Chapter 5 The Act Of Knowing The World

 
    Chapter 5
         The Act Of Knowing The World

 
    [1]
         From
            the foregoing considerations it follows
         that it
            is impossible
          to prove
             by investigating
          the content
             of our observation
                that our percepts
                   are mental
                      pictures.

    Such proof
        is supposed
           to be established
              by showing that,
       if the process
           of perceiving
              takes place
           in the way
         in which â€"
       on the basis
           of naive-realistic assumptions
               about our psychological
                  and physiological constitution â€"
       we imagine
          that it does,
       then we
          have to do,
       not with things
           in themselves,
       but
          only with our mental pictures
             of things.

    Now
         if naïve realism,
       when
          consistently thought out,
       leads to results
          which
         directly contradict its presuppositions,
       then these presuppositions
          must be discarded
             as unsuitable
           for the foundation
               of a universal philosophy.

    In any case,
       it is not permissible
           to reject
               the presuppositions
                  and
          yet accept the consequences,
       as the critical idealist
          does
         when
             he bases
                 his assertion
                    that the world
                       is my mental
                          picture
           on the line
               of argument
                  already described.

    (Eduard von Hartmann gives
        a full account
           of this line
              of argument
                 in his work,
      Das Grundproblem der
          Erkenntnistheorie.)
 
    [2] The truth
        of critical
       idealism is one thing,
      the force
          of its proof
              another.

    How
         it stands
            with the former
               will appear later
           on
              in the course
                 of this book,
       but
          the force of its proof
             is exactly nil.

    If one builds
        a house,
       and
          the ground floor
             collapses
         while
             the first floor
                is being built,
       then
          the first floor
             collapses also.

    Naïve
         realism
             and critical idealism is related
           as ground floor
              to the first floor
                 in this simile.
 
    [3] For someone
         who
        believes
           that the whole perceived world
              is only an imagined one,
                 a mental picture,
               and is
                  in fact the effect
               upon my soul
                   of things unknown
                       to me,
       the real problem of knowledge
          is naturally concerned not
             with the mental pictures present only
                in the soul
                   but with the things
         which are independent
            of us and
         which
              lie outside
           our consciousness.

    He asks:
       How much
          can
         we learn
            about these things indirectly,
       seeing
          that
             we cannot observe them directly?

    From this point of view,
       he is concerned not
           with the inner connection
               of his conscious percepts
                   with one another
         but
            with their causes
               which
                  transcend
               his consciousness
                  and
                exist independently
                   of him,
                      since the percepts,
                   in his opinion,
       disappear as soon
           as he turns
               his senses
                  away from things.

    Our consciousness,
       on this view,
          works like
             a mirror
          from which
              the pictures of definite things
                  disappear
              the moment its reflecting surface
                  is not turned toward them.

    If,
       now,
          we do not see
             the things themselves
         but
            only their reflections,
       then
          we must learn indirectly
             about the nature
                of things
                   by drawing conclusions
                       from the behavior
                           of the reflections.

    Modern science
        takes
           this attitude
              in that it uses percepts
          only
         as a last resort
            in obtaining information
               about the processes
                   of matter
         which
              lie
           behind them,
       and which alone
          really "are."

    If the philosopher,
       as critical idealist,
          admits real existence
             at all,
       then his search
           for knowledge
               through the medium
                  of mental pictures
          is directed solely toward
              this existence.

    His interest
        skips
           over the subjective world
               of mental pictures
                  and goes straight
                     for what
                    produces
          these pictures.

    [4]
         The critical idealist can,
            however,
           go even further
          and say:
       I am confined
           to the world
               of my mental pictures
                   and
                escape from it.

    If
         I think
            of a thing
          as being
             behind my mental picture,
       then thought
          is again nothing
         but a mental picture.

    An idealist of this type
        will
           either
              deny
           the thing-in-itself entirely
              or
           at any rate
              assert
         that it
            has no significance
           for human beings,
              in other words,
           that it
        is
           as good as non-existent
         since
             we can know nothing
           of it.
 
    [5] To this kind
        of critical
       idealist the whole world seems
          a dream,
      in the face
         of which
            all striving
          for knowledge
             is simply meaningless.

    For him
        there can be only
           two sorts of men:
       victims
           of the illusion
          that their own dream structures
              are real things,
       and the wise ones
          who
         see through the nothingness
            of this dream
          world and who
              must therefore gradually lose all
        desire
           to trouble themselves further
              about it.

    From this point of view,
       even
          one's own personality
             may become
          a mere dream phantom.

    Just
         as during sleep
            there appears
               among my dream
                  images an image
                     of myself,
       so in waking consciousness
           the mental picture
               of my own
              I is added
                 to the mental picture
                    of the outer world.

