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J. KEMP, M.A. 









v. 2> 

T. 5-- 5-4 

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XXXIX. ON THE METAPHYSICS OF Music <** . . 231 ) 












. XEvTfToN ETHICS 402 


v LTVB 4 20 





INDEX 487 



IF the intellect were not of a subordinate nature, as the 
two preceding chapters show, then everything which takes 
place without it, i.e. } without intervention of the idea, such 
as reproduction, the development and maintenance of the 
organism, the healing of wounds, the restoration or vica 
rious supplementing of mutilated parts, the salutary crisis 
in diseases, the works of the mechanical skill of animals, 
and the performances of instinct would not be done so 
infinitely better and more perfectly than what takes 
place with the assistance of intellect, all conscious and 
intentional achievements of men, which compared with 
the former are mere bungling. In general nature signifies 
that which operates, acts, performs without the assistance 
of the intellect. Now, that this is really identical with 
what we find in ourselves as will is the general theme of 
this second book, and also of the essay," Ueber den Willen, 
in der Natur" The possibility of this fundamental know 
ledge depends upon the fact that in us the will is directly 
lighted by the intellect, which here appears as self-con 
sciousness ; otherwise we could just as little arrive at 
a fuller knowledge of it within us as without us, and must 
for ever stop at inscrutable forces of nature. We have to 
VOL. m. A 


abstract from the assistance of the, intellect if we wish to 
comprehend the nature of the will in itself, and thereby, 
as far as is possible, penetrate to the inner being of 

On this account, it may be remarked in passing, my 
direct antipode among philosophers is Anaxagoras ; for he 
assumed arbitrarily as that which is first and original, 
from which everything proceeds, a 1/01/9, an intelligence, 
a subject of ideas, and he is regarded as the first who pro 
mulgated such a view. According to him the world existed 
earlier in the mere idea than in itself ; while according to 
me it is the unconscious will which constitutes the reality 
of things, and its development must have advanced very far 
before it finally attains, in the animal consciousness, to the 
idea and intelligence ; so that, according to me, thought 
appears as the very last. However, according to the testi 
mony of Aristotle (Metaph., i. 4), Anaxagoras himself did 
not know how to begin much with his 1/01/9, but merely 
set it up, and then left it standing like a painted saint at 
the entrance, without making use of it in his develop 
ment of nature, except in cases of need, when he did not 
know how else to help himself. All physico-theology is a 
carrying out of the error opposed to the truth expressed 
at the beginning of this chapter the error that the most 
perfect form of the origin of things is that which is 
brought about by means of an intellect. Therefore it 
draws a bolt against all deep exploration of nature. 

From the time of Socrates down to our own time, we 
find that the chief subject of the ceaseless disputations of 
the philosophers has been that ens rationis, called soul. 
We see the most of them assert its immortality, that is 
to say, its metaphysical nature ; yet others, supported by 
facts which incontrovertibly prove the entire dependence of 
the intellect upon the bodily organism, unweariedly main 
tain the contrary. That soul is by all and before every 
thing taken as absolutely simple; for piecisely from this 
its metaphysical nature, its immateriality and immortality 


were proved, although these by no means necessarily 
follow from it. For although we can only conceive the 
destruction of a formed body through breaking up of 
it into its parts, it does not follow from this that the 
destruction of a simple existence, of which besides we 
have no conception, may not be possible in some other 
way, perhaps by gradually vanishing. I, on the contrary, 
start by doing away with the presupposed simplicity 
of our subjectively conscious nature, or the ego, inasmuch 
as I show that the manifestations from which it was de 
duced have two very different sources, and that in any 
case the intellect is physically conditioned, the function 
of a material organ, therefore dependent upon it, and with 
out it is just as impossible as the grasp without the hand ; 
that accordingly it belongs to the mere phenomenon, and 
thus shares the fate of this, that the will, on the contrary, 
is bound to no special organ, but is everywhere present, is 
everywhere that which moves and forms, and therefore is 
that which conditions the whole organism ; that, in fact, it 
constitutes the metaphysical substratum of the whole phe 
nomenon, consequently is not, like the intellect, a Posterius 
of it, but its Prius ; and the phenomenon depends upon it, 
not it upon the phenomenon. But the body is reduced in 
deed to a mere idea, for it is only the manner in which the 
will exhibits itself in the perception of the intellect or brain. 
The will, again, which in all other systems, different as 
they are in other respects, appears as one of the last 
results, is with me the very first. The intellect, as mere 
function of the brain, is involved in the destruction of the 
body, but the will is by no means so. From this hetero 
geneity of the two, together with the subordinate nature 
of the intellect, it becomes conceivable that man, in the 
depths of his self- consciousness, feels himself to be eternal 
and indestructible, but yet can have no memory, either a 
parte ante or a par te post, beyond the duration of his life. 
I do not wish to anticipate here the exposition of the true 
indestructibility of our nature, which has its place in the 


fourth book, but have only sought to indicate the place 
where it links itself on. 

But now that, in an expression which is certainly one 
sided, yet from our standpoint true, the body is called a 
mere idea depends upon the fact than an existence in 
space, as something extended, and in time, as something 
that changes, and more closely determined in both through 
ihe causal-nexus, is only possible in the idea, for all those 
determinations rest upon its forms, thus in a brain, in 
which accordingly such an existence appears as something 
objective, i.e., foreign ; therefore even our own body can 
have this kind of existence only in a brain. For the 
knowledge which I have of my body as extended, space- 
occupying, and movable, is only indirect : it is a picture 
in my brain which is brought about by means of the 
senses and understanding. The body is given to me 
directly only in muscular action and in pain and pleasure, 
both of which primarily and directly belong to the will. 
But the combination of these two different kinds of know 
ledge of my own body afterwards affords the further 
insight that all other things which also have the objective 
existence described, which is primarily only in my brain, 
are not therefore entirely non-existent apart from it, but 
must also ultimately in themselves be that which makes 
itseir known in self-consciousness as will. 

( 5 ) 



THERE are two fundamentally different ways of regarding 
the intellect, which depend upon the difference of the 
point of view, and, much as they are opposed to each other 
in consequence of this, must yet be brought into agree 
ment. One is the subjective, which, starting from within 
and taking the consciousness as the given, shows us by 
what mechanism the world exhibits itself in it, and how, 
out of the materials which the senses and the understand 
ing provide, it constructs itself in it. We must look 
upon Locke as the originator of this method of considera 
tion ; Kant brought it to incomparably higher perfection ; 
and our first book also, together with its supplements, are 
devoted to it. 

The method of considering the intellect which is opposed 
to this is the objective, which starts from without, takes as 
its object not our own consciousness, but the beings oiven 
in outward experience, conscious of themselves and of the 
world, and now investigates the relation of their intellect 
to their other qualities, how it has become possible, how 
it has become necessary, and what it accomplishes for 
them. The standpoint of this method of consideration is 
the empirical. It takes the world and the animal exist 
ences present in it as absolutely given, in that it starts 
from them. It is accordingly primarily zoological, ana 
tomical, physiological, and only becomes philosophical by 
connection with that first method of consideration, and 

1 This chapter is connected with the last half of 27 of the first volume. 


from the higher point of view thereby attained. The 
only foundations of this which as yet have been given 
we owe to zoutomists and physiologists, for the most 
part French. Here Cabanis is specially to be named, 
whose excellent work, "Des rapports du physique au moral," 
is initiatory of this method of consideration on the path 
of physiology. The famous Bichat was his contemporary, 
but his theme was a much more comprehensive one. 
Even Gall may be named here, although his chief aim 
was missed. Ignorance and prejudice have raised against 
this method of consideration the accusation of materialism, 
because, adhering simply to experience, it does not know 
the immaterial substance, soul. The most recent advances 
in the physiology of the nervous system, through Sir 
Charles Bell, Magendie, Marshall Hall, and others, have 
also enriched and corrected the material of this method 
of consideration. A philosophy which, like the Kantian, 
entirely ignores this point of view for the intellect is 
one-sided, and consequently inadequate. It leaves an 
impassable gulf between our philosophical and our phy 
siological knowledge, with which we can never find 

Although what I have said in the two preceding chapters 
concerning the life and the activity of the brain belongs 
to this method of consideration, and in the same way all 
the discussions to be found under the heading, " Pftan- 
zenphysiologie," in the essay, " Ueber den Willen in der 
Natur," and also a portion of those under the heading 
" Vergkicliende Anatomie" are devoted to it, the following 
exposition of its results in general will be by no means 

We become most vividly conscious of the glaring con 
trast between the two methods of considering the intellect 
opposed to each other above if we carry the matter to the 
extreme and realise that what the one, as reflective 
thought and vivid perception, directly assumes and makes 
its material is for the other nothing more than the physio- 


logical function of an internal organ, the brain ; nay, that 
we are justified in asserting that the whole objective 
world, so boundless in space, so infinite in time, so un 
searchable in its perfection, is really only a certain move 
ment or affection of the pulpy matter in the skull We 
then ask in astonishment : what is this brain whose func 
tion produces such a phenomenon of all phenomena ? 
What is the matter which can be refined and potentiated 
to such a pulp that the stimulation of a few of its particles 
becomes the conditional supporter of the existence of an 
objective world ? The fear of such questions led to the 
hypothesis of the simple substance of an immaterial soul, 
which merely dwelt in the brain. We say boldly : this 
pulp also, like every vegetable or animal part, is an orga 
nic structure, like all its poorer relations in the inferior 
accommodation of the heads of our irrational brethren, 
down to the lowest, which scarcely apprehends at all; 
yet that organic pulp is the last product of nature, which 
presupposes all the rest. But in itself, and outside the 
idea, the brain also, like everything else, is will. For 
existing for another is being perceived; being in itself is 
willing : upon this it depends that on the purely objective 
path we never attain to the inner nature of things ; but 
if we attempt to find their inner nature from without and 
empirically, this inner always becomes an outer again 
in our hands, the pith of the tree, as well as its bark ; 
the heart of the animal, as well as its hidej the white 
and the yolk of an egg, as well as its shell. J^On the other 
hand, upon the subjective path the inner is accessible to 
us at every moment; for we find it as the will primarily 
in ourselves, and must, by the clue of the analogy wit 
our own nature, be able to solve that of others, in tha 
we attain to the insight that a being in itself independen 
of being known, i.e., of exhibiting itself in an intellect 
is only conceivable as willing. 

If now, in the objective comprehension of the intellect, 
we go back as far as we possibly can, we shall find that 


the necessity or the need of knowledge in general arises 
from the multiplicity and the separate existence of beings, 
thus from individuation. For suppose there only existed 
a single being, such a being would have no need of know 
ledge : because nothing would exist which was different 
from it, and whose existence it would therefore have to 
take up into itself indirectly through knowledge, i.e., image 
and concept. It would itself already be all in all, and 
therefore there would remain nothing for it to know, i.e., 
nothing foreign that could be apprehended as object. In 
the case of a multiplicity of beings, on the other hand, 
every individual finds itself in a condition of isolation 
from all the rest, and hence arises the necessity of know 
ledge. The nervous system, by means of which the 
animal individual primarily becomes conscious of itself, 
is bounded by a skin ; yet in the brain that has attained 
to intellect it passes beyond this limit by means of ita 
form of knowledge, causality, and thus there arises for it 
perception as a consciousness of other things, as an image 
of beings in space and time, which change in accordance 
with causality. In this sense it would be more correct 
to say, "Only the different is known by the different," 
than as Empedocles said, "Only the like is known by the 
like," which was a very indefinite and ambiguous proposi 
tion ; although points of view may certainly also be con 
ceived from which it is true ; as, for instance, we may 
observe in passing that of Helvetius when he says so 
beautifully and happily: "II riy a gue Vesprit qui sente 
I esprit : c est une corde qui ne fre mit qu d I unison," which 
corresponds with Xenophon s " <ro<f)ov eivat, Set rov eTrvyvo)- 
(rofievov rov <ro<J>ov " (sapientem esse opportet eum, qui sapien- 
tem agniturus sit), and is a great sorrow. But now, again, 
from the other side we know that multiplicity of similars 
only becomes possible through time and space ; thus 
through the forms of our knowledge. Space first arises 
in that the knowing subject sees externally ; it is the 
manner in which the subject comprehends something as 


different from itself. But we also saw knowledge in 
general conditioned by multiplicity and difference. Thus 
knowledge and multiplicity, or individuation, stand and 
fall together, for they reciprocally condition each other. 
Hence it must be inferred that, beyond the phenomenon 
in the true being of all things, to which time and space, 
and consequently also multiplicity, must be foreign, there 
can also be no knowledge. Buddhism defines this as 
Pratschna Paramita, i.e., that which is beyond all know 
ledge (J. J. Schmidt, " On the Maha-Jana and Pratschna 
Paramita "). A " knowledge of things in themselves," in 
the strictest sense of the word, would accordingly be 
already impossible from the fact that where the thing in 
itself begins knowledge ceases, and all knowledge is essen 
tially concerned only with phenomena. For it springs 
from a limitation, by which it is made necessary, in order 
to extend the limits. 

For the objective consideration the brain is the efflores 
cence of the organism; therefore only where the latter 
has attained its highest perfection and complexity does 
the brain appear in its greatest development. But in the 
preceding chapter we have recognised the organism as the 
objectification of the will ; therefore the brain also, as a 
part of it, must belong to this objectification. Further, 
from the fact that the organism is only the visibility of 
the will, thus in itself is the will, I have deduced that 
every affection of the organism at once and directly affects 
the will, i.e., is felt as agreeable or painful. Yet, with 
the heightening of sensibility, in the higher development 
of the nervous system, the possibility arises that in the 
nobler, i.e., the objective, organs of sense (sight and hear 
ing) the exquisitely delicate affections proper to them are 
perceived without in themselves and directly affecting the 
will, that is, without being either painful or agreeable, and 
that therefore they appear in consciousness as indifferent, 
merely perceived, sensations. But in the brain this height 
ening of sensibility reaches such a high degree that upon 


received impressions of sense a reaction even takes place, 
which does not proceed directly from the will, but is 
primarily a spontaneity of the function of understanding, 
which makes the transition from the directly perceived 
sensation of the senses to its cause; and since the brain 
then at once produces the form of space, there thus arises 
the perception of an external object. We may therefore 
regard the point at which the understanding makes the 
transition from the mere sensation upon the retina, which 
is still a mere affection of the body and therefore of the 
will, to the cause of that sensation, which it projects by 
means of its form of space, as something external and 
different from its own body, as the boundary between the 
world as will and the world as idea, or as the birthplace 
of the latter. In man, however, the spontaneity of the 
activity of the brain, which in the last instance is 
certainly conferred by the will, goes further than mere 
perception and immediate comprehension of causal rela 
tions. It extends to the construction of abstract con 
ceptions out of these perceptions, and to operating with 
these conceptions, i.e., to thinking, as that in which his 
reason consists. Thoughts are therefore furthest removed 
from the affections of the body, which, since the body 
is the objectification of the will, may, through increased 
intensity, pass at once into pain, even in the organs of 
sense. Accordingly idea and thought may also be re 
garded as the efflorescence of the will, because they spring 
from the highest perfection and development of the or 
ganism ; but the organism, in itself and apart from the 
idea, is the will. Of course, in my explanation, the exist 
ence of the body presupposes the world of idea ; inasmuch 
as it also, as body or real object, is only in this world ; and, 
on the other hand, the idea itself just as much presupposes 
the body, for it arises only through the function of an 
organ of the body. That which lies at the foundation of 
the whole phenomenon, that in it which alone has being in 
itself and is original, is exclusively the will ; for it is the 


will which through this very process assumes the form of 
the idea, i.e., enters the secondary existence of an objec 
tive world, or the sphere of the knowable. Philosophers 
before Kant, with few exceptions, approached the explana 
tion of the origin of our knowledge from the wrong side. 
They set out from a so-called soul, an existence whose 
inner nature and peculiar function consisted in thinking, 
and indeed quite specially in abstract thinking, with mere 
conceptions, which belonged to it the more completely 
the further they lay from all perception. (I beg to refer 
here to the note at the end of 6 of my prize essay on 
the foundation of morals.) This soul has in some incon 
ceivable manner entered the body, and there it is only 
disturbed in its pure thinking, first by impressions of the 
senses and perceptions, still more by the desires which 
these excite, and finally by the emotions, nay, passions, to 
which these desires develop ; while the characteristic and 
original element of this soul is mere abstract thinking, 
and given up to this it has only universals, inborn con 
ceptions, and ceternce veritates for its objects, and leaves 
everything perceptible lying far below it. Hence, also, 
arises the contempt with which even now "sensibility" 
and the " sensuous " are referred to by professors of philo 
sophy, nay, are even made the chief source of immorality, 
while it is just the senses which are the genuine and inno 
cent source of all our knowledge, from which all thinking 
must first borrow its material, for in combination with the 
a priori functions of the intellect they produce the per 
ception. One might really suppose that in speaking of 
sensibility these gentlemen always think only of the pre 
tended sixth sense of the French. Thus, as we have said, 
in the process of knowledge, its ultimate product was 
made that which is first and original in it, and accordingly 
the matter was taken hold of by the wrong end. Accord 
ing to my exposition, the intellect springs from the organ 
ism, and thereby from the will, and hence could not be 
without the latter. Thus, without the will it would also 


find no material to occupy it ; for everything that is know- 
able is just the objectification of the will. 

But not only the perception of the external world, or the 
consciousness of other things, is conditioned by the brain 
and its functions, but also self-consciousness. The will 
in itself is without consciousness, and remains so in the 
greater part of its phenomena. The secondary world of 
idea must be added, in order that it may become conscious 
of itself, just as light only becomes visible through the 
bodies which reflect it, and without them loses itself in 
darkness without producing any effect. Because the will, 
with the aim of comprehending its relations to the exter 
nal world, produces a brain in the animal individual, the 
consciousness of its own self arises in it, by means of the 
subject of knowledge, which comprehends things as exist 
ing and the ego as willing. The sensibility, which reaches 
its highest degree in the brain, but is yet dispersed 
through its different parts, must first of all collect all the 
rays of its activity, concentrate them, as it were, in a 
focus, which, however, does not lie without, as in the 
case of the concave mirror, but within, as in the con 
vex mirror. With this point now it first describes 
the line of time, upon which, therefore, all that it pre 
sents to itself as idea must exhibit itself, and which 
is the first and most essential form of all knowledge, 
or the form of inner sense. This focus of the whole 
activity of the brain is what Kant called the synthetic 
unity of apperception (cf. vol. ii. p. 475). Only by means 
of this does the will become conscious of itself, because 
this focus of the activity of the brain, or that which 
knows, apprehends itself as identical with its own basis, 
from which it springs, that which wills ; and thus the ego 
arises. Yet this focus of the brain activity remains 
primarily a mere subject of knowledge, and as such 
capable of being the cold and impartial spectator, the 
mere guide and counsellor of the will, and also of compre 
hending the external world in a purely objective manner, 


without reference to the will and its weal or woe. But 
whenever it turns within, it recognises the will as the basis 
of its own phenomenon, and therefore combines with it in 
the consciousness of an ego. That focus of the activity 
of the brain (or the subject of knowledge) is indeed, as an 
indivisible point, simple, but yet is not on this account a 
substance (soul), but a mere condition or state. That of 
which it is itself a condition or state can only be known 
by it indirectly, as it were through reflection. But the 
ceasing of this state must not be regarded as the annihi 
lation of that of which it is a state. This knowing and 
conscious ego is related to the will, which is the basis of its 
phenomenal appearance, as the picture in the focus of a 
concave mirror is related to the mirror itself, and has, like 
that picture, only a conditioned, nay, really a merely ap 
parent, reality. Far from being the absolutely first (as, 
for example, Fichte teaches), it is at bottom tertiary, for it 
presupposes the organism, and the organism presupposes 
the will. I admit that all that is said here is really only 
an image and a figure, and in part also hypothetical ; but 
we stand at a point to which thought can scarcely reach, 
not to speak of proof. I therefore request the reader 
to compare with this what I have adduced at length on 
this subject in chapter 20. 

Now, although the true being of everything that exists 
consists in its will, and knowledge together with conscious 
ness are only added at the higher grades of the pheno 
menon as something secondary, yet we find that the dif 
ference which the presence and the different degree of 
consciousness places between one being and another is 
exceedingly great and of important results. The subjec 
tive existence of the plant we must think of as a weak 
analogue, a mere shadow of comfort and discomfort ; and 
even in this exceedingly weak degree the plant knows 
only of itself, not of anything outside of it. On the other 
hand, even the lowest animal standing next to it is forced 
by increased and more definitely specified wants to extend 


the sphere of its existence beyond the limits of its own 
body. This takes place through knowledge. It has a dim 
apprehension of its immediate surroundings, out of which 
the motives for its action with a view to its own main 
tenance arise. Thus accordingly the medium of motives 
appears, and this is the world existing objectively in 
time and space, the world as idea, however weak, obscure, 
and dimly dawning this first and lowest example of it may 
be. But it imprints itself ever more and more distinctly, 
ever wider and deeper, in proportion as in the ascending 
scale of animal organisations the brain is ever more per 
fectly produced. This progress in the development of the 
brain, thus of the intellect, and of the clearness of the idea, 
at each of these ever higher grades is, however, brought 
about by the constantly increasing and more complicated 
wants of this phenomenon of the will. This must always 
first afford the occasion for it, for without necessity nature 
(i.e., the will which objectifies itself in it) produces nothing, 
least of all the hardest of its productions a more perfect 
brain : in consequence of its lex parsimonies : natura nihil 
agit frustra et nihil facit supervacaneum. It has provided 
every animal with the organs which are necessary for its 
sustenance and the weapons necessary for its conflict, as 
I have shown at length in my work, " Ueber den Willen in 
der Natur," under the heading, " Vergleichende Anatomic." 
According to this measure, therefore, it imparts to each 
the most important of those organs concerned with what 
is without, the brain, with its function the intellect. 
The more complicated, through higher development, its 
organisation became, the more multifarious and specially 
determined did its wants also become, and consequently 
the more difficult and the more dependent upon opportunity 
was the provision of what would satisfy them. Thus there 
was needed here a wider range of sight, a more accurate 
comprehension, a more correct distinction of things in the 
external world, in all their circumstances and relations. 
Accordingly we see the faculty of forming ideas, and its 


organs, brain, nerves, and special senses, appear ever more 
perfect the higher we advance in the scale of animals ; and 
in proportion as the cerebral system develops, the external 
world appears ever more distinct, many-sided, and com 
plete in consciousness. The comprehension of it now de 
mands ever more attention, and ultimately in such a de 
gree that sometimes its relation to the will must momen 
tarily be lost sight of in order that it may take place more 
purely and correctly. Quite definitely this first appears in 
the case of man. With him alone does a pure separation 
of knowing and urilling take place. This is an important 
point, which I merely touch on here in order to indicate 
its position, and be able to take it up again later. But, 
like all the rest, nature takes this last step also in extend 
ing and perfecting the brain, and thereby in increasing the 
powers of knowledge, only in consequence of the increased 
needs, thus in the service of the will. What this aims -a* 
and attains in man is indeed essentially the same, and 
not more than what is also its goal in the brutes nourish 
ment and propagation. But the requisites for the attain 
ment of this goal became so much increased in number, 
and of so much higher quality and greater definiteness 
through the organisation of man, that a very much more 
considerable heightening of the intellect than the previous 
steps demanded was necessary, or at least was the easiest 
means of reaching the end. But since now the intellect, 
in accordance with its nature, is a tool of the most various 
utility, and is equally applicable to the most different 
kinds of ends, nature, true to her spirit of parsimony, 
could now meet through it alone all the demands of the 
wants which had now become so manifold. Therefore she 
sent forth man without clothing, without natural means of 
protection or weapons of attack, nay, with relatively little 
muscular power, combined with great frailty and little en 
durance of adverse influences and wants, in reliance upon 
that one great tool, in addition to which she had only to 
retain the hands from the next grade below him, the ape. 


But through the predominating intellect which here 
appears not only is the comprehension of motives, their 
multiplicity, and in general the horizon of the aims in 
finitely increased, but also the distinctness with which the 
will is conscious of itself is enhanced in the highest degree 
in consequence of the clearness of the whole conscious 
ness which has been brought about, which is supported by 
the capacity for abstract knowledge, and now attains to 
complete reflectiveness. But thereby, and also through 
the vehemence of the will, which is necessarily presupposed 
as the supporter of such a heightened intellect, an intensi 
fying of all the emotions appears, and indeed the possibi 
lity of the passions, which, properly speaking, are unknown 
to the brute. For the vehemence of the will keeps pace 
with the advance of intelligence, because this advance 
really always springs from the increased needs and press- 
ng demands of the will : besides this, however, the two 
reciprocally support each other. Thus the vehemence of 
the character corresponds to the greater energy of the 
beating of the heart and the circulation of the blood, which 
physically heighten the activity of the brain. On the 
other hand, the clearness of the intelligence intensifies the 
emotions, which are called forth by the outward circum 
stances, by means of the more vivid apprehension of the 
latter. Hence, for example, young calves quietly allow 
themselves to be packed in a cart and carried off; but 
young lions, if they are only separated from their mother, 
remain permanently restless, and roar unceasingly from 
morning to night ; children in such a position would 
cry and vex themselves almost to death. The vivacious- 
ness and impetuosity of the ape is in exact proportion to 
its greatly developed intellect. It depends just on this re 
ciprocal relationship that man is, in general, capable of far 
greater sorrows than the brute, but also of greater joy in 
satisfied and pleasing emotions, in the same way his 
higher intelligence makes him more sensible to ennui than 
the brute ; but it also becomes, if he is individually very 


complete, an inexhaustible source of entertainment. Thus, 
as a whole, the manifestation of the will in man is related 
to that in the brute of the higher species, as a note that 
has been struck to its fifth pitched two or three octaves 
lower. But between the different kinds of brutes also 
the differences of intellect, and thereby of consciousness, 
are great and endlessly graduated. The mere analogy of 
consciousness which we must yet attribute to plants will 
be related to the still far deader subjective nature of an 
unorganised body, very much as the consciousness of the 
lowest species of animals is related to the quasi conscious 
ness of plants. We may present to our imagination the 
innumerable gradations in the degree of consciousness 
under the figure of the different velocity of points which 
are unequally distant from the centre of a revolving sphere. 
But the most correct, and indeed, as our third book teaches, 
the natural figure of that gradation is afforded us by the 
scale in its whole compass from the lowest audible note 
to the highest. It is, however, the grade of consciousness 
which determines the grade of existence of a being. For 
every immediate existence is subjective : the objective 
existence is in the consciousness of another, thus only 
for this other, consequently quite indirect. Through the 
grade of consciousness beings are as different as through 
the will they are alike, for the will is what is common 
to them all 

But what we have now considered between the plant 
and the animal, and then between the different species 
of animals, occurs also between man and man. Here 
also that which is secondary, the intellect, by means of 
the clearness of consciousness and distinctness of know 
ledge which depends upon it, constitutes a fundamental 
and immeasurably great difference in the whole manner 
of the existence, and thereby in the grade of it. The 
higher the consciousness has risen, the more distinct and 
connected are the thoughts, the clearer the perceptions the 
more intense the sensations. Through it everything gains 

VOL. m. B 


more depth : emotion, sadness, joy, and sorrow. Common 
place blockheads are not even capable of real joy : they live 
on in dull insensibility. While to one man his consciousness 
only presents his own existence, together with the motives 
which must be apprehended for the purpose of sustain 
ing and enlivening it, in a bare comprehension of the 
external world, it is to another a camera dbscura in which 
the macrocosm exhibits itself : 

" He feela that he holds a little world 
Brooding in his brain, 
That it begins to work and to live, 
That he fain would give it forth." 

The difference of the whole manner of existence which 
the extremes of the gradation of intellectual capacity 
establish between man and man is so great that that 
between a king and a day labourer seems small in com 
parison. And here also, as in the case of the species of 
animals, a connection between the vehemence of the will 
and the height of the intellect can be shown. Genius is 
conditioned by a passionate temperament, and a phlegmatic 
genius is inconceivable : it seems as if an exceptionally 
vehement, thus a violently longing, will must be present 
if nature is to give an abnormally heightened intellect, as 
corresponding to it ; while the merely physical account of 
this points to the greater energy with which the arteries 
of the head move the brain and increase its turgescence. 
Certainly, however, the quantity, quality, and form of the 
brain itself is the other and incomparably more rare con 
dition of genius. On the other hand, phlegmatic persons 
are as a rule of very moderate mental power ; and thus 
the northern, cold-blooded, and phlegmatic nations are in 
general noticeably inferior in mind to the southern vivaci 
ous and passionate peoples ; although, as Bacon l has most 
pertinently remarked, if once a man of a northern nation 
is highly gifted by nature, he can then reach a grade which 
no southern ever attains to. It is accordingly as perverse 

1 De Augm. Scicnt., L. vi. c. 3. 


as it is common to take the great minds of different nations 
as the standard for comparing their mental powers : for 
that is just attempting to prove the rule by the exceptions. 
It is rather the great majority of each nation that one has 
to consider: for one swallow does not make a summer. 
We have further to remark here that that very passionate- 
ness which is a condition of genius, bound up with its 
vivid apprehension of things, produces in practical life, 
where the will comes into play, and especially in the 
case of sudden occurrences, so great an excitement of the 
emotions that it disturbs and confuses the intellect ; while 
the phlegmatic man in such a case still retains the full 
use of his mental faculties, though they are much more 
limited, and then accomplishes much more with them 
than the greatest genius can achieve. Accordingly a pas 
sionate temperament is favourable to the original quality 
of the intellect, but a phlegmatic temperament to its use. 
Therefore genius proper is only for theoretical achieve 
ments, for which it can choose and await its time, which 
will just be the time at which the will is entirely at 
rest, and no waves disturb the clear mirror of the com 
prehension of the world. On the other hand, genius is 
ill adapted and unserviceable for practical life, and is there 
fore for the most part unfortunate. Goethe s " Tasso " is 
written from this point of view. As now genius proper 
depends upon the absolute strength of the intellect, which 
must be purchased by a correspondingly excessive vehe 
mence of disposition, so, on the other hand, the great pre 
eminence in practical life that makes generals and states 
men depends upon the relative strength of the intellect, 
thus upon the highest degree of it that can be attained 
without too great excitability of the emotions, and too 
great vehemence of character, and that therefore can hold 
its own even in the storm. Great firmness of will and 
constancy of mind, together with a capable and fine under 
standing, are here sufficient; and whatever goes beyond 
this acts detrimentally, for too great a development of 



the intelligence directly impedes firmness of character 
and resolution of will. Hence this kind of eminence is 
not so abnormal, and is a hundred times less rare than 
the former kind ; and accordingly we see great generals 
and great ministers appear in every age, whenever the 
merely external conditions are favourable to their effi 
ciency. Great poets and philosophers, on the other hand, 
leave centuries waiting for them ; and yet humanity may 
be contented even with this rare appearance of them, for 
their works remain, and do not exist only for the present, 
like the achievements of those other men. It is also quite 
in keeping with the law of the parsimony of nature re 
ferred to above that it bestows great eminence of mind in 
general upon very few, and genius only as the rarest of all 
exceptions, while it equips the great mass of the human 
race with no more mental power than is required for the 
maintenance of the individual and the species. For the 
freat, and through their very satisfaction, constantly in 
creasing needs of the human race make it necessary that 
the great majority of men should pass their lives in occu 
pations of a coarsely physical and entirely mechanical 
description. And what would be the use to them of an 
active mind, a glowing imagination, a subtle understand 
ing, and a profoundly penetrating intellect ? These would 
only make them useless and unhappy. Therefore nature 
has thus gone about the most costly of all her productions 
in the least extravagant manner. In order not to judge 
unfairly one ought also to settle definitely one s expecta 
tions of the mental achievements of men generally from 
this point of view, and to regard, for example, even learned 
men, since as a rule they have become so only by the force 
of outward circumstances, primarily as men whom nature 
really intended to be tillers of the soil ; indeed even pro 
fessors of philosophy ought to be estimated according to 
this standard, and then their achievements will be found 
to come up to all fair expectations. It is worth noticing 
that in the south, where the necessities of life press less 


severely upon the human race, and more leisure is allowed, 
the mental faculties even of the multitude also become 
more active and finer. It is physiologically noteworthy 
that the preponderance of the mass of the brain over that 
of the spinal cord and the nerves, which, according to 
Sominerring s acute discovery, affords the true and closest 
measure of the degree of intelligence both of species of 
brutes and of individual men, at the same time increases 
the direct power of moving, the agility of the limbs; 
because, through the great inequality of the relation, the 
dependence of all motor nerves upon the brain becomes 
more decided ; and besides this the cerebellum, which is 
the primary controller of movements, shares the qualita 
tive perfection of the cerebrum; thus through both all 
voluntary movements gain greater facility, rapidity, and 
manageableness, and by the concentration of the starting- 
point of all activity that arises which Lichtenberg praises 
in Garrick : " that he appeared to be present in all the 
muscles of his body." Hence clumsiness in the movement 
of the body indicates clumsiness in the movement of the 
thoughts, and will be regarded as a sign of stupidity both 
in individuals and nations, as much as sleepiness of the 
countenance and vacancy of the glance. Another symptom 
of the physiological state of the case referred to is the fact 
that many persons are obliged at once to stand still when 
ever their conversation with any one who is walking with 
them begins to gain some connection ; because their brain, 
as soon as it has to link together a few thoughts, has no 
longer as much power over as is required to keep the limbs 
in motion by means of the niotory nerves, so closely is 
everything measured with them. 

