§ 37. Etymology and Accepted Use of the Word
The plan of a Theological Encyclopedia does not admit an exposition of the principles of the "doctrine of science "; but neither will it do to describe the nature of Theology as a science, until the conception of "science " is determined. In view of the very prevalent confusion with reference to this conception, the writer of a Theological Encyclopedia should clearly define what he understands by it.
Etymologically it is fairly certain that to knowi as an intellectual conception is derived from the sensual conception to tee; and more particularly from seeing something one was looking for in the sense of finding. This may the more fully be emphasized, because not only the Indo-Germanic but also the Semitic family of languages point to this origin of the conception to know. The Sanscrit has vid, to know ; vindami, to find; the Greek ptB in eiBov, to see, alongside of olBa, to know; the Latin vid-ere, to see, alongside of viso, to visit; the Gothic vait, to know, alongside of vit-an, to keep what one has found; and the Old Slavic vid-e-ti, to see, alongside of ved-e-ti, to know. This development of the conception runs almost parallel with that of the Semitic root vada' (SHI) which, just as in the so-called Pelasgic vid stands alongside of id, shows the double form of vada and iada' Q?T). This vada or iada' also is the common word for to know, but with the root-meaning of to see.
i [That is, the Dutch weten, which runs back to a base Wit, = originally 'tout.' The English representatives of the root are such as 'wit,' 'wot,' 'witness'; and also such words as 'wise,' 'guise,' 'vision,' 'visible,' 'idea,' etc]
In 1 Sam. x. 11 and in Job xxviii. 13 the LXX translated it by the word iBelv, to see. Alongside of Soft (to hear) as perception through the ear, stands
ing one. The entirely different meaning attributed to ST by Fiirst and others in Ezek. xxxviii. 14, as if the idea to separate, split or disband were prominent, might yet originally have coincided with the meaning of the verb to see, even as cernere in its connection with Kpiveiv. But if on this ground the connection between the conceptions to know and to see can scarcely be denied, the verb to know cannot be said to be of the same origin with all the forms of the idea to see. To see is a finely differentiated conception. 'Opav, /3Xeireiv, oyfrofiai, Oedofiai., BeBopxevai, -spicere, aKeir- (in aKerrreaOai), etc., all express a certain perception through the eye, but in different ways. An object can present itself to us in such a way, that we perceive it and thus see it, while our eye did not look for it. At another time our eyes may look without desiring to discover any one object. And lastly there is a looking, by which we employ our powers of vision in seeking and investigating a definite object, until we find and understand it. The conception of the verb to see, included in the root of the verb to know, is definitely this last kind of seeing: premeditatively to look for something, in order to find it. Herein lies of itself the transition to the conceptions of investigation and of trying to know, as result of which we have the seeing or knowing. Revelation in holy Scripture throws further light upon this relation by placing before us the yv&ai<; as a lower form of knowing, and as a fiXeireodai but only in part, in a glass darkly, and over against this making the completed yva>ai<; to appear as a Oedadai, a seeing close at hand, in full reality, irpoaanrov irpcy; irpoaatirOV (1 Cor. xiii. 8-12).
If in the second place we consult the accepted use of the word, we find the conceptions of knowing and understanding separated from each other by a clearly perceptible boundary. The accepted use of the word to know has both a general and a limited sense. In the question, Do you know that the mail-boat has suffered shipwreck? is only meant, Have you heard it? Is this fact taken up into your consciousness? If, on the other hand, I say, Bo you know that it is so f then to know is taken in a stricter sense, and means: Can you vouch for it? In both cases, however, there lies in this knowing not so much the thought of an analysis of the content of an affair or fact, as the thought of the existence of it; viz. the antithesis between its being and not being. Understanding, on the other hand, does not refer to the being or not being, but assumes it as a fact, and analyzes it for the sake of introducing it into the world of our conceptions. To have knowledge of a thing is almost synonymous with having certainty of it, which of itself implies that such a presentation of the matter or fact has been obtained that it can be taken up into our consciousness. And further it is knowledge only when besides this presentation in my consciousness I also have the sense that this representation corresponds to existing reality; which is entirely different from understanding, by which I investigate this representation, in order to comprehend it in its nature and necessity.
If we compare this with the common acceptation of the word science, we encounter the apparent contradiction that what is commonly called "science" seems to lie almost exclusively in the domain of the understanding, and that when the question is asked whether there is a reality corresponding to a certain representation, it is met with the answer, It is not clear (non liquet); even with a fundamental non liquet, when the general relation of the phenomena to the noumena is in order. This, however, is only in appearance. For many centuries the conception of science and its corresponding forms in other languages was entirely free from sceptical infusion, and carried no other impression than of studies which were able to impart real knowledge of all sorts of things, so that by it one knew what before one did not know. The "language-making people" adhered, therefore, strenuously to the root-meaning of the verbs to see and to know, even in the derived conception of "science," and marked this more clearly still by the antithesis between "science" and "learning." The law of language requires that " science" shall make us know what there is, that it is there, and how it is there. That the men of "science" themselves have adopted this name, and have preferred to drop all other names, especially that of Philosophy, only shows that they were not so much impelled by the desire to investigate, as by the desire to know for themselves and to make real knowledge possible for others; and that indeed a knowledge so clear and transparent that the scaffoldings, which at first were indispensable, can at last be entirely removed, and the figure be unveiled and seen. However keenly it may be felt that under present conditions this result, in its highest significance, lies beyond our reach, the ideal should not be abandoned, least of all in common parlance. There is in us a thirst after a knowledge of things which shall be the outcome of immediate sight, even if this sight takes place without the bodily eye. And since we are denied this satisfaction in our present dispensation, God's word opens the outlook before us in which this immediate seeing of the heart of things, this Oeaadai, this seeing of face to face, shall be the characteristic of our knowledge in another sphere of reality. The accepted use of the word which holds on to the conception of sight in knowledge agrees entirely with Revelation, which points us to a science that shall consist in sight.
The objection that, when interpreted in relation to its etymology and accepted use of the word, "science" is synonymous with "truth,"l stands no test. In the first place, the root of this word, ver-, which also occurs in ver-um, in ver-bum, in word, in fepelv, etc., does not point to what is seen or known, but to what is spoken. This derivation discourages, at the same time, the growing habit of relating truth to a condition or to a moral disposition, and of speaking of a thing or of a person as "being real." Truth, moreover, is always an antithetical conception, which science never is.
1 [That is 'waarheid,1 the Dutch word for 'truth.' — Translator.']
The thirst after knowledge has its rise in our desire to reflect in our consciousness everything that exists, while the thirst after truth originates from the desire to banish from our consciousness whatever represents existing things as other than they are. In a pregnant sense, as will be shown more at length in another place, truth stands over against falsehood. Even when truth is sought in order to avoid or to combat an unintentional mistake, or an illusion arisen in good faith or an inaccuracy which is the result of an insufficient investigation, there always is an antithesis which belongs to the nature of this conception. If there were no falsehood conceivable, or mistake, illusion or inaccuracy, there would be no thirst after truth. The facts that science seeks after truth, and that truth is of supremest importance to it, do not state its fundamental thought,— which is and always will be, the knowledge of what is, that it is, and how it is. And this effort assumes the form of "seeking after truth" only as far as, for the sake of discovering what is, it has to dismiss all sorts of false representations. In such a state of things as is pictured by Revelation in the realm of glory, the desire to see and to know is equally active; there, of course, through immediate perception; while the antithesis between falsehood, mistake, illusion, inaccuracy and truth shall fall entirely away.
§ 38. Subject and Object
In the conception of science the root-idea of to know must be sharply maintained. And the question arises: Who is the subject of this knowledge, and what is the object? Each of us knows innumerable things which lie entirely outside of the realm of science. You know where you live and who your neighbors are. You know the names of your children and the persons in your employ. You know how much money you spend in a week. All this, however, as such, is no part of what science knows or teaches. Science is not the sum-total of what A knows, neither is it the aggregate . of what A, B and C know. The subject of science cannot he this man or that, but must be mankind at large, or, if you please, the human consciousness. And the content of knowledge already known by this human consciousness is so immeasurably great, that the most learned and the most
richly endowed mind can never know but a very small part of it. Consequently you cannot attain unto a conception of "science " in the higher sense, until you take humanity as an organic whole. Science does not operate atomistically, as if the grand aggregate of individuals commissioned a few persons to satisfy this general thirst after knowledge, and as if these commissioners went to work after a mutually agreedupon plan. No, science works organically, i.e. in the sense that the thirst for knowledge lies in human nature; that within certain bounds human nature can obtain knowledge; that the impulse to devote oneself to this task, together with the gifts which enable one to work at it, become apparent of themselves; and that in the realm of intellectual pursuits these coryphaei of our race, without perceiving it and almost unconsciously, go to work according to a plan by which humanity at large advances.
