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This page has the complete Philosophy Of Freedom and then inserts reference quotes throughout from his other books that expand and clarify TPOF. The first four books written by Rudolf Steiner comprise the first phase of his life and the development of his life philosophy.They are Goethean Science 1883, The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception 1886, Truth and Science 1992 and culminate in his most important bookThe Philosophy Of Freedom 1894. The Philosophy Of Freedom is a complete, but brief outline. Steiner's preceding three books further fill out this brief outline, The purpose here is to place relevant reference material in block quotes from his other books in the text of The Philosophy Of Freedom.

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The Philosophy Of Freedom
Rudolf Steiner

with reference material added in block quotes
The Theory of Freedom

0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE  14 block quotes

1. CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION  3 block quotes



4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPT  21 block quotes

5. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD  30 block quotes

6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY  5 block quotes

The Reality of Freedom

8. THE FACTORS OF LIFE  3 block quotes

9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM  5 block quotes


(The Destiny Of Man)
  9 block quotes

(Darwinism and Morality)
  9 block quotes

(Optimism and Pessimism)
  11 block quotes

14. THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE GENUS  5 block quotes


The act of knowing described in the Philosophy Of Freedom reveals the true reality of sense perceptions with the addition of the corresponding thought. The same applies to spiritual perceptions.
“This first activity of ours . . . can be called pure experience” It is evident from the whole bearing of this epistemology that the point of its deliberations is to gain an answer to the question, What is knowledge? In order to attain this goal we looked, to begin with, at the world of sense perception on the one hand, and at penetration of it with thought, on the other. And it is shown that in the interpenetration of both, the true reality of sense existence reveals itself. With this the question, What is the activity of knowing? is answered in principle.

This answer becomes no different when the question is extended to the contemplation of the spiritual. Therefore, what is said in this book about the nature of knowledge is valid also for the activity of knowing the spiritual worlds, to which my later books refer.

It is no different for spiritual contemplation. When this arises—through soul processes that I have described in my later book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment — it again constitutes only one side of spiritual existence; the corresponding thoughts of the spirit constitute the other side. It is true to say that in none of my later books have I diverged from the idea of knowing activity that I developed in this one; rather I have only applied this idea to spiritual experience. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

Analysis of the act of cognition
The object of the following discussion is to analyze the act of cognition and reduce it to its fundamental elements, in order to enable us to formulate the problem of knowledge correctly and to indicate a way to its solution. This essay constitutes a prologue to a "The Philosophy of Freedom", a work which will appear shortly.
Truth and Knowledge Introduction

Objective idealism
It is hoped in this essay to lay a foundation for overcoming the subjectivism inherent in all theories of knowledge based on Kant's philosophy. Indeed, I believe I have achieved this by showing that the subjective form in which the picture of the world presents itself to us in the act of cognition — prior to any scientific explanation of it — is merely a necessary transitional stage which is overcome in the very process of knowledge. By showing this, the foundation is also laid for objective idealism, which is a necessary consequence of a properly understood theory of knowledge.

This objective idealism differs from Hegel's metaphysical, absolute idealism, in that it seeks the reason for the division of reality into 1.given existence and 2.concept in the cognizing subject itself; and holds that this division is resolved in the subjective process of cognition. I have already advanced this viewpoint in "An Outline of a Theory of Knowledge", 1885, but my method of inquiry was a different one, nor did I analyze the basic elements in the act of cognition as will be done here.Truth and Knowledge Introduction

Note: throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”



0.0 Culture Of Individuality
[1] I BELIEVE I am indicating correctly one of the fundamental characteristics of our age when I say that, at the present day, all human interests tend to centre in the cult of human individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything which hinders the individual in the full development of his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Olympus” no longer holds for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something which, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each of them asserts his right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. There are dramatists who write in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction which grammar demands.

[2] No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, that they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.

0.1 Inner Truth Gives Conviction
[3] Truth, too, will be sought in an age such as ours only in the depths of human nature. Of the following two well-known paths
described by Schiller, it is the second which will today be found most useful:

Wahrheit suchen wir beide, du aussen im Leben, ich innen
In dem Herzen, und so findet sie jeder gewiss.
Ist das Auge gesund, so begegnet es aussen dem Schöpfer;
Ist es das Herz, dann gewiss spiegelt es innen die Welt.

Truth seek we both — Thou in the life without thee and around;
I in the heart within. By both can Truth alike be found.
The healthy eye can through the world the great creator track;
The healthy heart is but the glass which gives creation back.

A truth which comes to us from without bears ever the stamp of uncertainty. Conviction attaches only to what appears as truth to each of us in our own hearts.

Satisfying World-View
There stands an ever-growing need for a satisfying view of the world and of life. What for a long time was a substitute for so many people, i.e., religious dogma, is losing more and more of its power to convince. The urge is increasing all the time to achieve by the work of thinking what was once owed to faith in revelation: satisfaction of spirit. Theory of Knowledge A. Preliminary Questions 1. The Point Of Departure

0.2 Truth Empowers
[4] Truth alone can give us confidence in developing our powers. He who is tortured by doubts finds his powers lamed. In a world of riddle of which baffles him, he can find no aim for his activity.

0.3 Comprehensible Truth
[5] We no longer want to believe; we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths which we do not wholly comprehend. But the individuality which seeks to experience everything in the depths of its own being, is repelled by what it cannot understand. Only that knowledge will satisfy us which springs from the inner life of the personality, and submits itself to no external norm.

Blind faith
It is indeed true that we must acknowledge progress in all areas of culture. But that this progress is one into the depths of things can hardly be asserted. For the content of an epoch, however, only progress into the depths of things is decisive, after all. But our epoch rejects, as unattainable for man, any progress at all into the depths of things. We have become faint-hearted in all areas, especially in that of thinking and willing. With respect to thinking: one observes endlessly, stores up the observations, and lacks the courage to develop them into a scientific, whole view of reality.

Today one wants only to look with one's senses, not think. One has lost all trust in thinking. One does not consider it able to penetrate into the mysteries of the world and of life; one altogether renounces any solution to the great riddle questions of existence.

The rejection of all thinking and the insistence upon sense experience is, grasped more deeply, nothing more, after all, than the blind faith in revelation of the religions. The latter rests, after all, only upon the fact that the church provides finished truths that one has to believe. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

0.4 Knowledge Starting From Individual Experience
[6] Again, we do not want any knowledge that has encased itself once and for all in hide bound formulas, and which is preserved in Encyclopedias valid for all time. Each of us claims the right to start from the facts that lie nearest to hand, from his own immediate experiences, and thence to ascend to a knowledge of the whole universe. We strive after certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

0.5 Individual Need To Know
[7] Our scientific doctrines, too, are no longer to be formulated as if we were unconditionally compelled to accept them. None of us would wish to give a scientific work a title like Fichte's A Pellucid Account for the General Public concerning the Real Nature of the Newest Philosophy. An Attempt to Compel the Readers to Understand. Nowadays there is no attempt to compel anyone to understand. We claim no agreement with anyone whom a distinct individual need does not drive to a certain view. We do not seek nowadays to cram facts of knowledge even into the immature human being, the child. We seek rather to develop his faculties in such a way that his understanding may depend no longer on our compulsion, but on his will.

Human existence reaches its potential only when it becomes active in knowing
With respect to the whole of human experience, thinking contemplation of the world is only one side. Out of the fullness of human existence thought-configurations rise, as it were, to the surface. One part of these thought-pictures constituted an answer to the question: What is the knowing activity of man? And this answer turns out to be such that one sees: Human existence reaches its potential only when it becomes active in knowing. Life without knowledge would be like a human organism without a head; i.e., it would not be at all.

Within inner life there grows a content which, just as the hungering organism demands nourishment, demands perception from outside; and, in the outer world, there is a content of perception which does not bear its essential nature within itself, but which first reveals this essential nature when the cognitive process connects this perceptual content with one's inner content. In this way the cognitive process becomes a part in the formation of world reality. The human being works along creatively with this world reality through his knowing activity. And if a plant root is unthinkable without the fulfillment of its potential in the fruit, so by no means only man but the world itself would not be complete unless knowing activity took place. In his activity of knowing man does not do something for himself alone; rather he works along with the world in the revelation of real existence. What is in man is ideal semblance; what is in the world of perception is sense semblance; the inter-working of the two in knowing activity first constitutes reality.

Other views presuppose that reality is present somewhere outside of the activity of knowing, and that in the activity of knowing, a human, copied representation of this reality is to result, or perhaps cannot result. The fact that this reality cannot be found by knowing activity—because it is first made into reality in the activity of knowing—is experienced hardly anywhere. Those who think philosophically seek life and real existence outside of knowing activity; Goethe stands within creative life and real existence by engaging in the activity of knowing. Therefore even the more recent attempts at a world view stand outside the Goethean creation of ideas. Our epistemology wants to stand inside of it, because philosophy becomes a content of life thereby, and an interest in philosophy becomes necessary for life. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

0.6 Strive To Live According To Individualistic Principles
[8] I am under no illusion concerning the characteristics of the present age. I know how many flaunt a manner of life which lacks all individuality and follows only the prevailing fashion. But I know also that many of my contemporaries strive to order their lives in the direction of the principles I have indicated. To them I would dedicate this book. It does not pretend to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, it only describes the path chosen by one whose heart is set upon Truth.

Under no circumstances should a scientific view be based on an authority; it must always rest upon principles. Theory of Knowledge 2. The Science of Goethe According to the Method of Schiller

0.7 Thought Training In Pure Thinking
[9] The reader will be led at first into somewhat abstract regions, where thought must draw sharp outlines if it is to reach secure conclusions. But he will also be led out of these arid concepts into concrete life. I am fully convinced that one cannot do without soaring into the ethereal realm of abstraction, if one's experience is to penetrate life in all directions. He who is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest enjoyments of life. The Oriental sages make their disciples live for years a life of resignation and asceticism before they impart to them their own wisdom. The Western world no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for science, but it does require a sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure thought.

0.8 Holistic Science Leading To Fullness Of Life
[10] The spheres of life are many and for each there develop a special science. But life itself is one, and the more the sciences strive to penetrate deeply into their separate spheres, the more they withdraw themselves from the vision of the world as a living whole. There must be one supreme science which seeks in the separate sciences the elements for leading men back once more to the fullness of life. The scientific specialist seeks in his studies to gain a knowledge of the world and its workings. This book has a philosophical aim: science itself is to be infused with the life of an organic whole. The special sciences are stages on the way to this all-inclusive science.

Epistemology is the scientific study of what all other sciences presuppose without examining it: cognition itself. It is thus a philosophical science, fundamental to all other sciences. Only through epistemology can we learn the value and significance of all insight gained through the other sciences. Thus it provides the foundation for all scientific effort. Truth and Knowledge Preliminary Remarks

Set the crown upon creation
Now what task has epistemology fulfilled with respect to the other sciences? It has made clear to us what the purpose and task of any science is. It has shown us what the significance is of the content of the individual sciences. Our epistemology is the science that characterizes all the other sciences. It has made clear to us that what is gained by the individual sciences is the objective ground of world existence.

The sciences arrive at a series of concepts; epistemology teaches us about the actual task of these concepts. By arriving at this distinctive conclusion, our epistemology diverges from all other epistemologies of the present day. Our epistemology does not merely want to establish a formal connection between thinking and real being; it does not want to solve the epistemological problem in a merely logical way; it wants to arrive at a positive result. It shows what the content of our thinking is; and it finds that this what is at the same time the objective content of the world. Thus epistemology becomes for us the most significant of the sciences for the human being. It gives man clarity about himself; it shows him his place in the world; it is thereby a source of satisfaction for him. It first tells him what he is called to be and to do.

The human being feels himself uplifted in his possession of its truths; his scientific investigation gains a new illumination. Now he knows for the first time that he is most directly connected with the core of world existence, that he uncovers this core which remains hidden to all other beings, that in him the world spirit/mind comes to manifestation, that the world spirit/mind dwells within him. He sees himself as the one who completes the world process; he sees that he is called to accomplish what the other powers of the world are not able to do, that he has to set the crown upon creation.

If religion teaches that God created man in His own image, then our epistemology teaches us that God has led His creation only to a certain point. There He let the human being arise, and the human being, by knowing himself and looking about him, sets himself the task of working on, of completing what the primal power began. The human being immerses himself ; in the world and recognizes how he can build further on the ground that has been laid; he grasps the indication that the primal spirit/mind has made and carries out this indication. Thus epistemology is the teaching both of the significance and of the vocation (Bestimmung) of man. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Holistic science
Natural science investigates organisms as compositions of parts, according to outer characteristics, just as one does with inorganic things — often give these particulars an incorrect interpretation, to present them in a false light. One cannot of course see any such error in the particulars themselves, since the particulars in themselves, considered separately, do not bear within themselves the principle that explains them. They can be explained only by the nature of the whole, because it is the whole that gives them being and significance. Goethean Science Introduction

A similar relationship is found in the arts. The composer in his work employs the rules of the theory of composition. This latter is an accumulation of principles, knowledge of which is a necessary presupposition for composing. In the act of composing, the rules of theory become the servants of life, of reality. In exactly the same sense philosophy is an art. All genuine philosophers have been artists in concepts. Human ideas have been the medium of their art, and scientific method their artistic technique. Abstract thinking thus gains concrete individual life. Ideas turn into life forces. We have no longer merely a knowledge about things, but we have now made knowledge a real, self-determining organism. Our consciousness, alive and active, has risen beyond a mere passive reception of truths.

Knowing is artistic creativity
Our epistemology has divested human knowing of the merely passive character often attributed to it and has grasped it as an activity of the human spirit. One usually believes that the content of science is taken up from outside; it is believed, in fact, that the more man refrains from any participation of his own in what is taken up, the more one will be able to maintain a high level of objectivity in science. Our considerations have shown that the true content of science is not at all the perceived outer material but rather the idea grasped in the mind, which leads us deeper into the working of the world than all dissection and observation of the outer world as mere experience. The “idea” is the content of science. In contrast to perception, which is taken up passively, science is therefore a product of the activity of the human spirit.
With this we have brought knowing activity nearer to artistic creativity, which is also a productive, human activity. At the same time we have introduced the necessity of clarifying their mutual interrelationship. Theory of Knowledge G. Conclusion 21. The Activity of Knowing and Artistic Creativity

Science and art
Both knowing and artistic activity are based upon the fact that the human being lifts himself from reality as product to reality as producer; that he ascends from the created to the creating, from chance happening to necessity. Because outer reality always shows us only a creation of creative nature, we lift ourselves in mind to the unity of nature that manifests to us as the creator. Each object of reality presents us with one of the endless possibilities lying hidden in the womb of creative nature. Our mind lifts itself to the contemplation of that source in which all these possibilities are contained.

Now science and art are the objects into which the human being impresses what this contemplation offers him. In science this occurs only in the form of the idea, which means in a directly mental medium; in art it occurs in an object that is sense-perceptibly or mentally perceivable. In science nature manifests in a purely ideal way as “that which encompasses everything individual”; in art an object of the outer world appears as depicting that which encompasses everything individual. That infinite element, which science seeks within the finite and seeks to present in the idea, is what art impresses into some medium taken from the real world. That which appears in science as idea is an image in art. The same infinite element is the object of both science and art, only it appears differently in one than in the other. The manner of presentation is different. Goethe therefore criticized the fact that one spoke of the idea of the beautiful as though the beautiful were not simply the sense-perceptible reflection of the idea. Theory of Knowledge G.
Conclusion 21. The Activity of Knowing and Artistic Creativity

0.9 The Principle Question Is Freedom
[11] How philosophy, as an art, is related to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it —these are the principle problems of my book. All other scientific discussions are put in only because they ultimately throw light on these questions which are, in my opinion, the most intimate that concern mankind. These pages offer a "Philosophy of Freedom".

0.10 Value Of Science Is Human Development
[12] All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity did it not strive to enhance the existential value of human personality. The true value of the sciences is seen only when we have shown the importance of their results for humanity. The final aim of the individuality can never be the cultivation of any single faculty, but only the development of all capacities which slumber within us. Knowledge has value only in so far as it contributes to the all-round unfolding of the whole nature of man.

Goal of all knowledge
Clearly, the ultimate goal of all knowledge is to enhance the value of human existence. He who does not consider this to be his ultimate goal, only works as he learned from those who taught him; he “investigates” because that happens to be what he has learned to do. He can never be called “an independent thinker.”

The true value of learning lies in the philosophical demonstration of the significance of its results for humanity. It is my aim to contribute to this. But perhaps modern science does not ask for justification! If so, two things are certain. first, that I shall have written a superfluous work; second, that modern scholars are striving in vain, and do not know their own aims. Truth and Science Preface

0.11 Ideas To Serve Human Goals
[13] This book, therefore, does not conceive the relation between science and life in such a way that man must bow down before the world of ideas and devote his powers to its service. On the contrary, it shows that he takes possession of the world of ideas in order to use them for his human aims, which transcend those of mere science.

0.12 Master Over Ideas
[14] Man must confront ideas as master; lest he become their slave.

Taking possession of the idea
The objects of thinking are ideas. Inasmuch as thinking takes possession of the idea, thinking fuses with the primal ground of world existence; what is at work outside enters into the mind of man: he becomes one with objective reality in its highest potency. Becoming aware of the idea within reality is the true communion of man. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge



1.0 The Question Of Freedom
[1] IS man free in action and thought, or is he bound by an iron necessity? There are few questions on which so much ingenuity has been expended. The idea of freedom has found enthusiastic supporters and stubborn opponents in plenty. There are those who, in their moral fervour, label anyone a man of limited intelligence who can deny so patent a fact as freedom. Opposed to them are others who regard it as the acme of unscientific thinking for anyone to believe that the uniformity of natural law is broken in the sphere of human action and thought. One and the same thing is thus proclaimed, now as the most precious possession of humanity, now as its most fatal illusion. Infinite subtlety has been employed to explain how human freedom can be consistent with determinism in nature of which man, after all, is a part. Others have been at no less pains to explain how such a delusion as this could have arisen. That we are dealing here with one of the most important questions for life, religion, conduct, science, must be clear to every one whose most prominent trait of character is not the reverse of thoroughness.

1.1 Freedom Of Indifferent Choice
It is one of the sad signs of the superficiality of present-day thought, that a book which attempts to develop a new faith out of the results of recent scientific research (David Friedrich Strauss: Der alte und neue Glaube), has nothing more to say on this question than these words:

"With the question of the freedom of the human will we are not concerned. The alleged freedom of indifferent choice has been recognized as an empty illusion by every philosophy worthy of the name. The determination of the moral value of human conduct and character remains untouched by this problem."

It is not because I consider that the book in which it occurs has any special importance that I quote this passage, but because it seems to me to express the only view to which the thought of the majority of our contemporaries is able to rise in this matter. Every one who has gown beyond the kindergarten-stage of science appears to know nowadays that freedom cannot consist in choosing, at one's pleasure, one or other of two possible courses of action. There is always, so we are told, a perfectly definite reason why, out of several possible actions, we carry out just one and no other.

Human activity
It is totally inadmissible to speak of an independent will. If one does speak in that way, then one has not grasped the concepts clearly, for, what is the human personality if one disregards the world of ideas that fills it? It is, in fact, an active existence. Whoever grasps the human personality differently — as dead, inactive nature product — puts it at the level of a stone in the road. If one wants to grasp human activity, if one wants a content for it, then one arrives, in fact, at the world of ideas that is engaged in doing. Will without idea would be nothing. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

1.2 Freedom Of Choice
[2] This seems quite obvious. Nevertheless, down to the present days the main attacks of the opponents of freedom are directed only against freedom of choice. Even Herbert Spencer, in fact, whose doctrines are gaining ground daily, says

"That every one is at liberty to desire or not to desire, which is the real proposition involved in the dogma of free will, is negatived as much by the analysis of consciousness, as by the contents of the preceding chapters" (The Principles of Psychology, Part IV, chap. ix, par. 2I9).

1.3 Free Necessity Of One's Nature
Others, too, start from the same point of view in combating the concept of free will. The germs of all the relevant arguments are to be found as early as Spinoza. All that he brought forward in clear and simple language against the idea of freedom has since been repeated times without number, but as a rule enveloped in the most sophisticated arguments, so that it is difficult to recognize the straightforward train of thought which is alone in question. Spinoza writes in a letter of October or November I674,

"I call a thing free which exists and acts from the pure necessity of its nature, and I call that unfree, of which the being and action are precisely and fixedly determined by something else. Thus, e.g., God, though necessary, is free because he exists only through the necessity of his own nature. Similarly, God knows himself and all else as free, because it follows solely from the necessity of his nature that he knows all. You see, therefore, that for me freedom consists not in free decision, but in free necessity.

Necessity of own nature
Des Cartes said that creation was due to the will of God uninfluenced by any motive. From this, Spinoza concluded that God must act from the necessity of His own nature. God is free to create, that is, there is no motive from without, no subjection to fate, no compulsion to call forth creation, but this freedom is regulated by the nature of God, so that He acts by a free necessity.

We act and we know that we act, but we do not know the motives which determine our actions. Liberty does not consist in the will being undetermined, but in its not being determined by anything but itself. A thing is free when it exists by the sole necessity of its nature, and is determined to action by itself alone; a thing is necessary, or rather constrained when it is determined by something else to act according to a certain determined law. God is free because he acts from the necessity of His own nature. -John Hunt commenting on Spinoza

[3] But let us come down to created things which are all determined by external causes to exist and to act in a fixed and definite manner. To perceive this more clearly, let us imagine a perfectly simple case. A stone, for example, receives from an external cause acting upon it a certain quantity of motion, by reason of which it necessarily continues to move, after the impact of the external cause has ceased. The continued motion of the stone is due to compulsion, not to the necessity of its own nature, because it requires to be defined by the impact of an external cause. What is true here for the stone is true also for every other particular thing, however complicated and many-sided it may be, namely, that everything is necessarily determined by external causes to exist and to act in a fixed and definite manner.

[4] Now, pray, assume that this stone during its motion thinks and knows that it is striving to the best of its power to continue in motion. This stone which is conscious only of its striving and is by no means indifferent, will believe that it is absolutely free, and that it continues in motion for no other reason than its own will to continue. Now this is that human freedom which everybody claims to possess and which consists in nothing but this, that men are conscious of their desires, but ignorant of the causes by which they are determined. Thus the child believes that he desires milk of his own free will, the angry boy regards his desire for vengeance as free, and the coward his desire for flight. Again, the drunken man believes that he says of his own free will what, sober again, he would fain have left unsaid, and as this prejudice is innate all men, it is difficult to free oneself from it. For, although experience teaches us often enough that man least of all can temper his desires, and that, moved by conflicting passions, he perceives the better and pursues the worse, yet he considers himself free because there are some things which he desires less strongly, and some desires which he can easily inhibit through the recollection of something else which it is often possible to recall."

[5] It is easy to detect the fundamental error of this view, because it is so clearly and definitely expressed. The same necessity by which a stone makes a definite movement as the result of an impact, is said to compel a man to carry out an action when impelled thereto by any cause. It is only because man is conscious of his action, that he thinks himself to be its originator. In doing so, he overlooks the fact that he is driven by a cause which he must obey unconditionally. The error in this train of thought is easily brought to light. Spinoza, and all who think like him, overlook the fact that man not only is conscious of his action, but also may become conscious of the cause which guides him. Anyone can see that a child is not free when he desires milk, nor the drunken man when he says things which he later regrets. Neither knows anything of the causes, working deep within their organisms, which exercise irresistible control over them. But is it justifiable to lump together actions of this kind with those in which a man is conscious not only of his actions but also of their causes? Are the actions of men really all of one kind? Should the act of a soldier on the field of battle, of the scientific researcher in his laboratory, of the statesman in the most complicated diplomatic negotiations, be placed on the same level with that of the child when he desires milk? It is, no doubt, true that it is best to seek the solution of a problem where the conditions are simplest. But lack of ability to see distinctions has before now caused endless confusion. There is after all a profound difference between knowing the motive of my action and not knowing it. At first sight this seems a self-evident truth. And yet the opponents of freedom never ask themselves whether a motive of action which I recognize and understand, is to be regarded as compulsory for me in the same sense as the organic process which causes the child to cry for milk.

1.4 Free From External Influences
[6] Eduard van Hartmann, in his Phanomenologie des Sittlichen Bewusstseins (p. 451) asserts that the human will depends on two chief factors, the motives and the character. If one regards men as all alike, or at any rate the differences between them as negligible, then their will appears as determined from without, viz., by the circumstances with which they come in contact. But if one bears in mind that men adopt an idea as the motive of their conduct, only if their character is such that this idea arouses a desire in them, then men appear as determined from within and not from without. Now, because an idea, given to us from without, must first in accordance with our characters be adopted as a motive, men believe that they are free, i.e., independent of external influences. The truth, however, according to Eduard von Hartmann, is that

"even though we must first adopt an idea as a motive, we do so not arbitrarily, but according to the disposition of our characters, that is, we are anything but free."

Here again the difference between motives, which I allow to influence me only after I have consciously made them my own, and those which I follow, without any clear knowledge of them, is absolutely ignored.

1.5 Action Resulting From Conscious Motive
[7] This leads us straight to the standpoint from which the subject will be treated here. Have we any right to consider the question of the freedom of the will by itself at all? And if not, with what other question must it necessarily be connected?

[8] If there is a difference between conscious and unconscious motives of action, then the action in which the former issue should be judged differently from the action which springs from blind impulse. Hence our first question will concern this difference, and on the result of this inquiry will depend what attitude we ought to take up towards the question of freedom proper.

[9] What does it mean to have knowledge of the motives of one's actions? Too little attention has been paid to this question, because, unfortunately, man who is an indivisible whole has always been torn asunder by us. The agent has been divorced from the knower, whilst he who matters more than everything else, viz., the man who acts because he knows, has been utterly overlooked.

1.6 Free When Controlled By Reason
[10] It is said that man is free when he is controlled only by his reason, and not by his animal passions. Or, again, that to be free means to be able to determine one's life and action by purposes and deliberate decisions.

[11] Nothing is gained by assertions of this sort. For the question is just whether reason, purposes, and decisions exercise the same kind of compulsion over a man as his animal passions. If, without my doing, a rational decision occurs in me with the same necessity with which hunger and thirst happen to me, then I must needs obey it, and my freedom is an illusion.

1.7 Free To Do As One Wants
[12] Another form of expression runs: to be free means, not that we can will what we will, but that we can do what we will. This thought has been expressed with great clearness by the poet-philosopher Robert Hamerling in his Atomistik des Willens.

"Man can, it is true, do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills, because his will is determined by motives! He cannot will what he wills? Let us consider these phrases more closely. Have they any intelligible meaning? Does freedom of the will, then, mean being able to will without ground, without motive? What does willing mean if not to have grounds for doing, or striving to do, this rather than that? To will anything without ground or motive would mean to will something without willing it. The concept of motive is indissolubly bound up with that of will. Without the determining motive the will is an empty faculty; it is the motive which makes it active and real. It is, therefore, quite true that the human will is not 'free,' inasmuch as its direction is always determined by the strongest motive. But, on the other hand, it must be admitted that it is absurd to speak, in contrast with this 'unfreedom,' of a conceivable 'freedom' of the will, which would consist in being able to will what one does not will" (Atomistik des Willens, p. 213 ff.).

[13] Here again only motives in general are mentioned, without taking into account the difference between unconscious and conscious motives. If a motive affects me, and I am compelled to act on it because it proves to be the "strongest" of its kind, then the idea of freedom ceases to have any meaning. How should it matter to me whether I can do a thing or not, if I am forced by the motive to do it? The primary question is, not whether I can do a thing or not when impelled by a motive, but whether the only motives are such as impel me with absolute necessity. If I must will something, then I may well be absolutely indifferent as to whether I can also do it. And if, through my character, or through circumstances prevailing in my environment, a motive is forced on me which to my thinking is unreasonable, then I should even have to be glad if I could not do what I will.

[14] The question is, not whether I can carry out a decision once made, but how I come to make the decision.

1.8 Spontaneous Unconditioned Will
[15] What distinguishes man from all other organic beings is his rational thought. Activity is common to him with other organisms. Nothing is gained by seeking analogies in the animal world to clear up the concept of freedom as applied to the actions of human beings. Modern science loves these analogies. When scientists have succeeded in finding among animals something similar to human behaviour, they believe they have touched on the most important question of the science of man. To what misunderstandings this view leads is seen, for example, in the book Die Illusion der Willensfreiheit, by P. Ree, 1885, where, on page 5, the following remark on freedom appears.

"It is easy to explain why the movement of a stone seems to us necessary, while the volition of a donkey does not. The causes which set the stone in motion are external and visible, while the causes which determine the donkey's volition are internal and invisible. Between us and the place of their activity, there is the skull cap of the ass... The causal nexus is not visible, and is therefore thought to be non-existent. The volition, it is explained, is, indeed, the cause of the donkey's turning round, but is itself unconditioned; it is an absolute beginning."

Here again human actions in which there is a consciousness of the motives are simply ignored, for Ree declares, "that between us and the sphere of their activity there is the skull cap of the ass." As these words show, it has not so much as dawned on Ree that there are actions, not indeed of the ass, but of human beings, in which the motive, become conscious, lies between us and the action. Ree demonstrates his blindness once again a few pages further on, when he says, "we do not perceive the causes by which our will is determined, hence we think it is not causally determined at all."

[16] But enough of examples which prove that many argue against freedom without knowing in the least what freedom is.

1.9 Knowledge Of The Reasons
[17] That an action of which the agent does not know why he performs it, cannot be free goes without saying. But what of the freedom of an action about the motives of which we reflect? This leads us to the question of the origin and meaning of thought. When we know what thought in general means, it will be easier to see clearly the role which thought plays in human action. As Hegel rightly says, "It is thought which turns the soul, common to us and animals, into spirit." Hence it is thought which we may expect to give to human action its characteristic stamp.

1.10 Driving Force Of The Heart
[18] I do not mean to imply that all our actions spring only from the sober deliberations of our reason. I am very far from calling only those actions "human" in the highest sense, which proceed from abstract judgments. But as soon as our conduct rises above the sphere of the satisfaction of purely animal desires, our motives are always shaped by thoughts. Love, pity, and patriotism are motives of action which cannot be analysed away into cold concepts of the understanding. It is said that here the heart, the soul, hold sway. This is no doubt true. But the heart and the soul create no motives. They presuppose them. Pity enters my heart when the thought of a person who arouses pity has appeared in my consciousness. The way to the heart is through the head.

1.11 Idealistic Thought
Love is no exception. Whenever it is not merely the expression of bare sexual instinct, it depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one. And the more we idealize the loved one in our thoughts, the more blessed is our love. Here, too, thought is the father of feeling.

1.12 Perception Of Good Qualities
It is said that love makes us blind to the failings of the loved one. But the opposite view can be taken, namely that it is precisely for the good points that love opens the eyes. Many pass by these good points without notice. One, however, perceives them, and just because he does, love awakens in his soul. What else has he done except perceive what hundreds have failed to see? Love is not theirs, because they lack the perception.

[19] From whatever point we regard the subject, it becomes more and more clear that the question of the nature of human action presupposes that of the origin of thought. I shall therefore, turn next to this question.

Free Deed
THE AIM OF THE preceding discussion has been to throw light on the relationship between our cognizing personality and the objective world. What does the possession of knowledge and science mean for us? This was the question to which we sought the answer.

Our discussion has shown that the innermost core of the world comes to expression in our knowledge. The harmony of laws ruling throughout the universe shines forth in human cognition.

It is part of man's task to bring into the sphere of apparent reality the fundamental laws of the universe which, although they rule all existence, would never come to existence as such. The very nature of knowledge is that the world-foundation, which is not to be found as such in objective reality, is present in it. Our knowledge — pictorially expressed — is a gradual, living penetration into the world's foundation.
A conviction such as this must also necessarily throw light upon our comprehension of practical life.

Our moral ideals determine the whole character of our conduct in life. Our moral ideals are ideas which we have of our task in life — in other words, the ideas we form of what we should bring about through our deeds.

Our action is part of the universal world-process. It is therefore also subject to the general laws of that world-process.

Whenever something takes place in the universe, two things must be distinguished: the external course the event follows in space and time, and the inner law ruling it.

To recognize this law in the sphere of human conduct is simply a special instance of cognition. This means that the insight we have gained concerning the nature of knowledge must be applicable here also. To know oneself to be at one with one's deeds means to possess, as knowledge, the moral concepts and ideals that correspond to the deeds. If we recognize these laws, then our deeds are also our own creations. In such instances the laws are not something given, that is, they are not outside the object in which the activity appears; they are the content of the object itself, engaged in living activity. The object in this case is our own I. If the I has really penetrated its deed with full insight, in conformity with its nature, then it also feels itself to be master. As long as this is not the case, the laws ruling the deed confront us as something foreign, they rule us; what we do is done under the compulsion they exert over us. If they are transformed from being a foreign entity into a deed completely originating within our own I, then the compulsion ceases. That which compelled us, has become our own being. The laws no longer rule over us; in us they rule over the deed issuing from our I. To carry out a deed under the influence of a law external to the person who brings the deed to realization, is a deed done in unfreedom. To carry out a deed ruled by a law that lies within the one who brings it about, is a deed done in freedom. To recognize the laws of one's deeds, means to become conscious of one's own freedom. Thus the process of knowledge is the process of development toward freedom.

Not all our deeds have this character. Often we do not possess knowledge of the laws governing our deeds. Such deeds form a part of our activity which is unfree. In contrast, there is that other part where we make ourselves completely at one with the laws. This is the free sphere. Only insofar as man is able to live in this sphere, can he be called moral. To transform the first sphere of our activity into one that has the character of the second is the task of every individual's development, as well as the task of mankind as a whole.

The most important problem of all human thinking is: to understand man as a free personality, whose very foundation is himself. Truth and Knowledge viii Practical Conclusion



Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust,
Die eine will sich von der andern trennen;
Die eine hält, in derber Liebeslust,
Sich an die Welt mit klammerden Organen;
Die andre hebt gewaltsam sich vom Dust
Zu den Gefilden hoher Ahnen.
FAUST, I, 1112—1117.

Two souls, alas! reside within my breast,
And each withdraws from, and repels, its brother.
One with tenacious organs holds in love
And clinging lust the world in its embraces;
The other strongly sweeps, this dust above,
Into the high ancestral spaces.
Faust, Part I, Scene 2.
(Bayard Taylor's translation)

Steiner's world-view not founded in Goethe or Hegel
I have not arrived at my world view only through the study of Goethe or even of Hegelianism, for example. I took my start from the mechanistic-naturalistic conception of the world, but recognized that, with intensive thinking, one cannot remain there. Proceeding strictly according to natural-scientific methods, I found in objective idealism the only satisfying world view. My epistemology shows the way by which a kind of thinking that understands itself and is not self-contradictory arrives at this world view. I then found that this objective idealism, in its basic features, permeates the Goethean world view. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

In this work (Truth And Science) I hope to have shown that the edifice of my thought is a whole that rests upon its own foundation, and need not be derived from Goethe's world-view. My thoughts, as here set forth, and as they will be further amplified in The Philosophy of Freedom, have been developed over many years. Truth and Science Preface

2.0 Urge To Know
[1] IN these words Goethe expresses a trait which is deeply ingrained in human nature. Man is not a self-contained unity. He demands ever more than the world, of itself, offers him. Nature has endowed us with needs, but left their satisfaction to our own activity. However abundant the gifts which we have received, still more abundant are our desires. We seem born to dissatisfaction. And our desire for knowledge is but a special instance of this unsatisfied striving. Suppose 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 to us now at rest, then in motion? Every glance at nature evokes in us a multitude of questions. Every phenomenon we meet presents a new problem to be solved. Every experience is to us a riddle. We observe that from the egg there emerges a creature like the mother animal, and we ask for the reason of the likeness. We observe a living being grow and develop to a determinate degree of perfection, and we seek the conditions of this experience. Nowhere are we satisfied with the facts which nature spreads out before our senses. Everywhere we seek what we call the explanation of these facts.

What do we actually want to achieve by observation? In response to the question created in our mind, is something supposed to be provided from outside, by sense observation, that could be the answer to that question? Never. For why should we feel ourselves more satisfied by a second observation than by the first? If the human mind were satisfied at all by an observed object, then it would have to be satisfied right away by the first. But the actual question is not at all one about any second observation, but rather about the ideal foundation of the observations. What does this observation admit as an ideal explanation; how must I think it so that it appears possible to me? Those are the questions that come to us with respect to the sense world. I must seek, out of the depths of my mind itself, what I lack when confronted by the sense world. If I cannot create for myself the higher nature for which my mind strives when confronted by sense-perceptible nature, then no power in the external world will create it for me. The results of science therefore can come only from the human mind; thus they can only be ideas. No objections can be raised against this necessary reflection. The ideal character of all science, however, is established thereby. Goethean Science: XVI: Goethe as Thinker and Investigator

Essential nature of the world
What does it mean then to ask about the essential nature of the world? It means nothing more than that, when I approach a thing, a voice makes itself heard in me that tells me that the thing is ultimately something quite else in addition to what I perceive with my senses. What it is in addition is already working in me, presses in me toward manifestation, while I am seeing the thing outside me. Only because the world of ideas working in me presses me to explain, out of it, the world around me, do I demand any such explanation. For a being in whom no ideas are pressing up, the urge is not there to explain the things any further; he is fully satisfied with the sense-perceptible phenomenon. The demand for an explanation of the world stems from the need that thinking has to unite the content accessible to thinking with manifest reality, to permeate everything conceptually, to make what we see, hear, etc., into something that we understand. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Pure Experience

This first activity of ours is grasping reality with our senses. We feel the need right away to penetrate with organizing intellect the endless manifoldness of shapes, forces, colors, sounds, etc., that arises before us. We try to become clear about the mutual interdependencies of all the single entities confronting us. If we encounter an animal in a certain region, we ask about the influence of this region upon the life of the animal; if we see a stone begin to roll, we seek the other events with which this is connected. But what results from such asking and seeking is no longer pure experience. It already has a twofold origin: experience and thinking.

Pure experience is the form of reality in which reality appears to us when we confront it to the complete exclusion of what we ourselves bring to it. Theory of Knowledge B. EXPERIENCE 4. Determining the Concept of Experience

[2] The something more which we seek in things, over and above what is immediately given to us in them, splits our whole being into two parts. We become conscious of our opposition to the world. We oppose ourselves to the world as independent beings. The universe has for us two opposite poles: Self and World.

[3] We erect this barrier between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness is first kindled in us. But we never cease to feel that, in spite of all, we belong to the world, that there is a connecting link between it and us, and that we are beings within, and not without, the universe.

[4] This feeling makes us strive to bridge over this opposition, and ultimately the whole spiritual striving of mankind is nothing but the bridging of this opposition. The history of our spiritual life is a continuous seeking after union between ourselves and the world. Religion, Art, and Science follow, one and all, this goal. The religious man seeks in the revelation, which God grants him, the solution of the world problem, which his Self, dissatisfied with the world of mere phenomena, sets him as a task. The artist seeks to embody in his material the ideas which are his Self, that he may thus reconcile the spirit which lives within him and the outer world. He too, feels dissatisfied with the world of mere appearances, and seeks to mould into it that something more which his Self supplies and which transcends appearances. The thinker searches for the laws of phenomena. He strives to master by thought what he experiences by observation.

The sciences work to overcome darkness
We never do confront a sense world completely devoid of all thought-content. At most, in early childhood where there is as yet no trace of thinking, do we come close to pure sense perception. In ordinary life we have to do with an experience that is half-permeated by thinking, that already appears more or less lifted out of the darkness of perception into the bright clarity of mental comprehension. The sciences work toward the goal of fully overcoming this darkness and of leaving nothing in experience that has not been permeated with thought. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Satisfy need for knowledge
Scientific thinking must prove itself, step by step, to represent an overcoming of that dark form of reality which we have designated as the directly given, and to represent a lifting up of the directly given into the bright clarity of the idea. The method must therefore consist in our answering the question, with respect to each thing: What part does it have in the unified world of ideas; what place does it occupy in the ideal picture (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) that I make for myself of the world? When I have understood this, when I have recognized how a thing connects itself with my ideas, then my need for knowledge is satisfied.

There is only one thing that is not satisfying to my need for knowledge: when a thing confronts me that does not want to connect anywhere with the view I hold of things. The ideal discomfort must be overcome that stems from the fact that there is something or other of which I must say to myself: I see that it is there; when I approach it, it faces me like a question mark; but I find nowhere, within the harmony of my thoughts, the point at that I can incorporate it; the questions I must ask upon seeing it remain unanswered, no matter how I twist and turn my system of thoughts.

I do not rest until that which confronted me at first as an individual thing appears as a part of my thought-world. Thus the individual thing as such dissolves and appears in a larger context. Now it is illuminated by the other thought-masses; now it is a serving member; and it is completely clear to me what it signifies within the greater harmony. This is what takes place in us when we approach an object of experience and contemplate it. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action 1. Methodology

Art and science overcome sense perceptible
The overcoming of the sense-perceptible by the mind is the goal of art and science. Science overcomes the sense perceptible by dissolving it entirely into mind; art does so by implanting mind into the sense-perceptible. A statement of Goethe, which expresses these truths in a comprehensive way, may serve to bring our considerations to a close: “I think one could call science the knowledge of the general, abstracted knowledge; art, on the other hand, would be science turned into deed; science would be reason, and art its mechanism; therefore one could also call it practical science. And so, finally, science would be the theorem, art the problem.” Theory of Knowledge G. CONCLUSION 21. The Activity of Knowing and Artistic Creativity

The true artist

The true artist must draw directly from the primal source of all existence, how he impresses into his works the necessity which, in science, we seek ideally in nature and mind. Science seeks out the lawfulness in nature; art no less so, only it implants this lawfulness in addition into raw substance. A product of art is no less nature than a product of nature, only the lawfulness of nature has already been poured into the product of art in the way this lawfulness appeared to the human mind. The great works of art that Goethe saw in Italy appeared to him as the direct copy of the necessity that man becomes aware of in nature. For him art is therefore also a manifestation of the secret laws of nature.

In a work of art everything depends upon the degree to which the artist has implanted the idea into his medium. The main thing is not what his subject is but rather how he handles it. If in science the externally perceived substance has to disappear completely so that only its essential being, the idea, remains, so in the product of art this substance has to remain — but the artistic treatment has to overcome completely anything about it of a particularized or chance nature. The object must be lifted entirely out of the sphere of chance and transferred into that of necessity. Nothing must remain in the artistically beautiful upon which the artist has not impressed his spirit. The what must be conquered by the how. Theory of Knowledge G. CONCLUSION 21. The Activity of Knowing and Artistic Creativity

Only when we have transformed the world-content into our thought-content do we recapture the connection which we had ourselves broken off.

World-content into our thought-content
I stated in my Philosophy of Freedom that it is only by making the world-content into our thought-content that we restore to the world the unity it lost for us in childhood. As children we we saw only the sense perceptible aspects of the whole. Thought, however, is an integral part of the full reality. So we can say the child has access to only half of what the world consists of. Only later, when we have grown up sufficiently to develop thoughts, do we have access to the thought aspect. But it is not just in us. We know that thoughts are an integral part of everything, and we treat our thoughts as part of the reality of things and we use them to reconnect us with it. -Rudolf Steiner

The Task of Science
Each science has its own area in which it seeks the interconnections of phenomena. But there still remains a great polarity in our scientific efforts: between the ideal* world achieved by the sciences on the one hand and the objects that underlie it on the other. *(throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) There must be a science that also elucidates the interrelationships here. The ideal and the real world, the polarity of idea and reality, these are the subject of such a science. These opposites must also be known in their interrelationship.
To seek these relationships is the purpose of the following discussion. The existence of science on the one hand, and nature and history on the other are to be brought into a relationship. What significance is there in the mirroring of the outer world in human consciousness; what connection exists between our thinking about the objects of reality and these objects themselves? Theory of Knowledge 3. The Task of Science

Why we are unsatisfied by perceptible reality?
The first form of what is directly given, leaves us unsatisfied. It confronts us like a challenge, like a riddle to be solved. It says to us: I am there; but in the form in which I confront you there, I am not in my true form. As we hear this voice from outside, as we become aware that we are confronting a half of something, are confronting an entity that conceals its better side from us, then there announces itself within us the activity of that organ through which we can gain enlightenment about that other side of reality, and through which we are able to supplement that half of something and render it whole. We become aware that we must make up through thinking for what we do not see, hear, etc. Thinking is called upon to solve the riddle with which perception presents us.

We will first become clear about this relationship when we investigate why we are unsatisfied by perceptible reality, but are satisfied, on the other hand, by a thought-through reality. Perceptible reality confronts us as something finished. It is just there; we have contributed nothing to its being there in the way it is. We feel ourselves confronted, therefore, by a foreign entity that we have not produced, at whose production we were not even, in fact, present. We stand before something that has already come about. But we are only able to grasp how it has come about when we know where the strings are that support what appears before us. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Need for knowledge satisfied
When we bring our thinking into movement, we then go back to the determining factors of the given that at first remained hidden to us; we work our way up from the product to the production; we arrive at the stage where sense perception becomes transparent to us in the same way the thought is. Our need for knowledge is thus satisfied. We can therefore come to terms with a thing in knowledge only when we have completely (thoroughly) penetrated with thinking what is directly perceived. A process of the world appears completely penetrated by us only when the process is our own activity. A thought appears as the completion of a process within which we stand. Thinking, however, is the only process into which we can completely place ourselves, into which we can merge. Therefore, to our knowing contemplation, the reality we experience must appear to emerge as though out of a thought-process, in the same way as pure thought does.
Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

We shall see later that this goal can be reached only if we penetrate much more deeply than is often done into the nature of the scientist's problem.

Deeper scientific need
The tremendous and remarkable achievements that natural science has to show in the realm of technology have nothing to do with our real need for knowledge of nature. We have indeed experienced — precisely in those contemporaries to whom we owe inventions whose significance for the future we cannot for a long time even begin to imagine — that they lack a deeper scientific need. It is something entirely different to observe the processes of nature in order to place its forces in the service of technology, than to seek, with the help of these processes, to look more deeply into the nature of natural science. True science is present only where the human mind seeks to satisfy its needs, without any external purpose.

True science, in the higher sense of the word, has to do only with ideal objects; it can only be idealism. For, it has its ultimate foundation in needs that stem from the human mind. Nature awakens questions in us, problems that strive for solution. But nature cannot itself provide this solution. Through our capacity for knowledge a higher world confronts nature; and this fact creates higher demands. For a being who did not possess this higher nature, these problems would simply not arise. These questions can therefore also not receive an answer from any authority other than precisely this higher nature. Scientific questions are therefore essentially a matter that the human mind has to settle with itself. They do not lead the human mind out of its element.

The realm, however, in which the human mind lives and weaves as though within its primally own, is the idea, is the world of thoughts. To solve thought-questions with thought-answers is the scientific activity in the highest sense of the word. And all other scientific procedures are there, ultimately, only in order to serve this highest purpose. Take scientific observation, for example. It is supposed to lead us to knowledge of a law of nature. The law itself is purely ideal. The need to find a lawfulness holding sway behind the phenomena already stems from the human mind. Goethean Science: XVI: Goethe as Thinker and Investigator

The whole situation, as I have here stated it, meets us, on the stage of history, in the conflict between the one-world theory, or Monism, and the two-world theory or Dualism. Dualism pays attention only to the separation between the Self and the World, which the consciousness of man has brought about. All its efforts consist in a vain struggle to reconcile these opposites, which it calls now Mind and Matter, now Subject and Object, now Thought and Appearance. The Dualist feels that there must be a bridge between the two worlds, but is not able to find it. Monism pays attention only to the unity and tries either to deny or to slur over the opposites, present though they are. Neither of these two points of view call 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. However, up to the present the Monists are not in a much better position. They have tried three different ways of meeting the difficulty. Either they deny Mind and become Materialists; or they deny Matter in order to seek their salvation as Spiritualists; or they assert that, even in the simplest entities in the world, Mind and Matter are indissolubly bound together, so that there is no need to marvel at the appearance in man of these two modes of existence, seeing that they are never found apart.

Connection between the human mind and nature
What kind of a relationship exists between the human mind and nature, which to us always appear separated from each other? If one asks this question correctly, then its answer is not as difficult as it appears to be. The question is not in fact asked by some being that stands above nature and human mind as a third entity and which investigates that connection from this standpoint, but rather it is asked by one of the two beings themselves, by the human mind. The latter asks: What connection exists between me and nature? But that again means nothing other than: How can I bring myself into a relationship with the nature confronting me? How can I express this relationship in accordance with the needs living in me? I live in ideas; what kind of an idea corresponds to nature; how can I express, as idea, that which I behold as nature? It is as though we have often obstructed our own path to a satisfactory answer by putting the question wrongly. A correct question, however, is already half an answer.

The human mind seeks everywhere to go beyond the succession of facts, as mere observation provides him with them, and to penetrate to the ideas of the things. Science, indeed, begins at the place where thinking begins. In the findings of science there lies, in the form of ideal necessity, that which appears to the senses only as a succession of facts. These findings only seem to be the final product of the brain process described above; the truth is that they are that which we must regard, in the whole universe, as the foundation of everything. Where these findings then appear for observation is a matter of indifference; for, as we have seen, their significance does not in fact depend upon that. They spread the net of their ideal necessity out over the whole universe.

No matter where we take our start, if we have enough mental power, we will finally meet up with the idea. Goethean Science: XVI: Goethe as Thinker and Investigator

The important thing for Goethe was not at all the communicated finding, but rather the way in which he arrived at it. He himself declares appropriately: “With the opinions that one risks, it is like pieces that one pushes forward on the board; they can be taken, but they have initiated a game that will be won.” Goethean Science VII The Arrangement of Goethe's Natural-Scientific Writings

2.1 Materialism
[5] Materialism can never offer a satisfactory explanation of the world. For every attempt at an explanation must begin with the formation of thoughts about the phenomena of the world. Materialism, thus, begins with the thought of Matter or material processes. But, in doing so, it is ipso facto confronted by two different sets of facts, viz., the material world and the thoughts about it. The Materialist seeks to make these latter intelligible by regarding them as purely material processes. He believes that thinking takes place in the brain, much in the same way that digestion takes place in the animal organs. Just as he ascribes mechanical, chemical, and organic processes to Nature, so he credits her in certain circumstances with the capacity to think. He overlooks that, in doing so, he is merely shifting the problem from one place to another. Instead of to himself he ascribes the power of thought to Matter. And thus he is back again at his starting-point. How does Matter come to think of its own nature? Why is it not simply satisfied with itself and content to accept its own existence? The Materialist has turned his attention away from the definite subject, his own self, and occupies himself with an indefinite shadowy somewhat. And here the old problem meets him again. The materialistic theory cannot solve the problem, it can only shift it to another place.

2.2 Spiritualism
[6] What of the Spiritualistic theory? The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) and regards it merely as a product of Mind (the Self). He supposes the whole phenomenal word to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself. This conception of the world finds itself in difficulties as soon as it attempts to deduce from Mind any single concrete phenomenon. It cannot do so either in knowledge or in action. If one would really know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and draw on the fund of experience. Without experience Mind can have no content.

Goethe's world view is the most many-sided imaginable. It issues from a center resting within the unified nature of the poet, and it always turns outward the side corresponding to the nature of the object being considered. The unity of the spiritual forces being exercised lies in Goethe's nature; the way these forces are exercised at any given moment is determined by the object under consideration. Goethe takes his way of looking at things from the outer world and does not force any particular way upon it. These days, however, the thinking of many people is active in only one particular way; it is useful for only one category of objects; it is not, like that of Goethe, unified but rather uniform. Let us express this even more precisely: There are people whose intellect is especially able to think purely mechanical interdependencies and effects; they picture the whole universe as a mechanism. Other people have an urge to perceive everywhere the mysterious mystical element in the outer world; they become adherents of mysticism. All error arises when a way of thinking like this which is valid for one category of objects is declared to be universal. In this way the conflict between the many world views is explained. Theory of Knowledge A. Preliminary Questions 1. The Point Of Departure

Opening up new point of view
With Goethe it is never a matter of discovering new facts, but rather of opening up a new point of view, of looking at nature in a particular way. Goethean Science Introduction

2.3 Realism
Similarly, when it comes to acting, we have to translate our purposes into realities with the help of material things and forces. We are, therefore, dependent on the outer world.

2.4 Idealism
The most extreme Spiritualist or, if you prefer it, Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to deduce the whole edifice of the world from the "Ego." What he has actually accomplished is a magnificent thought-picture of the world, without any empirical content. As little as it is possible for the Materialist to argue the Mind away, just as little is it possible for the Idealist to do without the outer world of Matter.

The given is not constructed out of thinking
Anyone who has acquainted himself intimately with Fichte's system will know that it was a point of vital importance for this philosopher to uphold the principle that nothing from the external world can enter the I, that nothing takes place in the I which is not originally postulated by the I itself. Yet it is beyond all doubt that no idealism can derive from the I that form of the world-content which is here described as the directly given. This form of the world-content can only be given; it can never be constructed out of thinking. One need only consider that if all the colors were given us with the exception of one single shade, even then we could not begin to provide that shade out of the I alone. We can form a picture of distant regions that we have never seen, provided we have once personally experienced, as given, the various elements needed to form the picture. Then, out of the single facts given us, we combine the picture according to given information. We should strive in vain to invent for ourselves even a single perceptual element that has never appeared within our sphere of the given. It is, however, one thing merely to be aware of the given world: it is quite another to recognize its essential nature. This latter, though intimately connected with the world-content, does not become clear to us unless we ourselves build up reality out of the given and the activity of thinking. The essential “What” of the given is postulated for the I only through the I itself. Yet the I would have no occasion to postulate within itself the nature of something given if it did not first find itself confronted by a completely undetermined given. Therefore, what is postulated by the I as the nature and being of the world is not postulated without the I, but through it. Truth and Knowledge vi Theory Of Knowledge Free Of Assumptions

Fichte's Absolute Idealism
For Fichte, the external world lost its independent existence in this way: It has an existence that is only ascribed to it by the ego, projected by the ego's imagination. In his endeavor to give to his own “self” the highest possible independence, Fichte deprived the outer world of all self-dependence. Now, where such an independent external world is not supposed to exist, it is also quite understandable if the interest in a knowledge concerning this external world ceases. Thereby, the interest in what is properly called knowledge is altogether extinguished, for the ego learns nothing through its knowledge but what it produces for itself. In all such knowledge the human ego holds soliloquies, as it were, with itself. RS The Riddles of Philosophy

2.5 Materialistic Idealism
[7] A curious variant of Idealism is to be found in the theory which F. A. Lange has put forward in his widely read History of Materialism. He holds that the Materialists are quite right in declaring all phenomena, including our thought, to be the product of purely material processes, but, in turn, Matter and its processes are for him themselves the product of our thinking.

"The senses give us only the effects of things, not true copies, much less the things themselves. But among these mere effects we must include the senses themselves together with the brain and the molecular vibrations which we assume to go on there."

That is, our thinking is produced by the material processes, and these by our thinking. Lange's philosophy is thus nothing more than the philosophical analogon of the story of honest Baron Munchhausen, who holds himself up in the air by his own pigtail.

