The Philosophy Of Freedom
by Rudolf Steiner
New More Readable Translation
w/ topic headings
by Tom Last
NOTE ON THE TRANSLATION
During my 30 years of working with The Philosophy Of Freedom I would often refer to the numerous other English translations when I was having difficulty. I discovered that the book was not as difficult as I thought, the problem in most cases was the translation. I never found a single "best" translation, but in each case of confusing text one of them held the key to clarifying what Steiner was trying to say, sometimes saying it better than the original German. This led to the necessity of taking on the task of producing a new more readable translation built on the progress made by the previous translations. I wish to thank the previous translators who made this readable edition possible:
1916 Mr. and Mrs. R. F. A. Hoernle The Philosophy of Freedom
|0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
1. CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION
2. THE FUNDAMENTAL DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE
3. THINKING AS THE INSTRUMENT OF KNOWLEDGE
4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPT
5. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
7. ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO KNOWLEDGE?
8. THE FACTORS OF LIFE
9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
10. FREEDOM PHILOSOPHY AND MONISM
11. WORLD PURPOSE AND LIFE PURPOSE (Human Destiny)
12. MORAL IMAGINATION (Darwinism And Ethics)
13. THE VALUE OF LIFE (Optimism And Pessimism)
14. INDIVIDUALITY AND TYPE
note: This was Chapter 1 in the original 1894 TPOF. It has since been moved to the back of the book in the revised editions.
0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
0.0 Cultivation Of Individuality
0.1 Path Of Inner Truth
We both seek truth; you in outer life, I in the heart within.
Truth that comes to us from the outside always brings with it uncertainty. We are only convinced by what appears to each of us inwardly as truth.
0.2 Empowered By Truth
0.3 Know Truth
0.4 Advance In Knowledge
0.5 Need To Know
0.6 Apply Principles
0.7 Practice Pure Thinking
The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.
0.8 Knowing Organism
A similar relationship governs the arts. A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. This theory is an accumulation of principles of what one needs to know in order to compose music. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, that is, theory serves actual reality.
In the same way philosophy is an art. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the conceptual realm. For them human Ideas become their artistic material and the methods of science their artistic technique. Abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life. We no longer merely know about things, but have made knowing into a real self-governing organism, ruled by its own laws. Our actual working consciousness has lifted itself above a mere passive reception of truths.
0.9 Science Of Freedom
0.10 All-Around Development
0.11 Ideas Serve Goals
0.12 Master Of Ideas
1. CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION
1.0 Question Of Freedom
1.1 Freedom Of Indifferent Choice
"We are not concerned with the question of free will. The supposedly 'indifferent' freedom of choice has always been recognized as an empty illusion by every reputable philosophy. An indifferent choice is not a factor in determining the moral value of human conduct and character."
I do not consider the book important. I quote this passage because it expresses the only opinion our thinking contemporaries seem able to reach on this question. Everyone who has grown beyond elementary science is certain of one thing about freedom. It cannot consist in choosing, entirely at will, between two courses of action. There is always, so we are told, a specific reason why a person carries out one action from among several possibilities.
1.2 Freedom Of Choice
"That everyone is at liberty to desire or not to desire, as he pleases, is the essential principle concealed in the dogma of free will. This freedom is refuted by the analysis of consciousness, as well as by the contents of the preceding chapter [on psychology]."
1.3 Free Necessity Of One's Nature
"I call free all that exists and acts out of the necessity of its nature. I call it unfree, if its existence and activity are determined in an exact and fixed way by something else. For example, God is free, even though he exists in a necessary way, because he exists solely out of the necessity of his own nature. Similarly, God knows himself and all other things freely, because it follows solely from the necessity of his nature to know all. I locate freedom, not in free decision, but in free necessity.
 "Let us come down to created things, which are all determined by external causes to exist and to act in a fixed and exact way. To see this more clearly, let us imagine a very simple case. A stone, for example, receives a certain momentum from the impact of an external cause. Of necessity, the stone continues to move after the impact. The continued motion of the stone is compelled, for it is due to the external impact, and not to the necessity of the stone's own nature. What applies here to the stone, applies to everything else, no matter how complex and many-sided. Everything is determined by external causes with the necessity to exist and to act in a fixed and exact way.
 "Now please assume the stone, while in motion, thinks and knows it is striving to the best of its ability to continue in motion. The stone is only conscious of its striving and by no means indifferent. It will be convinced it is free and continues in motion, not because of an external cause, but because it wills to do so. This is just the human freedom everyone claims to have. The reason it appears to be freedom is because human beings are conscious of their desires, but do not know the causes that determine those desires. Thus the child believes it freely desires milk, the angry boy freely demands revenge, and the coward flight. The drunken man believes he says things of his own free will that, when sober again, he will wish he had not said. Since this bias is inborn in everybody, it is difficult to free oneself from it. Experience teaches us often enough that people are least able to moderate their desires. When torn by conflicting passions they see the better and pursue the worse. Yet they still regard themselves as free, because they desire some things less intensely. And some desires can be easily inhibited by recalling a familiar memory that often preoccupies one's mind."
 Because this opinion is clearly and directly expressed, it is easy to detect the basic error. Of necessity, the stone continues to move after an impact. With the same necessity, a human being is supposed to carry out an action when driven by any reason. Because he is only conscious of his action, he looks upon himself as the free originator of it. However, he overlooks the causes driving him that he must obey unconditionally.
The error in this line of argument is easy to find. Spinoza, and all who think like him, overlook the fact that a human being is not just conscious of his action. He can also become conscious of the causes that guide his action. Anyone can see a child is not free when it desires milk, as is the drunk who says things he later regrets. Both know nothing of the causes working deep within their organism that exercise irresistible control over them. Is it right to group such actions together with those of a human being who is not only conscious of his actions, but also of the reasons that motivate him?
Are human actions really all of one kind? Should the deeds of a soldier on the battlefield, a scientist in the laboratory, or a diplomat involved in complex negotiations be ranked in the same scientific category as those of a child craving milk? It is true the best way of seeking the solution to a problem is where the conditions are simplest. But the inability to see distinctions causes endless confusion. There is a profound difference between knowing and not knowing why I act. This is an obvious truth. Yet the opponents of freedom never ask whether a motive of action known to me in full transparency, compels me in the same way an organic process causes a child to cry for milk.
1.4 Conduct Of Character
Now, the human being believes he is free, independent of outside motivation, because he must first make the idea imposed on him from outside into a motive, according to his character. But according to Eduard von Hartmann, the truth is that he is not free,
"Even though we first adopt an idea as a motive, this is not done arbitrarily. An idea is turned into a motive according to the necessity of our characterological disposition. We are anything but free."
Here again, the difference between motives is ignored. There are motives I allow to influence me only after I have consciously made them my own, and others I follow without a clear knowledge of them.
1.5 Conscious Motive
 If there is a difference between a conscious and an unconscious motive of action, then the conscious motive will result in an action that must be judged differently from one that springs from blind urge. Our first question will concern this difference. The position we must take on freedom itself will depend on the result of this investigation.
 What does it mean to have knowledge of the motives of one's actions? Too little attention has been given to this question because we always split in two what is an inseparable whole: the human being. The doer is set apart from the knower, but the one that matters most is lost sight of —the knowing doer, the one who acts out of knowledge.
1.6 Practical Decision
 Nothing is gained by assertions of this kind. For the real issue is whether reason, purpose, and decision exercise the same compulsion over a human being as his animal cravings. If, without my involvement, a rational decision occurs in me with the same necessity as hunger or thirst, then I must obey it. My freedom is an illusion.
1.7 Development Of Abilities And Skills
“The human being can certainly do what he wants, but he cannot determine what he wants, because his volition is determined by motives! — He cannot determine what he wants? Let us look at these words more closely. Do they make any sense? Is free will to mean the ability to want something without reason, without a motive? But what else does wanting mean, other than having a reason for doing or striving for this rather than that? To want something without a reason, without a motive would mean to want it without wanting it. The concept of wanting is inseparably linked to the concept of motive. Without a determining motive volition is an empty ability: only through the motive does it become active and real. It is, therefore, correct to say the human will is not 'free' to the extent that its direction is always determined by the strongest motive. But it is absurd to contrast this 'unfreedom' with a possible 'freedom of will' that amounts to being able to want what one does not want.”
 Here again only motives in general are discussed, without taking into account the difference between conscious and unconscious motivations. If a motive affects me, and I am compelled to act because it proves to be the "strongest" from among other motives, then the thought of freedom ceases to have any meaning. Why should it matter to me whether I can do something or not, if I am forced by the motive to do it? The primary question is not whether I can or cannot do something once the motive has influenced me, but whether all motives work with inescapable necessity. If I am forced to will something, then I may be completely indifferent as to whether I can also do it. And if, because of my character and the circumstances prevailing in my environment, a motive is forced on me that I find unreasonable, then I would be glad if I am unable to do it.
 The question is not whether I can carry out a decision once made, but how the decision comes about within me.
1.8 Unconditioned Will Impulse
"It is easy to explain why it appears to us the movement of a stone is by necessity, while the will of the donkey is not. The causes that set the stone in motion are external and visible. But the causes that determine the donkey's acts of will are internal and invisible. Between us and the place where they occur is the donkey’s skull... We cannot see the determining cause, and so believe it does not exist. The will, they tell us, is indeed the cause of the donkey’s turning around, but is itself unconditioned; it is an absolute beginning.”
Here too, human actions in which there is consciousness of the reasons is ignored. Rée explains: “between us and the place where they occur is the donkey’s skull.” As these words show it has not dawned on Rée that there are actions, not of the donkey but of the human being, where between us and the deed lies the motive that has become conscious. A few pages later Rée demonstrates the same blindness when he says: “We do not perceive the causes that determine our will and so believe it is not causally determined at all.”
 But enough of examples proving many argue against freedom without knowing what freedom really is.
1.9 Known Reason
"It is thinking that turns the soul, common to us and animals, into spirit."
And this is why it is thinking that gives to human action its characteristic stamp.
1.10 Force Of Heart
1.11 Idolized Love
1.12 See Good Qualities
 From whatever point we approach this subject, one thing becomes more and more clear. An investigation into the origin of our thoughts must come before we can answer the question concerning the nature of human action. So I will turn to this next.
2. THE FUNDAMENTAL DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE
Two souls alas! reside within my breast,
2.0 Separation Of Self And World
We look twice at a tree. The first time we see its branches at rest, the second time in motion. We are not satisfied with this observation. Why, we ask, does the tree appear first at rest and then in motion? Every look at the natural world raises questions. Every phenomenon we meet is a new problem to be solved. Every experience is a riddle. We observe a creature similar to the mother animal emerging from the egg, and ask the reason for this similarity. We observe a living being grow and develop to a certain degree of perfection, and seek the underlying causes. Nowhere are we satisfied with what nature displays before our senses. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts.
 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 become conscious of our opposition to the world. We place ourselves over against the world as an independent being. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World.
 We erect this wall of separation between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness lights up within us. But 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. The history of the spiritual life is a continuous quest for the unity between ourselves and the world. This aim is pursued equally by religion, art, and science. The religious believer is dissatisfied with the world of mere appearance. He seeks in the revelations granted him by God, the solution to the world problem which his Self sets before him. The artist seeks to embody into his material the Ideas of his Self, in order to reconcile the spirit that lives in him with the outer world. He, too, feels dissatisfied with the world of mere appearance and seeks to mold into it that something more which his Self, transcending mere appearance, contains. The thinker seeks the laws at work in the world of phenomena. He strives to penetrate with thinking what he learns by observing. 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.
The relationship I have described here between the Self and the World is found historically in two contrasting world conceptions; the one-world theory called Monism, and the two-world theory of Dualism. Dualism pays attention only to the separation between Self and World brought about by human consciousness. Its whole effort is a futile struggle to reconcile these two sides, which it calls Mind and Matter, Subject and Object, or Thought and Appearance. The Dualist feels there must be a bridge between the two worlds, but is incapable of finding it.
Monism pays attention only to the unity and tries either to deny or to gloss over the opposites, present though they are. Neither of these two points of view can satisfy us, for they do not do justice to the facts. The Dualist sees in Mind (Self) and Matter (World) two essentially different entities, and cannot therefore understand how they can interact with one another. How should Mind be aware of what goes on in Matter, seeing that the essential nature of Matter is quite alien to Mind? Or how in these circumstances should Mind act upon Matter, so as to translate its intentions into actions? The most absurd hypotheses have been propounded to answer these questions.
The position of the Monists, so far, has not been much better. They have tried three different solutions. Either they deny Mind and become Materialists; or they deny Matter in order to seek their salvation as Spiritualists. Or else they claim Mind and Matter are inseparably united even in the world’s simplest entities, so it is not surprising to find these two forms of existence present in the human being, since after all, they are never found apart.
2.2 Spiritualistic Theory
2.5 Materialistic Idealism
"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.”
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
2.7 Contrast Self
2.8 Feel Unity With Nature
2.9 Essence Within
2.10 More Than "I"
2.11 Description Of Experience
2.12 Facts Without Interpretation
3. THINKING AS THE INSTRUMENT OF KNOWLEDGE
3.0 Thinker Predicts
 We will discuss later whether this thinking activity of mine really expresses my own independent being, or whether physiologists are right in saying I cannot think as I wish, but must think in the way determined by the thoughts and thought-connections that happen to be present in my mind at any given moment. (Theodor Ziehen, Principles of Physiological Psychology). At this point we only wish to establish the fact that we constantly feel compelled to seek for concepts and connections of concepts that relate in a specific way to the objects and events given independently of us. Whether this thinking activity is really ours, or whether we carry it out according to an unalterable necessity, is a question we will leave aside for now. That it initially appears to be our activity is undeniable. We know for certain the corresponding concepts are not given at the same time and together with the objects. That I am myself the active one in the conceptual process may an illusion, but to immediate observation it appears so. The question is: "What do we gain by finding a conceptual counterpart to an event?"
 There is a far reaching difference in the way the details of an event relate to one another before, and after, the discovery of the corresponding concepts. Mere observation can follow the parts of a given event as they occur, but their connection remains obscure without the help of concepts. I see the first billiard ball move toward the second in a certain direction and with a certain velocity. What will happen after the impact I cannot tell in advance. I must wait to see what will happen, and can still now only follow it with my eyes. Suppose someone, at the moment of impact, obstructs my view of the field where the event is taking place. As a mere spectator, I will know nothing of what happens next. The situation is very different if, before my view is obstructed, I have already discovered the concepts corresponding to the details of the event. In that case I can predict what will happen, even when I am no longer able to observe it. There is nothing in a merely observed object or event that reveals anything about its connection to other objects and events. This connection only becomes evident when observation is combined with thought.
 Observation and thinking are the two points of departure for all human spiritual striving, insofar as one is consciously striving. Everyday common sense as well as the most complicated scientific research, rest on these two fundamental pillars of our mind. Philosophers have started from various primal opposing sides such as Idea and Reality, Subject and Object, Appearance and Thing-in-itself, Ego and Non-Ego, Idea and Will, Concept and Matter, Force and Substance, the Conscious and the Unconscious. However, it is easy to show that the opposition between observation and thought must precede all others, as the most important antithesis for the human being.
 Whatever principle we wish to establish, we must either prove we have observed it somewhere, or we must express it in the form of clear thought that can be rethought by others. Every philosopher setting out to explain his fundamental principles must express them in conceptual form, and so use thought. By doing so he indirectly admits his philosophical activity already presumes thought, which is taken for granted. Nothing is being said yet about whether thought or something else is the main factor in the development of the world. But it is clear from the start that, without thought, philosophers can gain no knowledge of this development. Thought may only play a supporting role in the occurrence of world-events, but it surely plays a leading role in forming a view of these events.
 As for observation, we need it because of the nature of our organization. Our thought about a horse and the object “horse” are two things that appear to us separate from each another. The object is accessible to us only through observation. As little as we can formulate a concept of a horse by merely staring at it, just as little can we magically conjure up the object horse by merely thinking of it.
3.1 Exceptional State
 As an object of observation thought differs essentially from all other things. The observation of a table or a tree occurs as soon as these objects enter the horizon of my experience. Yet I do not, at the same time, observe my thought about these things. I observe the table, and I carry on a process of thought about the table, but I do not at the same moment observe this thought process. If I want to observe the table while at the same time observe my thoughts about it, I have to remain in a place outside any activity of my own.
While the observation of things and events, and thinking about them, is the everyday state that occupies my normal life, the observation of the thoughts themselves require entering an exceptional state. It is important to understand the exceptional state, because we are going to compare thought, as an object of observation, to all other observed things. We must be clear that when we observe thought we apply the same method we use to study all other world-content, but which in the ordinary course of that study is usually not applied to thought itself.
3.2 Active "I"
This objection does not hold, because a concept established by thinking is related to what is observed in a completely different way than a pleasure is. I am definitely aware that a concept of a thing is formed by my own activity, while pleasure just happens to me. Pleasure is aroused by an object in the same way as a change is caused in an object by a stone falling on it. To observation, a pleasure is given, in exactly the same way as the event that causes it. It is not the same with concepts. I can ask why an event arouses a feeling of pleasure in me. But I certainly cannot ask why an event calls up a certain set of concepts in me. The question would simply make no sense.
When I am reflecting about an event, I am not concerned with how it affects me. I learn nothing at all about myself by knowing the concepts corresponding to the observed change in a pane of glass caused by a stone thrown against it. But I learn a great deal about my personality when I know the feeling that an event arouses in me. If I say of an observed object, “This is a rose,” I say nothing about myself. But if I say of the rose, “It gives me a feeling of pleasure,” I characterize not only the rose, but also myself in my relationship to the rose.
