As Birds robb’d of their native wood,
Although their Diet may be fine,
Yet neither sing, nor like their food,
But with the thought of home do pine;
So do I mourn and hang my head,
And though thou dost me fullness give,
Yet look I for far better bread,
Because by this man cannot live.
Throughout our past argument we have repeatedly spoken of the contrast between the eternal and the secular, or temporal, as something familiar and fundamental in the common experiences of the moral life. We have thus assumed that there is an element of the “other-worldly” present throughout in the common everyday life of the simple good neighbour and honest citizen, that it is a duty for all of us to practice other-worldliness, and not to live as though “this” world were the only world there is. It may be well to pause here and ask ourselves to what practical rule of conduct such an assumption commits us, and whether that rule indeed has the sanction of the morality by which we all live. What is the true relation of the “other” world to the whole system in which we find ourselves bound up by the fact that we are members of a great animal “kingdom,” existing in a definite space-time region of the universe, and members, moreover, of a historical society of humanity, living and deceased. We cannot but remember that while this thought of the dual citizenship of man, as at once a “child of nature” and a being who is something more than “natural,” has inspired the practical teaching of the greatest of philosophical moralists from Plato to Kant, it is also fashionable among reputable philosophers to decry this so-called “dualism” as a fatal error, and to find in it the central flaw of Platonism, the “excrescence” on Kant’s doctrine which had to be cut away by the surgery of Fichte and Hegel before the critical philosophy could bear its true fruits.1 There are not two worlds, it is often said, but only one; that “other world is just this world rightly understood”: it is the death of all morality to direct our aims or set our hopes on a saeculum venturum, just as Bosanquet has said that it is the death of idealism to project its ideals into the future.
The same radical conflict of standpoints meets us in the estimation of poetry, and the arts generally. We are told, to be sure, of the “consecration and the poet’s dream,” and of the “light that never was on sea or land” as the aspiration of all high artistic endeavour; to say that a poet, or a painter, however admirable his work may be in other respects, is “of the earth earthy,” is felt as denying his claim to rank among the greatest, even by critics wholly free from prepossessions in favour of any specifically theological interpretation of the world, just as the most unqualified opponents of any intrusion of theology into the field of ethics commonly regard it as an imputation on a man’s moral theory or practice to call either “worldly”. Yet, on the other side, a modern poet whom most of us would be inclined to call the reverse of a “worldling” or “worldly-wise” person, could make it his boast that
Earth of the earth is hidden by my clay.
And it is the commonest of disparagements to say of poets and artists that they lose themselves in a world of dreams, or that their work has no contact with the coarse, brutal, fetid, but living world of common flesh and blood.
The curious fact, disclosed by this universal linguistic usage, is that, in the conduct of the life of business and social relations, we plainly agree that it is a duty to be, in some intelligible sense, a “man of the world,” and yet a grave defect to be “worldly”. The good man ought, if the phrase may be allowed, to be an unworldly man of the world. And, as if to warn us that we are not dealing with some mere confusion of thought, due to the imperfect emancipation of morality from the foreign control of a “moribund” theology, we find just the same seemingly paradoxical combination of qualities demanded, in the name of art, from poets, painters or musicians. They also, if they are to rank with the immortals, are to be men of this world without being worldly-minded. It is just where men believe themselves to find both qualities in perfect balance, for example in Shakespeare, or it may be in Goethe, that they confess the presence of supreme genius. It is made a claim for Shakespeare that his thought moves in the world of the actual, not in a beautiful but fanciful kingdom of dreams; he at least is no “ineffectual angel”. But it would be felt at once to be an absurd characterisation of him to call him, what we all agree to call his brilliant contemporary Bacon, “worldly-minded”. We are commanded by our own religion, in language familiar to us all, to be in the world and yet out of it.
Shakespeare was no divine, nor, so far as it is possible to discern his personality behind his work, does he seem likely to have felt the specifically religious aspiration to a supernatural “holiness”; yet it would be hard to find a better phrase by which to describe the character of his ripest work. Macbeth, or even The Tempest, deals with a life which is “of this world,” the life of men and women of flesh and blood, not that of angels or devils, nor yet of elves or fairies. Macbeth may have his traffic with demons; yet he is no “devil incarnate,” but a man, with a man’s temptations and crimes, and also with a man’s qualities of heroism and resolution. Ferdinand and Miranda meet and love in an enchanted island, but they are “sublunary lovers,” after all. Their life is to be lived out in the world of common realities, and it is to be the “practical life” of marriage, the family and mundane affairs at large. “Pictures in their eyes to get” will most certainly not be all their propagation,2 and their maturity, as the poet is careful to let us know, has before it the very business-like task of adjusting the affairs of two communities on a sound basis. Milan has been thrust from Milan that his heirs may become rulers of Naples. Even Prospero, who had once neglected his duties as duke to bury himself in his library of books of magic, has learned a more practical wisdom by the event. His island is a temporary place of refuge, not a home, and the great object to which his wizardry has been made instrumental is to effect his return to the world which “is the home of all of us”.
Yet, for all this, worldliness is the last charge we should be likely to make against Macbeth or The Tempest. Shakespeare can, of course, be worldly enough when he pleases. Falstaff and Prince Hal, for example, think and speak, from first to last, “like men of this world,” and it is just their fundamental earthiness which makes the second repellent and the first, at his brightest, a creature to whom no one could lose his heart. But it is not in such characters that we see Shakespeare’s measure of humanity, nor, I would add, to them that we must believe their creator’s heart to be given. Macbeth sinks into a hell of murderous frustrated ambition against which a man like Falstaff is secured by his very carnality; yet, even in his ruin, it is Macbeth, not Falstaff, who ennobles our conception of humanity by the revelation of what a man can be, for good or evil. The Beatrices and Rosalinds of Shakespeare’s earlier days are, at bottom, “good girls” enough; the Cleopatra of his maturity is an incarnate corruption; yet, with all the corruption, Cleopatra has the touch of a quality which the earlier sympathetic heroines do not reveal. She has, as no Rosalind nor Portia of them all had, “immortal longings,” windows of the soul open on Heaven and on Hell, and the difference makes her not less, but more, a revelation of the universal woman in all women. The presence of something which is not “of this world” in her makes her the more overpoweringly real. If there are good and evil characters in Shakespeare’s gallery of whom we could say with some measure of justice that they are dreams rather than solid realities, we must say this of just the more ordinary good and bad figures of his less fully mature work.
By the side of Othello, Henry Vth is unreal, Brutus is unreal; all the earlier women are dreams and fantasies by the side of Lady Macbeth or Cleopatra. It is just where the figures, for good or evil, impress us with the sense of being something more than earthly that we feel the poet’s grip on the realities of our “moral being” firmest. Othello and Macbeth are not, like so many characters in Shakespeare’s earlier work, merely playing their parts in a pleasant interlude, nor, like even Henry Vth, walking in a pageant in honour of England. They are fighting for their lives in a battle where the stakes are Heaven and Hell, and it is because the battle is so grim and the stakes so fearful that we feel that the fight is being waged, not in fairyland, but in the real waking world of our common life. And if anyone should fancy that The Tempest, at any rate, is only a dream of an enchanted island, he must be curiously blind to the truth that, there too, the same battle is being waged, however fantastic the weapons, for the souls of a criminal king and his more criminal counsellors.
You are three men of sin, whom Destiny—
That hath to instrument this lower world
And what is in’t—the never-surfeited sea
Hath caused to belch you up; and on this island
Where man doth not inhabit, you ’mongst men
Being most unfit to live…
… whose wraths to guard you from—
Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls
Upon your heads—is nothing but heart-sorrow
And a clear life ensuing.
The words are spoken by Ariel in the disguise of a Harpy, but they fix us at the heart of real life. The element of the fantastical is in their setting, not in their sense. Similarly we misread the famous words of Prospero, that
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep,
if we hear nothing more than an echo of the Horatian pulvis et umbra sumus. They would be both trivial and misplaced if we did not understand that there is an infinite seriousness behind the seeming futility of the parts man plays in the brief puppet-show. It is the tension between the sense of this underlying earnest and the apparent vanity of life that explains the speaker’s reference to the “beating mind” from which his words come.
We are not to be surprised, then, if the same problem of a life which has to be lived out in “this world,” with all its apparent tangle of accident and restricted incidental issue, and yet is directed on an end which redeems life from tedium and frivolity, precisely because this world cannot exhaust it, reappears, in principle, in the most measured and sober rule of practice a moralist can devise. We shall expect to find that life may be marred in practice in either of two ways. It is marred if we lose ourselves in concentration on a mere manageable success which we, or our children, can see with our own eyes; if we mistake the proverb of the bird in the hand for the last word of moral wisdom. It is marred in another way, if we lose our sense of the imperatively necessary “here and now,” the duty of the moment, in preoccupation with what lies beyond every now and every here. We need to learn the double lesson that there is no more certain way of being unfaithful in much than to be careless of being faithful in little—for there are, indeed, no mere “littles” in the moral world—and no more certain way of being unfaithful in little than to be satisfied with aiming at little. In fact, we need to reconsider and state more correctly a familiar formula which has already been used in a context where it was accurate enough for the immediate purpose. The true rule of life, we said, was to combine detachment with attachment, to use and love all goods but the highest without losing our hearts to them, that when the call to let them go comes to us we may be able to obey without breaking our hearts. But, if we would speak with a nicer accuracy, we must rather say that the rule is not simply to make the best use of the lower and temporal goods, while they last, and then to let them go with a will; it is to use them in such fashion that the very using is itself an act of devotion to the higher and more abiding. It is not enough that whole-hearted possession should be followed, in due time, by equally wholehearted surrender; there is a more excellent way which unites possession and surrender in the same act.
