The World as Will and Representation/Supplements to the Fourth Book

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The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer, translated by R B Haldane and J. Kemp
Supplements to the Fourth Book

Supplements to the Fourth Book.


" Tons In hommcs dtsirent uniquement de se dflivrer de la mart Us ne tavcntpas se dttivrer de la vie."

Lao-tsen-Tao-te-Kiny, ed. STAN. JDLIEN, p. 184.


SUPPLEMENTS TO THE FOURTH BOOK.


CHAPTEE XL.

PREFACE.

THE supplements to this fourth book would be very con siderable if it were not that two of its principal subjects which stand specially in need of being supplemented -the freedom of the will and__frhft fa"ndaf-.i*>n nf fikbjg.^- j^v**, on the occasion of prize questions being set by two Scandinavian Academies, been fully worked out by me in the form of a monograph, which was laid before the public in the year 1841 under the title, "The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics." Accordingly I assume an acquaint ance on the part of my readers with the work which has just been mentioned, just as unconditionally as in the supplements to the second book I have assumed it with regard to the work "J)n the Will in Nature." In general I make the demand that whoever wishes to make himself acquainted with my philosophy shall read every line of me. For I am no voluminous writer, no fabricator of com- pendiums, no earner of pecuniary rewards, not one whose writings aim at the approbation of a minister ; in a word, not one whose pen is under the influence of personal ends. I strive after nothing but the truth, and write as the an cients wrote, with the sole intention of preserving my thoughts, so that they may be for the benefit of those who understand how to meditate upon them and prize


248 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL.

them. Therefore I have written little, but that little with reflection and at long intervals, and accordingly I have also confined within the smallest possible limits those repetitions which in philosophical works are some times unavoidable on account of the connection, and from which no single philosopher is free ; so that by far the most of what I have to say is only to be found in one place. On this account, then, whoever wishes to learn from me and understand me must leave nothing unread that I have written. Yet one can judge me and criticise me without this, as experience has shown ; and to this also I further wish much pleasure.

Meanwhile the space gained by the said elimination of two important subjects will be very welcome to us. For since those explanations, which every man has more at heart than anything else, and which therefore in every system, as ultimate results, form the apex of its pyramid, are also crowded together in my last book, a larger space will gladly be granted to every firmer proof or more accu rate account of these. Besides this we have been able to discuss here, as belonging to the doctrine of the " assertion of the will to live," a question which in our fourth book itself remained untouched, as it was also entirely neglected by all philosophers before me : it is the inner significance and real nature of the sexual love, which sometimes rises to a vehement passion a subject which it would not have been paradoxical to take up in the ethical part of philo sophy if its importance had been known.


249


CHAPTER XLT. 1

ON DEATH AND ITS RELATION TO THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF OUR TRUE NATURE.

DEATH is the true inspiring genius, or the muse of philosophy, wherefore Socrates has defined the latter as Bavarov fj,e\err}. Indeed without death men would scarcely philosophise. Therefore it will be quite in order that a special consideration of this should have its place here at the beginning of the last, most serious, and most important of our books.

The brute lives without a proper knowledge of death ; therefore the individual brute enjoys directly the absolute imperishableness of the species, for it is only conscious of itself as endless. In the case of men the terrifying ceri^intyjofjdeath necessarily entered With reason. But as everywhere in nature with every evil a means of cure, or at least some compensation, is given, the same reflection which introduces the knowledge of death also assists us to metaphysical points of view, which comfort us concerning it, and of which the brute has no need and is incapable. All religious ant^hilosopmcaj^systemsltre principally directed to this end^lmd are thus primarily the antidote to the certainty of death, which the reflective reason procluces out of its own means. Yet the degree in which they attain this end is very different, and certainly one religion or philosophy will, far more than the others, enable men to look death in the face with a quiet glance.


1 This chapter is connected with 54 df the first volume.


2 5 o FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

Brahmanism and Buddhism, which teach man to regard himself as himself, the original being, the Brahm, to which all coming into being and passing away is essentially foreign, will achieve much more in this respect than such as teach that man is made out of nothing, and actually begins at birth his existence derived from another. Answering to this we find in India a confidence and a contempt for death of which one has no conception in Europe. It is, in fact, a hazardous thing to force upon a man, by early imprinting them, weak and untenable conceptions in this important regard, and thereby making him for ever in- r capable of taking up correct and stable ones. For example, to teach him that he recently came out of nothing, and i consequently through an eternity has been nothing, but I yet for the future will be imperishable, is just the same as to teach him that although he is through and through the \ work of another, yet he will be held responsible through \ all eternity for his actions. If, then, when the mind j ripens and reflection appears, the untenable nature of I such doctrines forces itself upon him, he has nothing better to put in its place, nay, is no longer capable of understanding anything better, and thus loses the comfort which nature had destined for him also, as a compensation for the certainty of death. In consequence of such a pro cess, we see even now in England (1844), among ruined factory hands, the Socialists, and in Germany, among ruined students, the young Hegelians, sink to the abso lutely physical point of view, which leads to the result : edite, bibite, post, mortem nulla voluptas, and so far may be defined as bestialism.

However, after all that has been taught concerning death, it cannot be denied that, at least in Europe, the opinion of men, nay, often even of the same individual, very fre quently vacillates between the conception of death as abso lute annihilation and the assumption that we are, as it were, with skin and hair, immortal. Both are equally false : but we have not so much to find a correct mean as


ON DEATH. 2 si

rather to gain the higher point of view from which such notions disappear of themselves.

In these considerations I shall first of all start from the purely empirical standpoint. Here there primarily lies before us the undeniable fact that, according to the natural consciousness, man not only fears death for his own person more than anything else, but also weeps violently over the death of those that belong to him, and indeed clearly not egotistically, for his own loss, but out of sympathy for the great misfortune that has befallen them. Therefore he also censures those who in such a case neither weep nor show sadness as hard-hearted and unloving. It is parallel with this that revenge, in its highest degree, seeks the death of the adversary as the greatest evil that can be inflicted. Opinions change with time and place ; but the voice of nature remains always and everywhere the same, and is therefore to be heeded before everything else. Now here it seems distinctly to say that death is a great evil. In the language of nature death means annihilation. And that death is a serious matter may be concluded from the fact that, as every one knows, life is no joke. We must indeed deserve nothing better than these two.

In fact, the fear of death is independent of all know ledge; for the brute has it, although it does not know death. Everything that is born brings it with it into the world. But this fear of death is a priori only the reverse side of the will to live, which indeed we all are. There fore in every brute the fear of its destruction is inborn, like the care for its maintenance. Thus it is the fear of death, and not the mere avoidance of pain, which shows itself in the anxious carefulness with which the brute seeks to protect itself, and still more its brood, from every thing that might become dangerous. Why does the brute flee, trembling, and seek to conceal itself ? Because it is simply the will to live, but, as such, is forfeited to death, and wishes to gain time. Such also, by nature, is man!


252 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

The greatest evil, the worst that can anywhere threaten, is death; the greatest fear is the fear of death. Nothing excites us so irresistibly to the most lively interest as danger to the life of others ; nothing is so shocking as an execution. Now the boundless attachment to life which appears here cannot have sprung from knowledge and reflection ; to these it rather appears foolish, for the objec tive worth of life is very uncertain, and at least it remains doubtful whether it is preferable to not being, nay, if experience and reflection come to be expressed, not being must certainly win. If one knocked on the graves, and asked the dead whether they wished to rise again, they would shake their heads. Such is the opinion of Socrates in " Plato s Apology," and even the gay and amiable Vol taire cannot help saying, "On aime la vie; mais le ndant ne laisse pas tfavoir du Ion; " and again, "Je ne sais pas C6 que cest que la vie dtemelle, mais celle-ci est une mauvaise plaisanterie." Besides, life must in any case soon end ; so that the few years which perhaps one has yet to be,vanish entirely before the endless time when one will be no more. Accordingly it appears to reflection even ludicrous to be so anxious about this span of time, to tremble so much if our own life or that of another is in danger, and to com pose tragedies the horror of which has ite strength in. .the fear of dpq,t,h r {That, powerful attachment to life is there- ore irrational and blind ; it can only be explained from the fact that our whole inner nature is itself will to live, to which, therefore, life must appear as the highest good, however embittered, short, and uncertain it may always be ; and that that will, in itself and originally, is uncon scious and blind. Knowledge, on the contrary, far from being the source of that attachment to life, even works against it, for it discloses the worthlessnesjpjj.ife jl ,jajah^ thus comkits tin- fear <>f d.-ath. When it conquers, and accordingly the. man faces death courageously and com posedly, this is honoured as great and noble, thus we hail then the triumph of knowledge over the blind will to live,


ON DEATH. 253

which is yet the kernel of our own being. In the same way we despise him in whom knowledge is defeated in that conflict, and who therefore clings unconditionally to life, struggles to the utmost against approaching death, and receives it with despair ; J and yet in him it is only the most original being of ourselves and of nature that ex presses itself. We may here ask, in passing, how could this boundless love of life and endeavour to maintain it in every way as long as possible be regarded as base, con- temptible, and by the adherents of every religion as unworthy of this, if it were the gift of good gods, to be recognised with thankfulness ? And how could it then seem great and noble to esteem it lightly ? Meanwhile, what is confirmed by these considerations is (i.) that the will to live is the inmost nature of man ; (2.) that in itself it is unconscious and blind ; (3.) that knowledge is an adventitiojis principle, which is originally foreign to the will ; (4.) that knowledge conflicts with the will, and that our judgment applauds the victory of knowledge over the will.

If what makes death seem so terrible to us were the thought of not being, we would necessarily think with equal horror of the time when as yet we were not. For it is irrefutably certain that not being after death cannot be different from not being before birth, and consequently is also no more deplorable. A whole eternity has run its course while as yet we were not, but that by no means disturbs us. On the other hand, we find it hard, nay, unendurable, that after the momentary inter mezzo of an ephemeral existence, a second eternity should follow in which we shall no longer be. Should, then, this thirst for existence have arisen because we have now tasted it and have found it so delightful ? As was already briefly explained above, certainly not ; far sooner

1 In gladiatoriis pugnis timidos et animosos, et se acriter ipsos morti tuppliaes, et, ut viwe liceat, obsecran- offerentes servare cupimus (Cic. pro tea etiam odisse solemus ; fortes et MUone, c. 34).



254 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

could the experience gained have awakened an infinite longing for the lost paradise of non-existence. To tho hope, also, of the immortality of the soul there is always added that of a " better world " a sign that the present world is not much good. Notwithstanding all this, the question as to our state after death has certainly been dis cussed, in books and verbally, ten thousand times oftener than the question as to our state before birth. Yet theo retically the one is just as near at hand and as fair a problem as the other ; and besides, whoever had answered the one would soon see to the bottom of the other. We have fine declamations about how shocking it would be to think that the mind of man, which embraces the world, and has so many very excellent thoughts, should sink with him into the grave ; but we hear nothing about this mind having allowed a whole eternity to pass before it came into being with these its qualities, and how the world must have had to do without it all that time. Yet no question presents itself more naturally to knowledge, uncorrupted. by- the. will, than this : KIL infinite time has- passed before my birth ; what was I during this timej Metaphysically, it might pernaps be answered, " I was always I ; that is, all who during that time said I, were just I." But let us look away from this to our present entirely empirical point of view, and assume that 1 did not exist at all. Then I can console myself as to the infinite time after my death, when I shall not be, with the infinite time when I already was not^as a_ well-accustomed, and indeed very, comfortable, state; For the" eternity Hp&rt&pbst wit out me can be just as little fearful as the eternity a parte ante without me, since the two are distinguished by nothing except by the interposition of an ephemeral dream of life. All proofs, also, for continued existence after death may just as well be applied in partem ante, where they then demonstrate existence before life, in the assumption of which the Hindus and .Buddhists therefore show themselves very consistent. Kant s ideality of time


ON DEATH. 255

alone solves all these riddles. But we are not speaking of that now. This, however, results from what has been said, that to mourn for the time when one will be no more is just as absurd as it would be to mourn over the time when as yet one was not; for it is all the same whether the time which our existence does not fill is related to that which it does fill, as future or as past.

But, also, regarded entirely apart from these temporal considerations, it is in and for itself absurd to look upon not being as an evil ; for every evil, as every good, presup poses existence, nay, even consciousness: but the latter ceases with life, as also in sleep and in a swoon ; therefore the absence of it is well known to us, and trusted, as con taining no evil at all : its entrance, however, is always an affair of a moment. From, this point of view Epicurus considered death, and therefore quite rightly said, " 6 dava- TO<? fjirjBev 7rpo9 ^fta? " (Death does not concern us) ; with the explanation that when we are death is not, and when death is we are not {Diofj. Laert., x. 27). To have lost what cannot be missed is clearly no evil. Therefore ceas ing to be ought to disturb us as little as not having been. Accordingly from the standpoint of knowledge there ap pears absolutely no reason to fear death. But conscious ness consists in knowing; therefore, for consciousness death is no evil. M^miaKJvi^is^je,ally_not this knowing part of our .&y& that fears death, but the fuga mortis pro ceeds entirely and alone .from, the blind will, of. which everythipfi ^yjflg * fillp.d To this, however, as was already mentioned above, it is essential, just because it is will to live, whose whole nature consists in the effort after life and existence, and which is not originally endowed with knowledge, but only in consequence of its objectifica- tion in animal individuals. If now the will, by means of knowledge, beholds death as the end of the phenomenon with which it has identified itself, and to which, therefore, it sees itself limited, its whole nature struggles against it with all its might. Whether now it has really something


FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.


to fear from death we will investigate further on, and will then remember the real source of the fear of death, which has been shown here along with the requisite distinction j)f_the willing and the knowing part of our nature.

Corresponding to this, then, what makes death so ter rible to us is not so much the end of life for this can appear to no one specially worthy of regret but rather the destruction of the organism; really becjjiSjSLJihi the will itself exhibiting itself as bodyi But we only really feel this destruction in the evils of disease or of old age; death itself, on the other hand, consists for the subject only in the moment when consciousness vanishes because the activity of the brain ceases. The extension of the stoppage to all the other parts of the organism which fol lows this is really already an event after death. Thus death, in a subjective regard, concerns the consciousness alone. Now what the vanishing of this may be every one can to ascertain extent judge of from going to sleep ; but it is still better known" to whoever has really fainted, for in this the transition is not so gradual, nor accompanied by dreams, but first the power of sight leaves us, still fully conscious, and then immediately the most profound un consciousness enters ; the sensation that accompanies it, so far as it goes, is anything but disagreeable ; and without doubt, as sleep is the brother of death, so the swoon is its twin-brother. Even violent death cannot be painful, for even severe wounds are not felt at all till some time afterwards, often not till the outward signs of them are observed. If they are rapidly mortal, consciousness will vanish before this discovery ; if they result in death later, ^then it is the same as with other illnesses. All those / also who have lost consciousness in water, or from cliar- \ coal fumes, or through hanging are well known to say that j it happened without pain. And now, finally, the death "\ which is properly in accordance with nature, death from old age, euthanasia, is a gradual vanishing and sinking out of existence in an imperceptible manner. Little by

w




\




ON DEATH. 257

little in old age, the passions and desires, with the suscep tibility for their objects, are extinguished; the emotions no longer find anything to excite them ; for the power of presenting ideas to the mind always becomes weaker, its images fainter; the impressions no longer cleave to us, but pass over without leaving a trace, the days roll ever faster, events lose their significance, everything grows pale. The old man stricken in years totters about or rests in a corner now only a shadow, a ghost of his former self. What remains there for death to destroy? One

day a sleep is his last, and his dreams are . They

are the dreams which Hamlet inquires after in the famous soliloquy. I believe we dream them even now.

I have here also to remark that the maintenance of the life process, although it has a metaphysical basis, does not go on without resistance, and consequently not without effort. It is this to which the organism yields every night, on account of which it then suspends the brain function arid diminishes certain secretions, the respiration, the pulse, and the development of heat. From this we may conclude that the entire ceasiug of the life process must be a wonderful relief to its motive force ; perhaps this has some share in the expression of sweet content ment on the faces of most dead persons. In general the moment of death may be like the moment of awaking from a heavy dream that has oppressed us like a night mare.

Up to this point the result we have arrived at is that death, however much it may be feared, can yet really be no evil. But often it even appears as a good thing, as something wished for, as a friend. All that have met with insuperable obstacles to their existence or their efforts, that suffer from incurable diseases or inconsolable griefs, have as a last refuge, which generally opens to them of its own accord, the return into the womb of nature, from which they arose for a short time, enticed by the hope of more favourable conditions of existence

VOL. in. B


258 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

than have fallen to their lot, and the same path out of which constantly remains open. That return is the cessio lonorum of life. Yet even here it is only entered upon after a physical and moral conflict: so hard does one strangle against returning to the place from which one came out so lightly and readily, to an existence which has so much suffering and so little jlea^rej^uiffer. The HlnduTgiven^^oor^6T"Heath, Yama, two faces ; one very fearful and terrible, and one very cheerful and benevolent. This partly explains itself from the reflections we have just made.

At the empirical point of view at which we still stand, the following consideration is one which presents itself of its own accord, and therefore deserves to be accurately defined by illustration, and thereby referred to its proper limits. The sight of a dead body shows me that sensi bility, irritability, circulation of the blood, reproduction, &c., have here ceased. I conclude from this with certainty that what actuated these hitherto, which was yet always something unknown to me, now actuates them no longer, thus has departed from them. But if I should now wish to add that this must have been just what I have known only as consciousness, consequently as intelligence (soul), this would be not only an unjustified but clearly a false conclusion. For consciousness has always showed itself to me not as the cause, but as the product and result of the organised life, for it rose and sank in conse quence of this in the different periods of life, in health and sickness, in sleep, in a swoon, in awaking, &c., thus always appeared as effect, never as cause of the organised life, always showed itself as something which arises and passes away, and again arises, so long as the conditions of this still exist, but not apart from them. Nay, I may also have seen that the complete derangement of consciousness, madness, far from dragging down with it and depressing the other forces, or indeed endangering life, heightens these very much, especially irritability or muscular force,


ON DEATH. 259

and rather lengthens than shortens life, if other causes do not come in. Then, also : I knew individuality as a quality of everything organised, and therefore, if this is a self-conscious organism, also of consciousness. But there exists no occasion now to conclude that individuality was inherent in that vanished principle, which imparts life and is completely unknown to me ; all the less so as I see that everywhere in nature each particular phenomenon is the work of a general force which is active in thousands of similar phenomena. But, on the other hand, there is just as little occasion to conclude that because the organised life has ceased here that force which hitherto actuated it has also become nothing ; as little as to infer the death of the spinner from the stopping of the spirming-wheel. If a pendulum, by finding its centre of gravity, at last comes ) rest, and thus its individual apparent life has ceased no one will imagine that gravitation is now annihilated but every one comprehends that, after as before, it is active m innumerable phenomena. Certainly it mi^ht be ur<r e d against this comparison, that here also, in this pendulum gravitation has not ceased to be active, but only to mani fest its activity palpably; whoever insists on this may think, instead, of an electrical body, in which, after its discharge, electricity has actually ceased to be active I only wished to show in this that we ourselves recognise in the lowest forces of nature an eternity and ubiquity with regard to which the transitory nature of their fleeting phenomena never makes us err for a moment. So much the less, then, should it come into our mind to regard the ceasing of life as the annihilation of the living principle and consequently death as the entire destruction of the man. Because the strong arm which, three thousand years ago, bent the bow of Ulysses is no more no reflec tive and well-regulated understanding will regard the force which acted so energetically in it as entirely anni- ulated, and therefore, upon further reflection, will also tot assume that the force which bends the bow to-day first


2 6o FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

began with this arm. The thought lies far nearer us, that the force which earlier actuated the life which now has vanished is the same which is active in the life which now flourishes : nay, this is almost inevitable. Certainly, how ever, we know that, as was explained in the second book, only that is perishable which is involved in the causal series ; but only the states and forms are so involved. On the other hand, untouched by the change of these which is introduced by causes, there remain on the one side matter, and on the other side natural forces : for both are the presupposition of all these changes. But the principle of our life we must, primarily at least, conceive as a force of nature, until perhaps a more profound investigation has brought us to know what it is in itself. Thus, taken simply as a force of nature, the vital force remains entirely undisturbed by the change of forms and states, which the bond of cause* and effect introduces and carries off again, and which alone are subject to the process of coming into being and passing away, as it lies before us in experience. Thus so far the imperishable nature of our true being can be proved with certainty. But it is true this will not satisfy the claims which are wont to be made upon proofs of our continued existence after death, nor insure the consolation which is expected from such proofs. How ever, it is always something ; and whoever fears death as an absolute annihilation cannot afford to despise the per fect certainty that the inmost principle of his life remains untouched by it. Nay, the paradox might be set up, that that second thing also which, just like the forces of nature, remains untouched by the continual change under the guidance of causality, thus matter, by its absolute per manence, insures us indestructibility, by virtue of which whoever was incapable of comprehending any other might yet confidently trust in a certain imperishableness. "What!" it will be said, "the permanence of the mere dust of the crude matter, is to be regarded as a con tinuance of our being?" Oh! do you know this dust,


ON DEATH. 261

"1

then ? Do you know what it is and what it can do ?

Learn to know it before you despise it. / This matter which now lies there- as dust and ashes will soon, dis solved in water, form itself as a crystal, will shine as metal, will then emit electric sparks, will by means of its galvanic intensity manifest a force which, decomposing the closest combinations, reduces earths to metals ; nay, it will, of its own accord, form itself into plants and animals, and from its mysterious womb develop that life for the loss of which you, in your narrowness, are so painfully anxious. Is it, then, absolutely nothing to continue to exist as such matter ? IsTay, I seriously assert that even this permanence of matter affords evidence of the in destructibility of our true nature, though only as in an image or simile, or, rather, only as in outline. To see this we only need to call to mind the explanation of matter given in chapter 24, from which it resulted that mere formless matter this basis of the world of experience which is never perceived for itself alone, but assumed as constantly remaining is the immediate reflection, the visibility in general, of the thing in itself, thus of the will. Therefore, whatever absolutely pertains to the will as such holds good also of matter, and it reflects the true eternal nature of the will under the image of temporal imperishable- ness. Because, as has been said, nature does not lie, no view which has sprung from a purely objective comprehen sion of it, and been logically thought out, can be absolutely false, but at the most only very one-sided and imperfect. Such, however, is, indisputably, consistent materialism ; for instance, that of Epicurus, just as well as the absolute idealism opposed to it, like that of Berkeley, and in gene ral every philosophical point of view which has proceeded from a correct appergu, and been honestly carried out. Only they are all exceedingly one-sided comprehensions, and therefore, in spite of their opposition, they are all true, each from a definite point of view; but as soon as one has risen above this point of view, then they only



262 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

appear as relatively and conditionally true. The highest standpoint alone, from which one surveys them all and knows them in their relative truth, but also beyond this, m their falseness, can be that of absolute truth so far as this is in general attainable. Accordingly we see, as was shown above, that in the very crude, and therefore very old, point of view of materialism proper the indestructibility of our true nature in itself is represented, as by a mere shadow of it, the imperishableness of matter ; as in the already higher naturalism of an absolute physics it is represented by the ubiquity and eternity of the natural forces, among which the vital force is at least to be counted. Thus even^these .sriidfi. pninte of ^dew^qmtain the assertion tha^he_lrving f being suffe"rirno abaolutTanniflJi^ion ^o^phdeath. but continues to exist in mi.l with the whole of n;r ,; .

Tho considerations which have brought us to this point, and to which the further explanations link themselves on, started from the remarkable fear of death which fills all living beings. But now we will change the standpoint and consider how, in contrast to the individual beings, the whole of nature bears itself with reference to death. In doing this, however, we still always remain upon the ground of experience.

Certainly we know no higher game of chance than that for death and life. Every decision about this we watch with the utmost excitement, interest, and fear ; for in our eyes all in all is at stake. On the other hand, nature, which never lies, but is always straightforward and open, speaks quite differently upon this theme, speaks like Krishna in the Bhagavadgita. What it says is: The death or the life of the individual is of no significance. It expresses this by the fact that it exposes the life of every brute, and even of man, to the most insignificant accidents without coming to the rescue. Consider the insect on your path ; a slight, unconscious turning of your step is decisive as to its life or death. Look at the wood-snail, without any means of flight, of defence, of deception, of


ON DEATH. 263

concealment, a ready prey for all. Look at the fish care lessly playing in the still open net ; the frog restrained by its laziness from the flight which might save it ; the bird that does not know of the falcon that soars above it ; the sheep which the wolf eyes and examines from the thicket. All these, provided with little foresight, go about guile lessly among the dangers that threaten their existence every moment. Since now nature exposes its organisms, constructed with such inimitable skill, not only to the predatory instincts of the stronger, but also to the blindest chance, to the humour of every fool, the mischievousness of every child without reserve, it declares that the anni hilation of these individuals is indifferent to it, does it no harm, has no significance, and that in these cases the effect is of no more importance than the cause. It says this very distinctly, and it does not lie ; only it makes no comments on its utterances, but rather expresses them in the laconic style of an oracle. If now the all-mother send . s , fort k ,h. er children without protection to a thousand threatening dangers, this can only be because she knows that if they fall they fall back into her womb, where they are safe ; therefore their fall is a mere jest, Nature does not act otherwise with man than with the


,fcre its declaration extends also, to man/: the life and death of tho-Judividual are indifferent toJ,^ w 4^of3mgR? , in a certain. .sejas.e,. they ought also tVbe .indifferentTo fi us, %. w - e - ourselves .are indeed, imturej Certainly, if only "we" saw deep enough, we would agree with nature, and regard life and death as indifferently as it does. Meanwhile, by means of reflection, we must attribute that carelessness and indifference of nature towards the life of the individuals to the fact that the destruction of such a phenomenon does not in the least affect its true and proper nature.

If we further ponder the fact, that not only, as we have just seen, arej^fe_a^^death ...daReiident uDpn the, most^tnfling__apQJ4ftnts, but that the existence of the organised being in general is an ephemeral one, that


264 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL1.

animal and plant arise to-day and pass away to-morrow, and birth and death follow in quick succession, while to the unorganised things which stand so much lower an incomparably longer duration is assured, and an infinite duration to the absolutely formless matter alone, to which, indeed, we attribute this a priori, then, I think, the thought must follow of its own accord, even from the purely empirical, but objective and unprejudiced compre hension of such an order of things, that this is only a superficial phenomenon, that such a constant arising and passing away can by no means touch the root of things, but can only be relative, nay, only apparent, in which the true inner nature of that thing is not included, the nature which everywhere evades our glance and is thoroughly mysterious, but rather that this continues to exist un disturbed by it ; although we can neither apprehend nor conceive the manner in which this happens, and must therefore think of it only generally as a kind of tour de passe-passe which took place there. For that, while what is most imperfect, the lowest, the unorganised, continues to exist unassailed, it is just the most perfect beings, the living creatures, with their infinitely complicated and in conceivably ingenious organisations, which constantly arise, new from the very foundation, and after a brief span of time absolutely pass into nothingness, to make room for other new ones like them coming into existence out of nothing this is something so obviously absurd that it can never be the true order of things, but rather a mere veil which conceals this, or, more accurately, a pheno menon conditioned by the nature of our intellect. Nay, the whole being and not being itself of these individuals, in relation to which death and life are opposites, can only be relative. Thus the language of nature, in which it is given us as absolute, cannot be the true and ulti mate expression of the nature of things and of the order of the world, but indeed only a patois du pays, i.e., some thing merely relatively true, something to be under-


ON DEATH. 265

stood cum grano sails, or, to speak properly, something con ditioned by our intellect ; I say, an immediate, intuitive conviction of the kind which I have tried to describe in words will press itself upon every one ; i.e., certainly only upon every one whose mind is not of an utterly ordinary species, which is absolutely only capable of knowing the particular simply and solely as such, which is strictly limited to the knowledge of individuals, after the manner of the intellect of the brutes. Whoever, on the other hand, by means of a capacity of an only somewhat higher power, even just begins to see in the individual beings their universal, their Ideas, will also, to a certain extent, participate in that conviction, and that indeed as an immediate, and therefore p-prta.-?^ ^nmrVinny IB fnrT] it is also only small, limited minds that fear death quite seriously as their annihilation, and persons of de cidedly superior capacity are completely free from terrors./ Plato rightly bases the whole of philoso phy upon the knowledge of the doctrine of Ideas, i.e., upon the perception of the universal in the particu lar. But the conviction here described, which proceeds directly from the comprehension of nature, must have been exceedingly vivid in those sublime authors of the Upanishads of the Vedas, who can scarcely be thought of as mere men, for it speaks to us so forcibly out of an innumerable number of their utterances that we must ascribe this immediate illumination of their mind to the fact that these wise men, standing nearer the origin of our race in time, comprehended the nature of things more clearly and profoundly than the already deteriorated race, OLOL vvv fiporoi CLO-IV, is able to do. But certainly their comprehension is assisted by the natural world of India, which is endowed with life in a very different degree from our northern world. However, thorough reflection, as pur sued by Kant s great mind, leads by another path to the same result, for it teaches us that our intellect, in which that phenomenal world which changes so fast exhibits


266 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

itself, does not comprehend the true ultimate nature of things, but merely its phenomenal manifestation, and indeed, as I add, because it is originally only destined to present the motives to our will, i.e., to be serviceable to it in the pursuit of its paltry ends.

Let us, however, carry our objective and unprejudiced consideration of nature still further. If I kill a living creature, whether a dog, a bird, a frog, or even only an insect, it is really inconceivable that this being, or rather the original force by virtue of which such a marvellous phenomenon exhibited itself just the moment before, in its full energy and love of life, should have been annihi lated by my wicked or thoughtless act. And again,^on the other hand, the millions of animals of every kind which come into existence every moment, in infinite variety, full of force and activity, can never, before the act of their generation, have been nothing at all, and, have attained from nothing to a.n._abaoliitP beginning. J If


now in this way I see one of these withdraw itself from my sight, without me knowing where it goes, and. jmQt&er appear without me knowing whence it comesj if, more over, both have the same form, the same nature,. tlfe _same character, and only not the same matter, which yetjluring their existence they continually throw off and renew; then certainly the assumption, that that which .vanishes and that which appears in its place are one and the same^ which has only experienced a slight alteration, a renewal of the form of its existence, and that consequently death is for the species what sleep is for the individual; this assumption, I say, lies so close at hand that it is.impos/: sible not to light upon it,\unless the mind, perverted in early youtn by the imprinting of false views, hurries it ; outV the way, even from a distance, with superstitious fear. But the opposite assumption that the birth of an animal is an arising out of nothing, and accordingly that its death is its absolute annihilation, and this with the further addition that man, who has also originated out


ON DEATH. 267

of nothing, has yet an individual, endless existence, and indeed a conscious existence, while the dog, the ape, the elephant, are annihilated by death, is really something against which the healthy mind revolts and which it must regard as absurd. If, as is sufficiently often repeated, the comparison of the results of a system with the utterances of the healthy mind is supposed to be a touchstone of its truth, I wish the adherents of the system which was handed down from Descartes to the pre-Kantian eclectics, nay, which even now is still the prevailing view of the great majority of cultured people in Europe, would apply this touchstone here.

Throughout and everywhere the true symbol of nature is the circle, because it is the schema or type of recurrence. This is, in fact, the most universal form in nature, which it carries out in everything, from the course of the stars down to the death and the genesis of organised beings, and by which alone, in the ceaseless stream of time, and its content, a permanent existence, i.e., a nature, becomes possible.

If in autumn we consider the little world of insects, and see how one prepares its bed to sleep the long, rigid winter-sleep ; another spins its coccoon to pass the winter as a chrysalis, and awake in spring rejuvenated and per fected ; and, finally, how most of them, intending them selves to rest in the arms of death, merely arrange with care the suitable place for their egg, in order to issue forth again from it some day renewed ; this_is_ nature s great doctrine_of immortality, which seeks to teach us that" there is_no_ .radical .difference r^pw*eeiilSeep.-and.de.a^^uTHe one .endangers existence just as little as jth.e,..other. The care with which the insect prepares a cell, or hole, or nest, deposits its egg in it, together with food for the larva that will come out of it in the following spring, and then quietly dies, is just like the care with which in the even ing a man lays ready his clothes and his breakfast for the next morning, and then quietly goes to sleep; and at


268 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

bottom it could not take place at all if it were not that the insect which dies in autumn is in itself, and according to its true nature, just as much identical with the one which is hatched out in the spring as the man who lies down to sleep is identical with the man who rises from it. If now, after these considerations, we return to our selves and our own species, then cast our glance for ward far into the future, and seek to present to our minds the future generations, with the millions of their indi viduals in the strange form of their customs and pursuits, and then interpose with the question : Whence will all these come ? Where are they now ? Where is the fertile womb of that nothing, pregnant with worlds, which still conceals the coming races ? Would not the smiling and true answer to this be, Where else should they be than there where alone the real always was and will be, in the present and its content ? thus with thee, the foolish ques tioner, who in this mistaking of his own nature is like the leaf upon the tree, which, fading in autumn and about to fall, complains at its destruction, and will not be consoled by looking forward to the fresh green which will clothe the tree in spring, but says lamenting, " I am not these ! These are quite different leaves!" Oh, foolish leaf! Whither wilt thou ? And whence should others come ? Where is the nothing whose abyss thou f earest ? Know thine own nature, that which is so filled with thirst for existence ; recognise it in the inner, mysterious, germi nating force of the tree, which, constantly one and the same in all generations of leaves, remains untouched by all arising and passing away. And now, olij irep <j)v\\a>v 761/677, rourjBe KO.I avSpcw (Qualis foliorum generatio, talis et hominum). Whether the fly which now_ buzzes round me goes to sleep in the evening, and buzzes again to morrow, or dies in the evening, and in spring another fly buzzes which has sprung from its egg : that is in itself the same thing ; but therefore the knowledge which ex hibits this as two fundamentally different things is not


ON DEATH. 269

unconditioned, but relative, a knowledge of the pheno menon, not of the thing in itself. In the" morning the fly exists again; it also exists again in the spring. What distinguishes for it the winter from the night? In Burdach s "Physiology/ vol. i. 275, we read,"Till ten o clock in the morning no Cercaria ephemera (one of the infusoria) is to be seen (in the infusion), and at twelve the whole water swarms with them. In the evening they die, and the next morning they again appear anew." So it was observed by Nitzsch six days running.

So everything lingers but a moment, and hastens on to death. The plant and the insect die at the end of the sum mer, the brute and the man after a few years : death reaps uuweariedly. Yet notwithstanding this, nay, as if this were not so at all, everything is always there and in its place, just as if everything were imperishable. The plant always thrives and blooms, the insect hums, the brute and the man exist in unwasted youth, and the cherries that have already been enjoyed a thousand times we have again before us every summer. The nations also exist as immortal individuals, although sometimes their names change; even their action, what they do and suffer, is always the same ; although history always pretends to relate something different : for it is like the kaleidoscope, which at every turn shows a new figure, while we really always have the same thing before our eyes. What then presses itself more irresistibly upon us than the thought that that arising and passing away does not concern the real nature of things, but this remains untouched by it, thus is im perishable, and therefore all and each that wills to exist actually exists continuously and without end. Accord ingly at every given point of time all species of animals, from the gnat to the elephant, exist together complete. They have already renewed themselves many thousand times, and withal have remained the same. They know nothing of others like them, who have lived before them,


2 ;o FOURTH

I "

or will live after them j it_ is the species which always lives, and itt-fcke consciousness of the imperishable nature of the species and their identity with it , the w jndiyj.duals cheerfully exist./ The will to live manifests itself in an endless present, because this is the form of the life of the species, which, therefore, never grows old, but remains always young. Death is for it what sleep is for the in dividual, or what winking is for the eye, by the absence of which the Indian gods are known, if they appear in human form. As through the entrance of night the world vanishes, but yet does not for a moment cease to exist, so man and brute apparently pass away through death, and yet their true nature | continues^ jugt^ as^ undisturb ed^ by it. f 1 te1Tus""nbw u tnirik of thatalternat^



birth as infinitely vapid vibrations, and we have before

us the enduring object! fication of the will, the permanent

Ideas of being, fixed like the rainbow on the waterfall.

This is temporal immortality. In consequence of jthis,,

notwithstanding thousands of years of death and decay,

\ nothing has been lost, not an atom of the matter, still less

\ anything of the inner being, that exhibits itself as nature.

I Therefore every moment we can cheerfully cry, j jtn spite

Lof time, death, and decay, we are still all tog^JjierP ^^

Perhaps we would have to except whoever haHonce

said from the bottom of his heart, with regard to this

"ame " I want no more." But this is not yet the place

O

to speak of this.

But we have certainly to draw attention to the fact that the pain of birth and the bitterness of death are the two constant conditions under which the will to live maintains itself in its objectification, i.e., our inner nature, untouched by the course of time and the death of races, exists in an everlasting present, and enjoys the fruit of the assertion of the will to live. This is analogous to the fact that we can only be awake during the day on condition that we sleep during the night ; indeed the latter is the


ON DEATH. 271

commentary which nature offers us for the understanding of that difficult passage. 1

For the substratum, or the content, TrX^/jtu/ia, or the material of the present, is through all time really the same. The impossibility of knowing this identity directly is just time, a form and limitation of our intellect. That on account of it, for example, the future event is not yet, depends upon an illusion of which we become conscious when that event has come. That the essential form of our intellect introduces such an illusion explains and justifies itself from the fact that the intellect has come forth from the hands of nature by no means for the appre hension of the nature of things, but merely for the appre hension of motives, thus for the service of an individual and temporal phenomenon of will. 2

Whoever comprehends the reflections which here oc cupy us will also understand the true meaning of the paradoxical doctrine of the Eleatics, that there is no arising and passing away, but the whole remains immov able : " nap/j,evi&r)<> teat MeAicrcro<? avypovv yevecnv tcai (f>8opav, 8ta ro vo{j,it;tv TO irav a/civrjTOv " (Parmenides et Melissus ortum et interitum tollebant, guoniam nihil moveri putabant), Stdb. Ed., i. 21. Light is also thrown here upon the beautiful passage of Empedocles which Plutarch has preserved for us in the book, " Adversus Coloten" c. 12:

1 The suspension of the animal as they successively present thern-

functions is sleep, that of the organic selves in the course of time and differ-

functions is death. ence of places, in the most checkered

a There is only one present, and multifariousness and variety, as at

this is always : for it is the sole form once and together, and always present

of actual existence. One must at- in the Nunc stans, while it is only

tain to the insight that the past is apparently that now this and now

not in itself different from the pre- that is ; then what the objectifica-

sent, but only in our apprehension, tion of the will to live really means

which has time as its form, on ac- will bo understood. Our pleasure

count of which alone the present also in yenrc painting depends prin-

exhibits itself as different from the cipally upon the fact that it fixes the

past. To assist this insight, imagine fleeting scenes of life. The dogma

all the events and scenes of human of metempsychosis has proceeded

life, bad and good, fortunate and from the feeling of the truth which

unfortunate, pleasing and terrible has just been expressed.


272 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

" Nrjiriot ov jap ff<j)tv &o\i%o<f>pove<? euri Ol Si) ryiveo-Qai Trapo? OVK eov \7riovcri } H Tfc Kara6vr]crKiv KCLI ej;o\\vcrQat arravrir]. OVK av avijp roiavra cro<o9 <ppecrt fjuavrevaairo, f /2? o<j)pa /J,ev re {Siaxri (TO $r) fiiorov Ka\ov<ri), Totypa ftev ovv eicriv, Kai a<f>iv napa Seiva icai eaO\a IIpiv re irayev re ftporot, icat, errei \vdev, ovSev ap ei

(Stulta, et prolixas non admittentia euros

Pectora : gui srperant, existere posse, quod ante

Nonfuit, aut ullam rem pessum protinus ire;

Non animo prudens homo quod prcesentiat ullus,

Dum vivunt (namque hoc vital nomine signant},

Sunt, et fortuna turn conflictantur utraque :

Ante ortum nihil est homo, nee post funera quidquam.)

The very remarkable and, in its place, astonishing pas sage in Diderot s "Jacques le fataliste" deserves not less to be mentioned here : " Un chdteau immense, au fron- tispice duquel on lisait : Je n appartiens d personne, et fappartie?is a tout le monde : vousj^j^z^a^nt^oji^..d ,y entrer, vous y serez encore, quand vous en sortircz. "

Certainly in the- sense in which, when he is begotten, the man arises out of nothing, he becomes nothing through death. But really to learn to know this " nothing " would be very interesting ; for it only requires moderate acute- ness to see that this empirical nothing is by no means absolute, i.e., such as would in every sense be nothing. We are already led to this insight by the observation that all qualities of the parents recur in the children, thus have overcome death. Of this, however, I will speak in a special chapter.

There is no greater contrast than that^between_ the ceaseless~5igTit of time, which carries its whole content with it, and the rigid immobility of what is actually pre sent, which at all times is one and the same. And if from this point of view we watch in a purely objective manner the immediate events of life, the Nunc stans becomes clear


ON DEATH. 273

and visible to us in the centre of the wheel of time. To the eye of a being of incomparably longer life, which at one glance comprehended the human race in its whole duration, the constant alternation of birth and death

would present itself as a continuous vibration, and accord ingly it would not occur to it at all to see in this an ever new arising out of nothing and passing into nothing ; but just as to our sight the quickly revolving spark appears as a continuous circle, the rapidly vibrating spring as a permanent triangle, the vibrating cord as a spindle, so to this eye the species would appear as that which has being and permanence, death and life as vibrations.

We will have false conceptions of the indestructibility of our true nature by death, so long as we do not make up our minds to study it primarily in the brutes, but claim for ourselves alone a class apart from them, under the boastful name of immortality. But it is this pretension alone, and the narrowness of view from which it proceeds, on account of which most men struggle so obstinately against the recognition of the obvious truth that we are essentially, and in the chief respect, the same as the brutes ; nay, that they recoil at every hint of our relation ship with these. But it is this denial of the truth which more than anything else closes against them the path to real knowledge of the indestructibility of our nature. For if we seek anything upon a wrong path, we have just on that account forsaken the right path, and upon the path we follow we will never attain to anything in the end but late disillusion. Up, then, follow the truth, not according to preconceived notions, but as nature leads ! First of al learn to recognise in the aspect of every young animal the existence of the species that never grows old, which, as a reflection of its eternal youth, imparts to every individual a temporary youth, and lets it come forth as new and fresh as if the world were of to-day. Let one ask himself honestly whether the swallow of this year s spring is abso lutely a different one from the swallow of the first spring

VOL. in. g l


274 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

and whether really between the two the miracle of the creation out of nothing has repeated itself millions of times, in order to work just as often into the hands of absolute annihilation. I know well that if I seriously as sured any one that the cat which now plays in the yard is still the same one which made the same springs and played the same tricks there three hundred years ago, he would think I was mad ; but I also know that it is much madder to believe that the cat of to-day is through and through and in its whole nature quite a different one from the cat of three hundred years ago. One only requires truly and seriously to sink oneself in the contemplation of one of these higher vertebrates in order to become dis tinctly conscious that this unfathomable nature, taken as a whole, as it exists there, cannot possibly become nothing ; and yet, on the other hand, one knows its transitoriness. This depends upon the fact that in this animal the in finite nature of its Idea (species) is imprinted in the finiteness of the individual. For in a certain sense it is of course true that in the individual we always have before us another being in the sense which depends upon the principle of sufficient reason, in which are also included time and space, which constitute the principium individua- tionis. But in another sense it is not true in the sense in which reality belongs to the permanent forms of things, tho Ideas alone, and which was so clearly evident to Plato that it became his fundamental thought, the centre of his philosophy ; and he made the comprehension of it the cri terion of capacity for philosophising in general.

As the scattered drops of the roaring waterfalj^change with lightning rapidity, while the rainbow, whose sup- porter tKey are, remains immovably at rest, quite un- toucEed by that ceaseless change, so every" Tdea, i.e., every species of living creature remains quite untouched by the continual change of its individuals. But it is the Idea, or the species in which the will to live is really rooted, and manifests itself ; and therefore also the will


ON DEATH.


