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is required a fixed law which precedes the cases to be
decided. The severity of the construction of this law
also becomes gradually relaxed, and it is modified to
suit the different kinds of cases until an exaggerated
mildness leads back again to the necessity for sharper
attention to the rule.



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180 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

232. In this we see as yet nothing settled in regard
to the subject-matter of self-legislation. The necessity
for this is met by a general will, as described in section
226, which is, however, very different in individuals ;
hence, in the beginning, practical (or moral) principles
are individual. Decisions as to that which one pre-
fers, or which one finds less tolerable, combined with
empirical rules dictated by prudence, furnish the
largest part of the earliest system of morality which
seeks to control whims and to quench passions through
a notion of true and lasting happiness.

233. In practical [i. e., moral] philosophy it is
shown that duty is based upon practical (moral) ideas.
These latter possess an eternal youth, and through this
feature they gradually separate from the class of wishes
and enjoyments that grow weaker with time, and they
are recognized as the only unchangeable thing which
can answer the requirements of a law to the inner
man (231). Besides, they bear in themselves the
stamp of an unavoidable decree, because a man posi-
tively can not escape that judgment whose general
form they indicate ; hence in those practical ideas is
to be found the necessary content which must fill up
the general form of self-legislation.

Note. — In this is explained the kind of self-government
which a man is to exact of himself (228), but it does not deter-
mine how much of it he is able to carry out. This latter item
is indefinite, and, moreover, a constantly unknown quantity to
the individual, inasmuch as no man is able to discern accurately
his own psychological states. It is no wonder that so simple a
concept of duty does not appear sufficiently emphatic for the
general use of moralists, nor that, in order to preach more im-
pressively, they attempt additions which are of an exciting as
well as imposing character. In many cases this attempt, if it



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DUTY AS A PSYCHICAL PHENOMENON. 181

be not OTerdone, is much to be commended. But we can not
restrain our astonishment when some philosophers appeal to
metaphysical opinions in order to make clear the necessity for
duty. For opinion only can be considered here, inasmuch as
no one will think of making the obligation of all to duty de-
pendent upon metaphysical knowledge. On such a basis the
eternity of the punishment of hell may finally return to philo-
sophical ethics, which is certainly an effective and probable
theory, if pursued with suitable explanation and limitation, and
is based upon psychological grounds as may be seen at the end
of this book. A system of ethics, however, which is not lax, is
bound to have its sharp penalties. And this severity must not
be made to depend upon certain decisive expressions of absolute
obligation, etc., but only upon the clearness and distinctness of
the notions of that which may be condemned, opposed to that
which may be commended. That blame which allows no excuse
can not be withstood, but if one be resolved to incur such blame,
then no system of ethics influences him any longer ; he is a sick
man who must be healed — i. e., brought to repentance by suffer-
ing. Blame does its part of the work when it shames passion.
Clear discrimination and analysis of the practical (moral) ideas
which make up the ultimate content and true meaning of all
moral precepts is the best stimulant for the conscience.

234. Actual self-control and the possibility that a
man may carry out that which he demands and should
demand of himself depends upon the co-operation of
several concept-masses. In this, that general will is
manifested, if such has already been formed (226), and
in that case it is always located in some kind of concept-
mass, a great power which may be recognized in every
activity that has a purpose. In this connection we may
recall the notion of labor (123). Every kind of labor
demands that the will shall keep constantly striving to
realize the general purpose, while those voluntary acts
which deal with the details and execute the several steps
of the process in logical order succeed one another in



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182 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

and by means of a series of concepts in consciousness,
although sometimes with delays and fatiguing efforts,
as shown in section 219 ; but the rational activity of an
educated man is composed of many and different labors
which of themselves make up a series of a higher kind.
The more complicated such an activity is, the more
manifest is the power of that dominating concept-mass
in which the will of the chief design has its seat over
all the others which are subordinated to it in different
degrees. Also facts are not wanting which show more
strongly than is necessary how tyrannically the domi-
nating will often sacrifices all lesser wishes, so that a
single prejudice or a single passion is able, as it were,
to desolate and lay waste the whole mind. We must
beware of considering self-control merely as such, as
something morally good ; if it is to be so regarded,
then the quality, and not merely the strength of the
dominating concept-masses, must be considered.