This is the most difficult of achievements for us, who, even in what is called the autumn of our lives, are mostly mere beginners in the pilgrimage from the seen to the eternal, but it is a task which we must essay, unless our lives are to end in moral failure. Unless we have at least a beginning with the lesson, the division of the self against itself is not even on the way to be healed. We are still at the mercy of the before and after, still “in our sins”. We have found, it may be, an answer to the two first of R. Hillel’s pithy questions, “If I am not for myself who is for me, and if I am only for myself, where is the good of me?” The third still confronts us, unsolved and insistent—“And if not now, when?”
Let me illustrate what I mean by a concrete example which I have used elsewhere.3 “A man discharges the duty of a husband and a parent in a secular spirit, if he has no aim beyond giving his wife a ‘happy time of it’ and bringing up his children to enjoy a lucrative, honourable or comfortable existence from youth to old age”. I interrupt the self-quotation to add that a man would still be discharging these offices in a secular spirit if, Indian fashion, he had it in mind, later on, when the work has been done, to retire to the forests, and there give his old age to retired meditation. The more excellent way—one says it with shame, as one reflects on the failure in one’s own practice—is that indicated in the sequel of the quotation, to which I return: “Marriage and parenthood become charged with a sacramental spirit, and the discharge of their obligations a Christian duty, when the ‘principal intention’ of parents is to set forward a family in the way to know and love God, and to be spiritual temples for His indwelling”. Where such an end is attained, and so far as it is attained, the “flesh” is not merely “suppressed” in the interest of the “spirit,” it is made the minister of the spirit, as “necessity,” in Plato’s Timaeus, is made the Creator’s “workman,”4 perfectly subdued to His purpose in the ordering of the world. Where it is not achieved there is a double failure. A man, for instance, cannot set his son forward on the way to know and love God, except by bringing him up to some definite honourable and useful life of service to a specific community; but, again, he cannot bring him up to render the service adequately if he himself looks, and teaches his son to look, to no end beyond that definite service to that specific community.
If, for example, a man wants his son to give of his best to Scotland as a public servant, it is not enough that he should educate the son to be a public servant; he must be even more concerned that the lad should be a good Scotsman than that he should be a good civil servant. And if he would have the boy a good Scotsman, he must make it a still more vital concern that he shall become a true man. And a true man’s ultimate loyalty cannot even be to “humanity”. There are services which I must not render, even to “the well-being of humanity”. If I may indulge once more in self-quotation,5 “it may be argued that for the good of the human race I ought to be prepared to sacrifice the very independence of my native land, but for no advantage to the whole body of mankind may I insult justice by knowingly giving sentence or verdict against the innocent”.
In a word, just as the only way to be a thoroughly good professional man is to aim at being something more than a professional man—for example, at being a good citizen—and the only way to be a thoroughly good citizen is to aim at being, at any rate, a “good European,” or something of the kind, so the only way to be a good man or a good “citizen of the world” is again to aim at being something more. I believe no moral theory can ignore this without identifying morality with mere conventional respectability, and so stultifying itself. For we may take it as certain that a moral code which enjoins respectability as the supreme obligation will not long ensure that its followers shall remain even respectable. As T. H. Green6 says of Hume, it is because he derationalises respectability that “he can find … no room for the higher morality… . An ‘ideal’ theory of ethics tampers with its only sure foundation when it depreciates respectability.” Green goes on to say, in impressive words, that “there is no other ‘enthusiasm of humanity’ than one which has travelled the common highway of reason, the life of the good neighbour and honest citizen, and can never forget that it is still only on a further stage of the same journey”.
But it is obviously implied in such a statement that the goal of the “journey,” though it may not disclose itself to the traveller’s conscious vision until many stages of the way have been achieved, from the first lay beyond anything which can be adequately described as “citizenship” or “neighbourliness,” and therefore beyond the horizon of the “temporal” world. Thus, in spite of a certain tendency to minimise the “supernatural” factor in the moral life, a tendency which leads him from time to time to depreciate the significance of moral crises and “conversions,” and, on occasion, to caricature Platonism, Green bears witness, one might almost say malgré lui,7 to the impossibility of getting the note of “other-worldliness” out of a genuine practical morality.
At the same time, it is equally clear that there is no way of effectively “having our citizenship in heaven” except the way of discharging the specific duties of this place and this time as duties which have an ultimate source of obligatoriness lying beyond the now and here, thus making God, in the scholastic phrase, our “principal intention”8 in the discharge of those homely duties. You cannot do justice to the demands of morality itself if you follow the lead of Aristotle by bisecting human life into a “service of the divine” to be achieved by “speculation,” and a lower “practical life” of service to the human community. This is, in effect, to have one aim for the working-days of the week and another for Sundays, to be the honest citizen and good neighbour on common days, the “thinker” or man of science on high-days and festivals. In practice such a sundering of the life of the “divine something in man” from the “life of man” is bound to degrade both. If our duties as men and citizens are regarded as something secondary and inferior, it will not be long before they come to be discharged in a perfunctory fashion, as tasks to be got over and out of the way that we may escape with all speed to the higher work of the study and the laboratory; we shall be too anxious to be good physicists, or chemists, or metaphysicians to be more than very second-rate men. Again, by being thus cut off from the “work of man” the speculative life itself becomes impoverished and loses its seriousness. The resulting degradation may show itself in a great variety of ways. In some lives it appears as engrossment in so-called “religious” duties to the neglect of the simple humanities of life. Then we get the man, for example, who identifies the “spiritual life” with absorption in ceremonial “devotions,” or solitary meditation, at the cost of forgetting to be a good husband, or father, or neighbour. Or we may consider the type whose prosecution of the “speculative life” takes the form of preoccupation with a science which has become dehumanised, the man who pursues knowledge as a mere gratification for his curiosity, or even devotes himself to the discovery of new curses for humanity—“poison-gases” and the like—for discovery’s sake.
In principle, the source of the degradation is the same in all these cases: the devotee of a life of the “divine element in man,” supposed to be severed from the “work of man,” naturally becomes a specialist in something at the cost of failing to “make a man of himself”. It is a little strange that Green, of all men, should have reproached Plato with a “false dualism which has clung like a body of death to Platonising philosophy ever since,”9 without reflecting that this “dualism” is specifically Aristotelian. Its source is, in fact, the fatal error of dividing life into a higher sphere of “speculation” and a lower realm of “practice,” which, as it is supposed, can be kept distinct, and it is against just this fatal severance of “active good living” from the “higher spiritual life” that Plato is setting his face when he insists that neither the “philosopher” nor the “king” can be what he should be until the two parts are united in the same person.10
There is, then, a sense in which “other-worldliness” would really be the death of all morality. Morality withers at once if we are serious with that bisection of life into one part devoted to the “secular,” and another given to the “eternal,” which is made verbally by anyone who draws a sharp distinction between “secular” and “eternal” interests, or “secular” and “religious” duties. But there is also a sense in which “other-worldliness” is the very breath of the moral life. If we understood by a “religious” duty a duty which can be discharged otherwise than by making the right response here and now in a temporal situation, we should have to say that morality recognises no such duties; all duties are acts which it is incumbent to perform in some now. But, in another sense, morality recognises no “secular” duties; all its tasks are “religious,” in the sense that, to be adequately discharged, they have to be undertaken in a religious spirit, a spirit of loyalty to something which may demand the renunciation, and always does demand the subordination, of every loyalty to concrete temporal individuals and communities. How deeply rooted genuine morality is in such a loyalty to the “other” world we see most clearly, if we consider the glaring and fatal objection to “humanitarianism,” that is, to the theory which finds the justification of moral imperatives simply in the representation of them as the claims of a human society, of the present or the future, on the loyalty of its individual members. Perhaps, in view of the unfortunate popularity of a false humanitarianism in current moral speculation, and the grave danger that speculative error of this kind may infect practice, a brief digression may be permissible at this point.
(1) All duties, so we are told by a host of fashionable writers, are social duties. And the theory has been sometimes preached, even by those who should know better, to the length of denying that prayer, meditation, participation in the public worship of God, sacramental or other, are duties at all, on the ground that we cannot specify the human persons with reference to whom, or the precise ways in which, these activities are socially beneficial. This is obviously hardly a fair deduction from the premisses of humanitarianism itself. For it might well be that a man’s whole discharge of his functions as citizen and neighbour is made much more thorough and single-minded by his hours of private or public devotion, though we cannot specify any particular person, or group of persons, particularly benefited, or any particular performance which is the direct outcome of this devotion. Indeed—and this is a consideration to be remembered in estimating the social value of the technically “religious” life of the “monk” —the practice of the whole community may be affected in the same way for the better by the presence within it of individuals or groups whose whole activity is given to such devotion.11
But there is a criticism which it is not so easy for the humanitarian to dispose of, and this criticism may take several forms. We may ask, for instance, whether it is really true, as some writers are fond of asserting, that a Robinson Crusoe—at any rate an “atheistic” Crusoe—convinced that his restoration to human society is out of the question, ceases to be under any moral obligations; or whether it is true that, if the human race knew itself to be menaced by inevitable destruction in some cosmic cataclysm to-morrow, there would be no moral objection to general abandonment to-day to a frenzy of license. The behaviour of whole populations in times of pestilence or civil war, when a general dissolution of society is apprehended to be at hand, as well as the conduct of castaways, or the disturbing facts which not uncommonly come out at inquests on persons who have joined in a “death pact,” seems to show that there is some ground for believing that many men do de facto draw the conclusion, “since we must die to-morrow, we cannot be blamed for giving the rein to our lusts today”. But the question still remains whether to act in this way is not to degrade our personality? If it is, why may I not spend my last moments in degrading my personality? We must not say, “because the effects on humanity will be so evil,” since ex hypothesi, there are not going to be any effects. If our Robinson Crusoe may not “make a beast of himself” on his island—assuming him to be reasonably certain, as he might be, that he will never live to escape from it—this must be because to “make a beast of himself” is something more than an offence against a community from which he has been finally sundered.
