or at any rate in a state that occurs for a few moments at the height of wakefulness. Like the reality-dreams, the vision of second sight is also in many cases not theorematic, but allegorical or symbolical, yet, what is most remarkable, in accordance with fixed symbols that occur to all clairvoyants with equal significance and are found specified in the above-mentioned book by Horst, vol. i, pp. 63-9, as well as in Kieser's Archiv, vol. vi, Pt. 01, pp. 105-8.

(7) Now as a contrast to the visions that are directed to the future and have just been discussed, there are those that bring before the dream-organ appearing in wakefulness the past, especially the forms of those who were once alive. It is pretty certain that they can be brought about by the presence in the vicinity of the deceased person's remains. This very important experience, to which a whole host of spirit apparitions are attributable, has its most solid and certain confirmation in a letter of Professor Ehrmann, son-in-law of the poet Pfeffel, which is given in extenso in Kieser's Archiv, vol. x, Pt. 01, pp. 151 ff. But extracts are found in many books, for example in F. Fischer's Somnambulismus, vol. i, p. 24-6. Moreover, this experience is confirmed by many cases that are attributable to it, and of these I will here quote only a few. First there is that of Pastor Lindner which is mentioned in that very letter and also comes from a good source and which has likewise been repeated in many books, among others the Seherin von Prevorst (vol. ii, p. 98 of the first, and p. 356 of the third edition.) Then there is the narrative of this kind, given by Fischer himself in his above-mentioned book (p. 252) from eyewitnesses, which he records for the purpose of correcting a short account of it found in the Seherin von Prevorst (p. 358 of the third edition). Then in G. I. Wenzel's Unterhaltungen uber die auffallendesten neuern Geistererscheinungen, 1800, we find, in the very first chapter, seven such stories of apparitions all of which have their origin in the remains of deceased persons found in the vicinity. The Pfeffel story is the last of them, but the others too are wholly characterized by the stamp of truth and certainly not of invention. They all state only a mere appearance of the form of the deceased person without any further development or even dramatic sequence. And so as regards the theory of these phenomena, they merit every consideration. The rational explanations for them that are given by the author may help to put the utter inadequacy of such solutions in a clear light. Further, the fourth observation in the above-mentioned book of Brierre de Boismont is to the point, as are also many of the spirit stories that are handed down to us from some authors of antiquity, for example, that of the younger Pliny (lib. VII, epist. 27), which is remarkable for its bearing entirely the same character as that borne by innumerable stories from modern times. Exactly like it, and possibly only a different version thereof, is the story given by Lucian in Philopseudes, 31. Then of the same nature is the narrative of Damo in the first chapter of Plutarch's Cimo, and also what Pausanias (Attica, I. 32) says of the battlefield of Marathon, which should be compared with what Brierre says on page 590; finally, there are the statements of Suetonius in Caligula, chap. 59. In general, almost all the cases might be attributable to the experience in question, where spirits appear always in the same place, and the ghost or apparition is confined to a definite locality such as churches, churchyards, battlefields, places where murders have been committed, central criminal courts, and those houses which for that reason have acquired an evil reputation and which no one will inhabit. From time to time one comes across such places, and I too in the course of my life have met with several. Such localities were the theme of a book by the Jesuit Petrus Thyraeus De infestis, ob molestantes daemoniorum et defunctorum spiritus, locis, Cologne, 1598. But possibly Brierre de Boismont's 77th observation furnishes the most remarkable fact of this kind. The vision of a somnambulist, mentioned in Kerner's Blatter aus Prevorst, tenth compilation, p. 61, is to be regarded as a confirmation, well worth considering, of the explanation here given of so many spirit apparitions, in fact as a middle term leading to it. Thus this somnambulist suddenly saw a domestic scene which she described exactly and which might have taken place there more than a hundred years earlier; for the persons described by her were like existing portraits, although she had never seen these.

But the important and fundamental experience itself, here considered, to which all such events are attributable and which I call 'retrospective second sight', must remain as the primary phenomenon because till now we still lack the means to explain it. However, it can be closely associated with another phenomenon which is admittedly just as inexplicable. Yet in this way much is gained for we then have only one unknown quantity instead of two. This is an advantage, analogous to the well-known one we gain by referring mineral magnetism to electricity. Thus a somnambulist in a high state of clairvoyance is not limited in her perception even by time; but occasionally she foresees events actually in the future, and indeed such as occur entirely by chance. The same thing is achieved even more strikingly by those who have second sight and see corpses. And so events that have certainly not yet entered our empirical reality can nevertheless act on such persons and come within their perception out of the darkness of the future. In the same way, events and people, at one time real although no longer so, can act on certain persons who are specially disposed thereto and so can express an after-effect just as those others can express an effect in advance. In fact, this case is less incomprehensible than the other especially when such a perception is initiated and brought about by something material, such as for instance the mortal remains of the perceived persons which still actually exist, or by things that were more specifically connected with them, such as their clothes, the room they occupied, or what they set their heart on, the hidden treasure. Analogous to this is the highly clairvoyant somnambulist who simply through some physical connecting link with the distant persons, such as a piece of cloth worn by the patient on his bare body for a few days (Kieser's Archiv, vol. iii, Pt. III, p. 24-), or a lock of hair cut off, is said to report on the state of their health, is put in touch with them, and thus obtains their picture or image. This case is closely related to the one under discussion. As a result of this view, the spirit apparitions that are associated with definite localities, or the mortal remains of those who died there, would be only the perceptions of a reversed deuteroscopy which is thus turned to the past -- a 'retrospective second sight'. Accordingly, they would be really what the ancients called them (for their whole conception of the realm of shades probably arose from spirit apparitions; see Odyssey, He. XXIV), namely shades, umbrae, [x], [21] manes (from manere, remnants, vestiges, traces, so to speak), and thus lingering echoes of departed phenomena of this appearance-world of ours which manifests itself in time and space, becomes perceivable to the dream-organ in rare cases during the state of wakefulness, more readily in sleep as mere dreams, but most easily, of course, in deep magnetic sleep when the dream therein has been raised to sleep-waking [Schlafwachen] and this to clairvoyance. But they become perceivable also in natural sleep-waking which was mentioned at the very beginning and described as the sleeper's reality dreaming of his immediate surroundings and which precisely through the appearance of such heterogeneous forms first makes itself known as a state different from that of wakefulness. In this sleep-waking the forms of persons, who have just died and whose bodies are still in the house, will most frequently manifest themselves, just as generally, according to the law that this retrospective second sight is initiated by the mortal remains of the dead, the form of a deceased person can appear most easily to one so disposed, even in the state of wakefulness, so long as that deceased person has not yet been buried, although the form is then perceived only by the dream-organ.

