Chapter 9 The Idea of Freedom Part 2

 [30] If
         we seek out the rules
        (conceptual principles)
           underlying the actions
               of individuals,
                  peoples,
               and epochs,
       we obtain
           a system
              of ethics
         which is not so much
            a science
           of moral laws
               as a natural history
                   of morality.

    It is only
          the laws
             obtained
           in this way
              that are related
                 to human action
                    as the laws
                       of nature
            are related
               to a particular phenomenon.

    These laws,
       however,
          are
             by no
            means identical
           with the impulses
         on which
             we base our actions.

    If
         we want
            to understand how
          a man's action
        arises
           from his moral will,
       we must first study
          the relation of this
        will
           to the action.

    Above all,
       we must keep
           our eye
              on those actions
         in which
            this relation
               is the determining factor.

    If I,
       or someone else,
          reflect
             upon such an action afterwards,
       we can discover
          what
         moral principles come
            into question
           with regard to it.

    While I
          am performing
              the action
                  I am influenced
                     by a moral maxim
                        in so far
                           as it can live
           in me intuitively;
       it is bound up
           with my love
               for the objective
                  that
                     I want
                        to realize
                       through my action.

    I ask no man
        and
       no rule,
       "Shall I
          perform this action?"

    -- but carry it out
        as soon as I
       have grasped the idea
          of it.

    This alone
        makes it
           my action.

    If
         a man
            acts only
          because
             he accepts certain moral standards,
       his action
          is the outcome
             of the principles
         which
            compose his moral code.

    He merely carries out orders.

    He is a superior automaton.

    Inject some stimulus
        to action
            into his mind,
      and at once
         the clockwork
            of his moral principles
           will set itself
          in motion
              and run its
           prescribed course,
      so
         as to result in
            an action
               which is Christian,
              or humane,
                 or seemingly unselfish,
      or calculated
         to promote
             the progress
          of civilization.

    Only
         when I
            follow
               my love
                  for my objective
                is
             it I myself
                 who act.

    I act,
       at this level
           of morality,
       not
          because
             I
           acknowledge a lord over
              me,
       or an external authority,
          or a so-called inner voice;
             I acknowledge no external principle
                for my action,
       because
          I have found in myself
             the ground
                for my action,
               namely,
                  my love
                     of the action.

    I do not work out mentally
         whether
             my action
                is
                   good or bad;
           I carry it out
              because I love it.

    My action
        will be "good"
           if my intuition,
              steeped in love,
           finds its right place
              within the intuitively
                 experienceable world continuum;
           it will be
          "bad"
             if this
                is not the case.

    Again,
       I do not ask myself,
          "How would
             another man
            act
               in my position?"

    -- but
         I act
            as I,
           this particular individuality,
       find
          I have
              occasion
          to do.

    No general usage,
       no common custom,
          no maxim applying
             to all men,
       no moral standard
          is
              my immediate guide,
       but my love
           for the deed.

    I feel no compulsion,
       neither
          the compulsion of nature
             which
            guides me
           by my instincts,
       nor the compulsion
           of the moral commandments,
       but
          I want simply
             to carry
           out what lies
               within me.

    [31] Those
         who
            defend
          general moral standards might reply
             to these arguments
          that
             if
                 everyone strives
               to live
             his own life
          and do
         what
             he pleases,
       there can be no distinction
           between a good deed
               and a crime;
       every corrupt impulse
          that lies within me
              has as good
           a claim
          to express itself
         as has
            the intention
           of serving
               the general good.

    What determines me
        as a moral
           being
              cannot be
      the mere fact
         of my having conceived
            the idea
                of an action,
      but
         whether
            I judge
               it to be
             good or evil.

    Only in the former case
        should
           I carry it
              out.
 
    [32] My reply
        to this
            very obvious objection,
      which
         is nevertheless based
            on a misapprehension
               of my argument,
      is this:
         If
        we want
           to understand
         the nature
            of the human will,
      we must distinguish
          between the path
        which
           leads this will
          to a certain degree
              of development
                  and the unique character
        which
           the will
         assumes as it approaches
            this goal.

    On the path
        towards this goal
           the standards
       play their rightful part.

    The goal
        consists
           of the realization
               of moral
                  aims
                grasped
                   by pure intuition.

    Man attains
          such aims
             to the extent
         that he
            is able
          to raise himself
             at
           all to the intuitive world
               of ideas.