Hence there is no working here of the will of an individual, and it is equally improbable that chance should produce such an organically inter-related result. A higher factor must here be at play, which, for all time and among all peoples, maintains the unity of our race in the interests of the life of our human consciousness; which impels people to obtain knowledge; which endows us with the faculties to know; which superintends this entire work; and as far as the results of this labor lead to knowledge builds them up into one whole after a hidden plan. If impersonation were in order, this higher factor, this animating and illumining power, itself might be called "Science." Or if this is called poetry which properly belongs to pagan practice only, we may understand by "science" thus far acquired, that measure of light which has arisen in the darkness of the human consciousness by reason of the inworking of this higher power, —this light, of course, being interpreted not only as a result, but as possessed of the virtue of all light, viz. to rule and to ignite new light. With this interpretation only everything accidental and individual falls away, and science as such obtains a necessary and universal character. Taken in that sense, science makes the "mind of man" to have knowledge; and every one receives a share of it according to the measure of his disposition and station in life. Moreover, it is only with this interpretation that science obtains its divine consecration, because that higher factor, which was seen to be the active agent in science, cannot be conceived otherwise than self-conscious; for there can be no science for the human consciousness as such without a God to impel man to pursue science, to give it, and to maintain its organic relation. With the human individuals, therefore, you do not advance a step, and even if the Gemeingeist of our human nature should be personified it would not do, since this higher factor must be self-conscious, and this Gemeingeist is brought to self-consciousness by science alone. This higher factor, who is to lead our human consciousness up to science, must himself know what he will have us know.
If the subject of science, i.e. the subject that wants to know and that acquires knowledge, lies in the consciousness of humanity, the object of science must be all existing things, as far as they have discovered their existence to our human consciousness, and will hereafter discover it or leave it to be inferred. This unit divides itself at once into three parts, as not only what lies outside of the thinking subject, but also the subject itself, and the consciousness of this subject, become the object of scientific investigation. This object, as such, could never constitute the material of science for man, if it existed purely atomistically, or if it could only be atomistically known. It is known that Peruvian bark reacts against a feverish excitement in the blood, and it is also known that catarrh may occasion this feverish excitement. But as long as these particulars of cold, fever, and Peruvian bark lie atomistically side by side, I may know them indeed, but I have no science yet of these data. For the idea of science implies, that from the manifold things I know a connected knowledge is born, which would not be possible if there were no relation among the several parts of the object. The necessity of organic inter-relations, which was found to be indispensable in the subject, repeats itself in the object. The apparently accidental discovery or invention is as a rule much more important to atomistic knowledge than scientific investigation. But as long as something is merely discovered, it is taken up into our knowledge but not into our science. Only when the inference and the subsequent insight that the parts of the object are organically related prove themselves correct, is that distinction born between the special and the general which learns to recognize in the general the uniting factor of the special. In this way we arrive at the knowledge that there is order in the object, and it is by this entering into this order and into this cosmical character of the object that science celebrates her triumphs.
This is the more necessary because the subject of science is not a given individual in a given period of time, but thinking man in the course of centuries. If this organic relation were wanting in the object, thinking man in one age and land would have an entirely different object before him than in a following century and in another country. The object would lack all constancy of character. It would not be the same object, even though in varying forms, but each time it would be another group of objects without connection with the formerly considered group. Former knowledge would stand in no relation to our own, and the conception of science as a connected and as an ever-selfdeveloping phenomenon in our human life would fall away.
If to make science possible, the organic connection is indispensable between the parts of the object, as far as they have been observed in different countries and at different times, the same applies to the several parts of the object when they are classified according to the difference of their content. If the observation of the starry heavens, of minerals, of plants and animals, of man and everything that belongs in and to him, leads merely to the discovery of entirely different objects, which as in so many compartments are shut off from one another and stand outside of all relation to each other, a series of sciences is possible, but no science, while the unity of these sciences could only lie in the observing subject or in the formal unity of the manner of observation. But our impulse after science aims higher. As long as there is a Chinese wall between one realm of the object and the other, that wall allows us no rest. We want it away, in order that we may know the natural boundaries across which to step from one realm into the other. Darwinism owes its uncommon success more to this impulse of science than to the merits of its results. Hence our ideal of science will in the end prove an illusion, unless the object is grasped as existing organically.
§ 39. Organic Relation between Subject and Object
Even yet enough has not been said. It is not sufficient that the subject of science, i.e. the human consciousness, lives organically in thinking individuals, and that the object, about which thinking man wants to know everything he can, exists organically in its parts; but there must also be an organic relation between this subject and this object. This follows already from what was said above, viz. that the subject itself, as well as the thinking of the subject, become objects of science. If there were no organic relation between everything that exists outside of us and ourselves, our consciousness included, the relation in the object would be wanting. But this organic relation between our person and the object of science is much more necessary, in order to render the science of the object possible for us.
We have purposely said that there must be an organic relation between the object and our person. The relation between the object and our thinking would not be sufficient, since the thinking cannot be taken apart from the thinking subject. Even when thinking itself is made the object of investigation, and generalization is made, it is separated from the individual subject, but it remains bound to the general subject of our human nature. Thus for all science a threefold organic relation between subject and object is necessary. There must be an organic relation between that object and our nature, between that object and our consciousness, and between that object and our world of thought.
The first also lies pregnantly expressed in viewing man as a microcosm. The human soul stands in organic relation to the human body, and that body stands in every way organically related to the several kingdoms of nature round about us. Chemically analyzed, the elements of our body appear to be the same as those of the world which surround us. Vegetable life finds its analogies in our body. And as concerns the body, we are not merely organically allied to the animal world, but an entire world of animalcula crowd in upon us in all sorts of ways and feed upon our bodies. The magnetic powers which are at work about us are likewise at work within us. Our lungs are organically adapted to our atmosphere, our ear to sound, and our eye to light. Indeed, wherever a thing presents itself to us as an object of science, even when for a moment we exclude the spiritual, it stands in organic relation to our body, and through our body to our soul. And as far as the spiritual objects are concerned, i.e. the religious, ethic, intellectual and ajsthetic life, it would be utterly impossible for us to obtain any scientific knowledge of these, if all organic relation were wanting between these spheres of life and our own soul. The undeniable fact that a blind person can form no idea for himself of the visible beautiful, and the deaf no idea of music, does by no means militate against this position. Suppose that a Raphael had been afflicted in his youth with blindness, or a Bach with deafness, this would have made us poorer by so much as one coryphaeus among the artists of the pencil and one virtuoso among the artists of sound; but the disposition of his genius to the world of the beautiful would have been no whit less either in Raphael or in Bach. The normal sense merely would have been wanting with them, to develop this disposition of genius. For the organic relation in which our soul stands to these several spheres of spiritual life does not lie exclusively in the organ of sense, but in the organization of our spiritual ego.
Meanwhile this organic relation between our nature and the object is not enough. If the object is to be the object of our science, there must in the second place be an organic relation between this object and our consciousness. Though the elements of all known stars may not have been determined adequately, the heavenly bodies constitute objects of science, as far at least as they radiate light, exhibit certain form, and are computable with reference to their distance and motion. Even if, at some later date, similar data are discovered in or upon stars which thus far have not been observed, as long as these observations have not been taken they do not count for our consciousness. However close the organic relation may be between ourselves and the animal world, the inner nature of animals remains a mystery to us, as long as the organic relation between their inner nature and our human consciousness remains a secret, and therefore cannot operate. We see a spider weave its web, and there is nothing in the spider or in the web that does not stand in numberless ways organically related to our own being, and yet our science cannot penetrate what goes on in the spider during the spinning of the web, simply because our consciousness lacks every organic relation to its inner nature. Even in the opinions which we form of our fellow-men, we face insoluble riddles, because we only penetrate those parts of their inner nature the analogies of which are present in our own consciousness, but we are not able to see through that particular part of their nature which is solely their own and which therefore excludes every organic relation with our consciousness. By saying that our consciousness stands in the desired organic relation to the object of our science, we simply affirm that it is possible for man to have an apprehension, a perception, and an impression of the existence and of the method of existence of the object. In itself it makes no difference whether this entering in of the object into our consciousness is the result of an action that goes out from the object, under which we remain passive, or of our active observation. Perception and observation are simply impossible when all organic relation is wanting between any object and our consciousness. As soon, however, as this organic relation is established, for external reasons the perception and the observation may be retarded or prevented, but the possibility is still present of having the object enter into our consciousness.
This organic relation has mistakenly been sought in the socalled "faculty of feeling." But there is no room for this third faculty in coordination with the faculties of the understanding and the will (facultas intelligendi and volendi). A capacity taken in the sense of facultas is of its own nature always active, while in the case of the entering in of objects into our consciousness we may be passive. Oftentimes we fail entirely in withdrawing ourselves from what we do not want to hear or see or smell. This objection is not set aside by distinguishing perception and observation from each other as two heterogeneous facts. If I examine a thing purposely, or see it involuntarily, in each case the entirely self-same organic relation exists, with this difference only, that with intentional observation our intellect and our will cooperate in this relation. In which instance it is our ego which knows the possibility of the relation to the object; which desires this relation to exist in a given case; and which realizes the relation by the exercise of the will. Hence there can be no question of an active faculty that shall operate independently of the intellect and the will. The fact is simply this. There are lines of communication that can bring the object outside of us in relation to our ego. And these lines of communication are of an organic nature, for the reason that with our physical growth they develop of themselves, and with a finer forming of our personality they assume of themselves a finer character. The nature of these organic relations depends of course entirely upon the nature of the object with which they are to bring us into communion. If this object belongs to the material world, these conductors must be partly material, such as, for instance, in sight the waves of light and our nerves. If the object, on the other hand, is entirely immaterial, these relations must exhibit a directly spiritual nature.
