Carl Jung: Thought on the Nature and Value of Speculative Inquiry
(Why do you weary yourself about a future that is eternal and so cannot be known?) -Horace, Ode XI, Book II
Kant says somewhere that philosophy and the sciences are intellectual luxuries.
Just now it is particularly important for us to give some thought to this significant remark, for in today’s world people are inclined to pursue scientific work for the sake of success, and to judge all scientific activities in these terms.
They evaluate their field of study in terms of its future income, and as a rule it is thought better to avoid any digression from their prescribed plan of study.
Why? Because digressions, raids into other fields, reap no profit.
In other words, excursions into outlying territory do not enable one to achieve any advantage over competitors in one’s own field.
Indeed, such excursions actually dissipate one’s energies and tend to impede one’s progress in the field.
Thus digressions are a luxury which many can ill afford.
But Kant says that every science is a luxury. A luxury is something that is not useful.
Strictly speaking, no science is the least bit useful.
The uncivilized peoples of the world all testify to the fact that man can survive perfectly well without science.
Science is not useful until it abandons its exalted status as a goal in itself and sinks to the level of an industry.
The civilized peoples of every age have striven unceasingly to strip science of its pervasive uselessness and to make it serve practical ends.
For to man in his natural state, a thing that cannot be used is nothing at all, and an activity that produces no tangible result is not an activity.
This is why the farmer and the salesman generally regard the scholar as an idle parasite.
The noblest of all the sciences, philosophy, is now afflicted on a grand scale by that same contempt that has always plagued it on a small scale.
Every industrialist, whether he is a businessman or a factory owner, a chemist or a physician, judges all endeavors that do not produce tangible results, as useless-and because they are useless, as downright injurious.
The infinitely practical and wholly realistic trend of our age is averse to all idealism.
The focal point of concern has been shifted to the relations between external things.
People feel that the salvation of the human race consists in well-ordered states, in social development.
They view the happiness of the individual as determined by external circumstances-for example, by financial security.
So it is no wonder if everything is adapted to this purpose.
In certain fields the secularization of human interests has proved extraordinarily productive.
First, we have it to thank for the development of our culture in general.
It gave rise to the smooth-fitting structure of the modern nation-state, and it is the source of every practical technological and industrial advance achieved by the sciences.
Human beings, intoxicated by the pleasures of material success, are throwing themselves into the bustle and tumult of existence.
They hope that material success will give them everything.
It is only logical that this trend, more pronounced in our time than in any previous age, should also bring to light some remarkable paradoxes.
We cannot abstain from mentioning a few.
For example, nationalism, the total devotion to the state, social democracy.
Even the church (situm teneamus!-Let us keep our places!), is joining the roundelay and manifesting all sorts of curious traits.
In the churches people pray for the welfare of the fatherland, but apparently remain oblivious of the fact that every social benefit must necessarily be compensated by some social misfortune.
Thus indirectly we pray that foreign manufacturers may suffer disaster so that our own industry can derive some benefit from it.
Indeed, the representatives of the modern Christian church have gone so far as to preach devotion to the state, and regard the church as the institution responsible for the formation of good citizens.
Nietzsche has said:
“Here we see the results of that doctrine which in recent days has been preached from all the rooftops, that the state is the highest goal of mankind and that a man has no higher duty than to serve the state.
I regard this as a reversion not to paganism but to stupidity.
The concept of the secularization of all human concerns has also laid hold on philosophical circles and has found its champions there-for example, Eduard von Hartmann with his immanent and eudaemonistic moral principle.
There is also Wilhelm Max Wundt, the advocate of humanistic goals.
Material success has not always been man’s sole aim.
The Middle Ages saw the flowering of the idea of the theocratic state, and thousands of cloisters and churches testified to the fact that the
focal point of existence lay not in external phenomena but in the inner life of each individual human being.
Man was in much closer touch with nature, and was not hemmed into superficial relationships by the thousand amenities of civilized life.
He found the time to be an individual among individuals.
The basic principle of his civilization was concern with the world’s future.
In other words, medieval man regarded material success as of little or no importance.
For him development represented an internal, not an external problem.
He knew nothing of the concept of common welfare, of social prosperity.
All he understood was that the world could be improved and redeemed through the development and improvement of the individual.
Medieval man was characterized by a transcendental egotism.
Modern man is characterized by an immanent egotism.
There is no need to point out which is the Christian point of view.
Modern man knows nothing of the individual.
The individuals he knows are cantons and nation-states.
As a rule he has already lost his consciousness of himself as an individual.
He feels that he is an atom, a mere link in the endless chain that makes up the state.
Modern man shifts responsibility for the creation of individual happiness from himself to the state, i.e., .to the legally regulated relations between himself and his fellow men.
Differences between individuals involve a difference in their requirements.
Such differences lead to nuisances affecting the lawful unity and homogeneity of the state, and thus modern man seeks to level, that is, to wipe out, individuality by educating everyone, as much as possible, to be exactly the same.
Nowadays, it is not true that each man is the architect of his own fortune; instead the state creates his fortune for the individual.
The absolute secularization of all concerns is the characteristic that distinguishes modern from medieval man.
The process of perfecting external relations has torn man away from his bond with nature, but only from the conscious bond, not from the unconscious.
Civilized man believes that he has risen skyhigh above the crudities of nature.
For twenty or thirty years he actually is a privy councilor of His Excellency Prince So-and-So, or a member of the Swiss representative assembly, and so on.
But overnight comes some treacherous bacterium, and all the glory of civilized man within the best-ordered nation in the world, superficially so splendid, is suddenly lying there sick and wretched, no better and no worse than any Hottentot or our ancestors the troglodytes.
What help, then, is the whole civilized world, what use is the magnificent future one’s grandchildren have to look forward to in which, thanks to our technological progress, they will travel in airships and eat synthetic protein?
Poor old civilized man, no matter how civilized and politically up-to-date he may have been, has been abandoned by life and, yielding to its pitiless decree, must leave behind an existence to which he had given his deepest approval and affirmation.
