Sayfadaki görseller

an experience occasionally cropping up alongside of other experiences, but a feeling which accompanies all the experiences of our conscious life that Sweet hope,” γλυκεία extris,' in the strength of which we take the trouble to seek after the particular achievements which make up the waking life of conduct and science. Such feeling, though normal, is rightly called Transcendental,” because it is not one of the effects, but the condition, of our entering upon and persevering in that course of endeavour which makes experience.



I have offered these remarks about Transcendental Feeling in order to preface a general statement which I now venture to make about the Platonic Myths—that they are Dreams expressive of Transcendental Feeling, told in such a manner and such a context that the telling of them regulates, for the service of conduct and science, the feeling expressed.

How then are conduct and science served by such regulation of Transcendental Feeling ?

In the wide-awake life of conduct and science, Understanding, left to itself, claims to be the measure of truth ; Sense, to be the criterion of good and bad. Transcendental Feeling, welling up from another “ Part of the Soul,” whispers to Understanding and Sense that they are leaving out something. What ? Nothing less than the secret plan of the Universe. And what is that secret plan? The other “Part of the Soul” indeed comprehends it in silence as it is, but can explain it to the Understanding only in the symbolical language of the interpreter, Imagination—in Vision." In the Platonic Myth we assist at a Vision in which the


1 γλυκεία οι καρδίαν ατάλλοισα γηροτρόφος συναορεί ελπίς, και μάλιστα θνατών Tolúot popor yróuar kußepvậ.—Pindar, quoted Rep. 331 A.

2 As distinguished from “Empirical Feeling"; see infra, p. 389.
3 Plotinus, Enn. iii. 8. 4, and see infra, p. 45.
4 Tim. 71 D, E. The liver, the organ of Imagination, is a parteiov.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

wide-awake life of our ordinary experiences and doings is seen as an act in a vast drama of the creation and consummation of all things. The habitudes and faculties of our moral and intellectual constitution, which determine a priori our experiences and doings in this wide-awake life, are themselves clearly seen to be determined by causes which, in turn, are clearly seen to be determined by the Plan of the Universe which the Vision reveals. And more than this, the Universe, planned as the Vision shows, is the work—albeit accomplished under difficulties of a wise and good God; for see how mindful He is of the welfare of man's soul throughout all its wanderings from creation to final purification, as the Vision unfolds them! We ought, then, to be of good hope, and to use strenuously, in this present life, habitudes and faculties which are so manifestly in accordance with a universal plan 80 manifestly beneficent.

It is as producing this mood in us that the Platonic Myth, Aetiological and Eschatological, regulates Transcendental Feeling for the service of conduct and science. In Aetiological Myth the Categories of the Understanding and the Moral Virtues are deduced from a Plan of the Universe, of which they are represented as parts seen, together with the whole, in a former life, and “remembered ” piecemeal in this ; in Aetiological and Eschatological (but chiefly in Eschatological) Myth the “Ideas of Reason," Soul, Cosmos, as completed system of the Good, and God, are set forth for the justification of that "sweet hope which guides the wayward thought of mortal man ”- the hope without which we should not take the trouble to enter upon, and persevere in, that struggle after ever fuller comprehension of conditions,' ever wider “correspondence with environment,” which the habits and faculties of our moral and intellectual structure--the Categories of the Understanding and the Moral Virtues-enable us to carry on in detail.

At this point, before I go on further to explain Plato's handling of Transcendental Feeling, I will make bold to explain my own metaphysical position. A very few words will suffice.

I hold that it is in Transcendental Feeling, manifested

Kant makes “Reason" (i.e. the whole man in opposition to this or that part, e.g. "understanding”) the source of “ Transcoodental Ideas," described as conceptions of the unconditioned,” conceptions of the totality of the conditions of any thing that is given as conditioned."

[ocr errors]

normally as Faith in the Value of Life, and ecstatically as sense of Timeless Being, and not in Thought proceeding by way of speculative construction, that Consciousness comes nearest to the object of Metaphysics, Ultimate Reality. It is in Transcendental Feeling, not in Thought, that Consciousness comes nearest to Ultimate Reality, because without that Faith in the value of Life, which is the normal manifestation of Transcendental Feeling, Thought could not stir. It is in Transcendental Feeling that Consciousness is aware of “ The Good"--of the Universe as a place in which it is good to be.