From what has been said, it is obvious that the immediate reality of an actually existing object is not to be imputed to a ghost that appears in this way, although indirectly a reality does underlie it. Thus what we see there is certainly not the deceased man himself, but a mere [x], a picture of him who once existed which originates in the dream-organ of a man attuned to it and is brought about by some remnant or relic, some trace that was left behind. And so this has no more reality than has the apparition of the man who sees himself, or is perceived by others in a place where he does not happen to be. Cases of this kind, however, are known on reliable evidence and some are to be found in Horst's Deuteroskopie, vol. ii, Sect. 4. Goethe's case, already mentioned, is also relevant to what we are saying. Similarly, there is the not infrequent case of patients who at death's door imagine that they exist doubly in bed. A doctor recently asked one of his seriously ill patients how he was. 'Better now since we two are in the bed' was the reply; the patient died soon afterwards. Accordingly, a spirit apparition of the kind we are here considering certainly does stand in objective relation to the former state of the person who appears, but certainly not to his present state, for it does not take any active part therein, and so from this the continued individual existence of the person cannot be inferred. The explanation given is also supported by the fact that the deceased persons appearing in this way are as a rule seen in the clothes they usually wore, and also that a murdered man appears with his murderer, a horse and his rider, and so on. In all probability, most of the ghosts seen by the clairvoyante of Prevorst are also to be reckoned among visions of this kind. But the conversations she carried on with them are to be regarded as the work of her own imagination that furnished the text for this dumb show from its own resources and thus supplied its explanation. Thus by nature man attempts in some way to explain everything that he sees, or at any rate to introduce some connection and sequence and in fact to turn it over in his mind. Therefore children often carry on a dialogue even with inanimate things. Accordingly, without knowing it, the clairvoyante herself was the prompter of those forms that appeared to her. Here her power of imagination was in the same kind of unconscious activity with which we guide and connect the events in the ordinary insignificant dream, indeed with which we sometimes seize the opportunity for this from objective accidental circumstances, such as a pressure felt in bed, or a sound reaching us from without, an odour, and so on, in accordance with which we then dream long stories. To explain this dramaturgy of the clairvoyante, we must see what Bende Bendsen says in Kieser's Archiv, vol. xi, Pt. I, p. 121 about his somnambulist to whom her living acquaintances sometimes appeared in magnetic sleep when she then in a loud voice carried on long conversations with them. It says there that 'of the many conversations she had with absent persons, the following is characteristic. While the alleged answers were coming through, she was silent and appeared to be very attentive. During this time, she raised herself in bed and turned her head in a definite direction to listen to the answers of the others, and then put forward her objections to them. She here pictured to herself old Karen with her maid and spoke alternately to the one and to the other.-- The apparent splitting of her own personality into three different ones, as is usual in the dream, here went to such lengths that at the time I was quite unable to convince the sleeping woman that she herself created all three.' Therefore, in my opinion, the spirit conversations of the clairvoyante of Prevorst are also of this nature; and this explanation finds strong confirmation in the unutterable absurdity of the text of those dialogues and dramas that are alone in keeping with the intellectual outlook of an ignorant girl from the hills and with the popular metaphysics that has been drilled into her. To attribute to them an objective reality is possible only on the assumption of a world-order that is so boundlessly absurd and revoltingly stupid that we should have to blush at belonging thereto. Yet if the very prejudiced and gullible Justin Kerner had not secretly had a faint notion of the origin here stated of those spirit conversations, he would not have omitted always and everywhere with such irresponsible levity seriously and zealously to look for the material objects that are made known by the spirits, for example writing materials in church vaults, gold chains in castle vaults, children buried in stables, instead of allowing himself to be deterred from this by the most trifling obstacles. For this would have thrown some light on the facts.

I am generally of the opinion that most of the apparitions of deceased persons which are actually seen belong to this category of visions and that accordingly there corresponds to them a past reality, but certainly not one that is present and positively objective; thus, for instance, the apparition of the President of the Berlin Academy, Maupertuis, that was seen in the hall of the Academy by the botanist Gleditsch. Nicolai mentions this in his lecture, already alluded to, which he gave to that same Academy. Similarly, Sir Walter Scott's narrative in the Edinburgh Review and repeated by Horst in the Deuteroskopie, vol. i, p. 113, of the bailiff in Switzerland who, on entering the public library, caught sight of his predecessor sitting in the president's chair at a special council meeting and surrounded only by persons who were dead. It also follows from some relevant narratives that the objective cause of visions of this kind is not necessarily bound to be the skeleton or other remnant of a corpse, but that other things, at one time in close contact with the deceased, are also capable of this. Thus, for example, of the seven narratives in the above-mentioned book by G. I. Wenzel, six were concerned with the corpse, but there was one in which the mere coat that was always worn by the deceased was packed away immediately after his death; when after some weeks it was fetched out, it gave rise to his living apparition before his startled widow. Accordingly, it might happen that even slight traces, hardly perceptible to our senses, such as drops of blood long since soaked into the floor, or possibly even the mere locality enclosed by walls where someone under great fear or despair died a violent death, sufficed to evoke such a retrospective second sight in the person predisposed to them. The opinion of the ancients, mentioned by Lucian (Philopseudes, 29), that only those who died a violent death could make an appearance, may be connected with this. A buried treasure which was always anxiously guarded by the deceased and on which his last thoughts were fixed, might equally well provide the objective cause in question for such a vision, and perhaps the vision might then prove to be even lucrative. With this knowledge of the past that is brought about by means of the dream-organ, the above-mentioned objective causes fulfil to some extent the role which the nexus idearum assigns to its objects in the case of normal thinking. Moreover, it is equally true of the perceptions here in question, as of all possible perceptions in wakefulness through the dream-organ, that they enter consciousness more easily in the audible form than in the visible. Hence the accounts of sounds that are sometimes heard in one place or another are much more frequent than those of visible apparitions.

Now if in the case of the few examples of the kind we are considering it is reported that the apparitions of the dead had revealed to the man beholding them certain facts hitherto unknown, this is in the first place to be accepted only on the most certain evidence and till then should be regarded as doubtful. But then in any case, it could still be explained through certain analogies with the clairvoyance of somnambulists. Thus in isolated cases, many somnambulists have told patients who were brought to them how entirely by chance they had contracted the disease from which they had long been suffering and thereby have recalled to their memory an almost entirely forgotten incident. (Instances of this kind are in Kieser's Archiv, vol. iii, Art. 3, p. 70, the terror of falling from a ladder and, in J. Kerner's Geschichte zweier Somnambulen, p. 189, the remark made to the boy that he had previously been sleeping with an epileptic.) It is also worth noting here that some clairvoyants have correctly recognized the patient and his condition from a lock of hair or a piece of material worn by him, although they have never seen him. In Merck's Reiseerinnerungen aus London und Paris, Hamburg, 1852, it is related how Alexis accurately knew from a letter the present position of the writer and from an old needle-case the fate of the deceased donor. And so even revelations do not give positive proof of the presence of a deceased person.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:45 am

Part 4 of 4

Similarly, the fact that the apparition of a dead man has at times been seen and heard by two people may be attributed to the well-known infectious nature not only of somnambulism but also of second sight.

