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 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:38 am

Part 2 of 4

79a

Every cloud has a contractility; it must be held together by some internal force, so that it does not entirely disintegrate and dissolve into the atmosphere. Now such a force may be electrical, or mere cohesion, gravitation, or something else. But the more active and effective this force is, the more firmly does it tie up from within the cloud which thus receives a sharper contour and generally a more massive appearance. This is the case with the cumulus, and rain is unlikely; rain clouds, on the other hand, have blurred contours. With regard to thunder, I have hit upon a hypothesis which is very bold and may perhaps be called extravagant. I myself am not convinced of it, and yet I cannot make up my mind to set it aside, but will submit it to those who are mainly concerned with physics, so that they may first test the possibility of the thing. If this were once settled, its reality could hardly be doubted. We are still not quite clear about the immediate cause of thunder, since current explanations are inadequate, especially when, with the cracking of a spark from a conductor, we conjure up in our minds the loud report of thunder. And so we might venture to put forward the bold and even reckless hypothesis that the electrical tension in the cloud electrolyses water, that the explosive mixture of hydrogen and oxygen thus formed produces little bubbles from the remaining part of the cloud, and that these are afterwards ignited by the electric spark. The loud report of thunder corresponds exactly to such a detonation and the heavy downpour that often immediately follows a violent thunder-clap could also be explained in this way. Electric shocks in the cloud without previous electrolysis of the water would be sheet lightning and generally lightning without thunder.*

H. Scoutetten delivered a memoire sur l' electricite atmospherique before the Academie des Sciences, an extract of which appeared in the Comptes rendus of 18 August 1856. Relying on experiments he had conducted, he states that the vapour that rises from water and plants during sunlight and forms clouds, consists of microscopically small bubbles whose content is electrified oxygen and whose envelope is water. Of the hydrogen that corresponds to this oxygen he says nothing. But at any rate, here we should have had to assume in the cloud the one element of the explosive mixture of hydrogen and oxygen even without an electrolysis of water.**

During the electrolysis of the atmospheric water into two gases, a great deal of heat necessarily becomes latent. From the resultant cold it might be possible to explain hail that is still so problematical; it occurs most frequently as the accompaniment of a thunder-storm as is seen on page 138 of the Reich der Wolken. Naturally, it arises only in consequence of a complicated set of circumstances, and therefore rarely. Here we see only the source of the cold that is required to freeze raindrops in the hot summer season.

§ 80

No branch of knowledge impresses the masses so much as does astronomy. Accordingly, astronomers, who for the most part have mere calculating minds and are in other respects of second-rate ability, as is usually the case with such men, frequently assume very great airs with their' sublimest of all the sciences', and so on. Even Plato ridiculed these claims of astronomy and recalled the fact that what looks upwards is not exactly what is called sublime (Republic, lib. VII, pp. 156, 157, ed. Bip.). The almost idolatrous worship enjoyed by Newton, especially in England, is beyond all belief. Even quite recently in The Times he was called 'the greatest of human beings' and in another article of the same paper the attempt was made to console us again by assuring us that after all he was only human! In 1815 (according to an account in the weekly publication The Examiner and reprinted in the Galignani of 11 January 1853), one of Newton's teeth was sold to a peer for £730 who had it set in a ring, a circumstance that reminds one of the Buddha's sacred tooth. This ludicrous veneration of the great arithmetician is now due to the fact that people take as the measure of his merit the magnitude of the masses whose motion he traced to their laws and these to the natural force that operates in it. (Moreover, this was not even his discovery but Robert Hooke's, which he merely authenticated by calculation.) Otherwise, it is inconceivable why more veneration is due to him than to anyone else who traces given effects to the manifestation of a definite force of nature, and why, for example, Lavoisier should not be just as highly esteemed. On the contrary, the problem of explaining given phenomena from many kinds of co-operating natural forces, and even of discovering such forces from these phenomena, is much more difficult than is the one that has to consider only two such simply and uniformly operating forces as gravitation and inertia in non-resisting space. It is precisely on this incomparable simplicity or scantiness of its material that the mathematical certainty, trustworthiness, and precision of astronomy rest, by virtue whereof it astonishes the world through its ability to announce the existence even of planets that have not yet been seen. This may have been admirable, yet, when closely considered, it is only the same intellectual operation that is carried out every time we determine a cause, as yet unseen, from its effect that now manifests itself. It is the same operation that was carried out to an even more admirable degree by that connoisseur of wine who, from a glass of wine, knew with certainty that there must be leather in the barrel. This was denied until after the barrel was finally emptied when a key was found lying at the bottom with a small leather strap attached. The intellectual operation here occurring is the same as that taking place in the discovery of Neptune, and the difference is merely in the application and thus in the object; it differs merely in the substance, certainly not in the form. Daguerre's invention, on the other hand, unless perhaps it was due largely to chance, as some assert, so that Arago had afterwards to think out the theory,* is a hundred times more ingenious than the much admired discovery of Leverrier. But as I have said, the awe of the crowd is due to the magnitude of the masses in question and to the immense distances. I would like to take this opportunity to say that many physical and chemical discoveries can be of incalculable value and benefit to the whole human race, whereas it needed very little wit to make them, so little that occasionally chance alone performed the function thereof. And so there is a great difference between the intellectual and material values of such discoveries.

From the point of view of philosophy, we might compare astronomers to those who attend the performance of a great opera. Without allowing themselves to be diverted by the music or the contents of the piece, they merely pay attention to the machinery of the decorations and are so pleased when they find out all about its working and the sequence of its operations.

§ 81

The signs of the zodiac are mankind's family coat of arms; for they are found as the same pictures and in the same order among the Hindus, Chinese, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and so on, and there is some dispute as to their origin. Ideler, Ueber den Ursprung des Thierkreises, 1838, does not venture to give a decision as to where it was first found. Lepsius asserted that it first occurs on monuments between Ptolemaic and Roman times. But Uhlemann, Grundzuge der Astronomie und Astrologie der Alten, besonders der Aegypter, 1857, states that the signs of the zodiac are found even in the royal tombs of the sixteenth century B.C.

§ 82

In regard to the Pythagorean harmony of the spheres, we should work out what chord would result if we grouped and combined a sequence of tones in proportion to the different velocities of the planets, so that Neptune provided the bass and Mercury the soprano. In this connection, see Scholia in Aristotelem, collegit Brandis, p. 496.

§ 83

According to the present state of our knowledge and as Leibniz and Buffon have also maintained, it seems that the earth was once in a state of intense heat and fusion and in fact still is, since only its surface has cooled and hardened. Before this it was, therefore, like everything intensely hot, also luminous. As the large planets were also luminous and for an even longer period, the sun at that time must have been represented by the astronomers of more remote and ancient worlds as a double, threefold, or even fourfold star. Now the cooling of the earth's surface occurs so slowly that not the slightest increase in this respect is noticeable in historic times; in fact according to Fourier's calculations, such cooling no longer takes place to any appreciable extent, since just as much heat as is radiated yearly by the earth is received back by it from the sun. Therefore, in the volume of the sun which is 1,384,472 times that of the earth and of which the earth was once an integral part, the cooling down must take place the more gradually in proportion to this difference in volume, although without compensation from outside. Accordingly, the radiance and heat of the sun are then explained from the fact that it is still in the condition in which the world once was; but their decline proceeds far too slowly for its influence to be felt even after thousands of years. That its atmosphere should really be luminous might be explained indeed from the sublimation of the hottest parts. The same holds good of the fixed stars; of these the double stars are those that have planets still in a state of self-luminosity. In consequence of this assumption, however, all incandescence would gradually be extinguished and, after billions of years, the whole world would inevitably be submerged in cold rigidity and darkness; unless in the meantime new fixed stars condense from the luminous nebula, and thus another kalpa is ushered in.

§ 84

The following teleological consideration could be deduced from physical astronomy.

The time necessary to cool or heat a body in a medium of different temperature increases rapidly in proportion to the size of the body; accordingly, Buffon attempted to calculate this in respect of the different masses of the planets which were assumed to be hot; yet in our day this has been done more thoroughly and successfully by Fourier. We see this on a small scale in glaciers that no summer is capable of melting, and even in the ice in a cellar where a sufficiently large mass of it is kept. Incidentally, divide et impera [7] would appear to have its best illustration in the effect of summer heat on ice.

The four large planets receive extremely little heat from the sun; for example, according to Humboldt, the illumination on Uranus is only 1/368 of that received by the earth. Consequently, for the maintenance of life on their surface they are dependent entirely on their internal heat, whereas the earth depends almost entirely on the external heat coming from the sun, if one can rely on Fourier's calculations according to which the effect of the very intense heat of the earth's interior on its surface amounts to only a minimum. With the sizes of the four major planets, varying as they do from eighty to thirteen hundred times that of the earth, the time necessary for their cooling down is now incalculably long. Within historic times, we have not the slightest trace of a cooling of the earth that is so small in comparison with the major planets. This was most ingeniously demonstrated by a Frenchman from the fact that, in relation to the earth's rotation, the moon does not move more slowly than it did in the earliest times of which we have information. Thus if the earth had become any cooler, it would necessarily have contracted to that extent, in which case an acceleration of its rotation would have arisen, whereas the motion of the moon remained unaltered. According to this, it seems exceedingly appropriate that the major planets are remote from the sun, the minor, on the other hand, are nearer, and the smallest nearest of all. For these will gradually lose their internal heat, or at any rate will become so thickly encrusted, that such heat no longer penetrates to the surface;* and so they need the external source of heat. As the mere fragments of an exploded planet, the asteroids are something entirely fortuitous and abnormal and so are not considered here. But, of course, in and by itself, this accident is gravely antiteleological. Let us hope the catastrophe took place before the planet was inhabited. Nevertheless, we know of nature's lack of consideration; I cannot vouch for anything. Now this extremely probable hypothesis, which was advanced by Olbers, is again being questioned and the reasons for this may be just as much theological as astronomical.

However, for the proposed teleology to be complete, the four major planets would have to be so arranged that the largest was the farthest from, and the smallest the nearest to, the sun; but in point of fact the reverse is rather the case. It might also be urged that their mass is much lighter and thus less dense than that of the minor planets, yet this is not nearly enough to account for the enormous difference in size. Perhaps it is so merely in consequence of their internal heat.

The obliquity of the ecliptic is the object of quite special teleological admiration, since without it no seasonal changes would occur, but perpetual spring would reign on earth. Therefore fruits could never ripen and thrive, and consequently the earth could not be inhabited everywhere almost as far as the poles; and so the physico-theologians see in the obliquity of the ecliptic the wisest of all provisions and the materialists the happiest of all accidents. This admiration, with which Herder in particular is inspired (Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte, vol. i, chap. 4), is, however, on closer consideration, a little ingenuous. For if eternal spring reigned as suggested, the plant world would certainly not have failed to adapt its nature accordingly, so that a less intense heat, albeit always constant and equable, would be suitable to it, just as the now fossilized flora of the primeval world were adapted to an entirely different state of the planet and flourished marvellously during it, no matter in what way this was caused.

That on the moon no atmosphere is discernible through refraction is a necessary consequence of its small mass that amounts to only 1/88 that of our planet. Accordingly, it exerts so small a force of attraction that our atmosphere placed on it would retain only 1/88 of its density. Consequently, it could not produce any noticeable refraction and would inevitably be just as feeble and impotent in other respects.

Here may be the place for a hypothesis concerning the lunar surface, for I cannot make up my mind to discard it, although I am well aware of the difficulties to which it is exposed; I regard it only as a daring conjecture and offer it as such. It is that the water of the moon is not absent but frozen, since through lack of an atmosphere an almost absolute cold is produced which does not permit even the evaporation of the ice to take place, an evaporation that would otherwise be promoted by that lack of an atmosphere. Thus on account of the smallness of the moon, 1/49 the volume and 1/88 the mass of the earth, we must regard its internal source of heat as exhausted, or at any rate as no longer affecting the surface. From the sun it receives no more heat than does the earth. For although once a month it comes nearer to the sun by an amount equal to its distance from us, in which case it invariably exposes to the sun only the face that is always turned away from us, this face thereby receives, according to Madler, merely an illumination (and consequently also a heating) that is brighter in the ratio of 101 to 100 than that received by the face that is turned towards us. This never happens to the latter face even in the opposite case when, after fourteen days, the moon has again become more distant from the sun by an amount equal to its distance from us. We have, therefore, to assume that the influence of solar heat on the moon is no stronger than that of such heat on the earth; in fact it is even weaker, as it lasts a fortnight naturally for each face, but is then interrupted by a night that lasts two weeks and prevents the cumulative effect of that influence. But now all heating by sunlight is dependent on the presence of an atmosphere; for it takes place only by virtue of the metamorphosis of light into heat; and this occurs when light strikes an opaque body, in other words, one that is impervious to it as light. Thus it cannot with its lightning rectilinear speed penetrate an opaque body as it can one which is transparent and through which it passes to reach the other body. It is then converted into heat that ascends and radiates in all directions. Now as this is absolutely without weight (imponderable), it must be restrained and held together by the pressure of an atmosphere, otherwise it is dissipated at the moment it is formed. For however instantaneously light in its original radiating nature cuts through the atmosphere, its passage is very slow when, converted into heat, it has to overcome the weight and resistance of this very atmosphere which, as we know, is the worst of all conductors of heat. On the other hand, if the air is rarefied, the heat escapes more easily; and if there is no air at all, it escapes at once. Therefore high mountains, where the pressure of the atmosphere is reduced to half, are covered with eternal snow, whereas deep valleys, if they are wide, are the warmest places. What must it be like then when there is no atmosphere at all? And so as regards temperature, we should have to assume without hesitation that all the water on the moon is frozen. But then there arises the difficulty that, as rarefaction of the atmosphere facilitates ebullition and lowers the boiling-point, its total absence must greatly accelerate generally the process of evaporation, whereupon the frozen water of the moon must have long ago evaporated. Now this difficulty is met by the consideration that all evaporation, even that in a vacuum, takes place only by virtue of a very considerable quantity of heat that becomes latent precisely through such evaporation. But such heat is lacking on the moon where the cold must be wellnigh absolute, since the heat formed by the immediate effect of the sun's rays instantly passes away, and the little evaporation that is thereby induced is again stopped at once by the cold, like hoarfrost.* For however much in itself rarefaction of the air promotes evaporation, it prevents this even more by the fact that it causes the heat necessary for such evaporation to escape and we also see this in the Alpine snows which as little disappear through evaporating as through melting. Now with a total absence of air, the instantaneous disappearance of the heat that is formed will in equal proportion be more unfavourable to evaporation than the lack of air pressure in itself is favourable thereto. As a result of this hypothesis, we should have to regard all the water on the moon as converted into ice and in particular the whole mysterious grey part of its surface, always described as maria (seas), as frozen water.** Its many unevennesses will then no longer cause any difficulty and the conspicuous, deep, and often straight furrows that intersect it could be explained as yawning crevices in the splintered ice; for their shape greatly favours this explanation.***

Generally speaking, it is not entirely safe to infer an absence of life from a lack of air and water. Such a conclusion might even be called narrow and parochial, in so far as it rests on the assumption of a partout comme chez nous. [8] The phenomenon of animal life might easily be brought about by means other than respiration and blood circulation; for the essential point of all life is simply the constant change of matter with permanence of form. Of course, we can imagine this as happening only through the medium of what is fluid and vaporous. But matter generally is the mere visibility of the will which, however, everywhere aims at the enhancement step by step of its phenomenal appearance. The forms, ways, and means of attaining this may be very varied. On the other hand, it should again be borne in mind that most probably the chemical elements not only on the moon, but also on all the planets, are the same as those on the earth. For the whole system has been evolved from the same primordial luminous nebula to which the present sun once extended. This certainly permits one to surmise a similarity also of the higher phenomena of the will.

§ 85

The extremely ingenious cosmogony, i.e. theory of the origin of the planetary system, which Kant first gave in his Naturgeschichte des Himmels, 1755, and then more completely in the seventh chapter of his 'only possible argument', 1763, was developed with greater astronomical knowledge and established on a firmer foundation almost fifty years later by Laplace (Exposition du systeme du monde, vol. v, p. 2). However, its truth rests not only on the basis of the spatial relation which was insisted on by Laplace, namely that forty-five heavenly bodies collectively circulate in one direction and simultaneously rotate in precisely the same direction; but it has an even firmer support in the temporal relation. This is expressed by Kepler's second and third laws, in so far as such laws state the fixed rule and exact formula whereby all the planets in a strictly natural ratio circulate the more rapidly, the nearer they are to the sun. In the case of the sun itself, however, mere rotation has taken the place of circulation and now stands as the maximum of velocity of that progressive ratio. When the sun still extended as far as Uranus, it rotated once in eighty-four years; but now, after undergoing an acceleration through each of its contractions, it rotates once in twenty-five and a half days.

Thus if the planets were not remnants of a once very large central body, but each had originated in a different way and by itself, one could not possibly understand how it had come exactly into the position that it must precisely occupy according to the last two laws of Kepler if it is not either to fall into, or flyaway from, the sun in consequence of Newton's laws of gravitation and centrifugal force. The truth of the Kant-Laplace cosmogony depends primarily on this. Thus if, with Newton, we regard the circulation of the planets as the product of gravitation and a counteracting centrifugal force, then, taking each planet's existing centrifugal force as fixed and given, there is for it only one position where its gravitation is in exact equilibrium with this force, and it accordingly keeps to its orbit. Therefore it must have been one and the same cause that gave to each planet its position and at the same time its velocity. The nearer a planet is to the sun, the more rapidly it must move in its orbit and hence the more centrifugal force it must acquire, if it is not to fall into the sun. The farther a planet is from the sun, the less must its centrifugal force become in proportion as its gravitation is thereby reduced, otherwise it will flyaway from the sun. Thus a planet could have its position anywhere if only a cause existed which imparted to it the centrifugal force that is exactly suited to each position and is thus precisely in equilibrium with the gravitation at that point. Now as we find that each planet actually has just the velocity necessary for it to be where it is, this can be explained only from the fact that the same cause that gave it its position also determined simultaneously the degree of its velocity. Now this can be understood only from the cosmogony in question; for it makes the central body contract intermittently and thus detach a ring that is afterwards formed into a planetary ball. In consequence of Kepler's second and third laws, the rotation of the central body must be vigorously accelerated after each contraction and it bequeathes the velocity thus determined to the planet that is detached at the place where the next contraction occurs. Now it can detach the planet at any point of its sphere, for the planet always acquires exactly the right centrifugal force for this spot, but for no other. This force proves to be the stronger, the nearer that spot is to the central body and thus the more intense the effect of gravitation which attracts it to that body and against which that centrifugal force has to act. For the speed of rotation of the body that successively detaches planets had been increased by an amount that was exactly requisite for this. Moreover, whoever would like to have a graphic illustration of this necessary acceleration of rotation in consequence of contraction, will obtain a delightful example from a large burning Catherine wheel. At first it rotates slowly; and then the smaller it becomes, the more rapidly it turns.

In his second and third laws Kepler has expressed merely the actual relation between a planet's distance from the sun and the velocity of its orbital motion. Now it may concern one and the same planet at different times or two different planets. By ultimately assuming Robert Hooke's fundamental idea which he had at first rejected, Newton deduced this relation from gravitation and its opposing centrifugal force and from this showed that it must be so and why. Thus it must be so because, at such a distance from the central body, the planet must have precisely such velocity in order not to fall into, or flyaway from, it. Indeed in the descending causal series this is the causa efficiens; but in the ascending it is only the causa finalis. Now only the Kant-Laplace cosmogony tells us how the planet came to acquire precisely at this spot just the necessary velocity, or even how, with this given velocity, it was placed precisely at the very spot where gravitation is in equilibrium with that velocity; only this cosmogony tells us about this cause, this causa efficiens that lies still higher.

The approximately regular arrangement of the planets will once more make this clear, so that we shall no longer understand it as being merely regular, but as conforming to law, in other words, as having followed from a natural law. Something of the kind is indicated by the following arrangement which was known even a hundred years before the discovery of Uranus and depends on our always doubling the number in the upper row and then adding four to form a number in the lower. The latter then gives the approximate average distances of the planets which agree tolerably well with the figures that are accepted at the present time:

0 / 3 / 6 / 12 / 24 / 48 / 96 / 192 / 384
4 / 7 / 10 / 16 / 28 / 52 / 100 / 196 / 388
[x] / [x] / [x] / [x] / Asteroids / [x] / [x] / [x] / [x]

The regularity of this arrangement is unmistakable, although only approximately so. Perhaps there is for each planet a position in its orbit between the perihelion and aphelion where the rule proves to be absolutely correct; this could then be regarded as its proper and original position. In any case, this more or less precise regularity must have been the result of forces that were active at each successive contraction of the central body, as well as of the nature of the primordial substance that formed their very basis. Each new contraction of the primordial nebulous mass was a result of the acceleration of rotation which was brought about by previous contractions. Now the outer zone could no longer follow this accelerated rotation and therefore tore itself off and remained where it was. In this way, a repetition of the contraction took place, which again produced an acceleration, and so on. As the central body thus became intermittently smaller and smaller, so each time the amount of contraction was less in proportion, namely something under half the one that preceded it, since each time the central body contracted by half its existing dimensions (- 2). However, it is remarkable that a catastrophe overtook the very middle planet in consequence whereof only its fragments still exist. It was the boundary between the four major and the four minor planets.

A corroboration of the theory is also to be found in the fact that, on the whole, the planets are larger, the farther they are from the sun, because the zone from which they were formed into globes was so much greater, although some irregularities have here crept in in consequence of the accidental differences in the width of such zones.

A different corroboration of the Kant-Laplace cosmogony is the fact that the density of the planets decreases approximately in proportion to their distance from the sun. For this is explained from the fact that the most distant planet is a remnant of the sun at the time when this was at its maximum extension and consequently at its minimum density; thereupon the sun contracted and thus became denser, and so on. The same thing is confirmed by the fact that the moon later originated in the same way through the contraction of the earth which was still vaporous, but, because of this, reached as far as the present moon, and also that the moon has only 5/9 of the earth's density. However, the sun itself is not the densest of all the bodies of the system; and this is explained by the fact that each planet came into existence from the subsequent formation of a whole ring into a globe, but that the sun is merely the residuum of that central body which has not been further compressed after its last contraction. Yet another special corroboration of the cosmogony we are considering is furnished by the circumstance that, whereas the inclination of all the planetary orbits to the ecliptic (earth's orbit) varies between 3/4 and 3-1/2 degrees, that of Mercury amounts to 7° 0' 6". But this is almost equal to the inclination of the sun's equator to the ecliptic, which amounts to 7° 30'. This can be explained from the fact that the last ring that was detached by the sun remained almost parallel to that body's equator whence it was severed; whereas the previously detached planets were thrown more out of equilibrium, or the sun shifted its axis of rotation after they were detached from it. Venus, as the last but one, has an inclination of 3-1/2 degrees; all the others are even under two with the exception of Saturn which has 2-1/2 degrees. (See Humboldt's Kosmos, vol. iii, p. 449.) The very' strange motion of our moon, where rotation and revolution are one and the same and thus the same face is always presented to us, can also be understood solely from the fact that this is precisely the motion of a ring circulating round the earth. From the contraction of such a ring, the moon subsequently came into being; but then it was not, like the planets, set in more rapid rotation by some accidental impulse.

These cosmogonical considerations primarily give rise to two metaphysical observations. First in the true essence of all things a harmony is established by virtue whereof the primordial, blind, crude, and lowest forces of nature, guided by the most rigid laws, through their conflict in the matter that is equally at the mercy of them all, and through the accidental consequences accompanying such conflict-such forces, I say, produce nothing less than the very foundations of a world that is arranged with admirable appropriateness to be the birthplace and haunt of living beings. These forces produce to perfection a world such as could have been achieved only by the most astute deliberation under the guidance of the most penetrating intellect and the keenest and precisest calculation. And so we see here in the most astonishing way how the causa efficiens and the causa finalis, the [x] and the [x] of Aristotle, each marching along independently of the other, combine in the result. The discussion of this observation and the explanation of its underlying phenomenon from the principles of my metaphysics are found in the second volume of my chief work, chapter 25. I mention it here merely to point out that it suggests to us a scheme wherein we can see by analogy, or at any rate in general, how all the chance events, that intervene and clash in the course of an individual's life, nevertheless accord with one another in a secret and pre-established harmony. We can see how they do all this in order to evolve, in reference to the individual's character and to his true ultimate well-being, a totality just as appropriately harmonious, as if everything existed only for his sake, as a mere phantasmagoria for him alone. To throw more light on this question was the task of the essay to be found in the first volume and entitled' On the apparent Deliberateness in the Fate of the Individual'.

The second metaphysical observation raised by that cosmogony is that even so far-reaching a physical explanation of the origin of the world can never do away with the need for a metaphysical, or take the place thereof. On the contrary, the more we have found out about the phenomenon, the more clearly do we observe that we are concerned with this alone and not with the essence of things-in-themselves. With this, then, we feel the need for metaphysics as a counterbalance to the physics that has been carried to such lengths. For at bottom, all the materials, from which this world has been built up in the presence of our understanding, are just so many unknown quantities and appear precisely as the riddles and problems of metaphysics. Thus we have the inner essence of those forces of nature whose blind operation here so appropriately constructs the framework of the world. Then there is the inner essence of the elements, chemically different and accordingly acting on one another; from their conflict that has been most perfectly described by Ampere, the individual nature of the separate planets has arisen; geology is concerned with the demonstration of this in the traces of that conflict. Finally, there is also the inner essence of the force which ultimately shows itself as organizing, and produces on the outermost surface of the planet, like a coating or mildew, vegetation and animal life. With animal life, consciousness and thus knowledge first appear, the latter again being the condition of the whole course of events that has so far developed. For all the things of which these events consist exist only for and in such knowledge and have reality only in reference thereto. In fact, the events and changes themselves could appear only in virtue of the forms (time, space, causality) that are peculiar to knowledge and therefore exist also only relatively for the intellect.

Thus, on the one hand, it must be admitted that all those physical, cosmogonical, chemical, and geological events existed even before the appearance of a consciousness and so outside this since, as conditions, they were necessarily bound to precede such an appearance by a long interval of time. Yet, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that, as those events first appear in and through the forms of a consciousness, they are absolutely nothing outside it and are not even conceivable. In any case, it might be said that, by virtue of its forms, consciousness is the condition of the physical events in question, but that again these condition it by virtue of their matter. At bottom, however, all those events that cosmogony and geology urge us to assume as having occurred long before the existence of any knowing creature are themselves only a translation into the language of our intuitively perceiving intellect from the essence-in-itself of things which to it is incomprehensible. For those events have never had an existence-in-itself, any more than have present events. But with the aid of the principles a priori of all possible experience and following a few empirical data, the regressus leads back to them; it is itself, however, only the concatenation of a series of mere phenomena that have no absolute existence.* Therefore even in their empirical existence, in spite of all the mechanical accuracy and mathematical precision of the determination of their appearance, those events still always retain an obscure and enigmatical core, like an inscrutable mystery lurking in the background. Thus we see it in the natural forces that manifest themselves in those events, in the primordial matter that bears these, and in the necessarily beginningless and hence incomprehensible existence of such forces. To explain this obscure and enigmatical core on the empirical path is impossible. Here, then, metaphysics must appear which, in the will in our own true nature, makes us acquainted with the kernel and core of all things. In this sense, Kant has also said that' the primary sources of the effects of nature must obviously be dealt with entirely by metaphysics.' (Van der wahren Schatzung der lebendigen Krafte, § 51.)

And so from the standpoint which we are here considering and is that of metaphysics, the physical explanation of the world which is acquired by such an expenditure of effort and ingenuity appears to be inadequate. In fact, it seems superficial and, to a certain extent, becomes a mere pretence at explanation, because it consists in a reduction to unknown quantities, to qualitates occultae. It is comparable to a mere superficial force, something like electricity, that does not penetrate the inner essence of things. Indeed it is even like paper-money which has only a relative value that is based on the assumption of a different kind of money. Here I refer to the more detailed discussion of this relation to be found in the second volume of my chief work, chapter 17. There are in Germany shallow empiricists who try to make their public believe that, speaking generally, there is nothing except nature and her laws. But this will not do, for nature is not a thing-in-itself, and her laws are not absolute.

If we place in an imaginary row the Kant-Laplace cosmogony, geology from Deluc down to Elie de Beaumont, and finally the original generation of the vegetable and animal kingdoms with the commentary of their results, namely botany, zoology, and physiology, then we have before us a complete history of nature, since we survey in all its sequence and continuity the entire phenomenon of the empirically given world. This, however, at the outset constitutes the problem of metaphysics. If mere physics were capable of solving it, it would already have been well on the way to solution; but this is for ever impossible. The two points already mentioned, namely the essence-in-itself of natural forces and the fact that the objective world is conditioned by the intellect and also the a priori certain beginninglessness of both the causal chain and matter, deprive physics of all independence, or are the stem whereby the lotus of physics is rooted to the soil of metaphysics.

Moreover, the relation between the latest results of geology and my metaphysics could be expressed briefly in the following way. In the very first period of the terrestrial globe which preceded granite, the objectification of the will-to-livc was restricted to its lowest stages, to the forces of inorganic nature. Here, however, it manifested itself on the grandest scale and with blind violence, since the elements, already differentiated chemically, entered into a conflict whose scene was not the mere surface but the whole mass of the planet, and whose phenomena must have been so colossal as to be quite beyond the powers of one's imagination to describe. The evolutions of light accompanying those gigantic chemical processes must have been visible from every planet of our system, whereas the detonations which took place and would have shattered any ear naturally could not pass beyond the atmosphere. After this titanic conflict had died down and the granite as a tombstone had covered the combatants, the will-to-live, after a suitable pause and the interlude of the Neptunian deposits of rock, finally manifested itself at the next higher stage and in the strongest contrast, in the mute and still life of a mere plant world. This also appeared on a colossal scale with its towering and interminable forests whose remains supply us, after millions of years, with an inexhaustible quantity of coal. This plant world gradually removed the carbon dioxide from the air which then first became fit for animal life. Till then, the long and profound peace of that period of no animals lasted and finally ended through a natural revolution which destroyed that plant paradise by engulfing the forests. Now as the air had become pure, the will-to-live entered the third great stage of objectification, the animal world. In the sea were fish and cetacea, but on land there were still only reptiles, yet these were colossal. Again the curtain fell on the scene and there followed the higher objectification of the will in the life of warm-blooded land animals, although the genera of these no longer exist and most of them were pachydermata. After another upheaval of the earth's surface with every living thing thereon, life was once more kindled afresh. The will-to-live now objectified itself in an animal world which offered a far greater number and variety of forms and whose genera still exist, although naturally the species are no longer to be found. This objectification of the will-to-live became more perfect through such multiplicity and variety of forms and ascended as far as the ape. But even this last primeval world of ours had to perish in order to make way for the present inhabitants on a restored soil, where the objectification reached the stage of mankind. Accordingly, the earth can be compared to a palimpsest that has been written on four times. Incidentally, a secondary consideration of interest is to visualize how each of the planets that revolve round the innumerable suns in space, although still at the chemical stage where it is the scene of a fearful conflict of the most violent forces or is passing through an interval of peace, nevertheless conceals mysterious forces within its interior. From these there will one day come into existence the plant and animal worlds with all the inexhaustible variety of their forms. To such forces that conflict is only the prelude, since it prepares for them their scene of action and arranges for the conditions of their appearance. In fact, we can hardly help assuming that what rages in those seas of fire and tempestuous torrents of water and will later endow those flora and fauna with life, is one and the same thing. But in my opinion the stage where mankind is reached must be the last because here there has already occurred to man the possibility of denying the will and thus of turning back from all the ways of the world, whereby this divina commedia then comes to an end. Accordingly, although there are no physical grounds for guaranteeing that another world-catastrophe will not occur, there is nevertheless against it a moral one, namely that such a catastrophe would now be to no purpose, since the inner essence of the world needs no higher objectification for the possibility of its salvation from the world. What is moral, however, is the kernel or ground-bass of the matter, however little inclined are mere physicists to grasp this.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:38 am

Part 3 of 4

§ 86

In order to appreciate in all its greatness the value of the system of gravitation which Newton undoubtedly raised to perfection and certainty, we must call to mind the dilemma in which thinkers had been for thousands of years in regard to the origin of the motion of heavenly bodies. Aristotle represented the universe as composed of transparent spheres, one inside the other, the outermost of which carried the fixed stars. Each of the others carried a planet, whilst the last had the moon, the earth being the heart of the whole machine. Now what force it is that incessantly turns this constellation was a question to which he was unable to say anything except that there must be somewhere a [x], [9] a reply that was afterwards indulgently interpreted as his theism, whereas he does not speak of a God-Creator, but rather of an eternity of the universe and merely a first power of movement. But even after Copernicus had substituted the correct construction of the world-machine for the legendary and Kepler had also discovered the laws of its motion, the old dilemma still persisted with regard to the moving force. Aristotle had already set up as many gods for the guidance of the individual spheres. The Schoolmen had assigned this to certain so-called intelligences,* a word that is merely a more distinguished name for the angels in heaven; and each of those intelligences now drove its planet like a coach. Later, free thinkers like Giordano Bruno and Vanini could think of nothing better than to make the planets themselves into living divine beings of some kind.* Then came Descartes who always tried to explain everything mechanically and yet knew of no moving force except impact. Accordingly, he assumed an invisible and intangible substance that revolved round the sun in layers and pushed the planets forward-the Cartesian vortices. How childish and crude indeed all this is and how highly we should esteem the system of gravitation! It has undeniably demonstrated the moving causes and the forces that are active therein; and it has done this with such certainty and precision that even the smallest deviation and irregularity, the least acceleration or retardation in the motion of a planet or satellite, can be completely explained and accurately calculated from its most direct cause.

Accordingly, the fundamental idea of making gravitation that is known to us directly only as weight, the thing that holds the planetary system together, is, on account of the significance of the results attaching to it, so exceedingly important that an inquiry into its origin ought not to be set aside as irrelevant. In particular, we should, at any rate as posterity, endeavour to be just since, as the living generation, we are very rarely capable of being so.

When Newton published his Principia in 1686, it is well known that Robert Hooke raised a great outcry over his own priority of the fundamental idea. It is also well known that Hooke's bitter complaints and those of others extorted from Newton the promise to mention it in the first complete edition of the Principia in 1687. This he did with the fewest possible words in a scholium to Pt. I, prop. 4, corol. 6, where he said in parenthesis: ut seorsum collegerunt etiam nostrates Wrennus, Hookius, et Hallaeus. [10]

Even in the year 1666 Hooke had expressed, although only as a hypothesis, the essential point of the system of gravitation in a communication to the Royal Society, as is seen from the principal passage of this which is printed in Hooke's own words in Dugald Stewart's Philosophy of the Human Mind, volume ii, p. 434. In the Quarterly Review of August 1828, there is a really fine and concise history of astronomy which treats Hooke's priority as a settled question.

In the Biographie universelle by Michaud, running to nearly a hundred volumes, the article on Newton appears to be a translation from the Biographia Britannica to which it refers. It contains in detail the description of the system of the universe from the law of gravitation, word for word from Robert Hooke's An Attempt to prove the Motion of the Earth from Observations, London, 1674, p. 4. Further, the article says the fundamental idea that gravity extends to all heavenly bodies is already to be found in Borelli, Theoria motus planetarum e causis physicis deducta, Florence, 1666. Finally, it gives Newton's long reply to Hooke's above-mentioned protest over the priority of discovery On the other hand, the story of the apple, which is repeated ad nauseam, is without authority. First of all, it is found as a well-known fact mentioned in Turnor's History of Grantham, p. 160. Pemberton who knew Newton, although in his dotage, relates in the preface to his View of Newton's Philosophy, that the idea first occurred to him in a garden, but he says nothing about the apple. This was subsequently a plausible addition. Voltaire asserts that he personally came to know about it from Newton's niece and this is probably the source of the story; see Voltaire, Elemens de philosophie de Neuton, Part II, chapter 3.*

To all these authorities who are opposed to the assumption that the great conception of universal gravitation is a brother of the thoroughly false theory of homogeneous light, I have now to add another argument which, of course, is only psychological, but will carry great weight with the man who also knows human nature from the intellectual side.