    In any particular act
        of will
           such moral
              aims
             will generally have
       other elements
          mixed in with them,
      either as driving
         force or
            as motive.

    Nevertheless
         intuition
            may still be wholly
           or partly
          the determining factor
             in the human will.

    What
         one should do,
       that one does;
          one provides
             the stage upon which obligation
                becomes deed;
       one's own action
          is
         what
             one brings forth from oneself.

    Here the impulse
        can only be wholly individual.

    And,
       in truth,
          only an act
             of will
          that springs
             from intuition
            can be
          an individual one.

    To regard evil,
       the deed
           of a criminal,
       as an expression
           of the human individuality
               in the same sense
                   as one regards
         the embodiment of pure intuition
            is only possible
         if
             blind instincts
                are reckoned
             as part
                of the human individuality.

    But the blind instinct
        that drives
           a man to crime
              does not spring from intuition,
       and does not belong
           to what
              is individual
           in him,
       but rather
           to what
              is most general
           in him,
       to
          what is equally
              present
           in all individuals
               and
                  out of which a man
                works
              his way
                 by means
                    of what
                       is individual
               in him.

    What is individual
        in me
           is not my organism
              with its instincts
                 and its feelings
      but
         rather the unified world
        of ideas
       which
          lights up
        within this organism.

    My instincts,
       urges
          and passions establish no
         more than
             that
                 I belong
           to the general species man;
       it is the fact that
          something of the idea world
             comes
           to expression
               in a particular way
                   within these urges,
       passions
          and feelings
             that establishes my individuality.

    Through my instincts
        and cravings,
       I am the sort
           of man
               of whom there are twelve
           to the dozen;
       through the particular form
           of the idea
               by means
         of which
            I designate myself
               within the dozen
           as "I",
       I am an individual.

    Only a being other
          than
             myself
                could distinguish me
               from others
                   by the difference
                       in my animal nature;
       through my thinking,
          that is,
             by actively grasping
         what expresses itself
            in my organism
               as idea,
       I distinguish myself from others.

    Therefore
         one cannot say
            of the action
               of a criminal
          that it proceeds
             from the idea
                within him.

    Indeed,
       the characteristic feature
          of criminal actions
        is precisely
           that
              they spring
           from the non-ideal elements
               in man.
 
    [33] An action
        is felt
           to be
              free
           in so far
              as the reasons
                 for it
                    spring
               from the ideal part
                   of my individual being;
       every other part
           of an action,
       irrespective
           of whether
              it is carried out
           under the compulsion
               of nature
                   or under the obligation
               of a moral standard,
       is felt
          to be unfree.
 
    [34] Man is free
        in so far
       as he
         is able
            to obey himself
               in every moment
                  of his life.

    A moral deed
        is my deed
           only
              if
                 it can be called
                    a free one
               in this sense.

    We have here considered
         what conditions
            are required
               for an intentional action
              to be felt
           as a free one;
       how this
          purely ethically understood
             idea of freedom
            comes
           to realization
               in the being
                   of man
            will be shown
               in what follows.
 
    [35] Acting
        out of freedom does not exclude
           the moral laws;
      it includes them,
         but shows itself
            to be
          on a higher level
         than those actions
             which
                are merely dictated
              by such laws.

    Why should
          my action
              be
           of less service
               to the public good
         when
             I have done it
           out of love than
              when
                 I have done it
              only
                 because
                     I consider
                        serving
                       the public good
                   to be my duty?

    The mere concept of duty
        excludes
           freedom
         because it
            does not acknowledge
               the individual element
         but demands
             that this be subject to
                a general standard.

    Freedom of action
        is conceivable
           only from the standpoint
               of ethical individualism.
 
    [36] But how is
         a social life possible
            for man
          if each one
              is only striving to assert
                 his own individuality?

    This objection
        is characteristic
           of a false understanding
               of moralism.

    Such
         a moralist
            believes
               that a social community
                  is possible only
         if all men
            are united
           by a communally fixed moral order.

    What this kind
        of moralist
           does not understand
         is just the unity
            of the world
                of ideas.

    He does not see that
         the world
            of ideas
          working in me
             is
           no other
              than
             the one
                working
           in my fellow man.

    Admittedly,
       this unity
          is
         but an outcome
            of practical experience.

    But
         in fact
             it cannot be anything else.

