On the Will in Nature/Physiology and Pathology
|←Introduction||On the Will in Nature by , translated by Madame Karl Hillebrand
Physiology and Pathology
|Comparative anatomy →|
In classifying the above-mentioned empirical corroborations of my doctrine according to the sciences from which they come, while I take the graduated order of Nature from the highest to the lowest degree as a guiding-thread to my expositions, I must first mention a very striking confirmation lately received by my chief dogma in the physiological and pathological views of Dr. Joachim Dietrich Brandis, private physician to the King of Denmark, a veteran in science, whose Essay on Vital Force (1795) had received Reil's hearty commendation. In his two latest writings, Experiences in the Application of Cold in Disease (Berlin, 1833), and Nosology and Therapeutics of Cachexias (1834), we find him in the most emphatic and striking manner stating the primary source of all vital functions to be an unconscious will, from which he derives all processes in the machinery of the organism, in health as well as in disease, and which he represents as the primum mobile [first mover] of life. I must support this by literal quotations from these essays, since few save medical readers are likely to have them at hand.
In the first of them, p. viii., we find: "The essence of every living organism consists in the will to maintain its own existence as much as possible over against the macrocosm;" p. x. : " Only one living entity, one will, can be in an organ at the same time ; therefore if there is a diseased will in disagreement with the rest of the body in the organ of the skin, we may hold it in check by applying PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 225
cold as long as the generation of warmth, a normal will, can be induced by it." P. 1 : " If we are forced to the conviction that there must be a determining principle, a will, in every vital action, by which the development suited to the whole organism is occasioned, and each metamorphosis of the parts conditioned, in harmony with the whole individuality, and likewise that there is a something capable of being determined and developed," &c. &c. P. 11: "With respect to individual life, the element which determines, the organic will, if it is to rest satisfied, must be able to attain what it wants from that which has to be determined. This occurs even when the vital movements are over excited, as in inflammation: something new is formed, the noxious element is expelled; new plastic materials are meanwhile conveyed through the arteries, more venous blood is carried off, until the process of inflammation is finished and the organic will satisfied. It is however possible to excite this will to such a degree, as to make satisfaction impossible. This exciting cause (or stimulus) either acts directly upon the particular organ (poison, contagion) or it affects the whole life; and this life then begins to make the most strenuous efforts to rid itself of the noxious element or to modify the disposition of the organic will, and provokes critical vital activity in particular parts (inflammations) or yields to the unappeased will"- P. 12: "The insatiable will acts destructively upon the organism unless either (a) the whole life, in its efforts to attain unity (tendency to adapt means to end), produces other activities requiring satisfaction (crises et lyses) which hold that will in check called decisive (crises completae) when quite successful; crises incomplete, when only partially so or (b) some other stimulus (medicine) produces another will which represses the diseased one. If we place this in one and the same category with the will of which we have become conscious through our own representations, and 226 THE WILL IN NATURE.
bear in mind that here there can be no question of more or less distant resemblance, we gain the conviction that we have grasped the fundamental conception of the one unlimited, therefore indivisible, life which, according to its different manifestations in various more or less endowed and exercised organs, is just as able to make hair grow on the human body as to combine the most sublime representations. We see that the most violent passion, unsatisfied will, may be checked by more or less strong excitement," &c. &c. P. 18: "The determining element this organic will without representation, this tendency to preserve the organism as a unity is induced by outward temperature to modify its activity now in the same, now in a remoter organ. Every manifestation of life, however, whether in health or in disease, is a manifestation of the organic will: this will determines vegetation: in a healthy condition, in harmony with the unity of the whole; in an unhealthy one .... it is induced not to will in harmony with that unity "... .P. 23: "Cold suddenly applied to the skin suppresses its function (chill); cold drinks check the organic will in the digestive organs and thereby intensify that of the skin and produce perspiration; just so with the diseased organic will: cold checks cutaneous eruptions," &c. &c. P. 33: "Fever is the complete participation of the whole vital process in a diseased will, i.e. it is to the entire vital process what inflammation is to particular organs the effort of our vitality to form some thing definite, in order to content the diseased will and remove the noxious element. We call this process of formation crisis or lysis (turning-point or release). The first perception of the pernicious element which causes the diseased will, affects the individuality just in the same way as a noxious element apprehended by our senses, before we have brought to clear representation the entire relation in which it stands to our individuality and the means of PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 227
removing it. It creates terror and its consequences, a standstill of the vital process in the parenchyma, especially in the parts directed towards the outer world; in the skin, and in all the motor muscles belonging to the entire individuality (outer body): shuddering, chills, trembling, pains in the limbs, &c. &c. The difference between them is, that in the latter case the noxious element, either at once or gradually, becomes clear representation, because it is compared with the individuality by means of all the senses, so that its relation to that individuality can be determined, and the means of protection against it (disregard, flight, warding off, defence, &c.) be brought to a conscious will; whereas, in the former case, we remain unconscious of that noxious element, and it is life alone (or Nature's curative power) which is striving to remove the noxious element and thereby to content the diseased will. Nor must this be taken for a simile; it is, on the contrary, a true description of the manifestation of life." P. 58: "We must however always bear in mind, that cold acts here as a powerful stimulus to check or moderate the diseased will and to rouse in its place a natural will, accompanied by general warmth."