    We have
         then given
            to us
               in consciousness,
       not our real I,
          but
         only
            our mental picture
               of our I. Whoever
          denies that things exist,
       or at least
          that
             we can know anything
           of them,
       must also deny
          the existence,
       or at least
           the knowledge,
       of one's own personality.

    The critical idealist
         then comes
            to the conclusion
               that
        "All reality
            resolves itself
               into a wonderful dream,
           without a life
          which is dreamed about,
             and
                without a spirit
              which is having the dream;
           into a dream
              which
                 hangs together in a dream
                    of itself."
 
    [6] For the person
          who believes
              that
                 he recognizes
                    our immediate life
               to be
              a dream,
       it is immaterial
          whether
             he postulates nothing more
           behind this dream
               or
                  whether
                     he relates
                        his mental pictures
                   to actual things.

    In both cases
          life must lose all
             academic interest
           for him.

    But
         whereas
            all learning
               must be meaningless
           for those
              who
            believe
               that the whole
                  of the accessible universe
                     is exhausted in dreams,
       yet for others
          who feel
             entitled
          to argue
             from mental pictures
                to things,
       learning
          will consist
             in the investigation
                of these
        "things-in-themselves."

    The first of these theories
        may be called
           absolute illusionism,
       the second
          is called
             transcendental realism
           by its most rigorously
               logical exponent,
       Eduard von Hartmann.
 
    [7]
         Both these points
            of views
               have
          this
         in common
            with naïve realism,
       that
          they seek
             to gain
                a footing
           in the world
               by means
                  of an investigation
                     of perceptions.

    Within this sphere,
       however,
          they are unable
             to find
                a firm foundation.
 
    [8]
         One
            of the most important questions
           for an adherent
              of transcendental
             realism
        would have to be:
       How does
          the Ego
              produce
           the world
              of mental pictures
                 out of itself?

    A world of mental pictures
          which was given to us,
       and
          which
             disappeared
           as soon
              as we shut
                 our senses
           to the external world,
       might kindle
           as earnest desire
               for knowledge,
       in so far
          as it
             was a means
           of investigating indirectly
          the world
             of the I-in-itself.

    If
         the things of our experience
            were
        "mental
            pictures",
           then
              our everyday life
                 would be like
               a dream,
           and
              the discovery
                 of the true state of affairs
                would be like
                    waking.

    Now our dream images
          interest us as long
             as we
        dream
              and consequently do not detect
         their dream character.

    But
         as soon
            as we wake,
       we no longer look
           for the inner connections
               of our dream
                  images
                     among themselves,
       but rather
           for the physical,
       physiological and psychological processes
          which underlie them.

    In the same way,
       a philosopher
          who holds
             the world
           to be
          his mental picture
              cannot be interested
                 in the mutual relations
                    of the details
                       within the picture.

    If
         he allows
            for the existence
               of a real Ego
                  at all,
       then
          his question
             will be,
       not how
          one of his mental pictures
              is linked with another,
       but
          what takes place
             in the independently existing soul
          while
             a certain train
                of mental pictures
                   passes
               through his consciousness.

    If
         I dream
             that
                 I am drinking wine
          which makes my throat dry,
       and
          then
         wake up with a cough,
            I cease,
               the moment
         I wake,
       to be interested
           in progress
              of the dream
                 for its own sake.

    My attention
        is now concerned only
           with the physiological
              and psychological processes
                 by means
         of which
             the irritation
                which
                   causes me
              to cough
                 comes
                    to be symbolically expressed
                   in the dream picture.

    Similarly,
       once
          the philosopher is convinced
         that the given world consists
            of nothing
         but mental
            pictures,
       his interest
          is bound
             to switch at
                once from this world
                   to the real soul
                  which lies behind.

    The matter
        is more serious,
           however,
              for the adherent
                 of illusionism
          who denies altogether
             the existence
           of an Ego-in-itself
               behind the mental pictures,
       or at least
          holds
         this Ego
            to be unknowable.

    We might very easily be led
        to such
           a view
        by the observation
       that,
      in contrast
          to dreaming,
      there is indeed
         the waking
             state
        in which
            we have
               the opportunity
          of seeing
             through our dreams
           and referring them
              to the real relations
                  of things,
      but
         that there is no
       state
          of the self which
             is related similarly
          to our waking conscious life.

    Whoever
          takes this view fails
             to see
                that there is,
               in fact,
                  something
          which
             is related
           to mere perceiving
               in the way
         that our waking experience
        is related
           to our dreaming.

    This something
        is thinking.

    [9] The naïve man
        cannot be charged
           with the lack
               of insight
                  referred
                     to here.

    He accepts life
         as it is,
       and regards things
           as real
          just
         as they
              present themselves to him
           in experience.

    The first step,
       however,
          which
         we take
            beyond this standpoint
               can be only this,
       that
          we ask
              how thinking
        is related
           to perception.

