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Meditation VIII

THE GIVEN: The content of the Sense-Object in presentation and Attuition—The Given or Immediate, Space, Motion and Time—Secondary Qualities or Proper Sensibles—The greater Objective Reality of Common Sensibles—In what sense Proper Sensibles are Objectively Real—Categories of Attuition or The Given. Notes (1) and (2).

NATURAL Realism, I understand, says that Sense-experience presents to me an external world: that is to say, a universe existing, in the modes of Space, Motion, etc., independently of all finite minds, all which modes or phenomena normal conscious subject receives immediately, and sees truly when it sees clearly and distinctly. But to see the external non-subject clearly and distinctly is to see that the material, independent object-world is neither material nor independent. No analysis of experience can yield substantial matter as a given; and the whole course of this argument ought to show that even a self-conscious being is not an independent existence: much less, then, is a stone or a star.

Let us now look more closely at the specific content of the object in attuition. That content is Absolute Being (we have found) writing on finite sentient mind its own modality, and this it is which sentient mind passivo-actively deals with and assimilates. Consequently, when the sentient mind rises to Reason or Dialectic, it will find that the object as given in consciousness contains implicit all that man can ever know-it to be as a Real; nay further, it will find the whole of the Dialectic in it. But Subjective Dialectic as such, has nothing to do with the object as such or the possibility of an object in and for mind at the sentient stage. That question, I consider, has been settled for reason in the facts of attuition and on the lower plane of mind. Reason can, of course, question these facts and hold centuries of high debate over them until, at last, it works its way back to the naïveté of the primaeval man.1 On the other hand, save for the subjective dialectic, the realitas phenomenon could never be for a consciousness more than a non-rational object—a Real not an Actual (vide seq.): nor would necessary and synthetic, as opposed to contingent, truths be possible for a merely conscious subject.

I am here engaged in empirically building up for myself subjective experience as a matter of fact, in order to reach thereby an Objective Whole of system; in other words, Knowledge or Truth. And the “object” in attuition would appear already to contain all I am in search of. I would call it attuit rather than sensate, because it is the complex elements of an object given as co-ordinated into a total (as it exists out there) in and for the subject. When this attuit or non-rational (quoad subjective mind) object in sentience is rationalised, it is a rationalised attuit (also as it exists out there); in other words, it is known: it is the “Notion,” the “Actual”; as we shall in the sequel see.

I have already said that when I speak of the conscious subject as a subject-entity (or monad if this term is preferred), I do not picture to myself a tabula rasa, although I have called it empty. This would be an absurd position. I do not “picture” anything. I have in my thought an “individual being” with potencies of a specific kind (of which being or entity I am non-mediately conscious as ground of a possible experience), by virtue of which potencies it may be said already to possess the whole world of sense-recipience. A potency is not an activity, and yet it is not dead. It is a sleeping activity, but even in its sleep it dreams, for it has a tendency or impulse (unconscious desire or appetition) in certain specific directions and after a specific manner. It is also a unity, otherwise there could be no difference for it, and no recipient “one” for given difference; but it does not actively unify; it accepts what is given. Thus it is that the specific characters of our consciousnesses are the specific characters of the “Other” or the Object. The former do not merely correspond to the latter: they are the latter as fulfilled in a world which is a “system”; and in which, consequently, sentient mind and nature are in organic continuity. Consciousness does not interpret: it merely feels and reveals—reveals the reality or truth of the given as it is in the system.

And as to the object given: The existent realitas-phenomenon with all its implicates is not only “object” but “thing”: there is no other “thing” than precisely that. As to what the “thing” is, then, as datum outside the conscious subject and as synopsis or attuit in the subject, there can, it appears to me, be no question. It is the final delivery of cosmic forces and facts at the door of a sentient reality, at which point “thing” suddenly “turns over” into feeling, is mine as reflexed by me, and constitutes the “real” of me as a conscious subject. True, conscious “subject” as an abstract and “object” as an abstract may be of no account; but a determined entity which has the potentiality of receiving what is not itself, and a non-subject which feeds the potential entity, are realities in the cosmic system, with the one common basis of Being; and also (as we shall soon see) of Dialectic.

The cosmic system then (so far as our experience goes) completes itself in a conscious subject as a sentient first of all; and, finally, in that subject as rational or as dialectic. Again, the conscious subject is introduced, evolved (or thrown up) into an already existing related system as a unitary entitative factor in it and in organic continuity with it, for the purpose of receiving it, and of working out its own life in and through the system. Further, both conscious subject and the phenomenal content of subject are themselves not only of this related system, but within it, and cannot get out of it. Finally, the universal externalised concrete which embraces the totality of subject and object is a harmonious system fulfilling its life-aim, whatever that may be. Things are not at sixes and sevens.