It is a well-known and indisputable fact that Newton had understood very early, presumably in 1666, the system of gravitation, possibly by his own methods or by someone else's, and that he now attempted to verify it by applying it to the motion of the moon. However, it is well known that, because the result did not tally exactly with the hypothesis, he again dropped this and for many years dismissed the matter from his mind. Just as well known is the origin of that discrepancy that deterred him from it; it had arisen simply from Newton's assuming the moon's distance from us to be nearly one-seventh too little, and this again because the distance can be computed in the first place only in the earth's radii, and again the earth's radius is calculated from the size of the degrees of the earth's circumference, but only these can be directly measured. Now Newton assumed, merely from the ordinary geographical definition, that the degree was in round numbers sixty miles, whereas in point of fact it is sixty-nine and a half. The result of this was that the motion of the moon did not agree with the hypothesis of gravitation, according to which gravitation is a force that diminishes with the square of the distance. Therefore Newton gave up the hypothesis and dismissed it from his mind. Only some sixteen years later in 1682 did he by chance get to know of the result of Picard's measurement of the degree which had already been completed some years earlier. According to this, the degree was approximately one-seventh greater than he had formerly assumed it to be. Without regarding this as particularly important, he made a note of it in the academy where it was communicated to him from a letter and then, without bothering any more about it, listened attentively to the lecture that was being given there. Only afterwards did the old hypothesis occur to him; he again took up his calculations and then found that the facts tallied exactly with the hypothesis; as we all know, he went into raptures over this.

Now I ask anyone who is himself a father, who has himself produced, nourished, and nurtured hypotheses; does a man treat his children in this way? Does he, when things go wrong, at once drive them mercilessly from home, slam the door on them, and make no more inquiries about them in sixteen years? In a case of this sort, before saying so bitterly that it is useless, will he not rather suspect a mistake anywhere, even with God the Father and creation if need be, before looking for it in his own precious child that has been reared and nurtured by him? And here was the very place where one could easily have been suspicious, namely in the sole empirical datum (together with one adjusted angle) which was the basis of the calculation, and the uncertainty of which was so well known that the French had since 1669 been engaged on their measurements of the degree. Newton, however, had quite perfunctorily accepted this precarious datum from the ordinary statement in miles. Is a man thus led astray with a true hypothesis that explains the world? Never, if it is one of his own! On the other hand, I can say also who are treated in this way, namely strange children who are reluctantly admitted into the house where they are looked on with envy and jealousy by the man (aided by his own barren wife who gave birth only once, and then to a monster). Merely for the sake of duty, he admits them to the test, hoping that they will not pass it. But as soon as this hope is realized, he drives them from the house with scornful laughter.

This argument is with me at any rate so important that I recognize in it a complete confirmation of the statements which attribute to Hooke the fundamental idea of gravitation and concede to Newton only its verification by calculation. Thus the same thing happened to poor Hooke as happened to Columbus; in the one case the name is 'America', and in the other, 'the Newtonian System of Gravitation'.

Moreover, as regards the seven-coloured monster previously touched on, I might certainly be bewildered by the fact that, forty years after the appearance of Goethe's theory of colour, it is still wholly in favour and the ancient litany of the foramen exiguum [11] and the seven colours is for ever being chanted in spite of all evidence-had I not long ago accustomed myself to number among the imponderables the judgement of contemporaries. Therefore I see in it only a proof of the lamentable and deplorable nature of the professional physicists on the one hand, and of the so-called educated public on the other. Instead of testing and investigating what a great man has said, this public faithfully repeats the words of those transgressors who say that Goethe's colour theory is an abortive uncalled-for attempt, a weakness to be forgotten.

§ 87

The obvious fact of fossilized shellfish, which was known even to Xenophanes the Eleatic and on the whole was correctly explained by him, is disputed, denied, and even declared to be a chimera by Voltaire. (See Brandis, Comment. Eleaticae, p. 50, and Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique, art. Coquille.) So great, in fact, was his aversion to admitting anything that might even be distorted into a corroboration of the Mosaic accounts, of the Flood in this instance. This example is a warning of how eagerness and enthusiasm can lead us astray when we have taken sides.

§ 88a

A complete fossilization is a total chemical change without any mechanical.

§ 88b

When, in order to enjoy looking at the incunabula of the globe, I contemplate a piece of granite freshly broken off, I cannot possibly believe that this primary rock could have originated in any way through fusion and crystallization in a dry manner, or again through sublimation, and as little through precipitation; but it seems to me that it must have come about by a chemical process of an entirely different kind which now no longer takes place. The notion of a rapid and simultaneous combustion of a mixture of metals and metalloids combined with the elective affinity of the products of this combustion which operates at once-this comes nearest to my conception of the matter. I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to mix together silicium, aluminium, and so on in the proportion in which they constitute the radicals of the earthy minerals of the three ingredients of granite, and to have them burnt rapidly under water or in the air.

Of the examples of generatio aequivoca that are visible to the naked eye, the commonest is the rapid sprouting of fungi whereever some dead vegetable substance, such as a trunk, branch, or root is rotting; and in fact at no other spot but here. But then, as a rule, they are not sporadic, but grow equally in clusters; so that evidently it is not a seed (spore), cast here and there by blind chance, which has determined the spot, but the rotting body there which offered the ubiquitous will-to-live a suitable material which it at once seizes. It is no argument against this to say that these very fungi are afterwards reproduced through spores, for it holds good of all living beings which have seed and nevertheless must have at one time originated without seed.

§ 89

A comparison of freshwater fish in widely separated countries gives perhaps the clearest evidence of nature's original creative power that she has exercised in a similar manner wherever locality and circumstances are similar. Where we have approximately the same geographical latitude, topographical altitude, and finally also the same size and depth of streams, we shall find, even in the most widely separated localities, exactly the same, or very similar, species of fish. We need only think of the trout in the streams of almost all mountainous districts. The assumption of intentional introduction generally falls to the ground in the case of these animals. Propagation through birds that eat but do not digest spawn does not suffice in the case of great distances, for the process of digestion is completed in a shorter time than that taken on their flight. I would also like to know whether it is true with non-digestion and thus with eating that is unsuitable; for, of course, we digest caviar very easily, but the crop and gizzard of birds are adapted even to the digestion of hard grains of corn. If the attempt is made to shift the origin of freshwater fish back to the last great universal deluge, then it is forgotten that this consisted of sea-water and not river-water.

§ 90

We are no more capable of understanding the formation of cubic crystals from salt water than we are of comprehending the formation of the chick from the fluid substance in the egg. Again, between this and generatio aequivoca, Lamarck maintained that he found no essential difference. Yet such does exist, for only one definite species emerges from each egg, and so this is generatio univoca [12] ([x] Aristotle, Metaphysics, Z. 25). Again it might be objected that each precisely determined infusion usually produces only a definite species of microscopically small animals.

§ 91

With the most difficult problems of all, whose solution drives one almost to despair, the few trifling data we have must be used to the greatest possible advantage, so that from their combination something is elicited.

In the Chronik der Seuchen by Schnurrer, 1825, we find that, after the Black Death had in the fourteenth century depopulated the whole of Europe and also a great part of Asia and Africa, there immediately ensued a most unusual fertility of the human race and twin-births in particular were very common. In agreement with this, Casper (Die wahrscheinliche Lebensdauer des Menschen, 1835), who is upheld by experiences that have four times been repeated on a large scale, tells us that, in the given population of a district, the mortality and duration of life always keep pace with the number of births so that the deaths and births always and everywhere increase and decrease in the same ratio. This is established beyond question by records he has gathered from many countries and their different provinces. However, he goes astray by confusing generally cause and effect, in that he regards the increase in births as the cause of the increase in deaths. According to my way of thinking, however, and in agreement with the phenomenon which Schnurrer cites but which is apparently not known to him, it is, on the contrary, the increase in deaths which entails an increase in births not through physical influence, but through a metaphysical relationship. I have already discussed this in the second volume of my chief work, chapter 41. On the whole, therefore, the number of births depends on that of deaths.

According to this, there might be a natural law that the prolific power of the human race, which after all is only a special form of nature's creative force, is enhanced by a cause that is antagonistic to it and that it, therefore, thrives on opposition. Hence mutatis mutandis this law could be subsumed under Mariotte's to the effect that with compression the resistance increases to infinity. Now if we assume that this cause, which is antagonistic to the prolific power, were once to appear through devastations from epidemics, natural upheavals, and so on, on an immense and effective scale as had never previously happened, then the prolific force must subsequently rise again to quite an unprecedented height. Finally, if in this intensification of the antagonistic cause we go on to the extreme limit, namely to the complete extermination of the human race, then the prolific power, forced to that limit, will attain a strength commensurate with the pressure; consequently, it will be brought to a pitch of intensity where it now achieves the seemingly impossible. Thus, since generatio univoca or the birth of like from like is barred to it, it will then vigorously resort to generatio aequivoca. However, this is no longer conceivable at the higher grades of the animal kingdom in the same way as it appears to us at the lowest grades of all. Thus the forms of the lion, wolf, elephant, ape, or even man, can never have originated like animalculae, entozoa, and epizoa and raised themselves directly from some coagulating, sun-incubated marine ooze, slime, or decaying organic substance. On the contrary, their origin can be thought of only as a generatio in utero heterogeneo  [13] and consequently as coming from the uterus or rather egg of a specially favoured animal couple. After the vital force of this couple's species had been checked in some way and had been augmented and enhanced in that couple to an abnormal degree, there now no longer emerged the likeness of the couple, but, by way of exception, a form directly akin to it, yet at a higher stage; and this occurred at a favourable hour, at the right position of the planets, and with a fortunate combination of all the atmospheric, tellurian, and astral influences. Thus the pair had on this occasion produced not a mere individual, but a species. Naturally, events of this kind could take place only after the lowest animals of all had, through the usual generatio aequivoca, worked their way up to the light of day from organic putrefaction or the cellular tissue of living plants as the harbingers and precursors of the generations of animals to come. Such a set of circumstances must have occurred after each of those great world-upheavals which have already completely extinguished all life on the planet at least three times so that it had to be kindled afresh, whereupon it appeared each time in forms more perfect, that is, more nearly approaching those of existing fauna. But only in the animal series, that appeared after the last great catastrophe of the earth's surface, did events come as far as producing the human race, when they had got as far as producing the ape after the last catastrophe but one. We see the batrachia lead the life of a fish before assuming their own more perfect form and, according to an observation now fairly generally recognized, every foetus in the same way passes successively through the classes existing under its species until it reaches its own. Now why should not every new and higher species have arisen through the fact that that enhancement of the foetus-form once exceeded by a stage the form of the mother carrying it? It is the only mode of origin of the species which from a rational point of view is conceivable.

But we must imagine this enhancement not as in a single line, but in several that rise side by side. Thus, for example, there once emerged from the egg of a fish an ophidian, at another time from the egg of this a saurian; but at the same time there came from the egg of another fish a batrachian; however, from this there then came a chelonian; from the egg of a third was born a cetacean and eventually a dolphin. Later on, a cetacean again produced a phoca and ultimately a phoca once gave birth to a walrus. Possibly the duck-bill CHmefrom the egg of the duck, and some larger mammal from that of an ostrich. In general, these events must have taken place simultaneously in many countries that were independent of one another, yet they occurred everywhere in stages which were at once definite and clear and each of which furnished a fixed and permanent species. They did not, however, take place in gradual and obliterated transitional stages, and so not on the analogy of a tone howling from the lowest to the highest octave, but on that of a scale rising with definite intervals and pauses. We will not disguise the fact that we should accordingly have to imagine the first human beings as having come in Asia from the pongo (the parent of the orang-utan) and in Africa from the chimpanzee, though not as apes, but directly as' human beings. It is noteworthy that this origin is taught even by a Buddhist myth that is to be found in I. J. Schmidt's Forschungen uber die Mongolen und Tibeter, pp. 210-14, also in Klaproth's Fragmens bouddhiques in the Nouveau Journal asiatique, March 1831, likewise in Koppen's Die Lamaische Hierarchie, p. 45.

The idea, here worked out, of a generatio aequivoca in utero heterogeneo [14] was first put forward by the anonymous author of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (6th ed. 1847). Yet he certainly did not make it really clear and definite because he closely associated it with untenable assumptions and gross errors. This springs ultimately from the fact that, with him as an Englishman, every assumption that goes beyond mere physics and is, therefore, metaphysical, at once coincides with Hebrew theism. In his desire to avoid this, he then unduly extends the province ofphysics. Thus in his neglect and want of culture with regard to all speculative philosophy or metaphysics, an Englishman is absolutely incapable of any intellectual grasp of nature. He therefore knows of no middle course between understanding the workings of nature as occurring in accordance with a strict and possibly mechanical conformity to law, or else as something previously thought out and skilfully made by the Hebrew God whom he calls its 'maker'. The priests, the parsons in England, these craftiest of all obscurantists, are responsible for this. In that country they have so moulded people's minds that, even in the best-informed and most enlightened, the system of fundamental ideas is a mixture of the crassest materialism with the crudest Jewish superstition that are together shaken up like vinegar and oil. They can see how these get on together and that, as a result of an Oxford education, my lords and gentlemen belong in the main to the masses. But it will never be any better, so long as the education of the cultured classes is still carried out by the orthodox oxen of Oxford. Even in the year 1859, we still find Agassiz, the Americanized Frenchman, holding the same view in his Essay on Classification. He too is confronted with the same alternative that the organic world is either the work of the purest chance that had jumbled it together as a natural freak of physical and chemical forces, or a work of art cleverly constructed in the light of knowledge (this functio animalis), after previous deliberation and calculation. The one is as false as the other and both depend on the naive realism that is positively scandalous eighty years after Kant's appearance. Thus Agassiz philosophizes on the origin of organic beings like an American cobbler. If those gentlemen have not learnt and will not learn anything but their natural science, then they must not in their writings go a step beyond this, but must stick strictissime to their empiricism lest, like Mr. Agassiz, they prostitute themselves and make themselves ridiculous by talking like old women about the origin of nature.

Now an inference in the other direction from that law which is advanced by Schnurrer and Casper would be as follows. It is obvious that, in so far as we succeeded by the most correct and careful use of all the forces of nature and of every tract of land in reducing the misery of the lowest classes, the number of these proletarians, very appropriately so called, would increase and thus the misery would assert itself again and again. For the sexual impulse always promotes hunger, just as the latter, when satisfied, always promotes the former. But the abovementioned law would guarantee that matters could not reach the stage where the earth was actually over-populated, an evil so terrible that the most vivid imagination can hardly picture it. Thus in consequence of the law in question, after the earth had received as many human beings as it was capable of supporting under the best possible conditions, the fertility of the race would have meanwhile declined to the stage where it was barely sufficient to replace the deaths, whereupon every accidental increase of these would again bring the population below the maximum.

§ 92

In different parts of the world, similar or analogous kinds of plants and animals have come into existence under similar or analogous conditions of climate, topography, and atmosphere. Therefore several species are very similar to one another, yet without being identical (and this is the proper concept of the genus), and many are divisible into races and varieties that cannot have originated from one another, although the species remains the same. For unity of the species does not by any means imply unity of origin and descent from a single pair. On the whole this is an absurd assumption. Who will believe that all oaks are descended from a single first oak, all mice from a first pair, or all wolves from the first wolf? On the contrary, in similar circumstances but in different localities, nature repeats the same process and is much too careful to allow the existence of a species, especially of the higher kinds, to be quite precarious, by staking it on a single venture and thereby exposing to a thousand accidents a work that was for her so difficult to achieve. Rather does she know what she wants, wills it decidedly, and accordingly sets to work; but the occasion is never exclusive and unique.

Now the African elephant, who has never been tamed, whose ears are very broad and long and cover the back of the neck, and whose female also has tusks, cannot be a descendant of the Asiatic, who is so docile and intelligent, whose female has no tusks, and whose ears are much smaller. Just as little is the American alligator a descendant of the crocodile from the Nile, for the two differ in their teeth and in the number of scales on the back of the neck; just as little also can the Negro be a descendant of the Caucasian race.

Nevertheless, it is extremely probable that the human race originated in only three places, since we have only three distinctly separate types that point to original races, namely the Caucasian, the Mongolian, and the Ethiopian. Moreover, this origin could have taken place only in the Old World; for in Australia nature was unable to produce any apes at all; in America, however, she produced only the long-tailed monkey, not the short-tailed, to say nothing of the highest species of tailless apes who occupy the last stage before man. Natura non facit saltus. [15] Again, man's origin could have occurred only within the tropics because in the other zones the new-born human infant would have perished in the first winter. For although he had been nursed not without maternal care, he had yet grown up without any instruction and had inherited no knowledge from any ancestors. Therefore the infant of nature had first to recline on her warm bosom before she ventured to send it out into the rough and harsh world. Now in the torrid zones man is black, or at any rate dark brown. This, then, is the true, natural, and characteristic colour of the human species, regardless of race, and there has never been a naturally white race. In fact, to talk of such and childishly to divide people into white, yellow, and black, as is still done in all books, is evidence of great prejudice and a lack of thought. I have already briefly discussed the subject in my chief work volume ii, chapter 44, and have stated that a white man has never sprung originally from the womb of nature. Only in the tropics is man at home, and here he is always black or dark brown. It is only in America that this is not general because that part of the world has been inhabited mostly by nations already bleached, principally by Chinese. However, the savages in the forests of Brazil are dark brown.* Only after man propagated his stock during a long period of time outside his only natural habitat between the tropics and extended it, in consequence of this increase, into the more frigid zones, did he become fair and finally white. Therefore only as a result of the climatic influence of the temperate and frigid zones did the European human stock gradually become white. We see in the case of the gipsies how slowly this proceeds; they are a Hindu stock who have led a nomadic life in Europe since the beginning of the fifteenth century and whose colour is roughly midway between that of the Hindu and ours. In the same way, the families of the Negro slaves who have propagated for three hundred years have become somewhat fairer in colour, despite the fact that in this respect they are checked through their interbreeding with fresh ebony-coloured immigrants, a renewal that does not happen to the gipsies. The immediate physical cause of this turning pale when man is driven from his natural habitat is to be found, I think, in the fact that, in a hot climate, light and heat produce on the rete Malpighi a slow but steady deoxidation of the carbonic acid that escapes undecomposed through the pores. It then leaves behind enough carbon for colouring the skin; the specific odour of Negroes is probably connected with this. The fact that among the white races the lower classes who work strenuously are generally darker than the upper is explained from their perspiring more; the effect of which is analogous to that of a hot climate, though to a much smaller extent. Accordingly, the Adam of our race must in any case be conceived as black and it is ludicrous for painters to depict this first human being as white, a colour that has originated from the skin's turning pale. Moreover, as Jehovah fashioned him in his own image, he too should be depicted in works of art as dark. Here, however, he can be given the conventional white beard, as the thin beard is not associated with a dark colour, but merely with the Ethiopian race. Yet even in the oldest pictures of the Madonna and child, as seen in the Levant and still met with in some old Italian churches, the complexions are dark. In fact, the whole of God's chosen people was black or dark brown, and is even now darker than we who are descended from pagan tribes that immigrated earlier. Present-day Syria, however, was populated by half-breeds descended partly from northern Asia (like the Turcomans, for example). In the same way Buddha and even Confucius are sometimes portrayed as dark. (Davis, The Chinese, vol. ii, p. 66.) That the white face is a degeneration and unnatural is shown by the aversion and repugnance that are excited among some tribes of the interior of Africa when they first see such a face; to them it looks like a sickly and unhealthy pining away. A traveller in Africa was very hospitably entertained with milk by Negro girls who also sang: 'Poor stranger, how we pity you for being so white!' A note to Byron's Don Juan (can. XII, st. 70) reports the following: 'Major Denham says that when he first saw European women after his travels in Africa, they appeared to him to have unnatural, sickly countenances.' Yet the ethnographers, after the example of Buffon (Flourens, Buffon: Histoire de ses travaux et de ses idees, Paris, 1844, pp. 160ff.), still always talk quite confidently of the white, yellow, red, and black races, making colour the principal basis of their classifications. In point of fact, however, colour is not the essential thing at all and its difference has no other origin than the greater or lesser distance and the earlier or later removal of a stock from the torrid zone where alone the human race is indigenous. Therefore outside that zone, it can exist only under artificial care by hibernating in hothouses like exotic plants; but then it gradually degenerates first of all in colour. The fact that, after turning pale, the colour of the Mongolian race turns out to be somewhat yellower than that of the Caucasian, may certainly be due to a racial difference. The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmans, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want, and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature and out of it all came their high civilization.

Just as the dark colour is natural to man, so too is the vegetable diet; but only in a tropical climate does he remain true to the latter as to the former. When he spread to the more frigid zones, he had to counteract the unnatural climate by an equally unnatural diet. Right in the north one cannot exist at all without animal food. I have been told that in Copenhagen, if a punishment of six weeks' imprisonment on bread and water is carried out most strictly and without exception, it is regarded as a danger to life. Therefore man has at the same time become white and carnivorous. But in this way and also through heavier clothing, he has assumed a certain foul and offensive state which other animals, at any rate in their natural state, do not have, and which he must counteract by constant and particular cleanliness if he is to avoid being repulsive and unpleasant. Such measures, therefore, are possible only to the well-to-do, to those classes who are comfortably off and are thus aptly called in Italian gente pulita. [16] Another consequence of the heavier clothing is that, while all animals, strutting along in their natural form, covering, and colour, afford a spectacle that is natural, pleasing, and aesthetic, man in his many different clothes that are often very odd and strange besides being frequently shabby and tattered goes about in them like a caricature. It is a form that is not in keeping with the whole; it is out of place since it is not, like all other forms, the work of nature but of a tailor. Consequently, it is an impertinent interruption of the harmonious whole of the world. The noble disposition and taste of the ancients sought to mitigate this evil by making the clothing as light as possible and by so fashioning it that it did not fit the body tightly and become a part thereof. On the contrary, their clothing hung loosely as something separate and foreign and enabled the human form to be recognized as clearly as possible in all its parts. Through the opposite tendency, the clothing of the Middle Ages and modern times is inelegant, barbaric, and displeasing. But the most repulsive are the present-day clothes of women, ladies I mean, which, imitating the tastelessness of their great-grandmothers, afford the greatest possible disfigurement of the human form and which, moreover, under the bundle of the crinoline makes its breadth equal to its height. An accumulation of unsavoury odours may well be imagined which are not only offensive and unpleasant, but even repulsive.*

§ 93

Life may be defined as the state or condition of a body wherein it at all times retains the form essential (substantial) to it under a constant fluctuation of matter. If anyone should reply that a whirlpool or waterfall also retains its form under a steady fluctuation of matter, I should have to say that with these the form is certainly not essential, but, following universal laws of nature, is thoroughly contingent in that it depends on external circumstances. By varying these, we can at will change even the form without in this way touching what is essential.

§ 94

Arguments against the assumption of a vital force, which are nowadays becoming the fashion, deserve, in spite of their imposing airs, to be called not merely false but positively stupid. For whoever denies vital force, at bottom denies his own existence and can, therefore, boast of having reached the very height of absurdity. But in so far as this presumptuous nonsense has come from physicians and pharmaceutical chemists, it contains in addition the basest ingratitude. For it is vital force that overcomes diseases and effects cures for which these gentlemen afterwards pocket fees and write out receipts. Unless a characteristic force of nature, to which acting suitably and appropriately is as essential as bringing bodies together is to gravity, unless, I say, such a force moves, guides, and arranges the highly complex machinery of the organism and manifests itself therein, as does the force of gravity in the phenomena of falling and gravitation, as does the force of electricity in all the phenomena produced by the friction-machine or by the voltaic pile, and so on, then life is a false phantom, a deception; in fact, every being is then a mere automaton, that is to say, a play of mechanical, physical, and chemical forces, brought together in this phenomenon either by chance, or through the intention of an artificer who is so satisfied with the result. Physical and chemical forces certainly do operate in the animal organism, but what holds these together and guides them so that an appropriate and suitable organism comes into existence from them, this is vital force. Accordingly, it controls those forces and modifies their effect which is, therefore, only subordinate here. On the other hand, to imagine that those forces produce an organism solely by themselves is not merely false but, as I have said, stupid. In itself that vital force is the will.

Attempts have been made to discover a fundamental difference between vital force and all the other forces of nature in the fact that it does not again take possession of the body from which it has once departed. Properly speaking, it is only by way of exception that the forces of inorganic nature forsake the body that is once controlled by them. For example, magnetism can be taken from steel by raising it to a red heat and restored to it by fresh magnetization. Even more definitely can the gain and loss of electricity be stated, although it must be assumed that the body does not receive from without electricity itself, but only excitation in consequence whereof the electrical force already present in it now separates out into + E and - E. On the other hand, a body never loses either its heaviness or its chemical property. Thus through combination with other bodies, that quality becomes merely latent and, after their decomposition, again exists unimpaired. For example, from sulphur we get sulphuric acid and from this calcium sulphate; but, through the successive analysis of both, sulphur is again produced. But after vital force has left a body, it cannot again take possession thereof. The reason for this, however, is that it does not, like the forces of inorganic nature, adhere to the mere substance, but primarily to the form. Its activity consists precisely in the production and maintenance (i.e. continued production) of this form. Therefore as soon as vital force departs from a body, such a body's form is now destroyed, at any rate in its finer parts. Now the production of the form has its regular and even systematic procedure in the definite succession of what is to be produced and thus origin, means, and progress. Therefore, wherever vital force appears afresh, it must begin its tissue at the beginning and thus commence really ab ovo. Consequently, it cannot again take up the work which is left as it is or is already on the decline; and so it cannot come and go like magnetism. On this rests the difference in question between vital force and the other forces of nature.

Vital force is absolutely identical with the will, so that what appears in self-consciousness as will, is in unconscious organic life the primum mobile [17] thereof which has been very appropriately described as vital force. Merely from the analogy with this, we infer that the other forces of nature are also fundamentally identical with the will, only that in them the will is at a lower stage of its objectification. Therefore to attempt to explain organic from inorganic nature and thus life, knowing, and finally willing, is like trying to deduce the thing-in-itself from the appearance, this mere phenomenon of the brain. It is as if we were to try to explain the body from its shadow.

Vital force is the only one which, as an original and primary force, as something metaphysical, as thing-in-itself, as will, is untiring and thus needs no rest. Its phenomenal forms, however, irritability, sensibility, and reproductivity, certainly become fatigued and need rest. But this is really only because they produce, maintain, and control the organism first by overcoming the phenomena of the will at the lower stages, such phenomena having a prior right to the same matter. This at once becomes visible in irritability, as that which has to struggle perpetually with gravity; and so it tires most rapidly; but all propping, supporting, sitting, and reclining help to relieve it. Precisely on this account, these positions of rest are favourable to thought, to the severest exertion of sensibility, since vital force can then devote its undivided attention to this function especially when it is not absolutely taken up with the third, with reproduction, as is the case during digestion. Nevertheless, anyone who is capable of thinking for himself will have noticed that walking in the open is unusually favourable to the stimulation of original ideas. But I ascribe this to the respiratory process which is quickened by that movement and partly invigorates and accelerates the blood circulation, and to some extent improves the oxygenation of the blood. In the first place, the twofold movement of the brain, namely that following every breath and that following every pulse, thus becomes more rapid and energetic and its turgor vitalis becomes more intense. In the second place, a more completely oxygenated blood, free from carbon dioxide and thus more vital and arterial, permeates the whole substance of the brain from the ramifications of the carotids and enhances its inner vitality. Nevertheless, the stimulation of the power of thought which is produced by all this lasts only as long as a man does not in the least become tired through walking. For when the slightest fatigue occurs, the now enforced exertion of irritability demands vital force; and in this way the activity of sensibility declines, and indeed with great fatigue becomes quite feeble.

Again, sensibility rests only in sleep and therefore endures a longer activity. Whilst irritability also rests at night simultaneously with sensibility, vital force, that can act wholly and entirely and so with all its power only under one of its three forms, generally assumes that of the power of reproduction. Therefore the formation and maintenance of the parts, especially the nutrition of the brain, also all growth, reparation, healing, and thus the effect of the vis naturae medicatrix [18] in all its forms, particularly in the wholesome crises of illnesses-all these take place mainly in sleep. Accordingly, one of the main conditions for lasting health and so also for a long life, is the constant enjoyment of uninterrupted and sound sleep. Yet it is not a good thing to continue this as long as possible, for what it gains in extension it loses in intension, that is, in depth. But It is precisely deep sleep wherein the organic vital processes just mentioned are most completely carried out. This can be inferred from the fact that, when our sleep has been disturbed and cut short on a particular night and now, as is inevitable, turns out to be all the sounder on the following night, we then wake up feeling remarkably invigorated and refreshed. The exceedingly beneficial depth of sleep cannot be replaced by our prolonging it; on the contrary, such depth is obtained precisely by our limiting the duration of the sleep. On this is based the observation that all who have reached a great age have been early risers, as also Homer's dictum [x]. [19] Therefore if we wake early of our own accord, we should not try to go to sleep again, but should get up and say with Goethe: 'Schlaf ist Schaale, wirf sie fort.' [20] The above-mentioned beneficial effect of deep sleep reaches its highest degree in magnetic sleep, as being merely the soundest of all; and hence this sleep appears as the panacea of many diseases. Like all functions of organic life, digestion also takes place more easily and rapidly in sleep, on account of a cessation of the brain's activity. Therefore a short sleep of ten or fifteen minutes half an hour after a meal has a wholesome effect which is also stimulated by coffee just because this quickens digestion. On the other hand, a longer sleep is a disadvantage and may even become a danger. I explain this by saying that in sleep respiration takes place far more slowly and feebly, on the one hand, but that, on the other, as soon as the digestion promoted by sleep has reached the stage of forming chyle, this flows into the blood and raises the carbon content thereof so that it now requires this content to be reduced by the process of breathing more than it does at other times. But this process is enfeebled by sleep and with it circulation as well as oxygenation. The consequence of this can be seen quite clearly in those who have fair complexions and white delicate skins when they have had a long sleep after a meal. For their faces as well as the sclerotic assume a somewhat brownish-yellow tinge as a symptom of a higher carbon content. (We can see from Mayo's Philosophy of Living, p. 168, that this theory concerning the disadvantage of the afternoon siesta is unknown at any rate in England.) For the same reason, full-blooded, short, and stout people run the risk of apoplexy through having a long midday sleep. One may even have observed consumption as a result of this as well as of copious evening meals, a disease that could be easily explained on the same principle. It is also clear from this why it may easily be harmful to eat a heavy meal only once a day because this imposes too much work at one time not only on the stomach but also on the lungs after such an increased formation of chyle. Moreover, that respiration abates in sleep can be explained from the fact that it is a combined function; in other words, it proceeds partly from the spinal nerves and to that extent is a reflex movement that continues as such in sleep; and partly from the nerves of the brain where it is then sustained by conscious volition whose cessation in sleep slows down respiration and gives rise even to snoring. This can be seen in more detail in Marshall Hall's Diseases of the Nervous System, §§ 290-311, with which Flourens' Du systeme nerveux, second edition, chapter 11, should be compared. From this part that is played in respiration by the nerves of the brain, it can also be explained why breathing becomes easier and slower when we rally our mental activity for concentrated thinking or reading; this was observed by Nasse. On the other hand, exertions of irritability, likewise vigorous emotions such as joy, anger, and so on, quicken blood circulation and also respiration. Therefore anger is certainly not altogether harmful and, if only one can really give vent to it, it even has a beneficial effect on many natures who for this reason instinctively aim at it; moreover, it at the same time promotes the discharge of bile.

A further proof of the mutual balancing of the three fundamental physiological forces here discussed is afforded by the undoubted fact that Negroes have more physical strength than have other races; consequently, what they lack in sensibility they have in more irritability. They are, of course, in this respect nearer to animals, for, in proportion to their size, all these have more muscular strength than has man.

Concerning the different relation of the three fundamental forces in individuals, I refer to the work On the Will in Nature, at the end of the chapter on 'Physiology'.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:39 am

Part 4 of 4

§ 95

We could regard the living animal organism as a machine without primum mobile, a series of movements without beginning, a chain of causes and effects of which none is the first, if life pursued its course without any reference to the external world. This point of contact, however, is the process of breathing; it is the most immediate and essential connecting link with the external world and supplies the first impulse. Movement of life must, therefore, be regarded as coming from it and it must be conceived as the first link in the causal chain. Accordingly, a little air emerges as the first impulse and thus as the first external cause of life. This air slips in and oxygenates; it then introduces other processes and so life is the result. Now that which comes from within to meet this external cause, proclaims itself as a powerful craving, indeed as an irresistible urge, to breathe, and therefore directly as will. The second external cause of life is nourishment which also operates initially from without as motive; yet it is not so pressing and insistent as is air; only in the stomach does its physiological causal operation begin. Liebig has worked out the budget of organic nature and has drawn up a balance of its receipt and expenditure.

§ 96

Philosophy and physiology have certainly covered a good distance in the last two hundred years from the glandula pinealis [21] of Descartes and his spirites animales moving it or even moved by it to Charles Bell's motor and sensible nerves of the spinal cord and the reflex movements of Marshall Hall. His fine discovery of reflex movements, which is explained in his excellent book On the Diseases of the Nervous System, is a theory of involuntary or automatic actions, in other words, of those that are not brought about by means of the intellect, although they must nevertheless proceed from the will. I have explained in volume ii, chapter 20 of my chief work how this theory throws light on my metaphysics by helping to make clear the difference between will [Wille] and conscious volition [Willkur]. Here are a few more remarks raised by Hall's theory.

When we enter a cold bath, respiration is at once greatly speeded up, and when the bath is very cold, this effect lasts for a while, even after we come out. Marshall Hall in § 302 of his above-mentioned book declares this to be a reflex movement that is brought about by the cold suddenly acting on the spinal cord. To this causa efficiens of the matter, I would like to add the final cause, that nature wishes to replace as rapidly as possible so significant and sudden a loss of heat. This then takes place precisely through an increase of respiration which is the internal source of heat. The secondary result of this, namely an increase of arterial, and a decrease of venous, blood together with the direct effect on the nerves, may be largely responsible for the incomparably clear, bright, and purely contemplative disposition that is usually the direct consequence of a cold bath; the colder the bath, the more is this the case.

Yawning is one of the reflex movements. I imagine that its remoter cause is a momentary lowering of the power of the brain which is brought about by boredom, mental indolence, or drowsiness. The spinal cord now gains the ascendancy over the brain and by its own method produces that curious spasm. On the other hand, as the stretching of the limbs that often accompanies yawning is still subject to conscious volition, although occurring unintentionally, it can no longer be regarded as one of the reflex movements. I believe that, just as yawning in the last resort arises from a deficiency of sensibility, so stretching results from an accumulated momentary surplus of irritability, whereof we thus try to rid ourselves. Accordingly, it occurs only in periods of strength not of weakness. A fact worth considering in the investigation of the nature if nervous activity is the case where limbs grow numb which have been subjected to pressure, as also the remarkable circumstance that this never occurs in sleep (of the brain).

When the desire to urinate is resisted, it disappears entirely, but returns later, and the same thing is repeated. I explain this by saying that keeping the sphincter vesicae [22] shut is a reflex movement that is maintained as such by the spinal nerves and consequently without consciousness and free choice. Now when these nerves become fatigued through the increased pressure of a full bladder, they relax, but their function is at once taken over by other nerves that belong to the cerebral system; and so this occurs with conscious volition and a painful sensation. It lasts until the former nerves are rested and again take up their function. This may be repeated several times. While the cerebral nerves act on behalf of the spinal, and accordingly conscious functions deputize for those that are unconscious, we endeavour to obtain some relief by a quick movement of our legs and arms. I explain this from the fact that, while the nervous force is thus directed to the active nerves that excite irritability, the sensible nerves that, as messengers to the brain, cause that painful sensation, lose something in sensibility.

I am surprised that Marshall Hall does not include laughing and weeping among reflex movements. For this they undoubtedly are as definitely involuntary or automatic movements. Thus we are just as little able to bring them about intentionally as we are yawning or sneezing, but in the one case as in the other we can produce only an inferior imitation that is at once recognized; likewise all four are equally difficult to suppress. Laughing and weeping have in common with an erection that is regarded as a reflex movement the fact that they occur on mere stimulus mentalis. Moreover, laughter can be excited entirely physically by tickling. Its usual and thus mental excitation has to be explained from the fact that the brain-function whereby we suddenly recognize the incongruity of an intuitively perceptual representation and an abstract representation that is in other respects appropriate thereto, has a peculiar effect on the medulla oblongata, or else plays a part appertaining to the exciter-motor system, whence comes that strange reflex movement which at the same time convulses many parts of the body. The par quintum and the nervus vagus seem to have in this the largest share.

