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Title: The World As Will And Idea (Vol. 1 of 3)

Author: Arthur Schopenhauer

Release Date: December 27, 2011 [Ebook #38427]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


The World As Will And Idea


Arthur Schopenhauer

Translated From The German By

R. B. Haldane, M.A.


J. Kemp, M.A.

Vol. I.

Containing Four Books.

“Ob nicht Natur zuletzt sich doch ergünde?”Goethe

Seventh Edition


Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.


[pg v]

Translators' Preface.

The style of “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” is sometimes loose and involved, as is so often the case in German philosophical treatises. The translation of the book has consequently been a matter of no little difficulty. It was found that extensive alteration of the long and occasionally involved sentences, however likely to prove conducive to a satisfactory English style, tended not only to obliterate the form of the original but even to imperil the meaning. Where a choice has had to be made, the alternative of a somewhat slavish adherence to Schopenhauer's ipsissima verba has accordingly been preferred to that of inaccuracy. The result is a piece of work which leaves much to be desired, but which has yet consistently sought to reproduce faithfully the spirit as well as the letter of the original.

As regards the rendering of the technical terms about which there has been so much controversy, the equivalents used have only been adopted after careful consideration of their meaning in the theory of knowledge. For example, “Vorstellung” has been rendered by “idea,” in preference to “representation,” which is neither accurate, intelligible, nor elegant. “Idee,” is translated by the [pg vi] same word, but spelled with a capital,—“Idea.” Again, “Anschauung” has been rendered according to the context, either by “perception” simply, or by “intuition or perception.”

Notwithstanding statements to the contrary in the text, the book is probably quite intelligible in itself, apart from the treatise “On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason.” It has, however, been considered desirable to add an abstract of the latter work in an appendix to the third volume of this translation.

R. B. H.

J. K.

[pg vii]

Preface To The First Edition.

I propose to point out here how this book must be read in order to be thoroughly understood. By means of it I only intend to impart a single thought. Yet, notwithstanding all my endeavours, I could find no shorter way of imparting it than this whole book. I hold this thought to be that which has very long been sought for under the name of philosophy, and the discovery of which is therefore regarded by those who are familiar with history as quite as impossible as the discovery of the philosopher's stone, although it was already said by Pliny: Quam multa fieri non posse, priusquam sint facta, judicantur? (Hist. nat. 7, 1.)

According as we consider the different aspects of this one thought which I am about to impart, it exhibits itself as that which we call metaphysics, that which we call ethics, and that which we call æsthetics; and certainly it must be all this if it is what I have already acknowledged I take it to be.

A system of thought must always have an architectonic connection or coherence, that is, a connection in which one part always supports the other, though the latter does not support the former, in which ultimately the foundation supports all the rest without being supported by it, and the apex is supported without supporting. On the other hand, a single thought, however comprehensive [pg viii] it may be, must preserve the most perfect unity. If it admits of being broken up into parts to facilitate its communication, the connection of these parts must yet be organic, i.e., it must be a connection in which every part supports the whole just as much as it is supported by it, a connection in which there is no first and no last, in which the whole thought gains distinctness through every part, and even the smallest part cannot be completely understood unless the whole has already been grasped. A book, however, must always have a first and a last line, and in this respect will always remain very unlike an organism, however like one its content may be: thus form and matter are here in contradiction.

It is self-evident that under these circumstances no other advice can be given as to how one may enter into the thought explained in this work than to read the book twice, and the first time with great patience, a patience which is only to be derived from the belief, voluntarily accorded, that the beginning presupposes the end almost as much as the end presupposes the beginning, and that all the earlier parts presuppose the later almost as much as the later presuppose the earlier. I say “almost;” for this is by no means absolutely the case, and I have honestly and conscientiously done all that was possible to give priority to that which stands least in need of explanation from what follows, as indeed generally to everything that can help to make the thought as easy to comprehend and as distinct as possible. This might indeed to a certain extent be achieved if it were not that the reader, as is very natural, thinks, as he reads, not merely of what is actually said, but also of its possible consequences, and thus besides the many contradictions [pg ix] actually given of the opinions of the time, and presumably of the reader, there may be added as many more which are anticipated and imaginary. That, then, which is really only misunderstanding, must take the form of active disapproval, and it is all the more difficult to recognise that it is misunderstanding, because although the laboriously-attained clearness of the explanation and distinctness of the expression never leaves the immediate sense of what is said doubtful, it cannot at the same time express its relations to all that remains to be said. Therefore, as we have said, the first perusal demands patience, founded on confidence that on a second perusal much, or all, will appear in an entirely different light. Further, the earnest endeavour to be more completely and even more easily comprehended in the case of a very difficult subject, must justify occasional repetition. Indeed the structure of the whole, which is organic, not a mere chain, makes it necessary sometimes to touch on the same point twice. Moreover this construction, and the very close connection of all the parts, has not left open to me the division into chapters and paragraphs which I should otherwise have regarded as very important, but has obliged me to rest satisfied with four principal divisions, as it were four aspects of one thought. In each of these four books it is especially important to guard against losing sight, in the details which must necessarily be discussed, of the principal thought to which they belong, and the progress of the whole exposition. I have thus expressed the first, and like those which follow, unavoidable demand upon the reader, who holds the philosopher in small favour just because he himself is a philosopher.

The second demand is this, that the introduction be [pg x] read before the book itself, although it is not contained in the book, but appeared five years earlier under the title, Ueber die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichenden Grunde: eine philosophische Abhandlung (On the fourfold root of the principle of sufficient reason: a philosophical essay). Without an acquaintance with this introduction and propadeutic it is absolutely impossible to understand the present work properly, and the content of that essay will always be presupposed in this work just as if it were given with it. Besides, even if it had not preceded this book by several years, it would not properly have been placed before it as an introduction, but would have been incorporated in the first book. As it is, the first book does not contain what was said in the earlier essay, and it therefore exhibits a certain incompleteness on account of these deficiencies, which must always be supplied by reference to it. However, my disinclination was so great either to quote myself or laboriously to state again in other words what I had already said once in an adequate manner, that I preferred this course, notwithstanding the fact that I might now be able to give the content of that essay a somewhat better expression, chiefly by freeing it from several conceptions which resulted from the excessive influence which the Kantian philosophy had over me at the time, such as—categories, outer and inner sense, and the like. But even there these conceptions only occur because as yet I had never really entered deeply into them, therefore only by the way and quite out of connection with the principal matter. The correction of such passages in that essay will consequently take place of its own accord in the mind of the reader through his acquaintance with the present work. But only if we have fully recognised [pg xi] by means of that essay what the principle of sufficient reason is and signifies, what its validity extends to, and what it does not extend to, and that that principle is not before all things, and the whole world merely in consequence of it, and in conformity to it, a corollary, as it were, of it; but rather that it is merely the form in which the object, of whatever kind it may be, which is always conditioned by the subject, is invariably known so far as the subject is a knowing individual: only then will it be possible to enter into the method of philosophy which is here attempted for the first time, and which is completely different from all previous methods.

But the same disinclination to repeat myself word for word, or to say the same thing a second time in other and worse words, after I have deprived myself of the better, has occasioned another defect in the first book of this work. For I have omitted all that is said in the first chapter of my essay “On Sight and Colour,” which would otherwise have found its place here, word for word. Therefore the knowledge of this short, earlier work is also presupposed.

Finally, the third demand I have to make on the reader might indeed be tacitly assumed, for it is nothing but an acquaintance with the most important phenomenon that has appeared in philosophy for two thousand years, and that lies so near us: I mean the principal writings of Kant. It seems to me, in fact, as indeed has already been said by others, that the effect these writings produce in the mind to which they truly speak is very like that of the operation for cataract on a blind man: and if we wish to pursue the simile further, the aim of my own work may be described by saying that I have sought to put into the hands of those upon whom that operation [pg xii] has been successfully performed a pair of spectacles suitable to eyes that have recovered their sight—spectacles of whose use that operation is the absolutely necessary condition. Starting then, as I do to a large extent, from what has been accomplished by the great Kant, I have yet been enabled, just on account of my earnest study of his writings, to discover important errors in them. These I have been obliged to separate from the rest and prove to be false, in order that I might be able to presuppose and apply what is true and excellent in his doctrine, pure and freed from error. But not to interrupt and complicate my own exposition by a constant polemic against Kant, I have relegated this to a special appendix. It follows then, from what has been said, that my work presupposes a knowledge of this appendix just as much as it presupposes a knowledge of the philosophy of Kant; and in this respect it would therefore be advisable to read the appendix first, all the more as its content is specially related to the first book of the present work. On the other hand, it could not be avoided, from the nature of the case, that here and there the appendix also should refer to the text of the work; and the only result of this is, that the appendix, as well as the principal part of the work, must be read twice.

The philosophy of Kant, then, is the only philosophy with which a thorough acquaintance is directly presupposed in what we have to say here. But if, besides this, the reader has lingered in the school of the divine Plato, he will be so much the better prepared to hear me, and susceptible to what I say. And if, indeed, in addition to this he is a partaker of the benefit conferred by the Vedas, the access to which, opened to us through the Upanishads, is in my eyes the greatest advantage which [pg xiii] this still young century enjoys over previous ones, because I believe that the influence of the Sanscrit literature will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century: if, I say, the reader has also already received and assimilated the sacred, primitive Indian wisdom, then is he best of all prepared to hear what I have to say to him. My work will not speak to him, as to many others, in a strange and even hostile tongue; for, if it does not sound too vain, I might express the opinion that each one of the individual and disconnected aphorisms which make up the Upanishads may be deduced as a consequence from the thought I am going to impart, though the converse, that my thought is to be found in the Upanishads, is by no means the case.

But most readers have already grown angry with impatience, and burst into reproaches with difficulty kept back so long. How can I venture to present a book to the public under conditions and demands the first two of which are presumptuous and altogether immodest, and this at a time when there is such a general wealth of special ideas, that in Germany alone they are made common property through the press, in three thousand valuable, original, and absolutely indispensable works every year, besides innumerable periodicals, and even daily papers; at a time when especially there is not the least deficiency of entirely original and profound philosophers, but in Germany alone there are more of them alive at the same time, than several centuries could formerly boast of in succession to each other? How is one ever to come to the end, asks the indignant reader, if one must set to work upon a book in such a fashion?

[pg xiv]

As I have absolutely nothing to advance against these reproaches, I only hope for some small thanks from such readers for having warned them in time, so that they may not lose an hour over a book which it would be useless to read without complying with the demands that have been made, and which should therefore be left alone, particularly as apart from this we might wager a great deal that it can say nothing to them, but rather that it will always be only pancorum hominum, and must therefore quietly and modestly wait for the few whose unusual mode of thought may find it enjoyable. For apart from the difficulties and the effort which it requires from the reader, what cultured man of this age, whose knowledge has almost reached the august point at which the paradoxical and the false are all one to it, could bear to meet thoughts almost on every page that directly contradict that which he has yet himself established once for all as true and undeniable? And then, how disagreeably disappointed will many a one be if he finds no mention here of what he believes it is precisely here he ought to look for, because his method of speculation agrees with that of a great living philosopher,1 who has certainly written pathetic books, and who only has the trifling weakness that he takes all he learned and approved before his fifteenth year for inborn ideas of the human mind. Who could stand all this? Therefore my advice is simply to lay down the book.

But I fear I shall not escape even thus. The reader who has got as far as the preface and been stopped by it, has bought the book for cash, and asks how he is to be indemnified. My last refuge is now to remind him that he knows how to make use of a book in several [pg xv] ways, without exactly reading it. It may fill a gap in his library as well as many another, where, neatly bound, it will certainly look well. Or he can lay it on the toilet-table or the tea-table of some learned lady friend. Or, finally, what certainly is best of all, and I specially advise it, he can review it.

And now that I have allowed myself the jest to which in this two-sided life hardly any page can be too serious to grant a place, I part with the book with deep seriousness, in the sure hope that sooner or later it will reach those to whom alone it can be addressed; and for the rest, patiently resigned that the same fate should, in full measure, befall it, that in all ages has, to some extent, befallen all knowledge, and especially the weightiest knowledge of the truth, to which only a brief triumph is allotted between the two long periods in which it is condemned as paradoxical or disparaged as trivial. The former fate is also wont to befall its author. But life is short, and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.

Written at Dresden in August 1818.

[pg xvii]

Preface To The Second Edition.

Not to my contemporaries, not to my compatriots—to mankind I commit my now completed work in the confidence that it will not be without value for them, even if this should be late recognised, as is commonly the lot of what is good. For it cannot have been for the passing generation, engrossed with the delusion of the moment, that my mind, almost against my will, has uninterruptedly stuck to its work through the course of a long life. And while the lapse of time has not been able to make me doubt the worth of my work, neither has the lack of sympathy; for I constantly saw the false and the bad, and finally the absurd and senseless,2 stand in universal admiration and honour, and I bethought myself that if it were not the case those who are capable of recognising the genuine and right are so rare that we may look for them in vain for some twenty years, then those who are capable of producing it could not be so few that their works afterwards form an exception to the perishableness of earthly things; and thus would be lost the reviving prospect of posterity which every one who sets before himself a high aim requires to strengthen him.

Whoever seriously takes up and pursues an object that does not lead to material advantages, must not count on [pg xviii] the sympathy of his contemporaries. For the most part he will see, however, that in the meantime the superficial aspect of that object becomes current in the world, and enjoys its day; and this is as it should be. The object itself must be pursued for its own sake, otherwise it cannot be attained; for any design or intention is always dangerous to insight. Accordingly, as the whole history of literature proves, everything of real value required a long time to gain acceptance, especially if it belonged to the class of instructive, not entertaining, works; and meanwhile the false flourished. For to combine the object with its superficial appearance is difficult, when it is not impossible. Indeed that is just the curse of this world of want and need, that everything must serve and slave for these; and therefore it is not so constituted that any noble and sublime effort, like the endeavour after light and truth, can prosper unhindered and exist for its own sake. But even if such an endeavour has once succeeded in asserting itself, and the conception of it has thus been introduced, material interests and personal aims will immediately take possession of it, in order to make it their tool or their mask. Accordingly, when Kant brought philosophy again into repute, it had soon to become the tool of political aims from above, and personal aims from below; although, strictly speaking, not philosophy itself, but its ghost, that passes for it. This should not really astonish us; for the incredibly large majority of men are by nature quite incapable of any but material aims, indeed they can conceive no others. Thus the pursuit of truth alone is far too lofty and eccentric an endeavour for us to expect all or many, or indeed even a few, faithfully to take part in. If yet we see, as for example at present in Germany, a [pg xix] remarkable activity, a general moving, writing, and talking with reference to philosophical subjects, we may confidently assume that, in spite of solemn looks and assurances, only real, not ideal aims, are the actual primum mobile, the concealed motive of such a movement; that it is personal, official, ecclesiastical, political, in short, material ends that are really kept in view, and consequently that mere party ends set the pens of so many pretended philosophers in such rapid motion. Thus some design or intention, not the desire of insight, is the guiding star of these disturbers of the peace, and truth is certainly the last thing that is thought of in the matter. It finds no partisans; rather, it may pursue its way as silently and unheeded through such a philosophical riot as through the winter night of the darkest century bound in the rigid faith of the church, when it was communicated only to a few alchemists as esoteric learning, or entrusted it may be only to the parchment. Indeed I might say that no time can be more unfavourable to philosophy than that in which it is shamefully misused, on the one hand to further political objects, on the other as a means of livelihood. Or is it believed that somehow, with such effort and such a turmoil, the truth, at which it by no means aims, will also be brought to light? Truth is no prostitute, that throws herself away upon those who do not desire her; she is rather so coy a beauty that he who sacrifices everything to her cannot even then be sure of her favour.

If Governments make philosophy a means of furthering political ends, learned men see in philosophical professorships a trade that nourishes the outer man just like any other; therefore they crowd after them in the assurance of their good intentions, that is, the purpose of subserving [pg xx] these ends. And they keep their word: not truth, not clearness, not Plato, not Aristotle, but the ends they were appointed to serve are their guiding star, and become at once the criterion of what is true, valuable, and to be respected, and of the opposites of these. Whatever, therefore, does not answer these ends, even if it were the most important and extraordinary things in their department, is either condemned, or, when this seems hazardous, suppressed by being unanimously ignored. Look only at their zeal against pantheism; will any simpleton believe that it proceeds from conviction? And, in general, how is it possible that philosophy, degraded to the position of a means of making one's bread, can fail to degenerate into sophistry? Just because this is infallibly the case, and the rule, “I sing the song of him whose bread I eat,” has always held good, the making of money by philosophy was regarded by the ancients as the characteristic of the sophists. But we have still to add this, that since throughout this world nothing is to be expected, can be demanded, or is to be had for gold but mediocrity, we must be contented with it here also. Consequently we see in all the German universities the cherished mediocrity striving to produce the philosophy which as yet is not there to produce, at its own expense and indeed in accordance with a predetermined standard and aim, a spectacle at which it would be almost cruel to mock.

While thus philosophy has long been obliged to serve entirely as a means to public ends on the one side and private ends on the other, I have pursued the course of my thought, undisturbed by them, for more than thirty years, and simply because I was obliged to do so and could not help myself, from an instinctive impulse, which [pg xxi] was, however, supported by the confidence that anything true one may have thought, and anything obscure one may have thrown light upon, will appeal to any thinking mind, no matter when it comprehends it, and will rejoice and comfort it. To such an one we speak as those who are like us have spoken to us, and have so become our comfort in the wilderness of this life. Meanwhile the object is pursued on its own account and for its own sake. Now it happens curiously enough with philosophical meditations, that precisely that which one has thought out and investigated for oneself, is afterwards of benefit to others; not that, however, which was originally intended for others. The former is confessedly nearest in character to perfect honesty; for a man does not seek to deceive himself, nor does he offer himself empty husks; so that all sophistication and all mere talk is omitted, and consequently every sentence that is written at once repays the trouble of reading it. Thus my writings bear the stamp of honesty and openness so distinctly on the face of them, that by this alone they are a glaring contrast to those of three celebrated sophists of the post-Kantian period. I am always to be found at the standpoint of reflection, i.e., rational deliberation and honest statement, never at that of inspiration, called intellectual intuition, or absolute thought; though, if it received its proper name, it would be called empty bombast and charlatanism. Working then in this spirit, and always seeing the false and bad in universal acceptance, yea, bombast3 and charlatanism4 in the highest honour, I have long renounced the approbation of my contemporaries. It is impossible that an age which for twenty years has applauded a Hegel, that intellectual Caliban, as the [pg xxii] greatest of the philosophers, so loudly that it echoes through the whole of Europe, could make him who has looked on at that desirous of its approbation. It has no more crowns of honour to bestow; its applause is prostituted, and its censure has no significance. That I mean what I say is attested by the fact that if I had in any way sought the approbation of my contemporaries, I would have had to strike out a score of passages which entirely contradict all their opinions, and indeed must in part be offensive to them. But I would count it a crime to sacrifice a single syllable to that approbation. My guiding star has, in all seriousness, been truth. Following it, I could first aspire only to my own approbation, entirely averted from an age deeply degraded as regards all higher intellectual efforts, and a national literature demoralised even to the exceptions, a literature in which the art of combining lofty words with paltry significance has reached its height. I can certainly never escape from the errors and weaknesses which, in my case as in every one else's, necessarily belong to my nature; but I will not increase them by unworthy accommodations.

As regards this second edition, first of all I am glad to say that after five and twenty years I find nothing to retract; so that my fundamental convictions have only been confirmed, as far as concerns myself at least. The alterations in the first volume therefore, which contains the whole text of the first edition, nowhere touch what is essential. Sometimes they concern things of merely secondary importance, and more often consist of very short explanatory additions inserted here and there. Only the criticism of the Kantian philosophy has received important corrections and large additions, for these could not be put into a supplementary book, such as [pg xxiii] those which are given in the second volume, and which correspond to each of the four books that contain the exposition of my own doctrine. In the case of the latter, I have chosen this form of enlarging and improving them, because the five and twenty years that have passed since they were composed have produced so marked a change in my method of exposition and in my style, that it would not have done to combine the content of the second volume with that of the first, as both must have suffered by the fusion. I therefore give both works separately, and in the earlier exposition, even in many places where I would now express myself quite differently, I have changed nothing, because I desired to guard against spoiling the work of my earlier years through the carping criticism of age. What in this regard might need correction will correct itself in the mind of the reader with the help of the second volume. Both volumes have, in the full sense of the word, a supplementary relation to each other, so far as this rests on the fact that one age of human life is, intellectually, the supplement of another. It will therefore be found, not only that each volume contains what the other lacks, but that the merits of the one consist peculiarly in that which is wanting in the other. Thus, if the first half of my work surpasses the second in what can only be supplied by the fire of youth and the energy of first conceptions, the second will surpass the first by the ripeness and complete elaboration of the thought which can only belong to the fruit of the labour of a long life. For when I had the strength originally to grasp the fundamental thought of my system, to follow it at once into its four branches, to return from them to the unity of their origin, and then to explain the whole distinctly, I could not yet be in a position to work out all [pg xxiv] the branches of the system with the fulness, thoroughness, and elaborateness which is only reached by the meditation of many years—meditation which is required to test and illustrate the system by innumerable facts, to support it by the most different kinds of proof, to throw light on it from all sides, and then to place the different points of view boldly in contrast, to separate thoroughly the multifarious materials, and present them in a well-arranged whole. Therefore, although it would, no doubt, have been more agreeable to the reader to have my whole work in one piece, instead of consisting, as it now does, of two halves, which must be combined in using them, he must reflect that this would have demanded that I should accomplish at one period of life what it is only possible to accomplish in two, for I would have had to possess the qualities at one period of life that nature has divided between two quite different ones. Hence the necessity of presenting my work in two halves supplementary to each other may be compared to the necessity in consequence of which a chromatic object-glass, which cannot be made out of one piece, is produced by joining together a convex lens of flint glass and a concave lens of crown glass, the combined effect of which is what was sought. Yet, on the other hand, the reader will find some compensation for the inconvenience of using two volumes at once, in the variety and the relief which is afforded by the handling of the same subject, by the same mind, in the same spirit, but in very different years. However, it is very advisable that those who are not yet acquainted with my philosophy should first of all read the first volume without using the supplementary books, and should make use of these only on a second perusal; otherwise it would be too difficult for them to grasp the [pg xxv] system in its connection. For it is only thus explained in the first volume, while the second is devoted to a more detailed investigation and a complete development of the individual doctrines. Even those who should not make up their minds to a second reading of the first volume had better not read the second volume till after the first, and then for itself, in the ordinary sequence of its chapters, which, at any rate, stand in some kind of connection, though a somewhat looser one, the gaps of which they will fully supply by the recollection of the first volume, if they have thoroughly comprehended it. Besides, they will find everywhere the reference to the corresponding passages of the first volume, the paragraphs of which I have numbered in the second edition for this purpose, though in the first edition they were only divided by lines.

I have already explained in the preface to the first edition, that my philosophy is founded on that of Kant, and therefore presupposes a thorough knowledge of it. I repeat this here. For Kant's teaching produces in the mind of every one who has comprehended it a fundamental change which is so great that it may be regarded as an intellectual new-birth. It alone is able really to remove the inborn realism which proceeds from the original character of the intellect, which neither Berkeley nor Malebranche succeed in doing, for they remain too much in the universal, while Kant goes into the particular, and indeed in a way that is quite unexampled both before and after him, and which has quite a peculiar, and, we might say, immediate effect upon the mind in consequence of which it undergoes a complete undeception, and forthwith looks at all things in another light. Only in this way can any one become susceptible to the [pg xxvi] more positive expositions which I have to give. On the other hand, he who has not mastered the Kantian philosophy, whatever else he may have studied, is, as it were, in a state of innocence; that is to say, he remains in the grasp of that natural and childish realism in which we are all born, and which fits us for everything possible, with the single exception of philosophy. Such a man then stands to the man who knows the Kantian philosophy as a minor to a man of full age. That this truth should nowadays sound paradoxical, which would not have been the case in the first thirty years after the appearance of the Critique of Reason, is due to the fact that a generation has grown up that does not know Kant properly, because it has never heard more of him than a hasty, impatient lecture, or an account at second-hand; and this again is due to the fact that in consequence of bad guidance, this generation has wasted its time with the philosophemes of vulgar, uncalled men, or even of bombastic sophists, which are unwarrantably commended to it. Hence the confusion of fundamental conceptions, and in general the unspeakable crudeness and awkwardness that appears from under the covering of affectation and pretentiousness in the philosophical attempts of the generation thus brought up. But whoever thinks he can learn Kant's philosophy from the exposition of others makes a terrible mistake. Nay, rather I must earnestly warn against such accounts, especially the more recent ones; and indeed in the years just past I have met with expositions of the Kantian philosophy in the writings of the Hegelians which actually reach the incredible. How should the minds that in the freshness of youth have been strained and ruined by the nonsense of Hegelism, be still capable of following Kant's profound [pg xxvii] investigations? They are early accustomed to take the hollowest jingle of words for philosophical thoughts, the most miserable sophisms for acuteness, and silly conceits for dialectic, and their minds are disorganised through the admission of mad combinations of words to which the mind torments and exhausts itself in vain to attach some thought. No Critique of Reason can avail them, no philosophy, they need a medicina mentis, first as a sort of purgative, un petit cours de senscommunologie, and then one must further see whether, in their case, there can even be any talk of philosophy. The Kantian doctrine then will be sought for in vain anywhere else but in Kant's own works; but these are throughout instructive, even where he errs, even where he fails. In consequence of his originality, it holds good of him in the highest degree, as indeed of all true philosophers, that one can only come to know them from their own works, not from the accounts of others. For the thoughts of any extraordinary intellect cannot stand being filtered through the vulgar mind. Born behind the broad, high, finely-arched brow, from under which shine beaming eyes, they lose all power and life, and appear no longer like themselves, when removed to the narrow lodging and low roofing of the confined, contracted, thick-walled skull from which dull glances steal directed to personal ends. Indeed we may say that minds of this kind act like an uneven glass, in which everything is twisted and distorted, loses the regularity of its beauty, and becomes a caricature. Only from their authors themselves can we receive philosophical thoughts; therefore whoever feels himself drawn to philosophy must himself seek out its immortal teachers in the still sanctuary of their works. The principal chapters of any one of these true philosophers will afford [pg xxviii] a thousand times more insight into their doctrines than the heavy and distorted accounts of them that everyday men produce, who are still for the most part deeply entangled in the fashionable philosophy of the time, or in the sentiments of their own minds. But it is astonishing how decidedly the public seizes by preference on these expositions at second-hand. It seems really as if elective affinities were at work here, by virtue of which the common nature is drawn to its like, and therefore will rather hear what a great man has said from one of its own kind. Perhaps this rests on the same principle as that of mutual instruction, according to which children learn best from children.

One word more for the professors of philosophy. I have always been compelled to admire not merely the sagacity, the true and fine tact with which, immediately on its appearance, they recognised my philosophy as something altogether different from and indeed dangerous to their own attempts, or, in popular language, something that would not suit their turn; but also the sure and astute policy by virtue of which they at once discovered the proper procedure with regard to it, the complete harmony with which they applied it, and the persistency with which they have remained faithful to it. This procedure, which further commended itself by the great ease of carrying it out, consists, as is well known, in altogether ignoring and thus in secreting—according to Goethe's malicious phrase, which just means the appropriating of what is of weight and significance. The efficiency of this quiet means is increased by the Corybantic shouts with which those who are at one reciprocally greet the birth of their own spiritual children—shouts which compel [pg xxix] the public to look and note the air of importance with which they congratulate themselves on the event. Who can mistake the object of such proceedings? Is there then nothing to oppose to the maxim, primum vivere, deinde philosophari? These gentlemen desire to live, and indeed to live by philosophy. To philosophy they are assigned with their wives and children, and in spite of Petrarch's povera e nuda vai filosofia, they have staked everything upon it. Now my philosophy is by no means so constituted that any one can live by it. It lacks the first indispensable requisite of a well-paid professional philosophy, a speculative theology, which—in spite of the troublesome Kant with his Critique of Reason—should and must, it is supposed, be the chief theme of all philosophy, even if it thus takes on itself the task of talking straight on of that of which it can know absolutely nothing. Indeed my philosophy does not permit to the professors the fiction they have so cunningly devised, and which has become so indispensable to them, of a reason that knows, perceives, or apprehends immediately and absolutely. This is a doctrine which it is only necessary to impose upon the reader at starting, in order to pass in the most comfortable manner in the world, as it were in a chariot and four, into that region beyond the possibility of all experience, which Kant has wholly and for ever shut out from our knowledge, and in which are found immediately revealed and most beautifully arranged the fundamental dogmas of modern, Judaising, optimistic Christianity. Now what in the world has my subtle philosophy, deficient as it is in these essential requisites, with no intentional aim, and unable to afford a means of subsistence, whose pole star is truth alone [pg xxx] the naked, unrewarded, unbefriended, often persecuted truth, and which steers straight for it without looking to the right hand or the left,—what, I say, has this to do with that alma mater, the good, well-to-do university philosophy which, burdened with a hundred aims and a thousand motives, comes on its course cautiously tacking, while it keeps before its eyes at all times the fear of the Lord, the will of the ministry, the laws of the established church, the wishes of the publisher, the attendance of the students, the goodwill of colleagues, the course of current politics, the momentary tendency of the public, and Heaven knows what besides? Or what has my quiet, earnest search for truth in common with the noisy scholastic disputations of the chair and the benches, the inmost motives of which are always personal aims. The two kinds of philosophy are, indeed, radically different. Thus it is that with me there is no compromise and no fellowship, that no one reaps any benefit from my works but the man who seeks the truth alone, and therefore none of the philosophical parties of the day; for they all follow their own aims, while I have only insight into truth to offer, which suits none of these aims, because it is not modelled after any of them. If my philosophy is to become susceptible of professorial exposition, the times must entirely change. What a pretty thing it would be if a philosophy by which nobody could live were to gain for itself light and air, not to speak of the general ear! This must be guarded against, and all must oppose it as one man. But it is not just such an easy game to controvert and refute; and, moreover, these are mistaken means to employ, because they just direct the attention of the public to the matter, and its taste for the lucubrations [pg xxxi] of the professors of philosophy might be destroyed by the perusal of my writings. For whoever has tasted of earnest will not relish jest, especially when it is tiresome. Therefore the silent system, so unanimously adopted, is the only right one, and I can only advise them to stick to it and go on with it as long as it will answer, that is, until to ignore is taken to imply ignorance; then there will just be time to turn back. Meanwhile it remains open to every one to pluck out a small feather here and there for his own use, for the superfluity of thoughts at home should not be very oppressive. Thus the ignoring and silent system may hold out a good while, at least the span of time I may have yet to live, whereby much is already won. And if, in the meantime, here and there an indiscreet voice has let itself be heard, it is soon drowned by the loud talking of the professors, who, with important airs, know how to entertain the public with very different things. I advise, however, that the unanimity of procedure should be somewhat more strictly observed, and especially that the young men should be looked after, for they are sometimes so fearfully indiscreet. For even so I cannot guarantee that the commended procedure will last for ever, and cannot answer for the final issue. It is a nice question as to the steering of the public, which, on the whole, is good and tractable. Although we nearly at all times see the Gorgiases and the Hippiases uppermost, although the absurd, as a rule, predominates, and it seems impossible that the voice of the individual can ever penetrate through the chorus of the befooling and the befooled, there yet remains to the genuine works of every age a quite peculiar, silent, slow, and powerful influence; and, [pg xxxii] as if by a miracle, we see them rise at last out of the turmoil like a balloon that floats up out of the thick atmosphere of this globe into purer regions, where, having once arrived, it remains at rest, and no one can draw it down again.

Written at Frankfort-on-the-Maine in February 1844.

[pg 001]

First Book. The World As Idea.

First Aspect. The Idea Subordinated To The Principle Of Sufficient Reason: The Object Of Experience And Science.

Sors de l'enfance, ami réveille toi!
Jean Jacques Rousseau.
[pg 003]

§ 1. “The world is my idea:”—this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as idea, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness, which is himself. If any truth can be asserted a priori, it is this: for it is the expression of the most general form of all possible and thinkable experience: a form which is more general than time, or space, or causality, for they all presuppose it; and each of these, which we have seen to be just so many modes of the principle of sufficient reason, is valid only for a particular class of ideas; whereas the antithesis of object and subject is the common form of all these classes, is that form under which alone any idea of whatever kind it may be, abstract or intuitive, pure or empirical, is possible and thinkable. No truth therefore is more certain, more independent of all others, and less in need of proof than this, that all that exists for knowledge, and therefore this whole world, is only object in relation to subject, perception of a perceiver, in a word, idea. This is obviously true of the past and the future, as well as of the present, of what is farthest off, as of what is near; for it is true of time and space themselves, in which alone these distinctions arise. All that in any way [pg 004] belongs or can belong to the world is inevitably thus conditioned through the subject, and exists only for the subject. The world is idea.

This truth is by no means new. It was implicitly involved in the sceptical reflections from which Descartes started. Berkeley, however, was the first who distinctly enunciated it, and by this he has rendered a permanent service to philosophy, even though the rest of his teaching should not endure. Kant's primary mistake was the neglect of this principle, as is shown in the appendix. How early again this truth was recognised by the wise men of India, appearing indeed as the fundamental tenet of the Vedânta philosophy ascribed to Vyasa, is pointed out by Sir William Jones in the last of his essays: “On the philosophy of the Asiatics” (Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 164), where he says, “The fundamental tenet of the Vedanta school consisted not in denying the existence of matter, that is, of solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending that it has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms.” These words adequately express the compatibility of empirical reality and transcendental ideality.

In this first book, then, we consider the world only from this side, only so far as it is idea. The inward reluctance with which any one accepts the world as merely his idea, warns him that this view of it, however true it may be, is nevertheless one-sided, adopted in consequence of some arbitrary abstraction. And yet it is a conception from which he can never free himself. The defectiveness of this view will be corrected in the next book by means of a truth which is not so immediately certain as that from which we start here; a truth at which we can arrive only by deeper research and more severe abstraction, by the separation of what is different and the union of what is identical. This [pg 005] truth, which must be very serious and impressive if not awful to every one, is that a man can also say and must say, “the world is my will.”

In this book, however, we must consider separately that aspect of the world from which we start, its aspect as knowable, and therefore, in the meantime, we must, without reserve, regard all presented objects, even our own bodies (as we shall presently show more fully), merely as ideas, and call them merely ideas. By so doing we always abstract from will (as we hope to make clear to every one further on), which by itself constitutes the other aspect of the world. For as the world is in one aspect entirely idea, so in another it is entirely will. A reality which is neither of these two, but an object in itself (into which the thing in itself has unfortunately dwindled in the hands of Kant), is the phantom of a dream, and its acceptance is an ignis fatuus in philosophy.

§ 2. That which knows all things and is known by none is the subject. Thus it is the supporter of the world, that condition of all phenomena, of all objects which is always pre-supposed throughout experience; for all that exists, exists only for the subject. Every one finds himself to be subject, yet only in so far as he knows, not in so far as he is an object of knowledge. But his body is object, and therefore from this point of view we call it idea. For the body is an object among objects, and is conditioned by the laws of objects, although it is an immediate object. Like all objects of perception, it lies within the universal forms of knowledge, time and space, which are the conditions of multiplicity. The subject, on the contrary, which is always the knower, never the known, does not come under these forms, but is presupposed by them; it has therefore neither multiplicity nor its opposite unity. We never know it, but it is always the knower wherever there is knowledge.

So then the world as idea, the only aspect in which [pg 006] we consider it at present, has two fundamental, necessary, and inseparable halves. The one half is the object, the forms of which are space and time, and through these multiplicity. The other half is the subject, which is not in space and time, for it is present, entire and undivided, in every percipient being. So that any one percipient being, with the object, constitutes the whole world as idea just as fully as the existing millions could do; but if this one were to disappear, then the whole world as idea would cease to be. These halves are therefore inseparable even for thought, for each of the two has meaning and existence only through and for the other, each appears with the other and vanishes with it. They limit each other immediately; where the object begins the subject ends. The universality of this limitation is shown by the fact that the essential and hence universal forms of all objects, space, time, and causality, may, without knowledge of the object, be discovered and fully known from a consideration of the subject, i.e., in Kantian language, they lie a priori in our consciousness. That he discovered this is one of Kant's principal merits, and it is a great one. I however go beyond this, and maintain that the principle of sufficient reason is the general expression for all these forms of the object of which we are a priori conscious; and that therefore all that we know purely a priori, is merely the content of that principle and what follows from it; in it all our certain a priori knowledge is expressed. In my essay on the principle of sufficient reason I have shown in detail how every possible object comes under it; that is, stands in a necessary relation to other objects, on the one side as determined, on the other side as determining: this is of such wide application, that the whole existence of all objects, so far as they are objects, ideas and nothing more, may be entirely traced to this their necessary relation to each other, rests only in it, is in fact merely relative; but of this more presently. I have further [pg 007] shown, that the necessary relation which the principle of sufficient reason expresses generally, appears in other forms corresponding to the classes into which objects are divided, according to their possibility; and again that by these forms the proper division of the classes is tested. I take it for granted that what I said in this earlier essay is known and present to the reader, for if it had not been already said it would necessarily find its place here.

§ 3. The chief distinction among our ideas is that between ideas of perception and abstract ideas. The latter form just one class of ideas, namely concepts, and these are the possession of man alone of all creatures upon earth. The capacity for these, which distinguishes him from all the lower animals, has always been called reason.5 We shall consider these abstract ideas by themselves later, but, in the first place, we shall speak exclusively of the ideas of perception. These comprehend the whole visible world, or the sum total of experience, with the conditions of its possibility. We have already observed that it is a highly important discovery of Kant's, that these very conditions, these forms of the visible world, i.e., the absolutely universal element in its perception, the common property of all its phenomena, space and time, even when taken by themselves and apart from their content, can, not only be thought in the abstract, but also be directly perceived; and that this perception or intuition is not some kind of phantasm arising from constant recurrence in experience, but is so entirely independent of experience that we must rather regard the latter as dependent on it, inasmuch as the qualities of space and time, as they are known in a priori perception or intuition, are valid for all possible experience, as rules to which it must invariably conform. Accordingly, in my [pg 008] essay on the principle of sufficient reason, I have treated space and time, because they are perceived as pure and empty of content, as a special and independent class of ideas. This quality of the universal forms of intuition, which was discovered by Kant, that they may be perceived in themselves and apart from experience, and that they may be known as exhibiting those laws on which is founded the infallible science of mathematics, is certainly very important. Not less worthy of remark, however, is this other quality of time and space, that the principle of sufficient reason, which conditions experience as the law of causation and of motive, and thought as the law of the basis of judgment, appears here in quite a special form, to which I have given the name of the ground of being. In time, this is the succession of its moments, and in space the position of its parts, which reciprocally determine each other ad infinitum.

Any one who has fully understood from the introductory essay the complete identity of the content of the principle of sufficient reason in all its different forms, must also be convinced of the importance of the knowledge of the simplest of these forms, as affording him insight into his own inmost nature. This simplest form of the principle we have found to be time. In it each instant is, only in so far as it has effaced the preceding one, its generator, to be itself in turn as quickly effaced. The past and the future (considered apart from the consequences of their content) are empty as a dream, and the present is only the indivisible and unenduring boundary between them. And in all the other forms of the principle of sufficient reason, we shall find the same emptiness, and shall see that not time only but also space, and the whole content of both of them, i.e., all that proceeds from causes and motives, has a merely relative existence, is only through and for another like to itself, i.e., not more enduring. The substance of this doctrine is old: it appears in Heraclitus when he laments the eternal [pg 009] flux of things; in Plato when he degrades the object to that which is ever becoming, but never being; in Spinoza as the doctrine of the mere accidents of the one substance which is and endures. Kant opposes what is thus known as the mere phenomenon to the thing in itself. Lastly, the ancient wisdom of the Indian philosophers declares, “It is Mâyâ, the veil of deception, which blinds the eyes of mortals, and makes them behold a world of which they cannot say either that it is or that it is not: for it is like a dream; it is like the sunshine on the sand which the traveller takes from afar for water, or the stray piece of rope he mistakes for a snake.” (These similes are repeated in innumerable passages of the Vedas and the Puranas.) But what all these mean, and that of which they all speak, is nothing more than what we have just considered—the world as idea subject to the principle of sufficient reason.

§ 4. Whoever has recognised the form of the principle of sufficient reason, which appears in pure time as such, and on which all counting and arithmetical calculation rests, has completely mastered the nature of time. Time is nothing more than that form of the principle of sufficient reason, and has no further significance. Succession is the form of the principle of sufficient reason in time, and succession is the whole nature of time. Further, whoever has recognised the principle of sufficient reason as it appears in the presentation of pure space, has exhausted the whole nature of space, which is absolutely nothing more than that possibility of the reciprocal determination of its parts by each other, which is called position. The detailed treatment of this, and the formulation in abstract conceptions of the results which flow from it, so that they may be more conveniently used, is the subject of the science of geometry. Thus also, whoever has recognised the law of causation, the aspect of the principle of sufficient reason which appears in what fills these forms (space and time) as objects of perception, [pg 010] that is to say matter, has completely mastered the nature of matter as such, for matter is nothing more than causation, as any one will see at once if he reflects. Its true being is its action, nor can we possibly conceive it as having any other meaning. Only as active does it fill space and time; its action upon the immediate object (which is itself matter) determines that perception in which alone it exists. The consequence of the action of any material object upon any other, is known only in so far as the latter acts upon the immediate object in a different way from that in which it acted before; it consists only of this. Cause and effect thus constitute the whole nature of matter; its true being is its action. (A fuller treatment of this will be found in the essay on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 21, p. 77.) The nature of all material things is therefore very appropriately called in German Wirklichkeit,6 a word which is far more expressive than Realität. Again, that which is acted upon is always matter, and thus the whole being and essence of matter consists in the orderly change, which one part of it brings about in another part. The existence of matter is therefore entirely relative, according to a relation which is valid only within its limits, as in the case of time and space.

But time and space, each for itself, can be mentally presented apart from matter, whereas matter cannot be so presented apart from time and space. The form which is inseparable from it presupposes space, and the action in which its very existence consists, always imports some change, in other words a determination in time. But space and time are not only, each for itself, presupposed by matter, but a union of the two constitutes its essence, for this, as we have seen, consists in action, i.e., in causation. All the innumerable conceivable phenomena and conditions of things, might be coexistent [pg 011] in boundless space, without limiting each other, or might be successive in endless time without interfering with each other: thus a necessary relation of these phenomena to each other, and a law which should regulate them according to such a relation, is by no means needful, would not, indeed, be applicable: it therefore follows that in the case of all co-existence in space and change in time, so long as each of these forms preserves for itself its condition and its course without any connection with the other, there can be no causation, and since causation constitutes the essential nature of matter, there can be no matter. But the law of causation receives its meaning and necessity only from this, that the essence of change does not consist simply in the mere variation of things, but rather in the fact that at the same part of space there is now one thing and then another, and at one and the same point of time there is here one thing and there another: only this reciprocal limitation of space and time by each other gives meaning, and at the same time necessity, to a law, according to which change must take place. What is determined by the law of causality is therefore not merely a succession of things in time, but this succession with reference to a definite space, and not merely existence of things in a particular place, but in this place at a different point of time. Change, i.e., variation which takes place according to the law of causality, implies always a determined part of space and a determined part of time together and in union. Thus causality unites space with time. But we found that the whole essence of matter consisted in action, i.e., in causation, consequently space and time must also be united in matter, that is to say, matter must take to itself at once the distinguishing qualities both of space and time, however much these may be opposed to each other, and must unite in itself what is impossible for each of these independently, that is, the fleeting course of time, with the rigid unchangeable perduration of [pg 012] space: infinite divisibility it receives from both. It is for this reason that we find that co-existence, which could neither be in time alone, for time has no contiguity, nor in space alone, for space has no before, after, or now, is first established through matter. But the co-existence of many things constitutes, in fact, the essence of reality, for through it permanence first becomes possible; for permanence is only knowable in the change of something which is present along with what is permanent, while on the other hand it is only because something permanent is present along with what changes, that the latter gains the special character of change, i.e., the mutation of quality and form in the permanence of substance, that is to say, in matter.7 If the world were in space alone, it would be rigid and immovable, without succession, without change, without action; but we know that with action, the idea of matter first appears. Again, if the world were in time alone, all would be fleeting, without persistence, without contiguity, hence without co-existence, and consequently without permanence; so that in this case also there would be no matter. Only through the union of space and time do we reach matter, and matter is the possibility of co-existence, and, through that, of permanence; through permanence again matter is the possibility of the persistence of substance in the change of its states.8 As matter consists in the union of space and time, it bears throughout the stamp of both. It manifests its origin in space, partly through the form which is inseparable from it, but especially through its persistence (substance), the a priori certainty of which is therefore wholly deducible from that of space9 (for variation belongs to time alone, but in it alone and for itself nothing is persistent). Matter shows that it springs [pg 013] from time by quality (accidents), without which it never exists, and which is plainly always causality, action upon other matter, and therefore change (a time concept). The law of this action, however, always depends upon space and time together, and only thus obtains meaning. The regulative function of causality is confined entirely to the determination of what must occupy this time and this space. The fact that we know a priori the unalterable characteristics of matter, depends upon this derivation of its essential nature from the forms of our knowledge of which we are conscious a priori. These unalterable characteristics are space-occupation, i.e., impenetrability, i.e., causal action, consequently, extension, infinite divisibility, persistence, i.e., indestructibility, and lastly mobility: weight, on the other hand, notwithstanding its universality, must be attributed to a posteriori knowledge, although Kant, in his “Metaphysical Introduction to Natural Philosophy,” p. 71 (p. 372 of Rosenkranz's edition), treats it as knowable a priori.

But as the object in general is only for the subject, as its idea, so every special class of ideas is only for an equally special quality in the subject, which is called a faculty of perception. This subjective correlative of time and space in themselves as empty forms, has been named by Kant pure sensibility; and we may retain this expression, as Kant was the first to treat of the subject, though it is not exact, for sensibility presupposes matter. The subjective correlative of matter or of causation, for these two are the same, is understanding, which is nothing more than this. To know causality is its one function, its only power; and it is a great one, embracing much, of manifold application, yet of unmistakable identity in all its manifestations. Conversely all causation, that is to say, all matter, or the whole of reality, is only for the understanding, through the understanding, and in the understanding. The first, simplest, and ever-present example of understanding is the perception of the actual [pg 014] world. This is throughout knowledge of the cause from the effect, and therefore all perception is intellectual. The understanding could never arrive at this perception, however, if some effect did not become known immediately, and thus serve as a starting-point. But this is the affection of the animal body. So far, then, the animal body is the immediate object of the subject; the perception of all other objects becomes possible through it. The changes which every animal body experiences, are immediately known, that is, felt; and as these effects are at once referred to their causes, the perception of the latter as objects arises. This relation is no conclusion in abstract conceptions; it does not arise from reflection, nor is it arbitrary, but immediate, necessary, and certain. It is the method of knowing of the pure understanding, without which there could be no perception; there would only remain a dull plant-like consciousness of the changes of the immediate object, which would succeed each other in an utterly unmeaning way, except in so far as they might have a meaning for the will either as pain or pleasure. But as with the rising of the sun the visible world appears, so at one stroke, the understanding, by means of its one simple function, changes the dull, meaningless sensation into perception. What the eye, the ear, or the hand feels, is not perception; it is merely its data. By the understanding passing from the effect to the cause, the world first appears as perception extended in space, varying in respect of form, persistent through all time in respect of matter; for the understanding unites space and time in the idea of matter, that is, causal action. As the world as idea exists only through the understanding, so also it exists only for the understanding. In the first chapter of my essay on “Light and Colour,” I have already explained how the understanding constructs perceptions out of the data supplied by the senses; how by comparison of the impressions which the various senses receive from the object, a child [pg 015] arrives at perceptions; how this alone affords the solution of so many phenomena of the senses; the single vision of two eyes, the double vision in the case of a squint, or when we try to look at once at objects which lie at unequal distances behind each other; and all illusion which is produced by a sudden alteration in the organs of sense. But I have treated this important subject much more fully and thoroughly in the second edition of the essay on “The Principle of Sufficient Reason,” § 21. All that is said there would find its proper place here, and would therefore have to be said again; but as I have almost as much disinclination to quote myself as to quote others, and as I am unable to explain the subject better than it is explained there, I refer the reader to it, instead of quoting it, and take for granted that it is known.

The process by which children, and persons born blind who have been operated upon, learn to see, the single vision of the double sensation of two eyes, the double vision and double touch which occur when the organs of sense have been displaced from their usual position, the upright appearance of objects while the picture on the retina is upside down, the attributing of colour to the outward objects, whereas it is merely an inner function, a division through polarisation, of the activity of the eye, and lastly the stereoscope,—all these are sure and incontrovertible evidence that perception is not merely of the senses, but intellectual—that is, pure knowledge through the understanding of the cause from the effect, and that, consequently, it presupposes the law of causality, in a knowledge of which all perception—that is to say all experience, by virtue of its primary and only possibility, depends. The contrary doctrine that the law of causality results from experience, which was the scepticism of Hume, is first refuted by this. For the independence of the knowledge of causality of all experience,—that is, its a priori [pg 016] character—can only be deduced from the dependence of all experience upon it; and this deduction can only be accomplished by proving, in the manner here indicated, and explained in the passages referred to above, that the knowledge of causality is included in perception in general, to which all experience belongs, and therefore in respect of experience is completely a priori, does not presuppose it, but is presupposed by it as a condition. This, however, cannot be deduced in the manner attempted by Kant, which I have criticised in the essay on “The Principle of Sufficient Reason,” § 23.

§ 5. It is needful to guard against the grave error of supposing that because perception arises through the knowledge of causality, the relation of subject and object is that of cause and effect. For this relation subsists only between the immediate object and objects known indirectly, thus always between objects alone. It is this false supposition that has given rise to the foolish controversy about the reality of the outer world; a controversy in which dogmatism and scepticism oppose each other, and the former appears, now as realism, now as idealism. Realism treats the object as cause, and the subject as its effect. The idealism of Fichte reduces the object to the effect of the subject. Since however, and this cannot be too much emphasised, there is absolutely no relation according to the principle of sufficient reason between subject and object, neither of these views could be proved, and therefore scepticism attacked them both with success. Now, just as the law of causality precedes perception and experience as their condition, and therefore cannot (as Hume thought) be derived from them, so object and subject precede all knowledge, and hence the principle of sufficient reason in general, as its first condition; for this principle is merely the form of all objects, the whole nature and possibility of their existence as phenomena: but the object always presupposes the subject; and therefore between these two [pg 017] there can be no relation of reason and consequent. My essay on the principle of sufficient reason accomplishes just this: it explains the content of that principle as the essential form of every object—that is to say, as the universal nature of all objective existence, as something which pertains to the object as such; but the object as such always presupposes the subject as its necessary correlative; and therefore the subject remains always outside the province in which the principle of sufficient reason is valid. The controversy as to the reality of the outer world rests upon this false extension of the validity of the principle of sufficient reason to the subject also, and starting with this mistake it can never understand itself. On the one side realistic dogmatism, looking upon the idea as the effect of the object, desires to separate these two, idea and object, which are really one, and to assume a cause quite different from the idea, an object in itself, independent of the subject, a thing which is quite inconceivable; for even as object it presupposes subject, and so remains its idea. Opposed to this doctrine is scepticism, which makes the same false presupposition that in the idea we have only the effect, never the cause, therefore never real being; that we always know merely the action of the object. But this object, it supposes, may perhaps have no resemblance whatever to its effect, may indeed have been quite erroneously received as the cause, for the law of causality is first to be gathered from experience, and the reality of experience is then made to rest upon it. Thus both of these views are open to the correction, firstly, that object and idea are the same; secondly, that the true being of the object of perception is its action, that the reality of the thing consists in this, and the demand for an existence of the object outside the idea of the subject, and also for an essence of the actual thing different from its action, has absolutely no meaning, and is a contradiction: and that the knowledge of the nature of the effect of any [pg 018] perceived object, exhausts such an object itself, so far as it is object, i.e., idea, for beyond this there is nothing more to be known. So far then, the perceived world in space and time, which makes itself known as causation alone, is entirely real, and is throughout simply what it appears to be, and it appears wholly and without reserve as idea, bound together according to the law of causality. This is its empirical reality. On the other hand, all causality is in the understanding alone, and for the understanding. The whole actual, that is, active world is determined as such through the understanding, and apart from it is nothing. This, however, is not the only reason for altogether denying such a reality of the outer world as is taught by the dogmatist, who explains its reality as its independence of the subject. We also deny it, because no object apart from a subject can be conceived without contradiction. The whole world of objects is and remains idea, and therefore wholly and for ever determined by the subject; that is to say, it has transcendental ideality. But it is not therefore illusion or mere appearance; it presents itself as that which it is, idea, and indeed as a series of ideas of which the common bond is the principle of sufficient reason. It is according to its inmost meaning quite comprehensible to the healthy understanding, and speaks a language quite intelligible to it. To dispute about its reality can only occur to a mind perverted by over-subtilty, and such discussion always arises from a false application of the principle of sufficient reason, which binds all ideas together of whatever kind they may be, but by no means connects them with the subject, nor yet with a something which is neither subject nor object, but only the ground of the object; an absurdity, for only objects can be and always are the ground of objects. If we examine more closely the source of this question as to the reality of the outer world, we find that besides the false application of the principle of sufficient reason generally to what lies [pg 019] beyond its province, a special confusion of its forms is also involved; for that form which it has only in reference to concepts or abstract ideas, is applied to perceived ideas, real objects; and a ground of knowing is demanded of objects, whereas they can have nothing but a ground of being. Among the abstract ideas, the concepts united in the judgment, the principle of sufficient reason appears in such a way that each of these has its worth, its validity, and its whole existence, here called truth, simply and solely through the relation of the judgment to something outside of it, its ground of knowledge, to which there must consequently always be a return. Among real objects, ideas of perception, on the other hand, the principle of sufficient reason appears not as the principle of the ground of knowing, but of being, as the law of causality: every real object has paid its debt to it, inasmuch as it has come to be, i.e., has appeared as the effect of a cause. The demand for a ground of knowing has therefore here no application and no meaning, but belongs to quite another class of things. Thus the world of perception raises in the observer no question or doubt so long as he remains in contact with it: there is here neither error nor truth, for these are confined to the province of the abstract—the province of reflection. But here the world lies open for sense and understanding; presents itself with naive truth as that which it really is—ideas of perception which develop themselves according to the law of causality.

So far as we have considered the question of the reality of the outer world, it arises from a confusion which amounts even to a misunderstanding of reason itself, and therefore thus far, the question could be answered only by explaining its meaning. After examination of the whole nature of the principle of sufficient reason, of the relation of subject and object, and the special conditions of sense perception, the question itself disappeared because it had no longer any meaning. There [pg 020] is, however, one other possible origin of this question, quite different from the purely speculative one which we have considered, a specially empirical origin, though the question is always raised from a speculative point of view, and in this form it has a much more comprehensible meaning than it had in the first. We have dreams; may not our whole life be a dream? or more exactly: is there a sure criterion of the distinction between dreams and reality? between phantasms and real objects? The assertion that what is dreamt is less vivid and distinct than what we actually perceive is not to the point, because no one has ever been able to make a fair comparison of the two; for we can only compare the recollection of a dream with the present reality. Kant answers the question thus: “The connection of ideas among themselves, according to the law of causality, constitutes the difference between real life and dreams.” But in dreams, as well as in real life, everything is connected individually at any rate, in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason in all its forms, and this connection is broken only between life and dreams, or between one dream and another. Kant's answer therefore could only run thus:—the long dream (life) has throughout complete connection according to the principle of sufficient reason; it has not this connection, however, with short dreams, although each of these has in itself the same connection: the bridge is therefore broken between the former and the latter, and on this account we distinguish them.

But to institute an inquiry according to this criterion, as to whether something was dreamt or seen, would always be difficult and often impossible. For we are by no means in a position to trace link by link the causal connection between any experienced event and the present moment, but we do not on that account explain it as dreamt. Therefore in real life we do not commonly employ that method of distinguishing between dreams and reality. The only sure criterion by which to distinguish [pg 021] them is in fact the entirely empirical one of awaking, through which at any rate the causal connection between dreamed events and those of waking life, is distinctly and sensibly broken off. This is strongly supported by the remark of Hobbes in the second chapter of Leviathan, that we easily mistake dreams for reality if we have unintentionally fallen asleep without taking off our clothes, and much more so when it also happens that some undertaking or design fills all our thoughts, and occupies our dreams as well as our waking moments. We then observe the awaking just as little as the falling asleep, dream and reality run together and become confounded. In such a case there is nothing for it but the application of Kant's criterion; but if, as often happens, we fail to establish by means of this criterion, either the existence of causal connection with the present, or the absence of such connection, then it must for ever remain uncertain whether an event was dreamt or really happened. Here, in fact, the intimate relationship between life and dreams is brought out very clearly, and we need not be ashamed to confess it, as it has been recognised and spoken of by many great men. The Vedas and Puranas have no better simile than a dream for the whole knowledge of the actual world, which they call the web of Mâyâ, and they use none more frequently. Plato often says that men live only in a dream; the philosopher alone strives to awake himself. Pindar says (ii. η. 135): σκιας οναρ ανθρωπος (umbræ somnium homo), and Sophocles:—

Ὀνω γυν ἡμας ουδεν οντας αλλο, πλην
Σιδωλ᾽ ὁσοιπερ ζωμεν, ὴ κουφην σκιαν.—Ajax, 125.

(Nos enim, quicunque vivimus, nihil aliud esse comperio quam simulacra et levem umbram.) Beside which most worthily stands Shakespeare:—

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.Tempest, Act iv. Sc. 1.
[pg 022]

Lastly, Calderon was so deeply impressed with this view of life that he sought to embody it in a kind of metaphysical drama—“Life a Dream.”

After these numerous quotations from the poets, perhaps I also may be allowed to express myself by a metaphor. Life and dreams are leaves of the same book. The systematic reading of this book is real life, but when the reading hours (that is, the day) are over, we often continue idly to turn over the leaves, and read a page here and there without method or connection: often one we have read before, sometimes one that is new to us, but always in the same book. Such an isolated page is indeed out of connection with the systematic study of the book, but it does not seem so very different when we remember that the whole continuous perusal begins and ends just as abruptly, and may therefore be regarded as merely a larger single page.

Thus although individual dreams are distinguished from real life by the fact that they do not fit into that continuity which runs through the whole of experience, and the act of awaking brings this into consciousness, yet that very continuity of experience belongs to real life as its form, and the dream on its part can point to a similar continuity in itself. If, therefore, we consider the question from a point of view external to both, there is no distinct difference in their nature, and we are forced to concede to the poets that life is a long dream.

Let us turn back now from this quite independent empirical origin of the question of the reality of the outer world, to its speculative origin. We found that this consisted, first, in the false application of the principle of sufficient reason to the relation of subject and object; and secondly, in the confusion of its forms, inasmuch as the principle of sufficient reason of knowing was extended to a province in which the principle of sufficient reason of being is valid. But the question could hardly have occupied philosophers so constantly if it [pg 023] were entirely devoid of all real content, and if some true thought and meaning did not lie at its heart as its real source. Accordingly, we must assume that when the element of truth that lies at the bottom of the question first came into reflection and sought its expression, it became involved in these confused and meaningless forms and problems. This at least is my opinion, and I think that the true expression of that inmost meaning of the question, which it failed to find, is this:—What is this world of perception besides being my idea? Is that of which I am conscious only as idea, exactly like my own body, of which I am doubly conscious, in one aspect as idea, in another aspect as will? The fuller explanation of this question and its answer in the affirmative, will form the content of the second book, and its consequences will occupy the remaining portion of this work.

§ 6. For the present, however, in this first book we consider everything merely as idea, as object for the subject. And our own body, which is the starting-point for each of us in our perception of the world, we consider, like all other real objects, from the side of its knowableness, and in this regard it is simply an idea. Now the consciousness of every one is in general opposed to the explanation of objects as mere ideas, and more especially to the explanation of our bodies as such; for the thing in itself is known to each of us immediately in so far as it appears as our own body; but in so far as it objectifies itself in the other objects of perception, it is known only indirectly. But this abstraction, this one-sided treatment, this forcible separation of what is essentially and necessarily united, is only adopted to meet the demands of our argument; and therefore the disinclination to it must, in the meantime, be suppressed and silenced by the expectation that the subsequent treatment will correct the one-sidedness of the present one, and complete our knowledge of the nature of the world.

At present therefore the body is for us immediate [pg 024] object; that is to say, that idea which forms the starting-point of the subject's knowledge; because the body, with its immediately known changes, precedes the application of the law of causality, and thus supplies it with its first data. The whole nature of matter consists, as we have seen, in its causal action. But cause and effect exist only for the understanding, which is nothing but their subjective correlative. The understanding, however, could never come into operation if there were not something else from which it starts. This is simple sensation—the immediate consciousness of the changes of the body, by virtue of which it is immediate object. Thus the possibility of knowing the world of perception depends upon two conditions; the first, objectively expressed, is the power of material things to act upon each other, to produce changes in each other, without which common quality of all bodies no perception would be possible, even by means of the sensibility of the animal body. And if we wish to express this condition subjectively we say: The understanding first makes perception possible; for the law of causality, the possibility of effect and cause, springs only from the understanding, and is valid only for it, and therefore the world of perception exists only through and for it. The second condition is the sensibility of animal bodies, or the quality of being immediate objects of the subject which certain bodies possess. The mere modification which the organs of sense sustain from without through their specific affections, may here be called ideas, so far as these affections produce neither pain nor pleasure, that is, have no immediate significance for the will, and are yet perceived, exist therefore only for knowledge. Thus far, then, I say that the body is immediately known, is immediate object. But the conception of object is not to be taken here in its fullest sense, for through this immediate knowledge of the body, which precedes the operation of the understanding, and is mere sensation, our own body does not exist [pg 025] specifically as object, but first the material things which affect it: for all knowledge of an object proper, of an idea perceived in space, exists only through and for the understanding; therefore not before, but only subsequently to its operation. Therefore the body as object proper, that is, as an idea perceived in space, is first known indirectly, like all other objects, through the application of the law of causality to the action of one of its parts upon another, as, for example, when the eye sees the body or the hand touches it. Consequently the form of our body does not become known to us through mere feeling, but only through knowledge, only in idea; that is to say, only in the brain does our own body first come to appear as extended, articulate, organic. A man born blind receives this idea only little by little from the data afforded by touch. A blind man without hands could never come to know his own form; or at the most could infer and construct it little by little from the effects of other bodies upon him. If, then, we call the body an immediate object, we are to be understood with these reservations.

In other respects, then, according to what has been said, all animal bodies are immediate objects; that is, starting-points for the subject which always knows and therefore is never known in its perception of the world. Thus the distinctive characteristic of animal life is knowledge, with movement following on motives, which are determined by knowledge, just as movement following on stimuli is the distinctive characteristic of plant-life. Unorganised matter, however, has no movement except such as is produced by causes properly so called, using the term in its narrowest sense. All this I have thoroughly discussed in my essay on the principle of sufficient reason, § 20, in the “Ethics,” first essay, iii., and in my work on Sight and Colour, § 1, to which I therefore refer.

It follows from what has been said, that all animals, [pg 026] even the least developed, have understanding; for they all know objects, and this knowledge determines their movements as motive. Understanding is the same in all animals and in all men; it has everywhere the same simple form; knowledge of causality, transition from effect to cause, and from cause to effect, nothing more; but the degree of its acuteness, and the extension of the sphere of its knowledge varies enormously, with innumerable gradations from the lowest form, which is only conscious of the causal connection between the immediate object and objects affecting it—that is to say, perceives a cause as an object in space by passing to it from the affection which the body feels, to the higher grades of knowledge of the causal connection among objects known indirectly, which extends to the understanding of the most complicated system of cause and effect in nature. For even this high degree of knowledge is still the work of the understanding, not of the reason. The abstract concepts of the reason can only serve to take up the objective connections which are immediately known by the understanding, to make them permanent for thought, and to relate them to each other; but reason never gives us immediate knowledge. Every force and law of nature, every example of such forces and laws, must first be immediately known by the understanding, must be apprehended through perception before it can pass into abstract consciousness for reason. Hooke's discovery of the law of gravitation, and the reference of so many important phenomena to this one law, was the work of immediate apprehension by the understanding; and such also was the proof of Newton's calculations, and Lavoisier's discovery of acids and their important function in nature, and also Goethe's discovery of the origin of physical colours. All these discoveries are nothing more than a correct immediate passage from the effect to the cause, which is at once followed by the recognition of the ideality of the force of nature which expresses itself in all [pg 027] causes of the same kind; and this complete insight is just an example of that single function of the understanding, by which an animal perceives as an object in space the cause which affects its body, and differs from such a perception only in degree. Every one of these great discoveries is therefore, just like perception, an operation of the understanding, an immediate intuition, and as such the work of an instant, an apperçu, a flash of insight. They are not the result of a process of abstract reasoning, which only serves to make the immediate knowledge of the understanding permanent for thought by bringing it under abstract concepts, i.e., it makes knowledge distinct, it puts us in a position to impart it and explain it to others. The keenness of the understanding in apprehending the causal relations of objects which are known indirectly, does not find its only application in the sphere of natural science (though all the discoveries in that sphere are due to it), but it also appears in practical life. It is then called good sense or prudence, as in its other application it is better called acuteness, penetration, sagacity. More exactly, good sense or prudence signifies exclusively understanding at the command of the will. But the limits of these conceptions must not be too sharply defined, for it is always that one function of the understanding by means of which all animals perceive objects in space, which, in its keenest form, appears now in the phenomena of nature, correctly inferring the unknown causes from the given effects, and providing the material from which the reason frames general rules as laws of nature; now inventing complicated and ingenious machines by adapting known causes to desired effects; now in the sphere of motives, seeing through and frustrating intrigues and machinations, or fitly disposing the motives and the men who are susceptible to them, setting them in motion, as machines are moved by levers and wheels, and directing them at will to the accomplishment of its ends. Deficiency of understanding is called [pg 028] stupidity. It is just dulness in applying the law of causality, incapacity for the immediate apprehension of the concatenations of causes and effects, motives and actions. A stupid person has no insight into the connection of natural phenomena, either when they follow their own course, or when they are intentionally combined, i.e., are applied to machinery. Such a man readily believes in magic and miracles. A stupid man does not observe that persons, who apparently act independently of each other, are really in collusion; he is therefore easily mystified, and outwitted; he does not discern the hidden motives of proffered advice or expressions of opinion, &c. But it is always just one thing that he lacks—keenness, rapidity, ease in applying the law of causality, i.e., power of understanding. The greatest, and, in this reference, the most instructive example of stupidity I ever met with, was the case of a totally imbecile boy of about eleven years of age, in an asylum. He had reason, because he spoke and comprehended, but in respect of understanding he was inferior to many of the lower animals. Whenever I visited him he noticed an eye-glass which I wore round my neck, and in which the window of the room and the tops of the trees beyond were reflected: on every occasion he was greatly surprised and delighted with this, and was never tired of looking at it with astonishment, because he did not understand the immediate causation of reflection.

