Facts of Consciousness/Part 1
Chapter 1 
Concerning External Perception
- All our external perception presupposes, firstly, an activity of the mind which is checked and which we call sensation; secondly, an activity of the mind which gives to this felt sensation an infinitely divisible extension and which we call contemplation; and, thirdly, an activity of the mind which objectivates the thus extended sensation and asserts it to be an external thing, and which we call thinking.
The essence of all science consists in this: that we proceed from something sensuously perceived to its supersensuous ground. It is precisely so with philosophy. Philosophy starts from the perception of knowledge through the inner sense and proceeds to its ground. In the present series of lectures we shall be busied with the first part of this science, with the phenomenon. It is this phenomenon which we propose systematically to observe, and it will be my duty to guide your observation.
It is true that to observe knowledge means also to represent it not in its immediate living Being, but in only the picture of this Being. It will be my duty to guide you in the sketching of this picture, to separate what is to be separated, and call your attention to what is important. It will be necessary very often to appeal to a special artistical arrangement in order that consciousness should reply to the very same question we propose to it; and thus the merely natural observation will change into an artificially constructed experiment.
The general and major parts, into which this our observation may separate, cannot be fixed at the very beginning, but can be determined only by continued investigation. Until then it will be sufficient to imagine our course of lectures divided firstly into a chapter: Concerning the Facts of Consciousness in the Perception of External Objects. The expression, external objects, is used here just as common sense uses it, that is, objects, which are perceived by us as external to us, in space.
Our problem now is, to analyze the to us all well-known fact of this perception in general and according to its several components. I maintain—and request you all to look into your own consciousness and see whether you do not find it likewise—that in this fact are contained.
An Affection of the External Sense; characterized by the following terms of language: red, clear-sounding, bitter, cold, &c.
The possibility of such an affection presupposes an external sense. It is, for instance, impossible that a blind man should be affected by colors. But it is also to be observed, that this affection itself is a limitation of the general sense to be affected in this particular manner. For instance: “I perceive this flower to be red” means simply, that my seeing in general, and particularly my seeing of this color, is limited by that particular seeing of a color which the habit of language designates as red.
An Extension in Space.—And I maintain, and request you to verify and recognize, that these two parts, the Sensible and Extension, completely exhaust the essence of an external object.
1. I assert that extension is by no means a sensation, but utterly different from it. To perceive this clearly, I beg you to undertake the following consideration. Red, for instance, is an altogether simple sensation, and to objectivate it, as it were, from out of our mind, a mere mathematical point would be sufficient.
Now, what is it that impels and justifies you to spread out this simple and self-same remaining sensation of red over a large space, which is precisely so large and no larger, and upon which this red color is perhaps closely limited by an adjoining other color?
2. What, then, is extension, since it is evidently not sensation? It cannot be easy to answer this question, since it has been answered wrongly and in the most various manner until the present age, and since it was chiefly the correct answering of this question (through Kant) which led philosophy upon the right track.
In order to find the right answer in your own self, please assist me in the following artificial experiment, this being the first place where we need one: I ask you, whether that body perceived by you is divisible infinitely, or whether such an attempted and continued divisibility would finally find somewhere a limit where it could not be pursued any further? I foresee that you will not be able to reply otherwise than that the body is most truly divisible infinitely. This reply is, indeed, everywhere made by common sense when left to itself; and if any philosopher answers differently, it is done not through his natural understanding left to itself, but through previously made false presuppositions and lies, which compel him to make such a different answer.
I ask further: Does, then, this infinitely divisible object put itself forth as also determined and completed, and even as included within another infinity? You cannot reply otherwise than: Yes. Hence you contemplate and assert extension to involve a completed and determined infinity; that is, you unite in extension infinity and totality into a fused and concrete unity.
Please make this very important conception still clearer to you by another one, which states the same thing and only emphasizes still more the point at issue. You draw a line from A to B. I ask you: Is not this line divisible infinitely? In going from A to B, did you not, therefore, actually complete an infinite way? Yes. Is it not necessary to assume that in going from any possible point which you may choose in the line A—B to any other possible point, you will meet the same infinity, so that you cannot absolutely go from one point to another without actually realizing that infinity? Hence you must acknowledge that that which seems to the conception utterly impossible and contradictory is actually realized in the contemplation of space.
3. I ask furthermore, how and where is now the infinite divisibility of the body? Have you actually divided infinitely, and experienced the infinite divisibility through the success of your attempt? By no means! You assert merely, that you could divide the body infinitely; and thus your assertion, first of all, does state not anything concerning the body itself, but merely something concerning your own faculty; whilst, secondly, this assertion has by no means been corroborated by experience, but grounds itself, if it is true, altogether upon the immediate self-contemplation of that faculty in its inner essence, as an infinite faculty testifying of itself.
Now this infinite faculty is actually contemplated, and is seized and encircled by our glance and placed before it as determined, and hence as the completion and totality of this infinity.
In short, if the faculty is to be contemplated as it is, it must be contemplated as infinite, for it is infinite. If it is to be contemplated, it must be fixed and gathered together, for it is the essence of contemplation to fix. And thus the self-contemplation of the faculty must necessarily become a gathering together of infinity.
Hence, as the last result of our present investigation we have this: Extension in space is nothing but the self-contemplation of the contemplating mind as an infinite faculty.
Let us now gather together what has been made known to us by our undertaken analysis of external perception. It involved, firstly, an affection of the external sense; and since this external sense belongs altogether to the contemplations, and is limited in and to them, it is clear that the contemplating faculty can perceive such an affection or limitation only in and to itself. Hence, in regard to this part, the external perception is a self-contemplation of a determined limitation or affection of the external sense. It involved, secondly, extension, which has clearly shown itself to be a self-contemplation of the contemplating faculty. Hence, external perception, so far as we have as yet been able to learn, goes never beyond the sphere of the contemplating faculty; and it is very easily to be comprehended from the previous analysis how the contemplating faculty, in its state of external perception, is able to say: I feel myself thus and thus limited, although in the same undivided contemplation I behold at the same time my infinite faculty.
But it is not at all to be comprehended, how the contemplating faculty can go beyond this mere perception and say: There exists outside of me, and altogether independently of me, something which is extended in space, and constituted thus or thus. It is evident now that our analysis of external perception has not yet been closed, and that one of its chief essentials is still lacking.
The immediate fact here is precisely, that the mind goes beyond or out of contemplation, or externalizes; now such a going out from or beyond immediate contemplation and externalizing we have have always called Thinking (which is a mere word-designation to enable us to express ourselves more concisely without always adding the description of the conception).
Hence we express the above fact thus: in immediate connection with what we have recognized in all external perception as contemplating, we moreover think; and it is precisely through this thinking, and through the inseparable union of this thinking with the before mentioned contemplation into a closely-joined life-moment of the contemplating faculty, that that which before was in that faculty becomes now something external, an object.
I. The proposition, that the object—for there is only one object, since the asserted existence of something external and independent of us, which constitutes the real character of an object, belongs to all objects in the same manner—is neither felt in sensation, nor beheld in contemplation, but altogether and solely thought, is as important as it has never yet been recognized.
We have assisted the insight into it in a very easy manner by showing that the sensation as well as the extension in space are altogether matters of self-consciousness; and that hence if the human mind proceeds beyond this self-consciousness and transcends it by a new kind of knowledge, this latter kind of knowledge is an entirely other one and worthy to be designated by another name, for which name we propose that of Thinking. For thinking is precisely the expression used for a going beyond and out of mere self-consciousness, and we particularly request every one to comprehend this distinction. But that there really is involved such a going beyond even in the mere external perception is an immediate fact, since we do really assume a Something independent of us and existing outside of us, instead of the simple perception of a limitation of our external sense, &c., which alone we perceive,—a fact which each one may verify in his own consciousness.