This is actually the case, since the perceptions of right and wrong, of true and false, etc., force themselves upon our ego immediately from out the spiritual world. In both cases, however, the relations that bring us in communion with the object must ever be sharply distinguished from that which, by means of these relations, takes place in our consciousness.
By themselves these relations do not furnish the required organic relation. If I am in telegraphical communication with Bangkok, it does me no good so long as I do not understand the language in which the telegraph operator wires me. If I understand his language, I am equally in the dark as long as I do not understand the subject-matter of his message, of which I can form no idea because I am not acquainted with the circumstances or because similar affairs do not occur with us. In the same way the object must remain unknown to me, even though I am in contact with it by numberless relations, as long as in my consciousness the possibility is not given of apperceiving it in relation to my personal self. Of course we take the human consciousness here in its absolute sense, and do not detain ourselves to consider those lower grades of development which may stand in the way of assimilation of a very complicated object. 'We merely refer to those fundamental forms by which the consciousness operates. And it is self-evident that what is signalled along the several lines of communication to our consciousness, can only effect a result in our consciousness when this consciousness is fitted to take up into itself what was signalled. He who is born color-blind is not affected one way or another by the most beautiful exhibition of colors. In the same way it would do us no good to scan the purest tints with keenest eye, if, before this variety of color discovered itself to us, there were no ability in our consciousness to distinguish color from color. There is, therefore, no perception or observation possible, unless there is a receptivity for the object in our human consciousness, which enables our consciousness to grasp it after its nature and form. Numberless combinations may later enrich this, but these combinations of themselves would be inconceivable, if their component parts did not appear beforehand as fundamental types in our consciousness. Neither can these fundamental types be grasped in our consciousness unless this consciousness is fitted to them. The figure of the minor should not mislead us. Every image can truly be reflected in it, even though the glass itself be entirely indifferent and neutral. But it does not reflect anything except in relation to our eye. In our consciousness, on the other hand, it does not only depend upon the reflecting glass, but also upon the seeing eye. In our consciousness the two coincide. And no single object can be grasped by our consciousness, unless the receptivity for this object is already present there. Perception and observation, therefore, can only be effected by this original relation between the object outside of us and the receptivity for this object, which prior to everything else is present in our consciousness because created in it. The microscopic nature of our consciousness asserts itself especially in this. And it is only when this microscopic peculiarity in the receptivity of our consciousness lends its effect to the telegraphical relation to the object, that, in virtue of the union of these two factors, the required organic relation operates which brings the object in contact with our consciousness.
By this, however, this object has not yet been introduced into the world of our thought, and without further aid it would still lie outside of our "science." In the infinite divisibility of its parts the odor of incense finds its means to affect our olfactory nerves. By these nerves it is carried over into our consciousness, and there finds the capacity to distinguish this odor from the odor of roses, for instance, as well as the receptivity to enjoy this odor. But although in this way a full relation has been established between the incense as object and the consciousness in our subject, the scientific explanation of the odor of incense is still wanting. To the two above-named claims, therefore, we now add the third; viz. that the object must also enter into an organic relation to our world of thought. For it is plain that thinking is but one of the forms through which our consciousness operates. When an infant is pricked by a pin, there is no single conception, in the consciousness of the child, either of a pin, of pricking, or of pain, and yet the pricking has been carried over to its consciousness, for the child cries. On the other hand, we see that, with an operation under chloroform, all relation between our consciousness and a member of our own body can be cut off, so that only later on, by external observation, we learn that a foot or an arm has been amputated. Which fact took place in our own body entirely outside of the consciousness of our ego. And so there are a number of emotions, impressions, and perceptions which, entirely independently of our thinking and the world of our thought, come into or remain outside of our consciousness, simply in proportion as the receptivity of our ego corresponding therewith stands or does not stand in relation to the object. All the emotions of pain or pleasure, of feeling well or not well, of color and sound, of what is exalted or low, good or bad, pious or godless, beautiful or ugly, tasty or sickening, etc., arouse something in our consciousness and enter into relation with our ego through our consciousness, so that it is we who suffer pain or joy, are delighted or indignant, have taste for something or are disgusted with it; but however strong these emotions of our consciousness may be, they as such have nothing to do with the thought-action of our consciousness. If we smell the odor of a rose, the remembrance of the odor may recall in us the image of the rose, and this representation may quicken the action of thought; but this takes place entirely outside of the odor. For when some one makes us smell the odor of a plant entirely unknown to us, so that we can form no representation of it, nor do any thinking about it, the stimulus received by our consciousness is entirely similar, and as the odor is equally delicate and fragrant, our pleasure in it is equally great. The same phenomenon occurs when for the first time we taste fine wines whose vintage is unknown to us. The simple entrance, therefore, of something into our consciousness does by no means effect its adoption into our world of thought. Wherefore this third relation of our ego to the object demands also a separate consideration.
If the object that enters into relation with our consciousness consisted exclusively of those elements which are perceptible to the senses; if all relation were lacking between these elements; if no change took place in these elements themselves; and if there were but one organ of sense at our disposal,—our human consciousness would never have used and developed its power of thought. No capacity would have been exercised but sensation, i.e. perception, and, in consequence of this, imagination and representation. The object would have photographed itself on our consciousness; this received image would have become a representation in us, and our imagination would have busied itself with these representations. But such is not the case, because we have received more than one organ of sense to bring us in contact with the selfsame object; because the objects are not constant but changeable; because the several elements in the object are organically related to each other; and because there are qualities belonging to the object which lie beyond the reach of the organs of sense, and therefore refuse all representation of themselves. In many ways the fact has forced itself upon us, that there is also what we call relation in the object. The object does not appear to be simple, but complex, and numberless relations appear among its component parts. And these relations bear very different characters corresponding to the difference of categories; they lead to endless variations in each part of the object; they exhibit themselves now between part and part, and again among groups of parts; they change according as they are perceived by different organs of sense, and then cause a new relation to assert itself among these several relations. These relations also present themselves between us and the object, partly as far as we as subject observe, and partly as far as we ourselves belong to the object to be observed; and they finally, with the constant change that presents itself, unite what was to what is, and what is to what is to come. In this way there is a whole world of relations; these relations appear equally real and important as the parts of the object that enter into relation to each other. We frequently receive the impression that these relations dominate the component elements of the object more than those elements the relations; with the simplest antithesis of these two, as, for instance, with that of force and matter, the impression of the relation becomes so overwhelming, that one is fairly inclined to deny the reality of matter, and accept the relation only as actually existing. Since by reason of its microcosmical character our human consciousness is also disposed to the observation of these relations, and since these relations cannot be photographed nor represented, but can only be thought, apart from the elements among which they exist, from these infinite series of organically connected relations the whole world of our thinking is born. If science means that our human consciousness shall take up into itself what exists as an organic whole, it goes without saying that she makes no progress whatever by the simple presentation of the elements; and that she can achieve her purpose only when, in addition to a fairly complete presentation of the elements, she also comes to a fairly complete study of their relations.i That morphine quiets pain is a component part of our knowledge, in so far as it has been discovered that there is a certain relation between this poppy-juice and our nerves. But this empirical knowledge will have led to a scientific insight only when this relation itself shall be understood in its workings, and when it shall be demonstrable how morphine acts upon the nerves so as to neutralize the action of a certain stimulus upon them.
i The distinction between elements (moments) and relations in the object has purposely been employed, because it is the most general one. By element we understand neither the substantia as substratum of the phenomena, nor the "Ding an sich" as object minus subject. Both of these are abstractions of thought, and might therefore mislead us. It needs scarcely a reminder, moreover, that there can be complication and association in these elements as well as in our presentations of them. And also that they can be reproduced from memory as well as be freshly perceived. But I cannot detain myself with all this now. My purpose was but to indicate the two distinctions in the object, one of which corresponds to our capacity to form representations, and the other to our capacity to think.
