Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy
2. Separation of Philosophy from other Allied Departments of Knowledge.
The history of the other Sciences, of culture and above all the history of art and of religion are, partly in regard to the elements contained in them, and partly to their particular objects, related to the history of Philosophy. It is through this relationship that the treatment of the history of Philosophy has been so confused. If it is to concern itself with the possession of culture generally and then with scientific culture, and then again with popular myths and the dogmas contained only in them, and yet farther with the religious reflections which are already thoughts of a speculative kind, and which make their appearance in them, no bounds are left to Philosophy at all. This is so, partly on account of the amount of material itself and the labour required in working it up and preparing it, and partly because it is in immediate connection with so much else. But the separation must not be made arbitrarily or as by chance, but must be derived from fundamental determinations. If we merely look at the name of Philosophy, all this matter will pertain to its history.
I shall speak of this material from three points of view, for three related aspects are to be eliminated and separated from Philosophy. The first of these is that which is generally considered to be the domain of science, and in which are sound the beginnings of understanding thought. The second region is that of mythology and religion; the relation of Philosophy to them seems often to be inimical both in the time of the Greeks and of the Christians. The third is that of philosophizing and the metaphysics of the understanding. While we distinguish what is related to Philosophy, we must also take note of the elements in this related matter which belong to the Notion of Philosophy, but which appear to us to be partially separated from it: and thus we may become acquainted with the Notion of Philosophy.
a. Relation of Philosophy to Scientific Knowledge.
Knowledge and thought certainly form the element of whatever has to do with particular sciences as they form the element of Philosophy; but their subjects are mainly finite subjects and appearance. A collection of facts known about this content is by its nature excluded from Philosophy: neither this content nor such a form has anything to do with it. But even if the sciences are systematic and contain universal principles and laws from which they proceed, they are still related to a limited circle of objects. The ultimate principles are assumed as are the objects themselves; that is, the outward experience or the feelings of the heart, natural or educated sense of right and duty, constitute the source from which they are created. Logic and the determinations and principles of thought in general are in their methods assumed.
The forms of thought or the points of view and principles which hold good in the sciences and constitute the ultimate support of all their matter, are not peculiar to them, but are common to the condition and culture of the time and of the people. This culture consists mainly in the general ideas and aims, in the whole extent of the particular intellectual powers dominating consciousness and life. Our consciousness has these ideas and allows them to be considered ultimate determinations; it makes use of them as guiding and connecting links, but does not know them and does not even make them the objects of its consideration. To give an abstract example, each act of consciousness has and requires the whole abstract thought-determination of Being. "The sun is in the heavens, the bunch of grapes is ripe," and so on into infinitude. Again, in a higher culture, such relations as those of cause and effect are involved, as also those of force and its manifestation. All its knowledge and ideas are permeated and governed by a metaphysic such as this; it is the net in which all the concrete matter which occupies mankind in action and in impulses, is grasped. But this web and its knots in our ordinary consciousness are sunk into a manifold material, for it contains the objects and interests which we know and which we have before us. These common threads are not drawn up and made explicitly the objects of our reflection.
We Germans seldom now count general scientific knowledge as Philosophy. And yet traces of this are found, as for instance, in the fact that the philosophic Faculty contains all the Sciences which have not as their immediate aim the Church and State. In connection with this, the significance of the name of philosophy, which is even now an important matter of discussion in England, comes in question. Natural Sciences are in England called Philosophy. A "Philosophic Journal" in England, edited by Thompson, treats of Chemistry, Agriculture, Manuring, Husbandry, Technology, like Hermbstädt's Journal, and gives inventions connected therewith. The English call physical instruments, such as the barometer and thermometer, philosophical instruments. Theories too, and especially morality and the moral sciences, which are derived from the feelings of the human heart or from experience, are called Philosophy, and finally this is also so with the theories and principles of Political Economy. And thus at least in England, is the name of Philosophy respected. Some time ago a banquet took place under the presidency of Lord Liverpool, at which the minister Canning was also present. The latter in returning thanks congratulated England in having philosophic principles of government there brought into operation. There, at least, Philosophy is no by-word.
In the first beginnings of culture, however, we are more often met by this admixture of Philosophy and general knowledge. There comes a time to a nation when mind applies itself to universal objects, when, for example, in seeking to bring natural things under general modes of understanding, it tries to learn their causes. Then it is said that a people begins to philosophize, for this content has thought in common with Philosophy. At such a time we find deliverances about all the common events of Nature, as we also find intellectual maxims, moral sentences, general principles respecting morality, the will, duty, and the like, and those who expressed them have been called wise men or philosophers. Thus in the beginnings of Greek Philosophy we find the seven sages and the Ionic Philosophers. From them a number of ideas and discoveries are conveyed to us which seem like philosophic propositions. Thus Thales, amongst others, has explained that the eclipse of sun and moon is due to the intervention of the moon or earth. This is called a theorem. Pythagoras found out the principle of the harmony of sounds. Others have had ideas about the stars: the heavens were supposed to be composed of perforated metal, by which we see throughout the empyrean region, the eternal fire which surrounds the world. Such propositions as products of the understanding, do not belong to the history of Philosophy, although they imply that the merely sensuous gaze has been left behind as also the representation of those objects by the imagination only. Earth and heaven thus become unpeopled with gods, because the understanding distinguishes things in their outward and natural qualities from Mind.
In a later time the epoch of the revival in the sciences is as noteworthy in this respect. General principles regarding, the state, &c., were given expression to, and in them a philosophic side cannot be mistaken. To this place the philosophic systems of Hobbes and Descartes belong: the writings of the latter contain philosophic principles, but his Philosophy of Nature is quite empirical. Huge Grotius composed an international law in which what was historically held by the people as law, the consensus gentium, was a main element. Though earlier, medicine was a collection of isolated facts and a theosophic combination mixed up with astrology, &c. (it is not so long ago since cures were effected by sacred relics), a mode of regarding nature came into vogue according to which men went forth to discover the laws and forces of Nature. The a priori reasoning regarding natural things, according to the metaphysics of the Scholastic Philosophy or to Religion, has now been given up. The Philosophy of Newton contains nothing but Natural Science, that is, the knowledge of the laws, forces, and general constitution of Nature, derived from observation and from experience. However much this may seem to be contrary to the principle of Philosophy, it has in common with it the fact that the bases of both are universal, and still further that I have made this experience, that it rests on my consciousness and obtains its significance through me.
This form is in its general aspect antagonistic to the positive, and has come forward as particularly opposed to Religion and to that which is positive in it. If, in the Middle Ages, the Church had its dogmas as universal truths, man, on the contrary, has now obtained from the testimony of his "own thought," feeling and ideas, a mistrust of these. It is merely to be remarked of this that "my own thought" is in itself a pleonasm, because each individual must think for himself, and no one can do so for another. Similarly this principle has turned against the recognized constitutions and has sought different principles instead, by them to correct the former. Universal principles of the State have now been laid down, while earlier, because religion was positive, the ground of obedience of subjects to princes and of all authority were also so. Kings, as the anointed of the Lord, in the sense that Jewish kings were so, derived their power from God, and had to give account to Him alone, because all authority is given by God. So far theology and jurisprudence were on the whole fixed and positive sciences, wherever this positive character might have been derived. Against this external authority reflection has been brought to bear, and thus, especially in England, the source of public and civil law became no longer mere authority derived from God like the Mosaic Law. For the authority of kings other justification was sought, such as the end implied in the State, the good of the people. This forms quite another source of truth, and it is opposed to that which is revealed, given and positive. This substitution of another ground than that of authority has been called philosophizing.