In almost every page of this book similar expressions are to be found. In the second of the Essays I have named, Brandis no longer combines the explanation by the will so universally with each separate analysis, probably in consideration that this explanation is properly speaking, a metaphysical one. Nevertheless he maintains it entirely and completely, giving it even all the more distinct and decided expression, wherever he states it. Thus, for in stance, in §§ 68 et seq. he speaks of an "unconscious will, which cannot be separated from the conscious one," and is the primum mobile of all life, as well in plants as in animals; for, in these, it is a desire and aversion manifesting itself in all the organs which determines all their vital 228 THE WILL IN NATURE.
processes, secretions, &c. &c. . § 71: "All convulsions prove that the manifestation of the will can take place without distinct power of representation." . § 72: "Every where do we meet with a spontaneous, uncommunicated activity, now determined by the sublimest human free will, now by animal desire and aversion, now again by simple, more vegetative requirements; which activity, in order to maintain itself, calls forth several other kinds of activity in the unity of the individual." P. 96: "A creative, spontaneous, uncommunicated activity shows itself in every vital manifestation." . . "The third factor in this individual creation is the will, the individual's life itself." . . "The nerves are the conductors of this individual creation: by their means form and mixture are varied according to desire and aversion." P. 97: "Assimilation of foreign substance . . . makes the blood . . . It is not an absorption or an exudation of organic matter; ... on the contrary, here the sole factor of the phenomenon is in all cases the creative will, a life which cannot be brought back to any sort of imparted move ment."
When I wrote this (1835) I was still naïve enough seriously to believe that Brandis was unacquainted with my work, or I should not allude here to his writings; for they would then be merely a repetition, application and carrying out of my own doctrine on this point, not a corroboration of it. But I thought I might safely assume that he did not know me, because he has not mentioned me anywhere and because if he had known me, literary honesty would have made it his imperative duty not to remain silent concerning the man from whom he had borrowed his chief fundamental thought, the more so as he saw that man then enduring unmerited neglect, by his writings being generally ignored, a circumstance which might be con- PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 229
strued as favourable to fraud. Add to this, that it lay in Brandis' own interest as a writer, and would therefore have shown sagacity on his part, to have appealed to me as an authority. For the fundamental doctrine propounded by him is so striking and paradoxical, that even his Göttingen reviewer is amazed and hardly knows what to think of it; yet such a doctrine as this was left without foundation either through proof or induction, nor did Dr. Brandis establish its relation to the whole of our knowledge of Nature: he simply asserted it. I imagined therefore that it was by the peculiar gift of divination, which enables eminent physicians to see and do the right thing in cases of illness, that he had been led to this view, without being able to give a strict and methodical account of the grounds of this really metaphysical truth, although he must have seen how greatly it is opposed to the generally received views. Had he, thought I, been acquainted with my philosophy, which gives far greater extension to this truth, makes it valid for the whole of Nature and founds it both by proof and induction in close connection with Kant's teaching, from which it proceeds as a final result of excogitation how gladly must he have availed himself of such confirmation and support, rather than to stand alone by an unheard-of assertion which was never further carried out and, with him, never went beyond bare assertion. Such were the reasons that led me to believe myself entitled to take for granted Dr. Brandis' ignorance of my book.
Since then however I have become better acquainted both with German scientists and Copenhagen Academicians, to which body Dr. Brandis belonged, and have gained the conviction that he knew me very well indeed. I stated my reasons for arriving at this conviction already in 1844 in the 2nd vol. of Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, l so that, as the subject is by no means edifying, it is need-
1 Chapter 20, p. 263 to p. 295 of the 3rd edition. 230 THE WILL IN NATURE.
less to repeat them here; I will merely add that I have since been assured on trustworthy authority that Dr. Brandis not only knew my work but even possessed it, as it was found among his property after his death. The unmerited obscurity to which writers like myself are long condemned, encourages such people to appropriate their thoughts without so much as naming them.
Another medical authority has carried this even farther; for, not content with the thought alone, he has appropriated to himself the expression of it also. I allude to Professor Anton Rosas of the University of Vienna, whose entire § 507 in the 1st vol. of his Textbook of Ophthalmology 2 (1830) is copied word for word from pp. 14-16 of my treatise On Vision and Colours (1816) without any mention whatever of me, or even the slightest hint that he is using the words of another. This sufficiently accounts for the care he has taken not to mention my treatise among the lists of twenty-one writings on Colours and forty on the Physiology of the Eye, which he gives in §§ 542 and 567; a caution which was however all the more advisable, as he had appropriated to himself a good deal more out of that pamphlet without mentioning me. All that is referred, for instance, in § 526 to "one" is only applicable to me. His entire § 527 is copied almost literally from my pp. 59 and 60. The theory which he introduces without further ceremony in § 535 by the word "evidently": that is, that yellow is 3/4 and violet 1/4 of the eye's activity, never was evident to anyone until I made it so; even to this day it is a truth known to few and acknowledged by fewer still, and much is yet wanting for example, that I should be dead and buried ere it be possible to call it evident without further ceremony. The matter will even have to wait till after my death to be seriously sifted, since a close investigation might easily bring to evidence the real difference
1 Rosas, Handbuch der Augenheilkunde [Handbook of Eye Medicine] (1830). PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 231
between Newton's theory of colours and my own, which is simply that his is false, and mine true: a discovery which could not fail to mortify my contemporaries. Wherefore, according to ancient custom, all serious examination into the question is wisely postponed for these few years. Professor Rosas knew no such policy as this and, as the matter was not alluded to anywhere, thought himself entitled, like the Danish Academician, to claim it as lawful prey (de bonne prise [fair game]) . Evidently North and South German honesty had not yet come to a satisfactory understanding. Moreover the whole contents of §§ 538, 539 and 540 in Professor Rosas' book are taken from my pamphlet, nay even in great part copied word for word from my § 13. Still once, where he stands in need of a voucher for a fact, he finds himself obliged to refer to my treatise: that is, in his § 531; and it is most amusing to see the way in which he even brings in the numerical fractions used by me, as a result of my theory, to express all colours. It had probably occurred to him, that appropriating them quite sans façon [without more ado] might be a delicate matter, so he says, p. 308: "If we wished to express in numbers the first-mentioned relation in which colours stand to white, assuming white to be = 1, the following scale of proportion might by the way be adopted (as has already been done by Schopenhauer):
yellow = 3/4, orange = 2/3, red = 1/2, green = 1/2,
blue = 1/3, violet = 1/4, black = 0
Now I should like to know how anyone could do this by the way, without having first thought out my whole colour- theory, to which alone these numbers refer, and apart from which they are mere abstract numbers without meaning; above all, how anyone could do it who, like Professor Rosas, professes to be a follower of Newton's 232 THE WILL IN NATURE.