Or we may take a different illustration which does not require the introduction of so exceptional a case as that of the solitary. Wanton cruelty is admittedly one of the vilest things we know; any man would be turned out of the most tolerant society of decent men if he were known to be in the habit of getting entertainment from the tormenting of a cat, or even of ants and flies. But why is such conduct reasonably held to be unpardonable? Surely not merely on the ground that because, though otherwise innocent, it may easily lead to the habit of practising cruelty towards human beings, or may be taken as an indication that the offender would certainly practice such cruelty if he had the chance. The fact is, at least, doubtful. Persons in southern Europe who show themselves callous to the sufferings of the animals, on the plea that they are not “Christians,” and that we may therefore treat them as we please, do not seem to be more indifferent than Northerners to the sufferings of their fellow-men, and we all know the odious type of person whose sensibility to the sufferings of animals is only surpassed by his indifference to those of his own kind. We are familiar with the kind of man who writes indignant letters to the newspapers about the brutality of stamping out hydrophobia at the expense of a temporary muzzling order, or the selfishness of those who object to the intrusion of his dog into a railway compartment. Nor yet can we say that the exceeding vileness of the cruelty is measured by the suffering inflicted on the victim. It must be highly doubtful, for example, whether a fly or an ant is really capable of feeling much in the way of suffering. So far as we can tell, the “corporal sufferance” of the beetle on which we tread is not comparable with an ordinary human toothache. Yet the strongest conviction that this is so does not affect our abhorrence of the human being who amuses himself by treading on the beetle or pulling the wings off the fly.12
So far as I can see, the real ground of our judgement is not that the creature suffers so much; indeed, I own that personally I should feel some touch of the same repugnance for a man who wantonly defaced the lilies of the field, which presumably do not suffer at all, and I believe I could show this feeling to be justified. But, be that as it may, I feel sure that it is the cruel man, rather than the suffering he causes, who is the direct object of our loathing. If there is any foundation for this judgement, it follows that our condemnation of cruelty itself, the very vice specially abhorrent to the humanitarian, has its roots in a supreme loyalty which is not loyalty to the fellowship of human persons, nor even to the fellowship of sentient creatures.
(2) It is the same with all the virtues which ennoble human life. They are all to be found at their best only where human society is not made the principal end and the supreme object of loyalty. As has been already said, the noblest national life is impossible where nationality is taken as the ultimate principle of allegiance and salus rei publicae suprema lex as the great commandment. So a world-wide federation of mankind would prove morally disappointing and, in fact, would hardly be likely to subsist long, unless it were recognised that there are some prices too heavy to be paid even for the continued existence of federated humanity. Mankind itself is best served by those who feel the duty of serving it to be one they owe to something more august and worthy to be loved than humanity, just as, to use the words of one of our most penetrating critics, “the advance of civilisation is, in truth, a sort of by-product of Christianity—not its chief aim; but we can appeal to history to support us that this progress is most stable and genuine when it is a byproduct of a lofty and unworldly idealism”.13 (A considered study of the social, economic, literary, and artistic debt of Europe to St. Francis, or of England to men like Wesley, or the Tractarian leaders, would furnish an interesting commentary.)
The point we are concerned to make, then, is that “other - worldliness” does not mean the neglect of obvious duties of the temporal world in which we are living, for the sake of some wholly different set of obligations. It means the discharge of the duties of the situation as the man who is unworldly sees them, in a spirit of loyalty to a kingdom which is not of this world. We may say, if we please, that, at bottom, “religious” and “secular” duties are the same, but that they may be discharged in a secular or in a religious spirit. Even what are properly called more specifically the “duties of religion” have their secular side, their value in holding the actual community of the living together in a bond of good fellowship. For example, a man who, from intellectual conscientiousness, cuts himself off from the public worship of his society may, in a particular case, have no alternative, if he is to be an honest man, yet his efficiency as good neighbour and citizen will, none the less, often be really impaired.14 The Oxford latitudinarian tutor of a (probably apocryphal) story, who urged an agnostic undergraduate to communicate with others at the altar, on the ground that “it keeps the College together, like dinner in Hall,” was uttering a sentiment which I take to be no less repugnant to Agnostics than to Anglicans. Yet the remark, so far as it goes, is undeniably true. What really shocks a finer nature is not that the statement is untrue, but that it bases an obligation which, if real, ought to have a more august source, on merely secular principles. It treats an act which, to be adequately justified, must be justified by a relation between man and God as though its raison d’etre could be furnished by a mere social relation between members of the same college.
We put the same thought from a different point of view when we say, in the fashion of George Herbert, that any so-called secular duty becomes “work for God” when it is done in the spirit of service to Him, and thus acquires a new “sanctification”:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws
Makes that and the action fine.
And the principal matter is that “secular” duties themselves are only then most efficiently performed when they receive this sanctification. If a room is to be well swept, an empire well governed, or any other piece of service to be discharged as well as it can be, the work must be done by someone who does not regard the sweeping, or the governing, as its one be-all and end-all, just as to make any human relation yield its worthiest fruit, it must not be treated as an all-sufficient end in itself.15
Speaking generally, we may say that we shall not detect the indispensability of “other-worldliness” in a sound morality if we look exclusively for evidence to the moments of tension and crisis, when there is a direct clash between the embodied loyalties of the family, the nation, the brotherhood of nations, and an unembodied loyalty to something which lies beyond them all. These crises are, after all, exceptional occasions; in the average life of the simple good man they never present themselves recognisably. He may never be faced with the clear and sharp alternative of disobeying God to obey man, or disobeying man to obey God; at any rate, such sharply defined alternatives are not habitually characteristic of the ordinary dutiful life. But the other characteristic of the moral life of which we have been speaking—viz. that the duties arising from our embodied loyalties are only discharged to the height when they receive a final consecration from a loyalty which has no embodiment—is omnipresent and all - pervasive. To serve men with one’s might, one must do the service “not as to men, but as to the Lord”. A morality in which there is not this pervasive and ever-present note of the “otherworldly,” I would urge, has already lost that which makes all the difference between a living morality and an ossified conventionalism. It has lost that possibility of adventure which is the soul of morality and science.
Thus, ethically considered, the relation between, “this” world and the “other” is not that the “other” is something wholly foreign which is to follow upon “this” world. The “other” is with us already, seizing on “this” and transforming it, and, by that very fact, providing the element of adventure without which “this” life would sink into a monotonous routine. Eternity is not a time to come after time is over; it is rather, to use the imagery of Heraclitus, the ever-present fire to which time is the fuel. Or we may put the situation in Peripatetic phraseology, if we say that “this” world is to the “other” as matter to form. The moral problem is the problem of educing from, or superinducing on, the familiar stuff of our daily secular life a form or pattern which endows it with the quality of completeness and finality.
Possibly I may make my precise point more clearly by considering the significance of two well-known deliverances which have won a considerable amount of acceptance, the sayings that “it is the death of idealism to project its ideals into the future,” and that “the other world is simply this world rightly understood”. The first of these sayings, perhaps, bears more directly on the practical business of the right direction of conduct, the second on the speculative question of the philosophical implications of loyal acceptance of the ethical standard. But the spirit of both is the same, and it will clarify our thoughts to ask how far we can accept either.
(1) “It is the death of idealism to transfer its ideals to the future.” The words are Professor Bosanquet’s, but my object is not to discuss the particular question of the sense in which their author meant them to be understood. There is obviously a sense—though I do not suppose it to be what Bosanquet intended—in which the statement is wholly true. It would be the death of all practical idealism to lose itself in a day-dream of a good and beautiful world, thought of as not here now, but bound, in the nature of things, to arrive in a “good time coming”. The business of morality is not to find an escape from the triviality, sordidness, or cruelty of the actual present by dreaming idly of a Utopia; it is to make the present better by reshaping it in the image of the ideal. Or perhaps even that statement is misleading, since we do not and cannot enjoy a clear and well-defined picture of our ideal as embodied in concrete institutions. At best we see two or three steps ahead of us; we know certainly of this or that which is amiss and demands to be righted now and here, and we know the spirit in which the adventure of righting it ought to be undertaken. Contemplation of imaginary Utopias, unless it is undertaken half in play, and more with a view to illustrating the spirit of social goodness than as a programme of actual reform, is probably, in the main, mischievous. It means, according to personal temperament, either cessation from actual strenuous effort to “set the crooked straight,” or the frustration of effort by the attempt, characteristic of the doctrinaire in all ages, to “canalise” life once and for all. An “ideal” of practical value cannot be a vision of the future, pure and simple, because it must be an inspiration and a call to daily and hourly action now.
And, again, there is a different sense in which the statement would be merely and very dangerously false. The meaning may be—on the lips of some of those who use this language, I suspect that it is—that time, and, along with time, imperfection and evil and the moral struggle are mere illusions. It is a pure mistake to suppose that there is really anything which calls to be put right here and now, for here and now are themselves illusions. If we could only see things from the “point of view of the Absolute,” we should see that what is is already a finished and flawless whole; everything is not only “the best possible under the conditions,” but wholly and perfectly good.
Plainly this kind of metaphysical optimism, if we could seriously make it the spirit of our lives, would be the ruin of all practical effort; it would leave us with no rational justification for doing anything in particular, rather than anything else. And, no less plainly, the theory involves a hopeless logical contradiction which makes it as false speculatively as it is pernicious in practice. It asserts the existence of both evil and succession in its very attempt to deny them. For it declares that everyone, except its own adherents at moments when they are under its own sway, is suffering from an “illusion” due to a partial, and therefore falsified, outlook on the world. And it exhorts us to replace this partial view by one taken from “the standpoint of the whole”. Thus it says at once that there is no evil and that there is at least the one and all-inclusive evil that we—or most of us—mistakenly believe in the existence of evils; it says that there is in truth no futurity, and also that we should, for the future, believe that futurity is an illusion. Reduced to its simplest terms, it in fact maintains that time is a word with no significance, an “unmeaning noise”. And with this metaphysical view morality too, must become an illusion; for morality is making the best of ourselves, our endowments and opportunities, bringing what ought to be into actual existence—that or nothing.