It results from this whole objective consideration of the 
intellect and its origin, that it is designed for the com 
prehension of those ends upon the attainment of which 
depends the individual life and its propagation, but by no 
means for deciphering the inner nature of things and 
of the world, which exists independently of the knower, 


What to the plant is the susceptibility to light, in conse 
quence of which it guides its growth in the direction of 
it, that is, in kind, the knowledge of the brute, nay, even 
of man, although in degree it is increased in proportion as 
the needs of each of these beings demand. With them 
all apprehension remains a mere consciousness of their 
relations to other things, and is by no means intended 
to present again in the consciousness of the knower the 
peculiar, absolutely real nature of these things. ^"KatherT 
as springing from the will, the intellect is also only de 
signed for its service, thus for the apprehension of motives ; 
it is adapted for this, and is therefore of a thoroughly 
practical tendency. This also holds good if we conceive 
the significance of life as ethical; for in this regard too 
we find man knowing only for the benefit of his conduct. 
Such a faculty of knowledge, existing exclusively for prac 
tical ends, will from its nature always comprehend only 
the relations of things to each other, but not the inner 
nature of them, as it is in itself. But to regard the com 
plex of these relations as the absolute nature of the world 
as it is in itself, and the manner in which it necessarily 
exhibits itself in accordance with the laws predisposed 
in the brain as the eternal laws of the existence of all 
things, and then to construct ontology, cosmology, and 
theology in accordance with this view this was really the 
old fundamental error, of which Kant s teaching has made 
an end. Here, then, our objective, and therefore for the 
most part physiological consideration of the intellect 
meets his transcendental consideration of it; nay, appears 
in a certain sense even as an a priori insight into it ; for, 
from a point of view which we have taken up outside of 
it, our objective view enables us to know in its origin, and 
therefore as necessary, what that transcendental considera 
tion, starting from facts of consciousness, presents only as 
a matter of fact. For it follows from our objective con 
sideration of the intellect, that the world as idea, as it 
exists stretched out in space and time, and moves on 


regularly according to the strict law of causality, is 
primarily only a physiological phenomenon, a function of 
the brain, which brings it about, certainly upon the occa 
sion of certain external stimuli, but yet in conformity 
with its own laws. Accordingly it is beforehand a matter 
of course, that what goes on in this function itself, and 
therefore through it and for it, must by no means be 
regarded as the nature of things in themselves, which exist 
independently of it and are entirely different from it, but 
primarily exhibits only the mode or manner of this func 
tion itself, which can always receive only a very subor 
dinate modification through that which exists completely 
independently of it, and sets it in motion as a stimulus. 
As, then, Locke claimed for the organs of sense all that 
coines into our apprehension by means of the sensation, in 
order to deny that it belongs to things in themselves, so 
Kant, with the same intention, and pursuing the same 
path further, has proved all that makes perception proper 
possible, thus space, time, and causality, to be functions 
of the brain ; although he has refrained from using this 
physiological expression, to which, however, our present 
method of investigation, coming from the opposite side, 
the side of the real, necessarily leads us. Kant arrived 
upon his analytical path at the result that what we 
know are mere phenomena. What this mysterious ex 
pression really means becomes clear from our objective and 
genetic investigation of the intellect. The phenomena 
are the motives for the aims of individual will as they 
exhibit themselves in the intellect which the will has 
produced for this purpose (which itself appears as a 
phenomenon objectively, as the brain), and which, when 
comprehended, as far as one can follow their concatena 
tion, afford us in their connection the world which extends 
itself objectively in time and space, and which I call the 
world as idea. Moreover, from our point of view, the 
objectionable element vanishes which in the Kantian 
doctrine arises from the fact that, because the intellect 


knows merely phenomena instead of things as they are in 
themselves, nay, in consequence of this is led astray into 
paralogisms and unfounded hypostases by means of 
"sophistications, not of men but of the reason itself, 
from which even the wisest does not free himself, and if, 
perhaps indeed after much trouble, he avoids error, can 
yet never get quit of the illusion which unceasingly 
torments and mocks him" because of nil this, I say, 
the appearance arises that our intellect is intentionally 
designed to lead us into errors. For the objective view 
of the intellect given here, which contains a genesis of it, 
makes it conceivable that, being exclusively intended for 
practical ends, it is merely the medium of motives, and 
therefore fulfils its end by an accurate presentation of 
these, and that if we undertake to discover the nature 
of things in themselves, from the manifold phenomena 
which here exhibit themselves objectively to us, and 
their laws, we do this at our own peril and on our own 
responsibility. We have recognised that the original 
inner force of nature, without knowledge and working 
in the dark, which, if it lias worked its way up to self- 
consciousness, reveals itself to this as will, attains to this 
grade only by the production of an animal brain and of 
knowledge, as its function, whereupon the phenomenon of 
the world of perception arises in this brain. But to ex 
plain this mere brain phenomenon, with the conformity 
to law which is invariably connected with its functions, 
as the objective inner nature of the world and the things 
in it, which is independent of the brain, existing before 
and after it, is clearly a spring which nothing warrants 
us in making. From this mundus phenomenon, however, 
from this perception which arises under such a variety 
of conditions, all our conceptions are drawn. They have 
all their content from it, or even only in relation to it. 
Therefore, as Kant says, they are only for immanent, not 
for transcendental, use ; that is to say, these conceptions 
of ours, this first material of thought, and consequently 


still more the judgments which result from their com 
bination, are unfitted for the task of thinking the nature 
of things in themselves, and the true connection of the 
world and existence ; indeed, to undertake this is analo 
gous to expressing the stereoinetrical content of a body in 
square inches. For our intellect, originally only intended 
to present to an individual will its paltry aims, compre 
hends accordingly mere relations of things, and does not 
penetrate to their inner being, to their real nature. It 
is therefore a merely superficial force, clings to the surface 
of things, and apprehends mere species transitivas, not the 
true being of things. From this it arises that we cannot 
understand and comprehend any single thing, even the 
simplest and smallest, through and through, but some 
thing remains entirely inexplicable to us in each of them. 
Just because the intellect is a product of nature, and is 
therefore only intended for its ends, the Christian mystics 
have very aptly called it " the light of nature," and driven 
it back within its limits ; for nature is the object to which 
alone it is the subject. The thought from which the Critique 
of Pure Eeason has sprung really lies already at the 
foundation of this expression. That we cannot compre 
hend the world on the direct path, i.e. t through the un 
critical, direct application of the intellect and its data, 
but when we reflect upon it become ever more deeply 
involved in insoluble mysteries, points to the fact that 
the intellect, thus knowledge itself, is secondary, a mere 
product, brought about by the development of the inner 
being of the world, which consequently till then preceded 
it, and it at last appeared as a breaking through to the 
light out of the obscure depths of the unconscious striving 
the nature of which exhibits itself as wiU to the self-con 
sciousness which now at once arises. That which pre 
ceded knowledge as its condition, whereby it first became 
possible, thus its own basis, cannot be directly compre 
hended by it ; as the eye cannot see itself. It is rather 
the relations of one existence to another, exhibiting them- 


selves upon the surface of things, which alone are its 
affair, and are so only by means of the apparatus of the 
intellect, its forms, space, time, and causality. Just 
because the world has made itself without the assistance 
of knowledge, its whole being does not enter into know- 


ledge, but knowledge presupposes the existence of the 
world ; on which account the origin of the world does not 
lie within its sphere. It is accordingly limited to the rela 
tions between the things which lie before it, and is thus 
sufficient for the individual will, for the service of which 
alone it appeared. For the intellect is, as has been shown, 
conditioned by nature, lies in it, belongs to it, and cannot 
therefore place itself over against it as something quite 
foreign to it, in order thus to take up into itself its whole 
nature, absolutely, objectively, and thoroughly. It can, if 
fortune favours it, understand all that is in nature, but 
not nature itself, at least not directly. 

However discouraging to metaphysics this essential 
limitation of the intellect may be, which arises from its 
nature and origin, it has yet another side which is very 
consoling. It deprives the direct utterances of nature 
of their unconditional validity, in the assertion of which 
naturalism proper consists. If, therefore, nature presents 
to us every living thing as appearing out of nothing, and, 
after an ephemeral existence, returning again for ever to 
nothing, and if it seems to take pleasure in the unceasing 
production of new beings, in order that it may be able 
unceasingly to destroy, and, on the other hand, is unable 
to bring anything permanent to light ; if accordingly we 
are forced to recognise matter as that which alone is per 
manent, which never came into being and never passes 
away, but brings forth all things from its womb, whence 
its name appears to be derived from mater rerum, and 
along with it, as the father of things, form, which, just as 
fleeting as matter is permanent, changes really every 
moment, and can only maintain itself so long as it clings 
as a parasite to matter (now to one part of it, now to 


another), but when once it entirely loses hold, disappears, 
as is shown by the palaeotheria and the ichthyosaurians, 
we must indeed recognise this as the direct and genuine 
utterance of nature, but on account of the origin of the 
intellect explained above, and the nature of it which 
results from this origin, we cannot ascribe to this utterance 
an unconditional truth, but rather only an entirely condi 
tional truth, which Kant has appropriately indicated as 
such by calling it the phenomenon in opposition to the 
thing in itself. 

If, in spite of this essential limitation of the intellect, 
it is possible, by a circuitous route, to arrive at a certain 
understanding of the world and the nature of things, by 
means of reflection widely pursued, and the skilful com 
bination of objective knowledge directed towards without, 
with the data of self-consciousness, this will yet be only 
a very limited, entirely indirect, and relative understand 
ing, a parabolical translation into the forms of knowledge, 
thus a quadam prodire tenus, which must always leave 
many problems still unsolved. On the other hand, the fun 
damental error of the old dogmatism in all its forms, which 
was destroyed by Kant, was this, that it started absolutely 
from knowledge,, i.e., the world as idea, in order to deduce 
and construct from its laws being in general, whereby it 
accepted that world of idea, together with its laws, as 
absolutely existing and absolutely real ; while its whole 
existence is throughout relative, and a mere result or 
phenomenon of the true being which lies at its founda 
tion, or, in other words, that it constructed an ontology 
when it had only materials for a dianoiology. Kant dis 
covered the subjectively conditioned and therefore entirely 
immanent nature of knowledge, i.e., its unsuitableness for 
transcendental use, from the constitution of knowledge 
itself ; and therefore he very appropriately called his 
doctrine the Critique of Reasw. He accomplished 
this partly by showing the important and thoroughly a 
priori part of all knowledge, which, as throughout sub- 


jective, spoils all objectivity, and partly by professedly 
proving that if they were followed out to the end the 
principles of knowledge, taken as purely objective, led to 
contradictions. He had, however, hastily assumed that, 
apart from objective knowledge, i.e., apart from the world 
as idea, there is nothing given us except conscience, out 
of which he constructed the little that still remained 
of metaphysics, his moral theology, to which, however, 
he attributed absolutely only a practical validity, and 
no theoretical validity at all. He had overlooked that 
although certainly objective knowledge, or the world as 
idea, affords nothing but phenomena, together with their 
phenomenal connection and regressus, yet our own nature 
necessarily also belongs to the world of things in them 
selves, for it must have its root in it. But here, even if 
the root itself cannot be brought to light, it must be pos 
sible to gather some data for the explanation of the con 
nection of the world of phenomena with the inner nature 
of things. Thus here lies the path upon which I have 
gone beyond Kant and the limits which he drew, yet 
always restricting myself to the ground of reflection, and 
consequently of honesty, and therefore without the vain 
pretension of intellectual intuition or absolute thought 
which characterises the period of pseudo-philosophy be 
tween Kant and me. In his proof of the insufficiency of 
rational knowledge to fathom the nature of the world 
Kant started from knowledge as a fact, which our con 
sciousness affords us, thus in this sense he proceeded a 
posteriori. But in this chapter, and also in my work, 
" Ueber den Willen in der Natur" I have sought to show 
what knowledge is in its nature and origin, something 
secondary, designed for individual ends ; whence it follows 
that it must be insufficient to fathom the nature of the 
world. Thus so far I have reached the same goal a priori. 
But one never knows anything wholly and completely 
until one has gone right round it for that purpose, and 
has got back to it from the opposite side from which one 


started. Therefore also, in the case of the important fun 
damental knowledge here considered, one must not merely 
go from the intellect to the knowledge of the world, as 
Kant has done, but also from the world, taken as given, 
to the intellect, as I have undertaken here. Then this 
physiological consideration, in the wider sense, becomes 
the supplement of that ideological, as the French say, or, 
more accurately, transcendental consideration. 

In the above, in order not to break the thread of the 
exposition, I have postponed the explanation of one point 
which I touched upon. It was this, that in proportion as, 
in the ascending series of animals, the intellect appears 
ever more developed and complete, knowledge always 
separates itself more distinctly from will, and thereby 
becomes purer. What is essential upon this point will be 
found in my work, Ueber den Willen in der Natur" under 
the heading, "Pflanzenphysiologie" (p. 68-72 of the second, 
and 74-77 of the third edition), to which I refer, in order 
to avoid repetition, and merely add here a few remarks. 
Since the plant possesses neither irritability nor sensibility, 
but the will objectifies itself in it only as plastic or repro 
ductive power, it has neither muscle nor nerve. In the 
lowest grades of the animal kingdom, in zoophites, espe 
cially in polyps, we cannot as yet distinctly recognise the 
separation of these two constituent parts, but still we 
assume their existence, though in a state of fusion ; because 
we perceive movements which follow, not, as in the case 
of plants, upon mere stimuli, but upon motives, i.e., in 
consequence of a certain apprehension. Now in proportion 
as, in the ascending series of animals, the nervous and 
muscular systems separate ever more distinctly from each 
other, till in the vertebrate animals, and most completely 
in man, the former divides into an organic and a cerebral 
nervous system, and of these the latter again develops 
into the excessively complicated apparatus of the cere 
brum and cerebellum, spinal marrow, cerebral and spinal 
nerves, sensory and motor nerve fascicles, of which only 


the cerebrum, together with the sensory nerves depend 
ing upon it, and the posterior spinal nerve fascicles are 
intended for the apprehension of the motive from the ex 
ternal world, while all the other parts are intended for 
the transmission of the motive to the muscles in which 
the will manifests itself directly ; in the same proportion 
does the motive separate ever more distinctly in conscious 
ness from the act of will which it calls forth, thus the idea 
from the will; and thereby the objectivity of consciousness 
constantly increases, for the ideas exhibit themselves ever 
more distinctly and purely in it. These two separations 
are, however, really only one and the same, which we 
have here considered from two sides, the objective and the 
subjective, or first in the consciousness of other things 
and then in self-consciousness. Upon the degree of this 
separation ultimately depends the difference and the 
gradation of intellectual capacity, both between different 
kinds of animals and between individual human beings ; 
thus it gives the standard for the intellectual complete 
ness of these beings. For the clearness of the conscious 
ness of the external world, the objectivity of the perception, 
depends upon it. In the passage referred to above I have 
shown that the brute only perceives things so far as they 
are motives for its will, and that even the most intelligent 
of the brutes scarcely overstep these limits, because their 
intellect is too closely joined to the will from which it has 
sprung. On the other hand, even the stupidest man com 
prehends things in some degree objectively ; for he recog 
nises not merely what they are with reference to him, but 
also something of what they are with reference to them 
selves and to other things. Yet in the case of very few 
does this reach such a degree that they are in a position 
to examine and judge of anything purely objectively ; but 
" that must I do, that must I say, that must I believe," is 
the goal to which on every occasion their thought hastens 
in a direct line, and at which their understanding at once 
finds welcome rest. For thinking is as unendurable to 


the weak head as the lifting of a burden to the weak arm ; 
therefore both hasten to set it down. The objectivity of 
knowledge, and primarily of perceptive knowledge, has 
innumerable grades, which depend upon the energy of the 
intellect and its separation from the will, and the highest 
of which is geniiis, in which the comprehension of the 
external world becomes so pure and objective that to it 
even more reveals itself directly in the individual thing 
than the individual thing itself, namely, the nature of its 
whole species, i.e., its Platonic Idea ; which is brought about 
by the fact that in this case the will entirely vanishes 
from consciousness. Here is the point at which the pre 
sent investigation, starting from physiological grounds, 
connects itself with the subject of our third book, the 
metaphysics of the beautiful, where aesthetic compre 
hension proper, which, in a high degree, is peculiar to 
genius alone, is fully considered as the condition of 
pure, i.e. y perfectly will-less, and on that account com 
pletely objective knowledge. According to what has been 

said, the rise of intelligence, from the obscurest animal 

1 - 

consciousness up to that of man, is a progressive loosen 
ing of the intellect from the will, which appears complete, 
although only as an exception, in the genius. Therefore 
genius may be defined as the highest grade of the objectivity 
of knowledge. The condition of this, which so seldom 
occurs, is a decidedly larger measure of intelligence than 
is required for the service of the will, which constitutes 
its basis ; it is accordingly this free surplus which first 
really properly comes to know the world, i.e., comprehends 
it perfectly objectively, and now paints pictures, composes 
poems, and thinks in accordance with this comprehension. 



THAT the will which we find within us does not proceed, as 
philosophy has hitherto assumed, first from knowledge, and 
/T^ indeed is a mere modification of it, thus something secon 
dary, derived, and, like knowledge itself, conditioned by the 
brain ; but that it is the prius of knowledge, the kernel of our 
i nature, and that original force itself which forms and sus- 
tains the animal body, in that it carries out both its uncon 
scious and its conscious functions ; this is the first step in 
the fundamental knowledge of my metaphysics.] ^Paracloxi- f 
cal as it even now seems to many that the will in itself is 
without knowledge, yet the scholastics in some way already 
recognised and confessed it; for Jul. Cses.Vaninus (that well- 
known sacrifice to fanaticism and priestly fury), who was 
thoroughly versed in their philosophy, says in his " Amphi- 
theatro,"p. 181 : " Voluntas potentia cosca est, ex scholastico- 
rum opinione." That, further, it is that same will which in 
the plant forms the bud in order to develop the leaf and the 
flower out of it; nay, that the regular form of the crystal is 
only the trace which its momentary effort has left behind, 
and that in general, as the true and only avroftarov, in the 
proper sense of the word, it lies at the foundation of all the 
forces of unorganised nature, plays, acts, in all their multi 
farious phenomena, imparts power to their laws, and even 
in the crudest mass manifests itself as gravity ; this insight 
is the second step in that fundamental knowledge, and is 

A. O ^^^ " - 

1 This ciiaiif T is e<.tin ct> 1 with 2} f tin- tir>t v..lnui .-. 


brought about by further reflection. [But it would be the 
grossest misunderstanding to supposethat this is a mere 
question of a word to denote an unknown quantity. It 
is rather the most real of all real knowledge which is here 
expressed in language. For it is the tracing back of that 
which is quite inaccessible to our immediate knowledge, knd 

~~^ *_ __- -- - -- _1T^ - -- = ^^LJ-f^ 

therefore in its essence foreign and unknown to us, which 
we denote by the wordfe force ofn&tvin^f,o that which -is 
known to us most accurately and intimately, but which Is 
yet only accessible to us in our own being and directly, and 
must therefore be carried over from this to other pheno 
mena.^ It is the insight that what is inward and original 
In all the changes and movements of bodies, however 
various they may be, is in its nature identical ; that yen 
we have only one opportunity of getting to know it more 
closely and directly, and that is in the movements of] 
our own body. In consequence of this knowledge we 
must call it will. It is the insight that that which acts 
and strives in nature, and exhibits itself in ever more 
perfect phenomena, when it has worked itself up so far 
that the light of knowledge falls directly upon it, i.e., 
when it has attained to the state of self-consciousness 
exists as that will, which is what is most intimately 
known to us, and therefore cannot be further explained 
by anything else, but rather affords the explanation of all 
other things. It is accordingly the thing in itself so far 
as this can ever be reached by knowledge. Consequently 
it is that which must^expressf itself in some way in every 
thing in the world, for It is the inner nature of the world 
and the kernel of all phenomena. 

^As my essay. ** -Eftfar den Wtldn in der Natur." spe 
cially refers to the subject of this chapter, and also ad 
duces the evidence of unprejudiced empiricists in favour 
of this important point of my doctrine, I have only to add 
now to what is said there a few supplementary remarks, 
which are therefore strung together in a somewhat fra- 
mentary manner. 
VOL. ill. 


First, then, with reference to plant life, I draw attention 
to the remarkable first two chapters of Aristotle s work 
upon plants. What is most interesting in them, as is so 
often the case with Aris.otle, are the opinions of earlier 
profound philosophers quoted by him. We see there 
that Anaxagoras and Empedocles quite rightly taught 
that plants have the motion of their growth by virtue, of 
their indwelling desires .(emdviua) ; nay, that they also 
attributed to them pleasure and pain, therefore sensation. 
But Plato only ascribed to them desires, and that on ac 
count of their strong appetite for nutrition (cf. Plato in 
the " Timceus," p. 403, Bip.) Aristotle, on the other hand, 
true to his customary method, glides on the surface of 
things, confines himself to single characteristics and con 
ceptions fixed by current expressions, and asserts that 
without sensation there can be no desires, and that plants 
have not sensation. He is, however, in considerable em 
barrassment, as his confused language shows, till here 
also, " where fails the comprehension, a word steps 
promptly in as deputy," namely, TO OpeTrntcov, the faculty 
of nourishing. Plants have this, and thus a part of the 
so-called soul, according to his favourite division into 
anima vegetativa, sensitive/,, and intellectiva. This, however, 
is just a scholastic Quidditas, and signifies plantce nutri- 
untur quia hdbent facultatem nutritivam. It is therefore 
a bad substitute for the more profound research of his pre 
decessors, whom he is criticising. We also see, in the second 
chapter, that Empedocles even recognised the sexuality of 
plants ; which Aristotle then also finds fault with, and 
conceals his want of special knowledge behind general 
propositions, such as this, that plants could not have both 
sexes combined, for if so they would be more complete 
than animals. By quite an analogous procedure he dis 
places the correct astronomical system of the world of the 
Pythagoreans, and by his absurd fundamental principles, 
which he specially explains in the books de Codo, intro 
duces the system of Ptolemy, whereby mankind was again 

^ ^ 


deprived of an already discovered truth of the greatest 
importance for almost two thousand years. 

I cannot refrain from giving here the saying of an 
excellent biologist of our own time who fully agrees 
with my teaching. It is G. E. Treviranus, who, in his 
work, " Ueber die Erscheinunyen und Gesetze des organischen 
Lebens," 1832, Bd. 2, Abth. i, 49, has said what follows : 
A fprDoifcSj^ow^ the 

nprm thft int ftrJI^l._pI^JILGes TTLgEglX I / 

ialiTrp. Such is the life of plants. 

.1 I _ . "^ 

In the higher forms of animal life the external is feltTas ", e " 
something objective." Treviranus speaks here from pure 
unprejudiced comprehension of nature, and is as little 
conscious of the metaphysical importance of his words 
as of the contradictio in adjecto which lies in the concep 
tion of something " felt as objective," a conception which 
indeed he works out at great length. He does not know 
that all feeling is essentially subjective, and all that is 
objij^ajis, on t^ and therefore a 

product of the understanding. Yet this does not detract 
at all from the truth and importance of what he ays. 

In fact, in the life of plants the truth that will c;m 
exist without knowledge is apparent one might say 

i palpably recognisable. For here we see a decided effort, 
determined by wants, modified in various ways, and 

j adapting itself to the difference of the circumstances, 

yet clearly without knowledge. And just because the 
plant is without knowledge it bears its organs of genera 
tion ostentatiously in view, in perfect innocence ; it knows 
nothing about it. As ^soon^Qn the other hand,.as~m 
the series of existences knowledge appears the organs of 
generation are transferred to a hidden part. Man, how^. 
ever, with whom this is again less the case, conceals them 
intentionally : he is ashamed^of Jjhem. 

.J Primarily, then, the vital force is identical with the 
will, but so also are all other forces of nature; though 
this is less apparent. If, therefore, we find the recogni- 


tion of a desire, i.e., of a will, as the basis of plant life, 
expressed at all times, with more or less distinctness of 
conception, on the other hand, the reference of the forces 
of unorganised nature to the same foundation is rarer in 
proportion as their remoteness from our own nature is 
greater. In fact, the boundary between the organised 
and the unorganised is the most sharply drawn in the 
whole of nature, and perhaps the only one that admits 
of no transgressions; so that natura non facit saltus 
seems to suffer an exception here. Although certain 
crystallisations display an external form resembling the 
vegetable, yet even between the smallest lichen, the 
lowest fungus, and everything unorganised there remains 
a fundamental and essential difference. In "the Wfi O fga- 
nised body that which is essential and permanent, thus 
that upon which its identity and integrity rests, is the 
material, the matter; what is unessential and changing 
is, on the other hand, the form. With the organised 
body the case is exactly reversed ; for its life, i.e., its 
existence as an organised being, simply consists in the 
constant change of the material, while the form remains 
permanent. Its being and its identity thus lies in the 
form alone. Therefore the continuance of the unorga 
nised body depends upon repose and exclusion from external 
influences : thus alone does it retain its existence ; and 
if this condition is perfect, such a body lasts for ever. 
The continuance of the organised body, on the contrary, 
just depends upon continual movement and the constant 
reception of external influences. As soon as these are 
wanting and the movement in it stops it is dead, and 
thereby ceases to be organic, although the trace of the 
organism that has been still remains for a while. There 
fore the talk, which is so much affected in our own day, 
of the life of what is unorganised, indeed of the globe 
itself, and that it, and also the planetary system, is an 
organism, is entirely inadmissible. The predicate life 
belongs only to what is organised. Every organism, how- 


ever, is throughout organised, is so in all its parts ; and 
nowhere are these, even in their smallest particles, com 
posed by aggregation of what is unorganised. Thus if 
the earth were an organism, all mountains and rocks, and 
the whole interior of their mass, would necessarily be 
organised, and accordingly really nothing unorganised 
would exist ; and therefore the whole conception of it 

would be wanting. 

On the other hand, that the manifestation of a will is 
as little bound up with life and organisation as with 
knowledge, and that therefore the unorganised has also a 
will, the manifestations of which are all its fundamental 
qualities, which cannot be further explained, this is an 
, essential point in my doctrine ; although the trace of 
,such a thought is far seldomer found in writers who have 
preceded me than that of the will in plants, where, 
however, it is still unconscious. 

In the forming of the crystal we see, as it were, a 
tendency towards an attempt at life, to which, however, 
it does not attain, because the fluidity of which, like a 
living thing, it is composed at the moment of that move 
ment is not enclosed in a skin, as is always the case 
with the latter, and consequently it has neither vessels in 
which that movement could go on, nor does anything 
separate it from the external world. Therefore, rigidity 
at once seizes that momentary movement, of which only 
the trace remains as the crystal. 

The thought that the will, which constitutes the basis 
of our own nature, is also the same will which shows 
itself even in the lowest unorganised phenomena, on 
account of which the conformity to law of both pheno 
mena shows a perfect analogy, lies at the foundation of 
Goethe s " Wahlverwandtschaften," as the title indeed indi- 
^ cates, Although he himself was unconscious of this. 

Mechanics and astronomy specially show us how this 
will conducts itself so far as it appears at the lowest 
grade of its manifestation merely as gravity, rigidity, and 


inertia. Hydraulics shows us the same thing where 
rioidity is "wanting and the fluid material is now un 
restrainedly surrendered to its predominating passion, 
gravity. In this sense hydraulics may be conceived as a 
characteristic sketch of water, for it presents to us the 
manifestations of will to which water is moved by gravity ; 
these always correspond exactly to the external influences, 
for in the case of all non-individual existences there is no 
particular character in addition to the general one; thus 
they can easily be referred to fixed characteristics, which 
are called laws, and which are learned by experience of 
water These laws accurately inform us how water wil, 
conduct itself under all different circumstances, on account 
of its gravity, the unconditioned mobility of its parts, and 
its want of elasticity. Hydrostatics teaches how it is 
brought to rest through gravity ; hydrodynamics, how it is 
set in motion ; and the latter has also to take account of 
hindrances which adhesion opposes to the will of water: 
the two together constitute hydraulics. In the same way 
Chemistry "teaches us how the will conducts itself when 
the inner qualities of materials obtain free play by being 
brought into a fluid state, and there appears that wonder 
ful attraction" and repulsion, separating and combining, 
leaving go of one to seize upon another, from which every 
precipitation originate*, and the whole of which is de 
noted by "elective affinity" (an expression which is entirely 
borrowed from the conscious will). But Anatomy and 
Physiology allow us to see how the will conducts itself 
in order to bring about the phenomenon of life and sustain 
it for a while. Finally, the poet>,.how the will 
conducts itself under the influence of motives nnd reflec- 
vr tiom He exhibits it therefore for the most part in the 
most perfect of its manifestations, in rational beings, whose 
character is individual, and whose conduct and suffering 
he brings before us in the Drama, the Epic, the Romance, 
&c. The more correctly, the more strictly according to 
the laws of nature his characters are there presented, the 


greater is his fame ; hence Shakespeare stands at the top. 
The point of view which is here taken up corresponds at 
bottom to the spirit in which Goethe followed and loved 
the natural sciences, although he was not conscious of 
the matter in the abstract. Nay more, this not only 
appears from his writings, but is also known to me fronv 
his personal utterances. 

If we consider the will, where no one denies it, in con 
scious beings, we find everywhere, as its fundamental 
effort, the self-preservation of every being : omnis natura 
vult esse conservatrix sui. But all manifestations of this 
fundamental effort may constantly be traced back to a 
seeking or pursuit and a shunning or fleeing from, according 
to the occasion. Now this also may be shown even at the 
lowest grades of nature, that is, of the objectification of 
the will, where the bodies still act only as bodies in 
general, thus are the subject-matter of mechanics, and are 
considered only with reference to the manifestations of 
impenetrability, cohesion, rigidity, elasticity, and gravity. 
Here also the seeking shows itself as gravitation, and the 
shunning as the receiving of motion ; and the movableness 
of bodies by pressure or impact, which constitutes the 
basis of mechanics, is at bottom a manifestation of the 
effort after self-preservation, which dwells in them also. 
For, since as bodies they are impenetrable, this is the sole 
means of preserving their cohesion, thus their continuance 
at any time. The body which is impelled or exposed to 
pressure would be crushed to pieces by the impelling or 
pressing body if it did not withdraw itself from its power 
by flight, in order to preserve its cohesion ; and when 
flight is impossible for it this actually happens. Indeed, 
one may regard elastic bodies as the more coumgeous,which 
seek to repel the enemy, or at least to prevent him from 
pursuing further. Thus in the one secret which (besides 
gravity) is left by mechanics otherwise so clear, in the 
coinmunicability of motion, we see a manifestation of the 
fundamental effort of the will in all its phenomena, the 


effort after self-preservation, which shows itself even at 
the lowest grades as that which is essential 

In unorganised nature the will objectifies itself pri 
marily in the universal forces, and only by means of these 
in the phenomena of the particular things which are 
called forth by causes. In 26>>f the first volume I have 
fnlly explained the relation between cause, force of nature, 
and will as thing in itself. One sees from that explana 
tion that metaphysics never interrupts the course of phy 
sics, but only takes up the thread where physics leaves 
it, at the original forces in which all causal explanation 
has its limits. Only here does the metaphysical explana- 
tion from the will as thething initself beginj^hi the> 
case of evei^C^hys^aV^Henomenon^of every ^ha^> of 
^material thingsTitaTcauseVprimarily to be looked^FbTfand 
\-e/ -,/ this cause is just such a particular (cftting^ which has ap- 
J*)^ peared immediately before it. Then, however, the original 
force of nature js to be sought by virtue of x wl^idLJhis 
cause was capable of acting. And first of all the will is 
to be recognised as(theinner nature of this force in oppo 
sition to its I52estatjoii Yet the will shows itself just as 
directly in the fall of a stone as in the action of the man ; 
the difference is only that its particular manifestation is 
in the one case called forth by a motive, in the other by a 
mechanically acting cause, for example, the taking away 
of what supported the stone ; yet in both cases with equal 
necessity ; and that in the one case it depends upon an 
individual character, in the other upon an universal force of 
nature. This identity of what is fundamentally essential is 
even made palpable to the senses. If, for instance, we care 
fully observe a body which has lost its equilibrium, and on 
account of its special form rolls back and f oward for a long 
time till it finds its centre of gravity again, a certain ap 
pearance of life forces itself upon us, and we directly feel 
that something analogous to the foundation of life is also 
active here. This is certainly the universal force of nature, 
which, however, in itself identical with the ivill, becomes 



here, as it were, the soul of a very brief quasi life. Thus 
what is identical in the two extremes of the manifestation of 
the will makes itself faintly known here even to direct per 
ception, in that this raises a feeling in us that here also 
something entirely original, such as we only know in the 
acts of our own will, directly succeeded in manifesting itself. 
We may attain to an intuitive knowledge of the exist 
ence and activity of the will in unorganised nature in quite 
a different and a sublime manner if we study the problem 
of the three heavenly bodies, and thus learn more accu 
rately and specially the course of the moon round the 
earth. By the different combinations which the constant 
change of the position of these three heavenly bodies to 
wards each other introduces, the course of the moon is 
now accelerated ; now retarded, now it approaches the 
earth, and again recedes from it ; and this again takes 
place differently in the perihelion of the earth from in its 
aphelion, all of which together introduces such irregularity 
into the moon s course that it really obtains a capricious 
appearance ; for, indeed, Kepler s third law is no longer 
constantly valid, but in equal times it describes unequal 
areas. The consideration of this course is a small and 
separate chapter of celestial mechanics, which is distin 
guished in a sublime manner from terrestrial mechanics 
by the absence of all impact and pressure, thus of the vis 
a tergo which appears to us so intelligible, and indeed of 
the actually completed case, for besides vis inertia it 
knows no other moving and directing force, except only 
gravitation, that longing for union which proceeds from 
the very inner nature of bodies. If now we construct for 
ourselves in imagination the working of this given case in 
detail, we recognise distinctly and directly in the moving 
force here that which is given to us in self-consciousness 
as will. For the alterations in the course of the earth and 
the moon, according as one of them is by its position more 
or less exposed to the influence of the sun, are evidently 
analogous to the influence of newly appearing motives 



upon our wills, and to the modifications of our action 
which result. 