    It makes
        no difference
       whether
         or
            no the percept,
      in the shape given
          to me,
      exists continuously
          before and after my forming
              a mental picture;
      if
         I want
            to assert
               anything
        whatever
           about it,
      I can do so only
          with the help
              of thinking.

    If
         I assert
             that the world
                is my mental picture,
       I have enunciated
           the result
              of an act
                 of thinking. and
         if my thinking
            is not applicable
           to the world,
       then
          this result is false.

    Between a percept
        and every kind
           of assertion
              about it
             there intervenes
                 thinking.
 
    [10] The reason
         why
             we generally overlook
          thinking
             in our consideration
                of things
                   has already been given.

    It lies
        in the fact
       that our attention
           is concentrated only
              on the object
       we are thinking about,
      but
         not at the same time
            on the thinking itself.

    The naïve consciousness,
       therefore,
          treats
        thinking
           as something
          which has nothing
              to do with things,
       but stands altogether aloof
           from them
               and contemplates
                   them.

    The picture
         which the thinker
            makes
               of the phenomena
                  of the world
            is regarded not
               as something
                  belonging
           to the things
         but as existing only
            in the human head.

    The world
        is complete
           in itself
              without this picture.

    It is finished
          and complete
             with all its substances
                and forces,
       and
          of this
             ready-made world man
            makes
          a picture.

    Whoever
          thinks thus need
             only be asked one question.

    What right
          have you
             to declare
                the world to be
         complete
            without thinking?

    Does not
          the world
              produce
                 thinking
               in the heads
                   of men
                      with the same necessity
                         as it produces
              the blossom
                 on a plant?

    Plant a seed
        in the earth.

    It puts
        forth root
           and stem,
      it unfolds
          into leaves and blossoms.

    Set the plant
        before yourself.

    It connects itself,
       in your mind,
          with a definite concept.

    Why should
          this concept
              belong any less
           to the whole plant
          than
             leaf and blossom?

    You say
        the leaves
       and blossoms
          exist quite
             apart from a perceiving
                subject,
      but the concept
         appears only
            when a human being
               confronts the plant.

    Quite so.

    But leaves
        and blossoms
           also appear
              on the plant
          only
         if there is
              soil
         in which
             the seed
                can be planted,
       and light
          and air
         in which the leaves
            and blossoms
               can unfold.

    Just so
         the concept of a plant
            arises
                 when a thinking consciousness
                    approaches the plant.
 
    [11] It is quite arbitrary
          to regard
             the sum
           of what
              we experience
                 of a thing
             through bare perception
                as a totality,
       as the whole thing,
          while
         that
             which
                reveals itself
               through thoughtful contemplation
        (thinking consideration)
           is regarded
               as a mere accretion
             which has nothing
                to do
               with the thing
                   itself.

    If
         I am given
            a rosebud today,
       the picture that offers
           itself
              to my perception
            is complete only
               for the moment.

    If
         I put
            the bud
           into water,
       I shall
          tomorrow
              get a very different picture
           of my object.

    If
         I watch the rosebud
            without interruption,
       I shall see
          today's state change continuously
             into tomorrow's
           through an infinite number
               of intermediate stages.

    The picture
          which
             presents itself
           to me
               at any one
         moment
            is only a chance cross-section
           of an object
          which
             is
           in a continual process
               of development.

    If
         I do not put the bud
            into water,
       a whole series
           of states
         which
              lay
           as possibilities
               within the bud
                  will not develop.

    Similarly I
          may be prevented
              tomorrow from observing
         the blossom further,
       and will thereby have
          an incomplete picture
             of it.
 
    [12] It would be
        a quite unobjective
       and fortuitous kind
          of opinion
         that declared
            of the purely momentary appearance
               of a thing:
      this is
         the thing.
 
    [13] Just
         as little is it legitimate
            to regard
               the sum
           of perceptual characteristics
               as the thing.

    It might be quite possible
        for a spirit
       to receive
           the concept
        at the same time as,
           and united with,
        the percept.

    It would never occur
        to such
       a spirit
          that the concept
             did not belong
        to the thing.

    It would have
          to ascribe to the concept
             an existence indivisibly bound up
           with the thing.
 
    [14] I will make myself clearer
        by an example.

    If
         I throw a stone
            horizontally through the air,
       I perceive it
           in different places
               one
                  after the other.

    I connect
        these places so
           as to form a line.

    Mathematics
        teaches me
           to know
              various kinds
           of lines,
       one
          of which
             is
          the parabola.

    I know the parabola
        to be a line
       which
         is produced
      when
          a point
             moves
       according to
          a particular law.

    If
         I examine
            the conditions
         under which
             the stone
                thrown
           by me moves,
       I find
          the path traversed is identical
             with the line
                I
               know as a parabola.

    That the stone moves
          just
         in a parabola
            is a result
               of the given
            conditions and follows necessarily
               from them.

