Links to Leading Ideas in The Philosophy of Freedom Part II (chapter 8-14) Go to chapter 1-7
The Factors Of Life
Monism And The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity
World Purpose and Life Purpose
Thinking first reveals itself in the percept of the self. But it is not merely subjective, for the self characterizes itself as subject only with the help of thinking. This relationship in thought of the Self to itself is what, in life, determines our personality.
| What is a Free Spirit?
If we would grasp the essential nature of spirit in the form in which it presents itself most immediately to man, we need only look at the self-sustaining activity of thinking.
Intuition is the conscious experience -- in pure spirit -- of a purely spiritual content.
A man who is narrow minded puts faith in a person; the more advanced allows his moral conduct to be dictated by a majority (state, society). Awakening to people as being weak as himself, seeks guidance from a Divine Being. Highest stage for naïve is hearing inner voice. (conscience)
|What is Purpose?
True purposefulness only exists if, in contrast to cause and effect where the earlier event determines the later, the reverse is the case and the later event influences the earlier one. This happens only in the case of human actions The later (the deed) influences the earlier (the doer) with the help of the mental picture.
| What is a
A free spirit acts according to his impulses, according to intuitions selected from the totality of his world of ideas by thinking. For an unfree spirit, the reason why he singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas lies in the world of percepts given to him, that is, in his past experiences.
|What is the Value of Life?
Optimism says that this world is the best that could conceivably exist, and that to live and to act in it is a blessing of untold value. Pessimism maintains that life is full of misery and want; everywhere pain outweighs pleasure, sorrow outweighs joy.
| What is Individuality?
The view that man is destined to become a complete, self
contained, free individuality seems to be contested by the fact that he makes his appearance
as a member of a naturally given totality
(race,people, nation, family,gender, state, church, and so on)
Personality Lives in Life
The Naïve Realist holds that the personality actually lives more genuinely in the life of feeling than in the purely ideal element of knowledge.
This organization contributes nothing to the (intuitive)
essential nature of thinking, but recedes whenever the activity of thinking makes its appearance; it suspends its own activity, it yields ground; and on the ground thus left empty, the thinking appears.
If the hypothetically assumed entity is conceived as in itself unthinking, acting according to purely mechanical laws, as materialism would have it, then it must produce out of itself, by purely mechanical necessity, the human individual with all his characteristic features.
Percept Cause Precedes Percept Effect
In a process which breaks down into cause and effect, we must distinguish percept from concept. The percept of the cause precedes the percept of the effect.
Concrete Mental Picture
Whenever the impulse for an action is present in a general conceptual form (for example, Thou shalt do good to thy fellow men!) then for each particular case the concrete mental picture of the action (the relation of the concept to a content of perception) must first be found.
Best Possible World
Leibnitz believes the world is the best of all possible worlds. A better one is impossible. For God is good and wise. A good God wants to create the best possible world; a wise God knows which is the best possible.
An ethnic group is a totality and all the people belonging to it bear the characteristic
features that are inherent
in the nature of the group.
|We relate percepts to ourselves not merely ideally, through concepts, but also through feeling.||For ordinary experience, human thinking makes its appearance only in connection with, and by means of, this organization.||I believe myself free; but in fact all my actions are nothing but the result of the material processes||Cause and effect would simply remain side by side in our consciousness, if we were not able to connect them through their corresponding concepts.||For the free spirit who is impelled by no example, nor fear of punishment or the like, this translation of the concept into a mental picture is always necessary.||If he knows what God's intentions are concerning the world and mankind, he will be able to do what is right. It must stimulate us to co-operative participation.||The physiognomy and conduct of the individual have something generic about them.|
Feelings Guarantee Reality of Personality
From the basic principle of naïve realism --that everything that can be perceived is real –it follows that feeling must be the guarantee of the reality of one's own personality.
Thinking, in its own (intuitive)
essential nature, certainly contains the real I or ego, but it does not contain the ego-
consciousness. The "ego-
consciousness" arises through the traces which the activity of thinking engraves upon our general consciousness.
