A. (Augustus) Schade.

The philosophy of history online

. (page 17 of 106)
Online LibraryA. (Augustus) SchadeThe philosophy of history → online text (page 17 of 106)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of the image— i. e. of the integrity of the archetype— remains only so much the
stronger. And in our search for the synthesis of syntheses we grapple with the vari-
ous topics of historical development in order to explain them even in their vexatious
tangle with the other problem just now hinted at. Human life must be followed out
in all its details as it actually is ; human nature must be comprehended in every re-
spect and under all circumstances. But most all philosophers have failed in this. In
Hegel's otherwise clever exposition, for instance, all the derangements caused by the
losses were left out of view— a sad defect.

In generalising these conditions and relations the following topics would result:
Man's PHYSlCAli condition, now passive and dependent, offers to our consideration the
history of the development of his physical endowments ; those gifts, common to all and to be
put in use by all ; capabilities which assert themselves in the earliest beginnings of culture.
With them these effects were worked out which would come under headings of gratification
of appetites, propagation of the race, maintainance of existence by means of food, cover,
defences. This comprises the results of activity in agricultural husbandry, in architecture,
manufacture, traffic, war. Objects of observation on this line would be cities, tools, weapons.
The investigation of the psychical, self leads to the problems of languages and know-
ledge; to man's scientific search, within himself and without, after means for extending
dominion over physical forces ; it leads to the refinement of emotional and intellectual faculties
and optional energies. The results consist in geometry, astrology, arts, literature, aesthetics :
of which we find the traces in temples and tombs.

With regard to the moeal sense we observe man speculating upon the authority and
objectivity of rights, laws, duties, retributions. The coercive and corrective executions of the
moral law within and of the natural law without in their cooperation keep him from utter
degeneracy ; they urge him on to improve his condition, and to better and free himself.
The faint manifestations of the sole necessity of the Good within him secure his aptitude
for the elevation of character under selfculture, and his susceptibility to the influences
from above which draw him upward;— secure his dignity and his freedom. Man learns to
respect rights and duties, liberties and restrictions for the sake of reason and for reasons of
state. Man organises, sets up sacred land marks delineating possession. He deliberates upon
legislation, judges conduct, modifies government. He also loses himself in the lusts and
despairings of sensual dissipation ; he feels how the natural and the spiritual constituents of
his inner being react upon and resist each other. The results of these activities we observe
' in the founding of states, in the rise of philosophers and legislators, of despots and liber-
ators ; in civil institutions ; in the formation of ranks, castes, dynasties.

Then, and not least of all, because representing the cardinal principle of culture, we
would have to philosophise upon the phenomena of man's keligious sense. The movements
in this sphere are most numerous and most distinctly pronounced. There is the sacredness of
tradition, transmitted in the internal remnants of primeval God-consciousness ; and there
are the external and ruined symbols and tokens of original universal religiousness. There is
the universality of worship in which offerings of prayers and sacrifices ever predominate.
There are to be compared the cosmogenies, myths, rites, theologies; the various forms of
religious deformations and reformations, of hieratic doctrines and institutions. The mold-
ing influences of scepticism upon society and private life morally and mentally— its causes,
effects, and its cures, too, would here have to be looked into. We would have to demonstrate
a primitive and universal, then a general, then a special revelation, culminating in the in-
tensified and saving religion; and finally the consummate blending of the moral and
religious aspirations. We would have to trace depravity to its deepest, and meditate upon
salvation in its highest manifestations. We would have to follow all this through traditions,
symbolic figures and rites, sacred writings and holy writ; through religion intensified under
pressure, expanding again into the periphery of universal humanity— all these movements
under the captions of Cultus, Church, Missions.

A Philosophy of History certainly would embrace all these revelations of human
life; and the outline drawn would be the proper arrangement in groups— representing
indeed the cyclopedia of all the sciences. Do we need to give reasons for declining a
method of such analytical treatment?