The following is an illustrative example of another 
kind. Liebig (Chemie in Anwendung auf Agrikultur, p. 
501), says : " If we bring moist copper into air which con 
tains carbonic acid, the affinity of the metal for the oxygen 
of the air will be increased by the contact with this acid 
to such a degree that the two will combine with each 
other ; its surface will be coated with green carbonic oxide 
of copper. But now two bodies which have the capacity 
of combining, the moment they meet assume opposite 
electrical conditions. Therefore if we touch the copper 
with iron, by producing a special electrical state, the 
capacity of the copper to enter into combination with the 
oxygen is destroyed ; even under the above conditions it 
remains bright." The fact is well known and of technical 
use. I quote it in order to say that here the will of the 
copper, laid claim to and occupied by the electrical oppo 
sition to iron, leaves unused the opportunity which pre 
sents itself for its chemical affinity for oxygen and car 
bonic acid. Accordingly it conducts itself exactly as the 
will in a man who omits an action which he would other 
wise feel himself moved to in order to perform another to 
which a stronger motive urges him. 

I have shown in the first volume that the forces of 
nature lie outside the chain of causes and effects, because 
they constitute their accompanying condition, their meta 
physical foundation, and therefore prove themselves to 
be eternal and omnipresent, i.e., independent of time and 
space. Even in the uncontested truth that what is essen 
tial to a cause as such consists in this, that it will produce 
the same effect at any future time as it does now, it is 
already involved that something lies in the cause which is 
independent of the course of time, i.e., is outside of all 
time ; this is the force of nature which manifests itself in 
it. One can even convince oneself to a certain extent 
empirically and as a matter of fact of the ideality of this 


form of our perception by fixing one s eyes upon the 
powerlessness of time as opposed to natural forces. If, 
for example, a rotatory motion is imparted to a planet by 
some external cause, if no new cause enters to stop it, 
this motion will endure for ever. This could not be so 
if time were something in itself and had an objective, 
real existence: for then it would necessarily also produce 
some effect. ( Thus we see here, on the one hand, the forces 
ofnature, which manifest themselves in that rotation, and, 
if" it is once begun, carry it on for ever without becoming 
weary or dying out, prove themselves to be eternal or 
timeless, and consequently absolutely real and existing in 
themselves ; and, on the other hand, time as something 
which consists only in the manner in which we apprehend 
that phenomenon, since it exerts no power and no influ 
ence upon the phenomenon itself ; for what does not act 
is not. 

We have a natural inclination whenever it is possible 
to explain every natural phenomenon mechanically ; doubt 
less because mechanics calls in the assistance of the fewest 
original, and hence inexplicable, forces, and, on the other 
hand, contains much that can be known a priori, and 
therefore depends upon the forms of our own intellect, 
M hich as such carries with it the highest degree of compre- 
hensibility and clearness. However, in the " Metaphysi 
cal First Principles of Natural Science " Kant has referred 
mechanical activity itself to a dynamical activity. On the 
other hand, the application of mechanical explanatory hypo 
theses, beyond what is demonstrably mechanical, to which, 
for example, Acoustics also belongs, is entirely unjustified, 
and I will never believe that even the simplest chemical 
combination or the dfference of the three states of aggre 
gation will ever admit of mechanical explanation, much 
less the properties of light, of heat, and electricity. These 
will always admit only of a dynamical explanation, i.e., 
one which explains the phenomenon from orginal forces 
which are entirely different from those of impact, pressure, 


weight, &c., and are therefore of a higher kind, i.e., are 
more distinct objectifications of that will which obtains 
visible form in all things. I am of opinion that light is 
neither an emanation nor a vibration ; both views are 
akin to that which explains transparency from pores 
and the evident falseness of which is proved by the fact 
that light is subject to no mechanical laws. In order to 
obtain direct conviction of this one only requires to watch 
the effects of a storm of wind, which bends, upsets, and 
scatters everything, but during which a ray of light shooting 
down from a break in the clouds is entirely undisturbed 
and steadier than a rock, so that with great directness it 
imparts to us the knowledge that it belongs to another 
order of things than the mechanical : it stands there un 
moved like a ghost. Those constructions of light from 
molecules and atoms which have originated with the 
French are indeed a revolting absurdity. An article by 
Ampere, who is otherwise so acute, upon light and heat, 
which is to be found in the April number of the " Annales 
de chimie et physique" of 1835, may be considered as a 
flagrant expression of this, and indeed of the whole of 
atomism in general. There the solid, the fluid, and the 
elastic consist of the same atoms, and all differences arise 
solely from their aggregation ; nay, it is said that space 
indeed is infinitely divisible, but not matter ; because, if 
the division has been carried as far as the atoms, the 
further divison must fall in the spaces between the atoms ! 
Light and heat, then, are here vibrations of the atoms ; and 
sound, on the other hand, is a vibration of the molecules 
composed of the atoms. In truth, however, these atoms 
are a fixed idea of the French savants, and therefore they 
just speak of them as if they had seen them. Otherwise 
one would necessarily marvel that such a matter-of-fact 
nation as the French can hold so firmly to a completely 
transcendent hypothesis, which is quite beyond the possi 
bility of experience, and confidently build upon it up to 
the sky. This is just a consequence of the backward 


state of the metaphysics they shun so much, which is 
poorly represented by M. Cousin, who, with all good 
will, is shallow and very scantily endowed with judg 
ment. At bottom they are still Lockeians, owing to the 
earlier influence of Condillac. Therefore for them the 
thin j; in itself is really matter, from the fundamental 
properties of which, such as impenetrability, form, hard 
ness, and the other primary qualities, everything in the 
world must be ultimately explicable. They will not let 
themselves be talked out of this, and their tacit assump 
tion is that matter can only be moved by mechanical 
forces. In Germany Kant s teaching has prevented the 
continuance of the absurdities of the atomistic and purely 
mechanical physics for any length of time ; although at 
the present moment these views prevail here also, which 
is a consequence of the shallowness, crudeness, and folly 
introduced by Hegel. However, it cannot be denied that 
not only the evidently porous nature of natural bodies, 
but also two special doctrines of modern physics, appa 
rently render assistance to the atomic nuisance. These 
are, Hauz s Crystallography, which traces every crystal 
back to its kernel form, which is an ultimate form, though 
only relatively indivisible; and Berzelius s doctrine of 
chemical atoms, which are yet mere expressions for com 
bining proportions, thus only arithmetical quantities, and 
at bottom nothing more than counters. On the other 
hand, Kant s thesis in the second antinomy in defence of 
atoms, which is certainly only set up for dialectical pur 
poses, is a mere sophism, as I have proved in my criticism 
of his philosophy, and our understanding itself by no means 
leads us necessarily to the assumption of atoms. For just 
as little as I am obliged to think that the slow but con 
stant and uniform motion of a body before my eyes is 
composed of innumerable motions which are absolutely 
quick, but broken and interrupted by just as many ab 
solutely short moments of rest, but. on the contrary, know 
very well that the stone that has been thrown flies more 


slowly than the projected bullet, yet never pauses for an 
instant on the way, so little am I obliged to think of the 
mass of a body as consisting of atoms and the spaces be 
tween them, i.e., of absolute density and absolute vacuity ; 
but I comprehend those two phenomena without difficulty 
as constant continua, one of which uniformly fills time 
and the other space. But just as the one motion may yet 
be quicker than another, i.e., in an equal time can pass 
through more space, so also one body may have a greater 
specific gravity than another, i.e., in equal space may con 
tain more matter : in both cases the difference depends 
upon the intensity of the acting force ; for Kant (following 
Priestley) has quite correctly reduced matter to forces. 
But even if the analogy here set up should not be ad 
mitted as valid, and it should be insisted upon that the 
difference of specific gravity can only have its ground in 
porosity, even this assumption would always lead, not 
to atoms, but only to a perfectly dense matter, unequally 
distributed among different bodies ; a matter which would 
certainly be no longer compressible, when no pores ran 
through it, but yet, like the space which it fills, would 
always remain infinitely divisible. For the fact that it 
would have no pores by no means involves that no pos 
sible force could do away with the continuity of its spatial 
parts. For to say that everywhere this is only possible by 
extending the already existing intervals is a purely arbi 
trary assertion. 

The assumption of atoms rests upon the two pheno 
mena which have been touched upon, the difference of the 
specific gravity of bodies and that of their compressibility, 
for both are conveniently explained by the assumption 
of atoms. But then both must also always be present in 
like measure, which is by no means the case. For, for 
example, water has a far lower specific gravity than all 
metals properly so called. It must thus have fewer atoms 
and greater interstices between them, and consequently be 
very compressible : but it is almost entirely incompressible. 


The defence of atoms might be conducted in this 
way. One may start from porosity and say something of 
this sort : All bodies have pores, and therefore so also 
have all parts of a body : now if this were carried out to 
infinity, there would ultimately be nothing left of a body 
but pores. The refutation would be that what remained 
over would certainly have to be assumed as without pores, 
and so far as absolutely dense, yet not on that account as 
consisting of absolutely indivisible particles, atoms ; ac 
cordingly it would certainly be absolutely incompres 
sible, but not absolutely indivisible. It would therefore 
be necessary that it should be asserted that the divi 
sion of a body is only possible by penetrating into its 
pores; which, however, is entirely unproved. If, how 
ever, this is assumed, then we certainly have atoms, i.e., 
absolutely indivisible bodies, thus bodies of such stron^ 
cohesion of their spatial parts that no possible power can 
separate them : but then one may just as well assume 
such bodies to be large as small, and an atom might be 
as big as an ox, if it only would resist all possible attacks 
upon it. 

Imagine two bodies of very different kinds, entirely 
freed from all pores by compression, as by means of 
hammering, or by pulverisation; would their specific 
gravity then be the same ? This would be the criterion 
of dynamics. 



MATTER has already been spoken of in the fourth chapter 
of the supplements to the first book, when we were con 
sidering the part of our knowledge of which we are con 
scious a priori. But it could only be considered there 
from a one-sided point of view, because we were then 
concerned merely with its relation to the forms of our 
intellect, and not to the thing in itself, and therefore we in 
vestigated it only from the subjective side, i.e., so far as 
it is an idea, and not from the objective side, i.e., with 
regard to what it may be in itself. In the first respect, 
our conclusion was that it is objective activity in general, 
yet conceived without fuller determination; therefore it 
takes the place of causality in the table of our a priori 
knowledge which is given there. For what is material is 
that which acts (the actual) in general, and regarded apart 
from the specific nature of its action. Hence also matter, 
merely as such, is not an object of perception, but only of 
thought, and thus is really an abstraction. It only comes 
into perception in connection with form and quality, as a 
body, i.e., as a fully determined kind of activity. It is 
only by abstracting from this fuller determination that 
we think of matter as such, i.e., separated from form and 
quality ; consequently under matter we think of acting 
absolutely and in general, thus of activity in the abstract. 
The more fully determined acting we then conceive as the 
accident of matter ; but only by means of this does matter 
become preceptible, i.e., present itself as a body and an 


object of experience. Pure matter, on the other hand, 
which, as I have shown in the Criticism of the Kantian 
Philosophy, alone constitutes the true and admissible 
content of the conception of substance, is causality itself, 
thought objectively, consequently as in space, and therefore 
filling it. Accordingly the whole being of matter consists 
in acting. Only thus does it occupy space and last in 
time. It is through and through pure causality. There 
fore wherever there is action there is matter, and the 
material is the active in general. But causality itself is 
the form of our understanding ; for it is known to us a 
priori, as well as time and space. Thus matter also, so 
far and up to this point, belongs to the formal part of our 
knowledge, arid is consequently that form of the under 
standing, causality itself, bound up with space and time, 
hence objectified, i.e., conceived as that which fills space! 
(The fuller explanation of this doctrine will be found in 
the second edition of the essay on the principle of suffi 
cient reason, p. 77; third edition, p. 82.) So far, how 
ever, matter is properly not the object but the condition 
of experience ; like the pure understanding itself, whose 
function it so far is. Therefore of pure matter there is also 
only a conception, no perception. It enters into all external 
experience as a necessary constituent part of it ; yet it 
cannot be given in any experience, but is only thought, 
and thought indeed as that which is absolutely inert, 
inactive, formless, and without qualities, and which is 
yet the supporter of all forms, qualities, and effects. 
Accordingly, of all fleeting phenomena, thus of all mani 
festations of natural forces and all living beings, matter 
is the permanent substratum which is necessarily pro 
duced by the forms of our intellect in which the world 
as idea exhibits itself. As such, and as having sprung 
from the forms of the intellect, it is entirely indi/erent 
to those phenomena themselves, i.e., it is just as ready 
to be the supporter of this force of nature as of that, 
whenever, under the guidance of causality, the necessary 
VOL. ra. D 


conditions appear ; while it itself, just because its exis 
tence is really only formal, i.e., is founded in the intellect 
must be thought as that which under all that change is 
absolutely permanent, thus with regard to time is without 
beginning and without end. This is why we cannot give up 
the thought that anything may be made out of anything, 
for example, gold out of lead ; for this would only require 
that we should find out and bring about the intermediate 
states which matter, in itself indifferent, would have to 
pass through upon that path. For a priori we can never 
see why the same matter which is now the supporter of 
the quality lead could not some time become the sup 
porter of the quality gold. Matter, as that which is only 
thought a priori, is distinguished from the a, priori intui 
tions or perceptions proper by the fact that we can also 
think it entirely away ; space and time, on the contrary, 
never. But this only shows that we can present to our 
selves space and time in imagination without matter. For 
the matter which has once been placed in them, arid accord 
ingly thought as existing, we can never again absolutely 
think away, i.e., imagine it as vanished and annihilated, 
but are always forced to think of it merely as transferred 
to another space. So far, then, matter is as inseparably con 
nected with our faculty of knowledge as space and time 
themselves. Yet even the lifference that it must first 
be voluntarily thought as existing indicates that it does not 
belong so entirely and in every regard to the formal part 
of our knowledge as space a;.d time, but also contains an 
element which is only given a posteriori. It is, in fact, the 
point of connection of the empirical part of our knowledge 
with the pure and a priori part, consequently the peculiar 
foundation-stone of the world of experience. 

Only where all a priori assertions cease, therefore in 
the entirely empirical part of our knowledge of bodies, 
in their form, quality, and definite manner of act 
ing, does that will reveal itself which we have already 
recognised and established as the true inner nature of 


things. But these forms and qualities always appear only 
as the properties and manifestations of that very matter 
the existence and nature of which depends upon the sub 
jective forms of our intellect, i.e., they only become visible 
in it, and therefore by means of it. For that which 
always exhibits itself to us is only matter acting in some 
specially determined manner. Out of the inner properties 
of such matter, properties which cannot be further ex 
plained, proceeds every definite kind of effect of given 
bodies ; and yet the matter itself is never perceived, but 
only these effects, and the definite properties which lie at 
their foundation, after separating which, matter, as that 
which then remains over, is necessarily added in thought 
by us ; for, according to the exposition given above, it is 
objectified causality itself. Accordingly matter is that 
whereby the will, which constitutes the inner nature of 
things, becomes capable of being apprehended, perceptible, 
visible. In this sense, then, matter is simply the visibility 
of the will, or the bond between the world as will and the 
world as idea. It belongs to the latter inasmuch as it is 
the product of the functions of the intellect, to the former 
inasmuch as that which manifests itself in all material 
existences, i.e., phenomena is the will. Therefore every 
object is, as thing in itself, will, arid as phenomenon, 
matter. If we could strip any given matter of all the 
properties that come to it a priori, i.e., of all the forms of 
our perception and apprehension, we would have left the 
thing in itself, that which, by means of those forms, ap 
pears as the purely empirical in matter, but which would 
then itself no longer appear as something extended and 
active ; i.e.,wQ would no longer have matter before us, but 
the will. This very thing in itself, or the will, in that it 
becomes a phenomenon, i.e., enters the forms of our intel 
lect, appears as matter, i.e., as the invisible but necessarily 
assumed supporter of the properties which are only visible 
through it. In this sense, then, matter is the visibility of 
the will. Consequently Plotinus and Giordano Bruno 


were ri*ht, not only in their sense but also in ours, when 
they mlde the paradoxical assertion already referred to in 
chapter 4: Matter itself is not extended, consequently it 
is incorporeal. For space, which is our form of perception, 
imparts extension to matter, and corporeal existence con 
sists in acting, which depends upon causality, and conse 
quently upon the form of our understanding. On the other 
hand every definite property, thus everything empirical in 
matter, even gravity, depends upon that which only be 
comes visible by means of matter, the thing in itself, the 
will Gravity is yet the lowest of all grades of the objec- 
tification of the will ; therefore it appears in all matter 
without exception, thus is inseparable from matter in 
aeneral. Yet, just because it is a manifestation of the 
will, it belongs to knowledge a posteriori, not to knowledge 
a priori. Therefore we can always picture to ourselves 
matter without weight, but not without extension, repul 
sive force, and stability, for then it would be without im 
penetrability, and consequently would not occupy space, 
i.e., it would be without the power of acting ; but the nature 
of matter as such just consists in acting, i.e., in causality 
in creneral; and causality depends upon the a priori form 
of our understanding, and therefore cannot be thought 


Matter is accordingly the will itself, but no longer i 
itself, but so far as it is perceived, i.e., assumes the form 
of the objective idea. Thus what objectively is matter 
is subjectively will. Exactly corresponding to this, as 
was proved above, our body is just the visibility, objec 
tivity of our will, and so also every body is the objecti 
vity of the will at some one of its grades. Whenever 
the will exhibits itself to objective knowledge it enters 
into the forms of perception of the intellect, time, space, 
and causality. But on account of this it exists at 
once as a material object. We can present to our minds 
form without matter, but not the reverse ; because matter 
deprived of form would be the will itself, and the wil 



only becomes objective by entering the forms of per 
ception of our intellect, and therefore only by means of 
the assumption of form. Space is the form of percep 
tion of matter because the latter is the substance (Stoff) of 
mere form, but matter can appear only in form. 

Since the will becomes objective, i.e., passes over into 
the idea, matter is the universal substratum of this objec- 
tification, or rather it is this objectification itself taken 
abstractly, i.e., regarded apart from all form. Matter is 
accordingly the visibility of the will in general, while the 
character of its definite manifestations has its expression 
in form and quality. Hence what in the manifestation, 
i.e., for the idea, is matter is in itself will. Therefore, 
under the conditions of experience and perception, every 
thing holds good of it that holds good of the will in 
itself, and it repeats all the relations and properties of 
the will in temporal images. Accordingly it is the sub 
stance of the world of perception, as the will is the 
inner nature of all things. The forms are innumer 
able, the matter is one ; just as the will is one in all its 
objectifications. As the will never objectifies itself as 
general, i.e., as absolute will, but always as particular, i.e., 
under special determinations and a given character, so 
matter never appears as such, but always in connection 
with some particular form and quality. In the manifesta 
tion or objectification of the will matter represents its 
totality, it itself, which in all is one, as matter is one in 
all bodies. As the will is the inmost kernel of all pheno 
menal beings, so matter is the substance which remains 
after all the accidents have been taken away. As the 
will is that which is absolutely indestructible in all exis 
tence, so matter is that which is imperishable in time 
and permanent through all changes. That matter for 
itself, thus separated from form, cannot be perceived or 
presented in imagination depends upon the fact that in 
itself, and as the pure substantiality of bodies, it is really 
the will itself. But the will cannot be apprehended 


objectively, or perceived in itself, but only under all the 
conditions of the idea, and therefore only as phenomenon. 
Under these conditions, however, it exhibits itself at once 
as body, i.e., as matter clothed in form and quality. But 
form is conditioned by space, and quality or power of 
acting by causality ; thus both depend upon the functions 
of the intellect. Matter without them would just be the 
thing in itself, i.e., the will itself. Therefore, as has been 
said, Plotinus and Giordano Bruno could only be brought 
by a completely objective path to the assertion that matter 
in and for itself is without extension, consequently with 
out spatial properties, consequently incorporeal. 

Because, then, matter is the visibility of the will, and 
every force in itself is will, no force can appear without 
a material substratum, and conversely no body can be 
without forces dwelling in it which constitute its quality. 
Therefore a body is the union of matter and form which 
is called substance (Stoff). Force and substance are in 
separable because at bottom they are one ; for, as Kant 
has shown, matter itself is given us only as the union of 
two forces, the force of expansion and that of attraction. 
Thus there is no opposition between force and substance, 
rather they are precisely one. 

Led by the course of our consideration to this stand 
point, and having attained to this metaphysical view of 
matter, we will confess without reluctance that the tem 
poral origin of forms, shapes, or species cannot reasonably 
be sought elsewhere than in matter. Some time or other 
they must have come forth from it, just because it is the 
mere visibility of the will which constitutes the inner 
nature of all phenomena. In that the will manifests 
itself, i.e., presents itself objectively to the intellect, matter, 
as its visibility, assumes form by means of the functions 
of the intellect. Hence the Schoolmen said : " Materia 
appetit formam" That such was the origin of all forms of 
life cannot be doubted : we cannot even conceive it other 
wise. Whether, however, now, since the paths to the 


perpetuation of the forms stand open, and are secured 
and sustained by nature with boundless care and jealousy, 
generatio cequivoca still takes place, can only be decided 
by experience ; especially since the saying, Natura nihil 
facit frustra, might, with reference to the paths of regular 
propagation, be used as a valid argument against it. Yet 
in spite of the most recent objections to it, I hold that at 
very low grades generatio cequivoca is very probable, and 
primarily indeed in the case of entozoa and epizoa, parti 
cularly such as appear in consequence of special cachexia 
of the animal organism. For the conditions of their life 
only appear exceptionally ; consequently their species can 
not propagate itself in the regular manner, and therefore has 
always to arise anew whenever opportunity offers. There 
fore as soon as the conditions of life of epizoa have appeared 
in consequence of certain chronic diseases, or cachexia, and 
in accordance with them, pediculus capitis or pubis or 
corporis appears entirely of itself, and without any egg ; 
and this notwithstanding the complex structure of these 
insects, for the putrefaction of a living animal body 
affords material for higher productions than that of hay 
in water, which only produces infusoria. Or is it thought 
more likely that the eggs of the epizoa are constantly 
floating about in the air in expectation ? (Fearful to 
think of!) Let us rather remember the disease of 
phthiriasis, which occurs even now. An analogous case 
takes place when through special circumstances the con 
ditions of life appear of a species which up till then 
was foreign to that place. Thus August St.Hilaire saw in 
Brazil, after the burning of a primitive forest, as soon as 
ever the ashes had cooled, a number of plants grow up out 
of them, the species of which was not to be found far and 
wide ; and quite recently Admiral Petit-Thouars informed 
the Acade mie des sciences that upon the growing coral 
islands in Polynesia a soil gradually deposits itself which 
is now dry, now lies in water, and \vhich vegetation soon 
takes possession of, bringing forth trees which are abso- 


lutely peculiar to these islands (Comptes rendus, I7th 
Jan. 1859, p. 147). Whenever putrefaction takes place 
mould, fungi, and in liquids infusoria appear. The assump 
tion now in favour that spores and eggs of the innumer 
able species of all those kinds of animal life are every 
where floating in the air, and wait through long years 
for a favourable opportunity, is more paradoxical than 
that of genemtio cequivoca. Putrefaction is the decom 
position of an organised body, first into its more im 
mediate chemical constituents. Since now these are 
more or less the same in all living beings, the omni 
present will to live can possess itself of them, in order, 
in accordance with the circumstances, to produce new 
existences from them ; and these forming themselves 
according to design, i.e., objectifying the volition of the 
will at the time, solidify out of the chemical elements, 
as the chicken out of the fluidity of the egg. When, 
however, this does not take place, the putrefying matter 
is resolved into its ultimate constituent parts, which are 
the chemical elements, and now passes over again into 
the great course of nature. The war which has been 
waged for the last ten or fifteen years against generatio 
cequivoca, with its premature shouts of victory, was the 
prelude to the denial of the vital force, and related to it. 
Let no one, however, be deceived by dogmatic assertions 
and brazen assurances that the questions are decided, 
settled, and generally recognised. On the contrary, the 
whole mechanical and atomistic view of nature is approach 
ing its bankruptcy, and its defenders have to learn that 
something more is concealed behind nature than action 
and reaction. The reality of generatio cequivoca and the 
folly of the extraordinary assumption that in the atmos 
phere, everywhere and always, billions of seeds of all 
possible kinds of fungi, and eggs of all possible kinds of 
infusoria, are floating about, till now one and then another 
by chance finds its suitable medium, has quite recently 
(1859) been thoroughly and victoriously shown by Pouchet 


before the French Academy, to the great vexation of the 
other members. 

Our wonder at the origin of forms in matter is at bottom 
like that of the savage who looks for the first time in a 
mirror and marvels at his own image which he sees there. 
For our own inner nature is the will, whose mere visibility 
is matter. Yet matter never appears otherwise than with 
the visible, i.e., under the outer shell of form and quality, 
and therefore is never directly apprehended, but always 
merely added in thought as that which is identical in all 
things, under all differences of quality and form. On 
this account it is more a metaphysical than a physical 
principle of explanation of things, and to make all 
existences arise from it is really to explain them from 
something which is very mysterious ; which all know it 
to be except those who confound attacking with com 
prehending. In truth, the ultimate and exhaustive ex 
planation of things is by no means to be sought in 
matter, although certainly the temporal origin both of 
unorganised forms and of organised beings is to be 
sought in it. Yet it seems that the origination of or- f 
ganised forms, the production of the species themselves,/ 
is almost as difficult for nature to accomplish as it is for us 
to comprehend. This is indicated by the entirely extrava 
gant provision which nature always makes for maintaining 
the species which once exist. Yet on the present surface 
of this planet the will to live has gone through the scale 
of its objectification three times, quite independently 
of each other, in a different modulation, and also with 
great difference of perfection and fulness. The old world, 
America, and Australia have, it is well known, each their 
peculiar independent fauna, entirely different from that of 
the other two. Upon each of these great continents the 
species are throughout different, but yet, because all three 
belong to the same planet, they have a thorough analogy 
with each other running parallel through them ; therefore 
the genera are for the most part the same. In Australia 


this analogy can only be very imperfectly followed because 
its fauna is very poor in mammalia, and contains neither 
beasts of prey nor apes. On the other hand, between the 
old world and America it is obvious, and in the following 
manner. In mammals America always produces the in 
ferior analogue, but>in birds and reptiles the better. Thus 
it has the advantage in the condor, the macaw, the hum 
ming-bird, and the largest batrachia and ophidia ; but., for 
example, instead of the elephant it has only the tapir, 
instead of the lion the puma, instead of the tiger the 
jaguar, instead of the camel the lama, and instead of 
apes proper only monkeys. Even from this last defect it 
may be concluded that in America nature was not able to 
rise to man ; for even from the nearest grade below man, 
the chimpanzee and the orang-outang or pongo, the step to 
man was still an excessively great one. Correspondingly 
we find that the three races of men which, both upon 
physiological and linguistic grounds, are undoubtedly 
equally original, the Caucasian, the Mongolian, and the 
Ethiopian, are only at home in the old world ; while 
America, on the other hand, is peopled by a mixed or 
climatically modified Mongolian race, which must have 
come over from Asia. On the surface of the earth which 
immediately preceded the present surface apes were 
reached here and there, but not men. 

From this standpoint of our consideration, which shows 
us matter as the direct visibility of the will which mani 
fests itself in all things, nay, indeed, for the merely physi 
cal investigation which follows the guidance of time and 
causality, lets it pass as the origin of things, we are easily 
led to the question whether even in philosophy we could 
not just as well start from the objective as from the sub 
jective side, and accordingly set up as the fundamental 
truth the proposition : " There is in general nothing but 
matter and its indwelling forces." But, with regard to 
these "indwelling forces" here so easily used, we must 
remember that their assumption leads every explanation 


back to a completely incomprehensible miracle, and then 
leaves it beside it, or rather leaves it to begin from it. 
For every definite, inexplicable force of nature which 
lies at the foundation of the most different kinds of effects 
of an unorganised body, not less than the vital force which 
manifests itself in every organised body, is such an in 
comprehensible miracle, as I have fully explained in chap. 
17, and have also shown that physics can never be set 
upon the throne of metaphysics, just because it leaves 
quite untouched the assumption referred to and also 
many others ; whereby from the beginning it renounces 
all claim to give an ultimate explanation of things. I 
must further remind the reader here of the proof of the 
insufficiency of materialism, which is given towards the 
end of the first chapter, because, as was said there, it is 
the philosophy of the subject which forgets itself in its 
calculation. But all these truths rest upon the fact that 
everything objective, everything external, since it is always 
only something apprehended, something known, icmains 
also always indirect and secondary, therefore absolutely 
never can become the ultimate ground of explanation of 
things or the starting-point of philosophy. Philosophy 
necessarily requires what is absolutely immediate for its 
starting-point. But clearly only that which is given in 
self-consciousness fulfils this condition, that which is within, 
the subjective. And hence it is so eminent a merit of 
Descartes that he first made philosophy start from self- 
consciousness. Since then, upon this path, the genuine 
philosophers, especially Locke, Berkeley, and Kant, have 
gone even further, each in his own manner, and in conse 
quence of their investigations I was led tc recognise and 
make use, not of one, but of two completely different data 
of immediate knowledge in self-consciousness, the idea and 
the will, by the combined application of which one can 
go further in philosophy, in the same proportion as in the 
case of an algebraical problem one can accomplish more if 
two known quantities are given than if only one is given. 


In accordance with what has been said, the ineradicable 
falseness of materialism primarily consists in the fact that 
it starts from a petitio principii, which when more closely 
considered turns out indeed to be a irpwrov <f>evSo$. It 
starts from the assumption that matter is something 
absolutely and unconditionally given, something existing 
independently of the knowledge of the subject, thus really 
a thing in itself. It attributes to matter (and conse 
quently also to its presuppositions time and space) an 
absolute existence, i.e., an existence independent of the 
perceiving subject ; this is its fundamental error. Then, 
if it will go honestly to work, it must leave the qualities 
inherent in the given materials, i.e., in the substances, 
together with the natural forces which manifest them 
selves in these, and finally also the vital force, unexplained, 
as unfathomable gualitates occultce, and start from them ; 
as physics and physiology actually d<>, because they make 
no claim to be the ultimate explanation of things. But 
just to avoid this, materialism at least as it has hitherto 
appeared has not proceeded honestly. It denies all those 
original forces, for it pretends and seems to reduce them 
all, and ultimately also the vital force, to the mere 
mechanical activity of matter, thus to manifestations of 
impenetrability, form, cohesion, impulsive power, inertia, 
gravity, &c., qualities which certainly have least that is 
inexplicable in themselves, just because they partly de 
pend upon what is known a priori, consequently on the 
forms of our own intellect, which are the principle of all 
comprehensibility. But the intellect as the condition of 
all objects, and consequently of the whole phenomenal 
world, is entirely ignored by materialism. Its plan is 
now to refer everything qualitative to something merely 
quantitative, for it attributes the former to mere form 
in opposition to matter proper. To matter it leaves, of 
the properly empirical qualities, only gravity, because it 
already appears as something quantitative, the only 
measure of the quantity of the matter. This path neccs- 


sarily leads it to the fiction of atoms, which now become 
the material out of which it thinks to construct the 
mysterious manifestations of all original forces. But here 
it has really no longer to do with empirically given matter, 
but with a matter which is not to be found in rerum 
natura, but is rather a mere abstraction of that real matter, 
a matter which would absolutely have no other than those 
mechanical qualities which, with the exception of gravity, 
can be pretty well construed a priori, just because they 
depend upon the forms of space, time, and causality, and 
consequently upon our intellect; to this poor material, 
then, it finds itself reduced for the construction of its 
castle in the air. 

In this way it inevitably becomes atomism ; as happened 
to it already in its childhood in the hands of Leucippus 
and Dernocritus, and happens to it again now that it has 
come to a second childhood through age ; with the French 
because they have never known the Kantian philosophy, 
and with the Germans because they have forgotten it. 
And indeed it carries it further in this its second child 
hood than in its first. Not merely solid bodies are sup 
posed to consist of atoms, but liquids, water, air, gas, nay, 
even light, which is supposed to be the undulations of a 
completely hypothetical and altogether unproved ether, 
consisting of atoms, the difference of the rapidity of these 
undulations causing colours. This is an hypothesis which, 
like the earlier Newtonian seven -colour theory, starts 
from an analogy with music, entirely arbitrarily assumed, 
and then violently carried out. One must really be 
credulous to an unheard-of degree to let oneself be per 
suaded that the innumerable different ether vibrations 
proceeding from the infinite multiplicity of coloured sur 
faces in this varied world could constantly, and each in 
its own time, run through and everywhere cross each 
other without ever disturbing each other, but should 
rather produce through such tumult and confusion the 
profoundly peaceful aspect of illumined nature and art. 