2 2L5i uly conce ed in the continuance of the species For example,-fhe li6ns which are born " and "di"e " are" Me the drops of the waterfall; but the Uonitas, the Idea or form of the lion, is like the unshaken rainbow upon it Therefore Plato attributed true being to the Ideas alone* fcc,to the species; to the individuals only a ceaseless arising and passing away. From the profound conscious ness of his imperishable nature really springs also the confidence and peace of mind with which every brute and even human individual, moves unconcernedly alone* amid a host of chances, which may annihilate it any moment and, moreover, moves straight on to death : out of its eyes however, there shines the peace of the species, which that death does not affect, and does not concern Even to man this peace could not be imparted by uncertain and changing dogmas. But, as was said, the contemplation of every animal teaches that death is no obstacle to the kernel of life, to the will in its manifestation. What an unfathomable mystery lies, then, in every animal ! Look the nearest one ; look at your dog, how cheerfully and peacefully he lives ! Many thousands of dogs have had to die before it came to this one s turn to live. But the death of these thousands has not affected the Idea of the dog; it has not been in the least disturbed by all that Therefore the dog exists as fresh and endowed with primitive force as if this were its first day and none could ever be its last; and out of its eyes there shines he indestructible principle in it, the archaus. What then, has died during those thousands of years ? Not the dog-it stands unscathed before us; merely its shadow, its image in our form of knowledge, which is bound to time Yet how can one even believe that that passes away which for ever and ever exists and fills all time ? Cer tainly the matter can be explained empirically; in pro portion as death destroyed the individuals, generation produced new ones. But this empirical explanation is an apparent explanation : it puts one riddle in the


276 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

place of the other. The metaphysical understanding of the matter, although not to be got so cheaply, is yet the only true and satisfying one.

Kant, in his subjective procedure, brought to light the truth that time cannot belong to the thing in itself, be cause it lies pre-formed in our apprehension. Now death is the temporal end of the temporal phenomenon ; but as soon as we abstract time, there is no idiger any end, and this word has lost all significance. But I, here upon the objective path, am trying to show the positive side of the matter, that the thing in itself remains untouched by time, and by that which is only possible through time, arising and passing away, and that the phenomena in time could not have even that ceaselessly fleeting exist ence which stands next to nothingness, if there were not in them a kernel of the infinite. Eternity is certainly a conception which has no perception as its foundation; accordingly it has also a merely negative content; it signifies a timeless existence. Time is yet merely an imao-e of eternity, o %poi>o<? dicwv rov aleovos, as Plotinus has it ; and in the same way our temporal existence is a mere image of our true nature. This must lie in eternity, just because time is only the form of our knowledge ; but on account of this alone do we know our own existence, and that of all things as transitory, finite, and subject to annihilation.

In the second book I have shown that the adequate objectivity of the will as the thing in itself, at each of its grades, is the (Platonic) Idea ; similarly in the third book that the Ideas of things have the pure subject of know ledge as their correlative ; consequently the knowledge of them only appears exceptionally and temporarily under specially favourable conditions. For individual know ledge, on the other hand, thus in time, the Idea presents itself under the form of the species, which is the Idea broken up through its entrance into time. Therefore the species is the most immediate objectification of the thing


ON DEATH. 277

in itself, i.e., of the will to live. The inmost nature of every brute, and also of man, accordingly lies in the

species.;. .thus the will to liye x which is so powerfully active, is rooted in this, not really in. m th.e.--kiiid,ual. On the other haud^^EMEEe" individual alone lies the immediate consciousness : accordingly it imagines itself different from the species, and therefore fears death. The will to live manifests itself in relation to the individual as hunger and the fear of death : in relation to the species as sexual instinct and passionate care for the offspring. In agreement with this we find nature, which is free from that delusion of the individual, as careful for the main tenance of the species as it is indifferent to the destruc tion of the individuals : the latter are always only means, the former is the end. Therefore a glaring contrast appears between its niggardliness in the endowment of the individuals and its prodigality when the species is concerned. In the latter case from one individual are often annually obtained a hundred thousand germs, and more ; for example, from trees, fishes, crabs, termites, and many others. In the former case, on the contrary, only barely enough in the way of powers and organs is given to each to enable it with ceaseless effort to maintain its life. And, therefore, if an animal is injured or weakened it must, as a rule, starve. And where an incidental saving was possible, through the circumstance that one part could upon necessity be dispensed with, it has been withheld, even out of order. Hence, for example, many caterpillars are without eyes ; the poor creatures grope in the dark from leaf to leaf, which, since they lack feelers, they do by moving three-fourths of their body back and forward in the air, till they find some object. Hence they often miss their food which is to be found close by. But this happens in consequence of the lex parsimonice nativrce, to the expression of which natura nihil facit supervacaneum one may add et nihil largitur. The same tendency of nature shows itself also in the fact that the


278 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

more fit the individual is, on account of his age, for the propagation of the species, the more powerfully does the vis naturae medicafrix manifest itself in him, and there fore his wounds heal easily, and he easily recovers from diseases. This diminishes along with the power of genera tion, and sinks low after it is extinct ; for now in the eyes of nature the individual has hecome worthless.

If now we cast another glance at the scale of existences, with the whole of their accompanying gradations of con sciousness, from the polyp up to man, we see this wonder ful pyramid, kept in ceaseless oscillation certainly by the constant death of the individuals, yet by means of the bond of generation, enduring in the species through the infinite course of time. While, then, as was explained above, the objective, the species, presents itself as inde structible, the subjective, which consists merely in the self- consciousness of these beings, seems to be of the shortest duration, and to be unceasingly destroyed, in order, just as often, to come forth again from nothing in an incom prehensible manner. But, indeed, one must be very short-sighted to let oneself be deceived by this appear ance, and not to comprehend that, although the form of temporal permanence only belongs to the objective, the subjective, i.e., the will, which lives and manifests itself in all, and with it the subject of the knowledge in which all exhibits itself, must be not less indestructible ; because the permanence of the objective, or external, can yet only be the phenomenal appearance of the indestructibility of the subjective or internal ; for the former can possess nothing which it has not received on loan from the latter ; and cannot be essentially and originally an objective, a phenomenon, and then secondarily and accidentally a sub jective, a thing in itself, a self-consciousness. For clearly the former as a manifestation presupposes something which manifests itself, as being for other presupposes a being for self, and as object presupposes a subject; and not conversely: because everywhere the root of things must


ON DEATH 179

lie in that which they are for themselves, thus in the sub jective, not in the objective, i.e., in that which they are only for others, in a foreign consciousness. Accordingly we found in the first book that the right starting-point for philosophy is essentially and necessarily the subjective, te .~, the idealistic starting-point ; and also that the oppo site starting-point, that which proceeds from the objective, leads to materialism. At bottom, however, we are far more one with the world than we commonly suppose : its inner nature is our will, its phenomenal appearance is OUT idea. For any one who could bring this unity of being to distinct consciousness, the difference between the con tinuance of the external world after his death and his OWL continuance after death would vanish. The two would present themselves to him as one and the same ; oay, he would laugh at the delusion that could separate them. FpjL.Jih.e_ understanding of the indestructibility of our .jnature coincfdes^witE Ibhat of tjie>.,lde&tity,, of,,, the macrocosm and the microcosm. Meanwhile one may obtain light upon what is said here by a peculiar experi ment, performed by means of the imagination, an experi ment which might be called metaphysical. Let any one try to present vividly to his mind the time, in any case not far distant, when he will be dead. Then he thinks himself away and lets the world go on existing ; but soon, to his own astonishment, he will discover that he was nevertheless still there. For he intended to present the world to his mind without himself; but the ego is the immediate element in consciousness, through which alone the world is brought about, and for which alone it exists. This centre of all existence, this kernel of all reality, is to be abolished, and yet the world is to go on existing ; it is a thought which can be conceived in the abstract, but not realised. The endeavour to accomplish this, the attempt to think the secondary without the primary, the conditioned without the condition, that which is sup ported without the supporter, always fails, much in the


280 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

same way as the attempt to think an equilateral, right- angled triangle, or a destruction or origination of matter, and similar impossibilities. Instead of what was intended, the feeling here presses upon us that the world is not less in us than we in it, and that the source of all reality lies within us. The result is really this : the time wheii I shall not be will objectively come ; but subjectively ft can never come. It might therefore, indeed, be asked, how far every one, in his heart, actually believes in a tiling which he really cannot conceive at all ; or whether, ince the profound consciousness of the iudestructiblensss of our true nature associates itself with that merely intellectual experiment, which, however, has already been made more or less distinctly by every one, whether, I say, our own death is not perhaps for us at bottom the most incredible thing in the world.

The deep conviction of the indestructibleness of our nature through death, which, as is also shown by the inevitable qualms of conscience at its approach, every one carries at the bottom of his heart, depends altogether upon the consciousness of the original and eternal nature of our being: therefore Spinoza expresses it thus: " Sentimus, experimurgiw, nos ceternos esse." For a reasonable man can only think of himself as imperishable, because he thinks of himself as without beginning, as eternal, in fact as timeless. Whoever, on the other hand, regards him self as having become out of nothing must also think that he will again become nothing ; for that an eternity had passed before lie was, and then a second eternity had begun, through which he will never cease to be, is a monstrous thought. Eeally the most solid ground for our immortality is the old principle : " Ex nihilo nihil Jit, et in nihilum nihil potest reverti." Theophrastus Para celsus very happily says (Works, Strasburg, 1603, vol. ii. p. 6): "The soul in me has arisen out of something; therefore it does not come to nothing; for it conies out of something." He gives the true reason. But whoever


ON DEATH. 281

regards the birth of the man as his absolute beginning must regard death as his absolute end. For both are what they are in ** ***** flmp ; pnngpqn ftT1 |^r7^Y P r, Q can only~think of himself us immortal so far as he_also tnlixks of himself as unborn, and in the same sense. What birth is, that also is death, according to its nature and significance : it is the same line drawn in two directions. If the former is an actual arising out of nothing, then the latter is also an actual annihilation. But in truth it is only by means of the eternity of our real being that we can conceive it as imperishable, and consequently this imperishableness is not temporal. The assumption that man is made out of nothing leads necessarily to the assumption that death is his absolute end. Thus in this the Old Testament is perfectly consistent ; for no doctrine of immortality is suitable to a creation out of nothing. New Testament Christianity has such a doctrine because it is Indian in spirit, and therefore more than probably also of Indian origin, although only indirectly, through Egypt. But to the Jewish stem, upon which that Indian wisdom had to be grafted in the Holy Land, such a doctrine is as little suited as the freedom of the will to its determinism, or as

"Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam Jungere si velit."

It is always bad if one cannot be thoroughly original, and dare not carve out of the whole wood. Brahmanism and Buddhism, on the other hand, have quite consistently, besides the continued existence after death, an existence before birth to expiate the guilt of which we have this life. Moreover, how distinctly conscious they were of the necessary consistency in this is shown by the following passage from Colebrooke s " History of the Indian Philo sophy " in the " Transac. of the Asiatic London Society, vol. i. p. 577: "Against the system of the Bhagavatas which is but partially heretical, the objection upon which


282 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

the chief stress is laid by Vyaso is, that the soul would not be eternal if it were a production, and consequently had a beginning." Further, in Upham s "Doctrine of Buddhism," p. no, it is said: "The lot in hell of impious persons called Deitty is the most severe : these are they who, discrediting the evidence of Buddha, adhere to the heretical doctrine that all living beings had their begin ning in the mother s womb, and will have their end in death."

Whoever conceives his existence as merely accidental must certainly fear that he will lose it by death. On the other hand, whoever sees, even only in general, that his existence rests upon some kind of original necessity will not believe that this which has produced so wonder ful a thing is limited to such a brief span of time, but that it is active in every one. But he will recognise his existence as necessary who reflects that up till now, when he exists, already an infinite time, thus also an infinity of changes, has ran its course, but in spite of this he yet exists; thus the whole range of all possible states has already exhausted itself without being able to destroy his existence. // he could ever not be, he woidd already not

^^ Mi .^^^HiHMMMMniHnHHiMMHMM^HMH^MMHHHBV IH> ^ n ^V* l ^ M "* !_ \

fa now. For the infinity of the time that has already elapsed, with the exhausted possibility of the events in it, guarantees that what exists, exists necessarily. There fore every one must conceive himself as a necessary being, i.e., as a being whose existence would follow from its true and exhaustive definition if one only had it. In this line of thought, then, really lies the only immanent proof of the imperishableness of our nature, i.e., the only proof of this that holds good within the sphere of empirical data. In this nature existence must inhere, because it shows itself as independent of all states which can possibly be intro duced through the chain of causes ; for these states have already done what they could, and yet our existence has remained unshaken by it, as the ray of light by the storm wind which it cuts through. If time, of its own resources,


ON DEATH. 283

could bring us to a happy state, then we would already have been there long ago ; for an infinite time lies behind us. But also: if it could lead us to destruction, we would already have long been no more. From the fact that we now exist, it follows, if well considered, that we must at all times exist. For we are ourselves the nature which time has taken up into itself in order to fill its void ; consequently it fills the whole of time, present, past, and future, in the same way, and it is just as impossible for us to fall out of existence as to fall out of space. Carefully considered, it is inconceivable that what once exists in all the strength of reality should ever become nothing, and then not be, through an infinite time. Hence has arisen the Christian doctrine of the restoration of all things, that of the Hindus of the constantly repeated creation of the world by Brahma, together with similar dogmas of the Greek philosophers. The great mystery of our being and not being, to explain which these and all kindred dogmas have been devised, ultimately rests upon the fact that the same thing which objectively constitutes an infinite course of time is subjectively an indivisible, ever present present : but who comprehends it ? It has been most distinctly set forth by Kant in his immortal doctrine of the ideality of time and the sole reality of the thing in itself. For it results from this that the really essential part of things, of man, of the world, lies per manently and enduringly in the Nunc stans, firm and immovable; and that the change of the phenomena and events is a mere consequence of our apprehension of them by means of our form of perception, which is time. Ac cordingly, instead of saying to men, "Ye have arisen through birth, but are immortal," one ought to say to them, "Ye are not nothing," and teach them to un derstand this in the sense of the saying attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, " To jap ov det evrai " (Quod enim est, erit semper), Stob. Eel, i. 43, 6. If, however, this does not succeed, but the anxious heart raises its old


284 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

lament, " I see all beings arise through birth out of nothing, and after a brief term again return to this ; my existence also, now in the present, will soon lie in the distant past, and I will be nothing!" the right answer is, " Dost thou not exist ? Hast thou not within thee the valuable present, after which ye children of time so eagerly strive, now within, actually within ? And dost thou un derstand how thou hast attained to it? Knowest thou the paths which have led thee to it, that thou canst know they will be shut against thee by death ? An existence of thyself after the destruction of thy body is not con ceivable by thee as possible; but can it be more incon ceivable to thee than thy present existence, and how thou hast attained to it ? Why shouldst thou doubt but that the secret paths to this present, which stood open to thee, will also stand open to every future present ? "

If, then, considerations of this kind are at any rate adapted to awaken the conviction that there is something in us which death cannot destroy, this yet only takes place by raising us to a point of view from which birth is not the beginning of our existence. But from this it follows that what is proved to be indestructible by death is not properly the individual, which, moreover, as having arisen through generation, and having in itself the qualities of the father and mother, presents itself as a mere differ ence of the species, but as such can only be finite. As, in accordance with this, the individual has no recollection of its existence before its birth, so it can have no remem brance of its present existence after death. But_eyery one places his ego in consciousness ; this seems to him therefore to be bound to individuality, with which, besides, everything disappears which is peculiar to him, as to this, and distinguishes him from others. His continued exist ence without individuality becomes to him therefore indis^ tinguishable from the continuance of other beings, and he sees his ego sink But whoever thus links his existence ta the identity of consciousness, and therefore desires an en,d-


ON DEATH.


285


less existence after death for this, ought to reflect that he can certainly only attain this at the price of just as endless a past before birth. Tor since he has no remembrance of an existence before birth, thus his consciousness begins with birth, he must accept his birth as an origination of his existence out of nothing. But then he purchases the end less time of his existence after death for just as long a time before birth ; thus the account balances without any profit for him. If, on the other hand, the existence which death leaves untouched is different from that of the individual consciousness, then it must be independent of birth, just as of death ; and therefore, with regard to it, it must be equally true to say, < I will always be," and "I have always been;" which tTien giVes two infinities for one. But the great equivocation Wily lies in the/word "I," as any one will see at once whd remembers tfie contents of our second book, and the separation which is made there of the willing from the knowin^part of our nature. Accord ing as I understand this word I can pay, Death is my complete end;" or, "This my personal phenomenal exist ence is just as infinitely small a part of my true nature as I am of the world." But the I"Js the dark point in consciousness, as on the retina "fife exact point at which the nerve of sight enters is blind, as the brain itself is entirely without sensation, the body of the sun is dark, and the eye sees all except itself. Our faculty of know ledge is directed entirely towards without, in accordance with the fact that it is the product of a brain function, which has arisen for the purpose" of mere self-mainte nance, thus Of the flftfl.rr.Ti far pnnriflljfflfiflfr an( j thn mtpfi 9lES-ntoefore ...every one ^^^SSEflD

individual as it presents itself in external perception. If,

o^e other Tiand, he could bring to consciousness what he ., ls be sides and beyond this, then he would willingly 3.. U P his individuality, smile at the tenacity of his attachment to it, and say, " What is the loss of this indi viduality to me, who bear in myself the possibility of


J/f\


286 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

I

innumerable individualities^ He would see that even if a continued existence oTEisindividuality does not lie before him, it is yet quite as good as if he had such an existence, because he carries in^ hjm^ejj; CQmplete^comjpfiftsation for .it^ j f] * a^tvurn VAJ I i t. may further be taken into consideration


that . the individuality of most men is so miserable and v worthless that with it they truly lose nothing, and that that in them which may still have some worth is the universal human element ;| brut to thtS"TBipe*rtS?lal)l6rre9fr" tan B e~prcmi^eor Imleeol, even the rigid unalterableness and essential limitation of every individual would, in the case of an endless duration of it, necessarily at last pro duce such great weariness by its monotony that only to be relieved of this one would prefer to become nothing. To desire that the individuality should be immortal really means to wish to perpetuate an error infinitely. For at bottom every individuality is really only a special error, a false step, something that had better not be ; nay, some thing which it is the real end of life to bring us back from. This also finds confirmation in the fact that the great majority, indeed really all men, are so constituted that they could not be happy in whatever kind of world they might be placed. In proportion as such a world excluded want and hardship, they would become a prey to ennui, and in proportion as this was prevented, they would fall into want, misery, and suffering. Thus for a blessed condition of man it would be by no means sufficient that he should be transferred to a " better world," but it would also be necessary that a complete change should take place in himself ; that thus he should no longer be what he is, and, on the contrary, should become what he is not. But for this he must first of all cease to be what he is : this desideratum is, as a preliminary, supplied by death, the moral necessity of which can already be seen from this point of view. To be transferred to another world and to have his whole nature changed are, at bottom, one and the same. Upon this also ultimately rests that depen-


ON DEATH. 287

dence of the objective upon the subjective which the idealism of our first book shows. Accordingly here lies the point at which the transcendent philosophy links itself on to ethics. If one considers this one will find that the awaking from the dream of life is only possible through the disappearance along with it of its whole ground-warp also. But this is its organ itself, the intellect together with its forms, with which the dream would spin itself out with out end, so firmly is it incorporated with it. That which really dreamt this dream is yet different from it, and alone remains over. On the other hand, the fear that with death all will be over may be compared to the case of one who imagines in a dream that there are only dreams without a dreamer. But now, after an individual consciousness has once been ended by death, would it even be desirable that it should be kindled again in order to continue for ever ? The greater part of its content, nay, generally its whole content, is nothing but a stream of small, earthly, paltry thoughts and endless cares. Let them, then, at last be stilled ! Therefore with a true instinct, the ancients in scribed upoii their gravestones : Securitati perpetuce ; or Bonce guieti. But if here, as so often has happened, a continued existence of the individual consciousness should be desired, in order to connect with it a future reward or punishment, what would really be aimed at in this would simply be the compatibility of virtue and egoism. But these two will never embrace : they are fundamentally opposed. On the other hand, the conviction is well founded, which the sight of noble conduct calls forth, that the spirit of love, which enjoins one man to spare his enemy, and another to protect at the risk of his life some one whom he has never seen before, can never pass away and become nothing.

The most thorough answer to the question as to the continued existence of the individual after death lies in Kant s great doctrine of the ideality of time, which just here shows itself specially fruitful and rich in conse-


288 FOURTH BOOK CHAPTER XLL

quences, for it substitutes a purely theoretical but well- proved insight for dogmas which upon one path as upon the other lead to the absurd, and thus settles at once the most exciting of all metaphysical questions. Beginning, ending, and continuing are conceptions which derive their significance simply and solely from time, and are therefore valid only under the presupposition of this. But time has no absolute existence ; it is not the manner of being of the thing in itself, but merely the form of our knowledge of our existence and nature, and that of all things, which is just on this account very imperfect, and is limited to mere phe nomena. Thus with reference to this knowledge alone do the conceptions of ceasing and continuing find application, not with reference to that which exhibits itself in these, the inner being of things in relation to which these concep tions have therefore no longer any meaning. For this shows itself also in the fact that an answer to the question which arises from those time-conceptions is impossible, and every assertion of such an answer, whether upon one side or the other, is open to convincing objections. One might indeed assert that our true being continues after death because it is false that it is destroyed ; but one might just as well assert that it is destroyed because it is false that it con tinues : at bottom the one is as true as the other. Ac cordingly something like an antinomy might certainly be set up here. But it would rest upon mere negations. In it one would deny two contradictorily opposite predicates of the subject of the judgment, but only because the whole category of these predicates would be inapplicable to that subject. But if now one denies these two predi cates, not together, but separately, it appears as if the con tradictory opposite of the predicate which in each case is denied were proved of the subject of the judgment. This, however, depends upon the fact that here incommensurable quantities are compared, for the problem removes us to a scene where time is abolished, and yet asks about temporal properties which it is consequently equally false to attri-


ON DEATH. 2 g 9

bute to, or to deny of the subject. This just means the problem is transcendent. In this sense death remains a mystery.

^

we can


, ute-

tion that, as phenomenon, man Is certainly perisTmW"Eu yet his true being will not be involved; m this. Thus this true being is indestructible, although, on account of the mnation of time-conceptions which is connected with it, we cannot attribute to it continuance. Accordingly wa would be led here to the conception of an indestructibility which would yet be no continuance. Now this is a con, ception which, having been obtained on the path of abstrac* ion, can certainly also be thought in the abstract but yet cannot be supported by any perception, and consequently cannot really become distinct; yet, on the other hand we nust here keep in mind that we have not, like Kant, abso lutely given up the knowledge of the thing in itself but know that it is to be sought for in the will. It is true that we have never asserted an absolute and exhaustive knowledge of the thing in itself, but rather have seen very well that it is impossible to know anything as it is abso lutely and m itself. For as soon as I know, I have an ea ; but this idea, just because it is my idea, cannot be identical with what is known, but repeats it in an entirely different form, for it makes a being for other out of a beinc, for self, and is thus always to be regarded as a pheno! menal appearance of the thing in itself. Therefore for a knovnng consciousness, however it may be constituted there can be always only phenomena. This is not entirely obviated even by the fact that it is my own nature which s known; for, since it falls within my knowing conscious- ness, it is already a reflex of my nature, something diffe rent from this itself, thus already in a certain degree phenomenon. So far, then, as I am a knowing being I

have even in my own nature really only a phenomenon-

  • o far on the other ^^ j am d


290 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

itself, I am not a knowing being. For it is sufficiently proved in the second book that knowledge is only a secon dary property of our being, and introduced by its animal nature. Strictly speaking, then, we know even our own will always merely as phenomenon, and not as it may be absolutely in and for itself. But in that second book, and also in my work upon the will in nature, it is fully explained and proved that if, in order to penetrate into the inner nature of things, leaving what is given merely in directly and from without, we stick to the only phenome non into the nature of which an immediate insight from within is attainable, we find in this quite definitely, as the ultimate kernel of reality, the will, in which therefore we recognise the thing in itself in so far as it has here no longer space, although it still has time, for its form conse quently really only in its most immediate manifestation, and with the reservation that this knowledge of it is still not exhaustive and entirely adequate. Thus in this sense we retain here also the conception of will as that of the thing in itself.

The conception of ceasing to be is certainly applicable to man as a phenomenon in time, and empirical know ledge plainly presents death as the end of this temporal existence. The end of the person is just as real as was its beginning, and in the same sense as before birth we were not, after death we shall be no more. Yet no more can be destroyed by death than was produced by birth; thus not that through which birth first became possible. In this sense natus et denatus is a beautiful expression. But now the whole of empirical knowledge affords us merely phenomena; therefore only phenomena are in volved in the temporal processes of coming into being and passing away, and not that which manifests itself in the phenomena, the thing in itself. For this the opposition of coming into being and passing away conditioned by the brain, does not exist at all, but has here lost meaning and significance. It thus remains untouched by the


ON DEATH. 291

temporal end of a temporal phenomenon, and constantly retains that existence to which the conceptions of be ginning, end, and continuance are not applicable. But the thing in itself, so far as we can follow it, is in every phenomenal being the will of this being : so also in man. Consciousness, on the other hand, consists in knowledge. But knowledge, as activity of the brain, and consequently as function of the organism, belongs, as has been suffi ciently proved, to the mere phenomenon, and therefore ends with this. The will alone, whose work, or rather whose image was the body, is that which is indestructible. The sharp distinction of will from knowledge, together with the primacy of the former, which constitutes the fundamental characteristic of my philosophy, is therefore the only key to the contradiction which presents itself in so many ways, and arises ever anew in every consciousness, even the most crude, that death is our end, and that yet we must be eternal and indestructible, thus the sentimus, experimurque nos ceternos esse of Spinoza. All philosophers ^^?lMJ^^i:.Jhev place the_metaphysical t tEa.j|i- destructible, the eternal ele wnt in man in the intellect. It lies exclusively in the will, which is entirely different from the intellect, and alone is original The intellect, as was most fully shown in the second book, is a secondary phenomenon, and conditioned by the brain, therefore be ginning and ending with this. The will alone is that which conditions, the kernel of the whole phenomenon, consequently free from the forms of the phenomenon to which time belongs, thus also indestructible. Accord ingly with death consciousness is certainly lost, but not that which produced and sustained consciousness ; life is extinguished, but not the principle of life also, which manifested itself in it. Therefore a sure feeling informs every one that there is something in him which is ab solutely imperishable and indestructible. Indeed the freshness and vividness of memories of the most distant time, of earliest childhood, bears witness to the fact that


292 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

something iii us does not pass away with time, does not grow old, but endures unchanged. But what this im perishable element is one could not make clear to oneself. It is not consciousness any more than it is the body upon which clearly consciousness depends. But it is just that which, when it appears in consciousness, presents itself as will. Beyond this immediate manifestation of it we certainly cannot go ; because we cannot go beyond con sciousness ; therefore the question what that may be when it does not come within consciousness, i.e., what it is absolutely in itself, remains unanswerable.

In the phenomenon, and by means of its forms, time and space, as principium individuationis, what presents itself is that the human individual perishes, while the human race, on the contrary, always remains and lives. But in the true being of things, which is free from these forms, this whole distinction between the individual and the race also disappears, and the two are immediately one. The whole will to live is in the individual, as it is in the race, and therefore the continuance of the species is merely the image of the indestructibility of the iudi-

V w */

viduaL

Since, then, the infinitely important understanding of the indestructibility of our true nature by death depends entirely upon the distinction between phenomenon and thing in itself, I wish now to bring this difference into the clearest light by explaining it in the opposite of death, thus in the origin of the animal existence, i.e., generation. For this process, which is just as mysterious as death, presents to us most directly the fundamental opposition between the phenomenal appearance and the true being of things, i.e., between the world as idea and the world as will, and also the entire heterogeneity of the laws of these two. The act of procreation presents itself to us in a twofold manner : first, for self-conciousness, whose only object, as I have often shown, is the will, with all ita affections ; and then for the consciousness of other things,


ON DEATH. 293

i.e., the world of idea, or the empirical reality of things. Now, from the side of the will, thus inwardly, subjectively, for self-consciousness, that act presents itself as the most immediate and complete satisfaction of the will, i.e., as sensual pleasure. From the side of the idea, on the other hand, thus externally, objectively, for the consciousness of other things, this act is just the woof of the most cunning of webs, the foundation of the inexpressibly complicated animal organism, which then only requires to be developed to become visible to our astonished eyes. This organism, whose infinite complication and perfection is only known to him who has studied anatomy, cannot, from the side of the idea, be otherwise conceived and thought of than as a system devised with the most ingenious forethought and carried out with the most consummate skill and exactness, as the most arduous work of profound reflection. But from the side of the will we know, through self-conscious ness, the production of this organism as the work of an act which is exactly the opposite of all reflection, an impetuous, blind impulse, an exceedingly pleasurable sensation. This opposition is closely related to the in finite contrast, which is shown above, between the ab solute facility with which nature produces its works, together with the correspondingly boundless carelessness with which it abandons them to destruction, and the incalculably ingenious and studied construction of these very works, judging from which they must have been infinitely difficult to make, and their maintenance should have been provided for with all conceivable care; while we have the opposite before our eyes. If now by this certainly very unusual consideration, we have brought together in the boldest manner the two heterogeneous sides of the world, and, as it were, grasped them with one hand, we must now hold them fast in order to convince ourselves of the entire invalidity of the laws of the pheno menon, or the world as idea, for that of will, or the thing in itself. Then it will become more comprehensible to us


294 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL1.

that while on the side of the idea, that is, in the pheno menal world, there exhibits itself to us now an arisin<* out of nothing, and now an entire annihilation of what has arisen, from that other side, or in itself, a nature lies before us with reference to which the conceptions of arising and passing away have no significance. For, by going back to the root, where, by means of self-conscious ness, the phenomenon and the thing in itself meet, we have just, as it were, palpably apprehended that the two are absolutely incommensurable, and the whole manner of being of the one, together with all the fundamental laws of its being, signify nothing, and less than nothing, in the other. I believe that this last consideration will only be rightly understood by a few, and that it will be displeasing and even offensive to all who do not understand it, but I shall never on this account omit anything that can serve to illustrate my fundamental thought.

At the beginning of this chapter I have explained that the great clinging to life, or rather fear of death, by no means springs from knowledge, in which case it would be the result of the known value of life ; but that that fear of death has its root directly in the will, out of the original nature of which it proceeds, in which it is entirely without knowledge, and therefore blind will to live. A,s we are allured into life by the wholly illusory inclination to sensual pleasure, so we are retained in it by the fear of death, which is certainly just as illusory, Both spring directly from the will, which in itself is unconscious. If, on the contrary, man were merely a knowing being, then death would necessarily be to him not only indifferent, but even welcome. The reflection to which we have here attained now teaches that what is affected by death is merely the knowing consciousness, and the will, on the other hand, because it is the thing in itself, which lies at the foundation of every phenomenon, is free from all that depends upon temporal determinations, thus is also imperishable. Its striving towards existence and mani-


ON DEATH. 295

festation, from which the world results, is constantly satisfied, for this accompanies it as the shadow accom panies the body, for it is merely the visibility of its nature. That yet in us it fears death results from the fact that here knowledge presents its existence to it as merely in the individual phenomenon, whence the illusion arises that it will perish with this, as my image in a mirror seems to be destroyed along with it if the mirror is broken ; this then, as contrary to its original nature, which is a blind striving towards existence, fills it with horror. From this now it follows that that in us which alone is capable of fearing death, and also alone fears it, the will, is not affected by it; and that, on the other hand, what is affected by it and really perishes is that which from its nature is capable of no fear, and in general of no desire or emotion, and is therefore indif ferent to being and not being, the mere subject of know ledge, the intellect, whose existence consists in its relation to the world of idea, i.e., the objective world, whose cor relative it is, and with whose existence its own is ulti mately one. Thus, although the individual consciousness does not survive death, yet that survives it which alone struggles against it the will. This also explains the contradiction that from the standpoint of knowledge philosophers have always proved with cogent reasons that death is no evil ; yet the fear of death remains inevitable for all, because it is rooted, not in knowledge, but in the will. It is also a result of the fact that only the will, arid not the intellect, is indestructible, that all religions and philosophies promise a reward in eternity only to the virtues of the will, or heart, not to those of the intellect, or head.

The following a.v g.1o .MTYfi tr> illustrate this con-

^^^^^^^MMHMMMiMi^^M M^MM*** 1

sidratijjLrThe will, which constitutes our true being, is fof a simple* nature : it merely wills, and does not knew.

  • -ffr. , . -vs^VMii4jguw i **^*>i^n>jywKJeW 30 ;i -*J . **0W *"* ***WN

The subject of knowledge, on the other hand, is a secondary phenomenon, arising from the objectification of the will;


296 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

it is the point of unity of the sensibility of the nervou,s system, as it were the focus in which the rays of the activity of all the parts of the brain unite. With this, then, it must perish. In self-consciousness, as that which alone knows, it stands over against the will as its spectator, and, although sprung from it, knows it as something different from itself, something foreign to it, and conse quently also only empirically, in time, by degrees, in its successive excitements and acts, and also learns its deci sions only a posteriori, and often very indirectly. This explains the fact that our own nature is a riddle to us, i.e., to our intellect, and that the individual regards itself as having newly arisen and as perishable ; although its true nature is independent of time, thus is eternal. As now the will does not know, so conversely the intellect, or the subject of knowledge, is simply and solely knowing, with out ever willing. This can be proved even physically in the fact that, as was already mentioned in the second book, according to Bichat, the various emotions directly affect all parts of the organism and disturb their functions, with the exception of the brain, which can only be affected by them very indirectly, i.e., just in consequence of those disturbances (De la vie et de la mort, art. 6, 2). But from this it follows that the subject of knowledge, for itself and as such, cannot take part or interest in any thing, but for it the being or not being of everything, nay, even of its own self, is a matter of indifference. Now why should this purely neutral being be immortal ? It ends with the temporal manifestation of the will, i.e., the individual, as it arose with it. It is the lantern which is extinguished when it has served its end. The intellect, like the perceptible world which exists only in it, is a mere phenomenon ; but the finiteness of both does not affect that of which they are the phenomenal appearance. The intellect is the function of the cerebral nervous system ; but the latter, like the rest of the body, is the objectivity of the will. Therefore the intellect depends


ON DEATH. 297

upon the somatic life of the organism ; but this itself depends upon the will. The organised body may thus, in a certain sense, be regarded as the link between the will and the intellect ; although really it is only the will itself exhibiting itself spatially in the perception of the intellect. Death and birth are the constant renewal of the consciousness of the will, in itself without end and without beginning, which alone is, as it were, the substance of existence (but each such renewal brings a new pos sibility of the denial of the will to live). Consciousness is the life of the subject of knowledge, or the brain, and death is its end. And therefore, finally, consciousness is always new, in each case beginning at the beginning. The will alone is permanent ; and, moreover, it is it alone that permanence concerns ; for it is the will to live. The knowing subject for itself is not concerned about anything. In the ego, however, the two are bound up to gether. In every animal existence the will has achieved an intellect which is the light by which it here pursues its ends. It may be remarked by the way that the fear of death may also partly depend upon the fact that the individual will is so loath to separate from the intellect which has fallen to its lot through the course of nature, its guide and guard, without which it knows that it is helpless and blind.

Finally, this explanation also agrees with the common place moral experience which teaches us that the will alone is real, while its objects, on the other hand, as conditioned by knowledge, are only phenomena, are only froth and vapour, like the wine which Mephistopheles provided in Auerbach s cellar : after every sensuous plea sure we also say, " And yet it seemed as I were drinking wine/1

The terrors of death depend for the most part upon the false illusion that now the ego vanishes and the world remains. But rather is the opposite the~case; the world vanishes, but the inmost kernel of the ego, the supporter


298 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

and producer of that subject, in whose idea alone the world has its existence, remains. With the braiu the intellect perishes, and with the intellect the objective) world, its mere idea. I That in other brains, afterwards aa before, a similar world lives and moves is, with reference to the intellect which perishes, a matter of indifference. If, therefore, reality proper did not lie in the will, and if the moral existence were not that which extends beyond death, then, since the intellect, and with it its world, is extinguished, the true nature of things in general would be no more than an endless succession of short and troubled dreams, without connection among themselves; for the permanence of unconscious nature consists merely in the idea of time of conscious nature. Thus a world- spirit dreaming without end or aim, dreams which for the most part are very troubled and heavy, would then be all in all.

When, now, an individual experiences the fear of death, we have really before us the extraordinary, nay, absurd* spectacle of the lord of the worlds, who fills all with his being, and through whom alone everything that is has its existence, desponding and afraid of perishing, of sinking into the abyss of eternal nothingness; while, in truth, all is full of him, and there is no place where he is not, no being in which he does not live ; for it is not existence that supports him, .but he that supports existence. Yet it is he who desponds in the individual who suffers from the fear of death, for he is exposed to the illusion produced by the principium individuationis that his existence is limited to the nature which is now dying. This illusion belongs to the heavy dream into which, as the will to live, he has fallen. But one might say to the dying individual : " Thou ceasest "to be something which thou hadst done better never to become."

So long as no denial of the will takes place, what death leaves untouched is the germ and kernel of quite another existence, in which a new individual finds itself again, so


ON DEATH. 299

fresh and original that it broods over itself in astonish ment. What sleep is for the individual, death is for the will as thing in itself. It would not endure to continue the same actions and sufferings throughout an eternitv without true gain, if memory and individuality remained to it. It flings them off, and this is lethe ; and through this sleep of death it reappears refreshed and fitted out with another intellect, as a new being " a new dav tempts to new shores."

As the self-asserting will to live man has the root oLJiis. existence in the species. } Accordingly death is the loss of

/one indivitruairty-3jia~TFie assumption of another, conse-/ quehtly a change of individualitv under the exclusive!

} guidance of one s own will. F Tor "in this alone lies the Sstgrnal power which couIcTpfoduce its existence with its ego, yet, on account of its nature, was not able to maintain it in existence. For death is the dtmenti which the essence (essentia) of every one receives in its claim to exist ence (existentia), the appearance of a contradiction which lies in every individual existence :

" For all that arises Is worthy of being destroyed."

But an infinite number of such existences, each with its ego, stands within reach of this power, thus of the will, which, however, will again prove just as transitory and perish able. Since now every ego has its separate consciousness, that infinite number of them is, with reference to such an ego, not different from a single one. From this point of view it appears to me not accidental that cevum, almv, signifies both the individual term of life and infinite time. Indeed from this point of view it may be seen, although indis tinctly, that ultimately and in themselves both are the same ; and according to this there would really be no dif ference whether I existed only through niy term of life or for an infinite time.

Certainly, however, we cannot obtain an idea of all that


300 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

is said above entirely without time-concepts; yet when we are dealing: with the thing in itself these ought to be

o o o

excluded. But it belongs to the unalterable limitations of our intellect that it can never entirely cast off this first and most immediate form of all its ideas, in order to operate without it. Therefore we certainly come here upon a kind of metempsychosis, although with the im portant difference that it does not concern the whole tyvxy, not the knowing being, but the will alone ; and thus, with the consciousness that the form of time only enters here as an unavoidable concession to the limitation of our intellect, so many absurdities which accompany the doctrine of metempsychosis disappear. If, indeed, we now call in the assistance of the fact, to be explained in chapter 43, that the character, i.e., the will, is inherited from the father, and the intellect, on the other hand, from the mother, it agrees very well with our view that the will of a man, in itself individual, separated itself in death from the intellect received from the mother in generation, and in accordance with its now modified nature, under the guidance of the absolutely necessary course of the world harmonising with this, received through a new generation a new intellect, with which it became a new being, which had no recollection of an earlier existence ; for the intellect, which alone has the faculty of memory, is the mortal part or the form, while the will is the eternal part, the sub stance. In accordance with this, this doctrine is more correctly denoted by the word palingenesis than by me tempsychosis. These constant new births, then, constitute the succession of the life-dreams of a will which in itself is indestructible, until, instructed and improved by so much and such various successive knowledge in a con stantly new form, it abolishes or abrogates itself.

The true and, so to speak, esoteric doctrine of Buddhism, as we have come to know it through the latest investiga-

o <->

tions, also agrees with this view, for it teaches not metemp sychosis, but a peculiar palingenesis, resting upon a moral


ON DEATH. 301

basis which it works out and explains with great pro fundity. This may be seen from the exposition of the subject, well worth reading and pondering, which is given in Spence Hardy s " Manual of Buddhism," pp. 394-96 (with which compare pp. 429, 440, and 445 of the same book), the confirmation of which is to be found in Taylor s " Prdbodh Chandro Day a," London, 1812, p. 35; also in Sangermano s " Burmese Empire," p. 6, and in the "Asiatic Researches," vol. vi. p. 179, and vol. ix. p. 256. The very useful German compendium of Buddhism by Koppen is also right upon this point. Yet for the great mass of Buddhists this doctrine is too subtle ; therefore to them simple metempsychosis is preached as a comprehensible substitute.

Besides, it must not be neglected that even empirical grounds support a palingenesis of this kind. As a matter of fact there does exist a connection between the birth of the newly appearing beings and the death of those that are worn out. It shows itself in the great fruitfulness of the human race which appears as a consequence of de vastating diseases. When in the fourteenth century the / black death had for the most part depopulated the old world, a quite abnormal fruitfulness appeared among tha human race, and twin-births were very frequent. The circumstance was also very remarkable that none of the children born at this time obtained their full number of teeth ; thus nature, exerting itself to the utmost, was niggardly in details. This is related by F. Schnurrer, " Chronik der Seuchen," 1825. Casper also, " Ueber die wahrscheinliche Lebensdauer des Menschen," 1835, confirms the principle that the number of births in a given popu lation has the most decided influence upon the length of life and mortality in it, as this always keeps pace with the mortality : so that always and everywhere the deaths and the births increase and decrease in like proportion ; which lie places beyond doubt by an accumulation of evidence collected from many lands and their various


302 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

provinces. And yet it is impossible that there can be a physical causal connection between my early death and the fruitfulness of a marriage with which I have nothing to do, or conversely. Thus here the metaphysical appears undeniably and in a stupendous manner as the im mediate ground of explanation of the physical. Every new-born being indeed comes fresh and blithe into the new existence, and enjoys it as a free gift : but there is, and can be, nothing freely given. Its fresh existence is paid for by the old age and death of _a__worn-out exist ence which has perished, but which contained the inde-

J.

structible seed out of which this new existence has arisen :

/ ./AV-.HIU- ^ J am^^MMi^mmBP^Bi^tmmnwni^BMMMBM^M^fr

they are one being. To show the bridge between the two would certainly be the solution of a great riddle.

The great truth which is expressed here, has never been entirely unacknowledged, although it could not be reduced to its exact and correct meaning, which is only possible through the doctrine of the primacy and metaphysical nature of the will and the secondary, merely organic nature of the intel lect. We find the (infitofi. ,Ut. JMfiiafi^gte^ springing from the earliest and noblest ages of the human race, always spread abroad in the earth as the belief of the great majority of mankind, nay, really as the teaching of all religions, with the exception of that of the Jews and the two which have proceeded from it : in the most subtle form, however, and coming nearest to the truth, as has already been mentioned, in Buddhism. Accordingly, while Christians console themselves with the thought of meeting again in another world, in which one regains one s com plete personality and knows oneself at once, in those other religions the meeting again is already going on now, only incognito. In the succession of births, and by virtue of metempsychosis or palingenesis, the persons who now stand in close connection or contact with us will also be born along with us at the next birth, and will have the same or analogous relations and sentiments towards us as now, whether these are of a friendly or a hostile descrip-


ON DEATH.