II. Here already it appears clearly that consciousness is not a mere dead and passive mirror of external objects, but in itself living and productive. Imagine a quiet sheet of water wherein the trees and plants of the shore mirror themselves, and give to this sheet of water even the power to behold the pictures imaged in it and to become conscious of them; and it is easy enough to understand how the water can arise to a consciousness of an image or shadow in it; but it is by no means explained how the water can ever get out of these pictures, and go beyond and externalize them to the real trees and plants on the shore whereof they are pictures. It is thus with our consciousness. To explain how we get an affection of our external sense, and a power to contemplate our faculty, belongs to the sphere of pure philosophy, or the Science of Knowledge, and hence should not be undertaken in a review of the facts of consciousness. That inner self-contemplation we here accept as an existing fact. But we are bound to explain how this self-contemplation can pretend to be a contemplation of objects existing by themselves and altogether beyond the sphere of the contemplating faculty; and in order to comprehend this as a fact, we must moreover assume an inner life of that self-contemplation which goes out of and beyond itself: Thinking.
Now what does this thinking really achieve in external perception? Simply that it furnishes the form, the form of objective existence. Hence in the object we must distinguish two chief components, arising from different sources; firstly, the objective form, which originates through thinking, and, secondly, that which the object is in itself, and which originates from the self-contemplation of the contemplating faculty;—the material quality of the object arising from a limitation of the external sense and its extension from a contemplation of our own infinite faculty. The first is the form of the object, the second its matter. It is, moreover, to be remarked in regard to the form of thinking, that thinking is a positing, and a positing in opposition to another; hence an op-positing, and that, therefore, all opposition arises immediately and purely from thinking, and is produced by thinking. So much concerning thinking in general, in so far as its nature can be made clear here.
Let us now answer the question to what particular kind the here discovered thinking may belong.
I say, it is not a thinking arising in consequence of another thinking, but an absolute and in-and-upon-itself-reposing thinking. I will not say that it is the original thinking—though it may be, but surrounded with a certain hull—but it is surely the first thinking within the sphere of the facts of thinking; precisely as external perception generally, whereof this thinking is an inseparable component, is also the first consciousness, preceded by none other.
Hence it is not proper to say, in the ordinary sense of the word, “I” (signifying an individual, which ordinary use of language we here do not wish to deviate from, remaining, as we do, within the region of facts), that it is I who think in this thinking, since it will be shown hereafter that it is only through a reflection concerning this thinking that the “I” arrives at a consciousness of itself; but we must say, the thinking, itself, as an independent life, thinks from out and through itself and is this objectivating thinking.
And now let us gather together the whole external perception, whereof we have examined the component parts. It is, in general, a consciousness which is not made through any free principle with considerateness and in accordance with any beforehand determined conception, but which is made through itself: a peculiar and independently upon-itself-reposing life of consciousness.
I say an independent and upon-itself-reposing life; for the being and life of consciousness are altogether lost in the described determinations and do not extend further, although it is quite possible that the same life may in a future reflection go beyond the before described determinations, may extend its life and add new determinations of it. But this thus-in-itself lost consciousness, which forms a completely closed spiritual life-moment by itself, is not simple, as we have already stated, but rather composed of two chief ingredients, thinking and self-contemplation; whereof the latter again separates into two utterly distinct components. And these two—or, if you choose, three—components are melted together so inseparably and into one, that the one cannot occur without the other, and that consciousness is formed only through the synthetical union of the three. The contemplating faculty cannot contemplate its infinite faculty without feeling at the same time its external sense limited in a certain manner; and immediately with this consciousness of its own condition there connects a thinking, intimately united with that consciousness to one life-moment; whereby that which before was in us for our contemplation now becomes a body externally existing and endowed with a certain sensible quality. Again, on the other hand: objective thinking cannot occur unless there is a contemplation, since all thinking is a going beyond, an externalizing, which, of course, presupposes an internal from which to go beyond, or to externalize.
Chapter 2 
Concerning Internal Perception or Reflection
- All our internal perception presupposes, firstly, an activity of the mind whereby it can free itself from its condition of external perception, and hence posit itself both as a knowing of itself as knowledge (that is, of a limitedness of itself through external perception), and as a knowing of itself as a creative principle (that is, of a power in itself to free itself from that limitedness), which activity of the mind is called intellectual contemplation; and, secondly, an activity of the mind whereby it objectivates this its own power and posits it as an independently existing thing, which activity is called intellectual thinking.
Having thus analyzed the facts of consciousness in external perception, it seems that we might now, without further preliminaries, proceed to an analysis of internal perception, or reflection, as our second chapter.
But since, as it partly is known already and partly is evident at the first glance, this reflection or internal perception is a condition altogether different from—nay, in part, utterly opposed to—that of external perception, it may seem curious to many how such opposite determinations are possible in one and the same consciousness; and hence, before going further, we first ought to answer this question: how is it possible for the life of consciousness to proceed from one of its conditions to its opposite; or, how is it possible for us at all to proceed from our first to a second chapter?
To solve this question, let us consider together, and let me beg you to find in your own minds true the following:
1. I assert that knowledge in its inner form and essence is the being of freedom. What freedom is, I assume to be known to you. Now, of this freedom I assert that it exists absolutely; not, as some one might suppose at the first view, as a quality of some other in-itself-existing substance and inherent in the same, but as an altogether independent being or existence, and that this independent and peculiar being of freedom is knowledge. I assert that this independent being of freedom places itself before itself as knowledge; and that whoever wants to comprehend knowledge in its essence, must think it as such a being of freedom.
Explanatory.—Here already we get a glimpse of an altogether other, higher, and more spiritual being than common materialistic understanding is capable of thinking. That understanding can very well join something like freedom to a substance as its background, which substance, if closely examined, is however always of a material nature; but finds it very hard, nay, if it has been kept on the wrong track for a considerable time, altogether impossible to arise to a comprehension of an independent existence of freedom. To prove such a pure being of pure freedom is a matter belonging to the Science of Knowledge; at present I only ask you to consider such a thought as a possible, problematic thinking. Nevertheless, it can be made clear even here, in immediate contemplation, that knowledge may be actually and in fact such a being and expression of freedom. For in my knowledge of the actual object outside of me, how is the object related tome as the knowing? Evidently thus: its being and qualities are not mine, and I am free from both, floating above and altogether indifferent in regard to them.
2. In every determined knowledge, that general freedom which exists, and exists as certainly as a knowledge in general is, is limited in some particular manner. In every determined knowledge there is a duplicity melted into a oneness: freedom, which makes it a knowledge; and a certain limitation or canceling of this freedom, which makes it a determined knowledge.
3. All change and all alteration of the determinations of the one general knowledge (or of the one general freedom) must, therefore, consist in either the making loose of latent freedom, or the making latent of loose freedom.
4. But further: since this freedom is to be nothing but freedom and knowledge generally, nothing but the being of absolute freedom, such a making latent or loose of freedom can be achieved solely through, freedom itself. Freedom itself is the principle of all its possible determinations; for if we were to assume an outside ground of those determinations, freedom would not be freedom.