That these relations can be grasped by thought alone and not by presentation lies in their nature. If these relations were like our nerves, that ramify through our body, or like telephone lines, that stretch across our cities, they should themselves be elements and not relations. But this is not so. Nerves and lines of communications may be the vehicles for the working of the relations, but they are not the relations themselves. The relations themselves are not only entirely immaterial, and therefore formless, but they are also void of entity in themselves. For this reason they can be grasped by our thoughts alone, and all our thinking consists of the knowledge of these relations. Whether we form a conception of a tree, lion, star, etc., apart from every representation of them, this conception can never bring us anything but the knowledge of the relations in which such a tree, lion, or star stand to other objects, or the knowledge of the relations in which the component parts of such a tree, lion, or star stand to each other. To a certain extent it can be said, therefore, that the relations are phenomena as well as the elements which we perceive, and which either by our organs of sense or in some other way occasion a certain stimulus in our consciousness, and in this way place our consciousness in relation to these elements. Without other aids, therefore, science would enter into our consciousness in two ways only. First, as the science of the elements, and, secondly, as the science of the relations which appear between these elements. The astronomer would obtain science of the starry heavens by looking at the stars that reveal themselves to his eye, and the science of their mutual relations and of the relations between their parts by entering into those relations with his thoughts. But the activity of our consciousness with reference to the relations is not confined to this.
Our thinking does not confine itself exclusively to playing the part of the observer of relations, which is always more or less passive, but also carries in itself an active power.
This active power roots in the fact, if we may put it so, that before we become aware of these relations outside of us, the setting for them is present in our own consciousness. This would not be so if these relations were accidental and if they were not organically related. But to be organically related is part of their very nature. It is for this reason that the object is no chaos, but cosmos; that a universality prevails in the special; and that there appear in these relations an order and a regularity which warrant their continuity and constancy. There is system in these relations. These several relations also stand in relation to each other, and our affinity to the object proves itself by the fact that our capacity of thought is so constructed as to enable it to see through these last relations. If correctly understood, we may say that when human thought is completed it shall be like the completed organism of these relations. Our thinking is entirely and exclusively disposed to these relations, and these relations are the objectification of our thinking. And this carries itself so unerringly that it is easily understood why some philosophers have denied the objectivity of these relations, and have viewed them as being merely the reproductions of our thinking. This question could not be settled, were it not for the fact that among the numerous relations there were also those of a regular and orderly transition of condition to condition. And since the result of these relations is also found in places where for ages nature has not been seen by human eyes, such as on the tops of mountains reached for the first time, or in far out-of-theway corners of the world, or in newly examined layers of the earth-crust, this subjectivism appears untenable. This identity of our thinking consciousness with the world of relations must be emphasized, however, in so far as these relations have no existence except for an original Subject, who lias thought them out, and is able to let this product of his thoughts govern the whole cosmos. Just because these relations have no substance of their own, they cannot work organically unless they are organically thought, i.e. from a first principle. When we study these relations, we merely think the thought over again, by which the Subject defined these relations when he called them into being. If there were no thought embedded in the object, it could not be digestible to our thinking. As little as our ear is able to perceive color, is our thinking able to form for itself a conception of the object. And it is this very sense, inseparable from our consciousness, from which springs the invincible impulse, seen in all science, to understand the cosmos. Not in the sense that the cosmos exists only logically. This would amount to a cosmos that consists purely of relations. And since relations are unthinkable unless elements are given between which these relations form the connection, the inexorable claim lies in the relations themselves, and in our thinking as such, that there must also be elements that do not allow themselves to be converted into relations, and therefore lie outside of the field of our thinking. All we say is, that nothing exists without relations; that these relations are never accidental, but always organic; and that the cosmos, as cosmos, in its collective elements exists logically, and in this logical existence is susceptible to being taken up into our world of thought. The result of all science, born from our observation and from our study of the relations of what has been observed, is always certain beforehand. He who aims at anything but the study of the organic world of thought that lies in the cosmos, until his own world of thought entirely corresponds to it, is no man of science but a scientifical adventurer; a franc-tireur not incorporated in the hosts of thinkers.
The fact that it is possible for us to study the world of thought lying objectively before us, proves that there is an immediate relation between our consciousness and objective thinking by which the cosmos is cosmos. If in our consciousness we had the receptivity only for empirical impressions of the visible and invisible world, we could not hope for a logical understanding of the cosmos, i.e. of the world as cosmos. This, however, is not so. Aside from the susceptibility to impressions of all kinds, our consciousness is also able to think logically. This capacity cannot be imitative only. This would be conceivable if the whole organism of the relations of the cosmos were discovered to us. Then we should be able to acquire this as we acquire a foreign language, that reveals no single relation to our own tongue. As, for instance, when a Netherlander learns the language of the Zulus. But this is not the case. The relations lie hidden in the cosmos, and they cannot be known in their deeper connection, unless we approach this logically existing cosmos as logical thinkers. The science of the cosmos is only possible for us upon the supposition that in our thinking the logical germ of a world of thought is lodged, which, if properly developed, will cover entirely the logical world of thought lodged in the cosmos. And this provides the possibility of our thinking showing itself actively. As soon as we have learned to know the universal relations that govern the special, or have discovered in these several relations the germ of a self-developing thought, the identity between our subjective and the objective world of thought enables us to perform our active part, both by calling the desired relations into being, and by anticipating the relations which must reveal themselves, or shall afterward develop themselves. In this way only does human science attain unto that high, dominant and prophetical character by which it not only liberates itself from the cosmos, but also understands it, enables its devotees to take active part in it, and partially to foresee its future development.
We have not been disappointed, therefore, in our supposition, that what was meant by "science" is genetically related to the etymological root meaning of the verb to know. It was seen that in the object of science, distinction must be made between elements and their relations because of the organic existence of this object. Corresponding to this, it was seen that our human consciousness (i.e. the subject of science) has a double receptivity: on the one hand a power of perception for the elements in the object, and on the other hand a power of perception for the relations in the object. By these two together the act of understanding (actio intelligendi, as the Romans used to call it) becomes complete. If the taking-up of the elements into our consciousness be called the perception (perceptio), and the taking-up of the relations into our consciousness the thinking (cogitatio), it is by these two that the object is reflected in our consciousness. What has been frequently placed alongside of the faculties of the understanding and of the will as the faculty of feeling or the faculty of perception is only a subdivision of the faculty of the understanding. To think (cogitare) and to understand (intelligere) are not the same. I can think something that does not exist, while the understanding takes place only with reference to an existing object, which as such never consists of pure relations, but always of elements as well among which these relations exist. And though it is a matter of regret that a mistaken parlance has more and more interpreted the intellect as the faculty of thought, and that intellectualism has come to be the accepted term by which to stigmatize gymnastical exercises of abstract thought, we should not abandon the chaste and rich expression of facultas intelligendi, which must be interpreted as consisting of a double action: on the one side of the perception, and on the other side of the comprehension of what was perceived. This distinction in turn finds its ground in our dichotomic existence, we being partly somatical and partly psychical; since the representation is more somatical and the conception more psychical.
Of course it makes no difference whether the object to be investigated lies outside of me or in me. If I feel a pain in my head, my attention is directed to my head, while at the same time my thinking is stimulated to search out the cause of that pain and to discover the means by which to relieve it. In the same way it does not matter whether this perception comes to me through the senses or the nerves, from a tangible and visible object, or whether this perception is an immediate emotion that affects my spiritual being from the world of justice, the beautiful, good and true. Thought taken by itself can be made the object of investigation, in which case the element always lies in the subject that thinks, entirely independently of the fact whether this subject is any A or B, or the general subject man, angel, or God. But in whatever way they work, the purpose of both actions in my consciousness, that of perception and of thinking, is always to make me know something, or, after the original meaning of piBeiv, to make me see something. The perception makes me know the element, the thinking makes me know the relations of this element. And by the united actions of these two I know what the object, and the manner of its existence, is.
To prevent misunderstanding we should say, moreover, that this critical analysis, both of the elements and their relations, and of the perception and the thinking, is only valid when the object in hand is absolutely elementary. As soon as we proceed from entirely elementary to complicated phenomena, the elements and relations are found constantly interwoven, in consequence of which the perception and the thinking work in unison. The difference between the element and the relation is clearly indicated by an atom and its motion. For though I think that I clearly perceive the motion of the atom, I see, in fact, nothing but the same atom, but constantly in a different relation. If, on the other hand, I examine a drop of water, I deal with a very complicated object, in which numberless elements and relations intermingle. The glitter, form and peripheral atoms can be perceived, but I cannot know that this morphological phenomenon is a drop of water until, not by my perception, but by my thinking (cogitatio), I obtain the knowledge of the relations. Through its perception a child notices something glisten and a certain form, by which it knows that something is near, but it does not know that it is water. When it sees fire, it puts out its hands towards it. But when, by means of thinking, the knowledge of relations develops itself, the child knows by sight that the drop of water is wet and that fire burns. This complicated state of the phenomena gives rise to the morphological elements of a tree, an animal, etc. And because they are complicated, their simple observation demands the combined activity of our perception and thought. One reason the more for including both under the faculty of the understanding.