Credat Judceus Apella ! Certainly the nature of light is 
to us a secret ; but it is better to confess this than to bar 
the way of future knowledge by bad theories. That light 
is something quite different from a mere mechanical move 
ment, undulation, or vibration and tremor, indeed that it 
is material, is shown by its chemical effects, a beautiful 
series of which was recently laid before the Acadtmie 
des sciences by Chevreul, who let sunlight act upon different 
coloured materials. The most beautiful thing in these 
experiments is, that a white roll of paper which has been 
exposed to the sunlight exhibits the same effects, nay, 
does so even after six months, if during this time it has 
been secured in a firmly closed metal tube. Has, then, 
the tremulation paused for six months, and does it now 
fall into time again ? (Gomptes rendus of 2Oth December 
1858.) This whole hypothesis of vibrating ether atoms is 
not only a chimera, but equals in awkward crudeness the 
worst of Democritus, and yet is shameless enough, at the 
present day, to profess to be an established fact, and has 
thus brought it about that it is orthodoxly repeated by a 
thousand stupid scribblers of all kinds, who are devoid of 
all knowledge of such things, and is believed in as a gospel. 
But the doctrine of atoms in general goes still further: it 
is soon a case of Spartam, quam nodus es, orna ! Different 
perpetual motions are then ascribed to all the atoms, revolv 
ing, vibrating, &c., according to the office of each; in the 
same way every atom has its atmosphere of ether, or some 
thing else, and whatever other similar fancies there may 
be. The fancies of Schcll ing s philosophy of nature and 
its disciples were for the most part ingenious, lofty, or at 
least witty ; but these, on the contrary, are clumsy, insipid, 
paltry, and awkward, the production of minds which, in 
the first place, are unable to think any other reality than 
a fabulous, qualityless matter, which is also an absolute 
object, i.e., an object without a subject ; and secondly can 
think of no other activity than motion and impact : these 
two alone are comprehensible to them, and that every- 


thing runs back to these is their a priori assumption ; for 
these are their thing in itself. To attain this end the 
vital force is reduced to chemical forces (which are insi 
diously and unjustifiably called molecular forces), and all 
processes of unorganised nature to mechanism, i.e., to 
action and reaction. And thus at last the whole world 
and everything in it becomes merely a piece of mechanical 
ingenuity, like the toys worked by levers, wheels, and 
sand, which represent a mine or the work on a farm. 
The source of the evil is, that through the amount of 
hand-work which experimenting requires the head-work 
of thinking has been allowed to get out of practice. The 
crucible and the voltaic pile are supposed to assume its 
functions; hence also the profound abhorrence of all 

But the matter might be put in this way. One might 
say that materialism, as it has hitherto appeared, has only 
failed because it did not adequately know the matter out 
of which it thought to construct the world, and therefore 
was dealing, not with matter itself, but with a property- 
less substitute for it. If, on the contrary, instead of this, 
it had taken the actual and empirically given matter (i.e., 
material substance, or rather substances), endowed as it is 
with all physical, chemical, electrical properties, and also 
with the power of spontaneously producing life out of 
itself, thus the true mater rerum, from the obscurity of 
whose womb all phenomena and forms come forth, to fall 
back into it some time again ; from this, i.e., from matter 
fully comprehended and exhaustively known, a world 
might have been constructed of which materialism would 
not need to be ashamed. Quite true : only the trick 
would then consist in this, that the Qucesita had been 
placed in the Data,, for professedly what was taken as 
given, and made the starting-point of the deduction, was 
mere matter, but really it included all the mysterious 
forces of nature which cling to it, or more correctly, by 
means of it become visible to us, much the same as if 


under the name of the dish we understand what lies upon 
it. For in fact, for our knowledge, matter is really merely 
the vehicle of the qualities and natural forces, which appear 
as its accidents, and just because I have traced these back 
to the will I call matter the mere visibility of the will. 
Stripped of all these qualities, matter remains behind as 
that which is without qualities, the caput mortuum of 
nature, out of which nothing can honestly be made. If, 
on the contrary, in the manner referred to, one leaves it 
all these properties, one is guilty of a concealed petitio 
principii, for one has assumed the Qucesita beforehand as 
Data. But what is accomplished with this will no longer 
be a proper materialism, but merely naturalism, i.e., an ab 
solute system of physics, which, as was shown in chap. 17 
already referred to, can never assume and fill the place 
of metaphysics, just because it only begins after so many 
assumptions, thus never undertakes to explain things from 
the foundation. Mere naturalism is therefore essentially 
based simply upon qualitates occultce, which one can never 
get beyond except, as I have done, by calling in the aid 
of the subjective source of knowledge, which then certainly 
leads to the long and toilsome round-about path of meta 
physics, for it presupposes the complete analysis of self- 
consciousness and of the intellect and will given in it. 
However, the starting from what is objective, at the founda 
tion of which lies external perception, so distinct and com 
prehensible, is a path so natural and which presents itself 
of its own accord to man, that naturalism, and conse 
quently, because this cannot satisfy as it is not exhaustive, 
materialism, are systems to which the speculative reason 
must necessarily have come, nay, must have come first of 
all. Therefore at the very beginning of the history of 
philosophy we meet naturalism, in the systems of the 
Ionic philosophers, and then materialism in the teaching 
of Leucippus and Democritus, and also later we see them 
ever appear anew from time to time. 



EVEN the merely empirical consideration of nature recog 
nises a constant transition from the simplest and most 
necessary manifestation of a universal force of nature up 
to the life and consciousness of man himself, through 
gentle gradations, and with only relative, and for the 
most part fluctuating, limits. Reflection, following this 
view, and penetrating somewhat more deeply into it, will 
soon be led to the conviction that in all these phenomena, 
the i nner nature, that which manifests itself, that which 
appears, is one and the same, which conies forth ever more 
distinctly ; and accordingly that what exhibits itself in a 
million forms of infinite diversity, and so carries on the most 
varied and the strangest play without beginning or end, this 
is one being which is so closely disguised behind all these 
masks that it does not even recognise itself, and therefore 
often treats itself roughly. Thus the great doctrine of the 
ev feat, TTOV early appeared both in the east and in the west, 
and, in spite of all contradiction, has asserted itself, or at 
least constantly revived. We, however, have now entered 
even deeper into the secret, since by what has already 
been said we have been led to the insight that when in 
any phenomenon a knowing consciousness is added to that 
inner being which lies at the foundation of all phenomena, 
a consciousness which when directed inwardly becomes 
self-consciousness, then that inner being presents itself to 
this self-consciousness as that which is so familiar and 
VOL. in. E 


so mysterious, and is denoted by the word will. Accord 
ingly we have called that universal fundamental nature of 
all phenomena the will, after that manifestation in which 
it unveils itself to us most fully ; and by this word nothing 
is further from our intention than to denote an unknown 
x ; but, on the contrary, we denote that which at least on 
one side is infinitely better known and more intimate than 
anything else. 

Let us now call to mind a truth, the fullest and most 
thorough proof of which will be found in my prize essay 
on the freedom of the will the truth that on account of 
the absolutely universal validity of the law of causality, 
the conduct or the action of all existences in this world 
is always strictly necessitated by the causes which in each 
case call it forth. And in this respect it makes no di$er,- 

* ence whether such an action has been occasioned by causes 
in the strictest sense of the word, or by stirnulf, or finally 
by motives, for these differences refer only to the grade of 
the susceptibility of the different kinds of existences. On 
vais point we must entertain no illusion : the ^awjcrf 

" causality knows no exception^ but everything^ from the 
movement of a mote in a sunbeam to the most deeply 
considered action of man,isj3ubject to it with equal strict 
ness. Therefore, in the whole course of the world, neither 

/" could a mote in a sunbeam describe any other line in its 
flight than it has described, nor a man act any other way 


than he has acted ; and no truth is more certain than this, 
that all that happens, be it small or great, happens with 
absolute necessity. Consequently, at every given moment of 
time, the whole condition of all tilings is firmly and accu 
rately determined by the condition which has just preceded 
it, and so is it with the stream of time back to infinity and 
on to infinity. Thus the course of the world is like that of 
a clock after it has been put together and wound up ; thus 
from this incontestable point of view it is a mere machine, 
the aim of which we cannot see. Even if, quite without 
justification, nay, at bottom, in spite of all conceivability 


and its conformity to law, one should assume a first be 
ginning, nothing would thereby be essentially changed 
the arbitrarily assumed first condition of thin** would 
at its origin have irrevocably determined and fixed both 
s a whole and down to the smallest detail, the state im- 
aediately following it; this state, again, would have deter 
mined the one succeeding it, and so on persecula seculorum 
tor the chain of causality, with its absolute strictness 
this brazen bond of necessity and fate introduces everv 
phenomenon irrevocably and unalterably, just as it is. 
ine difference merely amounts to this, that in the case 
the one assumption we would have before us a piece 
of clockwork which had once been wound up but in 
the case of the other a perpetual motion; the necessity of 
the course, on the other hand, would remainThe same " In 
the prize essay already referred to I have irrefutably 
proved that the action of man can make no exception 
hereforl showed how it constantly proceeds with strict 
necessity from two factors his character and the motives 
which come to him. The character is inborn and unalter- 
ble ; the motives are introduced with necessity under the 
guidance of causality by the strictly determined course of 
the world./ 

Accordingly then, from one point of view, which we 
certainly cannot abandon, because it is established by the 
objective laws of the world, which are a priori valid the 
world, with all that is in it, appears as an aimless, and there 
fore incomprehensible, play of an eternal necessity,an inscru 
table and inexorable Ava^. Now, what is objectionable 
nay, revolting, in this inevitable and irrefutable view of 
the world cannot be thoroughly done away with by anv 
assumption except this, that as in one aspect every being 
m the world is a phenomenon, and necessarily determined 
by the laws of the phenomenon, in another aspect it is 
m itself will, and indeed absolutely free will, for necessity 
only arises through the forms which belong entirely to 
e phenomenon, through the principle of sufficient reason 


in its different modes. Such a will, then, must be self- 
dependent, for, as free, i.e., as a thing in itself, and there 
fore not subject to the principle of sufficient reason, it 
cannot depend upon another in its being and nature any 
more than in its conduct and action. By this assumption 
alone will as much freedom be supposed as is needed 
to counterbalance the inevitable strict necessity which 
aoverns the course of the world. Accordingly one has 
really only the choice either of seeing that the world is a 
mere machine which runs on of necessity, or of recognising 
a free will as its inner being whose manifestation is not 
directly the action but primarily the existence and nature 
of things This freedom is therefore transcendental, and 
consists with empirical necessity, in the same way as the 
transcendental ideality of phenomena consists with their 
empirical reality. That only under this assumption the 
action of a man, in spite of the necessity with which it 
proceeds from his character and the motives is yet his 
own I have shown in my prize essay on the freedom o 
the will ; with this, however, self -dependency is attributed 
to his nature. Th^same relation holds good of all things 
in the world. i The strictest necessity, carried out honestly 
v with rigid consistency, and the most perfect freedom, rising 
to omnipotence, had to appear at once and together in phi 
losophy J but, without doing violence to truth, this could 
onlyTaTe place by placing the whole necessity in the acting 
and doing (Operari), and the whole/rmZom in the Umg and 
nature (Esse). Thereby a riddle is solved which is as old 
as the world, simply because it has hitherto always been 
held upside down and the freedom persistently sought in 
the Operari, the necessity in the Esse. I, on the contrary, 
sav Every being without exception acts with strict nec( 
sitV but it exists and is what it is by virtue of its freedom. 
Thus with me freedom and necessity are to be met wit 
neither more nor less than in any earlier system ; althoi 
now one and now the other must be conspicuous accord- 
in. as one takes offence that will is attributed to pro 


cesses of nature which hitherto were explained from 
necessity, or that the same strict necessity is recognised 
in motivation as in mechanical causality. The two have 
merely changed places : freedom has been transferred to 
the Esse, and necessity limited to the Operari. 

In short, Determinism stands firm. For fifteen hundred 
years men have wearied themselves in vain to shake it, 
influenced by certain crotchets, which are well known, 
but dare scarcely yet be called by their name. Yet in 
accordance with it the world becomes a mere puppet- 
show, drawn by wires (motives), without it being even pos 
sible to understand for whose amusement. If the piece 
has a plan, then fate is the director ; if it has none, then 
blind necessity. There is no other deliverance from this 
absurdity than the knowledge that the being and nature 
of all things is the manifestation of a really free will, 
which knows itself in them ; for their doing and acting 
cannot be delivered from necessity. To save freedom from 
fate and chance, it had to be transferred from the action 
to the existence. 

As now necessity only affects the phenomenon, not the 
thing in itself, i.e., the true nature of the world, so also 
does multiplicity. This is sufficiently explained in 25 of 
the first volume. I have only to add here one remark in 
confirmation and illustration of this truth. 

Every one knows only one being quite immediately 
his own will in self-consciousness. Everything else he 
knows only indirectly, and then judges it by analogy with 
this ; a process which he carries further in proportion to 
the grade of his reflective powers. Even this ultimately ^k 
springs from the fact that there really is only one being; a*& 
the illusion of multiplicity (Maja\ which proceeds from 
the forms of external, objective comprehension, could not 
penetrate to inner, simple consciousness; therefore this 
always finds before it only one beino-. 

If we consider the perfection of the works of nature, 
which can never be sufficiently admired, and which even 



in the lowest and smallest organisms, for example, in the 
fertilising parts of plants or in the internal construction of 
insects, is carried out with as infinite care and unwearied 
labour as if each work of nature had been its only one, 
upon which it was therefore able to expend all its art and 
power ; if we yet find this repeated an infinite number of 
times in each one of innumerable individuals of every 
kind, and not less carefully worked out in that one whose 
dwelling-place is the most lonely, neglected spot, to which, 
till then, no eye had penetrated ; if we now follow the 
combination of the parts of every organism as far as we 
can, and yet never come upon one part which is quite 
simple, and therefore ultimate, not to speak of one which 
is inorganic ; if, finally, we lose ourselves in calculating the 
design of all those parts of the organism for the mainte 
nance of the whole by virtue of which every living thing 
is complete in and for itself ; if we consider at the same 
time that each of these masterpieces, itself of short dura 
tion, has already been produced anew an innumerable 
number of times, and yet every example of a species, 
every insect, every flower, every leaf, still appears just as 
carefully perfected as was the first of its kind ; thus that 
nature by no means wearies and begins to bungle, but, 
with equally patient master-hand, perfects the last like the 
first : then we become conscious, first of all, that all human 
art is completely different, not merely in degree, but in 
kind, from the works of nature ; and, next, that the 
working force, the natura naturans, in each of its in 
numerable works, in the least as in the greatest, in the 
last as in the first, is immediately present whole and un 
divided, from which it follows that, as such and in itself, 
it knows nothing of space and time. If we further reflect 
that the production of these hyperboles of all works of art 
costs nature absolutely nothing, so that, with inconceivable 
prodigality, she creates millions of organisms which never 
attain to maturity, and without sparing exposes every 
living thing to a thousand accidents, yet, on the other 


hand, if favoured by chance or directed by human pur 
pose, readily affords millions of examples of a species of 
which hitherto there was only one, so that millions cost 
her no more than one; this also leads us to see that 
the multiplicity of things has its root in the nature of 
the knowledge of the subject, but is foreign to the thing 
in itself, i.e., to the inner primary force which shows itself 
in things ; that consequently space and time, upon which 
the possibility of all multiplicity depends, are mere forms 
of our perception ; nay, that even that whole inconceivable 
ingenuity of structure associated with the reckless prodi 
gality of the works upon which it has been expended 
ultimately springs simply from the way in which things 
are apprehended by us ; [ for when the simple and in 
divisible original effort of the will exhibits itself as object 
in our cerebral knowledge, it must appear as an ingenious 
combination of separate parts, as means and ends of each 
other, accomplished with wonderful completeness!] 

The unity of that will, here referred to, which lies beyond 
the phenomenon, and in which we have recognised the 
inner nature of the phenomenal world, is a metaphysical 
unity, and consequently transcends the knowledge of it, 
i.e., does not depend upon the functions of our intellect, 
and therefore can not really be comprehended by it. 
Hence it arises that it opens to the consideration an 
abyss so profound that it admits of no thoroughly clear 
and systematically connected insight, but grants us only 
isolated glances, which enable us to recognise this unity 
in this and that relation of things, now in the subjec 
tive, now in the objective sphere, whereby, however, new 
problems are again raised, all of which I will not engage 
to solve, but rather appeal here to the words est quadam 
prodire tenus, more concerned to set up nothing false 
or arbitrarily invented than to give a thorough account 
of all ; at the risk of giving here only a fragmentary 

If we call up to our minds and distinctly go through in 


thought the exceedingly acute theory of the origin of 
the planetary system, first put forth by Kant and later 
by Laplace, a theory of which it is scarcely possible to 
doubt the correctness, we see the lowest, crudest, and 
blindest forces of nature bound to the most rigid con 
formity to law, by means of their conflict for one and the 
same given matter, and the accidental results brought 
about by this produce the framework of the world, thus 
of the designedly prepared future dwelling-place of innu 
merable living beings, as a system of order and harmony, 
at which we are the more astonished the more distinctly 
and accurately we come to understand it. For example, 
if we see that every planet, with its present velocity, can 
only maintain itself exactly where it actually has its 
place, because if it were brought nearer to the sun it would 
necessarily fall into it, or if placed further from it would 
necessarily fly away from it ; how, conversely, if we take 
the place as given, it can only remain there with its 
present velocity and no other, because if it went faster it 
would necessarily fly away from the sun, and if it went 
slower it would necessarily fall into it; that thus only 
one definite place is suitable to each definite velocity of 
a planet ; and if we now see this solved by the fact that 
the same physical, necessary, and blindly acting cause 
which appointed it its place, at the same time and just 
by doing so, imparted to it exactly the only velocity suit 
able for this place, in consequence of the law of nature 
that a revolving body increases its velocity in proportion 
as its revolution becomes smaller ; and, moreover, if finally 
we understand how endless permanence is assured to the 
whole system, by the fact that all the mutual disturbances 
of the course of the planets which unavoidably enter, must 
adjust themselves in time ; how then it is just the irration 
ality of the periods of revolution of Jupiter and Saturn 
to each other that prevents their respective perturbations 
from repeating themselves at one place, whereby they 
would become dangerous, and brings it about that, appear- 


ing seldom and always at a different place, they must 
eublate themselves again, like dissonances in music which 
are again resolved into harmony. By means of such con 
siderations we recognise a design and perfection, such as 
could only have been brought about by the freest absolute 
will directed by the most penetrating understanding and 
the most acute calculation. And yet, under the guidance 
of that cosmogony of Laplace, so well thought out and so 
accurately calculated, we cannot prevent ourselves from 
seeing that perfectjj^blind forces of nature, acting accord 
ing to unalterable naturaTlaws, through their conflict and 
aimless play among themselves, could produce nothing 
else but this very framework of the world, which is equal 
to the work of an extraordinarily enhanced power of com 
bination. Instead now, after the manner of Anaxagoras, 
of dragging in the aid of an intelligence known to us 
only from animal nature, and adapted only to its aims, 
an intelligence which, coming from without, cunningly 
made use of the existing forces of nature and their laws 
in order to carry out its ends, which are foreign to these, 
we recognise in these lowest forces of nature themselves 
that same, one will, which indeed first manifests itself in 
them, and alreadv in this manifestation striving after its 

* ^ o 

goal, through its original laws themselves works towards 
its final end, to which therefore all that happens according 
to blind laws of nature must minister and correspond. 
And this indeed cannot be otherwise, because everything 
material is nothing but just the phenomenal appearance, 
the visibility, the objectivity of the will to live which is 
one. Thus even the lowest forces of nature themselves 
are animated by that same will, which afterwards, in the 
individual beings provided with intelligence, marvels at 
its own work, as the somnambulist wonders in the morn 
ing at what he has done in his sleep ; or, more accurately, 
which is astonished at its own form which it beholds in 
the mirror. This unity which is here proved of the acci 
dental with the intentional, of the necessary with the free, 


on account of which the blindest chances, which, however, 
rest upon universal laws of nature, are as it were the keys 
upon which the world-spirit plays its melodies so full of 
significance, this unity, I say, is, as has already been re 
marked, an abyss in the investigation into which even 
philosophy can throw no full light, but only a glimmer. 

But I now turn to a subjective consideration belonging 
to this place, to which, however, I am able to give still 
less distinctness than to the objective consideration which 
has just been set forth; for I shall only be able to express 
it by images and similes. Why is our consciousness 
brighter and more distinct the further it extends towards 
without, so that its greatest clearness lies in sense per 
ception, which already half belongs to things outside us, 
and, on the other hand, grows dimmer as we go in, and 
leads, if followed to its inmost recesses, to a darkness in 
which all knowledge ceases ? Because, I say, conscious 
ness presupposes individuality; but this belongs to the 
mere phenomenon, for it is conditioned by the forms of 
the phenomenon, space and time, as multiplicity of the 
similar. Our inner nature, on the other hand, has its 
root in that which is no longer phenomenon, but thing in 
itself, to which, therefore, the forms of the phenomenon 
do not extend ; and thus the chief conditions of indivi 
duality are wanting, and with these the distinctness of 
consciousness falls off. In this root of existence the 
difference of beings ceases, like that of the radii of a 
sphere in the centre ; and as in the sphere the surface is 
produced by the radii ending and breaking off, so con 
sciousness is only possible where the true inner being 
runs out into the phenomenon, through whose forms the 
separate individuality becomes possible upon which con 
sciousness depends, which is just on that account confined 
to phenomena. Therefore all that is distinct and tho 
roughly comprehensible in our consciousness always lies 
without upon this surface of the sphere. Whenever, on 
the contrary, we withdraw entirely from this, conscious- 


ness forsakes us, in sleep, in death, to a certain extent 
also in magnetic or magic influences; for these all lead 
through the centre. But just because distinct conscious 
ness, being confined to the surface of the sphere, is not 
directed towards the centre, it recognises other individuals 
certainly as of the same kind, but not as identical, which 
yet in themselves they are. Immortality of the individual 
might be compared to a point of the surface flying off 
at a tangent. But immortality, by virtue of the eternal 
nature of the inner being of the whole phenomenon, may 
be compared to the return of that point, on the radius, 
to the centre, of which the whole surface is just the 
extension. The will as the thing in itself is whole 
and undivided in every being, as the centre is an in 
tegral part of every radius; while the peripherical end 
of this radius is in the most rapid revolution, with the 
surface, which represents time and its content, the other 
end, at the centre, which represents eternity, remains 
in the profoundest peace, because the centre is the 
point of which the rising half is not different from the 
sinking. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said: 
"Hand distribution animantibus, et quasi distributum tamen 
insidens, animantiumque sustentaculum id cognoscendum, 
edax et rursus genitale " (Lect. 13, 1 6 vers. Schlegel). Cer 
tainly we fall here into mystical and figurative language, 
but it is the only language in which anything can be said 
on this entirely transcendent theme. So this simile also 
may pass. The human race may be imagined as an animal 
compositum, a form of life of which many polypi, espe 
cially those which swim, such as VeretUlum, Funiculina, 
and others, afford examples. As in these the head isolates 
each individual animal, and the lower part, with the com 
mon stomach, combines them all in the unity of one life 
process, so the brain with its consciousness isolates the 
human individual, while the unconscious part, the vegeta 
tive life with its ganglion system, into which in sleep the 
brain-consciousness disappears, like a lotus which nightly 


sinks in the flood, is a common life of all, by means of 
which in exceptional cases they can even communicate, 
as, for example, occurs when dreams communicate them 
selves directly, the thoughts of the mesmeriser pass into 
the somnambulist, and finally also in the magnetic or 
generally magical influence proceeding from intentional 
willing. Such an influence, if it occurs, is toto genere dif 
ferent from every other on account of the influxus physicus 
which takes place, for it is really an actio in distans which 
the will, certainly proceeding from the individual, yet 
performs in its metaphysical quality as the omnipresent 
substratum of the whole of nature. One might also say 
that as in the generatio cequivoca there sometimes and 
as an exception appears a weak residue of the original 
creative power of the will, which in the existing forms of 
nature has already done its work and is extinguished, so 
there may be, exceptionally, acting in these magical in 
fluences, as it were, a surplus of its original omnipotence, 
which completes its work and spends itself in the con 
struction and maintenance of the organisms. I have 
spoken fully of this magical property of the will in " The 
Will in Nature," and I gladly omit here discussions 
which have to appeal to uncertain facts, which yet cannot 
be altogether ignored or denied. 

( 77 ) 



THE universal teleology or design of organised nature 
relative to the continuance of every existing being, to 
gether with the adaptation of organised to unorganised 
nature, cannot without violence enter into the connection 
of any philosophical system except that one which makes 
a mil the basis of the existence of every natural being ; 
a will which accordingly expresses its nature and tendency 
not merely in the actions, but already in the form of the 
phenomenal organism. In the preceding chapter I have 
merely indicated the account which our system of thought 
gives of this subject, since I have already expounded it in 
the passage of the first volume referred to below, and with 
special clearness and fulness in " The Will in Nature," 
under the rubric " Comparative Anatomy." 

The astounding amazement which is wont to take 
possession of us when we consider the endless design 
displayed in the construction of organised beings ulti 
mately rests upon the certainly natural but yet false 
assumption that that adaptation of the parts to each 
other, to the whole of the organism and to its aims in the 
external world, as we comprehend it and judge of it by 
means of knowledge, thus upon the path of the idea, has 
also come into being upon the same path ; thus that as it 
exists for the intellect, it was also brought about by the 
intellect. We certainly can only bring about something 

r. -N 

1 This chapter and the following one are connected with; 28\>f the first 


regular and conforming to law, such, for example, as every 
crystal is, under the guidance of the law and the rule ; and 
in the same way, we can only bring about something de 
signed under the guidance of the conception of the end ; but 
we are by no means justified in imputing this limitation 
of ours to nature, which is itself prior to all intellect, and 
whose action is entirely different in kind from ours, as 
was said in the preceding chapter. It accomplishes that 
which appears so designed and planned without reflection 
and without conception of an end, because without idea, 
which is of quite secondary origin. Let us first consider 
what is merely according to rule, not yet adapted to 
ends. The six equal radii of a snowflake, separating at 
equal angles, are measured beforehand by no knowledge ; 
but it is the simple tendency of the original will, which 
so exhibits itself to knowledge when knowledge appears. 
As now here the will brings about the regular figure with 
out mathematics, so also without physiology does it brina 
about the form which is organised and furnished with 
organs evidently adapted to special ends. The regular 
form in space only exists for the perception, the percep 
tive form of which is space ; so the design of the organism 
only exists for the knowing reason, the reflection of which 
is bound to the conceptions of end and means. If direct 
insight into the working of nature was possible for us, we 
would necessarily recognise that the wonder excited by 
teleology referred to above is analogous to that which that 
savage referred to by Kant in his explanation of the ludi 
crous felt when he saw the froth irresistibly foaming out 
of a bottle of beer which had just been opened, and ex 
pressed his wonder not that it should come out, but that 
any one had ever been able to get it in ; for we also assume 
that the teleology of natural productions has been put 
in the same as it comes out for us. Therefore our as 
tonishment at design may likewise be compared to that 
which the first productions of the art of printing excited 
in those who considered them under the supposition that 


they were works of the pen, and therefore had to resort to 
the assumption of the assistance of a devil in order to 
explain them. For, let it be said again, it is our intellect 
which by means of its own forms, space, time, and causality, 
apprehends as object the act of will, in itself metaphysical 
and indivisible, which exhibits itself in the phenomenon 
of an animal, it is our intellect which first produces the 
multiplicity and diversity of the parts, and is then struck 
with amazement at their perfect agreement and conspiring 
together, which proceeds from the original unity ; whereby 
then, in a certain sense, it marvels at its own work. 

If we give ourselves up to the contemplation of the 
indescribably and infinitely ingenious construction of any 
animal, even if it were only the commonest insect, lose 
ourselves in admiration of it, and it now occurs to us that 
nature recklessly exposes even this exceedingly ingenious V 
and highly complicated organism daily and by thousands 
to destruction by accident, animal rapacity, and human 
wantonness, this wild prodigality fills us with amaze 
ment; but our amazement is based upon an ambiguity of 
the conceptions, for we have in our minds the human 
work of art which is accomplished by the help of the 
intellect and by overcoming a foreign and resisting ma 
terial, and therefore certainly costs much trouble. Nature s 
works, on the contrary, however ingenious they may be, 
cost her absolutely no trouble ; for here the will to work 
is already the work itself, since, as has already been said, 
the organism is merely the visibility of the will which is 
here present, brought about in the brain. 

In consequence of the nature of organised beings which 
has been set forth, teleology, as the assumption of the 
adaptation of every part to its end, is a perfectly safe 
guide in considering the whole of organised nature ; on 
the other hand, in a metaphysical regard, for the expla 
nation of nature beyond the possibility of experience, 
it must only be regarded as valid in a secondary and 
subsidiary manner for the confirmation of principles of 


explanation which are otherwise established : for here it 
belongs to the problems which have to be given account 
of. Accordingly, if in some animal a part is found of 
which we do not see any use, we must never venture the 
/ conjecture that nature has produced it aimlessly, perhaps 
trifling, or out of mere caprice. Certainly it is possible to 
conceive something of this kind under the Anaxagorean 
assumption that the disposition of nature has been brought 
about by means of an ordering understanding, which, as 
such, obeys a foreign will ; but not under the assumption 
that the true inner being (i.e., outside of our idea) of every 
organism is simply and solely its own will ; for then the 
existence of every part is conditioned by the circumstance 
that in some way it serves the will which here lies at its 
foundation, expresses and realises some tendency of it, 
and consequently in some way contributes to the main 
tenance of this orgauisiu. For apart from the will which 
manifests itself in it, and the conditions of the external 
world under which this has voluntarily undertaken to 
live, for the conflict with which its whole form and dis 
position is already adapted, nothing can have influenced 
it and determined its form and parts, thus no arbitrary 
power, no caprice. On this account everything in it must 
be designed ; and therefore final causes (causoe finales} are 
the clue to the understanding of organised nature, as effici 
ent causes (causce efficientes) are the clue to the understand 
ing of unorganised nature. It depends upon this, that if 
in anatomy or zoology, we cannot find the end or aim of 
an existing part, our understanding receives a shock similar 
to that which it receives in physics from an effect whose 
cause remains concealed ; and as we assume the latter as 
necessary, so also we assume the former, and therefore 
go on searching for it, however long we may already have 
done so in vain. This is, for example, the case with the 
spleen, as to the use of which men never cease inventing 
hypotheses, till some day one shall have proved itself 
correct. So is it also with the large spiral-formed teeth 


of the babyroussa, the horn-shaped excrescences of certain 
caterpillars, and more of the like. Negative cases are also 
judged by us according to the same rule ; for example, 
that in a class which, as a whole, is so uniform as that of 
lizards, so important a part as the bladder is present in 
many species, while it is wanting in others ; similarly that 
dolphins and certain cetacea related to them are entirely 
without olfactory nerves, while the rest of the cetacea and 
even fishes have them: there must be a reason which 
determines this. 

Individual real exceptions to this universal law of 
design in organised nature have indeed been discovered, 
and with great surprise ; but in these cases that exceptio 
format regulam applies, since they can be accounted for 
upon other grounds. Such, for example, is the fact that 
the tadpoles of the pipa toad have tails and gills, although, 
unlike all other tadpoles, they do not swirn, but await their 
metamorphosis on the back of the mother ; that the male 
kangaroo has the marsupial bones which in the female 
carry the pouch ; that male mammals have breasts ; that 
the Mus typlilus, a rat, has eyes, although very small ones, 
without any opening for them in the outer skin, which 
thus covers them, clothed with hair ; and that the moles of 
the Apennines, and also two fishes Murena coecilia and 
Gastrdbrauchus ccecus are in the same case ; of like kind 
is the Proteus anguinus. These rare and surprising excep 
tions to the rule of nature, which is otherwise so rigid, 
these contradictious with itself into which it falls, we 
must explain from the inner connection which the dif 
ferent kinds of phenomena have with each other, by 
virtue of the unity of that which manifests itself in them, 
and in consequence of which nature must hint at some 
thing in one, simply because another of the same type 
actually has it. Accordingly the male animal has a rudi 
mentary form of an organ which is actually present in 
the female. As now here the difference of the sex can 
not abolish the type of the species, so also the type of a 

VOL. m. F 


whole order for example, of the batrachia asserts itself 
even where in one particular species (pipa) one of its de 
terminations is superfluous. Still less can nature allow 
a determination (eyes) which belongs to the type of a 
whole division (Vertebrata) to vanish entirely without a 
trace, even if it is wanting in some particular species 
(Mus typhlus] as superfluous; but here also it must at 
least indicate in a rudimentary manner what it carries 
out in all the others. 

Even from this point of view it is to some extent pos 
sible to see upon what depends that homology in the 
skeleton primarily of mammals, and in a wider sense of 
all vertebrates, which has been so fully explained, espe 
cially by Richard Owen in his " Osttologie compare" and 
on account of which, for example, all mammals have seven 
cervical vertebrae, every bone of the human hand and 
arm finds its analogue in the fin of the whale, the skull 
of the bird in the egg has exactly as many bones as that 
of the human foetus, &c. All this points to a principle 
which is independent of teleology, but which is yet the 
foundation upon which teleology builds, or the already 
given material for its works, and just that which Geoffrey 
St. Hilaire has explained as the " anatomical element." 
It is the uniU de plan, the fundamental type of the higher 
animal world, as it were the arbitrarily chosen key upon 
which nature here plays. 

