Johann Gottlieb Fichte.

Addresses to the German nation online

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purpose from his other personal tasks of learning and work-
ing which are understood. Everyone is supposed to fulfil
this expectation voluntarily, not compulsorily ; for anyone
who is unwilling is free to refuse. He is to expect neither
reward for it, for under this system of government all are
quite equal in regard to work and pleasure, nor even praise.



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GENERAL NATURE OF NEW EDUCATION 35

for the attitude of mind prevailing in the community is that
it is just everyone's duty to act thus ; but he alone enjoys
the pleasure of acting and working for the community,
and of succeeding, if that should fall to his lot. Under
this system of government, therefore, the acquirement
of greater skill and the effort spent therein will result
only in fresh effort and work, and it will be the very pupil
who is abler than the rest who must often watch while
others sleep, and reflect while others play.

27. To some pupils all this will be quite clear and
intelligible. Yet they will continue to undertake that
initial toil and the further labours that result from it
so joyfully that they may be relied on with certainty.
They will remain strong, and become even stronger, in
their feeling of power and activity. Such pupils education
can confidently send out into the world ; it has achieved ^
its purpose with them. Their love has been kindled and
burns down to the root of their vital impufse ; from now
onwards it will lay hold of everything, without excep-
tion, that comes in contact with this vital impulse. In
the larger community, which they now enter, they can
never be anything but the steady and constant beings
they have been in the little community they arc now

leaving. ^ ^ \ \,,V-'

The pupil has in this way been fully prepared for the' ^ f
demands which the world will immediately and certainly
make of him. What education, in the name of this
world, demands of him has been done. But he is still
not perfect in and for himself, and what he himself can
claim from education has not yc^ been xlone. When this
demand, too, has been met, he will be able to satisfy also
the demands which, in special circumstances, a higher
world, in the name of the present world, may make of him.



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THIRD ADDRESS

DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW EDUCATION (continued)

28. The essential feature of the proposed new education,
I so far as it was described in the last address, consisted
1 in this, that it is the sure and deliberate art of training
/the pupil to^pure morality^ To pure morality, I said ;
the morality to which it Educates exists as an original,
independent, and separate thing, which develops spon-
taneously its own life, but is not, like the legality hitherto
often aimed at, linked with and implantedTn sbme~othef
non-moral impulse, for the satisfaction of which it serves.
It is the sure and deliberate art of this moral education,
^ I said. It does not proceed aimlessly and at random,
,but according to a fixed rule well known to it, and is
certain of its success. Its pupil goes forth at the proper
time as a fixed and unchangeable machine produced by
this art, which indeed could not go otherwise than as
it has been regulated by the art, and needs no help at all,
but continues of itself according to its own law.

This education certainly does train also the pupiPs
mind^ and thirTnental training is indeed the first thing
with which it commences its task. Yet this mental
development is not the chief and original sHm, but only
the condition and means of applying moral training to
the pupil. This mental training, however, though
acquired but incidentally, remains an ineradicable pos-

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RIPTION OF THE NFAV EDUCATION 37

of the pupil's life and the ever-burning lamp of
►ral love. ^However great or small the total know-
which he niay have obtained from education^ he
rtainly have brought away from it a mind which^
; the whole of his life, will be able to grasp every -/

the knowledge of which is essential to him, and

will remain continually susceptible to instruction
thers, as well as capable of reflecting for itself
I was the point we reached in the last address in
scription of the new education. At the end of it
narked that thereby it was not yet completed, but
: had still to solve another problem different from
ilready set. We proceed now to the task of defining
oblem more dearly.

The pupil of this education is not merely a member
nan society here on this earth and for the short
f life which is permitted him on it. vjie is also, and i^ . '
oubtedly acknowledged by education to be, a link \

eternal chain of spiritual life in a higher social ,
A training which has undertaken to include the '

of his being should undoubtedly lead him to a
:;dge of this higher order also. Just as it led him to

out for himself by his own activity an image of
loral world-order which never is, but always is ^ cj
must it lead him to create in thought by the same
tivity an image of that supersensuous world-order ,
ich nothing becomes, and which never has become, '
hich simply is for ever ; all this in such a way that •
timately understands and perceives that it could
>e otherwise. * Under proper guidance he will
ete hit attempts at such an image, and find at the
hat nothing really exists but life, the spiritual
hich lives in thought, and that everything else
lot really exist, but only appears to exist. The






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38 ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION

reason for this appearance, a reason that results from
thought, he will likewise grasp, even If only in general.
Further, he will perceive that, amid the various forms
which it received, not by chance, but according to a law

