Glossary


7-10
DYNAMISM (Scorpio)
[29] Monism never finds it necessary to ask for any principles of explanation for reality other than percepts and concepts. It knows that in the whole field of reality there is no occasion for this question. In the perceptual world, as it presents itself directly to perception, it sees one half of the reality; in the union of this world with the world of concepts it finds the full reality. The metaphysical realist may object to the adherent of monism: It may be that for your organization, your cognition is complete in itself, with no part lacking; but you do not know how the world is mirrored in an intelligence organized differently from your own. To this the monist will reply: If there are intelligences other than human, and if their percepts are different from ours, all that concerns me is what reaches me from them through perception and concept. Through my perceiving, that is, through this specifically human mode of perceiving, I, as subject, am confronted with the object. The connection of things is thereby interrupted. The subject restores this connection by means of thinking. In doing so it puts itself back into the context of the world as a whole. Since it is only through the subject that the whole appears cut in two at the place between our percept and our concept, the uniting of those two gives us true cognition. For beings with a different perceptual world (for example, if they had twice our number of sense organs), the continuum would appear broken in another place, and the reconstruction would accordingly have to take a form specific for such beings. The question concerning the limits to cognition exists only for naïve and metaphysical realism, both of which see in the contents of the soul only an ideal representation of the real world. For these theories, what exists outside the subject is something absolute, founded in itself, and what is contained within the subject is a picture of this absolute, but quite external to it. The completeness of the cognition depends on the greater or lesser degree of resemblance between the picture and the absolute object. A being with fewer senses than man will perceive less of the world, one with more senses will perceive more. The former will accordingly have a less complete knowledge than the latter.

[30] For monism, the situation is different. The manner in which the world continuum appears to be rent asunder into subject and object depends on the organization of the perceiving being. The object is not absolute, but merely relative, with reference to this particular subject. Bridging over the antithesis, therefore, can again take place only in the quite specific way that is characteristic of the particular human subject. As soon as the I, which is separated from the world in the act of perceiving, fits itself back into the world continuum through thoughtful contemplation, all further questioning ceases, having been but a consequence of the separation.

[31] A differently constituted being would have a differently constituted cognition. Our own cognition suffices to answer the questions put by our own nature.

[32] Metaphysical realism has to ask: By what means are our percepts given? What is it that affects the subject?

[33] Monism holds that percepts are determined through the subject. But at the same time, the subject has in thinking the means for canceling this self-produced determination.