The knowledge was then a knowledge of what is finite - the world of the content of knowledge. Because this content proceeded through the personal insight of human reason, man has become independent in his actions. This independence of the Mind is the true moment of Philosophy, although the Notion of Philosophy through this formal determination, which limits it to finite objects, has not yet been exhausted. This independent thought is respected, has been called human wisdom or worldly wisdom, for it has had what is earthly as its object, and it took its origin in the world. This was the meaning of Philosophy, and men did rightly to call it worldly wisdom. Frederick von Schlegel revived this by-name for Philosophy, and desired to indicate by it that what concerns higher spheres, such as religion, must be kept apart; and he had many followers. Philosophy, indeed, occupies itself with finite things, but, according to Spinoza, as resting in the divine Idea: it has thus the same end as religion. To the finite sciences which are now separated also from Philosophy, the Churches objected that they led men away from God, since they have as objects only what is finite. This defect in them, conceived of from the point of view of content, leads us to the second department allied to Philosophy, that is, to Religion.
b. Relation of Philosophy to Religion.
As the first department of knowledge was related to Philosophy principally by means of formal and independent knowledge, Religion, though in its content quite different from this first kind or sphere of knowledge, is through it related to Philosophy. Its object is not the earthly and worldly, but the infinite. In the case of art and still more in that of Religion, Philosophy has in common a content composed entirely of universal objects; they constitute the mode in which the highest Idea is existent for the unphilosophical feeling, the perceiving and imagining consciousness. Inasmuch as in the progress of culture in time the manifestation of Religion precedes the appearance of Philosophy, this circumstance must really be taken account of, and the conditions requisite for beginning the History of Philosophy have to depend on this, because it has to be shown in how far what pertains to Religion is to be excluded from it, and that a commencement must not be made with Religion.
In Religion, races of men have undoubtedly expressed their idea of the nature of the world, the substance of nature and of intellect and the relation of man thereto. Absolute Being is here the object of their consciousness; and as such, is for them pre-eminently the "other," a "beyond," nearer or further off, more or less friendly or frightful and alarming. In the act and forms of worship this opposition is removed by man, and he raises himself to the consciousness of unity with his Being, to the feeling of, or dependence on, the Grace of God, in that God has reconciled mankind to Himself. In conception, with the Greeks, for instance, this existence is to man one which is already in and for itself and friendly, and thus worship is but the enjoyment of this unity. This existence is now reason which is existent in and for itself, the universal and concrete substance, the Mind whose first cause is objective to itself in consciousness; it thus is a representation of this last in which not only reason in general, but the universal infinite reason is. We must, therefore, comprehend Religion, as Philosophy, before everything else, which means to know and apprehend it in reason; for it is the work of self-revealing reason and is the highest form of reason. Such ideas as that priests have framed a people's Religion in fraud and self-interest are consequently absurd; to regard Religion as an arbitrary matter or a deception is as foolish as it is perverted. Priests have often profaned Religion - the possibility of which is a consequence of the external relations and temporal existence of Religion. It can thus, in this external connection, be laid hold of here and there, but because it is Religion, it is really that which stands firm against finite ends and their complications and constitutes a region exalted high above them. This region of Mind is really the Holy place of Truth itself, the Holy place in which are dissolved the remaining illusions of the sensuous world, of finite ideas and ends, and of the sphere of opinion and caprice.
Inasmuch as it really is the content of religions, this rational matter might now seem to be capable of being abstracted and expressed as a number of historical theorems. Philosophy stands on the same basis as Religion and has the same object - the universal reason existing in and for itself; Mind desires to make this object its own, as is done with Religion in the act and form of worship. But the form, as it is present in Religion, is different from what is found to be contained in Philosophy, and on this account a history of Philosophy is different from a history of Religion. Worship is only the operation of reflection; Philosophy attempts to bring about the reconciliation by means of thinking knowledge, because Mind desires to take up its Being into itself. Philosophy is related in the form of thinking consciousness to its object; with Religion it is different. But the distinction between the two should not be conceived of so abstractly as to make it seem that thought is only in Philosophy and not in Religion. The latter has likewise ideas and universal thoughts. Because both are so nearly related, it is an old tradition in the history of Philosophy to deduce Philosophy from Persian, Indian, or similar philosophy, a custom which is still partly retained in all histories of Philosophy. For this reason, too, it is a legend universally believed, that Pythagoras, for instance, received his Philosophy from India and Egypt; the fame of the wisdom of these people, which wisdom is understood also to contain Philosophy, is an old one. The Oriental ideas and religious worship which prevailed throughout the West up to the time of the Roman Empire, likewise bear the name of Oriental Philosophy. The Christian Religion and Philosophy are thought of in the Christian world, as more definitely divided; in these Eastern days, on the other hand, Religion and Philosophy are still conceived of as one in so far as that the content has remained in the form in which it is Philosophy. Considering the prevalence of these ideas and in order to have a definite limit to the relations between a history of Philosophy and religious ideas, it is desirable to note some further considerations as to the form which separates religious ideas from philosophical theorems.
Religion has not only universal thought as inward content implicite contained in its myths, ideas, imaginations and in its exact and positive histories, so that we require first of all to dig this content out of such myths in the form of theorems, but it often has its content explicite in the form of thought. In the Persian and Indian Religions very deep, sublime and speculative thoughts are even expressed. Indeed, in Religion we even meet philosophies directly expressed, as in the Philosophy of the Fathers. The scholastic Philosophy really was Theology; there is found in it a union or, if you will, a mixture of Theology and Philosophy which may very well puzzle us. The question which confronts us on the one side is, how Philosophy differs from Theology, as the science of Religion, or from Religion as consciousness? And then, in how far have we in the history of Philosophy to take account of what pertains to Religion? For the reply to this last question three aspects have again to be dealt with; first of all the mythical and historical aspect of Religion and its relation to Philosophy; in the second place the theorems and speculative thoughts directly expressed in Religion; and in the third place we must speak of Philosophy within Theology.
A. Difference between Philosophy and Religion.
The consideration of the mythical aspect of Religion or the historical and positive side generally, is interesting, because from it the difference in respect of form will show in what this content is antagonistic to Philosophy. Indeed, taken in its connections, its difference passes into apparent inconsistency. This diversity is not only found in our contemplation but forms a very definite element in history. It is required by Philosophy that it should justify its beginning and its manner of knowledge, and Philosophy has thus placed itself in opposition to Religion. On the other hand Philosophy is combated and condemned by Religion and by the Churches. The Greek popular religion indeed, proscribed several philosophers; but the opposition is even more apparent in the Christian Church. The question is thus not only whether regard is to be paid to Religion in the history of Philosophy, for it has been the case that Philosophy has paid attention to Religion, and the latter to the former. Since neither of the two has allowed the other to rest undisturbed, we are not permitted to do so either. Of their relations, therefore, we must speak definitely, openly and honestly - aborder la question, as the French say. We must not hesitate, as if such a discussion were too delicate, nor try to help ourselves out by beating about the bush; nor must we seek to find evasions or shifts, so that in the end no one can tell what we mean. We must not seem to wish to leave Religion alone. This is nothing else than to appear to wish to conceal the fact that Philosophy has directed its efforts against Religion. Religion, that is, the theologians, are indeed the cause of this; they ignore Philosophy, but only in order that they may not be contradicted in their arbitrary reasoning.
