palpably and flagrantly much more narrow than the background felt as self. And in order to exhaust this felt mass (if indeed exhaustion is possible) we require a series of patient observations, in none of which will the object be as full as the subject. To have the felt self in its totality as an object for consciousness seems out of the question. And I would further ask the reader to bear in mind that, where the self is observed as in opposition to the not-self, this whole relation is included within that felt background, against which, on the other hand, the distinction takes place.
And this suggests an objection. How, I may be asked, if self-consciousness is no more than you say, do we take one object as self and another as not-self? Why is the observed object perceived at all in the character of self? This is a question, I think, not difficult to answer, so far at least as is required for our purpose here. The all-important point is this, that the unity of feeling never disappears. The mass, at first undifferentiated, groups itself into objects in relation to me; and then again further the “me” becomes explicit, and itself is an object in relation to the background of feeling. But, none the less, the object not-self is still a part of the individual soul, and the object self likewise keeps its place in this felt unity. The distinctions have supervened upon, but they have not divided, the original whole; and, if they had done so, the result would have been mere destruction. Hence, in self-consciousness, those contents perceived as the self belong still to the whole individual mass. They, in the first place, are features in the felt totality; then again they are elements in that inner group from which the not-self is distinguished; and finally they become an object opposed to the internal back-
- The possibility of this series rests on the fact that sameness and alteration can be felt where they are not perceived. Cp. p. 93.