Video Edition

Part I of The Philosophy Of Freedom


 Part II of The Philosophy Of Freedom


Chapter 9-14

44 short videos, approx. 2.5 hours total viewing time. 

#1 Being Pro-Human | Emancipation From Type
   Question Of Free Individuality
   Group Type
   Emancipation From Type
#2 Being Pro-Human | Judge According To Character
   Judge According To Character
   Individual Opportunity
#3 Being Pro-Human | Free Thinking
   Free Self-Determination
   Free Thinking
   Find Innermost Core
   Individual Views And Actions
   Individual Views And Actions
#4 Being Pro-Human | Knowing An Individuality
   Knowing An Individuality
   Free Spirit In Community
   Ethical Conduct
   Moral Contribution To Humanity


#5 Being Pro-Human | Pessimism As A Foundation For Ethics
   Optimism And Pessimism
   Dissatisfaction And Suffering
   Pessimism As A Foundation For Ethics
   Selfless Service
   Pleasure Of Striving For A Goal
   Trying One's Best
#6 Being Pro-Human | Earned Achievement
   The Hopeless Future Of Pessimism
   Selfless Work Of Pessimism
   Strong Will To Achieve Goal
   Earned Achievement
#7 Being Pro-Human | The Human Spirit
   Pessimistic Theory Of Ethics
   Driving Force Of The Human Spirit
   Denial Of The Human Spirit
   Spiritual Desire
#8 Being Pro-Human | Joy Of Achievement
   Immature People
   Spiritual Intuitions
   Joy Of Achievement
   Development Of True Individuality


#9 Being Pro-Human | Moral Intuition
   Moral Intuition
   Unfree Spirit - Recall Past Idea
   Free Spirit - Original Decision
   Unfree Spirit - Obey Instructions
#10 Being Pro-Human | Moral Imagination
   Moral Imagination
   Unfree Spirit - Find Concrete Idea
   Free Spirit - Create Concrete Idea
   Moral Productivity
#11 Being Pro-Human | Moral Technique
   Moral Technique
   Acquiring Moral Technique
   Lack Moral Imagination
   Lack Technical Skill
#12 Being Pro-Human | Evolution Of Ethical Nature
   Theory Of Evolution
   New Moral Ideas
   Human Morality
   Crown Of Evolution
#13 Being Pro-Human | Free Deed
   Natural Ethics
   Free Deed
   Ideal Action
#14 Being Pro-Human | Enslaved Spirit
   Inner Freedom
   Want What Is Right
   Enslaved Spirit


#15 Being Pro-Human | Purposeful Life
   Purposeful Life
   Human Destiny


#16 Being Pro-Human | Moral Authority
   Moral Authority
   Higher Power
    Spiritual Slave
#17 Being Pro-Human | Accusation Of Unfreedom
   Human Automaton
   Reject Hidden Compulsion
   Accusation Of Unfreedom
#18 Being Pro-Human | Free Spirit Intentions
   Free Spirit
   Free Creation Of Ethics
   Collective Obedience
#19 Being Pro-Human | Liberating The Free Spirit
   Attaining The Level Of The Free Spirit
   Find Own Self
   Stages Of Moral Development
   Liberation Of Morality
   Moral Way Is Freedom


#20 Being Pro-Human | Intuition
   Knowing Why I Act
   Act Of Cognition (perception)
   Act Of Cognition (willing)
   To Know Why I Act
   Conceptual Intuition (perception)
   Conceptual Intuition (act of will)
#21 Being Pro-Human | Idealistic Will
   Will Determined By My Idea
   Will Determined By Conceptual System
   Conditional Conceptual System (external world)
   Unconditional Conceptual System (act of will)
   Idealistic Will
#22 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Character
   Two Factors Of Act Of Will
   Characterological Disposition
#23 Being Pro-Human | Motivated Idea
   Characterological Disposition
   Habitual Ideas
   Accumulated Feelings
   Motivating An Idea
   Motivating Action
#24 Being Pro-Human | Driving Forces
   Conventional Social Behavior
   Practical Experience
   Practical Experience To Instinct
#25 Being Pro-Human | Practical Reason
   Conceptual Thinking
   Pure Thinking
   Practical Reason
   Intuitive Impulse
#26 Being Pro-Human | Motives
   Pure Egoism
   Individual Happiness
   Ethical System
   Moral Authority
   Moral Autonomy
#27 Being Pro-Human | Moral Insight
   Moral Insight
   Common Good
   Cultural Progress
#28 Being Pro-Human | Conceptual Intuition
   Motivated By Specific Situation
   Motivated By Pure Intuition
   Commitment To Favored Ethical Maxim
   Value All Ethical Maxims
   Conceptual Intuition
#29 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Intuition
   Highest Level Of Morality
   Idealistic Deed
   Ethical Intuition
   Right Action
#30 Being Pro-Human | Situational Idea
   Conceptual Content Of The Deed
   Perceptual Content Of The Deed
   Confusing The Ethical Motive With The Perceptible Content
   Action Determined By Perceptible Content (not ethical intuition)
   Cognitive Concept
   Moral Duty
   Moral Label
#31 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Individualism
   Capacity For Intuition
   Life Situations
   Ethical Content
   Ethical Individualism
   Moral Norms
#32 Being Pro-Human | Investigate Individual Action
   Science Of Morality
   Investigate Action
#33 Being Pro-Human | Love Of Goal
   Motivated By Ethical Principle
   Human Automaton
   Love Of Action
   Good Or Evil?
   Love Of Goal
#34 Being Pro-Human | Good Or Evil?
   World Continuum
   Laws Of Phenomena
   Moral Technique
   Good Or Evil?
#35 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Impulse
   Corrupt Impulse
   Rise To Conceptual Level
   Preparatory Path
   Ethical Aims
   Ethical Impulse
#36 Being Pro-Human | Free Action
   Common Criminal
   Individual Unified World Of Ideas
   Expression Of Ideal
   Unique Shaping Of Ideas
   Grasp Ideal
   Motivated By Non-Ideal
   Free Action
#37 Being Pro-Human | Unity Of Individuals
   Duty To Serve Common Good
   Right Of Individuality
   Common Moral Order
   Unity Of Individuals
   Unity Of Intentions
   Different Intuitions - Common Idea World
#38 Being Pro-Human | Harmony Of Intentions
   Clash Of Aims
   Live And Let Live
   Harmony Of Intentions
   Ideal Of Human Dignity
#39 Being Pro-Human | Free Spirit
   Forced Right Action
   Free Spirit
   Purest Expression Of Human Nature
   Reality Of Free Spirit
#40 Being Pro-Human | True Self
   Concept Of External Object
   Concept Of True Self
   Find Concept Of True Self
   Actualize Free Spirit
   Know Concept Of True Self
#41 Being Pro-Human | Self-Development
   No Development
   Possibility Of Development
   Stages Of Development
   Final Stage Of Development
#42 Being Pro-Human | Duty Vs Freedom
   Immanuel Kant - Duty
   Rudolf Steiner - Freedom
#43 Being Pro-Human | Dangerous Free Spirit
   Dangerous Free Spirit
   Individuals Set Laws Over Others
   Disobeying Laws Set By Others
   Replacing Existing Laws
#44 Being Pro-Human | Centrality Of Individual
   Don't Establish A Moral World Order
   Don't Act To Be Moral
   Centrality Of Individual
   State And Society To Favor Individual


Chapter 9-14

Pro-Human videos placed within book text.


#20 Being Pro-Human | Intuition

9.0 Conceptual Intuition

[1] In the act of cognition the "concept tree” is determined by the "percept tree”. When faced with a specific percept, there is only one specific concept I can select from the system of universal concepts. The connection of the percept with its concept is determined indirectly and objectively by thinking according to the percept. The connection between a percept and its concept is recognized after the act of perception, but their belonging together is an inherent fact 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, while the concept is the universal element in me. What is brought into an ideal relationship to the external world by means of the concept is my own experience, a perception of my Self. More precisely, it is a percept of my Self as active, as producing effects on the external world. To comprehend my own acts of will I connect a concept with a corresponding percept, that is to say, with the specific volition. In other words, by an act of thinking I integrate my individual faculty (my will) into the general world affairs.

The content of a concept that corresponds to an external perception appearing within the field of my experience, is given through intuition. Intuition is the source for the content of my whole conceptual system. The percept only shows me which concept I have to apply, in any given instance, out of the sum of my intuitions. The content of a concept is conditioned by the percept, but it is not produced by it. On the contrary, it is intuitively given and connected with the percept by an act of thinking. The same is true of the conceptual content of an act of will which is just as little capable of being derived from the act itself. It is gained by intuition.

#21 Being Pro-Human | Idealistic Will

9.1 Idealistic Will

[3] If now the conceptual intuition (the 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 a perceptual object, 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 that corresponds to the external world is conditioned by this external world. We must determine from the percept itself what concept corresponds to it; and how, in turn, this concept will fit in with the rest of my system of Ideas, depends on its intuitive content. The percept thus conditions directly its concept and, thereby, indirectly also its place in the conceptual system of my world. But the ideal content of an act of will, which is drawn from the conceptual system and which precedes the act of will, is determined only by the conceptual system itself.

An act of will that depends on nothing but this ideal content must itself be regarded as ideal, that is, as determined by an Idea. This does not imply, of course, that all acts of will are determined only by Ideas. All factors which determine the human individual have an influence on his will.

#22 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Character

9.2 Ethical Character

[4] For an individual act of will we must distinguish two factors: the motive and the driving force. The motive is the conceptual factor, the driving force is the perceptual factor in will. The conceptual factor, or motive, is what momentary determines the will, the driving force is the permanent determining factor in the individual. The motive of an act of will may be a pure concept, or a concept with a specific reference to something perceived, that is, an idea. Universal and individual concepts (ideas) become motives of will by affecting an individual and determining his action in a certain direction. However, one and the same concept, or one and the same idea works differently in different individuals. The same concept (or idea) can motivate different people to different action.

An act of will, then, is not the result of a concept or an idea alone, but is also influenced by the individual make-up of the person. This individual make-up we will call, according to Eduard von Hartmann, the "characterological disposition." The way in which concepts and ideas affect a person’s characterological disposition gives his life a particular moral or ethical character.

#23 Being Pro-Human | Motivated Idea

9.3 Motivated Idea

[5] The characterological disposition consists of the more or less permanent content of the individual's life, that is, the habitual ideas and feelings he has accumulated. Whether an idea that enters my mind motivates me to will something or not, depends on how it relates to the rest of my ideas and also to my peculiarities of feeling. The stored content of my ideas will depend on the sum total of concepts that during my individual life have become linked to percepts, that is, have become ideas. This sum, again, depends on my greater or lesser capacity for intuition, and on the range of my observations. In other words, it will depend on the subjective and the objective factors of my experiences, on the structure of my mind and on my environment. My feeling life is especially important in determining my characterological disposition. Whether or not I make a particular idea or concept the motive for action will depend on whether it gives me pleasure or pain.

These are the factors to be considered in an act of will. The immediately present idea or concept becomes a motive and determines the goal or purpose of my willing; my characterological disposition determines whether or not I will direct my activity toward that goal. The idea of taking a walk in the next half-hour determines the goal of my action. But this idea is raised to the level of a motive only if it meets with a suitable characterological disposition; that is, if during my life I have formed ideas of the sense and purpose of taking walks such as its value for health, and further, if the idea of taking a walk is accompanied by a feeling of pleasure.

[6] We must therefore distinguish (1) the possible subjective dispositions that will turn specific ideas and concepts into motives, and (2) the possible ideas and concepts capable of influencing the characterological disposition so that an act of will results. The first is the driving force of a moral act, the second its goal.

#24 Being Pro-Human | Driving Forces

9.4 Levels Of Morality
[7] We can identify the driving forces in the moral life by analyzing the elements that make up the life of the individual.

[8] The first level of individual life is perception, more particularly sense-perception. In this stage of individual life perceiving is immediately transformed into willing, without the intervention of either a feeling or a concept. Here the driving force may be called simply instinct. The satisfaction of our lower, purely animal needs (hunger, sexual drive, etc.) occurs in this way. The main characteristic of instinctive life is the immediacy with which the perception triggers the will. This immediacy, originally belonging only to the lower sense life, can also be extended to the perceptions of the higher senses. We react to some event in the external world without thinking, and without any particular feeling. This happens, for example, in conventional social behavior. The driving force of this kind of action is called tact or social good taste. The more often such an immediate reaction to a percept occurs, the more the person will spontaneously act purely under the guidance of tact. Tact becomes part of his characterological disposition.

[9] The second level of life is feeling. Certain feelings attach to what we perceive in the external world. These feelings can become the driving force of action. If I see someone who is starving, my compassion may become the driving force of my action. Such feelings include shame, pride, sense of honor, humility, remorse, compassion, revenge, gratitude, piety, loyalty, love, and duty.

[10] The third level of life is to have thoughts and ideas. An idea or concept can become the motive of an action through mere consideration of the situation. Ideas become motives because in the course of life I regularly connect certain goals of my will to percepts that keep returning in a more or less modified form. This is why, when people who are not entirely without experience face certain percepts, they will always be aware of ideas of actions they have carried out in a similar case, or have seen others carry out. These ideas hover before their minds as determining models in all later decisions; they become part of their characterological disposition. We can call this driving force of the will practical experience. Practical experience gradually becomes purely tactful behavior. This happens when certain typical pictures of actions have become so firmly connected in our minds with ideas of certain situations in life that, in any given case, we skip over all experience based deliberation and pass immediately from the percept to the action.