'"^ founded in God Himself, the spiritual life which alone
really exists is one, the divine life itself, which exists and
manifests itself only in living thought. He will thus
learn to know and keep holy his own and every other
spiritual life as an eternal link in the chain of the mani-
festation of the divine life. Only in immediate contact
with God and in the direct emanation of his life from
Him will he find life, light, and happiness, but in any
separation from that immediate contact, death, darkness,
and misery. Jn a word, this development will train him

. to religion ; and this religion of the indwelling of our
life in God shall indeed prevail and be carefully fostered
in the new era. On the other hand, the religion of the
past separated the spiritual life from the divine, and only
by apostasy against the divine life could it procure for the
spiritual life the absolute existence which it had ascribed
to it. It used God as a means to introduce self-seeking
into other worlds after the death of the mortal body,
and through fear and hope of these other worlds to rein-
force for the present world the self-seeking which would
otherwise have remained weak. Such a religion, which
was obviously a servant of selfishness, shall indeed be borne
to the grave along vdth the past age. In the new era
eternity does not dawn first on yon side of the grave,
but comes into the midst of the present life ; while self-
. seeking is dismissed from serving and from ruling, and
t departs, taking its servants with it.

-f^ Education to true religion is, therefore, the final task
[oi the new education.

Whether in the creation of the necessary image of the



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DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW EDUCATION 39

superscnsuous world-order the pupil has really acted
spontaneously, and whether the image created is abso-
lutely correct and thoroughly clear and intelligible, educa-
tion can easily judge in the same way as in the case of
other-objects of knowledge, for that, too, is in the domain
of knowledge.

30. But here, too, the more important question is:
How can education estimate and guarantee that this
knowledge of religion will not remain dead and cold,
but will be expressed in the actual life of the pupil i
The premise of this question is the answer to another :
How, and in what manner, is religion shown in life i
p In everyday life, and in a well-ordered community/ j;'
I there is no need whatever of religion to regulate life.v
, True morality suffices wholly for that purpose. In this
I respect, therefore, religion is not practical, and cannot
and shall not become practical. Religion_js_jai^^
' knowledge ; it makes man quite clear and intelligible
to himself, answers the highest question which he can
raise, solves for him the last contradiction, and' so brings
into his understanding complete unity with itself and
perfect clearness. It is his complete salvation and deliver-
ance from every foreign bond. . Education, therefore, owes
him this religion as his due absolutely, and without ulterior
purpose. Religion, as a motive, has its only sphere of .
action in a verjTimmoral and cor rupt society, or where
man^s field of activfty lies nol within the social order but
beyond it, and rather has continually to create it anew
and to maintain it ; as in the case of the ruler, who often
could not, without religion, perform the duties of his
office with a good conscience. Such a case is not the
concern of an education intended for everyone and for
the whole nation. When, as in the former case, work is
continued unceasingly, although man's understanding



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40 ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION

has a clear perception of the incorrigibility ot the age ;
when the toil of sowing is courageously borne without
any prospect of harvest ; when good is done even to the
ungrateful, and those who curse are blessed with deeds
and gifts, although it is clearly foreseen that they will
curse again ; when after a hundred failures man persists
in faith and in love ; then, it is not mere morality which is
the motive, for that requires a purpose, but it is religion,
the submission to a higher and unknown law, the humble
silence before God, the sincere love of His life that is
manifested in us, which alone and for its own sake shall
be saved, where the eye sees nothing else to save.

31. Hence, the knowledge of religion, obtained by the
pupils of the new education in their little community
in which they grow up, cannot and shall not become
practical. Tliis community is well ordered, and in it
whatever is properly attempted always succeeds ; besides,
the yet tender age of man shall be maintained in simplicity
and in quiet faith in his race. Let the knowledge of
its knavery remain reserved for personal experience in
mature and stronger years.

It is, therefore, only in these more mature years and in
the life of earnest purpose, long after education has left
him to himself, that .the pupil, if his social relations
should advance from simple to higher stages, could need
his knowledge of religion as a motive. Now, how shall
education, which cannot test the pupil in this while he
is in its hands, nevertheless be sure that this motive will
work infallibly, if only the need arise i I reply : In this
way ; the pupil is so trained that none of the knowledge
he possesses remains dead and cold within him when
the possibility of its coming to life arises, but it all inevit-
ably influences life so soon as life requires it. I shall
give further reasons for this statement in a moment, and



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DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW EDUCATION 41



so elevate the whole conception which has been treated
in this and in the last address, and fit it into a larger
system of knowledge. On this larger system itself I
shall shed new light and greater clearness by that con-
ception. But first let me describe exactly the true nature'
of the new education, a general description of which I
have just ended.

