The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston Stewar

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: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:26 pm

Part 5 of 5



1. Novalis: Fragmente.

2. Herder says regarding the man of this time: "He had strength for nothing but believing. Troubled about his wretched life, trembling for the future and in dread of invisible powers, timid and powerless to investigate the course of nature, he lent his ear to stories and prophecies and let himself be inspired, initiated, flattered, betrayed" (Complete Works, Inghan's ed. xix. 290).

3. It is scarcely right for me to name special works; the literature even in as far as it is available to us laymen is extensive; the important thing is to get instruction from various sources and not to be satisfied with a knowledge of generalities. Thus the short text-books of Harnack, Muller, Holtzmann, &c., in the Grundriss dey theologischen Wissenschaften (Freiburg, Mohr) are invaluable, I have used them diligently; but the layman will get much more out of larger works, such as Nean der's Kirchengeschichte or Renan's Origines du Christianisme, &c. Still more instructive, because more vivid and clear, are the works of the specialists, as Ramsay: The Church in the Roman Empire before A.D. 170 (1895); Hatch: The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church (1897); Hergenrother's great work: Photius, sein Leben, seine Schriften und das griechische Schisma, which begins with the founding of Constantinople and thus traces in great detail the development of the Greek Church from the beginning; Hefele: Konziliengeschichte, &c. &c. We laymen can naturally acquire detailed knowledge of only a portion of this literature; but, I repeat, it is only from detailed accounts and not from summaries that we can get vivid conceptions and knowledge. (An important new work is Adolf Harnack's Mission und Ausbreiung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, 1902; 2nd ed. 1906.)

4. Ambrosius admits this implicitly; see i. 24. Much is indeed an almost literal translation. How much more important, however, are his independent writings, as the speech on the death of the Emperor Theodosius with the beautiful ever-recurring refrain: "Dilexi! I loved him!"

5. Influence of Greek Ideas, pp. 139-170. In this lecture Hatch refers to Ambrosius' work and is of opinion that it is essentially Stoical not only in conception but also in detail. The Christian element is indeed there, but merely as an adjunct. Its fundamental doctrine of wisdom, virtue, justice, temperance, is pure Graeco-Roman doctrine of pre-Christian times.

6. See especially vol. i. p. 213 f. and p. 411 f.

7. As I afterwards found, Hamann has suggested this comparison: "Go into any community of Christians you like, their language in the sacred precincts, their Fatherland and their genealogy betray the fact that they are Gentile branches, artificially grafted upon a Jewish stem." (Cf. Romans xi. 24.)

8. I said five hundred years, for see Harnack on the identity of Logos and Nous: Dogmengeschichte, § 22.

9. See vol. i. pp. 411 to 440.

10. It is easy to understand how the pious Tertullian, who grew up in Heathenism, could say of the conceptions of the Hellenic poets and philosophers, that they were tam consimilia to the Christian ones! (Apol. xlvii.)

11. Christliche Symbolik (1854) i. p. viii.

12. That the Indo-Europeans also were at bottom monotheists, I have at a much earlier point emphasised, in opposition to the wide spread popular error (see vol. i. pp. 218 and 424); cf. also Jac. Grimm in the preface to his Deutsche Mythologie (pp. xliv.-xlv.) and Max Muller in his lectures on the Science of Languages (ii. 385). But this kind of monotheism must be distinguished from the Semitic.

13. Thus, for example, the so-called necessary progression of the thesis, antithesis and synthesis, or again the deity of the Absolute as father, the different existence as son, the return to itself as spirit.

14. See the whole conclusion of the first chapter.

15. The Egyptian Triads were formerly allowed to have a greater influence upon the moulding of Christian dogmas than was right. In truth the conception of the son of God in his relation to God the Father (the son "not made, nor created but begotten," literally as in the Athanasian Creed) seems specifically Egyptian: we find it in all the various Egyptian systems of gods; but the third person is the goddess (Cf. Maspero: Histoire ancienne des peuples de l'Orient classique, 1895, i. 151, and Budge: The Book of the Dead, p. xcvi.)

16. Bhagavadgita, Book IV. §§ 7 and 8.

17. See vol. i. p. 181.

18. Religion and Conscience in Ancient Egypt, ed. 1898, p. 46. Every year new proofs of the universal spread of the Isis cult in all places where the influence of the Roman chaos had penetrated are being discovered in all parts of Europe. The belief in the resurrection of the body and the communication by sacrament of the manna of eternal life were elements of these mysteries long before the birth of Christ. One finds the greatest number of evidences in the Museum of Guimet, since Gaul and Italy were the chief seats of the Isis cult. (In the meantime Flinders Petrie has made new discoveries, especially in Ehnasya, from which step by step it can be traced how the cult of Isis and of Horus were transformed into the would-be "Christian" worship of the Madonna. See the communications of this scholar before the British Association, 1904.)

19. Interesting in this connection is the demonstration by the same author that the well- known Christian monogram so frequent on old monuments and still employed to-day (supposed to be khi-rho from the Greek alphabet) is nothing more or less than the common Egyptian symbol of the God Horus!

20. See especially the famous speech of Demosthenes De Corona, and for a summary of the facts Jevons: Introduction to the History of Religion, 1896, chap. xxiii. For the tracing back of the Last Supper to Old Babylon see Otto Pfleiderer's Christusbild, p. 84, and for its relation to other old mysteries see the same author's Entstehung des Christentums, 1905, p. 154. For the fundamental facts see Albr. Dieterich's Eine Mithras-liturgie, 1903.

21. Pachomius, the founder of real monkhood, was an Egyptian like his predecessor, the hermit Antonius. He was a native of Upper Egypt, and as a "national attendant on Serapis" learned the practices which he afterwards transferred almost unchanged to Christianity. (Cf. Zockler: Askese und Monchtum, 2nd ed. p. 193 f.)

22. Cf. vol. i. p. 313. For the "adoption of heathendom," see also Muller, p. 204 f.

23. Cf. vol. i. p. 413, and also the passage on p. 337, quoted from Graetz.

24. Iliad ix. 401, and xxii. 73.

25. That in the case of Homer the word muthos corresponds to the later logos, that is, that all speech is viewed, so to speak, as poetry (which it obviously is), is one of those things in which language reveals to us the profoundest facts concerning the organisation of our mind.

26. Kluge gives in his Etymologisches Worterbuch the following as etymology and explanation of grace (Gnade). Root meaning, "to bend, bend oneself"; Gothic, "to support"; Old Saxon, "favour, help"; Old "High German, "Pity, compassion, condescension"; Middle High German, "bliss, support, favour."

27. The myth of degeneration forms, as is well known, a fundamental component of the circle of conceptions of the Greeks, who nevertheless are so persistently called "cheerful."

"Would I had sooner died, or else had been later born!
For now lives a race of iron: never by day
Are they free of misery and care, and by night
They suffer pain: and the burden of cares is the gift of the Gods!"

So speaks the "joyful" Hesiod (Works and Days, verse 175 f.). And he paints to us a past "golden age," which we have to thank for the little good that still exists among us degenerate men, for these great men of the past still move as spirits in our midst; cf. vol. i. p. 89.

28. Luther's thoughts are vaguely anticipated in the 5th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, but they are found quite fully expressed in the writings of Scotus Erigena, whom he valued so highly (see De. div. Nat., Book V. chap. 36).

29. Consult as an example Philippson's Israelitische Religionslehre, ii. 89.

30. Sin is a breach of the everlasting law by word, deed or desire.

31. Cf. especially Pfleiderer: Der Paulinismus, 2nd ed. p. 50 f. This purely scientific theological exposition is naturally different from mine, but nevertheless confirms it, especially by the proof (p. 59) that Paul assumed the presence of an impulse to sin before the Fall, which obviously could mean nothing but the removal of the myth beyond arbitrary historical boundaries; then also by the clear demonstration that Paul, in opposition to the Augustinian dogmatists, recognised in the flesh the common and unchanging source of all sinful nature.

32. Rigveda vii. 86.

33. Cankara: Die Sutra's des Vedanta i. 3. 25.

34. See the fictitious genealogies in Matthew i. and Luke ii., both of which go back to Joseph -- not to Mary.

35. See Hergenrother: Photius iii. 428.

36. See vol. i. pp. 230. 418, and 433.

37. Professor Graetz (i. 650) considers the doctrine of original sin to be a "new doctrine," invented by Paul!

38. This may have been difficult enough for Augustine himself, for earlier, in the 27th chapter of the 15th book of the De Civitate Dei, he had spoken strongly against attempting to interpret the book of Genesis as historical truth entirely free of allegory.

39. "I shall only quote one witness whose judgment is moderate and correct, Sainte-Beuve. He writes (Port Royal, Book IV. chap. 1): "Les Jesuites n'attestent pas moins par leur methode a'education qu'ils sont semi-pelagiens tendant au Pelagianisme pur, que par leur doctrine directe." [Google translate: The Jesuits do not certify their method by less they a'education are semi-Pelagian Pelagianism leading to pure, by their doctrine Direct.]

40. Cf. vol. i. pp. 193 and 437; and the paragraph on "Views of Existence'' in the ninth chapter (vol. ii.).

41. Histoire du peuple d'Israel v. 227.

42. See vol. i. pp. 238 f. and 415 f.

43. Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, 6th ed. p. 312.

44. See vol. i. pp. 452 and 460.

45. See vol. 1. p. 235 note.

46. See the excursus on Semitic religion in the fifth chapter (vol. i.) and compare especially p. 437 with p. 453. Compare, too, the details concerning the Germanic view of the world in the particular paragraph of chap, ix. (vol. ii. p. 423).

47. This system is most perfectly developed among the old Egyptians. who believed that the heart of the dead was laid on scales and weighed against the ideal of right and uprightness; the idea of a conversion of the inner man by divine grace was quite alien to them. The Jews have never risen to the height of the Egyptian conceptions; formerly the reward for them was simply a very long life to the individual and future world-empire to the nation -- the punishment, death and misery for future generations. In later times, however, they adopted all sorts of superstitions, from which there resulted a kingdom of God which was altogether secularly conceived (see vol. i. p. 481) and as counterpart to it a perfectly secular hell. From these and other conceptions which arose from the lowest depths of human delusion and superstition the Christian hell was formed (of which Origenes knew nothing, except in the form of qualms of conscience!), while neo-platonism, Greek poetry and Egyptian conceptions of the "Fields of the Blest" (see the illustrations in Budge's The Book of the Dead) provided the Christian heaven, which, however, never attained to the clearness of hell.

48. Mostly on the strength of a misinterpretation (Isaiah lxiv. 4).

49. Concerning the relation between these two, see vol. i. pp: 46 and 86.

50. I refer especially to chap. xxix. of the work On Prayer by Origenes; in the form of a commentary to the words "Lead us not into temptation" this great man develops a purely Indian conception concerning the importance of sin as a means of salvation.

51. As a fact Origenes has expressly recognised the mythical element in Christianity. Only he thought that Christianity was "the only religion which even in mythical form is truth" (cf. Harnack: Dogmen geschichte, Abriss. 2nd ed. p. 113).

52. Take up, for example, the Handbuch fur Katholischen Religionsunterricht by the Prebendary Arthur Konig, and read the chapter on redemption. Nicodemus would not have found the slightest difficulty in understanding this doctrine.

53. See his second letter, § 6.

54. Cf. vol. i. p. 318.

55. This fancy has found its most complete expression in the novel Esther.

56. This assertion will meet with many contradictions; all I mean by it, however, is that Paul rather uses his systematic ideas as a dialectical weapon to convince his hearers than endeavours to establish a con nected, solely valid and new theological structure. Even Edouard Reuss, who, in his immortal work, Histoire de la Theologie Chretienne au siecle apostolique (3rd ed.), vindicates to the Apostle a definite, uniform system, admits at the end (ii. 580) that real theology was for Paul a subordinate clement, and on p. 73 he shows that Paul's aim was so completely directed to popular and practical work that wherever questions begin to be theoretical and theological, he leaves the metaphysical sphere for the ethical.

57. We must read the whole passage, I Cor. ix. 19 t., to see how exactly the apostle denies the later formula extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Cf., too, the Epistle to the Philippians, i. 18: "What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

58. See, for example, Acts of the Apostles xvi, I.

59. Cf. vol. i. p. 119 note.

60. What we know of the laws of heredity would speak very strongly for the supposition of a Jewish father and a Hellenic mother. The formerly popular saying: A man inherits the character of his father and the intellect of his mother, has indeed shown itself to be much too dogmatic; if twins that have grown together with but one pair of legs can yet be absolutely different in character (cf. Hoffding: Psychologie, 2nd ed. p. 480), we see how cautious we must be with such assertions. Yet there are so many striking cases among the most important men (I will only mention Goethe and Schopenhauer) that we are entitled in the case of Paul, where a striking incongruence stands before us as an inexplicable riddle, to put forward this hypothesis which is historically quite probable. From Harnack's Mission, &c., p. 40, I learn that even in earliest times the suggestion was made that Paul was descended from Hellenic parents.

61. Graetz asserts (Volkstumliche Geschichte der Juden i. 646): "Paul had but a scanty knowledge of Jewish writings and knew the sacred writings only from the Greek translation." On the other hand, his quotations from Epimenides, Euripides and Aratus prove his familiarity with Hellenic literature.

62. See, for example, the two episodes with John "whose surname was Mark" (Acts of the Apostles xiii. 13, and xv. 38-39).

63. Especially by the works of W. M. Ramsay: Historical Geography of Asia Minor, The Church in the Roman Empire before A.D. 170. St. Paul, the Traveller and the Roman Citizen.

64. The Church, &c., 4th ed. p. 57.

65. Kirchengeschichte (1892) i. 26.

66. See especially Galatians, ii. 15: "Although we are by nature Jews and not sinners of the Gentiles," and many other passages.

67. Let me give the reader who is not well read in Scripture some quotations. Redemption forms the subject of all the Pauline Epistles. The universality of sin is implicitly admitted by the adducing of the myth of the Fall of man and by its un-Jewish interpretation. So we find such passages as Rom. xi. 32: If God has included all men in unbelief," and the still more characteristic Ephesians ii. 3: "We all are by nature children of wrath." With regard to grace perhaps the most decisive passage is the following: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians ii. 13). With regard to the importance of faith in contrast to merit by good works we find numerous passages, for this is the main pillar of Paul's religion, here -- and here perhaps alone -- there is no shadow of a contradiction; the apostle is teaching the purely Indian doctrine. We should note especially Rom. iii. 27-28, v. I, the whole of chaps. ix. and x., likewise the whole Epistle to the Galatians, &c. &c. As examples: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. iii. 28); "We know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ" (Gal. ii. 16). But grace and faith are only two phases, two modes -- the divine and the human -- of the same process; hence in the following passage faith is to be regarded as included in grace: "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (see the letter to Titus iii. 5). Re-birth is mentioned as "regeneration" in a manner akin to the Indo-Platonic view.

68. Pierre Bayle: Dictionnaire. See the last note to the statement about the Jesuit Jean Adam, who in the year 1650 caused much offence by his public sermons against Augustine. One may trust this report absolutely, since Bayle was altogether sympathetic to the Jesuits and remained until his death in close personal intercourse with them. The famous Pere de la Chaise also declares that "Augustine can only be read with caution," and this refers naturally to the Pauline elements of his religion (cf. Sainte-Beuve: Port Royal, 4th ed. ii. 134. and iv. 436).

69. Pfleiderer, p. 113.

70. My space is so limited that I cannot help asking the reader to consult the authorities on such an important point. The double process of thought with its inextricable antinomy is most clearly seen when we fix our attention upon the end, the judgment, and in this we are excellently assisted by a small specialised work (in which all the literature is also given), Ernst Teichmann's Die paulinischen Vorstellungen von Auferstehung und Gericht und ihre Beziehungen zur judischen) Apokalyptik (1896). Armed with an exact knowledge of the Jewish literature of that time, Teichmann shows, sentence for sentence, how literally all the New Testament, and especially the Pauline conceptions of the last judgment, are taken from the late apocalyptic doctrines of Judaism. That these in turn are not of Hebrew origin, but borrowed from Egypt and Asia and saturated with Hellenic thoughts (see pp. 2 f., 32. &c.), only shows from what a witches' cauldron the Apostle drew his material, and it matters little, since the powerful national spirit of the Jews made everything it took hold of "Jewish." Decisive, on the other hand, is the detailed proof that Paul elsewhere (especially where his real religion is making headway) expressly does away with the idea of judgment. See especially the paragraph on Die Aufhebung der Gerichtsvorstellung, p. 100 f. Teichmann writes here: "The doctrine of justification by faith was diametrically opposed to all former views. Jews and Gentiles knew no better than that the deeds, the works of man decided his destiny after death. But here religious conduct takes the place of moral conduct." And on p. 118 the author thus sum marises his statements: "On the other hand the Apostle is quite independent when he, by the consistent development of his pneuma-doctrine, puts aside the conception of judgment. On the basis of faith, gracious reception of the [x] [which Luther translates by "Geist," spirit, but in Paul is called heavenly, reborn, divine spirit, as for example, 2 Cor. iii. 17, [x] : God the Lord is the pneuma]: by the [x] ], mystical union with Christ: in it is participation in the death of Christ and consequently in his [x] (righteousness) and his resurrection, but thereby attainment of [x] (adoption); these are the stages in the development of this idea. In the thus-formed doctrine of the [x] we have the real Christian creation of the Apostle." Teichmann seems, like most of the Christian theologists, not to know that the doctrine of [x] is as old as Indo-Aryan thought and that, as Prana, it had long before the birth of Paul passed through all possible forms from the purest spirit to the finest ether (cf. on p. 4: the different views concerning Paul's Pneuma): nor does he know that the conception of religion as faith and regeneration, in contrast to ethical materialism, is an old Indo-European legacy, an organic tendency of mind; but his evidence is all the more valuable, because it shows that the most scrupulously detailed research from the narrow standpoint of scientific Christian theology leads to exactly the same result as the most daring generalisation.

71. See especially Pfleiderer, p. iii. f.

72. Full and remarkably precise information in Reuss Book V. chap. viii.

73. I do not overlook the fact that the Arians appeal to the somewhat vague passage in the Epistle to the Philippians, the authenticity of which is very much doubted, chap. ii. 6.

74. See vol. i. p. 216.

75. In vol. i. p. 428 f. I have explained at length what a different significance dogma had for the Jew.

76. See below for the part played by bishops as judges in civil cases.

77. De moribus eccl. i. § 31.

78. In his letters Augustine addresses the Bishop of Rome simply as "brother." He certainly employs also the expression "Thy Holiness," not, however, to the Bishop of Rome alone, but to every priest, even when he is not a bishop; every Christian belonged, according to the way of speaking at that time, to the "community of the Saints."

79. Ep. 93 ad Vincent (from Neander).

80. "Turning away from books I inclined myself to my own heart; led by Thee I entered the deepest depths of my heart; Thou didst help me, that I was able to do it. I entered in. However weak my eye, I yet saw clearly -- far above this the eye of my soul, raised beyond my reason -- the unchanging light. It was not that common light with which the senses are familiar, nor was it distinguished from this merely by greater power, as though the daylight had become ever brighter and brighter, till it had filled all space. No, it was not that, but another, a quite different one. And it did not hover high above my reason, as oil floats upon water or the heaven above the earth, but it was high above me, because it had created me myself, and I was of small account as a creature. Whoever knows the truth knows that light, and whoever knows that light knows eternity. Love knows it. O eternal truth and true love and loved eternity! thou art my God! Day and night I long for thee!"

81. Particularly in the De peccato originali. Concerning grace Augustine expresses himself very clearly in his letter to Paulinus, § 6, where he is arguing against Pelagius: "Grace is not a fruit of works: if it were so, it would not be grace. Because for works there is given as much as they are worth; but grace is given without merit." In this connection he had had a good teacher in Ambrosius, for the latter had taught: "Not by works but by faith is man justified." (See the beautiful Speech on the Death of the Emperor Theodosius, § 9; Abraham is here quoted as an example.)

82. Contra epistolam Manichaei, § 6 (from Neander).

83. A doctrine to which the Church at a later time appeals (thus, for example, the Roman synod of the year 680), in order to demand from the civil power that it should make orthodoxy "supreme, and see that the weeds be torn out" (Hefele, iii. 258).

84. More details of Augustine's theory of grace will be found in Harnack's large Dogmengeschichte: the abridged edition is too short for this exceedingly complicated question. But the layman must never forget that, however confused the shades may be, the fundamental question remains always exceedingly simple. The confusion is simply a result of too subtle disputation, and its complication is caused by the possible complications of logical combinations; here we reach the sphere of intellectual mechanics. But the relation of the religion of grace to the religion of law and service is just the same as that of + to -; everybody is not able to understand the subtleties of the mathematicians and still less of the theologians, but every one should be able to distinguish between plus and minus.

85. See vol. i. p. 569. The abuse of indulgences which came into practice several centuries later could also appeal for support to Augustine in so far as from the above-mentioned relative valuation of works and especially of the death of Christ there was derived the idea of opera supererogationis (works beyond the necessary measure), from which excessive fund, through the intervention of the Church, condignities are bestowed. Our whole conception of hell and of the pains of hell is, as is now known, taken from old Egyptian religion. Dante's Inferno is exactly represented on very early Egyptian monuments. Still more interesting is the fact that the conception of opera supererogationis, the treasure of grace, by which souls are freed from purgatory (also an Egyptian idea), is likewise a legacy from ancient Egypt. Masses and prayers for the dead, which to-day play so great a part in the Roman Church, existed in exactly the same form some thousands of years before Christ. On the gravestones too might be read then as to-day: "O ye who are living upon earth, when ye pass by this grave, utter a pious prayer for the soul of the dead N. N." (Cf. Prof. Leo Reinisca: Ursprung und Entwickelung des Agyptischen Priestertums.)

86. I Tim. iv. 7. and Tit. i. 14. (Added in the 4th ed., these letters are supposed not to be by Paul.)

87. We can read in Bernouilli: Das Konzil von Nicaa, how exclusively Constantine was actuated by political and not religious motives, for though he was inclined owing to circumstances to favour Arius, he took the opposite side as soon as he noticed that this offered better sureties of more vigorous organisation, in short, more hope of political duration.

88. Karl Muller: Kirchengeschichte i. 181.

89. Cf. vol. i. p. 429 f.

90. According to Neander: Kirchengeschichte iv. 109. According to Hefele: Konziliengeschichte ii. 8, it appears also as if Gregory of Nazianz had not advised or signed along with the others the extended symbolism of Constantinople (in the year 381).

91. Hefele: Konziliengeschichte ii. II f. 372.

92. In spite of all new works I still should like to recommend to the layman chap. xlvii. of Gibbon's Roman Empire as being unsurpassed, at least as a preliminary survey of the subject.

93. See p. 28.

94. See vol. i. p. 69 f.

95. When so acute a thinker and one so strong in intuition as Schopenhauer asserts, "Christianity is an allegory, which represents one true thought," we cannot too energetically refute so manifest an error. We might throw overboard all the allegorical elements of Christianity and the Christian religion would still stand. For the life of Christ and the conversion of will which he taught are reality, not figure of speech. It is none the less real because reason cannot think out, nor contemplation interpret, what is here present. Reason and understanding will always in the last instance find themselves compelled to go allegorically to work. but religion is nothing if not a direct experience.

96. Letter to the Philadelphians, § 8. Ignatius had sat at the feet of the Apostle John, indeed, according to tradition, he had as a child seen the Saviour.

97. For more details I refer the reader to the small book of Hatch Already quoted: The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church. This book is unique, it is absolutely scholarly, so that it is recognised by authorities and yet it is readable for every educated thinker, though he possess no theological training.

98. I have already briefly alluded to the fact, and shall discuss it later in this and the ninth chapter, that in the ninth century this theology awoke again to life in the person of the great Scotus Erigena, the real pioneer of a genuinely Christian religion.

99. Naturally the individual from the barbarian North might be an outstanding personality, and the citizen of the Empire was certainly in most cases a very rude, uncultured individual; but culture is a collective term -- we saw that especially in the case of Greece (vol. 1. p. 34) -- and so one can unquestionably assert that in Germanic countries a real culture scarcely began to show itself before the thirteenth century.

100. See vol. i. pp. pp. 325, 511 f., 554 f.

101. § 6.

102. Origines du Christianisme, 7th ed. vii. 629.

103. Cf. Origines: Against Celsus v. 64.

104. Cf. Harnack: Das apostolische Glaubensbekenninis, 27th ed. p. 9. The differences are not unimportant. The present so-called "apostolic symbolism" came into use only in the ninth century.

105. The Deformed Transformed i. a.

106. Read in Bishop Hefele's Konziliengeschichte, vol. iii. the detailed and aggressively partial account of the dispute about images; it will be seen that Leo the Isaurian and his advisers simply attempted to stop the rapid decline of religious consciousness through the introduction of superstitious un-Christian customs. It is not a dogmatic quarrel, nor is there any political interest at stake; on the contrary, by his courageous conduct the Emperor incites against himself the whole people, led by a countless army of ignorant monks, and Hefele's explanation that the Emperor lacked aesthetic feeling is too childishly simple to deserve refutation. On the other hand, it is becoming clearer and clearer that he was right in his assertion that image-worship meant a step back into heathendom. In Asia Minor at the present day the archaeologists trace from place to place the transformation of the former gods into members of the Christian Pantheon, who remained as before local Gods to whom pilgrimages were, and still are, made. Thus, for example, the giant-slaying Athene of Seleucia became a "Saint Theta of Seleucia"; the altars of the virgin Artemis were only renamed altars of the "virgin mother of God"; the God of Colossus was henceforth regarded as the Archangel Michael ... for the populations the difference was scarcely noticeable (see Ramsay: The Church in the Roman Empire, p. 466 f.). The whole worship of images was connected with these primeval popular and absolutely un-Christian and anti- Christian superstitions; the Church could introduce as many distinguos as it liked, the image remained, like the stone at Mecca, an object endowed with magic powers. In view of such facts which have kept the belief in local miracle-working divinities alive till the present day not only in Asia Minor but in all Europe (wherever we find Romish influence) (cf. Renan: Marc-Aurele, chap. xxxiv.), the "arguments" for image-worship, which Gregory II. brings forward in his letters to Leo, seem exceedingly comical. There are two especially which he expects to have decisive weight. The fact that the woman healed by Christ (Matth. ix. 20) erected on the spot where she was healed an image of Christ, and God, far from being angry, caused a healing plant hitherto unknown to grow up at the foot of the image! That is the first proof, the second is still finer. Abgar, Prince of Odessa, a contemporary of the Saviour, is said to have sent a letter to Christ, and the latter in thanking him sent him his portrait!! (Helele, pp. 383, 395.]

It is very noteworthy, and in judging the Roman standpoint very instructive, for us to know that the Pope reproaches the Emperor (see p. 400) with having robbed men of images and given them instead "foolish speeches and musical farces." That means that Leo, like Charlemagne a few years later, had reintroduced the sermon into the Church and provided music to elevate the minds. Both of these seemed to the Roman monk as superfluous as image-worship was indispensable. If we remember that Germanicia, the home of Leo, on the borders of Isauria, was one of those veteran colonies planted by the late Emperors (Mommsen: Roman History, 3rd ed. v. 310), if we remember that numerous Teutons served in the army, and that, further, Leo was a son of the people, who had so distinguished himself from the genuine sons of Asia Minor, not by his culture but by his character, as to actually hate what they loved, then we may well begin to ask whether this attack upon Roman heathen materialism, although springing up in the South, was not in reality a product of northern soil? Many a hypothesis rests on a weaker foundation.

107. It has lately been proved and should be kept in mind that the intellectual development of this remarkable man was most probably under the direct influence of the Waldensians. (Cf. Thode: Franz von Assisi, 1885, p. 31 f.)

108. For this and the former assertion compare the episcopally approved edition of the Concilii Tridentini canones et decreta by Canon Smets, with an historical introduction, 1854. p. xxiii.

109. See vol. i., p. 515.

110. Cf. vol. 1. pp. 287 and 328.

111. Quoted by Humboldt in a letter to Varnhagen von Ense on September 26, 1845.

112. Towards Peter, Christ used words such as he uttered to no other apostle: "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" (Matth. xvi. 23). And not only his threefold denial of Christ but also his conduct in Antioch which Paul denounced as "hypocrisy" (Gal. ii. I3) prove to us that Peter was a violent but weak character. Supposing that he did actually receive the primacy, it was not for his service or to secure the natural preponderance of his pre-eminent greatness, but in consequence of an appointment pleasing to God and ratified by history.

113. See p. 74.

114. Missive of the year 1520 to Pope Leo X.

115. Dante was born in 1265, in the century that forms the great turning-point; apart from this formal justification for naming him here, there is a further one in the fact that the eye of this great poet looked back as well as forward. Dante is at least just as much an end as a beginning. If a new age begins with him, that is not least of all explained by the fact that he has closed an old one: especially as regards his attitude on the relation between Church and State he is quite biased by the views and visions of the age of Charlemagne and of the Ottos, and really remains blind to the great political reformation of Europe which manifests itself so stormily around him.

116. Cf. p. 94 note.

117. See the documentary account in Hefele's Konziliengeschichte, iii. 472 and 708. It requires audacity to attempt to persuade us laymen that we have to do with an innocent misunderstanding; here, on the contrary, two different views of life, two different races are opposed to each other.

118. Greg. papae Epist. xi. 71 (from Renan).

119. One proof only from among the great number: in the year 1825 the Archbishop of Cologne, Graf Spiegel zum Desenberg, testifies that in his archbishopric "the real religion of Jesus has become gross image-worship" (Letters to Bunsen, 1897. p. 76). What would the right reverend gentleman say to-day?

120. A thousand years after Charlemagne the sale of the "holy oil" as a domestic charm was vigorously pursued; thus, for example, a newspaper published by Abt in Munich, Der Armen-Seelen Freund, Monatsschrift zum Troste der leidenden Seelen im Fegfeuer, in the 4th number of 1898 advertises "holy oil from the lamp of Mr. Dupont in Tours at 4d. per bottle! This oil is praised as particularly efficacious for inflammations!" (The editor of this paper is a Catholic city priest; the magazine is under episcopal censure. The high nobility are said to be Mr. Dupont's best customers.)

121. Kraus: Dante (1897), p. 736.

122. Inferno, canto xix. "What then distinguishes you from an idolator except that he worships one and you a hundred idols?"

123. Paradiso, canto xxix.: "From the gains [of the depicted misleading of the 'stupid people '] the holy Antonius feeds his swine, and many others do likewise, who are worse than swine and pay with unstamped coin [indulgences]." The Italians never seem to have had any particular admiration for their Roman priests, Boccaccio also calls them "swine which flee to where they can eat without working" (Decamerone iii. 3).

124. See vol. i. p. 538 note.

125. Dante would have shared the same fate as those "Church fathers and saints" of whom Balzac in Louis Lembert writes: "To-day the Church would brand them as heretics and atheists."

126. Inferno xix.: "O Constantine! How much evil has been caused not by your conversion but by the gift which the first rich father [= Pope] received from you."

127. De Monarchia, the whole of the second book. But see especially chap. iii. in which the "divine predestination" of the Roman people as the world-ruling power is derived not from interpretations of Old Testament prophets or from the appointment of Peter but proved from the genealogical tree of AEneas and Creusa! Race and not religion is the decisive thing for Dante!

128. Concilium Tridenlinum decretum de reformatione, chap. i.

129. Kraus, p. 703 f., seems to successfully establish his thesis, but to have no idea how little such formal orthodoxy means and how dangerous his own standpoint is for the Roman Church. Moreover I cannot help calling attention to the fact that Dante's famous confession of faith at the end of the 24th canto of the Paradiso is really grievously abstract. Kraus regards as final proof of Dante's orthodoxy a Credo, which does not mention the name of Jesus Christ! What, on the contrary, has struck me is that Dante does not go beyond general mythology. And if I review in my memory a series of other utterances, I get the impression that Dante (like many other of his contemporaries) can hardly be called a Christian at all. The great cosmic God in Heaven and the Roman Church on earth; everything intellectual and political, or moral and abstract. There is an infinite longing for religion, but religion itself, that Heaven which does not come with outward signs, had been stolen from the great and noble man in his cradle. Dante's poetical greatness lies not least of all in the fearful tragedy of the thirteenth century, the century of Innocent III. and Thomas Aquinas! His hope is content with the luce intellettual (Par. xxx.), and his true guide is not Beatrice nor the holy Bernhard, but the author of the Summa theologiae, who sought to illuminate with the pure light of reason and to idealise the almost un-Christianised Christendom and the night of that age which hated all knowledge and beauty. Thomas Aquinas signifies the nationalistic supplement of a materialistic religion; Dante threw himself into his arms. (See the interesting book -- which in truth is written in support of quite a different thesis -- of the English Catholic, E. G. Gardner, Dante's Ten Heavens, 1898.)

130. Geschichte der deutschen Sprache, 2nd ed. pp. iv. and 550.

131. Cf. vol. i. p. 481.

132. 2nd ed. i. 191. Cf. my remarks in vol. i. chap. iii. p. 239.

133. Origines du Christianisme vii. 638.

134. See vol. i. p. 431.

135. Lamprecht, p. 193. Lamprecht himself, like most of our contemporaries, has no idea of the meaning of this phenomenon (which I discuss fully in the ninth chapter). He is of opinion that "moral individualism was still slumbering."

136. It is incredible that even at the present day in scientific Roman works it is still taught (see, for example, Bruck: Lebrbuch der Kirchengeschichte, 6th ed. p. 586) that Luther preached that whoever believed could sin as he pleased. The following quotation may suffice to refute such criminal stupidity: "As now the trees must be before the fruits, and the fruits do not make the trees good or bad, but the trees make the fruits, so too the man must be good or bad in person, before he does good or bad works. And his works do not make him good or bad, but he does good or bad works. We see the same in all handiwork: a good or bad house does not make a good or bad carpenter, but a good or bad carpenter makes a good or bad house; no work makes a master according as the work is, but as the master is, so is his work" Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen).

137. Among the Israelites even in ancient times "the whole idea of right and wrong was reduced to a money standard" (Robertson Smith: Prophets of Israel, p. 105), so that Hosea had to complain, "They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity" (iv. 8). I remember once in Italy threatening a man who broke his word with the qualms of his own conscience. "Ah what! good sir," he said, "that was only a minor lie; seven years in purgatory and ten soldi is all it will cost me!" Thinking that he was making a fool of me, the next time that two Franciscan monks knocked at my door I asked the reverend gentlemen how Heaven punishes a "minor" lie, and their immediate answer was, "Seven years in purgatory! But you are a benefactor of Assisi, much will be forgiven you." It is interesting to note that the West Goths already in the sixth century fight against the "irregularity in the system of penitence, so that one sins as one likes and is always demanding reconciliation from the priest" (Hefele, iii. 51): these are again symptoms of the struggle of the Teutons against a religion spiritually alien. One finds in Gibbon's Roman Empire, chap. lviiii., details of the tariff of indulgences for money or scourgings shortly before the first Crusade.

138. Lamprecht, p. 359.

139. See vol. i. pp. 222 and 569. This timor servilis remained henceforth the foundation of all religion in Loyola's order. Very interesting in this connection is a letter of a Canadian Jesuit (published in Parkman's The Jesuits in North America, p. 148) who is ordering pictures for his congregation: one Christ, one ame bienheureuse, several holy virgins, a whole selection of condemned souls! One is here reminded of the anecdote told by Tylor (Beginnings of Culture, ii. 337). A missionary disputing with an Indian chief said to him: "My God is good, but he punishes the godless"; to which the Indian replied: "My God is also good, but he punishes no one, being content with doing good to all."

140. Volkerwanderung, 2nd ed. ii. 55.

141. I mention Theodosius because he possessed the power as well as the will; but it was his predecessor Gratian who first established the idea of "orthodoxy," and that too as a purely civil matter; anyone who was not orthodox lost his right of citizenship.

142. Tertullian: Ad Scap. 2; Clemens: Stromata, 7, 15 (both quoted from Hatch, p. 329).

143. See particularly vol. i. p. 121 f.

144. We have seen above that this Roman formula, dating from primeval heathen times was adopted by the Council of Trent for the Christian Pope.

145. These details from Mommsen: Romisches Staatsrecht, and from Esmarch: Romische Rechtsgeschichte. How great, moreover, the authority of the Pontifex maximus was in old Rome is made sufficiently clear by a passage in Cicero (De Nat. Deorum, lib. iii. chap. ii.) where he says that in all things pertaining to religion he simply referred to the Pontifex maximus and was guided by what he said.

146. That the Popes actually ascended the Roman Imperial throne and owe to it their claims to power has recently been testified by a Roman Catholic Church historian. Prof. Franz Xavier Kraus writes in the Wissenschaftliche Beilage zur Munchener Allgemeinen Zeitung of February 1, 1900, No. 26, p. 5: "Soon after the Caesars had left the palaces of the Palatine, the Popes established themselves firmly there, so as to put themselves unnoticed into the Position of Imperator in the eyes of the people."

147. See vol. i. p. 147.

148. Cf. Harnack, p. 103. Concerning the inevitably retarding effect of the Latin tongue upon all speculation and science, see Goethe's remarks in his Geschichte der Farbenlehre.

149. Cf. the beginning of the De Officiis Ministrorum.

150. This, too, was not a new Christian invention; even in antiquity there had been in Rome a jus pontificium in contrast to the jus civile: but the sound sense of the free Roman people had never permitted it to gain practical influence. (See Mommsen, p. 95.)

151. Savigny: Romischen Rechtes im Mittelalter vol. i. chap, iii.

152. This has been finally proved of at least one Pope, Honorius (see Hefele, Dollinger, &c.).

153. See Hefele: Konziliengeschichte, 2nd ed. ii. 114 f. and 120 f.

154. Bruck: Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte, 6th ed. p. 744 (orthodox Roman Catholic).

155. Since the assertion that "the Pope in his syllabus declared war on the whole European culture" has met with contradiction, I quote the words of § 80 of the document itself: Si quis dixit: Romanus pontifex potest ac debet cum progressu, cum liberalismo et cum recenti civililate sese reconciliare et componere; anathema sit.

156. Ideen fur Geschichte der Menschheit xix. i. I.

157. Augustine was reproached by Hieronymus for not understanding Hellenic thought. It is easy to see how true that was of the whole Roman Church if we take the trouble to read in Hefele's Konziliengeschichte, vol. ii. p. 255 f., the edict of the Emperor Justinian against Origenes and the fifteen anathemas against him of the Synods of Constantinople of the year 543. What these people did not notice gives us as good an idea of their mental qualities as what they found worthy of being anathematised. For example, the bigots did not notice that Origenes believes that the peccatum originale existed before the so-called fall, and yet that is, as I have shown above, the central point of his absolutely anti-Roman religion. On the other hand, it was revolting to them that this clear Hellenic mind considered a plurality of inhabited worlds an understood thing and that he taught the doctrine that the earth must have gradually grown by process of development. But they found it most fearful of all that he praised the destruction of the body in death as a liberation (whereas the people of the Chaos who were led by Rome could not think of immortality as anything but the eternal life of their wretched bodies), &c. &c. Many Popes, e.g., Coelestin, who crushed Nestorius, understood not a word of Greek and had in fact a very indifferent education, but this will surprise no one who has learned from Hefele's Konziliengeschichte that many of the bishops who by vote of majority founded the Christian dogma could not read, write, nor even sign their name.

158. The high-spirited African Church had given the Roman Church a good example in this as in so much else, by inserting in its confession of faith the words: "I believe in forgiveness of sins, in the resurrection of the body and in eternal life through the holy church (see Harnack: Das apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis, 27th ed. p. 9).

159. The final formal completion was reached some years later, first by the introduction of the obligatory adoration of the Host in the year 1264, secondly by the universal introduction of the festival of the holy body in the year 1311, to celebrate the wonderful transformation of the Host into the body of God.

160. See vol. i. p. 224 f.

161. See especially Rob. Smith: Religion of the Semites (1894), p. 358. For this whole question read lectures 8, 9, 10, 11.

162. See Smith, and as a supplement Cheyne: Isaiah, p. 368.

163. Rohde: Psyche, 1st ed. p. 687.

164. Der goldene Esel, Book XI.

165. Rohde, as above, and Dieterich's Eine Mithrasliturgie.

166. The use of the word totemism in this passage has led to misunderstandings and it indeed betrays an almost too daring ellipsis of thought. Totemism means "animal-worship," a custom spread over the whole world; the animal in question is sacred and inviolate (the cow in India, the ape in Southern India, the crocodile among certain African races, &c.). But if we trace the further development of this custom, we finds that the sacred Totem nevertheless was sometimes sacrificed -- thus, for example, in Mexico the youth worshipped as a God, the idea here being that by partaking of divine flesh and blood one receives a share of divinity: in view of this connection I have characterised these conceptions as totemistic.

167. See Leist: Graco-italische Rechtsgeschichte, p. 267 f.; Jhering: Vorgeschichte der Indoeuropaer, p. 313; &c.

168. Augustine in his happy hours has this view too: Nos ipsi in cordibus nostris invisibile sacrificium esse debemus" (De Civ. Dei x. 19).

169. According to the edition of the Roman Catholic Professor Narcissus Liebert.

170. Book VIII. chap. xii.

171. Hatch. p. 302. Cf., too, what has been said on p. 29.

172. According to Neander: Kirchengeschichte, 4th ed. ii. 405

173. Cf., for example, Book XXI. chap. xxv. of the De Civitate Dei.

174. De Civitate Dei, Book X. chap. xix. This doctrine was later adopted almost literally by Wyclif -- the real author of the Reformation; for he writes regarding the host: "Non est corpus dominicum, sed efficax ejus signum."