3.3 Contemplate Object
 The unique nature of thought is that the thinker forgets thinking when actually doing it. What occupies his attention is not thought, but rather the object he is observing while he is thinking.
 The first thing we notice about thought is that it is the unobserved element in our normal mental life.
 The reason why we do not notice the thinking that goes on in our everyday mental life is none other than this: thinking is our own activity. What I do not originate appears as something ‘objectively there’ in my field of observation. I see myself before something that is not of my doing. I confront it. I must accept it before I begin my thinking-process. While I am reflecting on the object, I am absorbed in it, my attention is focused on it. To focus the attention on the object is, in fact, to contemplate it by thought. This is thinking contemplation. My attention is not directed toward my activity, but rather toward the object of this activity. In other words, when I think, I do not see the thinking I am producing. I only see the object I am thinking about, which I did not produce.
3.4 Contemplate Thought
If I want to watch my present thinking, I would have to split myself into two persons: one to think, and the other to observe this thinking. This I cannot do. I can only accomplish it in two separate acts. The thinking to be observed is never the current one actively being produced, but another one. For this purpose, it makes no difference whether I observe my own earlier thoughts, or follow the thought process of another person or, as in the above example of the motion of billiard balls, set up an imagined thought process.
 There are two things that do not go together: productive activity and confronting this activity in contemplation. It is not possible to create and contemplate at the same time. This is recognized even in the First Book of Moses. In the first six days God is represented as creating the world, and only after the world is there is contemplation of it possible: "And God saw everything that he had made and, behold, it was very good." The same applies to our thinking. It must first be there before we can observe it.
3.5 Know Concept
It is just because we produce the thought process through our own creative activity, that we know the characteristic features of its course, and the details of how the process has taken place. What can be discovered only indirectly in all other fields of observation,— the factually corresponding context and the connection between the single objects—in the case of thought is known to us in an absolutely direct way.
Without going beyond the observed phenomena, I cannot know why thunder follows lightning. But I know immediately, from the content of the two concepts, why my thought connects the concept of thunder with the concept of lightning. The point being made here does not depend on whether I have the correct concepts of lightning and thunder. The connection between those concepts that I do have is clear to me, and is so through the concepts themselves.
3.6 Pure Thinking
In a less materialistic age this remark would of course be entirely unnecessary. But today—when there are people who believe that once we know what matter is, we will know how matter thinks—it is necessary to point out that we can discuss thinking without entering the field of brain physiology. Most people find it difficult to grasp the concept of pure thinking. Anyone who counters the idea of thinking I have developed here with the assertion of Cabanis' that "the brain secretes thoughts as the liver does gall or the salivary ducts saliva . . .", simply does not know what I am talking about. Such a person is trying to find thought in the brain by the normal method of observation, in the same way we approach other objects in the world. But, as I have shown, thought cannot be found in this way because it eludes normal observation.
Whoever is unable to enter the exceptional state I have described cannot transcend Materialism and become conscious of what in all other mental activity remains unconscious. If someone lacks the willingness to look at thinking from this position, then one can no more discuss thought with him than one can discuss color with someone born blind. But he should certainly not imagine that we consider physiological processes to be thinking. He fails to explain thinking because he simply does not see it.
3.7 "I" Think
 The feeling of having found such a firm foundation caused the founder of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes, to base the whole of human knowledge on the principle, "I think, therefore I am." All other things, all other events, are there independent of me. I do not know whether they are truth, or illusion, or dream. There is only one thing I know with absolute certainty, for I myself bring it to its sure and undisputed existence: my thinking. Perhaps it has another ultimate source. Perhaps it comes from God or from somewhere else, I cannot be sure. I am sure of one thing, it exists because I produced it myself. Descartes had no justification for giving his principle any other meaning than this. All he had a right to assert was that it is only in thinking that I grasp myself, standing within the world-whole, in the activity that is the most my own.
What the added words "therefore I am" is intended to mean has often been debated. It only makes sense on one condition. The simplest statement I can make about a thing is that it is, that it exists. What kind of existence it has cannot be more closely defined at first sight, in the first moment it appears within the range of my experience. Each object must first be studied in its relationship to other things, before we can determine the way it exists. An experienced event may be a series of perceptions, but it could also be a dream, a hallucination, and so on. Within only a brief moment, I am unable to say in what way it exists. I cannot read the kind of existence from the event itself, but I can learn this when I consider the event in relation to other things. But even then, I learn nothing more than how it relates to these other things.
My search reaches firm ground only when I find an object, from which I can derive the reason of its existence from the object itself. This I am, as a thinker; for I give to my existence the defining, self-supporting content of my thinking activity. From here I can go on to ask: "Do other things exist in the same, or in some other way?"
3.8 Realm Of Thought
A process is overlooked when we observe other things. This process mingles with world-events and intermixes with the observation process itself. Something is present that is different than every other kind of process, and is not taken into account. But when I observe my thinking, there ceases to be an unnoticed element present. For what hovers in the background is, again, nothing but thought. The observed object is qualitatively the same as the activity directed upon it. This is another special characteristic of thought. When we observe thought, we are not compelled to do so with the help of something qualitatively different. We remain within the same element; the realm of thought.
 When I weave a web of thoughts around an object given independently of me, I go beyond my observation. Then the question becomes: What right do I have to do this? Why don’t I just passively let the object make its impression on me? How is it possible for my thought to be related to the object? These are questions everyone who reflects on his own thought must ask. All these questions vanish when we think about thinking itself. We then add nothing unfamiliar to our thought, and so there is no need to justify such an addition.
3.9 Create Thought
 What is impossible with Nature—creation prior to knowledge—we achieve in the act of thinking. If we wait to think until we already know it, we would never think at all. We must resolutely dive straight into thinking and only afterward, by introspective analysis, gain knowledge of what we have done. We ourselves first create thought, which we then make the object of observation. All other objects are there without any activity on our part.
 Someone could easily counter my contention that we must think before we can observe thought, with the claim of an equally valid contention, "We must digest before we can observe the process of digestion." A similar objection was made by Pascal to Descartes, claiming one could just as well say, "I walk, therefore I am." Certainly I must also go straight into digesting and not wait until I have studied the physiological process of digestion. But this could only be compared with the analysis of thought if, after digesting, I did not analyze it by thinking, but were to eat and digest it. There is good reason for the fact that digestion cannot become the object of digestion, but thought can very well become the object of thinking.
 There is then no doubt, that in thinking we consider world-events from a point that requires our presence if anything is to happen. And this is exactly what is important. The reason why things seem so puzzling is because I am so uninvolved in their coming about. I simply find them before me. But with thought I know how it is brought about. This is why there can be no more fundamental starting-point for the study of any world-event than thinking.
3.10 Self-Supporting Thought
 Those who hold this view do not realize it is impossible to escape from thought. I cannot get outside thought when I want to contemplate it. If one makes a distinction between thought before and after becoming conscious of it, one should not forget this distinction is purely external and irrelevant to our discussion. I do not in any way alter a thing by thinking about it. I can imagine that a being with different sense organs and a differently functioning intelligence would have a very different idea of a horse than mine. But I cannot imagine that my own thought becomes something else because I observe it. I myself observe what I myself produce. We are not discussing how my thought appears to an intelligence other than mine, but how it appears to me. In any case, the idea another mind forms of my thought cannot be truer than the one I form myself. If the thinking is not my own, but instead the activity of a different being, my idea of this being's thought will occur in a certain way. But I could not know the real nature of what another being's thought was like in itself.
 I can see no reason why I should consider my thought from any other point of view than my own. I contemplate the rest of the world by means of thought. Why should I make an exception for the contemplation of my thought?
 With this, I think I have sufficiently justified making thought the starting-point in my approach to understanding the world. When Archimedes invented the lever, he thought he could use it to lift the whole cosmos out of its hinges, if he could only find a secure point of support to set his instrument. He needed something that was self-supporting, not dependent on anything else. In thought we have a principle of self-subsistence, it is composed by means of itself. From this principle let us attempt to understand the world. Thought can be grasped by thought. The only question is whether we can grasp anything else by means of thought.
3.11 Examination Of Thinking
In response one can say, “When the philosopher wishes to understand consciousness, he makes use of thought, and to that extent thought comes first. But in the normal course of life thought arises within consciousness, so consciousness does precede thought.” If this answer were given to the creator of the world, when it was about to create thought, then it would no doubt be entirely justified. Of course thought cannot arise before there is consciousness. For the philosopher, however, it is not a question of creating the world, but of understanding it. He is in search of the starting-point, not for creating, but for understanding the world.
I find it odd that a philosopher is criticized for being concerned first and foremost with the correctness of his principles. They expect him to turn immediately to the objects he wishes to understand. The world-creator, before everything else, had to know how to find a vehicle for thought. But the philosopher has to find a secure foundation for understanding what already exists. What good does it do to start with consciousness and subject it to our thinking, without first knowing whether thoughtful contemplation can offer insight into things?
 We must first examine thinking in a completely impartial way, without reference to a thinking subject or a thought object. For in subject and object we already have concepts formed by thinking. There is no denying that thinking must be understood before anything else can be understood. Anyone who denies this overlooks the fact that he, as a human being, does not belong to the beginning of creation, but to its end. To explain the world by means of concepts, we cannot start from the earliest elements of existence. We must begin with the nearest element given to us, what is most intimately ours. We cannot, with a leap, take ourselves back to the beginning of the world, and begin our analysis there. Instead, we must start from the present moment and see whether we can advance from the later to the earlier.
As long as Geology spoke of catastrophe fables to explain the present condition of the earth, it groped in darkness. Only when it began to investigate those processes that are still active in the earth today, and from these reason backward to draw conclusions about the past, did it gain secure ground. Likewise, Philosophy will get nowhere as long as it is based on all kinds of principles such as atom, motion, matter, will, the unconscious, and so on. It will remain suspended in the air. The philosopher can reach his goal only when he takes the last thing in time as the first in theory. His starting-point must be what comes into existence last. And the absolutely last thing produced in the world-process is thought.
3.12 Rightly Applied Thought
At most I can have doubts about whether thought is rightly applied. In the same way I can have doubts whether a certain tree will provide the right wood suitable for the intended purpose of a tool being made. It is the task of this book to show how far the application of thought to the world is a right application or a wrong one.
I can understand someone doubting whether we can know the world by means of thought. But I find it incomprehensible how anyone can doubt the rightness of thought, when it is considered by itself.
This objection fails to take into account that only in the activity of thinking does the ‘I’, or Ego, know itself to be completely the one that is active. The Ego stands within the activity of thinking right into all its branches and ramifications. With no other activity is this so completely the case. For example, when pleasure is felt it is easy for a careful observer to distinguish to what extent the Ego knows itself to be active, and to what extent it is passive. This observation of feeling shows that the Ego is passive. The feeling merely happens to the Ego. And this applies to all other activities of the mind. But we must not confuse “having thought-images” with working out ideas by means of thinking. Thought-images can arise in the mind in a dreamy way, or as vague intuitions. This is not thinking.
“True,” someone might say, “but if this is what you mean by thinking, then thinking contains willing. And in that case we are dealing not only with thinking, but also the will to think.” This, however, would simply justify us in saying: Genuine thinking must always be willed. This fact is taken for granted in our previous characterization of thinking. Though the true nature of thinking requires that it always be willed, there is a more important point. The point here is that everything willed appears before the Ego, as it takes place, as an activity completely its own and under its own supervision. Precisely because this is the essential nature of thinking as defined here, it shows itself to the observer as willed through and through. To make an objective appraisal of thinking requires one to master all the relevant facts. Then one will recognize that this mental activity has the unique character as described.
 A person highly valued as a thinker by the author of this book has raised an objection. He said one cannot speak of thinking as I have done here, because what we believe we observe as active thinking is only an appearance. In reality, one only observes the results of an unconscious activity underlying thinking. Only because this unconscious activity is not observed, does the illusion arise that the thinking we observe exists independently. In the same way, a rapid succession of electric sparks deceives us into believing we see motion.
This objection is also based on an inexact view of the facts. It overlooks that it is the Ego itself that, standing within thinking, observes its own activity. To be deceived, as we are by the rapid succession of electric sparks, the Ego would have to be outside thinking. Now we could say instead: “Anyone who makes such a comparison willfully deceives himself. It is like someone claiming that a light perceived to be in motion is lit by an unknown hand at every point where it appears.” —No, the plain facts are there if one looks. Thinking is an activity produced within the Ego and clearly supervised by the Ego. In order to invent a hypothetical activity as the basis of thinking, one must first blind himself to these facts.
If he does not willfully blind himself, he must recognize that all these "hypothetical additions" to thinking lead him away from its real nature. Unprejudiced observation shows that only what is found within thinking can be regarded as belonging to it. It is impossible to discover the cause of thinking by going outside the realm of thought.
4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPTION
4.0 Thinking Reacts To Observation
The wider the range of our experience, the larger the number of our concepts. Concepts are never found in isolation. They combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. For example, the concept “organism” links up with others such as "development according to law" and "growth." Other concepts, formed from single objects, merge together into a unity. All concepts I form of particular lions merge in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the single concepts unite to form an enclosed, conceptual system in which each has its special place. Ideas are not qualitatively different from concepts. They are filled with more content, are more complex and more comprehensive concepts.
I must emphasize here that my starting-point is thinking, not concepts and Ideas, which must first be gained by thinking. Thinking precedes concepts and Ideas. Consequently, what I have said about the nature of thought, that it is self-supporting and determined by nothing but itself, cannot simply be transferred and applied to concepts. (I make special mention of this here, as this is where I differ with Hegel, who regards the concept as the primary and original element.)
 Concepts cannot be drawn from observation. This is evident from the fact the growing human being only slowly and gradually builds up the concepts that correspond to the objects in his environment. Concepts are added to observation.
4.1 Generalize Phenomena
 “While wandering through fields in September you hear a rustle a few steps ahead, and see the grass moving by the side of the ditch. You will probably approach the spot to learn what caused the noise and the movement. As you approach, a partridge flutters in the ditch. Seeing this, your curiosity is satisfied; you have what we call an explanation of the phenomena.
The explanation, please notice, amounts to this: Throughout life you have learned through countless experiences that a disturbance among small stationary bodies, is accompanied by the movement of other bodies among them. Because of having generalized the relationship between disturbances and movements, you consider this particular disturbance explained as soon as you find it to be an example of just such a relationship" (First Principles, Part I, par. 23).
A closer analysis leads to a very different description from what Spencer gives. When I hear a noise the first thing I do is search for the concept that fits this observation. Only when I have this concept am I led beyond the noise itself. Whoever does not reflect on the event simply hears the noise and is content to leave it at that. But my thought makes it clear to me that a sound must be the effect of something. Only when I connect the concept of effect with the perception of the noise am I inclined to go beyond the single observation and look for its cause. The concept “effect” calls up the concept “cause.”
My next step is to look for the object that acts as the cause, which I find to be a partridge. But I can never gain the concepts “cause” and “effect” by mere observation, no matter how many cases I observe. Observation calls up thought, and thought shows me how to link separate experiences together.
 If one demands a “strictly objective science” that draws its content from observation alone, then one must also demand that it renounce all thinking. Because thought, by its very nature, goes beyond what is observed.
4.2 Thinking Reference
In observation the object appears as given, in thought the mind experiences itself as active. It regards the thing as the object and itself as the thinking subject. When thought is directed to the observed world we have consciousness of objects; when thought is directed to itself we have self-consciousness. Human consciousness must of necessity be also self-consciousness, because it is a thinking consciousness. For when thought contemplates its own activity, the subject makes its own essential nature an object of study. Subject and object are here one and the same.
 It is important to note here that it is only by means of thinking that I am able to define myself as subject and contrast myself with objects. For this reason, thinking should never be regarded as a merely subjective activity. Thinking is above the distinction of subject and object. It produces these two concepts just as it produces all others. When I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this referring as a purely subjective activity. It is not the subject, but thinking, that makes the reference.
The subject does not think because it is a subject; rather, it appears to itself as subject because it can think. The activity of thinking consciousness, exercised by a human being as a thinker, is therefore not merely subjective. In fact, it is an activity that is neither subjective nor objective; it transcends both concepts. I should never say that I, as an individual subject, think. The truth is that I, as subject, exist only by the grace of thought. Thought takes me out beyond my self and relates me in unity with the objects. But it also separates me from the objects by setting me over against them, to face them as subject.
 The basis for the dual nature of the human being is that he thinks. His thought encompasses himself along with the rest of the world. But also, by means of thought, he defines himself as an individual who confronts the world.
4.3 Connect Objects
 To answer this question, we must remove from our field of observation all thought that has already been brought into it. For at any moment the content of our consciousness is always pervaded with concepts in a variety of ways.
 Let us imagine a being with fully developed human intelligence originates out of nothing and has the world in front of him. All this being would be aware of, before its thought became active, is the pure content of observation. The world would appear to this being as a chaotic aggregate of disconnected sense-data: colors, sounds, touch, warmth, taste and smell; followed by feelings of pleasure and pain. This aggregate is the content of pure, thought-free observation.
Facing it stands thought, ready to begin its activity as soon as it can find a point of engagement. Experience shows that it soon does. Thought is able to draw connecting threads from one sense-datum to another. It unites specific concepts with these elements, and in this way establishes a relationship between them. We have already seen how a noise we encounter is brought into relationship with another observation by characterizing the first as an effect of the second.
 We will not be tempted to believe these relationships established by thought only have subjective validity, if we recall that in no circumstance can the activity of thought be considered merely subjective.
4.4 World-Picture Correction
 Because of the various ways of using words, it seems necessary for me to come to an agreement with the reader on the meaning of a word that I will use from now on. The word is percept. I will use the word “percept” to refer to “the immediate objects of sensation” mentioned above, insofar as the conscious subject becomes aware of them through observation. It is the observed object, not the process of observing, that I call “percept.”