Note. — He who earnestly desires to achieve the highest de-
gree of self-control should, above everything, guard against the
delusion of false theories which represent his freedom greater
than it really is. These theories are not capable of making one
free, they rather plunge one into all the dangers of false security.
On the other hand, let every one acknowledge his weak side and
strive to strengthen it. This is not accomplished through direct
watchfulness alone, but the whole interaction of the man's en-
vironment in actual life is involved. As the will originally had
its origin in the circle of thought, so through the choice of em-
ployments and expedients, it leads back to the further culture
and development of the same. The Bible and hymn-book are
infinitely important supports to self-controL To many, also,
Horace and Cicero are helps. Diet, movement, the bath, and
mineral springs, work against mental relaxation. For the edu-
cated classes, art (if it did not work for bread !)» especially the
theatre, could accomplish much. To be sure, when we see that



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DUTY AS A PSYCHICAL PHENOMENON. 183

great poets, with all their love for the theatre, are not willing
to confine their poetical fancies within the limits of theatrical
representation, we can only lament the lack of German inde-
pendence which, repelled by French over-refinements, gave it-
self up not only to the admiration but also to the imitation of
Shakespeare. But the real fault of the theatre lies in the specu-
lation upon the purses of the rich and the desire of the masses
for a spectacle. The danger which threatens the age in its
striving after freedom is that of being caught in the snares of
the moneyed aristocracy. For examples, look at England and
America.

235. Self-control is a psychological phenomenon,
always strictly conformed to an end or purpose, and the
power which it exercises has a finite magnitude, not-
withstanding that we never can assert that that strength
or self-control which a definite individual possesses in
a definite moment is the greatest which any person, or
to which that individual himself, has been able to
attain. Hence ethics in general presupposes rightly,
that every passion may be governed, and if a person
can not control his passions, then he is justly blamed
for this weakness and held to be without excuse accord-
ing to the idea of perfection.

Note 1. — Those who assume a transcendental freedom of the
will are bound to attribute to it an infinite amount of power
over the passions, or otherwise incur the charge of the grossest
inconsistency. For the word transcendental, in this connection,
indicates an opposition to all causality of nature; hence the
natural power of the passions would be capable of nothing what-
ever against such a freedom. The relation, however, of nothing
to something is as something to infinite magnitude ; so that if
the power of passion be considered something, transcendental
freedom must be considered infinitely strong. It is unnecessary
here to discuss further the fact that, on account of its own action,
transcendental freedom falls into the same causal relation from
which it ought to be free.



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184 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

KoTF 2. - A short discussion of the questions that arise con-
cerning the mental condition of criminals, which sometimes
come from judges and physicians, may make the preceding and
the following clearer. The question does not concern philo-
sophic instruction upon the nature of free actions, but the judge
assumes that, if at the age of puberty, the criminal was of sound
mind, he knew the injurious result of his action ; that he would
not will such an act to be performed against himself ; that he
had developed in himself the general notion of this not-willing
(or renunciation) ; and that he knew that civil society would
not suffer such actions. By this, if he were an honorable man,
he would certainly have been deterred from the action ; if he
be not an honorable man, then the more firmly fixed his bad
character is, so much the more certainly will he be punished,
and so much the more certainly will bad action upon every op-
portunity proceed from this badness. The question then is
only, Was the man sick, and in such a condition that we may
believe that he acted like one in a dream f For example, might
the youthful incendiary be overcome by a morbid desire for fire
in such a way that his reproduction did not penetrate to the
concept of danger to the inhabitants; or that the universal
maxim to bring no one into danger (the higher concept-mass)
was hindered in its action*, and, finally, that the recollection
of civil order, of right and law, was lost f In the last case the
criminal would be similar to the unreflecting child, and the
culpability so much the less.

236. The conditions of self-control, consequently
also the proof of its finite quantity, are to be found in
the proportion that exists between the dominating to
the subordinate concept-masses. This is in general
clear, yet more special remarks, partly upon the do-
minion of desires and passions, partly upon moral self-
control, may be added.

How a desire gradually extends its compass may be
seen in sections 223 and 224. The flow of concepts
stops and expands at the point which is desired and



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DUTY AS A PSYCHICAL PHENOMENON. 185

not immediately reached. The reproductions awak-
ened by it are collected (at first without order) as fan-
cies, but fancying is gradually transformed into think-
ing (211), and notions and judgments are formed more
and more in regard to desires and in the service
thereof. This is incorrectly expressed in the saying,
" Passion sets the understanding in motion." Not an
entire mental faculty is here moved to a one-sided ac-
tivity, but only a certain phase of thinking (which we
may attribute to the understanding in so far as it is
merely a general term for certain kinds of activity in
concepts) is created in the thought-mass which has
gathered around the desire. Uncultured men, to say
nothing of savages, have hardly any other faculty of
understanding than that of their passions. But among
educated men there are other concept-masses elabo-
rated to the stage of thought called " understanding,"
and here still another phenomenon is added to that
partial understanding that belongs to the passions
which is quite as incorrectly (as the above) expressed
in the maxim, " Passion suppresses the understand-
ing." For, in the first place, either the other concept-
masses of the understanding present themselves too
late — after the passion has been gratified — and the
flow of the concepts hindered by it has been again
established, in which case we say rightly, " The man
has been precipitate " ; and he himself even will lament
that he can not comprehend his precipitation, for his
previous act now hangs like a lifeless picture before
him (42), and only those concept-masses are active
which look down upon these others reproachfully.
Or, in the second place, at the same time with the
grade of understanding that belongs to the passion,



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186 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

the higher grade of understanding is awakened in con-
sciousness, although it is not strong enough nor suffi-
ciently ezcited. From this arises the still more unfor-
tunate result that that comhination of concepts in
which it has its seat is corrupted and ruined through
the notions furnished by passion, which latter, the
of tener this occurs, attains so much the more domin-
ion, and shows itself so much the more worthy the
name of passion.