33


tion. (Of., for example, Spence Hardy s " Manual of Buddhism," p. 162.) Recognition is certainly here limited to an obscure intimation, a reminiscence which cannot be brought to distinct consciousness, and refers to -an in finitely distant time ; with the exception, however, of Buddha himself, who has the prerogative of distinctly knowing his own earlier births and those of others ; as this is described in the " Jataka." But, in fact, if at favour able moment one contemplates, in a purely objective manner, the action of men in reality; the intuitive con viction is forced upon one that it not only is and remains constantly the same, according to the (Platonic) Idea, but also that the present generation, in its true inner nature, is precisely and substantially identical with every gene ration that has been before it. The question simply is in what this true being consists. The answer which my doctrine gives to this question is well known. The intuitive conviction referred to may be conceived as arising from the fact that the multiplying-glasses, time and space, lose for a moment their effect. With refer ence to the universality of the belief in metempsychosis, Obry says rightly, in his excellent book, " Du Nirvana Indien" p. 13: " Gette vieille croyance a fait le tour du monde. et dtait tellement rdpandue dans la haute antiquitt, qu vn docte Anglican Vavait jugte sans pdre, sans m&re, et sans gdnfoloffie" (Ths. Burnet, dans Beausobre, Hist, du Manichdisme, ii. p. 391). Taught already in the " Vedas," as in all the sacred books of India, metempsychosis is well known to be the kernel of Brahmanism and Buddhism. It accordingly prevails at the present day in the whole of non-Mohammedan Asia, thus among more than half of the whole human race, as the firmest conviction, and with an incredibly strong practical influence. It was also the belief of the Egyptians (Herod., ii. 123), from whom it was received with enthusiasm by Orpheus. Pythagoras, and Plato : the Pythagoreans, however, spe cially retained it. That it was also taught in the mysteries


304 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

of the Greeks undeniably follows from the ninth book of Plato s " Laws" (pp. 38 and 42, ed. Bip.) Nemesius indeed (De not. horn., c. 2) says : " Koivrj pev ovv vravre? E\\r)ve<;, ol Tt]v tyv-xrjv aOavdTOV a,7ro<j)r)vafj,6voi, rrjv iLerevawnaTaKTiv So<yfjiaTiov(Ti,." (Communiter igitur omnes Greed, qui ani- mam immortalem statuerunt, earn de uno corpore in aliud transferri censuerunt.) The " Edda " also, especially in the " Voluspa," teaches metempsychosis. Not less was it the foundation of the religion of the Druids (Cces. de bello Gall, vi. ; A. Pictet, Le mystere des Bardes de I ile de Bre- tagne, 1856). Even a Mohammedan sect in Hindostan, the Bohrahs, of which Colebrooke gives a full account in the "Asiatic ^Researches," vol. vii. p. 336 sqq., believes in metempsychosis, and accordingly refrains from all animal food. Also among American Indians and negro tribes, nay, even among the natives of Australia, traces of this belief are found, as appears from a minute description given in the Times of 2Qth January 1841 of the execu tion of two Australian savages for arson and murder. It is said there : " The younger of the two prisoners met his end with a dogged and a determined spirit, as it appeared, of revenge ; the only intelligible expressions made use of conveyed an impression that he would rise up a white fellow, which it was considered strengthened his resolu tion." Also in a book by Ungewitter, " Der Welttheil Australien" it is related that the Papuas in Australia regarded the whites as their own relations who had re turned to the world. According to all this, the belief in metempsychosis presents itself as the natural conviction of man, whenever he reflects at all in an unprejudiced manner. It would really be that which Kant falsely asserts of his three pretended Ideas of the reason, a philosopheme natural to human reason, which proceeds from its forms ; and when it is not found it must have been displaced by positive religious doctrines coming from a different source. I have also remarked that it is at once obvious to every one who hears of it for the first time. Let any one only


ON DEATH. 30 -


observe how earnestly Lessing defends it in the last seven paragraphs of his " Erzieliung des Menschengeschlechts." Lichtenberg also says in his " Selbstcharacteristik : " "I cannot get rid of the thought that I died before I was born." Even the excessively empirical Hume says in his sceptical essay on immortality, p. 23 : " The metempsy chosis is therefore the only system of this kind that philosophy can hearken to." 1 What resists this belief, which is spread over the whole human race and com mends itself alike to the wise and to the vulgar, is Judaism, together with the two religions which* have sprung from it, because they teach the creation of man out of nothing, and he has then the hard task of linking on to this the belief in an ondless existence a parte post. They certainly have succeeded, with fire and sword in driving out of Europe and part of Asia that consoling primitive belief of mankind ; it is still doubtful for how long. Yet how difficult this was is shown by the oldest Church histories. Most of the heretics were attached to this primitive belief ; for example, Simonists, Basilidians Valentinians, Marcionists, Gnostics, and Manich^eans! The Jews themselves have in part fallen into it, as Tertullian and Justinus (in his dialogues) inform us ID the Talmud it is related that Abel s soul passed into the body of Seth, arid then into that of Moses. Even the pas sage of the Bible, Matt. xvi. 13-15, only obtains a rational meaning if we understand it as spoken under the assump tion of the dogma of metempsychosis. Luke, it is true who also has the passage (ix. 18-20), adds the words Jn W rtov apxaimv aveary, and thus attributes to


OWn land > in consequence of

"


f


j , .-is> o^uvjituu. .Lnev are enr.irp v i

and writers of England were sionless, coldly rational n??st

rescued from destruction, when in tions of the two sublet ; named. VOL. III.


306 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLL

the Jews the assumption that such an ancient prophet can rise again body and all, which, since they know that he has already lain between six and seven hundred years in his grave, and consequently has long since turned to dust, would be a palpable absurdity. In Christianity, however, the doctrine of original sin, i.e., the doctrine of punishment for the sins of another individual, has taken the place of the transmigration of souls and the expiation in this way of all the sins committed in an earlier life. Both identify, and that with a moral tendency, the exist ing man with one who has existed before ; the transmigra tion of souls does so directly, original sin indirectly.

Death is the great reprimand which the will to live, or more especially the egoism, which is essential to this, receives through the course of nature ; and it may be conceived as a punishment for our existence. 1 It is the painful loosing of the knot which the act of generation had tied with sensual pleasure, the violent destruction coming from without of the fundamental error of our nature : the great disillusion. We are at bottom some thing that ought not to be : therefore we cease to be. Egoism consists really in the fact that man limits all reality to his own person, in that he imagines that he lives in this alone and not in others. Death teaches him better, for it destroys this person, so that the true nature of man, which is his will, will henceforth live only in other_ individuals ; while his intellect, which itself belonged only to the phenomenon, i.e., to the world as idea, and was^ merely the form of the external world, also continues to exist in the condition of being idea, i.e., in the objective^ being of things as such, thus also only in the existence of what was hitherto the external world. His whole "ego thus lives from this time forth only in that which he had hitherto regarded as non-ego : for the difference be tween external and internal ceases. We call to mind

1 Death says : Thou art tne pro- have been ; therefore to expiate it duct of an act which should not thou must die.


ON DEATH. 307

here that the better man is he who makes the least differ ence between himself and others, does not regard them as absolute non-ego, while for the bad man this difference is great, nay, absolute. I have worked this out in my prizn essay on the foundation of morals. According to what was said above, the degree in which death can be regarded as the annihilation of the man is in proportion to this differ ence. But if we start from the fact that the distinction of outside me and in me, as a spatial distinction, is only founded in the phenomenon, not in the thing in itself, thus is no absolutely real distinction, then we shall see in the losing of our own individuality only the loss of a phenomenon, thus only an apparent loss. However much reality that distinction has in the empirical consciousness, yet from the metaphysical standpoint the propositions, " I perish, but the world endures," and " The world perishes but Ijmdure." arp qft Bottom not raally rUffi.^ _

But, besides all this, death is the great opportunity no longer to be I ; to him who uses it. During life the will of matt is without freedom i his action takes place with necessity upon the _ "basis of his unalterable character in the chain of motives. Buj^^grjone remembers much that he has done, and on account of which he is by no means satisfied with himself. If now he were to go on living he would go on acting in the same way, on account of tlje unalterable nature of his character. Accordingly he must cease to be what he is in order to be able to arise out of


a new and different being,. .

.- g vlff. e ^aiMICT!(**U T*""^ 1 "

as ; tne will again becomes


lies M the J&sg,jipt in the nodus cordis, dissolvuntur omnes dulthtbiones, ejusque opera evanescunt," is a very celebrated saying of the Vedas, which all Vedantic writers frequently repeat. 1 Death is the moment of that deliverance from the one-

1 Sancara, s. de tkeolof/umenis Ve- 387 et p. 78; Colebrooke s "Miscel- danticorum, ed. F. H. H. Wiudisch- laneous Essays," vol. i. p. 363. mann, p. 37 ; " Oujmekhat," voL i. p.


308 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI.

sidedncss of an individuality which does not constitute the inmost kernel of our being, but is rather to be thought of as a kind of aberration of it. The true original freedom re- enters at this moment, which, in the sense indicated, may be regarded as a restitutio in integrum. The peace and quietness upon the countenance of most dead persons seems to have its origin in this. Quiet and easy is, as a rule, the death of every good man : but to die willingly, to die gladly, to die joyfully, is the prerogative of the re signed, of him who surrenders and denies the will to live. For only he wills to die really, and not merely appa rently, and consequently he needs and desires no continu ance of his person. The existence which we know he willingly gives up : what he gets instead of it is in our eyes nothing, because our existence is, with reference to that, nothing. The Buddhist faith calls it Nirvana, 1 i.e., extinction.

i The etymology of the word Nir- into Mongolian by a phrase which

vana is various!/ given. Accord- signifies " departed from misery

in- to Colebrooke(" Transact, of the " escaped from misery Accord-

loyal Asiat. Soc," vol. i. p. 5^6) ing to the learned lee tare. - oT the

it comes from va, "to blow," like same in the St. Petersburg Aca-

JheTnd, and the prefixed negative demy. Nirvana L, the opposite of

U and thus signifies a calm, but Sanfara, which is the world of con-

an adjective "extinguished." stant re-birth, of longings and

Obry, also, Da Nirvana Indien, p. 3, desires, of illusion of the senses and

says " Nirvanam en Sanscrit signifie changing forms, of being born grow.

a la lettre extinction, tcUe que celU ing old, becoming sick, and dying

tonfeu." According to the "Asiatic In the Burmese langu age t he word

Journal " vol xxiv. p. 735, the word Nirvana, according to the analogy

fs really Neravana, from ncra, of other Sanscrit words, becomes

"without," and w "life," and transformed into Niebar , and 1 is

the meaning would be annihilate. translated by ^Pj*^*"^*.

Tn "Eastern Monachism," bySpence See Sangennano s " Description of

Hardy, p. 295, Nirvana is derived the Burmese Empire, translated

from m "sinful desires," with by Tandy, Rome, 1833 ,8 [27. ^

the negative nir. J. J. Schmidt, in the first edition of 1819 I

his translation of the history of the wrote N.eban, because we then

Eastern Mongolians, says that the knew Buddhism only from meagre

Sanscrit word Nirvana is translated accounts of the Burmese.


309 )


CHAPTER XLII.

THE LIFE OF THE SPECIES.

IN the preceding chapter it was called to mind that the (Platonic) Ideas of the different grades of beings, which are the adequate objectification of the will to live, exhibit themselves in the knowledge of the individual, which is bound to the form of time, as the species, i.e., as the suc cessive individuals of one kind connected by the bond of generation, and that therefore the species is the Idea (6/809, species) broken up in time. Accordingly the true nature of every living thing lies primarily in its species : yet the species again has its existence only in the indi viduals. Now, although the will only attains to self-con sciousness in the individual, thus knows itself immediately only as the individual, yet the deep-seated consciousness that it is really the species in which his true nature objectifies itself appears in the fact that for the individual the concerns of the species as such, thus the relations of the sexes, the production and nourishment of the offspring are of incomparably greater importance and consequence than everything else. Hence, then, arises in the case of the brutes, heat or rut (an excellent description of the vehemence of which will be found in Burdach s " Physio logy," vol. i. 247, 257), and, in the case of man, the careful and capricious selection of the other individual for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, which can rise to the height of passionate love, to the fuller investigation of which I shall devote a special chapter : hence also, finally the excessive love of parents for their offspring.


3io FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIL

In the supplements to the second book the will was compared to the root and the intellect to the crown of the tree; and this is the case inwardly or psychologically. But outwardly or physiologically the genitals are the root and the head the crown. The nourishing part is certainly not the genitals, but the villi of the intestines : yet not the latter but the former are the root ; because through them the individual is connected with the species in which it is rooted. For physically the individual is a production of the species, metaphysically a more or less perfect picture of the Idea, which, in the form of time, exhibits itself as species. In agreement with the relation expressed here, the greatest vitality, and also the decrepi tude of the brain and the genital organs, is simultaneous and stands in connection. The sexual impulse is to be regarded as the inner life of the tree (the species) upon which the life of the individual grows, like a leaf that is nourished by the tree, and assists in nourishing the tree ; this is why that impulse is so strong, and springs from the depths of our nature. To castrate an individual means to cut him off from the tree of the species upon which he grows, and thus severed, leave him to wither : hence the degradation of his mental and physical powers. That the service of the species, i.e., fecundation, is followed in the case of every animal individual by momentary exhaustion and debility of all the powers, and in the case of most insects indeed by speedy death, on account of which Celsus said, " Seminis cmissio est partis animce jadura ; " that in the case of man the extinction of the generative power shows that the individual approaches death ; that excessive use of this power at every age shortens life, while, on the other hand, temperance in this respect increases all the powers, and especially the mus cular powers, on which account it was part of the training of the Greek athletes ; that the same restraint lengthens the life of the insect even to the following spring; all this points to the fact that the life of the individual is


THE LIFE OF THE SPECIES. 311

at bottom only borrowed from the species, and that all vital force is, as it were, force of the species restricted by being clammed up. But this is to be explained from the fact that the metaphysical substratum of life reveals itself directly in the species and only by means of this in the individual. Accordingly the Lingam with the Yoni, as the symbol of the species and its immortality, is worshipped in India, and, as the counterpoise of death, is ascribed as an attribute to the very divinity who presides over death, Siva.

But without myth or symbol, the vehemence of the sexual impulse, the keen intentness and profound serious ness with which every animal, including man, pursues its concerns, shows that it is through the function which serves it that the animal belongs to that in which really and principally its true being lies, the species; while all other functions and organs directly serve only the indivi dual, whose existence is at bottom merely secondary. In the vehemence of that impulse, which is the concentra tion of the whole animal nature, the consciousness further expresses itself that the individual does not endure, and therefore all must be staked on the maintenance of the species, in which its true existence lies.

To illustrate what has been said, let us now imagine a brute in rut, and in the act of generation. We see a seriousness and intentness never known in it at any other time. Now what goes on in it ? Does it know that it must die, and that through its present occupation a new individual, which yet entirely resembles itself, will arise in order to take its place ? Of all this it knows nothing, for it does not think. But it is as intently careful for the continuance of the species in time as if it knew all that. For it is conscious that it desires to live and exist, and it expresses the highest degree of this volition in the act of generation ; this is all that then takes place in its consciousness. This is also quite sufficient for the permanence of the kind ; just because the will is the


312 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL1I.

radical and knowledge the adventitious. On this account the will does not require to be guided by knowledge throughout; but whenever in its primitive originality it has resolved, this volition will objectify itself of its own accord in the world of the idea. If now in this way it is that definite animal form which we have thought of that wills life and existence, it does not will life and existence in general, but in this particular form. Therefore it is tlie sight of its form in the female of its species that stimu lates the will of the brute to the act of generation. This volition of the brute, when regarded from without and under the form of time, presents itself as such an animal form maintained through an infinite time by the con stantly repeated replacement of one individual by another, thus by the alternation of death and reproduction, which so regarded appear only as the pulse-beats of that form (tSea, et So?, species) which endures through all time. They may be compared to the forces of attraction and repulsion in which matter consists. That which is shown here in the brute holds good also of man ; for although in him the act of generation is accompanied by complete knowledge of its final cause, yet it is not guided by this knowledge, but proceeds directly from the will to live as its concentra tion. It is accordingly to be reckoned among instinctive actions. For in reproduction the brute is just as little guided by knowledge of the end as in mechanical in stincts; in these also the will manifests itself, in the main, without the mediation of knowledge, which here, as there, is only concerned with details. Reproduction is, to a certain extent, the most marvellous of all instincts, and its work the most astonishing.

These considerations explain why the sexual desire has a very different character from every other ; it is not only the strongest, but even specifically of a more powerful kind than any other. It is everywhere tacitly assumed as necessary and inevitable, and is not, like other desires, a matter of taste and disposition. For it is the desire which


THE LIFE OF THE SPECIES. 313

even constitutes the nature of man. In conflict with it no motive is so strong that it would be certain of victory. It is so pre-eminently the chief concern that no other plea sures make up for the deprivation of its satisfaction ; and, moreover, for its sake both brute and man undertake every danger and every conflict. A very naive expression of this disposition is the well-known inscription on the door of ihefornix at Pompeii, decorated with the phallus : " Heic habitat felicitas : " this was for those going in naive, for those coming out ironical, and in itself humorous. On the other hand, the excessive power of the sexual passion is seriously and worthily expressed in the inscription which (according to Theon of Smyrna, De Musica, c. 47), Osiris had placed upon the column he erected to the eternal gods : " To Eros, the spirit, the heaven, the sun, the moon, the earth, the night, the day, and the father of all that is and that shall be;" also in the beautiful apostrophe with which Lucretius begins his work :

" jffineadum genetrix, hominum divomque voluptas, Alma Venus cet."

To all this corresponds the important rdle which the relation of the sexes plays in the world of men, where it is really the invisible central point of all action and conduct, and peeps out everywhere in spite of all veils thrown over it. It is the cause of war and the end of peace, the basis of what is serious, and the aim of the jest, the inexhaustible source of wit, the key to all allusions, and the meaning of all mysterious hints, of all unspoken offers and all stolen glances, the daily medita tion of the young, and often also of the old, the hourly thought of the unchaste, and even against their will the constantly recurring imagination of the chaste, the ever ready material of a joke, just because the profoundest seriousness lies at its foundation. It is, however, the piquant element and the joke of life that the chief con cern of all men is secretly pursued and ostensibly ignored


3M FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL/7.

as much as possible. But, in fact, we see it every moment seat itself, as the true and hereditary lord of the world, out of the fulness of its own strength, upon the ancestral throne, and looking down from thence with scornful glances, laugh at the preparations which have been made to bind it, imprison it, or at least to limit it and wherever it is possible to keep it concealed, or even so to master it that it shall only appear as a subordinate, secondary concern of life. But all this agrees with the fact that the sexual passion is the kernel of the will to live, and consequently the concentration of all desire ; therefore in the text I have called the genital organs the focus of the will. Indeed, one may say man is concrete sexual desire ; for his origin is an act of copulation and his wish of wishes is an act of copulation, and this tendency alone perpetuates and holds together his whole phenomenal existence. The will to live manifests itself indeed pri marily as an effort to sustain the individual ; yet this is only a step to the effort to sustain the species, and the latter endeavour must be more powerful in proportion as the life of the species surpasses that of the individual in duration, extension, and value. Therefore sexual passion is the most perfect manifestation of the will to live, its most distinctly expressed type; and the origin of the individual in it, and its primacy over all other desires of the natural man, are both in complete agreement with this.

One other remark of a physiological nature is in place here, a remark which throws light upon my fundamental doctrine expounded in the second book. As the sexual impulse is the most vehement of desires, the wish of wishes, the concentration of all our volition, and accord ingly the satisfaction of it which exactly corresponds to the individual wish of any one, that is, the desire fixed upon a definite individual, is the summit and crown of his happiness, the ultimate goal of his natural endeavours, with the attainment of which everything seems to him to


THE LIFE OF THE SPECIES. 315

have been attained, and with the frustrating of which everything seems to him to have been lost : so we find, as its physiological correlative, in the objectified will, thus in the human organism, the sperm or semen as the secretion of secretions, the quintessence of all animal fluids, the last result of all organic functions, and have in it a new proof of the fact that the body is only the objectivity of the will, i.e., is the will itself under the form of the idea.

With reproduction is connected the maintenance of the offspring, and with the sexual impulse, parental love ; and thus through these the life of the species is carried on. Accordingly the love of the brute for its young has, like the sexual impulse, a strength which far surpasses that of the efforts which merely concerns itself as an individual. This shows itself in the fact that even the mildest animals are ready to undertake for the sake of their young even the most unequal battle for life and death, and with almost all species of animals the mother encounters any danger for the protection of her young, nay, in many cases even faces certain death. In the case of man this instinctive parental love is guided and directed by reason, i.e., by reflection. Sometimes, how ever, it is also in this way restricted, and with bad charac ters this may extend to the complete repudiation of it. Therefore we can observe its effects most purely in the lower animals. In itself, however, it is not less strong in man ; here also, in particular cases, we see it entirely overcome self-love, and even extend to the sacrifice of life. Thus, for example, the French newspapers have just announced that at Cahors, in the department of Lot, a father has taken his own life in order that his son, who had been drawn for military service, should be the eldest son of a widow, and therefore exempt (Galignanis Mes senger of 22d June 1843). Yet in the case of the lower animals, since they are capable of no reflection, the in stinctive maternal affection (the male is generally ignorant


316 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIL

of his paternity) shows itself directly and unsophisticated, and therefore with perfect distinctness and in its whole strength. At bottom it is the expression of the conscious ness in the brute that its true being lies more immediately in the species than in the individual, and therefore, when necessary, it sacrifices its life that the species may be main tained in the young. Thus here, as also in the sexual impulse, the will to live becomes to a certain extent transcendent, for its consciousness extends beyond the individual, in which it is inherent, to the species. In order to avoid expressing this second manifestation of the life of the species in a merely abstract manner, and to present it to the reader in its magnitude and reality, I will give a few examples of the extraordinary strength of instinctive maternal affection.

The sea-otter, when pursued, seizes its young one and dives with it ; when it comes up again to take breath, it covers the young one with its body, and receives the harpoon of the hunter while the young one is escaping. A young whale is killed merely to attract the mother, who hurries to it and seldom forsakes it so long as it still lives, even although she is struck with several harpoons (Scoresby s " Journal of a Whaling Voyage ; " from the English of Kreis, p. 196). At Three Kings Island, near New Zealand, there are colossal seals called sea-elephants (phoca proboscidea). They swim round the island in regu lar herds and feed upon fishes, but yet have certain terrible enemies below water unknown to us, by whom they are often severely wounded ; hence their swimming together requires special tactics. The females bring forth their young upon the shore ; while they are suckling them, which lasts from seven to eight weeks, all the males form a circle round them in order to prevent them, driven by hunger, from entering the sea, and if this is attempted they pre vent it by biting. Thus they all fast together for between seven and eight weeks, and all become very thin, simply in order that the young may not enter the sea before they


THE LIFE OF THE SPECIES. 317

are able to swim well and observe the necessary tactics which are then taught them with blows and bites (Frey- cinet, Voy. aux, teives Avstrales, 1826). We also see here how parental affection, like every strong exertion of the will (cf. chap. xix. 6), heightens the intelligence. Wild ducks, white-throats, and many other birds, when the sportsman comes near their nest, fly in front of him with loud cries and flap about as if their wings were injured, in order to attract his attention from their young to themselves. The lark tries to entice the dog away from its nest by exposing itself. In the same way hinds and does induce the hunter to pursue them in order that their young may not be attacked. Swallows have flown into burning houses to rescue their young or perish with them. At Delfft, in a great fire, a stork allowed itself to be burnt in its nest rather than forsake its tender young, which could not yet fly (Hadr. Junius, Descriptio Hollandice). Mountain-cocks and woodcocks allow themselves to be taken upon the nest when brooding. Muscicapa tyrannus protects its nest with remarkable courage, and defends itself against eagles. An ant has been cut in two, and the fore half been seen to bring the pupse to a place of safety. A bitch whose litter had been cut out of her belly crept up to them dying, caressed them, and began to whine violently only when they were taken from her (Burdach, Physiologie aLt Erfahrungswissenschaft, vol. ii. and iii).


CHAPTER XLIIL

ON HEREDITY.

THE most ordinary experience teaches that in generation the combined seed of the parents not only propagates the peculiarities of the species, but also those of the individual, as far as bodily (objective, external) qualities are concerned, and this has also always been recognised

"Naturae tequitur semina quisque suce."

CATULI*

Now whether this also holds good of mental (subjective, internal) qualities, so that these also are transmitted by the parents to the children, is a question which has already often been raised, and almost always answered in the affirmative. More difficult, however, is the problem whether it is possible to distinguish what belongs to the father and what to the mother, thus what is the mental inheritance which we receive from each of our parents. If now we cast upon this problem the light of our fundamen tal knowledge that the will is the true being, the kernel, the radical element in man, and the intellect, on the other hand, is what is secondary, adventitious, the accident of that substance ; before questioning experience we will assume it as at least probable that the father, as sexus potior and the procreative principle, imparts the basis, the radical element, of the new life, thus the will, and the mother, as sexus sequior and merely conceiving principle, imparts the secondary element, the intellect ; that thus the man inherits his moral nature, his character, his inclina tions, his heart, from the father, and, on the other hand, the


ON HEREDITY. 3 ! 9

grade, quality, and tendency of his intelligence from the mother. Now this assumption actually finds its continua tion in experience ; only this cannot be decided by a physi cal experiment upon the table, but results partly from the careful and acute observation of many years, and partly from history.

One s own experience has the advantage of complete certainty and the greatest speciality, and this outweighs the disadvantage that arises from it, that its sphere is limited and its examples not generally known. There fore, primarily, I refer every one to his own experience. first of all let him consider himself, confess to himself his inclinations and passions, his characteristic errors and weaknesses, his vices, and also his excellences and virtues, if he has any. Then let him think of his father, and he cannot fail to recognise all these characteristic traits in him also. On the other hand, he will often find his mother of an entirely different character, and a moral agreement with her will very seldom occur, indeed only through the exceptional accident of a similarity of the character of the two parents. Let him make this exami nation, for example, with reference to quick temper or patience, avarice or prodigality, inclination to sensuality, or to intemperance, or to gambling, hard-heartedness or kindliness, honesty or hypocrisy, pride or condescension, courage or cowardice, peaceableness or quarrelsomeness, placability or resentfulness, &c. Then let him make the same investigation with regard to all those whose characters and whose parents he has accurately known. If he pro ceeds attentively, with correct judgment, and candidly, the confirmation of our principle will not be lacking. Thus for example, he will find the special tendency to lie, which belongs to many men, equally present in two brothers, because they have inherited it from the father ; on this account also the comedy, " The Liar and his Son," is psychologically correct. However, two inevitable limi tations must here be borne in mind, which only open


320 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIII.

injustice could interpret as evasions. First, pater semper incertus. Only a decided physical resemblance to the father removes this limitation ; a superficial resemblance, on the other hand, is not sufficient to do so ; for there is an after-effect of earlier impregnation by virtue of which the children of the second marriage have sometimes still a slight resemblance to the first husband, and children begotten in adultery to the legitimate father. Such an after-effect has been still more distinctly observed in the case of brutes. The second limitation is, that in the son the moral character of the father certainly appears, yet under the modification which it has received through another and often very different intellect (the inheritance from the mother), and thus a correction of the observation becomes necessary. This modification may be important or trifling in proportion to that difference, but it can never be so great that the fundamental traits of the paternal character do not always appear under it recognisably enough, like a man who has disguised himself by an entirely different kind of dress, wig, and beard. For ex ample, if by inheritance from the mother a man is pre eminently endowed with reason, thus with the power of reflection and deliberation, the passions inherited from his father are partly bridled by this, partly concealed, and accordingly only attain to a methodical, systematic, or secret manifestation, and thus a very different pheno menon from that of the father, who perhaps had only a very limited mind, will then result ; and in the same way the converse case may occur. The inclinations and pas sions of the mother, on the other hand, do not reappear at all in the children, often indeed their opposite.

Historical examples have the advantage over those of pri vate life of being universally known ; but, on the other hand, they are of course impaired by the uncertainty and frequent falsification of all tradition, and especially also by the fact that as a rule they only contain the public, not the private life, and consequently only the political actions, not the


ON HEREDITY. 321

finer manifestations of character. However, I wish to support the truth we are speaking of by a few historical examples, to which those who have made a special study of history can no doubt add a far larger number of equally pertinent cases.

It is well known that P. Decius Mus sacrificed his life for his country with heroic nobleness ; for, solemnly com mitting himself and the enemy to the infernal deities, with covered face he plunged into the army of the Latins. About forty years later his son, of the same name, did exactly the same thing in the war against the Gauls (Liv. viii. 6 ; x. 28). Thus a thorough proof of the Horatian fortes creantur fortibus et lonis : the converse of which is thus given by Shakspeare

w Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base."

CYMBELINB, iv. 2.

Early Eoman history presents to us whole families whose members in long succession distinguished themselves by devoted patriotism and courage ; such were the gens Fabia and the gens Fabricia. Again, Alexander the Great was fond of power and conquest, like his father Philip. The pedigree of Nero which, with a moral intention, Suetonius (c. 4 et 5) gives at the beginning of his sketch of this monster is very well worth considering. It is the gens Claudia he describes, which flourished in Eome through

O

six centuries, and produced not only capable, but arrogant and cruel men. From it sprang Tiberius, Caligula, and finally Nero. In his grandfather, and still more strongly in his father, all those atrocious qualities show themselves, which could only attain their perfect development in Nero, partly because his higher position afforded them freer scope, partly because he had for his mother the irrational Bac chante, Agrippina, who could impart to him no intellect to bridle his passions. Quite in our sense, therefore, Suetonius relates that at his birth prcesagio fuit etiam Domitii, patris, vox, inter gratulationes amicorum, negantis, quidquam ex se VOL. III. X


322 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIIT.

et Agrippina, nisi detestabile et malo publico nasci potuisse. On the other hand, Cimon was the son of Miltiades, and Hannibal of Hamilcar, and the Scipios make up a whole family of heroes and noble defenders of their country. But the son of Pope Alexander VI. was his hideous image, Caesar Borgia. The son of the notorious Duke of Alba was just as cruel and wicked a man as his father. The malicious and unjust Philip IV. of France, who is specially known by his cruel torture and execution of the knights templars, had for his daughter Isabella, wife of Edward II. of England, who rebelled against her husband, took him prisoner, and after he had signed his abdication, since the attempt to kill him by ill-usage was unsuccessful, caused him to be put to death in prison in a manner which is too horrible for me to care to relate. The blood thirsty tyrant and defensor fidei, Henry VIII. of England had a daughter by his first marriage, Queen Mary, equally distinguished for bigotry and cruelty, who from her numerous burnings of heretics has won the name of Bloody Mary. His daughter by his second marriage, Elizabeth, received an excellent understanding from her mother, Anne Boleyn, which prevented bigotry and curbed the parental character in her, yet did not do away with it ; so that it still always shone through on occasions, and dis tinctly appeared in her cruel treatment of Mary of Scot land. Van Geuns 1 tells a story, after Marcus Donatus, of a Scotch girl whose father had been burnt as a high way robber and a cannibal when she was only one year old. Although she was brought up among quite different people, there developed in her the same craving for human flesh, and being caught in the act of satisfying it, she was buried alive. In the Freimuthigen of the 1 3th July 1821 we read that in the department of Aube the police pursued a girl because she had murdered two children, whom she ought to have taken to the

1 " Disputatio de corporttm habitudine, animce, hvgusque virium indict." Harderov., 1789, 9.




ON HEREDITY. 3 2 3

foundling hospital, in order to keep the little money given to the children. At last the police found the girl on the road to Paris, near Eomilly, drowned, and her own father gave himself up as her murderer. Finally, let me mention a couple of cases which have occurred recently, and have therefore only the newspapers as their vouchers. In October 1836 a Count Belecznai was condemned to death in Hungary because he had murdered an official and severely wounded his own relations. His elder brother was executed earlier as a patricide, and his father also had been a murderer (Frankfurter Postzeitung of the 26th October 1836). A year later the youngest brother of this Count, in the same street where the latter had murdered the official, fired a pistol at the steward of his estates, but missed him (Frankfurter Journal, i6th Sep tember 1837). In the Frankfurter Postzeitung of the igth November 1857 a correspondent in Paris announces the condemnation to death of a very dangerous highway robber, Lemaire, and his companions, and adds: "The criminal tendency seems hereditary in his family and in those of his confederates, as several of their race have died on the scaffold." It follows from a passage in the Laws of Plato that similar cases were already known in Greece (Stol. Flor., vol. ii. p. 213). The annals of crime will certainly have many similar pedigrees to show. The tendency to suicide is specially hereditary.

On the other hand, when we see the excellent Marcus Aurelius have the wicked Commodus for a son, this does not not lead us astray ; for we know that the Diva Faus tina was a uxor in/amis. On the contrary, we mark this case in order in analogous cases to presume an analogous reason ; for example, that Domitian was the full brother of Titus I can never believe, but that Vespasian also was a deceived husband.

Now, as regards the second part of the principle set up thus the inheritance of the intellect from the mother, this enjoys a far more general acceptance than the first part,


324 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL11I.

which in itself appeals to the liberum arbitrium indif- ferentice, while its separate apprehension is opposed by the doctrine of the simplicity and indivisibility of the soul. Even the old and popular expression " mother- wit" shows the early recognition of this second truth, which depends upon the experience both with regard to small and great intellectual endowments, that they are the possession of those whose mothers proportionately distinguished themselves by their intelligence. That, on the other hand, the intellectual qualities of the father are not transmitted to the son is proved both by the fathers and the sons of men distinguished by the most eminent faculties, for, as a rule, they are quite ordinary men, with out a trace of the paternal mental gifts. But if now an isolated exception to this experience, so often confirmed, should appear ; such, for example, as is presented by Pitt and his father, Lord Chatham, we are warranted in as cribing it to accident, nay, obliged to do so, although, on account of the exceptional rarity of great talents, it ia certainly an accident of a most extraordinary kind. Here, however, the rule holds good : it is improbable that the improbable never happens. Besides, great statesmen (as was already mentioned in chapter 22) are so just as much through the qualities of their character, thus through what is inherited from the father, as through the superiority of their mind. On the other hand, among artists, poets, and philosophers, to whose works alone genius is properly ascribed, I know of no case analogous to that. Raphael s father was certainly a painter, but not a great one ; Mo zart s father, and also his son, were musicians, but not great ones. However, it is indeed wonderful that the fate which had destined a very short life to both of these men, each the greatest in his own sphere, as it were by way of com pensation, took care, by letting them be born already in their workshop, that, without suffering the loss of time in youth which for the most part occurs in the case of other men of genius, they received even from childhood, through


ON HEREDITY. 325

paternal example and instruction, the necessary introduc tion into the art to which they were exclusively destined. This secret and mysterious power which seems to guide the individual life I have made the subject of special investigations, which I have communicated in the essay, " Ueber die scheiribare Absichtlichkeit im Schicksale des Einzelnen " (Parerga, vol. i.). It is further to be observed here that there are certain scientific occupations which certainly presuppose good native faculties, yet not those which are really rare and extraordinary ; while the prin cipal requirements are zealous efforts, diligence, patience, early instruction, sustained study, and much practice. From this, and not from the inheritance of the intellect of the father, the fact is to be explained that, since the son always willingly follows the path that has been opened up by the father, and almost all businesses are hereditary in certain families, in some sciences also, which before everything demand diligence and persistence, individual families can show a succession of men of merit ; such are the Scaligers, the Bernouillis, the Cassinis, the Herschels.

The number of proofs of the actual inheritance of the intellect of the mother would be much greater than it appears if it were not that the character and disposition of the female sex is such that women rarely give public proof of their mental faculties ; and therefore these do not become historical, and thus known to posterity. Besides, on account of the weaker nature in general of the female sex, these faculties themselves can never reach the grade in them to which they may afterwards rise in the son ; thus, with reference to themselves, we have to estimate their achievements higher in this proportion. Accordingly in the first instance, only the following examples present themselves as proofs of our truth. Joseph II. was the son of Maria Theresia. Cardanus says in the third chapter, " De vita propria : " " Mater mea fuit memoria et ingenio pollens." J. J. Eousseau says in the first book of the " Confessions : " " La leaute" de ma mire, son


326 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIII.

esprit, ses talents, die en avait de trop brillans pour son

Mat," &c., and then quotes some delightful lines of hers.

D Alembert was the illegitimate son of Claudine de

Tencin, a woman of superior mind, and the author of

several romances and similar works, which met with

great approbation in her day, and should even still be

enjoyable (see her biography in the " Matter fur littera-

rische Unterhaltung" March 1845, Nos. 71-73). That

Buffon s mother was a remarkable woman is shown by

the following passage from the " Voyage a Montbar, par

He rault de Sechelles," which Flourens quotes in his " His-

toire des travaux de Buffon" p. 288 : " Buffon avait ce

principe qu en ge ne ral les enfants tenaient de leur mere

leurs qualite s intellectuelles et morales : et lorsqu il I avait

de veloppe dans la conversation, il en faisait sur-le-champ

I application d lui-m^me, enfaisant un doge pompeux de sa

mere, qui avait en effet, beaucoup d esprit, des connaissances

e tandues, et une tSte tres Hen organised" That he includes

the moral qualities is an error which is either committed

by the reporter, or depends upon the fact that his mother

had accidentally the same character as himself and his

father. The contrary of this is shown in innumerable cases

in which the mother and the son have opposite characters.

Hence the greatest dramatists could present, in Orestes and

Hamlet, mother and son in hostile conflict, in which the

son appears as the moral representative and avenger of

his father. On the other hand, the converse case, that the

son should appear as the moral representative and avenger

of the mother against the father, would be revolting and,

at the same time, almost absurd. This depends upon the

fact that between father and son there is actual identity

of nature, which is the will, but between mother and son

there is merely identity of intellect, and even this only in

a conditioned manner. Between mother and son the

greatest moral opposition can exist, between father and

son only an intellectual opposition. From this point of

view, also, one should recognise the necessity of the Salic


ON HEREDITY. 327

law : the woman cannot carry on the race. Hume says iii his short autobiography : " Our mother was a woman of singular merit." It is said of Kant s mother in the most recent biography by F. W. Schubert : " According to the judgment of her son himself, she was a woman of great natural understanding. For that time, when there was so little opportunity for the education of girls, she was exceptionally well instructed, and she also continued later to care for her further education by herself. In the course of walks she drew the attention of her son to all kinds of natural phenomena, and tried to explain to him through them the power of God." What a remarkably able, clever, and superior woman Goethe s mother was is now universally known. How much she has been spoken of in literature ! while his father has not been spoken of at all ; Goethe himself describes him as a man of subordi nate faculties. Schiller s mother was susceptible to poetry, and made verses herself, a fragment of which will be found in his biography by Schwab. Burger, that genuine poetic genius, to whom perhaps the first place after Goethe among German poets belongs for compared with his ballads those of Schiller seem cold and laboured has given an account of his parents which for us is significant, and which his friend and physician, Althof repeats in his biography which appeared in 1798, in these words: "Burger s father was certainly provided with a variety of knowledge after the manner of study prevalent at the time, and was also a good, honourable man ; but he loved his quiet comfort and his pipe of tobacco so much, that, as my friend used to say, he had always first to pull himself together if he was going to apply himself for a quarter of an hour or so to the instruction of his son. His wife was a woman of extra ordinary mental endowments, which, however, were so little cultivated that she had scarcely learnt to write legibly. Burger thought that with proper culture his mother would have been the most famous of her sex, although he several times expressed a strong disapproval of different traits of


328 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIII.

her moral character. However, he believed that he inherited from his mother some mental gifts, and from his father an agreement with his moral character." "Walter Scott s mother was a poetess, and was in communication with the wits of her time, as we learn from the obituary notice of Walter Scott in the Globe of 24th September 1832. That poems of hers appeared in print in 1789 I find from an article entitled " Mother- wit," in the Blatter fur littera- rische Unterhaltung of 4th October 1841, published by Brockhaus, which gives a long list of clever mothers of distinguished men, from which I shall only take two: " Bacon s mother was a distinguished linguist, wrote and translated several works, and in all of them showed learn ing, acuteness, and taste. Boerhave s mother distinguished herself through medical knowledge." On the other hand, Haller has preserved for us a strong proof of the inherit ance of the mental weakness of the mother, for he says : " E ditabus patriciis sororibus, 6b divitias maritos nactis, quum tamen fatuis essent proximce, novimus in nobilissimas gentes nunc a seculo retro ejus morbi manasse semina, ut etiam in quarta generatione, quintave, omnium posterorum aliqui fatui supersint " (Elementa physiol., Lib. xxix. 8). Also, according to Esquirol, madness is more frequently in herited from the mother than the father. If, however, it is inherited from the father, I attribute this to the dis position of the character whose influence occasions it.

It seems to follow from our principle that sons of the same mother have equal mental capacity, and if one should be highly gifted the other must be so also. Sometimes it is so. Examples of this are the Carracci, Joseph and Michael Haydn, Bernard and Andreas Romberg, George and Frederic Cuvier. I would also add the brothers Schlegel, if it were not that the younger, Friedrich, made himself unworthy of the honour of being named along with his excellent, blameless, and highly distinguished brother, August Wilhelm, by the disgraceful obscurantism which in the last quarter of his life he pursued along with Adam


ON HEREDITY. 329

Miiller. For obscurantism is a sin, possibly not against the Holy Spirit, but yet against the human spirit, which one ought therefore never to forgive, but always and everywhere implacably to remember against whoever has been guilty of it, and take every opportunity of showing contempt for him so long as he lives, nay, after he is dead. But just as often the above result does not take place ; for example, Kant s brother was quite an ordinary man. To explain this I must remind the reader of what is said in the thirty-first chapter on the physiological conditions of genius. Not only an extraordinarily developed and abso lutely correctly formed brain (the share of the mother) is required, but also a very energetic action of the heart to animate it, i.e., subjectively a passionate will, a lively temperament: this is the inheritance from the father. But this quality is at its height only during the father s strongest years ; and the mother ages still more quickly. Accordingly the highly gifted sons will, as a rule, be the eldest, begotten in the full strength of both parents ; thus Kant s brother was eleven years younger than him. Even in the case of two distinguished brothers, as a rule, the elder will be the superior. But not only the age, but every temporary ebb of the vital force or other disturbance of health in the parents at the time when the child is begotten may interfere with the part of one or other, and prevent the appearance of a man of eminent talent, which is therefore so exceedingly rare a phenomenon. It may be said, in passing, that in the case of twins the absence of all the differences just mentioned is the cause of the quasi-identity of their nature.

If single cases should be found in which a highly gifted son had a mother who was not mentally distinguished at all, this may be explained from the fact that this mother herself had a phlegmatic father, and on this ac count her more than ordinarily developed brain was not adequately excited by a corresponding energy of the circulation a necessary condition, as I have explained


330 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIIL

above in chapter 31. Nevertheless, her highly perfected nervous and cerebral system was transmitted to the son, in whose case a father with a lively and passionate disposition and an energetic action of the heart was added, and thus the other physical condition of great mental power first appeared here. Perhaps this was Byron s case, since we nowhere find the mental advantages of his mother mentioned. The same explanation is also to be applied to the case in which the mother of a son of genius who was herself distinguished for mental gifts had a mother who was by no means clever, for the father of the latter has been a man of a phlegmatic disposition.

The inharmonious, disproportionate, ambiguous element in the character of most men might perhaps be referred to the fact that the individual has not a simple origin, but derives the will from the father and the intellect from the mother. The more heterogeneous and ill-adapted to each other the two parents were, the greater will that want of harmony, that inner variance, be. While some excel through their heart and others through their head, there are still others whose excellence lies in a certain harmony and unity of the whole nature, which arises from the fact that in them heart and head are so thoroughly adapted that they mutually support and advance each other ; which leads us to assume that the parents were peculiarly suited to each other, and agreed in an exceptional measure.

With reference to the physiological side of the theory set forth, I wish now to mention that Burdach, who erro neously assumes that the same psychical qualities may be inherited now from the father, now from the mother, yet adds (Physiologie ah Erfahrungswissenschaft, vol. i. 306) : " As a whole, the male element has more influence in determining the irritable life, and the female element, on the other hand, has more influence on the sensibility." What Linne* says in the " Systema natures," Tom. i. p. 8, is also in point here : " Mater prolifera promit, ante genera-


ON HEREDITY. 331

tionem, vivum compendium medullare novi animalis sui- que simillimi, carinam Malpighianam dictum, tanquam plumulam vegetabilium : hoc ex genitura Cor adsociat rami- ficandum in corpus. Punctum emin saliens ovi incubantis avis ostendit primum cor micans, cerebrumque cum medulla : corculum hoc, cessans a frigore, excitatur calido halitu, pre- mitque bulla aerea, sensim dilatata, liquores, secundum canales Jluxiles. Punctum vitalitatis itaque in mventibus est tanquam a prima creatione continuata medullaris vitw ramificatio, cum ovum sit gemma medullaris matris a primordio viva, licet non sua ante proprium cor paternum.

