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Philosophical Letters: 5. Philosophical Connection
by [?]


S 7.–The Metho.

The surest way, perhaps, to throw some light upon this matter is the following: Let us detach from man all idea of what can be called organization,–that is, let the body be separated from the spirit, without, however, depriving the latter of the power to attain to representations of, and to produce actions in, the corporeal world; and let us then inquire how the spirit would set to work, would develop its powers, what steps it would take towards its perfection: the result of this investigation must be founded upon facts. The actual culture of the individual man is thus surveyed, while we at the same time obtain a view of the development of the whole race. In the first place, then, we have this abstract case: the power of representation and will are present, a sphere of action is present, and a free way opened from the soul to the world, from the world to the soul. The question then is, How will the spirit act?

S 8.-The Soul viewed as out of connection with the Body.

We can form no conception without the antecedent will to form it; no will, unless by experience of a better condition thereby induced, without [some] sensation; no sensation without an antecedent idea (for along with the body we excluded bodily sensations), therefore no idea without an idea.

Let us consider now the case of a child; that is, according to our hypothesis, a spirit conscious in itself of the power to form ideas, but which for the first time is about to exercise this power. What will determine him to think, unless it be the pleasant sensation thereby arising, and what can have procured for him the experience of this pleasurable sensation? We have just seen that this, again, could be nothing but thinking, and he is now for the first time to think. Further, what shall invite him to a consideration of the [external] world? Nothing but the experience of its perfection in so far as it satisfies his instinct of activity, and as this satisfaction affords him pleasure. What, then, can determine him to an exercise of his powers? Nothing but the experience of their existence; and all these experiences are now to be made for the first time. He must therefore have been active from all eternity–which is contrary to the case as stated–or he will to all eternity be inactive, just as the machine without a touch from without remains idle and motionless.

S 9.–The Soul viewed in connection with the Body.

Now let the animal be added to the spirit. Weave these two natures so closely together as they really are closely woven, and cause an unknown something, born of the economy of the animal body, to be assailed by the power of sensation,–let the soul be placed in the condition of physical pain. That was the first touch, the first ray to light up the night of slumbering powers, a touch as from a golden finger upon nature’s lute. Now is sensation there, and sensation only was it that before we missed. This kind of sensation seems to have been made on purpose to remove all these difficulties. In the first case none could be produced because we were not allowed to presuppose an idea; here a modification of the bodily organs becomes a substitute for the ideas that were lacking, and thus does animal sensation come to the help of the spirits inward mechanism, if I may so call it, and puts the same in motion. The will is active, and the action of a single power is sufficient to set all the rest to work. The following operations are self-developed and do not belong to this chapter.

S 10.-Out of the History of the Individual.

Let us follow now the growth of the soul in the individual man in relation to what I am trying to demonstrate, and let us observe how all his spiritual capacities grow out of motive powers of sense.