To draw parallels like musical scales upon which to copy the signs of a symphony,
scales picturing the ascending and descending stages, rests, and arrests of progress,
symbolising the music thus written; and to set under these musical scales as a text
or theme all the interactions, perhaps, of all the coeflQcients, of each part of culture

Reasons for declining , j ir r 7 ^ ,, . n o,

such analysis of human in Its reciprocity — IS uot our design at present. That fine attempt or Spencer s

affairs in schematic f J or r r

outlines lilce
Spencer's
"Sociological Tables,"



States, dynasties, castes



Witnessing to the
modifications of
religious life.



Traditions, symbols,
rites of cultus,
sacred writings.



■which do not simplify
the survey,



"Sociological Tables" may some day come to completion, but can nature bottle up the
spirit? And what materialist would have enough interest left for buying the high-
priced books with their reiterating rubrics of structural and functional evolution, in
order to possess that sort of a key to human affairs? For after all, the best arrange-
ment of the immense amount of material would not much simplify the survey. It
would be so analytical as to impair the desired result, namely, the focusing of human



I. B. CH. 1. MAN AS PROTOTYPE OF THE WORLD OF PERFECTION. 45

nature and its development in one universal and comprehensive synthesis. It would
but resemble the natural history of man as given in a report of his post mortem
examination, filled out upon a statistical blank.

In this work we shall not endeavor to arrange the explanatory arguments of
man and history according to such schemata. We would get no more than a series of cömprXnsivl'^ynthet-
special monographs on languages, governments, arts, letters, etc., each by itself, and fl^^mTfew cardiLi
would get no further than where we are now. Such books we have; they are of little p"''*='p'*'-
avail in comprehending the leading principles underlying human affairs.

To understand man is all that is necessary in order to render the books of nature The natural and spiritual

•^ . elements of man life

and history legible. Know the human type or typical man, and life past and present »»irrored in history;
becomes as lucid and cursive reading, as this imprint— from a score of graphite
types, made of the lead that rested in a mountain far away and prepared by a hun- history the biography
dred hands— now conveys these thoughts to the readers mind. In a similar manner *'"* ""'""' °* "'"'•
is man the type, as it were, communicating to us the fundamental principles of
history, the essence of whose unfolded fulness he is. After the essence is extracted
and the sense understood, that is, when man's contents are epitomised, then the mat-
ter is exhausted and the remaining bulk becomes irrelevant. The character of an
African forest may be correctly presented to the mind from the description of a few
characteristic trees, without inspecting all the forests extant there by actual ex-
ploration.

In History all constituent elements point to man; for in him implicitly lies their
cause and purpose and resolvent. Whosoever undertakes to write or read his
biography has easy proof of the truth at hand. He has himself for an object lesson, DeAnition of the
his inner and exterior life is a sample and epitome of the whole. The Philosophy of fh^J hÄnrou^cSitl
History as we take it, is the harmonious consultation with humanity on the subjects of self» tlTsubjecw^seif °"
possession. Thus our science makes man acquainted with himself, for history is per- seifpoMeS.^'^'sec. u.
sonal matter unfolded, extended, revealed. Hence personal man himself (not in the
abstract of human nature) furnishes the material for the Philosophy of History as
well as History furnishes the material for the mirror in which man sees himself. In
his ascending grades and perpetual succession he solves the problems assigned to
him in every respect, from compressed, arrested, confined life up to glorification.

Indeed, up to perfection. For man is not only the type and theme of that his-
toric development which precedes the transition into the state of final realisations; themf of the ÄÄ
but also the type of the ultimate goal and continuing state of consummate perfection *^'°'''*^ '■''^^'*^-
which surpasses and supersedes all present realities. At present the ideal of that world
of absolute reality is reflected in him by refracted rays only, at its best. This ideal Th« ideal at present

•' " ^ ^ 1 refracted by broken

we will try to show later on, when in due course of our observations we shall pass the i^^j: t*"* ^p ^I?''»»

•' ' *^ forth in full orb.

meridian where it shines forth from human nature in full orb.



B. SECOND DIVISION.
OPERATIVE MODE OF HISTORY.



SYLLABUS.

Having surveyed the coefiicients of history, and to some extent inquired into the
methods of their treatment by the sciences, we now address ourselves to the modes in Sry workl*''''^
which, and the means by which, history itself works with the material, making time
and space the repository of the effects of its activity.