colour-theory, with which these numbers are in direct contradiction? Finally, I should like to know how it came, that during the thousands of years in which men have thought and written, no one but myself and Professor Rosas should ever have thought of using just these particular fractions to denote colours? For the words I have quoted above tell us that he would have stated those fractions precisely as he has done, even had I not chanced to do it already fourteen years before and thus needlessly anticipated his statement; they also tell us, that all that is required is to wish, in order to do so. Now it is precisely in these numerical fractions that the secret of colours lies: by them alone can we rightly solve the mystery of their nature and of their difference from one another. I should however be heartily glad, were plagiarism the worst kind of dishonesty that denied German literature; there are others far more mischievous, which penetrate more deeply, and to which plagiarism bears the same proportion as picking pockets in a mild way to capital crime. I allude to that mean, despicable spirit, whose lodestar is personal interest, when it ought to be truth, and in which the voice of intention makes itself heard beneath the mask of insight. Double-dealing and time-serving are the order of the day. Tartuffe comedies are performed without rouge; nay, Capuchin sermons are preached in halls consecrated to Science; enlightenment, that once revered word, has become a term of opprobrium; the greatest thinkers of the past century, Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Hume, are slandered, those heroes, ornaments and benefactors of mankind, whose fame, diffused throughout both hemispheres, can only be increased, if by anything, by the fact that wherever and whenever obscurantists show them selves, it is as their bitterest enemies and with good reason. Literary coteries and associations are formed to deal out praise and blame, and spurious merit is then trumpeted PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 233
forth and extolled, while sterling merit is slandered or, as Goethe says, "secreted, by means of an inviolable silence, in which sort of inquisitorial censure the Germans have attained great proficiency." 1 The motives and considerations how ever from which all this proceeds, are of too low a nature for me to care to enumerate them in detail. But what a difference there is between periodicals such as the Edinburgh Review 2, in which gentlemen of independent means are induced to write by a genuine interest in the subjects treated, and which honourably upholds its noble motto taken from Publius Syrus: Judex damnatur, cum nocens absolvitur, [The judge is condemned when the guilty are acquitted] and our mean-spirited, disingenuous, German literary journals, full of considerations and intentions, that are mostly compiled for the sake of pay by hired editors, and ought properly to have for their motto: Accedas socius, laudes, lauderis ut absens [Be a friend and praise. When you're away, we'll praise you]. Now, after twenty years, do I understand what Goethe said to me at Berka in 1814. As I found him reading Madame de Staël's De l'Allemagne [On Germany] he remarked in course of conversation that she had given too exaggerated a description of German honesty and one that might mislead foreigners. He laughed and said: "Yes, to be sure, they will not secure their baggage behind and will have it cut off." He then added in a graver tone: "But one has to know German literature in order to realise the full extent of German dishonesty." All well and good! But the most revolting kind of dishonesty in German literature is that of the time-servers, who pass them selves off for philosophers, while in reality they are obscurantists. The word time-serving no more needs explanation than the thing needs a proof; for anyone who had the face to deny it would furnish strong evidence in support of
1 Goethe, Tag- und Jahreshefte [Day and year copybooks], 1821.
2 This I wrote in 1836. The Edinburgh Review has since however greatly deteriorated, and is no longer its old self. I have even seen the nonsense of clergymen in its pages, written for the mob. 234 THE WILL IN NATURE.
