Page:Appearance and Reality (1916).djvu/130

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palpably and flagrantly much more narrow than the background felt as self. And in order to exhaust this felt mass (if indeed exhaustion is possible) we require a series of patient observations, in none of which will the object be as full as the subject.[1] To have the felt self in its totality as an object for consciousness seems out of the question. And I would further ask the reader to bear in mind that, where the self is observed as in opposition to the not-self, this whole relation is included within that felt background, against which, on the other hand, the distinction takes place.

And this suggests an objection. How, I may be asked, if self-consciousness is no more than you say, do we take one object as self and another as not-self? Why is the observed object perceived at all in the character of self? This is a question, I think, not difficult to answer, so far at least as is required for our purpose here. The all-important point is this, that the unity of feeling never disappears. The mass, at first undifferentiated, groups itself into objects in relation to me; and then again further the “me” becomes explicit, and itself is an object in relation to the background of feeling. But, none the less, the object not-self is still a part of the individual soul, and the object self likewise keeps its place in this felt unity. The distinctions have supervened upon, but they have not divided, the original whole; and, if they had done so, the result would have been mere destruction. Hence, in self-consciousness, those contents perceived as the self belong still to the whole individual mass. They, in the first place, are features in the felt totality; then again they are elements in that inner group from which the not-self is distinguished; and finally they become an object opposed to the internal back-

  1. The possibility of this series rests on the fact that sameness and alteration can be felt where they are not perceived. Cp. p. 93.