If we now connect the conviction we have gained here of the inheritance of the character from the father and the intellect from the mother with our earlier investiga-

O

tion of the wide gulf which nature has placed between man and man in a moral as in an intellectual regard, and also with our knowledge of the absolute unalterableness both of the character and of the mental faculties, we shall be led to the view that a real and thorough improve ment of the human race might be attained to not so much from without as from within, thus not so much by instruction and culture as rather upon the path of genera tion. Plato had already something of the kind in his mind when in the fifth book of his Republic he set forth his wonderful plan for increasing and improving his class of warriors. If we could castrate all scoundrels, and shut up all stupid geese in monasteries, and give persons of noble character a whole harem, and provide men, and indeed complete men, for all maidens of mind and under standing, a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles. But, without entering into such Utopian plans, it might be taken into consideration that if, as, if I am not mistaken, was actually the case among certain ancient nations, castration was the severest punishment after death, the world would be delivered from whole races of scoundrels, all the more cer tainly as it is well known that most crimes are committed


332 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLI1I.

between the age of twenty and thirty. 1 In the same way, it might be considered whether, as regards results, it would not be more advantageous to give the public dowries which upon certain occasions have to be distributed, not, as is now customary, to the girls who are supposed to be the most virtuous, but to those who have most understanding and are the cleverest ; especially as it is very difficult to judge as to virtue, for, as it is said, only God sees the heart. The opportunities for displaying a noble character are rare, and a matter of chance ; besides, many a girl has a powerful support to her virtue in her plainness ; on the other hand, as regards understanding, those who them selves are gifted with it can judge with great certainty after some examination. The following is another prac tical application. In many countries, among others in South Germany, the bad custom prevails of women carry ing burdens, often very considerable, upon the head. This must act disadvantageous^ upon the brain, which must thereby gradually deteriorate in the female sex of the nation ; and since from that sex the male sex receives its brain, the whole nation becomes ever more stupid ; which in many cases is by no means necessary. Accordingly by the abolition of this custom the quantum of intelli gence in the whole nation would be increased, which would positively be the greatest increase of the national wealth.

But if now, leaving such practical applications to others, we return to our special point of view, the ethico-meta- physical standpoint since we connect the content of chapter 41 with that of the present chapter the following

1 Lichtenberg says in his rmscel- it is not propagated. Moreover, the

laneous writings (Gb ttingen, iSoi, courage ceases, and since the sexual

vol. ii. p. 447) : " In England it was passion so frequently leads to thefts,

proposed to castrate thieves. The this cause would also disappear. The

proposal is not bad : the punish- remark that women would so much

ment is very severe ; it makes per- the more eagerly restrain their hus-

sons contemptible, and yet leaves bands from stealing is roguish, for

them still fit for trail; s ; and if as things are at present they risk

stealing is hereditary, in this way losing them altogether. "


ON HEREDITY. 333

result will present itself to us, which, with all its tran scendence, has yet a direct empirical support. It is the same character, thus the same individually determined will, that lives in all the descendants of one stock, from the remote ancestor to the present representative of the family. But in each of these a different intellect is given with it, thus a different degree and a different kind of knowledge. Thus in each of these life presents itself to it from another side and in a different light : it receives a new fundamental view of it, a new instruction. It is true that, since the intellect is extinguished with the individual, that will cannot sup plement the insight of one course of life with that of another. But in consequence of each fundamentally new view of life, such as only a renewed personality can impart to it, its willing itself receives a different tendency, thus experiences a modification from it, and what is the chief concern, the will, has, in this new direction, either to assert life anew or deny it. In this way does the arrangement of nature of an ever- changing connection of a will with an intellect, which arises from the necessity of two sexes for reproduction, be come the basis of a method of salvation. For by virtue of this arrangement life unceasingly presents new sides to the will (whose image and mirror it is), turns itself about, as it were, without intermission before its sight, allows different and ever different modes of perception to try their effect upon it, so that upon each of these it must decide for asser tion or denial, both of which constantly stand open to it only that, if once denial is chosen, the whole phenomenon ceases for it with death. Now because, according to this, it is just the constant renewal and complete alteration of the intellect for the same will which, as imparting a new view of the world, holds open the path of salvation, and because the intellect comes from the mother, the profound reason may lie here on account of which all nations (with very few and doubtful exceptions) abominate and forbid the marriage of brothers and sisters, nay, even on account of which sexual love does not arise at all between brothers


334 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIII.

and sisters, unless in very rare exceptions, which depend upon an unnatural perversity of the instinct, if not upon the fact that one of the two is illegitimate. For from a marriage of brothers and sisters nothing could proceed but constantly ever the same will with the same intellect, as both already exist united in both the parents, thus the hopeless repetition of the phenomenon which has already been.

But if now, in the particular case and close at hand, we contemplate the incredibly great and yet manifest differ ence of characters find one so good and philanthropic, another so wicked, nay, ferocious ; again, behold one just, honest, and upright, and another completely false, as a sneak, a swindler, a traitor, an incorrigible scoundrel there dis closes itself to us a chasm in our investigation, for in vain we ponder, reflecting on the origin of such a difference. Hindus and Buddhists solve the problem by saying, " It is the consequence of the deeds of the preceding courses of life." This solution is certainly the oldest, also the most comprehensible, and has come from the wisest of mankind; but it only pushes the question further back. Yet a more satisfactory answer will hardly be found. From the point of view of my whole teaching, it remains for me to say that here, where we are speaking of the will as thing in itself, the principle of sufficient reason, as merely the form of the phenomenon, is no longer applicable ; with it, how ever, all why and whence disappear. Absolute freedom just consists in this, that something is not subject at all to the principle of sufficient reason, as the principle of all necessity. Such freedom, therefore, only belongs to the thing in itself. And this is just the will. Accordingly, in its phenomenal manifestation, consequently in the Operari, it is subject to necessity ; but in the Esse, where it has determined itself as thing in itself, it is free. Whenever, therefore, we come to this, as happens here, all explana tion by means of reasons and consequents ceases, and nothing remains for us but to say that here manifests itself


ON HEREDITY. 335

the true freedom of the will, which belongs to it because it is the thing in itself, which, however, just as such, is groundless, i.e., knows no why. But on this account all understanding ceases for us here, because all our under standing depends upon the principle of sufficient reason, for it consists in the mere application of that principle.


CHAPTER XLIV.

THE METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES.

" Ye wise men, highly, deeply learned, Who think it out and know, How, when, and where do all things pair 1 Why do they kiss and love ? Ye men of lofty wisdom, say What happened to me then ; Search out and tell me where, how, when, And why it happened thus."

BURGEE.

THIS chapter is the last of four whose various reciprocal relations, by virtue of which, to a certain extent, they con- situte a subordinate whole, the attentive reader will recog nise without it being needful for me to interrupt my exposition by recalling them or referring to them.

We are accustomed to see poets principally occupied with describing the love of the sexes. This is as a rule the chief theme of all dramatic works, tragical as well as comical, romantic as well as classical, Indian as well as European. Not less is it the material of by far the largest part of lyrical and also of epic poetry, especially if we class with the latter the enormous piles of romances which for centuries every year has produced in all the civilised countries of Europe as regularly as the fruits of the earth. As regards their main contents, all these works are nothing else than many-sided brief or lengthy descriptions of the passion we are speaking of. Moreover, the most successful pictures of it such, for example, as Eomeo and Juliet, La Nouvelle Hfloise, and Werther have gained


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 337

immortal fame. Yet, when Eochefoucauld imagines that it is the same with passionate love as with ghosts, of which every one speaks, but which no one has seen ; and Lich- tenberg also in his essay, " Ueber die Macht der Hebe," disputes and denies the reality and naturalness of that passion, they are greatly in error. For it is impossible that something which is foreign and contrary to human nature, thus a mere imaginary caricature, could be un- weariedly represented by poetic genius in all ages, and received by mankind with unaltered interest ; for nothing that is artistically beautiful can be without truth :

<l Rien n est beau que le vra/i; le vrai seul est aimable."

BOIL.

Certainly, however, it is also confirmed by experience, although not by the experience of every day, that that which as a rule only appears as a strong yet still control lable inclination may rise under certain circumstances to a passion which exceeds all others in vehemence, and which then sets aside all considerations, overcomes all obstacles with incredible strength and perseverance, so that for its satisfaction life is risked without hesitation, nay, if that satisfaction is still withheld, is given as the price of it. Werthers and Jacopo Ortis exist not only in romance, but every year can show at least half a dozen of them in Europe : Sed ignotis perierunt mortibus illi ; for their sor rows find no other chroniclers than the writers of official registers or the reporters of the newspapers. Yet the readers of the police news in English and French journals will attest the correctness of my assertion. Still greater, however, is the number of those whom the same passion brings to the madhouse. Finally, every year can show cases of the double suicide of a pair of lovers who are opposed by outward circumstances. In such cases, how ever, it is inexplicable to me how those who, certain of mutual love, expect to find the supremest bliss in the en joyment of this, do not withdraw themselves from all con-

VOL. III. Y


338 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

nections by taking the extremest steps, and endure all hardships, rather than give up with life a pleasure which is greater than any other they can conceive. As regards the lower grades of that passion, and the mere approaches to it, every one has them daily before his eyes, and, as lon as he is not old, for the most part also in his heart.

So then, after what has here been called to mind, no one can doubt either the reality or the importance of the matter ; and therefore, instead of wondering that a philo sophy should also for once make its own this constant theme of all poets, one ought rather to be surprised that a thing which plays throughout so important a part in human life has hitherto practically been disregarded by philosophers altogether, and lies before us as raw material. The one who has most concerned himself with it is Plato, especially in the "Symposium" and the "Phsedrus." Yet what he says on the subject is confined to the sphere of myths, fables, and jokes, and also for the most part con cerns only the Greek love of youths. The little that Kous- seau says upon our theme in the " Discours sur I indgalitt" (p. 96, ed. Bip.) is false and insufficient. Kant s explanation of the subject in the third part of the essay, " Ueber das Gefuhl desSchonen und Erhdbenen" (p. 435 seq. of Eosen- kranz s edition), is very superficial and without practical knowledge, therefore it is also partly incorrect. Lastly, Platner s treatment of the matter in his " Anthropology "

( J 347 se ?-) ever y one w iU fi n( * dull an( ^ shadow- O n the other hand, Spinoza s definition, on account of its excessive naivete", deserves to be quoted for the sake of amusement: "Amor est titillatio, concomitante idea causce extemce (Eth. iv., prop. 44, dem.} Accordingly I have no predecessors either to make use of or to refute. The sub ject has pressed itself upon me objectively, and has entered of its own accord into the connection of my consideration of the world. Moreover, least of all can I hope for approba tion from those who are themselves under the power of


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 339

this passion, and who accordingly seek to express the excess of their feelings in the sublimest and most ethereal images. To them my view will appear too physical, too material, however metaphysical and even transcendent it may be at bottom. Meanwhile let them reflect that if the object which to-day inspires them to write madrigals and sonnets had been born eighteen years earlier it would scarcely have won a glance from them.

For all love, however ethereally it may bear itself, is rooted in the sexual impulse alone, nay, it absolutely is only a more definitely determined, specialised, and indeed in the strictest sense individualised sexual impulse. If now, keeping this in view, one considers the important part which the sexual impulse in all its degrees and nuances plays not only on the stage and in novels, but also in the real world, where, next to the love of life, it shows itself the strongest and most powerful of motives, constantly lays claim to half the powers and thoughts of the younger portion of mankind, is the ultimate goal of almost all human effort, exerts an adverse influence on the most important events, interrupts the most serious occupations every hour, sometimes embarrasses for a while even the greatest minds, does not hesitate to intrude with its trash interfering with the negotiations of states men and the investigations of men of learning, knows how to slip its love letters and locks of hair even into ministerial portfolios arid philosophical manuscripts, and no less devises daily the most entangled and the worst actions, destroys the most valuable relationships, breaks the firmest bonds, demands the sacrifice sometimes of life or health, sometimes of wealth, rank, and happiness, nay, robs those who are otherwise honest of all conscience, makes those who have hitherto been faithful, traitors; accordingly, on the whole, appears as a malevolent demon that strives to pervert, confuse, and overthrow everything ; then one will be forced to cry, Wherefore all this noise ? Wherefore the straining and storming, the anxiety and


340 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

want ? It is merely a question of every Hans finding his Grethe. 1 Why should such a trifle play so important a part, and constantly introduce disturbance and confusion into the well-regulated life of man ? But to the earnest investigator the spirit of truth gradually reveals the answer. It is no trifle that is in question here ; on the contrary, the importance of the matter is quite propor tionate to the seriousness and ardour of the effort. The ultimate end of all love affairs, whether they are played in sock or cothurnus, is really more important than all other ends of human life, and is therefore quite worthy of the profound seriousness with which every one pursues it. That which is decided by it is nothing less than the composition of the next generation. The dramatis personce who shall appear when we are withdrawn are here deter mined, both as regards their existence and their nature, by these frivolous love affairs. As the being, the existentia, of these future persons is absolutely conditioned by our sexual impulse generally, so their nature, essentia, is deter mined by the individual selection in its satisfaction, i.e., by sexual love, and is in every respect irrevocably fixed by this. This is the key of the problem : we shall arrive at a more accurate knowledge of it in its application if we go through the degrees of love, from the passing inclina tion to the vehement passion, when we shall also recognise that the difference of these grades arises from the degree of the individualisation of the choice.

The collective love affairs of the present generation taken together are accordingly, of the whole human race, the serious meditatio compositionis generationis futures, e qua iterum pendent innumerce generationes. This high importance of the matter, in which it is not a question of individual weal or woe, as in all other matters, but of the existence and special nature of the human race in future times, and therefore the will of the individual appears

1 I have not ventured to express myself distinctly here : the courteous reader must therefore translate the phrase into Aristophanic language.


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 341

at a higher power as the will oLthe^apaciei^ -this it is on which the pathetic and sublime elements in affairs of love depend, which for thousands of years poets have never wearied of representing in innumerable examples ; because no theme can equal in interest this one, which stands to all others which only concern the welfare of individuals as the solid body to the surface, because it concerns the weal and woe of the species. Just on this account, then, is it so difficult to impart interest to a drama without the element of love, and, on the other hand, this theme is never worn out even by daily use.

That which presents itself in the individual conscious ness as sexual impulse in general, without being directed towards a definite individual of the other sex, is in itself, and apart from the phenomenon, simply the will to live. But what appears in consciousness as a sexual impulse directed to a definite individual is in itself the will to live as a definitely determined individual. Now in this case the sexual impulse, although in itself a subjective need, knows how to assume very skilfully the mask of an objective admiration, and thus to deceive our conscious ness ; for nature requires this stratagem to attain its ends. But yet that in every case of falling in love, however objective and sublime this admiration may appear, what alone is looked to is the production of an individual of a definite nature is primarily confirmed by the fact that the essential matter is not the reciprocation of love, but possession, i.e., the physical enjoyment. The certainty of the former can therefore by no means console us for the want of the latter ; on the contrary, in such a situation many a man has shot himself. On the other hand, persons who are deeply in love, and can obtain no return of it, are contented with possession, i.e., with the physical enjoyment. This is proved by all forced marriages, and also by the frequent purchase of the favour of awoman, in spite of her dislike, by large presents or other sacrifices, nay, even by cases of rape. That this particular child


342 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

shall be begotten is, although unknown to the parties con cerned, the true end of the whole love story ; the nian- iie-r in which it is attained is a secondary consideration. Now, however loudly persons of lofty and sentimental soul, and especially those who are in love, may cry out here about the gross realism of my view, they are yet in error. For is not the definite determination of the in dividualities of the next generation a much higher and more worthy end than those exuberant feelings and super sensible soap bubbles of theirs? Nay, among earthly aims, can there be one which is greater or more important ? It alone corresponds to the profoundness with which passionate love is felt, to the seriousness with which it appears, and the importance which it attributes even to the trifling details of its sphere and occasion. Only so far as this end is assumed as the true one do the diffi culties encountered, the infinite exertions and annoyances made and endured for the attainment of the loved object, appear proportionate to the matter. For it is the future generation, in its whole individual determinateness, that presses into existence by means of those efforts and toils. Nay, it is itself already active in that careful, definite, and arbitrary choice for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse which we call love. The growing inclination of two lovers is really already the will to live of the new individual which they can and desire to produce; nay, even in the meeting of their longing glances its new life breaks out, and announces itself as a future individuality harmoniously and well composed. They feel the longing for an actual union and fusing together into a single being, in order to live on only as this ; and this longing receives its fulfilment in the child which is produced by them, as that in which the qualities transmitted by them both, fused and united in one being, live on. Conversely, the mutual, decided and persistent aversion between a man and a maid is a sign that what they could produce Would only be a badly organised, in itself inharmonious


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 343

and unhappy being. Hence there lies a deeper meaning in the fact that Calderon, though he calls the atrocious Semiramis the daughter of the air, yet introduces her as the daughter of rape followed by the murder of the husband.

But, finally, what draws two individuals of different sex exclusively to each other with such power is the will to live, which exhibits itself in the whole species, and which here anticipates in the individual which these two can produce an objectification of its nature answering to ibs aims. This individual will have the will, or character, from the father, the intellect from the mother, and the corporisation from both; yet, for the most part, the figure vill take more after the father, the size after the mother, according to the law which comes out in the breeding of hybrids among the brutes, and principally depends upon the fact that the size of the foetus must conform to the size of the uterus. Just as inexplicable as the quite special individuality of any man, which is exclusively peculiar to him, is also the quite special and individual passion of two lovers ; indeed at bottom the two are one and the same: the former is explicite what the latter was impli- cite. The moment at which the parents begin to love each other to fancy each other, as the very happy English expression has it is really to be regarded as the first ap pearance of a new individual and the true punctum salient of its life, and, as has been said, in the meeting and fixino- of their longing glances there appears the first germ ol the new being, which certainly, like all germs, is gene- rally crushed out. This new individual is to a certain extent a new (Platonic) Idea ; and now, as all Ideas strive with the greatest vehemence to enter the phenomenal world, eagerly seizing for this end upon the matter which the law of causality divides among them all, so also does this particular Idea of a human individuality strive with the greatest eagerness and vehemence towards its realisation in the phenomenon. This eagerness and vehe-


344 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

mence is just the passion of the two future parents for each other. It lias innumerable degrees, the two extremes of which may at any rate be described as AQpo&trr) irav^rj- /w-o? and ovpavia ; in its nature, however, it is everywhere the same. On the other hand, it will be in degree so mucL the more powerful the more individualised it is ; that is, the more the loved individual is exclusively suited, by virtue of all his or her parts and qualities, to satisfy the desire of the lover and the need established by his or her own indi viduality. What is really in question here will become clear in the further course of our exposition. Primarily ind essentially the inclination of love is directed to health, strength, and beauty, consequently also to youth ; because the will first of all seeks to exhibit the specific character of the human species as the basis of all individuality : ordinary amorousness (A^poBirij Trai/S^o?) does not go much further. To these, then, more special claims link themselves on, which we shall investigate in detail further- on, and with which, when they see satisfaction before them, the passion increases. But the highest degrees of this passion spring from that suitableness of two indi vidualities to each other on account of which the will, i.e., the character, of the father and the intellect of the mother, in their connection, make up precisely that individual towards which the will to live in general which exhibits itself in the whole species feels a longing pro portionate to this its magnitude, and which therefore exceeds the measure of a mortal heart, and the motives of which, in the same way, lie beyond the sphere of the individual intellect. This is thus the soul of a true and great passion. Now the more perfect is the mutual adaptation of two individuals to each other in each of the many respects which have further to be considered, the stronger will be their mutual passion. Since there do not exist two individuals exactly alike, there must be for each particular man a particular woman always with reference to what is to be produced who corresponds


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 345

most perfectly. A really passionate love is as rare as the accident of these two meeting. Since, however, the pos sibility of such a love is present in every one, the repre sentations of it in the works of the poets are comprehen sible to us. Just because the passion of love really turns about that which is to be produced, and its qualities, and because its kernel lies here, a friendship without any admixture of sexual love can exist between two young and good-looking persons of different sex, on account of the agreement of their disposition, character, and mental tendencies ; nay, as regards sexual love there may even be a certain aversion between them. The reason of this is to be sought in the fact that a child produced by them would have physical or mental qualities which were inhar monious; in short, its existence and nature would not answer the ends of the will to live as it exhibits itself in the species. On the other hand, in the case of difference of disposition, character, and mental tendency, and the dis like, nay, enmity, proceeding from this, sexual love may yet arise and exist ; when it then blinds us to all that ; and if it here leads to marriage it will be a very unhappy one.

Let us now set about the more thorough investigation of the matter. Egoism is so deeply rooted a quality of all individuals in general, that in order to rouse the activity of an individual being egoistical ends are the only ones upon which we can count with certainty. Cer tainly the species has an earlier, closer, and greater claim upon the individual than the perishable individuality itself. Yet when the individual has to act, and even make sacrifices for the continuance and quality of the species, the importance of the matter cannot be made so comprehensible to his intellect, which is calculated merely with regard to individual ends, as to have its propor tionate effect. Therefore in such a case nature can only attain its ends by implanting a certain illusion in the individual, on account of which that which is only a


346 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL1V.

good for the species appears to him as a good for himself, so that when he serves the species he imagines he is serving himself; in which process a mere chimera, which vanishes immediately afterwards, floats before him, and takes the place of a real thing as a motive. This illusion is instinct. In the great majority of cases this is to be regarded as the sense of the species, which presents what is of benefit to it to the will. Since, however, the will has here become individual, it must be so deluded that it apprehends through the sense of the individual what the sense of the species presents to it, thus imagines it is following individual ends while in truth it is pur suing ends which are merely general (taking this word in its strictest sense). The external phenomenon of instinct we can best observe in the brutes where its rdle is most important ; but it is in ourselves alone that we arrive at a knowledge of its internal process, as of everything internal. Now it is certainly supposed that man has almost no instinct ; at any rate only this, that the new-born babe seeks for and seizes the breast of its mother. But, in fact, we have a very definite, distinct, and complicated instinct, that of the selection of another individual for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, a selection which is so fine, so serious, and so arbitrary. With this satisfaction in itself, i.e., so far as it is a sensual pleasure resting upon a pressing want of the individual, the beauty or ugliness of the other individual has nothing to do. Thus the regard for this which is yet pursued with such ardour, together with the careful selection which springs from it, is evidently connected, not with the chooser himself although he imagines it is so but with the true end, that which is to be produced, which is to re ceive the type of the species as purely and correctly as possible. Through a thousand physical accidents and moral aberrations there arise a great variety of deteriorations of the human form ; yet its true type, in all its parts, is always again established : and this takes place under the guidance


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 347

of the sense of beauty, which always directs the sexual impulse, and without which this sinks to the level of a disgusting necessity. Accordingly, in the first place, every one will decidedly prefer and eagerly desire the most beau tiful individuals, i.e., those in whom the character of the species is most purely impressed ; but, secondly, each one will specially regard as beautiful in another individual those perfections which he himself lacks, nay, even those imperfections which are the opposite of his own. Hence, for example, little men love big women, fair persons like dark, &c. &c. The delusive ecstasy which seizes a man at the sight of a woman whose beauty is suited to him, and pictures to him a union with her as the highest good, is just the sense of the species, which, recognising the distinctly expressed stamp of the same, desires to perpetuate it with this individual. Upon this decided inclination to beauty depends the maintenance of the type of the species : hence it acts with such great power. We shall examine specially further on the considerations which it follows. Thus what guides man here is really an instinct which is directed to doing the best for the species, while the man himself imagines that he only seeks the heightening of his own pleasure. In fact, we have in this an instructive lesson concerning the inner nature of all instinct, which, as here, almost always sets the individual in motion for the good of the species. For clearly the pains with which an insect seeks out a particular flower, or fruit, or duno-, or flesh, or, as in the case of the ichneumonidae, the larva of another insect, in order to deposit its eggs there only, and to attain this end shrinks neither from trouble nor danger, is thoroughly analogous to the pains with which for his sexual satisfaction a man carefully chooses a woman with definite qualities which appeal to him individually, and strives so eagerly after her that in order to attain this end he often sacrifices his own happiness in life, contrary to all reason, by a foolish marriage, by love affairs which cost him wealth, honour, and life, even by crimes such as


348 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

adultery or rape, all merely in order to serve the species in the most efficient way, although at the cost of the individual, in accordance with the will of nature which is everywhere sovereign. Instinct, in fact, is always an act which seems to be in accordance with the conception of an end, and yet is entirely without such a conception. Nature implants it wherever the acting individual is incapable of under standing the end, or would be unwilling to pursue it. Therefore, as a rule, it is given only to the brutes, and indeed especially to the lowest of them which have least understanding ; but almost only in the case we are here considering it is also given to man, who certainly could understand the end, but would not pursue it with the necessary ardour, that is, even at the expense of his individual welfare. Thus here, as in the case of all instinct, the truth assumes the form of an illusion, in order to act upon the will. It is a voluptuous illusion which leads the man to believe he will find a greater pleasure in the arms of a woman whose beauty appeals to him than in those of any other ; or which indeed, exclu sively directed to a single individual, firmly convinces him that the possession of her will ensure him excessive happiness. Therefore he imagines he is taking trouble and making sacrifices for his own pleasure, while he does so merely for the maintenance of the regular type of the species, or else a quite special individuality, which can only come from these parents, is to attain to existence. The character of instinct is here so perfectly present, thus an action which seems to be in accordance with the conception of an end, and yet is entirely without such a conception, that he who is drawn by that illusion often abhors the end which alone guides it, procreation, and would like to hinder it ; thus it is in the case of almost all illicit love affairs. In accordance with the character of the matter which has been explained, every lover will experience a marvellous disillusion after the pleasure he has at last attained, and will wonder that what was so


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 349

longingly desired accomplishes nothing more than every other sexual satisfaction ; so that he does not see himself much benefited by it. That wish was related to all his other wishes as the species is related to the individual, thus as the infinite to the finite. The satisfaction, on the other hand, is really only for the benefit of the species, and thus does not come within the consciousness of the individual, who, inspired by the will of the species, here served an end with every kind of sacrifice, which was not his own end at all. Hence, then, every lover, after the ultimate consummation of the great work, finds him self cheated ; for the illusion has vanished by means of which the individual was here the dupe of the species. Accordingly Plato very happily says: "rjSow) cnravTfov aXa^ovecrrarov " (voluptas omnium maxime vaniloqua), Phileb. 319.

But all this reflects light on the instincts and mecha nical tendencies of the brutes. They also are, without doubt, involved in a kind of illusion, which deceives them with the prospect of their own pleasure, while they work so laboriously and with so much self-denial for the species, the bird builds its nest, the insect seeks the only suitable place for its eggs, or even hunts for prey which, unsuited for its own enjoyment, must be laid beside the eggs as food for the future larvae, the bees, the wasps, the ants apply themselves to their skilful dwellings and highly complicated economy. They are all guided with certainty by an illusion, which conceals the service of the species under the mask of an egotistical end. This is probably the only way to comprehend the inner or subjective process that lies at the foundation of the manifestations of instinct. Outwardly, however, or objectively, we find in those creatures which are to a large extent governed by instinct, especially in insects, a preponderance of the ganglion system, i.e., the subjective nervous system, over the objective or cerebral system; from which we must conclude that they are moved, not so much by objective,


350 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

proper apprehension as by subjective ideas exciting desire, which arise from the influence of the ganglion system upon the brain, and accordingly by a kind of illusion ; and this will be the physiological process in the case of all instinct. For the sake of illustration I will men tion as another example of instinct in the human species, although a weak one, the capricious appetite of women who are pregnant. It seems to arise from the fact that the nourishment of the embryo sometimes requires a special or definite modification of the blood which flows to it, upon which the food which produces such a modification at once presents itself to the pregnant woman as an object of ardent longing, thus here also an illusion arises. Accordingly woman has one instinct more than man ; and the ganglion system is also much more developed in the woman. That man has fewer instincts than the brutes and that even these few can be easily led astray, may be explained from the great preponderance of the brain in his case. The sense of beauty which instinctively guides the selection for the satisfaction of sexual passion is led astray when it degenerates into the tendency to pederasty ; analogous to the fact that the blue-bottle (Musca wmitoria), instead of depositing its eggs, according to instinct, in putrefying flesh, lays them in the blossom of the Arum dracunculus, deceived by the cadaverous smell of this plant.

Now that an instinct entirely directed to that which is to be produced lies at the foundation of all sexual love will receive complete confirmation from the fuller analysis of it, which we cannot therefore avoid. First of all we have to remark here that by nature man is inclined to inconstancy in love, woman to constancy. The love of the man sinks perceptibly from the moment it has obtained satisfaction ; almost every other woman charms him more than the one he already possesses ; he longs for variety. The love of the woman, on the other hand, increases just from that moment. This is a consequence of the aim of


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 351

nature which is directed to the maintenance, and therefore to the greatest possible increase, of the species. The man can easily beget over a hundred children a year; the woman, on the contrary, with however many men, can yet only bring one child a year into the world (leaving twin births out of account). Therefore the man always looks about after other women ; the woman, again, sticks firmly to the one man ; for nature moves her, instinctively and without reflection, to retain the nourisher and pro tector of the future offspring. Accordingly faithfulness in marriage is with the man artificial, with the woman it is natural, and thus adultery on the part of the woman is much less pardonable than on the part of the man, both objectively on account of the consequences and also subjectively on account of its unnaturalness.

But in order to be thorough and gain full conviction that the pleasure in the other sex, however objective it may seem to us, is yet merely disguised instinct, i.e., sense of the species, which strives to maintain its type, we must investigate more fully the considerations which guide us in this pleasure, and enter into the details of this, rarely as these details which will have to be mentioned here may have figured in a philosophical work before. These con siderations divide themselves into those which directly concern the type of the species, i.e., beauty, those which are concerned with physical qualities, and lastly, those which are merely relative, which arise from the requisite correction or neutralisation of the one-sided qualities and abnormities of the two individuals by each other. We shall go through them one by one.

The first consideration which guides our choice and inclination is age. In general we accept the age from the years when menstruation begins to those when it ceases, yet we give the decided preference to the period from the eighteenth to the twenty-eighth year. Outside of those years, on the other hand, no woman can attract us : an old woman, i.e., one who no longer menstruates, excites our


352 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

aversion. Youth without beauty has still always attrao tion ; beauty without youth has none. Clearly the un conscious end which guides us here is the possibility of reproduction in general : therefore every individual loses attraction for the opposite sex in proportion as he or she is removed from the fittest period for begetting or con ceiving. The second consideration is that of health. Acute diseases only temporarily disturb us, chronic dis eases or cachexia repel us, because they are transmitted to the child. The third consideration is the skeleton, because it is the basis of the type of the species. Next to age and disease nothing repels us so much as a deformed figure ; even the most beautiful face cannot atone for it ; on the contrary, even the ugliest face when accompanied by a straight figure is unquestionably preferred. Further, we feel every disproportion of the skeleton most strongly ; for example, a stunted, dumpy, short-boned figure, and many such ; also a halting gait, where it is not the result of an extraneous accident. On the other hand, a strik ingly beautiful figure can make up for all defects : it enchants us. Here also comes in the great value which all attach to the smallness of the feet : it depends upon the fact that they are an essential characteristic of the species, for no animal has the tarsus and the metatarsus taken together so small as man, which accords with his upright walk ; he is a plantigrade. Accordingly Jesus Sirach also says (xxvi. 23, according to the revised trans lation by Kraus) : " A woman with a straight figure and beautiful feet is like columns of gold in sockets of silver." The teeth also are important ; because they are essential for nourishment and . quite specially hereditary. The fourth consideration is a certain fulness of flesh ; thus a predominance of the vegetative function, of plasticity ; because this promises abundant nourishment for the foetus ; hence great leanness repels us in a striking degree. A full female bosom exerts an exceptional charm upon the male sex; because, standing in direct connection with


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 353

the female functions of propagation, it promises abundant nourishment to the new-born child. On the other hand, excessively fat women excite our disgust: the cause is that this indicates atrophy of the uterus, thus barrenness ; which is not known by the head, but by instinct. The last consideration of all is the beauty of the face. Here also before everything else the bones are considered ; therefore we look principally for a beautiful nose, and a short turned-up nose spoils everything. A slight inclina tion of the nose downwards or upwards has decided the happiness in life of innumerable maidens, and rightly so, for it concerns the type of the species. A small mouth, by means of small maxillae, is very essential as specifically characteristic of the human countenance, as distinguished from the muzzle of the brutes. A receding or, as it were cut-away chin is especially disagreeable, because mentum prominulum is an exclusive characteristic of our species. Finally comes the regard for beautiful eyes and forehead ; it is connected with the psychical qualities, especially the intellectual which are inherited from the mother.

The unconscious considerations which, on the other hand, the inclination of women follows naturally cannot be so exactly assigned. In general the following may be asserted : They give the preference to the age from thirty to thirty-five years, especially over that of youths who yet really present the height of human beauty. The reason is that they are not guided by taste but by instinct, which recognises in the age named the acme of reproductive power. In general they look less to beauty, especially of the face. It is as if they took it upon themselves alone to impart this to the child. They are principally won by the strength of the man, and the courage which is con nected with this ; for these promise the production of stronger children, and also a brave protector for them. Every physical defect of the man, every divergence from the type, may with regard to the child be removed by the woman in reproduction, through the fact that she herself VOL. III. z


356 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

such relative considerations is much more definite, decided, and exclusive than that which proceeds merely from the absolute considerations ; therefore the source of really passionate love will lie, as a rule, in these relative con siderations, and only that of the ordinary and slighter inclination in the absolute considerations. Accordingly it is not generally precisely correct and perfect beauties that kindle great passions. For such a truly passionate inclination to arise something is required which can only be expressed by a chemical metaphor : two persons must neutralise each other, like acid and alkali, to a neutral salt. The essential conditions demanded for this are the following. First: all sex is one-sided. This one-sidedness is more distinctly expressed in one indivi dual than in another; therefore in every individual it can be better supplemented and neutralised by one than by another individual of the opposite sex, for each one requires a one-sidedness which is the opposite of his own to complete the type of humanity in the new individual that is to be produced, the constitution of which is always the goal towards which all tends. Phy siologists know that manhood and womanhood admit of innumerable degrees, through which the former sinks to the repulsive gynander and hypospadseus, and the latter rises to the graceful androgyne ; from both sides complete hermaphrodism can be reached, at which point stand those individuals who, holding the exact mean between the two sexes, can be attributed to neither, and conse quently are unfit to propagate the species. Accordingly, the neutralisation of two individualities by each other, of which we are speaking, demands that the definite degree of his manhood shall exactly correspond to the definite decree of her womanhood; so that the one-sidedness of each exactly annuls that of the other. Accordingly, the most manly man will seek the most womanly woman, and vice versd, and in the same way every individual will seek another corresponding to him or her in degree of sex.


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 357

Now how far the required relation exists between two individuals is instinctively felt by them, and, together with the other relative considerations, lies at the founda tion of the higher degrees of love. While, therefore, the lovers speak pathetically of the harmony of their souls, the heart of the matter is for the most part the agree ment or suitableness pointed out here with reference to the being which is to be produced and its perfection, and which is also clearly of much more importance than the harmony of their souls, which often, not long after the marriage, resolves itself into a howling discord. Now, here come in the further relative considerations, which depend upon the fact that every one endeavours to neutralise by means of the other his weaknesses, defects, and deviations from the type, so that they will not perpetuate themselves, or even develop into complete abnormities in the child which is to be produced. The weaker a man is as re gards muscular power the more will he seek for strong women ; and the woman on her side will do the same. But since now a less degree of muscular power is natural and regular in the woman, women as a rule will give the preference to strong men. Further, the size is an important consideration. Little men have a decided in clination for big women, and vice versa; and indeed in a little man the preference for big women will be so much the more passionate if he himself was begotten by a big father, and only remains little through the influence of his mother ; because he has inherited from his father the vascular system and its energy, which was able to supply a large body with blood. If, on the other hand, his father and grandfather were both little, that inclination will make itself less felt. At the foundation of the aversion of a big woman to big men lies the intention of nature to avoid too big a race, if with the strength which this woman could impart to them they would be too weak to live long. If, however, such a woman selects a big hus band, perhaps for the sake of being more presentable in


358 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV,

society, then, as a rule, her offspring will have to atone for her folly. Further, the consideration as to the com plexion is very decided. Blondes prefer dark persons, or brunettes ; but the latter seldom prefer the former. The reason is, that fair hair and blue eyes are in themselves a variation from the type, almost an abnormity, analogous to white mice, or at least to grey horses. In no part of the world, not even in the vicinity of the pole, are they indigenous, except in Europe, and are clearly of Scandi navian origin. I may here express rny opinion in passing that the white colour of the skin is not natural to man, but that by nature he has a black or brown skin, like our forefathers the Hindus; that consequently a white man has never originally sprung from the womb of nature, and that thus there is no such thing as a white race, much as this is talked of, but every white man is a faded or bleached one. Forced into the strange world, where he only exists like an exotic plant, and like this requires in winter the hothouse, in the course of thousands of years man became white. The gipsies, an Indian race which immigrated only about four centuries ago, show the tran sition from the complexion of the Hindu to our own. 1 Therefore in sexual love nature strives to return to dark hair and brown eyes as the primitive type ; but the white colour of the skin has become a second nature, though not so that the brown of the Hindu repels us. Finally, each one also seeks in the particular parts of the body the corrective of his own defects and aberrations, and does so the more decidedly the more important the part is. Therefore snub-nosed individuals have an inexpres sible liking for hook-noses, parrot-faces ; and it is the same with regard to all other parts. Men with excessively slim, long bodies and limbs can find beauty in a body which is even beyond measure stumpy and short. The considerations with regard to temperament act in an

1 The fuller discussion of this sub- vol ii. 92 of the first edition (second ject will be found in the "Parerga," edition, pp. 167-170).


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 359

analogous manner. Each will prefer the temperament opposed to his own ; yet only in proportion as his one is decided. Whoever is himself in some respect very per fect does not indeed seek and love imperfection in this respect, but is yet more easily reconciled to it than others : because he himself insures the children against great imperfection of this part. For example, whoever is him self very white will not object to a yellow complexion; but whoever has the latter will find dazzling whiteness divinely beautiful. The rare case in which a man falls in love with a decidedly ugly woman occurs when, besides the exact harmony of the degree of sex explained above, the whole of her abnormities are precisely the opposite, and thus the corrective, of his. The love is then wont to reach a high degree.

The profound seriousness with which we consider and ponder each bodily part of the woman, and she 011 her part does the same, the critical scrupulosity with which we inspect a woman who begins to please us, the capri- ciousness of our choice, the keen attention with which the bridegroom observes his betrothed, his carefulness not to be deceived in any part, and the great value which he attaches to every excess or defect in the essential parts, all this is quite in keeping with the importance of the end. For the new being to be produced will have to bear through its whole life a similar part. For example, if the woman is only a little crooked, this may easily impart to her son a hump, and so in all the rest. Consciousness of all this certainly does not exist. On the contrary, every one imagines that he makes that careful selection in the interest of his own pleasure (which at bottom can not be interested in it at all) ; but he makes it precisely as, under the presupposition of his own corporisation, is most in keeping with the interest of the species, to main tain the type of which as pure as possible is the secret task. The individual acts here, without knowing it, by order of something higher than itself, the species ; hence


360 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

the importance which it attaches to things which may and indeed must be, indifferent to itself as such. There is something quite peculiar in the profound unconscious seriousness with which two young persons of opposite sex who see each other for the first time regard each other, in the searching and penetrating glance they cast at one another, in the careful review which all the fea tures and parts of their respective persons have to endure. This investigating and examining is the meditation of the genius of the species on the individual which is possible through these two and the combination of its qualities. According to the result of this meditation is the degree of their pleasure in each other and their yearning for each other. This yearning, even after it has attained a considerable degree, may be suddenly extinguished again by the discovery of something that had previously re mained unobserved. In this way, then, the genius of the species meditates concerning the coming race in all who are capable of reproduction. The nature of this race is the great work with which Cupid is occupied, unceasingly active, speculating, and pondering. In comparison with the importance of his great affair, which concerns the species and all coming races, the affairs of individuals in their whole ephemeral totality are very trifling ; therefore he is always ready to sacrifice these regardlessly. For he is related to them as an immortal to mortals, and his interests to theirs as infinite to finite. Thus, in the con sciousness of managing affairs of a higher kind than all those which only concern individual weal or woe, he carries them on sublimely, undisturbed in the midst of the tumult of war, or in the bustle of business life, or during the raging of a plague, and pursues them even into the seclusion of the cloister.

We have seen in the above that the intensity of love increases with its individualisation, because we have shown that the physical qualities of two individuals can be such that, for the purpose of restoring as far as possible


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 361

the type of the species, the one is quite specially and perfectly the completion or supplement of the other, which therefore desires it exclusively. Already in this case a considerable passion arises, which at once gains a nobler and more sublime appearance from the fact that it is directed to an individual object, and to it alone ; thus, as it were, arises at the special order of the species. For the opposite reason, the mere sexual impulse is ignoble, be cause without individualisation it is directed to all, and strives to maintain the species only as regards quantity, with little respect to quality. But the individualising, and with it the intensity of the love, can reach so high a degree that without its satisfaction all the good things in the world, and even life itself, lose their value. It is then a wish which attains a vehemence that no other wish ever reaches, and therefore makes one ready for any sacrifice, and in case its fulfilment remains unalterably denied, may lead to madness or suicide. At the foundation of such an excessive passion there must lie, besides the considerations we have shown above, still others which we have not thus before our eyes. We must therefore assume that here not only the corporisation, but the will of the man and the intellect of the woman are specially suitable to each other, in consequence of which a perfectly definite individual can be produced by them alone, whose existence the genius of the species has here in view, for reasons which are inac cessible to us, since they lie in the nature of the thing in itself. Or, to speak more exactly, the will to live desires here to objectify itself in a perfectly definite individual, which can only be produced by this father with this mother. This metaphysical desire of the will in itself has primarily no other sphere of action in the series of existences than the hearts of the future parents, which accordingly are seized with this ardent longing, and now imagine themselves to desire on their own account what really for the present has only a purely metaphysical end, i.e., an end which lies outside the series of actually existing


362 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

things. Thus it is the ardent longing to eiiter existence of the future individual which has first "become possible here, a longing which proceeds from the primary source of all being, and exhibits itself in the phenomenal world as the lofty passion of the future parents for each other, pay- in^ little regard to all that is outside itself ; in fact, as an

O O

unparalleled illusion, on account of which such a lover would give up all the good things of this world to enjoy the possession of this woman, who yet can really give him nothing more than any other. That yet it is just this possession that is kept in view here is seen from the fact that even this lofty passion, like all others, is extinguished in its enjoyment to the great astonishment of those who are possessed by it. It also becomes extinct when, through the woman turning out barren (which, according to Hufe- land, may arise from nineteen accidental constitutional defects), the real metaphysical end is frustrated ; just as daily happens in millions of germs trampled under foot, in which yet the same metaphysical life principle strives for existence ; for which there is no other consolation than that an infinity of space, time, and matter, and con sequently inexhaustible opportunity for return, stands open to the will to live.

The view which is here expounded must once have been present to the mind of Theophrastus Paracelsus, even if only in a fleeting form, though he has not handled this subject, and my whole system of thought was foreign to him ; for, in quite a different context and in his desultory manner, he wrote the following remarkable words : " Hi sunt, quos Deus copulavit, ut earn, quce fuit Urice et David ; quamvis ex diamttro (sic enim sibi humana tnens persuadebat) cum justo et legitimo matrimonio pugnaret hoc. . . . sed propter Safamoncm, QUI ALIUNDE NASGI NON POTUIT, nisi ex Bathseba, conjuncto David semine, qiiamvis meretrice, con- junxit eos Deus " (De vita longa, i. 5).