It is true that the Dualist, in the past, has emphasised the opposition of subject and object into antagonism. There has been a cleft between subject and non-subject. But there is no gap, no cleft. This is the very point which I, as a natural realist, dualist, and pluralist, wish to make. There is an objective mind-and-matter continuity, which contains the subject—a monism which divides itself that it may explicate itself, fulfil itself, and show itself to itself. In other words, Natura in its highest effort evolves a creature to feel it, to know it, to love it, and to return again in contemplation to the Source of the Whole.2 We call the external system in its relation to a subject the “total object”; and, as opposed to an inner or internal, we call it outer or external. But the “Universal Object” (as seen from the outside by some supramundane being), i.e. “Natura” in the large sense, includes me, the subject, in organic continuity with the external object, just as much as if I grew out of the soil like a tree. All is continuous and all is one. And the modus existendi of the object, so far from being affected by the existence of a subject, is seen to find its consummation and completion in that subject and to name itself, so to speak, in that subject.

What now is received—What is the Given and immediate? Extension or Space to begin with. The conscious subject on the attuitional plane receives Extension in its first contact with the external, and reflexes what it so senses as uniform unbroken indefinite Quantity. But space or extension is not phenomenon alone: it is Being extended—realitas-phenomenon.

The attuent subject waits to have relative locality, and, consequently, space as containing the discrete as well as the continuous, forced on it by the occurrence of diverse objects and motions in the one homogeneous extension. Indefinite Quantity broken up by diverse quanta, which yet remain as within the continuity of Quantity generally, is the attuent experience—all which it senses, but does not “perceive”; for percipience is the rudimentary act of the subjective dialectic alone.

The object of inchoate subject or “Pure Feeling” is (we saw) Being unconditioned: and now within the sphere of the conditioned as phenomenal, the object of primordial “Sense” is, similarly, unconditioned Quantity, undifferentiated Extension. That is to say, indefinite “Being” as indefinite “Extension”—a concrete—a realitas-phenomenon. I cannot see that quanta as localised, figured, tri-dimensional, solid and having bulk or mass are logically derivable from Extension as given, and as subsequently affirmed by reason. They, however, certainly presuppose it as a logical and real prius.

Extension3 or Space is a “universal” in attuition; and when reason subsequently reflects, it finds it to be a universal that is “necessary” to there being an Outer at all; i.e., it is involved in the very fact of outerness. Externality is as Space. I do not see that I can get below this. Just as Being is the necessary universal of all actual and possible existence, so Space is the necessary universal of all phenomenal existence. In fact, Space is the mode of Outness for God and man alike: it is the condition of the possibility of an external object, i.e., that which is non-subject. To say that space is external is merely to say that space is space. We vainly try to put it otherwise. “Every object as outer is spaced or extended”: this is an identical proposition. I receive this fact. Kant ought to have said (perhaps he did), the form of sense-intuition is non-subject as externality, and we call this by the apt name “Space,” with all the implicates of that word. So it appears to me: the universal form of the sensile is Externality which is Space; but we receive it and reflex it; we do not impose it. The “externality” is effected in the subject on the sentient plane by a process of reflex action. How else can I get an “out” for what is sensed only as “in”—a “there” for the “here”?

Abstract absolute Space is an intellectual creation, of great utility it may be, forced on us by the dialectic activity, but not to be found in sentient or (strictly) percipient consciousness, or anywhere, as a Real. We may even, under the exigencies of a system, speak of metaphysical space not yet concreted into the space we see. So we might speak of the metaphysical qualitative. I set aside these things as abstractions transformed into shadowy entities; further, as superfluous for the explanation of experience; and, finally, as not explaining it. I take the concrete whole as I have it in presentation, and I cling to it. I attuite space; and that is all. It is not so correct to call this universal a “necessary,” as a “synthetic condition,” of all sentience; and this because it is a synthetic condition of a possible universe of phenomenal things passing into sentient subject, which is within that universe and ultimately homogeneous with it. (By which I do not mean to say that mind is also space; if it were so, it could no more sense Space4 than one stone can sense another.)

Not only quantity universal is space, but the things presented to me are quanta, and as such are spaced and external and tri-dimensional. They have measure. I find also localisation, configuration, solidity, bulk, mass, with weight and resistance, as I bring myself into touch with objects, all revealed as external and given; but they are not, of course, given without the necessary experience: this is a psychological question.

Motion and Time.—Motion of objects is given; and, even if all objects were at rest, there would be motion so long as there was a succession in a conscious subject turning from one object to another. Motion involves Rest: they are correlatives which implicate each other.

Motion from one point of space to another, or of one object and then another across the field of vision, involves one-after-the-otherness. This yields Objective Time; and the attuent mind receives this as a universal fact, but not as a synthetic necessary—not, that is to say, as the condition of there being an external world at all. Subjective Time, on the attuent plane of mind, is a sensing of the motion of objects accompanied by a feeling of continuity of, or in, the sensing subject. Objectively, Time is a one-after-the-other in the continuity of Universal Being. The continuity of Being is to be called “During”: and it is the fact and opposition of phenomenal flux that reveals, or mediates, Being as During permanent ground. Hence Objective Time is a discrete continuum, and we have to speak of it in terms of Space. It is not a necessary; but only a universal fact in all attuent experience. Time as a “necessary” belongs to the Reason plane, and arises out of the fact that I cannot affirm anything save as a point or “now,” with a before and after as implicit content of “now”. Sentience generally can only feel, as a “universal” with a vague accompaniment of underlying continuity, what reason subsequently affirms as also a necessary.