5. If freedom is in any respect latent or chained down, it is in the same respect not loose or free, and vice versa; and thus it becomes comprehensible, how various moments of the one universal knowledge must dirempt as altogether opposite to each other.
6. Thus we arrive at the idea of a certain limiting and freeing, or of a Fivefoldness together with an Infinity in consciousness.
1. Let us now apply these principles, first of all in general, to reflection. In external perception, the altogether simple consciousness—which in no manner rises above itself, or reflects upon itself and the life whereof is therefore not in the least more developed than is necessary to constitute it consciousness—is confined to a determined imaging of its sensation. That freedom which it needs, to bear but the form of knowledge, it receives through the objectivating thinking, which lifts consciousness, though confined to a determined imaging, at least beyond its mere being and frees it therefrom. Hence, in this simple consciousness confined and liberated freedom are united. Consciousness is confined to imaging, but liberated from being, which being is for that very reason transferred to an external object; and hence our knowledge begins necessarily with the consciousness of an external object; for it could not begin lower and yet remain knowledge. In this simple consciousness there is freedom merely of being; and this is the lowest and last grade of freedom.
2. Now knowledge is to rise beyond this determined confinedness of external perception through reflection. It was confined to imaging, and hence must make itself free and indifferent in regard to this imaging, just as in external perception it was free and indifferent in regard to being.
Through the being of a determined freedom there always arises a determined knowing. Here we have freedom from imaging; hence there must arise a knowing of the image as image; whereas in external perception there occurred a knowing merely of the thing. Here it becomes quite clear, as I said before, that a determined consciousness is the being of a determined freedom. For that, in relation to which freedom is free, is always the object of this determined consciousness. Thus in external perception there was freedom solely in regard to being; and hence arose a consciousness of being, and altogether nothing more. In reflection there is freedom in regard to the imaging, and hence to the above consciousness of being there is joined now the consciousness of imaging. In external perception consciousness said simply: the thing is. But in reflection the newly-arisen consciousness says: there is also an image, a representation of the thing. Moreover, since this consciousness is the realized freedom of imaging, knowledge in respect to itself says: I can image or represent that object or not, as I choose.
3. We have here various new creations:
Firstly, there is as the ground of this newly-arisen consciousness of the image a real self-liberating, a self-liberating on the part of the life of knowledge itself. The determined consciousness, here of the image as the being of a determined freedom, is nothing but the result of the tearing itself loose from its chains on the part of free life, is simply the result of this determined higher life-development on the part of freedom itself. That standing and permanent being of freedom, which now is consciousness, is absolutely created through freedom. Hence this act appears even in consciousness as a gathering together and an exertion.
Secondly, there arises here the knowledge of an image as something altogether new. Did not, then, that external perception which preceded the reflection also contain an image, or not? If the life of consciousness is altogether free, as we have seen it to be, that external perception could surely have entered it only through its own freedom, and thus it seems that the image in external perception must also be always recognized as an image created by freedom. How to think such a thought we here lack even expression. But so much we can say, that the image of external perception could not have been created by a freedom of actual knowledge, since actual knowledge presupposes it as its starting-point, and that hence it is proper to say: external perception did contain not an image but a thing.
But this is merely preliminary. Let us now enter upon a more profound description of the freedom, arisen through this new life-development, in its relation to the image.
In external perception we had, firstly, a limitation of the external sense through a determined quality; for instance, of a red color. Hence the freedom opposed to it, the liberation from that confinedness, must consist in a power to freely produce such images of qualities; for instance, an image of not only a red color, but also a yellow color, &c.: a free power of imaging, a power of imagination in regard to sensuous qualities. But since an image of a quality is not possible without a previous actual affection through the external sense, and since a good supply is necessary for a free oppositing of many such images, it follows that life must have existed in a condition of mere perception for some length of time in order to be able to rise to such a freedom of imagination.
In external perception we had, secondly, a contemplation of extension, and a contemplation of the thing perceived which was confined precisely to this figure, this size, and this location in universal space. Hence the liberation from this sort of confinedness must consist in this, that the imagination, though always confined to extension in general, has a powder to freely imagine figure, size, and location.
External perception involved, finally, an objectivating thinking. This, while remaining, on the whole, the same—namely, in that the product of imagination is also objectivated or externalized—must be changed so (the limitation of the external sense in general having vanished) that it is posited as the thinking of an object not actual and in fact existing, but merely imagined and freely thought.
Thus the freedom of imagination is actually a real liberation of spiritual life. For, while we wake, our external sense is still determined and affected by that power which as yet is to us unknown; and it is only imagination which lifts us above this affection through the senses, and makes us capable of withdrawing ourselves from its influences by withdrawing our perception and surrendering ourselves exclusively to the productions of the imagination, thus freely creating an entirely different sequence of time, which has no connection whatever with the time-sequence' of sensuous development. In children, during the first years of their lives, this power of abstracting from sensuous impressions doubtless does not exist, and hence also not the power of free imagination. In grown-up persons the strength of this power of abstraction has various grades, according to the standard of their spiritual development. Archimedes was not disturbed in his geometrical constructions by the tumult of a conquered city; but it is a different question whether he would not have been disturbed had a stroke of lightning flashed down near him.
Let us now investigate this still more profoundly by rising from the determined external characteristics of this new freedom to its inner form.
1. In external perception the life of knowledge has causality through its mere being; and, moreover, a determined causality, since causality in general is nothing real, but a mere thought. It is through this having causality that that life of knowledge (the Ego) rises above the object (the non-Ego); for it is not like the object, a dead, permanent being, but a living producing. But in its moments of perception it is confined to this condition of having causality, and, since it cannot generally be confined, it is confined in those moments to a determined causality.
2. The second development of that life, or of the Ego, liberates itself from this confinedness, signifies therefore: the Ego, or life, rises beyond this, having causality through its mere existence, and hence checks this immediate outpouring of its life. But it certainly cannot thereby annihilate all its life. What, then, is it that remains? Evidently a principle which is not a cause through its immediate existence, but which can become such a cause only through the free activity that has arisen through this very new life-development itself. In short, it becomes a principle which, as such, has its separate independent existence, whereas at the first it had existence only as an actual causality. It has, in fact, put its causality, which on the first stage of consciousness was not in its power, now under its newly developed control. Instead of having as at first a simple existence, it has now attained a double one: a second new being which floats freely over that first simple one; a being which, as its freedom may choose, can be either a permanent self-determined principle, or an unchecked flow of causality.
3. All being of a determined freedom results in a determined knowledge; hence, now that life has made itself a principle, there arises necessarily an immediate consciousness of itself as such a principle. Can this new consciousness be closer characterized?
It certainly has freed itself from a knowledge to which it at first was confined, a knowledge of the object; and through this freeing there has arisen for it a new knowledge, a knowledge of knowledge. But in the same undivided life-moment there has arisen for it a knowledge of itself as a principle, and thus the knowledge of a principle joins together with the knowledge of knowledge into a substantial body of knowledge, a knowing one who is one and the same with the principle; in short, an Ego. I, the knowing, am at the same time the principle which has been liberated from immediate causality. The consciousness, I, starts from a reflection of knowledge and proceeds to that knowledge as a principle; and both become one through their inseparable union in the condition of reflection.
4. Now this Ego, thus first created through the free development of life and entering consciousness, can either remain in this checkedness of its life-development, or surrender itself unto a free constructing of the power of imagination, or surrender itself to external perception.