Absolute Spiritual Being
Man may picture the extra-human Absolute that lies behind the world of appearances as a spiritual being. In this case he will also seek the impulse for his actions in a corresponding spiritual force.
Conceptual Factor Of Effect
The percept of the effect must always follow upon the percept of the cause. If the effect is to have a real influence upon the cause, it can do so only by means of the conceptual factor.
Man produces concrete mental pictures from the sum of his ideas chiefly by means of the imagination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to realize his ideas, in order to be effective, is moral imagination.
Pain Of Striving (universal idleness)
The foundation of the world is not as an all-wise and all-beneficent being, but as blind urge or will. Eternal striving, ceaseless craving for satisfaction which is ever beyond reach, this is the fundamental characteristic of all active will.
What is generic in him serves only as a medium in which to express his own individual being. He uses as a foundation the characteristics that nature has given him, and to these he gives a form appropriate to his own being.
|Feeling plays on the subjective side exactly the same part as percepts play on the objective side.||The ego-
consciousness thus arises through the bodily organization. Once arisen, it is taken up into thinking and shares henceforth in thinking's spiritual being.
|It is not man that matters in this moral order, but the being itself, that is, the extra-human entity. Man shall do as this being wills.||Therefore it is only men with moral imagination who are, strictly speaking, morally productive.||For no sooner is one goal attained, than a fresh need springs up, and so on.
Schopenhauer's pessimism leads to complete inactivity; his moral aim is universal idleness.
|We are concerned with something purely individual which can be explained only in terms of itself.|
Feeling Appears without it's Concept
Thus, for monism, feeling is an incomplete reality, which, in the form in which it first appears to us, does not yet contain its second factor, the concept or idea.
The characterological disposition is formed by the content of our mental pictures and feelings. This sum of mental pictures depends on my greater or lesser capacity for intuition and on the range of my observations.
Infer The True Reality
As in materialism, so also in one-sided spiritualism, in fact in any kind of metaphysical realism inferring but not experiencing something extra-human as the true reality, freedom is out of the question.
'Real' Influence Of Concept (Action)
For a purposeful connection to exist, it is not only necessary to have an ideal, law-determined connection between the later and the earlier, but the concept (law) of the effect must really influence the cause, that is, by means of a perceptible process.
Moral imagination, in order to realize its mental picture, must set to work in a definite sphere of percepts. The ability to transform the world of percepts without violating the natural laws by which these are connected is moral technique.
Pain Outweighs Pleasure (unselfish service)
Pain far outweighs pleasure in the world. Man has to permeate his whole being with the recognition that the pursuit of individual satisfaction (egoism) is a folly.
Almost invariably man sees in woman, and woman in man, too much of the general character of the other sex and too little of what is individual.
|This is why, in actual life, feelings appear prior to knowledge.||In any particular act of will we must take into account the motive and the driving force. The motive is a factor with the character of a concept or a mental picture; the driving force is the will-factor belonging to the human organization and directly conditioned by it.||A perceptible influence of a concept upon something else, however, is to be observed only in human actions. Hence this is the only sphere in which the concept of purpose is applicable.||It can be learnt in the same sense in which any kind of knowledge can be learnt.||He ought to be guided solely by the task of dedicating himself to the redemption of God by unselfish devotion (service) to the progress of the world. Von Hartmann's pessimism leads us to activity devoted to a sublime task.||A man's activity in life is governed by his individual capacities and inclinations, whereas a woman's is supposed to be determined solely by the mere fact that she is a woman.|
Feeling of Existence
At first, we have merely a feeling of existence; and it is only in the course of our gradual development that we attain to the point at which the concept of self emerges from within the dim feeling of our own existence.
Levels of Morality
and forming mental pictures
4. Conceptual thinking
B.Aims 1. Egoism
2. Conceptual content
4. Conceptual intuition
Necessity of Imposed Principles
Metaphysical as well as naïve realism, must deny freedom for one and the same reason: they both see man as doing no more than putting into effect, or carrying out, principles forced (imposed) upon him by necessity.
The naïve man knows how he brings an event about and from this he concludes that nature will do it in the same way. In the connections of nature which are purely ideal he finds not only invisible forces but also invisible real purposes.