 I do not choose the term “sensation,” because sensation has a specific meaning in Physiology narrower than my concept of “percept.” I can call an inner feeling a percept, but not a sensation in the physiological use of the term. When I become aware of a feeling it becomes a percept for me, and I can then gain knowledge of it. And the way we gain knowledge of our thought processes, through observation, is to first notice thought. Then thought too, may be called a percept.
 The unreflective, naive person regards his percepts, as they first appear, to have an existence completely independent of him. When he sees a tree, he believes right away that it is standing there on the spot where his look is directed having the shape, color and details just as he sees it. From this naive standpoint, if a person sees the sun appear in the morning as a disc on the horizon, and then follows the course of this disc, he believes the phenomenon exists and occurs just as he observes it. He clings to this belief until further perceptions contradict the earlier ones. A child, with no experience of distance, reaches for the moon, and does not correct its first impression until it conflicts with later ones.
Every widening of the circle of my perceptions makes me correct my picture of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual development of humanity. The picture which the ancients made of the relation of the earth to the sun and other celestial bodies, had to be changed by Copernicus, because the ancient picture did not agree with new, previously unknown perceptions. A man who had been born blind said, after an operation performed by Dr Franz, that the picture he had formed of the size of objects before his operation was a very different one. It was formed on the basis of a blind man’s perceptions of touch. He had to correct his touch percepts with his new visual percepts.
4.5 Observation Correction
 A simple reflection provides the answer to this question. If I stand at one end of a tree-lined avenue, the trees at the far end appear smaller and closer together than those where I am standing. My perception-picture changes when I change my place of observation. Therefore, the way things appear to me is determined by a factor that has to do, not with the object, but with myself as the observer. It is all the same to the avenue where I stand. But the picture I have of it depends to a great extent on my standpoint. In the same way, it makes no difference to the sun and solar system that human beings happen to observe them from the earth. But the perception-picture human beings have of the sun and solar system is determined by their living on the earth.
This dependence of the perception-picture on our place of observation is the easiest to understand. It becomes more difficult when we learn how our perceptual world is dependent on our bodily and mental organization. The physicist teaches us that in the space where we hear a sound, there are vibrations of the air. And in the body where the sound is emitted there are vibrations of its parts. But we only perceive these vibrations as sound if we have normally constructed ears. Without them the whole world would remain forever silent.
The physiologist teaches us there are people who perceive nothing of the wonderful display of colors surrounding us. Their perception-picture only has shades of light and dark. Others fail to perceive just one particular color, such as red. Their picture of the world lacks this color hue, and is different from the average person. I would like to call the dependency of my perception-picture on my place of observation "mathematical," and its dependency on my organization "qualitative." The first determines the relative sizes of my percepts and distances between them, the second their quality. The fact that a red surface appears to me red—this qualitative determination—depends on the structure of my eye.
4.6 Subjective Percept
This view found its classic expression in George Berkeley, who was convinced that when we realize how significant the human subject is for the percept, we can no longer believe in a world that exists apart from a conscious mind. He says:
"Some truths are so near and so obvious to the mind man need only open his eyes to see them. One such truth is this important one: The whole choir of heaven and all things of the earth—in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world—have no subsistence outside the mind. Their sole existence is being perceived or known. Consequently, as long as they are not actually perceived by me, or exist in my mind or in that of some other created spirit, they either have no existence or subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit." (Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, Part I, Section 6.)
From this point of view, nothing remains of the percept if we consider it apart from being perceived. There is no color when none is seen, no sound when none is heard. Outside the act of perception, categories such as extension, form, and motion exist just as little as color and sound. Nowhere do we see extension and form alone. They are always bound up with color or other qualitative elements unquestionably dependent on our subjectivity. If these disappear when we cease to perceive them, then extension and form, which are bound up with them, must disappear also.
 The objection can be made that, even if figure, color, sound, and so forth do not existence outside the act of perception, there must still be something else there. Something must exist independently of our consciousness and be similar to our conscious perception-pictures. The Berkeleyan response would be to say: A color can only resemble a color and a figure can only resemble a figure. Our percepts can only resemble our percepts, and nothing else.
Even what we call an object is nothing but a collection of percepts connected in a certain way. If I strip a table of its figure, extension, color, etc.—in other words everything that is only my percept—then nothing is left. Carried to its logical conclusion, this view leads to the assertion: The objects of my perception are there through me, and only insofar and as long as I am perceiving them. They disappear with the perceiving and have no meaning without it. Other than my percepts, I know of no objects and cannot know of any.
 To the claim that we can know only our percepts, no objection is made as long as it is only meant as a general fact that the percept is partly determined by the organization of the perceiving subject. It would be very different if we were able to determine the exact role our perceiving plays in bringing about a percept. We would then know what happens to the percept during the act of perception. And we could also determine what properties it has before it is perceived.
4.7 Memory Picture
Self-perception first reveals that I am the enduring element in a continuous coming and going of perception-pictures. The awareness of myself can come up in my consciousness at any time, while I am having other perceptions. However, when I am absorbed in the perception of a given object I am, for the moment, aware only of this object. The awareness of myself can be added to this. I am then not only conscious of the object, but also of my own personality, standing over against the object and observing it. I not only see a tree; I know it is I seeing it.
I also know something goes on in me while I am observing the tree. When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an after-effect of this process remains: a picture of the tree. This picture has become associated with my Self during my observation. My Self has become enriched; a new element has been added to its content. I call this element my idea (Vorstellung) of the tree.
I would never be in a position to speak of ideas if I did not experience them by being aware of my Self. Percepts would come and go; I would simply let them pass by. It is only because I perceive my Self that I notice that with each perception the content of my Self, too, is changed. By noticing the connection between the observation of the object and the changes that occur in me, I then speak of having an idea.
4.8 Unknowable Thing-In-itself
The failure to recognize the relationship between idea and object has led to the greatest misunderstandings in modern philosophy. The perception of a change in me, the modification my Self undergoes, is thrust into the foreground, while the object causing this modification is completely lost sight of. As a consequence it is said: We do not perceive the objects, but only our ideas. I know nothing, so it is claimed, of the object of my observation; the table itself. I know only of the change that is going on within me while I am perceiving the table.
This view should not be confused with the Berkeleyan view mentioned previously. Berkeley upholds the subjective nature of my perceptual content, but he does not say I can know only my own ideas. He limits my knowledge to my ideas because, in his view, there are no objects other than ideas. What I see as a table no longer exists, according to Berkeley, when I cease to look at it. This is why for Berkeley my percepts are created directly by the power of God. I see a table because God calls forth this percept in me. For Berkeley nothing is real except God and human spirits. What we call the "world" is present only within spirits. What the naive person calls the outer world, or physical nature, does not exist according to Berkeley.
Berkeley’s view stands in contrast to the currently prevailing Kantian view. This also limits our knowledge of the world to our ideas. But it does not do so because of a conviction that nothing other than ideas exist. Rather, the Kantian view believes we are organized in a way that we can learn only of the changes undergone by our own Self, not the things-in-themselves that cause them. This view draws a conclusion on the fact I can know only my ideas. According to the Kantian view, the reason we know only our ideas is not that no reality exists independent of these ideas. It is because the human subject cannot receive such a reality into itself directly. The mind can only through "the medium of its subjective thoughts imagine it, think it, cognize it, or perhaps fail to cognize it" (O. Liebmann, Analysis of Reality, p. 28). Kantians believe their view expresses something absolutely certain, something immediately evident without any need of proof.
“The first fundamental principle the philosopher must clearly grasp is the recognition that our knowledge does not initially go beyond our ideas. Our ideas are the only things we experience directly and learn to know directly. The fact that we experience ideas directly means not even the most radical doubt can rob us of our knowledge of them. On the other hand, all knowledge that does go beyond my ideas—taking ideas here in the widest sense to include all psychical processes—is open to doubt. At the very beginning of all philosophy, it is necessary to state explicitly that all knowledge that goes beyond ideas is open to doubt.”
4.9 My Organization
The physicist thinks of bodies as consisting of infinitely small parts called molecules. These molecules are not in direct contact with each other, but have certain distances separating them. Between them is empty space. Across this space they act on each other by forces of attraction and repulsion. When I place my hand on an object, the molecules of my hand never touch the molecules of the object. There always remains a certain distance between object and hand. What I feel as the resistance of the object, is nothing other than the effect of the force of repulsion its molecules exert on my hand. I remain completely external to the object. All I perceive is its effect on my organism.
 An extension of this idea is the Specific Nerve Energies theory, proposed by J. Müller (1801- 1858). According to this theory, each sense-organ has the peculiar quality of reacting to all external stimuli in only one specific way. Stimulation of the optic nerve results in perception of light. It does not matter whether the nerve stimulation is due to what we call light, or to mechanical pressure, or to an electric current. Conversely, the same external stimulus applied to different senses evokes different sensations. This seems to indicate that our sense-organs can transmit only what occurs within them, and transmit nothing from the outer world. The senses determine the percepts, each according to its own nature.
What finally takes place in the brain is connected to the external stimuli by so many intermediate processes, any similarity between the two is out of the question. What the brain finally transmits to the human psyche is neither external processes, nor processes in the sense-organs, but only processes inside the brain. Yet even these are not perceived directly by our inner being. What we finally have in consciousness are not brain-processes at all, but sensations. My sensation of red has absolutely no similarity to the process taking place in the brain when I sense red. The redness that occurs in the mind is an effect, and the brain process is its cause. This is why Hartmann says (The Basic Problem of Epistemology), "What the subject perceives are always only modifications of his own psychical states and nothing else."
We have come full circle. We have become conscious of a colored object. That comes first. Now the thought-operation begins. If I had no eyes, the object would be colorless for me. So I cannot attribute the color to the object. I go looking for it. I look for it in the eye,—in vain; in the nerve,—also in vain; in the brain,—again in vain.
Finally, I look for it in the psyche. Here I find it, but unconnected with the spatial body. I only find the colored object again—there, at the place where I started. The circle is closed. The theory leads me to believe that what the naive person thinks is existing outside him in space, is really a creation of my own psyche.
4.11 Web Of Ideas
Do I still have the right to take it as a starting point for my reflections? Can I say it has an effect on my psyche? Previously I believed the table had an effect on me, and brought about an idea of itself in me. From now on I must treat the table as itself an idea. But then to be logically consistent, my sense organs and the processes going on in them must also be only subjective manifestations. I have no right to speak of a real eye, only of my idea of the eye. The same would apply to the nerve paths and the brain process. And even to the process that occurs within the psyche itself, by which things are supposedly constructed out of the chaos of various sensations.
If I go through each step of the act of cognition once again, assuming the correctness of the first circular line of thought, the cognitive act described reveals itself as a web of ideas that, as such, cannot possibly act on each other. I cannot say: My idea of the object acts on my idea of the eye, and the result of this interaction is my idea of color. But I do not need to. For as soon as it is clear to me that my sense organs and their activity, and my nerve and psychic processes, are also known to me only through perception, then the full impossibility of the described line of thought reveals itself. It is true to say: For me there is no percept without the corresponding sense organ. But it is just as true to say: There is no sense-organ without a percept of it.
From the percept of a table I can pass to the eye that sees it, to the nerves of the hand that touch it. But what takes place within these I can learn, once again, only through perception. Then I soon notice there is no trace of similarity between the process taking place in the eye and what I perceive as color. I cannot deny my color percept just because I can point out the process taking place in the eye during this perception. Nor can I find the color in the nerve and brain-processes. All I do is connect new percepts located within my organism to the first percept, which the naive person locates outside his organism. I simply pass from one percept to the next.
 In addition, there is a gap in the whole chain of reasoning. I can follow the processes in my organism up to those in my brain. My assumptions, though, become more and more hypothetical the closer I come to the central processes in the brain. The method of external observation ends with the process in the brain. More precisely, it ends with what I would observe if I examine the brain using the instruments and methods of Physics and Chemistry. The method of internal observation, or introspection, begins with the sensations, and continues up to the construction of things out of the material of sensation. At the point of transition from brain process to sensation, there is a break in the method of observation.
 The way of thinking just described, known as Critical Idealism, stands in contrast to the position of naive common sense, known as Naive Realism. The Critical Idealist makes the error of characterizing one kind of percept as an idea, while accepting the other kind in exactly the same way as the Naive Realist, whom he claims to have refuted. He sets out to prove that our percepts are representational ideas, while naively accepting the percepts belonging to his own body as objectively valid facts. What is more, he fails to see he is confusing two fields of observation, between which he can find no connecting link.
4.12 Real Senses
 This much, then, is certain: Investigation of the field of perception cannot prove the correctness of Critical Idealism, and, consequently, cannot strip percepts of their objective character.
 But even less can the principle, "The perceived world is my idea" be claimed as obvious in need of no proof. Schopenhauer begins his main work, The World as Will and Idea, with the words:
"The world is my idea—this truth applies to every living and cognizing being, although the human being alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. And when he really does this, he will have attained to philosophical self-knowledge. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he knows no sun and no earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, and a hand that feels the earth. The world around him is present only as an idea. It is there only in relation to something else, to the one who depicts it, namely, himself. If ever a truth could be declared a priori, it is this one; for it expresses the most general form of all possible and thinkable experience. A form that is more universal than all others, than time, space, or causality, for all these presuppose it …” (The World as Will and Idea, Book I, par. I.)
This whole theory, based on the principle “The world is my idea” collapses in the face of the fact, noted above, that the eye and hand are percepts just as much as the sun and the earth. In Schopenhauer’s terms, and using his style of expression, one could respond: My eye that sees the sun, and my hand that feels the earth, are my ideas just like the sun and the earth. Put in this way, it is immediately clear Schopenhauer’s proposition cancels itself out. For only my real eye and my real hand could have the ideas of sun and earth as their modifications—my ideas “eye” and “hand” could not. Yet it is only in terms of these ideas that Critical Idealism is entitled to speak.
 Critical Idealism is completely unable to gain insight into the relationship between percepts and ideas. It cannot begin to make the distinction we indicated earlier, between what happens to the percept during the act of perception, and what must already be present in it before it is perceived. To do this, we must find another way to approach this question.
5. KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
5.0 Independent Existence Of Things
 The truth of Critical Idealism is one thing, the persuasiveness of its proof is another. How things stand with respect to the correctness or otherwise of Critical Idealism, will become clear in the course of our discussion. But the power of its proof to convince is zero. If one builds a house and the ground floor collapses while the first floor is being built, then the first floor collapses with it. Naive Realism is related to Critical Idealism as ground floor is to first floor.
 For one who believes the whole perceived world is only an imagined one, an ideal world called up in the mind by unknown things, the problem of cognition will not be concerned with the ideas that exist only in the psyche. Instead, it will focus on the unknown things that lie beyond the reach of his consciousness and exist independent of him. He asks: "How much can we learn about things indirectly, since they are not accessible to our direct observation?" From this standpoint he is not concerned with the connection of his conscious perceptions, since in his view they disappear as soon as he turns his senses away from them. He is concerned with their causes, which are no longer accessible to consciousness and exist independently of him.
Looked at from this point of view, our consciousness acts like a mirror whose images of specific things disappear the moment its reflecting surface is not turned towards them. If we do not see the things themselves but only their reflections, then we must learn about them indirectly by drawing conclusions from the behavior of their reflections. This is the standpoint of natural science. It uses percepts only as a means to obtain information about the material processes standing behind them. For it, only material processes truly exist. If the philosopher, as Critical Idealist, admits real existence at all, then his sole aim is to gain knowledge of this real existence indirectly by means of ideas. His interest skips over the subjective world of ideas and instead is focused on what causes him to have these ideas.
 The critical idealist can go so far as to say: “I am enclosed within my world of ideas and cannot escape from it. If I think there is something behind my ideas, this thought, too, is nothing more than an idea." An Idealist of this type will either deny the thing-in-itself entirely, or at least say it has no significance for human minds. Since we can know nothing about it, it is as good as non-existent.
 To this type of Critical Idealist, the whole world appears as a disordered dream. Any attempt to gain knowledge of it would be simply meaningless. For him there can be only two kinds of people: (1) biased ones who take their own dream fabrications as reality, and (2) wise ones who see through the nothingness of this dream world, and gradually lose all desire to trouble themselves with it.
From this vantage point, even one's own personality can become a mere dream phantom. Just as during sleep there appears among my dream-images an image of myself, so in waking consciousness the idea of my own Self is added to the idea of the external world. I then have in mind not my real Self, but only my idea of my Self. Whoever denies the existence of real things, or the possibility of knowing anything about them, must also deny the existence, or at least the knowledge, of his own personality.
This leads the Critical Idealist to the declaration, "All reality is transformed into a wonderful dream, without a life that is dreamed about or a mind that is having the dream—into a dream that is held together within a dream of itself.” (Fichte, The Vocation of Man.)
 For the person who believes our immediate experience of life is nothing but a dream, it does not matter whether he assumes nothing exists behind this dream, or whether he relates his ideas to actual things. In either case, life itself must lose all scientific interest for him. Science is meaningless to those who believe that the universe accessible to us is limited to a dream. However, for those who believe themselves able to reason from ideas to things, the task of science will be to inquire into the nature of these “things-in-themselves.”
The first of these theories of the world may be called Absolute Illusionism. The second is called Transcendental Realism* by its most consistent advocate, Eduard von Hartmann.
 These two views have this in common with Naive Realism; they all seek to establish a foothold in the world by investigating percepts. But nowhere in this realm can they find a firm base.
