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the plant, we know not. But we know that this quality of mind becomes a more and more certain and conspicuous concomitant of living beings as their organization becomes more complex. And if, inverting the process, we descend the scale from one grade to another, the evidence of consciousness gradually fades till we finally reach the unconscious. “With the complete abolition of the cerebral function,” Hartmann says, “the activity of consciousness is likewise abolished.”
This is not the first time we have met this argument in the course of our discussion. But in the former case it was made use of by Mr. Lewes to prove the impossibility of an anima mundi. It is certainly clear that if it is fatal to the existence of consciousness beyond the limits of protoplasm, it is equally fatal to the existence of intelligence under the same circumstances. Our reasons for thinking it fatal to neither have been given elsewhere.
At one point in his argument, Hartmann seems to be aware that his position with regard to this matter is not quite satisfactory. He says this question may very properly be asked : “ Admitting that the actions of the All-One displayed in the individual are unconscious, so far as the individual is concerned, what is the proof that they are not conscious in the All-One itself?”] But all we get for an answer is this; the onus probandi of this proposition rests on the maker of it. “It is not,” he says, " for me to prove that the unconscious physical functions may not on the other side be conscious in the All-One ; but those who desire to make this addition to the hypothesis have to produce the proof of their assumption, which until then must be regarded as pure assertion, and accordingly to be scientifically ignored.”
Well, then, if we must defend our belief in consciousness, let us find out from Hartmann how to do it. Let us see how he establishes that part of his philosophy with which we agree. How does he prove that intelligence and will may be predicated of the AllOne ? If be succeeds in rescuing the ascription of these attributes from the category of mere assertion, there is hope for us.
That intelligent guidance is the true explanation of the organic adaptations of nature commends itself to his mind, first, because there is no other way of explaining the existence of a progressive employment of means to anticipated ends; and, second, because the human mind instinctively jumps to this analogy, which in its
1 Philosophy of the Unconscious, by Edward von Hartmann ; translated by William Chatterton Coupland, M. A. B. Sc., vol. ii., p. 245.
concrete form is at once intelligible and satisfactory. This part of bis argument takes exactly the same form as that of the theist. At all times and among all peoples, he urges, the wisdom of the Creator, World-orderer, or World-governor has been the theme of admiration and of praise, and the greater part of this expression has been the announcement of a genuine conviction, - a conviction that thrusts itself already on the mind of the child as soon as it begins to comprehend the remarkable combination of means and ends in nature. He only who denies natural ends can close his mind against this conviction; and such denial is reached only by the substitution of abstractions for realities. 1
Now, is it not true that the unsophisticated mind assumes the existence of consciousness in the Supreme Being as naturally as it does the existence of intelligence ? and does it not cling as tenaciously to the one idea as to the other ? The denial of the former is just as much the result of substituting abstractions for realities as is the denial of the latter. Hartmann himself tells us that the idea of unconscious intelligence never occurred to the primitive understanding, – that even to this day “most educated people hold it to be absurd to speak of unconscious thinking.” 2
In another connection he tells us that the starting-point of his philosophizing is anthropological. In fact, he represents this as the only possible starting-point. “Only what we are able to understand by analogy with ourselves, only that are we able to understand of the world at large.” 3 If there were, he argues, a total want of resemblance between us and the rest of the world, all possibility of an understanding of the same would be cut off from us. But on the strength of the fact that we are “ ourselves a piece of the world,” and that our anthropological functions, like all other phenomena, bave grown out of the fundamental principles of the world, “ we may confidently indulge in a cautious use of this analogy.”
We might suppose that this method would lead to the inclusion of consciousness as an attribute of the Supreme Being. But our author tells us that the guidance of this analogy is reliable only when we proceed critically enough in the separation of those peculiarities which distinguish us men from the rest of nature. He proceeds critically and strips off consciousness. Schopenhauer proceeds critically and strips off everything except will. Dr. Cope, with a like eclecticism, leaves us nothing except conscious
1 Philosophy of the Unconscious, vol. ii., p. 356.
8 Ibrid., vol. iii., p. 144.
ness and memory. Such a result is unsatisfactory; and the only way out of it seems to me to be indicated by a saying already quoted in these pages, to the effect that all philosophies are true in so far as they affirm, and false in so far as they deny. If we should reverse this proposition there would be nothing left of the anthropological argument. But holding to it we get the whole benefit of the analogy.