If, then, it is false to think of an “ideal” simply as something which is not as yet, but some day will be, it is equally false to think of it as having no reference to futurity. The better is not simply what is yet to be, but it is something which is not yet actual, and for that very reason it impresses on us the obligation to act with the intention that it shall be brought about. When all is said, the moral life really is a γένεσις εἰς οὐσίαν, a growth into moral maturity, and its claims on us are bound up with the recognition that “becoming” has its place in reality, no less than “being”. Growth is not mere succession or transience, nor even mere transience according to some regular pattern of transition; it is rather the achievement of an identity of pattern which steadily makes itself, within a succession where there was at first random variation.
So far, at least, the nineteenth century evolutionary formulae are clearly sound; as anything grows, it acquires an increasing power of maintaining its own esse by increasing skill in self-adaptation to changes in its surroundings. It may begin by being changed almost out of recognition in response to modification without. It only becomes mature in the degree to which it learns to meet such modifications by responses which leave it more and more recognisably the same. A thing which had “perfectly adapted” itself would neither remain obstructive and irresponsive against suggestions from without, like a lump of granite, nor take a new impress from every change of circumstance, with the ductibility of an ideally plastic sheet of wax. It would be infinitely rich in artifices of response to the variations in its surroundings, and yet, under all the variety of its responses, it would keep the pattern which was definitely its own, as a profoundly civilised human society proves its high civilisation by ability to reproduce its typical institutions without impairment under transplantation to unfamiliar climates. An Englishman or a Scot, it is said, will remain an Englishman or a Scot, if you translate him to the North Pole or the Equator. He carries his pattern with him wherever he goes. This is sometimes regarded as a mark of “insularity”; to me it seems rather a presumption of high civilisation. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose should be exactly true of the “perfectly evolved” type; the types which “go under” are those which either do not know how to change, or do not know how to be la même chose under the variations.
(2) And this, in principle, decides our verdict on the second saying, that the “other” world is “the world rightly understood”. The saying may be true or false, according to the sense put on the word “understood”. We have probably all heard the mot which defines a violin solo as the “dragging of the tail of a dead horse across the intestines of a dead cat,” and perhaps other sayings which dispose of intimate human relationships in the same fashion. Nor do I doubt that there really is a type of man to whom a definition like this would appeal as a correct account of what music “really is”; what is more than this in the significance of music to the music-lover, such a man would say, is simply unreal, a pleasing illusion, perhaps, but still an illusion which is dissipated by being “understood”. Philosophers of the now, as I hope, diminishing school who maintain that all nature’s apparent wealth of colour, sound, and scent is somehow merely superadded by “the mind” to a “reality” which is only a complicated kinematical dance of particles seem committed by their metaphysics to a view of the kind. But we should hardly claim for the serious champion of such a view that he had much “understanding” of the music. In fact, our homely vernacular comment on his utterance would probably be couched in the words, “the man who can say that simply does not understand what music is”. To him the “world” in which the man who does “understand” music habitually lives would be simply an “other” world, to which he possesses no key; it is because that world is so wholly “other,” that he calls it illusion. From the musical man’s point of view, it is his own “world” of beautiful melodic or contra-puntal pattern which is “this” world and the reality; the dead horse and the dead cat belong to what is, to him, an “other” world of the merely irrelevant and “unreal”.
The philosopher, with both views before him, has the task of integrating them. From his point of view, neither the melody with its qualitative wealth, nor the dead horse and dead cat, can be dismissed as simply unreal, or belonging to a “world” of illusion. In the one world of the real, as he sees it, there are both the melody and the dead brutes. But they are not connected by a mere “togetherness,” and do not stand on the same level. The hairs of the dead horse and the guts of the dead cat, as constituents of the violinist’s bow and violin, have a real character which they have not outside that setting, simply as so much dead hair or gut. Further, bow and violin in use are themselves simply instruments for the creation of the heard music. What the “Philistine” calls the reality is only the matter, the melody itself is the form of the whole reality, and the dominant feature in it. The man who discovered how to make the remains of the dead horse and dead cat minister to the musician was not superimposing an illusion on reality; he was revealing to his fellows rich characters of the real world to which they had formerly been deaf, by teaching them how dead gut and dead hair enter into the pattern of the real, how these “objects” are “ingredient into events”.
The long line of discoverers who have gradually fashioned our instruments of music, and the long line of composers and executants who have made them increasingly instrumental to the expression of beautiful patterns, have disclosed to us a world which is startlingly “other” by contrast with all the reality accessible to those who came before them, but the disclosure has been all along a disclosure of the riches contained in the complex pattern of the real world, not a “psychic addition” of steadily accumulating unreality. Only in that sense can the “other” world of music be fairly said to be “this” world of horse-hair and catgut “rightly understood”; and that is not the sense in which those who accuse Platonism, or Christianity, of a false other-worldliness commonly wish the saying to be interpreted. Like all discoverers and inventors, by teaching us what can be done with certain things the musicians have taught us to know what the things “really” are. In a recent bad novel, a materialistic professor was credited with the statement that he himself was “four buckets of water and a bagful of salts”. But, of course, a living body, even when it is not the body of a distinguished scientific professor, is not pailfuls of water and a few salts; it is a living human body. And a violin is not so many feet of catgut stretched on a board; what it is you learn by hearing a great violinist play great music on it.
We might say, then, that what happens to us as we learn to appreciate the beautiful, in music or any other art, is that just those features of the rich and complex pattern of reality which were, to begin with, to us an “other” world, dimly descried and dream-like, become increasingly relevant and dominantly real; what was our given “reality” becomes increasingly subordinate and unreal. It is not too much to say that, as we advance in appreciation, substance and shadow exchange parts. And this is also exactly what happens in the process of moral development, as immediate and appetitive goods and circumscribed loyalties give place to the more remote and intellectual goods and the larger loyalties. As in the one case, so in the other, there must always have been the capacity for appreciation, or the transition could never have been effected. But whereas we begin, in both cases, with the dominance of the immediate and obvious, and the appeal of the more remote and ultimate, when it is consciously felt, comes to us as an irruption or invasion from the strange and dim, breaking in on the familiar and firmly grasped, so also, in both cases, the suggesting “environment” to which we are growing more sensitively responsive steadily takes on more and more the character of a “world” in which we habitually live, and are “at home,” while the once familiar becomes an “other” from which we are increasingly estranged. Thus it is with the cultivation of a true “public spirit”. At first it is with difficulty and on special occasions that we are conscious of a loyalty to something beyond our own narrow circle of relatives and friends; the learning of citizenship is a process by which we come habitually to take the whole body of our fellow-citizens as the community which is to be the standard object of reference in our conduct.
This may seem only a very small advance in moralisation, but it is not so small as it looks. How many of ourselves, for example, in recent years of warfare, showed that we had not yet learned even to think of our country as our moral “world,” by the contrast between our readiness to fight to the last man “in the good cause,” so long as the person to be conscripted was our neighbour, or our neighbour’s only son, but changed our note at once, as the thing “came home to us,” when it looked certain that, unless the struggle was abandoned, we ourselves, or our own sons, would have to be called up? It is easy to repeat the language of devotion to an object which has rightful precedence over our domestic ties, but far from easy to breathe an habitual moral atmosphere in which this devotion is always present and dominant. Yet, as we learn to breathe that atmosphere, we are steadily coming to “be at home” with that which once was to us the “uncanny” and “wholly other,” and to find “uncanny” just what was once the everyday and familiar. But patriotism is not an illusion or dream superimposed on a “real” moral world of narrow family attachments; family affection and patriotism belong, after all, to the same “world”. In learning to let our private family interests be subject to national public spirit, once more we are discovering, not inventing, a pattern which is “really” there, embedded in our “real” human nature.
Thus far, then, it seems to me that the saying “the other world is this world rightly understood” is true. The whole complex pattern of the one world in which we live and have our being is made up of the most varied strands. And it is not simply a pattern with many and various strands; it is a pattern whose constitutive elements are themselves patterns, reproducing, in varying degrees of fullness and distinctness, the characteristic pattern of the whole; and this is why we can speak of the pattern of the whole as all-pervasive, though more clearly discernible in some of the subpatterns than in others. This is the underlying conception characteristic of all those philosophies, such, for example as that of Plotinus in the ancient, or Leibniz in the modern world, which have made it a capital point that the real world is a hierarchised, or many-levelled, whole. How great a future such a type of philosophy has before itself is suggested by the vigour and originality with which it has been restated, almost at the present moment, by Dr. Whitehead16 as absolutely necessary for the deliverance of Physics from the confusions of nineteenth-century materialism, and, again, by the emphasis laid on the concept of “emergence” in the predominantly biological thought of Professor Alexander and Dr. Lloyd Morgan.
It is not my business now, even if it were within my capacity, to criticise these thinkers or to develop their suggestions further. What is to my immediate purpose is just this. The pattern of the one world embraces the whole of our own life and all that sustains it. It is not therefore to be learned only from the physical and the physiological sciences, nor even from the whole body of the sciences, since all of them, at the best, deal only with artificially constructed abstracts from the complex wealth of life, and that real world in which life is set. What is before us to be deciphered is nothing less than the whole of life; to make out its underlying pattern we must take into the account morality, art, religion, as living things. Manifestly, we cannot expect that the pattern of patterns which embraces them all should be discerned by ourselves except in dim and tentative fashion, and even this must remain impossible if we persist in taking so much of the pattern as is disclosed by the analysis of its more elementary features—those, for example, which are disclosed by a study of sub-patterns common to all merely physical, or even to all merely biological, structures—for the whole.