In my chief work (vol. i, § 60) it says: 'Far more than any other external member of the body, the genitals are subject merely to the will, and not at all to knowledge. Here, in fact, the will shows itself almost as independent of knowledge as it does in those parts which, on the occasion of mere stimuli, serve vegetative life.' Indeed representations or mental pictures affect the genitals not as motives, as they normally do the will, but merely as stimuli just because an erection is merely a reflex movement; consequently, they affect them directly and only so long as they are present. For this very reason, to be effective, it is necessary for them to be present for a certain length of time. On the other hand, a representation acting as a motive does this often after being present for the shortest period of time; and generally speaking, it is not associated in its effectiveness with any relation to the duration of its presence. (This and every distinction between stimulus and motive are found discussed in my Ethics, 'Freedom of the Will', Pt. III, and also in my essay On the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 20.) Further, the effect that a representation has on the genitals cannot, like that of a motive, be abolished by another representation, except in so far as the former is removed from consciousness by the latter and is, therefore, no longer present. But then it happens infallibly, even when the second representation contains nothing at all that is contrary to the first, as is required, on the other hand, in the case of a counter-motive. Accordingly, for the consummation of coitus, it is not sufficient for a woman's presence to act on the man as a motive (possibly for the procreation of children, or for the fulfilment of marital duty, and so on), however powerful this motive might be as such, but her presence must act immediately as stimulus.

§ 97

To be audible, a tone must make at least sixteen vibrations a second, which seems to me to be due to the fact that its vibrations must be mechanically communicated to the auditory nerve. For the sensation of hearing is not, like that of seeing, an excitation brought about by a mere impression on the nerves, but requires that the nerve itself be pulled again and again. This must, therefore, occur with a definite rapidity and shortness that compel the nerve to turn in a sharp zigzag not in a rounded curve. Moreover, this must occur in the interior of the labyrinth and cochlea, since bones are everywhere the sounding-board of the nerves. However, the lymph that there surrounds the auditory nerve is inelastic and moderates the counter-effect of the bone.

§ 98

When we reflect that, as a result of the most recent researches, the skulls of idiots as well as of Negroes are generally inferior to others solely in the width between the temples and that, on the contrary, great thinkers have unusually wide heads, from which even Plato's name is derived; further, when we consider that hair usually begins to turn grey at the temples, more as a result of mental exertion and grief than of old age, and repeat even a Spanish proverb: canas son, que no lunares, CUANDO comienzan por los aladares (white hair is no blemish, when it begins at the temples) ; then we are led to suppose that the part of the brain lying under the temporal region is particularly active when we are thinking. Perhaps we shall be able one day to establish a true craniology, couched in quite different terms from that of Gall with its crude and absurd psychological basis and its assumption of brain-organs for moral qualities. Moreover, grey and white hair are for man what red and yellow leaves are for trees in October; both frequently look quite well, only there must not be in addition any falling off.

As the brain consists of very many delicate folds and fascia separated by innumerable interstices and also contains in its cavities watery humours, then, in consequence of gravity, some of those delicate parts must bend and some must press on one another, and of course differently with different positions of the head, the turgor vitalis, however, being unable to eliminate this entirely. It is true that the dura mater prevents the pressure of the larger masses on one another (according to Magendie, Physiologie, vol. i, p. 179, and Hempel, pp. 768, 775), since it is interposed between these, forming the falx cerebri and the tentorium cerebelli; but it passes over the smaller parts. Now if we imagine the operations of thought to be associated with actual movements, however small, of the brain's substance, then the influence of position would necessarily be very great and immediate through the pressure on one another of the smaller parts. Now the fact that it is not so, proves that things do not happen just mechanically. Nevertheless, the position of the head cannot be a matter of indifference, for not only that pressure of the brain's parts on one another, but also the greater or lesser afflux of blood, which is in any case effective, depends on it. I have actually found that, when vainly attempting to recall to mind something, I have ultimately succeeded by a vigorous change of position. Generally the position most favourable to thinking appears to be the one where the basis encephali comes to rest quite horizontally. Therefore in deep thought, the head is bent forward and with great thinkers, like Kant for instance, this position has become a matter of habit; Cardanus also mentions this about himself (Vanini, Amphitheatrum, p. 269). Nevertheless, this may perhaps be attributed partly to the abnormally greater weight of their brain generally, and in particular to the marked excess in weight of the front half (in front of the foramen occipitale) over the rear half, with an unusually slender spinal cord and consequently slender vertebrae. This does not occur in the case of those with thick heads who are at the same time blockheads; and so they carry their heads quite high. Moreover, heads of this kind betray themselves by the obviously thick and massive cranial bones, in consequence whereof the brain-space proves to be very small, in spite of the size of the head. There is actually a certain way of carrying the head high with a very straight vertebral column, which we feel at once to be a physiognomic sign of stupidity, even without reflection and previous knowledge. This is probably due to the fact that the rear half of the brain actually equals, if it does not even exceed, in weight the front half. Just as the forward position of the head favours deep thinking, so does it appear that the opposite position, and thus raising and even bending it back and looking upwards, is favourable to the momentary exertion of the memory. For those who endeavour to recall something, often assume such an attitude and with success. Relevant to this is also the fact that very clever dogs who, as we know, understand a part of human speech, cock their heads alternately on one side and the other, when their master speaks to them and try to make out the meaning of his words. This makes them look highly intelligent and amusing.

§ 99

The view that, apart from a few exceptions, acute illnesses are nothing but healing processes introduced by nature herself in order to remove some disorder that has taken root in the organism, is to me quite clear. For this purpose, the vis naturae medicatrix, [23] vested with dictatorial power, now adopts extraordinary measures which constitute the serious illness. The cold in the head furnishes us with the simplest type of this universal course of events. The activity of the outer skin is paralysed through a chill and thus the very powerful excretion by means of exhalation is stopped; and this could bring about the death of the individual. The inner skin, the mucous membrane, begins at once to deputize for the outer; and this constitutes the cold in the head, an illness. But obviously this is merely the remedy of the real, but not serious, disease and thus of the suspension of the skin's function. This illness, the cold in the head, like any other, now runs through the same stages, namely first appearance, aggravation, crisis, and improvement. At first acute, it gradually becomes chronic and then continues as such until the fundamental disease, itself not serious, and thus the paralysis of the skin's function, is over. It is, therefore, dangerous to drive a head cold inwards. The same course of events constitutes the essential nature of almost all illnesses, and these are really only the medical remedy of the vis naturae medicatrix.* Such a process is opposed by allopathy or enantiopathy with all its force; for its part, homoeopathy endeavours to hasten or strengthen the process unless, by making a caricature thereof, it tries to put nature against it, at all events to hasten the reaction that is everywhere the result of every excess and every one-sided view of things. Accordingly, both claim to understand things better than does nature herself; yet she certainly knows the direction as well as the measure of her method of treatment. Therefore physiatrics should rather be recommended in all cases that do not come under the above-mentioned exceptions. Only those cures are radical which nature herself brings about by her own methods. The expression tout ce qui n' est pas naturel est imparfait [24] applies here. The methods of physicians are often directed merely to the symptoms which they take to be the disease itself; and so after such a cure we feel ill at ease. On the other hand, if only we give nature the time, she herself will gradually effect the cure, after which we then feel better than we did before the illness, or the affected part is stronger than it was previously. We can observe this, conveniently and without risk, in the slight illnesses with which we are often afflicted. I admit that there are exceptions, or cases where only the physician can help; in particular, the cure of syphilis isa triumph of medicine. However, by far the most recoveries are simply the work of nature for which the physician pockets the fee even when, in spite of his efforts, they are successful. The reputation and profits of physicians would be in a bad way if the conclusion cum hoc, ergo propter hoc [25] were not of such general application. The good patients of physicians regard their bodies as if these were clocks or other kinds of machinery; if anything goes wrong with them, they think that it can be again put right only by a mechanic. But this is not so; for the body is a self-repairing machine. Most of the major and minor disorders that occur are entirely removed automatically by the vis naturae medicatrix. Therefore let us leave this alone, and peu de medecins, peu de medecine. Sed est medicus consolatio animi. [26]

§ 100

I explain in the following way the necessity of the metamorphosis of insects. The metaphysical force underlying the phenomenon of so tiny a creature is so small that it cannot simultaneously carry out the different functions of animal life. It must, therefore, divide these up in order successively to fulfil that which with the higher animals takes place simultaneously. It accordingly divides the insect life into two halves; in the first, the larval condition, it manifests itself as the force of reproduction, nourishment, plasticity. The immediate object of this larval life is merely the production of the chrysalis; but as the interior of this is quite fluid, it can be regarded as a second egg from which the future imago will emerge. Thus the whole purpose of the larval iife is the preparation of the humours from which the imago can come. In the second half of the insect life, which is separated from the first by that egg-like state, the vital force, in itself metaphysical, manifests itself as irritability that is increased a hundredfold, in untiring flight, as greatly enhanced sensibility, in more perfect and often quite new senses, and in marvellous mechanical instincts, but principally as generative function that now appears as the ultimate aim of life. On the other hand, nutrition is greatly diminished and sometimes even suspended altogether, whereby life has assumed a wholly ethereal character. And so this complete change and separation of the functions of life exhibit to a certain extent two animals that live successively and whose extremely varied form is in keeping with the difference of their functions. What it unites is the egg-like state of the chrysalis, the preparation of whose contents and substance was the purpose of the first animal's life. Now the predominantly plastic powers of this animal do the final thing in this chrysalis state by producing the second form. And so nature, or rather the metaphysical element underlying her, carries out in two stages with these animals that which would be too much for her in one; she divides her work. Accordingly, we see that metamorphosis is most complete where the separation of the functions appears to be most definite, for instance in the case of the lepidoptera. Thus many caterpillars eat in a day twice their own weight of food; many butterflies, on the other hand, and also many other insects, eat nothing at all in the fully developed state, for example, the butterfly of the silkworm, and many others. Metamorphosis is incomplete, on the other hand, in the case of those insects where nutrition proceeds apace, even in the fully developed state, for instance in the case of crickets, locusts, bugs, and others.

§ 101

The phosphorescent light in the sea which is peculiar to almost all gelatinous radiata (radiares mollasses), like the illumination of phosphorus itself, springs possibly from a slow process of combustion. In fact, the breathing of vertebrate animals is such a process which is replaced by that illumination as a respiration with the entire surface. Accordingly, it is a slow external combustion, just as the other is internal. Or possibly here too an internal combustion takes place whose luminous development becomes externally visible merely by virtue of the complete transparency of all these gelatinous animals. Here one could also boldly conjecture that all breathing with lungs or gills is accompanied by a phosphorescence and consequently that the interior of a living thorax is illuminated.

§ 102

If there were not objectively a quite definite distinction between plant and animal, the question as to what constituted this difference would have no meaning. For it would merely like to see reduced to clear concepts this difference which is understood by everyone with certainty yet without clearness. I have mentioned it in my Ethics, 'Freedom of the Will', Pt. III, and in the essay On the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 20.

The different animal forms, wherein the will-to-live manifests itself, are related to one another as is the same idea that is expressed in different languages and in accordance with the spirit of each; and the various species of a genus may be regarded as a number of variations on the same theme. More closely considered, however, that diversity of animal forms can be deduced from the different mode of life of each species and the difference of aims arising out of this. This has been specially discussed in my essay On the Will in Nature, in the chapter 'Comparative Anatomy'. On the other hand, we cannot by any means state so definitely in particular the reasons for the variety of plant forms. I have indicated in a general way in my chief work, volume i, § 28, how far we are able to do this approximately. There is, moreover, the fact that we can teleologically explain something in plants, as for instance the blossoms of the fuchsia which hang downwards. This is because their pistil is very much longer than the stamens and so that position favours the falling and gathering of the pollen. Generally speaking, however, it may be said that in the objective world, in the representation of intuitive perception, nothing can manifest itself at all which does not have in the essence of things-in-themselves and thus in the will that underlies the phenomenon, a tendency that is precisely modified to suit. For the world as representation can furnish nothing from its own resources; but for this very reason it cannot serve up any fanciful or frivolously invented fairy-tale. The infinite variety of the forms and even colourings of plants and their blossoms must yet be everywhere the expression of a subjective essence that is just as modified; in other words, the will as thing-in-itself which manifests itself in them, must be exactly reflected through them.

For the same metaphysical reason and because the human individual's body is only the visibility of his individual will and so objectively presents this, but even his intellect or brain, as being the phenomenal appearance of his will-to-know, belongs to that same will, it must really be possible to understand and deduce not only the nature of his intellect from that of his brain and from the blood-flow that excites this, but also the whole of his moral character with all its traits and peculiarities from the more specific nature of all the rest of his corporization, thus from the texture, size, quality, and mutual relation of heart, liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, and so on, although, of course, we shall never succeed in actually achieving this. But the possibility of doing this must exist objectively.* The following consideration may serve as a transition to this. Not only do the passions affect the different parts of the body (see World as Will and Representation, vol. ii, chap. 20); but conversely, the individual state or condition of the separate organs excites the passions and even the representations or mental pictures connected therewith. When the vesiculae seminales have a periodical excess of sperm, lewd and obscene ideas continually arise without any particular cause. We naturally think that the reason for this is purely psychic, a perverse tendency of our thoughts; but it is purely physical and ceases as soon as the above-mentioned excess is over, through the reabsorption of the sperm into the blood. Sometimes we are inclined to be angry and annoyed and to quarrel, and seriously look for the causes of this. If we find no external cause, we conjure up in our thoughts some long-forgotten annoyance in order to fret and fume over this. It is highly probable that this state is the result of an excess of bile. Sometimes we are inwardly worried and anxious without any cause and the condition persists; in our thoughts we look for objects of fear and disquietude, and readily imagine we have found them. In English they have the expression 'to catch blue devils'; [27] its source is probably the intestines, and so on.

_______________

Notes:


1 [' Spontaneous generation' (the coming into existence of living beings from inanimate matter).]

2 ['The god from the machine'. Any person, thing, or concept artificially  introduced in order to solve some difficulty.]

3 [From Schiller's Die Grosse der Welt.]

4 [Pouillet, Elements de physique experimentale et de meteorologie.]

* The hydrogen and oxygen are a mere mixture; if we ignite it, a terrific  detonation, accompanied by intense light and heat, informs us of a great and total  change that affects and strikes at the innermost essence of those two component  parts of the mixture. In fact, we at once find water as their product, a substance  differing fundamentally and in every respect from those two component parts,  but yet homogeneous through and through. We see, therefore, that the change  that occurred here was in keeping with the riotous commotion of the natural  spirits that ushered it in. Thus by the complete surrender of their own peculiar and  opposite natures, those two components of the mixture became so thoroughly  interpenetrated that they now present only one absolutely homogeneous body in  the minutest possible particle of which those two components still always remain  inseparably united so that in this body nothing remains which can be found alone  and by itself. It was, therefore, a chemical and not a mechanical process. It is only  possible with our modern Democrituses to explain this occurrence by saying that the  'atoms' (!)(sic), previously scattered in confusion, have now arranged themselves  in ranks and files, in pairs, or rather, on account of the great inequality of their  numbers, have so sorted themselves that nine nicely arranged oxygen atoms have  grouped themselves round one hydrogen atom in consequence of innate and inexplicable  tactics. The detonation had then been merely the beating of drums for  them to 'fall in', and thus really much ado about nothing. And so I say that this is nonsense, like the vibrating ether and the whole mechanical and atomistic physics of Leucippus, Democritus, and Descartes, with all their stiff, wooden explanations. It is not enough for us to know how to put the thumbscrew on nature; we must also be capable of understanding her when she speaks out; but we are far from doing so.

In general, however, if there were atoms, they would have to be without distinction and qualities, and thus not atoms of sulphur, iron, and so on, but merely atoms of matter, since differences abolish simplicity. For example, the atom of iron would necessarily contain something missing in that of sulphur, and accordingly would be not simple but compound; and generally speaking, change of quality cannot take place without change of quantity. Ergo: If atoms are possible at all, then they are conceivable only as the ultimate constituents of absolute or abstract matter, not of definite materials or elements.

* As regards the Kantian forces of repulsion and attraction, I note that the latter is not, like the former, spent and deadened in its product, namely in matter. For the force of repulsion whose function is impenetrability, can act only where a foreign body attempts to penetrate the sphere of the given body and thus not beyond this. On the other hand, it is in the nature of the force of attraction not to be abolished by the limits of a body and consequently to act even beyond the sphere of the given body; otherwise, as soon as any part of the body became detached, it would at once be withdrawn from the effect of this force. But this attracts all matter, even at a distance, since it regards everything as belonging to one body, primarily to the terrestrial body, and then farther afield. From this point of view, we can certainly regard gravity also as one of the a priori knowable properties of matter. Yet only in the closest possible contact of its parts, which we call cohesion, is the power of this attraction sufficiently concentrated for it to resist the attraction of the terrestrial body that is millions of times greater, to the extent that the parts of the given separate body do not fall in a straight line towards the terrestrial body. But if the cohesion is too weak, this happens and the body crumbles and collapses through the mere weight of its parts. This cohesion itself, however, is a mysterious state that we can bring about only through fusion and coagulation, or solution and evaporation, and thus only by transition from the fluid to the solid state.

If in absolute space (i.e. apart from all environment) two bodies approach each other in a straight line, then phoronomically it is the same thing and there is no difference whether I say A goes towards B, or vice versa; but dynamically there is a difference whether the moving cause operates or has operated on A or B; for according to this difference, the motion ceases as I check A or B. It is the same as regards circular motion; phoronomically it is all the same whether (in absolute space) the sun moves round the earth, or the earth rotates on its own axis; but dynamical(y there is the difference just mentioned and also the fact that, on the rotating body, the tangential force comes into conflict with the body's cohesion and, by virtue of that very force, the circulating body would flyaway from it unless another force tied it to the centre of its motion.

* Light can be as little explained mechanically as can the force of gravity. At first the very same attempt was made to explain this also by the impact of an ether; in fact Newton himself advanced this as a hypothesis, but soon dropped it. Leibniz, however, who did not admit gravitation, was wholly in favour of it. This is also confirmed in a letter of his in the Lettres et opuscules inedits, edited by Careil in 1854, p. 63. Descartes is the inventor of ether: 'Aether ille Cartesianus, quem EULERUS ad luminis propagandi doctrinam adornavit' ['That Cartesian ether used by Euler for the theory of the propagation of light'], says Platner in his dissertation De principio vitali, p. 17. Light undoubtedly has a certain connection with gravitation, yet indirectly and in the sense of a reflection, as its absolute opposite. It is essentially a propagating force, just as the other is contractive. Both always act in straight lines. Perhaps, in a figurative sense, light can be called the reflex of gravitation. No body can act through impact which is not at the same time heavy or ponderable. Light is an imponderable and therefore cannot act mechanically, that is through impact.

** Wind very easily blows away heat, for example the heat coming from our own bodies; but it cannot blow away light, or even shake it in any way.

* That heat is not a rapid vibration of the parts is also clear from the well-known  fact that the colder a body is, the more rapidly it takes up the heat applied to it;  as, on the other hand, it is more difficult to set a body in motion, the more complete  its state of rest.

* On the other hand, see Pouillet, vol. II, p. 180.

5 [Apparently a parody by Schopenhauer on Schiller's words: Es geht ein  finstrer Geist durch unser Haus.-Piccolomini. III. 9.]

6 ['Radiant heat'.]

* Indeed I venture to surmise that it might be possible to explain from a similar  occurrence the everyday phenomenon that, as soon as brilliantly white paving-stones  are sprinkled with rain, they appear dark brown, in other words, they no  longer reflect light because, in its desire to evaporate, the water then at once  converts into heat all the light falling on the stones, whereas when dry, they reflect  this. But why does white polished marble not appear dark when it is sprinkled? Why not also white porcelain?

* Nevertheless, the tendency is again to regard this as very distant thunder! Poey has conducted a long dispute over lightning without thunder and thunder without lighting in the Academie des sciences, 1856-7; he states (April 1857) that even the energetic fork-lightning sometimes occurs without thunder (Analyse des hypotheses sur les eclairs sans tonnerre par Poey in the Journal des mathematiques.) In Comptes rendus, 27 October 1856, an article, written to correct another on lightning without thunder and vice versa, assumes, as a settled question and certo certius entirely without previous examination, that thunder is simply on a large scale the noise made by a spark jumping across a conductor. Sheet-lightning is for him a distant flash. In his Kosmische Physik, 1856, Joh. Muller states in his old-fashioned way that thunder is 'the vibration of the air that is agitated during the flashing out of electricity', and thus the cracking of sparks from the conductor. Thunder, however, bears no resemblance whatever to the noise of jumping electric sparks; they are as much alike as are the elephant and the fly. The difference between the two sounds is not merely quantitative but qualitative (see Birnbaum, Reich der Wolken, pp. 167, 169). On the other hand, it bears the greatest resemblance to a series of detonations which may be simultaneous and reach our ears successively merely on account of the great distance. A battery of Leiden jars?

** If, as is assumed, the clouds consist of hollow bubbles (for water vapour is really invisible), then, in order to float, these must be filled with a gas that is lighter than the atmosphere and hence either mere water vapour or hydrogen. The opposite argument on page 91 of Birnbaum's Reich der Wolken is false.

 * Inventions often occur through mere groping and testing. The theory of each is  afterwards thought out just as is the proof of an acknowledged truth.
 
7 ['Set at variance and rule.']

* Volcanoes are the safety-valves of the great steam-boiler.
 
* This hypothesis is fully supported by the Leslie experiment, mentioned by Pouillet, vol. i, p. 368. Thus we see the water in a vacuum freeze because evaporation deprived it even of the heat that was necessary to keep it in the fluid state.

** Humboldt (Kosmos, vol. iii, p. 460) says Sir John Herschel imagines that the temperature of the moon's surface possibly exceeds considerably that of boiling water. He explains this in his Outlines of Astronomy, 1849, § 432.

*** When sending a photograph of the moon, Father Secchi writes from Rome on 6 April 1858: tres remarquable dans la PLEINE LUNE est lefond noir des parties lisses, et le grand eclat des parties raboteuses: doit-on croire celles-ci couvertes de GLACES ou de NEIGE? ['Very remarkable in the full moon are the dark ground of the level parts and the great brilliance of the rough and uneven. Ought one to assume that the latter are covered with ice or snow?'] (See Comptes rendus, 28 April 1858.) In a very recent drama there is a passage: 'That I could clamber to the frozen moon, And draw the ladder after me!' -- poetic instinct.

8 [' Everywhere as with us'.]

* The geological events that preceded all life on earth did not exist in any consciousness at all, either in their own because they had none or in the consciousness of another because no such consciousness existed. Therefore through the lack of any subject, they had absolutely no objective existence, that is, they did not exist at all; but then what does their having existed signify? At bottom, it is merely hypothetical, namely, if a consciousness had existed in those primeval times, then such events would have appeared in it; thus far does the regressus of phenomena lead us. And so it lay in the very nature of .the thing-in-itself to manifest itself in such events.

When we say, in the beginning let there have been a luminous primordial nebula that formed itself into a sphere and started to rotate; then suppose it thus became shaped like a lens and its extreme periphery became detached in the form of a ring that was then formed into a planetary sphere, and the same process was repeated again and again-the whole Laplace cosmogony in fact; and when we add also the earliest geological phenomena up to the appearance of organic nature, then everything we say is true not in the literal sense, but is a kind of figurative language. For it is the description of phenomena that have never existed as such;  for they are spatial, temporal, and causal phenomena that, as such, can exist positively  only in the mental picture or representation of a brain. This brain has space,  time, and causality as the forms of its knowing and consequently without it, those  phenomena are impossible and have never existed; and so that description merely  states that, if a brain had existed at that time, then the aforesaid events would have  appeared in it. On the other hand, in themselves, those events are nothing but the  dull craving, devoid of knowledge, of the will-to-live for its first objectification. Now  after brains come into existence, this will must manifest itself in their range of ideas  and by means of the regressus which is necessarily produced by the forms of their  representations, as those primary cosmogonical, and geological phenomena. In this  way, these acquire for the first time their objective existence; but on this account,  the objective existence is no less in keeping with the subjective than if it had occurred  simultaneously therewith and not merely after countless thousands of years.
 
* Vanini intimates in his Amphitheatrum, p. 211, that Aristotle, Physics, lib. VIII, speaks of intelligences.

9 ['A first mover'.]

* Vanini, Dialogi, p. 20.

10 ['As also our countrymen Wren, Hooke, and Halley have independently concluded'.]

 * Compare Byron's Works, 1850, p. 804, the note to Don Juan, x. I; 'The  celebrated apple tree, the fall of one of the apples of which is said to have turned  the attention of Newton to the subject of gravity, was destroyed by wind about  four years ago. The anecdote of the falling apple is mentioned neither by Dr.  Stukeley nor by Mr. Conduit, so, as I have not been able to find any authority  for it whatever, I did not feel myself at liberty to use it.' Brewster's Life of Newton.  p. 344.
 
11 ['The narrow slit'.]


12 ['The birth of like from like'.]
 
13 ['Generation in the womb of another'.]

14 ['Spontaneous generation in the womb of another'.]
 
15 ['Nature makes no jumps.' (Law of continuity first laid down by Aristotle.)]
 
* Savages are not primitive human beings any more than the wild dogs of South  America are primitive dogs. On the contrary, the latter are dogs that have run  wild and the former are men who have run wild, descendants of those who lost  their way or were shipwrecked and were of cultured stock. They were incapable of  preserving this culture among themselves.

16 ['The clean and tidy classes'.]

* A physical difference, not yet observed, between man and animals is that the  white of the sclerotic remains permanently visible. Captain Mathew says that this  is not the case with the bushmen now to be seen in London; their eyes are round  and do not show the white. In Goethe's case, on the contrary, the white was usually  visible, even over the iris.

17 ['The first movable thing'; 'the first motive'.]
 
18 ['The healing power of nature'.]

19 ['Even copious sleep is a burden and a misery.' (Odyssey, xv. 394.)]

20 [' Sleep's a shell, to break and spurn!' (Faust, Pt. II, Bayard Taylor's translation.)]

21 ['Pineal gland'.]
 
22 ['Sphincter of the bladder'.]
 
23 ['The healing power of nature'.]

* MORBUS ipse est MEDELA naturae, qua opitulatur perturbationibus organismi: ergo remedium medici medetur medelae. ['The illness itself is nature's attempt to heal whereby she comes to the aid of the organism's disorders; hence the remedy of the physician helps the attempt to heal.'-Schopenhauer's own idea in Latin.]- There is only one healing power, and this is nature; there is none in pills and ointments. At most, these can prompt nature's healing power where there is something to be done for it.

24 ['Everything that is not natural is imperfect.']

25 ['Since this, therefore because of this.']

26 ['Few doctors, little medicine. But the physician is certainly a consolation of the soul.']

* Compare § 63.

27 [Schopenhauer's own English.]
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:17 pm

CHAPTER 7: On the Theory of Colours

§ 103

As the indifference of my contemporaries could not possibly shake my firm belief in the truth and importance of my theory of colour, I wrote and published it twice, in German in 1816 and in Latin in 1830 in the third volume of the Scriptores ophthalmologiei minores of J. Radius. As, however, this total lack of interest leaves me little hope, at my age, of living to see a second edition of these essays, I will here note down the few remarks I still have to make on the subject.

Whoever undertakes to discover the cause of a given effect will, if he goes to work in the proper way, begin by thoroughly investigating the effect itself, as the data for discovering the cause can be drawn only from the effect and this alone gives the direction and clue to his discovery of the cause. Nevertheless, this has not been done by any of those who prior to me enunciated theories of colour. I t was not only Newton who proceeded to look for the cause without having any precise knowledge of the effect to be explained, but his predecessors had also done the same thing. Even Goethe, who examined and explained the effect, the given phenomenon, the sensation in the eye, certainly much more thoroughly than did the others, still did not go far enough in this direction, otherwise he could not have failed to light upon my truths which are the root of all theory of colour and contain the grounds and basis of his own. Thus I cannot except even him when I say that all prior to me, from the most ancient to the most modern times, were concerned only with investigating what modification either the surface of a body or light must undergo, whether through analysis into its component parts or through cloudiness or other obscuration, in order to exhibit colour, in other words, to stimulate in our eye that thoroughly characteristic and specific sensation which cannot be defined at all, but can be demonstrated only through the senses. But instead of this, the correct and methodical way is obviously to turn first to this sensation to see whether we may not be able to find out from its more specific nature and from the conformity to law of its phenomena, what here takes place physiologically. For in the first place, we have a thorough and precise knowledge of the effect as that which is given. In any case, this must also furnish the data for investigating the cause as that which is sought, in other words, the external stimulus here which acts on our eye and produces that physiological occurrence. Thus for every possible modification of a given effect, it must be possible to demonstrate a modifiability of its cause exactly corresponding to that effect. Further, where the modifications of the effect are not separated from one another by sharp lines of demarcation, such lines should not be drawn in the cause; but here too the same gradualness of the transitions must take place. Finally, where the effect shows contrasts, that is, admits of a complete reversal of its mode and manner, then the conditions for this must also lie in the nature of the assumed cause, and so on. The application of these general principles to the theory of colour can easily be made. Everyone acquainted with the facts will at once see that my theory which considers colour only in itself, in other words, as a given specific sensation in the eye, already furnishes data a priori for judging the theories of Newton and Goethe concerning the objective aspect of colour, or the external causes that stimulate such a sensation in the eye. But on closer examination, he will find that, from the standpoint of my theory, everything is in favour of Goethe's and against Newton's.

To give here to those acquainted with the facts just one proof of what has been said, I will explain in a few words how the correctness of Goethe's primary physical phenomenon already follows a priori from my physiological theory. If colour in itself, that is to say, in the eye, is the qualitatively halved, and thus only partially stimulated, nervous activity of the retina, then its external cause must be a diminished light, yet one that is diminished in quite a special way. This cause must have the peculiar quality of imparting to every colour precisely as much light as it does darkness or cloudiness ([x]) to the physiological opposite and complement of that colour. But this can happen in a sure and certain way that satisfies all cases only if the cause of the brightness in a given colour is precisely the cause of what is shady or dark in the complement of that colour. Now this requirement is perfectly satisfied by the partition of opacity that is inserted between light and darkness, since, under opposite illumination, it always produces two colours which are physiologically complementary and turn out differently according to the degree of thickness and density of this opacity. Together, however, they will always make up white, that is, the full activity of the retina. Accordingly, with the maximum tenuity of opacity, these colours will be yellow and violet; with increasing density, they will change into orange and blue; and finally, with still greater density, they become red and green. This last, however, cannot really be demonstrated in this simple way, although the sky at sunset feebly exhibits it. Finally, if the opacity is complete, that is to say, becomes so dense as to be impervious to light, then, with light falling on it, white appears and with light placed behind it, we have darkness or black. This method of considering the problem will be found discussed in detail in §11 of my Latin essay on the theory of colours.

It is clear from this that, if Goethe had himself discovered my physiological colour theory which is fundamental and essential, in it he would have had a solid support for his basic physical view. Moreover, he would not have fallen into the error of absolutely denying the possibility to produce white from colours, a fact that is testified by experience, although always in the sense of my theory, never in that of Newton's. But although Goethe had made a most complete collection of the materials for the physiological theory of colours, it was not granted to him to discover the theory itself, which, however, as something fundamental, is really the main point. Yet this can be explained from the nature of his mind; thus for this he was too objective. Madame George Sand is reported as having said somewhere: chacun ales defauts de ses vertus. [1] It is precisely the astonishing objectivity of his mind, everywhere stamping his works with the mark of genius, which stood in his way where it was of value and prevented him from going back to the subject, in this case the perceiving eye itself, in order to seize here the final threads on which hangs the whole phenomenon of the world of colour. On the other hand, coming from Kant's school, I was prepared and trained for satisfying this demand in the best way. And so a year after withdrawing from Goethe's personal influence, I was able to discover the true, fundamental, and irrefutable theory of colour. Goethe's propensity was for understanding and interpreting everything purely objectively; but with this he was then conscious of having done his part and was quite incapable of seeing beyond this. Thus in his theory of colours we sometimes find a mere description where we expect an explanation. And so the last attainable thing here seemed to him to be a correct and complete explanation of the objective course of events. Accordingly, the most general and important truth of his whole theory of colours is a plain objective fact that he himself quite rightly calls primary phenomenon. With this he regarded everything as done; a correct' thus it is' was for him always the final goal; he had no craving for a 'thus it must be'. Indeed he could even scoff:

Then, the philosopher steps in
And shows, no otherwise it could have been. [2]


Now instead of this, he was of course just a poet and not a philosopher; that is to say, he was not animated by, or possessed of, an ambition to get to the ultimate grounds and innermost relation and connection of things in the way we wish. But for this very reason, he had to leave me the best harvest as gleanings, for the most important information and explanation in regard to the essential nature of colour, the ultimate satisfaction and the key to all that Goethe teaches, are to be found alone in my work. Accordingly, after I have deduced, as briefly mentioned, his primary phenomenon from my theory, it no longer merits this name. For it is not, as he assumed, something absolutely given and for ever withdrawn from all explanation; on the contrary, it is only the cause, such as is required in consequence of my theory, for producing the effect and thus for halving the activity of the retina. The only primary phenomenon in the proper sense is that organic ability of the retina to let its nervous activity appear in two qualitatively opposite halves, sometimes equal and sometimes unequal, and to throw them successively into relief. Here, of course, we must stop, since from this point at best only final causes can be seen, just as in physiology we generally come across this. And so possibly through colour we have one more method of distinguishing and recognizing things.

In addition, my theory of colours has over all others the great advantage of giving an account of the peculiar nature of the impression of every colour and of making this known to us as a definite numerical fraction of the retina's full activity, which is then either + or -. In this way, we learn to understand the specific difference of colours and the peculiar nature of each. Newton's theory, on the other hand, leaves entirely unexplained that specific difference and peculiar effect of each colour, since, according to it, colour is just a qualitas occulta (colorifica) [3] of the seven homogeneous lights. Accordingly, it gives each of these seven colours a name and then leaves it at that; and Goethe, on his part, is content to divide colours into warm and cold, leaving the rest to his aesthetic observations. Therefore only in my work do we obtain between the true nature of every colour and its sensation a connection which has hitherto always been missed.

Finally, for my theory of colours I may claim yet another peculiar though superficial advantage. Thus with all newly discovered truths, possibly without exception, it is soon found that something very similar has already been said and that it required only a single step in order to reach them. Indeed, it is even found sometimes that the truth had been positively expressed, yet had escaped notice because such expression had been made without emphasis. For the author himself had not recognized its value and grasped how rich in results it would be, a circumstance that prevented him from properly working it out. In such cases, therefore, one had, if not the plant, at any rate the seed. Now my colour theory is a fortunate exception to this. Never has it occurred to anyone anywhere to regard colour, this really objective phenomenon, as the retina's halved activity and accordingly to assign to each individual colour its difinite numerical fraction that makes up unity with the fraction of another colour, such unity representing white. Indeed, these fractions are so positively obvious, that Professor Rosas who wanted to claim them as his own, introduced them as absolutely self-evident in his Handbuch der Augenheilkunde, volume i, § 535, and also p. 308.

But the obvious correctness of the fractions laid down by me is certainly very useful for the facts of the case, for in spite of all their certainty, it would nevertheless be difficult really to establish them. It might perhaps be effected in the following way. Let us procure perfectly black and perfectly white sands and mix them in six proportions, each exactly corresponding in darkness to one of the six principal colours. The result must then be that the ratio of black sand to white in the case of each colour corresponds to the numerical fraction I have assigned to that colour. For example, if we were to take three parts of white sand and one of black to form a grey corresponding in darkness to yellow, then a grey corresponding to violet would require a mixture of the two sands in exactly the opposite proportion; green and red, on the other hand, would require equal proportions of the two sands. However, the difficulty arises here of determining which grey corresponds in darkness to each colour. This could be decided by our observing the colour close to the grey through a prism in order to see what relation of brightness to darkness each bears to the other in refraction. If in this respect they are both alike, then the refraction cannot possibly give any colour phenomenon.

Our test of the purity of a given colour, whether for example this particular yellow is exactly so, or has a tinge of green, or even of orange, has reference to the precise accuracy of the fraction that is expressed by that colour. But the fact that we are able to judge this purely arithmetical relation from mere feeling is proved by music whose harmony rests on the much greater and more complex numerical relations of simultaneous vibrations, but whose tones we judge extremely accurately, and yet arithmetically, purely by ear. Just as the seven tones of the scale are distinguished from countless others that are possibly to be found between them through the rational nature of their vibration numbers, so also are the six colours that are given names of their own distinguished from countless others lying between them merely by the rational and simple nature of the fraction of the retina's activity which manifests itself in them. Just as I test the accuracy of a tone, when tuning an instrument, by striking its fifth or octave, so do I test the purity of any given colour by producing its physiological spectrum whose colour is often easier to judge than is the given colour itself. Thus, for example, I have inferred that the green of grass has a marked tinge of yellow merely from the fact that the red of its spectrum has a strong touch of violet.