While the difference in degree of the acuteness of the understanding, is very great between man and man, it is even greater between one species of animal and another. In all species of animals, even those which are nearest to plants, there is at least as much understanding as suffices for the inference from the effect on the immediate object, to the indirectly known object as its cause, i.e., sufficient for perception, for the apprehension of an object. For it is this that constitutes them animals, as it gives them the power of movement following on motives, and [pg 029] thereby the power of seeking for food, or at least of seizing it; whereas plants have only movement following on stimuli, whose direct influence they must await, or else decay, for they cannot seek after them nor appropriate them. We marvel at the great sagacity of the most developed species of animals, such as the dog, the elephant, the monkey or the fox, whose cleverness has been so admirably sketched by Buffon. From these most sagacious animals, we can pretty accurately determine how far understanding can go without reason, i.e., abstract knowledge embodied in concepts. We could not find this out from ourselves, for in us understanding and reason always reciprocally support each other. We find that the manifestation of understanding in animals is sometimes above our expectation, and sometimes below it. On the one hand, we are surprised at the sagacity of the elephant, who, after crossing many bridges during his journey in Europe, once refused to go upon one, because he thought it was not strong enough to bear his weight, though he saw the rest of the party, consisting of men and horses, go upon it as usual. On the other hand, we wonder that the intelligent Orang-outangs, who warm themselves at a fire they have found, do not keep it alight by throwing wood on it; a proof that this requires a deliberation which is not possible without abstract concepts. It is clear that the knowledge of cause and effect, as the universal form of understanding, belongs to all animals a priori, because to them as to us it is the prior condition of all perception of the outer world. If any one desires additional proof of this, let him observe, for example, how a young dog is afraid to jump down from a table, however much he may wish to do so, because he foresees the effect of the weight of his body, though he has not been taught this by experience. In judging of the understanding of animals, we must guard against ascribing to it the manifestations of instinct, a faculty which is quite distinct both from understanding and [pg 030] reason, but the action of which is often very analogous to the combined action of the two. We cannot, however, discuss this here; it will find its proper place in the second book, when we consider the harmony or so-called teleology of nature: and the 27th chapter of the supplementary volume is expressly devoted to it.

Deficiency of understanding we call stupidity: deficiency in the application of reason to practice we shall recognise later as foolishness: deficiency of judgment as silliness, and lastly, partial or entire deficiency of memory as madness. But each of these will be considered in its own place. That which is correctly known by reason is truth, that is, an abstract judgment on sufficient grounds (Essay on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 29 and following paragraphs); that which is correctly known by understanding is reality, that is correct inference from effect on the immediate object to its cause. Error is opposed to truth, as deception of the reason: illusion is opposed to reality, as deception of the understanding. The full discussion of all this will be found in the first chapter of my essay on Light and Colour. Illusion takes place when the same effect may be attributed to two causes, of which one occurs very frequently, the other very seldom; the understanding having no data to decide which of these two causes operates in any particular case,—for their effects are exactly alike,—always assumes the presence of the commoner cause, and as the activity of the understanding is not reflective and discursive, but direct and immediate, this false cause appears before us as a perceived object, whereas it is merely illusion. I have explained in the essay referred to, how in this way double sight and double feeling take place if the organs of sense are brought into an unusual position; and have thus given an incontrovertible proof that perception exists only through and for the understanding. As additional examples of such illusions or deceptions of the understanding, we may mention the broken appearance [pg 031] of a stick dipped in water; the reflections in spherical mirrors, which, when the surface is convex appear somewhat behind it, and when the surface is concave appear a long way in front of it. To this class also belongs the apparently greater extension of the moon at the horizon than at the zenith. This appearance is not optical, for as the micrometre proves, the eye receives the image of the moon at the zenith, at an even greater angle of vision than at the horizon. The mistake is due to the understanding, which assumes that the cause of the feebler light of the moon and of all stars at the horizon is that they are further off, thus treating them as earthly objects, according to the laws of atmospheric perspective, and therefore it takes the moon to be much larger at the horizon than at the zenith, and also regards the vault of heaven as more extended or flattened out at the horizon. The same false application of the laws of atmospheric perspective leads us to suppose that very high mountains, whose summits alone are visible in pure transparent air, are much nearer than they really are, and therefore not so high as they are; for example, Mont Blanc seen from Salenche. All such illusions are immediately present to us as perceptions, and cannot be dispelled by any arguments of the reason. Reason can only prevent error, that is, a judgment on insufficient grounds, by opposing to it a truth; as for example, the abstract knowledge that the cause of the weaker light of the moon and the stars at the horizon is not greater distance, but the denser atmosphere; but in all the cases we have referred to, the illusion remains in spite of every abstract explanation. For the understanding is in itself, even in the case of man, irrational, and is completely and sharply distinguished from the reason, which is a faculty of knowledge that belongs to man alone. The reason can only know; perception remains free from its influence and belongs to the understanding alone.

§ 7. With reference to our exposition up to this point, [pg 032] it must be observed that we did not start either from the object or the subject, but from the idea, which contains and presupposes them both; for the antithesis of object and subject is its primary, universal and essential form. We have therefore first considered this form as such; then (though in this respect reference has for the most part been made to the introductory essay) the subordinate forms of time, space and causality. The latter belong exclusively to the object, and yet, as they are essential to the object as such, and as the object again is essential to the subject as such, they may be discovered from the subject, i.e., they may be known a priori, and so far they are to be regarded as the common limits of both. But all these forms may be referred to one general expression, the principle of sufficient reason, as we have explained in the introductory essay.

This procedure distinguishes our philosophical method from that of all former systems. For they all start either from the object or from the subject, and therefore seek to explain the one from the other, and this according to the principle of sufficient reason. We, on the contrary, deny the validity of this principle with reference to the relation of subject and object, and confine it to the object. It may be thought that the philosophy of identity, which has appeared and become generally known in our own day, does not come under either of the alternatives we have named, for it does not start either from the subject or from the object, but from the absolute, known through “intellectual intuition,” which is neither object nor subject, but the identity of the two. I will not venture to speak of this revered identity, and this absolute, for I find myself entirely devoid of all “intellectual intuition.” But as I take my stand merely on those manifestoes of the “intellectual intuiter” which are open to all, even to profane persons like myself, I must yet observe that this philosophy is not to be excepted from the alternative errors mentioned above. For it does not escape these [pg 033] two opposite errors in spite of its identity of subject and object, which is not thinkable, but only “intellectually intuitable,” or to be experienced by a losing of oneself in it. On the contrary, it combines them both in itself; for it is divided into two parts, firstly, transcendental idealism, which is just Fichte's doctrine of the ego, and therefore teaches that the object is produced by the subject, or evolved out of it in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason; secondly, the philosophy of nature, which teaches that the subject is produced little by little from the object, by means of a method called construction, about which I understand very little, yet enough to know that it is a process according to various forms of the principle of sufficient reason. The deep wisdom itself which that construction contains, I renounce; for as I entirely lack “intellectual intuition,” all those expositions which presuppose it must for me remain as a book sealed with seven seals. This is so truly the case that, strange to say, I have always been unable to find anything at all in this doctrine of profound wisdom but atrocious and wearisome bombast.

The systems starting from the object had always the whole world of perception and its constitution as their problem; yet the object which they take as their starting-point is not always this whole world of perception, nor its fundamental element, matter. On the contrary, a division of these systems may be made, based on the four classes of possible objects set forth in the introductory essay. Thus Thales and the Ionic school, Democritus, Epicurus, Giordano Bruno, and the French materialists, may be said to have started from the first class of objects, the real world: Spinoza (on account of his conception of substance, which is purely abstract, and exists only in his definition) and, earlier, the Eleatics, from the second class, the abstract conception: the Pythagoreans and Chinese philosophy in Y-King, from the third class, time, and consequently number: and, lastly, [pg 034] the schoolmen, who teach a creation out of nothing by the act of will of an extra-mundane personal being, started from the fourth class of objects, the act of will directed by knowledge.

Of all systems of philosophy which start from the object, the most consistent, and that which may be carried furthest, is simple materialism. It regards matter, and with it time and space, as existing absolutely, and ignores the relation to the subject in which alone all this really exists. It then lays hold of the law of causality as a guiding principle or clue, regarding it as a self-existent order (or arrangement) of things, veritas aeterna, and so fails to take account of the understanding, in which and for which alone causality is. It seeks the primary and most simple state of matter, and then tries to develop all the others from it; ascending from mere mechanism, to chemism, to polarity, to the vegetable and to the animal kingdom. And if we suppose this to have been done, the last link in the chain would be animal sensibility—that is knowledge—which would consequently now appear as a mere modification or state of matter produced by causality. Now if we had followed materialism thus far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a dream, we would all at once become aware that its final result—knowledge, which it reached so laboriously, was presupposed as the indispensable condition of its very starting-point, mere matter; and when we imagined that we thought matter, we really thought only the subject that perceives matter; the eye that sees it, the hand that feels it, the understanding that knows it. Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals itself unexpectedly; for suddenly the last link is seen to be the starting-point, the chain a circle, and the materialist is like Baron Münchausen who, when swimming in water on horseback, drew the horse into the air with his legs, [pg 035] and himself also by his cue. The fundamental absurdity of materialism is that it starts from the objective, and takes as the ultimate ground of explanation something objective, whether it be matter in the abstract, simply as it is thought, or after it has taken form, is empirically given—that is to say, is substance, the chemical element with its primary relations. Some such thing it takes, as existing absolutely and in itself, in order that it may evolve organic nature and finally the knowing subject from it, and explain them adequately by means of it; whereas in truth all that is objective is already determined as such in manifold ways by the knowing subject through its forms of knowing, and presupposes them; and consequently it entirely disappears if we think the subject away. Thus materialism is the attempt to explain what is immediately given us by what is given us indirectly. All that is objective, extended, active—that is to say, all that is material—is regarded by materialism as affording so solid a basis for its explanation, that a reduction of everything to this can leave nothing to be desired (especially if in ultimate analysis this reduction should resolve itself into action and reaction). But we have shown that all this is given indirectly and in the highest degree determined, and is therefore merely a relatively present object, for it has passed through the machinery and manufactory of the brain, and has thus come under the forms of space, time and causality, by means of which it is first presented to us as extended in space and ever active in time. From such an indirectly given object, materialism seeks to explain what is immediately given, the idea (in which alone the object that materialism starts with exists), and finally even the will from which all those fundamental forces, that manifest themselves, under the guidance of causes, and therefore according to law, are in truth to be explained. To the assertion that thought is a modification of matter we may always, with equal right, oppose the contrary assertion that all [pg 036] matter is merely the modification of the knowing subject, as its idea. Yet the aim and ideal of all natural science is at bottom a consistent materialism. The recognition here of the obvious impossibility of such a system establishes another truth which will appear in the course of our exposition, the truth that all science properly so called, by which I understand systematic knowledge under the guidance of the principle of sufficient reason, can never reach its final goal, nor give a complete and adequate explanation: for it is not concerned with the inmost nature of the world, it cannot get beyond the idea; indeed, it really teaches nothing more than the relation of one idea to another.

Every science must start from two principal data. One of these is always the principle of sufficient reason in some form or another, as organon; the other is its special object as problem. Thus, for example, geometry has space as problem, and the ground of existence in space as organon. Arithmetic has time as problem, and the ground of existence in time as organon. Logic has the combination of concepts as such as problem, and the ground of knowledge as organon. History has the past acts of men treated as a whole as problem, and the law of human motives as organon. Natural science has matter as problem, and the law of causality as organon. Its end and aim is therefore, by the guidance of causality, to refer all possible states of matter to other states, and ultimately to one single state; and again to deduce these states from each other, and ultimately from one single state. Thus two states of matter stand over against each other in natural science as extremes: that state in which matter is furthest from being the immediate object of the subject, and that state in which it is most completely such an immediate object, i.e., the most dead and crude matter, the primary element, as the one extreme, and the human organism as the other. Natural science as chemistry seeks for the first, as physiology for the second. [pg 037] But as yet neither extreme has been reached, and it is only in the intermediate ground that something has been won. The prospect is indeed somewhat hopeless. The chemists, under the presupposition that the qualitative division of matter is not, like quantitative division, an endless process, are always trying to decrease the number of the elements, of which there are still about sixty; and if they were to succeed in reducing them to two, they would still try to find the common root of these. For, on the one hand, the law of homogeneity leads to the assumption of a primary chemical state of matter, which alone belongs to matter as such, and precedes all others which are not essentially matter as such, but merely contingent forms and qualities. On the other hand, we cannot understand how this one state could ever experience a chemical change, if there did not exist a second state to affect it. Thus the same difficulty appears in chemistry which Epicurus met with in mechanics. For he had to show how the first atom departed from the original direction of its motion. Indeed this contradiction, which develops entirely of itself and can neither be escaped nor solved, might quite properly be set up as a chemical antinomy. Thus an antinomy appears in the one extreme of natural science, and a corresponding one will appear in the other. There is just as little hope of reaching this opposite extreme of natural science, for we see ever more clearly that what is chemical can never be referred to what is mechanical, nor what is organic to what is chemical or electrical. Those who in our own day are entering anew on this old, misleading path, will soon slink back silent and ashamed, as all their predecessors have done before them. We shall consider this more fully in the second book. Natural science encounters the difficulties which we have cursorily mentioned, in its own province. Regarded as philosophy, it would further be materialism; but this, as we have seen, even at its birth, has death in its heart, because it ignores [pg 038] the subject and the forms of knowledge, which are presupposed, just as much in the case of the crudest matter, from which it desires to start, as in that of the organism, at which it desires to arrive. For, “no object without a subject,” is the principle which renders all materialism for ever impossible. Suns and planets without an eye that sees them, and an understanding that knows them, may indeed be spoken of in words, but for the idea, these words are absolutely meaningless. On the other hand, the law of causality and the treatment and investigation of nature which is based upon it, lead us necessarily to the conclusion that, in time, each more highly organised state of matter has succeeded a cruder state: so that the lower animals existed before men, fishes before land animals, plants before fishes, and the unorganised before all that is organised; that, consequently, the original mass had to pass through a long series of changes before the first eye could be opened. And yet, the existence of this whole world remains ever dependent upon the first eye that opened, even if it were that of an insect. For such an eye is a necessary condition of the possibility of knowledge, and the whole world exists only in and for knowledge, and without it is not even thinkable. The world is entirely idea, and as such demands the knowing subject as the supporter of its existence. This long course of time itself, filled with innumerable changes, through which matter rose from form to form till at last the first percipient creature appeared,—this whole time itself is only thinkable in the identity of a consciousness whose succession of ideas, whose form of knowing it is, and apart from which, it loses all meaning and is nothing at all. Thus we see, on the one hand, the existence of the whole world necessarily dependent upon the first conscious being, however undeveloped it may be; on the other hand, this conscious being just as necessarily entirely dependent upon a long chain of causes and effects which have preceded it, and in which it itself [pg 039] appears as a small link. These two contradictory points of view, to each of which we are led with the same necessity, we might again call an antinomy in our faculty of knowledge, and set it up as the counterpart of that which we found in the first extreme of natural science. The fourfold antinomy of Kant will be shown, in the criticism of his philosophy appended to this volume, to be a groundless delusion. But the necessary contradiction which at last presents itself to us here, finds its solution in the fact that, to use Kant's phraseology, time, space, and causality do not belong to the thing-in-itself, but only to its phenomena, of which they are the form; which in my language means this: The objective world, the world as idea, is not the only side of the world, but merely its outward side; and it has an entirely different side—the side of its inmost nature—its kernel—the thing-in-itself. This we shall consider in the second book, calling it after the most immediate of its objective manifestations—will. But the world as idea, with which alone we are here concerned, only appears with the opening of the first eye. Without this medium of knowledge it cannot be, and therefore it was not before it. But without that eye, that is to say, outside of knowledge, there was also no before, no time. Thus time has no beginning, but all beginning is in time. Since, however, it is the most universal form of the knowable, in which all phenomena are united together through causality, time, with its infinity of past and future, is present in the beginning of knowledge. The phenomenon which fills the first present must at once be known as causally bound up with and dependent upon a sequence of phenomena which stretches infinitely into the past, and this past itself is just as truly conditioned by this first present, as conversely the present is by the past. Accordingly the past out of which the first present arises, is, like it, dependent upon the knowing subject, without which it is nothing. It necessarily happens, however, that this first [pg 040] present does not manifest itself as the first, that is, as having no past for its parent, but as being the beginning of time. It manifests itself rather as the consequence of the past, according to the principle of existence in time. In the same way, the phenomena which fill this first present appear as the effects of earlier phenomena which filled the past, in accordance with the law of causality. Those who like mythological interpretations may take the birth of Kronos (χρονος), the youngest of the Titans, as a symbol of the moment here referred to at which time appears, though, indeed it has no beginning; for with him, since he ate his father, the crude productions of heaven and earth cease, and the races of gods and men appear upon the scene.

This explanation at which we have arrived by following the most consistent of the philosophical systems which start from the object, materialism, has brought out clearly the inseparable and reciprocal dependence of subject and object, and at the same time the inevitable antithesis between them. And this knowledge leads us to seek for the inner nature of the world, the thing-in-itself, not in either of the two elements of the idea, but in something quite distinct from it, and which is not encumbered with such a fundamental and insoluble antithesis.

Opposed to the system we have explained, which starts from the object in order to derive the subject from it, is the system which starts from the subject and tries to derive the object from it. The first of these has been of frequent and common occurrence throughout the history of philosophy, but of the second we find only one example, and that a very recent one; the “philosophy of appearance” of J. G. Fichte. In this respect, therefore, it must be considered; little real worth or inner meaning as the doctrine itself had. It was indeed for the most part merely a delusion, but it was delivered with an air of the deepest earnestness, with sustained loftiness of [pg 041] tone and zealous ardour, and was defended with eloquent polemic against weak opponents, so that it was able to present a brilliant exterior and seemed to be something. But the genuine earnestness which keeps truth always steadfastly before it as its goal, and is unaffected by any external influences, was entirely wanting to Fichte, as it is to all philosophers who, like him, concern themselves with questions of the day. In his case, indeed, it could not have been otherwise. A man becomes a philosopher by reason of a certain perplexity, from which he seeks to free himself. This is Plato's θαυμαξειν, which he calls a μαλα φιλοσοφικον παθος. But what distinguishes the false philosopher from the true is this: the perplexity of the latter arises from the contemplation of the world itself, while that of the former results from some book, some system of philosophy which is before him. Now Fichte belongs to the class of the false philosophers. He was made a philosopher by Kant's doctrine of the thing-in-itself, and if it had not been for this he would probably have pursued entirely different ends, with far better results, for he certainly possessed remarkable rhetorical talent. If he had only penetrated somewhat deeply into the meaning of the book that made him a philosopher, “The Critique of Pure Reason,” he would have understood that its principal teaching about mind is this. The principle of sufficient reason is not, as all scholastic philosophy maintains, a veritas aeterna—that is to say, it does not possess an unconditioned validity before, outside of, and above the world. It is relative and conditioned, and valid only in the sphere of phenomena, and thus it may appear as the necessary nexus of space and time, or as the law of causality, or as the law of the ground of knowledge. The inner nature of the world, the thing-in-itself can never be found by the guidance of this principle, for all that it leads to will be found to be dependent and relative and merely phenomenal, not the thing-in-itself. Further, it does not concern the subject, [pg 042] but is only the form of objects, which are therefore not things-in-themselves. The subject must exist along with the object, and the object along with the subject, so that it is impossible that subject and object can stand to each other in a relation of reason and consequent. But Fichte did not take up the smallest fragment of all this. All that interested him about the matter was that the system started from the subject. Now Kant had chosen this procedure in order to show the fallacy of the prevalent systems, which started from the object, and through which the object had come, to be regarded as a thing-in-itself. Fichte, however, took this departure from the subject for the really important matter, and like all imitators, he imagined that in going further than Kant he was surpassing him. Thus he repeated the fallacy with regard to the subject, which all the previous dogmatism had perpetrated with regard to the object, and which had been the occasion of Kant's “Critique”. Fichte then made no material change, and the fundamental fallacy, the assumption of a relation of reason and consequent between object and subject, remained after him as it was before him. The principle of sufficient reason possessed as before an unconditioned validity, and the only difference was that the thing-in-itself was now placed in the subject instead of, as formerly, in the object. The entire relativity of both subject and object, which proves that the thing-in-itself, or the inner nature of the world, is not to be sought in them at all, but outside of them, and outside everything else that exists merely relatively, still remained unknown. Just as if Kant had never existed, the principle of sufficient reason is to Fichte precisely what it was to all the schoolmen, a veritas aeterna. As an eternal fate reigned over the gods of old, so these aeternæ veritates, these metaphysical, mathematical and metalogical truths, and in the case of some, the validity of the moral law also, reigned over the God of the schoolmen. These veritates alone were independent [pg 043] of everything, and through their necessity both God and the world existed. According to the principle of sufficient reason, as such a veritas aeterna, the ego is for Fichte the ground of the world, or of the non-ego, the object, which is just its consequent, its creation. He has therefore taken good care to avoid examining further or limiting the principle of sufficient reason. If, however, it is thought I should specify the form of the principle of sufficient reason under the guidance of which Fichte derives the non-ego from the ego, as a spider spins its web out of itself, I find that it is the principle of sufficient reason of existence in space: for it is only as referred to this that some kind of meaning and sense can be attached to the laboured deductions of the way in which the ego produces and fabricates the non-ego from itself, which form the content of the most senseless, and consequently the most wearisome book that was ever written. This philosophy of Fichte, otherwise not worth mentioning, is interesting to us only as the tardy expression of the converse of the old materialism. For materialism was the most consistent system starting from the object, as this is the most consistent system starting from the subject. Materialism overlooked the fact that, with the simplest object, it assumed the subject also; and Fichte overlooked the fact that with the subject (whatever he may call it) he assumed the object also, for no subject is thinkable without an object. Besides this he forgot that all a priori deduction, indeed all demonstration in general, must rest upon some necessity, and that all necessity is based on the principle of sufficient reason, because to be necessary, and to follow from given grounds are convertible conceptions.10 But the principle of sufficient reason is just the universal form of the object as such. Thus it is in the object, but is not valid before [pg 044] and outside of it; it first produces the object and makes it appear in conformity with its regulative principle. We see then that the system which starts from the subject contains the same fallacy as the system, explained above, which starts from the object; it begins by assuming what it proposes to deduce, the necessary correlative of its starting-point.

The method of our own system is toto genere distinct from these two opposite misconceptions, for we start neither from the object nor from the subject, but from the idea, as the first fact of consciousness. Its first essential, fundamental form is the antithesis of subject and object. The form of the object again is the principle of sufficient reason in its various forms. Each of these reigns so absolutely in its own class of ideas that, as we have seen, when the special form of the principle of sufficient reason which governs any class of ideas is known, the nature of the whole class is known also: for the whole class, as idea, is no more than this form of the principle of sufficient reason itself; so that time itself is nothing but the principle of existence in it, i.e., succession; space is nothing but the principle of existence in it, i.e., position; matter is nothing but causality; the concept (as will appear immediately) is nothing but relation to a ground of knowledge. This thorough and consistent relativity of the world as idea, both according to its universal form (subject and object), and according to the form which is subordinate to this (the principle of sufficient reason) warns us, as we said before, to seek the inner nature of the world in an aspect of it which is quite different and quite distinct from the idea; and in the next book we shall find this in a fact which is just as immediate to every living being as the idea.

But we must first consider that class of ideas which belongs to man alone. The matter of these is the concept, and the subjective correlative is reason, just as the subjective correlative of the ideas we have already considered [pg 045] was understanding and sensibility, which are also to be attributed to all the lower animals.11

§ 8. As from the direct light of the sun to the borrowed light of the moon, we pass from the immediate idea of perception, which stands by itself and is its own warrant, to reflection, to the abstract, discursive concepts of the reason, which obtain their whole content from knowledge of perception, and in relation to it. As long as we continue simply to perceive, all is clear, firm, and certain. There are neither questions nor doubts nor errors; we desire to go no further, can go no further; we find rest in perceiving, and satisfaction in the present. Perception suffices for itself, and therefore what springs purely from it, and remains true to it, for example, a genuine work of art, can never be false, nor can it be discredited through the lapse of time, for it does not present an opinion but the thing itself. But with abstract knowledge, with reason, doubt and error appear in the theoretical, care and sorrow in the practical. In the idea of perception, illusion may at moments take the place of the real; but in the sphere of abstract thought, error may reign for a thousand years, impose its yoke upon whole nations, extend to the noblest impulses of humanity, and, by the help of its slaves and its dupes, may chain and fetter those whom it cannot deceive. It is the enemy against which the wisest men of all times have waged unequal war, and only what they have won from it has become the possession of mankind. Therefore it is well to draw attention to it at once, as we already tread the ground to which its province belongs. It has often been said that we ought to follow truth even although no utility can be seen in it, because it may have indirect utility which may appear when it is least expected; and I would add to this, that we ought to be just as anxious to discover and to root out all error even [pg 046] when no harm is anticipated from it, because its mischief may be very indirect, and may suddenly appear when we do not expect it, for all error has poison at its heart. If it is mind, if it is knowledge, that makes man the lord of creation, there can be no such thing as harmless error, still less venerable and holy error. And for the consolation of those who in any way and at any time may have devoted strength and life to the noble and hard battle against error, I cannot refrain from adding that, so long as truth is absent, error will have free play, as owls and bats in the night; but sooner would we expect to see the owls and the bats drive back the sun in the eastern heavens, than that any truth which has once been known and distinctly and fully expressed, can ever again be so utterly vanquished and overcome that the old error shall once more reign undisturbed over its wide kingdom. This is the power of truth; its conquest is slow and laborious, but if once the victory be gained it can never be wrested back again.

Besides the ideas we have as yet considered, which, according to their construction, could be referred to time, space, and matter, if we consider them with reference to the object, or to pure sensibility and understanding (i.e., knowledge of causality), if we consider them with reference to the subject, another faculty of knowledge has appeared in man alone of all earthly creatures, an entirely new consciousness, which, with very appropriate and significant exactness, is called reflection. For it is in fact derived from the knowledge of perception, and is a reflected appearance of it. But it has assumed a nature fundamentally different. The forms of perception do not affect it, and even the principle of sufficient reason which reigns over all objects has an entirely different aspect with regard to it. It is just this new, more highly endowed, consciousness, this abstract reflex of all that belongs to perception in that conception of the reason which has nothing to do with perception, that gives to man that [pg 047] thoughtfulness which distinguishes his consciousness so entirely from that of the lower animals, and through which his whole behaviour upon earth is so different from that of his irrational fellow-creatures. He far surpasses them in power and also in suffering. They live in the present alone, he lives also in the future and the past. They satisfy the needs of the moment, he provides by the most ingenious preparations for the future, yea for days that he shall never see. They are entirely dependent on the impression of the moment, on the effect of the perceptible motive; he is determined by abstract conceptions independent of the present. Therefore he follows predetermined plans, he acts from maxims, without reference to his surroundings or the accidental impression of the moment. Thus, for example, he can make with composure deliberate preparations for his own death, he can dissemble past finding out, and can carry his secret with him to the grave; lastly, he has an actual choice between several motives; for only in the abstract can such motives, present together in consciousness, afford the knowledge with regard to themselves, that the one excludes the other, and can thus measure themselves against each other with reference to their power over the will. The motive that overcomes, in that it decides the question at issue, is the deliberate determinant of the will, and is a sure indication of its character. The brute, on the other hand, is determined by the present impression; only the fear of present compulsion can constrain its desires, until at last this fear has become custom, and as such continues to determine it; this is called training. The brute feels and perceives; man, in addition to this, thinks and knows: both will. The brute expresses its feelings and dispositions by gestures and sounds; man communicates his thought to others, or, if he wishes, he conceals it, by means of speech. Speech is the first production, and also the necessary organ of his reason. Therefore in Greek and Italian, speech and [pg 048] reason are expressed by the same word; ὁ λογος, il discorso. Vernunft is derived from vernehmen, which is not a synonym for the verb to hear, but signifies the consciousness of the meaning of thoughts communicated in words. It is by the help of language alone that reason accomplishes its most important achievements,—the united action of several individuals, the planned co-operation of many thousands, civilisation, the state; also science, the storing up of experience, the uniting of common properties in one concept, the communication of truth, the spread of error, thoughts and poems, dogmas and superstitions. The brute first knows death when it dies, but man draws consciously nearer to it every hour that he lives; and this makes life at times a questionable good even to him who has not recognised this character of constant annihilation in the whole of life. Principally on this account man has philosophies and religions, though it is uncertain whether the qualities we admire most in his conduct, voluntary rectitude and nobility of feeling, were ever the fruit of either of them. As results which certainly belong only to them, and as productions of reason in this sphere, we may refer to the marvellous and monstrous opinions of philosophers of various schools, and the extraordinary and sometimes cruel customs of the priests of different religions.

It is the universal opinion of all times and of all nations that these manifold and far-reaching achievements spring from a common principle, from that peculiar intellectual power which belongs distinctively to man and which has been called reason, ὁ λογος, το λογιστικον, το λογιμον, ratio. Besides this, no one finds any difficulty in recognising the manifestations of this faculty, and in saying what is rational and what is irrational, where reason appears as distinguished from the other faculties and qualities of man, or lastly, in pointing out what, on account of the want of reason, we must never expect even from the most sensible brute. The philosophers [pg 049] of all ages may be said to be on the whole at one about this general knowledge of reason, and they have also given prominence to several very important manifestations of it; such as, the control of the emotions and passions, the capacity for drawing conclusions and formulating general principles, even such as are true prior to all experience, and so forth. Still all their explanations of the peculiar nature of reason are wavering, not clearly defined, discursive, without unity and concentration; now laying stress on one manifestation, now on another, and therefore often at variance with each other. Besides this, many start from the opposition between reason and revelation, a distinction which is unknown to philosophy, and which only increases confusion. It is very remarkable that up till now no philosopher has referred these manifold expressions of reason to one simple function which would be recognised in them all, from which they would all be explained, and which would therefore constitute the real inner nature of reason. It is true that the excellent Locke in the “Essay on the Human Understanding” (Book II., ch. xi., §§ 10 and 11), very rightly refers to general concepts as the characteristic which distinguishes man from the brutes, and Leibnitz quotes this with full approval in the “Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entendement Humaine” (Book II., ch. xi., §§ 10 and 11.) But when Locke (in Book IV., ch. xvii., §§ 2 and 3) comes to the special explanation of reason he entirely loses sight of this simple, primary characteristic, and he also falls into a wavering, undetermined, incomplete account of mangled and derivative manifestations of it. Leibnitz also, in the corresponding part of his work, behaves in a similar manner, only with more confusion and indistinctness. In the Appendix, I have fully considered how Kant confused and falsified the conception of the nature of reason. But whoever will take the trouble to go through in this reference the mass of philosophical writing which has appeared since [pg 050] Kant, will find out, that just as the faults of princes must be expiated by whole nations, the errors of great minds extend their influence over whole generations, and even over centuries; they grow and propagate themselves, and finally degenerate into monstrosities. All this arises from the fact that, as Berkeley says, “Few men think; yet all will have opinions.”

The understanding has only one function—immediate knowledge of the relation of cause and effect. Yet the perception of the real world, and all common sense, sagacity, and inventiveness, however multifarious their applications may be, are quite clearly seen to be nothing more than manifestations of that one function. So also the reason has one function; and from it all the manifestations of reason we have mentioned, which distinguish the life of man from that of the brutes, may easily be explained. The application or the non-application of this function is all that is meant by what men have everywhere and always called rational and irrational.12

§ 9. Concepts form a distinct class of ideas, existing only in the mind of man, and entirely different from the ideas of perception which we have considered up till now. We can therefore never attain to a sensuous and, properly speaking, evident knowledge of their nature, but only to a knowledge which is abstract and discursive. It would, therefore, be absurd to demand that they should be verified in experience, if by experience is meant the real external world, which consists of ideas of perception, or that they should be brought before the eyes or the imagination like objects of perception. They can only be thought, not perceived, and only the effects which men accomplish through them are properly objects of experience. Such effects are language, preconceived and planned action and science, and all that results from these. [pg 051] Speech, as an object of outer experience, is obviously nothing more than a very complete telegraph, which communicates arbitrary signs with the greatest rapidity and the finest distinctions of difference. But what do these signs mean? How are they interpreted? When some one speaks, do we at once translate his words into pictures of the fancy, which instantaneously flash upon us, arrange and link themselves together, and assume form and colour according to the words that are poured forth, and their grammatical inflections? What a tumult there would be in our brains while we listened to a speech, or to the reading of a book? But what actually happens is not this at all. The meaning of a speech is, as a rule, immediately grasped, accurately and distinctly taken in, without the imagination being brought into play. It is reason which speaks to reason, keeping within its own province. It communicates and receives abstract conceptions, ideas that cannot be presented in perceptions, which are framed once for all, and are relatively few in number, but which yet encompass, contain, and represent all the innumerable objects of the actual world. This itself is sufficient to prove that the lower animals can never learn to speak or comprehend, although they have the organs of speech and ideas of perception in common with us. But because words represent this perfectly distinct class of ideas, whose subjective correlative is reason, they are without sense and meaning for the brutes. Thus language, like every other manifestation which we ascribe to reason, and like everything which distinguishes man from the brutes, is to be explained from this as its one simple source—conceptions, abstract ideas which cannot be presented in perception, but are general, and have no individual existence in space and time. Only in single cases do we pass from the conception to the perception, do we construct images as representatives of concepts in perception, to which, however, they are never adequate. These cases [pg 052] are fully discussed in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, § 28, and therefore I shall not repeat my explanation here. It may be compared, however, with what is said by Hume in the twelfth of his “Philosophical Essays,” p. 244, and by Herder in the “Metacritik,” pt. i. p. 274 (an otherwise worthless book). The Platonic idea, the possibility of which depends upon the union of imagination and reason, is the principal subject of the third book of this work.

Although concepts are fundamentally different from ideas of perception, they stand in a necessary relation to them, without which they would be nothing. This relation therefore constitutes the whole nature and existence of concepts. Reflection is the necessary copy or repetition of the originally presented world of perception, but it is a special kind of copy in an entirely different material. Thus concepts may quite properly be called ideas of ideas. The principle of sufficient reason has here also a special form. Now we have seen that the form under which the principle of sufficient reason appears in a class of ideas always constitutes and exhausts the whole nature of the class, so far as it consists of ideas, so that time is throughout succession, and nothing more; space is throughout position, and nothing more; matter is throughout causation, and nothing more. In the same way the whole nature of concepts, or the class of abstract ideas, consists simply in the relation which the principle of sufficient reason expresses in them; and as this is the relation to the ground of knowledge, the whole nature of the abstract idea is simply and solely its relation to another idea, which is its ground of knowledge. This, indeed, may, in the first instance, be a concept, an abstract idea, and this again may have only a similar abstract ground of knowledge; but the chain of grounds of knowledge does not extend ad infinitum; it must end at last in a concept which has its ground in knowledge of perception; for the whole world of reflection [pg 053] rests on the world of perception as its ground of knowledge. Hence the class of abstract ideas is in this respect distinguished from other classes; in the latter the principle of sufficient reason always demands merely a relation to another idea of the same class, but in the case of abstract ideas, it at last demands a relation to an idea of another class.

Those concepts which, as has just been pointed out, are not immediately related to the world of perception, but only through the medium of one, or it may be several other concepts, have been called by preference abstracta, and those which have their ground immediately in the world of perception have been called concreta. But this last name is only loosely applicable to the concepts denoted by it, for they are always merely abstracta, and not ideas of perception. These names, which have originated in a very dim consciousness of the distinctions they imply, may yet, with this explanation, be retained. As examples of the first kind of concepts, i.e., abstracta in the fullest sense, we may take “relation,” “virtue,” “investigation,” “beginning,” and so on. As examples of the second kind, loosely called concreta, we may take such concepts as “man,” “stone,” “horse,” &c. If it were not a somewhat too pictorial and therefore absurd simile, we might very appropriately call the latter the ground floor, and the former the upper stories of the building of reflection.13

It is not, as is commonly supposed, an essential characteristic of a concept that it should contain much under it, that is to say, that many ideas of perception, or it may be other abstract ideas, should stand to it in the relation of its ground of knowledge, i.e., be thought through it. This is merely a derived and secondary characteristic, and, as a matter of fact, does not always exist, though it must always exist potentially. This characteristic arises from the fact that a concept is an [pg 054] idea of an idea, i.e., its whole nature consists in its relation to another idea; but as it is not this idea itself, which is generally an idea of perception and therefore belongs to quite a different class, the latter may have temporal, spacial, and other determinations, and in general many relations which are not thought along with it in the concept. Thus we see that several ideas which are different in unessential particulars may be thought by means of one concept, i.e., may be brought under it. Yet this power of embracing several things is not an essential but merely an accidental characteristic of the concept. There may be concepts through which only one real object is thought, but which are nevertheless abstract and general, by no means capable of presentation individually and as perceptions. Such, for example, is the conception which any one may have of a particular town which he only knows from geography; although only this one town is thought under it, it might yet be applied to several towns differing in certain respects. We see then that a concept is not general because of being abstracted from several objects; but conversely, because generality, that is to say, non-determination of the particular, belongs to the concept as an abstract idea of the reason, different things can be thought by means of the same one.

It follows from what has been said that every concept, just because it is abstract and incapable of presentation in perception, and is therefore not a completely determined idea, has what is called extension or sphere, even in the case in which only one real object exists that corresponds to it. Now we always find that the sphere of one concept has something in common with the sphere of other concepts. That is to say, part of what is thought under one concept is the same as what is thought under other concepts; and conversely, part of what is thought under these concepts is the same as what is thought under the first; although, if they are [pg 055] really different concepts, each of them, or at least one of them, contains something which the other does not contain; this is the relation in which every subject stands to its predicate. The recognition of this relation is called judgment. The representation of these spheres by means of figures in space, is an exceedingly happy idea. It first occurred to Gottfried Plouquet, who used squares for the purpose. Lambert, although later than him, used only lines, which he placed under each other. Euler carried out the idea completely with circles. Upon what this complete analogy between the relations of concepts, and those of figures in space, ultimately rests, I am unable to say. It is, however, a very fortunate circumstance for logic that all the relations of concepts, according to their possibility, i.e., a priori, may be made plain in perception by the use of such figures, in the following way:—

(1.) The spheres of two concepts coincide: for example the concept of necessity and the concept of following from given grounds, in the same way the concepts of Ruminantia and Bisulca (ruminating and cloven-hoofed animals), also those of vertebrate and red-blooded animals (although there might be some doubt about this on account of the annelida): they are convertible concepts. Such concepts are represented by a single circle which stands for either of them.

(2.) The sphere of one concept includes that of the other.

Illustration: Category "horse" within category "animal".
[pg 056]

(3.) A sphere includes two or more spheres which exclude each other and fill it.

Illustration: Circle divided into thirds "right", "acute", and "obtuse".

(4.) Two spheres include each a part of the other.

Illustration: Two overlapping circles, one "flower" and one "red".

(5.) Two spheres lie in a third, but do not fill it.

Illustration: A large circle, "matter", within which are two other circles, "water" and "earth".

This last case applies to all concepts whose spheres have nothing immediately in common, for there is always a third sphere, often a much wider one, which includes both.

To these cases all combinations of concepts may be referred, and from them the entire doctrine of the judgment, its conversion, contraposition, equipollence, disjunction (this according to the third figure) may be deduced. [pg 057] From these also may be derived the properties of the judgment, upon which Kant based his pretended categories of the understanding, with the exception however of the hypothetical form, which is not a combination of concepts, but of judgments. A full account is given in the Appendix of “Modality,” and indeed of every property of judgments on which the categories are founded.

With regard to the possible combinations of concepts which we have given, it has only further to be remarked that they may also be combined with each other in many ways. For example, the fourth figure with the second. Only if one sphere, which partly or wholly contains another, is itself contained in a third sphere, do these together exemplify the syllogism in the first figure, i.e., that combination of judgments, by means of which it is known that a concept which is partly or wholly contained in another concept, is also contained in a third concept, which again contains the first: and also, conversely, the negation; the pictorial representation of which can, of course, only be two connected spheres which do not lie within a third sphere. If many spheres are brought together in this way we get a long train of syllogisms. This schematism of concepts, which has already been fairly well explained in more than one textbook, may be used as the foundation of the doctrine of the judgment, and indeed of the whole syllogistic theory, and in this way the treatment of both becomes very easy and simple. Because, through it, all syllogistic rules may be seen in their origin, and may be deduced and explained. It is not necessary, however, to load the memory with these rules, as logic is never of practical use, but has only a theoretical interest for philosophy. For although it may be said that logic is related to rational thinking as thorough-bass is to music, or less exactly, as ethics is to virtue, or æsthetics to art; we must yet remember that no one ever became an artist by the study of æsthetics; that a noble character was never [pg 058] formed by the study of ethics; that long before Rameau, men composed correctly and beautifully, and that we do not need to know thorough-bass in order to detect discords: and just as little do we need to know logic in order to avoid being misled by fallacies. Yet it must be conceded that thorough-bass is of the greatest use in the practice of musical composition, although it may not be necessary for the understanding of it; and indeed æsthetics and even ethics, though in a much less degree, and for the most part negatively, may be of some use in practice, so that we cannot deny them all practical worth, but of logic even this much cannot be conceded. It is nothing more than the knowledge in the abstract of what every one knows in the concrete. Therefore we call in the aid of logical rules, just as little to enable us to construct a correct argument as to prevent us from consenting to a false one, and the most learned logician lays aside the rules of logic altogether in his actual thought. This may be explained in the following way. Every science is a system of general and therefore abstract truths, laws, and rules with reference to a special class of objects. The individual case coming under these laws is determined in accordance with this general knowledge, which is valid once for all; because such application of the general principle is far easier than the exhaustive investigation of the particular case; for the general abstract knowledge which has once been obtained is always more within our reach than the empirical investigation of the particular case. With logic, however, it is just the other way. It is the general knowledge of the mode of procedure of the reason expressed in the form of rules. It is reached by the introspection of reason, and by abstraction from all content. But this mode of procedure is necessary and essential to reason, so that it will never depart from it if left to itself. It is, therefore, easier and surer to let it proceed itself according to its nature in each particular case, than to [pg 059] present to it the knowledge abstracted from this procedure in the form of a foreign and externally given law. It is easier, because, while in the case of all other sciences, the general rule is more within our reach than the investigation of the particular case taken by itself; with the use of reason, on the contrary, its necessary procedure in a given case is always more within our reach than the general rule abstracted from it; for that which thinks in us is reason itself. It is surer, because a mistake may more easily occur in such abstract knowledge, or in its application, than that a process of reason should take place which would run contrary to its essence and nature. Hence arises the remarkable fact, that while in other sciences the particular case is always proved by the rule, in logic, on the contrary, the rule must always be proved from the particular case; and even the most practised logician, if he remark that in some particular case he concludes otherwise than the rule prescribes, will always expect to find a mistake in the rule rather than in his own conclusion. To desire to make practical use of logic means, therefore, to desire to derive with unspeakable trouble, from general rules, that which is immediately known with the greatest certainty in the particular case. It is just as if a man were to consult mechanics as to the motion of his body, and physiology as to his digestion; and whoever has learnt logic for practical purposes is like him who would teach a beaver to make its own dam. Logic is, therefore, without practical utility; but it must nevertheless be retained, because it has philosophical interest as the special knowledge of the organisation and action of reason. It is rightly regarded as a definite, self-subsisting, self-contained, complete, and thoroughly safe discipline; to be treated scientifically for itself alone and independently of everything else, and therefore to be studied at the universities. But it has its real value, in relation to philosophy as a whole, in the inquiry into the nature of knowledge, and indeed of [pg 060] rational and abstract knowledge. Therefore the exposition of logic should not have so much the form of a practical science, should not contain merely naked arbitrary rules for the correct formation of the judgment, the syllogism, &c., but should rather be directed to the knowledge of the nature of reason and the concept, and to the detailed investigation of the principle of sufficient reason of knowing. For logic is only a paraphrase of this principle, and, more exactly, only of that exemplification of it in which the ground that gives truth to the judgment is neither empirical nor metaphysical, but logical or metalogical. Besides the principle of sufficient reason of knowing, it is necessary to take account of the three remaining fundamental laws of thought, or judgments of metalogical truth, so nearly related to it; and out of these the whole science of reason grows. The nature of thought proper, that is to say, of the judgment and the syllogism, must be exhibited in the combination of the spheres of concepts, according to the analogy of the special schema, in the way shown above; and from all this the rules of the judgment and the syllogism are to be deduced by construction. The only practical use we can make of logic is in a debate, when we can convict our antagonist of his intentional fallacies, rather than of his actual mistakes, by giving them their technical names. By thus throwing into the background the practical aim of logic, and bringing out its connection with the whole scheme of philosophy as one of its chapters, we do not think that we shall make the study of it less prevalent than it is just now. For at the present day every one who does not wish to remain uncultured, and to be numbered with the ignorant and incompetent multitude, must study speculative philosophy. For the nineteenth century is a philosophical age, though by this we do not mean either that it has philosophy, or that philosophy governs it, but rather that it is ripe for philosophy, and, therefore, stands in need of it. This is a sign of a high [pg 061] degree of civilisation, and indeed, is a definite stage in the culture of the ages.14

Though logic is of so little practical use, it cannot be denied that it was invented for practical purposes. It appears to me to have originated in the following way:—As the love of debating developed among the Eleatics, the Megarics, and the Sophists, and by degrees became almost a passion, the confusion in which nearly every debate ended must have made them feel the necessity of a method of procedure as a guide; and for this a scientific dialectic had to be sought. The first thing which would have to be observed would be that both the disputing parties should always be agreed on some one proposition, to which the disputed points might be referred. The beginning of the methodical procedure consisted in this, that the propositions admitted on both sides were formally stated to be so, and placed at the head of the inquiry. But these propositions were at first concerned only with the material of the inquiry. It was soon observed that in the process of going back to the truth admitted on both sides, and of deducing their assertions from it, each party followed certain forms and laws about which, without any express agreement, there was no difference of opinion. And from this it became evident that these must constitute the peculiar and natural procedure of reason itself, the form of investigation. Although this was not exposed to any doubt or difference of opinion, some pedantically systematic philosopher hit upon the idea that it would look well, and be the completion of the method of dialectic, if this formal part of all discussion, this regular procedure of reason itself, were to be expressed in abstract propositions, just like the substantial propositions admitted on both sides, and placed at the beginning of every investigation, as the fixed canon of debate to which reference and appeal must always be made. In this [pg 062] way what had formerly been followed only by tacit agreement, and instinctively, would be consciously recognised and formally expressed. By degrees, more or less perfect expressions were found for the fundamental principles of logic, such as the principles of contradiction, sufficient reason, excluded middle, the dictum de omni et nullo, as well as the special rules of the syllogism, as for example, ex meris particularibus aut negativis nihil sequitur, a rationato ad rationem non valet consequentia, and so on. That all this was only brought about slowly, and with great pains, and up till the time of Aristotle remained very incomplete, is evident from the awkward and tedious way in which logical truths are brought out in many of the Platonic dialogues, and still more from what Sextus Empiricus tells us of the controversies of the Megarics, about the easiest and simplest logical rules, and the laborious way in which they were brought into a definite form (Sext. Emp. adv. Math. l. 8, p. 112). But Aristotle collected, arranged, and corrected all that had been discovered before his time, and brought it to an incomparably greater state of perfection. If we thus observe how the course of Greek culture had prepared the way for, and led up to the work of Aristotle, we shall be little inclined to believe the assertion of the Persian author, quoted by Sir William Jones with much approval, that Kallisthenes found a complete system of logic among the Indians, and sent it to his uncle Aristotle (Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 163). It is easy to understand that in the dreary middle ages the Aristotelian logic would be very acceptable to the controversial spirit of the schoolmen, which, in the absence of all real knowledge, spent its energy upon mere formulas and words, and that it would be eagerly adopted even in its mutilated Arabian form, and presently established as the centre of all knowledge. Though its authority has since declined, yet up to our own time logic has retained the credit of a self-contained, practical, and highly important [pg 063] science. Indeed, in our own day, the Kantian philosophy, the foundation-stone of which is taken from logic, has excited a new interest in it; which, in this respect, at any rate, that is, as the means of the knowledge of the nature of reason, it deserves.

Correct and accurate conclusions may be arrived at if we carefully observe the relation of the spheres of concepts, and only conclude that one sphere is contained in a third sphere, when we have clearly seen that this first sphere is contained in a second, which in its turn is contained in the third. On the other hand, the art of sophistry lies in casting only a superficial glance at the relations of the spheres of the concepts, and then manipulating these relations to suit our purposes, generally in the following way:—When the sphere of an observed concept lies partly within that of another concept, and partly within a third altogether different sphere, we treat it as if it lay entirely within the one or the other, as may suit our purpose. For example, in speaking of passion, we may subsume it under the concept of the greatest force, the mightiest agency in the world, or under the concept of the irrational, and this again under the concept of impotency or weakness. We may then repeat the process, and start anew with each concept to which the argument leads us. A concept has almost always several others, which partially come under it, and each of these contains part of the sphere of the first, but also includes in its own sphere something more, which is not in the first. But we draw attention only to that one of these latter concepts, under which we wish to subsume the first, and let the others remain unobserved, or keep them concealed. On the possession of this skill depends the whole art of sophistry and all finer fallacies; for logical fallacies such as mentiens, velatus, cornatus, &c., are clearly too clumsy for actual use. I am not aware that hitherto any one has traced the nature of all sophistry and persuasion back to this last [pg 064] possible ground of its existence, and referred it to the peculiar character of concepts, i.e., to the procedure of reason itself. Therefore, as my exposition has led me to it, though it is very easily understood, I will illustrate it in the following table by means of a schema. This table is intended to show how the spheres of concepts overlap each other at many points, and so leave room for a passage from each concept to whichever one we please of several other concepts. I hope, however, that no one will be led by this table to attach more importance to this little explanation, which I have merely given in passing, than ought to belong to it, from the nature of the subject. I have chosen as an illustration the concept of travelling. Its sphere partially includes four others, to any of which the sophist may pass at will; these again partly include other spheres, several of them two or more at once, and through these the sophist takes whichever way he chooses, always as if it were the only way, till at last he reaches, in good or evil, whatever end he may have in view. In passing from one sphere to another, it is only necessary always to follow the direction from the centre (the given chief concept) to the circumference, and never to reverse this process. Such a piece of sophistry may be either an unbroken speech, or it may assume the strict syllogistic form, according to what is the weak side of the hearer. Most scientific arguments, and especially philosophical demonstrations, are at bottom not much more than this, for how else would it be possible, that so much, in different ages, has not only been falsely apprehended (for error itself has a different source), but demonstrated and proved, and has yet afterwards been found to be fundamentally wrong, for example, the Leibnitz-Wolfian Philosophy, Ptolemaic Astronomy, Stahl's Chemistry, Newton's Theory of Colours, &c. &c.15

§ 10. Through all this, the question presses ever more upon us, how certainty is to be attained, how judgments [pg 065]are to be established, what constitutes rational knowledge, (wissen), and science, which we rank with language and deliberate action as the third great benefit conferred by reason.

Reason is feminine in nature; it can only give after it has received. Of itself it has nothing but the empty forms of its operation. There is no absolutely pure rational knowledge except the four principles to which I have attributed metalogical truth; the principles of identity, contradiction, excluded middle, and sufficient reason of knowledge. For even the rest of logic is not absolutely pure rational knowledge. It presupposes the relations and the combinations of the spheres of concepts. But concepts in general only exist after experience of ideas of perception, and as their whole nature consists in their relation to these, it is clear that they presuppose them. No special content, however, is presupposed, but merely the existence of a content generally, and so logic as a whole may fairly pass for pure rational science. In all other sciences reason has received its content from ideas of perception; in mathematics from the relations of space and time, presented in intuition or perception prior to all experience; in pure natural science, that is, in what we know of the course of nature prior to any experience, the content of the science proceeds from the pure understanding, i.e., from the a priori knowledge of the law of causality and its connection with those pure intuitions or perceptions of space and time. In all other sciences everything that is not derived from the sources we have just referred to belongs to experience. Speaking generally, to know rationally (wissen) means to have in the power of the mind, and capable of being reproduced at will, such judgments as have their sufficient ground of knowledge in something outside themselves, i.e., are true. Thus only abstract cognition is rational knowledge (wissen), which is therefore the result of reason, so that we cannot accurately say of the lower animals that they rationally [pg 066]know (wissen) anything, although they have apprehension of what is presented in perception, and memory of this, and consequently imagination, which is further proved by the circumstance that they dream. We attribute consciousness to them, and therefore although the word (bewusstsein) is derived from the verb to know rationally (wissen), the conception of consciousness corresponds generally with that of idea of whatever kind it may be. Thus we attribute life to plants, but not consciousness. Rational knowledge (wissen) is therefore abstract consciousness, the permanent possession in concepts of the reason, of what has become known in another way.

§ 11. In this regard the direct opposite of rational knowledge is feeling, and therefore we must insert the explanation of feeling here. The concept which the word feeling denotes has merely a negative content, which is this, that something which is present in consciousness, is not a concept, is not abstract rational knowledge. Except this, whatever it may be, it comes under the concept of feeling. Thus the immeasurably wide sphere of the concept of feeling includes the most different kinds of objects, and no one can ever understand how they come together until he has recognised that they all agree in this negative respect, that they are not abstract concepts. For the most diverse and even antagonistic elements lie quietly side by side in this concept; for example, religious feeling, feeling of sensual pleasure, moral feeling, bodily feeling, as touch, pain, sense of colour, of sounds and their harmonies and discords, feeling of hate, of disgust, of self-satisfaction, of honour, of disgrace, of right, of wrong, sense of truth, æsthetic feeling, feeling of power, weakness, health, friendship, love, &c. &c. There is absolutely nothing in common among them except the negative quality that they are not abstract rational knowledge. But this diversity becomes more striking when the apprehension of space relations presented a priori in perception, and also the [pg 067] knowledge of the pure understanding is brought under this concept, and when we say of all knowledge and all truth, of which we are first conscious only intuitively, and have not yet formulated in abstract concepts, we feel it. I should like, for the sake of illustration, to give some examples of this taken from recent books, as they are striking proofs of my theory. I remember reading in the introduction to a German translation of Euclid, that we ought to make beginners in geometry draw the figures before proceeding to demonstrate, for in this way they would already feel geometrical truth before the demonstration brought them complete knowledge. In the same way Schleiermacher speaks in his “Critique of Ethics” of logical and mathematical feeling (p. 339), and also of the feeling of the sameness or difference of two formulas (p. 342). Again Tennemann in his “History of Philosophy” (vol. I., p. 361) says, “One felt that the fallacies were not right, but could not point out the mistakes.” Now, so long as we do not regard this concept feeling from the right point of view, and do not recognise that one negative characteristic which alone is essential to it, it must constantly give occasion for misunderstanding and controversy, on account of the excessive wideness of its sphere, and its entirely negative and very limited content which is determined in a purely one-sided manner. Since then we have in German the nearly synonymous word empfindung (sensation), it would be convenient to make use of it for bodily feeling, as a sub-species. This concept “feeling,” which is quite out of proportion to all others, doubtless originated in the following manner. All concepts, and concepts alone, are denoted by words; they exist only for the reason, and proceed from it. With concepts, therefore, we are already at a one-sided point of view; but from such a point of view what is near appears distinct and is set down as positive, what is farther off becomes mixed up and is soon regarded as merely [pg 068] negative. Thus each nation calls all others foreign: to the Greek all others are barbarians; to the Englishman all that is not England or English is continent or continental; to the believer all others are heretics, or heathens; to the noble all others are roturiers; to the student all others are Philistines, and so forth. Now, reason itself, strange as it may seem, is guilty of the same one-sidedness, indeed one might say of the same crude ignorance arising from vanity, for it classes under the one concept, feeling,” every modification of consciousness which does not immediately belong to its own mode of apprehension, that is to say, which is not an abstract concept. It has had to pay the penalty of this hitherto in misunderstanding and confusion in its own province, because its own procedure had not become clear to it through thorough self-knowledge, for a special faculty of feeling has been set up, and new theories of it are constructed.

§ 12. Rational knowledge (wissen) is then all abstract knowledge,—that is, the knowledge which is peculiar to the reason as distinguished from the understanding. Its contradictory opposite has just been explained to be the concept “feeling.” Now, as reason only reproduces, for knowledge, what has been received in another way, it does not actually extend our knowledge, but only gives it another form. It enables us to know in the abstract and generally, what first became known in sense-perception, in the concrete. But this is much more important than it appears at first sight when so expressed. For it depends entirely upon the fact that knowledge has become rational or abstract knowledge (wissen), that it can be safely preserved, that it is communicable and susceptible of certain and wide-reaching application to practice. Knowledge in the form of sense-perception is valid only of the particular case, extends only to what is nearest, and ends with it, for sensibility and understanding can only comprehend one object at a time. Every [pg 069] enduring, arranged, and planned activity must therefore proceed from principles,—that is, from abstract knowledge, and it must be conducted in accordance with them. Thus, for example, the knowledge of the relation of cause and effect arrived at by the understanding, is in itself far completer, deeper and more exhaustive than anything that can be thought about it in the abstract; the understanding alone knows in perception directly and completely the nature of the effect of a lever, of a pulley, or a cog-wheel, the stability of an arch, and so forth. But on account of the peculiarity of the knowledge of perception just referred to, that it only extends to what is immediately present, the mere understanding can never enable us to construct machines and buildings. Here reason must come in; it must substitute abstract concepts for ideas of perception, and take them as the guide of action; and if they are right, the anticipated result will happen. In the same way we have perfect knowledge in pure perception of the nature and constitution of the parabola, hyperbola, and spiral; but if we are to make trustworthy application of this knowledge to the real, it must first become abstract knowledge, and by this it certainly loses its character of intuition or perception, but on the other hand it gains the certainty and preciseness of abstract knowledge. The differential calculus does not really extend our knowledge of the curve, it contains nothing that was not already in the mere pure perception of the curve; but it alters the kind of knowledge, it changes the intuitive into an abstract knowledge, which is so valuable for application. But here we must refer to another peculiarity of our faculty of knowledge, which could not be observed until the distinction between the knowledge of the senses and understanding and abstract knowledge had been made quite clear. It is this, that relations of space cannot as such be directly translated into abstract knowledge, but only temporal quantities,—that is, numbers, are suitable for this. [pg 070] Numbers alone can be expressed in abstract concepts which accurately correspond to them, not spacial quantities. The concept “thousand” is just as different from the concept “ten,” as both these temporal quantities are in perception. We think of a thousand as a distinct multiple of ten, into which we can resolve it at pleasure for perception in time,—that is to say, we can count it. But between the abstract concept of a mile and that of a foot, apart from any concrete perception of either, and without the help of number, there is no accurate distinction corresponding to the quantities themselves. In both we only think of a spacial quantity in general, and if they must be completely distinguished we are compelled either to call in the assistance of intuition or perception in space, which would be a departure from abstract knowledge, or we must think the difference in numbers. If then we wish to have abstract knowledge of space-relations we must first translate them into time-relations,—that is, into numbers; therefore only arithmetic, and not geometry, is the universal science of quantity, and geometry must be translated into arithmetic if it is to be communicable, accurately precise and applicable in practice. It is true that a space-relation as such may also be thought in the abstract; for example, “the sine increases as the angle,” but if the quantity of this relation is to be given, it requires number for its expression. This necessity, that if we wish to have abstract knowledge of space-relations (i.e., rational knowledge, not mere intuition or perception), space with its three dimensions must be translated into time which has only one dimension, this necessity it is, which makes mathematics so difficult. This becomes very clear if we compare the perception of curves with their analytical calculation, or the table of logarithms of the trigonometrical functions with the perception of the changing relations of the parts of a triangle, which are expressed by them. What vast mazes of figures, what laborious calculations [pg 071] it would require to express in the abstract what perception here apprehends at a glance completely and with perfect accuracy, namely, how the co-sine diminishes as the sine increases, how the co-sine of one angle is the sine of another, the inverse relation of the increase and decrease of the two angles, and so forth. How time, we might say, must complain, that with its one dimension it should be compelled to express the three dimensions of space! Yet this is necessary if we wish to possess, for application, an expression, in abstract concepts, of space-relations. They could not be translated directly into abstract concepts, but only through the medium of the pure temporal quantity, number, which alone is directly related to abstract knowledge. Yet it is worthy of remark, that as space adapts itself so well to perception, and by means of its three dimensions, even its complicated relations are easily apprehended, while it eludes the grasp of abstract knowledge; time, on the contrary, passes easily into abstract knowledge, but gives very little to perception. Our perceptions of numbers in their proper element, mere time, without the help of space, scarcely extends as far as ten, and beyond that we have only abstract concepts of numbers, no knowledge of them which can be presented in perception. On the other hand, we connect with every numeral, and with all algebraical symbols, accurately defined abstract concepts.

We may further remark here that some minds only find full satisfaction in what is known through perception. What they seek is the reason and consequent of being in space, sensuously expressed; a demonstration after the manner of Euclid, or an arithmetical solution of spacial problems, does not please them. Other minds, on the contrary, seek merely the abstract concepts which are needful for applying and communicating knowledge. They have patience and memory for abstract principles, formulas, demonstrations in long trains of reasoning, and calculations, in which the symbols represent the most [pg 072] complicated abstractions. The latter seek preciseness, the former sensible perception. The difference is characteristic.

The greatest value of rational or abstract knowledge is that it can be communicated and permanently retained. It is principally on this account that it is so inestimably important for practice. Any one may have a direct perceptive knowledge through the understanding alone, of the causal connection, of the changes and motions of natural bodies, and he may find entire satisfaction in it; but he cannot communicate this knowledge to others until it has been made permanent for thought in concepts. Knowledge of the first kind is even sufficient for practice, if a man puts his knowledge into practice himself, in an action which can be accomplished while the perception is still vivid; but it is not sufficient if the help of others is required, or even if the action is his own but must be carried out at different times, and therefore requires a pre-conceived plan. Thus, for example, a practised billiard-player may have a perfect knowledge of the laws of the impact of elastic bodies upon each other, merely in the understanding, merely for direct perception; and for him it is quite sufficient; but on the other hand it is only the man who has studied the science of mechanics, who has, properly speaking, a rational knowledge of these laws, that is, a knowledge of them in the abstract. Such knowledge of the understanding in perception is sufficient even for the construction of machines, when the inventor of the machine executes the work himself; as we often see in the case of talented workmen, who have no scientific knowledge. But whenever a number of men, and their united action taking place at different times, is required for the completion of a mechanical work, of a machine, or a building, then he who conducts it must have thought out the plan in the abstract, and such co-operative activity is only possible through the assistance of reason. It is, however, remarkable that in [pg 073] the first kind of activity, in which we have supposed that one man alone, in an uninterrupted course of action, accomplishes something, abstract knowledge, the application of reason or reflection, may often be a hindrance to him; for example, in the case of billiard-playing, of fighting, of tuning an instrument, or in the case of singing. Here perceptive knowledge must directly guide action; its passage through reflection makes it uncertain, for it divides the attention and confuses the man. Thus savages and untaught men, who are little accustomed to think, perform certain physical exercises, fight with beasts, shoot with bows and arrows and the like, with a certainty and rapidity which the reflecting European never attains to, just because his deliberation makes him hesitate and delay. For he tries, for example, to hit the right position or the right point of time, by finding out the mean between two false extremes; while the savage hits it directly without thinking of the false courses open to him. In the same way it is of no use to me to know in the abstract the exact angle, in degrees and minutes, at which I must apply a razor, if I do not know it intuitively, that is, if I have not got it in my touch. The knowledge of physiognomy also, is interfered with by the application of reason. This knowledge must be gained directly through the understanding. We say that the expression, the meaning of the features, can only be felt, that is, it cannot be put into abstract concepts. Every man has his direct intuitive method of physiognomy and pathognomy, yet one man understands more clearly than another these signatura rerum. But an abstract science of physiognomy to be taught and learned is not possible; for the distinctions of difference are here so fine that concepts cannot reach them; therefore abstract knowledge is related to them as a mosaic is to a painting by a Van der Werft or a Denner. In mosaics, however fine they may be, the limits of the stones are always there, and therefore no continuous passage from [pg 074] one colour to another is possible, and this is also the case with regard to concepts, with their rigidity and sharp delineation; however finely we may divide them by exact definition, they are still incapable of reaching the finer modifications of the perceptible, and this is just what happens in the example we have taken, knowledge of physiognomy.16

This quality of concepts by which they resemble the stones of a mosaic, and on account of which perception always remains their asymptote, is also the reason why nothing good is produced in art by their means. If the singer or the virtuoso attempts to guide his execution by reflection he remains silent. And this is equally true of the composer, the painter, and the poet. The concept always remains unfruitful in art; it can only direct the technical part of it, its sphere is science. We shall consider more fully in the third book, why all true art proceeds from sensuous knowledge, never from the concept. Indeed, with regard to behaviour also, and personal agreeableness in society, the concept has only a negative value in restraining the grosser manifestations of egotism and brutality; so that a polished manner is its commendable production. But all that is attractive, gracious, charming in behaviour, all affectionateness and friendliness, must not proceed from the concepts, for if it does, “we feel intention, and are put out of tune.” All dissimulation is the work of reflection; but it cannot be maintained constantly and without interruption: nemo [pg 075]potest personam diu ferre fictum,” says Seneca in his book de clementia; and so it is generally found out and loses its effect. Reason is needed in the full stress of life, where quick conclusions, bold action, rapid and sure comprehension are required, but it may easily spoil all if it gains the upper hand, and by perplexing hinders the intuitive, direct discovery, and grasp of the right by simple understanding, and thus induces irresolution.