It may appear as if Religion demanded that man should abstain from thinking of universal matters and Philosophy because they are merely worldly wisdom and represent human operations. Human reason is here opposed to the divine. Men are, indeed, well accustomed to a distinction between divine teaching and laws and human power and inventions, such that under the latter everything is comprehended which in its manifestation proceeds from the consciousness, the intelligence or the will of mankind which makes all this opposed to the knowledge of God and to things rendered divine by divine revelation. But the depreciation of what is human expressed by this opposition is then driven further still, inasmuch as while it implies the further view that man is certainly called upon to admire the wisdom of God in Nature, and that the grain, the mountains, the cedars of Lebanon in all their glory, the song of the birds in the bough, the superior skill and the domestic instincts of animals are all magnified as being the work of God, it also implies that the wisdom, goodness and justice of God is, indeed, pointed out in human affairs, but not so much in the disposition or laws of man or in actions performed voluntarily and in the ordinary progress of the world, as in human destiny, that is, in that which is external and even arbitrary in relation to knowledge and free-will. Thus what is external and accidental is regarded as emphatically the work of God, and what has its root in will and conscience, as the work of man. The harmony between outward relations, circumstances and events and the general aims of man is certainly something of a higher kind, but this is the case only for the reason that this harmony is considered with respect to ends which are human and not natural such as those present in the life of a sparrow which finds its food. But if the summit of everything is found in this, that God rules over Nature, what then is free-will? Does He not rule over what is spiritual, or rather since He himself is spiritual, in what is spiritual? and is not the ruler over or in the spiritual region higher than a ruler over or in Nature? But is that admiration of God as revealed in natural things as such, in trees and animals as opposed to what is human, far removed from the religion of the ancient Egyptians, which derived its knowledge of what is divine from the ibis, or from cats and dogs? or does it differ from the deplorable condition of the ancient and the modern Indians, who held and still hold cows and apes in reverence, and are scrupulously concerned for the maintenance and nourishment of these animals, while they allow men to suffer hunger; who would commit a crime by removing the pangs of starvation through their slaughter or even by partaking of their food?
It seems to be expressed by such a view that human action as regards Nature is ungodly; that the operations of Nature are divine operations, but what man produces is ungodly. But the productions of human reason might, at least, be esteemed as much as Nature. In so doing, however, we cede less to reason than is permitted to us. If the life and the action of animals be divine, human action must stand much higher, and must be worthy to be called divine in an infinitely higher sense. The pre-eminence of human thought must forthwith be avowed. Christ says on this subject (Matt. vi. 26-30), "Behold the fowls of the air," (in which we may also include the Ibis and the Kokilas,) "are ye not much better than they? Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you?" The superiority of man, of the image of God, to animals and plants is indeed implicitly and explicitly established, but in asking wherein the divine element is to be sought and seen - in making use of such expressions - none of the superior, but only the inferior nature, is indicated. Similarly, in regard to the knowledge of God, it is remarkable that Christ places the knowledge of and faith in Him not in any admiration of the creatures of nature nor in marvelling at any so-called dominion over them, nor in signs and wonders, but in the witness of the Spirit. Spirit is infinitely high above Nature, in it the Divine Nature manifests itself more than in Nature.
But the form in which the universal content which is in and for itself, first belongs to Philosophy is the form of Thought, the form of the universal itself. In Religion, however, this content is for immediate and outward perception, and further for idea and sensation through art. The import is for the sensuous nature; it is the evidence of the Mind which comprehends that content. To make this clearer, the difference must be recollected between that which we are and have, and how we know the same - that is, in what manner we know it and have it as our object. This distinction is an infinitely important matter, and it alone is concerned in the culture of races and of individuals. We are men and have reason; what is human, or above all, what is rational vibrates within us, both in our feelings, mind and heart and in our subjective nature generally. It is in this corresponding vibration and in the corresponding motion effected that a particular content becomes our own and is like our own. The manifold nature of the determinations which it contains is concentrated and wrapt up within this inward nature - an obscure motion of Mind in itself and in universal substantiality. The content is thus directly identical with the simple abstract certainty of ourselves and with self-consciousness. But Mind, because it is Mind, is as truly consciousness. What is confined within itself in its simplicity must be objective to itself and must come to be known. The whole difference lies in the manner and method of this objectivity, and hence in the manner and method of consciousness.
This method and manner extends from the simple expression of the dullness of mere feeling to the most objective form, to that which is in and for itself objective, to Thought. The most simple, most formal objectivity is the expression of a name for that feeling and for the state of mind according with it, as seen in these words, worship, prayer, etc. Such. expressions as "Let us pray" and "Let us worship" are simply the recalling of that feeling. But "Let us think about God" brings with it something more; it expresses the absolutely embracing content of that substantial feeling, and the object, which differs from mere sensation as subjective self-conscious activity; or which is content distinguished from this activity as form. This object, however, comprehending in itself the whole substantial content, is itself still undeveloped and entirely undetermined. To develop that content, to comprehend, express and bring to consciousness its relations, is the commencement, creation and manifestation of Religion. The form in which this developed content first possesses objectivity is that of immediate perception, of sensuous idea or of a more defined idea deduced from natural, physical or mental manifestations and conditions.
Art brings about this consciousness, in that it gives permanence and cohesion to the fleeting visible appearance through which objectivity passes in sensation. The shapeless, sacred stone, the more place, or whatever it is to which the desire for objectivity first attaches itself, receives from art, form, feature, determinate character and content which can be known and which is now present for consciousness. Art has thus become the instructress of the people. This was the case with Homer and Hesiod for instance, who, according to Herodotus (II. 53), "Made the Greeks their Theogony," because they elevated and consolidated ideas and traditions in unison with the spirit of the people, wherever and in whatever confusion they might be found, into definite images and ideas. This is not the art which merely gives expression in its own way to the content, already perfectly expressed, of a Religion which in thought, idea and words has already attained complete development; that is to say, which puts its matter into stone, canvas, or words as is done by modern art, which, in dealing either with religious or with historical objects, takes as its groundwork ideas and thoughts which are already there. The consciousness of this Religion is rather the product of thinking imagination, or of thought which comprehends through the organ of imagination alone and finds expression in its forms.
If the infinite Thought, the absolute Mind, has revealed and does reveal itself in true Religion, that in which it reveals itself is the heart, the representing consciousness and the understanding of what is finite. Religion is not merely directed to every sort of culture. "To the poor is the Gospel preached," but it must as being Religion expressly directed towards heart and mind, enter into the sphere of subjectivity and consequently into the region of finite methods of representation. In the perceiving and, with reference to perceptions, reflecting consciousness, man possesses for the speculative relations belonging to the absolute, only finite relations, whether taken in an exact or in a symbolical sense, to serve him to comprehend and express those qualities and relationships of the infinite.
