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ject (in the sensuous world) has not only simultaneous
but also successive properties, and hence is in no wise
self-identical.

196. The contradictions in the notion of the thing
with several properties, and in the notion of change
are familiar to us (Introduction to Philosophy, sec-
tions 122-135). Here we have only to explain how
it happens that the ordinary understanding does not
observe these contradictions. The simple explanation
upon this point is this : The psychical mechanism pos-
sesses originally and quite of itself exactly the unity
which the metaphysician loses at the beginning of his
investigation, and which the form of experience de-
mands, while the matter even of the very same experi-
ence does not admit this unity — for this matter includes
the many of the simultaneous properties and the
contrast of the successive characteristic properties.
In order to represent a material object we do not need
nearly so many concepts as sensuous properties, but
the unity of the act of representation, which consti-
tutes the nature of the complexes, allows no question
whatever to arise in the ordinary understanding con-
cerning the unity of the object represented. To under-
stand this question is always diflScult for men, even



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THEORY OP SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. 158

after the acts of judgment have long since separated
the complexes. Thus the psychical mechanism con-
stantly deceives many who are even philosophers.

Note,— It would be quite useless to hope that, in the progress
of the sciences, one might perhaps find a more convenient mode
of access to metaphysics than that through the contradictions
which exist in the form of experience. The unity of the soul is
itself the deep source from which that unity enters our act of rep-
resentation, and which we afterward lose in the object presented.
In this and in the completeness and exhaustiveness of those laws
of reproduction which are formed according to the principle
laid down in section 168 lies the answer to the question as to
how the forms of experience may be given (Introduction to
Philosophy, sections 119-123, fourth edition).

197. In order to be able to approach the diflScult
theory of self-consciousness, we must first mention
some of the most important varieties in the human
apprehension of things.

Objects in motion occupy the spectator more than
those which are at rest ; for the observation of an ob-
ject in motion is an incessant interchange of an ex-
cited and a satisfied desire. Let the object in motion
be in any given place ; the concept of it is blended
with those of the surroundings, ^hen let it leave
this place, and instead of it something of the back-
ground becomes visible which was before hidden by
it. This latter perception arrests that concept of the
object moved ; at the same time, however, the latter
will be driven forward by the concepts of the environ-
ment which appears the same as at the beginning.
Also the driving forward is for the most part much
stronger than the arrest, for it depends on a much
larger aggregate of concepts than the arrest, which



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154 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

arises from the view of only a small part of the back-
ground ; hence the concept of the thing moved is in
the condition of desire (36). This desire, however*, is
satisfied, for the thing moved has not escaped from the
field of vision (or from the circle of perception), but
only from the central point of the field of vision, and
the full gratification will be reached by a scarcely per-
ceptible turning of the eye. Thus the apprehension
of the thing moved (of which we have here described
the differential) proceeds gradually.

The reason that the thing moved not merely occu-
pies more of the attention but also makes a deeper
impression than the object at rest, lies in the multiplici-
ty of small helps, which remain from every environ-
ment in which the object has been seen.

198. Since the living object, especially a sentient
one, is seen in incomparably more and more varied
movements than the inanimate object, we may under-
stand from this why even in the earliest periods of ex-
istence, not only man, but also the brute, troubles him-
self much less about the inanimate object than about
the living one. Here, however, it may be remarked
that originally thjngs were not regarded as being in-
animate, but as sentient ; for, upon the sight of an ob-
ject which is pounded or beaten, a memory of one's
own feeling, upon the occasion of similar suffering in
one's own body causes one to attribute similar feeling
to the object Where this fails, we have a sign of
stupidity ; the more sensitive the man, so much the
more life does he everywhere presuppose before he
tests more closely.

Note. — ^It was an error of idealism, violent in its creation,
and adhered to with equal violence that the Ego opposes to it-



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THEORY OF SELP-CONSCIOUSNESS. 155

self a Non-ego (Fichte), as if the negation of the Ego were
inherent in objects. la this way a tJiou or & he would never
originate— another personality than one's own would never be
recognized ; that which has been inwardly perceived is, wherever
possible, transferred or imputed to the external object. Hence
with the /, the tJiou is formed at the same time, and, almost
simultaneously with the two, the we which idealism forgot, and
was obliged to forget, if it would not be awakened out of its
dream. For the concept of the toe is quite manifestly depend-
ent upon the environment ; it originates sometimes in larger,
sometimes in smaller circles, and always so that it at the same
time includes the Ego within it. This object is exposed more
clearly to our analysis than the mysterious Ego. As Plato re-
garded the state as a book with large letters legible for weak
eyes, in order that one might through it learn to read smaller
writing more fluently, so, in order to make a good preparation
for the more difficult problem, we ought to investigate the we
before the I,

199. But whence is the concept of a concept?
And whence the concept of concept-forming things
or objects? At first this question must be taken up
in its simplest form How it is possible that to some-
thing extended in space, and to its other characteris-
tics a power of forming concepts may be joined, in-
deed may be one with it, this hardly any educated,
much less any uneducated man considers ; but, that
there are things which have concepts, even the brute
knows. It learns this, inasmuch as it sees that these
things adjust themselves to others without touching
them.