§ 104

After Buffon had discovered the phenomenon of physiological colours on which the whole of my theory is based, it was interpreted and explained by Father Scherffer in his Abhandlung von den zufalligen Farben, Vienna, 1765, in accordance with the Newtonian theory. As this explanation of the facts is found repeated in many works and even in Cuvier's Anatomie comparee (lec. 12, art. I), I will here expressly refute it and indeed reduce it ad absurdum. It starts by saying that, fatigued by a long contemplation of a colour, the eye loses its susceptibility to homogeneous light-rays of this kind. It then experiences a sensation of white that is afterwards intuitively perceived only to the exclusion of just those homogeneous rays of colour. And so the eye no longer sees this as white, but experiences instead a product of the other six homogeneous rays which, together with that first colour, constitute white; and hence this product is now said to be the colour that appears as a physiological spectrum. But now ex suppositis [4] this explanation of the facts can be seen to be absurd. For after looking at violet, the eye perceives on a white (or better still grey) surface a yellow spectrum. Now this yellow had to be the product of the other six homogeneous lights that remained after the separation of violet; and so had to be composed of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo; a fine mixture for obtaining yellow! These will give a muddy sort of colour and nothing else. Moreover, if yellow is itself a homogeneous light, how could it then be the result of that mixture? But by itself alone one homogeneous light is absolutely the required colour of the other, such colour following it physiologically as spectrum, just as yellow is of violet, blue of orange, red of green, and vice versa; this simple fact already overthrows Scherffer's explanation; for it shows that what the eye sees on the white surface after looking continuously at a colour is anything but a combination of the six remaining homogeneous lights; on the contrary, it is always only one of them, for example yellow, after violet has been intuitively perceived.

Besides, there are many other facts that are at variance with Scherffer's explanation. For example at the very outset, it is not true that, by continuously looking at the first colour, the eye becomes insensitive thereto, and indeed to the extent of being no longer able to perceive it afterwards even in the white. For it sees that first colour quite distinctly up to the very moment when it turns therefrom to the white. Further, it is well known from experience that we see physiological colours most distinctly and easily early in the morning immediately after we have woken up. But it is just at that time, as the result of a long rest, that the eye is at its maximum strength and is, therefore, least likely to become fatigued through continuously looking for several seconds at a colour and to become dull and deadened to the point of being insensitive thereto. Moreover, there is the awkward fact that, to see physiological colours, we certainly do not need to look at a white surface; for this any colourless surface is suitable, a grey one being the best, but even a black will do. In fact, we see the physiological colour even with our eyes shut! Buffon had already stated this and Scherffer himself admits it in § 17 of his above-mentioned work. Now here we have a case where, as soon as a false theory has reached a definite point, nature stands right in its path and gives it the lie. It is here that Scherffer becomes very nonplussed and admits to finding the greatest difficulty. Yet instead of being puzzled at his theory which can never be consistent, he seizes on all kinds of wretched and absurd hypotheses, wriggles pathetically, and ultimately drops the matter.

I will here mention yet another fact that is only rarely observed because it too furnishes an argument against Scherffer's theory in that according to this it is absolutely unintelligible; but also because it deserves to be shown by a special brief discussion to be consistent with my theory. Thus if there are on a large coloured surface some smaller colourless spots, these will no longer remain colourless when the physiological spectrum that is required by the coloured surface subsequently appears. On the contrary, they will appear in the colour of the whole surface which existed in the first instance, although they have not been in any way affected by its complement. For example, from looking at a green wall with small grey windows, there follows, as spectrum, a red wall with green not grey windows. According to my theory, we have to explain this by saying that, after a definite qualitative half of its activity was brought about on the whole of the retina by the coloured surface, some small spots were nevertheless excluded from that excitation. With the cessation of the external stimulus, the complement of that half of the retina's activity which was excited by it, subsequently appears as spectrum. The spots that were excluded from that stimulus then take over in sympathy that qualitative half of the retina's activity which existed in the first instance. For now they imitate, as it were, what was done previously by the whole of the remaining part of the retina, whereas they alone were excluded from this by the failure of the stimulus to appear in their case. Consequently, they afterwards went through the exercise, so to speak.

Finally, if anyone wishes to raise a difficulty by saying that, when we look at a multicoloured surface, the retina's activity is, according to my theory, distributed simultaneously in a hundred places in very different proportions, let him reflect that, when we listen to the harmony of a large orchestra, or to the rapid runs of a virtuoso, the ear-drum and auditory nerve are moved now in simultaneous vibrations and then in those that most rapidly succeed one another, according to different numerical ratios. The intelligence arithmetically grasps and assesses all these; it receives the aesthetic effect from them and at once notices every deviation from the mathematical accuracy of a tone. He will then see that I have not credited with too much the far more perfect sense of sight.

§ 105

It is only through my theory that full justice has been done to the essentially subjective nature of colour, although the sense of this is already expressed in the old proverb des gouts et des couleurs il ne faut disputer. [5] But what Kant says about aesthetic judgement or the judgement of taste here applies to colour, namely that it is indeed only subjective and yet, like one that is objective, claims to receive the assent of all those who are normally constituted. If we did not have a subjective anticipation of the six principal colours which gives us an a priori standard for them, we should have no judgement concerning the purity of a given colour; for its designation would then be merely conventional through a name of its own, as is actually the case with many fashionable colours. Accordingly, we should be incapable of understanding many things, for instance what Goethe says of true red, that it is the red of carmine, not the ordinary scarlet that is yellowish-red; whereas this is now very easy for us to understand and is then clear to all.

To this essentially subjective nature of colour is ultimately due the extreme readiness with which chemical colours change. Sometimes this goes so far that only an exceedingly small change, or one that cannot even be detected, in the properties of the object in which the colour is inherent, corresponds to a total change of that colour. For example, sulphide of mercury obtained by fusing together mercury and sulphur is black (just as is a similar combination of lead with sulphur). Only after it has been sublimated, does it assume the well-known fiery-red colour; and yet through this sublimation it is not possible to detect a chemical change. Red mercuric oxide, when merely warmed, becomes dark brown and yellow nitrate of mercury becomes red. A well-known Chinese cosmetic comes to us on little pieces of pasteboard and is then dark green; when touched with a wet finger, it instantly turns to a bright red. Even the turning red of crabs through boiling is relevant to the point in question; also the sudden turning of many leaves from green to red at the first frost, and the turning red of apples on the side that gets the sunlight. This is attributed to a more vigorous deoxidation of that side in the same way that some plants have the stem and the whole framework of the leaf in bright red, but the parenchyma in green; also in general the diversity of colours of many petals. In other cases, we can show the chemical difference that is indicated by the colour to be very small, for example when tincture of litmus or violets changes colour through the slightest trace of oxidation or alkalization. In all this, we now see that, in the chemical sense, the eye is the most sensitive reagent, for it instantly shows us not only the smallest traceable changes of the mixture, but even those that no other reagent can indicate. On this incomparable sensitiveness of the eye depends generally the possibility of chemical colours, which in itself is still wholly unexplained. Through Goethe, on the other hand, we have at last arrived at a correct insight into physical colours, despite the fact that Newton's much advertised and false theory rendered this more difficult. Physical colours are related to chemical exactly as magnetism that is produced by galvanic apparatus, and is to that extent intelligible from its immediate cause, is to the magnetism that is fixed in steel and iron ores. The former gives a temporary magnetism which lasts only through a complex set of circumstances and ceases to exist as soon as these disappear; the latter, on the other hand, is inherent in a body, unalterable, and till now unexplained. It is just bewitched, like an enchanted prince. Now the same holds good of the chemical colour of a body.

§ 106

In my theory I have shown that even the production of white from colours rests exclusively on a physiological basis, since it occurs only by the fact that a pair of colours and hence two which are complementary, in other words, two into which the retina's activity is halved and separated, are again brought together. Now this can happen only if the two external causes that stimulate in the eye each of the two colours act simultaneously on one and the same spot of the retina. I have mentioned several ways of bringing this about; the easiest and simplest is when we allow the violet of the prismatic spectrum to fall on yellow paper. But in so far as we will not rest content with merely prismatic colours, we shall succeed best by uniting a transparent with a reflected colour, for example by allowing light to fall through a reddish-yellow glass on to a mirror of blue glass. The expression 'complementary colours' has truth and meaning only in so far as it is understood in the physiological sense; otherwise it has none at all.

Goethe has wrongly denied the possibility of producing white from colours generally; but this was because Newton had stated it from a false argument and in a false sense. If it were true in the Newtonian sense, or if Newton's theory in general were correct, then, in the first place, every combination of two of the fundamental colours assumed by him would inevitably give us at once a colour brighter than each of them separately, since the combination of two homogeneous parts of the white light that is divided into these would already be a step back towards the restoration of that white light. But this is not for one moment the case. Thus if we bring together in pairs the three colours which are fundamental in the chemical sense and of which all the rest are composed, then blue and red give us violet that is darker than either of these; blue and yellow give green that is indeed much darker than the latter, although it is somewhat brighter than the former; yellow and red give orange that is brighter than the latter but darker than the former. Already one sees here a really adequate refutation of Newton's theory.

But the real, effective, conclusive, and inescapable refutation thereof is the achromatic refractor; and precisely on this account Newton very consistently regarded such a thing as impossible. Thus if white light consists of seven kinds of light each of which has a different colour and at the same time a different refrangibility, then the degree of refraction and the colour of the light are of necessity inseparably associated. Thus where light is refracted, it must also appear coloured, however much the refraction be varied and complicated and drawn apart; only so long as not all the seven rays are again completely brought together into a heap and thus, according to Newton's theory, white is recomposed, all effect of refraction then at the same time being ended and so everything again back in its place. Now when the invention of achromatism revealed the very opposite of this result, the Newtonians in their embarrassment seized on an explanation that, with Goethe, we feel tempted to regard as senseless verbiage; for with the best will in the world, it is very difficult to attribute to it even an intelligible meaning, that is, something that can to a certain extent be represented in intuitive perception. Thus besides the colour-refraction, there is said to occur a colour-dispersion different therefrom; and by this is to be understood the distance of the separate coloured lights from one another, their dispersion, which is the most direct cause of the lengthening of the spectrum. But ex hypothesi [6] this is the effect of the different refrangibility of those coloured rays. Now if this so-called dispersion, that is, the lengthening of the spectrum and thus of the sun's image after refraction, is due to the fact that light consists of different coloured lights each of which has by its nature a different refrangibility, in other words, is refracted at a different angle, then this definite refrangibility of each light must always and everywhere adhere to it as an essential quality. Therefore the separate homogeneous light must be refracted always in the same way just as it is coloured always in the same way. For Newton's homogeneous light-ray and its colour are absolutely one and the same; it is simply a coloured ray and nothing else. Hence where there is a light-ray, there also is its colour; and where there is colour, there too is its ray. If ex hypothesi it lies in the nature of every such differently coloured ray to be refracted at a different angle, then its colour will also accompany it into this and every angle; consequently the different colours must make their appearance at every refraction. And so to attribute any meaning and sense to the Newtonians' favourite explanation that' two different kinds of refracting medium can refract light with equal intensity but disperse colours in a different degree', we must assume that, while crown-glass and flint-glass refract light as a whole and thus white light with equal intensity, yet the parts whereof this very whole through and through consists are refracted differently by flint-glass from the way in which they are by crown-glass and thus alter their refrangibility. A hard nut to crack! Moreover, they must change their refrangibility in such a way that, with the use of flint-glass, the most refrangible rays acquire an even greater refrangibility, whereas the least refrangible assume one that is even smaller; and therefore that this flint-glass increases the refrangibility of certain rays and at the same time diminishes that of certain others and that nevertheless the whole, which consists of these rays alone, retains its previous refrangibility. Despite all this, that dogma, which is so difficult to understand, is still held in universal esteem and respect; and even at the present day we can see from the optical writings of all nations how seriously people speak of the difference between refraction and dispersion. Now let us return to truth!

The immediate and essential cause of the achromatism that is brought about by means of the combination of the convex lens from crown-glass, and of the concave lens from flint-glass, is without doubt entirely physiological. Thus it is the production of the retina's full activity on those places that are affected by physical colours, since here two colours, certainly not seven, namely two which together make up that activity, are brought on to each other; and so a pair of colours is again united. Objectively or physically this is brought about in the following way. Through a refraction that occurs twice in the opposite sense (by means of concave and convex lenses), there results the opposite colour-phenomenon, namely a yellowish-red border with yellow fringe, on the one hand, and a blue border with violet fringe, on the other. But this refraction, occurring twice in the opposite sense, at the same time brings those two coloured margins over each other in such a way that the blue border covers the yellowish-red, and the violet fringe the yellow; and so these two physiological pairs of colours, namely one of 1/3 and 2/3 and the other of 1/4 and 3/4 of the retina's full activity, are again united; consequently, colourlessness or achromatism is also re-established. This, then, is the direct cause of achromatism.

But what is the remoter cause? Thus as the required dioptric result, namely a surplus of refraction that remains colourless, is brought about by the fact that the flint-glass, acting in the opposite sense, is able to neutralize with a considerably smaller refraction the colour-phenomenon of the crown-glass through an, opposite phenomenon that is just as broad, since its own colour borders and fringes are originally considerably broader than those of the crown-glass, the question then arises how it is that two different kinds of refracting media with equal refraction give us such a very different width of colour-phenomenon. A very adequate account of this can be given according to Goethe's theory, if we go into this more fully and thus more clearly than did he himself. His deduction of the prismatic colour-phenomenon from his first principle that he calls primary phenomenon, is perfectly correct. The only thing is that he did not go far enough into details, whereas without a certain amount of precise examination, it is impossible to do justice to such things. He quite correctly explains the coloured border-phenomenon that accompanies refraction from a secondary image accompanying the main one that is displaced by refraction. But he did not specifically state the position and mode of acting of this secondary image and did not make this clear by a sketch. In fact, he speaks throughout of only one secondary image and the result is that we have to assume that not merely the light or luminous image, but also the darkness surrounding it undergoes a refraction. I must, therefore, supplement his facts in order to show how that varied breadth of the coloured border-phenomenon really arises with equal refraction but different refracting substances, a phenomenon that the Newtonians describe by the senseless expression of a difference of refraction and dispersion.

First of all, a word or two on the origin of these secondary images that accompany the main image during refraction. Natura non facit saltus; [7] this is the law of the continuity of all changes by virtue of which no transition in nature occurs suddenly and abruptly whether in space, or time, or in the degree of any quality or property. Now when light enters and again emerges from a prism, it is twice diverted suddenly from its straight path. Are we then to assume that this occurs with such abruptness and sharpness that the light does not suffer even the slightest blending with the surrounding darkness, but, wheeling right across this at large angles, preserves its edges most distinctly and sharply, so that it emerges with unalloyed purity and remains wholly intact? Is it not more natural to assume that, in the first as well as the second refraction, a very small part of this mass of light does not take up the new alignment rapidly enough and so becomes somewhat detached and now, as it were, remembering as an afterthought the path just forsaken, accompanies the main image as a secondary one that floats somewhat over it after one refraction and somewhat under it after the other? In fact in this connection, we could think of the polarization of light by means of a mirror that reflects back one part of it and lets through another.

The following figure shows more particularly how, in accordance with Goethe's fundamental law, the four prismatic colours arise from the effect of those two secondary images that fall off with prismatic refraction. It is those four colours alone and not seven that really exist.

Image

This figure represents a disc of white paper, some four inches in diameter, stuck on to a dull black paper, as it appears in nature and not according to Newtonian fictions, when looked at through a prism at a distance of about three yards. Now anyone who wants to know what we are talking about must convince himself of this by personal inspection. By holding the prism in front of his eyes and first approaching and then moving away from the disc, he will almost immediately perceive the two secondary images. He will see how they follow his movements and deviate more or less from the main image, and how they shift over each other. Prismatic experiments generally may be made in two different ways; either so that refraction precedes reflection, or vice versa. The former happens when the sun's image passes through the prism on to the wall; the latter occurs when we look at a white image through a prism. This method is not only less troublesome to carry out, but also shows much more clearly the actual phenomenon because here the effect of refraction directly reaches the eye. Thus we have the advantage of receiving the effect at first hand, whereas with the other method we obtain it only at second hand, after reflection from the wall has occurred. A second advantage is that the light comes from an object that is close to us, sharply defined, and not dazzling. Therefore the white disc here described shows quite distinctly the two secondary images which accompany it and which have been brought about by a refraction that occurs twice and shifts it upwards. The secondary image, resulting from the first refraction that occurs when the light enters the prism, trails behind and therefore remains with its extreme edge in darkness and covered thereby. The other secondary image, however, resulting with the second refraction and thus when the light emerges from the prism, moves forward rapidly and thus is drawn over the darkness. But the manner of acting of both extends, although more feebly, to that part of the main image which is weakened by their loss; and so only that part of it which remains covered by both secondary images and thus retains its full light, appears white. On the other hand, where one secondary image alone contends with the darkness, or the main image that is somewhat weakened by the loss of this secondary image is already impaired by the darkness, colours result, and moreover in accordance with Goethe's law. Consequently, we see violet occur on the upper part where one secondary image alone advancing rapidly is drawn over the black surface; but under it we see blue where the main image, nevertheless weakened by the loss, is operating. On the lower part of the image, however, where the individual secondary image remains in darkness, yellowish-red appears; but over this we have yellow where the weakened main image already shines through. In the same way, the rising sun, at first covered by the denser lower atmosphere, appears yellowish-red and is yellow only when it has reached the more rarefied atmosphere.

Now if we have really grasped and understood this, we shall not find it difficult to see, at any rate in a general way, why with the same refraction of light some refracting media, like flint-glass, give the phenomenon of a wider coloured edge, whilst others, like crown-glass, give one that is narrower; or, in the language of the Newtonians, what gives rise to the lack of uniformity in light refraction and colour dispersion. Thus refraction is the distance of the main image from its line of incidence; dispersion, on the other hand, is the distance of the two secondary images from the main image which occurs here. But now we find this accidental property existing in varying degrees in different kinds of light-refracting substances. Accordingly, two transparent bodies can have the same power of refraction; in other words, the image passing through them is deflected an equal amount from its line of incidence. Nevertheless, the secondary images that cause the colour-phenomenon, may deviate from the main image more with refraction through one body than with that through another.

Now to compare this account of the facts with the Newtonian explanation of the phenomenon which has been so often repeated and is analysed above, I select the expression of the latter which is given in the following words in the Munchner Gelehrte Anzeigen of 27 October 1836, after the philosophical transactions: 'Different transparent substances refract the various homogeneous lights in very unequal proportion; 8 so that the spectrum produced by different refracting media, and moreover in similar circumstances, acquires a very different extension.' If the lengthening of the spectrum were the result of the unequal refrangibility of the homogeneous lights themselves, it would necessarily have proved to be everywhere in accordance with the degree of refraction. Therefore only in consequence of the greater refractive power of a medium could there arise a greater lengthening of the image. Now if this is not the case, but of two media having equal refractive power, one gives a longer and the other a shorter spectrum, this proves that the lengthening of the spectrum is not the direct effect of refraction, but merely that of an accident accompanying refraction. Now the secondary images here arising are such an accident; these may very well deviate more or less from the main image with equal refraction, according to the nature of the refracting substance.

Ought we not to suppose that considerations of this sort would inevitably open the eyes of the Newtonians? We should indeed, if we did not yet know how great and formidable is the influence which is exercised on branches of knowledge and in fact on all intellectual attainments by the will, that is, by tendencies and inclinations and, to speak more precisely, by evil tendencies. In 1840 Eastlake, the English painter and Keeper of the National Gallery, produced such an excellent translation of Goethe's colour theory that it was a perfect reproduction of the original; it can be read and in fact understood more easily than the original. We must now see how Brewster reacts to it when writing a criticism of it in the Edinburgh Review. His behaviour is not unlike that of a tigress

ON THE THEORY OF COLOURS 195 into whose lair a man enters for the purpose of seizing her cubs. Is this like the tone of calm and certain conviction in face of a great man's error? On the contrary, it is the tone of an intellectual bad conscience which suspects with alarm that the other party is right and is resolved to defend, [x], [9] now as a national possession the pseudo-science that is thoughtlessly accepted without investigation. By adhering to it, one is already compromised. And so if Newton's colour theory is regarded by Englishmen as a national affair, a good French translation of Goethe's work would be highly desirable; for we may certainly hope to see justice done by the French learned world who to this extent are neutral, although even here there are sometimes amusing instances of their partiality for the Newtonian colour theory. For example, in the Journal des savans, April 1836, Biot relates with cordial approbation how Arago prepared very cunning experiments in order to ascertain whether the seven homogeneous lights do have perhaps an unequal velocity of propagation, so that from the variable fixed stars that are now nearer, now more distant, red or violet light arrives first and thus the star appears to assume different colours in succession. But fortunately in the end he had discovered that this was not so. Sancta simplicitas! [10] A pretty exhibition is given also by M. Becquerel who in a memoire presente a l' academie des sciences, 13 June 1842, chants afresh the same old tune as if it were something new: si l' on refracte un faisceau (sic) de rayons solaires a travers un prisme de flint-glass, et qu'on recoive sur un carton blanc l'image oblongue refractee, on distingue ASSEZ NETTEMENT (here is a qualm of conscience) sept sortes de couleurs, ou sept parties de l'image qui sont colorees chacune a peu pres de la meme teinte: ces couleurs sont: le rouge, l'orange, le jaune, le vert, le bleu, l'indigo (this mixture of 3/4 black with 1/4 blue is said to be found in light!) et le violet, cette derniere etant celle des rayons les plus refrangibles. [11] As M. Becquerel still has the effrontery to chant so fearlessly and frankly this piece from the Newtonian credo thirty-two years after the appearance of Goethe's colour theory, we might feel tempted to declare to him assez nettement: 'Either you are blind or are lying.' But then we should be doing him an injustice, for it is merely a case of M. Becquerel preferring to believe Newton rather than the evidence of his own two eyes. This is the effect of Newtonian superstition.

But so far as the Germans are concerned, their judgement of Goethe's colour theory is in keeping with the expectations we must have from a nation that could for thirty years praise Hegel as the greatest of all thinkers and sages, that scribbler of nonsense and absolutely hollow philosophaster, who is devoid of mind and merit. In fact, they all join in the chorus to such an extent that the whole of Europe echoes with the noise. I know quite well that desipere est juris gentium, [12] in other words, that everyone has the right to judge in accordance with his intellect and his wishes. But in return for this, he will have to put up with being criticized for his opinions by the generations to come and in advance by his own; for there is still a Nemesis even here.

§ 107

At the close of these supplementary remarks on chromatology, I will quote a few interesting facts which serve to corroborate Goethe's fundamental law of physical colours, but which he himself did not notice.

If in a dark room we discharge the electricity of a conductor into a vacuum glass tube, this electric light appears as a very beautiful violet. Here as with blue flames, the light itself is at the same time the cloudy medium. For there is no essential difference whether the illuminated dimness or cloudiness, through which we peer into the dark, casts into our eye its own or reflected light. But since this electric light is here exceedingly faint and feeble, it gives rise to violet, wholly in accordance with Goethe's theory, instead of blue being produced even by the feeblest flame such as that of methylated spirit, sulphur, and so on.

A common everyday proof of Goethe's theory which was overlooked by him, is that many bottles filled with red wine or dark beer, after standing for a long time in a cellar, often undergo a noticeable cloudiness of the glass through a deposit on the inside. In consequence of this, they then appear bright blue when the light falls on them, and likewise when we hold something black behind them after they have been emptied. With light that shines through, on the other hand, they show the colour of the liquid or, when empty, that of the glass.

The coloured rings that appear when we firmly press together with our fingers two pieces of polished plate-glass or even polished convex glasses, may be explained in the following way. Glass is not without elasticity; and so with that strong compression the surface to some extent gives and is flattened. For a moment, therefore, it loses its perfect smoothness and evenness, whereby a gradually increasing cloudiness results. And so here too we have a cloudy medium and the different degrees of its cloudiness, with partially incident partially transmitted light, give rise to the coloured rings. If we release the pressure from the glass, its former condition is at once restored by the elasticity and the rings disappear. Newton placed a lens on a glass plate; and so the rings are called Newtonian. The present-day undulation theory bases its calculation of the oscillation-numbers of the colours on the curvature of this lens and on the space between it and its tangent. Here it assumes the air in that intervening space to be a medium different from glass and accordingly assumes refraction and homogeneous lights. All this is quite incredible. (See the description of the facts in Ule's Die Natur, 30 June 1859, no. 26.) For this it is not necessary to have a lens at all; two pieces of plate-glass pressed with the fingers give the best result and the longer we press them in different places, the better the result. Here there is no intervening space at all with its layer of air, for they are stuck together pneumatically. (We must previously breathe on them.) In the same way, the colours of soap-bubbles are the effect of varying local cloudinesses of this semi-transparent material; likewise the colours of a layer of turpentine, old window-panes that have become dull, and so on.

Goethe had the true objective insight into the nature of things, a view that is given up entirely to this. Newton was a mere mathematician, always anxious to measure and calculate, and taking as the basis of this purpose a theory that was pieced together from the superficially understood phenomenon. This is the truth; and you can make what faces you like!

Here the greater public may be informed of one more article with which I have filled the two sides of my sheet in the album that was published by the city of Frankfurt and deposited in their library on the occasion of the centenary of Goethe's birth in 1849. The introduction to it refers to the very impressive ceremonies with which the day was publicly celebrated in that city.

THE FRANKFURT GOETHE-ALBUM

No garlanded monuments, nor the firing of salutes, nor the ringing of bells, let alone banquets and speeches, can suffice to atone for the grievous and revolting injustice and wrong suffered by Goethe in connection with his theory of colours. For instead of its perfect truth and excellence meeting with just and well-merited approbation, it is generally regarded as an abortive attempt. Professional men merely laugh at it, as was recently expressed in a periodical; in fact, they look upon it as a weakness of the great man which is to be treated with indulgence and covered with oblivion. This unprecedented injustice and unheard-of perversion of all truth became possible only by the fact that an apathetic, indolent, and indifferent public, devoid of all power of judgement and therefore easily imposed on in this matter, renounced all investigation and examination of their own, however easy these might be even without previous knowledge, in order to leave such matters to the 'professional men', that is, to those who pursue a branch of knowledge not for its own sake, but for the purpose of reward. And this public now allows itself to be impressed by such men with their peremptory utterances and serious countenances. Now if it was its intention not to judge for itself but, like little children, to let itself be guided by authority, then that of the greatest man, whom along with Kant the nation boasts, should certainly have carried more weight than that of many thousands of such men of the trade put together, and especially in a matter that he had made his chief concern throughout the whole of his life. Now as regards the decision of these professional men, the plain unvarnished truth is that they were heartily ashamed of themselves when it came to light that they had not only allowed themselves to be hoaxed by the palpably false, but for over a hundred years without any inquiries and investigations of their own had revered, taught, and propagated it in blind faith and with devoted admiration, until at last an old poet had come along to teach them something better. After this humiliation which they could not get over, they then grew callous, as is usual with transgressors, arrogantly refused subsequent information, and, by obstinately sticking for over forty years to the obviously false and even absurd, discovered and proved to be such, have gained a respite, it is true, but have increased their guilt a hundredfold. For veritatem laborare nimis saepe, extingui nunquam, [13] as Livy has said. The day of disillusionment is at hand and must come; and what then? Then 'we gladly assume what airs we can.' (Egmont, Act III, Sc. 2.)

In those German states that possess academies of learning, the ministers of public instruction placed in charge thereof could show most nobly and sincerely their veneration for Goethe which undoubtedly exists, by giving such academies the task of furnishing within a fixed time a thorough and detailed investigation and critique of Goethe's colour theory together with their decision as regards its opposition to Newton's. Perhaps those highly placed officials might hear my voice and, as it appeals for justice to our most illustrious dead, they might gratify it without first consulting those who, by their inexcusable silence, are themselves accessories to the crime. This is the surest way to remove from Goethe that unmerited ignominy. It would then no longer be a case of disposing of the matter with peremptory utterances and serious faces; nor would the audacious pretence ever again be allowed a hearing that here it was a question not of judgement, but of lengthy calculations. On the contrary, the heads of corporations would see themselves faced with the alternative of either giving truth the palm, or of most seriously compromising themselves. And so under the influence of such thumbscrews, we may hope for something from them and, on the other hand, need not have the least fear. When examined seriously and honestly, Newton's chimeras obviously do not exist at all, but are merely seven prismatic colours, invented in favour of the tonic sol-fa; thus the red that is not one; the simple primary green that appears in the clearest manner before our eyes, quite naively and openly, as a mixture of blue and yellow; but in particular, the monstrosity of homogeneous lights of dark and even indigo colour which are to be found concealed in clear pure sunlight; and, moreover, their different refrangibility to which any pair of achromatic opera glasses will give the lie. Now I ask, how could such fictions be right in face of Goethe's clear and simple truth and of his explanation of all physical colour phenomena which has been reduced to one great natural law? Everywhere and in all possible circumstances nature furnishes staunch and impartial evidence in favour of that law. We might just as well be afraid of seeing the refutation of one multiplied by one! Qui non Libere veritatem pronuntiat, proditor veritatis est. [14]

_______________

Notes:

1 ['Everyone has the failings of his virtues.']
 
2 [Faust, Pt. II, Bayard Taylor's translation.]
 
3 ['An occult (colour-stimulating) quality'.]

4 ['From the assumptions'; 'from the premisses'.]

5 ['One must not argue about tastes and colours.']
 
6 ['According to the assumption'.]
 
7 ['Nature makes no jumps.' (Law of continuity first laid down by Aristotle.)]
 
8 Yet the sum of these, namely white light, in equal proportion! I add this as a  supplement.
 
9 ['Tooth and nail'.]

10 ['Sacred simplicity'. (Said to have been uttered by Johann Hus at the stake as a peasant in blind belief cast a piece of wood into the flames.)]

11 ['If we refract a pencil of solar rays through a prism of flint-glass and receive on a white card the oblong refracted image, we distinguish clearly enough seven kinds of colours or seven parts of the image each of which is coloured with approximately the same tint. These colours are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; the last being that of the most refrangible rays.'
 
12 ['To be foolish and unwise is man's right.'] 

13 [' Only too often is truth hard-pressed, but she can never be destroyed.']
 
14 ['Whoever does not freely and frankly acknowledge the truth is a betrayer  thereof.']
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:34 pm

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER 8: On Ethics

§ 108

Physical truths can have much external significance, but lack internal. The latter is the prerogative of intellectual and moral truths which have as their theme the highest stages of the objectification of the will, whereas the former have the lowest. If, for example, we reached certainty concerning what is now merely surmise, namely that the sun at the equator gives rise to thermo-electricity, this to the earth's magnetism, and this again to polar light, such truths would be of great external significance, but of little internal. On the other hand, examples of internal significance are afforded not only by all superior and genuinely intellectual philosophemes, but also by the catastrophe of every good tragedy and even by the observation of human conduct in its extreme expressions of morality and immorality and thus of wickedness and goodness. For in all this there stands out the true essence whose phenomenal appearance is the world; and at the highest stage of its objectification it brings to light its inner nature.

§ 109

That the world has only a physical and not a moral significance is a fundamental error, one that is the greatest and most pernicious, the real perversity of the mind. At bottom, it is also that which faith has personified as antichrist. Nevertheless, and in spite of all religions which one and all assert the contrary and try to establish this in their own mythical way, that fundamental error never dies out entirely, but from time to time raises its head afresh until universal indignation forces it once more to conceal itself.

But however certain the feeling is of a moral significance of the world and life, its elucidation and the unravelling of the contradiction between it and the course of the world are so difficult that it was reserved for me to expound the true and only genuine and pure foundation of morality which is, therefore, always and everywhere sound, together with the goal to which it leads. Here I have the reality of moral events too much on my side for me to have to be concerned whether this doctrine could ever again be superseded and displaced by another.

However, so long as my ethics continues to be ignored by the professors, the Kantian moral principle prevails at the universities and of its different forms the most popular is now that of the 'Dignity of Man'. I have already expounded the hollowness of this in my essay On the Basis of Ethics, § 8. And so here we say only this much. Ifit were asked in general on what this so-called dignity of man rested, the answer would soon be that it rested on his morality. Thus the morality rests on the dignity and the dignity on the morality. But even apart from this, it seems to me that the notion of dignity could be applied only ironically to a creature like man who is so sinful in will, so limited in intellect, and so vulnerable and feeble in body:

Quid superbit homo? cujus conceptio culpa,
Nasci poena, labor vita, necesse mori! [1]


I would, therefore, like to lay down the following rule in contrast to the above-mentioned moral principle of Kant. In the case of every man with whom we come in contact, we should not undertake an objective estimation of his worth and dignity; and so we should not take into consideration the wickedness of his will, the limitation of his intellect, or the perversity of his notions; for the first could easily excite our hatred and the last our contempt. On the contrary, we should bear in mind only his sufferings, his need, anxiety, and pain. We shall then always feel in sympathy with him, akin to him, and, instead of hatred or contempt, we shall experience compassion; for this alone is the [x] [2] to which the Gospel summons us. The standpoint of sympathy or compassion is the only one suitable for curbing hatred or contempt, certainly not that of seeking our pretended 'dignity'.

§ 110

In consequence of their deeper ethical and metaphysical views, the Buddhists start not from the cardinal virtues, but from the cardinal vices, as the opposite or negation of which the cardinal virtues first make their appearance. According to 1. J. Schmidt's Geschichte der Ostmongolen, p. 7, the Buddhist cardinal vices are lust, idleness, anger, and greed. But probably arrogance should take the place of idleness; they are stated thus in the Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, 1819 edn., volume vi, p. 372, where, however, envy or hatred is added as a fifth. My correction of the highly eminent I.J. Schmidt's statement is supported by its agreement with the teachings of the Sufis who in any case are under the influence of Brahmanism and Buddhism. These two lay down the same cardinal vices and indeed very effectively in pairs, so that lust is seen associated with greed, and anger with arrogance. (See Tholuck's Bluthensammlung aus der morgenlandischen Mystik, p. 206.) Even in the Bhagavadgita (chap. 16(21) we find lust, anger, and greed laid down as the cardinal vices, a fact that testifies to the great age of the doctrine. Similarly in the Prabodha Chandro Daya, this philosophical allegorical drama that is so important for the Vedanta philosophy, these three cardinal vices appear as the three generals of King Passion in his war against King Reason [Vernunft]. The cardinal virtues opposed to those cardinal vices would prove to be chastity and generosity together with meekness and mildness.

Now if we compare these deeply conceived, oriental basic ideas of ethics with Plato's cardinal virtues that are so famous and are repeated so many thousands of times, namely justice, bravery, moderation, and wisdom, we shall find that these are without a clear guiding fundamental idea and that they are, therefore, superficially chosen and in part even palpably false. Virtues must be qualities of the will; but wisdom is connected primarily with the intellect. The [x] that is translated by Cicero as temperantia, and into German as Massigkeit [moderation, temperance], is a very indefinite and ambiguous expression under which, of course, many different things may be brought, such as circumspection, prudence, coolness, sobriety, or holding up one's head. It comes probably from [x], [3] or as the writer Hierax says according to Stobaeus, Florilegium, c. 5, § 60 (vol. i, p. 134 of the Gaisford edition): [x]. [4] Bravery is no virtue at all, although it is sometimes the servant or instrument thereof; yet it is also just as ready to serve the greatest baseness and infamy; it is, properly speaking, a characteristic of temperament. Geulinx (Ethica, in praefatione) rejected Plato's cardinal virtues and put forward diligentia, obedientia, justitia, and humilitas; [5] obviously a bad selection. The Chinese mention five cardinal virtues, sympathy, justice, politeness, knowledge, and sincerity (Journal asiatique, vol. ix, p. 62). Samuel Kidd, China (London, 1841, p. 197) calls them benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, and gives a detailed commentary to each. Christianity has no cardinal virtues but theological, namely faith, love, and hope.

The point where man's moral virtues and vices first diverge is that contrast in his fundamental attitude to others which assumes the character either of envy or of sympathy. For every man bears within himself these two diametrically opposite characteristics since they spring from the inevitable comparison of his own state with that of others. Now according as the result of this comparison affects his individual character, one or other quality becomes his fundamental attitude and the source of his conduct. Thus envy more firmly builds up the wall between You and I; for sympathy it becomes thin and transparent; in fact it is sometimes completely demolished by this quality and then the distinction between I and not-I vanishes.