In Religion as the earliest and the immediate revelations of God, the form of representation and of reflecting finite thought cannot be the only form in which He gives existence to Himself in consciousness, but it must also appear in this form, for such alone is comprehensible to religious consciousness. To make this clearer, something must be said as to what is the meaning of comprehension. On the one hand, as has been remarked above, there is in it the substantial basis of content, which, coming to Mind as its absolute Being, affects it in its innermost, finds an answering chord, and thereby obtains from it confirmation. This is the first absolute condition necessary to comprehension; what is not implicitly there cannot come within it or be for it - that is, a content which is infinite and eternal. For the substantial as infinite, is just that which has no limitations in that to which it is related, for else it would be limited and not the true substantial. And Mind is that alone which is not implicit, which is finite and external; for what is finite and external is no longer what is implicit but what is for another, what has entered into a relation. But, on the other hand, because the true and eternal must be for Mind, become known, that is, enter into finite consciousness, the Mind for which it is, is finite and the manner of its consciousness consists in the ideas and forms of finite things and relations. These forms are familiar and well known to consciousness, the ordinary mode of finality, which mode it has appropriated to itself, having constituted it the universal medium of its representation, into which everything that comes to consciousness must be resolved in order that it may gave and know itself therein.
The assertion of Religion is that the manifestation of Truth which is revealed to us through it, is one which is given to man from outside, and on this account it is also asserted that man has humbly to assent to it, because human reason cannot attain to it by itself. The assertion of positive Religion is that its truths exist without having their source known, so that the content as given, is one which is above and beyond reason. By means of some prophet or other divine instrument, the truth is made known: just as Ceres and Triptolemus who introduced agriculture and matrimony, for so doing were honoured by the Greeks, men have rendered thanks to Moses and to Mahomed. Through whatever individual the Truth may have been given, the external matter is historical, and this is indifferent to the absolute content and to itself, since the person is not the import of the doctrine. But the Christian Religion has this characteristic that the Person of Christ in His character of the Son of God, Himself partakes of the nature of God. If Christ be for Christians only a teacher like Pythagoras, Socrates or Columbus, there would be here no universal divine content, no revelation or knowledge imparted about the Nature of God, and it is regarding this alone that we desire to obtain knowledge.
Whatever stage it may itself have reached, the Truth must undoubtedly in the first place come to men from without as a present object, sensuously represented, just as Moses saw God in the fiery bush, and as the Greek brought the god into conscious being by means of sculpture or other representations. But there is the further fact, that neither in Religion nor in Philosophy does this external form remain, nor can it so remain. A form of the imagination or an historical form, such as Christ, must for the spirit be spiritual; and thus it ceases to be an external matter, seeing that the form of externality is dead. We must know God "in Spirit and in Truth." He is the absolute and actual Spirit. The relation borne by the human spirit to this Spirit involve the following considerations.
When man determines to adopt a Religion he asks himself, "What is the ground of my faith?" The Christian Religion replies - "The Spirit's witness to its content." Christ reproved the Pharisees for wishing to see miracles; the Spirit alone comprehends Spirit, the miracle is only a presentiment of that Spirit; and if the miracle be the suspension of natural laws, Spirit itself is the real miracle in the operations of nature. Spirit in itself is merely this comprehension of itself. There is only one Spirit, the universal divine Spirit. Not that it is merely everywhere; it is not to be comprehended as what is common to everything, as an external totality, to be found in many or in all individuals, which are essentially individuals; but it must be understood as that which permeates through everything, as the unity of itself and of a semblance of its "other," as of the subjective and particular. As universal, it is object to itself, and thus determined as a particular, it is this individual: but as universal it reaches over this its "other," so that its "other" and itself are comprised in one. The true universality seems, popularly expressed, to be two - what is common to the universal itself and to the particular. A division is formed in the understanding of itself, and the Spirit is the unity of what is understood and the understanding person. The divine Spirit which is comprehended, is objective; the subjective Spirit comprehends. But Spirit is not passive, or else the passivity can be momentary only; there is one spiritual substantial unity. The subjective Spirit is the active, but the objective Spirit is itself this activity; the active subjective Spirit is that which comprehends the divine, and in its comprehension of it it is itself the divine Spirit. The relation of Spirit to self alone is the absolute determination; the divine Spirit lives in its own communion and presence. This comprehension has been called Faith, but it is not an historical faith; we Lutherans - I am a Lutheran and will remain the same - have only this original faith. This unity is not the Substance of Spinoza, but the apprehending Substance in self-consciousness which makes itself eternal and relates to universality. The talk about the limitations of human thought is futile; to know God is the only end of Religion. The testimony of the Spirit to the content of Religion is itself Religion; it is a testimony that both bears witness and at the same time is that witness. The Spirit proves itself, and does so first in the proof; it is only proved because it proves itself and shows or manifests itself.
It has farther to be said, that this testimony, this inward stirring and self-consciousness, reveals itself, while in the enshrouded consciousness of devotion it does not arrive at the proper consciousness of an object, but only at the consciousness of immersion in absolute Being. This permeating and permeated Spirit now enters into conception; God goes forth into the "other" and makes Himself objective. All that pertains to revelation and its reception, and which comes before us in mythology, here appears; everything which is historical and which belongs to what is positive has here its proper place. To speak more definitely, we now have the Christ who came into the world nearly two thousand years ago. But He says, "I am with you even unto the ends of the earth; where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there will I be in the midst." I shall not be seen of you in the flesh, but "The Spirit of Truth will guide you into all Truth." The external is not the true relation; it will disappear.
The two stages have here been given, the first of which is the stage of devotion, of worship, such as that reached in partaking of the Communion. That is the perception of the divine Spirit in the community in which the present, indwelling, living Christ as self-consciousness has attained to actuality. The second stage is that of developed consciousness, when the content becomes the object; here this present, indwelling Christ retreats two thousand years to a small corner of Palestine, and is an individual historically manifested far away at Nazareth or Jerusalem. It is the same thing in the Greek Religion where the god present in devotion changes into prosaic statues and marble; or in painting, where this externality is likewise arrived at, when the god becomes mere canvas or wood. The Supper is, according to the Lutheran conception, of Faith alone; it is a divine satisfaction, and is not adored as if it were the Host. Thus a sacred image is no more to us than is a stone or thing. The second point of view must indeed be that with which consciousness begins; it must start from the external comprehension of this form: it must passively accept report and take it up into memory. But if it remain where it is, that is the unspiritual point of view: to remain fixed in this second standpoint in this dead far-away historic distance, is to reject the Spirit. The sins of him who lies against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven. That lie is the refusal to be a universal, to be holy, that is to make Christ become divided, separated, to make Him only another person as this particular person in Judea; or else to say that He now exists, but only far away in Heaven, or in some other place, and not in present actual form amongst His people. The man who speaks of the merely finite, of merely human reason, and of the limits to mere reason, lies against the Spirit, for the Spirit as infinite and universal, as self-comprehension, comprehends itself not in a "merely" nor in limits, nor in the finite as such. It has nothing to do with this, for it comprehends itself within itself alone, in its infinitude.