Lange's agnosticism
Lange's world conception leads to the opinion that we have only a world of ideas. This world, however, forces us to acknowledge something beyond its own sphere. It also is completely incapable of disclosing anything about this something. This is the world conception of absolute ignorance, of agnosticism. It is Lange's conviction that all scientific endeavor that does not limit itself to the evidence of the senses and the logical intellect that combines these elements of evidence must remain fruitless. That the senses and the intellect together, however, do not supply us with anything but a result of our own organization, he accepts as evidently following from his analysis of the origin of knowledge. The world is for him fundamentally a product of the fiction of our senses and of our intellects. Because of this opinion, he never asks the question of truth with regard to the ideas. No matter what the idealistic philosophers had thought concerning the nature of facts, for him it belonged to the realm of poetic fiction.
RS The Riddles of Philosophy

2.6 Indivisible Unity
[8] The third form of Monism is that which finds even in the simplest real (the atom) the union of both Matter and Mind. But nothing is gained by this either, except that the question, the origin of which is really in our consciousness, is shifted to another place. How comes it that the simple real manifests itself in a twofold manner, if it is an indivisible unity?

Haeckel’s spirit in matter
Haeckel’s very way of looking at things predestines him to be a monist. He looks upon mind and nature with equal love. For this reason he could find mind in the simplest organism. He goes even further than that. He looks for the traces of mind in the inorganic particles of matter: “Without assuming a soul for the atom, the simplest and most general phenomena of chemistry are unexplainable. Pleasure and displeasure, desire and aversion, attraction and repulsion must be a common property of all material atoms.” As he traces mind down to the atom so he follows the purely material mechanism of events up to the most lofty accomplishments of the spirit: “As the motion of our flesh is bound to the form elements of our muscles, so our mind's power of thinking is bound to the form elements of our brains. Our mental energies are simply functions of these physical organs just as every energy is a function of a material body.”
RS The Riddles of Philosophy

2.7 Polarity Of Consciousness
[9] Against all these theories we must urge the fact that we meet with the basal and fundamental opposition first in our own consciousness. It is we ourselves who break away from the bosom of Nature and contrast ourselves as Self with the World. Goethe has given classic expression to this in his essay Nature. "Living in the midst of her (Nature) we are strangers to her. Ceaselessly she speaks to us, yet betrays none of her secrets." But Goethe knows the reverse side too: "Mankind is all in her, and she in all mankind."

The divinity has merged with the world
Spinoza's teachings are indeed based on the fact that the divinity has merged with the world. Human knowing can therefore aim only to penetrate into the world in order to know God. The laws that our mind recognizes in nature are therefore God in His very being; they are not only made by Him. Goethe's own firm belief that nature, in all its doings, reveals something divine to us lay before him in Spinoza's writings in the clearest statements. “I am holding firmly and ever more firmly to the atheist's (Spinoza) way of revering God,” he writes to Jacobi when the latter wanted to put the teachings of Spinoza in another light.

We first know how to judge a thing when we see how it has been set in its place by universal reason, how it has come to be precisely that which confronts us. Perceiving with the senses does not suffice, for the senses do not tell us how a thing relates to the general world idea, what it means for the great whole. There we must look in such a way that our reason creates an ideal basis on which there can then appear to us what the senses convey to us; we must, as Goethe expresses it, look with the eyes of the mind. Even for expressing this conviction he found a formulation in Bruno: “For, just as we do not recognize colours and sounds with one and the same sense, so also we do not recognize the substratum of the arts and that of nature with one and the same eye,” because we “see the first with the physical eye and the second with the eye of reason.”
Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

Theory of final causes
Let us put the theory of final causes clearly before us. A thing is explained, in its existence and nature, by the fact that one demonstrates its necessity for something else. One shows that this thing is of such and such a nature because that other thing is like this or that. This presupposes that a world ground exists which stands over and above both things and arranges them in such a way that they match each other. But if the world ground is inherent in every single thing, then this kind of explanation makes no sense. For then the nature of a thing must appear to us as the result of the principle at work within it.

We will seek, within the nature of a thing, the reason why it is as it is and not different than it is. If we hold the belief that something divine is inherent in each thing, then it will not in fact occur to us to seek to explain its lawfulness by any outer principle. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

2.8 Feeling Impulse
[10] However true it may be that we have estranged ourselves from Nature, it is none the less true that we feel we are in her and belong to her. It can be only her own life which pulses also in us.

Conflict between intellect and heart
The intellect itself is in no position to go beyond separation. It holds firmly to the separated parts. To go beyond this is the task of reason (Vernunft). A person who grasps reality in a merely intellectual way distances himself from it. He sets in reality's place — since it is in truth a unity — an artificial multiplicity, a manifoldness that has nothing to do with the essential being of reality.

The conflict that has arisen between an intellectually motivated science and the human heart stems from this. Many people whose thinking is not yet developed enough for them to arrive at a unified world view grasped in full conceptual clarity are, nevertheless, very well able to penetrate into the inner harmony of the universe with their feeling. Their hearts give them what reason offers the scientifically developed person.
When such people meet the intellectual view of the world, they reject with scorn the infinite multiplicity and cling to the unity that they do not know, indeed, but that they feel more or less intensely. They see very well that the intellect withdraws from nature, that it loses sight of the bond joining the parts of reality.

Reason leads back to reality again. The unity of all existence, which before was felt or of which one even had only dim inklings, is clearly penetrated and seen by reason. The intellectual view must be deepened by the view of reason. Theory of Knowledge 12. Intellect and Reason

2.9 Knowing Nature Within
[11] We must find the way back to her again. A simple reflection may point this way out to us. We have, it is true, torn ourselves away from Nature, but we must none the less have carried away something of her in our own selves. This quality of Nature in us we must seek out, and then we shall discover our connection with her once more. Dualism neglects to do this. It considers the human mind as a spiritual entity utterly alien to Nature and attempts somehow to hitch it on to Nature. No wonder that it cannot find the coupling link. We can find Nature outside of us only if we have first learnt to know her within us. The Natural within us must be our guide to her. This marks out our path of inquiry. We shall attempt no speculations concerning the interaction of Mind and Matter. We shall rather probe into the depths of our own being, to find there those elements which we saved in our flight from Nature.

Goethe recognizes it is an idea
Goethe had observed plants, found that an archetypal plant underlies them, and derived the individual forms from it. This archetypal plant (and also a corresponding archetypal animal) had taken shape in his mind, was useful to him in explaining the relevant phenomena. But he had never reflected upon what this archetypal plant was in its essential nature. Schiller opened his eyes by saying to him: It is an idea. Only from then on is Goethe aware of his idealism. Up until that conversation, he calls the archetypal plant an experience for he believed he saw it with his eyes. But in the introduction that he later added to his essay on the metamorphosis of the plants he says: “So from now on, I undertook to find the archetypal animal, which means, ultimately, the concept, the idea of the animal.” But we must bear in mind here that Schiller did not provide Goethe with something foreign to him, but rather Schiller, by observing the Goethean mind, struggled through for the first time to a knowledge of objective idealism. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

Thought-content of the world
At the first stage of our contemplation of the world, the whole of reality confronts us as an unconnected aggregate; thinking is included within this chaos. If we move about within this manifoldness, we find one part in it which, already in the form of its first appearance, has the character the other parts have yet to acquire. This part is thinking. What is to be overcome in the rest of experience, namely the form of its immediate appearance, is precisely what we must hold onto with thinking. Within our consciousness we find this factor of reality, our thinking, that is to be left in its original form, and we are bound up with it to such an extent that the activity of our mind is at the same time the manifesting of this factor. It is one and the same thing, looked at from two sides. This thing is the thought-content of the world. On the one hand it manifests as an activity of our consciousness, on the other as a direct manifestation of a lawfulness complete in itself as a self-determined ideal content (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas") . We will see right away which aspect has the greater importance. Theory of Knowledge C. Thinking 8. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience

Our task
We have the task, with regard to every single entity, of working upon it in such a way that it appears as flowing from the idea, that it completely dissolves as a single thing and merges with the idea, into whose element we feel ourselves transferred. Our mind has the task of developing itself in such a way that it is capable of seeing into all the reality given it, of seeing it in the way it appears as going forth from the idea. We must show ourselves to be continuous workers in the sense that we transform every object of experience so that it appears as part of our ideal world picture. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

2.10 Something More Than "I"
[12] The examination of our own being must bring the solution of the problem. We must reach a point where we can say, "This is no longer merely ' I,' this is something which is more than ' I.' "

Goethe's devout state
It is principally two significant character traits of Goethe that come into consideration here. The first is his pressing urge to find the sources, the depths of all existence. This is, ultimately, his belief in the idea. Goethe is always filled with an intimation of something higher, better. One would like to call this a deep religious impulse of his spirit. What so many people need to do — to strip things of everything holy and pull them down to their own level — is unknown to him. But he does have the other need: to sense something higher and to work his way up to it. He sought to gain from everything an aspect by which it becomes holy to us. Goethe divests love of everything frivolous, careless, and it becomes for him a devout state. This fundamental trait of his being is expressed most beautifully in his words:

Within our bosom's pureness swells a striving,
To give oneself, in thankful, free devotion,
To something higher, purer, as yet unknown.
We call it: being devout!
Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

Higher something
Goethe never seeks to approach this higher something directly; he always seeks to draw near to it through nature. “The true is like God; it does not appear directly; we must guess it from its manifestations” (Aphorisms in Prose). Besides his belief in the idea Goethe also has the other one: that we can gain the idea by contemplating reality; it does not occur to him to seek the divinity anywhere else than in the works of nature, but he seeks everywhere to gain from them their divine aspect. When, in his youth, he erects an altar to the great God who “stands in direct connection with nature” (Poetry and Truth), this ritual definitely springs already out of a belief that we gain the highest that we can attain by a faithful fostering of our interrelationship with nature.

The way Goethe had to think, the way he saw the world, were inherent in the whole predisposition of his nature. And it lay in his being, indeed, from his earliest youth. In this respect he then also remained the same his whole life long.

Thus, that way of looking at things which we have validated epistemologically is innate in Goethe. He approaches reality with the conviction that everything is only a manifestation of the idea, and that we can attain this idea only when we raise sense experience into a spiritual beholding. This conviction was inherent in him, and from his youth up, he looked at the world on the basis of this presupposition. No philosopher could give him this conviction. This is therefore not what Goethe sought from the philosophers. It was something else. Even though his way of looking at things lay deep in his nature, still he needed a language in which to express it. His nature worked in a philosophical way, i.e., in such a way that it can be expressed only in philosophical formulations and can be validated only by philosophical presuppositions. And he looked into the philosophers in order also to bring clearly to consciousness for himself what he was, in order also to know what lay in him as living activity. He sought in them an explanation and validation of his own being. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

2.11 Description Of Consciousness
[13] I am well aware that many who have read thus far will not consider my discussion in keeping with "the present state of science." To such criticism I can reply only that I have so far not been concerned with any scientific results, but simply with the description of what every one of us experiences in his own consciousness. That a few phrases have slipped in about attempts to reconcile Mind and the World has been due solely to the desire to elucidate the actual facts. I have therefore made no attempt to give to the expressions "Self," "Mind," "World," "Nature," the precise meaning which they usually bear in Psychology and Philosophy.

2.12 Facts Without Interpretation
The ordinary consciousness ignores the sharp distinctions of the sciences, and so far my purpose has been solely to record the facts of everyday experience. To object that the above discussions have been unscientific would be like quarreling with the reciter of a poem for failing to accompany every line at once with aesthetic criticism. I am concerned, not with the way in which science, so far, has interpreted consciousness, but with the way in which we experience it every moment of our lives.

Starting from concrete facts
Nothing was farther from Goethe's nature than taking one's start in a conscious way from general concepts. He always takes his start from concrete facts, compares and orders them. During this activity, the ideas underlying the facts occur to him. In his contemplation of things, after he has stripped away everything incidental, everything unessential, there remains something for him that is idea in his sense. The method Goethe employs remains — even there where he lifts himself to the idea — one that is founded upon pure experience. For, nowhere does he allow a subjective ingredient to slip into his research. He only frees the phenomena from what is incidental in order to penetrate into their deeper foundations. His subject has no other task than that of arranging the object in such a way that it discloses its innermost nature. “The true is Godlike; it does not appear directly; we must divine it from its manifestations.” The point is to bring these manifestations into such a relationship that the “true” appears. The true, the idea, already lies within the fact which we confront in observation; we must only remove the covering that conceals it from us. The true scientific method consists in the removing of this covering. Goethean Science VII The Arrangement of Goethe's Natural-Scientific Writings



3.0 Reflective Thinking
[1] WHEN I observe how a billiard ball, when struck, communicates its motion to another, I remain entirely without influence on the process before me. The direction and velocity of the motion of the second ball is determined by the direction and velocity of the first. As long as I remain a mere spectator, I can say nothing about the motion of the second ball until after it has happened. It is quite different when I begin to reflect on the content of my observations. The purpose of my reflection is to construct concepts of the process. I connect the concept of an elastic ball with certain other concepts of mechanics, and consider the special circumstances which obtain in the instance in question. I try, in other words, to add to the process which takes place without any interference, a second process which takes place in the conceptual sphere. This latter process is dependent on me. This is shown by the fact that I can rest content with the observation, and renounce all search for concepts if I have no need of them. If, therefore, this need is present, then I am not content until I have established a definite connection among the concepts, ball, elasticity, motion, impact, velocity, etc., so that they apply to the observed process in a definite way. As surely as the occurrence of the observed process is independent of me, so surely is the occurrence of the conceptual process dependent on me.

Knowing inorganic nature (sense perceptible causes represented conceptually)
The essential thing about a process of inorganic nature — a process belonging merely to the sense world, in other words — consists in the fact that it is caused and determined by another process which likewise belongs only to the sense world. Let us assume now that the causal process consists of the elements m, d, and v (mass, direction, and velocity of a moving elastic ball) and that the resulting process consists of the elements m', d', and v'; then what m, d, and v are will always determine what m', d', and v' are. If I now want to comprehend the process, I must represent the whole process, consisting of cause and effect, in one common concept. But this concept is not of such a sort that it could lie within the process itself and determine the process. The concept now brings both processes together into one common expression: It does not cause and determine. Only the objects of the sense world determine each other. The elements m, d, and v are elements that are also perceptible to the external senses. The concept appears as a means of drawing things together; it expresses something that is not ideally, conceptually real, but rather is sense-perceptibly real. And that something which it expresses is a sense-perceptible object. Knowledge of inorganic nature is based upon the possibility of grasping the outer world through the senses and of expressing its interactions through concepts.

Knowing organic nature (expression of ideal element)
Kant saw the possibility of knowing things in this way (see above paragraph) as the only way man has. He called this thinking “discursive.” What we want to know is an external perception; the concept, the unity that draws things together, is merely a means. But if we wanted to know organic nature, we would then have to consider the ideal element, the conceptual factor, not as something that expresses or signifies something else, but rather we would have to know the ideal element as such; it would have to have a content of its own, stemming from itself, and not from the spatial-temporal world of the senses. That unity which, in inorganic nature, man's mind merely abstracts from the world, would have to build upon itself, would have to develop itself out of its own self, would have to be fashioned in accordance with its own nature and not according to the influences of other objects.

What prevails in the inorganic world is the interaction of the parts of a series of phenomena; it is their reciprocal determining of each other. This is not the case in the organic world. There, one part of an entity does not determine the other, but rather the whole (the idea), out of itself and in accordance with its own nature, determines each individual part. Goethean Science IV Goethe's Writings on Organic Development

[2] We shall have to consider later whether this activity of mine really proceeds from my own independent being, or whether those modern physiologists are right who say that we cannot think as we will, but that we must think exactly as the thoughts and thought-connections determine, which happen to be in our minds at any given moment. (Cp. Ziehen, Leitfaden der Physiologischen Psychologie, Jena, 1893, p. 171.)

Act in accordance with thought determinants
Our view about the sources of our knowing activity cannot help but affect the way we view our practical conduct. The human being does indeed act in accordance with thought determinants that lie within him. What he does is guided by the intentions and goals he sets himself. But it is entirely obvious that these goals, intentions, ideals, etc., will bear the same character as the rest of man's thought-world. Dogmatic science will therefore offer a truth for human conduct of an essentially different character than that resulting from our epistemology. If the truths the human being attains in science are determined by a factual necessity having its seat outside thinking, then the ideals upon which he bases his actions will also be determined in the same way. The human being then acts in accordance with laws he cannot verify objectively: he imagines some norm that is prescribed for his actions from outside. But this is the nature of any commandment that the human being has to observe. Dogma, as principle of conduct, is moral commandment. Theory of Knowledge 19. Human Freedom

For the present we wish merely to establish the fact that we constantly feel obliged to seek for concepts and connections of concepts, which stand in definite relation to the objects and processes which are given independently of us. Whether this activity is really ours, or whether we are determined to it by an unalterable necessity, is a question which we need not decide at present. What is unquestionable is that the activity appears, in the first instance, to be ours. We know for certain that concepts are not given together with the objects to which they correspond. My being the agent in the conceptual process may be an illusion; but there is no doubt that to immediate observation I appear to be active. Our present question is: what do we gain by supplementing a process with a conceptual counterpart?

[3] There is a far-reaching difference between the ways in which, for me, the parts of a process are related to one another before, and after, the discovery of the corresponding concepts. Mere observation can trace the parts of a given process as they occur, but their connection remains obscure without the help of concepts. I observe the first billiard ball move towards the second in a certain direction and with a certain velocity. What will happen after the impact I cannot tell in advance. I can once more only watch it happen with my eyes. Suppose some one obstructs my view of the field where the process is happening, at the moment when the impact occurs, then, as mere spectator, I remain ignorant of what goes on. The situation is very different, if prior to the obstructing of my view I have discovered the concepts corresponding to the nexus of events. In that case I can say what occurs, even when I am no longer able to observe. There is nothing in a merely observed process or object to show its relation to other processes or objects. This relation becomes manifest only when observation is combined with thought.

[4] Observation and thought are the two points of departure for all the spiritual striving of man, in so far as he is conscious of such striving. The workings of common sense, as well as the most complicated scientific researches, rest on these two fundamental pillars of our minds. Philosophers have started from various ultimate antitheses, Idea and Reality, Subject and Object, Appearance and Thing-in-itself, Ego and Non-Ego, Idea and Will, Matter and Mind, Matter and Force, the Conscious and the Unconscious. It is, however, easy to show that all these antitheses are subsequent to that between observation and thought, this being for man the most important.

Be aware what the senses convey to us and what thinking conveys
We have to take our start from the completely indeterminate direct form of reality, from what is given to the senses before we bring our thinking into movement, from what is only seen, only heard, etc. The point is that we be aware what the senses convey to us and what thinking conveys. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Falling into mysticism
To want to explain the world by something real that is not idea is such a self-contradiction that one absolutely cannot grasp how it could possibly find any adherents at all. To explain what is perceptibly real to us by something or other that does not take part in thinking at all, that, in fact, is supposed to be basically different from anything of a thought nature, for this we have neither the need nor any possible starting point. Whoever assumes that we had an ability to reach this most real being that lies outside thought in another way than through thinking and perception has fallen into mysticism. We do not have to deal with mysticism, however; for we are concerned only with the relationship between thinking and existence, between idea and reality. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[5] Whatever principle we choose to lay down, we must prove that somewhere we have observed it, or we must enunciate it in the form of a clear concept which can be rethought by any other thinker. Every philosopher who sets out to discuss his fundamental principles, must express them in conceptual form and thus use thought. He therefore indirectly admits that his activity presupposes thought. We leave open here the question whether thought or something else is the chief factor in the development of the world. But it is at any rate clear that the philosopher can gain no knowledge of this development without thought. In the occurrence of phenomena thought may play a secondary part, but it is quite certain that it plays a chief part in the construction of a theory about them.

[6] As regards observation, our need of it is due to our organization. Our thought about a horse and the object "horse" are two things which for us have separate existences. The object is accessible to us only by means of observation. As little as we can construct a concept of a horse by mere staring at the animal, just as little are we able by mere thought to produce the corresponding object.

3.1 Observation Of Thought
[7] In time observation actually precedes thought. For we become familiar with thought itself in the first instance by observation. It was essentially a description of an observation when, at the beginning of this chapter, we gave an account of how thought is kindled by an objective process and transcends the merely given. Whatever enters the circle of our experiences becomes an object of apprehension to us first through observation. All contents of sensations, all perceptions, intuitions, feelings, acts of will, dreams and fancies, images, concepts, ideas, all illusions and hallucinations, are given to us through observation.

[8] But thought as an object of observation differs essentially from all other objects. The observation of a table, or a tree, occurs in me as soon as those objects appear within the horizon of my field of consciousness. Yet I do not, at the same time, observe my thought about these things. I observe the table, but I carry on a process of thought about the table without, at the same moment, observing this thought-process. I must first take up a standpoint outside of my own activity, if I want to observe my thought about the table, as well as the table. Whereas the observation of things and processes, and the thinking about them, are everyday occurrences making up the continuous current of my life, the observation of the thought-process itself is an exceptional attitude to adopt. This fact must be taken into account, when we come to determine the relations of thought as an object of observation to all other objects. We must be quite clear about the fact that, in observing the thought-processes, we are applying to them a method, which is our normal attitude in the study of all other objects in the world, but which in the ordinary course of that study is usually not applied to thought itself.

3.2 Formation Of Concept
[9] Some one might object that what I have said about thinking applies equally to feeling and to all other mental activities. Thus it is said that when, e.g., I have a feeling of pleasure, the feeling is kindled by the object, but it is this object I observe, not the feeling of pleasure. This objection however is based on an error. Pleasure does not stand at all in the same relation to its object as the concept constructed by thought. I am conscious, in the most positive way, that the concept of a thing is formed through my activity; whereas a feeling of pleasure is produced in me by an object in a way similar to that in which, e.g., a change is caused in an object by a stone which falls on it.

My activity required
Even when a thought occurs to me quite suddenly, whose appearance therefore seems in a certain sense entirely like that of an outer event which my eyes and ears must first mediate for me, I nevertheless know that the field upon which this thought comes to manifestation is my consciousness; I know that my activity must first be called upon in order for the sudden thought to come about. With every outer object, I am sure that the object at first turns only its outer aspect toward my senses; with a thought, I clearly know that what the thought turns toward me is at the same time its all, that it enters my consciousness as a totality complete in itself. The outer driving forces that we must always presuppose with sense-perceptible objects are not present with a thought. Indeed it is to those outer forces that we must ascribe the fact that sense phenomena confront us as something finished; we-must credit these outer forces with the becoming of phenomena. With a thought, it is clear to me that its becoming is not possible without my activity. I must work the thought through, must recreate its content, must experience it inwardly right into its smallest parts if it is to have any significance for me at all. Theory of Knowledge C. Thinking 8. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience

Active Thinking
In what I have named Anthroposophy, in fact in the foreword to my Philosophy of Freedom, you will meet with something which you will not be able to comprehend if you only give yourself up to that passive thinking so specially loved today, to that popular god-forsaken thinking of even a previous incarnation. You will only understand if you develop in Freedom the inner impulse to bring activity into your thinking. You will never get on with Spiritual Science if that spark, that lightning, through which activity in thinking is awakened does not flash up. Through this activity we must reconquer the divine nature of thinking. Rudolf Steiner, Lecture to young people, GA 217, 1922

For observation, a pleasure is given in exactly the same way as the event which causes it. The same is not true of concepts. I can ask why an event arouses in me a feeling of pleasure. But I certainly cannot ask why an occurrence causes in me a certain number of concepts. The question would be simply meaningless. In thinking about an occurrence, I am not concerned with it as an effect on me. I learn nothing about myself from knowing the concepts which correspond to the observed change caused to a pane of glass by a stone thrown against it. But I do learn something about myself when I know the feeling which a certain occurrence arouses in me. When I say of an object which I perceive "this is a rose," I say absolutely nothing about myself; but when I say of the same thing that "it causes a feeling of pleasure in me," I characterize not only the rose, but also myself in my relation to the rose.

Concept is an objective complement to perception
At first, the world presents itself to us as a manifoldness in space and time. We perceive particulars separated in space and time: this colour here, that shape there; this tone now, that sound then, etc. Let us first take an example from the inorganic world and separate quite exactly what we perceive with the senses from what the cognitive process provides. We see a stone flying toward a windowpane, breaking through it, and falling to the ground after a certain time. We ask what is given here in direct experience. A series of sequential visual perceptions, originating from the places successively occupied by the stone, a series of sound perceptions as the glass shatters, the pieces of glass flying, etc. Unless someone wishes to deceive himself he must say: Nothing more is given to direct experience than this unrelated aggregate of acts of perception.

We connect the sight perceptions that originate from the individual locations in which the stone finds itself. This connection gives us a curved line (the trajectory), and we obtain the laws of trajectory; when furthermore we take into account the material composition of the glass, and then understand the flying stone as cause, the shattering of the glass as effect, and so on, we then have permeated the given with concepts in such a way that it becomes comprehensible to us. This entire operation, which draws together the manifoldness of perception into a conceptual unity, occurs within our consciousness. The ideal
interrelationship (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) of the perceptual pictures is not given by the senses, but rather is grasped absolutely on its own by our mind. For a being endowed only with the ability to perceive with the senses, this whole operation would simply not be there. For such a being the outer world would simply remain that disconnected chaos of perceptions we characterized as what first (directly) confronts us.

So the place, therefore, where the perceptual pictures appear in their ideal relationship, where this relationship is held out to the perceptual pictures as their conceptual counter-image, this place is human consciousness. Now even though this conceptual (lawful) relationship, in its substantial makeup, is produced within human consciousness, it by no means follows from this that it is also only subjective in its significance. It springs, rather, in its content just as much from the objective world as, in its conceptual form, it springs from human consciousness. It is the necessary objective complement to the perceptual picture. Precisely because the perceptual picture is something incomplete, something unfinished in itself, we are compelled to add to this picture, in its manifestation as sense experience, its necessary complement. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Force of a stout heart
This is how people appear who do not wish to bring activity into thinking, into what alone out of man's being can bring the soul back into connection with the divine-spiritual content of the world. Many of you have learnt to despise thinking, because it has met you only in its passive form. This, however, is only head-thinking in which the heart plays no part. But try for once really to think actively and you will see how the heart is then engaged; if one succeeds in developing active thinking the whole human being in a way suited to our present age enters with the greatest intensity into the spiritual world. For through active thinking we are able to bring force into our thinking — the force of a stout heart. If you do not seek the Spirit on the path of thought, which although difficult to tread must be trodden with courage, with the very blood of one's heart, if you do not try on this path to suck in that spiritual life which has flowed through humanity from the very beginning, you will create a movement where the infant would believe himself able to draw nourishment out of himself and not from his mother's breast. You only come to a movement with real content when you find the secret of developing within an activity which enables you to draw again out of cosmic life true spiritual nourishment, true spiritual drink.

But that is pre-eminently a problem of the will, a problem of the will experienced through feeling. Infinitely much depends today upon good-will, upon an energetic willing, and no theories can solve what we are seeking today. Courageous, strong will alone can bring the solution. Rudolf Steiner, The Younger Generation VIII

Modern Clairvoyance
Most people are only able to think passively, finding active thinking impossible. But active thinking has no room for sleepy nor for intellectual dreaming. One must keep in step with it and get one's thinking on the move. The moment thinking is set in motion one goes with it. Then what I should like to call modern clairvoyance ceases to be anything miraculous. That this clairvoyance should still appear as something particularly miraculous comes from people not wishing to develop the energy to bring activity into their thinking. It often drives one to despair. One often feels when demanding active thinking of anyone that his mood is illustrated by the following anecdote: Somebody was lying in a ditch without moving hand or foot, not even opening his eyes; he was asked by a passer-by: “Why are you so sad?” The man answered: “Because I don't want to do anything.” The questioner was astonished at this, for the man lying there was doing nothing and had apparently done nothing for a long time. But he wanted to do even more “doing nothings” Then the questioner said: “Well, you certainly are doing nothing,” and got the answer: “I have to revolve with the earth and even that I don't want to do “ RS

Dispassionate observation of nature

“A far more difficult task is undertaken by those whose keen desire for knowledge urges them to strive to observe the objects of nature as such and in their relationship to each other. These individuals soon feel the lack of the test that helped them when they, as men, regarded the objects in reference to themselves personally. They lack the test of pleasure and displeasure, attraction and repulsion, usefulness and harmfulness. Yet this test must be renounced entirely. They ought as dispassionate and, so to speak, divine beings, to seek and examine what is, not what gratifies. Thus the true botanist should not be moved either by the beauty or by the usefulness of the plants. He must study their formation and their relation to the rest of the plant kingdom. They are one and all enticed forth and shone upon by the sun without distinction, and so he should, equably and quietly, look at and survey them all and obtain the test for this knowledge, the data for his deductions, not out of himself, but from within the circle of the things he observes.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

3.3 Thinking Contemplation Of Object
[10] There can, therefore, be no question of putting thought and feeling on a level as objects of observation. And the same could easily be shown of other activities of the human mind. Unlike thought, they must be classed with any other observed objects or events. The peculiar nature of thought lies just in this, that it is an activity which is directed solely on the observed object and not on the thinking subject. This is apparent even from the way in which we express our thoughts about an object, as distinct from our feelings or acts of will. When I see an object and recognize it as a table, I do not as a rule say "I am thinking of a table," but "this is a table." On the other hand, I do say "I am pleased with the table." In the former case, I am not at all interested in stating that I have entered into a relation with the table; whereas, in the second case, it is just this relation which matters. In saying "I am thinking of a table," I adopt the exceptional point of view characterized above, in which something is made the object of observation which is always present in our mental activity, without being itself normally an observed object.

[11] The peculiar nature of thought consists just in this, that the thinker forgets his thinking while actually engaged in it. It is not thinking which occupies his attention, but rather the object of thought which he observes.

[12] The first point, then, to notice about thought is that it is the unobserved element in our ordinary mental life.

[13] The reason why we do not notice the thinking which goes on in our ordinary mental life is no other than this, that it is our own activity. Whatever I do not myself produce appears in my field of consciousness as an object; I contrast it with myself as something the existence of which is independent of me. It forces itself upon me. I must accept it as the presupposition of my thinking. As long as I think about the object, I am absorbed in it, my attention is turned on it. To be thus absorbed in the object is just to contemplate it by thought. I attend not to my activity, but to its object. In other words whilst I am thinking, I pay no heed to my thinking which is of my own making, but only to the object of my thinking which is not of my making.

Directly given world-content
This directly given world-content includes everything that enters our experience in the widest sense: sensations. perceptions, opinions, feelings, deeds, pictures of dreams and imaginations, representations (mental pictures), concepts and ideas. Illusions and hallucinations too, at this stage are equal to the rest of the world-content. For their relation to other perceptions can be revealed only through observation based on cognition. Truth and Knowledge iv The Starting Point Of Epistemology

Active in the very essence of the given
We must find the bridge from the world-picture as given, to that other world-picture which we build up by means of cognition. Here, however, we meet with the following difficulty: As long as we merely stare passively at the given we shall never find a point of attack where we can gain a foothold, and from where we can then proceed with cognition. Somewhere in the given we must find a place where we can set to work, where something exists which is akin to cognition. If everything were really only given, we could do no more than merely stare into the external world and stare indifferently into the inner world of our individuality. We would at most be able to describe things as something external to us; we should never be able to understand them. Our concepts would have a purely external relation to that to which they referred; they would not be inwardly related to it. For real cognition depends on finding a sphere somewhere in the given where our cognizing activity does not merely presuppose something given, but finds itself active in the very essence of the given. In other words: precisely through strict adherence to the given as merely given, it must become apparent that not everything is given. Insistence on the given alone must lead to the discovery of something which goes beyond the given. The reason for so insisting is not to establish some arbitrary starting point for a theory of knowledge, but to discover the true one. In this sense, the given also includes what according to its very nature is not-given. The latter would appear, to begin with, as formally a part of the given, but on closer scrutiny, would reveal its true nature of its own accord.

In the sphere of the given there must be something in relation to which our activity does not hover in emptiness, but where the content of the world itself enters this activity. Truth and Knowledge iv The Starting Point Of Epistemology

Intellectual seeing
It is essential to realize that the activity of producing something in the act of cognition must present itself to us as something also directly given.

We do know absolutely directly that concepts and ideas appear only in the act of cognition and through this enter the sphere of the directly given. In this respect concepts and ideas do not deceive anyone. A hallucination may appear as something externally given, but one would never take one's own concepts to be something given without one's own thinking activity. A lunatic regards things and relations as real to which are applied the predicate “reality,” although in fact they are not real; but he would never say that his concepts and ideas entered the sphere of the given without his own activity. It is a characteristic feature of all the rest of our world-picture that it must be given if we are to experience it; the only case in which the opposite occurs is that of concepts and ideas: these we must produce if we are to experience them. Concepts and ideas alone are given us in a form that could be called intellectual seeing. Kant and the later philosophers who follow in his steps, completely deny this ability to man, because it is said that all thinking refers only to objects and does not itself produce anything. Truth and Knowledge iv The Starting Point Of Epistemology

Pure concepts
In intellectual seeing the content must be contained within the thought-form itself. But is this not precisely the case with pure concepts and ideas? (By concept, I mean a principle according to which the disconnected elements of perception become joined into a unity.)

Causality, for example, is a concept. An idea is a concept with a greater content. Organism, considered quite abstractly, is an idea. However, they must be considered in the form which they possess while still quite free of any empirical content. If, for example, the pure idea of causality is to be grasped, then one must not choose a particular instance of causality or the sum total of all causality; it is essential to take hold of the pure concept, Causality. Cause and effect must be sought in the world, but before we can discover it in the world we ourselves must first produce causality as a thought-form. Truth and Knowledge iv The Starting Point Of Epistemology

Apprehension Of Thought
Here one sees perfectly well and clearly that our mind is not to be regarded as a receptacle for the world of ideas, containing the thoughts within itself, but rather as an organ that perceives these thoughts.

It is an organ of apprehension in exactly the same way as eyes and ears are. A thought relates itself to our mind in no other way than light does to the eye and sound to the ear. It certainly would not occur to anyone to regard color as something that imprints itself in a lasting way upon the eye, and, as it were, remains sticking to the eye. But with respect to the mind this view is in fact the predominant one. A thought about each thing supposedly takes shape in consciousness, and this thought then remains in one's consciousness, in order to be taken out again when needed. One has based a whole theory on this, claiming that thoughts of which we are not for the moment conscious are in fact stored up within our mind, lying below the threshold of consciousness.

These fantastic views dissolve at once into nothing when one reflects that the world of ideas is after all determined out of itself. What does this self-determined content have to do with the multiplicity of consciousnesses? One will surely not assume that this content determines itself in indeterminate multiplicity in such a way that each partial content is always independent of the other! The matter is indeed utterly clear. The thought-content is such that absolutely all that is needed for it to manifest is an organ that perceives these thoughts, but the number of beings endowed with this organ is of no significance. Any number of endowed individuals can therefore confront the one content of thoughts. The human mind, therefore, perceives the thought-content of the world as an organ of apprehension. There is only one thought-content of the world. Our consciousness is not the ability to produce and store up thoughts, as so many people believe, but rather the ability to perceive thoughts (ideas). Goethe expressed this aptly with the words: “The idea is eternal and single; that we also use the plural is not appropriate. All things of which we become aware and about which we are able to speak are only manifestations of the idea; concepts are what we express, and to this extent the idea itself is a concept.” Theory of Knowledge 13. The Activity of Knowing

3.4 Thinking Contemplation Of Thought
[14] I am, moreover, in exactly the same position when I adopt the exceptional point of view and think of my own thought-processes. I can never observe my present thought, I can only make my past experiences of thought-processes subsequently the objects of fresh thoughts. If I wanted to watch my present thought, I should have to split myself into two persons, one to think, the other to observe this thinking. But this is impossible. I can only accomplish it in two separate acts. The observed thought-processes are never those in which I am actually engaged but others. Whether, for this purpose, I make observations on my own former thoughts, or follow the thought-processes of another person, or finally, as in the example of the motions of the billiard balls, assume an imaginary thought-process, is immaterial.

[15] There are two things which are incompatible with one another: productive activity and the theoretical contemplation of that activity. This is recognized even in the First Book of Moses. It represents God as creating the world in the first six days, and only after its completion is any contemplation of the world possible: "And God saw everything that he had made and, behold, it was very good." The same applies to our thinking. It must be there first, if we would observe it.

Contemplation of thought
Closer consideration will banish all doubt here about the fact that our inner states also appear on the horizon of our consciousness in the same form as the things and facts of the outer world. A feeling presses in upon me in the same way that an impression of light does. The fact that I bring it into closer connection with my own personality is of no consequence in this regard. We must go still further. Even thinking itself appears to us at first as an object of experience. Already in approaching our thinking investigatively, we set it before us; we picture its first form to ourselves as coming from something unknown to us.

This cannot be otherwise. Our thinking, especially if one looks at the form it takes as individual activity within our consciousness, is contemplation; i.e., it directs its gaze outward upon something that is before it. In this it remains at first mere activity. It would gaze into emptiness, into nothingness, if something did not confront it.

Everything that is to become the object of our knowing must accommodate itself to this form of confrontation. We are incapable of lifting ourselves above this form. If, in thinking, we are to gain a means of penetrating more deeply into the world, then thinking itself must first become experience. We must seek thinking among the facts of experience as just such a fact itself.

Only in this way will our world view have inner unity. It would lack this unity at once if we wanted to introduce a foreign element into it. We confront experience pure and simple and seek within it the element that sheds light upon itself and upon the rest of reality. Theory of Knowledge B. Experience 4. Determining the Concept of Experience

3.5 Know Content Of Concept
[16] The reason why it is impossible to observe the thought-process in its actual occurrence at any given moment, is the same as that which makes it possible for us to know it more immediately and more intimately than any other process in the world. Just because it is our own creation do we know the characteristic features of its course, the manner in which the process, in detail, takes place. What in the other spheres of observation we can discover only indirectly, viz., the relevant objective nexus and the relations of the individual objects, that is known to us immediately in the case of thought. I do not know off-hand why, for perception, thunder follows lightning, but I know immediately, from the content of the two concepts, why my thought connects the concept of thunder with that of lightning. It does not matter for my argument whether my concepts of thunder and lightning are correct. The connection between the concepts I have is clear to me, and that through the very concepts themselves.

3.6 Guided By Content Of Thought
[17] This transparent clearness in the observation of our thought-processes is quite independent of our knowledge of the physiological basis of thought. I am speaking here of thought in the sense in which it is the object of our observation of our own mental activity. For this purpose it is quite irrelevant how one material process in my brain causes or influences another, whilst I am carrying on a process of thought. What I observe, in studying a thought-process, is not which process in my brain connects the concept of thunder with that of lightning, but what is my reason for bringing these two concepts into a definite relation. Introspection shows that, in linking thought with thought, I am guided by their content not by the material processes in the brain.

Thought connections according to content of thought
We definitely do not produce a thought-content as though, in this production, we were the ones who determined into which connections our thoughts are to enter. We only provide the opportunity for the thought-content to unfold itself in accordance with its own nature. We grasp thought a and thought b and give them the opportunity to enter into a lawful connection by bringing them into mutual interaction with each other. It is not our subjective organization that determines this particular connection between a and b in precisely one particular way and no other. The human mind effects the joining of thought masses only in accordance with their content. In thinking we therefore fulfill the principle of experience in its most basic form.

This refutes the view of Kant, of Schopenhauer, and in a broader sense also of Fichte, which states that the laws we assume for the purpose of explaining the world are only a result of our own mental organization and that we lay them into the world only by virtue of our mental individuality. Theory of Knowledge 9. Thinking and Consciousness

Higher ideal necessity in the world of thoughts
Modern natural science does not regard the idea as that which is primary, most original, and creative, but rather as the final product of material processes. But in doing so, it is not at all aware of the fact that these material processes belong only to the sense-perceptible, observable world that, however, grasped more deeply, dissolves completely into idea. The process under consideration presents itself to observation, namely, in the following way:

We perceive facts with our senses, facts that run their course according to the laws of mechanics, then phenomena of warmth, of light, of magnetism, of electricity, and finally of life processes, etc. At the highest level of life, we find that life raises itself up to the forming of concepts and ideas, whose bearer, in fact, is the human brain. We find our own “I” springing from just such a sphere of thoughts. The “I” seems to be the highest product of a complicated process that is mediated by a long series of physical, chemical, and organic occurrences. But if we investigate the ideal world (“ideal” means in the form of ideas) of which the content of that “I” consists, we find that the individual parts of that world are connected to each other in a completely different way than the parts of that merely observed process are. As one thought arises in us, which then demands a second, we find that there is an ideal connection between these two objects in an entirely different way than if I observe the colour of a substance, for example, as the result of a chemical agent.

It is of course entirely obvious that the successive stages of the brain process have their source in organic metabolism, even though the brain process itself is the bearer of those thought-configurations. But the reason as to why the second thought follows from the first: this I do not find within this metabolism, but do indeed find within the logical thought-connection. Thus, in the world of thoughts, there holds sway, besides organic necessity, a higher ideal necessity. But this necessity, which the human mind finds within its world of ideas, this it also seeks in the rest of the universe. For this necessity arises for us, indeed, only through the fact that we not only observe, but also think. Or in other words, the things no longer appear in a merely factual connection, but rather as joined by an inner, ideal necessity, if we grasp them not merely through observation but rather through thoughts. Goethean Science: XVI: Goethe as Thinker and Investigator

Is a logical compulsion needed?
One usually believes that we join certain concepts into larger complexes, or that we think in general in a certain way, because we feel a certain inner (logical) compulsion to do so. Even Volkelt adheres to this view. But how does this view accord with the transparent clarity with which our entire thought-world is present in our consciousness? We know absolutely nothing in the world more exactly than our thoughts. Now can it really be supposed that a certain connection is established on the basis of an inner compulsion, where everything is so clear? Why do I need the compulsion, if I know the nature of what is to be joined, know it through and through, and can therefore guide myself by it? All our thought-operations are processes that occur on the basis of insight into the entities of thoughts and not according to a compulsion. Any such compulsion contradicts the nature of thinking. Theory of Knowledge 9. Thinking and Consciousness

This remark would be quite superfluous in a less materialistic age than ours. Today, however, when there are people who believe that, when we know what matter is, we shall know also how it thinks, it is necessary to affirm the possibility of speaking of thought without trespassing on the domain of brain physiology. Many people today find it difficult to grasp the concept of thought in its purity. Anyone who challenges the account of thought which I have given here, by quoting Cabanis' statement that "the brain secretes thoughts as the liver does gall or the spittle-glands spittle, etc." simply does not know of what I am talking. He attempts to discover thought by the same method of mere observation which we apply to the other objects that make up the world. But he cannot find it in this way, because, as I have shown, it eludes just this ordinary observation. Whoever cannot transcend Materialism lacks the ability to throw himself into the exceptional attitude I have described, in which he becomes conscious of what in all other mental activity remains unconscious. It is as useless to discuss thought with one who is not willing to adopt this attitude, as it would be to discuss colour with a blind man. Let him not imagine, however, that we regard physiological processes as thought. He fails to explain thought, because he is not even aware that it is there.

3.7 I Produce My Content Of Thought
[18] For every one, however, who has the ability to observe thought, and with good will every normal man has this ability, this observation is the most important he can make. For he observes something which he himself produces. He is not confronted by what is to begin with a strange object, but by his own activity. He knows how that which he observes has come to be. He perceives clearly its connections and relations. He gains a firm point from which he can, with well-founded hopes, seek an explanation of the other phenomena of the world.

[19] The feeling that he had found such a firm foundation, induced the father of modern philosophy, Descartes, to base the whole of human knowledge on the principle "I think, therefore I am." All other things, all other processes, are independent of me. Whether they be truth, or illusion, or dream, I know not. There is only one thing of which I am absolutely certain, for I myself am the author of its indubitable existence; and that is my thought. Whatever other origin it may have in addition, whether it come from God or from elsewhere, of one thing I am sure, that it exists in the sense that I myself produce it. Descartes had, to begin with, no justification for reading any other meaning into his principle. All he had a right to assert was that, in apprehending myself as thinking, I apprehend myself, within the world-system, in that activity which is most uniquely characteristic of me. What the added words "therefore I am" are intended to mean has been much debated. They can have a meaning on one condition only. The simplest assertion I can make of a thing is, that it is, that it exists. What kind of existence, in detail, it has, can in no case be determined on the spot, as soon as the thing enters within the horizon of my experience. Each object must be studied in its relations to others, before we can determine the sense in which we can speak of its existence. An experienced process may be a complex of percepts, or it may be a dream, an hallucination, etc. In short, I cannot say in what sense it exists. I can never read off the kind of existence from the process itself, for I can discover it only when I consider the process in its relation to other things. But this, again, yields me no knowledge beyond just its relation to other things. My inquiry touches firm ground only when I find an object, the reason of the existence of which I can gather from itself. Such an object I am myself in so far as I think, for I qualify my existence by the determinate and self-contained content of my thought-activity. From here I can go on to ask whether other things exist in the same or in some other sense.

3.8 Remain Within Thought

[20] When thought is made an object of observation, something which usually escapes our attention is added to the other observed contents of the world. But the usual manner of observation, such as is employed also for other objects, is in no way altered. We add to the number of objects of observation, but not to the number of methods. When we are observing other things, there enters among the world-processes —among which I now include observation— one process which is overlooked. There is present something different from every other kind of process, something which is not taken into account. But when I make an object of my own thinking, there is no such neglected element present. For what lurks now in the background is just thought itself over again. The object of observation is qualitatively identical with the activity directed upon it. This is another characteristic feature of thought-processes. When we make them objects of observation, we are not compelled to do so with the help of something qualitatively different, but can remain within the realm of thought.

[21] When I weave a tissue of thoughts round an independently given object, I transcend my observation, and the question then arises, what right have I to do this? Why do I not passively let the object impress itself on me? How is it possible for my thought to be relevantly related to the object? These are questions which every one must put to himself who reflects on his own thought-processes. But all these questions lapse when we think about thought itself. We then add nothing to our thought that is foreign to it, and therefore have no need to justify any such addition.

3.9 Create Before Knowing
[22] Schelling says: "To know Nature means to create Nature." If we take these words of the daring philosopher of Nature literally, we shall have to renounce for ever all hope of gaining knowledge of Nature. For Nature after all exists, and if we have to create it over again, we must know the principles according to which it has originated in the first instance. We should have to borrow from Nature as it exists the conditions of existence for the Nature which we are about to create. But this borrowing, which would have to precede the creating, would be a knowing of Nature, and that even if after the borrowing no creation at all were attempted. The only kind of Nature which it would be possible to create without previous knowledge, would be a Nature different from the existing one.

[23] What is impossible with Nature, viz., creation prior to knowledge, that we accomplish in the act of thought. Were we to refrain from thinking until we had first gained knowledge of it, we should never think at all. We must resolutely think straight ahead, and then afterwards by introspective analysis gain knowledge of our own processes. Thus we ourselves create the thought-processes which we then make objects of observation. The existence of all other objects is provided for us without any activity on our part.

What takes place in the “I” when it is knowing nature seemed to Schelling to be at the same time that which is objective about nature, the actual principle within it. External nature was for him only a form of our nature concepts that has become fixed. What lives in us as a view of nature appears to us again outside, only spread out, spatial-temporally. What confronts us from outside as nature is a finished product, is only something already determined, the form of a living principle that has become rigid. We cannot gain this principle through experience from outside. We must first create it within our inner being. “To philosophize about nature means to create nature,” our philosopher says therefore. “We call nature, as a mere product (natura naturata), ‘nature as object’ (all empiricism devotes itself to this alone). We call nature, as productivity (natura naturans), ‘nature as subject’ (all theory devotes itself to this alone).” (Introduction to Schelling's First Sketch of a System of Natural Philosophy) “The contrast between empiricism and science rests, indeed, on the fact that empiricism studies its object in existence as something finished and already brought about, whereas science, on the other hand, studies the object in its becoming and as something still to be brought about.” Through these teachings, with which Goethe became acquainted partly from Schelling's writings and partly from personal encounters with the philosopher, the poet was again brought a stage higher. He now developed the view that his tendency was to proceed from what is finished, the product, to what is becoming, the productive. And, with a definite echo of Schelling, he writes in his essay The Power to Judge in Beholding that his striving was to make himself “worthy, through beholding an ever-creating nature, of participating mentally in its productions.” Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

New ideas
All progress in science depends upon our becoming aware of the point at which some phenomenon or other can be incorporated into the harmony of the thought-world. Do not misunderstand me. This does not mean that every phenomenon must be explainable by concepts we already have, that our world of ideas is closed, nor that every new experience must coincide with some concept or other that we already possess. That pressing of the thought-world within us toward a concept can also go to a spot that has not yet been thought by anyone at all. And the ideal progress of the history of science rests precisely on the fact that thinking drives new configurations of ideas to the surface. Every such thought-configuration is connected by a thousand threads with all other possible thoughts — with this concept in this way, and with another in that. And the scientific method consists in the fact that we show the concept of a certain phenomenon in its relationship with the rest of the world of ideas. We call this process the deriving (demonstrating) of the concept. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action 1. Methodology

Free Thinking
Unlike Kant, the purpose here is not to show what our faculty of knowledge cannot do, but rather to show what it is really able to achieve.

The outcome of what follows is that truth is not, as is usually assumed, an ideal
reflection (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) of something real, but is a product of the human mind, created by an activity which is free; this product would exist nowhere if we did not create it ourselves. The object of knowledge is not to repeat in conceptual form something which already exists, but rather to create a completely new sphere, which when combined with the world given to our senses constitutes complete reality. Thus man's highest activity, his creativeness, is an organic part of the universal world-process. The world-process should not be considered a complete, enclosed totality without this activity. Man is not a passive onlooker in relation to evolution, merely repeating in mental pictures cosmic events taking place without his participation; he is the active co-creator of the world-process, and cognition is the most perfect link in the organism of the universe. Truth and Knowledge Preface

[24] My contention that we must think before we can make thought an object of knowledge, might easily be countered by the apparently equally valid contention that we cannot wait with digesting until we have first observed the process of digestion. This objection would be similar to that brought by Pascal against Descartes, when he asserted we might also say "I walk, therefore I am." Certainly I must digest resolutely and not wait until I have studied the physiological process of digestion. But I could only compare this with the analysis of thought if, after digestion, I set myself, not to analyse it by thought, but to eat and digest it. It is not without reason that, while digestion cannot become the object of digestion, thought can very well become the object of thought.

[25] This then is indisputable, that in thinking we have got hold of one bit of the world-process which requires our presence if anything is to happen. And that is the very point that matters. The very reason why things seem so puzzling is just that I play no part in their production. They are simply given to me, whereas I know how thought is produced. Hence there can be no more fundamental starting-point than thought from which to regard all world-processes.

3.10 Self-Supporting Thought
[26] I should like still to mention a widely current error which prevails with regard to thought. It is often said that thought, in its real nature, is never experienced. The thought-processes which connect our perceptions with one another, and weave about them a network of concepts, are not at all the same as those which our analysis afterwards extracts from the objects of perception, in order to make them the object of study. What we have unconsciously woven into things is, so we are told, something widely different from what subsequent analysis recovers out of them.

[27] Those who hold this view do not see that it is impossible to escape from thought. I cannot get outside thought when I want to observe it. We should never forget that the distinction between thought which goes on unconsciously and thought which is consciously analysed, is a purely external one and irrelevant to our discussion. I do not in any way alter a thing by making it an object of thought. I can well imagine that a being with quite different sense-organs, and with a differently constructed intelligence, would have a very different idea of a horse from mine, but I cannot think that my own thought becomes different because I make it an object of knowledge. I myself observe my own processes. We are not talking here of how my thought-processes appear to an intelligence different from mine, but how they appear to me. In any case, the idea which another mind forms of my thought cannot be truer than the one which I form myself. Only if the thought-processes were not my own, but the activity of a being quite different from me, could I maintain that, notwithstanding my forming a definite idea of these thought-processes, their real nature was beyond my comprehension.

Unconscious idea
But not much is accomplished by this distinguishing between what is conscious and what is unconscious. For that is, after all, only a distinction for my consciousness. But one must grapple with the idea in all its objectivity, in all its fullness of content; one must consider not only that the idea is at work unconsciously, but also what this working element is. Eduard von Hartmann's mind works too intensively, too comprehensively and penetratingly, for him not to have recognized that the idea cannot be grasped merely as something unconscious; rather, one must in fact go deeply into what one has to address as unconscious, must go beyond this characteristic to its concrete content and derive from it the world of individual phenomena. In this way, Hartmann transformed himself from the abstract monist, which he still is in his Philosophy of the Unconscious, into a concrete monist. And it is the concrete idea that Goethe addresses in the three forms: archetypal phenomenon, typus, and “idea in the narrower sense.”

What we find of Goethe's world view in Eduard von Hartmann's philosophy is the becoming aware of something objective within our world of ideas, and the devotion, arising from this becoming aware, to this objective element. Hartmann was led by his philosophy of the unconscious to this merging with the objective idea. Since he recognized that the being of the idea does not lie in its being conscious, he had to recognize the idea also as something existing in and of itself, as something objective. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

[28] So far, there is not the slightest reason why I should regard my thought from any other point of view than my own. I contemplate the rest of the world by means of thought. How should I make of my thought an exception?

[29] I think I have given sufficient reasons for making thought the starting-point for my theory of the world. When Archimedes had discovered the lever, he thought he could lift the whole cosmos out of its hinges, if only he could find a point of support for his instrument. He needed a point which was self-supporting. In thought we have a principle which is self-subsisting. Let us try, therefore, to understand the world starting with thought as our basis. Thought can be grasped by thought. The question is whether by thought we can also grasp something other than thought.

Starting point
Now, because we stand inside this thought-content, be cause we permeate it in all its component parts, we are capable of really knowing its most essential nature. It can definitely serve as a starting point for every further kind of contemplation of the world. From this thought-content itself we can conclude what its essential character is; but if we wish to determine the essential character of anything else, we must begin our investigations with this thought-content. Let us articulate this still more clearly. Since we experience a real lawfulness, ideas defined, only in thinking, the lawfulness of the rest of the world, which we do not experience from this world itself must also lie already contained in thinking. In other words: manifestation to the senses and thinking stand over against each other in experience. The first, however, gives us no enlightenment about its own essential being; the latter gives us enlightenment both about itself and about the essential being of the manifestation to the senses. Theory of Knowledge C. Thinking 8. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience

The objective aspect of our thought content
One could raise another objection from the subjectivistic standpoint. Even if the lawful connection of thought-masses is not brought about by us in accordance with our organization but rather is dependent upon their content, still, this very content itself might be a purely subjective product, a mere quality of our mind; thus we would only be uniting elements that we ourselves first created. Then our thought-world would be no less a subjective semblance. It is very easy to meet this objection, however. If it had any basis, we would then be connecting the content of our thinking according to laws whose origins would truly be unknown to us. If these laws do not spring from our subjectivity, then what should provide us with laws by which to interconnect a content we ourselves create?

Our thought-world is therefore an entity fully founded upon itself; it is a self-contained totality, perfect and complete in itself. Here we see which of the two aspects of the thought-world is the essential one: the objective aspect of its content, and not the subjective aspect of the way it arises. Theory of Knowledge 9. Thinking and Consciousness

3.11 Impartial Consideration Of Thinking
[30] I have so far spoken of thought without taking any account of its vehicle, the human consciousness. Most present-day philosophers would object that, before there can be thought, there must be consciousness. Hence we ought to start, not from thought, but from consciousness. There is no thought, they say without consciousness. In reply I would urge that, in order to clear up the relation between thought and consciousness, I must think about it. Hence I presuppose thought. One might, it is true, retort that, though a philosopher who wishes to understand thought, naturally makes use of thought, and so far presupposes it, in the ordinary course of life thought arises within consciousness and therefore presupposes that. Were this answer given to the world-creator, when he was about to create thought, it would, without doubt, be to the point. Thought cannot, of course, come into being before consciousness. The philosopher, however, is not concerned with the creation of the world, but with the understanding of it. Hence he is in search of the starting-point, not for creation, but with the understanding of the world. It seems to me very strange that philosophers are reproached for troubling themselves, above all, about the correctness of their principles, instead of turning straight to the objects which they seek to understand. The world-creator had above all to know how to find a vehicle for thought, the philosopher must seek a firm basis for the understanding of what is given. What does it help us to start with consciousness and make it an object of thought, if we have not first inquired how far it is possible at all to gain any knowledge of things by thought?