§ 111

Bravery, as previously mentioned, or more precisely the courage underlying it (for bravery is only courage in war), merits an even more detailed examination. The ancients reckoned courage as one of the virtues and cowardice as one of the vices; but this does not accord with the Christian sense which is directed to benevolence, patience, and resignation, and whose teaching forbids all enmity and, properly speaking, even resistance; and so with the moderns it has disappeared. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that cowardice does not seem to be really compatible with a noble character because of the excessive concern for one's own person which is here betrayed. Now courage is reducible to the fact that, at the present moment, we willingly encounter threatening evils in order to guard against greater ones that lie in the future, whereas cowardice does the opposite. Now the former is the character of patience, consisting as it does in our being clearly aware that there are even greater evils than those actually present and that such might be brought on by our rushing away from or warding off those that are present. Accordingly, courage would be a kind of patience; and just because it is this that enables us to put up with privations and self-conquests of every kind, so, by means of it, courage too is at any rate akin to virtue.

Yet it admits possibly of a higher method of consideration. Thus we might reduce all fear of death to a want of that natural metaphysics which is, therefore, merely felt and by virtue whereof man carries within himself the certainty that he exists just as much in everything, yes everything, as he does in his own person whose death can, therefore, do him little harm. Accordingly, from this very certainty there sprang heroic courage and consequently (as the reader will recall from my Ethics) from the same source with the virtues of justice and loving kindness. Now this is, of course, equivalent to our seizing the matter from very high up; yet it is not really possible to explain in any other way why cowardice appears to be contemptible and personal courage, on the other hand, noble and sublime. For from a lower standpoint, it cannot be seen why a finite individual, who himself is everything in fact is himself the fundamental condition for the existence of the rest of the world, should not subordinate everything else to the maintenance of himself. And so a wholly immanent and thus purely empirical explanation will really not suffice, since it could be based only on the usefulness of courage. This may have been the origin of Calderon's once expressing a sceptical but noteworthy view on courage; in fact he actually denied its reality; and this he does from the lips of a wise old minister in the presence of his young king.

Que aunque el natural temor
En todos obra igualmente,
No mostrarle es ser valiente,
Y esto es lo que hace el valor.

-- La hija del aire, Pt. II, Jorn. 2.

For although natural fear is active in everyone in the same way, a man is brave by his not letting it be seen, and it is just this that constitutes bravery.

-- Daughter of the Air, Pt. II, A. 2.


With regard to the differences, previously touched on, between the value of courage as a virtue among the ancients and the moderns, it must nevertheless be borne in mind that the ancients understood by virtue, virtus, [x], every excellence, every quality praiseworthy in itself, whether moral, intellectual, or perhaps merely physical. But after Christianity had shown that the fundamental tendency of life is moral, only moral excellences were thought of under the concept of virtue. However, we find the earlier usage in the older Latinists and also in Italian, as is testified by the well-known meaning of the word virtuoso. We should draw the express attention of students to this wider sphere of the concept virtue among the ancients, as otherwise it may with them easily give rise to a secret perplexity. For this purpose, I specially recommend two passages that are preserved for us by Stobaeus, the one emanating ostensibly from Metopos, a Pythagorean, in the first chapter of the Florilegium, § 64, (vol. i, p. 22 of Gaisford), where the fitness of every member of our body is declared to be [x]; and the other in his Eclogae ethicae, lib. II, c. 7 (p. 272, ed. Heeren), where it says quite plainly: [x] (sutoris virtus dicitur secundum quam probum calceum novit parare). [6] This is why the ethics of the ancients speaks of vices and virtues that find no place in our own.

§ 112

Just as there is some doubt about the place of bravery among the virtues, so also is there about that of avarice among the vices. However, we must not confuse it with the greed that is expressed primarily by the Latin word avaritia. We will, therefore, allow the pro et contra concerning greed to be brought forward and heard, whereupon the final judgement may be left to the reader.

A: 'Avarice is not a vice, but its opposite, extravagance, is. This springs from an animal limitation to the present moment over which the future, that still exists in mere thought, cannot gain any power, and is due to the illusion of a positive and real value of sensual pleasures. Accordingly, future want and misery are the price the spendthrift pays for these empty, fleeting, and often merely imaginary pleasures, or for feeding his empty brainless arrogance on the posturings of his parasites who secretly laugh at him and on the astonishment of the mob and of those who are envious of his pomp and show. We should, therefore, run away from him as from one who is infectious and should break with him in time after we have discovered his vice so that, when the consequences later appear, we do not have to help to bear them, or to play the role of the friends of Timon of Athens. In the same way, we must not expect that the man who thoughtlessly runs through his own fortune will leave another's untouched if it should come into his hands, but alieni appetens, sui profusus, [7] as Sallust has very rightly put it (Catilina, c. 5). Therefore extravagance leads not merely to impoverishment, but through this to crime; criminals from the well-to-do classes have almost all become so in consequence of extravagance. Accordingly, the Koran rightly says (Sura xvii, 1. 27): "Spendthrifts are brothers of Satan." (See Sadi, translated by Graf, p. 254.) Avarice, on the other hand, is attended with superfluity, and when could that be undesirable? But this must be a good vice which has good consequences. Thus avarice starts from the correct principle that all pleasures have a merely negative effect; that a happiness composed of them is, therefore, a chimera; and that pains, on the other hand, are positive and very real. And so the avaricious man denies himself pleasures in order to be better secured against pains; and accordingly his maxim then becomes sustine et abstine. [8] Further, since he knows how inexhaustible are the possibilities of misfortune and how innumerable the paths of danger, he gathers against these all the means in order, if possible, to surround himself with a threefold rampart. Who can say where the precautions against accidents begin to go too far? Only the man who knew where the perfidy of fate attains its end; and even if these precautions were excessive, this error would at most bring harm to himself and not to others. If he will never need the wealth he has accumulated, it will one day benefit others whom nature has endowed with less foresight. That the money is till then withdrawn from circulation is no disadvantage at all, for it is not an article of consumption; on the contrary, it merely represents actual useful goods; it is not itself these. At bottom, ducats are themselves only counters; they have no value, but only what they represent is of value and this cannot be withdrawn from circulation. Moreover, through his retention of the money, the value of what is left in circulation is raised by just as much. Now although, as is asserted, many a miser ultimately loves money directly and for its own sake, so does many a spendthrift just as surely like the spending and wasting of money purely for its own sake. But friendship, or indeed kinship, with a miser is not only without danger, but is even of advantage since it may bring great benefits. For in any case, those nearest to him will after his death reap the fruits of his self-control. But even while he is alive, we can, in cases of great need, hope for something from him, at any rate always more than from the spendthrift who is penniless, helpless, and loaded with debt. Mas da el duro, que el desnudo (more is given by the hard-hearted than by the naked) says a Spanish proverb. In consequence of all this, avarice is not a vice.'

B: 'It is the quintessence of vices! If physical pleasures seduce man from the right path, then his sensual nature, the animal within him, is to blame. Carried away by the excitement and overcome by the impression of the moment, he acts without reflection. If, on the other hand, through physical weakness or old age he has reached a stage where the vices he could never forsake finally forsake him, in that his capacity for sensual pleasures has become extinct, then, if he turns to avarice, intellectual greed survives the sensual. Money, as that which represents all the good things of this world, and is their abstractum, now becomes the withered stem to which his dull and atrophied appetites cling, as egoism in abstracto. They now regenerate themselves in the love of mammon. From the fleeting sensual appetite there has come a well-considered and calculating greed for money. Like its object, such greed is of a symbolical nature and, also like it, is indestructible. It is the obstinate love of the pleasures of the world, outliving itself so to speak, the consummate inconvertibility, the sublimated and spiritualized lust of the flesh, the abstract focal point wherein all desires and appetites centre. This point is, therefore, related to those appetites as the universal concept to particular things. Accordingly, avarice is the vice of old age as extravagance is that of youth.'

§ 113

The disputatio in utramque partem [9] just given is certainly calculated to force us to the juste milieu [10] morality of Aristotle. The following consideration is also favourable to this.

Every human perfection is akin to a fault into which it threatens to pass; conversely, however, every fault is akin to a perfection. And so the error into which we fall in respect of a man is often due to the fact that, at the beginning of our acquaintance, we confuse his faults with the perfections akin to them, or vice versa. The cautious man then seems to us to be cowardly, the thrifty to be avaricious; or again the spendthrift appears to be liberal, the lout straightforward and sincere, the foolhardy to be endowed with noble self-confidence, and so on.

§ 114

Whoever lives among men and women always feels tempted afresh to assume that moral baseness and intellectual incapacity are closely connected in that they spring directly from one root. This, however, is not so, as I have shown at length in the second volume of my chief work, chapter 19, no. 8. That illusion which springs from the fact that we very often find the two together, can be explained entirely from the very frequent occurrence of both, in consequence of which it may easily happen that the two have to dwell under one roof. But it is here undeniable that they play into each other's hands to their mutual advantage, whereby we then have the very unpleasant spectacle which is presented by only too many people, and the world goes on as it does. In particular, want of intelligence is favourable to the appearance of falseness, meanness, and malice, whereas prudence and cleverness are better able to conceal these. On the other hand, how often a man's perversity of heart prevents him from seeing truths to which his intelligence would indeed be quite equal!

Let no one, however, be unduly proud; for everyone, even the greatest genius, is in some sphere of knowledge decidedly limited, and thereby proclaims his kinship with the human race that is essentially wrong-headed and absurd. In the same way, everyone has within himself something morally bad, and even the best and indeed the noblest character will at times surprise us with individual traits of depravity in order, as it were, to acknowledge his kinship with the human race among whom there occur' all degrees of baseness, infamy, and even cruelty. For precisely on the strength of this bad element in him, of this evil principle, he was bound to become a human being. For the same reason, the world generally is what my true mirror of it has shown it to be.

In spite of all this, however, the difference between men remains immeasurably great, and many a man would be shocked if he were to see another as he himself is. O for an Asmodeus of morality who for his minion rendered transparent not merely roofs and walls, but also the veil of dissimulation, falseness, hypocrisy, grimace, lying, and deception that is spread over everything, and who enabled him to see how little genuine honesty is to be found in the world and how often injustice and dishonesty sit at the helm, secretly and in the innermost recess, behind all the virtuous outworks, even where we least suspect them. Hence we see the four-footed friendships of so many men of a better nature; for how could we recover from the endless dissimulation, duplicity, perfidy, and treachery of men if it were not for the dogs into whose open and honest eyes we can look without distrust? Our civilized world, then, is only a great masquerade; here we meet knights, parsons, soldiers, doctors, barristers, priests, philosophers, and the rest. But they are not what they represent themselves to be; they are mere masks beneath which as a rule moneymakers are hidden. One man dons the mask of the law which he has borrowed for the purpose from his barrister, merely in order to be able to come to blows with another. Again, for the same purpose, a second chooses the mask of public welfare and patriotism; a third that of religion or religious reform. Many have already donned for all kinds of purposes the mask of philosophy, philanthropy, and so on. Women have less choice; in most cases, they make use of the mask of maidenly reserve, bashfulness, domesticity, and modesty. Then there are universal masks without any special characteristic, the dominoes, as it were, which are, therefore, met everywhere; we see them in strict integrity, probity, politeness, sincere interest, and grinning friendliness. In most cases, as I have said, manufacturers, tradespeople, and speculators are concealed beneath all these masks. In this respect, merchants constitute the only honest class, for they alone pass themselves off for what they are; and so they go about unmasked and therefore stand low in rank. It is very important for us to learn early in youth that we are living in a masquerade, otherwise we shall be unable to grasp and get at many things but shall stand before them quite puzzled; and indeed those will stand longest who ex meliore tuto finxit praecordia Titan. [11] Such are the favour found by baseness and meanness, the neglect suffered by merit, even by the rarest and greatest, at the hands of the men of its branch, the odium incurred by truth and great abilities, the ignorance of scholars in their own branch. Almost invariably, the genuine article is rejected and the merely spurious sought. And so young men should be taught that in this masquerade the apples are of wax, the flowers of silk, the fish of cardboard, and that everything is a plaything and a jest. They should be told that, of two men who are so seriously discussing something, one is giving nothing but spurious articles, while the other is paying for them in counters.

But more serious considerations are to be made and worse things reported. At bottom, man is a hideous wild beast. We know him only as bridled and tamed, a state that is called civilization; and so we are shocked by the occasional outbursts of his nature. But when and where the padlock and chain of law and order are once removed and anarchy occurs, he then shows himself to be what he is. Meanwhile, whoever would like without such occasions to be enlightened on this point can convince himself from hundreds of ancient and modern accounts that man is inferior to no tiger or hyena in cruelty and pitilessness. An important instance from modern times is furnished by the answer which the British Anti-slavery Society received to their question in 1840 from the North American Anti-slavery Society in respect of the treatment of slaves in the slave-holding states of the North American Union: Slavery and the internal slave-trade in the United States of North America, being replies to questions transmitted by the British Anti-slavery Society to the American Antislavery Society. London, 1841, 280 pp., price 4s. in cloth. This book constitutes one of the gravest indictments against human nature. None will lay it aside without horror and few without tears. For whatever its reader may have heard, imagined, or dreamt about the unhappy state of the slaves or even human harshness and cruelty in general, will seem to him of no account when he reads how those devils in human form, those bigoted, church-going, strict sabbath-observing scoundrels, especially the Anglican parsons among them, treat their innocent black brothers who through violence and injustice have fallen into their devil's claws. This book, which consists of dry but authentic and substantiated accounts, inflames to such a degree all human feeling that, with it in our hands, we could preach a crusade for the subjugation and punishment of the slaveholding states of North America. For they are a disgrace to the whole of humanity. Another example from our own times, for to many the past no longer appears to be of any value, is contained in Tschudi's Reisen in Peru, 1846, in the description of the treatment of the Peruvian soldiers by their officers.* But we need not look for examples in the New World, that reverse side of the planet. It came to light in 1848 that, within a short space of time, there had been in England not one case but a hundred where a husband had poisoned a wife or a wife a husband, or the two their children one after another, or they had slowly tortured them to death through hunger and bad treatment. This they had done merely to receive from the burial clubs the funeral expenses that were guaranteed to them in case of death. For this purpose, they registered a child simultaneously in several clubs, sometimes as many as twenty. The reader should refer to The Times of 20, 22, and 23 September 1848, a paper which, for this reason alone, presses for the abolition of burial clubs. On 12 December 1853 it most emphatically repeats the same denunciation.

Reports of this kind, of course, belong to the blackest pages in the criminal records of the human race; yet the source of this and of everything like it is the inner and innate nature of man, this God [x] [12] of the pantheists. In the first place, there is established in everyone a colossal egoism that leaps with the greatest ease beyond the bounds of justice, as is taught by daily life on a small scale and by every page of history on a large. Is there not in the acknowledged necessity of the European balance of power which is watched with such anxiety a confession that man is a beast of prey who infallibly falls on a weaker neighbour as soon as he has espied him? And do we not obtain daily confirmation of this on a small scale? But allied to the boundless egoism of our nature is also a store, to be found more or less in every human breast, of hatred, anger, envy, rancour, and malice. It is accumulated like the poison in a snake's fang and merely awaits the opportunity to release itself and then to rave and rage like an unleashed demon. If for this no great opportunity presents itself, it will in the end make use of the smallest by magnifying it in the imagination,

Quantulaeunque adeo est occasio, suificit irae. [13]

-- Juvenal, Satires, XIII. 183.


and will then carry things as far as it can and dare. We see this in everyday life where such eruptions are known by the expression 'to give vent to one's spleen over something'. Moreover, it will actually have been observed that the subject feels decidedly better after them if only they have met with no resistance. Even Aristotle says that anger is not without pleasure: [x] (Rhetoric, 1. 11, II. 2), [14] where he adds a passage from Homer who declares anger to be sweeter than honey. But we indulge really con amore not only in anger but also in hatred that is related to it as chronic illness to acute:

Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure:
Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.

-- Byron, Don Juan, can. XIII, st. 6.


Gobineau (Essai sur l'inegalite des races humaines) called man l'animal mechant par excellence [15] and people take this amiss because they feel it is meant for them. But he is right, for man is the only animal who causes pain to others with no other object than wanting to do so. Other animals never do this except to satisfy their hunger or in the heat of conflict. It is said of the tiger that it kills more than it eats, it strangles everything merely with the intention of eating it, and it is simply a case where ses yeux sont plus grands que son estomac, [16] as the French express it. No animal tortures merely for the sake of torturing, but man does and this constitutes the devilish character that is far worse than the merely animal. We have already spoken of the matter on a large scale, but on the small, where everyone daily has an opportunity of observing it, it becomes just as clear. For example, two young dogs are playing with each other, a peaceful and pretty sight; and then a child of three or four appears on the scene. Almost inevitably, it will at once violently beat with its whip or stick, thereby showing that, even at that early age, it is l'animal mechant par excellence. Even teasing and practical joking which are so frequent and purposeless spring from this source. For example, if we have expressed our displeasure at some disturbance or other minor annoyance, there will not be wanting those who for that very reason will bring them about; l'animal mechant par excellence! This is so certain that we should guard against expressing our annoyance at minor inconveniences; on the other hand, we should also beware of expressing our satisfaction over some trifle. For in the latter case, they will do what the gaoler did who, on discovering that his prisoner had performed the difficult trick of taming a spider and found pleasure in it, at once crushed it; l'animal mechant par excellence! Animals, therefore, instinctively fear the sight and even a sign of man, that animal mechant par excellence. Even here instinct does not deceive, for man alone hunts animals that are neither useful nor harmful to him. We have already spoken of human wickedness on a large scale.

And so in the heart of everyone there actually resides a wild beast which merely waits for the opportunity to rage and rave and would like to injure and even destroy others, if they even obstructed its path. It is precisely this that is the source of all love of conflict and war; and it is just this that always gives knowledge, its appointed custodian, so much to do in trying to restrain and keep it somewhat in bounds. In any case, it may be called the radical evil, which will be useful at any rate to those for whom words take the place of an explanation. But I say that it is the will-to-live which, more and more embittered by the constant suffering of existence, seeks to lighten its own pain and distress by inflicting them on others. In this way, however, it gradually develops into real wickedness and cruelty. We may here add the remark that, just as according to Kant matter exists only through the antagonism of the forces of expansion and contraction, so human society exists only through that of hatred or anger and fear. For our spiteful nature would possibly make everyone of us a murderer if it were not mixed with a proper dose off ear in order to keep it within bounds; and again this alone would make him an object of ridicule and the plaything of every boy if anger did not already reside within him and keep watch.

But the worst trait in human nature is always that malicious joy at the misfortune of others, for it is closely akin to cruelty and in fact really differs therefrom only as theory from practice. It appears generally where sympathy should find a place, for this, as its opposite, is the true source of all genuine righteousness and loving kindness. In another sense, envy is opposed to sympathy, in so far as it is called forth by the opposite occasion; and so its opposition to sympathy is due primarily to the occasion and only in consequence thereof does it appear in the feeling itself. Therefore, although reprehensible, envy is nevertheless excusable and generally human, whereas that malicious joy is devilish and its mockery the laughter of hell. It occurs, as I have said, precisely where sympathy should occur; envy, on the other hand, occurs only where there is no occasion for sympathy but rather for the opposite thereof, and arises in the human breast precisely as that opposite and consequently to this extent as a human feeling. Indeed, I am afraid that no one will be found entirely free from it. For it is natural, and in fact inevitable, for a man to feel more bitterly his own lack of pleasures and possessions when he sees those of others; only this should not excite his hatred for those who are more fortunate than he; and yet envy in the real sense consists precisely in this. But it should occur least of all where the gifts of nature are the occasion and not those of fortune, chance, or other people's favours. For everything inborn has a metaphysical basis and thus a justification of a higher order and is, so to speak, by the grace of God. Unfortunately, however, envy works in quite the opposite way and is most implacable in the case of personal merits and advantages.* Therefore intellect and even genius must in the world first beg for forgiveness wherever they are not in a position to venture proudly and boldly to despise the world. Thus if envy has been excited merely through wealth, rank, or power, it is still often appeased by egoism; for the man with feelings of egoism sees that, in certain cases, he can hope for help, pleasure, assistance, protection, advancement, and so on from the one who excites his envy, or that, at any rate by associating with him and basking in the brilliance of his high position, he may even enjoy honour. Moreover, there is still always the hope of one day obtaining for himself all those good things. On the other hand, with natural gifts and personal qualities, such as beauty in women or intellect in men, the envy directed against these derives no consolation of the one kind and no hope of the other, so that there is nothing left for it but to hate bitterly and implacably those who are so favoured and endowed. Therefore its sole desire is to take revenge on its object. Here, however, it now finds itself in the unfortunate position where all its blows prove to be powerless, as soon as one sees that they have resulted from it. It therefore hides itself as carefully as do the secret sins of lust and now becomes an inexhaustible inventor of tricks, dodges, and devices for masking and concealing itself so that unseen it may wound its object. For example, the excellent qualities that eat into its heart, will be ignored by it with the most open and unaffected airs. It will not see or recognize them at all; it will never have noticed or heard of them; and it will thus produce a master of dissimulation. With great subtlety it will completely overlook, as apparently unimportant, the man whose brilliant qualities are gnawing at its heart; it will be quite unaware of him and will occasionally have completely forgotten him. Above all, it will make every attempt by secret machinations carefully to deprive those excellent qualities of every opportunity to appear and make themselves known. From a dark corner it will then dispatch over them censure, ridicule, contempt, and calumny, like the toad which from its hole spits forth venom. To the same extent, it will enthusiastically praise men of no account, or even the mediocre and inferior work in the same class of achievements. In short, it becomes a Proteus of stratagems in order to wound without showing itself. But what good will that do? The practised eye still recognizes it. It is already betrayed by its fear of and flight from its object which, the more brilliant this is, the more it therefore stands alone. For this reason, pretty girls have no friends of their own sex. Envy is betrayed by its groundless hatred which explodes most violently on the slightest, and often only imaginary, occasion. For the rest, however widespread its family, we recognize it in the universal praise of modesty, that cunning virtue which is invented for the benefit of trite vulgarity. Yet through the very necessity it reveals of having to treat inferior qualities with forbearance, such virtue merely brings these to light. Of course for our self-esteem and pride, there can be nothing more flattering than the sight of envy lurking in its hiding-place and carrying on its machinations. However, we should never forget that, where envy exists, it is accompanied by hatred, and we should beware of letting an envious man become a false friend. For this reason, our discovery of such a man is for our safety important. We should, therefore, study him in order to be up to his tricks; for he is to be found everywhere and always goes around incognito or else, like the poisonous toad, lurks in dark holes. On the contrary, he deserves neither consideration nor sympathy, but the rule of conduct should be:

Envy wilt thou ne'er appease;
So mayst thou scorn it at thy ease.
Thy fame and fortune are its pain;
Thus may its torment be thy gain!


Now if, as we have done, we have kept in mind human depravity and feel inclined to be horrified thereat, we must at once cast a glance at the misery of human existence, and again at the former when we are shocked at the latter. We shall then find that they balance each other and shall become aware of eternal justice by noticing that the world itself is the tribunal of humanity, and by coming to understand why everything that lives must atone for its existence first in living and then in dying. Thus the malum poenae [17] tallies with the malum culpae, [18] From the same point of view, there also disappears the indignation at the intellectual incapacity of the masses which in life so often disgusts us. Therefore miseria humana, nequitia humana, and stultitia humana [19] are wholly in keeping with one another in this Samsara of the Buddhists and are of equal magnitude. But if, on a particular occasion, we keep one of them in mind and specially examine it, it soon appears to exceed in size the other two; but this is an illusion and is merely the result of their colossal range.

This is Samsara and everything therein denounces it; yet, more than anything else, the human world where morally depravity and baseness, intellectually incapacity and stupidity, prevail to a fearful extent. Nevertheless, there appear in it, although very sporadically yet always astonishing us afresh, phenomena of honesty, kindness, and even nobility, as also of great intellect, the thinking mind, and even genius. These never go out entirely, but glitter at us like isolated points that shine out of the great mass of darkness. We must take them as a pledge that in this Samsara there lies hidden a good and redeeming principle which can break through and inspire and release the whole.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:35 pm

Part 2 of 2

§ 115

The readers of my Ethics know that with me the foundation of morality rests ultimately on the truth that has its expression in the Veda and Vedanta in the established mystical formula tat tvam asi (This art thou) which is stated with reference to every living thing, whether man or animal, and is then called the Mahavakya or Great Word.

In fact, we can regard the actions that occur in accordance with it, for example those of benevolence, as the beginning of mysticism. Every good or kind action that is done with a pure and genuine intention proclaims that, whoever practises it, stands forth in absolute contradiction to the world of phenomena in which other individuals exist entirely separate from himself, and that he recognizes himself as being identical with them. Accordingly, every entirely disinterested benefit is a mysterious action, a mysterium; and so to give an account thereof, men have had to resort to all kinds of fictions. After Kant had removed all other props from theism, he left it only this one, namely that it afforded the best interpretation and explanation of that and all similar mysterious actions. Accordingly, he admitted theism as an assumption which theoretically is incapable of proof, it is true, but for practical purposes is valid. But I am inclined to doubt whether here he was really quite in earnest. For to support morality by means of theism is equivalent to reducing it to egoism, although the English, like the lowest classes of society with us, see absolutely no possibility of any other foundation.

The above-mentioned recognition of one's own true nature in the individuality of another who is objectively manifesting himself, appears with special clearness and beauty in those cases where a man, beyond all recovery and doomed, is still anxiously, actively, and zealously concerned over the welfare and rescue of others. In this connection is the well-known story of a maidservant who one night was bitten in the yard by a mad dog. Giving herself up as past all help, she seized the dog, dragged it into the stable, and locked the door so that no one else would fall a victim. Also that incident in Naples which is immortalized by Tischbein in one of his water-colour drawings. Fleeing before the lava as it rapidly streams towards the sea, the son carries on his back his old father; but as there is only a narrow strip of land separating the two destructive elements, the father requests his son to lay him down and save himself by running, since otherwise both will perish. The son obeys and, as he departs, casts a farewell glance at his father. All this is portrayed in the picture. Then there is the historical fact, described in a masterly way by Sir Walter Scott in his Heart of Midlothian, chapter two. Of two delinquents condemned to death, one who, through his lack of skill had been the cause of the other's capture, successfully liberates him in church after the death-sermon by vigorously overpowering the guard, and this without making any attempt to save himself. Also in this connection may be included a scene often depicted in copper-engravings, although it may give offence to western readers. Here a soldier is already kneeling to be shot and is driving back with a handkerchief his dog who wants to approach him. In all cases of this kind, we see an individual, who is approaching with absolute certainty his immediate personal destruction, think no more of his own survival and direct all his efforts and exertions to the preservation of another. How could there be more clearly expressed the consciousness that this destruction is only that of a phenomenon and so is itself phenomenon, and that, on the other hand, the true essence of the one who is perishing is untouched by it, continues to exist in the other in whom he so clearly recognizes just now that essence, as is revealed by his action? For if this were not so and we had before us one in the throes of actual annihilation, how could such a being, by the supreme exertion of his last strength, show such a deep sympathy and interest in the welfare and continued existence of another?

There are indeed two opposite ways in which we may become conscious of our own existence; first in empirical intuitive perception where it manifests itself from without as an existence that is infinitely small in a world that is boundless as regards space and time; as one among the thousand millions of human beings who run over the globe for a very short time, renewing themselves every thirty years. The second way is absorption in ourselves and becoming conscious of being all in all and really the only actual being, such being in addition once again seeing himself, as in a mirror, in the others who are given to him from without. Now the first method of knowledge embraces merely the phenomenon which is mediated through the principium individuationis; but the second is an immediate awareness of oneself as the thing-in-itself. This is a doctrine wherein I am supported by Kant as regards the first half, but by the Veda as regards both. The simple objection to the second mode of knowledge is certainly its assumption that one and the same being can be in different places at the same time, and yet entirely in each place. Now although from the empirical point of view this is the most palpable impossibility and even an absurdity, it nevertheless remains perfectly true of the thing-in-itself. For that impossibility and absurdity rest merely on the forms of the phenomenon which constitute the principium individuationis. For the thing-in-itself, the will-to-live, exists whole and undivided in every being, even in the tiniest; it is present as completely as in all that ever were, are, and will be, taken together. To this is due the fact that every being, even the most insignificant, says to himself: dum ego salvus sim, pereat mundus. [20] And in fact even if all others perished, the essence-in-itself of the world would still exist unimpaired and undiminished in this one being which remained and would laugh at that destruction as at a sleight of hand. This is, of course, a conclusion per impossibile [21] which can with equal justification be opposed by the one that, if any being even the smallest were completely annihilated, then in it and with it the whole world would have perished. In this sense, the mystic Angelus Silesius says:

I know that God without me cannot for one moment live;
If I to nothing come, he of necessity must his spirit give.


But in order that this truth, or at any rate the possibility that our own self can exist in other beings whose consciousness is separate and distinct from ours, may to some extent be seen even from the empirical standpoint, we need only call to mind magnetized somnambulists. After they have woken up, their identical ego knows nothing of all that they themselves have said, done, and undergone the moment before. Thus individual consciousness is so entirely phenomenal a point that even in the same ego two such may arise, one of which knows nothing of the other.

Considerations like the foregoing, however, always retain here in our Judaized ''\Testsomething very strange, but not so in the fatherland of the human race, where quite a different faith prevails. According to this, even today, after a burial for instance, the priests chant before all the people and to the accompaniment of instruments the Vedic hymn that begins: 'The embodied spirit that has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, is rooted in the human breast and at the same time permeates the whole earth. This being is the world and all that ever was and will be. It is that which grows through nourishment and confers immortality. This is its greatness and therefore it is the most glorious embodied spirit. The elements of this world constitute one part of its being, and three parts are immortality in heaven. These three parts have raised themselves from the world, but one has remained behind and is that which (through transmigration) enjoys and does not enjoy the fruits of good and evil deeds', and so on (see Colebrooke, On the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, in the fifth volume of the Asiatic Researches, p. 345 of the Calcutta edition; also his Miscellaneous Essays, vol. i, p. 167).

Now if we compare such hymns with our hymn-books, we shall no longer be surprised that Anglican missionaries on the Ganges meet with such pathetically little success and with their sermons on their 'maker' [22] make no impression on the Brahmans. But whoever wishes to enjoy the pleasure of seeing how an English officer forty-one years ago boldly and emphatically opposed the absurd and shameless pretensions of those gentlemen, should read the Vindication of the Hindoos from the aspersions of the Reverend Claudius Buchanan, with a refutation of his arguments in favour of an ecclesiastical establishment in British India: the whole tending to evince the excellence of the moral system of the Hindoos; by a Bengal officer, London, 1808. With rare frankness and candour the author discusses the advantages of the Indian doctrines over the European. The short work that would run to about eighty pages would be worth translating even now; for it expounds better and more openly than any other work known to me the very beneficial and practical influence of Brahmanism, its effect in life and on the people-a report quite different from those that emanate from clerical pens which, precisely as such, deserve little credit. It agrees with what I had heard from English officers who had spent half their lives in India. For to know how jealous of, and angry with, Brahmanism is the Anglican Church, which is always so nervous on account of its livings and benefices, we ought to be familiar, for example, with the loud yelping that was raised some years ago in Parliament by the bishops, and was carried on for many months. Since the East India authorities, as always on such occasions, showed themselves exceedingly stubborn, the bishops began their barking again and again merely because the English authorities, as was reasonable in India, showed some external marks of respect for the ancient and venerable religion of the country. For example, when the procession with the images of the gods passed by, the guard and its officer turned out and saluted with drums. Then there was the furnishing of a red cloth to cover the Car of Juggernaut, and so on. This was discontinued, as also were the pilgrim-dues raised in this connection; and such steps were really taken to please those gentlemen. Meanwhile, we have the incessant fulminations of those self-styled right-reverend holders of livings and wearers oHull-bottomed wigs at such things; the really medieval way in which they express themselves on the original religion of our race, but which today should be called crude and vulgar; likewise the grave offence given to them, when in 1845 Lord Ellenborough brought back to Bengal in a triumphal procession and handed over to the Brahmans the gate of the pagoda of Sumenaut which had been destroyed in 1022 by that execrable Mahmud of Ghaznavi. I say that all this leads one to surmise that to them it was not unknown how much the majority of Europeans living many years in India were at heart in favour of Brahmanism, and how they simply shrugged their shoulders at both the religious and social prejudices of Europe. 'All this falls off like scales, whenever one has lived only two years in India', such a man once said to me. Even a Frenchman, that very courteous and cultured gentleman, who some ten years ago in Europe accompanied the Devadassi (vulgo Bayaderes), at once exclaimed with fiery enthusiasm, when I came to speak to him about the religion of the country: Monsieur, c'est la vraie religion! [23]

If we go to the root of the matter, even the fantastic and sometimes strange Indian mythology, still constituting today as it did thousands of years ago the religion of the people, is only the teaching of the Upanishads which is symbolized, in other words, clad in images and thus personified and mythicized with due regard to the people's powers of comprehension. According to his powers and education, every Hindu traces, feels, surmises, or clearly sees through it and behind it; whereas in his monomania the crude and narrow-minded English parson ridicules and blasphemes by calling it idolatry, fondly imagining that he alone is on the right side of the fence. The purpose of the Buddha Sakya Muni, on the other hand, was to separate the kernel from the shell, to free the exalted teaching itself from all admixture with images and gods, and to make its pure intrinsic worth accessible and intelligible even to the people. In this he was marvellously successful and his religion is, therefore, the most excellent on earth and is represented by the greatest number of followers. With Sophocles he can say:

-- [x]
[x]
[x]. [24]

-- Ajax, 767-9.


On the other hand, incidentally it is extremely droll to see the cool smile of self-complacency with which some servile German philosophasters and also many precise and literal orientalists look down on Brahmanism and Buddhism from the heights of their rationalistic Judaism. To such little men I would really like to suggest a contract with the comedy of apes at the Frankfurt Fair, that is, if the descendants of Hanuman would tolerate these amongst them.

I think that if the Emperor of China or the King of Siam and other Asiatic monarchs grant European powers permission to send missionaries to their countries, they would be perfectly entitled to do so only on condition that they were allowed to send just as many Buddhist priests with equal rights to the European country in question. For this purpose they would naturally select those who had previous instruction in the particular European language. We should then have before us an interesting competition and see who would have most success.

Christian fanaticism which tries to convert the whole world to its faith is inexcusable. Sir James Brooke (Rajah of Borneo) who colonized part of Borneo and ruled there for a time, gave an address at Liverpool in September 1858 to a meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and thus to the centre of the missions. In it he said: 'With the Mohammedans you have made no headway and with the Hindus you have made no progress at all, but are still at the very point where you were on the first day when you set foot in India.' (The Times, 29 September 1858.) On the other hand, Christian evangelists have proved to be very useful and praiseworthy in another direction, in that some have furnished us with admirable and complete accounts of Brahmanism and Buddhism and with faithful and accurate translations of sacred books, which could not possibly have been done except con amore. To these distinguished men I dedicate the following rhyme:

As teachers you went thither;
As pupils you came hither,
From the meaning veiled, unseen
Off fell the secret screen.


We may therefore hope that one day even Europe will be purified of all Jewish mythology. Perhaps the century has come in which the peoples of the Japhetic group of languages coming from Asia will again receive the sacred religions of their native country; for they have again become ripe for these after having long gone astray.

§ 116

After reading my prize-essay on moral freedom, no thinking man can be left in any doubt that such freedom is not to be sought anywhere within nature, but only without. It is something metaphysical, but in the physical world something that is impossible. Accordingly, our individual deeds are by no means free; on the other hand, the individual character of each one of us is to be regarded as his free act. He himself is such because he wills once for all to be such. For the will exists in itself, even in so far as it appears in an individual. Thus it constitutes the individual's primary and fundamental willing and is independent of all knowledge because it precedes this. From knowledge it obtains merely the motives wherein it successively develops its true nature and makes itself known or becomes visible. As that which lies outside time, however, it itself is unchangeable so long as it exists at all. Therefore everyone as such who exists now and under the circumstances of the moment, which, however, on their part occur with strict necessity, can never do anything other than what he is actually doing at that very moment. Accordingly, the entire empirical course of a man's life in all its events great and small is as necessarily predetermined as are the movements of a clock. At bottom, this results from the fact that the manner in which the aforesaid metaphysical free act enters the knowing consciousness is an intuitive perception. Such perception has time and space as its form by means whereof the unity and indivisibility of that act now manifest themselves as drawn apart into a series of states and events that occur on the guiding line of the principle of sufficient reason (or ground) in its four aspects; and it is precisely this that is called necessary. But the result is a moral one, in that we know what we are from what we do, just as we know what we deserve from what we suffer.

Moreover, it follows from this that individuality does not rest solely on the principium individuationis and so is not through and through mere phenomenon, but that it is rooted in the thing-in-itself, the will of the individual; for his character itself is individual. But how far down its roots here go, is one of those questions which I do not undertake to answer.