* [Note by Rudolf Steiner: In the context of this world-view, knowledge is called “transcendental” because it is believed that nothing can be asserted directly about the things-in-themselves. One must make indirect inferences from the subjective, which is known, to the unknown, which lies beyond the subjective (the transcendent). According to this view, the thing-in-itself exists beyond the realm of what is immediately accessible to our cognition; in other words, it is transcendent. However, our world can be related transcendentally to what is transcendent. Hartmann's theory is called Realism because it proceeds from the subjective, the mental, to the transcendent, the real.]
5.1 Awakened State Of Thinking
In the same way, a philosopher who considers the world to be merely a picture in his mind, is not interested in how the details are interconnected. If he admits the existence of a real Ego at all, his question will not be how one of his ideas is related to another. Rather, he will ask what takes place in the psyche—that exists independently of his consciousness—when a certain flow of ideas passes through his consciousness. If I dream I am drinking wine that causes burning in my throat, and then wake up coughing (Weygandt, How Dreams Arise, 1893), the moment I wake up the dream sequence ceases to interest me. My attention is now directed only to the physiological and psychological processes through which the sore throat expresses itself symbolically in the dream.
Similarly, once the philosopher is convinced that the world given him consists of nothing but ideas, he will turn his interest from this world to the real psyche that exists behind it. The situation is far worse, to be sure, for the Illusionist who denies the existence of an Ego behind the "ideas," or at least regards this Ego to be unknowable.
We might very easily be led to such a view by observing that, in contrast to the dreaming state, there is the waking state. The waking state enables us to see through the dreams and relate them to real events. But there is no state that stands in a similar relationship to waking consciousness. Those who take this view fail to see that there is, in fact, something that relates to mere perceiving, in the same way our waking experience relates to dreaming. This something is—thinking.
5.2 True Judgment
5.3 World Caused Thought
Those who think like this should be asked: “By what right do you declare the world to be complete without thought? Does not the world cause thoughts in human minds with the same necessity as it causes blossoms on plants? Plant a seed in the soil. It puts forth root and stem. It unfolds into leaves and blossoms. Place the plant before you. It connects itself to a specific concept in your mind. Why does this concept belong any less to the whole plant than leaf and blossom?”
You reply: “The leaves and blossoms are there without a perceiving subject, while the concept only appears if a human being stands before the plant.” Quite true. But blossoms and leaves, too, only appear on the plant if there is soil in which the seed can be planted, and light and air in which leaves and blossoms can unfold. In just the same way the concept of a plant only arises when a thinking being approaches the plant.
5.4 Process Of Becoming
 To declare the appearance of a thing revealed at a chance moment; "this is the thing" would be an unscientific and arbitrary judgment that clings to external features.
5.5 Inseparable Concept
 Let me make myself clearer with an example. If I throw a stone horizontally through the air, I see it at different points, one after the other. I connect these points to form a line. In mathematics I learn to know various kinds of lines, one of them is the parabola. I know the parabola to be a line produced when a point moves according to a certain well-defined law. If I analyze the conditions under which the thrown stone moves, I find that the line of its flight is identical with the line I know as a parabola. The fact that the stone moves in a parabola is a consequence of the conditions given and follows necessarily from them. The form of the parabola belongs to the whole of the phenomenon, just as much as any of its other features.
The hypothetical mind described above, which does not have to take the roundabout route of thinking, would be given more than a sequence of visual impressions at different locations. At the outset it would also be given the parabolic form of the line of flight, inseparably united with the phenomenon. For us, the parabolic trajectory can only be added by thinking about the phenomenon.
 It is not due to the objects that they appear to us at first without their corresponding concepts, but to our mental organization. In the comprehension of an object or event, our whole being functions in such a way that the elements making up the reality of every real thing come to us from two sides—from perception and from thought.
 How I am organized to comprehend things has nothing to do with the nature of the things themselves. The divide between perception and thought only exists from the moment I, the observer, confront the objects. Which elements belong to the object, and which do not, cannot depend at all on the way I obtain my knowledge of these elements.
5.6 Isolate Concept
Due to our limitations things appear to us as separate objects, when in fact they are not separate at all. For example, the individual quality of red never exists in isolation. It is surrounded on all sides by other qualities to which it belongs, and without which it could not exist. For us, however, it is necessary to isolate certain sections of the world, and to consider them on their own. Our eye can grasp only single colors one by one out of a multicolored whole. Our mind can grasp only single concepts out of an interconnected conceptual system. This separating-off is a subjective act. It is due to the fact that we are not identical with the world-process, but are individual things among other things.
Just as, by means of thinking, I integrate a single perception of the external world into the context of the world whole, so do I also, by thinking, integrate the perceptions I have of my self into the order of the world-process. Self-perception confines me within certain limits, but my thought is not concerned with these limits. In this sense I am a two-sided being. I am enclosed within the sphere that I perceive as my own personality, but I am also the possessor of an activity that defines my finite existence from a higher sphere.
Thought is not individual like our sensing and feeling. It is universal. Thought receives an individual stamp in each separate person only because it becomes related to his individual feeling and sensing. Due to these particular colorings of the universal thought, people differ from each other. There is only one single concept of "triangle." It does not matter for the content of this concept whether it is grasped in A's consciousness or in B's. But the content of this concept will be taken hold of by each of the two minds in its own individual way.
5.8 Universal Concept
 In thought, we have the element that integrates our particular individuality into a unity with the whole of the cosmos. When we sense and feel (perceive) we are isolated individuals; when we think, we are the All-One Being that pervades everything. This is the deeper meaning of our two-sided nature. We become conscious of a purely absolute principle revealing itself within us, a principle that is universal. However, we experience it, not as it streams from the center of the world, but only at a point on the periphery. Were we to know it at its source, we would understand the whole riddle of the universe the moment we became conscious. But we stand at a point on the periphery and find our own existence confined within certain limits. So we must learn about the region that lies beyond our own being with the help of thought. Thought is the universal cosmic principle manifesting itself in our minds.
 The desire for knowledge arises because the thought in us, reaches out beyond our separate existence and relates itself to the universal world-order. Beings without thought do not have this desire to strive for knowledge. Whenever they encounter other things, they have no questions. These other things remain external to such beings. In the case of thinking beings, the concept leaps up in response to the external thing. The concept is the part of a thing that we receive, not from outside, but from within ourselves. To match up, to unite the two elements, inner and outer, gives us knowledge.
 The percept, then, is not something finished and complete. It is one side of the total reality. The other side is the concept. The act of cognition is the synthesis of percept and concept. Only the percept and concept together make up the whole thing.
5.9 Conceptual Unity
Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind, idealess will (Schopenhauer), can be accepted by us as the universal world-unity. All these principles belong only to a limited field of our observation. Personality we perceive only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. As for the will, it can only be seen as the active expression of our own limited personality. Schopenhauer wants to avoid making "abstract" thought the bearer of world-unity, and seeks instead what appears to him as something immediately real. This philosopher believes we misjudge the world as long as we regard it as an "external" world:
"In fact, the sought-after meaning of the world, which is merely my idea, or the transition from mere idea in the mind of the cognizing subject to whatever else it may be besides this, would never be found if the investigator himself were no more than a purely cognizing subject (an angel’s head with wings but no body). But he is rooted in that world. He finds himself in it as an individual. That is to say, his knowledge, which supports and determines the whole world as idea, is after all given entirely through the medium of a body, whose affections, as shown, are the starting point for the understanding of the world. For the purely cognizing subject, this body is an idea like every other idea, an object among objects. The movements and actions of his own body are known to him in the same way as the changes of all other observable objects. They would be just as strange and incomprehensible to him if their meaning were not made clear to him in an entirely different way....
To the cognizing subject, who becomes an individual only through his identity with the body, this body is given in two very distinct ways. First it is given as an idea for intelligent consideration, as an object among objects and subject to the same laws of these objects. Second, and at the same time, it is given in an entirely different way, as that element known directly by everyone and is described by the term ‘will’. Every true act of will is at once and without exception also a movement of the body. He cannot will an action without at the same time perceiving it as a movement of his body. The act of will and the action of the body are not two different, objectively known things linked by the tie of causality. Their relationship is not one of cause and effect. They are one and the same thing, but are given in two entirely different ways—once directly and once in perception for the intelligence to understand it.” (The World as Will and Idea)
With this analysis, Schopenhauer considers himself justified to see in the body the “objectivity” of the will. He is convinced that in the actions of the body he has a direct experience of reality, the thing-in-itself in the concrete. Against this analysis, we must point out that the actions of our body only come to our awareness through self-observation. The percepts we obtain of ourselves have no advantage over other percepts. If we wish to know their real nature, we can do so only by means of thought, by organizing them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.
5.10 Corresponding Intuition
If we are to recognize that this or that fact has greater significance than another, we must consult our thought. As long as we do not think, a rudimentary organ of an animal that has no significance for its survival, appears equal in value to the most important part of its body. The meaning of single facts, both in themselves and in their relation to other parts of the world, only becomes apparent when thought weaves its threads from one thing to another. This activity of thinking is filled with content. For it is only through a very specific, concrete content that I can know why a snail is at a lower level of development than a lion. Sight alone, the perception, provides me with no content that could inform me as to the degree of perfection of the organism.
 Thinking contributes this content to the percept from the world of concepts and ideas. In contrast to the content of perception given to us from outside, the content of thought appears within our minds. The form in which thought first appears in consciousness we will call "intuition." Intuition is to thoughts what observation is to percepts. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge.
Anything we observe in the world remains unintelligible to us, until the corresponding intuition arises within us which adds that part of reality missing in the percept. Full reality remains closed off to anyone who lacks the ability to find the relevant intuitions corresponding to things. Just as the color-blind sees only differences of brightness without color qualities, so the mind that lacks intuition sees only disconnected perceptual fragments.
 To explain a thing and make it understandable, means nothing other than to place it into the context from which it has been torn due to the nature of our organization, as already described. Nothing exists in isolation from the world-whole. All separateness has only subjective relevance for minds organized like ours. For us, the world-whole splits into above and below, before and after, cause and effect, object and idea, matter and force, object and subject and so forth. What appears to us in observation as separate details, become linked, item by item, through the coherent, unified system of our intuitions. By means of thought we fit together again into one whole all that perception has separated.
 The puzzling nature of an object is due to the separateness of its existence. However, this separation is brought about by us and can, within the conceptual world, be dispelled and returned to unity again.
5.11 Conceptual Connection
 Let us suppose a certain percept—red, for example—appears in my consciousness. Further investigation will show this percept to be connected to other percepts, such as a specific shape, and to certain percepts of temperature and touch. I call this combination of percepts “an object in the sense-perceptible world.” I can go on to ask: "What else is found in this section of space?" There I discover mechanical, chemical and other processes. I go further and study the processes that take place on the way from the object to my sense-organs. There I find processes of motion in an elastic medium that by their nature have nothing in common with the original percepts. I get the same result when I investigate the connections between the sense-organs and the brain. In each of these inquiries I gather new percepts, but the connecting thread that weaves through all these percepts dispersed in space and time, and binds them into one whole—is thought.
The vibrations in the air that transmit sound are given to me as percepts in just the same way as the sound itself. Thought alone links all these percepts to each other, and shows them in their mutual relationships. We cannot speak of the existence of anything beyond what is directly perceived, except what is recognized as the conceptual connections between percepts. These connections are discovered by thinking. Therefore, the relationship between the objects we perceive and ourselves as perceiving subject that goes beyond what is merely perceived—is purely ideal, that is, it is expressed only by means of concepts.
Only if it were possible to perceive how the object affects the perceiving subject, or—conversely—only if I could watch the construction of the percept by the subject, could we speak like physiology and the critical idealism based on it. Their view confuses a conceptual relationship (between object and subject) with a process we could speak of only if it were possible to perceive it. The proposition, "no color without a color-sensing eye" cannot be taken to mean that the eye produces the color, but only that a conceptual connection, knowable by thinking, exists between the percept "color" and the percept "eye."
Empirical science will have to determine, through research, how the properties of the eye and those of color relate to each other; how the organ of sight transmits the perception of colors, etc. I can track how one percept follows another and how they are related in space. I can then express this in conceptual terms. But I cannot perceive how a percept originates out of the non-perceptible. All attempts to find anything other than conceptual relationships between percepts must necessarily fail.
5.12 Objective Percept
Viewed from this perspective, the problem of the subjectivity of perception put forward by Critical Idealists, cannot be raised at all. Only what is perceived as belonging to the subject can be termed "subjective." To establish the connection between what belongs to the subject and what belongs to the object is not the task of any process that is “real” in the naive sense, that is, a process that can be perceived taking place. It is the task of thinking.
For us, then, something is "objective" when it is seen to be located outside myself as perceiving subject. The percept of myself as subject remains perceptible to me after the table now standing before me has disappeared from my field of observation. The observation of the table has caused a change in me that persists like myself. I preserve an image of the table which now forms part of my Self. I retain a lasting ability to reproduce an image of the table again, later. Psychology calls this image a “memory-idea.”
It is the only thing that can properly be called my idea of the table. For it is the perceptible change in me caused by the table when it was in my field of vision. It does not mean a change in some "Ego-in-itself" standing behind the perceived subject, but rather a change in the perceptible subject itself. The idea is, then, a subjective percept, in contrast to the objective percept that occurs when the object is present in the field of one’s vision. Falsely identifying the subjective percept as the objective percept leads to the misunderstanding of Idealism that “the world is my idea.”
 Our next task will be to define the concept of "idea" in detail. What we have said about it so far is not its concept. We have only described where in the perceptual field ideas are to be found. The exact concept of "idea" will also make it possible for us to obtain a satisfactory understanding of the relationship between the inner idea and outer object. This will take us across the boundary, where the relationship between the human subject and the object in the world is brought down from the purely conceptual field of knowledge into concrete, individual life. Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to orient ourselves within it. We can act with our full strength and conviction only when we understand the things to which we direct our activity.
We have to live through it in inner experience, so that insight into the aberration this way of thinking leads can enable us to find the way out. It must appear in any discussion of the relationship between man and the world. Not because we want to refute others whom we believe have an incorrect view of this relationship, but because it is necessary to understand the confusion every first reflection about this relationship is likely to lead. One needs to learn by experience how to refute oneself with regard to these first reflections. This is the point of view from which the preceding chapter was meant to be seen.
 Anyone who wishes to work out a way of looking at the relationship of man to the world, becomes aware of the fact that he creates this relationship, at least in part, by forming ideas about the things and events in the world. This draws his attention away from what is out there in the world, and directs it to his inner world, to his life of ideas. He begins to say to himself: “I cannot relate to a thing or an event unless an idea occurs in me.” Once this fact has been noticed, it is only one step to the opinion, “All I experience are my ideas. I know of a world outside me only to the extent it is an idea within me.” And with this, man abandons the naive attitude toward reality, which he assumes before he begins to think about his relationship to the world.
From the naive standpoint he believes that he is dealing with real things. Inner reflection drives him away from this view. Then he no longer sees the reality naive consciousness claims is there spread out before us. Inner reflection reveals to him the ideas that insert themselves between his own being and a supposedly real world believed in by naive consciousness. Because of the intervening ideas we can no longer see the real world. He assumes he is blind to this reality. So the thought arises of a “thing-in-itself” that cannot be reached by our cognition.
There is no escape from this kind of thought as long as we continue to focus solely on the interaction man has with the world through the stream of his ideas. Yet we cannot remain at the naive standpoint if we do not wish to close our minds, artificially, to the desire for knowledge. The very existence of this desire for knowledge about man's relationship to the world shows that the naive standpoint must be abandoned. If the naive standpoint gave us anything that we could recognize as truth, we would not feel this desire for knowledge.
Yet we do not arrive at something else which could be regarded as truth by merely abandoning the naive standpoint, as long as we retain—without realizing it—the way of thinking it imposes. We fall victim to this kind of error if we think: “I only experience my ideas, and while I am firmly persuaded that I am dealing with reality, all that I am actually conscious of are my ideas of reality. I must therefore assume that genuine reality, the things-in-themselves, exist only outside the range of my consciousness. I know nothing of them directly, but they somehow come into contact with me and influence me to make a world of ideas arise in me.” Whoever thinks in this way is simply adding another imagined world, in thought, to the world already spread out before him. But in regard to this imagined world, he would really have to start his whole thought activity all over again. For, in relation to his own being, the unknown thing-in-itself is thought of in exactly the same way as the known world of the naive view.
There is only one way of escaping the confusion one falls into when critically assessing this naive standpoint. This is to notice that at the very core of everything we can perceptually experience, be it in the mind or outside in the world, there is something that can prevent the fate of an idea inserting itself between the observer and the thing observed. And this something is thinking. With regard to thinking, we can remain at the Naive Realistic standpoint of reality. If we fail to do so, it is simply because we have learned that for everything else we must abandon this standpoint. We overlook that what we have found to be true for everything else, does not apply to thinking. When we realize this, we open the way to the further insight that in thinking and through thinking, man comes to know the very thing to which he apparently blinded himself by inserting the stream of his ideas between the world and himself.
A critic highly esteemed by the author of this book has objected that this discussion of thinking remains at the level of a Naive Realism of thinking, such as would be the case if the real world and the imagined world were held to be one and the same. However, the author believes he has shown in this discussion that an unprejudiced study of thinking, inevitably leads to the recognition that applying Naive Realism to thinking is valid. And that Naive Realism, which is otherwise not valid, is overcome through knowledge of the true nature of thinking.
6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
6.0 Ideas That Correspond To World
The question, “How do I learn about the tree standing ten feet away from me?” is misleading. It springs from the view that the boundaries of my body are absolute barriers, through which information about external things filters into me. The forces at work inside my body are the same as those existing outside it. Therefore, I really am identical with the objects; not I as a percept of myself, but I in the sense that I am a part within the universal world process. The percept of the tree exists within the same whole as my Self. The universal world process produces equally the percept of the tree over there, and the percept of my Self here.