Accordingly, in the present number we have at any rate explained the great majority of authenticated apparitions of dead persons in so far as we have traced them to a common ground, to retrospective second sight, which in many such cases, particularly in those mentioned at the beginning of this number, cannot very well be denied. On the contrary, it is itself an extremely odd and inexplicable fact; but in many things we must be content with an explanation of this kind as, for example, where the whole edifice of the theory of electricity consists merely of a subordination of many different phenomena to a primary phenomenon that remains wholly unexplained.

(8) Another's lively and anxious thought of us can stimulate in our brain the vision of his form not as a mere phantasm, but as something vividly standing before us and indistinguishable from reality. In particular there are those on the point of dying who display this faculty and therefore at the hour of death appear before their absent friends, even to several in different places at the same time. The case has been narrated and verified so often and from such different sources, that I accept it without hesitation as founded on fact. A very fine example, vouched for by distinguished people, is found in Jung-Stilling's Theorie der Geisterkunde, § 198. Again, two particularly striking cases are the story of Frau Kahlow in the above-mentioned book by Wenzel, p. II, and that of the court chaplain in the previously mentioned work by Hennings, p. 329. The following case may here be mentioned as a very recent one. A short time ago, a girl patient died one night at the Jewish hospital here in Frankfurt. Early the following morning, her sister and niece, one living here and the other about five miles away, arrived on her instructions to inquire after her since in the night she had appeared to both of them. The superintendent of the hospital, on whose report this statement is based, declared that such cases frequently occurred. The Geschichte der Auguste Muller in Karlsruhe, previously mentioned, relates that a clairvoyante somnambulist who, during the highest degree of her clairvoyance, invariably fell into a catalepsy resembling a trance appeared before her friend as if in the flesh. It is repeated in Kieser's Archiv, vol. iii, Pt. m, p. 118. Another intentional apparition of the same person is communicated from a thoroughly reliable source in Kieser's Archiv, vol. vi, Pt. I, p. 34. On the other hand, it is much rarer for people in perfect health to be able to produce this effect; yet even here there is no lack of trustworthy accounts. The oldest is given by St. Augustine, admittedly at second hand, although he assures us that it is from a very reliable source, De civitate dei, XVIII. xviii. 2 in continuation of the words: Indicavit et alius se domi suae etc. Thus what one dreams here appears to another in wakefulness as a vision which he regards as reality. The Spiritual Telegraph of 23 September 1854, appearing in America, furnishes a case that is wholly analogous to this (apparently without knowing St. Augustine's) and Dupotet gives a French translation of it in his Traite complet du magnetisme, 3rd edn., p. 561. A recent case of the kind is added to the last-mentioned account in Kieser's Archiv, (vol. vi, Pt. I, p. 35). A wonderful story, bearing on this point, is related by Jung-Stilling in his Theorie der Geisterkunde, § 101, yet without stating the source. Several are given by Horst in his Deuteroskopie, vol. ii, sect. 4. But a most remarkable instance of the faculty for such appearance, transmitted moreover from father to son and very frequently practised by both even without their intending to do so, is to be found in Kieser's Archiv, vol. vii, Pt. ill, p. 158. However, there is an older instance, exactly like it, in Zeibich's Gedanken von der Erscheinung der Geister, 1776, p. 29, and repeated in Hennings' Von Geistern und Geistersehern, p. 746. As it is certain that the two were independently recorded, they serve to confirm each other in this very remarkable matter. Also in Nasse's Zeitschrift fur Anthropologie, vol. iv, Pt. II, p. 111, such a case is recorded by Professor Grohmann. Likewise in Horace Welby's Signs before Death, London, 1825, we find several instances of apparitions of living people in places where they were present only in their thoughts e.g., pp. 45, 88. Cases of this kind, narrated in Kieser's Archiv, vol. viii, Pt. III, p. 120 under the heading 'Second Self' by the thoroughly reliable Bende Bendsen, appear to be particularly trustworthy.

... for the dying are present, like their own doubles, in places they are thinking of at the moment of death.'

-- The White Dominican, by Gustav Meyrink


Corresponding to the visions which are here considered and take place in wakefulness, are the sympathetic dreams in the state of sleep, that is, dreams that are communicated in distans and are accordingly dreamed by two persons at the same time and entirely in the same way. Instances of these are sufficiently well known; a good collection is found in E. Fabius, De somniis, § 21, of which there is a particularly good one in Dutch. Further, in Kieser's Archiv, vol. vi, Pt. u, p. 135, there is a very remarkable article by H. M. Wesermann who records five cases where, through his will, he deliberately produced in others precisely determined dreams. Now as the person concerned in the last of these cases had not yet gone to bed, she and another who was close to her had the intended apparition in wakefulness and it was exactly like reality. Consequently, in such dreams, as also in waking-visions of this class, it is the dream-organ that is the medium of intuitive perception. The above-mentioned narrative given by St. Augustine can be regarded as the connecting link between the two kinds in so far as here there appears to one man in wakefulness what another merely dreams he is doing. Two of these cases are of exactly the same nature and are found in Horace Welby's Signs before Death, p. 266 and p. 297; later ones are taken from Sinclair's Invisible World. Therefore however strikingly lifelike the person appears in visions of this kind, they obviously do not occur at all through an impression on the senses from without, but by virtue of a magic effect of his will, whence they emanate, on another person, and thus on the being-in-itself of another's organism that therefore undergoes a change from within. Now by acting on his brain, such change there stimulates just as vivid a picture of the person who acts in such a manner as could be produced only through an impression by means of light-rays reflected from the body of the one on to the eyes of the other.

The 'second selves' or 'doubles' here mentioned wherein the person appearing is obviously alive but absent and, as a rule, does not know of his apparition, suggest to us the correct point of view for the apparitions of the dying and the dead and hence for spirit apparitions proper, in that they teach us that an immediate actual presence, like that of a body acting on the senses, is by no means their necessary assumption. But this very presupposition is the fundamental error of all previous interpretations of spirit apparitions, whether they have been asserted or disputed. Again, that presupposition rests on our having taken up the standpoint of spiritualism instead of that of idealism. [22] Thus according to spiritualism, a start was made from the wholly unjustified assumption that man consists of two fundamentally different substances, a material substance, the body, and an immaterial substance, the so-called soul. After the severance of the two that occurs at death, the soul, although immaterial, simple, and unextended, was still said to exist in space, thus to move, to go about, and moreover to act on bodies and their senses from without precisely as does a body and accordingly to manifest itself exactly like this. Here, of course, the condition is the same real presence in space which a body seen by us has. All rational denials of spirit apparitions and also Kant's critical elucidation of the matter which constitutes the first or theoretical part of his Traume tines Geistersehers, erlautert durch Traume der Metaphysik, apply to this utterly untenable spiritualistic view of such apparitions. And so that view, that assumption of an immaterial yet mobile substance, which moreover acts on bodies as does matter and consequently on their senses as well, has to be entirely given up so that a correct view of all the relevant phenomena may be reached. Instead, we have to gain the idealistic standpoint whence we look at these things in quite a different light, and to obtain quite different criteria as to their possibility. To lay down the basis for this is precisely the purpose of the present essay.