The common understanding is ready to believe
that the needle has some sort of concept of an attract-
ing magnet. In the same way every one is convinced
that A contains in it the characteristics of B if the
former shows itself to be definitely affected by the lat-



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156 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

ter. The characteristics of B without its actuality
constitute the picture of B^ or, in other words, the
concept of B. Now, if A is affected by the properties
(movements, etc.) of -B, C, 2>, and others in its entire
environment, then to A is attributed the power of con-
ceiving or representing ; and hence, in special cases,
will come such predication as A sees^ hears, smells, etc.

Note. — ^It is almost too difficult a subject for the purposes
of the present manual to treat of the categories of inner apper-
ception^f the object which, entering into the environment
(field of vision), interrupts the current of thought by engaging
it in the apprehension of this object — ^and causing it to enter
into reciprocal action with it — and which furthermore, in fre-
quent repetitions, pointing back to that which preceded, inter-
feres with the involved time-series of the feelings, whence arises
the concept of the subject. Suffice it to remark that the con-
fusions of idealism must be removed by the distinction of the
mere subject, as time-existence, from the Ego, although the lat-
ter is necessarily connected with the former, inasmuch as, when
considered separately, it leads to absurdities.

The gradual penetration of sensations into the
nerves (as when the child eats a spicy sweet fruit, or
the man empties his glass), likewise the penetration
of words heard, or of transactions seen, into the masses
of concepts — this internal echo does not call up the
concept of the Ego, but only the concept of the subject
into consciousness. It is otherwise when we surren-
der ourselves intentionally to the sensation, in which
case the enjoyment enters after and because it is
sought.

200. In most cases of the kind just mentioned are
A and B, the representing and the represented, mani-
festly two different things which in space stand op-
posed to one another. It is evident, however, that in



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THEORY OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. I57

case the two happen in some way to be one and the
same, then the concept of self-knowledge (conscious-
ness) must arise.

Here let no one ask, how it is possible to appre-
hend the two opposite concepts, the representing and
the represented, as one and the same. This difficult
metaphysical problem is, in a psychological sense, quite
as simple as the one mentioned above, viz., how the
apprehension of several characteristics together make
up the concept of one object ; or, the still earlier one,
how the finite space-magnitudes can appear infinitely
divisible. In the* soul many representations merge
into one act of representation when arrests do not
prevent; but how can the slightest suspicion exist
originally in the soul as to whether this representa-
tion can persist when analytical judgments are ap-
plied to it (191), and it is subjected to metaphysical
thought?

Let a person look at or touch his own limbs : the
spectator, according to ordinary custom of speech,
says he has seen himself, he has touched himself. The
identity in this self is manifestly not a true one, for
the eye and the touching hand are manifestly differ-
ent from the arm which was seen and touched. How-
ever, in the original, psychological sense, the identity
exists, for the whole body is regarded as one, because
all partial concepts of it are most closely blended. To
see or feel one's self is only a special case of knowing
about one's self.

201. All this is, however, only a preparation for
the explanation of self -consciousness. In the forego-
ing lies only the beginning of the concept of some
one Ego ; the concept of nie — i. e., of my Ego — is quite



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15S RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

different from this. The former is, however,, the foun-
dation of the latter, as experience proves, for at first
the child speaks of himself in the third person.

On the contrary, the first person, as the first, is the
beginning point of a series, and must be explained
according to the method of explaining a series (29
and 168-177).

Man, as soon as his ideas of space are in a measure
matured, finds himself the movable central point of
things, from which ray out not only distances but also
other obstacles in the way of reaching the thing de-
sired, and, on the other hand, toward which the thing
moves when it is obtained as desired. Thus, egoism
[selfhood] is not the ground of desires, but it is a spe-
cies of concept that can be referred to them. However,
the egoism {selfhood] will be interrupted in a person
if he assumes another central point of things. To
this central point he feels himself inevitably drawn :
e. g., as in the sense-world, to the capital of his coun-
try ; or in the mental world, to the Deity,

Note. — The concept of the «w, which depends upon the pre-
supposition of common sensation and apprehension, is of the
greatest moral and, in general, of the greatest practical impor-
tance. It gives a natural counterpoise to the egoism proper.
Also the concept of the toe exists naturally, for no one knows
really who he would be if he were to be quite alone. The notion
of uprightness and the sense of honor are originated in the cir-
cle of the toe, when it is resolved into a manifold of egos ; but
a you and a they are opposed to the toe with all the evils of a
corporation soul. The most wonderful thing is that we our-
selves are now this, now that society ; upon some one point men
agree and are friends, upon another they are enemies. In this
inferiors are complained of by superiors, in that both unite and
complain about their common superiors.