#25 Being Pro-Human | Practical Reason

[11] The highest level of individual life is that of conceptual thinking without reference to any specific perceptual content. We determine the content of a concept through pure intuition on the basis of a conceptual system. Such a concept contains, at first, no reference to any specific percepts. If we act under the influence of a concept that refers to a percept, that is, under the influence of an idea, then it is the percept that determines our action indirectly by way of the concept. But when we act under the influence of pure intuitions, the driving force of our action is pure thinking. Since it is customary in philosophy to call pure thinking “reason,” we are justified in calling the moral driving force characteristic of this level practical reason. The clearest account of this driving force of the will has been given by Kreyenbuhl. In my opinion his article on this subject is one of the most important contributions to present-day philosophy, especially to Ethics. Kreyenbuhl calls this driving force the practical apriori, that is, an impulse to act springing immediately from my intuition.

[12] It is clear that such an impulse does not, strictly speaking, belong to the characterological disposition. For what acts here as driving force is no longer something purely individual, but is the conceptual, and therefore universal content of my intuition. As soon as I see the justification for making this content the basis and starting-point for action, I enter into willing, regardless of whether I already had the concept, or whether it only enters my consciousness immediately before the action,—that is, regardless of whether or not it already existed in me as a predisposition.

#26 Being Pro-Human | Motives

[13] An action is a real act of will only when a momentary impulse, in the form of a concept or idea, acts on the characterological disposition. Such an impulse then becomes the motive of the will.

[14] The motives of moral conduct are ideas and concepts. There are ethicists who also regard feeling as a motive of morality. They claim that the goal of ethical behavior is to provide the greatest possible amount of pleasure for the acting individual. However, pleasure itself can never be a motive; at best only the idea of pleasure can act as motive. The idea of a future feeling, but not the feeling itself, can act on my characterological disposition. For the feeling does not yet exist in the moment of action; rather, it has to first be produced by the action.

[15] The idea of one's own or another's well-being is, however, properly recognized as a motive of the will. The principle of producing the greatest amount of pleasure for oneself through one's action—that is, of attaining individual happiness—is called Egoism. The attainment of this individual happiness is sought either by ruthlessly considering only one’s own well-being and striving to attain it even at the cost of the happiness of other individuals (Pure Egoism), or by furthering the well-being of others, either because one expects to gain from it indirectly, or because of the fear that upsetting others will endanger one’s own interests (morality of prudence). The particular content of a person’s egoistic ethical principles will depend on his ideas of what constitutes his own, or others' happiness. A person will determine the content of his egoistic striving according to what he considers to be the good things in life (luxurious living, hope of happiness, deliverance from various evils, and so forth).

[16] Another kind of motive is the purely conceptual content of an action. This content does not refer to a particular action, as in the case of specific ideas of what brings one pleasure, but rather to action that is based on a system of ethical principles. These principles, in the form of abstract concepts, can govern the individual's ethical life without him having to trouble himself about the origin of the concepts. In that case, we simply feel the moral necessity to submit to an ethical concept which, in the form of law, controls our actions.

The establishing of this moral necessity is left to those who demand our moral submission; that is, to whatever moral authority we recognize (the head of the family, the state, social custom, the authority of the church, divine revelation). Another example of these ethical principles is when the law does not come from an external authority, but comes from within ourselves. (moral autonomy). In this case we believe we hear the voice to which we must submit in our own mind. The expression of this voice is conscience.

#27 Being Pro-Human | Moral Insight

[17] Moral progress occurs when a person does not simply accept the commandments of an outer or inner authority as a motive for action, but tries to understand the reason why a particular principle of conduct should motivate him. This is to advance from morality based on authority to conduct based on moral insight. At this level of morality a person will consider the needs of a moral life and will let this knowledge determine his actions. Such needs are (1) the greatest possible good of all humanity purely for its own sake; (2) the progress of culture or the moral development of humanity to ever greater perfection; and (3) the realization of individual moral goals that have been grasped by pure intuition.

[18] The greatest possible good of all humanity will naturally be understood in different ways by different people. This principle does not refer to any specific idea of this “good”, but rather means that each individual who acknowledges this principle will strive to do whatever in his opinion best promotes the good of all humanity.

[19] For the person who takes pleasure in the benefits of culture, the progress of culture is seen to be a special application of the ethical principle of greatest possible good. However, he will have to accept the price of progress in the decline and destruction of many things that also contribute to the common good. It is also possible for someone to see a moral necessity in the progress of culture, apart from any feeling of pleasure that it brings. In that case the progress of culture is for him an ethical principle of its own, in addition to the principle of the common good.

#28 Being Pro-Human | Conceptual Intuition

[20] The principles of the common good and the progress of culture are both based on ideas, that is, based on how one applies the content of ethical Ideas to specific situations (percepts). The highest conceivable principle of morality, however, is one that does not start with any reference to specific experience, but springs from the source of pure intuition, and only afterward finds its relationship to percepts (to life). Here, the decision of what is to be done proceeds from a point of view very different than in the previous examples. Whoever favors the principle of the common good, will first ask in all his actions, what his ideals contribute to this general good. Someone who is committed to the ethical principle of the progress of culture will do the same.

There is, however, a still higher level of conduct that does not start from one particular moral goal in each case, but sees a certain value in all ethical maxims and in each case asks whether one or another principle is more important. In certain situations I might regard the progress of culture as right and make it the motive of my action; in others I may contribute to the common good; and in a third case furthering my own individual good is the right course. But only when all other determining factors come second do we rely on conceptual intuition as the primary consideration. In conceptual intuition all other motives retreat and the ideal content alone motivates the action.

#29 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Intuition

9.5 Ethical Intuition

[21] We described the highest level of characterological disposition to be the one that is effective as pure thinking, or practical reason. We have now described conceptual intuition as the highest motive. On closer inspection it will be seen that at this level of morality the driving force and motive coincide; which means that our conduct is not influenced by a predetermined characterological disposition or the external authority of ethical principles accepted as a moral norm. The deed is therefore not the stereotypical action of one who follows the rules of a moral code, nor is it an automatic reaction in response to an outside trigger. Rather it is a deed determined solely by its ideal content.

[22] For such an action to be possible, we must first be capable of ethical intuitions. Whoever lacks the ability to think out for himself the ethical principle to apply in each situation, will never achieve genuine individual willing.

[23] Kant's principle of morality: Act so that the basis of your action can be valid for all people — is the exact opposite of ours. His principle would mean death to all individual action. How all people would act cannot be the standard for me, but rather what is right for me to do in each particular case.

#30 Being Pro-Human | Situational Idea

9.6 Situational Idea

[24] A superficial criticism could make this objection: How can an action be individually adapted to fit a particular case and situation, and yet at the same time be determined in a purely conceptual way by intuition? This objection is due to confusing the ethical motive with the perceptible content of an action. The perceptible content can be the motive, and is one, for example, when an act is done for the progress of culture or from pure egoism, etc., but it is never the motive when the reason for action is a pure ethical intuition. Of course, my Self takes notice of the perceptual content, but it does not allow itself to be determined by it. This content is used only to construct a cognitive concept of the situation for oneself; but the corresponding ethical concept is not derived from the perceptible event.

The cognitive concept of knowledge of a given situation is also a moral concept only if I base my point of view on a single fixed moral principle. If I want to base all my actions exclusively on the moral maxim of cultural progress, then I go through life along a fixed route. From every event that I notice and which attracts my interest there springs a moral duty; namely, to do my part to ensure that the event is used to advance culture.

In addition to the cognitive concept that reveals to me the connections of events or objects according to natural laws, the event or object also has a moral label with instructions for me, as a moral person, about how I should behave. At a higher level these moral labels disappear, and my action is determined in each particular case by my Idea; and more particularly by the Idea that reveals itself to me when I face a concrete situation.

#31 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Individualism

9.7 Ethical Individualism

[25] People vary in their capacity for intuition. In some, Ideas bubble up easily, while others acquire them with great difficulty. The life situations of people that provide the setting for their action is also very different. How a person acts will depend on the way his intuition functions when he is faced with a particular situation.

This aggregate of active Ideas within us, that is, the specific concrete content of our universal intuitions (see 5.10), is part of the individual make up of each person in spite of the universal character of our Idea-world. Insofar as this intuitive content is a reference for action, it is the ethical content of the individual. To let one’s individual ethical content express itself in life is the ethical maxim of the one who regards all other ethical principles as subordinate. We call this standpoint ethical individualism.

[26] In a specific situation the decisive factor in an intuitively determined action is to find the appropriate, completely individual intuition. At this level of morality, we do not speak of general moral concepts (norms, laws), except when they are the result of generalizing individual impulses. General norms always presuppose concrete facts from which they can be derived. But these facts have first to be created by the moral action of individuals.

#32 Being Pro-Human | Investigate Individual Action

9.8 Love Of Goal

[27] When we look for the laws (conceptual principles) guiding the actions of individuals, peoples, and eras, we obtain a system of Ethics that is not a science of ethical norms, but rather is a natural science of morality. Only the laws discovered in this way relate to human conduct as natural laws relate to a particular phenomena. But these laws are not at all identical with the principles on which individuals base their actions. (If someone wants to understand how an individual’s action springs from ethical willing, then he must first investigate in what way the will is related to the action. For this purpose he must single out for study those actions in which this relationship is the determining factor. 1918) If I or someone else reflect on my action later, we can discover the ethical principle it is based on.

#33 Being Pro-Human | Love Of Goal

(While I am acting I am motivated to act by the ethical principle to the extent it lives in me intuitively; this ethical principle is united with my love for the goal that I want to accomplish by my deed. 1918) I do not consult any person or moral code with the question, “Should I do this?” — rather, I carry it out as soon as I have formed the Idea of it. This alone makes it my action.

If a person acts because he accepts certain moral norms, his action is the result of the principles that happen to be part of his moral code. He merely carries out orders. He is a higher form of automaton. Inject some stimulus into his mind and, right away, the gearwheels of his moral principles will begin to turn in a lawful manner to produce a Christian, humane, or selfless action or an action to further cultural progress. It is only when I follow my love for my objective that it is I, myself, who act. At this level of morality I do not acknowledge a lord over me, or an external authority, or a so-called inner voice. I do not accept any external principle for my conduct, because I have found the reason for my action in myself, namely, my love of action.

#34 Being Pro-Human | Good Or Evil?

(I do not ask whether my deed is good or evil; I do it out of my love for it. My action is “good” if my intuition, steeped in love, fits in the right way in the interrelationships between things; the world continuum. This can be experienced intuitively (see 12. 3). My action is “evil” if that is not the case. 1918) I do not ask myself, “How would another person act in my situation?” Rather, I act as I, this particular individuality, is motivated to act. I am not led by what is usually done, no common custom, no universal human principle that applies to all, no moral standard. Rather, my immediate guide is my love for the goal. I feel no compulsion, neither the compulsion of nature that dominates me through my instincts, nor the compulsion of moral commandments. I simply want to carry out what lies within me.

#35 Being Pro-Human | Ethical Impulse

9.9 Free Action

[28] The defenders of universal ethical norms might object to these arguments as follows: If everyone has the right to fully express themselves and do what he pleases, then there is no difference between a good deed and a crime, every corrupt impulse in me has the same right to be expressed as has the intention of serving the common good. As an ethical person, the decisive factor for me is not the fact that I have conceived the Idea of an action, but whether I judge it to be good or evil. Only if it is good should I carry it out.

[29] My reply to this objection is this: I am not talking about children or immature people who follow their animal or social instincts. I am talking about those who are capable of rising to the level of the conceptual content of the world.

(If we want to get at the essence of human willing, we must distinguish between the path that brings willing up to a certain stage of development, and the unique character willing acquires as it nears the goal. Rules play a rightful part at a stage of development on the way towards this goal. The goal is to conceive ethical aims grasped by pure intuition. A person attains ethical aims to the extent that he has any ability at all to lift himself to the level at which intuition grasps the conceptual content of the world. In individual cases of willing, other elements are usually mixed in with ethical aims, either as motive or driving force. Nevertheless, intuition can still be the determining factor in human willing, wholly or in part. A person does what he should do; he provides the setting where “should” becomes “do.” One’s own action is allowed to spring from oneself. Here, the impulse can only be completely individual. And, in fact, only an act of will that springs from intuition can be individual. 1918 addition)

#36 Being Pro-Human | Free Action

It is only in an age where immature people include blind instinct as part of human individuality, (that something evil like the act of a criminal can be described as an expression of individuality in the same sense as an action that expresses a pure intuition. The animal instinct that drives someone to commit a crime does not originate in intuition. It does not belong to what is individual in a person. It belongs to what is most common in him, to what is equally present in all individuals. Each of us must work our way out of what is common by means of our individuality.)

What is individual in me is not my organism with its instincts and feelings, but the unified world of Ideas that lights up within this organism. My instincts, cravings, and passions only establish the fact that I belong to the general human race. What establishes my individuality is the fact that something ideal expresses itself in a unique way through these instincts, passions, and feelings. Through my instincts and cravings I am the kind of person of whom there are twelve to the dozen. What makes me an individual is the unique shaping of Ideas by which I designate myself as an I within the dozen. Only a person other than myself might distinguish me from others by differences in my animal nature. I distinguish myself from others by my thinking, that is, by actively grasping the Ideal element that expresses itself through my organism. Therefore it definitely cannot be said that a criminal act is motivated by an Idea in him. In fact, the characteristic feature of criminal activity is precisely that it is motivated by non-ideal elements in the human being.

[30] An action is free when its reason springs from the ideal part of my individual nature. An action is not free when it is compelled by nature or is carried out under the obligation imposed by a moral norm.