In a general way we might think of those means which are at man's disposal,
namely, the instincts of preservation and propagation. The one will act in the man-
ner of contraction, seeking to protect life better and better against increasing inse- drs^o^i"* mVn *
curities; the other will work in the direction of expansion, inciting effects of domin-
ion, teaching organisation, or urging on to migrations.

Furthermore such other means would have to be noticed by which historic move-
ments are conditioned, as for example the influences exerted by climes and localities.
But about all of these things, not much need be added to what was quoted from Ritter localities and dimes.
to Buckle. The time is past for such broad and yet cursory discussion as Eith, the disposed of inSe«. l
engineer, and as Spencer used to carry on about environments.



46



Problems which require
more profound
disquisition.



Purpose, Sec. 3, 4, 101.



Tlieory ot the
"Occasional Cause"
foundered at demon-
strating the adaptation of
motive to its aim.



Human soul is the
purpose of nature
realised. Sec. 5, 6, 15, 18



Things have a meaning
as far as the^ are means
for other things.



but have no purpose in
themselves. Sec. 6



Meaning of things lies
in their rational order.



Purpose only to
be found by
considering the
whole.



Illustrated by a machine :

Truth in Occasionalism.

Sec. 2, 3, 4, 15, 19.



Genesis of the
concept of
purpose.



The relation of any
entity to others de-
termines Its value.



REASON OF VALUE IN OBJECTS. I. B. CH. I. § 17,

The present state of knowledge requires of us to stand face to face with more
complicated problems. Questions are now brought up which demand a settlement,
during the deliberations of which the position of our science with reference to his-
tory proper will be determined, outlined, and illustrated at once. We are confronted
with the terms, purpose, movement, development, and plan of history.
CH. 1. THE AIM OR INTENT OF HISTORY.

§ 17. The concept of purpose implies, in the first place, a complex proposition.
Some agency intends, that is, wills to operate upon some object, in order to accom-
plish—a certain end.

How all this is to be explained, or whether it is possible and necessary to find an
explanation at the outset, has been a matter of much controversy. It was just this
question which was ventilated in "Occasionalism", that mechanical view fixed upon
the "Occasional Cause" which was unable to account for the notions of cause and ef-
fect, and unable to connect motion and aim in their mutual adaptability.

In the animated world the purpose comes in for realisation; the end is reached in
such a way, that the means become purposive themselves. The human soul, being
the aim of nature, is nature's purpose realised in man. Besides this end nature had
no other purpose. The purpose is now man himself, having a purpose in himself.
His organs are his means serving the higher end of his soul. A living whole is pre-
sented, in which each organ serves as a means and has, by virtue of membership there-
in, a purpose in itself for the sake of other purposes. Things have no other meaning
but that they are means to realise a purpose. We stand before the purpose which
lies in the objects themselves.

When reasoning about any circumstance we evidently bring the idea of purpose
along with our minds and constantly apply it. This is explicit whenever we find it
necessary to ask, whether things are of any account. We claim the right to ask, for
instance, for a reasonable account of the notion time, or space, or substance, etc. If
any value is claimed for them, proof is to be given for their possessing specific at-
tributes.

Reason seeks a reason in things ; they must reveal what their object is in order
to be recognised as objects. Unless we find a meaning in, and a reason for them, we
can not understand them. Their reason or meaning we find in their rational order. .
In order to ascribe any fitness to them, we expect of them that, besides their being
put into a proper arrangement, they possess certain qualifications. Whenever their
import is discerned thereby, the cognition of the purpose is established ; what
achievement results from their purport is the purpose of the object. The thought of
purpose governs history down to the scene of action, to the earthly circumstances, en-
vironments, and concomitant factors of the event.