    The form of the parabola
        belongs
           to the whole phenomenon
         as much as
             any other feature
                of it does.

    The spirit
        described above
           who has no need
              of the detour
                 of thinking
                would find itself
                    presented not only a sequence
               of visual percepts
                   at different points
         but,
       as part
           and parcel
              of these phenomena,
       also with the parabolic form
           of the path
         which
             we add
           to the phenomenon
               only by thinking.

    [15] It is not
        due to the objects
       that they
         are given us
        at
           first without the corresponding concepts,
      but
         to our mental organization.

    Our whole
        being
            functions
           in such
              a way
                 that
                    from every real thing
              the relevant elements
                  come
               to us
                   from two sides,
       from perceiving
           and from thinking.
 
    [16] The way
          I am organized for apprehending
              the things
                  has nothing
                      to do
                         with the nature
                            of the things themselves.

    The gap
        between perceiving
           and thinking
         exists only
        from the moment
           that
              I as spectator
       confront the things.

    Which elements do,
       and which
          do not,
       belong
           to the things
              cannot depend
           at
              all on the manner
         in which
            I obtain my knowledge
           of these elements.
 
    [17] Man is a limited being.

    First of all,
       he is a being
           among other beings.

    His existence
        belongs
           to space and time.

    Thus,
       only
          a limited part
             of the total universe
          that
              can be given him
                 at any one time.

    This limited part,
       however,
          is linked up
             with other parts
                in all directions both
                   in time
                       and in space.

    If
         our existence
            were so
                linked up
           with the things
              that
                 every occurrence in the world
                    were at the same
            time also an occurrence
               in us,
       the distinction
           between ourselves
               and
                  the things would not exist.

    But
         then there would be
            no separate things
           at
              all for us.

    All occurrences would pass continuously
        one
           into the other.

    The cosmos
        would be
           a unity
              and a whole,
       complete
           in itself.

    The stream of events
        would nowhere be interrupted.

    It is owing
        to our limitations
           that a thing appears
              to us
                 as single
                    and separate
      when
         in truth
       it is not
          a separate thing
        at all.

    Nowhere,
       for example,
          is the single quality "red"
             to be found
           by itself
              in isolation.

    It is surrounded
        on all sides
           by other qualities
      to which
         it belongs,
      and
         without which
            it could not subsist.

    For us,
       however,
          it is necessary
             to isolate
                certain sections
                   of the world
               and
              to consider them
                 by themselves.

    Our eye
        can grasp
           only single colors one
              after another
           out of a manifold totality
               of color,
                  and our understanding,
       can grasp
           only single concepts
              out of a connected
                 conceptual system.

    This separating
        off is a subjective act,
       which
          is
             due to the fact
         that we
            are not identical
           with the world process,
       but are a single
          being
         among other beings.
 
    [18] The all important thing
        now is
           to determine how
              the being
                 that we ourselves are
            is related
               to the other entities.

    This determination
        must be distinguished
           from merely becoming conscious
              of ourselves.

    For
         this latter self-awareness
            we depend
           on perceiving just
          as we
         do
            for our awareness of any other thing.

    The perception of myself
        reveals
           to me a number
               of qualities
         which
             I combine
                into my personality as a whole,
       just as I
          combine the qualities yellow,
             metallic,
           hard, etc.,
       in the unity "gold."

    The perception of myself
        does not take me
           beyond the sphere
               of what
                  belongs
                     to me.

    This
         perceiving
            of myself
               must be distinguished
           from determining myself
              by means of thinking.

    Just as,
       by means
           of thinking,
       I fit any single external percept
           into the whole world context,
       so by means
           of thinking
              I
           integrate into the world
              process
          the percepts
             I
                have made of myself.

    My self-perception
        confines me
           within certain limits,
       but my thinking
          is not concerned
             with these limits.

    In this sense
         I am a two-sided
            being.

    I am enclosed
        within the sphere
       which
         I perceive
        as that of my personality,
       but
          I am also the bearer
             of an activity
         which,
       from a higher sphere,
          defines
             my limited existence.

    Our thinking
        is not individual like
           our sensing
              and feeling;
       it is universal.

    It receives
        an individual stamp
           in each separate human being
       only
      because
          it comes
             to be related
        to his individual feelings
            and sensations.

    By means
        of these
            particular colorings
                of the universal thinking,
      individual men
         differentiate themselves
            from one another.

    There is only
          one single concept
             of "triangle".

    It is quite immaterial
        for the content
            of this concept
           whether it
               is grasped
                  in A's consciousness
                     or in B's.

    It will,
       however,
          be grasped
             by each
                of the two
               in his own individual way.
 
    [19] This
        thought
           is opposed
              by a common prejudice very hard
                 to overcome.

    This prejudice
        prevents one
           from seeing
          that the concept
             of a triangle
          that my head grasps
             is the same
           as the concept
               that my neighbor's head grasps.