[31] A person is free to the extent he is able to obey only himself in every moment of his life. An ethical act is my act only if it can be called free in this sense. So far we have examined the prerequisites necessary for a willed action to feel free. What follows will show how this purely ethical Idea of freedom comes to actualization in human nature.

#37 Being Pro-Human | Unity Of Individuals

9.10 Social Harmony

[32] Acting out of freedom does not exclude moral laws; it includes them, but shows itself to be on a higher level than actions dictated solely by these laws. Why should my action be of less service to the common good if I have acted for the love of it, than if I have acted only because I consider it my duty to serve the common good? The concept of duty excludes freedom, because it does not recognize the right of individuality, but demands that the individual conform to general norms. Freedom of action is conceivable only from the standpoint of Ethical Individualism.

[33] But how is a social life possible if each one is only striving to assert their own individuality? This question is characteristic of misguided Moralism. The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if all are united by a common moral order. This shows that the Moralist does not understand the unity of the world of Ideas. He fails to see that the world of Ideas that inspires me is none other than the one inspiring my neighbor.

This unity of individuals, however, is a result of our experience of the world. It cannot be anything else. For if we could recognize it in any other way than by individual observation, it would follow that universal norms rather than individual experience would be dominant in that sphere. Individuality is only possible when each individual knows others through individual observation alone. 1918 addition

#38 Being Pro-Human | Harmony Of Intentions

I differ from my neighbor, not because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because he receives different intuitions than I do out of our common world of Ideas. He wants to live out his intuitions, I mine. If our source truly is the world of Ideas, and we do not obey any external impulses (physical or spiritual), then we can only meet in the same striving, in the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between morally free people. Only the morally unfree person who blindly obeys natural instincts or the commands of duty turns his back on a neighbor if he does not obey the same instincts and the same commands as himself. To live and let live is the fundamental principle of a free human being. That is, to live in love of the action and to let live in understanding the other's will. He knows of no other obligation than the one his volition is in intuitive agreement. His power of conceiving Ideas will tell him how he should act in a particular situation.

[34] If the source of social compatibility were not a basic part of human nature, no external laws could instill it into human nature! Only because individuals are of one mind can they live out their lives side by side. The free individual lives in full confidence that he and all other free human beings belong to one spiritual/intellectual world, and that their intentions will harmonize. The free individual does not demand agreement from his fellow human beings, but he expects it, because it is inherent in human nature. (I am not referring here to the necessity for this or that external institution. I refer to the disposition, to the state of mind, through which a person, aware of himself among fellow human beings whom he values, best expresses the ideal of human dignity.)

#39 Being Pro-Human | Free Spirit

9.11 Free Spirit
[35] Many will say that the concept of the free individual that I have outlined here is a chimera nowhere to be found in practice. We have to deal with real people and with them we can expect moral behavior only if they obey moral rules, if they look upon their ethical task as a duty and do not freely follow their inclinations and loves. I certainly do not doubt this. One would have to be blind to do so. But if this is to be the final conclusion, then away with all this hypocrisy about “ethics.”! Then simply say: Since human nature is not free, it must be forced to the right action.

It is irrelevant whether his unfreedom is controlled by physical force or by moral laws, whether a person is unfree because he follows his insatiable sexual drive, or because he is bound by the restrictions of conventional morality. But one should not say that such a person can correctly call his actions his own, since he is driven to them by a force other than himself. Yet, within all this enforced order there arise free spirits who in all the entanglement of customs, legal codes, religious practice, and so on learn to be true to themselves. They are free in so far as they obey only themselves; unfree in so far as they submit to control. Which of us can say that he is really free in all he does? Yet in each of us there dwells something deeper in which the free human finds expression.

[36] Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. The concept of man is not complete unless it includes the free spirit as the purest expression of human nature. After all, we are human in the fullest sense only to the extent that we are free.

[37] Many will say this is an ideal. No doubt, but it is an ideal that has reality. It is a real element in our nature that manifests its effects on the surface. It is no “thought-out” or “dreamed-about” ideal, but one that has life and manifests itself clearly even in the least developed form of its existence. If human beings were nothing but creatures of nature, it would be absurd to look for ideals—that is, our Ideas that are not yet actualized but whose implementation we demand.

#40 Being Pro-Human | True Self

In dealing with external objects the Idea is determined by the percept. We have done our part when we recognize the connection between Idea and percept. But this is not so with the human being. The content of his nature is not determined without him. The concept of his true self as an ethical human being (free spirit) is not objectively united with the perceptual content “human being” from the start, needing only to be confirmed by knowledge later. A human being must unite his concept with the percept “human being” by his own activity. In this case concept and percept only coincide if the individual through his own effort makes them coincide. But he cannot do this until he has found the concept of the free spirit, which is the concept of his true Self.

Because of the way we are constituted—a boundary-line is drawn by our organization between percept and concept; knowledge overcomes this division. A division is also present in our subjective nature; the individual overcomes it in the course of his development by bringing the concept of his true Self to expression in his outward life. Thus, both the intellectual and the moral life of the human being lead him to his twofold nature; perception (immediate experience) and thought. The intellectual life overcomes the division through knowledge. The moral life overcomes it by actualizing the free spirit.

Every existing thing has its inborn concept (the law of its existence and activity). In external things the concept is indivisibly united with the percept, and only appears to be separated from it within the organization of human minds. But in the case of the human being percept and concept are at first actually separated, to be just as actually united by him.

Someone might object that a particular concept corresponds to our perception of a person at every moment of his life, just as is the case with everything else. I can form the concept of a typical person and I may also find such a person as a percept. If I now add the concept of the typical person to the concept of the free spirit, then I have two concepts for the same object.

#41 Being Pro-Human | Self-Development

[38] This objection is one-sided thought. As a perceptible object I am subject to continual change. As a child I was one thing, as a youth another, as an adult still another. In fact, at every moment the perception-picture of myself is different from what it was a moment before. These changes can take place in such a way that they are always the expression of the same stereotypical person, or in such a way that they represent the expression of the free spirit. My actions, too, as perceptible objects, are subject to these changes.

[39] The perceptible object "human" has the possibility of transformation, just as the plant seed has the possibility of growing into a fully developed plant. The plant is transformed in growth because of the objective laws of nature that are inherent in it. The human being remains in his undeveloped state if he does not take up the stuff of transformation within him and develop himself through his own power. Nature makes a human into merely a natural being; society makes him into a law-abiding being; only he alone can make himself into a free being. At a certain stage of his development nature releases the human being from her chains; society carries his development a stage further; he alone can give himself the finishing touches.

[40] The standpoint of free morality does not claim that the free spirit is the only form in which a human being can exist. It sees the free spirit as the final stage of human evolution. This does not deny that conduct in obedience to norms has its legitimate place as a stage in development. The point is that we cannot acknowledge this stage to be the highest level of morality. The free spirit overcomes the rules of norms in that he does not solely accept commands as motives, but orders his conduct according to his own impulses (intuitions).

#42 Being Pro-Human | Duty Vs Freedom

[41] Kant says: “Duty! You exalted, mighty name! You who contain nothing lovable, nothing ingratiatingly agreeable, but demand submission.” You “lay down a law,… before which all inclinations are silent, even though they secretly work against it!” To this, a human being, out of the consciousness of the free spirit, replies: "Freedom! You friendly, more human name! You who contain all that is morally loved, all that my humanity most values, and makes me no one’s servant. You lay down no law, but wait for what my moral love acknowledges as law, because it resists every law that is forced upon it."

[42] This is the contrast between morality that is law-abiding and morality that is free.

#43 Being Pro-Human | Dangerous Free Spirit

9.12 Social Order
[43] The philistine, who sees morality as outwardly established rules, is sure to look upon the free spirit as a danger to society. But this is only because his view is narrowly focused on a limited period of time. If the philistine were able to see beyond this, he would soon find that the free spirit seldom finds it necessary to transgress the laws of the state, and never needs to confront these laws with any real conflict. For the laws of the state, just like all other objective ethical laws, have their origin in the intuitions of free spirits. There is no traditional law exercised by a family authority that was not at one time intuitively conceived and laid down by an ancestor. Likewise, the conventional laws of morality are first established by certain individuals. And the laws of the state always originate in the head of a statesman.

These leading minds have set up laws over others. No one is made unfree by these laws unless he forgets their origin and turns them into divine commands, objective moral duties, or the authoritative voice of his own conscience. But the person who does not forget the origin of laws and seeks it in the human being, will recognize them as belonging to the same world of Ideas that is the source of his own moral intuitions. If he thinks he has better intuitions, he will try to replace the existing ones with his own. If he finds the existing ones justified, he will act in accordance with them as if they were his own.

#44 Being Pro-Human | Centrality Of Individual

[44] The human being is not here for the purpose of establishing a moral world order. Anyone who claims that he is, remains, in his scientific knowledge of Man, at the same point at which natural science stood when it believed that a bull has horns in order to butt. Fortunately, scientists have thrown out the concept of objective purposes in nature as a dead theory.

Ethics is having more difficulty getting rid of this concept. However, just as horns are not there for the sake of butting, rather butting exists through the presence of horns, so human beings are not there for the sake of morality, but morality exists through the presence of human beings. The free human being acts morally because he has a moral Idea, he does not act in order to be moral. Human individuals, with moral Ideas that belong to their nature, are the precondition for a moral world order.

[45] The human individual is the source of all morality and the center of all life. State and society exist only because they have necessarily grown out of the life of individuals. That state and society should react back on the life of the individual is understandable, just as it is understandable that butting, which exists through the horns, reacts back to further develop the bull’s horns which would otherwise become stunted with prolonged disuse. Likewise, the individual would become stunted with prolonged isolation outside human society. This is why the social order is formed, so that it can react back favorably on the individual.



#16 Being Pro-Human | Moral Authority

10.0 Moral Authority

[1] The naive person, who only accepts as real what he can see with his eyes and grasp with his hands, also demands motives for his moral life that can be perceived with the senses. He needs someone to communicate the grounds for action to him in a way that is understandable to his senses. He will allow these grounds of action to be dictated to him as commands by a person whom he considers wiser and more powerful than himself, or whom he recognizes for some other reason to be a power over him. In this way there result, as moral principles, the authority of family, state, society, church and Divinity mentioned in the previous chapter. The most narrow-minded person still submits to the authority of one particular person. He who is a little more advanced allows his ethical conduct to be dictated by a majority (state, society). In every case he relies on some power that can be perceived. When at last the conviction dawns on some one that his authorities are, after all, human beings just as weak as himself, then he seeks guidance from a higher power, from a Divine Being, whom he endows, however, with features perceptible to the senses. He conceives this Being as communicating to him the conceptual content of his moral life in a perceptible way—believing, for example, that God appeared in a burning bush, or that He walked among the people in human form, telling them in ways audible to their ears what to do and what not to do.

[2] At the highest ethical level of development attained by naive realism, the moral law (the moral Idea) is separated from every external being, and is thought of hypothetically as an absolute power within oneself. What is first heard as the external voice of God is now perceived as an independent power in his own mind. He now speaks of it in a way that identifies it with the voice of conscience.

#17 Being Pro-Human | Accusation Of Unfreedom

10.1 Mechanical Laws Of Materialism

[3] When this happens, the level of naive consciousness has been abandoned and we enter the region where moral laws, as ethical standards, are treated as independently existing norms. They are no longer made dependent on a human mind, but are turned into metaphysical entities that exist in and through themselves. They are analogous to the visible-invisible forces that always accompany 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 also look for the origin of morality. Here there are several different possible views on the origin of morality. If the thing-in-itself is unthinking and acts according to purely mechanical laws, which is the view of materialism, then it must also produce out of itself, by purely mechanical necessity, the human individual along with everything about him. On that view the consciousness of freedom can be nothing but an illusion. For while I believe myself to be the creator of my deeds, it is the material substances of which I am composed, together with their processes, that are at work within me. I imagine myself free, but in fact everything I do is merely the result of the material processes underlying my physical and mental organization. We have the feeling of freedom only because we are ignorant of the motives that compel us. "We must emphasize that the feeling of freedom is due to the absence of external compelling motives... Our action, like our thinking, is necessitated.” (Ziehen, Guidelines of Physiological Pathology)

10.2 Dictates Of Spiritual Being
[4] Another possibility is that the Absolute hidden behind all phenomena is thought of as a spiritual being. In this case he will also seek the impulse to act in some kind of spiritual power. He will regard the moral principles to be found in his own reason as flowing from this spiritual being which has its own special intentions for humanity. To this kind of Dualist the moral laws appear to be dictated by the Absolute. The human being's only task is to discover, by means of his reason, the decisions of the Absolute Being and then carry them out. For the Dualist the moral world order is the visible reflection of a higher order that lies behind it. Our earthly morality is a manifestation of the divine world order. It is not human beings who matter in this moral order but reality in itself, that is, God. Human beings should do what God wills. Eduard von Hartmann, who presents this being as a deity whose existence is a life of suffering, believes that the Divine Being created the world so that it could be redeemed from its infinitely great suffering through it. This philosopher regards the moral evolution of humanity as a process whose purpose is the redemption of God.