If I were a world-creator rather than world-knower, object and subject (percept and self) would come into existence in one act, since they are mutually conditioning elements. As world-knower, I can discover the common element in both—as two sides of one existence that belong together—only through thinking which relates them to each other by means of concepts.
6.1 Perception Of Motion
There are those who conclude from the fact that an electrical occurrence causes a sensation of light in the eye, that what we sense as light is only a mechanical process of motion outside our organism. They forget that they are only passing from one percept to another and not at all to something outside the range of perception.
Just as we can say the eye perceives a mechanical process of motion in its environment as light, we can also say that a systematic change in an object is perceived by us as a process of motion. If I draw twelve pictures of a horse all the way around a rotatable disk, reproducing exactly the successive positions of the horse's body when it is galloping, then by rotating the disc I can produce the illusion of movement. I only need to look through an opening in a way that I see the successive positions of the horse at the right intervals. What I see is not twelve separate pictures of a horse, but the image of a single galloping horse.
 The physiological facts mentioned above add nothing to clarify the relationship between percept and idea. We must find another way to approach this relationship.
6.2 Intuitive Idea
My concept of a lion is not built up out of my percepts of lions. But my idea of a lion is very much formed according to a percept. I can teach the concept of a lion to someone who has never seen a lion, but I cannot give him a vivid idea of a lion without a percept of his own.
6.3 Representation Of Reality
If we encounter a second thing and the same concept combines with it, we recognize the second thing as belonging to the same kind as the first thing. If we encounter the same thing again a second time, we find in our conceptual system not only a corresponding concept, but also the individualized concept. This individualized concept refers to a characteristic of this particular object, and as a consequence, we recognize the object again.
 The idea, then, stands between the percept and the concept. It is the particularized concept that points to the percept.
6.4 Acquire Experience
6.5 Cognitive Objectivity
 If our personality expressed itself only in cognition, the sum of all that is objective would be given in percept, concept and idea.
6.6 Individual Ego
6.7 Two-Fold Nature
 Thought connects us to the world; feeling leads us back into ourselves and makes us individuals. If we were only thinking and perceiving beings, our whole life would pass by in unvarying indifference. If we could only know ourselves as “Self” through thought, we would be completely indifferent to ourselves. It is only because we experience self-feeling with self-knowledge, and pleasure and pain with the perception of objects, that we live as individuals whose existence is not consumed by our conceptual relation to the rest of the world. Besides our relationship to the world, we also have a special value for ourselves.
 One might be tempted to see in the life of feeling an element more richly filled with reality than the contemplation of the world by thought. The reply to this is that the life of feeling, after all, has this richer meaning only for my individual self. For the world as a whole, my feeling life can have value only if the feeling, as a percept of my self, becomes combined with a concept and in this roundabout way is integrated into the cosmos.
6.8 True Individuality
A true individuality will be the one who reaches up with his feelings as high as possible into the region of ideals. There are people for whom even the most universal Ideas entering their heads still take on a subjective coloring that shows unmistakably their connection with the individual who thinks them. There are others whose concepts are expressed without any trace of individual coloring, as if they had not sprung forth from a person of flesh and blood at all.
6.10 Intensity Of Feeling
6.11 Education Of Feeling
6.12 Living Concept
7. ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO KNOWLEDGE?
7.0 Cognitive Unity
 Dualism rests on a misunderstanding of what we call knowledge. It divides the whole of reality into two realms, each with its own laws, and it leaves these two worlds standing outside one another.
 The distinction between the object of perception and the thing-in-itself, introduced by Kant into scientific thought and never since removed from it, stems from this kind of Dualism. Our discussion has shown that it is due to the way our mental organization functions that a particular (separate) thing can be given to us only as a perception. Thinking then overcomes this separation by assigning to each percept its lawful place in the world-whole. As long as we designate the separated parts of the world-whole as percepts, we are simply following in this act of separating-out a law of our subjectivity. If, however, we consider the sum-total of all percepts as one part, and place it over against a second part, the things-in-themselves, then our philosophizing loses all foundation. We are simply playing with concepts. We construct an artificial contrast, but can find no content for the second part, because the content for a particular thing can only be drawn from perception.
7.1 Hypothetical World Principle and Facts Of Experience
“it is, and will forever remain, entirely incomprehensible that a number of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, etc., should be other than indifferent as to how they lie and move in the present, how they lay and moved in the past and how they will lie and move in the future. It cannot in any way be conceived how consciousness can come into existence through their interaction."
This conclusion is characteristic of the tendency of this entire orientation of thought. Position and motion are abstracted from the rich world of percepts. These are carried over and applied to an imagined world of atoms. And then the thinker is astonished to find that he cannot develop real life out of this self-made principle borrowed from the world of perception.
 That the Dualist cannot arrive at an explanation of the world, working as he does with a completely empty concept of the "in-itself," follows from the very definition of his principle given above.
 In every case the Dualist feels compelled to set insurmountable limits to our cognitive capacity. The adherent of a Monistic world-view knows that everything he needs to explain any given world phenomenon is to be found within this world itself. What prevents him from reaching an explanation can only be chance limitations in time and space, or defects of his bodily or mental organization. Not deficiencies of the human organization in general, but of his particular, individual organization.
7.2 "I" Questions and Answers
 The preconditions necessary for an act of knowledge to take place exist through and for the Self. The Self sets itself questions to which it seeks answers. It draws questions from the elements of thought that are perfectly clear and transparent in themselves. If we ask ourselves questions that we cannot answer, then the content of the question must not be clear and intelligible in all its parts. It is not the world that poses questions to us; we pose them to ourselves.
 I can imagine finding myself unable to answer a question that I happened to see written down somewhere without knowing the universe of discourse from which the content of the question was taken.
7.3 Reconcile Well-Known Percepts and Well-Known Concepts
7.4 Conceptual Representation Of Objective Reality
Given these assumptions, it is clear why the Dualist believes his concepts are only subjective representations of what is there prior to his consciousness. The objectively real process in the subject through which the percept comes about, and, even more so, the objective relationships between things-in-themselves, remain for such a Dualist unknowable in any direct way. In his view the human being can only construct for himself conceptual representations that do no more than represent what is objectively real. The bond of unity among things, that connects things with one another and also objectively with the individual mind of each of us (as thing-in-itself), lies beyond our consciousness in a Divine Being-in-itself, of which we can have in our consciousness no more than a conceptual representation.
7.5 Real Principles in addition to Ideal Principles
 Let us examine these “real principles” more closely. The naive person (Naive Realist) regards the things he experiences in the external world as real. The fact that he can grasp these objects with his hands and see them with his eyes is for him valid proof of their reality. “Nothing exists that cannot be perceived” can be said to be the first axiom of the naive person; and its reverse form is accepted to be equally valid: “Everything that can be perceived is real.” The best evidence of this statement is the naive person's view on immortality and ghosts. He imagines the soul as consisting of an extremely fine material substance, which under certain conditions can become visible even to the ordinary person (naive belief in ghosts).
 Compared to his "real world," everything else for the naive realist, especially the world of ideas, is unreal, it is “merely ideal.” What we add to things by way of thinking activity are mere thoughts about things. Thought adds nothing real to our perceptions.
 What is more, the naive person holds sense perception to be the sole evidence of reality, not only for the nature of things, but also for events (processes). In his view, one thing can only affect another when an actual sense-perceptible force goes forth from the one and acts upon the other. Ancient Greek philosophers, who were Naive Realists in the best sense of the word, held a theory of vision by which the eye sends out feelers that touch the objects. Earlier physicists thought that very fine substances stream out from objects and enter the soul through our sense organs. The actual seeing of these substances was said to be impossible only because of the crudeness of our senses compared with the fineness of the substances. In principle, these substances were granted reality for the same reason one grants it to the objects of the sense world, namely, because their kind of existence was thought to be analogous to that of sense-perceptible reality.
7.6 Real Evidence Of Senses in addition to Ideal Evidence
 Even cognition, the activity of gaining knowledge, is thought of by the naive person as a process analogous to sensory processes. Things make an impression on the mind, or they project image-copies of themselves that enter through our senses, and so on.
 All that the naive person can perceive with his senses he regards as real, and what he cannot perceive in this way (God, soul, knowledge, etc.) he imagines as being analogous to the objects of perception.
 A science based on Naive Realism would have to consist solely of an exact description of the content of perception. Concepts are for the Naive Realist only a means for achieving this goal. They are there to create conceptual counterparts to the things perceived. They mean nothing for the things themselves. For the Naive Realist only the individual tulips that are seen, or could be seen, count as real. The universal Idea of 'tulip' is to him an abstraction, an unreal thought-picture that the mind constructs for itself out of the characteristics common to all tulips.
7.7 Vanishing Perceptions and Ideal Entities
 Modern physics traces sense impressions back to processes in the smallest parts of the body and in an infinitely fine substance, the ether—or something similar. For example, what we sense as warmth is, within the space occupied by the warmth-giving body, the movement of its parts. Here again something imperceptible is thought of by the analogy of something perceptible. The sense-perceptible analogy to the concept “body” might be, according to this way of thinking, the interior of a room shut in on all sides, in which elastic balls are moving in all directions, colliding with one another, bouncing on and off the walls, and so on.
7.8 Perceptible Reality and Imperceptible Reality
 This self-contradictory worldview leads to Metaphysical Realism. This view constructs, in addition to perceptible reality, an imperceptible reality that is thought of on the analogy of the perceptible one. Consequently, Metaphysical Realism is, of necessity, Dualistic.
 Wherever the Metaphysical Realist observes a relationship between perceptible things (when two things move towards each other, when an external object enters consciousness, etc.), there he assumes a reality. But the relationship that he notices can only be expressed by means of thinking; it cannot be perceived. What is an ideal relationship is arbitrarily made into something similar to a perceptible one. So for this way of thinking the real world consists of perceptible objects that are in an endless process of becoming, arising and then disappearing, and of imperceptible forces that produce them and are the things that endure.
7.9 Monism: Sum of Perceptions and Laws of Nature
 When the Metaphysical Realist claims that, in addition to the ideal relationship between the perceived object and the perceiving subject, there must also be a relationship that is 'real' between the “thing-in-itself” of what is perceived and the “thing-in-itself” of the perceptible subject (the so-called individual mind), then his claim is based on the false assumption of a real process that is similar to a process in the sense-world, but non-perceivable. When the Metaphysical Realist goes on to say: I have a conscious, ideal relationship with my world of perceptions; but I can have only a dynamic relationship (of forces) with the real world—he then repeats the mistake we have already criticized. One can talk of a relationship between forces only within the world of perceptions (in the area of the sense of touch), but not outside it.
 Let us call the worldview we have just described, into which Metaphysical Realism merges when it discards its contradictory elements, Monism, because it combines one-sided Realism and Idealism to form a higher unity.
 For Naive Realism the real world consists of a sum of perceptible objects (percepts). For Metaphysical Realism, not only perceptible objects but also imperceptible forces are real. Monism replaces forces with ideal connections obtained by means of thinking. These connections are the laws of nature. A law of nature, after all, is nothing but the conceptual expression of the connection between certain percepts.
7.10 Separation and Reunion of Self into World Continuum
The metaphysical realist may object to the monist: "It may be the case that for your own organization your knowledge is complete within itself, that it lacks nothing; but you do not know how the world appears to a mind organized differently from your own." The Monist would reply: "Maybe there are intelligences other than human; and maybe their percepts are configured differently from ours, if they have perception at all. But this is irrelevant to me for the following reasons."
Through my perception—in fact, through this specifically human way of perceiving— I, as subject, am confronted with the object. This causes the connection of things to appear broken. The subject re-establishes this connection through thinking. In doing so it integrates itself into the context of the world as a whole. As it is only through the Self, as subject, that what is a whole appears split in two along a line between our perception and our concept, so it is the union of these two factors that will give us true knowledge. For beings with a world of perceptions that had a different appearance (if, for example, they had twice as many sense-organs), the continuum would appear broken in another place, and the restoration would take a form specifically adapted to those beings. The question of limits to knowledge exists only for Naive and Metaphysical Realism; they both see in the content of the psyche only ideal representations of the real world. For them, the world outside the subject is something absolute, a self-contained whole, and the subject's mental content is a picture of it, completely external to this absolute. Here, the quality of knowledge depends on the degree of similarity between the representation and the absolute object. A being with fewer senses than man will perceive less of the world, one with more senses will perceive more. As a consequence of perceiving less of the world the former's knowledge will be less perfect knowledge than the latter's.
 For Monism the situation is different. The form in which the world continuum appears to be torn apart into subject and object is determined through the organization of the perceiving being. An object is not something absolute; it is only relative to the nature of the particular subject that perceives it. The bridging of the gap can therefore take place only in a very specific way that is characteristic of the particular human subject. As soon as the Self—which is separated from the world in the act of perceiving—integrates itself back into the world continuum through thinking investigation, then all further questioning ceases, since it was only a consequence of the separation.
 A differently constituted being would have a differently constituted cognition. Our own cognition is sufficient to answer the questions that result from our own mental constitution.
 The Metaphysical Realist must ask, What is it that gives us our percepts? What is it that stimulates the subject?
 For the Monist the way a percept is seen is determined by the subject. But in thinking the subject has the instrument for transcending this self-produced determination.
7.11 Induction Of Underlying Causes From Sum Of Perceived Facts
 This kind of conclusion infers, from a sum of effects, the character of their underlying causes. We believe that by observing a sufficiently large number of cases, we can know the situation well enough to be able to predict how the inferred causes will behave in other cases. We say that a conclusion of this kind has been arrived at by inductive reasoning. If further observation yields something unexpected, we will find ourselves forced to modify our conclusions, because they are based solely on the particular details of earlier observations. Nevertheless, despite these limitations the Metaphysical Realist maintains that this conditional knowledge of causes is perfectly adequate for practical life.
 Inductive reasoning is the fundamental method of modern Metaphysical Realism. There was a time when it was thought one could develop something out of concepts that was no longer a concept. It was thought that the metaphysical reals, which Metaphysical Realism after all requires, could be recognized through concepts. This method of philosophizing is now a thing of the past. Instead it is thought that from a large enough number of perceptual facts one can infer the character of the thing-in-itself underlying these facts. Just as in the past one tried to derive the metaphysical from concepts, so today the Realist tries to derive it from perceptions. Since concepts are before the mind in transparent clarity, it was thought that the metaphysical, too, could be drawn out of them with absolute certainty. Percepts are not there for us with the same transparent clarity. Each successive percept of a kind is always a little different from the previous ones. In principle, anything inferred from past experience is somewhat modified by each following experience. Since it is subject to correction by future cases, the character of the metaphysically real obtained in this way can only be relatively true. This methodical principle characterizes the Metaphysics of Eduard von Hartmann. This is expressed in the motto he gave on the title-page of his first major work: “Speculative results gained by the Inductive Method of Natural Science.”
7.12 Objective Real World Continuum and Subjective World Continuum
8. THE FACTORS OF LIFE
8.0 Knowing Personality
Thought, therefore, first manifests itself in connection with the percept of self. But thought is not merely subjective, for it is only with the help of thought that the Self can define itself as subject. How the Self relates to itself in thought determines our personality. Through it, we lead a purely conceptual existence. Through it, we are aware of ourselves as thinking beings. This determination of our lives would remain a purely conceptual (logical) one, if it were not supplemented by other determining factors of our Selves. Our lives would be spent in establishing purely conceptual relationships between percepts themselves, and between them and ourselves. If we call the establishment of a conceptual relationship an "act of cognition," and the resulting change achieved in the self “knowledge,” then, according to the above assumption, we would have to consider ourselves as only cognizing or knowing beings.
8.1 Feeling Personality
8.2 Perceive Personality
8.3 Know Feeling
8.4 Concept Of Self
8.5 Cultivate Feeling
8.6 Feeling Insight
8.7 Philosopher of Feeling
8.8 Feeling Intuition
8.9 Willing Personality
8.11 Naive Knowledge Of Feeling And Willing
8.12 World Will
Addition to the Revised Edition (1918)
9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
9.0 Conceptual Intuition
 In willing the situation is different. The percept is here the content of my existence as an individual, while the concept is the universal element in me. What is brought into an ideal relationship to the external world by means of the concept is my own experience, a perception of my Self. More precisely, it is a percept of my Self as active, as producing effects on the external world. To comprehend my own acts of will I connect a concept with a corresponding percept, that is to say, with the specific volition. In other words, by an act of thinking I integrate my individual faculty (my will) into the general world affairs.
The content of a concept that corresponds to an external perception appearing within the field of my experience, is given through intuition. Intuition is the source for the content of my whole conceptual system. The percept only shows me which concept I have to apply, in any given instance, out of the sum of my intuitions. The content of a concept is conditioned by the percept, but it is not produced by it. On the contrary, it is intuitively given and connected with the percept by an act of thinking. The same is true of the conceptual content of an act of will which is just as little capable of being derived from the act itself. It is gained by intuition.
9.1 Idealistic Act
The conceptual system that corresponds to the external world is conditioned by this external world. We must determine from the percept itself what concept corresponds to it; and how, in turn, this concept will fit in with the rest of my system of Ideas, depends on its intuitive content. The percept thus conditions directly its concept and, thereby, indirectly also its place in the conceptual system of my world. But the ideal content of an act of will, which is drawn from the conceptual system and which precedes the act of will, is determined only by the conceptual system itself.
An act of will that depends on nothing but this ideal content must itself be regarded as ideal, that is, as determined by an Idea. This does not imply, of course, that all acts of will are determined only by Ideas. All factors which determine the human individual have an influence on his will.