175. Gregory the Great (of about the year 600) was the first to teach that the Mass was an actual repetition of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, and this gave the Sacrament a sacrificial (Jewish) as well as Sacramental (heathen) significance.

176. In reality there are only two. Whoever has cast the most superficial glance at the witches' cauldron of theological sophism, will be grateful to me for seeking to introduce by means of extreme simplification not only clearness but also truthfulness into this confused matter, which, partly owing to the cunning calculation of greedy priests, partly owing to the religious delusion of honest but badly balanced minds, has become the real battlefield for all subtle follies and profound impossibilities. Here in particular lies the hereditary sin of all Protestant churches; for they rebelled against the Roman doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass and of transubstantiation but had not the courage to sweep out all the superstitions derived from the Chaos. Instead they took refuge in wretched sophistries and have ever since been flitting with characterless indecision hither and thither on dialectical pin-points, without ever putting foot on solid ground.

177. It is worth noting that in the case of the old mysteries, partaking in them removed all bonds of connection with the nation of one's birth. The initiated formed an international, extra-national family.

178. In recent times the authorship of the Pope has been doubted, but Catholics who are to be taken earnestly from a scientific point of view admit that this representation of the supposed "rights" of Rome, if not from the Pope himself, yet originated from the circle of his most intimate admirers and thus in the main gives correctly the opinions of Gregory, and this is confirmed by his actions and letters (see Hefele, 2nd ed. v. 75). Most amusing, on the other hand, is the twisting and turning of the historians who write under Jesuitical influence; they have taken much from the great Gregory but not his honesty and love of truth, and thus in their attempts at improvement they spoil the deeds and words of that very Pope under whom the Roman idea of State attained its noblest, purest and most unselfish form, and exerted its greatest moral influence. Note, for example, what trouble the Seminar-Professor Bruck (as above, § 114) takes to prove that Gregory "wished no universal monarchy," and "did not regard the Princes as his vassals," &c., but Bruck cannot at the same time refrain from mentioning that Gregory has spoken of an imperium Christi and admonished all Princes and peoples to recognize in the Church "their superior and mistress." Such dissimulation in face of the great fundamental facts of history is as unworthy as it is fruitless; the Roman hierocratic idea of a world-state is so great that one does not need to be ashamed of it.

179. In a letter to the Pope he calls them wild animals who begin to roar at the mere word "spiritual communion with Christ" (see Neander, vi. 317). At a later time Berengarius called the Papal throne sedem non apostolicam sed sedem satanae.

180. About the year 1200 there were Waldensian congregations "in France, Aragon, Catalonia, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Dalmatia, Italy, Sicily, &c." (See the excellent work of Ludwig Keller: Die Anfange der Reformation und die Ketzerschulen, 1897.)

181. Innocent had already in the year 1198 forbidden the reading of the Bible; the synod of Toulouse in the year 1229 and other councils were continually emphasising the prohibition. The synod of Toulouse forbade most strictly that laymen should read a fragment of the Old or the New Testament, except the Psalms (chap. xiv.). If therefore the Bible was widespread in Germany before Luther's time, it is nevertheless throwing sand in our eyes to represent this fact, as Janssen and other Catholic writers do, as a proof of the liberalism of the Roman stool. The invention of printing had had a quicker influence than the slowly moving curia could counteract, moreover the German was at all times instinctively drawn to the Gospel, and if he was earnest about anything, he did not pay overmuch heed to prohibitions. In any case the Council of Trent soon brought order into this matter, and in the year 1622 the Pope forbade all reading of the Bible unless in the Latin vulgate. It was only in the second half of the eighteenth century that episcopally approved, carefully revised translations were permitted, and that only when they were provided with notes also approved of -- a forcible measure against the spread of the Holy Script in the faithful editions of Bible societies.

he Bible studies of the Roman clergy in the thirteenth century are humorously shown up by the fact that at the synod of Nympha, in the year 1234, at which Roman and Greek Catholics met to pave the way to reunion, neither among the one party nor the other, nor in the churches and cloisters of the city and surroundings, was a copy of the Bible to be found, so that the followers of the Apostles had to proceed to the order of the day in regard to the wording of a doubtful quotation and have recourse once more, not to Holy Scripture, but to Church fathers and councils (see Hefele, v. 1048). At exactly the same time the Dominican Rainer, who had been sent to persecute the Waldensians, reports that all these heretics were very well read in the Holy Writ and he had seen uneducated peasants who could repeat the whole New Testament by heart (quoted in Neander, viii. 414).

182. First book, Von den Laien, division 5.

183. Hefele, v. 944.

184. Cf. Dollinger: Das Papsttum (1892), p. 527.

185. In the posthumous process against Boniface VIII many ecclesiastical dignitaries asserted on oath that this mightiest of all Popes laughed at the conception of Heaven and Hell and said of Jesus Christ that he had been a very clever man, nothing more. Hefele is inclined to regard these charges as not unfounded (see vi. 461 and the preceding discussion of the subject). And yet -- or rather in this way -- Boniface grasped the central idea of the Roman thought more clearly than almost any one before or after him, and in his famous bull Unam sanctam, on which present Catholicism rests as on a foundation-stone, he has given expression to it. (More details of this bull in next chapter.) In his Port Royal (Book III. chap. iii,) Sainte-Beuve proves convincingly that "one can be a very good Catholic and yet scarcely a Christian."

186. Helfferich: Christliche Mystik 1842 ii. 231.

187. To anyone who wishes to read an attempt at a systematic refutation of the opinions which I have expressed in this chapter and in other parts of the book on the essence and history of the Roman Churches I recommend Prof. Dr. Albert Ehrhard's Kritische Wurdigung of these "Foundations," originally published in the periodical Kultur and now as No. 14 of the Vortrage und Abhandlungen, published by the Leo- Gesellschaft (1901, Mayer and Co., Vienna).
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:45 pm

Part 1 of 2


Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks: methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam; purging and unsealing her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, flutter about amazed at what she means, and in their envious gabble would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms.


WERE it my task to describe historically the struggle in the State till the thirteenth century, I could not fail to dwell specially upon two things; the struggle between the Pope and the Emperor, and the gradual transformation of the majority of free Teutons into bondmen, while others among them raised themselves to that powerful class of hereditary nobility, so dangerous to those above as well as to those beneath them. But here I have to confine my attention to the nineteenth century, and neither that fatal struggle nor the curiously varied changes which society, tossed violently this way and that, underwent, possess more than historical interest to-day. The word "Emperor" has become so meaningless to us, that quite a number at European princes have added it as an ornament to their titulature, and the "white slaves of Europe" (as an English writer of our days, Sherard, calls them) are not the result of a past feudal system, but the victims of a new economic development. [1] If we go deeper, we shall find that that struggle in the State, confused as it appears, was fundamentally a struggle for the State, a struggle, in fact, between universalism and nationalism. If we realise this we gain a clearer understanding of the events in question, and a bright light is shed upon our own time, giving us a more distinct view of many events to-day than we otherwise could attain.

This reflection enables us at once to map out the plan of this chapter. But before proceeding I must make one remark.

The Roman Empire might well be called a "world-empire"; orbis romanus, the Roman world, was the usual designation. Noteworthy is it that men should be wont to say, the" Roman world," not" the world" merely. Though the paid Court poet, in search of re- sounding hexameters, wrote the often quoted words:

Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento!

yet the presumption thoughtlessly accepted even by some earnest historians, that this was the entire Roman programme, is quite unsound. As I have shown in the second chapter, the fundamental idea of ancient Rome was not expansion but concentration. The empty phrases of a Virgil should deceive no one on this point. Rome was compelled by historical events to expand around a firm central point, but even in the days of its most extensive power, from Trajan to Diocletian, nothing will strike the careful observer more than its strict self-control and self-restraint. That is the secret of Roman strength; by that Rome proves itself to be the truly political nation. But as far as it extends, Rome destroys individuality, it creates an orbis romanus; its influence outwardly is a levelling one. And when there was no longer a Roman nation, no longer even a Caesar in Rome, there still remained that specifically Roman principle of levelling -- the destruction of all individuality. On this the Church now planted the genuine universal idea. which the purely political Rome had never known. It had been the Emperors, in the first place Theodosius, who had created the idea of the Roman Church, but certainly all that they had thought of was the orbis romanus and its better discipline; now, however, a religious principle superseded the political, and while the latter is limited by nature, the former is unlimited. To convert to Christianity became henceforth a moral obligation, since the eternal salvation of man depended on it; such a conviction could know no limits. [2] On the other hand, it was a State duty to belong to the Roman Church, to the exclusion of every other form of Christianity; the Emperors ordered this on pain of severe punishment. In this way the former, systematically limited Roman idea was extended to that of a Universal empire; and since politics indeed supplied the organism, but the Church the categorical idea of universality, it is natural that out of the Imperium there should gradually arise a theocracy and that the high priest should soon set upon his head the diadema imperii. [3]

The fact to which I should like first of all to call attention in 1167 sent against Rome and the Pope, it would surely be strange to see in this a real revolt of the secular power against the ecclesiastical. It would be just as strange to interpret the dismissal of Gregory VII. by the synod of Worms in 1076 as an anti-ecclesiastical move of Henry IV., for almost all the bishops of Germany and Italy had signed the Imperial decree, and that on the ground that "the Pope was arrogating to himself a power hitherto quite unknown, while he destroyed the rights of other bishops." [4] Naturally I am far from Wishing to deny the great political importance of all these events, and particularly their retrospective influence Upon the growing national consciousness, but I maintain that this is all a question of struggles and intrigues inside the then prevailing universal system of the Church; that struggle, however, which decided the further course of the history of the world, in opposition at once to Pope and Emperor -- that is, therefore, in opposition to the ecclesiastical ideal of State -- was carried on by Princes, nobles and the middle classes. This means a struggle against universalism and, though nations were not the first to take it up, since none yet existed, it yet led necessarily to their formation, for they are essentially bulwarks against the despotism of the Roman imperialistic idea.


I had to premise this, in order to settle, once for all which struggle could and should occupy our attention in this book. The struggle between Emperor and Pope belongs to the past, that between nationalism and universalism is still going on.

But before we pass to our real theme, I should like to add another remark concerning this rivalry within the universalistic ideal. It is, in truth, not indispensable for our judgment of the nineteenth century, but in our time the matter has been much spoken of, and very greatly to the disadvantage of sound common sense; it has been again and again revived by the universalistic, i.e., the Roman party, and many an otherwise good judgment is led astray by the skilfully represented, but quite untenable paradox. I refer to the theory of the duplex potestas, the double power. Most educated people know it from Dante's De Monarchia, although it was evolved earlier, contemporaneously, and later by others. With all respect for the great poet I hardly think that any unbiased man, capable of forming a judgment on politics, will fail to find this work simply monstrous. A magnificent effect is certainly produced by the consistency and the courage with which Dante denies to the Pope every trace of secular power and worldly possession; but, while he transfers to another the fulness of this power, claiming for this other the theocratic origin of directly divine appointment, he has only replaced one tyrant by another. Of the Electors he says that one "may not call them 'selectors,''' but rather "proclaimers of the Divine Providence" (iii. 16); that is, of course, the unvarnished Papal theory! But then comes the monstrous idea: in addition to this absolute autocrat appointed" without intermediary" by God Himself, there is another equally absolute autocrat, likewise appointed by God Himself, the Pope! For "human nature is double and therefore requires a double head," namely, "the Pope, who in conformity with revelation guides humanity to eternal life, and the Emperor, who following the doctrines of the philosophers shall lead men to earthly happiness." As philosophy, even, this doctrine is monstrous; for according to it the endeavour after purely earthly happiness must go hand in hand with the attainment of an everlasting happiness in the future life; from a practical point of view it is the most untenable delusion that a poetic brain ever conceived. We may accept it as axiomatic truth that universalism involves absolutism, that is, freedom from all limitations; how then can two absolute autocrats stand side by side? The one cannot take a single step without "'limiting" the other. Where can We draw a boundary-line between the jurisdiction of the "philosophical" Emperor, the direct representative of God upon earth as the Omniscient, and the jurisdiction of the theological Emperor, the mediator of eternal life? Does that "double nature" of man, of which Dante speaks, not after all form a unity. Is it capable of dividing itself with nicety in two, and -- in contradiction to the words of Christ -- of serving two masters? Even the word monarchy signifies rule by one, and is the monarchy now to possess two absolute rulers? In practice that is impossible. The Emperors who were Christians were absolute rulers inside the Church also; now and then they summoned the bishops to councils, but they issued the ecclesiastical laws on their own authority and in dogmatic questions it was their will that decided. Theodosius might do penance before the Bishop of Milan, as he would have done before any other priest, but he never dreamt of a rival to his absolute authority and would not have hesitated to crush such a rival. The sentiments of Charlemagne were just the same (see p. 101), though naturally his position could not be so strong as that of Theodosius; but Otto the Great attained later exactly the same autocratic power, and his Imperial will sufficed to depose the Pope: the logic of the universalistic idea demands that all power should lie in one hand. Now indeed, in consequence of endless political confusion, and also because the intellects of men of that time were perplexed with questions of abstract law, many obscure ideas came into vogue, among others that clause of ancient Church law, de duobus universis monarchiae, gladiis, concerning the two swords of the State; but, as the above sentence with its genitive singular proves, the practical politician had never had so monstrous a conception of the matter as the poet; for him there is but one monarchy and both swords serve it. This one monarchy is the Church: a worldly and at the same time spiritual Imperium. And because the idea of imperium is so absolutely theocratic, we cannot be surprised when the highest power gradually is transferred from the King to the Pontifex. That both should stand equally high is excluded by the nature of men i even Dante says at the end of his work, that the Emperor should "show honour to Peter" and "accept illumination by his light"; he therefore implicitly admits that the Pope stands above the Emperor. At last a strong, clear mind, with political and legal culture, cleared up this confusion of historical sophisms and abstractions; it happened just at the end of the epoch of which I am here speaking, at the close of the thirteenth century. [5] In his bull Ineffabilis Boniface VIII. had already demanded the absolute freedom of the Church; absolute freedom means absolute power. But the doctrine of the two swords had made such fearful havoc of the intellectual strength of the princes, that they no longer remembered that the second sword was, at best, in the direct power of the Emperor; no, every individual prince wished to wield it alone, and the divine monarchy thus degenerated into a polyarchy all the more perilous as every petty prince had arrogated the Imperial theory and regarded himself as an absolute ruler directly appointed by God. One can sympathise with the princes, for they paved the way for nations, but their theory of "divine right" is simply absurd -- absurd, if they remained within the Roman universal system, i.e., in the Catholic Church, and doubly absurd, if they separated themselves from the magnificent idea of the one divinely desired civitas Dei. To this confusion Boniface VIII. sought now to put an end by his remarkable bull Unam sanctam. Every layman should know it, for no matter what has happened since or may happen in the future, the logic of the universal-theocratic idea [6] will always imply absolute power in the Church and its clerical head. First of all Boniface demonstrates that there can be only one Church -- this would be the point where we should be forced at once to contradict him, for from this follows all else with logical necessity. Then comes the decisive, and, as history proves, true remark: "This one Church has only one head, not two heads like a monster!" But if it has only one head, then both swords must be in its hand, the spiritual and the secular: "Both swords are therefore in the power of the Church, the spiritual and the secular; the latter must be wielded for the Church, the former by the Church; the former by the Priesthood, the latter by Kings and warriors, but according to the will of the priest and as long as he suffers it. But one sword must be over the other, the secular authority subordinate to the spiritual.... Divine truth testifies that the spiritual power has to appoint the secular power, and to judge it, if it be not good." [7] This made the doctrine of the Roman Church at last clear, logical and straightforward. We do not realise the depth of such an idea when we talk of priestly ambition, of the insatiable maw of the Church, &c.; the fundamental notion here is the magnificent one of a universal Imperium, which shall not merely subdue all peoples and thereby create eternal peace, [8] but shall gird about every individual with its faith, politics and hope. It is universalism in its highest potentiality, external and internal, including even the strenuous endeavour to secure uniformity of language. The rock, upon which this empire rests, is the belief in divine appointment, nothing less could carry such a structure; it follows that this Imperium is a theocracy; in a theocratic State the hierarchy occupies the first place; its priestly head is therefore the natural head of the State. Not a single sensible word can be opposed to this logical deduction, nothing but threadbare sophisms. For in the most secular of all States, in Rome, the Imperator had arrogated the title and office of Pontifex maximus as his highest dignity, as unrivalled guarantee of divine justification (Caesar Divi genus -- for even this idea is not of Christian origin). And should not the Pontifex maximus in a Christian State, that State to which religion first had given universality and absolutism, on his part feel justified and compelled to view his office as that of an Imperator? [9]

So much with regard to the duplex potestas.

These two discussions, the one on the fundamental identity of the powers of Emperor and Pope (both being only portions and manifestations of the same idea of a sacred Roman universal empire); the other on the struggle between the different ruling elements within this naturally very complicated hierarchy, are not really meant as a preface to what follows. By them we merely cast overboard ballast which would have delayed and made us deviate from the true course, for, as I have said, the real "struggle in the State" lies deeper, and that it is which offers matter of present interest, indeed of passionate interest, and which especially contributes to the understanding of the nineteenth century.


Savigny, the great legal authority, writes: "The States into which the Roman Empire was broken up reflect the condition of the Empire before this breaking up." The struggle, of which I must here speak, is formally and ideally very much dependent upon the Imperium which has disappeared. Just as the shadows lengthen the farther the sun sinks in setting, so Rome, the first really great State, threw its shadow far over coming centuries. For, carefully considered, the struggle which now bursts into flame in the State is a struggle of nations for their personal right to live, against a universal monarchy dreamt of and aimed at, and Rome bequeathed not only the fact of a nationless Police-State with uniformity and order as its political ideal, but also the memory of a great nation. Moreover, Rome bequeathed the geographical sketch of a possible -- and in many features lasting -- division of chaotic Europe into new nations, as well as fundamental principles of legislation and administration, from which the individual independence of these new structures could derive support and strength like the young vine from the dry stake. Rome therefore supplied the weapons for both ideals, for both 'systems of politics, for universalism as well as nationalism. But new elements were added, and they were the living part, the sap, which forced the growth of leaves and blossom, they were the hand that wielded the weapons; the religious ideal of the universal monarchy was new, and new too was the race of men that formed the nations. It was new that the Roman monarchy was no longer to be secular, but a religion preparing men for heaven; that its monarch should be henceforth, not a changing Caesar, but an immortal crucified God; that, in place of nations of former history that had disappeared, there now sprang up a race of men, the Germanic peoples, just as creative and individualistic (and consequently with a natural inclination for forming States) as the Hellenes and Romans, and moreover in possession of a much more extensive, more productive and therefore more plastic, many-sided stock.

The political situation during the first ten centuries from Constantine onwards is therefore, in spite of the inextricable tangle of events, quite clear, clearer perhaps than it is to-day. On the one side the distinct, well-thought-out conception -- derived from experience and existing conditions -- of an imperially hieratic, unnational universal monarchy, unconsciously prepared by the Roman heathens at God's command, [10] henceforth revealed in its divinity, and therefore all-embracing, all-powerful, infallible, eternal -- on the other hand, the naturally inevitable formation of nations demanded by the instinct of the Germanic people and of those peoples who were to a large extent "Germanic" in the wider sense (see vol. i. chap. vi.), and at the same time an unconquerable dislike on their part to everything stereotyped, a passionate revolt against every limitation of the personality. The contradiction was flagrant, the conflict inevitable.

This is no arbitrary generalisation; on the contrary, it is only when We consider the apparent caprices of all history as lovingly as the physiographist contemplates the stone which he has polished, that the chronicle of the world's events becomes transparent, and what the eye henceforth sees is not a matter of accident, but the essential, in fact, the only non-accidental thing, the constant cause of necessary, but variable, incalculable events. For such causes bring about definite results. Where far-seeing consciousness is present, as for example (in the case of universalism) in Charlemagne and Gregory VII., Of on the other hand (in the case of nationalism) in King Alfred or Walther von der Vogelweide, the necessary form of history assumes clearer outlines; but it was by no means necessary that every representative of the Roman idea or of the principle of nationalities should possess c1eal conceptions of the nature and compass of these ideas, The Roman idea was sufficiently imperative, it was an unchangeable fact, according to which every Emperor and every Pope was compelled to govern his conduct, no matter what he might otherwise think and intend, And the common explanation, that there has been a development, that ecclesiastical ambition gradually became more and more grasping, is not well founded, not at least in the modern superficial sense, according to which evolution can bring about radical changes; there has been an expansion, a complying with temporal conditions, and so forth; but Charlemagne followed exactly the same principles as Theodosius, and Pius IX. stood on exactly the same ground as Boniface VIII. Still less do I postulate a conscious endeavour to form nationalities. The late-Roman idea of a universal theocracy might certainly be thought out in detail by remarkable men, for it Was based on an Imperium, which already existed and to which it was directly linked, and on the firmly established Jewish theocracy, from which it proceeded without a break; but how should men have thought of a France, a Germany; a Spairi, before they existed? Here new forms had to be created, forms which even to-day are sending forth new shoots and will do so as long as life lasts. Shiftings of national consciousness are taking place before our eyes, and even at the present day we can see the nation-building principle at work, wherever so-called particularism is active: when the Bavarian manifests dislike for the Prussian, and the Swabian looks down upon both with mild contempt; when the Scotchman speaks of his "countrymen," to distinguish them from Englishmen, and the inhabitant of New York regards the Yankee of New England as being not quite so perfect as himself; when local custom, local convention, local legal usages which no legislation can altogether destroy, distinguish one district from another -- in all this we see symptoms of a living individualism, symptoms of the capacity of a people to become conscious of its individuality in contrast to that of others, symptoms of ability for organic formative work. If the course of history created adequate outward conditions, we Teutons should produce a dozen new, characteristically distinct nations. In France this creative capacity has been weakened by progressive "Romanising"; moreover, it was almost completely trodden under foot by the rude Corsican; in Russia it has almost disappeared in consequence of the predominance of inferior, un- Teutonic blood, although in former days our genuine Slavonic cousins were richly endowed with the gifts which are necessary for individual creative work -- as their language and their literature prove. Now it is this gift, which we find still present in some cases and no longer so in others, that we see at work in history, not consciously, not as a theory, not philosophically proved, not founded upon legal institutions and divine revelations, but overcoming all difficulties with the irresistibility of a law of nature, destroying where destruction was demanded -- for on what were wrecked the unsound aspirations of the Roman Imperialism of Teutonic Kings but on the ever-growing jealousy of the tribes? -- at the same time it builds up silently and diligently on all sides, so that the nations were established long before the princes had figured them on the map. While the craze of the Imperium Romanum towards the close of the twelfth century still fascinated a Frederick Barbarossa, the German singer could exclaim

ubel mueze mir geschehen,
kynde ich ie min herze bringen dar,
daz im wol gevallen
wolte fremeder site:
tiuschiu zuht gat vor in allen! [11]

And when in the year 1232 the most powerful of all Popes had through the medium of the King caused the enemy of Roman influence in England, Chief Justice Hubert de Burgh, to be taken prisoner, there was not a blacksmith to be found in the whole land who would forge manacles for him: when threatened with torture the journeyman answered defiantly, "Rather will I die any death than ever put irons on the man who defended England from the alien!" The wandering bard knew that there was a German people and the blacksmith that there was an English one, when this fact had little more than begun to dawn upon many of the leading lights of politics.


It is obvious that we are here dealing not with wind-eggs, laid by a hen of the brood of the philosophising historians, but with things of the greatest reality. And since we now know that by thus contrasting universalism and nationalism we have revealed fundamental facts of history, I should like to regard this matter generally, more from the inner standpoint. This makes it necessary for us to sound the depths of the soul, but in doing so we shall gain an insight which will be useful when we seek to form a judgment on the nineteenth century; for these two currents are still with us, and that not merely, on the one hand, in the visible form of the Pontifex maximus who in the year of grace 1864 Once more solemnly asserted his temporal autocracy, [12] and, on the other, in the national contrasts of the moment which are becoming more and more acutely felt, but also in many views and judgments which we pick up on the path of life without having any idea of their origin. Fundamentally it is a question, in fact, of two philosophies or views of existence, each of which so entirely shuts out the other that the two could not possibly exist side by side, and that it must be a struggle for life or death between them -- were it not that men drift on unconsciously, like ships under full sail but without a rudder, aimlessly, heedlessly driven at the bidding of the wind. There again a remark of the sublimely great Teuton Goethe will throw light on the psychological riddle. In his Aphorisms in Prose he says of vitally mobile individuality, that it becomes aware of itself as" inwardly limitless, outwardly limited." That is a phrase pregnant with meaning: "outwardly limited, inwardly limitless." This expresses a fundamental law of all intellectual life. For the human individual, in fact, "outwardly limited" practically means personality, "inwardly limitless" means freedom; the same is true of a people. Now, if we follow up this thought, we shall find that the two conceptions are mutually dependent. Without the outward limitation the inner limitlessness is impossible; if, on the other hand, outward limitlessness is aimed at, the limit will have to be laid down inwardly. And this is the very formula of the neo-Roman ecclesiastical Imperium: inwardly limited, outwardly limitless. Sacrifice to me your human personality and I shall give you a share in Divinity; sacrifice to me your freedom, and I shall create an Empire which embraces the whole earth and in which order and peace shall eternally prevail; sacrifice to me your judgment and I shall reveal to you the absolute Truth; sacrifice to me Time and I shall give you Eternity. Par, in fact, the idea of the Roman universal monarchy and of the Roman universal Church aims at something outwardly limitless: to the head of the Imperium omnes humanae creaturae -- all human creatures -- are without exception subject, [13] and the power of the Church extends not only to the living, but also to the dead, whom it can punish after many centuries with excommunication and torments of hell, or promote from purgatory to heavenly bliss. I do not deny that there is something grand in this conception; we are not speaking of that now; my only object is to show that all aspiration after what is thus outwardly limitless necessarily presupposes and determines the inner limitation of the individual. From Constantine, who was the first to comprehend the Imperial idea consistently in the neo-Roman sense, to Frederick II. of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the last ruler who was inspired by the true universal thought, no Emperor has permitted an atom of personal or national freedom, except when weakness has compelled him to make concessions to the one party, in order to checkmate the other. The doctrine quod principi Placuit, legis habet vigorem was accepted by Barbarossa from Jurists trained in the Byzantine school: he then ,vent and destroyed the cities of Lombardy, which were flourishing in defiant freedom and through the industry of the citizens, and strewed salt over the smoking ruins of Milan. With less violence but acting On the same principle, Frederick II. destroyed the liberties which the German middle classes were beginning to acquire under the princes of the land. It is not necessary to show with what undeviating narrowness the Pontifex; lays down the "inner limits." The word dogma had signified to the ancient Greeks an opinion, a view, a philosophic doctrine; in the Roman Empire it meant an imperial edict; but now, in the Roman Church, it was called a divine law of faith, to which all human beings must unconditionally submit on pain of everlasting punishment. Let no one cherish illusions on this point; let no one be led astray by fallacies: this system cannot leave the individual a particle of free will: it is impossible, and that for the simple reason -- against which no casuistry and no intention, however good, can avail -- that whoever says "outwardly limitless" must add "inwardly limited," whether he wills it or not. Outwardly the sacrifice of personality is demanded, inwardly that of freedom. Just as little can this system recognise distinct nationalities in their individuality and as the basis of historical events; to it they are at the best an unavoidable evil; for as soon as a strict outward boundary is drawn, the tendency to inward limitlessness will proclaim itself; the genuine nation will never submit to the Imperium.

The civic idea of the Roman hierocracy is the civitas Dei upon earth, a single, indivisible Divine State: every systematic division which creates outward boundaries threatens the limitless whole, for it produces personality. Hence it is that under Roman influence the liberties of the Teutonic tribes, their choice of their King, their special rights, and so forth, are lost; hence it is that the preaching monks, as soon as nationalities begin clearly to assume distinct shape, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, organise a thorough campaign against the amor soli natalis -- the love of the native soil; hence it is that we see the Emperors planning the weakening of the princes, and the Popes indefatigably endeavouring for centuries to hinder the formation of States and-as soon as success in this was hopeless -- to retard the development of their freedom, in which the Crusades in particular served their purpose well for a long time; hence it is that the constitutions of the Jesuit Order make it their first care that its members become completely "unnationalised" and belong solely to the universal Church; [14] hence it is that we read in the very latest, strictly scientific text-books of Catholic Church law (see, for example, Phillips, 3rd ed., 1881, p. 804) of the triumph of the principle of nationality within the one and universal Church of God as one of the most regrettable events in the history of Europe. That the great majority of Roman Catholics are nevertheless excellent patriots shows a lack of consistency that does them honour; in the very same way Charlemagne, who called himself a Deo coronatus imperator, Romanum gubernans imperium, has by his activity in the interests of culture and his Teutonic attitude of mind contributed more than any other to the unfettering of nationalities and to the gagging of the Roman idea; but by such inconsistencies the one infallible doctrine of the theocratic universal Church is in no way affected, and it is impossible that this doctrine and this influence should ever make themselves felt in any direction but the anti-national. For, I repeat, here it is not a question merely of this one definite ideal of Church and Imperium, but of a universal law of human nature and human actions.

In order that this law may be quite clearly apprehended, we will briefly consider the opposite philosophy or view of existence, "outwardly limited, inwardly limitless." It is only in the form of a being strictly limited outwardly, resembling no other man, but clearly revealing the law of its own special self, that the pre-eminent personality manifests itself; it is only as a strictly limited individual phenomenon that genius reveals to us the limitless world of its inner self. I impressed this point so forcibly in my first chapter (on Hellenic Art) that I do not need to discuss it here again in detail; in the second chapter, on Rome, we observed how the same law of strictest limitation outwards produced a nation of unrivalled inner strength. And I ask, where should we be more entitled, than at the sight of the Son of Man upon the Cross, to exclaim, "outwardly limited, inwardly limitless"? And what words would more clearly re-echo the same truth across the gulf of time than these: The Kingdom of Heaven is not outward, in the world of limited forms, but inward, in your hearts, in the world of the Limitless! This doctrine is the very reverse of the Church doctrine. History as a science of observation teaches us that it is only those races which are limited, which have taken root in and grown up out of national individuality, that have achieved great things. So soon as it strove to become universal, the strongest nation in the world -- Rome -- disappeared, and its virtues vanished with it. Everywhere it has been the same. The most vivid consciousness of race and the most constricted civic organisation were the necessary atmosphere for the immortal achievements of the Hellenes; the world-power of Alexander has only the significance of a mechanical spreading of Hellenic elements of culture. The original Persians were in poetry and religion one of the brightest, most energetic and most profoundly gifted races of history: when they had ascended the throne of a world-monarchy, their personality and with it their power disappeared. Even the Turks, when they became a great international power, lost their modest treasure of character, While their cousins, the Huns, by unscrupulously insisting upon the one sole national momentum, and by forcible fusion of their rich stock of sound German and Slavonic elements, are on the point of growing into a great nation before our eyes.

The consideration of these two points brings us to the conclusion that limitation is a general law of nature, quite as general as the striving after the Limitless. Man must go out into the Limitless -- his nature imperatively demands it; to be able to do this, he must limit himself. Here the conflict of principles takes place: if we limit ourselves outwardly -- in regard to race, Fatherland, personality -- as strictly and resolutely as possible, then the inner kingdom of the Limitless will be opened to us, as it was to the Hellenes and the Brahman Indians; if, on the other hand, we strive after something which is unlimited -- after an Absolute, an Eternal -- we must build on the basis of a narrowly circumscribed inner life, otherwise success is impossible: every great Imperium proves this; it is proved by every philosophical and religious system which claims to be absolute and alone valid; it is proved above all by that magnificent attempt to supply a universal cosmic idea and cosmic government, the Roman Catholic Church.


The struggle then in the State during the first twelve centuries of our era was fundamentally a struggle between these two principles of limitation, which are diametrically hostile in all spheres, and whose opposition to each other in the province of politics leads to a conflict between universalism and nationalism. The question here is, have independent nationalities a right to exist? About the year 1200 the future victory of the principle of national limitation, that is to say, of the principle that lays down outward limits, could no longer be doubted. It is true that the Papacy was at its zenith -- so at least the historians tell us, but they overlook the fact that this "zenith" only signifies victory over the internal rival for the monarchy of the world, namely, the Emperor, and that this very rivalry within the imperial idea, and this very victory of the Pope have brought about the final downfall of the Roman system. For in the meantime peoples and princes had grown strong: the inner defection from ecclesiastical "limitations" had already begun to be very widespread, the outward defection from the would-be princeps mundi was carried out with enviable inconsistency by none other than the most pious princes. Thus St. Louis openly took the part of the excommunicated Frederick and declared to the Pope: "Les roys ne tiennent de nullui, fors de Dieu et d'eux-memes"; and he was followed by a Philippe le Bel who simply took prisoner an obstinate Pontifex and compelled his successor to reside in France under his eye and to confirm the special Gallican privileges which he desired. This conflict is different from that between Emperor and Pope; for the princes contest the right of Roman universalism to exist; in secular matters they wish to be perfectly independent and in ecclesiastical matters to be masters in their own land. Furthermore, even in the days of his magnificence, the representative of the Roman hierocracy was compelled painfully to tack, and, for a time, in order to keep matters of faith as much as possible under his control, to sacrifice political claims one after the other; the so-called "Raman Emperor of the German nation" (surely the most idiotic contradictio in adjecto that was ever invented) was in a still worse plight; his title was a mere mockery, and yet he had to pay so dearly for it that to-day, at the close of the nineteenth century, his successor is the only monarch in Europe who stands at the head, not of a nation, but of a shapeless human conglomeration, On the other hand, the most powerful modem State arose where the anti-Roman tendency had been so unambiguously expressed that we may say that "the dynastic and the Protestant ideas are so blended as to be scarcely distinguishable." [15] In the meantime, in fact, the watchword had been issued, and it was: Neither Emperor not Pope, but nations.

But, in truth, the conflict is not yet ended; for, though the principle of nationalities has prevailed, the power which represents the opposite principle has never disarmed, is to-day in certain respects stronger than ever, possesses a much better disciplined, more unconditionally submissive throng of officials than in any former century, and is only waiting for the hour when it can unscrupulously assert itself. I have never understood Why Catholics of culture take pains to deny or to explain away the fact that the Roman Church is not only a religion but also a secular system of government, and that the Church as representative of God upon earth may eo ipso claim -- and always has claimed -- absolute power in all things of this world. How is it possible to believe what the Roman Church teaches as truth and yet speak of an independence of the secular power -- as, to take but one example out of any number, Professor Phillips does in his Manual of Ecclesiastical Law, § 297, although, in the same paragraph, on the preceding page, he has just said that" it is not the business of the State to determine what rights belong to the Church, nor to make the exercise of these dependent upon its consent"? But if the State does not determine the rights of the Church it follows of irrefutable logical necessity that the Church determines the rights of the State. And what is here said with astounding" scientific" simplicity is repeated in a hundred other books and in the ever-renewed assertions of high-placed prelates, and the Church is represented as an innocent lamb ignorant of civic affairs -- which is impossible without systematic suppression of the truth. If I were a Roman Catholic, I should, God knows, show my colours differently, and take to heart the admonition of Leo XIII., that "we shall not venture to utter untruth or to conceal truth." [16] And the truth is, that the Roman Church from the first -- that is, therefore, from Theodosius who founded it -- has always claimed unconditional, absolute authority over secular matters. I say that "the Church" has claimed it, I do not say "the Pope"; for concerning the question who should actually exercise the secular and who the highest religious power, there have been at various times various views and many a dispute; but the doctrine has always been taught that this power is innate in the Church as a divine institution, and this doctrine forms as I have tried to show in the previous chapter (p. 98 f.), so fundamental an axiom of the Roman religion that the whole structure must fall to pieces were the Church seriously to abandon the claim. This is in fact the most admirable and -- when reflected in a beautiful mind -- the holiest idea of the Roman Church; this religion wishes to provide not only for the future, but also for the present, and that not only because it looks upon earthly life as a preliminary discipline for everlasting life, but because the Roman Church, as the representative of God, wishes in his honour to make this temporal world a glorious forecourt leading to the divine world. As the Catechism of Trent says: Christi regnum in terris inchoatur, in caelo perficitur. (The kingdom of Christ attains perfection in heaven, but it begins on earth). [17] How superficial must thought be if it does not feel the beauty and the immeasurable power of such a conception! And in truth this is no dream of mine, I have not sufficient imagination for that. But I consult Augustine's De Civitate Dei, Book XX. chap. ix. and find: Ecclesia et nunc est regnum Christi, regnumque caelorum. Twice within a few lines Augustine repeats that the Church even now is the kingdom of Christ. He also, as in the book of Revelation, sees men seated upon thrones -- and who are they? Those who now rule the Church. This view presupposes a political government, and even when the Emperor exercises it -- even when he employs it against the Pope -- he, the Emperor, is still a member of the Church, a Deo coronatus, whose power rests on religious premisses; so that we cannot speak of a real separation of State and Church, but at most (as I have already demonstrated in the preface to this chapter) of a dispute concerning competency within the Church. The religious basis of this view goes back to Christ himself; for, as I remarked in the third chapter of this book: the life and doctrines of Christ point unmistakably to a condition which can only be realised by community. [18] It is just at this point that the ageing Empire and youthful Christianity discovered, or thought they discovered, a certain affinity to each other. Without doubt each of the contracting parties was actuated by very different motives, the one by political, the other by religious ones; presumably they were both mistaken; the Empire can have had no idea that it was sacrificing its temporal power for ever, the pure Christianity of the old days cannot have thought that it was throwing itself into the arms of Heathendom, and would immediately be stifled by it; that, however, matters not; from their union, from their fusion and mutual blending the Roman Church originated. Now according to the definition of Augustine, which is acknowledged to be orthodox, the Church embraces all human beings in the world, [19] and every man, be he "prince or serf, merchant or teacher, apostle or doctor," has to regard his activity here On earth as an office assigned to him in the Church, in hac ecclesia suum munus. [20] I cannot see by what loophole a State or, still more so, a nation was to escape, and, establishing itself as an independent entity opposed to the Church, was to say to her, "You, henceforth, mind your own business, in the things of the world I shall rule as I like." Such a supposition is illogical and senseless, it nullifies the idea of the Roman Church. This idea obviously admits of no limitation, either mentally or materially, and when the Pope, in his capacity as representative of the Church, as its pater ac moderator, claims the right to speak the decisive word in secular things, that is quite as justifiable and logical as the assertion of Theodosius, in his famous decree against heretics, that he, the Emperor, is guided "by heavenly wisdom," or as the decision of dogmatic questions by Charlemagne on his own authority. For the Church embraces everything, body and soul, earth and heaven, its power is unlimited and he who represents it -- no matter who he be -- has in consequence absolute authority. Gregory II. even, no grandiloquent prince of the Church, shows that the "secular power must be subordinate to the spiritual" (i.e., the Roman Church); to William the Conqueror he writes that the apostolic power is answerable to God for all things; in a letter of October 23, 1236 (in which he emphasises especially that the rights of the Emperor are only "transmitted" by the Church), Gregory IX. says: "Just as the representative of Peter has control over all souls, so he possesses, in the whole world also, a Principality over the Temporal, and over men's bodies, and governs the Temporal with the rein of justice"; Innocent IV. asserts that the right of the Church to judge spiritualiter de temporalibus may not be impugned. And since all these words, unambiguous as they are, yet gave scope for much casuistic hair- splitting, the honest and able Boniface VIII. dissipated all misunderstanding by a bull, Ausculta fili of December 5, 1301, addressed to the King of France, in which he writes: "God has notwithstanding our lack of merit set us over Kings and Empires and laid upon us the yoke of apostolic bondage, in order that we may in his name and according to his will uproot, tear down, destroy, scatter, build up and plant.... Let no one therefore, beloved son, persuade thee that thou hast no superior and art not subject to the supreme hierarch of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Whoever holds this view is a fool; whoever obstinately asserts it is an unbeliever and not of the fold of the good Shepherd." Further on Boniface orders that several French bishops shall come to Rome, in order that the Pope may with their help determine what may help " to remedy the abuses and contribute to the salvation and the good administration of the Empire": on this the Roman Catholic bishop Hefele makes the true remark, "But whoever possesses the right to regulate, to uproot, to build and to see to good administration in an Empire is the real head of it." [21] It is similarly only consistent, since all men on earth are subordinate to the Church and are incorporated in it, that the final authority over all countries should also be vested in it. Over certain countries, as, for example, Spain, Hungary, England, &c., the Church at once claimed sovereign jurisdiction; [22] in the case of all the others it reserved as its right the confirmation and coronation of the Kings, it deposed them and nominated new Kings to fill the places of those deposed (as in the case of the Carolingians) -- for, as Thomas Aquinas states in his De regimine principum, "Just as the body only derives strength and capacity from the soul, so the temporary authority of princes is derived from the spiritual authority of Peter and his successors." [23] The kingly office is, in fact, as shown above, nothing more and nothing less than a munus within the Church, within the civitas Dei. For this reason, too, no heretic is a legitimate King. As early as 1535 Paul III. solemnly dispensed all English subjects from obedience to their King, [24] and in the year 1569 Pius V. made this measure still more stringent, in that the great Queen Elizabeth was not only deposed and deprived of "all her property," but every Englishman also who would dare to obey her was threatened with excommunication. [25] In consequence of this the whole political development of Europe since the Reformation is not approved by the Church; it makes a virtue of necessity, but it does not acknowledge the events: it protested against the religious Peace of Augsburg, raised its voice with still greater solemnity against the Westphalian Peace and declared it "for all time null and void," [26] it refused its assent to the findings of the Vienna Congress. Over the extra-European world also the Church has with praiseworthy consistency claimed sole authority, and by two bulls, on May 3 and 4, 1493, it has "in the name of God" presented to Spain all discovered or still-to-be-discovered lands west of the 25th degree of longitude (to the west of Greenwich), to Portuguese Africa, &c. [27]

I intentionally limit myself to these few indications and quotations, taken from the books embraced by my modest library: I should only need to go to a public library to come Upon the track of hundreds of proofs perhaps even more to the purpose: I remember, for example, that in later bulls the statement that the Pope possesses "plenitude of power over all peoples, Empires and princes" recurs with slight variations almost like a formula: but I am far from desiring to give a scientific proof: on the contrary, I should like to convince the reader that here it is not a question of what this or that Pope or Emperor, this or that Church assembly or legal authority has said (about which there has already been enough paper wasted and time lost), but that the constraining element lies in the idea itself, in the striving after the Absolute, the Limitless. Once we realise this our judgment is remarkably enlightened; we become juster towards the Roman Church and juster towards its opponents; we learn to look for the real political and, on the whole, morally decisive development in those Countless places where, and On those countless occasions when, nationalism and, generally speaking, individualism revealed themselves and asserted themselves in opposition to universalism and absolutism. When Charles the Simple refused to take the oath of fealty to the Emperor Arnulf, he made a deep breach in the Romanum imperium, one so deep, indeed, that no later Emperor, the most important not excepted, could ever again attempt to resuscitate in all its fulness the true universal plan of Charlemagne. William the Conqueror, an orthodox prince and pious churchman, whose services to strict Church discipline are almost unrivalled, nevertheless replied to the Pope, when the latter claimed the newly conquered England as ecclesiastical property, and wished to invest him with it as a fief, "Never have I taken an oath of fealty, nor shall I ever do so." Such are the men who gradually broke the secular power of the Church. They believed in the Trinity, in the similarity of essence of Father and Son, in purgatory, in everything that the priests wished -- but the Roman political ideal, the theocratic civitas Dei, was utterly alien to them; their power of conception was still too undeveloped, their character too independent, their mental nature too unbroken, indeed mostly too rudely personal, to enable them even to understand it. And Europe was full of such Teutonic princes. A considerable time before the Reformation, the insubordination of the small Spanish kingdoms had, in spite of Catholic bigotry, given the Curia much trouble, and France, the eldest son of the Church, had succeeded in asserting its Pragmatic Sanction, which was the beginning of a clean separation between the ecclesiastical and the secular State.