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THEORY OP SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. 159

202. The complex which makes up the self of each
person receives incessant additions in the course of
life, which are blended together with it in the closest
manner. If this blending did not take place, the
unity of the personality would be lost, as in many kinds
of insanity really happens, inasmuch as a new ego is
created out of a certain mass of concepts which act
separately, and when the masses, as a result of a change
in the organism, enter consciousness one after the
other, a changing personality also arises.

The additions are not so much new apprehensions
of the individual body for which the susceptibility is
already very limited (45) as inner perceptions (40) of
concepts, desires, and feelings. Hence the concept of
the ego tends constantly more to the notion of a spirit
which is completely separated, inasmuch as the ego is
considered as abiding uninjured by the mutilations of
the body, during the changes of life, and even after
death.

With every man, the ego develops differently in
different concept-masses, and, although, in the person
mentally sound, no manifold ego arises, this difference
of origination is not insignificant for the formation of
character in general and for morality in particular.
The boy who is one person at home, another in the
school, and still another among his companions, is in
danger. The man who has a different tone for per-
sons of rank, for his friends, and for people of a lower
order, is not so secure morally as the simple man who
remains constantly the same. Among different men,
difference is unavoidable, inasmuch as one man feels
more in enjoyment, another more in sorrow, a third
more in action ; and, indeed, some more in inner action



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160 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

and others more in outer. The former, inner action,
often prepares the plan outlined for the latter. The
mystic and the propagandist of liberty are most widely
separated here ; the former considers himself obliged
to destroy the individual will, to give up the individual
ego ; the latter preaches the absolute independence of
the ego. Most rarely, however, is to be found the self-
delusion of those who, in the midst of mysticism, wish
still to assert their personal freedom, in order to com-
bine everything that has a good sound. It is useless
to talk to such people of a middle course. They have
from the beginning missed the right way, and, in order
to find it, must go the whole way backward.

203. We receive a correct notion of ourselves
through the notion of the soul, but not directly through
that of the ego just explained. Indeed, the latter
must be transformed into the former ; for the ego of
the ordinary understanding contains purely accidental
characteristics, which ego, by means of analytical judg-
ments (of answers to such questions as " Who am I ? "),
reveals [its composite character] just as the concepts
of material objects are resolved through judgments
(195) into pure predicates whose subject, long a gratui-
tous assumption, is finally lost altogether. These judg-
ments, inasmuch as they separate from it all that is
individual, leave nothing remaining in this ego except
the idea of identity of the object and subject. This
latter is a contradictory notion whose transformation
into that of the soul is the business of general meta-
physics, just as the idea of substance, force (196),
spatial and temporal things (177) are transformed into
the theory of simple essences and of their disturbances
and self-preservations.



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THEORY OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. 161

Note. — ^The contradictory notion of the pure ego is the meta-
physical principle from which has proceeded all the systematic
investigations which lie at the foundation of the present treatise.
The ego as a metaphysical principle knows and contains none of
the distinctions which are found in the actual ego and which
arise according as a man feels himself depressed or elevated, and
either stimulated or wearied in his efforts. Now, if it be asked
how these distinctions arise, the answer is, Investigation itself,
impelled by the principle, demands such variety and such con-
trasts, and leads to the path along which we seek them. It is the
peculiarity of true metaphysical principles that they point back
beyond themselves to the connection of inner experience. If the
connection in experience were known through mere experience,
then no metaphysics would be necessary, and such a science
would not have arisen at alL The movement of thought, how-
ever, which metaphysics secures in different problems is only in the
smallest part uniform ; hence a very varied practice is required.
The spirit of investigation is not promoted, but destroyed, by
the ruinous tendency to smuggle everything into the four-
cornered box of the so-called categories, or into the three-
cornered one of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis : one of these
mannerisms is of as much value as the other.

204. It is now possible to explain the meaning of in-
tuition (Anschaiien = sense-perception), an expression
which has been subjected to a wicked misuse. Intui-
tion {Anschauen) means the apprehension of an object
when it is presented, as such, and as nothing else.