We have spoken here of more than one understand-
ing, and there must be more than one, in case the
understanding be regarded as a force or as a faculty.
For the causal power, the mental energy, lies nowhere
else than in certain concept-masses, and of these there
are many and very different ones which can all act as
understanding. The same is true of the power of
imagination, of memory, of reason ; in a word, of all
the so-called mental faculties ; but if one were to allow
one's self to indulge in such an innovation in the use
of language it would not be well to recommend it for
adoption by everybody ; for he who would speak of
several understandings, of several imaginations, etc.,
would appear to assert that the several were to be re-
garded as distinct and separate. The different con-
cept-masses, however, to which all this points, do not
by any means admit of any such nice discrimination,
but rather, with every encounter of the latter, arise
new and often only weak blendings of similar concepts
out of which, as their ingredients, they (imagination,
memory, etc.) are compounded. The manner of speak-
ing just used is then exceptional, and it remains true
that a man possesses only one understanding, one im-
agination, etc. These, however, are not forces, not



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DUTY AS A PSYCHICAL PHENOMENON. 187

faculties, indeed nothing real, but merely logical desig-
nations for the preliminary classification of psychical
phenomena.

237. The consideration of moral self-control is now
in order. As a preparation for this, we must make
moral feeling comprehensible. In the Kantian phi-
losophy, it has been explained that this is useless as a
foundation for ethics, and rightly so, for we can in no
way substitute it for the moral judgments, or, to give
them their general name, " sesthetical '' judgments,
upon which, as was shown in the practical philosophy,
practical ideas depend. Such substitution would con-
found grounds and conclusions. Moral feeling arises
from moral judgments ; it is the first effect of the lat-
ter upon the total complex of all concepts present in
consciousness. The judgments mentioned have their
seat in only a few concepts, and these are such concepts
as form an aesthetic relation with one another. Upon
every encounter of the latter, they (the judgments)
arise always and infallibly, provided (and in so far as)
a blending of those concepts is not made impossible
by the remaining concepts of the series. When they
arise, they have the same effect, as if something pleasant
or unpleasant suddenly entered consciousness (i. e., ac-
cording as they contain approbation or blame). By
this, they either favor the course of thought present,
or they hinder it, and in the latter case action upon
the physical organism is often occasioned (e. g., blush-
ing) as well as reaction of the latter on the former.

Before we go further, we may remark here that in
the influence just mentioned of the moral judgments
upon the remaining concepts, hence in the moral feel-
ing, the specific difference of those judgments is mani-



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188 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

fested very little or not at alL Whether an unrea-
sonableness, or an injustice, or a malevolence, or a
cowardice, or that which otherwise may be a moral
perversity is felt, that disturbance which may cause
the thread of thought which is running through con-
sciousness to suffer, will in all these cases be about the
same. In this respect, much will depend upon the
relations which the concepts present in consciousness
hold toward one another, and upon the rapidity with
which their series pass before consciousness. The most
essential task of practical (or ethical) philosophy, how-
ever, is to make quite clear the specific difference be-
tween the different moral judgments; consequently,
the moral feeling which does not give this difference,
also does not give us the principles of that science.

Let it be assumed that a desire is just projecting
its plans (236), and while a means is devised for its
gratification, the moral perversity of this means is felt,
then the feeling acts as a hindrance and checks the
course of the concepts, exactly as when an action in
the outer world does not succeed (219). During this
suspension two things occur simultaneously: First,
the concepts which proceed from the desire increase
in volume; secondly, however, the moral judgment
also gains time to present itself. Now the question is
whether this judgment is connected with a strong
thought-mass which, as it spreads more and more in
consciousness, gradually suppresses that increasing de-
sire, without, on its side, suffering in its development
from the unpleasant feeling into which the suppressed
desire changes ? If this question can be answered
affirmatively, the self-control is present.

238. A purely moral self-control which is uniformly



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DUTY AS A PSYCHICAL PHENOMENON. 189

present in every act of commission and omission, as
well as most careful to protect all subordinate interests
and wishes, is an ideal to which the name psychical or-
ganism may be given. For to it belong such a union and
subordination of concepts as is not only adapted to the
smallest as well as the largest combinations, but is
also capable of appropriating to good purpose all addi-
tional new external impressions. This self-control is
the aim of education and of self-development. How
near a man may come to this aim can not be determined,
and for that reason the effort toward it is unlimited.