(9) The last case coming under review is where the magic influence that was described under the previous number might still be exercised even after death. In this way, a spirit apparition proper would then take place by means of direct action and so to a certain extent the actual personal presence of someone already dead would occur which would also admit of a retrospective effect on him. The a priori denial of every possibility of this kind and the ridicule, in accord therewith, of the opposite statement can be due to nothing but the conviction that death is man's absolute annihilation, unless it is based on the belief of the Protestant Church. According to this, spirits cannot appear because, in conformity with the belief or unbelief that was cherished during the few years of earthly existence, they were for ever consigned immediately after death either to heaven with its eternal joys or to hell with its eternal torments, but they cannot come out to us from either. Therefore according to the Protestant belief, all such apparitions come from devils or angels, but not from human spirits, as has been thoroughly and adequately explained by Lavater, De spectris, Geneva, 1580, Pars II, c. 3 et 4. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, especially through Gregory the Great, in the sixth century had very prudently rectified this absurd and revolting dogma by interposing Purgatory between these desperate alternatives. It permits the apparition of spirits which temporarily reside in Purgatory and, by way of exception, that of others as well. This can be seen in detail in the book, already mentioned, De locis infestis, Pars I, cap. 3, seqq., by Petrus Thyraeus. Through the above dilemma, the Protestants saw themselves compelled in every way to maintain the existence of the devil merely because they could not possibly dispense with him when trying to explain those undeniable spirit apparitions. And so even at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the deniers of the devil were called adaemonistae with almost the same pious horror as are the atheistae even at the present time. Accordingly, at the same time, for example, in C. F. Romanus, Schediasma polemicum, an dentur spectra, magi et sagae, Leipzig, 1703, ghosts were from the very beginning defined as apparitiones et territiones DIABOLI externae, quibus corpus, aut aliud, quid in sensus incurrens sibi assumit, ut homines infestet. [23] The fact that trials for witchcraft which, as we know, presuppose a compact with the devil, were much more frequent with Protestants than with Catholics, may possibly have something to do with this. Yet, taking no account of such mythological views, I said just now that the a priori rejection of the possibility of an actual apparition of the dead could rest only on the conviction that through death a human being becomes absolutely nothing. For as long as such a conviction is absent, it is impossible to see why one being, in some way still existing, should not also manifest itself somehow and be capable of acting on another, although this other exists in a different state. Therefore, it is as logical as it is naive when Lucian, after narrating how Democritus had not for one moment allowed himself to be led astray by a spiritual mummery that was arranged to terrify him, added [x]. [24] Philopseudes, 32. On the other hand, if there is still in man something indestructible besides matter, then it is at any rate a priori inconceivable that that something which gave rise to the marvellous phenomenon of life should, after the termination thereof, be absolutely incapable of any influence on those still living. Accordingly, the matter could be decided only a posteriori through experience. But this is so much more difficult as, apart from all the intentional and unintentional deceptions of reporters, even the actual vision wherein a dead man reveals himself can quite well belong to one of the eight kinds so far enumerated by me; and so perhaps this may always be the case. In fact, even in the case where such an appearance has revealed things that no one could know, this could, in consequence of the explanation given at the end of number 7, still be taken as the form that the revelation of a spontaneous somnambulistic clairvoyance had here assumed. Of course, the occurrence of such a clairvoyance in wakefulness, or even only with perfect recollection from the somnambulistic state, is not positively demonstrable, but such revelations, as far as I know, have at all events come only through dreams. Yet there may be circumstances that also render impossible such an explanation. Therefore today, when things of this sort are viewed with much more frankness than ever before and are in consequence communicated and discussed with greater confidence, we have a right to hope that positive empirical information on this subject will be forthcoming.

Such, indeed, is the nature of many spirit stories that all explanations of a different kind have great difficulty as soon as they are regarded as not entirely false and untrue. But against this there is in many instances to some extent the character of the original narrator and partly the stamp of honesty and sincerity borne by his description, yet most of all the perfect resemblance in the wholly characteristic course of events and the nature of the alleged apparitions, however widely separated the times and countries may be from which the reports originate. This becomes most striking when it concerns very special circumstances that have been recognized only in recent times in consequence of magnetic somnambulism and of the more precise observation of all these things, such as occasionally takes place in visions. An instance of this kind is to be found in the extremely captious spirit story of 1697 which Brierre de Boismont relates in his 120th observation. It is the circumstance where invariably only the upper half of his friend's spirit was visible to a youth, although he spoke to him for three-quarters of an hour. This partial appearance of human forms has in our time been verified as a peculiarity that sometimes occurs in visions of such a nature. Hence on pages 454 and 474 of his book and without reference to that story Brierre mentions this peculiarity as a not infrequent phenomenon. Kieser (Archiv, vol. iii, Pt. II, p. 139) also reports the same circumstance of the boy Arst; yet he attributes it to the alleged seeing with the tip of the nose. Accordingly, this circumstance in the above-mentioned story furnishes proof that that youth at any rate had not invented the apparition. But then it is difficult to explain this in any other way than as arising from the action, previously promised to him and now carried out, of his friend who the day before was drowned in a remote district. Another circumstance of this kind is the disappearance of apparitions as soon as we deliberately fix our attention on them. This is found in the passage of Pausanias, already mentioned, concerning the audible apparitions on the battlefield of Marathon. These were heard only by those who by chance happened to be there, not by those who had gone there by design. Analogous observations from most recent times are found in several passages of the Seherin von Prevorst (e.g. vol. ii, p. 10 and p. 38) where it is explained from the fact that what was perceived through the ganglionic system is again argued away at once by the brain. According to my hypothesis, it could be explained from the sudden reversal in the direction of the vibration of the brain-filaments. Incidentally, I would here like to draw attention to a very striking agreement of that kind. Photius in his article Damascius says: [x]. [25] Inconceivable as it may be, exactly the same thing is reported from the Seherin von Prevorst, page 87 of the third edition. The character and type of spirit apparitions are so absolutely fixed and peculiar that anyone who is versed in the reading of such a narrative can judge whether the vision is invented, rests on an optical illusion, or is really genuine. It is hoped and desired that we shall soon obtain a collection of Chinese ghost-stories, so that we may see whether they too have essentially the very same type and character as our own and show a close agreement even in the attendant circumstances and details. And so this generally would afford strong corroboration of the phenomenon in question, in spite of such a fundamental difference between their customs and dogmas and ours. That the Chinese have exactly the same notion concerning a dead man's apparition and the communications emanating from him as we have, is evident from the spirit apparition in the Chinese tale Hing-Lo-Tu, ou la peinture mysterieuse, although here it is only fictitious. It was translated by Stanislas Julien and given in his Orphelin de la Chine, accompagne de nouvelles et de poesies, 1834. In this respect, I also draw attention to the fact that most of the phenomena that constitute the characteristic of the spirit phantom, as described in the above-mentioned works of Hennings, Wenzel, Teller, and others, and later of Justin Kerner, Horst, and many more, are to be found just as readily in very old books, for example, in three of the sixteenth century which I have before me, namely Lavater, De spectris, Thyraeus, De locis infestis, and De spectris et apparitionibus, Book two, Eisleben, 1597, anonymous, 500 pages in four volumes. For instance, such phenomena are knocking or tapping; the apparent attempt to force closed doors and also those that are not closed at all; the crashing of a heavy weight on the floor of a room; the noisy flinging about of all the kitchen-utensils, or of wood on the floor which is afterwards found to be at rest and in perfect order; the banging of wine-casks; the distinct nailing of a coffin when someone in the house is about to die; shuffling or fumbling footsteps in a dark room; tugging at the counterpane; the odour of mustiness; the great desire for prayer of the spirits that appear, and many others. On the other hand, it is hardly to be supposed that the authors of these modern statements, who are often very illiterate, had read those rare and ancient works in Latin. Among the arguments for the reality of spirit apparitions, the tone of incredulity is also worth mentioning wherein the learned narrators express themselves at second hand. For, as a rule, this tone bears so clearly the stamp of stiffness, affectation, and hypocrisy that the secret belief behind it can be faintly discerned. I wish to take this opportunity to draw attention to a spirit story of very recent date which merits closer investigation and better acquaintance than is given to it in its description by a very indifferent pen in the Blatter aus Prevorst, eighth compilation, p. 166. For, on the one hand, the statements concerning it are judicially recorded and, on the other, there is the very remarkable circumstance that the spirit which appears for several nights was not seen by the person to whom it related and before whose bed it revealed itself because she was asleep, but only by two fellow-prisoners, and then subsequently by her. She was then so greatly perturbed by this that of her own free will she confessed to seven poisonings. The account is in a brochure entitled Verhandlungen des Assisenhofes in Mainz uber die Giftmorderin Margeretha Jager, Mainz, 1835. The summary of the verbal statements is printed in Didascalia, a Frankfurt daily paper of 5 July 1835.