The object must stand over against the subject and
also other objects. To find it thus is possible after
the ego, as first person, has been assumed spatially as
the center of things. Usually the object will be found
to be a complex of properties, like sensuous things;
these properties, however, must first have been sep-
arated from the whole environment (194), in order
that the apprehension may seize the object as this and
as no other. By such separation, the object appears,
14



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162 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

as it were, upon a background of earlier concepts which
it at the same time reproduces and arrests ; itself re-
ceiving thereby definite outlines as well in space as in
every other respect. For . this reason, every intuition
(very unlike the mere sensation) has the tendency to
burst at once into a variety of judgments (182) which
for the most part stifle one another, partly on account
of the arrest among their predicates, partly because
they can not all find words at the same time ; often,
also, because the apprehension leads from one subject
to another.

For this reason intuition is a very complicated pro-
cess which must be prepared through many earlier acts
of production (not through any kind of forms inherent
in the mind), and which then, with psychological ne-
cessity, results as it can, it being all the same whether
an actual object or a delusive form be constructed. To
test this is the business of thought, give it what other
name we may, and no intuition can anticipate the de-
cision of the latter (thought).

Finally, passivity in intuition (which is expressed
by the word apprehension, viz., the reception of a thing
given) is not really a passive condition of the soul by
which intuition is produced, although it is without
any consciousness of activity ; but those concepts stand
in a passive relation and upon them as a background
perception draws its outlines, or (without a metaphor)
these, by virtue of the similarity which they have with
the perception, are reproduced by it, but, on account
of dissimilarities, are arrested by it.

This peculiarity in sense-perception or intuition
by virtue of which the older concepts are acted upon
by the new perception, can, however, revert easily and



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THEORY OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. 163

rapidly into the opposite if a long succession of observa-
tions does not hold the mind in its passive state ; and we
have already indicated what occurs in such a case (39).
The intuition is then at an end ; instead of it, memory,
imagination, thought, begin.



CHAPTER IV.

THE UNGOVERNED PLAY OF THE PSYCHICAL
MECHANISM.

205. On account of the limitations of this manual,
we shall, to the subject of self-control and its opposite
(practically so important), unite the consideration of
other points which, in an elaborated treatise, would re-
quire to be discussed more in detail.

Independently of an internal dominating influence,
the mental activity may have its origin either in the
concepts themselves, or in the physical organism, or in
external impressions.

206. A small number of concepts, if left to them-
selves, would very soon approach a statical point, and
would retain only a very slow movement toward it,
through which it (the statical point) would never be
quite reached (17).

A considerable change in this movement is effected,
however, through the great number of concepts, and
the very complicated combinations of them, which a
man gains in the course of time.

207. Take a series of concepts in the process of



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164 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

elapsing [i. e., passing through consciousness] : every
moment there is a change in the arrest, which the con-
cepts that are entirely or almost removed out of con-
sciousness suffer. Some may become active because
they are less restrained by others ; others will be re-
produced by such members of the passing series as
they resemble. But the reproduced concepts may have
their own series, which also now begin to pass through
consciousness and thus these series become compli-
cated with one another as well as with the first one.
There arise from this complication new arrests and
blendings. Through such new combinations, however,
new total forces (23) are formed, by means of which
the statical points become displaced; consequently
new laws of movement are secured.

A manifold change of mental conditions (33-38)
can by this hardly fail to occur. Such a change brings
the physical organism into play, which influence, min-
gling with the others (we shall not consider it further
here), causes the matter to become still more compli-
cated.

With this play of the imagination (for it is imagi-
nation more or less active) are combined very often
actions in the external world ; and the audible expres-
sion of thought is only one species of this. With
children who have not yet learned to restrain them-
selves, such expression of that which goes on in the
soul is the rule. To this (expression) is added the per-
ception of the product of the expression, and this in-
fluences the course of the psychological process.

208. The flow of human perceptions, if it is in any
way rapid, does not allow to the concepts which it
calls up, time to place themselves in equilibrium with



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THE PLAY OP THE PSYCHICAL MECHANISM. 165

one another : the preceding ones are thrown by the
succeeding ones npon the mechanical threshold, with-
out forming those cojnbinations which they are capa-
ble of making; and, provided the influx of the new
concepts continues still longer, the statical threshold
is very soon developed from the mechanical. On ac-
count of these premature arrests, a mass of undigested
matter is collected which is gradually elaborated when
subsequent reproductions bring it again into con-
sciousness..

209. The later elaboration of the material pre-
viously collected is the more important since the older
concepts are generally the stronger on account of
decreasing susceptibility. The elaboration, however,
will be more difficult the longer it is delayed, for the
reason that, in consequence of the constant influx of
new perceptions, the mental state, together with the
corresponding physical condition, constantly changes,
so that the older concepts with the combinations that
have previously been made become less and less fit for
this modification ; consequently, their reproduction is
attended with increasing hindrances. In this may be
found the explanation of the fact that that which is
not frequently recalled to memory sinks further and
further into oblivion. Accurately speaking, however,
nothing in the soul is lost.

210. The purpose of the elaboration is determined
by the purpose of the reproduction, for those concepts


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