phenomenal sequence the law of Causation must remain unbroken. But this, again, comes to very little. For the law of Causation does not assert that in existence we have always the same causes and effects. It insists only that, given one, we must inevitably have the other. And thus the Uniformity of Nature cannot warrant the assumption that the world of sense is uniform. Its guarantee is in that respect partly non-existent, and partly hypothetical.
There are other questions as to Nature which will engage us later on, and we may here bring the present chapter to a close. We have found that Nature by itself has no reality. It exists only as a form of appearance within the Absolute. In its isolation from that whole of feeling and experience it is an untrue abstraction; and in life this narrow view of Nature (as we saw) is not consistently maintained. But, for physical science, the separation of one element from the whole is both justifiable and necessary. In order to understand the co-existence and sequence of phenomena in space, the conditions of these are made objects of independent study. But to take such conditions for hard realities standing by themselves, is to deviate into uncritical and barbarous metaphysics.
Nature apart from and outside of the Absolute is nothing. It has its being in that process of intestine division, through which the whole world of appearance consists. And in this realm, where aspects fall asunder, where being is distinguished from thought, and the self from the not-self, Nature marks one extreme. It is the aspect most opposed to self-dependence and unity. It is the world of those particulars which stand furthest from possessing individuality, and we may call it the region of externality and chance. Compulsion from the out-
- For a further consideration of these points see Chapter xxiii.