Undoubtedly a similar consciousness is active in the more highly organized animals. When a tiger sees fire in the distance, he knows that it hurts, though he may never have felt it. Hence he has not only the knowledge of certain elements, but also a limited knowledge of their relations, and in a sense much more accurate and immediate than man's. But it will not do to transfer the idea of understanding to animals on this ground. First, we do not know how this elementary knowledge is effected in the animal. Secondly, this knowledge in the animal is susceptible of only a very limited development. And in the third place, in the animal it bears mostly an instinctive character, which suggests another manner of perception. A certain preformation of what operates in our human consciousness must be admitted in the animal. But if to a certain extent the activity in man and animal seems similar, no conclusion can be drawn from one activity to the other. We know absolutely nothing of the way in which animals perceive the forms and relations of phenomena.
On the other hand, we are justified in concluding that in our human consciousness, since the conciousness of elements and relations in the object must be microscopically present, without this consciousness the emotions received could never produce what we know as smell, taste, enjoyment of color, sound, etc. It must be granted that these emotions in us could simply correspond to certain sensations which we call smell, taste, etc.; but in the first place this correspondence would have to be constant, and thereby have a certain objectivity; and, again, this objective character is lifted above all doubt by what we call imagination and abstract thought. From these two activities of the human mind it appears that our human consciousness can be affected by the elements and can not only take up their relations in us, but from this taking-up into itself, which is always passive in part, is also able to become active. As far as the perception is concerned, this action exerts itself in our imagination, and as far as the thinking is concerned it exerts itself in our abstract thought. By the imagination we create phenomena for our consciousness, and by our higher thinking we form relations. If these products of our imagination and of our higher thinking were without reality, we would have every reason to think that there is but one subjective process, which refuses to be more closely defined. But this is not so. The artist creates harmonies of tints, which presently are seen to be real in flowers that were unknown to him. And more striking than this, by our abstract thinking we constantly form conclusions, which presently are seen to agree entirely with actual relations. In this way object and subject stand over against each other as wholly allied, and the more deeply our human consciousness penetrates into the cosmos, the closer this alliance is seen to be, both as concerns the substance and morphology of the object, and the thoughts that lie expressed in the relations of the object. And since the object does not produce the subject, nor the subject the object, the power that binds the two organically together must of necessity be sought outside of each. And however much we may speculate and ponder, no explanation can ever suggest itself to our sense, of the all-sufficient ground for this admirable correspondence and affinity between object and subject, on which the possibility and development of science wholly rests, until at the hand of Holy Scripture we confess that the Author of the cosmos created man in the cosmos as microcosmos "after his image and likeness."
Thus understood, science presents itself to us as a neceswy and ever-continued impulse in the human mind to reflect within itself the cosmos, plastically as to its elements, and to think it through logically as to its relations; always with the understanding that the human mind is capable of this by reason if its organic affinity to its object.
§ 40. Language
If a single man could perform this gigantic task in one moment of time, and if there were no difficulties to encounter, immediate and complete knowledge would be conceivable without memory and without spoken language. But since this intellectual task laps across the ages, is divided among many thousands of thinkers, and amid all sorts of difficulties can make but very slow progress—science is not conceivable without memory and language. With the flight of time neither science by representation nor science by conception can be retained with any permanency, unless we have some means by which to retain these representations and conceptions. Whether this retention is accomplished immediately by what we call memory, or mediately by signs, pictures, or writing, which recall to us at any moment like representations and conceptions, is immaterial as far as the result is concerned. In either case the action goes out from our human mind. The fact that representations and conceptions are recognized from the page shows that our mind has maintained its relation to them, although in a different way from common "remembrance." If we had become estranged from them, we would not recognize what had been chronicled. Although then our mind is more active in what we call "memory," and more passive in the recognition of what has been recorded, it is in both cases the action of the same faculty of our mind which, either with or without the help of means, retains the representation or conception and holds it permanently as accumulated capital. Observe, however, that in our present state at least, this stored treasure is sure to corrode when kept in the memory without aids for retention. This is shown by the fact that we find it easier to retain a representation than a conception; and that our memory encounters the greatest difficulties in retaining names and signs, which give neither a complete representation nor a complete conception, but which in relation to each are always more or less arbitrarily chosen. Finally, as to the record of the contents of our consciousness outside of us, representations and conceptions follow each a way of their own. The representation expresses itself by art in the image, the conception by language in the word. This distinction maintains its full force, even though by writing the word acquires in part the nature of the image, and by description the image acquires in part the nature of the word. The word is written in figures, even if these are but signs, and the figure can also be pictured by the poet in words. From this intermingling of the two domains it is seen once more how close the alliance is between representation and conception, in consequence of the oneness of the action by which the understanding (facultas intelligendi) directs itself in turn to the elements in the cosmos and to the relations between these elements.
This, however, does not imply that language serves no higher purpose than to aid the memory in securing the capital once acquired by our consciousness against the destructive inroads of time. Much higher stands the function of language to make the fund of our representations and conceptions the common property of man, and thus to raise his individual condition to the common possession of the general consciousness of humanity. Without language the human race falls atomistically apart, and it is only by language that the organic communion, in which the members of the human race stand to each other, expresses itself. Language is here used in its most general sense. Though ordinarily we use the word language almost exclusively as expressing a conception conveyed by sound, we also use it to express communications conveyed by the eyes, by signs, by flowers, etc.; and even if we take language in the narrower sense, as consisting of words, the imitation of sounds and the several series of exclamations plainly show that language is by no means confined to the world of conceptions. The consciousness of one actually imparts to the consciousness of the other what it has observed and thought out; of its representations therefore, as well as of its conceptions; and corresponding to this, language has the two fundamental forms of image and word; it being quite immaterial whether the image is a mere indication, a rough sign or a finely wrought form. A motion of the hand, a sign, a look of the eyes, a facial expression, are parts of human language as well as words. Nor should it be overlooked that, at least in our present state, language without words has a broad advantage over language in words. While language in words serves your purpose as far as the knowledge of } our own language extends, the language of symbol is universally intelligible, even to the deaf and dumb, with only the blind excepted. The old custom, which is reviving itself of late, of publishing books with pictures, is from this viewpoint entirely justified. Since our consciousness has a twofold manner of existence, that of representation and of conception, the union of image and word will ever be the most perfect means of communication between the consciousness of one and of another. And communion can become so complete that a given content may be perfectly transmitted from the consciousness of one into that of another. The real difficulty arises only when instead of being borrowed from the morphological part of the cosmos, the content of your communication is taken from the amorphic or asomatic part of the cosmos; such as when you try to convey to others your impressions and perceptions of the world of the true, the good, and the beautiful. We have no proper means at command by which to reproduce the elements of this amorphic cosmos, so that by the aid of symbolism we must resort to analogies and other utterances of mind which are forever incomplete. This renders the relations among these elements continually uncertain, so that our conceptions of these relations are never entirely clear, while nevertheless a tendency arises to interpret this amorphic cosmos as consisting purely of conceptions. As this, however, will be considered more fully later on, it is sufficient to state here that for all science, language in its widest sense is the indispensable means both of communication between the consciousness of one and that of another, and for the generalization of the human consciousness in which all science roots.
But language by itself would only accomplish this task within the bounds of a very limited circle and for a brief period of time, if it had not received the means of perpetuating itself in writing and in printing. Not the spoken but only the written and printed word surmounts the difficulty of distance between places and times. No doubt language possessed in tradition a means by which it could pass on from mouth to mouth, and from age to age; especially in the fixed tradition of song; but this was ever extremely defective. Carving or painting on stone, wood, or canvas was undoubtedly a more enduring form; but the full, rich content of what the human consciousness had grasped, experienced and thought out could only be made oecumenic and perpetual with any degree of accuracy and completeness, when wondrous writing provided the means by which to objectify the content of the consciousness outside of self and to fix it. This writing naturally began with the representation and only gradually learned to reproduce conceptions by the indication of sounds. Thus image and word were ever more sharply distinguished, till at length with civilized nations the hieroglyphic language of images and the sound-indicating language of words have become two. And no finer and higher development than this is conceivable. The two actions of our consciousness, that of observing the elements and of thinking out their relations, which at first were commingled in their reproduction, are now clearly distinguished, and while art is bent upon an ever-completer reproduction of our representations, writing and printing offer us an entirely sufficient means for the reproduction of our conceptions.