5. The question now is: whether at this stage of life external perception is in its inner form precisely as it was previously or not. I maintain that it is not precisely so, and everything depends upon getting an insight into this distinction.
a. Through this new development a total change and alteration in the life of consciousness has occurred. Previously this life had causality through its mere being, but now it has no such causality at all; only through its own free act can anything arise in it. It never can even sink back to that previous condition after once having risen above it.
b. Nevertheless the essence of external perception consists precisely in this, that consciousness has causality through its mere being. How, then, can a consciousness, which is no longer a causality, through its mere being perceive externally?
c. Because, although it is no longer confined to that first condition, it can voluntarily surrender itself to it. It can make itself to be a consciousness which has causality through its mere being. Such a making or surrendering is well known to every person under the name of Attention. The first being, which always remains but does not absorb the being of consciousness, has been joined by a second being which controls the first one. This second being can never be annihilated, but may well surrender itself voluntarily to the first one.
An Illustration.—The perception of a plant by a child before the development of its self-consciousness is distinguished from the attention given by the natural philosopher to the same plant in this manner: the child, if awake, cannot help but see this plant if it falls within its range of vision, since its consciousness is altogether incapable of entertaining another series of observations. But the natural philosopher, even if the plant falls within his sphere of vision, may either see or not see it, as he chooses; for he may fill up the same time of his life with other thoughts. If he chooses to see and observe it, he does so by a free act, and perhaps even by an exertion to tear himself away from his other free thoughts, collecting himself for the purpose of observation: all of which does not occur in the child's mind, since to the child diversion is not possible, as it does not yet possess the diverting power: imagination. Moreover, the child is forced to accept the appearance of the plant as it may chance to present itself, observing particularly parts, which are prominent, by reason of their strength of expression or unusualness, leaving perhaps unnoticed other parts that are not so prominent; whereas the natural philosopher may guide his observation by a certain order, dwelling upon certain parts until he is quite conscious that he has seen them correctly, &c.;—in short, his observation owes its existence as well as its direction to considerate freedom, whilst in the child both the existence and the direction of its observation result from the child's present standpoint of sensuous development.
6. Remarks.—a. I have described external perception as a condition wherein consciousness has causality through its mere existence, and the new character added to it by reflection as a power to check that outflowing of causality, and constitute life a principle through a possible free deed. As an illustration of the first condition, I have pointed to the child in the first moments of its life. In grown-up men such condition should never arise again, nor ever be observed by him in himself. But there does arise a similar condition, in a certain sick state of the mind, which belongs to the province of psychology, and hence does not interest us here as such, but which we may also make use of as an illustration. Namely: a person may accustom himself, particularly if impelled by violent passions, to a free and aimless imagining (or constructing through free imagination as described above) to such an extent that this flow of his imagination begins to flow without any free act of his, altogether of itself, and that thus his sick condition begins to have causality in his imagination through its mere existence, just like the natural condition of the child in its early perception. If a sickness of this kind begins to get such a deep root as to render altogether impossible, in the checking of that flow, a direction of attention to external perception, and an oppositing of external perception to that flow of imagining: it is called Insanity.
Now if such a person were to receive sufficient power forever to check that free flow of his imagination, he would then have himself a free principle in regard to that independent and all-devouring power of imagination; just as, in our first description, consciousness rose from its first stage, and made itself a free principle in regard to the independent external perception, which devoured all its being.
b. One more remark on the distinction of free attention from that external perception which forces itself upon the mind. For the latter it is necessary that consciousness should have causality through its mere being. This causality it retains evermore, and it is cancelled by no freedom. The flow of external perception continues to flow even for the free person, since he also keeps his senses open. It is only upon his consciousness that that causality has no immediate influence; the flow, however it flows, does not take hold of his consciousness necessarily. If it is to take hold of it he must voluntarily surrender himself to it; he must voluntarily put his consciousness into that state of having immediate causality. If you call external perception x, then in the condition of that perception, x is the centre beginning and end of that whole consciousness; it cannot not be. But in the condition of attention this x has been all through penetrated with freedom; its existence as well as its duration is product of freedom.
Let us now approach an analysis of consciousness as it is in reflection, which we could not possibly undertake before. It has two components:
1. Contemplation.—This has been described before as an immediate consciousness of selfhood, of its condition as well as of its faculty. But now we describe it with still greater exactness as follows: contemplation is that kind of knowledge which results immediately from the being of freedom. But in this description we have also a double contemplation, the component parts whereof are just as distinct as they were found to be in the former case: firstly, a contemplation of the condition, and, secondly-, a contemplation of the faculty.
a. The contemplation of the condition may be expressed as a knowledge of knowledge; a knowledge of a confinedness or limitation of the internal sense through the perception of a determined external object, precisely as the external sense was in external perception limited by the object itself.
b. The contemplation of the faculty may be expressed as a knowledge of a principle, beyond all causality. This contemplation or knowledge is (just as we found extension to be in external perception) a contemplation of the faculty of knowledge. But there is this distinction, that whereas in external perception the infinite faculty realized itself actually' and had causality, that is, an actual infinity, which was pressed together to a totality only through the form of contemplation, here the principle generally, without any act or causality, is contemplated in its merely possible infinity.
Let me ask now: is this consciousness of a principle actually a contemplation? If we look at its form we cannot but answer yes, since it is the immediate expression of freedom which lifts itself above causality by its mere being; but if we look at the substance, we might fall into doubt. For a principle is an activity that extends beyond each of its possible causalities. Here, therefore, appears a going beyond all possible causalities (which are mere phenomena) as the true characteristic of thinking. We must, therefore, say that, in the contemplation of a principle, the characteristics of contemplation and thinking intimately penetrate each other.
2. Thinking.—This has also been described before as an externalizing, and manifests itself here as asserting: “I. am; I exist independently—independently even of my knowing myself—now and forever. It is true that I also contemplate myself; but I do not get existence through this contemplation, nor shall I cease to have existence if this contemplation withdraws its breath, for I have an independent and on-itself reposing existence.” Hence there is here a going beyond all possible contemplation, and this going beyond constitutes the real character of thinking. Just as in external perception consciousness did not say, as it ought to have said on the basis of contemplation alone: “I behold such and such,” but said, “Such and such a thing is”; so in the present reflection consciousness does not say, “I behold such and such a principle,” but, rather, “Such and such a principle is.” Now these two or three—as you choose—components of reflection unite here together, just as in external perception, to an organic unity and inseparability. Hence the first named component takes also part in the effect of thinking, and there enters thus into the complete and actual consciousness not only a mere knowledge of knowledge, but moreover an independent being of such a knowledge; hence a knowing mind as the independent bearer of knowledge in all knowledge—at least, in all knowledge of external objects. It is quite evident that this knowing mind is the same in all knowledge which it originates through freedom. Again: since the principle and the knowing mind get their being through the same one thinking, it is quite evident that this being is also the same; and thus the thought of the Ego is made complete.
Let us ask here, even as above: what sort of thinking is that thinking we have just described? The thinking of the external object was an absolutely unconditioned thinking, a thinking which has existence just as soon as consciousness has existence. But the present thinking is a thinking conditioned by free reflection; hence a second thinking, and probably the second in order.
Furthermore: we observed, in regard to the first thinking, that it would not be proper at all to say: I think this thinking and by means of it the object; but rather: the universal and independent thinking itself thinks the object. So likewise here. The thinking which occurs here first thinks the Ego and gives it its being. For surely the Ego cannot well think before it is, and generate its generator! Hence the Ego is, precisely like the external object, the product of universal thinking, and is given to itself through this thinking just as the external object is given through it.