I have now to take into consideration the metaphysical aspect of the subject, for as regards the physical (here physiological) all that is necessary has already been given. What really stimulates our interest in the case of all visions, that is, of intuitive perceptions through the arising of the dream-organ in wakefulness, is their eventual relation to something empirically objective, that is to say, something that is situated outside and different from us. For only through such a relation do they obtain an analogy and a dignity equal to our ordinary waking intuitive sense-perceptions. Therefore of the nine possible causes of such visions which I have enumerated, it is not the first three resulting merely in hallucinations that are of interest, but rather those that follow. For the perplexity attaching to the consideration of visions and spirit apparitions springs really from the fact that, with these perceptions, the boundary between subject and object, as being the first condition of all knowledge, becomes doubtful, indistinct, and indeed quite blurred. 'Is that outside or inside me?' is asked by everyone -- as it was by Macbeth when a dagger floated before him [26] -- by everyone who is not deprived of caution and reflectiveness by a vision of such a nature. If one man alone has seen a ghost, it will be declared to be merely subjective, however objectively it stood before him. If, on the other hand, two or more saw or heard it, the reality of a body is at once attributed to it because empirically we know only one cause by virtue whereof several persons must necessarily have at the same time the same representation of intuitive perception, and this is where one and the same body, reflecting light in all directions, affects the eyes of them all. But besides this very mechanical cause, there might well be others of simultaneous origin of the same intuitive representation in different persons. Just as sometimes two persons simultaneously dream the same dream (see above under number 8), and therefore while asleep perceive the same thing through the dream-organ, so in wakefulness the dream-organ of two (or more) can enter the same activity, whereby a ghost, seen by them simultaneously, then objectively appears like a body. But generally speaking, the difference between subjective and objective is at bottom not absolute, but always relative. For everything objective is again subjective in so far as it is still always conditioned by a subject in general, in fact exists really only in this. And so in the last resort idealism is right. We often imagine we have abolished the reality of a spirit apparition when we show that it was subjectively conditioned. But what weight can this argument have with the man who knows from Kant's doctrine how large a share the subjective conditions have in the appearance of the corporeal world? Thus that doctrine shows how this world, together with the space in which it exists, the time in which it moves, and the causality in which the essence of matter consists, and hence in accordance with its whole form, is merely a product of the brain-functions, after these have been brought into play by a stimulus in the nerves of the organs of sense, so that here we are left only with the question concerning the thing-in-itself. The material reality of bodies acting on our senses from without naturally belongs as little to the spirit apparition as to the dream through whose organ it is in fact perceived; and so, at all events, it can be called a waking dream, insomnium sine somno; (cf. Sonntag, Sicilimentorum academicorum Fasciculus de Spectris et Omnibus morientium, Altdorf, 1716, p. 11); but at bottom, it does not in this way forfeit its reality. Like the dream, it is, of course, a mere mental picture or representation [Vorstellung] and as such exists only in the knowing consciousness. But the same thing may be said of our real external world, for this too is given to us in the first instance and immediately as representation and, as I have said, is a mere brain-phenomenon that has arisen through nerve stimulation and in accordance with the laws of subjective functions (forms of pure sensibility and of the understanding). If we demand for it a further reality, then this is the question of the thing-in-itself which was raised and prematurely settled by Locke, but was then demonstrated by Kant in all its difficulty, in fact was given up by him as insoluble; yet it was answered by me, though under a certain restriction. But just as in any case the thing-in-itself which manifests itself in the phenomenon of an external world is toto genere different therefrom, so by analogy may it be related to that which manifests itself in the spirit apparition; in fact, what reveals itself in both may perhaps be ultimately the same thing, namely will. In keeping with this view, we find that, in regard to the objective reality of both the corporeal world and spirit apparitions, there is a realism, an idealism, and a scepticism, but finally also a criticism in whose interests we are now concerned. Indeed a positive confirmation of the same view is given even by the following utterance of the most famous and carefully observed clairvoyante, namely of Prevorst (vol. i, p. 12): 'Whether the spirits can render themselves visible only under this form, or whether my eye can see them only under this form, or my sense take them in only in this way; whether they would not be more spiritual for a more spiritual eye, I cannot assert this definitely, but almost divine it.' Is this not entirely on all fours with the Kantian doctrine: 'What things-in-themselves may be we know not, but we know only their phenomenal appearances' --?