This was the true struggle in the State.

And whoso realises this must see that Rome was beaten all along the line. The Catholic States have gradually emancipated themselves no less than the others. Certainly they have sacrificed certain important privileges in connection with the investiture of the bishops and so forth, but not all, and to make up for this, most of them have gone so far in regard to religious toleration that they recognise simultaneously several creeds as State religions and pay their clergy. The contrast to the Roman ideal cannot possibly be formulated more incisively. In reference to the State, in consequence, a statistic of "Catholics" and "Protestants" has now no meaning. These words express little more than the belief in definite incomprehensible mysteries, and we may assert that the great practical and political idea of Rome, that Imperium transfigured by religion and faultlessly absolutist, is unknown to the great majority of Roman Catholics to-day, and if it were known, would find as little approval from them as from non-Catholics. A natural consequence of this -- of this only, let it be noted -- is that religious contrasts have also disappeared. [28] For as soon as Rome's ideal is merely a credo, it stands on the same footing as other Christian sects; each one of course believes that it possesses the one and only complete truth; not one, so far as I am aware, has abandoned Catholicism in this sense; the various Protestant doctrines are by no means essentially new, they are merely a return to the former state of the Christian faith, a discarding of the heathen elements that have crept in. Only a few sects do not acknowledge the so-called Apostles' Creed, which is not even derived from Rome, but from Gaul, and thus owes its introduction to the Empire, not to the Papacy. [29] The Roman Church, therefore, when regarded merely as a religious creed, is, at best, merely a prima inter pares, which even at the present day can no longer claim one-half of the Christian world as its own, and, unless a revolution takes place, will in a hundred years scarcely embrace a third. [30] Even though Luther, in faithful imitation of the Roman view and in contrast to Erasmus, teaches the doctrine of systematic intolerance, and Calvin publishes a work to demonstrate "jure gladii caercendos esse haereticos," the layman who lives in a purely secular State will never understand that, never admit that, no matter to what creed he belongs. Our ancestors were not intolerant by nature, nor are they so now. Intolerance is a result solely of universalism: he who aims at something outwardly unlimited must make the inner limits all the narrower. The Jew -- who might be called a born freethinker -- had been persuaded that he possessed the whole indivisible truth, and with it a right to world-empire: for this he had to sacrifice his personal freedom, let his intellect be gagged and foster hatred instead of love in his heart. Frederick II., perhaps the least orthodox Emperor that has ever lived, had nevertheless led astray by the dream of a Roman universal empire, to ordain that all heretics should be declared infamous and outlawed, that their goods should be confiscated, and they themselves burned, or, should they recant, be punished with lifelong imprisonment; he at the same time ordered the princes, who had not respected his pretended imperial prerogatives, to be blinded and buried alive.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:45 pm

Part 2 of 2


Now if this struggle between nationalism and universalism, the struggle against the late Roman legacy -- which occupies more than a thousand years and only then leaves free scope for the conflict concerning the inner shaping of the State -- has been portrayed by me from a more general standpoint, I have done so especially because I am keeping in view the nineteenth century. And though this is not the place to enter into details concerning that century, yet I should like at least to indicate this connection. For it would be a fatal error to suppose that the struggle was brought to an end by the wreck of the old political ideal. It is true that the opponents of universalism are no longer buried alive, nor are men burnt alive nowadays for asserting, like Hus (who followed Augustine), that Peter neither was nor is the head of the Church; Prince Bismarck, too, could issue laws and repeal laws without having actually to go to Canossa and stand there for three days before the gate in the shirt of the penitent. The old forms will never return, But the ideas of unlimited Absolutism are still very vigorous in our midst, not only within the old consecrated frame of the Roman Church, but also outside it. And wherever we see them at work -- whether as Jesuitism or as Socialism, as philosophical systems or as industrial monopoly -- there we must recognise (or we shall have to recognise it to our cost later) that the outwardly Unlimited demands the double sacrifice of personality and of freedom.

As regards the Church, we should indeed reveal little insight, were we in any way to depreciate the power of as wonderful an organism as the Roman hierarchy. No one can prophesy to what it may yet attain should its lucky star again be in the ascendant. When in the year 1871 the excommunicatio major, with all the canonical consequences attached to it, was pronounced against Dollinger, the police of Munich had to adopt special measures to protect his life; a single fact like this gives us a glimpse into abysses of fanatical universalist delusion which might one day yawn beneath our feet in much greater dimensions. [31] But I should not like to lay much stress upon such things, nor upon the underhand methods of the above-mentioned conspiracy of persecuting chaplains and their creatures; it is in good not in evil that the source of all strength lies. In the idea of Catholicity, continuity, infallibility, divine appointment, all-embracing continuous revelation, God's Kingdom upon earth, the representative of God as supreme judge, every worldly career as the fulfilment of an ecclesiastical office -- in all this there lies so much that is good and beautiful that honest belief in it must lend it strength. And this faith, as I think I have convincingly shown, permits no separation between Temporal and Eternal, between Worldly and Heavenly. In the very nature of this direction of will lies the Unlimited: it serves as basis to the structure which the will raises; every limitation is a disturbance, an obstruction, an evil to be overcome as soon as possible; for limitation -- were it to be recognised as existing by right -- could mean nothing less than the sacrifice of the idea itself. Catholic means universal, that is, an all-embracing unity. Therefore every truly orthodox, intelligent Catholic is virtually -- though not actually, nor at the present day -- a universalist, and that means an enemy of nations and of all individual freedom. Most of them do not know this and many will indignantly deny it, but yet the fact remains; for the great, general ideas, the mathematical necessary inferences of thought and consequences of actions, are much more powerful than the individual with his goodwill and good intentions; here laws of nature prevail. Just as every schism must of necessity be followed by a further disruption into new schisms, because here the freedom of the individual is the primary cause, so every Catholicism exercises an irresistible power of integration; the individual cannot resist it any more than a piece of iron can resist the magnet. But for the great distance between Rome and Constantinople -- great, having regard to the means of travel then available -- the Oriental schism would never have taken place; but for the superhuman power of Luther's personality, the north of Europe would scarcely have succeeded in freeing itself from Rome. Cervantes, a faithful believer, is fond of quoting the remark, "Behind the Cross lurks the Devil." That surely is meant to indicate that the mind, once launched on this path of absolute religion, of blind belief in authority, knows no limit and brooks no obstruction. And, as a matter of fact, this very Devil has since then ruined the noble nation of Don Quixote. And when we further consider that the universalist and absolutist ideas from which the Church originated were a product of general decline, a last hope and a real safety-anchor for a raceless, chaotic human Babel (see pp. 43, 71, 121), we shall scarcely be able to refrain from thinking that from similar causes similar results would again ensue, and that, accordingly, in the present condition of the world, many things would tend once more to confirm the universal Church in its claims and plans. In view of this it would be only proper for those who with Goethe seek to attain "inner limitlessness" to emphasise as strongly as possible outward limitations, that is, free personality, pure race and independent nations. And while Leo XIII. with perfect right (from his standpoint) refers our contemporaries to Gregory VII. and Thomas Aquinas, such men will point with equally good right to Charles the Simple and William the Conqueror, to Walther von der Vogelweide and Petrus Waldus, to that blacksmith who refused to obey the "alien" Pope, and to the great silent movement of the guilds, of the city leagues, of the secular universities, which, at the beginning of the epoch of which I speak, began to make their influence felt through. out all Europe as a first token of a new, national, anti-universal shaping of society, a new, absolutely anti-Roman culture.

In this conflict it is not merely a question of the national secular State in opposition to the universal ecclesiastical State; wherever we meet universalism there anti-nationalism and anti-individualism are its necessary correlatives. Nor does it need to be conscious universalism, it is sufficient that an idea aims at something absolute, something limitless. Thus, for example, all consistently reasoned Socialism leads to the absolute State. To call Socialists point-blank "a party dangerous to the State," as is usually done, is only to give rise to one of those confusions of which our age is so fond. Certainly Socialism signifies a danger to the individual national States, as it does, on the whole, to the principle of individualism, but it is no danger to the idea of the State. It honestly admits its internationalism; its character is revealed, however, not in disintegration, but in a wonderfully developed organisation, copied, as it were, from a machine. In both points it betrays its affinity to Rome. In fact, it represents the same Catholic idea as the Church, although it grasps it by the other end. For that reason, too, there is no room in its system for individual freedom and diversity, for personal originality. Ce qui lie tous les socialistes, c'est la haine de la liberte,... as Flaubert says. [32] He who tears down the outward barriers, puts up inner ones. Socialism is imperialism in disguise; it will hardly be realisable without hierarchy and Primacy; in the Catholic Church it finds a pattern of socialistic, anti- ndividualistic organisation. An absolutely similar movement towards the Limitless, with the same inevitable consequence of a suppression of the Individual, is encountered in the realm of great commercial and industrial undertakings. Read, for example, in the Wirtschafts und handelspolitische Rundschau of 1897, the articles by R. E. May on the increase of syndicates and the consequent" international centralisation of production, as of capital" (p. 34 f.). This development in the direction of limited liability companies and colossal production by syndicates means a war to the knife against personality, which can assert itself only within narrow limits -- whether it be as merchant or as manufacturer. And this movement extends from the individual person, as is evident, to the personality ot nations. In a recent farce a merchant is represented as proudly exclaiming to every new- comer, "Do you know? I am transformed into a Company." If this economic tendency remained without counterpoise, the peoples could soon say of themselves, "We are transformed into an international Company." And if I may at one mighty leap spring over to a province very far remote from the economic one, to seek for further examples of the aspirations of universalism in our midst, I should like to call attention to the great Thomistic movement, which was called forth by the Papal Encyclical of the year 1879, AEternis Patris, and is now of such compass that even scientific books from a certain camp have already the hardihood to declare Thomas Aquinas the greatest philosopher of all times, to tear down everything which -- to the everlasting praise of humanity -- has since been thought by Teutonic thinkers, and thus to lead men back to the thirteenth century and once more to cast them into the intellectual and moral fetters which, in the obstinate struggle for freedom, they have since then gradually broken and thrown off. And what is it that they praise in Thomas Aquinas? His universality! The fact that he has established a comprehensive system, in which all contrasts are reconciled, all contradictory laws annulled, all questionings of the human reason answered. He is called a second Aristotle: "What Aristotle with but vague conception stammers, received perfectly clear and eloquent expression from Thomas Aquinas." [33] Like the Stagirite, he knows everything, from the nature of the Godhead to the nature of earthly bodies and the qualities of the resurrected body; but, being Christian, he knows much more than Aristotle, for he possesses Revelation as a basis. Now surely no thinker will be inclined to make light of the achievements of a Thomas Aquinas; it would be presumption for me to venture to praise him, but I may confess that I have read accounts of his whole system with wonder and admiration and have carefully studied certain of his writings. But what is the important matter for a practical man especially in connection with the aim of this chapter? It is that Thomas builds his system -- which is "more universal than any other" -- upon two assumptions: philosophy must unconditionally submit and become ancilla ecclesiae, a handmaid of the Church; moreover, it must humble itself to the position of an ancilla Aristotelis, a handmaid of Aristotle. Obviously it is always the same principle: allow your hands and feet to be fettered and you will see miracles! Hang up before your eyes definite dogmas (which were decreed in the centuries of mankind's deepest humiliation by vote of majority, by bishops, many of whom could neither read nor write) and presuppose, in addition, that the first groping efforts of a brilliant, but, as has been proved, very one-sided Hellenic systematiser express the eternal, absolute and complete truth, and I shall give you a universal system! That is an attack, a dangerous attack upon the innermost freedom of man! Far from being inwardly limitless, as Goethe wished, he has now had two narrow bonds forged around his soul and his brain by an alien hand, that is the price which we have to pay for" universal knowledge." In any case, long before Leo XIII. issued his Encyclical, a universal system resting on similar principles had grown out of the Protestant Church, that of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel. A Protestant Thomas Aquinas: that tells us everything. And yet there had been an Immanuel Kant, the Luther of philosophy, the destroyer of spurious knowledge, the annihilator of all systems, who had pointed out to us "the limits of our thinking power" and warned us "never to venture with speculative reason beyond the boundary of experience"; but, after assigning to us such strict and definite outward limits, he had thrown open, as no philosopher had done before him, the doors to the inner world of the Limitless and thus revealed to us the home of the free man. [34]


These cursory indications are merely intended to show in how many provinces the struggle between individualism and anti-individualism, nationalism and anti-nationalism (internationalism is another word for the same thing), freedom and non-freedom is still raging and will probably rage for ever. In the second book (not yet published) I shall have to enter more fully, in as far as they affect the present, into themes scarcely touched upon here. But I should not like in the meantime to be considered a pessimist. Seldom have the consciousness of race, national feeling, and suspicious safe-guarding of the rights of personality been so active and vigorous as in our time; a phase of feeling is passing over the nations at the close of the nineteenth century which reminds one of the dull cry of the hunted animal, when the noble creature at bay suddenly turns, determined to fight for its life. And in our case resolution means victory. For the great attractiveness of every Universalist idea is due to the weakness of men; the strong man turns from it and finds in his own breast, in his own family, in his own people, the Limitless, which he would not surrender for the whole cosmos with its countless stars. Goethe, from whom I derived the leading idea of this chapter, has in another passage beautifully expressed how the Limitless, the Catholic Absolute, is in consonance with a sluggish disposition:

Im Grenzenlosen sich zu finden,
Wird gern der Einzelne verschwinden.
Da los't sich aller Uberdruss;
Statt heissem Wunschen, wildem Wollen,
Statt last'gem Fordern, strengem Sollen,
Sich aufzugeben ist Genuss. [35]

Now from these nation-building Teutons of former generations we can learn that there is a higher enjoyment than to surrender, and that is, to assert ourselves. A conscious national policy, economic movements, science, art, all this scarcely existed in the olden time, or even did not exist at all; but what we see dawning about the thirteenth century, this vividly throbbing life in all spheres, this creative power, this "importunate demanding" of individual freedom, had not fallen from heaven, rather had the seed been sown in the previous dark centuries: the "wild willing" had tilled the soil, the "fervent wishing" had tended the delicate blooms. Our Teutonic culture is a result of toil and pain and faith -- not ecclesiastical, but religious faith. If we go lovingly through those annals of our ancient forbears, which tell us so little and yet so much, what will strike us most is the almost incredible strength of the developed sense of duty; for the worst cause, as for the best, every one yields up his life unquestioningly. From Charlemagne, who after over-busy days spends his night in laborious writing exercises, to that splendid blacksmith who refused to forge fetters for the opponent of Rome, everywhere we find "the stern Shall." Did these men know what they wanted? I scarcely think so. But they knew what they did not want, and that is the beginning of all practical wisdom. [36] Thus Charlemagne, for example, indulged many a childish illusion In regard to what he wished, and committed many a fatal error; but in what he did not wish he always hit the nail on the head: no interference on the part of the Pope, no worshipping of images, no granting of privileges to the nobility, &c. In his willing Charles was in many ways a universalist and absolutionist, in his non-willing he proved himself a Teuton. Exactly the same attracted us in the case of Dante (p. 144 f.): his political idea of the future was a cobweb of the brain, his energetic rejection of all temporal claims of the Church a benefit of far-reaching influence.

Ana so we see that here, in the State, as in all human things, everything depends on the fundamental characteristics of the mental attitude, not on cognition. The mental attitude (Gesinnung [37]) is the rudder, it decides the direction and with the direction the goal -- even though this should long remain invisible. The conflict in the State was now, as I hope I have shown, in the very first place such a struggle between two directions, i.e., between the steersmen. As soon as the one had finally grasped the rudder firmly, the further development towards greater and greater freedom, more and more distinct nationalism and individualism, was natural and inevitable -- just as inevitable as the contrary development of Caesarism and Papacy towards ever more restricted freedom.
Nothing is absolute in the world; even freedom and non-freedom denote only two directions, and neither the individual nor the nation can stand alone and perfectly independent; they surely belong to a whole, in which every unit supports and is supported. However, on that evening of June 15, 1215, when the Magna Charta came into being -- drafted, discussed, negotiated and signed on this one day by the "wild willing" of Teutons -- the direction was decided for all Europe. The representative of universalism, it is true -- the representative of the doctrine that "to surrender is enjoyment" -- hastened to declare this law null and void and to excommunicate its authors all and sundry; but the hand kept firm hold of the rudder: the Roman Imperium was bound to sink, while the free Teutons made ready to enter into possession of the empire of the world.



1. See in chap. ix. the division "Economy."

2. See, for example, the wonderful letter of Alcuin to Charlemagne (in Waitz: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte ii. 182), in which the Abbot admonishes the Emperor to extend the Empire over the whole world, not in order to satisfy political ambition, but because by so doing he would extend the boundaries of Catholicism.

3. It is still a disputed question which Pope first wound the double diadem round the tiara; it was at all events done in the eleventh or twelfth century. The one ring bore the inscription: Corona regni de manu Dei, the other: Diadema imperii de manu Petri. To-day the Papal crown has a triple diadem; according to Wolfgang Menzel (Christliche Symbolik, 1854. i. 531), who inclined to Catholicism, these three diadems symbolise the rule of the Roman Church over earth, hell and heaven. No imperialism can go further than that.

4. Hefele: Konziliengeschichte v. 67.

5. Dante lived to see it but, as it appears, did not know how to estimate its importance or to draw the necessary conclusions from it.

6. Not to be confused with National Theocratism, of which history offers many an example (above all Judaism).

7. See the bull Ineffabilis in Hefele: Konziliengeschichte, 2nd ed. vi. 297 f., and the bull Unam sanctam, p. 347 f. I quote from Hefele's German translation, and therefore from an orthodox Catholic and at the same time authoritative source.

8. This thought recurs again and again in the old authors.

9. Compare the excellent remark of the Spanish statesman Antonio Perez, quoted in the preceding chapter, p. 98.

10. Augustine: De Civitate Dei v. 21 f.

11. Woe betide me, if I could ever constrain my heart to be pleased with foreign ways; German virtue is superior in all respects.

12. See the Syllabus § 19 f., 54 f., as also the numerous articles against all freedom of conscience, especially § 15: "Whoever asserts that a man may adopt and confess that religion which seems to him, as far as his knowledge goes, to be the true one, shall be excommunicated."

13. See the bull Unam sanctam.

14. The Jesuits are rigidly forbidden to talk about individual nations; the ideal of Ignatius was, says Goethe (in Ignatius von Loyola, p. 336), to "fuse all nations"; only where the States made it a condition did he allow instruction to be given by natives, otherwise it was his fixed principle to remove every member from his native land, which secured that no Jesuit pupil was educated by a compatriot. The system has not yet been changed. Buss, the ultra-montane author of the Geschichte der Gesellschalt Jesu, praises it in particular because if it has no character that is dependent upon the genius of a nation or the peculiarity of a single law." The French Jesuit Jouvancy in his Lern-und Lehrmethode warns the members of the Order especially against "too much reading of works in the mother tongue"; for, he continues, "not only is it a waste of much time, but the soul may also easily suffer shipwreck." Shipwreck of the soul by familiarity with the mother tongue! And the Bavarian Jesuit Kropf establishes in the eighteenth century as the first principle of the school that "the use of the mother tongue be never permitted." Read through the whole book (an orthodox Roman Jesuit one), from which I take these particulars -- Erluuterungsschriften zur Studienordnung der Gesellschaft Jesu, 1898, Herder (pp. 229 and 417 for the above quotations) -- you will not find the word Fatherland once mentioned! (While this chapter was being printed, I became acquainted with the excellent book of Georg Mertz, Die Padagogik der Jesuiten, Heidelberg, 1898, in which the whole educational system is described from documents and with scientific impartiality. He who reads carefully this dry, jejune account will have no doubt that every nation which opens its schools to the Jesuits simply commits suicide. I do not in the least suspect the good intentions of the Jesuits and do not dispute the fact that they attain to a certain pedagogic success; but their whole system aims at the systematic destruction of individuality -- personal as well as national. On the other hand, one must admit that this criminal attack upon all that is most sacred in humanity, this systematic development of a race which if "out of the light strives to reach the darkness" is the strictly logical application of the Roman postulates; in rigid and rigidifying consistency lies the strength of Jesuitism).

15. Ranke: Genesis des preussischen Staates, ed. 1874. p. 174.

16. In his Papal Brief Saepenumero of August 18. 1883. The warning is expressly addressed "to the historians," and the Holy Father seems to have had before him a whole collection of the neo-Catholic books of the kind censured by me, for he says with a sigh that modern history seems to him to have become a conjuratio hominum adversus veritatem, and in this way anyone who has any knowledge of the literature in question will heartily agree with him. Nomina sunt odiosa, but I remind the reader that in a note to the last chapter (p. 132) I called attention to the fact that even Janssen, whose Geschichte des deutschen Volkes is so popular and so highly thought of, belongs to this "conspiracy against truth." Thus, for example, he represents the wide dissemination of the Bible at the end of the fifteenth century as a service of the Roman Church, though he knows very well, first, that the reading of the Bible had for two centuries been strictly forbidden by Rome and that only the great confusion in the Church of that time led to a laxity of discipline; secondly, that at that very moment the middle classes and the lower nobility of all Europe were profoundly anti-Roman and for this reason devoted themselves with such zeal to the study of the Bible! How very relative this so-called "dissemination" was is seen moreover from the one fact that Luther at twenty years of age had never seen a Bible and had difficulty in finding one in the University library of Erfurt. This one example of falsification of history is typical; in the same way Janssen's book "ventures," in a hundred places, "to utter untruth and to conceal truth," and yet it is regarded as strictly scientific. What, then, must we say of that most modern literature which shoots up like fungi from putrid soil, the deliberate aim of which is systematically to blacken the character of all national heroes, from Martin Luther to Bismarck, from Shakespeare to Goethe. Such aims deserve nothing but contempt. A well-known proverb says that lies have short legs, and a less familiar one that one can see as far down the throat of a liar as of a teller of truth. May the peoples of Europe soon be able to see down the throats of this gang! But do not let our indignation mislead us into putting the magnificent universal idea of a Theodosius or a Charlemagne, of a Gregory I. and a Gregory VII., of an Augustine and a Thomas Aquinas, on a par with such modern meannesses. The true Roman idea is a genuine idea of culture, based finally upon the work and the traditions of the great imperial epoch from Tiberius to Marcus Aurelius; the ideal of the writers just mentioned is. as we know (see vol. i. p. 569), associated with the uncultured stone age, and the same is true of their tricky methods of combat.

17. To prevent misunderstanding I wish to add that according to Lutheran doctrine also, the believer is even here in possession of ever-lasting life; but this is a view (as I have fully shown in chaps. v. vii. and x.), which differs in toto from the Jewish-Roman one, since it rests not on chronistic consecutiveness, but on present experience (as in the case of Christ).

18. See vol. i. p. 245.

19. Ecclesia est populus fidelis per universum orbem dispersus, adopted in i. 10, 2, of the Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini. But since from Theodosius onwards faith was to be compulsory and unbelief or heterodoxy high treason, since, moreover, schismatics and heretics are still "under the power of the Church" (as above. i. 10, 9), this definition embraces all men without exception, omnes humanae creaturae, as Boniface correctly said in the passages quoted above.

20. Cat. Trid.. i. 10, 25.

21. Konziliengeschichte, vi. 331. The Latin text of the Church laws says: ad evellendum, destruendum, dispergendum, dissipandum, aedificandum atque plantandum: later ordinare ... ad bonum et prosperum regimen regni. The former quotations are from the same work, v. 163. 164. 1003, 1131; vi. 325-327.

22. The property-right over Hungary is based upon the pretended gift of King Stephen: Spain, England (and, it may be, France also) are regarded as included in the forged gift of Constantine, according to which "the kingly power in all the provinces of Italy, as also in the western regions" (in partibus occidentalibus) should be conceded to the Papal stool (cf. Hefele, v. 11).

23. I quote from Bryce: Le Saint Empire Romain Germanique, p. 134.

24. Hergenrother: Hefele's Konziliengeschichte, continuation. ix. 896.

25. Green: History of the English People (Eversley ed.) iv. 265, 270. This is not an abandoned standpoint, for it is only in our time that Felton, the man who had nailed this bull to the doors of the Bishop of London, was beatified by Leo XIII!

26. Phillips: Lehrbuch des Kirckenrechts, p. 807, and the bull mentioned there, Zelo domus. Indeed, not only the Roman Pope but also the Roman Emperor protested in this case, in that he claimed to possess "reserve rights," but at the same time refused to explain what he meant by these; what he thus safeguarded was simply the never abandoned claim to potestas universalis, that is, absolute supreme power. in other words, the Emperor remained true to the Roman universal conception. (See the remarks all this in Siegel: Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, § 100.)

27. Pope Alexander VI says in these bulls that the gift is presented "out of pure generosity" and "in virtue of the authority of Almighty God, conferred on him by Saint Peter" (cf. the note to p. 141). Absolute authority over everything temporal cannot go further, unless some one should arrogate the authority to make a gift of the moon. The bull Inter cetera of May 4, 1493, is found printed in extenso in Fiske's Discovery of America, 1892,ii. 580 f. In the same book, vol. i. p. 454, we find a detailed account of the accompanying circumstances, &c., as also a thorough discussion of the difficulties arising from the vagueness of the Papal text. For the Pontifex maximus, although professing to speak ex certa scientia, cedes to the Spaniards all discovered and still-to-be-discovered lands (omnes insulas et terras firmas inventas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas) which lie west and south (versus Occidentum et Meridiem) of a definite longitude; but no mathematician has as yet been able to discover what geographical region lies "south" of a "longitude"; and that the Pope really meant a longitude cannot be questioned, since he says with circumstantial simplicity: fabricando et construendo unam lineam a polo Arctico ad polum Antarcticum. Moreover, this gift of a grossly ignorant Curia exercised an influence which the Curia was far from foreseeing, for it constrained the Spaniards to reach farther and farther towards the west, till they found the Straits of Magellan, and compelled the Portuguese to discover the eastern passage to India around the Cape of Good Hope. More details on this point in the section on "Discovery" in the next chapter.

28. Disappeared, I mean, everywhere except where the activity of the one sole society of Jesus has recently shown hatred and contempt of fellow-citizens who hold different views.

29. See Adolf Harnack: Das Apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis), 27th ed. (especially p. 14 f: "The Empire of Charlemagne has given Rome its symbol").

30. Here I intentionally make my estimate as moderate as possible. According to the calculations of Ravenstein the number of Protestants has increased almost fivefold in the nineteenth century, while that of the Catholics has not been doubled. The chief reason for this is the more rapid multiplication of Protestant peoples: but there is another fact, namely, that those who go over to Catholicism do not cover a tenth of those who leave it; and thus it is that in the United States, despite the constant immigration of Catholics and the increase of their total numbers, there is a rapid decrease relatively. The above estimate is therefore a very cautious one.

31. In fact the excommunicated person is, according to Catholic Church law, an outlaw. In Gratian (Causa 23. p. 5. c. 47. according to Gibbon) we find the statement: Homicidas non esse qui excommunicatos trucidant. But in former centuries (by Decree of Urban II.) the Church had imposed penances upon the murderer of one excommunicated "in case his motive was not an absolutely pure one." Our beloved nineteenth century has, however, gone a step farther, and Cardinal Turrecremata, "the foremost supporter of Papal infallibility," has expressed in his commentary on Gratian the opinion that, according to the orthodox doctrine, the murderer of an excommunicated man does not require to do penance! (cf. Dollinger, Briefe und Erklarungen uber die vatikanischen Dekrete, 1890, pp. 103, 131, 140).

32. Correspondence iii. 269.

33. Fr. Abert (Professor of Theology in the University of Wurzburg): Sancti Thomae Aquinatis compendium theologiae, 1896, p. 6. The sentence quoted is a panegyrical paraphrase of an ancient judgment which was meant quite differently. With all respect for the achievements of Thomas, it is a monstrous error of judgment, if not a case of culpable misleading, to put him on an equality with Aristotle, the epoch-making systematiser and moulder (see vol. i. p. 49).

34. More details regarding Thomas Aquinas and Kant in the section on "Philosophy" in the following chapter. For the sake of completeness it may be mentioned that we have a Jewish as well as a Protestant Thomas Aquinas, namely, Spinoza, the maker of a universal system, the "renewer of the old Hebraic Cabbala" (i.e., of the magic secret doctrine), as Leibniz calls him. Spinoza has this also in common with the other two, that he has not enriched with a single creative thought either mathematics, his special province. or science, his hobby.

35. Man is but too ready to pass out of sight and take refuge in the limitless, when all trouble is at an end. No more fervent wishing, no more wild willing, no more importunate demanding! no more stern "shall." To yield is joy!

36. I cannot refrain from quoting here an infinitely profound political remark of Richard Wagner: "We need only know what we do not wish, then we shall with the spontaneous necessity of nature attain quite surely to what we do wish, and the latter only becomes perfectly clear and conscious to ourselves when we have attained it: for the condition in which we have put aside what we do not wish is just the one which we desired to reach. It is thus that the people acts, and for that reason it acts in the only right way. You, however, consider it incapable, because it does not know what it wants: but what know you? Can you think and comprehend anything but what is present and therefore attained? You could imagine it arbitrarily fancy it, but not know it. Only what the people has achieved can you know till then may you be satisfied with recognising clearly what you do not want, denying what should rightly be denied, destroying what should be destroyed" (Nachgelassene Schriften, 1895. p. 118).

37. The root of Sinn denotes a journey, a way, a going; Gesinnung therefore means a direction in which a man moves.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:59 pm

Part 1 of 2


Die Natur schafft ewig neue Gestalten: was da
ist, war noch nie; was war, kommt nicht wieder.


The childhood shows the man.
As morning shows the day; be famous then
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend.
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world.


Wir, wir leben! Unser sind die Stunden,
Und der Lebende hat Recht.


THE same feature of an indomitable individualism, which, in political as well as in religious affairs, conduced to the rejection of universalism and to the formation of nations, led to the creation of a new world, that is to say, of an absolutely new order of society adapted to the character, the needs, and the gifts of a new species of men. It was a creation brought about by natural necessity, the creation of a new civilisation, a new culture. It was Teutonic blood and Teutonic blood alone (in the wide sense in which I take the word, that is to say, embracing the Celtic, Teutonic and Slavonic, or North European races [1]) that formed the impelling force and the informing power. It is impossible to estimate aright the genius and development of our North-European culture, if we obstinately shut our eyes to the fact that it is a definite species of mankind which constitutes its physical and moral basis. We see that clearly to-day: for the less Teutonic a land is, the more uncivilised it is. He who at the present time travels from London to Rome passes from fog into sunshine, but at the same time from the most refined civilisation and high culture into semi-barbarism -- dirt, coarseness, falsehood, poverty. Yet Italy has never ceased for a single day to be a focus of highly developed civilisation; its inhabitants prove this by the correctness of their deportment and demeanour; what we have here is not so much a decadence that has recently set in, as men are apt to maintain, but rather a remnant of Roman imperial culture, regarded from the incomparably higher standpoint which we occupy to-day and by men who hold absolutely different ideals. How splendid was the glory of Italy, how it went ahead and held aloft the torch for other nations on the road to a new world, while it still contained in its midst elements outwardly latinised, but inwardly thoroughly Teutonic! The beautiful country, which had already under the empire degenerated into absolute sterility, possessed for many centuries a rich well of pure Teutonic blood: the Celts, the Langobardians, the Goths, the Franks, the Normans, had flooded nearly the whole land and remained, especially in the north and the south, for a long time almost unmixed, partly because they, as uncultivated and warlike men, formed a caste apart, but also because (as already remarked on p. 538, vol. i.) the legal rights of the "Romans" and of the Teutons remained different in all strata of the population until well into the thirteenth and fourteenth. centuries, in Lombardy, indeed, until past the beginning of the fifteenth, and this naturally added considerably to the difficulty of fusion. "Thus these various Teutonic tribes," as Savigny points out, "lived with the main stock of the population (the remnant of the Roman Chaos of Peoples) locally mingling, but differing in customs and rights." Here, where the uncultured Teuton, by constant contact with a higher culture, first awoke to the consciousness of himself, many a movement first found the volcanic fire that burst into the formation of a new world: learning and industry, the obstinate assertion of civic rights, the early bloom of Teutonic art. The northern third. of Italy -- from Verona to Siena -- resembles in its peculiar development a Germany whose Emperor might have lived on the other side of the high mountains. Everywhere German counts had taken the place of Roman provincial governors, and it was always only for a short time, till he was hastily called away, that a King resided in the land, while a jealous rival King, the Pope, was near at hand and ever rejoicing in intrigues. In this way the old Germanic tendency to form self- ruling cities, which is in the main an Indo-European characteristic, was able at an early period to develop in Northern Italy and become the ruling power in the land. The extreme north led the way; but Tuscany soon followed suit and profited by the Hundred Years War between Pope and Emperor to wrest the inheritance of Mathilda from both and to give to the world, in addition to a Pleiad of ever memorable cities, in which Petrarch, Ariosto, Mantegna, Correggio, Galilei and other immortals arose, the crown of all cities, Florence -- formerly the townlet of a margrave, which was soon to represent the essence of anti- Roman, creative individualism -- to be the birthplace of Dante and Giotto, of Donatello, Leonardo and Michael Angelo-the mother of the arts, from whose breast all the great men, even those who were born at a distance, even a Raphael, first drew the nurture of perfection. Now and now only impotent Rome could adorn herself anew: the diligence and the enterprise of the mm of the north had poured heavy sums into the Papa} coffers, while at the same time their genius awakened and put at the disposal of the declining metropolis, which in the course of a two thousand years' history had not had a single creative thought, the immeasurable treasures of western Teutonic inventive power. This was not a rinascimento, as the dilettantic belles-lettrists, in exaggerated admiration of their own literary hobbies, imagined, but a nascimento -- the birth of something entirely new -- which, as it immediately, leaving the paths of tradition, pursued its own path in art, at the same time unfurled its sails to explore the oceans from which the Greek and Roman "hero n had shrunk in terror, and gave the eye its telescope to reveal to human perception the hitherto impenetrable mystery of the heavenly bodies. If we simply must see in this a Renaissance, it is not the rebirth of antiquity, and least of an the rebirth of inartistic, unphilosophic, unscientific Rome, but simply free man's regeneration from out the all-levelling Imperium: freedom of political, national organisation in contrast to cut-and-dried common pattern; freedom of rivalry, of individual independence in work and creation and endeavour, in contrast to the peaceful uniformity of the civitas Dei; freedom of the senses of observation in contrast to dogmatic interpretations of nature; freedom of investigation and thought in contrast to artificial systems after the manner of Thomas Aquinas; freedom of artistic invention and shaping in contrast to hieratically fixed formulas; finally, freedom of faith in contrast to religious intolerance.

In beginning this chapter, and at the same time a new division of this work with reference to Italy, I must disclaim any scrupulous attention to chronology; it would be altogether inadmissible to assert in so many words that the rinascimento of free Teutonic individuality began in Italy; rather might it be said that the first imperishable blossoms of its culture made their appearance there; but I wanted to call attention to the fact that even here in the south, at the doors of Rome, the sudden outburst of civic independence, industrial activity, scientific earnestness, and artistic creative power was through and through Teutonic, and in that sense anti-Roman. A glance at that age (to which I shall recur) proves it, a glance at the present age equally so. In the meantime, two circumstances have led to a progressive decrease of the Teutonic blood in Italy: on the one hand, the unhampered fusion with the ignoble mixed population, on the other, the destruction of the Teutonic nobility in never-ending civil wars, in the conflicts between cities, in the blood- feuds and other outbursts of wild passion. We need only read the history of one of these cities, for example, Perugia, which in the upper ranks of its society was almost completely Gothic-Langobardic! It is scarcely comprehensible how with such ceaseless slaughter of whole families (which began as soon as the city became independent), single branches still retained something of their genuinely Teutonic character until well into the sixteenth century; after that the Teutonic blood was exhausted. [2] It is evident that the hastily acquired culture, the violent assimilation of an essentially foreign civilisation, the sudden revelation, moreover, of Hellenism which was in sharpest contrast to them yet mentally akin, perhaps too, the incipient fusion with a blood which was poison to Teutons ... it is evident that all these things had not merely conduced to a miraculous outburst of genius, but had at the same time bred madness. [3] If anyone ever wishes to prove an affinity between genius and madness, let him point to Italy of the Trecento, Quattrocento and Cinquecento! With all its permanent importance for our new culture, this "Renaissance" in itself reminds us more of the paroxysm of death than of a phenomenon that guarantees vitality. A thousand glorious flowers burst forth as if by magic, where immediately before the uniformity of an intellectual desert had prevailed; a sudden blossoming everywhere; in giddy haste talents just awakened to activity storm the highest peak: Michael Angelo might almost have been a personal pupil of Donatello, and it was only by an accident that Raphael did not actually sit at Leonardo's feet. We get a vivid conception of this synchronism when we remember that the life of Titian alone extends from Sandro Botticelli to Guido Reni! But the flame of genius died down even more quickly than it had blazed up. When the heart was throbbing most proudly, the body was already in the fulness of corruption; Ariosto, born a year before Michael Angelo, calls the Italy of his time "a foul-smelling sewer":

O d'ogni vizio fetida sentina.
Dormi, Italia imbriaca!
Orlando Furioso xvii. 76.