Transcendental Feeling is thus the beginning of Metaphysics, for Metaphysics cannot make a start without assuming “ The Good, or the Universe as a place in which it is good to be”; but it is also the end of Metaphysics, for · Speculative Thought does not really carry us further than the Feeling, which inspired it from the first, has already brought us: we end, as we began, with the Feeling that it is good to be here. To the question, "Why is it good to be here?” the answers elaborated by Thought are no more really answers than those supplied by the Mythopoeic Fancy interpreting Transcendental Feeling. When the former have value (and they are sometimes not only without value, but mischievous) they are, like those supplied by the Mythopoeic Fancy, valuable as impressive affirmations of the Faith in us, not at all as explanations of its ground. Conceptual solutions of the “problem of the Universe ” carry us no further along the pathway to reality than imaginative solutions do. The reason why they are thought to carry us further is that they mimic those conceptual solutions of departmental problems which we are accustomed to accept, and do well to accept, from the positive sciences. Imaginative solutions of the “problem of the Universe” are thought to be as inferior to conceptual solutions as imaginative solutions of departmental problems are to conceptual. The fallacy involved in this analogy is that of supposing that there is a “problem of the Universe difficulty presented which Thought may “solve.” The

The “problem of the Universe ” was first propounded, and straightway solved, at the moment when Life began on the earth, --when a living being—as such, from the very first, lacking nothing which is essential to “selfhood " or

[ocr errors]

* personality "-first appeared as Mode of the Universe. The “problem of the Universe" is not propounded to Consciousness, and Consciousness cannot solve it. Consciousness can feel that it has been propounded and solved elsewhere, but cannot genuinely think it. It is “propounded” to that on which Consciousness supervenes (and supervenes only because the problem has been already “solved")—it is propounded to what I would call "self hood," or "personality," and is ever silently being “understood” and “solved” by that principle, in the continued “vegetative life” of individual and race. And the most trustworthy, or least misleading, report of what the “problem” is, and what its “solution ” is, reaches Consciousness through Feeling. Feeling stands nearer than Thought does to that basal self or personality which is, indeed, at once the living“ problem of the Universe ” and its living “ solution.” The whole matter is summed up for me in the words of Plotinus, with which I will conclude this statement which I have ventured to make of my metaphysical position : " If a man were to inquire of Nature — Wherefore dost thou bring forth creatures ?' and she were willing to give ear and to answer, she would say— Ask me not, but understand in silence, even as I am silent.'”1

In suggesting that the Platonic Myth awakens and regulates Transcendental Feeling (1) by imaginative representation of Ideas of Reason, and (2) by imaginative deduction of Categories of the Understanding and Moral Virtues, I do not wish to maintain that the Kantian distinction between Categories of the Understanding and Ideas of Reason was explicit in Plato's mind. There is plenty of evidence in his writings to show that it was not explicit; but it is a distinction of vital importance for philosophical thought, and it need not surprise us to find it sometimes implicitly recognised by a thinker of Plato's calibre. At any rate, it is a distinction which the student of Plato's Myths will do well to have explicit in his own mind. Let us remind ourselves, then, of what Kant means by Categories of the Understanding and Ideas of Reason respectively.

1 Plot. Enn. iii. 8. 4, και εί τις δε αυτήν (τήν φύσιν) έρoιτο τίνος ένεκα ποιεί, ει του έρωτώντος εθέλοι επαΐειν και λέγειν, είπoι άν: «έχρήν μεν μη ερωτάν, αλλά συνιέναι και αυτόν σιωπή, ώσπερ εγώ σιωπώ και ουκ είθισμαι λέγειν.

[ocr errors]

Kant's Categories of the Understanding are certain a priori Conceptions, certain Characters of the Mental Structure, without which there could be no “experience”—no "knowledge” of that which alone is “known," the world of sensible phenomena. These Categories, however, if they are not to remain mere logical abstractions, must be regarded as functions of the Understanding—as active manifestations of the unifying principle of mind or consciousness. As functions, the Categories need for their actual manifestation the presence of “sensations."

In the absence of sensations they are “empty.” They are functions of the mental organism or structure which are called into operation by stimulation from “environment,” and that only in schemata or “figurations” involving the "garment” or “vehicle” of Time. Thus, the Category of Substance is realised in “the schema of the persistent in time”—Something present to sense is perceived as

Substance” persisting in change of "attributes"; the Category of Cause is realised in "the schema of succession in time,"—two sensible phenomena, one of which is antecedent and the other consequent, are conceived as cause and effectthe latter is conceived as following necessarily from the former. “The schemata, then, are the true scientific categories. This amounts to saying that the Understanding, if rightly conducted, will never make a transcendental use, but only an empirical use, of any of its a priori principles. These principles can apply only to objects of sense, as conforming to the universal conditions of a possible experience (phenomena), and never to things as such (noumena), or apart from the manner in which we are capable of perceiving them.”

In contrast to the Categories of the Understanding which are immanent adequately realised in sense experience; we say, for instance, that this thing present to sense is cause of that other thing—the Ideas of Reason are transcendent : they overleap the limits of all experience—in experience no objects can be presented that are adequate to them. They

» 2

[ocr errors]

1 See Wallace's Kant, p. 172. ? Wallace's Kant, p. 173.

3 See Kritik d. reinen Vern.? pp. 297, 298, 303. A conception is employed transcendentally when it occurs in a proposition regarding things as such or in themselves ; empirically, when the proposition relates merely to phenomena, or objects of a possible experience.

« ÖncekiDevam »