"Only through the building up of an ethical world order by reasoning, self-aware individuals is it possible for the world process to be led towards its goal... Existence in its reality is the incarnation of God. The world process is the passion of God who has become flesh, and at the same time the path to redemption of Him who was crucified in the flesh; and morality is our cooperation in the shortening of this path of suffering and redemption." (Hartmann, Phenomenology of Moral Consciousness)

10.3 Automaton Or Slave
In this view, the human being does not act of his own volition; he is obliged to act because it is God's will to be redeemed. A Materialistic Dualist makes the human being into an automaton, whose action is nothing but the effect of causality according to purely mechanical laws, a Spiritualistic Dualist (the one who treats the Absolute, the thing-in-itself, as spiritual) makes the human being a slave of the will of the Absolute. There is no room for freedom in Materialism or Spiritualism, and in fact any form of Metaphysical Realism.

10.4 Imposed Principles
[5] Naive and Metaphysical Realism, if they are to be consistent, have to deny freedom for one and the same reason. They both see the human being as doing no more than putting into effect, or carrying out, principles imposed upon him by necessity. Naive Realism kills freedom through submission to authority, whether it be that of a perceptible being, or that of an entity thought of as similar to a perceptible being, or, finally, that of the abstract voice of conscience. The Metaphysician cannot acknowledge freedom because, for him, the human being is determined, mechanically or morally, by a "thing-in-itself."

10.5 Free Ethical Impulse
[6] Monism acknowledges the partial justification of Naive Realism because it recognizes the part played by the world of percepts. Whoever is not capable of producing moral Ideas through intuition must accept them from others. To the extent a person receives his ethical principles from outside he is in fact unfree. But Monism attaches as much importance to the Idea as to the percept. And the Idea can manifest itself in the human individual. To the extent a person follows his impulses from this side, he is free.

10.6 Accusation Of Unfreedom
Monism denies any validity to Metaphysics, and consequently it also rejects the impulses of action that come from so-called "things-in-themselves." According to the Monistic view, a person acts unfreely when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion, he acts freely when he obeys none but himself. There is no room in Monism for any kind of unconscious compulsion hidden behind percept and concept. If someone claims that the action of another person is done unfreely, then he must identify the thing or the person or the institution within the perceptible world, that made this person act. If the claimant bases his assertion upon motivating causes of action lying outside the real world that is accessible to the human being through his senses and intellect, then Monism must reject such an assertion.

#18 Being Pro-Human | Free Spirit Intentions

10.7 Realization Of The Free Spirit

[7] According to the Monistic view, human action is partly free, partly unfree. He is conscious of himself as unfree in the world of percepts, but from within himself he brings the free spirit to realization.

10.8 Individual Will Impulse
[8] The moral laws which the Metaphysician is bound to assume flow from a higher power, are, for the Monist, thoughts conceived by human beings. For him the ethical world order is neither the imprint of a purely mechanical natural order, nor that of a divine government of the world. It is entirely the free creation of human beings. The human being does not have to enforce God's will in the world, but his own. He does not carry out the decisions and intentions of another being, but his own. Monism does not find, behind human actions, a ruler of the world who determines them according to his will. Rather, to the extent that they realize intuitive Ideas, human beings pursue only their own, human goals. In fact, each individual pursues his own particular goals. For the world of Ideas does not come to expression in a collective of people, but only in human individuals. What appears as the common goal of a collective of people is in reality the result of the will impulses of individual members, usually a few select ones whom the others obey as authorities. Each one of us has it in him to be a free spirit, just as every rosebud is potentially a rose.

#19 Being Pro-Human | Liberating The Free Spirit

10.9 Course Of Development That Leads To Free Spirit

[9] Monism, then, in the sphere of genuinely moral action, is the true philosophy of freedom. As a philosophy of reality, Monism rejects the metaphysical (unreal) restrictions on the free spirit—just as it recognizes the physical and historical (naive real) restrictions on the naive person. Because the Monist does not look upon the human being as a finished product who expresses his full nature in every moment of his life, he considers the dispute as to whether a human being is free or not to be of no consequence. He sees a self-developing human being and asks whether, on this course of development, can the level of the free spirit be attained.

10.10 Find Own Self
[10] Monism knows that Nature does not release the human being from its care finished and complete as a free spirit, but that she leads him up to a certain stage. From this, as still unfree beings, he must develop himself further to the point where he finds his own self.

10.11 Truly Moral Worldview
[11] Monism is not a denial of morality; it is the clear realization that someone acting under physical or moral compulsion cannot be truly ethical. It regards the stages of automatic behavior (following natural urges and instincts) and the passage through obedient behavior (following ethical norms), as necessary preparatory stages of morality, but it also understands that the human being can overcome both preliminary stages through the free spirit. Monism liberates a truly moral world view from the shackles, within the world, of naive ethical maxims, and from the ethical maxims, outside the real world, of speculative Metaphysicians. Monism can no more eliminate naive maxims from the world than it can eliminate percepts from the world. But it rejects the otherworldly maxims of speculative Metaphysicians because Monism looks for all the principles for explaining world phenomena within the world, and none outside it.

10.12 Moral Way Is Freedom
Just as Monism refuses even to think about cognitive principles other than those that apply to human beings (see Chapter 7), so it also decisively rejects the thought of ethical maxims other than those originated by human beings. Human morality, like human knowledge, is conditioned by human nature. And just as beings of a higher order would probably understand knowledge to mean something very different from what it means to us, so we may assume that they would also have a very different morality. Perhaps, even, their actions should not be viewed from the standpoint of morality at all. To talk about such things is absurd from the point of view of Monism. For Monists, morality is a specifically human quality, and freedom is the human way of being moral.


(Human Destiny)

#15 Being Pro-Human | Purposeful Life

11.0 Concept Of Purpose

[1] Among the various currents of thought pursued in the cultural life of humanity, there is one we must now trace that can be called the elimination of the concept of purpose in areas where it does not belong. A purposeful event has a certain kind of sequence of phenomena. Purposefulness is truly real only when, in contrast to the relationship between cause and effect where an earlier event determines a later one, the reverse is the case and a later event determines an earlier one. This sequence is possible only in the case of human action. The human being carries out a deed that he first depicts to himself in idea, and lets this idea determine his action. With the help of the idea, what comes later (the deed) influences the earlier (the doer). This detour of first depicting the action with an idea is always necessary for a chain of events to contain purpose.

11.1 Perceptual Factor
[2] In analyzing the process of 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 remain side by side in our consciousness, if we were not able to connect them through their corresponding concepts.

11.2 Conceptual Factor
The percept of the effect must always come after the percept of the cause. If the effect is to have a real influence on 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. Anyone who claims that the flower is the purpose of the root, that is to mean that the flower influences the root, can only say this about the factor in the flower that is revealed by thinking. The perceptual factor of the flower does not yet exist at the time when the root is formed.

11.3 Human Purpose
In order for a connection to contain purpose it is necessary to have not only an ideal, lawful connection between the later and the earlier event, but the concept (law) of the effect must actually, by a perceptible process, influence the cause. Such a perceptible influence of a concept on something else can only be observed in the case of human actions. Here alone, then, is the concept of purpose applicable.

11.4 Invented Purpose
The naive consciousness, which accepts as real only what is perceptible—as we have repeatedly pointed out—attempts to introduce perceptible factors where only ideal factors can actually be found. It looks for perceptible connections in perceptible events or, if it does not find them, imagines them to be there. The concept of purpose, valid for subjective actions, is well suited for inventing such imaginary connections. The naive mind knows how he brings about an event, and concludes that Nature will do it in the same way. In the purely ideal connections of Nature he sees not only imperceptible forces but also imperceptible real purposes. The human being make his tools to fit a purpose. So the Naive Realist has the Creator construct organisms on the same principle. This false concept of purpose is only gradually disappearing from the sciences. In philosophy, even today, it still does a great deal of mischief. Philosophers still ask such questions as: What is the purpose of the world? What is the destination of humanity? (and consequently the purpose) and so forth.

11.5 Laws Of Nature
[3] Monism rejects the concept of purpose in all areas, with the sole exception of human action. It looks for laws of Nature, but not for purposes of Nature. Purposes in Nature are arbitrary assumptions just like imperceptible forces (Chapter 7).

11.6 Purposeful Life
From the standpoint of monism, purposes of life not set by the human being himself are also unjustifiable assumptions. For something to be purposeful, a human being must first give it purpose. Something done on purpose can only come about through an idea being realized. In a realistic sense, an idea can become operative only in human beings.

11.7 Human Destiny
Therefore human life has no other purpose or destiny than the one that the human being gives it. To the question: What is one's task in life? Monism can only answer: The task he sets himself. I have no predestined mission in the world; it is at every moment the one I choose. I do not set out on life's journey confined to a fixed route.

11.8 Purposeful Ideas Actualized
[4] Ideas are realized purposefully only through human agents. Consequently, it is invalid to speak of the embodiment of ideas by history. Statements such as: "History is the evolution of humanity towards freedom," or “the realization of the moral world order” and so forth, are untenable from the Monistic point of view.

11.9 Formative Principle Of Nature
[5] Advocates of the concept of purpose believe that to give up purpose in the world, they would also have to give up all order and unity in the world. Here for example is Robert Hamerling:

"As long as there are instincts in Nature, it is foolish to deny purposes in it."

[6] "Just as the structure of a limb of the human body is not determined and conditioned by an Idea of this limb floating in the air, but by its connection with the more inclusive whole—the body to which the limb belongs—so the structure of every natural being, whether plant, animal, or man, is not determined and conditioned by an Idea of it floating in the air, but by the formative principle of the more inclusive whole of nature which creates and organizes itself according to a purpose.”

11.10 Teleology
And in the same volume:
"The theory of purpose (Teleology) only maintains that in spite of the thousand discomforts and sufferings of this natural life, there is a high degree of adaptation to purpose and plan unmistakably present in the forms and evolutions of Nature―a purpose and a plan, however, that is realized only within the limits of natural laws, and which does not tend to the production of some Utopia, where life faces no death, and growth no decay, with all the more or less unpleasant but unavoidable stages in between...

[7] When the critics of the concept of purpose (Teleology) bring a laboriously collected rubbish-heap of partial or complete, imaginary or real examples that appear to show no purpose, and place this against a miraculous world full of purpose such as can be seen in all of Nature's domains, then I just find that amusing.”

11.11 Harmony Within Whole
[8] What is meant here by “purpose”? The harmony between the parts to form a perceptible whole. However, since there are laws (Ideas) underlying all percepts that we discover by means of thinking, the harmony found between the parts of a perceptible whole is in fact the ideal (logical) harmony of the Ideas that underlies this perceptible whole. To say that an animal or the human being is not determined by an Idea floating in the air is a misleading way of putting it. When expressed in the right way the criticized view ceases to be absurd. Certainly an animal is not determined by an Idea floating in the air; it is however, determined by an inborn Idea that makes up the law of its nature. It is just because the Idea is not outside of the being, but works within it as its nature, that one cannot speak of purpose. Those who deny that natural beings are determined from outside (whether by an Idea floating in the air or an Idea that exists outside the creature in the mind of a world creator is, in this context, irrelevant) should admit that these beings are not determined by purpose and plan from outside, but by cause and law from within.

I construct a machine purposefully, according to purpose, when I connect its parts together in a way that is not given in nature. The purpose contained in the arrangement consists in my having set how the machine will operate, as its Idea, into the machine itself. This makes the machine an object of perception with a corresponding Idea. Creatures of Nature are beings of this kind. Whoever calls a thing purposeful if it is formed according to a plan or law might just as well apply the same label to beings of nature. But this kind of lawfulness must not be confused with the purpose underlying subjective human action. In order to have a purpose it is absolutely necessary that the effective cause is a concept—in fact, the concept of the effect. But nowhere in nature can we find evidence that concepts are causes. The concept always proves to be merely the conceptual link between a cause and an effect. In nature, causes are always something perceptible.

11.12 Cosmic Purpose
[9] A Dualist can talk of cosmic purposes and nature purposes. Where we see an example of a systematic linking of cause and effect according to law, a Dualist is free to assume that what we are seeing is only a faint copy of a relationship within which the Absolute Cosmic Being has realized his purpose. For the Monist, any reason for assuming purpose in the World or Nature falls away with the rejection of an Absolute Cosmic Being.


12. MORAL IMAGINATION (Darwinism and Ethics)

#9 Being Pro-Human | Moral Intuition

12.0 Moral Intuition (originate ethical decision)

[1] A free spirit acts according to his impulses—that is, according to intuitions selected by thinking from his whole world of ideas. The reason why an unfree spirit singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas, in order to make it the basis of a deed, lies in what the perceptual world has given him—that is, in his past experiences. Before making a decision he recalls what someone else has done or recommended in a similar situation, or what God has commanded to be done in such a case, and so on. Then he acts according to these recollections. The free spirit is not bound by these prior conditions. He makes a completely original decision. He cares as little about what others have done, as about what they have ordered be done in such a case. He is influenced by purely ideal (logical) reasons to select a particular concept from the sum total of his concepts, and to translate it in action. His action will, however, belong to perceptible reality. What he accomplishes will have a very specific perceptible content. The concept will be realized in a particular concrete event. As a concept, it cannot contain this particular instance. It is related to the event in the same way as a concept in general relates to a percept— for example, as the concept “lion” relates to a particular lion. The link between concept and percept is the idea (see Chapter 6). The unfree spirit is given this intermediate link from the start. His motives are present in his mind from the start in the form of ideas. When he intends to do something he does it in the way he has seen others do it or he obeys the instructions he receives in each separate case. That is why authority is most effective through examples, by conveying very specific actions for the guidance of the unfree spirit. The action of a Christian is based less on the doctrines than on the example of the Savior. Rules are less effective for positive deeds to get things done than for restraining certain actions. Laws are formulated as universal concepts only when they forbid something, not when they order something done. Laws concerning what the unfree spirit should do must be given in specific concrete form: Clean the walk in front of your door! Pay your taxes in this amount at that tax office here named! And so on. The laws forbidding actions are given a conceptual form: You should not steal! You should not commit adultery! These laws, too, only influence the unfree spirit by means of a concrete idea; for example, the idea of the corresponding secular punishment, or of the torments of conscience, or of eternal damnation, and so on.