The whole demonology and spirit lore of antiquity and the Middle Ages, and also the view of magic associated with them, have as their basis the still undisputed realism that was finally overthrown by Descartes. Only idealism, which has gradually matured in recent times, leads to the standpoint from which we can arrive at a correct judgement concerning all these things and so also as regards visions and spirit apparitions. On the other hand, on the empirical path, animal magnetism has at the same time brought to light magic that previously was always shrouded in obscurity and nervously concealed; and in this way it has made spirit apparitions the subject of dispassionate and searching observation and impartial criticism. In everything criticism always devolves on philosophy, and I hope that, just as mine from the sole reality and omnipotence of the will in nature has represented magic as at least conceivable and, when it exists, as intelligible, [27] so has it paved the way to a more correct view even of visions and spirit apparitions through the definite surrender of the objective world to ideality.


The positive incredulity with which every thinking man first learns of the facts of clairvoyance on the one hand and of magic, vulgo magnetic, influence on the other, and which is only tardily yielding to our own experience or to hundreds of cases of trustworthy evidence, is due to one and the same reason, to the fact that both of them, clairvoyance with its knowledge in distans and magic with its action in distans, run counter to the laws of space, time, and causality which are known to us a priori and in their complex determine the course of events in possible experience. And so in any account of the facts that relate to them, people say not merely 'it is not true', but 'it is not possible' (a non posse ad non esse); [28] yet on the other hand, the retort is 'but it is so' (ab esse ad posse). Now this difference of opinion is due to, and indeed again furnishes a proof of, the fact that those laws, known to us a priori, are not absolutely the unconditioned veritates aeternae of the Scholastics, are not determinations of things-in-themselves, but spring from mere forms of intuitive perception and understanding and consequently from brain-functions. But the intellect itself, consisting of these, has arisen merely for the purpose of pursuing and attaining the aims and ends of individual phenomena of will, not for grasping and comprehending the absolute nature and constitution of things-in-themselves. Therefore, as I have shown in the World as Will and Representation, vol. ii, chaps. 17 and 22, the intellect is a mere superficial force, essentially and everywhere touching only the outer shell, never the inner core of things. The reader who really wants to understand my meaning here, should again read those passages. Now since we ourselves also form part of the inner essence of the world, we succeed for once, by eluding the principium individuationis, in getting at things from quite a different direction and on quite a different path, namely directly from within instead of merely from without, and thus in getting possession of them through knowledge in clairvoyance and action in magic. Just for that cerebral knowledge we then have a result which it was actually unable to reach on its own path and which it is, therefore, determined to dispute. For an effect of this kind can be understood only metaphysically; physically it is an impossibility. On the other hand, a consequence of this is that clairvoyance is a confirmation of the Kantian doctrine of the ideality of space, time, and causality, but that, in addition, magic is also a confirmation of my doctrine of the sole reality of the will as the kernel of all things. In this way, Bacon's statement is again confirmed that magic is practical metaphysics.

We now recall once again the explanations given above and the physiological hypothesis there advanced, in consequence whereof all the intuitive perceptions that are carried out by the dream-organ differ from ordinary perception that constitutes wakefulness by the fact that in the latter the brain is stimulated from without through a physical impression on the senses, whereby it simultaneously receives the data and, in accordance therewith, brings about empirical intuitive perception by applying its functions, namely causality, time, and space. On the other hand, with intuitive perception through the dream-organ, the stimulation starts from the interior of the organism and is transmitted from the plastic nervous system to the brain that is thereby induced to make an intuitive perception which wholly resembles that produced in the ordinary way. Since, however, the stimulation to this perception comes from the opposite side and therefore takes place in the opposite direction, it must be assumed that the vibrations or inner movements generally of the brain-filaments also take place in the reverse direction and accordingly in the end extend to the nerves of the senses. These, then, are the last to be stirred here into activity, instead of being the very first as in the case of ordinary intuitive perception. Now if, as is assumed in dreams of reality, prophetic visions, and spirit apparitions, an intuitive perception of this kind is to be related to something actually external, empirically existing and hence wholly independent of the subject, accordingly to something that would to this extent be known through that perception, then this something must have come into some communication with the interior of the organism from which the intuitive perception is produced. Yet such a communication cannot possibly be demonstrated empirically; in fact, as it is assumed not to be a spatial one that comes from without, it is not even conceivable empirically, that is to say, physically. And so if it does take place, this must be understood only metaphysically. Accordingly, it must be thought of as a communication that is independent of the phenomenon and of all the laws thereof, as something that occurs in the thing-in-itself and is afterwards perceivable in the phenomenon, such thing-in-itself, as the inner essence of things, being everywhere the root of their phenomenal appearance. Now it is such a communication that we understand by the name of a magic influence.

If it is asked what is the path of this magic effect, the like of which is given to us in the sympathetic cure as well as in the influence of the distant magnetizer, then I say that it is that covered by the insect that dies here and again emerges full of vitality out of every egg that has hibernated. It is the path whereby, in a given population, a rise in the number of births follows an unusual increase in the number of deaths. It is the path that does not pass through time and space on the leading string of causality. It is the path through the thing-in-itself.

Now from my philosophy, we know that this thing-in-itself and thus also man's inner being is his will, and that everyone's entire organism, as it manifests itself empirically, is merely the objectification of the will, or more precisely the picture or image of this his will that arises in the brain. But the will as thing-in-itself lies outside the principium individuationis (time and space) whereby individuals are separated; and so the limits that result from that principle do not exist for the will. Now so far as our insight can reach when we step into this region, we can thus explain the possibility of a direct influence of individuals on one another, irrespective of their proximity or remoteness in space. Such influence proclaims itself as a fact in some of the nine previously enumerated kinds of waking intuitive perception through the dream-organ and often in sleeping perception. In the same way, from this immediate communication that is grounded in the being-in-itself of things we can explain the possibility of dreaming the real, of our becoming conscious of our immediate environment in somnambulism, and finally of clairvoyance. Since the will of one man is not impeded by any limits of individuation and thus acts on the will of another directly and in distans, it has, therefore, operated on the organism of the other man which is only his will itself intuitively perceived in space. Now if such an influence which on this path arrives at the interior of the organism extends to the guide and governor thereof, to the ganglionic system, and thence is transmitted up to the brain by breaking through the isolation, it can be elaborated by that organ, yet always only in a cerebral manner, in other words, it will produce intuitive perceptions exactly like those that come from an external stimulation of the senses. Hence it will produce pictures or images in space in its three dimensions, with movement in time, according to the law of causality, and so on. For the one, like the other, is just the product of the intuitively perceiving brain-function, and the brain is able to speak only its own language. However, an influence of this kind will still always bear the character and stamp of its origin and thus of the person from whom it has come; and it will accordingly impress this stamp on the form that it produces in the brain after so wide a detour, however different its being-in-itself may be from that form. If, for instance, through keen desire or other intention of the will, a dying man affects another at a distance, then, if this influence is very energetic, the form of the dying man will manifest itself in the brain of the other, that is to say, will appear to him exactly like a body in reality. But such influence that occurs through the interior of the organism, will obviously take place in the other man's brain more readily when this is asleep than when it is awake. For in the former case, the filaments of the brain have no opposite movement at all, whereas in the latter they have a movement the opposite of the one they are now to assume. Accordingly, a weaker influence of the kind we are considering will be able to make itself felt only in sleep through the stimulation of dreams. In wakefulness, however, it will possibly rouse ideas, sensations, and restlessness, yet everything always in accordance with its origin and bearing the stamp thereof. Thus, for example, it may produce an inexplicable longing or irresistible impulse to look for the man from whom it has come and, conversely, through a desire not to see him, to frighten away from the threshold of the house the man who wants to come, even when he was summoned and sent for (experto crede Roberto). [29] The well-known fact of the contagious nature of visions, second sight, and spirit seeing is also due to this influence which has its ground in the identity of the thing-in-itself in all phenomena. Such contagiousness produces an effect similar in result to that exercised by a corporeal object simultaneously on the senses of several individuals, in that on the strength of it, several at the same time see the same thing which is then quite objectively formed. The frequently observed immediate communication of ideas is also due to the same direct influence. It is so certain that I advise anyone who has to keep a perilous and important secret never to discuss the whole affair to which it refers with another who is not permitted to know it. For while he is discussing the whole affair, he is bound to have in mind the true facts of the case, and so a light may suddenly dawn on the other man in that it will furnish a communication against which neither reserve nor disguise offers any protection. In the elucidations to the Westostlicher Diwan under the heading 'Exchange of Flowers', Goethe narrates that two loving couples on a pleasure trip set each other charades: 'Very soon not only was each one at once guessed as it was uttered, but ultimately even the word which the other person thought and wanted to transform into the word-puzzle was known and expressed by the most direct divination.' Many years ago, my handsome hostess in Milan asked me in a very animated conversation at the dinner-table what the three numbers were that she had taken as a tern in the lottery. Without thinking, I correctly mentioned the first and second, but then gave the third incorrectly because her merriment confused me; I woke up, as it were, and now reflected. The highest degree of such an influence takes place, as we know, in very clairvoyant somnambulists who describe precisely and accurately to their interrogator his distant native land, his dwelling there, or other remote countries in which he has travelled. The thing-in-itself is the same in all beings and the state of clairvoyance enables the person therein to think with my brain instead of with his own that is fast asleep.