Hence also I cannot say properly: It is I, the free Ego, who represent this object—for whatsoever in my representation I intermix with my freedom is not objective;—but rather: I am free simply to direct my attention to this object, or to abstract from it.
This is highly important. For, as I assert (and you doubtless have convinced yourselves of the correctness of my assertion by your own observation and contemplation), the Ego—as we for the present call it, and as the ordinary use of language calls it, apart from the Science of Knowledge—posits neither the external object nor itself; but both the external object and itself are posited through the universal and absolute thinking, and this thinking gives to the Ego not only the object but also itself. The free productions of its imagination, the Ego, perhaps, may posit itself. Nevertheless the science of Knowledge has hitherto been generally understood as asserting the very reverse of what I have just now stated. Now it is certainly true that the Science of Knowledge has said, and will ever say, and says to yon now, that the Ego posits absolutely itself as well as in itself the object. But in saying this it does not speak at all of the empirical Ego, but of an Ego which is altogether concealed to ordinary eyes, cannot be found at all within the sphere of facts, and can be recognized only by a rising to the fundamental ground. But this only the Science of Knowledge can justify.
1. This is the proper place to state more definitely the peculiar nature of thinking. I have said before that thinking adds no new ingredient whatever to contemplation, but merely gives it another form; elevating it above its flowing, phenomenal nature, and changing it into an independent being. It is thus in the immediate act of original thinking; and the result thereof is, therefore, also independent and permanent, since that thinking is a development and progression of independent life. Now let us suppose that this result of thinking—i.e. the objective being which thinking adds to the object of contemplation—is analyzed just as it is found after that original act of thinking, and we shall find in it a twofoldness, i.e. firstly, a being which has or carries certain qualities, and, secondly, those qualities themselves. And now I would ask anyone to tell me what that being, substance, or bearer of the qualities (accidences) is in-and-for-itself, or whether he has a single word wherewith to characterize it as such being, or whether, if he casts aside this merely formal being, he retains anything else than the qualities. Hence that being or substance (the thing per se) is nothing at all in itself, but is merely the accidences in the form of thinking. That bearer is nothing but the eternal being-born by the eternal and universal thinking of the accidences. Now let us suppose further, that I start with my thinking from the substance, and characterize it (as I cannot well do otherwise) through its qualities: how, then, do I name it in relation to that which, considered as a mere quality, I name simply blue, round, &c. I suppose I name it a blue thing, a round thing, &c., and cannot well name it otherwise. Let us now apply this to the just considered case, wherein knowledge is changed through thinking in reflection into a knowing one. “To know” is a general flowing quality, and expresses an accidental characteristic precisely like blue, round, &c. Now thinking takes hold of this accidentality and raises it into the form of independent being. How, then, must we name that which is discovered in analytical consciousness as the result of such a thinking, and how will it be named by the natural use of language if left to itself? Evidently not a knowledge, but a knowing one, since through thinking there has arisen a substance, and a permanent, firm bearer of all knowledge.
2. It is to be observed, moreover, that we have now discovered two utterly distinct acts of thinking as facts of consciousness. For, we either retain the qualities, simply forming them through thinking, and this is a thinking according to the form of substantiality, wherein we have a substance with its accidences; or we proceed altogether beyond the accidences and do not retain them at all, in which case we think a principle, or ground, or the relation of causality. Through the first mentioned manner of thinking we have now obtained two substances; firstly, the object of external perception, and, secondly, the Ego as a knowing substance. The second manner of thinking occurs only in an absolute synthesis of thinking, as we have seen, in which synthesis that thinking, or the Ego, is changed through the first link of thinking into a substance, and through the second link into a principle.
Let us finally observe, that the object of external perception can never become ground or principle, as the Ego is, and as we have explained it to be, but only a cause through its mere existence, as will appear hereafter. So far as the Ego is concerned, there is here a twofold relation. In regard to external perception the Ego is purely substance, and by no means principle or ground. The Ego is principle or ground solely in relation to the productions of its inner freedom, and it is only through its being thus a principle that it becomes also the substance of the knowing of these productions. This distinction will be very important hereafter.
Chapter 3 
Concerning the Reproduction of External Perception
We have seen how through the discovery of freedom in reflection a power of imagination has sprung up. This power of imagination may, as we have seen, be applied to the reproduction of external perception, since it has already under its control all those elements that belong to such a reproduction; and it will be all the more proper here to consider imagination only as such a power of reproduction, since altogether free creations by its means appear as yet to be without end or meaning. In speaking of this reproduction we speak by no means of any new development of life, as we did in the case of reflection; for all the conditions of the possibility of such a reproduction are already furnished by reflection.
1. Consider this: such a reproduction is absolutely possible by virtue of the realized reflection. This possibility is standing, immanent in life, ever-present. How, then, does actuality distinguish itself from this possibility, and how am I ever to be impelled— always having possibility within my grasp—to add to it actuality? I answer: that possibility can consist at the utmost in a rule which is altogether a matter of thinking, whereas an actual fact under this rule would produce a contemplation. Hence possibility and actuality are here related to each other like free thinking and contemplation.
2. What, then, will be the presupposed rule of such a reproduction? External perception was a determined limitation of the external sense and the contemplation of space. The rule must be, therefore, a direction of the power of imagination to produce by its own activity an image of just that very same limitation. In the first instance, the limitation comes of itself without freedom. In the present instance, the power of imagination extends itself over the whole region of external sense and space, and is to give itself that determined limitation within this region. The fundamental condition of this free limitation is this, that the power of imagination should overlook the whole region, and have it well separated into classes and kinds,—for instance, the whole of the external sense into the five chief senses, and each of these again according to the chief distinctions of its limitations;—and the whole of the contemplation of space according to the possible limitations of figures, so that it may easily conform to a desired limitation according to a determined rule. The former, the classification, is necessary, so that nothing may be passed unnoticed; the second, a sharp distinction amongst the various determinations of the same sense, is necessary, in order that we may not fill up the image by that which is undetermined and confused instead of that which is strictly determined in perception. This latter distinction requires an acuteness of the senses with reference to sensuous qualities, which, it is true, is partly a natural gift; but which can also be voluntarily acquired by very strenuous attention, without which, after all, the mere natural gift is of no use.
3. This is the inner substance of the rule. But which, amongst the many qualities of perception, is the power of imagination to behold, in the image? Here we arrive at the external substance of the rule: the power of imagination is to be guided by the prototype of external perception. But how can it be so, since the external sense is not affected? for if it were, we should be speaking of a state of attention and not of reproduction. Evidently the power of imagination must be able to reawaken perception in its determined parts. By directing its attention to the important point imagination must be able to reproduce absolutely this point if it so chooses, and to reproduce it exactly as it was in the previous perception. Thus we arrive at another causality of imagination, through its mere being, than the one described above as occurring in a diseased condition of the Ego. And so it is in fact, as everyone can discover by observing himself. But this new causality stands under certain conditions of freedom, since it is dependent not only upon the above described attention, and upon a proficiency in this sort of reproduction on the part of imagination—a proficiency that can be acquired only gradually—but furthermore upon the fact, that the point, which is to be reproduced, must have been clearly and vividly perceived at first. Nor must this reawakening of a single sensual part—which in our representation is something altogether new—be mistaken for the reproduction of the whole image through freedom; for whereas in the latter instance freedom furnishes the whole act of construction, it in the former furnishes only attention: in the latter there are two elements, the whole sphere of that which is to be determined and that as which it is to be determined; whereas in the former there is only a single element, which manifests itself without any free act of volition, just as it did in sensuous perception.