    For if
         it could be known
            in any other way
          than
             by observation,
       then
          in its own sphere
             universal standards
         rather than individual
              experience
            would be
          the rule.

    Individuality
        is possible only
           if every individual
              being
                 knows
           of others
               through individual observation
                  alone.

    I differ
        from my fellow man,
       not at all
          because we
              are living
                 in two entirely
                    different spiritual
                   worlds,
       but
          because
             from the world
                of ideas
                   common to us
                      both we
          receive different intuitions.

    He wants
          to live
             out his intuitions,
       I mine.

    If we both
        really conceive
           out of the idea,
      and
         do not obey
            any external impulses
       (physical or spiritual),
          then
             we cannot
            but meet one
               another
              in like striving,
          in common intent.

    A moral
        misunderstanding,
           a clash,
              is impossible
                 between men
             who are morally free.

    Only
         the morally unfree
            who
               follow
                  their natural instincts
                     or the accepted
                    commands
           of duty
              come
           into conflict
              with their neighbors
         if these
            do not obey
               the same instincts
                   and the same commands
               as themselves.

    To live
        in love
            towards our actions,
      and
         to let
             live
          in the understanding
             of the other person's will,
      is the fundamental maxim
          of free men.

    They know
         no other obligation
            than w

    [37] Were the ability
          to get on
         with one another
            not a basic part
               of human nature,
       no external laws
          would be able
             to implant
                it
           in us.

    It is only
          because
             human individuals
                are one in spirit
             that
                 they can live
           out their lives side by side.

    The free man
        lives
           in confidence
              that
                 he and any other free man
                      belong
               to one spiritual world,
       and
          that their intentions will harmonize.

    The free man
        does not demand agreement
           from his fellow man,
       but expects
           to find
              it
         because it
            is inherent
           in human nature.

    I am not here referring
        to the necessity
            for
                this or that
                    external institution,
      but
         to the disposition,
      the attitude
          of soul,
             through which a man,
          aware
             of himself
          among his fellows,
      most clearly expresses
         the ideal
            of human dignity.
 
    [38] There
        are
           many
              who
                  will say that the concept
                     of the free man
         which
            I have here developed
               is a chimera nowhere
              to be found in practice;
       we have
          to do
         with actual human beings,
       from
          whom
             we can only hope
           for morality
         if they
            obey some moral law,
       that is,
          if
             they regard
                their moral task
           as a duty
              and do not freely follow
                 their inclinations
               and loves.

    I do not doubt this
        at all.

    Only a blind man
        could do so.

    But
         if this
            is to be
           the final conclusion,
       then
          away with all
             this hypocrisy
                about morality!

    Let us
         then simply say
            that human nature
               must be driven
                  to its actions
                     as long
             as it is not free.

    Whether
         his unfreedom
            is forced
           on him
               by physical means
                   or by moral laws,
       whether man
          is unfree
         because
             he follows
                his unlimited sexual desire
               or
                  because he
                     is bound
                   by the fetters
                      of conventional morality,
       is quite immaterial
           from a certain point of view.

    Only let us
          not assert
             that such
                a man
                   can rightly call
               his actions his own,
       seeing
          that he
             is driven
           to them
               by a force other
              than himself.

    But
         in the midst
            of all
               this framework
                  of compulsion
                     there arise men
          who establish themselves
             as free spirits
                in all
           the welter
               of customs,
                  legal codes,
                     religious observances,
       and so forth.

    They are
          free
             in so far
           as they
          obey only themselves,
       unfree
           in so far
               as they
                   submit to control.

    Which
         of us
            can say
         that he
            is
          really
              free
           in all his actions?

    Yet in each
        of us
           there dwells a deeper
         being
      in which the free man
         finds expression.
 
    [39] Our life
        is made up
           of free and unfree actions.

    We cannot,
       however,
          think
             out the concept
           of man
               completely without
                  coming upon
                     the free spirit
           as the purest expression
               of human nature.

    Indeed,
       we are men
           in the true
               sense only in so far
         as we are free.
 
    [40] This
        is
           an ideal,
       many will say.

    Doubtless;
       but it is an ideal
          which is
             a real element
                in us
                   working
           its way
              to the surface
                 of our nature.

    It is no ideal
        just thought
           up or dreamed,
       but
          one which has life,
       and
          which
             announces itself clearly
           even in the least perfect form
               of its existence.