It is to be noted that Time, as a given, is not “one-after-the-otherness”. This is an abstraction. Time, as given, is a “one ‘thing’ or ‘event’ after another in a Continuum”.

In what sense the speculative physicist may ultimately express Space and Motion as primal phenomena, it matters not. What we have to do with is the resultant of cosmic forces in the crisis of encountering sentient subject—the presentation as a fulfilled real.

I have been speaking of the quantitative characters of the sense-object. They are given to us: all we are aware of is extension and the resistance of external objects to us and to each other, and a succession or change in these objects. Natural realism does not affirm substantial matter, but merely that there is a natura rerum independently of the finite subject; but which it can meanwhile “sense” and (finally) “know,” to the extent of its potency, just as that natura exists in the creative externalisation of Absolute Being. The natura rerum is an externalisation which reveals God to us on a certain plane of eternal Being, and tells us what He is here and now.

Secondary Qualities or Proper Sensibles.—We further find that objects present themselves to us through the avenues of sight and hearing and touch as suffused with light and colour, as odorous, sonorous and sapid, and as hot or cold, rough and smooth. These differ from the other properties as being qualitative; and their degree, which runs from 0 to a maximum of intensity, is quantitative degree.

Hence the distinction (come down from Leucippus) into primary and secondary qualities—not very felicitous terms, it seems to me. Perhaps a better distinction would be into quantitative or “common sensibles” (this latter is Aristotle's phrase) and qualitative or “proper sensibles”. By whatever name called, they have constituted difficulties in the way of all speculative construction except where they have been sagaciously evaded. I do not wish to evade them; although I am deeply sensible of the difficulty of finding language which will commend my point of view to others.

A subject (as we have seen) emerging into consciousness through the object “becoming” in and for it, reflexes back into the outer all the properties of the object without distinction; in so far, that is to say, as the potency in it permits, for there are qualities which we do not either feel or perceive, but ascertain inferentially. In the proper or qualitative sensibles, however, the body is stirred with a certain physical excitement, and this physical disturbance, reproduced in feeling, is returned, under the universal impulse of re-flexion, to the object itself. But nobody means to say that the vibrating air hears a sound, the sugar tastes sugariness or the rose smells sweetness, or the fire feels heat, or iron feels hardness. The loose use of words and the want of causative verbs in language have led to confusion of thought. Through these qualitative affections we ascertain certain peculiar characters of the quantitative external which, but for the subjective qualitative feeling, would never have been the object of physical investigation at all. Now these qualitative characters are there in the object, after eliminating the subjective pathic element in the sensation. All save this pathic element is in the object. Science, I am well aware, reduces the qualitative reality to the quantitative reality. But this can only mean that the quantitative equivalent of the sensed real is given; and this is an abstraction. When I say that a hyacinth is blue, I am right in so far as I mean to say that the hyacinth, relatively to itself and other things, has blueness, i.e. is qualitatively and really blue. There may be a physical explanation of blueness; but blueness as felt in my consciousness and affirmed of the hyacinth belongs to the hyacinth as much as to me. The physical conditions await consciousness to reveal their final reality to mind; and their final reality to mind is their final reality in and for the object. The hyacinth and I are citizens of the same world. I say with perfect confidence: “You are blue within this system to which we both belong”. I seem to see this quite clearly; but it may not be clear to others.

Certain sentient creatures have no sense of colour, I believe. Be it so: they have their own way of understanding their world. But on my plane of mind the world attains to its fuller meaning. Is the beauty and truth of creation to be measured by a beetle?

In short, the external object has certain properties or inherent energies which are so subtle that it cannot reveal them to me save in such a way as to evoke a certain tonicity of feeling. The more subtle characters of the object cannot, in short, be conveyed quantitatively in sensation, but only qualitatively or pathically. The purely quantitative, or common, sensibles that reach the subject with the minimum or zero of pathic concomitant—the indifference of consciousness qua consciousness, give us the skeleton of the external world. These things exist and subsist in our system and give us, I say, the skeleton of nature. Light, colour, sound, on the other hand, give us the tone or feeling, so to speak, in and of the external world; and, as tone or feeling they can be conveyed to the subject only tonically or pathically. Universal mind quantifies and qualifies itself as a world, and it is only finite mind that can be the finite terminal and meaning of the non-subject: only in mind can it reveal its concrete fulness.

Are these proper sensibles, then, in any special sense, “relative” merely (sentientium phantasmata as Hobbes calls them)? I cannot see that they are to be called “relative” in the banal sense, any more than space and motion are “relative”. They all alike exist as “related” to conscious subject and are all alike real objects. They are all cosmic deliverances to me through body. They are not, it will be said, implicit in the very notion of object in general; but mere abstract object, I have already said, is an abstraction and nil: nay more, an object as spaced and timed and moved might possibly exist without these qualities for all I know; but they are borne on or in the object as characteristics, which go to constitute these objects in their external totality here and now, but which could not be communicated to conscious subject save in and through the pathic excitement of that subject. Again, I would say: without a sentient subject these qualities might exist in nature; but not in their full meaning: for the mind-term and terminal is the meaning in terms of the potency range of each sentient. The same remark, however, applies to space and motion. The external completes its own meaning and truth of reality in a subject. To be in and for consciousness is the final “moment” of an infinite phenomenal series. Quantity and quality seem to me to stand or fall together as non-subject realities.