But even this does not exhibit the highest function of language for human life in general and for science in particular. Language does not derive its highest significance from the fact that it enables us to retain and to collect the representations and conceptions of our consciousness; nor yet from the fact that in this way it serves as the means of communication between the consciousness of one and the consciousness of another; but much more from the fact that language makes the content of our consciousness our property. It is one thing in the first stage of development to know that there are all sorts of sensations, perceptions, impressions, and distinctions in our consciousness, which we have neither assimilated nor classified. And it is quite another thing to have entered upon that second stage of our development, in which we have transposed this content of our consciousness into representations and conceptions. And it is by language only that our consciousness effects this mighty transformation, by which the way is paved for the real progress of all science; and this is done partly already by the language of images; but more especially by the language of words; and thus by the combined action of the imagination and thought. In this connection we also refer to the action of the imagination, for though ordinarily we attach a creative meaning to the imagination, so that it imagines something that does not exist, the figurative representation of something we have perceived belongs to this selfsame action of our mind. Representation surpasses the mere perception, in that it presents the image as a unit and in some external relation, and is in so far always in part a product also of our thought, but only in so far as our thought is susceptible of plastic objectification. Hence in the representation our ego sees a morphological something that belongs to the content of our consciousness. But whatever clearness may arise from this, and however necessary this representation may be for the clearness of our consciousness, the representation by itself is not sufficient for our ego; we must also logically understand the object; and this is not conceivable without the forming of the conception. And this very forming of the conceptions, and the whole work which our mind then undertakes with these conceptions, would be absolutely inconceivable, if the language of words did not offer us the means to objectify for ourselves what is present in our consciousness as the result of thought. Being used to the manipulation of language, we may well be able to follow up a series of thoughts and partly arrange them in order, without whispering or writing a word, but this is merely the outcome of mental power acquired by the use of language. When the content of our logical consciousness is objectified in language, this objectification reflects itself in our consciousness, which enables us to think without words; but by itself we cannot do without the word. Since we are partly psychic and partly somatic, it is by virtue of our twofold nature that psychic thought seeks a body for itself in the word, and only in this finest commingling of our psychic and somatic being does our ego grasp with clearness the content of our logical consciousness. The development of thinking and speaking keeps equal pace with the growing child, and only a people with a richly developed language can produce deep thinkers. We readily grant that there are persons whose speech is both fluent and meaningless, and that on the other hand there are those who think deeply and find great difficulty in expressing themselves clearly; but this phenomenon presents no objection to our assertion, since language is the product of the nation as a whole, and during the period of his educational development the individual merely grows into the language and thereby into the world of thought peculiar to his people. No reckonings therefore can be made with what is peculiar to the few. The relation between language and thought bears a general character, and only after generalization can it be critically examined.
§ 41. Fallacious Theories
Suppose that no disturbance by sin had taken place in the subject or object, we should arrive by way of recapitulation at the following conclusion: The subject of science is the universal ego in the universal human consciousness; the object is the cosmos. This subject and object each exists organically, and an organic relation exists between the two. Because the ego exists dichotomically, i.e. psychically as well as somatically, our consciousness has two fundamental forms, which lead to representations and to conceptions; while in the object we find the corresponding distinction between elements and relations. And it is in virtue of this correspondence that science leads to an understanding of the cosmos, both as to its elements and relations. The subject is able to assimilate the cosmos as object, because it bears in itself microcosmically both the types of these elements and the frame into which these relations naturally fit. And finally the possibility of obtaining not merely an aggregate but an organically connected knowledge of the cosmos, by which also to exercise authority over it, arises from the fact that there is a necessary order dominant in this cosmos, springing logically from the same principle which also works ectypically in our own microcosmically disposed consciousness.
Thus, taken apart from all disturbances by sin and curse, our human consciousness should, of necessity, have entered more and more deeply into the entire cosmos, by representation as well as by conception-forming thought. The cosmos would have been before us as an open book. And forasmuch as we ourselves are a part of that cosmos, we should have, with an ever-increasing clearness of consciousness, lived the life of that cosmos along with it, and by our life itself we should have ruled it.
In this state of things, the universality and necessity, which are the indispensable characteristics of our knowledge of the cosmos if it is to bear the scientific stamp, would not have clashed with our subjectivism. Though it is inconceivable that in a sinZm development of our race all individuals would have been uniform repetitions of the selfsame model; and though it must be maintained, that only in the multiform individualization of the members of our race lies the mark of its organic character; yet in the absence of a disturbance, this multiformity would have been as harmonious, as now it works unharmoniously. With mutual supplementation there would have been no conflict. And there would have been no desire on the part of one individual subject to push other subjects aside, or to transform the object after itself. That this disturbance, alas, did occur, from which subjectivism sprang as a cancer to poison our science, comes under consideration later. Only let it here be observed how entirely natural it is for thinkers who deny the disturbance by sin, to represent science to this day as an absolute power, and are thereby forced either to limit science to the "sciences exactes," or to interpret it as a philosophic system, after whose standards reality must be distorted.
The first tendency has prevailed in England, the second in Germany. The first tendency, no doubt, arose also in France, but the name of "sciences exactes," as appears from the added term exactes, lays no claim to science as a whole. In England, however, science, in its absolute sense, is more and more the exclusive name for the natural sciences; while the honorary title of "scientific" is withheld from psychological investigations. Herein lies an honest intention, which deserves appreciation. It implies the confession that only that which can be weighed and measured sufficiently escapes the hurtful influence of subjectivism to bear an absolute, i.e. an universal and necessary character; even in the sense that the bare data obtained by such investigations, by repeated experiments, are raised to infallibility, and as such are compulsory in their nature. And such — we by no means deny — all science ought to be. But however honestly this theory may be intentioned, it is nevertheless untenable. First in so far as even the most assiduous students of these sciences never confine themselves to mere weighing and measuring, but, for the sake of communicating their thoughts and of exerting an influence upon reality and common opinion, formulate all manner of conclusions and hypothetical propositions tainted by subjectivism, which are at heart a denial of their own theory. Only remember Darwinism; the fundamental opposition which it meets with from men of repute shows that it has no compulsory character, and hence does not comply with the demands of the sciences. But also in the second place this theory is untenable, because it either ignores the spiritual, in order to maintain the ponderable, world, and thus ends in pure materialism, or it ignores every organic relation between the ponderable and the spiritual world and thereby abandons the science of the cosmos as such.
The second tendency stands much higher, and, by reason of the power of German thought, has ever led the van, and vigorously maintained the demand that science should lead to an organic knowledge of the entire cosmos, derived from one principle. Unfortunately, however, this theory, which with a sinless development would have been entirely correct, and is still correct in an ideal sense, no longer meets the actual state of things, partly because the investigating subjects stand inharmoniously opposed to one another, and partly because all sorts of anomalies have gained an entrance into the object. Only think of human language and of the conflict that has been waged about analogies and anomalies since the days of the Sophists and Alexandrians! If, from this point of view, the disturbance of the harmony in the subject as well as in the object fails to be taken into account, and the effort is persisted in logically to explain the discord from one principle, one ends in speculation which does not impart an understanding of the cosmos, but either imagines a cosmos which does not exist, or pantheisticall}' destroys every boundary line, till finally the very difference between good and evil is made to disappear.
Truly the entire interpretation of science, applied to the cosmos as it presents itself to us now, and is studied by the subject "man" as he now exists, is in an absolute sense governed by the question whether or no a disturbance has been brought about by sin either in the object or in the subject of science.
This all-determining point will therefore claim our attention in a special section, after the character of the spiritual sciences shall have been separately examined.
§ 42. The Spiritual Sciences
If the cosmos, man included, consisted exclusively of ponderable things, the study of the cosmos would be much simpler than it is now, but there would be no subject to appropriate this knowledge. Hence science has no right to complain that the cosmos does not consist of mere matter. It is to this very fact that science owes its existence. Meanwhile we cannot overestimate the difficulty of obtaining a science, worthy of the name, of the spiritual side of the cosmos. This difficulty is threefold.
In the first place all the psychic, taken in the ordinary sense, is amorphic, from which it follows that the morphologic capacity of our consciousness, by which we form an image of the object and place it before us, must here remain inactive. Thus while, in the tracing of relations in all that is ponderable, our understanding finds a point of support in the representation of the elements among which these relations exist, here this point of support is altogether wanting. This does not imply that the object of these sciences is unreal; for even with the sciences of ponderable objects your understanding never penetrates to the essence. In your representation you see the form (/xo/ji^j;); you follow the relations (hvafyopai) with your thinking; but the essence (owria) lies beyond your reach. This does not imply that the spiritual objects may not have something similar among themselves, to what in the non-spiritual we understand by Mop<£j}: the forma in the world of thought rather suggests the contrary; but in either case these forms are a secret to us. and our consciousness is not able to take them up and communicate them to our ego. And since as somatic-psychic beings we are naturally inclined to assimilate every object both plastically and logically, we certainly feel a want with respect to this in the spiritual domain. This want induces us all too easily to interpret this entire realm logically only, and so to promote a false intellectualism or a dangerous speculation.
The second difficulty under which the spiritual sciences labor is the instability of their object. You can classify minerals, plants and animals, and though in these classifications you must ever be prepared for variations and anomalies, nevertheless certain fixed marks can be determined to distinguish class from class. But with the spiritual sciences, which constantly bring you in touch with man, this rule evades you. Even the classification according to sex frequently suffers shipwreck upon effeminate men and mannish women. In "man" only does there assert itself to its fullest extent that individuality which principle resists every effort to generalize, and thus obstructs the way to the universal and necessary character of your science. You find a certain number of phenomena in common, but even these common properties are endlessly modified. And the worst is that in proportion as an individual is a richer object, and thus would offer the more abundant material for observation, the development of his individuality is the stronger, and by so much the less does such an individual lend himself to comparison. From a sharply defined character there are almost no conclusions to be drawn.