Lastly, virtue and holiness do not proceed from reflection, but from the inner depths of the will, and its relation to knowledge. The exposition of this belongs to another part of our work; this, however, I may remark here, that the dogmas relating to ethics may be the same in the reason of whole nations, but the action of every individual different; and the converse also holds good; action, we say, is guided by feelings,—that is, simply not by concepts, but as a matter of fact by the ethical character. Dogmas occupy the idle reason; but action in the end pursues its own course independently of them, generally not according to abstract rules, but according to unspoken maxims, the expression of which is the whole man himself. Therefore, however different the religious dogmas of nations may be, yet in the case of all of them, a good action is accompanied by unspeakable satisfaction, and a bad action by endless remorse. No mockery can shake the former; no priest's absolution can deliver from the latter. Notwithstanding this, we must allow, that for the pursuit of a virtuous life, the application of reason is needful; only it is not its source, but has the subordinate function of preserving resolutions which have been made, of providing maxims to withstand the weakness of the moment, and give consistency to action. It plays the same part ultimately in art also, where it has just as little to do with the essential matter, but assists in carrying it out, for genius is not always at call, and yet the work must be completed in all its parts and rounded off to a whole.17

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§ 13. All these discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of the application of reason are intended to show, that although abstract rational knowledge is the reflex of ideas of perception, and is founded on them, it is by no means in such entire congruity with them that it could everywhere take their place: indeed it never corresponds to them quite accurately. And thus, as we have seen, many human actions can only be performed by the help of reason and deliberation, and yet there are some which are better performed without its assistance. This very incongruity of sensuous and abstract knowledge, on account of which the latter always merely approximates to the former, as mosaic approximates to painting, is the cause of a very remarkable phenomenon which, like reason itself, is peculiar to human nature, and of which the explanations that have ever anew been attempted, are insufficient: I mean laughter. On account of the source of this phenomenon, we cannot avoid giving the explanation of it here, though it again interrupts the course of our work to do so. The cause of laughter in every case is simply the sudden perception of the incongruity between a concept and the real objects which have been thought through it in some relation, and laughter itself is just the expression of this incongruity. It often occurs in this way: two or more real objects are thought through one concept, and the identity of the concept is transferred to the objects; it then becomes strikingly apparent from the entire difference of the objects in other respects, that the concept was only applicable to them from a one-sided point of view. It occurs just as often, however, that the incongruity between a single real object and the concept under which, from one point of view, it has rightly been subsumed, is suddenly felt. Now the more correct the subsumption of such objects under a concept may be from one point of view, and the greater and more glaring their incongruity with it, from another point of view, the greater is [pg 077] the ludicrous effect which is produced by this contrast. All laughter then is occasioned by a paradox, and therefore by unexpected subsumption, whether this is expressed in words or in actions. This, briefly stated, is the true explanation of the ludicrous.

I shall not pause here to relate anecdotes as examples to illustrate my theory; for it is so simple and comprehensible that it does not require them, and everything ludicrous which the reader may remember is equally valuable as a proof of it. But the theory is confirmed and illustrated by distinguishing two species into which the ludicrous is divided, and which result from the theory. Either, we have previously known two or more very different real objects, ideas of sense-perception, and have intentionally identified them through the unity of a concept which comprehends them both; this species of the ludicrous is called wit. Or, conversely, the concept is first present in knowledge, and we pass from it to reality, and to operation upon it, to action: objects which in other respects are fundamentally different, but which are all thought in that one concept, are now regarded and treated in the same way, till, to the surprise and astonishment of the person acting, the great difference of their other aspects appears: this species of the ludicrous is called folly. Therefore everything ludicrous is either a flash of wit or a foolish action, according as the procedure has been from the discrepancy of the objects to the identity of the concept, or the converse; the former always intentional, the latter always unintentional, and from without. To seem to reverse the starting-point, and to conceal wit with the mask of folly, is the art of the jester and the clown. Being quite aware of the diversity of the objects, the jester unites them, with secret wit, under one concept, and then starting from this concept he receives from the subsequently discovered diversity of the objects the surprise which he himself prepared. It follows from this short but [pg 078] sufficient theory of the ludicrous, that, if we set aside the last case, that of the jester, wit must always show itself in words, folly generally in actions, though also in words, when it only expresses an intention and does not actually carry it out, or when it shows itself merely in judgments and opinions.

Pedantry is a form of folly. It arises in this way: a man lacks confidence in his own understanding, and, therefore, does not wish to trust to it, to recognise what is right directly in the particular case. He, therefore, puts it entirely under the control of the reason, and seeks to be guided by reason in everything; that is to say, he tries always to proceed from general concepts, rules, and maxims, and to confine himself strictly to them in life, in art, and even in moral conduct. Hence that clinging to the form, to the manner, to the expression and word which is characteristic of pedantry, and which with it takes the place of the real nature of the matter. The incongruity then between the concept and reality soon shows itself here, and it becomes evident that the former never condescends to the particular case, and that with its generality and rigid definiteness it can never accurately apply to the fine distinctions of difference and innumerable modifications of the actual. Therefore, the pedant, with his general maxims, almost always misses the mark in life, shows himself to be foolish, awkward, useless. In art, in which the concept is unfruitful, he produces lifeless, stiff, abortive mannerisms. Even with regard to ethics, the purpose to act rightly or nobly cannot always be carried out in accordance with abstract maxims; for in many cases the excessively nice distinctions in the nature of the circumstances necessitate a choice of the right proceeding directly from the character; for the application of mere abstract maxims sometimes gives false results, because the maxims only half apply; and sometimes cannot be carried out, because they are foreign to the [pg 079] individual character of the actor, and this never allows itself to be entirely discovered; therefore, inconsistencies arise. Since then Kant makes it a condition of the moral worth of an action, that it shall proceed from pure rational abstract maxims, without any inclination or momentary emotion, we cannot entirely absolve him from the reproach of encouraging moral pedantry. This reproach is the significance of Schiller's epigram, entitled “Scruples of Conscience.” When we speak, especially in connection with politics, of doctrinaires, theorists, savants, and so forth, we mean pedants, that is, persons who know the things well in the abstract, but not in the concrete. Abstraction consists in thinking away the less general predicates; but it is precisely upon these that so much depends in practice.

To complete our theory it remains for us to mention a spurious kind of wit, the play upon words, the calembourg, the pun, to which may be added the equivocation, the double entendre, the chief use of which is the expression of what is obscene. Just as the witticism brings two very different real objects under one concept, the pun brings two different concepts, by the assistance of accident, under one word. The same contrast appears, only familiar and more superficial, because it does not spring from the nature of things, but merely from the accident of nomenclature. In the case of the witticism the identity is in the concept, the difference in the reality, but in the case of the pun the difference is in the concepts and the identity in the reality, for the terminology is here the reality. It would only be a somewhat far-fetched comparison if we were to say that the pun is related to the witticism as the parabola (sic) of the upper inverted cone to that of the lower. The misunderstanding of the word or the quid pro quo is the unintentional pun, and is related to it exactly as folly is to wit. Thus the deaf man often affords occasion for laughter, just as much as the fool, and inferior writers [pg 080] of comedy often use the former for the latter to raise a laugh.

I have treated laughter here only from the psychical side; with regard to the physical side, I refer to what is said on the subject in the “Parerga,” vol. II. ch. vi., § 98.18

§ 14. By means of these various discussions it is hoped that both the difference and the relation between the process of knowledge that belongs to the reason, rational knowledge, the concept on the one hand, and the direct knowledge in purely sensuous, mathematical intuition or perception, and apprehension by the understanding on the other hand, has been clearly brought out. This remarkable relation of our kinds of knowledge led us almost inevitably to give, in passing, explanations of feeling and of laughter, but from all this we now turn back to the further consideration of science as the third great benefit which reason confers on man, the other two being speech and deliberate action. The general discussion of science which now devolves upon us, will be concerned partly with its form, partly with the foundation of its judgments, and lastly with its content.

We have seen that, with the exception of the basis of pure logic, rational knowledge in general has not its source in the reason itself; but having been otherwise obtained as knowledge of perception, it is stored up in the reason, for through reason it has entirely changed its character, and has become abstract knowledge. All rational knowledge, that is, knowledge that has been raised to consciousness in the abstract, is related to science strictly so called, as a fragment to the whole. Every one has gained a rational knowledge of many different things through experience, through consideration of the individual objects presented to him, but only he who sets himself the task of acquiring a complete knowledge in the abstract of a particular class of objects, strives after science. This class can only be marked off [pg 081] by means of a concept; therefore, at the beginning of every science there stands a concept, and by means of it the class of objects concerning which this science promises a complete knowledge in the abstract, is separated in thought from the whole world of things. For example, the concept of space-relations, or of the action of unorganised bodies upon each other, or of the nature of plants, or of animals, or of the successive changes of the surface of the globe, or of the changes of the human race as a whole, or of the construction of a language, and so forth. If science sought to obtain the knowledge of its object, by investigating each individual thing that is thought through the concept, till by degrees it had learned the whole, no human memory would be equal to the task, and no certainty of completeness would be obtainable. Therefore, it makes use of that property of concept-spheres explained above, that they include each other, and it concerns itself mainly with the wider spheres which lie within the concept of its object in general. When the relations of these spheres to each other have been determined, all that is thought in them is also generally determined, and can now be more and more accurately determined by the separation of smaller and smaller concept-spheres. In this way it is possible for a science to comprehend its object completely. This path which it follows to knowledge, the path from the general to the particular, distinguishes it from ordinary rational knowledge; therefore, systematic form is an essential and characteristic feature of science. The combination of the most general concept-spheres of every science, that is, the knowledge of its first principles, is the indispensable condition of mastering it; how far we advance from these to the more special propositions is a matter of choice, and does not increase the thoroughness but only the extent of our knowledge of the science. The number of the first principles to which all the rest are subordinated, varies greatly in the different sciences, [pg 082] so that in some there is more subordination, in others more co-ordination; and in this respect, the former make greater claims upon the judgment, the latter upon the memory. It was known to the schoolmen,19 that, as the syllogism requires two premises, no science can proceed from a single first principle which cannot be the subject of further deduction, but must have several, at least two. The specially classifying sciences: Zoology, Botany, and also Physics and Chemistry, inasmuch as they refer all inorganic action to a few fundamental forces, have most subordination; history, on the other hand, has really none at all; for the general in it consists merely in the survey of the principal periods, from which, however, the particular events cannot be deduced, and are only subordinated to them according to time, but according to the concept are co-ordinate with them. Therefore, history, strictly speaking, is certainly rational knowledge, but is not science. In mathematics, according to Euclid's treatment, the axioms alone are indemonstrable first principles, and all demonstrations are in gradation strictly subordinated to them. But this method of treatment is not essential to mathematics, and in fact each proposition introduces quite a new space construction, which in itself is independent of those which precede it, and indeed can be completely comprehended from itself, quite independently of them, in the pure intuition or perception of space, in which the most complicated construction is just as directly evident as the axiom; but of this more fully hereafter. Meanwhile every mathematical proposition remains always a universal truth, which is valid for innumerable particular cases; and a graduated process from the simple to the complicated propositions which are to be deduced from them, is also essential to mathematics; therefore, in every respect mathematics is a science. The completeness of a science as such, that is, in respect of form, consists in there being as much subordination and as little [pg 083] co-ordination of the principles as possible. Scientific talent in general is, therefore, the faculty of subordinating the concept-spheres according to their different determinations, so that, as Plato repeatedly counsels, a science shall not be constituted by a general concept and an indefinite multiplicity immediately under it, but that knowledge shall descend by degrees from the general to the particular, through intermediate concepts and divisions, according to closer and closer definitions. In Kantian language this is called satisfying equally the law of homogeneity and that of specification. It arises from this peculiar nature of scientific completeness, that the aim of science is not greater certainty—for certainty may be possessed in just as high a degree by the most disconnected particular knowledge—but its aim is rather the facilitating of rational knowledge by means of its form, and the possibility of the completeness of rational knowledge which this form affords. It is therefore a very prevalent but perverted opinion that the scientific character of knowledge consists in its greater certainty, and just as false is the conclusion following from this, that, strictly speaking, the only sciences are mathematics and logic, because only in them, on account of their purely a priori character, is there unassailable certainty of knowledge. This advantage cannot be denied them, but it gives them no special claim to be regarded as sciences; for the special characteristic of science does not lie in certainty but in the systematic form of knowledge, based on the gradual descent from the general to the particular. The process of knowledge from the general to the particular, which is peculiar to the sciences, involves the necessity that in the sciences much should be established by deduction from preceding propositions, that is to say, by demonstration; and this has given rise to the old mistake that only what has been demonstrated is absolutely true, and that every truth requires a demonstration; whereas, on the contrary, every demonstration [pg 084] requires an undemonstrated truth, which ultimately supports it, or it may be, its own demonstration. Therefore a directly established truth is as much to be preferred to a truth established by demonstration as water from the spring is to water from the aqueduct. Perception, partly pure a priori, as it forms the basis of mathematics, partly empirical a posteriori, as it forms the basis of all the other sciences, is the source of all truth and the foundation of all science. (Logic alone is to be excepted, which is not founded upon perception but yet upon direct knowledge by the reason of its own laws.) Not the demonstrated judgments nor their demonstrations, but judgments which are created directly out of perception, and founded upon it rather than on any demonstrations, are to science what the sun is to the world; for all light proceeds from them, and lighted by their light the others give light also. To establish the truth of such primary judgments directly from perception, to raise such strongholds of science from the innumerable multitude of real objects, that is the work of the faculty of judgment, which consists in the power of rightly and accurately carrying over into abstract consciousness what is known in perception, and judgment is consequently the mediator between understanding and reason. Only extraordinary and exceptional strength of judgment in the individual can actually advance science; but every one who is possessed of a healthy reason is able to deduce propositions from propositions, to demonstrate, to draw conclusions. To lay down and make permanent for reflection, in suitable concepts, what is known through perception, so that, on the one hand, what is common to many real objects is thought through one concept, and, on the other hand, their points of difference are each thought through one concept, so that the different shall be known and thought as different in spite of a partial agreement, and the identical shall be known and thought as identical in spite of a partial difference, all in accordance with the end and intention which in each case [pg 085] is in view; all this is done by the faculty of judgment. Deficiency in judgment is silliness. The silly man fails to grasp, now the partial or relative difference of concepts which in one aspect are identical, now the identity of concepts which are relatively or partially different. To this explanation of the faculty of judgment, moreover, Kant's division of it into reflecting and subsuming judgment may be applied, according as it passes from the perceived objects to the concepts, or from the latter to the former; in both cases always mediating between empirical knowledge of the understanding and the reflective knowledge of the reason. There can be no truth which could be brought out by means of syllogisms alone; and the necessity of establishing truth by means of syllogisms is merely relative, indeed subjective. Since all demonstration is syllogistic, in the case of a new truth we must first seek, not for a demonstration, but for direct evidence, and only in the absence of such evidence is a demonstration to be temporarily made use of. No science is susceptible of demonstration throughout any more than a building can stand in the air; all its demonstrations must ultimately rest upon what is perceived, and consequently cannot be demonstrated, for the whole world of reflection rests upon and is rooted in the world of perception. All primal, that is, original, evidence is a perception, as the word itself indicates. Therefore it is either empirical or founded upon the perception a priori of the conditions of possible experience. In both cases it affords only immanent, not transcendent knowledge. Every concept has its worth and its existence only in its relation, sometimes very indirect, to an idea of perception; what is true of the concepts is also true of the judgments constructed out of them, and of all science. Therefore it must in some way be possible to know directly without demonstrations or syllogisms every truth that is arrived at through syllogisms and communicated by demonstrations. This is most difficult in the [pg 086] case of certain complicated mathematical propositions at which we only arrive by chains of syllogisms; for example, the calculation of the chords and tangents to all arcs by deduction from the proposition of Pythagoras. But even such a truth as this cannot essentially and solely rest upon abstract principles, and the space-relations which lie at its foundation also must be capable of being so presented a priori in pure intuition or perception that the truth of their abstract expression is directly established. But of mathematical demonstration we shall speak more fully shortly.

It is true we often hear men speak in a lofty strain of sciences which rest entirely upon correct conclusions drawn from sure premises, and which are consequently unassailable. But through pure logical reasoning, however true the premises may be, we shall never receive more than an articulate expression and exposition of what lies already complete in the premises; thus we shall only explicitly expound what was already implicitly understood. The esteemed sciences referred to are, however, specially the mathematical sciences, particularly astronomy. But the certainty of astronomy arises from the fact that it has for its basis the intuition or perception of space, which is given a priori, and is therefore infallible. All space-relations, however, follow from each other with a necessity (ground of being) which affords a priori certainty, and they can therefore be safely deduced from each other. To these mathematical properties we have only to add one force of nature, gravity, which acts precisely in relation to the masses and the square of the distance; and, lastly, the law of inertia, which follows from the law of causality and is therefore true a priori, and with it the empirical datum of the motion impressed, once for all, upon each of these masses. This is the whole material of astronomy, which both by its simplicity and its certainty leads to definite results, which are highly interesting on account of the [pg 087] vastness and importance of the objects. For example, if I know the mass of a planet and the distance of its satellite from it, I can tell with certainty the period of the revolution of the latter according to Kepler's second law. But the ground of this law is, that with this distance only this velocity will both chain the satellite to the planet and prevent it from falling into it. Thus it is only upon such a geometrical basis, that is, by means of an intuition or perception a priori, and also under the application of a law of nature, that much can be arrived at by means of syllogisms, for here they are merely like bridges from one sensuous apprehension to others; but it is not so with mere pure syllogistic reasoning in the exclusively logical method. The source of the first fundamental truths of astronomy is, however, properly induction, that is, the comprehension of what is given in many perceptions in one true and directly founded judgment. From this, hypotheses are afterwards constructed, and their confirmation by experience, as induction approaching to completeness, affords the proof of the first judgment. For example, the apparent motion of the planets is known empirically; after many false hypotheses with regard to the spacial connection of this motion (planetary course) the right one was at last found, then the laws which it obeyed (the laws of Kepler), and, lastly, the cause of these laws (universal gravitation), and the empirically known agreement of all observed cases with the whole of the hypotheses, and with their consequences, that is to say, induction, established them with complete certainty. The invention of the hypotheses was the work of the judgment, which rightly comprehended the given facts and expressed them accordingly; but induction, that is, a multitude of perceptions, confirmed their truth. But their truth could also be known directly, and by a single empirical perception, if we could pass freely through space and had telescopic eyes. Therefore, here also syllogisms are not [pg 088] the essential and only source of knowledge, but really only a makeshift.

As a third example taken from a different sphere we may mention that the so-called metaphysical truths, that is, such truths as those to which Kant assigns the position of the metaphysical first principles of natural science, do not owe their evidence to demonstration. What is a priori certain we know directly; as the form of all knowledge, it is known to us with the most complete necessity. For example, that matter is permanent, that is, can neither come into being nor pass away, we know directly as negative truth; for our pure intuition or perception of space and time gives the possibility of motion; in the law of causality the understanding affords us the possibility of change of form and quality, but we lack powers of the imagination for conceiving the coming into being or passing away of matter. Therefore that truth has at all times been evident to all men everywhere, nor has it ever been seriously doubted; and this could not be the case if it had no other ground of knowledge than the abstruse and exceedingly subtle proof of Kant. But besides this, I have found Kant's proof to be false (as is explained in the Appendix), and have shown above that the permanence of matter is to be deduced, not from the share which time has in the possibility of experience, but from the share which belongs to space. The true foundation of all truths which in this sense are called metaphysical, that is, abstract expressions of the necessary and universal forms of knowledge, cannot itself lie in abstract principles; but only in the immediate consciousness of the forms of the idea communicating itself in apodictic assertions a priori, and fearing no refutation. But if we yet desire to give a proof of them, it can only consist in showing that what is to be proved is contained in some truth about which there is no doubt, either as a part of it or as a presupposition. Thus, for example, I have shown that all empirical perception implies the [pg 089] application of the law of causality, the knowledge of which is hence a condition of all experience, and therefore cannot be first given and conditioned through experience as Hume thought. Demonstrations in general are not so much for those who wish to learn as for those who wish to dispute. Such persons stubbornly deny directly established insight; now only the truth can be consistent in all directions, and therefore we must show such persons that they admit under one form and indirectly, what they deny under another form and directly; that is, the logically necessary connection between what is denied and what is admitted.

It is also a consequence of the scientific form, the subordination of everything particular under a general, and so on always to what is more general, that the truth of many propositions is only logically proved,—that is, through their dependence upon other propositions, through syllogisms, which at the same time appear as proofs. But we must never forget that this whole form of science is merely a means of rendering knowledge more easy, not a means to greater certainty. It is easier to discover the nature of an animal, by means of the species to which it belongs, and so on through the genus, family, order, and class, than to examine on every occasion the animal presented to us: but the truth of all propositions arrived at syllogistically is always conditioned by and ultimately dependent upon some truth which rests not upon reasoning but upon perception. If this perception were always as much within our reach as a deduction through syllogisms, then it would be in every respect preferable. For every deduction from concepts is exposed to great danger of error, on account of the fact we have considered above, that so many spheres lie partly within each other, and that their content is often vague or uncertain. This is illustrated by a multitude of demonstrations of false doctrines and sophisms of every kind. Syllogisms are indeed perfectly certain as regards form, but they are [pg 090] very uncertain on account of their matter, the concepts. For, on the one hand, the spheres of these are not sufficiently sharply defined, and, on the other hand, they intersect each other in so many ways that one sphere is in part contained in many others, and we may pass at will from it to one or another of these, and from this sphere again to others, as we have already shown. Or, in other words, the minor term and also the middle can always be subordinated to different concepts, from which we may choose at will the major and the middle, and the nature of the conclusion depends on this choice. Consequently immediate evidence is always much to be preferred to reasoned truth, and the latter is only to be accepted when the former is too remote, and not when it is as near or indeed nearer than the latter. Accordingly we saw above that, as a matter of fact, in the case of logic, in which the immediate knowledge in each individual case lies nearer to hand than deduced scientific knowledge, we always conduct our thought according to our immediate knowledge of the laws of thought, and leave logic unused.20

§ 15. If now with our conviction that perception is the primary source of all evidence, and that only direct or indirect connection with it is absolute truth; and further, that the shortest way to this is always the surest, as every interposition of concepts means exposure to many deceptions; if, I say, we now turn with this conviction to mathematics, as it was established as a science by Euclid, and has remained as a whole to our own day, we cannot help regarding the method it adopts, as strange and indeed perverted. We ask that every logical proof shall be traced back to an origin in perception; but mathematics, on the contrary, is at great pains deliberately to throw away the evidence of perception which is peculiar to it, and always at hand, that it may substitute for it a logical demonstration. This must seem to us [pg 091] like the action of a man who cuts off his legs in order to go on crutches, or like that of the prince in the Triumph der Empfindsamkeit who flees from the beautiful reality of nature, to delight in a stage scene that imitates it. I must here refer to what I have said in the sixth chapter of the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, and take for granted that it is fresh and present in the memory of the reader; so that I may link my observations on to it without explaining again the difference between the mere ground of knowledge of a mathematical truth, which can be given logically, and the ground of being, which is the immediate connection of the parts of space and time, known only in perception. It is only insight into the ground of being that secures satisfaction and thorough knowledge. The mere ground of knowledge must always remain superficial; it can afford us indeed rational knowledge that a thing is as it is, but it cannot tell why it is so. Euclid chose the latter way to the obvious detriment of the science. For just at the beginning, for example, when he ought to show once for all how in a triangle the angles and sides reciprocally determine each other, and stand to each other in the relation of reason and consequent, in accordance with the form which the principle of sufficient reason has in pure space, and which there, as in every other sphere, always affords the necessity that a thing is as it is, because something quite different from it, is as it is; instead of in this way giving a thorough insight into the nature of the triangle, he sets up certain disconnected arbitrarily chosen propositions concerning the triangle, and gives a logical ground of knowledge of them, through a laborious logical demonstration, based upon the principle of contradiction. Instead of an exhaustive knowledge of these space-relations we therefore receive merely certain results of them, imparted to us at pleasure, and in fact we are very much in the position of a man to whom the different effects of an ingenious [pg 092] machine are shown, but from whom its inner connection and construction are withheld. We are compelled by the principle of contradiction to admit that what Euclid demonstrates is true, but we do not comprehend why it is so. We have therefore almost the same uncomfortable feeling that we experience after a juggling trick, and, in fact, most of Euclid's demonstrations are remarkably like such feats. The truth almost always enters by the back door, for it manifests itself per accidens through some contingent circumstance. Often a reductio ad absurdum shuts all the doors one after another, until only one is left through which we are therefore compelled to enter. Often, as in the proposition of Pythagoras, lines are drawn, we don't know why, and it afterwards appears that they were traps which close unexpectedly and take prisoner the assent of the astonished learner, who must now admit what remains wholly inconceivable in its inner connection, so much so, that he may study the whole of Euclid through and through without gaining a real insight into the laws of space-relations, but instead of them he only learns by heart certain results which follow from them. This specially empirical and unscientific knowledge is like that of the doctor who knows both the disease and the cure for it, but does not know the connection between them. But all this is the necessary consequence if we capriciously reject the special kind of proof and evidence of one species of knowledge, and forcibly introduce in its stead a kind which is quite foreign to its nature. However, in other respects the manner in which this has been accomplished by Euclid deserves all the praise which has been bestowed on him through so many centuries, and which has been carried so far that his method of treating mathematics has been set up as the pattern of all scientific exposition. Men tried indeed to model all the sciences after it, but later they gave up the attempt without quite knowing why. Yet in our eyes this method of Euclid in mathematics [pg 093] can appear only as a very brilliant piece of perversity. But when a great error in life or in science has been intentionally and methodically carried out with universal applause, it is always possible to discover its source in the philosophy which prevailed at the time. The Eleatics first brought out the difference, and indeed often the conflict, that exists between what is perceived, φαινομενον,21 and what is thought, νουμενον, and used it in many ways in their philosophical epigrams, and also in sophisms. They were followed later by the Megarics, the Dialecticians, the Sophists, the New-Academy, and the Sceptics; these drew attention to the illusion, that is to say, to the deception of the senses, or rather of the understanding which transforms the data of the senses into perception, and which often causes us to see things to which the reason unhesitatingly denies reality; for example, a stick broken in water, and such like. It came to be known that sense-perception was not to be trusted unconditionally, and it was therefore hastily concluded that only rational, logical thought could establish truth; although Plato (in the Parmenides), the Megarics, Pyrrho, and the New-Academy, showed by examples (in the manner which was afterwards adopted by Sextus Empiricus) how syllogisms and concepts were also sometimes misleading, and indeed produced paralogisms and sophisms which arise much more easily and are far harder to explain than the illusion of sense-perception. However, this rationalism, which arose in opposition to empiricism, kept the upper hand, and Euclid constructed the science of mathematics in accordance with it. He was compelled by necessity to found the axioms upon evidence of perception (φαινομενον), but all the rest he based upon reasoning (νουμενον). His method reigned supreme through all the succeeding centuries, and it could not but do so as long as pure intuition or perception, a priori, [pg 094] was not distinguished from empirical perception. Certain passages from the works of Proclus, the commentator of Euclid, which Kepler translated into Latin in his book, “De Harmonia Mundi,” seem to show that he fully recognised this distinction. But Proclus did not attach enough importance to the matter; he merely mentioned it by the way, so that he remained unnoticed and accomplished nothing. Therefore, not till two thousand years later will the doctrine of Kant, which is destined to make such great changes in all the knowledge, thought, and action of European nations, produce this change in mathematics also. For it is only after we have learned from this great man that the intuitions or perceptions of space and time are quite different from empirical perceptions, entirely independent of any impression of the senses, conditioning it, not conditioned by it, i.e., are a priori, and therefore are not exposed to the illusions of sense; only after we have learned this, I say, can we comprehend that Euclid's logical method of treating mathematics is a useless precaution, a crutch for sound legs, that it is like a wanderer who during the night mistakes a bright, firm road for water, and carefully avoiding it, toils over the broken ground beside it, content to keep from point to point along the edge of the supposed water. Only now can we affirm with certainty that what presents itself to us as necessary in the perception of a figure, does not come from the figure on the paper, which is perhaps very defectively drawn, nor from the abstract concept under which we think it, but immediately from the form of all knowledge of which we are conscious a priori. This is always the principle of sufficient reason; here as the form of perception, i.e., space, it is the principle of the ground of being, the evidence and validity of which is, however, just as great and as immediate as that of the principle of the ground of knowing, i.e., logical certainty. Thus we need not and ought not to leave the peculiar province of mathematics [pg 095] in order to put our trust only in logical proof, and seek to authenticate mathematics in a sphere which is quite foreign to it, that of concepts. If we confine ourselves to the ground peculiar to mathematics, we gain the great advantage that in it the rational knowledge that something is, is one with the knowledge why it is so, whereas the method of Euclid entirely separates these two, and lets us know only the first, not the second. Aristotle says admirably in the Analyt., post. i. 27: “Ακριβεστερα δ᾽ επιστημη επιστημης και προτερα, ἡτε του ὁτι και του διοτι ἡ αυτη, αλλα μη χωρις του ὁτι, της του διοτι” (Subtilior autem et praestantior ea est scientia, quâ quod aliquid sit, et cur sit una simulque intelligimus non separatim quod, et cur sit). In physics we are only satisfied when the knowledge that a thing is as it is is combined with the knowledge why it is so. To know that the mercury in the Torricellian tube stands thirty inches high is not really rational knowledge if we do not know that it is sustained at this height by the counterbalancing weight of the atmosphere. Shall we then be satisfied in mathematics with the qualitas occulta of the circle that the segments of any two intersecting chords always contain equal rectangles? That it is so Euclid certainly demonstrates in the 35th Prop. of the Third Book; why it is so remains doubtful. In the same way the proposition of Pythagoras teaches us a qualitas occulta of the right-angled triangle; the stilted and indeed fallacious demonstration of Euclid forsakes us at the why, and a simple figure, which we already know, and which is present to us, gives at a glance far more insight into the matter, and firm inner conviction of that necessity, and of the dependence of that quality upon the right angle:—

[pg 096]

In the case of unequal catheti also, and indeed generally in the case of every possible geometrical truth, it is quite possible to obtain such a conviction based on perception, because these truths were always discovered by such an empirically known necessity, and their demonstration was only thought out afterwards in addition. Thus we only require an analysis of the process of thought in the first discovery of a geometrical truth in order to know its necessity empirically. It is the analytical method in general that I wish for the exposition of mathematics, instead of the synthetical method which Euclid made use of. Yet this would have very great, though not insuperable, difficulties in the case of complicated mathematical truths. Here and there in Germany men are beginning to alter the exposition of mathematics, and to proceed more in this analytical way. The greatest effort in this direction has been made by Herr Kosack, teacher of mathematics and physics in the Gymnasium at Nordhausen, who added a thorough attempt to teach geometry according to my principles to the programme of the school examination on the 6th of April 1852.

In order to improve the method of mathematics, it is especially necessary to overcome the prejudice that demonstrated truth has any superiority over what is known through perception, or that logical truth founded upon the principle of contradiction has any superiority over metaphysical truth, which is immediately evident, and to which belongs the pure intuition or perception of space.

That which is most certain, and yet always inexplicable, is what is involved in the principle of sufficient reason, for this principle, in its different aspects, expresses the universal form of all our ideas and knowledge. All explanation consists of reduction to it, exemplification in the particular case of the connection of ideas expressed generally through it. It is thus the principle of all explanation, and therefore it is neither susceptible of an explanation itself, nor does it stand in need of it; for [pg 097] every explanation presupposes it, and only obtains meaning through it. Now, none of its forms are superior to the rest; it is equally certain and incapable of demonstration as the principle of the ground of being, or of change, or of action, or of knowing. The relation of reason and consequent is a necessity in all its forms, and indeed it is, in general, the source of the concept of necessity, for necessity has no other meaning. If the reason is given there is no other necessity than that of the consequent, and there is no reason that does not involve the necessity of the consequent. Just as surely then as the consequent expressed in the conclusion follows from the ground of knowledge given in the premises, does the ground of being in space determine its consequent in space: if I know through perception the relation of these two, this certainty is just as great as any logical certainty. But every geometrical proposition is just as good an expression of such a relation as one of the twelve axioms; it is a metaphysical truth, and as such, just as certain as the principle of contradiction itself, which is a metalogical truth, and the common foundation of all logical demonstration. Whoever denies the necessity, exhibited for intuition or perception, of the space-relations expressed in any proposition, may just as well deny the axioms, or that the conclusion follows from the premises, or, indeed, he may as well deny the principle of contradiction itself, for all these relations are equally undemonstrable, immediately evident and known a priori. For any one to wish to derive the necessity of space-relations, known in intuition or perception, from the principle of contradiction by means of a logical demonstration is just the same as for the feudal superior of an estate to wish to hold it as the vassal of another. Yet this is what Euclid has done. His axioms only, he is compelled to leave resting upon immediate evidence; all the geometrical truths which follow are demonstrated logically, that is to say, from [pg 098] the agreement of the assumptions made in the proposition with the axioms which are presupposed, or with some earlier proposition; or from the contradiction between the opposite of the proposition and the assumptions made in it, or the axioms, or earlier propositions, or even itself. But the axioms themselves have no more immediate evidence than any other geometrical problem, but only more simplicity on account of their smaller content.

When a criminal is examined, a procès-verbal is made of his statement in order that we may judge of its truth from its consistency. But this is only a makeshift, and we are not satisfied with it if it is possible to investigate the truth of each of his answers for itself; especially as he might lie consistently from the beginning. But Euclid investigated space according to this first method. He set about it, indeed, under the correct assumption that nature must everywhere be consistent, and that therefore it must also be so in space, its fundamental form. Since then the parts of space stand to each other in a relation of reason and consequent, no single property of space can be different from what it is without being in contradiction with all the others. But this is a very troublesome, unsatisfactory, and roundabout way to follow. It prefers indirect knowledge to direct, which is just as certain, and it separates the knowledge that a thing is from the knowledge why it is, to the great disadvantage of the science; and lastly, it entirely withholds from the beginner insight into the laws of space, and indeed renders him unaccustomed to the special investigation of the ground and inner connection of things, inclining him to be satisfied with a mere historical knowledge that a thing is as it is. The exercise of acuteness which this method is unceasingly extolled as affording consists merely in this, that the pupil practises drawing conclusions, i.e., he practises applying the principle of contradiction, but specially he exerts his memory to retain all those data whose agreement is to be tested. [pg 099] Moreover, it is worth noticing that this method of proof was applied only to geometry and not to arithmetic. In arithmetic the truth is really allowed to come home to us through perception alone, which in it consists simply in counting. As the perception of numbers is in time alone, and therefore cannot be represented by a sensuous schema like the geometrical figure, the suspicion that perception is merely empirical, and possibly illusive, disappeared in arithmetic, and the introduction of the logical method of proof into geometry was entirely due to this suspicion. As time has only one dimension, counting is the only arithmetical operation, to which all others may be reduced; and yet counting is just intuition or perception a priori, to which there is no hesitation in appealing here, and through which alone everything else, every sum and every equation, is ultimately proved. We prove, for example, not that (7 + 9 × 8 - 2)/3 = 42; but we refer to the pure perception in time, counting thus makes each individual problem an axiom. Instead of the demonstrations that fill geometry, the whole content of arithmetic and algebra is thus simply a method of abbreviating counting. We mentioned above that our immediate perception of numbers in time extends only to about ten. Beyond this an abstract concept of the numbers, fixed by a word, must take the place of the perception; which does not therefore actually occur any longer, but is only indicated in a thoroughly definite manner. Yet even so, by the important assistance of the system of figures which enables us to represent all larger numbers by the same small ones, intuitive or perceptive evidence of every sum is made possible, even where we make such use of abstraction that not only the numbers, but indefinite quantities and whole operations are thought only in the abstract and indicated as so thought, as [sqrt](r^b) so that we do not perform them, but merely symbolise them.

We might establish truth in geometry also, through [pg 100] pure a priori perception, with the same right and certainty as in arithmetic. It is in fact always this necessity, known through perception in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason of being, which gives to geometry its principal evidence, and upon which in the consciousness of every one, the certainty of its propositions rests. The stilted logical demonstration is always foreign to the matter, and is generally soon forgotten, without weakening our conviction. It might indeed be dispensed with altogether without diminishing the evidence of geometry, for this is always quite independent of such demonstration, which never proves anything we are not convinced of already, through another kind of knowledge. So far then it is like a cowardly soldier, who adds a wound to an enemy slain by another, and then boasts that he slew him himself.22

After all this we hope there will be no doubt that the evidence of mathematics, which has become the pattern and symbol of all evidence, rests essentially not upon demonstration, but upon immediate perception, which is thus here, as everywhere else, the ultimate ground and source of truth. Yet the perception which lies at the basis of mathematics has a great advantage over all other perception, and therefore over empirical perception. It is a priori, and therefore independent of experience, which is always given only in successive parts; therefore everything is equally near to it, and we can start either from the reason or from the consequent, as we please. Now this makes it absolutely reliable, [pg 101] for in it the consequent is known from the reason, and this is the only kind of knowledge that has necessity; for example, the equality of the sides is known as established by the equality of the angles. All empirical perception, on the other hand, and the greater part of experience, proceeds conversely from the consequent to the reason, and this kind of knowledge is not infallible, for necessity only attaches to the consequent on account of the reason being given, and no necessity attaches to the knowledge of the reason from the consequent, for the same consequent may follow from different reasons. The latter kind of knowledge is simply induction, i.e., from many consequents which point to one reason, the reason is accepted as certain; but as the cases can never be all before us, the truth here is not unconditionally certain. But all knowledge through sense-perception, and the great bulk of experience, has only this kind of truth. The affection of one of the senses induces the understanding to infer a cause of the effect, but, as a conclusion from the consequent to the reason is never certain, illusion, which is deception of the senses, is possible, and indeed often occurs, as was pointed out above. Only when several of the senses, or it may be all the five, receive impressions which point to the same cause, the possibility of illusion is reduced to a minimum; but yet it still exists, for there are cases, for example, the case of counterfeit money, in which all the senses are deceived. All empirical knowledge, and consequently the whole of natural science, is in the same position, except only the pure, or as Kant calls it, metaphysical part of it. Here also the causes are known from the effects, consequently all natural philosophy rests upon hypotheses, which are often false, and must then gradually give place to more correct ones. Only in the case of purposely arranged experiments, knowledge proceeds from the cause to the effect, that is, it follows the method that affords certainty; but these experiments [pg 102] themselves are undertaken in consequence of hypotheses. Therefore, no branch of natural science, such as physics, or astronomy, or physiology could be discovered all at once, as was the case with mathematics and logic, but required and requires the collected and compared experiences of many centuries. In the first place, repeated confirmation in experience brings the induction, upon which the hypothesis rests, so near completeness that in practice it takes the place of certainty, and is regarded as diminishing the value of the hypothesis, its source, just as little as the incommensurability of straight and curved lines diminishes the value of the application of geometry, or that perfect exactness of the logarithm, which is not attainable, diminishes the value of arithmetic. For as the logarithm, or the squaring of the circle, approaches infinitely near to correctness through infinite fractions, so, through manifold experience, the induction, i.e., the knowledge of the cause from the effects, approaches, not infinitely indeed, but yet so near mathematical evidence, i.e., knowledge of the effects from the cause, that the possibility of mistake is small enough to be neglected, but yet the possibility exists; for example, a conclusion from an indefinite number of cases to all cases, i.e., to the unknown ground on which all depend, is an induction. What conclusion of this kind seems more certain than that all men have the heart on the left side? Yet there are extremely rare and quite isolated exceptions of men who have the heart upon the right side. Sense-perception and empirical science have, therefore, the same kind of evidence. The advantage which mathematics, pure natural science, and logic have over them, as a priori knowledge, rests merely upon this, that the formal element in knowledge upon which all that is a priori is based, is given as a whole and at once, and therefore in it we can always proceed from the cause to the effect, while in the former kind of knowledge we are generally obliged to proceed from the effect to the [pg 103] cause. In other respects, the law of causality, or the principle of sufficient reason of change, which guides empirical knowledge, is in itself just as certain as the other forms of the principle of sufficient reason which are followed by the a priori sciences referred to above. Logical demonstrations from concepts or syllogisms have the advantage of proceeding from the reason to the consequent, just as much as knowledge through perception a priori, and therefore in themselves, i.e., according to their form, they are infallible. This has greatly assisted to bring demonstration in general into such esteem. But this infallibility is merely relative; the demonstration merely subsumes under the first principles of the science, and it is these which contain the whole material truth of science, and they must not themselves be demonstrated, but must be founded on perception. In the few a priori sciences we have named above, this perception is pure, but everywhere else it is empirical, and is only raised to universality through induction. If, then, in the empirical sciences also, the particular is proved from the general, yet the general, on the other hand, has received its truth from the particular; it is only a store of collected material, not a self-constituted foundation.

So much for the foundation of truth. Of the source and possibility of error many explanations have been tried since Plato's metaphorical solution of the dove-cot where the wrong pigeons are caught, &c. (Theætetus, p. 167, et seq.) Kant's vague, indefinite explanation of the source of error by means of the diagram of diagonal motion, will be found in the “Critique of Pure Reason,” p. 294 of the first edition, and p. 350 of the fifth. As truth is the relation of a judgment to its ground of knowledge, it is always a problem how the person judging can believe that he has such a ground of knowledge and yet not have it; that is to say, how error, the deception of reason, is possible. I find this possibility quite analogous to that of illusion, or the deception of the understanding, [pg 104] which has been explained above. My opinion is (and this is what gives this explanation its proper place here) that every error is an inference from the consequent to the reason, which indeed is valid when we know that the consequent has that reason and can have no other; but otherwise is not valid. The person who falls into error, either attributes to a consequent a reason which it cannot have, in which case he shows actual deficiency of understanding, i.e., deficiency in the capacity for immediate knowledge of the connection between the cause and the effect, or, as more frequently happens, he attributes to the effect a cause which is possible, but he adds to the major proposition of the syllogism, in which he infers the cause from the effect, that this effect always results only from this cause. Now he could only be assured of this by a complete induction, which, however, he assumes without having made it. This “always” is therefore too wide a concept, and instead of it he ought to have used “sometimes” or “generally.” The conclusion would then be problematical, and therefore not erroneous. That the man who errs should proceed in this way is due either to haste, or to insufficient knowledge of what is possible, on account of which he does not know the necessity of the induction that ought to be made. Error then is quite analogous to illusion. Both are inferences from the effect to the cause; the illusion brought about always in accordance with the law of causality, and by the understanding alone, thus directly, in perception itself; the error in accordance with all the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, and by the reason, thus in thought itself; yet most commonly in accordance with the law of causality, as will appear from the three following examples, which may be taken as types or representatives of the three kinds of error. (1.) The illusion of the senses (deception of the understanding) induces error (deception of the reason); for example, if one mistakes a painting for an alto-relief, and actually [pg 105] takes it for such; the error results from a conclusion from the following major premise: “If dark grey passes regularly through all shades to white; the cause is always the light, which strikes differently upon projections and depressions, ergo—.” (2.) “If there is no money in my safe, the cause is always that my servant has got a key for it: ergo—.” (3.) “If a ray of sunlight, broken through a prism, i.e., bent up or down, appears as a coloured band instead of round and white as before, the cause must always be that light consists of homogeneous rays, differently coloured and refrangible to different degrees, which, when forced asunder on account of the difference of their refrangibility, give an elongated and variously-coloured spectrum: ergo—bibamus!—It must be possible to trace every error to such a conclusion, drawn from a major premise which is often only falsely generalised, hypothetical, and founded on the assumption that some particular cause is that of a certain effect. Only certain mistakes in counting are to be excepted, and they are not really errors, but merely mistakes. The operation prescribed by the concepts of the numbers has not been carried out in pure intuition or perception, in counting, but some other operation instead of it.

As regards the content of the sciences generally, it is, in fact, always the relation of the phenomena of the world to each other, according to the principle of sufficient reason, under the guidance of the why, which has validity and meaning only through this principle. Explanation is the establishment of this relation. Therefore explanation can never go further than to show two ideas standing to each other in the relation peculiar to that form of the principle of sufficient reason which reigns in the class to which they belong. If this is done we cannot further be asked the question, why: for the relation proved is that one which absolutely cannot be imagined as other than it is, i.e., it is the form of all knowledge. Therefore we do not ask why 2 + 2 = 4; or why the equality of the [pg 106] angles of a triangle determines the equality of the sides; or why its effect follows any given cause; or why the truth of the conclusion is evident from the truth of the premises. Every explanation which does not ultimately lead to a relation of which no “why” can further be demanded, stops at an accepted qualitas occulta; but this is the character of every original force of nature. Every explanation in natural science must ultimately end with such a qualitas occulta, and thus with complete obscurity. It must leave the inner nature of a stone just as much unexplained as that of a human being; it can give as little account of the weight, the cohesion, the chemical qualities, &c., of the former, as of the knowing and acting of the latter. Thus, for example, weight is a qualitas occulta, for it can be thought away, and does not proceed as a necessity from the form of knowledge; which, on the contrary, is not the case with the law of inertia, for it follows from the law of causality, and is therefore sufficiently explained if it is referred to that law. There are two things which are altogether inexplicable,—that is to say, do not ultimately lead to the relation which the principle of sufficient reason expresses. These are, first, the principle of sufficient reason itself in all its four forms, because it is the principle of all explanation, which has meaning only in relation to it; secondly, that to which this principle does not extend, but which is the original source of all phenomena; the thing-in-itself, the knowledge of which is not subject to the principle of sufficient reason. We must be content for the present not to understand this thing-in-itself, for it can only be made intelligible by means of the following book, in which we shall resume this consideration of the possible achievements of the sciences. But at the point at which natural science, and indeed every science, leaves things, because not only its explanation of them, but even the principle of this explanation, the principle of sufficient reason, does not extend beyond this point; there philosophy [pg 107] takes them up and treats them after its own method, which is quite distinct from the method of science. In my essay on the principle of sufficient reason, § 51, I have shown how in the different sciences the chief guiding clue is one or other form of that principle; and, in fact, perhaps the most appropriate classification of the sciences might be based upon this circumstance. Every explanation arrived at by the help of this clue is, as we have said, merely relative; it explains things in relation to each other, but something which indeed is presupposed is always left unexplained. In mathematics, for example, this is space and time; in mechanics, physics, and chemistry it is matter, qualities, original forces and laws of nature; in botany and zoology it is the difference of species, and life itself; in history it is the human race with all its properties of thought and will: in all it is that form of the principle of sufficient reason which is respectively applicable. It is peculiar to philosophy that it presupposes nothing as known, but treats everything as equally external and a problem; not merely the relations of phenomena, but also the phenomena themselves, and even the principle of sufficient reason to which the other sciences are content to refer everything. In philosophy nothing would be gained by such a reference, as one member of the series is just as external to it as another; and, moreover, that kind of connection is just as much a problem for philosophy as what is joined together by it, and the latter again is just as much a problem after its combination has been explained as before it. For, as we have said, just what the sciences presuppose and lay down as the basis and the limits of their explanation, is precisely and peculiarly the problem of philosophy, which may therefore be said to begin where science ends. It cannot be founded upon demonstrations, for they lead from known principles to unknown, but everything is equally unknown and external to philosophy. There can be no principle in consequence of which the world with [pg 108] all its phenomena first came into existence, and therefore it is not possible to construct, as Spinoza wished, a philosophy which demonstrates ex firmis principiis. Philosophy is the most general rational knowledge, the first principles of which cannot therefore be derived from another principle still more general. The principle of contradiction establishes merely the agreement of concepts, but does not itself produce concepts. The principle of sufficient reason explains the connections of phenomena, but not the phenomena themselves; therefore philosophy cannot proceed upon these principles to seek a causa efficiens or a causa finalis of the whole world. My philosophy, at least, does not by any means seek to know whence or wherefore the world exists, but merely what the world is. But the why is here subordinated to the what, for it already belongs to the world, as it arises and has meaning and validity only through the form of its phenomena, the principle of sufficient reason. We might indeed say that every one knows what the world is without help, for he is himself that subject of knowledge of which the world is the idea; and so far this would be true. But that knowledge is empirical, is in the concrete; the task of philosophy is to reproduce this in the abstract to raise to permanent rational knowledge the successive changing perceptions, and in general, all that is contained under the wide concept of feeling and merely negatively defined as not abstract, distinct, rational knowledge. It must therefore consist of a statement in the abstract, of the nature of the whole world, of the whole, and of all the parts. In order then that it may not lose itself in the endless multitude of particular judgments, it must make use of abstraction and think everything individual in the universal, and its differences also in the universal. It must therefore partly separate and partly unite, in order to present to rational knowledge the whole manifold of the world generally, according to its nature, comprehended in a few abstract concepts. [pg 109] Through these concepts, in which it fixes the nature of the world, the whole individual must be known as well as the universal, the knowledge of both therefore must be bound together to the minutest point. Therefore the capacity for philosophy consists just in that in which Plato placed it, the knowledge of the one in the many, and the many in the one. Philosophy will therefore be a sum-total of general judgments, whose ground of knowledge is immediately the world itself in its entirety, without excepting anything; thus all that is to be found in human consciousness; it will be a complete recapitulation, as it were, a reflection, of the world in abstract concepts, which is only possible by the union of the essentially identical in one concept and the relegation of the different to another. This task was already prescribed to philosophy by Bacon of Verulam when he said: ea demum vera est philosophia, quae mundi ipsius voces fidelissime reddit, et veluti dictante mundo conscripta est, et nihil aliud est, quam ejusdem simulacrum et reflectio, neque addit quidquam de proprio, sed tantum iterat et resonat (De Augm. Scient., L. 2, c. 13). But we take this in a wider sense than Bacon could then conceive.

The agreement which all the sides and parts of the world have with each other, just because they belong to a whole, must also be found in this abstract copy of it. Therefore the judgments in this sum-total could to a certain extent be deduced from each other, and indeed always reciprocally so deduced. Yet to make the first judgment possible, they must all be present, and thus implied as prior to it in the knowledge of the world in the concrete, especially as all direct proof is more certain than indirect proof; their harmony with each other by virtue of which they come together into the unity of one thought, and which arises from the harmony and unity of the world of perception itself, which is their common ground of knowledge, is not therefore to be made use of to establish them, as that which is prior to them, [pg 110] but is only added as a confirmation of their truth. This problem itself can only become quite clear in being solved.23

§ 16. After this full consideration of reason as a special faculty of knowledge belonging to man alone, and the results and phenomena peculiar to human nature brought about by it, it still remains for me to speak of reason, so far as it is the guide of human action, and in this respect may be called practical. But what there is to say upon this point has found its place elsewhere in the appendix to this work, where I controvert the existence of the so-called practical reason of Kant, which he (certainly very conveniently) explained as the immediate source of virtue, and as the seat of an absolute (i.e., fallen from heaven) imperative. The detailed and thorough refutation of this Kantian principle of morality I have given later in the “Fundamental Problems of Ethics.” There remains, therefore, but little for me to say here about the actual influence of reason, in the true sense of the word, upon action. At the commencement of our treatment of reason we remarked, in general terms, how much the action and behaviour of men differs from that of brutes, and that this difference is to be regarded as entirely due to the presence of abstract concepts in consciousness. The influence of these upon our whole existence is so penetrating and significant that, on account of them, we are related to the lower animals very much as those animals that see are related to those that have no eyes (certain larvae, worms, and zoophytes). Animals without eyes know only by touch what is immediately present to them in space, what comes into contact with them; those which see, on the contrary, know a wide circle of near and distant objects. In the same way the absence of reason confines the lower animals to the ideas of perception, i.e., the real objects which are immediately present to them in time; we, on the contrary, on account [pg 111] of knowledge in the abstract, comprehend not only the narrow actual present, but also the whole past and future, and the wide sphere of the possible; we view life freely on all its sides, and go far beyond the present and the actual. Thus what the eye is in space and for sensuous knowledge, reason is, to a certain extent, in time and for inner knowledge. But as the visibility of objects has its worth and meaning only in the fact that it informs us of their tangibility, so the whole worth of abstract knowledge always consists in its relation to what is perceived. Therefore men naturally attach far more worth to immediate and perceived knowledge than to abstract concepts, to that which is merely thought; they place empirical knowledge before logical. But this is not the opinion of men who live more in words than in deeds, who have seen more on paper and in books than in actual life, and who in their greatest degeneracy become pedants and lovers of the mere letter. Thus only is it conceivable that Leibnitz and Wolf and all their successors could go so far astray as to explain knowledge of perception, after the example of Duns Scotus, as merely confused abstract knowledge! To the honour of Spinoza, I must mention that his truer sense led him, on the contrary, to explain all general concepts as having arisen from the confusion of that which was known in perception (Eth. II., prop. 40, Schol. 1). It is also a result of perverted opinion that in mathematics the evidence proper to it was rejected, and logical evidence alone accepted; that everything in general which was not abstract knowledge was comprehended under the wide name of feeling, and consequently was little valued; and lastly that the Kantian ethics regarded the good will which immediately asserts itself upon knowledge of the circumstances, and guides to right and good action as mere feeling and emotion, and consequently as worthless and without merit, and would [pg 112] only recognise actions which proceed from abstract maxims as having moral worth.

The many-sided view of life as a whole which man, as distinguished from the lower animals, possesses through reason, may be compared to a geometrical, colourless, abstract, reduced plan of his actual life. He, therefore, stands to the lower animals as the navigator who, by means of chart, compass, and quadrant, knows accurately his course and his position at any time upon the sea, stands to the uneducated sailors who see only the waves and the heavens. Thus it is worth noticing, and indeed wonderful, how, besides his life in the concrete, man always lives another life in the abstract. In the former he is given as a prey to all the storms of actual life, and to the influence of the present; he must struggle, suffer, and die like the brute. But his life in the abstract, as it lies before his rational consciousness, is the still reflection of the former, and of the world in which he lives; it is just that reduced chart or plan to which we have referred. Here in the sphere of quiet deliberation, what completely possessed him and moved him intensely before, appears to him cold, colourless, and for the moment external to him; he is merely the spectator, the observer. In respect of this withdrawal into reflection he may be compared to an actor who has played his part in one scene, and who takes his place among the audience till it is time for him to go upon the stage again, and quietly looks on at whatever may happen, even though it be the preparation for his own death (in the piece), but afterwards he again goes on the stage and acts and suffers as he must. From this double life proceeds that quietness peculiar to human beings, so very different from the thoughtlessness of the brutes, and with which, in accordance with previous reflection, or a formed determination, or a recognised necessity, a man suffers or accomplishes in cold blood, what is of the utmost and often terrible importance to him; suicide, execution, the [pg 113] duel, enterprises of every kind fraught with danger to life, and, in general, things against which his whole animal nature rebels. Under such circumstances we see to what an extent reason has mastered the animal nature, and we say to the strong: σιδηρειον νυ τοι ἡτορ! (ferreum certe tibi cor), Il. 24, 521. Here we can say truly that reason manifests itself practically, and thus wherever action is guided by reason, where the motives are abstract concepts, wherever we are not determined by particular ideas of perception, nor by the impression of the moment which guides the brutes, there practical reason shows itself. But I have fully explained in the Appendix, and illustrated by examples, that this is entirely different from and unrelated to the ethical worth of actions; that rational action and virtuous action are two entirely different things; that reason may just as well find itself in connection with great evil as with great good, and by its assistance may give great power to the one as well as to the other; that it is equally ready and valuable for the methodical and consistent carrying out of the noble and of the bad intention, of the wise as of the foolish maxim; which all results from the constitution of its nature, which is feminine, receptive, retentive, and not spontaneous; all this I have shown in detail in the Appendix, and illustrated by examples. What is said there would have been placed here, but on account of my polemic against Kant's pretended practical reason I have been obliged to relegate it to the Appendix, to which I therefore refer.

The ideal explained in the Stoical philosophy is the most complete development of practical reason in the true and genuine sense of the word; it is the highest summit to which man can attain by the mere use of his reason, and in it his difference from the brutes shows itself most distinctly. For the ethics of Stoicism are originally and essentially, not a doctrine of virtue, but merely a guide to a rational life, the end and aim of which is happiness through peace of mind. Virtuous conduct appears in it [pg 114] as it were merely by accident, as the means, not as the end. Therefore the ethical theory of Stoicism is in its whole nature and point of view fundamentally different from the ethical systems which lay stress directly upon virtue, such as the doctrines of the Vedas, of Plato, of Christianity, and of Kant. The aim of Stoical ethics is happiness: τελος το ευδαι μονειν (virtutes omnes finem habere beatitudinem) it is called in the account of the Stoa by Stobæus (Ecl., L. ii. c. 7, p. 114, and also p. 138). Yet the ethics of Stoicism teach that happiness can only be attained with certainty through inward peace and quietness of spirit (αταραξια), and that this again can only be reached through virtue; this is the whole meaning of the saying that virtue is the highest good. But if indeed by degrees the end is lost sight of in the means, and virtue is inculcated in a way which discloses an interest entirely different from that of one's own happiness, for it contradicts this too distinctly; this is just one of those inconsistencies by means of which, in every system, the immediately known, or, as it is called, felt truth leads us back to the right way in defiance of syllogistic reasoning; as, for example, we see clearly in the ethical teaching of Spinoza, which deduces a pure doctrine of virtue from the egoistical suum utile quærere by means of palpable sophisms. According to this, as I conceive the spirit of the Stoical ethics, their source lies in the question whether the great prerogative of man, reason, which, by means of planned action and its results, relieves life and its burdens so much, might not also be capable of freeing him at once, directly, i.e., through mere knowledge, completely, or nearly so, of the sorrows and miseries of every kind of which his life is full. They held that it was not in keeping with the prerogative of reason that the nature given with it, which by means of it comprehends and contemplates an infinity of things and circumstances, should yet, through the present, and the accidents that can be contained in the few years of a life that is short, [pg 115] fleeting, and uncertain, be exposed to such intense pain, to such great anxiety and suffering, as arise from the tempestuous strain of the desires and the antipathies; and they believed that the due application of reason must raise men above them, and can make them invulnerable. Therefore Antisthenes says: Δει κτασθαι νουν, η βροχον (aut mentem parandam, aut laqueum. Plut. de stoic. repugn., c. 14), i.e., life is so full of troubles and vexations, that one must either rise above it by means of corrected thoughts, or leave it. It was seen that want and suffering did not directly and of necessity spring from not having, but from desiring to have and not having; that therefore this desire to have is the necessary condition under which alone it becomes a privation not to have and begets pain. Ου πενια λυπην εργαζεται, αλλα επιθυμια (non paupertas dolorem efficit, sed cupiditas), Epict., fragm. 25. Men learned also from experience that it is only the hope of what is claimed that begets and nourishes the wish; therefore neither the many unavoidable evils which are common to all, nor unattainable blessings, disquiet or trouble us, but only the trifling more or less of those things which we can avoid or attain; indeed, not only what is absolutely unavoidable or unattainable, but also what is merely relatively so, leaves us quite undisturbed; therefore the ills that have once become joined to our individuality, or the good things that must of necessity always be denied us, are treated with indifference, in accordance with the peculiarity of human nature that every wish soon dies and can no more beget pain if it is not nourished by hope. It followed from all this that happiness always depends upon the proportion between our claims and what we receive. It is all one whether the quantities thus related be great or small, and the proportion can be established just as well by diminishing the amount of the first as by increasing the amount of the second; and in the same way it also follows that all suffering proceeds from the want of proportion [pg 116] between what we demand and expect and what we get. Now this want of proportion obviously lies only in knowledge, and it could be entirely abolished through fuller insight.24 Therefore Chrysippus says: δει ζῃν κατ᾽ εμπειριαν των φυσει συμβαινοντων (Stob. Ecl., L. ii. c. 7, p. 134), that is, one ought to live with a due knowledge of the transitory nature of the things of the world. For as often as a man loses self-command, or is struck down by a misfortune, or grows angry, or becomes faint-hearted, he shows that he finds things different from what he expected, consequently that he was caught in error, and did not know the world and life, did not know that the will of the individual is crossed at every step by the chance of inanimate nature and the antagonism of aims and the wickedness of other individuals: he has therefore either not made use of his reason in order to arrive at a general knowledge of this characteristic of life, or he lacks judgment, in that he does not recognise in the particular what he knows in general, and is therefore surprised by it and loses his self-command.25 Thus also every keen pleasure is an error and an illusion, for no attained wish can give lasting satisfaction; and, moreover, every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour. All pain rests on the passing away of such an illusion; thus both arise from defective knowledge; the wise man therefore holds himself equally aloof from joy and sorrow, and no event disturbs his αταραξια.

In accordance with this spirit and aim of the Stoa, Epictetus began and ended with the doctrine as the kernel [pg 117] of his philosophy, that we should consider well and distinguish what depends upon us and what does not, and therefore entirely avoid counting upon the latter, whereby we shall certainly remain free from all pain, sorrow, and anxiety. But that which alone is dependent upon us is the will; and here a transition gradually takes place to a doctrine of virtue, for it is observed that as the outer world, which is independent of us, determines good and bad fortune, so inner contentment with ourselves, or the absence of it, proceeds from the will. But it was then asked whether we ought to apply the words bonum and malum to the two former or to the two latter? This was indeed arbitrary and a matter of choice, and did not make any real difference, but yet the Stoics disputed everlastingly with the Peripatetics and Epicureans about it, and amused themselves with the inadmissible comparison of two entirely incommensurable quantities, and the antithetical, paradoxical judgments which proceeded from them, and which they flung at each other. The Paradoxa of Cicero afford us an interesting collection of these from the Stoical side.

Zeno, the founder, seems originally to have followed a somewhat different path. The starting-point with him was that for the attainment of the highest good, i.e., blessedness and spiritual peace, one must live in harmony with oneself (ὁμολογουμενους ξῃν; δ᾽ εστι καθ᾽ ἑνα λογον και συμφωνον ξῃν.—Consonanter vivere: hoc est secundum unam rationem et concordem sibi vivere. Stob. Ecl. eth. L. ii., c. 7, p. 132. Also: Αρετην διαθεσιν ειναι ψυχης συμφωνον ἑαυτῃ περι ὁλον τον βιον. Virtutem esse animi affectiomem secum per totam vitam consentientem, ibid., p. 104.) Now this was only possible for a man if he determined himself entirely rationally, according to concepts, not according to changing impressions and moods; since, however, only the maxims of our conduct, not the consequences nor the outward circumstances, are in our power, in order to be always consistent we must set [pg 118] before us as our aim only the maxims and not the consequences and circumstances, and thus again a doctrine of virtue is introduced.

But the ethical principle of Zeno—to live in harmony with oneself—appeared even to his immediate successors to be too formal and empty. They therefore gave it material content by the addition—“to live in harmony with nature” (ὁμολογουμενως τῃ φυσει ζῃν), which, as Stobæus mentions in another place, was first added by Kleanthes, and extended the matter very much on account of the wide sphere of the concept and the vagueness of the expression. For Kleanthes meant the whole of nature in general, while Chrysippus meant human nature in particular (Diog. Laert., 7, 89). It followed that what alone was adapted to the latter was virtue, just as the satisfaction of animal desires was adapted to animal natures; and thus ethics had again to be forcibly united to a doctrine of virtue, and in some way or other established through physics. For the Stoics always aimed at unity of principle, as for them God and the world were not dissevered.

The ethical system of Stoicism, regarded as a whole, is in fact a very valuable and estimable attempt to use the great prerogative of man, reason, for an important and salutary end; to raise him above the suffering and pain to which all life is exposed, by means of a maxim—

Qua ratione queas traducere leniter œvum:
Ne te semper inops agitet vexetque cupido,
Ne pavor et rerum mediocriter utilium spes,

and thus to make him partake, in the highest degree, of the dignity which belongs to him as a rational being, as distinguished from the brutes; a dignity of which, in this sense at any rate, we can speak, though not in any other. It is a consequence of my view of the ethical system of Stoicism that it must be explained at the part of my work at which I consider what [pg 119] reason is and what it can do. But although it may to a certain extent be possible to attain that end through the application of reason, and through a purely rational system of ethics, and although experience shows that the happiest men are those purely rational characters commonly called practical philosophers,—and rightly so, because just as the true, that is, the theoretical philosopher carries life into the concept, they carry the concept into life,—yet it is far from the case that perfection can be attained in this way, and that the reason, rightly used, can really free us from the burden and sorrow of life, and lead us to happiness. Rather, there lies an absolute contradiction in wishing to live without suffering, and this contradiction is also implied in the commonly used expression, “blessed life.” This will become perfectly clear to whoever comprehends the whole of the following exposition. In this purely rational system of ethics the contradiction reveals itself thus, the Stoic is obliged in his doctrine of the way to the blessed life (for that is what his ethical system always remains) to insert a recommendation of suicide (as among the magnificent ornaments and apparel of Eastern despots there is always a costly vial of poison) for the case in which the sufferings of the body, which cannot be philosophised away by any principles or syllogistic reasonings, are paramount and incurable; thus its one aim, blessedness, is rendered vain, and nothing remains as a mode of escape from suffering except death; in such a case then death must be voluntarily accepted, just as we would take any other medicine. Here then a marked antagonism is brought out between the ethical system of Stoicism and all those systems referred to above which make virtue in itself directly, and accompanied by the most grievous sorrows, their aim, and will not allow a man to end his life in order to escape from suffering. Not one of them, however, was able to give the true reason for the rejection of suicide, but they laboriously collected illusory explanations from all sides: the true [pg 120] reason will appear in the Fourth Book in the course of the development of our system. But the antagonism referred to reveals and establishes the essential difference in fundamental principle between Stoicism, which is just a special form of endæmonism, and those doctrines we have mentioned, although both are often at one in their results, and are apparently related. And the inner contradiction referred to above, with which the ethical system of Stoicism is affected even in its fundamental thought, shows itself further in the circumstance that its ideal, the Stoic philosopher, as the system itself represents him, could never obtain life or inner poetic truth, but remains a wooden, stiff lay-figure of which nothing can be made. He cannot himself make use of his wisdom, and his perfect peace, contentment, and blessedness directly contradict the nature of man, and preclude us from forming any concrete idea of him. When compared with him, how entirely different appear the overcomers of the world, and voluntary hermits that Indian philosophy presents to us, and has actually produced; or indeed, the holy man of Christianity, that excellent form full of deep life, of the greatest poetic truth, and the highest significance, which stands before us in perfect virtue, holiness, and sublimity, yet in a state of supreme suffering.26

[pg 121]

Second Book. The World As Will.