Aristotle has already correctly defined the difference 
between the efficient cause (causa efficiens) and the final 
cause (causa finalis} in these words : " Avo rpoiroi TT;? 
atria?, TO ov eve/to, icai TO e avaryKT)*;, K.O.I Set \eyovras 
rwyvavetv jj,a\icrTa fiev afifaw." (Duo sunt causce modi : 
alter cujus gratia, et alter c necessitate ; ac potissimum 
utrumque eruere oportet.} De part, anim., i. I. The effi 
cient cause is that whereby something is, the final cause 
that on account of which it is ; the phenomenon to be 
explained has, in time, the former behind it, and the latter 
before it. Only in the case of the voluntary actions of 


animal beings do the two directly unite, for here the final 
cause, the end, appears as the motive ; a motive, however, 
is always the true and proper cause of the action, is 
wholly and solely its efficient cause, the change preceding 
it which calls it forth, by virtue of which it necessarily 
appears, and without which it could not happen; as I 
have shown in my prize essay upon freedom. For whatever 
of a physiological nature one might wish to insert between 
the act of will and the corporeal movement, the will 
always remains here confessedly that which moves, and 
what moves it is the <motive coming from without, thus 
the causa finalis ; which consequently appears here as 
causa efficiens. Besides, we know from what has gone be 
fore that the bodily movement is one with the actof will 
for it is merely its phenomenal appearance in cerebral per 
ception. This union of the causa finalis with the efficient 
cause in the one phenomenon intimately known to us 
which accordingly remains throughout our typical pheno 
menon, is certainly to be firmly retained ; for it leads pre 
cisely to the conclusion that at least in organised nature the 
knowledge of which has throughout final causes for its clue 
twill is the forming power. In fact, we cannot otherwise 
distinctly think a final cause except as an end in view ie 
a motive. Indeed, if we carefully consider the final causes 
m nature in order to express their transcendent nature we 
must not shrink from a contradiction, and boldly say the 
final cause is a motive which acts upon a bein by which 
it is not known. For certainly the termite nests are the mo 
tive which has produced the toothless muzzle of the ant- 
bear, and also its long extensile, glutinous tongue : the hard 
egg-shell which holds the chicken imprisoned is certainly 
the motive for the horny point with which its beak is 
provided in order to break through that shell, after which 
it throws it off as of no further use. And in the same way 
tbfilaws of the reflection and refraction of liaht are the 
motive for the wonderfully ingenious and complex optical 
instrument, the human eye, which has the transparency 


of its cornea, the different density of its three humours, 
the form of its lens, the blackness of its choroid, the sensi 
tiveness of its retina, the contracting power of its pupil, 
and its muscular system, accurately calculated according 
to those laws. But those motives acted before they were 
apprehended; it is not otherwise, however contradictory 
it may sound. For here is the transition of the physical 
into the metaphysical. But the latter we have already 
recognised in the will; therefore we must see that the 
W illwhich extends an elephant s trunk towards an object 
is the same will which has also called it forth and formed 
it, anticipating objects. 

It is in conformity with this that in the investigation 
of organised nature we are entirely referred to final causes, 
everywhere seek for these and explain everything from 
them The efficient causes, on the contrary, here assume 
only a quite subordinate position as the mere tools of the 
final causes, and, just as in the case of the voluntary 
movement of the limbs, which is confessedly effected by 
external motives, they are rather assumed than pointed 
out In explaining the physiological functions we certainly 
look about for the efficient causes, though for the most 
part in vain; but in explaining the origin of the parts we 
aaain look for them no more, but are satisfied with the 
final causes alone. At the most we have here some such 
aeneral principle as that the larger the part is to be the 
stronger must be the artery that conducts blood to it; but 
of the actually efficient causes which bring about, for 
example, the eye, the ear, the brain, we know absolutely 
nothing. Indeed, even in explaining the mere functions 
the final cause is far more important and more to the 
point than the efficient; therefore, if the former alone is 
known we are instructed and satisfied with regard to the 
principal matter, while, on the other hand, the efficient 
cause alone helps us little. For example, if we really 
knew the efficient cause of the circulation of the blood, as 
we do not, but still seek it, this would help us little unless 


we knew the final cause, that the blood must go into 
the lungs for the purpose of oxidation, and again flow 
back for the purpose of nourishing; but by the knowledge 
of this, even without the knowledge of the efficient cause, 
we have gained much light. Moreover, I am of opinion, 
as was said above, that the circulation of the blood has no 
properly efficient cause, but that the will is here as imme 
diately active as in muscular movement where motives 
determine it by means of nerve conduction, so that here 
also the movement is called forth directly by the final 
cause ; thus by the need of oxidation in the lungs, which 
here to a certain extent acts as a motive upon the blood, 
yet so that the mediation of knowledge is in this case 
wanting, because everything takes place in the interior of 
the organism. The so-called metamorphosis of plants, a 
thought lightly thrown out by Kaspar Wolf, which, under 
this hyperbolic title, Goethe pompously and with solemn 
delivery expounds as his own production, belongs to the 
class of explanations of organic nature from the efficient 
cause ; although ultimately he only says that nature does 
not in the case of every production begin from the begin 
ning and create out of nothing, but as it were, writing on 
in the same style, adds on to what already exists, makes 
use of the earlier forms, developed, and raised to higher 
power, to carry its work further : just as it has done in 
the ascending series of animals entirely in accordance with 
the law : Nature non facit saltus, et quod commodissimum in 
omnibus suis operationibiis sequitur (Arist. de incessu ani- 
malium, c. 2 et 8). Indeed, to explain the blossom by 
pointing out in all its parts the form of the leaf seems to 
me almost the same as explaining the structure of a 
house by showing that all its parts, storeys, balconies, and 
garrets, are only composed of bricks and mere repetitions 
of the original unity of the brick. And not much better, 
though much more problematical, seems to me the expla 
nation of the skull from vertebrae, although even here also 
it is a matter of course that the covering or case of the brain 


will not be absolutely different and entirely disparate 
from that of the spinal cord, of which it is the continuation 
and terminal knob, but will rather be a carrying out of the 
same kind of thing. This whole method of consideration 
belongs to the Homology of Richard Owen referred to 
above. On the other hand, it seems to me that the fol 
lowing explanation of the nature of the flower from its 
final cause, suggested by an Italian whose name has 
escaped me, is a far more satisfactory account to give. 
The end of the corolla is (i.) Protection of the pistil and 
the stamina ; (2.) by means of it the purified saps are 
prepared, which are concentrated in the pollen and germs; 
(3.) from the glands of its base the essential oil distils 
which, for the most part as a fragrant vapour, surrounding 
the anthers and pistil, protects them to a certain extent 
from the influence of the damp air. It is also one of the 
advantages of final causes that every efficient cause always 
ultimately rests upon something that cannot be fathomed, 
a force of nature, i.e., a gualitas occulta, and, therefore, it 
can only give a relative explanation ; while the final cause 
within its sphere affords a sufficient and perfect explana 
tion. It is true we are only perfectly content when 
we know both the efficient cause, also called by Aristotle 
r} airta e az/a/ytf?;?, and the final cause, f) %apt,v rov /3e\- 
rtoz/o?, at once and yet separately, as their concurrence, 
their wonderful working together, then surprises us, 
and on account of it the best appears as the absolutely 
necessary, and the necessary again as if it were merely 
the best and not necessary ; for then arises in us the dim 
perception that both causes, however different may be 
their origin, are yet connected in the root, in the nature 
of the thing in itself. But such a twofold knowledge is 
seldom attainable ; in organised nature, because the effi 
cient cause is seldom known to us ; in unorganised nature, 
because the final cause remains problematical. However, 
I will illustrate this by a couple of examples as good as 
I find within the range of my physiological knowledge, for 


which physiologists may be able to substitute clearer and 
more striking ones. The louse of the negro is black. 
Final cause : its own safety. Efficient cause : because its 
nourishment is the black rete MalpigM of the negro. The 
multifarious, brilliant, and gay colouring of the plumage of 
tropical birds is explained, although only very generally, 
from the strong effect of the light in the tropics, as its 
efficient cause. As the final cause I would assign that 
those brilliant feathers are the gorgeous uniform in which 
the individuals of the innumerable species there, often be 
longing to the same genus, may recognise each other ; so 
that each male may find his female. The same holds good 
of butterflies of different zones and latitudes. It has been 
observed that consumptive women, in the last stage of 
their illness, readily become pregnant, that the disease 
stops during pregnancy, but after delivery appears again 
worse than before, and now generally results in death: 
similarly that consumptive men generally beget another 
child in the last days of their life. The final cause here 
is that nature, always so anxiously concerned for the 
maintenance of the species, seeks to replace by a new 
individual the approaching loss of one in the prime 
of life ; tlie efficient cause, on the other hand, is the 
unusually excited state of the nervous system which 
occurs in the last period of consumption. From the same 
final cause is to be explained the analogous phenome 
non that (according to Oken, Die Zeugung, p. 65) flies 
poisoned with arsenic still couple, and die in the act of 
copulation. The final cause of the pubes in both sexes, 
and of the Moris Veneris in the female, is that even in 
the case of very thin subjects the Ossa pubis shall not be 
felt, which might excite antipathy ; the efficient cause, on 
the other hand, is to be sought in the fact that wherever 
the mucous membrane passes over to the outer skin, hair 
grows in the vicinity ; and, secondly, also that the head 
and the genitals are to a certain extent opposite poles 
of each other, and therefore have various relations arid 


analogies between them, among which is that of being 
covered with hair. The same efficient cause holds good 
also of the beard of the man; the final cause of it, I 
suppose, lies in the fact that the pathogonomic signs, thus 
the rapid alterations of the countenance betraying every 
movement of the mind, are principally visible in the 
mouth and its vicinity ; therefore, in order to conceal 
these from the prying eye of the adversary, as some 
thing dangerous in bargaining, or in sudden emergencies, 
nature gave man the beard (which shows that homo homini 
lujms). The woman, on the other hand, could dispense 
with this ; for witli her dissimulation and command of 
countenance are inborn. As I have said, there must be far 
more apt examples to be found to show how the completely 
blind working of nature unites in the result with the 
apparently intentional, or, as Kant calls it, the mechanism 
of nature with its technic ; which points to the fact that 
both have their common origin beyond their difference in 
the will as the thing in itself. Much would be achieved 
for the elucidation of this point of view, if, for example, 
we could find the efficient cause which carries the drift 
wood to the treeless polar lands, or that which has con 
centrated the dry land of our planet principally in the 
northern half of it ; while it is to be regarded as the final 
cause of this that the winter of that half, because it 
occurs in the perihelion which accelerates the course of 
the earth, is eight days shorter, and hereby is also milder. 
Yet in considering unorganised nature the final cause is 
always ambiguous, and, especially when the ejficient cause 
is found, leaves us in doubt whether it is not a merely sub 
jective view, an aspect conditioned by our point of view. In 
this respect, however, it may be compared to many works 
of art ; for example, to coarse mosaics, theatre decorations, 
and to the god Apennine at Pratolino, near Florence, com 
posed of large masses of rock, all of which only produce 
their effect at a distance, and vanish when we come near, 
because instead of them the efficient cause of their appear- 


ance now becomes visible : but the forms are yet actually 
existent, and are no mere imagination. Analogous to this, 
then, are the final causes in unorganised nature, if the 
efficient causes appear. Indeed, those who take a wide 
view of things would perhaps allow it to pass if I added 
that something similar is the case with omens. 

For the rest, if any one desires to misuse the external 
design, which, as has been said, always remains ambiguous 
for physico-theological demonstrations, which is done even 
at the present day, though it is to be hoped only by 
Englishmen, there are in this class enough examples in 
contrarium, thus ateleological instances, to derange his con 
ception. One of the strongest is presented by the un suit 
ableness of sea-water for drinking, in consequence of 
which man is never more exposed to the danger of dying 
of thirst than in the midst of the greatest mass of water 
on his planet. "Why, then, does the sea need to be 
salt ? " let us ask our Englishman. 

That in unorganised nature the final causes entirely 
withdraw into the background, so that an explanation 
from them alone is here no longer valid, but the efficient 
causes are rather indispensably required, depends upon 
the fact that the will which objectifies itself here also no 
longer appears in individuals which constitute a whole 
for themselves, but in forces of nature and their action, 
whereby end and means are too far separated for their 
relation to be clear and for us to recognise a manifestation 
of will in it. This already occurs in organised nature, 
in a certain degree, when the design is an external one, 
i.e., the end lies in one individual and the means in anotfwr. 
Yet even here it remains unquestionable so long as the 
two belong to the same species, indeed it then becomes 
the more striking. Here we have first to count the 
reciprocally adapted organisation of the genitals of the 
two sexes, and then also many circumstances that assist 
the propagation of the species, for example, in the case 
of the Lampyris noctUuca (the glowworm) the circum- 


stance that only the male, which does not shine, has 
wings to enable it to seek out the female ; the wingless 
female, on the other hand, since it only comes out in the 
evening, possesses the phosphorescent light, so that the 
male may be able to find it. Yet in the case of the 
Lampyris Italica both sexes shine, which is an instance of 
the natural luxury of the South. But a striking, because 
quite special, example of the kind of design we are speak 
ing of is afforded by the discovery made by Geoffroy St. 
Hilaire, in his last years, of the more exact nature of the 
sucking apparatus of the cetacea. Since all sucking 
requires the action of respiration, it can only take place 
in the respirable medium itself, and not under water, 
where, however, the sucking young of the whale hangs on 
to the teats of the mother ; now to meet this the whole 
mammary apparatus of the cetacea is so modified that it 
has become an injecting organ, and placed in the mouth 
of the young injects the milk into it without it requiring 
to suck. When, on the contrary, the individual that 
affords essential help to another belongs to an entirely 
different species, and even to another kingdom of nature, 
we will doubt this external design just as in unorganised 
nature ; unless it is evident that the maintenance of the 
species depends upon it. But this is the case with many 
plants whose fructification only takes place by means of 
insects, which either bear the pollen to the stigma or bend 
the stamina to the pistil. The common barberry, many 
kinds of iris, and Aristolochia Clematitis cannot fructify 
themselves at all without the help of insects (Ckr. Cour. 
Sprengel, Entdccktes Geheimniss, &c., 1793 ; Wildenow, 
Cfrundriss der Krauterkwnde, 353). Very many dioecia, 
moncecia, and polygamia are in the same position. The 
reciprocal support which the plant and the insect worlds 
receive from each other will be found admirably described 
in Burdach s large Physiology, vol. i. 263. He very 
beautifully adds: "This is no mechanical assistance, no 
make-shift, as if nature had made the plants yester- 


day, and had committed an error which she tries to 
correct to-day through the insect; it is rather a deep- 
lying sympathy between the plant and the animal worlds. 
It ought to reveal the identity of the two. Both, children 
of one mother, ought to subsist with each other and through 
each other." And further on : " But the organised world 
stands in such a sympathy witli the unorganised world 
also," &c. A proof of this consensus natures is also 
afforded by the observation communicated in the second 
volume of the "Introduction into Entomology" by Kirby 
and Spence, that the insect eggs that pass the winter 
attached to the twigs of the trees, wljich serve as nourish 
ment for their larvae, are hatched exactly at the time at 
which the twig buds ; thus, for example, the aphis of the 
birch a month earlier than that of the ash. Similarly, 
that the insects of perennial plants pass the winter upon 
these as eggs ; but those of mere annuals, since they can 
not do this, in the state of pupse. 

Three great men have entirely rejected teleology, or the 
explanation from final causes, and many small men have 
echoed them. These three are, Lucretius, Bacon of Veru- 
lam, and Spinoza. But in the case of all three we know 
clearly enough the source of this aversion, namely, that 
they regarded it as inseparable from speculative theology, 
of which, however, they entertained so great a distrust 
(which Bacon indeed prudently sought to conceal) that 
they wanted to give it a wide berth. We find Leibnitz 
also entirely involved in this prejudice, for, with charac 
teristic naivete", he expresses it as something self-evident 
in his Lettre a M. Nicaise (Spinozce op. ed Paulus, vol. ii. p. 
672) : " Les causes finales, ou ce qui estla mdme chose, la con 
sideration de la sagesse divine dans I ordre des choses." (The 
devil also mme chose /) At the same point of view we 
find, indeed, Englishmen even at the present day. The 
Bridge water-Treatise-men Lord Brougham, &c. nay, 
even Eichard Owen also, in his " Oste ologie Compared," 
thinks precisely as Leibnitz, which I have already found 


fault with in the first volume. To all these teleology is 
at once also theology, and at every instance of design 
recognised in nature, instead of thinking and learning to 
understand nature, they break at once into the childish 
cry, " Design ! design ! " then strike up the refrain of their 
old wives philosophy, and stop their ears against all 
rational arguments, such as, however, the great Hume has 
already advanced against them. 1 

The ignorance of the Kantian philosophy now, after 
seventy years, which is really a disgrace to Englishmen of 
learning, is principally responsible for this whole outcast 
position of the English ; and this ignorance, again, depends, 
at least in great measure, upon the nefarious influence of 
the detestable English clergy, with whom stultification of 
every kind is a thing after their own hearts, so that only 
they may be able still to hold the English nation, other 
wise so intelligent, involved in the most degrading 
bigotry; therefore, inspired by the basest obscurantism] 
they oppose with all their might the education of the 
people, the investigation of nature, nay, the advancement 
of all human knowledge in general ; and both by means 
of their connections and by means of their scandalous, 
unwarrantable wealth, which increases the misery of the 
people, they extend their influence even to university 
teachers and authors, who accordingly (for example, Th. 
Brown, "On Cause and Effect") resort to suppressions 
and perversions of every kind simply in order to avoid op 
posing even in a distant manner that " cold superstition " 
(as Puckler very happily designates their religion, or the 
current arguments in its favour). 

1 Let me here remark in passing his "Dialogues on Natural Reli- 

that, judging r from the German lite- gion." There one sees him in his 

rature since Kant one would neces- greatness, and these, together with 

sarily believe that Hume s whole Essay 21 "Of National Characters " 

.sdorn had consisted ,n his olm- are the writings on account of which 

ously false scepticism with regard to _I know of no \ hi that 

the law of causality for this alone for his fame-even to the present 

.s everywhere referred to In order day, he is everywhere hated by th, 

to know Hume one must read his English clertrv 
" Natural History of Religion " and 


But, on the other hand, the three great men of whom 
we are speaking, since they lived long before the dawn of 
the Kantian philosophy, are to be pardoned for their 
distrust of teleology on account of its origin ; yet even 
Voltaire regarded the physico- theological proof as irrefu 
table. In order, however, to go into this somewhat more 
fully: first of all, the polemic of Lucretius (iv. 824-858) 
against teleology is so crude and clumsy that it refutes 
itself and convinces us of the opposite. But as regards 
Bacon (De augm. scient., iii. 4), he makes, in the first 
place, no distinction with reference to the use of final 
causes between organised and unorganised nature (which 
is yet just the principal matter), for, in his examples of 
final causes, he mixes the two up together. Then he 
banishes final causes from physics to metaphysics; but 
the latter is for him, as it is still for many at the present 
day, identical with speculative theology. From this, then, 
he regards final causes as inseparable, and goes so far in 
this respect that he blames Aristotle because he has made 
great use of final causes, yet without connecting them 
with speculative theology (which I shall have occasion 
immediately especially to praise). Finally, Spinoza (Eth. i. 
prop. 36, appendix) makes it abundantly clear that he 
identifies teleology so entirely with physico-theology, 
against which he expresses himself with bitterness, that 
he explains Natura nifiil frustra agere : hoc est, quod in 
usum hominum non sit: similarly, Omnia naturalia tanquam 
ad suum utile media considerant, et credunt aliquem alium 
esse, qui ilia media paraverit ; and also: Hinc statuerunt, 
Deos omnia in usum liominum fecisse et dirigere. Upon 
this, then, he bases his assertion : Naturam finem nullum 
sibi prcefixum habere et omnes causas finales nihil, nisi hu- 
mana esse figmenta. His aim merely was to block the 
path of theism ; and he had quite rightly recognised the 
physico-theological proof as its strongest weapon. But it 
was reserved for Kant really to refute this proof, and for 
me to give the correct exposition of its material, whereby 


I have satisfied the maxim : Est enim verum index sui et 
falsi. But Spinoza did not know how else to help himself 
but by the desperate stroke of denying teleology itself, thus 
design in the works of nature an assertion the monstrosity 
of which is at once evident to every one who has gained 
any accurate knowledge of organised nature. This limited 
point of view of Spinoza, together with his complete igno 
rance of nature, sufficiently prove his entire incompetence 
in this matter, and the folly of those who, upon his autho 
rity, believe they must judge contemptuously of final causes. 
Aristotle, who just here shows his brilliant side, con 
trasts very advantageously with these modern philoso 
phers. He goes unprejudiced to nature, knows of no 
physico-theology such a thing has never entered hia 
mind, and he has never looked at the world for the pur 
pose of seeing -whether it was a bungled piece of work. 
He is in his heart pure from all this, for he also sets up 
hypotheses as to the origin of animals and men (De general, 
anim., iii. 1 1) without lighting upon the physico-theological 
train of thought. He always says : " 17 (frvais TTOISI (natura 
facif), never 17 <f>vais TreTroir/Tat " (natura facta est). But after 
he has truly and diligently studied nature, he finds that it 
everywhere proceeds teleologically, and he says : " ^anjv 
opcofiev ovSev Troiovcrav rrjv <f>vcriv " (naturam nikil frustra 
facere cernimus), De respir., c. 10 ; and in the books, De par- 
tibus animalium., which are a comparative anatomy : " OvBe 
irepiepyov ovbev, ovre /JLarrjv 1} <f)vcrt$ Trotet. JET <f <7t<? eveica 
TOV Troiet, travra. Ilavrayov Se h.eyo/Aev ToSe TOvBe eve/ca, 
OTTOV av <f>aivr/rai reX,o9 n, TT/OO? o 17 Kivrjcris irepairei axrre 
Lvai fyavepov, on ecrri TL TOIOVTOV, 6 Brj /cat tcaXovfiev <f>v(riv. 
Ejrei TO aajfj*a opyavov eveica TWOS <yap eicaarov rcov ftopicov, 
o/ioio)? re icai TO o\ov." {Nihil supervacaneum, nihil frustra 
natura facit. Natura rei alicujus gratia facit omnia. Rem 
autem hanc essc illius gratia asserere libique solemus, quoties 
finem intelliyimus aliqiiem,in quern motus terminetur ; quo- 
circa ejusmodi aliquid esse constat, quod Naturam vocamus. 
Est cnim corpus instrumentum : nam mcnibrum unumquod 


que rei alicujus gratia est, turn vero totum ipsum.} At 
greater length, p. 633 and 645 of the Berlin quarto edition, 
and also De incessu animalium, c. 2 : " H (frvais ovSev iroiei 
, aXX. aei, etc TQ)V evBe^o/^evcov rr) ovaia, vrept eKaarov 
a>ou TO api<TTov." (Natura nihil frustra facit, sed 
semper ex Us, quce cuique animalium generis essentice con- 
tingunt, id quod optimum est.} But he expressly recom 
mends teleology at the end of the books De generation*, 
animalium, and blames Democritus for having denied it, 
which is just what Bacon, in his prejudice, praises in him. 
Especially, however, in the " Physica," ii. 8, p. 198, Aristotle 
speaks ex professo of final causes, and establishes them as 
the true principle of the investigation of nature. In fact, 
every good and regular mind must, in considering orga 
nised nature, hit upon teleology, but unless it is determined 
by the preconceived opinions, by no means either upon 
physico-theology or upon the anthropo-teleology condemned 
by Spinoza. With regard to Aristotle generally, I wish fur 
ther to draw attention to the fact here, that his teaching 


so far as it concerns unorganised nature, is very defective 
and unserviceable, as in the fundamental conceptions of 
mechanics and physics he accepts the most gross errors, 
which is the less pardonable, since before him the Pythago 
reans and Empedocles had been upon the right path and had 
taught much better. Empedocles indeed, as we learn from 
Aristotle s second book, De ccelo (c. i, p. 284), had already 
grasped the conception of a tangential force arising from 
rotation, and counteracting gravity, which Aristotle again 
rejects. Quite the reverse, however, is Aristotle s relation to 
the investigation of organised nature. This is his field; here 
the wealth of his knowledge, the keenness of his observa 
tion, nay, sometimes the depth of his insight, astonish us. 
Thus, to give just one example, he already knew the an 
tagonism in which in the ruminants the horns and the 
teeth of the upper jaw stand to each other, on account of 
which, therefore, the latter are wanting where the former 
are found, and conversely (De partib. anim., iii. 2). Hence 
then, also his correct estimation of final causes. 



IT is as if nature had wished, in the mechanical tendencies 
of animals, to give the investigator an illustrative com 
mentary upon her works, according to final causes and 
the admirable design of her organised productions which 
is thereby introduced. For these mechanical tendencies 
show most clearly that creatures can work with the 
greatest decision and definiteness towards an end which 


they do not know, nay, of which they have no idea. 
Such, for instance, is the bird s nest, the spider s web, 
the ant-lion s pitfall, the ingenious bee-hive, the mar 
vellous termite dwelling, &c., at least for those individual 
animals that carry them out for the first time ; for neither 
the form of the perfected work nor the use of it can be 
known to them. Precisely so, however, does organising 
nature work ; and therefore in the preceding chapter I 
gave the paradoxical explanation of the final cause, that 
it is a motive which acts without being known. And 
as in working from mechanical tendency that which is 
active is evidently and confessedly the will, so is it also 
really the will which is active in the working of organ 
ising nature. 

One might say, the will of animal creatures is set in 
motion in two different ways : either by motivation or by 
instinct ; thus from without, or from within ; by aii exter 
nal occasion, or by an internal tendency ; the former is 
explicable because it lies before us without, the latter is 
inexplicable because it is merely internal. But, more 


closely considered, the contrast between the two is not so 
sharp, indeed ultimately it runs back into a difference of 
degree. The motive also only acts under the assumption 
of an inner tendency, i.e., a definite quality of will which 
is called its character. The motive in each case only gives 
to this a definite direction individualises it for the con 
crete case. So also instinct, although a definite tendency 
of the will, does not act entirely, like a spring, from 
within ; but it also waits for some external circumstance 
necessarily demanded for its action, which at least deter 
mines the time of its manifestation ; such is, for the 
migrating bird, the season of the year ; for the bird that 
builds its nest, the fact of pregnancy and the presence of 
the material for the nest ; for the bee it is, for the bein- 

* * O 

ning of the structure, the basket or the hollow tree, and 
for the following work many individually appearing cir 
cumstances ; for the spider, it is a well-adapted corner ; 
for the caterpillar, the suitable leaf; for egg-laying in 
sects, the for the most part very specially determined and 
often rare place, where the hatched larvae will at once 
find their nourishment, and so on. It follows from this 
that in works of mechanical tendency it is primarily the 
instinct of these animals that is active, yet subordinated 
also to their intellect. The instinct gives the universal, 
the rule; the intellect the particular, the application, in 
that it directs the detail of the execution, in which there 
fore the work of these animals clearly adapts itself to 
the circumstances of the existing case. According to all 
this, the difference between instinct and mere character is 
to be fixed thus: Instinct is a character which is only 
set in motion by a quite specially determined motive, and 
on this account the action that proceeds from it is always 
exactly of the same kind ; while the character which is 
possessed by every species of animal and every individual 
man is certainly a permanent and unalterable quality of 
will, which can yet be set in motion by very different 
motives, and adapts itself to these ; and on account of 



this the action proceeding from it may, according to ita 
material quality, be very different, but yet will always 
bear the stamp of the same character, and will therefore 
express and reveal this ; so that for the knowledge of this 
character the material quality of the action in which it ap 
pears is essentially a matter of indifference. Accordingly 
we might explain instinct as a character which is beyond 
all measure one-sided and strictly determined. It follows 
from this exposition that being determined by mere moti 
vation presupposes a certain width of the sphere of know 
ledge, and consequently a more fully developed intellect : 
therefore it is peculiar to the higher animals, quite pre 
eminently, however, to man ; while being determined by 
instinct only demands as much intellect as is necessary 
to apprehend the one quite specially determined motive, 
which alone and exclusively becomes the occasion for the 
manifestation of the instinct. Therefore it is found in the 
case of an exceedingly limited sphere of knowledge, and 
consequently, as a rule, and in the highest degree, only 
in animals of the lower classes, especially insects. Since, 
accordingly, the actions of these animals only require 
an exceedingly simple and small motivation from with 
out, the medium of this, thus the intellect or the brain, 
is very slightly developed in them, and their outward 
actions are for the most part under the same guidance 
as the inner, follow upon mere stimuli, physiological 
functions, thus the ganglion system. This is, then, in 
their case excessively developed ; their principal nerve- 
stem runs under the belly in the form of two cords, which 
at every limb of the body form a ganglion little inferior 
to the brain in size, and, according to Cuvier, this nerve- 
stem is an analogue not so much of the spinal cord as of the 
great sympathetic nerve. According to all this, instinct 
and action through mere motivation, stand in a certain 
antagonism, in consequence of which the former has its 
maximum in insects, and the latter in man, and the 
actuation of other animals lies between the two in mani- 


fold gradations according as in each the cerebral or the 
ganglion system is preponderatingly developed. Just 
because the instinctive action and the ingenious con 
trivances of insects are principally directed from the 
ganglion system, if we regard them as proceeding from 
the brain alone, and wish to explain them accordingly, we 
fall into absurdities, because we then apply a false key. 
The same circumstance, however, imparts to their action 
a remarkable likeness to that of somnambulists, which 
indeed is also explained as arising from the fact that, 
instead of the brain, the sympathetic nerve has under 
taken the conduct of the outward actions also ; insects 
are accordingly, to a certain extent, natural somnambulists. 
Things which we cannot get at directly we must make 
comprehensible to ourselves by means of an analogy. 
What has just been referred to will accomplish this in a 
high degree when assisted by the fact that in Kieser s " Tel- 
lurismus" (vol. ii. p. 250) a case is mentioned "in which 
the command of the mesmerist to the somnambulist to 
perform a definite action in a waking state was carried 
out by him when he awoke, without remembering the 
command." Thus it was as if he must perform that 
action without rightly knowing why. Certainly this has 
the greatest resemblance to what goes on in the case of 
mechanical instincts in insects. The young spider feels 
that it must spin its web, although it neither knows nor 
understands the aim of it. We are also reminded here of 
the daemon of Socrates, on account of which he had the 
feeling that he must leave undone some action expected 
of him, or lying near him, without knowing why for his 
prophetic dream about it was forgotten. We have in our 
own day quite well- authenticated cases analogous to this ; 
therefore I only briefly call these to mind. One had 
taken his passage on a ship, but when it was about to 
sail he positively would not go on board without being 
conscious of a reason ; the ship went down. Another 
goes with companions to a powder magazine ; when he 


has arrived in its vicinity he absolutely will not go any 
further, but turns hastily back, seized with anxiety he 
knows not why ; the magazine blows up. A third upon 
the ocean feels moved one night, without any reason, not 
to undress, but lays himself on the bed in his clothes and 
boots, and even with his spectacles on ; in the night the 
ship goes on fire, and he is among the few who save them 
selves in the boat. All this depends upon the dull after 
effect of forgotten fatidical dreams, and gives us the key 
to an analogous understanding of instinct and mechanical 

On the other hand, as has been said, the mechanical 
tendencies of insects reflect much light upon the working of 
the unconscious will in the inner functions of the organism 
and in its construction. For without any difficulty we can 
see in the ant-hill or the beehive the picture of an organism 
explained and brought to the light of knowledge. In this 
sense Burdach says (Physiologie, vol. ii. p. 22) : " The forma 
tion and depositing of the eggs is the part of the queen- 
bee, and the care for the cultivation of them falls to the 
workers ; thus in the former the ovary, and in the latter 
the uterus, is individualised." In the insect society, as in 
the animal organism, the vita propriit of each part is 
subordinated to the life of the whole, and the care for the 
whole precedes that for particular existence ; indeed the 
latter is only conditionally willed, the former uncon 
ditionally ; therefore the individuals are even sacrificed 
occasionally for the whole, as we allow a limb to be 
taken off in order to save the whole body. Thus, for 
example, if the path is closed by water against the march 
of the ants, those in front boldly throw themselves in 
until their corpses are heaped up into a dam for those 
that follow. When the drones have become useless they 
are stung to death. Two queens in the hive are sur 
rounded, and must fight with each other till one of them 
loses its life. The ant-mother bites its own wings off after 
it has been impregnated, for they would only be a hindrance 


to it in the work that is before it of tending the new 
family it is about to found under the earth (Kirby and 
Spence, vol. i.) As the liver will do nothing more than 
secrete gall for the service of the digestion, nay, will only 

itself exist for this end and so with every other part the 

working bees also will do nothing more than collect honey, 
secrete wax, and make cells for the brood of the queen ; the 
drones nothing more than impregnate ; the queen nothing 
but deposit eggs ; thus all the parts work only for the 
maintenance of the whole which alone is the unconditional 
end, just like the parts of the organism. The difference is 
merely that in the organism the will acts perfectly blindly 
in its primary condition ; in the insect society, on the other 
hand, the thing goes on already in the light of knowledge, 
to which, however, a decided co-operation and individual 
choice is only left in the accidents of detail, where it gives 
assistance and adopts what has to be carried out to the 
circumstances. But the insects will the end as a whole 
without knowing it ; just like organised nature working 
according to final causes; even the choice of the means 
is not as a whole left to their knowledge, but only the 
more detailed disposition of them. Just on this account, 
however, their action is by no means automatic, which 
becomes most distinctly visible if one opposes obstacles to 
their action. For example, the caterpillar spins itself in 
leaves without knowing the end ; but if we destroy the 
web it skilfully repairs it. Bees adapt their hive at the 
first to the existing circumstances, and subsequent mis 
fortunes, such as intentional destruction, they meet in the 
way most suitable to the special case (Kirby and Spence, 
Introduc. to Entomol ; Huber, Des dbeilles). Such things 
excite our astonishment, because the apprehension of the 
circumstances and the adaptation to these is clearly a 
matter of knowledge ; while we believe them capable once 
for all of the most ingenious preparation for the coming 
race and the distant future, well knowing that in this 
they are not guided by knowledge, for a forethought of 


that kind proceeding from knowledge demands an activity 
of the brain rising to the level of reason. On the other 
hand, the intellect even of the lower animals is sufficient 
for the modifying and arranging of the particular case 
according to the existing or appearing circumstances ; be 
cause, guided by instinct, it has only to fill up the gaps 
which this leaves. Thus we see ants carry off their larvae 
whenever the place is too damp, and bring them back 
again when it becomes dry. They do not know the aim 
of this, thus are not guided in it by knowledge ; but the 
choice of the time at which the place is no longer suitable 
for the larvae, and also of the place to which they now 
bring them, is left to their knowledge. I wish here also 
tu mention a fact which some one related to me verbally 
from his own experience, though I have since found that 
Burdach quotes it from Gleditsch. The latter, in order to 
test the burying-beetle (Necrophorus vespiUo), had tied a 
dead frog lying upon the ground to a string, the upper 
end of which was fastened to a stick stuck obliquely in the 
ground. Now after several burying-beetles had, according 
to their custom, undermined the frog, it could not, as they 
expected, sink into the ground; after much perplexed 
running hither and thither they undermined the stick 
also. To this assistance rendered to instinct, and that 
repairing of the works of mechanical tendency, we find in 
the organism the healing power of nature analogous, which 
not only heals wounds, replacing even bone and nerve 
substance, but, if through the injury of a vein or nerve 
branch a connection is interrupted, opens a new connec 
tion by means of enlargement of other veins or nerves, nay, 
perhaps even by producing new branches ; which further 
makes some other part or function take the place of a dis 
eased part or function ; in the case of the loss of an eye 
sharpens the other, or in the case of the loss of one of the 
senses sharpens all the rest ; which even sometimes closes 
an intestinal wound, in itself fatal, by the adhesion of the 
mesentery or the peritoneum ; in short, seeks to meet every 


injury and every disturbance in the most ingenious manner. 
If, on the other hand, the injury is quite incurable, it 
hastens to expedite death, and indeed the more so the 
higher is the species of the organism, thus the greater its 
sensibility. Even this has its analogue in the instinct of 
insects. The wasps, for instance, who through the whole 
summer have with great care and labour fed their larvae 
on the produce of their plundering, but now, in October, 
see the last generation of them facing starvation, sting 
them to death (Kirby and Spence, vol. i. p. 374). Nay, 
still more curious and special analogies may be found ; for 
example, this: if the female humble-bee (Apis terrestris, 
lombylius) lays eggs, the working humble-bees are seized 
with a desire to devour them, which lasts from six to eight 
hours and is satisfied unless the mother keeps them off 
and carefully guards the eggs. But after this time the 
working humble-bees show absolutely no inclination to 
eat the eggs even when offered to them ; on the contrary, 
they now become the zealous tenders and nourishers of 
the larvae now being hatched out. This may without 
violence be taken as an analogue of children s complaints, 
especially teething, in which it is just the future nourishers 
of the organism making an attack upon it which so often 
costs it its life. The consideration of all these analogies 
between organised life and the instinct, together with the 
mechanical tendencies of the lower animals, serves ever 
more to confirm the conviction that the witt is the basis 
of the one as of the other, for it shows here also the 
subordinate role of knowledge in the action of the will, 
sometimes more, sometimes less, confined, and sometimes 
wanting altogether. 