#10 Being Pro-Human | Moral Imagination

12.1 Concrete Idea (specific goal)

[2] The moment an impulse to action is present in universal conceptual form (for example, You should do good to your fellow human beings! You should live in ways that ensure good health!) then in each particular case the concrete idea of the action (the relation of the concept to a perceptual content) must first be found. For a free spirit, who has no role model and no fear of punishment, etc., this translation of the concept into an idea is always necessary.

12.2 Moral Imagination (translate ethical principle to specific goal)
[3] Concrete ideas are formed by us on the basis of our concepts by means of the imagination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to carry out his ideas, in order to assert himself in the world, is moral imagination. This is the source of the free spirit's action. In fact, only people with moral imagination are actually morally productive. Those who merely preach morality, people who merely devise codes of ethics without the ability to condense them into concrete ideas—are morally unproductive. They are like the critic who can explain very competently what a work of art should be like, but is himself incapable of achieving the slightest artistic production.

#11 Being Pro-Human | Moral Technique

12.3 Moral Technique (transform world w/o violating existing laws)

[4] In order to realize the ideas produced by moral imagination, one must set to work in a specific field of percepts. Human deeds do not create percepts; but transforms already existing ones by giving them a new form. To be able to transform a specific perceptual object or group of objects in accordance with a moral idea, it is necessary to understand their underlying laws (the way it has worked until now, which one intends to change or give a new direction). One must also find the method by which it is possible to transform the existing laws into new ones. This part of effective moral activity depends on a knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one is dealing. This knowledge will be found in a branch of general scientific knowledge. So in addition to the faculty for having moral concepts (moral intuition) and moral imagination, moral deeds presuppose the ability to transform the perceptible world without violating the natural laws by which things are connected. This ability is moral technique. It can be learned in the same way that science in general can be learned.

In general, people are better able to find concepts for the existing world than to productively originate out of their imagination future deeds, not yet in existence. Therefore, someone without moral imagination may well receive moral ideas from others and skillfully work them into reality. The reverse can also occur, where someone with moral imagination lacks technical skill and must rely on the service of others to carry out their ideas.

[5] Insofar as knowledge of the objects within our field of activity is necessary for acting morally, our action will depend on this kind of knowledge. What we need to know here are natural laws. These belong to the Natural Sciences, not to Ethics.

#12 Being Pro-Human | Evolution Of Ethical Nature

12.4 Science Of Morality

[6] Moral imagination and the faculty for having moral concepts can become a subject of knowledge only after they have first been put to use by the individual. By then, they no longer regulate life; for they have already put it in order. They must now be regarded as operating causes, and be explained in the same way as any other causes (they are purposes only for the subject). The study of them is a Natural Science of moral ideas.

[7] It is not possible to have ethics as a Normative Science in the form of a science of standards, over and above this science.

12.5 Ethical Rules Newly Created At Every Moment
[8] Some people have tried to retain the normative character of moral laws— at least, to the extent that ethics is being understood in the same way as dietetics. Dietetics derives general rules from the organism’s requirements for life, in order then, on the basis of these laws, to give detailed directions for influencing the body (Paulson, System of Ethics). This is a false comparison, because our moral life is not comparable to the life of the organism. The organism functions without our doing anything about it. We find its laws already present in the world, so we can seek the laws and apply those that we discover. Moral laws, on the other hand, do not exist until we create them. We cannot apply them until they have been created. The error is due to the fact that the content of moral laws is not newly created at every moment, but is handed down. The moral laws inherited from our ancestors appear to be given, just like the natural laws of the organism. But it does not follow that a later generation has the right to apply them as if they were rules of diet. For they apply to individuals, and not, like natural laws, to a member of a species. As an organism I am a member of a species and will live in harmony with nature if I apply the natural laws of the species to my particular case. As a moral being I am an individual and have my own laws.

12.6 Evolution Of Morality
[9] The view taken here appears to contradict the fundamental doctrine of modern Natural Science known as the Theory of Evolution. But it only appears to do so. By evolution we mean the real emergence of the later out of the earlier according to natural laws. In the organic world, evolution means that the later (more perfect) organic forms are real descendants of the earlier (less perfect) forms, and have emerged from them according to natural laws. An adherent of the theory of organic evolution imagines a time on earth when someone could have followed with his own eyes the gradual emergence of reptiles out of the Proto-Amniotes, if he could have been there as an observer endowed with a sufficiently long span of life. In the same way Evolutionists imagine that someone could have watched the solar system emerge from out of the Kant-Laplace primordial nebula, if he could have remained at a suitable spot out in the cosmic world ether during that infinitely long time. But no Evolutionist will claim that, without having ever seen a reptile, he could derive the concept of reptiles with all its characteristics, from his concept of Proto-Amniotes. Just as little would it be possible to derive the solar system from the concept of the Kant-Laplace nebula, if the concept of the nebula is understood to be determined solely by the direct perception of the primordial nebula. This means, in other words, if the Evolutionist is consistent in his thinking, he must concede that while later phases of evolution do evolve out of earlier ones, we can see the connection only if we are given both concepts: that of the less perfect and that of the perfect. But he could never say that the concept formed from the earlier phases of evolution is sufficient to develop the concept of the later from it.

From this it follows for the philosopher of Ethics that, while he can certainly see the connection between earlier and later moral concepts, not one single new moral idea can be drawn from earlier ones. The individual, as a moral being, produces his own content. For an ethicist, this content is just as much a given fact as reptiles are a given fact for the natural scientist. Reptiles developed out of Proto-Amniotes, but natural scientists cannot get the concept of reptiles from out of the concept of Proto-Amniotes. Later moral ideas have evolved out of earlier ones, but the ethicist cannot extract from the moral principles of an earlier cultural period the moral principles of a later one. The confusion arises because when we investigate nature we already have the phenomena before us, and then we gain knowledge of it; while for ethical action we must first create the phenomena ourselves and then investigate it afterward. In the evolution of the ethical world order we accomplish something that Nature accomplishes on a lower level: we change something perceptible. As we have seen, an ethical rule cannot at first be known like a law of nature; it must first be created. Only when it is there can it become an object of our knowing.

[10] But is it not possible to make the old the standard for the new? Are we not all obligated to assess what we produce by our moral imagination by comparing it with traditional ethical teachings? If we are to be truly ethically productive, this is as absurd as it would be to assess a new form in Nature by comparing it with an older one, and saying that because reptiles do not conform to the Proto-Amniotes their form is unjustified (pathological).

12.7 Evolution Of Ethical Nature
[11] Ethical Individualism, then, is not in opposition to the theory of evolution, but is a direct continuation of it. Haeckel’s genealogical tree, from protozoa up to human beings as organic beings, would have to be traceable—without interrupting natural law or breaking the uniformity of evolution—right up to the individual as a being with a particular ethical nature. True as it is that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly grown out of those of his ancestors, it is also true that an individual is ethically barren unless he has moral ideas of his own.

[12] The same Ethical Individualism that I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles could also be developed from the theory of evolution. The final result would be the same. Only the way it was reached would be different.

12.8 Sovereignty Of Ethical Individual
[13] The appearance of completely new ethical ideas from moral imagination is no more miraculous for the theory of evolution than the development of a new animal species out of an earlier one. But, as a Monistic worldview, evolutionary theory must reject—in ethics, as in science—every otherworldly (metaphysical) influence. This is the same principles that it follows when it seeks causes of new organic forms without invoking the intervention of some otherworldly God who—by supernatural influence—produces each new species according to a new creative idea. Just as the Monist has no need for supernatural ideas of creation to explain living organisms, so he has no need to derive the ethical order of the world from causes lying outside the world. He does not find any continuing supernatural influence on ethical life (divine government of the world from the outside), or to an act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or to the appearance of God on earth (divinity of Christ). For Monism, ethical processes—like everything else that exists—is a product of the world and their causes must be looked for in the world, and that means in human beings, because humans are the bearers of morality.

[14] Ethical Individualism, then, is the crown of evolution. It is the theory of evolution built by Darwin and Haeckel for natural science extended to the moral life.

#13 Being Pro-Human | Free Deed

12.9 Characterization Of Deed (free or not free)

[15] Anyone who from the start, narrowly restricts the concept of what is natural within an arbitrarily limited boundary, can then easily come to the conclusion that there is no room in nature for a free individual deed. The evolutionary theorist who proceeds consequently cannot fall into such narrow-mindedness. He cannot let the natural course of evolution come to an end with the ape, and then give humans a “supernatural” origin. He cannot stop at human organic functions, and find only these to be 'natural'. He must also regard the free, moral life of self-determination as the continuation of organic life.

[16] The Evolutionist, then, if he is to keep to his fundamental principles, can only claim that present ethical behavior evolves out of the less perfect kinds of natural processes. The characterization of an action—whether it is a free deed—can be discovered only by the direct observation of the action of each agent. All that he claims is that humans have evolved out of non-human ancestors. What the nature of humans actually is must be determined by observing them. The results of this observation cannot possibly contradict the history of evolution. Only the assertion that the results exclude their being due to a natural ordering of the world would contradict recent developments in the Natural Sciences.

Footnote: It is justified to call thoughts (ethical ideas) observable objects. For even if what thinking produces does not enter the field of observation while thinking takes place, it can become the object of observation afterward. It is in this way that we have been able to characterize human action.

12.10 Free Deed (realization of pure ideal)
[17] Ethical Individualism is in full agreement with a Natural Science that understands itself: for observation shows that freedom is 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 the free deed. This freedom must be attributed to the human will, insofar as the will brings to realization purely ideal intuitions. For these intuitions are not the effects of a necessity influencing them from the outside, but are based on themselves. When a person's action is the image of such an ideal intuition, he experiences it to be free. The freedom of a deed consists of this characteristic feature.

#14 Being Pro-Human | Enslaved Spirit

12.11 Free To Want What Is Right

[18] From the standpoint of nature, what can be said about the distinction made in Chapter One between the two statements: “To be free means to be able to do what one wants,” and “To be at liberty to desire or not to desire, as one pleases, is the real meaning of the dogma of freewill”? Hamerling bases his view of free will on this distinction, declaring the first statement to be correct and the second to be an absurd tautology. He says, "I can do what I want, but to say that I can determine what I want is an empty tautology." Whether I can carry something out, that is, translate into reality what I want to do, what I have set before me as my Idea of action, that depends on external circumstances and on my technical skill (see above). To be free means to be able to determine out of oneself, by moral imagination, the ideas (motives) on which the action is based. 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 all I do is carry out the ideas that someone else has implanted in me. A free being is one who wants what he considers to be right. Whoever does anything other than what he wants must be driven to do it by motives that do not originate in himself. His action is not free. To be at liberty to want what one considers right or want what one considers wrong, would mean to be at liberty to be free or unfree. This is obviously just as absurd as to see freedom as the ability to do what one is forced to want. Yet this is exactly what Hamerling asserts when he says, “It is perfectly true that the will is always determined by motives, but it is absurd to say that it is therefore unfree; for a greater freedom can neither be desired or conceived than the freedom to realize one's will in proportion to its strength and determination.” “Yes! One could wish for a greater freedom, and that is the real and true freedom. Namely, the freedom to decide for oneself the reasons for one's willing.

12.12 Enslaved Spirit
[19] Under certain circumstances a person may hold himself back from doing what he wants to do. But to allow others to dictate to him what he ought to do―in other words, to want what another and not what he himself considers to be right—to this he will submit only if he does not feel free.

[20] External powers may prevent me from doing what I want. Then they simply damn me to do nothing. Not until they enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head, and put their own motives in the place of mine, do they really intend to make me unfree. This is why the Church is not only against actions, but is especially against impure thoughts—the motives of my action. And for the Church all motives that it has not authorized are impure. A Church or other community does not produce genuine slaves until its priests or teachers regard themselves as advisers of conscience, and the believers must come to them (to the confessional) to receive the motives for their actions from them.


13. THE VALUE OF LIFE (Optimism And Pessimism)

#5 Being Pro-Human | Pessimism As A Foundation For Ethics

13.0 Good World Or Miserable Life

[1] A counterpart to the question concerning the purpose and destiny of life (see Chapter 11) is the question of the value of life. Here we encounter two opposing views, and between them all conceivable attempts at compromise. One view says: The world is the best possible, and to live and work in it is a good of inestimable value. Everything that exists displays harmonious and purposeful cooperation and is worthy of admiration. Even what appears bad and evil can be seen, from a higher point of view, to be good, for it represents a beneficial contrast to the good. We are more able to appreciate the good when it is clearly contrasted with evil. In any case evil is not truly real; what we experience as evil is only a lesser degree of good. Evil is the absence of good; in itself it is without significance.

[2] The opposite view claims that life is full of misery and agony. Everywhere pain outweighs pleasure, sorrow outweighs joy. Existence is a burden, and under all circumstances non-existence would be preferable to existence.

[3] The main proponents of the first view—Optimism—are Shaftesbury and Leibniz; of the second view—Pessimism— the main proponents are Schopenhauer and Eduard von Hartmann.

13.1 Best Possible World (cooperative participation)
[4] Leibnitz says the world is the best there can be. A better world is not possible. For God is good and wise. A good God wants to create the best possible world; a wise God knows what is best. He is able to distinguish the best from all other possible worse ones. Only an evil or unwise God would create a less than perfect world.