He has achieved material success, but did it make him happy? No, of course not.
There is no pleasure in having things, but only in obtaining them.
Never has anyone achieved such success that he did not want more.
The reason for this is simply that man strives for happiness, which remains happiness only for the moment he achieves it, but which afterwards reverts to the same old insipid round he knew before.
The fact that modern man seeks happiness in material success causes him to reject as ineffectual any endeavor that is not directed toward this single end.
The assumption that happiness lies in external factors is for the most part an a priori judgment, i.e., most people do not have the slightest inkling that happiness could consist in anything else.
They never conceive, as it were, that well-being could be based on something other than external causes.
But this is a totally erroneous conclusion.
To be sure, the conclusion is founded on what appears to be an accurate piece of inductive reasoning, in that people see that material success gives one a feeling of pleasure.
This observation leads to the false notion: Material success is the cause of all joy and must, under all circumstances, make people happy.
Success is not necessarily organically linked to joy. In itself it is totally neutral.
Everything depends on the individual.
If he is already happy, success will increase his happiness.
If he is unhappy, even the most spectacular success may often awaken feelings of great bitterness.
Happiness is purely subjective and bears no necessary relationship to anything external.
If this were not true, everyone who did not have a million francs would be unhappy in direct proportion to the square of his distance from this goal.
Happiness is so subjective that frequently it is entirely independent of external factors.
As Goethe says, “You have not gained refreshment I If it does not flow out of your own soul.”
Thus we see that modern man’s striving for happiness is extremely one-sided in that we seek happiness in inessential, accidental causes external to ourselves.
But Schopenhauer long ago established that happiness external to ourselves is not really happiness at all but only the cessation of unhappiness.
Thus in our search for positive happiness we are entirely dependent on our own resources, that is, on subjective factors.
Nowhere outside ourselves is there any positive happiness, for positive happiness is a subjective state whose causes lie wholly outside the objective chain of cause and effect.
Thus the road to happiness does not lead through the theaters and concert halls, or through honor and glory, but rather up or down into the unfathomable depths of our own being.
Schopenhauer says: “For behind our existence lies something else which becomes accessible to us only when we have put aside the world.”
One factor of positive happiness is a so-called good conscience, i.e., the feeling of moral blamelessness.
This feeling derives from the gratification of an instinctive impulse that Kant called the categorical imperative.
It is the irrepressible demand to do what we regard as good, and refrain from doing what we regard as morally evil.
It gives us a feeling of pleasure to act in accordance with the requirements of the categorical imperative, just as the gratification of any instinct brings with it a certain quantity of pleasure.
In recent times Eduard von Hartmann has attached particular importance to this sense of pleasure arising from the gratification of instinct, and has documented it, using inductive logic, from countless scientific examples.
Another inexhaustible source of happiness can be the gratification of the causal instinct.
Just as, in the field of practical reason, one vote and one law governs our action, so in the realm of pure reason we are ruled by one law whence all scientific laws are derived-the category of causality.
When Kant was investigating the laws governing human thought, he found that all thought unfolds within the confines of certain forms that he called categories.
He found twelve such categories.
In his critique of Kantian philosophy, Schopenhauer reduced the number to three time, space, and causality.
Time and space are forms of perception, and causality is a form of thought.
These three are a priori categories, i.e., they are judgments prior to experience.
The mind cannot function without them, for there is no such thing as a mental image that does not unfold within the structure of time and space, and there is no such thing as a thought process whose innermost nature is not causality.
The need for causal thinking is innate in virtually every human being, but is particularly developed in those with philosophical minds.
The gratification of the need for causal thinking is called truth.
Most probably it is impossible, in the light of critical reason, to achieve total knowledge of the causes involved in the concept of truth.
But it makes no difference to our happiness whether the truth we perceive is absolute or completely relative, for the gratification of our need to think causally is proportional not to the truth value of our cognition but to the degree of faith we ascribe to it.
Almost certainly all our knowledge is highly relative, but our belief that it is absolute makes us blissfully happy.
It is the gratification of two a priori requirements-the categorical imperative and the category of causality-that, under certain circumstances, makes a person happy and gives him a feeling of contentment which no external factor can confer.
The frail and transitory nature of all the external factors in human life is so apparent that there is no need to discuss it.
A man can survive all his friends and relatives, bury what he loves most and lead a lonely existence as a stranger in an alien time; but he cannot survive himself and the inner factors of his life, and cannot bury them, for they are his very self, and thus are inalienable.
Someone might raise the objection that, despite their instability, . factors external to the person do–at least for as long as they last constitute a source of positive happiness.
But apart from the fact that this kind of happiness appears to many people to be contemptible, it should be noted that with respect to pleasure or the lack of it, external relationships are more or less neutral, and that everything depends on the person’s subjective disposition.
The most magnificent landscape, the most divine music, are nothing but a wisp of smoke if a man is suffering from toothache.
There is an inner disposition suitable to every external pleasure, whether that disposition is health or peace of mind.
From what we have said so far, it is clear that there are two kinds of happiness, one authentic and enduring, the other merely apparent and highly unstable.
Of course, the only person who can really appreciate the implications of this truth is one who has already milked his happiness for all it is worth, has asked from it everything it has to give.
This truth is familiar to malcontents, who have already moved heaven and earth trying to obtain the happiness they crave.
The contented man, the satisfied man, is not competent to judge of these matters. (Note for the author.)
In the final analysis the striving for happiness can be described as the motivation for every human act.
But man does not live alone, nor is it good that a man should be alone.
His fellow men crave happiness from him just as they do from all others.
It is in order to gratify this desire that men invented the state, the mechanism that absorbs the successes of the individual and then redistributes them, in a diluted form, to all the members of the confederation.
But the state, as the totality of all its citizens, can utilize only material successes, and thus clearly value can be attributed only to the striving for material success.
Thus the happiness of the individual must also possess objectivity, that is, it must derive from an objectively perceptible source.