Let this be illustrated by a machine. Certainly, anything unusual in the line of these
contrivances attracts our attention. This is the truth contained in Occasionalism. We expect
the expression of some clever thought in it, just as the Niagara Falls suggest grand concep-
tions and emotions, speaking to us, as the poets say with deep truth, in the immediate child-
language of the mind. The first idea called forth by the strange thing is the question as to its
adaptability for a certain performance. Unless that much interest is awakened we treat the
machine with unconcern ; we deem it nonsensical. But the arrangement of its parts strikes
us ; it attracts the attention of the beholder who brings a sense for the indicated fitness with
him; yet not the fitness is asked for, but the "finality" of the purpose. If the intent is
pointed out, thought becomes satisfied ; and then every detail of the mechanism is found
worthy of closer inspection, since it is seen to partake of the purpose of the whole. As soon
as any detail becomes irrelevant, that is, if the purpose can be realised without it, then that
part is thrown out as an encumbrance. The machine is simplified because its aim is to econ-
omise. Hence it is more to the purpose to take out the encumbrance, so that an improve-
ment, perhaps, may be put in its place.

We now venture to assert that there is no entity thinkable per se, which would
lack all relation to a higher aim than what it has in itself. Even the random heap
of sand, the most indefinite formation imaginable, is more than mere being, because
not intended for itself alone. That sand is of more import than at first appears ; we
shall yet see how it exceeds its actual reality. For all real being exists with regard
to something else, which determines its value according to its being subservient to
that something else. This relation to its purpose is what renders any object valua-
ble. The purpose is the reason for any entity.



I. B. CH. I. § 17. ANTITHESIS OF THOUGHT AND MATTER. 47

"Dead matter " and its ag'glomerations would be unmeaning. The existence of an irra- ^ «nothing" is
tional thing we cannot conceive. If anything is nothing to us, that, of course, does not say inconceivable.
that it is nothing to the whole. The thought of nothing is therefore, as Descartes said, not
demonstrable. It has been found by Max Mueller that there is something, yea a great deal,
even in the Nirwana. The thought of a purposeless life is akin to suicide, and even this can j^,.^^^^ j^ ^j^^ fancied
not be perceived without raising the question " why ? " For these reasons we see some sense state wherein all
in the great sand-deserts if viewed from their historical relations, from the aspect of their neutralise".*
unity with the whole.

We have the genesis of the concept of purpose in that everything real exists in
order to conform to an equivalent value. The attribute of quality assigned to it The tendency of
postulates its purpose, v^^hilst purpose in turn stipulates its value. Thus we derive tion of purposed'
the cognition of a world full of purposes. The world as a whole with all its component
parts receives its significance from this all-controlling concept of a realisation of
final purposes.

Following out this line of thought, we arrive at the great antithesis apparent in
the world around us, viz: the contrast between thought and matter. Analysing the ^o^^^ift^and^
mode of existence in the world of life as it is given, that is, considering it from the matter,
aspect of interacting causes and effects, we find the complex workings of life de-
termined by thought, underlying it all. We find that world of life to be nothing else Matterjs^thought inth«
but thought in the process of substantiating itself, aspiring to embody and thus to substantiating iueit
express itself in the extending objectivity of the world. This is the Idea which hover-
ed before Spinoza, Fichte, and Hegel In order to do this, thought needs energy, ierye the end"^? 'Se
substances, means. Thought makes them subservient to itself by way of appropri- „f^ though*.^'"* ^'"^^'
ating them in order to subject them as means for this end, hence the objective self-
projection of thought.

A glance at plant-life may illustrate this. The construction of the vegetable world is evi-
dently based upon design, determined by a formative principle. Obviously the design is im-
planted, inwrought with the peculiarities each plant possesses, independent of external condi- pg^j j^ piant-life
tions. The influences from without upon its typical principle may cause abnormal forma- can not be altered or
tions, even artificial improvement; but they can not alter the ground plan. The influence othfr type*! ''^ *°^
ceasing, the plant will return to its generic type. Much less can such influences supplant the
ground plan by types at variance with the primitive and inwrought character. For this is not
to be reduced to chemical processes, or to a number of moving atoms, or to a hap-hazard
combination of molecules.