[5] Whoever starts from this point of view will find it easy to set the direction human conduct should take in order to contribute its share to the greatest good of the world. All that is necessary is for the human being to inquire into God's decrees and act accordingly. Once he knows what God's intentions are for the world and for humanity, he will be able to do what is right. And he will feel happy knowing he is adding his share to all the other good in the world. From this optimistic standpoint, then, life is worth living. It must stimulate us to cooperative participation.

13.2 Pain Of Striving (universal idleness)
[6] Schopenhauer pictures things differently. He does not think of ultimate reality as an all-wise and all-good being, but as blind craving or will. The fundamental characteristic of all willing is eternal striving, ceaseless craving for satisfaction that is for ever beyond reach. As soon as one goal is attained a new need arises, and so on. Satisfaction, when it does occur, lasts less than an instant. All the rest of life consists of cravings that are never fulfilled, of dissatisfaction and suffering. If at last blind craving is dulled, then all content is gone from our lives; an endless boredom fills our existence. The best one can do is to stifle all wishes and needs within us and exterminate the will. Schopenhauer’s Pessimism leads to complete inactivity; his ethical goal is universal idleness.

13.3 Pain Outweighs Pleasure (selfless service)
[7] Hartmann tries to justify pessimism and then use it as a foundation for ethics in a very different way. He follows a favorite modern trend and attempts to base his worldview on experience. By observing life he wants to discover whether there is more pleasure or more pain in the world. He reviews before the court of reason whatever appears to people as good or fortunate, in order to show that on closer inspection all so-called satisfaction turns out to be illusion. It is illusion to believe that we have sources of happiness and satisfaction in health, youth, freedom, sufficient income, love (sexual satisfaction), compassion, friendship and family life; in self-esteem, honor, fame, power, religious education, pursuit of science and of art, hope of life after death, or participation in cultural progress. When looked at soberly, every enjoyment brings much more evil and misery into the world than pleasure. The displeasure of a hangover is always greater than the pleasure of intoxication. Pain far outweighs pleasure in the world. No person, even the relatively happiest one, if asked, would want to go through this miserable life a second time. Since Hartmann does not deny the existence of an ideal factor (wisdom) in the world, and even gives it equal standing with blind urge (will), he can credit the creation of the world to his Absolute Being only by allowing pain to serve a wise world purpose. Now, since he sees the life of the world as a whole as identical with the life of God, all pain is nothing but God's pain. A Being that is all-wise can only have as its goal release from suffering and, since all existence is suffering, that means release from existence. The world was created with the purpose of transforming existence into the far better non-existence. The course of the world is a continuous struggle against God's pain, which will finally end with the annihilation of all existence. Therefore, human morality is participation in the annihilation of existence. God has created the world so that through it he can free himself from his infinite pain. According to Hartmann, that pain must “in a sense be regarded as an itching eruption on the Absolute.” Through this itching eruption, the unconscious healing power of the Absolute frees itself from an inner illness; or we may think of it “as a painful poultice that the All-One Being applies to itself, in order first to draw the inner pain outward and then remove it altogether.” Human beings are part of the world. God suffers in them. He created them in order to disperse his infinite pain. The pain that each one of us suffers is only a drop in the infinite ocean of God’s pain (Hartmann, Phenomenology of Moral Consciousness).

[8] The human being must steep himself in the knowledge that the pursuit of individual satisfaction (egoism) is foolish. He ought to be guided solely by the task of dedicating himself to the redemption of God through selfless service to world progress. The Pessimism of Hartmann, in contrast to the Pessimism of Schopenhauer (universal idleness), leads to activity devoted to a lofty task.

[9] But can it be said that this view is actually based on experience?

13.4 Pleasure Of Striving (future goal)
[10] To strive for satisfaction means that our life activity reaches out beyond the present content of life. A creature will strive to satisfy its hunger when its organic functions demand fresh supplies of life sustaining nourishment in order to continue. To strive for honor means that a person only considers what he does or leaves undone to be of value when he receives outside recognition from others. The striving for knowledge arises when a person finds that something is missing in the world that he sees, hears, etc., as long as he has not understood it. The fulfillment of striving causes pleasure in the striving individual, failure causes pain. Here it is important to notice that pleasure or pain are dependent on the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of my striving. The striving itself can by no means be counted as pain. Even though a new striving may arise the moment one has been fulfilled, this is no reason for saying that pleasure has produced pain in me, because in fact enjoyment always creates a desire for it to be repeated or desire for new pleasure. I can speak of pain only when a desire hits up against the impossibility of fulfillment. Even when an enjoyment creates a desire for a greater or more refined pleasure I can only speak of it as pain caused by the first pleasure when the possibility to experience the greater or more refined pleasure fails. When pain follows enjoyment as a consequence of natural law, for example when a woman’s sexual enjoyment results in the pain of childbirth, only then can I speak of enjoyment being a direct cause of pain. If striving caused pain, then the removal of striving should be accompanied by pleasure. But the opposite is true. A lack of striving in one's life causes boredom, and boredom is connected with pain. Since striving can go on for a long time before receiving any fulfillment, and since, in the meantime, one is content to live in the hope of fulfillment, it must be recognized that there is no connection in principle between pain and striving, but that pain depends solely on the non-fulfillment of the striving. Schopenhauer, then, is certainly wrong when he declares that desire or striving (the will) as being in principle the source of pain.

[11] In reality, the opposite is true. Striving (desire) is in itself pleasurable. Who does not know the pleasure of living in the hope of a distant, but intensely desired goal? This pleasure is the companion of all work whose fruit will be enjoyed by us only in the future. This pleasure is entirely independent of our achieving the goal. When the goal is reached the pleasure of fulfillment is then added, as something new, to the pleasure of striving. Someone may now say: The pain of not reaching one's goal is increased by the pain of disappointed hope, and this makes the pain of non-fulfillment still greater than the possible pleasure of fulfillment. The reply to this would be: The reverse can also occur; the recollection of past pleasure will just as often work to ease the pain caused by non-fulfillment. He who cries out in the face of shattered hopes: “I have done all that I could!” is living proof of this. The inspiring feeling of having tried one's best is overlooked by those who say of every unfulfilled desire that, not only has the joy of fulfillment been lost, but also the enjoyment of striving has been destroyed.

13.5 Quantity Of Pleasure (rational estimate of feeling)
The satisfaction of a desire causes pleasure and its non-satisfaction causes pain. But we should not conclude from this fact that pleasure always means the satisfaction of a desire and pain means its non-satisfaction. Both pleasure and pain can be experienced without being the result of desire. Illness is pain that is not preceded by desire. If someone claims that illness is an unsatisfied desire for health, he makes the mistake of regarding the natural and unconscious wish not to become sick to be a positive desire. If someone receives an inheritance from a rich relative whose existence he had not the slightest idea, he experiences a pleasure that was not preceded by desire.

[13] If we are to investigate whether there is more pleasure or pain in the world, we must take into account the pleasure of striving, the pleasure of fulfilled striving, and the pleasure that comes to us without the effort of striving. On the debit side of our account sheet we must enter the pain of boredom, the pain of unfulfilled striving, and finally the pain that comes our way without any striving on our part. Under this last heading belongs the pain caused by work not chosen by ourselves but forced upon us.

[14] This leads to the question: What is the right method for estimating the balance between our credit and the debit columns? According to Eduard von Hartmann reason is able to establish this. However he also says: “Pain and pleasure exist only to the extent that they are actually felt.” From this statement it would follow that there can be no standard for pleasure other than the subjective standard of feeling. I must 'feel' whether the sum total of my feelings of pain, compared with the sum total of my feelings of pleasure, results in a balance of more joy or more pain. But disregarding this, Hartmann asserts that, “Even though the value of life of each individual can only be assessed according to his own subjective standard, this is not to say that everyone is capable of calculating the correct algebraic sum from all the emotions that influence his life; in other words, there is no guarantee that his overall judgment of his own life that he arrives at concerning his subjective experiences would be correct." However, in saying this, Hartmann has once more made rational judgment as the standard of value to estimate feeling.

[15] It is because Von Hartmann holds this view that he thinks it necessary, if he is to evaluate life correctly, to set aside all factors that falsify our judgment about the balance between pleasure and pain. He tries to do this in two ways. First, by showing that our desire (instinct, will) interferes with a sober evaluation of our feelings. For example, we should tell ourselves that sexual enjoyment is a source of evil, the power of the sexual drive seduces us, promising greater pleasure than it delivers. We want the enjoyment, and so do not admit to ourselves that it makes us suffer. Second, von Hartmann subjects feelings to criticism to show that, when examined by reason, the things to which our feelings attach themselves turn out to be illusions, and are destroyed the moment our constantly growing intelligence sees through the illusion.

13.6 Quality Of Pleasure (critical examination of feeling)
[16] Von Hartmann, then, thinks of the matter in the following way. Suppose an ambitious man wants to clearly know whether his life has so far contained more pleasure or pain. To do this he has to eliminate two sources of error that are likely to affect his judgment. Since he is ambitious, this basic trait of his character will cause him to magnify the joys from the public recognition of his achievements and minimize the humiliation of his setbacks. Back when he suffered the setbacks, he felt the insults deeply, precisely because he is ambitious. In memory, however, these setbacks appear in a milder light; while the pleasures of recognition, for which he is so susceptible, leave a far deeper impression. Certainly, it is a real benefit to an ambitious man that it should be so. The deception diminishes his pain at the time of introspection. Nevertheless, his judgment is false. Although he actually experienced the full intensity of the suffering when it occurred, time has drawn a veil over it, so he enters it at an incorrect valuation in his account book of life. In order to arrive at a correct judgment, an ambitious man would have to set aside his ambition during the time he is making his calculation and review his life without any distorting glasses before his mind’s eye. Otherwise, he is like a merchant who includes his zeal for business in the income column of his books.

[17] Hartmann goes even further. He says the ambitious man must also realize that the acclaim he so eagerly pursues is valueless. Either on his own or with the help of others, he must come to the insight that a reasonable person cannot care about the recognition of others, since one can always be sure that:

"In all matters, except vital questions of evolution, or those definitely settled by science," one can always be sure that “the majority is wrong and the minority is right... Whoever makes ambition his guiding star places his life happiness at the mercy of an unreliable judgment.” (Philosophy of the Unconscious)

Once the ambitious man admits all this to himself he will recognize everything as an illusion that he has achieved through his ambition, including the feelings attached to satisfying his ambitious desires. This is why Hartmann says the feelings of pleasure produced by illusions must also be removed from the balance sheet of the value of life. What is left, then, represents the illusion-free sum of pleasure, and this is so small in comparison with the sum of endured pain that life is not enjoyable, and non-existence is preferable to existence.

[18] While it is obvious that the interference of the ambition instinct must lead to a false result when calculating the balance of pleasure, we must still challenge what Hartmann says about the illusory character of the things that are found pleasurable. It would be an error to remove from the calculation of life’s pleasure all pleasurable feelings connected with actual or supposed illusions. The ambitious man has genuinely enjoyed the acclaim of the masses, regardless of whether he or someone else later recognizes this acclaim is an illusion. This later recognition does not at all diminish the happy feeling he already enjoyed. The elimination of all these “illusory” feelings from life's balance sheet does not make our judgment about our feelings more correct, but rather erases from life actual feelings that were experienced.

[19] And why should those feelings be eliminated? [Whoever has these feelings gains pleasure from them; whoever has conquered them gains through the experience of self-conquest an ennobled pleasure that is purely mental, but no less significant. (not from the vain emotion: “What a wonderful person I am!” but rather through the objective source of pleasure to be found in self-conquest) 1918] If feelings are deleted from the pleasure side of our account because they are attached to things that turn out to be illusion, we make the value of life dependent, not on the quantity, but on the quality of pleasure, and this quality, in turn, is made dependent on the value of the things that cause the pleasure. But if I set out to determine the value of life by comparing the quantity of pleasure with the pain it brings, I have no right to bring in some other factor by which I first determine the value or non-value of the pleasure. If I say I will compare the amount of pleasure with the amount of pain and see which is greater, then I must take into account all pleasure and pain in their actual amounts, whether they are based on illusion or not. If I credit a lesser value to a pleasure that is based on an illusion than to one that can be justified by reason, then I make the value of life dependent on factors other than pleasure.

[20] To assess a pleasure at a lower value because it is derived from something frivolous is like a merchant who enters in his account the considerable profits of a toy factory at a quarter of their worth, on the grounds that the factory produces only playthings for children.

[21] When it is simply a question of weighing the amount of pleasure against the amount of pain, then the illusory character of certain things giving pleasure should be left entirely out of the picture.

#6 Being Pro-Human | Earned Achievement

13.7 Pursuit Of Pleasure (hopelessness of egotism)

[22] The rational criticism of the quantities of pleasure and pain caused by life, the method recommended by Hartmann, has led us to the point where we know how to set up our account; we know what we have to put down on each side of our balance sheet. But how should the actual calculation be made? Is reason able to determine the balance?

[23] A merchant has made a mistake in his calculations if his calculated profit does not match a business’s past profits that can be shown or can be projected as future gains. Likewise, a philosopher will have made a mistake in his estimate, if it is impossible to prove that his estimated surplus of pleasure—or, as the case may be, of pain—that he has somehow reasoned out, is actually felt.

[24] For the moment, I will disregard the calculations of the Pessimists who support their view of the value of the world with rational estimation. However, someone who has to decide whether to carry on the business of life or not will demand to be shown where the alleged surplus of pain is to be found.