[31] We must first consider thought quite impartially without relation to a thinking subject or to an object of thought. For subject and object are both concepts constructed by thought. There is no denying that thought must be understood before anything else can be understood. Whoever denies this, fails to realise that man is not the first link in the chain of creation but the last. Hence, in order to explain the world by means of concepts, we cannot start from the elements of existence which came first in time, but we must begin with those which are nearest and most intimately connected with us. We cannot, with a leap, transport ourselves to the beginning of the world, in order to begin our analysis there, but we must start from the present and see whether we cannot advance from the later to the earlier. As long as Geology fabled fantastic revolutions to account for the present state of the earth, it groped in darkness. It was only when it began to study the processes at present at work on the earth, and from these to argue back to the past, that it gained a firm foundation. As long as Philosophy assumes all sorts of principles, such as atom, motion, matter, will, the unconscious, it will hang in the air. The philosopher can reach his goal only if he adopts that which is last in time as first in his theory. This absolutely last in the world-process is thought.

3.12 Application Of Thought
[32] There are people who say it is impossible to ascertain with certainty whether thought is right or wrong, and that, so far, our starting-point is a doubtful one. It would be just as intelligent to raise doubts as to whether a tree is in itself right or wrong. Thought is a fact, and it is meaningless to speak of the truth or falsity of a fact. I can, at most, be in doubt as to whether thought is rightly employed, just as I can doubt whether a certain tree supplies wood adapted to the making of this or that useful object. It is just the purpose of this book to show how far the application of thought to the world is right or wrong. I can understand anyone doubting whether, by means of thought, we can gain any knowledge of the world, but it is unintelligible to me how anyone can doubt that thought in itself is right.

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] In the preceding discussion I have pointed out the significant difference between thinking and all other activities of the soul, as a fact that reveals itself to a truly unbiased observation. Anyone who does not strive for this impartial observation will be tempted to raise objections against this discussion such as: “When I think about a rose, this thought, after all, still only expresses a relationship of my “I” to the rose, just as it does when I feel the beauty of the rose. A relationship exists between “I” and object in the case of thinking precisely as it does, for example, in the case of feeling or perceiving.” Those who make this objection fail to take into consideration the fact that it is only in the activity of thinking that the “I” or Ego knows itself to be completely at one with what is active, right into all the branching out of this thinking activity. With no other soul activity is this so completely the case. For example, when pleasure is felt, a careful observer can very likely distinguish to what extent the Ego knows itself to be one with something active and to what extent something passive is present in such a way that the pleasure merely happens to the Ego. The same is true for all other soul activities.

But we should not confuse “having thought-pictures” with working out thoughts by means of thinking. Thought-pictures can appear in the mind in a dream-like way, as vague promptings. But this is not thinking. --To be sure, someone could point out: If this is what you mean by “thinking”, then your thinking contains willing, and we are dealing not only with thinking, but also with the willing of thinking. But this would only justify us in saying: Real thinking must always be willed. Yet this has nothing to do with the characterization of thinking given here. It may be that the nature of thinking requires that it always be willed, but the point that matters is that everything that is willed --while being willed--appears to the Ego as completely its own activity and under its own supervision. We would have to say that, just because the nature of thinking is as it has been described here, it must appear to the observer as willed through and through. Anyone who makes a genuine effort to understand all the facts relevant to an evaluation of thinking cannot fail to notice that this activity has the unique character we have described here.

[2] A person highly regarded as a thinker by the author of this book has objected that one cannot speak of thinking as I have done here, because what we believe we observe as active thinking is only an illusion. What one is actually observing is the result of an unconscious activity that underlies thinking. Only because this unconscious activity is not observed does the illusion arise that the observed thinking exists in its own right, in itself, in the same way that the light from a rapid succession of electric sparks deceives us into believing that we are seeing a continuous movement. This objection is also based on an inexact view of the facts. Whoever makes this objection fails to take into account that it is the Ego itself that --standing within thinking-- observes its own activity. The Ego would have to stand outside thinking in order to be misled by the sort of deception caused by the rapidly consecutive lighting of electric sparks. One could go still further and say: To make such a comparison is to forcibly deceive oneself, like someone who claims that a moving light is newly lit by an unknown hand at every point it appears. --No, whoever wants to see in thinking anything other than an activity that is brought forth and supervised by the Ego must first become blind to the plain facts that are there for the seeing, in order then to invent a hypothetical activity as the basis for thinking. Those who do not blind themselves will have to recognize that whatever they “think onto” thinking in this way only leads away from its real nature. Unprejudiced observation shows that nothing should be counted as belonging to the nature of thinking except what is found in thinking itself. One cannot come to something that is the cause of thinking if one steps outside the realm of thinking itself.



4.0 Reactive Thinking
[1] THE products of thinking are concepts and ideas. What a concept is cannot be expressed in words. Words can do no more than draw our attention to the fact that we have concepts. When some one perceives a tree, the perception acts as a stimulus for thought. Thus an ideal element (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) is added to the perceived object, and the perceiver regards the object and its ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from the field of his perception, the ideal counterpart alone remains. This latter is the concept of the object. The wider the range of our experience, the larger becomes the number of our concepts. Moreover, concepts are not by any means found in isolation one from the other. They combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. The concept "organism," e.g., combines with those of "development according to law," "growth," and others. Other concepts based on particular objects fuse completely with one another. All concepts formed from particular lions fuse in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the separate concepts combine to form a closed, conceptual system within which each has its special place. Ideas do not differ qualitatively from concepts. They are but fuller, more saturated, more comprehensive concepts.

Difference between concept and idea
Kant pointed already to the difference between intellect and reason. He designated reason as the ability to perceive ideas; the intellect, on the other hand, is limited merely to beholding the world in its dividedness, in its separateness.

Now reason is, in fact, the ability to perceive ideas. Here we must determine the difference between concept and idea, to which we have hitherto paid no attention. For our purposes until now it has only been a matter of finding those qualities of the element of thought that present themselves in concept and idea. The concept is the single thought as it is grasped and held by the intellect. If I bring a number of such single thoughts into living flux in such a way that they pass over into one another, connect with one another, then thought-configurations arise that are present only for reason, that the intellect cannot attain. For reason, the creations of the intellect give up their separate existences and live on only as part of a totality. These configurations that reason has created shall be called ideas.

Reason does not presuppose any particular unity but rather the empty form of unification; reason is the ability to bring harmony to light when harmony lies within the object itself. Within reason, the concepts themselves combine into ideas. Reason brings into view the higher unity of the intellect's concepts, a unity that the intellect certainly has in its configurations but is unable to see. The fact that this is overlooked is the basis of many misunderstandings about the application of reason in the sciences. Theory of Knowledge 12. Intellect and Reason

Inner harmony of thoughts

How does our thinking manifest to us when looked at for itself? It is a multiplicity of thoughts woven together and organically connected in the most manifold ways. But when we have sufficiently penetrated this multiplicity from all directions, it simply constitutes a unity again, a harmony. All its parts relate to each other, are there for each other; one part modifies the other, restricts it, and so on. As soon as our mind pictures two corresponding thoughts to itself, it notices at once that they actually flow together into one. Everywhere in our mind's thought-realm it finds elements that belong together; this concept joins itself to that one, a third one elucidates or supports a fourth, and so on. Thus, for example, we find in our consciousness the thought-content “organism”; when we scan our world of mental pictures, we hit upon a second thought-content: “lawful development, growth.” It becomes clear to us at once that both these thought-contents belong together, that they merely represent two sides of one and the same thing. But this is how it is with our whole system of thoughts. All individual thoughts are parts of a great whole that we call our world of concepts.

If any single thought appears in my consciousness, I am not satisfied until it has been brought into harmony with the rest of my thinking. A separate concept like this, set off from the rest of my mental world, is altogether unbearable to me. I am indeed conscious of the fact that there exists an inwardly established harmony between all thoughts, that the world of thoughts is a unified one. Therefore every such isolation is unnatural, untrue.

If we have struggled through to where our whole thought-world bears a character of complete inner harmony, then through it the contentment that our mind demands becomes ours. Then we feel ourselves to be in possession of the truth. Theory of Knowledge 10. The Inner Nature of Thinking

I attach special importance to the necessity of bearing in mind here, that I make thought my starting-point, and not concepts and ideas which are first gained by means of thought. These latter presuppose thought. My remarks regarding the self-dependent, self-sufficient character of thought cannot, therefore, be simply transferred to concepts. (I make special mention of this, because it is here that I differ from Hegel, who regards the concept as something primary and ultimate.)

The field of thoughts is human consciousness alone
The way Hegel presented his view is to blame for the hopeless confusion that has entered our “thinking about thinking.” He wanted to make the significance of thoughts, of ideas, really visible by declaring the necessity in thought to be at the same time the necessity in the factual world. He therefore gave rise to the error that the characterizations made by thinking are not purely ideal ones but rather factual ones. One soon took his view to mean that he sought, in the world of sense-perceptible reality, even thoughts as though they were objects. He never really did make this very clear. It must indeed be recognized that the field of thoughts is human consciousness alone. Then it must be shown that the thought-world forfeits none of its objectivity through this fact. Hegel demonstrated only the objective side of thoughts, but most people see only the subjective side, because this is easier; and it seems to them that he treated something purely ideal as though it were an object, that he made it into something mystical. Theory of Knowledge 9. Thinking and Consciousness

[2] Concepts cannot be derived from perception. This is apparent from the fact that, as man grows up, he slowly and gradually builds up the concepts corresponding to the objects which surround him. Concepts are added to perception.

The concept is not derived from the sense world
What is really the same about two triangles if we remain with sense experience? Nothing at all. What they have in common — namely, the law by which they are formed and which brings it about that both fall under the concept “triangle” — we can gain only when we go beyond sense experience. The concept “triangle” comprises all triangles. We do not arrive at it merely by looking at all the individual triangles. This concept always remains the same for me no matter how often I might picture it, whereas I will hardly ever view the same “triangle” twice. What makes an individual triangle into “this” particular one and no other has nothing whatsoever to do with the concept. A particular triangle is this particular one not through the fact that it corresponds to that concept but rather because of elements lying entirely outside the concept: the length of its sides, size of its angles, position, etc. But it is after all entirely inadmissible to maintain that the content of the concept “triangle” is drawn from the objective sense world, when one sees that its content is not contained at all in any sense-perceptible phenomenon. Theory of Knowledge 10. The Inner Nature of Thinking

4.1 Conceptual Search
[3] A philosopher, widely read at the present day (Herbert Spencer), describes the mental process which we perform upon perception as follows:

[4] "If, when walking through the fields some day in September, you hear a rustle a few yards in advance, and on observing the ditch-side where it occurs, see the herbage agitated, you will probably turn towards the spot to learn by what this sound and motion are produced. As you approach there flutters into the ditch a partridge; on seeing which your curiosity is satisfied —you have what you call an explanation of the appearances. The explanation, mark, amounts to this— that whereas throughout life you have had countless experiences of disturbance among small stationary bodies, accompanying the movement of other bodies among them, and have generalized the relation between such disturbances and such movements, you consider this particular disturbance explained on finding it to present an instance of the like relation" (First Principles, Part I, par. 23).

A closer analysis leads to a very different description from that here given. When I hear a noise my first demand is for the concept which fits this percept. Without this concept the noise is to me a mere noise. Whoever does not reflect further, hears just the noise and is satisfied with that. But my thought makes it clear to me that the noise is to be regarded as an effect. Thus it is only when I combine the concept of effect with the percept of a noise that I am led to go beyond the particular percept and seek for its cause. The concept of "effect" calls up that of "cause," and my next step is to look for the agent, which I find, say, in a partridge. But these concepts, cause and effect, can never be gained through mere perception, however many instances we bring under review. Perception evokes thought, and it is this which shows me how to link separate experiences together.

Concept formed before perception
If we therefore wish to grasp what we perceive, the perception must be prefigured in us as a definite concept. We would go right by an object for which this is not the case without its being comprehensible to us.

The best proof that this is so is provided by the fact that people who lead a richer mental life also penetrate more deeply into the world of experience than do others for whom this is not the case. Much that passes over the latter kind of person without leaving a trace makes a deep impression upon the former. (“Were not the eye of sun-like nature, the sun it never could behold.” Goethe)

Yes, someone will say, but don't we meet infinitely many things in life about which previously we had not had the slightest concept, and do we not then, right on the spot, at once bring thinking into action to form concepts of them? Certainly.

The point is not that a particular thought has already become conscious for me in the course of my life, but rather that this thought allows itself to be drawn from the world of thoughts accessible to me. It is indeed of no consequence to its content where and when I grasp it. In fact, I draw all the characterizations of thoughts out of the world of thoughts. Nothing whatsoever in fact, flows into this content from the sense object. I only recognize again, within the sense object, the thought I drew up from within my inner being. This object does in fact move me at a particular moment to bring forth precisely this thought-content out of the unity of all possible thoughts, but it does not in any way provide me with the building stones for these thoughts. These I must draw out of myself. Theory of Knowledge D. Science 11. Thinking and Perception

Thinking leads out of unconnectedness

We find, within the unconnected chaos of experience, and indeed at first also as a fact of experience, an element that leads us out of unconnectedness. It is thinking. Even as a fact of experience within experience, thinking occupies an exceptional position.
With the rest of the world of experience, if I stay with what lies immediately before my senses, I cannot get beyond the particulars. Assume that I have a liquid which I bring to a boil. At first it is still; then I see bubbles rise; the liquid comes into movement and finally passes over into vapor form. Those are the successive individual perceptions. I can twist and turn the matter however I want: if I remain with what the senses provide, I find no connection between the facts. With thinking this is not the case. If, for example, I grasp the thought “cause,” this leads me by its own content to that of “effect.” I need only hold onto the thoughts in the form in which they appear in direct experience and they manifest already as lawful characterizations. Theory of Knowledge C. Thinking 8. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience

[5] If one demands of a "strictly objective science" that it should take its data from perception alone, one must demand also that it abandon all thought. For thought, by its very nature, transcends the objects of perception.

Rejection of thinking
And the science of experience, what does it ask of thinking? That it listen to what the facts say, and interpret, order, etc., what is heard. It denies to thinking the ability to penetrate independently into the core of the world. Science demands blind subjection to the statements of sense observation. Independent thinking that penetrates into the depths counts as nothing.

The science of experience forgets only one thing. Thousands and thousands of people have looked at a sense-perceptible fact and passed it by without noting anything striking about it. Then someone came along who looked at it and became aware of an important law about it. How? In looking, he had a definite thought as to how one must bring the fact into relationship with other facts, what is significant for it and what is not. And so, thinking, he set the matter in order and saw more than the others. All scientific discoveries rest on the fact that the observer knows how to observe in a way governed by the right thought. Thinking must naturally guide observation. It cannot do so if the researcher has lost his belief in thinking. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

4.2 Conceptual Reference
[6] It is time now to pass from thought to the thinker. For it is through the thinker that thought and perception are combined. The human mind is the stage on which concept and percept meet and are linked to one another. In saying this, we already characterize this (human) consciousness. It mediates between thought and perception. In perception the object appears as given, in thought the mind seems to itself to be active. It regards the thing as object and itself as the thinking subject. When thought is directed upon the perceptual world we have consciousness of objects; when it is directed upon itself we have self-consciousness. Human consciousness must, of necessity, be at the same time self-consciousness, because it is a consciousness which thinks. For when thought contemplates its own activity it makes an object for study of its own essential nature, it makes an object of itself as subject.

[7] It is important to note here that it is only by means of thought that I am able to determine myself as subject and contrast myself with objects. Therefore thoughts must never be regarded as a merely subjective activity. Thinking transcends the distinction of subject and object. It produces these two concepts just as it produces all others. When, therefore, I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this reference as something purely subjective. It is not the subject, but thought, which makes the reference. The subject does not think because it is a subject, rather it conceives itself to be a subject because it can think. The activity of consciousness, in so far as it thinks, is thus not merely subjective. Rather it is neither subjective nor objective; it transcends both these concepts. I ought never to say that I, as an individual subject, think, but rather that I, as subject, exist myself by the grace of thought. Thought thus takes me out of myself and relates me to objects. At the same time it separates me from them, inasmuch as I, as subject, am set over against the objects.

[8] It is just this which constitutes the double nature of man. His thought embraces himself and the rest of the world. But by this same act of thought he determines himself also as an individual, in contrast with the objective world.

4.3 Conceptual Relationship
[9] We must next ask ourselves how the other element, which we have so far simply called the perceptual object and which comes, in consciousness, into contact with thought, enters into thought at all?

[10] In order to answer this question we must eliminate from the field of consciousness everything which has been imported by thought. For, at any moment, the content of consciousness is always shot through with concepts in the most various ways.

[11] Let us assume that a being with fully developed human intelligence originated out of nothing and confronted the world. All that it there perceived before its thought began to act would be the pure content of perception. The world so far would appear to this being as a mere chaotic aggregate of sense-data, colours, sounds, sensations of pressure, of warmth, of taste, of smell, and, lastly, feelings of pleasure and pain. This mass constitutes the world of pure unthinking perception. Over against it stands thought, ready to begin its activity as soon as it can find a point of attack. Experience shows that the opportunity is not long in coming. Thought is able to draw threads from one sense-datum to another. It brings definite concepts to bear on these data and thus establishes a relation between them. We have seen above how a noise which we hear is connected with another content by our identifying the first as the effect of the second.

Hypothetical content of consciousness
If a being with a fully developed human intelligence were suddenly created out of nothing and then confronted the world, the first impression made on his senses and his thinking would be something like what I have just characterized as the directly given world-picture. In practice, man never encounters this world-picture in this form at any time in his life; he never experiences a division between a purely passive awareness of the “directly-given” and a thinking recognition of it. This fact could lead to doubt about my description of the starting point for a theory of knowledge. Hartmann says for example:

“We are not concerned with the hypothetical content of consciousness in a child which is just becoming conscious or in an animal at the lowest level of life, since the philosophizing human being has no experience of this; if he tries to reconstruct the content of consciousness of beings on primitive biogenetic or ontogenetic levels, he must base his conclusions on the way he experiences his own consciousness. Our first task, therefore, is to establish the content of man's consciousness when he begins philosophical reflection.”

Remove preconceptions
The objection to this, however, is that the world-picture with which we begin philosophical reflection already contains predicates mediated through cognition. These cannot be accepted uncritically, but must be carefully removed from the world-picture so that it can be considered free of anything introduced through the process of knowledge. This division between the “given” and the “known” will not in fact, coincide with any stage of human development; the boundary must be drawn artificially. But this can be done at every level of development so long as we draw the dividing line correctly between what confronts us free of all conceptual definitions, and what cognition subsequently makes of it.

If the starting point is some object (or subject) to which is attached any conceptual definition, then the possibility of error is already present in the starting point, namely in the definition itself. Error is wholly excluded only by saying: I eliminate from my world-picture all conceptual definitions arrived at through cognition and retain only what enters my field of observation without any activity on my part. When on principle I refrain from making any statement, I cannot make a mistake.

The present aim is not to acquire specific knowledge of this or that element, but to investigate cognition itself. Until we have understood the act of knowledge, we cannot judge the significance of statements about the content of the world arrived at through the act of cognition. Truth and Knowledge iv The Starting Point Of Epistemology

[12] If now we recollect that the activity of thought is on no account to be considered as merely subjective, then we shall not be tempted to believe that the relations thus established by thought have merely subjective validity.

4.4 Correction Of My Picture Of World
[13] Our next task is to discover by means of thought what relation the above-mentioned immediate sense-data have to the conscious subject.

[14] The ambiguity of current speech makes it advisable for me to come to an agreement with my readers concerning the meaning of a word which I shall have to employ in what follows. I shall apply the name "percepts" to the immediate sense-data enumerated above, in so far as the subject consciously apprehends them. It is, then, not the process of perception, but the object of this process which I call the "percept."

Manifestation to the senses (including all bodily and spiritual organs that sense)
If we now wished to have a name for the first form in which we observe reality, we believe that the expression that fits the matter the very best is: “manifestation to the senses”. By sense we do not mean merely the outer senses, the mediators of the outer world, but rather all bodily and spiritual organs whatsoever that sense the perception of immediate facts. It is, indeed, quite usual in psychology to use the expression inner sense for the ability to perceive inner experiences.

Let us use the word manifestation, however, simply to designate a thing perceptible to us or a perceptible process insofar as these appear in space or in time. Theory of Knowledge 7. Calling upon the Experience of Every Single Reader

[15] I reject the term "sensation," because this has a definite meaning in Physiology which is narrower than that of my term "percept." I can speak of feeling as a percept, but not as a sensation in the physiological sense of the term. Before I can have cognisance of my feeling it must become a percept for me. The manner in which, through observation, we gain knowledge of our thought-processes is such that when we first begin to notice thought, it too may be called a percept.

[16] The unreflective man regards his percepts, such as they appear to his immediate apprehension, as things having a wholly independent existence. When he sees a tree he believes that it stands in the form which he sees, with the colours of all its parts, etc., there on the spot towards which his gaze is directed. When the same man sees the sun in the morning appear as a disc on the horizon, and follows the course of this disc, he believes that the phenomenon exists and occurs (by itself) exactly as he perceives it. To this belief he clings until he meets with further percepts which contradict his former ones. The child who has as yet had no experience of distance grasps at the moon, and does not correct its first impression as to the real distance until a second percept contradicts the first. Every extension of the circle of my percepts compels me to correct my picture of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the mental development of mankind. The picture which the ancients made for themselves of the relation of the earth to the sun and other heavenly bodies, had to be replaced by another when Copernicus found that it contradicted percepts which in those early days were unknown. A man who had been born blind said, when operated on by Dr. Franz, that the picture of the size of objects which he had formed before his operation by his sense of touch was a very different one. He had to correct his tactual percepts by his visual percepts.

Observation of inessential outer aspect
Must we regard the form of experience we have described thus far as how things actually are? Is it a characteristic of reality? A very great deal depends upon answering this question. If this form of experience is an essential characteristic of the things of experience, if it is something which, in the truest sense of the word, belongs to them by their very nature, then one could not imagine how one is ever to transcend this stage of knowing at all. One would then simply have to resort to writing down everything we perceive, in disconnected notes, and our science would be a collection of such notes. For what would be the purpose of any investigation into the interconnection of things if the complete isolation we ascribe to them in the form of experience were truly characteristic of them?

The situation would be entirely different if, in this form of reality, we had to do not with reality's essential being but only with its inessential outer aspect, if we had only the shell of the true being of the world before us which hides this being and challenges us to search further for it. We would then have to strive to penetrate this shell. We would have to take our start from this first form of the world in order then to possess ourselves of its true (essential) characteristics. We would then have to overcome its manifestation to the senses in order to develop out of it a higher form of manifestation. Theory of Knowledge 7. Calling upon the Experience of Every Single Reader

Essential being (or essential nature)
For sense perception one can attain its essential being not, so to speak, by piercing the perception and penetrating to an existence behind it into its essential being, but rather by going back to the thought-element that manifests within man. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

4.5 Mathematical And Qualitative Percept-Picture
[17] How is it that we are compelled to make these continual corrections in our observations?

[18] A single reflection supplies the answer to this question. When I stand at one end of an avenue, the trees at the other end, away from me, seem smaller and nearer together than those where I stand. But the scene which I perceive changes when I change the place from which I am looking. The exact form in which it presents itself to me is, therefore, dependent on a condition which inheres, not in the object, but in me, the percipient. It is all the same to the avenue where I stand. But the picture of it which I receive depends essentially on my standpoint. In the same way it makes no difference to the sun and the planetary system that human beings happen to perceive them from the earth; but the picture of the heavens which human beings have is determined by the fact that they inhabit the earth. This dependence of our percepts on our points of observation is the easiest kind of dependence to understand. The matter becomes more difficult when we realize further that our perceptual world is dependent on our bodily and mental organization. The physicist teaches us that within the space in which we hear a sound there are vibrations of the air, and that there are vibrations also in the particles of the body which we regard as the cause of the sound. These vibrations are perceived as sounds only if we have normally constructed ears. Without them the whole world would be for us for ever silent. Again, the physiologist teaches us that there are men who perceive nothing of the wonderful display of colours which surrounds us. In their world there are only degrees of light and dark. Others are blind only to one colour, e.g., red. Their world lacks this colour tone, and hence it is actually a different one from that of the average man. I should like to call the dependence of my perceptual world on my point of observation "mathematical," and its dependence on my organization "qualitative." The former determines proportions of size and mutual distances of my percepts, the latter their quality. The fact that I see a red surface as red —this qualitative determination— depends on the structure of my eye.

4.6 Subjective Percept-Picture
[19] My percepts, then, are in the first instance subjective. The recognition of the subjective character of our percepts may easily lead us to doubt whether there is any objective basis for them at all. When we know that a percept, e.g., that of a red colour or of a certain tone, is not possible without a specific structure of our organism, we may easily be led to believe that it has no being at all apart from our subjective organization, that it has no kind of existence apart from the act of perceiving of which it is the object. The classical representative of this theory is George Berkeley, who held that from the moment we realize the importance of a subject for perception, we are no longer able to believe in the existence of a world apart from a conscious mind.

"Some truths there are so near and obvious to the mind that man need only open his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be, viz., that all the choir of heaven and the furniture of the earth —in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world— have not any subsistence without a mind; that their being is to be perceived or known; that consequently, so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit" (Berkeley, Of the Principles of Human Knowledge, Part I, Section 6).

On this view, when we take away the act of perceiving, nothing remains of the percept. There is no colour when none is seen, no sound when none is heard. Extension, form, and motion exist as little as colour and sound apart from the act of perception. We never perceive bare extension or shape. These are always joined with colour, or some other quality, which is undoubtedly dependent on the subject. If these latter disappear when we cease to perceive, the former, being connected with them, must disappear likewise.

[20] If it is urged that, even though figure, colour, sound, etc., have no existence except in the act of perception, yet there must be things which exist apart from perception and which are similar to the percepts in our minds, then the view we have mentioned would answer, that a colour can be similar only to a colour, a figure to a figure. Our percepts can be similar only to our percepts and to nothing else. Even what we call a thing is nothing but a collection of percepts which are connected in a definite way. If I strip a table of its shape, extension, colour, etc. —in short, of all that is merely my percepts— then nothing remains over. If we follow this view to its logical conclusion, we are led to the assertion that the objects of my perceptions exist only through me, and that only in as far as, and as long as, I perceive them. They disappear with my perceiving and have no meaning apart from it. Apart from my percepts I know of no objects and cannot know of any.

[21] No objection can be made to this assertion as long as we take into account merely the general fact that the percept is determined in part by the organization of the subject. The matter would be far otherwise if we were in a position to say what part exactly is played by our perceiving in the occurrence of a percept. We should know then what happens to a percept whilst it is being perceived, and we should also be able to determine what character it must possess before it comes to be perceived.

4.7 Mental Picture: After-effect Of Observation
[22] This leads us to turn our attention from the object of a perception to the subject of it. I am aware not only of other things but also of myself. The content of my perception of myself consists, in the first instance, in that I am something stable in contrast with the ever coming and going flux of percepts. The awareness of myself accompanies in my consciousness the awareness of all other percepts. When I am absorbed in the perception of a given object I am, for the time being, aware only of this object. Next I become aware also of myself. I am then conscious, not only of the object, but also of my Self as opposed to and observing the object. I do not merely see a tree, I know also that it is I who see it. I know, moreover, that some process takes place in me when I observe a tree. When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an after-effect of this process remains, viz., a picture of the tree. This picture has become associated with my Self during my perception. My Self has become enriched; to its content a new element has been added. This element I call my mental picture of the tree. I should never have occasion to talk of my mental pictures, were I not aware of my own Self. Percepts would come and go; I should let them slip by. It is only because I am aware of my Self, and observe that with each perception the content of the Self is changed, that I am compelled to connect the perception of the object with the changes in the content of my Self, and to speak of my mental picture.

4.8 Mental Picture: Caused By Unknown Thing-In-Itself

[23] I perceive the mental picture connected to my self in the same sense as I perceive color, tone, etc. connected to other objects.  I am now also able to distinguish these other objects, which stand over against me, by the name of the outer world, whereas the contents of my perception of my Self form my inner world. The failure to recognize the true relation between mental picture and object has led to the greatest misunderstandings in modern philosophy. The fact that I perceive a change in myself, that my Self undergoes a modification, has been thrust into the foreground, whilst the object which causes these modifications is altogether ignored. In consequence it has been said that we perceive not objects, but only our mental pictures. l know, so it is said, nothing of the table in itself, which is the object of my perception, but only of the changes which occur within me when I perceive a table. This theory should not be confused with the Berkeleyan theory mentioned above. Berkeley maintains the subjective nature of my perceptual contents, but he does not say that I can know only my own mental pictures. He limits my knowledge to my mental picture because, on his view, there are no objects other than ideas. What I perceive as a table no longer exists, according to Berkeley, when I cease to look at it. This is why Berkeley holds that our percepts are created directly by the omnipotence of God. I see a table because God causes this percept in me. For Berkeley, therefore, nothing is real except God and human spirits. What we call the "world" exists only in spirits. What the naive man calls the outer world, or material nature, is for Berkeley non-existent. This theory is confronted by the now predominant Kantian view which limits our knowledge of the world to our mental pictures, not because of any conviction that nothing beyond these mental pictures exists, but because it holds that we are so organized that we can have knowledge only of the changes within our own selves, not of the things-in-themselves, which are the causes of these changes. This view concludes from the fact that I know only my own mental pictures, not that there is no reality independent of them, but only that the subject cannot have direct knowledge of such reality. The mind can merely "through the medium of its subjective thoughts imagine it, conceive it, know it, or perhaps also fail to know it" (O. Liebmann, Zur Analysis der Wirklichkeit, p. 28). Kantians believe that their principles are absolutely certain, indeed immediately evident, without any proof.

Kant's philosophy is the opposite of the Goethean philosophy
For Kant, the starting point for human thinking is experience, i.e., the world given to the senses (among which is included the inner sense that conveys to us such facts as the psychic, historical, and the like). This world is a manifoldness of things in space and of processes in time. There can be nothing that is not spatial or temporal. Even if there were some non-spatial or non-temporal thing, I can know nothing about it, for I can picture nothing to myself without space and time. I only know that things must appear to me in space and time forms. Space and time are therefore the prerequisites of my sense perception.

I know nothing of any thing-in-itself; I only know how it must appear to me. Kant appears in science with a new way of asking questions. Instead of asking, as earlier philosophers did: What is the nature of things?, he asks: How must things appear to us in such a way that they can become the object of our knowing? We know nothing about the thing-in-itself.

We have not yet fulfilled our task when we arrive at a sense perception of a manifoldness in time and space. We strive to draw this manifoldness together into a unity. This is a matter for the intellect. The intellect is to be understood as a sum of activities whose purpose is to draw the sense world together according to certain forms already sketched out in the intellect. It draws together two sense perceptions by, for example, designating one as the cause and the other as the effect. Thus the world, according to Kant, is actually a subjective phenomenon arising in the forms of the sense world and of the intellect. Only one thing is certain: that there is a thing-in-itself; how it appears to us depends upon our organization.

One sees at once that Kant's philosophy is the polar opposite of the Goethean philosophy. Given reality is determined, according to Kant, by us ourselves; it is as it is because we picture it that way. Kant right away sets up a distinction between object and subject, without asking at all what significance it has then for the intellect to undertake the separation of two regions of reality (in this case the knowing subject and the object to be known). Then he seeks to establish conceptually the reciprocal relationship of these two regions, again without asking what it means to establish something like that.

If Kant's view of the main epistemological question had not been all askew, he would have seen that the holding apart of subject and object is only a transitional point in our knowing, that a deeper unity, which reason can grasp, underlies them both. And what is attributed to a thing as a trait, when considered in connection with a knowing subject, by no means has only subjective validity. A thing is a unity for our reason and the separation into “thing-in-itself” and “thing-for-us” is a product of our intellect. Whether I look at the same thing one time from this point of view and another time from that: it is after all still a unified whole. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

Kant's view
It is an error, running through Kant's entire edifice of teachings, for him to regard the sense-perceptible manifoldness as something fixed, and for him to believe that science consists in bringing this manifoldness into a system. He has no inkling at all that the manifoldness is not something ultimate, that one must overcome it if one wants to comprehend it; and therefore all theory becomes for him merely a supplement that the intellect and reason add onto experience.

For Kant, the idea is not what appears to reason as the deeper ground of the given world when reason has overcome the manifoldness lying on the surface, but rather the idea is only a methodological principle by which reason orders the phenomena in order to have a better overview of them. According to the Kantian view, we would be going totally amiss if we were to regard things as traceable back to the idea; in his opinion, we can only order our experiences as though they stemmed from a unity. According to Kant, we have no inkling of the ground of things, of the “in-itself.” Our knowing of things is only there in connection with us; it is valid only for our individuality.

Goethe could not gain much from this view of the world. The contemplation of things in their connection to us always remained for him a quite subordinate one, having to do with the effect of objects upon our feelings of pleasure and pain; he demands more of science than a mere statement as to how things are in their connection to us. In the essay The Experiment as Mediator between Subject and Object, he determines what the task of the researcher is: He should take his yardstick for knowledge, the data for his judgment, not from himself, but rather from the sphere of the things he observes. This one statement characterizes the deep antithesis between the Kantian and the Goethean way of thinking.

Whereas with Kant, all judgments about things are only a product of subject and object, and only provide a knowing about how the subject beholds the object, with Goethe, the subject merges selflessly into the object and draws the data for his judgment from the sphere of the things. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

"The most fundamental principle which the philosopher must begin by grasping clearly, consists in the recognition that our knowledge, in the first instance, does not extend beyond our mental pictures. Our mental pictures are all that we immediately have and experience, and just because we have immediate experience of them the most radical doubt cannot rob us of this knowledge. On the other hand, the knowledge which transcends my mental picture —taking mental pictures here in the widest possible sense, so as to include all psychical processes— is not proof against doubt. Hence, at the very beginning of all philosophy we must explicitly set down all knowledge which transcends mental pictures as open to doubt." These are the opening sentences of Volkelt's book on Kant's Theory of Knowledge.

Removing a preconception from the initial appearance of this world
At this point we must indicate a preconception, existing since Kant. The preconception I mean is the view: It is already established from the very beginning that the whole world of perception, this endless manifoldness of colors and shapes, of sounds and warmth differentiations, etc., is nothing more than our “subjective” world of mental pictures (Vorstellungen), which exists only as long as we keep our senses open to what works in upon them from a world unknown to us. This view declares the entire world of phenomena to be a mental picture “inside” our individual consciousness.

One may consider it to be an irrefutable physiological truth that only through the participation of our organism does the complex of sensations and perceptions arise that we have called experience. But the fact remains, nevertheless, that any such knowledge can only be the result of many considerations and investigations. This characterization — that our phenomenal world, in a physiological sense, is of a subjective nature — is already what thinking determines it to be, and has therefore absolutely nothing to do with the initial appearance of this world. This characterization already presupposes that thinking has been applied to experience. The examination of the relationship between these two factors of knowing activity must therefore precede this characterization.

This simple reflection — that the naive person notices absolutely nothing about things that could bring him to this view — shows us that in the objects themselves there lies no compelling reason for this assumption. What is there about a tree or a table itself that could lead me to regard it as a mere configuration of mental pictures? At the very least this cannot therefore be presented as an obvious truth.

if one applies to the perceived world the predicate "subjective,” this is just as much a conceptual characterization as when one regards a falling stone as the cause of the depression in the ground. We wish to avoid the error of attributing any characteristic beforehand to the directly “given,” to the first form in which the outer and inner world appear. Theory of Knowledge 6. Correcting an Erroneous Conception of Experience as a Whole

We wish to avoid the error of attributing any characteristic beforehand to the directly “given,” to the first form in which the outer and inner world appear. The basic error of many scientific endeavours, especially those of the present day, consists precisely of the fact that they believe they present pure experience, whereas in fact they only gather up the concepts again that they themselves have inserted into it. Theory of Knowledge 7. Calling upon the Experience of Every Single Reader

Language that directs the attention
Someone could object that we have also assigned a whole number of attributes to pure experience. We called it an endless manifoldness, an aggregate of unconnected particulars, etc. Are those then not conceptual characterizations also?

All scientific investigations must, in fact, be conducted in the medium of language, and it can only express concepts. But there is, after all, an essential difference between using certain words in order to attribute this or that characteristic directly to a thing, and making use of words only in order to direct the attention of the reader or listener to an object. To use a comparison, we could say: It is one thing for A to say to B, “Observe that man in the circle of his family and you will gain a very different impression of him than if you get to know him only through the way he is at work”; it is another if A says, “That man is an excellent father.” In the first case, B's attention is directed in a certain sense; he is called upon to judge a personality under certain circumstances. In the second case a particular characteristic is simply ascribed to this personality; an assertion is there fore made. Theory of Knowledge 7. Calling upon the Experience of Every Single Reader

4.9 Mental Picture: What My Organization Transmits
What is here put forward as an immediate and self-evident truth is, in reality, the conclusion of a piece of argument which runs as follows. Naive common sense believes that things, just as we perceive them, exist also outside our minds. Physics, Physiology, and Psychology, however, teach us that our percepts are dependent on our organization, and that therefore we cannot know anything about external objects except what our organization transmits to us. The objects which we perceive are thus modifications of our organization, not things-in-themselves. This line of thought has, in fact, been characterized by Ed. von Hartmann as the one which leads necessarily to the conviction that we can have direct knowledge only of our own mental pictures (cp. his Grundproblem der Erkenntnistheorie, pp. I 6-40).

Because outside our organisms we find vibrations of particles and of air, which are perceived by us as sounds, it is concluded that what we call sound is nothing more than a subjective reaction of our organisms to these motions in the external world. Similarly, colour and heat are inferred to be merely modifications of our organisms. And, further, these two kinds of percepts are held to be the effects of motions in an infinitely fine material, ether, which fills all interstellar space. When the vibrations of this ether stimulate the nerves in the skin of my body, I perceive heat; when they stimulate the optical nerve I perceive light and colour. Light, colour, and heat, then, are the reactions of my sensory nerves to external stimuli. Similarly, the sense of touch reveals to me, not the objects of the outer world, but only states of my own body. The physicist holds that bodies are composed of infinitely small particles called molecules, and that these molecules are not in direct contact with one another, but have definite intervals between them. Between them, therefore, is empty space. Across this space they act on one another by attraction and repulsion. If I put my hand on a body, the molecules of my hand by no means touch those of the body directly, but there remains a certain distance between body and hand, and what I experience as the body's resistance is nothing but the effect of the force of repulsion which its molecules exert on my hand. I am absolutely external to the body and experience only its effects on my organism.

[24] The theory of the so-called Specific Nervous Energy, which has been advanced by J. Muller, supplements these speculations. It asserts that each sense has the peculiarity that it reacts to all external stimuli in only one definite way. If the optic nerve is stimulated, light sensations result, irrespective of whether the stimulation is due to what we call light, or to mechanical pressure, or an electrical current. On the other hand, the same external stimulus applied to different senses gives rise to different sensations. The conclusion from these facts seems to be, that our sense-organs can give us knowledge only of what occurs in themselves, but not of the external world. They determine our percepts, each according to its own nature.

These reasons are physical, psycho-physical, physiological, as well as philosophical. The physicist who observes phenomena that occur in our environment when, for instance, we perceive a sound, is led to conclude that these phenomena have not the slightest resemblance to what we directly perceive as sound. Out there in the space surrounding us, nothing is to be found except vibrations of material bodies and of air. It is concluded from this that what we ordinarily call sound or tone is solely a subjective reaction of our organism to those wave-like movements. Likewise it is found that light, color and heat are something purely subjective. The phenomena of color-diffraction, refraction, interference and polarization show that these sensations correspond to certain transverse vibrations in external space, which, so it is thought, must be ascribed partly to material bodies, partly to an infinitely fine elastic substance, the ether. Furthermore, because of certain physical phenomena, the physicist finds himself compelled to abandon the belief in the continuity of objects in space, and to analyze them into systems of minute particles (molecules, atoms) the size of which, in relation to the distance between them, is immeasurably small. Thus he concludes that material bodies affect one another across empty space, so that in reality force is exerted from a distance. The physicist believes he is justified in assuming that a material body does not affect our senses of touch and warmth by direct contact, because there must be a certain distance, even if very small, between the body and the place where it touches the skin. From this he concludes further that what we sense as the hardness or warmth of a body, for example, is only the reaction of the peripheral nerves of our senses of touch and warmth to the molecular forces of bodies which act upon them across empty space.

These considerations of the physicist are amplified by those of the psycho-physicist in the form of a science of specific sense-energies. J. Müller [ 105 ] has shown that each sense can be affected only in a characteristic manner which is conditioned by its structure, so that it always reacts in the same way to any external stimulus. If the optic nerve is stimulated, there is a sensation of light, whether the stimulus is in the form of pressure, electric current, or light. On the other hand, the same external phenomenon produces quite different sensations, according to which sense organ transmits it. This leads to the conclusion that there is only one kind of phenomenon in the external world, namely motion, and that the many aspects of the world which we perceive derive essentially from the reaction of our senses to this phenomenon. According to this view, we do not perceive the external world. itself, but merely the subjective sensations which it releases in us. Thus physiology is added to physics. Truth And Science iii Epistemology Since Kant

Pure Experience
Pure experience is the form of reality in which reality appears to us when we confront it to the complete exclusion of what we ourselves bring to it.

With objects of the external sense world, this leaps so obviously to the eye that scarcely anyone would deny it. A body confronts us at first as a multiplicity of forms, colours, warmth and light impressions, which are suddenly before us as though sprung from some primal source unknown to us.

The conviction in psychology that the sense world, as it lies before us, is nothing in itself but is only a product of the interworking of an unknown molecular outer world with our organism does not contradict our statement. Even if it were really true that color, warmth, etc., were nothing more than the way our organism is affected by the outer world, still the process that transforms the happening of the outer world into color, warmth, etc., lies entirely outside consciousness. No matter what role our organism may play in this, it is not molecular processes that lie before our thinking as the finished form in which reality presses in upon us (experience); rather it is those colors, sounds, etc. Theory of Knowledge B. Experience 4. Determining the Concept of Experience

[25] Physiology shows, further, that there can be no direct knowledge even of the effects which objects produce on our sense-organs. Through his study of the processes which occur in our own bodies, the physiologist finds that, even in the sense-organs, the effects of the eternal process are modified in the most diverse ways. We can see this most clearly in the case of eye and ear. Both are very complicated organs which modify the external stimulus considerably, before they conduct it to the corresponding nerve. From the peripheral end of the nerve the modified stimulus is then conducted to the brain. Here the central organs must in turn be stimulated. The conclusion is, therefore, drawn that the external process undergoes a series of transformations before it reaches consciousness. The brain processes are connected by so many intermediate links with the external stimuli, that any similarity between them is out of the question. What the brain ultimately transmits to the soul is neither external processes, nor processes in the sense-organs, but only such as occur in the brain. But even these are not apprehended immediately by the soul. What we finally have in consciousness are not brain processes at all, but sensations. My sensation of red has absolutely no similarity with the process which occurs in the brain when I sense red. The sensation, again, occurs as an effect in the mind, and the brain process is only its cause. This is why Hartmann (Grundproblem der Erkenntnistheorie, p. 37) says, "What the subject experiences is therefore only modifications of his own psychical states and nothing else."

Physics deals with the phenomena occurring outside our organism to which our perceptions correspond; physiology aims to investigate the processes that occur in man's body when he experiences a certain sense impression. It shows that the epidermis is completely insensitive to external stimuli. In order to reach the nerves connected with our sense of touch on the periphery of the body, an external vibration must first be transmitted through the epidermis. In the case of hearing and vision the external motion is further modified through a number of organs in these sense-tools, before it reaches the corresponding nerve. These effects, produced in the organs at the periphery of the body, now have to be conducted through the nerve to the central organ, where sensations are finally produced through purely mechanical processes in the brain. It is obvious that the stimulus which acts on the sense organ is so changed through these modifications that there can be no similarity between what first affected the sense organs, and the sensations that finally arise in consciousness. The result of these considerations is summed up by Hartmann in the following words:

“The content of consciousness consists fundamentally of the sensations which are the soul's reflex response to processes of movement in the uppermost part of the brain, and these have not the slightest resemblance to the molecular movements which called them into being.”

If this line of thought is correct and is pursued to its conclusion, it must then be admitted that our consciousness does not contain the slightest element of what could be called external existence. Truth And Science iii Epistemology Since Kant

However, when I have sensations, they are very far as yet from being grouped in those complexes which I perceive as "things." Only single sensations can be transmitted to me by the brain. The sensations of hardness and softness are transmitted to me by the organ of touch, those of colour and light by the organ of sight. Yet all these are found united in one object. This unification must, therefore, be brought about by the soul itself; that is, the soul constructs things out of the separate sensations which the brain conveys to it. My brain conveys to me singly, and by widely different paths, the visual, tactual, and auditory sensations which the soul then combines into the mental picture of a trumpet. Thus, what is really the result of a process (i.e., the mental picture of a trumpet), is for my consciousness the primary datum. In this result nothing can any longer be found of what exists outside of me and originally stimulated my sense-organs. The external object is lost entirely on the way to the brain and through the brain to the soul.

To the physical and physiological arguments against so-called “naive realism” Hartmann adds further objections which he describes as essentially philosophical. A logical examination of the first two objections reveals that in fact one can arrive at the above result only by first assuming the existence and interrelations of external things, as ordinary naive consciousness does, and then investigating how this external world enters our consciousness by means of our organism. We have seen that between receiving a sense impression and becoming conscious of a sensation, every trace of such an external world is lost, and all that remains in consciousness are our representations (mental pictures). We must therefore assume that our picture of the external world is built up by the soul, using the material of sensations. First of all, a spatial picture is constructed using the sensations produced by sight and touch, and sensations arising from the other senses are then added. When we are compelled to think of a certain complex of sensations as connected, we are led to the concept of matter, which we consider to be the carrier of sensations. If we notice that some sensations associated with a substance disappear, while others arise, we ascribe this to a change regulated by the causal laws in the world of phenomena. According to this view, our whole world-picture is composed of subjective sensations arranged by our own soul-activity. Hartmann says: “Thus all that the subject perceives are modifications of its own soul-condition and nothing else.” Truth And Science iii Epistemology Since Kant

4.10 Perceived World Is A Projection Of Soul Qualities
[26] It would be hard to find in the history of human speculation another edifice of thought which has been built up with greater ingenuity, and which yet, on closer analysis, collapses into nothing. Let us look a little closer at the way it has been constructed. The theory starts with what is given in naive consciousness, i.e., with things as perceived. It proceeds to show that none of the qualities which we find in these things would exist for us, had we no sense-organs. No eye —no colour. Therefore, the colour is not, as yet, present in the stimulus which affects the eye. It arises first through the interaction of the eye and the object. The latter is, therefore, colourless. But neither is the colour in the eye, for in the eye there is only a chemical, or physical, process which is first conducted by the optic nerve to the brain, and there initiates another process. Even this is not yet the colour. That is only produced in the soul by means of the brain process. Even then it does not yet appear in consciousness, but is first referred by the soul to a body in the external world. There I finally perceive it, as a quality of this body. We have travelled in a complete circle. We are conscious of a coloured object. That is the starting-point. Here thought begins its construction. If I had no eye the object would be, for me, colourless. I cannot, therefore, attribute the colour to the object. I must look for it elsewhere. I look for it, first, in the eye —in vain; in the nerve —in vain; in the brain —in vain once more; in the soul —here I find it indeed, but not attached to the object. I recover the coloured body only on returning to my starting-point. The circle is completed. The theory leads me to identify what the naive man regards as existing outside of him, as really a product of my mind.

4.11 External Perception Is Mental Picture
[27] As long as one stops here everything seems to fit beautifully. But we must go over the argument once more from the beginning. Hitherto I have used, as my starting-point, the object, i.e., the external percept of which up to now, from my naive standpoint, I had a totally wrong conception. I thought that the percept, just as I perceive it, had objective existence. But now I observe that it disappears with my act of perception, that it is only a modification of my mental state. Have I, then, any right at all to start from it in my arguments? Can I say of it that it acts on my soul? I must henceforth treat the table of which formerly I believed that it acted on me, and produced a mental picture of itself in me, itself as a mental picture. But from this it follows logically that my sense-organs, and the processes in them are also merely subjective. I have no right to talk of a real eye but only of my mental picture of an eye. Exactly the same is true of the nerve paths, and the brain processes, and even of the process in the soul itself, through which things are supposed to be constructed out of the chaos of diverse sensations. If assuming the truth of the first circle of argumentation, I run through the steps of my cognitive activity once more, the latter reveals itself as a tissue of mental pictures which, as such, cannot act on one another. I cannot say my mental picture of the object acts on my mental picture of the eye, and that from this interaction results my mental picture of colour. But it is necessary that I should say this. For as soon as I see clearly that my sense-organs and their activity, my nerve- and soul-processes, can also be known to me only through perception, the argument which I have outlined reveals itself in its full absurdity. It is quite true that I can have no percept without the corresponding sense-organ. But just as little can I be aware of a sense-organ without perception. From the percept of a table I can pass to the eye which sees it, or the nerves in the skin which touches it, but what takes place in these I can, in turn, learn only from perception. And then I soon perceive that there is no trace of similarity between the process which takes place in the eye and the colour which I see. I cannot get rid of colour sensations by pointing to the process which takes place in the eye whilst I perceive a colour. No more can I re-discover the colour in the nerve- or brain-processes. I only add a new percept, localized within the organism, to the first percept which the naive man localizes outside of his organism. I only pass from one percept to another.

[28] Moreover, there is a break in the whole argument. I can follow the processes in my organism up to those in my brain, even though my assumptions become more and more hypothetical as I approach the central processes of the brain. The method of external observation ceases with the process in my brain, more particularly with the process which I should observe, if I could treat the brain with the instruments and methods of Physics and Chemistry. The method of internal observation, or introspection, begins with the sensations, and includes the construction of things out of the material of sense-data. At the point of transition from brain process to sensation, there is a break in the sequence of observation.

[29] The theory which I have here described, and which calls itself Critical Idealism, in contrast to the standpoint of naive common sense which it calls Naive Realism, makes the mistake of characterizing one group of percepts as mental picture, whilst taking another group in the very same sense as the Naive Realism which it apparently refutes. It establishes the ideal character (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) of percepts by accepting naively, as objectively valid facts, the percepts connected with one's own body, and, in addition, it fails to see that it confuses two spheres of observation, between which it can find no connecting link.

4.12 Objective Existence Of Own Organism
[30] Critical Idealism can refute Naive Realism only by itself assuming, in naive-realistic fashion, that one's own organism has objective existence. As soon as the Idealist realizes that the percepts connected with his own organism stand on exactly the same footing as those which Naive Realism assumes to have objective existence, he can no longer use the former as a safe foundation for his theory. He would, to be consistent, have to regard his own organism also as a mere complex of mental pictures. But this removes the possibility of regarding the content of the perceptual world as a product of the mind's organization. One would have to assume that the mental picture "colour" was only a modification of the mental picture "eye." So-called Critical Idealism can be established only by borrowing the assumptions of Naive Realism. The apparent refutation of the latter is achieved only by uncritically accepting its own assumptions as valid in another sphere.

[31] This much, then, is certain: Analyses within the world of percepts cannot establish Critical Idealism, and, consequently, cannot strip percepts of their objective character.

[32] Still less is it legitimate to represent the principle that "the perceptual world is my mental picture" as self-evident and needing no proof. Schopenhauer begins his chief work, The World as Will and Mental Picture, with the words:

"The world is my mental picture —This is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only in mental picture, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness which is himself. If any truth can be asserted a priori, it is this: for it is the expression of the most general form of all possible and thinkable experience, a form which is more general than time, or space, or causality, for they all presuppose it . . ." (The World as Will and Mental Picture, Book I, par. I).

In one point Schopenhauer comes close to Goethe. Schopenhauer rejects, namely, any deriving from outer causes of the phenomena given us and admits the validity only of an inner lawfulness, of a deriving of one phenomenon from another. This seems to be the same as the Goethean principle of taking the data for an explanation from the things themselves; but only seemingly. Schopenhauer wants to remain in the realm of phenomena because he believes we cannot attain in knowledge the “in-itself” lying outside this realm, since all the phenomena given us are only mental pictures and our ability to make mental pictures never takes us outside our consciousness; Goethe, on the other hand, wants to remain within the phenomena, because he in fact seeks within the phenomena themselves the data needed for their explanation. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

This whole theory is wrecked by the fact already mentioned above, that the eyes and the hand are just as much percepts as the sun and the earth. Using Schopenhauer's vocabulary in his own sense, one might maintain against him that my eye which sees the sun, and my hand which feels the earth, are my mental pictures just like the sun and the earth themselves. That, put in this way, the whole theory cancels itself, is clear without further argument. For only my real eye and my real hand, but not my mental pictures "eye" and "hand," could own the mental pictures "sun" and "earth" as modifications.

[33] Critical Idealism is totally unable to gain an insight unto the relation of percept to mental picture. It cannot make the separation, mentioned on p. 76, between what happens to the percept in the process of perception and what must be inherent in it prior to perception. We must therefore attempt this problem in another way.



5.0 Finding The Concept That Corresponds To The World
[1] FROM the foregoing considerations it follows that it is impossible to prove, by analysis of the content of our perceptions, that our percepts are mental pictures. This is supposed to be proved by showing that, if the process of perceiving takes place, in the way in which we conceive it in accordance with the naive-realistic assumptions concerning the psychological and physiological constitution of human individuals, then we have to do, not with things themselves, but merely with our mental pictures of things. Now, if Naive Realism, when consistently thought out, leads to results which directly contradict its presuppositions, then these presuppositions must be discarded as unsuitable for the foundation of a theory of the world. In any case, it is inadmissible to reject the presuppositions and yet accept the consequences, as the Critical Idealist does who bases his assertion that the world is my mental pictures on the line of argument indicated above. (Eduard von Hartmann gives in his work Das Grundproblem der Erkenntnistheorie a full account of this line of argument.)

That the given is a mental picture is a presupposition
My senses reveal nothing to me as to whether what they are communicating to me is real being or whether it is merely mental picture. The sense world confronts us as though fired from a pistol. If we want to have it in its purity, we must refrain from attaching any predicate to it that would characterize it. We can say only one thing: It confronts us; it is given us. With this, however, absolutely nothing at all is determined about it itself. Only when we proceed in this way do we not block the way for ourselves to an unbiased judgment about this given.

If from the very start we attach a particular characterization to the given, then this freedom from bias ceases. If we say, for example, that the given is mental picture, then the whole investigation which follows can only be conducted under this presupposition. We would not be able in this way to provide an epistemology free of presuppositions, but rather would be answering the question “What is knowing?” under the presupposition that what is given to the senses is mental picture.