When I am offered a quantitative dynamic explanation of colour or light or odour or taste or sound as objective reality, I still am entitled to say that the quantitative relations of particles and motions are suck in the external thing that they cannot convey themselves to a sentient subject save as qualities. The outside has passed into what I must distinguish as Quantitative Quality. And this quality as in me is the true signification of the Quantitative process. We may be able to express the quantitative event mathematically, but its true meaning—its reality, is in its final deliverance to sentience: it is sentience in dynamical terms. Any other doctrine appears to me to be an untenable dualism and relativity; I am within a cosmic system and the final and crowning movement in the organic whole is to be found in sentience—a beënt phenomenal “becoming” for a subject which is also a beënt phenomenal, inasmuch as it is a body.

(I do not know, but I would ask: Is it not possible for the mathematical physicist to work out quantitatively the shape of a leaf or a pyramid? If so, his hieroglyphics would not be the truth and reality of the shapes.)

I feel compelled to face this question (if only to induce others to face it) at the risk of being considered crude. A certain complex series of vibrations reach my conscious subject through my brain and convey a sonata. Music, then, is what those vibrations are, when there are present the conditions of transition into a conscious subject, which (mark) is their terminal or completion as “existence” and tells what they are over and above a mere quantitative dance of particles. They are, as music, part of my world and of God's world. The dance out there is rhythmic or musical. Music is there in the cosmic system known to me, as well as here in me; but it awaits me to realise its own truth in the system. The quantitative conditions of music the physicist can tell me; but they are only the quantitative conditions of music, not music; any more than the quantitative conditions of a rose is a rose, or of colour is colour. All these things are Absolute Being, revealing as much of its riches as is possible in this sphere of the Universal, and getting its true character-fulfilment and name in the subject-mind. The truth of our system, in brief, is in the actualisation—the synthesis of Object and Subject. And yet these are two, not one. Object in becoming for Subject attains its own meaning while giving to the latter its real content.

If I might indulge in rhetoric I would even say: The natural world of flowers and stars might be regarded as waiting patiently for the emergence in the system of a conscious entity that they might fully realise themselves. The said consciousness, however, adds nothing to what they truly are, save the awareness in feeling of what they truly are. And you might even imagine a dim thrill of joy in the star world when a conscious subject first beheld them in their reality, and again when Copernicus and Newton revealed their ordered motions. The stars then sing together. Any other view is, to my mind, crude Dualism.

We see, then, a distinction between common and proper sensibles. The former reach my subject quite neutral and indifferent as to feeling-tone: the latter reach my subject by means of feeling-tone; and further, inasmuch as they are mediated for me through a finer adaptation of nerves, they are less stable and more subject to degree than Space or Motion. Hence, in fact, the difference in degree which makes them “proper”. But these proper sensibles with the pathic element eliminated, are in no sense more “relative” than the common sensibles. Were all finite subjects abolished, the music and colour of nature would still be there as truly as quantity and motion are (neither more nor less); but until they completed themselves in a sentient subject, their true significance and fulness of meaning would not be. Even Space (Quantity) and Motion may have such a genesis as not to be space and motion in the sense in which the subject sees them. But, whatever the genesis, space is what we see it to be as the terminal of an infinite cosmic process within a certain system in and of which we are. Everything is related; but the relatedness of the parts of a system, and which makes a system possible, does not invalidate the truth of the related system and the parts of it to a conscious subject which is itself in and of that system. Man has absolute knowledge: that is to say, he has knowledge which is truth—the truth of God within a bounded system.

As between bodies there is relativity of course as when we talk of size and weight and hardness with a certain standard in view; but my consciousness of that relativity is not also relative;—relative to the given fact of this relativity!

Though pathically experienced, light, colour, sound, taste, odour are, accordingly, not “relative,” but objectively real, in the system. It is for me a conscious subject in which they fulfil themselves to say what they are—to name them; or to put it otherwise, they seek and find their truth in the subject and name themselves. Every object is subject-object; every subject is, as regards content, object-subject. Quantity and quality and relation as “become” in and for the subject are the final truth of the object within this system to which we belong, and in which we live and die. There is, in short, a universal one system into which we are born and of which we are an integral and organic part.

Abolish the conscious subject and what would it all be? The question is futile. All is in a consciousness. What we have in experience must always be subject-object—the content of subject and the reality of object. Moreover, such a question is suggested by a crude dualism which is untenable. There are not two; but only a one cosmic Actuality finding its highest term in Man; and yet there are two—veritable object and veritable subject. This is monistic Dualism.