4. This described attention, therefore, observes for the sake of reproduction and according to the rules thereof. Supervision it already has, voluntarily checking itself everywhere, bringing the observed matter under its proper classification, and determining the qualitative through its limits. Thus it becomes quite clear what that freedom and considerateness is, of which I said before that it pervades attention. Thus, for instance, you now attend to my lecture with a view to reproducing it. This reproduction will occur all the more easily and happily if you attend to it at once according to a rule of future reproduction; that is, if you not only seize what I say, but, particularly, seize it in the same order in which I say it and observe why I say it in this particular order, attending well to the transitions I make and the reasons why I make them; in short, if you get possession not only of the contents of my lecture, but also of the rule according to which I produce it.
5. It is now also clear how immediate perception is distinguished from its mere image in reproduction. The latter is always accompanied by the consciousness of self-activity, and there arises in it not a single trait whereof the Ego would not be compelled to say, I make it; whereas actual perception is always accompanied by the consciousness of compulsion and confinedness.
6. Reproduction is, therefore, a self-limitation of the power of imagination within its whole sphere according to the prescription of a limitation of the external sense. The rule of this limitation is the conception of that object of external perception which is to be reproduced.
Give me a conception of a—to me unknown—object, signifies: give me the rule according to which I can construe it in free thinking.
Hence arises the very correct logical rule of definition, that it should furnish both the genus—the general sphere of the power of imagination—and the differentia specifica—that part to which imagination is to confine itself within that general sphere. We here learn also what logic holds to be thinking; namely, the free constructing according to such a rule. The science of Logic, therefore, begins within the sphere of the already acquired free imagination and ignores the real basis of all consciousness. Logic holds that to think is the same as to imagine something, and—since there is not even a prototype of external perception as a guidance—to imagine something voluntarily; and this is, in fact, a conception of thinking which has become current amongst the whole philosophizing public, but which utterly prevents it from entering the sphere of true philosophy: a proper example as to what the over-estimation of logic and its position at the head of philosophical education, or even as philosophy itself, have effected.
7. Does there occur here in consciousness something absolutely a priori and altogether new? I say, certainly. For whence does knowledge obtain its maxim to follow such and no other rule in reproduction? Evidently only out of itself, and moreover from its now more closely determined power to reproduce only through a limitation. Hence knowledge here and by virtue of this contemplation gives unto itself the qualitative law of reproduction.
8. The aim of reproduction is to get possession of the world of external perception independently itself. The source of this world has now been placed within the control of our freedom, to let it flow or check it as we may choose. Thus every science—for instance, natural science—possesses its whole world as its property, and must so possess it, in order to be able to subject at any moment each part thereof to its investigation. Thus we must make also our own world, the inner world of consciousness, our free property, and we are just now, in the present course of lectures, engaged upon this task, without however being able as yet to give an account of our proceeding, precisely because we are still engaged in the task.
9. Remarks.—I add the following pragmatical remarks: It is advisable to put the parts of such free constructions—particularly if these constructions are extensive—into a permanent and fixed form; for imagination, left to itself, flows, hurries, and gets confused easily. Imagination should, therefore, be tied down and brought under a supervision. In free thinking such a fixed form is writing. If the thinking was not close, this is more easily observed when writing it down or examining it after it has been written down; moreover, that which has been thus approved and secured from oblivion by its fixed form, gives a solid basis for further progress. In my opinion, a thorough and exhaustive thinking is not well possible otherwise than pen in hand.
The fixed form for reproduction through sight is drawing. The reproduction of a visible object must, firstly, seize the figure of that object with those innumerable and often imperceptible transitions from one shape into the other that we so often observe in objects of nature, while the drawing of the figure will testify as to the correct seizing and reproducing. The reproduction must, secondly, reproduce the size of the object.
In regard to the reproduction of the figure, we have an artificial assistant in reconstructing; for the science of geometry includes all possible figures, and hence every possible limitation in nature can be reduced to a geometrical figure. In regard to the size, we have no such assistant; it must be reawakened altogether by the above-described causality of imagination; but the power of attention can practice itself in this gift of reawakening. The result of such a practice is called a good eye for proportions and distances, and its attainment is to be proved by the drawing.
So far as the correct seizing and reproducing of color in a visible object is concerned, it seems to me that this branch of the business is as yet altogether a matter of chance, and that hitherto no artificial means have been discovered to develop it.
Chapter 4 
The Ego has been posited absolutely through thinking; it exists absolutely independent of its own self-contemplation, and exists thus as free principle in the manner in which we have determined this conception above.
I add now: a principle is necessarily infinite. For if it ever ceased to be principle, and after any possible series of manifestations were finally to vanish altogether in some last one, it would not have been absolutely posited as principle, nor would being principle have constituted its real essence; it would have been simply the conditioned principle for such a determined series of manifestations.
In making this additional assertion, what sort of an insight do I produce in you? I reply that it is an insight created by an analysis of the given conception of a principle, and that we have found the conception of a principle to involve another conception. That is, if I—as I may or may not do—take hold of the conception of infinity, and, relating it to that of a principle, try to unite both in thinking, I discover that I not only can thus unite them, but must unite them. But infinity is rather a contemplation. Hence the proper expression in our case will be this: the conception of a principle—if that principle is not only thought but also contemplated, which may or may not be done—necessarily involves the law, that it can be contemplated only as an infinite principle. This is the fundamental law of analytical thinking, although an a priori law, which we here mention for the sake of logic which lacks it.
This infinite principle it is our present problem through our imagination to picture in its actual state of manifesting itself. It can be principle altogether only my relation to itself—since there exists nothing outside of it—and in relation to itself only as a development or confining of freedom, since it is not capable of any other determination.
We have already spoken before of a development and confinedness of a freedom through which alone the various fundamental forms of consciousness can arise, but had then good reasons to suppose that this sort of development had its determined terminus a quo and ad quem, and that it formed a circumscribed sphere, and that, therefore, the principle was finite in relation to it. But now we speak of a development through an infinite principle; hence we may expect that freedom must here be thought by us under another determination; and these two different spheres must on no account be taken the one for the other until we shall be able to give their characteristic difference.
These manifestations of the principle absolutely exclude each other, and it is absolutely impossible that if the one occurs, any other one should occur. Hence if a new manifestation is to occur, the previous one must first have been annihilated and canceled; they can follow only in succession. The annihilation of the one which is, is the condition of the possibility of the being of the other; and hence the former is first, and the second one succeeds. Thus that which remains always one and the same, proceeds through a series of successive changes, or through a time. This series never has an end, for the principle can become a principle infinitely. Thus we arrive at an infinite time. This one-and-the-same remaining has only one dimension, for it is itself an infinite succession of reciprocally excluding contents. The contents are not themselves the moments of time, for as parts of the one and same time they are altogether equal, but they make it possible to distinguish something in time. That which bears time, and forms its point of unity is the principle; the contents of the time and the points of disjunction are the manifestations of that principle.
Now what did our problem propose to picture? Evidently merely the principle in its actual state of being a principle, but our problem did not at all propose to picture time. The picture of time came of itself and joined itself of its own accord to that picture of the principle as soon as we tried to form the latter. Hence we mast express it thus: time is a law of that picturing which we are trying to discover, and its peculiar character as such law is this, that it does not confine and enchain us unseen and unconsciously—as the laws of thinking very often do—but that, while it binds us, it also represents itself to us in an image or picture. We must, therefore, furthermore try to explain this consciousness of time which enters our mind of its own accord.