The “dominant” characters of the pattern should only be recognisable for what they really are when we set ourselves to study it in the light of the richest subpatterns of all, those of the highest structures known to us, living and intelligent creatures; even then our insight must be expected to be very imperfect. The “synthetic philosophy” of Spencer, now fallen “on evil days, and evil tongues,” should at least have the credit of having rightly discovered what the true problem of the philosopher is—the detection of a pattern of the whole which repeats itself in, and dominates, the patterns of its parts. The mistake of this philosophy was that it attempted to find this dominant pattern expressed fully and unambiguously in the simplest and poorest of all sub-patterns, those which are disclosed by consideration of merely physical structures. Hence its initial blunder of defining “evolution,” taken as the key to the whole pattern, in terms of the “integration” and “disintegration” of “matter” and “motion”.
Against all such attempts to find the dominant pattern of the real world in the most rudimentary abstractions, I would urge that, as our example of the violin suggests, we only succeed in “understanding” the more rudimentary pattern by recognising it as a subordinate element in the richer and more “concrete”. When we say of the man who takes the scraping of the tail of the dead horse across the guts of the dead cat to be the “reality” that he only thinks this because he has no “understanding” of the music, what we mean is that, as we also habitually say, he does not “appreciate” the music, does not know how to “value” it. Our very use of the words understanding and appreciation as equivalents in such sentences is itself tantamount to denial of the alleged separation between a realm of facts, or actualities, or realities and another realm of values. To understand any partial pattern is the same thing as to appreciate it, to recognise it for what it is, a subordinate arrangement instrumental to a richer pattern.
Mere analysis of the violin and the bow into their simpler physical components would contribute nothing to this understanding. The “Philistine” in musical matters might successfully analyse the movements of the laws of the bow and the answering vibrations of the strings into a marvellously complicated dance of atoms or electrons. But however far he carried his analysis he would be no nearer “understanding” what happens when great music is greatly rendered at the end of his task than he had been at the beginning. Understanding only comes in when that which the “Philistine” takes to be the whole “pattern of the event” is seen to be only a subordinate and instrumental factor in a richer pattern whose dominant characters are just those which the “Philistine” has ab initio excluded from consideration; or, in other words, when the event is considered, to use Platonic language, as one in which ἀνάγκη is the ὑπηρέτης of νοῦς; or yet again, to speak with Aristotle, when the event is contemplated in the light of the end which gives it its characteristic form.17
A hierarchised world like the world of reality, is necessarily a teleological world, and for that reason “materialism,” in the proper philosophical sense of the term, the substitution of analysis into subcomponents for integration by reference to a dominating principle as the ideal of explanation, is strictly incompatible with real belief in any genuine “emergence”.18 This is the rock of offence on which, as it seems to me, even so subtly worked out a materialism as that of Professor Alexander, must, in the end, be shipwrecked. Since every event we can observe, from the displacement of a grain of sand to the taking of an heroic resolution like that of the three hundred at Thermopylae, or the planning of a symphony or a cathedral, or the moral transformation of Saul the persecutor into an apostle of the Gentiles, is something which has its own here and now, Professor Alexander exhibits space-time to us as the one reality of which everything is “made”. The apostle of the Gentiles, for example, actually is, in reality, a complicated space-time pattern and, on the premisses of this philosophy, is nothing else, however much Professor Alexander may protest that he is also a new pattern “emerging” from his “day of Damascus”.
In truth, the most poverty-stricken of events is infinitely more than a combination of heres and nows. To be a space-time pattern is the most rudimentary and general character of the most diverse events, not the full truth about any one of them. It is precisely because another contemporary philosopher, Dr. Whitehead, sees this so clearly that he finds himself driven first to introduce into his own analysis of the simplest facts something over and above the events, viz. the “objects” which are “ingredient” in them, and then, in his description of those objects, to construct a whole hierarchy of “abstractions”.
Now this very different rendering of the facts, which involves recognition of the “eternal,” and ultimately of God, as an implication of all that happens seems clearly much sounder than Professor Alexander’s. By constructing his world out of mere events without “objects” ingredient in them, Professor Alexander involves himself in the difficulty that he has to identify actual processes with the mere fact that something is happening, without being in a position to say what it is that happens. The cruder and more old-fashioned corporealistic materialism, which did try to deal with this question, by saying that what happens is displacement of permanently self-identical little bits of stuff, may have given a very unsatisfactory solution of the problem, but it had at least the merit of seeing that there is a question to be answered where Professor Alexander is content to be wilfully blind. It rightly recoiled from the monstrosity of identifying all quality with the material structure of the ex hypothesi qualityless, even though, by a blunder, it reduced the list of qualities ascribed to its real world to an inadequate minimum.
Dr. Whitehead’s theory enables him to do better; he is in a position to find a place in his real world for the infinite variety of characteristic quality with which actual life confronts us. Both he and Professor Alexander are in justifiable revolt against the bisection of this world of qualities into a real and an illusory part. But where the one saves the whole of the experienced physical fact for the real world, the other, whether he knows it or not, empties the real world of all possible content. This is the price which a philosophy has to pay when it begins by assuming that the complete explanation of a fact can be given by assigning its ἀρχαὶ ὡς ὕλη, or, in other words, that we know all about a thing when we can say “what it is made of”.
What I am trying to urge, then, is this. The statement that the “other” world is “this” world rightly understood is false and mischievous, if you take it to mean that “this” world can be rightly understood by taking as its dominant pattern some pattern which you have detected by abstractive consideration of a certain restricted selection of characters. But this seems to be meant in fact by most of the philosophers who lay stress on the dictum. They have commonly a polemical purpose at the back of their minds; some type of event is to be excluded a priori from actuality and relegated to the level of “illusion,” on the plea that it will not fit the known pattern of “this” world. The characters to be eliminated in this “high priori” way are not the same in all cases. The saying may be used as a plea for dismissing to limbo miracle, or revelation, or divine providence, or prayer, or the anticipation of a future beyond death, or almost anything you please. And, in some at least of these cases, the effect of the exclusion must be, in the long run, to make a considerable difference to the regulation of conduct. If, for example, it is baseless superstition to expect the help of God’s grace in the task of living rightly, or to believe that human beings have a future beyond the grave, we should surely do right in regulating our lives on the assumption that these beliefs and expectations are illusory, and wrong in acting as though they may be something more. If they are something more, they ought to be effective in the regulation of our conduct.
Prudence is, perhaps, too often rated lower than it deserves to be by modern moralists, from the singular prejudice that it must be purely selfish in its operation, though we all know that there is such a thing as prudent regard for the interests of our children, and that a man may come short in his conduct as a father from imprudence, no less than from want of affection. But even those moralists who most degrade the meaning of prudence have not usually gone so far as to deny that it would be a moral fault in a man to neglect insuring his life when he has the opportunity, or to build his house in a region subject to dangerous earthquakes, without taking the probabilities of an earthquake into consideration. In the same way, even as a matter of prudence in the less worthy sense of the word, a man’s practical decisions may be reasonably affected by his estimate of their probable effect on his own destiny—unless one is prepared, as I am not, any more than Butler19 was, to hold that it is no culpable thing to make one’s self miserable without a cause. Still more obviously may it rightly make a serious difference to the way in which a conscientious man will train his children what he expects their ultimate destiny to be, and to his view of the good to be promoted for mankind what he anticipates as the outcome of all human action.
When it is said, then, that the “other” world is “this” world rightly understood, I would urge that the statement should only be accepted as true with the important proviso that we can only come to a right understanding of “this” world as we advance in incorporating into our conception of it character after character which was originally felt as unfamiliar and belonging to a “beyond”. In particular, we shall certainly be led astray if we assume that we already understand the true pattern of “this” world, when we have considered simply the patterns which present themselves in an isolated study of characteristics common to all kinematical systems, or even to all biological organisms. That which we leave out in all such specialisation—for instance, the “imponderables” which make all the difference to the moral and religious life of mankind—is no less constituent of “this” world than what we retain. To understand “this” world rightly, in any full sense, we should need to be omniscient, not merely in the sense of being acquainted with all the “facts,” but in the further sense of seeing them all in their right proportions, and thus apprehending correctly the relations of dominance and subordination between them. We properly isolate different features of the whole reality for specialist study, but we should never allow ourselves to forget that this is a process of artificial isolation, and that, in the full actual situation from which our selection has been made, the dominant factors in the pattern may conceivably be precisely those which the selection, made relative to special purposes of our own, has quite properly left out of the account.
When Laplace, if the famous anecdote be true, told Napoleon that he had omitted all mention of God from the Mécanique céleste, on the ground that he “had no need” of the theistic hypothesis, he may have intended a sarcasm, but he said no more than the truth. For the analysis of the movements of the planets, it is plainly superfluous and irrelevant to make any reference to a Creator, just as it would be irrelevant to introduce a theistic reference into a proof of the Pythagorean theorem. But the silence of Laplace in the one case, like the silence of Euclid in the other, affords not the faintest presumption against the theist’s belief that the domination of the whole world-pattern by God is the most significant and pervasive fact in “this” world of actual life.
More generally, when we speak of understanding the world rightly, it is imperatively necessary that we should not be led astray by the Cartesian identification of “understanding rightly” with the reduction of complexity to a few simple types of relation between elements which seem, but only seem, to be self-luminous. The history of science during the last three centuries is itself the sufficient proof that this demand for “clear and distinct ideas” as the sole test of understanding has only one possible issue, the reduction of reality to a kinematical pattern, and the purely kinematical world of mere changes of configuration is the most unreal of unrealities, because it has been deliberately invented on the principle of emptying the world in which we live, and to which we have to respond, of everything which proves its reality by confronting us with an unsolved problem. It is true that, as the philosophical physicists are themselves hastening to inform us, this ideal can never be actually attained in practice. Closer examination reveals that the fundamental assumptions of a kinematical construction never are in fact the absolutely simple and obvious things they were meant to be; the apparent transparency of the deductions is only procured by the device of putting the opaque and “arbitrary” into the initial postulates.