my present argument. Kant taught, that man ought to use his fellow-man only as an end, never as a means: he did not think it necessary to say, that philosophy ought only to be dealt with as an end, never as a means. Time- serving may after all be excused under every garb, the cowl as well as the ermine, save only the Tribonion [plain philosopher's cloak] for he who has once assumed this, has sworn allegiance to truth, and from that moment every other consideration, no matter of what kind, becomes base treachery. Therefore it was that Socrates did not shun the hemlock, nor Bruno the stake, while for a piece of bread these men will transgress. Are they too short sighted to see posterity close at hand, with the history of philosophy at its side, recording two lines of bitter condemnation with unflinching hand and iron pen in its immortal pages? Or has this no sting for them? Well to be sure, if it comes to the worst, après moi le deluge [after me the flood] may be pronounced; but as to après moi le mépris [after me scorn], that is a more difficult matter. Therefore I fancy they will answer that austere judge as follows: " Ah, dear posterity and history of philosophy! You are quite wrong to take us in earnest; we are not philosophers at all, Heaven forbid! No, we are only professors of philosophy, mere servants of the state, mere philosophers in jest. You might as well drag puppet-knights in pasteboard armour into a real tournament." Then the judge will most likely see how matters stand, erase all their names, and confer upon them the beneficium perpetui silentii [benefit of eternal silence]. From this digression to which I had been led away eighteen years ago by the cant and time-serving I then witnessed, though they were not nearly as flourishing then as they are now, I return to that part of my doctrine which Dr. Brandis has confirmed, though he did not originate it, in order to add a few explanations with which I shall then connect some further corroborations it has since received from Physiology. PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 235
The three assumptions which are criticised by Kant in his Transcendental Dialectic under the names of Ideas of Reason, and have in consequence since been set aside in theoretical philosophy, had always stood in the way of a deeper insight into Nature, until that great thinker brought about a complete transformation in philosophy. That supposed Idea of Reason, the soul: that metaphysical being, in whose absolute singleness knowing and willing were knit and blended together to eternal, inseparable unity, was an impediment of this sort for the subject-matter of this chapter. As long as it lasted, no philosophical Physiology was possible: the less so, as its correlate, real, purely passive Matter, had necessarily also to be assumed together with it, as the substance of the body. 1 It was this Idea of Reason, the soul, therefore, that caused the celebrated chemist and physiologist, Stahl, at the beginning of the last century to miss the discovery of the truth he so nearly approached and would have quite reached, had he been able to put that which is alone metaphysical, the bare will as yet without intellect, in the place of the anima rationalis [rational soul]. Under the influence of this Idea of Reason however, he could not teach anything but that it is this simple, rational soul which builds itself a body, all whose inner organic functions it directs and performs, yet has no knowledge or consciousness of all this, although knowledge is the fundamental destination and, as it were, the substance, of its being. There was something absurd in this doctrine which made it utterly untenable. It was super seded by Haller's Irritability and Sensibility, which, to be sure, are taken in a purely empircial sense, but, to make up for this, are also two qualitates occultae [occult qualities], at which all explanation ceases. The movement of the heart and of the intestines was now attributed to Irritability. But the anima rationalis still remained in undiminished honour
1 As a being existing by itself, a thing–in–itself. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 236 THE WILL IN NATURE.
and dignity as a visitor at the house of the body. 1 " Truth lies at the bottom of a well," said Democritus; and the centuries with a sigh, have repeated his words. But small wonder, if it gets a rap on the knuckles as soon as it tries to come out !
The fundamental truth of my doctrine, which places that doctrine in opposition with all others that have ever existed, is the complete separation between the will and the intellect, which all philosophers before me had looked upon as inseparable; or rather, I ought to say that they had regarded the will as conditioned by, nay, mostly even as a mere function of, the intellect, assumed by them to be the fundamental substance of our spiritual being. But this separation, this analysis into two heterogeneous elements, of the ego or soul, which had so long been deemed an indivisible unity, is, for philosophy, what the analysis of water has been for chemistry, though it may take time to be acknowledged. With me, that which is eternal and indestructible in man, therefore, that which constitutes his vital principle, is not the soul, but if I may use a chemical term its radical: and this is the will. The so-called soul is already a compound: it is the union of the will and the intellect (νους). This intellect is the secondary element, the posterius of the organism and, as a mere cerebral function, is conditioned by the organism; whereas the will is what is primary, the prius of the organism, which is conditioned by it. For the will is that essential being in itself, which only be comes apparent as an organic body in our representation (that mere function of the brain): it is only through the forms of knowledge (or cerebral function), that is, only in our representation, not apart from that representation, not immediately in our self-consciousness, that our body is given to each of us as a thing which has extension, limbs
1 In which it is lodged in the garret. [Add. to 3rd ed.] PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 237
and organs. As the actions of our body are only acts of volition portraying themselves in representation, so likewise is their substratum, the shape of that body, in the main the portrait of the will: so that, in all the organic functions of our body, the will is just as much the agent as in its external actions. True Physiology, at its highest, shows the spiritual (the intellectual) in man to be the product of the physical in him, and no one has done this so thoroughly as Cabanis; but true Metaphysic teaches us, that the physical in man is itself mere product, or rather phenomenon, of a spiritual (the will); nay, that Matter itself is conditioned by representation, in which alone it exists. Perception and reflection will more and more find their explanation through the organism; but not the will, by which conversely the organism is explained, as I shall show in the following chapter. First of all therefore I place the will, as thing–in–itself and quite primary; secondly, its mere visibility, its objectification: i.e. the body; thirdly, the intellect, as a mere function of one part of that body. This part is itself the objectified will–to–know (the will–to–know having entered into representation), since the will needs knowledge to attain its own ends. Now the entire world as representation, to gether with the body itself therefore, inasmuch as it is a perceptible object, nay, Matter in general as existing only in representation, all this, I say, is again conditioned by that function; for, duly considered, we cannot possibly conceive an objective world without a Subject, in whose consciousness it is present. Thus knowledge and matter (Subject and Object) exist only relatively one for the other and constitute phenomenon. The whole thing there fore, owing to the radical change made by me, stands in a different light from that in which it has hitherto been regarded.
As soon as it is directed outwardly and acts upon a 238 THE WILL IN NATURE.
recognised object, as soon therefore as it has passed through the medium of knowledge, we all recognise the will at once to be the active principle, and call it by its right name. Yet it is no less active in those inner processes which have preceded such outward actions as their conditions in those, for instance, which create and maintain organic life and its substratum; and the circulation of the blood, secretion, digestion, &c. &c., are its work likewise. But just because the will was only recognised as the active principle in those cases in which it abandons the individual whence it proceeds, in order to direct itself towards the outer world now presenting itself as perception precisely for this end, knowledge has been taken for its essential condition, its sole element, nay, as the substance of which it consists: and hereby was perpetrated the greatest ύστερον προτερον (hysteron proteron) that has ever been.