    If man
        were merely
           a natural creature,
       there would be
          no such thing
             as the search
                for ideals,
       that is,
           for ideas
         which
            for the moment
               are not effective
         but
             whose realization
                is required.

    With the things
        of the outer world,
       the idea
          is determined
             by the percept;
       we have done our share
          when we
              have recognized the connection
           between idea
               and percept.

    But
         with the human being
             it is not so.

    The sum total
        of his existence
           is not fully determined
              without his own self;
      his true concept
          as a moral
             being
         (free spirit)
            is not objectively united
          from the start
              with the percept-picture "man"
                 needing only
                    to be confirmed
                  by knowledge afterwards.

    Man must unite
        his concept
           with the percept
              of man
            by his own activity.

    Concept
         and percept
              coincide in this case only
         if man
             himself
                makes them coincide.

    This
         he can do only
            if he
               has found the concept
                  of the free spirit,
       that is,
          if he
             has found the concept
           of his own self.

    In the objective world
         a dividing line
            is drawn
           by our organization
               between percept
                   and concept;
       knowledge
          overcomes
             this division.

    In our subjective nature
         this division
            is
               no less present;
       man overcomes it
           in the course
               of his development
                   by bringing
                       the concept
                   of himself
                       to expression
                           in his outward existence.

    Hence not only
        man's intellectual
       but
         also
            his moral life leads
        to his twofold nature,
       perceiving (direct experience)
          and thinking.

    The intellectual life
        overcomes
           this two-fold nature
              by means
           of knowledge,
       the moral life
          overcomes it
             through the actual realization
                of the free spirit.

    Every existing thing
        has
           its inborn concept
        (the law
           of its
              being
           and doing),
              but
                 in external
                objects
                   this concept
                      is indivisibly bound up
                         with the percept,
           and separated
               from it
                  only within our spiritual organization.

    In man
         concept
             and percept are,
                at first,
               actually separated,
       to be just
           as actually united
              by him.

    One might object:
        At
           every moment
              of a man's life
             there is
                a definite concept corresponding
            to our percept
                of him
           just
          as
             with everything else.

    I can form for myself
        the concept
           of a particular type
              of man,
      and
         I may even find
            such
               a man given
              to me
                  as a percept;
          if I
         now add
            to this the concept
               of a free spirit,
      then
         I have two concepts
            for the same object.
 
    [41] Such an objection is one-sided.

    As object
        of perception
       I am subjected
          to continual change.

    As a child
          I was one thing,
       another
           as a youth,
       yet another
           as a man.

    Indeed,
       at every moment
          the percept-picture
             of myself
            is different
           from what
              it was the moment
         before.

    These changes
        may take place
           in such
              a way
                 that it
                    is always
                       the same man (the type)
                          who reveals himself in them,
       or
          that
             they represent
                the expression
           of a free spirit.

    To such changes my action,
       as object
           of perception,
       is subjected.

    [42] The perceptual object "man"
        has
           in it the possibility
               of transforming itself,
       just
          as the plant seed
             contains the possibility
           of becoming
               a complete plant.

    The plant
        transforms itself
           because
              of the objective law inherent
                 in it;
       the human being
          remains
             in his incomplete state
         unless
             he takes
                hold
                   of the material
               for transformation
                   within him and
                      transforms himself
                         through his own power.

    Nature
        makes
           of man merely
               a natural being;
       society
          makes
             of him a law-abiding being;
       only
          he himself
             can make
           of himself a free man.

    Nature releases man
        from her
           fetters
        at a definite stage
            in his development;
      society
         carries
            this development
               a stage further;
      he alone
         can give himself
            the final polish.
 
    [43] The standpoint
        of free morality,
           then,
        does not declare
           the free spirit
       to be
          the only form
      in which
         a man can exist.

    It sees
        in the free spirit
       only the last stage
          of man's evolution.

    This is not
          to deny
              that conduct
          according to
              standards has
                 its justification
               as one stage
                   in evolution.

    Only
         we cannot acknowledge it
            as the absolute standpoint
               in morality.

    For the free
          spirit
             overcomes
                the standards in the sense
         that he
            does not just accept commandments
           as his motives
         but orders
            his action
          according to
             his own impulses (intuitions).
 
    [44] When Kant
        says of duty:
           "Duty!