The longing of love, the i/j,epo<t, which the poets of all a^es are unceasingly occupied with expressing in innumer-


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 363

able forms, and do not exhaust the subject, nay, cannot do it justice, this longing, which attaches the idea of endless happiness to the possession of a particular woman, and un utterable pain to the thought that this possession cannot be attained, this longing and this pain cannot obtain their material from the wants of an ephemeral individual ; but they are the sighs of the spirit of the species, which sees here, to be won or lost, a means for the attainment of its ends which cannot be replaced, and therefore groans deeply. The species alone has infinite life, and therefore is capable of infinite desires, infinite satisfaction, and infinite pain. But these are here imprisoned in the narrow breast of a mortal. No wonder, then, if such a breast seems like to burst, and can find no expression for the intimations of in finite rapture or infinite misery with which it is filled. This, then, affords the materials for all erotic poetry of a sublime kind, which accordingly rises into transcendent metaphors, soaring above all that is earthly. This is the theme of Petrarch, the material for the St. Preuxs, Werthers, and Jacopo Ortis, who apart from it could not be understood nor explained. For that infinite esteem for the loved one cannot rest upon some spiritual excellences, or in general upon any objective, real qualities of hers ; for one thing, because she is often not sufficiently well known to the lover, as was the case with Petrarch. The spirit of the species alone can see at one glance what worth she has for it, for its ends. And great passions also arise, as a rule, at the first glance :

" Who ever loved that loved not at first sight 1 "

SHAKSPEARE, "As You Like it," iii. 5.

In this regard a passage in the romance of " Guzman de Alfarache" by Mateo Aleman, which has been famous for 250 years, is remarkable: "No es necessario, para que uno ame, quepase distancia de tiempo, que siga discurso, ni haga election, sino que, con aquella primera y sola vista, concurran jitntamente cierta correspondencia 6 consonancia, 6 lo que acd


364 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

solemos vulgarmente decir, una confrontation de sangre, u que por particular influxo suelen mover las estrellas" (For one to love it is not necessary that much time should pass, that he should set about reflecting and make a choice; but only that at that first and only glance a certain cor respondence and consonance should be encountered on both sides, or that which in common life we are wont to call a sympathy of the blood, and to which a special influ ence of the stars generally impels), P. ii. lib. iii. c. 5. Accordingly the loss of the loved one, through a rival, or through death, is also for the passionate lover a pain that surpasses all others, just because it is of a transcendental kind, since it affects him not merely as an individual, but attacks him in his essentia cetema, in the life of the species into whose special will and service he was here called. Hence jealousy is such torment and so grim, and the sur render of the loved one is the greatest of all sacrifices. A hero is ashamed of all lamentations except the lamenta tion of love, because in this it is not he but the species that laments. In Calderon s " Zenobia the Great " there is in the first act a scene between Zenobia and Decius in which the latter says :

" Cielos, luego tu me quieres ? Perdiera cien mil victorias, Volvidrame," &c.

(Heaven ! then thou lovest me ? For this I would lose a thousand victories, would turn about, &c.)

Here, honour, which hitherto outweighed every interest, is beaten out of the field as soon as sexual love, i.e., the interest of the species, comes into play, and sees before it a decided advantage; for this is infinitely superior to every interest of mere individuals, however important it may be. Therefore to this alone honour, duty, and fidelity yield after they have withstood every other temptation, including the threat of death. In the same way we find in private life that conscientiousness is in no point so rare as in this: it is here sometimes set aside even by


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 365

persons who are otherwise honest and just, and adultery is recklessly committed when, passionate love, i.e., the in terest of the species, has mastered them. It even seems as if in this they believed themselves to be conscious of a higher right than the interests of individuals can ever confer ; just because they act in the interest of the species. In this reference Chamfort s remark is worth noticing : " Quand un homme et une femme out Vun pour I autre une passion violente, il me semble toujours que quelque soient les obstacles qui les se parent, mi mari, des parens, etc., les deux amans sont Vun a I autre, de par la Nature, qu ils s appar- tiennent de droit divin, malgrt les lois et les conventions humaines." Whoever is inclined to be incensed at this should be referred to the remarkable indulgence which the Saviour shows in the Gospel to the woman taken in adultery, in that He also assumes the same guilt in the case of all present. From this point of view the greater part of the " Decameron " appears as mere mocking and jeering of the genius of the species at the rights and interests of individuals which it tramples under foot. Differences of rank and all similar circumstances, when they oppose the union of passionate lovers, are set aside with the same ease and treated as nothing by the genius of the species, which, pursuing its ends that concern in numerable generations, blows off as spray such human laws and scruples. From the same deep-lying grounds, when the ends of passionate love are concerned, every danger is willingly encountered, and those who are otherwise timorous here become courageous. In plays and novels also we see, with ready sympathy, the young persons who are fighting the battle of their love, i.e., the interest of the species, gain the victory over their elders, who are thinking only of the welfare of the individuals. For the efforts of the lovers appear to us as much more important, sublime, and therefore right, than anything that can be opposed to them, as the species is more important than the indivi dual. Accordingly the fundamental theme of almost all


366 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

comedies is the appearance of the genius of the speciea with its aims, which are opposed to the personal interest of the individuals presented, and therefore threaten to undermine their happiness. As a rule it attains its end, which, as in accordance with poetical justice, satisfies the spectator, because he feels that the aims of the species are much to be preferred to those of the individual. There fore at the conclusion he leaves the victorious lovers quite confidently, because he shares with them the illusion that they have founded their own happiness, while they have rather sacrificed it to the choice of the species, against the will and foresight of their elders. It has been attempted in single, abnormal comedies to reverse the matter and bring about the happiness of the individuals at the cost of the aims of the species; but then the spectator feels the pain which the genius of the species suffers, and is not consoled by the advantages which are thereby assured to the individuals. As examples of this kind two very well-known little pieces occur to me: "La reine de i6ans," and " Le marriage de raison." In tragedies containing love affairs, since the aims of the species are frustrated, the lovers who were its tools, generally perish also; for example, in "Borneo and Juliet," "Tancred," "Don Carlos," " Wallenstein," "The Bride of Messina," and many others.

The love of a man often affords comical, and sometimes also tragical phenomena; both because, taken possession of by the spirit of the species, he is now ruled by this, and no longer belongs to himself : his conduct thereby becomes unsuited to the individual. That which in the higher grades of love imparts such a tinge of poetry and sublimeness to his thoughts, which gives them even a transcendental and hyperphysical tendency, on account of which he seems to lose sight altogether of his real, very physical aim, is at bottom this, that he is now inspired by the spirit of the species whose affairs are infinitely more important than all those which concern mere individuals, in order to found


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 367

under the special directions of this spirit the whole exist- ence of an indefinitely long posterity with this individual and exactly determined nature, which it can receive only from him as father and the woman he loves as mother and which otherwise could never, as such, attain to exist ence, while the objectification of the will to live expressly demands this existence. It is the feeling that he is acting in affairs of such transcendent importance which raises the lover so high above everything earthly, nay, even above himself, and gives such a hyperphysical clothino- to his very physical desires, that love becomes a poetical episode even in the life of the most prosaic man ; in which last case the matter sometimes assumes a comical aspect. That mandate of the will which objectifies itself in the species exhibits itself in the consciousness of the lover under the mask of the anticipation of an infinite blessed ness which is to be found for him in the union with this female individual. Now, in the highest grades of love this chimera becomes so radiant that if it cannot be attained life itself loses all charm, and now appears so joyless, hollow, and insupportable that the disgust at it even overcomes the fear of death, so that it is then some times voluntarily cut short. The will of such a man has been caught in the vortex of the will of the species, or this has obtained such a great predominance over the indivi dual will that if such a man cannot be effective in the first capacity, he disdains to be so in the last. The indi- vidual is here too weak a vessel to be capable of endurin the infinite longing of the will of the species concentrated upon a definite object. In this case, therefore, the issue is suicide, sometimes the double suicide of the two lovers- unless, to save life, nature allows madness to intervene which then covers with its veil the consciousness of that hopeless state. No year passes without proving the reality of what has been expounded by several cases of all these kinds.

Not only, however, has the unsatisfied passion of love


3 68 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

sometimes a tragic issue, but the satisfied passion also leads oftener to unhappiness than to happiness. For its demands often conflict so much with the personal welfare of him who is concerned that they undermine it, because they are incompatible with his other circumstances, and disturb the plan of life built upon them. Nay, not only with external circumstances is love often in contradiction, but even with the lover s own individuality, for it flings itself upon persons who, apart from the sexual relation, would be hateful, contemptible, and even abhorrent to the lover. But so much more powerful is the will of the species than that of the individual that the lover shuts his eyes to all those qualities which are repellent to him, overlooks all, ignores all, and binds himself for ever to the object of his passion so entirely is he blinded by that illusion, which vanishes as soon as the will of the species is satisfied, and leaves behind a detested companion for life. Only from this can it be explained that we often see very reasonable and excellent men bound to termagants and she-devils, and cannot conceive how they could have made such a choice. On this account the ancients repre sented love as blind. Indeed, a lover may even know distinctly and feel bitterly the faults of temperament and character of his bride, which promise him a miserable life, and yet not be frightened away :

" I ask not, I care not,

If guilt s in thy heart, I know that I love thee Whatever thou art."

For ultimately he seeks not his own things, but those of a third person, who has yet to come into being, although he is involved in the illusion that what he seeks is his own affair. But it is just this not seeking of one s own things which is everywhere the stamp of greatness, that gives to passionate love also a touch of sublimity, and makes it a worthy subject of poetry. Finally, sexual love is com patible even with the extremest hatred towards its object :


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 369

therefore Plato has compared it to the love of the wolf for the sheep. This case appears when a passionate lover, in spite of all efforts and entreaties, cannot obtain a favour able hearing on any condition:

" I love and hate her."

SHAKSPEARE, Oymb., Hi. 5.

The hatred of the loved one which then is kindled some times goes so far that the lover murders her, and then him self. One or two examples of this generally happen every year; they will be found in the newspapers. Therefore Goethe s lines are quite correct :

" By all despised love ! By hellish element ! Would that I knew a worse, that I might swear by ! "

It is really no hyperbole if a lover describes the coldness of his beloved and the delight of her vanity, which feeds on his sufferings, as cruelty ; for he is under the influence of an impulse which, akin to the instinct of insects, compels him, in spite of all grounds of reason, to pursue his end unconditionally, and to undervalue everything else : he cannot give it up. Not one but many a Petrarch has there been who was compelled to drag through life the unsatis fied ardour of love, like a fetter, an iron weight at his foot, and breathe his sighs in lonely woods ; but only in the one Petrarch dwelt also the gift of poetry ; so that Goethe s beautiful lines hold good of him :

" And when in misery the man was dumb A god gave me the power to tell my sorrow."

In fact, the genius of the species wages war throughout with the guardian geniuses of individuals, is their pursuer and enemy, always ready relentlessly to destroy personal happiness in order to carry out its ends ; nay, the welfare of whole nations has sometimes been sacrificed to its humours. An example of this is given us by Shakspeare in " Henry VI.," pt. iii., act 3, sc. 2 and 3. All this depends upon

VOL. III. 2 A


370 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLJV.

the fact that the species, as that in which the root of our being lies, has a closer and earlier right to us than the individual ; hence its affairs take precedence. From the feeling of this the ancients personified the genius of the species in Cupid, a malevolent, cruel, and therefore ill- reputed god, in spite of his childish appearance ; a capri cious, despotic demon, but yet lord of gods and men :


" 2u 5 w Gewv rvpavve (Tu, deorum hominumque tyranne, Amor I)

A deadly shot, blindness, and wings are his attributes. The latter signify inconstancy ; and this appears, as a rule, only with the disillusion which is the consequence of satis faction.

Because the passion depended upon an illusion, which represented that which has only value for the species as valuable for the individual, the deception must vanish after the attainment of the end of the species. The spirit of the species which took possession of the individual sets it free again. Forsaken by this spirit, the individual falls back into its original limitation and narrowness, and sees with wonder that after such a high, heroic, and infinite effort nothing has resulted for its pleasure but what every sexual gratification affords. Contrary to expecta tion, it finds itself no happier than before. It observes that it has been the dupe of the will of the species. Therefore, as a rule, a Theseus who has been made happy will forsake his Ariadne. If Petrarch s passion had been satisfied, his song would have been silenced from that time forth, like that of the bird as soon as the eggs are laid.

Here let me remark in passing that however much my metaphysics of love will displease the very persons who are entangled in this passion, yet if rational considerations in general could avail anything against it, the fundamental truth disclosed by me would necessarily fit one more than anything else to subdue it. But the saying of the old comedian will, no doubt, remain true : " Quce res in se


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 371

negue consilium, ncque modum halet ullum, earn consilio rcgere nori potes."

Marriages from love are made in the interest of the species, not of the individuals. Certainly the persons con cerned imagine they are advancing their own happiness ; but their real end is one which is foreign to themselves, for it lies in the production of an individual which is only possible through them. Brought together by this aim, they ought henceforth to try to get on together as well as possible. But very often the pair brought together by that instinctive illusion, which is the essence of pas sionate love, will, in other respects, be of very different natures. This comes to light when the illusion vanishes, as it necessarily must. Accordingly love marriages, as a rule, turn out unhappy; for through them the coming generation is cared for at the expense of the present. " Quien se casa por amores, ha de vivir con do! ores " (Who marries from love must live in sorrow), says the Spanish proverb. The opposite is the case with marriages con tracted for purposes of convenience, generally in accordance with the choice of the parents. The considerations prevail ing here, of whatever kind they may be, are at least real, and cannot vanish of themselves. Through them, however, the happiness of the present generation is certainly cared for, to the disadvantage of the coining generation, and not withstanding this it remains problematical. The man who in his marriage looks to money more than to the satisfac tion of his inclination lives more in the individual than in the species; which is directly opposed to the truth; hence it appears unnatural, and excites a certain con tempt. A girl who, against the advice of her parents, rejects the offer of a rich and not yet old man, in order, setting aside all considerations of convenience, to choose according to her instinctive inclination alone, sacrifices her individual welfare to the species. But just on this account one cannot withhold from her a certain approba tion; for she has preferred what is of most importance,


372 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIV.

and has acted in the spirit of nature (more exactly, of the species), while the parents advised in the spirit of indivi dual egoism. In accordance with all this, it appears as if in making a marriage either the individual or the interests of the species must come off a loser. And this is generally the case ; for that convenience and passionate love should go hand in hand is the rarest of lucky accidents. The physical, moral, or intellectual deficiency of the nature of most men may to some extent have its ground in the fact that mar riages are ordinarily entered into not from pure choice and inclination, but from all kinds of external considerations, and on account of accidental circumstances. If, however, besides convenience, inclination is also to a certain extent regarded, this is, as it were, an agreement with the genius of the species. Happy marriages are well known to be rare ; just because it lies in the nature of marriage that its chief end is not the present but the coming generation. However, let me add, for the consolation of tender, loving natures, that sometimes passionate sexual love associates itself with a feeling of an entirely different origin real friendship based upon agreement of disposition, which yet for the most part only appears when sexual love proper is extinguished in its satisfaction. This friendship will then generally spring from the fact that the supplementing and corresponding physical, moral, and intellectual qualities of the two individuals, from which sexual love arose, with reference to the child to be produced, are, with reference also to the individuals themselves, related to each other in a supplementary manner as opposite qualities of tempera ment and mental gifts, and thereby form the basis of a harmony of disposition.

The whole metaphysics of love here dealt with stands in close connection with my metaphysics in general, and the light which it throws upon this may be summed up as follows.

We have seen that the careful selection for the satisfac tion of the sexual impulse, a selection which rises through


METAPHYSICS Of THE LOvE OF THE SEXES. 373

innumerable degrees up to that of passionate love, de pends upon the highly serious interest which man takes in the special personal constitution of the next generation. Now this exceedingly remarkable interest confirms two truths which have been set forth in the preceding chap ters, (i.) The indestructibility of the true nature of man, which lives on in that coming generation. For that interest which is so lively and eager, and does not spring from reflection and intention, but from the in most characteristics and tendencies of our nature, could not be so indelibly present and exercise such great power over man if he were absolutely perishable, and were merely followed in time by a race actually and entirely different from him. (2.) That his true nature lies more in the species than in the individual. For that interest in the special nature of the species, which is the root of all love, from the passing inclination to the serious passion, is for every one really the highest concern, the success or failure of which touches him most sensibly ; therefore it is called par excellence the affair of the heart. Moreover, when this interest has expressed itself strongly and decidedly, everything which merely concerns one s own person is postponed and necessarily sacrificed to it. Through this, then, man shows that the species lies closer to him than the individual, and he lives more immediately in the former than in the latter. Why does the lover hang with complete abandonment on the eyes of his chosen one, and is ready to make every sacrifice for her ? Because it is his immortal part that longs after her; while it is only his mortal part that desires everything else. That vehement or intense longing directed to a particular woman is accordingly an immediate pledge of the inde structibility of the kernel of our being, and of its continued existence in the species. But to regard this continued existence as something trifling and insufficient is an error which arises from the fact that under the conception of the continued life of the species one thinks nothing more


374 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL1V.

than the future existence of beings similar to us, but in no regard identical with us; and this again because, starting from knowledge directed towards without, one takes into consideration only the external form of the species as we apprehend it in perception, and not its inner nature. But it is just this inner nature which lies at the foundation of our own consciousness as its kernel, and hence indeed is more immediate than this itself, and, as thing in itself, free from the principium individuationis, is really the same and identical in all individuals, whether they exist together or after each other. Now this is the will to live, thus just that which desires life and con tinuance so vehemently. This accordingly is spared and unaffected by death. It can attain to no better state than its present one ; and consequently for it, with life, the constant suffering and striving of the individuals is certain. To free it from this is reserved for the denial of the will to live, as the means by which the individual will breaks away from the stem of the species, and sur renders that existence in it. We lack conceptions for that which it now is ; indeed all data for such conceptions are wanting. We can only describe it as that which is free to be will to live or not. Buddhism denotes the latter case by the word Nirvana, the etymology of which was given in the note at the end of chapter 41. It is the point which remains for ever unattainable to all human knowledge, just as such.

If now, from the standpoint of this last consideration, we contemplate the turmoil of life, we behold all occupied with its want and misery, straining all their powers to satisfy its infinite needs and to ward off its multifarious sorrows, yet without daring to hope anything else than simply the preservation of this tormented existence for a short span of time. In between, however, in the midst of the tumult, we see the glances of two lovers meet long ingly: yet why so secretly, fearfully, and stealthily? Because these lovers are the traitors who seek to per-


METAPHYSICS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEXES. 375

petuate the whole want and drudgery, which would other wise speedily reach an end ; this they wish to frustrate, as others like them have frustrated it before. This con sideration already passes over into the subject of the following chapter. 1

[ J The appendix to this chapter hauer s general principles, the wide

was added only in the third edition prevalence of the practice of pede-

of the German, and is meant to ex- rasty, among different nations and in

plain, in consistency with Schopen- different ages. It is omitted. Trs.]


( 376 )


CHAPTER XLV. 1

ON THE ASSEKTION OF THE WILL TO LIVE.

IF the will to live exhibited itself merely as an impulse to self-preservation, this would only be an assertion of the individual phenomenon for the span of time of its natural duration. The cares and troubles of such a life would not be great, and consequently existence would be easy and serene. Since, on the contrary, the wilL_gdlls life abso- lutelyi and for jdl_time, it exhibits itself also as sexual impulse, which has in view an endless series of genera tions. This impulse does away with that carelessness, serenity, and innocence which would accompany a merely individual existence, for it brings unrest and melancholy into the consciousness ; misfortunes, cares, and misery into the course of life. If, on the other hand, it is volun tarily suppressed, as we see in rare exceptions, then this is the turning of the will, which changes its course. The will does not then transcend the individual, but is abol ished in it) [Yet this can only take place by means of the individual doing painful violence to itself/ If, how ever, it does take place, then the freedom from care and the serenity of the purely individual existence is restored to the consciousness, and indeed in a higher degree. On the other hand, to the satisfaction of that most vehement of all impulses and desires is linked the origin of a new existence, thus the carrying out of life anew, with all its burdens, cares, wants, and pains ; certainly in another

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individual ; yet if the two who are different in the phe-

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THE ASSERTION OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 377

nomenon were so absolutely and in themselves, where would then be eternal justice J| Life presents itself as a problem, a task to be worked out, and therefore, as a rule, as a constant conflict with necessity. Accordingly every one tries to get through with it and come off as well as he can. He performs life as a compulsory service which he owes. But who has contracted the debt ? His beget ter, in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure. Thus, because the one has enjoyed this, the other must live, suffer, and die. However, we know and look back here to the fact that the difference of the similar is conditioned by space and time, which in this sense I have called the principium individuationis. Otherwise eternal justice could not be vindicated. Paternal love, on account of which the father is ready to do, to suffer, and to risk more for his child than for himself, and at the same time knows that he owes this, depends simply upon the fact that the begetter recognises himself in the begotten.4

The life of a man, with its endless care, want, and suffer ing, is to be regarded as the explanation and paraphrase of the act of procreation, i.e., the decided assertion of the will to live ; and further, it is also due to this that he owes to nature the debt of death, and thinks with anxiety of this debt. Is this not evidence of the fact that our existence involves guilt ? At any rate, we always exist, subject to the periodical payment of the toll, birth and death, and succes sively partake of all the sorrows and joys of life, so that none can escape us : this is just the fruit of the assertion of the will to live. Thus the fear of death, which in spite of all the miseries of life holds us firmly to it, is really illusory; but just as illusory is the impulse which has enticed us into it. This enticement itself may be seen objectively in the reciprocal longing glances of two lovers; they are the purest expression of the will to live, in its assertion. How soft and tender it is here ! It wills well- being, and quiet pleasure, and mild joys for itself, for others, for all. It is the theme of Anacreou. Thus by


378 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLV.

allurements and flattery it makes its way into life. But when once it is there, misery introduces crime, and crime misery ; horror and desolation fill the scene. It is the theme of ^Eschylus.

But now the act through which the will asserts itself and man arises is one of which all are, in their inmost being, ashamed, which they therefore carefully conceal ; nay, if they are caught in it, are terrified as if they had been taken in a crime. It is an action of which in cold reflection one generally thinks with dislike, and in a lofty mood with loathing. Eeflections which in this regard approach the matter more closely are offered by Montaigne in the fifth chapter of the third book, under the marginal heading : " Ce que c est que I amour" A peculiar sadness and repentance follows close upon it, is yet most perceptible after the first performance of the act, and in general is the more distinct the nobler is the character. Hence even Pliny, the pagan, says : Jfomini tantum 2Jrimi coitus pcenitentia, augurium scilicet vitce, a posnitenda origine " (Hist. Nat., x. 83). And, on the other hand, in Goethe s " Faust," what do devil and witches practise and sing of on their Sabbath ? Lewdness and obscenity. And in the same work (in the admirable " Paralipomena " to " Faust ") what does incarnate Satan preach before the as sembled multitude ? Lewdness and obscenity. But simply and solely by means of the continual practice of such an act as this does the human race subsist. If now optimism were right, if our existence were to be thankfully recog nised as the gift of the highest goodness guided by wisdom, and accordingly in itself praiseworthy, com mendable, and agreeable, then certainly the act which perpetuates it would necessarily have borne quite another physiognomy. If, on the other hand, this existence is a kind of false step or error ; if it is the work of an origin ally blind will, whose most fortunate development is that it conies to itself . in order to abolish itself ; then the act


THE ASSERTION OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 379

which perpetuates that existence must appear precisely as it does appear.

With reference to the first fundamental truth of my doctrine, the remark deserves a place here that the shame mentioned above which attaches to the act of generation extends even to the parts which are concerned in this, although, like all other parts, they are given us by nature. This is again a striking proof that not only the actions but even the body of man is to be regarded as the mani festation, the objectification, of his will, and as its work. For he could not be ashamed of a thing which existed without his will. "

The act of generation is further related to the world, as the answer is related to the riddle. The world is wide in space and old in time, and of an inexhaustible multiplicity of forms. Yet all this is only the manifestation of the will to live ; and the concentration, the focus of this will is the act of generation. Thus in this act the inner nature of the world expresses itself most distinctly. In this regard it is indeed worth noticing that this act itself is also distinctly called "the will" in the very significant German phrase, " Er verlangte von ihr, sie sollte ihm zu Willen sein" (He desired her to comply with his wishes). As the most distinct expression of the will, then, this act is the kernel, the compendium, the quintessence of the world. Therefore from it we obtain light as to the nature and tendency of the world: it is the answer to the riddle. Accordingly it is understood under " the tree of knowledge," for after acquaintance with it the eyes of every one are opened as to life, as Byron also says :

" The tree of knowledge has been plucked, all s known."

Don Juan, i. 128.

It is not less in keeping with this quality that it is the great appyrov, the open secret, which must never and nowhere be distinctly mentioned, but always and every where is understood as the principal matter, and is there-


3o FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLV.

fore constantly present to the thoughts of all, wherefore also the slightest allusion to it is instantly understood. The leading part which that act, and what is connected \vith it, plays in the world, because love intrigues are everywhere, on the one hand, pursued, and, on the other hand, assumed, is quite in keeping with the importance of this punctum saliens of the egg of the world. The source of the amusing is simply the constant concealment of the chief concern.

But see now how the young, innocent, human intellect, when that great secret of the world first becomes known to it, is startled at the enormity ! The reason of this is that in the long course which the originally unconscious will had to traverse before it rose to intellect, especially to human, rational intellect, it became so strange to itself that it no longer knows its origin, that pcenitenda origo, and now, from the standpoint of pure, and therefore innocent, knowing, is horrified at it.

Since now the focus of the will, i.e., its concentration and highest expression, is the sexual impulse and its satis faction, this is very significantly and naively expressed in the symbolical language of nature through the fact that the individualised will, that is, the man and the brute, makes its entrance into the world through the door of the sexual organs.

The assertion of the will to live, which accordingly has its centre in the act of generation, is in the case of the brute infallible. For the will, which is the natura naturans, first arrives at reflection in man. To arrive at reflection means, not merely to know the momentary necessity of the individual will, how to serve it in the pressing present as is the case with the brute, in pro portion to its completeness and its necessities, which go hand in hand but to have attained a greater breadth of knowledge, by virtue of a distinct remembrance of the past, an approximate anticipation of the future, and thereby a general survey of the individual life, both one s


THE ASSERTION OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 381

own life and that of others, nay, of existence in general. Eeally the life of every species of brute, through the thousands of years of its existence, is to a certain extent like a single moment ; for it is mere consciousness of the present, without that of the past and the future, and con sequently without that of death. In this sense it is tq_ be regarded as a permanent moment, a Nunc stans. jlfere we see, in passing, most distinctly that in general the form of life, or the manifestation of the will with con sciousness, is primarily and immediately merely the pre sent. Past and future are added only in the case of man, and indeed merely in conception, are known in abstracto, and perhaps illustrated by pictures of the imagination. Thus after the will to live, i.e., the inner being of nature, in the ceaseless striving towards complete objectifi cation and complete enjoyment, has run through the whole series of the brutes, which often occurs in the various periods of successive animal series each arising anew on the same planet, it arrives at last at reflection in the being who is endowed with reason, man. Here now to him the thing begins to be doubtful, the question forces itself upon him whence and wherefore all this is, and chiefly whether the care and misery of his life and effort is really repaid by the gain ? " Le jeu vaut-U Uen la chandelle?" Accordingly here is the point at which, in the light of distinct knowledge, he decides for the assertion or denial of the will to live ; although as a rule he can only bring the latter to consciousness in a mythical form. We have consequently no ground for assuming that a still more highly developed objectification of the will is ever reached, anywhere; for it has already reached its turning-point here.


( 382 )


CHAPTER XLVI. 1

ON THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE.

AWAKENED to life out of the night of unconsciousness, the will finds itself an individual, in an endless and boundless world, among innumerable individuals, all striving, suffer ing, erring ; and as if through a troubled dream it hurries back to its old unconsciousness. Yet till then its desires are limitless, its claims inexhaustible, and every satisfied desire gives rise to a new one. No possible satisfaction in the world could suffice to still its longings, set a goal to its infinite cravings, and fill the bottomless abyss of its heart. Then let one consider what as a rule are the satisfactions of any kind that a man obtains. /^Jor the most part nothing more than the bare maintenance of this existence itself, extorted day by day with unceasing trouble and constant care in the conflict with want, and with death in prospect/ Everything in life shows that earthly happiness is destined to be frustrated or recognised as an illusion. The grounds of this lie deep in the nature of things. Accordingly the life of most men is troubled and short. Those who are comparatively happy are so, for the most part, only apparently, or else, like men of long life, they are the rare exceptions, a possibility of which there had to be, as decoy-birds. Life presents itself as a continual deception in small things as in great. Tf it has promised, it does not keep its word, unless to

- This chapter is connected with volume of the " Parerga and Para- 56-59 of the first volume. Also lipomena " should be compared with chapters II and 12 of the second it.


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 381

show how little worth desiring were the things desired : thus we are deluded now byjhope, now by what was hoped foTT If it has given, it did so in order to take. The enchantment of distance shows us paradises which vanish like optical illusions when we have allowed ourselves to be mocked by them. Happiness accordingly always lies in the future, or else in the past, and the present may be compared to a small dark cloud which the wind drives over the sunny plain: before and behind^ it all is bright, only it itself always casts a shadow. ^The present is therefore always insufficient; but the future is uncertain, and the past irre vocable. Life with its hourly, daily, weekly, yearly, little, greater, and great misfortunes, with its deluded hopea and its accidents destroying all our calculations, bears so distinctly the impression of something with which we must become disgusted, that it is hard "to conceive how one has been able to mistake this and allow oneself to be persuaded that life is there in order to be thankfully enjoyed, and that man exists in order to be happy. Rather that continual illusion and disillusion, and also the nature of life throughout, presents itself to us as intended and calculated to awaken the conviction that nothing at all is worth our striving, our efforts and struggles, that^all jgood things are vanity, the world in all its ^oST^^^S^^^^^^^Iflieas which does not cover its expenses j^so that our will may turn away from IE/ _


,*j.


The way in which this vanity of all objects of the will makes itself known and comprehensible to the intellect which is rooted in the individual, is primarily time. It is the form by means of which that vanity of things appears as their perishableness; for on account of this all our pleasures and joys disappear in our hands, and we afterwards ask astonished where they have remained. That nothingness itself is therefore the only objective element in time, i.e., that which corresponds to it in the inner nature of things^ thus that of which it is the expression. Just on this


384 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

account time is the a priori necessary form of all our perceptions ; in it everything must present itself, even we ourselves. Accordingly, first of all, our life is like a payment which one receives in nothing but copper pence, and yet must then give a discharge for : the copper pence are the days ; the discharge is death. For at last time makes known the judgment of nature concerning the work of all the beings which appear in it, in that it destroys them :

" And rightly so, for all that arises Is worthy only of being destroyed. Hence were it better that nothing arose."

Thus old age and death, to which every life necessarily hurries on, are the sentence of condemnation on the will to live, coming from the hands of nature itself, and which declares that this will is an effort which frustrates itself. " What thou hast wished," it says, " ends thus : desire something better." Hence the instruction which his life affords to every one consists, as a whole, in this, that the objects of his desires continually delude, waver, and fall, and accordingly bring more misery than joy, till at last the whole foundation upon which they all stand gives way, in that his life itself is destroyed and so he receives the last proof that all his striving and wishing was a per versity, a false path :

" Then old age and experience, hand in hand, Lead him to death, and make him understand, After a search so painful and so long, That all his life he has been in the wrong."

We shall, however, enter into the details of the matter, for it is in these views that I have met with most contra diction. First of all, I have to confirm by the following remarks the proof given in the text of the negative nature of all satisfaction, thus of all pleasure and all happiness, in opposition to the positive nature of pain.

We feel pain, but not painlessness ; we feel care, but


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 38$

not the absence of care ; fear, but not security. We feel the wish as we feel hunger and thirst ; but as soon as it has been fulfilled, it is like the mouthful that has been taken, which ceases to exist for our feeling the moment it is swallowed. Pleasures and joys we miss painfully when ever they are wanting ; but pains, even when they cease after having long been present, are not directly missed, but at the most are intentionally thought of by means of reflection. For only pain and want can be felt positively, and therefore announce themselves ; well-being, on the other hand, is merely negative. Therefore we do not become conscious of the three greatest blessings of life, health, youth, and freedom, so long as we possess them, but only after we have lost them ; for they also are nega tions. We only observe that days of our life were happy after they have given place to unhappy ones. In pro portion as pleasures increase, the susceptibility for them decreases : what is customary is no longer felt as a plea sure. Just in this way, however, is the susceptibility for suffering increased, for the loss of what we are accustomed to is painfully felt. Thus the measure of what is neces sary increases through possession, and thereby the capacity for feeling pain. The hours pass the quicker the more agreeably they are spent, and the slower the more pain fully they are spent; because pain, not pleasure, is the positive, the presence of which makes itself felt. In the same way we become conscious of time when we are bored, not when we are diverted. Both these cases prove that our existence is most happy when we perceive it least, from which it follows that it would be better not to have it. Great and lively joy can only be conceived as the consequence of great misery, which has preceded it ; for nothing can be added to a state of permanent satisfac tion but some amusement, or the satisfaction of vanity. Hence all poets are obliged to bring their heroes into anxious and painful situations, so that they may be able to free them from them. Dramas and Epics accordingly

VOL. III. 2 B


386 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

always describe only fighting, suffering, tormented men; and every romance is a rareeshow in which we observe the spasms and convulsions of the agonised human heart. Walter Scott has naively expressed this aesthetic necessity in the conclusion to his novel, " Old Mortality." Voltaire, who was so highly favoured both by nature and fortune, says, in entire agreement with the truth proved by me : " Le bonheur riest qu un reve, et la douleur est re elle." And he adds : " H y a quatre-vingts ans qiw je Tdprouve. Je riy sais autre chose que me rdsigner, et me dire gue les mouches sont ndes pour etre mangles par les araiyrUes, et les hommes pour tre dfo&res par les chagrins"

Before so confidently affirming that life is a blessing worth desiring or giving thanks for, let one compare calmly the sum of the possible pleasures which a man can enjoy in his life with the sum of the possible sorrows which may come to him in his life. I believe the balance will not be hard to strike. At bottom, however, it is quite superfluous to dispute whether there is more good or evil in the world : for the mere existence of evil decides the matter. For the evil can never be annulled, and conse quently can never be balanced by the good which may exist along with it or after it.

" Jfille piacei 3 non vagliono wn tormento" Petr. (A thousand pleasures are not worth one torment.)

For that a thousand had lived in happiness and pleasure would never do away with the anguish and death-agony of a single one ; and just as little does my present well- being undo my past suffering. If, therefore, the evils in the world were a hundred times less than is the case, yet their mere existence would be sufficient to establish a truth which may be expressed in different ways, though always somewhat indirectly, the truth that we have not to rejoice but rather to mourn at the existence of the world ; that its non-existence would be preferable to its existence;


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 387

that it is something which at bottom ought not to be, &c., &c. Very beautiful is Byron s expression of this truth :

" Our life is a false nature, tis not in The harmony of things, this hard decree, This uneradicable taint of sin, This boundless Upas, this all-blasting tree Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be

The skies, which rain their plagues on men like dew

Disease, death, bondage all the woes we see

And worse, the woes we see not which throb through The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new."

If the world and life were an end in themselves, and accordingly required theoretically no justification and practically no indemnification or compensation, but existed, for instance, as Spinoza and the Spinozists of the present day represent it, as the single manifestation of a God, who, animi causa, or else in order to mirror himself, undertook such an evolution of himself; and hence its existence neither required to be justified by reasons nor redeemed by results ; then the sufferings and miseries of life would not indeed have to be fully equalled by the pleasures and well-being in it; for this, as has been said, is impossible, because my present pain is never abolished by future joys, for the latter fill their time as the former fills its time : but there would have to be abso lutely no suffering, and death also would either have not to be, or else to have no terrors for us. Only thus would life pay for itself.

But since now our state is rather something which had better not be, everything about us bears the trace of this, just as in hell everything smells of sulphur for every thing is always imperfect and illusory, everything agree able is displaced by something disagreeable, every enjoy ment is only a half one, every pleasure introduces its own disturbance, every relief new difficulties, every aid of our daily and hourly need leaves us each moment in the lurch and denies its service, the step upon which we place


3 88 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

our foot so often gives way under us, nay, misfortunes great and small are the element of our life ; and, in a word, we are like Phineus, whose food was all tainted and made uneatable by the harpies. 1 Two remedies for this are tried: first, evXafteia, i.e., prudence, foresight, cun ning ; it does not fully instruct us, is insufficient, and leads to defeat. Secondly, the stoical equanimity which seeks to arm us against all misfortunes by preparedness for everything and contempt of all : practically it becomes cynical renunciation, which prefers once for all to reject all means of relief and all alleviations it reduces us to the position of dogs, like Diogenes in his tub. The truth is, we ought to be wretched, and we are so. The chief source of the serious evils which affect men is man him self: homo homini lupus. Whoever keeps this last fact clearly in view beholds the world as a hell, which sur passes that of Dante in this respect, that one man must be the devil of another. For this, one is certainly more fitted than another; an arch-fiend, indeed, more fitted than all others, appearing in the form of a conqueror, who places several hundred thousand men opposite each other, and says to them : " To suffer and die is your destiny ; now shoot each other with guns and cannons," and they do so. In eneral, however, the conduct of men towards each other is characterised as a rule by injustice, extreme un fairness, hardness, nay, cruelty: an opposite course of conduct appears only as an exception. Upon this depends the necessity of the State and legislation, and upon none of your false pretences. But in all cases which do not lie within the reach of the law, that regardlessness of his like, peculiar to man, shows itself at once ; a regardless- ness which springs from his boundless egoism, and some times also from wickedness. How man deals with man is shown, for example, by negro slavery, the final end of which is sugar and coffee. But we do not need to go so far :

1 All that we lay hold of resists us because it has its own will, which must be overcome.


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 389

at the age of five years to enter a cotton-spiiming or other factory, and from that time forth to sit there daily, first ten, then twelve, and ultimately fourteen hours, perform ing the same mechanical labour, is to purchase dearly the satisfaction of drawing breath. But this is the fate of millions, and that of millions more is analogous to it.

We others, however, can be made perfectly miserable by trifling misfortunes ; perfectly happy, not by the world. Whatever one may say, the happiest moment of the happy man is the moment of his falling asleep, and the unhappiest moment of the unhappy that of his awaking. An indirect but certain proof of the fact that men feel themselves un happy, and consequently are so, is also abundantly afforded by the fearful envy which dwells in us all, and which in all relations of life, on the occasion of any superiority, of whatever kind it may be, is excited, and cannot contain its poison. Because they feel themselves unhappy, men cannot endure the sight of one whom they imagine happy; he who for the moment feels himself happy would like to make all around him happy also, and says :

" Que tout le monde id soit heureux de ma joie."

If life were in itself a blessing to be prized, and de cidedly to be preferred to non-existence, the exit from it would not need to be guarded by such fearful sentinels as death and its terrors. But who would continue in life as it is if death were less terrible ? And again, who could even endure the thought of death if life were a pleasure ! But thus the former has still always this good, that it is the end of life, and we console ourselves with regard to the suffering of life with death, and with regard to death with the suffering of life. The truth is, that the two in separably belong to each other, for together they consti tute a deviation from the right path, to return to which is as difficult as it is desirable.

If the world were not something which, expressed prac tically, ought not to be, it would also not be theoretically


390 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

a problem ; but its existence would either require no explanation, inasmuch as it would be so entirely self- evident that wonder concerning it or a question about it could arise in no mind, or its end would present itself unmistakably. Instead of this, however, it is indeed an insoluble problem ; for even the most perfect philosophy will yet always contain an unexplained element, like an insoluble deposit or the remainder which the irrational relation of two quantities always leaves over. Therefore if one ventures to raise the question why there is not rather nothing than this world, the world cannot be

o * -.

justified from itself, no ground, no final cause of its existence can be found in itself, it cannot be shown that it exists for its own sake, i.e., for its own advantage. In accordance with my teaching, this can certainly be ex plained from the fact that the principle of its existence is expressly one which is without ground, a blind will to live, which as thing in itself cannot be made subject to the principle of sufficient reason, which is merely the form of the phenomenon, and through which alone every why is justified. But this also agrees with the nature of the world, for only a blind will, no seeing will, could place itself in the position in which we behold ourselves. A seeing will would rather have soon made the calculation that the business did not cover the cost, for such a mighty effort and struggle with the straining of all the powers, under constant care, anxiety, and want, and with the inevitable destruction of every individual life, finds no compensation in the ephemeral existence itself, which is so obtained, and which passes into nothing in our hands. Hence, then, the explanation of the world from the Anaxa- gorean vovs, i.e., from a will accompanied by knowledge, necessarily demands optimism to excuse it, which accord ingly is set up and maintained in spite of the loudly cry ing evidence of a whole world full of misery. Life is there given out to be a gift, while it is evident that every one would have declined such a gift if he could have seen


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 391

it and tested it beforehand ; just as Lessing admired the understanding of his son, who, because he had absolutely declined to enter life, had to be forcibly brought into it with the forceps, but was scarcely there when he hurried away from it again. On the other hand, it is then well said that life should be, from one end to the other, only a lesson ; to which, however, any one might reply : " For this very reason I wish I had been left in the peace of the all-sufficient nothing, where I would have had no need of lessons or of anything else." If indeed it should now be added that he must one day give an account of every hour of his life, he would be more justified in himself demand ing an account of why he had been transferred from that rest into such a questionable, dark, anxious, and painful situation. To this, then, we are led by false views. For human existence, far from bearing the character of a gift, has entirely the character of a debt that has been con tracted. The calling in of this debt appears in the form of the pressing wants, tormenting desires, and endless misery established through this existence. As a rule, the whole lifetime is devoted to the paying off of this debt ; but this only meets the interest. The payment of the capital takes place through death. And when was this debt contracted ? At the begetting.

Accordingly, if we regard man as a being whose exist ence is a punishment and an expiation, we then view him in a right light. The myth of the fall (although probably, like the whole of Judaism, borrowed from the Zend-Avesta: Bundahish, 15), is the only point in the Old Testament to which I can ascribe metaphysical, although only allegorical, truth ; indeed it is this alone that reconciles me to the Old Testament. Our existence resembles nothing so much as the consequence of a false step and a guilty desire. New Testament Christianity, the ethical spirit of which is that of Brahmanism and Buddhism, and is therefore very foreign to the otherwise optimistic spirit of the Old Testament, has also, very wisely, linked


392 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVL

itself on precisely to that myth : indeed, without this it would have found no point of connection with Judaism at all. If any one desires to measure the degree of guilt with which our existence is tainted, then let him look at the suffering that is connected with it. Every great pain, whether bodily or mental, declares what we deserve: for it could not come to us if we did not deserve it. That Christianity also regards our existence in this light is shown by a passage in Luther s Commentary on Galatians, chap. 3, which I only have beside me in Latin : " Sumus autem nos omnes corporibus et rebus subjecti Didbolo, et hospites sumus in mundo, cujus ipse princeps et Deus est. Ideo pands, quern edimus, potus, quern bibimus, vestes, quibus utimur, imo aer et totum quo vivimus in carne, sub ipsius imperio est" An outcry has been made about the melan choly and disconsolate nature of my philosophy ; yet it lies merely in the fact that instead of inventing a future hell as the equivalent of sin, I show that where guilt lies in the world there is also already something akin to hell; but whoever is inclined to deny this can easily experience it.