If it be said of Philosophy, that it makes reality the subject of its knowledge, the principal point is that the reality should not be one outside of that of which it is the reality. For example, if from the real content of a book, I abstract the binding, paper, ink, language, the many thousand letters that are contained in it, the simple universal content as reality, is not outside of the book. Similarly law is not outside of the individual, but it constitutes the true Being of the individual. The reality of my Mind is thus in my Mind itself and not outside of it; it is my real Being, my own substance, without which I am without existence. This reality is, so to speak, the combustible material which may be kindled and lit up by the universal reality as such as objective; and only so far as this phosphorus is in men, is comprehension, the kindling and lighting up, possible. Feeling, anticipation, knowledge of God, are only thus in men; without such, the divine Mind would not be the in and for itself Universal. Reality is itself a real content and not the destitute of content and undetermined; yet, as the book has other content besides, there is in the individual mind also a great amount of other matter which belongs only to the manifestation of this reality, and the individual surrounded with what is external, must be separated from this existence. Since reality is itself Spirit and not an abstraction, "God is not a God for the dead but for the living," and indeed for living spirits.
The great Creator was alone
And experienced desire,
Therefore He created Spirits,
Holy mirrors of His holiness.
The noblest Being He found no equal;
From out the bowl of all the spiritual world,
There sparkled up to Him infinitude.
Religion is also the point of view from which this existence is known. But as regards the different forms of knowledge existing in Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy appears to be opposed to the conception in Religion that the universal mind first shows itself as external, in the objective mode of consciousness. Worship, commencing with the external, then turns against and abrogates it as has just been said, and thus Philosophy is justified through the acts and forms of worship, and only does what they do. Philosophy has to deal with two different objects; first as in the Religion present in worship, with the substantial content, the spiritual soul, and secondly with bringing this before consciousness as object, but in the form of thought. Philosophy thinks and conceives of that which Religion represents as the object of consciousness, whether it is as the work of the imagination or as existent facts in history. The form of the knowledge of the object is, in religious consciousness, such as pertains to the ordinary idea, and is thus more or less sensuous in nature. In Philosophy we do not say that God begot a Son, which is a relation derived from natural life. Thought, or the substance of such a relation, is therefore still recognized in Philosophy. Since Philosophy thinks its object, it has the advantage of uniting the two stages of religious consciousness - which in Religion are different moments - into one unity in philosophic thought.
It is these two forms which are different from one another and which, as opposed, may therefore seem to be mutually conflicting; and it is natural and it necessarily seems to be the case, that on first definitely coming to view they are so to speak conscious of their diversity, and hence at first appear as inimical to one another. The first stage in the order of manifestation is definite existence, or a determinate Being-for-self as opposed to the other. The later form is that Thought embraces itself in the concrete, immerses itself in itself, and Mind, as such, comes in it to consciousness. In the earlier stage, Mind is abstract, and in this constraint it knows itself to be different, and in opposition to the other. When it embraces itself in the concrete, it is no more simply confined in determinate existence, only knowing or possessing itself in that diversity, but it is the Universal which, inasmuch as it determines itself, contains its "other" within itself. As concrete intelligence, Mind thus comprehends the substantial in the form which seemed to differ from it, of which it had only grasped the outward manifestation and had turned away from it; it recognizes itself in its inward content, and so it for the first time grasps its object, and deals justice to its opposite.
Generally speaking, the course of this antithesis in history is that Thought first of all comes forth within Religion, as not free and in separate manifestations. Secondly, it strengthens itself, feels itself to be resting upon itself, holds and conducts itself inimically towards the other form, and does not recognize itself therein. In the third place, it concludes by acknowledging itself as in this other. Or else Philosophy has to begin with carrying on its work entirely on its own account, isolating Thought from all popular beliefs, and taking for itself quite a different field of operation, a field for which the world of ordinary ideas lies quite apart, so that the two exist peacefully side by side, or, to put it better, so that no reflection on their opposition is arrived at. Just as little did the thought of reconciling them occur, since in the popular beliefs the same content appeared as in any external form other than the notion - the thought that is, of explaining and justifying popular belief, in order thus to be able again to express the conceptions of free thought in the form of popular religion.
Thus we see Philosophy first restrained and confined within the range of the Greek heathen world; then resting upon itself, it goes forth against popular religion and takes up an unfriendly attitude to it, until it grasps that religion in its innermost and recognizes itself therein. Thus the ancient Greek philosophers generally respected the popular religion, or at least they did not oppose it, or reflect upon it. Those coming later, including even Xenophanes, handled popular ideas most severely, and thus many so-called atheists made their appearance. But as the spheres of popular conception and abstract thought stood peacefully side by side, we also find Greek philosophers of even a later period in development, in whose case speculative thought and the act of worship, as also the pious invocation upon and sacrifice to the gods, coexist in good faith, and not in mere hypocrisy. Socrates was accused of teaching other gods than those belonging to the popular religion; his daimonion was indeed opposed to the principles of Greek morals and religion, but at the same time he followed quite honestly the usages of his religion, and we know besides that his last request was to ask his friends to offer a cock to Æesculapius - a desire quite inconsistent with his conclusions regarding the existence of God and above all regarding morality. Plato declaimed against the poets and their gods. It was in a much later time that the Neo-platonists first recognized in the popular mythology rejected earlier by the philosophers, the universal content; they transposed and translated it into what is significant for thought, and thus used mythology itself as a symbolical imagery for giving expression to their formulas.
Similarly do we see in the Christian Religion, thought which is not independent first placing itself in conjunction with the form belonging to this Religion and acting within it - that is to say, taking the Religion as its groundwork, and proceeding from the absolute assumption of the Christian doctrine. We see later on the opposition between so-called faith and so-called reason; when the wings of thought have become strengthened, the young eaglet flies away for himself to the sun of Truth; but like a bird of prey he turns upon Religion and combats it. Latest of all Philosophy permits full justice to be done to the content of Religion through the speculative Notion, which is through Thought itself. For this end the Notion must have grasped itself in the concrete and penetrated to concrete spirituality. This must be the standpoint of the Philosophy of the present time; it has begun within Christianity and can have no other content than the world-spirit. When that spirit comprehends itself in Philosophy, it also comprehends itself in that form which formerly was inimical to Philosophy.
Thus Religion has a content in common with Philosophy the forms alone being different; and the only essential point is that the form of the Notion should be so far perfected as to be able to grasp the content of Religion. The Truth is just that which has been called the mysteries of Religion. These constitute the speculative element in Religion such as were called by the Neo-platonists being initiated, or being occupied with speculative Notions. By mysteries is meant, superficially speaking, the secret, what remains such and does not arrive at being known. But in the Eleusinian mysteries there was nothing unknown; all Athenians were initiated into them, Socrates alone shut himself out. Openly to make them known to strangers was the one thing forbidden, as indeed it was made a crime in the case of certain people. Such matters however, as being holy, were not to be spoken of. Herodotus often expressly says (e.g. ii. 45-47) that he would speak of the Egyptian Divinities and mysteries in as far as it was pious so to do: he knew more, but it would be impious to speak of them. In the Christian Religion dogmas are called mysteries. They are that which man knows about the Nature of God. Neither is there anything mysterious in this; it is known by all those who are partakers in that Religion, and these are thus distinguished from the followers of other Religions. Hence mystery here signifies nothing unknown, since all Christians are in the secret. Mysteries are in their nature speculative, mysterious certainly to the understanding but not to reason; they are rational, just in the sense of being speculative. The understanding does not comprehend the speculative which simply is the concrete because it holds to the differences in their separation; their contradiction is indeed contained in the mystery, which, however, is likewise the resolution of the same.