    The naïve man
        believes himself
           to be
              the creator
           of his concepts.

    Hence
         he believes
            that each person
               has his own concepts.

    It is
         a fundamental requirement
            of philosophic thinking
          that it
              should overcome this prejudice.

    The one uniform concept
        of "triangle"
           does not become
          a multiplicity
              because it
                  is thought by many persons.

    For
         the thinking
            of the many
               is itself
          a unity.
 
    [20] In thinking,
       we have
          that element
             given us which welds
           our separate individuality
              into one whole
                 with the cosmos.

    In so far
        as we sense
           and feel
       (and also perceive),
          we are single beings;
             in so far
                as we think,
          we are the all-one
             being
         that pervades
            everything.

    This is
         the deeper meaning
            of our two-sided nature:
           We see
              coming
                 into being
               in us a force complete
                   and absolute
                      in itself,
       a force
          which is universal
         but
             which
                 we learn to know,
       not
          as it issues
             from the center
                of the world,
       but rather
           at a point
               in the periphery.

    Were
         we to know
            it
           at its source,
       we should understand
           the whole riddle
              of the universe
         the moment
             we became conscious.

    But
         since
             we stand
           at a point
               in the periphery,
       and find that our own
          existence is bounded
             by definite limits,
       we must explore the region
          which
             lies outside
           our own
        being
           with the help
               of thinking,
       which
          projects
             into us
                from the universal world existence.

    [21] Through the fact
         that the thinking,
            in us,
           reaches out
              beyond our separate existence
                 and
            relates itself
               to the universal world existence,
       gives
          rise
             to the fundamental desire
                for knowledge
                   in us.

    Beings
        without thinking
       do not have this desire.

    When they
          are faced with other things,
       no questions
          arise for them.

    These other things remain external
        to such beings.

    But
         in thinking beings
            the concept
               rises
           up
         when they
            confront the external thing.

    It is that part
        of the thing
       which
          we receive not
        from
            outside but from
                within.

    To match up,
       to unite
           the two elements,
              inner and outer,
                 is the task
                    of knowledge.
 
    [22] The percept
        is thus
           not
              something finished and self-contained,
       but one side
           of the total reality.

    The other side
        is
           the concept.

    The act
        of knowing
           is the synthesis
        of percept and concept.

    Only percept
         and concept
            together constitute
               the whole thing.
 
    [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.
 
    [24] Rooted most deeply
        in the naïve consciousness
            of mankind
               is
              the opinion that thinking
                 is abstract,
      without
          any concrete content;
      it can
          at most
             give us an "ideal" counterpart
                of the unity
                   of the world,
      but
         never the unity
            itself.

    Whoever
        judges
           in this way
              has never made
          it clear
             to himself
         what
             a percept without the concept
                really is.

    Let us
          see
         what this
             world of percepts
                is like:
       a mere juxtaposition
           in space,
       a mere succession
           in time,
       a mass
           of unconnected
              details
       -- that is how
          it appears.

    None of the things
         which come and go on
            the stage of perception
               has any direct connection,
       that can be perceived,
          with any other.

    The world
        is thus
           a multiplicity
              of objects
             of equal value.

    None
        plays
           any greater part
              in the whole machinery
                 of the world
              than any other.

    If it
        is
           to become
              clear
           to us
              that
                 this or that fact
                has greater significance
              than another,
       we must consult our thinking.

    Were thinking not
          to function,
       the rudimentary organ
           of an animal
         which
            has
          no significance in its life
             would appear
                  equal
           in value
              to the most important limb
                 of its body.

    The separate
          facts
              appear
           in their true significance,
       both
          in themselves
             and for the rest
                of the world
          only
         when thinking
            spins its threads
           from one entity
               to another.

    This activity
        of thinking
           is
              one full of content.

    For it
        is only through a quite definite
           concrete content
         that
             I can know
         why
             the snail
                belongs
           to a lower level
               of organization
              than the lion.

    The mere appearance,
       the percept,
          gives me
             no content which
        could inform me
           as to the degree
              of perfection
                 of the organization.

    [25] Thinking
        offers
           this content
              to the percept,
       from man's world
           of concepts and ideas.

    In contrast
        to the content
            of percept
      which
         is given
        to us from
            without,
      the content
          of thinking
             appears inwardly.

    The form
         in which
            this first makes
               its appearance
                  we will call intuition.

    Intuition
        is
           for thinking
         what observation
            is for percept.

    Intuition
        and
           observation are the sources
              of our knowledge.

    An observed
        object
           of the world
              remains unintelligible
           to us
         until we
            have within ourselves
               the corresponding intuition
          which adds
             that part
           of reality
              which
                 is lacking
               in the percept.

    To anyone
         who is incapable
            of finding intuitions
               corresponding
                  to the things,
       the full reality
          remains inaccessible.