Descartes, for example, proposed to reduce all physical and biological science to kinematics, because to his mind the postulates of an Euclidean geometry of configurations appeared matter of course, “evident by the natural light,” and Leibniz cherished the same ideal. Both were condemned to failure in physics as a consequence of the impossibility of admitting into their schemes anything so “arbitrary” and devoid of “evidence by the natural light” as the concept of mass, and the gravitation-formula. Physics could not so much as get on its legs without that initial stiff dose of “arbitrary” brute fact, for which no reason could be assigned. In a sense, the more advanced of the advocates of “relativity” may be said to have realised the Cartesian programme, of the geometricising of physics, which had seemed to be ruined once for all by Newton, since they replace the whole apparatus of “forces” familiar to us in the classical Newtonian mechanics by varying “curvatures” in space-time, and thus do away with the time-honoured distinction between bodies moving “under the action of no forces” and bodies whose movements are deflected or constrained by external “forces”.20 But, as Mr. Meyerson has observed,21 the programme is only realised by substituting for Descartes’ simple and uniform “extension” a spacetime continuum as complex and apparently arbitrary as the whole Newtonian scheme of “forces”.
If we ever could succeed in eliminating the element of mystery and apparent arbitrariness from our accounts of the real world, we should feel that, in doing so, we had emptied it of its reality and were left with a mere product of our own imagination.22 The real world is precisely the world in which there are no absolutely closed sub-systems or spheres; every region in it is open to influences from every other. It is the pattern of the whole which repeats itself, more or less distinctly, in the pattern of every part, and by consequence, no analysis of any selected part will sufficiently reveal this pattern of the whole. Leibniz may have been wrong in making this an objection to atomism as a physical hypothesis, but he was clearly right in urging against metaphysical atomism the difficulty that it implies the false consequence that the whole pattern of reality could be discovered by sufficiently minute analysis of a single given constituent of the real, e.g. the “world-line” of a single atom.23
If the views just indicated are sound, every partial system will have a reality beyond it which, because “non-deducible” from any analysis of the system in question, will be, relatively to that system, “another” world. There will be features in the pattern of the whole which could not be discovered by concentration on the analysis of any of the partial patterns, or all of them, and this means—since every part is conditioned by the character of the whole—that such an analysis will always be imperfect, even as an account of the pattern of the part itself. In our scientific theory, as in our moral life, advance will regularly depend on the absorption into our “world” of what had been initially marked off as belonging to the “other,” and consequent transformation of what was originally taken as our “world”.
Thus, not to recur to the already mentioned example of the device by which exponents of “relativity” have transformed the notion of a “geometrical world” by incorporating in that world elements of heterogeneity regarded as foreign to it in the classical rational mechanics, we can see at the present moment that one of the outstanding scientific tasks of the coming generation will pretty certainly be to break down the old isolation of physics and chemistry from biology and physiology, and that the synthesis will not be effected by the reduction of living organisms to the level of kinematical, or even kinetic, configurations, but by the introduction into physics and chemistry of concepts already disclosed in the study of the life-patterns of organisms.24 It is only in this way that the more “abstract” sciences can hope to lose their present character as analyses of complexes which are products of an artificial isolation, and become, what they aim at being, adequate analyses of the rich actual complex in the midst of which our life is set, accounts of the real world, not of an imaginary “ideal” substitute for that world, which has no being except in the imagination of the laboratory student.25
But even when physical and biological science have been successfully integrated, there must remain a final, and still more difficult, integration. Artistic making, moral action, religious adoration, do not belong to a world, or worlds, of their own; they too, no less than movement, chemical combination, growth, reproduction, and death, belong to the one actual world in which all life is lived, and their specific patterns disclose features of its pattern. It will hold good here also that every real physical, or physiological, process is a moment in the full life of a real world not made up of merely physical, or physiological, processes; its full actual character will thus only be understood when we see it as one subordinate strand in this ampler tissue. And, again, we may expect it to be true that the resulting account of any actual process of the kind will be schematic and misleading in proportion as, for specialist purposes, we have denuded the actual “happening” of its contents.26 It is to the richest and fullest patterns of all that we must look for the least inadequate glimpses permitted to us of the pattern of the whole. We should not be safe in taking either ethics or physiology alone as the key to a “clear and distinct” comprehension of ὄντα ᾗ ὄντα, but we shall be less widely astray if we use physiology as our key to the real than if we relied on kinematics, and nearer the truth in interpreting the world by the light of the moral life of responsible and intelligent creatures than we should be if, with some of our contemporaries, we took our highest “categories” from physiology. The whole pattern must, no doubt, always remain incomprehensible to us, but the richer partial patterns at least indicate to us what are relatively the dominant features. This is the final justification of the refusal we long ago made to admit any ultimate dualism of a realm of actuality and a distinct and separate realm of value. “Values,” we meant, are simply the dominant features in the pattern of reality.
On such a view there can, of course, be no ultimate distinction between “two worlds”. If the accusation of “other-worldliness” is meant as a protest against “metaphysical dualism,” it hits no man so hard as it does the “naturalist” of that half-hearted type which lacks the courage—or “face”—to deny the legitimacy of judgements of value in toto, but attempts to make its peace with morality, art, and religion by relegating “value” to some kingdom of the ideal, supposed to be situated outside the boundaries of the actual. In our view, the so-called “values” must be the most potent of all the “forces” or influences which shape the course of actuality. We indeed only discover their shaping influence when we study the richest of all the partial patterns which are open to our inspection, the life-patterns of the artist, the hero, or the saint. We may be convinced that they also dominate the course of historical development at the sub-human level, the history of the “inorganic” and the merely “organic”. But that, if a fact, is a fact not disclosed by inspection of these realms themselves, and this, presumably, is what Hegel really meant when he spoke of the “lapse into immediacy” characteristic of “nature,”—the historical but sub-human.
While we are as we are, conviction on this point must remain a matter of “faith,” not of “sight,” even though the faith may be a firm assurance of the reality of the things which are not seen. If we could see by our own direct inspection that the “values” which are fundamental for the spiritual life of man are also the dominant characters in the whole pattern of reality, we should be in present fruition of that “beatific vision” of God, per essentiam suam which Christian theologians agree in regarding as reserved for the pilgrim who has reached his home in eternity. What is popularly called the “other” world would once and for all have absorbed for us what we are accustomed to call “this” world. But, as it is, we are not yet in patria; in art, science, morality, religion alike, we are, at best, only on the way thither. The “other” world is being taken gradually up, and is transforming our vision of “this” world, but the transformation is not complete. There are always fresh horizons beyond us, and unsolved enigmas, spots of deepest shade and obscurity, within our temporary horizon.
The tension between this world of the familiar and that world of the baffling and “unseen” is not peculiar to the experiences of the strenuous noble liver, or the aspirant after the vision of the “Holy”; it is no less characteristic of the experience of the votary of science. Dr. Whitehead is putting his finger on it when he remarks that it is distinctive of the science of to-day by contrast with that of ages which had carried investigation less deep, that no one can say what apparently hopeless nonsense may turn out to be the great scientific truth of to-morrow.27 It may be, and has been, held that this tension is not only real, but inherent in the very nature of things; that there would no longer be knowledge in a world where nothing was unknown, nor a moral life where evil had ceased to be, and that thus knowledge and goodness would both disappear in the very act of winning a final victory over their opposites. In that case, we should have to pronounce the inspirations to which we owe both what of knowledge and what of genuine virtue we have won in our historical advance to be illusions. There could be no “celestial city,” and there would equally be no “Solomon’s house”. On the suggested conception of human life as an unending battle in which victory is never won, I propose to say something in our next lecture. For the present, I must be content to have offered some defence of the thesis that the concepts of the “other world,” and of the transformation of this “given” world into the likeness of the “other” as the grand concern of the moral life, are at the root of all sane thinking about the regulation of conduct.
It is important to observe that the thought expressed by this contrast between the “this-worldly,” natural, or secular, and the “other-worldly,” into which it is our task to transform the given and familiar, is even more fundamental to a metaphysic of morals than the concept of sin. As we have seen, the sense of sin committed bears forcible and unmistakable testimony to the real being of the God against whom sin is done. But I think we may say that conclusive testimony to God would be yielded by our moral experience, even if it included no consciousness of committed sin. Sin does more than anything else to estrange man from God, but it cannot be said to be the only, or the primary, source of the consciousness of separateness. Our moral struggle and progress are not merely an attempt to put right what has gone wrong, any more than the struggle of the intellect towards truth is a mere attempt to correct past errors.28 Ignorance is a more ultimate fact in our lives than error. Even if all our judgements had been true without exception, so far as they went, we should still, in virtue of the very fact that our life is a becoming and a growth, have work enough, and hard work enough, for the intellect to accomplish in the way of extending our mental horizons, integrating truth already discovered with truth in process of disclosure. If it were feasible, as Descartes fancied it feasible, to acquire a kind of artificial infallibility,29 it would still be true that the work of extending the system of true judgements to cover the whole range of the knowable would be a slow one, sufficient to task the intelligence of an indefinite number of generations.
And similarly with the practical task of the regulation of conduct, the very fact that our minds grow would entail the consequence that, even in a world where every act was conscientiously regulated, men would have to advance from the execution of regulation by reference to a tiny “circle” to regulation by reference to ever-extending “circles”. If as children we were never wilful or naughty, we should still need to learn, as we passed from the nursery to the school, and from the school to the world at large, how to practise towards more comprehensive systems the same loyalty which had moulded our conduct when its effective environment was the little family group, and the lesson would need time for its mastery. Here also there would be ignorance to be overcome, even if sin were eliminated. Apart from the estrangement brought about by actual misdoing, there would still be in our experience a contrast between our familiar special “world,” or setting, and an, as yet, mysterious and disturbing “other”. In virtue of the fact that we have always, ultimately, the whole of what is for the setting of all our acts, our ethics would still require a note of “other-worldliness”; it would still be our task in life to learn to transfer loyalties from a “here” to a “yonder” and to make that “other” our home. And this task is one which would never be completed in any life of which time or succession remained the dominant formal character For it is just in so far as we are creatures of time and space that the problem arises. It would cease to exist only if every when and every here could become our now and here; then, and only then, would the antithesis of “this” and that “other” have lost all its significance. It is in this fact that each of us, when all is said, occupies some regions of the space-time continuum, but not others, that we seem to discern most obviously the difference between ourselves as creaturely and our Creator.