9.2 Moral Character
An act of will, then, is not the result of a concept or an idea alone, but is also influenced by the individual make-up of the person. This individual make-up we will call, according to Eduard von Hartmann, the "characterological disposition." The way in which concepts and ideas affect a person’s characterological disposition gives his life a particular moral or ethical character.
9.3 Motivated Idea
These are the factors to be considered in an act of will. The immediately present idea or concept becomes a motive and determines the goal or purpose of my willing; my characterological disposition determines whether or not I will direct my activity toward that goal. The idea of taking a walk in the next half-hour determines the goal of my action. But this idea is raised to the level of a motive only if it meets with a suitable characterological disposition; that is, if during my life I have formed ideas of the sense and purpose of taking walks such as its value for health, and further, if the idea of taking a walk is accompanied by a feeling of pleasure.
 We must therefore distinguish (1) the possible subjective dispositions that will turn specific ideas and concepts into motives, and (2) the possible ideas and concepts capable of influencing the characterological disposition so that an act of will results. The first is the driving force of a moral act, the second its goal.
9.4 Levels Of Morality
 The first level of individual life is perception, more particularly sense-perception. In this stage of individual life perceiving is immediately transformed into willing, without the intervention of either a feeling or a concept. Here the driving force may be called simply instinct. The satisfaction of our lower, purely animal needs (hunger, sexual drive, etc.) occurs in this way. The main characteristic of instinctive life is the immediacy with which the perception triggers the will. This immediacy, originally belonging only to the lower sense life, can also be extended to the perceptions of the higher senses. We react to some event in the external world without thinking, and without any particular feeling. This happens, for example, in conventional social behavior. The driving force of this kind of action is called tact or social good taste. The more often such an immediate reaction to a percept occurs, the more the person will spontaneously act purely under the guidance of tact. Tact becomes part of his characterological disposition.
 The second level of life is feeling. Certain feelings attach to what we perceive in the external world. These feelings can become the driving force of action. If I see someone who is starving, my compassion may become the driving force of my action. Such feelings include shame, pride, sense of honor, humility, remorse, compassion, revenge, gratitude, piety, loyalty, love, and duty.
 The third level of life is to have thoughts and ideas. An idea or concept can become the motive of an action through mere consideration of the situation. Ideas become motives because in the course of life I regularly connect certain goals of my will to percepts that keep returning in a more or less modified form. This is why, when people who are not entirely without experience face certain percepts, they will always be aware of ideas of actions they have carried out in a similar case, or have seen others carry out. These ideas hover before their minds as determining models in all later decisions; they become part of their characterological disposition. We can call this driving force of the will practical experience. Practical experience gradually becomes purely tactful behavior. This happens when certain typical pictures of actions have become so firmly connected in our minds with ideas of certain situations in life that, in any given case, we skip over all experience based deliberation and pass immediately from the percept to the action.
 The highest level of individual life is that of conceptual thinking without reference to any specific perceptual content. We determine the content of a concept through pure intuition on the basis of a conceptual system. Such a concept contains, at first, no reference to any specific percepts. If we act under the influence of a concept that refers to a percept, that is, under the influence of an idea, then it is the percept that determines our action indirectly by way of the concept. But when we act under the influence of pure intuitions, the driving force of our action is pure thinking. Since it is customary in philosophy to call pure thinking “reason,” we are justified in calling the moral driving force characteristic of this level practical reason. The clearest account of this driving force of the will has been given by Kreyenbuhl. In my opinion his article on this subject is one of the most important contributions to present-day philosophy, especially to Ethics. Kreyenbuhl calls this driving force the practical apriori, that is, an impulse to act springing immediately from my intuition.
 It is clear that such an impulse does not, strictly speaking, belong to the characterological disposition. For what acts here as driving force is no longer something purely individual, but is the conceptual, and therefore universal content of my intuition. As soon as I see the justification for making this content the basis and starting-point for action, I enter into willing, regardless of whether I already had the concept, or whether it only enters my consciousness immediately before the action,—that is, regardless of whether or not it already existed in me as a predisposition.
 An action is a real act of will only when a momentary impulse, in the form of a concept or idea, acts on the characterological disposition. Such an impulse then becomes the motive of the will.
 The motives of moral conduct are ideas and concepts. There are ethicists who also regard feeling as a motive of morality. They claim that the goal of ethical behavior is to provide the greatest possible amount of pleasure for the acting individual. However, pleasure itself can never be a motive; at best only the idea of pleasure can act as motive. The idea of a future feeling, but not the feeling itself, can act on my characterological disposition. For the feeling does not yet exist in the moment of action; rather, it has to first be produced by the action.
 The idea of one's own or another's well-being is, however, properly recognized as a motive of the will. The principle of producing the greatest amount of pleasure for oneself through one's action—that is, of attaining individual happiness—is called Egoism. The attainment of this individual happiness is sought either by ruthlessly considering only one’s own well-being and striving to attain it even at the cost of the happiness of other individuals (Pure Egoism), or by furthering the well-being of others, either because one expects to gain from it indirectly, or because of the fear that upsetting others will endanger one’s own interests (morality of prudence). The particular content of a person’s egoistic ethical principles will depend on his ideas of what constitutes his own, or others' happiness. A person will determine the content of his egoistic striving according to what he considers to be the good things in life (luxurious living, hope of happiness, deliverance from various evils, and so forth).
 Another kind of motive is the purely conceptual content of an action. This content does not refer to a particular action, as in the case of specific ideas of what brings one pleasure, but rather to action that is based on a system of ethical principles. These principles, in the form of abstract concepts, can govern the individual's ethical life without him having to trouble himself about the origin of the concepts. In that case, we simply feel the moral necessity to submit to an ethical concept which, in the form of law, controls our actions.
The establishing of this moral necessity is left to those who demand our moral submission; that is, to whatever moral authority we recognize (the head of the family, the state, social custom, the authority of the church, divine revelation). Another example of these ethical principles is when the law does not come from an external authority, but comes from within ourselves. (moral autonomy). In this case we believe we hear the voice to which we must submit in our own mind. The expression of this voice is conscience.
 Moral progress occurs when a person does not simply accept the commandments of an outer or inner authority as a motive for action, but tries to understand the reason why a particular principle of conduct should motivate him. This is to advance from morality based on authority to conduct based on moral insight. At this level of morality a person will consider the needs of a moral life and will let this knowledge determine his actions. Such needs are (1) the greatest possible good of all humanity purely for its own sake; (2) the progress of culture or the moral development of humanity to ever greater perfection; and (3) the realization of individual moral goals that have been grasped by pure intuition.
 The greatest possible good of all humanity will naturally be understood in different ways by different people. This principle does not refer to any specific idea of this “good”, but rather means that each individual who acknowledges this principle will strive to do whatever in his opinion best promotes the good of all humanity.
 For the person who takes pleasure in the benefits of culture, the progress of culture is seen to be a special application of the ethical principle of greatest possible good. However, he will have to accept the price of progress in the decline and destruction of many things that also contribute to the common good. It is also possible for someone to see a moral necessity in the progress of culture, apart from any feeling of pleasure that it brings. In that case the progress of culture is for him an ethical principle of its own, in addition to the principle of the common good.
 The principles of the common good and the progress of culture are both based on ideas, that is, based on how one applies the content of ethical Ideas to specific situations (percepts). The highest conceivable principle of morality, however, is one that does not start with any reference to specific experience, but springs from the source of pure intuition, and only afterward finds its relationship to percepts (to life). Here, the decision of what is to be done proceeds from a point of view very different than in the previous examples. Whoever favors the principle of the common good, will first ask in all his actions, what his ideals contribute to this general good. Someone who is committed to the ethical principle of the progress of culture will do the same.
There is, however, a still higher level of conduct that does not start from one particular moral goal in each case, but sees a certain value in all ethical maxims and in each case asks whether one or another principle is more important. In certain situations I might regard the progress of culture as right and make it the motive of my action; in others I may contribute to the common good; and in a third case furthering my own individual good is the right course. But only when all other determining factors come second do we rely on conceptual intuition as the primary consideration. In conceptual intuition all other motives retreat and the ideal content alone motivates the action.
9.5 Moral Intuition
 For such an action to be possible, we must first be capable of moral intuitions. Whoever lacks the ability to think out for himself the ethical principle to apply in each situation, will never achieve genuine individual willing.
 Kant's principle of morality: Act so that the basis of your action can be valid for all people — is the exact opposite of ours. His principle would mean death to all individual action. How all people would act cannot be the standard for me, but rather what is right for me to do in each particular case.
9.6 Situational Idea
The cognitive concept of knowledge of a given situation is also a moral concept only if I base my point of view on a single fixed moral principle. If I want to base all my actions exclusively on the moral maxim of cultural progress, then I go through life along a fixed route. From every event that I notice and which attracts my interest there springs a moral duty; namely, to do my part to ensure that the event is used to advance culture.
In addition to the cognitive concept that reveals to me the connections of events or objects according to natural laws, the event or object also has a moral label with instructions for me, as a moral person, about how I should behave. At a higher level these moral labels disappear, and my action is determined in each particular case by my Idea; and more particularly by the Idea that reveals itself to me when I face a concrete situation.
9.7 Ethical Individualism
This aggregate of active Ideas within us, that is, the specific concrete content of our universal intuitions (see 5.10), is part of the individual make up of each person in spite of the universal character of our Idea-world. Insofar as this intuitive content is a reference for action, it is the ethical content of the individual. To let one’s individual ethical content express itself in life is the ethical maxim of the one who regards all other ethical principles as subordinate. We call this standpoint ethical individualism.
 In a specific situation the decisive factor in an intuitively determined action is to find the appropriate, completely individual intuition. At this level of morality, we do not speak of general moral concepts (norms, laws), except when they are the result of generalizing individual impulses. General norms always presuppose concrete facts from which they can be derived. But these facts have first to be created by the moral action of individuals.
9.8 Love Of Goal
If a person acts because he accepts certain moral norms, his action is the result of the principles that happen to be part of his moral code. He merely carries out orders. He is a higher form of automaton. Inject some stimulus into his mind and, right away, the gearwheels of his moral principles will begin to turn in a lawful manner to produce a Christian, humane, or selfless action or an action to further cultural progress. It is only when I follow my love for my objective that it is I, myself, who act. At this level of morality I do not acknowledge a lord over me, or an external authority, or a so-called inner voice. I do not accept any external principle for my conduct, because I have found the reason for my action in myself, namely, my love of action.
(I do not ask whether my deed is good or evil; I do it out of my love for it. My action is “good” if my intuition, steeped in love, fits in the right way in the interrelationships between things; the world continuum. This can be experienced intuitively (see 12. 3). My action is “evil” if that is not the case. 1918) I do not ask myself, “How would another person act in my situation?” Rather, I act as I, this particular individuality, is motivated to act. I am not led by what is usually done, no common custom, no universal human principle that applies to all, no moral standard. Rather, my immediate guide is my love for the goal. I feel no compulsion, neither the compulsion of nature that dominates me through my instincts, nor the compulsion of moral commandments. I simply want to carry out what lies within me.
9.9 Free Action
 My reply to this objection is this: I am not talking about children or immature people who follow their animal or social instincts. I am talking about those who are capable of rising to the level of the conceptual content of the world.
(If we want to get at the essence of human willing, we must distinguish between the path that brings willing up to a certain stage of development, and the unique character willing acquires as it nears the goal. Rules play a rightful part at a stage of development on the way towards this goal. The goal is to conceive ethical aims grasped by pure intuition. A person attains ethical aims to the extent that he has any ability at all to lift himself to the level at which intuition grasps the conceptual content of the world. In individual cases of willing, other elements are usually mixed in with ethical aims, either as motive or driving force. Nevertheless, intuition can still be the determining factor in human willing, wholly or in part. A person does what he should do; he provides the setting where “should” becomes “do.” One’s own action is allowed to spring from oneself. Here, the impulse can only be completely individual. And, in fact, only an act of will that springs from intuition can be individual. 1918 addition)
It is only in an age where immature people include blind instinct as part of human individuality, (that something evil like the act of a criminal can be described as an expression of individuality in the same sense as an action that expresses a pure intuition. The animal instinct that drives someone to commit a crime does not originate in intuition. It does not belong to what is individual in a person. It belongs to what is most common in him, to what is equally present in all individuals. Each of us must work our way out of what is common by means of our individuality.)
What is individual in me is not my organism with its instincts and feelings, but the unified world of Ideas that lights up within this organism. My instincts, cravings, and passions only establish the fact that I belong to the general human race. What establishes my individuality is the fact that something ideal expresses itself in a unique way through these instincts, passions, and feelings. Through my instincts and cravings I am the kind of person of whom there are twelve to the dozen. What makes me an individual is the unique shaping of Ideas by which I designate myself as an I within the dozen. Only a person other than myself might distinguish me from others by differences in my animal nature. I distinguish myself from others by my thinking, that is, by actively grasping the Ideal element that expresses itself through my organism. Therefore it definitely cannot be said that a criminal act is motivated by an Idea in him. In fact, the characteristic feature of criminal activity is precisely that it is motivated by non-ideal elements in the human being.
 An action is free when its reason springs from the ideal part of my individual nature. An action is not free when it is compelled by nature or is carried out under the obligation imposed by a moral norm.
 A person is free to the extent he is able to obey only himself in every moment of his life. An ethical act is my act only if it can be called free in this sense. So far we have examined the prerequisites necessary for a willed action to feel free. What follows will show how this purely ethical Idea of freedom comes to actualization in human nature.
9.10 Harmony Of Intentions
 But how is a social life possible if each one is only striving to assert their own individuality? This question is characteristic of misguided Moralism. The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if all are united by a common moral order. This shows that the Moralist does not understand the unity of the world of Ideas. He fails to see that the world of Ideas that inspires me is none other than the one inspiring my neighbor.
This unity of individuals, however, is a result of our experience of the world. It cannot be anything else. For if we could recognize it in any other way than by individual observation, it would follow that universal norms rather than individual experience would be dominant in that sphere. Individuality is only possible when each individual knows others through individual observation alone. 1918 addition
I differ from my neighbor, not because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because he receives different intuitions than I do out of our common world of Ideas. He wants to live out his intuitions, I mine. If our source truly is the world of Ideas, and we do not obey any external impulses (physical or spiritual), then we can only meet in the same striving, in the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between morally free people. Only the morally unfree person who blindly obeys natural instincts or the commands of duty turns his back on a neighbor if he does not obey the same instincts and the same commands as himself. To live and let live is the fundamental principle of a free human being. That is, to live in love of the action and to let live in understanding the other's will. He knows of no other obligation than the one his volition is in intuitive agreement. His power of conceiving Ideas will tell him how he should act in a particular situation.
 If the source of social compatibility were not a basic part of human nature, no external laws could instill it into human nature! Only because individuals are of one mind can they live out their lives side by side. The free individual lives in full confidence that he and all other free human beings belong to one spiritual/intellectual world, and that their intentions will harmonize. The free individual does not demand agreement from his fellow human beings, but he expects it, because it is inherent in human nature. (I am not referring here to the necessity for this or that external institution. I refer to the disposition, to the state of mind, through which a person, aware of himself among fellow human beings whom he values, best expresses the ideal of human dignity.)
9.11 Actualize Free Spirit
It is irrelevant whether his unfreedom is controlled by physical force or by moral laws, whether a person is unfree because he follows his insatiable sexual drive, or because he is bound by the restrictions of conventional morality. But one should not say that such a person can correctly call his actions his own, since he is driven to them by a force other than himself. Yet, within all this enforced order there arise free spirits who in all the entanglement of customs, legal codes, religious practice, and so on learn to be true to themselves. They are free in so far as they obey only themselves; unfree in so far as they submit to control. Which of us can say that he is really free in all he does? Yet in each of us there dwells something deeper in which the free human finds expression.
 Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. The concept of man is not complete unless it includes the free spirit as the purest expression of human nature. After all, we are human in the fullest sense only to the extent that we are free.
 Many will say this is an ideal. No doubt, but it is an ideal that has reality. It is a real element in our nature that manifests its effects on the surface. It is no “thought-out” or “dreamed-about” ideal, but one that has life and manifests itself clearly even in the least developed form of its existence. If human beings were nothing but creatures of nature, it would be absurd to look for ideals—that is, our Ideas that are not yet actualized but whose implementation we demand.
In dealing with external objects the Idea is determined by the percept. We have done our part when we recognize the connection between Idea and percept. But this is not so with the human being. The content of his nature is not determined without him. The concept of his true self as an ethical human being (free spirit) is not objectively united with the perceptual content “human being” from the start, needing only to be confirmed by knowledge later. A human being must unite his concept with the percept “human being” by his own activity. In this case concept and percept only coincide if the individual through his own effort makes them coincide. But he cannot do this until he has found the concept of the free spirit, which is the concept of his true Self.
Because of the way we are constituted—a boundary-line is drawn by our organization between percept and concept; knowledge overcomes this division. A division is also present in our subjective nature; the individual overcomes it in the course of his development by bringing the concept of his true Self to expression in his outward life. Thus, both the intellectual and the moral life of the human being lead him to his twofold nature; perception (immediate experience) and thought. The intellectual life overcomes the division through knowledge. The moral life overcomes it by actualizing the free spirit.
Every existing thing has its inborn concept (the law of its existence and activity). In external things the concept is indivisibly united with the percept, and only appears to be separated from it within the organization of human minds. But in the case of the human being percept and concept are at first actually separated, to be just as actually united by him.
Someone might object that a particular concept corresponds to our perception of a person at every moment of his life, just as is the case with everything else. I can form the concept of a typical person and I may also find such a person as a percept. If I now add the concept of the typical person to the concept of the free spirit, then I have two concepts for the same object.