And to this world, to this scene of tormented and agonised beings, who only continue to exist by devouring each other, in which, therefore, every ravenous beast is the living grave of thousands of others, and its self-main tenance is a chain of painful deaths ; and in which the capacity for feeling pain increases with knowledge, and therefore reaches its highest degree in man, a degree which is the higher the more intelligent the man is ; to this world it has been sought to apply the system of optimism, and demonstrate to us that it is the best of all possible worlds. The absurdity is glaring. But an optimist bids me open my eyes and look at the world, how beautiful it is in the sunshine, with its mountains and valleys, streams, plants, animals, &c. &c. Is the world, then, a rareeshow ? These things are certainly beautiful to look at, but to be them is something quite different. Then comes a teleologist, and praises to me the wise


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 393 arrangement bv virtue of which it is taken care that the

o >

planets do not run their heads together, that land and sea do not get mixed into a pulp, but are held so beautifully apart, also that everything is neither rigid with continual frost nor roasted with heat ; in the same way, that in con sequence of the obliquity of the ecliptic there is no eternal spring, in which nothing could attain to ripeness, &c. &c. But this and all like it are mere conditiones sine quibus non. If in general there is to be a world at all, if its planets are to exist at least as long as the light of a distant fixed star requires to reach them, and are not, like Lessing s son, to depart again immediately after birth, then certainly it must not be so clumsily constructed that its very framework threatens to fall to pieces. But if one goes on to the results of this applauded work, considers the players who act upon the stage which is so durably constructed, and now sees how with sensibility pain appears, and increases in proportion as the sensibility develops to intelligence, and then how, keeping pace with this, desire and suffering come out ever more strongly, and increase till at last human life affords no other material than this for tragedies and comedies, then who ever is honest will scarcely be disposed to set up halle lujahs. David Hume, in his " Natural History of Eeligion," 6, 7, 8, and 13, has also exposed, mercilessly but with convincing truth, the real though concealed source of these last. He also explains clearly in the tenth and eleventh books of his "Dialogues on Natural Eeligion," with very pertinent arguments, which are yet of quite a different kind from mine, the miserable nature of this world and the untenableness of all optimism; in doing which he attacks this in its origin. Both works of Hume s are as well worth reading as they are unknown at the pre sent day in Germany, where, on the other hand, incredible pleasure is found, patriotically, in the most disgusting nonsense of home-bred boastful mediocrities, who are pro claimed great men. Hamann, however, translated these


394 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

dialogues ; Kant went through the translation, and late in life wished to induce Hamann s son to publish them because the translation of Plainer did not satisfy him (see Kant s biography by F. W. Schubert, pp. 8 1 and 165). From every page of David Hume there is more to be learned than from the collected philosophical works of Hegel, Herbart, and Schleiermacher together.

The founder of systematic optimism, again, is Leibnitz whose philosophical merit I have no intention of denying although I have never succeeded in thinking myself into the monadology, pre-established harmony, and identitaa indiscernibiliuin. His "Nouveaux essays sur I entendement " are, however, merely an excerpt, with a full yet weak criticism, with a view to correction, of Locke s work which is justly of world- wide reputation. He here opposes Locke with just as little success as he opposes Newton in the "Tentamen de motuum ccelestium causis," directed against the system of gravitation. The " Critique of Pure Eeason " is specially directed against this Leibnitz- Wolfian philo sophy, and has a polemical, nay, a destructive relation to it, just as it is related to Locke and Hume as a continua tion and further construction. That at the present day the professors of philosophy are on all sides engaged in setting Leibnitz, with his juggling, upon his legs again, nay, in glorifying him, and, on the other hand, in depre ciating and setting aside Kant as much as possible, has its sufficient reason in the primum vivere ; the " Critique of Pure Eeason " does not admit of one giving out Juda- istic mythology as philosophy, nor of one speaking, without ceremony, of the " soul " as a given reality, a well-known and well-accredited person, without giving account of how one arrived at this conception, and what justification one has for using it scientifically. But primum vivere, deinde philosophari I Down with Kant, vivat our Leibnitz ! To return, then, to Leibnitz, I cannot ascribe to the The odice e, as a methodical and broad unfolding of optimism, any other merit than this, that it gave occasion later for


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 395

the immortal " Candide" of the great Voltaire; whereby certainly Leibnitz s often-repeated and lame excuse for the evil of the world, that the bad sometimes brings about the good, received a confirmation which was unexpected by him. Even by the name of his hero Voltaire indicates that it only requires sincerity to recognise the opposite of optimism. Eeally upon this scene of sin, suffering, and death optimism makes such an extraordinary figure that one would be forced to regard it as irony if one had not a sufficient explanation of its origin in the secret source of it (insincere flattery, with insulting confidence in its success), which, as was mentioned above, is so delight fully disclosed by Hume.

But indeed to the palpably sophistical proofs of Leibnitz that this is the best of all possible worlds, we may seriously and honestly oppose the proof that it is the worst of all possible worlds. For possible means, not what one may construct in imagination, but what can actually exist and continue. Now this world is so arranged as to be able to maintain itself with great difficulty ; but if it were a little worse, it could no longer maintain itself. Consequently a worse world, since it could not continue to exist, is absolutely impossible : thus this world itself is the worst of all possible worlds. For not only if the planets were to run their heads together, but even if any one of the actually appearing perturbations of their course, instead of being gradually balanced by others, continued to increase, the world would soon reach its end. Astronomers know upon what accidental circumstances principally the irrational relation to each other of the periods of revolu tion this depends, and have carefully calculated that it will always go on well ; consequently the world also can continue and go on. We will hope that, although Newton was of an opposite opinion, they have not miscalculated, and consequently that the mechanical perpetual motion realised in such a planetary system will not also, like the rest, ultimately come to a standstill. Again, under the firm


396 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVL

crust of the planet dwell the powerful forces of nature which, as soon as some accident affords them free play, must necessarily destroy that crust, with everything living upon it, as has already taken place at least three times upon our planet, and will probably take place oftener still. The earthquake of Lisbon, the earthquake of Haiti, the destruction of Pompeii, are only small, play ful hints of what is possible. A small alteration of the atmosphere, which cannot even be chemically proved, causes cholera, yellow fever, black death, &c., which carry off millions of men ; a somewhat greater alteration would extinguish all life. A very moderate increase of heat would dry up all the rivers and springs. The brutes have received just barely so much in the way of organs and powers as enables them to procure with the greatest exertion sustenance for their own lives and food for their offspring ; therefore if a brute loses a limb, or even the full use of one, it must generally perish. Even of the human race, powerful as are the weapons it possesses in understanding and reason, nine-tenths live in constant conflict with want, always balancing themselves with difficulty and effort upon the brink of destruction. Thus throughout, as for the continuance of the whole, so also for that of each individual being the conditions are barely and scantily given, but nothing over. The individual life is a ceaseless battle for existence itself ; while at every step destruction threatens it. Just because this threat is so often fulfilled provision had to be made, by means of the enormous excess of the germs, that the destruction of the individuals should not involve that of the species, for which alone nature really cares. The world is therefore as bad as it possibly can be if it is to continue to be at all. Q. E. D. The fossils of the entirely different kinds of animal species which formerly inhabited the planet afford us, as a proof of our calculation, the records of worlds the continuance of which was no longer possible,


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 397

and which consequently were somewhat worse than the worst of possible worlds.

Optimism is at bottom the unmerited self-praise of the real originator of the world, the will to live, which views itself complacently in its works ; and accordingly it is not only a false, but also a pernicious doctrine. For it presents life to us as a desirable condition, and the happi ness of man as the end of it. Starting from this, every one then believes that he has the most just claim to happiness and pleasure ; and if, as is wont to happen, these do not fall to his lot, then he believes that he is wronged, nay, that he loses the end of his existence ; while it is far more correct to regard work, privation, misery, and suffering, crowned by death, as the end of our life (as Brahmanism and Buddhism, and also genuine Christianity do) ; for it is these which lead to the denial of the will to live. In the New Testament the world is represented as a valley of tears, life as a process of purifying or refining, and the symbol of Christianity is an instrument of torture. There fore, when Leibnitz, Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, and Pope brought forwaxd optimism, the general offence which it gave depended principally upon the fact that optimism is irreconcilable with Christianity ; as Voltaire states and explains in the preface to his excellent poem, " Le desastre de Lisbonne," which is also expressly directed against optimism. This great man, whom I so gladly praise, in opposition to the abuse of venal German ink-slingers, is placed decidedly higher than Eousseau by the insight to which he attained in three respects, and which prove the greater depth of his thinking : (i) the recognition of the preponderating magnitude of the evil and misery of exist ence with which he is deeply penetrated ; (2) that of the strict necessity of the acts of will ; (3) that of the truth of Locke s principle, that what thinks may also be material : while Eousseau opposes all this with declamations in his " Profession de foi du mcaire Savoyard," a superficial Pro testant pastor s philosophy ; as he also in the same spirit


398 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

attacks the beautiful poem of Voltaire which has just been referred to with ill-founded, shallow, and logically false reasoning, in the interests of optimism, in his long letter to Voltaire of i8th August 1756, which is devoted simply to this purpose. Indeed, the fundamental characteristic and the irpwrov i/reuSo? of Rousseau s whole philosophy is this, that in the place of the Christian doctrine of original sin, and the original depravity of the human race, he puts an original goodness and unlimited perfectibility of it, which has only been led astray by civilisation and its consequences, and then founds upon this his optimism and humanism.

As in " Candide " Voltaire wages war in his facetious manner against optimism, Byron has also done so in his serious and tragic style, in his immortal masterpiece, " Cain," on account of which he also has been honoured with the invectives of the obscurantist, Friedrich Schlegel.

O

If now, in conclusion, to confirm my view, I were to give what has been said by great men of all ages in this anti- optimistic spirit, there would be no end to the quotations, for almost every one of them has expressed in strong lan guage his knowledge of the misery of this world. Thus, not to confirm, but merely to embellish this chapter, a few quotations of this kind may be given at the end of it.

First of all, let me mention here that the Greeks, far as they were from the Christian and lofty Asiatic conception of the world, and although they decidedly stood at the point of view of the assertion of the will, were yet deeply affected by the wretchedness of existence. This is shown even by the invention of tragedy, which belongs to them. Another proof of it is afforded us by the custom of the Thracians, which is first mentioned by Herodotus, though often referred to afterwards the custom of welcoming the new-born child with lamentations, and recounting all the evils which now lie before it; and, on the other hand, burying the dead with mirth and jesting, because they are no longer exposed to so many and great sufferings. In a


THE VANITY AND SUFFERING OF LIFE. 399

beautiful poem preserved for us by Plutarch (De audiend. poet, in fine} this runs thus :

" TOK $>wra. Opj)veu>, ei j Ixr tpxerai /coxa Tov 5 oD ffavovra KOI rovuv TrraviLevo* Xai/xwras fv<f>ijfju>vvras finrefjiTeiv Sop-wr."

(Lugere genitum, tanta qui intrant mala : At morte si quis finiisset miseriat, Hunc laude amicos atque Icetitia exsequi.)

It is not to be attributed to historical relationship, but to the moral identity of the matter, that the Mexicans welcomed the new-born child with the words, " My child, thou art born to endure ; therefore endure, suffer, and keep silence." And, following the same feeling, Swift (as "Walter Scott relates in his Life of Swift) early adopted the custom of keeping his birthday not as a time of joy but of sadness, and of reading on that day the passage of the Bible in which Job laments and curses the day on which it was said in the house of his far her a man-child is born.

Well known and too long for quotation is the passage in the " Apology of Socrates," in which Plato makes this wisest of mortals say that death, even if it deprives us of consciousness for ever, would be a wonderful gain, for a deep, dreamless sleep every day is to be preferred even to the happiest life.

A saying of Heraclitus runs : " Tq> ovv ftiw ovofui fiev /Sto?, p>yov 8e 0avaro<;." (Vitce n&mcn quid-em est vita, opus autem mors. Etynwlogicum magnum, voce Btos; also Eustath. ad Iliad., L p. 31.)

The beautiful lines of the " Theogony " are famous :


ertxdoviotffu apurror, |eoj i)f\iov

d brut wKHrra. riAas AiSao Kai neiaOa


(Optima sors homini natum non esse, nee unquam Adspexitse diem, flammiferumgue jubar. Alttra jam genitum demitti protinus Oreo, Et pressum midta merger* corpus Aumo.)


400 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVI.

Sophocles, in " (Edipus Colonus" (1225), has the follow ing abbreviation of the same :

" MJ; (pwai rov airavra vt- KQ \oyov TO 5 eiret <pavy, fjijva.1 KfiOev, odev irep T/KCJ, 7ro\i> devrepov, ws Ta^iora."

(Natum non esse sortes vincit alias omnes : proximo, autem est, ubi quis in lucent editus fuerit, eodem redire, unde venit, quam otierime.)

Euripides says :

" Has 5 o5w>7poj tos avOptairur, K OVK fffri irovuv avairavffis."

(Omnis hominum vita cst plena, dolore, Nee datur laborum remissio.)

HIPPOL, 189.

And Homer already said :

" Ow fJ.ev yap n von effriv cftvpWTepov avSpos HavTttiv, Offffa de yatav eiri irveei re KO.I tpirei."

(Non enim quidquam alicubi est calamitosius homine Omnium, quotquot super terram spirantque et moventur.)

II. xvii. 446.

Even Pliny says : " Quapropter hoc primum quisque in remediis animi sai habeat, ex omnibus bonis, quce ho/nini natura tribiiit, nullum melius esse tempestiva morte " (Hist. Nat. 28, 2).

Shakspeare puts the words in the mouth of the old king Henry IV. :

" O heaven ! that one mi^ ht read the book of fate, And see the revolution of the times,

how chances mock,

And changes fill the cup of alteration

With divers liquors ! O, if this were seen,

The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,

What perils past, what crosses to ensue,

Would shut the book, and sit him down and die."

Finally, Byron :

"Count o er the joys thine hours have seen, Count o er thy days from anguish free, And know, whatever thou hast been, Tis something better not to be."


4oi

Baltazar Gracian also brings the misery of our existence before our eyes in the darkest colours in the " Criticon," Parte i., Crisi 5, just at the beginning, and Crisi 7 at the end, where he explicitly represents life as a tragic farce.

Yet no one has so thoroughly and exhaustively handled this subject as, in our own day, Leopardi. He is entirely filled and penetrated by it : his theme is everywhere the mockery and wretchedness of this existence ; he presents it upon every page of his works, yet in such a multiplicity of forms and applications, with such wealth of imagery that he never wearies us, but, on the contrary, is through out entertaining and exciting.


VOL. m. 2 c


( 402 )


CHAPTEE XLVII. 1

ON ETHICS.

HEKE is the great gap which occurs in these supplements, on account of the circumstance that I have already dealt with moral philosophy in the narrower sense in the two prize essays published under the title, "Die Grundprobleme der Ethik" an acquaintance with which is assumed, as I have said, in order to avoid useless repetition. Therefore there only remains for me here a small gleaning of isolated reflections which could not be discussed in that work, the contents of which were, in the main, prescribed by the Academies ; least of all those reflections which de mand a higher point of view than that which is common to all, and which I was there obliged to adhere to. Ac cordingly it will not surprise the reader to find these reflections here in a very fragmentary collection. This collection again has been continued in the eighth and ninth chapters of the second volume of the Parerga. V That moral investigations are incomparably more difficult than physical, and in general than any others, results from the fact that they are almost immediately concerned with the thing in itself, namely, with that manifestation of it in which, directly discovered by the light of knowledge, it reveals its nature as witL[ Physical truths, on the other hand, remain entirely in^he province of the idea, i.e., of the phenomenon, and merely show how the lowest manifestations of the will present themselves in the idea in conformity to law. Further, the considera-

1 This chapter is connected with 55, 62, 6j of the first volume.


ON ETHICS. 403

tion of the world from the physical side, however far and successfully it may be pursued, is in its results without any consolation for us : on the moral side alone is con solation to be found; for here the depths of our own inner nature disclose themselves to the consideration.

But my philosophy is the only one which confers upon ethics its complete and whole rights; for only if the true nature of man is his own will, and consequently he is, in the strictest sense, his own work, are his deeds really entirely his and to be ascribed to him. On the other hand, whenever he has another origin, or is the work of a being different from himself, all his guilt falls back upon this origin, or originator. For operari sequitur esse.

To connect the force which produces the phenomenon of the world, and consequently determines its nature, with the morality of the disposition or character, and thus to establish a moral order of the world as the foundation of the physical, this has been since Socrates the problem of philosophy. Theism solved it in a childish manner, which could not satisfy mature humanity. Therefore pantheism opposed itself to it whenever it ventured to do so, and showed that nature bears in itself the power by virtue of which it appears. With this, however, ethics had neces sarily to be given up. Spinoza, indeed, attempts here and there to preserve it by means of sophistry, but for the most part gives it up altogether, and, with a boldness which excites astonishment and repugnance, explains the distinction between right and wrong, and in general be tween good and evil, as merely conventional, thus in itself empty (for example, Eth. iv., prop. 37, schol. 2). After having met with unmerited neglect for more than a hundred years, Spinoza has, in general, become too much esteemed in this century through the reaction caused by the swing of the pendulum of opinion. All pantheism must ultimately be overthrown by the inevitable demands of ethics, and then by the evil and suffering of the world. If the world is a theophany, then all that man, or even


4 o 4 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVII.

the brute, does is equally divine and excellent; nothing can be censurable, and nothing more praiseworthy than the rest : thus there is no ethics. Hence, in consequence of the revived Spinozism of our own day, thus of pan theism, the treatment of ethics has sunk so low and become so shallow that it has been made a mere instruc tion as to the proper life of a citizen and a member of a family, in which the ultimate end of human existence is supposed to consist : thus in methodical, complete, smug, and comfortable philistinism. Pantheism, indeed, has only led to such shallow vulgarisms through the fact that (by a shameful misuse of the e quovis lignofit Mercurius) a com mon mind, Hegel, has, by the well-known means, been falsely stamped as a great philosopher, and a herd of his disciples, at first suborned, afterwards only stupid, received his weighty words. Such outrages on the human mind do not remain unpunished : the seed has sprouted. In the same spirit it was then asserted that ethics should have for its material not the conduct of individuals, but that of nations, that this alone was a theme worthy of it. Nothing can be more perverse than this view, which rests on the most vulgar realism. For in every individual ap pears the whole undivided will to live, the thing in itself, and the microcosm is like the macrocosm. The masses have no more content than each individual. Ethics is con cerned not with actions and their results, but with willing, and willing itself takes place only in the individual. Not the fate of nations, which exists only in the phenomenon, but that of the individual is decided morally. Nations are really mere abstractions ; individuals alone actually exist. Thus, then, is pantheism related to ethics. But the evil and misery of the world are not in accord even with theism; hence it sought assistance from all kinds of evasions, theodicies, which yet were irretrievably over- thrown by the arguments of Hume and Voltaire. Pan theism, however, is completely untenable in the presence of that bad side of the world. Only when the world is


ON ETHICS. 405

regarded entirely from without and from the physical side alone, and nothing else is kept in view but the constant restorative order, and the comparative imperish- ableness of the whole which is thereby introduced, is it perhaps possible to explain it as a god, yet always only symbolically. But if one enters within, thus considers also the subjective and moral side, with its preponderance of want, suffering, and misery, of dissension, wickedness, madness, and perversity, then one soon becomes conscious with horror that the last thing imaginable one has before one is a theophany. I, however, have shown, and especially in my work " Ueber a^nWitte^

thattEe force which worksand acts in nature is identical with the will JiT us. Thereby the moral order of the worj.o[Js2BroughFjnto direct^ connectmn^jwitli_the_J orce which produces the_phenQmenon-j3fjthe^ world. For^the phenomenon of the will must exactly_correspond to its nature. Upon_thig_depend3 the expnsit.inn^-rJ eternal justice given in 63 and 64 of the first volume, and the world, although^ "subsisting_by_ its L_own__ power, receives throughout a moroLtelldmicy. Accordingly the problem which has been discussed from the time of Socrates is now for the first time really solved, and the demand of thinking reason directed to morality is satisfied. Yet I have never professed to propound a philosophy which leaves no questions unanswered. In this sense philo sophy is really impossible : it would be the science of omniscience. But est quadam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra : there is a limit to which reflection can penetrate and can so far lighten the night of our existence, although the horizon always remains dark. /Mv_doctrine reaches thisjimit in the_will_tojiye. which in its own manifestation asserts or denies itself] To wish, however, to go beyond this is, in my eyes, fike wishing to fly beyond the atmos phere. We must stop there ; even although new problems arise out of those which have been solved. Besides this, however, we must refer to the fact that the validity of


406 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIL

the principle of sufficient reason is limited to the pheno menon; this was the theme of my first essay on that principle, which was published as early as 1813.

I now go on to supplement particular points, and shall begin by supporting, with two passages from classical poetry, my explanation of weeping given in 67 of the first volume, that it springs from sympathy the object of which is one s own self. At the end of the eighth book of the " Odyssey," Ulysses, who in all his many sorrows is never represented as weeping, bursts into tears, when, still unknown, he hears his early heroic life and deeds sung by the bard Demodocus in the palace of the Phseacian king, for this remembrance of the brilliant period of his life contrasts with his present wretchedness. Thus not this itself directly, but the objective consideration of it, the picture of his present summoned up by his past, calls forth his tears ; he feels sympathy with himself. Euripides makes the innocently condemned Hypolytus, bemoaning his own fate, express the same feeling :

$>ev 10 ijv /j,avrov TrpocrfiXeTreiv evavTiov crTavO\ to? eSatcpvs, oia ma^yo^v Kaica" (1084).


(Hen, si liceret mihi, me ipsum extrinsecus spectare, quant- operc deflerem mala, quw palior.)

Finally, as a proof of my explanation, an anecdote may be given here which I take from the English journal The Herald of the 1 6th July 1836. A client, when he had heard his case set forth by his counsel in court, burst into a flood of tears, and cried, " I never knew I had suffered half so much till I heard it here to-day."

I have shown in 55 of the first volume how, notwith standing the unalterable nature of the character, i.e., of the special fundamental will of a man, a real moral repentance is yet possible. I wish, however, to add the following expla nation, which I must preface by a few definitions. Inclina tion is every strong susceptibility of the will for motives of a certain kind. Passion is an inclination so strong that


ON ETHICS. 407

the motives which excite it exercise a power over the will, which is stronger than that of every possible motive that can oppose them ; thus its mastery over the will becomes absolute, and consequently with reference to it the will is passive or suffering. It must, however, be remarked here that passions seldom reach the degree at which they fully answer to the definition, but rather bear their name as mere approximations to it : therefore there are then still counter- motives which are able at least to restrict their effect, if only they appear distinctly in consciousness. The emotion is just as irresistible, but yet only a passing excitement of the will, by a motive which receives its power, not from a deeply rooted inclination, but merely from the fact that, appearing suddenly, it excludes for the moment the counter-effect of all other motives, for it consists of an idea, which completely obscures all others by its excessive vividness, or, as it were, conceals them entirely by its too close proximity, so that they cannot enter consciousness and act on the will, whereby, therefore, the capacity for reflection, and with it intellectual freedom, is to a certain extent abolished. Accordingly the emotion is related to the passion as delirium to madness.

Moral repentance is now conditioned by the fact that before the act the inclination to it did not leave the intel lect free scope, because it did not allow it to contemplate clearly and fully the counter-motives, but rather turned it ever anew to the motives in its own favour. But now, after the act has been performed, these motives are, by this itself, neutralised, and consequently have become in effective. Now reality brings before the intellect the counter-motives as the consequences of the act which have already appeared ; and the intellect now knows that they would have been the stronger if it had only adequately contemplated and weighed them. Thus the man becomes conscious that he has done what was really not in accor dance with his will. This knowledge is repentance, for he has not acted with full intellectual freedom ; for all the


4o8 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVII.

motives did not attain to efficiency. What excluded the motives opposed to the action was in the case of the hasty action the emotion, and in the case of the deliberate action the passion. It has also often depended upon the circumstance that his reason certainly presented to him the counter-motives in the abstract, but was not supported by a sufficiently strong imagination to present to him their whole content and true significance in images. Examples of what has been said are the cases in which revenge, jealousy, or avarice have led to murder. After it is com mitted they are extinguished, and now justice, sympathy, the remembrance of former friendship, raise their voices and say all that they would have said before if they had been allowed to speak. Then enters the bitter repentance, which says, " If it were not done it would never happen." An incomparable representation of this is afforded by the old Scottisli ballad, which has also been translated by Herder, "Edward, Edward." In an analogous manner, the neglect of one s own good may occasion an egotistical repentance. For example, when an otherwise unadvisable marriage is concluded in consequence of passionate love, which now is extinguished just by the marriage, and for the first time the counter-motives of personal interest, lost independence, &c., &c., come into consciousness, and speak as they would have spoken before if they had been allowed utterance. All such actions accordingly spring from a relative weakness of intellect, because it lets itself be mastered by the will, just where its function as the pre senter of motives ought to have been inexorably fulfilled, without allowing itself to be disturbed by the will. The vehemence of the will is here only indirectly the cause, in that it interferes with the intellect, and thereby prepares for itself repentance. The reasonableness of the character araMppoavvr), which is opposed to passionateness, really con sists in this, that the will never overpowers the intellect to such an extent as to prevent it from correctly exercising its function of the distinct, full, and clear exposition of the




ON ETHICS. 409

motives in the abstract for the reason, in the concrete for the imagination. Now this may just as well depend upon the moderation and mildness of the will as upon the strength of the intellect. All that is required is that the latter should be relatively strong enough for the will that is present, thus that the two should stand in a suitable relation to each other.

The following explanations have still to be added to the fundamental characteristics of the philosophy of law expounded in 62 of the first volume, and also in my prize essay on the foundation of morals, 17.

Those who, with Spinoza, deny that there is a right apart from the State, confound the means for enforcing the right with the right itself. Certainly the right is insured protection only in the State. But it itself exists indepen dently of the State. For by force it can only be suppressed, never abolished. Accordingly the State is nothing more than an institution for protection, which has become neces sary through the manifold attacks to which man is exposed, and which he would not be able to ward off alone, but only in union with others. So, then, the aims of the State are

(i.) First of all, outward protection, which may just as well become needful against lifeless forces of nature or wild beasts as against men, consequently against other nations ; although this case is the most frequent and im portant, for the worst enemy of man is man : homo homini lupus. Since, in consequence of this aim, nations always set up the principle, in words if not with deeds, that they wish to stand to each other in a purely defensive, never in an aggressive relation, they recognise the law of nations. This is at bottom nothing but natural law, in the only sphere of its practical activity that remains to it, between nation and nation, where it alone must reign, because its stronger son, positive law, cannot assert itself, since it requires a judge and an executive. Accordingly the law of nations consists of a certain degree of morality in the deal ings of nations with each other, the maintenance of which


410 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVII.

is a question of honour for mankind. The bar at which cases based on this law are tried is that of public opinion.

(2.) Protection within, thus protection of the members of a State against each other, consequently security of private right, by means of the maintenance of an honest state of things, which consists in this, that the concen trated forces of all protect each individual, from which arises an appearance as if all were honest, i.e., just, thus as if no one wished to injure the others.

But, as is always the way in human affairs, the removal of one evil generally opens the way for a new one ; thus the granting of that double protection introduces the need of a third, namely : (3.) Protection against the protector, i.e., against him or those to whom the society has transferred the management of the protection, thus the guarantee of public right. This appears most completely attainable by dividing and separating from each other the threefold unity of the protective power, thus the legislature, the judicature, and the executive, so that each is managed by others, and independently of the rest. The great value, indeed the fundamental idea of the monarchy appears to me to lie in the fact that because men remain men one must be placed so high, and so much power, wealth, security, and absolute inviolability given him that there remains nothing for him to desire, to hope, and to fear for himself ; whereby the egoism which dwells in him, as in every one, is annihilated, as it were, by neutralisation, and he is now able, as if he were no longer a man, to practise justice, and to keep in view no longer his own but only the public good. This is the source of the seemingly superhuman nature that everywhere accompanies royalty, and distin guishes it so infinitely from the mere presidency. There fore it must also be hereditary, not elective ; partly in order that no one may see his equal in the king; partly that the king himself may only be able to provide for his suc cessors by caring for the welfare of the State, which is absolutely one with that of his family.


ON ETHICS. 411

If other ends besides that of protection, here explained, are ascribed to the State, this may easily endanger the true end.

According to my explanation, the right of property arises only through the expenditure of labour upon things. This truth, which has already often been expressed, finds a noteworthy confirmation in the fact that it is asserted, even in a practical regard, in a declaration of the American ex-president, Quincey Adams, which is to be found in the Quarterly Review of 1840, No. 130; and also in French, in the " Bibliotlieque universelle de Gfen&ve," July 1840, No. 55. I will give it here in German (English of Quarterly He- view) : " There are moralists who have questioned the right of the Europeans to intrude upon the possessions of the aboriginals in any case, and under any limitations what soever ; but have they maturely considered the whole subject ? The Indian right of possession itself stands, with regard to the greatest part of the country, upon a questionable foundation. Their cultivated fields, their con structed habitations, a space of ample sufficiency for their subsistence, and whatever they had annexed of themselves by personal labour, was undoubtedly by the laws of nature theirs. But what is the right of a huntsman to the forest of a thousand miles over which he has accidentally ranged in quest of prey ? " &c. In the same way, those who in our own day have seen occasion to combat communism with reasons (for example, the Archbishop of Paris, in his pastoral of June 1851) have always brought forward the argument that property is the result of work, as it were only embodied, work. This is further evidence that the right of property can only be established by the applica tion of work to things, for only in this respect does it find free recognition and make itself morally valid.

An entirely different kind of proof of the same truth is afforded by the moral fact that while the law punishes poaching just as severely as theft, and in many countries more severely, yet civil honour, which is irrevocably lost


412 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIL

by the latter, is really not affected by the former ; but the poacher, if he has been guilty of nothing else, is certainly tainted with a fault, but yet is not regarded, like the thief, as dishonourable and shunned by all. For the principles of civil honour rest upon moral and not upon mere positive law ; but game is not an object upon which labour is be stowed, and thus also is not an object of a morally valid possession : the right to it is therefore entirely a positive one, and is not morally recognised.

According to my view, the principle ought to lie at the basis of criminal law that it is not really the man but only the deed which is punished, in order that it may not recur. The criminal is merely the subject in whom the deed is punished, in order that the law in consequence of which the punishment is inflicted may retain its deterrent power. This is the meaning of the expression, " He is forfeited to the law." According to Kant s explanation, which amounts to a jus talionis, it is not the deed but the man that is punished. The penitentiary system also seeks not so much to punish the deed as the man, in order to reform him. It thereby sets aside the real aim of punishment, determent from the deed, in order to attain the very problematic end of reformation. But it is always a doubtful thing to attempt to attain two different ends by one means : how much more so if the two are in any sense opposite ends. Education is a benefit, punish ment ought to be an evil ; the penitentiary prison is supposed to accomplish both at once. Moreover, however large a share untutored ignorance, combined with outward distress, may have in many crimes, yet we dare not regard these as their principal cause, for innumerable persons living in the same ignorance and under absolutely similar circumstances commit no crimes. Thus the substance of the matter falls back upon the personal, moral character ; but this, as I have shown in my prize essay on the free dom of the will, is absolutely unalterable. Therefore moral reformation is really not possible, but only deter-


ON ETHICS. 413

merit from the deed through fear. At the same time, the correction of knowledge and the awakening of the desire to work can certainly be attained ; it will appear what effect this can produce. Besides this, it appears to me, from the aim of punishment set forth in the text, that, when possible, the apparent severity of the punishment should exceed the actual : but solitary confinement achieves the reverse. Its great severity has no witnesses, and is by no means anticipated by any one who has not experienced it ; thus it does not deter. It threatens him who is tempted to crime by want and misery with the opposite pole of human suffering, ennui : but, as Goethe rightly observes

" When real affliction is our lot, Then do we long for ennui."

The contemplation of it will deter him just as little as the sight of the palatial prisons which are built by honest men for rogues. If, however, it is desired that these penitentiary prisons should be regarded as educational institutions, then it is to be regretted that the entrance to them is only obtained by crimes, instead of which it ought to have preceded them.

That punishment, as Beccaria has taught, ought to bear a proper proportion to the crime does not depend upon the fact that it would be an expiation of it, but rather on the fact that the pledge ought to be proportionate to the value of that for which it answers. Therefore every one is justified in demanding the pledge of the life of another as a guarantee for the security of his own life, but not for the security of his property, for which the freedom, and so forth, of another is sufficient pledge. For the security of the life of the citizens capital punishment is therefore absolutely necessary. Those who wish to abolish it should be answered, " First remove murder from the world, and then capital punishment ought to follow." It ought also to be inflicted for the clear attempt to murder just as for


414 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVII.

murder itself ; for the law desires to punish the deed, not to revenge its consequences. In general the injury to be guarded against affords the right measure for the punish ment which is to be threatened, but it does not give the moral baseness of the forbidden action. Therefore the law may rightly impose the punishment of imprisonment for allowing a flower-pot to fall from a window, or impose hard labour for smoking in the woods during the sum mer, and yet permit it in the winter. But to impose the punishment of death, as in Poland, for shooting an ure-ox is too much, for the maintenance of the species of ure-oxen may not be purchased with human life. In determining the measure of the punishment, along with the magnitude of the injury to be guarded against, we have to consider the strength of the motives which impel to the forbidden action. Quite a different standard of punish ment would be established if expiation, retribution, jus talionis, were its true ground. But the criminal code ought to be nothing but a register of counter-motives for possible criminal actions : therefore each of these motives must decidedly outweigh the motives which lead to these actions, and indeed so much the more the greater the evil is which would arise from the action to be guarded against, the stronger the temptation to it, and the more difficult the conviction of the criminal ; always under the correct assumption that the- will is not free, but determinable by motives ; apart from this it could not be got at at all. So much for the philosophy of law.

In my prize essay on the freedom of the will (p. 50 seq.} I have proved the originality and unalterableness of the inborn character, from which the moral content of the course of life proceeds. It is established as a fact. But in order to understand problems in their full extent it is sometimes necessary to oppose opposites sharply to each other. In this case, then, let one recall how incredibly great is the inborn difference between man and man, in a moral and in an intellectual regard. Here nobleness and wis-


ON ETHICS. 4I5

dom; there wickedness and stupidity. In one the good ness of the heart shines out of the eyes, or the stamp of genius is enthroned in his countenance. The base physiog nomy of another is the impression of moral worthlessness and intellectual dulness, imprinted by the hands of nature itself, unmistakable and ineradicable ; he looks as if he must be ashamed of existence. But to this outward ap pearance the inner being really corresponds. We cannot possibly assume that such differences, which transform the whole being of the man, and which nothing can abolish, which, further, in conflict with Ms circumstances, determine his course of life, could exist without guilt or merit on the part of those affected by them, and be merely the work of chance. Even from this it is evident that the man must be in a certain sense his own work. But now, on the other hand, we can show the source of these differ ences empirically in the nature of the parents ; and be sides this, the meeting and connection of these parents has clearly been the work of the most accidental circum stances. By such considerations, then, we are forcibly directed to the distinction between the phenomenon and the true being of things, which alone can contain the solution of that problem. The thing in itself only reveals itself by means of the forms of the phenomenon ; there fore what proceeds from the thing in itself must yet appear in those forms, thus also in the bonds of causality. Accordingly it will present itself to us here as a myste rious and incomprehensible guidance of things, of which the external empirical connection would be the mere tool. Yet all that happens appears in this empirical connection introduced by causes, thus necessarily and determined from without, while its true ground lies in the inner nature of what thus manifests itself. Certainly we can here see the solution of the problem only from afar, and when we reflect upon it we fall into an abyss of thought as Hamlet very truly says, " thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls." In my essay in the first volume of the


4i6 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVII.

Parerga " On the Appearance of Intention in the Fate of Individuals " I have set forth my thoughts upon this mysterious guidance of things, a guidance which indeed can only be conceived symbolically.

In 14 of my prize essay on the foundation of morals there will be found an exposition of egoism, as regards its nature ; and the following attempt to discover its root may be looked upon as supplementary to that paragraph. Nature itself contradicts itself directly, according as it speaks from the individual or the universal, from within or from without, from the centre or the periphery. It has its centre in every individual ; for each individual ia the whole will to live. Therefore, even if this individual is only an insect or a worm, nature itself speaks out of it thus : " I alone am all in all : in my maintenance every thing is involved ; the rest may perish, it is really nothing." So speaks nature from the particular standpoint, thus from the point of view of self-consciousness, and upon this depends the egoism of every living thing. On the other hand, from the universal point of view, which is that of the consciousness of other things, that of objective knowledge, which for the moment looks away from the individual with whom the knowledge is connected, from without then, from the periphery nature speaks thus: "The individual is nothing, and less than nothing. I destroy millions of individuals every day, for sport and pastime : I abandon their fate to the most capricious and wilful of my children, chance, who harasses them at pleasure. I produce millions of new individuals every day, without any diminution of my productive power; just as little as the power of a mirror is exhausted by the number of reflections of the sun, which it casts on the wall one after another. The individual is nothing." Only he who knows how to really reconcile and eliminate this patent contradiction of nature has a true answer to the question as to the perishableness and imperishableness of his own self. I believe I have given, in the first four


ON ETHICS. 417

chapters of this fourth book of the supplements, an ade quate introduction to such knowledge. What is said above may further be illustrated in the following manner. Every individual, when he looks within, recognises in his nature, which is his will, the thing in itself, therefore that which everywhere alone is real. Accordingly he conceives himself as the kernel and centre of the world, and regards himself as of infinite importance. If, on the other hand, he looks without, then he is in the province of the idea the mere phenomenon, where he sees himself as an individual among an infinite number of other individuals, accordingly as something very insignificant, nay, vanishing altogether. Consequently every individual, even the most insignificant, every I, when regarded from within, is all in all ; regarded from without, on the other hand, he is nothing, or at least as good as nothing. Hence upon this depends the great difference between what each one necessarily is in his own eyes and what he is in the eyes of others, consequently the egoism with which every one reproaches every one else.

In consequence of this egoism our fundamental error of all is this, that with reference to each other we are reciprocally not I. On the other hand, to be just, noble, and benevolent is nothing else than to translate my meta physics into actions. To say that time and space are mere forms of our knowledge, not conditions of things in them selves, is the same as to say that the doctrine of metemp sychosis, " Thou shalt one day be born as him whom thou now injurest, and in thy turn shalt suffer like injury," is identical with the formula of the Brahmans, which has frequently been mentioned, Tat twam asi, " This thou art." All true virtue proceeds from the immediate and intuitive knowledge of the metaphysical identity of all beings, which I have frequently shown, especially in 22 of my prize essay on the foundation of morals. But just on this account it is not the result of a special pre eminence of intellect ; on the contrary, even the weakest intellect is sufficient to see through the principium indivi-

VOL. III. 2 D


4i8 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVII.

duationis, which is what is required iii this matter. Ac cordingly we may find the most excellent character eveu in the case of a very weak understanding. And further, the excitement of our sympathy is accompanied by no exertion of our intellect. It rather appears that the requisite penetration of the principium indimduationis would be present in every one if it were not that the will opposes this, and by virtue of its immediate mysterious and despotic influence upon the intellect generally pre vents it from arising ; so that ultimately all guilt falls back upon the will, as indeed is in conformity with the fact.

The doctrine of metempsychosis, touched on above, de viates from the truth merely through the circumstance that it transfers to the future what already is now. It makes my true inner nature exist in others only after my death, while, according to the truth, it already lives in them now, and death merely removes the illusion on account of which I am not aware of this ; just as an innumerable host of stars con stantly shine above our heads, but only become visible to us when the one sun near the earth has set. From this point of view my individual existence, however much, like that sun, it may outshine everything, appears ultimately only as a hindrance which stands between me and the knowledge of the true extent of my being. And because every individual, in his knowledge, is subject to this hin drance, it is just individuation that keeps the will to live in error as to its own nature ; it is the Maya of Brahmanism. Death is a refutation of this error, and abolishes it. I believe that at the moment of death we become conscious that it is a mere illusion that has limited our existence to our person. Indeed empirical traces of this may be found in several states which are related to death by the aboli tion of the concentration of consciousness in the brain, among which the magnetic sleep is the most prominent ; for in it, if it reaches a high degree, our existence shows itself through various symptoms, beyond our persons and


OJV ETHICS. 4ig

in other beings, most strikingly by direct participation in the thoughts of another individual, and ultimately even by the power of knowing the absent, the distant, and even the future, thus by a kind of omnipresence.

Upon this metaphysical identity of the will, as the thing in itself, in the infinite multiplicity of its pheno mena, three principal phenomena depend, which may be included under the common name of sympathies: (i) sympathy proper, which, as I have shown, is the basis of justice and benevolence, caritas ; (2) sexual love, with capricious selection, amor, which is the life of the species, that asserts its precedence over that of the individual; (3) magic, to which animal magnetism and sympathetic cures also belong. Accordingly sympathy may be defined as the empirical appearance of the metaphysical identity of the will, through the physical multiplicity of its pheno mena, whereby a connection shows itself which is entirely different from that brought about by means of the forms of the phenomenon which we comprehend under the prin ciple of sufficient reason.


( 420 )


CHAPTER XLVIII. 1

ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE.

MAN has his existence and being either with his will, i.e., his consent, or without this ; in the latter case an existence so embittered by manifold and insupportable sufferings would be a flagrant injustice. The ancients, especially the Stoics, also the Peripatetics and Academics, strove in vain to prove that virtue sufficed to make life happy. Expe rience cried out loudly against it. What really lay at the foundation of the efforts of these philosophers, although they were not distinctly conscious of it, was the assumed justice of the thing ; whoever was without guilt ought to be free from suffering, thus happy. But the serious and profound solution of the problem lies in the Christian doc- trine that works do not justify. Accordingly a man, even if he has practised all justice and benevolence, conse quently the ayadov, honestum, is yet not, as Cicero imagines, culpa omni carens (Tusc., v. i.) ; but el delito mayor del hombre es hdber nacido (the greatest guilt of

I man is that he was born), as Calderon, illuminated by

,.( * Christianity, has expressed it with far profounder know-

le"3ge than these wise men. Therefore that man comes into

the world already tainted with guilt can appear absurd

only to him who regards him as just then having arisen

. out of nothing and as the work of another. In conse- quence of tf^jguilt, then, which must therefore have pro-


1 This chapter is connected with of the second volume of the Parerga 68 of the first volume. Chapter 14 should also be compared with it.


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 421

ceeded from his will, man remains rightly exposed to physical and mental suffering, even if he has practised all those virtues, thus is not happy. This follows from the eternal justice of which I have spoken in 63 of the first volume. That, however, as St. Paul (Eom. iii. 21), Augus tine, and Luther teach, works cannot justify, inasmuch as we all are and remain essenTIaTIy~sTnners, ultimately rests upon the fact that, because operari sequitur esse, if we acted as we ought, we would necessarily be as we ought. But then we would require no salvation from our present condition, which not only Christianity but also Brahman- ism and Buddhism (under the name which is expressed in English lay final emancipation) present as the highest goal, i.e., we would not need to become something quite different from, nay, the very opposite of what we are. - Since, however, we are what we ought not to be, we also necessarily do what we ought not to do. Therefore we need a complete transformation of our mind and nature ; i.e., the new birth, as the result of which salvation appears. Although the guilt lies in action, operari, yet the root of the guilt lies in our essentia et existentia, for out of these the operari necessarily proceeds, as I have shown in the prize essay on the freedom of the will. Accordingly our one_true sin is really original sin. Now the Christian myth makes original sin first arise after man came into exist ence, and for this purpose ascribes to him, per impossibile, a free will. It does this, however, simply as myth. The inmost kernel and spirit of Christianity is identical with that of Brahmanism and Buddhism; they all teach a great guilt of the human race through its existence itself, ... V only that Christianity does not proceed directly and frankly like these more ancient religions : thus does not make the guilt simply the result of existence itself, but makes it arise through the act of the first human pair. ^(C This was only possible under the fiction of a liberum arbi- trium indifferentice, and only necessary on account of the Jewish fundamental dogma, in which that doctrine had


422 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

here to be implanted. Because, according to the truth, the corning into existence of man himself is the act of his free will, and accordingly one with the fall, and therefore the original sin, of which all other sins are the result, appeared already with the essentia and existentia of man ; but the fundamental dogma of Judaism did not admit of such an explanation. Thus Augustine taught, in his books De libero arbitrio, that only as Adam before the fall was man guiltless and possessed of a free will, but for ever after is involved in the necessity of sin. The law, o vofj,o<?, in the BiblicaJ sense, always demands that we

. shall change our doing, while our being remains un

changed. But because this is impossible, Paul says that no man is justified by the law ; only the new birth in

..A Jesus Christ, in consequence of the work of grace, on ac count of which a new man arises and the old man is abolished (i.e., a fundamental change of mind or conver sion), can transfer us from the state of sinfulness into that of freedom and salvation. This is the Christian myth with reference to ethics. But certainly the Jewish theism, upon which it was grafted, must have received wonderful additions to adapt itself to that myth. In it the fable of the fall presented the only place for the graft of the old Indian stem. It is to be attributed just to that forcibly sur mounted difficulty that the Christian mysteries have re ceived such an extraordinary appearance, conflicting with the ordinary understanding, which makes proselytising more difficult, and on account of which, from incapacity to comprehend their profound meaning, Pelagianism, or at the present day Rationalism, rises against them, and seeks to explain them away, but thereby reduces Christianity to Judaism.