First Aspect. The Objectification Of The Will.

Nos habitat, non tartara, sed nec sidera coeli:
Spiritus, in nobis qui viget, illa facit.
[pg 123]

§ 17. In the first book we considered the idea merely as such, that is, only according to its general form. It is true that as far as the abstract idea, the concept, is concerned, we obtained a knowledge of it in respect of its content also, because it has content and meaning only in relation to the idea of perception, without which it would be worthless and empty. Accordingly, directing our attention exclusively to the idea of perception, we shall now endeavour to arrive at a knowledge of its content, its more exact definition, and the forms which it presents to us. And it will specially interest us to find an explanation of its peculiar significance, that significance which is otherwise merely felt, but on account of which it is that these pictures do not pass by us entirely strange and meaningless, as they must otherwise do, but speak to us directly, are understood, and obtain an interest which concerns our whole nature.

We direct our attention to mathematics, natural science, and philosophy, for each of these holds out the hope that it will afford us a part of the explanation we desire. Now, taking philosophy first, we find that it is like a monster with many heads, each of which speaks a different language. They are not, indeed, all at variance on the point we are here considering, the significance of the idea of perception. For, with the exception of the Sceptics and the Idealists, the others, for the most part, speak very much in the same way of an object which constitutes the basis of the idea, and which is indeed different in its whole being and nature from the idea, but yet is in all [pg 124] points as like it as one egg is to another. But this does not help us, for we are quite unable to distinguish such an object from the idea; we find that they are one and the same; for every object always and for ever presupposes a subject, and therefore remains idea, so that we recognised objectivity as belonging to the most universal form of the idea, which is the division into subject and object. Further, the principle of sufficient reason, which is referred to in support of this doctrine, is for us merely the form of the idea, the orderly combination of one idea with another, but not the combination of the whole finite or infinite series of ideas with something which is not idea at all, and which cannot therefore be presented in perception. Of the Sceptics and Idealists we spoke above, in examining the controversy about the reality of the outer world.

If we turn to mathematics to look for the fuller knowledge we desire of the idea of perception, which we have, as yet, only understood generally, merely in its form, we find that mathematics only treats of these ideas so far as they fill time and space, that is, so far as they are quantities. It will tell us with the greatest accuracy the how-many and the how-much; but as this is always merely relative, that is to say, merely a comparison of one idea with others, and a comparison only in the one respect of quantity, this also is not the information we are principally in search of.

Lastly, if we turn to the wide province of natural science, which is divided into many fields, we may, in the first place, make a general division of it into two parts. It is either the description of forms, which I call Morphology, or the explanation of changes, which I call Etiology. The first treats of the permanent forms, the second of the changing matter, according to the laws of its transition from one form to another. The first is the whole extent of what is generally called natural history. It teaches us, especially in the sciences of [pg 125] botany and zoology, the various permanent, organised, and therefore definitely determined forms in the constant change of individuals; and these forms constitute a great part of the content of the idea of perception. In natural history they are classified, separated, united, arranged according to natural and artificial systems, and brought under concepts which make a general view and knowledge of the whole of them possible. Further, an infinitely fine analogy both in the whole and in the parts of these forms, and running through them all (unité de plan), is established, and thus they may be compared to innumerable variations on a theme which is not given. The passage of matter into these forms, that is to say, the origin of individuals, is not a special part of natural science, for every individual springs from its like by generation, which is everywhere equally mysterious, and has as yet evaded definite knowledge. The little that is known on the subject finds its place in physiology, which belongs to that part of natural science I have called etiology. Mineralogy also, especially where it becomes geology, inclines towards etiology, though it principally belongs to morphology. Etiology proper comprehends all those branches of natural science in which the chief concern is the knowledge of cause and effect. The sciences teach how, according to an invariable rule, one condition of matter is necessarily followed by a certain other condition; how one change necessarily conditions and brings about a certain other change; this sort of teaching is called explanation. The principal sciences in this department are mechanics, physics, chemistry, and physiology.

If, however, we surrender ourselves to its teaching, we soon become convinced that etiology cannot afford us the information we chiefly desire, any more than morphology. The latter presents to us innumerable and infinitely varied forms, which are yet related by an unmistakable family likeness. These are for us ideas, and when only treated in this way, they remain always strange to us, [pg 126] and stand before us like hieroglyphics which we do not understand. Etiology, on the other hand, teaches us that, according to the law of cause and effect, this particular condition of matter brings about that other particular condition, and thus it has explained it and performed its part. However, it really does nothing more than indicate the orderly arrangement according to which the states of matter appear in space and time, and teach in all cases what phenomenon must necessarily appear at a particular time in a particular place. It thus determines the position of phenomena in time and space, according to a law whose special content is derived from experience, but whose universal form and necessity is yet known to us independently of experience. But it affords us absolutely no information about the inner nature of any one of these phenomena: this is called a force of nature, and it lies outside the province of causal explanation, which calls the constant uniformity with which manifestations of such a force appear whenever their known conditions are present, a law of nature. But this law of nature, these conditions, and this appearance in a particular place at a particular time, are all that it knows or ever can know. The force itself which manifests itself, the inner nature of the phenomena which appear in accordance with these laws, remains always a secret to it, something entirely strange and unknown in the case of the simplest as well as of the most complex phenomena. For although as yet etiology has most completely achieved its aim in mechanics, and least completely in physiology, still the force on account of which a stone falls to the ground or one body repels another is, in its inner nature, not less strange and mysterious than that which produces the movements and the growth of an animal. The science of mechanics presupposes matter, weight, impenetrability, the possibility of communicating motion by impact, inertia and so forth as ultimate facts, calls them forces of nature, and their necessary and [pg 127] orderly appearance under certain conditions a law of nature. Only after this does its explanation begin, and it consists in indicating truly and with mathematical exactness, how, where and when each force manifests itself, and in referring every phenomenon which presents itself to the operation of one of these forces. Physics, chemistry, and physiology proceed in the same way in their province, only they presuppose more and accomplish less. Consequently the most complete etiological explanation of the whole of nature can never be more than an enumeration of forces which cannot be explained, and a reliable statement of the rule according to which phenomena appear in time and space, succeed, and make way for each other. But the inner nature of the forces which thus appear remains unexplained by such an explanation, which must confine itself to phenomena and their arrangement, because the law which it follows does not extend further. In this respect it may be compared to a section of a piece of marble which shows many veins beside each other, but does not allow us to trace the course of the veins from the interior of the marble to its surface. Or, if I may use an absurd but more striking comparison, the philosophical investigator must always have the same feeling towards the complete etiology of the whole of nature, as a man who, without knowing how, has been brought into a company quite unknown to him, each member of which in turn presents another to him as his friend and cousin, and therefore as quite well known, and yet the man himself, while at each introduction he expresses himself gratified, has always the question on his lips: “But how the deuce do I stand to the whole company?”

Thus we see that, with regard to those phenomena which we know only as our ideas, etiology can never give us the desired information that shall carry us beyond this point. For, after all its explanations, they still remain quite strange to us, as mere ideas whose significance [pg 128] we do not understand. The causal connection merely gives us the rule and the relative order of their appearance in space and time, but affords us no further knowledge of that which so appears. Moreover, the law of causality itself has only validity for ideas, for objects of a definite class, and it has meaning only in so far as it presupposes them. Thus, like these objects themselves, it always exists only in relation to a subject, that is, conditionally; and so it is known just as well if we start from the subject, i.e., a priori, as if we start from the object, i.e., a posteriori. Kant indeed has taught us this.

But what now impels us to inquiry is just that we are not satisfied with knowing that we have ideas, that they are such and such, and that they are connected according to certain laws, the general expression of which is the principle of sufficient reason. We wish to know the significance of these ideas; we ask whether this world is merely idea; in which case it would pass by us like an empty dream or a baseless vision, not worth our notice; or whether it is also something else, something more than idea, and if so, what. Thus much is certain, that this something we seek for must be completely and in its whole nature different from the idea; that the forms and laws of the idea must therefore be completely foreign to it; further, that we cannot arrive at it from the idea under the guidance of the laws which merely combine objects, ideas, among themselves, and which are the forms of the principle of sufficient reason.

Thus we see already that we can never arrive at the real nature of things from without. However much we investigate, we can never reach anything but images and names. We are like a man who goes round a castle seeking in vain for an entrance, and sometimes sketching the façades. And yet this is the method that has been followed by all philosophers before me.

§ 18. In fact, the meaning for which we seek of that [pg 129] world which is present to us only as our idea, or the transition from the world as mere idea of the knowing subject to whatever it may be besides this, would never be found if the investigator himself were nothing more than the pure knowing subject (a winged cherub without a body). But he is himself rooted in that world; he finds himself in it as an individual, that is to say, his knowledge, which is the necessary supporter of the whole world as idea, is yet always given through the medium of a body, whose affections are, as we have shown, the starting-point for the understanding in the perception of that world. His body is, for the pure knowing subject, an idea like every other idea, an object among objects. Its movements and actions are so far known to him in precisely the same way as the changes of all other perceived objects, and would be just as strange and incomprehensible to him if their meaning were not explained for him in an entirely different way. Otherwise he would see his actions follow upon given motives with the constancy of a law of nature, just as the changes of other objects follow upon causes, stimuli, or motives. But he would not understand the influence of the motives any more than the connection between every other effect which he sees and its cause. He would then call the inner nature of these manifestations and actions of his body which he did not understand a force, a quality, or a character, as he pleased, but he would have no further insight into it. But all this is not the case; indeed the answer to the riddle is given to the subject of knowledge who appears as an individual, and the answer is will. This and this alone gives him the key to his own existence, reveals to him the significance, shows him the inner mechanism of his being, of his action, of his movements. The body is given in two entirely different ways to the subject of knowledge, who becomes an individual only through his identity with it. It is given as an idea in intelligent perception, as an object among objects and [pg 130] subject to the laws of objects. And it is also given in quite a different way as that which is immediately known to every one, and is signified by the word will. Every true act of his will is also at once and without exception a movement of his body. The act of will and the movement of the body are not two different things objectively known, which the bond of causality unites; they do not stand in the relation of cause and effect; they are one and the same, but they are given in entirely different ways,—immediately, and again in perception for the understanding. The action of the body is nothing but the act of the will objectified, i.e., passed into perception. It will appear later that this is true of every movement of the body, not merely those which follow upon motives, but also involuntary movements which follow upon mere stimuli, and, indeed, that the whole body is nothing but objectified will, i.e., will become idea. All this will be proved and made quite clear in the course of this work. In one respect, therefore, I shall call the body the objectivity of will; as in the previous book, and in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, in accordance with the one-sided point of view intentionally adopted there (that of the idea), I called it the immediate object. Thus in a certain sense we may also say that will is the knowledge a priori of the body, and the body is the knowledge a posteriori of the will. Resolutions of the will which relate to the future are merely deliberations of the reason about what we shall will at a particular time, not real acts of will. Only the carrying out of the resolve stamps it as will, for till then it is never more than an intention that may be changed, and that exists only in the reason in abstracto. It is only in reflection that to will and to act are different; in reality they are one. Every true, genuine, immediate act of will is also, at once and immediately, a visible act of the body. And, corresponding to this, every impression upon the body is also, on the other hand, at once [pg 131] and immediately an impression upon the will. As such it is called pain when it is opposed to the will; gratification or pleasure when it is in accordance with it. The degrees of both are widely different. It is quite wrong, however, to call pain and pleasure ideas, for they are by no means ideas, but immediate affections of the will in its manifestation, the body; compulsory, instantaneous willing or not-willing of the impression which the body sustains. There are only a few impressions of the body which do not touch the will, and it is through these alone that the body is an immediate object of knowledge, for, as perceived by the understanding, it is already an indirect object like all others. These impressions are, therefore, to be treated directly as mere ideas, and excepted from what has been said. The impressions we refer to are the affections of the purely objective senses of sight, hearing, and touch, though only so far as these organs are affected in the way which is specially peculiar to their specific nature. This affection of them is so excessively weak an excitement of the heightened and specifically modified sensibility of these parts that it does not affect the will, but only furnishes the understanding with the data out of which the perception arises, undisturbed by any excitement of the will. But every stronger or different kind of affection of these organs of sense is painful, that is to say, against the will, and thus they also belong to its objectivity. Weakness of the nerves shows itself in this, that the impressions which have only such a degree of strength as would usually be sufficient to make them data for the understanding reach the higher degree at which they influence the will, that is to say, give pain or pleasure, though more often pain, which is, however, to some extent deadened and inarticulate, so that not only particular tones and strong light are painful to us, but there ensues a generally unhealthy and hypochondriacal disposition which is not distinctly understood. The identity of the body and the will shows itself further, [pg 132] among other ways, in the circumstance that every vehement and excessive movement of the will, i.e., every emotion, agitates the body and its inner constitution directly, and disturbs the course of its vital functions. This is shown in detail in “Will in Nature,” p. 27 of the second edition and p. 28 of the third.

Lastly, the knowledge which I have of my will, though it is immediate, cannot be separated from that which I have of my body. I know my will, not as a whole, not as a unity, not completely, according to its nature, but I know it only in its particular acts, and therefore in time, which is the form of the phenomenal aspect of my body, as of every object. Therefore the body is a condition of the knowledge of my will. Thus, I cannot really imagine this will apart from my body. In the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, the will, or rather the subject of willing, is treated as a special class of ideas or objects. But even there we saw this object become one with the subject; that is, we saw it cease to be an object. We there called this union the miracle κατ᾽ εξοχην, and the whole of the present work is to a certain extent an explanation of this. So far as I know my will specially as object, I know it as body. But then I am again at the first class of ideas laid down in that essay, i.e., real objects. As we proceed we shall see always more clearly that these ideas of the first class obtain their explanation and solution from those of the fourth class given in the essay, which could no longer be properly opposed to the subject as object, and that, therefore, we must learn to understand the inner nature of the law of causality which is valid in the first class, and of all that happens in accordance with it from the law of motivation which governs the fourth class.

The identity of the will and the body, of which we have now given a cursory explanation, can only be proved in the manner we have adopted here. We have proved this identity for the first time, and shall do so more and [pg 133] more fully in the course of this work. By “proved” we mean raised from the immediate consciousness, from knowledge in the concrete to abstract knowledge of the reason, or carried over into abstract knowledge. On the other hand, from its very nature it can never be demonstrated, that is, deduced as indirect knowledge from some other more direct knowledge, just because it is itself the most direct knowledge; and if we do not apprehend it and stick to it as such, we shall expect in vain to receive it again in some indirect way as derivative knowledge. It is knowledge of quite a special kind, whose truth cannot therefore properly be brought under any of the four rubrics under which I have classified all truth in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, § 29, the logical, the empirical, the metaphysical, and the metalogical, for it is not, like all these, the relation of an abstract idea to another idea, or to the necessary form of perceptive or of abstract ideation, but it is the relation of a judgment to the connection which an idea of perception, the body, has to that which is not an idea at all, but something toto genere different, will. I should like therefore to distinguish this from all other truth, and call it κατ᾽ εξοχην philosophical truth. We can turn the expression of this truth in different ways and say: My body and my will are one;—or, What as an idea of perception I call my body, I call my will, so far as I am conscious of it in an entirely different way which cannot be compared to any other;—or, My body is the objectivity of my will;—or, My body considered apart from the fact that it is my idea is still my will, and so forth.27

§ 19. In the first book we were reluctantly driven to explain the human body as merely idea of the subject which knows it, like all the other objects of this world of perception. But it has now become clear that what enables us consciously to distinguish our own body from all other objects which in other respects are precisely the [pg 134] same, is that our body appears in consciousness in quite another way toto genere different from idea, and this we denote by the word will; and that it is just this double knowledge which we have of our own body that affords us information about it, about its action and movement following on motives, and also about what it experiences by means of external impressions; in a word, about what it is, not as idea, but as more than idea; that is to say, what it is in itself. None of this information have we got directly with regard to the nature, action, and experience of other real objects.

It is just because of this special relation to one body that the knowing subject is an individual. For regarded apart from this relation, his body is for him only an idea like all other ideas. But the relation through which the knowing subject is an individual, is just on that account a relation which subsists only between him and one particular idea of all those which he has. Therefore he is conscious of this one idea, not merely as an idea, but in quite a different way as a will. If, however, he abstracts from that special relation, from that twofold and completely heterogeneous knowledge of what is one and the same, then that one, the body, is an idea like all other ideas. Therefore, in order to understand the matter, the individual who knows must either assume that what distinguishes that one idea from others is merely the fact that his knowledge stands in this double relation to it alone; that insight in two ways at the same time is open to him only in the case of this one object of perception, and that this is to be explained not by the difference of this object from all others, but only by the difference between the relation of his knowledge to this one object, and its relation to all other objects. Or else he must assume that this object is essentially different from all others; that it alone of all objects is at once both will and idea, while the rest are only ideas, i.e., only phantoms. Thus he must assume that his body is the only real individual in [pg 135] the world, i.e., the only phenomenon of will and the only immediate object of the subject. That other objects, considered merely as ideas, are like his body, that is, like it, fill space (which itself can only be present as idea), and also, like it, are causally active in space, is indeed demonstrably certain from the law of causality which is a priori valid for ideas, and which admits of no effect without a cause; but apart from the fact that we can only reason from an effect to a cause generally, and not to a similar cause, we are still in the sphere of mere ideas, in which alone the law of causality is valid, and beyond which it can never take us. But whether the objects known to the individual only as ideas are yet, like his own body, manifestations of a will, is, as was said in the First Book, the proper meaning of the question as to the reality of the external world. To deny this is theoretical egoism, which on that account regards all phenomena that are outside its own will as phantoms, just as in a practical reference exactly the same thing is done by practical egoism. For in it a man regards and treats himself alone as a person, and all other persons as mere phantoms. Theoretical egoism can never be demonstrably refuted, yet in philosophy it has never been used otherwise than as a sceptical sophism, i.e., a pretence. As a serious conviction, on the other hand, it could only be found in a madhouse, and as such it stands in need of a cure rather than a refutation. We do not therefore combat it any further in this regard, but treat it as merely the last stronghold of scepticism, which is always polemical. Thus our knowledge, which is always bound to individuality and is limited by this circumstance, brings with it the necessity that each of us can only be one, while, on the other hand, each of us can know all; and it is this limitation that creates the need for philosophy. We therefore who, for this very reason, are striving to extend the limits of our knowledge through philosophy, will treat this sceptical argument of theoretical egoism [pg 136] which meets us, as an army would treat a small frontier fortress. The fortress cannot indeed be taken, but the garrison can never sally forth from it, and therefore we pass it by without danger, and are not afraid to have it in our rear.

The double knowledge which each of us has of the nature and activity of his own body, and which is given in two completely different ways, has now been clearly brought out. We shall accordingly make further use of it as a key to the nature of every phenomenon in nature, and shall judge of all objects which are not our own bodies, and are consequently not given to our consciousness in a double way but only as ideas, according to the analogy of our own bodies, and shall therefore assume that as in one aspect they are idea, just like our bodies, and in this respect are analogous to them, so in another aspect, what remains of objects when we set aside their existence as idea of the subject, must in its inner nature be the same as that in us which we call will. For what other kind of existence or reality should we attribute to the rest of the material world? Whence should we take the elements out of which we construct such a world? Besides will and idea nothing is known to us or thinkable. If we wish to attribute the greatest known reality to the material world which exists immediately only in our idea, we give it the reality which our own body has for each of us; for that is the most real thing for every one. But if we now analyse the reality of this body and its actions, beyond the fact that it is idea, we find nothing in it except the will; with this its reality is exhausted. Therefore we can nowhere find another kind of reality which we can attribute to the material world. Thus if we hold that the material world is something more than merely our idea, we must say that besides being idea, that is, in itself and according to its inmost nature, it is that which we find immediately in ourselves as will. I say according to its inmost nature; but we must first come [pg 137] to know more accurately this real nature of the will, in order that we may be able to distinguish from it what does not belong to itself, but to its manifestation, which has many grades. Such, for example, is the circumstance of its being accompanied by knowledge, and the determination by motives which is conditioned by this knowledge. As we shall see farther on, this does not belong to the real nature of will, but merely to its distinct manifestation as an animal or a human being. If, therefore, I say,—the force which attracts a stone to the earth is according to its nature, in itself, and apart from all idea, will, I shall not be supposed to express in this proposition the insane opinion that the stone moves itself in accordance with a known motive, merely because this is the way in which will appears in man.28 We shall now proceed more clearly and in detail to prove, establish, and develop to its full extent what as yet has only been provisionally and generally explained.29

§ 20. As we have said, the will proclaims itself primarily in the voluntary movements of our own body, as the inmost nature of this body, as that which it is besides being object of perception, idea. For these voluntary movements are nothing else than the visible aspect of the individual acts of will, with which they are directly coincident and identical, and only distinguished through the form of knowledge into which they have passed, and in which alone they can be known, the form of idea.

But these acts of will have always a ground or reason outside themselves in motives. Yet these motives never determine more than what I will at this time, in this [pg 138] place, and under these circumstances, not that I will in general, or what I will in general, that is, the maxims which characterise my volition generally. Therefore the inner nature of my volition cannot be explained from these motives; but they merely determine its manifestation at a given point of time: they are merely the occasion of my will showing itself; but the will itself lies outside the province of the law of motivation, which determines nothing but its appearance at each point of time. It is only under the presupposition of my empirical character that the motive is a sufficient ground of explanation of my action. But if I abstract from my character, and then ask, why, in general, I will this and not that, no answer is possible, because it is only the manifestation of the will that is subject to the principle of sufficient reason, and not the will itself, which in this respect is to be called groundless. At this point I presuppose Kant's doctrine of the empirical and intelligible character, and also my own treatment of the subject in “The Fundamental Problems of Ethics,” pp. 48, 58, and 178, et seq., of first edition (p. 174, et seq., of second edition). I shall also have to speak more fully on the question in the Fourth Book. For the present, I have only to draw attention to this, that the fact of one manifestation being established through another, as here the deed through the motive, does not at all conflict with the fact that its real nature is will, which itself has no ground; for as the principle of sufficient reason in all its aspects is only the form of knowledge, its validity extends only to the idea, to the phenomena, to the visibility of the will, but not to the will itself, which becomes visible.

If now every action of my body is the manifestation of an act of will in which my will itself in general, and as a whole, thus my character, expresses itself under given motives, manifestation of the will must be the inevitable condition and presupposition of every action. For the fact of its manifestation cannot depend upon something [pg 139] which does not exist directly and only through it, which consequently is for it merely accidental, and through which its manifestation itself would be merely accidental. Now that condition is just the whole body itself. Thus the body itself must be manifestation of the will, and it must be related to my will as a whole, that is, to my intelligible character, whose phenomenal appearance in time is my empirical character, as the particular action of the body is related to the particular act of the will. The whole body, then, must be simply my will become visible, must be my will itself, so far as this is object of perception, an idea of the first class. It has already been advanced in confirmation of this that every impression upon my body also affects my will at once and immediately, and in this respect is called pain or pleasure, or, in its lower degrees, agreeable or disagreeable sensation; and also, conversely, that every violent movement of the will, every emotion or passion, convulses the body and disturbs the course of its functions. Indeed we can also give an etiological account, though a very incomplete one, of the origin of my body, and a somewhat better account of its development and conservation, and this is the substance of physiology. But physiology merely explains its theme in precisely the same way as motives explain action. Thus the physiological explanation of the functions of the body detracts just as little from the philosophical truth that the whole existence of this body and the sum total of its functions are merely the objectification of that will which appears in its outward actions in accordance with a motive, as the establishment of the individual action through the motive and the necessary sequence of the action from the motive conflicts with the fact that action in general, and according to its nature, is only the manifestation of a will which itself has no ground. If, however, physiology tries to refer even these outward actions, the immediate voluntary movements, to causes in the organism,—for example, if it [pg 140] explains the movement of the muscles as resulting from the presence of fluids (“like the contraction of a cord when it is wet,” says Reil in his “Archiv für Physiologie,” vol. vi. p. 153), even supposing it really could give a thorough explanation of this kind, yet this would never invalidate the immediately certain truth that every voluntary motion (functiones animales) is the manifestation of an act of will. Now, just as little can the physiological explanation of vegetative life (functiones naturales vitales), however far it may advance, ever invalidate the truth that the whole animal life which thus develops itself is the manifestation of will. In general, then, as we have shown above, no etiological explanation can ever give us more than the necessarily determined position in time and space of a particular manifestation, its necessary appearance there, according to a fixed law; but the inner nature of everything that appears in this way remains wholly inexplicable, and is presupposed by every etiological explanation, and merely indicated by the names, force, or law of nature, or, if we are speaking of action, character or will. Thus, although every particular action, under the presupposition of the definite character, necessarily follows from the given motive, and although growth, the process of nourishment, and all the changes of the animal body take place according to necessarily acting causes (stimuli), yet the whole series of actions, and consequently every individual act, and also its condition, the whole body itself which accomplishes it, and therefore also the process through which and in which it exists, are nothing but the manifestation of the will, the becoming visible, the objectification of the will. Upon this rests the perfect suitableness of the human and animal body to the human and animal will in general, resembling, though far surpassing, the correspondence between an instrument made for a purpose and the will of the maker, and on this account appearing as design, i.e., the teleological explanation of [pg 141] the body. The parts of the body must, therefore, completely correspond to the principal desires through which the will manifests itself; they must be the visible expression of these desires. Teeth, throat, and bowels are objectified hunger; the organs of generation are objectified sexual desire; the grasping hand, the hurrying feet, correspond to the more indirect desires of the will which they express. As the human form generally corresponds to the human will generally, so the individual bodily structure corresponds to the individually modified will, the character of the individual, and therefore it is throughout and in all its parts characteristic and full of expression. It is very remarkable that Parmenides already gave expression to this in the following verses, quoted by Aristotle (Metaph. iii. 5):—

Ὁς γαρ ἑκαστος εχει κρασιν μελεων πολυκαμπτων
Τως νοος ανθρωποισι παρεστηκεν; το γαρ αυτο
Εστιν, ὁπερ φρονεει, μελεων φυσις ανθρωποισι
Και πασιν και παντι; το γαρ πλεον εστι νοημα.

(Ut enim cuique complexio membrorum flexibilium se habet, ita mens hominibus adest: idem namque est, quod sapit, membrorum natura hominibus, et omnibus et omni: quod enim plus est, intelligentia est.)30

§ 21. Whoever has now gained from all these expositions a knowledge in abstracto, and therefore clear and certain, of what every one knows directly in concreto, i.e., as feeling, a knowledge that his will is the real inner nature of his phenomenal being, which manifests itself to him as idea, both in his actions and in their permanent substratum, his body, and that his will is that which is most immediate in his consciousness, though it has not as such completely passed into the form of idea in which object and subject stand over against each other, but makes [pg 142] itself known to him in a direct manner, in which he does not quite clearly distinguish subject and object, yet is not known as a whole to the individual himself, but only in its particular acts,—whoever, I say, has with me gained this conviction will find that of itself it affords him the key to the knowledge of the inmost being of the whole of nature; for he now transfers it to all those phenomena which are not given to him, like his own phenomenal existence, both in direct and indirect knowledge, but only in the latter, thus merely one-sidedly as idea alone. He will recognise this will of which we are speaking not only in those phenomenal existences which exactly resemble his own, in men and animals as their inmost nature, but the course of reflection will lead him to recognise the force which germinates and vegetates in the plant, and indeed the force through which the crystal is formed, that by which the magnet turns to the north pole, the force whose shock he experiences from the contact of two different kinds of metals, the force which appears in the elective affinities of matter as repulsion and attraction, decomposition and combination, and, lastly, even gravitation, which acts so powerfully throughout matter, draws the stone to the earth and the earth to the sun,—all these, I say, he will recognise as different only in their phenomenal existence, but in their inner nature as identical, as that which is directly known to him so intimately and so much better than anything else, and which in its most distinct manifestation is called will. It is this application of reflection alone that prevents us from remaining any longer at the phenomenon, and leads us to the thing in itself. Phenomenal existence is idea and nothing more. All idea, of whatever kind it may be, all object, is phenomenal existence, but the will alone is a thing in itself. As such, it is throughout not idea, but toto genere different from it; it is that of which all idea, all object, is the phenomenal appearance, the visibility, [pg 143] the objectification. It is the inmost nature, the kernel, of every particular thing, and also of the whole. It appears in every blind force of nature and also in the preconsidered action of man; and the great difference between these two is merely in the degree of the manifestation, not in the nature of what manifests itself.

§ 22. Now, if we are to think as an object this thing-in-itself (we wish to retain the Kantian expression as a standing formula), which, as such, is never object, because all object is its mere manifestation, and therefore cannot be it itself, we must borrow for it the name and concept of an object, of something in some way objectively given, consequently of one of its own manifestations. But in order to serve as a clue for the understanding, this can be no other than the most complete of all its manifestations, i.e., the most distinct, the most developed, and directly enlightened by knowledge. Now this is the human will. It is, however, well to observe that here, at any rate, we only make use of a denominatio a potiori, through which, therefore, the concept of will receives a greater extension than it has hitherto had. Knowledge of the identical in different phenomena, and of difference in similar phenomena, is, as Plato so often remarks, a sine qua non of philosophy. But hitherto it was not recognised that every kind of active and operating force in nature is essentially identical with will, and therefore the multifarious kinds of phenomena were not seen to be merely different species of the same genus, but were treated as heterogeneous. Consequently there could be no word to denote the concept of this genus. I therefore name the genus after its most important species, the direct knowledge of which lies nearer to us and guides us to the indirect knowledge of all other species. But whoever is incapable of carrying out the required extension of the concept will remain involved in a permanent misunderstanding. For by the word will he understands only that species of it which has hitherto been exclusively [pg 144] denoted by it, the will which is guided by knowledge, and whose manifestation follows only upon motives, and indeed merely abstract motives, and thus takes place under the guidance of the reason. This, we have said, is only the most prominent example of the manifestation of will. We must now distinctly separate in thought the inmost essence of this manifestation which is known to us directly, and then transfer it to all the weaker, less distinct manifestations of the same nature, and thus we shall accomplish the desired extension of the concept of will. From another point of view I should be equally misunderstood by any one who should think that it is all the same in the end whether we denote this inner nature of all phenomena by the word will or by any other. This would be the case if the thing-in-itself were something whose existence we merely inferred, and thus knew indirectly and only in the abstract. Then, indeed, we might call it what we pleased; the name would stand merely as the symbol of an unknown quantity. But the word will, which, like a magic spell, discloses to us the inmost being of everything in nature, is by no means an unknown quantity, something arrived at only by inference, but is fully and immediately comprehended, and is so familiar to us that we know and understand what will is far better than anything else whatever. The concept of will has hitherto commonly been subordinated to that of force, but I reverse the matter entirely, and desire that every force in nature should be thought as will. It must not be supposed that this is mere verbal quibbling or of no consequence; rather, it is of the greatest significance and importance. For at the foundation of the concept of force, as of all other concepts, there ultimately lies the knowledge in sense-perception of the objective world, that is to say, the phenomenon, the idea; and the concept is constructed out of this. It is an abstraction from the province in which cause and effect reign, i.e., from ideas of perception, and means just the causal nature of [pg 145] causes at the point at which this causal nature is no further etiologically explicable, but is the necessary presupposition of all etiological explanation. The concept will, on the other hand, is of all possible concepts the only one which has its source not in the phenomenal, not in the mere idea of perception, but comes from within, and proceeds from the most immediate consciousness of each of us, in which each of us knows his own individuality, according to its nature, immediately, apart from all form, even that of subject and object, and which at the same time is this individuality, for here the subject and the object of knowledge are one. If, therefore, we refer the concept of force to that of will, we have in fact referred the less known to what is infinitely better known; indeed, to the one thing that is really immediately and fully known to us, and have very greatly extended our knowledge. If, on the contrary, we subsume the concept of will under that of force, as has hitherto always been done, we renounce the only immediate knowledge which we have of the inner nature of the world, for we allow it to disappear in a concept which is abstracted from the phenomenal, and with which we can therefore never go beyond the phenomenal.

§ 23. The will as a thing in itself is quite different from its phenomenal appearance, and entirely free from all the forms of the phenomenal, into which it first passes when it manifests itself, and which therefore only concern its objectivity, and are foreign to the will itself. Even the most universal form of all idea, that of being object for a subject, does not concern it; still less the forms which are subordinate to this and which collectively have their common expression in the principle of sufficient reason, to which we know that time and space belong, and consequently multiplicity also, which exists and is possible only through these. In this last regard I shall call time and space the principium individuationis, borrowing an expression from the old schoolmen, and I beg to draw [pg 146] attention to this, once for all. For it is only through the medium of time and space that what is one and the same, both according to its nature and to its concept, yet appears as different, as a multiplicity of co-existent and successive phenomena. Thus time and space are the principium individuationis, the subject of so many subtleties and disputes among the schoolmen, which may be found collected in Suarez (Disp. 5, Sect. 3). According to what has been said, the will as a thing-in-itself lies outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason in all its forms, and is consequently completely groundless, although all its manifestations are entirely subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason. Further, it is free from all multiplicity, although its manifestations in time and space are innumerable. It is itself one, though not in the sense in which an object is one, for the unity of an object can only be known in opposition to a possible multiplicity; nor yet in the sense in which a concept is one, for the unity of a concept originates only in abstraction from a multiplicity; but it is one as that which lies outside time and space, the principium individuationis, i.e., the possibility of multiplicity. Only when all this has become quite clear to us through the subsequent examination of the phenomena and different manifestations of the will, shall we fully understand the meaning of the Kantian doctrine that time, space and causality do not belong to the thing-in-itself, but are only forms of knowing.

The uncaused nature of will has been actually recognised, where it manifests itself most distinctly, as the will of man, and this has been called free, independent. But on account of the uncaused nature of the will itself, the necessity to which its manifestation is everywhere subjected has been overlooked, and actions are treated as free, which they are not. For every individual action follows with strict necessity from the effect of the motive upon the character. All necessity is, as we have already [pg 147] said, the relation of the consequent to the reason, and nothing more. The principle of sufficient reason is the universal form of all phenomena, and man in his action must be subordinated to it like every other phenomenon. But because in self-consciousness the will is known directly and in itself, in this consciousness lies also the consciousness of freedom. The fact is, however, overlooked that the individual, the person, is not will as a thing-in-itself, but is a phenomenon of will, is already determined as such, and has come under the form of the phenomenal, the principle of sufficient reason. Hence arises the strange fact that every one believes himself a priori to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life, which just means that he can become another person. But a posteriori, through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity; that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns, and as it were play the part he has undertaken to the end. I cannot pursue this subject further at present, for it belongs, as ethical, to another part of this work. In the meantime, I only wish to point out here that the phenomenon of the will which in itself is uncaused, is yet as such subordinated to the law of necessity, that is, the principle of sufficient reason, so that in the necessity with which the phenomena of nature follow each other, we may find nothing to hinder us from recognising in them the manifestations of will.

Only those changes which have no other ground than a motive, i.e., an idea, have hitherto been regarded as manifestations of will. Therefore in nature a will has only been attributed to man, or at the most to animals; for knowledge, the idea, is of course, as I have said elsewhere, the true and exclusive characteristic of [pg 148] animal life. But that the will is also active where no knowledge guides it, we see at once in the instinct and the mechanical skill of animals.31 That they have ideas and knowledge is here not to the point, for the end towards which they strive as definitely as if it were a known motive, is yet entirely unknown to them. Therefore in such cases their action takes place without motive, is not guided by the idea, and shows us first and most distinctly how the will may be active entirely without knowledge. The bird of a year old has no idea of the eggs for which it builds a nest; the young spider has no idea of the prey for which it spins a web; nor has the ant-lion any idea of the ants for which he digs a trench for the first time. The larva of the stag-beetle makes the hole in the wood, in which it is to await its metamorphosis, twice as big if it is going to be a male beetle as if it is going to be a female, so that if it is a male there may be room for the horns, of which, however, it has no idea. In such actions of these creatures the will is clearly operative as in their other actions, but it is in blind activity, which is indeed accompanied by knowledge but not guided by it. If now we have once gained insight into the fact, that idea as motive is not a necessary and essential condition of the activity of the will, we shall more easily recognise the activity of will where it is less apparent. For example, we shall see that the house of the snail is no more made by a will which is foreign to the snail itself, than the house which we build is produced through another will than our own; but we shall recognise in both houses the work of a will which objectifies itself in both the phenomena—a will which works in us according to motives, but in the snail still blindly as formative impulse directed outwards. In us also the same will is in many ways only blindly active: in all the functions of our body which are not guided by knowledge, in all its vital and vegetative processes, [pg 149] digestion, circulation, secretion, growth, reproduction. Not only the actions of the body, but the whole body itself is, as we have shown above, phenomenon of the will, objectified will, concrete will. All that goes on in it must therefore proceed through will, although here this will is not guided by knowledge, but acts blindly according to causes, which in this case are called stimuli.

I call a cause, in the narrowest sense of the word, that state of matter, which, while it introduces another state with necessity, yet suffers just as great a change itself as that which it causes; which is expressed in the rule, “action and reaction are equal.” Further, in the case of what is properly speaking a cause, the effect increases directly in proportion to the cause, and therefore also the reaction. So that, if once the mode of operation be known, the degree of the effect may be measured and calculated from the degree of the intensity of the cause; and conversely the degree of the intensity of the cause may be calculated from the degree of the effect. Such causes, properly so called, operate in all the phenomena of mechanics, chemistry, and so forth; in short, in all the changes of unorganised bodies. On the other hand, I call a stimulus, such a cause as sustains no reaction proportional to its effect, and the intensity of which does not vary directly in proportion to the intensity of its effect, so that the effect cannot be measured by it. On the contrary, a small increase of the stimulus may cause a very great increase of the effect, or conversely, it may eliminate the previous effect altogether, and so forth. All effects upon organised bodies as such are of this kind. All properly organic and vegetative changes of the animal body must therefore be referred to stimuli, not to mere causes. But the stimulus, like every cause and motive generally, never determines more than the point of time and space at [pg 150] which the manifestation of every force is to take place, and does not determine the inner nature of the force itself which is manifested. This inner nature we know, from our previous investigation, is will, to which therefore we ascribe both the unconscious and the conscious changes of the body. The stimulus holds the mean, forms the transition between the motive, which is causality accompanied throughout by knowledge, and the cause in the narrowest sense. In particular cases it is sometimes nearer a motive, sometimes nearer a cause, but yet it can always be distinguished from both. Thus, for example, the rising of the sap in a plant follows upon stimuli, and cannot be explained from mere causes, according to the laws of hydraulics or capillary attraction; yet it is certainly assisted by these, and altogether approaches very near to a purely causal change. On the other hand, the movements of the Hedysarum gyrans and the Mimosa pudica, although still following upon mere stimuli, are yet very like movements which follow upon motives, and seem almost to wish to make the transition. The contraction of the pupils of the eyes as the light is increased is due to stimuli, but it passes into movement which is due to motive; for it takes place, because too strong lights would affect the retina painfully, and to avoid this we contract the pupils. The occasion of an erection is a motive, because it is an idea, yet it operates with the necessity of a stimulus, i.e., it cannot be resisted, but we must put the idea away in order to make it cease to affect us. This is also the case with disgusting things, which excite the desire to vomit. Thus we have treated the instinct of animals as an actual link, of quite a distinct kind, between movement following upon stimuli, and action following upon a known motive. Now we might be asked to regard breathing as another link of this kind. It has been disputed whether it belongs to the voluntary or the involuntary movements, that is to say, whether it follows upon motive or stimulus, [pg 151] and perhaps it may be explained as something which is between the two. Marshall Hall (“On the Diseases of the Nervous System,” § 293 sq.) explains it as a mixed function, for it is partly under the influence of the cerebral (voluntary), and partly under that of the spinal (non-voluntary) nerves. However, we are finally obliged to number it with the expressions of will which result from motives. For other motives, i.e., mere ideas, can determine the will to check it or accelerate it, and, as is the case with every other voluntary action, it seems to us that we could give up breathing altogether and voluntarily suffocate. And in fact we could do so if any other motive influenced the will sufficiently strongly to overcome the pressing desire for air. According to some accounts Diogenes actually put an end to his life in this way (Diog. Laert. VI. 76). Certain negroes also are said to have done this (F. B. Osiander “On Suicide” [1813] pp. 170-180). If this be true, it affords us a good example of the influence of abstract motives, i.e., of the victory of distinctively rational over merely animal will. For, that breathing is at least partially conditioned by cerebral activity is shown by the fact that the primary cause of death from prussic acid is that it paralyses the brain, and so, indirectly, restricts the breathing; but if the breathing be artificially maintained till the stupefaction of the brain has passed away, death will not ensue. We may also observe in passing that breathing affords us the most obvious example of the fact that motives act with just as much necessity as stimuli, or as causes in the narrowest sense of the word, and their operation can only be neutralised by antagonistic motives, as action is neutralised by re-action. For, in the case of breathing, the illusion that we can stop when we like is much weaker than in the case of other movements which follow upon motives; because in breathing the motive is very powerful, very near to us, and its satisfaction is very easy, for the muscles which accomplish it are never tired, nothing, [pg 152] as a rule, obstructs it, and the whole process is supported by the most inveterate habit of the individual. And yet all motives act with the same necessity. The knowledge that necessity is common to movements following upon motives, and those following upon stimuli, makes it easier for us to understand that that also which takes place in our bodily organism in accordance with stimuli and in obedience to law, is yet, according to its inner nature—will, which in all its manifestations, though never in itself, is subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, that is, to necessity.32 Accordingly, we shall not rest contented with recognising that animals, both in their actions and also in their whole existence, bodily structure and organisation, are manifestations of will; but we shall extend to plants also this immediate knowledge of the essential nature of things which is given to us alone. Now all the movements of plants follow upon stimuli; for the absence of knowledge, and the movement following upon motives which is conditioned by knowledge, constitutes the only essential difference between animals and plants. Therefore, what appears for the idea as plant life, as mere vegetation, as blindly impelling force, we shall claim, according to its inner nature, for will, and recognise it as just that which constitutes the basis of our own phenomenal being, as it expresses itself in our actions, and also in the whole existence of our body itself.

It only remains for us to take the final step, the extension of our way of looking at things to all those forces which act in nature in accordance with universal, unchangeable laws, in conformity with which the movements of all those bodies take place, which are wholly without organs, and have therefore no susceptibility for stimuli, and have no knowledge, which is the necessary condition [pg 153] of motives. Thus we must also apply the key to the understanding of the inner nature of things, which the immediate knowledge of our own existence alone can give us, to those phenomena of the unorganised world which are most remote from us. And if we consider them attentively, if we observe the strong and unceasing impulse with which the waters hurry to the ocean, the persistency with which the magnet turns ever to the north pole, the readiness with which iron flies to the magnet, the eagerness with which the electric poles seek to be re-united, and which, just like human desire, is increased by obstacles; if we see the crystal quickly and suddenly take form with such wonderful regularity of construction, which is clearly only a perfectly definite and accurately determined impulse in different directions, seized and retained by crystallisation; if we observe the choice with which bodies repel and attract each other, combine and separate, when they are set free in a fluid state, and emancipated from the bonds of rigidness; lastly, if we feel directly how a burden which hampers our body by its gravitation towards the earth, unceasingly presses and strains upon it in pursuit of its one tendency; if we observe all this, I say, it will require no great effort of the imagination to recognise, even at so great a distance, our own nature. That which in us pursues its ends by the light of knowledge; but here, in the weakest of its manifestations, only strives blindly and dumbly in a one-sided and unchangeable manner, must yet in both cases come under the name of will, as it is everywhere one and the same—just as the first dim light of dawn must share the name of sunlight with the rays of the full mid-day. For the name will denotes that which is the inner nature of everything in the world, and the one kernel of every phenomenon.

Yet the remoteness, and indeed the appearance of absolute difference between the phenomena of unorganised nature and the will which we know as the [pg 154] inner reality of our own being, arises chiefly from the contrast between the completely determined conformity to law of the one species of phenomena, and the apparently unfettered freedom of the other. For in man, individuality makes itself powerfully felt. Every one has a character of his own; and therefore the same motive has not the same influence over all, and a thousand circumstances which exist in the wide sphere of the knowledge of the individual, but are unknown to others, modify its effect. Therefore action cannot be predetermined from the motive alone, for the other factor is wanting, the accurate acquaintance with the individual character, and with the knowledge which accompanies it. On the other hand, the phenomena of the forces of nature illustrate the opposite extreme. They act according to universal laws, without variation, without individuality in accordance with openly manifest circumstances, subject to the most exact predetermination; and the same force of nature appears in its million phenomena in precisely the same way. In order to explain this point and prove the identity of the one indivisible will in all its different phenomena, in the weakest as in the strongest, we must first of all consider the relation of the will as thing-in-itself to its phenomena, that is, the relation of the world as will to the world as idea; for this will open to us the best way to a more thorough investigation of the whole subject we are considering in this second book.33

§ 24. We have learnt from the great Kant that time, space, and causality, with their entire constitution, and the possibility of all their forms, are present in our consciousness quite independently of the objects which appear in them, and which constitute their content; or, in other words, they can be arrived at just as well if we [pg 155] start from the subject as if we start from the object. Therefore, with equal accuracy, we may call them either forms of intuition or perception of the subject, or qualities of the object as object (with Kant, phenomenon), i.e., idea. We may also regard these forms as the irreducible boundary between object and subject. All objects must therefore exist in them, yet the subject, independently of the phenomenal object, possesses and surveys them completely. But if the objects appearing in these forms are not to be empty phantoms, but are to have a meaning, they must refer to something, must be the expression of something which is not, like themselves, object, idea, a merely relative existence for a subject, but which exists without such dependence upon something which stands over against it as a condition of its being, and independent of the forms of such a thing, i.e., is not idea, but a thing-in-itself. Consequently it may at least be asked: Are these ideas, these objects, something more than or apart from the fact that they are ideas, objects of the subject? And what would they be in this sense? What is that other side of them which is toto genere different from idea? What is the thing-in-itself? The will, we have answered, but for the present I set that answer aside.

Whatever the thing-in-itself may be, Kant is right in his conclusion that time, space, and causality (which we afterwards found to be forms of the principle of sufficient reason, the general expression of the forms of the phenomenon) are not its properties, but come to it only after, and so far as, it has become idea. That is, they belong only to its phenomenal existence, not to itself. For since the subject fully understands and constructs them out of itself, independently of all object, they must be dependent upon existence as idea as such, not upon that which becomes idea. They must be the form of the idea as such; but not qualities of that which has assumed this form. They must be already given with the mere antithesis of subject [pg 156] and object (not as concepts but as facts), and consequently they must be only the more exact determination of the form of knowledge in general, whose most universal determination is that antithesis itself. Now, that in the phenomenon, in the object, which is in its turn conditioned by time, space and causality, inasmuch as it can only become idea by means of them, namely multiplicity, through co-existence and succession, change and permanence through the law of causality, matter which can only become idea under the presupposition of causality, and lastly, all that becomes idea only by means of these,—all this, I say, as a whole, does not in reality belong to that which appears, to that which has passed into the form of idea, but belongs merely to this form itself. And conversely, that in the phenomenon which is not conditioned through time, space and causality, and which cannot be referred to them, nor explained in accordance with them, is precisely that in which the thing manifested, the thing-in-itself, directly reveals itself. It follows from this that the most complete capacity for being known, that is to say, the greatest clearness, distinctness, and susceptibility of exhaustive explanation, will necessarily belong to that which pertains to knowledge as such, and thus to the form of knowledge; but not to that which in itself is not idea, not object, but which has become knowledge only through entering these forms; in other words, has become idea, object. Thus only that which depends entirely upon being an object of knowledge, upon existing as idea in general and as such (not upon that which becomes known, and has only become idea), which therefore belongs without distinction to everything that is known, and which, on that account, is found just as well if we start from the subject as if we start from the object,—this alone can afford us without reserve a sufficient, exhaustive knowledge, a knowledge which is clear to the very foundation. But this consists of nothing but those forms of all phenomena of which we are conscious [pg 157] a priori, and which may be generally expressed as the principle of sufficient reason. Now, the forms of this principle which occur in knowledge of perception (with which alone we are here concerned) are time, space, and causality. The whole of pure mathematics and pure natural science a priori is based entirely upon these. Therefore it is only in these sciences that knowledge finds no obscurity, does not rest upon what is incomprehensible (groundless, i.e., will), upon what cannot be further deduced. It is on this account that Kant wanted, as we have said, to apply the name science specially and even exclusively to these branches of knowledge together with logic. But, on the other hand, these branches of knowledge show us nothing more than mere connections, relations of one idea to another, form devoid of all content. All content which they receive, every phenomenon which fills these forms, contains something which is no longer completely knowable in its whole nature, something which can no longer be entirely explained through something else, something then which is groundless, through which consequently the knowledge loses its evidence and ceases to be completely lucid. This that withholds itself from investigation, however, is the thing-in-itself, is that which is essentially not idea, not object of knowledge, but has only become knowable by entering that form. The form is originally foreign to it, and the thing-in-itself can never become entirely one with it, can never be referred to mere form, and, since this form is the principle of sufficient reason, can never be completely explained. If therefore all mathematics affords us an exhaustive knowledge of that which in the phenomena is quantity, position, number, in a word, spatial and temporal relations; if all etiology gives us a complete account of the regular conditions under which phenomena, with all their determinations, appear in time and space, but, with it all, teaches us nothing more than why in each case this particular phenomenon must appear [pg 158] just at this time here, and at this place now; it is clear that with their assistance we can never penetrate to the inner nature of things. There always remains something which no explanation can venture to attack, but which it always presupposes; the forces of nature, the definite mode of operation of things, the quality and character of every phenomenon, that which is without ground, that which does not depend upon the form of the phenomenal, the principle of sufficient reason, but is something to which this form in itself is foreign, something which has yet entered this form, and now appears according to its law, a law, however, which only determines the appearance, not that which appears, only the how, not the what, only the form, not the content. Mechanics, physics, and chemistry teach the rules and laws according to which the forces of impenetrability, gravitation, rigidity, fluidity, cohesion, elasticity, heat, light, affinity, magnetism, electricity, &c., operate; that is to say, the law, the rule which these forces observe whenever they enter time and space. But do what we will, the forces themselves remain qualitates occultæ. For it is just the thing-in-itself, which, because it is manifested, exhibits these phenomena, which are entirely different from itself. In its manifestation, indeed, it is completely subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason as the form of the idea, but it can never itself be referred to this form, and therefore cannot be fully explained etiologically, can never be completely fathomed. It is certainly perfectly comprehensible so far as it has assumed that form, that is, so far as it is phenomenon, but its inner nature is not in the least explained by the fact that it can thus be comprehended. Therefore the more necessity any knowledge carries with it, the more there is in it of that which cannot be otherwise thought or presented in perception—as, for example, space-relations—the clearer and more sufficing then it is, the less pure objective content it has, or the less reality, properly so called, is [pg 159] given in it. And conversely, the more there is in it which must be conceived as mere chance, and the more it impresses us as given merely empirically, the more proper objectivity and true reality is there in such knowledge, and at the same time, the more that is inexplicable, that is, that cannot be deduced from anything else.

It is true that at all times an etiology, unmindful of its real aim, has striven to reduce all organised life to chemism or electricity; all chemism, that is to say quality, again to mechanism (action determined by the shape of the atom), this again sometimes to the object of phoronomy, i.e., the combination of time and space, which makes motion possible, sometimes to the object of mere geometry, i.e., position in space (much in the same way as we rightly deduce the diminution of an effect from the square of the distance, and the theory of the lever in a purely geometrical manner): geometry may finally be reduced to arithmetic, which, on account of its one dimension, is of all the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, the most intelligible, comprehensible, and completely susceptible of investigation. As instances of the method generally indicated here, we may refer to the atoms of Democritus, the vortex of Descartes, the mechanical physics of Lesage, which towards the end of last century tried to explain both chemical affinities and gravitation mechanically by impact and pressure, as may be seen in detail in Lucrèce Neutonien;” Reil's form and combination as the cause of animal life, also tends in this direction. Finally, the crude materialism which even now in the middle of the nineteenth century has been served up again under the ignorant delusion that it is original, belongs distinctly to this class. It stupidly denies vital force, and first of all tries to explain the phenomena of life from physical and chemical forces, and those again from the mechanical effects of the matter, position, form, and motion of imagined atoms, and thus [pg 160] seeks to reduce all the forces of nature to action and reaction as its thing-in-itself. According to this teaching, light is the mechanical vibration or undulation of an imaginary ether, postulated for this end. This ether, if it reaches the eye, beats rapidly upon the retina, and gives us the knowledge of colour. Thus, for example, four hundred and eighty-three billion beats in a second give red, and seven hundred and twenty-seven billion beats in a second give violet. Upon this theory, persons who are colour-blind must be those who are unable to count the beats, must they not? Such crass, mechanical, clumsy, and certainly knotty theories, which remind one of Democritus, are quite worthy of those who, fifty years after the appearance of Goethe's doctrine of colour, still believe in Newton's homogeneous light, and are not ashamed to say so. They will find that what is overlooked in the child (Democritus) will not be forgiven to the man. They might indeed, some day, come to an ignominious end; but then every one would slink away and pretend that he never had anything to do with them. We shall soon have to speak again of this false reduction of the forces of nature to each other; so much for the present. Supposing this theory were possible, all would certainly be explained and established and finally reduced to an arithmetical problem, which would then be the holiest thing in the temple of wisdom, to which the principle of sufficient reason would at last have happily conducted us. But all content of the phenomenon would have disappeared, and the mere form would remain. The “what appears” would be referred to the “how it appears,” and this “how” would be what is a priori knowable, therefore entirely dependent on the subject, therefore only for the subject, therefore, lastly, mere phantom, idea and form of idea, through and through: no thing-in-itself could be demanded. Supposing, then, that this were possible, the whole world would be derived from the subject, and in fact, that would be accomplished which [pg 161] Fichte wanted to seem to accomplish by his empty bombast. But it is not possible: phantasies, sophisms, castles in the air, have been constructed in this way, but science never. The many and multifarious phenomena in nature have been successfully referred to particular original forces, and as often as this has been done, a real advance has been made. Several forces and qualities, which were at first regarded as different, have been derived from each other, and thus their number has been curtailed. (For example, magnetism from electricity.) Etiology will have reached its goal when it has recognised and exhibited as such all the original forces of nature, and established their mode of operation, i.e., the law according to which, under the guidance of causality, their phenomena appear in time and space, and determine their position with regard to each other. But certain original forces will always remain over; there will always remain as an insoluble residuum a content of phenomena which cannot be referred to their form, and thus cannot be explained from something else in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason. For in everything in nature there is something of which no ground can ever be assigned, of which no explanation is possible, and no ulterior cause is to be sought. This is the specific nature of its action, i.e., the nature of its existence, its being. Of each particular effect of the thing a cause may be certainly indicated, from which it follows that it must act just at this time and in this place; but no cause can ever be found from which it follows that a thing acts in general, and precisely in the way it does. If it has no other qualities, if it is merely a mote in a sunbeam, it yet exhibits this unfathomable something, at least as weight and impenetrability. But this, I say, is to the mote what his will is to a man; and, like the human will, it is, according to its inner nature, not subject to explanation; nay, more—it is in itself identical with this will. It is true that a motive may be given for every manifestation [pg 162] of will, for every act of will at a particular time and in a particular place, upon which it must necessarily follow, under the presupposition of the character of the man. But no reason can ever be given that the man has this character; that he wills at all; that, of several motives, just this one and no other, or indeed that any motive at all, moves his will. That which in the case of man is the unfathomable character which is presupposed in every explanation of his actions from motives is, in the case of every unorganised body, its definitive quality—the mode of its action, the manifestations of which are occasioned by impressions from without, while it itself, on the contrary, is determined by nothing outside itself, and thus is also inexplicable. Its particular manifestations, through which alone it becomes visible, are subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason; it itself is groundless. This was in substance rightly understood by the schoolmen, who called it forma substantialis. (Cf. Suarez, Disput. Metaph., disp. xv. sect. 1.)

It is a greater and a commoner error that the phenomena which we best understand are those which are of most frequent occurrence, and which are most universal and simple; for, on the contrary, these are just the phenomena that we are most accustomed to see about us, and to be ignorant of. It is just as inexplicable to us that a stone should fall to the earth as that an animal should move itself. It has been supposed, as we have remarked above, that, starting from the most universal forces of nature (gravitation, cohesion, impenetrability), it was possible to explain from them the rarer forces, which only operate under a combination of circumstances (for example, chemical quality, electricity, magnetism), and, lastly, from these to understand the organism and the life of animals, and even the nature of human knowing and willing. Men resigned themselves without a word to starting from mere qualitates occultæ, the elucidation of which was entirely given up, for they intended to build [pg 163] upon them, not to investigate them. Such an intention cannot, as we have already said, be carried out. But apart from this, such structures would always stand in the air. What is the use of explanations which ultimately refer us to something which is quite as unknown as the problem with which we started? Do we in the end understand more of the inner nature of these universal natural forces than of the inner nature of an animal? Is not the one as much a sealed book to us as the other? Unfathomable because it is without ground, because it is the content, that which the phenomenon is, and which can never be referred to the form, to the how, to the principle of sufficient reason. But we, who have in view not etiology but philosophy, that is, not relative but unconditioned knowledge of the real nature of the world, take the opposite course, and start from that which is immediately and most completely known to us, and fully and entirely trusted by us—that which lies nearest to us, in order to understand that which is known to us only at a distance, one-sidedly and indirectly. From the most powerful, most significant, and most distinct phenomenon we seek to arrive at an understanding of those that are less complete and weaker. With the exception of my own body, all things are known to me only on one side, that of the idea. Their inner nature remains hidden from me and a profound secret, even if I know all the causes from which their changes follow. Only by comparison with that which goes on in me if my body performs an action when I am influenced by a motive—only by comparison, I say, with what is the inner nature of my own changes determined by external reasons, can I obtain insight into the way in which these lifeless bodies change under the influence of causes, and so understand what is their inner nature. For the knowledge of the causes of the manifestation of this inner nature affords me merely the rule of its appearance in time and space, and nothing more. I can make this comparison because [pg 164] my body is the only object of which I know not merely the one side, that of the idea, but also the other side which is called will. Thus, instead of believing that I would better understand my own organisation, and then my own knowing and willing, and my movements following upon motives, if I could only refer them to movements due to electrical, chemical, and mechanical causes, I must, seeing that I seek philosophy and not etiology, learn to understand from my own movements following upon motives the inner nature of the simplest and commonest movements of an unorganised body which I see following upon causes. I must recognise the inscrutable forces which manifest themselves in all natural bodies as identical in kind with that which in me is the will, and as differing from it only in degree. That is to say, the fourth class of ideas given in the Essay on the Principle of Sufficient Reason must be the key to the knowledge of the inner nature of the first class, and by means of the law of motivation I must come to understand the inner meaning of the law of causation.

Spinoza (Epist. 62) says that if a stone which has been projected through the air had consciousness, it would believe that it was moving of its own will. I add to this only that the stone would be right. The impulse given it is for the stone what the motive is for me, and what in the case of the stone appears as cohesion, gravitation, rigidity, is in its inner nature the same as that which I recognise in myself as will, and what the stone also, if knowledge were given to it, would recognise as will. In the passage referred to, Spinoza had in view the necessity with which the stone flies, and he rightly desires to transfer this necessity to that of the particular act of will of a person. I, on the other hand, consider the inner being, which alone imparts meaning and validity to all real necessity (i.e., effect following upon a cause) as its presupposition. In the case of men this is called character; in the case of a stone it is called quality, but it is [pg 165] the same in both. When it is immediately known it is called will. In the stone it has the weakest, and in man the strongest degree of visibility, of objectivity. St. Augustine recognises, with a true instinct, this identity of the tendencies of all things with our own willing, and I cannot refrain from quoting his naïve account of the matter:—Si pecora essemus, carnalem vitam et quod secundum sensum ejusdem est amaremus, idque esset sufficiens bonum nostrum, et secundum hoc si esset nobis bene, nihil aliud quæreremus. Item, si arbores essemus, nihil quidem sentientes motu amare possemus: verumtamen id quasi appetere videremur, quo feracius essemus, uberiusque fructuosæ. Si essemus lapides, aut fluctus, aut ventus, aut flamma, vel quid ejusmodi, sine ullo quidem sensu atque vita, non tamen nobis deesset quasi quidam nostrorum locorum atque ordinis appetitus. Nam velut amores corporum momenta sunt ponderum, sive deorsum gravitate, sive sursum levitate nitantur: ita enim corpus pondere, sicut animus amore fertur quocunque fertur (De Civ. Dei, xi. 28).

It ought further to be mentioned that Euler saw that the inner nature of gravitation must ultimately be referred to an “inclination and desire” (thus will) peculiar to material bodies (in the 68th letter to the Princess). Indeed, it is just this that makes him averse to the conception of gravitation as it existed for Newton, and he is inclined to try a modification of it in accordance with the earlier Cartesian theory, and so to derive gravitation from the impact of an ether upon the bodies, as being “more rational and more suitable for persons who like clear and intelligible principles.” He wishes to banish attraction from physics as a qualitas occulta. This is only in keeping with the dead view of nature which prevailed at Euler's time as the correlative of the immaterial soul. It is only worth noticing because of its bearing upon the fundamental truth established by me, which even at that time this fine intellect saw glimmering in the distance. He hastened to turn in time, and then, in his anxiety at [pg 166] seeing all the prevalent fundamental views endangered, he sought safety in the old and already exploded absurdities.

We know that multiplicity in general is necessarily conditioned by space and time, and is only thinkable in them. In this respect they are called the principium individuationis. But we have found that space and time are forms of the principle of sufficient reason. In this principle all our knowledge a priori is expressed, but, as we showed above, this a priori knowledge, as such, only applies to the knowableness of things, not to the things themselves, i.e., it is only our form of knowledge, it is not a property of the thing-in-itself. The thing-in-itself is, as such, free from all forms of knowledge, even the most universal, that of being an object for the subject. In other words, the thing-in-itself is something altogether different from the idea. If, now, this thing-in-itself is the will, as I believe I have fully and convincingly proved it to be, then, regarded as such and apart from its manifestation, it lies outside time and space, and therefore knows no multiplicity, and is consequently one. Yet, as I have said, it is not one in the sense in which an individual or a concept is one, but as something to which the condition of the possibility of multiplicity, the principium individuationis, is foreign. The multiplicity of things in space and time, which collectively constitute the objectification of will, does not affect the will itself, which remains indivisible notwithstanding it. It is not the case that, in some way or other, a smaller part of will is in the stone and a larger part in the man, for the relation of part and whole belongs exclusively to space, and has no longer any meaning when we go beyond this form of intuition or perception. The more and the less have application only to the phenomenon of will, that is, its visibility, its objectification. Of this there is a higher grade in the plant than in the stone; in the animal a higher grade than in the plant: indeed, the passage of will into visibility, its [pg 167] objectification, has grades as innumerable as exist between the dimmest twilight and the brightest sunshine, the loudest sound and the faintest echo. We shall return later to the consideration of these grades of visibility which belong to the objectification of the will, to the reflection of its nature. But as the grades of its objectification do not directly concern the will itself, still less is it concerned by the multiplicity of the phenomena of these different grades, i.e., the multitude of individuals of each form, or the particular manifestations of each force. For this multiplicity is directly conditioned by time and space, into which the will itself never enters. The will reveals itself as completely and as much in one oak as in millions. Their number and multiplication in space and time has no meaning with regard to it, but only with regard to the multiplicity of individuals who know in space and time, and who are themselves multiplied and dispersed in these. The multiplicity of these individuals itself belongs not to the will, but only to its manifestation. We may therefore say that if, per impossibile, a single real existence, even the most insignificant, were to be entirely annihilated, the whole world would necessarily perish with it. The great mystic Angelus Silesius feels this when he says—

I know God cannot live an instant without me,
He must give up the ghost if I should cease to be.

Men have tried in various ways to bring the immeasurable greatness of the material universe nearer to the comprehension of us all, and then they have seized the opportunity to make edifying remarks. They have referred perhaps to the relative smallness of the earth, and indeed of man; or, on the contrary, they have pointed out the greatness of the mind of this man who is so insignificant—the mind that can solve, comprehend, and even measure the greatness of the universe, and so forth. Now, all this is very well, but to me, when I consider the vastness [pg 168] of the world, the most important point is this, that the thing-in-itself, whose manifestation is the world—whatever else it may be—cannot have its true self spread out and dispersed after this fashion in boundless space, but that this endless extension belongs only to its manifestation. The thing-in-itself, on the contrary, is present entire and undivided in every object of nature and in every living being. Therefore we lose nothing by standing still beside any single individual thing, and true wisdom is not to be gained by measuring out the boundless world, or, what would be more to the purpose, by actually traversing endless space. It is rather to be attained by the thorough investigation of any individual thing, for thus we seek to arrive at a full knowledge and understanding of its true and peculiar nature.