But before all things we must learn to distinguish will [Wille] (voluntas) from free-will [Willkür] (arbitrium) 1 and to understand that the former can subsist without the latter; this however presupposes my whole philosophy. The will is called free-will when it is illumined by knowledge, therefore when the causes which move it are motives: that is, representations. Objectively speaking this means: when the influence from outside which causes the act, has a brain for its mediator. A motive may be defined
1 By this Schopenhauer means the distinction between the will in its widest sense, regarded as the fundamental essence of all that happens, even where there is no choice, even where it is unconscious, and conscious will, implying deliberation and choice, commonly called free will. We must however carefully guard against confounding this relative free-will, with absolute free-will (liberum arbitrium indifferentiae), which Schopenhauer declares to be inadmissible. The sense in which I have used the expression free-will throughout this treatise, is that of relative freedom, i.e. power to choose between different motives, free of all outward restraint (Willkür). (Tr.) PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 239
as an external stimulus, whose action first of all causes an image to arise in the brain, through the medium of which the will carries out the effect proper, an outward action of the body. Now, in the human species however, the place of such an image as this may be taken by a concept drawn off from former images of this kind by dropping their differences, which concept consequently is no longer perceptible, but merely denoted and fixed by words. As the action of motives accordingly does not depend upon contact, they can try their power on the will against each other: in other words, they permit a certain choice which, in animals, is limited to the narrow sphere of that which has perceptible existence for them; whereas, in man, its range comprises the vast extent of all that is thinkable: that is, of his concepts. Accordingly we designate as voluntary those movements which are occasioned, not by causes in the narrowest sense of the word, as in inorganic bodies, nor even by mere stimuli, as in plants, but by motives. 1 These motives however presuppose an intellect as their mediator, through which causality here acts, without prejudice to its entire necessity in all other respects. Physiologically, the difference between stimulus and motive admits also of the following definition. The stimulus provokes immediate reaction, which proceeds from the very part on which the stimulus has acted; whereas the motive is a stimulus that has to go a roundabout way through the brain, where its action first causes an image to arise, which then, but not till then, provokes the consequent reaction, which is now called an act of volition, and voluntary. The distinction between voluntary and involuntary movement does not therefore concern what is essential and primary,
1 I have shown the difference between cause in its narrowest sense, stimulus, and motive, at length in my The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics. [Essay on the Freedom of the Will, pp. 29–33.] 240 THE WILL IN NATURE.
for this is in both cases the will, but only what is secondary, the rousing of the will's manifestation: it has to do with the determination whether causes proper, stimuli, or motives (i.e. causes having passed through the medium of knowledge) are the guidance under which that manifestation takes place. It is in human consciousness, differing from that of animals by not only containing perceptible representations but also abstract concepts independent of time-distinctions, which act simultaneously and collaterally, whereby deliberation, i.e. a conflict of motives, becomes possible. It is in human consciousness, I say, that free-will (arbitrium) in its narrowest sense first makes its appearance; and this I have called elective decision. It nevertheless merely consists in the strongest motive for a given individual character overcoming the others and thus determining the act, just as an impact is overcome by a stronger counter-impact, the result thus ensuing with precisely the same necessity as the movement of a stone that has been struck. That all great thinkers in all ages were decided and at one on this point 1 , is just as certain, as that the multitude will never understand, never grasp, the important truth, that the work of our freedom must not be sought in our individual actions but in our very existence and nature itself. In my prize- essay On the Freedom of the Will, I have shown this as clearly as possible. The liberum arbitrium indifferentiae [free decision of the will, not influenced in any direction] which is assumed to be the distinctive characteristic of movements proceeding from the will, is accordingly quite inadmissible: for it asserts that effects are possible without causes.
As soon therefore as we have got so far as to distinguish will [Wille] from free-will [Willkür], and to consider the latter as a particular kind or particular phenomenon of the former, we shall find no difficulty in recognising the will, even in unconscious processes. Thus the assertion,
1 Flourens has claimed that the small brain, or cerebellum, is the regulator of movement. The large brain, or cerebrum, however, is also the regulator of movement, but in a wider sense. In it the motives present themselves, which determine the will in accordance with its character. Therefore the cerebrum comprehends the resolves, determinations, or resolutions, and will guide only the details or particulars of these resolutions through the cerebellum. This cerebellum behaves thereafter to the cerebrum as a lieutenant to the general staff. My eye sees, but in order to see, it requires light. Likewise it is my will which directs my doing. It can do so, however, only by way of knowledge, which is essentially a function of the brain. Therefore the individual determinations or resolutions of the will issue from the brain. The brain is not (as Flourens has it) the seat of the will, but is merely the seat of choice, i.e., it is the place of deliberation, the workshop of resolutions, the combat place of motives, the strongest of which finaliter [finally] determines the will, by, as it were, chasing the others away and now mounting the steed. This motive now, however, is not objective, but only subjective, i.e., the strongest motive for the will that is dominant here. One imagines two humans, who have the same strength of understanding and the same education, but have very different, even opposite, characters, being in completely same situations. The motives would be the same. Likewise, the deliberation (i.e. weighing of choices) would be essentially the same because this is work of the intellect or, objectively, the brain. But the action of both humans will turn out completely opposite. Now, what brings out this difference, in that it alone decides the issue, is the will. The will alone, not the motives, moves the limbs. The will's seat is not in the brain, but it is the whole human, which is only the will's appearance, i.e. its perceived objectivity. In summary: the brain is not the seat of the will. The brain is only the seat of the motivated acts of the will — or choice (free will). PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 241
that all bodily movements, even those which are purely vegetative and organic, proceed from the will, by no means implies that they are voluntary. For that would mean that they were occasioned by motives; but motives are representations, and their seat is the brain: only those parts of our body which communicate with the brain by means of the nerves, can be put in movement by the brain, consequently by motives, and this movement alone is what is called voluntary. The movement of the inner economy of the organism, on the contrary, is directed, as in plant- life, by stimuli; only as, on the one hand, the complex nature of the animal organism necessitated an outer sensorium for the apprehension of the outer world and the will's reaction to that outer world, so, on the other hand, did it necessitate a cerebrum abdominale [network of nerves in the stomach], the sympathetic nervous system, in order to direct the will's reaction likewise to inner stimuli. We may compare the former to a Foreign Office, the latter to a Home Ministry; but the will remains the omnipresent Autocrat.
