Page:Appearance and Reality (1916).djvu/425

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


essential element in our idea of perfection (Chapter xx.). But it will hardly follow from this that nothing in the universe except pleasure is good, and that, taking this one aspect as the end, we may regard all else as mere means. Where everything is connected in one whole, you may abstract and so may isolate any one factor. And you may prove at your ease that, without this, all the rest are imperfect and worthless; and you may show how, this one being added, they all once more gain reality and worth. And hence of every one alike you may conclude that it is the end for the sake of which all the others exist. But from this to argue, absolutely and blindly, that some one single aspect of the world is the sole thing that is good, is most surely illogical. It is to narrow a point of view, which is permissible only so long as it is general, into a one-sided mistake. And thus, in its denial that anything else beside pleasure is good, Hedonism must be met by a decided rejection.

Is a thing desired always, because it is first pleasant, or is it ever pleasant rather, on the other hand, because we desire it?[1] And we may ask the same question as to the relation of the desired to the good. But, again, is anything true because I am led to think it, or am I rather led to think it because of its truth? And, once more, is it right because I ought, or does the “because” only hold in the opposite direction? And is an object beauti-

  1. The object of any idea has a tendency to become desired, if held over against fact, although, beforehand and otherwise, it has not been, and is not pleasant. Every idea, as the enlargement of self, is, in the abstract and so far, pleasant. And the pleasantness of an idea, as my psychical state, can be transferred to its object. We have to ask always what it is that fixes an idea against fact. Is it there because its object has been pleasant, or because it, or its object, is now pleasant? And can we not say sometimes that it is pleasant only because it is there? The discussion of these matters would lead to psychological subtleties, which here we may neglect.