The subject which will therefore be fully considered in the next book, and which has, doubtless, already presented itself to the mind of every student of Plato, is, that these different grades of the objectification of will which are manifested in innumerable individuals, and exist as their unattained types or as the eternal forms of things, not entering themselves into time and space, which are the medium of individual things, but remaining fixed, subject to no change, always being, never becoming, while the particular things arise and pass away, always become and never are,—that these grades of the objectification of will are, I say, simply Plato's Ideas. I make this passing reference to the matter here in order that I may be able in future to use the word Idea in this sense. In my writings, therefore, the word is always to be understood in its true and original meaning given to it by Plato, and has absolutely no reference to those abstract productions of dogmatising scholastic reason, which Kant has inaptly and illegitimately used this word to denote, though Plato had already appropriated and used it most fitly. By Idea, then, I understand every definite and fixed grade of the objectification [pg 169] of will, so far as it is thing-in-itself, and therefore has no multiplicity. These grades are related to individual things as their eternal forms or prototypes. The shortest and most concise statement of this famous Platonic doctrine is given us by Diogenes Laertes (iii. 12): “ὁ Πλατων φησι, εν τῃ φυσει τας ιδεας ἑσταναι, καθαπερ παραδειγματα, τα δ᾽ αλλα ταυταις εοικεναι, τουτων ὁμοιωματα καθεστωτα”—(Plato ideas in natura velut exemplaria dixit subsistere; cetera his esse similia, ad istarum similitudinem consistentia). Of Kant's misuse of the word I take no further notice; what it is needful to say about it will be found in the Appendix.

§ 26. The lowest grades of the objectification of will are to be found in those most universal forces of nature which partly appear in all matter without exception, as gravity and impenetrability, and partly have shared the given matter among them, so that certain of them reign in one species of matter and others in another species, constituting its specific difference, as rigidity, fluidity, elasticity, electricity, magnetism, chemical properties and qualities of every kind. They are in themselves immediate manifestations of will, just as much as human action; and as such they are groundless, like human character. Only their particular manifestations are subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, like the particular actions of men. They themselves, on the other hand, can never be called either effect or cause, but are the prior and presupposed conditions of all causes and effects through which their real nature unfolds and reveals itself. It is therefore senseless to demand a cause of gravity or electricity, for they are original forces. Their expressions, indeed, take place in accordance with the law of cause and effect, so that every one of their particular manifestations has a cause, which is itself again just a similar particular manifestation which determines that this force must express itself here, must appear in space and time; but the force itself is by no means the effect of a cause, nor the cause of an [pg 170] effect. It is therefore a mistake to say “gravity is the cause of a stone falling;” for the cause in this case is rather the nearness of the earth, because it attracts the stone. Take the earth away and the stone will not fall, although gravity remains. The force itself lies quite outside the chain of causes and effects, which presupposes time, because it only has meaning in relation to it; but the force lies outside time. The individual change always has for its cause another change just as individual as itself, and not the force of which it is the expression. For that which always gives its efficiency to a cause, however many times it may appear, is a force of nature. As such, it is groundless, i.e., it lies outside the chain of causes and outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason in general, and is philosophically known as the immediate objectivity of will, which is the “in-itself” of the whole of nature; but in etiology, which in this reference is physics, it is set down as an original force, i.e., a qualitas occulta.

In the higher grades of the objectivity of will we see individuality occupy a prominent position, especially in the case of man, where it appears as the great difference of individual characters, i.e., as complete personality, outwardly expressed in strongly marked individual physiognomy, which influences the whole bodily form. None of the brutes have this individuality in anything like so high a degree, though the higher species of them have a trace of it; but the character of the species completely predominates over it, and therefore they have little individual physiognomy. The farther down we go, the more completely is every trace of the individual character lost in the common character of the species, and the physiognomy of the species alone remains. We know the physiological character of the species, and from that we know exactly what is to be expected from the individual; while, on the contrary, in the human species every individual has to be studied and fathomed for [pg 171] himself, which, if we wish to forecast his action with some degree of certainty, is, on account of the possibility of concealment that first appears with reason, a matter of the greatest difficulty. It is probably connected with this difference of the human species from all others, that the folds and convolutions of the brain, which are entirely wanting in birds, and very weakly marked in rodents, are even in the case of the higher animals far more symmetrical on both sides, and more constantly the same in each individual, than in the case of human beings.34 It is further to be regarded as a phenomenon of this peculiar individual character which distinguishes men from all the lower animals, that in the case of the brutes the sexual instinct seeks its satisfaction without observable choice of objects, while in the case of man this choice is, in a purely instinctive manner and independent of all reflection, carried so far that it rises into a powerful passion. While then every man is to be regarded as a specially determined and characterised phenomenon of will, and indeed to a certain extent as a special Idea, in the case of the brutes this individual character as a whole is wanting, because only the species has a special significance. And the farther we go from man, the fainter becomes the trace of this individual character, so that plants have no individual qualities left, except such as may be fully explained from the favourable or unfavourable external influences of soil, climate, and other accidents. Finally, in the inorganic kingdom of nature all individuality disappears. The crystal alone is to be regarded as to a certain extent individual. It is a unity of the tendency in definite directions, fixed by crystallisation, which makes the trace of this tendency permanent. It is at the same time a cumulative repetition of its primitive form, bound into unity by an idea, just as the [pg 172] tree is an aggregate of the single germinating fibre which shows itself in every rib of the leaves, in every leaf, in every branch; which repeats itself, and to some extent makes each of these appear as a separate growth, nourishing itself from the greater as a parasite, so that the tree, resembling the crystal, is a systematic aggregate of small plants, although only the whole is the complete expression of an individual Idea, i.e., of this particular grade of the objectification of will. But the individuals of the same species of crystal can have no other difference than such as is produced by external accidents; indeed we can make at pleasure large or small crystals of every species. The individual, however, as such, that is, with traces of an individual character, does not exist further in unorganised nature. All its phenomena are expressions of general forces of nature, i.e., of those grades of the objectification of will which do not objectify themselves (as is the case in organised nature), by means of the difference of the individualities which collectively express the whole of the Idea, but show themselves only in the species, and as a whole, without any variation in each particular example of it. Time, space, multiplicity, and existence conditioned by causes, do not belong to the will or to the Idea (the grade of the objectification of will), but only to their particular phenomena. Therefore such a force of nature as, for example, gravity or electricity, must show itself as such in precisely the same way in all its million phenomena, and only external circumstances can modify these. This unity of its being in all its phenomena, this unchangeable constancy of the appearance of these, whenever, under the guidance of causality, the necessary conditions are present, is called a law of nature. If such a law is once learned from experience, then the phenomenon of that force of nature, the character of which is expressed and laid down in it, may be accurately forecast and counted upon. But it is just this conformity to law of the [pg 173] phenomena of the lower grades of the objectification of will which gives them such a different aspect from the phenomena of the same will in the higher, i.e., the more distinct, grades of its objectification, in animals, and in men and their actions, where the stronger or weaker influence of the individual character and the susceptibility to motives which often remain hidden from the spectator, because they lie in knowledge, has had the result that the identity of the inner nature of the two kinds of phenomena has hitherto been entirely overlooked.

If we start from the knowledge of the particular, and not from that of the Idea, there is something astonishing, and sometimes even terrible, in the absolute uniformity of the laws of nature. It might astonish us that nature never once forgets her laws; that if, for example, it has once been according to a law of nature that where certain materials are brought together under given conditions, a chemical combination will take place, or gas will be evolved, or they will go on fire; if these conditions are fulfilled, whether by our interposition or entirely by chance (and in this case the accuracy is the more astonishing because unexpected), to-day just as well as a thousand years ago, the determined phenomenon will take place at once and without delay. We are most vividly impressed with the marvellousness of this fact in the case of rare phenomena, which only occur under very complex circumstances, but which we are previously informed will take place if these conditions are fulfilled. For example, when we are told that if certain metals, when arranged alternately in fluid with which an acid has been mixed, are brought into contact, silver leaf brought between the extremities of this combination will suddenly be consumed in a green flame; or that under certain conditions the hard diamond turns into carbonic acid. It is the ghostly omnipresence of natural forces that astonishes us in such [pg 174] cases, and we remark here what in the case of phenomena which happen daily no longer strikes us, how the connection between cause and effect is really as mysterious as that which is imagined between a magic formula and a spirit that must appear when invoked by it. On the other hand, if we have attained to the philosophical knowledge that a force of nature is a definite grade of the objectification of will, that is to say, a definite grade of that which we recognise as our own inmost nature, and that this will, in itself, and distinguished from its phenomena and their forms, lies outside time and space, and that, therefore, the multiplicity, which is conditioned by time and space, does not belong to it, nor directly to the grade of its objectification, i.e., the Idea, but only to the phenomena of the Idea; and if we remember that the law of causality has significance only in relation to time and space, inasmuch as it determines the position of the multitude of phenomena of the different Ideas in which the will reveals itself, governing the order in which they must appear; if, I say, in this knowledge the inner meaning of the great doctrine of Kant has been fully grasped, the doctrine that time, space, and causality do not belong to the thing-in-itself, but merely to the phenomenon, that they are only the forms of our knowledge, not qualities of things in themselves; then we shall understand that this astonishment at the conformity to law and accurate operation of a force of nature, this astonishment at the complete sameness of all its million phenomena and the infallibility of their occurrence, is really like that of a child or a savage who looks for the first time through a glass with many facets at a flower, and marvels at the complete similarity of the innumerable flowers which he sees, and counts the leaves of each of them separately.

Thus every universal, original force of nature is nothing but a low grade of the objectification of will, and we call [pg 175] every such grade an eternal Idea in Plato's sense. But a law of nature is the relation of the Idea to the form of its manifestation. This form is time, space, and causality, which are necessarily and inseparably connected and related to each other. Through time and space the Idea multiplies itself in innumerable phenomena, but the order according to which it enters these forms of multiplicity is definitely determined by the law of causality; this law is as it were the norm of the limit of these phenomena of different Ideas, in accordance with which time, space, and matter are assigned to them. This norm is therefore necessarily related to the identity of the aggregate of existing matter, which is the common substratum of all those different phenomena. If all these were not directed to that common matter in the possession of which they must be divided, there would be no need for such a law to decide their claims. They might all at once and together fill a boundless space throughout an endless time. Therefore, because all these phenomena of the eternal Ideas are directed to one and the same matter, must there be a rule for their appearance and disappearance; for if there were not, they would not make way for each other. Thus the law of causality is essentially bound up with that of the permanence of substance; they reciprocally derive significance from each other. Time and space, again, are related to them in the same way. For time is merely the possibility of conflicting states of the same matter, and space is merely the possibility of the permanence of the same matter under all sorts of conflicting states. Accordingly, in the preceding book we explained matter as the union of space and time, and this union shows itself as change of the accidents in the permanence of the substance, of which causality or becoming is the universal possibility. And accordingly, we said that matter is through and through causality. We explained the understanding as the subjective correlative of causality, and said matter (and thus the whole [pg 176] world as idea) exists only for the understanding; the understanding is its condition, its supporter as its necessary correlative. I repeat all this in passing, merely to call to mind what was demonstrated in the First Book, for it is necessary for the complete understanding of these two books that their inner agreement should be observed, since what is inseparably united in the actual world as its two sides, will and idea, has, in order that we might understand each of them more clearly in isolation, been dissevered in these two books.

It may not perhaps be superfluous to elucidate further by an example how the law of causality has meaning only in relation to time and space, and the matter which consists in the union of the two. For it determines the limits in accordance with which the phenomena of the forces of nature divide themselves in the possession of matter, while the original forces of nature, as the immediate objectification of will, which, as a thing in itself, is not subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, lie outside these forms, within which alone all etiological explanation has validity and meaning, and just on that account can never lead us to the inner reality of nature. For this purpose let us think of some kind of machine constructed according to the laws of mechanics. Iron weights begin the motion by their gravity; copper wheels resist by their rigidity, affect and raise each other and the lever by their impenetrability, and so on. Here gravity, rigidity, and impenetrability are original unexplained forces; mechanics only gives us the condition under which, and the manner in which, they manifest themselves, appear, and govern a definite matter, time, and place. If, now, a strong magnet is made to attract the iron of the weight, and overcome its gravity, the movement of the machine stops, and the matter becomes forthwith the scene of quite a different force of nature—magnetism, of which etiology again gives no further explanation than the condition under which it appears. [pg 177] Or let us suppose that the copper discs of such a machine are laid upon zinc plates, and an acid solution introduced between them. At once the same matter of the machine has become subject to another original force, galvanism, which now governs it according to its own laws, and reveals itself in it through its phenomena; and etiology can again tell us nothing about this force except the conditions under which, and the laws in accordance with which, it manifests itself. Let us now raise the temperature and add pure acid; the whole machine burns; that is to say, once more an entirely different force of nature, chemical energy, asserts at this time and in this place irresistible claims to this particular matter, and reveals itself in it as Idea, as a definite grade of the objectification of will. The calcined metal thus produced now unites with an acid, and a salt is obtained which forms itself into crystals. These are the phenomena of another Idea, which in itself is again quite inexplicable, while the appearance of its phenomena is dependent upon certain conditions which etiology can give us. The crystals dissolve, mix with other materials, and vegetation springs up from them—a new phenomenon of will: and so the same permanent matter may be followed ad infinitum, to observe how now this and now that natural force obtains a right to it and temporarily takes possession of it, in order to appear and reveal its own nature. The condition of this right, the point of time and space at which it becomes valid, is given by causality, but the explanation founded upon this law only extends thus far. The force itself is a manifestation of will, and as such is not subject to the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, that is, it is groundless. It lies outside all time, is omnipresent, and seems as it were to wait constantly till the circumstances occur under which it can appear and take possession of a definite matter, supplanting the forces which have reigned in it till then. All time exists only for the phenomena of such a force, [pg 178] and is without significance for the force itself. Through thousands of years chemical forces slumber in matter till the contact with the reagents sets them free; then they appear; but time exists only for the phenomena, not for the forces themselves. For thousands of years galvanism slumbered in copper and zinc, and they lay quietly beside silver, which must be consumed in flame as soon as all three are brought together under the required conditions. Even in the organic kingdom we see a dry seed preserve the slumbering force through three thousand years, and when at last the favourable circumstances occur, grow up as a plant.35

If by this exposition the difference between a force of nature and all its phenomena has been made quite distinct; if we have seen clearly that the former is the will itself at this particular grade of its objectification, but that multiplicity comes to phenomena only through time and space, and that the law of causality is nothing but the determination of the position of these phenomena in time and space; then we shall recognise the complete truth and the deep meaning of Malebranche's doctrine of occasional causes (causes occasionelles). It is well worth [pg 179] while comparing this doctrine of his, as he explains it in the Recherches de la Vérite,” both in the 3rd Chapter of the second part of the 6th Book, and in the éclaircissements appended to this chapter, with this exposition of mine, and observing the complete agreement of the two doctrines in the case of such different systems of thought. Indeed I cannot help admiring how Malebranche, though thoroughly involved in the positive dogmas which his age inevitably forced upon him, yet, in such bonds and under such a burden, hit the truth so happily, so correctly, and even knew how to combine it with these dogmas, at all events verbally.

For the power of truth is incredibly great and of unspeakable endurance. We find constant traces of it in all, even the most eccentric and absurd dogmas, of different times and different lands,—often indeed in strange company, curiously mixed up with other things, but still recognisable. It is like a plant that germinates under a heap of great stones, but still struggles up to the light, working itself through with many deviations and windings, disfigured, worn out, stunted in its growth,—but yet, to the light.

In any case Malebranche is right: every natural cause is only an occasional cause. It only gives opportunity or occasion for the manifestation of the one indivisible will which is the “in-itself” of all things, and whose graduated objectification is the whole visible world. Only the appearance, the becoming visible, in this place, at this time, is brought about by the cause and is so far dependent on it, but not the whole of the phenomenon, nor its inner nature. This is the will itself, to which the principle of sufficient reason has not application, and which is therefore groundless. Nothing in the world has a sufficient cause of its existence generally, but only a cause of existence just here and just now. That a stone exhibits now gravity, now rigidity, now electricity, now chemical qualities, depends upon causes, [pg 180] upon impressions upon it from without, and is to be explained from these. But these qualities themselves, and thus the whole inner nature of the stone which consists in them, and therefore manifests itself in all the ways referred to; thus, in general, that the stone is such as it is, that it exists generally—all this, I say, has no ground, but is the visible appearance of the groundless will. Every cause is thus an occasional cause. We have found it to be so in nature, which is without knowledge, and it is also precisely the same when motives and not causes or stimuli determine the point at which the phenomena are to appear, that is to say, in the actions of animals and human beings. For in both cases it is one and the same will which appears; very different in the grades of its manifestation, multiplied in the phenomena of these grades, and, in respect of these, subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, but in itself free from all this. Motives do not determine the character of man, but only the phenomena of his character, that is, his actions; the outward fashion of his life, not its inner meaning and content. These proceed from the character which is the immediate manifestation of the will, and is therefore groundless. That one man is bad and another good, does not depend upon motives or outward influences, such as teaching and preaching, and is in this sense quite inexplicable. But whether a bad man shows his badness in petty acts of injustice, cowardly tricks, and low knavery which he practises in the narrow sphere of his circumstances, or whether as a conqueror he oppresses nations, throws a world into lamentation, and sheds the blood of millions; this is the outward form of his manifestation, that which is unessential to it, and depends upon the circumstances in which fate has placed him, upon his surroundings, upon external influences, upon motives; but his decision upon these motives can never be explained from them; it proceeds from the will, of which this man is a manifestation. Of this we shall [pg 181] speak in the Fourth Book. The manner in which the character discloses its qualities is quite analogous to the way in which those of every material body in unconscious nature are disclosed. Water remains water with its intrinsic qualities, whether as a still lake it reflects its banks, or leaps in foam from the cliffs, or, artificially confined, spouts in a long jet into the air. All that depends upon external causes; the one form is as natural to it as the other, but it will always show the same form in the same circumstances; it is equally ready for any, but in every case true to its character, and at all times revealing this alone. So will every human character under all circumstances reveal itself, but the phenomena which proceed from it will always be in accordance with the circumstances.

§ 27. If, from the foregoing consideration of the forces of nature and their phenomena, we have come to see clearly how far an explanation from causes can go, and where it must stop if it is not to degenerate into the vain attempt to reduce the content of all phenomena to their mere form, in which case there would ultimately remain nothing but form, we shall be able to settle in general terms what is to be demanded of etiology as a whole. It must seek out the causes of all phenomena in nature, i.e., the circumstances under which they invariably appear. Then it must refer the multitude of phenomena which have various forms in various circumstances to what is active in every phenomenon, and is presupposed in the cause,—original forces of nature. It must correctly distinguish between a difference of the phenomenon which arises from a difference of the force, and one which results merely from a difference of the circumstances under which the force expresses itself; and with equal care it must guard against taking the expressions of one and the same force under different circumstances for the manifestations of different forces, and conversely against taking for manifestations of one [pg 182] and the same force what originally belongs to different forces. Now this is the direct work of the faculty of judgment, and that is why so few men are capable of increasing our insight in physics, while all are able to enlarge experience. Indolence and ignorance make us disposed to appeal too soon to original forces. This is exemplified with an exaggeration that savours of irony in the entities and quidities of the schoolmen. Nothing is further from my desire than to favour their resuscitation. We have just as little right to appeal to the objectification of will, instead of giving a physical explanation, as we have to appeal to the creative power of God. For physics demands causes, and the will is never a cause. Its whole relation to the phenomenon is not in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason. But that which in itself is the will exists in another aspect as idea; that is to say, is phenomenon. As such, it obeys the laws which constitute the form of the phenomenon. Every movement, for example, although it is always a manifestation of will, must yet have a cause from which it is to be explained in relation to a particular time and space; that is, not in general in its inner nature, but as a particular phenomenon. In the case of the stone, this is a mechanical cause; in that of the movement of a man, it is a motive; but in no case can it be wanting. On the other hand, the universal common nature of all phenomena of one particular kind, that which must be presupposed if the explanation from causes is to have any sense and meaning, is the general force of nature, which, in physics, must remain a qualitas occulta, because with it the etiological explanation ends and the metaphysical begins. But the chain of causes and effects is never broken by an original force to which it has been necessary to appeal. It does not run back to such a force as if it were its first link, but the nearest link, as well as the remotest, presupposes the original force, and could otherwise explain nothing. A series of [pg 183] causes and effects may be the manifestation of the most different kinds of forces, whose successive visible appearances are conducted through it, as I have illustrated above by the example of a metal machine. But the difference of these original forces, which cannot be referred to each other, by no means breaks the unity of that chain of causes, and the connection between all its links. The etiology and the philosophy of nature never do violence to each other, but go hand in hand, regarding the same object from different points of view. Etiology gives an account of the causes which necessarily produce the particular phenomenon to be explained. It exhibits, as the foundation of all its explanations, the universal forces which are active in all these causes and effects. It accurately defines, enumerates, and distinguishes these forces, and then indicates all the different effects in which each force appears, regulated by the difference of the circumstances, always in accordance with its own peculiar character, which it discloses in obedience to an invariable rule, called a law of nature. When all this has been thoroughly accomplished by physics in every particular, it will be complete, and its work will be done. There will then remain no unknown force in unorganised nature, nor any effect, which has not been proved to be the manifestation of one of these forces under definite circumstances, in accordance with a law of nature. Yet a law of nature remains merely the observed rule according to which nature invariably proceeds whenever certain definite circumstances occur. Therefore a law of nature may be defined as a fact expressed generally—un fait généralisé—and thus a complete enumeration of all the laws of nature would only be a complete register of facts. The consideration of nature as a whole is thus completed in morphology, which enumerates, compares, and arranges all the enduring forms of organised nature. Of the causes of the appearance of the individual creature it has little to say, for in all cases this is procreation (the theory of [pg 184] which is a separate matter), and in rare cases the generatio æquivoca. But to this last belongs, strictly speaking, the manner in which all the lower grades of the objectification of will, that is to say, physical and chemical phenomena, appear as individual, and it is precisely the task of etiology to point out the conditions of this appearance. Philosophy, on the other hand, concerns itself only with the universal, in nature as everywhere else. The original forces themselves are here its object, and it recognises in them the different grades of the objectivity of will, which is the inner nature, the “in-itself” of this world; and when it regards the world apart from will, it explains it as merely the idea of the subject. But if etiology, instead of preparing the way for philosophy, and supplying its doctrines with practical application by means of instances, supposes that its aim is rather to deny the existence of all original forces, except perhaps one, the most general, for example, impenetrability, which it imagines it thoroughly understands, and consequently seeks forcibly to refer all the others to it—it forsakes its own province and can only give us error instead of truth. The content of nature is supplanted by its form, everything is ascribed to the circumstances which work from without, and nothing to the inner nature of the thing. Now if it were possible to succeed by this method, a problem in arithmetic would ultimately, as we have already remarked, solve the riddle of the universe. But this is the method adopted by those, referred to above, who think that all physiological effects ought to be reduced to form and combination, this, perhaps, to electricity, and this again to chemism, and chemism to mechanism. The mistake of Descartes, for example, and of all the Atomists, was of this last description. They referred the movements of the globe to the impact of a fluid, and the qualities of matter to the connection and form of the atoms, and hence they laboured to explain all the phenomena of nature as merely manifestations of impenetrability [pg 185] and cohesion. Although this has been given up, precisely the same error is committed in our own day by the electrical, chemical, and mechanical physiologists, who obstinately attempt to explain the whole of life and all the functions of the organism from “form and combination.” In Meckel's “Archiv für Physiologie” (1820, vol. v. p. 185) we still find it stated that the aim of physiological explanation is the reduction of organic life to the universal forces with which physics deals. Lamarck also, in his Philosophie Zoologique,” explains life as merely the effect of warmth and electricity: le calorique et la matière électrique suffisent parfaitement pour composer ensemble cette cause essentielle de la vie (p. 16). According to this, warmth and electricity would be the “thing-in-itself,” and the world of animals and plants its phenomenal appearance. The absurdity of this opinion becomes glaringly apparent at the 306th and following pages of that work. It is well known that all these opinions, that have been so often refuted, have reappeared quite recently with renewed confidence. If we carefully examine the foundation of these views, we shall find that they ultimately involve the presupposition that the organism is merely an aggregate of phenomena of physical, chemical, and mechanical forces, which have come together here by chance, and produced the organism as a freak of nature without further significance. The organism of an animal or of a human being would therefore be, if considered philosophically, not the exhibition of a special Idea, that is, not itself immediate objectivity of the will at a definite higher grade, but in it would appear only those Ideas which objectify the will in electricity, in chemism, and in mechanism. Thus the organism would be as fortuitously constructed by the concurrence of these forces as the forms of men and beasts in clouds and stalactites, and would therefore in itself be no more interesting than they are. However, we shall see immediately how far the application of physical and chemical modes of explanation [pg 186] to the organism may yet, within certain limits, be allowable and useful; for I shall explain that the vital force certainly avails itself of and uses the forces of unorganised nature; yet these forces no more constitute the vital force than a hammer and anvil make a blacksmith. Therefore even the most simple example of plant life can never be explained from these forces by any theory of capillary attraction and endosmose, much less animal life. The following observations will prepare the way for this somewhat difficult discussion.

It follows from all that has been said that it is certainly an error on the part of natural science to seek to refer the higher grades of the objectification of will to the lower; for the failure to recognise, or the denial of, original and self-existing forces of nature is just as wrong as the groundless assumption of special forces when what occurs is merely a peculiar kind of manifestation of what is already known. Thus Kant rightly says that it would be absurd to hope for a blade of grass from a Newton, that is, from one who reduced the blade of grass to the manifestations of physical and chemical forces, of which it was the chance product, and therefore a mere freak of nature, in which no special Idea appeared, i.e., the will did not directly reveal itself in it in a higher and specific grade, but just as in the phenomena of unorganised nature and by chance in this form. The schoolmen, who certainly would not have allowed such a doctrine, would rightly have said that it was a complete denial of the forma substantialis, and a degradation of it to the forma accidentalis. For the forma substantialis of Aristotle denotes exactly what I call the grade of the objectification of will in a thing. On the other hand, it is not to be overlooked that in all Ideas, that is, in all forces of unorganised, and all forms of organised nature, it is one and the same will that reveals itself, that is to say, which enters the form of the idea and passes into objectivity. Its unity must therefore be also recognisable [pg 187] through an inner relationship between all its phenomena. Now this reveals itself in the higher grades of the objectification of will, where the whole phenomenon is more distinct, thus in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, through the universally prevailing analogy of all forms, the fundamental type which recurs in all phenomena. This has, therefore, become the guiding principle of the admirable zoological system which was originated by the French in this century, and it is most completely established in comparative anatomy as l'unité de plan, l'uniformité de l'élément anatomique. To discover this fundamental type has been the chief concern, or at any rate the praiseworthy endeavour, of the natural philosophers of the school of Schelling, who have in this respect considerable merit, although in many cases their hunt after analogies in nature degenerated into mere conceits. They have, however, rightly shown that that general relationship and family likeness exists also in the Ideas of unorganised nature; for example, between electricity and magnetism, the identity of which was afterwards established; between chemical attraction and gravitation, and so forth. They specially called attention to the fact that polarity, that is, the sundering of a force into two qualitatively different and opposed activities striving after reunion, which also shows itself for the most part in space as a dispersion in opposite directions, is a fundamental type of almost all the phenomena of nature, from the magnet and the crystal to man himself. Yet this knowledge has been current in China from the earliest times, in the doctrine of opposition of Yin and Yang. Indeed, since all things in the world are the objectification of one and the same will, and therefore in their inner nature identical, it must not only be the case that there is that unmistakable analogy between them, and that in every phenomenon the trace, intimation, and plan of the higher phenomenon that lies next to it in point of [pg 188] development shows itself, but also because all these forms belong to the world as idea, it is indeed conceivable that even in the most universal forms of the idea, in that peculiar framework of the phenomenal world space and time, it may be possible to discern and establish the fundamental type, intimation, and plan of what fills the forms. It seems to have been a dim notion of this that was the origin of the Cabala and all the mathematical philosophy of the Pythagoreans, and also of the Chinese in Y-king. In the school of Schelling also, to which we have already referred, we find, among their efforts to bring to light the similarity among the phenomena of nature, several attempts (though rather unfortunate ones) to deduce laws of nature from the laws of pure space and time. However, one can never tell to what extent a man of genius will realise both endeavours.

Now, although the difference between phenomenon and thing-in-itself is never lost sight of, and therefore the identity of the will which objectifies itself in all Ideas can never (because it has different grades of its objectification) be distorted to mean identity of the particular Ideas themselves in which it appears, so that, for example, chemical or electrical attraction can never be reduced to the attraction of gravitation, although this inner analogy is known, and the former may be regarded as, so to speak, higher powers of the latter, just as little does the similarity of the construction of all animals warrant us in mixing and identifying the species and explaining the more developed as mere variations of the less developed; and although, finally, the physiological functions are never to be reduced to chemical or physical processes, yet, in justification of this procedure, within certain limits, we may accept the following observations as highly probable.

If several of the phenomena of will in the lower grades of its objectification—that is, in unorganised nature—come into conflict because each of them, under the [pg 189] guidance of causality, seeks to possess a given portion of matter, there arises from the conflict the phenomenon of a higher Idea which prevails over all the less developed phenomena previously there, yet in such a way that it allows the essence of these to continue to exist in a subordinate manner, in that it takes up into itself from them something which is analogous to them. This process is only intelligible from the identity of the will which manifests itself in all the Ideas, and which is always striving after higher objectification. We thus see, for example, in the hardening of the bones, an unmistakable analogy to crystallisation, as the force which originally had possession of the chalk, although ossification is never to be reduced to crystallisation. The analogy shows itself in a weaker degree in the flesh becoming firm. The combination of humours in the animal body and secretion are also analogous to chemical combination and separation. Indeed, the laws of chemistry are still strongly operative in this case, but subordinated, very much modified, and mastered by a higher Idea; therefore mere chemical forces outside the organism will never afford us such humours; but

Encheiresin naturæ nennt es die Chemie,
Spottet ihrer selbst und weiss nicht wie.

The more developed Idea resulting from this victory over several lower Ideas or objectifications of will, gains an entirely new character by taking up into itself from every Idea over which it has prevailed a strengthened analogy. The will objectifies itself in a new, more distinct way. It originally appears in generatio æquivoca; afterwards in assimilation to the given germ, organic moisture, plant, animal, man. Thus from the strife of lower phenomena the higher arise, swallowing them all up, but yet realising in the higher grade the tendency of all the lower. Here, then, already the law applies—Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.

[pg 190]

I wish it had been possible for me to dispel by clearness of explanation the obscurity which clings to the subject of these thoughts; but I see very well that the reader's own consideration of the matter must materially aid me if I am not to remain uncomprehended or misunderstood. According to the view I have expressed, the traces of chemical and physical modes of operation will indeed be found in the organism, but it can never be explained from them; because it is by no means a phenomenon even accidentally brought about through the united actions of such forces, but a higher Idea which has overcome these lower ideas by subduing assimilation; for the one will which objectifies itself in all Ideas always seeks the highest possible objectification, and has therefore in this case given up the lower grades of its manifestation after a conflict, in order to appear in a higher grade, and one so much the more powerful. No victory without conflict: since the higher Idea or objectification of will can only appear through the conquest of the lower, it endures the opposition of these lower Ideas, which, although brought into subjection, still constantly strive to obtain an independent and complete expression of their being. The magnet that has attracted a piece of iron carries on a perpetual conflict with gravitation, which, as the lower objectification of will, has a prior right to the matter of the iron; and in this constant battle the magnet indeed grows stronger, for the opposition excites it, as it were, to greater effort. In the same way every manifestation of the will, including that which expresses itself in the human organism, wages a constant war against the many physical and chemical forces which, as lower Ideas, have a prior right to that matter. Thus the arm falls which for a while, overcoming gravity, we have held stretched out; thus the pleasing sensation of health, which proclaims the victory of the Idea of the self-conscious organism over the physical and chemical laws, which originally governed the humours of [pg 191] the body, is so often interrupted, and is indeed always accompanied by greater or less discomfort, which arises from the resistance of these forces, and on account of which the vegetative part of our life is constantly attended by slight pain. Thus also digestion weakens all the animal functions, because it requires the whole vital force to overcome the chemical forces of nature by assimilation. Hence also in general the burden of physical life, the necessity of sleep, and, finally, of death; for at last these subdued forces of nature, assisted by circumstances, win back from the organism, wearied even by the constant victory, the matter it took from them, and attain to an unimpeded expression of their being. We may therefore say that every organism expresses the Idea of which it is the image, only after we have subtracted the part of its force which is expended in subduing the lower Ideas that strive with it for matter. This seems to have been running in the mind of Jacob Böhm when he says somewhere that all the bodies of men and animals, and even all plants, are really half dead. According as the subjection in the organism of these forces of nature, which express the lower grades of the objectification of will, is more or less successful, the more or the less completely does it attain to the expression of its Idea; that is to say, the nearer it is to the ideal or the further from it—the ideal of beauty in its species.

Thus everywhere in nature we see strife, conflict, and alternation of victory, and in it we shall come to recognise more distinctly that variance with itself which is essential to the will. Every grade of the objectification of will fights for the matter, the space, and the time of the others. The permanent matter must constantly change its form; for under the guidance of causality, mechanical, physical, chemical, and organic phenomena, eagerly striving to appear, wrest the matter from each other, for each desires to reveal its own Idea. This strife may be followed through the whole of nature; indeed nature exists only through it: [pg 192] ει γαρ μη ην το νεικος εν τοις πραγμασιν, ἑν αν ην ἁπαντα, ὡς φησιν Εμπεδοκλης; (nam si non inesset in rebus contentio, unum omnia essent, ut ait Empedocles. Aris. Metaph., B. 5). Yet this strife itself is only the revelation of that variance with itself which is essential to the will. This universal conflict becomes most distinctly visible in the animal kingdom. For animals have the whole of the vegetable kingdom for their food, and even within the animal kingdom every beast is the prey and the food of another; that is, the matter in which its Idea expresses itself must yield itself to the expression of another Idea, for each animal can only maintain its existence by the constant destruction of some other. Thus the will to live everywhere preys upon itself, and in different forms is its own nourishment, till finally the human race, because it subdues all the others, regards nature as a manufactory for its use. Yet even the human race, as we shall see in the Fourth Book, reveals in itself with most terrible distinctness this conflict, this variance with itself of the will, and we find homo homini lupus. Meanwhile we can recognise this strife, this subjugation, just as well in the lower grades of the objectification of will. Many insects (especially ichneumon-flies) lay their eggs on the skin, and even in the body of the larvæ of other insects, whose slow destruction is the first work of the newly hatched brood. The young hydra, which grows like a bud out of the old one, and afterwards separates itself from it, fights while it is still joined to the old one for the prey that offers itself, so that the one snatches it out of the mouth of the other (Trembley, Polypod., ii. p. 110, and iii. p. 165). But the bulldog-ant of Australia affords us the most extraordinary example of this kind; for if it is cut in two, a battle begins between the head and the tail. The head seizes the tail with its teeth, and the tail defends itself bravely by stinging the head: the battle may last for half an hour, until they die or are dragged away by other ants. This contest takes place [pg 193] every time the experiment is tried. (From a letter by Howitt in the W. Journal, reprinted in Galignani's Messenger, 17th November 1855.) On the banks of the Missouri one sometimes sees a mighty oak the stem and branches of which are so encircled, fettered, and interlaced by a gigantic wild vine, that it withers as if choked. The same thing shows itself in the lowest grades; for example, when water and carbon are changed into vegetable sap, or vegetables or bread into blood by organic assimilation; and so also in every case in which animal secretion takes place, along with the restriction of chemical forces to a subordinate mode of activity. This also occurs in unorganised nature, when, for example, crystals in process of formation meet, cross, and mutually disturb each other to such an extent that they are unable to assume the pure crystalline form, so that almost every cluster of crystals is an image of such a conflict of will at this low grade of its objectification; or again, when a magnet forces its magnetism upon iron, in order to express its Idea in it; or when galvanism overcomes chemical affinity, decomposes the closest combinations, and so entirely suspends the laws of chemistry that the acid of a decomposed salt at the negative pole must pass to the positive pole without combining with the alkalies through which it goes on its way, or turning red the litmus paper that touches it. On a large scale it shows itself in the relation between the central body and the planet, for although the planet is in absolute dependence, yet it always resists, just like the chemical forces in the organism; hence arises the constant tension between centripetal and centrifugal force, which keeps the globe in motion, and is itself an example of that universal essential conflict of the manifestation of will which we are considering. For as every body must be regarded as the manifestation of a will, and as will necessarily expresses itself as a struggle, the original condition of every world that is formed into a globe cannot be rest, but motion, a striving forward in boundless space [pg 194] without rest and without end. Neither the law of inertia nor that of causality is opposed to this: for as, according to the former, matter as such is alike indifferent to rest and motion, its original condition may just as well be the one as the other, therefore if we first find it in motion, we have just as little right to assume that this was preceded by a condition of rest, and to inquire into the cause of the origin of the motion, as, conversely, if we found it at rest, we would have to assume a previous motion and inquire into the cause of its suspension. It is, therefore, not needful to seek for a first impulse for centrifugal force, for, according to the hypothesis of Kant and Laplace, it is, in the case of the planets, the residue of the original rotation of the central body, from which the planets have separated themselves as it contracted. But to this central body itself motion is essential; it always continues its rotation, and at the same time rushes forward in endless space, or perhaps circulates round a greater central body invisible to us. This view entirely agrees with the conjecture of astronomers that there is a central sun, and also with the observed advance of our whole solar system, and perhaps of the whole stellar system to which our sun belongs. From this we are finally led to assume a general advance of fixed stars, together with the central sun, and this certainly loses all meaning in boundless space (for motion in absolute space cannot be distinguished from rest), and becomes, as is already the case from its striving and aimless flight, an expression of that nothingness, that failure of all aim, which, at the close of this book, we shall be obliged to recognise in the striving of will in all its phenomena. Thus boundless space and endless time must be the most universal and essential forms of the collective phenomena of will, which exist for the expression of its whole being. Lastly, we can recognise that conflict which we are considering of all phenomena of will against each other in simple matter regarded as such; for the real characteristic [pg 195] of matter is correctly expressed by Kant as repulsive and attractive force; so that even crude matter has its existence only in the strife of conflicting forces. If we abstract from all chemical differences in matter, or go so far back in the chain of causes and effects that as yet there is no chemical difference, there remains mere matter,—the world rounded to a globe, whose life, i.e., objectification of will, is now constituted by the conflict between attractive and repulsive forces, the former as gravitation pressing from all sides towards the centre, the latter as impenetrability always opposing the former either as rigidity or elasticity; and this constant pressure and resistance may be regarded as the objectivity of will in its very lowest grade, and even there it expresses its character.

We should see the will express itself here in the lowest grade as blind striving, an obscure, inarticulate impulse, far from susceptible of being directly known. It is the simplest and the weakest mode of its objectification. But it appears as this blind and unconscious striving in the whole of unorganised nature, in all those original forces of which it is the work of physics and chemistry to discover and to study the laws, and each of which manifests itself to us in millions of phenomena which are exactly similar and regular, and show no trace of individual character, but are mere multiplicity through space and time, i.e., through the principium individuationis, as a picture is multiplied through the facets of a glass.

From grade to grade objectifying itself more distinctly, yet still completely without consciousness as an obscure striving force, the will acts in the vegetable kingdom also, in which the bond of its phenomena consists no longer properly of causes, but of stimuli; and, finally, also in the vegetative part of the animal phenomenon, in the production and maturing of the animal, and in sustaining its inner economy, in which the manifestation of [pg 196] will is still always necessarily determined by stimuli. The ever-ascending grades of the objectification of will bring us at last to the point at which the individual that expresses the Idea could no longer receive food for its assimilation through mere movement following upon stimuli. For such a stimulus must be waited for, but the food has now come to be of a more special and definite kind, and with the ever-increasing multiplicity of the individual phenomena, the crowd and confusion has become so great that they interfere with each other, and the chance of the individual that is moved merely by stimuli and must wait for its food would be too unfavourable. From the point, therefore, at which the animal has delivered itself from the egg or the womb in which it vegetated without consciousness, its food must be sought out and selected. For this purpose movement following upon motives, and therefore consciousness, becomes necessary, and consequently it appears as an agent, μηχανη, called in at this stage of the objectification of will for the conservation of the individual and the propagation of the species. It appears represented by the brain or a large ganglion, just as every other effort or determination of the will which objectifies itself is represented by an organ, that is to say, manifests itself for the idea as an organ.36 But with this means of assistance, this μηχανη, the world as idea comes into existence at a stroke, with all its forms, object and subject, time, space, multiplicity, and causality. The world now shows its second side. Till now mere will, it becomes also idea, object of the knowing subject. The will, which up to this point followed its tendency in the dark with unerring certainty, has at this grade kindled for itself a light as a means which became necessary for getting rid of the disadvantage which arose from the throng and the complicated [pg 197] nature of its manifestations, and which would have accrued precisely to the most perfect of them. The hitherto infallible certainty and regularity with which it worked in unorganised and merely vegetative nature, rested upon the fact that it alone was active in its original nature, as blind impulse, will, without assistance, and also without interruption, from a second and entirely different world, the world as idea, which is indeed only the image of its own inner being, but is yet of quite another nature, and now encroaches on the connected whole of its phenomena. Hence its infallible certainty comes to an end. Animals are already exposed to illusion, to deception. They have, however, merely ideas of perception, no conceptions, no reflection, and they are therefore bound to the present; they cannot have regard for the future. It seems as if this knowledge without reason was not in all cases sufficient for its end, and at times required, as it were, some assistance. For the very remarkable phenomenon presents itself, that the blind working of the will and the activity enlightened by knowledge encroach in a most astonishing manner upon each other's spheres in two kinds of phenomena. In the one case we find in the very midst of those actions of animals which are guided by perceptive knowledge and its motives one kind of action which is accomplished apart from these, and thus through the necessity of the blindly acting will. I refer to those mechanical instincts which are guided by no motive or knowledge, and which yet have the appearance of performing their work from abstract rational motives. The other case, which is opposed to this, is that in which, on the contrary, the light of knowledge penetrates into the workshop of the blindly active will, and illuminates the vegetative functions of the human organism. I mean clairvoyance. Finally, when the will has attained to the highest grade of its objectification, that knowledge of the understanding given to brutes to which the senses supply the data, out of which there arises mere perception confined [pg 198] to what is immediately present, does not suffice. That complicated, many-sided, imaginative being, man, with his many needs, and exposed as he is to innumerable dangers, must, in order to exist, be lighted by a double knowledge; a higher power, as it were, of perceptive knowledge must be given him, and also reason, as the faculty of framing abstract conceptions. With this there has appeared reflection, surveying the future and the past, and, as a consequence, deliberation, care, the power of premeditated action independent of the present, and finally, the full and distinct consciousness of one's own deliberate volition as such. Now if with mere knowledge of perception there arose the possibility of illusion and deception, by which the previous infallibility of the blind striving of will was done away with, so that mechanical and other instincts, as expressions of unconscious will, had to lend their help in the midst of those that were conscious, with the entrance of reason that certainty and infallibility of the expressions of will (which at the other extreme in unorganised nature appeared as strict conformity to law) is almost entirely lost; instinct disappears altogether; deliberation, which is supposed to take the place of everything else, begets (as was shown in the First Book) irresolution and uncertainty; then error becomes possible, and in many cases obstructs the adequate objectification of the will in action. For although in the character the will has already taken its definite and unchangeable bent or direction, in accordance with which volition, when occasioned by the presence of a motive, invariably takes place, yet error can falsify its expressions, for it introduces illusive motives that take the place of the real ones which they resemble;37 as, for example, when superstition forces on a man imaginary motives which impel him to a course of action directly opposed [pg 199] to the way in which the will would otherwise express itself in the given circumstances. Agamemnon slays his daughter; a miser dispenses alms, out of pure egotism, in the hope that he will some day receive an hundred-fold; and so on.

Thus knowledge generally, rational as well as merely sensuous, proceeds originally from the will itself, belongs to the inner being of the higher grades of its objectification as a mere μηχανη, a means of supporting the individual and the species, just like any organ of the body. Originally destined for the service of the will for the accomplishment of its aims, it remains almost throughout entirely subjected to its service: it is so in all brutes and in almost all men. Yet we shall see in the Third Book how in certain individual men knowledge can deliver itself from this bondage, throw off its yoke, and, free from all the aims of will, exist purely for itself, simply as a clear mirror of the world, which is the source of art. Finally, in the Fourth Book, we shall see how, if this kind of knowledge reacts on the will, it can bring about self-surrender, i.e., resignation, which is the final goal, and indeed the inmost nature of all virtue and holiness, and is deliverance from the world.

§ 28. We have considered the great multiplicity and diversity of the phenomena in which the will objectifies itself, and we have seen their endless and implacable strife with each other. Yet, according to the whole discussion up to this point, the will itself, as thing-in-itself, is by no means included in that multiplicity and change. The diversity of the (Platonic) Ideas, i.e., grades of objectification, the multitude of individuals in which each of these expresses itself, the struggle of forms for matter,—all this does not concern it, but is only the manner of its objectification, and only through this has an indirect relation to it, by virtue of which it belongs to the expression of the nature of will for the idea. As the magic-lantern shows many different pictures, which [pg 200] are all made visible by one and the same light, so in all the multifarious phenomena which fill the world together or throng after each other as events, only one will manifests itself, of which everything is the visibility, the objectivity, and which remains unmoved in the midst of this change; it alone is thing-in-itself; all objects are manifestations, or, to speak the language of Kant, phenomena. Although in man, as (Platonic) Idea, the will finds its clearest and fullest objectification, yet man alone could not express its being. In order to manifest the full significance of the will, the Idea of man would need to appear, not alone and sundered from everything else, but accompanied by the whole series of grades, down through all the forms of animals, through the vegetable kingdom to unorganised nature. All these supplement each other in the complete objectification of will; they are as much presupposed by the Idea of man as the blossoms of a tree presuppose leaves, branches, stem, and root; they form a pyramid, of which man is the apex. If fond of similes, one might also say that their manifestations accompany that of man as necessarily as the full daylight is accompanied by all the gradations of twilight, through which, little by little, it loses itself in darkness; or one might call them the echo of man, and say: Animal and plant are the descending fifth and third of man, the inorganic kingdom is the lower octave. The full truth of this last comparison will only become clear to us when, in the following book, we attempt to fathom the deep significance of music, and see how a connected, progressive melody, made up of high, quick notes, may be regarded as in some sense expressing the life and efforts of man connected by reflection, while the unconnected complemental notes and the slow bass, which make up the harmony necessary to perfect the music, represent the rest of the animal kingdom and the whole of nature that is without knowledge. But of this in its own place, where it will not sound so paradoxical. [pg 201] We find, however, that the inner necessity of the gradation of its manifestations, which is inseparable from the adequate objectification of the will, is expressed by an outer necessity in the whole of these manifestations themselves, by reason of which man has need of the beasts for his support, the beasts in their grades have need of each other as well as of plants, which in their turn require the ground, water, chemical elements and their combinations, the planet, the sun, rotation and motion round the sun, the curve of the ellipse, &c., &c. At bottom this results from the fact that the will must live on itself, for there exists nothing beside it, and it is a hungry will. Hence arise eager pursuit, anxiety, and suffering.

It is only the knowledge of the unity of will as thing-in-itself, in the endless diversity and multiplicity of the phenomena, that can afford us the true explanation of that wonderful, unmistakable analogy of all the productions of nature, that family likeness on account of which we may regard them as variations on the same ungiven theme. So in like measure, through the distinct and thoroughly comprehended knowledge of that harmony, that essential connection of all the parts of the world, that necessity of their gradation which we have just been considering, we shall obtain a true and sufficient insight into the inner nature and meaning of the undeniable teleology of all organised productions of nature, which, indeed, we presupposed a priori, when considering and investigating them.

This teleology is of a twofold description; sometimes an inner teleology, that is, an agreement of all the parts of a particular organism, so ordered that the sustenance of the individual and the species results from it, and therefore presents itself as the end of that disposition or arrangement. Sometimes, however, there is an outward teleology, a relation of unorganised to organised nature in general, or of particular parts of organised nature to each [pg 202] other, which makes the maintenance of the whole of organised nature, or of the particular animal species, possible, and therefore presents itself to our judgment as the means to this end.

Inner teleology is connected with the scheme of our work in the following way. If, in accordance with what has been said, all variations of form in nature, and all multiplicity of individuals, belong not to the will itself, but merely to its objectivity and the form of this objectivity, it necessarily follows that the will is indivisible and is present as a whole in every manifestation, although the grades of its objectification, the (Platonic) Ideas, are very different from each other. We may, for the sake of simplicity, regard these different Ideas as in themselves individual and simple acts of the will, in which it expresses its nature more or less. Individuals, however, are again manifestations of the Ideas, thus of these acts, in time, space, and multiplicity. Now, in the lowest grades of objectivity, such an act (or an Idea) retains its unity in the manifestation; while, in order to appear in higher grades, it requires a whole series of conditions and developments in time, which only collectively express its nature completely. Thus, for example the Idea that reveals itself in any general force of nature has always one single expression, although it presents itself differently according to the external relations that are present: otherwise its identity could not be proved, for this is done by abstracting the diversity that arises merely from external relations. In the same way the crystal has only one manifestation of life, crystallisation, which afterwards has its fully adequate and exhaustive expression in the rigid form, the corpse of that momentary life. The plant, however, does not express the Idea, whose phenomenon it is, at once and through a single manifestation, but in a succession of developments of its organs in time. The animal not only develops its organism in the same manner, in a succession of forms which are often very different [pg 203] (metamorphosis), but this form itself, although it is already objectivity of will at this grade, does not attain to a full expression of its Idea. This expression must be completed through the actions of the animal, in which its empirical character, common to the whole species, manifests itself, and only then does it become the full revelation of the Idea, a revelation which presupposes the particular organism as its first condition. In the case of man, the empirical character is peculiar to every individual (indeed, as we shall see in the Fourth Book, even to the extent of supplanting entirely the character of the species, through the self-surrender of the whole will). That which is known as the empirical character, through the necessary development in time, and the division into particular actions that is conditioned by it, is, when we abstract from this temporal form of the manifestation the intelligible character, according to the expression of Kant, who shows his undying merit especially in establishing this distinction and explaining the relation between freedom and necessity, i.e., between the will as thing-in-itself and its manifestations in time.38 Thus the intelligible character coincides with the Idea, or, more accurately, with the original act of will which reveals itself in it. So far then, not only the empirical character of every man, but also that of every species of animal and plant, and even of every original force of unorganised nature, is to be regarded as the manifestation of an intelligible character, that is, of a timeless, indivisible act of will. I should like here to draw attention in passing to the naïveté with which every plant expresses and lays open its whole character in its mere form, reveals its whole being and will. This is [pg 204] why the physiognomy of plants is so interesting; while in order to know an animal in its Idea, it is necessary to observe the course of its action. As for man, he must be fully investigated and tested, for reason makes him capable of a high degree of dissimulation. The beast is as much more naïve than the man as the plant is more naïve than the beast. In the beast we see the will to live more naked, as it were, than in the man, in whom it is clothed with so much knowledge, and is, moreover, so veiled through the capacity for dissimulation, that it is almost only by chance, and here and there, that its true nature becomes apparent. In the plant it shows itself quite naked, but also much weaker, as mere blind striving for existence without end or aim. For the plant reveals its whole being at the first glance, and with complete innocence, which does not suffer from the fact that it carries its organs of generation exposed to view on its upper surface, though in all animals they have been assigned to the most hidden part. This innocence of the plant results from its complete want of knowledge. Guilt does not lie in willing, but in willing with knowledge. Every plant speaks to us first of all of its home, of the climate, and the nature of the ground in which it has grown. Therefore, even those who have had little practice easily tell whether an exotic plant belongs to the tropical or the temperate zone, and whether it grows in water, in marshes, on mountain, or on moorland. Besides this, however, every plant expresses the special will of its species, and says something that cannot be uttered in any other tongue. But we must now apply what has been said to the teleological consideration of the organism, so far as it concerns its inner design. If in unorganised nature the Idea, which is everywhere to be regarded as a single act of will, reveals itself also in a single manifestation which is always the same, and thus one may say that here the empirical character directly partakes of the [pg 205] unity of the intelligible, coincides, as it were, with it, so that no inner design can show itself here; if, on the contrary, all organisms express their Ideas through a series of successive developments, conditioned by a multiplicity of co-existing parts, and thus only the sum of the manifestations of the empirical character collectively constitute the expression of the intelligible character; this necessary co-existence of the parts and succession of the stages of development does not destroy the unity of the appearing Idea, the act of will which expresses itself; nay, rather this unity finds its expression in the necessary relation and connection of the parts and stages of development with each other, in accordance with the law of causality. Since it is the will which is one, indivisible, and therefore entirely in harmony with itself, that reveals itself in the whole Idea as in act, its manifestation, although broken up into a number of different parts and conditions, must yet show this unity again in the thorough agreement of all of these. This is effected by a necessary relation and dependence of all the parts upon each other, by means of which the unity of the Idea is re-established in the manifestation. In accordance with this, we now recognise these different parts and functions of the organism as related to each other reciprocally as means and end, but the organism itself as the final end of all. Consequently, neither the breaking up of the Idea, which in itself is simple, into the multiplicity of the parts and conditions of the organism, on the one hand, nor, on the other hand, the re-establishment of its unity through the necessary connection of the parts and functions which arises from the fact that they are the cause and effect, the means and end, of each other, is peculiar and essential to the appearing will as such, to the thing-in-itself, but only to its manifestation in space, time, and causality (mere modes of the principle of sufficient reason, the form of the phenomenon). They belong to the world as [pg 206] idea, not to the world as will; they belong to the way in which the will becomes object, i.e., idea at this grade of its objectivity. Every one who has grasped the meaning of this discussion—a discussion which is perhaps somewhat difficult—will now fully understand the doctrine of Kant, which follows from it, that both the design of organised and the conformity to law of unorganised nature are only introduced by our understanding, and therefore both belong only to the phenomenon, not to the thing-in-itself. The surprise, which was referred to above, at the infallible constancy of the conformity to law of unorganised nature, is essentially the same as the surprise that is excited by design in organised nature; for in both cases what we wonder at is only the sight of the original unity of the Idea, which, for the phenomenon, has assumed the form of multiplicity and diversity.39

As regards the second kind of teleology, according to the division made above, the outer design, which shows itself, not in the inner economy of the organisms, but in the support and assistance they receive from without, both from unorganised nature and from each other; its general explanation is to be found in the exposition we have just given. For the whole world, with all its phenomena, is the objectivity of the one indivisible will, the Idea, which is related to all other Ideas as harmony is related to the single voice. Therefore that unity of the will must show itself also in the agreement of all its manifestations. But we can very much increase the clearness of this insight if we go somewhat more closely into the manifestations of that outer teleology and agreement of the different parts of nature with each other, an inquiry which will also throw some light on the foregoing exposition. We shall best attain this end by considering the following analogy.

The character of each individual man, so far as it is [pg 207] thoroughly individual, and not entirely included in that of the species, may be regarded as a special Idea, corresponding to a special act of the objectification of will. This act itself would then be his intelligible character, and his empirical character would be the manifestation of it. The empirical character is entirely determined through the intelligible, which is without ground, i.e., as thing-in-itself is not subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason (the form of the phenomenon). The empirical character must in the course of life afford us the express image of the intelligible, and can only become what the nature of the latter demands. But this property extends only to the essential, not to the unessential in the course of life to which it applies. To this unessential belong the detailed events and actions which are the material in which the empirical character shows itself. These are determined by outward circumstances, which present the motives upon which the character reacts according to its nature; and as they may be very different, the outward form of the manifestation of the empirical character, that is, the definite actual or historical form of the course of life, will have to accommodate itself to their influence. Now this form may be very different, although what is essential to the manifestation, its content, remains the same. Thus, for example it is immaterial whether a man plays for nuts or for crowns; but whether a man cheats or plays fairly, that is the real matter; the latter is determined by the intelligible character, the former by outward circumstances. As the same theme may be expressed in a hundred different variations, so the same character may be expressed in a hundred very different lives. But various as the outward influence may be, the empirical character which expresses itself in the course of life must yet, whatever form it takes, accurately objectify the intelligible character, for the latter adapts its objectification to the given material of actual circumstances. We have now to assume something analogous to the [pg 208] influence of outward circumstances upon the life that is determined in essential matters by the character, if we desire to understand how the will, in the original act of its objectification, determines the various Ideas in which it objectifies itself, that is, the different forms of natural existence of every kind, among which it distributes its objectification, and which must therefore necessarily have a relation to each other in the manifestation. We must assume that between all these manifestations of the one will there existed a universal and reciprocal adaptation and accommodation of themselves to each other, by which, however, as we shall soon see more clearly, all time-determination is to be excluded, for the Idea lies outside time. In accordance with this, every manifestation must have adapted itself to the surroundings into which it entered, and these again must have adapted themselves to it, although it occupied a much later position in time; and we see this consensus naturæ everywhere. Every plant is therefore adapted to its soil and climate, every animal to its element and the prey that will be its food, and is also in some way protected, to a certain extent, against its natural enemy: the eye is adapted to the light and its refrangibility, the lungs and the blood to the air, the air-bladder of fish to water, the eye of the seal to the change of the medium in which it must see, the water-pouch in the stomach of the camel to the drought of the African deserts, the sail of the nautilus to the wind that is to drive its little bark, and so on down to the most special and astonishing outward adaptations.40 We must abstract however here from all temporal relations, for these can only concern the manifestation of the Idea, not the Idea itself. Accordingly this kind of explanation must also be used retrospectively, and we must not merely admit that every species accommodated itself to the given environment, but also that this environment itself, which preceded it in time, had just as much regard for the being [pg 209] that would some time come into it. For it is one and the same will that objectifies itself in the whole world; it knows no time, for this form of the principle of sufficient reason does not belong to it, nor to its original objectivity, the Ideas, but only to the way in which these are known by the individuals who themselves are transitory, i.e., to the manifestation of the Ideas. Thus, time has no significance for our present examination of the manner in which the objectification of the will distributes itself among the Ideas, and the Ideas whose manifestations entered into the course of time earlier, according to the law of causality, to which as phenomena they are subject, have no advantage over those whose manifestation entered later; nay rather, these last are the completest objectifications of the will, to which the earlier manifestations must adapt themselves just as much as they must adapt themselves to the earlier. Thus the course of the planets, the tendency to the ellipse, the rotation of the earth, the division of land and sea, the atmosphere, light, warmth, and all such phenomena, which are in nature what bass is in harmony, adapted themselves in anticipation of the coming species of living creatures of which they were to become the supporter and sustainer. In the same way the ground adapted itself to the nutrition of plants, plants adapted themselves to the nutrition of animals, animals to that of other animals, and conversely they all adapted themselves to the nutrition of the ground. All the parts of nature correspond to each other, for it is one will that appears in them all, but the course of time is quite foreign to its original and only adequate objectification (this expression will be explained in the following book), the Ideas. Even now, when the species have only to sustain themselves, no longer to come into existence, we see here and there some such forethought of nature extending to the future, and abstracting as it were from the process of time, a self-adaptation of what is to what [pg 210] is yet to come. The bird builds the nest for the young which it does not yet know; the beaver constructs a dam the object of which is unknown to it; ants, marmots, and bees lay in provision for the winter they have never experienced; the spider and the ant-lion make snares, as if with deliberate cunning, for future unknown prey; insects deposit their eggs where the coming brood finds future nourishment. In the spring-time the female flower of the diœcian valisneria unwinds the spirals of its stalk, by which till now it was held at the bottom of the water, and thus rises to the surface. Just then the male flower, which grows on a short stalk from the bottom, breaks away, and so, at the sacrifice of its life, reaches the surface, where it swims about in search of the female. The latter is fructified, and then draws itself down again to the bottom by contracting its spirals, and there the fruit grows.41 I must again refer here to the larva of the male stag-beetle, which makes the hole in the wood for its metamorphosis as big again as the female does, in order to have room for its future horns. The instinct of animals in general gives us the best illustration of what remains of teleology in nature. For as instinct is an action, like that which is guided by the conception of an end, and yet is entirely without this; so all construction of nature resembles that which is guided by the conception of an end, and yet is entirely without it. For in the outer as in the inner teleology of nature, what we are obliged to think as means and end is, in every case, the manifestation of the unity of the one will so thoroughly agreeing with itself, which has assumed multiplicity in space and time for our manner of knowing.

The reciprocal adaptation and self-accommodation of phenomena that springs from this unity cannot, however, annul the inner contradiction which appears in the universal conflict of nature described above, and which [pg 211] is essential to the will. That harmony goes only so far as to render possible the duration of the world and the different kinds of existences in it, which without it would long since have perished. Therefore it only extends to the continuance of the species, and the general conditions of life, but not to that of the individual. If, then, by reason of that harmony and accommodation, the species in organised nature and the universal forces in unorganised nature continue to exist beside each other, and indeed support each other reciprocally, on the other hand, the inner contradiction of the will which objectifies itself in all these ideas shows itself in the ceaseless internecine war of the individuals of these species, and in the constant struggle of the manifestations of these natural forces with each other, as we pointed out above. The scene and the object of this conflict is matter, which they try to wrest from each other, and also space and time, the combination of which through the form of causality is, in fact, matter, as was explained in the First Book.42

§ 29. I here conclude the second principal division of my exposition, in the hope that, so far as is possible in the case of an entirely new thought, which cannot be quite free from traces of the individuality in which it originated, I have succeeded in conveying to the reader the complete certainty that this world in which we live and have our being is in its whole nature through and through will, and at the same time through and through idea: that this idea, as such, already presupposes a form, object and subject, is therefore relative; and if we ask what remains if we take away this form, and all those forms which are subordinate to it, and which express the principle of sufficient reason, the answer must be that as something toto genere different from idea, this can be nothing but will, which is thus properly the thing-in-itself. Every one finds that he himself is this will, in which the real nature of the world consists, and he also [pg 212] finds that he is the knowing subject, whose idea the whole world is, the world which exists only in relation to his consciousness, as its necessary supporter. Every one is thus himself in a double aspect the whole world, the microcosm; finds both sides whole and complete in himself. And what he thus recognises as his own real being also exhausts the being of the whole world—the macrocosm; thus the world, like man, is through and through will, and through and through idea, and nothing more than this. So we see the philosophy of Thales, which concerned the macrocosm, unite at this point with that of Socrates, which dealt with the microcosm, for the object of both is found to be the same. But all the knowledge that has been communicated in the two first books will gain greater completeness, and consequently greater certainty, from the two following books, in which I hope that several questions that have more or less distinctly arisen in the course of our work will also be sufficiently answered.

In the meantime one such question may be more particularly considered, for it can only properly arise so long as one has not fully penetrated the meaning of the foregoing exposition, and may so far serve as an illustration of it. It is this: Every will is a will towards something, has an object, an end of its willing; what then is the final end, or towards what is that will striving that is exhibited to us as the being-in-itself of the world? This question rests, like so many others, upon the confusion of the thing-in-itself with the manifestation. The principle of sufficient reason, of which the law of motivation is also a form, extends only to the latter, not to the former. It is only of phenomena, of individual things, that a ground can be given, never of the will itself, nor of the Idea in which it adequately objectifies itself. So then of every particular movement or change of any kind in nature, a cause is to be sought, that is, a condition that of necessity produced it, but never of the [pg 213] natural force itself which is revealed in this and innumerable similar phenomena; and it is therefore simple misunderstanding, arising from want of consideration, to ask for a cause of gravity, electricity, and so on. Only if one had somehow shown that gravity and electricity were not original special forces of nature, but only the manifestations of a more general force already known, would it be allowable to ask for the cause which made this force produce the phenomena of gravity or of electricity here. All this has been explained at length above. In the same way every particular act of will of a knowing individual (which is itself only a manifestation of will as the thing-in-itself) has necessarily a motive without which that act would never have occurred; but just as material causes contain merely the determination that at this time, in this place, and in this matter, a manifestation of this or that natural force must take place, so the motive determines only the act of will of a knowing being, at this time, in this place, and under these circumstances, as a particular act, but by no means determines that that being wills in general or wills in this manner; this is the expression of his intelligible character, which, as will itself, the thing-in-itself, is without ground, for it lies outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason. Therefore every man has permanent aims and motives by which he guides his conduct, and he can always give an account of his particular actions; but if he were asked why he wills at all, or why in general he wills to exist, he would have no answer, and the question would indeed seem to him meaningless; and this would be just the expression of his consciousness that he himself is nothing but will, whose willing stands by itself and requires more particular determination by motives only in its individual acts at each point of time.

In fact, freedom from all aim, from all limits, belongs to the nature of the will, which is an endless striving. This was already touched on above in the reference to [pg 214] centrifugal force. It also discloses itself in its simplest form in the lowest grade of the objectification of will, in gravitation, which we see constantly exerting itself, though a final goal is obviously impossible for it. For if, according to its will, all existing matter were collected in one mass, yet within this mass gravity, ever striving towards the centre, would still wage war with impenetrability as rigidity or elasticity. The tendency of matter can therefore only be confined, never completed or appeased. But this is precisely the case with all tendencies of all phenomena of will. Every attained end is also the beginning of a new course, and so on ad infinitum. The plant raises its manifestation from the seed through the stem and the leaf to the blossom and the fruit, which again is the beginning of a new seed, a new individual, that runs through the old course, and so on through endless time. Such also is the life of the animal; procreation is its highest point, and after attaining to it, the life of the first individual quickly or slowly sinks, while a new life ensures to nature the endurance of the species and repeats the same phenomena. Indeed, the constant renewal of the matter of every organism is also to be regarded as merely the manifestation of this continual pressure and change, and physiologists are now ceasing to hold that it is the necessary reparation of the matter wasted in motion, for the possible wearing out of the machine can by no means be equivalent to the support it is constantly receiving through nourishment. Eternal becoming, endless flux, characterises the revelation of the inner nature of will. Finally, the same thing shows itself in human endeavours and desires, which always delude us by presenting their satisfaction as the final end of will. As soon as we attain to them they no longer appear the same, and therefore they soon grow stale, are forgotten, and though not openly disowned, are yet always thrown aside as vanished illusions. We are fortunate enough if there [pg 215] still remains something to wish for and to strive after, that the game may be kept up of constant transition from desire to satisfaction, and from satisfaction to a new desire, the rapid course of which is called happiness, and the slow course sorrow, and does not sink into that stagnation that shows itself in fearful ennui that paralyses life, vain yearning without a definite object, deadening languor. According to all this, when the will is enlightened by knowledge, it always knows what it wills now and here, never what it wills in general; every particular act of will has its end, the whole will has none; just as every particular phenomenon of nature is determined by a sufficient cause so far as concerns its appearance in this place at this time, but the force which manifests itself in it has no general cause, for it belongs to the thing-in-itself, to the groundless will. The single example of self-knowledge of the will as a whole is the idea as a whole, the whole world of perception. It is the objectification, the revelation, the mirror of the will. What the will expresses in it will be the subject of our further consideration.43

[pg 217]

Third Book. The World As Idea.

