Page:Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1889) Vol 2.djvu/208

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

merely designed to open up questions and problems for proper historical investigation. And we add, as a new and farther limitation, that we shall confine ourselves to the simple and obvious traces of civilization which have come down to us; employing only our own History,—that of civilized Europe, as the existing domain of Culture; passing by other adjoining civilizations, which may indeed have had a common origin with our own, but which cannot now be referred back to such an origin and have no direct influence upon ourselves;—for example, the civilizations of China and of India.

We have already set forth as the beginning of all social combination, the occurrence of this fact;—namely, that Freemen became subject, to a certain extent and in a certain respect, to the will of other Freemen. How and in what way has this subjugation been brought about?—this is the first question which here forces itself upon our notice. This question is intimately connected with that respecting the origin of inequality among men, which has become so famous in our own day, and which we shall by no means solve in the way in which it has been solved by a writer who has gained great celebrity on this account.* [* Rousseau.]

According to our system,—which we have already set forth, and which may be fully proved in the strict domain of Philosophy,—we find an original inequality among men, and indeed the greatest possible inequality; namely, between the Normal People existing as a pure manifestation of Reason on the one hand;—and the wild and savage Races of Barbarism on the other. In what way these primitive ingredients of our Human Race were first mingled together, no History can inform us; for the very existence of a History presupposes such an intermixture as having already taken place. In this