In this connection, it is worth recalling that in his own way even Plato describes the individuality of each man as his free act, since he represents each as being born in consequence of his heart and character, just as he is by means of metempsychosis. (Phaedrus, c. 28. Laws, bk. x, p. 106, ed. Bip.) Even the Brahmans on their part mythically express the unchangeable certainty of the inborn character by saying that, when producing each man, Brahma engraved on his skull his deeds and sufferings in written characters according to which the course of his life was bound to follow. They point to the serrated sutures of the skull-bones as this writing. They say that the meaning and purport of this are a consequence of his previous life and actions. (See Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, 1819 edn., vol. vi, p. 149, et vol. vii, p. 135.) This same insight appears to underlie the Christian (even Pauline) dogma of predestination.

Another consequence of the above, which is generally confirmed empirically, is that all genuine merits, moral as well as intellectual, have not merely a physical or otherwise empirical origin, but also a metaphysical. Accordingly, they are given a priori and not a posteriori; in other words, they are inborn and not acquired and consequently are rooted not in the mere phenomenon, but in the thing-in-itself. Therefore at bottom, everyone does only what is already irrevocably fixed in his nature, that is to say, in his innate disposition. It is true that intellectual abilities require cultivation just as many products of nature need preparation if they are to be enjoyable or otherwise useful. But in the one case as in the other, no preparation or cultivation can replace the original material. For this reason, all qualities which have been merely acquired, learnt, or forced and hence are a posteriori, moral as well as intellectual, are really ungenuine and a vain hollow sham without substance. Just as this follows from correct metaphysics, so too is it taught by a deeper insight into experience. It is even testified by the great weight that all attach to physiognomy, and to the external appearance of everyone who is in any way distinguished and thus to his innate qualities, and therefore by their great desire to see him. Naturally those who are superficial and, for good reasons, vulgar natures will be of the opposite opinion in order to be able, in the case of everything they lack, confidently to hope that it will still come to them. This world, then, is not merely a battle-ground for whose victories and defeats prizes are distributed in the next, but it is itself already the last judgement in that each brings with him reward and ignominy according to his merits; and by teaching metempsychosis, Brahmanism and Buddhism know nothing different from this.

§ 117

The question has been asked what two men would do each of whom had grown up quite alone in the wilderness and who met each other for the first time. Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Rousseau have given opposite answers. Pufendorf believed they would affectionately greet each other; Hobbes, on the other hand, thought they would be hostile, whilst Rousseau considered that they would pass each other by in silence. All three are both right and wrong; for precisely here the immeasurable difference of the inborn moral disposition of individuals would appear in so clear a light that we should have, as it were, its rule and measure. For there are those in whom the sight of a man at once stirs feelings of hostility in that their innermost being exclaims 'not-I'. And there are others in whom that sight at once rouses feelings of friendly interest and sympathy; their true nature exclaims 'I once more!' There are innumerable degrees between the two. That we are so fundamentally different in this main point is, however, a great problem and indeed a mystery. A book, Historische Nachrichten zur Kenntniss des Menschen im rohen Zustande, by a Dane named Bastholm furnishes material for many different observations on this a priori nature of our moral character. He is struck by the fact that the mental culture and moral goodness of nations exhibit themselves as quite independent of each other, in that the one is often to be found without the other. We shall explain this from the fact that moral goodness does not by any means spring from reflection whose development depends on mental culture, but directly from the will itself, whose nature and disposition are inborn and which is in itself incapable of any improvement through culture. Bastholm then describes most nations as very depraved and bad; on the other hand, he has to report the most admirable general characteristics of certain savage tribes, for example the Orotchyses, the inhabitants of the island of Savu, the Tunguses, and the Pelew Islanders. He then attempts to solve the problem why it is that some tribes are exceptionally good, while their neighbours are bad. It seems that it may be explained from the fact that, as the moral qualities are inherited from the father, such an isolated tribe in the above cases came from one family and consequently from the same ancestor who was precisely a good man, and that it kept itself pure. On many embarrassing occasions, such as the repudiation of state debts, raids, predatory incursions, and so on, the English have reminded the North Americans that they are descended from an English criminal colony; although this can be true of only a small number of them.

§ 118

It is wonderful how the individuality of every man (that is, this definite character with this definite intellect) exactly determines, like a penetrating dye, all his actions and thoughts down to the most insignificant, in consequence whereof one man's whole course of life, in other words, his inner and outer record, turns out to be so fundamentally different from that of another's. Just as a botanist recognizes the whole plant from one leaf and Cuvier constructed the entire animal from one bone, so from one characteristic action of a man we can arrive at a correct knowledge of his character. And so to some extent, we can construct him therefrom even when that action concerns a mere trifle, in fact then often best of all; for in more important things men are more careful, whereas with trifles they follow their own nature without much thought. Ifin such things a man shows by his absolutely arbitrary and egoistic conduct that just and righteous feelings are foreign to his heart, we should not entrust a single penny to him without proper security. For who will believe that a man who in all other matters that are not concerned with property daily shows himself to be unjust, and whose boundless egoism everywhere peeps out from the little actions of ordinary life, for which he is not called to account, like a dirty shirt peeping through the holes of a tattered jacket -- who will believe that such a man will be honourable in the affairs of mine and thine without any other impulse than that of justice? Whoever is inconsiderate on a small scale will be iniquitous on a large. Whoever ignores small traits of character has only himself to thank if afterwards, to his own detriment, he gets to know the character in question from its more important traits. On the same principle, we should also break at once with so-called good friends, even over trifles, if they betray a malicious, bad, or mean character; this we should do to guard against their mean tricks on a large scale which merely await the opportunity to make their appearance. The same holds good of servants; we should always bear in mind that it is better to be alone than among traitors.

Actually the foundation and propaedeutic to all knowledge of men is the firm belief that a man's conduct essentially and on the whole is not guided by his reasoning faculty and the resolutions thereof. Thus no one becomes this or that person because he would like to, however keen his desire may be, but his actions proceed from his inborn and unalterable character, are more closely and specially determined by motives, and are consequently the necessary product of these two factors. Accordingly, we may liken a man's conduct to the course of a planet which is the result of the tangential force given to it and of the centripetal force acting from its sun. The former force represents the character, the latter the influence of motives. This is almost more than a mere comparison in so far as the tangential force whence the motion really comes, while limited by gravitation, is, taken metaphysically, the will that manifests itself in such a body.

Now whoever has understood this will see also that we never really have more than a conjecture of what we shall do in any future situation, although we often regard this as a decision. For example, in consequence of a proposal, a man has most sincerely and even very willingly incurred the liability to do something on the occasion of circumstances that still lie in the future. But it is by no means certain that he will fulfil the obligation, unless his nature were such that his given promise, itself and as such, would always and everywhere be for him a sufficient motive, in that, through his regard for his honour, it acted on him like the compulsion of someone else. But apart from this, what he will do on the occurrence of those circumstances may be predetermined simply yet with perfect certainty from a correct and precise knowledge of his character and the external circumstances under whose influence he then comes. This is, of course, very easy if we have already seen him in a similar situation; for he will infallibly do the same thing a second time, naturally always on the assumption that on the first occasion he had already correctly and completely known the circumstances. For, as I have often observed, causa finalis non movet secundum suum esse reale, sed secundum esse cognitum. [25] (Suarez, Disputationes metaphysicae, Disp. xxiii, sect. 7 and 8.) Thus what he had not known or understood the first time could not then affect his will; just as an electrical process stops when some insulating body impedes the action of a conductor. The unchangeable nature of character and the necessity of actions which results therefrom are impressed with unusual clearness on the man who on some occasion did not behave as he should have, in that he lacked decision, firmness, courage, or other qualities that the moment demanded. Afterwards he recognizes and sincerely regrets his wrong course of action and perhaps says to himself: 'Yes, if I were asked to do that again, I would act differently!' He is again asked, and the same thing happens; and again he acts just as he did previously-to his great astonishment.*

Shakespeare's dramas as a rule afford us the best illustration of the truth in question; for he was thoroughly imbued with it and his intuitive wisdom expresses it in concreto on every page. Nevertheless, I will now give an example of this wherein he brings it out with special clearness, yet without intention and affectation, for, as a genuine artist, he never starts from concepts. On the contrary, he obviously does this merely to satisfy psychological truth as he apprehends it immediately and intuitively; for he was unconcerned whether it would be noticed and properly understood by the few, and had no inkling that one day in Germany stupid and shallow fellows would elaborately explain that he had written his plays in order to illustrate moral commonplaces and platitudes. Here I have in mind the character of the Earl of Northumberland, which we see carried through three tragedies without his really appearing in a principal part. On the contrary, he appears in only a few scenes that are distributed over fifteen acts; and so, if we do not read with all our attention, we may easily lose sight of the character that is depicted in such widely separated passages and of its moral identity, however firmly the poet kept these in view. Everywhere he makes this Earl appear with noble knightly dignity and use appropriate language, and on occasions has put into his mouth very fine and even sublime passages. For he is far from doing what Schiller does, who likes to paint the devil black and whose moral approval or disapproval of the characters portrayed sounds through their own words. With Shakespeare and also with Goethe, on the other hand, everyone is, while he is present and speaks, perfectly right even if he were the devil himself. In this respect, let us compare the Duke of Alva in Goethe's work and in Schiller's. And so we already make the acquaintance of the Earl of Northumberland in Richard II where he is the first to hatch a plot against the King in favour of Bolingbroke who is afterwards Henry IV and whom he personally flatters (Act II, Sc. 3). In the following act he is reprimanded for having said plain Richard when speaking of the King, yet he gives the assurance that he did so merely for the sake of brevity. Shortly afterwards, his subtle and insidious speech moves the King to capitulate. In the following act he treats the King during his abdication with such harshness and contempt that the unhappy and broken monarch once more loses his patience and exclaims: 'Fiend, thou torment'st me ere I come to hell!' At the conclusion he reports to the new King that he has sent to London the decapitated heads of the adherents of the previous monarch. In the following tragedy, Henry IV, in just the same way he hatches a plot against the new King. In the fourth act, we see these rebels united and preparing for the great battle on the following day and impatiently waiting only for him and his battalions. Finally, a letter comes from him stating that he himself is sick, but that he cannot trust his forces to anyone else; however, they are to continue courageously and advance bravely to the attack. They do so, but are considerably weakened by his failure to appear; they are completely beaten and most of their leaders are captured, his own son, the heroic Hotspur, falling by the hand of the Prince of Wales. Again, in the following play, the second part of Henry IV, we see him furiously angry about the death of his son and wildly breathing revenge. He therefore stirs up the rebellion afresh and its leaders are once more assembled. Now as in the fourth act they have to fight the main battle and merely await his arrival to join them, a letter comes. In it he states that he has been unable to collect adequate forces and that for the present he will seek safety in Scotland; nevertheless he heartily wishes them great success in their heroic venture. Whereupon they surrendered to the King under an agreement that was not kept, and thus they perished.

Therefore far from the character being the work of rational choice and deliberation, the intellect in the case of conduct has nothing to do except to present motives to the will. But then, as a mere spectator and witness, such intellect is bound to see how, from the effect of the motives on the given character, the course of life shapes itself all of whose events, strictly speaking, occur with the same necessity as that with which the movements of a clock take place. On this point I refer to my prize-essay 'On the Freedom of the Will'. The illusion of a complete freedom of the will, which nevertheless occurs here in the case of every single action, has in that essay been reduced by me to its true significance and origin. In this way, I have stated its efficient cause to which I will here add only the final in the following teleological explanation of that natural illusion. Freedom and originality that really belong only to a man's intelligible character (whose mere apprehension by the intellect is his course of life) appear to be inherent in every individual action; and thus for empirical consciousness the original work is apparently carried out afresh in every particular action. In this way, our course of life obtains the greatest possible moral [x], [26] since all the bad sides of our character thus really make themselves felt; and so conscience accompanies every deed with the commentary that 'you could act differently', although its true meaning is: 'You could also be a different person.' Now, on the one hand, through the unalterable nature of character and, on the other, through the strict necessity with which all the circumstances occur in which everyone is successively placed, his course of life is precisely determined from A to Z. And yet the course of one man's life turns out to be incomparably happier, nobler, and worthier than another's in all its modifications both subjective and objective. If, therefore, we are not to eliminate all justice, this leads to the assumption which is firmly established in Brahmanism and Buddhism that the subjective conditions with which everyone is born, as well as the objective conditions under which he is born, are the moral consequence of a previous existence.

Machiavelli, who certainly does not appear to have concerned himself with philosophical speculations, is by virtue of the penetrating keenness of his unique intellect led to the following really profound utterance. It presupposes an intuitive knowledge of the entire necessity with which, in the case of given characters and motives, all actions take place. With it he begins the prologue to his comedy Clitia: Se nel mondo tornassino i medesimi uomini, come tornano i medesimi easi, non passarebbono mai cento anni, che noi non ei trovassimo un altra volta insieme, a fare le medesime cose, che hora. (If in the world the same men returned just as the same cases recur, a hundred years would never pass without our being together once more, doing again exactly the same thing as we are doing now.) However, a reminiscence of what Augustine says, De civitate dei, lib. XII, C. 13, seems to have led him to this.

The fatum, [x], of the ancients is nothing but the certainty which has reached our consciousness that everything that takes place is firmly bound by the causal chain and therefore happens with strict necessity; and accordingly that the future is already perfectly fixed, that it is determined certainly and exactly, and that as little can be changed in it as in the past. Only the foreknowledge of it can be regarded as fabulous in the fatalistic myths of the ancients-if here we eliminate the possibility of magnetic clairvoyance and second sight. Instead of trying to set aside the fundamental truth of fatalism by frivolous talk and silly subterfuges, we should attempt clearly to understand it and recognize it; for it is a demonstrable truth that furnishes us with an important datum for understanding our very mysterious and enigmatical existence.

Predestination and fatalism are different not in substance, but only in the fact that the given character and the determination of human actions which comes from without proceed from a being with knowledge in the case of the former, and from one without knowledge in the case of the latter. In the result they coincide; that happens which must happen. On the other hand, the concept of a moral freedom is inseparable from that of primordial originality. For that a being is the work of another but is nevertheless free as regards his willing and acting, is something that may be said in words but cannot be conceived in thought. Thus whoever called him into existence out of nothing at the same time created and determined his true nature, that is to say, all his attributes and qualities. For no one can ever create without creating something, that is, a being that is precisely determined in every way and in all its attributes. But from those qualities that are thereby determined, all its manifestations and actions subsequently flow with necessity, since these are only the qualities and attributes themselves which are brought into play and merely required the occasion or inducement from without in order to make their appearance. As a man is, so must he act; and hence guilt and merit attach not to his individual acts, but to his true nature and being. And so theism and man's moral responsibility are incompatible because such responsibility always comes home to a man's author and originator who is really the centre of gravity of that responsibility. Vain attempts have been made to bridge those two incompatibilities by means of the concept of man's moral freedom; but the bridge is for ever collapsing. The free being must also be the original. If our will isfree, so too is the primary and fundamental nature; and conversely. The pre-Kantian dogmatism that tried to keep these two predicaments apart was in precisely this way forced to assume two freedoms, that of the first world-cause for cosmology and that of the human will for morality and theology. Accordingly, even with Kant, both the third and fourth antinomies deal with freedom.

In my philosophy, on the other hand, the plain and simple recognition of the strict necessitation of actions is in keeping with the doctrine that the will is that which manifests itself even in beings without knowledge. Otherwise the obvious necessitation with their action would place this in opposition to willing, namely if there really were such a freedom of individual action and this were not rather necessitated just as strictly as is every other action. On the other hand, as I have just shown, the same doctrine of the necessitation of the acts of will renders it necessary for man's existence and essence themselves to be the work of his freedom and consequently of his will and so for this will to have aseity. [27] Thus, as I have shown, on the opposite assumption all responsibility would disappear and the moral world, like the physical, would be a mere machine which its outside constructor set in motion for his own amusement. Thus truths are all connected to one another, need and supplement one another, whereas error stumbles and blunders at every corner.

§ 119

In § 20 of my essay 'On the Basis of Ethics', I have adequately investigated the nature of the influence that moral instruction can have on conduct and what are its limits. Essentially analogous to this, is the influence of example which, however, is more powerful than that of precept and thus merits a brief analysis.

Example acts primarily by preventing or promoting; it has the former effect when it induces a man to leave undone what he would like to do. Thus he sees that others do not do it, from which he infers generally that it is not advisable and hence that it is bound to bring danger to his own person, property, or honour. He sticks to this and gladly sees himself spared the necessity of having to make his own investigations. Or he sees that someone else who has done it suffers from the evil consequences thereof; this is the example acting as a deterrent. On the other hand, example has an encouraging effect in two different ways. Thus its effect may be to induce a man to do what he would like to leave undone and yet to be careful to show him that omission to do it may land him in danger or injure him in the opinion of others. Again, the effect of example may be to encourage him to do what he likes doing, but what he has hitherto omitted to do from fear of danger or disgrace; this is the alluring or tempting example. Finally, example may also bring to a man's notice something that would otherwise not have occurred to him at all. In this case, its effect is obviously in the first instance only on the intellect; here the effect on the will is secondary and, when it occurs, will be brought about by an original act of judgement, or by confidence in the man who sets the example. The entire very powerful effect of example is due to the fact that man, as a rule, has too little power of judgement and often too little knowledge to explore his own way himself; and so he willingly follows in the footsteps of others. Accordingly, everyone will be the more open to the influence of example, the more he lacks those two qualifications; and so the guiding star of the majority is the example of others, and their whole conduct, in great affairs as in small, is reducible to mere imitation; they do not carry out the smallest thing on their own judgement. The cause of this is their dread of any kind of thought or reflection, and their well-grounded want of confidence in their own judgement. At the same time this surprisingly strong imitative tendency in man is also evidence of his kinship with the ape. Imitation and habit are impelling motives of most of the actions of men. The way in which the example acts, however, is determined by the character of each; thus the same example can have a tempting effect on one man and a deterrent effect on another. We are readily afforded an opportunity of observing this by certain social improprieties which have gradually taken root and formerly did not exist. When such a thing is first noticed, one man will think: 'Ah, how can that be allowed? How egoistic, how inconsiderate; I will certainly take care never to do anything like that'; but twenty others will think: 'Ah, he does this, so can I!'

From a moral point of view, example like precept can certainly promote civil or legal improvement, but not an inner change for the better which is the really moral. For it always acts only as a personal motive and consequently on the assumption of susceptibility to motives of this kind. But it is precisely whether a character is predominantly susceptible to this or that kind of motive which decides in favour of its proper, true, and yet always only innate morality. Example generally acts as a means for promoting the appearance of good and bad characteristics; but it does not create them. And so even here Seneca's words hold good: velle non discitur. [28] The doctrine that all genuine moral qualities, good as well as bad, are innate is better suited to the metempsychosis of Brahmanism and Buddhism than to Judaism. According to metempsychosis' man's good and evil deeds follow him, like his shadow, from one existence to another'; whereas Judaism requires that man should come into the world as a moral zero in order to decide now, by virtue of an inconceivable liberum arbitrium indifferentiae [29] and thus in consequence of rational reflection, whether he wants to be an angel or a devil, or anything else that lies between the two. All this I know quite well, but I pay not the least attention to it; for my standard is truth. I am no professor of philosophy and, therefore, do not recognize my vocation to consist in placing on a firm footing, first and foremost, the fundamental ideas of Judaism, even if these should for ever bar the way to all philosophical knowledge. Liberum arbitrium indifferentiae under the name of 'moral freedom' is the most favourite plaything of professors of philosophy which must be left to them-to the clever, the honest, and the sincere.

_______________

Notes:

1 ['How could man give himself airs? For him conception is already guilt, birth the punishment, life hard labour, and death his doom.' (Schopenhauer's own distich.)]

2 [' Brotherly love'.]

3 ['To retain prudence'.]

4 ['This virtue was called [x], because it was an adherence to prudence and sobriety.']

5 ['Diligence, obedience, justice, humility'.]

6 ['That by virtue whereof a shoemaker knows how to make an excellent shoe,  is described as his virtue (skill, ability).']

7 [' Squandering his own, and coveting another's'.]

8 [' Sustain and abstain.']

9 ['The arguments for and against'.]

10 ['The happy mean'.]

11 ['(Whose) heart was fashioned by Titan out of better clay.' (Juvenal, Satires,  XIII. 183.)]

* A most recent instance is found in Macleod's Travels in Eastern Africa (2 vols.,  London, 1860), where there is an account of the shocking, coldly calculating, and  truly devilish cruelty with which the Portuguese treat their slaves in Mozambique.

12 ['Par excellence'.]

13 ['An opportunity, however small, suffices to make us angry.']

14 ['To be angry is pleasant.']

15 ['A particularly malicious and spiteful animal'.]

16 ['Its eyes are larger than its stomach.']

* A recent article of The Times furnished me with the most candid and vigorous expression of the matter I have ever come across. It is worth preserving here: 'There is no vice of which a man can be guilty, no meanness, no shabbiness, no unkindness, which excites so much indignation among his contemporaries, friends and neighbours, as his success. This is the one unpardonable crime which reason cannot defend, nor humility mitigate.

"When heaven with such parts has blest him,
Have I not reason to detest him?"


is a genuine and natural expression of the vulgar human mind. The man who writes as we cannot write, who speaks as we cannot speak, labours as we cannot labour, thrives as we cannot thrive, has accumulated on his own person all the offences of which man can be guilty. Down with him! Why cumbereth he the ground?' The Times, 9 October 1858.

17 ['The evil of punishment'.]

18 ['The evil of guilt'.]

19 ['Human misery, human depravity, and human stupidity'.]

20 ['May the world perish provided I am safe.']

21 [' Which, it is true, is impossible to carry out'.]

22 'Maker' often appears in compound words, such as 'watchmaker', 'shoemaker', and so on. Now 'our maker' (in French it would be notre faiseur) is in English writings, sermons, and in ordinary life a very common and favourite expression for' God'. I ask the reader to note that this is extremely characteristic of the English conception of religion. But the well-informed will readily imagine what the feelings must be of the Brahman who is trained in the doctrine of the sacred Veda and of the Vaisya emulating him, and indeed of the whole Indian people who are imbued with the belief in metempsychosis and retribution and in every event of their lives are reminded of these, when the attempt is made to force such notions on them. To pass from the eternal Brahm that exists, suffers, lives, and hopes for salvation in each and all, to that' maker' out of nothing is an exacting demand. They will never be persuaded that the world and man have been made  out of nothing. Therefore on page 15 of the book to be eulogized in the text, the  eminent author rightly says: 'The efforts of the missionaries will remain fruitless;  no Hindu worthy of respect will ever pay any attention to their exhortations.'  Similarly on page 50, after discussing the fundamental teachings of Brahmanism,  he says: 'It is idle to expect that they will ever give up those views with which they  are imbued and in which they live, move, and have their being, in order to accept  the Christian teaching. Of this I am firmly convinced.' Also on page 68: 'And if for  this purpose the whole Synod of the English Church were to apply itself, it would  not succeed unless by absolute compulsion in converting more than one in a  thousand of the great Indian population.' The accuracy of this prophecy is now  testified, forty-one years later, by a long letter in The Times of 6 November 1849  signed Civis, which clearly comes from a man who has for many years lived in  India. Among other things it says: 'Not a single instance has ever come to my  knowledge where in India a person of whom we might be proud had been converted  to Christianity. Not a single case did I know in which there had not been  one who proved to be a reproach to the faith he accepted and a warning to the one  he renounced. The proselytes who have hitherto been made, few as they are, have,  therefore, merely served to deter others from following their example.' After this  letter had been contradicted, there appeared in confirmation of it a second, signed  Sepahee, in The Times of 20 November, in which it said: 'I have served over twelve  years in the Madras Presidency and during that long period I never saw a single  individual who had been converted, even only nominally, from Hinduism or Islam  to the Protestant religion. Therefore to this extent, I entirely agree with Civis and  believe that almost all officers of the army will furnish similar evidence.' This letter  was also vigorously contradicted; but I believe that such contradiction, even if it  did not come from the missionaries, came at all events from their cousins; at any  rate they were very godly opponents. And so even if some things they mention are  not without foundation, I still give more credit to the above extracts of unbiased  witnesses. For in England I have more faith in the red coat than in the black; and  to me everything is eo ipso suspect which is there said in favour of the Church, that  wealthy and comfortable institution for the penniless younger sons of the entire  aristocracy.
 
23 ['Sir, this is the true religion.']

24 ['Even the man who is nothing is capable of gaining strength when in alliance  with the gods; but I venture to gain this glory even without them.']
 
25 'The final cause operates not according to its real being, but only according  to its being as that known.']
 
* Cf. World as Will and Representation, vol. ii, chap. 19.
 
 26 ['Guidance, warning, advice.']
 
27 [Being by and of itself. All other beings are ab alio, dependent in their existence  on a creator (God).]

28 ['Willing cannot be taught.' (Epistulae, 81. 14.)]

29 [The freedom of indifference; the ability of the will to choose independently of antecedent determination.]
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:22 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER 9: On Jurisprudence and Politics

§ 120

It is a characteristic fault of the Germans to look in the clouds for that which lies at their feet. An outstanding example of this is furnished by the way in which the professors of philosophy deal with the Law of Nature. In order to explain the simple relations of human life which constitute the material and substance of this, and hence right and wrong, possession, State, criminal law, and so on, the most extravagant, abstract, and consequently the vaguest and emptiest concepts are produced, and from them first one tower of Babel and then another are built into the clouds according to the special whim of the particular professor. In this way, the clearest and simplest relations of life that directly concern us are rendered unintelligible, to the great detriment of the young men who are educated in such a school. These things themselves are extremely simple and easy to understand, and of this the reader may convince himself from my discussion of them in the 'Basis of Ethics', § 17, and in my chief work, The World as Will and Representation, volume i, § 62. But with certain words, such as right, freedom, the good, to be (this meaningless infinitive of the copula), and others, the German becomes quite giddy, falls at once into a kind of delirium, and begins to indulge in futile, high-flown phrases. He takes the vaguest and thus the hollowest concepts and artificially strings them together. Instead of this, he should keep his eye on reality, and intuitively perceive things and relations as they really are from which those concepts are abstracted and which, therefore, constitute their only true substance.

§ 121

Whoever starts from the preconceived opinion that the concept of right must be positive and now undertakes to define it, will not make anything of it; for he is trying to grasp a shadow, pursues a ghost, and looks for a nonens. The concept of right, like that of freedom, is negative; its content is a mere negation. The concept of wrong is positive and is equivalent to injury in the widest sense and hence to laesio. Now such an injury can affect either one's person, property, or honour. Accordingly, human rights are easy to determine; everyone has the right to do that which injures no one.

To have a right or claim to something means simply to be able to do it, take it, or use it without thereby injuring anyone else. Simplex sigillum veri. [1] It is clear from this how meaningless are many questions, for example whether we have the right to take our own life. But as regards the claims that others may have on us personally, these rest on the condition of our being alive and fall to the ground when that condition no longer applies. It is an extravagant demand that a man who no longer cares to live for himself, should still go on living as a mere machine for the benefit of others.

§ 122

Although the powers of men are different, their rights are nevertheless equal since these rest not on powers, but, because of the moral nature of right, on the fact that the same will-to-live at a similar stage of its objectification manifests itself in everyone. This, however, holds good only of original and abstract right which a man has as a human being. The possessions and honour that everyone acquires through his own powers are regulated by the amount and nature thereof, and then endow his right with a wider sphere; and so equality here comes to an end. The man who is better equipped or more active in this respect increases by greater industry not his right, but only the number of things to which it extends.

§ 123

In my chief work (vol. ii, chap. 47), I have shown that the State is essentially a mere institution for protecting all from external attacks and individuals from attacks within its borders. It follows from this that the necessity of the State rests ultimately on the acknowledged injustice and unfairness of the human race. In the absence of injustice, no one would think of a State, for none would need to fear any encroachment of his rights and a mere union against the attacks of wild animals or the elements would bear only a feeble resemblance to the State. From this point of view, we clearly see the narrow-mindedness and shallowness of the philosophasters who in pompous phrases represent the State as the highest purpose and the flower of human existence and thus furnish an apotheosis of Philistinism.

§ 124

If justice prevailed in the world, it would be enough for a man to have built his house, and there would be no need for any other protection than this obvious right of property. But since wrong is the order of the day, it is necessary for the man who has built a house to be also in a position to protect it; otherwise his right is de facto incomplete. Thus the aggressor has the right if might which is precisely Spinoza's concept of right, for he acknowledges no other, but says: Unusquisque tantum juris habet, quantum potentia valet (Political Treatise, chap. 2, § 8) and uniuscujusque jus potentia ejus definitur [2] (Ethics, IV, prop. 37, schol. I). Hobbes appears to have introduced him to this concept of right, especially in De cive, chap. I, § 14. To this passage Hobbes adds the strange explanation that God's right to all things rests merely on his omnipotence. Now in the ordinary world of citizens, this concept of right has been abolished in theory as well as in practice; but in the political world it is abolished only in theory, yet it continues to apply in practice.* This was strikingly confirmed recently by the North American raid on Mexico, although such confirmation was far surpassed by the earlier raids of the French all over Europe under their leader Bonaparte. But instead of covering up their actions by means of public and official lies that are perhaps even more revolting than the actions themselves, such conquerors should boldly and freely refer to Machiavelli's doctrine. From this it may be gathered that between individuals and in the morality and jurisprudence for these the principle quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris [3] certainly holds good, but that between nations and in politics the reverse applies, namely quod tibi fieri non vis, id alteri tu feceris. [4] If you do not want to be subjugated, subjugate your neighbour in time, that is to say, as soon as his weakness offers you the opportunity. For if you let this pass, it will one day show itself as a deserter in the other man's camp and he will then subjugate you, although the present sin of omission will be paid for not by the generation that committed it, but by the next. This Machiavellian principle is always a much more decent cloak for the lust of booty than are the wholly transparent tatters of the most palpable lies in presidential speeches and even of those that remind one of the well-known story of the rabbit that is said to have attacked the dog. At bottom, every state regards another as a gang of robbers who will fall upon it as soon as there is an opportunity.

§ 125

Between serfdom, as found in Russia, and landed property in England and generally between the serf and the farmer, tenant, mortgager, and the like, the difference is to be found more in the form than in the matter. Whether the peasant belongs to me or the land from which he must earn his living; whether the bird is mine or its food, the fruit or the tree, is essentially a matter of indifference, for, as Shakespeare represents Shylock as saying:

You take my life,
When you do take the means whereby I live.


The free peasant, it is true, has the advantage of being able to depart into the wide world; on the other hand, the serf and glebae adscriptus [5] has perhaps the greater advantage that, when a bad harvest, illness, old age, and incapacity render him helpless, his master has to look after him. He therefore sleeps soundly, whereas with a bad harvest, his master tosses and turns in his bed thinking of ways and means for providing his serfs with bread. And so even Menander said (Stobaeus, Florilegium, vol. ii, p. 389, ed. Gaisford):

[x]
[x]
(Quanto benignum satius est dominum pati,
Quam vivere inopem liberi sub nomine.) [6]


Another advantage of the free man is the possibility of improving his position through any talents he may develop; but the slave too is not entirely deprived of this. If through achievements of a higher order he becomes valuable to his master, he is treated accordingly, just as in Rome mechanics, factory managers, architects, and even physicians were often slaves and even today in Russia there are said to be great financiers who are serfs. In consequence of his industry, the slave can also buy his freedom, as often happens in America.

Poverty and slavery are, therefore, only two forms, one might almost say two names, for the same thing whose essential nature is that a man's powers are for the most part employed not for himself, but for others. The result of this is partly that he is overloaded with work and also that his needs meet with meagre satisfaction. For nature has given man only as much strength as will enable him to gain a living from the earth by a moderate use of such powers; he has not received a great surplus of strength. If a not inconsiderable portion of the human race is relieved of the common burden of physically maintaining human existence, the remainder of the race is thereby excessively burdened and in misery. This, then, is the primary source of that evil which, either under the name of slavery or that of the proletariat, has at all times borne heavily on the great majority of the human race. Its more remote cause, however, is luxury. Thus in order that a few may have what is an unnecessary and superfluous refinement; indeed that these may be able to satisfy artificial needs, a great part of mankind's existing powers must be devoted to things of this nature and so be withdrawn from the production of what is necessary and indispensable. Instead of building cottages for themselves, thousands build mansions for a few. Instead of coarse materials for themselves and their families, they weave fine silk materials or even lace for the wealthy, and generally manufacture a thousand articles of luxury for the pleasure of the wealthy. A large part of the population of cities consists of such makers of luxury articles; and so for them and those who give them such work the peasant must then plough, sow, and tend his flocks and thus has more work than had been originally imposed on him by nature. Moreover, he himself must still devote a great deal of his efforts and land to wine, silk, tobacco, hops, asparagus, and so on, instead of to corn, potatoes, and cattle-breeding. Further, many are withdrawn from agriculture to serve in shipbuilding and the merchant marine, so that sugar, coffee, tea, and other things may be procured. Again the production of these superfluous things then becomes the cause of the misery of those millions of Negro slaves who are forcibly torn from their native land in order to produce by their sweat and agony those objects of pleasure. In short, a great part of the powers of the human race is withdrawn from producing all that is necessary in order to procure for the few that which is entirely superfluous and unnecessary. Therefore, as long as there is luxury on the one side, there must necessarily be excessive work and a miserable existence on the other, whether it be given the name of poverty or slavery, proletarius or servus. The fundamental difference between the two is that slaves have to attribute their origin to violence, and poor men theirs to cunning. The whole unnatural condition of society, the universal struggle to escape from misery, sea navigation that is attended with so much loss of life, the complicated interests of trade, and finally the wars to which all this gives rise-all these things have their sole root in luxury which does not even make happy those who enjoy it, but rather makes them unhealthy, delicate, and bad-tempered. Accordingly, the most effective way to alleviate human misery would be to diminish luxury, or even to abolish it altogether.

There is unquestionably much truth in this whole train of thought. Yet it is in effect refuted by another which is, moreover, confirmed by the testimony of experience. Thus the human race devotes much labour to luxury; what it loses in this way in muscular strength (irritability) for its most necessary purposes, is gradually made good to it a thousandfold by the nervous strength (sensibility, intelligence) which on this occasion becomes free (in the chemical sense). For, as sensibility and intelligence are of a higher order, their achievements surpass a thousandfold those of irritability:

[x]
(ut vel unum sapiens consilium multorum manuum opus superat.) [7]

-- Euripides, Antiope.


A nation of none but peasants would achieve little in the way of discovery and invention; but the hands of leisure give active minds. The arts and sciences are themselves the offspring of luxury and repay their debt to it. Their work is that perfection of technology in all its branches, mechanical, chemical, and physical, which in our day has brought machinery to a pitch never previously imagined and achieves, especially through steam-engines and electricity, things which in times past would have been attributed to the agency of the devil. For now in factories and workshops of every kind and occasionally in agriculture machines do a thousand times more work than could ever have been done by the hands of all the leisured and well-to-do classes and cultured brain-workers and thus could ever have been attained by the abolition of all luxury and the introduction of a universal peasant life. The products of all these industries, however, certainly do not benefit the wealthy alone, but all classes. Things which in former times one could hardly afford are now obtainable at a low price and in quantities, and even the life of the humblest classes has greatly gained in comfort. In the Middle Ages a king of England once borrowed from a member of the aristocracy a pair of silk stockings in order to wear them for an audience with the French Ambassador. Even Queen Elizabeth was highly delighted and astonished to receive as a New Year's gift in 1560 the first pair of silk stockings (Disraeli, i. 332); [8] today every shop-assistant has such things. Fifty years ago ladies wore dresses of calico or cotton such as are worn today by maid-servants. If further progress at the same rate is made in the development of machinery, the result after a time may be that the efforts of human labour will be almost entirely saved, just as are those of horses to a large extent even now. For we could, of course, conceive of a certain universality of mental culture in the human race which, however, is impossible so long as a large part thereof must apply itself to heavy physical work. Irritability and sensibility in general as well as in particular are always and everywhere in antagonism just because one and the same vital force underlies both. Further, since artes molliunt mores, [9] wars on a large scale and rows or duels on a small will then perhaps disappear entirely from the world, just as both have now become much rarer. It is not, however, my purpose here to write a Utopia.

