Glossary


5-9
MONADISM (Sagittarius)
[23] The foregoing arguments show that it is senseless to look for any common element in the separate entities of the world other than the ideal content that thinking offers us. All attempts to find a unity in the world other than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain by a thoughtful contemplation of our percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a humanly personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will, can be valid for us as a universal world unity. All these entities belong only to limited spheres of our observation. Humanly limited personality we perceive only in ourselves; force and matter in external things. As far as the will is concerned, it can be regarded only as the expression of the activity of our finite personality. Schopenhauer wants to avoid making "abstract" thinking the bearer of unity in the world, and seeks instead something which presents itself to him immediately as real. This philosopher believes that we can never approach the world so long as we regard it as "external" world. “In point of fact, the sought for meaning of the world which confronts me is nothing more than mental picture, or the passage from the world as mere mental picture of the knowing subject to whatever it may be besides this, could never be found at all if the investigator himself were nothing more than the purely knowing subject (a winged cherub without a body). But he himself is rooted in that world: he finds himself in it as an individual, that is to say, his knowledge, which is the determining factor supporting the whole world as mental picture, is thus always given through the medium of a body, whose affections are, for the intellect, the starting point for the contemplation of that world, as we have shown. For the purely knowing subject as such, this body is a mental picture like any other, an object among objects; its movements and actions are so far known to him in precisely the same way as the changes of all other perceived objects, and would be just as strange and incomprehensible to him if their sense were not made clear for him in an entirely different way.... To the subject of knowledge, who appears as an individual through his identity with the body, this body is given in two entirely different ways: once as a mental picture for intelligent consideration, as an object among objects and obeying their laws; but at the same time, in quite a different way, namely as the thing immediately known to everyone by the word will. Every true act of his will is at once and without exception also a movement of his body: he cannot will the act without at the same time perceiving that it appears as a movement of the body. The act of will and the action of the body are not two things objectively known to be different, which the bond of causality unites; they do not stand in the relation of cause and effect; they are one and the same, but they are given in two entirely different ways: once quite directly and once in contemplation for the intellect.? Schopenhauer considers himself entitled by these arguments to find in the human body the "objectivity" of the will. He believes that in the activities of the body he feels an immediate reality -- the thing-in-itself in the concrete. Against these arguments it must be said that the activities of our body come to our consciousness only through percepts of the self, and that, as such, they are in no way superior to other percepts. If we want to know their real nature, we can do so only by a thinking investigation, that is, by fitting them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.