We take the given as it is: as a manifoldness of — something or other that will reveal itself to us if we allow ourselves to be taken along by it. Thus we have the prospect of arriving at an objective knowledge, because we are allowing the object itself to speak. We can hope that this configuration we confront will reveal everything to us we need, if we do not make it impossible, through some hindering preconception, for it freely to approach our power of judgment with its communications. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Self-canceling assumption

Let us examine how this conviction is arrived at. The argument may be summarized as follows: If an external world exists then we do not perceive it as such, but through our organism transform it into a world of representations (mental pictures). When followed out consistently, this is a self-canceling assumption. In any case, can this argument be used to establish any conviction at all? Are we justified in regarding our given world-picture as a subjective content of representations, just because we arrive inevitably at this conclusion if we start from the assumption made by naive consciousness? After all, the aim was just to prove this assumption invalid. It should then be possible for an assertion to be wrong, and yet lead to a correct result. This can happen, but the result cannot then be said to have been proved by the assertion. Truth And Science iii Epistemology Since Kant

[2] The truth of Critical Idealism is one thing, the persuasiveness of its proofs another. How it stands with the former, will appear later in the course of our argument, but the persuasiveness of its proofs is nil. If one builds a house, and the ground floor collapses whilst the first floor is being built, then the first floor collapses too. Naive Realism and Critical Idealism are related to one another like the ground floor to the first floor in this simile.

Naive rationalism
The subjectivism outlined above is based on the use of thinking for elaborating certain facts. This presupposes that, starting from certain facts, a correct conclusion can be obtained through logical thinking (logical combination of particular observations). But the justification for using thinking in this way is not examined by this philosophical approach. This is its weakness. While naive realism begins by assuming that the content of experience, as we perceive it, is an objective reality without examining if this is so, the standpoint just characterized sets out from the equally uncritical conviction that thinking can be used to arrive at scientifically valid conclusions. In contrast to naive realism, this view could be called naive rationalism. To justify this term, a brief comment on the concept of “naive” is necessary here. A. Döring tries to define this concept in his essay, Ueber den Begriff des naiven Realismus (Concerning the Concept of naive Realism). He says:

“The concept 'naive' designates the zero point in the scale of reflection about one's own relation to what one is doing. A naive content may well be correct, for although it is unreflecting and therefore simply non-critical or uncritical, this lack of reflection and criticism excludes the objective assurance of truth, and includes the possibility and danger of error, yet by no means necessitates them. One can be equally naive in one's life of feeling and will, as in the life of representing (mental picturing) and thinking in the widest sense; furthermore, one may express this inner life in a naive manner rather than repressing and modifying it through consideration and reflection. To be naive means not to be influenced, or at least not consciously influenced by tradition, education or rules; it means to be, in all spheres of life, what the root of the word: 'nativus' implies. i.e., unconscious, impulsive, instinctive, daimonic.”

Naïve artist
Starting from this, we will endeavor to define “naive” still more precisely. In all our activities, two things must be taken into account: the activity itself, and our knowledge of its laws. We may be completely absorbed in the activity without worrying about its laws. The artist is in this position when he does not reflect about the laws according to which he creates, but applies them, using feeling and sensitivity. We may call him “naive.” It is possible, however, to observe oneself, and enquire into the laws inherent in one's own activity, thus abandoning the naive consciousness just described through knowing exactly the scope of and justification for what one does. This I shall call critical. I believe this definition comes nearest to the meaning of this concept as it has been used in philosophy, with greater or lesser clarity, ever since Kant. Critical reflection then is the opposite of the naive approach. A critical attitude is one that comes to grips with the laws of its own activity in order to discover their reliability and limits. Epistemology can only be a critical science. For its object is an essentially subjective activity of man: cognition, and it wishes to demonstrate the laws inherent in cognition. Thus everything “naive” must be excluded from this science. Its strength must lie in doing precisely what many thinkers, inclined more toward the practical doing of things, pride themselves that they have never done, namely, “think about thinking.” Truth And Science iii Epistemology Since Kant

[3] For one who holds that the whole perceived world is only a mental picture, and, moreover, the effect of things unknown to him acting on his soul, the real problem of knowledge is naturally concerned, not with the mental pictures present only in the soul, but with the things which lie outside his consciousness and which are independent of him. He asks: How much can we learn about them indirectly, seeing that we cannot observe them directly? From this point of view, he is concerned, not with the connection of his conscious percepts with one another, but with their causes which transcend his consciousness and exist independently of him, whereas the percepts, on his view, disappear as soon as he turns his sense-organs away from the things themselves. Our consciousness, on this view, works like a mirror from which the pictures of definite things disappear the very moment its reflecting surface is not turned towards them. If, now, we do not see the things themselves, but only their reflections, we must obtain knowledge of the nature of the former indirectly by drawing conclusions from the character of the latter. The whole of modern science adopts this point of view, when it uses percepts only as a means of obtaining information about the motions of matter which lie behind them, and which alone really "are." 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 his mental pictures. His interest ignores the subjective world of mental pictures, and pursues instead the causes of these mental pictures.

[4] The Critical Idealist can, however, go even further and say, I am confined to the world of my own mental pictures and cannot escape from it. If I conceive a thing beyond my mental pictures, this concept, once more, is nothing but my mental picture. An Idealist of this type will either deny the thing-in-itself entirely or, at any rate, assert that it has no significance for human minds, i.e., that it is as good as nonexistent since we can know nothing of it.

[5] To this kind of Critical Idealist the whole world seems a chaotic dream, in the face of which all striving for knowledge is simply meaningless. For him there can be only two sorts of men: (1) victims of the illusion that the dreams they have woven themselves are real things, and (2) wise men who see through the nothingness of this dream world, and who gradually lose all desire to trouble themselves further about it. From this point of view, even one's own personality may become a mere dream phantom. Just as during sleep there appears among my dream-pictures a picture of myself, so in waking consciousness the mental picture of my own Self is added to the mental picture of the outer world. I have then given to me in consciousness, not my real Self, but only my mental picture of my Self. Whoever denies that things exist or, at least, that we can know anything of them, must also deny the existence, respectively the knowledge, of one's own personality. This is how the Critical Idealist comes to maintain that "All reality transforms itself into a wonderful dream, without a life which is the object of the dream, and without a mind which has the dream; into a dream which is nothing but a dream of itself." (Cp. Fichte, Die Bestimmung des Menschen.)

[6] Whether he who believes that he recognizes immediate experience to be a dream, postulates nothing behind this dream, or whether he relates his mental pictures to actual things, is immaterial. In both cases life itself must lose all scientific interest for him. However, whereas for those who believe that the whole of accessible reality is exhausted in dreams, all science is an absurdity, for those who feel compelled to argue from mental pictures to things, science consists in studying 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 rigorously logical exponent, Eduard von Hartmann.

[7] These two points of view have this in common with Naive Realism, that they seek to gain a footing in the world by means of an analysis of percepts. Within this sphere, however, they are unable to find any stable point.

5.1 The Awakened State Of Thinking
[8] One of the most important questions for an adherent of Transcendental Realism would have to be, how the Ego constructs the world of mental pictures out of itself. A world of mental pictures which was given to us, and which disappeared as soon as we shut our senses to the external world, might provoke an earnest desire for knowledge, in so far as it was a means for investigating indirectly the world of the self-existing Self. If the things of our experience were "mental pictures," then our everyday life would be like a dream, and the discovery of the true facts like waking. Even our dream-pictures interest us as long as we dream, and consequently do not detect their dream character. But as soon as we wake, we no longer look for the connections of our dream-pictures among themselves, but rather for the physical, physiological, and psychological processes which underlie them. In the same way, a philosopher who holds the world to be his mental picture, cannot be interested in the reciprocal relations of the details within the world. If he admits the existence of a real Ego at all, then his question will be, not how one of his mental pictures is associated with another, but what takes place in the Soul which is independent of these mental pictures, while a certain train of mental pictures passes through his consciousness. If I dream that I am drinking wine which makes my throat burn, and then wake up with a fit of coughing (cp. Weygandt, Entstehung den Traume, 1893) I cease, the moment I wake, to be interested in the dream-experience for its own sake. My attention is now concerned only with the physiological and psychological processes by means of which the irritation which causes me to cough, comes to be symbolically expressed in the dream. Similarly, once the philosopher is convinced that the given world consists of nothing but mental pictures, his interest is bound to switch from them at once to the soul which is the reality lying behind them. The matter is more serious however for the Illusionist who denies the existence of an Ego behind the "mental pictures," or at least holds this Ego to be unknowable. We might very easily be led to such a view by the reflection that, in contrast to dreaming, there is the waking state in which we have the opportunity to detect our dreams, and to realize the real relations of things, but that there is no state of the self which is related similarly to our waking conscious life. Every adherent of this view fails entirely to see that there is, in fact, something which is to mere perception what our waking experience is to our dreams. This something is thinking.

Everyday Mental Picture Dream
In our estimation, Johannes Volkelt has succeeded admirably in sketching the clear outlines of what we are justified in calling pure experience. He presents us, simply, with the pictures which, in a limited period of time, pass before our consciousness in a completely unconnected way. Volkelt says:

“Now, for example, my consciousness has as its content the mental picture of having worked hard today; immediately joining itself to this is the content of a mental picture of being able, with good conscience, to take a walk; but suddenly there appears the perceptual picture of the door opening and of the mailman entering; the mailman appears, now sticking out his hand, now opening his mouth, now doing the reverse; at the same time, there join in with this content of perception of the mouth opening, all kinds of auditory impressions, among which comes the impression that it is starting to rain outside. The mailman disappears from my consciousness, and the mental pictures that now arise have as their content the sequence: picking up scissors, opening the letter, criticism of illegible writing, visible images of the most diverse written figures, diverse imaginings and thoughts connected with them; scarcely is this sequence at an end than again there appears the mental picture of having worked hard and the perception, accompanied by ill humor, of the rain continuing; but both disappear from my consciousness, and there arises a mental picture with the content that a difficulty believed to have been resolved in the course of today's work was not resolved; entering at the same time are the mental pictures: freedom of will, empirical necessity, responsibility, value of virtue, absolute chance, incomprehensibility, etc.; these all join together with each other in the most varied and complicated way; and so it continues.”

Here we have depicted, within a certain limited period of time, what we really experience, the form of reality in which thinking plays no part at all.
Now one definitely should not believe that one would have arrived at a different result if, instead of this everyday experience, one had depicted, say, the experience we have of a scientific experiment or of a particular phenomenon of nature. Here, as there, it is individual unconnected pictures that pass before our consciousness. Thinking first establishes the connections. The Theory of Knowledge 5. An Indication as to the Content of Experience

5.2 Thought That Applies To The World
[9] The naive man cannot be charged with failure to perceive this. He accepts life as it is, and regards things as real just as they present themselves to him in experience. The first step, however, which we take beyond this standpoint can be only this, that we ask how thought is related to perception. It makes no difference whether or no the percept, as given to me, has a continuous existence before and after I perceive it. If I want to assert anything whatever about it, I can do so only with the help of thought. When I assert that the world is my mental picture, I have enunciated the result of an act of thought, and if my thought is not applicable to the world, then my result is false. Between a percept and every kind of judgment about it there intervenes thought.

Doubting the possibility of knowing the world
The adherent of skepticism must cease to doubt the possibility of knowing the world, for there is no room for doubt in regard to the “given” — it is still untouched by all predicates later bestowed on it by means of cognition. Should the skeptic maintain that our cognitive thinking can never approach the world, he can only maintain this with the help of thinking, and in so doing refutes himself. Whoever attempts to establish doubt in thinking by means of thinking itself admits, by implication, that thinking contains a power strong enough to support a conviction.

And we believe that we have shown that all conflicts between world-views result from a tendency to attempt to attain knowledge of something objective (thing, I, consciousness, etc.) without having first gained a sufficiently exact knowledge of what alone can elucidate all knowledge: the nature of knowledge itself. Truth and Knowledge vii Epistemological Conclusion

5.3 World Connects With Corresponding Concept
[10] The reason why, in our discussion about things, we generally overlook the part played by thought, has already been given above (p. 46). It lies in the fact that our attention is concentrated only on the object about which we think, but not at the same time on the thinking itself. The naive mind, therefore, treats thought as something which has nothing to do with things, but stands altogether aloof from them and makes its theories about them. The picture which the thinker constructs concerning the phenomena of the world is regarded, not as part of the real things, but as existing only in men's heads. The world is complete in itself even without this picture. It is all ready-made and finished with all its substances and forces, and of this ready-made world man makes himself a picture. Whoever thinks thus need only be asked one question. What right have you to declare the world to be complete without thought? Does not the world cause thoughts in the minds of men with the same necessity as it causes the blossoms on plants? Plant a seed in the earth. It puts forth roots and stem, it unfolds into leaves and blossoms. Set the plant before yourselves. It connects itself, in your minds, with a definite concept. Why should this concept belong any less to the whole plant than leaf and blossom? You say the leaves and blossoms exist quite apart from an experiencing subject. The concept appears only when a human being makes an object of the plant. Quite so. But leaves and blossoms also appear on the plant only if there is soil in which the seed can be planted, and light and air in which the blossoms and leaves can unfold. Just so the concept of a plant arises when a thinking being comes into contact with the plant.

Act of cognition reveals something hidden in what is given
We have established that the nature of the activity of cognition is to permeate the given world-picture with concepts and ideas by means of thinking. What follows from this fact? If the directly-given were a totality, complete in itself, then such an elaboration of it by means of cognition would be both impossible and unnecessary. We should then simply accept the given as it is, and would be satisfied with it in that form. The act of cognition is possible only because the given contains something hidden; this hidden does not appear as long as we consider only its immediate aspect; the hidden aspect only reveals itself through the order that thinking brings into the given. In other words, what the given appears to be before it has been elaborated by thinking, is not its full totality.

This becomes clearer when we consider more closely the factors concerned in the act of cognition. The first of these is the given. That it is given is not a feature of the given, but is only an expression for its relation to the second factor in the act of cognition. Thus what the given is as such remains quite undecided by this definition. The second factor is the conceptual content of the given; it is found by thinking, in the act of cognition, to be necessarily connected with the given. Let us now ask: 1) Where is the division between given and concept? 2) And where are they united? The division occurs solely in the act of cognition. In the given they are united. This shows that the conceptual content must necessarily be a part of the given, and also that the act of cognition consists in re-uniting the two parts of the world-picture, which to begin with are given to cognition separated from each other. Therefore, the given world-picture becomes complete only through that other, indirect kind of given which is brought to it by thinking. The immediate aspect of the world-picture reveals itself as quite incomplete to begin with.

If, in the world-content, the thought-content were united with the given from the first, no knowledge would exist, and the need to go beyond the given would never arise. If, on the other hand, we were to produce the whole content of the world in and by means of thinking alone, no knowledge would exist either. What we ourselves produce we have no need to know. Knowledge therefore rests upon the fact that the world-content is originally given to us in incomplete form; it possesses another essential aspect, apart from what is directly present. This second aspect of the world-content, which is not originally given, is revealed through thinking. Therefore the content of thinking, which appears to us to be something separate, is not a sum of empty thought-forms, but comprises determinations (categories); however, in relation to the rest of the world-content, these determinations represent the organizing principle. The world-content can be called reality only in the form it attains when the two aspects of it described above have been united through knowledge. Truth and Knowledge V Cognition And Reality

The idea is found within the experience of nature
That we stick to experience is a justified demand of science. All higher views on nature had to appear to Goethe in no form other than as experience. They had to be “higher nature within nature.”

The principle of experience, in its implications and actual significance, is usually misunderstood. In its most basic form it is the demand that we leave the objects of reality in the first form in which they appear and only in this way make them objects of science. This is a purely methodological principle. It expresses absolutely nothing about the content of what is experienced. If someone wanted to assert, as materialism does, that only the perceptions of the senses can be the object of science, then he could not base himself on this principle. This principle does not pass any judgment as to whether the content is sense-perceptible or ideal (in the form of ideas).

How could one found a science of knowing upon the principle of experience if in experience itself we did not find at any point the basic element of what is scientific: lawfulness in the form of ideas? We need only take up this element, as we have seen; we need only delve into this element. For, it is to be found within experience. Theory of Knowledge C. Thinking 8. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience

5.4 Process Of Growth
[11] It is quite arbitrary to regard the sum of what we experience of a thing through bare perception, as a totality, a whole, while that which thought reveals in it is regarded as a mere accretion which has nothing to do with the thing itself. If I am given a rosebud today, the percept that offers itself to me is complete only for the moment. If I put the bud into water, I shall tomorrow get a very different picture of my object. If I watch the rosebud without interruption, I shall see today's state gradually change into tomorrow's through an infinite number of intermediate stages. The picture which presents itself to me at any one moment is only a chance section out of the continuous process of growth in which the object is engaged. If I do not put the bud into water, a whole series of states, the possibility of which lay in the bud, will not be realized. Similarly, I may be prevented tomorrow from watching the blossom further, and thus carry away an incomplete picture of it.

[12] It would be a quite unscientific and arbitrary judgment which declared of any haphazard appearance of a thing, this is the thing.

5.5 Indivisible Existence of Concept With Percept
[13] To regard the sum of perceptual appearances as the thing is no more legitimate. It might be quite possible for a mind to receive the concept at the same time as, and together with, the percept. To such a mind it would never occur that the concept did not belong to the thing. It would have to ascribe to the concept an existence indivisibly bound up with the thing.

[14] Let me make myself clearer by another example. If I throw a stone horizontally through the air, I perceive it in different places at different times. I connect these places so as to form a line. Mathematics teaches me to distinguish various kinds of lines, one of which is the parabola. I know a parabola to be a line which is produced by a point moving according to a certain well-defined law. If I analyze the conditions under which the stone thrown by me moves, I find that the line of its flight is identical with the line I know as a parabola. That the stone moves exactly in a parabola is a result of the given conditions and follows necessarily from them. The form of the parabola belongs to the whole phenomenon as much as any other feature of it. The hypothetical mind described above which has no need of the roundabout way of thought, would find itself presented, not only with a sequence of visual percepts at different points, but, as part and parcel of these phenomena, also with the parabolic form of the line of flight, which we can add to the phenomenon only by an act of thought.

The manner in which Goethe established the boundary between the natural-scientific method he employed and that of the mathematicians reveals a deep insight into the nature of the science of mathematics. He knew exactly what the basis is for the certainty of mathematical theorems; he had formed a clear picture for himself of the relationship in which mathematical lawfulness stands with respect to the lawfulness of the rest of nature. If a science is to have any value at all as knowledge, it must open up for us a particular region of reality. Some aspect or other of the world content must manifest itself in it. The way in which it does this constitutes the spirit of a particular science. Goethe had to recognize the spirit of mathematics in order to know what can be attained in natural science without the help of computation and what cannot. This is the point that really matters. Goethe himself indicated this with great decisiveness. The way he does this reveals a deep insight into the nature of the mathematical.

Let us examine this nature more closely. Mathematics deals with magnitude, with that which allows of a more or less. Magnitude, however, is not something existing in itself. In the broad scope of human experience there is nothing that is only magnitude. Along with its other characteristics, each thing also has some that are determined by numbers. Since mathematics concerns itself with magnitudes, what it studies are not objects of experience complete in themselves, but rather only everything about them that can be measured or counted. It separates off from things everything that can be subjected to this latter operation. It thus acquires a whole world of abstractions within which it then works. It does not have to do with things, but only with things insofar as they are magnitudes. It must admit that here it is dealing only with one aspect of what is real, and that reality has yet many other aspects over which mathematics has no power. Mathematical judgments are not judgments that fully encompass real objects, but rather are valid only within the ideal world of abstractions that we ourselves have conceptually separated off from the objects as one aspect of reality. Mathematics abstracts magnitude and number from things, establishes the completely ideal relationships between magnitudes and numbers, and hovers in this way in a pure world of thoughts. The things of reality, insofar as they are magnitude and number, allow one then to apply mathematical truths. It is therefore definitely an error to believe that one could grasp the whole of nature with mathematical judgments. Nature, in fact, is not merely quantity; it is also quality, and mathematics has to do only with the first. The mathematical approach and the approach that deals purely with what is qualitative must work hand in hand; they will meet in the thing, of which they each grasp one aspect. Goethe characterizes this relationship with the words: “Mathematics, like dialectics, is an organ of the inner, higher sense; its practice is an art, like oratory. For both, nothing is of value except the form; the content is a matter of indifference to them. It is all the same to them whether mathematics is calculating in pennies or dollars or whether rhetoric is defending something true or false.” (Aphorisms in Prose) And, from Sketch of a Colour Theory: “Who does not acknowledge that mathematics is one of the most splendid organs of man, is from one aspect very useful to physics?” In this recognition, Goethe saw the possibility that a mind which does not have the benefit of a mathematical training can still occupy itself with physical problems. Such a mind must limit itself to what is qualitative. Goethean Science XII Goethe and Mathematics

Objective ideas

Every object has two sides: the direct one of its manifestation (form of manifestation), and the second one that contains its being. In this way, Goethe arrives at the only satisfactory view of nature, which establishes the one truly objective method. If a theory regards the ideas as something foreign to the object itself, as something merely subjective, then it cannot profess to be truly objective if it ever uses the idea at all. But Goethe can maintain that he adds nothing to the objects that does not already lie in the objects themselves. Goethean Science IV Goethe's Writings on Organic Development

[15] It is not due to the real objects that they appear to us at first without their conceptual sides, but to our mental organization. Our whole organization functions in such a way that in the apprehension of every real thing the relevant elements come to us from two sources, viz., from perception and from thought.

[16] The nature of things is indifferent to the way I am organized for apprehending them. The breach between perception and thought exists only from the moment that I confront objects as spectator. But which elements do, and which do not, belong to the objects, cannot depend on the manner in which I obtain my knowledge of them.

5.6 Isolate And Grasp Single Concepts
[17] Man is a being with many limitations. First of all, he is a thing among other things. His existence is in space and time. Hence but a limited portion of the total universe can ever be given to him. This limited portion, however, is linked up with other parts on every side both in time and in space. If our existence were so linked with things that every process in the object world were also a process in us, there would be no difference between us and things. Neither would there be any individual objects for us. All processes and events would then pass continuously one into the other. The cosmos would be a unity and a whole complete in itself. The stream of events would nowhere be interrupted. But owing to our limitations we perceive as an individual object what, in truth, is not an individual object at all. Nowhere, e.g., is the particular quality "red" to be found by itself in abstraction. It is surrounded on all sides by other qualities to which it belongs, and without which it could not subsist. For us, however, it is necessary to isolate certain sections of the world and to consider them by themselves. Our eye can seize only single colours one after another out of a manifold colour-complex, our understanding only single concepts out of a connected conceptual system. This isolation is a subjective act, which is due to the fact that we are not identical with the world-process, but are only things among other things.

5.7 Self Definition Through Thinking
[18] It is of the greatest importance for us to determine the relation of ourselves, as things, to all other things. The determining of this relation must be distinguished from merely becoming conscious of ourselves. For this self-awareness we depend on perception just as we do for our awareness of any other thing. The perception of myself reveals to me a number of qualities which I combine into an apprehension of my personality as a whole, just as I combine the qualities, yellow, metallic, hard, etc., in the unity "gold." This kind of self-consciousness does not take me beyond the sphere of what belongs to me. Hence it must be distinguished from the determination of myself by thought. Just as I determine by thought the place of any single percept of the external world in the whole cosmic system, so I fit by an act of thought what I perceive in myself into the order of the world-process. My self-observation restricts me within definite limits, but my thought has nothing to do with these limits. In this sense I am a two-sided being. I am contained within the sphere which I apprehend as that of my personality, but I am also the possessor of an activity which, from a higher standpoint, determines my finite existence. Thought is not individual like sensation and feeling; it is universal. It receives an individual stamp in each separate human being only because it comes to be related to his individual feelings and sensations. By means of these particular colourings of the universal thought, individual men are distinguished from one another. There is only one single concept of "triangle." It is quite immaterial for the content of this concept whether it is in A's consciousness or in B's. It will however be grasped by each of the two minds in its own individual way.

5.8 In Thinking We Are The All One Being
[19] This thought conflicts with a common prejudice which is very hard to overcome. The victims of this prejudice are unable to see that the concept of a triangle which my mind grasps is the same as the concept which my neighbour's mind grasps. The naive man believes himself to be the creator of his concepts. Hence he believes that each person has his private concepts. One of the first things which philosophic thought requires of us is to overcome this prejudice. The one single concept of "triangle" does not split up into many concepts because it is thought by many minds. For the thought of the many is itself a unity.

One single thought-content
Now admittedly, we are used to picturing a phenomenon in such a way that we need only approach it and passively observe it. This is not an absolute requirement, however. No matter how unusual it might be for us to picture that we ourselves actively bring something objective into manifestation — that we do not merely perceive a phenomenon, in other words, but produce it at the same time — it is not inadmissible for us to do so.

One simply needs to give up the usual opinion that there are as many thought-worlds as there are human individuals. This opinion is in any case nothing more than an old preconception from the past. It is tacitly assumed everywhere, without people realizing that there is another view at least just as possible, and that the reasons must first be weighed as to the validity of one or the other. Instead of this opinion, let us consider the following one: There is absolutely only one single thought-content, and our individual thinking is nothing more than our self, our individual personality, working its way into the thought-center of the world. Theory of Knowledge 9. Thinking and Consciousness

Thinking perceives the idea, its an organ of apprehension
The idea, in all the places of the world, in all consciousnesses, is one and the same. The fact that there are different consciousnesses and that each of them presents the idea to itself does not change the situation at all. The ideal
content (in the form of ideas) of the world is founded upon itself, is complete within itself. We do not create it, we only seek to grasp it. Thinking does not create it but rather perceives it only. Thinking is not a producer, but rather an organ of apprehension. Just as different eyes see one and the same object, so different consciousnesses think one and the same thought-content.

Manifold consciousnesses think one and the same thing; only, they approach this one thing from different sides. It therefore appears to them as modified in manifold ways. This modification is not a differentness of objects, however, but rather an apprehending from different angles of vision. The differences in people's views are just as explainable as the differences that a landscape presents to two observers standing in different places. If one is capable at all of pressing forward to the world of ideas, then one can be certain that one ultimately has a world of ideas that is common to all human beings. Then at most it can still be a question of our grasping this world in a quite one-sided way, of our taking a standpoint from which this world of ideas does not appear to us in the most suitable light, and so on. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

[20] In thought we have the element which welds each man's special individuality into one whole with the cosmos. In so far as we sense and feel (perceive), we are isolated individuals; in so far as we think, we are the All-One Being which pervades everything. This is the deeper meaning of our two-sided nature. We are conscious of an absolute principle revealing itself in us, a principle which is universal. But we experience it, not as it issues from the centre of the world, but rather at a point on the periphery. Were the former the case, we should know, as soon as ever we became conscious, the solution of the whole world problem. But since we stand at a point on the periphery, and find that our own being is confined within definite limits, we must explore the region which lies beyond our own being with the help of thought, which is the universal cosmic principle manifesting itself in our minds.

What the religions call God, we call the idea
To investigate the essential being of a thing means to begin at the center of the thought-world and to work from there until a thought-configuration appears before us that seems to be identical to the thing we are experiencing.

When we speak of the essential being of a thing or of the world altogether, we cannot therefore mean anything else at all than the grasping of reality as thought, as idea. In the idea we recognize that from which we must derive everything else: the principle of things. What philosophers call the absolute, the eternal being, the ground of the world, what the religions call God, this we call, on the basis of our epistemological studies: the idea.

Everything in the world that does not appear directly as idea will still ultimately be recognized as going forth from the idea. What seems, on superficial examination, to have no part at all in the idea is found by a deeper thinking to stem from it. No other form of existence can satisfy us except one stemming from the idea. Nothing may remain away from it; everything must become a part of the great whole that the idea encompasses.

By taking possession of the idea, we arrive at the core of the world. What we grasp there is that from which everything goes forth. We become united with this principle; therefore the idea, which is most objective, appears to us at the same time as most subjective. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

[21] The fact that thought, in us, reaches out beyond our separate existence and relates itself to the universal world-order, gives rise to the desire for knowledge in us. Beings without thought do not experience this desire. When they come in contact with other things no questions arise for them. These other things remain external to such beings. But in thinking beings the concept confronts the external thing. It is that part of the thing which we receive not from without, but from within. To assimilate, to unite, the two elements, the inner and the outer, that is the function of knowledge.

Urge to investigate perception
In all cognitive treatment of reality the process is as follows. We approach the concrete perception. It stands before us as a riddle. Within us the urge makes itself felt to investigate the actual what, the essential being, of the perception, which this perception itself does not express. This urge is nothing else than a concept working its way up out of the darkness of our consciousness. We then hold fast to this concept while sense perception goes along parallel with this thought-process. The mute perception suddenly speaks a language comprehensible to us; we recognize that the concept we have grasped is what we sought as the essential being of the perception. Theory of Knowledge D. Science 11. Thinking and Perception

[22] The percept, thus, is not something finished and self-contained, but one side only of the total reality. The other side is the concept. The act of cognition is the synthesis of percept and concept. And it is only the union of percept and concept which constitutes the wh ole thing.

5.9 Will Is Objectified In Action And Known By Thinking
[23] The preceding discussion shows clearly that it is futile to seek for any other common element in the separate things of the world, than the ideal content (in the form of ideas) which thinking supplies. All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will (of Schopenhauer and Hartmann), can be accepted by us as the universal principle of unity in the world. These principles all belong only to a limited sphere of our experience. Personality we experience only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. The will, again, can be regarded only as the expression of the activity of our finite personalities.

Blind urge of the will
According to Hartmann, the will alone can never achieve the creation of the world, for it is the empty, blind urge for existence. If the will is to bring forth something, then the idea must enter in, because only the idea gives the will a content for its working. But what are we to make of this will? It slips away from us when we want to grasp it; for we cannot after all grasp an empty urging that has no content. And so it turns out after all that everything which we actually grasp of the world principle is idea, because what is graspable must in fact have content. We can only grasp what is full of content, not what is empty of content. If therefore we are to grasp the concept will, it must after all arise in the content of the idea; it can appear only in and along with the idea, as the form in which it arises, never independently. What exists must have content; there can only be existence which is full; there cannot be an empty one. Therefore, Goethe pictures the idea as active, as something working, which needs no further impetus. For, something full of content may not and cannot first receive from something empty of content, the impetus to come into existence. The idea therefore, according to Goethe, is to be grasped as entelechy, i.e., as an already active existence; and one must first draw an abstraction from its form as an active existence if one then wants to bring it back again under the name will. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

Essential being sought in thought
Another error must still be rectified here. It is to the effect that thinking is not adequate to constitute the world, that some other factor (force, will, etc.) must still join with this thought-content in order to make the world possible.

Upon closer examination, however, one sees at once that all such factors turn out to be nothing more than abstractions from the perceptual world that are themselves awaiting explanation by thinking. Every other component part of the being of the world except thinking would also require at once a kind of apprehension, a way of being known, different from that of thinking. We would have to reach that other component part in another way than through thinking. For, thinking yields only thoughts after all. There is no third element given us in addition to sense perception and thinking. And we cannot accept any part of sense perception as the core of the world, because, to closer scrutiny, all its components show that as such they do not contain their essential being. The essential being can therefore be sought simply and solely in thinking. Theory of Knowledge 13. The Activity of Knowing

Schopenhauer wants to avoid making "abstract" thought the principle of unity in the world, and seeks instead something which presents itself to him immediately as real. This philosopher holds that we can never solve the riddle of the world so long as we regard it as an "external" world. "In fact, the meaning for which we seek of that world which is present to us only as our mental picture, or the transition from the world as mere mental picture of the knowing subject to whatever it may be besides this, would never be found if the investigator himself were nothing more than the pure knowing subject (a winged cherub without a body). But he himself is rooted in that world; he finds himself in it as an individual, that is to say, his knowledge, which is the necessary supporter of the whole world as mental picture, is yet always given through the medium of a body, whose affections are, as we have shown, the starting-point for the understanding in the perception of that world. His body is, for the pure knowing subject, a mental pictures like any other, an object among objects. Its movements and actions are so far known to him in precisely the same way as the changes of all other perceived objects, and would be just as strange and incomprehensible to him if their meaning were not explained for him in an entirely different way.... The body is given in two entirely different ways to the subject of knowledge, who becomes an individual only through his identity with it. It is given as an mental picture in intelligent perception, as an object among objects and subject to the laws of objects. And it is also given in quite a different way as that which is immediately known to every one, and is signified by the word will. Every true act of his will is also at once and without exception a movement of his body. The act of will and the movement of the body are not two different things objectively known, which the bond of causality unites; they do not stand in the relation of cause and effect; they are one and the same, but they are given in entirely different ways ―immediately, and again in perception for the understanding." (The World as Will and Idea, Book 2, & 18.)

Schopenhauer considers himself entitled by these arguments to hold that the will becomes objectified in the human body. He believes that in the activities of the body he has an immediate experience of reality, of the thing-in-itself in the concrete. Against these arguments we must urge that the activities of our body become known to us only through self-observation, and that, as such, they are in no way superior to other percepts. If we want to know their real nature, we can do so only by means of thought, i.e., by fitting them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.

5.10 Corresponding Intuition
[24] One of the most deeply rooted prejudices of the naive mind is the opinion that thinking is abstract and empty of any concrete content. At best, we are told it supplies but an "ideal" counterpart of the unity of the world, but never that unity itself. Whoever holds this view has never made clear to himself what a percept apart from concepts really is. Let us see what this world of bare percepts is. A mere juxtaposition in space, a mere succession in time, a chaos of disconnected particulars —that is what it is. None of these things which come and go on the stage of perception has any connection with any other. The world is a multiplicity of objects without distinctions of value. None plays any greater part in the nexus of the world than any other. In order to realize that this or that fact has a greater importance than another we must go to thought. As long as we do not think, the rudimentary organ of an animal which has no significance in its life, appears equal in value to its more important limbs. The particular facts reveal their meaning, in themselves and in their relations with other parts of the world, only when thought spins its threads from thing to thing. This activity of thinking has always a content. For it is only through a perfectly definite concrete content that I can know why the snail belongs to a lower type of organization than the lion. The mere appearance, the percept, gives me no content which could inform me as to the degree of perfection of the organization.

Concept is the active and driving principle in the perception
The concept is just as individual, just as rich in content, as the perception. The difference is only that for grasping the content of perception nothing is necessary except open senses and a purely passive attitude toward the outer world, whereas the ideal core of the world must arise in man's mind through his own spontaneous activity, if this core is to come into view at all. It is an entirely inconsequential and useless kind of talk to say that the concept is the enemy of living perception. The concept is the essential being of the perception, the actual driving and active principle in it; the concept adds its content to that of the perception. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Directly given picture

Only our directly given world-picture can offer such a starting point, i.e. that picture of the world which presents itself to man before he has subjected it to the processes of knowledge in any way, before he has asserted or decided anything at all about it by means of thinking. This “directly given” picture is what flits past us, disconnected, but still undifferentiated. [Differentiation of the given, indistinct, world picture into distinct entities is already an act of thought-activity.] In it, nothing appears distinguished from, related to, or determined by, anything else. At this stage, so to speak, no object or event is yet more important or significant than any other. The most rudimentary organ of an animal, which, in the light of further knowledge may turn out to be quite unimportant for its development and life, appears before us with the same claims for our attention as the noblest and most essential part of the organism. Before our conceptual activity begins, the world-picture contains neither substance, quality nor cause and effect; distinctions between matter and mind, body and soul, do not yet exist. Furthermore, any other predicate must also be excluded from the world-picture at this stage. The picture can be considered neither as reality nor as appearance, neither subjective nor objective, neither as chance nor as necessity; whether it is “thing-in-itself,” or mere representation, cannot be decided at this stage. For, as we have seen, knowledge of physics and physiology which leads to a classification of the “given” under one or the other of the above headings, cannot be a basis for a theory of knowledge. Truth and Knowledge iv The Starting Point Of Epistemology

Disconnected parts of observation
Let us now take a look at pure experience. What does it contain, as it sweeps across our consciousness, without our working upon it in thinking? It is mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars. None of the objects that come and go there has anything to do with any other. At this stage, the facts that we perceive, that we experience inwardly, are of no consequence to each other. This world is a manifoldness of things of equal value. No thing or event can claim to play a greater role in the functioning of the world than any other part of the world of experience. If it is to become clear to us that this or that fact has greater significance than another one, we must then not merely observe the things, but must already bring them into thought-relationships. The rudimentary organ of an animal, which perhaps does not have the least importance for its organic functioning, is for experience of exactly the same value as the most essential organ of the animal's body. This greater or lesser importance will in fact become clear to us only when we begin to reflect upon the relationships of the individual parts of observation, that is, when we work upon experience.

For experience, the snail, which stands at a low level of organization, is the equal of the most highly developed animal. The difference in the perfection of organization appears to us only when we grasp the given manifoldness conceptually and work it through. The culture of the Eskimo, in this respect, is also equal to that of the educated European; Caesar's significance for the historical development of humanity appears to mere experience as being no greater than that of one of his soldiers. In the history of literature, Goethe does not stand out above Gottsched, if it is a matter of merely experienceable factuality.

At this level of contemplation, the world is a completely smooth surface for us with respect to thought. No part of this surface rises above another; none manifests any kind of conceptual difference from another. It is only when the spark of thought strikes into this surface that heights and depths appear, that one thing appears to stand out more or less than another, that everything takes form in a definite way, that threads weave from one configuration to another, that everything becomes a harmony complete within itself. Theory of Knowledge 5. An Indication as to the Content of Experience

Perception gives numbers, concept gives qualities
Concept and perception confront each other, to be sure, as kindred yet different sides of the world. And since the perception requires the concept, as we have shown, the perception proves that it does not have its essence in its particularity but rather in its conceptual generality. But this generality, in its manifestation, can first be found only within the subject; for, this generality can indeed be gained in connection with the object, but not out of the object.

The concept cannot derive its content from experience, for it does not take up into itself precisely that which is characteristic of experience: its particularity. Everything that constitutes this particularity is foreign to the concept. The concept must therefore give itself its own content.
It is usually said that an object of experience is individual, is a lively perception, and that the concept, on the other hand, is abstract, is poor, sorry, and empty when compared to the perception with its rich content. But wherein is the wealth of differentiations sought? In their number, which because of the infinitude of space can be infinitely great. For all this, however, the concept is no less richly defined. The number there is replaced by qualities here. But just as in the concept the numbers are not to be found, so in the perception the dynamic-qualitative character is lacking. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

[25] Thought contributes this content to the percept from the world of concepts and ideas. In contrast with the content of perception which is given to us from without, 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. An external object which we observe remains unintelligible to us, until the corresponding intuition arises within us which adds to the reality those sides of it which are lacking in the percept. To anyone who is incapable of supplying the relevant intuitions, the full nature of the real remains a sealed book. Just as the colour-blind person sees only differences of brightness without any colour qualities, so the mind which lacks intuition sees only disconnected fragments of percepts.

Thinking is an organ of perception
Knowing would be an absolutely useless process if something complete were conveyed to us in sense experience. All drawing together, ordering, and grouping of sense-perceptible facts would have no objective value. Knowing has meaning only if we do not regard the configuration given to the senses as a finished one, if this configuration is for us a half of something that bears within itself something still higher that, however, is no longer sense-perceptible. There the human mind steps in. It perceives that higher element.

Therefore thinking must also not be regarded as bringing something to the content of reality. It is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas. Idealism is therefore quite compatible with the principle of empirical research. The idea is not the content of subjective thinking, but rather the result of research. Reality, insofar as we meet it with open senses, confronts us. It confronts us in a form that we cannot regard as its true one; we first attain its true form when we bring our thinking into flux. Knowing means: to add the perception of thinking to the half reality of sense experience so that this picture of half reality becomes complete. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Content given by thinking

We are so used to seeing the world of concepts as empty and without content, and so used to contrasting perception with it as something full of content and altogether definite, that it will be difficult to establish for the world of concepts the position it deserves in the true scheme of things. We miss the fact entirely that mere looking is the emptiest thing imaginable, and that only from thinking does it first receive any content at all. The only thing looking does is hold the ever-fluid thought in one particular form, without our having to work along actively with this holding. The fact that a person with a rich soul life sees a thousand things that are a blank to someone mentally poor proves, clear as day, that the content of reality is only the mirror-image of the content of our mind and that we receive only the empty form from outside. We must, to be sure, have the strength in us to recognize ourselves as the begetters (Erzeuger) of this content; otherwise we see only the mirror image and never our mind, that is mirrored.

The conviction should permeate all the sciences that their content is purely thought-content and that they stand in no other connection to perception than that they see, in the object of perception, a particular form of the concept. Theory of Knowledge D. Science 11. Thinking and Perception

[26] To explain a thing, to make it intelligible means nothing else than to place it in the context from which it has been torn by the peculiar organisation of our minds, described above. Nothing can possibly exist cut off from the universe. Hence all isolation of objects has only subjective validity for minds organized like ours. For us the universe is split up into above and below, before and after, cause and effect, object and idea, matter and force, object and subject, etc. The objects which, in observation, appear to us as separate, become combined, bit by bit, through the coherent, unified system of our intuitions. By thought we fuse again into one whole all that perception has separated.

With regard to objectivity, the work of the thinker can very well be compared with that of the mechanic. Just as the mechanic brings the forces of nature into mutual interplay and thereby effects a purposeful activity and release of power, so the thinker lets the thought-masses enter into lively interaction, and they develop into the thought-systems that comprise our sciences. Theory of Knowledge 9. Thinking and Consciousness

[27] An object presents riddles to our understanding so long as it exists in isolation. But this is an abstraction of our own making and can be unmade again in the world of concepts.

Intellect and Reason
Our thinking has a twofold task: firstly, to create concepts with sharply delineated contours; secondly, to bring together the individual concepts thus created into a unified whole. In the first case we are dealing with the activity that makes distinctions; in the second, with the activity that joins. These two spiritual tendencies by no means enjoy the same cultivation in the sciences. The keen intellect that enters into the smallest details in making its distinctions is given to a significantly larger number of people than the uniting power of thinking that penetrates into the depths of beings.

Making distinctions like this is the task of the intellect (Verstandes). It has only to separate concepts and maintain them in this separation. This is a necessary preliminary stage of any higher scientific work. Above all, in fact, we need firmly established, clearly delineated concepts before we can seek their harmony. But we must not remain in this separation. For the intellect, things are separated that humanity has an essential need to see in a harmonious unity. Remaining separate for the intellect are: cause and effect, mechanism and organism, freedom and necessity, idea and reality, spirit and nature, and so on. All these distinctions are introduced by the intellect. They must be introduced, because otherwise the world would appear to us as a blurred, obscure chaos that would form a unity only because it would be totally undefined for us.

The intellect itself is in no position to go beyond this separation. It holds firmly to the separated parts. To go beyond this is the task of reason (Vernunft). Theory of Knowledge 12. Intellect and Reason

Reuniting what the intellect has separated
Reason brings into view the higher unity of the intellect's concepts, a unity that the intellect certainly has in its configurations but is unable to see. Even our everyday thinking needs reason. If, in the judgment that “every body has weight”, we join the subject-concept with the predicate-concept, there already lies in this, a uniting of two concepts and therefore the simplest activity of reason.

The unit is an entity of our intellect separated by the intellect out of a totality, in the same way that it distinguishes effect from cause, substance from its attributes, etc. Now, when I think 7 + 5, I am in fact grasping 12 mathematical units in thought, only not all at once, but rather in two parts. If I think the total of these mathematical units at one time, then that is exactly the same thing. And I express this identity in the judgment 7 + 5 = 12. It is exactly the same with the geometrical example Kant presents. A limited straight line with end points A and B is an indivisible unit. My intellect can form two concepts of it. On the one hand it can regard the straight line as direction, on the other as the distance between two points A and B. From this results the judgment that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points.

All judging, insofar as the parts entering into the judgment are concepts, is nothing more than a reuniting of what the intellect has separated. The connection reveals itself at once when one goes into the content of the concepts provided by the intellect. Theory of Knowledge 12. Intellect and Reason

Intellect's clarity in the details, reasons depth in the whole
Every individual entity of reality represents a definite content within our thought-system. Every such entity is founded in the wholeness of the world of ideas and can be comprehended only in connection with it. Thus each thing must necessarily call upon a twofold thought activity. First the thought corresponding to the thing has to be determined in clear contours, and after this all the threads must be determined that lead from this thought to the whole thought-world. Clarity in the details and depth in the whole are the two most significant demands of reality. The former is the intellect's concern, the latter is reason's. The intellect (Verstand) creates thought-configurations for the individual things of reality. It fulfills its task best the more exactly it delimits these configurations, the sharper the contours are that it draws. Reason (Vernunft) then has to incorporate these configurations into the harmony of the whole world of ideas. This of course presupposes the following: Within the content of the thought-configurations that the intellect creates, that unity already exists, living one and the same life; only, the intellect keeps everything artificially separated. Reason then, without blurring the clarity, merely eliminates the separation again. The intellect distances us from reality; reason brings us back to it again. Graphically this can be represented in the following way:

In this diagram everything is connected; the same principle lives in all the parts. The intellect causes the separation of the individual configurations — because they do indeed confront us in the given as individual elements — and reason recognizes the unity. If we have the following two perceptions: 1. the sun shining down and 2. a warm stone, the intellect keeps both things apart, because they confront us as two; it holds onto one as the cause and onto the other as the effect; then reason supervenes, tears down the wall between them, and recognizes the unity in the duality. All the concepts that the intellect creates — cause and effect, substance and attribute, body and soul, idea and reality, God and world, etc. — are there only in order to keep unified reality separated artificially into parts; and reason, without blurring the content thus created, without mystically obscuring the clarity of the intellect, has then to seek out the inner unity in the multiplicity. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action 1. Methodology

Intellect and reason: lift oneself through the concept to the idea
Reason thereby comes back to that from which the intellect had distanced itself: to the unified reality. If one wants an exact nomenclature, one can call the formations of the intellect “concepts” and the creations of reason “ideas.” And one sees that the path of science is to lift oneself through the concept to the idea. And here is the place where the subjective and the objective element of our knowing differentiates itself for us in the clearest way. It is plain to see that the separation has only a subjective existence, that it is only created by our intellect. It cannot hinder me from dividing one and the same objective unity into thought-configurations that are different from those of a fellow human being; this does not hinder my reason, in its connecting activity, from attaining the same objective unity again from which we both, in fact, have taken our start. Let us represent symbolically a unified configuration of reality (figure 1). I divide it intellectually thus (figure 2); another person divides it differently (figure 3). We bring it together in accordance with reason and obtain the same configuration.

This makes it explainable to us how people can have such different concepts, such different views of reality, in spite of the fact that reality can, after all, only be one. The difference lies in the difference between our intellectual worlds. This sheds light for us upon the development of the different scientific standpoints. We understand where the many philosophical standpoints originate, and do not need to bestow the palm of truth exclusively upon one of them. We also know which standpoint we ourselves have to take with respect to the multiplicity of human views. We will not ask exclusively: What is true, what is false? We will always investigate how the intellectual world of a thinker goes forth from the world harmony; we will seek to understand and not to judge negatively and regard at once as error that which does not correspond with our own view. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action 1. Methodology

Dogmatic Reasoning
Reason brings into view the higher unity of the intellect's concepts, a unity that the intellect certainly has in its configurations but is unable to see. The unity that reason takes as its object is certain before all thinking, before any use of reason; but it is hidden, is present only as potential, does not manifest as a fact in its own right. Then the human mind brings about separation, in order, by uniting the separate parts through reason, to see fully into reality.

Whoever does not presuppose this must either regard all connecting of thoughts as an arbitrary activity of the subjective mind, or he must assume that the unity stands behind the world experienced by us and compels us in some way unknown to us to lead the manifoldness back to a unity. In that case we join thoughts without insight into the true basis of the connection that we bring about; then the truth is not known by us, but rather is forced upon us from outside. Let us call all science taking its start from this presupposition dogmatic.

Every scientific view of this kind will run into difficulty when it has to give reasons for why we make one or another connection between thoughts. It has to look around for a subjective basis for drawing objects together whose objective connection remains hidden to us. Theory of Knowledge 12. Intellect and Reason

5.11 Conceptual Connections Of Percepts
[28] Except through thought and perception nothing is given to us directly. The question now arises as to the interpretation of percepts on our theory. We have learnt that the proof which Critical Idealism offers for the subjective nature of percepts collapses. But the exhibition of the falsity of the proof is not, by itself, sufficient to show that the doctrine itself is an error. Critical Idealism does not base its proof on the absolute nature of thought, but relies on the argument that Naive Realism, when followed to its logical conclusion, contradicts itself. How does the matter appear when we recognize the absoluteness of thought?

[29] Let us assume that a certain percept, e.g., red, appears in consciousness. To continued observation, the percept shows itself to be connected with other percepts, e.g., a certain figure, temperature, and touch-qualities. This complex of percepts I call an object in the world of sense. I can now ask myself: Over and above the percepts just mentioned, what else is there in the section of space in which they are? I shall then find mechanical, chemical, and other processes in that section of space. I next go further and study the processes which take place between the object and my sense-organs. I shall find oscillations in an elastic medium, the character of which has not the least in common with the percepts from which I started. I get the same result if I trace further the connection between sense organs and brain. In each of these inquiries I gather new percepts, but the connecting thread which binds all these spatially and temporally separated percepts into one whole, is thought. The air vibrations which carry sound are given to me as percepts just like the sound. Thought alone links all these percepts one to the other and exhibits them in their reciprocal relations. We have no right to say that over and above our immediate percepts there is anything except the ideal nexus of percepts (which thought has to reveal). The relation of the object perceived to the perceiving subject, which relation transcends the bare percept, is therefore merely ideal, i.e., capable of being expressed only through concepts. Only if it were possible to perceive how the object of perception affects the perceiving subject, or alternatively, only if I could watch the construction of the perceptual complex through the subject, could we speak as modern Physiology, and the Critical Idealism which is based on it, speak. Their theory confuses an ideal relation (that of the object to the subject) with a process of which we could speak only if it were possible to perceive it. The proposition, "No colour without a colour-sensing eye" cannot be taken to mean that the eye produces the colour, but only that an ideal relation, recognizable by thought, subsists between the percept "colour" and the percept "eye."
To empirical science belongs the task of ascertaining how the properties of the eye and those of the colours are related to one another; by means of what structures the organ of sight makes possible the perception of colours, etc. I can trace how one percept succeeds another and how one is related to others in space, and I can formulate these relations in conceptual terms, but I can never perceive how a percept originates out of the non-perceptible. All attempts to seek any relations between percepts other than conceptual relations must of necessity fail.

Thinking organizes the given world-content
Thinking approaches the given world-content as an organizing principle. The process takes place as follows: Thinking first lifts out certain entities from the totality of the world-whole. In the given nothing is really separate; everything is a connected continuum. Then thinking relates these separate entities to each other in accordance with the thought-forms it produces, and also determines the outcome of this relationship. When thinking restores a relationship between two separate sections of the world-content, it does not do so arbitrarily. Thinking waits for what comes to light of its own accord as the result of restoring the relationship. And it is this result alone which is knowledge of that particular section of the world content. If the latter were unable to express anything about itself through that particular relationship established by thinking, then this attempt made by thinking would fail, and one would have to try again. All knowledge depends on man's establishing a correct relationship between two or more elements of reality, and comprehending the result of this.

There is no doubt that many of our attempts to grasp things by means of thinking, fail; this is apparent not only in the history of science, but also in ordinary life; it is just that in the simple cases we usually encounter, the right concept replaces the wrong one so quickly that we seldom or never become aware of the latter. Truth and Knowledge V Cognition

5.12 Conceptual Intuition Corresponds To Objective Percept
[30] What then is a percept? This question, asked in this general way, is absurd. A percept appears always as a perfectly determinate, concrete content. This content is immediately given and is completely contained in the given. The only question one can ask concerning the given content is, what it is apart from perception, that is, what it is for thought. The question concerning the "what" of a percept can, therefore, only refer to the conceptual intuition which corresponds to the percept. From this point of view, the problem of the subjectivity of percepts, in the sense in which the Critical Idealists debate it, cannot be raised at all. Only that which is experienced as belonging to the subject can be termed "subjective." To form a link between subject and object is impossible for any real process, in the naive sense of the word "real," in which it means a process which can be perceived. That is possible only for thought. For us, then, "objective" means that which, for perception, presents itself as external to the perceiving subject. As subject of perception I remain perceptible to myself after the table which now stands before me has disappeared from my field of observation. The perception of the table has produced a modification in me which persists like myself. I preserve an picture of the table which now forms part of my Self. Modern Psychology terms this picture a "memory-picture." Now this is the only thing which has any right to be called the mental picture of the table. For it is the perceptible modification of my own mental state through the presence of the table in my visual field. Moreover, It does not mean a modification in some "Ego-in-itself" behind the perceiving subject, but the modification of the perceiving subject itself. The mental picture is, therefore, a subjective percept, in contrast with the objective percept which occurs when the object is present in the perceptual field. The false identification of the subjective with this objective percept leads to the misunderstanding of Idealism: The world is my mental picture.

[31] Our next task must be to define the concept of "mental picture" more nearly. What we have said about it so far does not give us the concept, but only shows us where in the perceptual field mental pictures are to be found. The exact concept of "mental picture" will also make it possible for us to obtain a satisfactory understanding of the relation of mental picture and object. This will then lead us over the border-line, where the relation of subject to object is brought down from the purely conceptual field of knowledge into concrete individual life. Once we know how we are to conceive the world, it will be an easy task to adapt ourselves to it. Only when we know to what object we are to devote our activity can we put our whole energy into our actions.

Rudol Steinerr's 1918 addition

[1] The view I have outlined here may be regarded as one to which man is at first quite naturally driven when he begins to reflect upon his relation to the world. He then finds himself caught in a system of thoughts which dissolves for him as fast as he frames it. The thought formation is such that it requires something more than mere theoretical refutation. We have to live through it in order to understand the aberration into which it leads us and thence to find the way out. It must figure in any discussion of the relation of man to the world, not for the sake of refuting others whom one believes to be holding mistaken views about this relation, but because it is necessary to understand the confusion to which every first effort at reflection about such a relation is apt to lead. One needs to arrive at just that insight which will enable one to refute oneself with respect to these first reflections. This is the point of view from which the arguments of the preceding chapter are put forward.

{2] Whoever tries to work out for himself a view of the relation of man to the world becomes aware of the fact that he creates this relation, at least in part, by forming mental pictures about the things and events in the world. In consequence, his attention is deflected from what exists outside in the world and is directed towards his inner world, the life of his mental pictures. He begins to say to himself: It is impossible for me to have a relationship to any thing or event unless a mental picture appears in me. Once we have noticed this fact, it is but a step to the opinion: After all, I experience only my mental pictures; I know of a world outside me only in so far as it is a mental picture in me. With this opinion, the standpoint of naïve realism, which man takes up prior to all reflection about his relation to the world, is abandoned. So long as he keeps that standpoint, he believes that he is dealing with real things, but reflection about himself drives him away from it. Reflection prevents him from turning his gaze towards a real world such as naïve consciousness believes it has before it. It allows him to gaze only upon his mental picture — these interpose themselves between his own being and a supposedly real world, such as the naïve point of view believes itself entitled to affirm. Man can no longer see such a real world through the intervening world of mental pictures. He must suppose to that he is blind to this reality. Thus arises the thought of a “thing-in-itself” which is inaccessible to knowledge.

