Glossary


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MOOD OF GNOSIS (Saturn) [1] We have established that the elements for the explanation of reality are to be found in two spheres: perceiving and thinking. It is due, as we have seen, to our organization that the full, complete reality, including our own selves as subjects, appears at first as a duality. Cognition overcomes this duality by fusing the two elements of reality, the percept and the concept gained by thinking, into the complete thing. Let us call the manner in which the world presents itself to us, before it has taken on its true nature through cognition, "the world of appearance," in contrast to the unified whole composed of percept and concept. We can then say: The world is given to us as a duality, and cognition transforms it into a unity. A philosophy which starts from this basic principle may be called a monistic philosophy, or monism. Opposed to this is the two-world theory, or dualism. The latter does not assume just that there are two sides of a single reality which are kept apart merely by our organization, but that there are two worlds absolutely distinct from one another. It then tries to find in one of these two worlds the principles for the explanation of the other.

[2] Dualism rests on a false conception of what we call cognition. It divides the whole of existence into two spheres, each of which has its own laws, and it leaves these two worlds standing apart and opposed.

[3] It is from a dualism such as this that there arises the distinction between the perceptual object and the thing-in-itself, which Kant introduced into philosophy, and which, to the present day, we have not succeeded in eradicating. According to our line of argument, it is due to the nature of our mental organization that a particular thing can be given to us only as a percept. Thinking then overcomes this particularity by assigning to each percept its rightful place in the world as a whole. As long as we designate the separated parts of the world as percepts, we are simply following, in this separating out, a law of our subjectivity. If, however, we regard the sum of all percepts as the one part, and contrast with this a second part, namely, the things-in-themselves, then we are philosophizing into the blue. We are merely playing with concepts. We construct an artificial pair of opposites, but we can gain no content for the second of these opposites, since such content for a particular thing can be drawn only from perception.