But to speak without myth : so long as our will is the \ same, our world can be no other than it is. It is true

\ all wish to be delivered from the state of suffering and death; they would like, as it is expressed, to attain to eternal blessedness, to enter the kingdom of heaven, only


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 423

not upon their own feet; they would like to be carried there by the course of nature. That, however, is impos sible. Therefore nature will never let us fall and become nothing ; but yet it can lead us nowhere but always again into nature. Yet how questionable a thing it is to exist as a part of nature every one experiences in his own life and death. Accordingly existence is certainly to be regarded as an erring, to return from which is salvation : it also bears this character throughout. It is therefore conceived in this manner by the ancient Samana religions, and also, although indirectly, by real and original Chris tianity. Even Judaism itself contains at least in the fall (this its redeeming feature) the germ of such a view. Only Greek paganism and Islamism are entirely optimistic: therefore in the former the opposite tendency had to find expression at least in tragedy ; but in Islamism, which is the worst, as it is the most modern, of all religions, it appeared as Sufism, that very beautiful phenomenon, which is completely of Indian spirit and origin, and has now continued for upwards of a thousand years. Nothing can, L in fact, be given as the end of our existence but the* ^knowledge that we had better not be. This, however, is the most important of all truths, which must therefore be expressed, however great the contrast in which it stands with the European manner of thought of the pre sent day. On the other hand, in the whole of non- Mohammedan Asia it is the most universally recognised fundamental truth, to-day as much as three thousand years ago.

If now we consider the will to live as a whole and objectively, we have, in accordance with what has been said, to think of it as involved in an illusion, to escape ^ from which, thus to deny^jtswhol^exjstin^je^deavpur, is what all religions denote by self-renunciation, dbnegatio sui ipsius ; for the .true self is the will to live. The moral virtues, "tlius justice and benevolence, since if they are pure they spring, as I have shown, from the fact that


424 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLV1II.

the will to live, seeing through the principium indivi- duationis, recognises itself in all its manifestations, are accordingly primarily a sign, a symptom, that the self-mani festing will is no longer firmly held in that illusion, bub the jlisjUusiojQj already begins to take place; so that one might metaphorically say it already flaps its wings to fly away from it. Conversely, injustice, wickedness, cruelty are signs of the opposite, thus of the deep entanglement x) in that illusion. Secondly, however, these virtues are a nieansof advancingself-renunciation,a,nd accordingly the denialjjf the will tolive. For true integrity, inviolable justice, this first and most important of cardinal virtues, is so hard a task that whoever professes it unconditionally and from the bottom of his heart has to make sacrifices that soon deprive life of the sweetness which is demanded to make it enjoyable, and thereby turn away the will from it, thus lead to resignation. Yet just what makes integrity honourable is the sacrifices which it costs; in trifles it is not admired. Its nature really consists in this, that the just man does not throw upon others, by craft or force, the burdens and sorrows which life brings frith it, as the unjust man does, but bears himself what falls to his lot ; and thus he has to bear the full burden \of the evil imposed upon human life, undiminished. ^A^ustic^ thereby becomes a means of advancing the denial oilhe will to live, for want and suffering, those true con ditions of human life, are its consequence, and these lead to resignation. Still more quickly does the virtue of benevolence, caritas, which goes further, lead to the same result; for on account of it one takes over even the sufferings which originally fell to the lot of others, there fore appropriates to oneself a larger share of these than in the course of things would come to the particular indivi dual. He who is inspired with this virtue has recognised his own being in all others. And thereby he identifies his own lot with that of humanity in general ; but this is a hard lot, that of care, suffering, and death. Whoever, then,


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 425

by renouncing every accidental advantage, desires for him self no other lot than that of humanity in general cannot desire even this long. The clinging to life and its plea sures must now soon yield, and give place to a universal renunciation ; consequently the denial of the will will take place. Since now, in accordance with this, poverty, privation, and special sufferings of many kinds are intro duced simply by the perfect exercise of the moral virtues, asceticism in the narrowest sense, thus the surrender of all possessions, the intentional seeking out of what is disagree able and repulsive, self-mortification, fasts, the hair shirt, and the scourge all this is rejected by many, and per haps rightly, as superfluous. Justice itself is the hair shirt that constantly harasses its owner and the charity that gives away what is needed, provides constant fasts. 1 Just on this account Buddhism is free from all strict and excessive asceticism, which plays a large part in Brah- manism, thus f rom intentional self-mortification. It rests satisfied with the celibacy, voluntary poverty, humility, and obedience of the monks, with abstention from animal food, as also from all worldliness. Since, further, the goal to which the moral virtues lead is that which is here pointed out, the Vedanta philosophy 2 rightly says that after the entrance of true knowledge, with entire resignation in its train, thus the new birth, then the morality or immorality of the past life is a matter of indifference, and uses here also the saying so often quoted by the Brahmans : " Fin- ditur nodus cordis, dissolvuntur omnes duhitationes, ejusque opera evanescunt, viso supremo illo " (Sancara, sloca 32).

1 If, on the contrary, asceticism is ferred to this fourth motive had to

admitted, the list of the ultimate be passed over in silence, for the

motives of human action, given in question asked was stated in the

my prize essay on the foundation of spirit of the philosophical ethics pre-

morals, namely : ( i ) our own good, vailing in Protestant Europe.

(2) the ill of others, and (3) the 2 Of. F. H. H. Windischinann a

good of others, must be supple- Sancara, sive de theologumenis Ve-

mented by a fourth, our own ill ; danticorum, pp. 116, 117, 121 ; and

which I merely mention here in also Oupnekhat, vol. i. pp. 340, 356,

passing in the interests of syste- 360. matic consistency. In the essay re-


426 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIIL

Now, however objectionable this view may be to many, to whom a reward in heaven or a punishment in hell is a much more satisfactory explanation of the ethical signi ficance of human action, just as the good Windischmann rejects that doctrine, while he expounds it, yet whoever is able to go to the bottom of the matter will find that in the end it agrees with that Christian doctrine especially urged by Luther, that it is not works but only the faith ^ which enters through the work of grace, that saves us, and that therefore we can never be justified by our . deeds, but can only obtain the forgiveness of our sins through the merits of the Mediator. It is indeed easy to see that without such assumptions Christianity would have to teach- infinite punishment for all, and Brahman- ism endless (re-birthg for all, thus no salvation would be reached by eitherr" The sinful works and their conse quences must be annulled and annihilated, whether by extraneous pardon or by ^6jeilteaQfifiLflf_a_hfitter know ledge ; otherwise the world could hope for no salvation ; afterwards, however, they become a matter of indifference. This is also the fieravoia teat, afacns a/Aapriwv, the an nouncement of which the risen Christ exclusively imposes upon His Apostles as the sum of their mission (Luke xxiv. 47). [""The moral virtues_are really not_the ujjimatejendjait

j}nly a step towardlTit. This step is signified in the Christian myth by the eating of the tree^of the knowledge of gqojf and evil, with which moniljresponsibility enters, together with original sin. The latter jxleffis in truth the assertion oftHe jwill to_live : the denial of the willjo live, in consequence of the appearance^of a better knowledge, is, on the other handjSalvation. Between thesejtwo, then,lies the sphere o mbralit yj-i it accompanies man asjajight^upon his path fromTthenassertion to the denial of the will, or, mythically, from original sin to salvationj:hrougli faith in tnlTmedia-

Ttion of_the incarnate God^Avator) ; or,jwcording to the teaching of the Vedas, through all re-births, which are the \j/ coiisequeuce of J/he^works in each case^untirTIght khotf"-



DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 427

ledge appears, anoVvvith^ it salvation (final emancipation), Mokscha, i.e., reunion with" Brahma, The Buddhists, however, with Dfiifegt honesty, only indicate the matter negatively, bv\N"irva5ai which is the negation of this

O J <_ *I * __ZZZ^^ -_ -i -I

worlS7~orof Sansara. If Nirvana is defined as nothing,

this~Trnly~Tneans that the~"Bansara contains no single ^ element which could assist the definition or construction of Nirvana: iTusT onlihisTaccount the Jainas, who differ from the Buddhists only in name, call the Brahmans who believe in the Vedas Sabdapramans, a nickname which is meant to signify that they believe upon hearsay what cannot be known or proved ("Asiat. Eesearches," vol. vi. p. 474).

W]ien certain ancient ^phjlosophjers^suchj.? Orpheus, the Pythagoreans, and Plato (e.g., in the " Phsedo," pp. 151, 183 seq., Bip.; and see Clem. Alex, strom., iii. p. 400 se$.), just like the Apostle Paul, lamentjthe junipn of joul and^bpdy, and desire to_be freed-^from it, we understand the real and true meaning_of this complaint, since we have recog- niseHjjn the_se^cpndjbook, that the bodyjs thejwill itself, obj_ectively_perceived as ajphenomenon injspace.^ <^

In the hour of death it is decided whether the man returns into the womb of nature or belongs no more to

nature at all, but : for this opposite we

lack image, conception, and word, just because these are all taken from the objectificatiou of the will, therefore belong to this, and consequently can in no way express the absolute opposite of it, which accordingly remains for us a mere negation. However, the death of the individual is in each case the unweariedly repeated question of nature to the will to live, " Hast thou enough 1 Wilt thou escape from me 1 " In order that it may occur often enough, the individual life is so short. In this spirit are conceived the ceremonies, prayers, and exhortations of the Brahmans at the time of death, as we find them preserved in the Upanischad in several places ; and so also are the Christian provisions for the suitable employment of the


428 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIJI.

hour of death by means of exhortation, confession, com munion, and extreme unction: hence also the Christian prayers for deliverance from sudden death. That at the present day it is just this that many desire only proves that they no longer stand at the Christian point of view, which is that of the denial of the will to live, but at that of its assertion, which is the heathen point of view.

But he will fear least to become nothing in death who has recognised that he is already nothing now, and who consequently no longer takes any share in his individual phenomenon, because in him knowledge has, as it were, burnt up and consumed the will, so that no will, thus no desire for individual existence, remains in him any more.

Individuality inheres indeed primarily in the intellect ; and the intellect, reflecting the phenomenon, belongs to the phenomenon, which has the principium individuationis as its form. But it inheres also in the will, inasmuch as the character is individual: vehe_ijliaia,cteritself is abolished in the denial of

  • ^ ._ . ~^-

inheres in the will onlyjn. its assertion, Even the holiness which is connected with every purely moral action depends upon the fact that such an action ultimately springs from the immediate knowledge of the numerical identity of the inner nature of all living things. 1 But this identity only really exists in the condition of the denial of the will (Nirvana), for the assertion of the will (Sansara) has for its form the phenomenal appearance of it in multiplicity. [Assertion of the will to live, the - phenomenal world, thecftversity of all beings, indivi duality, egoism, hatred, wickedness, all spring from one _fiotj and so also, on the other hand, do the world as thing in itself, the identity of all beings, justice, bene volence, the denial of the will to live. If now, as I have sufficiently proved, even the moral virtues spring from the consciousness of that identity of all beings, but this lies, not in the phenomenon, but only in the thing in itself, in

1 Cf. Die beidcn Grundprobleme der Etkik, p. 274 (second edition, p. 271).



DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 429

the root of all beings, the moral action is a momentary passing through the point, the permanent return to which is the denial of the will to live.

It follows, as a deduction from what has been said, that we have no ground to assume that there are more perfect intelligences than that of human beings. For we see that even this degree of intelligence is sufficient to impart to the will that knowledge in consequence of which it denies and abolishes itself, upon which the individuality, and consequently the intelligence, which is merely a tool of individual, and therefore animal nature, perish. This will appear to us less open to objection if we consider that we cannot conceive even the most perfect intelli gences possible, which for this end we may experiment ally assume, existing through an endless time, which would be much too poor to afford them constantly new objects worthy of them. .Because the nature of all_things js__at .bottom one, all knowledge of them is necessarily tautolo gical. If now this nature once becomes comprehended, as by those most perfect intelligences it soon would be com prehended, what would then remain but the wearisomeness of mere repetition through an infinite time ? Thus from this side also we are pointed to the fact that the end of aUintelligence can only be reaction upon the will ; since, ho weyerrall willing is an "error, it rejnainsjbhe last jyork of_intelligence_ to abolish the willing, whose ends khad hitherto served. Accordingly even the most perfect in telligence possible can only be a transition step to that to which no knowledge can ever extend: indeed such an intelligence can, in the nature of things^only__assume the position of the moment of the attainment of perfect insight;

~In agreement with all these considerations, and also with what is proved in the second book as to the origin of knowledge in the will, the assertion of which it reflects in fulfilling the sole function of knowledge, that of being serviceable to the ends of the will, while true salvation


430 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIIL

lies in its denial, we see all religious at their highest point pass over into mysticism and mysteries, i.e., into darkness and veiled obscurity, which for knowledge signify merely an empty spot, the point where knowledge necessarily ceases ; therefore for thought this can only be expressed by negations, but for sense perception it is indicated by symbolical signs ; in temples by dim light and silence ; in Brahmanism indeed by the required suspension of all thought and perception for the sake of sinking oneself profoundly in the grounds of one s own being, mentally pronouncing the mysterious Oum. 1 Mysti cism in the widest sense is every guidance to the immediate consciousness of that to which neither perception nor conception, thus in general no knowledge extends. The mystic is thus opposed to the philosopher by the fact that he begins from within, while the philosopher begins from without. The mystic starts from his inner, positive, individual experience, in which he finds himself to be the eternal and only being, &c. But nothing of this is com municable except the assertions which one has to accept upon his word ; consequently he cannot convince. The philosopher, on the other hand, starts from what is common to all, from the objective phenomenon which lies before all, and from the facts of consciousness as they are pre sent in all. His method is therefore reflection upon all

1 If we keep in view the essential and consequently no more knowledge, immanence of our knowledge and of just because there is no more will, all knowledge, which arises from the the service of which is the sole fact that it is a secondary thing destiny of knowledge, which has only appeared for the Now, whoever has comprehended ends of the will, it then becomes this will no longer regard it as be- explicable to us that all mystics of yond all measure extravagant that all religions ultimately attain to a Fakirs should sit down, and, con- kind of ecstasy, in which all and templating the tip of their nose, every knowledge, with its whole seek to banish all thought and per- fundamental form, object and sub- ception, and that in many passages ject, entirely ceases, and only in this of the Upanischads instructions are sphere, which lies beyond all know- given to sink oneself, silently and ledge, do they claim to have reached inwardly pronouncing the mysteri- their highest goal, for they have then ous Oum, in the depths of one s own attained to the sphere in which there being, where subject and object and is no longer any subject and object, all knowledge disappear.


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 431

this, and combination of the data given in it : accordingly he can convince. He ought therefore to beware of fall ing into the way of the mystics, and, for example, by the assertion of intellectual intuitions or pretended immediate apprehensions of the reason, to seek to make a vain show of positive knowledge of that which is for ever inacces sible to all knowledge, or at the most can be indicated by means of a negation. The value and worth of philosophy lies in the fact that it rejects all assumptions which can- 1 not be established, and takes as its data only what can Ibe certainly proved in the world given in external J3gr- jception, in the forms of apprehension of this world, which ^re constitutive of our intellect, and in the consciousness of one s own self which is common to all. Therefore it must remain cosmology, and cannot become theology. Its theme must limititseIF"to the world ; to express in all aspects what this ts, what it is in its inmost nature, is all that it can honestly achieve. Now it answers to this that my system when it reaches its highest point assumes a negative character, thus ends with a negation. It can here speak only of what is denied, given up : but what is thereby won, what is laid hold of, it is obliged (at the conclusion of the fourth book) to denote as nothing, and can only add the consolation that it is merely a relative, not an absolute nothing. For if something is none of all the things which we know, it is certainly for us, speaking generally, nothing. But it does not yet follow from this that it is absolutely nothing, that from every possible point of view and in every possible sense it must be nothing, but only that we are limited to a completely negative knowledge of it, which may very well lie in the limitation of our point of view. Now it is just here that the mystic proceeds positively, and therefore it is just from this point that nothing but mysticism remains. However, any one who wishes this kind of supplement to the negative knowledge to which alone philosophy can guide him will find it in its most beautiful and richest form


432 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

in the Oupnekhat, then also in the Enneads of Plotinus, in Scotus Erigena, in passages of Jakob Bohm, but espe cially in the marvellous work of Madame de Guion, Les Torrens, and in Angelus Silesius ; finally also in the poems of the Sufis, of which Tholuk has given us a collection translated into Latin, and another translated into German, and in many other works. The Sufis are the Gnostics of Islam. Hence Sadi denotes them by a word which may be translated " full of insight" Theism, calculated with reference to the capacity of the multitude, places the source of existence without us, as an object. All mysti cism, and so also Sufisin, according to the various degrees of its initiation, draws it gradually back within us, as the subject, and the adept recognises at last with wonder and delight that he is it himself. This procedure, common to all mysticism, we find not only expressed by Meister Eckhard, the father of German mysticism, in the form of a precept for the perfect ascetic, " that he seek not God outside himself " (Eckhard s works, edited by Pfeiffer, vol. i. p. 626), but also very naively exhibited by Eckhard s spiritual daughter, who sought him out, when she had experienced that conversion in herself, to cry out joyfully to him, " Sir, rejoice with me, I have become God " (loc. cit., p. 465). The mysticism of the Sufis also expresses itself throughout precisely in accordance with this spirit, principally as a revelling in the consciousness that one is oneself the kernel of the world and the source of all existence, to which all returns. Certainly there also often appears the call to surrender all volition as the only way in which Deliverance from individual existence and_ its suffering is possible, yet subordinated and required as easyT^ Tn thp. myatim sTn nf t.hp. Hindus, on the


other hand, the latter side comes out much more strongly, and in Christian mysticism it is quite predominant, so that pantheistic consciousness, which is essential to all mysticism, here only appears in a secondary manner, in consequence of the surrender of all volition, as union with


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 433

God. Corresponding to this difference of the conception, Mohammedan mysticism has a very serene character, Christian mysticism a gloomy and melancholy character, while that of the Hindus, standing above both, in this respect also holds the mean.

Quietism, i.e., surrender of all volition, asceticism, i.e., intentional mortification of one s own will, and mysticism, i.e., consciousness of the identity of one s own nature with that of all things or with the kernel of the world, stand in the closest connection ; so that whoever professes one of them is gradually led to accept the others, even against his intention. Nothing can be more surprising than the agreement with each other of the writers who present these doctrines, notwithstanding the greatest difference of their age, country, and religion, accompanied by the firm certainty and inward confidence with which they set forth the permanence of their inner experience. They do not constitute a sect, which adheres to, defends, and propagates a favourite dogma once laid hold of ; indeed the Indian, Christian, and Mohammedan mystics, quietists, and ascetics are different in every respect, except the inner significance and spirit of their teaching. A very striking example of this is afforded by the comparison of the Torrens of Madame de Guion with the teaching of the Vedas, especially with the passage in the Oupnekhat, vol. i. p. 63, which con tains the content of that French work in the briefest form, but accurately and even with the same images, and yet could not possibly have been known to Madame de Guion in 1680. In the " Deutschen Theologie" (the only unmutilated edition, Stuttgart, 1851) it is said in chapters 2 and 3 that both the fall of the devil and that of ntaam consisted in the fact that the one as the other


ascribed to himself the I_and me. the mine and to me, and on p. 89 it is said: "In true love there remains neither I nor me, mine, to me, thou, thine, and the like." Now, corresponding to this, it is said in the "Kural," from the Tamilian by Graul, p. 8 : " The passion of the

VOL. III. 2 E


434 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

^


^mineydirected outwardly, and that of the \Fjdirected inwardly, cease " (cf. ver. 346). And in the "Manual of Buddhism by Spence Hardy, p. 258, Buddha says: "My disciples reject the thoughts I am this, or this is mine." In general, if we look away from the forms which are introduced by external circumstances and go to the bottom of the matter, we will find that Sakya Muni and Meister Eckhard teach the same ; only that the former dared to express his thoughts directly, while the latter is obliged to clothe them in the garments of the Christian myth and adapt his expressions to this. He carries this, however, so far that with him the Christian myth has become little more than a symbolical language, just as the Hellenic myth became for the Neo-Platoiiists : he takes it throughout allegorically. In the same respect it is worth noticing that the transition of St. Francis from prosperity to the mendicant life is similar to the still greater step of Buddha Sakya Muni from prince to beggar, and that, corresponding to this, the life of St. Francis, and also the order he founded, was just a kind of Sanuyasiism. Indeed it deserves to be mentioned that his relationship with the Indian spirit appears also in his great love for the brutes and frequent intercourse with them, when he always calls them his sisters and brothers ; and his beautiful Cantico also bears witness to his inborn Indian spirit by the praise of the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, the water, the fire, and the earth. 1

Even the Christian quietists must often have had little or no knowledge of each other ; for example, Molinos and Madame de Guion of Tauler and the "Deutsche Theologie" or Gichtel of the former. In any case, the great difference of their culture, in that some of them, like Molinos, were learned, others, like Gichtel and many more, were the reverse, has no essential influence upon their teaching.

1 S. Bonaventurce vita S. Francisci, editi da Schlosser e Steinle., Franco- ch. 8. K. Hase, " Franz von Assist," forto, 8.M., 1842. ch. 10. " / cantici di S, Francesco,"


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 435

Their great internal agreement, along with the firmness and certainty of their utterances, proves all the more that they speak from real inward experience, from an experience which certainly is not accessible to all, but is possessed only by a few favoured individuals, and therefore has received the name of the work of grace, the reality of which, however, for the above reasons, is not to be doubted. But in order to understand all this one must read the mystics themselves, and not be contented with second-hand reports of them; for every one must him self be comprehended before one judges concerning him. Thus to become acquainted with quietism I specially recommend Meister Eckhard, the "Deutsche Theologie," Tauler, Madame de Guion, Antoinette Bourignon, the English Bunyan, Molinos, 1 and Gichtel. In the same way, as practical proofs and examples of the profound seriousness of asceticism, the life of Pascal, edited by Reuchlin, together with his history of the Port-Eoyal, and also the Histoire de Sainte Elisabeth, par le comte de Montalemlert, and La vie de Rancd, par Chateaubriand, are very well worth reading, but yet by no means exhaust all that^ is important in this class. Whoever has read such writings, and compared their spirit with that of ascetism and quietism as it runs through all works of Brahmanism and Buddhism, and speaks in every page, will admit that every philosophy, which must in consistency reject that whole mode of thought, which it can only do by explain ing the representatives of it to be either impostors or mad men, must just on this account necessarily be false. But all European systems, with the exception of mine, find themselves in this position. Truly it must be an extra ordinary madness which, under the most widely different circumstances and persons possible, spoke with such agree-

1 Michcdis de Molinos manuductio verses pieces concernant le quittisme,

tpiritualis; hispanice 1675, {tafoe oa Molinos et ses disdpUs. Amstd,

>eo, latine 1687, gallice in libra non 1688. adeo raro, cui titulus : Rccueil de di-


1 3 6 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

ment, and, moreover, was raised to the position of a chief doctrine of their religion, by the most ancient and numer ous peoples of the earth, something like three -fourths of all the inhabitants of Asia. But no philosophy can leave the theme of quietism and asceticism undecided if the question is proposed to it ; because this theme is, in its matter, identical with that of all metaphysics and ethics. Here then is a point upon which I expect and desire that every philosophy, with its optimism, should declare itself. And if, in the judgment of contemporaries, the paradoxical and unexampled agreement of my philo sophy with quietism and asceticism appears as an open stumbling-block, I, on the contrary, see just in that agreement a proof of its sole correctness and truth, and also a ground of explanation of why it is ignored and kept secret by the Protestant universities.

For not only the religions of the East, but also true Christianity, has throughout that ascetic fundamental char acter which my philosophy explains as the denial of the will to live ; although Protestantism, especially in its present form, seeks to conceal this. Yet even the open enemies of Christianity who have appeared in the most recent times have ascribed to it the doctrines of renunciation, self-denial, perfect chastity, and, in general, mortification of the will, which they quite correctly denote by the name of the " anti- cosmic tendency" and have fully proved that such doctrines are essentially proper to original and genuine Christi anity. In this they are undeniably right. But that they set up this as an evident and patent reproach to Chris tianity, while just here lies its profoundest truth, its high value, and its sublime character, this shows an obscuring of the mind, which can only be explained by the fact that these men s minds, unfortunately like thousands more at the present day in Germany, are completely spoiled and distorted by the miserable Hegelisrn, that school of dulness, that centre of misunderstanding and ignorance, that mind- destroying, spurious wisdom, which now at last begins to


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 437

be recognised as such, and the veneration of which will soon be left to the Danish Academy, in whose eyes even that gross charlatan is a summus philosophies, for whom it takes the field :

" Car Us suivront la creance et estude, De I ignorante et sotte multitude, Dont le plus lourd sera re$u pourjuge."

RABELAIS.

In any case, the ascetic tendency is unmistakable in the genuine and original Christianity as it developed in the writings of the Church Fathers from its kernel in the New Testament ; it is the summit towards which all strives upwards. As its chief doctrine we find the recommenda tion of genuine and pure celibacy (this first and most important step in the denial of the will to live), which is already expressed in the New Testament. 1 Strauss also, in his "Life of Jesus" (vol. i. p. 618 of the first edition), says, with reference to the recommendation of celibacy given in Matt. xix. 1 1 seq., " That the doctrine of Jesus may not run counter to the ideas of the present day, men have hastened to introduce surreptitiously the thought that Jesus only praised celibacy with reference to the circum stances of the time, and in order to leave the activity of the Apostles unfettered ; but there is even less indication of this in the context than in the kindred passage, I Cor. vii. 25 seq.; but we have here again one of the places where ascetic principles, such as prevailed among the Essenes, and probably still more widely among the Jews, appear in the teaching of Jesus also." .Jhis ascetic ten- jjency^appears more decidedly later than at the beginning, when Christianity, still seeking adherents, dared not pitch its demands too high ; and by the beginning of the third century it is expressly urged. Marriage, in genuine Chris tianity, is merely a compromise with the sinful nature of man, as a concession, something allowed to those who lack

1 Matt. xix. II seq. ; Luke xx. ( i f hess. iv. 3 ; I John iii. 3) ; Rev. 35-37 ; i Cor. vii. i-n and 25-40 xiv. 4.


438 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

strength to aspire to the highest, an expedient to avoid greater evil : in this sense it receives the sanction of the Church in order that the bond may be indissoluble. But celibacy and virginity are set up as the higher consecra tion of Christianity through which one enters the ranks of the elect. Through these alone does one attain the victor s crown, which even at the present day is signified by the wreath upon the coffin of the unmarried, and also by that which the bride lays aside on the day of her marriage.

A piece of evidence upon this point, which certainly comes to us from the primitive times of Christianity, is the pregnant answer of the Lord, quoted by Clemens Alexaudrinus (Strom, iii. 6 et 9) from the Gospel of the Egyptians : " Ty JaXeo/^ 6 rcvpios TrvvOavopevrj, /-te^/H TTore tfaz/aro? Kr^vaei ; yue^pt? av, enrev, v^is, at yvvaitce*!, TiKrere" (Salomes interroganti " quousgue vigebit mors?" Dominus " quoadusque" inquit " vos, mulieres, paritis"). "Tovr <rri, /iexpi<i av at 7ri0vfj.iai evepywai" (Hoc est, quamdiu operdbuntur cupiditates}, adds Clement, c. 9, with which he at once connects the famous passage, Korn. v. 12. Further on, c. 13, he quotes the words of Cassianus :


s, irore yvfoaijo-erai ra Trepi wv rjpero, e<f>rj 6 tcvpios, Orav rr)<; aia-^vv^ evBvfia Trar^^re, teat orav ryevr)Tai ra Svo ev, icai TO appev yttera r^ 0rj\eca<f ovre appev, ovre 6rj\v " (Cum interrogaret Salome, quando cognoscentur ea, dc quibus interrogabat, ait Dominus: " quando pudoris indumentum conculcaveritis, et quando duo facto fucrint unum,ct masculum cum famina nee masculum nee fcemineum "), i.e., when she no longer needs the veil of modesty, since all distinction of sex will have disappeared. With regard to this point the heretics have certainly gone furthest : even in the second century the Tatianites or Encratites, the Gnostics, the Marcionites, the Montanists, Valentinians, and Cassians ; yet only because with reckless consistency they gave honour to the truth, and therefore, in accordance with the spirit of Christianity, they taught per fect continence ; while the Church prudently declared to be


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 439

heresy all that ran counter to its far-seeing policy. Augus tine says of the Tatianites : "Nuptias damnant, atque omnino pares eas fornicationibus aliisque corruptionibusfaciunt : nee recipiunt in suum numerum conjugio utentem, sive marem, sivefoeminam. Non vescuntur carnibus, easque abominantur. (De hceresi ad quod vult Deum. hcer., 25.) But even the orthodox Fathers look upon marriage in the light indicated above, and zealously preach entire continence, the ayveta. Athanasius gives as the cause of marriage : Ori vrromrr- ecr/Aev ry rov rrporraropos KaraSt/cy . . . 67rtSrj 6

oveoTro? rov 6eov r)V, TO /ATJ Sia ya/mov KCLI <j>dopa<; r) Se irapa^aa-^ TT;? evro~kr]s rov

Sia TO avo^aai rov ASa/j,. (Quid subjacemus condemnationi propatoris nostri ; . . . nam finis, a Deo prcelatus, erat, nos non per nuptias et corruptionem fieri : sed transgressio mandati nuptias introduxit, propter legis violationem Adce. Exposit. in psalm. 50). Tertullian calls marriage genus mali inferioris, ex indulgentia ortum (De pudicitia, c. 16) and says : " Matrimonium et stuprum est commixtio carnis ; scilicet cujus concupiscentiam dominus stupro adcequavit. Ergo, inquis, jam et primas, id est unas nuptias destruis ? Nee immerito : quoniam et ipsce ex eo constant, quod est stuprum (De exhort, castit., c. 9). Indeed, Augustine himself commits himself entirely to this doc trine and all its results, for he says : " Naoi quosdam, qui murmurent : quid, si, inquiunt, omnes velint ab omni con- cubitu abstinere, unde subsistet genus humanum ? Utinam omnes hoc vellent ! dumtaxat in caritate, de corde puro et conscientia bona, et fide non field : multo citius Dei civitas compleretur, ut acceleraretur terminus mundi " (De bono conjugali, c. 10). And again: "Non vos ab hoc studio, quo multos ad imitandum vos excitatis, frangat querela vanorum, qui dicunt : quomodo subsistet genus humanum, si omnes fuerint continentes? Quasi propter aliud retardetur hoc seculum, nisi ut implcatur prcedestina- tus numerus ille sanctorum, quo citius impleto, profecto nee terminus seculi differ etur (De bono individuitatis, c. 23).


440 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL VII I.

One sees at once that he identifies salvation with the end of the world. The other passages in the works of Augus tine which bear on this point will be found collected in the " Confessio Augustiniana e D. Augustini operibus com- pilata a Hieronymo Torrense" 1610, under the headings De matrimonio, De ccelibatu, &c., and any one may convince himself from these that in ancient, genuine Christianity marriage was only a concession, which besides this was supposed to have only the begetting of children as its end, that, on the other hand, perfect continence was the true virtue far to be preferred to this. To those, however, who do not wish to go back to the authorities themselves I recommend two works for the purpose of removing any kind of doubt as to the tendency of Christianity we are Bpeaking about: Carove , " Ueber das Colibatgesetz" 1832, and Lind, " De ccelibatu Christianorum per tria priora secula," Havnice, 1839. It is, however, by no means the views of these writers themselves to which I refer, for these are opposed to mine, but solely to their carefully collected accounts and quotations, which deserve full acceptance as quite trustworthy, just because both these writers are opponents of celibacy, the former a rational istic Catholic, and the other a Protestant candidate in theo logy, who speaks exactly like one. In the first-named work we find, vol. i. p. 166, in that reference, the follow ing result expressed : " In accordance with the Church view, as it may be read in canonical Church Fathers, in the Synodal and Papal instructions, and in innumer able writings of orthodox Catholics, perpetual chastity is called a divine, heavenly, angelic virtue, and the obtain ing of the assistance of divine grace for this end is made dependent upon earnest prayer. We have already shown that this Augustinian doctrine is by Canisius and in the decrees of the Council of Trent expressed as an unchanging belief of the Church. That, however, it has been retained as a dogma till the present day is sufficiently established by the June number, 1831, of the magazine " Der Katlwlik."


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 441

It is said there, p. 263 : " In Catholicism the observance of a perpetual chastity, for the sake of God, appears as in itself the highest merit of man. The view that the ob servance of continual chastity as an end in itself sanctifies and exalts the man is, as every instructed Catholic is convinced, deeply rooted in Christianity, both as regards its spirit and its express precepts. The decrees of the Council of Trent have abolished all possible doubt on this point. ... It must at any rate be confessed by every un prejudiced person, not only that the doctrine expressed by " Der Katholik " is really Catholic, but also that the proofs adduced may be quite irrefutable for a Catholic reason, because they are drawn so directly from the ecclesiastical view, taken by the Church, of life and its destiny." It is further said in the same work, p. 270: " Although both Paul calls the forbidding to marry a false doctrine, and the still Judaistic author of the Epistle to the Hebrews enjoins that marriage shall be held in honour by all, and the bed kept undefiled (Heb. xiii 4), yet the main tendency of these two sacred writers is not on that account to be mistaken. Virginity is for both the perfect state, marriage only a make-shift for the weak, and only as such to be held inviolable. The highest effort, on the other hand, was directed to complete, material putting off of self. The self must turn and refrain from all that tends only to its own pleasure, and that only temporarily." Lastly, p. 288 : "We agree with the Abbe* Zaccaria, who asserts that celibacy (not the law of celibacy) is before everything to be deduced from the teaching of Christ and the Apostle Paul."

What is opposed to this specially Christian view is everywhere and always merely the Old Testament, with its jravra Ka\a \iav. This appears with peculiar distinct ness from that important third book of the Stromata of Clement, where, arguing against the encratistic heretics mentioned above, he constantly opposes to them only Judaism, with its optimistic history of creation, with which


442 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

the world-denying tendency of the New Testament is certainly in contradiction. But the connection of the New Testament with the Old is at bottom only external, accidental, and forced ; and the one point at which Chris tian doctrine can link itself on to the latter is only to be found, as has been said, in the story of the fall, which, moreover, stands quite isolated in the Old Testament, and is made no further use of. But, in accordance with the account in the Gospels, it is just the orthodox adherents of the Old Testament who bring about the crucifixion of the founder of Christianity, because they find his teaching in conflict with their own. In the said third book of the Stromata of Clement the antagonism between optimism with theism on the one hand, and pessimism with ascetic morality on the other, comes out with surprising distinct ness. This book is directed against the Gnostics, who just taught pessimism and asceticism, that is, eyKpareia (abstinence of every kind, but especially from all sexual satisfaction) ; on account of which Clement censures them vigorously. But, at the same time, it becomes apparent that even the spirit of the Old Testament stands in this antagonism with that of the New Testament. For, apart from the fall, which appears in the Old Testament like a hors d osuvre, the spirit of the Old Testament is diametrically opposed to that of the New Testament the former opti mistic, the latter pessimistic. Clement himself brings this contradiction out prominently at the end of the eleventh chapter (7rpoo-a7roTeivo/j.vov TOV Hav\ov rq> Kpiarrj K. r. X.), although he will not allow that it is a real contradic tion, but explains it as only apparent, like a good Jew, as he is. In general it is interesting to see how with Clement the New and the Old Testament get mixed up together ; and he strives to reconcile them, yet for the most part drives out the New Testament with the Old. Just at the beginning of the third chapter he objects to the Mar- cionites that they find fault with the creation, after the example of Plato and Pythagoras; for Marcion teaches


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 443

that na.ture is bad, made out of bad materials (<f>v<n,s /carer), e/c re v\r)s tcarcy?) ; therefore one ought not to people this world, but to abstain from marriage (/ATJ /3ov\,o/j,evoi rov KOafJiov a-vfATrXypovv, aTre^ecrdai yapov). Now Clement, to whom in general the Old Testament is much more con genial and convincing than the New, takes this very much amiss. He sees in it their flagrant ingratitude to and enmity and rebellion against him who has made the world, the just demiurgus, whose work they them selves are, and yet despise the use of his creatures, in impious rebellion " forsaking the natural opinion " (avrt- raa-a-o/jievot, T TroirjTr) r(t> cr<o)z>, . . . eyKparets rrj 7rpo9 rov jT67roir]KOTa eyOpq, f^rj j3ov\o/J,evot ^prjadaf, rot? vir avrov KTiadeicriv, . . acreftei deofia-^ta rwv Kara (frvcriv erco-ravTes \oyi(TfJia)i ; ). At the same time, in his holy zeal, he will not allow the Marcionites even the honour of originality, but, armed with his well-known erudition, he brings it against them, and supports his case with the most beautiful quota tions, that even the ancient philosophers, that Heracli- tus and Empedocles, Pythagoras and Plato, Orpheus and Pindar, Herodotus and Euripides, and also the Sibyls, lamented deeply the wretched nature of the world, thus taught pessimism. Now in this learned enthusiasm he does not observe that in this way he is just giving the Marcionites water for their mill, for he shows that

" All the wisest of all the ages "

have taught and sung what they do, but confidently and boldly he quotes the most decided and energetic utterances of the ancients in this sense. Certainly they cannot lead him astray. Wise men may mourn the sadness of exist ence, poets may pour out the most affecting lamentations about it, nature and experience may cry out as loudly as they will against optimism, all this does not touch our Church Father: lie holds his Jewish revelation in his hand, and remains confident. The demiurgus made the world. From this it is a priori certain that it is excellent,


444 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

and it may look as it likes. The same thing then takes place with regard to the second point, the ejfcpareia, through which, according to his view, the Marcionites show their ingratitude towards the demiurgus (a^apiareiv r<p Sr)/juovp<yw) and the perversity with which they put from them all his gifts (81 avrtra^iv 7rpo9 rov Srj/jbiovpjov, rrjv xprjcnv roiv Kocr/j,iK(ov Trapairovjjievoi). Here now the tragic poets have preceded the Encratites (to the prejudice of their originality) and have said the same things. For since they also lament the infinite misery of existence, they have added that it is better to bring no children into such a world ; which he now again supports with the most beautiful passages, and, at the same time, accuses the Pythagoreans of having renounced sexual pleasure on this ground. But all this touches him not ; he sticks to his principle that all these sin against the demiurgus, in that they teach that one ought not to marry, ought not to beget children, ought not to bring new miserable beings into the world, ought not to pro vide new food for death (81 eyrcpareias ao-e/3ov<n, ei? re rrjv KTiaw Kai rov dyiov 8r}fiiovpjov, rov TravroKparopa ftovov 6eov, feat, 8i8acrKova-i, f^rj Seiv TrapaSe^eadai <ya/J,ov tccu rcai- BoTrouav, /j,r)8e avreiacvyeiv ra> Koapw ^varv^riaovra^ erepovs, firjSe eTrt-^opijyeiv davarw rpo^v c. 6). Since the learned Church Father thus denounces e^/Kpareia, he seems to have had no presentiment that just after his time the celibacy of the Christian priesthood would be more and more intro duced, and finally, in the eleventh century, raised to the position of a law, because it is in keeping with the spirit of the New Testament. It is just this spirit which the Gnostics have grasped more profoundly and understood better than our Church Father, who is more Jew than Christian. The conception of the Gnostics comes out very clearly at the beginning of the ninth chapter, where the following passage is quoted from the Gospel of the Egyptians : Avros enrev 6 ScoTijp, rfkdov Kara\v<rai TO. epya rtjs 6i]\eia<i 6r)\eias jj,ev, 1-779 evrt^u/ata? epya Se,


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 445

<yeve<riv KCLI <j>0opav (Ajunt enim dixisse Servatorem : " veni ad dissolvendum opera femince ; " femince quidem, cupidi- tatis ; opera autem, generationem et interitum) ; but quite specially at the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth chapter. The Church certainly was obliged to consider how to set a religion upon its legs that could also walk and stand in the world as it is, and among men ; therefore it declared these persons to be heretics. At the conclusion of the seventh chapter our Church Father opposes Indian asceticism, as bad, to Christian Judaism; whereby the fundamental difference of the spirit of the two religions is clearly brought out. In Judaism and Christianity everything runs back to obedience or dis obedience to the command of God : vTraKoi) /cai Trapaicoi) ; as befits us creatures, rj^iv, rot? 7re7r\aa-/j,evoi<$ viro T??? rov IlavTOKpaTopos /3ov\r)a-co<; (ndbis, qui Omnipotentis volun- tate efficti sumus), chap. 14. Then comes, as a second duty, \arpeveiv 6ey ^rnvrt, to serve God, extol His works, and overflow with thankfulness. Certainly the matter has a very different aspect in Brahmanism and Buddhism, for in the latter all improvement and conversion, and the only deliverance we can hope for from this world of suffering, this Sansara, proceeds from the knowledge of the four fundamental truths: (i) dolor; (2) doloris ortus; (3) doloris inter itus; (4) octopartita via ad doloris seda- tionem (Dammapadam, ed. Fausboll, p. 35 et 347). The explanation of these four truths will be found in Bournouf, Introduct. d I hist. du Buddhisme," p. 629, and in all expositions of Buddhism.

In truth, Judaism, with its iravra icaka \iav, is not re lated to Christianity as regards its spirit and ethical tendency, but Brahmanism and Buddhism are. But the spirit and ethical tendency are what is essential in a religion, not the myths in which these are clothed. I therefore cannot give up the belief that the doctrines of Christianity can in some way be derived from these primi tive religions. I have pointed out some traces of this in


446 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

the second volume of the Parerga, 179 (second edition, 1 80). I have to add to these that Epiphanias (Hceretic. xviii.) relates that the first Jewish Christians of Jeru salem, who called themselves Nazarenes, refrained from all animal food. On account of this origin (or, at least, this agreement) Christianity belongs to the ancient, true and sublime faith of mankind, which is opposed to the false, shallow, and injurious optimism which exhibits itself in Greek paganism, Judaism, and Islamism. The Zend religion holds to a certain extent the mean, because it has opposed to Ormuzd a pessimistic counterpoise in Ahrimau. From this Zend religion the Jewish religion proceeded, as J. G. Ehode has thoroughly proved in his book, "Die heilige Sage des Zendvolks ; " from Ormuzd has come Jehovah, and from Ahriman, Satan, who, however, plays only a very subordinate role in Judaism, indeed almost entirely disappears, whereby then optimism gains the upper hand, and there only re mains the myth of the fall as a pessimistic element, which certainly (as the fable of Meschia and Meschiane) is derived from the Zend-Avesta. Yet even this falls into oblivion, till it is again taken up by Christianity along with Satan. Ormuzd himself, however, is derived from Brahmanism, although from a lower region of it ; he is no other than Indra, that subordinate god of the firmament and the atmosphere, who is represented as frequently in rivalry with men. This has been very clearly shown by J. J. Schmidt in his work on the relation of the Gnostic- theosophic doctrines to the religions of the East. This Indra-Ormuzd-Jehovah had afterwards to pass over into Christianity, because this religion arose in Judgea. But on account of the cosmopolitan character of Christianity he laid aside his own name to be denoted in the language of each converted nation by the appellation of the super human beings he supplanted, as 0eo9, Deus, which comes from the Sanscrit Deva (from which also devil comes), or among the Gothico- Germanic peoples by the word God, Gott, which comes from Odin, Wodan, Guodan, Godan.