If you ask, further, how would the object look to a conscious being on a higher plane, the answer is that I have nothing to deal with save subject in object, object in subject on this plane of universal mind; and you might as well ask, “Given an Absolute consciousness, how does a stone or a star look to It?” It is an Absolute synthesis I am searching for—not a synthesis of the Absolute. The sentient subject, nay, the all potent Ego itself, are within the whole of movement, not outside it.

The greater Objective reality of Common Sensibles.—It is doubtless true that we instinctively assign a greater objectivity and reality to space and motion than to the other properties of the complex sense-object, and, accordingly, it has been held that while primary qualities or common sensibles are external and independent, proper sensibles are the result of a relation or “affection”. This apparent greater objectivity is explained, I think, by two facts: (1) The fact that we are not subjectively stimulated by space and motion in the same way as we are by proper sensibles; (2) That space and motion are felt and perceived to be the logical presupposition of all other possible properties. And not only logically, but really, first; for it is not necessary to doubt that the sensible world is a synthesis built up after a certain logical or dialectic order. Thus Space and Motion are fundamental synthetic universals: but, so far as the sentient subject is concerned, they are received and reflexed just as all other characters of the external are received.

Each thing is a “for-itself” individual related to all else, but its relations are not “relative” relations. Sentient and rational beings are not to be torn from their real context. You will say, “What! exist for themselves independently of finite minds?” Yes; this is the primordial proclamation; and their relatedness to finite mind is like the relatedness of all things, one to another, in a system: they are not “relative”. True, what is hot today is cold to me tomorrow, and so on: things are inter se relatively hot or cold, big or little, heavy or light; but this concerns the relative relations of things external to me and among each other, my body being one of those “things”. This is not the question; but rather, Is the consciousness of the relations and relativities among things itself also a relative consciousness? Is knowledge a relativity of relativities or a truth of relativities?

But the reality of the given object does not consist in its being sensed; but in its being a determination of Being translated into Quantity, Quality, etc.

If I might make a suggestion, it would be that all characteristics that cannot be resolved into the relation of bodies are to be called primary—the body of the conscious individual being one of the terms.

To prevent misunderstanding, I would interpose a few words. It is exceedingly difficult to deal with one moment in the concrete total of Experience without using words that anticipate the other moments. I have been speaking all along of the attuitional, but I have had constantly to anticipate the rational in order to make my meaning clear; I am speaking of sensing for example, and I may have had to introduce the word perception which is a rational act. To attuition a related system is presented—a system of diversa. The relations of things as in attuition are, however, merely relations in Space and Time and Motion as felt; the fact “that there is relation” has no place in an attuent subject. When the subjective dialectic comes on the scene, it demands much more than this. Again, in attuition I am conscious of each diverse presentate as a fused total or synopsis merely. I do not concern myself about the parts, or about what is implicit in the object, and yet all is already there which any physic or metaphysic can ever discover. As an attuent organism, however, the instinct to persevere in my own esse directs me to a specific quality in the total before me: e.g., a particular quality or part in the fused whole affects me specially if I am a raven, and another affects me specially if I am a dog, because these characters respectively have a certain affinity to my organism or its wants: or, it may be, more than one quality may touch me to vivid consciousness one after the other. The total synopsis remains: it is all there; and, as a dog, I do not confound a bone with a brick nor a horse with a man, and this because the identity of each presentation is sensed as a synoptic whole; and a bone is to a dog, in so far as it is not a mere synoptic single and whole, merely a specific odour plus the vague synoptic whole. This specific separating of a certain quality in the total is an anticipation of the higher rational moment of mind—Percipience. When perception, however, comes on the scene it goes forth to seize, after first separating, the fused parts; its final purpose being to re-constitute what was only an attuitional “total” (synopsis) in a “unity” or synthesis by means of a series of judgments; percipience itself being judgment. When, in a series of judgments, I proceed to elicit the predicates of the thing before me—its (so-called) a posteriori characters, I am by a process of analysis or division seeking for a synthesis of the many in the unity before me. The object in its sense-totality is to begin with a mere sensed—a this “being” or that “being”: my analysis reveals a, b, c, etc., till we have the full synthesis of the attuit or synopsis as aggregated parts—finally (as the sequel will show) the synthesis of the Actual. Man constantly behaves like an attuent animal and names things prematurely by their salient predicate or predicates, and all his subsequent judgments about them are the completion of a process of judgment instinctively, and often unwisely, begun. When he functions the second act of the dialectic, viz., Concipience, he merely aggregates what he has separated. He again “perceives” the totality and, in doing so, perceives specifically what interests him, all the rest of the qualities in the synopsis still remaining in attuent sentience as a vague fused total only.

But because he has a sense-concept or aggregation of the parts, he does not know the “thing”; he is merely on his way. He has still to complete the building-up of the single whole: a step-by-step process is inevitable and involves the continued abstraction of elements in the complex content of experience. But it is only the whole that is the “Actual”—and the consciousness of the Actual is alone knowledge. We do not need to go back to Plato and Aristotle to learn that neither sensation (attuition) nor the primal act of the dialectic in man, viz., percipience, can give knowledge. With the real before us in sense, even when aided by rational percipience, we are only on the way to knowledge. These are only moments in that ultimate synthesis of a thing and of the Whole which constitutes knowledge or Truth. The ultimate synthesis alone is knowledge, and this involves essence, idea, cause, in short the whole dialectic, as we shall see.