If such a source cannot be produced, as is the case with purely ideal happiness, then it is concluded that the striving for ideal ends is without value.
At this point we confront a new question:
Do philosophy and pure science really represent an intellectual luxury in the transcendental sense, and can metaphysical reality be attributed to the as yet ideal goal of gratifying the need to think in causal terms?
Radical subjectivists, i.e., those who regard the world as illusion, and multiplicity as a show of glittering nothingness, deny any objectivity of purpose.
That is, they do not acknowledge the existence of any teleology external to man, and instead claim that we ourselves have projected onto the world, out of our own heads, the idea of the purposefulness of nature.
At least the epigones of Kant have this much in common with the materialists.
Obviously this viewpoint is extremely barren and unproductive.
It means certain death to any speculative inquiry based on an inductive, scientific method. It means despair to any healthy person of heart and sensibility.
All philosophy must have an empirical foundation.
The only true basis for philosophy is what we experience of ourselves and, through ourselves, of the world around us.
Every a priori structure that converts our experience into an abstraction must inevitably lead us to erroneous conclusions.
By now we ought to know this, having observed the lapses of the first post-Kantian philosophers such as Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.
As Nietzsche says, our philosophy should, first and foremost, be a philosophy of what lies nearest to hand.
Our philosophy should consist in drawing inferences about the unknown, in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason, on the basis of real experience, and not in drawing inferences about the inner world on the basis of the outer, or denying external reality by affirming only the inner world.
Apart from the eight a priori categories of time, space, and causality, there is none that is not based on experience.
Thus judgments about purpose are not a priori judgments, for the objectivity of a priori judgments cannot be demonstrated.
But according to the principle of sufficient reason, it is possible to demonstrate purposes external to ourselves.
Eduard von Hartmann was the first to do this, and he did it using a method drawn from exact science, namely by the calculation of probability.
Any act can be designated as purposeful if it is based on an objective notion of purpose.
According to the principle of sufficient reason, a notion of purpose must exist prior to every action intended to have a purposeful character.
Every human being has had subjective experience of the accuracy of this principle.
If we observe another person perform a purposeful action, we infer, by comparing what we have observed with our own deliberate actions, that this person had a definite intention in mind.
A posteriori confirmation is supplied through the testimony of the person himself.
It tells us that our inference, based on analogy, was correct.
If we summarize thousands and thousands of correct inferences, we arrive at inductive proof of the objectivity of a purpose.
We have no notion about other purposeful actions which are not preceded by a purposeful intention, unless the action in question is instinctive.
It is characteristic of an instinctive action that each of the steps that make it up must necessarily be purposeful, and its outcome the best possible.
To elucidate instinctive action, it is advisable that we recall Newton’s almost forgotten Regulae philosophandi:
The Regula secunda states: “Ideoque effectuum naturalium eiusdem generis eandem assignandae sunt causae, quatenus fieri potest. (Uti respirationis in homine et in bestia; descensus lapidum in Europa et in America; lucis in igne culinari et in sole; reflexionis lucis in terra et in planetis.)
According to this rule of Newton, we must refrain from creating any new principle to explain instinctive action, and instead infer, on the basis of already-existing experience, the existence of a purposeful intention which is unknown to us and not directly demonstrable, and which underlies every instinctive action.
Thus we can say:
An instinctive action is an action whose cause can be material, i.e., tangible, but whose true motivation is a purposeful idea which is unknown to us.
Instinct is an agent which, without being subject to our will, influences our actions, or rather modifies them in a direction of which we are not consciously aware, and which is only recognized a posteriori.
By this definition the category of causality can be designated an instinct.
Helmholtz says in his book on the physiological theory of optics:
“Thus the principle of sufficient reason is really nothing other than the impulse of our mind to subject all our perceptions to its governance; it is not a law of nature.”
It is not difficult to prove this assertion.
The most primitive form of causation is found in unconscious inferences.
If our peripheral nerve-ends are stimulated and the stimulus enters our consciousness in the form of a sensation, the idea of an external cause must also be present, i.e., we immediately and unconsciously relate the stimulus to an external cause.
Thus independently of the cooperation of our will, the causal instinct has anticipated what in time may become a conscious thought process-namely the link to an external cause.
The linking occurs on an unconscious level, quite independently of the will, and the result is delivered to us readymade, as if it came from outside us.
Like other instincts such as love, the instinctive need to think in causal terms is manifested in weaker and stronger forms.
Under certain circumstances the primitive form of the instinct to think causally can become so powerful that it can take over all intellectual functions and modify them to suit itself.
Just as the sexual drive frequently transforms man into a monster, so the elementary category of causality can assume the character of a need, an insatiable craving hich overruns everything, and which people will even sacrifice their lives to gratify.
It is an indefatigable longing which inflames us, which makes us despise all the works and ordinances of man, which makes us smile when others are weeping. (Note for the author.)
It is that ardent desire for truth which impetuously breaks down all barriers and is even capable of crushing the will to live.
It is a good story, if an apocryphal one, that Empedocles leaped into the crater of Mount Etna in order to fathom the unfathomable.
To be sure, Horace imputes to him other motives, motives that are quite consistent with the character of a Roman:
Deus immortalis haberi dum cupit Empedocles, ardentem frigidus Aetnam insiluit.
But it is not only in classical antiquity that we find such figures, expressive of the genuinely tragic spirit, such Faustian beings whose life and death lies in the knowledge of truth.
When Heinrich von Kleist had read Kant’s critique of epistemology, he wrote to a friend:
“The truth which we amass here, ceases to exist after death, and all effort to win something of our own which will follow us into the grave, is vain.-If the point of this thought fails to pierce your heart, then do not smile at another who feels himself deeply wounded in his most sacred and innermost part. My sole, my highest goal has been lost and I have no other.”
In every healthy, reflective person the simple need to satisfy the principle of causality develops into a metaphysical longing, into religion.
When the first man asked: Why? and tried to investigate the reason for some change, science was born.
But science alone does not satisfy anyone.