    Just
         as the color-blind person
            sees only differences
           of brightness
               without any color qualities,
       so can
          the person
             without intuition
                observe
              only unconnected
          perceptual fragments.
 
    [26] To explain a thing,
       to make
          it intelligible,
       means nothing else
          than
              to place
                 it
               into the context
                   from which
              it has been torn
                 by the peculiar character
                    of our organization
                       as already described.

    A thing
          cut off
             from the world-whole
            does not exist.

    All isolating
        has only
           subjective validity
              for our organization.

    For us
         the universe
            divides itself
           up
              into above and
                 below,
               before and after,
        cause and effect,
               thing and mental
          picture,
               matter and force,
       object
           and subject,.etc.

    What appears
        to us
            in observation
                as separate parts
                   becomes combined,
                      bit by bit,
                    through the coherent,
      unified world
          of our intuitions.

    By thinking
         we fit
            together
           again into one
              piece all
         that we
            have taken apart
                through perceiving.
 
    [27] The
         enigmatic character of an object
            consists
           in its separateness.

    But
         this separation
            is
               our own making
            and can,
       within the world
           of concepts,
       be overcome
          again.
 
    [28] Except
        through thinking
           and
         perceiving nothing
            is given
           to us directly.

    The question
        now arises:
       What is the significance
           of the percept,
       according to
           our line
               of argument?

    We have learnt
         that the proof which
            critical idealism
               offers
                  of the subjective nature
               of perceptions collapses.

    But
         insight
            into the falsity
               of the proof
                  is not alone sufficient
          to show
         that the doctrine
            itself is erroneous.

    Critical idealism does not base
        its proof
           on the absolute nature
              of thinking,
      but relies on
          the argument
             of naïve realism,
      when followed
          to its logical conclusion,
      cancels itself out.

    How does
          the matter
              appear
         when we
              have recognized
                 the absoluteness
           of thinking?
 
    [29] Let us assume that
        a certain perception,
           for example,
        red,
           appears
              in my consciousness.

    To continued observation,
       this percept
          shows itself
             to be connected
           with other percepts,
              for example,
                 a definite figure
         and with certain temperature-
            and touch-percepts.

    This combination
          I call an object
        belonging
           to the sense-perceptible world.

    I can now ask myself:
       Over
          and above
             the percepts just mentioned,
       what else
          is there
             in the section
                of space
         in which they appear?

    I shall
         then find mechanical,
       chemical
           and
              other processes
                 in that section
               of space.

    I next
          go further
              and study
          the processes
             I find
           on the way
               from the object
                   to my sense organs.

    I can find movements
        in an elastic medium,
       which
          by their very nature
             have not
                the slightest in common
              with the percepts
                  from which I started.

    I get
        the same result
       when
          I go on
               and examine
            the transmission
        from sense organs
           to brain.

    In each
        of these fields
           I
       gather new percepts,
      but the connecting medium
         which
            weaves through all
          these spatially
             and temporally separated
         percepts is thinking.

    The air vibrations
         which
              transmit
                 sound
            are given
           to me
               as percepts just like
                   the sound itself.

    Thinking alone
        links all these percepts
           to one another
              and shows them
                 to us
                    in their mutual relationship.

    We cannot speak of anything
        existing
           beyond what
              is directly perceived
         except
             what can be recognized
                through the ideal connections
                   of percepts,
       that is, connections accessible
           to thinking.

    The way objects as percepts
          are related
             to the subject
                as percept
       -- a relationship that
          goes
         beyond what
            is merely perceived --
               is therefore purely ideal,
       that is,
          it can be expressed only
             by means
           of concepts.

    Only
         if
             I could perceive how
                the percept object affects
                   the percept subject,
                      or,
                   conversely,
                      could watch
         the building up
            of the perceptual pattern
               by the subject,
       would
          it be possible
             to speak
           as modern physiology
               and
          the critical idealism based
             on it do.

    Their view
        confuses
           an ideal relation
        (that
           of the object
              to the subject)
           with a process
              which
                 we could speak of only
             if
                 it were possible
               to perceive it.

    The proposition,
        "No color
           without a color-sensing eye,"
              cannot be taken
                 to mean
              that the eye
                  produces the color,
           but only
              that an ideal relation,
                 recognizable
                    by thinking,
           subsists
               between the percept "color"
                   and
                 the percept "eye".

    Empirical science
        will have
           to ascertain how
               the properties
                  of the eye and
             those
                of the colors
                   are related
               to one another,
       by
          what means
             the organ of sight
                transmits the perception
               of colors,
       and so forth.

    I can trace
         how
             one percept
                succeeds
               another
           in time
              and is related
           to others
               in space,
       and
          I can formulate
             these relations
           in conceptual terms,
       but
          I can never perceive how
             a percept
        originates
           out of the non-perceptible.