My way of looking at experience may, perhaps, be called Monism; for there is no monist who does not accept subject-object. On the contrary, it is Dualism, for I contend for subject-“thing” and object-“thing”: it is Pluralism because each individual is a “for-itself” working out its own existence from its own centre and responsible (so to speak) to itself. Negation and individuation secure this. This fact is not to be slurred over. I do not hold the reality of that tree in the hollow of the hand of my “experience” of it: nor does God for that matter. It is not desirable to half shut one's eyes in the presence of a real diversity and leave all in the monistic haze of a dubious and perilous existence. Each thing (as we shall in the sequel find) is a contradiction—a one which is at the same time the “other”. The pluralistic presentation is a system of interdependence and of dependent independence—a One of Being and system in a various Many of veritable individua.

It is possible that it may also be said that the dualism maintained in these pages is simply the ordinary crass dualism. If so, then I have failed to make myself understood. To believe in the total disparateness of res cogitans and res extensa is in my opinion to give up ultimate philosophy.

In short, the dynamic movements, from the first syllable of time, by which the present show of things is effected are beyond our cognition; but the final result is precisely the Given as it is given. The character of the phenomenon and the name of the phenomenon are in the sentience of it; so far as sentience can go.

One word more: According to the analysis of experience so far as we have gone, the external object is given as immediate in attuition. That our first sense-experiences are of the indefinite does not affect the question. Diverse complexes force themselves on the subject just as they exist externally and independently of the subject in relations of space, time, etc. The complex single totals are there, “becoming” for me as attuent, and awaiting the advent of reason for the full cognition of them as they exist. To make the externality of any object dependent on a process of reflective thought of any kind is contrary to obvious fact—for a worm and a mouse are sentient of an outer and of particular outers. I speak of the realitas-phenomenon—the real as appearing to sentient subject. But the “cognitive” truth of its static and dynamic relations can never be sensed, although feeling (in its larger meaning) enters into cognition also. Reason, as cognitive activity, subsequently raises the real into the actual; but even then our knowledge of what is before us cannot be exhaustive.

And let me recall: All qualities, including both primary and secondary, do not in themselves or in their combination constitute phenomenal reality save as Being. Apart from this, they are mere disjointed adjectives. And the same remark applies to mind as sentient or attuent. The so-called “modes” of the subject are merely the modes of the object received, reflexed, and assimilated. Any other event in sentient subject is the result of the dynamic relations of the given modes—the dynamic of Association (attraction and cohesion), or, to speak generally, of a psychical mechanism and chemism. As a matter of fact, the adjectives are the manner or mode (a posteriori categories) in which Being and Mind-universal can alone represent its implicit and complicit content explicitly to itself: and, whereas man is himself part of this representation and within it, his individualised being (actuality as a monad) can have intercourse with the One of universal Being through these said categories of Recipience in which he as part of the externalisation is immersed. [Complete intercourse is only on the higher dialectic plane of mind.] These representations of The One are not in se and per se ultimate realities any more than the expression of my countenance or the words of my mouth are me. As abstract we have seen they are negation of the universal Being-Mind, and in themselves nought—non-being: but as concrete they are the affirmation and vehicle of universal Being-mind. The phenomenal is the sign of the thing signified, but a worthless sign and indeed nil, except in so far as the thing signified is in it. If I am to see the truth of creation, I must look at it as a concrete and cease hypostasising abstractions. All the quantitative and qualitative endowment of each presentate is Being-Mind revealing its inner nature as modes which are per se ultimate realities any more than the expression of my countenance or the words of my mouth are me. As abstract we have seen they are negation of the universal Being-Mind, and in themselves nought—non-being: but as concrete they are the affirmation and vehicle of universal Being-mind. The phenomenal is the sign of the thing signified, but a worthless sign and indeed nil, except in so far as the thing signified is in it. If I am to see the truth of creation, I must look at it as a concrete and cease hypostasising abstractions. All the quantitative and qualitative endowment of each presentate is Being-Mind revealing its inner nature as modes which are itself, and yet the negation of itself. We generalise these and call them categories or predicaments.

Universal Being can live only in that which, as different and finite, is its own negation—a negation inherent in its Modality; and yet not a blank or abstract negation, but a negation that is itself sustained in and through Being. This is the fundamental contradiction of experience—the One of Affirmation in the Many of Negation. Each finite thing, and the totality of the finite, is a “Yes-No”; and yet it is not strictly a contradiction, for the No and Yes both are in each thing.

The finite subject repeats this method of the Universal. The One of universal Being finds itself in the Many of Negation, and the finite subject, again, is evoked into reality by the Many that negates it—a Many which finds its finite terminal and meaning as realitas-phenomenon in the one of finite sentient subject.

By a posteriori categories, I mean the universal predicaments of things as Given. They are within the sphere of Attuition, although it is only the higher plane of mind that can discriminate and affirm them. On the attuent plane, they are only sensed.