But in yet another respect instincts and the animal 
organisation reciprocally illustrate each other: through 
the anticipation of the future which appears in both. By 
means of instincts and mechanical tendencies animals 
care for the satisfaction of wants which they do not yet 
feel, nay, not only for their own wants, but even for those 


of the future brood. Thus they work for an end which is 
as yet unknown to them. This goes so far, as I have 
illustrated by the example of the Bombexin "The Will in 
Nature " (second edit. p. 45, third edit. p. 47), that they 
pursue and kill in advance the enemies of their future eggs. 
In the same way we see the future wants of an animal, its 
prospective ends, anticipated in its whole corporisation by 
the organised implements for their attainment and satis 
faction ; from which, then, proceeds that perfect adapta 
tion of the structure of every animal to its manner of life, 
that equipment of it with the needful weapons to attack 
its prey and to ward off its enemies, and that calculation 
of its whole form with reference to the element and the 
surroundings in which it has to appear as a pursuer, which 
I have fully described in my work on the will in nature 
under the rubric " Comparative Anatomy." All these 
anticipations, both in the instinct and in the organisation 
of animals, we might bring under the conception of a 
knowledge a priori, if knowledge lay at their foundation at 
all. But this is, as we have shown, not the case. Their 
source lies deeper than the sphere of knowledge, in the 
will as the thing in itself, which as such remains free even 
from the forms of knowledge ; therefore with reference to 
it time has no significance, consequently the future lies 
as near it as the present 



OUR second book closed with the question as to the goal 
and aim of that will which had shown itself to be the 
inner nature of all things in the world. The following 
remarks may serve to supplement the answer to this ques 
tion given there in general terms, for they lay down the 
character of the will as a whole. 

Such a characterisation is possible because we have 
recognised as the inner nature of the world something 
thoroughly real and empirically given. On the other 
hand, the very name " world-soul," by which many have 
denoted that inner being, gives instead of this a mere ens 
rationis ; for " soul " signifies an individual unity of con 
sciousness which clearly does not belong to that nature, 
and in general, since the conception " soul " supposes 
knowing and willing in inseparable connection and yet 
independent of the animal organism, it is not to be justi 
fied, and therefore not to be used. The word should never 
be applied except in a metaphorical sense, for it is much 
more insidipujfthan ^v^ or anima, which signify breath. 

Much more unsuitable, however, iz the way in which 
so-called pantheists express themselves, whose whole 
philosophy consists chiefly in this, that they call the inner 
nature of the world, which is unknown to them, " God; " 
by which indeed they imagine they have achieved much. 
According to this, then, the world would be a theophany. 
But let one only look at it : this world of constantly needy 

1 This chapter is connected witty 29pf the first volume* 


creatures, who continue for a time only by devouring one 
another, fulfil their existence in anxiety and want, and often 
suffer terrible miseries, till at last they fall into the arms of 
death ; whoever distinctly looks upon this will allow that 
Aristotle was right in saying : " 77 <f>vai$ Scupovia, a\\ ov 
Beta ecrn " (Natura dcemonia est, non divina), De divinat., 
c. 2, p. 463 ; nay, he will be obliged to confess that a 
God who could think of changing Himself into such a 
world as this must certainly have been tormented by the 
devil. I know well that the pretended philosophers of 
this century follow Spinoza in this, and think themselves 
thereby justified. But Spinoza had special reasons for 
thus naming his one substance, in order, namely, to pre 
serve at least the word, although not the thing. The 
stake of Giordano Bruno and of Vanini was still fresh 
in the memory; they also had been sacrificed to that 
God for whose honour incomparably more human sacri 
fices have bled than on the altars of all heathen gods of 
both hemispheres together. If, then, Spinoza calls the 
world God, it is exactly the same thing as when Eousseau 
in the " Contrat social" constantly and throughout denotes 
the people by the word le souverain ; we might also com 
pare it with this, that once a prince who intended to 
abolish the nobility in his land, in order to rob no one 
of his own, hit upon the idea of ennobling all his subjects. 
Those philosophers of our day have certainly one other 
ground for the nomenclature we are speaking of, but it 
is no more substantial. In their philosophising they all 
start, not from the world or our consciousness of it, but 
from God, as something given and known; He is not their 
qucesitum, but their datum. If they were boys I would 
then explain to them that this is a petitio principii, but 
they know this as well as I do. But since Kant has 
shown that the path of the earlier dogmatism, which pro 
ceeded honestly, the path from the world to a God, does 
not lead there, these gentlemen now imagine they have 
found a fine way of escape and made it cunningly. Will 


the reader of a later age pardon me for detaining him 
with persons of whom he has never heard. 

Every glance at the world, to explain which is the task 
of the philosopher, confirms and proves that will to live, 
far from being an arbitrary hypostasis or an empty word, 
is the only true expression of its inmost nature. Every 
thing presses and strives towards existence, if possible 
organised existence, i.e., life, and after that to the highest 
possible grade of it. In animal nature it then becomes 
apparent that will to live is the keynote of its being, its 
one unchangeable and unconditioned quality. Let any 
one consider this universal desire for life, let him see the 
infinite willingness, facility, and exuberance with which 
the will to live presses impetuously into existence under 
a million forms everywhere and at every moment, by 
means of fructification and of germs, nay, when these are 
wanting, by means of generatio cequivoca, seizing every 
opportunity, eagerly grasping for itself every material 
capable of life : and then again let him cast a glance at 
its fearful alarm and wild rebellion when in any parti 
cular phenomenon it must pass out of existence; espe 
cially when this takes place with distinct consciousness. 
Then it is precisely the same as if in this single pheno 
menon the whole world would be annihilated for ever, 
and the whole being of this threatened living thing is at 
once transformed into the most desperate struggle against 
death and resistance to it. Look, for example, at the 
incredible anxiety of a man in danger of his life, the 
rapid and serious participation in this of every witness of 
it, and the boundless rejoicing at his deliverance. Look 
at the rigid terror with which a sentence of death is 
heard, the profound awe with which we regard the pre 
parations for carrying it out, and the heartrending com 
passion which seizes us at the execution itself. We 
would then suppose there was something quite different in 
question than a few less years of an empty, sad existence, 
embittered by troubles of every kind, and always un- 


certain : we would rather be amazed that it was a matter 
of any consequence whether one attained a few years 
earlier to the place where after an ephemeral existence 
he has billions of years to be. In such phenomena, then, 
it becomes visible that I am right in declaring that the will 
to live is that which cannot be further explained, but lies 
at the foundation of all explanations, and that this, far 
from being an empty word, like the absolute, the infinite, 
the idea, and similar expressions, is the most real thing 
we know, nay, the kernel of reality itself. 

But if now, abstracting for a while from this interpreta 
tion drawn from our inner being, we place ourselves as 
strangers over against nature, in order to comprehend it 
objectively, we find that from the grade of organised life 
upwards it has only one intention that of the maintenance 
of the species. To this end it works, through the immense 
superfluity of germs, through the urgent vehemence of the 
sexual instinct, through its willingness to adapt itself to all 
circumstances and opportunities, even to the production of 
bastards, and through the instinctive maternal affection, 
the strength of which is so great that in many kinds of 
animals it even outweighs self-love, so that the mother 
sacrifices her life in order to preserve that of the young. 
The individual, on the contrary, has for nature only an 
indirect value, only so far as it is the means of maintain 
ing the species. Apart from this its existence is to nature 
a matter of indifference ; indeed nature even leads it to 
destruction as soon as it has ceased to be useful for this 
end. Why the individual ex : sts would thus be clear ; but 
why does the species itself exist ? That is a question 
which nature when considered merely objectively cannot 
answer. For in vain do we seek by contemplating her for 
an end of this restless striving, this ceaseless pressing into 
existence, this anxious care for the maintenance of the 
species. The strength and time of the individuals are con 
sumed in the effort to procure sustenance for themselves 
and their young, and are only just sufficient, sometimes even 


not sufficient, for this. Even if here and there a surplus 
of strength, and therefore of comfort in the case of the one 
rational species also of knowledge remains, this is much 
too insignificant to pass for the end of that whole process 
of nature. The whole thing, when regarded thus purely 
objectively, and indeed as extraneous to us, looks as if 
nature was only concerned that of all her (Platonic) Ideas, 
i.e., permanent forms, none should be lost. Accordingly, 
as if she had so thoroughly satisfied herself with the fortu 
nate discovery and combination of these Ideas (for which 
the three preceding occasions on which she stocked the 
earth s surface with animals were only the preparation), 
that now her only fear is lest any one of these beautiful 
fancies should be lost, i.e., lest any one of these forms 
should disappear from time and the causal series. For 
the individuals are fleeting as the water in the brook ; the 
Ideas, on the contrary, are permanent, like its eddies : but 
the exhaustion of the water would also do away with the 
eddies. We would have to stop at this unintelligible view if 
nature were known to us only from without, thus were given 
us merely objectively, and we accepted it as it is compre 
hended by knowledge, and also as sprung from knowledge, 
i.e., in the sphere of the idea, and were therefore obliged 
to confine ourselves to this province in solving it. But 
the case is otherwise, and a glance at any rate is afforded 
us into the interior of nature; inasmuch as this is nothing 
else than our own inner being, which is precisely where 
nature, arrived at the highest grade to which its striving 
could work itself up, is now by the light of knowledge 
found directly in self-consciousness. Here the will shows 
itself to us as something toto genere different from the idea, 
in which nature appears unfolded in all her (Platonic) 
Ideas ; and it now gives us, at one stroke, the explanation 
which could never be found upon the objective path of the 
idea. Thus the subjective here gives the key for the ex 
position of the objective. In order to recognise, as some 
thing original and unconditioned, that exceedingly strong 


tendency of all animals and men to retain life and carry 
it oil as long as possible a tendency which was set forth 
above as characteristic of the subjective, or of the will it 
is necessary to make clear to ourselves that thisjs_by no 
means the result of any_objectiye_ knowledge of the worth 
of life, but is independent of all knowledge ; or^ in other 
words, that those beings exhibit themselves, not as drawn 
from in fro_nt, but as impelled from behind. 

If with this intention we first of all review the inter 
minable series of animals, consider the infinite variety of 
their forms, as they exhibit themselves always differently 
modified according to their element and manner of life, 
and also ponder the inimitable ingenuity of their structure 
and mechanism, which is carried out with equal perfection 
in every individual ; aud finally, if we take into considera 
tion the incredible expenditure of strength, dexterity, pru 
dence, and activity which every animal has ceaselessly to 
make through its whole life ; if, approaching the matter 
more closely, we contemplate the untiring diligence of 
wretched little ants, the marvellous and ingenious industry 
of the bees, or observe how a single burying-beetle (Necro- 
phorus vespillo) buries a mole of forty times its own size in 
two days in order to deposit its eggs in it and insure nour 
ishment for the future brood (Gleditsch, Physik. Bot. (Ekon. 
Abhandl, iii. 220), at the same time calling to mind how 
the life of most insects is nothing but ceaseless labour to 
prepare food and an abode for the future brood which will 
arise from their eggs, and which then, after they have 
consumed the food and passed through the chrysalis state, 
enter upon life merely to begin again from the beginning 
the same labour ; then also how, like this, the life of the 
birds is for the most part taken up with their distant and 
laborious migrations, then with the building of their nests 
and the collecting of food for the brood, which itself has 
to play the same r61e the following year ; and so all work 
constantly for the future, which afterwards makes bank 
rupt ; then we cannot avoid looking round for the reward 


of all this skill and trouble, for the end which these ani 
mals have before their eyes, which strive so ceaselessly 
in short, we are driven to ask : What is the result ? what is 
attained by the animal existence which demands such in 
finite preparation ? And there is nothing to point to but 
the satisfaction of hunger and the sexual instinct, or in any 
case a little momentary comfort, as it falls to the lot of 
each animal individual, now and then in the intervals of its 
endless need and struggle. If we place the two together, the 
indescribable ingenuity of the preparations, the enormous 
abundance of the means, and the insufficiency of what is 
thereby aimed at and attained, the insight presses itself 
upon us that life_js^a_business, the proceeds of which are 
very far from covering the cost of itT This becomes most 
evident in some animals of a specially simple manner of 
life. Take, for example, the mole, that unwearied worker. 
To dig with all its might with its enormous shovel claws 
is the occupation of its whole life; constant night sur 
rounds it; its embryo eyes only make it avoid the light. 
It alone is truly an animal nocturnum; not cats, owls, 
and bats, who see by night. But what, now, does it 
attain by this life, full of trouble and devoid of pleasure ? 
Food and the begetting of its kind ; thus only the means of 
carrying on and beginning anew the same doleful course 
in new individuals. In such examples it becomes clear 
that there is no proportion between the cares and troubles 
of life and the results or gain of it. The consciousness of 
the world of perception gives a certain appearance of 
objective worth of existence to the life of those animals 
which can see, although in their case this consciousness 
is entirely subjective and limited to the influence of 
motives upon them. But the blind mole, with its per 
fect organisation and ceaseless activity, limited to the 
alternation of insect larvae and hunger, makes the dis 
proportion of the means to the end apparent. In this 
respect the consideration of the animal world left to itself 
in lands uninhabited by men is also specially instruc- 


tive. A beautiful picture of this, and of the suffering 
which nature prepares for herself without the interference 
of man, is given by Humboldt in his " Ansichten der 
Natur " (second edition, p. 30 et seq.) ; nor does he neglect 
to cast a glance (p. 44) at the analogous suffering of the 
human race, always and everywhere at variance with 
itself. Yet in the simple and easily surveyed life of the 
brutes t]i_emptiness and vanity of the struggle of the 
whole phenomenon is more easily grasped. The variety of 
the organisations, the ingenuity of the means, whereby each 
is adapted to its element and its prey contrasts here dis 
tinctly with the want of any lasting final aim ; instead of 
which there presents itself only momentary comfort, fleet 
ing pleasure conditioned by wants, much and long suffer 
ing, constant strife, bellum omnium, each one both a huntei 
and hunted, pressure, want, need, and anxiety, shrieking 
and howling ; and this goes on in secula seculorum, or till 
once again the crust of the planet breaks. Yunghalm 
relates that he saw in Java a plain far as the eye could 
reach entirely covered with skeletons, and took it for a 
battlefield; they were, however, merely the skeletons of 
large turtles, five feet long and three feet broad, and the 
same height, which come this way out of the sea in order 
to lay their eggs, and are then attacked by wild dogs 
(Canis rutilans), who with their united strength lay them 
on their backs, strip off their lower armour, that is, the 
small shell of the stomach, and so devour them alive. 
But often then a tiger pounces upon the dogs. Now all 
this misery repeats itself thousands and thousands of times, 
year out, year in. For this, then, these turtles are born. 
For whose guilt must they suffer this torment ? Where 
fore the whole scene of horror ? To this the only answer 
is : it is thus that the will to live objectifies itself. 1 Let one 

1 In the Si&de, loth April 1859, vient de parcourir plusieurs pro- 
there appears, very beautifully writ- vinces de 1 ile de Java cite un 
ten, the story of a squirrel that was exeinple remarqueable du pouvoir 
magically drawn by a serpent into facinateur des serpens. Le voyageur 
its very jaws : " Un voyageur qui dont il est question coinmencait h 


consider it well and comprehend it in all its objectifica- 
tions ; and then one will arrive at an understanding of its 
nature and of the world ; but not if one frames general 
conceptions and builds card houses out of them. The 
comprehension of the great drama of the objectification of 

gravir Junjind, un des monts appel<5s 
par les Hollandais Pepergebergte. 
Apres avoir penetre dans une epaisse 
foret, il apercut sur les branches 
d un kijatile un tScureuil de Java h 
tete blanche, folatrant avec la grace 
et 1 agilite qui distinguent cette 
charmaate espece de rongeurs. Un 
nid spherique, formd de brins flexible 
et de mousse, placd dans les parties 
les plus elevees de 1 arbre, a 1 enfour- 
chure de deux branches, et une 
cavit dans le tronc, semblaient les 
points de mire de ses jeux. A peine 
s en e"tait-il eloign^ qu il y revcnait 
avec une ardeur extreme. On e"tait 
dans le rnois de Juillet, et probable- 
merit I dcureuil avait en haut ses 
petits, et dans le bas le magasin a 
fruits. Bientot il fut comme saisi 
d effroi, ses mouveineus devinrent 
de"ordonne"s, on cut dit qu il cher- 
chait toujours a inettre un obstacle 
entre lui et certaines parties de 
1 arbre : puis il se tapit et resta im 
mobile entre deux branches. Le 
voyageur eut le sentiment d un 
danger pourl innocente bete, mais il 
ne pouvait deviner lequel. II ap- 
procha, et un examen attentif lui 
fit de"couvrir dans un creux du tronc 
une couleuvre lieu, dardant ses yeux 
fixes dans la direction de I e cureuil. 
Notre voyageur trembla pour le 
pauvre dcureuiL La couleuvre e"tait 
si attentive a sa proie qu elle ne 
seinblait nullement remarqtier la 
presence d un homine. Notre voya 
geur, qui e"tait arme, aurait done 
prevenir en aide a 1 infortun^ ron- 
geur en tuant le serpent. Mais la 
science 1 emporta sur la pitie", et il 
voulut voir quelle issue aurait le 
drame. Le de"noument fut tragique. 
L dcureuil ne tarda point a pousser 
un cri plaintif qui, pour tous ceux 
qui le connaissent, denote le voisi- 

nage d un serpent. II avanca un 
pen, essaya de reculer, revint encore 
en ^ avant, t^che de retourner en 
arriere. Mais s approcha toujours 
plus du reptile. La couleuvre, 
roulde en spirale, la tete au dessus 
des anneaux, et immobile comme un 
morceau de bois, ne le quittait pas 
du regard. L ecureuil, de branche 
en branche, et descendant toujours 
plus bas, arriva jusqu a la partie 
nue du tronc. Alors le pauvre 
animal ne tenta meme plus de fuir 
le danger. Attir<5 par une puissance 
invincible, et comme pouss^ par le 
vertige, il se pre"cipita dans la gueule 
du serpent, qui s ouvrit tout a coup 
demesurement pour le recevoir. 
Autant la couleuvre avait 6t6 inerte 
jusque la autant elle devint active 
des qu elle fut en possession de sa 
proie. DeVoulant ses anneaux et 
prenant sa course de bas en haut 
avec une agilit^ inconcevable, sa 
reptation la porta en un clin d ceil 
au sominet de 1 arbre, ou elle alia 
saua doute dige"rer et donnir." 

In this example we see what 
spirit animates nature, for it reveals 
itself in it, and how very true is the 
saying of Aristotle quoted above 
(p. 106). This story is not only im 
portant with regard to fascination, 
but also as an argument for pessi 
mism. That an animal is surprised 
and attacked by another is bad ; 
still we can console ourselves for 
that ; but that such a poor innocent 
squirrel sitting beside its nest with 
its young is compelled, step by step, 
reluctantly, battling with itself and 
lamenting, to approach the wide, 
open jaws of the serpent and con 
sciously throw itself into them is 
revolting and atrocious. What 
monstrous kind of nature is this to 
which we belong ! 



the will to live, and the characterisation of its nature, 
certainly demands somewhat more accurate consideration 
and greater thoroughness than the dismissal of the world 
by attributing to it the title of God, or, with a silliness 
which only the German fatherland offers and knows how 
to enjoy, explaining it as the " Idea in its other being," in 
which for twenty years the simpletons of my time have 
found their unutterable delight. Certainly, according to 
pantheism or Spinozism, of which the systems of our cen 
tury are mere travesties, all that sort of thing reels itself 
off actually without end, straight on through all eternity. 
For then the world is a God, ens perfectissimum, i.e., nothing 
better can be or be conceived. Thus there is no need of 
deliverance from it ; and consequently there is none. But 
why the whole tragi-comedy exists cannot in the least 
be seen ; for it has no spectators, and the actors them 
selves undergo infinite trouble, with little and merely 
negative pleasure. 

" Let us now add the consideration of the human race. 
The matter indeed becomes more complicated, and assumes 
a certain seriousness of aspect ; but the fundamental char- 
acter remains unaltered. Here also life presents itself by 
no means as a gift for enjoyment, but as a task, a drudgery 
to be performed ; and in accordance with this we see, in 
great and small, universal need, ceaseless cares, constant 
pressure, endless strife, compulsory activity, with extreme 
exertion of all the powers of body and mind. Many mil 
lions, united into nations, strive for the common good, 
each individual on account of his own ; but many thou 
sands fall as a sacrifice for it. Now senseless delusions, 
now intriguing politics, incite them to wars with each 
other ; then the sweat and the blood of the great multi 
tude must flow, to carry out the ideas of individuals, or 
to expiate their faults. In peace industry and trade 
are active, inventions work miracles, seas are navigated, 
delicacies are collected from all ends of the world, the 
waves engulf thousands. All strive, some planning, 


others acting ; the tumult is indescribable. But the ulti 
mate aim of it all, what is it ? To sustain ephemeral and 
tormented individuals through a short span of time in the 
most fortunate case with endurable want and comparative 
freedom from pain, which, however, is at once attended 
with ennui ; then the reproduction of this race and its striv 
ing. In this evident disproportion between the trouble 
and the reward, the will to live appears to us from this 
point of view, if taken objectively, as a fool, or subjec 
tively, as a delusion, seized by which everything living 
works with the utmost exertion of its strength for some 
thing that is of no value. But when we consider it more 
closely, we shall find here also that it is rather a blind 
pressure, a tendency entirely without ground or motive. 

The law of motivation, as was shown in 29 of the first 
volume, only extends to the particular actions, not to 
willing as a whole and in general. It depends upon this, 
that if we conceive of the human race and its action as a 
whole and universally, it does not present itself to us, as 
when we contemplate the particular actions, as a play of 
puppets who are pulled after the ordinary manner by 
threads outside them; but from this point of view, as 
puppets which are set in motion by internal clockwork. 
For if, as we have done above, one compares the ceaseless, 
serious, and laborious striving of men with what they 
gain by it, nay, even with what they ever can gain, the 
disproportion we have pointed out becomes apparent, for 
one recognises that that which is to be gained, taken as 
the motive-power, is entirely insufficient for the explana 
tion of that movement and that ceaseless striving. What, 
then, is a short postponement of death, a slight easing of 
misery or deferment of pain, a momentary stilling of 
desire, compared with such an abundant and certain 
victory over them all as death ? What could such ad 
vantages accomplish taken as actual moving causes of a 
human race, innumerable because constantly renewed, which 
unceasingly moves, strives, struggles, grieves, writhes, and 


performs the whole tragi- comedy of the history of the 
world, nay, what says more than all, perseveres in such 
a mock-existence as long as each one possibly can? 
Clearly this is all inexplicable if we seek the moving 
causes outside the figures and conceive the human race as 
striving, in consequence of rational reflection, or some 
thing analogous to this (as moving threads), after those 
good 5 things held out to it, the attainment of which 
would be a sufficient reward for its ceaseless cares and 
troubles. The matter being taken thus, every one would 
rather have long ago said, " Le jeu ne vaut pas la, 
chandeUe," and have gone out. But, on the contrary, every 
one guards and defends his life, like a precious pledge 
intrusted to him under heavy responsibility, under in 
finite cares and abundant misery, even under which life 
is tolerable. The wherefore and the why, the reward for 
this, certainly he does not see ; but he has accepted the 
worth of that pledge without seeing it, upon trust and 
faith, and does not know what it consists in. Hence I 
have said that these puppets are not pulled from with 
out, but each bears in itself the clockwork from which its 
movements result. This is the will to live, manifesting itself 
as an untiring machine, an irrational tendency, which has 
not its sufficient reason in the external world. It holds 
the individuals firmly upon the scene, and. is the primum 
mobile, of their movements ; while the external objects, 
the motives, only determine their direction in the par 
ticular case; otherwise the cause would not be at all 
suitable to the effect. For, as every manifestation of a 
force of nature has a cause, but the force of nature itself 
none, so every particular act of will has a motive, but 
the will in general has none : indeed at bottom these two 
are one and the same. The will, as that which is meta 
physical, is everywhere the boundary- stone of every m- 
vesti-ation, beyond which it cannot go. From the original 
and unconditioned nature of the will, which has been 
proved it is explicable that man loves beyond everything 


else an existence full of misery, trouble, pain, and anxiety, 
and, again, full of ennui, which, if he considered and 
weighed it purely objectively, he would certainly abhor, 
and fears above all things the end of it, which is yet for 
him the one thing certain. 1 Accordingly we often see a 
miserable figure, deformed and shrunk with age, want, and 
disease, implore our help from the bottom of his heart for 
the prolongation of an existence, the end of which would 
necessarily appear altogether desirable if it were an ob 
jective judgment that determined here. Thus instead of 
this it is the blind will, appearing as the tendency to life, 
the love of life, and the sense of life; it is the same 
which makes the plants grow. This sense of life may be 
compared to a rope which is stretched above the puppet- 
show of the world of men, and on which the puppets 
hang by invisible threads, while apparently they are sup 
ported only by the ground beneath them (the objective 
value of life). But if the rope becomes weak the puppet 
sinks ; if it breaks the puppet must fall, for the ground 
beneath it only seemed to support it : i.e., the weakening of 
that love of life shows itself as hypochondria, spleen, melan 
choly: its entire exhaustion as the inclination to suicide, 
which now takes place on the slightest occasion, nay, for 
a merely imaginary reason, for now, as it were, the man 
seeks a quarrel with himself, in order to shoot himself 
dead, as many do with others for a like purpose ; indeed, 
upon necessity, suicide is resorted to without any special 
occasion. (Evidence of this will be found in Esquirol, Des 
maladies mentales, 1838.) And as with the persistence 
in life, so is it also with its action and movement. This 
is not something freely chosen ; but while every one would 
really gladly rest, want and ennui are the whips that 
keep the top spinning. Therefore the whole and every 
individual bears the stamp of a forced condition; and 
every one, in that, inwardly weary, he longs for rest, but 

1 "Augustini de civit. Dei," L. xi. c, 27, deserves to be compared a* 
an interesting commentary on what is said here. 


yet must press forward, is like his planet, which does not 
fall into the sun only because a force driving it forward 
prevents it. Therefore everything is in continual strain 
and forced movement, and the course of the world goes 
on, to use an expression of Aristotle s (De ccelo, ii. 13), 
" ov (frvo-ei, a\\a @ta " (Motu, non naturali sect violento). 
Men are only apparently drawn from in front ; really they 
are pushed from behind ; it is not life that tempts them 
on, but necessity that drives them forward. The law of 
motivation is, like all causality, merely the form of the 
phenomenon. We may remark in passing that this is the 
source of the comical, the burlesque, the grotesque, the 
ridiculous side of life ; for, urged forward against his 
will, every one bears himself as best he can, and the straits 
that thus arise often look comical enough, serious as is 
the misery which underlies them. 

In all these considerations, then, it becomes clear to us 
that the will to live is not a consequence of the know 
ledge of life, is in no way a conclusio ex prcemissis, and in 
general is nothing secondary. Bather, it is that which is 
first and unconditioned, the premiss of all premisses, and 
just on that account that from which philosophy must 
start, for the will to live does not appear in consequence 
of the world, but the world in consequence of the will to 

I scarcely need to draw attention to the fact that the 
considerations with which we now conclude the second 
book already point forcibly to the serious theme of the 
fourth book, indeed would pass over into it directly if 
it were not that my architectonic symmetry makes it 
necessary that the third book, with its fair contents, 
should come between, as a second consideration of the 
world as idea, the conclusion of which, however, again 
points in the same direction. 

Supplements to tfje &jjtr& 

" St is similto spectator* est, quod ab omni separatus spectaculum videt.* 

O0PNEKHAT, vol. i. p. 304. 




THE intellect, which has hitherto only been considered in 
its original and natural condition of servitude under the 
will, appears in the third book in its deliverance from 
that bondage ; with regard to which, however, it must at 
once be observed that we have not to do here with a 
lasting emancipation, but only with a brief hour of rest, 
an exceptional and indeed only momentary release from 
the service of the will As this subject has been treated 
with sufficient fulness in the first volume, I have here 
only to add a few supplementary remarks. 