It is true, no doubt, that we may widen the range of what I may call our “effective occupation” of space-time. It is not bounded by the surface of our bodies, or the dates of our birth and death. There is a real sense in which I may be said to occupy all regions of space and time which my understanding can contemplate, or my will affect, but there are, for each of us, some regions of space-time which our knowledge and our will never pierce; which are, for us, only the unknown outer darkness. It is true that effects, even from that outer darkness, register themselves in my body, and that my body in turn “mirrors” itself in effects even upon the unknown. Yet this does not make me, in the full sense, truly all-pervasive. It may be that the effects of my moving a finger here at this present moment are felt through all space and all time. But we must also remember that from any point in the space-time continuum to any other there are always alternative routes. The route from the region which contains the movement of my finger to some other might be quite different, and yet the region reached the same. In other words, it is not rigidly true, as the vulgar determinism assumes it to be, that the “physical state of the universe” a hundred years, or a hundred seconds, hence cannot be the same if I do not now move my finger as if I do. This would be true if I were in the strict sense all-pervasive, in no sense confined within some limited region, however vast. But if I were so unconfined I should not be a being, I should be the Being, not a creature, but the Creator who upholds all things by his power.
To put the point in still another way, the very sense of an “other” lying beyond my horizon is testimony to my utter dependency; the consideration that from any region of the continuum to any other there are alternative routes means that, in every act and process which enters into the being of the finite, there is an ineradicable element of real contingency, or indetermination. It explains why, for example, in any possible physical theory, the complete system of the laws of motion must contain something which is not the formulation of a logical principle and therefore appears arbitrary. Now this constitutes an important point of contact between science, morality, and religion. For religion also, as von Hùgel has said,30 the sense of our own contingency and dependence is even more fundamental than the sense of sin. We can at least conceive that there might be a man who was sinless but still simply man, as we can conceive that there might be a man who had never asserted a false judgement. But even a sinless man would not be God. There would be no chasm between him and God brought about by wrong-doing, but there would still be the unbridgeable gulf between the dependent and the wholly independent. Only a being who had no locus in the continuum, and to whom, for that reason, the whole continuum would be equally present, could be independent and free from all contingency, and such a being would not be a “creature”.
The thought has been rightly seized by traditional Christian orthodoxy. According to the traditional story, Adam before his transgression was a sinless man, not in the sense in which a brute without intelligence and responsibility is sinless, but in the sense that his intelligence was clouded by no error, his will perverted by no evil appetition; his judgement was sound and his volition right. He was what Dante, through the mouth of Virgil, professes himself to have become once more, after his ascent through the terraces of Purgatory.31 But for all that, Adam, before the “fall,” was not divine, he was man simpliciter, a creature of contingency, and so liable to fall from good, not permanently established in it. Those who win through the world to eternal life, indeed, are said by the same theology to be finally and permanently established in good. Yet even they still remain “creatures,” though beatified creatures. For their final establishment, as they are well aware, is not a conquest of their own right hand. It is given them, and they receive it gratefully as a free gift. This is why humility persists and is the very vital air of their Paradise. The most exalted simply creaturely figure of Dante’s Heaven is also the lowliest, umile ed alta piú che creatura.32
It is manifest that the actual growth of any human individual into genuine moral personality will itself provide numerous illustrations of that integration of partial patterns, and domination of the pattern of the part by that of the whole, of which we have been speaking. In our childhood the proverb that “to-morrow is a new day” has a degree of truth which it should not retain beyond childhood. The single day, the lesser divisions of the day, have their own interests and their several patterns, and if we go far back enough, these patterns will be found to have little inner connection with one another beyond one which is unconscious and supplied by the mere fact that they are all dominated by the periodicity of the general rhythm of the organism. As we grow older, we learn by degrees to have a conscious pattern or plan which connects the action-patterns for the whole day, the whole week, and so forth, into a whole larger pattern, and connects them by establishing a subordination among them. As our personality develops, the periodic rhythm of waking and sleep, work and rest, does not cease, but it does become increasingly dominated and regulated by far-reaching purposes which fill our whole life.
We need not be perpetually reflecting on such a life-purpose; indeed, it depends for vigorous and successful prosecution on the thoroughness with which it is so stamped upon our behaviour that we cease to have to attend specially to the work of regulation. Regulation by a pattern of purpose repeating itself with the necessary adjustments in its various partial sub-patterns becomes a matter of habit. But, of course, the domination is all the more really present the less we need to attend consciously to the dominant pattern. To develop a genuine moral personality is to pass from a condition in which there is little more to connect the partial patterns than the periodicity of organic rhythm to one in which this periodicity itself becomes instrumentally subservient to “dominant” pattern. Thus, in an intensely rich personal life, we have not simply, for example, the rhythm of alternate movement and repose, or work and play; the specific character of the repose or the play is that it is the kind of resting or playing which is congruent with the ever more and more clearly “emergent” pattern of the unique personal life.
Even our dreams, I should say, come in this way to take on the impress of our waking life in various subtle ways; they become less of a riot and begin to exhibit traces of organisation. Our imagination is still at play in our hours of sleep, but the play becomes more and more definitely the play appropriate to a being with a distinctive personal character. We are organising a personality strong enough to persist in the face of the marked organic difference between the waking and the sleeping condition.33 There seems no sufficient ground for denying that this process of organisation may be carried beyond assignable limits. When we have liberated our scientific thought, as we should do, from the “determinist” superstition which treats actual concrete “becoming” as a secondary consequence of mere displacements of stuff, and have come to understand that the real and primary fact is this concrete “becoming,” which is lived through, but never analysed in reflection, except in respect of a few of its more obvious characters, we shall, I think, see that here too we have an example of the parallelism of greater and lesser rhythms.
Sleeping may be the “image of death” in this sense too, that the life-pattern which can persist undestroyed through the alternation of waking and sleeping may also be able to persist, modified but unshattered, through the vaster change we call the death of the organism. The Greeks may have been guided by a sounder analogy than we commonly suppose, when they found a symbol of the soul in the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. An entomologist friend has declared to me his own conviction that inspection of the cocoon at a sufficiently early stage reveals no manifest persistence of anatomical structure; the caterpillar appears, for the time being, reduced to a mere featureless pulp. Yet in the end the moth or butterfly emerges with a definite structure somehow reconstituted out of this apparently structureless “mess,” and the imago of each species emerges with its own specific structure. This may, perhaps, be what befalls the human person after its apparent loss of all traces of individual structure at the dissolution of the visible corporeal frame. What has been taken for a pleasing poetical fancy may be the actual fact, as nearly as fact is expressible in language.
And, similarly, it may be that another thought, familiar to readers of Spinoza, is truer than many of them have supposed. It may well be that, in proportion to our success in organising our character into a personality capable of resisting transformation by revolutions in “circumstance,” the “carry-over,” so to speak, at death may be more or less complete. The supreme physical shock, which may all but completely unmake the loosely knit or wrongly knit character, may leave the well-developed and finely knit “personality” comparatively unaffected. So that it would be no more than the truth that the man who has made the fullest use of the opportunities for the development of a genuine human personality has the mind in which “the greatest part is eternal”. To some of us, the shifty and chameleon-like, and again the merely blockish, who hardly grow at all intellectually or morally, the death of the body may well mean entrance into a realm which is overpoweringly unfamiliar, and where we cannot “be ourselves”; to others it may be escape to a sphere where we find ourselves truly “at home” at last. Then it would be the simple fact to say of such a one,
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!
Thou mak’st the heaven thou hop’st indeed thy home.34
The same dark may well be to the idle servant an “outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth,” but to the good and faithful servant the noche amable más que el alborada which “unites lover and beloved”.35
“If Aristotle is limited and thwarted in his idealism by the want of formulae more elastic than those proper to number and magnitude, he less frequently lapses into the false dualism of soul and body, mind and matter, ideas and things, which made Plato, against his principles, a mystic, and which has clung like a body of death to Platonising philosophy ever since” (T. H. Green, Works, iii. 47). “The conception of a Ruler of the world, apparently external to the spirit of man, and of a future life, continued in Kant’s philosophy as survivals, though they are, in my judgement, quite unessential to it” (Bosanquet, Science and Philosophy, p. 349).
Donne, The Extasie:
“So to’ entergraft our hands, as yet
Was all the meanes to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.”
Contrast the tone of Prospero’s warning (Tempest iv. 1, 51):
“Look, thou be true; do not give dalliance
Too much the rein: the strongest oaths are straw
To the fire i’ the blood: be more abstemious,
Or else, good night your vow!”
Essays Catholic and Critical, p. 81.
ὑπηρέτης. Cf. Plato, Tim. 46 C 7 ταῦτ' οὖν πάντα ἔστιν τῶν συναιτίων οἶς θεὸς ὑπηρετοῦσιν χρῆται τὴν τοῦ ἀρίστου κατὰ τὸ δυνατὸν ἰδέαν ἀποτελῶν, 68 E 4 χρώμενος μὲν ταῖς περὶ ταῦτα αἰτίαις ὑπηρετούσαις, τὸ δὲ ἐὖ τεκταινόμενος ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς γιγνομένοις αὐτός.
Essays Catholic and Critical, p. 61.
Works, i. 371 (Introduction to Hume, II.).
Or, more truly one might say, malgré la tradition hegélienne, to which Green, happily, was not completely subdued.