(The quid facti or The Given as discriminated and generalised by Reason.)

We receive as Universals and affirm:—BEING as Ground and Reality.

  1. I. Quantity in general, i.e., Extension, Space.
  2. II. Quality, i.e., Quantity qualified into single individua by size, figure, colour, and so forth. Diverse (complex) individua or “ones”—Quanta. (Kind seems to fall under Quality as derivative or subordinate.) Diverse unitary quanta (reflected into continuity) yield Number.
  3. III. Rest and Motion of individua; i.e. of the above qualified quanta.
  4. IV. Relation of the individua:—
  1. (a) In respect of quantity—the greater and less; and the locality—or the Where.
  2. (b) In respect of quality or the How—Degree.
  3. (c) In respect of co-existence and successions of motion or change. This latter involves Time-sequence, and the When.

These are the categories of the great Datum; but they make no pretence to be exhaustive or adequately formulated: nor for the purposes of my argument is this necessary. The animal has them in sentience, not in knowing; in consciousness, not in self-consciousness-and as particulars not as universals,—save in a vague incipient way (universals of sense-imagination). The dynamical inter-relation of these synoptic objects and their space and time relations repeat themselves in the dynamism of the sentient or attuent subject as (so-called) Laws of Association, and so yield further (what may be called secondary) matter to the subject,—matter which, constantly misled by false associations, is itself for the most part untrue and misleading.

It may be said that these categories of the Given imply intellection. In a sense they do; for both the feeling and attuitional stages of mind are moments of intelligising. But they constitute the sentient and dynamical and chemical moments of mind only, in all of which there is reflex activity and assimilation: they do not yield “perceptions” (which cannot be given) but only what I have called “attuits”. Percipience, on the contrary, is a pure act, and is the first moment in that higher plane of mind which gives an entirely new aspect to Experience.

Along with the suggestions and phenomena of inner feeling, these predicables sum up the “matter” of our experience. By inner sense we mean all that our organism throws into consciousness—appetite, desire, pleasure, pain,—in short, Feeling in all its intra-organic modes. All that is not subjective dialectic is as matter to form: it is realitas-phenomenon; it is on the mind plane of attuition and reflexive activity. The attuitional result, notwithstanding, suffices to enable an animal to adapt itself to its environment by feeling its way. From the point of view of knowledge these feelings are confused and inadequate perceptions; or more correctly, not perceptions at all, but attuits.

These fundamental data, it seems to me, are, as data, wholly inexplicable. We must accept and make the best of them. We register them: that is all. It is with these data, as operated on by a helpless psychical mechanism, that (as we go on to show) the free subjective dialectic deals and for which it finds a constituting ground and connective significance. They sum up the world of experience as a crude Synopsis, not as a Synthesis; still less as an Organism. In so far as there seems to be a synthesis, it is a “given” external connexion passing into a recipient and reflexive one permanent subject—mirrored in it: not affirmed. Reason is not yet there.

Berkeley truly says (and all others with him), Sense knows nothing. What “knowing” is will shortly appear. On the other hand, Sense (in its highest form of Attuition) is “aware” of a great deal; the “given” is the material of knowledge; the attuitional stage is a moment in the total of knowledge—the evolution of subject-object. And that moment of the given and recipient is not an awareness of a confused and chaotic manifold, but of diverse singles related in Time and Space. These single complex things give their categories along with themselves, but they become for “knowledge” only through that activity of will-reason which we are about to speak of. For example, the given of attuition gives sequence, nay, also a “sense” of invariable sequence, but it cannot give Cause. The Causality of the Ideological school (Hume, Condillac, etc.) is, if consistent, such causality as the attuitional moment of mind yields, and that is all,—consecution in Space and Time hardened by repetition—not connection. It is not possible for any man to redargue Hume, if he keeps himself on the level of the attuitional moment of mind and fails to see the function and significance of the higher.

We now may begin to see that Absolute Being externalises itself as universal Subject-Object. Within the said externalisation we have subject-object as finite; and just as the universal Object has no meaning save as efflux of the Universal Subject, so the finite object can alone find its meaning—its final term, in finite subject. When we speak of the Universal Subject, we may say Object is projected Subject; when we speak of finite subject we may say subject is (inverted) object.

Our experience is never object, but always subject-object in this sense that subject is necessary to awareness of object, and, further, that the truth of the object is in subject as its final term.

To repeat the point of view already set forth: The Given can only be the externalisation of Absolute Being—its modality—“becoming” in and for a finite mind on the sentient plane of that mind: finite mind being within the One Whole.

Note (1).—Method in the Evolution of Finite Mind.