    Thou exalted and mighty name,
       thou
          that dost comprise nothing lovable,
             nothing ingratiating,
           but demandest submission,"
              thou that
                 "settest up a law
        ... before which all
             inclinations
                are silent,
           even though
              they
                 secretly work against it,"
           then
               out of the consciousness
                   of the free spirit,
           man replies:
              "Freedom!

    Thou kindly
        and human name,
       thou
          that dost comprise
             all that is morally most lovable,
       all that my manhood most
          prizes,
       and
          that makest me
             the servant
           of nobody,
       thou
          that
         settest up no mere law,
       but awaitest
          what
             my moral
                  love itself
                     will recognize
           as law
              because
                 in the face
                    of every merely imposed law
                  it feels itself unfree."
 
    [45] This
        is
           the contrast between a morality
              based
           on mere law
               and
                  a morality based
                     on inner freedom.
 
    [46] The philistine,
       who sees the embodiment
           of morality
               in an external code,
       may see in the free
          spirit even a dangerous person.

    But that is only
          because
             his view
                is narrowed down
               to a limited period
                   of time.

    If he
        were able
           to look
              beyond this,
       he would
           at once find
          that the free spirit
              just
                 as seldom needs
                    to go
               beyond the laws
                   of his state
                       as does
                           the philistine himself,
       and
          certainly never needs
             to place himself
           in real opposition
               to them.

    For the laws
        of the state,
           one and all,
        just like all
           other objective laws
              of morality,
      have had their origin
          in the intuitions
              of free spirits.

    There is
        no rule enforced
           by family authority
          that was not
             at one time intuitively grasped
                and laid down
                    as such
                       by an ancestor;
      similarly
         the conventional laws of morality
            are first
          of all established
             by definite men,
      and
         the laws of the state
             always originate
          in the head
              of a statesman.

    These leading spirits
          have set up
             laws over other men,
       and
          the only person
             who feels unfree
                is
          the one
             who forgets
                this origin
               and
                  either turns
                     these laws
                   into extra-human commandments,
       objective moral concepts
           of duty independent
               of man,
       or else
          turns them
             into the commanding voice
                within himself
         which
             he supposes,
       in a falsely mystical way,
          to be compelling him.

    On the other hand,
       the person
          who does not overlook
             this origin,
       but seeks man
           within it,
       will count such laws
          as belonging
             to the same world
                of ideas from
             which he, too,
       draws his moral intuitions.

    If
         he believes
            he has better intuitions,
       he will try
           to put them
              into the place
                 of the existing ones;
       if he
          finds the existing ones justified,
       he will act
           in accordance
               with them
         as if they were his own.
 
    [47] We must not coin
          the formula:
       Man exists only
           in order to realize
              a moral world order
         which is quite distinct
            from himself.

    Anyone
         who maintains
            that this
               is so,
                  remains,
               in his knowledge
                  of man,
       at the point
          where
             natural science
                stood
             when
                 it believed
                     that a bull has horns
               in order to butt.

    Scientists,
       happily,
          have thrown out the concept
             of purpose
                as a dead theory.

    Ethics finds it more difficult
          to get
              free
           of this concept.

    But
         just
            as horns
               do not exist
           for the sake
               of butting,
       but butting
           through the presence
               of horns,
       so man
          does not exist
             for the sake
                of morality,
       but morality
           through the presence
               of man.

    The free man
        acts morally
           because he
              has a moral idea;
       he does not act
          in order that
             morality
                may come into being.

    Human individuals,
       with the moral ideas
          belonging
             to their nature,
       are the prerequisites
           of a moral world order.
 
    [48] The human individual
        is the source
           of all morality
               and the centre
                   of earthly life.

    State and
          society exist only
              because they have arisen
                 as a necessary consequence
                    of the life
                       of individuals.

    That state
         and society should
            in turn
          react
         upon individual life
            is
           no more difficult
          to comprehend
              than
             that the butting
                which
                   is
                      the result
                         of the presence
                            of horns
                               reacts
           in turn
              upon the further development
                 of the horns
                    of the bull,
       which
          would become
             stunted through prolonged disuse.

    Similarly,
       the individual
          would become
        stunted
           if
              he led
                 an isolated existence
               outside human
                  society.

    Indeed,
       this is just
          why
             the social order arises,
       so that
          it may
             in turn
                react favorably
               upon the individual.