And if, hitherto, I have mentioned the plastic arts alone, I have done so for the sake of simplicity and because I wished to deal with the sphere which is the most familiar though the same truth holds good in all spheres. When Guido Reni was still quite young, Tasso died and with him Italian poetry; a few years later Giordano Bruno went to the stake, Campanella to the rack -- the end of Italian philosophy -- and shortly before Guido, Italian natural science closed with Galilei the career which it had so gloriously begun with Ubaldi, Varro, Tartaglia, and others, above all with Leonardo da Vinci. The course of history, north of the Alps, was altogether different: such a brilliant height was never reached, nor was there such a catastrophe. This catastrophe admits only one explanation: the disappearance of the creative minds, in other words, of the race that had produced them. One walk through the gallery of busts in the Berlin Museum will convince us that in truth the type of the great Italians is absolutely extinct to-day. [4] Now and again they flash upon our memory when we review a troop of those splendid, gigantic labourers who build our streets and railways: the physical strength, the noble brow, the bold nose, the glowing eye; but they are only poor survivors of the shipwreck of Italian Teutonism. This disappearance is adequately explained by the facts adduced, as far as physique is concerned, but there is another important consideration, the moral suppression of definite tendencies of mind, and hence, so to speak, of the soul of the race; the noble was degraded into a worker of the soil, the ignoble became master and lorded it as he thought proper. The gallows of Arnold of Brescia, the stakes of Savonarola and Bruno, the instruments of torture by which Campanella and Galilei suffered, are only visible symbols of a daily, universal struggle against the Teuton, of a systematic uprooting of the freedom of the individual. The Dominicans, formerly ex officio Inquisitors, had now become reformers of the Church and philosophers; the Jesuits had carefully provided beforehand against such deviations from the Orthodox; he who acquires even a little information about their activity in Italy, from the sixteenth century onwards -- from the history of the order, let us say, by its admirer, Buss -- will no longer wonder at the sudden disappearance of all genius, that is to say, of everything Teutonic. Raphael had still had the boldness to raise in the middle of the Vatican (in the "Disputa") an immortal monument to Savonarola, whom he fervently admired: Ignatius, on the other hand, forbade even the mention of the Tuscan's name. [5] Who could live in Italy to-day and move among its amiable, highly gifted inhabitants without feeling with pain that here a nation was lost and lost beyond all hope, because the inner impelling force, the greatness of soul, that would correspond to their talent are lacking? As a matter of fact, Race alone confers this force. Italy possessed it, so long as it possessed Teutons; yes, even to-day its population reveals, in those parts where Celts, Germans and Normans formerly were specially numerous, the thoroughly Teutonic industry, and gives birth to men who strive with the energy of despair to unite the country and guide it on to glorious paths: Cavour, the founder of the new Kingdom, was born in the extreme north; Crispi, who knew how to steer it past cliffs of danger, in the extreme south. But how can a people be again raised up, when the fountain of its strength has run dry? And what does it signify when a Giacomo Leopardi calls his people a "degenerate race" and holds up to them the example of their ancestors? [6] The ancestors of the great majority of the Italians to-day are neither the sturdy Romans of ancient Rome, those patterns of simple manliness, indomitable independence and rigidly legal sentiment, nor these demigods in strength, beauty and genius, who on the morning of our new day, in One single swarm, soared up like larks greeting the dawn from the sun-kissed soil of Italy to the heaven of immortality; no, their genealogy goes back to the countless thousands of liberated slaves from Africa and Asia, to the jumble of various Italic peoples, to the military colonies settled among them from all countries in the world, in short, to the Chaos of Peoples which the Empire so ingeniously manufactured. And the present position of the country as a whole simply signifies a victory of this Chaos over the Teutonic element, which had been added at a later time and which had long maintained its purity. This is the reason, moreover, why that Italy -- which three centuries ago was a torch of civilisation and culture -- is now one of the nations that lag behind, that have lost their balance and cannot again find it. For two cultures cannot exist on an equal footing side by side; that is out of the question: Hellenic culture could not live on under Roman influence, Roman culture disappeared before the spread of the Egypto-Syrian; it is only where the contact is purely external, as in the case of Europe and Turkey, or a fortiori Europe and China, that no perceptible influence is exercised, and even here the one must in time destroy the other. Now such countries as Italy -- I might at once add Spain -- stand in a very close relation to us in the north: the great achievements of their past prove their former blood-relationship; they cannot possibly withdraw themselves from our influence, from our incomparably greater strength; but where they imitate us to-day, they do so not of an impelling need, not on account of an inner, but of an outer necessity; holding up before their gaze ancestors from whom they are not descended, their own history and our example both lead them into false paths, and finally they are unable to preserve even that One thing which might continue theirs, a different, perhaps in many respects inferior, but at any rate, genuine originality. [7]


In naming Italy, I only wished to give an example, but I think I have at the same time provided a proof. As Sterne says: an example is no more an argument than the cleaning of a mirror is a syllogism, but it enables us to see better, and that is the important thing. Wherever the reader casts his eyes, he will find examples to prove the fact that the present civilisation and culture of Europe are specifically Teutonic, fundamentally distinct from all the un-Aryan ones and very essentially different from the Indian, the Hellenic and the Roman, directly antagonistic to the mestizo ideal of the antinational Imperium and the so- called "Roman" system of Christianity. The matter is so perfectly clear that further discussion would surely be superfluous; besides, I can refer the reader to the three preceding chapters, which contain a large number of actual proofs.

This one fact had first to be laid down. For our world of to-day is absolutely new, and in order to comprehend it and form an estimate of its rise and present condition, the first fundamental question is: Who has created it? The new world was created by the same Teuton who after such an obstinate struggle discarded the old. He alone possessed that "wild willing" of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter, the determination not to surrender, but to remain true to self. He alone held the view which the Teuton Goethe expressed later:

Jedes Leben sei zu fuhren,
Wenn man sich nicht selbst vermisst;
Alles konne man verlieren,
Wenn man bliebe, was man ist. [8]

He alone -- like Paracelsus of Hohenheim -- chose as his motto in life the words: Alterius non sit, qui suus esse potest (Let him be no other's, who can be his own). Will this be censured as empty pride? Surely it is only the recognition of a manifest fact. Will the objection be offered that no mathematical proofis possible? Surely from all sides this fact is borne in upon us with the same certainty as that twice two makes four.

Nothing is more instructive in this connection than a reference to the manifest significance of purity of race. [9] How feebly throbs to-day the heart of the Slav, who had entered history with such boldness and freedom. Ranke, Gobineau, Wallace, Schvarcz, all historians qualified to give an opinion, testify to the fact that, though highly gifted, he is losing his real informing power and the constancy to carry out what he undertakes; anthropology solves the riddle, for it shows us (see vol. i. pp. 505, 528) that by far the greater number of the Slavs to-day have by mingling with another human race lost the physical -- and naturally also the moral -- characteristics of their ancestors, who were identical with the ancient Teutons. And yet there is still in these nations so much Teutonic blood that they form one of the greatest civilising forces in the continuous subjection of the world by Europe. Certainly near Eydtkuhnen we cross a boundary which is but too sadly obvious, and the hem of German culture which stretches along the Baltic, as well as the thousand districts in the interior of Russia, where the astonished traveller suddenly encounters the same strength of pure race, only make the contrast all the more striking; nevertheless, there is still a certain specifically Teutonic impulse here, in truth only a shadow, but it bears the stamp of blood-relationship and therefore produces something, in spite at all the resistance of the hereditary Asiatic culture.

In addition to its purity the Teutonic race reveals another feature of importance in the understanding of history: its diversity of form; of this the history of the world offers no second example. Both in the vegetable and the animal kingdoms we find among genera of a family and among the species of a genus a very varying "plasticity": in the case of some the shape is, as it were, of iron, as though all the individuals were cast in one and the same unchanging mould; in other cases, however, we find variations within narrow limits, and in others again (think of the dog and the hieracium!) the variety of form is endless; it is constantly producing something new; such creatures, moreover, are always distinguished by their tendency to unlimited hybridising, by which again races, new and pure through in- breeding (see vol. i. p. 269), are continually produced. The Teutonic peoples resemble the latter; their plasticity is extraordinary, and every crossing between their own different tribes has enriched the world with new models of noble humanity. Ancient Rome, on the other hand, had been an example of extreme concentration both in politics [10] and in the intellectual sphere: the city walls the boundaries of the Fatherland, the inviolability of law the boundaries of the intellect. Hellenism, so infinitely rich intellectually, rich too in the formation of dialects and of races with distinct customs, is much more closely related to Teutonism; the Aryan Indians also betray a close relationship by their remarkable talent for ever inventing new languages and by their clearly marked particularism; these two human races perhaps wanted only the historical and geographical conditions to develop with the same strength of uniformity, and yet at the same time of many-sidedness, as the Teutons. But considerations of this nature lead us into the domain of hypotheses: the fact remains that the plasticity of Teutonism is unique and incomparable in the history of the world.

It is not unimportant to remark -- though I do so only as a parenthesis because I wish to avoid philosophising in connection with history -- that the characteristic, indestructible individualism of the genuine Teuton is manifestly connected with this "plasticity" of the race. A new tribe presupposes the rise of new individuals a the fact that new tribes are always ready to make their appearance also proves the constant presence of particular, distinctive individuals, impatiently champing the bit that curbs the free exercise of their originality. I should like to make the assertion that every outstanding Teuton is virtually the starting-point of a new tribe, a new dialect, a new view of life's problems. [11]

It was by thousands and millions of such "individualists," that is, genuine personalities, that the new world was built up. [12]

And so we recognise the Teuton as the master-builder and agree with Jacob Grimm when he asserts that it is a gross delusion to imagine that anything great can originate from "the bottomless sea of a universality." [13]

Various, indeed, were the racial individualities of the Teutons, many the complicated crossings of their tribes: they were surrounded beyond the boundaries where their blood had been preserved in comparative purity, by branches related to them in various degrees of consanguinity: even in their midst there were groups and individuals who were half- Teutons, quarter-Teutons, and so forth; yet all these, under the indefatigable impulse of the central creative spirit, played their part in contributing something of their own to the sum of the accomplished task:

When Kings build, the carters are kept busy.


Now if we wish to judge rightly the history of the growth of this new world, we must never lose sight of the fact of its specifically Teutonic character. For as soon as we speak of humanity in general, as soon as we fancy that we see in history a development, a progress, an education, &c., of "humanity," we leave the sure ground of facts and float in airy abstractions. For this humanity, about which men have philosophised to such an extent, suffers from the serious defect that it does not exist at all. Nature and history reveal to us a great number of various human beings, but no such thing as humanity. Even the hypothesis that all these beings, as the offshoots of one original stem, are physically related to each other, has scarcely so much value as Ptolemaeus' theory of the heavenly spheres; for the latter explained by demonstration something present and visible, while every speculation regarding a "descent" of man ventures upon a problem which, to begin with, exists only in the imagination of the thinker, is not presented by experience and should consequently be submitted to a metaphysical forum to be tested in regard to its admissibility. But even if this question of the descent of men and their relationship to, one another were to leave the realm of phrases and enter that of the empirically demonstrable, it would hardly help us in forming our judgment of history; for every explanation by causes implicates a regressus in infinitum; it is like the unrolling of a map; we go on seeing something new -- something new that belongs to that which is old -- and even though the consequent widening of our sphere of observation may contribute to the enriching of our mind, still each individual fact remains as before, just what it was, and it is very doubtful whether our judgment is rendered essentially more acute by the knowledge of a more comprehensive connection -- indeed, the reverse is just as possible. "Experience is boundless, because something new may always be discovered," as Goethe remarks in his criticism of Bacon of Verulam and the so-called inductive method; on the other hand, the essence and purpose of judgment is limitation. Excellence in judgment depends upon acuteness, not upon compass; the exactitude of what the eye sees will always be more important than its extent; hence too the inner justification of the more modem methods of historical research, according to which explanatory, philosophising, general expositions are abandoned in favour of painfully minute investigation of individual facts. Of course, as soon as the science of history loses itself in endless data, all that it accomplishes is to "shovel observations backwards and forwards" (as Justus Liebig says in righteous indignation at certain inductive methods of investigation); [14] yet, on the other hand, it is certain that the accurate knowledge of a single case is more serviceable to the judgment than the survey of a thousand that are shrouded in mist. In fact, the old saying, non multa, sed multum, proves to be universally true, and it also teaches us something which at the first glance we should hardly expect of it, namely, the right method of generalisation, which consists in never leaving the basis of facts and not being satisfied, like children, with would-be "explanations" from causes (least of all in the case of abstract dogmas such as development, education, &c.), but in continuously endeavouring to give a more and more clear perception of the phenomenon itself in its autonomous value. If we wish to simplify great historical complexes and yet to summarise with strict correctness, we should, to begin with, take the indisputable concrete facts, without linking any theory on to them; the Why will soon demand its place, but it should come only second, not first; the concrete takes precedence. To arm ourselves with an abstract idea of humanity and with presuppositions derived from it, and then to face the phenomena of history and try to form a judgment on them is to start with a delusion; the actually present, individually limited, nationally distinct human beings make up all that we know about humanity; there we must stop. The Hellenic people, for example, is such a concrete fact. Whether the Hellenes were related to the peoples of Italy, to the Celts and Indo-Eranians, whether the diversity of their tribes, which we perceive even in the earliest times, corresponds to a diversity in the mingling in various degrees of men of different origin, or is the result of a differentiation brought about by geographical conditions, &c., all these are much debated questions, the answering of which some day -- even should it be accomplished with certainty -- would not in any way alter the great indisputable fact of Hellenism with its peculiar, unique language, its particular virtues and failings, its extraordinary talent and the strange limitations of its intellect, its versatility, industrial zeal and overcraftiness in business, its philosophic leisure and Titanic imaginative power. Such a fact in history is absolutely concrete, tangible, manifest and at the same time inexhaustible. Truly, it is not modest on our part not to be satisfied with something so inexhaustible; and we are nothing less than foolish if we do not value aright these primal phenomena (Urphanomene) -- to use again art expression of Goethe's -- but, in the delusion that we can "explain" them by expansion, dissolve and dissipate them; till they are no longer perceptible to the eye. We do this, for example, when we trace back the artistic achievements of the Hellenes to Phoenician and other pseudo-Semitic influences and fancy that thereby we have contributed something to the explanation of this unique miracle; yet the ever inexhaustible and inexplicable primal phenomenon of Hellenism is in this way rather amplified but is in no way explained. For the Phoenicians carried the elements of Babylonian and Egyptian culture everywhere; why did the seed only spring up where Hellenes had settled? And why, above all, not among those very Phoenicians themselves, who surely should have reached a higher stage of refinement than the people to whom they -- as is supposed -- first transmitted the beginnings of culture? [15]

In this province we are simply floating on fallacies when we -- as Sir Thomas Reid mockingly says -- "explain" the day by the night, because the one follows the other. They have no lack of answers, those people who have never grasped. that is, never comprehended as an insoluble problem, the great central question of life -- the existence of the individual being. We ask these omniscient worthies how it is that the Romans, near relatives of the Hellenes (as Philology, History, Anthropology permit us to suppose), were yet in almost every single talent their very opposites. In answer they refer to the geographical position. But even the geographical position is not very different, and the proximity of Carthage and of Etruria gave ample opportunity for stimuli as strong as those of the Phoenicians. And if the geographical situation is the decisive matter, why did ancient Rome and the ancient Romans so completely and irrevocably disappear? The most incomparable magician in this line was Henry Thomas Buckle, who "explains" the intellectual pre-eminence of the Aryan Indians by their eating rice. [16] In truth, a consoling discovery for budding philosophers! But two facts are opposed to this explanation. In the first place, "rice is the principal food of the greatest portion of the human race"; secondly, the Chinese are the greatest rice-eaters in the world, since they consume as much as three pounds of it a day. [17] But the pretty clearly defined complex of peoples that make up the Aryan Indians forms an absolutely unique phenomenon among mankind; they possessed gifts such as no other race has ever possessed, and which led to immortal, incomparable achievements; at the same time their peculiar limitations were such that their individuality already contained in it their fate. Why did the principal food of the greatest portion of mankind have this effect only once, in point of space at one place, in point of time at one epoch? And if we wished to mention the very antithesis of the Aryan Indians, we should have to name the Chinese; the socialistic friend of equality in contrast to the absolute aristocrat; the unwarlike peasant in contrast to the born warrior; the utilitarian, above all others, in contrast to the idealist; the positivist, who seems organically incapable of raising himself even to the conception of metaphysical thought, in contrast to that born metaphysician upon whom we Europeans fix our eyes in admiration, never daring to hope that we could ever overtake him. And withal, as I have said, the Chinaman eats still more rice than the Indo-Aryan!

Nevertheless, in pursuing to the point of absurdity the mode of thought so common among us. I have had only one object in view, to reveal clearly, by cases of extreme error, whither it leads; once our distrust is aroused, we shall look back and perceive that even the most sensible and sure observations in regard to such phenomena as human races do not possess the value of explanations, but signify merely an extension of our horizon, whereas the phenomenon itself. in its concrete reality, remains as before the only source of all sound judgment and true understanding. I hope I have convinced the reader that there is a hierarchy of facts and that, as soon as we reverse them, we are building castles in the air. Thus, for example, the notion "Indo-European" or "Aryan" is admissible and advantageous when we construct it from the sure, well-investigated, indisputable facts of Indianism, Eranianism, Hellenism, Romanism, and Teutonism; for, in so doing, we never for a moment leave the ground of reality, we bind ourselves to no hypothesis, we build no unsubstantial sham bridges over the gulf of unknown causes of connection; on the other hand, we enrich our world of conception by appropriate systematic arrangement, and, while we unite what is manifestly related, we learn at the same time to separate it from the unrelated, and prepare the way for further perceptions and ever new discoveries. But whenever we reverse the process and take a hypothetical Aryan for our starting-point -- a being of whom we know nothing at all, whom we construct out of tile remotest, most incomprehensible sagas, and patch together from linguistic indications which are extremely difficult to interpret, a being whom every one can, like a fairy, endow with all the gifts that he pleases -- we are floating in a world of abstractions and necessarily pronounce one false judgment after the other, a splendid example of which we see in Count Gobineau's Inegahite des races humaines. Gobineau and Buckle are the two poles of an equally wrong method: the one bores like a mole in the dark ground and fancies that from the soil he can explain the flowers, though rose and thistle grow side by side; the other rises above the ground of facts and permits his imagination so lofty a flight that it sees everything in the distorted perspective of the bird's-eye view, and finds itself compelled to interpret Hellenic art as a symptom of decadence, and to praise the brigand age of the hypothetical aboriginal Aryan as the noblest activity of humanity!

The notion "humanity" is, to begin with, nothing more than a linguistic makeshift, a collectivum, by which the characteristic feature of the man, his personality, is blurred, and the guiding thread of history -- the different individualities of peoples and nations -- is rendered invisible. I admit that the notion humanity can acquire a positive purport, but only on condition that the concrete facts of the separated race-individualities are taken as a foundation upon which to build; these are then classified into more general racial ideas, which are again sifted in a similar fashion, and what after this hovers in the clouds high above the world of reality, scarcely visible to the naked eye, is "humanity." This humanity, however, we shall never take as our starting-point in judging that which is human; for every action on earth originates from definite, not from indefinite man; nor shall we ever take it as our goal, for individual limitation precludes the possibility of a universally valid generalisation. Even Zoroaster uttered the wise words: "Neither in thoughts, nor desires, nor words, nor deeds, nor religion, nor intellectual capacity do men resemble one another; he who loves the light should have his place among the resplendent heavenly bodies, he who loves the darkness belongs to the powers of night." [18]

I have been forcedly theorising in spite of myself. For a theory -- the theory of the essentially one and uniform humanity [19] -- stands in the way of all correct insight into the history of our time and of all times, and yet it has so thoroughly entered into our flesh and blood that it must, like a weed, be laboriously rooted out, before we can utter the plain truth with the hope of being understood. Our present civilisation and culture are specifically Teutonic, they are exclusively the work of Teutonism. And yet this is the great central and primal truth, the "concrete fact," which the history of the last thousand years teaches us in every page. The Teuton was stimulated from all sides, but he assimilated these suggestions and transformed them into something of his own. Thus the impulse to manufacture paper came from China, but it was to the Teuton alone that this immediately suggested the idea of book-printing; [20] the study of antiquity and the excavation of old works of plastic art gave a start to artistic activity in Italy, but even sculpture departed from the first Hellenic tradition, by making its aim not the Characteristic but the Typical, the Individual, not the Allegorical; Architecture only borrowed certain details, Painting nothing at all from Classical antiquity. I give these merely as examples, for in all provinces the procedure of the Teuton was similar. Even Roman Law was at no time and in no place fully adopted. As a matter of fact by certain races, notably the Anglo-Saxons, who blossomed forth into such greatness -- it was continually and deliberately rejected in spite of all regal and Papal intrigues. Whatever un-Teutonic forces came into play acted -- as we saw in the case of Italy at the beginning of this chapter -- principally as hindrance, as destruction, as a seduction from the course imposed by necessity upon this special type of mankind. On the other hand, where the Teutons by force of numbers or by purer blood predominated, all alien elements were carried with the current and even the non-Teuton had to become a Teuton in order to be and to pass for something.

Naturally one cannot take the word Teuton in the usual narrow sense; such a distinction is contrary to fact and makes history as obscure as if we looked at it through a cracked glass; on the other hand, if we have recognised the obvious original similarity of the peoples that have arisen from Northern Europe, and discovered that their diverse individuality is due to the incomparable plasticity which is still a feature of the race, to the tendency of Teutonism towards ceaseless individualisation, we at once understand that what is at the present day called European culture is not in truth European, but specifically Teutonic. In the Rome of to-day we have seen that we are only partially in the atmosphere of this culture; the whole south of Europe, from which, unfortunately, the Chaos of Peoples was never rooted out, and where, as a consequence of the laws fully considered in chapter iv. (vol. i.) it is rapidly gathering strength again, simply swims against its will with the current; it cannot resist the power of our civilisation, but inwardly it scarcely any longer belongs to it. If we travel towards the east, we cross the boundary at a distance of about twenty-four hours' railway journey from Vienna; from there straight across to the Pacific Ocean not an inch of land is influenced by our culture. To the north of this line nothing but railways, telegraph posts and Cossack patrols testify to the fact that a purely Teutonic monarch, at the head of a people, the vigorous creative elements of which are at least half-Teutons, has begun to stretch the hand of order over this gigantic district; but even this hand reaches only to the point where a civilisation entirely antagonistic to our own sets in, that of the Chinese, Japanese, Tonkinese, &c. Elisee Reclus, the famous geographer, assured me, just after he had finished the study of all the literature in China for his Geographie Universelle, that not a single European -- not even those who, like Richthofen and Harte, had lived there for many years, no missionary who had spent all his life in the heart of the country -- could say of himself, "J'ai connu un Chinois." The personality of the Chinese is, in fact, impenetrable to us, just as ours is to him; a sportsman understands by sympathy more of the soul of his dog, and the dog more of his master's soul, than the master knows of the soul of the Chinaman with whom he goes shooting. All the silly talk about "humanity" does not help us over the difficulty raised by this prosaically certain fact. He, on the other hand, who crosses the broad ocean to the United States finds among new faces, with a national character that has acquired a new individuality, his own culture, and that, too, in a high stage of development, and it is the same with the man who, after travelling for four weeks, lands on the coast of Australia. New York and Melbourne are incomparably more "European" than the Seville or Athens of to-day -- not in appearance, but in the spirit of enterprise, in capacity for achievement, in intellectual tendency, in art and science, in the general moral level, in short, in strength of life. This strength is the precious legacy of our fathers; once it was possessed by the Hellenes, once by the Romans.

It is only by thus recognising the strictly individual character of our culture and civilisation that we can judge ourselves aright, ourselves and others. For the essence of individuality is limitation and the possession of a physiognomy of one's own; the "prodromus" of all historical insight is therefore -- as Schiller beautifully expresses it -- "to learn to grasp with faithful and chaste sense the individuality of things." One culture can destroy, but never permeate, the other. If we begin our works on history with Egypt -- or, according to the most recent discoveries, with Babylonia -- and then let mankind develop chronologically, we build up an altogether artificial structure. Egyptian culture, for example, is an altogether isolated, individual thing, about which we are no more able to form an estimate than about an ant-state, and all ethnographers assure us that the Fellahin of the Nile Valley to-day are physically and mentally identical with those of five thousand years ago; new races became masters of the land and brought a new culture with them; no development took place. And what are we, in the meantime, to do with the mighty culture of the Indo- Aryans? Is it not to be taken into account? But how is it to be placed among the others? For their finest epoch fell about the time when our Teutonic culture just started on its course. Do we find that in India that high culture has been further developed? And what about the Chinese, to whom we are perhaps indebted for as much stimulus as the Hellenes were to the Egyptians? The truth is, that as soon as we, following our propensity to systematise, try to produce an organic unity, we destroy the individual and with it the one thing which we concretely possess. Even Herder, from whom I differ so widely in this very discussion, writes: "In India, Egypt, China, also in Canaan, Greece, Rome, Carthage, there took place what never and nowhere will happen in the world again." [21]
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:00 pm

Part 2 of 2


I said above, for example, that it was the Hellenes and the Romans who certainly gave the greatest impulse, if not to our civilisation, at least to our culture; but we have not thereby become either Hellenes or Romans. Perhaps no more fatal conception has been introduced into history than that of the Renaissance. For we have associated with it the delusion of a regeneration of Latin and Greek culture, a thought worthy of the half-bred souls of degenerate Southern Europe, to whom culture was something which man can outwardly assimilate. For a rinascimento of Hellenic culture, nothing less would be necessary than the rebirth of the Hellenes; all else is mummery. Not only was the idea of the Renaissance in .itself a misfortune, but also to a great extent the deeds that sprang from this ideal For instead of receiving only a stimulus, we henceforth received laws, laws which put fetters upon our own individuality, obstructed it at every step and had for their object the degradation of the most valuable thing which we possess, our originality, that is to say, the sincerity of our own nature. Roman Law, which was proclaimed as a classical dogma, became in the sphere of public life the source of shocking violence and loss of freedom. I do not mean to say that this law is not, even at the present day, a model of juristical technique, the eternal high school of jurisprudence (see vol. i. p. 148 f.); but the fact that it was forced upon us Teutons as a dogma was obviously a great misfortune for our historical development; for not only did it not suit our conditions, it was something dead, misunderstood, an organism the former living significance of which was only revealed after the lapse of centuries in our own days by the most searching study of Roman History: before we could really understand what his intellect had constructed, we had to call the Roman himself from the grave. The same thing happened in every sphere. Not only in philosophy were we to be handmaids (ancillae), namely, of Aristotle (see vol. ii. p. 178), but the law of slavery was also introduced into the whole realm of thought and creative activity. It was only in the industrial and economic spheres that vigorous progress was made, for here there was no classical dogma to retard; even natural science and the discovery of the world had a strenuous conflict to wage -- all intellectual sciences, Poetry and Art as well, a more strenuous one still -- a conflict which has not even yet been fought out to a perfectly successful issue, which would leave us absolutely unfettered. It is certainly not a mere accident that by far the greatest poet of the epoch of the so-called Renaissance, Shakespeare, and the most powerful sculptor, Michael Angelo, understood none of the ancient languages; just consider in what mighty independence a Dante would have stood before us, had he not borrowed his hell from Virgil and welded together his ideals of State from the spurious 1aw of Constantinople and the Civitas Dei of Augustine! And why was it that this contact with past cultures, which should have brought unmixed blessing, became in many ways a curse? It was simply because we did not, and alas! do not even yet, comprehend the individuality of every manifestation of culture! The Tuscan aesthetes, for example, lauded the Greek tragedy as the eternal paragon of the drama, and did not perceive that not only are the conditions of our life very different from those of Attica, but that our gifts, our whole personality, with its light and shade, are absolutely distinct; hence it was that these would-be renewers of Hellenic culture produced all sorts of monstrosities and crushed the Italian drama in the bud. By this they only showed their utter ignorance both of Teutonism and of Hellenism. For what we should have learned from Hellenism was the significance for life of an art that had developed organically, and the significance for art of the unimpaired free personality; we took from it the very opposite, ready-made mechanical patterns and the despotism of false aesthetics. For it is only the conscious, free individual that can rise to the comprehension of the incomparableness of other individualities. The bungler fancies that every one is capable of all things; he does not understand that imitation is the most shameless stupidity. It was from such blundering misconceptions that the idea of fastening on to Greece and Rome, and of continuing their work, originated -- an idea which -- as we should be careful to remember -- gives proof of an almost ridiculous underestimation of the achievements of these great nations while at the same time it shows a complete failure to realise our Teutonic strength and individuality.


One other point deserves to be noticed. From the above it is easy for every one to observe to what extent it is that that pale abstraction of a universal "humanity," devoid of physiognomy and character and capable of being kneaded into any shape, leads to the under-estimation of the importance of the individual element in single men and in peoples: this confusion is the cause of another and even more fatal mistake, the exposure of which demands more diligence and acuteness. For it is from this first error of judgment that the mutually complementary notions of a progress and a degeneration of humanity are derived, and neither of these notions is tenable on the ground of concrete historical facts. Morally. it is true, the conception of progress may be indispensable: it is the application of the divine gift of hope to the world at large; similarly the metaphysics of religion cannot do without the symbol of degeneration (see p. 31 f.): but in both cases it is a question of inner states of mind (fundamentally of transcendent presentiments), which the individual projects upon his surroundings; when applied to actual history, as though they were objective realities, they lead to false judgments and failure to recognise the most patent facts. [22] For progressive development and progressive decline are phenomena which are connected with individual life and which can be applied to the general phenomena of nature only in an allegorical sense, not sensu proprio. Every individual person reveals progress and degeneration, every individual thing likewise -- whatever its nature -- the individual race, the individual nation, the individual culture; that is the price that must be paid for the possession of individuality. On the other hand, in the case of universal and not individual phenomena, the notions progress and degeneration have no meaning, being merely a wrong and roundabout way of expressing change and motion. For this reason Schiller describes the common" empirical" idea of immortality (according to the teaching of the orthodox Christian Church) as a "demand that can only be put forward by an animal nature striving to attain to the Absolute." [23] Animal nature is here intended to be in contrast to individuality; for the law of individuality, as Goethe has taught us (see the preceding chapter), is outward limitation, and this denotes a limitation not only in space but also in time; whereas the Universal -- which denotes, as here, the animal nature of man, in other words, man as animal in contrast to man as individual -- has no necessary, but at most an accidental limitation. But where there is no limitation, one cannot, in the proper sense of the word, speak of progression forwards or backwards, but only of motion. For this reason no tenable notion can be derived even from the most consistent, and, therefore, most shallow, Darwinism; for conforming to definite conditions is nothing more than a manifestation of equilibrium, and so-called evolution from simpler to more complicated forms of life may be quite as justifiably considered a decline as an advance; [24] it is in fact neither the one nor the other, but merely a manifestation of motion. This, too, is admitted by the philosopher of Darwinism, Herbert Spencer, in that he regards evolution as a kind of rhythmic pulsation, and explains very clearly that the equilibrium is at every moment the same. [25] In fact, it is inconceivable how the systole should form an "advance" on the diastole, or the pendulum's movement to the right an II advance" on its movement to the left. And yet clever men, carried away by the current of prevalent error, would fain have seen in evolution the guarantee, nay more, the proof of the reality of progress! What becomes of our logic when we cherish such absurdities must, however, be made clear by an example, for here I am swimming against the stream and must avail myself of every advantage.

John Fiske, the deservedly famous author of the history of the discovery of America, says in his thoughtful Darwinian work, The Destiny of Man, viewed in the light of his origin, [26] that "the struggle for existence has succeeded in bringing forth that consummate product of creative activity, the human soul." Now in truth I do not know how the struggle can supply the sole effective cause of anything; this conception of the world's problems seems to me a little too summary, like all philosophy of evolution; but the struggle so manifestly steels existing powers, draws out physical and mental gifts and develops them by exercise (even old Homer teaches our children this lesson), that I will not dispute the fact at present. Fiske goes on to say: "It is the wholesale destruction of life, which has heretofore characterised evolution ever since life began, through which the higher forms of organic existence have been produced" (p. 95 f.); very well, we will admit it. But what about progress? Logically we should presuppose that it consisted in increase of wholesale murder, or were at least dependent upon it -- a view which could reasonably be advanced on the strength of some phenomena of our time. But this is very wide of the mark! Fiske has a great advantage over such homely logic, for he knows not only the "origin" but also the " destiny" of man. He informs us that, "as evolution advances, the struggle for existence ceases to be a determining factor ... this elimination of strife is a fact of utterly unparalleled grandeur; words cannot do justice to such a fact." This celestial peace is now the goal of progress, indeed it is progress itself. For Fiske, who is a very clever man, feels rightly that nobody has hitherto known the meaning of this talismanic word "progress" -- now we do know. "At length," says Fiske, "at length we see what human progress means." I am afraid I must beg to differ. For what is to become of our soul, which we acquired with such honest pains? We were just informed that the struggle for existence had "produced" the soul: will it henceforth arise without a cause? And even supposing that the hobby-horse of heredity should kindly take it upon its Centaur back and carry it a stage farther, would the sensation of the struggle not lead, according to orthodox Darwinism, to the degeneration of the object produced, [27] so that our soul, as a mere "rudimentary organ" (comparable to the well-known human tail-appendage) might be, in its uselessness, merely an object of wonder to the would-be Admirable Crichton of future days. And why, if the struggle has already produced something so splendid, should it now cease? Surely not from sickly, sentimental horror of bloodshed. "Death in battle," said Corporal Trim, and thereby he snapped his fingers -- "death in battle I do not fear this much! but elsewhere I should hide from it in every crevice." And though it is, under Professor Fiske's guidance, a "joy to see how we have at last gained such glorious heights," yet I can imagine and hope for something much more glorious still than what the present offers, and I shall never admit that the cessation of the struggle would mean an advance; it is just here that the hypothesis of evolution has accidentally got hold of a truth -- the importance of the struggle for existence; it would really be foolish to sacrifice it, merely in order to "see what human progress means."

This error is due, as I have already said, to failure to realise a very simple and essential philosophical fact, that Progress and Degeneration can only be applied to the Individual, never to the Universal. To be able to speak of a progress of humanity, we should require to view the whole revelation of man upon earth from such a distance that everything, which for us constitutes history, would disappear; perhaps it would then be possible to conceive humanity as an individual phenomenon, to compare it with other analogous phenomena -- e.g., upon other planets -- and to observe it in progress and decline: but such hypothetical star-gazing has no practical value for us or for our time. The desire to bring our Teutonic culture into organic connection with the Hellenic as an advance or a decline is scarcely more reasonable than Buckle's already mentioned comparison of dates and rice; indeed, it is less sensible, for dates and rice are recognised to be essentially different, to be something universal and unchangeable, whereas in the other comparison we overlook what differentiates and do not reflect that the Individual is something Never-recurring, and for that reason Complete and Absolute. Can we assert that Michael Angelo is an advance on Phidias, Shakespeare on Sophocles? or that they represent a falling off? Does anyone believe that any trace of sense is to be derived from such a statement? Certainly not. But the point which people do not grasp is this, that the same holds good with regard to the collective national individualities and manifestations of culture, to which these remarkable men gave extraordinarily vivid expression. And so we go on making comparisons: the great gaping herd believes as firmly in the constant "progress of humanity" as a nun in the Immaculate Conception; the greater and more thoughtful spirits -- from Hesiod to Schiller, from the symbolism of the aboriginal Babylonians to Arthur Schopenhauer -- have at all times rather had a presentiment of decline. If applied to history, both ideas are untenable. We have but to cross the border of civilisation to feel at once, from the load that falls from our head and shoulders, from the delight that is everywhere so obvious, how dearly we pay for so-called progress. Methinks a Macedonian shepherd of to-day leads a no less useful and much worthier and happier life than a factory worker in Chaux-de-Fonds, who from his tenth year to the day of his death, for fourteen hours a day, mechanically fashions some one particular wheel for watches. Now if the ingenuity which leads to the invention and perfection of the watch robs its maker of the sight of the great time-measurer, the great giver of life and health, the sun, it is obvious that this advance, however wonderful it may be, is bought at the price of a corresponding retrogression. The same holds good everywhere. To save the notion of progress, it has been compared to a "circular motion in which the radius grows longer." [28] But this robs the idea of all meaning; for every circle is in all essential qualities the same as every other, greater or smaller extent cannot possibly be regarded as greater or lesser perfection. But the opposite idea -- that of a degeneration of man -- is just as untenable, as soon as we apply it to concrete history. Thus, for example, the remark of Schiller, which I quoted in the general introduction to this book, "What single man of recent times stands forth, man against man, to contend with the individual Athenian for the prize of humanity?" can only claim a very limited validity. Every student of Schiller knows what the noble poet means; in what sense he is right, I have myself attempted to indicate; [29] and yet the statement provokes downright contradiction, indeed manifold contradiction. What is this "prize of humanity"? Once more it is that abstract idea of humanity which confuses the judgment! Among the free citizens of Athens (and Schiller can only mean these) there were twenty slaves to every man: in such circumstances, to be sure, leisure could be found for physical culture, the study of philosophy and the practice of art; our Teutonic culture, on the other hand (like the Chinese -- for in such things it is not progress but innate character that reveals itself), was from the first an enemy of slavery; again and again this perfectly natural relationship sets in and ever and again we cast it off with horror. How many are there among us -- from the King to the organ-grinder -- who are not constrained to do their very best the livelong day, by the sweat of their brows? But is not work in itself at least as ennobling as bathing and boxing? [30] I should not have long to search for "the single man of recent times" whom Schiller challenges: I should take Friedrich Schiller himself by the hand and place him in the midst of the greatest Greeks of all ages: stripped in the gymnasium the ever-ailing poet would certainly cut a poor figure, but his heart and intellect, the more they were freed from the worry of the conditions of life, would rise in all the greater sublimity; and without fear of contradiction I would boldly assert: this single modern man is superior to you all by his knowledge, his striving, his ethical ideal; as a thinker he is far above you, and as a poet almost of equal rank with you. What Hellenic artist, I ask, can be called Richard Wagner's equal in creative force and power of expression? And where did all Hellenism produce a man worthy to contend with a Goethe for the prize of humanity? There we come upon a further contradiction, which is provoked by Schiller's assertion. For if our poets are not in every respect equal to the greatest poets of Athens, that is not the fault of their talent, but of those who surround them, who do not understand the value of art; but Schiller supports the view that while we as individuals cannot rival the Greeks, our culture as a whole is superior to theirs. A decided mistake, behind which the phantom "humanity" again lurks. For though an absolute comparison between two peoples is (at least in my opinion) inadmissible, no objection can be offered to drawing a parallel between the individual stages of development; and if we do this, we shall perceive that the Hellenes, in spite of the painful defects of their individuality, stand on an altitude of supreme eminence and reveal a peculiar harmony of greatness, from which their culture derives its incomparable charm, whereas we Teutons are still in process of development, self-contradictory, uncertain of ourselves, surrounded and at many points saturated to the core by incongruous elements, which tear down what we construct and estrange us from our own true nature. In Greece a national individuality had after a stern struggle fought its way to the daylight; in our case all is still ferment; the highest manifestations of our intellectual life stand side by side isolated, regarding each other with almost hostile eyes, and it will only be after hard work that we shall succeed as a united whole in reaching that stage upon which Hellenic, Roman, Indian and Egyptian cultures once stood.


If we then free ourselves from the delusion of a progressive or retrogressive humanity, and content ourselves with the realisation of the fact that our culture is specifically North- European, i.e., Teutonic, we shall at once gain a sure standard by which to judge our own past and our present, and at the same time a very useful standard to apply to a future which has yet to come. For nothing Individual is limitless. So long as we regard ourselves as the responsible representatives of all humanity, the more clear-seeing minds must be driven to despair by our poverty and obvious incapacity to pave the way for a golden age; at the same time, however, all shallow-brained phrase-makers turn us from those earnest aims which we might attain, and undermine what I should like to call historical morality, in that, shutting their eyes, blind to our universal limitation, and totally failing to realise the value of our specific talents, they dangle before our eyes the Impossible, the Absolute: natural rights, eternal peace, universal brotherhood, mutual fusion, &c. But if we know that we Northern Europeans are a definite individuality, responsible, not for humanity, but certainly for our own personality, we shall love and value our work as something individual, we shall recognise the fact that it is by no means complete, but still very defective, and, above all, far from being sufficiently independent; no vision of an "absolute" perfection will mislead us, but we shall, as Shakespeare wished, remain true to ourselves, and be satisfied with doing our very best within the limits of the Teuton's power of achievement; we shall deliberately defend ourselves against the un-Teutonic, and seek not only to extend our empire farther and farther over the surface of the globe and over the powers of nature, but above all unconditionally to subject the inner world to ourselves by mercilessly overthrowing and excluding those who are alien to us, and who, nevertheless, would fain gain the mastery over our thought. It is often said that politics can know no scruples; nothing at all can know scruples; scruples are a crime against self. Scruple is the soldier who in the battle takes to his heels, presenting his back as a target to the enemy. The most sacred duty of the Teuton is to serve the Teutonic cause. This fact supplies us with an historical standard of measurement. In all spheres that man and that deed will be glorified as greatest and most important which most successfully advance specific Teutonism or have most vigorously supported its supremacy. Thus and thus only do we acquire a limiting, organising, absolutely positive principle of judgment. To refer to a well- known instance: why is it that, in spite of the admiration which his genius inspires, the personality of the great Byron has something repulsive in it for every thorough Teuton? Treitschke has answered this question in his brilliant essay on Byron: it is "because nowhere in this rich life do we encounter the idea of duty." That is an unsympathetic, un- Teutonic feature. On the other hand, we do not object in the least to his love-affairs; in them we rather see a proof of genuine race; and we observe with satisfaction that Byron -- in contrast to Virgil, Juvenal, Lucian and their modern imitators -- was in truth licentious, but not frivolous. Towards women he is gallant. This we welcome as Teutonic. In politics also this point of view will prove valid. We shall praise, for example, princes, when they oppose the claims of Rome -- not because we are carried away by any dogmatically religious prejudice, but because we see in every rejection of international imperialism a furtherance of Teutonism; we shall blame them when they proceed to regard themselves as absolute rulers appointed by the grace of God, for by this they reveal themselves as plagiarists of the wretched Chaos of Peoples, and destroy the old Teutonic law of freedom, thus fettering at the same time the best powers of the people. In many cases, it is true, the situation is a very complicated one, but there, too, the same ruling principle clears everything up. Thus, for example, Louis XIV. by his shameful persecution of the Protestants brought about the subsequent decline of France. This was an act of incalculably far-reaching consequence for the anti-Teutonic cause, and he accomplished it in his capacity as a pupil of the Jesuits, who had brought him up in such crass ignorance that he could not even write his own language correctly, and knew nothing of history. [31] And yet this ruler proved himself in many respect a thorough Teuton; for example, in his courageous defence of the distinct rights and fundamental independence of the Gallican Church in opposition to the arrogant claims of Rome -- there has seldom, I think, been a Catholic King who on every occasion paid so little regard to the person of the Pope; and another proof is his great organising activity. [32] One might also cite Frederick the Great of Prussia, who could not safeguard the interests of all Teutonism in Central Europe except as an absolutely autocratic military leader and statesman, but withal was so thoroughly liberal in his sentiments that many an advocate of the French Revolution might well have taken a lesson from this monarch. At the same time another political example of the value of this cardinal principle occurs to me: he who regards the development and prosperity of Teutonism as the decisive criterion will not be long in doubt which document deserves most admiration, the Declaration des droits de l'homme or the Declaration of Independence of the United States of North America. I shall return to this point again. In other spheres than that of politics the conception of the individual nature of the Teutonic spirit proves equally valid. The daring exploration of the earth not only gave new scope for a spirit of enterprise such as no other race ever possessed or yet possesses, but also cleared our minds of the close atmosphere of the Classical libraries and restored them to themselves; when Copernicus tore down the firmament of Heaven that had hemmed us in, and with it the Heaven of the Egyptians which had passed over into Christianity, immediately the Heaven of the Teuton stood revealed: "men have at all times and in all places thought that the heavens were many hundreds of thousands of miles from this earth ... but the true Heaven is everywhere, even in the place where you stand and walk." [33] Printing was used first of all to disseminate the Gospel and to oppose the anti-Teutonic theocracy. And so on, ad infinitum.