Moral imagination and the faculty of having moral ideas can become objects of knowledge only after they have been produced by the individual. We therefore deal with them as with a natural history of moral ideas.
Pleasure of Striving
Striving (desiring) in itself gives pleasure. Who does not know the enjoyment given by the hope of a remote but intensely desired goal? This joy is the companion of all labor that gives us its fruits only in the future.
As long as men continue to debate whether a woman is suited to this or that profession "according to her natural disposition", the so-called woman's question cannot advance beyond its elementary stage.
|What for us appears only later, is from the first indissolubly bound up with our feeling.||We must distinguish (1) the subjective dispositions which are capable of turning mental pictures and concepts into motives, and (2) the mental pictures and concepts which can influence my characterological disposition so that an act of will results.||Man makes his tools according to his purposes; the naïve realist would have the Creator build organisms on the same formula.||It is a pleasure quite independent of the attainment of the goal. For when the goal has been reached, the pleasure of fulfillment is added as something new to the pleasure of striving.||They must be allowed to decide for themselves what is in accordance with their nature.|
Existence Presented Directly in Feeling
This is why the naïve man comes to believe that in feeling he is presented with existence immediately, in knowledge only mediately.
Among the levels of characterological disposition, we have singled out as the highest the one that works as pure thinking or practical reason. Among the motives, we have just singled out conceptual intuition as the highest.
Whoever is incapable of producing moral ideas through intuition must accept them from others. In so far as a man receives his moral principles from without, he is in fact unfree.
Laws of Nature
Monism rejects the concept of purpose in every sphere, with the sole exception of human action. It looks for laws of nature, but not for purposes of nature.
Moral Laws Newly Created
Some people have wanted to maintain the standard-setting (normative) character of moral laws. The error arises through the fact that, moral laws are not newly created at every moment, but are inherited.
Quantity of Pleasure
(rational estimation of feeling)
I must feel whether the sum of my disagreeable feelings together with my agreeable feelings leaves me with a balance of pleasure or of pain.
Anyone who judges people according to generic characters gets only as far as the frontier where people begin to be beings whose activity is based on free self-
|The cultivation of the life of feeling appears to him more important than anything else.||Such an action presupposes the capacity for moral intuitions. Whoever lacks the capacity to experience for himself the particular moral principle for each single situation, will never achieve truly individual willing.||The idea, however, can come to manifestation in the human individual. In so far as man follows the impulses coming from this side, he feels himself to be free.||Purposes of nature are arbitrary assumptions no less than are imperceptible forces.||As a moral being, I am an individual and have laws of my very own.||What is the right method for striking the balance between these credit and debit columns? Hartmann believes that it is reason that holds the scales. With this, the rational estimation of feeling is made the evaluator.||Whatever lies short of this frontier may become matter for academic study. But none of these branches of study are able to advance as far as the unique content of the single individual.|
Feeling is Instrument of Knowledge
He attempts to make feeling, rather than knowing, the instrument of knowledge.
How can an action be individually made to fit the special case and the special situation, and yet be determined by intuition in a purely ideal way? My "I" takes notice of these perceptual contents, but it does not allow itself to be determined by them.
Man may act unfreely-when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion; he can act freely, when he obeys none but himself. Monism cannot recognize any unconscious compulsion hidden behind percept and concept.
Purposes of Life
But even purposes of life not set by man himself are unjustified assumptions from the standpoint of monism. Nothing is purposeful except what man has first made so, for purposefulness arises only through the realization of an idea.
Evolution of Ethical Ideas
Traditional Moral Doctrine:
Though we can certainly see the connection between later moral concepts and earlier, we cannot get even a single new moral idea out of the earlier ones. As a moral being, the individual produces his own content.
Quality of Pleasure
(critical examination of feeling)
To clear out of the way those factors which falsify our judgment about the balance of pleasure and pain--subject feelings to a critical examination and prove that the objects to which our feelings attach themselves are revealed as illusions.