    All attempts
        to seek any relations
            between percepts other
           than
              thought
           relations
              must
                 of necessity fail.

    [30] What,
       then is a percept?

    The question,
       asked
          in this general way,
       is absurd.

    A percept
        emerges always
           as something
               perfectly definite,
       as a concrete content.

    This content
        is directly given
            and is completely contained
           in what
              is given.

    The only question one
        can ask concerning
           the given content
        is
             what it
                is apart from perception,
       that is,
          what it
             is for thinking?

    The question
          concerning
         the "what"
            of a percept can,
               therefore,
                  only refer
                     to the conceptual intuition
          that corresponds
             to this percept.

    From this point of view,
       the question
           of the subjectivity
               of percepts,
       in the sense
           of critical idealism,
       cannot be raised
           at all.

    Only
         what is perceived
            as belonging
           to the subject
              can be termed
          "subjective."

    To form
          a link
             between something subjective
                and
                   something objective
            is impossible
               for any process
                  that is "real"
                     in the naïve sense,
       that is,
          one
             that can be perceived;
       it is possible
           only for thinking.

    Therefore
         what appears
            for our perception
          to be
              external
           to the percept
               of myself
                   as subject is
                      for us "objective".

    The percept
        of myself
            as subject remains perceptible
                to me
                    after the table
                   which
                       now stands
                          before me
                         has disappeared
                    from my field
                        of observation.

    The observation of the table
        has produced
           in me
              a modification which likewise persists.

    I retain
        the faculty
       to produce
           later
        on an image
            of the table.

    This faculty
        of producing
       an image
          remains
         connected
            with me.

    Psychology
        calls this image
           a memory-picture.

    It is
        in fact
           the only thing
              which can justifiably be called
            the mental picture
               of the table.

    For it
        corresponds
           to the perceptible modification
               of my own state
                  through the presence
                     of the table
                        in my visual field.

    Moreover,
       it does not mean
          a modification
             of some
          "Ego-in-itself" standing
             behind the percept
                of the subject,
       but
          the modification
             of the perceptible
                subject itself.

    The mental picture is,
       therefore,
          a subjective percept,
       in contrast
           with the objective percept
         which
            occurs
         when
             the object
                is present
           in the field
               of vision.

    Confusing
          the subjective percept
             with the objective percept
            leads
           to the misconception
               of contained
                  in idealism
       -- that the world
          is my mental picture.
 
    [31] Our next task
        must be
           to define
              the concept
           of
        "mental
              picture"
           more closely.

    What
         we have said about it
            so far does not give us
           the concept
              of it
         but only shows us whereabouts
            in the perceptual field
               the mental picture
            is to be found.

    The exact
         concept of mental picture
            will make it possible
           for us
          also
             to obtain
                a satisfactory explanation
                   of the way
               that mental picture
              and object
            are related.

    This will
         then lead us
            over the border line
         where the relationship
            between the human subject
               and
          the object belonging
             to the world
            is brought down
               from the purely conceptual field
                   of cognition
                       into concrete individual life.

    Once
         we know
            what
         to make
            of the world,
       it will be
           a simple matter
          to direct ourselves accordingly.

    We can only act
        with full energy
       when
          we know
             what it
                is
            in the world
      to which
          we
       devote our activity.
 
    Author's addition,
       1918
 
    [1] The view
          I have outlined
              here may be regarded
           as one
         to which man
            is
           at first quite naturally driven
              when
                 he begins
                    to reflect
                   upon his relation
                       to the world.

    He
         then finds himself
            caught
           in a system
               of thoughts
              which dissolves for him
             as fast
                as he frames
              it.

    The thought formation
        is
           such that
          it requires
              something more than mere
                 theoretical
               refutation.

    We have
          to live through
              it
           in order to
              understand the aberration into which
             it leads us and
          thence
             to find
                the way
           out.

    It must figure
        in any discussion
            of the relation
                of man
                   to the world,
      not for the sake
          of refuting others
         whom
            one believes to be holding
               mistaken views about this relation,
      but
         because it
            is necessary
         to understand
             the confusion
        to which
            every first effort
               at reflection
                  about such
                a relation
                   is apt
          to lead.

    One needs to arrive
        at just
       that insight
         which
            will enable
        one
       to refute
         oneself
        with respect
           to these
              first reflections.

    This is
         the point of view
            from
         which
             the arguments
                of the preceding chapter
                   are put forward.
 
    {2] Whoever
        tries
           to work out
              for himself
         a view
            of the relation
               of man
                  to the world
                becomes aware
                   of the fact
                  that
                     he creates this relation,
                        at least in part,
                       by forming mental
        pictures
           about the things
               and events
                  in the world.

    In consequence,
       his attention
          is deflected
             from what
            exists outside
           in the world and
              is directed
                 towards his inner world,
       the life
           of his mental pictures.