There is yet a word to be said, and one of great importance, if we would clearly recognise and distinguish what is thoroughly Teutonic. In the matters which I have just mentioned, as in a thousand others, we discover everywhere that specific characteristic of the Teuton, the close association -- as though they were twin brothers, walking hand in hand -- of the Practical and the Ideal (see vol. i. p. 550). At all points we shall encounter similar contradictions in the Teuton, and shall learn to value them equally highly. For when we realise that we have to deal with something individual, we shall, in forming our judgment, refrain above all from taking into consideration the logical notions of abstract theories about Good and Evil, Higher and Lower, and direct: our attention simply to the individuality; but an individuality is always best recognised from its inner contrasts; where it is uniform, it is also without shape, without individuality. Thus, for example, the Teutons are characterised by a power of expansion possessed by no race before them, and at the same time by an inclination to concentration which is equally new. We see the expansive power at work -- in the practical sphere, in the gradual colonisation of the whole surface of the globe; -- in the scientific sphere, in the revelation of the infinite Cosmos, in the search for ever remoter causes; -- in the ideal sphere, in the conception of the Transcendent, in the boldness of hypotheses, and in sublime artistic flights which lead to more and more comprehensive means of expression. At the same time, however, we are inclined to return within more and more narrowly circumscribed limits, carefully cut off from everything external by ramparts and trenches; we return to the idea of blood-relationships of the Fatherland, of the native district, [34] of the village of our birth, of the inviolable home (my home is my castle, as in Rome), of the closest family circle; finally we return to the innermost central point of the individual, who now, purified and elevated to consciousness of absolute isolation, faces the outer world as an invisible, independent being, a supreme lord of freedom, as was the case with the Indians; this is that concentration which in other spheres reveals itself as division of countries into small Principalities, as limitation to a special "field," whether in science or industry, as inclination to form sects and schools as in Greece, as poetical effects of the innermost nature, e.g., the woodcut, engraving, chamber music. In character these contrasted qualities which are held in coherence by the higher individuality of the race, signify a spirit of enterprise allied to conscientiousness, or they lead -- if misguided -- to speculation (on the Stock Exchange or in philosophy, it is all the same), to narrow-minded pedantry and pusillanimity.

I cannot on this occasion be expected to attempt an exhaustive description of Teutonic individuality; everything individual -- however manifest and recognisable beyond all doubt it may be -- is inexhaustible. As Goethe says, "Words cannot clearly reveal the Best," and if personality is the highest gift which we children of earth receive, then truly the individuality of our definite race is one of those "best" things. It alone carries along all separate personalities, as the ship is borne by the flood, and without it (or when this flood is too shallow easily to float anything great) even the strongest character must lie helpless and impotent, like a barque stranded and capsized. Already in the sixth chapter, with a view to stimulate interest, I have mentioned some characteristics of the Teuton; in the second part of this chapter many others will reveal themselves, but here, too, my sole object will be to stimulate, to impel the reader to open his eyes and see for himself.


It is the clear realisation of what the Teutons have achieved that will prove instructive. This is, I think, the task that remains for me to accomplish in this chapter. To discuss the gradual" Rise of a New World" means, for me, to describe the gradual rise of the Teutonic world. But the most important portion of the task has, in my opinion, been already accomplished by the enunciation and verification of this great central proposition that the new world is a specifically Teutonic world. In fact, I consider that this view is so important and so decisive for all comprehension of the Past, the Present and the Future, that I shall once more for the last time summarise the facts.

The civilisation and culture, which, radiating from Northern Europe, to-day dominate (though in very varying degrees) a considerable part of the world, are the work of Teutonism; what is not Teutonic consists either of alien elements not yet exorcised, which were formerly forcibly introduced and still, like baneful germs, circulate in the blood, or of alien wares sailing, to the disadvantage of our work and further development, under the Teutonic flag, under Teutonic protection and privilege, and they will continue to sail thus, until we send these pirate ships to the bottom. This work of Teutonism is beyond question the greatest that has hitherto been accomplished by man. It was achieved, not by the delusion of a "humanity," but by sound, selfish power, not by belief in authority, but by free investigation, not by contentedness with little, but by insatiable ravenous hunger. As the youngest of races, we Teutons could profit by the achievements of former ones; but this is no proof of a universal progress of humanity, but solely of the pre-eminent capabilities of a definite human species, capabilities which have been proved to be gradually weakened by influx of non-Teutonic blood, or even (as in Austria) of anti- Teutonic principles. No one can prove that the predominance of Teutonism is a fortunate thing for all the inhabitants of the earth; from the earliest times down to the present day we see the Teutons, to make room for themselves, slaughtering whole tribes and races, or slowly killing them by systematic demoralisation. That the Teutons with their virtues alone and without their vices -- such as greed, cruelty, treachery, disregard of all rights but their own right to rule (vol. i. p. 541), &c. -- would have won the victory, no one will have the audacity to assert, but every one must admit that in the very places where they were most cruel -- as, for instance, the Anglo-Saxons in England, the German Order in Prussia, the French and English in North America -- they laid by this very means the surest foundation of what is highest and most moral.

Armed with this various store of knowledge, all flowing from one central fact, we are now, I think, in a position, with understanding and without prejudice, to regard the work of the Teutons, and to observe how, from about the twelfth century, when it began to assume definite form as Isolated endeavour, it has gone on developing to the present day with unflagging zeal; we may even hope, by the irrefutability of our standpoint, to be able to some extent to surmount our greatest disadvantage, namely, the fact that we are still in the midst of a development of which we consequently only see a fragment. But my work keeps the nineteenth century alone in view. God willing, I shall at some later time not indeed describe this century in full detail, but examine and test with some thoroughness its collective achievement; in the meantime I am seeking in this book to discover in their essential outlines the Foundations of the achievements and aspirations of our nineteenth century. That and nothing more. I cannot possibly think of sketching, even in outline, the history of the culture of Celts, Teutons and Slavs up to the eighteenth century, any more than it occurred to me to attempt to give an historical account, when I was discussing the struggle in religion and in the State during the first thousand years of our era. It is outside the plan of my book, and beyond my competence. I might, therefore, almost close this volume, now that I have clearly established the most essential of all the foundations, Teutonism. I should do so if I knew a book to which I might refer my friend and colleague, the unlearned reader, for information regarding the development of Teutonism up to the year 1800, planned as I would have it -- comprehensive and yet absolutely individualised. But I know none. It is obvious that a political history does not suffice; that would be like a physiologist contenting himself with the knowledge of osteology. Still less suitable for the purpose in question are the histories of culture that have lately come into vogue, in which poets and thinkers are represented as leaders, while political creative work is almost totally disregarded; that is like describing a body without paying any attention to the fundamental bone-structure. And the books of this kind that are to be taken seriously treat mostly only of definite periods, as Karl Grun's 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Burckhardt's Renaissance, Voltaire's Siecle de Louis XIV., &c., or limited spheres like Buckle's Civilisation in England (really in Spain, Scotland and France), Rambaud's Civilisation Francaise, Henne am Rhyn's Kulturgeschichte der Juden, &c., or again, special domains of culture like Draper's Intellectual Development of Europe or Lecky's Rationalism in Europe, &c. The literature on this subject is very extensive, but among it all I find no work which represents the development of collective Teutonism as that of a living, individual entity, in which all manifestations of life -- politics, religion, economics, industry, arts, &c. -- are organically connected. Karl Lamprecht's comprehensively planned German History would come nearest to what I desire, but it is unfortunately only a "German" History, and treats therefore only of a fragment of Teutonic life. It is just in the case of such a work that we see how fatal is the failure to distinguish between Teutonic and German; it confuses everything. For when only the Germans are regarded as the direct heirs of the Teutons, we conceal the fact that the non-German north of Europe is almost pure Teutonic in the narrowest sense of the word, and fail to observe that it was precisely in Germany, the centre of Europe, that the fusion of the three branches -- Celts, Teutons and Slavs -- took place, a fact which explains the distinct national colour and the richness of the gifts of this people; moreover, we lose sight of the predominantly Teutonic character of France prior to the Revolution, and also of the organic explanation of the manifest affinity that was to be found in former centuries between the character and achievements of Spain and Italy and those of the north. Both the Past and the Present thereby become a riddle. And as we do not get a universal view of the great connection, we gain no thorough insight into the life of all those details which Lamprecht sets before us with such love and insight. Many think that his treatment is too comprehensive, and therefore difficult to understand; but it is, on the contrary, the narrowness of the point of view that hinders comprehension; for it would be easier to describe the development of collective Teutonism than that of one fragment of it. We Teutons have certainly, in the course of time, developed into national individualities marked by absolutely distinct characteristics; moreover, we are surrounded by various half-brothers, but we form a unity of such strong coherence, each part of which is so absolutely essential to the other, that even the political development of the one country exercises an influence on all the others and is in turn influenced by them, but its civilisation and culture can in no way be described as something isolated and autonomous. There is a Chinese civilisation, but there is no such thing as a French or a German civilisation; for that reason their history cannot be written.

Here then is a gap to be filled up. And as I can neither close my discussion of the Foundations of the Nineteenth Century with a yawning gulf, nor presume to be competent to fill in so deep a chasm, I shall now attempt to throw a light, bold bridge -- a makeshift bridge -- over it. The material has been collected long ago by the most eminent scholars; I shall not attempt to murder their methods, but shall refer the student to their works for information; here we require only the quintessence of the thoughts which can be derived from the historical material, and that only in so far as they are directly connected with the present age. The indispensability of a connection between the point reached in the pre. ceding chapters and the Nineteenth Century may excuse my boldness; the necessity for taking into account the possible compass of a two-volumed work, and the natural presto- tempo of a finale must account for the want of substantiality in my makeshift structure.



1. See vol, i. chap. vi.

2. Goethe's unerring eye has perceived the race-relations here; of the Italian Renaissance he says: "It was as if the children of God had wedded the daughters of men," and he calls Pietro Perugino "an honest German soul" (Ital. Reise, 18/10/86 and 19/10/86).

3. He who has not time for detailed historical studies should read the chapter on Perugia in John Addington Symonds' Sketches in Italy.

4. "Les Florentins d'aujourd'hui ne resemblent en rien a ceux de la Renaissance,..." says one of the most exquisite judges, Ujfalvi (De l'origine des families, &c., p. 9).

5. Raphael's enthusiastic admiration for Savonarola, for his master Perugino, and his friend Bartolomeo (see Eug. Muntz: Raphael, 1881, p. 133) is almost of as much importance in fixing the race of these men as the fact that Michael Angelo never mentioned the Madonna, and only once in jest mentioned a Saint, so that one of the greatest authorities on him could call him "an unconscious Protestant." In one of his sonnets Michael Angelo warns the Saviour not to come to Rome in person, where a trade is carried on in His divine blood.

E'l sangue di Cristo si vend' a giumelle

and where the priests would flay him to sell his skin.

6. Cf. the two Sonnets: All' Italia and Sobra il monumento di Dante.

7. The views here expressed -- bitterly opposed and ridiculed on many hands -- have in the meantime been brilliantly confirmed by the strictly anthropological, soberly scientific investigations of Dr. Ludwig Woltmann, which are now to be had for the first time in connected form: Die Germanen und die Renaissance in Italien, 1905.

8. Every life may be led, if only man's self be not missed;
Everything may be lost, if we remain what we are.

9. For all further details on this point I refer to vol. i. chaps: iv. and vi.

10. See vol. i: chap. ii.

11. Cf. the details in the preceding chapter, p. 151.

12. Some muddle-headed people of the present day confuse individualism and "subjectivity," and then advance some silly reproach of weakness and inconstancy, whereas we have here obviously to deal with the "objective" recognition and -- in men like Goethe -- the "objective" judgment of self, and from both of these we derive far-seeingness, sureness, and an unerring sense of freedom.

13. Geschichte der deutschen Sprache, 2nd ed. p. 111.

14. Reden und Abhandlungen, 1874, p. 248.

15. The discoveries in Crete, &c., have meanwhile once for all dissipated the whole myth of Phoenician influence; even so biased a witness as Salomon Reinach admits that "ces decouvertes portent le coup de grace a toutes les theories qui attribuent aux Pheniciens une part preponderante dans les tres vieilles civilisations de l'Archipsi ..." (Anthropologie, 1902, Janv.-Fevr., p. 39).

16. History of Civilisation in England, vol. i. c. 2. The reader must read for himself the extremely ingenious train of reasoning with the details, collected with infinite pains, concerning the produce of the rice-fields, the amount of starch contained in the rice, the relation of carbon to oxygen in various foods, &c. The whole house of cards falls to pieces as soon as the author seeks to substantiate the irrefutability of his proof by further examples and for this purpose refers to Egypt. "The civilisation of Egypt being like that of India, caused by the fertility of the soil, and the climate being also very hot, there were in both countries brought into play the same laws and there naturally followed the same results." So writes Buckle. But it would be difficult to imagine two more different cultures than the Egyptian and the Brahman; the similarities which one could of course point to are altogether external, just such as the climate can account for, but otherwise these peoples differ in everything -- in political and social organisation and history, in artistic qualities, in intellectual gifts and achievements, in religion and thought, in the foundation of character.

17. Ranke: Der Mensch, 2nd. ed. i. 315 and 334. In Heuppe's Handbuch der Hygiene (1899), p. 247, the expert will find a humorous explanation of the hypothesis that rice is especially good for philosophers.

18. See the book of Zad-Sparam xxi. 20 (contained in vol. 47 of the Sacred Books of the East).

19. This theory is old; Seneca, for example, bas a liking for referring to the ideal of humanity, of which individual men are, so to speak, more or less successful copies: "Homines quidem pereunt, ipsa aulem humanitas, ad ouam homo ezzingiiur, permanet." (Letter 65 to Lucilius.)

20. Cf. below, division 3, on "Industry."

21. Ideen iii. 12, 6.

22. See vol. i. pp. lxviii. and xcvi. Immanuel Kant has, as usual, hit the nail on the head by rejecting this "good-natured" presupposition of the moralists, which the "history of all times too forcibly contradicts" (Religion, beginning of chap. i.) and by comparing humanity, which is presumed to be progressing, to the sick man who had to call out in triumph, "I am dying of sheer improvement!" (Streit der Fakultaten ii.). In another passage he supplements this by writing, "No theory justifies man in holding the belief that the world is on the whole steadily improving; only purely practical reason may do so, for it dogmatically commands us to act according to such a hypothesis" (Uber die Fortschritte der Metaphysik, 2nd manuscript, Part II.) Thus by the conceptive progress we are justified in expressing, not an eternal fact, but the inner goal in view. If Kant had also emphasised the necessity of decline, instead of regarding the "clamour about constantly progressing degeneration" as empty talk (Vom Verhaltnis der Theorie zur Praxis im Volkerrecht), nothing would have remained obscure, and from the contradiction of action according to the hypothesis of progress, and of faith according to the hypothesis of decline, we should have seen clearly that it is something Transcendental, and not empirical history, that is at work here. -- In his simple way Goethe silences a fanatic of so-called progress with the words, "It is circum-gression we must say" (Umschreitung mussen wir sagen): Gesprache i. 182.

23. Asthetische Erziehung, Letter 24.

24. From the standpoint of consistent materialism the moneron is the most perfect animal, for it is the simplest and therefore most capable of resistance, and it is so organised that it can live in water, that is, on the greatest portion of the surface of our planet.

25. See the chapter on "The Rhythm of Motion" and the first two chapters on "Evolution" in his First Principles.

26. Boston, 1884. Such are our modern empiricists! They know the "origin" and the "destiny" of all things and may therefore well deem themselves wise. The Pope in in Rome is more modest.

27. Origin c. xiv.; Animals and Plants c. xxiv.

28. So Justus Liebig: Reden und Abhandlungen, 1874. p. 273, and others.

29. Vol. i. p. xcviii. and pp. 33 to 40.

30. Apart from the fact that the performances of modern athletes, as it has been proved, are superior to those of the ancients. (Cf. especially the various works of Hueppe.)

31. Cf. Letter xv. in the correspondence between Voltaire and Frederick the Great.

32. It always gives me satisfaction to read again Buckle's philippics against Louis XIV. (Civilisation ii. 4) but Voltaire (to whom Buckle refers) gives a much fairer picture in his Siecle de Louis XIV. (See especially Chap. xxix: on the King's power of work, his knowledge of men and organising ability).

33. Jacob Bohme: Aurora 19.

34. Beautifully described by Jacob Grimm in his Memoirs, where he tells how the inhabitants of Hessen-Nassau "look down with a kind of contempt" upon those of Hessen-Darmstadt.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:14 pm

Part 1 of 3


Bich im Unendlichen zu finden,
Musst Unterscheiden und dann verbinden.


It is impossible to give a comprehensive view of a large number of facts unless we classify them, and to classify means first of all to distinguish and then to unite. Our purpose, however, will not be served by any kind of artificial system, and all purely logical ones are of this nature: this is obviously the case in the classification of plants, from Theophrastus to Linnaeus, and it is equally so in the attempts to group artists in schools.. Some arbitrary treatment, it is true, is inevitable in systematic classification, for System is an evolution of the thinking brain and serves the special needs of the human understanding. It is therefore essential that this ordering understanding should take into consideration not merely units but as large a number of phenomena as possible, and that the eye should see as keenly and accurately as possible: in this way the result of its activity will combine a maximum of observation with a minimum of subjective additions. We admire the acuteness and the knowledge of men like Ray, Jussieu, Cuvier, Endlicher: above all we should admire their sharpness of sight, for it is the subjection of thought to intuition that distinguishes them; the intuitive (i.e., perceptive) grasp of the whole with them forms the basis of the classification of the parts. Goethe's warning first to distinguish and then to unite, we must therefore supplement by the observation that only he who surveys a Whole is capable of making distinctions within it. It was in this way that the immortal Bichat founded modern Histology -- in this connection a most instructive example. Till his time human anatomy was merely a description of the separate parts of the body, as they are distinguished by their various functions; he was the first to demonstrate the identity of the tissues of which the individual organs, however various, are built up, and this rendered rational anatomy possible. Just as no great advance was made until his time, for the simple reason that the individual organs of the body had been regarded as the unities to be distinguished, so we too toil and moil over the individual organs of Teutonism, that is to say, its nations, and overlook the fact that we are here face to face with a unity, and that, in order to understand the anatomy and physiology of this collective entity, we must first recognise the unity as such, but then "isolate the various tissues and investigate each of them, no matter in what organ it is found, in order finally to study each single organ in its peculiar characteristics." [1] Now in order to gain a vivid conception of both the present and the past of Teutonism we should need a Bichat to classify the whole material and then to place it rightly, i.e., naturally classified, before our eyes. And since no such man is at present to be found, let us do the best we can for ourselves. We must, of course, refrain from all those extremely prevalent but false analogies between the animal body and the social body, and learn the general method from men like Bichat: first of all to fix our eye upon the whole, then upon its elementary parts, disregarding for the moment all that is intermediate.

The various manifestations of our life can be classified, I think, under three comprehensive heads: Knowledge, Civilisation, Culture. These are in a way "elements," but of so complex a nature that it would be well to break them up further at once, and the following Table may be regarded as an attempt to give a very simple classification:

(1) Discovery; (2) Science / } Knowledge
(3) Industry; (4) Economy; (5) Politics and Church / } Civilisation
(6) Weltanschauung, or Philosophy, including Religion and Ethics; (7) Art / } Culture

Bichat's fundamental anatomical Table became a lasting possession of science, but gradually it was very much simplified and by this means there was a great gain in perspicuity; in the case of my Table the opposite procedure may probably have to be followed: my desire to simplify has, perhaps, prevented me from recognising a sufficient number of elements. Bichat, of course, by his classification, laid the foundation of a comprehensive work and a whole science; I, on the other hand, am merely setting down in all modesty, in this my last chapter, a thought which has been of service to myself and may be so to others; but I do not claim that it possesses scientific importance.

But before making a practical use of my classification I must briefly explain it. This will obviate misunderstandings and serve to meet objections. Moreover, I can only prove the value of the division into Knowledge, Civilisation and Culture if we are agreed as to the significance of the individual elements.

I take Discovery to mean the enriching of knowledge by concrete facts: in the first place we have to consider the discovery of ever greater portions of our planets, that is, the practical extension in space of the material of our knowledge and creative activity. But every other extension of the boundaries of our knowledge is likewise discovery: the study of the cosmos, the revelation of the infinitely small, the excavation of buried ruins, the discovery of hitherto unknown languages, &c. -- Science is something essentially different: it is the methodical elaboration of that which has been discovered into conscious, systematic knowledge. Without something discovered, that is, without concrete material -- given by experience, accurately determined by observation -- it would be merely a methodological phantom; vanishing it would leave us with only its mantle as mathematics and its skeleton as logic. It is just science, however, that is the greatest promoter of discovery. When Galvani's laboratory attendant saw the leg-muscles of a sensitised frog quiver, he had discovered a fact; Galvani himself had not noticed it at all; [2] but when this great scientist was told of the fact, there flashed through his brain a brilliantly intellectual thought, something altogether different from the gaping astonishment of the attendant or the unknown current that passed along the frog's leg: to him with his scientific training was revealed the vision of extensive connections with all kinds of known and still unknown facts, and this spurred him on to endless experiments and variously adapted theories. From this example the difference between science and discovery is obvious. Aristotle had already said, It first collect facts, then unite them by thought"; the first is discovery, the second science. Justus Liebig, whom I quote in this chapter with the greatest pleasure, since he stands for all that is most thorough in science, writes as follows: "All (scientific) investigation is deductive or aprioristic. Empirical inquiry in the ordinary sense does not exist at all. An experiment which is not led up to by a theory, i.e., by an idea, stands to natural investigation in the same relation as jingling with a child's rattle does to music." [3] This applies to every science, for all science is natural science. And although the boundary-line is frequently difficult to draw -- i.e., difficult for the man who has not been present at the work in the laboratory -- yet it is absolutely real and leads, in the first place, to the recognition of the important fact that nine-tenths of the so-called scientists of the nineteenth century were merely laboratory assistants who either, without having any prior idea, discovered facts by accident, that is to say, collected material or slavishly followed the ideas proclaimed by the few pre-eminent men -- (a Cuvier, a Jacob Grimm, a Bopp, a Robert Bunsen, a Robert Mayer, a Clerk Maxwell, a Darwin, a Pasteur, a Savigny, an Edward Reuss, &c.) -- and did some useful work, thanks solely to the light and leading of such men. We must never lose sight of this "lower" boundary of science. Nor must the upper boundary be forgotten. For as soon as the mind ceases, as in Galvani's case, to co-ordinate observed facts by a "prior idea" and thus to organise them into knowledge which is the result of human thought -- but raises itself beyond the material which discovery has provided to free speculation -- we are dealing no longer with science but with philosophy. This transition is so great that it is like springing from one planet to another; here we have two worlds as wide apart as the difference between the tone and the air-wave, between the expression and the eye; in them the irremediable, insuperable duality of our nature manifests itself. In the interests of science, which cannot grow to be an element of culture without philosophy, in the interests of philosophy, without which science is like a monarch without a people, it is desirable that every educated person should be clearly conscious of this boundary But there has been and still is an infinite amount of sinning in this very respect; the nineteenth century was a witches' kitchen of notions jumbled together, of unnatural endeavours to unite science and philosophy and those who made this attempt could, like the witches' brood in Faust, say of themselves:

If lucky our hits,
And everything tits,
'Tis thoughts, and we're thinking. [4]

The thoughts of course are in accordance, for there is no such thing as lucky hits, things never fit. So much with regard to the meaning of Science. As for Industry, I should personally be inclined to include it in the group Knowledge, for of all human vital activities it stands in the most direct dependence upon knowledge; it is, like Science, based at all points upon discovery, and every .. industrial" invention signifies a combination of known facts by means of a "prior" idea, as Liebig said. But I am afraid of provoking needless contradiction, since industry is, on the other hand, the very closest ally of economic development, and accordingly a decisive factor of all civilisation. No power in the world can hold back an accomplished fact of industry. Industry is almost like a blind power of nature: it cannot be resisted, and although it may seem to have the submissive obedience of a tamed animal, yet no one knows to what it may lead. The development of the technique of explosives, of rifles, of steam-engines are examples and proofs. As Emerson pointedly says, "Engineering in our age is like a balloon that has flown away with the aeronauts." [5] On the other hand, the example of printing is of itself enough adequately to show how direct is the reacting influence of industry upon knowledge and science. By Economy I understand the whole economic condition of a people; even when conditions of culture are high, it is frequently a very simple affair, as, (or example, in the earliest days in India; often it develops to extreme complexity, as in ancient Babylon and among us Teutons. This element forms the centre of all civilisation; its influence extends upwards as well as downwards, and stamps its character upon all manifestations .of social life. Certainly discoveries, science and industry contribute mightily to the shaping of the economic conditions of life, but they themselves both draw the possibility of their rise and continuance from the economic organism and are furthered or hindered by it. Thus it is that the nature, direction and tendency of a definite economic system can exercise upon the collective life of the people a stimulating influence of unparalleled greatness, or may paralyse it for ever. All politics -- our dogmatic friends may say what they like-are based finally upon economic conditions: politics, however, are the visible body, economic conditions the unseen ramification of veins. This changes but slowly, but if it has once changed -- if the blood circulates more sluggishly than formerly, or if, on the contrary, it begets new anastomoses and brings new vigour to every limb -- then politics too must follow suit, whether they will or not. However much appearances may deceive us, a civic community never springs into prosperity because of, but in spite of its politics politics alone can never offer to a civic community a perpetual guarantee of vigour -- for proof look to later Rome and Byzantium. England is supposed to be the political nation above all others, but if we look more closely we shall find that all this political mechanism is intended to fetter the specifically political power, and to give free rein to the other unpolitical, living forces, especially the economic: Magna Charta itself denotes the annihilation of political justice in favour of free jurisdiction. All politics are in their essence merely reaction, and in fact reaction against economic movements; it is only secondarily that they grow to a threatening force, though never to one that is finally decisive. [6] And though there is nothing in the world so difficult as to discuss general economic questions, without talking nonsense -- so mysteriously do the Norns (Acquiring, Keeping, Utilising) weave the destiny of nations and their individual members -- we can nevertheless easily realise the importance of economy as the predominant and central factor of ail civilisation. Politics imply not only the relation of one nation to the others, and not merely the conflict within the State between the circles and persons that seek to obtain influence, but also the whole visible and, so to speak, artificial organisation of the social body. In the second chapter of this book (vol. i. p. 143) I have defined law as arbitrariness in place of instinct in the relations of men to each other; now the State is the essence and embodiment of collective, indispensable and yet arbitrary agreements, while Politics are the State at work. The State is, as it were, the carriage, politics the driver; but this driver is at the same time cartwright and constantly mending his vehicle; occasionally he upsets it and must build a new one, but he possesses for this purpose no material but the old, and thus the new vehicle is, but for trifling external details, usually a mere repetition of the former -- unless indeed economic progress has in the meantime contributed some material that was not there before. In this tabular list Church is classed with politics: no other course was open to me; if the State is the essence of all arbitrary agreements, then the "Church," as we usually and officially understand the word, is the most perfect example of super-refined arbitrariness. For here it is not merely a question of the relations between man and man; the organising tendency of society lays its grip upon the inner personality of the individual and prevents him even there -- as far as it can -- from obeying the necessity of his nature; for it forces upon him as Law an arbitrarily established, minutely defined confession of Faith and, in addition, a fixed ceremonial for the lifting up of his heart and soul to God. To prove the need for Churches would be to carry owls to Athens, but this will not shake our conviction that we have here laid our finger upon the sorest spot of all politics, upon the spot where they reveal their most perilous side. In other ways politics might commit many really criminal mistakes, but in this respect there is very great temptation to commit the most serious of all crimes, the real If sin against the Holy Spirit," I mean, Violence to the inner man, the robbery of personality. My next group I have entitled "Weltanschauung" [7] (perception of the problems of life) not "Philosophy," for this Greek word (loving wisdom) is a miserably pale and cold vocable, and here we require above all colour and warmth. Wisdom! What is wisdom? I hope I shall not be compelled to quote Socrates and the Pythian priestess to justify my rejection of a Greek word. The German language has here, as it frequently has, infinite depth; it feeds us with good thoughts which are bountifully provided, like the mother's milk for the child. Welt meant originally not the earth, not the Cosmos, but mankind. [8] Though the eye roam through space, though thought may follow it like the elves who ride on sunbeams and girdle the earth without effort, yet man can only arrive at knowledge of himself, his wisdom will ever be only human wisdom; his Weltanschauung, however macrocosmically it extend itself in the delusion of embracing the All, will ever be but the microcosmic image in the brain of an individual man. The first part of this word Weltanschauung throws us imperatively back upon our human nature and its limits. Absolute wisdom (as the Greek formula would have it), any absolute knowledge however small, is out of the question; we can only have human knowledge, only what various men at different times have thought that they knew. And now, what is the human knowledge? The German word answers the question: to deserve the name knowledge, it must be Anschauung (intuitive perception). As Arthur Schopenhauer says: "In truth all truth and all wisdom rest finally on intuitive perception." And because this is so, the relative value of a Weltanschauung depends more upon power of seeing than upon abstract power of thinking, more upon the correctness of the perspective, upon the vividness of the picture, upon its artistic qualities (if I may so express my meaning), than upon the amount seen. The difference between the intuitively Perceived and the Known is like the difference between Rembrandt's "Landscape with the Three Trees" and a photograph taken from the same point. But the wisdom that lies in the word Weltanschauung is not yet exhausted; for the Sanscrit root of schauen means dichten (to invent poetically); as Rembrandt's example proves, schauen, far from being a passive reception of impressions, is the most active exercise of the personality; in intuitive perception every one is of necessity a poet, otherwise he "perceives" nothing at all, but merely reflects what he sees, after the mechanical fashion of an animal. [9] Hence the original meaning of the word schon (related to schauen) is not "beautiful," but "clearly visible, brightly lighted." This very clearness is the work of the observing subject; nature is not clear in itself, it remains, in the first instance for us, as Faust complains, "noble and dumb"; similarly the image in our brain is not illuminated from without: to see it accurately a bright torch must be kindled within. Beauty is man's addition: by it nature grows into art, and chaos into intuitive perception. Here Schiller's remark concerning the Beautiful and the True holds good:

Es ist nicht draussen, da sucht es der Thor;
Es ist in dir, du bringst es ewig hervor. [10]

The ancients, it is true, thought that Chaos was a past, outworn stage of the world. As even Hesiod writes:

First of all Chaos arose;

so we are to suppose that there followed a gradual development to more and more perfect form, but, in the face of cosmic nature, this is evidently an absurd conception, since nature is obviously nothing if not the rule of law, without which it would remain utterly unrecognisable; but where Law prevails, there is no Chaos. No, it is in the head of man -- nowhere else -- that Chaos exists, until in fact it is shaped by "intuitive perception" into clearly visible, brightly illuminated form; and it is this creative shaping that we have to describe as Weltanschauung. [11] When Professor Virchow and others boast that our age" needs no philosophy," inasmuch as it is the "age of science," they are simply extolling the gradual return from form to chaos. But the history of science convicts them of falsehood; for science was never more intuitive than in the nineteenth century, and that can never be except with the support of a comprehensive philosophy; in fact the two provinces have been so much confused that men like Ernst Haeckel actually became founders of religious theories -- that Darwin is constantly striding along with one foot resting upon pure matter and the other upon alarmingly daring philosophical assumptions -- and that nine-tenths of living scientists believe as firmly in atoms and ether as a painter of the Trecento in the tiny naked soul that flits away from the mouth of the dead. If robbed of all philosophy man would be bereft of all culture, a great two-footed ant. Concerning Religion I have already said so much in this book, pointing on more than one occasion to its importance as philosophy or as an element of philosophy, that I may venture to omit all that I might still have to say upon the subject. Genuine, experienced philosophy cannot be separated from genuine, experienced religion; the words denote not two different things, but two tendencies of mind, two moods. Thus, for example, in the case of the contemplative Indians, we see how religion almost completely merges into philosophy, while cognition consequently forms its central point, whereas in the case of men of action (St. Paul, St. Francis, Luther) faith is the axis of their whole philosophy, and philosophical cognition is like an almost disregarded peripheric boundary-line. The difference which here appears so startling does not in reality reach any great depth. The really fundamental difference lies between the idealistic and the materialistic way of viewing life's problems-whether as philosophy or religion. [11] In the section on the rise and growth of Teutonic philosophy up to Kant these various relations will, I hope, become perfectly clear, and it will be seen, in particular, that ethics and philosophy are inseparately bound together. The connections in the downward direction, between Philosophy and Science, between Religion and Church, are obvious; the relationship with Art has already been mentioned. Regarding Art, the meaning that must be assigned to the word in our Indo-European world, and its great importance for Culture, Science and Civilisation, I must refer the reader to the whole first chapter.

I think that the meaning of the terms employed in my tabular list is now clear. It must be admitted at once that in so summary a method much remains uncertain; but the loss is not great, on the contrary brevity constrains us to think accurately. Thus, perhaps, I may be asked under what heading medicine falls, since some have regarded it as an art rather than a science. But there is here, I think, a wrong use of the word art, a mistake made also by Liebig when he asserts that "99 per cent of natural investigation is art." Liebig bases his assertion upon the fact that imagination is an important factor in all higher scientific work, and secondly, that mechanical inventions are of decisive importance in every advance of knowledge: but imagination is not art, it is merely its instrument, and the implements that serve science, though artificial, belong absolutely and obviously, in their origin and purpose, to the sphere of industry. And the frequently emphasised advantage of the intuitive glance in the case of the doctor only establishes a relationship with art, which occurs in every sphere of life; medicine is and remains a science. Education, on the other hand, when regarded as a matter of schools and instruction, belongs to "Politics and Church." By it minds are moulded and firmly woven into the many-coloured web of convention; there is nothing which State and Church desire so ardently as the possession of the schools, and nothing about which they quarrel so obstinately as they do about their claims to the right of influencing them. In the same way every manifestation of social life can, without artificial forcing, be fitted into my short tabular list.


Whoever will take the trouble to pass in review the various civilisations which are known to us, will find that their remarkable divergence is due to differences in the relations between Knowledge, Civilisation (in the narrower sense) and Culture, and, to be more minute, is determined by too great insistence upon neglect of one or the other of the seven elements. No study is more likely to throw a light upon our own peculiar individuality.

We find in Judaism, as always, a very extreme and therefore instructive example. Here Knowledge and Culture, that is to say, the terminal points, are wanting; in no province have the Jews made discoveries; science is under a ban except where medicine has been a paying industry; art is absent; religion a rudiment; philosophy a digest of misunderstood Helleno-rabian formulas and spells. On the other hand, the comprehension of economic relations was abnormally developed; in the sphere of industry they had little inventive talent, but they exploited its value in the cleverest manner; politics were unexampled in their simplicity, because the Church usurped the monopoly of all arbitrary decisions. I do not know who it was -- I think it was Gobineau -- that called the Jews an anti-civilising power; on the contrary, they were, like all Semitic half-castes, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, &c., exclusively a civilising power. Thence the peculiarly unsatisfactory character of these Semitic peoples, for they have neither root nor blossom: their civilisation is neither based upon a knowledge slowly acquired by themselves and consequently really their own, nor does it grow into an individual, natural, necessary culture. We find the very opposite extreme in the Indo-Aryans, for here civilisation seems to be reduced, so to speak, to a minimum; industry carried on by Pariahs, economy left as simple as possible, politics never launching forth upon great and daring schemes; [12] on the other hand, remarkable diligence and success in the sciences (at least in some) and a tropical growth of culture (philosophy and poetry). Regarding the richness and complexity of Indo-Aryan philosophy and the sublimity of Indo-Aryan ethics I need say nothing more -- in the course of this whole work I have kept the eye of the reader fixed upon them. In art the Indo-Aryans did not possess anything like the creative power of the Hellenes, but their poetical literature is the most extensive in the world; in many examples it is of the sublimest beauty and of such inexhaustible richness of invention that the Indian scholars had to divide the drama into thirty-six classes with a view to creating order in this one branch of poetical production. [12] In the present connection, however, the most important observation is the following. In spite of their achievements in the sphere of mathematics, grammar &c., the culture of the Indians considerably surpassed not only their civilisation but also their knowledge; hence they were what we call "top- heavy," all the more so, since their science was almost purely formal and lacking in the element of discovery, that is to say, it lacked the real material, or at least did not acquire new material to nourish the higher qualities and to keep the faculties constantly exercised. Here we notice something which will force itself again and again upon our attention, that Civilisation is a relatively indifferent central mass, while close relations of mutual correlation exist between Knowledge and Culture. The Indian who possesses very little capacity for empirical observation of nature, possesses likewise (and, as I hope to show, for that very reason) little artistic creative power; on the other hand. we see the abnormal development of pure brain activity conducing on the one hand to an unexampled richness of imagination and on the other to an equally unrivalled brilliancy of the logical and mathematical faculties. Again, the Chinese would provide us with an altogether different example, if we had time at present to extricate this wain from the mud in which our national psychologists have so firmly embedded it; for the fairy tale that the Chinese were once different from what they are now -- inventive, creative, scientific -- and suddenly some thousand years ago changed their character and remained thenceforth absolutely stationary. is one which others may swallow, I will not. This people to-day lives a most thriving, active life, shows no trace of decline, swarms and grows and prospers; it was always the same as it is to-day, otherwise nature would not be nature. And what is its character? Industrious, skilful, patient, soulless. In many respects this human species bears a striking resemblance to the Jewish, especially in the total absence of all culture, and the one-sided emphasising of civilisation; but the Chinaman is much more industrious, he is the most indefatigable farm-labourer in the world, and in all manual work he has infinite skill; besides, he possesses, if not art (in our sense) at least taste. It becomes, it is true, more questionable every day whether the Chinaman possesses even moderate inventive talent, but he at least takes up anything that is conveyed to him by others, so far as his unimaginative mind can see any practical value in it, and thus he possessed, long before us, paper, printing (in primitive form), powder, the compass, and many other things. [14] His learning keeps pace with his industry. While we have to be contented with encyclopaedias in sixteen volumes, the fortunate, or shall I say unfortunate, Chinese possess printed encyclopaedias of one thousand volumes! [15] They possess more complete historical annals than any people in the world, a literature of natural history which surpasses ours in extent, whole libraries of moral handbooks, &c., ad infinitum. And what good does it all do them? They invent (?) powder and are conquered and ruled by every tiny nation; two hundred years before Christ they possess a substitute for paper, and not long after paper itself, and up to the present they have not produced a man worthy to write upon it; they print practical encyclopaedias of many thousand volumes and know nothing, absolutely nothing; they possess detailed historical annals and no history at all; they describe in admirable fashion the geography of their own country and have long possessed an instrument like the compass, but they never go on voyages of exploration, and have never discovered an inch of land. Nor have they ever produced a geographer capable of widening their horizon. One might call the Chinaman the human machine. As long as he remains in the villages which the community itself manages, occupied with irrigation, mulberry culture, rearing of children, &c., the Chinaman inspires us almost with admiration; within these narrow limits, of course, natural impulse, mechanical skill and industry are sufficient; but whenever he crosses these boundaries, he actually becomes a comical figure for all this feverish industrial and scientific work, this collecting of material and studying and book-keeping, these imposing public examinations, this elevation of learning to the highest throne, this fabulous development under State support of industrial and technical art, lead to absolutely nothing; that which we have here, in the life of the community, called culture -- the soul -- is lacking. The Chinese possess moralists, but no philosophers, they possess mountains of poems and dramas -- for with them, as with the French of the eighteenth century, writing poetry is the fashion and part of a gentleman's education -- but they never possessed a Dante or a Shakespeare. [16]

This example is obviously extremely instructive, for it proves that culture is not in itself a necessary product of knowledge and civilisation, not a consecutive evolution, but depends upon the nature of the personality, upon the individuality of the people. The Aryan Indian, with materially limited knowledge and inadequately developed civilisation, possesses a Titanic culture of eternal importance; -- the Chinaman, with a detailed knowledge of gigantic dimensions and an over-refined, feverishly active civilisation, possesses no culture at all. And just as we have failed after three centuries to impart knowledge to the negro or to civilise the American Indian, so we shall fail in our endeavour to graft culture upon the Chinaman. Each of us in fact remains what he is and was; what we erroneously call progress is the unfolding of something already present; where there is nothing, the King loses his rights. This example reveals another point with particular clearness, and I should like to emphasise it in order to supplement what I formerly said about the Indians: that without culture, i.e., without that tendency of mind to an all-uniting, all-illuminating philosophy, there can be no real knowledge. We can and should keep science and philosophy apart; certainly; but it is obvious that without profound thought no possibility of extensive science can arise; an exclusively practical knowledge, directed to facts and industry, lacks all significance. [17] This is an important fact and it is supplemented by another drawn from our experience of the Indo-Aryans, that, conversely, when the supply of the material of knowledge stops, the higher life of culture comes likewise to a standstill, and becomes ossified -- this being due, in my opinion, to the shrivelling up of creative power; for the mystery of existence remains ever the same, whether we contemplate much or little, and at every moment the extent of the Inscrutable corresponds exactly to that of the Investigated; but questioning wonder and with it creative imagination are dulled by the Familiar and unchanging. Let me give a proof of this. Those great myth-inventors, the Sumero- Accadians, were brilliant workers in the sphere of natural observation and of mathematical science; their astronomical discoveries reveal remarkable precision, i.e., prosaically sure observation: but prosaic though they might be, the discoveries evidently stimulated the imagination powerfully, and so in the case of this people we see science and myth- uilding going hand in hand. The practical talents of this people are proved by their fundamental economic and political institutions, which have come down to us: the division of the year according to the position of the sun, the institution of the week, the introduction of a duodecimal system for commerce in weighing, counting, &c.: but all these thoughts testify to an unusual power of creative imagination, and we may conclude from the remnants of their language that they were peculiarly predisposed to metaphysical thought. [18] We see in how manifold ways the threads are interwoven -- how absolutely decisive is the nature of the special racial individuality with its contrasts and unalterable character.

