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Chapter 2 - Comparative Study Guide

Last revised 1/18/2017


COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE
The Philosophy Of Freedom

Chapter 2
The Fundamental Drive For Science

Compare the Experience of Outer Truth with that of Inner Truth

Topic
Heading

Observed state of things
(compare difference)

Link to
Chapter Two

Case 1
EXPERIENCE OF
OUTER
TRUTH

Case 2
EXPERIENCE OF
INNER
TRUTH

2.0 Striving For Knowledge

Compare feeling a wall of separation with the world that results from the outer world-content opposing our inner thought-content, with feeling a bond of connection with the world that results from making the outer world-content into our inner thought-content.

Need To Survive
Nature gives us needs, among them are some left to our own activity to satisfy. Abundant are the gifts we have received, yet more abundant are our desires.

PROBLEM: World-Content Opposes Our Thought-Content
The something more we seek in things, exceeds what is given to us in immediate observation. What we add splits our entire existence into two parts. We place ourselves over against the world as an independent being. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World.

The mental process splits our world into two halves: the outer perceived-world and our inner thought-world.

Wall Of Separation
We erect this wall of separation between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness lights up within us.

Need To Know
We seem born to be dissatisfied. A special case of this dissatisfaction is our desire to know. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts.

Feeling A Bond Of Connection Makes Us Strive For Unity
We never lose the feeling we belong to the world, that a bond connects us to it, and that we are beings whose place is not outside, but within the universe. This feeling makes us strive to bridge the opposition. And in the final analysis the entire spiritual striving of humankind consists in bridging this antithesis. Religion, art and science all pursue this same goal.

SOLUTION: Make The World-Content Into Our Thought-Content
Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case.

2.1 Materialism

Compare the one side that explains the world and thought as a product of matter and physical-processes, with the other side that is dissatisfied with shifting the attention away from the identifiable subject, the self.

Material World And Thoughts
Materialism starts with thoughts about Matter and material processes. In doing so, it already has two different kinds of facts before it: the material (physical) world and the thoughts about it.

Materialist Denies Mind
The Materialist tries to understand thought by regarding it as a purely material process. Just as he attributes mechanical, chemical, and organic processes to Matter, so he credits it in certain circumstances with the ability to think. The Materialist attributes the power of thinking to Matter, instead of to himself.

Shifts Problem Away From Self
The Materialist has turned his attention away from the identifiable subject, from his own Self, and instead occupies himself with the nebulous and indeterminate nature of Matter. The materialistic viewpoint cannot solve the problem, it can only shift it to another place.

2.2 Spiritualism

Compare the one side that explains the world with pure spiritual theory, with the other side that is dissatisfied with its lack of practical knowledge that helps it to take action and get things done.

Spiritualism Denies Matter
What of the Spiritualistic view? The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) any independent existence and conceives it as merely a product of Mind (the Self). He considers the whole phenomenal world to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself. From all that it achieves by its own spiritual effort, the physical world is never found.

The World Is A Closed Book To The Spiritualist
This conception of the world finds itself in difficulties as soon as it attempts to produce from Mind any single concrete phenomenon. It cannot do this either in knowledge or in action, as long as it regards its own nature as exclusively spiritual. It seems as if the Ego had to concede that the world would be a closed book to it, unless it could establish a non-spiritual relation to the world.

2.3 Realism

Compare the one side that looks outward to acquire experience providing content for the Mind, with the other side that is dissatisfied unless it uses this experience to realize its intentions on the real, practical level.

Experience Of External World Provides Content For Mind
If one would really know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and acquire experience. Without experience Mind can have no content.

Realize Our Intentions By Acting In External World
When we carry out actions, we have to realize our intentions on the real, practical level with the help of material things and forces. In other words, we are dependent on the external world.

2.4 Idealism

Compare the one side that derives a thought-structure of the world from the “Ego”, with the other side that is dissatisfied with a thought-structure that lacks any content of experience.

Thought-Structure Of World Without Experience Of World
The most extreme Spiritualist or, better said, Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to derive the whole edifice of the world from the “Ego.” What Fichte accomplished is a magnificent thought-structure of the world without any content of actual experience.

Idealist Does Away With External World
As little as it is possible for the Materialist to do away with the Mind, just as little is it possible for the Idealist to do away with the external world.

2.5 Paradox Of Materialistic Idealism

Compare the one side that explains how the senses give us sense-effects, with the other side that is not satisfied until it explains how the sense-effects give us senses.

Thought Is Produced By Matter, Matter Is Produced By Thought
Lang accepts that the Materialists are right in declaring all phenomena in the world, including our thought, to be the product of purely material processes. Conversely, he also accepts that Matter and its processes are the product of thinking.

The Senses Give Us Sense-Effects, And The Sense-Effects Give Us Senses
"The senses give us only sense-effects... the effects that things have on them, not true copies, and certainly not the things themselves. But among these mere effects we must include the senses themselves together with the brain and the molecular movements within it.”

Conceptual Paradox
This would mean our thinking is produced by material processes, and material processes are produced by our thinking. When translated into concepts, Lange’s philosophy is a conceptual paradox.

This makes it an equivalent to the tale of the bold Baron Münchhausen, who holds himself up in the air by his own pigtail.

2.6 Indivisible Unity

Compare the one side that finds even at the simple level of the atom Matter and Mind already indivisibly united, with the other side that is not satisfied until it can explain how the simple entity manifests itself to us in two different ways.