 This objection is one-sided thought. As a perceptible object I am subject to continual change. As a child I was one thing, as a youth another, as an adult still another. In fact, at every moment the perception-picture of myself is different from what it was a moment before. These changes can take place in such a way that they are always the expression of the same stereotypical person, or in such a way that they represent the expression of the free spirit. My actions, too, as perceptible objects, are subject to these changes.
 The perceptible object "human" has the possibility of transformation, just as the plant seed has the possibility of growing into a fully developed plant. The plant is transformed in growth because of the objective laws of nature that are inherent in it. The human being remains in his undeveloped state if he does not take up the stuff of transformation within him and develop himself through his own power. Nature makes a human into merely a natural being; society makes him into a law-abiding being; only he alone can make himself into a free being. At a certain stage of his development nature releases the human being from her chains; society carries his development a stage further; he alone can give himself the finishing touches.
 The standpoint of free morality does not claim that the free spirit is the only form in which a human being can exist. It sees the free spirit as the final stage of human evolution. This does not deny that conduct in obedience to norms has its legitimate place as a stage in development. The point is that we cannot acknowledge this stage to be the highest level of morality. The free spirit overcomes the rules of norms in that he does not solely accept commands as motives, but orders his conduct according to his own impulses (intuitions).
 Kant says: “Duty! You exalted, mighty name! You who contain nothing lovable, nothing ingratiatingly agreeable, but demand submission.” You “lay down a law,… before which all inclinations are silent, even though they secretly work against it!” To this, a human being, out of the consciousness of the free spirit, replies: "Freedom! You friendly, more human name! You who contain all that is morally loved, all that my humanity most values, and makes me no one’s servant. You lay down no law, but wait for what my moral love acknowledges as law, because it resists every law that is forced upon it."
 This is the contrast between morality that is law-abiding and morality that is free.
9.12 Social Order
These leading minds have set up laws over others. No one is made unfree by these laws unless he forgets their origin and turns them into divine commands, objective moral duties, or the authoritative voice of his own conscience. But the person who does not forget the origin of laws and seeks it in the human being, will recognize them as belonging to the same world of Ideas that is the source of his own moral intuitions. If he thinks he has better intuitions, he will try to replace the existing ones with his own. If he finds the existing ones justified, he will act in accordance with them as if they were his own.
 The human being is not here for the purpose of establishing a moral world order. Anyone who claims that he is, remains, in his scientific knowledge of Man, at the same point at which natural science stood when it believed that a bull has horns in order to butt. Fortunately, scientists have thrown out the concept of objective purposes in nature as a dead theory.
Ethics is having more difficulty getting rid of this concept. However, just as horns are not there for the sake of butting, rather butting exists through the presence of horns, so human beings are not there for the sake of morality, but morality exists through the presence of human beings. The free human being acts morally because he has a moral Idea, he does not act in order to be moral. Human individuals, with moral Ideas that belong to their nature, are the precondition for a moral world order.
 The human individual is the source of all morality and the center of all life. State and society exist only because they have necessarily grown out of the life of individuals. That state and society should react back on the life of the individual is understandable, just as it is understandable that butting, which exists through the horns, reacts back to further develop the bull’s horns which would otherwise become stunted with prolonged disuse. Likewise, the individual would become stunted with prolonged isolation outside human society. This is why the social order is formed, so that it can react back favorably on the individual.
Editor’s Note: I am including below a 1918 revision to Chapter 9.1 about the repression of the psycho-physical organization by the essential nature of thinking. It shows that there is a characteristic in the nature of thinking that makes human freedom possible.
What is the essential nature of thinking?
“If we turn towards thinking in its essence, we find in it both feeling and will, and these in the depths of their reality; if we turn away from thinking towards “mere” feeling and will, we lose from these their true reality.” TPOF Chap. 8 addition, The Factors Of Life
9.1 Psycho-Physical Organization (1918 revision)
The psycho-physical organization asserts itself so strongly that its actual significance can only be understood by someone who has recognized that nothing from this organization plays any part in the essential nature of thinking. Once that is recognized one will also appreciate the extraordinary relationship between the human organization and thinking. For this organization contributes nothing to the essential nature of thought, but withdraws whenever the activity of thinking takes place. It suspends its own activity, it makes room. And the space that has been set free is occupied by thought. The essential activity at work in thinking has a twofold function: first, it represses the activity of the human organization; next, it steps into its place. Yes, even the repression of the bodily organization is an effect of thinking activity; the part of thinking activity that prepares for the appearance of thinking.
This explains why what is found in the bodily organization is a reflection of thinking. Once we perceive this, we will no longer misjudge the importance of this physical counterpart for thinking itself. When someone walks over soft ground his feet leave footprints in the soil. But no one will be tempted to say that the forces of the ground, from below, have formed these tracks. No one will attribute to these forces any part in the production of the tracks. Neither will anyone who observes the essential nature of thinking with an open mind, attribute any part of this essence to traces in the physical organism that are produced by thinking in preparation for its appearance by means of the body.
10. FREEDOM PHILOSOPHY AND MONISM
10.0 Moral Authority
 At the highest ethical level of development attained by naive realism, the moral law (the moral Idea) is separated from every external being, and is thought of hypothetically as an absolute power within oneself. What is first heard as the external voice of God is now perceived as an independent power in his own mind. He now speaks of it in a way that identifies it with the voice of conscience.
10.1 Mechanical Necessity
10.2 Spiritual Being
"Only through the building up of an ethical world order by reasoning, self-aware individuals is it possible for the world process to be led towards its goal... Existence in its reality is the incarnation of God. The world process is the passion of God who has become flesh, and at the same time the path to redemption of Him who was crucified in the flesh; and morality is our cooperation in the shortening of this path of suffering and redemption." (Hartmann, Phenomenology of Moral Consciousness)
10.3 Automaton Or Slave
10.4 Imposed Principles
10.5 Ethical Impulse
10.7 Realize Free Spirit
10.8 Individual Will Impulse
10.9 Course Of Development
10.10 Find Own Self
10.11 Preparatory Stages
10.12 Freedom Is Morality
11. WORLD PURPOSE AND LIFE PURPOSE
11.0 Concept Of Purpose
11.1 Perceptual Factor
11.2 Conceptual Factor
11.3 Human Purpose
11.4 Invented Purpose
11.5 Laws Of Nature
11.6 Purposeful Idea
11.7 Chosen Destiny
11.8 Actualized Idea
11.9 Formative Principle
"As long as there are instincts in Nature, it is foolish to deny purposes in it."
 "Just as the structure of a limb of the human body is not determined and conditioned by an Idea of this limb floating in the air, but by its connection with the more inclusive whole—the body to which the limb belongs—so the structure of every natural being, whether plant, animal, or man, is not determined and conditioned by an Idea of it floating in the air, but by the formative principle of the more inclusive whole of nature which creates and organizes itself according to a purpose.”
11.10 Purposeful Design
 When the critics of the concept of purpose (Teleology) bring a laboriously collected rubbish-heap of partial or complete, imaginary or real examples that appear to show no purpose, and place this against a miraculous world full of purpose such as can be seen in all of Nature's domains, then I just find that amusing.”
11.11 Harmony Within Whole
I construct a machine purposefully, according to purpose, when I connect its parts together in a way that is not given in nature. The purpose contained in the arrangement consists in my having set how the machine will operate, as its Idea, into the machine itself. This makes the machine an object of perception with a corresponding Idea. Creatures of Nature are beings of this kind. Whoever calls a thing purposeful if it is formed according to a plan or law might just as well apply the same label to beings of nature. But this kind of lawfulness must not be confused with the purpose underlying subjective human action. In order to have a purpose it is absolutely necessary that the effective cause is a concept—in fact, the concept of the effect. But nowhere in nature can we find evidence that concepts are causes. The concept always proves to be merely the conceptual link between a cause and an effect. In nature, causes are always something perceptible.
11.12 World Being
12. MORAL IMAGINATION (Darwinism and Ethics)
12.0 Moral Intuition
12.1 Concrete Idea
12.2 Moral Imagination
12.3 Moral Technique
In general, people are better able to find concepts for the existing world than to productively originate out of their imagination future deeds, not yet in existence. Therefore, someone without moral imagination may well receive moral ideas from others and skillfully work them into reality. The reverse can also occur, where someone with moral imagination lacks technical skill and must rely on the service of others to carry out their ideas.
 Insofar as knowledge of the objects within our field of activity is necessary for acting morally, our action will depend on this kind of knowledge. What we need to know here are natural laws. These belong to the Natural Sciences, not to Ethics.
12.4 Science Of Morality
 It is not possible to have ethics as a Normative Science in the form of a science of standards, over and above this science.
12.5 Create Moral Rules
12.6 Evolution Of Morality
From this it follows for the philosopher of Ethics that, while he can certainly see the connection between earlier and later moral concepts, not one single new moral idea can be drawn from earlier ones. The individual, as a moral being, produces his own content. For an ethicist, this content is just as much a given fact as reptiles are a given fact for the natural scientist. Reptiles developed out of Proto-Amniotes, but natural scientists cannot get the concept of reptiles from out of the concept of Proto-Amniotes. Later moral ideas have evolved out of earlier ones, but the ethicist cannot extract from the moral principles of an earlier cultural period the moral principles of a later one. The confusion arises because when we investigate nature we already have the phenomena before us, and then we gain knowledge of it; while for ethical action we must first create the phenomena ourselves and then investigate it afterward. In the evolution of the ethical world order we accomplish something that Nature accomplishes on a lower level: we change something perceptible. As we have seen, an ethical rule cannot at first be known like a law of nature; it must first be created. Only when it is there can it become an object of our knowing.
 But is it not possible to make the old the standard for the new? Are we not all obligated to assess what we produce by our moral imagination by comparing it with traditional ethical teachings? If we are to be truly ethically productive, this is as absurd as it would be to assess a new form in Nature by comparing it with an older one, and saying that because reptiles do not conform to the Proto-Amniotes their form is unjustified (pathological).
12.7 Evolution Of Ethical Nature
 The same Ethical Individualism that I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles could also be developed from the theory of evolution. The final result would be the same. Only the way it was reached would be different.
12.8 Human Morality
 Ethical Individualism, then, is the crown of evolution. It is the theory of evolution built by Darwin and Haeckel for natural science extended to the moral life.
12.9 Characterization Of Deed
 The Evolutionist, then, if he is to keep to his fundamental principles, can only claim that present ethical behavior evolves out of the less perfect kinds of natural processes. The characterization of an action—whether it is a free deed—can be discovered only by the direct observation of the action of each agent. All that he claims is that humans have evolved out of non-human ancestors. What the nature of humans actually is must be determined by observing them. The results of this observation cannot possibly contradict the history of evolution. Only the assertion that the results exclude their being due to a natural ordering of the world would contradict recent developments in the Natural Sciences.
Footnote: It is justified to call thoughts (ethical ideas) observable objects. For even if what thinking produces does not enter the field of observation while thinking takes place, it can become the object of observation afterward. It is in this way that we have been able to characterize human action.
12.10 Free Deed
12.11 Want What Is Right
12.12 Enslaved Spirit
 External powers may prevent me from doing what I want. Then they simply damn me to do nothing. Not until they enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head, and put their own motives in the place of mine, do they really intend to make me unfree. This is why the Church is not only against actions, but is especially against impure thoughts—the motives of my action. And for the Church all motives that it has not authorized are impure. A Church or other community does not produce genuine slaves until its priests or teachers regard themselves as advisers of conscience, and the believers must come to them (to the confessional) to receive the motives for their actions from them.
13. THE VALUE OF LIFE (Optimism And Pessimism)
13.0 Good World Or Miserable Life
 The opposite view claims that life is full of misery and agony. Everywhere pain outweighs pleasure, sorrow outweighs joy. Existence is a burden, and under all circumstances non-existence would be preferable to existence.
 The main proponents of the first view—Optimism—are Shaftesbury and Leibniz; of the second view—Pessimism— the main proponents are Schopenhauer and Eduard von Hartmann.
13.1 Happy Doing Good
 Whoever starts from this point of view will find it easy to set the direction human conduct should take in order to contribute its share to the greatest good of the world. All that is necessary is for the human being to inquire into God's decrees and act accordingly. Once he knows what God's intentions are for the world and for humanity, he will be able to do what is right. And he will feel happy knowing he is adding his share to all the other good in the world. From this optimistic standpoint, then, life is worth living. It must stimulate us to cooperative participation.
13.2 Pain Of Striving
13.3 Pain Outweighs Pleasure
 The human being must steep himself in the knowledge that the pursuit of individual satisfaction (egoism) is foolish. He ought to be guided solely by the task of dedicating himself to the redemption of God through selfless service to world progress. The Pessimism of Hartmann, in contrast to the Pessimism of Schopenhauer (universal idleness), leads to activity devoted to a lofty task.
 But can it be said that this view is actually based on experience?
13.4 Pleasure Of Striving
 In reality, the opposite is true. Striving (desire) is in itself pleasurable. Who does not know the pleasure of living in the hope of a distant, but intensely desired goal? This pleasure is the companion of all work whose fruit will be enjoyed by us only in the future. This pleasure is entirely independent of our achieving the goal. When the goal is reached the pleasure of fulfillment is then added, as something new, to the pleasure of striving. Someone may now say: The pain of not reaching one's goal is increased by the pain of disappointed hope, and this makes the pain of non-fulfillment still greater than the possible pleasure of fulfillment. The reply to this would be: The reverse can also occur; the recollection of past pleasure will just as often work to ease the pain caused by non-fulfillment. He who cries out in the face of shattered hopes: “I have done all that I could!” is living proof of this. The inspiring feeling of having tried one's best is overlooked by those who say of every unfulfilled desire that, not only has the joy of fulfillment been lost, but also the enjoyment of striving has been destroyed.
13.5 Quantity Of Pleasure
 If we are to investigate whether there is more pleasure or pain in the world, we must take into account the pleasure of striving, the pleasure of fulfilled striving, and the pleasure that comes to us without the effort of striving. On the debit side of our account sheet we must enter the pain of boredom, the pain of unfulfilled striving, and finally the pain that comes our way without any striving on our part. Under this last heading belongs the pain caused by work not chosen by ourselves but forced upon us.
 This leads to the question: What is the right method for estimating the balance between our credit and the debit columns? According to Eduard von Hartmann reason is able to establish this. However he also says: “Pain and pleasure exist only to the extent that they are actually felt.” From this statement it would follow that there can be no standard for pleasure other than the subjective standard of feeling. I must 'feel' whether the sum total of my feelings of pain, compared with the sum total of my feelings of pleasure, results in a balance of more joy or more pain. But disregarding this, Hartmann asserts that, “Even though the value of life of each individual can only be assessed according to his own subjective standard, this is not to say that everyone is capable of calculating the correct algebraic sum from all the emotions that influence his life; in other words, there is no guarantee that his overall judgment of his own life that he arrives at concerning his subjective experiences would be correct." However, in saying this, Hartmann has once more made rational judgment as the standard of value to estimate feeling.
 It is because Von Hartmann holds this view that he thinks it necessary, if he is to evaluate life correctly, to set aside all factors that falsify our judgment about the balance between pleasure and pain. He tries to do this in two ways. First, by showing that our desire (instinct, will) interferes with a sober evaluation of our feelings. For example, we should tell ourselves that sexual enjoyment is a source of evil, the power of the sexual drive seduces us, promising greater pleasure than it delivers. We want the enjoyment, and so do not admit to ourselves that it makes us suffer. Second, von Hartmann subjects feelings to criticism to show that, when examined by reason, the things to which our feelings attach themselves turn out to be illusions, and are destroyed the moment our constantly growing intelligence sees through the illusion.
13.6 Quality Of Pleasure
 Hartmann goes even further. He says the ambitious man must also realize that the acclaim he so eagerly pursues is valueless. Either on his own or with the help of others, he must come to the insight that a reasonable person cannot care about the recognition of others, since one can always be sure that:
"In all matters, except vital questions of evolution, or those definitely settled by science," one can always be sure that “the majority is wrong and the minority is right... Whoever makes ambition his guiding star places his life happiness at the mercy of an unreliable judgment.” (Philosophy of the Unconscious)
Once the ambitious man admits all this to himself he will recognize everything as an illusion that he has achieved through his ambition, including the feelings attached to satisfying his ambitious desires. This is why Hartmann says the feelings of pleasure produced by illusions must also be removed from the balance sheet of the value of life. What is left, then, represents the illusion-free sum of pleasure, and this is so small in comparison with the sum of endured pain that life is not enjoyable, and non-existence is preferable to existence.
 While it is obvious that the interference of the ambition instinct must lead to a false result when calculating the balance of pleasure, we must still challenge what Hartmann says about the illusory character of the things that are found pleasurable. It would be an error to remove from the calculation of life’s pleasure all pleasurable feelings connected with actual or supposed illusions. The ambitious man has genuinely enjoyed the acclaim of the masses, regardless of whether he or someone else later recognizes this acclaim is an illusion. This later recognition does not at all diminish the happy feeling he already enjoyed. The elimination of all these “illusory” feelings from life's balance sheet does not make our judgment about our feelings more correct, but rather erases from life actual feelings that were experienced.
 And why should those feelings be eliminated? [Whoever has these feelings gains pleasure from them; whoever has conquered them gains through the experience of self-conquest an ennobled pleasure that is purely mental, but no less significant. (not from the vain emotion: “What a wonderful person I am!” but rather through the objective source of pleasure to be found in self-conquest) 1918] If feelings are deleted from the pleasure side of our account because they are attached to things that turn out to be illusion, we make the value of life dependent, not on the quantity, but on the quality of pleasure, and this quality, in turn, is made dependent on the value of the things that cause the pleasure. But if I set out to determine the value of life by comparing the quantity of pleasure with the pain it brings, I have no right to bring in some other factor by which I first determine the value or non-value of the pleasure. If I say I will compare the amount of pleasure with the amount of pain and see which is greater, then I must take into account all pleasure and pain in their actual amounts, whether they are based on illusion or not. If I credit a lesser value to a pleasure that is based on an illusion than to one that can be justified by reason, then I make the value of life dependent on factors other than pleasure.