Whenever freedom elevates itself actually and in fact over any limitation wherein it was previously confined, there arises a consciousness as the immediate being of this new-arisen freedom. This is a proposition which we have established above and from which we have drawn many conclusions already. Let us now apply this proposition to the present instance. Our problem was to construct that principle by means of free imagination. Now, in doing this, imagination has already risen above its state of actually being such a principle; and hence the life of consciousness is, during that constructing, surrendered neither to its lower condition of being a principle, nor to a contemplation of the manifestations of that principle. Now this unsurrendered condition of life—which has arisen by means of the free act whereby consciousness determined itself to construct the principle—represents itself in a consciousness which, as the immediate expression of an inner condition, must appear as a given (not free) consciousness. This representation, or the immediate contemplation of the pure principle absolutely as such, is what is called time.
Illustration.—Do we by a free act produce time or not? We do not produce it by a conscious freedom of imagination as we produce, for instance, the required picture of the principle; but we do produce the ground of the contemplation of time, which ground is our arising beyond the condition of actually being principle by means of our imagination. At least, this is all the answer we can now give to that/question; the final and decisive answer will appear only in the Science of Knowledge.
In the foregoing we have deduced merely the pure form of time, empty of all appearance; and this happened because our problem of a free thinking led us out of the natural progress of consciousness. But whatever reasons we may have had thus to proceed in the development of our subject, we must now turn back to its natural connection and show how consciousness arrives at an actual time. We put the question thus: is consciousness really compelled—of course, through some sort of a connection, since it can never be absolutely compelled—to place any of its results within time, as it certainly was compelled to place the objects of its external perception in space; or, is it indeed compelled by a peculiar synthesis to think any of its results as inseparable of a determined part of universal time and as tilling up this determined part?
To explain: it might very well be possible to say, that consciousness develops itself in time, and cannot develop itself otherwise; i.e. for a supposed observer outside of consciousness, who thinks its unity and watches the changes of its conditions, and yet be also possible that the thus observed consciousness for itself were altogether merged with its whole essence into every point of its condition—which condition would appear to the observer as a time moment. In which case the then observed consciousness would for itself be altogether disjointed and new in every moment of its existence; and each of these its moments would appear to it as a peculiar, in-itself-complete world, utterly unconnected with any other moment. Such a consciousness would have neither time nor time-moments. Now if this is not to be thus, consciousness or the Ego must immediately in every such condition grasp it as the necessary part of a whole; must be compelled to connect immediately with the consciousness of the part the consciousness of the whole; must find it impossible to remain in the part, and impelled to proceed from it to the whole. But this whole, which embraces everything, is knowledge. Hence the Ego must be compelled to grasp or comprehend those other parts of the whole as also knowledge, though a different knowledge; that is, as the different knowledges of the one knowledge, which always remains the same; whereby, indeed, the Ego lapses into the contemplation of time, which we have described above.
But how is the Ego to arrive at such a necessity to proceed beyond the part? Evidently thus: it must be impossible for the Ego to comprehend the part as existing—the thinking of the part as existing must be impossible and involve a contradiction—unless it connects this existence of the part to that of another part, which, however, cannot coexist with the first part at the same time; in short, unless the given- part is necessarily conditioned through another part. The conception of conditionedness has already been explained, and will be explained with still greater precision as we advance.
Remark, now, that this conception of conditionedness, which is here added, gives a new and more determined character to the whole previously described series of time-moments. For, whereas at first the different results of the principle merely excluded each other, so that if the one was to enter, the other one had to be annihilated—their place in the series being, however, utterly indifferent, and it being quite as well possible that b should precede a as that a should precede b—they now not merely exclude, but moreover condition each other; thus assigning to each moment its separate place or position in the series. It is no longer, as at first, a general before and after, but a determined before and after. The conditioning must precede the conditioned. Hence if the mind dwells upon this conditionedness of the parts of the time, it is driven to think the condition as the necessarily preceding, and from the thinking of this condition perhaps again to the thinking of its condition as the necessarily preceding, &c. &c.; that is, it may rise from a given c to a preceding b, and from that to a preceding a. Thus there arises the consciousness of an Ego, as that which remains one and the self-same in all the changes of its conditions, and with it the necessary requirement of an actual time in order to unite the contradiction in actuality.
Now, if these changing conditions were merely external perceptions for the individual who experiences them, then that consciousness of an Ego would be simply the consciousness of an Ego as an intelligence, or as a knowing Ego, but not of an Ego as a principle; and in this intelligence, or knowing Ego—since in its existence it is dependent upon the givenness of outer objects—having no guarantees of infinity and self-sufficiency, the time arising for it would not be infinite, but simply indefinite. But if these observed changes of conditions consist of free imagining and thinking, then that one Ego which arises in consciousness is expressly considered as a principle, and its time is an actual, and in truth infinite time.
Now we are here thinking the Ego not as merely a knowing power or intelligence, but as a practical power or principle, and hence we proceed further thus: what does it mean when we say, that the manifold utterances or manifestations of the principle are conditioned through each other, those manifestations—as the mere outflow of the freedom of the principle—having in themselves no independent existence whatever which might enable them to have peculiar determinations as the things of external perception have, and thus whatever we assert of them is in truth asserted of the principle from which they flow? It clearly means this: the principle is conditioned in regard to its utterances, its self-development is confined to a determined sequence of series of those manifestations or utterances, a sequence that here continues infinitely. It can arrive at a certain end, y—however clear it may think it and propose it to itself as its end—in actuality only by proceeding in a certain sequence through a, b, c, d, &c.
But whence arises this knowledge of the conditionedness of the Ego? Evidently, since it expresses a limitation of the principle in relation to its power in actuality, from the self-contemplation of its power. And thus the above promised definite description of the conception of conditionedness has become possible. That conception is founded upon the immediate self-contemplation of the faculty of the principle in its state of confinedness to an a priori determined sequence of moments in its development in actuality.
This conception will, therefore, make it possible with apodictical certainty to draw a conclusion from a given part of time as to what must have preceded that time—although that preceding has not been experienced in actual life—and thus to restore the past with sure accuracy by means of grounds. Thus it will also be possible in the same manner to draw conclusions from the same given time as to what will follow, and thus to make present the future; of course, under the presupposition that everything will happen properly,—that is, that the principle will use its entire faculty, and limit itself by nothing except the absolute law of its self-development.
I ask you now: is this thus perceived series of moments perfectly ordered, each link having in it its determined position, from which it cannot move, and therefore its firmly determined moment in known time? Doubtless you must answer: Yes. I ask again: at which time in universal time does this whole known time occur? has it also its determined position in that universal time? Doubtless you will have to answer, No; that known time floats in an altogether undetermined position in the infinite time, which is empty at both of its ends.
Appendix concerning the power of Recollection.—We desire to speak of this power in general, and more specially at this place, as it excellently illustrates what we have said about time.
The power of recollection is, first of all, essentially different from the above described power to generate the contents of time absolutely a priori either of the past or of the future. For whereas the latter power asserts merely, that a certain content of time was necessary in the past, or will be necessary in the future, regardless as to whether such content has been actually experienced in life, and indeed without any reference to actuality whatever, the power of recollection asserts that a certain state or condition in the past has actually been, and been experienced.