[3] So long as we considers only the relationship to the world, into which man appears to enter through the life of his mental pictures, we cannot escape from this form of thought. Yet one cannot remain at the standpoint of naïve realism except by closing one's mind artificially to the craving for knowledge. The very existence of this craving for knowledge about the relation of man to the world shows that this naïve point of view must be abandoned. If the naïve point of view yielded anything we could acknowledge as truth, we could never experience this craving.

[4] But we do not arrive at anything else which we could regard as truth if we merely abandon the naïve point of view while unconsciously retaining the type of thought which it necessitates. This is just the mistake made by the man who says to himself: “I experience only my mental pictures, and though I believe that I am dealing with realities, I am actually conscious only of my mental pictures of reality; I must therefore suppose that the true reality, the 'things-in-themselves', exist only beyond the horizon of my consciousness, that I know absolutely nothing of them directly, and that they somehow approach me and influence me so that my world of mental pictures arises in me.” Whoever thinks in this way is merely adding another world in his thoughts to the world already spread out before him. But with regard to this additional world, he ought strictly to begin his thinking activity all over again. For the unknown “thing-in-itself”, in its relation to man's own nature, is conceived in exactly the same way as is the known thing in the sense of naïve realism.

[5] One only avoids the confusion into which one falls through the critical attitude based on this naïve standpoint, if one notices that, inside everything we can experience by means of perceiving, be it within ourselves or outside in the world, there is something which cannot suffer the fate of having a mental picture interpose itself between the process and the person observing it. This something is thinking. With regard to thinking, we can maintain the point of view of naïve realism. If we fail to do so, it is only because we have learnt that we must abandon it in the case of other things, but overlook that what we have found to be true for these other things does not apply to thinking. When we realize this, we open the way to the further insight that in thinking and through thinking man must recognize the very thing to which he has apparently blinded himself by having to interpose his life of mental pictures between the world and himself.

[6] From a source greatly respected by the author of this book comes the objection that this discussion of thinking remains at the level of a naïve realism of thinking, just as one might object if someone held the real world and the world of mental pictures to be one and the same. However, the author believes himself to have shown in this very discussion that the validity of this “naïve realism” for thinking results inevitably from an unprejudiced observation of thinking; and that naïve realism, in so far as it is invalid for other things, is overcome through the recognition of the true nature of thinking.



6.0 Corresponding Concept Relates Self To The World
[1] PHILOSOPHERS have found the chief difficulty in the explanation of mental pictures in the fact that we are not identical with the external objects, and yet our mental pictures must have a form corresponding to their objects. But on closer inspection it turns out that this difficulty does not really exist. We certainly are not identical with the external things, but we belong together with them to one and the same world. The stream of the universal cosmic process passes through that segment of the world which, to my perception, is myself as subject. So far as my perception goes, I am, in the first instance, confined within the limits bounded by my skin. But all that is contained within the skin belongs to the cosmos as a whole. Hence, for a relation to subsist between my organism and an object external to me, it is by no means necessary that something of the object should slip into me, or make an impression on my mind, like a signet ring on wax. The question, How do I gain knowledge of that tree ten feet away from me, is utterly 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 which are active within my body are the same as those which exist outside. I am, therefore, really identical with the objects; not, however, I in so far as I am subject of perception, but I in so far as I am a part within the universal cosmic process. The percept of the tree belongs to the same whole as my Self. The universal cosmic process produces alike, here the percept of the tree, and there the percept of my Self. Were I a world-creator instead of a world-knower, subject and object (percept and self) would originate in one act. For they condition one another reciprocally. As world-knower I can discover the common element in both, so far as they are complementary aspects of the world, only through thought which by means of concepts relates the one to the other.

There outside stands a tree
What I add to things by this awakening is not a new idea, is not an enrichment of the content of my knowledge; it is a raising of knowledge, of cognition, to a higher level, on which everything is endowed with a new brilliance. As long as I do not raise my cognition to this level, all knowledge remains worthless to me in the higher sense. Things exist without me too. They have their being in themselves. What does it mean if with their existence, which they have outside without me, I connect another spiritual existence, which repeats things within me? If it were a matter of a mere repetition of things, it would be senseless to do this. But it is a matter of a mere repetition only so long as I do not awaken to a higher existence within my own self the spiritual content of things received into myself. When this happens, then I have not repeated the nature of things within me, but have given it a rebirth on a higher level. With the awakening of my self there takes place a spiritual rebirth of the things of the world. What things show in this rebirth they did not possess previously.

There outside stands a tree. I take it into my mind. I throw my inner light upon what I have apprehended. Within me the tree becomes more than it is outside. That part of it which enters through the portal of the senses is received into a spiritual content. An ideal counterpart to the tree is in me. This says infinitely much about the tree, which the tree outside cannot tell me. What the tree is only shines upon it out of me. Now the tree is no longer the isolated being which it is in external space. It becomes a part of the whole spiritual world living within me. It combines its content with other ideas which exist in me. It becomes a part of the whole world of ideas, which embraces the vegetable kingdom; it is further integrated into the evolutionary scale of every living thing. -Rudolf Steiner, Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age, Introduction

What does it mean to know something?
Kant accepted the customary concept of what knowing is and asked if it were possible. According to this concept, knowing is supposed to consist in making a copy of the real conditions that stand outside our consciousness and exist in-themselves. But one will be able to make nothing out of the possibility of knowledge until one has answered the question as to the what of knowing itself. The question: What is knowing? thereby becomes the primary one for epistemology.

In order to know nature we must not hold onto it in its factuality; rather, nature, in the process of our knowing, must reveal itself as something essentially higher than what it appears to be when it first confronts us. A true knowing must acknowledge that the direct form of the world given to sense perception is not yet its essential one, but rather that this essential form first reveals itself to us in the process of knowing. Knowing must provide us with that which sense experience withholds from us, but which is still real.

It is not that we should leave the realm of the experiencable and lose ourselves in a construct of fantasy, as the metaphysicians of earlier and more recent times loved to do, but rather, we should advance from the form of the experiencable as it presents itself to us in what is given to the senses, to a form of it that satisfies our reason. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

Creative Thinking
Truth is not, as is usually assumed, an ideal reflection of something real, but is a product of the human mind, created by an activity which is free; this product would exist nowhere if we did not create it ourselves. The object of knowledge is not to repeat in conceptual form something which already exists, but rather to create a completely new sphere, which when combined with the world given to our senses constitutes complete reality. Thus the human being's highest activity, his spiritual creativeness, is an organic part of the universal world-process. The world-process should not be considered a complete, enclosed totality without this activity. Man is not a passive onlooker in relation to evolution, merely repeating in mental pictures cosmic events taking place without his participation; he is the active co-creator of the world-process, and cognition is the most perfect link in the organism of the universe. -Rudolf Steiner, Truth And Knowledge, Preface

6.1 Sense Perception Of Motion
[2] The most difficult to drive from the field are the so-called physiological proofs of the subjectivity of our percepts. When I exert pressure on the skin of my body, I experience it as a pressure sensation. This same pressure can be sensed as light by the eye, as sound by the ear. I experience an electrical shock by the eye as light, by the ear as sound, by the nerves of the skin as touch, and by the nose as a smell of phosphorus. What follows from these facts? Only this: I experience an electrical shock, or, as the case may be, a pressure followed by a light, or a sound, or, it may be, a certain smell, etc. If there were no eye present, then no light quality would accompany the perception of the mechanical vibrations in my environment; without the presence of the ear, no sound, etc. But what right have we to say that in the absence of sense-organs the whole process would not exist at all? All those who, from the fact that an electrical process causes a sensation of light in the eye, conclude that what we sense as light is only a mechanical process of motion, forget that they are only arguing from one percept to another, and not at all to something altogether transcending percepts.

Sensations not subjective
Physiology shows that a sensation appears only as the final result of a mechanical process that first communicates itself, from that part of the corporeal world lying outside the substance of our body, to the periphery of our nervous system, into our sense organs; from here, the process is transmitted to our highest center, in order to be released there for the first time as sensation. One can, after all, label only the brain substance's form of motion as subjective here. No matter how far one might go in investigating the processes within the subject, one must always remain, on this path, within what is mechanical. And one will nowhere discover the sensation in the central organ.
Therefore only philosophical consideration remains as a way of gaining information about the subjectivity and objectivity of sensation. And this provides us with the following.

What can be designated as “subjective” about a perception? Without having an exact analysis of the concept “subjective,” one cannot go forward at all. Subjectivity, of course, cannot be determined by anything other than itself. Everything that cannot be shown to be conditional upon the subject may not be designated as “subjective.” Now we must ask ourselves: What can we designate as the human subject's own? That which it can experience about itself through outer or inner perception. Through outer perception we grasp our bodily constitution; through inner experience, we grasp our own thinking, feeling, and willing. Now what is to be designated as subjective in the first case? The constitution of the whole organism, and therefore also the sense organs and brain, which will probably appear in each human being in somewhat different modifications. But everything that can be indicated here in this way is only a particular formation in the arrangement and function of substances by which a sensation is transmitted. Only the path, therefore, is actually subjective that the sensation has to take before it can become my sensation. Our organization transmits the sensation and these paths of transmission are subjective; the sensation itself, however, is not subjective.

Now there still remains the path of inner experience for us consider. What do I experience within myself when I designate a sensation as my own? I experience that in my thinking I effect a connection to my individuality, that I extend my sphere of knowing out over this sensation; but I am not conscious of creating any content for the sensation. I only register its connection to myself; the quality of the sensation is a fact founded within itself.
No matter where we begin, whether within or without, we do not arrive at a place where we could say that here the subjective character of the sensation is given. The concept “subjective” is not applicable to the content of sensation. Goethean Science: XV: Goethe and Natural-scientific Illusionism

Just as we can say that the eye perceives a mechanical process of motion in its surroundings as light, so we can affirm that every change in an object, determined by natural law, is perceived by us as a process of motion. If I draw twelve pictures of a horse on the circumference of a rotating disc, reproducing exactly the positions which the horse's body successively assumes in movement, I can, by rotating the disc, produce the illusion of movement. I need only look through an opening in such a way that, at regular intervals I perceive the successive positions of the horse. I perceive, not separate pictures of twelve horses, but one picture of a single galloping horse.

[3] The above-mentioned physiological facts cannot, therefore, throw any light on the relation of percept to mental picture. Hence, we must seek a relation some other way.

6.2 Mental Picture: Intuition Related To A Percept
[4] The moment a percept appears in my field of consciousness, thought, too, becomes active in me. A member of my thought-system, a definite intuition, a concept, connects itself with the percept. When, next, the percept disappears from my field of vision, what remains? The intuition with the reference to the particular percept which it acquired in the moment of perception. The degree of vividness with which I can subsequently recall this reference depends on the manner in which my mental and bodily organism is working. A mental picture is nothing but an intuition related to a particular percept; it is a concept which was once connected with a certain percept, and which retains this reference to the percept. My concept of a lion is not constructed out of my percepts of a lion; but my mental picture of a lion is formed under the guidance of the percept. I can teach some one to form the concept of a lion without his ever having seen a lion, but I can never give him a living mental picture of it without the help of his own perception.

6.3 Mental Picture: Individualized Concept
[5] A mental picture is therefore nothing but an individualized concept. And now we can see how real objects can be represented to us by mental pictures. The full reality of a thing is present to us in the moment of observation through the combination of concept and percept. The concept acquires by means of the percept an individualized form, a relation to this particular percept. In this individualized form which carries with it, as an essential feature, the reference to the percept, it continues to exist in us and constitutes the mental picture of the thing in question. If we come across a second thing with which the same concept connects itself, we recognize the second as being of the same kind as the first; if we come across the same thing twice we find in our conceptual system, not merely a corresponding concept, but the individualized concept with its characteristic relation to this same object, and thus we recognize the object again.

[6] The mental picture, then, stands between the percept and the concept. It is the determinate concept which points to the percept.

6.4 Mental Picture: Acquired Experience
[7] The sum of my mental pictures may be called my experience. The man who has the greater number of individualized concepts will be the man of richer experience. A man who lacks all power of intuition is not capable of acquiring experience. The objects simply disappear again from the field of his consciousness, because he lacks the concepts which he ought to bring into relation with them. On the other hand, a man whose faculty of thought is well developed, but whose perception functions badly owing to his clumsy sense-organs, will be no better able to gain experience. He can, it is true, by one means and another acquire concepts; but the living reference to particular objects is lacking to his intuitions. The unthinking traveler and the student absorbed in abstract conceptual systems are alike incapable of acquiring a rich experience.

6.5 Mental Picture: Subjective Representation Of Reality
[8] Reality presents itself to us as the union of percept and concept; and the subjective representation of this reality presents itself to us as mental picture.

[9] If our personality expressed itself only in cognition, the totality of all that is objective would be contained in percept, concept, and mental picture.

6.6 Refer Percepts To Feelings
[10] However, we are not satisfied merely to refer percepts, by means of thinking, to concepts, but we relate them also to our private subjectivity, our individual Ego. The expression of this relation to us as individuals is feeling, which manifests itself as pleasure and pain.

6.7 Two-Fold Nature: Thinking And Feeling
[11] Thinking and feeling correspond to the twofold nature of our being to which reference has already been made. By means of thought we take an active part in the universal cosmic process. By means of feeling we withdraw ourselves into the narrow precincts of our own being.

[12] Thought links us to the world; feeling leads us back into ourselves and thus makes us individuals. Were we merely thinking and perceiving beings our whole life would flow along in monotonous indifference. Could we only know ourselves as Selves, we should be totally indifferent to ourselves. It is only because with self-knowledge we experience self-feeling, and with the perception of objects pleasure and pain, that we live as individuals whose existence is not exhausted by the conceptual relations in which they stand to the rest of the world, but who have a special value in themselves.

[13] One might be tempted to regard the life of feeling as something more richly saturated with reality than the apprehension of the world by thought. But the reply to this is that the life of feeling, after all, has this richer meaning only for my individual self. For the universe as a whole my feelings can be of value only if, as percepts of myself, they enter into connection with a concept, and in this roundabout way become links in the cosmos.

6.8 True Individuality
[14] Our life is a continual oscillation between our share in the universal world-process and our own individual existence. The farther we ascend into the universal nature of thought where the individual, at last, interests us only as an example, an instance, of the concept, the more the character of something individual, of the quite determinate, unique personality, becomes lost in us. The farther we descend into the depths of our own private life and allow the vibrations of our feelings to accompany all our experiences of the outer world, the more we cut ourselves off from the universal life. True individuality belongs to him whose feelings reach up to the farthest possible extent into the region of the ideal. There are men in whom even the most general ideas still bear that peculiar personal tinge which shows unmistakably their connection with their author. There are others whose concepts come before us as devoid of any trace of individual colouring as if they had not been produced by a being of flesh and blood at all.

6.9 Point Of View
[15] Even ideas give to our conceptual life an individual stamp. Each one of us has his special standpoint from which he looks out on the world. His concepts link themselves to his percepts. He has his own special way of forming general concepts.

Every individual person has a different field of experience
A source of differentiation between our scientific standpoints is that every individual person has a different field of experience. Each person is indeed confronted, as it were, by one section of the whole of reality. His intellect works upon this and is his mediator on the way to the idea. But even though we all do therefore perceive the same idea, still we always do this from different places. Therefore, only the end result to which we come can be the same; our paths, however, can be different. It absolutely does not matter at all whether the individual judgments and concepts of which our knowing consists correspond to each other or not; the only thing that matters is that they ultimately lead us to the point that we are swimming in the main channel of the idea. And all human beings must ultimately meet each other in this channel if energetic thinking leads them out of and beyond their own particular standpoints.

It can indeed be possible that a limited experience or an unproductive mind leads us to a one-sided, incomplete view; but even the smallest amount of what we experience must ultimately lead us to the idea; for we do not lift ourselves to the idea through a lesser or greater experience, but rather through our abilities as a human personality alone. A limited experience can only result in the fact that we express the idea in a one-sided way, that we have limited means at our command for bringing to expression the light that shines in us; a limited experience, however, cannot hinder us altogether from allowing that light to shine within us. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action 1. Methodology

6.10 Intensity Of Feelings
[16] This special character of our experience must be distinguished from another which depends on our peculiar organization. Each of us, as we know, is organized as a unique, fully determined individual. Each of us combines special feelings, and these in the most varying degrees of intensity, with his percepts. This is just the individual element in the personality of each of us. It is what remains over when we have allowed fully for all the determining factors in our milieu.

6.11 Education Of Feelings
[17] A life of feeling, wholly devoid of thought, would gradually lose all connection with the world. But man is meant to be a whole, and knowledge of objects will go hand-in-hand for him with the development and education of the feeling-side of his nature.

6.12 Living Concepts
[18] Feeling is the means whereby, in the first instance, concepts gain concrete life.

Living Concept
[1] In forming a judgment about the argument of the two preceding chapters, a difficulty can arise in that one appears to be faced with a contradiction. On the one hand we have spoken of the experience of thinking, which is felt to have universal significance, equally valid for every human consciousness; on the other hand we have shown that the ideas which come to realization in the moral life, and are of the same kind as those elaborated in thinking, come to expression in each human consciousness in a quite individual way. If we cannot get beyond regarding this antithesis as a “contradiction”, and if we do not see that in the living recognition of this actually existing antithesis a piece of man's essential nature reveals itself, then we shall be unable to see either the idea of knowledge or the idea of freedom in a true light.

For those who think of their concepts as merely abstracted from the sense perceptible world and who do not allow intuition its rightful place, this thought, here claimed as a reality, must remain a “mere contradiction”. If we really understand how ideas are intuitively experienced in their self-sustaining essence, it becomes clear that in the act of knowing, man, on the edge of the world of ideas, lives his way into something which is the same for all men, but that when, from this world of ideas, he derives the intuitions for his acts of will, he individualizes a part of this world by the same activity that he practices as a universal human one in the ideal process of knowing. What appears as a logical contradiction between the universal nature of cognitive ideas and the individual nature of moral ideas is the very thing that, when seen in its reality, becomes a living concept. Chapter 11 MONISM AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition



7.0 Cognitive Unity
[1] WE have established that the elements for the explanation of reality are to be taken from the two spheres of perception and thought. It is due, as we have seen, to our organization that the full totality of reality, including our own selves as subjects, appears at first as a duality. Cognition transcends this duality by fusing the two elements of reality, the percept and the concept, into the complete thing. Let us call the manner in which the world presents itself to us, before by means of cognition it has taken on its true nature, "the world of appearance," in distinction from the unified whole composed of percept and concept. We can then say, the world is given to us as a duality (Dualism), and cognition transforms it into a unity (Monism). A philosophy which starts from this basal principle may be called a Monistic philosophy, or Monism. Opposed to this is the theory of two worlds, or Dualism. The latter does not, by any means, assume merely that there are two sides of a single reality, which are kept apart by our organization, but that there are two worlds totally distinct from one another. It then tries to find in one of these two worlds the principle of explanation for the other.

The act of cognition unifies the two parts of the world content
Concepts and ideas comprise part of the given and at the same time lead beyond it. This makes it possible to define what other activity is concerned in attaining knowledge.

Through a postulate we have separated from the rest of the given world-picture a particular part of it; this was done because it lies in the nature of cognition to start from just this particular part. Thus we separated it out only to enable us to understand the act of cognition. In so doing, it must be clear that we have artificially torn apart the unity of the world-picture. We must realize that what we have separated out from the given has an essential connection with the world content, irrespective of our postulate.

This provides the next step in the theory of knowledge: it must consist in restoring that unity which we tore apart in order to make knowledge possible. The act of restoration consists in thinking about the world as given. Our thinking consideration of the world brings about the actual union of the two parts of the world content: the part we survey as given on the horizon of our experience, and the part which has to be produced in the act of cognition before that can be given also. The act of cognition is the synthesis of these two elements. Indeed, in every single act of cognition, one part appears as something produced within that act itself, and, through the act, as added to the merely given. This part, in actual fact, is always so produced, and only appears as something given at the beginning of epistemological theory.

To permeate the world, as given, with concepts and ideas, is a thinking consideration of things. Therefore, thinking is the act which mediates knowledge. It is only when thinking arranges the world-picture by means of its own activity that knowledge can come about. Thinking itself is an activity which, in the moment of cognition, produces a content of its own. Therefore, insofar as the content that is cognized issues from thinking, it contains no problem for cognition. We have only to observe it; the very nature of what we observe is given us directly.

A description of thinking is also at the same time the science of thinking. Truth and Knowledge V Cognition And Reality

Kant's objective outer world and its conceptual copy
This Kantian view assumes the existence of two completely separate worlds. The objective outer world, which bears its essential being, the ground of its existence, within itself, and the subjective-ideal (throughout this book “ideal” usually means “in the form of ideas”) inner world, which is supposedly a conceptual copy of the outer world. The inner world is a matter of no concern to the objective world, is not required by it; the inner world is present only for the knowing human being. To bring about a congruence of these two worlds would be the epistemological ideal of this basic view. I consider the adherents of this view to be the natural-scientific direction of our time. They seek the essence of the world in something trans-subjective, and have to admit that the subjective ideal world — which is therefore for them also merely a world of mental pictures — has no significance for reality itself, but purely and simply for human consciousness alone.

I have already indicated that this view leads to the assumption of a perfect congruency between concept (idea) and perception. What is present in the latter would also have to be contained in its conceptual counterpart, only in an ideal form. With respect to content, both worlds would have to match each other completely. The conditions of spatial-temporal reality would have to repeat themselves exactly in the idea; only, instead of perceived extension shape colour, etc., the corresponding mental pictures would have to be present. If I were looking at a triangle, for example, I would have to follow in thought its outline, size, directions of its sides, etc., and then produce a conceptual photograph of it for myself. In the case of a second triangle, I would have to do exactly the same thing, and so on with every object of the external and internal sense world. Thus every single thing is to be found again exactly, with respect to its location and characteristics, within my ideal world picture.

We must now ask ourselves: Does the above assumption correspond to the facts? Not in the least. My concept of the triangle is a single one, comprising every single perceived triangle; and no matter how often I picture it, this concept always remains the same. My various pictures of the triangle are all identical to one another. I have absolutely only one concept of the triangle.
Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

[2] Dualism rests on a false conception of what we call cognition. It divides the whole of reality into two spheres, each of which has its own laws, and it leaves these two worlds standing outside one another.

[3] It is from a Dualism such as this that there arises the distinction between the object of perception and the thing-in-itself, which Kant introduced into philosophy, and which, to the present day, we have not succeeded in expelling. According to our interpretation, it is due to the nature of our organization that a particular object can be given to us only as a percept. Thought transcends this particularity by assigning to each percept its proper place in the world as a whole. As long as we determine the separate parts of the cosmos as percepts, we are simply following, in this sorting out, a law of our subjective constitution. If, however, we regard all percepts, taken together, merely as one part, and contrast with this a second part, viz., the things-in-themselves, then our philosophy is building castles-in-the-air. We are then engaged in mere playing with concepts. We construct an artificial opposition, but we can find no content for the second of these opposites, seeing that no content for a particular thing can be found except in perception.

Thinking is a becoming aware of what exists in and of itself
In his objective idealism Eduard von Hartmann stands entirely upon the ground of the Goethean world view. When Goethe says that “everything of which we become aware and about which we are able to speak is only a manifestation of the idea” (Aphorisms in Prose), and when he states that the human being must develop within himself a capacity for knowledge of such a kind that the idea becomes just as observable to him as an outer perception is to his senses, then he stands upon that ground where the idea is not merely a phenomenon of consciousness but is an objective world principle; thinking is the flashing up in consciousness of that which objectively constitutes the world. The essential thing about the idea, therefore, is not what it is for us, for our consciousness, but rather what it is in itself. For, through its own particular being it underlies the world as principle. Therefore thinking is a becoming aware of what exists in and of itself. Therefore, although the idea would not come to manifestation at all if there were no consciousness, still the idea must be grasped in such a way that its characteristic feature consists not of its being conscious but rather of what it is in itself, of what lies within the idea itself; and this is not affected by its becoming conscious. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

What does it mean to know something?
Kant accepted the customary concept of what knowing is and asked if it were possible. According to this concept, knowing is supposed to consist in making a copy of the real conditions that stand outside our consciousness and exist in-themselves. But one will be able to make nothing out of the possibility of knowledge until one has answered the question as to the what of knowing itself. The question: What is knowing? thereby becomes the primary one for epistemology.

In order to know nature we must not hold onto it in its factuality; rather, nature, in the process of our knowing, must reveal itself as something essentially higher than what it appears to be when it first confronts us. A true knowing must acknowledge that the direct form of the world given to sense perception is not yet its essential one, but rather that this essential form first reveals itself to us in the process of knowing. Knowing must provide us with that which sense experience withholds from us, but which is still real.

It is not that we should leave the realm of the experiencable and lose ourselves in a construct of fantasy, as the metaphysicians of earlier and more recent times loved to do, but rather, we should advance from the form of the experiencable as it presents itself to us in what is given to the senses, to a form of it that satisfies our reason. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

The act of knowing described in the Philosophy Of Freedom reveals the true reality of sense perceptions with the addition of the corresponding thought. The same applies to spiritual perceptions.

“This first activity of ours . . . can be called pure experience” It is evident from the whole bearing of this epistemology that the point of its deliberations is to gain an answer to the question, What is knowledge? In order to attain this goal we looked, to begin with, at the world of sense perception on the one hand, and at penetration of it with thought, on the other. And it is shown that in the interpenetration of both, the true reality of sense existence reveals itself. With this the question, What is the activity of knowing? is answered in principle.

This answer becomes no different when the question is extended to the contemplation of the spiritual. Therefore, what is said in this book about the nature of knowledge is valid also for the activity of knowing the spiritual worlds, to which my later books refer.

The sense world, in its manifestation to human contemplation, is not reality. It attains its reality when connected with what reveals itself about the sense world in man when he thinks. Thoughts belong to the reality of what the senses behold; but the thought-element within sense existence does not bring itself to manifestation outside in sense existence but rather inside of man. Yet thought and sense perception are one existence. Inasmuch as the human being enters the world and views it with his senses, he excludes thought from reality; but thought then just appears in another place: inside the soul. The separation of perception and thought is of absolutely no significance for the objective world; this separation occurs only because man places himself into the midst of existence. Through this there arises for him the illusion that thought and sense perception are a duality.

It is no different for spiritual contemplation. When this arises—through soul processes that I have described in my later book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment — it again constitutes only one side of spiritual existence; the corresponding thoughts of the spirit constitute the other side.

A difference arises only insofar as sense perception completes itself, attains reality, through thoughts upward, in a certain way, to where the spiritual begins, whereas spiritual contemplation is experienced in its true being from this beginning point downward. The fact that the experience of sense perception occurs through the senses that nature has formed, whereas the experience of spiritual contemplation occurs through spiritual organs of perception that are first developed in a soul way, does not make a principle difference.

It is true to say that in none of my later books have I diverged from the idea of knowing activity that I developed in this one; rather I have only applied this idea to spiritual experience. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

7.1 Hypothetical World Principle and Experience
[4] Every kind of reality which is assumed to exist outside the sphere of perception and conception must be relegated to the limbo of unverified hypotheses. To this category belongs the "thing-in-itself." It is, of course, quite natural that a Dualistic thinker should be unable to find the connection between the world-principle which he hypothetically assumes and the facts that are given in experience. For the hypothetical world-principle itself a content can be found only by borrowing it from experience and shutting one's eyes to the fact of the borrowing. Otherwise it remains an empty and meaningless concept, a mere form without content. In this case the Dualistic thinker generally asserts that the content of this concept is inaccessible to our cognition. We can know only that such a content exists, but not what it is. In either case it is impossible to transcend Dualism. Even though one were to import a few abstract elements from the world of experience into the content of the thing-in-itself, it would still remain impossible to reduce the rich concrete life of experience to these few elements, which are, after all, themselves taken from experience. Du Bois-Reymond lays it down that the imperceptible atoms of matter produce sensation and feeling by means of their position and motion, and then infers from this premise that we can never find a satisfactory explanation of how matter and motion produce sensation and feeling, for

"it is absolutely and for ever unintelligible that it should be other than indifferent to a number of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, etc., how they lie and move, how they lay or moved, or how they will lie and will move. It is in no way intelligible how consciousness might come into existence through their interaction."

This conclusion is characteristic of the whole tendency of this school of thought. Position and motion are abstracted from the rich world of percepts. They are then transferred to the fictitious world of atoms. And then we are astonished that we fail to evolve concrete life out of this principle of our own making, which we have borrowed from the world of percepts.

A hypothesis is an assumption
A hypothesis is an assumption that we make and whose truth we cannot ascertain directly but only in its effects. We see a series of phenomena. It is explainable to us only when we found it upon something that we do not perceive directly. May such an assumption be extended to include a principle? Clearly not. For, something of an inner nature that I assume without becoming aware of it is a total contradiction. A hypothesis can only assume something, indeed, that I do not perceive, but that I would perceive at once if I cleared away the outer hindrances. A hypothesis can indeed not presuppose something perceived, but must assume something perceivable. Thus, every hypothesis is in the situation that its content can be directly confirmed only by a future experience. Only hypotheses that can cease to be hypotheses have any justification. Hypotheses about central scientific principles have no value. Something that is not explained by a positively given principle known to us is not capable of explanation at all and also does not need it. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[5] That the Dualist, working as he does with a completely empty concept of the thing-in-itself, can reach no explanation of the world, follows even from the definition of his principle which has been given above.

[6] In any case, the Dualist finds it necessary to set impassable barriers to our faculty of cognition. A follower of the Monistic theory of the world knows that all he needs to explain any given phenomenon in the world is to be found within this world itself. What prevents him from finding it can be only chance limitations in space and time, or defects of his organization, i.e., not of human organization in general, but only of his own.

Chance limits to knowledge
Now something does come into consideration here that gives a semblance of justification to the theory of a limit to knowledge. It could be that we do in fact have an inkling of something real that is there, but that nevertheless is beyond our perception. We can perceive some traces, some effects or other of a thing, and then make the assumption that this thing does exist. And here one can perhaps speak of a limit to our knowing. What we have presupposed to be inaccessible in this case, however, is not something by which to explain anything in principle; it is something perceivable even though it is not perceived. What hinders me from perceiving it is not any limit to knowledge in principle, but only chance outer factors. These can very well be surmounted. What I merely have inklings of today can be experienced tomorrow.

But with a principle that is not so; with it, there are no outer hindrances, which after all lie mostly only in place and time; the principle is given to me inwardly. Something else does not give me an inkling of a principle when I myself do not see the principle. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

7.2 Ego-hood's Questions and Answers
[7] It follows from the concept of cognition, as defined by us, that there can be no talk of any limits of cognition. Cognizing is not a concern of the universe in general, but one which men must settle for themselves. External things demand no explanation. They exist and act on one another according to laws which thought can discover. They exist in indivisible unity with these laws. But we, in our self-hood, confront them, grasping at first only what we have called percepts. However, within ourselves we find the power to discover also the other part of reality. Only when the Self has combined for itself the two elements of reality which are indivisibly bound up with one another in the world, is our thirst for knowledge stilled. The Self is then again in contact with reality.

[8] The presuppositions for the development of cognition thus exist through and for the Self. It is the Self which sets itself the questions of cognition. It takes them from thought, an element which in itself is absolutely clear and transparent. If we set ourselves questions which we cannot answer, it must be because the content of the questions is not in all respects clear and distinct. It is not the world which sets questions to us, but we who set them to ourselves.

“The task of science is not to pose questions”: Questions of knowing activity arise through the human organization in contemplation of the outer world. Within the person's impulse of the question there lies the power to press forward into the contemplation in such a way that this contemplation, together with soul activity, brings the reality of what is contemplated to manifestation. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

[9] I can imagine that it would be quite impossible for me to answer a question which I happened to find written down somewhere, without knowing the universe of discourse from which the content of the question is taken.

In knowledge, the “I” unites its given-world and its thought-world by free decision
In the act of cognition this idea of knowledge is directly given in human consciousness. Both outer and inner perceptions, as well as its own presence are given directly to the “I,” which is the center of consciousness.

The I feels a need to discover more in the given than is directly contained in it. In contrast to the given world, a second world — the world of thinking — rises up to meet the I and the I unites the two through its own free decision, producing what we have defined as the idea of knowledge. Here we see the fundamental difference between the way the concept and the directly given are united within human consciousness to form full reality, and the way they are found united in the remainder of the world-content. In the entire remainder of the world picture we must conceive an original union which is an inherent necessity; an artificial separation occurs only in relation to knowledge at the point where cognition begins; cognition then cancels out this separation once more, in accordance with the original nature of the objective world. But in human consciousness the situation is different. Here the union of the two factors of reality depends upon the activity of consciousness in all other objects, the separation has no significance for the objects themselves, but only for knowledge. Their union is original and their separation is derived from the union. Cognition separates them only because its nature is such that it cannot grasp their union without having first separated them. But the concept and the given reality of consciousness are originally separated, and their union is derived from their original separation; this is why cognition has the character described here. Just because, in consciousness, idea and given are necessarily separated, for consciousness the whole of reality divides into these two factors; and again, just because consciousness can unite them only by its own activity, it can arrive at full reality only by performing the act of cognition. Truth and Knowledge vi Theory Of Knowledge Free Of Assumptions

7.3 Reconcile Familiar Perceptions and Concepts
[10] Our cognition involves questions which arise for us through the fact that a world of percepts, conditioned by time, space, and our subjective organization, stands over against a world of concepts expressing the totality of the universe. Our task consists in the assimilation to one another of these two spheres, with both of which we are familiar. There is no room here for talking about limits to cognition. It may be that, at a particular moment, this or that remains unexplained because, through chance obstacles, we are prevented from perceiving the things involved. What is not found today, however, may easily be found tomorrow. The limits due to these causes are only contingent, and must be overcome by the progress of perception and thought.

No limits to knowledge
One speaks a great deal today about limits to our knowing. Man's ability to explain what exists, it is said, reaches only to a certain point, and there he must stop. We believe we can rectify the situation with respect to this question if we ask the question correctly. For, it is, indeed, so often only a matter of putting the question correctly. When this is done, a whole host of errors is dispelled.

When we reflect that the object that we feel the need within us to explain must be given, then it is clear that the given itself cannot set a limit for us. For, in order to lay any claim at all to being explained and comprehended, it must confront us within given reality. Something that does not appear upon the horizon of the given does not need to be explained. Any limits could therefore lie only in the fact that, in the face of a given reality, we lacked all means of explaining it. But our need for explanation comes precisely from the fact that what we want to consider a given thing to be — that by which we want to explain it — forces itself onto the horizon of what is given us in thought.

Far from being unknown to us, the explanatory essential being of an object is itself the very thing which, by manifesting within our mind, makes the explanation necessary. What is to be explained and that by which it is to be explained are both present. It is only a matter of joining them. Explaining something is not the seeking of an unknown, but only a coming to terms about the reciprocal connection between two knowns. It should never occur to us to explain a given by something of which we have no knowledge. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

7.4 Conceptual Representation Of Objective Reality
[11] Dualism makes the mistake of transferring the opposition of subject and object, which has meaning only within the perceptual world, to pure conceptual entities outside this world. Now the distinct and separate things in the perceptual world remain separated only so long as the perceiver refrains from thinking. For thought cancels all separation and reveals it as due to purely subjective conditions. The Dualist, therefore, transfers to entities transcending the perceptual world abstract determinations which, even in the perceptual world, have no absolute, but only relative, validity. He thus divides the two factors concerned in the process of cognition, viz., percept and concept, into four: (1) the object in itself; (2) the percept which the subject has of the object; (3) the subject; (4) the concept which relates the percept to the object in itself. The relation between subject and object is "real"; the subject is really (dynamically) influenced by the object. This real process does not appear in consciousness. But it evokes in the subject a response to the stimulation from the object. The result of this response is the percept. This, at length, appears in consciousness. The object has an objective (independent of the subject) reality, the percept a subjective reality. This subjective reality is referred by the subject to the object. This reference is an ideal one. Dualism thus divides the process of cognition into two parts. The one part, viz., the production of the perceptual object by the thing-in-itself, he conceives of as taking place outside consciousness, whereas the other, the combination of percept with concept and the latter's reference to the thing-in-itself, takes place, according to him, in consciousness.
With such presuppositions, it is clear why the Dualist regards his concepts merely as subjective representations of what is really external to his consciousness. The objectively real process in the subject by means of which the percept is produced, and still more the objective relations between things-in-themselves, remain for the Dualist inaccessible to direct knowledge. According to him, man can get only conceptual representations of the objectively real. The bond of unity which connects things-in-themselves with one another, and also objectively with the individual minds (as things-in-themselves) of each of us, exists beyond our consciousness in a Divine Being of whom, once more, we have merely a conceptual representation.

False idealists
We reject that false idealism which believes that because we do not get outside of the idea, we also do not get outside of our consciousness, and that all the mental pictures given us and the whole world are only subjective illusion, only a dream that our consciousness dreams (Fichte). These idealists also do not comprehend that although we do not get outside of the idea, we do nevertheless have in the idea something objective, something that has its basis in itself and not in the subject. They do not consider the fact that even though we do not get outside of the unity of thinking, we do enter with the thinking of our reason into the midst of full objectivity. The realists do not comprehend that what is objective is idea, and the idealists do not comprehend that the idea is objective. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

7.5 Real Principles in addition to Ideal Principles
[12] The Dualist believes that the whole world would be dissolved into a mere abstract scheme of concepts, did he not posit the existence of real connections beside the conceptual ones. In other words, the ideal principles which thinking discovers are too airy for the Dualist, and he seeks, in addition, real principles with which to support them.

[13] Let us examine these real principles a little more closely. The naive man (Naive Realist) regards the objects of sense-experience as realities. The fact that his hands can grasp, and his eyes see, these objects is for him sufficient guarantee of their reality. "Nothing exists that cannot be perceived" is, in fact, the first axiom of the naive man; and it is held to be equally valid in its converse: "Everything which is perceived exists." The best proof for this assertion is the naive man's belief in immortality and in ghosts. He thinks of the soul as a fine kind of matter perceptible by the senses which, in special circumstances, may actually become visible to the ordinary man (belief in ghosts).

[14] In contrast with this, his real, world, the Naive Realist regards everything else, especially the world of ideas, as unreal, or "merely ideal." What we add to objects by thinking is merely thoughts about the objects. Thought adds nothing real to the percept.

[15] But it is not only with reference to the existence of things that the naive man regards perception as the sole guarantee of reality, but also with reference to the existence of processes. A thing, according to him, can act on another only when a force actually present to perception issues from the one and acts upon the other. The ancient Greek philosophers, who were Naive Realists in the best sense of the word, held a theory of vision according to which the eye sends out feelers which touch the objects. The older physicists thought that very fine kinds of substances emanate from the objects and penetrate through the sense-organs into the soul. The actual perception of these substances is impossible only because of the coarseness of our sense-organs relatively to the fineness of these substances. In principle the reason for attributing reality to these substances was the same as that for attributing it to the objects of the sensible world, viz., their kind of existence, which was conceived to be analogous to that of perceptual reality.

7.6 Real Evidence of Senses in addition to Ideal Evidence
[16] The self-contained being of ideas is not thought of by the naive mind as real in the same sense. An object conceived "merely in idea" is regarded as a chimera until sense-perception can furnish proof of its reality. In short, the naive man demands, in addition to the ideal evidence of his thinking, the real evidence of his senses. In this need of the naive man lies the ground for the origin of the belief in revelation. The God whom we apprehend by thought remains always merely our idea of God. The naive consciousness demands that God should manifest Himself in ways accessible to the senses. God must appear in the flesh, and must attest his Godhead to our senses by the changing of water into wine.

Idealism that is realism
It will not do to assume higher forms of existence than those belonging to the world of ideas. Only because the human being is often not able to comprehend that the existence (Sein) of the idea is something far higher and fuller than that of perceptual reality, does he still seek a further reality. He regards ideal existence as something chimerical, as something needing to be imbued with some real element, and is not satisfied with it. He cannot, in fact, grasp the idea in its positive nature; he has it only as something abstract; he has no inkling of its fullness, of its inner perfection and genuineness. But we must demand of our education that it work its way up to that high standpoint where even an existence that cannot be seen with the eyes, nor grasped with the hands, but that must be apprehended by reason, is regarded as real. We have therefore actually founded an idealism that is realism at the same time. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[17] Even cognition itself is conceived by the naive mind as a process analogous to sense-perception. Things, it is thought, make an impression on the mind, or send out copies of themselves which enter through our senses, etc.

[18] What the naive man can perceive with his senses he regards as real, and what he cannot perceive (God, soul, cognition, etc.) he regards as analogous to what he can perceive.

[19] On the basis of Naive Realism, science can consist only in an exact description of the content of perception. Concepts are only means to this end. They exist to provide ideal counterparts of percepts. With the things themselves they have nothing to do. For the Naive Realist only the individual tulips, which we can see, are real. The universal idea of tulip is to him an abstraction, the unreal thought-picture which the mind constructs for itself out of the characteristics common to all tulips.

7.7 Vanishing Perceptions and Ideal Entities
[20] Naive Realism, with its fundamental principle of the reality of all percepts, contradicts experience, which teaches us that the content of percepts is of a transitory nature. The tulip I see is real today; in a year it will have vanished into nothingness. What persists is the species "tulip." This species is, however, for the Naive Realist merely an idea, not a reality. Thus this theory of the world finds itself in the paradoxical position of seeing its realities arise and perish, while that which, by contrast with its realities, it regards as unreal endures. Hence Naive Realism is compelled to acknowledge the existence of something ideal by the side of percepts. It must include within itself entities which cannot be perceived by the senses. In admitting them it escapes contradicting itself by conceiving their existence as analogous to that of objects of sense. Such hypothetical realities are the invisible forces by means of which the objects of sense-perception act on one another. Another such reality is heredity, the effects of which survive the individual, and which is the reason why from the individual a new being develops which is similar to it, and by means of which the species is maintained. The soul, the life-principle permeating the organic body, is another such reality which the naive mind is always found conceiving in analogy to realities of sense-perception. And, lastly, the Divine Being, as conceived by the naive mind, is such a hypothetical entity. The Deity is thought of as acting in a manner exactly corresponding to that which we can perceive in man himself, i.e., the Deity is conceived anthropomorphically.

They think up beings
Leibniz' world of monads is nothing other than a world of ideas; but Leibniz believes that in it he possesses a higher reality than the ideal one. All the realists make the same mistake: they think up beings, without becoming aware that they are not getting outside of the idea. We reject this realism, because it deceives itself about the actual ideal nature of its world foundation. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[21] Modern Physics traces sensations back to the movements of the smallest particles of bodies and of an infinitely fine substance called ether. What we experience, e.g., as warmth is a movement of the parts of a body which causes the warmth in the space occupied by that body. Here again something imperceptible is conceived on the analogy of what is perceptible. Thus, in terms of perception, the analogon to the concept "body " is, say, the interior of a room, shut in on all sides, in which elastic balls are moving in all directions, impinging one on another, bouncing on and off the walls, etc.

7.8 Perceptible Reality and Imperceptible Reality
[22] Without such assumptions the world of the Naive Realist would collapse into a disconnected chaos of percepts, without mutual relations, and having no unity within itself. It is clear, however, that Naive Realism can make these assumptions only by contradicting itself. If it would remain true to its fundamental principle, that only what is perceived is real, then it ought not to assume a reality where it perceives nothing. The imperceptible forces of which perceptible things are the bearers are, in fact, illegitimate hypotheses from the standpoint of Naive Realism. But because Naive Realism knows no other realities, it invests its hypothetical forces with perceptual content. It thus transfers a form of existence (the existence of percepts) to a sphere where the only means of making any assertion concerning such existence, viz., sense-perception, is lacking.

[23] This self-contradictory theory leads to Metaphysical Realism. The latter constructs, beside the perceptible reality, an imperceptible one which it conceives on the analogy of the former. Metaphysical Realism is, therefore, of necessity Dualistic.

[24] Wherever the Metaphysical Realist observes a relation between perceptible things (mutual approach through movement, the entrance of an object into consciousness, etc.), there he posits a reality. However, the relation of which he becomes aware cannot be perceived but only expressed by means of thought. The ideal relation is thereupon arbitrarily assimilated to something perceptible. Thus, according to this theory the world is composed of the objects of perception which are in ceaseless flux, arising and disappearing, and of imperceptible forces by which the perceptible objects are produced, and which are permanent.

Rejection of all metaphysics
We do not recognize as valid any inferring, from something given and known to us, of an underlying, non-given, determinative element. We reject any inference in which any part of the inference is not given. Inferring is only a going from given elements over to other equally given elements. In an inference we join a to b by means of c; but all these must be given. When Volkelt says that our thinking moves us to presuppose something in addition to the given and to transcend the given, then we say: Within our thinking, something is already moving us that we want to add to the directly given. We must therefore reject all metaphysics. Metaphysics wants, in fact, to explain the given by something non-given, inferred (Wolff, Herbart). We see in inferences only a formal activity that does not lead to anything new, but only brings about transitions between elements actually present. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

7.9 Sum of Perceptions and Laws of Nature
[25] Metaphysical Realism is a self-contradictory mixture of Naive Realism and Idealism. Its forces are imperceptible entities endowed with the qualities proper to percepts. The Metaphysical Realist has made up his mind to acknowledge, in addition to the sphere for the existence of which he has an instrument of cognition in sense-perception, the existence of another sphere for which this instrument fails, and which can be known only by means of thought. But he cannot make up his mind at the same time to acknowledge that the mode of existence which thought reveals, viz., the concept (or idea), has equal rights with percepts. If we are to avoid the contradiction of imperceptible percepts, we must admit that, for us, the relations which thought traces between percepts can have no other mode of existence than that of concepts. If one rejects the untenable part of Metaphysical Realism, there remains the concept of the world as the aggregate of percepts and their conceptual (ideal) relations. Metaphysical Realism, then, merges itself in a view of the world according to which the principle of perceptibility holds for percepts, and that of conceivability for the relations between the percepts. This view of the world has no room, in addition to the perceptual and conceptual worlds, for a third sphere in which both principles, the so-called "real" principle and the "ideal" principle, are simultaneously valid.

[26] When the Metaphysical Realist asserts that, besides the ideal relation between the perceived object and the perceiving subject, there must be a real relation between the percept as "thing-in-itself" and the subject as "thing-in-itself" (the so-called individual mind), he is basing his assertion on the false assumption of a real process, imperceptible but analogous to to processes in the world of percepts. Further, when the Metaphysical Realist asserts that we stand in a conscious ideal relation to our world of percepts, but that to the real world we can have only a dynamic (force) relation, he repeats the mistake we have already criticized. We can talk of a dynamic relation only within the world of percepts (in the sphere of the sense of touch), but not outside that world.

[27] Let us call the view which we have just characterized, and into which Metaphysical Realism merges when it discards its contradictory elements, Monism, because it combines one-sided Realism and Idealism into a higher unity.

Unite the empirical method and idealism
This view is in a position to unite two things that are regarded today as completely incompatible: the empirical method, and idealism as a scientific world view. It is believed that to accept the former means necessarily to reject the latter. This is absolutely not true. To be sure, if one considers the senses to be the only organs of apprehension for objective reality, then one must arrive at the above view. For, the senses offer us only such relationships of things as can be traced back to mechanical laws. And the mechanistic world view would thus be given as the only true form of any such world view. In this, one is making the mistake of simply overlooking the other component parts of reality which are just as objective but which cannot be traced back to mechanical laws. What is objectively given by no means coincides with what is sense-perceptibly given, as the mechanistic world conception believes. What is sense-perceptibly given is only half of the given. The other half of the given is ideas, which are also objects of experience — of a higher experience, to be sure, whose organ is thinking. Ideas are also accessible to the inductive method.

Today's science of sense experience follows the altogether correct method of holding fast to the given; but it adds the inadmissible assertion that this method can provide only facts of a sense-perceptible nature. Instead of limiting itself to the question of how we arrive at our views, this science determines from the start what we can see. The only satisfactory way to grasp reality is the empirical method with idealistic results. That is idealism, but not of the kind that pursues some nebulous, dreamed-up unity of things, but rather of a kind that seeks the concrete ideal content of reality in a way that is just as much in accordance with experience as is the search of modern hyper-exact science for the factual content. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

One-sided empiricism and one-sided rationalism
Our theory of knowledge transcends both one-sided empiricism and one-sided rationalism by uniting them at a higher level. In this way, justice is done to both. Empiricism is justified by showing that as far as content is concerned, all knowledge of the given is to be attained only through direct contact with the given. And it will be found that this view also does justice to rationalism in that thinking is declared to be both the necessary and the only mediator of knowledge. Truth and Knowledge vii Epistemological Conclusion

Common empiricism, rationalism, rational empiricism
Goethe divides the methods of science into: common empiricism, which stays with the external phenomena given to the senses; rationalism, which builds up thought-systems upon insufficient observation, which, therefore, instead of grouping the facts in accordance with their nature, first figures out certain connections artificially, and then in fantastic ways reads something from them into the factual world; and finally rational empiricism, which does not stop short at common experience, but rather creates conditions under which experience (observation) reveals its essential being. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

[28] For Naive Realism the real world is an aggregate of percepts; for Metaphysical Realism, reality belongs not only to percepts but also to imperceptible forces; Monism replaces forces by ideal relations which are supplied by thought. These relations are the laws of nature. A law of nature is nothing but the conceptual expression for the connection of certain percepts.

7.10 Separation and then Reunion of “I” into World Continuity
[29] Monism is never called upon to ask whether there are any principles of explanation for reality other than percepts and concepts. The Monist knows that in the whole realm of the real there is no occasion for this question. In the perceptual world, as immediately apprehended, he sees one-half of reality; in the union of this world with the world of concepts he finds full reality. The Metaphysical Realist might object that, relatively to our organization, our cognition may be complete in itself, that no part may be lacking, but that we do not know how the world appears to a mind organized differently from our own. To this the Monist will reply: Maybe there are intelligences other than human; and maybe also that their percepts are different from ours, if they have perception at all. But this is irrelevant to me for the following reasons. Through my perceptions, i.e., through this specifically human mode of perception, I, as subject, am confronted with the object. The nexus of things is thereby broken. The subject reconstructs the nexus by means of thought. In doing so it re-inserts itself into the context of the world as a whole. As it is only through the Self, as subject, that the whole appears rent in two between percept and concept, the reunion of those two factors will give us complete cognition. For beings with a different perceptual world (e.g., if they had twice our number of sense-organs) the nexus would appear broken in another place, and the reconstruction would accordingly have to take a form specifically adapted to such beings. The question concerning the limits of cognition troubles only Naive and Metaphysical Realism, both of which see in the contents of mind only ideal representations of the real world. For to these theories whatever falls outside the subject is something absolute, a self-contained whole, and the subject's mental content is a copy which is wholly external to this absolute. The completeness of knowledge depends on the greater or lesser degree of resemblance 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. The former's knowledge will, therefore, be less complete than the latter's.

[30] For Monism the matter is different. The point where the unity of the world appears to be rent asunder into subject and object depends on the organization of the percipient. The object is not absolute but merely relative to the nature of the subject. The bridging of the gap, therefore, can take place only in the quite specific way which is characteristic of the human subject. As soon as the Self, which in perception is set over against the world, is again re-inserted into the world-nexus by constructive thought all further questioning ceases, having been but a result of the separation.

[31] A differently constituted being would have a differently constituted cognition. Our own cognition suffices to answer the questions which result from our own mental constitution.

[32] Metaphysical Realism must ask, What is it that gives us our percepts? What is it that stimulates the subject?

[33] Monism holds that percepts are determined by the subject. But in thought the subject has, at the same time, the instrument for transcending this determination of which it is itself the author.

7.11 Sum of Effects and Underlying Causes
[34] The Metaphysical Realist is faced by a further difficulty when he seeks to explain the similarity of the world-views of different human individuals. He has to ask himself, How is it that my theory of the world, built up out of subjectively determined percepts and out of concepts, turns out to be the same as that which another individual is also building up out of these same two subjective factors? How, in any case, is it possible for me to argue from my own subjective view of the world to that of another human being? The Metaphysical Realist thinks he can infer the similarity of the subjective world-views of different human beings from their ability to get on with one another in practical life. From this similarity of world-views he infers further the likeness to one another of individual minds, meaning by "individual mind" the "I-in-itself" underlying each subject.

[35] We have here an inference from a number of effects to the character of the underlying causes. We believe that after we have observed a sufficiently large number of instances, we know the connection sufficiently to know how the inferred causes will act in other instances. Such an inference is called an inductive inference. We shall be obliged to modify its results, if further observation yields some unexpected fact, because the character of our conclusion is, after all, determined only by the particular details of our actual observations. The Metaphysical Realist asserts that this knowledge of causes, though restricted by these conditions, is quite sufficient for practical life.

[36] Inductive inference is the fundamental method of modern Metaphysical Realism. At one time it was thought that out of concepts we could evolve something that would no longer be a concept. It was thought that the metaphysical reals, which Metaphysical Realism after all requires, could be known by means of concepts.

Derive particularization from the concept
The basis for particularization cannot be derived from the concept, but rather must be sought within the perception itself. What constitutes the particularity of an object cannot be grasped conceptually, but only perceived. Therein lies the reason why every philosophy must founder that wants to derive (deduce) from the concept itself the entire visible reality in all its particularization.
The concept cannot derive its content from experience, for it does not take up into itself precisely that which is characteristic of experience: its particularity. Everything that constitutes this particularity is foreign to the concept. The concept must therefore give itself its own content. Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology

This method of philosophizing is now out of date. Instead it is thought that from a sufficiently large number of perceptual facts we can infer the character of the thing-in-itself which lies behind these facts. Formerly it was from concepts, now it is from percepts that the Realist seeks to evolve the metaphysically real. Because concepts are before the mind in transparent clearness, it was thought that we might deduce from them the metaphysically real with absolute certainty. Percepts are not given with the same transparent clearness. Each fresh one is a little different from others of the same kind which preceded it. In principle, therefore, anything inferred from past experience is somewhat modified by each subsequent experience. The character of the metaphysically real thus obtained can therefore be only relatively true, for it is open to correction by further instances. The character of Von Hartmann's Metaphysics depends on this methodological principle. The motto on the title-page of his first important book is, "Speculative results gained by the inductive method of Science."

7.12 Subjective and Objective World Continuity
[37] The form which the Metaphysical Realist at the present day gives to his things-in-themselves is obtained by inductive inferences. Consideration of the process of cognition has convinced him of the existence of an objectively-real world-nexus, over and above the subjective world which we cognize by means of percepts and concepts. The nature of this reality he thinks he can determine by inductive inferences from his percepts.

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] For the unprejudiced observation of what is experienced through percept and concept, as we have tried to describe it in the foregoing pages, certain ideas which originate in the field of natural science are repeatedly found to be disturbing. Thus it is said that in the spectrum of light the eye perceives colors from red to violet. But in the space beyond the violet there are forces of radiation for which there is no corresponding color-perception in the eye, but instead there is a definite chemical effect; in the same way, beyond the limit of the red there are radiations having only an effect of warmth. By studying these and other similar phenomena, one is led to the view that the range of man's perceptual world is determined by the range of his senses, and that he would be confronted by a very different world if he had additional, or altogether different, senses. Anyone who chooses to indulge in the extravagant flights of fancy for which the brilliant discoveries of recent scientific research offer such tempting opportunities, may well arrive at the conclusion that nothing enters man's field of observation except what can affect the senses which his bodily organization has evolved. He has no right to regard what is perceived, limited as it is by his organization, as in any way setting a standard for reality. Every new sense would confront him with a different picture of reality.