 To assess a pleasure at a lower value because it is derived from something frivolous is like a merchant who enters in his account the considerable profits of a toy factory at a quarter of their worth, on the grounds that the factory produces only playthings for children.
 When it is simply a question of weighing the amount of pleasure against the amount of pain, then the illusory character of certain things giving pleasure should be left entirely out of the picture.
13.7 Pursuit Of Pleasure
 A merchant has made a mistake in his calculations if his calculated profit does not match a business’s past profits that can be shown or can be projected as future gains. Likewise, a philosopher will have made a mistake in his estimate, if it is impossible to prove that his estimated surplus of pleasure—or, as the case may be, of pain—that he has somehow reasoned out, is actually felt.
 For the moment, I will disregard the calculations of the Pessimists who support their view of the value of the world with rational estimation. However, someone who has to decide whether to carry on the business of life or not will demand to be shown where the alleged surplus of pain is to be found.
 Here we touch the point where reason alone is not in a position to determine the surplus of pleasure or pain, but where this surplus must be shown in life as something actually felt. For human beings cannot attain the reality (truth) of things through concepts alone, but only through the interpenetration, mediated by thinking, of concepts and percepts (and feelings are percepts) (see Chapter 5). A merchant, after all, will give up his business only if the losses calculated by his accountant are confirmed by the facts. If that does not happen, he will have the accountant calculate the figures again. This is exactly what a person will do in the business of life. If a philosopher tries to convince him that life contains more pain than pleasure, but he does not experience it that way, then he will say to the philosopher: "You have made a mistake in your theorizings; think it through again! But if a time comes when a business faces losses so great that its credit can no longer satisfy the creditors, then bankruptcy will result—even if the merchant’s bookkeeping obscures the state of his affairs. Likewise, it would lead to bankruptcy in the business of life if a person's pain at some point became so great that no hope (credit) of future pleasure could get him through the pain.
 Now the number of those who commit suicide is relatively small compared with the number of those who live bravely on. Very few people give up the business of life because of the pain involved. What does that show? Either that it is not true to say that the amount of pain is greater than the amount of pleasure, or else we simply do not make the continuation of life dependent on the amount of pain or pleasure we feel.
 Eduard von Hartmann's Pessimism oddly declares that life has no value because it is dominated by pain, and yet maintains that we must go through with it anyways. We must do so because the world purpose mentioned above (13.3) can be achieved only through ceaseless, devoted human labor. But, as long as people are still pursuing their egotistical desires they are unfit for such selfless work.
 According to this view, then, the striving for pleasure is fundamentally inherent in human nature. Only out of insight into the impossibility of fulfillment does this striving withdraw and make way for higher human tasks.
 It cannot be said that Egotism is truly overcome by an ethical worldview that hopes to achieve devotion to selfless goals in life by the acceptance of Pessimism. Ethical ideals are said to be strong enough to master the will only if a person has recognized that his egotistical striving for pleasure does not lead to any satisfaction. The selfishness of the human being longs for the grapes of pleasure but declares them sour because they are beyond his reach, so he turns his back on them and devotes himself to a selfless way of life. In the Pessimist’s view, moral ideals do not have the power to overcome Egotism. Instead, they establish their rulership on the ground cleared by the recognition of the hopelessness of Egotism.
 If it is the natural disposition of the human being to strive after pleasure, but he cannot possibly achieve it, then the annihilation of existence and salvation through non-existence would be the only sensible goal. And if we accept the view that the real bearer of the pain of the world is God, it follows that the task of human beings is to help bring about the deliverance of God. This goal, far from being advanced, is hindered by the suicide of the individual. God in his wisdom must have created human beings for the sole purpose of bringing about his salvation through their labor. Otherwise creation would have no purpose. Each one of us must carry out his appointed task in the universal work of deliverance. If he withdraws from his task through suicide, then someone else must do the work intended for him. Someone else must endure the agony of existence in his place. And since God is in every being as the real bearer of pain, the suicide has not diminished the quantity God's pain, but has rather imposed upon God the additional burden of providing a replacement to take over the task.
13.8 Value Of Pleasure
 Hunger arises when our organs can no longer continue to function properly without a fresh supply of food. What a hungry person wants first of all is to satisfy the hunger. As soon as enough food has been taken in for the hunger to cease, everything that the instinct for food craved is achieved. The pleasure that comes with being satisfied consists primarily in putting an end to the pain caused by hunger. But in addition to the mere urge to eat, there is another need. By eating, the human being does not only want to restore normal organic functions and get rid of the pain of hunger, he also wants it to be accompanied by pleasurable sensations of taste. If he feels hungry and is within half an hour of an appetizing meal, he will even refuse inferior food that could satisfy him sooner, so as not to spoil his pleasure for the better food to come. He needs the hunger in order to get the full enjoyment from his meal. In this way hunger also becomes a source of pleasure for him. Now if all the existing hunger in the world could be satisfied, it would result in the full measure of pleasure due to our desire for food. To this we would have to add the special enjoyment the gourmet achieves by cultivating his sense of taste beyond the ordinary.
 This enjoyment would have its highest possible value if all needs connected with this kind of enjoyment are satisfied and if a certain amount of pain did not have to be accepted into the bargain.
 Modern Science holds the view that Nature produces more life than it can sustain, that is to say, Nature produces more hunger than it can satisfy. In the struggle for survival, the surplus of life that is produced must perish in pain. Granted, the needs of life at any given moment in the course of the world are greater than the available means of satisfying them, and this does detract from the enjoyment of life. However, any individual enjoyment that actually does occur is not in the least reduced. Wherever a desire is satisfied, there is a corresponding amount of enjoyment, even if there is a large number of unsatisfied instincts in the desiring being itself or in others alongside it. What is diminished is the "value" of the enjoyment of life. If only a part of a living being's total needs are satisfied, it experiences a corresponding degree of pleasure. This pleasure has a lower value, the smaller it is in proportion to the total demands made on life by the instinct in question. We can imagine this value represented by a fraction, whose numerator is the actually experienced pleasure, while the denominator is the sum total of needs. This fraction has the value of 1 when the numerator and the denominator are equal, that is, when all needs are fully satisfied. The value will be greater than 1 when the being experiences more pleasure than its desires demand, and it becomes less than 1 when the quantity of pleasure falls short of the sum total of desires. But the fraction can never have the value 0 as long as the numerator has any value at all, however small. If a person were to make a final account before his death, distributing over his whole life the amount of pleasure he had derived from a certain instinct—for example, hunger with all its demands—then the total pleasure he had experienced might have a very small value, but it could never be nil. In a case where the amount of pleasure remains constant the pleasure of life will diminish if the needs of the being increases. The same is true for the sum total of all life in nature. The greater the total number of creatures in proportion to those who are able to fully satisfy their instinctive cravings, the smaller is the average value of the pleasure of life. Our shares in life’s pleasure in the form of instincts fall in value when there is no hope of cashing them in at their full value. If I get enough to eat for three days and then have to go hungry for the next three days, the enjoyment on the three days when I ate is not diminished. But, as I have to think of it as distributed over six days, its value for my need of food is reduced by half. The same applies to the amount of pleasure in relation to the degree of my need. If to satisfy my hunger I need two sandwiches but I can only get one, the enjoyment gained from eating the one sandwich has only half the value it would have had if it had satisfied my hunger. This is how the value of a pleasure is determined in life. It is measured by the needs of life. Our desires are the measure; pleasure is what is measured. The enjoyment of eating has a value only because hunger exists, and it attains a specific value in proportion to the degree of the existing hunger.
 Unfulfilled demands cast a shadow even over satisfied desires, and detract from the value of enjoyable hours. One can also speak of the value of a present feeling of pleasure. The present value of a pleasure is lower, the smaller the pleasure is compared to the duration and intensity of our desire.
 A quantity of pleasure has its highest value for us when it exactly matches the duration and intensity of our desire. A quantity of pleasure that is less than what is demanded by our desire reduces the value of the pleasure. A quantity that is greater produces a surplus which has not been demanded and is only felt as pleasure as long as we are able to increase the intensity of our desire during the enjoyment. If we are not able to increase our demand in order to keep pace with the increasing pleasure, then the pleasure turns into displeasure. The object that would otherwise satisfy us, overwhelms us without our wanting it, and makes us suffer. This proves that pleasure has value for us only to the extent that we can measure it against our desire. Excessive pleasure turns into pain. We can observe this especially in people who have very little desire for certain kinds of pleasure. In people whose desire for food is dulled, eating quickly leads to nausea. Again, we can see from this that desire is the measure of value for pleasure.
 The Pessimist might say that an instinct for food that remains unsatisfied is the cause not only of the loss of enjoyment, but also positive pain, suffering, and misery in the world. He can point to the untold misery of those who are starving, and to the vast amount of pain these people suffer indirectly from lack of food. And if he wants to widen his argument to the rest of nature, he can point to the suffering of animals that starve to death at certain times of the year. The Pessimist maintains that these evils far outweigh the amount of pleasure that the instinct for food brings into the world.
 There is no doubt that pleasure and pain can be compared, and one can estimate the surplus of one or the other much as we do in the case of profit and loss. But if the Pessimist believes that life has no value because it contains an excess of pain, he is mistaken, for the simple reason that he makes a calculation that is not made in real life.
13.9 Will For Pleasure
 We never strive for an abstract amount of pleasure, but for concrete satisfaction in a very specific way. If the pleasure we want can be derived only from a specific object or sensation, no other object or sensation will do, even if the amount of pleasure derived from it would be the same. Someone who wants to satisfy his hunger cannot replace the pleasure of eating by the same amount of pleasure he derives from going for a walk. Our desire would disappear only if, in a general way, it was for a certain amount of pleasure, and the price of achieving it turned out to be an even greater amount of pain. It is because we strive for a specific kind of satisfaction that we experience the pleasure of fulfillment, even if, along with it, a greater amount of pain must be accepted. The reason we cannot set down in our account the pain endured in achieving the goal as a factor of equal value to the pleasure, is because the drives of instinctive life move in a specific direction and go straight toward concrete goals. Provided the desire is strong enough to still exist to some degree after overcoming the pain—no matter how great the pain—the pleasure of satisfaction can still be enjoyed to its full extent. Thus the desire does not directly compare the pleasure sought with the pain involved in attaining it, but indirectly measures its own intensity with that of the pain. The question is not whether the pleasure to be gained is greater than the pain involved, but whether the desire for the goal is greater than the resistance of the pain involved in reaching that goal. If the resistance is greater than the desire, then the desire gives way to the inevitable, it weakens and strives no further. Since a specific kind of satisfaction is demanded, the pleasure connected with it acquires an importance that makes it possible—after satisfaction has occurred—to take account of the pain only to the extent that it has reduced the intensity of our desire. A passionate admirer of beautiful views never directly compares the amount of pleasure he gains from the mountain top view with the amount of pain caused by the laborious ascent and descent. What he does consider is whether his desire for the view will still be sufficiently intense after all obstacles have been conquered. Pleasure and pain can only be compared indirectly through the strength of the desire. The question is not whether there is more pleasure or more pain, but whether the will for pleasure is strong enough to overcome the pain.
 A proof of the correctness of this view is the fact that we put a higher value on pleasure when attained at the cost of great pain, than when it simply falls into our lap like a gift from heaven. When our desire has been tempered by pain and suffering and yet the goal is still achieved, then the pleasure in proportion to the remaining desire is all the greater. As I have shown (p. xxx) this proportion represents the value of pleasure. A further proof is given through the fact that living creatures (including humans) will seek to satisfy their instincts for as long as they are able to endure the pain and suffering involved. The struggle for existence is only a result of this fact. All existing life strives to express itself, and only those give up the fight whose desire is stifled by the force of the opposing difficulties. Every living creature seeks food until lack of food destroys its life. A human being, too, only takes his own life if he believes (rightly or wrongly) that the goals of life worth striving for are beyond his reach. He will battle against all suffering and pain for as long as he believes there is a possibility of achieving the things he considers worth striving for. Philosophy would first have to convince the human being that an act of will makes sense only when the pleasure is greater than the pain; for according to his nature he will strive to achieve what he desires for as long as he can endure the unavoidable pain, no matter how great. But such a philosophy would be mistaken because it makes the human will dependent on a factor (the surplus of pleasure over pain) which is basically foreign to human nature. The fundamental measure of the will is desire, and desire presses forward as long as it can. Suppose that, when buying a certain quantity of apples, I am required to take twice as many bad apples as good ones, because the seller wants to clear out his stock. I will not hesitate to take the bad apples as well if I value the good ones highly enough that, in addition to the purchase price, I am willing to accept the effort of disposing of the bad ones. This example illustrates the relationship between the amounts of pleasure and pain resulting from an instinct. I determine the value of the good apples, not by subtracting them from the number of bad ones, but by assessing whether the good ones still have value for me despite the presence of the bad ones.
 And just as I disregard the bad apples in my enjoyment of the good ones, so I give myself up to the satisfaction of a desire after having shaken off the unavoidable pains.
 Even if Pessimism was right in its claim that there is more pain than pleasure in the world, it would have no influence on the will, for living beings would still strive after whatever pleasure remains. The empirical proof that pain outweighs pleasure is certainly effective for showing the futility of that school of thought that sees the value of life in a surplus of pleasure (Eudaemonism). It would not, however, be suitable for showing that will in general is irrational, for the will does not seek a surplus of pleasure, but what pleasure remains after enduring the pain. This remaining pleasure still appears as a goal worth striving for.
13.10 Magnitude Of Pleasure
13.11 Highest Pleasure
 Ethical ideas spring from human moral imagination. To achieve them depends on whether he desires them intensely enough to overcome pain and suffering. Ethical ideals are human intuitions, the driving force harnessed by his spirit. He wants them, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He does not need ethics to forbid him to strive for pleasure and then tell him what he should strive for. He will strive for ethical ideals if his moral imagination is sufficiently active to inspire him with intuitions that give his will the strength to make its way through all resistance, including the inner obstacles and unavoidable pain lying within his organization.
 Whoever strives for sublimely great ideals does so because they are part of his nature, and to achieve them brings a joy compared with which the pleasure that impoverished spirits draw from satisfying everyday drives is trivial. Idealists revel in spirit in translating their ideals into reality.
 Whoever wants to eradicate the pleasure of fulfilling human desires must first make the human being into a slave who does not act because he wants to, but only because he ought to. For the achievement of what one wants to do gives pleasure. What is called “the Good,” is not what a person ought to do, but what he wants to do when he expresses his fully developed true human nature. Those who cannot recognize this fact feel obligated first to drive out a person's own desires and then dictate to him from the outside what content he is to give his will.
 A human being values the fulfillment of a desire because the desire springs from his own nature. What is achieved has value because he wants it. If one denies any value to the goals of a human beings own will, then one has to find worthwhile goals in something that the human being does not want.
 A system of Ethics built on Pessimism arises from a disregard for moral imagination. Only those who consider the individual human mind as incapable of determining for itself the goals to strive for could see in the longing for pleasure the totality of the human will. A person who lacks imagination creates no ethical ideas. They must be given to him. Physical nature ensures that he strives to satisfy his lower desires. But the fully developed human being also contains desires that originate in the spirit. Only if one holds the view that the nature of the human being is completely devoid of any spiritual desires is it possible to claim that he must receive them from outside. And then it would also be justifiable to say that a person is duty bound to do things that he does not want to do. An Ethical system that demands a human being suppress his own will in order to fulfill tasks he does not want, does not take account of the whole human being, but with a stunted being who lacks the capacity for spiritual desire. In a harmoniously developed human being the ideals of virtue are not outside, but within the compass of his will. Ethical conduct does not come about by eradicating a one-sided personal will, but rather in fully developing human nature. Those who believe that ethical ideals are attainable only if the human being destroys his individual will, ignore the fact that these ideals are wanted by the human being as much as he wants to satisfy his so-called animal instincts.
13.12 Joy Of Achievement
 The mature person is the maker of his own value. He does not strive for pleasure that is to him a gift of grace given by nature or by the Creator; nor does he live to fulfill what he is supposed to recognize as duty, after he has renounced all pursuit of pleasure. He acts as he wants to act—according to his moral intuitions—and he finds the true enjoyment of life in achieving what he wants. He determines the value of life by comparing what he has achieved with the goals striven for. An Ethical system which replaces "want to" with "ought to," inclination with duty, will, as a consequence, determine the value of a human being by comparing the demands of duty with the fulfillment of duty. It places a standard on a human being that does not apply to his true nature.
The view developed in this book points the human being back to himself. It recognizes the true value of life as nothing except what each individual regards as such by the measure of his own will. It knows of no value of life that is not recognized by the individual, just as it knows of no purpose of life that does not arise from these values. It sees in the all-around development of the human being, a true individuality who is his own master and the assessor of his own value.
14. INDIVIDUALITY AND TYPE
14.0 The Question Of Free Individuality
 Given all this, is individuality even possible? Can we regard the individual human being as a self-contained whole, seeing that he grows out of one group and fits in as a member of another group?
14.1 Group Type
14.2 Freedom From Type
14.3 Judge Character
14.4 Occupational Choice
14.5 Academic Study
14.6 Free Thinking
14.7 Innermost Core
14.8 Views And Actions
14.9 Emancipate Knowing
14.10 Free Spirit
14.11 Ethical Conduct
14.12 Moral Contribution