The naturalist will maintain that the coherence of homogeneous particles, forming ever
more differentiated species of organic structures, depends on those higher grades of arrange- Vegetable life is not
mentin the vegetable structure Avhich are regulated by the characteristics appearing in the p^rocesses nor to'th?^
more perfect species. Very well ; this particular norm-prescribing principle, hereditary in electro-magnetism of
the ascending scale of vegetable life is the ground plan we speak of, the devised scheme, the ™°^'''"
engrafted project, the vital force which makes plant-life what it is in contrast to crystal life.
In accord with, and through this principle the purpose reveals itself. We desist as yet from Development reveals the
showing that purpose, for which matter is thus prepared and guided up to the formation of purpose. Sec. 21.

higher organic life, for which it makes, to which it aspires.

Bossuet found the same inherent design in relation to purpose and described it thus:
All that shows order, proportions well chosen and means fit to produce certain effects, inherent design.
shows also an express end, consequently a formed design, a regulated intelligence °''''^^' ^^^^'
and a perfect art. What Janet syllogises as to the catena between final cause and
ultimate effect also corresponds very well with our line of thought— giving even the
reason for the adage that history throws its shadows ahead: "When a complex com-
bination of heterogeneous phenomena is found to agree with the possibility of a
future, and which was not contained beforehand in any of these phenomena in partic-
ular, then this agreement, being comprehensible to the human mind only by suppos- uSÄforlLnism.
ing a kind of preexistence of the future act itself in an ideal form, transforms the fact
at the instant of its realisation from a result into an end— then we have a final cause."

An inner purport is necessarily to be ascribed and attributed to every object of
organic life, an intention for development by means of a more and more articulated
organism. This purport, characterising organic life, does not acquire the organs
from outside as something alien to the organism, not in a m^hanical manner. But
as many as are needed are produced by the organic life itself under the norm-giving Ä'^'^tÄ no*"-'
and constructive principle, for the sake of and in conformity with the whole organism ^'"^'"^ p^n^ipie-
in which all the developed organs or adapted structures have their significance and
unity. The many are for the sake of the one whole organism, and that whole conveys



48



BODY AND SOUL— SEPARABLE.



I. B. CH. I. § 18.



The thought or purpose
inherent In organism—



SOUL.



The variety of means
brought forth form — in
their arrangement for
the purpose— the
BODY.



Mechanical action of
nature declines, after
the highest forms of
physical life is reached.
Its further purpose is
disintegration.



The soul alone conveys
in itself the thought of
purpose.



Hence the soul separable
from matter Sec. 6.

The thought of
purpose takes its
course through
the stages of
natural, rational
and moral
qualifications and
modifications.

Sec. 3,5,9, 12, 24, 116, 120.



The soul is the
quintessence of nature
individualised for the
above purpose.



its purport which also, on the other hand, is not acquired since or through the develop-
ment from without. The organism, as a whole is, moreover, held together by its pur-
pose, so that it may become a means for a greater purpose in wider relations be-
yond its own sphere. The purport or tendency to carry out finality is what gives
unity to the whole combination in subservience to the general purpose. This purpose
is the thought which interlinks the chain of changes through causes and effects.

§ 18. Purpose is thought in the act of objectivising itself; thought projected is
matter, is the means for the self realisation of the purpose. Suppose now, we denomi-
nate this unit of the purpose "the soul"; Ebrard called it the "Law of Becoming;" and
Hegel too, for that matter. It surely is the thought inherent in things, the meaning
or sense which we found in them. This granted, then the variety of means wrought
out by the living organism which conditions their entity and unity— outside of which
those means can have neither purpose nor being— would constitute "the body".

Purport, then, is purpose in its process of becoming realised; it is thought,,
substantiating itself— by projecting the means in behalf of the unitary purpose— in the
organism, that is, developing the organism as a means for realising itself, for its own
sake. Thus purpose becomes the soul as a unit, while the means in their connection
and oneness of purpose become its body, which consists in the variety of means and
exists merely for the sake of the purpose, i. e. for the sake of its soul.

The means, the single organs in their connection, receive their adaptness and
significance, i. e. their purport, from their relation to the common purpose managing
the whole-from their relation to the soul. The body possesses its ideal and its unity
in the apprehension of, and adaptation for, the purpose. The organism is substantia-



Online LibraryA. (Augustus) SchadeThe philosophy of history → online text (page 17 of 106)