It must be expanded into what De Witte calls a philosophy “full of faith and enthusiasm, which alone merits the exalted name of wisdom.”
Every genuine philosophy, as the complete expression of metaphysical desire, is religion.
Religion is the mother who receives her children with loving arms when they flee to her terrified by the confusion and the “merciless tumult of nature stripped of its gods,” and driven to despair by the shattering enigma of existence.
We use the term “instinctive actions” to designate all those incomparably wondrous and purposeful actions on the part of plants and animals which have justly aroused the awe of all scientists.
Particularly at the beginning of this century, many outstanding thinkers displayed the keenest interest in instinct.
Thus Schelling says:
“The manifestations of animal instinct are among the most impressive known to any thoughtful man, and are the true touchstone of genuine philosophy.”
Charles Darwin actually felt obliged to install instinct as a new principle in his theory of evolution.
As we know, Schopenhauer describes instinct as a stage in the objectification of the Will.
So does Hartmann, adding the absolutely essential element of the purposeful intention.
Absolute purposefulness is the hallmark of all instinctive actions.
As we have demonstrated, the category of causality should be regarded as an instinct.
Thus the instinct to satisfy causality is also absolutely purposeful.
If we backtrack along a chain of cause and effect, we soon arrive at a limit where our understanding-i.e., our ability to tabulate ideas of tangible causes—ceases to function.
Physics furnishes an excellent example. A stone falls to the ground.
Why? Because of gravity. Why does it respond to gravity? Because it is its property to do so.
At this point our ability to grasp the situation comes to an end.
We posit the, in itself, incomprehensible principle of universal gravitation, i.e., we set up a transcendental postulate.
Causality leads us to a Ding an sich for which we cannot account further, to a cause whose nature is transcendental.
In this sense the category of causality must be interpreted as a totally wondrous a priori reference to causes of a transcendental nature, i.e., to a world of the invisible and incomprehensible, a continuation of material nature into the incalculable, the immeasurable, and the inscrutable.
Surely it is unnecessary for me to add that such an interpretation places the doctrine of the Ding an sich in a new light and enables us to get an unexpected glimpse of the superb purposefulness of the animate universe.
Let us return to the question we posed before: Does the initially ideal purpose of the need to satisfy causality possess metaphysical reality?
The foregoing discussion reveals that we have, with sufficient reason, demonstrated the existence of purpose.
If the a priori status of the principle of causation has a purpose, then it also has to use-but the use is transcendental just like the purpose.
The purpose underlying causality points far beyond our present existence, and justifies the hopes we cherish, of producing an infinite chain of effects attended by infinite success.
But be that as it may, causality has purpose, and thus science, philosophy, and religion also have a use-a transcendental use.
Hence the whole pack of those who disparage the gratification of the need for causal thinking on the grounds that it is useless, are completely wrong. Let them bark away!
We can console ourselves with Goethe’s thought:
The loud peal of their barks simply proves that we are riding high!’
The fact that we do not recognize the purpose, the fact that this purpose is still wholly ideal, does not matter in the least.
If a bird raised in captivity, far from his own kind, is overcome by wanderlust in the autumn, does he know that winter will soon settle over the land and that he will die in misery of the cold and hunger?
Is his wanderlust unpurposeful because its purpose is hidden from the conscious mind?
But as human beings we should know that now it is autumn and that a winter is coming from whose terrors a sound instinct is warning us to flee.
Nietzsche states, in an exquisite passage:
“A winter day is upon us, and we live in poverty and danger on high mountains. Brief is every joy and pale every gleam of sunlight which steals down to us on the white mountains.”
The need to satisfy the law of causality accompanies us everywhere like a faithful shepherd, and we never cease to hear its voice.
Each time we confront some question, does it not step into our path, pleading with us and encouraging us: “Yes, ask, go on and on asking questions, in the end you must reach your goal!”
Does it not challenge us to halt on the path and, overcome by doubt, to say: “What was I yesterday, what am I today, what will I be tomorrow?
Toward what goal am I striving, toward what goal does the universe tend? What is the purpose of the starry sky with its countless worlds which whirl and swirl on their paths for millions of years? Why do we not heed the slightest stirrings of genius?
Why do we not stretch out our hands toward the never-fading flowers whose fragrance alleviates our every pain?
Again and again we allow ourselves to be dazzled by the fleeting success of the moment, afraid to set out on the path which leads into the flooding mist.”
“The world about us is full of ghostly doings,” says Nietzsche.
“Every moment of our lives is trying to tell us something, but we do not care to listen to this spirit voice. When we are alone and still, we are afraid that something will be whispered in our ears, and so we hate the stillness and anesthetize ourselves through sociability.”
We place too much trust in this world, we believe too firmly in the happiness to be derived from success, despite the fact that the greatest of all men, Christ and the sages of all ages, teach and demonstrate that we should do just the opposite.
We reject every metaphysical desire with Schiller’s words:
“Do you know what awaits you there? What a high price you are paying? That you are trading a certain good for one that is uncertain? Do you feel you have enough strength to wage the most difficult war? When mind and heart, feeling and thought, do not agree, have you courage enough to sing along with the immortal hydra of doubt? And to manfully to confront the enemy in yourself?”
We, on the other hand, say: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. ·
A person who bases his happiness on things external to himself may see his whole world crumble overnight.
Everything external to ourselves can change.
Everything that we are in relation to others can vanish away.
What is a king without his royal household and his lands? What is a general without soldiers? What is a dignitary without people to acknowledge his position?
All external success and external prestige can and one day will crumble away.
But no one can take from us our inward achievements, for they stand and fall with our own being.
People can lock a Socrates in an underground prison, blind him, cut out his tongue, but he remains Socrates, and the wealth and abundance of his mind belongs to him and will remain his, inalienable and unfading, for as long as he exists.
The instinctive need to satisfy causality, as an a priori reference to transcendental causes, constitutes religion.
It is the infinitely subtle agent that frees man from his animal nature, raises him to the plane of science and philosophy, and thence carries him off into infinity. And yet it is instinct.