Unfortunately I cannot continue this investigation further, but I think that even these extremely meagre indications will provide subject for much reflection, and lead to the recognition of many facts which are of importance for us at the present time. Now if we again take up our tabular list and look around to find a really harmonious man, beautifully and freely developed in all directions, there is no one in the past but the Hellene whom we shall be able to name. With him all the elements of human life shine in the fullest splendour: discovery, science, industry, economy, politics, philosophy, art: in every province he stands the test. Here we see before us a really "complete man." He did not "develop" from the Chinaman, who even when Athens was at the zenith of her glory was toiling with superfluous diligence; [19] he is not an "evolution" of the Egyptian, although he felt a quite unnecessary reverence for the latter's supposed wisdom; he does not signify an "advance" upon the Phoenician pedlar, who first acquainted him with certain rudiments of civilisation; no, it was in barbarous regions, under definite, probably hard conditions of life, that a noble human race made itself still nobler, and -- for this is even historically demonstrable -- by crossing with related but individualised branches of the main stock, acquired talents of a most various nature. This human being at once revealed himself as the man that he was to be and to remain. He developed quickly. [20] The inherited discoveries, inventions and thoughts of the world had led in the case of the Egyptians to a dead, hieratic science, united to an absolutely practical, unimaginative, honest religion; in the case of the Phoenicians to commerce and idolatry; in the case of their neighbours the Hellenes, exactly the same impulses led to science and culture, without the just demands of civilisation having to suffer. The Hellene alone possesses this many- sidedness, this perfect plasticity, which has found artistic expression in his statues; hence he deserves greater admiration and reverence than any other man, and he alone can be held up as a pattern -- not for imitation but for emulation. The Roman, whose name is in our schools linked to that of the Hellene, is almost more one-sided in his development than the Indian; while in the case of the latter culture had gradually consumed all vital powers, in the former every other gift had been from the first suppressed by political cares -- the work of legislation and the work of statecraft. He was so fully occupied with the task of civilisation that he had no strength left for knowledge or for culture. [21] In the course of his whole history the Roman discovered nothing, invented nothing; and here too we see the aforementioned law once more at work, that mysterious law of the correlation of knowledge and culture; for when he had become master of the world and began to feel the monotony of a life devoid of culture. it was too late; the welling fountain of originality, that is, of freely creative power, had absolutely dried up in him. His strong, one-sided political work presses heavily enough upon us even to-day, and deludes us into attaching to political things a predominant and independently informing significance, which they are far from possessing, and which they claim only to the prejudice of life.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:15 pm

Part 2 of 3


This digression from China to the Sumero-Accadians leads, as I think, to a fairly clear conception of our own personality and its necessary development. For we may utter it without hesitation; the Teuton is the only human being who can be compared to the Hellene. In him, too, the striking and specifically distinctive character is the simultaneous and equal development of knowledge, civilisation and culture. The many-sided and comprehensive nature of our capacities distinguishes us from all contemporary and all former races-with the single exception of the Hellenes; a fact which, by the way, is an argument in favour of the presumption that we are closely related to them. But that is why a comparative distinction is in this case of the greatest value. Thus, for example, we may surely assert that culture was the predominant element in the Greeks; they possessed the most perfect and most original poetry, out of which the rest of their art grew, and that, too, at a time when their civilisation still bore the stamp of the love of splendour -- the appreciation of beauty in spite of the elements of dependency and barbarism -- a time when their thirst for knowledge was scarcely awakened. At a later period their science suddenly made a great and ever-memorable advance, and that, too, needed the direct and happy stimulus of sublime philosophy (here again the correlation!) With these unrivalled achievements of the Hellenes their civilisation lagged far behind. Athens, it is true, was a manufacturing city (if this expression does not offend too dainty ears), and the world would never have had a Thales or a Plato had not the Hellenes as economists and crafty, enterprising merchants won for themselves wealth and leisure; they were in every sense a practical people; yet in politics -- without which no civilisation can last -- they did not reveal any particular talent, such as the Romans did; Law and State were in Athens the shuttlecock of the ambitious; nor must we overlook the phenomenon of the directly anti-civilising measures of the most durable Greek State, Sparta. It is obvious that with us Teutons matters are essentially different. Our politics, it is true, have remained, even to the present day, clumsy, rude, awkward, yet we have proved ourselves the greatest State-builders in the world -- and this would lead us to suppose that here, as in so many things, it was imitation rather than lack of ability that stood in our way. Goethe asks with a sigh: "Who is fortunate enough to become conscious in early life of his own self and its proper connection apart from outside forms?" [22] Not even the Hellenes, and we much, much less. Our gifts have developed better, because more independently, in the whole economic sphere (commerce, trade, agriculture perhaps least of all) and reached a splendour hitherto unknown; it has been the same with industry, which quickly followed suit. What are Phoenicians and Carthaginians with their caravans and their miserable warehouses and sweating system, in comparison with a Lombardic or a Rhenish city-league, in which shrewdness, industry, invention and -- last not least -- honesty go hand in hand? [23] In our case, therefore, civilisation, the whole sphere of real civilisation, forms the central point; a good characteristic, in so far as it promises durability, but a somewhat perilous one, in that we run a risk of becoming Chinese, a risk which would become a very real one if the non-Teutonic or scarcely Teutonic elements among us were ever to gain the upper hand. [24] For our unquenchable desire for knowledge would at once be enlisted in the service of mere civilisation, and thereby -- as in China -- fall under the ban of eternal sterility. The only safeguard against this is culture, which confers on us dignity and greatness, immortality, indeed -- as the ancient Greeks were wont to say -- Divinity. But in our gifts culture does not possess the predominant importance which the Hellenes assigned to it. For its importance in Hellenism I refer to my remarks in the first chapter. No one can say of us that art moulds our life, or that philosophy (in its noblest sense as a way of viewing life's problems) plays as great a part in the lives of our leading men as it did in Athens, not to speak of India. And the worst feature of the case is, that that element of culture which, to judge from countless manifestations of Celto-Slavo Teutonism, is most highly developed among us (and at the same time an ample substitute for the artistic and metaphysical talent which the majority of us lack), I mean Religion, has never been able to tear off the straitjacket which -- immediately upon our entrance into history -- was forced upon it by the unworthy hands of the Chaos of Peoples. In Jesus Christ the absolute religious genius had entered the world; no one was so well adapted to hear this divine voice as the Teuton; the present spreaders of the Gospel throughout Europe are all Teutons; and the whole Teutonic people, as the example of the rude Goths shows (vol. i. p. 553), seizes upon the words of the Gospel, repelling all foolish superstition, as we see from the history of the Arians. And yet the Gospel soon disappears and the great voice is silent; for the children of the Chaos will not abandon the sacrifice by proxy which the better spirits among the Hellenes and the Indians had long ago rejected, and the pre-eminent Prophets of the Jews had centuries before laughed out of court; all kinds of cabalistic magic and metamorphosis of matter from the late, impure Syro-Egypt came to be added; and all this, embellished and supplemented by Jewish chronicle, is henceforth the "religion" of the Teutons! Even the Reformation does not cast it off, and so becomes involved in an irreconcilable contradiction with itself; this throws the preponderance of the importance of the Reformation into a purely political sphere, that is to say, into the class of forces which are merely civilising, whereas all that it accomplishes in the sphere of culture is an inconsistent affirmation (redemption by faith -- and yet retention of materialistic superstition) and a fragmentary negation (rejection of a portion of the dogmatic accretions and retention of the rest). [25] In the want of a true religion that has sprung from, and is compatible with, our own individuality, I see the greatest danger for the future of the Teuton; this is his vulnerable heel; he who wounds our Achilles there will lay him low. Look back at the Hellene! Led by Alexander, he showed himself capable of conquering the whole world; but his weak point was politics; being gifted with extravagant talents even in this respect, he produced the foremost doctrinaires of politics, the most ingenious founders of States, the most brilliant orators on State affairs; but the success which he achieved in other spheres failed him in this: -- he created nothing great and lasting; that was why he fell; it was solely his pitiful political condition that delivered him over to the Romans; with his freedom he lost his vital power; the first harmoniously complete human being was a thing of the past, and naught but his shadow now walked upon the earth. I think that in respect of religion we Teutons are in a similar case. A race so profoundly and inwardly religious is unknown to history; we are not more moral than other people, but much more religious. In this respect we occupy a position between the Indo-Aryan and the Hellene; our inborn metaphysical and religious need impels us to a much more artistic (i.e., more illuminating) philosophy than that of the Indian, to a much more spiritual and therefore profounder one than that of the Hellenes, who surpass us in art. It is this very standpoint which deserves to be called religion, to distinguish it from philosophy and from art. If we tried to enumerate the true saints, the great preachers, the merciful helpers, the mystics of our race, if we were to inquire how many have suffered torture and death for their faith, if we were to investigate the important part played by religious conviction in all the most important men of our history, we should find the task endless; our whole glorious art in fact develops round religion as its centre, just as the earth revolves round the sun; it develops only partly and outwardly round this and that special Church, but everywhere and inwardly around the longing, religious heart. And in spite of this vigorous religious life we show from the first the most absolute want of unity in religious matters. What do we find today? The Anglo- Saxon -- impelled by his unerring vital instinct -- clings to some traditional Church, which does not interfere in politics, in order that he may at least possess religion as the centre of his life; the Norseman and the Slav dissolve themselves into a hundred weakly sects, well aware that they are being led astray, but incapable of finding the right path; we see the Frenchman languishing in dreary scepticism or the most foolish humbug of fashion; the Southern Europeans have now fallen a prey to the most unvarnished idolatry, and are consequently no longer classed among cultured races; the German stands apart and waits for a God to descend once more from Heaven, or chooses in despair between the religion of Isis and the religion of imbecility called "Force and Matter."

In the various sections I shall have to return to many points to which I have here alluded; in the meantime it is sufficient if, in paving the way for a further comparative characterisation of our Teutonic world, I have revealed its most pre-eminent quality, and at the same time its most perilous weakness.

A few pages back I invoked the Bichat of the future; now we reach a point where we can offer him some indications concerning the historical development of the Teutonic world up to the year 1800. That we shall do by glancing successively at each of the seven elements which we adopted in order to get a more comprehensive view of the whole field.



To the sum of what is to be known there is obviously no limit. In science -- in contrast to the material of knowledge -- a stage of development might certainly be conceived at which all the great laws of nature should have been discovered: for we have to deal with a question of a relation between phenomena and the human reason, and so of something which, in consequence of the special nature of our reason, is strictly limited, and, as it were, "individual," -- inasmuch as it is accommodated to and pertinent to the individuality of the human race. Science would in this case find an inexhaustible scope within itself, only in a more and more refined analysis. On the other hand, all experience proves that the realm of phenomena and of forms is infinite and can never be completely investigated. No geography, physiography or geology, however scientific, can tell us anything at all about the peculiarities of a yet undiscovered country; a newly discovered moss, a newly discovered beetle, is an absolutely new thing, an actual and permanent enrichment of our conceptive world, of the material of our knowledge. Naturally, for our own human convenience, we shall at once assign beetle and moss to some established species, and if no pinching and squeezing will accomplish this, we shall for the sake of classification invent a new "species," incorporating it, if possible, in a well-known "order"; nevertheless the beetle in question and the moss in question remain, as before, something perfectly individual, something that could not be invented or reasoned out, a new unexpected embodiment, so to speak, of the cosmic plan, and this embodiment we now possess, whereas formerly we lacked it. It is the same with all phenomena. The refraction of light by the prism, the presence of electricity everywhere, the circulation of the blood .... every discovered fact means an enrichment. "The individual manifestations of the laws of nature," says Goethe, "all lie like Sphinxes, rigid, unyielding, silent outside of us. Every new phenomenon perceived is a discovery, every discovery a possession." This makes the distinction within the sphere of knowledge between discovery and science very clear; the one has to deal with the Sphinxes that lie without us, the other means the elaboration of these perceptions into the new form of an inner possession. [26] That is why we can very well compare the raw material of knowledge, i.e., the mass of the Discovered, to the raw material of property, that is, money. So long ago as the year 1300 the old chronicler Robert of Gloucester wrote, "For the more that a man can, the more worth he is." He who knows much is rich, he who knows little is poor. But this very comparison, which, to begin with, will seem somewhat commonplace, serves excellently to teach us how to lay our finger on the critical point as regards knowledge; for the value of money depends altogether on• the use which we are able to make of it. That riches give power and poverty cripples, is a truism; the most stupid observes it daily in himself and in others, and yet Shakespeare, one of the wisest of men, wrote:

If thou art rich, thou'rt poor,

And, as a matter of fact, life teaches us that no simple, direct relation prevails between riches and power. Just as hyperaemia or superfluity of blood in the organism proves a hindrance to vital activity and finally even causes death. so we frequently observe how easily great riches can paralyse. It is the same with knowledge. I have shown in a previous section how the Indians were ruined by anaemia of the material of knowledge, they were, so to speak, starved idealists; the Chinese, on the other hand, resembled bloated upstarts, who had no idea how to employ the huge capital of knowledge which they have collected -- being without initiative, imagination or idea. The common proverb, "Knowledge is power," is not, therefore, absolutely valid, it depends upon the person who knows. It might be said of knowledge, even more than of gold, that in itself it is nothing at all, absolutely nothing, and just as likely to injure a man and utterly ruin him as to elevate and ennoble him. The ignorant Chinese peasant is one of the most efficient and happy men in the world, the learned Chinaman is a plague, he is the cancer of his people; that is why that wonderful man, Lao-tze -- who has been so shamefully misunderstood by our modern commentators, reared as they have been on phrases of "humanity" -- was absolutely right in saying: "Alas, if we [the Chinese] could only give up our great knowledge and do away with learning, our people would be a hundred times more prosperous." [27] Thus here again we are thrown 'back upon individuality, natural capacities, inborn character. A minimum of knowledge suffices one human race, more is fatal, for it has no organ to digest it; in the case of another the thirst for knowledge is natural, and the people pines away when it can convey no nourishment for this need; it also understands how to elaborate in a hundred ways the continual stream of the material of knowledge; not only for the transformation of outward life, but for the continual enrichment of thought and action. The Teutons are in this case. It is not the amount of their knowledge that deserves admiration -- for all knowledge constantly remains relative -- but the fact that they possessed the rare capacity to acquire it, that is, ceaselessly to discover, ceaselessly to force the " silent Sphinxes" to speak, and in addition the capacity to absorb, so to say, what had been taken up, so that there was always room for new matter, without causing hypertrophy.

We see how infinitely complex every individuality is. But I hope that from these few remarks, in union with those in the preceding part of this chapter, the reader will without difficulty grasp the peculiar importance of knowledge for the life of the Teuton, knowledge of course in its simplest form, as the discovery of facts. He will also recognise that in many ways this -- in a certain sense purely material -- gift is connected with his higher and highest capacities. Only remarkable philosophical gifts and only an extremely active economic life can render the consumption, digestion, and utilisation of so much knowledge possible. It is not the knowledge that has created the vigour; the great superfluity of vigour has ceaselessly striven to acquire ever wider knowledge, in exactly the same way as it has striven to acquire more and more possession in other spheres. This is the true inner source of the victorious career of the zeal for knowledge, which from the thirteenth century onwards never flags. He who grasps this fact will follow the history of discoveries not like a child, but with understanding.


When we contemplate this phenomenon which is so characteristically individualistic, we are at once bound to be impressed by the connection of the various sides of the individuality. I have just said that our treasure of knowledge is due to our keenness to possess; I had no intention to attach any evil signification to this word; possession is power, power is freedom. Moreover, all such keenness implies not merely a longing to increase our power by laying hold of what lies outside of ourselves, but also the longing for renunciation of self. Here, as in love, the contrasts go hand in hand; we take, in order to take, but we also take in order to give. And precisely as we recognised in the case of the Teuton an affinity between the founder of States and the artist, [28] so a certain noble striving after possession is closely related to the capacity to create new things out of what is possessed, and to present them to the world for its enrichment. But in spite of all we must not overlook one fact in the history of our discoveries, what a great part has been played quite directly and undisguisedly by the craving for gold. For at the one end of the work of discovery there stands, as the simple broad basis of everything else, the investigation of the earth, the discovery of the planet which is the abode of man; it was this that first taught us with certainty the shape and nature of our planet, and at the same time the fundamental facts concerning man's position in the cosmos; from it we first learnt full details concerning the various races of men, the nature of rocks, the vegetable and animal world; at the extreme other end of the same work stands the investigation of the inner constitution of visible matter, what we today call chemistry and physics, an extremely mysterious and, till a short time ago, doubtful interference with the bowels of nature, savouring of magic, but at the same time a most important source of our present knowledge and our present power. [29] Now in the opening up of these two spheres of knowledge, in the voyages of discovery and in alchemy as well, the direct search for gold was for centuries the impelling power. Besides this motive and above it, we certainly always find in the great individual pioneers something else -- a pure ideal power; a Columbus is ready at any moment to die for his idea, an Albertus Magnus is vaguely pursuing the great problems of the world; but such men would not have found the needful support nor would bands of followers, indispensable for the toilsome work of discovery, have joined them, had not the hope of immediate gain spurred them on. The hope of finding gold led to keener observation, it doubled the inventive power, it inspired the most daring hypotheses, it conferred infinite endurance and contempt of death. After all it is much the same today: the States, it is true, no longer scramble for the yellow metal, as the Spaniards and Portuguese of the sixteenth century did, yet the gradual discovery of the world and its subjection to Teutonic influence depends solely upon whether it will pay. Even a Livingstone has after all proved a pioneer for capitalists in search of high interest, and it is they who first carry out what the individual idealist could not accomplish. Similarly, modem chemistry could not dispense with expensive laboratories and instruments, and the State maintains these, not out of enthusiasm for pure science, but because the industrial inventions that spring therefrom enrich the country. [30] The South Pole, which still defies the twentieth century, would be discovered and overrun in six months if people thought that rocks of pure gold rise there above the waves.

As the reader can see, I have no wish to represent ourselves as better and nobler than we are; honesty is the best policy, as the proverb says; and this holds good even here. For from this observation regarding the power of gold we are brought to recognise a fact which, once our attention is called to it, we shall find confirmed on all sides: that the Teuton has a peculiar capacity to make a good use of his shortcomings; the ancients would have said that he was a favourite of the Gods; I think that I see in this a proof of his great; capacity for culture. A commercial company, with an eye only to good interest and not always proceeding conscientiously, subjugates India, but its activity is kept alive and ennobled by a whole succession of stainless military heroes and great statesmen, and it was the officials of this company who -- fired by noble enthusiasm and qualified for their task by a learning acquired by great self-sacrifice -- enriched our culture by the revelation of the old Aryan language. We are thrilled with horror when we read the history of the annihilation of the Indians in North America: everywhere on the side of the Europeans there is injustice, treachery, savage cruelty; [31] and yet how decisive was this very work of destruction for the later development of a noble, thoroughly Teutonic nation upon that soil! A comparative glance at the South American mestizo colonies convinces us of this. [32] That boundless passion displayed in the pursuit of gold leads to the recognition of yet another fact, one that is essential for the history of our discoveries. Passion may, indeed, influence very various parts of our being -- that depends upon the individual; characteristic of our race are daring, endurance, self-sacrifice; great power of conception, which causes the individual to become quite wrapt up in his idea. But this element of passion does not by any means reveal itself merely in the sphere of egoistical interest: it confers on the artist power to work on amid poverty and neglect; it provides statesmen, reformers and martyrs; it has also given us our discoverers. Rousseau's remark, "Il n'y a que de grandes passions que jassent de grandes choses," is probably not so universally true as he thought, but it is absolutely true of us Teutons. In our great journeys of discovery, as in our attempts to transform substances, the hope of gain has been the great incentive, but in no other sphere, unless it be in that of medicine, has this succeeded. Here then, was the passionate impulse dominant -- an impulse likewise towards possession, but it was the possession of knowledge, purely as knowledge. Here we have a peculiar and specially to be venerated aspect of the purely ideal impulse; to me it seems closely related to the artistic and the religious impulse; it explains that intimate connection between culture and knowledge, the puzzling nature of which I have so often illustrated by practical examples. [33] To believe that knowledge produces culture (as is frequently taught to-day) is senseless and contradicts experience; living wisdom, however, can only find a place in a mind predisposed to high culture; otherwise knowledge remains lying on the surface like manure on a stony field -- it poisons the atmosphere and does no good. Concerning this passionate character of genius as the fundamental cause of our victorious career of discoveries, one of the greatest discoverers of the nineteenth century, Justus Liebig, has written as follows: "The great mass of men have no idea what difficulties are involved in works which really extend the sphere of knowledge; indeed, we may say that man's innate impulse towards truth would not suffice to overcome the difficulties which oppose the accomplishment of every great result, if this impulse did not in individuals grow into a mighty passion which braces and multiplies their powers. All these works are undertaken without prospect of gain and without claim to thanks; the man who accomplishes them has seldom the good fortune to live to see them put to practical use; he cannot turn his achievement into money in the market of life, it has no price and cannot be ordered or bought." [34]

This perfectly disinterested "passion" we find, in fact, everywhere in the history of our discoveries. [35] To the reader whose knowledge in this branch is not very extensive, I should recommend the study of Gilbert, a man who, at the end of the sixteenth century (when Shakespeare was writing his dramas), by absolutely endless experiments laid the foundation of our knowledge of electricity and magnetism. At that time no one could dream of the practical application of this knowledge even in distant centuries; indeed these things were so mysterious that up to Gilbert's time they had either not been heeded and observed, or only used for philosophical hocus-pocus. And this one man, who had only the old and well-known observations in connection with rubbed amber and the magnet to start from, experimented so indefatigably and extracted from nature her secret with such natural genius that he established, once for all, all the fundamental facts in reference to magnetism, recognised electricity (the word was coined by him) as a phenomenon different from magnetism, and paved the way for its investigation.


Now we may connect with the example of Gilbert a distinction which I briefly established in drawing up my Table of subjects, and which I again cursorily touched upon when mentioning Goethe's distinction between what is without and what is within us; practice win show its importance more clearly than theory, and it is essential for a rational view of the history of Teutonic discoveries: I mean the distinction between discovery and science. Nothing will make this clearer to us than a comparative glance at the Hellenes. The capacity of the Hellenes for real science was great, in many respects greater than our own (think only of Democritus, Aristotle, Euclid, Aristarchus, &c.); their capacity for discovery, on the contrary, was strikingly small. In this case, too, the simplest example is at the same time the most instructive. Pytheas, the Greek explorer -- the equal of any later traveller in daring, intuition and understanding [36] -- stands quite alone; he was ridiculed by all, and not a single one of those philosophers who could tell us such beautiful things concerning God, the soul, atoms and the heavenly sphere, had the faintest idea of the significance which the simple investigation of the surface of the earth must have for man. This shows a striking lack of curiosity and absence of all genuine thirst for knowledge, a total blindness to the value of facts, purely as such. And do not suppose that in their case "progress" was a mere question of time. Discovery can begin every day and anywhere; the necessary instruments -- mechanical and intellectual -- are derived spontaneously from the needs of the investigation. Even to our own day the most faithful observers are usually not the most learned men, and frequently they are exceedingly weak in the theoretical summarising of their knowledge. Thus, for example, Faraday (perhaps the most remarkable discoverer of the nineteenth century) grew up almost without higher education as a bookbinder's apprentice; his knowledge of physics he derived from encylopaedias which he had to bind, that of chemistry from a popular summary for young girls ; thus prepared he began to make those discoveries upon which almost the whole technical part of electricity is to-day based. [37] Neither William Jones nor Colebrooke, the two discoverers of the Sanscrit language at the end of the eighteenth century, were philologists by profession. The man who accomplished what no other scholar had been able to do, who discovered how to steal from plants the secret of their life, the founder of the physiology of plants, Stephen Hales (1761), was a country minister. We only need in fact to watch Gilbert, whom we mentioned above, at work: all his experiments in electricity of friction might have been carried out by any clever Greek two thousand years before; he invented his own apparatus; in his time there were no higher mathematics, without which a complete comprehension of these phenomena is to-day scarcely thinkable. No, the Greek observed but little and never without bias; he immediately plunged into theory and hypothesis, that is, into science and philosophy; the passionate patience which the work of discovery demands was not given to him. We Teutons, on the other hand, possess a special talent for the investigation of nature, and this talent does not lie on the surface, but is most closely bound up with the deepest depths of our being. As theorists we have apparently no great claim to importance: the philologists confess that the Indian Panini surpasses the greatest Grammarians of to-day; [38] the jurists say that the ancient Romans were very superior to us in jurisprudence; even after we had sailed round the world we would not believe that it was round till the fact had been fully proved to us and hammered into us for centuries, whereas the Greeks, who knew only the insignificant Mediterranean, had long ago demonstrated the fact by way of pure science; in spite of the enormous increase of our knowledge, we still cannot do without Hellenic "atoms," Indian "ether," Babylonian "evolution." As discoverers, however, we have no rivals. So that historian of Teutonic civilisation and culture, whom I invoked above, will here have to draw a subtle and clear distinction, and then dwell long and in detail upon our work of discovery.

Discovery demands above all childlike freedom from bias -- hence those large childlike eyes which attract us in a countenance such as Faraday's. The whole secret of discovery lies in this, to let nature speak. For this self-control is essential: the Greeks did not possess it. The preponderance of their genius lay in creative work, the preponderance of ours lies in receptivity. For nature does not obey a word of command, she does not speak as we men desire, or utter what we wish to hear; we have by endless patience, by unconditional subjection, by a thousand groping attempts to find out how she wills to be questioned and what questions she cares to answer, what not. Hence observation is a splendid discipline for the formation of character: it exercises endurance, restrains arbitrariness, teaches absolute truthfulness. The observation of nature has played this part in the history of Teutonism; it would play the same part to-morrow in our schools, if only the pall of mediaeval superstition would at length lift, and we came to understand the fact that it is not the repetition by rote of antiquated wisdom in dead, misunderstood languages, nor the knowledge of so-called "facts" and still less science, but the "method" of acquiring all knowledge -- namely observation -- that should be the foundation of all education, as the one discipline which at the same time forms the mind and the character, confers freedom but not licence, and opens up to everyone the source of all truth and all originality. For here again we observe knowledge and culture in contact and begin better to understand how discoverers and poets belong to the one family: for only nature is really original, but she is so everywhere and at all times. If Nature alone is infinitely rich, and she alone forms the great artist." [39]

The men whom we call geniuses, a Leonardo, a Shakespeare, a Bach, a Kant, a Goethe, are finely organised observers; not, of course, in the sense of brooding and burrowing, but in that of seeing, storing up and elaborating what they have seen. This power of seeing, that is, the capacity of the individual man to adopt such an attitude towards nature that, within certain limits prescribed by his individuality, he may absorb her ever creative originality and thus become qualified to be creative and original himself -- this power of seeing can be trained and developed. Certainly only in the case of a few extraordinary men will it display freely creative activity. but it will render thousands capable of original achievements.

If the impulse to discovery by investigation is innate in the Teuton in the manner described, why was it so long in awakening! It was not long in awakening, but was systematically suppressed by other powers. As soon as the migrations with their ceaseless wars gave even a moment's peace, the Teuton set to work, thirsting after knowledge and diligently investigating. Charlemagne and King Alfred are well-known examples (see vol. i. p. 326 f.); even of Charlemagne's father, Pepin, we read in Lamprecht, [40] that he was "full of understanding, especially for the natural sciences." [41] Important are the utterances of such a man as Scotus Erigena, who (in the ninth century) said that nature can and should be investigated; that only thereby does she fulfil her divine purpose. [42] Now what was the fate of this man who in spite of his desire for knowledge was extremely pious and characteristically inclined to fanatical mysticism? At the command of Pope Nicholas I, he was driven from his chair in Paris and finally murdered, and even four centuries later his works, which in the meantime had been widely circulated among all really religious, anti-Roman Teutons of various nations, were hunted for everywhere by the emissaries of Honorius II. and burned. The same happened whenever a desire for knowledge began to assert itself. Precisely in the thirteenth century, at the moment when the writings of Scotus Erigena were being committed so zealously to the flames, there was born that incomprehensibly great mind Roger Bacon, [43] who sought to fill men with ardour for discovery, "by sailing out to the west, in order to reach the east," who constructed the microscope and in theory planned the telescope, who first demonstrated the importance of scientific knowledge of languages studied in a strictly philological manner, &c. &c., and who above all established for good the importance of observation of nature as the basis of all real knowledge, and spent his whole fortune on physical experiments. Now what encouragement did this man receive, though he was better qualified than anyone before or after him to provide the spark that would make the intellectual capacities of all Teutons burst into bright flames? At first he was merely forbidden to write down the results of his experiments, that is to say, to communicate them to the world; then the reading of the books already issued was punished with excommunication, and his papers -- the results of his studies -- were destroyed; finally he was condemned to a cruel imprisonment, in which he remained for many years, till shortly before his death. The struggle which I have exemplified by these two cases lasted for centuries and cost much blood and suffering. Essentially, it is exactly the same struggle as that described in my eighth chapter: Rome against Teutonism. For, no matter what we may think of Roman infallibility, every unbiased person will admit that Rome has always with unerring instinct known how to hinder what was likely to further Teutonism, and to give support to everything whereby it was bound to be most seriously injured.

However, to rob the matter of all sting which might still wound, we will follow it back to its purely human kernel: what do we find there? We find that actual, concrete knowledge, that is, the great work of toilsome discovery, has one deadly enemy, omniscience. The Jews are a case in point (vol. i. p. 401); if a man possesses a sacred book, which contains all wisdom, then all further investigation is as superfluous as it is sinful: the Christian Church took over the Jewish tradition. This fastening on to Judaism, which was so fatal for our history, is being accomplished before our very eyes; it can be demonstrated step by step. The old Church Fathers, taking their stand expressly upon the Jewish Thora, are unanimous in preaching contempt of art and of science. Ambrosius, for example, says that Moses had been educated in all worldly wisdom and had proved that "science is a pernicious folly, upon which we must turn our backs, before we can find God." "To study astronomy and geometry, to follow the course of the sun among the stars and to make maps and charts of lands and seas, means to neglect salvation for things of no account." [44] Augustine allows the study of the course of the moon, "for otherwise we could not fix. Easter correctly"; in other respects he considers the study of astronomy waste of time, in that it takes the attention away from useful to useless things! He likewise declares that all art belongs" to the number of superfluous human institutions." [45] However, this still purely Jewish attitude of the ancient Church Fathers denotes an "infancy of art; " it was in truth sufficient to keep barbarians stupid as long as possible; but the Teuton was only outwardly a barbarian; as soon as he came to himself, his capacity for culture developed absolutely of itself, and then it was necessary to forge other weapons. It was a man born in the distant south, a Teuton of German extraction who had joined the ranks of the enemy, Thomas Aquinas, who was the most famous armourer; in the service of the Church he sought to quench his countrymen's ardent thirst for knowledge by offering them complete, divine omniscience. Well might his contemporary, Roger Bacon, speak in mockery of "the boy who taught everything, without having himself learned anything" -- for Bacon had clearly proved that we still utterly lacked the bases of the simplest knowledge, and he had shown the only way in which this defect could be remedied-but what availed reason and truthfulness? Thomas -- who asserted that the sacred Church doctrine, in alliance with the scarcely less sacred Aristotle, was quite adequate to answer once for all every conceivable question (see p. 178), while all further inquiry was superfluous and criminal -- was declared a saint, while Bacon was thrown into prison. And the omniscience of Thomas did actually succeed in completely retarding for three whole centuries the mathematical, physical, astronomical and philological researches which had already begun! [46]

We now understand why the work of discovery was so late in starling. At the same time we perceive a universal law which applies to all knowledge: it is not ignorance but omniscience that forms a fatal atmosphere for every increase of the material of knowledge. Wisdom and ignorance are both merely designations for notions that can never be accurately fixed, because they are purely relative; the absolute difference lies altogether elsewhere, it is the difference between the man who is conscious of his ignorance and the man who, owing to some self-deception, either imagines that he possesses all knowledge or thinks himself above all knowledge. Indeed, we might perhaps go further and assert that every science, even genuine science, contains a danger for discovery, in that it paralyses to some extent the untrammelled naturalness of the observer in his attitude to nature. Here, as elsewhere (see p. 182), the decisive thing is not so much the amount or the nature of knowledge as the attitude of the mind towards it. [47] In the recognition of this fact lies the whole importance of Socrates, who was persecuted by the mighty of his time for the very same reason as were Scotus Erigena and Roger Bacon by the authorities of their age. I have no intention of making the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church a reproach levelled at it especially and alone. It is true that the Catholic Church is always the first to attract our attention, if only because of the decisive power which it possessed a few centuries ago, but also for the splendid consistency with which it has always, up to the present day, maintained the one logical standpoint -- that our system of faith is based on Judaism -- but even outside this Church we find the same spirit as the inevitable consequence of every historical, materialistic religion. Martin Luther, for example, makes the following terrible remark, "The wisdom of the Greeks, when compared to that of the Jews, is absolutely bestial; for apart from God there can be no wisdom, nor any understanding and insight." That is to say, the ever glorious achievements of the Hellenes are "bestial" in comparison with the absolute ignorance and uncultured rudeness of a people which has never achieved anything at all in any single field of human knowledge or activity. Roger Bacon, on the other hand, in the first part of his Opus majus, proves that the principal cause of human ignorance is " the pride of a pretended knowledge," and there he truly hits the nail on the head. [48] The lawyer Krebs (better known as Cardinal Cuxanus and famous as the man who brought to light the Roman decretal swindle) maintained the same thesis two centuries later in his much-discussed work De docta ignorantia, in the first book of which he expounds the "science of not-knowing" as the first step towards all further knowledge.

As soon as this view had gained so firm a hold that even Cardinals could give utterance to it without falling into disfavour, the victory of knowledge was assured. However, if we are to understand the history of our discoveries and our sciences, we must never lose sight of the fundamental principle here established. There has been, it is true, a shifting of the relations of power since that time, but not of principles. Step by step we have had not only to wrest our knowledge from nature, but to do so in defiance of the obstacles everywhere planted in our path by the powers of ignorant omniscience. When Tyndall in his famous address to the British Association in Belfast in the year 1874 demanded absolute freedom of investigation, he raised a storm of indignation in the whole Anglican Church and also in all the Churches of the dissenters. Sincere harmony between science and Church we can never have, in the way in which it prevailed in India: it is absolutely impossible to harmonise a system of faith derived from Judaism, chronistic and absolutist, with the inquiring, investigating instincts of the Teutonic personality. We may fail to understand this, we may deny it for reasons of interest, we may seek to hush it up in the interest of other far-reaching plans, nevertheless it remains true, and this truth forms one of the causes of the deep-seated discord of our age. That is also the reason why so very little of our great work of discovery has been consciously assimilated by the nations. They see, of course, some results of research, such as those which have led to innovations which could be exploited by industry; but obviously it does not in the least matter whether our light is derived from tallow candles or electric globes; the important matter is, not how we see, but who sees. It will only be when we shall have so completely revolutionised our methods of education that the training of each individual from the first shall resemble a Discovery, instead of merely consisting in the transmission of ready-made wisdom, that we shall really have thrown off the alien yoke in this fundamental sphere of knowledge and shall be able to move on towards the full development of our best powers.