As, then, was there explained, the intellect in its activity 
in the service of the will, thus in its natural function, 
knows only the mere relations of things ; primarily to the 
will itself, to which it belongs, whereby they become 
motives of the will ; but then also, just for the sake of 
the completeness of this knowledge, the relations of things 
to each other. This last knowledge first appears in some 
extent and importance in the human intellect; in the 
case of the brutes, on the other hand, even where the 
intellect is considerably developed, only within very 
narrow limits. Clearly even the apprehension of the 
relations which things have to each other only takes place, 

1 This chapter is connected with 30-32 of the first volume. 


indirectly, in the service of the will. It therefore forma 
the transition to the purely objective knowledge, which is 
entirely independent of the will ; it is scientific knowledge, 
the latter is artistic knowledge. If many and various 
relations of an object are immediately apprehended, from 
these the peculiar and proper nature of the object appears 
ever more distinctly, and gradually constructs itself out 
of mere relations : although it itself is entirely different 
from them. In this mode of apprehension the subjection 
of the intellect to the will at once becomes ever more 
indirect and less. If the intellect has strength enough 
to gain the preponderance, and let go altogether the 
relations of things to the will, in order to apprehend, 
instead of them, the purely objective nature of a pheno 
menon, which expresses itself through all relations, it 
also forsakes, along with the service of the will, the 
apprehension of mere relations, and thereby really also 
that of the individual thing as such. It then moves 
freely, no longer belonging to a will. In the individual 
thing it knows only the essential, and therefore its whole 
species; consequently it now has for its object the Ideas, 
in my sense, which agrees with the original, Platonic 
meaning of this grossly misused word ; thus the perma 
nent, unchanging forms, independent of the temporal exis 
tence of the individuals, the species rerum, which really 
constitute what is purely objective in the phenomena. 
An Idea so apprehended is not yet indeed the essence of 
the thing in itself, just because it has sprung from know 
ledge of mere relations ; yet, as the result of the sum of 
all the relations, it is the peculiar character of the thing, 
and thereby the complete expression of the essence which 
exhibits itself as an object of perception, comprehended, 
not in relation to an individual will, but as it expresses 
itself spontaneously, whereby indeed it determines all its 
relations, which till then alone were known. The Idea 
is the root point of all these relations, and thereby the 
complete and perfect phenomenon, or, as I have expressed 


it in the text, the adequate objectivity of the will at this 
grade of its manifestation. Form and colour, indeed, which 
in the apprehension of the Idea by perception are what 
is immediate, belong at bottom not to the Idea itself, but 
are merely the medium of its expression; for, strictly 
speaking, space is as foreign to it as time. In this 
sense the Neo-Platonist Olympiodorus already says in 
his commentary on Plato s Alcibiades (Kreuzer s edition 
of Proclus and Olympiodorus, vol. ii. p. 82): "TO etSo? 
fjieraSeScoKe pev rrjs /J,op<j>r)<; ry v\rj apepes Be ov nereXafiev 
eg avri)? TOV Beaarrarov : " i.e., the Idea, in itself unextended, 
imparted certainly the form to the matter, but first assumed 
extension from it. Thus, as was said, the Ideas reveal 
not the thing in itself, but only the objective character of 
things, thus still only the phenomenon; and we would 
not even understand this character if the inner nature of 
things were not otherwise known to us at least obscurely 
and in feeling. This nature itself cannot be understood 
from the Ideas, nor in general through any merely objective 
knowledge ; therefore it would remain an eternal secret if 
we were not able to approach it from an entirely different 
side. Only because every knowing being is also an in 
dividual, and thereby a part of nature, does the approach 
to the inner being of nature stand open to him in his 
own self-consciousness, where, as we have found, it makes 
itself known in the most immediate manner as will. 

Now what the Platonic Idea is, regarded as a merely 
objective image, mere form, and thereby lifted out of time 
and all relations that, taken empirically and in time, is 
the species or kind. This, then, is the empirical correlative 
of the Idea. The Idea is properly eternal, but the species 
is of endless duration, although its appearance upon one 
planet may become extinct. Even the names of the two 
pass over into each other : iBea, et8o<?, species, kind. The 
Idea is the species, but not the genus: therefore the 
species are the work of nature, the genera the work of 
man ; they are mere conceptions. There are species 


naturales,l>ut ou]y genera logica. Of manufactured articles 
there are no Ideas, but only conceptions; thus genera 
logica, and their subordinate classes are species logicce. To 
what is said in this reference in vol. i. 41, I will add 
here that Aristotle also (Metaph. i. 9 and xiii. 5) says 
that the Platonists admitted no ideas of manufactured 
articles : " oiov oiKia, KCU SctfcrvXios, wv ov fyaaiv ewat, eiBrj " 
( Ut domus et annulus, quorum ideas dari negant). With 
which compare the Scholiast, p. 562, 563 of the Berlin 
quarto edition. Aristotle further says (Metaph. xi. 3) : 
" a\\ eiTrep (Supple., eiBrj ecr-u) ^TTL ra>v (frvaei (etnv) 810 
Srj ov /ea/rt9 o IlXartov efa, on etBij ecrrt o-rrotra <f>vaei " (Si 
quidem idea sunt, in iis sunt, qua natura fiunt : propter 
quod non male Plato dixit, quod species eorum sunt, qua 
natura sunt). On which the Scholiast remarks, p. 800 : 
"/cat TOVTO apecrtcei tcai avrots rot? ra? tSea? depevois" 
TCOV yap VTTO re^v^ yivo^evwv iSea? eivai OVK eXeyov, a\\a 
rtov VTTO <j>vaa>s " (Hoc ctiam ipsis ideas statuentibus placet : 
non enim artefactorum ideas dari ajebant, sed natura pro- 
creatorum). For the rest, the doctrine of Ideas originated 
with the Pythagoreans, unless we distrust the assertion of 
Plutarch in the book, De placitis philosophorum, L. i. c. 3. 

The individual is rooted in the species, and time in eter 
nity. And as every individual is so only because it has 
the nature of its species in itself, so also it has only tem 
poral existence because it is in eternity. In the following 
book a special chapter is devoted to the life of the species! 
In 49 of the first volume I have sufficiently brought 
out ^the difference between the Idea and the conception. 
Their resemblance, on the other hand, rests upon the fol 
lowing ground: The original and essential unity of an 
Idea becomes broken up into the multiplicity of individual 
things through the perception of the knowing individual, 
which is subject to sensuous and cerebral conditions. But 
that unity is then restored through the reflection of the 
reason, yet only in abstracto, as a concept, universale, which 
indeed is equal to the Idea in extension, but has assumed 


quite a different form, and has thereby lost its perceptible 
nature, and with this its thorough determinateness. In 
this sense (but in no other) we might, in the language of 
the Scholastics, describe the Ideas as universalia ante 
rem, the conceptions as universalia post rem. Between the 
two stand the individual things, the knowledge of which 
is possessed also by the brutes. Without doubt the realism 
of the Scholastics arose from the confusion of the Platonic 
Ideas, to which, since they are also the species, an objec 
tive real being can certainly be attributed, with the mere 
concepts to which the Eealists now wished to attribute 
such a being, and thereby called forth the victorious oppo 
sition of Nominalism. 

( 126 ) 



THE comprehension of an Idea, the entrance of it into our 
consciousness, is only possible by means of a change in us, 
which might also be regarded as an act of self-denial ; for 
it consists in this, that knowledge turns away altogether 
from our own will, thus now leaves out of sight entirely 
the valuable pledge intrusted to it, and considers things 
as if they could never concern the will at all. For thus 
alone does knowledge become a pure mirror of the objec 
tive nature of things. Knowledge conditioned in this way 
must lie at the foundation of every genuine work of art as 
its origin. The change in the subject which is required 
for this cannot proceed from the will, just because it con 
sists in the elimination of all volition ; thus it can be no 
/ act of the will, i.e., it cannot lie in our choice. On the 
I contrary, it springs only from a temporary preponderance 
/ of the intellect over the will, or, physiologically considered, 
\ from a strong excitement of the perceptive faculty of the 
brain, without any excitement of the desires or emotions. 
To explain this somewhat more accurately I remind the 
reader that our consciousness has two sides ; partly, it is 
a consciousness of our own selves, which is the will ; partly 
a consciousness of other things, and as such primarily, 
knowledge, through perception, of the external world, the 
apprehension of objects. Now the more one side of the 
whole consciousness comes to the front, the more the other 
side withdraws. Accordingly, the consciousness of other 
things, thus knowledge of perception, becomes the more 

1 This chapter is connected with 33-34 of the first volume* 


perfect, i.e., the more objective, the less we are conscious 
of ourselves at the time. Here exists an actual antago 
nism. The more we are conscious of the object, the less 
we are conscious of the subject ; the more, on the other 
hand, the latter occupies our consciousness, the weaker 
and more imperfect is our perception of the external 
world. The state which is required for pure objectivity 
of perception has partly permanent conditions in the per 
fection of the brain and the general physiological qualities 
favourable to its activity, partly temporary conditions, 
inasmuch as such a state is favoured by all that increases 
the attention and heightens the susceptibility of the cere 
bral nervous system, yet without exciting any passion. 
One must not think here of spirituous drinks or opium ; 
what is rather required is a night of quiet sleep, a cold 
bath, and all that procures for the brain activity an un 
forced predominance by quieting the circulation and calm 
ing the passions. It is especially these natural means of 
furthering the cerebral nervous activity which bring it 
about, certainly so much the better the more developed 
and energetic in general the brain is, that the object sepa 
rates itself ever more from the subject, and finally intro 
duces the state of pure objectivity of perception, which of 
itself eliminates the will from consciousness, and in which 
all things stand before us with increased clearness and 
distinctness, so that we are conscious almost only of them 
and scarcely at all of ourselves ; thus our whole conscious 
ness is almost nothing more than the medium through 
which the perceived object appears in the world as an 
idea. Thus it is necessary for pure, will-less knowledge 
that the consciousness of ourselves should vanish, since 
the consciousness of other things is raised to such a pitch. 
For we only apprehend the world in a purely objective 
manner when we no longer know that we belong to it ; 
and all things appear the more beautiful the more we are 
conscious merely of them and the less we are conscious of 
ourselves. Since now all suffering proceeds from the will, 


which constitutes the real self, with the withdrawal of 
this side of consciousness all possibility of suffering is also 
abolished ; therefore the condition of the pure objectivity 
of perception is one which throughout gives pleasure ; and 
hence I have shown that in it lies one of the two con 
stituent elements of aesthetic satisfaction. As soon, on 
the other hand, as the consciousness of our own self, thus 
subjectivity, i.e., the will, again obtains the upper hand, a 
proportional degree of discomfort or unrest also enters; 
of discomfort, because our corporealness (the organism 
which in itself is the will) is again felt ; of unrest, because 
the will, on the path of thought, again fills the conscious 
ness through wishes, emotions, passions, and cares. For 
the will, as the principle of subjectivity, is everywhere the 
opposite, nay, the antagonist of knowledge. The greatest 
concentration of subjectivity consists in the act of will 
proper, in which therefore we have the most distinct con 
sciousness of our own self. All other excitements of the 
will are only preparations for this ; the act of will itself 
is for subjectivity what for the electric apparatus is the 
passing of the spark. Every bodily sensation is in itself 
an excitement of the will, and indeed oftener of the 
noluntas than of the wluntas. The excitement of the will 
on the path of thought is that which occurs by means of 
motives ; thus here the subjectivity is awakened and set 
in play by the objectivity itself. This takes place when 
ever any object is apprehended no longer in a purely 
objective manner, thus without participation in it, but, 
directly or indirectly, excites desire or aversion, even i it 
is only by means of a recollection, for then it acts as a 
motive in the widest sense of the word. 

I remark here that abstract thinking and reading, which 
are connected with words, belong indeed in the wider 
sense to the consciousness of other things, thus to the 
objective employment of the mind ; yet only indirectly, 
by means of conceptions. But the latter are the artificial 
product of the reason, and are therefore already a work 


of intention. Moreover, the will is the ruler of all abstract 
exercise of the mind, for, according to its aims, it imparts 
the direction, and also fixes the attention ; therefore such 
mental activity is always accompanied by some effort; 
and this presupposes the activity of the will. Thus com 
plete objectivity of consciousness does not exist with this 
kind of mental activity, as it accompanies the aesthetic 
apprehension, i.e., the knowledge of the Ideas, as a con 

In accordance with the above, the pure objectivity of 
perception, by virtue of which no longer the individual 
thing as such, but the Idea of its species is known, is 
conditioned by the fact that one is no longer conscious of 
oneself, but only of the perceived objects, so that one s 
own consciousness only remains as the supporter of the \ 
objective existence of these objects. What increases the 
difficulty of this state, and therefore makes it more rare, 
is, that in it the accident (the intellect) overcomes and 
annuls the substance (the will), although only for a short 
time. Here also lies the analogy and, indeed, the re 
lationship of this with the denial of the will expounded 
at the end of the following book. Although knowledge, 
as was shown in the preceding book, is sprung from the 
will and is rooted in the manifestation of the will, the 
organism, yet it is just by the will that its purity is 
disturbed, as the flame is by the fuel and its smoke. It / ; 
depends upon this that we can only apprehen,d the. purely- J~: 
objective nature of things, the Ideas which appear in f 
them, when we have ourselves no interest in them, be- * 
cause they stand in no relation to our will. From this, 
again, it arises that the Ideas of anything appeal to us 
mo*e easily from a work of art than from reality. For 
what we behold only in a picture or in poetry stands 
outside all possibility of having any relation to our will ; 
for in itself it exists only for knowledge and appeals im 
mediately to knowledge alone. On the other hand, the 
apprehension of Ideas from reality assumes some measure 



of abstraction from our own volition, a rising above its in 
terests which demands a special power of the intellect. In 
,aJugh degree, and for some duration, this belongs only to x 
genius; Vhich consists indeed in this, that a greater measure 
of -the power of knowledge exists than is required for the 
/service of an individual will, and this surplus becomes 
free, and now comprehends the world without reference j 
to the will. Thus that the work of art. facilitates. so greatly, 
the apprehension of the Ideas* in which aesthetic satis- 
jaction consists, depends not merely upon the fact that art, 
by giving prominence to what is essential and eliminating 
what is unessential, presents the things more distinctly 
and characteristically, but just as much on the fact that 
the absolute silence of the will, which is demanded for 
the purely objective comprehension of the nature of the 
things, is attained with the greatest certainty when the 
perceived object itself lies entirely outside the province of 
things which are capable of having a relation to the will, 
because it is nothing real, but a mere picture. Now this 
holds good, not only of the works of plastic and picto 
rial art, but also of poetry ; the effect of which is also 
conditioned by indifferent, will-less, and thereby purely 
objective apprehension. It is exactly this which makes a 
perceived object picturesque, an event of actual life poeti 
cal ; for it is only this that throws over the objects of the 
real world that magic gleam which in the case of sensibly 
perceived objects is called the picturesque, and in the 
case of those which are only perceived in imagination 
is called the poetical. If poets sing of the blithe morn 
ing, the beautiful evening, the still moonlight night, and 
many such things, the real object of their praise is, un 
known to themselves, the pure subject of knowledge 
which is called forth by those beauties of nature, and on 
the appearance of which the will vanishes from con 
sciousness, and so that peace of heart enters which, apart 
from this, is unattainable in the world. How otherwise, 
for example, could the verse 


* Nox erat, et ccelo fulgebat luna, sereno, 
Inter minora sidera," 

affect us so beneficently, nay, so magically ? Further, that 
the stranger or the mere passing traveller feels the 
picturesque or poetical effect of objects which are unable 
to produce this effect upon those who live among them 
may be explained from the fact that the novelty and 
complete strangeness of the objects of such an indifferent 
purely objective apprehension are favourable to it. Thus 
for example, the sight of an entirely strange town often 
makes a specially agreeable impression upon the traveller, 
which it by no means produces in the inhabitant of it ; 
for it arises from the fact that the former, being out of 
all relation to this town and its inhabitants, perceives it 
purely objectively. Upon this depends partly the pleasure 
of travelling. This seems also to be the reason why it 
is sought to increase the efi ect of narrative or dramatic 
works by transferring the scene to distant times or lands : 
in Germany, to Italy or Spain; in Italy, to Germany, 
Poland, or even Holland. If now perfectly objective, in 
tuitive apprehension, purified from all volition, is the 
condition of the enjoyment of aesthetic objects, so much 
the more is it the condition of their production. Every 
good picture, every genuine poem, bears the stamp of the 
frame of mind described. For only what has sprung from 
perception, and indeed from purely objective perception,/ 
or is directly excited by it, contains the living germ from* 
which genuine and original achievements can grow up: 
not only in plastic and pictorial art, but also in poetry 
nay, even in philosophy. The punctum saliens of ever/ 
beautiful work, of every great or profound thought, is a 
purely objective perception. Such perception, however, 
is absolutely conditioned by the complete silence of the 
will, which leaves the man simply the pure subject of 
knowledge. The natural disposition for the predominance 
of this state is genius. 

With the disappearance of volition from consciousness. 


the individuality also, and with it its suffering and misery, 
is really abolished. Therefore I have described the pure 
subject of knowledge which then remains over as the 
eternal eye of the world, which, although with very diffe 
rent degrees of clearness, looks forth from all living crea 
tures, untouched by their appearing and passing away, 
and thus, as identical with itself, as constantly one and 
the same, is the supporter of the world of permanent 
Ideas, i.e., of the adequate objectivity of the will ; while 
the individual subject, whose knowledge is clouded by the 
individuality which springs from the will, has only parti 
cular things as its object, and is transitory as these them 
selves. In the sense here indicated a double existence 
may be attributed to every one. As will, and therefore as 
individual, he is only one, and this one exclusively, which 
gives him enough to do and to suffer. As the purely ob 
jective perceiver, he is the pure subject of knowledge in 
whose consciousness alone the objective world has its 
existence ; as such he is all things so far as he perceives 
them, and in him is their existence without burden or 
inconvenience. It is his existence, so far as it exists in 
his idea; but it is there without will. So far, on the other 
hand, as it is will, it is not in him. It is well with every 
one when he is in that state in which he is all things ; it 
is ill with him when in the state in which he is exclusively 
one. Every state, every man, every scene of life, requires 
only to be purely objectively apprehended and be made 
the subject of a sketch, whether with pencil or with words, 
in order to appear interesting, charming, and enviable; 
but if one is in it, if one is it oneself, then (it is often a 
case of) may the devil endure it. Therefore Goethe says 

" What in life doth only grieve us, 
That in art we gladly see." 

There was a period in the years of my youth when I was 
always trying to see myself and my action from without, 
and picture it to myself; probably in order to make it 
more enjoyable to me. 


As I have never spoken before on the subject I have 
just been considering, I wish to add a psychological illus 
tration of it. 

In the immediate perception of the world and of life 
we consider things, as a rule, merely in their relations, 
consequently according to their relative and not their 
absolute nature and existence. For example, we will 
regard houses, ships, machines, and the like with the 
thought of their end and their adaptation to it; men, 
with the thought of their relation to us, if they have any 
such ; and then with that of their relations to each other, 
whether in their present action or with regard to their 
position and business, judging perhaps their fitness for it, 
&c. Such a consideration of the relations we can follow 
more or less far to the most distant links of their chain : 
the consideration will thereby gain in accuracy and extent, 
but in its quality and nature it remains the same. It is 
the consideration of things in their relations, nay, by means 
of these, thus according to the principle of sufficient reason. 
Every one, for the most part and as a rule, is given up to 
this method of consideration ; indeed I believe that most 
men are capable of no other. But if, as an exception, it 
happens that we experience a momentary heightening of 
the intensity of our intuitive intelligence, we at once see 
things with entirely different eyes, in that we now appre 
hend them no longer according to their relations, but 
according to that which they are in and for themselves, 
and suddenly perceive their absolute existence apart from 
their relative existence. At once every individual repre 
sents its species; and accordingly we now apprehend the 
universal of every being. Now what we thus know are 
the Ideas of things ; but out of these there now speaks a 
higher wisdom than that which knows of mere relations. 
And we also have then passed out of the relations, and 
have thus become the pure subject of knowledge. But 
what now exceptionally brings about this state must be 
internal physiological processes, which purify the activity 


of the brain, and heighten it to such a degree that a sudden 
spring-tide of activity like this ensues. The external con 
ditions of this are that we remain completely strange to 
the scene to be considered, and separated from it, and are 
absolutely not actively involved in it. 

In order to see that a purely objective, and therefore 
correct, comprehension of things is only possible when we 
consider them without any personal participation in them, 
thus when the will is perfectly silent, let one call to 
mind how much every emotion or passion disturbs and 
falsifies our knowledge, indeed how every inclination and 
aversion alters, colours, and distorts not only the judg 
ment, but even the original perception of things. Let 
one remember how when we are gladdened by some for 
tunate occurrence the whole world at once assumes a 
bright colour and a smiling aspect, and, on the contrary, 
looks gloomy and sad when we are pressed with cares ; 
also, how even a lifeless thing, if it is to be made use 
of in doing something which we abhor, seems to have 
a hideous physiognomy; for example, the scaffold, the 
fortress, to which we have been brought, the surgeon s 
cases of instruments ; the travelling carriage of our loved 
one, &c., nay, numbers, letters, seals, may seem to grin 
upon us horribly and affect us as fearful monstrosities. 
On the other hand, the tools for the accomplishment of 
our wishes at once appear to us agreeable and pleasing ; 
for example, the hump-backed old woman with the love- 
letter, the Jew with the louis d ors, the rope-ladder to 
escape by, &c. As now here the falsification of the idea 
through the will in the case of special abhorrence or love 
is unmistakable, so is it present in a less degree in every 
object which has any even distant relation to our will, 
that is, to our desire or aversion. Only when the will 
with its interests has left consciousness, and the intellect 
freely follows its own laws, and as pure subject mirrors 
the objective world, yet in doing so, although spurred on 
by no volition, is of its own inclination in the highest 


state of tension and activity, do the colours and forms of 
things appear in their true and full significance. Thus it 
is from such comprehension alone that genuine works of 
art can proceed whose permanent worth and ever renewed 
approval arises simply from the fact that they express 
the purely objective element, which lies at the foundation 
of and shines through the different subjective, and there 
fore distorted, perceptions, as that which is common to 
them all and alone stands fast; as it were the common 
theme of all those subjective variations. For certainly 
the nature which is displayed before our eyes exhibits 
itself very differently in different minds; and as each 
one sees it so alone can he repeat it, whether with the 
pencil or the chisel, or with words and gestures on the 
stage. Objectivity alone makes one capable of being an 
artist ; but objectivity is only possible in this way, that 
the intellect, separated from its root the will, moves freely, 
and yet acts with the highest degree of energy. 

To the youth whose perceptive intellect still acts with 
fresh energy nature often exhibits itself with complete 
objectivity, and therefore with perfect beauty. But the 
pleasure of such a glance is sometimes disturbed by the 
saddening reflection that the objects present which exhibit 
themselves in such beauty do not stand in a personal 
relation to this will, by virtue of which they could interest 
and delight him ; he expects his life in the form of an 
interesting romance. " Behind that jutting cliff the well- 
mounted band of friends should await me, beside that 
waterfall my love should rest; this beautifully lighted build 
ing should be her dwelling, and that vine-clad window 
hers; but this beautiful world is for me a desert!" and soon. 
Such melancholy youthful reveries really demand something 
exactly contradictory to themselves ; for the beauty with 
which those objects present themselves depends just upon 
the pure objectivity, i.e., disinterestedness of their percep 
tion, and would therefore at once be abolished by the 
relation to his own will which the youth painfully misses, 


and thus the whole charm which now affords him plea 
sure, even though alloyed with a certain admixture of 
pain, would cease to exist. The same holds good, more 
over, of every age and every relation ; the beauty of the 
objects of a landscape which now delights us would vanish 
if we stood in personal relations to them, of which we 
remained always conscious. Everything is beautiful only 
so long as it does not concern us. (We are not speaking 
here of sensual passion, but of aesthetic pleasure.) Life is 
never beautiful, but only the pictures of life are so in the 
transfiguring mirror of art or poetry ; especially in youth, 
when we do not yet know it. Many a youth would 
receive great peace of mind if one could assist him to this 

Why has the sight of the full moon such a beneficent, 
quieting, and exalting effect? Because the moon is an 
object of perception, but never of desire : 

" The stars we yearn not after 
Delight us with their glory." G. 

Further, it is sublime, i.e., it induces a lofty mood in us, 
because, without any relation to us, it moves along for 
ever strange to earthly doings, and sees all while it takes 
part in nothing. Therefore, at the sight of it the will, 
with its constant neediness, vanishes from consciousness, 
and leaves a purely knowing consciousness behind. Per 
haps there is also mingled here a feeling that we share 
this sight with millions, whose individual differences are 
therein extinguished, so that in this perception they are 
one, which certainly increases the impression of the sub 
lime. Finally, this is also furthered by the fact that the 
moon lights without heating, in which certainly lies the 
reason why it has been called chaste and identified with 
Diana. In consequence of this whole beneficent impression 
upon our feeling, the moon becomes gradually our bosom 
friend. The sun, again, never does so ; but is like an over- 
plenteous benefactor whom we can never look in the face. 


The following remark may find room here as an addi 
tion to what is said in 38 of the first volume on the 
aesthetic pleasure afforded by light, reflection, and colours. 
The whole immediate, thoughtless, but also unspeakable, 
pleasure which is excited in us by the impression of 
colours, strengthened by the gleam of metal, and still 
more by transparency, as, for example, in coloured win 
dows, and in a greater measure by means of the clouds 
and their reflection at sunset, ultimately depends upon 
the fact that here in the easiest manner, almost by a 
physical necessity, our whole interest is won for know 
ledge, without any excitement of our will, so that we enter 
the state of pure knowing, although for the most part this 
consists here in a mere sensation of the affection of the 
retina, which, however, as it is in itself perfectly free from 
pain or pleasure, and therefore entirely without direct 
influence on the will, thus belongs to pure knowledge. 

( 138 ) 



WHAT is properly denoted by the name genius is the 
predominating capacity for that kind of knowledge which 
has been described in the two preceding chapters, the 
knowledge from which all genuine works of art and 
poetry, and even of philosophy, proceed. Accordingly* 
since this has for its objects the Platonic Ideas, and these 
are not comprehended in the abstract, but only perceptibly, 
the essence of genius must lie in the perfection and 
energy of the knowledge of perception. Corresponding to 
this, the works which we hear most decidedly designated 
works of genius are those which start immediately from 
perception and devote themselves to perception ; thus 
those of plastic and pictorial art, and then those of poetry, 
which gets its perceptions by the assistance of the ima 
gination. The difference between genius and mere talent 
makes itself noticeable even here. For talent is an excel 
lence which lies rather in the greater versatility and 
acuteness of discursive than of intuitive knowledge. He 
who is endowed with talent thinks more quickly and more 
correctly than others ; but the genius beholds another 
world from them all, although only because he has a 
more profound perception of the world which lies before 
them also, in that it presents itself in his mind more 
objectively, and consequently in greater purity and dis 

1 This chapter is connected with 36 of the first volume. 


The intellect is, according to its destination, merely the 
medium of motives ; and in accordance with this it origi 
nally comprehends nothing in things but their relations to 
the will, the direct, the indirect, and the possible. In the 
case of the brutes, where it is almost entirely confined to 
the direct relations, the matter is just on that account 
most apparent: what has no relation to their will does 
not exist for them. Therefore we sometimes see with sur 
prise that even clever animals do not observe at all some 
thing conspicuous to them; for example, they show no 
surprise at obvious alterations in our person and surround 
ings. In the case of normal men the indirect, and even 
the possible, relations to the will are added, the sum of 
which make up the total of useful knowledge ; but here 
also knowledge remains confined to the relations. There 
fore the normal mind does not attain to an absolutely pure, 
objective picture of things, because its power of perception, 
whenever it is not spurred on by the will and set in motion, 
at once becomes tired and inactive, because it has not 
enough energy of its own elasticity and without an end in 
view to apprehend the world in a purely objective manner. 
Where, on the other hand, this takes place where the brain 
has such a surplus of the power of ideation that a pure, 
distinct, objective image of the external world exhibits 
itself without any aim ; an image which is useless for the 
intentions of the will, indeed, in the higher degrees, dis 
turbing, and even injurious to them there, the natural 
disposition, at least, is already present for that abnormity 
which the name genius denotes, which signifies that here a 
genius foreign to the will, i.e., to the I proper, as it were 
coming from without, seems to be active. But to speak with 
out a figure : genius consists in this, that the knowing faculty 
has received a considerably greater development than the 
service of the will, for which alone it originally appeared, 
demands. Therefore, strictly speaking, physiology might 
to a certain extent class such a superfluity of brain activity, 
and with it of brain itself, among the monstra per exces- 


sum, which, it is well known, it co-ordinates with monstra 
per defectum and those per situm mutatum. Thus genius 
consists in an abnormally large measure of intellect, which 
can only find its use by being applied to the universal of 
existence, whereby it then devotes itself to the service of 
the whole human race, as the normal intellect to that of 
the individual. In order to make this perfectly compre 
hensible one might say: if the normal man consists of 
two-thirds will and one-third intellect, the genius, on the 
contrary, has two-thirds intellect and one-third will. This 
might, then, be further illustrated by a chemical simile : 
the base and the acid of a neutral salt are distinguished 
by the fact that in each of the two the radical has the 
converse relation to oxygen to that which it has in the 
other. The base or the alkali is so because in it the 
radical predominates with reference to oxygen, and the 
acid is so because in it oxygen predominates. In the 
same way now the normal man and the genius are related 
in respect of will and intellect. From this arises a 
thorough distinction between them, which is visible even 
in their whole nature and behaviour, but comes out most 
clearly in their achievements. One might add the diffe 
rence that while that total opposition between the chemi 
cal materials forms the strongest affinity and attraction 
between them, in the human race the opposite is rather 
wont to be found. 

The first manifestation v. hich such a superfluity of the 
power of knowledge calls forth shows itself for the most 
part in the most original and fundamental knowledge, i.e., 
in knowledge of perception, and occasions the repetition of 
it in an image ; hence arises the painter and the sculptor. 
In their case, then, the path between the apprehension of 
genius and the artistic production is the shortest ; there 
fore the form in which genius and its activity here exhibits 
itself is the simplest and its description the easiest. Yet 
here also the source is shown from which all genuine pro 
ductions in every art, in poetry, and indeed in philosophy, 


have their origin, although in the case of these the process 
is not so simple. 

Let the result arrived at in the first book be here borne 
in mind, that all perception is intellectual and not merely 
sensuous. If one now adds the exposition given here, 
and, at the same time, in justice considers that the philo 
sophy of last century denoted the perceptive faculty of 
knowledge by the name " lower powers of the soul," we 
will not think it so utterly absurd nor so deserving of the 
bitter scorn with which Jean Paul quotes it in his " Vor- 
schule der ^sthetik" that Adelung, who had to speak the 
language of his age, placed genius in "a remarkable 
strength of the lower powers of the soul." The work just 
referred to of this author, who is so worthy of our admira 
tion, has great excellences, but yet I must remark that all 
through, whenever a theoretical explanation and, in general, 
instruction is the end in view, a style of exposition which 
is constantly indulging in displays of wit and hurrying 
along in mere similes cannot be well adapted to the 

It is, then, perception to which primarily the peculiar 
and true nature of things, although still in a conditioned 
manner, discloses and reveals itself. All conceptions and 
everything thought are mere abstractions, consequently 
partial ideas taken from perception, and have only arisen 
by thinking away. All profound knowledge, even wisdom 
properly so called, is rooted in the perceptive apprehension 
of things, as we have fully considered in the supplements 
to the first book. A perceptive apprehension has always") 
been the generative process in which every genuine work ( 
of art, every immortal thought, received the spark of life. 1 
All primary thought takes place in pictures. From con-/ 
ceptions, on the other hand, arise the works of mere talent, 
the merely rational thoughts, imitations, and indeed all 
that is calculated merely with reference to the present 
need and contemporary conditions. 

But if now our perception were constantly bound to the 


real present of things, its material would be entirely under 
the dominion of chance, which seldom produces things at 
the right time, seldom arranges them for an end and for the 
most part presents them to us in very defective examples. 
Therefore the imagination is required in order to complete, 
arrange, give the finishing touches to, retain, and repeat at 
pleasure all those significant pictures of life, according as 
the aims of a profoundly penetrating knowledge and of 
the significant work whereby they are to be communicated 
may demand. Upon this rests the high value of imaginaP 
tion, which is an indispensable tool of genius. For only 
by virtue of imagination can genius ever, according to the 
requirements of the connection of its painting or poetry or 
thinking, call up to itself each object or event in a lively) 
image, and thus constantly draw fresh nourishment from 
the primary source of all knowledge, perception. The man 
who is endowed with imagination is able, as it were, to 
call up spirits, who at the right time reveal to him the 
truths which the naked reality of things exhibits only 
weakly, rarely, and then for the most part at the wrong 
time. Therefore the man without imagination is related 
to him, as the mussel fastened to its rock, which must 
wait for what chance may bring it, is related to the freely 
moving or even winged animal. For such a man knows 
nothing but the actual perception of the senses : till it 
comes he gnaws at conceptions and abstractions which 
are yet mere shells and husks, not the kernel of know 
ledge. He will never achieve anything great, unless it 
be in calculating and mathematics. The works of plastic 
and pictorial art and of poetry, as also the achievements 
of mimicry, may also be regarded as means by which those 
who have no imagination may make up for this defect 
as far as possible, and those who are gifted with it may 
facilitate the use of it. 

Thus, although the kind of knowledge which is peculiar 
and essential to genius is knowledge of perception, yet the 
special object of this knowledge by no means consists of 


the particular things, but of the Platonic Ideas which 
manifest themselves in these, as their apprehension was 
analysed in chapter 29. Always to see the universal in" I 
the particular is just the fundamental characteristic of \ 
genius, while, the, normal man knows in the particular 
only the particular as such, for only as such does it belong 
to the actual which alone has interests for him, i.e., 
relations to his will. The degree in which every one 
not merely thinks, but actually perceives, in the par 
ticular thing, only the particular, or a more or less 
universal up to the most universal of the species, is 
the measure of his approach to genius. And correspond 
ing to this, only the nature of things generally, the 
universal in them, the whole, is the special object of 
genius. The investigation of the particular phenomena is 
the field of the talents, in the real sciences, whose special 
object is always only the relations of things to each other. 
What was fully shown in the preceding chapter, that 
the apprehension of the Ideas is conditioned by the fact 
that the knower is the pure subject of knowledge, i.e., that 
the will entirely vanishes from consciousness, must be 
borne in mind here. The pleasure which we have in many 
of Goethe s songs which bring the landscape before our 
eyes, or in Jean Paul s sketches of nature, depends upon 
the fact that we thereby participate in the objectivity of 
those minds, i.e., the purity with which in them the world 
as idea separated from the world as will, and, as it were, 
entirely emancipated itself from it. It also follows from 
the fact that the kind of knowledge peculiar to genius 
is essentially that which is purified from all will and its 
relations, that the works of genius do not proceed from 
intention or choice, but it is guided in them by a kind 
of instinctive necessity. What is called the awaking of 
genius, the hour of initiation, the moment of inspira 
tion, is nothing but the attainment of freedom by the 
intellect, when, delivered for a while from its service 
under the will, it does not now sink into inactivity or 


lassitude, but is active for a short time entirely alone and 
spontaneously. Then it is of the greatest purity, and 
becomes the clear mirror of the world; for, completely 
severed from its origin, the will, it is now the world as 
idea itself, concentrated in one consciousness. In such 
moments, as it were, the souls of immortal works are be 
gotten. On the other hand, in all intentional reflection 
the intellect is not free, for indeed the will guides it and 
prescribes it its theme. 