    He begins
          to say
             to himself:
       It is impossible
           for me
          to have
              a relationship
           to any thing
               or event
                  unless
                     a mental picture appears
                   in me.

    Once we
         have noticed this fact,
       it is
          but a step
             to the opinion:
       After all,
          I experience only
        my mental pictures;
       I know
          of a world outside
         me only in so far
             as it
                is a mental picture
               in me.

    With this opinion,
       the standpoint
           of naïve realism,
       which man
          takes up
             prior to all reflection
                about his relation
                   to the world,
       is abandoned.

    So long
        as he keeps
       that standpoint,
      he believes
         that he
             is dealing with real things,
      but
         reflection about himself
            drives him away from it.

    Reflection
        prevents him
           from turning
          his gaze
             towards a real world
                such as naïve
              consciousness believes it
            has before it.

    It allows him
          to gaze only
             upon his mental picture â€"
       these interpose themselves
           between his own
              being
           and a supposedly real world,
       such as the naïve
          point of view
             believes itself
        entitled
           to affirm.

    Man can no longer
          see
         such a real world
            through the intervening world
               of mental pictures.

    He must suppose
        to that he
           is blind
        to this reality.

    Thus
        arises
           the thought
              of a "thing-in-itself" which
            is inaccessible
           to knowledge.

    [3] So long
        as we considers only
       the relationship
          to the world,
      into
         which man
            appears
               to enter
              through the life
                  of his mental pictures,
      we cannot escape
          from this form
              of thought.

    Yet
         one cannot remain
            at the standpoint
               of naïve
             realism
         except
            by closing one's mind
           artificially to the craving
              for knowledge.

    The very existence
        of this
       craving
          for knowledge
             about the relation
                of man
                   to the world
                 shows
          that
             this naÃ
                naïve point of view
                   must be abandoned.

    If the naïve
        point of view
       yielded
           anything
               we could acknowledge as truth,
      we could never experience
         this craving.
 
    [4] But
         we do not arrive
            at anything else which
          we could regard as truth
         if
             we merely abandon
                the naïve point of view
         while
            unconsciously retaining
           the type
              of thought
             which
                 it necessitates.

    This is just
          the mistake made
             by the man
          who says to himself:
        "I experience only
            my mental pictures,
           and
              though
                 I believe
                    that
                       I am dealing with realities,
           I am actually conscious
               only of my mental pictures
                   of reality;
           I must therefore suppose that
               the true reality,
           the
              'things-in-themselves',
                 exist only
                    beyond the horizon
                       of my consciousness,
               that
                  I know absolutely nothing
                     of them directly,
               and
                  that
                     they somehow approach me
                          and influence me
                      so that
                         my world of mental pictures
                            arises
                           in me."

    Whoever
        thinks
           in this way
              is merely adding
                 another world
           in his thoughts
              to the world
                 already spread out
               before him.

    But
         with regard to this
            additional world,
       he ought strictly
          to begin
              his thinking activity all
                 over again.

    For the unknown
        "thing-in-itself",
           in its relation
               to man's own nature,
           is conceived
               in exactly
                  the same way
             as is
                 the known thing
               in the sense
                   of naive realism.
 
    [5] One only avoids
         the confusion into which one
            falls through
          the critical attitude based
             on this
           naive standpoint,
       if one notices that,
          inside everything
         we can experience
            by means
               of perceiving,
       be it
           within ourselves
               or outside in the world,
       there is
          something
              which cannot suffer
                 the fate
               of having
             a mental picture
                  interpose itself
           between the process
               and the person
            observing it.

    This something
        is thinking.

    With regard to thinking,
       we can maintain
           the point of view
              of naïve realism.

    If
         we fail
            to do so,
       it is only
          because we
              have learnt
                 that
                     we must abandon it
                   in the case
                       of other things,
       but overlook
          that
         what we
              have found
          to be
              true
           for these
              other things
                 does not apply
               to thinking.

    When
         we realize this,
       we open
           the way
              to the further insight
         that
            in thinking
               and through thinking man
            must recognize
                 the very thing
         to which
             he has apparently blinded himself
           by having
          to interpose
               his life
           of mental pictures
               between the world
                   and himself.
 
    [6]
         From a source greatly respected
            by the author
               of this book
                  comes
           the objection
         that this discussion
            of thinking remains
               at the level
                   of a naive realism
                       of thinking,
       just
          as one
             might object
         if
             someone
                held
                   the real world
                      and the world
           of mental pictures
               to be one
                   and the same.

    However,
       the author
          believes himself
             to have shown
           in this very discussion
         that the validity
            of this
        "naive realism"
           for thinking
              results inevitably
                 from an unprejudiced observation
                    of thinking;
           and that naïve realism,
              in so far
             as it
                is invalid
               for other things,
           is overcome
               through the recognition
                   of the true nature
                       of thinking.