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 447

In the same way he assumed in Islainism, which also sprang from Judaism, the name of Allah, which also existed earlier in Arabia. Analogous to this, the gods of the Greek Olympus, when in prehistoric times they were transplanted to Italy, also assumed the names of the previously reigning gods : hence among the Romans Zeus is called Jupiter, Hera Juno, Hermes Mercury, &c. In China the first difficulty of the missionaries arose from the fact that the Chinese language has no appellation of the kind and also no word for creating ; for the three religions of China know no gods either in the plural or in the singular. 1

However the rest may be, that Travra KaXa \iav of the Old Testament is really foreign to true Christianity ; for in the New Testament the world is always spoken of as something to which one does not belong, which one does not love, nay, whose lord is the devil. 2 This agrees with the ascetic spirit of the denial of one s self and the over coming of the world which, just like the boundless love of one s neighbour, even of one s enemy, is the fundamental characteristic which Christianity has in common with Brahmanism and Buddhism, and which proves their relationship. There is nothing in which one has to dis tinguish the kernel so carefully from the shell as in Christianity, Just because I prize this kernel highly I sometimes treat the shell with little ceremony; it is, however, thicker than is generally supposed.

Protestantism, since it has eliminated asceticism and its

1 Cf. " Ueber den Willen in der utterably shallow view of life, go so Natur," second edition, p. 124 ; far that they actually falsify this third edition, p. 135. text in their translations. Thus H.

2 For example, John xii. 25, 31, A. Schott, in his new version given xiv. 30, xv. 18, 19, xvi. 33 ; Col. with the Griesbach text of 1805, has ii. 20 ; Eph. ii. 1-3 ; I John ii. translated the word i<off/j.os, John 15-17, iv. 4, 5. On this opportunity xv. 18, 19, by Judcci, i John iv. 4, one may see how certain Protestant by profani homines ; and Col. ii. 20, theologians, in their efforts to mis- aToixeia TOV Kocr/Aov by elements Ju- interpret the text of the New Tes- daica ; while Luther everywhere tament in conformity with their renders the word honestly and cor- rationalistic, optimistic, and un- rectly by " Welt " (world).


448 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

central point, the meritoriousness of celibacy, has already given up the inmost kernel of Christianity, and so far is to be regarded as a falling away from it. This has become apparent in our own day by the gradual transition of Protestantism into shallow rationalism, this modern Pelagianism, which ultimately degenerates into the doc trine of a loving father, who has made the world, in order that things may go on very pleasantly in it (in which case, then, he must certainly have failed), and who, if one only conforms to his will in certain respects, will also afterwards provide a still more beautiful world (with regard to which it is only a pity that it has such a fatal entrance). That may be a good religion for comfortable, married, and enlightened Protestant pastors ; but it is no Christianity. Christianity is the doctrine of the deep guilt of the human race through its existence alone, and the longing of the heart for deliverance from it, which, however, can only be attained by the greatest sacrifices and by the denial of one s own self, thus by an entire reversal of human nature. Luther may have been per fectly right from the practical point of view, i.e., with reference to the Church scandal of his time, which he wished to remove, but not so from the theoretical point of view. The more sublime a doctrine is, the more it is exposed to abuse at the hands of human nature, which, on the whole, is of a low and evil disposition: hence the abuses of Catholicism are so much more numerous and so much greater than those of Protes tantism. Thus, for example, monasticism, that metho dical denial of the will practised in common for the sake of mutual encouragement, is an institution of a sublime description, which, however, for this very reason is for the most part untrue to its spirit. The shocking abuses of the Church excited in the honest mind of Luther a lofty indignation. But in consequence of this he was led to desire to limit as much as possible the claims of Christianity itself, and for this end he first


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 449

confined it to the words of the Bible; but then, in his well-meant zeal, he went too far, for he attacked the very heart of Christianity in the ascetic principle. For after the withdrawal of the ascetic principle, the optimistic principle soon necessarily took its place. But in religions, as in philosophy, optimism is a fundamental error which obstructs the path of all truth. From all this it seems to me that Catholicism is a shamefully abused, but Protes tantism a degenerate Christianity ; thus, that Christianity in general has met the fate which befalls all that is noble, sublime, and great whenever it has to dwell among men.

However, even in the very lap of Protestantism, the essentially ascetic and encratistic spirit of Christianity has made way for itself ; and in this case it has appeared in a phenomenon which perhaps has never before been equalled in magnitude and defiuiteness, the highly re markable sect of the Shakers, in North America, founded by an Englishwoman, Anne Lee, in 1774. The adherents of this sect have already increased to 6000, who are divided into fifteen communities, and inhabit a number of villages in the states of New York and Kentucky, espe cially in the district of New Lebanon, near Nassau village. The fundamental characteristic of their religious rule of life is celibacy and entire abstention from all sexual satis faction. It is unanimously admitted, even by the English and Americans who visit them, and who laugh and jeer at them in every other respect, that this rule is strictly and with perfect honesty observed ; although brothers and sisters sometimes even occupy the same house, eat at the same table, nay, dance together in the religious services in church. For whoever has made that hardest of all sacri fices may dance before the Lord; he is a victor, he has overcome. Their singing in church consists in general of cheerful, and partly even of merry, songs. The church- dance, also, which follows the sermon is accompanied by the singing of the rest. It is a lively dance, performed in measured time, and concludes with a galop, which is

VOL. ill. 2 F


450 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

carried on till the dancers are exhausted. Between each dance one of their teachers cries aloud, " Think, that ye rejoice before the Lord for having slain your flesh; for this is here the only use we make of our refractory limbs." To celibacy most of the other conditions link themselves on of themselves. There are no families, and therefore there is no private property, but community of goods. All are clothed alike, in Quaker fashion, and with great neatness. They are industrious and diligent : idleness is not endured. They have also the enviable rule that they are to avoid all unnecessary noise, such as shouting, door-slamming, whip-cracking, loud knocking, &c. Their rule of life has been thus expressed by one of them : " Lead a life of innocence and purity, love your neighbours as yourself, live at peace with all men, and refrain from war, blood shed, and all violence against others, as well as from all striving after worldly honour and distinction. Give to each his own, and follow after holiness, without which no man can see the Lord Do good to all so far as your opportunity and your power extends." They persuade no one to join them, but test those who present themselves by a novitiate of several years. Moreover, every one is free to leave them ; very rarely is any one expelled for misconduct. Adopted children are carefully educated, and only when they are grown up do they voluntarily join the sect. It is said that in the controversies of their ministers with Anglican clergy the latter generally come off the worse, for the arguments consist of passages from the New Testament. Fuller accounts of them will be found particularly in Maxwell s " Run through the United States," 1841; also in Benedict s "History of all Eeli- gions," 1830; also in the Times, November 4, 1837, and in the German magazine Columbus, May number, 1831. A German sect in America, very similar to them, who also live in strict celibacy and continence, are the Rappists. An account of them is given in F. Loher s "Geschichte und Zustande der Deutschen in Amerika" 1853.


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 45 1

In Eussia also the Easkolniks are a similar sect. The Gichtelians live also in strict chastity. But among the ancient Jews we already find a prototype of all these sects, the Essenes, of whom even Pliny gives an account (Hist. Nat., v. 15), and who resembled the Shakers very much, not only in celibacy, but also in other respects ; for example, in dancing during divine service, which leads to the opinion that the founder of the Shakers took the Essenes as a pattern. In the presence of such facts as these how does Luther s assertion look : " Ubi natura, quemadmodum a Deo nobis insita est, fertur ac rapitur, FIERI NULLO HOBO POTEST, ut extra matrimonium caste vivatur " ? (Catech. maj.}

Although Christianity, in essential respects, taught only what all Asia knew long before, and even better, yet for Europe it was a new and great revelation, in consequence of which the spiritual tendency of the European nations was therefore entirely transformed. For it disclosed to them the metaphysical significance of existence, and there fore taught them to look away from the narrow, paltry, ephemeral life of earth, and to regard it no longer as an end in itself, but as a condition of suffering, guilt, trial, conflict, and purification, out of which, by means of moral achievements, difficult renunciation, and denial of oneself, one may rise to a better existence, which is inconceivable by us. It taught the great truth of the assertion and denial of the will to live in the clothing of allegory by saying that through Adam s fall the curse has come upon all, sin has come into the world, and guilt is inherited by all; but that, on the other hand, through the sacrificial death of Jesus all are reconciled, the world saved, guilt abolished, and justice satisfied. In order, however, to un derstand the truth itself that is contained in this myth one must not regard men simply in time, as beings inde pendent of each other, but must comprehend the (Platonic) Idea of man, which is related to the series of men, as eternity in itself is related to eternity drawn out as time ;


452 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIIL

hence the eternal Idea man extended in time to tlie series of men through the connecting bond of generation appears again in time as a whole. If now we keep the Idea of man in view, we see that Adam s fall represents the finite, animal, sinful nature of man, in respect of which he is a finite being, exposed to sin, suffering, and death. On the other hand, the life, teaching, and death of Jesus Christ represent the eternal, supernatural side, the freedom, the salvation of man. Now every man, as such and potentid, is both Adam and Jesus, according as he comprehends himself, and his will thereupon determines him ; in con sequence of which he is then condemned and given over to death, or saved and attains to eternal life. Now these truths, both in their allegorical and in their real accepta tion, were completely new as far as Greeks and Komans were concerned, who were still entirely absorbed in life, and did not seriously look beyond it. Let whoever doubts this see how Cicero (Pro Cluentio, c. 61) and Sallust (Catil., c. 47) speak of the state after death. The ancients, although far advanced in almost everything else, remained children with regard to the chief concern, and were surpassed in this even by the Druids, who at least taught metempsychosis. That one or two philosophers, like Pythagoras and Plato, thought otherwise alters nothing as regards the whole.

That great fundamental truth, then, which is contained in Christianity, as in Brahmanism and Buddhism, the need of deliverance from an existence which is given up to suffering and death, and the attainableness of this by the denial of the will, thus by a decided opposition to nature, is beyond all comparison the most important truth there can be ; but, at the same time, it is entirely opposed to the natural tendency of the human race, and in its true grounds it is difficult to comprehend ; as indeed all that can only be thought generally and in the abstract is inaccessible to the great majority of men. Therefore for these men there was everywhere required, in order to


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 453

bring that great truth within the sphere of its practical application, a mythical vehicle for it, as it were a recep tacle, without which it would be lost and dissipated. The truth had therefore everywhere to borrow the garb of the fable, and also constantly to endeavour to connect itself with what in each case was historically given, already familiar, and already revered. What sensu pro- prio remained inaccessible to the great mass of man kind of all ages and lands, with their low tone of mind, their intellectual stupidity and general brutality, had, for practical purposes, to be brought home to them sensu allegorico, in order to become their guiding star. So, then, the religions mentioned above are to be regarded as the sacred vessels in which the great truth, known and expressed for several thousand years, indeed perhaps since the beginning of the human race, which yet in itself, for the great mass of mankind always remains a mystery, is, according to the measure of their powers, made accessible to them, preserved and transmitted through the centuries. Yet, because all that does not through and through consist of the imperishable material of pure truth is subject to destruction, whenever this fate befalls such a vessel, through contact with a heterogeneous age, its sacred con tent must in some way be saved and preserved for man kind by another. But it is the task of philosophy, since it is one with pure truth, to present that content pure and unmixed, thus merely in abstract conceptions, and consequently without that vehicle, for those who are cap able of thinking, who are always an exceedingly small number. It is therefore related to religions as a straight line to several curves running near it: for it expresses sensu proprio, thus reaches directly, what they show in veiled forms and reach by circuitous routes.

If now, in order to illustrate what has just been said by an example, and also to follow a philosophical fashion of my time, I should wish perhaps to attempt to solve the profoundest mystery of Christianity, that of the


454 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

Trinity, in the fundamental conception of my philosophy, this could be done, with the licence permitted in such interpretations, in the following manner. The Holy Ghost is the distinct denial of the will to live : the man in whom this exhibits itself in concrete is the Son ; He is identical with the will which asserts life, and thereby produces the phenomenon of this perceptible world, i.e., with the Father, because the assertion and denial are opposite acts of the same will whose capability for both is the only true freedom. However, this is to be regarded as a mere lusus ingenii.

Before I close this chapter I wish to adduce a few proofs in support of what in 68 of the first volume I denoted by the expression Aevrepos TT\OV<;, the bringing about of the denial of the will by one s own deeply felt suffering, thus not merely by the appropriation of the suffering of others, and the knowledge of the vanity and wretchedness of our existence introduced by this. We can arrive at a comprehension of what goes on in the heart of a man, in the case of an elevation of this kind and the accompanying purifying process, by considering what every emotional man experiences on beholding a tragedy, which is of kindred nature to this. In the third and fourth acts perhaps such a man is distressed and dis turbed by the ever more clouded and threatened happi ness of the hero ; but when, in the fifth act, this happi ness is entirely wrecked and shattered, he experiences a certain elevation of the soul, which affords him an infinitely higher kind of pleasure than the sight of the happiness of the hero, however great it might be, could ever have given. Now this is the same thing, in the weak water-colours of sympathy which is able to raise a well-known illusion, as that which takes place with the energy of reality in the feeling of our own fate when it is heavy misfortune that drives the man at last into the haven of entire resignation. Upon this occurrence de pend all those conversions which completely transform


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 455

men such as are described in the text. I may give here in a few words the story of the conversion of the Abbe Bance", as it is strikingly similar to that of Eaymond Lully, which is told in the text, and besides this is memorable on account of its result. His youth was devoted to en joyment and pleasure; finally, he lived in a relation of passion with a Madame de Montbazon. One evening, when he visited her, he found her room empty, in disorder and darkness. He struck something with his foot; it was her head, which had been severed from the trunk, because after her sudden death her corpse could not otherwise be got into the lead coffin that stood beside it. After over coming an immense sorrow, Bance 1 now became, in 1663, the reformer of the order of the Trappists, which at that time had entirely relaxed the strictness of its rules. He joined this order, and through him it was led back to that terrible degree of renunciation which is still maintained at ths present day at La Trappe, and, as the methodically carried out denial of the will, aided by the severest renun ciation and an incredibly hard and painful manner of life, fills the visitor with sacred awe, after he has been touched at his reception by the humility of these genuine monks, who, emaciated by fasting, by cold, by night watches, prayers and penances, kneel before him, the worldling and the sinner, to implore his blessing. Of all orders of monks, this one alone has maintained itself in perfection in France, through all changes ; which is to be attributed to the profound earnestness which in it is unmistakable, and excludes all secondary ends. It has remained un touched even by the decline of religion, because its root lies deeper in human nature than any positive system of belief.

I have mentioned in the text that this great and rapid change of the inmost being of man which we are here considering, and which has hitherto been entirely neglected by philosophers, appears most frequently when, with full consciousness, he stands in the presence of a violent and


456 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLVIII.

certain death, thus in the case of executions. But, in order to bring this process much more distinctly before our eyes, I regard it as by no means unbecoming to the dignity of philosophy to quote what has been said by some criminals before their execution, even at the risk of incurring the sneer that I encourage gallows sermons. I certainly rather believe that the gallows is a place of quite peculiar revelations, and a watch-tower from which the man who even then retains his presence of mind obtains a wider, clearer outlook into eternity than most philosophers over the paragraphs of their rational psycho logy and theology. The following speech on the gallows was made on the I5th April, 1837, at Gloucester, by a man called Bartlett, who had murdered his mother-in-law: " Englishmen and fellow countrymen, I have a few words to say to you, and they shall be but very few. Yet let me entreat you, one and all, that these few words that I shall utter may strike deep into your hearts. Bear them in your mind, not only now while you are witnessing this sad scene, but take them to your homes, take them, and repeat them to your children and friends. I implore you as a dying man one for whom the instrument of death is even now prepared and these words are that you may loose yourselves from the love of this dying world and its vain pleasures. Think less of it and more of your God. Do this : repent, repent, for be assured that without deep and true repentance, without turning to your heavenly Father, you will never attain, nor can hold the slightest hope of ever reaching those bowers of bliss to which I trust I am now fast advancing " (Times, i8th April 1837). Still more remarkable are the last words of the well- known murderer, Greenacre, who was executed in London on the 1st of May 1837. The English newspaper the Post gives the following account, which is also reprinted in Galignani s Messenger of the 6th of May 1837: "On the morning of his execution a gentleman advised him to put his trust in God, and pray for forgiveness through the


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 457

mediation of Jesus Christ. Greenacre replied that for giveness through the mediation of Christ was a matter of opinion ; for his part, he believed that in the sight of the highest Being, a Mohammedan was as good as a Christian and had just as much claim to salvation. Since his imprisonment he had had his attention directed to theological subjects, and he had become convinced that the gallows is a passport to heaven." The indifference displayed here towards positive religions is just what gives this utterance greater weight, for it shows that it is no fanatical delusion, but individual immediate knowledge that lies at its foundation. The fol lowing incident may also be mentioned which is given by Galignani s Messenger of the I5th August 1837, from the Limerick Chronicle: "Last Monday Maria Cooney was executed for the revolting murder of Mrs. Anderson. So deeply was this wretched woman impressed with the greatness of her crime that she kissed the rope which was put round her neck, while she humbly implored the mercy of God." Lastly this : the Times, of the 2Qth April 1845 gives several letters which Hocker, who was con demned for the murder of Delarue, wrote the day before his execution. In one of these he says : " I am persuaded that unless the natural heart be broken, and renewed by divine mercy, however noble and amiable it may be deemed by the world, it can never think of eternity with out inwardly shuddering." These are the outlooks into eternity referred to above which are obtained from that watch-tower ; and I have had the less hesitation in giving them here since Shakspeare also says

" Out of these convertites There is much matter to be heard and learned:"

As You Like it, last scene.

Strauss, in his " Life of Jesus," has proved that Chris tianity also ascribes to suffering as such the purifying and sanctifying power here set forth (Leben Jesu, vol. i. ch. 6, 72 and 74). He says that the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount have a different sense in Luke (vi.


458 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XL VIII.

21) from that which they have in Matt. (v. 3), for only the latter adds TO> irvevfiarL to fiaxaptoi 61 TTTW^OI, and rrjv &ircaio<rvv7)v 10 Tretvwvres. Thus by him alone are the simple-minded, the humble, &c., meant, while by Luke are meant the literally poor ; so that here the contrast is that between present suffering and future happiness. With the Ebionites it is a capital principle that whoever takes his portion in this age gets nothing in the future, and con versely. Accordingly in Luke the blessings are followed by as many ovai, woes, which are addressed to the rich, 61 7r\ov<rioi, the full, 64 efj-TreTrXijcrfievoi, and to them that laugh. 6t yeXcavres, in the Ebionite spirit. In the same spirit, he says, p. 604, is the parable (Luke xvi. 19) of the rich man and Lazarus given, which nowhere mentions any fault of the former or any merit of the latter, and takes as the stan dard of the future recompense, not the good done or the wickedness practised, but the evil suffered here and the good things enjoyed, in the Ebionite spirit " A like estima tion of outward poverty," Strauss goes on, " is also attri buted to Jesus by the other synoptists (Matt. xix. 16; Mark x. 17 ; Luke xviii 18), in the story of the rich young man and the saying about the camel and the eye of a needle."

If we go to the bottom of the matter we will recognise that even in the most famous passages of the Sermon on the Mount there is contained an indirect injunction to voluntary poverty, and thereby to the denial of the will to live. For the precept (Matt. v. 40 seq.) to consent un conditionally to all demands made upon us, to give our cloak also to him who will take away our coat, &c., similarly (Matt. vi. 25-34) tn e precept to cast aside all care for the future, even for the morrow, and so to live simply in the present, are rules of life the observance of which inevitably leads to absolute poverty, and which therefore just say in an indirect manner what Buddha directly commands his disciples and has confirmed by his own example: throw everything away and become


DENIAL OF THE WILL TO LIVE. 459

bhikkhu, i.e., beggars. This appears still more decidedly in the passage Matt. x. 9-15, where all possessions, even shoes and a staff, are forbidden to the Apostles, and they are directed to beg. These commands afterwards became the foundation of the mendicant order of St. Francis (Bonaventurce vita S. Francisci, c. 3). Hence, then, I say that the spirit of Christian ethics is identical with that of Brahmanism and Buddhism. In conformity with the whole view expounded here Meister Eckhard also says (Works, vol. i p. 492) : " The swiftest animal that bears thee to perfection is suffering."


CHAPTER XLIX.

THE WAY OF SALVATION.

! THERE is only one inborn error, and that is, that we exist in order to be happy. It is inborn in us because it is one with our existence itself, and our whole being is only a paraphrase of it, nay, our body is its monogram. We are nothing more than will to live and the successive satisfaction of all our volitions is what we think in the conception of happiness.

As long as we persist in this inborn error, indeed even become rigidly fixed in it through optimistic dogmas, the world appears to us full of contradictions. For at every step, in great things as in small, we must experience that the world and life are by no means arranged with a view to containing a happy existence. While now by this the thoughtless man only finds himself tormented in reality, in the case of him who thinks there is added to his real pain the theoretical perplexity why a world and a life which exist in order that one may be happy in them answer their end so badly. First of all it finds expression in pious ejaculations, such as, "Ah! why are the tears on earth so many ? " &c. &c. But in their train come disquieting doubts about the assumptions of those preconceived opti mistic dogmas. One may try if one will to throw the blame of one s individual unhappiness now upon the circumstances, now upon other men, now upon one s own bad luck, or even upon one s own awkwardness, and may know well how all these have worked together to produce it ; but this in no way alters the result that one has


THE WAY OF SALVATION. 461

missed the real end of life, which consists indeed iu being happy. The consideration of this is, then, often very depressing, especially if life is already on the wane; hence the countenances of almost all elderly persons wear the expression of that which in English is called dis appointment. Besides this, however, hitherto every day of our life has taught us that joys and pleasures, even if attained, are in themselves delusive, do not perform what they promise, do not satisfy the heart, and finally their possession is at least embittered by the disagreeables that accompany them or spring from them ; while, on the contrary, the pains and sorrows prove themselves very real, and often exceed all expectation. Thus certainly everything in life is calculated to recall us from that original error, and to convince us that the end of our existence is not to be happy. Indeed, if we regard it more closely and without prejudice, life rather presents itself as specially intended to be such that we shall not feel ourselves happy in it, for through its whole nature it bears the character of something for which we have no taste, which must be endured by us, and from which we have to return as from an error that our heart may be cured of the passionate desire of enjoyment, nay, of life, and turned away from the world. In this sense, it would be more correct to place the end of life in our woe than in our welfare. For the considerations at the conclusion of the preceding chapter have shown that the more one suffers the sooner one attains to the true end of life, and that the more happily one lives the longer this is delayed. The conclusion of the last letter of Seneca corresponds with this : bonum tune kabebis tuum, quumTintelliges infeli- cissimos esse f dices ; which certainly seems to show the influence of Christian ity. The peculiar effect of the tragic drama also ultimately depends upon the fact that it shakes that inborn error by vividly presenting in a great and striking example the vanity of human effort and the nothingness of this whole existence, and thus discloses the


C


462 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIX.

profound significance of life ; hence it is recognised as the sublimest form of poetry. Whoever now has returned by one or other path from that error which dwells in us a priori, that -rrpwrov -^evSos of our existence, will soon see all in another light, and will now find the world in harmony with his insight, although not with his wishes. Misfortunes of every kind and magnitude, although they pain him, will no longer surprise him, for he has come to see that it is just pain and trouble that tend towards the true end of life, the turning away of the will from it. This will give him indeed a wonderful composedness in all that may happen, similar to that with which a sick person who undergoes a long and painful cure bears the pain of it as a sign of its efficacy. In the whole of human existence suffering expresses itself clearly enough as its true destiny. Life is deeply sunk in suffering, and cannot escape from it; our entrance into it takes place amid tears, its course is at bottom always tragic, and its end still more so. There is an unmistakable appearance of intention in this. As a rule man s destiny passes through his mind in a striking manner, at the very summit of his desires and efforts, and thus his life receives a tragic tendency by virtue of which it is fitted to free him from the passionate desire of which every individual existence is an example, and bring him into such a condition that he parts with life without retaining a single desire for it and its pleasures. Suffering is, in fact, the purifying process through which alone, in most cases, the man is sanctified, .., is led back from the path of error of the will to live. In accordance with this, the salutary nature of the cross and of suffering is so often explained in Christian books of edification, and in general the cross, an instrument of suffering, not of doing, is very suitably the symbol of the Christian religion. Nay, even the Preacher, who is still Jewish, but so very philosophical, rightly says : " Sorrow is better than laughter : for by the sadness of the coun- \ tenance the heart is made better " (Eccles. vii. 3). Under


THE WAY OF SALVATION. 463

the name of the Bevrepos 7rX,ov? I have presented suffer ing as to a certain extent a substitute for virtue and holi ness ; but here I must make the bold assertion that, taking everything into consideration, we have more to hope for our salvation and deliverance from what we suffer than from what we do. Precisely in this spirit Lamartine very beautifully says in his " Hymne d, la douleur" apostrophising pain :

" Tu me traites sans doute en favori des deux, Car tu n dpargnes pas les larmes d mes yeux. Eli bien ! je les refois comme tu les envoies, Tes maux seront mes biens, et tes soupirs mes joies. Je sens qu il est en toi, sans avoir combattu, Une vertu divine au lieu de ma vertu, Que tu n es pas la mart I dme, mais sa me, Que ton bras, en frappant, gue rit et vivifie."

If, then, suffering itself has such a sanctifying power, this will belong in an even higher degree to death, which is more feared than any suffering. Answering to this, a certain awe, kindred to that which great suffering occa sions us, is felt in the presence of every dead person, indeed every case of death presents itself to a certain extent as a kind of apotheosis or canonisation ; therefore we cannot look upon the dead body of even the most insignificant man without awe, and indeed, extraordinary as the remark may sound in this place, in the presence of every corpse the watch goes under arms. Dying is cer tainly to be regarded as the real aim of life : in the moment of death all that is decided for which the whole course of life was only the preparation and introduction. Death is the result, the Etsumd of life, or the added up sum which expresses at once the instruction which life gave in detail, and bit by bit ; this, that the whole striv ing whose manifestation is life was a vain, idle, and self- contradictory effort, to have returned from which is a deliverance. As the whole, slow vegetation of the plant is related to the fruit, which now at a stroke achieves a


464 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLIX.

hundredfold what the plant achieved gradually and bit by bit, so life, with its obstacles, deluded hopes, frustrated plans, and constant suffering, is related to death, which at one stroke destroys all, all that the man has willed, and so crowns the instruction which life gave him. The com pleted course of life upon which the dying man looks back has an effect upon the whole will that objectifies itself in this perishing individuality, analogous to that which a motive exercises upon the conduct of the man. It gives it a new direction, which accordingly is the moral and essential result of the life. Just because a sudden death makes this retrospect impossible, the Church regards such a death as a misfortune, arid prays that it should be averted. Since this retrospect, like the distinct fore knowledge of death, as conditioned by the reason, is possible only in man, not in the brute, and accordingly man alone really drinks the cup of death, humanity is the only material in which the will can deny itself and entirely turn away from life. To the will that does not deny itself every birth imparts a new and different intel lect, till it has learned the true nature of life, and in con sequence of this wills it no more.

In the natural course, in age the decay of the body coincides with that of the will. The desire for pleasures soon vanishes with the capacity to enjoy them. The occasion of the most vehement willing, the focus of the will, the sexual impulse, is first extinguished, whereby the man is placed in a position which resembles the state of innocence which existed before the development of the genital system. The illusions, which set up chimeras as exceedingly desirable benefits, vanish, and the knowledge of the vanity of all earthly blessings takes their place. Selfishness is repressed by the love of one s children, by means of which the man already begins to live more in the ego of others than in his own, which now will soon be no more. This course of life is at least the desirable one ; it is the euthanasia of the will. In hope of this the Brah-


THE WAY OF SALVATION. 465

man is ordered, after he has passed the best years of his life, to forsake possessions and family, and lead the life of a hermit (Menu, B. 6). But if, conversely, the desire outlives the capacity for enjoyment, and we now regret particular pleasures in life which we miss, instead of seeing the emptiness and vanity of all ; and if then gold, the abstract representative of the objects of desire for which the sense is dead, takes the place of all these objects themselves, and now excites the same vehement passions which were formerly more pardonably awakened by the objects of actual pleasure, and thus now with deadened senses a lifeless but indestructible object is desired with equally indestructible eagerness ; or, also, if, in the same way, existence in the opinion of others takes the place of existence and action in the real world, and now kindles the same passions ; then the will has become sublimated and etherealised into avarice or ambition; but has thereby thrown itself into the last fortress, in which it can only now be besieged by death. The end of existence has been missed.

All these considerations afford us a fuller explanation of that purification, conversion of the will and deliverance, denoted in the preceding chapter by the expression Sevrepos 7rXoi? which is brought about by the suffering of life, and without doubt is the most frequent. For it is the way of sinners such as we all are. The other way, which leads to the same goal, by means of mere know ledge and the consequent appropriation of the suffering of a whole world, is the narrow path of the elect, the saints, and therefore to be regarded as a rare exception. Therefore without that first way for most of us there would be no salvation to hope for. However, we struggle against entering upon it, and strive rather to procure for ourselves a safe and agreeable existence, whereby we chain our will ever more firmly to life. The conduct of the ascetics is the opposite of this. They make their life intentionally as poor, hard, and empty of pleasure as possible, because

VOL. III. 2 G


466 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER XLfX.

they have their true and ultimate welfare in view. But fate and the course of things care for us better than we ourselves, for they frustrate on all sides our arrangements for an Utopian life, the folly of which is evident enough from its brevity, uncertainty, and emptiness, and its con clusion by bitter death ; they strew thorns upon thorns in our path, and meet us everywhere with healing sorrow, the panacea of our misery. What really gives its won derful and ambiguous character to our life is this, that two diametrically opposite aims constantly cross each other in it; that of the individual will directed to chimerical happiness in an ephemeral, dream-like, and delusive exist ence, in which, with reference to the past, happiness and unhappiness are a matter of indifference, and the present is every moment becoming the past; and that of fate visibly enough directed to the destruction of our happi ness, and thereby to the mortification of our will and the abolition of the illusion that holds us chained in the bonds of this world.

The prevalent and peculiarly Protestant view that the end of life lies solely and immediately in the moral virtues, thus in the practice of justice and benevolence, betrays its insufficiency even in the fact that so miserably little real and pure morality is found among men. I am not speaking at all of lofty virtue, nobleness, magnanimity, and self-sacrifice, which one hardly finds anywhere but in plays and novels, but only of those virtues which are the duty of every one. Let whoever is old think of all those with whom he has had to do ; how many persons will he have met who were merely really and truly honest ? Were not by far the greater number, in spite of their shame less indignation at the slightest suspicion of dishonesty or even untruthfulness, in plain words, the precise opposite ? Were not abject selfishness, boundless avarice, well-con cealed knavery, and also poisonous envy and fiendish delight in the misfortunes of others so universally prevalent that the slightest exception was met with


THE WAY OF SALVATION. 467

surprise? And benevolence, how very rarely it extends beyond a gift of what is so superfluous that one never misses it. And is the whole end of existence to lie in such exceedingly rare and weak traces of morality ? If we place it, on the contrary, in the entire reversal of this nature of ours (which bears the evil fruits just mentioned) brought about by suffering, the matter gains an appearance of probability and is brought into agreement with what actually lies before us. Life presents itself then as a purifying process, of which the purifying lye is pain. If the process is carried out, it leaves behind it the previous immorality and wickedness as refuse, and there appears what the Veda says : " Finditur nodus cordis, dissolvuntur omnes dubitationes, ejusque opera evanescunt." As agreeing with this view the fifteenth sermon of Meister Eckhard will be found very well worth reading.


468


CHAPTER L.

BPIPHILOSOPHY.

AT the conclusion of my exposition a few reflections concerning my philosophy itself may find their place. My philosophy does not pretend to explain the existence of the world in its ultimate grounds : it rather sticks to the facts of external and internal experience as they are accessible to every one, and shows the true and deepest connection of them without really going beyond them to any extra-mundane things and their relations to the world. It therefore arrives at no conclusions as to what lies beyond all possible experience, but affords merely an exposition of what is given in the external world and in self-consciousness, thus contents itself with comprehend ing the nature of the world in its inner connection with itself. Tt is consequently immanent, in the Kantian sense of the word. But just on this account it leaves many questions untouched ; for example, why what is proved as a fact is as it is and not otherwise, &c. All such questions, however, or rather the answers to them, are really tran scendent, i.e., they cannot be thought by the forms and functions of our intellect, do not enter into these ; it is therefore related to them as our sensibility is related to the possible properties of bodies for which we have no senses. After all my explanations one may still ask, for example, whence has sprung this will that is free to assert itself, the manifestation of which is the world, or to deny itself, the manifestation of which we do not know. What is the fatality lying beyond all experience which has placed it in the very doubtful dilemma of either appearing as a world in which suffering and death


EPIPHILOSOPHY. 469

reign, or else denying its very being ? or again, what can have prevailed upon it to forsake the infinitely preferable peace of blessed nothingness? An individual will, one may add, can only turn to its own destruction through error in the choice, thus through the fault of knowledge ; but the will in itself, before all manifestation, conse quently still without knowledge, how could it go astray and fall into the ruin of its present condition ? Whence in general is the great discord that permeates this world ? It may, further, be asked how deep into the true being of the world the roots of individuality go ; to which it may certainly be answered : they go as deep as the assertion of the will to live ; where the denial of the will appears they cease, for they have arisen with the assertion. But one might indeed even put the question, " What would I be if I were not will to live ? " and more of the same kind To all such questions we would first have to reply that the expression of the most universal and general form of our intellect is the principle of sufficient reason ; but that just on this account that principle finds application only to the phenomenon, not to the being in itself of things. Yet all whence and why depend upon that principle alone. As a result of the Kantian philosophy it is no longer an ceterna veritas, but merely the form, i.e., the function, of our intel lect, which is essentially cerebral, and originally a mere tool in the service of the will, which it therefore presup poses together with all its objectifications. But our whole knowing and conceiving is bound to its forms ; accordingly we must conceive everything in time, consequently as a before and after, then as cause and effect, and also as above and below, whole and part, &c., and cannot by any means escape from this sphere in which all possibility of our knowledge lies. Now these forms are utterly unsuited to the problems raised here, nor are they fit or able to com prehend their solution even if it were given. Therefore with our intellect, this mere tool of the will, we are every where striking upon insoluble problems, as against the


470 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER L.

walls of our prison. But, besides this, it may at least be assumed as probable that not only for us is knowledge of all that has been asked about impossible, but no such knowledge is possible in general, thus never and in no way ; that these relations are not only relatively but abso lutely insusceptible of investigation ; that not only does no one know them, but that they are in themselves imknowable, because they do not enter into the form of knowledge in general. (This corresponds to what Scotus Erigena says, de mirdbili divina ignorantia, qua Deus non intelligit quid ipse sit. Lib. ii.) For knowableness in general, with its most essential, and therefore constantly necessary form of subject and object, belongs merely to the phenomenal appearance, not to the being in itself of things. Where knowledge, and consequently idea, is, there is also only phenomenon, and we stand there already in the province of the phenomenal ; nay, know ledge in general is known to us only as a phenomenon of brain, and we are not only unjustified in conceiving it otherwise, but also incapable of doing so. What the world is as world may be understood : it is phenomenal manifes tation ; and we can know that which manifests itself in it, directly from ourselves, by means of a thorough analysis of self-consciousness. Then, however, by means of this key to the nature of the world, the whole phenomenal manifestation can be deciphered, as I believe I have suc ceeded in doing. But if we leave the world in order to answer the questions indicated above, we have also left the whole sphere in which, not only connection according to reason and consequent, but even knowledge itself is possible ; then all is instabilis tellus, innabilis unda. The nature of things before or beyond the world, and con sequently beyond the will, is open to no investigation ; because knowledge in general is itself only a phenomenon, and therefore exists only in the world as the world exists only in it. The inner being in itself of things is nothing that knows, no intellect, but an unconscious; knowledge is


BPIPHILOSOPHY. 471

only added as an accident, a means of assistance to the phenomenon of that inner being, and can therefore appre hend that being itself only in proportion to its own nature, which is designed with reference to quite different ends (those of the individual will), consequently very imperfectly. Here lies the reason why a perfect understanding of the existence, nature, and origin of the world, extending to its ultimate ground and satisfying all demands, is impossible. So much as to the limits of my philosophy, and indeed of all philosophy.

The ev teat irav, i.e., that the inner nature in all things is absolutely one and the same, my age had already grasped and understood, after the Eleatics, Scotus Erigena, Giordano Bruno, and Spinoza had thoroughly taught, and Schelling had revived this doctrine. But what this one is, and how it is able to exhibit itself as the many, is a problem the solution of which is first found in my philo sophy. Certainly from the most ancient times man had been called the microcosm. I have reversed the pro position, and shown the world as the macranthropos : because will and idea exhaust its nature as they do that of man. But it is clearly more correct to learn to under stand the world from man than man from the world ; for one has to explain what is indirectly given, thus external perception from what is directly given, thus self-conscious ness not conversely.

With the Pantheists, then, I have certainly that kv icai trav in common, but not the irav deos ; because I do not go beyond experience (taken in its widest sense), and still less do I put myself in contradiction with the data which lie before me. Scotus Erigena, quite consistently with the spirit of Pantheism, explains every phenomenon as a theo- phany ; but then this conception must also be applied to the most terrible and abominable phenomena. Fine theo- phanies ! What further distinguishes me from Pantheism is principally the following, (i). That their 0eo<? is an x, an unknown quantity ; the will, on the other hand, is of


472 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER L,

all possible things the one that is known to us most exactly, the only thing given immediately, and therefore exclusively fitted for the explanation of the rest. For what is unknown must always be explained by what is better known ; not conversely. (2). That their 8eo<; manifests himself animi causa, to unfold his glory, or, indeed, to let himself be admired. Apart from the vanity here attributed to him, they are placed in the position of being obliged to sophisticate away the colossal evil of the world ; but the world remains in glaring and terrible con tradiction with that imagined excellence. With me, on the contrary, the ivill arrives through its objectification however this may occur, at self-knowledge, whereby its abolition, conversion, salvation becomes possible. And accordingly, with me alone ethics has a sure foundation and is completely worked out in agreement with the sub lime and profound religions, Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Christianity, not merely with Judaism and Mohammedanism. The metaphysic of the beautiful also is first fully cleared up as a result of my fundamental truth, and no longer re quires to take refuge behind empty words. With me alone is the evil of the world honestly confessed in its whole magni tude : this is rendered possible by the fact that the answer to the question as to its origin coincides with the answer to the question as to the origin of the world. On the other hand, in all other systems, since they are all optimistic, the question as to the origin of evil is the incurable disease, ever breaking out anew, with which they are affected, and in consequence of which they struggle along with palliatives and quack remedies. (3.) That I start from experience and the natural self-consciousness given to every one, and lead to the will as that which alone is meta physical ; thus I adopt the ascending, analytical method. The Pantheists, again, adopt the opposite method, the descending or synthetical. They start from their #609, which they beg or take by force, although sometimes under the name substantia, or absolute, and this unknown


EPIPHILOSOPHY. 473

is then supposed to explain everything that is better known. (4.) That with me the world does not fill the whole possibility of all being, but in this there still re mains much room for that which we denote only negatively as the denial of the will to live. Pantheism, on the other hand, is essentially optimism : but if the world is what is best, then the matter may rest there. (5.) That to the Pantheists the perceptible world, thus the world of idea, is just the intentional manifestation of the God indwell ing in it, which contains no real explanation of its appear ance, but rather requires to be explained itself. With me, on the other hand, the world as idea appears merely per accidens, because the intellect, with its external perception, is primarily only the medium of motives for the more perfect phenomena of will, which gradually rises to that objectivity of perceptibility, in which the world exists. In this sense its origin, as an object of perception, is really accounted for, and not, as with the Pantheists, by means of untenable fictions.

Since, in consequence of the Kantian criticism of all speculative theology, the philosophises of Germany al most all threw themselves back upon Spinoza, so that the whole series of futile attempts known by the name of the post- Kantian philosophy are simply Spinozism tastelessly dressed up, veiled in all kinds of unintelligible language, and otherwise distorted, I wish, now that I have ex plained the relation of my philosophy to Pantheism in general, to point out its relation to Spinozism in particu lar. It stands, then, to Spinozism as the New Testament stands to the Old. What the Old Testament has in com mon with the New is the same God-Creator. Analogous to this, the world exists, with me as with Spinoza, by its inner power and through itself. But with Spinoza his substantia ceterna, the inner nature of the world, which he himself calls God, is also, as regards its moral character and worth, Jehovah, the God-Creator, who applauds His own creation, and finds that all is very good, travra Ka\a


474 FOURTH BOOK. CHAPTER L.

\iav. Spinoza has deprived Him of nothing but person ality. Thus, according to him also, the world and all in it is wholly excellent and as it ought to be: therefore man has nothing more to do than vivere, agere, suum Esse conservare ex fundamento proprium utile qitcerendi (Eth., iv. pr. 67) ; he is even to rejoice in his life as long as it lasts ; entirely in accordance with Ecclesiastes ix. 7-10. In short, it is optimism : therefore its ethical side is weak, as in the Old Testament ; nay, it is even false, and in part revolting. 1 With me, on the other hand, the will, or the inner nature of the world, is by no means Jehovah, it is rather, as it were, the crucified Saviour, or the crucified thief, according as it resolves. Therefore my ethical teaching agrees with that of Christianity, completely and in its highest tendencies, and not less with that of Brah- manism and Buddhism. Spinoza could not get rid of the Jews ; quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem. His contempt for the brutes, which, as mere things for our use, he also declares to be without rights, is thoroughly Jewish, and, in union with Pantheism, is at the same time absurd and detestable (Eth., iv., appendix, c. 27).

TXT"* 1~ 11 1 f**

With all this Spinoza remains a very great man. But in order to estimate his work correctly we must keep in view his relation to Descartes. The latter had sharply divided nature into mind and matter, i.e., thinking and extended substance, and had also placed God and the world in com plete opposition to each other ; Spinoza also, so long as he was a Cartesian, taught all that in his " Cogitatis Meta- physicis" c. 12, i. I., 1665. Only in his later years did he see the fundamental falseness of that double dualism ; and accordingly his own philosophy principally consists of the indirect abolition of these two antitheses. Yet partly to avoid injuring his teacher, partly in order to be less offensive, he

Unusquisque tantum juris habet, definetur (Eth. iv , pr. 37 schol i)

quantum potentid valet ( Tract, pol., c. Especially chap. 16 of the Tractatut

2 8). Fides alicui data tamdiu theologico-politicus is the true com-

rata manet, quamdiu ejus, qui fidem pendium of the immorality of Spin-

dedit, non mutatur voluntas (fbid., oza s philosophy. 1 2 ). Umuscujusque jus potentid ejus


EPIPHILOSOPHY. 475

gave it a positive appearance by means of a strictly dog matic form, although its content is chiefly negative. His identification of the world with God has also this negative significance alone. For to call the world God is not to explain it: it remains a riddle under the one name as under the other. But these two negative truths had value for their age, as for every age in which there still are con scious or unconscious Cartesians. He makes the mistake, common to all philosophers before Locke, of starting from conceptions, without having previously investigated their origin, such, for example, as substance, cause, &c., and in such a method of procedure these conceptions then receive a much too extensive validity. Those who in the most recent times refused to acknowledge the Neo-Spinozisin which had appeared, for example, Jacobi, were principally deterred from doing so by the bugbear of fatalism. By this is to be understood every doctrine which refers the existence of the world, together with the critical position of mankind in it, to any absolute necessity, i.e., to a neces sity that cannot be further explained. Those who feared fatalism, again, believed that all that was of importance was to deduce the world from the free act of will of a being existing outside it ; as if it were antecedently certain which of the two was more correct, or even better merely in relation to us. What is, however, especially assumed here is the non datur tertiwn, and accordingly hitherto every philosophy has represented one or the other. I am the first to depart from this ; for I have actually established the Tertium : the act of will from which the world arises is our own. It is free ; for the principle of sufficient reason, from which alone all necessity derives its signifi cance, is merely the form of its phenomenon. Just on this account this phenomenon, if it once exists, is absolutely necessary in its course ; in consequence of this alone we can recognise in it the nature of the act of will, and accordingly eventucditer will otherwise.