[2] Within its proper limits this view is entirely justified. But if anyone allows this view to confuse him in his unprejudiced observation of the relationship of percept and concept as set out in these chapters, then he will bar his own way to any realistic knowledge of man and of the world. To experience the essential nature of thinking, that is, to work one's way into the world of concepts through one's own activity, is an entirely different thing from experiencing something perceptible through the senses. Whatever senses man might possibly have, not one would give him reality if his thinking did not permeate with concepts whatever he perceived by means of it. And every sense, however constructed, would, if thus permeated, enable him to live within reality. This question of how he stands in the world of reality is untouched by any speculations he may have as to how the perceptual world might appear to him if he had different senses. We must clearly understand that every perceptual picture of the world owes its form to the organization of the perceiving being, but also that the perceptual picture which has been thoroughly permeated by the experience of thinking leads us into reality. What causes us to enquire into our relationship to the world is not the fanciful pictures of how different the world would appear to other than human senses, but the realization that every percept gives us only a part of the reality concealed within it, in other words, that it directs us away from its inherent reality. Added to this is the further realization that thinking leads us into that part of the reality which the percept conceals within itself.

[3] Another difficulty in the way of the unprejudiced observation of the relationship between the percept and the concept wrought by thinking, as here described, arises when, for example, in the field of experimental physics it becomes necessary to speak not of immediately perceptible elements, but of non-perceptible quantities as in the case of lines of electric or magnetic force. It may seem as if the elements of reality of which physicists speak had no connection either with what is perceptible or with the concepts which active thinking has wrought. Yet such a view would be based on self-deception. The main point is that all the results of physical research, apart from unjustifiable hypotheses which ought to be excluded, have been obtained through percept and concept. Elements which are seemingly non-perceptible are placed by the physicist's sound instinct for knowledge into the field where percepts lie, and they are thought of in terms of concepts commonly used in this field. The strengths of electric or magnetic fields and such like are arrived at, in the very nature of things, by no other process of knowledge than the one which occurs between percept and concept.

[4] An increase or a modification of human senses would yield a different perceptual picture, an enrichment or a modification of human experience. But even with this experience one could arrive at real knowledge only through the interplay of concept and percept. The deepening of knowledge depends on the powers of intuition which express themselves in thinking (see Chapter 6). In the living experience which develops within thinking, this intuition may dive down to greater or to lesser depths of reality. An extension of the perceptual picture may provide stimulation for this diving down of intuition, and thus indirectly promote it. But under no circumstances should this diving into the depths to reach reality be confused with being confronted by a perceptual picture of greater or lesser breadth, which in any case can only contain half the reality, as determined by the organization of the cognizing being. If one does not lose oneself in abstractions, one will realize that for a knowledge of human nature it is a relevant fact that in physics one has to infer the existence of elements in the perceptual field for which no sense organ is tuned as it is for color or sound. Man's being, quite concretely, is determined not only by what his organization presents to him as immediate percept, but also by the fact that from this immediate perception other things are excluded. Just as it is necessary for life that in addition to the conscious waking state there should be an unconscious sleeping state, so for man's experience of himself it is necessary that in addition to the sphere of his sense perception there should be another sphere — in fact a far larger one — of elements not perceptible to the senses but belonging to the same field from which the sense percepts come. All this was already implied in the original presentation of this work. The author adds these extensions to the argument because he has found by experience that many a reader has not read accurately enough.

[5] It is to be remembered, too, that the idea of percept developed in this book is not to be confused with the idea of external sense percept which is but a special instance of it. The reader will gather from what has gone before, but even more from what will follow, that “percept” is here taken to be everything that approaches man through the senses or through the mind, before it has been grasped by the actively elaborated concept. “Senses”, as we ordinarily understand the term, are not necessary in order to have percepts in soul- or spirit-experience. It might be said that this extension of our ordinary usage is not permissible. But such extension is absolutely necessary if we are not to be prevented by the current sense of a word from enlarging our knowledge in certain fields. Anyone who uses “perception” to mean only “sense perception” will never arrive at a concept fit for the purposes of knowledge — even knowledge of this same sense perception. One must sometimes enlarge a concept in order that it may get its appropriate meaning in a narrower field. Sometimes one must also add to the original content of a concept in order that the original concept may be justified or, perhaps, readjusted. Thus we find it said here in this book (see Chapter 6): “The mental picture is an individualized concept.” It has been objected that this is an unusual use of words. But this use is necessary if we are to find out what a mental picture really is. How can we expect any progress in knowledge if everyone who finds himself compelled to readjust concepts is to be met by the objection, “This is an unusual use of words”?



8.0 Cognitive Personality
[1] LET us recapitulate the results gained in the previous chapters. The world appears to man as a multiplicity, as an aggregate of separate entities. He himself is one of these entities, a thing among things. Of this structure of the world we say simply that it is given, and inasmuch as we do not construct it by conscious activity, but simply find it, we say that it consists of percepts. Within this world of percepts we perceive ourselves. This percept of Self would remain merely one among many other percepts, did it not give rise to something which proves capable of connecting all percepts one with another and, therefore, the aggregate of all other percepts with the percept of Self. This something which emerges is no longer a mere percept; neither is it, like percepts, simply given. It is produced by our activity. It appears, in the first instance, bound up with what each of us perceives as his Self. In its inner significance, however, it transcends the Self. It adds to the separate percepts ideal determinations, which, however, are related to one another, and which are grounded in a whole. What self-perception yields is ideally determined by this something in the same way as all other percepts, and placed as subject, or " I," over against the objects. This something is thought, and the ideal determinations are the concepts and ideas. Thought, therefore, first manifests itself in connection with the percept of self. But it is not merely subjective, for the Self characterizes itself as subject only with the help of thought. This relation of the Self to itself by means of thought is one of the fundamental determinations of our personal lives. Through it we lead a purely ideal existence. By means of 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 determinations of our Selves. Our lives would then exhaust themselves in establishing ideal connections between percepts themselves, and between them and ourselves. If we call this establishment of an ideal relation an "act of cognition," and the resulting condition of ourselves "knowledge," then, assuming the above supposition to be true, we should have to consider ourselves as beings who merely cognize or know.

8.1 Feeling Personality
[2] The supposition is, however, untrue. We relate percepts to ourselves not merely ideally, through concepts, but also, as we have already seen, through feeling. In short, the content of our lives is not merely conceptual. The Naive Realist holds that the personality actually lives more genuinely in the life of feeling than in the purely ideal activity of knowledge. From his point of view he is quite right in interpreting the matter in this way.

8.2 Perception of Feeling

Feeling plays on the subjective side exactly the part which percepts play on the objective side. From the principle of Naive Realism, that everything is real which can be perceived, it follows that feeling is the guarantee of the reality of one's own personality.

8.3 Incomplete Feeling
Monism, however, must bestow on feeling the same supplementation which it considers necessary for percepts, if these are to stand to us for reality in its full nature. For Monism, feeling is an incomplete reality which, in the form in which it first appears to us, lacks as yet its second factor, the concept or idea. This is why, in actual life, feelings, like percepts, appear prior to knowledge.

8.4 Feeling Of Existence
At first, we have merely a feeling of existence; and it is only in the course of our gradual development, that we attain to the point at which the concept of Self emerges from within the blind mass of feelings which fills our existence. However, what for us does not appear until later, is from the first indissolubly bound up with our feelings.

8.5 Cultivation Of Feeling
This is how the naive man comes to believe that in feeling he grasps existence immediately, in knowledge only mediately. The development of the affective life, therefore, appears to him more important than anything else.

8.6 Feeling Knowledge
Not until he has grasped the unity of the world through feeling will he believe that he has comprehended it. He attempts to make feeling rather than thought the instrument of knowledge.

8.7 Philosopher Of Feeling
Now a feeling is entirely individual, something equivalent to a percept. Hence a philosophy of feeling makes a cosmic principle out of something which has significance only within my own personality. Anyone who holds this view attempts to infuse his own self into the whole world. What the Monist strives to grasp by means of concepts, the philosopher of feeling tries to attain through feeling, and he looks on his own felt union with objects as more immediate than knowledge.

8.8 Feeling Mysticism
[3] The tendency just described, the philosophy of feeling, is Mysticism. The error in this view is that it seeks to possess by immediate experience what must be known, that it seeks to develop feeling, which is individual, into a universal principle.

[4] A feeling is a purely individual activity. It is the relation of the external world to the subject, in so far as this relation finds expression in a purely subjective experience.

Steiner's mysticism holds fast to the clarity of ideas in thinking
One will find the “mystical approach” and “mysticism” spoken of in different ways in my writings. One can see in every case, from the context, that there is no contradiction among these different ways such as one has tried to fancy there. One can form a general concept of “mysticism.” According to it, mysticism comprises what one can experience of the world through inner soul experience. This concept, first of all, cannot be disputed. For there is such an experience. And it reveals not only something about man's inner being but also something about the world. One must have eyes in which certain processes occur, in order to experience something about the realm of color. But through this one experiences not only something about the eye but also about the world. One must have an inner soul organ in order to experience certain things about the world.

But one must bring the full clarity of concepts into the experiences of the mystical organ if knowledge is to arise. There are people, however, who wish to take refuge in what is “inward” in order to flee the clarity of concepts. They call “mysticism” that which wants to lead knowledge out of the light of ideas into the darkness of the world of feeling— the world of feeling not illuminated by ideas. My writings everywhere speak against this mysticism; every page of my books, however, was written for the mysticism that holds fast to the clarity of ideas in thinking and that makes into a soul organ of perception that mystical sense which is active in the same region of man's being where otherwise dim feelings hold sway. This sense is for the spiritual completely like what the eye or ear is for the physical. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

The act of knowing described in the Philosophy Of Freedom reveals the true reality of sense perceptions with the addition of the corresponding thought. The same applies to spiritual perceptions.
“This first activity of ours . . . can be called pure experience” It is evident from the whole bearing of this epistemology that the point of its deliberations is to gain an answer to the question, What is knowledge? In order to attain this goal we looked, to begin with, at the world of sense perception on the one hand, and at penetration of it with thought, on the other. And it is shown that in the interpenetration of both, the true reality of sense existence reveals itself. With this the question, What is the activity of knowing? is answered in principle.

This answer becomes no different when the question is extended to the contemplation of the spiritual. Therefore, what is said in this book about the nature of knowledge is valid also for the activity of knowing the spiritual worlds, to which my later books refer.

The sense world, in its manifestation to human contemplation, is not reality. It attains its reality when connected with what reveals itself about the sense world in man when he thinks. Thoughts belong to the reality of what the senses behold; but the thought-element within sense existence does not bring itself to manifestation outside in sense existence but rather inside of man. Yet thought and sense perception are one existence. Inasmuch as the human being enters the world and views it with his senses, he excludes thought from reality; but thought then just appears in another place: inside the soul. The separation of perception and thought is of absolutely no significance for the objective world; this separation occurs only because man places himself into the midst of existence. Through this there arises for him the illusion that thought and sense perception are a duality.

It is no different for spiritual contemplation. When this arises—through soul processes that I have described in my later book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment — it again constitutes only one side of spiritual existence; the corresponding thoughts of the spirit constitute the other side.

A difference arises only insofar as sense perception completes itself, attains reality, through thoughts upward, in a certain way, to where the spiritual begins, whereas spiritual contemplation is experienced in its true being from this beginning point downward. The fact that the experience of sense perception occurs through the senses that nature has formed, whereas the experience of spiritual contemplation occurs through spiritual organs of perception that are first developed in a soul way, does not make a principle difference.

It is true to say that in none of my later books have I diverged from the idea of knowing activity that I developed in this one; rather I have only applied this idea to spiritual experience. Theory of Knowledge Notes to the New Edition, 1924

8.9 Willing Personality
[5] There is yet another expression of human personality. The Self, through thought, takes part in the universal world-life. Through thought it establishes purely ideal (conceptual) relations between percepts and itself, and between itself and percepts. In feeling it has immediate experience of the relation of objects to itself as subject. In will the opposite is the case. In volition, we are concerned once more with a percept, viz., that of the individual relation of the self to what is objective. Whatever in the act of will is not an ideal factor, is just as much mere object of perception as is any object in the external world.

8.10 Philosophy Of Will
[6] Nevertheless, the Naive Realist believes here again that he has before him something far more real than can ever be attained by thought. He sees in the will an element in which he is immediately aware of an activity, a causation, in contrast with thought which afterwards grasps this activity in conceptual form. On this view, the realization by the Self of its will is a process which is experienced immediately. The adherent of this philosophy believes that in the will he has really got hold of one end of reality. Whereas he can follow other occurrences only from the outside by means of perception, he is confident that in his will he experiences a real process quite immediately. The mode of existence presented to him by the will within himself becomes for him the fundamental reality of the universe. His own will appears to him as a special case of the general world-process; hence the latter is conceived as a universal will. The will becomes the principle of reality just as, in Mysticism, feeling becomes the principle of knowledge. This kind of theory is called Voluntarism (Thelism). It makes something which can be experienced only individually the dominant factor of the world.

8.11 Real Experience Of Feeling and Willing
[7] Voluntarism can as little be called scientific as can Mysticism. For both assert that the conceptual interpretation of the world is inadequate. Both demand, in addition to a principle of being which is ideal, also a principle which is real. But as perception is our only means of apprehending these so-called real principles, the assertion of Mysticism and Voluntarism coincides with the view that we have two sources of knowledge, viz., thought and perception, the latter finding individual expression as will and feeling. Since the immediate experiences which flow from the one source cannot be directly absorbed into the thoughts which flow from the other, perception (immediate experience) and thought remain side by side, without any higher form of experience to mediate between them. Beside the conceptual principle to which we attain by means of knowledge, there is also a real principle which must be immediately experienced. In other words, Mysticism and Voluntarism are both forms of Naive Realism because they subscribe to the doctrine that the immediately perceived (experienced) is real. Compared with Naive Realism in its primitive form, they are guilty of the yet further inconsistency of accepting one definite form of perception (feeling, respectively will) as the exclusive means of knowing reality. Yet they can do this only so long as they cling to the general principle that everything that is perceived is real. They ought, therefore, to attach an equal value to external perception for purposes of knowledge.

8.12 Universal Will
[8] Voluntarism turns into Metaphysical Realism, when it asserts the existence of will also in those spheres of reality in which will can no longer, as in the individual subject, be immediately experienced. It assumes hypothetically that a principle holds outside subjective experience, for the existence of which, nevertheless, subjective experience is the sole criterion. As a form of Metaphysical Realism, Voluntarism is open to the criticism developed in the preceding chapter, a criticism which makes it necessary to overcome the contradictory element in every form of Metaphysical Realism, and to recognize that the will is a universal world-process only in so far as it is ideally related to the rest of the world.

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] The difficulty of grasping the essential nature of thinking by observation lies in this, that it has all too easily eluded the introspecting soul by the time the soul tries to bring it into the focus of attention. Nothing then remains to be inspected but the lifeless abstraction, the corpse of the living thinking. If we look only at this abstraction, we may easily find ourselves compelled to enter into the mysticism of feeling or perhaps the metaphysics of will, which by contrast appear so “full of life”. We should then find it strange that anyone should expect to grasp the essence of reality in “mere thoughts”. But if we once succeed in really finding life in thinking, we shall know that swimming in mere feelings, or being intuitively aware of the will element, cannot even be compared with the inner wealth and the self-sustaining yet ever moving experience of this life of thinking, let alone be ranked above it.

It is owing precisely to this wealth, to this inward abundance of experience, that the counter-image of thinking which presents itself to our ordinary attitude of soul should appear lifeless and abstract. No other activity of the human soul is so easily misunderstood as thinking. Will and feeling still fill the soul with warmth even when we live through the original event again in retrospect. Thinking all too readily leaves us cold in recollection; it is as if the life of the soul had dried out. Yet this is really nothing but the strongly marked shadow of its real nature — warm, luminous, and penetrating deeply into the phenomena of the world. This penetration is brought about by a power flowing through the activity of thinking itself — the power of love in its spiritual form. There are no grounds here for the objection that to discern love in the activity of thinking is to project into thinking a feeling, namely, love. For in truth this objection is but a confirmation of what we have been saying.

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. If we are ready to experience thinking intuitively, we can also do justice to the experience of feeling and of will; but the mysticism of feeling and the metaphysics of will are not able to do justice to the penetration of reality by intuitive thinking — they conclude all too readily that they themselves are rooted in reality, but that the intuitive thinker, devoid of feeling and a stranger to reality, forms out of “abstract thoughts” a shadowy, chilly picture of the world.



9.0 Intuitive Action
[1] THE concept "tree" is conditioned for our knowledge by the percept "tree." There is only one determinate concept which I can select from the general system of concepts and apply to a given percept. The connection of concept and percept is mediately and objectively determined by thought in conformity with the percept. The connection between a percept and its concept is recognized after the act of perception, but the relevance of the one to the other is determined by the character of each.

[2] In willing the situation is different. The percept is here the content of my existence as an individual, whereas the concept is the universal element in me. What is brought into ideal relation to the external world by means of the concept, is an immediate experience of my own, a percept of my Self. More precisely, it is a percept of my Self as active, as producing effects on the external world. In apprehending my own acts of will, I connect a concept with a corresponding percept, viz., with the particular volition. In other words, by an act of thought I link up my individual faculty (my will) with the universal world-process. The content of a concept corresponding to an external percept 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 shows me only which concept I have to apply, in any given instance, out of the aggregate of my intuitions. The content of a concept is, indeed, 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 thought. The same is true of the conceptual content of an act of will which is just as little capable of being deduced from this act. It is got by intuition.

9.1 Conceptually Determined Action
[3] If now the conceptual intuition (ideal content) of my act of will occurs before the corresponding percept, then the content of what I do is determined by my ideas. The reason why I select from the number of possible intuitions just this special one, cannot be sought in an object of perception, but is to be found rather in the purely ideal interdependence of the members of my system of concepts. In other words, the determining factors for my will are to be found, not in the perceptual, but only in the conceptual world. My will is determined by my idea.

The conceptual system which 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 which 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 Motive Of Will
[4] In a particular act of will we must distinguish two factors: the motive, and the spring of action. The motive is the conceptual factor, the spring of action is the perceptual factor in will. The conceptual factor, or motive, is the momentary determining cause of an act of will, the spring of action is the permanent determining factor in the individual. The motive of an act of will can be only a pure concept, or else a concept with a definite relation to perception, i.e., an idea. Universal and individual concepts (ideas) become motives of will by influencing the human individual and determining him to action in a particular direction. One and the same concept, however, or one and the same idea, influences different individuals differently. They determine different men to different actions. An act of will is, therefore, not merely the outcome of a concept or an idea, but also of the individual make-up of human beings. This individual make-up we will call, following Edward van Hartmann, the "characterological disposition." The manner in which concept and idea act on the characterological disposition of a man gives to his life a definite moral or ethical stamp.

9.3 Characterological Disposition
[5] The characterological disposition consists of the more or less permanent content of the individual's life, that is, of his habitual ideas and feelings. Whether an idea which enters my mind at this moment stimulates me to an act of will or not, depends on its relation to my other ideal contents, and also to my peculiar modes of feeling. My ideal content, in turn, is conditioned by the sum total of those concepts which have, in the course of my individual life, come in contact with percepts, that is, have become ideas. This, again, depends on my greater or lesser capacity for intuition, and on the range of my perception, that is, on the subjective and objective factors of my experiences, on the structure of my mind and on my environment. My affective life more especially determines my characterological disposition. Whether I shall make a certain idea or concept the motive for action will depend on whether it gives me pleasure or pain.
These are the factors which we have to consider in an act of will. The immediately present idea or concept, which becomes the motive, determines the end or the purpose of my will; my characterological disposition determines me to direct my activity towards this end. The idea of taking a walk in the next half-hour determines the end 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 past life I have formed the ideas of the wholesomeness of walking and the value of health; and further, if the idea of walking is accompanied by a feeling of pleasure.

9.4 Levels Of Morality
[6] We must, therefore, distinguish (1) the possible subjective dispositions which are likely to turn given ideas and concepts into motives, and (2) the possible ideas and concepts which are capable of so influencing my characterological disposition that an act of will results. The former are for morality the springs of action, the latter its ends.

[7] The springs of action in the moral life can be discovered by analyzing the elements of which individual life is composed.

[8] The first level of individual life is that of perception, more particularly sense-perception. This is the stage of our individual lives in which a percept translates itself into will immediately, without the intervention of either a feeling or a concept. The spring of action here involved may be called simply instinct. Our lower, purely animal, needs (hunger, sexual intercourse, etc.) find their satisfaction in this way. The main characteristic of instinctive life is the immediacy with which the percept starts off the act of will. This kind of determination of the will, which belongs originally only to the life of the lower senses, may however become extended also to the percepts of the higher senses. We may react to the percept of a certain event in the external world without reflecting on what we do, and without any special feeling connecting itself with the percept. We have examples of this especially in our ordinary conventional intercourse with men. The spring of this kind of action is called tact or moral good taste. The more often such immediate reactions to a percept occur, the more the agent will prove himself able to act purely under the guidance of tact; that is, tact becomes his characterological disposition.

[9] The second level of human life is feeling. Definite feelings accompany the percepts of the external world. These feelings may become springs of action. When I see a hungry man, my pity for him may become the spring of my action. Such feelings, for example, are modesty, pride, sense of honour, humility, remorse, pity, revenge, gratitude, piety, loyalty, love, and duty.1

[10] The third and last level of life is to have thoughts and ideas. An idea or a concept may become the motive of an action through mere reflection. Ideas become motives because, in the course of my life, I regularly connect certain aims of my will with percepts which recur again and again in a more or less modified form. Hence it is, that with men who are not wholly without experience, the occurrence of certain percepts is always accompanied also by the consciousness of ideas of actions, which they have themselves carried out in similar cases or which they have seen others carry out. These ideas float before their minds as determining models in all subsequent decisions; they become parts of their characterological disposition. We may give the name of practical experience to the spring of action just described. Practical experience merges gradually into purely tactful behaviour. That happens, when definite typical pictures of actions have become so closely connected in our minds with ideas of certain situations in life, that, in any given instance, we omit all deliberation based on experience, and pass immediately from the percept to the action.

[11] The highest level of individual life is that of conceptual thought without reference to any definite perceptual content. We determine the content of a concept through pure intuition on the basis of an ideal system. Such a concept contains, at first, no reference to any definite percepts. When an act of will comes about under the influence of a concept which refers to a percept, i.e., under the influence of an idea, then it is the percept which determines our action indirectly by way of the concept. But when we act under the influence of pure intuitions, the spring of our action is pure thought. As it is the custom in philosophy to call pure thought "reason," we may perhaps be justified in giving the name of practical reason to the spring of action characteristic of this level of life. The clearest account of this spring of action has been given by Kreyenbuhl (Philosophische Monatshefte, vol. xviii, No. 3). In my opinion his article on this subject is one of the most important contributions to present-day philosophy, more especially to Ethics. Kreyenbuhl calls the spring of action, of which we are treating, the practical apriori, i.e., a spring of action issuing immediately from my intuition.

[12] It is clear that such a spring of action can no longer be counted in the strictest sense as part of the characterological disposition. For what is here effective in me as a spring of action is no longer something purely individual, but the ideal, and hence universal, content of my intuition. As soon as I regard the content as the valid basis and starting-point of an action, I pass over into willing, irrespective of whether the concept was already in my mind beforehand, or whether it only occurs to me immediately before the action, that is, irrespective of whether it was present in the form of a disposition in me or not.
[13] A real act of will results only when a present impulse to action, in the form of a concept or idea, acts on the characterological disposition. Such an impulse thereupon becomes the motive of the will.

[14] The motives of moral conduct are ideas and concepts. There are Moralists who see in feeling also a motive of morality; they assert, e.g., that the end of moral conduct is to secure the greatest possible quantity of pleasure for the agent. Pleasure itself, however, can never be a motive; at best only the idea of pleasure can act as motive. The idea of a future pleasure, but not the feeling itself, can act on my characterological disposition. For the feeling does not yet exist in the moment of action; on the contrary, it has first to be produced by the action.

[15] The idea of one's own or another's well-being is, however, rightly regarded as a motive of the will. The principle of producing the greatest quantity of pleasure for oneself through one's action, that is, to attain individual happiness, is called Egoism. The attainment of this individual happiness is sought either by thinking ruthlessly only of one's own good, and striving to attain it even at the cost of the happiness of other individuals (Pure Egoism), or by promoting the good of others, either because one anticipates indirectly a favourable influence on one's own happiness through the happiness of others, or because one fears to endanger one's own interest by injuring others (Morality of Prudence). The special content of the egoistical principle of morality will depend on the ideas which we form of what constitutes our own, or others' good. A man will determine the content of his egoistical striving in accordance with what he regards as one of life's good things (luxury, hope of happiness, deliverance from different evils, etc.).

[16] Further, the purely conceptual content of an action is to be regarded as yet another kind of motive. This content has no reference, like the idea of one's own pleasure, solely to the particular action, but to the deduction of an action from a system of moral principles. These moral principles, in the form of abstract concepts, may guide the individual's moral life without his worrying himself about the origin of his concepts. In that case, we feel merely the moral necessity of submitting to a moral concept, which, in the form of law, controls our actions. The justification of this necessity we leave to those who demand from us moral subjection, that is, to those whose moral authority over us we acknowledge (the head of the family, the state, social custom, the authority of the church, divine revelation). We meet with a special kind of these moral principles when the law is not proclaimed to us by an external authority, but comes from our own selves (moral autonomy). In this case we believe that we hear the voice, to which we have to submit ourselves, in our own souls. The name for this voice is conscience.

[17] It is a great moral advance when a man no longer takes as the motive of his action the commands of an external or internal authority, but tries to understand the reason why a given maxim of action ought to be effective as a motive in him. This is the advance from morality based on authority to action from moral insight. At this level of morality, a man will try to discover the demands of the moral life, and will let his action be determined by this knowledge. Such demands are (1) the greatest possible happiness of humanity as a whole purely for its own sake, (2) the progress of civilization, or the moral development of mankind towards ever greater perfection, (3) the realization of individual moral ends conceived by an act of pure intuition.

[18] The greatest possible happiness of humanity as a whole will naturally be differently conceived by different people. The above mentioned maxim does not imply any definite idea of this happiness, but rather means that every one who acknowledges this principle strives to do all that, in his opinion, most promotes the good of the whole of humanity.

[19] The progress of civilization is seen to be a special application of the moral principle just mentioned, at any rate for those to whom the goods which civilization produces bring feelings of pleasure. However, they will have to pay the price of progress in the destruction and annihilation of many things which also contribute to the happiness of humanity. It is, however, also possible that some men look upon the progress of civilization as a moral necessity, quite apart from the feelings of pleasure which it brings. If so, the progress of civilization will be a new moral principle for them, different from the previous one.

[20] Both the principle of the public good, and that of the progress of civilization, alike depend on the way in which we apply the content of our moral ideas to particular experiences (percepts). The highest principle of morality which we can conceive, however, is that which contains to start with, no such reference to particular experiences, but which springs from the source of pure intuition and does not seek until later any connection with percepts, i.e., with life. The determination of what ought to be willed issues here from a point of view very different from that of the previous two principles. Whoever accepts the principle of the public good will in all his actions ask first what his ideals contribute to this public good. The upholder of the progress of civilization as the principle of morality will act similarly. There is, however, a still higher mode of conduct which, in a given case, does not start from any single limited moral ideal, but which sees a certain value in all moral principles, always asking whether this or that is more important in a particular case. It may happen that a man considers in certain circumstances the promotion of the public good, in others that of the progress of civilization, and in yet others the furthering of his own private good, to be the right course, and makes that the motive of his action. But when all other grounds of determination take second place, then we rely, in the first place, on conceptual intuition itself. All other motives now drop out of sight, and the ideal content of an action alone becomes its motive.

9.5 Moral Intuition
[21] Among the levels of characterological disposition, we have singled out as the highest that which manifests itself as pure thought, or practical reason. Among the motives, we have just singled out conceptual intuition as the highest. On nearer consideration, we now perceive that at this level of morality the spring of action and the motive coincide, i.e., that neither a predetermined characterological disposition, nor an external moral principle accepted on authority, influence our conduct. The action, therefore, is neither a merely stereotyped one which follows the rules of a moral code, nor is it automatically performed in response to an external impulse. Rather it is determined solely through its ideal content.

[22] For such an action to be possible, we must first be capable of moral intuitions. Whoever lacks the capacity to think out for himself the moral principles that apply in each particular case, will never rise to the level of genuine individual willing.

[23] Kant's principle of morality: Act so that the principle of your action may be valid for all men —is the exact opposite of ours. His principle would mean death to all individual action. The norm for me can never be what all men would do, but rather what it is right for me to do in each special case.

Action Determined By One's Thought-Content
Our epistemology recognizes no other foundation for truths than the thought content lying within them. When a moral ideal comes about, therefore, it is the inner power lying within the content of this ideal that guides our actions. It is not because an ideal is given us as law that we act in accordance with it, but rather because the ideal, by virtue of its content, is active in us, leads us. The stimulus to action does not lie outside of us; it lies within us. In the case of a commandment of duty we would feel ourselves subject to it; we would have to act in a particular way because it ordered us to do so. There, “should” comes first and then “want to,” which must submit itself to the “should.” According to our view, this is not the case. Man's willing is sovereign. It carries out only what lies as thought-content within the human personality. The human being does not let himself be given laws by any outer power; he is his own lawgiver. Theory of Knowledge 19. Human Freedom

Action According To Insight

Our philosophy is therefore pre-eminently a philosophy of freedom. First it allows theoretically how all forces, etc., that supposedly direct the world from outside must fall away; it then makes the human being into his own master in the very best sense of the word. When a person acts morally, this is not for us the fulfillment of duty but rather the manifestation of his completely free nature. The human being does not act because he ought, but rather because he wants to. Goethe had this view in mind when he said: “Lessing, who resentfully felt many a limitation, has one of his characters say, `No one has to have to.' A witty, jovial man said, `Whoever wants to, has to.' A third, admittedly a cultivated person, added, `Whoever has insight, also wants to.'” Thus there is no impetus for our actions other than our insight. Without any kind of compulsion entering in, the free human being acts in accordance with his insight, in accordance with commandments that he gives himself.
Theory of Knowledge 19. Human Freedom

9.6 Moral Motive
[24] A superficial criticism might urge against these arguments: How can an action be individually adapted to the special case and the special situation, and yet at the same time be ideally determined by pure intuition? This objection rests on a confusion of the moral motive with the perceptual content of an action. The latter, indeed, may be a motive, and is actually a motive when we act for the progress of culture, or from pure egoism, etc., but in action based on pure moral intuition it never is a motive. Of course, my Self takes notice of these perceptual contents, but it does not allow itself to be determined by them. The content is used only to construct a theoretical concept, but the corresponding moral concept is not derived from the object. The theoretical concept of a given situation which faces me, is a moral concept also, only if I adopt the standpoint of a particular moral principle. If I base all my conduct on the principle of the progress of civilization, then my way through life is tied down to a fixed route. From every occurrence which comes to my notice and attracts my interest, there springs a moral duty, viz., to do my tiny share towards using this occurrence in the service of the progress of civilization. In addition to the concept which reveals to me the connections of events or objects according to the laws of nature, there is also a moral label attached to them which contains for me, as a moral agent, ethical directions as to how I have to conduct myself. At a higher level these moral labels disappear, and my action is determined in each particular instance by my idea; and more particularly by the idea which is suggested to me by the concrete instance.

9.7 Ethical Individualism
[25] Men vary greatly in their capacity for intuition. In some, ideas bubble up like a spring, others acquire them with much labour. The situations in which men live, and which are the scenes of their actions, are no less widely different. The conduct of a man will depend, therefore, on the manner in which his faculty of intuition reacts to a given situation. The aggregate of the ideas which are effective in us, the concrete content of our intuitions, constitute that which is individual in each of us, notwithstanding the universal character of our ideas. In so far as this intuitive content has reference to action, it constitutes the moral substance of the individual. To let this substance express itself in his life is the moral principle of the man who regards all other moral principles as subordinate. We may call this point of view Ethical Individualism.

[26] The determining factor of an action, in any concrete instance, is the discovery of the corresponding purely individual intuition. At this level of morality, there can be no question of general moral concepts (norms, laws). General norms always presuppose concrete facts from which they can be deduced. But facts have first to be created by human action.

9.8 Love For The Objective
[27] When we look for the regulating principles (the conceptual principles guiding the actions of individuals, peoples, epochs), we obtain a system of Ethics which is not a science of moral norms, but rather a science of morality as a natural fact. Only the laws discovered in this way are related to human action as the laws of nature are related to particular phenomena. These laws, however, are very far from being identical with the principles on which we base our actions. When I, or another, subsequently review my action we may discover what moral principles came into play in it. But so long as I am acting, I am influenced not by these moral principles but by my love for the object, which I want to realize through my action. I ask no man and no moral code, whether I shall perform this action or not. On the contrary, I carry it out as soon as I have formed the idea of it. This alone makes it my action. If a man acts because he accepts certain moral norms, his action is the outcome of the principles which compose his moral code. He merely carries out orders. He is a superior kind of automaton. Inject some stimulus to action into his mind, and at once the clock-work of his moral principles will begin to work and run its prescribed course, so as to issue in an action which is Christian, or humane, or unselfish, or calculated to promote the progress of culture. It is only when I follow solely my love for the object, that it is I, myself, who act. At this level of morality, I acknowledge no lord over me, neither an external authority, nor the so-called voice of my conscience. I acknowledge no external principle of my action, because I have found in myself the ground for my action, viz., my love of the action. I do not ask whether my action is good or bad; I perform it, because I am in love with it. Neither do I ask myself how another man would act in my position. On the contrary, I act as I, this unique individuality, will to act. No general usage, no common custom, no general maxim current among men, no moral norm guides me, but my love for the action. I feel no compulsion, neither the compulsion of nature which dominates me through my instincts, nor the compulsion of the moral commandments. My will is simply to realize what in me lies.

Love for the objective
The only impulse for our action should also lie in the need to realize an idea, in the urge to carry out an intention. Everything that urges us to a deed should live its life in the idea. Then we do not act out of duty; we do not act under the influence of a drive; we act out of love for the object to which our action is to be directed. The object, when we picture it, calls forth in us the urge to act in a way appropriate to it. Only such action is a free one. For if, in addition to the interest we take in the object, there had yet to be a second motivation from another quarter, then we would not want this object for its own sake; we would want something else and would perform that, which we do not want we would carry out an action against our will. That would be the case, for example, in action out of egoism.

Egoism takes no interest in the action itself; it is not a need for us; we do need the benefits, however, that it brings us. But then we also feel right away as compulsion the fact that we must perform the action for this reason only. The action itself is not a need for us; for we would leave it undone if no benefits followed from it. An action, however, that we do not perform for its own sake is an unfree one. Egoism acts unfreely. Every person acts unfreely, in fact, who performs an action out of a motivation that does not follow from the objective content of the action itself. To carry out an action for its own sake means to act out of love. Only someone who is guided by love in doing, by devotion to objectivity, acts truly freely. Whoever is incapable of this selfless devotion will never be able to regard his activity as a free one. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

9.9 Expression Of Ideals In Individual Way
[28] Those who hold to general moral norms will reply to these arguments that, if every one has the right to live himself out and to do what he pleases, there can be no distinction between a good and a bad action, every fraudulent impulse in me has the same right to issue in action as the intention to serve the general good. It is not the mere fact of my having conceived the idea of an action which ought to determine me as a moral agent, but the further examination of whether it is a good or an evil action. Only if it is good ought I to carry it out.

[29] In reply I would say that I am not talking of children or of men who follow their animal or social instincts. I am talking of men who are capable of raising themselves to the level of the ideal content of the world. It is only in an age in which immature men regard the blind instincts as part of a man's individuality, that the act of a criminal can be described as living out one's individuality in the same sense in which the embodiment in action of a pure intuition can be so described.

The animal instinct which drives a man to a criminal act does not belong to what is individual in him, but rather to that which is most general in him, to that which is equally present in all individuals. The individual element in me is not my organism with its instincts and feelings, but rather the unified world of ideas which reveals itself through this organism. My instincts, cravings, passions, justify no further assertion about me than that I belong to the general species man. The fact that something ideal expresses itself in its own unique way through these instincts, passions, and feelings, constitutes my individuality. My instincts and cravings make me the sort of man of whom there are twelve to the dozen. The unique character of the idea, by means of which I distinguish myself within the dozen as "I," makes of me an individual. Only a being other than myself could distinguish me from others by the difference in my animal nature. By thought, i.e., by the active grasping of the ideal element working itself out through my organism, I distinguish myself from others. Hence it is impossible to say of the action of a criminal that it issues from the idea within him. Indeed, the characteristic feature of criminal actions is precisely that they spring from the non-ideal elements in man.

[30] An act the grounds for which lie in the ideal part of my individual nature is free. Every other act, whether done under the compulsion of nature or under the obligation imposed by a moral norm, is unfree.

[31] That man alone is free who in every moment of his life is able to obey only himself. A moral act is my act only when it can be called free in this sense.

9.10 Harmony Of Intentions
[32] Action on the basis of freedom does not exclude, but include, the moral laws. It only shows that it stands on a higher level than actions which are dictated by these laws. Why should my act serve the general good less well when I do it from pure love of it, than when I perform it because it is a duty to serve the general good? The concept of duty excludes freedom, because it will not acknowledge the right of individuality, but demands the subjection of individuality to a general norm. Freedom of action is conceivable only from the standpoint of Ethical Individualism.

[33] But how about the possibility of social life for men, if each aims only at asserting his own individuality? This question expresses yet another objection on the part of Moralism. The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if all men are held together by a common moral order. This shows that the Moralist does not understand the community of the world of ideas. He does not realize that the world of ideas which inspires me is no other than that which inspires my fellow-men. I differ from my neighbour, not at all because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we receive different intuitions. He desires to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas, and do not obey mere external impulses (physical or moral), then we can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between men who are free. Only the morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts or the commands of duty, turn their backs on their neighbours, if these do not obey the same instincts and the same laws as themselves. Live and let live is the fundamental principle of the free man. He knows no "ought." How he shall will in any given case will be determined for him by his faculty of ideas.

[34] If sociability were not deeply rooted in human nature, no external laws would be able to inoculate us with it. It is only because human individuals are akin in spirit that they can live out their lives side by side. The free man lives out his life in the full confidence that all other free men belong to one spiritual world with himself, and that their intentions will coincide with his. The free man does not demand agreement from his fellow-men, but he expects it none the less, believing that it is inherent in human nature.

9.11 Concept of the Free Human Being
[35] There are many who will say that the concept of the free man which I have here developed, is a chimera nowhere to be found realized, and that we have got to deal with actual human beings, from whom we can expect morality only if they obey some moral law, i.e., if they regard their moral task as a duty and do not simply follow their inclinations and loves. I do not deny this. Only a blind man could do that. But, if so, away with all this hypocrisy of morality! Let us say simply that human nature must be compelled to act as long as it is not free. Whether the compulsion of man's unfree nature is effected by physical force or through moral laws, whether man is unfree because he indulges his unmeasured sexual desire, or because he is bound tight in the bonds of conventional morality, is quite immaterial. Only let us not assert that such a man can rightly call his actions his own, seeing that he is driven to them by an external force. But in the midst of all this network of compulsion, there arise free spirits who in all the welter of customs, legal codes, religious observances, etc., 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 his actions? Yet in each of us there dwells something deeper in which the free man finds expression.

[36] Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression. After all, we are men in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free.

[37] This is an ideal, many will say. Doubtless; but it is an ideal which is a real element in us working up to the surface of our nature. It is no ideal born of mere imagination or dream, but one which has life, and which manifests itself clearly even in the least developed form of its existence. If men were nothing but natural objects, the search for ideals, that is, for ideas which as yet are not actual but the realization of which we demand, would be an impossibility. In dealing with external objects the idea is determined by the percept. We have done our share when we have recognized the connection between idea and percept. But with a human being the case is different. The content of his existence is not determined without him. His concept (free spirit) is not a priori united objectively with the perceptual content "man," so that knowledge need only register the fact subsequently. Man must by his own act unite his concept with the percept "man." Concept and percept coincide with one another in this instance, only in so far as the individual himself makes them coincide. This he can do only if he has found the concept of the free spirit, that is, if he has found the concept of his own Self. In the objective world a boundary-line is drawn by our organization between percept and concept. Knowledge breaks down this barrier. In our subjective nature this barrier is no less present. The individual overcomes it in the course of his development, by embodying his concept of himself in his outward existence. Hence man's moral life and his intellectual life lead him both alike to his twofold nature, perception (immediate experience) and thought. The intellectual life overcomes his twofold nature by means of knowledge, the moral life succeeds through the actual realization of the free spirit. Every being has its inborn concept (the laws of its being and action), but in external objects this concept is indissolubly bound up with the percept, and separated from it only in the organization of human minds. In human beings concept and percept are, at first, actually separated, to be just as actually reunited by them. Some one might object that to our percept of a man there corresponds at every moment of his life a definite concept, just as with external objects. I can construct for myself the concept of an average man, and I may also have given to me a percept to fit this pattern. Suppose now I add to this the concept of a free spirit, then I have two concepts for the same object.

[38] Such an objection is one-sided. As object of perception I am subject to perpetual change. As a child I was one thing, another as a youth, yet another as a man. Moreover, at every moment I am different, as percept, from what I was the moment before. These changes may take place in such a way that either it is always only the same (average) man who exhibits himself in them, or that they represent the expression of a free spirit. Such are the changes which my actions, as objects of perception, undergo.

[39] In the perceptual object "man" there is given the possibility of transformation, just as in the plant-seed there lies the possibility of growth into a fully developed plant. The plant transforms itself in growth, because of the objective law of nature which is inherent in it. The human being remains in his undeveloped state, unless he takes hold of the material for transformation within him and develops himself through his own energy. Nature makes of man merely a natural being; Society makes of him a being who acts in obedience to law; only he himself can make a free man of himself. At a definite stage in his development Nature releases man from her fetters; Society carries his development a step further; he alone can give himself the final polish.

[40] The theory of free morality, then, does not assert that the free spirit is the only form in which man can exist. It looks upon the freedom of the spirit only as the last stage in man's evolution. This is not to deny that conduct in obedience to norms has its legitimate place as a stage in development. The point is that we cannot acknowledge it to be the absolute standpoint in morality. For the free spirit transcends norms, in the sense that he is insensible to them as commands, but regulates his conduct in accordance with his impulses (intuitions).

[41] When Kant apostrophizes duty: "Duty! Thou sublime and mighty name, that dost embrace nothing charming or insinuating, but requirest submission," thou that "holdest forth a law . . . before which all inclinations are dumb, even though they secretly counter-work it,"1 then the free spirit replies: "Freedom! thou kindly and humane name, which dost embrace within thyself all that is morally most charming, all that insinuates itself most into my humanity, and which makest me the servant of nobody, which holdest forth no law, but waitest what my inclination itself will proclaim as law, because it resists every law that is forced upon it."

Duty puts an end to great action
General moral laws, ethical norms, etc., that are supposed to be valid for all human beings prove to be entirely worthless. When Kant regards as ethically valid only that which is suitable as a law for all human beings, then one can say in response to this that all positive action would cease, that everything great would disappear from the world, if each person did only what was suitable for everyone. No, it is not such vague, general ethical norms but rather the most individual ideals that should guide our actions. Everything is not equally worthy of being done by everyone, but rather this is worthy of him, that of her, according to whether one of them feels called to do a thing. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[42] This is the contrast of morality according to law and according to freedom.

9.12 Moral World Order
[43] The Philistine who looks upon the state as embodied morality is sure to look upon the free spirit as a danger to the state. But that is only because his view is narrowly focused on a limited period of time. If he were able to look beyond, he would soon find that it is but on rare occasions that the free spirit needs to go beyond the laws of his state, and that it never needs to confront them with any real contradiction. For the laws of the state, one and all, have had their origin in the intuitions of free spirits, just like all other objective laws of morality. There is no traditional law enforced by the authority of a family, which was not, once upon a time, intuitively conceived and laid down by an ancestor. Similarly the conventional laws of morality are first of all established by particular men, and the laws of the state are always born in the brain of a statesman. These free spirits have set up laws over the rest of mankind, and only he is unfree who forgets this origin and makes them either divine commands, or objective moral duties, or the authoritative voice of his own conscience. He, on the other hand, who does not forget the origin of laws, but looks for it in man, will respect them as belonging to the same world of ideas which is the source also of his own moral intuitions. If he thinks his intuitions better than the existing laws, he will try to put them into the place of the latter. If he thinks the laws justified, he will act in accordance with them as if they were his own intuitions.

Legal statutes
Do not regard the individual legal statutes of the different peoples as such general laws. They are also nothing more than the outgrowth of individual intentions. What one or another personality has experienced as a moral motive has communicated itself to a whole people, has become the “code of this people.” A general natural code that should apply to all people for all time is nonsense. Views as to what is right and wrong and concepts of morality come and go with the different peoples, indeed even with individuals. The individuality is always the decisive factor. It is therefore inadmissible to speak of an ethics in the above sense. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[44] Man does not exist in order to found a moral order of the world. Anyone who maintains that he does, stands in his theory of man still at that same point, at which natural science stood when it believed that a bull has horns in order that it may butt. Scientists, happily, have cast the concept of objective purposes in nature into the limbo of dead theories. For Ethics, it is more difficult to achieve the same emancipation. But just as horns do not exist for the sake of butting, but butting because of horns, so man does not exist for the sake of morality, but morality exists through man. The free man acts because he has a moral idea, he does not act in order to be moral. Human individuals are the presupposition of a moral world order.

[45] The human individual is the fountain of all morality and the centre of all life. State and society exist only because they have necessarily grown out of the life of individuals. That state and society, in turn, should react upon the lives of individuals, is no more difficult to comprehend, than that the butting which is the result of the existence of horns, reacts in turn upon the further development of the horns, which would become atrophied by prolonged disuse. Similarly the individual must degenerate, if he leads an isolated existence beyond the pale of human society. That is just the reason why the social order arises, viz., that it may react favourably upon the individual.



10.0 Authoritative Moral Principles
[1] THE naive man who acknowledges nothing as real except what he can see with his eyes and grasp with his hands, demands for his moral life, too, grounds of action which are perceptible to his senses. He wants some one who will impart to him these grounds of action in a manner that his senses can apprehend. He is ready to allow these grounds of action to be dictated to him as commands by anyone whom he considers wiser or more powerful than himself, or whom he acknowledges, for whatever reason, to be a power superior to himself. This accounts for the moral principles enumerated above, viz., the principles which rest on the authority of family, state, society, church, and God. The most narrow-minded man still submits to the authority of some single fellow-man. He who is a little more progressive allows his moral conduct to be dictated by a majority (state, society). In every case he relies on some power which is present to his senses. When, at last, the conviction dawns on some one that his authorities are, at bottom, human beings just as weak as himself, then he seeks refuge with a higher power, with a Divine Being whom, in turn, he endows with qualities perceptible to the senses. He conceives this Being as communicating to him the ideal content of his moral life by way of his senses —believing, for example, that God appears in the flaming bush, or that He moves about among men in manifest human shape, and that their ears can hear His voice telling them what they are to do and what not to do.

[2] The highest stage of development which Naive Realism attains in the sphere of morality is that at which the moral law (the moral idea) is conceived as having no connection with any external being, but, hypothetically, as being an absolute power in one's own consciousness. What man first listened to as the voice of God, to that he now listens as an independent power in his own mind which he calls conscience.

10.1 Mechanical Necessity
[3] This conception, however, takes us already beyond the level of the naive consciousness into the sphere where moral laws are treated as independent norms. They are there no longer made dependent on a human mind, but are turned into self-existent metaphysical entities. They are analogous to the visible-invisible forces of Metaphysical Realism. Hence also they appear always as a corollary of Metaphysical Realism. Metaphysical Realism, as we have seen, refers the world of percepts which is given to us, and the world of concepts which we think, to an external thing-in-itself. In this, its duplicate world, it must look also for the origin of morality. There are different possible views of its origin. If the thing-in-itself is unthinking and acts according to purely mechanical laws, as modern Materialism conceives that it does, then it must also produce out of itself, by purely mechanical necessity, the human individual and all that belongs to him. On that view the consciousness of freedom can be nothing more than an illusion. For whilst I consider myself the author of my action, it is the matter of which I am composed and the movements which are going on in it that determine me. I imagine myself free, but actually all my actions are nothing but the effects of the metabolism which is the basis of my physical and mental organization. It is only because we do not know the motives which compel us that we have the feeling of freedom. "We must emphasize that the feeling of freedom depends on the absence of external compelling motives." "Our actions are as much subject to necessity as our thoughts" (Ziehen, Leitfaden den Physiologischen Psychologie, pp. 207, ff.).

10.2 Spiritual Force
[4] Another possibility is that some one will find in a spiritual being the Absolute lying behind all phenomena. If so, he will look for the spring of action in some kind of spiritual power. He will regard the moral principles which his reason contains as the manifestation of this spiritual being, which pursues in men its own special purposes. Moral laws appear to the Dualist, who holds this view, as dictated by the Absolute, and man's only task is discovering, by means of his reason, the decisions of the Absolute and carrying them out. For the Dualist the moral order of the world is the visible symbol of the higher order that lies behind it. Our human morality is a revelation of the divine world-order. It is not man who matters in this moral order but reality in itself, that is, God. Man ought to do what God wills. Eduard van Hartmann, who identifies reality, as such, with God, and who treats God's existence as a life of suffering, believes that the Divine Being has created the world in order to gain, by means of the world, release from his infinite suffering. Hence this philosopher regards the moral evolution of humanity as a process, the function of which is the redemption of God.

"Only through the building up of a moral world-order on the part of rational, self-conscious individuals is it possible for the world-process to approximate to its goal." "Real existence is the incarnation of God. The world-process is the passion of God who has become flesh, and at the same time the way of redemption for Him who was crucified in the flesh; and morality is our co-operation in the shortening of this process of suffering and redemption" (Hartmann, Phanomenologie des sittlichen Bewusstseins, § 871).

10.3 Inferring Without Experiencing The True Reality
On this view, man does not act because he wills, but he must act because it is God's will to be redeemed. Whereas the Materialistic Dualist turns man into an automaton, the action of which is nothing but the effect of causality according to purely mechanical laws, the Spiritualistic Dualist (i.e., he who treats the Absolute, the thing-in-itself, as spiritual) makes man the slave of the will of the Absolute. Neither Materialism nor Spiritualism nor generally any form of Metaphysical Realism has any room for freedom.

[5] Naive and Metaphysical Realism, if they are to be consistent, have to deny freedom for one and the same reason, viz., because for them man does nothing but carry out, or execute, principles necessarily imposed upon him. Naive Realism destroys freedom by subjecting man to authority, whether it be that of a perceptible being, or that of a being conceived on the analogy of perceptible beings, or, lastly, that of the abstract voice of conscience. The Metaphysician is unable to acknowledge freedom because, for him, man is determined, mechanically or morally, by a "thing-in-itself."

10.4 Imposed Principles
[6] Monism will have to admit the partial justification of Naive Realism, with which it agrees in admitting the part played by the world of percepts. He who is incapable of, producing moral ideas through intuition must receive them from others. In so far as a man receives his moral principles from without he is actually unfree. But Monism ascribes to the idea the same importance as to the percept. The idea can manifest itself only in human individuals. In so far as man obeys the impulses coming from this side he is free.

10.6 Free When Obey Self
But Monism denies all justification to Metaphysics, and consequently also to the impulses of action which are derived from so-called "things-in-themselves." According to the Monistic view, man's action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion, it is free when he obeys none but himself. There is no room in Monism for any kind of unconscious compulsion hidden behind percept and concept. If anybody maintains of the action of a fellow-man that it has not been freely done, he is bound to produce within the visible world the thing or the person or the institution which has caused the agent to act. And if he supports his contention by an appeal to causes of action lying outside the real world of our percepts and thoughts, then Monism must decline to take account of such an assertion.

Free Morality
Our moral ideals are not copies of something existing outside us, but are present solely within us. This means rejecting the “categorical imperative,” an external power whose commandments we have to accept as moral laws, comparable to a voice from the Beyond that tells us what to do or leave undone. Our moral ideals are our own free creations. We have to fulfill only what we ourselves lay down as our standard of conduct. The insight that truth is the outcome of a free deed also establishes a philosophy of morality, the foundation of which is the completely free personality.

This, of course, is valid only when our power of thinking penetrates — with complete insight — into the motivating impulses of our deeds. As long as we are not clear about the reasons — either natural or conceptual — for our conduct, we shall experience our motives as something compelling us from outside, even though someone on a higher level of spiritual development could recognize the extent to which our motives originated within our own individuality. Every time we succeed in penetrating a motive with clear understanding, we win a victory in the realm of freedom. Truth and Science Preface

 10.7 Realization Of The Free Spirit Within
[7] According to the Monistic theory, then, man's action is partly free, partly unfree. He is conscious of himself as unfree in the world of percepts, and he realizes in himself the spirit which is free.

10.8 Moral Laws Conceived By Individuals
[8] The moral laws which the Metaphysician is bound to regard as issuing from a higher power have, according to the upholder of Monism, been conceived by men themselves. To him the moral order is neither a mere picture of a purely mechanical order of nature nor of the divine government of the world, but through and through the free creation of men. It is not man's business to realize God's will in the world, but his own. He carries out his own decisions and intentions, not those of another being. Monism does not find behind human agents a ruler of the world, determining them to act according to his will. Men pursue only their own human ends. Moreover, each individual pursues his own private ends. For the world of ideas realizes itself, not in a community, but only in individual men. What appears as the common goal of a community is nothing but the result of the separate volitions of its individual members, and most commonly of a few outstanding men whom the rest follow as their leaders. Each one of us has it in him to be a free spirit, just as every rosebud is potentially a rose.

Become his own law giver
The human being finds himself in the world, sees nature, and within it, the indication of something deeper, a determining element, an intention. His thinking enables him to know this intention. It becomes the possession of his mind. He has penetrated the world; he comes forth, acting, to carry on those intentions. Therefore, the philosophy presented here is the true philosophy of freedom (Freiheitsphilosophie).

In the realm of human actions it acknowledges neither natural necessity nor the influence of some creator or world director outside the world. In either case, the human being would be unfree. If natural necessity worked in him in the same way as in other entities, then he would perform his actions out of compulsion, then it would also be necessary in his case to go back to determining factors that underlie manifest existence, and then inner freedom is out of the question. The human being, insofar as he is a being of nature, is also to be understood according to the laws that apply to nature's working. But neither as a knowing nor as a truly ethical being can he, in his behavior, be understood according to merely natural laws. There, in fact, he steps outside the sphere of natural realities. And it is with respect to this, his existence's highest potency, which is more an ideal than reality, that what we have established here holds good. Man's path in life consists in his developing himself from a being of nature into a being such as we have learned to know here; he should make himself free of all laws of nature and become his own law giver.

We must also reject the influence of any director — outside the world — of human destiny. Also where such a director is assumed, there can be no question of true inner freedom. There he determines the direction of human action and man has to carry out what this director sets him to do. He experiences the impulse to his actions not as an ideal that he sets himself, but rather as the commandment of that director; again his actions are not undetermined, but rather determined. The human being would not then, in fact, feel himself to be free of any attachment from behind him, but would feel dependent, like a mere intermediary for the intentions of a higher power. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

10.9 Freedom Stage Of Development
[9] Monism, then, is in the sphere of genuinely moral action the true philosophy of freedom. Being also a philosophy of reality, it rejects the metaphysical (unreal) restriction of the free spirit as emphatically as it acknowledges the physical and historical (naively real) restrictions of the naive man. Inasmuch as it does not look upon man as a finished product, exhibiting in every moment of his life his full nature, it considers idle the dispute whether man, as such, is free or not. It looks upon man as a developing being, and asks whether, in the course of this development, he can reach the stage of the free spirit.