Philosophy, on the contrary, is opposed to the so-called Rationalism of the new Theology which for ever keeps reason on its lips, but which is dry understanding only; no reason is recognizable in it as the moment of independent thought which really is abstract thought and that alone. When the understanding which does not comprehend the truths of Religion, calls itself the illuminating reason and plays the lord and master, it goes astray. Rationalism is opposed to Philosophy in content and form, for it has made the content empty as it has made the heavens, and has reduced all that is, to finite relations - in its form it is a reasoning process which is not free and which has no conceiving power. The supernatural in Religion is opposed to rationalism, and if indeed the latter is related in respect of the real content to Philosophy, yet it differs from it in form, for it has become unspiritual and wooden, looking for its justification to mere external authority. The scholastics were not supernaturalists in this sense; they knew the dogmas of the Church in thought and in conception. If Religion in the inflexibility of its abstract authority as opposed to thought, declares of it that "the gates of Hell shall not triumph over it," the gates of reason are stronger than the gates of Hell, not to overcome the Church but to reconcile itself to the Church. Philosophy, as the conceiving thought of this content, has as regards the idea of Religion, the advantage of comprehending both sides - it comprehends Religion and also comprehends both rationalism and supernaturalism and itself likewise. But this is not the case on the other side. Religion from the standpoint of idea, comprehends only what stands on the same platform as itself, and not Philosophy, the Notion, the universal thought determinations. Often no injustice is done to a Philosophy when its opposition to Religion has been made matter of reproach; but often, too, a wrong has been inflicted where this is done from the religious point of view.
The form of Religion is necessary to Mind as it is in and for itself; it is the form of truth as it is for all men, and for every mode of consciousness. This universal mode is first of all for men in the form of sensuous consciousness, and then, secondly, in the intermingling of the form of the universal with sensuous manifestation or reflection - the representing consciousness, the mythical, positive and historical form, is that pertaining to the understanding. What is received in evidence of Mind only becomes object to consciousness when it appears in the form of the understanding, that is to say, consciousness must first be already acquainted with these forms from life and from experience. Now, because thinking consciousness is not the outward universal form for all mankind, the consciousness of the true, the spiritual and the rational, must have the form of Religion, and this is the universal justification of this form.
We have here laid down the distinction between Philosophy and Religion, but taking into account what it is we wish to deal with in the history of Philosophy, there is something still which must be remarked upon, and which partly follows from what has been already said. There is the question still confronting us as to what attitude we must take in reference to this matter in the history of Philosophy.
B. The religious element to be excluded from the content of the History of Philosophy.
i. Mythology first meets us, and it seems as if it might be drawn within the history of Philosophy. It is indeed a product of the imagination, but not of caprice, although that also has its place here. But the main part of mythology is the work of the imaginative reason, which makes reality its object, but yet has no other means of so doing, than that of sensuous representation, so that the gods make their appearance in human guise. Mythology can now be studied for art, &c. But the thinking mind must seek out the substantial content, the thought and the theory implicitly contained therein, as reason is sought in Nature. This mode of treating mythology was that of the Neo-platonists ; in recent times it has for the most part become the work of my friend Creuzer in symbolism. This method of treatment is combated and condemned by others. Man, it is said, must set to work historically alone, and it is not historic when a theory unthought of by the ancients, is read into a myth, or brought out of it. In one light, this is quite correct, for it points to a method adopted by Creuzer, and also by the Alexandrians who acted in a similar way. In conscious thought the ancients had not such theories before them, nor did anyone maintain them, yet to say that such content was not implicitly present, is an absurd contention. As the products of reason, though not of thinking reason, the religions of the people, as also the mythologies, however simple and even foolish they may appear, indubitably contain as genuine works of art, thoughts, universal determinations and truth for the instinct of reason is at their basis. Bound up with this is the fact that since mythology in its expression takes sensuous forms, much that is contingent and external becomes intermingled, for the representation of the Notion in sensuous forms always possesses a certain incongruity, seeing that what is founded on imagination cannot express the Idea in its real aspect. This sensuous form produced as it is by an historic or natural method, must be determined on many sides, and this external determination must, more or less, be of such a nature as not to express the Idea. It may also be that many errors are contained in that explanation, particularly when a single one is brought within our notice; all the customs, actions, furnishings, vestments, and offerings taken together, may undoubtedly contain something of the Idea in analogy, but the connection is far removed, and many contingent circumstances must find their entrance. But that there is a Reason there, must certainly be recognized, and it is essential so to comprehend and grasp mythology.
But Mythology must remain excluded from our history of Philosophy. The reason of this is found in the fact that in Philosophy we have to do not with theorems generally, or with thoughts which only are implicite contained some particular form or other, but with thoughts which are explicit, and only in so far as they are explicit and in so far as a content such as that belonging to Religion, has come to consciousness in the form of Thought. And this is just what forms the immense distinction which we saw above, between capacity and actuality. The theorems which are implicite contained within Religion do not concern us; they must be in the form of thoughts, since Thought alone is the absolute form of the Idea.
In many mythologies, images are certainly used along with their significance, or else the images are closely attended by their interpretation. The ancient Persians worshipped the sun, or fire, as being the highest existence; the first cause in the Persian Religion is Zervane Akerene - unlimited time, eternity. This simple eternal existence possesses according to Diogenes Lærtius (I. 8), "the two principles Ormuzd and Ahriman, the rulers over good and evil." Plutarch in writing on Isis and Osiris (T. II. p. 369, ed. Xyl.) says, "It is not one existence which holds and rules the whole, but good is mingled with evil; nature as a rule brings forth nothing pure and simple; it is not one dispenser, who, like a host, gives out and mixes up the drink from two different barrels. But through two opposed and inimical principles of which the one impels towards what is right, and the other in the opposite direction, if not the whole world, at least this earth is influenced in different ways. Zoroaster has thus emphatically set up the one principle (Ormuzd) as being the Light, and the other (Ahriman) as the Darkness. Between the two is Mithra, hence called by the Persians the Mediator." Mithra is then likewise substance, the universal existence, the sun raised to a totality. It is not the mediator between Ormuzd and Abriman by establishing peace and leaving each to remain as it was; it does not partake of good and evil both, like an unblest middle thing, but it stands on the side of Ormuzd and strives with him against the evil. Ahriman is sometimes called the first-born son of the Light, but Ormuzd only remained within the Light. At the creation of the visible world, Ormuzd places on the earth in his incomprehensible kingdom of Light, the firm arches of the heavens which are above yet surrounded on every side with the first original Light. Midway to the earth is the high hill Albordi, which reaches into the source of Light. Ormuzd's empire of Light extended uninterruptedly over the firm vault of the heavens and the hill Albordi, and over the earth too, until the third age was reached. Then Ahriman, whose kingdom of night was formerly bound beneath the earth, broke in upon Ormuzd's corporeal world and ruled in common with him. Now the space between heaven and earth was divided into light and night. As Orniuzd had formerly only a spiritual kingdom of light, Ahriman had only one of night, but now that they were intermingled he placed the terrestrial light thus created in opposition to the terrestrial night. From this time on, two corporeal worlds stand opposed, one pure and good, and one impure and evil, and this opposition permeates all nature. On Albordi, Ormuzd created Mithra as mediator for the earth. The end of the creation of the bodily world is none other than to reinstate existence, fallen from its creator, to make it good again, and thus to make the evil disappear for ever. The bodily world is the battle-ground between good and evil; but the battle between light and darkness is not in it self an absolute and irreconcilable opposition, but one which can be conquered, and in it Ormuzd, the principle of Light, will be the conqueror.