And along with this amorphic and unstable characteristic a third difficulty is that in most of the spiritual sciences you are dependent upon the self-communication of your object. It is true, you can study man in his actions and habits. His face tells you something; his eye still more. But if it is your desire to obtain a somewhat more accurate knowledge of the spiritual phenomena in him, in order to become acquainted with him, there must be in him: (1) a certain knowledge of himself, and (2) the power and will to reveal himself to you. If, then, as a result of all such self-communication you desire to form some opinion on the spiritual phenomenon which you investigate, especially in connection with what has been said above, such self-communication must be made by a great number of persons and amid all sorts of circumstances. Moreover, many difficulties arise in connection with this self-communication of your object. (1) Most people lack sufficient self-knowledge. (2) So many people lack the ability to impart to you their selfknowledge. (3) Much is told as though it were the result of self-knowledge, which is in reality only the repetition of what others have said. (4) Many do not want to reveal themselves, or purposely make statements that mislead. (5) Self-knowledge is frequently connected with intimate considerations or facts which are not communicable. (6) With the same individual this self-communication will be wholly different at one time from another. And (7) a right understanding of what one tells you requires generally such a knowledge of his past, character, and manner of life as is only obtained from a very few persons. It is most natural, therefore, that in recent times the young child has been taken as the object of observation, for the reason that with the child these difficulties are materially lessened; but this is balanced again by the fact that, because of its immaturity, the child expresses so little.
Thus we find that the difficulty in the way of the spiritual sciences does not lie in the mystery of the essence of their object. With the exact sciences the essence is equally mysterious. Neither does the difficulty of these sciences lie simply in the amorphic character of their object, or, if you please, in the lack of tangible elements. But the knowledge of the relations of the object of these sciences is so difficult to be obtained, because these relations are so uncertain in their manifestation and are therefore almost always bound to the self-communication of the object. It is noteworthy how slow the progress of these sciences is, especially when compared with the rapid progress of the exact sciences ; and the more so since the effort has been made to apply to them the method of the natural sciences.
Symbolism, mythology, personification, and also poetry, music and almost all the fine arts render us invaluable service as interpretations of what is enacted within the spiritual realm, but by themselves they offer us no scientific knowledge. Symbolism is founded upon the analogy and the inner affinity, which exist between the visible and invisible creation. Hence, it is not only an imperfect help, of which we may avail ourselves since our forms of thought are borrowed from the visible, but it represents a reality which is confirmed in our own human personality by the inner and close union of our somatic-psychic existence. Without that analogy and that inner affinity there would be no unity of perception possible, nor unity of expression for our two-sided being as man. Your eye does not see; your '9° sees, but through your eye; and this use of your eye could not effect the act of your seeing, if in the reflection of light in your eye there were no actual analogy to that which your ego does when you see something through your eye. And though this analogy may weaken when applied to the other parts of the cosmos, in proportion as their affinity to man becomes more limited, we cannot escape from the impression that this analogy is everywhere present. With the aid of this symbolical tendency mythology seeks to represent the spiritual powers as expressions of mysterious persons. And though with us the life of the imagination is subjected too greatly to the verification of our thinking, for us to appreciate such a representation, we constantly feel the need of finding in personification useful terms for our utterances and for the interpretation of our feelings. In fact, our entire language for the psychic world is founded upon this symbolism. Although in later days, without remembrance of this symbolism, many words have purposely been formed for psychical phenomena, the onomatopepoiemena excepted, all words used to express psychical perception or phenomena are originally derived by the way of symbolism from the visible world. And where poetry, music, or whatever art comes in to cause us to see or hear, not merely the beautiful in the form, but also the interpretation of the psychic, it is again on the ground of a similar analogy between the visible and invisible, that they cause us to hear something in verse or in musical rhythm, or to see something by means of the chisel or the pencil which affects our psychical life or teaches it to understand itself. Indeed, in the affinity between the visible and invisible part of the cosmos, and in the analogy founded on it, there lies an invaluable means of affecting the psychical life and of bringing it to utterance; but however richly and beautifully the world of sounds may be able to interpret and inspire our inner life, it offers no building material for scientific knowledge. Moreover, with all these expressions of art you must always reckon with the individuality of the artist who enchants your eye or ear, which sometimes expresses itself very strongly, so that with all the products of art, independent of sin and falsehood, which have invaded this realm also, the above-mentioned objection of individuality returns.
If the empiricism of symbolism is of very limited service to us, the empiricism of the more general expressions of the psychic life is equally unhelpful. The method of tracing the expressions of the intellectual, ethic, social, juridic, aesthetic and religious life among the different nations through the course of time is justifiable, and it must be granted that the similarity and the similar process of these phenomena among different nations warrant certain conclusions concerning the character of these life-utterances; but by itself this historiccomparative study offers no sufficiently scientific knowledge of the psychical life itself. Because you know that water descends upon the mountains mostly in the form of snow; that there it forms glaciers; that these glaciers melt; and that first as foaming torrents, and then as a navigable stream, the water pushes forward to the ocean, your scientific knowledge of water is not yet complete. And really this historic-comparative study of the moral, social and religious life of the nations teaches us not much more. Hence though we would not question for a single moment the relative right and usefulness of these studies, we emphatically deny that these studies constitute the real prosecution of the spiritual sciences. You may excel in all these studies, and not know the least thing about your own soul, which subjectively forms the centre of all psychic investigation. And what is more serious still, in this way you run a great risk of. unknown to yourself, falsifying the object of your science, if not of denaturalizing it. Apply, for instance, this method to the science of law, and you must form the conclusion that existing law only is law. Since this existing law constantly modifies itself according to the ideas of law that are commonly accepted, all antithesis between lawful and unlawful becomes at last a floating conception, and law degenerates into an official stipulation of the temporarily predominating ideas concerning mutual relationships. Thus you deprive law of its eternal principles; you falsify the sense of law, which by nature still speaks in us; and your so-called study of law degenerates into a study of certain phenomena, which you mark with the stamp of law. For though it is asserted that the idea of law develops itself with an inner impulse in the process of these phenomena; yet this may never be taken naturalistically, in the form of a physiological process; and you should know the idea of law, which is entirely different from these phenomena, before you will be able critically to analyze the phenomenon of law. And thus we see in fact the simplest principles of law pass more and more into discredit, and the rise of two factions which, each in turn, call lawful what the other condemns as unlawful. This antithesis is especially prominent in its application to the conceptions of personal property and capital punishment. One wants violated law to be revenged on the murderer, while to the other he is simply an object of pity, as a victim of atavism. Every existing law (jus constitutum) declares, that property must be protected by law, but the anarchist declares that in the ideal law (jus constituendum) all property must be avenged as theft. Though, therefore, without hesitation we concede that the dominion of symbolism points to a strong analogy between things "seen" and "unseen "; and though we readily grant that the naturalistic method, by historic comparative study, is productive of rich results also for the spiritual sciences; we emphatically deny that the study of the spiritual sciences can be entirely bound to the method of the natural sciences.
The cause of this difference is that the science of things "seen" is built up (1) from the sensuous perception or observation of the elements by our senses, and (2) from the logical knowledge of the relations which exist among these elements by our thinking. This, however, is impossible with the spiritual sciences. In the object of this science the same distinction must be made between the real elements and their relations. But, fitted to bring us in connection with the elements of the things " seen," our senses refuse to render this service with reference to the elements of the things "unseen." Moreover, it is self-evident that the logical knowledge of the relations, which by itself would be insufficient, becomes floating, while the elements among which they exist are not known. The plastic capacity of our mind, which, by means of the senses, is able to take up into itself the elements of the things "seen," remains here inactive, and the logical capacity is insufficient by itself to form conceptions and judgments. If, nevertheless, the effort is made to treat these spiritual sciences after the method of things "seen," a double self-deception is committed: unknowingly one changes the object and unconsciously one chooses his point of support in something not included in this method. The object is changed when, as in Theology for instance, not God but religion is made the object of investigation, and religion only in its expressions. And something is chosen as point of departure which this method does not warrant, when the notion or the idea of religion is borrowed from one's own subject.
The question therefore is, what renders the service in the spiritual sciences, which the representation-capacity in connection with the senses effects in things "seen." Since the object of the spiritual sciences is itself spiritual, and therefore amorphic, our senses not only, but the representation-capacity as well, render here no service. If no other means is substituted, the spiritual object remains beyond the reach of our scientific research, and spiritual phenomena must either be interpreted materialistically as the product of material causes, or remain agnostically outside of our science, even as the present English use of the word science prescribes. This result, however, would directly conflict with what experience teaches. Again and again it appears that there are all sorts of spiritual things which we know with far greater certainty than the facts which are brought us by the observation of things "seen." The sense of right, the sense of love, the feeling of hatred, etc., appear again and again to have a much more real existence in our consciousness than many a member of our own body. And though the idealism of Fichte in its own one-sidedness may have outrun itself, you nevertheless cease to be man when the reality of spiritual things is not more certain to you than what by investigation you know of plant and animal. If we maintain the etymological root-idea of science, in the sense that what is known forms its content, you maim your science when you deny it access to spiritual objects.