But even apart from all these arguments which are given above in favour of the abolition of luxury and the uniform distribution of all physical labour, we must mention in opposition to them the fact that the great flock of the human race necessarily needs, everywhere and at all times, leaders, guides, and counsellors in many different guises according to the affairs in, question, such as judges, governors, military commanders, officials, priests, physicians, scholars, philosophers, and so on. All these have the task of leading through the labyrinth of life this race which for the most part is exceedingly incapable and perverse. Therefore according to his position and abilities, each has obtained a general view of the race in a narrower or broader horizon. Now it is natural and reasonable that these leaders be left free from all common needs or discomfort, and also from physical labour; in fact, in accordance with their much greater achievements, they should possess and enjoy more than does the ordinary man. Even wholesale merchants should be included in that exempted class of leaders in so far as they make farsighted preparations in meeting the nation's needs.

§ 126

The question concerning the sovereignty of the people turns at bottom on whether anyone can originally have the right to rule a nation against its will. I do not see how this can be reasonably maintained; and so the people or nation is certainly sovereign; yet it is a sovereign for ever under age which must, therefore, be under a permanent guardian and can never itself exercise its rights without creating infinite dangers, especially as it very easily becomes, like all minors, the sport of cunning swindlers and sharpers, who for that reason are called demagogues.

Voltaire says:

Le premier qui fut roi, fut un soldat heureux. [10]


Originally, of course, all princes were certainly victorious army commanders and for a long time really ruled in that capacity. After they had standing armies, they regarded the people as a means to support themselves and their soldiers, and consequently as a herd of sheep to be tended, so that they would provide wool, milk, and meat. This is due to the fact that (as will be discussed in more detail in the following paragraph) naturally and thus originally might, not right, rules on earth, and that the former has the advantage over the latter of the jus primi occupantis. [11] Therefore might can never be annulled and actually abolished from the world, but must always have its place. All that we can desire and demand is that it will always be on the side of, and associated with, right. Accordingly, the prince says: 'I rule over you by authority; but in respect thereof my authority excludes every other, for, beside my own, I shall not tolerate any other either from without or from within through one of you trying to oppress the other; and so be satisfied with my authority.' Just because this was carried out, something quite different developed in the course of time out of kingship and that notion retreated into the background where it is still occasionally seen floating past like a ghost. Thus in its place has come the notion of a national father and the king has become the firm and unshakable pillar on which alone the whole of law and order and hence the rights of all are supported and thus maintained.* But the king can achieve this only by virtue of his inborn prerogative. This gives him and him alone an authority which is not equaled by any other, which cannot be questioned or challenged, and which everyone instinctively obeys. He is, therefore, rightly called 'by the grace of God' and is at all times the most useful person in the State whose services can never be adequately repaid by any civil list, however heavy.

But even Machiavelli started so definitely from the earlier medieval conception of the prince that, regarding the matter as self-evident, he did not discuss it, but tacitly assumed it and based all his advice thereon. In general, his book is merely the practice prevailing at the time which was reduced to theory and systematically and consistently expounded therein. In this novel, theoretical, and perfected form, it then gains an extremely piquant appearance. Incidentally, this also applies to the immortal little book of La Rochefoucauld, whose theme, however, is private life, not public, and who gives observations, not advice. Perhaps some might object to the title of this admirable little book; its contents are, in the main, not maximes or reflexions, but apervus; and therefore they should be so called. Moreover, even in Machiavelli there is also to be found much that applies to private life.

§ 127

In itself right is powerless; by nature might rules. The problem of statesmanship is to associate might with right so that, by means of the former, the latter may rule. And a hard problem it is when we bear in mind what boundless egoism is to be found in almost every human breast, associated in most cases with an accumulated store of hatred and malice, so that originally [x], [12] far outweighs [x]. [13] Moreover, it is many millions of individuals so constituted who are to be kept within the bounds of law, order, and peace, whereas originally everyone has the right to say to everyone else: 'I am just as good as you!' If we consider all this, it must surprise us that, on the whole, the world pursues its course with such peace and quiet, law and order, as we see. This, of course, is brought about solely by the State machine. For only physical force can always have an immediate effect, since only this impresses and instils respect in people, constituted as they normally are. If, to convince ourselves of this through experience, we once tried to remove all compulsion and to urge people most clearly and emphatically to be reasonable, just, and fair-minded, but to act contrary to their interests, then the impotence of merely moral force would be obvious, and in most cases only a mocking laugh would be the answer to Our attempt. Therefore physical force alone is capable of securing respect; but such force is found originally with the masses, where it is associated with ignorance, stupidity, and injustice. Accordingly, in such difficult circumstances, the primary task of statesmanship is to subject physical force to intelligence and mental superiority, and to make it serve these. If, however, this intelligence itself is not accompanied by justice and good intentions, then, where it succeeds, the result is that the State so established consists of deceivers and deceived. But this gradually comes to light through progress in the intelligence of the masses, however much it may be impeded, and then leads to a revolution. On the other hand, if this intelligence is accompanied by justice and good intentions, then the result is a State that is perfect so far as human affairs generally are concerned. It is very useful for this purpose, if justice and good intentions not only exist, but are also demonstrable and openly exhibited and are, therefore, subject to public account and control. Nevertheless, care must here be taken that, through the resultant participation of several men, the central power of the whole State, with which it has to act in home and foreign affairs, does not lose in concentration and force, as is almost invariably the case in republics. Accordingly, the supreme task of statesmanship is to satisfy all these requirements through the form of the State. Yet in point of fact, it has also to consider the given people with their national peculiarities. This is the raw material whose nature will, therefore, always have a great influence on the completeness of the work.

It will always be a great thing if statesmanship solves its problem to the extent of reducing to a minimum wrong and ijustice in the community. To dispose of these entirely without leaving a trace is merely the ideal aim that can be reached only approximately. Thus if they are cast out in one direction, they creep back in another; for unrighteousness and injustice are in human nature deep-rooted. Attempts are made to reach that goal by the artificial form of the constitution and the perfection of legislation; yet they remain an asymptote simply because fixed concepts never exhaust all the particular cases and cannot be brought down to the individual. For such concepts resemble the stones of a mosaic, not the delicate brushwork of a painting. Moreover, all experiments here are dangerous since we have to deal with the most difficult material, the human race. To handle it is almost as dangerous as handling a fulminating high explosive. In this respect, the freedom of the press is certainly for the state machine what the safety-valve is for the steam-engine. For by means of it, every dissatisfaction is at once ventilated in words and such grievance is soon exhausted if in it there is not very much substance. If, however, there is, then such ventilation is a good thing and enables the matter to be known in time and to be put right. This is very much better than forcing down the grievance so that it simmers, ferments, expands, and finally ends in an explosion. On the other hand, the freedom of the press may nevertheless be regarded as a permission to sell poison, poison for the heart and mind. For what is there that cannot be put into the heads of the masses who lack knowledge and judgement, especially if we pretend that there are for them gains and advantages? And when something has been put into a man's head, what outrage is there which he is not capable of committing? And so I am very much afraid that the dangers of a free press outweigh its advantages, especially where there are legal ways of dealing with complaints and grievances. But in any case, a condition of such freedom should be the strictest prohibition of each and every anonymity.

Generally speaking, one might even advance the hypothesis that the nature of right is analogous to that of certain chemical substances. These cannot be exhibited pure and isolated, but at most only with a small admixture that serves as a vehicle for them or gives them the necessary consistency, such as, for example, fluorine, even alcohol, prussic acid, and many others. Accordingly, if it is to gain a footing in the world of reality and even prevail, right necessarily needs a small addition of arbitrary force and might so that, in spite of its merely ideal and thus ethereal nature, it may be able to operate and exist in this real and material world without evaporating and vanishing into the sky, as happens with Hesiod. All birthright, all privileges through inheritance, every national religion, and many other things, may be regarded as such a necessary chemical base or alloy; since only on an arbitrarily established foundation of this kind could right be enforced and consistently carried into effect. Such a foundation would thus be, so to speak, the [x] [14] of right.

The artificial and arbitrarily chosen plant-system of Linnaeus cannot be replaced by a natural one, however much such a system accorded with reason and frequently as the attempt may have been made, because such a system never affords us the certainty and firmness of definition possessed by the artificial and arbitrary. In the same way, the artificial and arbitrary basis of the constitution of the State, as previously referred to, cannot be replaced by a purely natural one. Doing away with the aforesaid conditions, such a natural basis would try to put the privileges of personal merit in place of those of birth, the results of rational investigation in place of the national religion, and so on. Thus however much all this accorded with reason, it would still lack that certainty and firmness of definition which alone ensure the stability of the community. A state constitution that embodied abstract right would be an excellent thing for natures other than human. But since the great majority are extremely egoistic, unjust, inconsiderate, deceitful, and sometimes even wicked; and since, in addition, they are endowed with very meagre intelligence, there arises from this the necessity of a power which is concentrated in one man, is itself above all law and right, and is wholly irresponsible; a power to which all submit and which is regarded as something of a higher order, a ruler by the grace of God. In the long run, only in this way can mankind be curbed and governed.

On the other hand, we see in the United States of America the attempt to manage entirely without any such arbitrary foundation and thus to let abstract right rule, pure and unalloyed. But the result is not attractive; for, in spite of all the material prosperity in the country, we there find as the prevailing attitude sordid utilitarianism with ignorance as its inevitable companion which has paved the way to stupid Anglican bigotry, shallow conceit, and coarse brutality, in combination with a silly veneration of women. And in that country even worse things are the order of the day, such as revolting Negro slavery coupled with the utmost cruelty to the slaves, the most iniquitous suppression of the free blacks, lynch-law, assassination frequent and often unpunished, duels of unprecedented brutality, sometimes open ridicule of all rights and laws, repudiation of public debts, shocking political defrauding of a neighbouring state followed by predatory incursions into its rich territory. Such raids had then to be covered up by the highest authorities with lies that were known as such and laughed at by everyone in the country. Then there is the ever-growing ochlocracy, and finally we have all the pernicious influence which the above-mentioned denial of integrity in high places is bound to exercise on private morality. And so this specimen of a pure constitution of right on the other side of the planet says very little in favour of republics, but even less do those imitations of it to be found in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Peru. A special and paradoxical disadvantage of republics is that in them it is bound to be more difficult for men of superior intellect to gain high positions and thus reach direct political influence than it is in monarchies. For always, everywhere, and in all circumstances, all those with narrow, feeble, and vulgar minds are at once in league or instinctively united against men of superior intellect and regard them as their natural foe; they are firmly held together by their common fear of such men. Now in a republican constitution the numerous host of inferior minds will easily succeed in suppressing and excluding those of superior intellect in order not to be outflanked by them. And in spite of all having equal original rights, men of inferior ability outnumber the others by fifty to one. In a monarchy, on the other hand, this natural and universal league of the narrow-minded against those of superior intellect is one-sided and thus only from below; whereas from above, mental ability and talent are naturally supported and protected. For in the first place, the monarch himself is far too high and firmly established, to be frightened by competition from anyone else. Then he himself serves the State more by his will than by his intellect; for the latter can never be equal to so many claims and demands. He must, therefore, always make use of the brains of others; and, seeing that his interests are firmly bound up with those of his country and are inseparable from and identical with them, he will naturally give preference and show favour to the best because they are his most suitable instruments, that is, as soon as he has the ability to find them, which is not very difficult if only an honest search is made. In the same way, even ministers are too far ahead of junior politicians to regard them with jealousy; and so for analogous reasons, they will gladly single out and set to work men of outstanding intellect in order to make use of their powers. In this way, therefore, intellect always has in monarchies much better chances against stupidity, its implacable and ever-present foe, than it has in republics; but this is a great advantage.

In general, however, the monarchical form of government is natural to man in almost the same way as it is to bees and ants, to cranes in flight, to wandering elephants, to wolves in a pack in search of prey, and to other animals. All these place one of their number in charge of the adventure. Every human undertaking attended with danger, every military campaign, every ship, must obey one commander; one will must everywhere be the leader. Even the animal organism is constructed monarchically; the brain alone is the guide and governor, the [x]. Although heart, lungs, and stomach contribute much more to the continued existence of the whole, these Philistines cannot for that reason guide and direct. This is the business of the brain alone and must proceed from one point. Even the system of planets is monarchical. On the other hand, the republican system is as unnatural to man as it is unfavourable to higher intellectual life and thus to the arts and sciences. In accordance with all this, we find everywhere in the world and at all times that nations have always been governed monarchically, whether they were civilized or savage or something between the two.

[x]
[x]. [15]

-- Iliad, II. 204-5.


How would it be possible at all for us to see many millions and even hundreds of millions, everywhere and at all times, the willing and obedient subjects of one man, or even occasionally of a woman, and provisionally even of a child, if there were not in man a monarchical instinct that urged him to that which is proper and suitable? For this is not the result of reflection; everywhere one man is the king and, as a rule, his dignity is hereditary. He is, so to speak, the personification or monogram of the whole people who in him attain individuality. In this sense he can rightly say: l'etat c'est moi. [16] For this reason, we see in Shakespeare's historical dramas the kings of England and France address each other as France and England, and also the Duke of Austria use the word Austria (King John, Act III, Sc. I), regarding themselves, so to speak, as the incarnation of their nationalities. This is precisely in accordance with human nature and therefore the hereditary monarch cannot possibly separate the welfare of himself and his family from that of the country, as is the case, on the other hand, with those who are elected, in the States of the Church for instance. The Chinese can conceive of only a monarchical government; they simply do not understand what a republic is. When a Dutch legation was in China in 1658, it was obliged to represent the Prince of Orange as its king; otherwise the Chinese would have been inclined to regard Holland as a nest of pirates living without a lord or master. (See Jean Nieuhoff, L'Ambassade de La compagnie orientale des Provinces unies vers l' Empereur de La Chine, translated by Jean le Charpentier, Leiden, 1665, chap. 45.) Stobaeus headed a chapter of his own with the words: on [x]. [17] (Florilegium, tit. 47; vol. ii, pp. 256-63), and in it he collected the best passages from the ancients wherein the advantages of the monarchy are explained. Republics are unnatural and artificial productions and have sprung from reflection; and so in the whole history of the world they occur only as rare exceptions. Thus there were the small republics of Greece, Rome, and Carthage which were all conditioned by the fact that five-sixths, or perhaps even seven-eighths, of the population consisted of slaves. Even in 1840, the United States of America had three million slaves to a population of sixteen millions. Moreover, the duration of the republics of antiquity was very short compared with that of monarchies. Republics generally are easy to establish, but difficult to maintain; with monarchies the very reverse is true.

If we want Utopian plans, then I say that the only solution to the problem is a despotism of the wise and noble, of a genuine aristocracy and true nobility, attained on the path of generation by a union between the noblest men and the cleverest and most brilliant women. This is my idea of Utopia, my Republic of Plato.

Constitutional kings undoubtedly resemble the gods of Epicurus who, without meddling in human affairs, sit up in their heaven in undisturbed bliss and serenity. They have now become the fashion, and in every petty German principality a parody of the English constitution is set up, complete with Upper and Lower Houses down to the Habeas Corpus Act and trial by jury. Proceeding from the English character and English circumstances and presupposing both, these forms are natural and appropriate to the English people. But it is just as natural for the German people to be divided into many branches under as many actually ruling princes, with an emperor over them all who maintains peace at home and represents the unity of the State abroad. These things are natural to the Germans because they have proceeded from the German character and German circumstances. I am of the opinion that, if Germany is not to meet with the fate of Italy, she must restore as effectively as possible the imperial dignity that was abolished by her archenemy, the first Bonaparte. For German unity is bound up with it, and without it will always be only nominal or precarious. But since we no longer live in the times of Gunther of Schwarzburg when the choice of an emperor was a serious business, the imperial throne should pass alternately to Austria and Prussia for the duration of the emperor's life. In any case, the absolute sovereignty of small states is illusory. Napoleon I did for Germany precisely what Otto the Great did for Italy (see Annotazione alla secchia rapita); that is to say, he divided it into small and independent states on the principle of divide et imperia. [18] The English show their great judgement in their sticking firmly and religiously to their ancient institutions, customs, and usages, even at the risk of carrying such tenacity to excess and making it ridiculous. They do so just because such things are not hatched out of an idle head, but have come gradually from the force of circumstances and the wisdom of life itself and are, therefore, suited to them as a nation. On the other hand, the German Fritz allows himself to be persuaded by his schoolmaster that he must go about in an English tailcoat and that nothing else will do. Accordingly, he bullies his father into giving him one and then looks ridiculous enough in it with his awkward manners and stiff nature. But the tail-coat will be for him too tight and uncomfortable, and indeed all too soon when he sits on a jury. Trial by jury came from the most barbarous English Middle Ages, from the times of Alfred the Great, when the ability to read and write still exempted a man from the death-penalty.* It is the worst of all criminal courts where, instead of learned and experienced judges who have grown grey in the daily unravelling of the tricks and dodges of thieves, murderers, and scoundrels and have thus learnt how to get on to the track of things, gaping tailors and shoemakers are to be found. It is hoped to find out the truth from the deceptive tissue of lies and pretence with the aid of their coarse, crude, unpractised, and dull intellect which is not even accustomed to any sustained attention, whereas all the time they are thinking of their cloth and leather and are anxious to get home. They have absolutely no clear idea of the difference between probability and certainty; on the contrary, they set up in their stupid heads a kind of calculus probabilium [19] whereby they then confidently condemn others to death. The remarks are applicable to them which Samuel Johnson made about a court-martial that had been convened to settle an important matter. He had little confidence in it and said that possibly not one of its members had ever in his life spent one hour by himself in balancing probabilities. (Boswell, Life of Johnson, ann. 1780, aetat. 71.) But does anyone suppose that tailors and shoemakers would be really impartial? The malignum vulgus [20] impartial? As if partiality and bias were not to be feared ten times more from those ofthe same class as the accused than from criminal judges who are complete strangers to him, live in an entirely different sphere, enjoy security of tenure, and are conscious of the dignity of their office. But now to allow crimes against the State and its head and also offences against the press laws to be tried by jury, is really like setting a thief to catch a thief.
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:23 am

Part 2 of 2

§ 128

Everywhere and at all times, there has been much discontent with governments, laws, and public institutions, but for the most part only because we are always ready to make these responsible for the misery that is inseparably bound up with human existence itself. For mythically speaking, it is the curse that was laid on Adam and through him on his whole race. But never has that false delusion been made more mendaciously and impudently than by the demagogues of the Jetztzeit. [21] Thus as the enemies of Christianity, such men are optimists; to them the world is an end in itself, and so in itself, that is, according to its natural constitution, is admirably arranged and a veritable abode of bliss. On the other hand, they attribute entirely to governments the crying and colossal evils of the world. They think that, if only governments did their duty, there would be a heaven on earth, in other words, that all could gorge, guzzle, propagate, and die without effort and anxiety. For this is the paraphrase of their 'end in itself'; this is the goal of the 'endless progress of mankind' which they are never tired of proclaiming in pompous phrases.

§ 129

Formerly the mainstay of the throne was faith; today it is credit. The Pope himself may hardly attach more importance to the confidence of the faithful than to that of his creditors. If in former times men deplored the guilt of the world, they now look with dismay on the debts of the world; just as formerly they prophesied the Day of Judgement, so they now prophesy the great [x], [22] universal State bankruptcy, confidently hoping, however, that they themselves will not live to see it.

§ 130

It is true that, ethically and rationally, the right of possession has an incomparably better foundation than has the right if birth. Yet the right of possession is akin to and part of that of birth; and hence it would hardly be possible to cut away the latter without endangering the former. The reason for this is that most property is inherited and is, therefore, a kind of birthright; just as the old nobility bears only the name of the family estate and so through this expresses merely its possession. Accordingly, if all owners of property were prudent instead of envious, they would also support the maintenance of the rights of birth.

Therefore the nobility, as such, afford a double advantage, namely by helping to support the right of possession on the one hand, and the birthright of the king on the other. For the king is the first nobleman in the land and, as a rule, treats a nobleman as a humble relation, a treatment that is quite different from that shown to a commoner, however much he may be trusted. It is also quite natural for him to have more confidence in those whose ancestors were in most cases the first ministers and always the closest associates of his own. And so a nobleman rightly appeals to his name when, in the case of anything arousing suspicion, he repeats the assurance of his loyalty and devotion to his king. As my readers know, the character is certainly inherited from the father; and so it is narrow-minded and ridiculous to show no interest in whose son a man is.

§ 131

With rare exceptions, all women are inclined to be extravagant; and so every existing fortune must be protected from their folly, except in those rare cases where they themselves have earned it. For this very reason, I am of the opinion that women never grow up entirely and should always be under the actual care of a man, whether of a father, husband, son, or the State, as is the case in India. Accordingly, they should never be able to dispose arbitrarily of any property that they themselves have not earned. On the other hand, I regard it as unpardonable and pernicious folly to let a mother become even the appointed trustee and administratrix of her children's share of the father's inheritance. In most cases, such a woman will squander on her paramour all that the father of the children has earned out of consideration for them by the labour and industry of his whole life. It will be all the same whether or not she marries the man. Homer gives us this warning:

[x]
[x]
[x]
[x]

-- Odyssey, xv. 20-3.


After the death of her husband, the actual mother often becomes a stepmother. Yet in general it is only stepmothers and not stepfathers who have such a bad reputation which has given rise to the word 'stepmotherly'; [24] whereas there has never been any mention of stepfatherly. Even in the time of Herodotus (lib. IV, c. 154), stepmothers had that reputation; and they have managed to retain it ever since. At all events, a woman always needs a guardian and should, therefore, never herself be one. But generally a wife who has not been fond of her husband will not have any affection for the children she has had by him, that is to say, after the maternal love has passed which is merely instinctive and is therefore not to be credited to her moral qualities. Further, I am of the opinion that in a court of law a woman's evidence, caeteris paribus, [25] should carry less weight than a man's so that, for example, two male witnesses would carry the same weight as three or even four female. For I believe that, taken as a whole, the female sex in a day spouts three times as many lies as does the male, and moreover with a show of plausibility and frankness which is quite beyond the reach of the male. The Mohammedans, of course, go too far in the other direction. A young educated Turk once said to me: 'We regard woman merely as the soil in which the seed is sown; and hence her religion is a matter of indifference. We can marry a Christian without requiring that she be converted.' When I asked him whether dervishes were married, he replied: 'Of course they are; the Prophet was married and they cannot hope to be holier than he.'

Would it not be better if there were no days of rest at all, but as many more hours of rest instead? What a wholesome effect the sixteen hours of a tedious and therefore dangerous Sunday would have if twelve of them were divided among all the weekdays! Two hours on Sunday would always be enough for religious worship and more is hardly ever given to it, still less to devout meditation. The ancients had no weekly day of rest. But, of course, it would be very difficult actually to keep for the people these daily two hours of leisure that are purchased in this way and to protect them from interference.

§ 132

Ahasuerus, the wandering Jew, is nothing but the personification of the whole Jewish race. Since he sinned grievously against the Saviour and World-Redeemer, he shall never be delivered from earthly existence and its burden and moreover shall wander homeless in foreign lands. This is just the flight and fate of the small Jewish race which, strange to relate, was driven from its native land some two thousand years ago and has ever since existed and wandered homeless. On the other hand, many great and illustrious nations with which this pettifogging little nation cannot possibly be compared, such as the Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Etruscans and others have passed to eternal rest and entirely disappeared. And so even today, this gens extorris, [26] this John Lackland among the nations, is to be found all over the globe, nowhere at home and nowhere strangers. Moreover, it asserts its nationality with unprecedented obstinacy and, mindful of Abraham who dwelt in Canaan as a stranger but who gradually became master of the whole land, as his God had promised him (Genesis 17: 8), it would also like to set foot somewhere and take root in order to arrive once more at a country, without which, of course, a people is like a ball floating in air.* Till then, it lives parasitically on other nations and their soil; but yet it is inspired with the liveliest patriotism for its own nation. This is seen in the very firm way in which Jews stick together on the principle of each for all and all for each, so that this patriotism sine patria inspires greater enthusiasm than does any other. The rest of the Jews are the fatherland of the Jew; and so he fights for them as he would pro ara et focis, [27] and no community on earth sticks so firmly together as does this. It follows from this that it is absurd to want to concede to them a share in the government or administration of any country. Originally amalgamated and one with their state, their religion is by no means the main issue here, but rather merely the bond that holds them together, the point de ralliement, [28] and the banner whereby they recognize one another. This is also seen in the fact that even the converted Jew who has been baptized does not by any means bring upon himself the hatred and loathing of all the rest, as do all other apostates. On the contrary, he continues as a rule to be their friend and companion and to regard them as his true countrymen, naturally with a few orthodox exceptions. Even in the case of the regular and solemn Jewish prayer for which ten must be present, a Jew turned Christian, but no other Christian, may be present if one of the ten is missing. The same holds good of all the other religious acts. The case would be even clearer if Christianity were to decline and cease altogether; for then the Jews would not on that account cease to exist and to hang together as Jews, separately and by themselves. Accordingly, it is an extremely superficial and false view to regard the Jews merely as a religious sect. But if, in order to countenance this error, Judaism is described by an expression borrowed from the Christian Church as 'Jewish Confession', then this is a fundamentally false expression which is deliberately calculated to mislead and should not be allowed at all. On the contrary, 'Jewish Nation' is the correct expression. The Jews have absolutely no confession; monotheism is part of their nationality and political constitution and is with them a matter of course. Indeed it is quite clear that monotheism and Judaism are convertible terms. The fact that the well-known faults attaching to the Jewish national character, of which a surprising absence of all that is expressed by the word verecundia [29] is the most conspicuous, although this fault is far more useful in the world than is perhaps any positive quality; the fact, I say, that such faults are to be attributed mainly to the long and unjust oppression they have suffered, excuses them, it is true, but does not do away with them. I am bound to praise absolutely the rational Jew who, on giving up old myths, humbug, and prejudices by being baptized, quits an association that brings him neither honour nor advantage (although the latter occurs in exceptional cases), even if he should not take the Christian faith very seriously. For is this not the case with every young Christian who repeats his credo at his confirmation? To save him even this step, however, and to bring to an end in the gentlest manner the whole tragi-comic state of affairs, the best way is certainly for marriages to be permitted and even encouraged between Jews and Gentiles. The Church cannot object to this for there is the authority of the apostle himself (1 Corinthians 7: 12-16). Then in the course of a hundred years, there will be only a very few Jews left and soon the ghost will be exorcized. Ahasuerus will be buried and the chosen people will not know where their abode was. This desirable result, however, will be frustrated if the emancipation of the Jews is carried to the point of their obtaining political rights, and thus an interest in the administration and government of Christian countries. For then they will be and remain Jews really only con amore. Justice demands that they should enjoy with others equal civil rights; but to concede to them a share in the running of the State is absurd. They are and remain a foreign oriental race, and so must always be regarded merely as domiciled foreigners. When some twenty-five years ago the emancipation of the Jews was debated in the English Parliament, a speaker put forward the following hypothetical case. An English Jew comes to Lisbon where he meets two men in extreme want and distress; yet it is only in his power to save one of them. Personally to him they are both strangers. Yet if one of them is an Englishman but a Christian, and the other a Portuguese but a Jew, whom will he save? I do not think that any sensible Christian and any sincere Jew will be in doubt as to the answer. But it gives us some indication of the rights to be conceded to the Jews.

§ 133

In no affair does religion intervene so directly and obviously in practical and material life as in the oath. It is bad enough that in this way the life and property of one man are made dependent on the metaphysical convictions of another. Now if, as is to be feared, at some future date all religions were to decline and all faith to cease, how would it then be with regard to the oath? It is, therefore, worth while to inquire whether there is not a purely moral significance of the oath which is independent of all positive faith and is yet to be reduced to clear concepts, and which, as something supremely sacred in pure gold, might surpass that universal brand of the Church; although compared with the pomp and pithy language of the religious oath, it might appear to be somewhat bald and dispassionate.

The undoubted aim of the oath is to counter in a merely moral way the all-too-frequent duplicity and mendacity of man by making him vividly conscious of the moral obligation, acknowledged by him, to speak the truth, after he has been strengthened by some extraordinary consideration which here arises. I will endeavour to make clear in accordance with my ethics the purely moral sense of the emphasis of this duty, a sense that will be free from everything transcendent and mythical.

In my chief work, volume i, § 62, and in greater detail in my prize-essay' On the Basis of Ethics', § 17, I have laid down the paradoxical yet true principle that in certain cases a man is granted the right to tell a lie, and I have supported it by means of a detailed explanation and argument. Those cases are where (a) he had the right to use force against others and (b) wholly unauthorized questions were put to him framed in such a way that he would jeopardize his interests as much by refusing to answer them as by giving a straightforward reply. Just because in such cases there is undoubtedly a justification to tell a lie, it is necessary in important matters whose decision depends on a man's statement and also in promises whose fulfilment is of great importance, for him first to make an express and solemn declaration that, in this particular instance, he does not admit the existence of the above-mentioned cases; that he therefore knows and realizes that here no violence is being done to him or threatened but right prevails; likewise that he admits that the question put to him is fully authorized; and finally that he is aware that everything depends on his present statement concerning the question. This declaration implies that, ifin such circumstances a man tells a lie, he is committing a grave wrong and is clearly conscious of so doing. For now he is in the position of one in whose honesty and integrity confidence has been placed, and to whom has been given in this instance full authority which he can use equally for doing right or wrong. Now if he tells a lie, he is clearly conscious of being one who, when he has free authority, uses this with the coolest deliberation for the purpose of doing wrong. Perjury furnishes him with this testimony about himself. Now there is in addition the circumstance that, since no man is without the need for some kind of metaphysics, everyone carries the conviction, though vague, that the world has not merely a physical, but at the same time and in some way a metaphysical, significance and also that, in regard to such significance, our individual conduct, according to its merely moral aspect, has consequences quite different from, and far more important than, those accruing to it by virtue of its empirical effectiveness, and is, therefore, really of transcendent significance. I refer here to my prize-essay' On the Basis of Ethics', § 21, and merely add that the man who denies that his own conduct has any other than empirical significance, will never make the statement without feeling an inner conflict therewith and exercising self-restraint. Summoning a man to take an oath now places him explicitly in the position where he has to regard himself in this sense as a merely moral being, conscious of the extreme importance to himself of the decisions he has given in this capacity. In this way, all other considerations with him should now dwindle away to vanishing point. It is immaterial here whether the conviction, thus aroused, of a metaphysical, and at the same time moral, significance of our existence is only felt in a dull way, or is clothed and hence animated in all kinds of myths and fables, or else is brought to the clearness of philosophical thought. Again, it follows from this that, essentially, it is not a question whether the form of the oath expresses this or that mythological connection, or is entirely abstract, like the je le jure [30] that is customary in France. The form should be selected in accordance with the degree of mental development of the man who is taking the oath, just as it is chosen according to the difference of his positive belief. If the matter is considered in this way, then even the man professing no religion could very well be permitted to take an oath.

_______________

Notes:

1 [' Simplicity is the seal of truth.']

* We see just now in China the consequences of neglecting this rule, namely, rebels from within and Europeans from without, and the greatest kingdom in the world is unarmed and defenceless and must pay the penalty for having cultivated only the arts of peace and not also those of war. Between the operations of creative nature and those of man there is a characteristic analogy which is not accidental, but depends on the identity of the will in both. After the animals that live on plants had made their appearance in the whole of animal nature, there appeared in each animal class the beasts of prey, necessarily last of all, for the purpose of living on those others. Now in the same way, after men have won from the soil honestly and by the sweat of their brows what is necessary for the sustenance of a nation, there always appear some who, instead of cultivating the soil and living on its produce, prefer to take their lives in their hands and gamble with their health and freedom in order to set upon those who are in possession of property honestly acquired and to appropriate the fruits of their labour. These beasts of prey of the human race are  
the conquering nations whom we see appear everywhere, from the most ancient times to the most modern, with varying fortune. For their successes and failures generally furnish us with the material of the history of the world. Voltaire is, therefore, quite right when he says: Dans toutes les guerres il ne s' agit que de voler. [' In all wars it is only a question of stealing.'] That they are ashamed of the whole business is clear from the fact that every government loudly asserts its unwillingness to resort to arms except for the purpose of self-defence.

2 ['Each has as much right as he has power ... everyone's right is determined by the power he has.']

3 ['Do not to another what you do not wish should be done to you.']

4 ['Do to another what you do not wish should be done to you.']

5 ['One bound to the soil' (cf. p. 69-70).]

6 ['It is much better to serve a good master than to live as a free man in misery and meanness.']

7 ['One piece of good advice often achieves greater advantage than does the  work of many hands.']

8 [Curiosities of Literature.]

9 ['The arts mitigate manners and customs.']

10 ['The first king was a successful soldier.']

11 ['The right of first occupation.']

* Stobaeus, Florilegium, tit. 44, 41 (vol. ii, p. 201, ed. Gaisford):
[x]
['When a king died, it was the custom of the Persians to have anarchy for five days so that the people would see how valuable were the king and the law.']

12 ['Quarrel'.]

13 ['Love'.]

14 ['Give me a foothold (and I shall move the earth).' (A saying of Archimedes.)]

15 ['Government by many is not a good thing; there should be only one ruler, one king.']

16 ['I am the State.']

17 ['On monarchy being the best thing.']

* German lawyers state that, under the Anglo-Saxon kings, there was still no jury in the proper sense, nor was there one under the first Norman kings; but that it was gradually perfected and first appeared as we know it between the reigns of Edward III and Henry IV.

18 ['Set at variance and rule.']

19 ['Theory or calculus of probabilities'.]

20 ['Spiteful mob.']

21 ['Of the present time' (Schopenhauer purposely used this expression by way of condemning cacophonous words to which he drew attention in his essay on the mutilation of the German language).]

22 ['Repudiation of debts'.]

23 ['Know what kind of a disposition dwells in woman's heart. She will add only to the house of the man with whom she lives. When he is dead, she thinks no longer of her children or of the consort of her youth and does not inquire about him.']

24 [The German stiefmutterlich means also grudging, niggard.]

25 ['Other things being equal'.]

* In the Old Testament, Numbers 13 ff. and Deuteronomy 2, we have an instructive example of the course of events in the gradual population of the earth, namely of the way in which mobile hordes who had emigrated sought to displace people already domiciled and occupied the good land. The latest step of this kind was the migration if population or rather conquest of America, in fact the continuous driving back of the American aboriginals. We see it also in Australia. The role of the Jews in their settling in the Promised Land and that of the Romans in settling in Italy is essentially the same, namely that of a people who had immigrated and continually made war on their former neighbours, finally subduing them; only that the Romans carried their conquests incomparably further than did the Jews.

26 ['Refugee race'.]

27 ['For hearth and home'.]

28 ['Rallying-point'.]

29 ['Modesty, shyness'.]

30 ['I swear on oath'.]
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:50 am

CHAPTER 10: On the Doctrine of the Indestructibility of our True Nature by Death

§ 134

Although I have dealt with this subject consistently and fully in my chief work, I still think that a further short selection of isolated observations will always throw some light on that discussion and will not be without value to many a reader.

One must read Jean Paul's Selina to see how an exceedingly eminent mind wrestles with the absurdities of a false conception which obtrude themselves on him, and how he will not give it up because he has set his heart on it and yet is always disturbed by the inconsistencies he is unable to digest. I refer to the conception of the continued individual existence of our entire personal consciousness after death. It is just that wrestling and struggling of Jean Paul's which show that such notions, made up of what is false and true, are not wholesome errors as is maintained; they are, on the contrary, decidedly harmful and pernicious. For the true knowledge, based on the contrast between phenomenon and thing-in-itself, of the indestructibility of our real nature -- a nature that is untouched by time, causality, and change -- is rendered impossible by the false contrast between body and soul as also by raising the whole personality to a thing-in-itself that is said to last for ever. Not only is this the case, but also that false conception cannot even be definitely regarded as the representative of truth because our faculty of reason constantly rebels at the absurdity that underlies it, and in so doing has also to give up the truth that is amalgamated with it. For in the long run, what is true can exist only in all its purity; mixed with errors, it partakes of their weakness, just as granite disintegrates when its feldspar is decayed, although quartz and mica are not subject to such decay. The substitutes of truth are, therefore, in a bad way.

§ 135

If in daily intercourse we are asked, by one of the many who would like to know everything but who will learn nothing, about continued existence after death, the most suitable answer and above all the most correct would be: 'After your death you will be what you were before your birth.' For it implies the absurdity of the demand that the kind of existence which has a beginning ought to be without an end; but in addition it contains the hint that there may be two kinds of existence and accordingly two kinds of nothing. However, we could also reply: 'Whatever you will be after your death, and it might be nothing, will then be just as natural and appropriate to you as is your individual organic existence to you now; and so at most you might have to fear the moment of transition. Indeed, as a mature consideration of the matter leads to the result that complete nonexistence would be preferable to an existence such as ours, the thought of a cessation of our existence, or of a time when we shall no longer exist, cannot reasonably disturb us any more than can the idea that we might never have come into existence. Now as this existence is essentially personal, the end of the personality is accordingly not to be regarded as a loss.'