. 32. This education, then, no longer appears, as it did
at the beginning of our address to-day, simply as the art
of training the pupil to pure morality, but is rather the
art of training the whole man completely and fully for
manhood. In this connection there are two essentials.
First, in regard to form, it is the real living human being,
not simply the shadow and phantom of a man, who is
to be trained to the very roots of his life. Then, in
regard to content, all the essential component parts of^"^
man are to be developed equally and without exception.
These component parts are understandingjind willj^ and
education has to aim at clearness in the former and at "^
purity in the latter. Now, in regard to clearness in the
former, two main questions must be raised ; first, what
it is that the pure will really wishes, and by what means
this wish is to be attained ; under this head is included
all other knowledge which is to be taught to the pupil ;
secondly, what this pure will is in principle and essence ;
under this head is included knowledge of religion. The
essentials mentioned,. and their development until they
influence life, education demands absolutely, and does not
intend to exempt anyone from them in the slightest
degree, for everyone must be a complete man. As to
what anyone may become in addition, and as to the par-
ticular form general human nature may take or receive
in him, this does not concern universal education,
and lies beyond its scope.






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42 ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION



. , 33» I proceed now, by means of the following proposi-

ti : i tions, to give the further reasons I promised for the

statement that in the pupil of the new education no
knowledge can remain dead, and to fulfil my intention of
' elevating into a connected system all that has been said.
From what has been said it follows that from the
point of view of their education there are two quite
different and entirely opposite classes of men. At
first every human being (and, therefore, also these two
. , i classes) is alike in this, that underlying the various

;^ ] \ manifestations of his life there is one impulse, which amid

^all change persists unchanged and is always the same.
Incidentally, the self-comprehension of this impulse
and its translation into ideas creates the world, and there
is no other world but this world which is created thus
in thought, not freely but of necessity. Now this impulse,
which must always be translated into consciousness (and
in this respect, once again, the two classes are alike), can be
so translated in two ways, according to the two different
kinds of consciousness. It is in the method of translation
and of self-comprehension that the two classes differ.

The first kind of consciousness, that which is the first
in point of time to develop, is that of dim feeKn g.' Where
this feeling exists, the fundamental impulse is most
usually and regularly comprehended as the individual's
"^ loitc^ self ; indeed, dim feeling shows this self at first
only as something that wills to live and to prosper.
Hence, material self-seeking arises as the real motive and
developing power of such a life engrossed in translating
its original impulse thus. So long as man continues to
understand himself in this way, so long must he act selfishly,
being unable to do otherwise ; and, amid the ceaseless
change in his life, it is this self-seeking alone that persists,
always the same and to be expected with certainty. This



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DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW EDUCATION 43



dim feeling can also, as an unusual exception to the
rule, pass beyond the personal self, and comprehend the
fundamental impulse as a desire for a dimly-felt different
order of things. ^Thence arises the life, adequately
^described by us elsewhere, which, exalted above self-
seeking, is motived by ideas, dim indeed but none ibtl/
less ideas, and in which reason rules as an instincf./ Such
comprehension of the fundamental impulse merely by
dim feeling is the characteristic of the first class of men,
who are trained, not by education, but by their own
selves ; this class in turn consists of two species, >^hich
are distinct for some reason that is incomprehensible
and quite beyond the art of man to discover.
'^^Clc^f knowledge is the second kind of consciousness,
which does not, as a rule, develop of itself, but must be
carefully fostered in the community'. If the fundamental
impulse of man were embraced in this principle, it would
produce a second class of men quite different from the
first. Such knowledge, which embraces fundamental love
itself, does not leave us cold and indifferent, as indeed
other knowledge can, but its object is loved above every-
thing, for that object is but the interpretation and
translation of our original love itself. Other knowledge
embraces something alien, which remains alien and
leaves us cold; this knowledge embraces the knower
himself and his love, and he loves it. ' Now, although it
is the same original love appearing only in different
forms which spurs on both classes, yet disregarding this
circumstance we can say that man is governed in the one
case by dim feelings, in the other by clear knowledge.

Now, that such clear knowledge shall be a direct
incentive in life, and shall be capable of being relied on
with certainty depends, as has been said, on this, that
the real true love of man is to be interpreted by it, that



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44 ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION

this is to be immediately clear to him, and that along
with the interpretation the feeling of that love is to be
stimulated in him and experienced by him. '.Knowledge,
dierefore, is never to be developed in him without love
being developed at the same time, because otherwise he
would remain cold ; nor is love ever to be developed with-
out knowledge being developed at the same time, because
otherwise his motive would be a dim feeling. At every step
in the training, then, it is the whole man as a unit that is
fashioned. The man who is always treated by education
as an indivisible whole will remain so in the future, and all
knowledge will inevitably become for him a motive in life.
34* Clear knowledge instead of dim feeling being
thus made the first and true foundation and starting-
point of life, self-seeking is avoided altogether and cheated
pf its development. For it is dim feeling alone that
represents to man his ego as in need of pleasure and
afraid of pain. * The clear idea does not represent it
thus to him, but shows it rather as a member of a moral
order ; and there is a love for that order which is kindled
and developed along with the development of the idea.
This education has nothing at all to do with self-seeking,
the root of which, dim feeling, it kills through clearness.
It neither attacks it nor develops it ; it has nothing at
all to do with it. Even if, later, it were possible for this
self-seeking to stir, it would find the heart already filled
with a higher love which would deny it a place.