This realization leads us to a new train of thought, to a new and complex problem.
The question is:
What is the relation between the causal instinct and the other instincts, and whence do we derive the justification for giving precedence to the causal instinct?
Up to now we have justified the gratification of the need to satisfy the law of causality, on the grounds that it is the source of the greatest happiness.
But we have also demonstrated that happiness is invariably a purely subjective state, and so our line of reasoning onstitutes nothing more than an argumentum ad hominem.
Now we must supplement it with an argumentum ad rem.
This new challenge leads us far onto the infinite battlefield of philosophical world views.
Through a twilight between dawns the path of men leads to the field of the dead.
They go to sleep weary of the indulgence and chastisement of the Powers.
So says Lucas Heland:
“a twilight, a pale gleam, a struggle between day and night-that is human life. The man of reflection is dismayed and confused by the alien, unfathomable, restless bustle of a thing he has not made, which does not exist for his sake, a thing that pursues itself in a thousand forms, indifferent to the existence of a man vainly wrestling with philosophical perplexities and trying to confer a meaning on it all, to find “the point of resamid the flight of appearances.”
Sometimes it seems to him that everything has been created to live, that every atom is struggling to express vitality in motion.
But behold! All the splendid blossoms that a benevolent spring sunshine has summoned into luxuriant life and growth, fall victim overnight to the malevolent frost, and in the morning the flower of life has been broken and its roots destroyed.
Then the man thinks: Everything has been created for a brief hour, only to plunge into the eternal night of death. But behold! New life springs from every death; glowing life bursts forth again and again with inexhaustible energy.
For life is in fact an eternal flux, there is an unceasing coming-into-being and passing away, an ever-changing profusion without meaning or purpose, each successive surge of life more absurd than the last, a mad carnival show that nature puts on, to the pain of the thoughtful man.
This solution to the world’s riddle gives no satisfaction, for man desires the gratification of his need to perceive a purposeful relation between cause and effect.
Man wants to know why and what for, just as he wants his own actions and those of his fellow men to have a purpose.
Man is a Prometheus who steals lightning from heaven in order to bring light into the pervasive darkness of the great riddle.
He knows that there is a meaning in nature, that the world conceals a mystery which it is the purpose of his life to discover.
After Plato’s problem-the eternal ideas-had fallen, like Sleeping Beauty, into a sleep that lasted two thousand years, philosophy,
in its manifold transmutations, prepared the way for the coming of the philosopher of Konigsberg, who with a bold flourish awakened the ancient problem from its deathlike slumber and introduced it, dressed in new garb, to an awestruck world.
What Kant did was to raise the question of the Ding an sick.
The Ding an sick includes everything that eludes our perception, everything of which we have no tangible mental image.
For example, for us the term “Rimatara” represents Ding an sick.
Very likely none of us knows what Rimatara is. But looking in an atlas, we find that Rimatara is a South Sea coral atoll.
At once the Ding an sick turns into a tangible image.
We picture an island possessing all those attributes that experience has taught us to ascribe to a South Sea isle.
Thus we have a more or less graphic notion of Rimatara, i.e., we have turned the unknown into the known, we have diminished by one term the transcendental domain of the Ding an sick.
Science does this across the board, expanding our mental universe by diminishing the realm of the unknown and intangible.
It achieves this either by making positive discoveries, or by explaining phenomena.
If we do not yet possess a graphic image of the cause of a phenomenon, we create a so-called principle, i.e., we postulate the existence of a Ding an sick that cannot be explained with the means now at our disposal.
Thus it is easy to understand that in the past scientists formulated many principles which are no longer regarded as principles because of subsequent advances made in our knowledge of causal relations.
For example, in the past there was a great deal of talk about the humid principle, the hot, the cold, the aqueous, and so on.
Today we have recognized the source of these supposed principles, i.e., we have explained them through our discovery of higher chains of cause and effect.
But once we have recognized the causes of a principle, it ceases to be a principle, for the principium is the first and the ultimate.
The principles of modern science mark the extreme limit of our knowledge of the ever-lengthening causal sequences.
There is no cause that might prevent our admission of further information, i.e., our discovery, through improved methods, of higher chains of cause and effect.
But those people who are already triumphantly proclaiming to the world that everything will be explained in the very near future would do well to ponder the following basic tenet of epistemology:
According to the principle of sufficient reason, the chain of cause and effect is infinite.
To be sure, we can hope that by magnifying the powers of our senses through some means, we will make great strides in acquiring knowledge of basic principles, but we must always keep in mind that no cause is a final cause but rather still represents the effect of a cause.
Viewing things in this light we can conceive of the existence of an infinite number of worlds that relate to each other like concentric and eccentric circles.
Naturally these worlds are entirely subjective and of such a nature that, strictly speaking, every subject (of cognition) has his own.
But experience shows that the worlds of individuals of the same species are more or less congruent because of the uniformity of their sense organs.
The amoeba has its own special world, the worm has its world; so does the mammal, and so does man.
The relationship between these various worlds depends on the quality of the sense organs involved.
In the cited cases, the world of the amoeba is, roughly speaking, contained in that of the worm; the worlds of both in that of the mammal; and all three in that of man.
Every world corresponding to more highly differentiated sense organs is related to all other worlds corresponding to less highly differentiated sense organs, as the world of the Ding an sich relates to that of man.
At bottom, i.e., in itself, everything that exists, even “the well-known horde that spreads within the familiar sphere,” moves within one and the same world: that which is unfathomably existent beneath the governance of an unknown final cause.
The absolute realm is not divided into two distinct realms, the Ding an sich on the one hand and the phenomenal world on the other. All is One.
A separation exists only in relation to us, because our sense organs are capable of perceiving only specific areas of the world-as-absolute. (Note for the author.)
I am well aware that what I have developed here is a more or less novel view of the derivation of the Ding an sich.
But it seems to me that this is the only accurate and truly universal interpretation of the epistemological problem.