Second Aspect. The Idea Independent Of The Principle Of Sufficient Reason: The Platonic Idea: The Object Of Art.

Τί τὸ ὄν μὲν ἀεί, γένεσιν δὲ οὐκ ἔχον; καὶ τί τό γιγνόμενον μὲν καὶ ἀπολλύμενον, ὄντως δε οὐδέποτε ὄν.——ΠΛΑΤΩΝ.

[pg 219]

§ 30. In the First Book the world was explained as mere idea, object for a subject. In the Second Book we considered it from its other side, and found that in this aspect it is will, which proved to be simply that which this world is besides being idea. In accordance with this knowledge we called the world as idea, both as a whole and in its parts, the objectification of will, which therefore means the will become object, i.e., idea. Further, we remember that this objectification of will was found to have many definite grades, in which, with gradually increasing distinctness and completeness, the nature of will appears in the idea, that is to say, presents itself as object. In these grades we already recognised the Platonic Ideas, for the grades are just the determined species, or the original unchanging forms and qualities of all natural bodies, both organised and unorganised, and also the general forces which reveal themselves according to natural laws. These Ideas, then, as a whole express themselves in innumerable individuals and particulars, and are related to these as archetypes to their copies. The multiplicity of such individuals is only conceivable through time and space, their appearing and passing away through causality, and in all these forms we recognise merely the different modes of the principle of sufficient reason, which is the ultimate principle of all that is finite, of all individual existence, and the universal form of the idea as it appears in the knowledge of the individual as such. The Platonic Idea, on the other [pg 220] hand, does not come under this principle, and has therefore neither multiplicity nor change. While the individuals in which it expresses itself are innumerable, and unceasingly come into being and pass away, it remains unchanged as one and the same, and the principle of sufficient reason has for it no meaning. As, however, this is the form under which all knowledge of the subject comes, so far as the subject knows as an individual, the Ideas lie quite outside the sphere of its knowledge. If, therefore, the Ideas are to become objects of knowledge, this can only happen by transcending the individuality of the knowing subject. The more exact and detailed explanation of this is what will now occupy our attention.

§ 31. First, however, the following very essential remark. I hope that in the preceding book I have succeeded in producing the conviction that what is called in the Kantian philosophy the thing-in-itself, and appears there as so significant, and yet so obscure and paradoxical a doctrine, and especially on account of the manner in which Kant introduced it as an inference from the caused to the cause, was considered a stumbling-stone, and, in fact, the weak side of his philosophy,—that this, I say, if it is reached by the entirely different way by which we have arrived at it, is nothing but the will when the sphere of that conception is extended and defined in the way I have shown. I hope, further, that after what has been said there will be no hesitation in recognising the definite grades of the objectification of the will, which is the inner reality of the world, to be what Plato called the eternal Ideas or unchangeable forms (ειδῆ); a doctrine which is regarded as the principal, but at the same time the most obscure and paradoxical dogma of his system, and has been the subject of reflection and controversy of ridicule and of reverence to so many and such differently endowed minds in the course of many centuries.

[pg 221]

If now the will is for us the thing-in-itself, and the Idea is the immediate objectivity of that will at a definite grade, we find that Kant's thing-in-itself, and Plato's Idea, which to him is the only οντως ον, these two great obscure paradoxes of the two greatest philosophers of the West are not indeed identical, but yet very closely related, and only distinguished by a single circumstance. The purport of these two great paradoxes, with all inner harmony and relationship, is yet so very different on account of the remarkable diversity of the individuality of their authors, that they are the best commentary on each other, for they are like two entirely different roads that conduct us to the same goal. This is easily made clear. What Kant says is in substance this:—“Time, space, and causality are not determinations of the thing-in-itself, but belong only to its phenomenal existence, for they are nothing but the forms of our knowledge. Since, however, all multiplicity, and all coming into being and passing away, are only possible through time, space, and causality, it follows that they also belong only to the phenomenon, not to the thing-in-itself. But as our knowledge is conditioned by these forms, the whole of experience is only knowledge of the phenomenon, not of the thing-in-itself; therefore its laws cannot be made valid for the thing-in-itself. This extends even to our own ego, and we know it only as phenomenon, and not according to what it may be in itself.” This is the meaning and content of the doctrine of Kant in the important respect we are considering. What Plato says is this:—“The things of this world which our senses perceive have no true being; they always become, they never are: they have only a relative being; they all exist merely in and through their relations to each other; their whole being may, therefore, quite as well be called a non-being. They are consequently not objects of a true knowledge (επιστημη), for such a knowledge can only be of what exists for itself, and always in the same way; [pg 222] they, on the contrary, are only the objects of an opinion based on sensation (δοξα μετ᾽ αισθησεως αλογου). So long as we are confined to the perception of these, we are like men who sit in a dark cave, bound so fast that they cannot turn their heads, and who see nothing but the shadows of real things which pass between them and a fire burning behind them, the light of which casts the shadows on the wall opposite them; and even of themselves and of each other they see only the shadows on the wall. Their wisdom would thus consist in predicting the order of the shadows learned from experience. The real archetypes, on the other hand, to which these shadows correspond, the eternal Ideas, the original forms of all things, can alone be said to have true being (οντως ον), because they always are, but never become nor pass away. To them belongs no multiplicity; for each of them is according to its nature only one, for it is the archetype itself, of which all particular transitory things of the same kind which are named after it are copies or shadows. They have also no coming into being nor passing away, for they are truly being, never becoming nor vanishing, like their fleeting shadows. (It is necessarily presupposed, however, in these two negative definitions, that time, space, and causality have no significance or validity for these Ideas, and that they do not exist in them.) Of these only can there be true knowledge, for the object of such knowledge can only be that which always and in every respect (thus in-itself) is; not that which is and again is not, according as we look at it.” This is Plato's doctrine. It is clear, and requires no further proof that the inner meaning of both doctrines is entirely the same; that both explain the visible world as a manifestation, which in itself is nothing, and which only has meaning and a borrowed reality through that which expresses itself in it (in the one case the thing-in-itself, in the other the Idea). To this last, which has true being, all the forms of that phenomenal existence, even [pg 223] the most universal and essential, are, according to both doctrines, entirely foreign. In order to disown these forms Kant has directly expressed them even in abstract terms, and distinctly refused time, space, and causality as mere forms of the phenomenon to the thing-in-itself. Plato, on the other hand, did not attain to the fullest expression, and has only distinctly refused these forms to his Ideas in that he denies of the Ideas what is only possible through these forms, multiplicity of similar things, coming into being and passing away. Though it is perhaps superfluous, I should like to illustrate this remarkable and important agreement by an example. There stands before us, let us suppose, an animal in the full activity of life. Plato would say, “This animal has no true existence, but merely an apparent existence, a constant becoming, a relative existence which may just as well be called non-being as being. Only the Idea which expresses itself in that animal is truly ‘being,’ or the animal in-itself (αυτο το θηριον), which is dependent upon nothing, but is in and for itself (καθ᾽ ἑαυτο, αει ὡς αυτως); it has not become, it will not end, but always is in the same way (αει ον, και μηδεποτε ουτε γυγνομενον ουτε απολλυμενον). If now we recognise its Idea in this animal, it is all one and of no importance whether we have this animal now before us or its progenitor of a thousand years ago, whether it is here or in a distant land, whether it presents itself in this or that manner, position, or action; whether, lastly, it is this or any other individual of the same species; all this is nothing, and only concerns the phenomenon; the Idea of the animal alone has true being, and is the object of real knowledge.” So Plato; Kant would say something of this kind, “This animal is a phenomenon in time, space, and causality, which are collectively the conditions a priori of the possibility of experience, lying in our faculty of knowledge, not determinations of the thing-in-itself. Therefore this animal as we perceive it at this definite point of time, in [pg 224] this particular place, as an individual in the connection of experience (i.e., in the chain of causes and effects), which has come into being, and will just as necessarily pass away, is not a thing-in-itself, but a phenomenon which only exists in relation to our knowledge. To know it as what it may be in itself, that is to say, independent of all the determinations which lie in time, space, and causality, would demand another kind of knowledge than that which is possible for us through the senses and the understanding.”

In order to bring Kant's mode of expression nearer the Platonic, we might say: Time, space, and causality are that arrangement of our intellect by virtue of which the one being of each kind which alone really is, manifests itself to us as a multiplicity of similar beings, constantly appearing and disappearing in endless succession. The apprehension of things by means of and in accordance with this arrangement is immanent knowledge; that, on the other hand, which is conscious of the true state of the case, is transcendental knowledge. The latter is obtained in abstracto through the criticism of pure reason, but in exceptional cases it may also appear intuitively. This last is an addition of my own, which I am endeavouring in this Third Book to explain.

If the doctrine of Kant had ever been properly understood and grasped, and since Kant's time that of Plato, if men had truly and earnestly reflected on the inner meaning and content of the teaching of these two great masters, instead of involving themselves in the technicalities of the one and writing parodies of the style of the other, they could not have failed to discern long ago to what an extent these two great philosophers agree, and that the true meaning, the aim of both systems, is the same. Not only would they have refrained from constantly comparing Plato to Leibnitz, on whom his spirit certainly did not rest, or indeed to a [pg 225] well-known gentleman who is still alive,44 as if they wanted to mock the manes of the great thinker of the past; but they would have advanced much farther in general, or rather they would not have fallen so disgracefully far behind as they have in the last forty years. They would not have let themselves be led by the nose, to-day by one vain boaster and to-morrow by another, nor would they have opened the nineteenth century, which promised so much in Germany, with the philosophical farces that were performed over the grave of Kant (as the ancients sometimes did at the funeral obsequies of their dead), and which deservedly called forth the derision of other nations, for such things least become the earnest and strait-laced German. But so small is the chosen public of true philosophers, that even students who understand are but scantily brought them by the centuries—Εισι δη ναρθηκοφοροι μεν πολλοι, βακχοι δε γε παυροι (Thyrsigeri quidem multi, Baachi vero pauci). Ἡ ατιμια φιλοσοφιᾳ δια ταυτα προσπεπτωκεν, ὁτι ου κατ αξιαν αυτης ἁπτονται; ου γαρ νοθους εδει ἁπτεσθαι, αλλα γνησιους (Eam ob rem philosophia in infamiam incidit, quad non pro dignitate ipsam attingunt: neque enim a spuriis, sad a legitimis erat attrectanda).—Plato.

Men followed the words,—such words as a priori ideas,” “forms of perception and thought existing in consciousness independently of experience,” “fundamental conceptions of the pure understanding,” &c., &c.,—and asked whether Plato's Ideas, which were also original conceptions, and besides this were supposed to be reminiscences of a perception before life of the truly real things, were in some way the same as Kant's forms of perception and thought, which lie a priori in our consciousness. On account of some slight resemblance in the expression of these two entirely different doctrines, the Kantian doctrine of the forms which limit the knowledge of the individual to the phenomenon, and the Platonic doctrine [pg 226] of Ideas, the knowledge of which these very forms expressly deny, these so far diametrically opposed doctrines were carefully compared, and men deliberated and disputed as to whether they were identical, found at last that they were not the same, and concluded that Plato's doctrine of Ideas and Kant's “Critique of Reason” had nothing in common. But enough of this.45

§ 32. It follows from our consideration of the subject, that, for us, Idea and thing-in-itself are not entirely one and the same, in spite of the inner agreement between Kant and Plato, and the identity of the aim they had before them, or the conception of the world which roused them and led them to philosophise. The Idea is for us rather the direct, and therefore adequate, objectivity of the thing-in-itself, which is, however, itself the will—the will as not yet objectified, not yet become idea. For the thing-in-itself must, even according to Kant, be free from all the forms connected with knowing as such; and it is merely an error on his part (as is shown in the Appendix) that he did not count among these forms, before all others, that of being object for a subject, for it is the first and most universal form of all phenomena, i.e., of all idea; he should therefore have distinctly denied objective existence to his thing-in-itself, which would have saved him from a great inconsistency that was soon discovered. The Platonic Idea, on the other hand, is necessarily object, something known, an idea, and in that respect is different from the thing-in-itself, but in that respect only. It has merely laid aside the subordinate forms of the phenomenon, all of which we include in the principle of sufficient reason, or rather it has not yet assumed them; but it has retained the first and most universal form, that of the idea in general, the form of being object for a subject. It is the forms [pg 227] which are subordinate to this (whose general expression is the principle of sufficient reason) that multiply the Idea in particular transitory individuals, whose number is a matter of complete indifference to the Idea. The principle of sufficient reason is thus again the form into which the Idea enters when it appears in the knowledge of the subject as individual. The particular thing that manifests itself in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason is thus only an indirect objectification of the thing-in-itself (which is the will), for between it and the thing-in-itself stands the Idea as the only direct objectivity of the will, because it has assumed none of the special forms of knowledge as such, except that of the idea in general, i.e., the form of being object for a subject. Therefore it alone is the most adequate objectivity of the will or thing-in-itself which is possible; indeed it is the whole thing-in-itself, only under the form of the idea; and here lies the ground of the great agreement between Plato and Kant, although, in strict accuracy, that of which they speak is not the same. But the particular things are no really adequate objectivity of the will, for in them it is obscured by those forms whose general expression is the principle of sufficient reason, but which are conditions of the knowledge which belongs to the individual as such. If it is allowable to draw conclusions from an impossible presupposition, we would, in fact, no longer know particular things, nor events, nor change, nor multiplicity, but would comprehend only Ideas,—only the grades of the objectification of that one will, of the thing-in-itself, in pure unclouded knowledge. Consequently our world would be a nunc stans, if it were not that, as knowing subjects, we are also individuals, i.e., our perceptions come to us through the medium of a body, from the affections of which they proceed, and which is itself only concrete willing, objectivity of the will, and thus is an object among objects, and as such comes into the knowing consciousness in the only way in [pg 228] which an object can, through the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, and consequently already presupposes, and therefore brings in, time, and all other forms which that principle expresses. Time is only the broken and piecemeal view which the individual being has of the Ideas, which are outside time, and consequently eternal. Therefore Plato says time is the moving picture of eternity: αιωνος εικων κινητη ὁ χρονος.46

§ 33. Since now, as individuals, we have no other knowledge than that which is subject to the principle of sufficient reason, and this form of knowledge excludes the Ideas, it is certain that if it is possible for us to raise ourselves from the knowledge of particular things to that of the Ideas, this can only happen by an alteration taking place in the subject which is analogous and corresponds to the great change of the whole nature of the object, and by virtue of which the subject, so far as it knows an Idea, is no more individual.

It will be remembered from the preceding book that knowledge in general belongs to the objectification of will at its higher grades, and sensibility, nerves, and brain, just like the other parts of the organised being, are the expression of the will at this stage of its objectivity, and therefore the idea which appears through them is also in the same way bound to the service of will as a means (μηχανη) for the attainment of its now complicated (πολυτελεστερα) aims for sustaining a being of manifold requirements. Thus originally and according to its nature, knowledge is completely subject to the will, and, like the immediate object, which, by means of the application of the law of causality, is its starting-point, all knowledge which proceeds in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason remains in a closer or more distant relation to the will. For the individual finds his body as an object among objects, to all of which it is related and connected according to the principle [pg 229] of sufficient reason. Thus all investigations of these relations and connections lead back to his body, and consequently to his will. Since it is the principle of sufficient reason which places the objects in this relation to the body, and, through it, to the will, the one endeavour of the knowledge which is subject to this principle will be to find out the relations in which objects are placed to each other through this principle, and thus to trace their innumerable connections in space, time, and causality. For only through these is the object interesting to the individual, i.e., related to the will. Therefore the knowledge which is subject to the will knows nothing further of objects than their relations, knows the objects only so far as they exist at this time, in this place, under these circumstances, from these causes, and with these effects—in a word, as particular things; and if all these relations were to be taken away, the objects would also have disappeared for it, because it knew nothing more about them. We must not disguise the fact that what the sciences consider in things is also in reality nothing more than this; their relations, the connections of time and space, the causes of natural changes, the resemblance of forms, the motives of actions,—thus merely relations. What distinguishes science from ordinary knowledge is merely its systematic form, the facilitating of knowledge by the comprehension of all particulars in the universal, by means of the subordination of concepts, and the completeness of knowledge which is thereby attained. All relation has itself only a relative existence; for example, all being in time is also non-being; for time is only that by means of which opposite determinations can belong to the same thing; therefore every phenomenon which is in time again is not, for what separates its beginning from its end is only time, which is essentially a fleeting, inconstant, and relative thing, here called duration. But time is the most universal form of all objects of the [pg 230] knowledge which is subject to the will, and the prototype of its other forms.

Knowledge now, as a rule, remains always subordinate to the service of the will, as indeed it originated for this service, and grew, so to speak, to the will, as the head to the body. In the case of the brutes this subjection of knowledge to the will can never be abolished. In the case of men it can be abolished only in exceptional cases, which we shall presently consider more closely. This distinction between man and brute is outwardly expressed by the difference of the relation of the head to the body. In the case of the lower brutes both are deformed: in all brutes the head is directed towards the earth, where the objects of its will lie; even in the higher species the head and the body are still far more one than in the case of man, whose head seems freely set upon his body, as if only carried by and not serving it. This human excellence is exhibited in the highest degree by the Apollo of Belvedere; the head of the god of the Muses, with eyes fixed on the far distance, stands so freely on his shoulders that it seems wholly delivered from the body, and no more subject to its cares.

§ 34. The transition which we have referred to as possible, but yet to be regarded as only exceptional, from the common knowledge of particular things to the knowledge of the Idea, takes place suddenly; for knowledge breaks free from the service of the will, by the subject ceasing to be merely individual, and thus becoming the pure will-less subject of knowledge, which no longer traces relations in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason, but rests in fixed contemplation of the object presented to it, out of its connection with all others, and rises into it.

A full explanation is necessary to make this clear, and the reader must suspend his surprise for a while, till he has grasped the whole thought expressed in this work, and then it will vanish of itself.

[pg 231]

If, raised by the power of the mind, a man relinquishes the common way of looking at things, gives up tracing, under the guidance of the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, their relations to each other, the final goal of which is always a relation to his own will; if he thus ceases to consider the where, the when, the why, and the whither of things, and looks simply and solely at the what; if, further, he does not allow abstract thought, the concepts of the reason, to take possession of his consciousness, but, instead of all this, gives the whole power of his mind to perception, sinks himself entirely in this, and lets his whole consciousness be filled with the quiet contemplation of the natural object actually present, whether a landscape, a tree, a mountain, a building, or whatever it may be; inasmuch as he loses himself in this object (to use a pregnant German idiom), i.e., forgets even his individuality, his will, and only continues to exist as the pure subject, the clear mirror of the object, so that it is as if the object alone were there, without any one to perceive it, and he can no longer separate the perceiver from the perception, but both have become one, because the whole consciousness is filled and occupied with one single sensuous picture; if thus the object has to such an extent passed out of all relation to something outside it, and the subject out of all relation to the will, then that which is so known is no longer the particular thing as such; but it is the Idea, the eternal form, the immediate objectivity of the will at this grade; and, therefore, he who is sunk in this perception is no longer individual, for in such perception the individual has lost himself; but he is pure, will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge. This, which in itself is so remarkable (which I well know confirms the saying that originated with Thomas Paine, Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas), will by degrees become clearer and less surprising from what follows. It was this that was running in Spinoza's mind when he wrote: Meus æterna est, quatenus res sub æternitatis specie [pg 232]concipit (Eth. V. pr. 31, Schol.)47 In such contemplation the particular thing becomes at once the Idea of its species, and the perceiving individual becomes pure subject of knowledge. The individual, as such, knows only particular things; the pure subject of knowledge knows only Ideas. For the individual is the subject of knowledge in its relation to a definite particular manifestation of will, and in subjection to this. This particular manifestation of will is, as such, subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason in all its forms; therefore, all knowledge which relates itself to it also follows the principle of sufficient reason, and no other kind of knowledge is fitted to be of use to the will but this, which always consists merely of relations to the object. The knowing individual as such, and the particular things known by him, are always in some place, at some time, and are links in the chain of causes and effects. The pure subject of knowledge and his correlative, the Idea, have passed out of all these forms of the principle of sufficient reason: time, place, the individual that knows, and the individual that is known, have for them no meaning. When an individual knower has raised himself in the manner described to be pure subject of knowledge, and at the same time has raised the observed object to the Platonic Idea, the world as idea appears complete and pure, and the full objectification of the will takes place, for the Platonic Idea alone is its adequate objectivity. The Idea includes object and subject in like manner in itself, for they are its one form; but in it they are absolutely of equal importance; for as the object is here, as elsewhere, simply the idea of the subject, the subject, which passes entirely into the perceived object has thus become this object itself, for the whole consciousness is nothing but its perfectly [pg 233] distinct picture. Now this consciousness constitutes the whole world as idea, for one imagines the whole of the Platonic Ideas, or grades of the objectivity of will, in their series passing through it. The particular things of all time and space are nothing but Ideas multiplied through the principle of sufficient reason (the form of the knowledge of the individual as such), and thus obscured as regards their pure objectivity. When the Platonic Idea appears, in it subject and object are no longer to be distinguished, for the Platonic Idea, the adequate objectivity of will, the true world as idea, arises only when the subject and object reciprocally fill and penetrate each other completely; and in the same way the knowing and the known individuals, as things in themselves, are not to be distinguished. For if we look entirely away from the true world as idea, there remains nothing but the world as will. The will is the “in-itself” of the Platonic Idea, which fully objectifies it; it is also the “in-itself” of the particular thing and of the individual that knows it, which objectify it incompletely. As will, outside the idea and all its forms, it is one and the same in the object contemplated and in the individual, who soars aloft in this contemplation, and becomes conscious of himself as pure subject. These two are, therefore, in themselves not different, for in themselves they are will, which here knows itself; and multiplicity and difference exist only as the way in which this knowledge comes to the will, i.e., only in the phenomenon, on account of its form, the principle of sufficient reason.

Now the known thing, without me as the subject of knowledge, is just as little an object, and not mere will, blind effort, as without the object, without the idea, I am a knowing subject and not mere blind will. This will is in itself, i.e., outside the idea, one and the same with mine: only in the world as idea, whose form is always at least that of subject and object, we are separated as the known and the knowing individual. As [pg 234] soon as knowledge, the world as idea, is abolished, there remains nothing but mere will, blind effort. That it should receive objectivity, become idea, supposes at once both subject and object; but that this should be pure, complete, and adequate objectivity of the will, supposes the object as Platonic Idea, free from the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, and the subject as the pure subject of knowledge, free from individuality and subjection to the will.

Whoever now, has, after the manner referred to, become so absorbed and lost in the perception of nature that he only continues to exist as the pure knowing subject, becomes in this way directly conscious that, as such, he is the condition, that is, the supporter, of the world and all objective existence; for this now shows itself as dependent upon his existence. Thus he draws nature into himself, so that he sees it to be merely an accident of his own being. In this sense Byron says—

Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them?

But how shall he who feels this, regard himself as absolutely transitory, in contrast to imperishable nature? Such a man will rather be filled with the consciousness, which the Upanishad of the Veda expresses: Hæ omnes creaturæ in totum ego sum, et præter me aliud ens non est (Oupnek'hat, i. 122).48

§ 35. In order to gain a deeper insight into the nature of the world, it is absolutely necessary that we should learn to distinguish the will as thing-in-itself from its adequate objectivity, and also the different grades in which this appears more and more distinctly and fully, i.e., the Ideas themselves, from the merely phenomenal existence of these Ideas in the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, the restricted method of knowledge of the individual. We shall then agree with Plato when he [pg 235] attributes actual being only to the Ideas, and allows only an illusive, dream-like existence to things in space and time, the real world for the individual. Then we shall understand how one and the same Idea reveals itself in so many phenomena, and presents its nature only bit by bit to the individual, one side after another. Then we shall also distinguish the Idea itself from the way in which its manifestation appears in the observation of the individual, and recognise the former as essential and the latter as unessential. Let us consider this with the help of examples taken from the most insignificant things, and also from the greatest. When the clouds move, the figures which they form are not essential, but indifferent to them; but that as elastic vapour they are pressed together, drifted along, spread out, or torn asunder by the force of the wind: this is their nature, the essence of the forces which objectify themselves in them, the Idea; their actual forms are only for the individual observer. To the brook that flows over stones, the eddies, the waves, the foam-flakes which it forms are indifferent and unessential; but that it follows the attraction of gravity, and behaves as inelastic, perfectly mobile, formless, transparent fluid: this is its nature; this, if known through perception, is its Idea; these accidental forms are only for us so long as we know as individuals. The ice on the window-pane forms itself into crystals according to the laws of crystallisation, which reveal the essence of the force of nature that appears here, exhibit the Idea; but the trees and flowers which it traces on the pane are unessential, and are only there for us. What appears in the clouds, the brook, and the crystal is the weakest echo of that will which appears more fully in the plant, more fully still in the beast, and most fully in man. But only the essential in all these grades of its objectification constitutes the Idea; on the other hand, its unfolding or development, because broken up in the forms of the principle of sufficient reason into a multiplicity of many-sided [pg 236] phenomena, is unessential to the Idea, lies merely in the kind of knowledge that belongs to the individual and has reality only for this. The same thing necessarily holds good of the unfolding of that Idea which is the completest objectivity of will. Therefore, the history of the human race, the throng of events, the change of times, the multifarious forms of human life in different lands and countries, all this is only the accidental form of the manifestation of the Idea, does not belong to the Idea itself, in which alone lies the adequate objectivity of the will, but only to the phenomenon which appears in the knowledge of the individual, and is just as foreign, unessential, and indifferent to the Idea itself as the figures which they assume are to the clouds, the form of its eddies and foam-flakes to the brook, or its trees and flowers to the ice.

To him who has thoroughly grasped this, and can distinguish between the will and the Idea, and between the Idea and its manifestation, the events of the world will have significance only so far as they are the letters out of which we may read the Idea of man, but not in and for themselves. He will not believe with the vulgar that time may produce something actually new and significant; that through it, or in it, something absolutely real may attain to existence, or indeed that it itself as a whole has beginning and end, plan and development, and in some way has for its final aim the highest perfection (according to their conception) of the last generation of man, whose life is a brief thirty years. Therefore he will just as little, with Homer, people a whole Olympus with gods to guide the events of time, as, with Ossian, he will take the forms of the clouds for individual beings; for, as we have said, both have just as much meaning as regards the Idea which appears in them. In the manifold forms of human life and in the unceasing change of events, he will regard the Idea only as the abiding and essential, in which the will to live has its fullest objectivity, [pg 237] and which shows its different sides in the capacities, the passions, the errors and the excellences of the human race; in self-interest, hatred, love, fear, boldness, frivolity, stupidity, slyness, wit, genius, and so forth, all of which crowding together and combining in thousands of forms (individuals), continually create the history of the great and the little world, in which it is all the same whether they are set in motion by nuts or by crowns. Finally, he will find that in the world it is the same as in the dramas of Gozzi, in all of which the same persons appear, with like intention, and with a like fate; the motives and incidents are certainly different in each piece, but the spirit of the incidents is the same; the actors in one piece know nothing of the incidents of another, although they performed in it themselves; therefore, after all experience of former pieces, Pantaloon has become no more agile or generous, Tartaglia no more conscientious, Brighella no more courageous, and Columbine no more modest.

Suppose we were allowed for once a clearer glance into the kingdom of the possible, and over the whole chain of causes and effects; if the earth-spirit appeared and showed us in a picture all the greatest men, enlighteners of the world, and heroes, that chance destroyed before they were ripe for their work; then the great events that would have changed the history of the world and brought in periods of the highest culture and enlightenment, but which the blindest chance, the most insignificant accident, hindered at the outset; lastly, the splendid powers of great men, that would have enriched whole ages of the world, but which, either misled by error or passion, or compelled by necessity, they squandered uselessly on unworthy or unfruitful objects, or even wasted in play. If we saw all this, we would shudder and lament at the thought of the lost treasures of whole periods of the world. But the earth-spirit would smile and say, “The source from which the individuals and their powers [pg 238] proceed is inexhaustible and unending as time and space; for, like these forms of all phenomena, they also are only phenomena, visibility of the will. No finite measure can exhaust that infinite source; therefore an undiminished eternity is always open for the return of any event or work that was nipped in the bud. In this world of phenomena true loss is just as little possible as true gain. The will alone is; it is the thing in-itself, and the source of all these phenomena. Its self-knowledge and its assertion or denial, which is then decided upon, is the only event in-itself.”49

§ 36. History follows the thread of events; it is pragmatic so far as it deduces them in accordance with the law of motivation, a law that determines the self-manifesting will wherever it is enlightened by knowledge. At the lowest grades of its objectivity, where it still acts without knowledge, natural science, in the form of etiology, treats of the laws of the changes of its phenomena, and, in the form of morphology, of what is permanent in them. This almost endless task is lightened by the aid of concepts, which comprehend what is general in order that we may deduce what is particular from it. Lastly, mathematics treats of the mere forms, time and space, in which the Ideas, broken up into multiplicity, appear for the knowledge of the subject as individual. All these, of which the common name is science, proceed according to the principle of sufficient reason in its different forms, and their theme is always the phenomenon, its laws, connections, and the relations which result from them. But what kind of knowledge is concerned with that which is outside and independent of all relations, that which alone is really essential to the world, the true content of its phenomena, that which is subject to no change, and therefore is known with equal truth for all time, in a word, the Ideas, which are the direct and adequate objectivity [pg 239] of the thing in-itself, the will? We answer, Art, the work of genius. It repeats or reproduces the eternal Ideas grasped through pure contemplation, the essential and abiding in all the phenomena of the world; and according to what the material is in which it reproduces, it is sculpture or painting, poetry or music. Its one source is the knowledge of Ideas; its one aim the communication of this knowledge. While science, following the unresting and inconstant stream of the fourfold forms of reason and consequent, with each end attained sees further, and can never reach a final goal nor attain full satisfaction, any more than by running we can reach the place where the clouds touch the horizon; art, on the contrary, is everywhere at its goal. For it plucks the object of its contemplation out of the stream of the world's course, and has it isolated before it. And this particular thing, which in that stream was a small perishing part, becomes to art the representative of the whole, an equivalent of the endless multitude in space and time. It therefore pauses at this particular thing; the course of time stops; the relations vanish for it; only the essential, the Idea, is its object. We may, therefore, accurately define it as the way of viewing things independent of the principle of sufficient reason, in opposition to the way of viewing them which proceeds in accordance with that principle, and which is the method of experience and of science. This last method of considering things may be compared to a line infinitely extended in a horizontal direction, and the former to a vertical line which cuts it at any point. The method of viewing things which proceeds in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason is the rational method, and it alone is valid and of use in practical life and in science. The method which looks away from the content of this principle is the method of genius, which is only valid and of use in art. The first is the method of Aristotle; the second is, on the whole, that of Plato. The first is like [pg 240] the mighty storm, that rushes along without beginning and without aim, bending, agitating, and carrying away everything before it; the second is like the silent sunbeam, that pierces through the storm quite unaffected by it. The first is like the innumerable showering drops of the waterfall, which, constantly changing, never rest for an instant; the second is like the rainbow, quietly resting on this raging torrent. Only through the pure contemplation described above, which ends entirely in the object, can Ideas be comprehended; and the nature of genius consists in pre-eminent capacity for such contemplation. Now, as this requires that a man should entirely forget himself and the relations in which he stands, genius is simply the completest objectivity, i.e., the objective tendency of the mind, as opposed to the subjective, which is directed to one's own self—in other words, to the will. Thus genius is the faculty of continuing in the state of pure perception, of losing oneself in perception, and of enlisting in this service the knowledge which originally existed only for the service of the will; that is to say, genius is the power of leaving one's own interests, wishes, and aims entirely out of sight, thus of entirely renouncing one's own personality for a time, so as to remain pure knowing subject, clear vision of the world; and this not merely at moments, but for a sufficient length of time, and with sufficient consciousness, to enable one to reproduce by deliberate art what has thus been apprehended, and “to fix in lasting thoughts the wavering images that float before the mind.” It is as if, when genius appears in an individual, a far larger measure of the power of knowledge falls to his lot than is necessary for the service of an individual will; and this superfluity of knowledge, being free, now becomes subject purified from will, a clear mirror of the inner nature of the world. This explains the activity, amounting even to disquietude, of men of genius, for the present can seldom satisfy them, because it does not fill their consciousness. This gives [pg 241] them that restless aspiration, that unceasing desire for new things, and for the contemplation of lofty things, and also that longing that is hardly ever satisfied, for men of similar nature and of like stature, to whom they might communicate themselves; whilst the common mortal, entirely filled and satisfied by the common present, ends in it, and finding everywhere his like, enjoys that peculiar satisfaction in daily life that is denied to genius.

Imagination has rightly been recognised as an essential element of genius; it has sometimes even been regarded as identical with it; but this is a mistake. As the objects of genius are the eternal Ideas, the permanent, essential forms of the world and all its phenomena, and as the knowledge of the Idea is necessarily knowledge through perception, is not abstract, the knowledge of the genius would be limited to the Ideas of the objects actually present to his person, and dependent upon the chain of circumstances that brought these objects to him, if his imagination did not extend his horizon far beyond the limits of his actual personal existence, and thus enable him to construct the whole out of the little that comes into his own actual apperception, and so to let almost all possible scenes of life pass before him in his own consciousness. Further, the actual objects are almost always very imperfect copies of the Ideas expressed in them; therefore the man of genius requires imagination in order to see in things, not that which Nature has actually made, but that which she endeavoured to make, yet could not because of that conflict of her forms among themselves which we referred to in the last book. We shall return to this farther on in treating of sculpture. The imagination then extends the intellectual horizon of the man of genius beyond the objects which actually present themselves to him, both as regards quality and quantity. Therefore extraordinary strength of imagination accompanies, and is indeed a necessary condition of genius. But the converse does not hold, for strength of imagination [pg 242] does not indicate genius; on the contrary, men who have no touch of genius may have much imagination. For as it is possible to consider a real object in two opposite ways, purely objectively, the way of genius grasping its Idea, or in the common way, merely in the relations in which it stands to other objects and to one's own will, in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason, it is also possible to perceive an imaginary object in both of these ways. Regarded in the first way, it is a means to the knowledge of the Idea, the communication of which is the work of art; in the second case, the imaginary object is used to build castles in the air congenial to egotism and the individual humour, and which for the moment delude and gratify; thus only the relations of the phantasies so linked together are known. The man who indulges in such an amusement is a dreamer; he will easily mingle those fancies that delight his solitude with reality, and so unfit himself for real life: perhaps he will write them down, and then we shall have the ordinary novel of every description, which entertains those who are like him and the public at large, for the readers imagine themselves in the place of the hero, and then find the story very agreeable.

The common mortal, that manufacture of Nature which she produces by the thousand every day, is, as we have said, not capable, at least not continuously so, of observation that in every sense is wholly disinterested, as sensuous contemplation, strictly so called, is. He can turn his attention to things only so far as they have some relation to his will, however indirect it may be. Since in this respect, which never demands anything but the knowledge of relations, the abstract conception of the thing is sufficient, and for the most part even better adapted for use; the ordinary man does not linger long over the mere perception, does not fix his attention long on one object, but in all that is presented to him hastily seeks merely the concept under which it is to be brought, [pg 243] as the lazy man seeks a chair, and then it interests him no further. This is why he is so soon done with everything, with works of art, objects of natural beauty, and indeed everywhere with the truly significant contemplation of all the scenes of life. He does not linger; only seeks to know his own way in life, together with all that might at any time become his way. Thus he makes topographical notes in the widest sense; over the consideration of life itself as such he wastes no time. The man of genius, on the other hand, whose excessive power of knowledge frees it at times from the service of will, dwells on the consideration of life itself, strives to comprehend the Idea of each thing, not its relations to other things; and in doing this he often forgets to consider his own path in life, and therefore for the most part pursues it awkwardly enough. While to the ordinary man his faculty of knowledge is a lamp to lighten his path, to the man of genius it is the sun which reveals the world. This great diversity in their way of looking at life soon becomes visible in the outward appearance both of the man of genius and of the ordinary mortal. The man in whom genius lives and works is easily distinguished by his glance, which is both keen and steady, and bears the stamp of perception, of contemplation. This is easily seen from the likenesses of the few men of genius whom Nature has produced here and there among countless millions. On the other hand, in the case of an ordinary man, the true object of his contemplation, what he is prying into, can be easily seen from his glance, if indeed it is not quite stupid and vacant, as is generally the case. Therefore the expression of genius in a face consists in this, that in it a decided predominance of knowledge over will is visible, and consequently there also shows itself in it a knowledge that is entirely devoid of relation to will, i.e., pure knowing. On the contrary, in ordinary countenances there is a predominant expression of will; and we see that knowledge only comes into activity under [pg 244] the impulse of will, and thus is directed merely by motives.

Since the knowledge that pertains to genius, or the knowledge of Ideas, is that knowledge which does not follow the principle of sufficient reason, so, on the other hand, the knowledge which does follow that principle is that which gives us prudence and rationality in life, and which creates the sciences. Thus men of genius are affected with the deficiencies entailed in the neglect of this latter kind of knowledge. Yet what I say in this regard is subject to the limitation that it only concerns them in so far as and while they are actually engaged in that kind of knowledge which is peculiar to genius; and this is by no means at every moment of their lives, for the great though spontaneous exertion which is demanded for the comprehension of Ideas free from will must necessarily relax, and there are long intervals during which men of genius are placed in very much the same position as ordinary mortals, both as regards advantages and deficiencies. On this account the action of genius has always been regarded as an inspiration, as indeed the name indicates, as the action of a superhuman being distinct from the individual himself, and which takes possession of him only periodically. The disinclination of men of genius to direct their attention to the content of the principle of sufficient reason will first show itself, with regard to the ground of being, as dislike of mathematics; for its procedure is based upon the most universal forms of the phenomenon space and time, which are themselves merely modes of the principle of sufficient reason, and is consequently precisely the opposite of that method of thought which seeks merely the content of the phenomenon, the Idea which expresses itself in it apart from all relations. The logical method of mathematics is also antagonistic to genius, for it does not satisfy but obstructs true insight, and presents merely a chain of conclusions in accordance with the principle of [pg 245] the ground of knowing. The mental faculty upon which it makes the greatest claim is memory, for it is necessary to recollect all the earlier propositions which are referred to. Experience has also proved that men of great artistic genius have no faculty for mathematics; no man was ever very distinguished for both. Alfieri relates that he was never able to understand the fourth proposition of Euclid. Goethe was constantly reproached with his want of mathematical knowledge by the ignorant opponents of his theory of colours. Here certainly, where it was not a question of calculation and measurement upon hypothetical data, but of direct knowledge by the understanding of causes and effects, this reproach was so utterly absurd and inappropriate, that by making it they have exposed their entire want of judgment, just as much as by the rest of their ridiculous arguments. The fact that up to the present day, nearly half a century after the appearance of Goethe's theory of colours, even in Germany the Newtonian fallacies still have undisturbed possession of the professorial chair, and men continue to speak quite seriously of the seven homogeneous rays of light and their different refrangibility, will some day be numbered among the great intellectual peculiarities of men generally, and especially of Germans. From the same cause as we have referred to above, may be explained the equally well-known fact that, conversely, admirable mathematicians have very little susceptibility for works of fine art. This is very naïvely expressed in the well-known anecdote of the French mathematician, who, after having read Racine's “Iphigenia,” shrugged his shoulders and asked, Qu'est ce que cela prouve? Further, as quick comprehension of relations in accordance with the laws of causality and motivation is what specially constitutes prudence or sagacity, a prudent man, so far as and while he is so, will not be a genius, and a man of genius, so far as and while he is so, will not be a prudent man. Lastly, perceptive knowledge generally, [pg 246] in the province of which the Idea always lies, is directly opposed to rational or abstract knowledge, which is guided by the principle of the ground of knowing. It is also well known that we seldom find great genius united with pre-eminent reasonableness; on the contrary, persons of genius are often subject to violent emotions and irrational passions. But the ground of this is not weakness of reason, but partly unwonted energy of that whole phenomenon of will—the man of genius—which expresses itself through the violence of all his acts of will, and partly preponderance of the knowledge of perception through the senses and understanding over abstract knowledge, producing a decided tendency to the perceptible, the exceedingly lively impressions of which so far outshine colourless concepts, that they take their place in the guidance of action, which consequently becomes irrational. Accordingly the impression of the present moment is very strong with such persons, and carries them away into unconsidered action, violent emotions and passions. Moreover, since, in general, the knowledge of persons of genius has to some extent freed itself from the service of will, they will not in conversation think so much of the person they are addressing as of the thing they are speaking about, which is vividly present to them; and therefore they are likely to judge or narrate things too objectively for their own interests; they will not pass over in silence what would more prudently be concealed, and so forth. Finally, they are given to soliloquising, and in general may exhibit certain weaknesses which are actually akin to madness. It has often been remarked that there is a side at which genius and madness touch, and even pass over into each other, and indeed poetical inspiration has been called a kind of madness: amabilis insania, Horace calls it (Od. iii. 4), and Wieland in the introduction to “Oberon” speaks of it as “amiable madness.” Even Aristotle, as quoted by Seneca (De Tranq. Animi, 15, 16), is reported to have [pg 247] said: Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiæ fuit. Plato expresses it in the figure of the dark cave, referred to above (De Rep. 7), when he says: “Those who, outside the cave, have seen the true sunlight and the things that have true being (Ideas), cannot afterwards see properly down in the cave, because their eyes are not accustomed to the darkness; they cannot distinguish the shadows, and are jeered at for their mistakes by those who have never left the cave and its shadows.” In the “Phædrus” also (p. 317), he distinctly says that there can be no true poet without a certain madness; in fact, (p. 327), that every one appears mad who recognises the eternal Ideas in fleeting things. Cicero also quotes: Negat enim sine furore, Democritus, quemquam poetam magnum esse posse; quod idem dicit Plato (De Divin., i. 37). And, lastly, Pope says—

Great wits to madness sure are near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

Especially instructive in this respect is Goethe's “Torquato Tasso,” in which he shows us not only the suffering, the martyrdom of genius as such, but also how it constantly passes into madness. Finally, the fact of the direct connection of genius and madness is established by the biographies of great men of genius, such as Rousseau, Byron, and Alfieri, and by anecdotes from the lives of others. On the other hand, I must mention that, by a diligent search in lunatic asylums, I have found individual cases of patients who were unquestionably endowed with great talents, and whose genius distinctly appeared through their madness, which, however, had completely gained the upper hand. Now this cannot be ascribed to chance, for on the one hand the number of mad persons is relatively very small, and on the other hand a person of genius is a phenomenon which is rare beyond all ordinary estimation, and only appears in nature as the greatest exception. It will be sufficient to convince us of this if we compare the [pg 248] number of really great men of genius that the whole of civilised Europe has produced, both in ancient and modern times, with the two hundred and fifty millions who are always living in Europe, and who change entirely every thirty years. In estimating the number of men of outstanding genius, we must of course only count those who have produced works which have retained through all time an enduring value for mankind. I shall not refrain from mentioning, that I have known some persons of decided, though not remarkable, mental superiority, who also showed a slight trace of insanity. It might seem from this that every advance of intellect beyond the ordinary measure, as an abnormal development, disposes to madness. In the meantime, however, I will explain as briefly as possible my view of the purely intellectual ground of the relation between genius and madness, for this will certainly assist the explanation of the real nature of genius, that is to say, of that mental endowment which alone can produce genuine works of art. But this necessitates a brief explanation of madness itself.50

A clear and complete insight into the nature of madness, a correct and distinct conception of what constitutes the difference between the sane and the insane, has, as far as I know, not as yet been found. Neither reason nor understanding can be denied to madmen, for they talk and understand, and often draw very accurate conclusions; they also, as a rule, perceive what is present quite correctly, and apprehend the connection between cause and effect. Visions, like the phantasies of delirium, are no ordinary symptom of madness: delirium falsifies perception, madness the thoughts. For the most part, madmen do not err in the knowledge of what is immediately present; their raving always relates to what is absent and past, and only through these to their connection with what is present. Therefore it seems to me that [pg 249] their malady specially concerns the memory; not indeed that memory fails them entirely, for many of them know a great deal by heart, and sometimes recognise persons whom they have not seen for a long time; but rather that the thread of memory is broken, the continuity of its connection destroyed, and no uniformly connected recollection of the past is possible. Particular scenes of the past are known correctly, just like the particular present; but there are gaps in their recollection which they fill up with fictions, and these are either always the same, in which case they become fixed ideas, and the madness that results is called monomania or melancholy; or they are always different, momentary fancies, and then it is called folly, fatuitas. This is why it is so difficult to find out their former life from lunatics when they enter an asylum. The true and the false are always mixed up in their memory. Although the immediate present is correctly known, it becomes falsified through its fictitious connection with an imaginary past; they therefore regard themselves and others as identical with persons who exist only in their imaginary past; they do not recognise some of their acquaintances at all, and thus while they perceive correctly what is actually present, they have only false conceptions of its relations to what is absent. If the madness reaches a high degree, there is complete absence of memory, so that the madman is quite incapable of any reference to what is absent or past, and is only determined by the caprice of the moment in connection with the fictions which, in his mind, fill the past. In such a case, we are never for a moment safe from violence or murder, unless we constantly make the madman aware of the presence of superior force. The knowledge of the madman has this in common with that of the brute, both are confined to the present. What distinguishes them is that the brute has really no idea of the past as such, though the past acts upon it through the medium of custom, so that, for example, the dog [pg 250] recognises its former master even after years, that is to say, it receives the wonted impression at the sight of him; but of the time that has passed since it saw him it has no recollection. The madman, on the other hand, always carries about in his reason an abstract past, but it is a false past, which exists only for him, and that either constantly, or only for the moment. The influence of this false past prevents the use of the true knowledge of the present which the brute is able to make. The fact that violent mental suffering or unexpected and terrible calamities should often produce madness, I explain in the following manner. All such suffering is as an actual event confined to the present. It is thus merely transitory, and is consequently never excessively heavy; it only becomes unendurably great when it is lasting pain; but as such it exists only in thought, and therefore lies in the memory. If now such a sorrow, such painful knowledge or reflection, is so bitter that it becomes altogether unbearable, and the individual is prostrated under it, then, terrified Nature seizes upon madness as the last resource of life; the mind so fearfully tortured at once destroys the thread of its memory, fills up the gaps with fictions, and thus seeks refuge in madness from the mental suffering that exceeds its strength, just as we cut off a mortified limb and replace it with a wooden one. The distracted Ajax, King Lear, and Ophelia may be taken as examples; for the creations of true genius, to which alone we can refer here, as universally known, are equal in truth to real persons; besides, in this case, frequent actual experience shows the same thing. A faint analogy of this kind of transition from pain to madness is to be found in the way in which all of us often seek, as it were mechanically, to drive away a painful thought that suddenly occurs to us by some loud exclamation or quick movement—to turn ourselves from it, to distract our minds by force.

We see, from what has been said, that the madman has [pg 251] a true knowledge of what is actually present, and also of certain particulars of the past, but that he mistakes the connection, the relations, and therefore falls into error and talks nonsense. Now this is exactly the point at which he comes into contact with the man of genius; for he also leaves out of sight the knowledge of the connection of things, since he neglects that knowledge of relations which conforms to the principle of sufficient reason, in order to see in things only their Ideas, and to seek to comprehend their true nature, which manifests itself to perception, and in regard to which one thing represents its whole species, in which way, as Goethe says, one case is valid for a thousand. The particular object of his contemplation, or the present which is perceived by him with extraordinary vividness, appear in so strong a light that the other links of the chain to which they belong are at once thrown into the shade, and this gives rise to phenomena which have long been recognised as resembling those of madness. That which in particular given things exists only incompletely and weakened by modifications, is raised by the man of genius, through his way of contemplating it, to the Idea of the thing, to completeness: he therefore sees everywhere extremes, and therefore his own action tends to extremes; he cannot hit the mean, he lacks soberness, and the result is what we have said. He knows the Ideas completely but not the individuals. Therefore it has been said that a poet may know mankind deeply and thoroughly, and may yet have a very imperfect knowledge of men. He is easily deceived, and is a tool in the hands of the crafty.

§ 37. Genius, then, consists, according to our explanation, in the capacity for knowing, independently of the principle of sufficient reason, not individual things, which have their existence only in their relations, but the Ideas of such things, and of being oneself the correlative of the Idea, and thus no longer an individual, but the pure subject of knowledge. Yet this faculty must exist in all [pg 252] men in a smaller and different degree; for if not, they would be just as incapable of enjoying works of art as of producing them; they would have no susceptibility for the beautiful or the sublime; indeed, these words could have no meaning for them. We must therefore assume that there exists in all men this power of knowing the Ideas in things, and consequently of transcending their personality for the moment, unless indeed there are some men who are capable of no æsthetic pleasure at all. The man of genius excels ordinary men only by possessing this kind of knowledge in a far higher degree and more continuously. Thus, while under its influence he retains the presence of mind which is necessary to enable him to repeat in a voluntary and intentional work what he has learned in this manner; and this repetition is the work of art. Through this he communicates to others the Idea he has grasped. This Idea remains unchanged and the same, so that æsthetic pleasure is one and the same whether it is called forth by a work of art or directly by the contemplation of nature and life. The work of art is only a means of facilitating the knowledge in which this pleasure consists. That the Idea comes to us more easily from the work of art than directly from nature and the real world, arises from the fact that the artist, who knew only the Idea, no longer the actual, has reproduced in his work the pure Idea, has abstracted it from the actual, omitting all disturbing accidents. The artist lets us see the world through his eyes. That he has these eyes, that he knows the inner nature of things apart from all their relations, is the gift of genius, is inborn; but that he is able to lend us this gift, to let us see with his eyes, is acquired, and is the technical side of art. Therefore, after the account which I have given in the preceding pages of the inner nature of æsthetical knowledge in its most general outlines, the following more exact philosophical treatment of the beautiful and the sublime will explain them both, in nature and in art, without separating [pg 253] them further. First of all we shall consider what takes place in a man when he is affected by the beautiful and the sublime; whether he derives this emotion directly from nature, from life, or partakes of it only through the medium of art, does not make any essential, but merely an external, difference.

§ 38. In the æsthetical mode of contemplation we have found two inseparable constituent parts—the knowledge of the object, not as individual thing but as Platonic Idea, that is, as the enduring form of this whole species of things; and the self-consciousness of the knowing person, not as individual, but as pure will-less subject of knowledge. The condition under which both these constituent parts appear always united was found to be the abandonment of the method of knowing which is bound to the principle of sufficient reason, and which, on the other hand, is the only kind of knowledge that is of value for the service of the will and also for science. Moreover, we shall see that the pleasure which is produced by the contemplation of the beautiful arises from these two constituent parts, sometimes more from the one, sometimes more from the other, according to what the object of the æsthetical contemplation may be.

All willing arises from want, therefore from deficiency, and therefore from suffering. The satisfaction of a wish ends it; yet for one wish that is satisfied there remain at least ten which are denied. Further, the desire lasts long, the demands are infinite; the satisfaction is short and scantily measured out. But even the final satisfaction is itself only apparent; every satisfied wish at once makes room for a new one; both are illusions; the one is known to be so, the other not yet. No attained object of desire can give lasting satisfaction, but merely a fleeting gratification; it is like the alms thrown to the beggar, that keeps him alive to-day that his misery may be prolonged till the morrow. Therefore, so long as our consciousness is filled by our will, so long as we are [pg 254] given up to the throng of desires with their constant hopes and fears, so long as we are the subject of willing, we can never have lasting happiness nor peace. It is essentially all the same whether we pursue or flee, fear injury or seek enjoyment; the care for the constant demands of the will, in whatever form it may be, continually occupies and sways the consciousness; but without peace no true well-being is possible. The subject of willing is thus constantly stretched on the revolving wheel of Ixion, pours water into the sieve of the Danaids, is the ever-longing Tantalus.

But when some external cause or inward disposition lifts us suddenly out of the endless stream of willing, delivers knowledge from the slavery of the will, the attention is no longer directed to the motives of willing, but comprehends things free from their relation to the will, and thus observes them without personal interest, without subjectivity, purely objectively, gives itself entirely up to them so far as they are ideas, but not in so far as they are motives. Then all at once the peace which we were always seeking, but which always fled from us on the former path of the desires, comes to us of its own accord, and it is well with us. It is the painless state which Epicurus prized as the highest good and as the state of the gods; for we are for the moment set free from the miserable striving of the will; we keep the Sabbath of the penal servitude of willing; the wheel of Ixion stands still.

But this is just the state which I described above as necessary for the knowledge of the Idea, as pure contemplation, as sinking oneself in perception, losing oneself in the object, forgetting all individuality, surrendering that kind of knowledge which follows the principle of sufficient reason, and comprehends only relations; the state by means of which at once and inseparably the perceived particular thing is raised to the Idea of its whole species, and the knowing individual to the pure subject of will-less [pg 255] knowledge, and as such they are both taken out of the stream of time and all other relations. It is then all one whether we see the sun set from the prison or from the palace.

Inward disposition, the predominance of knowing over willing, can produce this state under any circumstances. This is shown by those admirable Dutch artists who directed this purely objective perception to the most insignificant objects, and established a lasting monument of their objectivity and spiritual peace in their pictures of still life, which the æsthetic beholder does not look on without emotion; for they present to him the peaceful, still, frame of mind of the artist, free from will, which was needed to contemplate such insignificant things so objectively, to observe them so attentively, and to repeat this perception so intelligently; and as the picture enables the onlooker to participate in this state, his emotion is often increased by the contrast between it and the unquiet frame of mind, disturbed by vehement willing, in which he finds himself. In the same spirit, landscape-painters, and particularly Ruisdael, have often painted very insignificant country scenes, which produce the same effect even more agreeably.

All this is accomplished by the inner power of an artistic nature alone; but that purely objective disposition is facilitated and assisted from without by suitable objects, by the abundance of natural beauty which invites contemplation, and even presses itself upon us. Whenever it discloses itself suddenly to our view, it almost always succeeds in delivering us, though it may be only for a moment, from subjectivity, from the slavery of the will, and in raising us to the state of pure knowing. This is why the man who is tormented by passion, or want, or care, is so suddenly revived, cheered, and restored by a single free glance into nature: the storm of passion, the pressure of desire and fear, and all the miseries of willing are then at once, and in a marvellous manner, [pg 256] calmed and appeased. For at the moment at which, freed from the will, we give ourselves up to pure will-less knowing, we pass into a world from which everything is absent that influenced our will and moved us so violently through it. This freeing of knowledge lifts us as wholly and entirely away from all that, as do sleep and dreams; happiness and unhappiness have disappeared; we are no longer individual; the individual is forgotten; we are only pure subject of knowledge; we are only that one eye of the world which looks out from all knowing creatures, but which can become perfectly free from the service of will in man alone. Thus all difference of individuality so entirely disappears, that it is all the same whether the perceiving eye belongs to a mighty king or to a wretched beggar; for neither joy nor complaining can pass that boundary with us. So near us always lies a sphere in which we escape from all our misery; but who has the strength to continue long in it? As soon as any single relation to our will, to our person, even of these objects of our pure contemplation, comes again into consciousness, the magic is at an end; we fall back into the knowledge which is governed by the principle of sufficient reason; we know no longer the Idea, but the particular thing, the link of a chain to which we also belong, and we are again abandoned to all our woe. Most men remain almost always at this standpoint because they entirely lack objectivity, i.e., genius. Therefore they have no pleasure in being alone with nature; they need company, or at least a book. For their knowledge remains subject to their will; they seek, therefore, in objects, only some relation to their will, and whenever they see anything that has no such relation, there sounds within them, like a ground bass in music, the constant inconsolable cry, “It is of no use to me;” thus in solitude the most beautiful surroundings have for them a desolate, dark, strange, and hostile appearance.

Lastly, it is this blessedness of will-less perception [pg 257] which casts an enchanting glamour over the past and distant, and presents them to us in so fair a light by means of self-deception. For as we think of days long gone by, days in which we lived in a distant place, it is only the objects which our fancy recalls, not the subject of will, which bore about with it then its incurable sorrows just as it bears them now; but they are forgotten, because since then they have often given place to others. Now, objective perception acts with regard to what is remembered just as it would in what is present, if we let it have influence over us, if we surrendered ourselves to it free from will. Hence it arises that, especially when we are more than ordinarily disturbed by some want, the remembrance of past and distant scenes suddenly flits across our minds like a lost paradise. The fancy recalls only what was objective, not what was individually subjective, and we imagine that that objective stood before us then just as pure and undisturbed by any relation to the will as its image stands in our fancy now; while in reality the relation of the objects to our will gave us pain then just as it does now. We can deliver ourselves from all suffering just as well through present objects as through distant ones whenever we raise ourselves to a purely objective contemplation of them, and so are able to bring about the illusion that only the objects are present and not we ourselves. Then, as the pure subject of knowledge, freed from the miserable self, we become entirely one with these objects, and, for the moment, our wants are as foreign to us as they are to them. The world as idea alone remains, and the world as will has disappeared.

In all these reflections it has been my object to bring out clearly the nature and the scope of the subjective element in æsthetic pleasure; the deliverance of knowledge from the service of the will, the forgetting of self as an individual, and the raising of the consciousness to the pure will-less, timeless, subject of knowledge, independent [pg 258] of all relations. With this subjective side of æsthetic contemplation, there must always appear as its necessary correlative the objective side, the intuitive comprehension of the Platonic Idea. But before we turn to the closer consideration of this, and to the achievements of art in relation to it, it is better that we should pause for a little at the subjective side of æsthetic pleasure, in order to complete our treatment of this by explaining the impression of the sublime which depends altogether upon it, and arises from a modification of it. After that we shall complete our investigation of æsthetic pleasure by considering its objective side.

But we must first add the following remarks to what has been said. Light is the pleasantest and most gladdening of things; it has become the symbol of all that is good and salutary. In all religions it symbolises salvation, while darkness symbolises damnation. Ormuzd dwells in the purest light, Ahrimines in eternal night. Dante's Paradise would look very much like Vauxhall in London, for all the blessed spirits appear as points of light and arrange themselves in regular figures. The very absence of light makes us sad; its return cheers us. Colours excite directly a keen delight, which reaches its highest degree when they are transparent. All this depends entirely upon the fact that light is the correlative and condition of the most perfect kind of knowledge of perception, the only knowledge which does not in any way affect the will. For sight, unlike the affections of the other senses, cannot, in itself, directly and through its sensuous effect, make the sensation of the special organ agreeable or disagreeable; that is, it has no immediate connection with the will. Such a quality can only belong to the perception which arises in the understanding, and then it lies in the relation of the object to the will. In the case of hearing this is to some extent otherwise; sounds can give pain directly, and they may also be sensuously agreeable, directly and without regard to [pg 259] harmony or melody. Touch, as one with the feeling of the whole body, is still more subordinated to this direct influence upon the will; and yet there is such a thing as a sensation of touch which is neither painful nor pleasant. But smells are always either agreeable or disagreeable, and tastes still more so. Thus the last two senses are most closely related to the will, and therefore they are always the most ignoble, and have been called by Kant the subjective senses. The pleasure which we experience from light is in fact only the pleasure which arises from the objective possibility of the purest and fullest perceptive knowledge, and as such it may be traced to the fact that pure knowledge, freed and delivered from all will, is in the highest degree pleasant, and of itself constitutes a large part of æsthetic enjoyment. Again, we must refer to this view of light the incredible beauty which we associate with the reflection of objects in water. That lightest, quickest, finest species of the action of bodies upon each other, that to which we owe by far the completest and purest of our perceptions, the action of reflected rays of light, is here brought clearly before our eyes, distinct and perfect, in cause and in effect, and indeed in its entirety, hence the æsthetic delight it gives us, which, in the most important aspect, is entirely based on the subjective ground of æsthetic pleasure, and is delight in pure knowing and its method.

§ 39. All these reflections are intended to bring out the subjective part of æsthetic pleasure; that is to say, that pleasure so far as it consists simply of delight in perceptive knowledge as such, in opposition to will. And as directly connected with this, there naturally follows the explanation of that disposition or frame of mind which has been called the sense of the sublime.

We have already remarked above that the transition to the state of pure perception takes place most easily when the objects bend themselves to it, that is, when by their manifold and yet definite and distinct form they easily [pg 260] become representatives of their Ideas, in which beauty, in the objective sense, consists. This quality belongs pre-eminently to natural beauty, which thus affords even to the most insensible at least a fleeting æsthetic satisfaction: indeed it is so remarkable how especially the vegetable world invites æsthetic observation, and, as it were, presses itself upon it, that one might say, that these advances are connected with the fact that these organisms, unlike the bodies of animals, are not themselves immediate objects of knowledge, and therefore require the assistance of a foreign intelligent individual in order to rise out of the world of blind will and enter the world of idea, and that thus they long, as it were, for this entrance, that they may attain at least indirectly what is denied them directly. But I leave this suggestion which I have hazarded, and which borders perhaps upon extravagance, entirely undecided, for only a very intimate and devoted consideration of nature can raise or justify it.51 As long as that which raises us from the knowledge of mere relations subject to the will, to æsthetic contemplation, and thereby exalts us to the position of the subject of knowledge free from will, is this fittingness of nature, this significance and distinctness of its forms, on account of which the Ideas individualised in them readily present themselves to us; so long is it merely beauty that affects us and the sense of the beautiful that is excited. But if these very objects whose significant forms invite us to pure contemplation, have a hostile relation to the human will in general, as it exhibits itself in its objectivity, the human body, if they are opposed to it, so that it is menaced by the irresistible predominance of their power, or sinks into insignificance before their immeasurable [pg 261] greatness; if, nevertheless, the beholder does not direct his attention to this eminently hostile relation to his will, but, although perceiving and recognising it, turns consciously away from it, forcibly detaches himself from his will and its relations, and, giving himself up entirely to knowledge, quietly contemplates those very objects that are so terrible to the will, comprehends only their Idea, which is foreign to all relation, so that he lingers gladly over its contemplation, and is thereby raised above himself, his person, his will, and all will:—in that case he is filled with the sense of the sublime, he is in the state of spiritual exaltation, and therefore the object producing such a state is called sublime. Thus what distinguishes the sense of the sublime from that of the beautiful is this: in the case of the beautiful, pure knowledge has gained the upper hand without a struggle, for the beauty of the object, i.e., that property which facilitates the knowledge of its Idea, has removed from consciousness without resistance, and therefore imperceptibly, the will and the knowledge of relations which is subject to it, so that what is left is the pure subject of knowledge without even a remembrance of will. On the other hand, in the case of the sublime that state of pure knowledge is only attained by a conscious and forcible breaking away from the relations of the same object to the will, which are recognised as unfavourable, by a free and conscious transcending of the will and the knowledge related to it.

This exaltation must not only be consciously won, but also consciously retained, and it is therefore accompanied by a constant remembrance of will; yet not of a single particular volition, such as fear or desire, but of human volition in general, so far as it is universally expressed in its objectivity the human body. If a single real act of will were to come into consciousness, through actual personal pressure and danger from the object, then the individual will thus actually influenced would at once [pg 262] gain the upper hand, the peace of contemplation would become impossible, the impression of the sublime would be lost, because it yields to the anxiety, in which the effort of the individual to right itself has sunk every other thought. A few examples will help very much to elucidate this theory of the æsthetic sublime and remove all doubt with regard to it; at the same time they will bring out the different degrees of this sense of the sublime. It is in the main identical with that of the beautiful, with pure will-less knowing, and the knowledge, that necessarily accompanies it of Ideas out of all relation determined by the principle of sufficient reason, and it is distinguished from the sense of the beautiful only by the additional quality that it rises above the known hostile relation of the object contemplated to the will in general. Thus there come to be various degrees of the sublime, and transitions from the beautiful to the sublime, according as this additional quality is strong, bold, urgent, near, or weak, distant, and merely indicated. I think it is more in keeping with the plan of my treatise, first to give examples of these transitions, and of the weaker degrees of the impression of the sublime, although persons whose æsthetical susceptibility in general is not very great, and whose imagination is not very lively, will only understand the examples given later of the higher and more distinct grades of that impression; and they should therefore confine themselves to these, and pass over the examples of the very weak degrees of the sublime that are to be given first.

As man is at once impetuous and blind striving of will (whose pole or focus lies in the genital organs), and eternal, free, serene subject of pure knowing (whose pole is the brain); so, corresponding to this antithesis, the sun is both the source of light, the condition of the most perfect kind of knowledge, and therefore of the most delightful of things—and the source of warmth, the first condition of life, i.e., of all phenomena of will in its higher grades. [pg 263] Therefore, what warmth is for the will, light is for knowledge. Light is the largest gem in the crown of beauty, and has the most marked influence on the knowledge of every beautiful object. Its presence is an indispensable condition of beauty; its favourable disposition increases the beauty of the most beautiful. Architectural beauty more than any other object is enhanced by favourable light, though even the most insignificant things become through its influence most beautiful. If, in the dead of winter, when all nature is frozen and stiff, we see the rays of the setting sun reflected by masses of stone, illuminating without warming, and thus favourable only to the purest kind of knowledge, not to the will; the contemplation of the beautiful effect of the light upon these masses lifts us, as does all beauty, into a state of pure knowing. But, in this case, a certain transcending of the interests of the will is needed to enable us to rise into the state of pure knowing, because there is a faint recollection of the lack of warmth from these rays, that is, an absence of the principle of life; there is a slight challenge to persist in pure knowing, and to refrain from all willing, and therefore it is an example of a transition from the sense of the beautiful to that of the sublime. It is the faintest trace of the sublime in the beautiful; and beauty itself is indeed present only in a slight degree. The following is almost as weak an example.