35. Now this fundamental impulse of man, when
' translated into clear knowledge, does not concern itself
j with a world which is already given and existent, which
can be accepted, indeed, merely passively just as it is, and
in which a love that stimulates to original creative activity
would find no sphere of action for itself. \ On the contrary,
exalted to knowledge, it is concerned with a world that



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DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW EDUCATION 45

is to be, an a priori world that exists in the future and
ever remains in the futurey^The divine life, therefore,
that underlies all appearance reveals itself never as a fixed
and known entity, but as something that is to be ; and
after it has become what it was to be, it will reveal itself
again to all eternity as something that is to be./rThi8
divine life, then, never appears in the death of the fixed
entity, but remains continually in the form of ever*
flowing life. ^"^The direct appearance and manifestation
of God is love.^^ The interpretation of this love by'
knowledge first fixes an existence, an existence that ever | ,
is to be ; this is the only real world, in so far as a world I
can be real. The other world, on the contrary, which!
is given and found existing by us, is but the shadow and '^
phantom, out of which knowledge builds up for its inter- {
pretation of love a fixed form and a visible body. This 1
other world is the means for, and the condition of, the
perception of the higher world that is in itself invisible.
Not even in that higher world does God reveal Himself
directly, but there too only through the medium of the
one, pure, unchangeable, and formless love ; it is in this
love alone that He appears directly. To this love there
is joine d intuitive knowledge , which brings with it an
image drawn from itself, witH which to clothe the object
of love that is in itself invisible. Yet each time it is
opposed by love, and thereby stimulated again to make a
new form, which is once again opposed in just the same
way. Only thus, by fusion wth4atu]t jg>n^ Hnf^s love too,"^
which purely in itself is one and quite mcapable of pro-
gress, of infinity, and of eternity, become like it eternal
and infinite. The image mentioned just now, which b
supplied from knowledge itself, considered by itself alone
and without application to the love that is clearly per-
ceived, is the fixed and given world, or nature. The



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46 ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION

delusion that God's presence reveals itself in this nature
in any way directly, or otherwise than through the
agencies above mentioned, arises from darkness of mind
and prpf anity of wilL

36. The complete avoidance of dim feeling as a
solvent of love and the setting up in its stead gf clear
knowledge as the usual solvent, as has already been men-
tioned, can happen only as the result of a deliberate art
of education, and hitherto has not happened in this way.
By this means too, as we have also seen, a type of man
quite different from men as they have usually been
hitherto will be introduced and become the rule. As the
result of this education, therefore, a totally new order of
things and a new creation would begin. Now, in this
new form, mankind would fashion itself by means of itself,
for mankind considered as the present generation educates
itself as the future generation ; and mankind can do this
only by means of knowledge, the one common true light
and air of this world which can be freely imparted and
which binds the spiritual world into a unity. Formerly
mankind became just what it did become and was able to
become ; the time for such chance development has gone
by ; for where mankind has developed most it has become
nothing. If it is not to remain in this nothingness, it
must henceforward make itself all that it is yet to become.
The real destiny of the human race on earth, I said in
the lectures of which these are the continuation, is in
freedom to make itself what it really is originally. Now,
'^this making of itself deliberately, and according to rale,
must have a beginning somewhere and at some moment
in space and time. Thereby a second great period, one
^ of free and deliberate development of the human race^
would appear in place of the first period, one of develop^
ment that is not free. We are of opinion that, in regard



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DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW EDUCATION 47

to time, this is the very time, and that now the race u
exactly midway between the two great epochs of its
life on earth. But, in regard to space, we believe that it
is first of all the Germans who are called upon to begin
the new era as pioneers and models for the rest of mankind. ^

yj. Yet even this wholly new creation will not result
as a sudden change from what has gone before; it u
rather, especially with the Germans, the true natural
continuation and consequence of the past. It is apparent
and, I believe, generally granted that the impulse and
effort of the age has been seeking to dispel dim feelingS)


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Online LibraryJohann Gottlieb FichteAddresses to the German nation → online text (page 5 of 22)