Contrary to the view of absolute subjectivism, I must assert that before their discovery X-rays represented a Ding an sich to the same degree as the objects of the postulates of pure reason-God, freedom, and immortality.
Although, in his positive philosophy, Kant admitted a predominance of noumena fundamental for the derivation, just elaborated, the Kantian critique of epistemology left the problem of the Ding an sich unsolved.
The first of the post-Kantian philosophers to do an intelligent job of making this problem once again useful to philosophy was Schopenhauer.
As we know, Schopenhauer interpreted the Ding an sich as a blind Will.
Schopenhauer’s intellectual heir, Eduard von Hartmann, took over this concept of the Will, but added the element of the transcendental idea and interpreted
th Ding an sich as intrinsically unconscious willing and imagination.
Hartmann and Schopenhauer are monists, i.e., they interpret the world as arising from one single substance, from one single final cause of uncertain nature.
But both men are endowed with lucid, causally oriented minds, and are also men of feeling, and therefore are pessimists with a sharp eye for the inner strife of the human heart and a sharp ear for the discord in the overture to every human life.
They understood the profound significance, for philosophy, of human suffering; they have not, like those optimists who revert to the crassest barbarism and animality, arrogantly looked away from the unutterable pain suffered by all creatures.
As every genuine philosopher must, they have assigned to suffering the chief place in their thought.
Suffering is the first element that Schopenhauer derives from the blindness of his primal Will.
Hartmann regards it as the ground of all existence.
Even before Kant, dualism in philosophy was taboo, and thus Hartmann and Schopenhauer are also monists.
But their hearts, their humane feelings, rebelled, and so they are forced to assign suffering a transcendental ground in the Ding an sich.
Thus Schopenhauer’s Will is blind because it has created a world full of suffering.
And Hartmann’s unconscious is not itself conscious and yet is and always has been unhappy, because it intentionally devised the best life possible, a life that is relatively happy compared to eternal wretchedness.
On the other hand, if we take dualism as a basis-thereby failing to satisfy our striving for unity-we immediately possess an eminently sufficient reason for the suffering of the world.
If we were to declare empiricism the only possible foundation of all speculative inquiry, then the dualistic world view would not seem so far off the mark.
Recent scientific research supplies us with some extremely valuable data on the subject of dualism.
But before we move on to the moderns, it would be well to recall, in gratitude and appreciation, the words of two men from the past who were widely separated in time and space.
Jesus Sirach says:
Opposite evil stands good, opposite death, life; so too, opposite the devout man stands the sinner. This is the way to view all the works of the Most High;
thy go in pairs, by opposites. -Ecclesiasticus 33: 15-16
Jakob Boehme says:
“Without opposition no thing can become apparent to itself; for if there is nothing in it which resists it, it goes forever outward and does not enter again into itself: But if it does not enter again into itself, as into that whence it originally went out, it knows nothing of its first condition.”
At this point we must also recall Empedocles, who set up the theory that multiplicity arises from enantiology, the opposition between the (strife) and (love) within the elements.
If we adopt a purely contemplative attitude toward nature, the thought will impress itself upon us that somewhere in the depths of nature there must be concealed something of unspeakable obtuseness, something that continually strives to suppress all independent activity and to paralyze every undertaking.
This “something” may be the dull-witted, hidebound force that compels the stone, when it is soaring along filled with a joyous sense of its own power, to descend again out of the kingdom of the air; or the nvious zeal of the tall tree that seeks to deprive its weaker companions of the all-nourishing sunlight; or the disease that, with tenacious endurance, eats its way through generations of burgeoning life, striving to destroy it; or the boundless stupidity of matter that resists every impulse but that, once it has absorbed an impetus, clings to it with an idiot perseverance.
If we contemplate nature with objectivity, are we not compelled to think: Two radically different powers are here engaged in a furious struggle for domination?
One power always laboring to level everything to the ground, smooth it out, even it, reduce it to quiet, suppress all activity and all motion, destroy all beauty, render everything peaceful, still, and dead?
And the other forever laboring to confer life and color on everything, impart movement in all directions, liberate matter from the crushing embrace of matter, create a measureless profusion of shapes and forms?
So striking is the impression of antagonistic aims in nature, that this strife was even admitted into science in the form of a biological principle: the struggle for existence.
We are primarily dependent on the resources of general physics if we wish to investigate the sources of this antagonism.
General physics, which must be understood to include physiology, undertakes to reduce all natural phenomena to certain principles, i.e., subjective final causes whose nature, for the time being, is still unknown.
Thus we expect that in this science we will be able to discover all those primary forces that furnish a sufficient explanation of the antagonism in question.
For now let us confine ourselves to inorganic nature.
The principles of all inorganic phenomena are gravitation, cohesion, adhesion, capillarity, absorption, elasticity, affinity, inertia, magnetism, electricity, heat, light, and motion.
Today all these forces still have the status of principles; for the fact, for example, that we explain light in terms of motions of waves in ether has no particular meaning until it is possible to obtain a graphic mental image of the ether.
If we look at this group of principles, it strikes us at once that they fall into two separate, more or less well-defined classes.
First, there are those a priori principles inherent in matter; second, there are those that come in contact with matter only a posteriori.
Among the first group are, definitely, light, heat, electricity, and motion; and conditionally, magnetism.
To briefly characterize the first group:
As absolute, primary forces they do not come under the law of the conservation of energy, for they do not represent transmutations of energy but are only the condition, the reason why tension and the relaxation of tension become possible and manifest.
Thus they bear a negative relation to the second group.
Only affinity occupies a remarkable median position.
What they have in common is an element of attraction which, extensively, is observable particularly in gravitation, cohesion, adhesion, capillarity, and absorption, and intensively in affinity and inertia.
The essence of all attraction is the striving to place every point of matter, to the maximum extent possible, in a state of rest, and to maintain it in a constant state.
Thus the characteristic of this group is the tendency toward passivity.
Now let us characterize the second group:
The energy forms of light, heat, electricity, electromagnetism, and motion exert their effects through the law of the conservation of energy.