The conceptual content which man has to connect with the percept by an act of thinking in order to have the full reality cannot be fixed once and for all and bequeathed ready-made to mankind.
|He will not believe that he has grasped the nexus of the world until he has received it into his feeling.||The content is used only to construct a cognitive concept, but the corresponding moral concept is not derived by the "I" from the object.||If anyone asserts that the action of a fellow man is done unfreely, then he must identify the thing or the person or the institution within the perceptible world, that has caused the person to act.||In a realistic sense, an idea can become effective only in man.||If the point is to weigh quantity of pleasure against quantity of pain, then the illusory character of the objects causing certain feelings of pleasure must be left out of the question.||The individual must get his concepts through his own intuition. How the individual has to think cannot possibly be deduced from any kind of generic concept.|
Philosopher of Feeling
(significant only to personality)
Since a feeling is something individual, equivalent to a percept, the philosopher of feeling is making a universal principle out of something that has significance only within his own personality.
In so far as this intuitive content applies to action, it constitutes the moral content of the individual. To let this content express itself in life is both the highest moral driving force and the highest motive a man can have. We may call this point of view ethical individualism.
Partly Unfree, Partly Free
According to the monistic view, then, man's action is partly unfree, partly free. He finds himself to be unfree in the world of percepts, and he realizes within himself the free spirit.
Therefore human life can only have the purpose and the ordering of destiny that man gives it. To the question: What is man's task in life? there can be for monism but one answer: The task he sets himself.
Evolution of Ethical Being
However true it is that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly developed out of those of his ancestors, it is equally true that the individual is morally barren unless he has moral ideas of his own.
Pursuit of Pleasure
(hopelessness of egoism)
If the quantity of pain in a man's life became at any time so great that no hope of future pleasure (credit) could help him to get over the pain, then the bankruptcy of life's business would inevitably follow.
Just as little is it possible to determine from the general character-istics of man what concrete aims the individual may choose to set himself.
|He attempts to permeate the whole world with his own Self.||The decisive factor of an intuitively determined action in any concrete instance is the discovery of the corresponding purely individual intuition.||My mission in the world is not predetermined, but is at every moment the one I choose for myself.||Moral ideals, then, according to the opinion of pessimists, are not strong enough to overcome egoism; but they establish their dominion on the ground previously cleared by the recognition of the hopelessness of egoism.||If we would understand the single individual we must find our way into his own particular being and not stop short at those character-istics that are typical.|
(feeling as universal principle)
The error in a mystical outlook based upon mere feeling is that it wants to experience directly what it ought to gain through knowledge; it wants to raise feeling, which is individual, into a universal principle.
While I am performing the action I am influenced by a moral maxim in so far as it can live in me intuitively; it is bound up with my love for the objective that I want to realize through my action. I ask no man and no rule, "Shall I perform this action?" -- but carry it out as soon as I have grasped the idea of it.
Moral Laws of Higher Power
The moral laws which are regarded as issuing from a higher power, are, for the adherent of monism, thoughts of men. He puts into effect his own resolves and intentions, not those of another being.
Ideas by History
Ideas are realized purposefully only by human beings. Consequently it is not permissible to speak of the embodiment of ideas by history.
Make Supernatural Influence Your Own
Monism cannot admit that the moral nature of will is completely accounted for by being traced back to a continuous supernatural influence upon moral life.
Value of Pleasure (satisfaction of needs)
A quantity of pleasure has its full value for us when in duration and degree it exactly coincides with our desire. Pleasure has value for us only to the extent that we can measure it against our desires.
Individual View and Action
And every kind of study that deals with abstract thoughts and generic concepts is but a preparation for the knowledge we get when a human individuality tells us his way of viewing the world.
|Feeling is a purely individual affair.||I do not work out mentally whether my action is good or bad; I carry it out because I love it. My action will be "good" if my intuition, steeped in love, finds its right place within the intuitively experienceable world continuum.||What appears as the common goal of a group of people is only the result of the separate acts of will of its individual members, and usually of a few outstanding ones who, as their authorities, are followed by the others.||All such phrases as "history is the evolution of mankind towards freedom," or ". . . the realization of the moral world order," and so on, are, from a monistic point of view, untenable.||What happens to man, and in man, through all this, becomes a moral element only when, in human experience, it becomes an individual's own.||If the pessimist believes that because there is a surplus of pain he can conclude that life is valueless, he falls into the error of making a calculation that in real life is never made.||And on the other hand for the knowledge we get from the content of his acts of will.|
In willing, we are concerned once more with a percept, namely, that of the individual relation of our self to what is objective.