Not necessarily our conscious intention. “The supernatural should not be directly identified and measured by the amount of its conscious, explicit references to Christ or even simply to God, but by certain qualities … of which heroism, with a keen sense of ‘givenness’ and of ‘I could not do otherwise’, appear to be the chief” (Von Hügel, Essays and Addresses , p. 280).
Works, iii. p. 47.
Cf. Rep. 497 A 3 οὐδέ γε, εἶπον, τὰ μέγιστα (sc. διαπράξεται ὁ φιλόσοφος), μὴ τυχὼν πολιτείας προσηκούσης• ἐν γὰρ προσεχόυσῃ αὺτός τε μᾶλλον αὐξήσεται καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων τὰ κοινὰ σώσει.
Cf. Bradley, Ethical Studies2, p. 337: “However secluded the religious life, it may be practical indirectly if through the unity of the spiritual body it can be taken as vicarious” (a correction of his own earlier attack on the religieux). For a rather reckless development of the view to which objection is taken in the text cp. the essay of Bosanquet, The Kingdom of God on Earth, already referred to (Science and Philosophy, pp. 333–51).
Cf. J. Laird, A Study in Moral Theory, p. 302. As will be seen, I agree entirely with Prof. Laird in his thesis that “it is not simply the evil effects of cruelty upon humanity that makes the torturer what he is”. It will also be seen why I am not satisfied with his own explanation that the “sufferings of the victims who are not men” are the “chief condemnation” of the torturer. In many cases our tendency is to exaggerate these sufferings by imagining what we suppose we should feel if, retaining our own acute sensibility, we were subjected to analogous treatment. We think of the fly deprived of its wing suffering what we should suffer if our arm were torn from us, exactly as, in Adam Smith’s familiar illustration, we judge of the cheerfulness of the condition of a lunatic who is completely self-satisfied, by imagining what we suppose we should feel, could we per impossibile be at once the lunatic and the sane spectator.
Inge, Personal Life and the Life of Devotion, p. 84.
I remember years ago hearing F. H. Bradley make the point in a conversation on the “ethics of conformity” by asking the question whether an “agnostic” lord of the Manor would not have a duty to attend Church regularly, if the parson were an admirable man whose moral influence for good in the parish would be seriously impaired by the “squire’s” non-attendance on his ministrations.
Cf. St. Thomas, S.T. iia iiae q. 123, art. 7 resp. dicendum quod duplex est finis, scilicet proximus et ultimus … sic ergo dicendum quod fortis sicut proximum finem intendit ut similitudinem sui habitus exprimat in actu … finis autem remotus est beatitudo vel Deus.
Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, cc. ix.–xi.
This is, in fact, the point of the famous chapter of the Phaedo (98 B-99 D) SO much admired by Leibniz, in which Socrates explains the ground of his dissatisfaction with the doctrine of Anaxagoras. The use of the distinction between νοῦς and ἀνάγκη to make the same point comes, of course, from the Timaeus (47 E ff.).
This incompatibility, as I venture to think, saute aux yeux all through Dr. Lloyd Morgan’s volume on Emergent Evolution. Dr. Lloyd Morgan constructs his metaphysical scheme on the basis of two initial postulates: (a) Spinoza’s doctrine of the independent but exactly correspondent divine “attributes”; (b) the reality of the “evolution” of the genuinely novel. But the reason, and the only reason, why Spinoza has to insist on (a) is that he disbelieves (b). If (b) is true, there is no reason at all why the “antecedents” of an event which is a “mode” of cogitatio must be looked for exclusively among other modes of the one “attribute”; on the other hand, if (a) is true, there has never been, and could never have been, any genuine “emergence”. It is the second alternative which Spinoza adopts. Nothing can be clearer than that his view is that, e.g., every movement of a living organism is completely explicable without remainder by the laws of kinematics; “adequate knowledge” of such a movement would mean the deduction of it from the attribute of extensio, in other words, its complete reduction to a kinematical problem.
This is logical and heroic, though wholly incredible. Dr. Morgan wants to equivocate at pleasure, to “save his face” with the high-and-dry metaphysician by calling in the authority of Spinoza, and with the biologists by zeal for evolution. This is human and pardonable, but neither heroic nor logical. Either kinematics is the one and only key to everything, or it is not; you cannot possibly have it both ways. If Spinoza’s philosophy is true, the world is not “hierarchised,” and there is no real “evolution”; if there is real “evolution,” the world is “hierarchised,” and Spinoza’s philosophy is false, and cannot be saved as a compliment to his personal moral excellence. Utrum vultis, Quirites?
Dissertation of the Nature of Virtue: “It deserves to be considered, whether men are more at liberty, in point of morals, to make themselves miserable without reason, than to make other persons so… . It should seem that a close concern about our own interest or happiness, and a reasonable endeavour to secure and promote it, which is, I think, very much the meaning of the word prudence, in our language; it should seem that this is virtue, and the contrary behaviour faulty and blameable.” Butler thus agrees with St. Thomas (S. T. ii.a ii.ae q.4, art 4 resp.), that prudentia non solum habet rationem virtutis quam habent aliae virtutes intellectuals, sed etiam habet rationem virtutis quam habent virtutes morales, quibus etiam connumeratur.
Hence, from the point of view in question, gravitation is the great “irrationality” of the scheme. The Newtonian Laws of Motion, it is assumed, are evident by the “natural light”; it is not thinkable that they should not be universally valid. This comes out with exceptional lucidity in Clerk Maxwell’s treatment of these laws (Matter and Motion, c. iii.). The “first law” is pronounced (art. 41) to be a proposition the denial of which “is in contradiction to the only system of consistent doctrine about space and time which the human mind has been able to form,” and it is clear from the reasoning by which this conclusion is reached that Maxwell really means by this that the law is “evident on inspection,” that a denial of it must be not merely false, but meaningless. Even of the “third law” it is expressly said (art. 58) that denial of it is not “contrary to experience,” and that “Newton’s proof” of it is no “appeal to experience and observation, but a deduction of the third law of motion from the first” (in spite of the fact that Newton himself does appeal to facts of common experience—the horse pulling on the rope, etc.—to establish the proposition). The gravitation formula, on the other hand, from the time of Newton onwards, has always been admitted to have no semblance of self-evidence or rational necessity. It has to be accepted as a “brute fact” which might, for all we can see, equally well have been otherwise, and this is why Newton himself, in the well-known Scholium Generale at the end of the Principia, assumes that there must be a cause of gravity, though he is unable to say anything about the character of that cause. He clearly means that the truth of the laws of motion is “evident by the natural light,” and so no reason need be given for their validity; this is not the case with the gravitation-formula, and therefore we must demand a reason for its truth.
É. Meyerson, La Déduction relativiste, c. 10 (l’explication globale), 11 (la matiére), 23 (l’évolution de la raison) especially pp. 314–16.
Cf. Meyerson, op. cil. p. 204: “si le géométrique est moins rationnel et plus réel que l’algébrique pur, il est plus rationnel et moins réel que le physique… . Et l’ensemble de ces considérations tend certainement á nous confirmer dans cette opinion que c’est bien, en fin de compte, le non-déductible … qui apparait comme constituant l’essence du réel”; p. 205, “la science est réaliste; mais nous savons cependant que d’explication en explication, elle ne peut aboutir qu’ à l’ acosmique, à la destruction de la réalité”. (Italics mine.)
Primae Veritates (Opuscules et Fragments, ed. Couturat; p. 522), “Non datur atomus, imo nullum est corpus tam exiguum, quin sit actu subdivisum. Eo ipso dum patitur ab aliis omnibus totius universi, et effectum aliquem ab omnibus recipit, qui in corpore variationem efficere debet, imo etiam omnes impressiones praeteritas servavit, et futuras praecontinet Et si quis dicet effectum illum contineri in motibus atomo impressis,. .. huic responderi potest, non tantum debere effectus resultare in atomo ex omnibus universi impressionibus, sed etiam vicissim ex atomo colligi totius universi statum, et ex effectu causam.”
I am thinking here more particularly of the demand of Dr. Whitehead that the concept of “organism” shall be introduced into physics (Science and the Modern World, 150, 190 al.), and of Professor Eddington’s very frank recognition of “indetermination” in nature.
We shall have more to say on this “historicising” of the natural sciences in the penultimate lecture of our second series.
Dr. Whitehead’s remark (Science and the Modern World, p. 116) that “the electron blindly runs either within or without the body; but it runs within the body in accordance with its character within the body; that is to say, in accordance with the general plan of the body, and this plan includes the mental state,” is an apt illustration of the principle we are concerned to maintain.
Science and the Modern World, p. 166, “Heaven knows what seeming nonsense may not to-morrow be demonstrated truth”.
As it would be on the theory that all science is a partial recovery of knowledge possessed in perfection by the first man, prior to his “Fall,” or that, as Roger Bacon held (Opus Mains, ii. 9) “eisdem personis data est philosophiae plenitudo quibus et lex Dei, scilicet sanctis patriarchis et prophetis a principio mundi.”
Meditatio iv. “possum tamen attenta et saepius iterata meditatione efficere ut … habitum quemdam non errandi acquiram.”
Essays and Addresses (First Series), p. 43.
Purgatorio, xxvii. 140,
“libero, dritto e sano é tuo arbitrio,
e fallo fora non fare a suo senno.”
Paradiso. xxxii. 2.
Perhaps Socrates asleep really is “the same person” as Socrates awake, in a sense in which the statement could not be made, without qualification, of me. That is because he has “lived in φιλοσοφία” (Phaedo, 69 C-D), as I, to my shame, have not.
M. Arnold, East London.
S. Juan de la Cruz. The words are from the fifth stanza of the Canción prefixed to the famous work on the Dark Night of the Soul:
“¡Oh noche que guiaste,
Oh noche amable más que el alborada.
Oh noche que juntaste
Amado con amada,
Amada en el Amado trasformada!”