The forces in this group are not, a priori, inherent in matter, for a body is not eo ipso hot or luminous or electric, etc., in the way that it is eo ipso inert or possesses the property of gravitation.
The forces in this group can operate only with the assistance of the forces in the first group.
Thus, for example, motion takes place only if a body is inert.
Potential can turn to kinetic energy only in the presence of gravitational attraction, and a chemical discharge only in the presence of affinity.
If the forces of the second group are made to operate on those of the first, we find that inertia is overcome by the impulse to motion, and if not, that this impulse returns to its source in the form of heat.
Heat overcomes cohesion, and electricity chemical affinity.
Some of the forces in both groups enter into a remarkable relationship of mutual dependency-heat and affinity, for example.
Affinity almost certainly ceases to exist at a temperature of absolute zero, – 273°C. [ – 469°F.].
Magnetism occupies a median position between the two groups which can be explained in much the same way as the median role of affinity: namely by a relationship of mutual dependency which may exist between electromagnetism and inertia.
As for elasticity, I must, to be honest, admit that up to now I have not yet succeeded in deriving it to my satisfaction.
Perhaps it should be regarded as an inverse inertia, in that it represents the positive rejection of an impulse, whereas inertia constitutes a negative rejection.
The element common to this group may be described as a striving toward the extensive and intensive change of position, in other words a striving for unceasing activity.
It would be useful here to recall the physical theory concerning these forces.
Light, heat, and electricity are explained in terms of ether waves.
One absolutely essential property of the ether is unlimited repulsion, i.e., the striving toward unlimited possibilities of change of position.
Eduard von Hartmann establishes the same point, saying that there are two types of energetic elements, one group of which perpetually repel each other while the others exert a perpetual attraction.
Thus we have arrived at essentially the same result as Hartmann, with the difference that we took perception as our starting point, whereas Hartmann proceeded on the basis of theory.
Zollner, too, in his deliberations on the properties of matter, arrives at the admission f antagonistic tendencies, the simultaneous existence of attractive ad repulsive forces.
In other words, he arrives at a dualism founded deep within the dynamic properties of nature.
Kant proceeds along the same lines in his Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels:
“I have employed no forces other than those of attraction and repulsion to elaborate the great order of nature, two forces which are both equally certain, equally simple and, at the same time, equally primary and universal.”
To summarize briefly what we have said so far concerning physical principles:
The essential element of gravitation, cohesion, adhesion, capillarity, absorption, inertia, affinity, and elasticity, is the positive striving to achieve absolute rest or neutrality.
The essential element of motion, light, heat, and electricity, is the positive striving toward unlimited change, eternal activity.
The expression of their never-ending activity is the law of the conservation of energy.
Picture a world that has not yet been endowed with the active forces.
Such a world would necessarily hang in the darkness of space “in an ugly lump,” quiet, rigid, and dead, absolutely motionless and unchanging.
Who, confronted with such a picture, would not recall the words of Moses: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen. 1 :2).
How could the earth have conceived life if it was not fitted out as a bride by the forces of activity?
“And God said, Let there be light”(Gen. 1:3). When a creative act illuminated the dark chaos, the redemption of the world began, even before any organic being experienced the kindness of the all merciful light.
The active force of heat first had to release the elements from the solid aggregation of matter, had to separate the liquid from the solid and the gaseous from the liquid.
It had to deliver matter from an unspeakable pressure, and once that had occurred, matter began to move.
The liquid emerged and streamed over the surface of the planets.
The gases boiled and seethed out of the rocks and the molten elements.
The ardor of elective affinity began to emerge.
The elements began to love and hate each other, and multiplicity was born out of their opposition.
Do we not see here an antagonism in the most primitive but also most prodigious form? Here are the roots of dualism.
Here we are at the source.
Here in inorganic nature are those forces of opposition that seek to overwhelm one another.
Here is the place where that struggle begins that the philosophers term the suffering of the world.
This primal and fundamental opposition between living and dead, active and passive, is the mighty minor chord with which the song of the world begins.
It is this antagonism, which out of two conflicting elements composes the third, and the fourth, and thetenth, and the hundredth and thousandth.
“Thus we see,” says Hartmann, “the divergence into a polarized dualism as the principle which generates the material world.”
If we wish to avoid falling prey to idle fancies, we must regard this organic antagonism as the real, empirical basis of all speculation on the nature of the world.
Wundt expresses this dualism in a genuinely classical form in his first two axioms of physics:
“1) All causes in nature are causes of motion. 2) Every cause of motion exists outside that which is moved.”
Thus Wundt, too, feels compelled to admit, as the first principle of all formation in the world, a static factor and a factor inducing motion, both of which exist a priori.
Nor can Schelling avoid the principle of dualism on which all nature is grounded.
Thus he says: “But if the absolute is to be evident to itself, it must, in accordance with its objective, appear dependent on something else, something alien to itself.”
And what do we hear from the much-despised Jakob Boehme?
“No thing can become apparent to itself without opposition.”
Now that we have demonstrated the roots of dualism in the principles of physics, it remains to demonstrate dualism in the realm of organic nature.
We can state a priori, with apodictic certainty, that we will encounter in the physical organism the same dualism that we have just demonstrated in inorganic matter.
This is easy to understand, in that the physical organism is the product of X interacting with the material forces of inorganic nature.
The fundamental schism in material nature is, we will find, the precondition for the occurrence in the physical organism of the strange phenomenon of human suffering.
Life undoubtedly represents the manifestation of the highest activity.
The organism retains its own passionate urges despite the raging onslaught of all the laws of nature.
For years on end it overcomes all resi5tance, overcomes all the obstacles presented by the laws of matter: gravitation, inertia, affinity, and so on.
“The entire life of a plant, as of an animal, constitutes an infinite sum of infinitely many acts of natural healing, for at every moment the onslaught of destructive physical and chemical influences must be paralyzed and overcome.”
The living organism is, quite simply, a miracle, in that it lifts itself above all those laws of physics that approach absolute reliability.
