Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/333

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319
A NEW PHASE OF GERMAN THOUGHT.

providential action, which guides humanity toward an end, sometimes even in spite of human efforts.

At the same time that Hartmann endeavors to prove, by the facts we have just spoken of, the existence of "a psychical principle maintaining itself above matter," he fancies that he has evolved from these same facts the idea of what he calls "the unconsciousness," the idea of an intelligence which has no consciousness of itself, of unconscious manifestations (Vorstellungen), of unconscious volitions. We declare that we have not succeeded in comprehending this idea—it even seems to us self-contradictory. What is an idea or a volition without the consciousness of that idea or that volition? Can the idea be any thing else than one form of consciousness, as the volition is another form of it? Hartmann is able to cite facts of intelligence which are outside of the consciousness of the me, but without being able to prove that these facts must be unconscious, absolutely and in themselves. Who can even prove to us that the I is the totality of the conscious phenomena of the brain? The I is nothing more than a series of facts, and may there not be alongside of this series a multitude of facts which become real, without being attached to it by any bond of continuity? For instance, personal character is made up of a great number of conditions, which, without any consciousness on the part of the I, modify the direction of its volitions: these facts only make themselves known to us by their influence on the acts and the morals of the individual. But does it follow, from their being unconscious relatively to the me, that they are unconscious in themselves? Hartmann's own doctrines, on the contrary, would lead us to allow that the other nervous centres, the spinal marrow, the ganglia, etc., are endowed with their own consciousness; that there is a special consciousness in each cell of a plant or animal, perhaps even in every material atom; in a word, that consciousness coincides everywhere with reality, unconsciousness being outside of real facts. But what is to be concluded from this, except that none of the real facts, which Hartmann has set forth with so many details, offer us the idea of the unconscious? And then what foundation is there for this definition, that "the unconscious is the cause of all those facts, in an organic and conscious individual, which lead us to the supposition of a psychical and unconscious cause?" We will even say that Hartmann seems to us to have succeeded better in widening the sphere of consciousness, than in founding a philosophy of the unconscious.

If we put ourselves the question, What is the real motive that determined him to attribute unconsciousness, rather than consciousness, to the supreme intelligence, to God? we find only an a priori reason, drawn from the idea that evil rules the world: "If, at the time of the creation of the world, there was in God any thing like consciousness, the existence of the world would be an inexcusable cruelty, and the development of the world a useless absurdity." Hartmann finds him-