There is no other course therefore than to construct the spiritual sciences from the subject itself; provided you do not overlook that the subject of science is not this inquirer or that, but the human consciousness in general. It was seen that with visible things all distinguishing knowledge would be inconceivable, if the archetypic receptivity for these objects were not present, microcosmically, in the human consciousness. And with reference to spiritual objects it may in a like sense be postulated, that the presence of such an archetypic receptivity for right, love, etc., is also found in our consciousness. Otherwise, these would simply have no existence for us. But with this receptivity by itself the task is not ended. An action must be exerted by the object of your science upon this receptivity. It is indifferent for the present whether this action comes to you mediately or immediately. We do not become aware of right, for instance, as a poetic product of our own spirit, but as a power which dominates us. We perceive the working of that power even when our feeling for right is not aroused, as in a concrete case by an occurrence outside of us. Entirely independently of the revelation, violation or application of right in given circumstances, we know that we must do right; and this sense cannot be in us, except that power of right, to which we feel ourselves subjected, moves and touches us in our inner being. This becomes possible since we possess the receptivity for right, but is only established when right itself, as a power which dominates us, works upon that receptivity, and by it enters into our consciousness. The question lying back of this, whether right itself exists as universal, or is simply an expression for what exists in God, need not detain us. It is enough as long as we but know that in the taking-up of the object of the spiritual sciences as well as in the perception of the object of the natural sciences, we must distinguish in the object between the element and its
relations, and in our consciousness between the corresponding perception of the element and examination of its relations. Always with this difference in view, that in the world of matter the element works upon our consciousness through the senses, which provokes the action of the power of representation; while with the spiritual sciences the element does not work upon the senses, neither through the representation, but in keeping with its spiritual nature affects our consciousness subjectively, and finds a receptivity in our subject which renders this emotion possible. And this emotion may be constant, and thus result in a permanent sense, or it may be accidental, in which case it falls under the conception of inspiration. In the transmission of the object of the spiritual sciences into our consciousness the same process takes place as in the discovery of our consciousness to the object of the natural sciences. In each case we take up into ourselves the element and the relations differently. In each case the receptivity must be present in us for the elements and for the relations. And in each case it is our thinking that makes us know the relations, while the perception of the element comes to us from the object itself. But these two sciences differ, in that the element of the visible world enters into our consciousness by a different way than the element of the spiritual world; the elements of the visible world working upon our powers of representation through the senses, while in entire independence of our senses and of any middle link known to us, the elements of the spiritual world affect our subject spiritually, and thus to our apprehension appear to enter immediately into our consciousness.
Thus the science of the spiritual object is derived from the subjectivity in man; but always in such a way, that here also our individual subject may never be taken independently of its organic relation to the general subject of the human race. The individual investigator who seeks to construct the spiritual sciences exclusively from his own subjective perceptions, virtually destroys thereby the very conception of science, and he will have no place for Philology, History, Political and Social sciences, etc. And though it might seem that this would destroy the subjective character of by far the greater part of the investigations within the domain of the spiritual sciences, it is not so. All study of law, for instance, would be inconceivable by a scholar who did not have the sense of right, however imperfectly, in himself. The study of language is only possible because we know the relations between the soul, thought and sound, from our own subject. Statesmanship can only be studied, because by nature man is an active partner in all public affairs. The starting-point and the condition for the prosecution of these sciences consequently always lie in our own subjective sense. In the vestibule of Psychology the psychic phenomena of animal life receive ever greater attention, which study offers no mean contribution to the knowledge of simple perceptions ; but the leading scientists unanimously protest against the conclusions drawn from this for the knowledge of the social life of animals, such as those for instance of Sir John Lubbock for the world of ants. If the possibility might be born at any time to determine by analogy that there are psychological and sociological relations in the world of animals, it could not affect our position. Even then it would not be the world of animals that interprets to us the world of man, but on the contrary it would still be our own subjective sense, from which by analogy a world is concluded analogous to ours; just as Theologians have set us the example with respect to the world of angels.
Neither should we be misled by the fact that the objective character predominates in by far the larger part of the labor expended upon spiritual studies. If it is true that with Psychology for instance the physico-psychic experiment, and the comparative study of psychic expression and ethnologicalhistoric investigations offer very considerable contributions to this department of science, it must not be forgotten that all these preliminary studies are impelled and directed by the psychic sense itself, and that after these preliminary studies the real construction of Psychology only commences. The more objective side of these studies has a twofold cause. First the relation which exists in the entire domain of this study between our soul and our body, and between the expression of our soul and the visible cosmos. And secondly the necessity of examining our own psychical life not by itself, but in organic relation to the psychical life of our human race. Here, however, appearance should not deceive us. Whatever we observe physically in this respect, or observe in cosmic expressions of the psychical life, does not really belong as such to the psychical sciences. And where out of our own individual subject we try to find a bridge by which to reach the subjective life of humanity, that bridge is never anything but a bridge, and it is not the bridge, but the psychical world which we reach by it, that claims our attention.
Distinction, therefore, must be made between pure and mixed spiritual sciences. Language, for instance, is a mixed spiritual science, because everything that pertains to the modulation of sounds, and the influence exerted on them by the general build of the body, and especially by the organs of breathing, articulation, and of hearing, is somatic; and the real psychical study is only begun when in this body of language the logos as its psychic element is reached. Thus also in history the building of cities, the waging of war, etc., is the body of history, and its psychical study only begins when we seek to reach the motives of human action which hide behind this somatic exterior, and to interpret the mysterious power which, partly by and partly without these motives, caused hundreds of persons, and whole nations, to run a course which, if marked by retrogression, suggests, nevertheless, the unwinding of a ball of yam. And whether you trace these motives, or whether you study the mysterious succession of generations, your own subjective-psychical life is ever shown to be your starting-point, and empiricism leaves you in the lurch. This is most forcibly illustrated by Philosophy in the narrower sense, which, just because it tries logically to interpret, if not the cosmos itself, at least the image received of it by us, ever bears a strongly subjective character, and with its coryphaei, least of all, is able to escape this individual stamp. The philosophical premises thus obtained by individual heroes among thinkers, according to the impulse of their own subjectivity, are then borrowed by the lesser gods (dii minores), in virtue of spiritual "elective affinit)-" (Wahlverwandtschaft), and equally in accordance with their subjective predilection. And these premises will dominate the entire study of spiritual sciences in given circles, as far as these, with the empiric data as building material, devote themselves architecturally to the erection of the building.
Let no one, therefore, be blinded by the appearance of objectivity, brought about by the exhibition of these empiric data. It is sheer self-deception to think that we can ever succeed in making the spiritual sciences fit the same last as the natural sciences. Even with the latter, simple empiricism can never suffice. Everything that is material and can consequently be counted, weighed and measured, no doubt offers us, at least as far as these relations are concerned, a universally compulsory certainty, which, if observation be correct, bears an absolutely objective character. As soon, however, as you venture one step farther in this physical domain, and from these empiric data try to obtain a construction by which to discover among these scattered data a unity of thought, the process of an idea, or the progression from a first phenomenon to a result, you have at once crossed over from the ph}-sieal into the psychical, the universally compulsory certainty leaves you, and you glide back into subjective knowledge, since you are already within the domain of the spiritual sciences. Thus to make it still appear that these philosophical interpretations and constructions, such as, for instance, the Descendenz-theorie, are merely logical deductions from empiric data, is deception. And this deception continues itself within the domain of the spiritual sciences, since here, also, one thinks that he starts out from empiric data, when these empiric data at best can only serve as means to enrich your investigation and verify it, but are never able to reveal or to interpret to you the psychic self, which, after all, is the real object of these sciences. The result of this dangerous self-deception is, that in all these departments detail and preliminary studies greatly flourish, while for the greater part the real study of these sciences lies fallow. For instance, uncommon energy is spent in the study of the expressions and phenomena of religious life in different ages and among different peoples, by which to formulate them with utmost accuracy, while religion itself, which is the real object in hand, is neglected. In the same way the manifestations of the moral life of nations are studied in their several periods and localities, but certainty about the power which determines the norm of moral life, and knowledge of the means of causing moral life to flourish, are more and more lost, — an atrophy, which applies as well to the study of psychology, of history, of law, etc., and which can only be understood from a false desire to materialize the psychical, as if matter could be treated on an equal footing with the psychic. This desire, in itself, is readily understood, since an outwardly compulsory certainty in this domain would be still more desirable to many people than in the domain of the natural sciences; and it is even measurably just, since the empiric data, which with the spiritual sciences also are at our service, were formerly all too grossly neglected. But, as soon as it tries to exalt itself into a method, it meets an inexorable obstacle in the nature and character of the psychic; on the one hand, because the psychical image assumes no form for us except in its subjective individualization; and, on the other hand, because the psychic can never be grasped in any other way than by our own psychic sense.