Obviously the organism also satisfies physical laws, for after all, it is composed of matter. But this fact in no way constitutes a sufficient reason to deny the existence of a vital principle.
To regard life merely as a complex physical structure is a sign of great confusion.
The organism is involved in a never-ending struggle with the environment; this.is the ultimate dualism of the organic phenomenon.
Darwin perceived the nature of this dualism and conferred on it the dignity of a biological principle, to whose operations, to a large extent, he reduces the phenomenon of differentiation.
In every self-conscious being, dualism appears in a dual form.
Every conscious being has an external and an internal image of itself.
In his text on physiological chemistry, Runge goes into some detail concerning this idea of Schopenhauer.
Our picture of dualism will be dual in accordance with the dual nature of perception.
First we have the image of the external struggle for survival, and second we have the internal reflection of this struggle, in the form of a feeling of psychical schism:
Alas, there dwell two souls in my breast, each desiring to part from the other.
One, in the robust pleasure of love,clings to the earth with all its might.
The other prndigiously heaves itself from the dust to enter the domain of noble forebeairs.
Man’s inner dualism is the direct continuation of the dualism of inorganic nature.
Life is the highest activity we know, and thus everything that is less active will attempt to block its way.
The entire external environment may act as an obstacle to the degree that it hinders the untrammeled operation of the organism.
Every relationship to the environment represents an obstacle in that our environment is material and strives to attain the maximum possible of rest.
Every relationship to the inner world, insofar as it is directed toward maximum activity, is supportive in that all activity unfolds more freely the further removed it becomes from any obstructive activity.
The causal instinct leads us, a away to the inwardness of transcendental causes.
Thus it continually directs us away from passivity and toward activity to our proper and primary nature, which has not, and ought not to have, anything in common with the obtuseness and inertia of material substance.
It is from the dualism grounded in the depths of nature that we derive justification for giving precedence, above all the other instincts, to the causal instinct, for this instinct alone points to the true root of our nature: unconditional activity.
The pure contemplation of nature supplies us with unconditional affirmation of the causal instinct.
Here we also have the objective reason for the subjective appearance of the source of greatest happiness, which is attained through gratification of the need for causality.
No man feels well and happy until he finds others of his own kind.
The closer we approach to the roots of our own being, the more unalloyed and the more enduring our happiness becomes.
Now that we have demonstrated the teleological element in the category of causality and the universal ethical justification of speculative inquiry, it remains for us to briefly depict the results of the affirmation of the causal instinct.
One of the first results will be to reject the secularization of human interests, i.e., the focal point of all concern will shift from the material to the transcendental world as a result of the perception that, with respect to the determination of our human nature, the relation to material things is not purposeful.
We will reject the will to material existence as inexpedient for the development of the activity inherent to our nature.
On the other hand we will affirm the will to personality, to individuality, in the sense of the most radical diversity between an individual and everything else that exists, as the most radical diversification is consistent with the activity inherent to our nature, and thus the will to diversity is purposeful.
The justification of suicide as the most certain and most complete expression of the negation of the Will-a justification that Schopenhauer attempts to disprove in an intricate sophism-must be rejected on the basis of the elementary perception that no diversity can develop without the existence of an opposite, and thus that the suffering resulting from dualism is absolutely essential to the development of a differentiated personality.
The basic tenor of the dualistic world-view, immanent pessimism, is determined by the painful but true perception that for the most part our actions and those of our fellow men are unpurposeful with respect to the metaphysical purpose of man, and that, as regards the present state of the phenomenal world, life, as Schopenhauer says, is nothing but suffering.
Every genuine philosophy, every true religion is wrapped in the earthly garment of pessimism as the only accurate mode of reviewing the world befitting man in the awareness of his nothingness.
The fact that certain men, who are otherwise of good reputation, make a great point of claiming that they are optimists, and disparage all pessimism as unhealthy, even forgetting themselves so far as to make Lord Byron’s clubfoot responsible for his pessimism, and to attribute Schopenhauer’s pessimism to a case of syphilis contracted in Venice, is the result of their failure to reflect on the true nature of optimism, and their failure to have ever poked their noses into Schopenhauer’s works.
In Schopenhauer they would have found passages like the following:
“If one could lead the hardened optimist through the civilian and military hospitals, the surgical horror-houses, through the prisons, torture chambers, and slave barracks, across the battlefields and past the places of execution; then open to him all the gloomy habitations where misery creeps away to hide from cold glances of curiosity; and finally let him peer into Ugolino’s starvation chamber; surely in the end he too would perceive the nature of this meilleur des mondes possibles.”
At another point he writes:
“I cannot refrain from stating that optimism, insofar as it is not merely the thoughtless chatter of those whose trivial heads house nothing but words, appears to me not merely an absurd but a genuinely impious way of thinking, a bitter contempt for the nameless sufferings of mankind.”
Thus Schopenhauer neatly disposes of the optimists.
The optimist’s joie de vivre has always been viewed as inseparable from a measure of stupidity as we see from the following passage of Aristotle:
( … all those who have become eminent in philosophy or politics or poetry or the arts are dearly of melancholy temperament).
It seems to me of the greatest importance that we remind ourselves, in all that there is such a thing as reason, and a religion called Christianity which some of us proudly claim to embrace, and that both categorically point us in the direction of pessimism.
Recently people appear to have forgotten this, and no longer wish to recall that every transcendental world-view is pessimistic.
They have banished metaphysics and, with boundless idiocy, make a lot of pretty speeches about ethics free of metaphysics, which naturally results in the crassest optimism.
There are even Christian theologians who are optimists and who presumably do not know that “the whole cosmos is grounded in evil”
Well, each to his own pleasure.
If we glance back at our rather lengthy chain of reasoning about the nature and value of speculative inquiry, we find that we seem to have covered pretty much everything that could be covered within the framework of a brief lecture.
In conclusion I would like to express the hope that at least a little of what I have said will stick with you, and that the extraordinarily. ~Carl Jung, Zofingia Lectures, Pages 61-88