[25] Here we touch the point where reason alone is not in a position to determine the surplus of pleasure or pain, but where this surplus must be shown in life as something actually felt. For human beings cannot attain the reality (truth) of things through concepts alone, but only through the interpenetration, mediated by thinking, of concepts and percepts (and feelings are percepts) (see Chapter 5). A merchant, after all, will give up his business only if the losses calculated by his accountant are confirmed by the facts. If that does not happen, he will have the accountant calculate the figures again. This is exactly what a person will do in the business of life. If a philosopher tries to convince him that life contains more pain than pleasure, but he does not experience it that way, then he will say to the philosopher: "You have made a mistake in your theorizings; think it through again! But if a time comes when a business faces losses so great that its credit can no longer satisfy the creditors, then bankruptcy will result—even if the merchant’s bookkeeping obscures the state of his affairs. Likewise, it would lead to bankruptcy in the business of life if a person's pain at some point became so great that no hope (credit) of future pleasure could get him through the pain.

[26] Now the number of those who commit suicide is relatively small compared with the number of those who live bravely on. Very few people give up the business of life because of the pain involved. What does that show? Either that it is not true to say that the amount of pain is greater than the amount of pleasure, or else we simply do not make the continuation of life dependent on the amount of pain or pleasure we feel.

[27] Eduard von Hartmann's Pessimism oddly declares that life has no value because it is dominated by pain, and yet maintains that we must go through with it anyways. We must do so because the world purpose mentioned above (13.3) can be achieved only through ceaseless, devoted human labor. But, as long as people are still pursuing their egotistical desires they are unfit for such selfless work.

[28] According to this view, then, the striving for pleasure is fundamentally inherent in human nature. Only out of insight into the impossibility of fulfillment does this striving withdraw and make way for higher human tasks.

[29] It cannot be said that Egotism is truly overcome by an ethical worldview that hopes to achieve devotion to selfless goals in life by the acceptance of Pessimism. Ethical ideals are said to be strong enough to master the will only if a person has recognized that his egotistical striving for pleasure does not lead to any satisfaction. The selfishness of the human being longs for the grapes of pleasure but declares them sour because they are beyond his reach, so he turns his back on them and devotes himself to a selfless way of life. In the Pessimist’s view, moral ideals do not have the power to overcome Egotism. Instead, they establish their rulership on the ground cleared by the recognition of the hopelessness of Egotism.

[30] If it is the natural disposition of the human being to strive after pleasure, but he cannot possibly achieve it, then the annihilation of existence and salvation through non-existence would be the only sensible goal. And if we accept the view that the real bearer of the pain of the world is God, it follows that the task of human beings is to help bring about the deliverance of God. This goal, far from being advanced, is hindered by the suicide of the individual. God in his wisdom must have created human beings for the sole purpose of bringing about his salvation through their labor. Otherwise creation would have no purpose. Each one of us must carry out his appointed task in the universal work of deliverance. If he withdraws from his task through suicide, then someone else must do the work intended for him. Someone else must endure the agony of existence in his place. And since God is in every being as the real bearer of pain, the suicide has not diminished the quantity God's pain, but has rather imposed upon God the additional burden of providing a replacement to take over the task.

13.8 Value Of Pleasure (satisfaction of needs)
[31] This whole theory presupposes that pleasure is the standard for the value of life. Life expresses itself through a number of instincts (needs). If the value of life depends on whether it brings more pleasure than pain, then an instinct that brings an excess of pain would have to be called valueless. Let us now examine instinct and pleasure to see whether the value of instinct can be measured by pleasure. In order to avoid the suspicion that life for us only begins with the “aristocratic intellect,” we begin with a “purely animal” need: hunger.

[32] Hunger arises when our organs can no longer continue to function properly without a fresh supply of food. What a hungry person wants first of all is to satisfy the hunger. As soon as enough food has been taken in for the hunger to cease, everything that the instinct for food craved is achieved. The pleasure that comes with being satisfied consists primarily in putting an end to the pain caused by hunger. But in addition to the mere urge to eat, there is another need. By eating, the human being does not only want to restore normal organic functions and get rid of the pain of hunger, he also wants it to be accompanied by pleasurable sensations of taste. If he feels hungry and is within half an hour of an appetizing meal, he will even refuse inferior food that could satisfy him sooner, so as not to spoil his pleasure for the better food to come. He needs the hunger in order to get the full enjoyment from his meal. In this way hunger also becomes a source of pleasure for him. Now if all the existing hunger in the world could be satisfied, it would result in the full measure of pleasure due to our desire for food. To this we would have to add the special enjoyment the gourmet achieves by cultivating his sense of taste beyond the ordinary.

[33] This enjoyment would have its highest possible value if all needs connected with this kind of enjoyment are satisfied and if a certain amount of pain did not have to be accepted into the bargain.

[34] Modern Science holds the view that Nature produces more life than it can sustain, that is to say, Nature produces more hunger than it can satisfy. In the struggle for survival, the surplus of life that is produced must perish in pain. Granted, the needs of life at any given moment in the course of the world are greater than the available means of satisfying them, and this does detract from the enjoyment of life. However, any individual enjoyment that actually does occur is not in the least reduced. Wherever a desire is satisfied, there is a corresponding amount of enjoyment, even if there is a large number of unsatisfied instincts in the desiring being itself or in others alongside it. What is diminished is the "value" of the enjoyment of life. If only a part of a living being's total needs are satisfied, it experiences a corresponding degree of pleasure. This pleasure has a lower value, the smaller it is in proportion to the total demands made on life by the instinct in question. We can imagine this value represented by a fraction, whose numerator is the actually experienced pleasure, while the denominator is the sum total of needs. This fraction has the value of 1 when the numerator and the denominator are equal, that is, when all needs are fully satisfied. The value will be greater than 1 when the being experiences more pleasure than its desires demand, and it becomes less than 1 when the quantity of pleasure falls short of the sum total of desires. But the fraction can never have the value 0 as long as the numerator has any value at all, however small. If a person were to make a final account before his death, distributing over his whole life the amount of pleasure he had derived from a certain instinct—for example, hunger with all its demands—then the total pleasure he had experienced might have a very small value, but it could never be nil. In a case where the amount of pleasure remains constant the pleasure of life will diminish if the needs of the being increases. The same is true for the sum total of all life in nature. The greater the total number of creatures in proportion to those who are able to fully satisfy their instinctive cravings, the smaller is the average value of the pleasure of life. Our shares in life’s pleasure in the form of instincts fall in value when there is no hope of cashing them in at their full value. If I get enough to eat for three days and then have to go hungry for the next three days, the enjoyment on the three days when I ate is not diminished. But, as I have to think of it as distributed over six days, its value for my need of food is reduced by half. The same applies to the amount of pleasure in relation to the degree of my need. If to satisfy my hunger I need two sandwiches but I can only get one, the enjoyment gained from eating the one sandwich has only half the value it would have had if it had satisfied my hunger. This is how the value of a pleasure is determined in life. It is measured by the needs of life. Our desires are the measure; pleasure is what is measured. The enjoyment of eating has a value only because hunger exists, and it attains a specific value in proportion to the degree of the existing hunger.

[35] Unfulfilled demands cast a shadow even over satisfied desires, and detract from the value of enjoyable hours. One can also speak of the value of a present feeling of pleasure. The present value of a pleasure is lower, the smaller the pleasure is compared to the duration and intensity of our desire.

[36] A quantity of pleasure has its highest value for us when it exactly matches the duration and intensity of our desire. A quantity of pleasure that is less than what is demanded by our desire reduces the value of the pleasure. A quantity that is greater produces a surplus which has not been demanded and is only felt as pleasure as long as we are able to increase the intensity of our desire during the enjoyment. If we are not able to increase our demand in order to keep pace with the increasing pleasure, then the pleasure turns into displeasure. The object that would otherwise satisfy us, overwhelms us without our wanting it, and makes us suffer. This proves that pleasure has value for us only to the extent that we can measure it against our desire. Excessive pleasure turns into pain. We can observe this especially in people who have very little desire for certain kinds of pleasure. In people whose desire for food is dulled, eating quickly leads to nausea. Again, we can see from this that desire is the measure of value for pleasure.

[37] The Pessimist might say that an instinct for food that remains unsatisfied is the cause not only of the loss of enjoyment, but also positive pain, suffering, and misery in the world. He can point to the untold misery of those who are starving, and to the vast amount of pain these people suffer indirectly from lack of food. And if he wants to widen his argument to the rest of nature, he can point to the suffering of animals that starve to death at certain times of the year. The Pessimist maintains that these evils far outweigh the amount of pleasure that the instinct for food brings into the world.

[38] There is no doubt that pleasure and pain can be compared, and one can estimate the surplus of one or the other much as we do in the case of profit and loss. But if the Pessimist believes that life has no value because it contains an excess of pain, he is mistaken, for the simple reason that he makes a calculation that is not made in real life.

13.9 Will For Pleasure (intensity of desire)
[39] In each case, our desire is directed toward a specific object. As we have seen, the greater our pleasure is that matches the intensity of our desire, the higher the value of pleasure in satisfying the desire. And how much pain we are willing to accept in order to achieve the pleasure also depends on the intensity of our desire. We do not compare the amount of pain with the amount of pleasure, but with the intensity of our desire. Because of his enjoyment in better times, someone who takes great pleasure in eating will find it easier to endure a period of hunger than someone else who lacks this joy of satisfying his instinct for food. A woman who wants a child does not compare the joy of having one with the amount of pain due to pregnancy and childbirth, but with her desire to have the child.

[40] We never strive for an abstract amount of pleasure, but for concrete satisfaction in a very specific way. If the pleasure we want can be derived only from a specific object or sensation, no other object or sensation will do, even if the amount of pleasure derived from it would be the same. Someone who wants to satisfy his hunger cannot replace the pleasure of eating by the same amount of pleasure he derives from going for a walk. Our desire would disappear only if, in a general way, it was for a certain amount of pleasure, and the price of achieving it turned out to be an even greater amount of pain. It is because we strive for a specific kind of satisfaction that we experience the pleasure of fulfillment, even if, along with it, a greater amount of pain must be accepted. The reason we cannot set down in our account the pain endured in achieving the goal as a factor of equal value to the pleasure, is because the drives of instinctive life move in a specific direction and go straight toward concrete goals. Provided the desire is strong enough to still exist to some degree after overcoming the pain—no matter how great the pain—the pleasure of satisfaction can still be enjoyed to its full extent. Thus the desire does not directly compare the pleasure sought with the pain involved in attaining it, but indirectly measures its own intensity with that of the pain. The question is not whether the pleasure to be gained is greater than the pain involved, but whether the desire for the goal is greater than the resistance of the pain involved in reaching that goal. If the resistance is greater than the desire, then the desire gives way to the inevitable, it weakens and strives no further. Since a specific kind of satisfaction is demanded, the pleasure connected with it acquires an importance that makes it possible—after satisfaction has occurred—to take account of the pain only to the extent that it has reduced the intensity of our desire. A passionate admirer of beautiful views never directly compares the amount of pleasure he gains from the mountain top view with the amount of pain caused by the laborious ascent and descent. What he does consider is whether his desire for the view will still be sufficiently intense after all obstacles have been conquered. Pleasure and pain can only be compared indirectly through the strength of the desire. The question is not whether there is more pleasure or more pain, but whether the will for pleasure is strong enough to overcome the pain.

[41] A proof of the correctness of this view is the fact that we put a higher value on pleasure when attained at the cost of great pain, than when it simply falls into our lap like a gift from heaven. When our desire has been tempered by pain and suffering and yet the goal is still achieved, then the pleasure in proportion to the remaining desire is all the greater. As I have shown (p. xxx) this proportion represents the value of pleasure. A further proof is given through the fact that living creatures (including humans) will seek to satisfy their instincts for as long as they are able to endure the pain and suffering involved. The struggle for existence is only a result of this fact. All existing life strives to express itself, and only those give up the fight whose desire is stifled by the force of the opposing difficulties. Every living creature seeks food until lack of food destroys its life. A human being, too, only takes his own life if he believes (rightly or wrongly) that the goals of life worth striving for are beyond his reach. He will battle against all suffering and pain for as long as he believes there is a possibility of achieving the things he considers worth striving for. Philosophy would first have to convince the human being that an act of will makes sense only when the pleasure is greater than the pain; for according to his nature he will strive to achieve what he desires for as long as he can endure the unavoidable pain, no matter how great. But such a philosophy would be mistaken because it makes the human will dependent on a factor (the surplus of pleasure over pain) which is basically foreign to human nature. The fundamental measure of the will is desire, and desire presses forward as long as it can. Suppose that, when buying a certain quantity of apples, I am required to take twice as many bad apples as good ones, because the seller wants to clear out his stock. I will not hesitate to take the bad apples as well if I value the good ones highly enough that, in addition to the purchase price, I am willing to accept the effort of disposing of the bad ones. This example illustrates the relationship between the amounts of pleasure and pain resulting from an instinct. I determine the value of the good apples, not by subtracting them from the number of bad ones, but by assessing whether the good ones still have value for me despite the presence of the bad ones.

[42] And just as I disregard the bad apples in my enjoyment of the good ones, so I give myself up to the satisfaction of a desire after having shaken off the unavoidable pains.

[43] Even if Pessimism was right in its claim that there is more pain than pleasure in the world, it would have no influence on the will, for living beings would still strive after whatever pleasure remains. The empirical proof that pain outweighs pleasure is certainly effective for showing the futility of that school of thought that sees the value of life in a surplus of pleasure (Eudaemonism). It would not, however, be suitable for showing that will in general is irrational, for the will does not seek a surplus of pleasure, but what pleasure remains after enduring the pain. This remaining pleasure still appears as a goal worth striving for.