On the other hand, as it is for us quite certain that the will, in so far as it is thing-in-itself, is not destroyed and annihilated by death, we cannot absolutely rule out a priori the possibility that a magic effect of the kind just described might not also come from one already dead. Yet such a possibility can as little be clearly understood and thus positively asserted, since, although generally it is not inconceivable, it is nevertheless, on closer examination, open to great difficulties which I now wish briefly to state. Since we have to conceive the inner nature of man, which remained intact in death, as existing outside time and space, its influence on us who are alive could take place only through very many agencies all of which might be on our side, so that it would be difficult to determine how many of them had actually come from the dead man. For such an influence would first have to enter the intuitive perception-forms of the subject perceiving them; consequently, it would have to appear as something spatial, temporal, and materially operative according to the causal law. But in addition, it would also have to enter into association with his abstract thinking, since otherwise he would not know what to make of it. The man appearing to him can be not merely seen, but also to some extent understood in his intentions and in the influences corresponding thereto. Accordingly, that man would also have to comply with, and conform to, the limited views and prejudices of the subject concerning the totality of things and the world. But even more! Not only as the result of the whole of my discussion so far are spirits seen through the dream-organ and in consequence of an influence that reaches the brain from within instead of the usual one through the senses from without, but also J. Kerner, firmly upholding the objective reality of appearing spirits, says the same thing in his frequently repeated statement that spirits 'are seen not with the somatic eye, but with the spiritual'. Accordingly, although the spirit apparition is brought about by an internal influence that springs from the being-in-itself of things and hence by a magic influence on the organism, which is transmitted to the brain by means of the ganglionic system, such an apparition is nevertheless perceived after the manner of objects that act on us from without by means of light, air, sound, impact, and odour. What a change a dead man's assumed influence must have undergone during such a transference, so complete a metamorphosis! Yet how can it be assumed that, during such transference and in such roundabout ways, an actual dialogue of statement and reply can take place, as is so often reported? Incidentally, here it may be remarked that the ludicrous, as well as the gruesome, element which attaches more or less to every assertion of an apparition of this kind and on account of which one hesitates to communicate it, arises from the narrator's speaking as of a perception through the external senses. But such a perception certainly did not exist since otherwise a spirit would necessarily be seen and perceived invariably and in the same way by all present. A perception which is only apparently external and has arisen as a result of an internal impression, but which is to be distinguished from the mere fantasy, does not happen to everyone. Therefore, with the assumption of an actual spirit apparition, these would be the difficulties to be found on the part of the subject perceiving it. Again, there are other difficulties to be found on the part of the dead man who is assumed to exert the influence. In consequence of my doctrine, the will alone has a metaphysical reality by virtue whereof it is indestructible through death. The intellect, on the other hand, as the function of a bodily organ, is merely physical and perishes therewith. And so the way in which a dead man could obtain knowledge of living persons, in order to act on them in accordance therewith, is highly problematical. Not less so is the nature of that action itself; for with corporeality the dead man has lost all ordinary, i.e. physical, means of influencing others as well as the physical world generally. Yet, if we wish to concede some truth to the incidents which are reported and asserted from so many different sources and definitely point to an objective influence of dead persons, then we must so explain the matter that, in such cases, the will of the dead man is still always passionately directed to mundane affairs. Now in the absence of physical means for influencing these, the will has recourse to that magic power which belongs to it in its original and hence metaphysical capacity and consequently in death as well as in life. I have already touched on this and have discussed in detail my ideas on the subject in the chapter 'Animal Magnetism and Magic' of my work On the Will in Nature. Therefore only by virtue of this magic power would it be capable, perhaps even now, of that whereof it may also have been capable in life, namely of exerting a real actio in distans, without the assistance of a body and accordingly of influencing others directly without any physical intervention, by affecting their organism in such a way that forms were bound to present themselves intuitively to their brain, just as they are usually produced there only in consequence of an external impression on the senses. Indeed, as this influence is conceivable only as magical, that is, as one to be produced by the inner essence of things which is identical in all and hence by the natura naturans, [30] we might perhaps venture to take the bold step of not limiting it to human organisms, but of conceding it also to inanimate and thus inorganic bodies that could therefore be moved by it, as not absolutely and utterly impossible, if the reputation of respectable reporters were to be vindicated solely in this way. This we could do to obviate the necessity of bluntly censuring as false certain very trustworthy narratives like those of Hofrat Hahn in the Seherin von Prevorst. For this is by no means an isolated case, but in older works and even in modern reports there are many instances exactly similar to it. But here the matter certainly borders on the absurd; for, in so far as the magic way of acting is confirmed by animal magnetism and thus legitimately, even now it still offers only one feeble and questionable analogue for such an effect, namely the fact asserted in the Mittheilungen aus dem Schlafleben der Auguste K .... zu Dresden, 1843, pp. 115 and 318, that this somnambulist, by her mere will and without using her hands, repeatedly succeeded in diverting the magnetic needle. The same thing is reported by Ennemoser about a somnambulist named Kachler (Anleitung zur Mesmerischen Praxis, 1852): 'The clairvoyante Kachler moved the magnetic needle not only by holding out her fingers, but also by using her eyes. She directed her glance to the north point at a distance of about half a yard and after a few seconds the needle turned four degrees to the west. As soon as she withdrew her head and turned away her glance, the needle returned to its former position.' In London the same thing was done by the somnambulist Prudence Bernard at a public meeting and in the presence of selected competent witnesses.