10.10 Discover Self
[10] Monism knows that Nature does not send forth man ready-made as a free spirit, but that she leads him up to a certain stage, from which he continues to develop still as an unfree being, until he reaches the point where he finds his own self.

10.11 Free Moral World Conception
[11] Monism is not a denial of morality; it is the clear realization that a being acting under physical or moral compulsion cannot be truly moral. It regards the stages of automatic action (in accordance with natural impulses and instincts) and of obedient action (in accordance with moral norms) as a necessary propaedeutic for morality, but it understands that it is possible for the free spirit to transcend both these transitory stages. Monism emancipates man in general from all the self-imposed fetters of the maxims of naive morality, and from all the externally imposed maxims of speculative Metaphysicians. The former Monism can as little eliminate from the world as it can eliminate percepts. The latter it rejects, because it looks for all principles of explanation of the phenomena of the world within that world and not outside it.

10.12 Humanist Morality
Just as Monism refuses even to entertain the thought of cognitive principles other than those applicable to men (p. 81), so it rejects also the concept of moral maxims other than those originated by men. Human morality, like human knowledge, is conditioned by human nature, and just as beings of a higher order would probably mean by knowledge something very different from what we mean by it, so we may assume that other beings would have a very different morality. Possibly, even, the standpoint of morality would not apply to their actions at all. In short, to talk about such matters is from the point of view of Monism absurd. For Monists, morality is a specifically human quality, and freedom the human way of being moral.

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] In forming a judgment about the argument of the two preceding chapters, a difficulty can arise in that one appears to be faced with a contradiction. On the one hand we have spoken of the experience of thinking, which is felt to have universal significance, equally valid for every human consciousness; on the other hand we have shown that the ideas which come to realization in the moral life, and are of the same kind as those elaborated in thinking, come to expression in each human consciousness in a quite individual way. If we cannot get beyond regarding this antithesis as a “contradiction”, and if we do not see that in the living recognition of this actually existing antithesis a piece of man's essential nature reveals itself, then we shall be unable to see either the idea of knowledge or the idea of freedom in a true light. For those who think of their concepts as merely abstracted from the sense perceptible world and who do not allow intuition its rightful place, this thought, here claimed as a reality, must remain a “mere contradiction”. If we really understand how ideas are intuitively experienced in their self-sustaining essence, it becomes clear that in the act of knowing, man, on the edge of the world of ideas, lives his way into something which is the same for all men, but that when, from this world of ideas, he derives the intuitions for his acts of will, he individualizes a part of this world by the same activity that he practices as a universal human one in the ideal process of knowing. What appears as a logical contradiction between the universal nature of cognitive ideas and the individual nature of moral ideas is the very thing that, when seen in its reality, becomes a living concept. It is a characteristic feature of the essential nature of man that what can be intuitively grasped swings to and fro within man, like a living pendulum, between universally valid knowledge and the individual experience of it. For those who cannot see the one half of the swing in its reality, thinking remains only a subjective human activity; for those who cannot grasp the other half, man's activity in thinking will seem to lose all individual life. For the first kind of thinker, it is the act of knowing that is an unintelligible fact; for the second kind, it is the moral life. Both will put forward all sorts of imagined ways of explaining the one or the other, all equally unfounded, either because they entirely fail to grasp that thinking can be actually experienced, or because they misunderstand it as a merely abstracting activity.

[2] On page 147 I have spoken of materialism. I am well aware that there are thinkers — such as Ziehen, mentioned above — who do not call themselves materialists at all, but who must nevertheless be described as such from the point of view put forward in this book. The point is not whether someone says that for him the world is not restricted to merely material existence and that therefore he is no materialist; but the point is whether he develops concepts which are applicable only to material existence. Anyone who says, “Our action is necessitated as is our thinking”, has implied a concept which is applicable only to material processes, but not to action or to being; and if he were to think his concept through to the end, he could not help but think materialistically. He avoids doing this only by the same inconsistency that so often results from not thinking one's thoughts through to the end.

[3] It is often said nowadays that the materialism of the nineteenth century is outmoded in knowledgeable circles. But in fact this is not at all true. It is only that nowadays people so often fail to notice that they have no other ideas but those with which one can approach only material things. Thus recent materialism is veiled, whereas in the second half of the nineteenth century it showed itself openly. The veiled materialism of the present is no less intolerant of an outlook that grasps the world spiritually than was the self-confessed materialism of the last century. But it deceives many who think they have a right to reject a view of the world which takes spirit into account on the ground that the scientific view “has long ago abandoned materialism”.


(The Destiny Of Man)

11.0 Concept Of Purpose
[1] AMONG the manifold currents in the spiritual life of humanity there is one which we must now trace, and which we may call the elimination of the concept of purpose. Adaptation to purpose is a special kind of sequence of phenomena. Such adaptation is genuinely real only when, in contrast to the relation of cause and effect in which the antecedent event determines the subsequent, the subsequent event determines the antecedent. This is possible only in the sphere of human actions. Man performs actions which he first presents to himself in idea, and he allows himself to be determined to action by this idea. The consequent, i.e., the action, influences by means of the idea the antecedent, i.e., the human agent. If the sequence is to have purposive character, it is absolutely necessary to have this circuitous process via human ideas.

11.1 Percept Cause Precedes Percept Effect
[2] In the process which we can analyze into cause and effect, we must distinguish percept from concept. The percept of the cause precedes the percept of the effect. Cause and effect would simply stand side by side in our consciousness, if we were not able to connect them with one another through the corresponding concepts.

11.2 Conceptual Factor Of Effect
The percept of the effect must always be consequent upon the percept of the cause. If the effect is to have a real influence upon the cause, it can do so only by means of the conceptual factor. For the perceptual factor of the effect simply does not exist prior to the perceptual factor of the cause. Whoever maintains that the flower is the purpose of the root, i.e., that the former determines the latter, can make good this assertion only concerning that factor in the flower which his thought reveals in it. The perceptual factor of the flower is not yet in existence at the time when the root originates.

11.3 Real Influence Of Concept (Action)
In order to have a purposive connection it is not only necessary to have an ideal connection of consequent and antecedent according to law, but the concept (law) of the effect must really, i.e., by means of a perceptible process, influence the cause. Such a perceptible influence of a concept upon something else is to be observed only in human actions. Hence this is the only sphere in which the concept of purpose is applicable.

11.4 Imagined Purpose In Nature
The naive consciousness, which regards as real only what is perceptible, attempts, as we have repeatedly pointed out, to introduce perceptible factors even where only ideal factors can actually be found. In sequences of perceptible events it looks for perceptible connections, or, failing to find them, it imports them by imagination. The concept of purpose, valid for subjective actions, is very convenient for inventing such imaginary connections. The naive mind knows how it produces events itself, and consequently concludes that Nature proceeds likewise. In the connections of Nature which are purely ideal it finds not only invisible forces, but also invisible real purposes. Man makes his tools to suit his purposes. On the same principle, so the Naive Realist imagines, the Creator constructs all organisms. It is but slowly that this mistaken concept of purpose is being driven out of the sciences. In philosophy, even at the present day, it still does a good deal of mischief. Philosophers still ask such questions as, What is the purpose of the world? What is the function (and consequently the purpose) of man? etc.

11.5 Laws Of Nature
[3] Monism rejects the concept of purpose in every sphere, with the sole exception of human action. It looks for laws of Nature, but not for purposes of Nature. Purposes of Nature, no less than invisible forces (p. 77), are arbitrary assumptions.

11.6 Purposes Of Life
But even life-purposes which man does not set up for himself, are, from the standpoint of Monism, illegitimate assumptions. Nothing is purposive except what man has made so, for only the realization of ideas originates anything purposive. But an idea becomes effective, in the realistic sense, only in human actions.

11.7 Human Destiny
Hence life has no other purpose or function than the one which man gives to it. If the question be asked: What is man's purpose in life? Monism has but one answer: The purpose which he gives to himself. I have no predestined mission in the world; my mission, at any one moment, is that which I choose for myself. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me.

Goethe must be judged here above all according to his own maxim: “In the works of man, as in those of nature, it is actually the intentions that are primarily worthy of attention” and “The mind out of which we act is the highest thing.” Not what he achieved but rather how he strove for it is what is exemplary for us. Goethean Science: XIII: Goethes Basic Geological Principle

Man's task: work on
Since our epistemology has arrived at the conclusion that the content of our consciousness is not merely a means of making a copy of the world ground. but rather that this world ground itself, in its most primal state comes to light within our thinking, we can do nothing other than to recognize directly in human action also the undetermined action of that primal ground. We recognize no world director outside ourselves who sets goals and directions for our actions. The world director has given up his power, has given everything over to man, abolishing his own separate existence, and set man the task: Work on. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Remaining within abilities
How often has Goethe spoken out against the undertakings of problematical people who strive for goals without bothering about whether, in doing so, they are keeping within the bounds of their abilities! And he himself should have violated this precept, he should have set up natural-scientific views, ignoring his insufficiencies in mathematical things! Goethe knew that the paths to what is true are infinitely many, and that each person can travel the one most in accordance with his abilities, and will arrive at his goal. “Every human being must think in his own way: for he will always find something true along his path, or a kind of truth that will help him through life; but he must not just let himself go; he must control himself ...” (Aphorisms in Prose). “The least of men can be complete if he is active within the limits of his abilities and skills; but even good qualities become obscured, cancelled out, and destroyed if that absolutely essential proportion is lost.” Goethean Science XII Goethe and Mathematics

Only the active person, indeed only the selflessly active person who seeks no recompense for his activity, fulfills his destiny. It is foolish to want to be recompensed for one's activity; there is no true recompense. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

Steiner's financial support
And it is with a feeling of deep gratitude that I here acknowledge how the friendliness of the Specht family in Vienna, while I was engaged in the education of their children, provided me with an ideal environment for developing these ideas; to this should be added that I owe the final shape of many thoughts now to be found in my “Philosophy of Freedom” to the stimulating talks with my deeply appreciated friend, Rosa Mayreder in Vienna. Written in Vienna in the beginning of December 1891. Truth and Science Preface

11.8 Only Doers Realize Purposeful Ideas
[4] Ideas are realized only by human agents. Consequently, it is illegitimate to speak of the embodiment of ideas by history. All such statements as "history is the evolution of man towards freedom" or "the realization of the moral world-order," etc., are, from a Monistic point of view, untenable.

We must still add a word here about the method of history. History must always bear in mind that the causes of historical events are to be sought in the individual intentions, plans, etc., of the human being. All tracing back of historical facts to plans that underlie history is an error. It is always only a question of which goals one or another personality has set himself, which ways they have taken, and so on. History is absolutely to be based on human nature. Its willing, its tendencies are to be fathomed. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Therefore in history, whose subject, after all, is man, one should not speak about outer influences upon his actions, about ideas that live in a certain time, etc., and least of all about a plan underlying history. History is nothing but the evolution of human actions, views, etc. “In all ages it is only individuals who have worked for science, not the age itself. It was the age that executed Socrates by poison; the age that burned Him; ages have always remained the same,” says Goethe. All a priori constructing of plans that supposedly underlie history is in conflict with the historical method as it results from the nature of history. The goal of this method is to become aware of what human beings have contributed to the progress of their race, to experience the goals a certain personality has set himself, the direction he has given to his age. History is to be based entirely upon man's nature. Its willing, its tendencies are to be understood. Our science of knowledge totally excludes the possibility of inserting into history a purpose such as, for example, that human beings are drawn up from a lower to a higher level of perfection, and so on. In the same way, to our view it seems erroneous to present historical events as a succession of causes and effects like facts of nature the way Herder does in his Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind. The laws of history are in fact of a much higher nature. A fact of physics is determined by another fact in such a way that the law stands over the phenomena. A historical fact, as something ideal, is determined by something ideal. There cause and effect, after all, can be spoken of only if one clings entirely to externals. Who could think that he is giving an accurate picture by calling Luther the cause of the Reformation? History is essentially a science of ideals. Its reality is, after all, ideas. Therefore devotion to the object is the only correct method. Any going beyond the object is unhistorical. Theory Of Knowledge 19. Human Freedom

11.9 Formative Principle
[5] The supporters of the concept of purpose believe that in surrendering it they are forced to surrender also all unity and order in the world. Listen, for example, to Robert Hamerling (Atomistik des Willens, vol. ii. p. 201):

"As long as there are instincts in Nature, so long is it foolish to deny purposes in Nature. [6] Just as the structure of a limb of the human body is not determined and conditioned by an idea of this limb, floating somewhere in midair, but by its connection with the more inclusive whole, the body, to which the limb belongs, so the structure of every natural object, be it plant, animal, or man, is not determined and conditioned by an idea of it floating in midair, but by the formative principle of the more inclusive whole of Nature which unfolds and organizes itself in a purposive manner."

11.10 Teleology
And on page 191 of the same volume we read:

"Teleology maintains only that, in spite of the thousand misfits and miseries of this natural life, there is a high degree of adaptation to purpose and plan unmistakable in the formations and developments of Nature ―an adaptation, however, which is realized only within the limits of natural laws, and which does not tend to the production of some imaginary fairyland, in which life would not be confronted by death, growth by decay, with all the more or less unpleasant, but quite unavoidable, intermediary stages between them. [7] When the critics of Teleology oppose a laboriously collected rubbish-heap of partial or complete, imaginary or real, maladaptations to a world full of wonders of purposive adaptation, such as Nature exhibits in all her domains, then I consider this just as amusing——."

11.11 Coherence Within Whole
[8] What is here meant by purposive adaptation? Nothing but the consonance of percepts within a whole. But, since all percepts are based upon laws (ideas), which we discover by means of thinking, it follows that the orderly coherence of the members of a perceptual whole is nothing more than the ideal (logical) coherence of the members of the ideal whole which is contained in this perceptual whole. To say that an animal or a man is not determined by an idea floating in mid-air is a misleading way of putting it, and the view which the critic attacks loses its apparent absurdity as soon as the phrase is put right. An animal certainly is not determined by an idea floating in mid-air, but it is determined by an idea inborn in it and constituting the law of its nature. It is just because the idea is not external to the natural object, but is operative in it as its very essence, that we cannot speak here of adaptation to purpose. Those who deny that natural objects are determined from without (and it does not matter, in this context, whether it be by an idea floating in mid-air or existing in the mind of a creator of the world), are the very men who ought to admit that such an object is not determined by purpose and plan from without, but by cause and law from within.

A machine is produced in accordance with a purpose, if I establish a connection between its parts which is not given in Nature. The purposive character of the combinations which I effect consists just in this, that I embody my idea of the working of the machine in the machine itself. In this way the machine comes into existence as an object of perception embodying a corresponding idea. Natural objects have a very similar character. Whoever calls a thing purposive because its form is in accordance with plan or law may, if he so please, call natural objects also purposive, provided only that he does not confuse this kind of purposiveness with that which belongs to subjective human action. In order to have a purpose it is absolutely necessary that the efficient cause should be a concept, more precisely a concept of the effect. But in Nature we can nowhere point to concepts operating as causes. A concept is never anything but the ideal nexus of cause and effect. Causes occur in Nature only in the form of percepts.

11.12 Purposes Of Absolute Cosmic Being
[9] Dualism may talk of cosmic and natural purposes. Wherever for our perception there is a nexus of cause and effect according to law, there the Dualist is free to assume that we have but the picture of a nexus in which the Absolute has realized its purposes. For Monism, on the other hand, the rejection of an Absolute Reality implies also the rejection of the assumption of purposes in World and Nature.

No Extra-Human Determining Powers Of The World
The ground of the world has poured itself completely out into the world; it has not withdrawn from the world in order to guide it from outside; it drives the world from inside; it has not withheld itself from the world. The highest form in which it arises within the reality of ordinary life is thinking and, along with thinking, the human personality. If, therefore, the world ground has goals, they are identical with the goals that the human being sets himself in living and in what he does. It is not by searching out this or that commandment of the guiding power of the world that he acts in accordance with its intentions but rather through acting in accordance with his own insights. For within these insights there lives that guiding power of the world. It does not live as will somewhere outside the human being; it has given up all will of its own in order to make everything dependent upon man's will. In order for the human being to be able to be his own lawgiver, he must give up all thoughts of such things as extra-human determining powers of the world, etc.

Only with this view is true freedom possible for the human being. If man does not bear within himself the grounds for his actions, but rather must conduct himself according to commandments, then he acts under compulsion, he stands under necessity, almost like a mere nature being. Theory of Knowledge 19. Human Freedom

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] No one who has followed the preceding argument with an open mind will be able to conclude that the author, in rejecting the concept of purpose for extra-human facts, takes the side of those thinkers who, by rejecting this concept, enable themselves to regard everything outside human action — and thence human action itself — as no more than a natural process. If here the concept of purpose is rejected even for the spiritual world, lying outside human action, it is because something is revealed in that world which is higher than the kind of purpose realized in the human kingdom. And when we say that the thought of a purposeful destiny for the human race, modeled on human purposefulness, is erroneous, we mean that the individual gives himself purposes, and that the outcome of the working of mankind as a whole is compounded of these. This outcome is then something higher than its component parts, the purposes of men.


(Darwinism and Morality)

12.0 Selection Of Idea To Realize In Action
[1] A FREE spirit acts according to his impulses, i.e., intuitions, which his thought has selected out of the whole world of his ideas. For an unfree spirit, the reason why he singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas, in order to make it the basis of an action, lies in the perceptual world which is given to him, i.e., in his past experiences. He recalls, before making a decision, what some one else has done, or recommended as proper, in an analogous case, or what God has commanded to be done in such a case, etc., and he acts on these recollections. A free spirit dispenses with these preliminaries. His decision is absolutely original. He cares as little what others have done in such a case as what commands they have laid down. He has purely ideal (logical) reasons which determine him to select a particular concept out of the sum of his concepts, and to realize it in action. But his action will belong to perceptible reality. Consequently, what he achieves will coincide with a definite content of perception. His concept will have to be realized in a concrete particular event. As a concept it will not contain this event as particular. It will refer to the event only in its generic character, just as, in general, a concept is related to a percept, e.g., the concept lion to a particular lion. The link between concept and percept is the idea (cp. pp. 68 ff.). To the unfree spirit this intermediate link is given from the outset. Motives exist in his consciousness from the first in the form of ideas. Whenever he intends to do anything he acts as he has seen others act, or he obeys the instructions he receives in each separate case. Hence authority is most effective in the form of examples, i.e., in the form of traditional patterns of particular actions handed down for the guidance of the unfree spirit. A Christian models his conduct less on the teaching than on the pattern of the Saviour. Rules have less value for telling men positively what to do than for telling them what to leave undone. Laws take on the form of universal concepts only when they forbid actions, not when they prescribe actions. Laws concerning what we ought to do must be given to the unfree spirit in wholly concrete form. Clean the street in front of your door! Pay your taxes to such and such an amount to the tax-collector! etc. Conceptual form belongs to laws which inhibit actions. Thou shalt not steal! Thou shalt not commit adultery! But these laws, too, influence the unfree spirit only by means of a concrete idea, e.g., the idea of the punishments attached by human authority, or of the pangs of conscience, or of eternal damnation, etc.

12.1 Concrete Mental Picture
[2] Even when the motive to an action exists in universal conceptual form (e.g., Thou shalt do good to thy fellow-men! Thou shalt live so that thou promotest best thy welfare!), there still remains to be found, in the particular case, the concrete mental picture of the action (the relation of the concept to a content of perception). For a free spirit who is not guided by any model nor by fear of punishment, etc., this translation of the concept into a mental picture is always necessary.

12.2 Moral Imagination
[3] Concrete mental pictures are formed by us on the basis of our concepts by means of the imagination. Hence what the free spirit needs in order to realize his concepts, in order to assert himself in the world, is moral imagination. This is the source of the free spirit's action. Only those men, therefore, who are endowed with moral imagination are, properly speaking, morally productive. Those who merely preach morality, i.e., those who merely excogitate moral rules without being able to condense them into concrete mental pictures, are morally unproductive. They are like those critics who can explain very competently how a work of art ought to be made, but who are themselves incapable of the smallest artistic productions.

Clear Picture
One dreams oneself into indefinite unclear ideals and then complains about the fact that one does not achieve something of which one hardly has a dim, let alone a clear, picture. Just ask one of the pessimists of our day what he actually wants and what it is he despairs of attaining. He does not know. Problematical natures are they all, incapable of meeting any situation and yet satisfied with none.
Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

Clear goal fires the enthusiasm
If man's action is to be nothing other than the realization of his own content of ideas, then naturally such a content must lie within him. His mind must work productively. For, what is supposed to fill him with the urge to accomplish something if not an idea working its way up in his mind? This idea will prove to be all the more fruitful the more it arises in his mind in definite outlines and with a clear content. For only that, in fact, can move us with full force to realize something, which is completely definite in its entire “what.” An ideal that is only dimly pictured to oneself, that is left in an indefinite state, is unsuitable as an impulse to action. What is there about it to fire us with enthusiasm if its content does not lie clear and open to the day? The impulses for our action must therefore always arise in the form of individual intentions. Everything fruitful that the human being accomplishes owes its existence to such individual impulses. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

12.3 Moral Technique
[4] Moral imagination, in order to realize its ideas, must enter into a determinate sphere of percepts. Human action does not create percepts, but transforms already existing percepts and gives them a new character. In order to be able to transform a definite object of perception, or a sum of such objects, in accordance with a moral idea, it is necessary to understand the object's law (its mode of action which one intends to transform, or to which one wants to give a new direction). Further, it is necessary to discover the procedure by which it is possible to change the given law into the new one. This part of effective moral activity depends on knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one has got to deal. We shall, therefore, find it in some branch of scientific knowledge. Moral action, then, presupposes, in addition to the faculty of moral concepts and of moral imagination, the ability to alter the world of percepts without violating the natural laws by which they are connected. This ability is moral technique. It may be learnt in the same sense in which science in general may be learnt.

Work to realize the intention of nature
In knowing, we experience what the ideal determining factors of our sense experience are; we bring the world of ideas, which already lies within reality, to manifestation; we therefore complete the world process in the sense that we call into appearance the producer who eternally brings forth his products. but who, without our thinking, would remain eternally hidden within them.

In human actions, however, we supplement this process through the fact that we translate the world of ideas, insofar as it is not yet reality, into such reality. Now we have recognized the idea as that which underlies all reality as the determining element, as the intention of nature. Our knowing leads us to the point of finding the tendency of the world process, the intention of the creation, out of all the indications contained in the nature surrounding us. If we have achieved this, then our action is given the task of working along independently in the realizing of that intention. And thus our action appears to us as the direct continuation of that kind of activity that nature also fulfills. It appears to us as directly flowing from the world foundation. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Science and artistic imagination and creation
Our age believes itself correct in keeping art and science as far apart as possible. Science, one thinks, is supposed to sketch for us the most objective picture of the world possible; it is supposed to show us reality in a mirror; or, in other words, it is supposed to hold fast purely to the given, renouncing all subjective arbitrariness. The objective world determines the laws of science; science must subject itself to this world.
The situation is supposedly quite different in the case of artistic creations. Their law is given them by the self-creative power of the human spirit. For science, any interference of human subjectivity would be a falsifying of reality, a going beyond experience; art, on the other hand, grows upon the field of the subjectivity of a genius. Its creations are the productions of human imagination, not mirror images of the outer world.

To Goethe, art seems to be just as objective as science. Whereas the researcher delves down into the depths of reality in order then to express their driving powers in the form of thoughts, the artist seeks to imbue his medium with these same driving powers. “I think that one could call science the knowledge of the general, abstracted knowing; art, on the other hand, would be science turned into action; science would be reason, and art its mechanism; therefore one could also call art practical science. What science states as idea (theorem) is what art has to imprint into matter.

Goethe seeks not only what is given to the senses in the outer world, but also the tendency through which it has come into being. To grasp this scientifically and to give it artistic form is his mission. In its own formations, nature gets itself, “in its specific forms, into a cul-de-sac”; one must go back to what ought to have come about if the tendency could have unfolded unhindered, just as the mathematician always keeps his eye, not upon this or that particular triangle, but always upon that lawfulness which underlies every possible triangle. The point is not what nature has created but rather the principle by which nature has created it. Then this principle is to be developed in the way that accords with its own nature, and not in the way this has occurred in each particular entity of nature in accordance with thousands of chance factors. The artist has “to evolve the noble out of the common and the beautiful out of the unformed.”
Thus he says: “Style rests upon the deepest foundations of knowledge, upon the being of things, insofar as we are allowed to know this being in visible and tangible forms.” Art rests therefore upon our activity of knowing. The artist incorporates into his work everything about the lawfulness of the world that is attainable to him. As art, it is already an activity of knowing. Goethe, in fact, wanted neither science nor art: he wanted the idea. Goethean Science VIII From Art to Science

For, in general, men are better able to find concepts for the world as it is, than productively to originate out of their imaginations future, and as yet non-existing, actions. Hence, it is very well possible for men without moral imagination to receive moral ideas from others, and to embody these skilfully in the actual world. Vice versa, it may happen that men with moral imagination lack technical skill, and are dependent on the service of other men for the realization of their ideas.

[5] In so far as we require for moral action knowledge of the objects upon which we are about to act, our action depends upon such knowledge. What we need to know here are the laws of nature. These belong to the Natural Sciences, not to Ethics.

12.4 History Of Moral Ideas
[6] Moral imagination and the faculty of moral concepts can become objects of theory only after they have first been employed by the individual. But, thus regarded, they no longer regulate life, but have already regulated it. They must now be treated as efficient causes, like all other causes (they are purposes only for the subject). The study of them is, as it were, the Natural Science of moral ideas.

[7] Ethics as a Normative Science, over and above this science, is impossible.

Ethics is a study of what exists
There are other questions to be answered, such as establishing the difference between human action and nature's working, the question as to the nature of the will and of inner freedom, etc. All these individual tasks can be summed up in one: To what extent is man an ethical being? But this aims at nothing other than knowledge of the moral nature of man. The question asked is not: What ought man to do? but rather: What is it that he is doing, in its inner nature? And thereby that partition falls which divides all science into two spheres: into a study of what exists and into one of what ought to exist. Ethics is just as much a study of what exists as all the other sciences. In this respect, a unified impulse runs through all the sciences in that they take their start from something given and proceed to its determining factors. But there can be no science of human action itself; for, it is undetermined, productive, creative. Jurisprudence is not a science, but only a collection of notes on the customs and codes characteristic of an individual people. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

12.5 Normative Moral Laws
[8] Some would maintain the normative character of moral laws at least in the sense that Ethics is to be taken as a kind of dietetic which, from the conditions of the organism's life, deduces general rules, on the basis of which it hopes to give detailed directions to the body (Paulsen, System der Ethik). This comparison is mistaken, because our moral life cannot be compared with the life of the organism. The behaviour of the organism occurs without any volition on our part. Its laws are fixed data in our world; hence we can discover them and apply them when discovered. Moral laws, on the other hand, do not exist until we create them. We cannot apply them until we have created them. The error is due to the fact that moral laws are not at every moment new creations, but are handed down by tradition. Those which we take over from our ancestors appear to be given like the natural laws of the organism. But it does not follow that a later generation has the right to apply them in the same way as dietetic rules. For they apply to individuals, and not, like natural laws, to specimens of a genus. Considered as an organism, I am such a generic specimen, and I shall live in accordance with nature if I apply the laws of my genus to my particular case. As a moral agent I am an individual and have my own private laws.

What is good?
One often treats ethics as though it were a sum total of norms according to which human action ought to direct itself. From this point of view, one compares ethics to natural science and in general to the science of what exists. Whereas science is to communicate to us the laws of that which exists, of what is, ethics supposedly has to teach us the laws of what ought to exist. Ethics is supposedly a codex of all the ideals of man, a detailed answer to the question: What is good? Such a science, however, is impossible. There can be no general answer to this question. Ethical action is, in fact, a product of what manifests within the individual; it is always present as an individual case, never in a general way. There are no general laws as to what one ought or ought not to do. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Human Behavior According To A Dogmatic Science
Our view about the sources of our knowing activity cannot help but affect the way we view our practical conduct. The human being does indeed act in accordance with thought determinants that lie within him. What he does is guided by the intentions and goals he sets himself. But it is entirely obvious that these goals, intentions, ideals, etc., will bear the same character as the rest of man's thought-world.

Dogmatic science will therefore offer a truth for human conduct of an essentially different character than that resulting from our epistemology. If the truths the human being attains in science are determined by a factual necessity having its seat outside thinking, then the ideals upon which he bases his actions will also be determined in the same way. The human being then acts in accordance with laws he cannot verify objectively: he imagines some norm that is prescribed for his actions from outside. But this is the nature of any commandment that the human being has to observe. Dogma, as principle of conduct, is moral commandment. Theory of Knowledge 19. Human Freedom

12.6 Traditional Moral Doctrines
[9] The view here upheld appears to contradict that fundamental doctrine of modern Natural Science which is known as the Theory of Evolution. But it only appears to do so. By evolution we mean the real development of the later out of the earlier in accordance with natural law. In the organic world, evolution means that the later (more perfect) organic forms are real descendants of the earlier imperfect forms, and have grown out of them in accordance with natural laws. The upholders of the theory of organic evolution believe that there was once a time on our earth, when we could have observed with our own eyes the gradual evolution of reptiles out of Proto-Amniotes, supposing that we could have been present as men, and had been endowed with a sufficiently long span of life. Similarly, Evolutionists suppose that man could have watched the development of the solar system out of the primordial nebula of the Kant-Laplace hypothesis, if he could have occupied a suitable spot in the world-ether during that infinitely long period. But no Evolutionist will dream of maintaining that he could from his concept of the primordial Amnion deduce that of the reptile with all its qualities, even if he had never seen a reptile. Just as little would it be possible to derive the solar system from the concept of the Kant-Laplace nebula, if this concept of an original nebula had been formed only from the percept of the nebula. In other words, if the Evolutionist is to think consistently, he is bound to maintain that out of earlier phases of evolution later ones really develop; that once the concept of the imperfect and that of the perfect have been given, we can understand the connection. But in no case will he admit that the concept formed from the earlier phases is, in itself, sufficient for deducing from it the later phases. From this it follows for Ethics that, whilst we can understand the connection of later moral concepts with earlier ones, it is not possible to deduce a single new moral idea from earlier ones. The individual, as a moral being, produces his own content. This content, thus produced, is for Ethics a datum, as much as reptiles are a datum for Natural Science. Reptiles have evolved out of the Proto-Amniotes, but the scientist cannot manufacture the concept of reptiles out of the concept of the Proto-Amniotes. Later moral ideas evolve out of the earlier ones, but Ethics cannot manufacture out of the moral principles of an earlier age those of a later one. The confusion is due to the fact that, as scientists, we start with the facts before us, and then make a theory about them, whereas in moral action we first produce the facts ourselves, and then theorize about them. In the evolution of the moral world-order we accomplish what, at a lower level, Nature accomplishes: we alter some part of the perceptual world. Hence the ethical norm cannot straightway be made an object of knowledge, like a law of nature, for it must first be created. Only when that has been done can the norm become an object of knowledge.

[10] But is it not possible to make the old a measure for the new? Is not every man compelled to measure the deliverances of his moral imagination by the standard of traditional moral principles? If he would be truly productive in morality, such measuring is as much an absurdity as it would be an absurdity if one were to measure a new species in nature by an old one and say that reptiles, because they do not agree with the Proto-Amniotes, are an illegitimate (degenerate) species.

12.7 Outcome Of Evolution Is An Ethical Individualist
[11] Ethical Individualism, then, so far from being in opposition to the theory of evolution, is a direct consequence of it. Haeckel's genealogical tree from protozoa up to man as an organic being, ought to be capable of being worked out without a breach of natural law, and without a gap in its uniform evolution, up to the individual as a being with a determinate moral nature. But, whilst it is quite true that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly grown out of those of his ancestors, it is also true that the individual is morally barren, unless he has moral ideas of his own.

[12] The same Ethical Individualism which I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles, might be equally well developed on the basis of the theory of evolution. The final result would be the same; only the path by which it was reached would be different.

12.8 Rejection Of Supernatural Influence
[13] That absolutely new moral ideas should be developed by the moral imagination is for the theory of evolution no more inexplicable than the development of one animal species out of another, provided only that this theory, as a Monistic world-view, rejects, in morality as in science, every transcendent (metaphysical) influence. In doing so, it follows the same principle by which it is guided in seeking the causes of new organic forms in forms already existing, but not in the interference of an extra-mundane God, who produces every new species in accordance with a new creative idea through supernatural interference. Just as Monism has no use for supernatural creative ideas in explaining living organisms, so it is equally impossible for it to derive the moral world-order from causes which do not lie within the world. It cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon moral life (divine government of the world from the outside), nor an influence through a particular act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or through God's appearance on the earth (divinity of Christ). Moral processes are, for Monism, natural products like everything else that exists, and their causes must be looked for in nature, i.e., in man, because man is the bearer of morality.

[14] Ethical Individualism, then, is the crown of the edifice that Darwin and Haeckel have erected for Natural Science. It is the theory of evolution applied to the moral life.

12.9 Characterization Of Action
[15] Anyone who restricts the concept of the natural from the outset to an artificially limited and narrowed sphere, is easily tempted not to allow any room within it for free individual action. The consistent Evolutionist does not easily fall a prey to such a narrow-minded view. He cannot let the process of evolution terminate with the ape, and acknowledge for man a supernatural origin. Again, he cannot stop short at the organic reactions of man and regard only these as natural. He has to treat also the life of moral self-determination as the continuation of organic life.

[16] The Evolutionist, then, in accordance with his fundamental principles, can maintain only that moral action evolves out of the less perfect forms of natural processes. He must leave the characterization of action, i.e., its determination as free action, to the immediate observation of each agent. All that he maintains is only that men have developed out of monkeys. What the nature of men actually is must be determined by observation of men themselves. The results of this observation cannot possibly contradict the history of evolution. Only the assertion that the results are such as to exclude their being due to a natural world-order would contradict recent developments in the Natural Sciences.3

Footnote: That we speak of thoughts (ethical ideas) as objects of observation is fully justified. For, although during the activity of thinking the products of thinking do not appear at the same time in the field of observation, they can nevertheless become objects of observation afterwards. And it is in this way that we have arrived at our characterization of action.

12.10 Free Action Is Image Of An Ideal Intuition
[17] Ethical Individualism, then, has nothing to fear from a Natural Science which understands itself. Observation yields freedom as the characteristic quality of the perfect form of human action. The establishment of a conceptual connection between this fact of observation and other kinds of processes results in the theory of the natural origin of free actions.

12.11 Freedom Is To Determine Own Motives
[18] What, then, from the standpoint of nature are we to say of the distinction, already mentioned above (p. 13), between the two statements, "To be free means to be able to do what you will," and "To be able, as you please, to strive or not to strive is the real meaning of the dogma of free will"? Hamerling bases his theory of free will precisely on this distinction, by declaring the first statement to be correct but the second to be an absurd tautology. He says, "I can do what I will, but to say I can will what I will is an empty tautology." Whether I am able to do, i.e., to make real, what I will, i.e., what I have set before myself as my idea of action, that depends on external circumstances and on my technical skill (cp. p. 118). To be free means to be able to determine by moral imagination out of oneself, those ideas (motives) which lie at the basis of action. Freedom is impossible if anything other than I myself (whether a mechanical process or God) determines my moral ideas. In other words, I am free only when I myself produce these ideas, but not when I am merely able to realize the ideas which another being has implanted in me. A free being is one who can will what he regards as right. Whoever does anything other than what he wills must be impelled to it by motives which do not lie in himself. Such a man is unfree in his action. Accordingly, to be able to will, as you please, what you consider right or wrong means to be free or unfree as you please. This is, of course, just as absurd as to identify freedom with the faculty of doing what one is compelled to will. But this is just what HamerIing maintains when he says, "It is perfectly true that the will is always determined by motives, but it is absurd to say that on this ground it is unfree; for a greater freedom can neither be desired nor conceived than the freedom to realize oneself in proportion to one's own power and strength of will." On the contrary, it is well possible to desire a greater freedom and that a true freedom, viz., the freedom to determine for oneself the motives of one's volitions.

Do what is right
When the chances of achieving a goal falls away, the driving force of our actions can only be love, the selfless devotion to the goal. Only an action out of love can be a moral one. In science, the idea, and in our action, love, must be our guiding star. And this brings us back to Goethe. “The main thing for the active person is that he do what is right; he should not worry about whether the right occurs.” (Aphorisms in Prose). Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

12.12 Submission To Others
[19] Under certain conditions a man may be induced to abandon the execution of his will; but to allow others to prescribe to him what he shall do ―in other words, to will what another and not what he himself regards as right― to this a man will submit only when he does not feel free.

[20] External powers may prevent me from doing what I will, but that is only to condemn 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 aim at making me unfree. That is the reason why the church attacks not only the mere doing, but especially the impure thoughts, i.e., motives of my action. And for the church all those motives are impure which she has not herself authorized. A church does not produce genuine slaves until her priests turn themselves into advisers of consciences, i.e., until the faithful depend upon the church, i.e., upon the confessional, for the motives of their actions.

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

In these chapters on the human will I have shown what man can experience in his actions so that, through this experience, he comes to be aware: My will is free. It is particularly significant that the right to call an act of will free arises from the experience that an ideal intuition comes to realization in the act of will. This experience can only be the result of an observation, and is so, in the sense that we observe our will on a path of development towards the goal where it becomes possible for an act of will to be sustained by purely ideal intuition. This goal can be reached, because in ideal intuition nothing else is at work but its own self-sustaining essence. When such an intuition is present in human consciousness, then it has not been developed out of the processes of the organism, but rather the organic activity has withdrawn to make room for the ideal activity (see Chapter 9). When I observe an act of will that is an image of an intuition, then from this act of will too all organically necessary activity has withdrawn. The act of will is free. This freedom of the will cannot be observed by anyone who is unable to see how the free act of will consists in the fact that, firstly, through the intuitive element, the activity that is necessary for the human organism is checked and repressed, and then replaced by the activity of the idea-filled will. Only those who cannot make this observation of the twofold nature of a free act of will, believe that every act of will is unfree. Those who can make this observation win through to the recognition that man is unfree in so far as he cannot complete the process of suppressing the organic activity; but that this unfreedom tends towards freedom, and that this freedom is by no means an abstract ideal but is a directive force inherent in human nature. Man is free to the extent that he is able to realize in his acts of will the same mood of soul that lives in him when he becomes aware of the forming of purely ideal Intuitions.


(Optimism and Pessimism)

13.0 Good World Or Miserable Life
[1] A COUNTERPART of the question concerning the purpose and function of life (cp. p. 111) is the question concerning its value. We meet here with two mutually opposed views, and between them with all conceivable attempts at compromise. One view says that this world is the best conceivable which could exist at all, and that to live and act in it is a good of inestimable value. Everything that exists displays harmonious and purposive co-operation and is worthy of admiration. Even what is apparently bad and evil may, from a higher point of view, be seen to be a good, for it represents an agreeable contrast with the good. We are the more able to appreciate the good when it is clearly contrasted with evil. Moreover, evil is not genuinely real; it is only that we perceive as evil a lesser degree of good. Evil is the absence of good, it has no positive import of its own.

[2] The other view maintains that life is full of misery and agony. Everywhere pain outweighs pleasure, sorrow outweighs joy. Existence is a burden, and non-existence would, from every point of view, be preferable to existence.

[3] The chief representatives of the former view, i.e., Optimism, are Shaftesbury and Leibnitz; the chief representatives of the second, i.e., Pessimism, are Schopenhauer and Eduard von Hartmann.

13.1 Best Possible World (cooperative participation)
[4] Leibnitz says the world is the best of all possible worlds. A better one is impossible. For God is good and wise. A good God wills to create the best possible world, a wise God knows which is the best possible. He is able to distinguish the best from all other and worse possibilities. Only an evil or an unwise God would be able to create a world worse than the best possible.

The human being has proven to be the center of the world order. As spirit he attains the highest form of existence and in thinking carries out the most perfect process of the world. Only in the way he illuminates things are they real. This is a view from which it follows that the human being has within himself the basis, the goal, and the core of his existence. This view makes man into a self-sufficient being. He must find within himself the support for everything about himself. For his happiness also, therefore.

If happiness is to be his, he can owe it to no one but himself. Any power that bestowed it upon him from the outside would condemn him thereby to unfreedom (Unfreiheit). Nothing can give the human being satisfaction to which he has not first granted the ability to do so. If something is to cause us pleasure we ourselves must first grant it the power to do so. In the higher sense, pleasure and pain are there for the human being only insofar as he experiences them as such. With this, all optimism and all pessimism collapse. Optimism assumes that the world is such that everything in it is good, that it leads the human being into the greatest contentment. But if this is to be the case, he himself must first gain something that he wants from the world's objects; this means that he cannot become happy through the world but only through himself. Theory of Knowledge 20. Optimism and Pessimism

Pessimism believes that the world is constituted in such a way that it leaves the human being eternally unsatisfied, that he can never be happy. The outer world in itself is neither good nor bad; it first becomes so through man. The human being would have to make himself unhappy if pessimism were to have any basis. He would have to carry within him the desire for unhappiness. But satisfying his desire would constitute precisely his happiness. To be consistent, the pessimist would have to assume that man sees his happiness in unhappiness. But then his view would after all dissolve into nothing. This one reflection shows clearly enough the erroneous nature of pessimism. Theory of Knowledge 20. Optimism and Pessimism

[5] Whoever starts from this point of view will find it easy to lay down the direction which human action must follow, in order to make its contribution to the greatest good of the universe. All that man need do will be to find out the counsels of God and to act in accordance with them. If he knows what God's purposes are concerning the world and the human race he will be able, for his part, to do what is right. And he will be happy in the feeling that he is adding his share to all the other good in the world. From this optimistic standpoint, then, life is worth living. It is such as to stimulate us to cooperate with, and enter into, it.

God's withdrawal from the world
Only this is worthy of man: that he seek truth himself, that neither experience nor revelation lead him. When that has been thoroughly recognized once and for all, then the religions based on revelation will be finished. The human being will then no longer want God to reveal Himself or bestow blessings upon him. He will want to know through his own thinking and to establish his happiness through his own strength. Whether some higher power or other guides our fate to the good or to the bad, this does not concern us at all; we ourselves must determine the path we have to travel. The loftiest idea of God is still the one which assumes that God, after His creation of the human being, withdrew completely from the world and gave man completely over to himself. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

Work to realize the intention of nature
In knowing, we experience what the ideal determining factors of our sense experience are; we bring the world of ideas, which already lies within reality, to manifestation; we therefore complete the world process in the sense that we call into appearance the producer who eternally brings forth his products. but who, without our thinking, would remain eternally hidden within them.

In human actions, however, we supplement this process through the fact that we translate the world of ideas, insofar as it is not yet reality, into such reality. Now we have recognized the idea as that which underlies all reality as the determining element, as the intention of nature. Our knowing leads us to the point of finding the tendency of the world process, the intention of the creation, out of all the indications contained in the nature surrounding us. If we have achieved this, then our action is given the task of working along independently in the realizing of that intention. And thus our action appears to us as the direct continuation of that kind of activity that nature also fulfills. It appears to us as directly flowing from the world foundation. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

13.2 Pain Of Striving (universal idleness)
[6] Quite different is the picture Schopenhauer paints. He thinks of ultimate reality not as an all-wise and all-beneficent being, but as blind striving or will. Eternal striving, ceaseless craving for satisfaction which yet is ever beyond reach, these are the fundamental characteristics of all will. For as soon as we have attained what we want a fresh need springs up, and so on. Satisfaction, when it occurs, endures always only for an infinitesimal time. The whole rest of our lives is unsatisfied craving, i.e., discontent and suffering. When at last blind craving is dulled, every definite content is gone from our lives. Existence is filled with nothing but an endless ennui. Hence the best we can do is to throttle all desires and needs within us and exterminate the will. Schopenhauer's Pessimism leads to complete inactivity; its moral aim is universal idleness.

13.3 Pain Outweighs Pleasure (unselfish service)
[7] By a very different argument Von Hartmann attempts to establish Pessimism and to make use of it for Ethics. He attempts, in keeping with the fashion of our age, to base his world-view on experience. By observation of life he hopes to discover whether there is more pain or more pleasure in the world. He passes in review before the tribunal of reason whatever men consider to be happiness and a good, in order to show that all apparent satisfaction turns out, on closer inspection, to be nothing but illusion. It is illusion when we believe that in health, youth, freedom, sufficient income, love (sexual satisfaction), pity, friendship and family life, honour, reputation, glory, power, religious edification, pursuit of science and of art, hope of a life after death, participation in the advancement of civilization, that in all these we have sources of happiness and satisfaction. Soberly considered, every enjoyment brings much more evil and misery than pleasure into the world. The disagreeableness of "the morning after" is always greater than the agreeableness of intoxication. Pain far outweighs pleasure in the world. No man, even though relatively the happiest, would, if asked, wish to live through this miserable life a second time. Now since Hartmann does not deny the presence of an ideal factor (wisdom) in the world, but, on the contrary, grants to it equal rights with blind striving (will), he can attribute the creation of the world to his Absolute Being only on condition that He makes the pain in the world subserve a world-purpose that is wise. But the pain of created beings is nothing but God's pain itself, for the life of Nature as a whole is identical with the life of God. An All-wise Being can aim only at release from pain, and since all existence is pain, at release from existence. Hence the purpose of the creation of the world is to transform existence into the non-existence which is so much better. The world-process is nothing but a continuous battle against God's pain, a battle which ends with the annihilation of all existence. The moral life for men, therefore, will consist in taking part in the annihilation of existence. The reason why God has created the world is that through the world he may free himself from his infinite pain. The world must be regarded, "as it were, as an itching eruption on the Absolute," by means of which the unconscious healing power of the Absolute rids itself of an inward disease; or it may be regarded "as a painful drawing-plaster which the All-one applies to itself in order first to divert the inner pain outwards, and then to get rid of it altogether." Human beings are members of the world. In their sufferings God suffers. He has created them in order to split up in them his infinite pain. The pain which each one of us suffers is but a drop in the infinite ocean of God's pain (Hartmann, Phanomenologie des Sittlichen Bewusstseins, pp. 866 ff.).

Hartmann's pessimism
If we have recognized in Hartmann's view of nature an echo of Goethe's world view, we find an even more significant one in that philosopher's ethics. Eduard von Hartmann finds that all striving for happiness, all pursuing of egoism, is ethically worthless, because we can, after all, never achieve contentment on this path. Hartmann considers acting out of egoism, and trying to satisfy it, to be illusory. We should grasp the task we are set in the world, and act purely for the sake of this task itself, with self-renunciation. We should find our goal in our devotion to the object, without demanding that our subject profit from it in some way. But this forms the basic impulse of Goethe's ethics. Hartmann should not have suppressed the word that expresses the character of his teachings on morality: love. Where we claim nothing personally, where we act only because something objective moves us, where we find in the act itself the motive for our action, there we are acting morally. But there we are acting out of love. All self-will, everything personal, must disappear there. It is characteristic of the way Hartmann's powerful and healthy mind works, that in spite of the fact that he first grasped the idea one-sidedly as unconscious, he still pressed forward to concrete idealism; and that in spite of the fact that he took his start in ethics from pessimism, he was still led by this mistaken standpoint to the ethical teaching of love.

Hartmann's pessimism, in fact, does not mean what those people interpret it to mean who like to lament about the fruitlessness of our activity because they hope to find themselves justified by this in folding their hands in their laps and accomplishing nothing. Hartmann does not stop at such lamenting; he raises himself above any such impulse to a pure ethics. He shows the worthlessness of the pursuit of happiness by revealing its fruitlessness. He directs us thereby to our own activity. That he is a pessimist at all is his error. That is perhaps still a remnant from earlier stages of his thinking. From where he stands now, he would have to realize that the empirical demonstration that in the world of reality what is unsatisfying outweighs what is satisfying cannot establish pessimism. For the higher human being cannot wish for anything else at all than that he must achieve his happiness for himself. He does not want it as a gift from outside. He wants his happiness to consist only in his action. Hartmann's pessimism dissolves before (Hartmann's own) higher thinking. Because the world leaves us dissatisfied, we create for ourselves the most beautiful happiness in our own activity.

Thus Hartmann's philosophy is yet another proof of how people starting from different points of departure arrive at the same goal; Hartmann takes his start from different presuppositions than Goethe does, but in his development of them, the Goethean train of thought confronts us at every turn. Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views

[8] It is man's duty to permeate his whole being with the recognition that the pursuit of individual satisfaction (Egoism) is a folly, and that he ought to be guided solely by the task of assisting in the redemption of God by unselfish service of the world-process. Thus, in contrast with the Pessimism of Schopenhauer, that of Von Hartmann leads us to devoted activity in a sublime cause.

 [9] But what of the claim that this view is based on experience?

13.4 Pleasure Of Striving (future goal)

[10] To strive after satisfaction means that our activity reaches out beyond the actual content of our lives. A creature is hungry, i.e., it desires satiety, when its organic functions demand for their continuation the supply of fresh life-materials in the form of nourishment. The pursuit of honour consists in that a man does not regard what he personally does or leaves undone as valuable unless it is endorsed by the approval of others from without. The striving for knowledge arises when a man is not content with the world which he sees, hears, etc., so long as he has not understood it. The fulfilment of the striving causes pleasure in the individual who strives, failure causes pain. It is important here to observe that pleasure and pain are attached only to the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of my striving. The striving itself is by no means to be regarded as a pain. Hence, if we find that, in the very moment in which a striving is fulfilled, at once a new striving arises, this is no ground for saying that pleasure has given birth to pain, because enjoyment in every case gives rise to a desire for its repetition, or for a fresh pleasure. I can speak of pain only when desire runs up against the impossibility of fulfilment. Even when an enjoyment that I have had causes in me the desire for the experience of a greater, more subtle, and more exotic pleasure, I have no right to speak of this desire as a pain caused by the previous pleasure until the means fail me to gain the greater and more subtle pleasure. I have no right to regard pleasure as the cause of pain unless pain follows on pleasure as its consequence by natural law, e.g., when a woman's sexual pleasure is followed by the suffering of child-birth and the cares of nursing. If striving caused pain, then the removal of striving ought to be accompanied by pleasure. But the very reverse is true. To have no striving in one's life causes boredom, and boredom is always accompanied by displeasure. Now, since it may be a long time before a striving meets with fulfilment, and since, in the interval, it is content with the hope of fulfilment, we must acknowledge that there is no connection in principle between pain and striving, but that pain depends solely on the non-fulfilment of the striving. Schopenhauer, then, is wrong in any case in regarding desire or striving (will) as being in principle the source of pain.

[11] In truth the very reverse of this is correct. Striving (desire) is in itself pleasurable. Who does not know the pleasure which is caused by the hope of a remote but intensely desired enjoyment? This pleasure is the companion of all labour, the results of which will be enjoyed by us only in the future. It is a pleasure which is wholly independent of the attainment of the end. For when the aim has been attained, the pleasure of satisfaction is added as a fresh thrill to the pleasure of striving. If anyone were to argue that the pain caused by the non-attainment of an aim is increased by the pain of disappointed hope, and that thus, in the end, the pain of non-fulfilment will still always outweigh the utmost possible pleasure of fulfilment, we shall have to reply that the reverse may be the case, and that the recollection of past pleasure at a time of unsatisfied desire will as often mitigate the displeasure of non-satisfaction. Whoever at the moment when his hopes suffer shipwreck exclaims, "I have done my part," proves thereby my assertion. The blessed feeling of having willed the best within one's powers is ignored by all who make every unsatisfied desire an occasion for asserting that, not only has the pleasure of fulfilment been lost, but that the enjoyment of the striving itself has been destroyed.

13.5 Quantity Of Pleasure (rational estimation of feeling)
[12] The satisfaction of a desire causes pleasure and its non-satisfaction causes pain. But we have no right to infer from this fact that pleasure is nothing but the satisfaction of a desire, and pain nothing but its non-satisfaction. Both pleasure and pain may be experienced without being the consequence of desire. All illness is pain not preceded by any desire. If anyone were to maintain that illness is unsatisfied desire for health he would commit the error of regarding the inevitable and unconscious wish not to fall ill as a positive desire. When some one receives a legacy from a rich relative of whose existence he had not the faintest idea, he experiences a pleasure without having felt any preceding desire.

[13] Hence, if we set out to inquire whether the balance is on the side of pleasure or of pain, we must allow in our calculation for the pleasure of striving, the pleasure of the satisfaction of striving, and the pleasure which comes to us without any striving whatever. On the debit side we shall have to enter the displeasure of boredom, the displeasure of unfulfilled striving, and, lastly, the displeasure which comes to us without any striving on our part. Under this last heading we shall have to put also the displeasure caused by work that has been forced upon us, not chosen by ourselves.

[14] This leads us to the question, What is the right method for striking the balance between the credit and the debit columns? Eduard von Hartmann asserts that reason holds the scales. It is true that he says (Philosophie des Unbewussten, 7th edition, vol. ii. p. 290): "Pain and pleasure exist only in so far as they are actually being felt." It follows that there can be no standard for pleasure other than the subjective standard of feeling. I must feel whether the sum of my disagreeable feelings, contrasted with my agreeable feelings, results in me in a balance of pleasure or of pain. But, notwithstanding this, van Hartmann maintains that

"though the value of the life of every being can be set down only according to its own subjective measure, yet it follows by no means that every being is able to compute the correct algebraic sum of all the feelings of its life —or, in other words, that its total estimate of its own life, with regard to its subjective feelings, should be correct."

But this means that rational estimation of feelings is reinstated as the standard of value.

[15] It is because Von Hartmann holds this view that he thinks it necessary, in order to arrive at a correct valuation of life, to clear out of the way those factors which falsify our judgment about the balance of pleasure and of pain. He tries to do this in two ways: first, by showing that our desire (instinct, will) operates as a disturbing factor in the sober estimation of feeling-values; e.g., whereas we ought to judge that sexual enjoyment is a source of evil, we are beguiled by the fact that the sexual instinct is very strong in us, into pretending to experience a pleasure which does not occur in the alleged intensity at all. We are bent on indulging ourselves, hence we do not acknowledge to ourselves that the indulgence makes us suffer. Secondly, Von Hartmann subjects feelings to a criticism designed to show, that the objects to which our feelings attach themselves reveal themselves as illusions when examined by reason, and that our feelings are destroyed from the moment that our constantly growing insight sees through the illusions.

13.6 Quality Of Pleasure (critical examination of feeling)
[16] Von Hartmann, then, conceives the matter as follows. Suppose an ambitious man wants to determine clearly whether, up to the moment of his inquiry, there has been a surplus of pleasure or of pain in his life. He has to eliminate two sources of error that may affect his judgment. Being ambitious, this fundamental feature of his character will make him see all the pleasures of the public recognition of his achievements larger than they are, and all the insults suffered through rebuffs smaller than they are. At the time when he suffered the rebuffs he felt the insults just because he is ambitious, but in recollection they appear to him in a milder light, whereas the pleasures of recognition to which he is so much more susceptible leave a far deeper impression. Undeniably, it is a real benefit to an ambitious man that it should be so, for the deception diminishes his pain in the moment of self-analysis. But, none the less, it falsifies his judgments. The sufferings which he now reviews as through a veil were actually experienced by him in all their intensity. Hence he enters them at a wrong valuation on the debit side of his account. In order to arrive at a correct estimate an ambitious man would have to lay aside his ambition for the time of his inquiry. He would have to review his past life without any distorting glasses before his mind's eye, else he will resemble a merchant who, in making up his books, enters among the items on the credit side his own zeal in business.