If we want to understand the nature of the human will, we must distinguish between the path which leads this will to a certain degree of development and the unique character which the will assumes as it approaches this goal.
Since it does not consider man as a finished product, disclosing his full nature in every moment of his life, it regards the dispute as to whether man as such is free or not, to be of no consequence.
The supporters of the concept of purpose believe that, by surrendering it, they would also have to surrender all order and uniformity in the world.
Characterization of Action (free?)
(observation of action-ethical idea)
The characterizing of an action, whether it is a free one, he must leave to the immediate observation of the action. What men are actually like must be determined by observation of men themselves.
Will For Pleasure (intensity of desire for goal)
On this intensity of desire for the objective will depend how much pain we are willing to bear in achieving the pleasure.
If we are to understand a free individuality we must take over into our own spirit those concepts by which he determines himself, in their pure form (without mixing our own conceptual content with them).
|Whatever there is in willing that is not a purely ideal factor, is just as much mere object of perception as is any object in the external world.||The blind instinct that drives a man to crime does not spring from intuition, and does not belong to what is individual in him, but rather to what is most general in him.||It sees in man a developing being, and asks whether, in the course of this development, the stage of the free spirit can be reached.||Robert Hamerling:The formation of every natural object, be it 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 totality of nature which unfolds and organizes itself in a purposeful manner.||For, although during the activity of thinking the products of thinking do not appear at the same time in the field of observation, they can nevertheless become objects of observation afterwards. And it is in this way that we have arrived at our characterization of action.||The question is not whether there is a surplus of pleasure or pain, but whether the will for pleasure is strong enough to overcome the pain.||Those who immediately mix their own concepts into every judgment about another person, can never arrive at the understanding
of an individuality.
Philosophy of Will
(will is world-principle of reality)
He sees in the will an element in which he is immediately aware of an occurrence, a causation, in contrast with thinking which only grasps the event afterwards in conceptual form.
Harmony of Intentions (attitude of soul)
He wants to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both really conceive out of the idea, and do not obey any external impulses (physical or spiritual), then we cannot but meet one another in like striving, in common intent.
Monism knows that Nature does not send man forth from her arms ready made as a free spirit, but that she leads him up to a certain stage, from which he continues to develop still as an unfree being, until he comes to the point where he finds his own self.
Theory of Purpose in Nature
there is a high degree of purpose and plan unmistakably present in the formations and developments of nature -- a degree of plan and purposefulness, however, which is realized only within the limits of natural law.
Free Action (Image of Ideal Intuition)
This freedom must be allowed to the human will, in so far as the will realizes purely ideal intuitions. For these intuitions are not the results of a necessity acting upon them from without, but are due only to themselves.
of Pleasure (amusement)
Every pain and every pleasure has a definite magnitude (intensity and duration). Further, we can compare pleasurable feelings of different kinds one with another, at least approximately, with regard to their magnitudes.
Only to the extent that a man has emancipated himself in this way from all that is generic, does he count as a free spirit within a human community.
|His own will appears to him as a special case of the general world-process; hence the latter appears as universal will.||I am not referring to the necessity for this or that external institution, but to the disposition, the attitude of soul, through which a man, aware of himself among his fellows, most clearly expresses the ideal of human dignity.||If a man finds that an action is the image of such an ideal intuition, then he feels it to be free. In this characteristic of an action lies its freedom.||If it is only a question whether I am to amuse myself by a game or by light conversation then I simply ask myself: What gives me the greatest surplus of pleasure?||No man is all genus, none is all individuality; but every man gradually emancipates a greater or lesser sphere of his being.|
Real Principle of Existence (Feeling or Will)
The Philosophy of Will can as little be called scientific as can the Mysticism based on feeling. Besides the ideal principle which is accessible to knowledge, there is said to be a real principle which cannot be apprehended by thinking but can yet be experienced.