I would remark of this, that when we consider the elements in these ideas which bear some further connection with Philosophy, the universal of that duality with which the Notion is necessarily set forth can alone be interesting and noteworthy to us; for in it the Notion is just the immediate opposite of itself, the unity of itself with itself in the "other:" a simple existence in which absolute opposition appears as the opposition of existence, and the sublation of that opposition. Because properly the Light principle is the only existence of both, and the principle of Darkness is the null and void, - the principle of Light identifies itself with Mithra, which was before called the highest existence. The opposition has laid aside the appearance of contingency, but the spiritual principle is not separate from the physical, because the good and evil are both determined as Light and Darkness. We thus here see thought breaking forth from actuality, and yet not such a separation as only takes place in Religion, when the supersensuous is itself again represented in a manner sensuous, notionless and dispersed, for the whole of what is dispersed in sensuous form is gathered together in the one single opposition, and activity is thus simply represented. These determinations lie much nearer to Thought; they are not mere images or symbols, but yet these myths do not concern Philosophy. In them Thought does not take the first place, for the myth-form remains predominant. In all religions this oscillation between form and thought is found, and such a combination still lies outside Philosophy.
This is also so in the Sanchuniathonic Cosmogony of the Phoenicians. These fragments, which are found in Eusebius (Præpar. Evang. I. 10), are taken from the translation of the Sanchuniathon from Phoenician into Greek made by a Grammarian named Philo from Biblus. Philo lived in the time of Vespasian and ascribes great antiquity to the Sanchuniathon. It is there said, "The principles of things are found in Chaos, in which the elements exist undeveloped and confused, and in a Spirit of Air. The latter permeated the chaos, and with it engendered a slimy matter or mud which contained within it the living forces and the germs of animals. By mingling this mud with the component matter of chaos and the resulting fermentation, the elements separated themselves. The fire elements ascended into the heights and formed the stars. Through their influence in the air, clouds were formed and the earth was made fruitful. From the mingling of water and earth, through the mud converted into putrefying matter, animals took their origin as imperfect and senseless. These again begot other animals perfect and endowed with senses. It was the crash of thunder in a thunderstorm that caused the first animals still sleeping in their husks to waken up to life."7
The fragments of Berosus of the Chaldeans were collected from Josephus, Syncellus and Eusebius under the title Berosi Chaldaica, by Scaliger, as an appendix to his work De emendatione lemporum, and they are found complete in the Greek Library of Fabricius (T. xiv. pp. 175-211). Berosus lived in the time of Alexander, is said to have been a Priest of Bel and to have drawn upon the archives of the temple at Babylon. He says, "The original god is Bel and the goddess Omoroka (the sea), but beside them there were yet other gods. Bel divided Omoroka in two, in order to create from her parts heaven and earth. Hereupon he cut off his own head and the human race originated from the drops of his divine blood. After the creation of man, Bel banished the darkness, divided heaven and earth, and formed the world into its natural shape. Since certain parts of the earth seemed to him to be insufficiently populated, he compelled another god to lay hands upon himself, and from his blood more men and more kinds of animals were created. At first the men lived a wild and uncultivated life, until a monster" (called by Berosus, Oannes) "joined them into a state, taught them arts and sciences, and in a word brought Humanity into existence. The monster set about this end with the rising of the sun out of the sea, and with its setting he again hid himself under the waves."
ii.What belongs to Mythology may in the second place make a pretence of being a kind of Philosophy. It has produced philosophers who availed themselves of the mythical form in order to bring their theories and systems more prominently before the imagination, for they made the thoughts the content of the myth. But the myth is not a mere cloak in the ancient myths; it is not merely that the thoughts were there and were concealed. This way happen in our reflecting times; but the first poetry does not start, from a separation of prose and poetry. If philosophers used myths, it was usually the case that they had the thoughts and then sought for images appropriate to them; Plato has many beautiful myths of this kind. Others likewise have spoken in myths, as for example, Jacobi, whose Philosophy took the form of the Christian Religion, through which he gave utterance to matter of a highly speculative nature. But this form is not suitable to Philosophy. Thought which has itself as object, must have raised itself to its own form, to the form of thought. Plato is often esteemed on account of his myths; he is supposed to have evinced by their means greater genius than other philosophers were capable of. It is contended here that the myths of Plato are superior to the abstract form of expression, and Plato's method of representation is certainly a wonderful one. On closer examination we find that it is partly the impossibility of expressing himself after the manner of pure thought that makes Plato put his meaning so, and also such methods of expression are only used by him in introducing a subject. When he comes to the matter in point, Plato expresses himself otherwise, as we see in the Parmenides, where simple thought determinations are used without imagery. Externally these myths may certainly serve when the heights of speculative thought are left behind, in order to present the matter in an easier form, but the real value of Plato does not rest in his myths. If thought once attains power sufficient to give existence to itself within itself and in its element, the myth becomes a superfluous adornment, by which Philosophy is not advanced. Men often lay hold of nothing but these myths. Hence Aristotle has been misunderstood just because he intersperses similes here and there; the simile can never be entirely in accord with thought, for it always carries with it something more. The difficulty of representing thoughts as thoughts always attaches to the expedient of expression in sensuous form. Thought, too, ought not to be concealed by means of the myth, for the object of the mythical is just to give expression to and to reveal thought. The symbol is undoubtedly insufficient for this expression; thought concealed in symbols is not yet possessed, for thought is self-revealing, and hence the myth does not form a medium adequate for its conveyance. Aristotle (Metaphysics III. 4) says, "It is not worth while to treat seriously of those whose philosophy takes a mythical form." Such is not the form in which thought allows itself to be stated, but only is a subordinate mode.