[17] But Von Hartmann goes even further. He says the ambitious man must make clear to himself that the public recognition which he craves is not worth having. By himself, or with the guidance of others, he must attain the insight that rational beings cannot attach any value to recognition by others, seeing that "in all matters which are not vital questions of development, or which have not been definitely settled by science," it is always as certain as anything can be "that the majority is wrong and the minority right." "Whoever makes ambition the lode-star of his life puts the happiness of his life at the mercy of so fallible a judgment" (Philosophie des Unbewussten, vol. ii, p. 332). If the ambitious man acknowledges all this to himself, he is bound to regard all the achievements of his ambition as illusions, including even the feelings which attach themselves to the satisfaction of his ambitious desires. This is the reason why Von Hartmann says that we must also strike out of the balance-sheet of our life-values whatever is seen to be illusory in our feelings of pleasure. What remains after that represents the sum-total of pleasure in life, and this sum is so small compared with the sum-total of pain that life is no enjoyment and non-existence preferable to existence.

[18] But whilst it is immediately evident that the interference of the instinct of ambition produces self-deception in striking the balance of pleasures and thus leads to a false result, we must none the less challenge what Von Hartmann says concerning the illusory character of the objects to which pleasure is attached. For the elimination, from the credit-side of life, of all pleasurable feelings which accompany actual or supposed illusions would positively falsify the balance of pleasure and of pain. An ambitious man has genuinely enjoyed the acclamations of the multitude, irrespective of whether subsequently he himself, or some other person, recognizes that this acclamation is an illusion. The pleasure, once enjoyed, is not one whit diminished by such recognition. Consequently the elimination of all these "illusory" feelings from life's balance, so far from making our judgment about our feelings more correct, actually cancels out of life feelings which were genuinely there,

[19] And why are these feelings to be eliminated? Because they are connected with objects which turn out to have been illusions. But this means that the value of life is made dependent, not on the quantity of pleasure, but on the quality of pleasure, and this quality is made dependent on the value of the objects which cause the pleasure. But if I am to determine the value of life only by the quantity of pleasure or pain which it brings, I have no right to presuppose something else by which first to determine the positive or negative value of pleasure. If I say I want to compare quantity of pleasure and quantity of pain, in order to see which is greater, I am bound to bring into my account all pleasures and pains in their actual intensities, regardless of whether they are based on illusions or not. If I credit a pleasure which rests on an illusion with a lesser value for life than one which can justify itself before the tribunal of reason, I make the value of life dependent on factors other than mere quantity of pleasure.

[20] Whoever, like Eduard von Hartmann, puts down pleasure as less valuable when it is attached to a worthless object, is like a merchant who enters the considerable profits of a toy-factory at only one-quarter of their real value on the ground that the factory produces nothing but playthings for children.

[21] If the point is simply to weigh quantity of pleasure against quantity of pain, we ought to leave the illusory character of the objects of some pleasures entirely out of account.

13.7 Pursuit Of Pleasure (hopelessness of egotism)
[22] The method, then, which Van Hartmann recommends, viz., rational criticism of the quantities of pleasure and pain produced by life, has taught us so far how we are to get the data for our calculation, i.e., what we are to put down on the one side of our account and what on the other. But how are we to make the actual calculation? Is reason able also to strike the balance?

[23] A merchant makes a miscalculation when the gain calculated by him does not balance with the profits which he has demonstrably enjoyed from his business or is still expecting to enjoy. Similarly, the philosopher will undoubtedly have made a mistake in his estimate, if he cannot demonstrate in actual feeling the surplus of pleasure or, as the case may be, of pain which his manipulation of the account may have yielded.

[24] For the present I shall not criticize the calculations of those Pessimists who support their estimate of the value of the world by an appeal to reason. But if we are to decide whether to carry on the business of life or not, we shall demand first to be shown where the alleged balance of pain is to be found.

[25] Here we touch the point where reason is not in a position by itself to determine the surplus of pleasure or of pain, but where it must exhibit this surplus in life as something actually felt. For man reaches reality not through concepts by themselves, but through the interpenetration of concepts and percepts (and feelings are percepts) which thinking brings about (cp. p. 56). A merchant will give up his business only when the loss of goods, as calculated by his accountant, is actually confirmed by the facts. If the facts do not bear out the calculation, he asks his accountant to check the account once more. That is exactly what a man will do in the business of life. If a philosopher wants to prove to him that the pain is far greater than the pleasure, but that he does not feel it so, then he will reply: "You have made a mistake in your theorizings; repeat your analysis once more." But if there comes a time in a business when the losses are really so great that the firm's credit no longer suffices to satisfy the creditors, bankruptcy results, even though the merchant may avoid keeping himself informed by careful accounts about the state of his affairs. Similarly, supposing the quantity of pain in a man's life became at any time so great that no hope (credit) of future pleasure could help him to get over the pain, the bankruptcy of life's business would inevitably follow.

[26] Now the number of those who commit suicide is relatively small compared with the number of those who live bravely on. Only very few men give up the business of life because of the pain involved. What follows? Either that it is untrue to say that the quantity of pain is greater than the quantity of pleasure, or that we do not make the continuation of life dependent on the quantity of felt pleasure or pain.

[27] In a very curious way, Eduard von Hartmann's Pessimism, having concluded that life is valueless because it contains a surplus of pain, yet affirms the necessity of going on with life. This necessity lies in the fact that the world-purpose mentioned above (p. 127) can be achieved only by the ceaseless, devoted labour of human beings. But so long as men still pursue their egoistical appetites they are unfit for this devoted labour. It is not until experience and reason have convinced them that the pleasures which Egoism pursues are incapable of attainment that they give themselves up to their proper task. In this way the pessimistic conviction is offered as the fountain of unselfishness. An education based on Pessimism is to exterminate Egoism by convincing it of the hopelessness of achieving its aims.

Give up striving for happiness
What Hartmann cites as grounds for pessimism — i.e., for the view that nothing in the world can fully satisfy us, that pain always outweighs pleasure — that is precisely what I would designate as the good fortune of mankind. What he brings forward is for me only proof that it is futile to strive for happiness. We must, in fact, entirely give up any such striving and seek our destiny purely in selflessly fulfilling those ideal tasks that our reason prescribes for us. What else does this mean than that we should seek our happiness only in doing, in unflagging activity? Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

[28] According to this view, then, the striving for pleasure is fundamentally inherent in human nature. It is only through the insight into the impossibility of satisfaction that this striving abdicates in favour of the higher tasks of humanity.

[29] It is, however, impossible to say of this ethical theory, which expects from the establishment of Pessimism a devotion to unselfish ends in life, that it really overcomes Egoism in the proper sense of the word. The moral ideas are said not to be strong enough to dominate the will until man has learnt that the selfish striving after pleasure cannot lead to any satisfaction. Man, whose selfishness desires the grapes of pleasure, finds them sour because he cannot attain them, and so he turns his back on them and devotes himself to an unselfish life. Moral ideals, then, according to the opinion of Pessimists, are too weak to overcome Egoism, but they establish their kingdom on the territory which previous recognition of the hopelessness of Egoism has cleared for them.

[30] If men by nature strive after pleasure but are unable to attain it, it follows that annihilation of existence and salvation through non-existence are the only rational ends. And if we accept the view that the real bearer of the pain of the world is God, it follows that the task of men consists in helping to bring about the salvation of God. To commit suicide does not advance, but hinders, the realization of this aim. God must rationally be conceived as having created men for the sole purpose of bringing about his salvation through their action, else would creation be purposeless. Every one of us has to perform his own definite task in the general work of salvation. If he withdraws from the task by suicide, another has to do the work which was intended for him. Somebody else must bear in his stead the agony of existence. And since in every being it is, at bottom, God who is the ultimate bearer of all pain, it follows that to commit suicide does not in the least diminish the quantity of God's pain, but rather imposes upon God the additional difficulty of providing a substitute.

13.8 Value Of Pleasure (satisfaction of needs)

[31] This whole theory presupposes that pleasure is the standard of value for life. Now life manifests itself through a number of instincts (needs). If the value of life depended on its producing more pleasure than pain, an instinct would have to be called valueless which brought to its owner a balance of pain. Let us, if you please, inspect instinct and pleasure, in order to see whether the former can be measured by the latter. And lest we give rise to the suspicion that life does not begin for us below the sphere of the "aristocrats of the intellects" we shall begin our examination with a "purely animal" need, viz., hunger.

[32] Hunger arises when our organs are unable to continue functioning without a fresh supply of food. What a hungry man desires, in the first instance, is to have his hunger stilled. As soon as the supply of nourishment has reached the point where hunger ceases, everything has been attained that the food-instinct craves. The pleasure which is connected with satiety consists, to begin with, in the removal of the pain which is caused by hunger. But to the mere food-instinct there is added a further need. For man does not merely desire to restore, by the consumption of food, the disturbance in the functioning of his organs, or to get rid of the pain of hunger, but he seeks to effect this to the accompaniment of pleasurable sensations of taste. When he feels hungry, and is within half an hour of a meal to which he looks forward with pleasure, he avoids spoiling his enjoyment of the better food by taking inferior food which might satisfy his hunger sooner. He needs hunger in order to get the full enjoyment out of his meal. Thus hunger becomes for him at the same time a cause of pleasure. Supposing all the hunger in the world could be satisfied, we should get the total quantity of pleasure which we owe to the existence of the desire for nourishment. But we should still have to add the additional pleasure which gourmets gain by cultivating the sensibility of their taste-nerves beyond the common measure.

[33] The greatest conceivable value of this quantity of pleasure would be reached, if no need remained unsatisfied which was in any way connected with this kind of pleasure, and if with the smooth of pleasure we had not at the same time to take a certain amount of the rough of pain.

[34] Modern Science holds the view that Nature produces more life than it can maintain, i.e., that Nature also produces more hunger than it is able to satisfy. The surplus of life thus produced is condemned to a painful death in the struggle for existence. Granted that the needs of life are, at every moment of the world-process, greater than the available means of satisfaction, and that the enjoyment of life is correspondingly diminished, yet such enjoyment as actually occurs is not one whit reduced thereby. Wherever a desire is satisfied, there the corresponding quantity of pleasure exists, even though in the creature itself which desires, or in its fellow-creatures, there are a large number of unsatisfied instincts. What is diminished is not the quantity but the "value" of the enjoyment of life. If only a part of the needs of a living creature find satisfaction, it experiences still a corresponding pleasure. This pleasure is inferior in value in proportion as it is inadequate to the total demand of life within a given group of desires. We might represent this value as a fraction, the numerator of which is the actually experienced pleasure, whilst the denominator is the sum-total of needs. This fraction has the value 1 when the numerator and the denominator are equal, i.e., when all needs are also satisfied. The fraction becomes greater than 1 when a creature experiences more pleasure than its desires demand. It becomes smaller than 1 when the quantity of pleasure falls short of the sum total of desires. But the fraction can never have the value 0 so long as the numerator has any value at all, however small. If a man were to make up the account before his death and to distribute in imagination over the whole of life the quantity belonging to a particular instinct (e.g., hunger), as well as the demands of this instinct, then the total pleasure which he has experienced might have only a very small value, but this value would never become altogether nil. If the quantity of pleasure remains constant, then with every increase in the needs of the creature the value of the pleasure diminishes. The same is true for the totality of life in nature. The greater the number of creatures in proportion to those which are able fully to satisfy their instincts, the smaller is the average pleasure-value of life. The cheques on life's pleasure which are drawn in our favour in the form of our instincts, become increasingly less valuable in proportion as we cannot expect to cash them at their full face value. Suppose I get enough to eat on three days and am then compelled to go hungry for another three days, the actual pleasure on the three days of eating is not thereby diminished. But I have now to think of it as distributed over six days, and this reduces its "value" for my food-instinct by half. The same applies to the quantity of pleasure as measured by the degree of my need. Suppose I have hunger enough for two sandwiches and can only get one, the pleasure which this one gives me has only half the value it would have had if the eating of it had stilled my hunger. This is the way in which we determine the value of a pleasure in life. We determine it by the needs of life. Our desires supply the measure; pleasure is what is measured. The pleasure of stilling hunger has value only because hunger exists, and it has determinate value through the proportion which it bears to the intensity of the hunger.

[35] Unfulfilled demands of our life throw their shadow even upon fulfilled desires, and thus detract from the value of pleasurable hours. But we may speak also of the present value of a feeling of pleasure. This value is the smaller, the more insignificant the pleasure is in proportion to the duration and intensity of our desire.

[36] A quantity of pleasure has its full value for us when its duration and degree exactly coincide with our desire. A quantity of pleasure which is smaller than our desire diminishes the value of the pleasure. A quantity which is greater produces a surplus which has not been demanded and which is felt as pleasure only so long as, whilst enjoying the pleasure, we can correspondingly increase the intensity of our desire. If we are not able to keep pace in the increase of our desire with the increase in pleasure, then pleasure turns into displeasure. The object which would otherwise satisfy us, when it assails us unbidden makes us suffer. This proves that pleasure has value for us only so long as we have desires by which to measure it. An excess of pleasurable feeling turns into pain. This may be observed especially in those men whose desire for a given kind of pleasure is very small. In people whose desire for food is dulled, eating easily produces nausea. This again shows that desire is the measure of value for pleasure.

[37] Now Pessimism might reply that an unsatisfied desire for food produces not only the pain of a lost enjoyment, but also positive ills, agony, and misery in the world. It appeals for confirmation to the untold misery of all who are harassed by anxieties about food, and to the vast amount of pain which for these unfortunates results indirectly from their lack of food. And if it wants to extend its assertion also to non-human nature, it can point to the agonies of animals which, in certain seasons, die from lack of food. Concerning all these evils the Pessimist maintains that they far outweigh the quantity of pleasure which the food-instinct brings into the world.

[38] There is no doubt that it is possible to compare pleasure and pain one with another, and determine the surplus of the one or the other as we determine commercial gain or loss. But if Pessimists think that a surplus on the side of pain is a ground for inferring that life is valueless, they fall into the mistake of making a calculation which in actual life is never made.

13.9 Will For Pleasure (intensity of desire)
[39] Our desire, in any given case, is directed to a particular object. The value of the pleasure of satisfaction, as we have seen, will be the greater in proportion as the quantity of the pleasure is greater relatively to the intensity of our desire.1 It depends, further, on this intensity how large a quantity of pain we are willing to bear in order to gain the pleasure. We compare the quantity of pain, not with the quantity of pleasure, but with the intensity of our desire. He who finds great pleasure in eating will, by reason of his pleasure in better times, be more easily able to bear a period of hunger than one who does not derive pleasure from the satisfaction of the instinct for food. A woman who wants a child compares the pleasures resulting from the possession of a child, not with the quantities of pain due to pregnancy, birth, nursing, etc., but with her desire for the possession of the child.

[40] We never aim at a certain quantity of pleasure in the abstract, but at concrete satisfaction of a perfectly determinate kind. When we are aiming at a definite object or a definite sensation, it will not satisfy us to be offered some other object or some other sensation, even though they give the same amount of pleasure. If we desire satisfaction of hunger, we cannot substitute for the pleasure which this satisfaction would bring a pleasure equally great but produced by a walk. Only if our desire were, quite generally, for a certain quantity of pleasure, would it have to die away at once if this pleasure were unattainable except at the price of an even greater quantity of pain. But because we desire a determinate kind of satisfaction, we experience the pleasure of realization even when, along with it, we have to bear an even greater pain. The instincts of living beings tend in a determinate direction and aim at concrete objects, and it is just for this reason that it is impossible, in our calculations, to set down as an equivalent factor the quantities of pain which we have to bear in the pursuit of our object. Provided the desire is sufficiently intense to be still to some degree in existence even after having overcome the pain —however great that pain, taken in the abstract, may be— the pleasure of satisfaction may still be enjoyed to its full extent. The desire, therefore, does not measure the pain directly against the pleasure which we attain, but indirectly by measuring the pain (proportionately) against its own intensity. The question is not whether the pleasure to be gained is greater than the pain, but whether the desire for the object at which we aim is greater than the inhibitory effect of the pain which we have to face. If the inhibition is greater than the desire, the latter yields to the inevitable, slackens, and ceases to strive. But inasmuch as we strive after a determinate land of satisfaction, the pleasure we gain thereby acquires an importance which makes it possible, once satisfaction has been attained, to allow in our calculation for the inevitable pain only in so far as it has diminished the intensity of our desire. If I am passionately fond of beautiful views, I never calculate the amount of pleasure which the view from the mountain-top gives me as compared directly with the pain of the toilsome ascent and descent; but I reflect whether, after having overcome all difficulties, my desire for the view will still be sufficiently intense. Thus pleasure and pain can be made commensurate only mediately through the intensity of the desire. Hence the question is not at all whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain, but whether the desire for pleasure is sufficiently intense to overcome the pain.

[41] A proof for the accuracy of this view is to be found in the fact, that we put a higher value on pleasure when it has to be purchased at the price of great pain than when it simply falls into our lap like a gift from heaven. When sufferings and agonies have toned down our desire and yet after all our aim is attained, then the pleasure is all the greater in proportion to the intensity of the desire that has survived. Now it is just this proportion which, as I have shown (p. 137), represents the value of the pleasure. A further proof is to be found in the fact that all living creatures (including men) develop their instincts as long as they are able to bear the inhibiting pains and agonies. The struggle for existence is but a consequence of this fact. All living creatures strive to expand, and only those abandon the struggle whose desires are throttled by the overwhelming magnitude of the difficulties with which they meet. Every living creature seeks food until sheer lack of food destroys its life. Man, too, does not turn his hand against himself until rightly or wrongly, he believes that he cannot attain those aims in life which alone seem to him worth striving for. So long as he still believes in the possibility of attaining what he thinks worth striving for he will battle against all pains and miseries. Philosophy would have to convince man that striving is rational only when pleasure outweighs pain, for it is his nature to strive for the attainment of the objects which he desires, so long as he can bear the inevitable incidental pain, however great that may be. Such a philosophy, however, would be mistaken, because it would make the human will dependent on a factor (the surplus of pleasure over pain) which, at first, is wholly foreign to man's point of new. The original measure of his will is his desire, and desire asserts itself as long as it can. If I am compelled, in purchasing a certain quantity of apples, to take twice as many rotten ones as sound ones —because the seller wishes to clear out his stock— I shall not hesitate a moment to take the bad apples as well, if I put so high a value on the smaller quantity of good apples that I am prepared, in addition to the purchase price, to bear also the expense for the transportation of the rotten goods. This example illustrates the relation between the quantities of pleasure and of pain which are caused by a given instinct. I determine the value of the good apples, not by subtracting the sum of the good from that of the bad ones, but by the fact that, in spite of the presence of the bad ones, I still attach a value to the good ones.

[42] Just as I leave out of account the bad apples in the enjoyment of the good ones, so I surrender myself to the satisfaction of a desire after having shaken off the inevitable pains.

[43] Supposing even Pessimism were in the right with its assertion that the world contains more pain than pleasure, it would nevertheless have no influence upon the will, for living beings would still strive after such pleasure as remains. The empirical proof that pain overbalances pleasure is indeed effective for showing up the futility of that school of philosophy which looks for the value of life in a surplus of pleasure (Eudaemonism), but not for exhibiting the will, as such, as irrational. For the will is not set upon a surplus of pleasure, but on whatever quantity of pleasure remains after subtracting the pain. This remaining pleasure still appears always as an object worth pursuing.

13.10 Magnitude Of Pleasure (amusement)
[44] An attempt has been made to refute Pessimism by asserting that it is impossible to determine by calculation the surplus of pleasure or of pain in the world. The possibility of every calculation depends on our being able to compare the things to be calculated in respect of their quantity. Every pain and every pleasure has a definite quantity (intensity and duration). Further, we can compare pleasurable feelings of different kinds one with another, at least approximately, with regard to their intensity. We know whether we derive more pleasure from a good cigar or from a good joke. No objection can be raised against the comparability of different pleasures and pains in respect of their intensity. The thinker who sets himself the task of determining the surplus of pleasure or pain in the world, starts from presuppositions which are undeniably legitimate. It is possible to maintain that the Pessimistic results are false, but it is not possible to doubt that quantities of pleasure and pain can be scientifically estimated, and that the surplus of the one or the other can thereby be determined. It is incorrect, however, to assert that from this calculation any conclusions can be drawn for the human will. The cases in which we really make the value of our activity dependent on whether pleasure or pain shows a surplus, are those in which the objects towards which our activity is directed are indifferent to us. If it is a question whether, after the day's work, I am to amuse myself by a game or by light conversation, and if I am totally indifferent what I do so long as it amuses me, then I simply ask myself, What gives me the greatest surplus of pleasure? And I abandon the activity altogether if the scales incline towards the side of displeasure. If we are buying a toy for a child we consider, in selecting, what will give him the greatest pleasure, but in all other cases we are not determined exclusively by considerations of the balance of pleasure.

13.11 Highest Pleasure (realization of moral ideals)
[45] Hence, if Pessimistic thinkers believe that they are preparing the ground for an unselfish devotion to the work of civilization, by demonstrating that there is a greater quantity of pain than of pleasure in life, they forget altogether that the human will is so constituted that it cannot be influenced by this knowledge. The whole striving of men is directed towards the greatest possible satisfaction that is attainable after overcoming all difficulties. The hope of this satisfaction is the basis of all human activity. The work of every single individual and the whole achievement of civilization have their roots in this hope. The Pessimistic theory of Ethics thinks it necessary to represent the pursuit of pleasure as impossible, in order that man may devote himself to his proper moral tasks. But these moral tasks are nothing but the concrete natural and spiritual instincts; and he strives to satisfy these notwithstanding all incidental pain. The pursuit of pleasure, then, which the Pessimist sets himself to eradicate is nowhere to be found. But the tasks which man has to fulfil are fulfilled by him because from his very nature he wills to fulfil them. The Pessimistic system of Ethics maintains that a man cannot devote himself to what he recognizes as his task in life until he has first given up the desire for pleasure. But no system of Ethics can ever invent other tasks than the realization of those satisfactions which human desires demand, and the fulfilment of man's moral ideas. No Ethical theory can deprive him of the pleasure which he experiences in the realization of what he desires. When the Pessimist says, "Do not strive after pleasure, for pleasure is unattainable; strive instead after what you recognize to be your task," we must reply that it is human nature to strive to do one's tasks, and that philosophy has gone astray in inventing the principle that man strives for nothing but pleasure. He aims at the satisfaction of what his nature demands, and the attainment of this satisfaction is to him a pleasure. Pessimistic Ethics, in demanding that we should strive, not after pleasure, but after the realization of what we recognize as our task, lays its finger on the very thing which man wills in virtue of his own nature. There is no need for man to be turned inside out by philosophy, there is no need for him to discard his nature, in order to be moral. Morality means striving for an end so long as the pain connected with this striving does not inhibit the desire for the end altogether; and this is the essence of all genuine will. Ethics is not founded on the eradication of all desire for pleasure, in order that, in its place, bloodless moral ideas may set up their rule where no strong desire for pleasure stands in their way, but it is based on the strong will which attains its end even when the path to it is full of thorns.

We have based man, as a knowing and acting being, entirely upon himself. We have described his world of ideas as coinciding with the world ground and have recognized that everything he does is to be regarded as flowing only from his own individuality. We seek the core of existence within man himself. No one reveals a dogmatic truth to him; no one drives him in his actions. He is sufficient unto himself. He must be everything through himself, nothing through another being. He must draw forth everything from himself. Even the sources of his happiness. We have already recognized, in fact, that there can be no question of any power directing man, determining the direction and content of his existence, damning him to being unfree. If happiness is to come to a person therefore, this can come about only through himself. Just as little as an outer power prescribes norms for our action, will such a power bestow upon things the ability to awaken in us a feeling of satisfaction if we do not do it ourselves. Pleasure and pain are there for man only when he himself first confers upon objects the power to call up these feelings in him. A creator who determines from outside what should cause us pleasure or pain, would simply be leading us around like a child. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

[46] Moral ideals have their root in the moral imagination of man. Their realization depends on the desire for them being sufficiently intense to overcome pains and agonies. They are man's own intuitions. In them his spirit braces itself to action. They are what he wills, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He needs no Ethical theory first to forbid him to strive for pleasure and then to prescribe to him what he shall strive for. He will, of himself, strive for moral ideals provided his moral imagination is sufficiently active to inspire him with the intuitions, which give strength to his will to overcome all resistance.

Force of will
When we see an impression in the ground we then look for the object that made it. This leads to the concept of a kind of effect where the cause of a phenomenon also appears in the form of an outer perception, i.e., to the concept of force. A force can confront us only where the idea first appears in an object of perception and only in this form acts upon another object. The opposite of this is when this intermediary is not there, when the idea approaches the sense world directly. There the idea itself appears as causative. And here is where we speak of will. Will, therefore, is the idea itself apprehended as force. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Earned happiness
But we should not forget that pain is the woof and happiness the warp. Think of the mother, how her joy in the well-being of her children is increased if it has been achieved by earlier cares, suffering, and effort. Every right-minded person would in fact have to refuse a happiness that some external power might offer him, because he cannot after all experience something as happiness that is just handed him as an unearned gift. If some creator or other had undertaken the creation of man with the thought in mind of bestowing happiness upon his likeness at the same time, as an inheritance, then he would have done better to leave him uncreated. The fact that what man creates is always ruthlessly destroyed again raises his stature; for he must always build and create anew; and it is in activity that our happiness lies; it lies in what we ourselves accomplish. Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge

[47] If a man strives towards sublimely great ideals, it is because they are the content of his will, and because their realization will bring him an enjoyment compared with which the pleasure which inferior spirits draw from the satisfaction of their commonplace needs is a mere nothing. Idealists delight in translating their ideals into reality.

[48] Anyone who wants to eradicate the pleasure which the fulfilment of human desires brings, will have first to degrade man to the position of a slave who does not act because he wills, but because he must. For the attainment of the object of will gives pleasure. What we call the good is not what a man must do, but what he wills to do when he unfolds the fullness of his nature. Anyone who does not acknowledge this must deprive man of all the objects of his will, and then prescribe to him from without what he is to make the content of his will.

[49] Man values the satisfaction of a desire because the desire springs from his own nature. What he attains is valuable because it is the object of his will. If we deny any value to the ends which men do will, then we shall have to look for the ends that are valuable among objects which men do not will.

[50] A system of Ethics, then, which is built up on Pessimism has its root in the contempt of man's moral imagination. Only he who does not consider the individual human mind capable of determining for itself the content of its striving can look for the sum and substance of will in the craving for pleasure. A man without imagination does not create moral ideas; they must be imparted to him. Physical nature sees to it that he seeks the satisfaction of his lower desires; but for the development of the whole man the desires which have their origin in the spirit are fully as necessary. Only those who believe that man has no such spiritual desires at all can maintain that they must be imparted to him from without. On that view it will also be correct to say that it is man's duty to do what he does not will to do. Every Ethical system which demands of man that he should suppress his will in order to fulfil tasks which he does not will, works, not with the whole man, but with a stunted being who lacks the faculty of spiritual desires. For a man who has been harmoniously developed, the so-called ideas of the Good lie, not without, but within the range of his will. Moral action consists, not in the extirpation of one's individual will, but in the fullest development of human nature. To regard moral ideals as attainable only on condition that man destroys his individual will, is to ignore the fact that these ideals are as much rooted in man's will as the satisfaction of the so-called animal instincts.

[51] It cannot be denied that the views here outlined may easily be misunderstood. Immature youths without any moral imagination like to look upon the instincts of their half developed natures as the full substance of humanity, and reject all moral ideas which they have not themselves originated, in order that they may "live themselves out" without restriction. But it goes without saying that a theory which holds for a fully developed man does not hold for half-developed boys. Anyone who still requires to be brought by education to the point where his moral nature breaks through the shell of his lower passions, cannot expect to be measured by the same standard as a mature man. But it was not my intention to set down what a half-fledged youth requires to be taught, but the essential nature of a mature man.

13.12 Joy Of Achievement (measure achievement against aims)
[52] Every mature man is the maker of his own value. He does not aim at pleasure, which comes to him as a gift of grace on the part of nature or of the Creator; nor does he live for the sake of what he recognizes as duty, after he has put away from him the desire for pleasure. He acts as he wills, that is, in accordance with his moral intuitions; and he finds in the attainment of what he wills the true enjoyment of life. He determines the value of his life by measuring his attainments against his aims. An Ethical system which puts "ought" in the place of "will," duty in the place of inclination, is consistent in determining the value of man by the ratio between the demands of duty and his actual achievements. It applies to man a measure that is external to his own nature. The view which I have here developed points man back to himself. It recognizes as the true value of life nothing except what each individual regards as such by the measure of his own will. A value of life which the individual does not recognize is as little acknowledged by my views as a purpose of life which does not spring from the value thus recognized. My view looks upon the individual as his own master and the assessor of his own value.

Satisfaction must come to us out of what we make of things
All optimism and pessimism are refuted. Optimism assumes that the world is perfect, that it must be a source of the greatest satisfaction for man. But if this is to be the case, man would first have to develop within himself those needs through which to arrive at this satisfaction. He would have to gain from the objects what it is he demands. Pessimism believes that the world is constituted in such a way that it leaves man eternally dissatisfied, that he can never be happy. What a pitiful creature man would be if nature offered him satisfaction from outside! All lamentations about an existence that does not satisfy us, about this hard world, must disappear before the thought that no power in the world could satisfy us if we ourselves did not first lend it that magical power by which it uplifts and gladdens us. Satisfaction must come to us out of what we make of things, out of our own creations. Only that is worthy of free beings. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] The argument of this chapter will be misunderstood if one is caught by the apparent objection that the will, as such, is the irrational factor in man and that once this irrationality is made clear to him he will see that the goal of his ethical striving must lie in ultimate emancipation from the will. An apparent objection of exactly this kind was brought against me from a reputable quarter in that I was told that it is the business of the philosopher to make good just what lack of thought leads animals and most men to neglect, namely, to strike a proper balance of life's account. But this objection just misses the main point. If freedom is to be realized, the will in human nature must be sustained by intuitive thinking; at the same time, however, we find that an act of will may also be determined by factors other than intuition, though only in the free realization of intuitions issuing from man's essential nature do we find morality and its value. Ethical individualism is well able to present morality in its full dignity, for it sees true morality not in what brings about the agreement of an act of will with a standard of behavior in an external way, but in what arises in man when he develops his moral will as an integral part of his whole being so that to do what is not moral appears to him as a stunting and crippling of his nature.



14.0 Group Member
[1] THE view that man is a wholly self-contained, free individuality stands in apparent conflict with the facts, that he appears as a member of a natural whole (race, tribe, nation, family, male or female sex), and that he acts within a whole (state, church, etc.). He exhibits the general characteristics of the community to which he belongs, and gives to his actions a content which is defined by the place which he occupies within a social whole.

[2] This being so, is any individuality left at all? Can we regard man as a whole in himself, in view of the fact that he grows out of a whole and fits as a member into a whole?

14.1 Group Characteristics

[3] The character and function of a member of a whole are defined by the whole. A tribe is a whole, and all members of the tribe exhibit the peculiar characteristics which are conditioned by the nature of the tribe. The character and activity of the individual member are determined by the character of the tribe. Hence the physiognomy and the conduct of the individual have something generic about them. When we ask why this or that is so or so, we are referred from the individual to the genus. The genus explains why something in the individual appears in the forms observed by us.

14.2 Generic Medium For Individual Expression
[4] But man emancipates himself from these generic characteristics. He develops qualities and activities the reason for which we can seek only in himself. The generic factors serve him only as a means to develop his own individual nature. He uses the peculiarities with which nature has endowed him as material, and gives them a form which expresses his own individuality. We seek in vain for the reason of such an expression of a man's individuality in the laws of the genus. We are dealing here with an individual who can be explained only through himself. If a man has reached the point of emancipation from what is generic in him, and we still attempt to explain all his qualities by reference to the character of the genus, then we lack the organ for apprehending what is individual.

Member of a cultural people and citizen of history
Now the human being does not belong only to himself; he belongs, as a part, to two higher totalities. First of all, he is part of a people with which he is united by common customs, by a common cultural life, by language, and by a common view. But then he is also a citizen of history, an individual member in the great historical process of human development. Through his belonging to these two wholes, his free action seems to be restricted. What he does, does not seem to flow only from his own individual ego; he appears determined by what he has in common with his people; his individuality seems to be abolished by the character of his people. Am I still free then if one can find my actions explainable not only out of my own nature but to a considerable extent also out of the nature of my people? Do I not act, therefore, the way I do because nature has made me a member of this particular community of people?

And it is no different with the second whole to which I belong. History assigns me the place of my working. I am dependent upon the cultural epoch into which I am born; I am a child of my age. But if one apprehends the human being at the same time as a knowing and as an acting entity, then this contradiction resolves itself. Through his capacity for knowledge, man penetrates into the particular character of his people; it becomes clear to him whither his fellow citizens are steering. He overcomes that by which he appears determined in this way and takes it up into himself as a picture that he has fully known; it becomes individual within him and takes on entirely the personal character that working from inner freedom has.

The situation is the same with respect to the historical development within which the human being appears. He lifts himself to a knowledge of the leading ideas, of the moral forces holding sway there; and then they no longer work upon him as determining factors, but rather become individual driving powers within him. The human being must in fact work his way upward so that he is no longer led, but rather leads himself. He must not allow himself to be carried along blindly by the character of his people, but rather must lift himself to a knowledge of this character so that he acts consciously in accordance with his people. He must not allow himself to be carried by the progress of culture, but must rather make the ideas of his time into his own. In order for him to do so it is necessary above all that he understand his time. Then, in inner freedom, he will fulfill its tasks; then he will set to at the right place with his own work. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Finding a place within your people
In the preface to the first volume of his Pictures from the German Past, [ 61 ] Gustav Freytag says: “All the great creations of the power of a people, inherited religion, custom, law, state configurations, are for us no longer the results of individual men; they are the organic creations of a lofty life that in every age comes to manifestation only through the individual, and in every age draws together into itself the spiritual content of the individual into a mighty whole ... Thus, without saying anything mystical, one might well speak of a folk-soul ... But the life of a people no longer works consciously, like the will forces of a man. Man represents what is free and intelligent in history; the power of a people works ceaselessly, with the dark compulsion of a primal force.” If Freytag had investigated this life of a people, he would have found, indeed, that it breaks down into the working of a sum of single individuals who overcome that dark compulsion and lift what is unconscious up into consciousness; and he would have seen how that which he addresses as folk-soul, as dark compulsion, goes forth from the individual will impulses, from the free action of the human being.

But something else comes into consideration with respect to the working of the human being within his people. Every personality represents a spiritual potency, a sum of powers which seek to work according to the possibilities. Every person must therefore find the place where his working can incorporate itself in the most suitable way into the organism of his people. It must not be left to chance whether he finds this place. The constitution of a state has no other purpose than to take care that everyone find his appropriate sphere of work. The state is the form in which the organism of a people expresses itself. Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

14.3 Individual Capacities And Inclinations
[5] It is impossible to understand a human being completely if one makes the concept of the genus the basis of one's judgment. The tendency to judge according to the genus is most persistent where differences of sex are involved. Man sees in woman, woman in man, almost always too much of the generic characteristics of the other's sex, and too little of what is individual in the other. In practical life this does less harm to men than to women. The social position of women is, in most instances, so low because it is not determined by the individual characteristics of each woman herself, but by the general ideas which are current concerning the natural function and needs of woman. A man's activity in life is determined by his individual capacity and inclination, whereas a woman's activity is supposed to be determined solely by the fact that she is just a woman. Woman is to be the slave of the generic, of the general idea of womanhood.

14.4 Individual Social Decision
So long as men debate whether woman, from her "natural disposition," is fitted for this, that, or the other profession, the so-called Woman's Question will never advance beyond the most elementary stage. What it lies in woman's nature to strive for had better be left to woman herself to decide. If it is true that women are fitted only for that profession which is theirs at present, then they will hardly have it in them to attain any other. But they must be allowed to decide for themselves what is conformable to their nature. To all who fear an upheaval of our social structure, should women be treated as individuals and not as specimens of their sex, we need only reply that a social structure in which the status of one-half of humanity is unworthy of a human being stands itself in great need of improvement.

14.5 Unique Characteristics
[6] Anyone who judges human beings according to their generic character stops short at the very point beyond which they begin to be individuals whose activity rests on free self-determination. Whatever lies short of this point may naturally become matter for scientific study. Thus the characteristics of race, tribe, nation, and sex are the subject-matter of special sciences. Only men who are simply specimens of the genus could possibly fit the generic picture which the methods of these sciences produce. But all these sciences are unable to get as far as the unique character of the single individual. Where the sphere of freedom (thinking and acting) begins, there the possibility of determining the individual according to the laws of his genus ceases.

14.6 Intuitive Conceptual Content
The conceptual content which man, by an act of thought, has to connect with percepts, in order to possess himself fully of reality (cp. pp. 57 ff.), cannot be fixed by anyone once and for all, and handed down to humanity ready-made. The individual must gain his concepts through his own intuition. It is impossible to deduce from any concept of the genus how the individual ought to think; that depends singly and solely on the individual himself.

14.7 Individual Concrete Aims
So, again, it is just as impossible to determine, on the basis of the universal characteristics of human nature, what concrete ends the individual will set before himself. Anyone who wants to understand the single individual must penetrate to the innermost core of his being, and not stop short at those qualities which he shares with others. In this sense every single human being is a problem.

14.8 Individual Views And Actions
And every science which deals only with abstract thoughts and generic concepts is but a preparation for the kind of knowledge which we gain when a human individual communicates to us his way of viewing the world, and for that other kind of knowledge which each of us gains from the content of his own will.

14.9 Emancipation Of Knowing
Wherever we feel that here we are dealing with a man who has emancipated his thinking from all that is generic, and his will from the grooves typical of his kind, there we must cease to call in any concepts of our own making if we would understand his nature. Knowledge consists in the combination by thought of a concept and a percept. With all other objects the observer has to gain his concepts through his intuition. But if the problem is to understand a free individuality, we need only to take over into our own minds those concepts by which the individual determines himself in their pure form (without admixture). Those who always mix their own ideas into their judgment on another person can never attain to the understanding of an individuality. Just as the free individual emancipates himself from the characteristics of the genus, so our knowledge of the individual must emancipate itself from the methods by which we understand what is generic.

14.10 Emancipation Of Being
[7] A man counts as a free spirit in a human community only to the degree in which he has emancipated himself, in the way we have indicated, from all that is generic. No man is all genus, none is all individuality; but every man gradually emancipates a greater or lesser sphere of his being, both from the generic characteristics of animal life and from the laws of human authorities which rule him despotically.

14.11 Intuitive Conduct
[8] In respect of that part of his nature for which man is not able to win this freedom for himself, he forms a member within the organism of nature and of spirit. He lives, in this respect, by the imitation of others, or in obedience to their command. But ethical value belongs only to that part of his conduct which springs from his intuitions.

The statesman must be guided by the people's own nature
Sociology and political science have to investigate the way the individual personality can come to play a part appropriate to it within a state. The constitution must go forth from the innermost being of a people. The character of a people, expressed in individual statements, is the best constitution for a state. A statesman cannot impose a constitution upon a people. The leader of a state must investigate the deep characteristics of his people and, through a constitution, give the tendencies slumbering in the people a direction corresponding to them. It can happen that the majority of a people wants to steer onto paths that go against its own nature. Goethe believes that in this case the statesman must let himself be guided by the people's own nature and not by the momentary demands of the majority; that he must in this case advocate the character of his people against the actual people (Aphorisms in Prose). Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

14.12 Moral Life Of Humanity
This is his contribution to the already existing total of moral ideas. In such ethical intuitions all moral activity of men has its root. To put this differently: the moral life of humanity is the sum-total of the products of the moral imagination of free human individuals. This is Monism's confession of faith. Monism looks upon the history of the moral life, not as the education of the human race by a transcendent God, but as the gradual living out in practice of all concepts and ideas which spring from the moral imagination.

Statements of Goethe
By statements of Goethe we can now substantiate again what has been said here about the science of ethics. The following statement is to be understood only out of the relationship in which we have seen the human being to stand with respect to historical development: “The world of reason is to be regarded as a great immortal individual, which ceaselessly brings about the necessary and thereby makes itself master, in fact, of chance happening.” — A reference to a positive, individual substratum of action lies in the words: “Undetermined activity, of whatever kind, leads to bankruptcy in the end.” “The least of men can be complete if he moves within the limits of his abilities and skills.” — The necessity for man of lifting himself up to the leading ideas of his people and of his age is expressed like this: “Each person must ask himself, after all, with which organ he can and will in any case work into his age.” and: “One must know where one is standing and where the others want to go.” Our view of duty is recognizable again in the words: “Duty: where one loves what one commands oneself to do.” Goethean Science X Knowing and Human Action

Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

[1] Immediately upon the publication of this book (1894), critics objected to the above arguments that, even now, within the generic character of her sex, a woman is able to shape her life individually, just as she pleases, and far more freely than a man who is already de-individualized, first by the school, and later by war and profession. I am aware that this objection will be urged today (1918), even more strongly. None the less, I feel bound to let my sentences stand, in the hope that there are readers who appreciate how violently such an objection runs counter to the concept of freedom advocated in this book, and who will judge my sentences above by a standard other than the de-individualizing of man through school and profession.



AN explanation of nature on a single principle, or, in other words, Monism, derives from human experience all the material which it requires for the explanation of the world. In the same way, it looks for the springs of action also within the world of observation, i.e., in that human part of nature which is accessible to our self-observation, and more particularly in the moral imagination. Monism declines to seek outside that world the ultimate grounds of the world which we perceive and think. For Monism, the unity which reflective observation adds to the manifold multiplicity of percepts, is identical with the unity which the human desire for knowledge demands, and through which this desire is fully satisfied. Whoever looks for another unity behind this one, only shows that he fails to perceive the coincidence of the results of thinking with the demands of the instinct for knowledge. A particular human individual is not something cut off from the universe. He is a part of the universe, and his connection with the cosmic whole is broken, not in reality, but only for our perception. At first we apprehend the human part of the universe as a self-existing thing, because we are unable to perceive the cords and ropes by which the fundamental forces of the cosmos keep turning the wheel of our life.

All who remain at this perceptual standpoint see the part of the whole as if it were a truly independent, self-existing thing, a monad which gains all its knowledge of the rest of the world in some mysterious manner from without. But Monism has shown that we can believe in this independence only so long as thought does not gather our percepts into the network of the conceptual world. As soon as this happens, all partial existence in the universe, all isolated being, reveals itself as a mere appearance due to perception. Existence as a self-contained totality can be predicated only of the universe as a whole. Thought destroys the appearances due to perception and assigns to our individual existence a place in the life of the cosmos. The unity of the conceptual world which contains all objective percepts, has room also within itself for the content of our subjective personality. Thought gives us the true structure of reality as a self-contained unity, whereas the multiplicity of percepts is but an appearance conditioned by our organisation (cp. pp. 42 ff.). The recognition of the true unity of reality, as against the appearance of multiplicity, is at all times the goal of human thought. Science strives to apprehend our apparently disconnected percepts as a unity by tracing their interrelations according to natural law. But, owing to the prejudice that an inter-relation discovered by human thought has only a subjective validity, thinkers have sought the true ground of unity in some object transcending the world of our experience (God, will, absolute spirit, etc.). Further, basing themselves on this prejudice, men have tried to gain, in addition to their knowledge of inter-relations within experience, a second kind of knowledge transcending experience, which should reveal the connection between empirical inter-relations and those realities which lie beyond the limits of experience (Metaphysics). The reason why, by logical thinking, we understand the nexus of the world, was thought to be that an original creator has built up the world according to logical laws, and, similarly, the ground of our actions was thought to lie in the will of this original being. It was overlooked that thinking embraces in one grasp the subjective and the objective, and that it communicates to us the whole of reality in the union which it effects between percept and concept. Only so long as we contemplate the laws which pervade and determine all percepts, in the abstract form of concepts, do we indeed deal only with something purely subjective. But this subjectivity does not belong to the content of the concept which, by means of thought, is added to the percept. This content is taken, not from the subject but from reality. It is that part of reality which is inaccessible to perception. It is experience, but not the kind of experience which comes from perception. Those who cannot understand that the concept is something real, have in mind only the abstract form, in which we fix and isolate the concept. But in this isolation, the concept is as much dependent solely on our organization as is the percept. The tree which I perceive, taken in isolation by itself, has no existence; it exists only as a member in the immense mechanism of nature, and is possible only in real connection with nature. An abstract concept, taken by itself, has as little reality as a percept taken by itself. The percept is that part of reality which is given objectively, the concept that part which is given subjectively (by intuition; cp. p. 62). Our mental organization breaks up reality into these two factors. The one factor is apprehended by perception, the other by intuition. Only the union of the two, which consists of the percept fitted according to law into its place in the universe, is reality in its full character. If we take mere percepts by themselves, we have no reality but only a disconnected chaos. If we take the laws which determine percepts by themselves, we have nothing but abstract concepts. Reality is not to be found in the abstract concept. It is revealed to the contemplative act of thought which regards neither the concept by itself, nor the percept by itself, but the union of both.

Even the most orthodox Idealist will not deny that we live in the real world (that, as real beings, we are rooted in it); but he will deny that our knowledge, by means of its ideas, is able to grasp reality as we live it. As against this view, Monism shows that thought is neither subjective nor objective, but a principle which holds together both these sides of reality. The contemplative act of thought is a cognitive process which belongs itself to the sequence of real events. By thought we overcome, within the limits of experience itself, the one-sidedness of mere perception. We are not able by means of abstract conceptual hypotheses (purely conceptual speculation) to puzzle out the nature of the real, but in so far as we find for our percepts the right concepts we live in the real. Monism does not seek to supplement experience by something unknowable (transcending experience), but finds reality in concept and percept. It does not manufacture a metaphysical system out of pure concepts, because it looks upon concepts as only one side of reality, viz., the side which remains hidden from perception, but is meaningless except in union with percepts. But Monism gives man the conviction that he lives in the world of reality, and has no need to seek beyond the world for a higher reality. It refuses to look for Absolute Reality anywhere but in experience, because it recognizes reality in the very content of experience. Monism is satisfied with this reality, because it knows that our thought points to no other. What Dualism seeks beyond the world of experience, that Monism finds in this world itself. Monism shows that our knowledge grasps reality in its true nature, not in a purely subjective image. It holds the conceptual content of the world to be identical for all human individuals (cp. pp. 58 ff.). According to Monistic principles, every human individual regards every other as akin to himself, because it is the same world-content which expresses itself in all. In the single conceptual world there are not as many concepts of “lion” as there are individuals who form the thought of “lion,” but only one. And the concept which A adds to the percept of “lion” is identical with B's concept except so far as, in each case, it is apprehended by a different perceiving subject (cp. p. 58). Thought leads all perceiving subjects back to the ideal unity in all multiplicity, which is common to them all. There is but one ideal world, but it realizes itself in human subjects as in a multiplicity of individuals. So long as man apprehends himself merely by self-observation, he looks upon himself as this particular being, but so soon as he becomes conscious of the ideal world which shines forth within him, and which embraces all particulars within itself, he perceives that the Absolute Reality lives within him. Dualism fixes upon the Divine Being as that which permeates all men and lives in them all. Monism finds this universal Divine Life in Reality itself. The ideal content of another subject is also my content, and I regard it as a different content only so long as I perceive, but no longer when I think. Every man embraces in his thought only a part of the total world of ideas, and so far, individuals are distinguished one from another also by the actual contents of their thought. But all these contents belong to a self-contained whole, which comprises within itself the thought-contents of all men. Hence every man, in so far as he thinks, lays hold of the universal Reality which pervades all men. To fill one's life with such thought-content is to live in Reality, and at the same time to live in God. The world is God. The thought of a Beyond owes its origin to the misconception of those who believe that this world cannot have the ground of its existence in itself. They do not understand that, by thinking, they discover just what they demand for the explanation of the perceptual world. This is the reason why no speculation has ever produced any content which has not been borrowed from reality as it is given to us. A personal God is nothing but a human being transplanted into the Beyond. Schopenhauer's Will is the human will made absolute. Hartmann's Unconscious, made up of idea and will, is but a compound of two abstractions drawn from experience. Exactly the same is true of all other transcendent principles.

The truth is that the human mind never transcends the reality in which we live. Indeed, it has no need to transcend it, seeing that this world contains everything that is required for its own explanation. If philosophers declare themselves finally content when they have deduced the world from principles which they borrow from experience and then transplant into the Beyond, the same satisfaction ought to be possible, if these same principles are allowed to remain in this world, to which they belong anyhow. All attempts to transcend the world are purely illusory, and the principles transplanted into the Beyond do not explain the world any better than the principles which are immanent in it. When thought understands itself, it does not demand any such transcendence at all, for there is no thought-content which does not find within the world a perceptual content, in union with which it can form a real object. The objects of imagination, too, are contents which have no validity, until they have been transformed into ideas that refer to a perceptual content. Through this perceptual content they have their place in reality. A concept the content of which is supposed to lie beyond the world which is given to us, is an abstraction to which no reality corresponds. Thought can discover only the concepts of reality; in order to find reality itself, we need also perception. An Absolute Being for which we invent a content, is a hypothesis which no thought can entertain that understands itself. Monism does not deny ideal factors; indeed it refuses to recognize as fully real a perceptual content which has no ideal counterpart, but it finds nothing within the whole range of thought that is not immanent within this world of ours. A science which restricts itself to a description of percepts, without advancing to their ideal complements, is, for Monism, but a fragment. But Monism regards as equally fragmentary all abstract concepts which do not find their complement in percepts, and which fit nowhere into the conceptual net that embraces the whole perceptual world. Hence it knows no ideas referring to objects lying beyond our experience and supposed to form the content of Metaphysics. Whatever mankind has produced in the way of such ideas Monism regards as abstractions from experience, whose origin in experience has been overlooked by their authors.

Just as little, according to Monistic principles, are the ends of our actions capable of being derived from the Beyond. So far as we can think them, they must have their origin in human intuition. Man does not adopt the purposes of an objective (transcendent) being as his own individual purposes, but he pursues the ends which his own moral imagination sets before him. The idea which realizes itself in an action is selected by the agent from the single ideal world and made the basis of his will. Consequently his action is not a realization of commands which have been thrust into this world from the Beyond, but of human intuitions which belong to this world. For Monism there is no ruler of the world standing outside of us and determining the aim and direction of our actions. There is for man no transcendent ground of existence, the counsels of which he might discover, in order thence to learn the ends to which he ought to direct his action. Man must rest wholly upon himself. He must himself give a content to his action. It is in vain that he seeks outside the world in which he lives for motives of his will. If he is to go at all beyond the satisfaction of the natural instincts for which Mother Nature has provided, he must look for motives in his own moral imagination, unless he finds it more convenient to let them be determined for him by the moral imagination of others. In other words, he must either cease acting altogether, or else act from motives which he selects for himself from the world of his ideas, or which others select for him from that same world. If he develops at all beyond a life absorbed in sensuous instincts and in the execution of the commands of others, then there is nothing that can determine him except himself. He has to act from a motive which he gives to himself and which nothing else can determine for him except himself. It is true that this motive is ideally determined in the single world of ideas; but in actual fact it must be selected by the agent from that world and translated into reality. Monism can find the ground for the actual realization of an idea through human action only in the human being himself. That an idea should pass into action must be willed by man before it can happen. Such a will consequently has its ground only in man himself. Man, on this view, is the ultimate determinant of his action. He is free.


Author's additions, 1918
In the second part of this book the attempt has been made to demonstrate that freedom is to be found in the reality of human action. For this purpose it was necessary to single out from the whole sphere of human conduct those actions in which, on the basis of unprejudiced self-observation, one can speak of freedom. These are actions that represent the realization of ideal intuitions. No other actions will be called free by an unprejudiced observer. Yet just by observing himself in an unprejudiced way, man will have to see that it is in his nature to progress along the road towards ethical intuitions and their realization. But this unprejudiced observation of the ethical nature of man cannot, by itself, arrive at a final conclusion about freedom. For were intuitive thinking to originate in anything other than itself, were its essence not self-sustaining, then the consciousness of freedom that flows from morality would prove to be a mere illusion. But the second part of this book finds its natural support in the first part. This presents intuitive thinking as man's inwardly experienced spiritual activity. To understand this nature of thinking by experiencing it amounts to a knowledge of the freedom of intuitive thinking. And once we know that this thinking is free, we can also see to what region of the will freedom may be ascribed. We shall regard man as a free agent if, on the basis of inner experience, we may attribute a self-sustaining essence to the life of intuitive thinking. Whoever cannot do this will never be able to discover a path to the acceptance of freedom that cannot be challenged in any way. This experience, to which we have attached such importance, discovers intuitive thinking within consciousness, although the reality of this thinking is not confined to consciousness. And with this it discovers freedom as the distinguishing feature of all actions proceeding from the intuitions of consciousness.

The argument of this book is built upon intuitive thinking which may be experienced in a purely spiritual way and through which, in the act of knowing, every percept is placed in the world of reality. This book aims at presenting no more than can be surveyed through the experience of intuitive thinking. But we must also emphasize what kind of thought formation this experience of thinking demands. It demands that we shall not deny that intuitive thinking is a self-sustaining experience within the process of knowledge. It demands that we acknowledge that this thinking, in conjunction with the percept, is able to experience reality instead of having to seek it in an inferred world lying beyond experience, compared to which the activity of human thinking would be something purely subjective.

Thus thinking is characterized as that factor through which man works his way spiritually into reality. (And, actually, no one should confuse this world conception that is based on the direct experience of thinking with mere rationalism.) On the other hand, it should be evident from the whole spirit of this argument that for human knowledge the perceptual element only becomes a guarantee of reality when it is taken hold of in thinking. Outside thinking there is nothing to characterize reality for what it is. Hence we must not imagine that the kind of reality guaranteed by sense perception is the only one. Whatever comes to us by way of percept is something that, on our journey through life, we simply have to await. The only question is, would it be right to expect, from the point of view that this purely intuitively experienced thinking gives us, that man could perceive spiritual things as well as those perceived with the senses? It would be right to expect this. For although, on the one hand, intuitively experienced thinking is an active process taking place in the human spirit, on the other hand it is also a spiritual percept grasped without a physical sense organ. It is a percept in which the perceiver is himself active, and a self-activity which is at the same time perceived. In intuitively experienced thinking man is carried into a spiritual world also as perceiver. Within this spiritual world, whatever confronts him as percept in the same way that the spiritual world of his own thinking does will be recognized by him as a world of spiritual perception. This world of spiritual perception could be seen as having the same relationship to thinking that the world of sense perception has on the side of the senses. Once experienced, the world of spiritual perception cannot appear to man as something foreign to him, because in his intuitive thinking he already has an experience which is purely spiritual in character. Such a world of spiritual perception is discussed in a number of writings which I have published since this book first appeared. The Philosophy of Freedom forms the philosophical foundation for these later writings. For it tries to show that the experience of thinking, when rightly understood, is in fact an experience of spirit. Therefore it appears to the author that no one who can in all seriousness adopt the point of view of The Philosophy of Freedom will stop short before entering the world of spiritual perception. It is certainly not possible to deduce what is described in the author's later books by logical inference from the contents of this one. But a living comprehension of what is meant in this book by intuitive thinking will lead quite naturally to a living entry into the world of spiritual perception.