In the midst of all this framework of compulsion there arise men who establish themselves as free spirits in all the welter of customs, legal codes, religious observances, and so forth.Which of us can say that he is really free in all his actions? Yet in each of us there dwells a deeper being in which the free man finds expression.
Preparatory Stages of
It regards the phases of automatic behavior (following natural urges and instincts) and of obedient behavior (following moral standards) as necessary preparatory stages of morality.
Consonance Within Whole
What is here meant by purposefulness? Since underlying all percepts there are laws (ideas) which we discover through our thinking, it follows that the systematic coherence of the parts of a perceptual whole is simply the ideal coherence of the parts of an ideal whole contained in this perceptual whole.
Want What You Consider Right
(produce mental picture of action)
A free being is one who can want what he himself considers right. Whoever does anything other than what he wants must be impelled to it by motives which do not lie within him. Such a man is unfree in his action.
Realization of Moral Ideal (highest pleasure)
Moral ideals spring from the moral imagination. They are his intuitions, the driving forces which his spirit harnesses; he wants them, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He needs no ethics to forbid him to strive for pleasure and then to tell him what he shall strive for.
Conduct Springs from Intuition
As regards that part of his nature where a man is not able to achieve this freedom for himself, he constitutes a part of the whole organism of nature and spirit. In this respect he lives by copying others or by obeying their commands.
|Mysticism of feeling and the Philosophy of Will are both forms of naïve realism, because they subscribe to the doctrine that what is directly perceived is real.||Nature makes of man merely a natural being; society makes of him a law-abiding being; only he himself can make of himself a free man. The free spirit overcomes the standards and orders his action according to his own impulses (intuitions).||Monism frees the truly moral world conception both from the mundane fetters of naïve moral maxims and from the transcendental moral maxims of the speculative metaphysician.||An animal is not determined by an idea floating in the air, but it is determined by an idea inborn in it and constituting the law of its being. It is just because the idea is not external to the object, but works within it as its very essence, that we cannot speak of purposefulness.||To be free means to be able of one's own accord to determine by moral imagination those mental pictures (motives) which underlie the action.||He will strive for moral ideals if his moral imagination is sufficiently active to provide him with intuitions that give his will the strength to make its way.||Only that part of his conduct that springs from his intuitions can have ethical value in the true sense.|
(universal world-process outside subject)
It assumes, outside the subject, a hypothetical principle for whose real existence the sole criterion is subjective experience.
Moral World Order
The free man acts morally because he has a moral idea; he does not act in order that morality may come into being. Human individuals, with the moral ideas belonging to their nature, are the prerequisites of a moral world order.
Monism emphatically rejects even the thought of moral maxims other than those that apply to men. Human morality, like human knowledge, is conditioned by human nature.
Wherever there is a systematic linking of cause and effect for our perception, the dualist may assume that we see only the carbon copy of a connection in which the absolute cosmic Being has realized its purposes.
Submission to Motives of Others
External powers may prevent me from doing as I will. Then they simply condemn me to do nothing or to be unfree.
Joy of Achievement (measure achievement against aims)
He acts as he wants to act in accordance with his ethical intuitions; and he finds in the achievement of what he wants the true enjoyment of life. He determines the value of life by measuring achievements against aims.
Moral Life Product of Moral Imagination
And those moral instincts that he possesses through the inheritance of social instincts acquire ethical value through being taken up into his intuitions.
|It must acknowledge that the will is a universal world-process only in so far as it is ideally related to the rest of the world.||The philistine, who sees the embodiment of morality in an external code, may see in the free spirit even a dangerous person. But that is only because his view is narrowed down to a limited period of time.||Morality is for the monist a specifically human quality, and spiritual freedom the human way of being moral.||For monism, with the rejection of an absolute cosmic Being -- never experienced but only hypothetically inferred -- all ground for assuming purposes in the world and in nature also falls away.||Not until they would enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head, and put their own motives in the place of mine, do they really aim at making me unfree.||The view which I have developed refers man back to himself. It recognizes as the true value of life only what each individual regards as such, according to the standard of his own will.||It is from individual ethical intuitions and their acceptance by human communities that all moral activity of mankind originates.|