Let us imagine ourselves transported to a very lonely place, with unbroken horizon, under a cloudless sky, trees and plants in the perfectly motionless air, no animals, no men, no running water, the deepest silence. Such surroundings are, as it were, a call to seriousness and contemplation, apart from all will and its cravings; but this is just what imparts to such a scene of desolate stillness a touch of the sublime. For, because it affords no object, either favourable or unfavourable, for the will which is constantly in need of striving and attaining, [pg 264] there only remains the state of pure contemplation, and whoever is incapable of this, is ignominiously abandoned to the vacancy of unoccupied will, and the misery of ennui. So far it is a test of our intellectual worth, of which, generally speaking, the degree of our power of enduring solitude, or our love of it, is a good criterion. The scene we have sketched affords us, then, an example of the sublime in a low degree, for in it, with the state of pure knowing in its peace and all-sufficiency, there is mingled, by way of contrast, the recollection of the dependence and poverty of the will which stands in need of constant action. This is the species of the sublime for which the sight of the boundless prairies of the interior of North America is celebrated.

But let us suppose such a scene, stripped also of vegetation, and showing only naked rocks; then from the entire absence of that organic life which is necessary for existence, the will at once becomes uneasy, the desert assumes a terrible aspect, our mood becomes more tragic; the elevation to the sphere of pure knowing takes place with a more decided tearing of ourselves away from the interests of the will; and because we persist in continuing in the state of pure knowing, the sense of the sublime distinctly appears.

The following situation may occasion this feeling in a still higher degree: Nature convulsed by a storm; the sky darkened by black threatening thunder-clouds; stupendous, naked, overhanging cliffs, completely shutting out the view; rushing, foaming torrents; absolute desert; the wail of the wind sweeping through the clefts of the rocks. Our dependence, our strife with hostile nature, our will broken in the conflict, now appears visibly before our eyes. Yet, so long as the personal pressure does not gain the upper hand, but we continue in æsthetic contemplation, the pure subject of knowing gazes unshaken and unconcerned through that strife of nature, through that picture of the broken will, and quietly comprehends [pg 265] the Ideas even of those objects which are threatening and terrible to the will. In this contrast lies the sense of the sublime.

But the impression becomes still stronger, if, when we have before our eyes, on a large scale, the battle of the raging elements, in such a scene we are prevented from hearing the sound of our own voice by the noise of a falling stream; or, if we are abroad in the storm of tempestuous seas, where the mountainous waves rise and fall, dash themselves furiously against steep cliffs, and toss their spray high into the air; the storm howls, the sea boils, the lightning flashes from black clouds, and the peals of thunder drown the voice of storm and sea. Then, in the undismayed beholder, the two-fold nature of his consciousness reaches the highest degree of distinctness. He perceives himself, on the one hand, as an individual, as the frail phenomenon of will, which the slightest touch of these forces can utterly destroy, helpless against powerful nature, dependent, the victim of chance, a vanishing nothing in the presence of stupendous might; and, on the other hand, as the eternal, peaceful, knowing subject, the condition of the object, and, therefore, the supporter of this whole world; the terrific strife of nature only his idea; the subject itself free and apart from all desires and necessities, in the quiet comprehension of the Ideas. This is the complete impression of the sublime. Here he obtains a glimpse of a power beyond all comparison superior to the individual, threatening it with annihilation.

The impression of the sublime may be produced in quite another way, by presenting a mere immensity in space and time; its immeasurable greatness dwindles the individual to nothing. Adhering to Kant's nomenclature and his accurate division, we may call the first kind the dynamical, and the second the mathematical sublime, although we entirely dissent from his explanation of the inner nature of the impression, and can allow no share [pg 266] in it either to moral reflections, or to hypostases from scholastic philosophy.

If we lose ourselves in the contemplation of the infinite greatness of the universe in space and time, meditate on the thousands of years that are past or to come, or if the heavens at night actually bring before our eyes innumerable worlds and so force upon our consciousness the immensity of the universe, we feel ourselves dwindle to nothing; as individuals, as living bodies, as transient phenomena of will, we feel ourselves pass away and vanish into nothing like drops in the ocean. But at once there rises against this ghost of our own nothingness, against such lying impossibility, the immediate consciousness that all these worlds exist only as our idea, only as modifications of the eternal subject of pure knowing, which we find ourselves to be as soon as we forget our individuality, and which is the necessary supporter of all worlds and all times the condition of their possibility. The vastness of the world which disquieted us before, rests now in us; our dependence upon it is annulled by its dependence upon us. All this, however, does not come at once into reflection, but shows itself merely as the felt consciousness that in some sense or other (which philosophy alone can explain) we are one with the world, and therefore not oppressed, but exalted by its immensity. It is the felt consciousness of this that the Upanishads of the Vedas repeatedly express in such a multitude of different ways; very admirably in the saying already quoted: Hæ omnes creaturæ in totum ego sum, et præter me aliud ens non est (Oupnek'hat, vol. i. p. 122.) It is the transcending of our own individuality, the sense of the sublime.

We receive this impression of the mathematical-sublime, quite directly, by means of a space which is small indeed as compared with the world, but which has become directly perceptible to us, and affects us with its whole extent in all its three dimensions, so as to make our own [pg 267] body seem almost infinitely small. An empty space can never be thus perceived, and therefore never an open space, but only space that is directly perceptible in all its dimensions by means of the limits which enclose it; thus for example a very high, vast dome, like that of St. Peter's at Rome, or St. Paul's in London. The sense of the sublime here arises through the consciousness of the vanishing nothingness of our own body in the presence of a vastness which, from another point of view, itself exists only in our idea, and of which we are as knowing subject, the supporter. Thus here as everywhere it arises from the contrast between the insignificance and dependence of ourselves as individuals, as phenomena of will, and the consciousness of ourselves as pure subject of knowing. Even the vault of the starry heaven produces this if it is contemplated without reflection; but just in the same way as the vault of stone, and only by its apparent, not its real extent. Some objects of our perception excite in us the feeling of the sublime because, not only on account of their spatial vastness, but also of their great age, that is, their temporal duration, we feel ourselves dwarfed to insignificance in their presence, and yet revel in the pleasure of contemplating them: of this kind are very high mountains, the Egyptian pyramids, and colossal ruins of great antiquity.

Our explanation of the sublime applies also to the ethical, to what is called the sublime character. Such a character arises from this, that the will is not excited by objects which are well calculated to excite it, but that knowledge retains the upper hand in their presence. A man of sublime character will accordingly consider men in a purely objective way, and not with reference to the relations which they might have to his will; he will, for example, observe their faults, even their hatred and injustice to himself, without being himself excited to hatred; he will behold their happiness without envy; he will recognise their good qualities without desiring any [pg 268] closer relations with them; he will perceive the beauty of women, but he will not desire them. His personal happiness or unhappiness will not greatly affect him, he will rather be as Hamlet describes Horatio:—

... for thou hast been,
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks, &c. (A. 3. Sc. 2.)

For in the course of his own life and its misfortunes, he will consider less his individual lot than that of humanity in general, and will therefore conduct himself in its regard, rather as knowing than as suffering.

§ 40. Opposites throw light upon each other, and therefore the remark may be in place here, that the proper opposite of the sublime is something which would not at the first glance be recognised, as such: the charming or attractive. By this, however, I understand, that which excites the will by presenting to it directly its fulfilment, its satisfaction. We saw that the feeling of the sublime arises from the fact, that something entirely unfavourable to the will, becomes the object of pure contemplation, so that such contemplation can only be maintained by persistently turning away from the will, and transcending its interests; this constitutes the sublimity of the character. The charming or attractive, on the contrary, draws the beholder away from the pure contemplation which is demanded by all apprehension of the beautiful, because it necessarily excites this will, by objects which directly appeal to it, and thus he no longer remains pure subject of knowing, but becomes the needy and dependent subject of will. That every beautiful thing which is bright or cheering should be called charming, is the result of a too general concept, which arises from a want of accurate discrimination, and which I must entirely set aside, and indeed condemn. But in the sense of the word which has been given and explained, I [pg 269] find only two species of the charming or attractive in the province of art, and both of them are unworthy of it. The one species, a very low one, is found in Dutch paintings of still life, when they err by representing articles of food, which by their deceptive likeness necessarily excite the appetite for the things they represent, and this is just an excitement of the will, which puts an end to all æsthetic contemplation of the object. Painted fruit is yet admissible, because we may regard it as the further development of the flower, and as a beautiful product of nature in form and colour, without being obliged to think of it as eatable; but unfortunately we often find, represented with deceptive naturalness, prepared and served dishes, oysters, herrings, crabs, bread and butter, beer, wine, and so forth, which is altogether to be condemned. In historical painting and in sculpture the charming consists in naked figures, whose position, drapery, and general treatment are calculated to excite the passions of the beholder, and thus pure æsthetical contemplation is at once annihilated, and the aim of art is defeated. This mistake corresponds exactly to that which we have just censured in the Dutch paintings. The ancients are almost always free from this fault in their representations of beauty and complete nakedness of form, because the artist himself created them in a purely objective spirit, filled with ideal beauty, not in the spirit of subjective, and base sensuality. The charming is thus everywhere to be avoided in art.

There is also a negative species of the charming or exciting which is even more reprehensible than the positive form which has been discussed; this is the disgusting or the loathsome. It arouses the will of the beholder, just as what is properly speaking charming, and therefore disturbs pure æsthetic contemplation. But it is an active aversion and opposition which is excited by it; it arouses the will by presenting to it objects which it abhors. Therefore it has always been recognised that it is [pg 270] altogether inadmissible in art, where even what is ugly, when it is not disgusting, is allowable in its proper place, as we shall see later.

§ 41. The course of the discussion has made it necessary to insert at this point the treatment of the sublime, though we have only half done with the beautiful, as we have considered its subjective side only. For it was merely a special modification of this subjective side that distinguished the beautiful from the sublime. This difference was found to depend upon whether the state of pure will-less knowing, which is presupposed and demanded by all æsthetic contemplation, was reached without opposition, by the mere disappearance of the will from consciousness, because the object invited and drew us towards it; or whether it was only attained through the free, conscious transcending of the will, to which the object contemplated had an unfavourable and even hostile relation, which would destroy contemplation altogether, if we were to give ourselves up to it. This is the distinction between the beautiful and the sublime. In the object they are not essentially different, for in every case the object of æsthetical contemplation is not the individual thing, but the Idea in it which is striving to reveal itself; that is to say, adequate objectivity of will at a particular grade. Its necessary correlative, independent, like itself of the principle of sufficient reason, is the pure subject of knowing; just as the correlative of the particular thing is the knowing individual, both of which lie within the province of the principle of sufficient reason.

When we say that a thing is beautiful, we thereby assert that it is an object of our æsthetic contemplation, and this has a double meaning; on the one hand it means that the sight of the thing makes us objective, that is to say, that in contemplating it we are no longer conscious of ourselves as individuals, but as pure will-less subjects of knowledge; and on the other hand it means that we recognise in the object, not the particular thing, [pg 271] but an Idea; and this can only happen, so far as our contemplation of it is not subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, does not follow the relation of the object to anything outside it (which is always ultimately connected with relations to our own will), but rests in the object itself. For the Idea and the pure subject of knowledge always appear at once in consciousness as necessary correlatives, and on their appearance all distinction of time vanishes, for they are both entirely foreign to the principle of sufficient reason in all its forms, and lie outside the relations which are imposed by it; they may be compared to the rainbow and the sun, which have no part in the constant movement and succession of the falling drops. Therefore, if, for example, I contemplate a tree æsthetically, i.e., with artistic eyes, and thus recognise, not it, but its Idea, it becomes at once of no consequence whether it is this tree or its predecessor which flourished a thousand years ago, and whether the observer is this individual or any other that lived anywhere and at any time; the particular thing and the knowing individual are abolished with the principle of sufficient reason, and there remains nothing but the Idea and the pure subject of knowing, which together constitute the adequate objectivity of will at this grade. And the Idea dispenses not only with time, but also with space, for the Idea proper is not this special form which appears before me but its expression, its pure significance, its inner being, which discloses itself to me and appeals to me, and which may be quite the same though the spatial relations of its form be very different.

Since, on the one hand, every given thing may be observed in a. purely objective manner and apart from all relations; and since, on the other hand, the will manifests itself in everything at some grade of its objectivity, so that everything is the expression of an Idea; it follows that everything is also beautiful. That even the most insignificant things admit of pure objective and [pg 272] will-less contemplation, and thus prove that they are beautiful, is shown by what was said above in this reference about the Dutch pictures of still-life (§ 38). But one thing is more beautiful than another, because it makes this pure objective contemplation easier, it lends itself to it, and, so to speak, even compels it, and then we call it very beautiful. This is the case sometimes because, as an individual thing, it expresses in its purity the Idea of its species by the very distinct, clearly defined, and significant relation of its parts, and also fully reveals that Idea through the completeness of all the possible expressions of its species united in it, so that it makes the transition from the individual thing to the Idea, and therefore also the condition of pure contemplation, very easy for the beholder. Sometimes this possession of special beauty in an object lies in the fact that the Idea itself which appeals to us in it is a high grade of the objectivity of will, and therefore very significant and expressive. Therefore it is that man is more beautiful than all other objects, and the revelation of his nature is the highest aim of art. Human form and expression are the most important objects of plastic art, and human action the most important object of poetry. Yet each thing has its own peculiar beauty, not only every organism which expresses itself in the unity of an individual being, but also everything unorganised and formless, and even every manufactured article. For all these reveal the Ideas through which the will objectifies itself at its lowest grades, they give, as it were, the deepest resounding bass-notes of nature. Gravity, rigidity, fluidity, light, and so forth, are the Ideas which express themselves in rocks, in buildings, in waters. Landscape-gardening or architecture can do no more than assist them to unfold their qualities distinctly, fully, and variously; they can only give them the opportunity of expressing themselves purely, so that they lend themselves to æsthetic contemplation and make it easier. [pg 273] Inferior buildings or ill-favoured localities, on the contrary, which nature has neglected or art has spoiled, perform this task in a very slight degree or not at all; yet even from them these universal, fundamental Ideas of nature cannot altogether disappear. To the careful observer they present themselves here also, and even bad buildings and the like are capable of being æsthetically considered; the Ideas of the most universal properties of their materials are still recognisable in them, only the artificial form which has been given them does not assist but hinders æsthetic contemplation. Manufactured articles also serve to express Ideas, only it is not the Idea of the manufactured article which speaks in them, but the Idea of the material to which this artificial form has been given. This may be very conveniently expressed in two words, in the language of the schoolmen, thus,—the manufactured article expresses the Idea of its forma substantialis, but not that of its forma accidentalis; the latter leads to no Idea, but only to a human conception of which it is the result. It is needless to say that by manufactured article no work of plastic art is meant. The schoolmen understand, in fact, by forma substantialis that which I call the grade of the objectification of will in a thing. We shall return immediately, when we treat of architecture, to the Idea of the material. Our view, then, cannot be reconciled with that of Plato if he is of opinion that a table or a chair express the Idea of a table or a chair (De Rep., x., pp. 284, 285, et Parmen., p. 79, ed. Bip.), but we say that they express the Ideas which are already expressed in their mere material as such. According to Aristotle (Metap. xi., chap. 3), however, Plato himself only maintained Ideas of natural objects: ὁ Πλατων εφη, ὁτι ειδη εστιν ὁποσα φυσει (Plato dixit, quod ideæ eorum sunt, quæ natura sunt), and in chap. 5 he says that, according to the Platonists, there are no Ideas of house and ring. In any case, Plato's earliest disciples, as Alcinous informs us (Introductio [pg 274]in Platonicam Philosophiam, chap. 9), denied that there were any ideas of manufactured articles. He says: Ὁριζονται δε την ιδεαν, παραδειγμα των κατα φυσιν αιωνιον. Ουτε γαρ τοις πλειστοις των απο Πλατωνος αρεσκει, των τεχνικων ειναι ιδεας, οἱον ασπιδος η λυρας, ουτε μην των παρα φυσιν, οἱον πυρετου και χολερας, ουτε των κατα μερος, οἱον Σωκρατους και Πλατωνος, αλλ᾽ ουτε των ευτελων τινος, οἱον ρυπου και καρφους, ουτε των προς τι, οἱον μειζονος και ὑπερεχοντος; ειναι γαρ τας ιδεας νοησεις θεου αιωνιους τε και αυτοτελεις (Definiunt autem ideam exemplar æternum eorum, quæ secundum naturam existunt. Nam plurimis ex iis, qui Platonem secuti sunt, minime placuit, arte factorum ideas esse, ut clypei atque lyræ; neque rursus eorum, quæ prætor naturam, ut febris et choleræ, neque particularium, ceu Socratis et Platonis; neque etiam rerum vilium, veluti sordium et festucæ; neque relationum, ut majoris et excedentis: esse namque ideas intellectiones dei æternas, ac seipsis perfectas). We may take this opportunity of mentioning another point in which our doctrine of Ideas differs very much from that of Plato. He teaches (De Rep., x., p. 288) that the object which art tries to express, the ideal of painting and poetry, is not the Idea but the particular thing. Our whole exposition hitherto has maintained exactly the opposite, and Plato's opinion is the less likely to lead us astray, inasmuch as it is the source of one of the greatest and best known errors of this great man, his depreciation and rejection of art, and especially poetry; he directly connects his false judgment in reference to this with the passage quoted.

§ 42. I return to the exposition of the æsthetic impression. The knowledge of the beautiful always supposes at once and inseparably the pure knowing subject and the known Idea as object. Yet the source of æsthetic satisfaction will sometimes lie more in the comprehension of the known Idea, sometimes more in the blessedness and spiritual peace of the pure knowing subject [pg 275] freed from all willing, and therefore from all individuality, and the pain that proceeds from it. And, indeed, this predominance of one or the other constituent part of æsthetic feeling will depend upon whether the intuitively grasped Idea is a higher or a lower grade of the objectivity of will. Thus in æsthetic contemplation (in the real, or through the medium of art) of the beauty of nature in the inorganic and vegetable worlds, or in works of architecture, the pleasure of pure will-less knowing will predominate, because the Ideas which are here apprehended are only low grades of the objectivity of will, and are therefore not manifestations of deep significance and rich content. On the other hand, if animals and man are the objects of æsthetic contemplation or representation, the pleasure will consist rather in the comprehension of these Ideas, which are the most distinct revelation of will; for they exhibit the greatest multiplicity of forms, the greatest richness and deep significance of phenomena, and reveal to us most completely the nature of will, whether in its violence, its terribleness, its satisfaction or its aberration (the latter in tragic situations), or finally in its change and self-surrender, which is the peculiar theme of christian painting; as the Idea of the will enlightened by full knowledge is the object of historical painting in general, and of the drama. We shall now go through the fine arts one by one, and this will give completeness and distinctness to the theory of the beautiful which we have advanced.

§ 43. Matter as such cannot be the expression of an Idea. For, as we found in the first book, it is throughout nothing but causality: its being consists in its casual action. But causality is a form of the principle of sufficient reason; knowledge of the Idea, on the other hand, absolutely excludes the content of that principle. We also found, in the second book, that matter is the common substratum of all particular phenomena of the Ideas, and consequently is the connecting link between [pg 276] the Idea and the phenomenon, or the particular thing. Accordingly for both of these reasons it is impossible that matter can for itself express any Idea. This is confirmed a posteriori by the fact that it is impossible to have a perceptible idea of matter as such, but only an abstract conception; in the former, i.e., in perceptible ideas are exhibited only the forms and qualities of which matter is the supporter, and in all of which Ideas reveal themselves. This corresponds also with the fact, that causality (the whole essence of matter) cannot for itself be presented perceptibly, but is merely a definite casual connection. On the other hand, every phenomenon of an Idea, because as such it has entered the form of the principle of sufficient reason, or the principium individuationis, must exhibit itself in matter, as one of its qualities. So far then matter is, as we have said, the connecting link between the Idea and the principium individuationis, which is the form of knowledge of the individual, or the principle of sufficient reason. Plato is therefore perfectly right in his enumeration, for after the Idea and the phenomenon, which include all other things in the world, he gives matter only, as a third thing which is different from both (Timaus, p. 345). The individual, as a phenomenon of the Idea, is always matter. Every quality of matter is also the phenomenon of an Idea, and as such it may always be an object of æsthetic contemplation, i.e., the Idea expressed in it may always be recognised. This holds good of even the most universal qualities of matter, without which it never appears, and which are the weakest objectivity of will. Such are gravity, cohesion, rigidity, fluidity, sensitiveness to light, and so forth.

If now we consider architecture simply as a fine art and apart from its application to useful ends, in which it serves the will and not pure knowledge, and therefore ceases to be art in our sense; we can assign to it no other aim than that of bringing to greater distinctness [pg 277] some of those ideas, which are the lowest grades of the objectivity of will; such as gravity, cohesion, rigidity, hardness, those universal qualities of stone, those first, simplest, most inarticulate manifestations of will; the bass notes of nature; and after these light, which in many respects is their opposite. Even at these low grades of the objectivity of will we see its nature revealing itself in discord; for properly speaking the conflict between gravity and rigidity is the sole æsthetic material of architecture; its problem is to make this conflict appear with perfect distinctness in a multitude of different ways. It solves it by depriving these indestructible forces of the shortest way to their satisfaction, and conducting them to it by a circuitous route, so that the conflict is lengthened and the inexhaustible efforts of both forces become visible in many different ways. The whole mass of the building, if left to its original tendency, would exhibit a mere heap or clump, bound as closely as possible to the earth, to which gravity, the form in which the will appears here, continually presses, while rigidity, also objectivity of will, resists. But this very tendency, this effort, is hindered by architecture from obtaining direct satisfaction, and only allowed to reach it indirectly and by roundabout ways. The roof, for example, can only press the earth through columns, the arch must support itself, and can only satisfy its tendency towards the earth through the medium of the pillars, and so forth. But just by these enforced digressions, just by these restrictions, the forces which reside in the crude mass of stone unfold themselves in the most distinct and multifarious ways; and the purely æsthetic aim of architecture can go no further than this. Therefore the beauty, at any rate, of a building lies in the obvious adaptation of every part, not to the outward arbitrary end of man (so far the work belongs to practical architecture), but directly to the stability of the whole, to which the position, dimensions, and form of every part must have so [pg 278] necessary a relation that, where it is possible, if any one part were taken away, the whole would fall to pieces. For just because each part bears just as much as it conveniently can, and each is supported just where it requires to be and just to the necessary extent, this opposition unfolds itself, this conflict between rigidity and gravity, which constitutes the life, the manifestation of will, in the stone, becomes completely visible, and these lowest grades of the objectivity of will reveal themselves distinctly. In the same way the form of each part must not be determined arbitrarily, but by its end, and its relation to the whole. The column is the simplest form of support, determined simply by its end: the twisted column is tasteless; the four-cornered pillar is in fact not so simple as the round column, though it happens that it is easier to make it. The forms also of frieze, rafter, roof, and dome are entirely determined by their immediate end, and explain themselves from it. The decoration of capitals, &c., belongs to sculpture, not to architecture, which admits it merely as extraneous ornament, and could dispense with it. According to what has been said, it is absolutely necessary, in order to understand the æsthetic satisfaction afforded by a work of architecture, to have immediate knowledge through perception of its matter as regards its weight, rigidity, and cohesion, and our pleasure in such a work would suddenly be very much diminished by the discovery that the material used was pumice-stone; for then it would appear to us as a kind of sham building. We would be affected in almost the same way if we were told that it was made of wood, when we had supposed it to be of stone, just because this alters and destroys the relation between rigidity and gravity, and consequently the significance and necessity of all the parts, for these natural forces reveal themselves in a far weaker degree in a wooden building. Therefore no real work of architecture as a fine art can be made of wood, although it assumes all forms so easily; this can only be [pg 279] explained by our theory. If we were distinctly told that a building, the sight of which gave us pleasure, was made of different kinds of material of very unequal weight and consistency, but not distinguishable to the eye, the whole building would become as utterly incapable of affording us pleasure as a poem in an unknown language. All this proves that architecture does not affect us mathematically, but also dynamically, and that what speaks to us through it, is not mere form and symmetry, but rather those fundamental forces of nature, those first Ideas, those lowest grades of the objectivity of will. The regularity of the building and its parts is partly produced by the direct adaptation of each member to the stability of the whole, partly it serves to facilitate the survey and comprehension of the whole, and finally, regular figures to some extent enhance the beauty because they reveal the constitution of space as such. But all this is of subordinate value and necessity, and by no means the chief concern; indeed, symmetry is not invariably demanded, as ruins are still beautiful.

Works of architecture have further quite a special relation to light; they gain a double beauty in the full sunshine, with the blue sky as a background, and again they have quite a different effect by moonlight. Therefore, when a beautiful work of architecture is to be erected, special attention is always paid to the effects of the light and to the climate. The reason of all this is, indeed, principally that all the parts and their relations are only made clearly visible by a bright, strong light; but besides this I am of opinion that it is the function of architecture to reveal the nature of light just as it reveals that of things so opposite to it as gravity and rigidity. For the light is intercepted, confined, and reflected by the great opaque, sharply outlined, and variously formed masses of stone, and thus it unfolds its nature and qualities in the purest and clearest way, to the great pleasure of the beholders, for light is the [pg 280] most joy-giving of things, as the condition and the objective correlative of the most perfect kind of knowledge of perception.

Now, because the Ideas which architecture brings to clear perception, are the lowest grades of the objectivity of will, and consequently their objective significance, which architecture reveals to us, is comparatively small; the æsthetic pleasure of looking at a beautiful building in a good light will lie, not so much in the comprehension of the Idea, as in the subjective correlative which accompanies this comprehension; it will consist pre-eminently in the fact that the beholder, set free from the kind of knowledge that belongs to the individual, and which serves the will and follows the principle of sufficient reason, is raised to that of the pure subject of knowing free from will. It will consist then principally in pure contemplation itself, free from all the suffering of will and of individuality. In this respect the opposite of architecture, and the other extreme of the series of the fine arts, is the drama, which brings to knowledge the most significant Ideas. Therefore in the æsthetic pleasure afforded by the drama the objective side is throughout predominant.

Architecture has this distinction from plastic art and poetry: it does not give us a copy but the thing itself. It does not repeat, as they do, the known Idea, so that the artist lends his eyes to the beholder, but in it the artist merely presents the object to the beholder, and facilitates for him the comprehension of the Idea by bringing the actual, individual object to a distinct and complete expression of its nature.

Unlike the works of the other arts, those of architecture are very seldom executed for purely æsthetic ends. These are generally subordinated to other useful ends which are foreign to art itself. Thus the great merit of the architect consists in achieving and attaining the pure æsthetic ends, in spite of their subordination to other [pg 281] ends which are foreign to them. This he does by cleverly adapting them in a variety of ways to the arbitrary ends in view, and by rightly judging which form of æsthetical architectonic beauty is compatible and may be associated with a temple, which with a palace, which with a prison, and so forth. The more a harsh climate increases these demands of necessity and utility, determines them definitely, and prescribes them more inevitably, the less free play has beauty in architecture. In the mild climate of India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, where the demands of necessity were fewer and less definite, architecture could follow its æsthetic ends with the greatest freedom. But under a northern sky this was sorely hindered. Here, when caissons, pointed roofs and towers were what was demanded, architecture could only unfold its own beauty within very narrow limits, and therefore it was obliged to make amends by resorting all the more to the borrowed ornaments of sculpture, as is seen in Gothic architecture.

We thus see that architecture is greatly restricted by the demands of necessity and utility; but on the other hand it has in them a very powerful support, for, on account of the magnitude and costliness of its works, and the narrow sphere of its æsthetic effect, it could not continue to exist merely as a fine art, if it had not also, as a useful and necessary profession, a firm and honourable place among the occupations of men. It is the want of this that prevents another art from taking its place beside architecture as a sister art, although in an æsthetical point of view it is quite properly to be classed along with it as its counterpart; I mean artistic arrangements of water. For what architecture accomplishes for the Idea of gravity when it appears in connection with that of rigidity, hydraulics accomplishes for the same Idea, when it is connected with fluidity, i.e., formlessness, the greatest mobility and transparency. Leaping waterfalls foaming and tumbling over rocks, [pg 282] cataracts dispersed into floating spray, springs gushing up as high columns of water, and clear reflecting lakes, reveal the Ideas of fluid and heavy matter, in precisely the same way as the works of architecture unfold the Ideas of rigid matter. Artistic hydraulics, however, obtains no support from practical hydraulics, for, as a rule, their ends cannot be combined; yet, in exceptional cases, this happens; for example, in the Cascata di Trevi at Rome.52

§ 44. What the two arts we have spoken of accomplish for these lowest grades of the objectivity of will, is performed for the higher grades of vegetable nature by artistic horticulture. The landscape beauty of a scene consists, for the most part, in the multiplicity of natural objects which are present in it, and then in the fact that they are clearly separated, appear distinctly, and yet exhibit a fitting connection and alternation. These two conditions are assisted and promoted by landscape-gardening, but it has by no means such a mastery over its material as architecture, and therefore its effect is limited. The beauty with which it is concerned belongs almost exclusively to nature; it has done little for it; and, on the other hand, it can do little against unfavourable nature, and when nature works, not for it, but against it, its achievements are small.

The vegetable world offers itself everywhere for æsthetic enjoyment without the medium of art; but so far as it is an object of art, it belongs principally to landscape-painting; to the province of which all the rest of unconscious nature also belongs. In paintings of still life, and of mere architecture, ruins, interiors of churches, &c., the subjective side of æsthetic pleasure is predominant, i.e., our satisfaction does not lie principally in the direct comprehension of the represented Ideas, but rather in the subjective correlative of this comprehension, pure, will-less knowing. For, because the painter lets us see these [pg 283] things through his eyes, we at once receive a sympathetic and reflected sense of the deep spiritual peace and absolute silence of the will, which were necessary in order to enter with knowledge so entirely into these lifeless objects, and comprehend them with such love, i.e., in this case with such a degree of objectivity. The effect of landscape-painting proper is indeed, as a whole, of this kind; but because the Ideas expressed are more distinct and significant, as higher grades of the objectivity of will, the objective side of æsthetic pleasure already comes more to the front and assumes as much importance as the subjective side. Pure knowing as such is no longer the paramount consideration, for we are equally affected by the known Platonic Idea, the world as idea at an important grade of the objectification of will.

But a far higher grade is revealed by animal painting and sculpture. Of the latter we have some important antique remains; for example, horses at Venice, on Monte Cavallo, and on the Elgin Marbles, also at Florence in bronze and marble; the ancient boar, howling wolves, the lions in the arsenal at Venice, also in the Vatican a whole room almost filled with ancient animals, &c. In these representations the objective side of æsthetic pleasure obtains a marked predominance over the subjective. The peace of the subject which knows these Ideas, which has silenced its own will, is indeed present, as it is in all æsthetic contemplation; but its effect is not felt, for we are occupied with the restlessness and impetuosity of the will represented. It is that very will, which constitutes our own nature, that here appears to us in forms, in which its manifestation is not, as in us, controlled and tempered by intellect, but exhibits itself in stronger traits, and with a distinctness that borders on the grotesque and monstrous. For this very reason there is no concealment; it is free, naïve, open as the day, and this is the cause of our interest in animals. The characteristics of species appeared already in the representation [pg 284] of plants, but showed itself only in the forms; here it becomes much more distinct, and expresses itself not only in the form, but in the action, position, and mien, yet always merely as the character of the species, not of the individual. This knowledge of the Ideas of higher grades, which in painting we receive through extraneous means, we may gain directly by the pure contemplative perception of plants, and observation of beasts, and indeed of the latter in their free, natural, and unrestrained state. The objective contemplation of their manifold and marvellous forms, and of their actions and behaviour, is an instructive lesson from the great book of nature, it is a deciphering of the true signatura rerum.53 We see in them the manifold grades and modes of the manifestation of will, which in all beings of one and the same grade, wills always in the same way, which objectifies itself as life, as existence in such endless variety, and such different forms, which are all adaptations to the different external circumstances, and may be compared to many variations on the same theme. But if we had to communicate to the observer, for reflection, and in a word, the explanation of their inner nature, it would be best to make use of that Sanscrit formula which occurs so often in the sacred books of the Hindoos, and is called Mahavakya, i.e., the great word: Tat twam asi,” which means, “this living thing art thou.”

§ 45. The great problem of historical painting and sculpture is to express directly and for perception the Idea in which the will reaches the highest grade of its objectification. The objective side of the pleasure afforded by the beautiful is here always predominant, [pg 285] and the subjective side has retired into the background. It is further to be observed that at the next grade below this, animal painting, the characteristic is entirely one with the beautiful; the most characteristic lion, wolf, horse, sheep, or ox, was always the most beautiful also. The reason of this is that animals have only the character of their species, no individual character. In the representation of men the character of the species is separated from that of the individual; the former is now called beauty (entirely in the objective sense), but the latter retains the name, character, or expression, and the new difficulty arises of representing both, at once and completely, in the same individual.

Human beauty is an objective expression, which means the fullest objectification of will at the highest grade at which it is knowable, the Idea of man in general, completely expressed in the sensible form. But however much the objective side of the beautiful appears here, the subjective side still always accompanies it. And just because no object transports us so quickly into pure æsthetic contemplation, as the most beautiful human countenance and form, at the sight of which we are instantly filled with unspeakable satisfaction, and raised above ourselves and all that troubles us; this is only possible because this most distinct and purest knowledge of will raises us most easily and quickly to the state of pure knowing, in which our personality, our will with its constant pain, disappears, so long as the pure æsthetic pleasure lasts. Therefore it is that Goethe says: “No evil can touch him who looks on human beauty; he feels himself at one with himself and with the world.” That a beautiful human form is produced by nature must be explained in this way. At this its highest grade the will objectifies itself in an individual; and therefore through circumstances and its own power it completely overcomes all the hindrances and opposition which the phenomena of the lower grades present to it. Such are the forces [pg 286] of nature, from which the will must always first extort and win back the matter that belongs to all its manifestations. Further, the phenomenon of will at its higher grades always has multiplicity in its form. Even the tree is only a systematic aggregate of innumerably repeated sprouting fibres. This combination assumes greater complexity in higher forms, and the human body is an exceedingly complex system of different parts, each of which has a peculiar life of its own, vita propria, subordinate to the whole. Now that all these parts are in the proper fashion subordinate to the whole, and co-ordinate to each other, that they all work together harmoniously for the expression of the whole, nothing superfluous, nothing restricted; all these are the rare conditions, whose result is beauty, the completely expressed character of the species. So is it in nature. But how in art? One would suppose that art achieved the beautiful by imitating nature. But how is the artist to recognise the perfect work which is to be imitated, and distinguish it from the failures, if he does not anticipate the beautiful before experience? And besides this, has nature ever produced a human being perfectly beautiful in all his parts? It has accordingly been thought that the artist must seek out the beautiful parts, distributed among a number of different human beings, and out of them construct a beautiful whole; a perverse and foolish opinion. For it will be asked, how is he to know that just these forms and not others are beautiful? We also see what kind of success attended the efforts of the old German painters to achieve the beautiful by imitating nature. Observe their naked figures. No knowledge of the beautiful is possible purely a posteriori, and from mere experience; it is always, at least in part, a priori, although quite different in kind, from the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, of which we are conscious a priori. These concern the universal form of phenomena as such, as it constitutes the possibility [pg 287] of knowledge in general, the universal how of all phenomena, and from this knowledge proceed mathematics and pure natural science. But this other kind of knowledge a priori, which makes it possible to express the beautiful, concerns, not the form but the content of phenomena, not the how but the what of the phenomenon. That we all recognise human beauty when we see it, but that in the true artist this takes place with such clearness that he shows it as he has never seen it, and surpasses nature in his representation; this is only possible because we ourselves are the will whose adequate objectification at its highest grade is here to be judged and discovered. Thus alone have we in fact an anticipation of that which nature (which is just the will that constitutes our own being) strives to express. And in the true genius this anticipation is accompanied by so great a degree of intelligence that he recognises the Idea in the particular thing, and thus, as it were, understands the half-uttered speech of nature, and articulates clearly what she only stammered forth. He expresses in the hard marble that beauty of form which in a thousand attempts she failed to produce, he presents it to nature, saying, as it were, to her, “That is what you wanted to say!” And whoever is able to judge replies, “Yes, that is it.” Only in this way was it possible for the genius of the Greeks to find the type of human beauty and establish it as a canon for the school of sculpture; and only by virtue of such an anticipation is it possible for all of us to recognise beauty, when it has actually been achieved by nature in the particular case. This anticipation is the Ideal. It is the Idea so far as it is known a priori, at least half, and it becomes practical for art, because it corresponds to and completes what is given a posteriori through nature. The possibility of such an anticipation of the beautiful a priori in the artist, and of its recognition a posteriori by the critic, lies in the fact that the artist and the critic are themselves the “in-itself” of nature, the [pg 288] will which objectifies itself. For, as Empedocles said, like can only be known by like: only nature can understand itself: only nature can fathom itself: but only spirit also can understand spirit.54

The opinion, which is absurd, although expressed by the Socrates of Xenophon (Stobæi Floril, vol. ii. p. 384) that the Greeks discovered the established ideal of human beauty empirically, by collecting particular beautiful parts, uncovering and noting here a knee, there an arm, has an exact parallel in the art of poetry. The view is entertained, that Shakespeare, for example, observed, and then gave forth from his own experience of life, the innumerable variety of the characters in his dramas, so true, so sustained, so profoundly worked out. The impossibility and absurdity of such an assumption need not be dwelt upon. It is obvious that the man of genius produces the works of poetic art by means of an anticipation of what is characteristic, just as he produces the works of plastic and pictorial art by means of a prophetic anticipation of the beautiful; yet both require experience as a pattern or model, for thus alone can that which is dimly known a priori be called into clear consciousness, and an intelligent representation of it becomes possible.

Human beauty was explained above as the fullest objectification of will at the highest grade at which it is knowable. It expresses itself through the form; and this lies in space alone, and has no necessary connection with time, as, for example, motion has. Thus far then we may say: the adequate objectification of will through a merely spatial phenomenon is beauty, in the objective sense. A plant is nothing but such a merely spatial [pg 289] phenomenon of will; for no motion, and consequently no relation to time (regarded apart from its development), belongs to the expression of its nature; its mere form expresses its whole being and displays it openly. But brutes and men require, further, for the full revelation of the will which is manifested in them, a series of actions, and thus the manifestation in them takes on a direct relation to time. All this has already been explained in the preceding book; it is related to what we are considering at present in the following way. As the merely spatial manifestation of will can objectify it fully or defectively at each definite grade,—and it is this which constitutes beauty or ugliness,—so the temporal objectification of will, i.e., the action, and indeed the direct action, the movement, may correspond to the will, which objectifies itself in it, purely and fully without foreign admixture, without superfluity, without defect, only expressing exactly the act of will determined in each case;—or the converse of all this may occur. In the first case the movement is made with grace, in the second case without it. Thus as beauty is the adequate representation of will generally, through its merely spatial manifestation; grace is the adequate representation of will through its temporal manifestation, that is to say, the perfectly accurate and fitting expression of each act of will, through the movement and position which objectify it. Since movement and position presuppose the body, Winckelmann's expression is very true and suitable, when he says, “Grace is the proper relation of the acting person to the action” (Works, vol. i. p. 258). It is thus evident that beauty may be attributed to a plant, but no grace, unless in a figurative sense; but to brutes and men, both beauty and grace. Grace consists, according to what has been said, in every movement being performed, and every position assumed, in the easiest, most appropriate and convenient way, and therefore being the pure, adequate expression of its intention, or of [pg 290] the act of will, without any superfluity, which exhibits itself as aimless, meaningless bustle, or as wooden stiffness. Grace presupposes as its condition a true proportion of all the limbs, and a symmetrical, harmonious figure; for complete ease and evident appropriateness of all positions and movements are only possible by means of these. Grace is therefore never without a certain degree of beauty of person. The two, complete and united, are the most distinct manifestation of will at the highest grade of its objectification.

It was mentioned above that in order rightly to portray man, it is necessary to separate the character of the species from that of the individual, so that to a certain extent every man expresses an Idea peculiar to himself, as was said in the last book. Therefore the arts whose aim is the representation of the Idea of man, have as their problem, not only beauty, the character of the species, but also the character of the individual, which is called, par excellence, character. But this is only the case in so far as this character is to be regarded, not as something accidental and quite peculiar to the man as a single individual, but as a side of the Idea of humanity which is specially apparent in this individual, and the representation of which is therefore of assistance in revealing this Idea. Thus the character, although as such it is individual, must yet be Ideal, that is, its significance in relation to the Idea of humanity generally (the objectifying of which it assists in its own way) must be comprehended and expressed with special prominence. Apart from this the representation is a portrait, a copy of the individual as such, with all his accidental qualities. And even the portrait ought to be, as Winckelmann says, the ideal of the individual.

That character which is to be ideally comprehended, as the prominence of a special side of the Idea of humanity, expresses itself visibly, partly through permanent physiognomy and bodily form, partly through passing [pg 291] emotion and passion, the reciprocal modification of knowing and willing by each other, which is all exhibited in the mien and movements. Since the individual always belongs to humanity, and, on the other hand, humanity always reveals itself in the individual with what is indeed peculiar ideal significance, beauty must not be destroyed by character nor character by beauty. For if the character of the species is annulled by that of the individual, the result is caricature; and if the character of the individual is annulled by that of the species, the result is an absence of meaning. Therefore the representation which aims at beauty, as sculpture principally does, will yet always modify this (the character of the species), in some respect, by the individual character, and will always express the Idea of man in a definite individual manner, giving prominence to a special side of it. For the human individual as such has to a certain extent the dignity of a special Idea, and it is essential to the Idea of man that it should express itself in individuals of special significance. Therefore we find in the works of the ancients, that the beauty distinctly comprehended by them, is not expressed in one form, but in many forms of different character. It is always apprehended, as it were, from a different side, and expressed in one way in Apollo, in another way in Bacchus, in another in Hercules, in another in Antinous; indeed the characteristic may limit the beautiful, and finally extend even to hideousness, in the drunken Silenus, in the Faun, &c. If the characteristic goes so far as actually to annul the character of the species, if it extends to the unnatural, it becomes caricature. But we can far less afford to allow grace to be interfered with by what is characteristic than even beauty, for graceful position and movement are demanded for the expression of the character also; but yet it must be achieved in the way which is most fitting, appropriate, and easy for the person. This will be observed, not only by the sculptor and the painter, but [pg 292] also by every good actor; otherwise caricature will appear here also as grimace or distortion.

In sculpture, beauty and grace are the principal concern. The special character of the mind, appearing in emotion, passion, alternations of knowing and willing, which can only be represented by the expression of the countenance and the gestures, is the peculiar sphere of painting. For although eyes and colour, which lie outside the province of sculpture, contribute much to beauty, they are yet far more essential to character. Further, beauty unfolds itself more completely when it is contemplated from various points of view; but the expression, the character, can only be completely comprehended from one point of view.

Because beauty is obviously the chief aim of sculpture, Lessing tried to explain the fact that the Laocoon does not cry out, by saying that crying out is incompatible with beauty. The Laocoon formed for Lessing the theme, or at least the text of a work of his own, and both before and after him a great deal has been written on the subject. I may therefore be allowed to express my views about it in passing, although so special a discussion does not properly belong to the scheme of this work, which is throughout concerned with what is general.

§ 46. That Laocoon, in the celebrated group, does not cry out is obvious, and the universal and ever-renewed surprise at this must be occasioned by the fact that any of us would cry out if we were in his place. And nature demands that it should be so; for in the case of the acutest physical pain, and the sudden seizure by the greatest bodily fear, all reflection, that might have inculcated silent endurance, is entirely expelled from consciousness, and nature relieves itself by crying out, thus expressing both the pain and the fear, summoning the deliverer and terrifying the assailer. Thus Winckelmann missed the expression of crying out; but as he wished to justify the artist he turned Laocoon into a Stoic, who considered it beneath his dignity to cry out [pg 293] secundum naturam, but added to his pain the useless constraint of suppressing all utterance of it. Winckelmann therefore sees in him “the tried spirit of a great man, who writhes in agony, and yet seeks to suppress the utterance of his feeling, and to lock it up in himself. He does not break forth into loud cries, as in Virgil, but only anxious sighs escape him,” &c. (Works, vol. vii. p. 98, and at greater length in vol. vi. p. 104). Now Lessing criticised this opinion of Winckelmann's in his Laocoon, and improved it in the way mentioned above. In place of the psychological he gave the purely æsthetic reason that beauty, the principle of ancient art, does not admit of the expression of crying out. Another argument which he added to this, that a merely passing state incapable of duration ought not to be represented in motionless works of art, has a hundred examples of most excellent figures against it, which are fixed in merely transitory movements, dancing, wrestling, catching, &c. Indeed Goethe, in the essay on the Laocoon, which opens the Propylaen (p. 8), holds that the choice of such a merely fleeting movement is absolutely necessary. In our own day Hirt (Horen, 1797, tenth St.) finally decided the point, deducing everything from the highest truth of expression, that Laocoon does not cry out, because he can no longer do so, as he is at the point of death from choking. Lastly, Fernow (“Römische Studien,” vol. i. p. 246) expounded and weighed all these opinions; he added, however, no new one of his own, but combined these three eclectically.

I cannot but wonder that such thoughtful and acute men should laboriously bring far-fetched and insufficient reasons, should resort to psychological and physiological arguments, to explain a matter the reason of which lies so near at hand, and is obvious at once to the unprejudiced; and especially I wonder that Lessing, who came so near the true explanation, should yet have entirely missed the real point.

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Before all psychological and physiological inquiries as to whether Laocoon would cry out in his position or not (and I certainly affirm that he would), it must be decided as regards the group in question, that crying out ought not to be expressed in it, for the simple reason that its expression lies quite outside the province of sculpture. A shrieking Laocoon could not be produced in marble, but only a figure with the mouth open vainly endeavouring to shriek; a Laocoon whose voice has stuck in his throat, vox faucibus haesit. The essence of shrieking, and consequently its effect upon the onlooker, lies entirely in sound; not in the distortion of the mouth. This phenomenon, which necessarily accompanies shrieking, derives motive and justification only from the sound produced by means of it; then it is permissible and indeed necessary, as characteristic of the action, even though it interferes with beauty. But in plastic art, to which the representation of shrieking is quite foreign and impossible, it would be actual folly to represent the medium of violent shrieking, the distorted mouth, which would disturb all the features and the remainder of the expression; for thus at the sacrifice of many other things the means would be represented, while its end, the shrieking itself, and its effect upon our feelings, would be left out. Nay more, there would be produced the spectacle of a continuous effort without effect, which is always ridiculous, and may really be compared to what happened when some one for a joke stopped the horn of a night watchman with wax while he was asleep, and then awoke him with the cry of fire, and amused himself by watching his vain endeavours to blow the horn. When, on the other hand, the expression of shrieking lies in the province of poetic or histrionic art, it is quite admissible, because it helps to express the truth, i.e., the complete expression of the Idea. Thus it is with poetry, which claims the assistance of the imagination of the reader, in order to enable it to represent things perceptibly. [pg 295] Therefore Virgil makes Laocoon cry out like the bellowing of an ox that has broken loose after being struck by the axe; and Homer (Il. xx. 48-53) makes Mars and Minerva shriek horribly, without derogating from their divine dignity or beauty. The same with acting; Laocoon on the stage would certainly have to shriek. Sophocles makes Philoctetus cry out, and, on the ancient stage at any rate, he must actually have done so. As a case in point, I remember having seen in London the great actor Kemble play in a piece called Pizarro, translated from the German. He took the part of the American, a half-savage, but of very noble character. When he was wounded he cried out loudly and wildly, which had a great and admirable effect, for it was exceedingly characteristic and therefore assisted the truth of the representation very much. On the other hand, a painted or sculptured model of a man shrieking, would be much more absurd than the painted music which is censured in Goethe's Propylaen. For shrieking does far more injury to the expression and beauty of the whole than music, which at the most only occupies the hands and arms, and is to be looked upon as an occupation characteristic of the person; indeed thus far it may quite rightly be painted, as long as it demands no violent movement of the body, or distortion of the mouth: for example, St. Cecilia at the organ, Raphael's violin-player in the Sciarra Gallery at Rome, and others. Since then, on account of the limits of the art, the pain of Laocoon must not be expressed by shrieking, the artist was obliged to employ every other expression of pain; this he has done in the most perfect manner, as is ably described by Winckelmann (Works, vol. vi. p. 104), whose admirable account thus retains its full value and truth, as soon as we abstract from the stoical view which underlies it.55

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§ 47. Because beauty accompanied with grace is the principal object of sculpture, it loves nakedness, and allows clothing only so far as it does not conceal the form. It makes use of drapery, not as a covering, but as a means of exhibiting the form, a method of exposition that gives much exercise to the understanding, for it can only arrive at a perception of the cause, the form of the body, through the only directly given effect, the drapery. Thus to a certain extent drapery is in sculpture what fore-shortening is in painting. Both are suggestions, yet not symbolical, but such that, if they are successful, they force the understanding directly to perceive what is suggested, just as if it were actually given.

I may be allowed, in passing, to insert here a comparison that is very pertinent to the arts we are discussing. It is this: as the beautiful bodily form is seen to the greatest advantage when clothed in the lightest way, or indeed without any clothing at all, and therefore a very handsome man, if he had also taste and the courage to follow it, would go about almost naked, clothed only after the manner of the ancients; so every one who possesses a beautiful and rich mind will always express himself in the most natural, direct, and simple way, concerned, if it be possible, to communicate his thoughts to others, and thus relieve the loneliness that he must feel in such a world as this. And conversely, poverty of mind, confusion, and perversity of thought, will clothe itself in the most far-fetched expressions and the obscurest forms of speech, in order to wrap up in difficult and pompous phraseology small, trifling, insipid, or commonplace thoughts; like a man who has lost the majesty of beauty, and trying to make up for the deficiency by means of clothing, seeks to hide the insignificance or ugliness of his person under barbaric finery, tinsel, feathers, ruffles, cuffs, and mantles. Many an author, if compelled to translate his pompous and [pg 297] obscure book into its little clear content, would be as utterly spoilt as this man if he had to go naked.

§ 48. Historical painting has for its principal object, besides beauty and grace, character. By character we mean generally, the representation of will at the highest grade of its objectification, when the individual, as giving prominence to a particular side of the Idea of humanity, has special significance, and shows this not merely by his form, but makes it visible in his bearing and occupation, by action of every kind, and the modifications of knowing and willing that occasion and accompany it. The Idea of man must be exhibited in these circumstances, and therefore the unfolding of its many-sidedness must be brought before our eyes by means of representative individuals, and these individuals can only be made visible in their significance through various scenes, events, and actions. This is the endless problem of the historical painter, and he solves it by placing before us scenes of life of every kind, of greater or less significance. No individual and no action can be without significance; in all and through all the Idea of man unfolds itself more and more. Therefore no event of human life is excluded from the sphere of painting. It is thus a great injustice to the excellent painters of the Dutch school, to prize merely their technical skill, and to look down upon them in other respects, because, for the most part, they represent objects of common life, whereas it is assumed that only the events of the history of the world, or the incidents of biblical story, have significance. We ought first to bethink ourselves that the inward significance of an action is quite different from its outward significance, and that these are often separated from each other. The outward significance is the importance of an action in relation to its result for and in the actual world; thus according to the principle of sufficient reason. The inward significance is the depth of the insight into the Idea of man which it reveals, in that it brings [pg 298] to light sides of that Idea which rarely appear, by making individuals who assert themselves distinctly and decidedly, disclose their peculiar characteristics by means of appropriately arranged circumstances. Only the inward significance concerns art; the outward belongs to history. They are both completely independent of each other; they may appear together, but may each appear alone. An action which is of the highest significance for history may in inward significance be a very ordinary and common one; and conversely, a scene of ordinary daily life may be of great inward significance, if human individuals, and the inmost recesses of human action and will, appear in it in a clear and distinct light. Further, the outward and the inward significance of a scene may be equal and yet very different. Thus, for example, it is all the same, as far as inward significance is concerned, whether ministers discuss the fate of countries and nations over a map, or boors wrangle in a beer-house over cards and dice, just as it is all the same whether we play chess with golden or wooden pieces. But apart from this, the scenes and events that make up the life of so many millions of men, their actions, their sorrows, their joys, are on that account important enough to be the object of art, and by their rich variety they must afford material enough for unfolding the many-sided Idea of man. Indeed the very transitoriness of the moment which art has fixed in such a picture (now called genre-painting) excites a slight and peculiar sensation; for to fix the fleeting, ever-changing world in the enduring picture of a single event, which yet represents the whole, is an achievement of the art of painting by which it seems to bring time itself to a standstill, for it raises the individual to the Idea of its species. Finally, the historical and outwardly significant subjects of painting have often the disadvantage that just what is significant in them cannot be presented to perception, but must be arrived at by thought. In this respect the nominal [pg 299] significance of the picture must be distinguished from its real significance. The former is the outward significance, which, however, can only be reached as a conception; the latter is that side of the Idea of man which is made visible to the onlooker in the picture. For example, Moses found by the Egyptian princess is the nominal significance of a painting; it represents a moment of the greatest importance in history; the real significance, on the other hand, that which is really given to the onlooker, is a foundling child rescued from its floating cradle by a great lady, an incident which may have happened more than once. The costume alone can here indicate the particular historical case to the learned; but the costume is only of importance to the nominal significance, and is a matter of indifference to the real significance; for the latter knows only the human being as such, not the arbitrary forms. Subjects taken from history have no advantage over those which are taken from mere possibility, and which are therefore to be called, not individual, but merely general. For what is peculiarly significant in the former is not the individual, not the particular event as such, but the universal in it, the side of the Idea of humanity which expresses itself through it. But, on the other hand, definite historical subjects are not on this account to be rejected, only the really artistic view of such subjects, both in the painter and in the beholder, is never directed to the individual particulars in them, which properly constitute the historical, but to the universal which expresses itself in them, to the Idea. And only those historical subjects are to be chosen the chief point of which can actually be represented, and not merely arrived at by thought, otherwise the nominal significance is too remote from the real; what is merely thought in connection with the picture becomes of most importance, and interferes with what is perceived. If even on the stage it is not right that the chief incident of the plot should take place behind the [pg 300] scenes (as in French tragedies), it is clearly a far greater fault in a picture. Historical subjects are distinctly disadvantageous only when they confine the painter to a field which has not been chosen for artistic but for other reasons, and especially when this field is poor in picturesque and significant objects—if, for example, it is the history of a small, isolated, capricious, hierarchical (i.e., ruled by error), obscure people, like the Jews, despised by the great contemporary nations of the East and the West. Since the wandering of the tribes lies between us and all ancient nations, as the change of the bed of the ocean lies between the earth's surface as it is to-day and as it was when those organisations existed which we only know from fossil remains, it is to be regarded generally as a great misfortune that the people whose culture was to be the principal basis of our own were not the Indians or the Greeks, or even the Romans, but these very Jews. But it was especially a great misfortune for the Italian painters of genius in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that, in the narrow sphere to which they were arbitrarily driven for the choice of subjects, they were obliged to have recourse to miserable beings of every kind. For the New Testament, as regards its historical part, is almost more unsuitable for painting than the Old, and the subsequent history of martyrs and doctors of the church is a very unfortunate subject. Yet of the pictures, whose subject is the history or mythology of Judaism and Christianity, we must carefully distinguish those in which the peculiar, i.e., the ethical spirit of Christianity is revealed for perception, by the representation of men who are full of this spirit. These representations are in fact the highest and most admirable achievements of the art of painting; and only the greatest masters of this art succeeded in this, particularly Raphael and Correggio, and especially in their earlier pictures. Pictures of this kind are not properly to be classed as historical: for, as a rule, they represent no event, no action; but are merely groups of [pg 301] saints, with the Saviour himself, often still a child, with His mother, angels, &c. In their countenances, and especially in the eyes, we see the expression, the reflection, of the completest knowledge, that which is not directed to particular things, but has fully grasped the Ideas, and thus the whole nature of the world and life. And this knowledge in them, reacting upon the will, does not, like other knowledge, convey motives to it, but on the contrary has become a quieter of all will, from which proceeded the complete resignation, which is the innermost spirit of Christianity, as of the Indian philosophy; the surrender of all volition, conversion, the suppression of will, and with it of the whole inner being of this world, that is to say, salvation. Thus these masters of art, worthy of eternal praise, expressed perceptibly in their works the highest wisdom. And this is the summit of all art. It has followed the will in its adequate objectivity, the Ideas, through all its grades, in which it is affected and its nature unfolded in so many ways, first by causes, then by stimuli, and finally by motives. And now art ends with the representation of the free self-suppression of will, by means of the great peace which it gains from the perfect knowledge of its own nature.56

§ 49. The truth which lies at the foundation of all that we have hitherto said about art, is that the object of art, the representation of which is the aim of the artist, and the knowledge of which must therefore precede his work as its germ and source, is an Idea in Plato's sense, and never anything else; not the particular thing, the object of common apprehension, and not the concept, the object of rational thought and of science. Although the Idea and the concept have something in common, because both represent as unity a multiplicity of real things; yet the great difference between them has no doubt been made clear and evident enough by what we have said [pg 302] about concepts in the first book, and about Ideas in this book. I by no means wish to assert, however, that Plato really distinctly comprehended this difference; indeed many of his examples of Ideas, and his discussions of them, are applicable only to concepts. Meanwhile we leave this question alone and go on our own way, glad when we come upon traces of any great and noble mind, yet not following his footsteps but our own aim. The concept is abstract, discursive, undetermined within its own sphere, only determined by its limits, attainable and comprehensible by him who has only reason, communicable by words without any other assistance, entirely exhausted by its definition. The Idea on the contrary, although defined as the adequate representative of the concept, is always object of perception, and although representing an infinite number of particular things, is yet thoroughly determined. It is never known by the individual as such, but only by him who has raised himself above all willing and all individuality to the pure subject of knowing. Thus it is only attainable by the man of genius, and by him who, for the most part through the assistance of the works of genius, has reached an exalted frame of mind, by increasing his power of pure knowing. It is therefore not absolutely but only conditionally communicable, because the Idea, comprehended and repeated in the work of art, appeals to every one only according to the measure of his own intellectual worth. So that just the most excellent works of every art, the noblest productions of genius, must always remain sealed books to the dull majority of men, inaccessible to them, separated from them by a wide gulf, just as the society of princes is inaccessible to the common people. It is true that even the dullest of them accept on authority recognisedly great works, lest otherwise they should argue their own incompetence; but they wait in silence, always ready to express their condemnation, as soon as they are allowed to hope that they may do so without being left [pg 303] to stand alone; and then their long-restrained hatred against all that is great and beautiful, and against the authors of it, gladly relieves itself; for such things never appealed to them, and for that very reason were humiliating to them. For as a rule a man must have worth in himself in order to recognise it and believe in it willingly and freely in others. On this rests the necessity of modesty in all merit, and the disproportionately loud praise of this virtue, which alone of all its sisters is always included in the eulogy of every one who ventures to praise any distinguished man, in order to appease and quiet the wrath of the unworthy. What then is modesty but hypocritical humility, by means of which, in a world swelling with base envy, a man seeks to obtain pardon for excellences and merits from those who have none? For whoever attributes to himself no merits, because he actually has none, is not modest but merely honest.

The Idea is the unity that falls into multiplicity on account of the temporal and spatial form of our intuitive apprehension; the concept, on the contrary, is the unity reconstructed out of multiplicity by the abstraction of our reason; the latter may be defined as unitas post rem, the former as unitas ante rem. Finally, we may express the distinction between the Idea and the concept, by a comparison, thus: the concept is like a dead receptacle, in which, whatever has been put, actually lies side by side, but out of which no more can be taken (by analytical judgment) than was put in (by synthetical reflection); the (Platonic) Idea, on the other hand, develops, in him who has comprehended it, ideas which are new as regards the concept of the same name; it resembles a living organism, developing itself and possessed of the power of reproduction, which brings forth what was not put into it.

It follows from all that has been said, that the concept, useful as it is in life, and serviceable, necessary and productive as it is in science, is yet always barren [pg 304] and unfruitful in art. The comprehended Idea, on the contrary, is the true and only source of every work of art. In its powerful originality it is only derived from life itself, from nature, from the world, and that only by the true genius, or by him whose momentary inspiration reaches the point of genius. Genuine and immortal works of art spring only from such direct apprehension. Just because the Idea is and remains object of perception, the artist is not conscious in the abstract of the intention and aim of his work; not a concept, but an Idea floats before his mind; therefore he can give no justification of what he does. He works, as people say, from pure feeling, and unconsciously, indeed instinctively. On the contrary, imitators, mannerists, imitatores, servum pecus, start, in art, from the concept; they observe what pleases and affects us in true works of art; understand it clearly, fix it in a concept, and thus abstractly, and then imitate it, openly or disguisedly, with dexterity and intentionally. They suck their nourishment, like parasite plants, from the works of others, and like polypi, they become the colour of their food. We might carry comparison further, and say that they are like machines which mince fine and mingle together whatever is put into them, but can never digest it, so that the different constituent parts may always be found again if they are sought out and separated from the mixture; the man of genius alone resembles the organised, assimilating, transforming and reproducing body. For he is indeed educated and cultured by his predecessors and their works; but he is really fructified only by life and the world directly, through the impression of what he perceives; therefore the highest culture never interferes with his originality. All imitators, all mannerists, apprehend in concepts the nature of representative works of art; but concepts can never impart inner life to a work. The age, i.e., the dull multitude of every time, knows only concepts, and sticks to them, and therefore receives [pg 305] mannered works of art with ready and loud applause: but after a few years these works become insipid, because the spirit of the age, i.e., the prevailing concepts, in which alone they could take root, have changed. Only true works of art, which are drawn directly from nature and life, have eternal youth and enduring power, like nature and life themselves. For they belong to no age, but to humanity, and as on that account they are coldly received by their own age, to which they disdain to link themselves closely, and because indirectly and negatively they expose the existing errors, they are slowly and unwillingly recognised; on the other hand, they cannot grow old, but appear to us ever fresh and new down to the latest ages. Then they are no longer exposed to neglect and ignorance, for they are crowned and sanctioned by the praise of the few men capable of judging, who appear singly and rarely in the course of ages,57 and give in their votes, whose slowly growing number constitutes the authority, which alone is the judgment-seat we mean when we appeal to posterity. It is these successively appearing individuals, for the mass of posterity will always be and remain just as perverse and dull as the mass of contemporaries always was and always is. We read the complaints of great men in every century about the customs of their age. They always sound as if they referred to our own age, for the race is always the same. At every time and in every art, mannerisms have taken the place of the spirit, which was always the possession of a few individuals, but mannerisms are just the old cast-off garments of the last manifestation of the spirit that existed and was recognised. From all this it appears that, as a rule, the praise of posterity can only be gained at the cost of the praise of one's contemporaries, and vice versa.58

§ 50. If the aim of all art is the communication of the comprehended Idea, which through the mind of the artist [pg 306] appears in such a form that it is purged and isolated from all that is foreign to it, and may now be grasped by the man of weaker comprehension and no productive faculty; if further, it is forbidden in art to start from the concept, we shall not be able to consent to the intentional and avowed employment of a work of art for the expression of a concept; this is the case in the Allegory. An allegory is a work of art which means something different from what it represents. But the object of perception, and consequently also the Idea, expresses itself directly and completely, and does not require the medium of something else which implies or indicates it. Thus, that which in this way is indicated and represented by something entirely different, because it cannot itself be made object of perception, is always a concept. Therefore through the allegory a conception has always to be signified, and consequently the mind of the beholder has to be drawn away from the expressed perceptible idea to one which is entirely different, abstract and not perceptible, and which lies quite outside the work of art. The picture or statue is intended to accomplish here what is accomplished far more fully by a book. Now, what we hold is the end of art, representation of a perceivable, comprehensible Idea, is not here the end. No great completeness in the work of art is demanded for what is aimed at here. It is only necessary that we should see what the thing is meant to be, for, as soon as this has been discovered, the end is reached, and the mind is now led away to quite a different kind of idea to an abstract conception, which is the end that was in view. Allegories in plastic and pictorial art are, therefore, nothing but hieroglyphics; the artistic value which they may have as perceptible representations, belongs to them not as allegories, but otherwise. That the “Night” of Correggio, the “Genius of Fame” of Hannibal Caracci, and the “Hours” of Poussin, are very beautiful pictures, is to be separated altogether from the fact that they are [pg 307] allegories. As allegories they do not accomplish more than a legend, indeed rather less. We are here again reminded of the distinction drawn above between the real and the nominal significance of a picture. The nominal is here the allegorical as such, for example, the “Genius of Fame.” The real is what is actually represented, in this case a beautiful winged youth, surrounded by beautiful boys; this expresses an Idea. But this real significance affects us only so long as we forget the nominal, allegorical significance; if we think of the latter, we forsake the perception, and the mind is occupied with an abstract conception; but the transition from the Idea to the conception is always a fall. Indeed, that nominal significance, that allegorical intention, often injures the real significance, the perceptible truth. For example, the unnatural light in the “Night” of Correggio, which, though beautifully executed, has yet a merely allegorical motive, and is really impossible. If then an allegorical picture has artistic value, it is quite separate from and independent of what it accomplishes as allegory. Such a work of art serves two ends at once, the expression of a conception and the expression of an Idea. Only the latter can be an end of art; the other is a foreign end, the trifling amusement of making a picture also do service as a legend, as a hieroglyphic, invented for the pleasure of those to whom the true nature of art can never appeal. It is the same thing as when a work of art is also a useful implement of some kind, in which case it also serves two ends; for example, a statue which is at the same time a candelabrum or a caryatide; or a bas-relief, which is also the shield of Achilles. True lovers of art will allow neither the one nor the other. It is true that an allegorical picture may, because of this quality, produce a vivid impression upon the feelings; but when this is the case, a legend would under the same circumstances produce the same effect. For example, if the desire of fame were firmly and lastingly [pg 308] rooted in the heart of a man, because he regarded it as his rightful possession, which is only withheld from him so long as he has not produced the charter of his ownership; and if the Genius of Fame, with his laurel crown, were to appear to such a man, his whole mind would be excited, and his powers called into activity; but the same effect would be produced if he were suddenly to see the word “fame,” in large distinct letters on the wall. Or if a man has made known a truth, which is of importance either as a maxim for practical life, or as insight for science, but it has not been believed; an allegorical picture representing time as it lifts the veil, and discloses the naked figure of Truth, will affect him powerfully; but the same effect would be produced by the legend: Le temps découvre la vérité. For what really produces the effect here is the abstract thought, not the object of perception.