Connected with this, there is a similar method of representing the universal content by means of numbers, lines and geometric figures. These are figurative, but not concretely so, as in the case of myths. Thus it may be said that eternity is a circle, the snake that bites its own tail. This is only an image, but Mind does not require such a symbol. There are people who value such methods of representation, but these forms do not go far. The most abstract determinations can indeed be thus expressed, but any further progress brings about confusion. Just as the freemasons have symbols which are esteemed for their depth of wisdom - depth as a brook is deep when one cannot see the bottom - that which is hidden very easily seems to men deep, or as if depth were concealed beneath. But when it is hidden, it may possibly prove to be the case that there is nothing behind. This is so in freemasonry, in which everything is concealed to those outside and also to many people within, and where nothing remarkable is possessed in learning or in science, and least of all in Philosophy. Thought is, on the contrary, simply its manifestation; clearness is its nature and itself. The act of manifestation is not a condition which may be or may not be equally, so that thought may remain as thought when it is not manifested, but its manifestation is itself, its Being. Numbers, as will be remarked in respect of the Pythagoreans, are unsuitable mediums for expressing thoughts; thus monas, dnas, trias are, with Pythagoras, unity, difference, and unity of the unity and of the difference. The two first of the three are certainly united by addition; this kind of union is, however, the worst form of unity. In Religion the three make their appearance in a deeper sense as the Trinity, and in Philosophy as the Notion, but enumeration forms a bad method of expression. There is the same objection to it as would exist to making the mensuration of space the medium for expressing the absolute. People also quote the Philosophy of the Chinese, of the Foï, in which it is said that thoughts are represented by numbers. Yet the Chinese have explained their symbols and hence have made their meaning evident. Universal simple abstractions have been present to all people who have arrived at any decree of culture.
iii. We have still to remark in the third place, that Religion, as such, does not merely form its representations after the manner of art; and also that Poetry likewise contains actual thoughts. In the case of the poets whose art has speech as medium, we find all through deep universal thought regarding reality; these are more explicitly expressed in the Indian Religion, but with the Indians everything is mixed up. Hence it is said that such races have also had a Philosophy proper to themselves; but the universal thoughts of interest in Indian books limit themselves to what is most abstract, to the idea of rising up and passing away, and thus of making a perpetual round. The story of the Phoenix is well known as an example of this; it is one which took its origin in the East. We are able similarly to find thoughts about life and death and of the transition of Being into passing away; from life comes death and from death comes life; even in Being, in what is positive, the negation is already present. The negative side must indeed contain within it the positive, for all change, all the process of life is founded on this. But such reflections only occasionally come forth; they are not to be taken as being proper philosophic utterances. For Philosophy is only present when thought, as such, is made the absolute ground and root of everything else, and in these modes of representation this is not so.
Philosophy does not reflect on any particular thing or object already existing as a first substratum; its content is just Thought, universal thought which must plainly come first of all; to put it otherwise, the Absolute must in Philosophy be in the form of thought. In the Greek Religion we find the thought-determination "eternal necessity;" which means an absolute and clearly universal relation. But such thought has other subjects besides; it only expresses a relation, the necessity to be the true and all-embracing Being. Thus neither must we take this form into our consideration. We might speak in that way of a philosophy of Euripides, Schiller or Goethe. But all such reflection respecting, or general modes of representing what is true, the ends of men, morality and so on, are in part only incidentally set forth, and in part they have not reached the proper form of thought, which implies that what is so expressed must be ultimate, thus constituting the Absolute.
C. Particular theories found in Religion.
In conclusion, the philosophy which we find within Religion does not concern us. We find deep, speculative thoughts regarding the nature of God not only in the Indian Religions, but also in the Fathers and the Schoolmen. In the history of dogmatism there is a real interest in becoming acquainted with these thoughts, but they do not belong to the history of Philosophy. Nevertheless more notice must be taken of the Schoolmen than of the Fathers, for they were certainly great philosophers to whom the culture of Christendom owes much. But their speculations belong in part to other philosophies such as to that of Plato, which must in so far be considered for themselves; partly, too, they emanate from the speculative content of Religion itself which already exists as independent truth in the doctrine of the Church, and belong primarily to faith. Thus such modes of thought rest on an hypothesis and not on Thought itself; they are not properly speaking themselves Philosophy or thought which rests on itself, but as ideas already firmly rooted, they act on its behalf either in refuting other ideas and conclusions or in philosophically vindicating against them their own religious teaching. Thought in this manner does not represent and know itself as the ultimate and absolute culmination of the content, or as the inwardly self-determining Thought. Hence, too, when the Fathers, seeing that the content of the Christian Religion can only be grasped after the speculative form, did, within the teaching of the Church, produce thoughts of a highly speculative nature, the ultimate justification of these was not found in Thought as such, but in the teaching of the Church. Philosophic teaching here finds itself within a strongly bound system and not as thought which emanates freely from itself. Thus with the scholastics, too, Thought does not construct itself out of itself, but depends upon hypotheses; and although it ever rests more and more upon itself, it never does so in opposition to the doctrine of the Church. Both must and do agree, since Thought has to prove from itself what the Church has already verified.
c. Philosophy proper distinguished from Popular Philosophy.
Of the two departments of knowledge allied to Philosophy we found that the one, that of the special sciences, could not be called a philosophy in that it, as independent seeing and thinking immersed in finite matter, and as the active principle in becoming acquainted with the finite, was not the content, but simply the formal and subjective moment. The second sphere, Religion, is deficient in that it only had the content or the objective moment in common with Philosophy. In it independent thought was an essential moment, since the subject had an imaginary or historical form. Philosophy demands the unity and intermingling of these two points of view; it unites the Sunday of life when man in humility renounces himself, and the working-day when he stands up independently, is master of himself and considers his own interests. A third point of view seems to unite both elements, and that is popular Philosophy. It deals with universal objects and philosophizes as to God and the world; and thought is likewise occupied in learning about these matters. Yet this Philosophy must also be cast aside. The writings of Cicero may be put under this category; they contain a kind of philosophy that has its own place and in which excellent things are said. Cicero formed many experiences both in the affairs of life and mind, and from them and after observing what takes place in the world, he deduced the truth. He expresses himself with culture on the concerns most important to man, and hence his great popularity. Fanatics and mystics may from another point of view be reckoned as in this category. They give expression to a deep sense of devotion, and have had experiences in the higher regions. They are able to express the highest content, and the result is attractive. We thus find the brightest gleams of thought in the writings of a Pascal - as we do in his Pensées
But the drawback that attaches to this Philosophy is that the ultimate appeal - even in modern times - is made to the fact that men are constituted such as they are by nature, and with this Cicero is very free. Here the moral instinct comes into question, only under the name of feeling; Religion now rests not on what is objective but on religious feeling, because the immediate consciousness of God by men is its ultimate ground. Cicero makes copious use of the consensus gentium; in more modern times this appeal has been more or less left alone, since the individual subject has to rest upon himself. Feeling is first of all laid hold of, then comes reasoning from what is given, but in these we can appeal to what is immediate only. Independent thought is certainly here advanced; the content too, is taken from the self; but we must just as necessarily exclude this mode of thinking from Philosophy. For the source from which the content is derived is of the same description as in the other cases. Nature is the source in finite sciences, and in Religion it is Spirit; but here the source is in authority; the content is given and the act of worship removes but momentarily this externality. The source of popular Philosophy is in the heart, impulses and capacities, our natural Being, my impression of what is right and of God; the content is in a form which is of nature only. I certainly have everything in feeling, but the whole content is also in Mythology, and yet in neither is it so in veritable form. The laws and doctrines of Religion are that in which this content always comes to consciousness in a more definite way, while in feeling there still is intermingled the arbitrary will of that which is subjective.
3. Commencement of Philosophy and of its History (next section) — Contents
7. Sanchuniathonis Fragm. ed. Rich. Cumberland, Lond. 1720, 8; German by J. P. Kassel, Magdegurg, 1755, 8, pp. 1-4.
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