The progress made in Physiology since von Haller has placed beyond doubt the fact that not only those actions which are consciously performed (functiones animales), but even vital processes that take place quite unconsciously (functiones vitales et naturales), are directed throughout by the nervous system. Likewise that their only difference, as far as our consciousness of them is concerned, consists in the former being directed by nerves proceeding from the brain, the latter by nerves that do not directly communicate with that chief centre of the nervous system, which is mainly directed towards the outside, but with subordinate, minor centres, with the nerve-knots, the ganglia and their net-work, which preside as it were like governors over the various provinces of the nervous system, directing those internal processes that follow upon internal stimuli, just as the brain directs the external 242 THE WILL IN NATURE.
actions that follow upon external motives, and thus receiving impressions from inside upon which they react correspondingly, just as the brain receives representations on the strength of which it forms resolutions; only each of these minor centres is confined to a narrower sphere of action. Upon this rests the vita propria [proper life] of each system, in referring to which Van Helmont said that each organ has, as it were, its own ego. It accounts also for life continuing in parts which have been cut off the bodies of insects, reptiles, and other inferior animals, whose brain has no marked preponderance over the ganglia of single parts; and it likewise explains how many reptiles are able to live for weeks, nay even months, after their brain has been removed. Now, if our surest experience teaches us that the will, which is known to us in most immediate consciousness and in a totally different way from the outer world, is the real agent in actions attended by consciousness and directed by the chief centre of the nervous system; how can we help admitting that those other actions which, proceeding from that nervous system but obeying the direction of its subordinate centres, keep the vital processes constantly going, must also be manifestations of the will? Especially as we know perfectly well the cause because of which they are not, like the others, attended by consciousness: we know, that is to say, that all consciousness resides in the brain and therefore is limited to such parts as have nerves which communicate directly with the brain; and we know also that, even in these, consciousness ceases when those nerves are severed. By this the difference between all that is conscious and unconscious and together with it the difference between all that is voluntary and involuntary in the movements of the body is perfectly explained, and no reason remains for assuming two entirely different primary sources of movement: especially as principia praeter necessitatem non sunt multiplicanda [principles are not to be increased unnecessarily]. All this is PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 243
so obvious, that, on impartial reflection from this standpoint, it seems almost absurd to persist in making the body serve two masters by deriving its actions from two radically different origins and then ascribing on the one hand the movements of our arms and legs, of our eyes, lips, throat, tongue and lungs, of the facial and abdominal muscles, to the will; while on the other hand the action of the heart, the movements of the veins, the peristaltic movements of the intestines, the absorption by the intestinal villi and glands and all those movements which accompany secretion, are supposed to proceed from a totally different, ever mysterious principle of which we have no knowledge, and which is designated by names such as vitality, archeus, spiritus animales, vital energy, instinct, all of which mean no more than x. 1
It is curious and instructive to see the trouble that excellent writer, Treviranus 3 takes, to find out in the lower animals, such as infusoria and zoophyta, which movements are voluntary, and which are what he calls automatic or physical, i.e. merely vital. He founds his inquiry upon the assumption that he has to do with two primarily different sources of movement; whereas in truth they all proceed from the will, and the whole difference consists in
1 It is especially in secretive processes that we cannot avoid recognising a certain selection of the materials fitted for each purpose, consequently a free will in the secretive organs, which must even be assisted by a certain dull sensation, and in virtue of which each secreting organ only extracts from the same blood that particular secretion which suits it and no others: for instance, the liver only absorbs bile from the blood flowing through it, sending the rest of the blood on, and likewise the salivary glands and the pancreas only secrete saliva, the kidneys only urine, &c. &c. We may therefore compare the organs of secretion to different kinds of cattle grazing on one and the same pasture-land, each of which only browses upon the one sort of herb which suits its own particular appetite. [Add. to 3rd ed.]
2 Treviranus, Die Erscheinungen und Gesetze des Organischen Lebens [The appearances and laws of organic life], vol. I pp. 178-185. T244 HE WILL IN NATURE.
their being occasioned by stimuli or by motives, i.e. in their having a brain for their medium or not; and the stimulus may again be merely interior or exterior. In several animals of a higher order crustaceans and even fishes he finds that the voluntary and vital movements, for instance locomotion and respiration, entirely coincide: a clear proof that their origin and essence are identical. He says on p. 188: "In the family of the actinia, star fishes, sea-urchins, and holothurice (echinodermata pedata Cuv.), it is evident that the movement of the fluids depends upon the will of the animals and that it is a means of locomotion." Then again on p. 288: "The gullet of mammals has at its upper end the pharynx, which expands and contracts by means of muscles resembling voluntary muscles in their formation, yet which do not obey the will." Here we see how the limits of the move ments proceeding from the will and of those assumed to be foreign to it, merge into one another. Ibid., p. 293: "Thus movements having all the appearance of being voluntary take place in the stomachs of ruminants. They do not however always stand in connection with the ruminating process only. Even the simpler human stomach and that of many animals only allows free passage to what is digestible through its lower orifice, and rejects what is indigestible by vomiting."
