Page:Ethical Studies (reprint 1911).djvu/296

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can not stay to develope this doctrine, and must content ourselves with pointing out that the opposite is utterly incomprehensible. The two poles are what they are, because they are against each other in consciousness. In them the self feels itself divided against itself; and, unless they both fall within one subject, how is this possible? We have not the felt struggle of ourself against a perceived or thought external object; we have the felt struggle in us of two wills, with both of which we feel ourselves identified. And this relation of the divine and human will in one subject is a psychological impossibility, unless they are the wills of one subject. Remove that condition, and the phenomena in their specific character instantly disappear. You can not understand the recognition of and desire for the divine will; nor the consciousness of sin and rebellion, with the need for grace on the one hand and its supply on the other; you turn every fact of religion into unmeaning nonsense, and you pluck up by the root and utterly destroy all possibility of the Atonement, when you deny that the religious consciousness implies that God and man are identical in a subject.[1]

  1. On this whole matter, and not specially with reference to religion, it is worth while to consider the position of our philosophy. People find a subject and object correlated in consciousness; and, having got this in the mind, they at once project it outside the mind, and talk as if two independent realities knocked themselves together, and so produced the unity that apprehends them; while, all the time, to go out of that unity is for us literally to go out of our minds. And when the monstrous nature of their position dawns on some few, and they begin to see that without some higher unity this ‘correlation’ is pure nonsense, then answering to that felt need, they invent a third reality, which is neither subject nor object but the ‘Unknowable’ or the Thing-in-itself (there is no difference). But here, since the two correlates are still left together with, and yet are not, the Unknowable, the question arises, How does this latter stand to them? and the result is that the Unknowable becomes the subject of predicates (see Mr. Spencer’s First Principles), and it becomes impossible for any one who cares for consistency to go on calling it the Unknowable. So it is necessary to go a step further, and, giving up our third, which is not the correlates, to recognize an Identity of subject and object, still however persisting in the statement that this identity is not mind. But here again, as with the Unknowable, and as before with the two correlated realities, it is forgotten that, when mind is made only a part of the whole, there is a question which must be answered; ‘If so, how can the whole be known, and for the mind? If about any matter we know nothing whatever, can we say anything about it? Can we even say that it is? And, if it is not in consciousness, how can we know it? And if it is in and for the mind, how can it be a whole which is not mind, and in which the mind is only a part or element? If the ultimate unity were not self or mind, we could not know that it was not mind: that would mean going out of our minds. And, conversely, if we know it, it can not be not mind. All in short we can know (the psychological form is another question) is the self and elements in the self. To know a not-self is to transcend and leave one’s mind. If we know the whole, it can only be because the whole knows itself in us, because the whole is self or mind, which is and knows, knows and is, the identity and correlation of subject and object’.
      There is nothing in the above which has not been before the world for years, and it is time that it should be admitted or refuted. I think it will not be much longer disregarded. Much against its will English thought has been forced from the correlation as far as the identity; and, if it means to hold to the doctrine of ‘relativity of knowledge,’ it must go on to mind or self in some sense of the word, as this identity of inner and outer. Perhaps not that; but if not that, then I think we must begin on a fresh basis, or else give up the attempt to have any theory of first principles. But if we do (as perhaps we may do) the latter, then let me conclude this note by observing that amongst the other doctrines which must go is the doctrine of Relativity.