Now, upon what is this power of recollection grounded? I answer: just like that former power, upon a relation of conditionedness; but with this difference, that whereas that former power is conditioned by a relation simply of the absolute possibility of the occurrence, the present power is conditioned by the given actuality of the occurrence. In the present given moment I do something within my consciousness; and I observe that I do this by means of a new rejection which rises above the actual doing. Then I ask, under what subjective condition of the occurred development of my faculty could I do so? I find, under this or that condition. Hence this condition must have already been filled by me with some actual deed, whilst it is at the same time represented to be as actual by the immediate causality of imagination. Perhaps this condition is again conditioned in the same factical manner by a necessary previous condition, which is represented to me in the same manner as actual, &c. Thus I am enabled to develop from the one given moment of my life conditions of my past life as having actually occurred; that is, to recollect them. For instance: let the given moment of my life be an attention,—for in the case of the pure and simple external perception, as described above, recollection does not take place at all, since no freedom occurs in it. Now in this attention the particular is reduced to the general, and the species to the genus. As soon as I become conscious of it, the question arises: how did I arrive at my knowledge of this general and this genus? Evidently in some previous representation, which must therefore have been thus or thus, and which is represented to the thereby excited higher attention through the immediate causality of imagination as actual, that is, as having previously occurred.
Or let the present moment be a construction by means of free imagination. This surely needs a material quality, taken from the external sense. But this quality must at some time have been given to me through an external perception. Then I can develop this external perception in the above described manner from this construction.
Or, finally, the present moment contains a free thinking. This occurs in accordance with some law of thinking known to me already, and which, therefore, I must have learned at some previous time. This previous state of my mind, however, I can again develop in my recollection in the above described manner. Hence:
1. The power of recollection is the free power of imagination as a faculty of reproduction, in the manner in which we have described that faculty before.
2. The power of recollection is a power which is altogether free, stands under the control of the will and reason, and is susceptible of further culture by means of practice and rules of art.
3. The law and thread which guides this power of imagination, and by means whereof that power assigns to the reproduced conditions their determined position in time, is—Conditionedness.
4. That power which causes the reproduced condition to appear not as a necessary one—as above, where only thinking was busy—but as an actually experienced condition of life, is the immediate causality -power of imagination, which, joining attention—as to whether the condition has been actually experienced or not—gives to the power of recollection its peculiar character.
5. The power of recollection is not an accidental phenomenon of consciousness which should be left to the science of psychology under the name of memory, but it is a necessary and inseparable component of consciousness, and belongs to such a representation of the one and absolute consciousness as we are establishing in these present Facts of Consciousness, and which must be grounded with the whole of consciousness in the general Science of Knowledge. Without this power or faculty the whole of consciousness would be sundered into separate and utterly disconnected moments, as we have described it above, and would never even get to be a consciousness of the Ego as the permanent substrate in the change of the conditions.
6. We may, therefore, establish the following proposition: in each last condition or state of consciousness the whole previous life of that consciousness is the conditioning; hence it is quite possible to develop the latter, in a regressus from each conditioned moment to the conditioning, from the former. That this proposition does not show itself to be true in actual perception in our power of recollection, arises from this: that if we are to recollect anything done by us, as thus done, we must do it from the first with consciousness and considerateness so as to become conscious at the Same time of the law of our procedure. Thus all that part Of our lifetime which, belonging to our earlier years, made itself out of itself by our own immediate causality of imagination, as well as that which in mature life made itself through that same causality (through genius), does not come within the sphere of possible recollection, although in the latter case it may be well possible to recollect external circumstances. We may, therefore, venture upon the following general remarks respecting the power of recollection:
a. The condition of all recollecting is, that we should become clearly conscious of our freedom at that very moment which we wish to recollect, since it is only to this procedure that the thinking according to the law of conditionedness can connect; in short, that at that very moment we should ask ourselves: how do I come to do this, and how is it possible for me to do it?
b. The clearer, freer, and more under its own control, consciousness is in general, the more ready and powerful will be its power of recollection. The true principle of a science of mnemonics is the proposition: sapere aude.
c. In whatever branch of knowledge consciousness is most practised and accomplished, the power of recollection is also strongest. The practised philosopher, for instance, will find it very easy to restore the links of a series of thoughts, and to recollect the connections and the transitions of his argument; whereas he may have a very weak power of recollection for dates and names, since the worlds of dates and names are to him without any connection of thinking. In order to be able to recollect them, he would have to discover another source of connection.
d. Finally, the strengthening of our power of recollection requires a diligent practice of that power, by which practice alone we can acquire the art of developing the series of links quickly and without hesitation.
This, then, is the true power of recollection; a power which each one possesses in the same manner, and which each one can raise to a ready art in his mind by his own freedom. A particular favoritism of nature, talent, or genius, or whatever it may be called, has no influence upon it. What, then, do people mean when they speak of good and bad memories, &c., and make psychological investigations into the nature of this very same power? Can we make no use at all of their teachings? Let us see.
We will say nothing about their investigations as to the retention of images in our senses, which merely exhibit their coarse materialism. It is not the images themselves that are retained, but we retain the imaging, the development of our power of imaging, and we cannot help but retain that, since it has become a component of our own self. This power or faculty we analyze, and it is on the occasion of this analysis that the images are again reconstructed. Hence it is in this development of his faculty that man carries along his whole lived time.
But then it has excited their attention that we often—when we indolently leave our mind to itself—hit upon the notion of something that is past. This, however, tends only to show what manner of men they were to whom this fact has appeared so remarkable. A free and able man has no room for notions in his consciousness, but gives unto his consciousness direction and contents with perfect freedom so long as he wakes and has power. Nevertheless we ought to explain the nature of these notions and their relation to memory. The explanation is this: such a notion is the immediate causality of the power of imagination— which cannot be inactive even though its free master rests—all through itself, and is here, more specially, the reproduction of an actually experienced condition of life; but with this distinction from free recollection, that in the present instance the immediate causality of imagination is not in a reciprocity with free and considerate attention, but proceeds its own way by itself. In short, it is the very same power of imagination which also produces dreams. Such a psychological memory is acquired only when we dream with open eyes. There is only one sort of this immediate causality of imagination which deserves a more honorable mention, namely, the reproduction through the eye, because it fills a vacancy left open by the free power of recollecting according to the law of conditionedness. For we more readily remember names, dates,—nay, whole speeches—when we have written them down, or read them in print, since then the immediate causality of imagination comes to the assistance of free attention with an image of the written or printed character of the names, dates, &c. I should advise every one diligently to cultivate this sort of imagination for the sake of recollecting, wherever the mere connection of conditions is not sufficient.
- The necessity of translating Anschauung by Contemplation instead of Intuition is here again clearly illustrated. Fichte says in so many words, that up to Kant’s time people really did suppose that the faculty of contemplation was a faculty of intuition, and that Kant made the discovery that it was an entirely different faculty, a synthetical beholding, and by no means an analytical intuiting or conceiving. No English-thinking person will therefore ever understand either Kant or Fichte unless he translates Anschauung by contemplation or an equivalent term (beholding, &c.); just as no German reader will understand Kant or Fichte who does not take Anschauung to mean a faculty altogether different from the faculty of conception.
- Note of Translator.—To the believers in a creation of the world out of nothing, and the dabblers in the metaphysics of physical science who think they can solve the problem of creation—which is no problem at all since the whole matter is an absurdity—I would recommend an energetic study of this latter proposition: that it is utterly of no importance into what part of universal time you place known time; a proposition that Leibnitz, in his controversy with Clark, used effectually not only in regard to time but also to space.