If then, in accordance with what has been said, allegory in plastic and pictorial art is a mistaken effort, serving an end which is entirely foreign to art, it becomes quite unbearable when it leads so far astray that the representation of forced and violently introduced subtilties degenerates into absurdity. Such, for example, is a tortoise, to represent feminine seclusion; the downward glance of Nemesis into the drapery of her bosom, signifying that she can see into what is hidden; the explanation of Bellori that Hannibal Carracci represents voluptuousness clothed in a yellow robe, because he wishes to indicate that her lovers soon fade and become yellow as straw. If there is absolutely no connection between the representation and the conception signified by it, founded on subsumption under the concept, or association of Ideas; but the signs and the things signified are combined in a purely conventional manner, by positive, accidentally introduced laws; then I call this degenerate kind of allegory Symbolism. Thus the rose is the symbol of secrecy, the laurel is the symbol of fame, the palm is [pg 309] the symbol of peace, the scallop-shell is the symbol of pilgrimage, the cross is the symbol of the Christian religion. To this class also belongs all significance of mere colour, as yellow is the colour of falseness, and blue is the colour of fidelity. Such symbols may often be of use in life, but their value is foreign to art. They are simply to be regarded as hieroglyphics, or like Chinese word-writing, and really belong to the same class as armorial bearings, the bush that indicates a public-house, the key of the chamberlain, or the leather of the mountaineer. If, finally, certain historical or mythical persons, or personified conceptions, are represented by certain fixed symbols, these are properly called emblems. Such are the beasts of the Evangelist, the owl of Minerva, the apple of Paris, the Anchor of Hope, &c. For the most part, however, we understand by emblems those simple allegorical representations explained by a motto, which are meant to express a moral truth, and of which large collections have been made by J. Camerarius, Alciatus, and others. They form the transition to poetical allegory, of which we shall have more to say later. Greek sculpture devotes itself to the perception, and therefore it is æsthetical; Indian sculpture devotes itself to the conception, and therefore it is merely symbolical.

This conclusion in regard to allegory, which is founded on our consideration of the nature of art and quite consistent with it, is directly opposed to the opinion of Winckelmann, who, far from explaining allegory, as we do, as something quite foreign to the end of art, and often interfering with it, always speaks in favour of it, and indeed (Works, vol. i. p. 55) places the highest aim of art in the “representation of universal conceptions, and non-sensuous things.” We leave it to every one to adhere to whichever view he pleases. Only the truth became very clear to me from these and similar views of Winckelmann connected with his peculiar metaphysic of the beautiful, that one may have the greatest susceptibility [pg 310] for artistic beauty, and the soundest judgment in regard to it, without being able to give an abstract and strictly philosophical justification of the nature of the beautiful; just as one may be very noble and virtuous, and may have a tender conscience, which decides with perfect accuracy in particular cases, without on that account being in a position to investigate and explain in the abstract the ethical significance of action.

Allegory has an entirely different relation to poetry from that which it has to plastic and pictorial art, and although it is to be rejected in the latter, it is not only permissible, but very serviceable to the former. For in plastic and pictorial art it leads away from what is perceptibly given, the proper object of all art, to abstract thoughts; but in poetry the relation is reversed; for here what is directly given in words is the concept, and the first aim is to lead from this to the object of perception, the representation of which must be undertaken by the imagination of the hearer. If in plastic and pictorial art we are led from what is immediately given to something else, this must always be a conception, because here only the abstract cannot be given directly; but a conception must never be the source, and its communication must never be the end of a work of art. In poetry, on the contrary, the conception is the material, the immediately given, and therefore we may very well leave it, in order to call up perceptions which are quite different, and in which the end is reached. Many a conception or abstract thought may be quite indispensable to the connection of a poem, which is yet, in itself and directly, quite incapable of being perceived; and then it is often made perceptible by means of some example which is subsumed under it. This takes place in every trope, every metaphor, simile, parable, and allegory, all of which differ only in the length and completeness of their expression. Therefore, in the arts which employ language as their medium, similes and allegories are of striking effect. How beautifully Cervantes [pg 311] says of sleep in order to express the fact that it frees us from all spiritual and bodily suffering, “It is a mantle that covers all mankind.” How beautifully Kleist expresses allegorically the thought that philosophers and men of science enlighten mankind, in the line, “Those whose midnight lamp lights the world.” How strongly and sensuously Homer describes the harmful Ate when he says: “She has tender feet, for she walks not on the hard earth, but treads on the heads of men” (Il. xix. 91.) How forcibly we are struck by Menenius Agrippa's fable of the belly and the limbs, addressed to the people of Rome when they seceded. How beautifully Plato's figure of the Cave, at the beginning of the seventh book of the “Republic” to which we have already referred, expresses a very abstract philosophical dogma. The fable of Persephone is also to be regarded as a deeply significant allegory of philosophical tendency, for she became subject to the nether world by tasting a pomegranate. This becomes peculiarly enlightening from Goethe's treatment of the fable, as an episode in the Triumph der Empfindsamkeit, which is beyond all praise. Three detailed allegorical works are known to me, one, open and avowed, is the incomparable “Criticon” of Balthasar Gracian. It consists of a great rich web of connected and highly ingenious allegories, that serve here as the fair clothing of moral truths, to which he thus imparts the most perceptible form, and astonishes us by the richness of his invention. The two others are concealed allegories, “Don Quixote” and “Gulliver's Travels.” The first is an allegory of the life of every man, who will not, like others, be careful, merely for his own welfare, but follows some objective, ideal end, which has taken possession of his thoughts and will; and certainly, in this world, he has then a strange appearance. In the case of Gulliver we have only to take everything physical as spiritual or intellectual, in order to see what the “satirical rogue,” as Hamlet would call him, meant by it. Such, then, in the [pg 312] poetical allegory, the conception is always the given, which it tries to make perceptible by means of a picture; it may sometimes be expressed or assisted by a painted picture. Such a picture will not be regarded as a work of art, but only as a significant symbol, and it makes no claim to pictorial, but only to poetical worth. Such is that beautiful allegorical vignette of Lavater's, which must be so heartening to every defender of truth: a hand holding a light is stung by a wasp, while gnats are burning themselves in the flame above; underneath is the motto:

And although it singes the wings of the gnats,
Destroys their heads and all their little brains,
Light is still light;
And although I am stung by the angriest wasp,
I will not let it go.

To this class also belongs the gravestone with the burnt-out, smoking candle, and the inscription—

When it is out, it becomes clear
Whether the candle was tallow or wax.

Finally, of this kind is an old German genealogical tree, in which the last representative of a very ancient family thus expresses his determination to live his life to the end in abstinence and perfect chastity, and therefore to let his race die out; he represents himself at the root of the high-branching tree cutting it over himself with shears. In general all those symbols referred to above, commonly called emblems, which might also be defined as short painted fables with obvious morals, belong to this class. Allegories of this kind are always to be regarded as belonging to poetry, not to painting, and as justified thereby; moreover, the pictorial execution is here always a matter of secondary importance, and no more is demanded of it than that it shall represent the thing so that we can recognise it. But in poetry, as in plastic art, the allegory passes into the symbol if there is merely [pg 313] an arbitrary connection between what it presented to perception and the abstract significance of it. For as all symbolism rests, at bottom, on an agreement, the symbol has this among other disadvantages, that in time its meaning is forgotten, and then it is dumb. Who would guess why the fish is a symbol of Christianity if he did not know? Only a Champollion; for it is entirely a phonetic hieroglyphic. Therefore, as a poetical allegory, the Revelation of John stands much in the same position as the reliefs with Magnus Deus sol Mithra, which are still constantly being explained.

§ 51. If now, with the exposition which has been given of art in general, we turn from plastic and pictorial art to poetry, we shall have no doubt that its aim also is the revelation of the Ideas, the grades of the objectification of will, and the communication of them to the hearer with the distinctness and vividness with which the poetical sense comprehends them. Ideas are essentially perceptible; if, therefore, in poetry only abstract conceptions are directly communicated through words, it is yet clearly the intention to make the hearer perceive the Ideas of life in the representatives of these conceptions, and this can only take place through the assistance of his own imagination. But in order to set the imagination to work for the accomplishment of this end, the abstract conceptions, which are the immediate material of poetry as of dry prose, must be so arranged that their spheres intersect each other in such a way that none of them can remain in its abstract universality; but, instead of it, a perceptible representative appears to the imagination; and this is always further modified by the words of the poet according to what his intention may be. As the chemist obtains solid precipitates by combining perfectly clear and transparent fluids; the poet understands how to precipitate, as it were, the concrete, the individual, the perceptible idea, out of the abstract and transparent universality of the concepts by the manner in which he [pg 314] combines them. For the Idea can only be known by perception; and knowledge of the Idea is the end of art. The skill of a master, in poetry as in chemistry, enables us always to obtain the precise precipitate we intended. This end is assisted by the numerous epithets in poetry, by means of which the universality of every concept is narrowed more and more till we reach the perceptible. Homer attaches to almost every substantive an adjective, whose concept intersects and considerably diminishes the sphere of the concept of the substantive, which is thus brought so much the nearer to perception: for example—

Εν δ᾽ επεσ᾽ Ωκεανῳ λαμπρον φαος ἡελιοιο,
Ἑλκον νυκτα μελαιναν επι ζειδωρον αρουραν.
(Occidit vero in Oceanum splendidum lumen solis,
Trahens noctem nigram super almam terram.)


Where gentle winds from the blue heavens sigh,
There stand the myrtles still, the laurel high,

calls up before the imagination by means of a few concepts the whole delight of a southern clime.

Rhythm and rhyme are quite peculiar aids to poetry. I can give no other explanation of their incredibly powerful effect than that our faculties of perception have received from time, to which they are essentially bound, some quality on account of which we inwardly follow, and, as it were, consent to each regularly recurring sound. In this way rhythm and rhyme are partly a means of holding our attention, because we willingly follow the poem read, and partly they produce in us a blind consent to what is read prior to any judgment, and this gives the poem a certain emphatic power of convincing independent of all reasons.

From the general nature of the material, that is, the concepts, which poetry uses to communicate the Ideas, the extent of its province is very great. The whole of [pg 315] nature, the Ideas of all grades, can be represented by means of it, for it proceeds according to the Idea it has to impart, so that its representations are sometimes descriptive, sometimes narrative, and sometimes directly dramatic. If, in the representation of the lower grades of the objectivity of will, plastic and pictorial art generally surpass it, because lifeless nature, and even brute nature, reveals almost its whole being in a single well-chosen moment; man, on the contrary, so far as he does not express himself by the mere form and expression of his person, but through a series of actions and the accompanying thoughts and emotions, is the principal object of poetry, in which no other art can compete with it, for here the progress or movement which cannot be represented in plastic or pictorial art just suits its purpose.

The revelation of the Idea, which is the highest grade of the objectivity of will, the representation of man in the connected series of his efforts and actions, is thus the great problem of poetry. It is true that both experience and history teach us to know man; yet oftener men than man, i.e., they give us empirical notes of the behaviour of men to each other, from which we may frame rules for our own conduct, oftener than they afford us deep glimpses of the inner nature of man. The latter function, however, is by no means entirely denied them; but as often as it is the nature of mankind itself that discloses itself to us in history or in our own experience, we have comprehended our experience, and the historian has comprehended history, with artistic eyes, poetically, i.e., according to the Idea, not the phenomenon, in its inner nature, not in its relations. Our own experience is the indispensable condition of understanding poetry as of understanding history; for it is, so to speak, the dictionary of the language that both speak. But history is related to poetry as portrait-painting is related to historical painting; the one gives us the true in the individual, the other the true in the universal; the one has the [pg 316] truth of the phenomenon, and can therefore verify it from the phenomenal, the other has the truth of the Idea, which can be found in no particular phenomenon, but yet speaks to us from them all. The poet from deliberate choice represents significant characters in significant situations; the historian takes both as they come. Indeed, he must regard and select the circumstances and the persons, not with reference to their inward and true significance, which expresses the Idea, but according to the outward, apparent, and relatively important significance with regard to the connection and the consequences. He must consider nothing in and for itself in its essential character and expression, but must look at everything in its relations, in its connection, in its influence upon what follows, and especially upon its own age. Therefore he will not overlook an action of a king, though of little significance, and in itself quite common, because it has results and influence. And, on the other hand, actions of the highest significance of particular and very eminent individuals are not to be recorded by him if they have no consequences. For his treatment follows the principle of sufficient reason, and apprehends the phenomenon, of which this principle is the form. But the poet comprehends the Idea, the inner nature of man apart from all relations, outside all time, the adequate objectivity of the thing-in-itself, at its highest grade. Even in that method of treatment which is necessary for the historian, the inner nature and significance of the phenomena, the kernel of all these shells, can never be entirely lost. He who seeks for it, at any rate, may find it and recognise it. Yet that which is significant in itself, not in its relations, the real unfolding of the Idea, will be found far more accurately and distinctly in poetry than in history, and, therefore, however paradoxical it may sound, far more really genuine inner truth is to be attributed to poetry than to history. For the historian must accurately follow the particular event according to [pg 317] life, as it develops itself in time in the manifold tangled chains of causes and effects. It is, however, impossible that he can have all the data for this; he cannot have seen all and discovered all. He is forsaken at every moment by the original of his picture, or a false one substitutes itself for it, and this so constantly that I think I may assume that in all history the false outweighs the true. The poet, on the contrary, has comprehended the Idea of man from some definite side which is to be represented; thus it is the nature of his own self that objectifies itself in it for him. His knowledge, as we explained above when speaking of sculpture, is half a priori; his ideal stands before his mind firm, distinct, brightly illuminated, and cannot forsake him; therefore he shows us, in the mirror of his mind, the Idea pure and distinct, and his delineation of it down to the minutest particular is true as life itself.59 The great ancient historians are, therefore, in those particulars in which their data fail them, for example, in the speeches of their heroes—poets; indeed their whole manner of handling their material approaches [pg 318] to the epic. But this gives their representations unity, and enables them to retain inner truth, even when outward truth was not accessible, or indeed was falsified. And as we compared history to portrait-painting, in contradistinction to poetry, which corresponds to historical painting, we find that Winckelmann's maxim, that the portrait ought to be the ideal of the individual, was followed by the ancient historians, for they represent the individual in such a way as to bring out that side of the Idea of man which is expressed in it. Modern historians, on the contrary, with few exceptions, give us in general only “a dust-bin and a lumber-room, and at the most a chronicle of the principal political events.” Therefore, whoever desires to know man in his inner nature, identical in all its phenomena and developments, to know him according to the Idea, will find that the works of the great, immortal poet present a far truer, more distinct picture, than the historians can ever give. For even the best of the historians are, as poets, far from the first; and moreover their hands are tied. In this aspect the relation between the historian and the poet may be illustrated by the following comparison. The mere, pure historian, who works only according to data, is like a man, who without any knowledge of mathematics, has investigated the relations of certain figures, which he has accidentally found, by measuring them; and the problem thus empirically solved is affected of course by all the errors of the drawn figure. The poet, on the other hand, is like the mathematician, who constructs these relations a priori in pure perception, and expresses them not as they actually are in the drawn figure, but as they are in the Idea, which the drawing is intended to render for the senses. Therefore Schiller says:—

What has never anywhere come to pass,
That alone never grows old.
[pg 319]

Indeed I must attribute greater value to biographies, and especially to autobiographies, in relation to the knowledge of the nature of man, than to history proper, at least as it is commonly handled. Partly because in the former the data can be collected more accurately and completely than in the latter; partly, because in history proper, it is not so much men as nations and heroes that act, and the individuals who do appear, seem so far off, surrounded with such pomp and circumstance, clothed in the stiff robes of state, or heavy, inflexible armour, that it is really hard through all this to recognise the human movements. On the other hand, the life of the individual when described with truth, in a narrow sphere, shows the conduct of men in all its forms and subtilties, the excellence, the virtue, and even holiness of a few, the perversity, meanness, and knavery of most, the dissolute profligacy of some. Besides, in the only aspect we are considering here, that of the inner significance of the phenomenal, it is quite the same whether the objects with which the action is concerned, are, relatively considered, trifling or important, farm-houses or kingdoms: for all these things in themselves are without significance, and obtain it only in so far as the will is moved by them. The motive has significance only through its relation to the will, while the relation which it has as a thing to other things like itself, does not concern us here. As a circle of one inch in diameter, and a circle of forty million miles in diameter, have precisely the same geometrical properties, so are the events and the history of a village and a kingdom essentially the same; and we may study and learn to know mankind as well in the one as in the other. It is also a mistake to suppose that autobiographies are full of deceit and dissimulation. On the contrary, lying (though always possible) is perhaps more difficult there than elsewhere. Dissimulation is easiest in mere conversation; indeed, though it may sound paradoxical, it is really more [pg 320] difficult even in a letter. For in the case of a letter the writer is alone, and looks into himself, and not out on the world, so that what is strange and distant does not easily approach him; and he has not the test of the impression made upon another before his eyes. But the receiver of the letter peruses it quietly in a mood unknown to the writer, reads it repeatedly and at different times, and thus easily finds out the concealed intention. We also get to know an author as a man most easily from his books, because all these circumstances act here still more strongly and permanently. And in an autobiography it is so difficult to dissimulate, that perhaps there does not exist a single one that is not, as a whole, more true, than any history that ever was written. The man who writes his own life surveys it as a whole, the particular becomes small, the near becomes distant, the distant becomes near again, the motives that influenced him shrink; he seats himself at the confessional, and has done so of his own free will; the spirit of lying does not so easily take hold of him here, for there is also in every man an inclination to truth which has first to be overcome whenever he lies, and which here has taken up a specially strong position. The relation between biography and the history of nations may be made clear for perception by means of the following comparison: History shows us mankind as a view from a high mountain shows us nature; we see much at a time, wide stretches, great masses, but nothing is distinct nor recognisable in all the details of its own peculiar nature. On the other hand, the representation of the life of the individual shows us the man, as we see nature if we go about among her trees, plants, rocks, and waters. But in landscape-painting, in which the artist lets us look at nature with his eyes, the knowledge of the Ideas, and the condition of pure will-less knowing, which is demanded by these, is made much easier for us; and, in the same way, poetry is far superior both to [pg 321] history and biography, in the representation of the Ideas which may be looked for in all three. For here also genius holds up to us the magic glass, in which all that is essential and significant appears before us collected and placed in the clearest light, and what is accidental and foreign is left out.60

The representation of the Idea of man, which is the work of the poet, may be performed, so that what is represented is also the representer. This is the case in lyrical poetry, in songs, properly so called, in which the poet only perceives vividly his own state and describes it. Thus a certain subjectivity is essential to this kind of poetry from the nature of its object. Again, what is to be represented may be entirely different from him who represents it, as is the case in all other kinds of poetry, in which the poet more or less conceals himself behind his representation, and at last disappears altogether. In the ballad the poet still expresses to some extent his own state through the tone and proportion of the whole; therefore, though much more objective than the lyric, it has yet something subjective. This becomes less in the idyll, still less in the romantic poem, almost entirely disappears in the true epic, and even to the last vestige in the drama, which is the most objective and, in more than one respect, the completest and most difficult form of poetry. The lyrical form of poetry is consequently the easiest, and although art, as a whole, belongs only to the true man of genius, who so rarely appears, even a man who is not in general very remarkable may produce a beautiful song if, by actual strong excitement from without, some inspiration raises his mental powers; for all that is required for this is a lively perception of his own state at a moment of emotional excitement. This is proved by the existence of many single songs by individuals who have otherwise remained unknown; especially the German national songs, of which we have an exquisite collection [pg 322] in the “Wunderhorn;” and also by innumerable love-songs and other songs of the people in all languages;—for to seize the mood of a moment and embody it in a song is the whole achievement of this kind of poetry. Yet in the lyrics of true poets the inner nature of all mankind is reflected, and all that millions of past, present, and future men have found, or will find, in the same situations, which are constantly recurring, finds its exact expression in them. And because these situations, by constant recurrence, are permanent as man himself and always call up the same sensations, the lyrical productions of genuine poets remain through thousands of years true, powerful, and fresh. But if the poet is always the universal man, then all that has ever moved a human heart, all that human nature in any situation has ever produced from itself, all that dwells and broods in any human breast—is his theme and his material, and also all the rest of nature. Therefore the poet may just as well sing of voluptuousness as of mysticism, be Anacreon or Angelus Silesius, write tragedies or comedies, represent the sublime or the common mind—according to humour or vocation. And no one has the right to prescribe to the poet what he ought to be—noble and sublime, moral, pious, Christian, one thing or another, still less to reproach him because he is one thing and not another. He is the mirror of mankind, and brings to its consciousness what it feels and does.

If we now consider more closely the nature of the lyric proper, and select as examples exquisite and pure models, not those that approach in any way to some other form of poetry, such as the ballad, the elegy, the hymn, the epigram, &c., we shall find that the peculiar nature of the lyric, in the narrowest sense, is this: It is the subject of will, i.e., his own volition, which the consciousness of the singer feels; often as a released and satisfied desire (joy), but still oftener as a restricted desire (grief), always as an emotion, a passion, a moved frame of mind. [pg 323] Besides this, however, and along with it, by the sight of surrounding nature, the singer becomes conscious of himself as the subject of pure, will-less knowing, whose unbroken blissful peace now appears, in contrast to the stress of desire which is always restricted and always needy. The feeling of this contrast, this alternation, is really what the lyric as a whole expresses, and what principally constitutes the lyrical state of mind. In it pure knowing comes to us, as it were, to deliver us from desire and its stain; we follow, but only for an instant; desire, the remembrance of our own personal ends, tears us anew from peaceful contemplation; yet ever again the next beautiful surrounding in which the pure will-less knowledge presents itself to us, allures us away from desire. Therefore, in the lyric and the lyrical mood, desire (the personal interest of the ends), and pure perception of the surrounding presented, are wonderfully mingled with each other; connections between them are sought for and imagined; the subjective disposition, the affection of the will, imparts its own hue to the perceived surrounding, and conversely, the surroundings communicate the reflex of their colour to the will. The true lyric is the expression of the whole of this mingled and divided state of mind. In order to make clear by examples this abstract analysis of a frame of mind that is very far from all abstraction, any of the immortal songs of Goethe may be taken. As specially adapted for this end I shall recommend only a few: “The Shepherd's Lament,” “Welcome and Farewell,” “To the Moon,” “On the Lake,” “Autumn;” also the songs in the “Wunderhorn” are excellent examples; particularly the one which begins, “O Bremen, I must now leave thee.” As a comical and happy parody of the lyrical character a song of Voss strikes me as remarkable. It describes the feeling of a drunk plumber falling from a tower, who observes in passing that the clock on the tower is at half-past eleven, a remark which is quite foreign to his condition, and thus [pg 324] belongs to knowledge free from will. Whoever accepts the view that has been expressed of the lyrical frame of mind, will also allow, that it is the sensuous and poetical knowledge of the principle which I established in my essay on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and have also referred to in this work, that the identity of the subject of knowing with that of willing may be called the miracle κατ᾽ εξοχην; so that the poetical effect of the lyric rests finally on the truth of that principle. In the course of life these two subjects, or, in popular language, head and heart, are ever becoming further apart; men are always separating more between their subjective feeling and their objective knowledge. In the child the two are still entirely blended together; it scarcely knows how to distinguish itself from its surroundings, it is at one with them. In the young man all perception chiefly affects feeling and mood, and even mingles with it, as Byron very beautifully expresses—

I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling.

This is why the youth clings so closely to the perceptible and outward side of things; this is why he is only fit for lyrical poetry, and only the full-grown man is capable of the drama. The old man we can think of as at the most an epic poet, like Ossian, and Homer, for narration is characteristic of old age.

In the more objective kinds of poetry, especially in the romance, the epic, and the drama, the end, the revelation of the Idea of man, is principally attained by two means, by true and profound representation of significant characters, and by the invention of pregnant situations in which they disclose themselves. For as it is incumbent upon the chemist not only to exhibit the simple elements, pure and genuine, and their principal compounds, but also to expose them to the influence of such reagents as will [pg 325] clearly and strikingly bring out their peculiar qualities, so is it incumbent on the poet not only to present to us significant characters truly and faithfully as nature itself; but, in order that we may get to know them, he must place them in those situations in which their peculiar qualities will fully unfold themselves, and appear distinctly in sharp outline; situations which are therefore called significant. In real life, and in history, situations of this kind are rarely brought about by chance, and they stand alone, lost and concealed in the multitude of those which are insignificant. The complete significance of the situations ought to distinguish the romance, the epic, and the drama from real life as completely as the arrangement and selection of significant characters. In both, however, absolute truth is a necessary condition of their effect, and want of unity in the characters, contradiction either of themselves or of the nature of humanity in general, as well as impossibility, or very great improbability in the events, even in mere accessories, offend just as much in poetry as badly drawn figures, false perspective, or wrong lighting in painting. For both in poetry and painting we demand the faithful mirror of life, of man, of the world, only made more clear by the representation, and more significant by the arrangement. For there is only one end of all the arts, the representation of the Ideas; and their essential difference lies simply in the different grades of the objectification of will to which the Ideas that are to be represented belong. This also determines the material of the representation. Thus the arts which are most widely separated may yet throw light on each other. For example, in order to comprehend fully the Ideas of water it is not sufficient to see it in the quiet pond or in the evenly-flowing stream; but these Ideas disclose themselves fully only when the water appears under all circumstances and exposed to all kinds of obstacles. The effects of the varied circumstances and obstacles give it the opportunity of fully [pg 326] exhibiting all its qualities. This is why we find it beautiful when it tumbles, rushes, and foams, or leaps into the air, or falls in a cataract of spray; or, lastly, if artificially confined it springs up in a fountain. Thus showing itself different under different circumstances, it yet always faithfully asserts its character; it is just as natural to it to spout up as to lie in glassy stillness; it is as ready for the one as for the other as soon as the circumstances appear. Now, what the engineer achieves with the fluid matter of water, the architect achieves with the rigid matter of stone, and just this the epic or dramatic poet achieves with the Idea of man. Unfolding and rendering distinct the Idea expressing itself in the object of every art, the Idea of the will which objectifies itself at each grade, is the common end of all the arts. The life of man, as it shows itself for the most part in the real world, is like the water, as it is generally seen in the pond and the river; but in the epic, the romance, the tragedy, selected characters are placed in those circumstances in which all their special qualities unfold themselves, the depths of the human heart are revealed, and become visible in extraordinary and very significant actions. Thus poetry objectifies the Idea of man, an Idea which has the peculiarity of expressing itself in highly individual characters.

Tragedy is to be regarded, and is recognised as the summit of poetical art, both on account of the greatness of its effect and the difficulty of its achievement. It is very significant for our whole system, and well worthy of observation, that the end of this highest poetical achievement is the representation of the terrible side of life. The unspeakable pain, the wail of humanity, the triumph of evil, the scornful mastery of chance, and the irretrievable fall of the just and innocent, is here presented to us; and in this lies a significant hint of the nature of the world and of existence. It is the strife of will with itself, which here, completely unfolded at the [pg 327] highest grade of its objectivity, comes into fearful prominence. It becomes visible in the suffering of men, which is now introduced, partly through chance and error, which appear as the rulers of the world, personified as fate, on account of their insidiousness, which even reaches the appearance of design; partly it proceeds from man himself, through the self-mortifying efforts of a few, through the wickedness and perversity of most. It is one and the same will that lives and appears in them all, but whose phenomena fight against each other and destroy each other. In one individual it appears powerfully, in another more weakly; in one more subject to reason, and softened by the light of knowledge, in another less so, till at last, in some single case, this knowledge, purified and heightened by suffering itself, reaches the point at which the phenomenon, the veil of Mâya, no longer deceives it. It sees through the form of the phenomenon, the principium individuationis. The egoism which rests on this perishes with it, so that now the motives that were so powerful before have lost their might, and instead of them the complete knowledge of the nature of the world, which has a quieting effect on the will, produces resignation, the surrender not merely of life, but of the very will to live. Thus we see in tragedies the noblest men, after long conflict and suffering, at last renounce the ends they have so keenly followed, and all the pleasures of life for ever, or else freely and joyfully surrender life itself. So is it with the steadfast prince of Calderon; with Gretchen in “Faust;” with Hamlet, whom his friend Horatio would willingly follow, but is bade remain a while, and in this harsh world draw his breath in pain, to tell the story of Hamlet, and clear his memory; so also is it with the Maid of Orleans, the Bride of Messina; they all die purified by suffering, i.e., after the will to live which was formerly in them is dead. In the “Mohammed” of Voltaire this is actually expressed in the concluding [pg 328] words which the dying Palmira addresses to Mohammad: “The world is for tyrants: live!” On the other hand, the demand for so-called poetical justice rests on entire misconception of the nature of tragedy, and, indeed, of the nature of the world itself. It boldly appears in all its dulness in the criticisms which Dr. Samuel Johnson made on particular plays of Shakespeare, for he very naïvely laments its entire absence. And its absence is certainly obvious, for in what has Ophelia, Desdemona, or Cordelia offended? But only the dull, optimistic, Protestant-rationalistic, or peculiarly Jewish view of life will make the demand for poetical justice, and find satisfaction in it. The true sense of tragedy is the deeper insight, that it is not his own individual sins that the hero atones for, but original sin, i.e., the crime of existence itself:

Pues el delito mayor
Del hombre es haber nacido;
(For the greatest crime of man
Is that he was born;)

as Calderon exactly expresses it.

I shall allow myself only one remark, more closely concerning the treatment of tragedy. The representation of a great misfortune is alone essential to tragedy. But the many different ways in which this is introduced by the poet may be brought under three specific conceptions. It may happen by means of a character of extraordinary wickedness, touching the utmost limits of possibility, who becomes the author of the misfortune; examples of this kind are Richard III., Iago in “Othello,” Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” Franz Moor, Phædra of Euripides, Creon in the “Antigone,” &c., &c. Secondly, it may happen through blind fate, i.e., chance and error; a true pattern of this kind is the Œdipus Rex of Sophocles, the “Trachiniæ” also; and in general most of the tragedies of the ancients belong [pg 329] to this class. Among modern tragedies, “Romeo and Juliet,” “Tancred” by Voltaire, and “The Bride of Messina,” are examples. Lastly, the misfortune may be brought about by the mere position of the dramatis personæ with regard to each other, through their relations; so that there is no need either for a tremendous error or an unheard-of accident, nor yet for a character whose wickedness reaches the limits of human possibility; but characters of ordinary morality, under circumstances such as often occur, are so situated with regard to each other that their position compels them, knowingly and with their eyes open, to do each other the greatest injury, without any one of them being entirely in the wrong. This last kind of tragedy seems to me far to surpass the other two, for it shows us the greatest misfortune, not as an exception, not as something occasioned by rare circumstances or monstrous characters, but as arising easily and of itself out of the actions and characters of men, indeed almost as essential to them, and thus brings it terribly near to us. In the other two kinds we may look on the prodigious fate and the horrible wickedness as terrible powers which certainly threaten us, but only from afar, which we may very well escape without taking refuge in renunciation. But in the last kind of tragedy we see that those powers which destroy happiness and life are such that their path to us also is open at every moment; we see the greatest sufferings brought about by entanglements that our fate might also partake of, and through actions that perhaps we also are capable of performing, and so could not complain of injustice; then shuddering we feel ourselves already in the midst of hell. This last kind of tragedy is also the most difficult of achievement; for the greatest effect has to be produced in it with the least use of means and causes of movement, merely through the position and distribution of the characters; therefore even in many of the best tragedies this difficulty is [pg 330] evaded. Yet one tragedy may be referred to as a perfect model of this kind, a tragedy which in other respects is far surpassed by more than one work of the same great master; it is “Clavigo.” “Hamlet” belongs to a certain extent to this class, as far as the relation of Hamlet to Laertes and Ophelia is concerned. “Wallenstein” has also this excellence. “Faust” belongs entirely to this class, if we regard the events connected with Gretchen and her brother as the principal action; also the “Cid” of Corneille, only that it lacks the tragic conclusion, while on the contrary the analogous relation of Max to Thecla has it.61

§ 52. Now that we have considered all the fine arts in the general way that is suitable to our point of view, beginning with architecture, the peculiar end of which is to elucidate the objectification of will at the lowest grades of its visibility, in which it shows itself as the dumb unconscious tendency of the mass in accordance with laws, and yet already reveals a breach of the unity of will with itself in a conflict between gravity and rigidity—and ending with the consideration of tragedy, which presents to us at the highest grades of the objectification of will this very conflict with itself in terrible magnitude and distinctness; we find that there is still another fine art which has been excluded from our consideration, and had to be excluded, for in the systematic connection of our exposition there was no fitting place for it—I mean music. It stands alone, quite cut off from all the other arts. In it we do not recognise the copy or repetition of any Idea of existence in the world. Yet it is such a great and exceedingly noble art, its effect on the inmost nature of man is so powerful, and it is so entirely and deeply understood by him in his inmost consciousness as a perfectly universal language, the distinctness of which surpasses even that of the perceptible world itself, that we certainly have more to [pg 331] look for in it than an exercitum arithmeticæ occultum nescientis se numerare animi,62 which Leibnitz called it. Yet he was perfectly right, as he considered only its immediate external significance, its form. But if it were nothing more, the satisfaction which it affords would be like that which we feel when a sum in arithmetic comes out right, and could not be that intense pleasure with which we see the deepest recesses of our nature find utterance. From our standpoint, therefore, at which the æsthetic effect is the criterion, we must attribute to music a far more serious and deep significance, connected with the inmost nature of the world and our own self, and in reference to which the arithmetical proportions, to which it may be reduced, are related, not as the thing signified, but merely as the sign. That in some sense music must be related to the world as the representation to the thing represented, as the copy to the original, we may conclude from the analogy of the other arts, all of which possess this character, and affect us on the whole in the same way as it does, only that the effect of music is stronger, quicker, more necessary and infallible. Further, its representative relation to the world must be very deep, absolutely true, and strikingly accurate, because it is instantly understood by every one, and has the appearance of a certain infallibility, because its form may be reduced to perfectly definite rules expressed in numbers, from which it cannot free itself without entirely ceasing to be music. Yet the point of comparison between music and the world, the respect in which it stands to the world in the relation of a copy or repetition, is very obscure. Men have practised music in all ages without being able to account for this; content to understand it directly, they renounce all claim to an abstract conception of this direct understanding itself.

I gave my mind entirely up to the impression of music [pg 332] in all its forms, and then returned to reflection and the system of thought expressed in the present work, and thus I arrived at an explanation of the inner nature of music and of the nature of its imitative relation to the world—which from analogy had necessarily to be presupposed—an explanation which is quite sufficient for myself, and satisfactory to my investigation, and which will doubtless be equally evident to any one who has followed me thus far and has agreed with my view of the world. Yet I recognise the fact that it is essentially impossible to prove this explanation, for it assumes and establishes a relation of music, as idea, to that which from its nature can never be idea, and music will have to be regarded as the copy of an original which can never itself be directly presented as idea. I can therefore do no more than state here, at the conclusion of this third book, which has been principally devoted to the consideration of the arts, the explanation of the marvellous art of music which satisfies myself, and I must leave the acceptance or denial of my view to the effect produced upon each of my readers both by music itself and by the whole system of thought communicated in this work. Moreover, I regard it as necessary, in order to be able to assent with full conviction to the exposition of the significance of music I am about to give, that one should often listen to music with constant reflection upon my theory concerning it, and for this again it is necessary to be very familiar with the whole of my system of thought.

The (Platonic) Ideas are the adequate objectification of will. To excite or suggest the knowledge of these by means of the representation of particular things (for works of art themselves are always representations of particular things) is the end of all the other arts, which can only be attained by a corresponding change in the knowing subject. Thus all these arts objectify the will indirectly only by means of the Ideas; and since our world is nothing but the manifestation of the Ideas in [pg 333] multiplicity, though their entrance into the principium individuationis (the form of the knowledge possible for the individual as such), music also, since it passes over the Ideas, is entirely independent of the phenomenal world, ignores it altogether, could to a certain extent exist if there was no world at all, which cannot be said of the other arts. Music is as direct an objectification and copy of the whole will as the world itself, nay, even as the Ideas, whose multiplied manifestation constitutes the world of individual things. Music is thus by no means like the other arts, the copy of the Ideas, but the copy of the will itself, whose objectivity the Ideas are. This is why the effect of music is so much more powerful and penetrating than that of the other arts, for they speak only of shadows, but it speaks of the thing itself. Since, however, it is the same will which objectifies itself both in the Ideas and in music, though in quite different ways, there must be, not indeed a direct likeness, but yet a parallel, an analogy, between music and the Ideas whose manifestation in multiplicity and incompleteness is the visible world. The establishing of this analogy will facilitate, as an illustration, the understanding of this exposition, which is so difficult on account of the obscurity of the subject.

I recognise in the deepest tones of harmony, in the bass, the lowest grades of the objectification of will, unorganised nature, the mass of the planet. It is well known that all the high notes which are easily sounded, and die away more quickly, are produced by the vibration in their vicinity of the deep bass-notes. When, also, the low notes sound, the high notes always sound faintly, and it is a law of harmony that only those high notes may accompany a bass-note which actually already sound along with it of themselves (its sons harmoniques) on account of its vibration. This is analogous to the fact that the whole of the bodies and organisations of nature must be regarded as having come into existence through gradual development out of the mass of the planet; this [pg 334] is both their supporter and their source, and the same relation subsists between the high notes and the bass. There is a limit of depth, below which no sound is audible. This corresponds to the fact that no matter can be perceived without form and quality, i.e., without the manifestation of a force which cannot be further explained, in which an Idea expresses itself, and, more generally, that no matter can be entirely without will. Thus, as a certain pitch is inseparable from the note as such, so a certain grade of the manifestation of will is inseparable from matter. Bass is thus, for us, in harmony what unorganised nature, the crudest mass, upon which all rests, and from which everything originates and develops, is in the world. Now, further, in the whole of the complemental parts which make up the harmony between the bass and the leading voice singing the melody, I recognise the whole gradation of the Ideas in which the will objectifies itself. Those nearer to the bass are the lower of these grades, the still unorganised, but yet manifold phenomenal things; the higher represent to me the world of plants and beasts. The definite intervals of the scale are parallel to the definite grades of the objectification of will, the definite species in nature. The departure from the arithmetical correctness of the intervals, through some temperament, or produced by the key selected, is analogous to the departure of the individual from the type of the species. Indeed, even the impure discords, which give no definite interval, may be compared to the monstrous abortions produced by beasts of two species, or by man and beast. But to all these bass and complemental parts which make up the harmony there is wanting that connected progress which belongs only to the high voice singing the melody, and it alone moves quickly and lightly in modulations and runs, while all these others have only a slower movement without a connection in each part for itself. The deep bass moves most slowly, the representative of the crudest mass. Its [pg 335] rising and falling occurs only by large intervals, in thirds, fourths, fifths, never by one tone, unless it is a base inverted by double counterpoint. This slow movement is also physically essential to it; a quick run or shake in the low notes cannot even be imagined. The higher complemental parts, which are parallel to animal life, move more quickly, but yet without melodious connection and significant progress. The disconnected course of all the complemental parts, and their regulation by definite laws, is analogous to the fact that in the whole irrational world, from the crystal to the most perfect animal, no being has a connected consciousness of its own which would make its life into a significant whole, and none experiences a succession of mental developments, none perfects itself by culture, but everything exists always in the same way according to its kind, determined by fixed law. Lastly, in the melody, in the high, singing, principal voice leading the whole and progressing with unrestrained freedom, in the unbroken significant connection of one thought from beginning to end representing a whole, I recognise the highest grade of the objectification of will, the intellectual life and effort of man. As he alone, because endowed with reason, constantly looks before and after on the path of his actual life and its innumerable possibilities, and so achieves a course of life which is intellectual, and therefore connected as a whole; corresponding to this, I say, the melody has significant intentional connection from beginning to end. It records, therefore, the history of the intellectually enlightened will. This will expresses itself in the actual world as the series of its deeds; but melody says more, it records the most secret history of this intellectually-enlightened will, pictures every excitement, every effort, every movement of it, all that which the reason collects under the wide and negative concept of feeling, and which it cannot apprehend further through its abstract concepts. Therefore it has always been said that music [pg 336] is the language of feeling and of passion, as words are the language of reason. Plato explains it as ἡ των μελων κινησις μεμιμημενη, εν τοις παθημασιν ὁταν ψυχη γινηται (melodiarum motus, animi affectus imitans), De Leg. vii.; and also Aristotle says: δια τι οἱ ρυθμοι και τα μελη, φωνη ουσα, ηθεσιν εοικε (cur numeri musici et modi, qui voces sunt, moribus similes sese exhibent?): Probl. c. 19.

Now the nature of man consists in this, that his will strives, is satisfied and strives anew, and so on for ever. Indeed, his happiness and well-being consist simply in the quick transition from wish to satisfaction, and from satisfaction to a new wish. For the absence of satisfaction is suffering, the empty longing for a new wish, languor, ennui. And corresponding to this the nature of melody is a constant digression and deviation from the key-note in a thousand ways, not only to the harmonious intervals to the third and dominant, but to every tone, to the dissonant sevenths and to the superfluous degrees; yet there always follows a constant return to the key-note. In all these deviations melody expresses the multifarious efforts of will, but always its satisfaction also by the final return to an harmonious interval, and still more, to the key-note. The composition of melody, the disclosure in it of all the deepest secrets of human willing and feeling, is the work of genius, whose action, which is more apparent here than anywhere else, lies far from all reflection and conscious intention, and may be called an inspiration. The conception is here, as everywhere in art, unfruitful. The composer reveals the inner nature of the world, and expresses the deepest wisdom in a language which his reason does not understand; as a person under the influence of mesmerism tells things of which he has no conception when he awakes. Therefore in the composer, more than in any other artist, the man is entirely separated and distinct from the artist. Even in the explanation of this wonderful art, the concept shows its poverty [pg 337] and limitation. I shall try, however, to complete our analogy. As quick transition from wish to satisfaction, and from satisfaction to a new wish, is happiness and well-being, so quick melodies without great deviations are cheerful; slow melodies, striking painful discords, and only winding back through many bars to the keynote are, as analogous to the delayed and hardly won satisfaction, sad. The delay of the new excitement of will, languor, could have no other expression than the sustained keynote, the effect of which would soon be unbearable; very monotonous and unmeaning melodies approach this effect. The short intelligible subjects of quick dance-music seem to speak only of easily attained common pleasure. On the other hand, the Allegro maestoso, in elaborate movements, long passages, and wide deviations, signifies a greater, nobler effort towards a more distant end, and its final attainment. The Adagio speaks of the pain of a great and noble effort which despises all trifling happiness. But how wonderful is the effect of the minor and major! How astounding that the change of half a tone, the entrance of a minor third instead of a major, at once and inevitably forces upon us an anxious painful feeling, from which again we are just as instantaneously delivered by the major. The Adagio lengthens in the minor the expression of the keenest pain, and becomes even a convulsive wail. Dance-music in the minor seems to indicate the failure of that trifling happiness which we ought rather to despise, seems to speak of the attainment of a lower end with toil and trouble. The inexhaustibleness of possible melodies corresponds to the inexhaustibleness of Nature in difference of individuals, physiognomies, and courses of life. The transition from one key to an entirely different one, since it altogether breaks the connection with what went before, is like death, for the individual ends in it; but the will which appeared in this individual lives after him as before him, appearing in other [pg 338] individuals, whose consciousness, however, has no connection with his.

But it must never be forgotten, in the investigation of all these analogies I have pointed out, that music has no direct, but merely an indirect relation to them, for it never expresses the phenomenon, but only the inner nature, the in-itself of all phenomena, the will itself. It does not therefore express this or that particular and definite joy, this or that sorrow, or pain, or horror, or delight, or merriment, or peace of mind; but joy, sorrow, pain, horror, delight, merriment, peace of mind themselves, to a certain extent in the abstract, their essential nature, without accessories, and therefore without their motives. Yet we completely understand them in this extracted quintessence. Hence it arises that our imagination is so easily excited by music, and now seeks to give form to that invisible yet actively moved spirit-world which speaks to us directly, and clothe it with flesh and blood, i.e., to embody it in an analogous example. This is the origin of the song with words, and finally of the opera, the text of which should therefore never forsake that subordinate position in order to make itself the chief thing and the music a mere means of expressing it, which is a great misconception and a piece of utter perversity; for music always expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves, and therefore their differences do not always affect it. It is precisely this universality, which belongs exclusively to it, together with the greatest determinateness, that gives music the high worth which it has as the panacea for all our woes. Thus, if music is too closely united to the words, and tries to form itself according to the events, it is striving to speak a language which is not its own. No one has kept so free from this mistake as Rossini; therefore his music speaks its own language so distinctly and purely that it requires no words, and produces its full effect when rendered by instruments alone.

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According to all this, we may regard the phenomenal world, or nature, and music as two different expressions of the same thing, which is therefore itself the only medium of their analogy, so that a knowledge of it is demanded in order to understand that analogy. Music, therefore, if regarded as an expression of the world, is in the highest degree a universal language, which is related indeed to the universality of concepts, much as they are related to the particular things. Its universality, however, is by no means that empty universality of abstraction, but quite of a different kind, and is united with thorough and distinct definiteness. In this respect it resembles geometrical figures and numbers, which are the universal forms of all possible objects of experience and applicable to them all a priori, and yet are not abstract but perceptible and thoroughly determined. All possible efforts, excitements, and manifestations of will, all that goes on in the heart of man and that reason includes in the wide, negative concept of feeling, may be expressed by the infinite number of possible melodies, but always in the universal, in the mere form, without the material, always according to the thing-in-itself, not the phenomenon, the inmost soul, as it were, of the phenomenon, without the body. This deep relation which music has to the true nature of all things also explains the fact that suitable music played to any scene, action, event, or surrounding seems to disclose to us its most secret meaning, and appears as the most accurate and distinct commentary upon it. This is so truly the case, that whoever gives himself up entirely to the impression of a symphony, seems to see all the possible events of life and the world take place in himself, yet if he reflects, he can find no likeness between the music and the things that passed before his mind. For, as we have said, music is distinguished from all the other arts by the fact that it is not a copy of the phenomenon, or, more accurately, the adequate objectivity of will, but is the direct copy of the [pg 340] will itself, and therefore exhibits itself as the metaphysical to everything physical in the world, and as the thing-in-itself to every phenomenon. We might, therefore, just as well call the world embodied music as embodied will; and this is the reason why music makes every picture, and indeed every scene of real life and of the world, at once appear with higher significance, certainly all the more in proportion as its melody is analogous to the inner spirit of the given phenomenon. It rests upon this that we are able to set a poem to music as a song, or a perceptible representation as a pantomime, or both as an opera. Such particular pictures of human life, set to the universal language of music, are never bound to it or correspond to it with stringent necessity; but they stand to it only in the relation of an example chosen at will to a general concept. In the determinateness of the real, they represent that which music expresses in the universality of mere form. For melodies are to a certain extent, like general concepts, an abstraction from the actual. This actual world, then, the world of particular things, affords the object of perception, the special and individual, the particular case, both to the universality of the concepts and to the universality of the melodies. But these two universalities are in a certain respect opposed to each other; for the concepts contain particulars only as the first forms abstracted from perception, as it were, the separated shell of things; thus they are, strictly speaking, abstracta; music, on the other hand, gives the inmost kernel which precedes all forms, or the heart of things. This relation may be very well expressed in the language of the schoolmen by saying the concepts are the universalia post rem, but music gives the universalia ante rem, and the real world the universalia in re. To the universal significance of a melody to which a poem has been set, it is quite possible to set other equally arbitrarily selected examples of the universal expressed in this poem corresponding to the significance of the melody in the [pg 341] same degree. This is why the same composition is suitable to many verses; and this is also what makes the vaudeville possible. But that in general a relation is possible between a composition and a perceptible representation rests, as we have said, upon the fact that both are simply different expressions of the same inner being of the world. When now, in the particular case, such a relation is actually given, that is to say, when the composer has been able to express in the universal language of music the emotions of will which constitute the heart of an event, then the melody of the song, the music of the opera, is expressive. But the analogy discovered by the composer between the two must have proceeded from the direct knowledge of the nature of the world unknown to his reason, and must not be an imitation produced with conscious intention by means of conceptions, otherwise the music does not express the inner nature of the will itself, but merely gives an inadequate imitation of its phenomenon. All specially imitative music does this; for example, “The Seasons,” by Haydn; also many passages of his “Creation,” in which phenomena of the external world are directly imitated; also all battle-pieces. Such music is entirely to be rejected.

The unutterable depth of all music by virtue of which it floats through our consciousness as the vision of a paradise firmly believed in yet ever distant from us, and by which also it is so fully understood and yet so inexplicable, rests on the fact that it restores to us all the emotions of our inmost nature, but entirely without reality and far removed from their pain. So also the seriousness which is essential to it, which excludes the absurd from its direct and peculiar province, is to be explained by the fact that its object is not the idea, with reference to which alone deception and absurdity are possible; but its object is directly the will, and this is essentially the most serious of all things, for it is that on which all depends. How rich in content and full of [pg 342] significance the language of music is, we see from the repetitions, as well as the Da capo, the like of which would be unbearable in works composed in a language of words, but in music are very appropriate and beneficial, for, in order to comprehend it fully, we must hear it twice.

In the whole of this exposition of music I have been trying to bring out clearly that it expresses in a perfectly universal language, in a homogeneous material, mere tones, and with the greatest determinateness and truth, the inner nature, the in-itself of the world, which we think under the concept of will, because will is its most distinct manifestation. Further, according to my view and contention, philosophy is nothing but a complete and accurate repetition or expression of the nature of the world in very general concepts, for only in such is it possible to get a view of that whole nature which will everywhere be adequate and applicable. Thus, whoever has followed me and entered into my mode of thought, will not think it so very paradoxical if I say, that supposing it were possible to give a perfectly accurate, complete explanation of music, extending even to particulars, that is to say, a detailed repetition in concepts of what it expresses, this would also be a sufficient repetition and explanation of the world in concepts, or at least entirely parallel to such an explanation, and thus it would be the true philosophy. Consequently the saying of Leibnitz quoted above, which is quite accurate from a lower standpoint, may be parodied in the following way to suit our higher view of music: Musica est exercitium metaphysices occultum nescientis se philosophari animi; for scire, to know, always means to have fixed in abstract concepts. But further, on account of the truth of the saying of Leibnitz, which is confirmed in various ways, music, regarded apart from its æsthetic or inner significance, and looked at merely externally and purely empirically, is simply the means of comprehending directly and in the concrete [pg 343] large numbers and complex relations of numbers, which otherwise we could only know indirectly by fixing them in concepts. Therefore by the union of these two very different but correct views of music we may arrive at a conception of the possibility of a philosophy of number, such as that of Pythagoras and of the Chinese in Y-King, and then interpret in this sense the saying of the Pythagoreans which Sextus Empiricus quotes (adv. Math., L. vii.): τῳ αριθμῳ δε τα παντ᾽ επεοικεν (numero cuncta assimilantur). And if, finally, we apply this view to the interpretation of harmony and melody given above, we shall find that a mere moral philosophy without an explanation of Nature, such as Socrates wanted to introduce, is precisely analogous to a mere melody without harmony, which Rousseau exclusively desired; and, in opposition to this mere physics and metaphysics without ethics, will correspond to mere harmony without melody. Allow me to add to these cursory observations a few more remarks concerning the analogy of music with the phenomenal world. We found in the second book that the highest grade of the objectification of will, man, could not appear alone and isolated, but presupposed the grades below him, as these again presupposed the grades lower still. In the same way music, which directly objectifies the will, just as the world does, is complete only in full harmony. In order to achieve its full effect, the high leading voice of the melody requires the accompaniment of all the other voices, even to the lowest bass, which is to be regarded as the origin of all. The melody itself enters as an integral part into the harmony, as the harmony enters into it, and only thus, in the full harmonious whole, music expresses what it aims at expressing. Thus also the one will outside of time finds its full objectification only in the complete union of all the steps which reveal its nature in the innumerable ascending grades of distinctness. The following analogy is also very remarkable. We have seen in the preceding book that notwithstanding [pg 344] the self-adaptation of all the phenomena of will to each other as regards their species, which constitutes their teleological aspect, there yet remains an unceasing conflict between those phenomena as individuals, which is visible at every grade, and makes the world a constant battle-field of all those manifestations of one and the same will, whose inner contradiction with itself becomes visible through it. In music also there is something corresponding to this. A complete, pure, harmonious system of tones is not only physically but arithmetically impossible. The numbers themselves by which the tones are expressed have inextricable irrationality. There is no scale in which, when it is counted, every fifth will be related to the keynote as 2 to 3, every major third as 4 to 5, every minor third as 5 to 6, and so on. For if they are correctly related to the keynote, they can no longer be so to each other; because, for example, the fifth must be the minor third to the third, &c. For the notes of the scale may be compared to actors who must play now one part, now another. Therefore a perfectly accurate system of music cannot even be thought, far less worked out; and on this account all possible music deviates from perfect purity; it can only conceal the discords essential to it by dividing them among all the notes, i.e., by temperament. On this see Chladni's “Akustik,” § 30, and his “Kurze Uebersicht der Schall- und Klanglehre.”63

I might still have something to say about the way in which music is perceived, namely, in and through time alone, with absolute exclusion of space, and also apart from the influence of the knowledge of causality, thus without understanding; for the tones make the æsthetic impression as effect, and without obliging us to go back to their causes, as in the case of perception. I do not wish, however, to lengthen this discussion, as I have perhaps already gone too much into detail with regard to [pg 345] some things in this Third Book, or have dwelt too much on particulars. But my aim made it necessary, and it will be the less disapproved if the importance and high worth of art, which is seldom sufficiently recognised, be kept in mind. For if, according to our view, the whole visible world is just the objectification, the mirror, of the will, conducting it to knowledge of itself, and, indeed, as we shall soon see, to the possibility of its deliverance; and if, at the same time, the world as idea, if we regard it in isolation, and, freeing ourselves from all volition, allow it alone to take possession of our consciousness, is the most joy-giving and the only innocent side of life; we must regard art as the higher ascent, the more complete development of all this, for it achieves essentially just what is achieved by the visible world itself, only with greater concentration, more perfectly, with intention and intelligence, and therefore may be called, in the full significance of the word, the flower of life. If the whole world as idea is only the visibility of will, the work of art is to render this visibility more distinct. It is the camera obscura which shows the objects more purely, and enables us to survey them and comprehend them better. It is the play within the play, the stage upon the stage in “Hamlet.”

The pleasure we receive from all beauty, the consolation which art affords, the enthusiasm of the artist, which enables him to forget the cares of life,—the latter an advantage of the man of genius over other men, which alone repays him for the suffering that increases in proportion to the clearness of consciousness, and for the desert loneliness among men of a different race,—all this rests on the fact that the in-itself of life, the will, existence itself, is, as we shall see farther on, a constant sorrow, partly miserable, partly terrible; while, on the contrary, as idea alone, purely contemplated, or copied by art, free from pain, it presents to us a drama full of significance. This purely knowable side of the world, [pg 346] and the copy of it in any art, is the element of the artist. He is chained to the contemplation of the play, the objectification of will; he remains beside it, does not get tired of contemplating it and representing it in copies; and meanwhile he bears himself the cost of the production of that play, i.e., he himself is the will which objectifies itself, and remains in constant suffering. That pure, true, and deep knowledge of the inner nature of the world becomes now for him an end in itself: he stops there. Therefore it does not become to him a quieter of the will, as, we shall see in the next book, it does in the case of the saint who has attained to resignation; it does not deliver him for ever from life, but only at moments, and is therefore not for him a path out of life, but only an occasional consolation in it, till his power, increased by this contemplation and at last tired of the play, lays hold on the real. The St. Cecilia of Raphael may be regarded as a representation of this transition. To the real, then, we now turn in the following book.

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Fourth Book. The World As Will.

Second Aspect. The Assertion And Denial Of The Will To Live, When Self-Consciousness Has Been Attained.

Tempore quo cognitio simul advenit, amor e medio supersurrexit.—Oupnek'hat,
Studio Anquetil Duperron, vol. ii. p. 216.
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§ 53. The last part of our work presents itself as the most serious, for it relates to the action of men, the matter which concerns every one directly and can be foreign or indifferent to none. It is indeed so characteristic of the nature of man to relate everything else to action, that in every systematic investigation he will always treat the part that has to do with action as the result or outcome of the whole work, so far, at least, as it interests him, and will therefore give his most serious attention to this part, even if to no other. In this respect the following part of our work would, in ordinary language, be called practical philosophy, in opposition to the theoretical, which has occupied us hitherto. But, in my opinion, all philosophy is theoretical, because it is essential to it that it should retain a purely contemplative attitude, and should investigate, not prescribe. To become, on the contrary, practical, to guide conduct, to transform character, are old claims, which with fuller insight it ought finally to give up. For here, where the worth or worthlessness of an existence, where salvation or damnation are in question, the dead conceptions of philosophy do not decide the matter, but the inmost nature of man himself, the Dæmon that guides him and that has not chosen him, but been chosen by him, as Plato would say; his intelligible character, as Kant expresses himself. Virtue cannot be taught any more than genius; indeed, for it the concept is just as unfruitful as it is in art, and in both cases can only be used as [pg 350] an instrument. It would, therefore, be just as absurd to expect that our moral systems and ethics will produce virtuous, noble, and holy men, as that our æsthetics will produce poets, painters, and musicians.

Philosophy can never do more than interpret and explain what is given. It can only bring to distinct abstract knowledge of the reason the nature of the world which in the concrete, that is, as feeling, expresses itself comprehensibly to every one. This, however, it does in every possible reference and from every point of view. Now, as this attempt has been made from other points of view in the three preceding books with the generality that is proper to philosophy, in this book the action of men will be considered in the same way; and this side of the world might, indeed, be considered the most important of all, not only subjectively, as I remarked above, but also objectively. In considering it I shall faithfully adhere to the method I have hitherto followed, and shall support myself by presupposing all that has already been advanced. There is, indeed, just one thought which forms the content of this whole work. I have endeavoured to work it out in all other spheres, and I shall now do so with regard to human action. I shall then have done all that is in my power to communicate it as fully as possible.

The given point of view, and the method of treatment announced, are themselves sufficient to indicate that in this ethical book no precepts, no doctrine of duty must be looked for; still less will a general moral principle be given, an universal receipt, as it were, for the production of all the virtues. Neither shall we talk of an absolute ought,” for this contains a contradiction, as is explained in the Appendix; nor yet of a law of freedom,” which is in the same position. In general, we shall not speak at all of “ought,” for this is how one speaks to children and to nations still in their childhood, but not to those who have appropriated all the culture of a full-grown [pg 351] age. It is a palpable contradiction to call the will free, and yet to prescribe laws for it according to which it ought to will. “Ought to will!”—wooden iron! But it follows from the point of view of our system that the will is not only free, but almighty. From it proceeds not only its action, but also its world; and as the will is, so does its action and its world become. Both are the self-knowledge of the will and nothing more. The will determines itself, and at the same time both its action and its world; for besides it there is nothing, and these are the will itself. Only thus is the will truly autonomous, and from every other point of view it is heteronomous. Our philosophical endeavours can only extend to exhibiting and explaining the action of men in its inner nature and content, the various and even opposite maxims, whose living expression it is. This we shall do in connection with the preceding portion of our work, and in precisely the same way as we have hitherto explained the other phenomena of the world, and have sought to bring their inmost nature to distinct abstract knowledge. Our philosophy will maintain the same immanency in the case of action, as in all that we have hitherto considered. Notwithstanding Kant's great doctrine, it will not attempt to use the forms of the phenomenon, the universal expression of which is the principle of sufficient reason, as a leaping-pole to jump over the phenomenon itself, which alone gives meaning to these forms, and land in the boundless sphere of empty fictions. But this actual world of experience, in which we are, and which is in us, remains both the material and the limits of our consideration: a world which is so rich in content that even the most searching investigation of which the human mind is capable could not exhaust it. Since then the real world of experience will never fail to afford material and reality to our ethical investigations, any more than to those we have already conducted, nothing will be less needful than to take refuge in negative conceptions [pg 352] void of content, and then somehow or other make even ourselves believe that we are saying something when we speak with lifted eyebrows of “absolutes,” “infinites,” “supersensibles,” and whatever other mere negations of this sort there may be (ουδεν εστι, η το της στερησεως ονομα, μετα αμυδρας επινοιας—nihil est, nisi negationis nomen, cum obscura notione.—Jul. or. 5), instead of which it would be shorter to say at once cloud-cuckoo-town (νεφελοκοκκυγια): we shall not require to serve up covered empty dishes of this kind. Finally, we shall not in this book, any more than in those which have preceded it, narrate histories and give them out as philosophy. For we are of opinion that whoever supposes that the inner nature of the world can in any way, however plausibly disguised, be historically comprehended, is infinitely far from a philosophical knowledge of the world. Yet this is what is supposed whenever a “becoming,” or a “having become,” or an “about to become” enters into a theory of the nature of the world, whenever an earlier or a later has the least place in it; and in this way a beginning and an end of the world, and the path it pursues between them, is, either openly or disguisedly, both sought for and found, and the individual who philosophises even recognises his own position on that path. Such historical philosophising in most cases produces a cosmogony which admits of many varieties, or else a system of emanations, a doctrine of successive disengagements from one being; or, finally, driven in despair from fruitless efforts upon these paths to the last path of all, it takes refuge in the converse doctrine of a constant becoming, springing up, arising, coming to light out of darkness, out of the hidden ground source or groundlessness, or whatever other nonsense of this sort there may be, which is most shortly disposed of with the remark that at the present moment a whole eternity, i.e., an endless time, has already passed, so that everything that can or ought to become must have already done so. For all such historical philosophy, whatever [pg 353] airs it may give itself, regards time just as if Kant had never lived, as a quality of the thing-in-itself, and thus stops at that which Kant calls the phenomenon in opposition to the thing-in-itself; which Plato calls the becoming and never being, in opposition to the being and never becoming; and which, finally, is called in the Indian philosophy the web of Mâya. It is just the knowledge which belongs to the principle of sufficient reason, with which no one can penetrate to the inner nature of things, but endlessly pursues phenomena, moving without end or aim, like a squirrel in its wheel, till, tired out at last, he stops at some point or other arbitrarily chosen, and now desires to extort respect for it from others also. The genuine philosophical consideration of the world, i.e., the consideration that affords us a knowledge of its inner nature, and so leads us beyond the phenomenon, is precisely that method which does not concern itself with the whence, the whither, and the why of the world, but always and everywhere demands only the what; the method which considers things not according to any relation, not as becoming and passing away, in short, not according to one of the four forms of the principle of sufficient reason; but, on the contrary, just that which remains when all that belongs to the form of knowledge proper to that principle has been abstracted, the inner nature of the world, which always appears unchanged in all the relations, but is itself never subject to them, and has the Ideas of the world as its object or material. From such knowledge as this proceeds philosophy, like art, and also, as we shall see in this book, that disposition of mind which alone leads to true holiness and to deliverance from the world.

§ 54. The first three books will, it is hoped, have conveyed the distinct and certain knowledge that the world as idea is the complete mirror of the will, in which it knows itself in ascending grades of distinctness [pg 354] and completeness, the highest of which is man, whose nature, however, receives its complete expression only through the whole connected series of his actions. The self-conscious connection of these actions is made possible by reason, which enables a man constantly to survey the whole in the abstract.

The will, which, considered purely in itself, is without knowledge, and is merely a blind incessant impulse, as we see it appear in unorganised and vegetable nature and their laws, and also in the vegetative part of our own life, receives through the addition of the world as idea, which is developed in subjection to it, the knowledge of its own willing and of what it is that it wills. And this is nothing else than the world as idea, life, precisely as it exists. Therefore we called the phenomenal world the mirror of the will, its objectivity. And since what the will wills is always life, just because life is nothing but the representation of that willing for the idea, it is all one and a mere pleonism if, instead of simply saying “the will,” we say “the will to live.”

Will is the thing-in-itself, the inner content, the essence of the world. Life, the visible world, the phenomenon, is only the mirror of the will. Therefore life accompanies the will as inseparably as the shadow accompanies the body; and if will exists, so will life, the world, exist. Life is, therefore, assured to the will to live; and so long as we are filled with the will to live we need have no fear for our existence, even in the presence of death. It is true we see the individual come into being and pass away; but the individual is only phenomenal, exists only for the knowledge which is bound to the principle of sufficient reason, to the principio individuationis. Certainly, for this kind of knowledge, the individual receives his life as a gift, rises out of nothing, then suffers the loss of this gift through death, and returns again to nothing. But we desire to consider life [pg 355] philosophically, i.e., according to its Ideas, and in this sphere we shall find that neither the will, the thing-in-itself in all phenomena, nor the subject of knowing, that which perceives all phenomena, is affected at all by birth or by death. Birth and death belong merely to the phenomenon of will, thus to life; and it is essential to this to exhibit itself in individuals which come into being and pass away, as fleeting phenomena appearing in the form of time—phenomena of that which in itself knows no time, but must exhibit itself precisely in the way we have said, in order to objectify its peculiar nature. Birth and death belong in like manner to life, and hold the balance as reciprocal conditions of each other, or, if one likes the expression, as poles of the whole phenomenon of life. The wisest of all mythologies, the Indian, expresses this by giving to the very god that symbolises destruction, death (as Brahma, the most sinful and the lowest god of the Trimurti, symbolises generation, coming into being, and Vishnu maintaining or preserving), by giving, I say, to Siva as an attribute not only the necklace of skulls, but also the lingam, the symbol of generation, which appears here as the counterpart of death, thus signifying that generation and death are essentially correlatives, which reciprocally neutralise and annul each other. It was precisely the same sentiment that led the Greeks and Romans to adorn their costly sarcophagi, just as we see them now, with feasts, dances, marriages, the chase, fights of wild beasts, bacchanalians, &c.; thus with representations of the full ardour of life, which they place before us not only in such revels and sports, but also in sensual groups, and even go s