The view, here expounded, of the problem in question explains first why, if we intend to admit as possible an actual influence of the dead over the world of the living, such could take place only extremely rarely and wholly by way of exception, since its possibility would be tied up with all the conditions stated which do not easily occur together. Moreover, if we do not wish to declare as purely subjective, as mere aegri somnia, [31] the facts narrated in the Seherin von Prevorst and the kindred writings of Kerner, the most detailed and authentic reports on spirit seeing that have appeared in print; if we are unwilling to be satisfied with the assumption previously discussed of a retrospective second sight to whose dumb show the clairvoyante from her own resources would have added the dialogue, but wish to establish our case on an actual influence of the dead, then it follows from what has been said that the world-order, so revoltingly absurd indeed so infamously stupid, that emerged from the statements and actions of these spirits would not thereby obtain any objectively real basis. On the contrary, such a world-order would have to be established entirely on the strength of the intuitively perceiving and thinking activity of an exceedingly ignorant clairvoyante who is thoroughly at home with her beliefs in the catechism, although such activity was awakened by an influence coming from outside nature, yet necessarily remaining true to itself.

In any case, a spirit apparition primarily and directly is nothing but a vision in the brain of the spirit seer. Experience has frequently testified to the fact that a dying man can from without give rise to such an apparition. That a living man can also do this has in several cases been confirmed on good authority. The question is merely whether one who is dead can also do it.

Finally, when explaining spirit apparitions, we might still refer to the fact that the difference between those who were formerly alive and those now alive is not absolute, but that one and the same will-to-live appears in both. In this way, a living man, going back far enough, might bring to light reminiscences that appear as the communications of one who is dead.

If in all these remarks I should have succeeded in throwing even a feeble light on a very important and interesting subject with regard to which two parties have faced each other for thousands of years, the one persistently assuring us that 'it is!,' and the other as obstinately repeating that 'it cannot be', then I have achieved all that I promised to do, and in fairness the reader had a right to expect this.  

_______________

Notes:

1 ['In a certain sense the dream-picture is a perception.')

2 ['The healing power of nature'.]
 
3 ['After midnight when the truth is dreamed'.]

4 [The German word is Schlafwachen.]

5 [The German word is Wahrtraumen.]

6 ['Nature does nothing in vain.']

* With regard to the hypothesis in question, it is always noteworthy that the Septuagint usually calls seers and soothsayers [x] [ventriloquist] -- in particular also the Witch of Endor. Now this may have been done on the basis of the Hebrew original, or in accordance with the ideas and their expressions that prevailed at that time in Alexandria. The Witch of Endor is obviously a clairvoyante and what is meant by [x]. Saul sees and speaks not to Samuel himself, but through the intercession of the woman who describes to Saul what Samuel looks like. (Cf. Deleuze, De la prevision, pp. 147, 148.)

* In the dream we often attempt in vain to cry out or move our limbs, and this is due to the fact that the dream, as a thing of mere representation, is an activity  of the cerebrum alone that does not extend to the cerebellum. Accordingly, the latter  remains in the lethargy of sleep, wholly inactive, and cannot fulfil its function,  as the regulator of limb movements, of acting on the medulla. And so the most urgent commands of the cerebrum remain unfulfilled; hence the uneasiness. But if the cerebrum breaks through the isolation and becomes master of the cerebellum, we then have somnumabulism.
 
* From the doctors' description catalepsy appears to be the complete paralysis of the motor nerves, whereas somnambulism is that of the sensory nerves, for which the dream-organ then deputizes.
 
7 ['For the rest of your life your eyes will for you be dead and you will no longer see anything except in sleep.']
 
* In Aus meinem Leben, Book I towards the end, Goethe tells us about the allegorical reality-dreams of Textor the magistrate.

8 [See Shakespeare, Henry V, Act II, Sc. 1.]

9 ['The healing power of nature'.]
 
10 ['Nature does nothing in vain.']
 
11 ['Healing power'.]

12 ['The prime mover', 'the prime motive' (an expression used by Aristotle)].

13 ['Acting at a distance'.]

14 ['Being affected from a distance'.]

15 ['Seeing at a distance and acting at a distance'.]

16 ['Acting at a distance and being affected from a distance'.]

17 [From Prince Puckler's Briefe eines Verstorbenen.]

18 ['Hence those tears!']

19 ['Great is the power of truth and it shall prevail.')

* The English are such a 'matter of fact nation' [Schopenhauer's own words] that when, through recent historical and geological discoveries (for instance, the pyramid of Cheops being a thousand years older than the Great Flood), they are deprived of the factual and historical elements in the Old Testament, their whole religion also falls to the ground.

** In the Galignani of 12 May 1855, it is quoted from the Globe that the rectory of Pewsey, Wiltshire, was to be publicly auctioned on 13 July 1855; and the Galignani of 23 May 1855 gives from the Leader, and since then more frequently, a complete list of livings advertised for sale by auction. Appended to each were the income, local amenities, and the age of the present incumbent. For just as commissions in the Army can be bought, so also can livings in the Church. The campaign in the Crimea has revealed what manner of men the officers are and experience also tells us something about the parsons.

20 ['When good form appears, good common sense retires.']

21 ['The shadow pictures of the deceased'; 'the feeble and impotent heads of the dead'.]
 
22 Cf. World as Will and Representation, vol. ii, chap. I.

23 ['Apparitions and terrible visions of the devil by virtue whereof he assumes a body or something else perceivable by the senses in order to torment and alarm men'.]

24 ['So surely was he convinced that souls were no longer anything when they had quitted the body.']

25 ['There was a venerable lady who had an incomprehensible gift bestowed on her by God; for after pouring pure water into a glass tumbler, she saw on the bottom thereof the appearance of future events and, in accordance with what she had seen, she fully predicted them and said how they would come to pass. And the confirmation of the thing did not escape our notice.']

26 [Macbeth, Act n. Sc. 1.]
 
27 See the chapter 'Animal Magnetism and Magic' in my work On the Will in Nature.

29 ['From impossibility to unreality'.]
 
29 ['Believe Robert who experienced it himself.' (From Virgil's Experto credite, Aeneid, Xl. 283. It is found also in Ovid's Ars amandi, III. 511.)]
 
30 ['Creating nature', as distinct from natura naturata 'created nature'.]
 
31 ['Dreams of the sick' (Horace, Ars poetica, 7).]
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