Mind And Matter Are Inseparably United 
The third form of Monism is the one that finds, even at the simple level of the atom, Matter and Mind already united.

Mind And Matter Manifest To Us In Two Different Ways
But nothing is gained by this either, for here again the question that actually originates in our consciousness is shifted to another place. How does the simple entity come to manifest itself in two different ways when it is an indivisible unity?

2.7 Polarity Of Consciousness

Compare the one side that feels we are strangers to Nature even though we live in the midst of her, with the other side that is not satisfied until it finds Nature within.

Polarity Of Consciousness
Contrary to all these points of view is a fact that must be emphasized. It is in our own consciousness that we first encounter the basic and primal polarity. It is we, ourselves, who break away from the mother ground of Nature and contrast ourselves as “Self” in opposition to the “World.”

Strangers To Nature
Goethe has given classical expression to this in his essay “Nature”, even though his way of speaking may sound at first completely unscientific. “Living in the midst of her (nature), yet are we strangers to her. Ceaselessly she speaks to us, yet betrays not her secrets.”

Nature Without And Within
But Goethe also knows the other side: “Human beings are all within her, and she in each of them.”

2.8 Feeling Nature

Compare the one side that feels we are within Nature and belong to her, with the other side that is not satisfied until it feels the outer workings of Nature living in us too. 

Observing Nature Without (estranged)
It is true we have estranged ourselves from Nature, yet at the same time we feel we are within Nature and belong to her.

Feeling Nature Within (belong)
It can only be that the outer workings of Nature live in us too.

The feeling that we belong must indicate something within us that is also a part of nature. While I am seeing nature outside of me, it can only be something more of nature within me that is itself pressing toward manifestation.

2.9 Knowing Nature Within

Compare the one side that considers the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature, with the other side that is not satisfied until it finds what corresponds to nature within.

First Know Nature Within, Then Find Nature Outside
Dualism considers the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature. No wonder it cannot find the connecting link. We can find nature outside us only if we have first learned to know her within us. What corresponds to nature within us will be our guide.

Essence Of Nature In Us
We must seek out this essence of Nature in us, and then we will discover our connection with her once more.

Path Of Inner Truth
This marks out our path of inquiry. We will not speculate about how Nature and Mind interact. Instead, we will probe into the depths of our own being, to find there the elements we retained in our flight from Nature.

2.10 Something More Than ‘I’

Compare the one side that says within our own being we are merely ‘I’, with the other side that is not satisfied until it reaches a point where it can say here is something more than ‘I’. 

Inner Investigation
The investigation of our own being must bring us the solution to the problem.

Something More Than ‘I’
We must reach a point where we can say, “Here we are no longer merely ‘I’, here is something more than ‘I’.

Element Belonging To Both Self And World
By penetrating to the depth of our own being an element is discovered which reveals itself to us as belonging not only to the Self, but also to the World.

2.11 Description Of Conscious Experience

Compare the academic side that uses terms in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy, with the other side that is not satisfied unless the terms and descriptions express what we all experience in our own consciousness.

Simple Descriptions Of Experience
I expect some who have read this far will not find my presentation to be in accordance with "the present standing of scholarship." I can only reply that so far I have not been concerned with scientific results of any kind, but rather with simple descriptions of what we all experience in our own consciousness.

Terms Meant To Represent Actual Facts
The inclusion of a few statements about attempts to reconcile Mind and the World have been used only to clarify the actual facts. For this reason, I have not found it necessary to use terms such as 'Self', 'Mind', 'World', 'Nature' etc. in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy.

2.12 Facts Of Everyday Life Without Interpretation

Compare the one side whose purpose is to quickly interpret events, with the other side that is not satisfied until it records the facts of how we experience everyday life. 

Record Facts Of Everyday Life
Ordinary consciousness does not know the sharp distinctions of scholarship. So far my purpose has been solely to record the facts of how we experience everyday life.

Concerned With Experience Of Consciousness, Not Interpretation
I am not concerned with how scholarship has interpreted consciousness, but with how we experience it from moment to moment.

Summary

Transition To Next Chapter

Unity Of Childhood Lost, And Then Found Again
Why are we always searching for what we call the explanation of the facts?
What drives us to search for knowledge?
As children we saw only the sense perceptible aspects of the whole.
We easily and naturally absorbed the surrounding environment through our senses.
We felt ourselves to be one with Nature.
Thought, however, is an integral part of the full reality.
So we can say the child has access to only half of what the world consists of.
Only later, when we have grown up sufficiently to develop thoughts, do we have access to the thought aspect of reality.
But then the mental process splits our world into two halves: the outer perceived-world and our inner thought-world.
We become conscious of contrasting with the world.
Now the universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World.
Our childhood unity is lost and we experience a gulf between us and the world.
We now confront the world as individuals separate from the world.
But we never lose the feeling that we belong to the world, that the universe is a unity embracing both self and world.
The feeling that we belong must indicate something within us that is also a part of Nature.
This feeling makes us strive to bridge the separation.
The history of our spiritual life is a continuing search for the unity between ourselves and the world.
Religion, art and science all pursue this same goal.
While I am seeing Nature outside of me, it can only be something more of Nature within me that is itself pressing toward manifestation.
By penetrating to the depth of our own being an element is discovered which reveals itself to us as belonging not only to the Self, but also to the World.
Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content do we restore the unity to the world lost for us during childhood.

In the next chapter, 3 Thinking As A Means Of Forming A View Of The World, we investigate our inner world of thought to discover the part of Nature that appears within.

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