There is moreover special evidence that the movements induced by stimuli (involuntary movements) proceed from the will just as well as those occasioned by motives (voluntary movements): for instance, when the same movement follows now upon a stimulus, now again upon a motive, as is the case when the pupil of the eye is contracted. This movement, when caused by in creased light, follows upon a stimulus; whereas, when occasioned by the wish to examine a very small object minutely in close proximity, it follows upon a motive; because PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 245
contracting the pupil enables us to see things distinctly even when quite near to us, and this distinctness may be increased by our looking through a hole pierced in a card with a pin; conversely, the pupil is dilated when we look at distant objects. Surely the same movement of the same organ is not likely to proceed alternately from two fundamentally different sources. E. H. Weber 1 relates that he discovered in himself the power of dilating and contracting at will the pupil of one of his eyes, while looking at the same object, so as to make that object appear now distinct, now indistinct, while the other eye remained closed. Johannes Müller 2 also tries to prove that the will acts upon the pupil.
The truth that the innermost mainspring of unconsciously performed vital and vegetative functions is the will, we find moreover confirmed by the consideration, that even the movement of a limb, recognised as voluntary, is only the ultimate result of a multitude of preceding changes which have taken place inside that limb and which no more enter into our consciousness than those organic functions. Yet these changes are evidently that which was first set in motion by the will, the movement of the limb being merely their remote consequence; nevertheless this remains so foreign to our consciousness that physiologists try to reach it by means of such hypotheses as these: that the sinews and muscular fibre are contracted by a change in the cellular tissue wrought by a precipitation of the blood-vapour in that tissue to serum; but that this change is brought about by the nerve's action, and this by the will. Thus, even here, it is not the change which proceeded originally from the will which comes into consciousness, but only its remote result; and even this, properly speaking, only through
1 E. H. Weber, Additamenta ad E. H. Weberi tractatum de motu iridis [Additions to E. H. Weber's treatise on the motion of the iris], Lipsia [Leipzig], 1823.
2 Joh. Müller, Handbuch der Physiologie , p. 764. 246 THE WILL IN NATURE.
the special perception of the brain in which it presents itself together with the whole organism. Now by following the path of experimental research and hypotheses physiologists would never have arrived at the truth, that the last link in this ascending causal series is the will; it is known to them, on the contrary, in quite a different way. The solution of the enigma comes to them in a whisper from outside the investigation, owing to the fortunate circumstance that the investigator is in this case at the same time himself the object of the investigation and by this learns the secret of the inward process, his explanation of which would otherwise, like that of every other phenomenon, be brought to a standstill by an inscrutable force. And conversely, if we stood in the same inward relation towards every natural phenomenon as towards our own organism, the explanation of every natural phenomenon, as well as of all the properties of every body, would likewise ultimately be reduced to a will manifesting itself in them. For the difference does not reside in the thing itself, but in our relation to the thing. Wherever explanation of the physical comes to an end, it is met by the metaphysical; and where-ever this last is accessible to immediate knowledge, the result will be, as here, the will. That even those parts of the body whose movements do not proceed from the brain, do not follow upon motives, and are not voluntary, are nevertheless ruled and animated by the will, is also shown by their participation in all unusually violent movements of the will, i.e. emotions and passions. We see, for instance, the quickened pulse in joy or alarm, the blush in embarassment, the cheek's pallor in terror or in suppressed anger, the tears of sorrow, the difficult breathing and increased activity of the intestines in terror, watering of the mouth at the sight of dainties, nausea occasioned by that of loathsome objects, strongly accelerated circulation of the blood and even altered quality of bile through wrath, and of PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 247
saliva through violent rage: this last even to the degree, that an excessively irritated dog may communicate hydrophobia by its bite without being itself affected with rabies or even then contracting the disease, and the same is also asserted of cats and of cocks. The organism is further deeply undermined by lasting grief, and may be mortally affected by fright as well as by sudden joy. On the other hand, all those inner processes and changes which only have to do with the intellect and do not concern the will, however great may be their importance, remain without influence upon the machinery of the organism, with the one exception, that mental activity, prolonged to excess, fatigues and gradually exhausts the brain and finally under mines the organism. This again confirms the fact that the intellect is of a secondary character, and merely the organic function of a single part, a product of life; not the inner most kernel of our being, not the thing–in–itself, not metaphysical, incorporeal, eternal, like the will: the will never tires, never grows old, never learns, never improves by practice, is in infancy what it is in old age, eternally one and the same, and its character in each individual is unchangeable. Being essential moreover, it is likewise immutable, and therefore exists in animals as it does in us; for it does not, like the intellect, depend upon the perfection of the organisation, but is in every essential respect in all animals the same thing which we know so intimately. Accordingly animals have all the feelings which belong to man: joy, grief, fear, anger, love, hate, desire, envy, &c. &c. The great difference between man and the brute creation consists exclusively in the degrees of perfection of the in tellect. This however is leading us too far from our subject, so I refer my readers to my chief work, vol. ii. chap. 19, Fact 2.
After the cogent reasons just given in favour of the primary agent in the inward machinery of the organism 248 THE WILL IN NATURE.