If we turn our gaze from such a possible future back to our still poverty-stricken present, we shall be able also to look even further back, and to realise intelligently what obstacles the work of discovery, the most difficult of all works, encountered at every step. But for the lust of gold and the inimitable simplicity of the Teutons success would have been impossible. They even knew how to turn to account the childish cosmogony of Moses. [49] Thus, for example, we observe how the theologians of the University of Salamanca with the help of a whole arsenal of quotations from the Bible and the Church Fathers proved that the idea of a western route over the Atlantic Ocean was nonsense and blasphemy, and thereby persuaded the Government not to assist Columbus: [50] but Columbus himself, pious man as he was, did not lose heart; for he too relied, in his calculations, not so much upon the map of Toscanelli and the opinions of Seneca, Pliny, &c., as upon Holy Scripture and especially the apocalyptic book of Ezra, where he found the statement that water covers only the seventh part of the earth. [51] Truly a thoroughly Teutonic way of turning Jewish apocalyptic writings to account! If men had then had any idea that water, instead of covering a seventh of the surface of the earth -- as the infallible source of all knowledge taught -- covered almost exactly three-fourths, they would never have ventured out upon the ocean. In the later history of geographical discovery also several such pious confusions were of great service. Thus it was the gift to Spain (mentioned on p. 168) of all lands west of the Azores by the Pope as absolute lord of the world, that literally compelled the Portuguese to discover the eastern route to India by the Cape of Good Hope. When, however, this was achieved, the Spaniards were at a disadvantage; for the Pope had bestowed upon the Portuguese the whole eastern world, and now they had found Madagascar and India, with its fabulous treasures in gold, jewels, spices, &c., while America, to begin with, offered little: and thus the Spaniards knew no peace till Magalhaes had accomplished his great achievement and reached India by the western route. [52]
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:16 pm

Part 3 of 3


I do not propose to enter into details. There certainly remains a great deal to discuss, which the reader will not be able to supplement from histories or encyclopaedias; but as soon as the whole living organism stands clearly before our eyes -- the special capacity, the impelling forces, the obstacles due to the surroundings -- then the task here assigned to me is completed, and that is, I think, now the case. For it has not been my object to chronicle the past, but to illumine the present. And for that reason I should like to direct attention with special emphasis to one point only. It utterly confuses our historical perception when geographical discoveries are separated, as they usually are, from other discoveries; in the same way further confusion arises, when those discoveries which affect especially the human race -- discoveries in ethnography, language, the history of religion, &c. -- are put in a class by themselves, or assigned to philology and history. The unity of science is being recognised more and more every day -- the unity of the work of discovery, that is, of the collecting of the material of knowledge, demands the same recognition. Whatever be discovered, whether it be a daring adventurer, an ingenious man engaged in industry, or a patient scholar that brings it to the light of day, it is the same gifts of our individuality that are at work, the same impulse towards possession, the same passionate spirit, the same devotion to nature, the same art of observation; it is the same Teuton of whom Faust says:

Im Weiterschreiten find' er Qual und Gluck
Er! unbefriedigt jeden Augenblick. [53]

Every single discovery, no matter in what sphere, furthers every other, however remote from it. This is particularly manifest in geographical discoveries. It was avarice and religious fanaticism at the same time that induced the European States to interest themselves in discovery; but the chief result for the human intellect was, to begin with, the proof that the earth is round. The importance of this discovery is simply inestimable. It is true that the Pythagoreans had long ago supposed, and that scholars at various times had asserted that the earth was spherical; but it is a mighty advance from theoretical speculations such as this to un irrefutable, concrete, tangible proof. From the Papal gifts to the Spaniards and Portuguese of the year 1493 (see p. 168) we see clearly enough that the Church did not really believe that the earth was spherical: for to the west of every single degree of latitude lies the whole earth! I have already pointed out (p. 7 note) that Augustine considered the idea of Antipodes absurd and contrary to Scripture. At the close of the fifteenth century the orthodox still accepted as authoritative the geography of the monk Cosmas Indicopleustes, who declares the view of Greek scholars to be blasphemy and imagines the world to be a fiat rectangle enclosed by the four walls of heaven; above the star-spangled firmament dwell God and the angels. [54] Though we may smile at such conceptions now, they were and are prescribed by Church doctrine. In reference to hell, Thomas Aquinas, for example, expressly warns men against the tendency to conceive it only spiritually; on the contrary, it is paenas corporeas (corporal punishments) that men will have to endure: likewise the flames of hell are to be understood literally, secundum litteram intelligenda: and this surely implies the conception of a place -- to wit, "underneath the earth." [55] A round earth, hovering in space, destroys the tangible conception of hell just as thoroughly as and much more convincingly than Kant's transcendentality of space. Scarcely one of the daring seafarers quite firmly believed in the earth as a sphere, and Magalhaes had great difficulty in pacifying his comrades when he sailed across the Pacific Ocean, as they daily feared they would reach the "edge" of the world and fall direct into hell. And now the matter had been concretely proved; the men who had sailed out towards the west came back from the east. That was for the time being the completion of the work begun by Marco Polo (1254-1323); he had been the first to announce with certainty that an ocean lay extended to the east of Asia. [56] At one blow rational astronomy had become possible. The earth was round; consequently it hovered in space. But if so, why should not sun, moon and planets do the same? Thus brilliant hypotheses of the Hellenes were once more honoured. [57] Previous to Magalhaes such speculations (e.g., those of Regiomontanus) had never gained a firm footing; whereas, now that there was no longer any doubt about the shape of the earth, a Copernicus immediately appeared; for speculation was now based on sure facts. But hereby the remembrance of the telescope which Roger Bacon had suggested was at once awakened, and the discoveries upon our planet were continued by discoveries in the heavens. Scarcely had the motion of the earth been put forward as a probable hypothesis, when the revolution of the moons around Jupiter was observed by the eye. [58] History shows us what an enormous impulse physics received from the complete revolution of cosmic conceptions. It is true that physics begin with Archimedes, so that we must acknowledge that the Renaissance was of some little service here, but Galilei points out that the depreciation of higher mathematics and mechanics was due to the want of a visible object for their application, [59] and the chief thing is that a mechanical view of the world could only force itself upon men when they perceived with their eyes the mechanical structure of the cosmos. Now for the first time were the laws of falling bodies carefully investigated; this led to a new conception and analysis of gravitation, and a new and more accurate determination of the fundamental qualities of matter. The impetus to all these studies was given by the imagination, powerfully stirred as it was by the vision of constellations hovering in space. The great importance of continual discoveries for stimulating the imagination, and consequently also for art, has been alluded to already (vol. i. p. 267); here we gain a sight of the principle at work. We see how one thing leads to another, and how the first impulse to all these discoveries is to be sought in the voyages of discovery. But soon this central influence extended its waves farther and farther, to the deepest depths of philosophy and religion. For many facts we've now discovered which directly contradicted the apparent proofs and doctrines of the sacrosanct Aristotle. Nature always works in an unexpected way; man possesses no organ to enable him to divine what has not yet been observed, be it form or law; this gift is denied to him. Discovery is always revelation. These revelations, these answers wrung from the "silent Sphinxes" to riddles hitherto wrapt in sacred gloom, worked in the brains of men of genius and enabled them not only to anticipate future discoveries but also to lay the foundation of an absolutely new view of life's problems -- a view which was neither Hellenic nor Jewish, but Teutonic. Thus Leonardo da Vinci -- a pioneer of all genuine science -- already proclaimed la terra e una stella (the earth is a star), and added elsewhere by way of explanation, la terra non e nel mezzo del mondo (the earth is not in the centre of the universe); and with a sheerly incredible power of intuition he gave utterance to the ever memorable words, "All life is motion." [60] A hundred years later Giordano Bruno, the inspired visionary, saw our whole solar system moving on in infinite space, the earth with its burden of men and human destinies a mere atom among countless atoms. This was truly very far from the cosmogony of Moses and the God who had chosen the small people of the Jews, "that he might be honoured"; and it was almost equally as far from Aristotle with his pedantic and childish teleology. We had to begin to rear the edifice of an absolutely new philosophy, which should answer to the requirements of the Teutonic horizon and the Teutonic tendency of mind. In that connection Descartes, who was born before Bruno died, acquired an importance which affected the history of the world, in that he, exactly as his ancestors, the daring seafarers, insisted on systematically doubting everything traditional and on fearlessly investigating the Unknown. I shall return to this later. All these things resulted from the geographical discoveries. Naturally they cannot be regarded as effects following causes, but certainly as events which had been occasioned by definite occurrences. Had we possessed freedom, the historical development of our work of discovery might have been different, as we see clearly enough from the example of Roger Bacon; however, natura sese adiuvat; all paths but that of geographical discoveries had been forcibly closed against us; this remained open, because all Churches love the perfume of gold, and because even a Columbus dreamt of equipping an army against the Turks with the treasure to be won; thus geographical discovery became the basis of all other discoveries, and so at the same time the foundation of our gradual intellectual emancipation, which, however, is even now far from being perfect.


It would be easy to prove the influence which the discovery of the world exercised upon all other branches of life, upon industry and trade, and so at the same time upon the economic moulding of Europe; upon agriculture by the introduction of new vegetables, like the potato, upon medicine (think of quinine}, upon politics, and so forth. I leave this to the reader and only call his attention to the fact that in all these spheres the aforementioned influence increases the nearer we come to the nineteenth century; every day our life, in contrast to the" European" life of former days, is becoming more and more a "planetary" one.


There is another great sphere of profound influence, little heeded in this connection, which I cannot leave undiscussed, and that all the more since in this very case the inevitable consequences of the discoveries have taken longest to reveal themselves and hardly began even in the nineteenth century to assume definite shape: I mean the influence of discoveries upon religion. The discovery -- first of the spheroidal shape of the earth, secondly, of its position in the cosmos, then of the laws of motion, of the chemical structure of matter, &c. &c., has brought about that the faultlessly mechanical interpretation of nature is unavoidable and the only true one. When I say "the only true one," I mean that it can be the only true one for us Teutons; other men may -- in the future as in the past -- think differently; among us also there is now and then a reaction against the too one-sided predominance of a purely mechanical interpretation of nature; but let not ephemeral movements lead us astray; we must ever of necessity come back to mechanism, and so long as the Teuton predominates, he will force this view of his even upon non- Teutons. I am not speaking of theories, I must discuss them elsewhere; but whatever form the theory may assume, henceforth it will always be "mechanical," that is, the inexorable demand of Teutonic thought, for only thus can it keep the outer and the inner world beneficially acting and reacting upon each other. This is so unrestrictedly true of us that I can in no way make up my mind to regard the doctrine of mechanism as a "theory," and consequently as pertaining to "science": I think I must rather view it as a discovery, as an established fact. The philosopher may justify this, but the triumphant progress of our tangible discoveries is a sufficient guarantee for the ordinary man; for the mechanical thought, strictly adhered to, has been from the beginning to the present day the Ariadne's thread which has guided us in safety through all the labyrinthine paths of error. As I wrote on the title-page of this book, "We proclaim our adherence to the race which from out the darkness strives to reach the light." What in the world of empirical experience has led and still leads us from darkness into light was and is the unfaltering adherence to mechanism. By this-and this alone-we have acquired a mass of perceptions and a command over nature never equalled by any other human race. [61] Now this victory of mechanism signifies the inevitable, complete overthrow of all materialistic religion. This issue is a surprise, but irrefutable. The Jewish world-chronicle might have some significance for Cosmas Indicopleustes, for us it can have none; as applied to the universe, as we know it to-day, it is simply absurd. But equally untenable in the face of mechanism is all that Eastern magic which, almost undisguised, forms so essential a part of the so-called Christian Creed (see pp. 123, 128). Mechanism in philosophy and materialism in religion are for ever irreconcilable. He who mechanically interprets empirical nature as perceived by the senses has an ideal religion or none at all; all else is conscious or unconscious self-deception. The Jew knew no mechanism of any kind: from Creation out of nothing to his dreams of a Messianic future everything is in his case freely ruling, all-powerful arbitrariness; [62] that is also the reason why be never discovered anything; with him one thing only is essential, the Creator; that explains everything. The mystical and magical notions, upon which all our ecclesiastical sacraments are based, stand on an even lower plane of materialism; for they signify principally a change of substance and are therefore nothing more nor less than the alchemy of souls. Consistent mechanism, on the other hand, as we Teutons have created it and from which we can no longer escape, is compatible only with a purely ideal, i.e., transcendent, religion, such as Jesus Christ had taught: the Kingdom of God is within you. [62] Religion for us cannot be chronicle, but experience only -- inner, direct experience.

I must come back to this elsewhere. Here I shall anticipate one point only, that in my opinion Kant's universal importance rests upon his brilliant comprehension of this fact, that the Mechanical doctrine, consistently pursued to its furthest limits, furnishes the explanation of the world, and that the purely Ideal doctrine alone furnishes laws for the inner man. [64]

For how many more centuries shall we drag the fetter of the conscious falsehood of believing in absurdities as revealed truth? I do not know. But I hope that we shall not do so much longer. For the religious craving is growing so great and so imperious in our breasts that of necessity a day must come when that craving will shatter the rotten, gloomy edifice, and then we shall step out into the new, bright, glorious kingdom which has long been awaiting us; that will be the crown of the Teutonic work of discovery.



1. Anatomie Generale, §§ 6 and 7 of the preceding Considerations. In the above sentence I have freely summarised Bichat's views.

2. Galvani tells this with an honesty worthy of imitation in his De viribus electricitatis in motu musculari commentatio.

3. Francis Bacon von Verulam und die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, 1863.

4. Bayard Taylor's translation.

5. English Traits: Wealth.

6. I take the word "reaction" not in the sense of our modern party appellations, but in the scientific sense, that is, a movement which is the result of a stimulus; but the difference is not so very great: our so-called "reactionaries" resemble more closely than they imagine the spontaneously quivering frog-legs of Galvani's experiment.

7. There is no equivalent in English. "Personal philosophy" comes nearest to it: one might almost paraphrase the word as "way of looking at life's problems." The author's meaning is sufficiently clear from the context. Elsewhere I have rendered the word by the very comprehensive English term "philosophy."

8. A collective noun formed from wer, man, and ylde, men (Kluge: Etymologisches Worterbuch).

9. Cf. the thorough discussion at the beginning of chap. i. on "Man becoming man" (vol. i. pp. 14-27).

It is not without; that is where the fool seeks it;
It is within, thou art ever bringing it to light.

10. For its close relation to art, see vol. 1. p. 15.

11. See vol. i. p. 230. vol. ii, p. 19, etc.

12. Or only very late -- indeed, when it was too late.

13. See Rajah Sourindro Mohun Tagoro: The Dramatic Sentiments of the Aryas (Calcutta, 1881).

14. It is now proved that paper was invented neither by the Chinese nor by the Arabians, but by the Aryan Persians (see the section on "Industry"); but Richthofen -- whose judgment is of great value owing to its purely scientific acuteness and independence -- inclines to the belief that nothing which the Chinese possess "in the way of knowledge and methods of civilisation" is the fruit of their own intellect, but is all imported. He points to the fact that, as far as our information reaches back, the Chinese never knew how to use their own scientific instruments (see China, 1877, i. 390, 512 f. &c.), and he comes to the conclusion (p. 424 f.) that the Chinese civilisation owes its origin to former contact with Aryans in Central Asia. In connection with the view which I am advocating, his detailed proof that the remarkably great cartographical achievements of the Chinese only go so far as the political administration had a practical interest in perfecting them, deserves our best attention (China i. 389); all further progress was excluded, since pure science is a cultural idea. M. von Brandt, a reliable authority, writes in his Zeitfragen, 1900, pp. 163-4: "The supposed inventions of the Chinese in early antiquity -- porcelain, powder, the compass -- were introduced to China at a late period from other countries." Moreover, it is becoming clearer and clearer from the works of Ujfalvi that races which we (in company with the Anthropologists) must describe as "Aryan," formerly were spread over all Asia and dwelt even far in the interior of China. The Sacans (originally an Aryan tribe) were driven out of China only about 150 years before Christ. (Cf. Ujfalvi's Memoire sur les Huns blancs in the periodical L'Anthropologie, 1898, pp. 259 f. and 384 f., as also an essay by Alfred C. Haddon in Nature of Jan. 24, 1901, and the supplementary essay of the sinologist Thomas W. Kingsmill on Gothic Vestiges in Central Asia in Nature, April 25, 1901.)

15. This is the lowest computation. Karl Gustav Carus asserts in his Uber ungleiche Befahigung der verschiedenen Menschheitsstamme fur hohere geistige Entwickelung, 1849. p. 67, that the most comprehensive Chinese encyclopaedias number 78,731 volumes, of which about fifty would go to one volume of our ordinary dictionary.

16. The worthlessness of Chinese poetry is well known, only in the shortest forms of didactic poetry has some pretty work been produced. Regarding music and the musical drama Ambros says in his Geschichte der Musik, 2nd ed. i. 37: "China really gives one the impression that the culture of other peoples is reflected in a mirror that caricatures." After diligent research in the literature of its philosophy I cannot believe that China possesses a single real philosopher. Confucius is a kind of Chinese Jules Simon: a noble-minded, unimaginative, moral philosopher, politician and pedant. Incomparably more interesting is his antithesis Lao-tze and the school of so-called Taoism which groups itself around him. Here we encounter a really original, captivating philosophy, but it, too, aims solely at practical life and is incomprehensible unless we understand its direct relation to the special civilisation of the Chinese with its fruitless haste and ignorant learning. For Taoism, which is represented to us as metaphysics, theosophy or mysticism, is quite simply a nihilistic reaction, a desperate revolt against the Chinese civilisation, which is rightly felt to be useless. If Confucius is a Jules Simon of the Celestial Empire, Lao-tze is a Jean Jacques Rousseau. "Away with your great knowledge and your learning and the people will be a hundred times happier; discard your spurious charity and your moralising, and the people will once more, as before, display childlike love and human kindliness: give up your artificial institutions and cease hungering after riches, and there will be no more thieves and criminals" (Tao Teh King i. 19, I). This is the tone of the whole, obviously a moral, not a philosophical one. This results on the one hand in the construction of Utopian States, in which we shall no longer be able to read and write, but shall live happily in undisturbed peace, without any trace of hateful civilisation, at the same time inwardly free, for, as Kwang-tze (an eminent Taoist) says : "Man is the slave of all that he invents and the more he gathers round him, the less free are his movements" (xii. 2, 5); or, on the other hand, this train of thought leads to a view which has probably never been proclaimed with such force and conviction -- to the doctrine that the greatest motive power lies in rest, the richest knowledge in lack of learning, the most powerful eloquence in silence, and the most unerring certainty in unpremeditated action. "The highest achievement of man is to know that we do not know; to fancy that we know is a sign of disease" (Tao Teh King ii. 71, I). It is difficult briefly to summarise this mood -- for I cannot call it anything else -- simply because it is a mood and not a constructive thought. These interesting writings must be read, so that we may gradually, by patient application, overcome the repellent form and penetrate to the heart of those sages who mourn for their poor Fatherland. We shall not find metaphysics, in fact no philosophy at all, not even materialism in its simplest form, but much information regarding the appalling nature of the civilised and learned life of the Chinese and a practical moral insight into human nature, which is as profound as that of Confucius is shallow. This negation marks the highest point of what is attainable by the Chinese spirit. (The best information is to be found in the Sacred Books of China, vols. iii., xvi., xxvii., xxviii., xxxix. and xl. of Max Muller's Sacred Books of the East: vols. xxxix. and xl. contain the Taoist books. Brandt's small work, Die Chinesische Philosophie und der Staats-Confucianismus, 1898, may serve as an introduction. I do not know of anyone who has given an account of the real nature of Taoist philosophy.)

17. As Jean Jacques Rousseau pointedly says: Les sciences regnent pour ainsi dire a la Chine depuis deux mille ans, et n'y peuvent sortir de l'enfance (Lettre a M. de Scheyb, 15.7.1756).

18. See vol. i. p. 420, note 3.

19. More than two thousand years before Christ begin the historical annals of the Chinese. (Addendum: This is a wide-spread error: at most eight hundred years before Christ.)

20. In a lecture delivered before the British Association on September 21, 1896, Flinders Petrie expresses the opinion that the oldest Mycenean works of art, for example the famous golden cups with the steers and cows (from about the year 1200 B.C.), were in respect of faithful observation of nature and mastery of workmanship equal to any late work of the so-called period of splendour. (With regard to this Pelasgian-Achaean culture, cf. Hueppe: Rassenhygiene der Griechen, p. 54 f.

21. See vol. i. pp. 34 and 35.

22. Wilhelm Meister's Lehrjahre, Book vi.

23. See vol. i. p. 112 f.

24. The German in particular shows in many respects a dangerous tendency to become Chinese, for instance, in his mania for collecting, in his piling up of material upon material, in his inclination to neglect the spirit for the letter, &c. This tendency was noticed long ago, and Goethe laughingly told Soret of a globe belonging to the time of Charles V., which bore, as a gloss upon China, the inscription: "The Chinese area people resembling the Germans very much!" (Eckermann, 26.4.1823).

25. Luther especially never frees himself in this connection from the toils of religious materialism; he -- the hero of faith -- "eliminates faith so much from the Lord's Supper" that he teaches the doctrines that even the unbeliever breaks with his teeth the body of Christ. He therefore accepts what Berengar and so many other strict Roman Catholics had bravely opposed a few centuries before, and what would have filled not only the earliest Christians but even men like Ambrosius and Augustine with horror. (Cf. Harnack: Grundriss der Dogmen geschichte § 81.)

26. Goethe repeatedly lays great stress upon the distinction between "without us" and "within us"; here it is very useful in distinguishing between discovery and science: but as soon as we transfer it to the purely philosophical or even purely scientific sphere, we must be very cautious: see the remarks at the beginning of the section on "Science."

27. Tao Teh King xix. I.

28. See vol. i. p. 543.

29. The great importance of alchemy as the source of chemistry is now universally recognised; I need only refer to the books of Berthelot and Kopp.

30. To say nothing of the discovery of new kinds of powder for cannons and explosives for torpedoes.

31. Take as an example the total annihilation of the most intelligent and thoroughly friendly tribe of the Natchez by the French on the Mississippi (in Du Pratz: History of Louisiana) or the history of the relations between the English and the Cherokees (Trumbull: History of the United States). It is always the same story: a fearful injustice on the part of the Europeans provokes the Indians to take vengeance, and for this vengeance they are punished, that is, slaughtered.

32. See vol. i. p. 286.

33. See pp. 247 and 251.

34. Wissenschaft und Landwirtschaft ii. at the end.

35. An excellent example of the "disinterested passion" peculiar to the pure Teuton is provided by the English peasant Tyson, who died in 1898. He had emigrated to Australia as a labourer, and died the greatest landed proprietor in the world, with a fortune reckoned at five million pounds. This man remained to the last so simple that he never possessed a white shirt, much less a pair of gloves; only when absolutely necessary did he pay a brief visit to a city; he had an insurmountable distrust of all churches. Money in itself was a matter of indifference to him: he valued it only as an ally in his great life-work, the struggle with the desert. When asked about his wealth he replied, "It is not having it but fighting for it that gives me pleasure." A true Teuton! worthy of his countryman Shakespeare: Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing.

36. See vol. i. p. 52.

37. See Tyndall: Faraday as a Discoverer (1890); and W. Grosse: Der Ather (1898).

38. See vol. i. p. 431.

39. Goethe: Werther's Leiden, Letter of May 26 of the 1st year. Cf. what is said in vol. i. p. 267.

40. Deutsche Geschichte ii. 13.

41. In passing let me make the addition which is so important for our Teutonic individuality, "for the natural sciences and music."!

42. De Divisione Naturae v. 33; cf., too. p. 129 above.

43. Of him Goethe says (in his Gesprache ii. 46). "The whole magic of nature, in the finest sense of the word, is revealed to him."

44. De officiis ministrorum i. 26, 122-123.

45. De doctrina christiana i. 26, 2, and i. 30, 2.

46. This is the philosopher whom the Jesuits to-day elevate to the throne (see p. 177) and whose doctrines are henceforth to supply the foundation (or the philosophical culture of all Roman Catholics! We can see how freely the Teutonic spirit moved, before these fetters were imposed by the Church, from the fact that at the University of Paris in the thirteenth century theses like the following were defended, "The sayings of the Theologists are based on fables," "There is no increase of knowledge because of the pretended knowledge of the Theologians," and "The Christian religion prevents increase of knowledge." (Cf. Wernicke; Die mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Forschung, &c., 1898, p. 5).

47. Hence Kant's profound remark on the importance of astronomy: "The most important thing surely is that it has revealed to us the abyss of our ignorance, which, but for that science, we could never have conceived to be so great, and that reflection upon this must produce a great change in the determination of the final purposes of our employment of reason." (Critique of Pure Reason, note in the section entitled "Concerning the Transcendental Ideal.")

48. According to him there are four causes of ignorance -- faith in authority, the power of custom, illusions of sense and the proud delusion of an imagined wisdom. Of the Thomists and Franciscans, considered the greatest scholars of his age, Bacon says: "The world has never witnessed such a semblance of knowledge as there is to-day, and yet in reality ignorance was never so crass and error so deep-rooted" (from a quotation in Whewell: History of the Inductive Sciences, 3rd ed. p. 378).

49. As happens again in the case of Darwinism to-day.

50. Fiske: Discovery of America c. v.

51. This is naturally only an application of the favourite division into the sacred number seven, derived from the (supposed) number of the planets. Compare the second book of Ezra in the Apocrypha, vi. 42 and 52 (also called the fourth book of Ezra, when the canonical book of Ezra and the book of Nehemiah are regarded as the first and second, as was formerly the custom). It is a most noteworthy fact that Columbus is indebted for all his arguments for a western route to India, as well as for his knowledge of this passage from Ezra, to the great Roger Bacon. It is some consolation that this poor man, who was persecuted to death by the Church, exercised decisive influence not only upon mathematics, astronomy and physics, but also upon the history of geographical discoveries.

52. Magalhaes saw land, i.e., completed the proof that the earth is round, on March 6, 1521, the very day on which Charles V signed the summons of Luther to Worms.

53. In further progress let him find pain and happiness,
he! unsatisfied at every moment.

54. Fiske: Discovery of America, chap. iii.

55. Compendium Theologiae, chap. clxxix. I have no doubt that Thomas Aquinas believed also in a definite localisation of heaven though he appears to have laid less stress on it. Conrad of Megenberg, a very scholarly and pious man, canon of the Ravensberg Cathedral and author of the very first Natural History in German, who died exactly a hundred years after him, says expressly in the astronomical part of his work, "The first and uppermost heaven (there are ten of them) stands still and does not revolve. It is called in Latin Empyreum, in German Feuerhimmel, because it glows and glitters in supernatural brightness. There God dwells with the Chosen" (Das Buch der Natur ii. I). The new astronomy, based on the new geography, therefore actually destroyed" the dwelling of God," on which till then even scholarly and free-thinking men had believed, and robbed the physico-theological conceptions of all convincing reality.

56. The map given on the next page will enable the reader to under stand more clearly the work of geographical discovery which began in the thirteenth century. The black portion shows how much of the world was known to Europeans in the first half of the thirteenth century, i.e., before Marco Polo; all that is left white was absolutely terra incognita. The comparison is striking and the diagram is a symbol of the activity of the Teutons in discovery in other spheres as well. If we were to take former ages and non-European peoples into consideration, the black portion would require to be modified considerably; the Phoenicians, for in3tance, knew the Cape Verde Islands, but they had since then been lost to view so completely that the old accounts were regarded as fables; the Khalifs had been in constant intercourse with Madagascar and even knew -- it is said -- the sea-route to China by way of India; there were Christian (Nestorian) bishops of China in the seventh century, &c. -- We cannot but suppose that some few Europeans, at the Papal Court and in trade centres, had vaguely heard of these things oven in the thirteenth century; but, as I wished to show what was really known and had been actually seen, my map rather contains too much than too little. Of the coast of India. for example, Europeans had then no definite knowledge at all; three centuries later, as we see from the map of Johann Ruysch, their conceptions were still uncertain and erroneous; of inner Asia they knew only the caravan routes to Samarkand and the Indus. A few years before Marco Polo two Franciscan monks reached Karakorum, the capital of the Great Khan, and brought back the first minute accounts of China -- though only from hearsay. In the Jahresberichte der Geschichtswissenschaft (xxii. 97) Helmolt supplements this note as follows: "Since 638 an Imperial Chinese edict permitted the Nestorians to carryon missionary work in China; an inscription of the year 781 (described in Navarra: China und die Chinesen, 1901, p. 1089 f.) mentions the Nestorian patriarch Chanan-Ischu, and tells us that since the beginning of missionary activity in China seventy missionaries had gone there; to the south of the Balkhash lake the tombstones of more than 3000 Nestorian Christians have been found." See also the lecture of Baelz: Die Ostasiaten, 1901, p. 35 f. About the end of the tenth century there were thousands of Christian churches in China.

57. In the dedication of his De Revolutionibus, Copernicus mentions these views of the ancients. When the work was afterwards put on the Index, the doctrine of Copernicus was simply designated doctrina Pythagorica (Lange: Geschichte des Materialismus, 4th ed. i. 172).

58. The, motion of these moons is so easy to observe that Galilei noticed it at once and mentioned it in a letter dated January 30, 1610.

59. This is at any rate the interpretation which I have given to a quotation in Thurot, Recherches historiques sur le principe d'Archimede, 1869, but at present I am unfortunately unable to verify the accuracy of my memory and the correctness of my view.

60. I find the passage quoted thus in several places, but the only remark of the kind which I know in the original is somewhat different: Il moto e causa d'ogni vita (Motion is the cause of all life) (in J. P. Richter's edition of the Scritti letterari di Leonardo da Vinci, ii. 286, Fragment No. 1139). The former quotations are taken from Nos. 865 and 858.

61. As one must ever and in all things be apprehensive of being misunderstood in an age when the philosophic sense has become so barbarous, I add in the words of Kant. "Though there can be no real knowledge of nature unless mechanism is made the basis of research, yet this is true only of matter and does not preclude the searching after and reflecting upon a Principle, which is quite different from explanation according to the mechanism of nature" (Kritik der Urteilskraft, § 70).

62. See vol. i. p. 240 f.

63. See vol. i. p. 187 f., vol. ii. p. 40.

64. In the interest of philosophically trained readers I wish to remark that I am aware of the fact that Kant establishes a dynamic natural philosophy in contrast to a mechanical natural philosophy (Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Naturwissenschaft ii.), but there it is a question of distinctions which cannot be brought forward in a work like the present; moreover, Kant uses the word "Dynamic" merely to express a special view of a strictly mechanical (according to the general use of the term) interpretation of nature. I should like to take this opportunity of making it perfectly clear that I do not bind myself hand and foot to the Kantian system. I am not learned enough to follow all these scholastic turnings and twistings; it would be presumption for me to say that I belonged to this or that school; but the personality I do see clearly, and I observe what a mighty stimulus it is, and in what directions. The important thing for me is not the "being right" or "being wrong" -- this never-ceasing battling with windmills of puny minds -- but first and foremost the importance (I might be inclined in this connection to say the "dynamic" importance) of the mind in question, and secondly its individuality. And in this respect I behold Kant so great that but few in the world's history can be compared with him, and he is so thoroughly and specifically Teutonic (even in the limiting sense of the word) that he attains to typical significance. Philosophical technique is in him something subordinate, conditioned, accidental, ephemeral; the decisive, unconditioned, unephemeral element is the fundamental power, "not the word spoken but the speaker of it," as the Upanishads express it. For Kant's importance as a discoverer I also refer the reader to F. A. Lange's Geschichte des Materialismus (1881, p. 383), where the author shows with admirable acuteness that with Kant it was not, and could not be, a question of proving his fundamental principles, but rather of discovering them. In reality Kant is an observer, to be compared with Galilei or Harvey: he proceeds from facts and "in reality his method is no other than that of induction." The confusion arises from the fact that men are not clear on this matter. At any rate it is evident that, even from a formal point of view, I was justified in closing the section on "Discovery" with the name of Kant.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:28 pm

Part 1 of 2



The difference between science and the raw material of knowledge, which is supplied by discovery, has already been pointed out, and I refer the reader to the discussion on p. 236; I also called attention to the boundary-line between science and philosophy. The fact that sharp distinguishing-lines can never be drawn without some arbitrary differentiation does not in any way invalidate the principle of separation. Even the sciences, that is, our new Teutonic scientific methods, have taught us another lesson. Leibniz might for all that again adopt the so-called law of continuity and carry it to its extreme consequences; in practice we dispense with metaphysical proof, for even experience shows us on all sides a gradual merging and blending. [1] But in order to build up science we must distinguish, and the correct differentiation is that which holds good in practice. Nature, of course, knows no such separation; that does not matter; nature knows no science either; it is differentiation in the material supplied by nature, followed by reuniting according to humanly comprehensible principles, that in general forms science.

Dich im Unendlichen zu finden.
Musst unterscheiden und dann verbinden. [2]

That is why I appealed to Bichat at the beginning of this section. If the classification of tissues which he taught had been revealed by nature as classification, it would have been known from the earliest times; bl1t this is far from being the case, for the distinctions proposed by Bichat have been considerably modified since; as a matter of fact, we find everywhere transitional stages between the kinds of tissue, some of them perfectly obvious, others which reveal themselves only to minuter observation; and thus thoughtful investigators have been forced to experiment, till they were able to fix the exact point where the needs of the human intellect and respect for the facts of nature harmoniously counterbalance each other. This point can be determined -- not, it is true, at once, but by practical experience; for in its methods science is guided by two considerations, it has to store up as capital what is known, and it has to see that this capital bears interest in the form of new knowledge. It is by this standard that the work of a Bichat is measured; for here, as elsewhere, genius does not invent, it does not create out of nothing, but shapes what is present. As Horrier moulded the popular poetry, so Bichat gave shape to anatomy; and the same method is necessary in every department of knowledge. [3]

This purely methodological remark, meant only to justify my own procedure, has obviously brought us to the heart of the subject; indeed I think we have already unwittingly laid our finger upon the central point.

I have already pointed out that, while the Hellenes may be superior to us as theorists, they are certainly inferior as observers. Now theorising and systematising is nothing else than the shaping work of science. If we do not shape -- that is to say, if we do not theorise and systematise -- we can only assimilate a minimum of knowledge; it flows through our brain as through a sieve. However, the process of shaping is not without its drawbacks; for, as pointed out in Bichat's case; this shaping is essentially human, that is, in reference to nature it is a mere one-sided and inadequate beginning. The natural sciences [4] themselves reveal the nullity of the gross anthropomorphism of all the Hegels in the world. It is not true that the human intellect can adequately grasp phenomena; the sciences prove the contrary; everyone whose mind has been trained in the school of observation knows that. Even the much profounder conception of a Paracelsus, who called surrounding nature the "outer man," may, it is true, attract us from the point of view of philosophy, but it will be found to be, scientifically, of little use; for whenever I have to deal with empirical facts, my innermost heart is a muscle and my thought the function of a grey and white mass encased within a skull: so far as the life of my inner personality is concerned, this is all just as "external" as any of those stars, whose light, according to Wm. Herschel, requires two million years to reach my eye. If then nature is perhaps in a certain sense an "outer man," as Paracelsus and after him Goethe say, that; from the purely scientific point of view, brings her not one inch nearer to me and to my circumscribed and specifically human understanding; for man too is merely an "external."

Nichts ist drinnen, nichts ist draussen
Denn was innen, das ist aussen. [5]

Hence all scientific systematising and theorising is a fitting and adapting; of course it is as accurate as possible, but never quite free from error, and, above all, it is always a humanly tinted rendering, translating, interpreting. The Hellene did not know this. Unrivalled as a modeller, in science too he demanded the Faultless, the perfectly Rounded, and thus barred in his own face the door that led to knowledge of nature. True observation becomes impossible as soon as man marches forward with one-sided human demands; the example of the great Aristotle should warn us against that. Nothing will convince us more thoroughly on this point than the study of mathematics; here at once we observe what hampered the Hellenes and what has aided us. The achievements of the Hellenes in geometry are known to all; but it is very interesting to notice how the triumphant progress of their mathematical investigation encountered an insurmountable obstacle in its further development. Hoefer calls attention to the nature of this obstacle by pointing out that a Greek mathematician never tolerated an "approximately": for him the proof of the proposition had to be absolutely faultless or it was invalid; the conception that two magnitudes differing "infinitely" little can in practice be regarded as equal is something against which his whole nature would have revolted. [6]

It is true that Archimedes in his investigations of the properties of the circle inevitably came upon results that could not be exactly expressed, but he then says simply, "greater than so much and less than so much"; and he expresses no opinion about the irrational roots, which he had to extract to get at his results. On the other hand, all modern mathematics with their almost incomprehensible achievements, are based, as we all know, upon calculations with" infinitely near," that is, therefore, approximate values. By this "Infinitesimal Calculus" the broad impenetrable forest of irrational numbers that blocked our way at every step has been felled; [7] for the great majority of roots and of so-called "functions" which occur in the measurement of angles and curves come under this head. But for this introduction of approximate values our whole astronomy, geodesy, physics, mechanics and very important parts of our industry would be impossible. And how was this revolution brought about? By boldly cutting a knot which is tied in the human brain alone. This knot could never have been untied. In this very province, that of mathematics, where everything seemed so transparent and free from contradiction, man had very soon reached the limit of his specific human possibilities; he saw quite well that nature does not trouble herself about what is humanly thinkable and unthinkable, and that the brain of the proud homo sapiens is inadequate to grasp and to express the very simplest thing -- the relation of magnitudes to one another; but what did it matter? As we have seen, the passion of the Teuton aimed rather at possession than at purely formal shaping; his shrewd observation of nature, his highly developed receptivity soon convinced him that the formal faultlessness of the image in the mind is absolutely no conditio sine qua non for its possession, that is, in this case, for an understanding which is as comprehensive as possible. The important thing with the Greek was the respect of man for himself and for his human nature; to cherish thoughts which were not thinkable in all parts seemed to him a crime against human nature: the Teuton, on the other hand, had a much more vivid reverence for nature (in contrast to man) than the Hellene, and moreover, like his Faust, he has never been afraid of contracts with the devil. And so he invented the imaginary magnitudes, that is, absolutely unthinkable quantities, the type of which is

x = √-1

In handbooks they are usually defined as "magnitudes that exist only in the imagination;" it would be perhaps more correct to say, magnitudes which can occur anywhere except in the imagination, for man is incapable of conceiving them at all. Through this brilliant discovery of the Goths and Lombardians of the extreme north of Italy [8] calculation received an unsuspected elasticity: the absolutely unthinkable henceforth served to determine the relations of concrete facts, which otherwise could not have been tackled. The complementary step was soon taken: where one magnitude approaches "infinitely" near to another without ever reaching it, the gap was arbitrarily bridged, and over this bridge man marched from the sphere of the Impossible into the sphere of the Possible. Thus, for example, the insoluble problems of the circle were solved by regarding the latter as a polygon with an "infinite" number of sides, all therefore infinitely small. Pascal had already spoken of magnitudes which ate" smaller than any given magnitude" and had designated them quantites negligeables; [9] but Newton and Leibniz went much further, in that they systematically perfected calculation with these infinite series -- the infinitesimal calculation to which I have referred; The advance thus made was simply incalculable; for the first time only mathematics were redeemed from rigidity to life, for the first time they were enabled to analyse accurately not only motionless shape but also motion. Moreover, irrational numbers were now, in a way, done away with, since we can now, when necessary, avoid them. But this was not all, an idea -- the idea of the Infinite -- which had formerly been current only in philosophy, was henceforth extended to mathematics and acted like an elixir which gave them the strength to achieve unheard-of things. Just as it may happen that two magnitudes approach "infinitely" near to each other, so it may also happen that the one increases or decreases "infinitely," while the other remains constant: thus the infinitely great [10] and the infinitely small -- two absolutely inconceivable things -- may now also become workable components of our calculations: we cannot think them, but we can use them, and from their use we derive concrete, pre- minently practical results. Our knowledge of nature, our capacity even to approach many natural problems, rests to a very great extent upon this one daring, autocratic achievement. As Carnot says: "No other idea has supplied us with so simple and effectual means of acquiring an accurate knowledge of nature's laws." [11] The ancients had said, Non entis nulla sunt praedicata (Of things that are not nothing can be said); but that which is not within our head may well exist outside our head, and, vice versa, things which undoubtedly exist only in the human brain and are nevertheless recognised by us to be flagrantly "impossible" may as instruments do us very good service, enabling us defiantly to gain by roundabout ways a knowledge which is not directly available to human beings.

The character of this work forbids me to pursue this mathematical discussion further, though I am glad to have found an opportunity in this section on Science to mention at the very beginning this chief organ of all systematic knowledge; we have seen that Leonardo even declared motion to be the cause of all life; he was soon followed by Descartes, who viewed matter itself as motion -- everywhere the mechanical interpretation of empirical facts, which was emphasised in the last section, asserts itself! But mechanics are an ocean over which the ship of mathematics alone can carry us. Only in so far as a science can be reduced to mathematical principles does it seem to us to be exact, and that because it is in so far strictly mechanical and consequently "navigable." "Nissuna humana investigatione si po dimandare vera scientia s'essa non passa per le mattematiche dimonstrationi," says Leonardo da Vinci; [12] and the voice of the Italian seer at the beginning of the sixteenth century is re-echoed by that of the German sage at the opening of the nineteenth: "I assert that in every special theory of nature there can only be so much real science as is vouched for by mathematics."[13]

With these remarks, however, as I hinted at the very outset, I have been keeping a more general purpose in view; I wished to reveal the peculiar character not only of our mathematics but of our scientific method as a whole; I hope I have succeeded. I can best draw the moral of what has been said by quoting a remark of Leibniz: "Rest can be regarded as an infinitely slow speed or as an infinitely great retardation, so that in any case the law of rest is to be considered merely as a special case within the laws of motion. Similarly we can regard two perfectly equal magnitudes as unequal (if it serves our purpose), by looking upon the inequality as infinitely small," &c. [14] This statement expresses the fundamental principle of all Teutonic Science. Rest is, we must admit, not motion but its very opposite, just as equal magnitudes cannot be unequal: rather than have recourse to such hypotheses the Hellene would have dashed his head against the wall; but in this the Teuton has, quite unconsciously, revealed a deeper insight into the essence of man's relation to nature. He desired to know, not only that which was purely and exclusively Human (like a Homer and a Euclid), but on the contrary and above all that Nature which is external to man; [15] and here his passionate thirst for knowledge -- that is, the predominance of his longing to learn, not• of the need to shape -- has caused him to find paths which have led him very much farther than anyone of his predecessors. And these paths, as I remarked at the very beginning of this discussion, are those of shrewd adaptation to circumstances. Experience -- that is, exact, minute, indefatigable observation -- supplies the broad immovable foundation of Teutonic science, whether it be applied to philology, chemistry or anything else: the capacity of observation, the passionate enthusiasm, self-sacrifice and honesty with which it is pursued, are essential features of our race. Observation is the conscience of Teutonic science. Not only the professional natural scientist, not only the learned authority on language and the jurist investigate with painfully intent perception, eyen the Franciscan Roger Bacon spends his whole fortune in the cause of observation; Leonardo da Vinci preaches study of nature, observation, experiment and devotes years of his life to sketching accurately the invisible inner anatomy of the human body (especially the vascular system); Voltaire is an astronomer, Rousseau a botanist; Hume gives his chief work, which appeared a hundred and sixty years ago. the supplementary title, "An Attempt to introduce the Experimental Method into Philosophy"; Goethe's admirable and keen faculty of observation is well known, and Schiller begins his career with a treatise on "The Sensitiveness of Nerves and the Irritability of Muscle," and calls upon us to study more industriously the "mechanism of the body," if we wish to come to a better understanding of the "soul"! But that which has been experienced cannot faithfully be fashioned into Science, if man lays down the law instead of receiving it. The most daring capacities of his mind, its whole elasticity and the undaunted flight of fancy are pressed into the service of the Observed, in order that it may be classified as part of a human system of knowledge. Obedience on the one hand towards experienced nature; autocracy on the other in reference to the human intellect: these are the hall-mark of Teutonic Science.