239. As the power of self-control is never the woik
of a moment, but rather the result of the whole past
life, so also no particular time of life can be consid-
ered to be decisive in regard to it. A considerable
stock of thoughts and feelings which has no compara-
tively great addition to expect (the decrease in suscep-
tibility is to be borne in mind) must first be present,
before such an effective concentration of mind can oc-
cur that a man is able to come to a successful resolu-
tion concerning himself in general. Then, however,
when this condition is fulfilled (as a rule, at the end
of the educational period) it is time for the deepest
reflection, for the most comprehensive practical delib-
eration. For upon the thoroughness of the combina-
tion into which the concepts enter, upon the exact
knowledge of his innermost wishes which a man now
attains, upon the right position in the outer world
which he now prepares for himself, depends the
strength as well as the correctness of the guidance
which he will give himself henceforth, and just upon
this depends also the right reception of everything
new to which the course of life will further lead.



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190 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

CHAPTER VI.

PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS UPON THE DESTINY
OF MAN.

240. Psychology will remain one-sided so long as
it considers man as standing alone. For, in the first
place, he lives in society and not merely for this world ;
secondly, these two facts give rise to various attempts
to sketch ideals whose attractiveness elevates them (the
ideals) to an actual mental power.

In every social whole the individual persons are
related to one another in almost the same way as the
concepts in the soul of the individual if the social ties
are sufficiently close to secure the mutual influence
completely. Conflicting interests take the place of the
opposition among concepts. The inclinations and
needs of assistance from others furnish those condi-
tions which were known in the foregoing under the
name of complexes and blendings. The direct results
of the psychological mechanism which here makes
itself felt on a large scale are, that the many are de-
pressed by the few so much as to lose social signifi-
cance ; that even of these few only a small minority
attain prominence ; that every society in a condition
of natural equilibrium assumes a pointed (pyramidal)
form (see section 82) at the top. The laws of move-
ment controlling the psychical mechanism do not
suffer complete stagnation any more here (in the social
organization) than in the individual. On the con-
trary, they secure reproductions of that which often
seemed to have entirely disappeared, which reproduc-
tions often work through long series of social combi-



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THE DESTINY OP MAN. 191

nations. Such movements [of the struggling lower
masses in the social whole] are often much more ap-
parent to the apperception of cultured people on the
higher planes than is the relation of the subordinate
to the higher concept masses in the inner world, pro-
vided the individuals [of these lower masses] are not
warned and are not sufficiently watchful to guard
against audible and visible expressions. For, in case
the governing power is harsh and violent, they [the
ihdividuals of the lower orders] are accustomed to hide
from it ; but when in any place the throne becomes a
bed of rest, then it is with society as it is with [the
psychological mechanism of] those individuals who ex-
ercise no supervision over themselves.

241. If observations of this kind were completely
elaborated, they would furnish a science of politics [or
of sociology] similar to the empirical psychology in the
first part of this book. After it would follow an em-
pirical summary of that which may be found in the
history of nations as permanent contrasted with the
transient. If one does not perhaps prefer to consider
the different ranks and orders of society as correspond-
ing to the so-called faculties, he may take up the three
separate powers of the state, the legislative, the execu-
tive, and the judiciary, and these will take the place of
those psychical faculties and afford suggestive analo-
gies. History, however, will deal with the changing
conditions of nations. Finally, in order to give a com-
panion picture to rational psychology, we must, after
the manner of the science of statistics, first describe
the body of the state — as a part of the earth's sur-
face — ^together with the traffic takin^lace on it ; and
the reaction of this upon the mind of the people — i. e..



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192 RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

upon their social sentiments and views. The discus-
sion of the true moving principles of the historical
events narrated, however, is to be looked for only in
the philosophy of history.

242. The foregoing remark reminds us that the
philosophy of history depends upon psychology, and
that it does not presume to investigate the ways of
Providence, which, notwithstanding the often-heard
discussions upon the spirit of the age, still are and
will remain obscure. Here are to be found illusions
similar to those in the philosophy of nature, as for ex-
ample when the teleological phenomena of nature are
confounded with biological phenomena, as if one in-
vestigation might include both series of phenomena
in one view, and even as if the type of a general
necessary course of nature might be discovered by in-
ventorying and comparing the phenomena which occur
upon the earth before our eyes.

It is certain that no history of known countries
and nations can ever furnish a world history in the
true sense of the word. Furthermore, it is certain
that no theory is able to give a notion upon it which
will have even a shadow of truth. On the other hand,
it is just as certain that every attempt of this kind,
however remote, exhibits a foolish forgetfulness of hu-


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