being the very same will which rules the outward actions of the body and only reveals itself as the will in this passage through consciousness because here it needs the mediation of outwardly directed knowledge, we shall not be astonished to find that other physiologists besides Brandis had, by means of strictly empirical research, also recognised this truth more or less clearly. Meckel, 1 in his Archiv fur die Physiologie, arrives quite empirically and impartially at the conclusion, that vegetative existence [in animals], the first growth of the embryo, the assimilation of nourishment and plant-life, ought properly to be considered as manifestations of the will, nay, that even the inclination of the magnetic needle seems to be something of the same kind. "The assumption," he says, "of a certain free will in every vital movement may perhaps be justified." " Plants appear to seek light voluntarily," &c. &c. This book is dated 1819 just after the appearance of my work; and as, to say the least, it is doubtful whether it had any influence upon him or whether he was even aware of its existence, I class these utterances among the independent empirical confirmations of my doctrine. Burdach also, 2 in his great work on Physiology, arrives by a completely empirical road at the conclusion, that "self-love is a force belonging to all things indiscriminately." He points it out, first in animals, then in plants, and lastly in inanimate bodies. But what is self-love after all, if not the will to preserve our existence, the will to live? Under the heading "Comparative Anatomy," I shall quote a passage from the same book, which confirms my view still more decidedly. That the doctrine, which teaches that the will is the vital principle, has begun to spread even to the wider circles of medical science and to meet with a favourable reception from its younger representatives, I
1 Meckel, " A. f. d. P." vol. 5, pp. 195-198.
2 Burdach, Physiologie als Erfahrungswissenschaft [Physiology as empirical science], vol. I, § 259, p. 388. PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 249
notice with particular pleasure in the theses sustained by Dr. Von Sigriz on taking his degree at Munich (August, 1835), which commence as follows: 1. Sanguis est determinans formam organismi se evolventis. 2. Evolutio organica determinatur vitae internae actione et voluntate. [It is the blood that determines the form of the self–developing organism. Organic development is determined by the activity of the internal life and by the will.]
Lastly, a very remarkable and unexpected corroboration of this part of my doctrine has to be mentioned, which has recently been communicated from ancient Hindoo philosophy by Colebrooke. In his exposition of the philosophical schools of the Hindoos, 1 he quotes the following as the doctrine of the Nyaga school: "Volition, Yatna, effort or manifestation of the Will, is a self-determination to act which gives satisfaction. Desire is its occasion, perception its motive. Two kinds of perceptible effort of the will are distinguished: that which springs from desire which seeks the agreeable, and that which springs from aversion which shuns the repulsive. Another species, which escapes sensation and perception, but is inferred from analogy of spontaneous acts, comprises animal functions, having for a cause the vital, unseen power." Here the words "animal functions" are evidently used, not in a physiological, but in a popular sense: so that here organic life is unquestionably derived from the will. We find a similar statement in Colebrooke's Report on the Vedas 2 where he says: "Asu is unconscious volition, which occasions an act necessary to the support of life, as breathing, etc."
Moreover my reduction of vital energy to the will by no means interferes with the old division of its functions into reproductive force, irritability and sensibility. This division remains a deep view of their difference, and gives occasion for interesting observations.
The faculty of reproduction, objectified in the cellular tissue of plants, constitutes the chief characteristic of
1 Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain, 1824, p. 110.
2 Asiatic Researches, Vol. 8, p. 426. 250 THE WILL IN NATURE.
plants and the vegetative element in Man. Where we find it predominant to excess in human beings, we assume them to be phlegmatic, dull, indolent, obtuse (Boeotians); though this assumption does not always meet with confirmation. Irritability, objectified in the muscular tissue, constitutes the chief characteristic of Animals and the animal element in Man. Where it predominates to excess, dexterity, strength, bravery, that is, fitness for bodily exertion and for war, is usually to be found (Spartans). Nearly all warm-blooded animals and even insects far surpass Man in irritability. It is by irritability that animals are most vividly conscious of their existence ; wherefore they exult in manifesting it. There is even still a trace of that exultation perceptible in Man, in dancing. Sensibility, objectified in the nerves, is Man's chief characteristic, and constitutes what is properly human in him. In this no animal can in the remotest degree compare with Man. Where it predominates to excess, it produces genius (Athenians). Accordingly a man of genius is in a higher degree a man. This explains why some men of genius have been unwilling to recognise other men, with their monotonous physiognomies and universal stamp of commonplace mediocrity, as human beings: for in them they did not find their equals and naturally came to the erroneous conclusion that their own was the normal standard. Diogenes sought for men with a lantern in this sense; in that work of genius, the Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) it is said: "One man among a thousand have I found, but one woman among all those have I not found;" and Gracián in his Criticon [The Critic], perhaps the grandest and most beautiful allegory ever written, says: "But what was strangest of all, in the whole country, even in the most populous cities, they did not meet with a single man; on the contrary, these cities were inhabited by lions, tigers, leopards, wolves,
1 Ecclesiastes, ch. 7, v. 28. PHYSIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY. 251
foxes, apes, oxen, asses, pigs, nowhere was there a man! They only made out after a time that the few existing human beings, in order to hide themselves and not to witness what was going on, had retired to those desert places which ought to have been the dwellings of wild beasts." The same reason indeed accounts for the peculiar inclination of all men of genius for solitude, to which they are driven by their difference from the rest, and for which their own inner wealth qualifies them. For, with humanity it is as with diamonds, the extraordinarily great ones alone are fitted to be solitaires, while those of ordinary size have to be set in clusters to produce any effect.
Even the three Gunas, or fundamental qualities of the Hindoos, tally with the three physiological fundamental forces. Tamas-Guna, obtuseness, stupidity, corresponds to reproductive power; Rajas-Guna, passionateness, to irritability; and Sattwa-Guna, wisdom and virtue, to sensibility. When, however, they add to this, that Tamas-Guna is the fate of animals, Rajas-Guna the fate of man, and Sattwa-Guna that of the Gods, this is to be taken in a mythological, rather than physiological sense.
In Chapter 20th of the 2nd Vol. of my chief work entitled "Objectification of the Will in the Animal Organism," I have likewise treated the argument of the present chapter; therefore I advise my readers to read it after this, as a complement to what is here given. 1
I may observe that the passages I have quoted from pp. 14 and 15 of my Essay on Colours, refer to the first edition.
1 In my Parerga, § 94 of the 2nd vol. (§ 96 in the 2nd edition) belongs also to the above.