This then is the foundation upon which our theory and system are based; a brave building the chief character of which lies in the fact that we are rather engineers than architects. Builders, indeed, we are, but our object is not so much beauty of construction nor perfection of shape that will finally satisfy the human mind but the establishment of provisorium which enables us to gather new material for observation and to widen our knowledge. The work of an Aristotle acted like a brake upon science. Why was that? Because this Hellenic master-mind brooked no delay in attaining its object, because he knew no peace till he saw before his eyes a finished, symmetrical, absolutely rational and humanly plausible dogmatic system. In logic final results could be attained in this way, for there was a question of an exclusively human and exclusively formal science of universal validity within human limits; on the other hand, even his politics and theory of art are much less valid, because the law of the Hellenic intellect is here silently presupposed to be essentially the law of the human intellect, an idea which is contrary to experience; in natural science -- in spite of a wealth of facts which often astonishes us -- the absolutely predominating principle is, to draw the greatest number of hard and fast conclusions from the smallest number of observations. This is no question of idleness or of haste, still less of dilettantism, it is the presumption, first, that the organisation of man is quite adequate to grasp the organisation of nature, so that -- if I may so express it -- one single hint suffices to enable us to interpret and survey correctly a whole complex of phenomena; secondly, that the human mind is not only adequate but also equivalent (equal not only in compass but equal also in value) to the principle or law, or whatever it may be called, which reveals itself in nature as a whole. That is why the human mind is regarded without more ado as the central point from which we may not only with the greatest ease survey all nature, but also may trace all things from the cradle to the grave, that is to say, from their first causes to their supposed finality. This supposition is as erroneous as it is simple: our Teutonic science has from the first followed another course. Roger Bacon, though he valued Aristotle highly, was just as earnest in the thirteenth century in the warnings he addressed to scientists against Aristotle and the whole Hellenic method which he personified, as Francis Bacon was three centuries later; [16] in this connection, the Renaissance was fortunately only a passing sickness, and it was merely in the darkest shadows of the Church that the theology of the Stagirite henceforth continued to prolong a superfluous existence. To make the matter perfectly obvious, let me employ a mathematical comparison: the science of the Hellene was, so to speak, a circle in the centre of which he himself stood. Teutonic science, on the other hand, resembles an ellipse. At one of the two foci of the ellipse stands the human intellect, at the other an x of which we know nothing. If the human intellect succeeds in a definite case in bringing its own focus near to the other, human science approaches the form of a circle; [17] but the ellipse is generally a very extended one: on the one side understanding penetrates very far into the sum of the Known, on the other it lies almost at the periphery. Frequently man stands almost alone with his focus (his humble torch!); with all his groping he cannot find the connection with the second focus, and thus arises a mere parabola, the sides of which, it is true, seem to approach each other in the far distance, but without ever meeting, so that our theory gives us not a closed curve, but only the beginning of a curve, which is possible but in the meantime incapable of being completed.

Our scientific procedure is obviously the negation of the Absolute. That was an acute and happy remark of Goethe's: "He who devotes himself to nature attempts to find the squaring of the circle."


It is a matter of course that a mathematical procedure cannot be applied to other objects, especially to the sciences of observation; I scarcely think it necessary to defend myself or others against such a misconception. But if we know how we have proceeded in mathematics, we also know what is to be expected in other spheres of knowledge; for the same intellect will proceed, if not identically, since the subject renders this impossible, still analogously. Unconditional respect for nature (that is, for observation) and daring originality in the application of the means with which the human intellect provides us for interpretation and elaboration: these are the principles which we again encounter everywhere. Attend a course of lectures on systematic botany: the neophyte will be astonished to hear the lecturer talk of flowers that do not exist and to see "diagrams" of them on the blackboard; these are so-called types, purely "imaginary magnitudes," the assumption of which enables us to explain the structure of really existing flowers and to demonstrate the connection of the fundamental (from our human point of view mechanical) plan of structure in the special case with other related or divergent plans. Everyone, no matter how inexperienced in science, must at once be struck by the purely human element in such a procedure. But do not suppose that what is thus taught is an absolutely artificial and arbitrary system; the very opposite is the case. Man had proceeded artificially and thereby cut off every possibility of acquiring new knowledge, so long as he followed Aristotle in classifying plants according to the non-existent principle of a relative (so-called) "perfection," or according to the division, solely derived from human practice, into trees, shrubs, grasses and the like. On the other hand, our modern diagrams, our imaginary flower-forms, all the principles of our systematic botany, serve to bring home and to make clear to the human understanding true relations of nature at which we have arrived from thousands and thousands of faithful observations. The artificiality is conscious artificiality; as in mathematics, it is a question of "imaginary magnitudes," which help us, however, to approach nearer and nearer to the truth of nature, and to co-ordinate in our minds countless actual facts; this is the true function of science. With the Hellene, on the other hand, the foundation itself was thoroughly artificial, anthropomorphic, and it was this foundation which with simple unconsciousness was regarded as "nature." The rise of modern systematic botany provides indeed so excellent and intelligible an example of the Teutonic scientific method that I wish to give the reader a few more cardinal facts for his further consideration.

Julius Sachs, the famous botanist, in describing the beginning of botanical science between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries, says that no progress could be made so long as Aristotle's influence predominated; it is to the unlearned plant-collectors alone that the awakening of genuine science is due. Whoever was learned enough to understand Aristotle "only worked mischief in the natural history of plants." On the other hand, the authors of the first books on herbs did not give this a further thought, but collected with the greatest possible accuracy hundreds and thousands of individual descriptions of plants. History shows how in this way, in the course of a few centuries, a new science arose, while the philosophical botany of Aristotle and Theophrastus led to no result worth mentioning. [18] The first learned systematiser of importance, Caspar Bauhin of Basle (second half of the sixteenth century), who frequently shows a lively appreciation of natural, that is structural, affinity, creates universal confusion once more, in that, under Aristotle's influence, he imagines himself to be bound to advance "from the most imperfect to the more and more perfect" -- as if man possessed an organ to measure relative "perfection" -- and also in that he naturally (after the example of Aristotle) considers the large trees as most perfect, the small grasses as most imperfect and more such anthropomorphic nonsense. [19] But the faithful collection of actual observations continued, and men at the same time endeavoured to systematise the enormously growing material in such a way as would adapt the system or classification to the needs of the human intellect and yet keep it as true to the facts of nature as possible. This is the salient point; thus arises the ellipse which is peculiar to us. The logical systematising comes last, not first, and we are ready at any moment to throw our system overboard as we did our gods of old, for in very truth its only significance for us is a "provisorium," a makeshift. The unlearned collectors and describers of herbs had discovered the natural affinities of plants by the trained eye, long before the learned proceeded to form systems. The reason is this: we base our science not on logic, which is human and therefore limited, but on intuitive perception, on what we see and divine, as it were, by affinity with nature; which moreover is the reason why our scientific systems are so true to nature. The Hellene thought only of the needs of the human intellect; we, however, wished to get at nature and felt vaguely that we could never fathom her mystery, never represent her own "system." Yet we were resolved to approximate as nearly as we could, and that by a path that would make ever greater proximity possible. That is why we rejected every purely artificial system, like that of Linnaeus; it contains much that is correct, but leads us no further. In the meantime there rose up men like Tournefort, John Ray, Bernard de Jussieu, Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, [20] and others who cannot be named here, and their work proved the absolute impossibility of constructing the classification of plants, as derived from observation of nature, upon one anatomical characteristic, a plea which the human passion for simplification and the logical mania wished to establish, and the best known and most successful example of which is the system of Linnaeus. On the contrary, it became apparent that for sub-orders of different grades different, and for special plant groups special, characteristics must be chosen. Moreover, there was brought to light a remarkable fact which was extremely important for the further development of science, viz., that, in reducing to a simple, logical, systematic principle the natural affinity of plants which is already recognised by quickened observation, the general external habit -- so sure an indication to the expert -- is of no use whatever, but that only characteristics from the secret interior of the structure, and in fact mostly such as are entirely invisible to the naked eye are of any service. In flowering plants we have to take into account especially relations of the embryo, then relations of the generative organs, connections between parts of the flower, &c. ; in non-flowering plants the most invisible and seemingly most unimportant things, such as the rings on the sporangia of ferns, the teeth round the spore-capsules of mosses, &c. In this way nature has provided us with a clue by means of which it is possible to penetrate far into her mystery.

What happened here deserves our close attention, for it teaches us much concerning the historical development of our sciences. And so, even at the risk of repeating myself, I must direct the attention of the reader still more emphatically to what took place in systematic botany. By faithful and engrossing study of a very extensive material the eye of the observer had been quickened. and he was enabled to divine connections, to see them, as it were, with the eye, without, however, being able accurately to account for them and above all without being able to find a simple, so to speak" mechanical," visible and demonstrable characteristic by which he might finally and convincingly prove the truth of his observation. Every child, for example, can -- when its attention is aroused -- distinguish between monocotyledons and dicotyledons; but it cannot give a reason for it, cannot point to a definite, sure distinguishing-mark. Obviously here (as everywhere) intuition is at the bottom of the matter. Regarding John Ray, the real founder of modern systematic botany, his contemporary Antoine de Jussieu expressly tells us that he was engrossed in the external habit -- plantae facies exterior; [21] now it was this same John Ray who discovered the importance of the cotyledons for a natural system of flowering plants, and at the same time the simple and infallible anatomical characteristic to distinguish the monocotyledons from the dicotyledons. Hereby it was proved that a hidden, mostly microscopically small anatomical characteristic was the essential thing by which the needs of the human intellect could be brought into unison with the facts of nature. This led to further discoveries regarding the presence or absence of albumen in the seed, regarding the position of the germ in the albumen, &c. These are all systematic characteristics of fundamental importance. Thus observation, united to intuition, had first dimly suggested the right solution; but man had to grope long before he could draw his ellipse; for the other focus; the x, was altogether lacking. At last it was found (i.e., approximately found), but not where human reason would have sought it nor at the place which mere intuition would ever have reached: it was only after long searching, after indefatigable comparison, that man at last hit upon the series of anatomical characteristics which are the criterion of a system in consonance with nature. But note carefully what followed this discovery, for now and now only comes the decisive point, the point which reveals the incomparable value of our scientific method. Now that man had, so to speak, come upon the track of nature, and with her help had drawn an approximately correct ellipse, he discovered hundreds and thousands of new facts, which all the "unscientific" observation and all the intuition in the world would never have revealed to him. False analogies were seen to be false; unsuspected connections between things which appeared to be absolutely heterogeneous were irrefutably proved. In fact, man had now really created order. This order, it is true, was also artificial, at least it contained an artificial element, for man and nature are not synonymous; if we had the purely " natural" order before our eyes, we could do nothing with it, and Goethe's famous remark, "Natural system is a contradiction," expresses in a nut-shell all the objections that can here be raised; but this human-artificial order, in contrast to that of Aristotle, was one in which man had made himself as small as possible and retired into the background, while endeavouring to let nature speak, in so far as her voice can be understood. And this principle is one which ensures progress; for in this way we gradually learn to understand the language of nature better. Every purely logical-scientific and every philosophically dogmatic theory focus an obstacle to science, whereas every theory which has been drawn as accurately as possible from nature and is yet only accepted as provisional, contributes to the advance of both knowledge and science.

This one example drawn from systematic botany must stand for many. It is a well-known fact that systematising as a necessary organ for shaping knowledge extends over all departments of knowledge; even religions are now classified in orders, species and categories. The victory of the method illustrated by botany forms in every sphere the backbone of the historical development of science between 1200 and 1800. In Physics, Chemistry, Physiology and in all related branches the same principles are at work. All knowledge must finally be systematised before it becomes science; that is why we encounter systematising everywhere and at all times. Bichat's theory of tissue -- which was the result of anatomical discoveries, and at the same time the source of new discoveries -- is an example, the exact analogy of which to John Ray's establishment of the so-called system of plants, and to the further history of this study, is at once apparent. Everywhere we see painfully exact observation, followed by daring, creative, but not dogmatic theorising.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:29 pm

Part 2 of 2


Before closing this section I should like to go a step farther, otherwise we should overlook an important point, one of those cardinal points which must serve to enable us to understand not only the history of our science, but also science itself as it exists in the nineteenth century. We must penetrate somewhat deeper into the nature and value of scientific theorising, and we can best do this by referring to that incomparable instrument of Teutonic science -- the experiment. But it is merely a parenthesis, for the experiment is peculiar only to some studies, while in this connection I must go down still deeper, in order to reveal certain cardinal principles of all more modern sciences.

The experiment is, in the first place, merely "methodical" observation. But it is at the same time theoretical observation. [22] Hence its right application calls for philosophical reflection, otherwise it may easily happen that the result might be that the experiment rather than nature might speak. "An experiment which is not preceded by a theory, i.e., an idea, stands in the same relation to natural investigation as jingling with a child's rattle does to music," says Liebig, and in his brilliant fashion he compares the attempt to calculation; in both cases thoughts must precede. But bow much caution is necessary here! Aristotle had experimented with falling bodies; he certainly did not lack acumen; but the "preceding theory" made him observe falsely. And if we take up Galilei's Discorsi, the fictitious conversation between Simplicio, Sagredo and Salviati will convince us that in the discovery of the true law of gravity conscientious observation, burdened with as few prejudices as possible, had the lion's share in the work and that the real theories followed after rather than "preceded." We have here, I think, a confusion on the part of Liebig, and where so great a man, one who has deserved so well of science, is at fault, we may presume that true understanding can only be derived from the finest analysis. And such understanding is all the more essential, as it and it alone enables us to grasp the significance of genius for science and the history of science. That we shall now attempt to do.

Liebig writes, "A theory, i.e., an idea"; he accordingly regards theory and idea as equivalents -- the first source of his error. The Greek word idea-which in its living significance has never been successfully translated into any modern language -- means exclusively something seen with the eyes, a phenomenon, a form; even Plato understands so fully by idea the quintessence of the Visible, that the single individual appears to him too pale to be regarded as more than the shadow of a true idea. [23] Theory, on the other hand, denoted even from the first not" looking at " but" looking on " (Watching) -- a very great difference, which continued to grow ever greater till the word theory had received the special meaning of an arbitrary, subjective view, an artificial arrangement. Theory and idea• are therefore not synonyms. When John Ray had by much observation attained so clear a picture of flowering plants as a whole that he distinctly perceived that they formed two great groups, he had an idea; when, however, he published in I703 his Methodus Plantarum, he propounded a theory, a theory far inferior to his idea; for though he had discovered the importance of the cotyledons as criteria for systematising, many other points (e.g., the importance of the parts of the flower) had escaped his notice, so that the man, who already correctly comprehended in its essential points the formation of the vegetable kingdom, nevertheless sketched an untenable system; in fact our knowledge at that time was not thorough enough for Ray's " idea" to be bodied forth adequately in a "theory." In the case of the idea man is still obviously a piece of nature; here speaks -- if I may venture to make the comparison -- that "voice of the blood" which forms the principal theme of the narratives of Cervantes; man perceives relations for which he cannot account, he has a presentiment of things which he could not prove. [23] That is not real knowledge; it is the reflection of a transcendent connection, and is, therefore, a direct, not a dialectical experience. The interpretation of such presentiments will always be uncertain ; neither they nor their interpretation can claim objective validity, their value is confined to the individual and depends absolutely on his individual importance. It is here that genius reveals its creative power. And while our whole Teutonic science is a science of faithful, painfully exact, absolutely prosaic observation, it is at the same time a science of genius. Everywhere "do ideas precede," here Liebig is perfectly right; we see it as clearly in the case of Galilei as of Ray, [25] in Bichat as well as Winckelmann, in Colebrooke as in Kant; but we must avoid the confusion of idea and theory; for these ideas of genius are far from being theories. The theory is the attempt so to organise a certain mass of experience -- often, perhaps always, collected with the aid of an idea -- that this artificial organism may serve the needs of the specific human intellect, without contradicting or arbitrarily treating the known facts. It is at once clear that the relative value of a theory will always stand in direct relation to the number of known facts, but this is by no means true of the idea, the value of which rather depends solely upon the greatness of the one personality. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, though his facts were very few, so correctly and accurately grasped the fundamental principles of geology, that not till the nineteenth century did we possess the necessary experience to demonstrate scientifically (and that means theoretically) the correctness of his intuition; again. he did not demonstrate the circulation of the blood (in some details he certainly did not even conceive it rightly or grasp it mechanically), but he guessed it, that is, he had the idea of circulation, not the theory.

At a later point, and in another connection, I shall discuss the incomparable importance of genius for our whole culture; there is nothing to explain there; it is sufficient to point to the fact. [26] But here it is still necessary for the comprehension of our science to answer the one important question: How do theories arise? Here too, I hope, by criticising a well-known remark of Liebig, in which a widespread view is expressed, to point out the right path; and it will be seen that our great scientific theories are neither thinkable without genius nor, at the same time, indebted to genius alone for their shaping.

The famous chemist writes, "Artistic ideas take root in fancy, scientific ideas in understanding." [26] This short sentence is full, if I am not mistaken, of psychological inaccuracies, but only one point interests us particularly at present; imagination is supposed to serve art alone, while science could get on without it; from this follows the further -- really monstrous -- assertion, that art "invents facts," science "explains facts." Science never explained anything! The word explain (erklaren) has no meaning for science, unless we take it to mean "to make more clearly visible." If my pen slips from my fingers, it falls to the ground; the law of gravitation is a theory which sets out in the very best way all the relations which are to be taken into account in this fall; but what does it explain? If I suggest the power of attraction, r arrive no further than the first chapter of Genesis, verse 1, that is to say, I put forward as an explanation a totally unthinkable and inexplicable entity. Oxygen and hydrogen unite to form water; good: what fact here explains and what fact is explained? Do oxygen and hydrogen explain water? Or are they explained by water? Obviously this word has not the shadow of a meaning, especially in science. It is true that in more complex phenomena this is not at once apparent, but the more thoroughly we analyse, the more does the delusion vanish, that explanation means an actual increase not only of knowledge but also of understanding. If the gardener, for example, says to me, "This plant turns towards the sun," I fancy in the first place, as he does, that I possess a perfectly valid "explanation." But if the physiologist says: strong light hinders growth, so that the plant grows more quickly on the shaded side and for that reason bends towards the sun -- if he shows me the influence of the capacity of extension on the part of the plant in question and of the differently refracted rays, &c., in short, if he reveals the mechanism of the process and unites all known facts to a theory of "heliotropism," I feel that I have learned a great deal more, but that the delusion of an "explanation" has considerably paled. The clearer the How, the more vague the Why. The fact that the plant "turns towards the sun" looked like a final explanation, for I myself, man, seek the sun; but when I hear that strong light hinders the separation of cells and consequently the lengthening of the stalk on the one side, and thus causes the plant to bend, this is a new fact, and that again impels me to seek explanation from still more remote causes, and so thoroughly dispels my original simple anthropomorphism that I begin to ask by what mechanical concatenation it happens that I am so fond of sunning myself. Here again Goethe is right: "Every solution of a problem is a new problem." [28] And if ever we should reach so far, that physical chemistry will take in hand the problem of heliotropism, and the whole become a calculation and finally an algebraical formula, then this question will have reached the same stage as gravitation, and everyone will recognise here, too, that science does not explain facts, put helps to discover and classify them -- with as much truth to nature and as much in the interest of man as possible. Now is this, the real work of science, possible, as Liebig says, without the co-operation of imagination? Does the creative faculty -- and that is what we call genius -- play no necessary part in the construction of our science? We need not enter into a theoretical discussion, for history proves the opposite. The more exact the science, the more need has it of imagination, and no science can altogether do without it. Where shall we find more daring creations of fancy than those atoms and molecules without which physics and chemistry would be impossible -- or than that "physical jack-of-all-trades and chimera," as Lichtenberg calls it, ether, which is indeed matter (otherwise it would be useless for our hypotheses) but to which the most essential characteristics of matter, as, for example, extension and impenetrability, must be denied (otherwise it Would be of equally little use), a true "Square root of minus one! it It would be hard to say where there is an Art so deeply "rooted in imagination." Liebig says that art invents facts." It never does! It has no need whatever to do that; moreover, we should not understand it if it did. It certainly condenses what lies apart, it unites what is only known to us as separate, and separates that part of the actual which stands in its way; in that way it gives shape to that which is beyond the sight of man, and distributes light and shade as it thinks fit: but it never crosses the boundary of what is familiar to conception and what is conceivably possible; for art is -- in direct contrast to science -- an activity of mind which confines itself solely to the purely human; from man it comes, to man it addresses itself, the Human alone is its field. [29] Science, as we have seen, is quite different; it is directed to the investigation of nature, and nature is not human. Indeed, would that it were so, as the Hellenes supposed I But experience has contradicted the supposition. In science, therefore, man attacks something which is, of course, not in-human, for he himself belongs to it, but it is to a great extent super-and extra-human. As soon, therefore, as man has an earnest desire to understand nature, and not to be satisfied with dogmatising in usum Delphini, he is compelled, in science, and especially in natural science in the narrower sense of the word, to strain to the utmost the powers of his imagination, which must be infinitely inventive and pliable and elastic. know that such an assumption is contrary to the general acceptation; to me, however, it seems that science and philosophy make higher claims on the imagination than poetry. The purely creative element in men like Democritus and Kant is greater than in Homer and Shakespeare. That is the very reason why their works remain accessible to but few. This scientific imagination is rooted of course in facts, as all imagination is of necessity; [30] and scientific imagination is particularly rich for this reason, that it has at its disposal an enormous number of facts, and its store of facts is being continually increased by new discoveries. I have already briefly referred (p. 287) to the importance of new discoveries for nourishing and stimulating the imagination; this importance extends even to the highest of regions of culture, but it reveals itself to begin with and above all in science. The wonderful advance of science in the sixteenth century -- of which Goethe wrote: "The world will not soon see the like again" [31] -- is by no means due to the regeneration of foolish Hellenic dogmatics, as people would have us believe; this has rather had the effect of leading us astray -- as in systematic botany, so in every department of knowledge; on the contrary, this sudden advance was directly due to the stimulus of the new discoveries, which I discussed in the previous section, discoveries in the heavens, discoveries on earth. Read the letters in which Galilei, trembling with excitement, proclaims the discovery of the moons of Jupiter and of the ring round Saturn, thanking God for revealing to him "such never-dreamt-of wonders," and you will get an idea of the mighty influence which the new discoveries exercised upon the imagination, and how they at the same time impelled man to seek further and further, and to bring the object of search nearer to the understanding. When discussing mathematics, we saw to what glorious heights of extreme daring the human spirit allowed itself to be transported in the intoxicating atmosphere of a newly discovered super-human nature. But for the genuine idea of genius, which sprang from the imagination -- not from observation, nor, as Liebig says, from facts -- the higher mathematics together with our knowledge of the heavens, of light, of electricity, &c., would have been impossible. But the same holds good everywhere, and that for the simple reason adduced above, that we otherwise could not reach this world which is outside man The history of our sciences between 1200 and 1800 is an unbroken series of such magnificent workings of the imagination. That implies the predominant power of creative genius.


Looking back, we now perceive that scientific chemistry was impossible so long as oxygen had not been discovered as an element; for this is the most important body of our planet, the body from which the organic as well as the inorganic phenomena of telluric nature derive their special colouring. In water, air and rocks, in all combustion (from the simple slow oxydising to flaming fire), in the breathing of all living creatures -- everywhere, in short, this element is at work. This is the very reason why it defied direct observation; for the outstanding characteristic of oxygen is the energy with which it unites with other elements, in other words, conceals from observation its existence as an independent body; even where it occurs not chemically united with other substances, but in a free state -- as, for example, in the air, where it only enters into a mechanical union with nitrogen -- it is impossible for the ignorant to observe oxygen; for not only is this element, under our conditions of temperature and pressure, a gas, it is, moreover, a colourless gas, without smell and without taste. The senses alone could not, therefore, discover it. Now in the second half of the seventeenth century there lived in England one of those genuine discoverers like Gilbert (see p. 269), namely, Robert Boyle, who by a treatise, Chemista scepticus, made an end of Aristotelian dialectics and alchemistic quackery in the field of chemistry, and at the same time set a twofold example: that of strict observation, and that of classifying and sifting the already much increased material of observation by the introduction of a creative idea. As a birthday gift he presented to chemistry, which was just arising in a genuine form, the new conception of elements, a more daring conception than the old one of Empedocles, one more after the spirit of Democritus. This idea was at that time based on no observation; it sprang from the imagination, but became henceforth the source of countless discoveries which have not yet reached the end of their course. Here we see what paths our science always follows. [32] But now for the example of which I am thinking. Boyle's idea had led to a rapid increase of knowledge, discovery had succeeded discovery, but the more numerous the facts became, the more confused was the total result; anyone who desires to know how impossible science is without theory, should study the state of chemistry at the beginning of the eighteenth century; he will find a Chinese chaos. If, as Liebig thinks, science can "explain" facts, if the unimaginative" understanding" is capable of such a task, why did it not prove so then? Were Boyle himself and Hooke and Becher and the many other capable collectors of facts of that age unintelligent persons? Certainly not; but understanding and observation alone are not sufficient, and the wish to "explain" is a delusion; what we call comprehension always presupposes a creative contribution from man. The important thing therefore was, to deduce from Boyle's brilliant idea the theoretical consequences, and this was done by a Franconian doctor, a man of "transcendentally speculative tendency of mind," [33] by the ever memorable Georg Ernst Stahl. He was not a professional chemist, but he saw what was lacking: an element! Could its existence be proved? Not at that time. But was a daring Teutonic mind to be disheartened by that? Fortunately not! So Stahl arbitrarily invented an imaginary element and called it phlogiston. At once in the escape of phlogiston, &c. Consequently, when Priestley and Scheele had at last separated oxygen from certain combinations, they firmly believed that they had within their grasp that famous phlogiston, which had been pursued ever since Stahl's time. But Lavoisier soon proved that the discovered element, far from possessing the qualities of the hypothetical phlogiston, revealed qualities of exactly the opposite kind! The oxygen thus discovered and rendered accessible to observation was in fact a different thing altogether from what the human imagination in its need had conceived. Without imagination man can establish no connection between phenomena, no theory, no science, but human imagination nevertheless always reveals itself as inadequate to and unlike nature, requiring to be corrected by empirical observation. That is also the reason why all theory is ever provisional, and science ceases as soon as dogmatism assumes the lead.

The history of our science is the history of such phlogistons. Philology has its "Aryans," but for which its great achievements in the nineteenth century would have been inconceivable. [34] Goethe's theories of metamorphoses in the vegetable kingdom and the affinities of the bones of the skull and the vertebrae have exercised an enormous stimulus upon the increase and systematising of our knowledge, but Schiller was perfectly right when he shook his head and said: "That is not experience" (and he might have added, nor a theory); "that is an idea." [35] He was equally right when he added: "Your intellect works to a remarkable degree intuitively and all your thinking powers seem, as it were, to have committed themselves to the imagination, as to their common representative." [36] As Carnot says: "Mathematical analysis is full of enigmatical hypotheses and from these enigmas it draws its strength." [37] John Tyndall, a competent authority, says of physics: "The greatest of its instruments is the imagination." [38] In the sciences of life, to-day as well as yesterday, wherever we are endeavouring to open up new spheres for the understanding and to reduce to order facts that are in confusion, it is imaginative, creative men who take the lead. Haeckel's plastidules, Wiesner's plasoms, Weissmann's biophores, &c., spring from the same need as Stahl's masterly invention. The imagination of these men is, of course, nourished and stimulated by the wealth of exact observations; pure imagination, for which the theory of "signatures" may serve as an example, has for science the same significance as the picture painted by a man who does not know the technique of painting has for art; their hypothetical suppositions, however, are not observations, consequently not facts, but attempts to arrange facts and pave the way for new observations. The most salient phlogiston of the eighteenth century was really nothing less than Darwin's theory of natural selection.

Perhaps I may be allowed, in summarising these results, to quote myself. I once had occasion to make a special and thorough study of a definite scientific subject, the rising sap of plants. On this occasion I was greatly interested in investigating the historical development of our knowledge of the question, and discovered that although there has been no lack of competent investigators, only three men, Hales (1727), Dutrochet (1826), and Hofmeister (1857) have really brought it one step farther. In these three exceptional men, though they differ absolutely in other respects, the concurrence of the following characteristics is very remarkable: they are all excellent observers, they are all men of wide outlook and of pre-eminently vivid, daring imagination, while all are, as theorists, somewhat one-sided and desultory. Highly gifted with imagination, they were in fact, like Goethe, inclined to ascribe too far-reaching significance to their creative ideas -- Hales to capillarity, Dutrochet to osmose, and Hofmeister to tension of tissue; the same power of imagination, which enabled these great men to enrich us, has therefore in a certain sense limited them: so that in this they have been forced to submit to correction from intellects which were their inferiors. Concerning them I wrote in my treatise: "To such men We owe all real progress of science; for whatever we may think of their theories, they have not only enriched our knowledge by the discovery of countless facts, but also our imagination by the promulgation of new ideas; theories come and go, but what the imagination once possesses, is eternal." But this investigation led me to a second discovery, one of still greater importance in principle: our imagination is very limited. If we trace the sciences back to antiquity, it is remarkable how few new conceptions the course of time has added to the very numerous old ones; this teaches us that it is solely and simply observation of nature that enriches our imagination, whereas all the thought in the world does not add one grain to its wealth. [39]


Let me add one final word.

Mathematicians -- never at a loss, as we have seen -- think it proper to say that a circle is an ellipse in which the two foci coincide. Will this coincidence of the foci ever be realised in our sciences? Is it to be supposed that human intuitive perception and nature will ever exactly coincide, that is, will our perception of things ever be absolute understanding? The preceding discussion shows how foolish such an assumption is; I am convinced that I may also assert that no single serious scientist of the present day, certainly no Teuton, believes it possible. [40] We find this conviction even where (as happens unfortunately very frequently to-day) the intellect is not adequately schooled by philosophy, and perhaps it is all the more impressive because it is expressed with perfect simplicity. Thus, for example, one of the admittedly most important investigators of the nineteenth century, Lord Kelvin, on celebrating in 1896 his jubilee as a Professor of fifty years standing, made the memorable confession: "One single word comprises the result of all that I have done towards the furthering of science during fifty-five years: this word is Failure. I know not one iota more to-day about electric or magnetic power, how ether, electricity and weighable matter stand to one another, or what chemical affinity means, than I did when I delivered my first lecture." These are the words of an honest, truthful, thorough Teuton, the man who seemed to have brought the hypothetical, unthinkable atoms so near to us, when in a happy hour he undertook to measure their length and breadth. Had he been in addition something of a philosopher, he would certainly not have needed to speak of failure in such a melancholy strain; for in that case he would not have assigned to science an absolutely unattainable goal, the ever impossible absolute knowledge, which may well be conceived in our inmost hearts but can never take the tangible form of an actual, empirical "knowledge"; he might then have unhesitatingly rejoiced over that brilliant, free, shaping power, which began to stir at the moment when the Teuton rebelled against the leaden might of the Chaos of Peoples, which since then has conferred on us so rich a blessing of civilisation, and in days to come is destined to attain still greater things. [41]

I hope that with the remarks in this section I have contributed something to help us to understand the history of our Teutonic sciences and to form an exact estimate of the progress in the nineteenth century. We have seen that science -- according to our new and absolutely individual view -- is the human shaping of something extra-human; we have shown in the essential outlines and by the aid of individual examples how this shaping has hitherto been accomplished. Of a "makeshift bridge" more cannot be expected.



1. Naturally I am at this moment leaving the purely mathematical out of account: for in that sphere it was certainly a remarkable, epoch-making achievement, so to transform the idea of the Continuous and "to separate it from the geometrical conception, that we could use it for purposes of calculation" (Gerhardt: Geschichte der Mathematik in Deutschland, 1877, p. 144).

2. To comprehend the Infinite, you must distinguish and then unite.

3. See vol. i. p. 42 f. The suffix schaft in Wissenschaft (science) denotes to order, to form (Eng. shape); science, therefore, means the shaping of the Known.

4. I have already pointed out that all genuine science is natural science (p. 237 f.).

5. Nothing is within, nothing is without; for what is within is without.

6. Histoire des mathematiques, 4th ed. p. 206. There the reader will find an excellent example of how the Greek preferred the reductio ad absurdum, which was not directly convincing, because purely logical, rather than follow the path of evident, strictly mathematical proof, in which an "infinite approximation" is regarded as equality.

7. Irrational numbers are such as can never be expressed quite accurately, that is to say, in the language of arithmetic, such as contain an irrational fraction; among them there is a large number of the most important quantities that constantly occur in all calculations, e.g., the square roots of most numbers, the relation of the diagonals to the side of a square, of the diameter of a circle to its circumference, &c. The latter quantity, the [x] of the mathematicians, has already been calculated to two hundred decimal places; we might calculate it to two millions. it would still be only an approximation. This simple example will prove in a thoroughly tangible manner the organic inadequacy of the human intellect, its incapacity to express even quite simple relations. (See vol. i. p. 432 for the contribution of the Indo-Aryans to the investigation of irrational numbers.)

8. Niccolo, called Tartaglia (i.e., the stutterer), of Brescia, and Cardanus of Milan; both flourished in the first half of the sixteenth century. But here, as in the case of the calculus, fluxions, &c., we can hardly name definite inventors, for the necessity of solving astronomical and physical problems (which the geographical discoveries had propounded) suggested similar thoughts to the most various individuals.

9. Saint-Beuve expresses the significant opinion that this daring man "formed in himself a second Frankish invasion of Gaul." In him the purely Teutonic spirit asserts itself once more against the Chaos of Peoples, that was flooding France, and its chief organ, the Order of the Jesuits.

10. The infinitely great is introduced into mathematics as unity divided by an infinitely small number. Concerning this supposition Berkeley remarks: "It is shocking to good sense": so it is, but it serves a practical purpose and that is the important thing.

11. Reflexions sur la melaphysque du calcul infinitesimal, 4th ed., 1860. This pamphlet of the famous mathematician is so perfectly clear that there is probably nothing quite like it on this subject, which, owing to the extremely contradictory nature of the matter, is not a little confused. As Carnot says, many mathematicians have worked with success in the field of infinitesimal calculation, without ever acquiring a clear conception of the thought which formed the basis of their operations. "Fortunately," he continues, "this has not detracted from the fruitfulness of the discovery: for there are certain fundamental ideas, which can never be grasped in all their clearness, and which nevertheless, as soon as ever some of their first results stand before us, open up to the human intellect a wide field, which it can investigate at leisure in all directions."

12. Libro di pittura i. 1 (in Heinrich Ludwig's edition). I should like to call special attention to one of the remarks of the great man which bear on this point. No. 1158 in the edition of his writings by J. P. Richter (ii. 289): "Nessuna certezza delle scientie e, dove non si pud applicare una delle scientie matematiche e che non sono unite con esse matematiche."

13. Kant, Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Naturwissenschaft, Preface.

14. Letter to Bayle, July 1687 (quoted from Hofer, i. c. p. 482). I do not know what Bayle's answer was. In his Dictionnaire I find under Zeno a violent attack upon all mathematics: "Mathematics have one fatal, immeasurable defect: they are in fact a mere chimera. The mathematical points, and consequently also the lines and surfaces of the geometricians, their spheres, axes, &c., are all abstractions which have never possessed a trace of reality; that is why these phantasies are even of less importance than those of the poets, for the latter invented nothing which is intrinsically impossible. The the mathematicians." &c. This abuse has no special significance; but it calls our attention to the important fact that mathematics, not merely since Cardanus and Leibniz, but from all time, have drawn their strength from "imaginary" or, more properly speaking, absolutely inconceivable magnitudes. When we think of it, the point according to Euclid's definition is no less inconceivable than √-1. Obviously our "exact knowledge" is a peculiar thing. The keenest criticism of our higher mathematics is found in Berkeley's The Analyst and A Defence of Free-thinking in Mathematics.

15. He aimed so intently at this that when his study was applied to man (see Locke), he did his best to "objectivise" himself, that is. to creep out of his own skin and regard himself as a piece of "nature."

16. Francis Bacon's decisive remark is in the Preface to the Inslauratio Magna, and is as follows: "Scientias non per arrogantiam in humani ingenii cellulis, sed submisse in mundo majore quaerai."

17. An ellipse, the foci of which exactly coincide, is a circle.

18. Geschichte der Botanis, 1875, p. 18.

19. Sachs, as above, p. 38.

20. His fundamental work, Genera plantarum secundum ordines naturales disposita, appeared in 1774, just prior to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

21. From the quotation in Hooker's supplement to the English edition of Le Maout and Decaisne: System of Botany, 1873, p. 987.

22. Kant says regarding experiment: "Reason only perceives what she herself brings forth according to her own design, she must according to constant laws lead the way with principles of her own judgment and compel nature to answer her questions" (Preface to the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason).

23. People imagine that Plato's ideas are abstractions; on the contrary, they are in his estimation the only concrete thing from which the phenomena of the empirical world are abstracted. It is the paradox of a mind longing for the most intense visualisation.

24. Kant has found a splendid expression for this and calls the idea, in the sense in which I use the word, eine inexponible Vorstsellung der Einbildungshraft (an inexpoundable conception of the Imagination); Kritik der Urteilskralt, § 57. note I.

25. Ray, who founded rational systematic botany, proved that in his case real genius predominated by the fact that he did exactly the same in the far removed and, previous to this time, hopelessly confused field of ichthyology. Power of Intuition is the divine gift here.

26. I merely wish to call the attention of those who are not very well read in philosophy to the fact that at the close of the epoch with which we are occupied in this chapter, the importance of genius was recognised and analysed with incomparable acumen: the great Kant has fixed upon the relative predominance of "nature" (i.e., what is, so to speak, outside and above man) in contrast to "reflection" (i.e., the circumscribed and logically Human) as the specific token of genius (see especially the Kritik der Urteilskraft). This does not mean that the genius is less "reflective," but rather that, in addition to a maximum of logical thinking power, something else is present; this addition is precisely the yeast which causes the dough of knowledge to rise.

27. Like the former quotation, this is from the speech on Francis Bacon in the year 1863. To obviate any misjudgment of Liebig, I beg the reader to read once more the totally different remark on p. 236. I am not exploiting the lapsus calami of the great investigator from any desire to put him right, but because this criticism helps to make my own thesis perfectly clear.

28. Gesprach mit Kanzler von Muller, June 8, 1821.

29. Landscape painting or animal painting is obviously never anything but a representation of landscapes or animals as they appear to man; the most daring caprice of a Turner or of one of the most modern impressionists can never be anything but an extravagant assertion of human autonomy. "When artists speak of nature, they always suppose the idea, without being clearly conscious of it" (Goethe).

30. See vol. i. pp. 177, 427; vol. ii. p. 273.

31. Geschichle der Farbenlehre, conclusion of the third part. An assertion which Liebig countersigns; "After this sixteenth century there is none which was richer in men of equal creative power" (Augsburger Allg. Zeitung, 1863, in the Reden und Abhandlungen, p. 272.

32. It deserves mention that Boyle's remarkable capacity for imaginative inventions found expression in theological writings from his pen, and was also noticed in his daily life.

33. I quote these words from Hirschel's Geschichte det Medizin, 2nd ed. p. 260. I possess a number of chemical books, but none of them mentions Stahl's intellectual gifts, their authors are much too prosaic and mechanical for that.

34. Cf. vol. i. p. 264, &c.

35. Goethe: Gluchliches Ereignis, sometimes printed as Annalen, 1794. Goethe himself, however, recognised this later and did not remain blind to the defects of his "idea," In the supplement to the Nachtrage zur Farbenlehre, under the heading Probleme, we find the remark, "The idea of metamorphosis is a most venerable but at the same time most dangerous gift from above. It leads to the Formless, destroys knowledge, disintegrates it."

36. Letter to Goethe, August 31, 1794. Schiller adds: "At bottom this is the highest point to which man can raise his powers, as soon as he succeeds in generalising his intuition and making his feeling lawgiver."

37. Loc. cit. p. 27.

38. On the Scientific Use of the Imagination, 1870.

39. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Recherches sur la Seve ascendante, Neuchatel, 1897, p. 11. Locke, in his Human Understanding (iv. 3, 23), already points out that poverty of "ideas" (as he too calls them) is one of the chief primary causes of the limitation of our knowledge.

40. Our numerous excellent Jewish scholars may be in a different case, for when a people, without ever learning anything, has known everything for thousands of years, it is a bitter hardship to have to tread the painful but brilliant path of study and to be forced finally to confess that our knowledge is everlastingly and narrowly circumscribed by human nature.

41. In this connection I should like to draw the reader's attention to the change in men's views regarding the nature of life. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the gulf between the Organic and the Inorganic was thought to be, if not filled up, at least bridged over (vol, i. p. 43); at the close of the century that gulf, for all men of knowledge, is wider than ever. Far from being in a position to produce Homunculi chemically in our laboratories, we have learned first of all (through the researches of Pasteur, Tyndall, &c.), that there nowhere exists generatio spontanea, but that all life is produced solely by life; then minuter anatomy (Virchow) has taught us that every cell of a body can only arise from an already existing cell; now we know (Wiesner) that even the simplest organic structures of the cell arise not by the chemical activity of the contents of the cell, but only from similar organised structures, e.g. a chlorophyll granule only from an already existing chlorophyll granule. Form, not matter, is the fundamental principle of all life. And thus Herbert Spencer, who was formerly so daring, had lately, as an honest investigator, to confess that "the theory of a special vital principle is inadequate, the physico-chemical theory has, however, likewise failed: the corollary being that in its ultimate nature Life is incomprehensible," (Letter in Nature, vol, lviii. p. 593, October 12, 1898). Here too a little metaphysical thought would have saved him from a painful retreat. Taken in Spencer's sense, the whole empirical world too is incomprehensible. The mystery is preeminently striking in the case of life, because life is just the one thing which we ourselves know from direct experience. By virtue of life we attack the problem of life and must now confess that the cat may indeed bite the point of its tail (if the latter is long enough), but not more; it cannot swallow and digest itself. To what proud flights will our science rise on the day when it has discarded the last remnant of the Semitic delusion of understanding, and passes on to pure, intensive intuitive perception, united to free, consciously human shaping. Then in truth will "man by man have entered into the daylight of life!" (Cf. my Immanuel Kant, 5th lecture, "Plato.")
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