On the other hand, the man who had followed the plausible thread of materialism on the objective and empirical path, and now turned to us in terror at the total destruction through death which stared him in the face, would probably derive from us some consolation in the briefest manner and in keeping with his empirical way of thinking, if we pointed out to him the difference between matter and the metaphysical force that is always temporarily taking possession thereof.
For instance, we could show him how, as soon as the proper temperature occurs, the homogeneous formless fluid in the bird's egg assumes the complex and precisely determined shape of the genus and species of its bird. To a certain extent, this is indeed a kind of generatio aequivoca; and it is exceedingly probable that the ascending series of animal forms arose from the fact that, once in primeval times and at a happy hour, it jumped to a higher type from that of the animal to which the egg belonged. At all events, something different from matter most definitely makes its appearance here, especially as, with the smallest unfavourable circumstance, it fails to appear. In this way, it becomes obvious that, after an operation that is completed or subsequently impeded, this something can also depart just as unimpaired from matter. This suggests a permanence of quite a different kind from that of the persistence of matter in time.

§ 136

No individual is calculated to last for ever; it is swallowed up in death; yet in this way we lose nothing, for underlying the individual existence is one quite different whose manifestation it is. This other existence knows no time and so neither duration nor extinction.

If we picture to ourselves a being who knew, understood, and took in at a glance everything, the question whether we continued to exist after death would probably have for him no meaning at all, since beyond our present, temporal, individual existence duration and cessation would no longer have any significance and would be indistinguishable concepts. Accordingly, neither the concept of extinction nor that of duration would have any application to our true nature, or to the thing-in-itself manifesting itself in our phenomenal appearance, since such concepts are borrowed from time that is merely the form of the phenomenon. However, we can picture to ourselves the indestructibility of that core of our phenomenon only as a continued existence of it and really in accordance with the schema of matter as that which persists and continues in time under all the changes of forms. Now if we deny to that core this continued existence, then we regard our temporal end as an annihilation in accordance with the schema of form that vanishes when the matter carrying it is withdrawn from it. Yet both are a [x], [1] a transference of the forms of the phenomenon to the thing-in-itself. But we can hardly form even an abstract notion of an indestructibility that would not be a continuance, because we lack all intuitive perception for verifying such a notion.

In point of fact, however, the constant arising of new beings and the perishing of those that exist are to be regarded as an illusion, produced by the apparatus of two polished lenses (brain-functions) through which alone we are able to see something. They are called space and time and, in their mutual interpenetration, causality. For all that we perceive under these conditions is mere phenomenon; but we do not know how things may be in themselves, that is, independently of our perception. This is really the core of the Kantian philosophy; and we cannot too often call to mind that philosophy and its contents, after a period in which mercenary charlatanry had by its process of obscurantism driven philosophy from Germany with the willing help of those for whom truth and intellect are the least important matters in the world, whereas salaries and fees are the weightiest.

This existence, which is in no way concerned with the death of the individual, does not have time and space as its forms, but everything that for us is real appears therein; and so to us death manifests itself as an annihilation.

§ 137

Everyone feels that he is something different from a being whom another once created out of nothing. From this there arises for him the assurance that death may bring to an end his life but not his existence.

By virtue of the cognitive form of time, man (i.e. the affirmation of the will-to-live at the highest stage of its objectification) appears as a race of human beings who are always being born afresh and then dying.

Man is something different from an animated nothing; and so too is the animal.

How can we imagine, on seeing the death of a human being, that here a thing-in-itself becomes nothing? On the contrary, that only a phenomenon comes to an end in time, this form of all phenomena, without the thing-in-itself being thereby affected, is the immediate intuitive knowledge of everyone.
Therefore at all times, attempts have been made to state it in the most varied forms and expressions all of which, however, are taken from the phenomenon in its proper sense and merely refer thereto.

Whoever imagines that his existence is limited to his present life considers himself to be an animated nothing; for thirty years ago he was nothing and thirty years hence he will again be nothing.

If we had a complete knowledge of our own true nature through and through to its innermost core, we should regard it as ridiculous to demand the immortality of the individual, since this would be equivalent to giving up that true inner nature in exchange for a single one of its innumerable manifestations, or fulgurations.

§ 138

The more clearly conscious a man is of the frailty, vanity, and dreamlike nature of all things, the more clearly aware is he also of the eternity of his own true inner nature. For really only in contrast thereto is that dreamlike nature of things known; just as we perceive the rapid motion of the ship we are in only by looking at the fixed shore and not at the ship itself.

§ 139

The present has two halves, an objective and a subjective. The objective half alone has as its form the intuition of time and therefore rolls on irresistibly; the subjective half stands firm and is, therefore, always the same. From this arise our vivid recollection of what is long past and the consciousness of our immortality, in spite of the knowledge of the fleeting nature of our existence.

From my initial proposition: 'the world is my representation', we have, to begin with, the proposition: 'first I am and then the world'. We should stick firmly to this as an antidote to confusing death with annihilation.

Everyone thinks that his innermost core is something that contains and carries about the present moment.

Whenever we may happen to live, we always stand with our consciousness in the centre of time, never at its extremities; and from this we might infer that everyone carries within himself the immovable centre of the whole of infinite time. At bottom, it is this that gives him the confidence with which he goes on living without the constant dread of death. Now whoever is able most vividly to conjure up in his own mind, by virtue of the strength of his memory and imagination, that which is long past in the course of his life, becomes more clearly conscious than others of the identity of the now in all time. Perhaps even the converse of this proposition is more correct. But at all events, such a more vivid consciousness of the identity of all now is an essential requirement for a philosophical turn of mind. By means of it, we apprehend that which is the most fleeting of all things, the Now, as that which alone persists. Now whoever is aware in this intuitive way that the present moment, the sole form of all reality in the narrowest sense, has its source in us and thus springs from within and not from without, cannot have any doubt about the indestructibility of his own true nature. On the contrary, he will grasp that, with his death, the objective world together with the intellect, the medium of its presentation, certainly does perish for him, but that this does not affect his existence; for there was just as much reality within as without. He will say with perfect understanding: [x]. [2] (See Stobaeus, Florilegium, tit. 44,42; vol. i, p. 201.)

Whoever refuses to admit all this, must assert the contrary and say: 'Time is something purely objective and real, existing quite independently of me. I am thrown into it only accidentally, have got possession of a small portion of it, and have thus arrived at a transient reality just as did thousands of others before me who are now no more, and I too shall very soon be nothing. Time, on the other hand, is that which is real; it then goes on without me.' I think that the fundamental absurdity of such a view is obvious from the definite way in which it has been expressed.

In consequence of all this, life may certainly be regarded as a dream and death as an awakening. But then the personality, the individual, belongs to the dreaming and not to the waking consciousness;
and so death presents itself to the former as annihilation. Yet at all events, from this point of view death is not to be regarded as the transition to a state that to us is entirely new and strange, but rather only as the return to our own original state, of which life was only a brief episode.

If, however, a philosopher should perhaps imagine that in dying he would find a consolation peculiar to him alone, or at any rate a diversion in the fact that for him a problem would be solved on which he had been so often engaged, then probably he would be no better off than the man whose lamp is blown out when he is just on the point of finding the thing he has been looking for.

For in death consciousness assuredly perishes, but certainly not that which had till then produced it. Thus consciousness rests primarily on the intellect, but this on a physiological process. For it is obviously the function of the brain and, therefore, conditioned by the co-operation of the nervous and vascular systems, more specifically by the brain that is nourished, animated, and constantly agitated by the heart. It is through the ingenious and mysterious structure of the brain which anatomy describes but physiology does not understand, that the phenomenon of the objective world and the whole mechanism of our thoughts are brought about. An individual consciousness and thus a consciousness in general is not conceivable in an immaterial or incorporeal being, since the condition of every consciousness, knowledge, is necessarily a brain-function really because the intellect manifests itself objectively as brain. Therefore just as the intellect appears physiologically and consequently in empirical reality, that is, in the phenomenon, as something secondary, as a result of the life-process, so too psychologically it is secondary, in contrast to the will that is alone the primary and everywhere the original thing. Even the organism itself is really only the will manifesting itself intuitively and objectively in the brain and consequently in the brain-forms of space and time, as I have often explained especially in the essay On the Will in Nature and in my chief work, volume ii, chapter 20. Therefore as consciousness is not directly dependent on the will, but is conditioned by the intellect, the latter being conditioned by the organism, there is no doubt that consciousness is extinguished by death, as also by sleep and every fainting fit.* But let us take courage! for what kind of a consciousness is this? A cerebral animal consciousness, one that is somewhat more highly developed, animal in so far as we have it essentially in common with the whole animal kingdom, although in us it reaches its summit. As I have shown often enough, as regards its origin and purpose, this consciousness is a mere [x] of nature, a remedy or expedient for helping our animal essence to satisfy its needs. On the other hand, the condition into which death returns us is our original state, that is, the one peculiar to our true nature whose primary force manifests itself in the production and maintenance of the life that is now ceasing. Thus it is the condition or state of the thing-in-itself in contrast to the phenomenon. Now in this original state, such an expedient as cerebral knowledge, as being extremely mediate and therefore furnishing mere phenomena, is without doubt entirely superfluous; and so we lose it. Its disappearance is identical with the cessation for us of the phenomenal world, whose mere medium it was, and it can serve no other purpose. If in this original state of ours the retention of that animal consciousness were even offered to us, we should reject it, just as a lame man who had been cured would scorn to use crutches. Therefore whoever deplores the impending loss of this cerebral consciousness that is merely phenomenal and adapted to the phenomenal, is comparable to the converted Greenlanders who did not want heaven when they heard that no seals were there.

Moreover, all that is said here rests on the assumption that we cannot even picture to ourselves a not unconscious state except as one of knowing which consequently carries within itself the fundamental form of all knowledge, the separation into subject and object, into a knower and a known. But we have to bear in mind that this entire form of knowing and being known is conditioned merely by our animal, and therefore very secondary and derived, nature and is thus by no means the original state of all essence and existence, a state that may, therefore, be quite different and yet not without consciousness. However, in so far as we are able to pursue our own present nature to its innermost core, even it is mere will, but this in itself is something without knowledge. Now if through death we forfeit the intellect, we are thereby shifted only into the original state which is without knowledge, but is not for that reason absolutely without consciousness; on the contrary, it will be a state that is raised above and beyond that form where the contrast between subject and object vanishes because that which is to be known would here be actually and immediately identical with the knower himself; and thus the fundamental condition of all knowing (that very contrast) is wanting. By way of elucidation, this may be compared with World as Will and Representation, volume ii, chapter 22. Giordano Bruno's statement is to be regarded as another expression of what is said here and in that work: La divina mente, e la unita assoluta, senza specie alcuna e ella medesima lo che intende, e lo ch'e inteso. [3] [Google translate: The divine mind, and the absolute unity, with no species whatsoever, and the same which it means, and which it is intended ] (Ed. Wagner, vol. i, p. 287.)

From time to time, everyone will perhaps feel in his heart of hearts a consciousness that an entirely different kind of existence would really suit him rather than this one which is so unspeakably wretched, temporal, transient, individual, and preoccupied with nothing but misery and distress. On such an occasion, he then thinks that death might lead him back to that other existence.

§ 140

Now if, in contrast to this method of consideration which is directed inwards, we again look outwards and apprehend quite objectively the world that presents itself to us, then death certainly appears to be a passing into nothing; but, on the other hand, birth is apparently a proceeding out of nothing. Yet the one like the other cannot be unconditionally true, since it has only the reality of the phenomenon. That in some sense we should survive death is certainly not a greater miracle than that of generation which we daily see before us. That which dies passes away to the source whence all life comes, its own included. In this sense, the Egyptians called Orcus Amenthes which according to Plutarch (De Isis et Osiris, chap. 29), signifies [x], 'the taker and the giver', in order to express that it is the same source whither everything returns and whence everything proceeds. From this point of view, our life might be regarded as a loan received from death; sleep would then be the daily interest on that loan. Death openly proclaims itself as the end of the individual, but in him there dwells the seed for a new being. Accordingly, of all that dies, nothing dies for ever; but also nothing that is born receives an entirely and fundamentally new existence. That which dies perishes, but a seed is left behind out of which a new being proceeds; and this now enters existence without knowing whence it comes and why it is precisely as it is. This is the mystery of palingenesis and chapter 41 of volume ii of my chief work may be regarded as its explanation. It is accordingly clear to us that all beings living at this moment contain the real kernel of all that will live in the future; and so to a certain extent these future beings already exist. Similarly, every animal standing before us in the prime of life seems to exclaim to us: 'Why do you complain of the fleeting nature of all those who are alive? How could I exist if all those of my species who existed before me had not died?' Accordingly, however much the plays and masks may change on the world's stage, the actors in all of them nevertheless remain the same. We sit together, talk, and excite one another; eyes gleam and voices grow louder. Thousands of years ago, others sat in just the same way; it was the same and they were the same. It will be just the same thousands of years hence. The contrivance that prevents us from becoming aware of this is time.

We might very well distinguish between metempsychosis as the transition of the entire so-called soul into another body, and palingenesis as the disintegration and new formation of the individual, since his will alone persists and, assuming the shape of a new being, receives a new intellect. The individual, therefore, decomposes like a neutral salt whose base then combines with another acid to form a new salt. The difference between metempsychosis and palingenesis which is assumed by Servius, the commentator of Virgil, and is briefly stated in Wernsdorf's Dissertatio de metempsychosi, p. 48, is obviously false and valueless.

From Spence Hardy's Manual of Budhism (pp. 394-6, to be compared with pp. 429, 440, and 445 of the same book) and also from Sangermano's Burmese Empire, p. 6, as well as the Asiatic Researches, vol. vi, p. 179 and vol. ix, p. 256, it appears that there are in Buddhism, as regards continued existence after death, an exoteric and an esoteric doctrine. The former is just metempsychosis as in Brahmanism, but the latter is a palingenesis which is much more difficult to understand and is very much in agreement with my doctrine of the metaphysical permanence of the will in spite of the intellect's physical constitution and fleeting nature in keeping therewith. [x] occurs even in the New Testament. [4]

Now if, to penetrate more deeply into the mystery of palingenesis, we make use of my chief work, volume ii, chapter 43, the matter, more closely considered, will then appear to be that, throughout all time, the male sex has been the guardian or keeper of the will of the human species, the female sex being the guardian of the intellect, whereby the human species then obtains perennial existence. Accordingly, everyone now has a paternal and a maternal element; and just as these were united through generation, so are they disintegrated in death; and so death is the end of the individual. This individual it is whose death we deplore so much, feeling that he is actually lost because he was a mere combination which irretrievably ceases. Yet in all this we must not forget that the inheritableness of the intellect from the mother is not so decided and absolute as is that of the will from the father, on account of the secondary and merely physical nature of the intellect and of its entire dependence on the organism, not only in respect of the brain, but also otherwise. All this has been discussed in the above-mentioned chapter of my chief work. Incidentally, it may be mentioned here that I am in agreement with Plato in so far as he distinguishes in the so-called soul between a mortal and an immortal part. But he is diametrically opposed to me and to truth when, after the manner of all philosophers prior to me, he regards the intellect as the immortal part, the will, on the contrary, that is, the seat of the appetites and passions, as the mortal. We see this in the Timaeus, pp. 386, 387, and 395, ed. Bip. Aristotle states the same thing.*

But however strangely and precariously the physical may prevail through generation and death, together with the obvious constitution of individuals from will and intellect and the subsequent dissolution of these, the metaphysical underlying the physical is of a nature so entirely different that it is not affected by this and we may take courage.

Accordingly, every man can be considered from two opposite points of view; from the one, he is an individual, beginning and ending in time, fleeting and transitory, [x], [5] besides being afflicted with pangs and failings; from the other, he is the indestructible primary being that objectifies itself in every existing thing and as such can say like the statue of Isis at Sais: [x]. [6] ["I am all that has been and is and shall be; and no mortal has ever lifted my mantle."] Such a being, of course, might do something better than manifest itself in a world such as this. For it is the world of finiteness, suffering, and death. What is in it and comes out of it must end and die. But what is not out of it and will not be out of it, pierces through it, all-powerful like a flash of lightning which strikes upwards and then knows neither time nor death. To reconcile all these antitheses is really the theme of philosophy.*

§ 141

Short concluding Diversion in the Form of a Dialogue

THRASYMACHOS: To be brief, what am I after my death? Now, be clear and precise!

PHILALETHES: Everything and nothing.

THRASYMACHOS: There we have it! A contradiction as the solution to a problem. The trick is played out.

PHILALETHES: To answer transcendent questions in the language created for immanent knowledge can certainly lead to contradictions.

THRASYMACHOS: What do you call transcendent, and what immanent knowledge? It is true that I know these expressions from my professor, but only as predicates of Almighty God with whom his philosophy was exclusively concerned, as is only right and proper. Thus if he is within the world, he is immanent; if he resides somewhere outside, he is transcendent. See, that is clear, that is intelligible! We then know what we have to stick to. No one any longer understands Kantian jargon. The time-consciousness of the present time, from the metropolis of German science --

PHILALETHES (aside): -- German philosophical humbug --

THRASYMACHOS: -- through a whole succession of great men, especially the great Schleiermacher and Hegel's gigantic mind, has been brought back from all this or rather carried so far forward that it has left it all behind and knows nothing more about it. And so what is it all about?

PHILALETHES: Transcendent knowledge is that which, going beyond all possibility of experience, endeavours to determine the nature of things as they are in themselves; immanent knowledge, on the other hand, is that which keeps within the bounds of the possibility of experience, but thus can speak only of phenomena. You as an individual end at your death; but the individual is not your true and ultimate essence, but rather a mere manifestation thereof. It is not the thing-in-itself, but only its phenomenon which manifests itself in the form of time and accordingly has a beginning and an end. On the other hand, your true essence-in-itself does not know either time, beginning, end, or the limits of a given individuality; and so it cannot be excluded from any individuality, but exists in each and all. Therefore in the first sense, you become nothing through your death; in the second, you are and remain everything. Therefore I said that after your death you would be everything and nothing. In so short a time, your question hardly admits of a more correct answer than this, which nevertheless certainly contains a contradiction just because your life is in time, but your immortality is in eternity. Therefore this can also be called an indestructibility without continuance, which again leads to a contradiction. But this is always the case when the transcendent is to be brought into immanent knowledge; for then a kind of violence is done to such knowledge because it is wrongly applied to that for which it is not born.

THRASYMACHOS: Listen, without a continuance of my individuality, I would not give a farthing for all your immortality.

PHILALETHES : Perhaps we can still bargain with you. Suppose I guaranteed you the continuance of your individuality, yet made it a condition that a completely unconscious death-sleep of three months should precede the reawakening of that individuality.

THRASYMACHOS: That would do.

PHILALETHES: Now as in a state of complete unconsciousness we have absolutely no measure of time, it is quite immaterial to us whether three months or ten thousand years elapsed in the world of consciousness while we were lying in that death-sleep. For on waking up, we must accept on faith and trust the one thing as well as the other; and so it must be a matter of indifference to you whether your individuality is given back to you after three months or after ten thousand years.


THRASYMACHOS: In the last resort, of course, that is undeniable.

PHILALETHES: Now if after the lapse of the ten thousand years, someone forgot to wake you up, I believe that such a misfortune would not be great after you had become so accustomed to that very long non-existence which followed a very brief existence. But it is certain that you could not feel anything of it; and you would be quite consoled about the matter if you knew that the mysterious mechanism, maintaining in motion your present phenomenal appearance, had not for one moment ceased during those ten thousand years to produce and set in motion other phenomenal appearances of the same kind.

THRASYMACHOS: Indeed? And in this way you mean quite furtively and imperceptibly to cheat me of my individuality? You cannot swindle me in this way. I have stipulated for myself a continuance of my individuality, and no motives and phenomena can console me for the loss thereof. It lies nearest to my heart and I will not let it go.

PHILALETHES: Then you regard your individuality as so agreeable, admirable, perfect, and incomparable that there can be none more perfect whereof it might perhaps be asserted that one could live better and more easily in it than in yours.

THRASYMACHOS: Now look, whatever my individuality may be, I am this.

For me there is nothing in the world like me;
For God is God, and I am I.


I, I, I, want to exist! That is of importance to me and not an existence concerning which one must first convince me by arguments that it is mine.

PHILALETHES: Now look! That which exclaims 'I, I, I want to exist' is not you alone but everything, absolutely everything, that has even only a trace of consciousness. Consequently, this desire in you is precisely that which is not individual, but is without distinction common to all. It springs not from individuality, but from existence generally, is essential to everything that exists, indeed is that whereby it exists, and accordingly is satisfied by existence in general to which alone it refers, and not exclusively through any definite individual existence. For it is certainly not directed to such individual existence, although this always appears so, because it cannot arrive at consciousness otherwise than in an individual being and therefore it always seems to refer to this alone. Yet this is a mere illusion to which indeed the individual's narrow-mindedness clings, but which reflection can destroy. We can also be freed from it by reflection. Thus what craves so impetuously for existence is merely indirectly the individual; directly and properly speaking, it is the will-to-live in general, which is one and the same in all. Now as existence itself is the will's free work, in fact is the mere reflection of the will, it cannot escape therefrom. The will for the time being is satisfied by existence in general, in so far as the eternally unsatisfied will can be satisfied. To it individualities are equal; it does not really speak of them, although to the individual who is immediately aware of it only in himself, it appears to speak of them. A consequence of this is that the will guards this its own existence more carefully than it otherwise would and thereby ensures the maintenance of the species. It follows from this that individuality is no perfection but a limitation, and that to be rid of it is, therefore, no loss, but rather a gain. Therefore give up a fear that would seem to you to be childish and utterly ridiculous if you knew thoroughly and to its very foundation your own nature, namely as the universal will-to-live, which you are.

THRASYMACHOS : You yourself and all philosophers are childish and utterly ridiculous, and it is only for amusement and pastime that a serious and sedate fellow like me embarks on a quarter of an hour's talk with fools of this sort. I have more important things to do. Goodbye and God help you!

_______________

Notes:

1 ['Transition to another genus'.]

2 ['I am all that was, and is, and will be.' (Inscription on the temple of Isis at Sais.)]

* It would, of course, be delightful if the intellect did not perish with death, for we should then bring ready and complete into the next world all the Greek we had learnt in this.

3 ['The divine mind, the absolute unity without any distinctions, is in itself that which knows and that which is known.']
 
* De anima (I. 4, p. 408), right at the beginning, he lets out incidentally his own opinion that the vous is the real soul and immortal, which he supports with false assertions. He says that hating and loving belong not to the soul, but to its organ, the perishable part!

4 ['Regeneration'. In the N.T. the word does not express either metempsychosis or indestructibility of the will through death. In general, it is found only in two passages, Matthew 19: 28 in the sense of 'resurrection of the dead', and Titus 3: 5, in the sense of 'conversion of the old man into the new'.]
 
* To think that life is a romance which, like Schiller's Der Geisterseher, lacks the sequel and moreover breaks off in the middle of the context, like Sterne's Sentimental Journey, is both aesthetically and morally an idea that is impossible to digest.

For us death is and remains something negative, the cessation of life; but it must also have a positive side that nevertheless remains hidden from us because our intellect is quite incapable of grasping it. We therefore know quite well what we lose, but not what we gain through death.

The loss of the intellect which the will suffers through death, the will being the kernel of the now perishing phenomenon and as thing-in-itself indestructible, is the Lethe of just this individual will. Without it the will would recall the many phenomena whereof it had already been the kernel.

When a man dies, he should cast off his individuality like an old garment and rejoice at the new and better one which he will now assume in exchange for it, after receiving instruction.

If we reproached the World Spirit for destroying individuals after a brief existence, he would say: 'Now just look at these individuals; look at their faults, their absurdities, their vicious and detestable qualities! Am I to allow these to go on for ever?'

To the Demiurge I would say: 'Instead of ceaselessly making by half a miracle new human beings and destroying them while they are still alive, why are you not satisfied once for all with those that exist and why do you not let them go on living to all eternity?'

Probably his reply would be: 'If they want to go on making new ones, I must provide for room. Ah, if only this were not the case! Although, between ourselves, a race living and going on in this way for ever, without any further object than just to exist thus, would be objectively ridiculous and subjectively wearisome, much more than you imagine. Just picture it to yourself!'

I: 'Why, they might get on and succeed in every way.'

5 ['The dream of a shadow'.]
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Re: Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays

Postby admin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:57 am

CHAPTER 11: Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Vanity of Existence

§ 142

This vanity finds its expression in the whole form of existence; in the infinite nature of time and space as opposed to the finite nature of the individual in both; in the transitory and passing present moment as reality's sole mode of existence; in the dependence and relativity of all things; in constant becoming without being; in constant desire without satisfaction; in the constant interruption of efforts and aspirations which constitutes the course of life until such obstruction is overcome. Time and the fleeting nature of all things therein, and by means thereof, are merely the form wherein is revealed to the will-to-live, which as the thing-in-itself is imperishable, the vanity of that striving. Time is that by virtue whereof at every moment all things in our hands come to naught and thereby lose all true value.

§ 143

What has been, no longer is; it as little exists as that which has never been. But everything that is, is the next moment already regarded as having been. And so the most insignificant present has over the most significant past the advantage of reality, whereby the former is related to the latter as something to nothing.

To his astonishment, a man all of a sudden exists after countless thousands of years of non-existence and, after a short time, must again pass into a non-existence just as long. The heart says that this can never be right, and from considerations of this kind there must dawn even on the crude and uncultured mind a presentiment of the ideality of time. But this, together with the ideality of space, is the key to all true metaphysics because it makes way for an order of things quite different from that which is found in nature. This is why Kant is so great.

Of every event in our life, only for one moment can it be said that it is; for ever afterwards we must say that it was. Every evening we are poorer by a day. Perhaps the sight of this ebbing away of our brief span of time would drive us mad, if in the very depths of our being we were not secretly conscious that the inexhaustible spring of eternity belongs to us so that from it we are for ever able to renew the period of life.

On considerations such as the foregoing, we can certainly base the theory that to enjoy the present moment and to make this the object of our life is the greatest wisdom because the present alone is real, everything else being only the play of thought. But we could just as well call it the greatest folly; for that which in the next moment no longer exists, and vanishes as completely as a dream, is never worth a serious effort.

§ 144

Our existence has no foundation to support it except the ever-fleeting and vanishing present; and so constant motion is essentially its form, without any possibility of that rest for which we are always longing. We resemble a man running down hill who would inevitably fall if he tried to stop, and who keeps on his legs only by continuing to run; or we are like a stick balanced on a finger tip; or the planet that would fall into its sun if it ceased to hurry forward irresistibly. Thus restlessness is the original form of existence.

In such a world where there is no stability of any kind, no lasting state is possible but everything is involved in restless rotation and change, where everyone hurries along and keeps erect on a tightrope by always advancing and moving, happiness is not even conceivable. It cannot dwell where Plato's 'constant becoming and never being' is the only thing that occurs. In the first place, no one is happy, but everyone throughout his life strives for an alleged happiness that is rarely attained, and even then only to disappoint him. As a rule, everyone ultimately reaches port with masts and rigging gone; but then it is immaterial whether he was happy or unhappy in a life which consisted merely of a fleeting vanishing present and is now over and finished.

However, it must be a matter of surprise to us to see how, in the human and animal worlds, that exceedingly great, varied, and restless motion is produced and kept up by two simple tendencies, hunger and the sexual impulse, aided a little perhaps by boredom, and how these are able to give the primum mobile I to such a complicated machine that sets in motion the many-coloured puppet-show.

Now if we consider the matter more closely, we first of all see the existence of the inorganic attacked at every moment and finally obliterated by chemical forces. On the other hand, the existence of the organic is rendered possible only through the constant change of matter which requires a continuous flow and consequently assistance from without. Thus in itself, organic life already resembles the stick which is balanced on the hand and must always be in motion; and it is, therefore, a constant need, an ever-recurring want, and an endless trouble. Yet only by means of this organic life is consciousness possible. All this is accordingly finite existence whose opposite would be conceivable as infinite, as exposed to no attack from without, or as requiring no help from without, and therefore as [x], [2] in eternal rest and calm, [x], [3] without change, without time, without multiplicity and diversity, the negative knowledge of which is the keynote of Plato's philosophy. Such an existence must be that to which the denial of the will-to-live opens the way.

§ 145

The scenes of our life are like pictures in rough mosaic which produce no effect if we stand close to them, but which must be viewed at a distance if we are to find them beautiful. Therefore to obtain something that was eagerly desired is equivalent to finding out how empty and insubstantial it was, and if we are always living in expectation of better things, we often repent at the same time and long for the past. On the other hand, the present is accepted only for the time being, is set at naught, and looked upon merely as the path to the goal. Thus when at the end of their lives most men look back, they will find that they have lived throughout ad interim; they will be surprised to see that the very thing they allowed to slip by unappreciated and unenjoyed was just their life, precisely that in the expectation of which they lived. And so the course of a man's life is, as a rule, such that, having been duped by hope, he dances into the arms of death.

In addition, there is the insatiability of the individual will by virtue whereof every satisfaction creates a fresh desire and its craving, eternally insatiable, goes on for ever. At bottom, however, it is due to the fact that, taken in itself, the will is lord of the worlds to whom everything belongs; and so no part could give it satisfaction, but only the whole which, however, is endless. Meanwhile, it must awaken our sympathy when we consider how very little this lord of the world obtains in its individual phenomenon; usually only just enough to maintain the individual body. Hence the profound woe and misery of the individual.

§ 146

In the present period of intellectual impotence which is distinguished by its veneration for every species of inferiority and describes itself most appropriately by the homemade word Jetztzeit, [4] as cacophonous as it is pretentious, as if its Now were the Now [x], [5] the Now for whose production alone all previous Nows have existed-in such a period even the pantheists have the effrontery to say that life is, as they call it, an 'end in itself'. [6] If this existence of ours were the final aim and object of the world, it would be the silliest that had ever been laid down, whether by ourselves or anyone else.

Life presents itself primarily as a task, namely that of gaining a livelihood, de gagner sa vie. When this problem is solved, what has been gained is a burden, and there comes the second problem of how to dispose of what we have got in order to ward off boredom. Like a bird of prey on the watch, this evil pounces on every life that has been made secure. The first problem, therefore, is to acquire something and the second is to prevent it from making itself felt after it has been acquired, otherwise it is a burden.

If we attempt to take in at a glance the whole world of humanity, we see everywhere a restless struggle, a vast contest for life and existence, with the fullest exertion of bodily and mental powers, in face of dangers and evils of every kind which threaten and strike at any moment. If we then consider the reward for all this, namely existence and life itself, we find some intervals of painless existence which are at once attacked by boredom and rapidly brought to an end by a new affliction.

Behind need and want is to be found at once boredom, which attacks even the more intelligent animals. This is a consequence of the fact that life has no genuine intrinsic worth, but is kept in motion merely by want and illusion. But as soon as this comes to a standstill, the utter barrenness and emptiness of existence become apparent.

That human existence must be a kind of error, is sufficiently clear from the simple observation that man is a concretion of needs and wants. Their satisfaction is hard to attain and yet affords him nothing but a painless state in which he is still abandoned to boredom. This, then, is a positive proof that, in itself, existence has no value; for boredom is just that feeling of its emptiness. Thus if life, in the craving for which our very essence and existence consist, had a positive value and in itself a real intrinsic worth, there could not possibly be any boredom. On the contrary, mere existence in itself would necessarily fill our hearts and satisfy us. Now we take no delight in our existence except in striving for something when the distance and obstacles make us think that the goal will be satisfactory, an illusion that vanishes when it is reached; or else in a purely intellectual occupation where we really step out of life in order to contemplate it from without, like spectators in the boxes. Even sensual pleasure itself consists in a constant striving and ceases as soon as its goal is attained. Now whenever we are not striving for something or are not intellectually occupied, but are thrown back on existence itself, its worthlessness and vanity are brought home to us; and this is what is meant by boredom. Even our inherent and ineradicable tendency to run after what is strange and extraordinary shows how glad we are to see an interruption in the natural course of things which is so tedious. Even the pomp and splendour of the great in their luxury and entertainments are at bottom really nothing but a vain attempt to get beyond the essential wretchedness of our existence. For after all, what are precious stones, pearls, feathers, red velvet, many candles, dancers, the putting on and off of masks, and so on? No man has ever yet felt entirely happy in the present, for he would have been intoxicated.

§ 147

The most perfect phenomenon of the will-to-live, which manifests itself in the exceedingly ingenious and complex mechanism of the human organism, must crumble to dust, and thus its whole essence and efforts are in the end obviously given over to annihilation. All this is the naIve utterance of nature, always true and sincere, that the whole striving of that will is essentially empty and vain. If we were something valuable in itself, something that could be unconditioned and absolute, it would not have non-existence as its goal. The feeling of this also underlies Goethe's fine song:

High upon the ancient tower
Stands the hero's noble spirit.


The necessity of death can be inferred primarily from the fact that man is a mere phenomenon, not a thing-in-itself and thus not [x]. [7] If he were, he could not perish. But that the thing-in-itself at the root of phenomena of this kind can manifest itself only in them, is a consequence of its nature.

What a difference there is between our beginning and our end! the former in the frenzy of desire and the ecstasy of sensual pleasure; the latter in the destruction of all the organs and the musty odour of corpses. The path from birth to death is always downhill as regards well-being and the enjoyment of life; blissfully dreaming childhood, light-hearted youth, toilsome manhood, frail and often pitiable old age, the torture of the last illness, and finally the agony of death. Does it not look exactly as if existence were a false step whose consequences gradually become more and more obvious ?

We shall have the most accurate view of life if we regard it as a desengano, a disillusionment; everything points to this clearly enough.

Our life is of a microscopical nature; it is an indivisible point that we see drawn apart by the two powerful lenses of space and time, and thus very considerably magnified.

Time is a contrivance in our brain for giving the utterly futile existence of things and ourselves a semblance of reality by means of continuance and duration.

How foolish it is to regret and deplore the fact that in the past we let slip the opportunity for some pleasure or good fortune! For what more would we have now? Just the shrivelled-up mummy of a memory. But it is the same with everything that has actually fallen to our lot. Accordingly, the form if time itself is precisely the means well calculated to bring home to us the vanity of all earthly pleasures.

Our existence and that of all animals is not something standing fast and remaining firm, at any rate temporally; on the contrary it is a mere existentia fluxa which continues only through constant fluctuation and change and is comparable to a whirlpool. It is true that the form of the body has a precarious existence for a while, but only on condition that matter constantly changes, the old being evacuated and the new assimilated. Accordingly, the principal business of all those beings is to procure at all times matter that is suitable for this influx. At the same time, they are conscious that such an existence as theirs can be maintained only for a while in the aforesaid manner and so with the approach of death, they endeavour to carry it forward to another being that will take their place. This striving appears in self-consciousness in the form of sexual impulse and manifests itself, in the consciousness of other things and thus in objective intuitive perception, in the form of genital organs. We can compare this impulse to the thread of a pearl necklace where those rapidly succeeding individuals would correspond to the pearls. If in our imagination we accelerate this succession and always see in the whole series as well as in the individuals only the form permanent, but the substance or matter constantly changing, we then become aware that we have only a quasi-existence. This interpretation is also the basis of Plato's doctrine of Ideas that alone exist and of the shadowlike nature of the things that correspond to them.

That we are mere phenomena as distinct from things-in-themselves, is illustrated and exemplified by the fact that the conditio sine qua non of our existence is the constant excretion and accretion of matter, as nourishment the need for which is always recurring. For in this respect, we resemble phenomena which are brought about through smoke, flame, or a jet of water and which fade away or stop as soon as the supply fails.

It can also be said that the will-to-live manifests itself simply in phenomena that become absolutely nothing. But this nothing together with the phenomena remains within the will-to-live and rests on its ground. This is, of course, obscure and not easy to understand.

If from contemplating the course of the world on a large scale and especially from considering the rapid succession of generations of people and their ephemeral mock-existence we turn and look at human life in detail, as presented say by the comedy, then the impression this now makes is like that of a drop of water, seen through a microscope and teeming with infusoria, or that of an otherwise visible little heap of cheese-mites whose strenuous activity and strife make us laugh. For, as in the narrowest space, so too in the briefest span of time, great and serious activity produces a comic effect.

_______________

Notes:


1 ['The first impulse', 'the prime mover'.]
 
2 [' Ever remaining unchanged'.]
 
3 ['Neither coming into being nor passing away'.]
 
4 ['Now-time' (a cacophonous word condemned by Schopenhauer).]
 
5 ['Par excellence'.]
 
6 [The German Selbstzweck is another cacophonous expression censured by Schopenhauer.]
 
7 ['That which truly is' (expression used by Plato).]
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