13.10 Magnitude Of Pleasure (amusement)
[44] There are those who attempt to refute Pessimism on the grounds that it is not possible to calculate whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain in the world. Calculation is possible only if the things to be calculated are comparable in respect of their magnitudes. Every pain and every pleasure has a specific magnitude (intensity and duration). We can also compare the approximate magnitudes of different kinds of pleasurable feelings. We know whether a good cigar or a good joke gives us more pleasure. No objections can be raised against comparing different kinds of pleasure and pain according to their magnitudes. A researcher who sets out to discover whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain in the world starts from a legitimate premise. One may be able to show that the conclusions of Pessimism are false, but it cannot be disputed that it is possible to scientifically estimate the quantities of pleasure and pain, and from this determine the balance of pleasure. But it is incorrect to claim that the result of this calculation has any influence on the human will. The only case where our actions really depend on a surplus of pleasure is when we are indifferent about the thing toward which our activity is directed. When it is only a matter of deciding whether to amuse myself after work with a game or light conversation, and I am indifferent as to which of the two I choose, then I simply ask myself: Which will give me the most pleasure? And I will definitely abandon the activity if the scale dips toward the side of displeasure. When buying a toy for a child our choice depends on which toy we think will give the child the most pleasure. In all other cases we do not base our decisions exclusively on the balance of pleasure.

#7 Being Pro-Human | The Human Spirit

13.11 Highest Pleasure (realization of moral ideals)

[45] When the Pessimistic ethicist believes that he prepares the way for selfless devotion to cultural progress by showing that life contains more pain than pleasure, he overlooks that the human will, by its very nature, is not influenced by this knowledge. Human striving is directed towards the greatest possible satisfaction that is attainable after all difficulties are conquered. The hope of this satisfaction is the foundation of all human activity. The work of every individual and the whole achievement of civilization springs from this hope. The Pessimistic theory of Ethics believes that it is necessary to present the pursuit of happiness as an illusion in order to induce the human being to devote himself to his proper ethical tasks. But these ethical tasks are precisely what his actual natural and spiritual instincts desire, and he will strive to satisfy them despite the accompanying pain. In fact, the pursuit of happiness that Pessimism wants to eradicate does not exist. Once the human being recognizes his true tasks he fulfills them, because it is in his very nature that he wants to fulfill them. According to ethics based on Pessimism the human being will devote himself to his proper task in life only when he has given up the pursuit of happiness. But no system of ethics can invent any life tasks for the human being other than realizing the things he desires, and fulfilling his moral ideals. No ethics can take from him the pleasure he has in bringing to fulfillment what he wants. When the Pessimist says, “Do not strive for pleasure, for you can never attain it; strive rather for what you recognize to be your task,” we must reply, “It is inherent in human nature to do just that. The notion that he strives merely for happiness is the invention of a philosophy going off on false paths." His aim is to satisfy what his nature demands. He does not have some abstract “happiness” in mind, his pleasure is the achievement of concrete objectives. When Pessimistic Ethics demands that you not strive for pleasure, but instead strive to achieve what you recognize as your life's task, it points to the very thing that humans by their nature want. There is no need for philosophy to turn the human being inside out, he does not have to deny his nature in order to be ethical. Morality means the striving for a goal one has recognized as justified; it lies in human nature to pursue this goal as long as the pain involved does not completely extinguish the desire for it. This is the character of all genuine will. Ethical behavior does not depend on the eradication of all striving for pleasure so that anemic abstract ideas can establish their rule unchallenged by a strong desire for enjoyment in life. Ethics depends on a strong will carried by ideal intuitions that achieves its goal even though the path is full of thorns.

[46] Ethical ideas spring from human moral imagination. To achieve them depends on whether he desires them intensely enough to overcome pain and suffering. Ethical ideals are human intuitions, the driving force harnessed by his spirit. He wants them, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He does not need ethics to forbid him to strive for pleasure and then tell him what he should strive for. He will strive for ethical ideals if his moral imagination is sufficiently active to inspire him with intuitions that give his will the strength to make its way through all resistance, including the inner obstacles and unavoidable pain lying within his organization.

[47] Whoever strives for sublimely great ideals does so because they are part of his nature, and to achieve them brings a joy compared with which the pleasure that impoverished spirits draw from satisfying everyday drives is trivial. Idealists revel in spirit in translating their ideals into reality.

[48] Whoever wants to eradicate the pleasure of fulfilling human desires must first make the human being into a slave who does not act because he wants to, but only because he ought to. For the achievement of what one wants to do gives pleasure. What is called “the Good,” is not what a person ought to do, but what he wants to do when he expresses his fully developed true human nature. Those who cannot recognize this fact feel obligated first to drive out a person's own desires and then dictate to him from the outside what content he is to give his will.

[49] A human being values the fulfillment of a desire because the desire springs from his own nature. What is achieved has value because he wants it. If one denies any value to the goals of a human beings own will, then one has to find worthwhile goals in something that the human being does not want.

[50] A system of Ethics built on Pessimism arises from a disregard for moral imagination. Only those who consider the individual human mind as incapable of determining for itself the goals to strive for could see in the longing for pleasure the totality of the human will. A person who lacks imagination creates no ethical ideas. They must be given to him. Physical nature ensures that he strives to satisfy his lower desires. But the fully developed human being also contains desires that originate in the spirit. Only if one holds the view that the nature of the human being is completely devoid of any spiritual desires is it possible to claim that he must receive them from outside. And then it would also be justifiable to say that a person is duty bound to do things that he does not want to do. An Ethical system that demands a human being suppress his own will in order to fulfill tasks he does not want, does not take account of the whole human being, but with a stunted being who lacks the capacity for spiritual desire. In a harmoniously developed human being the ideals of virtue are not outside, but within the compass of his will. Ethical conduct does not come about by eradicating a one-sided personal will, but rather in fully developing human nature. Those who believe that ethical ideals are attainable only if the human being destroys his individual will, ignore the fact that these ideals are wanted by the human being as much as he wants to satisfy his so-called animal instincts.

#8 Being Pro-Human | Joy Of Achievement

13.12 Joy Of Achievement (measure achievement against aims)

[51] There is no denying that the views outlined here can easily be misunderstood. Immature people without moral imagination like to look at the instinctive life of their half-developed nature as the fullest expression of humanity, and reject all ethical ideas not created by them so that they can “live themselves out” without being disturbed. It is obvious that what is right for a fully developed human being does not apply to one who is only half-developed. What one expects from a fully developed person cannot be expected from the still immature who need to be brought by education to the point where their ethical nature breaks through the shell of their lower passions. It was not my intention to show what needs to be instilled into the undeveloped person, but what lies in the nature of a mature human being. My intention was to demonstrate that freedom is possible, that freedom manifests, not in acts of sensory or psychological constraint, but in those actions sustained by spiritual intuitions.

[52] The mature person is the maker of his own value. He does not strive for pleasure that is to him a gift of grace given by nature or by the Creator; nor does he live to fulfill what he is supposed to recognize as duty, after he has renounced all pursuit of pleasure. He acts as he wants to act—according to his ethical intuitions—and he finds the true enjoyment of life in achieving what he wants. He determines the value of life by comparing what he has achieved with the goals striven for. An Ethical system which replaces "want to" with "ought to," inclination with duty, will, as a consequence, determine the value of a human being by comparing the demands of duty with the fulfillment of duty. It places a standard on a human being that does not apply to his true nature.

The view developed in this book points the human being back to himself. It recognizes the true value of life as nothing except what each individual regards as such by the measure of his own will. It knows of no value of life that is not recognized by the individual, just as it knows of no purpose of life that does not arise from these values. It sees in the all-around development of the human being, a true individuality who is his own master and the assessor of his own value.



#1 Being Pro-Human | Emancipation From Type

14.0 The Question Of Free Individuality

[1] The view that the human being is an independent, free individuality seems to be contradicted by the fact that, as human beings, we make our appearance as members of a natural whole (race, tribe, nation, family, male or female) and we are active within a social whole (state, church, and so forth). We express the general characteristics of the community to which we belong, and what we do is defined by the position we hold within a larger social group.

[2] Given all this, is individuality even possible? Can we consider a human being an individual at all, if he grows out of one group and fits in as a member of another group?

14.1 Group Type
[3] The characteristics and function of each part of a whole are defined by the whole. An ethnic group is a whole, and all the members of an ethnic group have the characteristic traits that are conditioned by the nature of the tribe. How the single member is constituted and his general behavior will be determined by the character of the ethnic group. This is why the physiognomy and behavior of the individual has a typical quality. If we ask why a particular thing about a person is like this or like that, we are directed away from the individual person and toward his group type. The type is used to explain why something in the individual appears in the form we observe.

14.2 Emancipation From Type
[4] However, the human being frees himself from what is typical. When experienced properly, our common qualities as members of the human race do not restrict freedom and should not by artificial means be made to do so. The human being develops qualities and activities of his own for reasons that can only be found in himself. The typical factors serve him only as a means to develop his own individual nature. He uses the characteristics given by nature as material, and gives them a form that expresses his own individuality. If we look to the laws of type to explain the expressions of human individuality we will seek in vain. We are dealing with an individual, and individuals can be explained only individually. When a human being has advanced to the point of emancipation from what is typical, and we still want to explain everything about that person in terms of type, then we have no sense for what is individual.

#2 Being Pro-Human | Judge According To Character

14.3 Judge According To Character

[5] One can never completely understand a human being if one’s judgment is based on concepts of the type. The tendency to judge according to type is most persistent where differences of sex are involved. Man sees in woman, and woman in man, nearly always too much of the general characteristics of the other sex, and too little of what is individual in the other. Positions in society are not always determined by the individual character of each person, but by what is generally considered to be the natural role and needs of a man or a woman. Our activity in life should be determined by our individual abilities and inclinations, not solely by the fact of being a man or a woman. No one should be the slave of the typical, to the general idea of manhood or womanhood.

14.4 Individual Opportunity
As long as men debate whether women are suited to this or that profession “according to their natural disposition,” no progress will be made on the so-called women question. What lies in a woman's nature to strive for had better be left to the woman herself to decide. If it is true that women are suited only to the occupations that they are now in, then they are unlikely to have it in them to attain any other on their own. But they must be allowed to decide for themselves what is and what is not appropriate to their nature. To all who fear a social upheaval should women be accepted as individuals rather than as members of their sex, it must be said that a social structure in which the status of half of humanity is beneath the dignity of a human being is itself in great need of improvement.

#3 Being Pro-Human | Free Thinking

14.5 Free Self-Determination

[6] Whoever judges people according to their typical characteristics stops short at the boundary line beyond which people begin to be individuals whose activity is based on free self-determination. What lies below this boundary line can naturally become the subject of academic study. The characteristics of race, ethnicity, nation and sex are the subjects of specific branches of study. Only a person who wishes to live as nothing more than an example of a type could possibly fit the general picture that emerges from this kind of academic study. None of these branches of study are able to reach the unique character of the single individual. Determining the individual according to the laws of his type ends, where the region of freedom (in thinking and acting) begins.

14.6 Free Thinking
In order to have the full reality, the human being connects his conceptual content with perception by means of thinking. No one can fix this conceptual content once and for all, and hand it over to humanity in a finished form. Each individual must gain his concepts through his own intuition. How an individual is to think cannot be derived from some general concept of a type. It depends entirely on the individual himself.

14.7 Find Innermost Core
Nor is it possible to tell from general human traits what concrete goals an individual will choose to pursue. Anyone who wishes to understand the single individuality must find his way to the innermost core of his particular being, and not stop short at the level of typical characteristics. In this sense each human being is a separate challenge.

14.8 Individual Views And Actions
And every kind of study that concerns itself with abstract thoughts and general concepts of the type is only a preparation for the knowledge we gain when an individuality tells us his way of viewing the world. And preparation for the knowledge we gain from the content of his acts of will.

#4 Being Pro-Human | Knowing An Individuality

14.9 Knowing An Individuality

Whenever we feel we are dealing with a person who is free of the stereotypical thinking and instinctive willing of a type, we must refrain from calling up any of our mind's preconceptions if we want to understand him. Knowledge consists in combining concepts with the perception by means of thinking. In the case of everything else, the observer gains his concepts through his intuition. But if we are to understand a free individuality we must receive into our mind those concepts by which he defines himself, in their pure form (without mixing in our own conceptual content). Those who immediately mix their own concepts into every judgment of others can never reach an understanding of an individuality. Just as the free individuality emancipates himself from typical characteristics, so must our method of knowing an individual emancipate itself from the method used to understand type.

14.10 Free Spirit In Community
[7] A person can be considered a free spirit within a community only to the degree he has emancipated himself, in the way indicated, from the characteristic traits of his type. No human being is all type; none is all individuality. But every person gradually emancipates a greater or lesser part of his being from the animal-like life of the species, and from the controlling decrees of human authorities.

14.11 Ethical Conduct
[8] In the part of his nature where he is unable to win this freedom, he remains a member incorporated into the natural and social organism. In this regard, he lives by imitating others, or by obeying their commands. Only the part of his conduct that springs from his intuitions has ethical value in the true sense.

14.12 Moral Contribution To Humanity
This is his contribution to the already existing total of moral ideas. All moral activity of humanity has its source in individual ethical intuitions. One can also say that the moral life of humanity is the sum total of what free human individuals have produced through their moral imagination. This is the creed of Monism. 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 that spring from the moral imagination.