There is doubtless an Order—nay more, a method (i.e., rational order, and that means order with purpose or end), in the evolution of finite subjective mind from indefinite Pure Feeling upwards. In a rough way I have exhibited the steps in the introduction to my Metaphysica Nova et Vetusta. There is a method of “Feeling” up to Sentience and Attuition as well as a method of Pure Reason. It certainly concerns no one to doubt this. Now, if we had a method of Sense in its full logical evolution, as well as the method of Season or subjective dialectic, we should have, the whole of subjective mind as it evolved from Feeling of Being, through the stage of the dialectic, to that kind of supra-rational Feeling which we call Intuition. This would be a completed Man-epistemology. Would it also be a doctrine of Being as well as of Knowing? I cannot but think it would, and that it must. But note, even then it would be a doctrine of BEING and its life explained as a system of evolving categories (so-called); of Being, always of Being. The system would, of course, exhibit the entrance of the Dialectic as the formal of Being-activity—a free Will-dialectic. Such a system, however, would start from Being-universal reflected into a finite Being: it would presume this: unless it did, it could not find a beginning.

Would every step then be Reality? If the whole of experience be presented as a dialectic of categories, it could not be Reality without a new definition of the words Dialectic, Formal, Reason, Thinking, Knowing. My position compels me to say that the ascending concreting steps would be an evolution of Being, an upheaval and out-turning of the implicit of Being—sole ground-Reality; the dialectic itself, when it appeared, being itself within Reality and, indeed, involved in the evolution-movements of Being from the first, though entering the system of finite minds explicitly only at a certain point—the point of the Man-emergence. I say the Dialectic would be in the upward movements of Being from the beginning, just as every step would be implicitly the sum of steps and a one concrete whole into which the sequence of Time did not enter. The externalised display, which we call the finite world of Nature and Man, would then be a temporal repetition of the eternal unfolding, always unfolded, of Absolute Being which sought, for the sake of its own completion, a finite life. Meanwhile let us remember All is One evolving itself into differences which are real differences.

Note (2).—Space, Motion, and Time as within the Sentient Sphere.

Space, Time, Motion, are “given” to us empirically as ultimates and immediates,—universals (or conditions) of all possible experience. Any attempt to define them can only mean an attempt to bring into relief what we truly mean by the words. Where men imagine that they have done more than this, they have, in truth, uttered identical propositions,—the thing they are defining is assumed in the very words that go to the definition. To endeavour, however, to trace psychologically the processes whereby subjective mind becomes aware of these immediates is interesting. This may help us to bring into relief what is actually contained in the words.

Apart from such inquiry, however, let us say: Time, as a subjective experience, arises out of the experienced fact of the succession of movements outside us, or the succession of movements in the conscious subject. It is clear enough, however, that a, b, c, d, etc., could never yield successiveness to the subject but for the synthesis of the discrete (one after-the-otherness) with the continuum of the conscious subject as a being. And so of outside successive movement or objective Time: mere movement is not Time, but a succession of movements (a following after b, etc., with an interval). Objective Time is, accordingly, the synthesis of the discrete of following events in a continuum of Being or Permanence. (So also in the sequence of Cause and Effect.) Being, until it is broken up by finite appearances and events, is itself During or Ever-going-on-ness. Being as During, in short, is the continuum in which events as finite discreta manifest and fulfil themselves. It is the succession of the discreta that brings into consciousness Duration—the antithesis; or, rather, I should say this: Being, the first and universal experience of a conscious subject, reveals the attribute of Oneness in presence of the Many; of non-finiteness or the Unconditioned in presence of the Conditioned or diverse finite, of During which is a prolonged continuum in presence of the finite “one after-the-otherness” of Time. Its attributes are thrown back into it by its own finitised modality. Time, apart from the above definition, seems to me to be merely an abstraction.

So with Space. To talk of things “in space” is convenient—but, it seems to me, inaccurate; for there is only Space presented to me as Being extended, and things (beings) spaced or extended. Within the sentient sphere Space is given as a concrete, viz., “Being extended” or as Quantity, Empty space is nothing; and abstract Quantity is outside the sentient sphere. The primal mode of Quantity must be such as (theoretically at least) comes within the possibility of being sensed. It must be realitas-phenomenon.

  • 1.

    The brilliant Ferrier says that things and the senses cannot transmit cognitions to the mind. We see here a good example of the confusion that besets the whole question. We are not talking of “cognitions” but of attuitions. It is because, when we begin to reflect, we find the whole mind already in evidence that we fail to see that there are “moments” or planes of mind each of which must be distinguished.

  • 2.

    The word Natura is here used in the sense of the total externalisation of Absolute Being.

  • 3.

    “Extension,” I think, is now often used simply for diffused quantity, and “space” for tri-dimensional extension, but the distinction does not touch my general argument. The psychological history of our perceptions of Space, distance, solidity, colour, etc., do not here concern us here. By the Given I mean the resultant of infinite processes—the resultant only.

  • 4.

    I am speaking of Euclidean Space: to speak of space in any other sense is not my business. I have to do with the given. Natural realism refuses to yield to the doctrine of “relativity,” even in presence of the averment that space as we know it—Euclidean space—is not the last word concerning the universal conditions of an extended External. My precise position is that the facts of experience yield us a system of things, that I am in and of this system, and that while one evolutionary step more might give me, for all I know, a different kind of spatial experience—this different experience would include this present experience while raising and illuminating it. All I can immediately, clearly and distinctly perceive, and all I can truly think, is the truth of God on this stage of His evolution; and for ever therefore a truth in God.