It is as clear to Hartmann as it is to us that any stripping off, except his own, weakens if it does not invalidate the argument upon which he in the last resort bases everything. He points out to us the inconsistency of Schopenhauer because he discriminates between will and the rest of the mental faculties. It is altogether inconsequent and one-sided in him to hypostatize will as individual metaphysical essence while referring the stores of memory, together with the intellectual foundations, talents, and aptitudes, to the physical constitution of the brain. “ It is obvious," he remarks, “ that the absolutely irrational (will without intelligence) taken as a principle must be very much poorer, much less fertile, than the absolutely rational, the idea and thought.”] There can be no question about this. But is it not equally clear that if will, idea, and consciousness are all retained in our conception of the power that works for ends in nature, we have a principle that is not only more fertile than Hartmann's, but one that is beyond comparison more comprehensible ?
How shall we explain such an exceedingly one-sided application of a great principle on the part of an author who for the most part reasons so well? The mystery is solved, at least in part, when we discover that he everywhere uses the word unconscious in a very peculiar sense. This appears clearly when he institutes a comparison between theism and his conception of the All-One. The advocates of theism, he seems to say, have no real ground of controversy with him, because the unconsciousness of his clairvoyant intelligence is not a pure negation, but, on the contrary, an unknown and unknowable affirmative.
“We are compelled,” he says, “ to designate this intelligence, which is superior to all consciousness, at once unconscious and superconscious.”2 This, he protests, does away with all reasonable complaint against his philosophy on the part of theists. For, to use his own words, “if the All-One, with all its unconsciousness, possesses a superconscious intelligence, all-knowing and allwise, which teleologically determines the content of creation and
1 Philosophy of the Unconscious, vol. iii., p. 150. ? Ibid., vol. ii., p. 249.
of the world-process, we stand here neither as accidental product of the forces of nature, nor is God dwarfed by denying Him this mode of consciousness."i Is, then, the word “unconscious,” as applied by Hartmann to the All-One, only intended to emphasize the difference that must be supposed to exist between the finite, limited consciousness of man, and the unlimited, all-embracing consciousness of the Supreme Being ?
There would seem to be no doubt of this when we read the following: “If one still, for one moment, tried to imagine the impossible demand satisfied that consciousness should be preserved as a form of representation, yet this form also would have to be taken as infinitely elevated above the consciousness known to us. And it would then be at once apparent that the infinite form is equivalent to pure formlessness, — that the absolute consciousness demanded for God must again prove to be identical with the absolutely unconscious.” To do Hartmann justice, it should be said that he advertises the reader of this peculiarity of his language at an early stage of his argument. When treating (vol. i., p. 68) of those nerve centres in man which seem to be the source of complicated automatic action, he says : “ The cerebral is by no means the sole, but merely the highest, consciousness of the animal, — the only one which in higher animals attains to selfconsciousness, therefore the only one which I call my consciousness. That, however, the subordinate nerve centres must also have a consciousness, if of a vaguer description, plainly follows from the continuity of the animal series, and a comparison of the ganglionic consciousness of the invertebrata with that of the independent ganglia and central parts of the spinal cord of the higher animals.” But immediately we are warned that this ascription of consciousness to subordinate nerve centres is only “provisional,” because, “ compared with the cerebral consciousness which a man exclusively recognizes as his consciousness, it is certainly unconscious, and it is accordingly shown that there exists in us an unconscious will, since these nerve centres are all contained in our corporeal organism, therefore in us.”
It is not, then, with the intention of deceiving us, that Hartmann so persistently uses a negative word to express that which really stands in his imagination for a positive entity. It is that he deceives himself with the conceit that this negative is the determining principle of his philosophy. To accommodate his own phrase with regard to Hegel, we may say that his system is an uncon
Philosophy of the Unconscious, vol. ii., p. 247.
scious philosophy of the conscious. I have dwelt upon it because it is an argument that approaches the great problem from the side of natural phenomena, because it proceeds inductively from the facts of nature, and is pushed along natural lines with great persuasiveness and wealth of illustration, and because it seems to me to outline clearly the general characteristics of a conception of God's relation to his world to which we are forced by the knowledge of a creative process.
We are not taking an unfair advantage when we substitute the author's own phrase superconscious for “unconscious " whenever the latter is used with reference to the All-One. For although he admits it with a protest, and declares it to be only provisional, it is in fact of a superconscious intelligence that he invariably discourses when he specifies the characteristics of the Supreme Being. The All-One, he tells us, “employs expedients ; ”1 He “avoids difficulties,” ? He “prefers ”3 one method to another, He “intends," etc. And the fact that we are carried by the argument to a conclusion not contemplated or intended by the author, but the reverse of that which he set out to prove, does not detract from, but greatly enhances, its logical value. It is one more illustration of the impossibility of explaining the world by abstractions. It is a notable witness to the necessity of using an unmutilated anthropomorphism if we avail ourselves in any degree of the human microcosm as a symbol of the greater world.
F. H. Johnson. ANDOVER, Mass.
1 Philosophy of the Unconscious, vol. ii., p. 308. 2 Ibid., vol. ii., p. 303.
8 Ibid., vol. iž., p. 311.