The stamp of commonness, the expression of vulgarity, 
which is impressed on the great majority of countenances 
consists really in this, that in them becomes visible the 
strict subordination of their knowledge to their will, the 
firm chain which binds these two together, and the im 
possibility following from this of apprehending things 
otherwise than in their relation to the will and its aims. 
On the other hand, the expression of genius which consti 
tutes the evident family likeness of all highly gifted men 
consists in this, that in it we distinctly read the liberation, 
the manumission of the intellect from the service of the 
will, the predominance of knowledge over volition ; and 
because all anxiety proceeds from the will, and knowledge, 
on the contrary, is in and for itself painless and serene, 
this gives to their lofty brow and clear, perceiving glance, 
which are not subject to the service of the will and its 
wants, that look of great, almost supernatural serenity 
which at times breaks through, and consists very well 
with the melancholy of their other features, especially 
the mouth, and which in this relation may be aptly de 
scribed by the motto of Giordano Bruno : In tristitia hila- 
ris, in hilaritate tristis. 

The will, which is the root of the intellect, opposes itself 
to any activity of the latter which is directed to anything 
else but its own aims. Therefore the intellect is only 
capable of a purely objective and profound comprehension 
of the external world when it has freed itself at least for 
a while from this its root. So long as it remains bound 


to the will, it is of its own means capable of no activity, 
but sleeps in a stupor, whenever the will (the interests) 
does not awake it, and set it in motion. If, however, this 
happens, it is indeed very well fitted to recognise the re 
lations of things according to the interest of the will, as 
the prudent mind does, which, however, must always be 
an awakened mind, i.e., a mind actively aroused by volition; 
but just on this account it is not capable of comprehend 
ing the purely objective nature of things. For the willing 
and the aims make it so one-sided that it sees in things 
only that which relates to these, and the rest either dis 
appears or enters consciousness in a falsified form. For 
example, the traveller in anxiety and haste will see the 
Rhine and its banks only as a line, and the bridges 
over it only as lines cutting it. In the mind of the 
man who is filled with his own aims the world ap 
pears as a beautiful landscape appears on the plan of 
a battlefield. Certainly these are extremes, taken for 
the sake of distinctness; but every excitement of the 
will, however slight, will have as its consequence a 
slight but constantly proportionate falsification of know 
ledge. Thejworid can L only appear in its true colour and 
form, in its whole and correct significance, when the 
intellect, devoid of willing, moves freely over the objects, 
and without being driven on by the will is yet energetically 
active. This is certainly opposed to the nature and 
determination of the intellect, thus to a certain extent 
unnatural, and just on this account exceedingly rare ; but 
it is just in this that the essential nature of genius lies, 
in which alone that condition takes place in a high degree 
and is of some duration, while in others it only appears 
approximately and exceptionally. I jtake it to be in the 
sense expounded here that Jean Paul \rorschuk der 
jflsmdik, 12) p^ces the, es_sence of ^genius Jn reflective- 
ness. The normal man is sunk^in the whirY and tumult" 
of life, to which he belongs through his will; his intellect 
is filled with the things and events of life ; but he does 

VOL. in. 


not know these things nor life itself in their objective 
significance ; as the merchant on Change in Amsterdam 
apprehends perfectly what his neighbour says, but does 
not hear the hum of the whole Exchange, like the sound 
of the sea, which astonishes the distant observer. From 
the genius, on the contrary, whose intellect is delivered 
from the will, and thus from the person, what concerns 
these does not conceal the world and things themselves ; 
but he becomes distinctly conscious of them, he appre 
hends them in and for themselves in objective perception ; 
in this sense he is reflective. 

It is reflectiveness which enables the painter to repeat 
the natural objects which he contemplates faithfully upon 
the canvas, and the poet accurately to call up again the 
concrete present, by means of abstract conceptions, by 
giving it utterance and so bringing it to distinct con 
sciousness, and also to express everything in words which 
others only feel. The brute lives entirely without reflec 
tion. It has consciousness, i.e., it knows itself and its 
good and ill, also the objects which occasion these. But 
its knowledge remains always subjective, never becomes 
objective; everything that enters it seems a matter of 
course, and therefore can never become for it a theme (an 
object of exposition) nor a problem (an object of medita 
tion). Its consciousness is thus entirely immanent. Not 
certainly the same, but yet of kindred nature, is the con 
sciousness of the common type of man, for his appre 
hension also of things and the world is predominantly 
subjective and remains prevalently immanent. It appre 
hends the things in the world, but not the world; its 
own action and suffering, but not itself. As now in 
innumerable gradations the distinctness of consciousness 
rises, reflectiveness appears more and more ; and thus it is 
brought about little by little that sometimes, though rarely, 
and then again in very different degrees of distinctness, 
the question passes through the mind like a flash, " What 
is all this ? " or again, " How is it really fashioned ? " The 


first question, if it attains great distinctness and con 
tinued presence, will make the philosopher, and the other, 
under the same conditions, the artist or the poet. There 
fore, then, the high calling of both of these has its root in 
the reflectiveness which primarily springs from the distinct 
ness with which they are conscious of the world and their 
own selves, and thereby come to reflect upon them. But 
the whole process springs from the fact that the intellect 
through its preponderance frees itself for a time from the 
will, to which it is originally subject. 

The considerations concerning genius here set forth are 
connected by way of supplement with the exposition con 
tained in chapter 21, of the ever wider separation of the 
will and the intellect, which can be traced in the whole 
series of existences. This reaches its highest grade in 
genius, where it extends to the entire liberation of the 
intellect from its root the will, so that here the intellect 
becomes perfectly free, whereby the world as idea first 
attains to complete objectification. 

A few remarks now concerning the individuality of 
genius. Aristotle has already said, according to Cicero 
(Tusc., i. 33), " Omnes ingeniosos melancholicos esse; " which 
without doubt is connected with the passage of Aristotle s 
" Prcblemata," xxx. i. Goethe also says : My poetic rap 
ture was very small, so long as I only encountered good 
but it burnt with a bright flame when I fled from threaten 
ing evil. The tender poem, like the rainbow, is only 
drawn on a dark ground ; hence the genius of the poet 
loves the element of melancholy." 

This is to be explained from the fact that since the will 
constantly re-establishes its original sway over the intel 
lect, the latter more easily withdraws from this under 
unfavourable personal relations; because it gladly turns 
from adverse circumstances, in order to a certain extent 
to divert itself, and now directs itself with so much the 
greater energy to the foreign external world, thus more 
illy becomes purely objective. Favourable personal 


relations act conversely. Yet as a whole and in general 
the melancholy which accompanies genius depends upon 
the fact that the brighter the intellect which enlightens 
the will to live, the more distinctly does it perceive the 
misery of its condition. The melancholy disposition of 
highly gifted minds which has so often been observed has 
its emblem in Mont Blanc, the summit of which is for 
the most part lost in clouds ; but when sometimes, especi 
ally in the early morning, the veil of clouds is rent and 
now the mountain looks down on Chamounix from its 
height in the heavens above the clouds, then it is a 
siht at which the heart of each of us swells from its pro- 
foundest depths. So also the genius, for the most part 
melancholy, shows at times that peculiar serenity already 
described above, which is possible only for it, and springs 
from the most perfect objectivity of the mind. It floats 
like a ray of light upon his lofty brow : In tristitia hilans, 
in hilaritate tristis. 

All bunglers are so ultimately because their intellect, 
still too firmly bound to the will, only becomes active 
when spurred on by it, and therefore remains entirely in 
its service. They are accordingly only capable of personal 
aims. In conformity with these they produce bad pictures, 
insipid poems, shallow, absurd, and very often dishonest 
philosophemes, when it is to their interest to recommend 
themselves to high authorities by a pious disingenuousness. 
Thus all their action and thought is personal. Therefore 
they succeed at most in appropriating what is external, 
accidental, and arbitrary in the genuine works of others as 
mannerisms, in doing which they take the shell instead 
of the kernel, and yet imagine they have attained to every 
thing, nay, have surpassed those works. If, however, the 
failure is patent, yet many hope to attain success in the 
end through their good intentions. But it is just this 
good will which makes success impossible ; because this 
only pursues personal ends, and with these neither art 
nor poetry nor philosophy can ever be taken seriously. 


Therefore the saying is peculiarly applicable to such per 
sons : " They stand in their own light." They have no idea 
that it is only the intellect delivered from the government 
of the will and all its projects, and therefore freely active, 
that makes one capable of genuine productions, because 
it alone imparts true seriousness ; and it is well for them 
that they have not, otherwise they would leap into the 
water. The good will is in morality everything; but in 
art it is nothing. In art, as the word itself indicates 
(Kunst), what alone is of consequence is ability (Konneri). 
It all amounts ultimately to this, where the true serious 
ness of the man lies. In almost all it lies exclusively 
in their own well-being and that of their families ; there 
fore they are in a position to promote this and nothing 
else ; for no purpose, no voluntary and intentional effort, 
imparts the true, profound, and proper seriousness, or 
makes up for it, or more correctly, takes its place. For 
it always remains where nature has placed it; and 
without it everything is only half performed. Therefore, 
for the same reason, persons of genius often manage so 
badly for their own welfare. As a leaden weight always 
brings a body back to the position which its centre of 
gravity thereby determined demands, so the true serious 
ness of the man always draws the strength and attention 
of the intellect back to that in which it lies ; everything 
else the man does without true seriousness. Therefore only 
the exceedingly rare and abnormal men whose true serious 
ness does not lie in the personal and practical, but in the 
objective and theoretical, are in a position to apprehend 
what is essential in the things of the world, thus the 
highest truths, and reproduce them in any way. For such 
a seriousness of the individual, falling outside himself in 
the objective, is something foreign to the nature of man, 
something unnatural, or really supernatural: yet on ac 
count of this alone is the man great; and therefore what 
he achieves is then ascribed to a genius different from 
himself, which takes possession of him. To such a man 


his painting, poetry, or thinking is an end; to others it is 
a means. The latter thereby seek their own things, and, 
as a rule, they know how to further them, for they flatter 
their contemporaries, ready to serve their wants and 
humours ; therefore for the most part they live in happy 
circumstances ; the former often in very miserable cir 
cumstances. For he sacrifices his personal welfare to his 
objective end ; he cannot indeed do otherwise, because his 
seriousness lies there. They act conversely; therefore 
they are small, but he is great. Accordingly his work is for 
all time, but the recognition of it generally only begins with 
posterity : they live and die with their time. In general 
he only is great who in his work, whether it is practical 
or theoretical, seeks not his own concerns, but pursues an 
objective end alone ; he is so, however, even when in the 
practical sphere this end is a misunderstood one, and 
even if in consequence of this it should be a crime. That 
he seeJcs not himself and his own concerns, this makes him 
under all circumstances great. Small, on the other hand, 
is all action which is directed to personal ends ; for who 
ever is thereby set in activity knows and finds himself 
only in his own transient and insignificant person. He 
who is great, again, finds himself in all, and therefore in 
the whole: he lives not, like others, only in the micro 
cosm, but still more in the macrocosm. Hence the whole 
interests him, and he seeks to comprehend it in order to 
represent it, or to explain it, or to act practically upon it. 
For it is not strange to him ; lie feels that it concerns him. 
On account of this extension of his sphere he is called 
great. Therefore that lofty predicate belongs only to the 
true hero, in some sense, and to genius : it signifies that 
they, contrary to human nature, have not sought their own 
things, have not lived for themselves, but for all. As now 
clearly the great majority must constantly be small, and 
can never become great, the converse of this, that one 
should be great throughout, that is, constantly and every 
moment, is yet not possible 


" For man is made of common clay, 
And custom is Ms nurse." 

Every great man must often be only the individual, have 
only himself in view, and that means he must be small 
Upon this depends the very true remark, that no man 
is a hero to his valet, and not upon the fact that the 
valet cannot appreciate the hero ; which Goethe, in the 
"Wahlverwandhschaften" (vol. ii. chap. 5), serves up as ap 
idea of Ottilie s. 

Genius is its own reward : for the best that one is, one 
must necessarily be for oneself. " Whoever is born with 
a talent, to a talent, finds in this his fairest existence," 
says Goethe. When we look back at a great man of 
former times, we do not think, " How happy is he to be 
still admired by all of us ! " but, " How happy must he 
have been in the immediate enjoyment of a mind at the 
surviving traces of which centuries revive themselves!" 
Not in the fame, but in that whereby it is attained, lies 
the value, and in the production of immortal children the 
pleasure. Therefore those who seek to show the vanity of 
posthumous fame from the fact that he who obtains it 
knows nothing of it, may be compared to the wiseacre 
who very learnedly tried to demonstrate to the man who 
cast envious glances at a heap of oyster-shells in his 
neighbour s yard the absolute uselessness of them. 

According to the exposition of the nature of genius 
which has been given, it is so far contrary to nature, inas 
much as it consists in this, that the intellect, whose real 
destination is the service of the will, emancipates itself 
from this service in order to be active on its own account. 
Accordingly genius is an intellect which has become 
untrue to its destination. Upon this depend the dis 
advantages connected with it, for the consideration of 
which we shall now prepare the way by comparing genius 
with the less decided predominance of the intellect. 

The intellect of the normal man, strictly bound to the 
service of the will, and therefore really only occupied 


with the apprehension of motives, may be regarded as a 
complex system of wires, by means of which each of these 
puppets is set in motion in the theatre of the world. 
From this arises the dry, grave seriousness of most 
people, which is only surpassed by that of the brutes, 
who never laugh. On the other hand, we might compare 
the genius, with his unfettered intellect, to a living man 
playing along with the large puppets of the famous 
puppet-show at Milan, who would be the only one 
among them who would understand everything, and 
would therefore gladly leave the stage for a while to 
enjoy the play from the boxes ; that is the reflectiveness 
of genius. But even the man of great understanding and 
reason, whom one might almost call wise, is very different 
from the genius, and in this way, that his intellect retains 
a practical tendency, is concerned with the choice of the 
best ends and means, therefore remains in the service of 
the will, and accordingly is occupied in a manner that is 
thoroughly in keeping with nature. The firm, practical 
seriousness of life which the Romans denoted gravitas 
presupposes that the intellect does not forsake the service 
of the will in order to wander away after that which does 
not concern the will ; therefore it does not admit of that 
separation of the will and the intellect which is the con 
dition of genius. The able, nay, eminent man, who is 
fitted for great achievements in the practical sphere, is so 
precisely because objects rouse his will in a lively manner, 
and spur him on to the ceaseless investigation of their 
relations and connections. Thus his intellect has grown 
up closely connected with his will. Before the man of 
genius, on the contrary, there floats in his objective com 
prehension the phenomenon of the world, as something 
foreign to him, an object of contemplation, which expels 
his will from consciousness. Eound this point turns the 
distinction between the capacity for deeds and for works. 
The latter demand objectivity and depth of knowledge, 
which presupposes entire separation of the intellect from 


the will ; the former, on the other hand, demands the 
application of knowledge, presence of mind, and decision, 
which required that the intellect should uninterruptedly 
attend to the service of the will. Where the bond be 
tween the intellect and the will is loosened, the intellect, 
turned away from its natural destination, will neglect 
the service of the will ; it will, for example, even in the 
need of the moment, preserve its emancipation, and per 
haps be unable to avoid taking in the picturesque im 
pression of the surroundings, from which danger threatens 
the individual. The intellect of the reasonable and under 
standing man, on the other hand, is constantly at its post, 
is directed to the circumstances and their requirements. 
Such a man will therefore in all cases determine and 
carry out what is suitable to the case, and consequently 
will by no means fall into those eccentricities, personal 
slips, nay, follies, to which the genius is exposed, because 
his intellect does not remain exclusively the guide and 
guardian of his will, but sometimes more, sometimes less, 
is laid claim to by the purely objective. In the con 
trast of Tasso and Antonio, Goethe has illustrated the 
opposition, here explained in the abstract, in which these 
two entirely different kinds of capacity stand to each 
other. The kinship of genius and madness, so often 
observed, depends chiefly upon that separation of the 
intellect from the will which is essential to genius, but is 
yet contrary to nature. But this separation itself is by 
no means to be attributed to the fact that genius is 
accompanied by less intensity of will ; for it is rather 
distinguished by a vehement and passionate character; 
but it is to be explained from this, that the practically 
excellent person, the man of deeds, has merely the whole, 
full measure of intellect required for an energetic will 
while most men lack even this ; but genius consists in a 
completely abnormal, actual superfluity of intellect, such 
as is required for the service of no will On this account 
the men of genuine works are a thousand times rarer than 


the men of deeds. It is just that abnormal superfluity of 
intellect by virtue of which it obtains the decided pre 
ponderance, sets itself free from the will, and now, forget 
ting its origin, is freely active from its own strength and 
elasticity ; and from this the creations of genius proceed. 

Now further, just this, that genius in working consists 
of the free intellect, i.e., of the intellect emancipated from 
the service of the will, has as a consequence that its pro 
ductions serve no useful ends. The work of genius is 
music, or philosophy, or paintings, or poetry ; it is nothing 
to use. To be of no use belongs to the character of the 
works of genius ; it is their patent of nobility. All other 
works of men are for the maintenance or easing of our 
existence; only those we are speaking of are not; they 
alone exist for their own sake, and are in this sense to be 
regarded as the flower or the net profit of existence. 
Therefore our heart swells at the enjoyment of them, for 
we rise out of the heavy earthly atmosphere of want. 
Analogous to this, we see the beautiful, even apart from 
these, rarely combined with the useful. Lofty and beau 
tiful trees bear no fruit; the fruit- trees are small, uo-lv 
cripples. The full garden rose is not fruitful, but the 
small, wild, almost scentless roses are. The most beautiful 
buildings are not the useful ones ; a temple is no dwelling- 
house. A man of high, rare mental endowments com 
pelled to apply himself to a merely useful business, for which 
the most ordinary man would be fitted, is like a costly vase 
decorated with the most beautiful painting which is used 
as a kitchen pot ; and to compare useful people with men 
of genius is like comparing building-stone with diamonds. 
Thus the merely practical man uses his intellect for 
that for which nature destined it, the comprehension of 
the relations of things, partly to each other, partly to the 
will of the knowing individual. The genius, on the other 
hand, uses it, contrary to its destination, for the compre 
hension of the objective nature of things. His mind, 
therefore, belongs not to himself, but to the world, to the 


illumination of which, in some sense, it will contribute. 
From this must spring manifold disadvantages to the indi 
vidual favoured with genius. For his intellect will in 
general show those faults which are rarely wanting in any 
tool which is used for that for which it has not been made. 
First of all, it will be, as it were, the servant of two 
masters, for on every opportunity it frees itself from the 
service to which it was destined in order to follow its own 
ends, whereby it often leaves the will very inopportunely 
in a fix, and thus the individual so gifted becomes more 
or less useless for life, nay, in his conduct sometimes 
reminds us of madness. Then, on account of its highly 
developed power of knowledge, it will see in things more 
the universal than the particular ; while the service of the 
will principally requires the knowledge of the particular. 
But, again, when, as opportunity offers, that whole abnor 
mally heightened power of knowledge directs itself with 
all its energy to the circumstances and miseries of the 
will, it will be apt to apprehend these too vividly, to 
behold all in too glaring colours, in too bright a light, and 
in a fearfully exaggerated form, whereby the individual 
falls into mere extremes. The following may serve to 
explain this more accurately. All great theoretical achieve 
ments, in whatever sphere they may be, are brought about 
in this way : Their author directs all the forces of his 
mind upon one point, in which he lets them unite and 
concentrate so strongly, firmly, and exclusively that now 
the whole of the rest of the world vanishes for him, and 
his object fills all reality. Now this great and powerful 
concentration which belongs to the privileges of genius 
sometimes appears for it also in the case of objects of 
the real world and the events of daily life, which then, 
brought under such a focus, are magnified to such a 
monstrous extent that they appear like the flea, which 
under the solar microscope assumes the stature of an 
elephant. Hence it arises that highly gifted individuals 
sometimes are thrown by trifles into violent emotions of 


the most various kinds, which are incomprehensible to 
others, who see them transported with grief, joy, care, 
fear, anger, &c., by things which leave the every-day man 
quite composed. Thus, then, the genius lacks soberness, 
which simply consists in this, that one sees in things 
nothing more than actually belongs to them, especially 
with reference to our possible ends ; therefore no sober- 
minded man can be a genius. With the disadvantages 
which have been enumerated there is also associated 
hyper-sensibility, which an abnormally developed nervous 
and cerebral system brings with it, and indeed in union 
with the vehemence and passionateness of will which ia 
certainly characteristic of genius, and which exhibits 
itself physically as energy of the pulsation of the heart. 
From all this very easily arises that extravagance of 
disposition, that vehemence of the emotions, that quick 
change of mood under prevailing melancholy, which 
Goethe has presented to us in Tasso. What reasonable 
ness, quiet composure, finished surveyal, certainty and 
proportionateness of behaviour is shown by the well- 
endowed normal man in comparison with the now dreamy 
absentness, and now passionate excitement of the man of 
genius, whose inward pain is the mother s lap of immortal 
works ! To all this must still be added that genius lives 
essentially alone. It is too rare to find its like with 
ease, and too different from the rest of men to be their 
companion. With them it is the will, with him it is 
knowledge, that predominates; therefore their pleasures 
are not his, and his are not theirs. They are merely 
moral beings, and have merely personal relations ; he is 
at the same time a pure intellect, and as such belongs to 
the whole of humanity. The course of thought of the 
intellect which is detached from its mother soil, the will, 
and only returns to it periodically, will soon show itself 
entirely different from that of the normal intellect, still 
cleaving to its stem. For this reason, and also on account 
of the dissimilarity of the pace, the former is not adapted 



for thinking in common, i.e., for conversation with the 
others : they will have as little pleasure in him and his 
oppressive superiority as he will in them. They will 
therefore feel more comfortable with their equals, and 
he will prefer the entertainment of his equals, although, 
as a rule, this is only possible through the works they 
have left behind them. Therefore Chamfort says very 
rightly : " H y a pen de vices qui empdchent un homme d avoir 
beaucoup d amis, autant que peuvent le faire de trap grandes 
qualit^s." The happiest lot that can fall to the genius is 
release from action, which is not his element, and leisure 
for production. From all this it results that although 
genius may highly bless him who is gifted with it, in 
the hours in which, abandoned to it, he revels unhindered 
in its delight, yet it is by no means fitted to procure for 
him a happy course of life ; rather the contrary. This is 
also confirmed by the experience recorded in biographies. 
Besides this there is also an external incongruity, for the 
genius, in his efforts and achievements themselves, is for 
the most part in contradiction and conflict with his age. 
Mere men of talent come always at the right time ; for 
as they are roused by the spirit of their ago, and called 
forth by its needs, they are also capable only of satis 
fying these. They therefore go hand in hand with the 
advancing culture of their contemporaries or with the 
gradual progress of a special science : for this they reap 
reward and approval. But to the next generation their 
works are no longer enjoyable; they must be replaced 
by others, which again are not permanent. The genius, 
on the contrary, comes into his age like a comet into 
the paths of the planets, to whose well-regulated and 
comprehensible order its entirely eccentric course is 
foreign. Accordingly he cannot go hand in hand with 
the existing, regular progress of the culture of the age, 
but flings his works far out on to the way in front (as 
the dying emperor flung his spear among the enemy), 
upon which time has first to overtake them. His relation 


to the culminating men of talent of his time might be 
expressed in the words of the Evangelist: " O icaipos o 
eyu.09 OV7TCO 7rap(mv 6 8e Kaipo? 6 u/ierepo? iravrore ecrriv 
eroi/io?" (John vii. 6). The man of talent can achieve 
what is beyond the power of achievement of other men, 
but not what is beyond their power of apprehension : 
therefore he at once finds those who prize him. But the 
achievement of the man of genius, on the contrary, tran 
scends not only the power of achievement, but also the 
power of apprehension of others ; therefore they do not 
become directly conscious of him. The man of talent 
is like the marksman who hits a mark the others cannot 
hit ; the man of genius is like the marksman who hits a 
mark they cannot even see to; therefore they only get 
news of him indirectly, and thus late; and even this they 
only accept upon trust and faith. Accordingly Goethe 
says in one of his letters, " Imitation is inborn in us ; what 
to imitate is not easily recognised. Rarely is what is 
excellent found; still more rarely is it prized." And 
Chanifort says : " // en est de la valeur des kommes comme de 
celle dcs diamans, qui d une certaine mesure de grosseur, de 
purete, de perfection, ont un prix fixe, et marque", mais qui, 
par-deld cette mesure, restent sans prix, et ne trouvent point 
d acheteurs." And Bacon of Veruhim has also expressed 
it : " Infimarum virtutum, apud vulgus, laus est, mediarum 
admiratio, supremarum sensus nullus" (De augm. sc., L. vi. 
c. 3). Indeed, one might perhaps reply, Apud vulgus ! 
But I must then come to his assistance with Machiavelli s 
assurance : " Nel mondo non & se non volgo ; " l as also Tliilo 
(Ueber den Ruhm} remarks, that to the vulgar herd there 
generally belongs one more than each of us believes. It 
is a consequence of this late recognition of the works of 
the man of genius that they are rarely enjoyed by their 
contemporaries, and accordingly in the freshness of colour 
which synchronism and presence imparts, but, like figs 
and dates, much more in a dry than in a fresh state. 

1 There is nothing else in the world but the vulgar. 



If, finally, we consider genius from the somatic side, we 
find it conditioned by several anatomical and physiolo 
gical qualities, which individually are seldom present in 
perfection, and still more seldom perfect together, but 
which are yet all indispensably required ; so that this 
explains why genius only appears as a perfectly isolated 
and almost portentous exception. The fundamental con 
dition is an abnormal predominance of sensibility over 
irritability and reproductive power ; and what makes the 
matter more difficult, this must take place in a male body. 
(Women may have great talent, but no genius, for they 
always remain subjective.) Similarly the cerebral system 
must be perfectly separated from the ganglion system by 
complete isolation, so that it stands in complete opposi 
tion to the latter ; and thus the brain pursues its parasitic 
life on the organism in a very decided, isolated, power 
ful, and independent manner. Certainly it will thereby 
very easily affect the rest of the organism injuriously, and 
through its heightened life and ceaseless activity wear it out 
prematurely, unless it is itself possessed of energetic vital 
force and a good constitution : thus the latter belong to 
the conditions of genius. Indeed even a good stomach is 
a condition on account of the special and close agreement 
of this part with the brain. But chiefly the brain must 
be of unusual development and magnitude, especially 
broad and high. On the other hand, its depth will be 
inferior, and the cerebrum will abnormally preponderate 
in proportion to the cerebellum. Without doubt much 
depends upon the configuration of the brain as a whole 
and in its parts ; but our knowledge is not yet sufficient to 
determine this accurately, although we easily recognise the 
form of skull that indicates a noble and lofty intelligence. 
The texture of the mass of the brain must be of extreme 
fineness and perfection, and consist of the purest, most 
concentrated, tenderest, and rnost excitable nerve-sub 
stance ; certainly the quantitative proportion of the white 
to the grey matter has a decided influence, which, how- 


ever, we are also unable as yet to specify. However, the 
report of the post-mortem on the body of Byron 1 shows that 
in his case the white matter was in unusually large pro 
portion to the grey, and also that his brain weighed six 
pounds. Cuvier s brain weighed five pounds ; the normal 
weight is three pounds. In contrast to the superior size 
of the brain, the spinal cord and nerves must be unusually 
thin. A beautifully arched, high and broad skull of thin 
bone must protect the brain without in any way cramping 
it. This whole quality of the brain and nervous system is 
the inheritance from the mother, to which we shall return 
in the following book. But it is quite insufficient to pro 
duce the phenomenon of genius if the inheritance from 
the father is not added, a lively, passionate temperament, 
which exhibits itself somatically as unusual energy of the 
heart, and consequently of the circulation of the blood, 
especially towards the head. For, in the first place, that 
turgescence peculiar to the brain on account of which it 
presses against its walls is increased by this ; therefore it 
forces itself out of any opening in these which has been 
occasioned by some injury ; and secondly, from the requisite 
strength of the heart the brain receives that internal move 
ment different from its constant rising and sinking at every 
breath, which consists in a shaking of its whole mass at 
every pulsation of the four cerebral arteries, and the energy 
of which must correspond to the here increased quantity 
of the brain, as this movement in general is an indispens 
able condition of its activity. To this, therefore, small 
stature and especially a short neck is favourable, because 
by the shorter paih the blood reaches the brain with more 
energy ; and on this account great minds have seldom 
large bodies. Yet that shortness of the distance is not 
indispensable ; for example, Goethe was of more than 
middle height. If, however, the whole condition connected 
with the circulation of the blood, and therefore coming 

1 In Medwin s " Conversations of Lord Byron," p. 333. 

ON GENIUS. 1 61 

from the father is wanting, the good quality of the brain 
coming from the mother, will at most produce a man of 
talent, a fine understanding, which the phlegmatic tem 
perament thus introduced supports; but a phlegmatic 
genius is impossible. This condition coming from the 
father explains many faults of temperament described 
above. But, on the other hand, if this condition exists 
without the former, thus with an ordinarily or even badly 
constructed brain, it gives vivacity without mind, heat 
without light, hot-headed persons, men of unsupportable 
restlessness and petulance. That of two brothers only 
one has genius, and that one generally the elder, as, for 
example, in Kant s case, is primarily to be explained from 
the fact that the father was at the age of strength and 
passion only when he was begotten; although also the 
other condition originating with the mother may be spoiled 
by unfavourable circumstances. 

I have further to add here a special remark on the 
childlike character of the genius, i.e.> ou a certain resem 
blance which exists between genius and the age of child 
hood. In childhood, as in the case of genius, the cerebral 
and nervous system decidedly preponderates, for its de 
velopment hurries far in advance of that of the rest of the 
organism ; so that already at the seventh year the brain 
has attained its full extension and mass. Therefore, 
Bichat says: "Dans I enfance le systeme nerveiujc, compart 
au musculaire, est proportionellement plus considerable que 
dans tons les dyes suivans, tandis que par la suite, la plus- 
part des autres systemes prddominent sur celui-ci. On sait 
que, pour bien voir les nerfs, on cJwisit toujours les enfans " 
(Le la vie et de la mort, art. 8, 6). On the other hand, 
the development of the genital system begins latest, and 
irritability, reproduction, and genital function are in full 
force only at the age of manhood, and then, as a rule, they 
predominate over the brain function. Hence it is expli 
cable that children, in general, are so sensible, reasonable, 
desirous of information, and teachable, nay, on the whole 

VOL. ill. L 


are more disposed and fitted for all theoretical occupation 
than grown-up people. They have, in consequence of that j | 
course of development, more intellect than will, i.e., than j | 
inclinations, desire, and passion. For intellect and brain / j 
are one, and so also is the genital system one with the mosr 
vehement of all desires : therefore I have called the latter 
the focus of the will. Just because the fearful activity of 
this system still slumbers, while that of the brain has 
already full play, childhood is the time of innocence 
and happiness, the paradise of life, the lost Eden on 
which we look longingly back through the whole remain 
ing course of our life. But the basis of that happiness is 
that in childhood our whole existence lies much more in 
knowing than in willing a condition which is also sup 
ported from without by the novelty of all objects. Hence 
in the morning sunshine of life the world lies before us 
so fresh, so magically gleaming, so attractive. The small 
desires, the weak inclinations, and trifling cares of child 
hood are only a weak counterpoise to that predominance 
of intellectual activity. The innocent and clear glance of 
children, at which we revive ourselves, and which some 
times in particular cases reaches the sublime contempla 
tive expression with which Eaphael has glorified his 
cherubs, is to be explained from what has been said. Ac 
cordingly the mental powers develop much earlier than 
the needs they are destined to serve ; and here, as every 
where, nature proceeds very designedly. For in this time 
of predominating intelligence the man collects a great 
store of knowledge for future wants which at the time are 
foreign to him. Therefore his intellect, now unceasingly 
active, eagerly apprehends all phenomena, broods over 
them and stores them up carefully for the coming time, 
like the bees, who gather a great deal more honey than 
they can consume, in anticipation of future need. Cer 
tainly what a man acquires of insight and knowledge up 
to the age of puberty is, taken as a whole, more than all 
that he afterwards learns, however learned he may be- 


come ; for it is the foundation of all human knowledge. 
Up till the same time plasticity predominates in the 
child s body, and later, by a metastasis, its forces throw 
themselves into the system of generation; and thus 
with puberty the sexual passion appears, and now, little 
by little, the will gains the upper hand. Then childhood, 
which is prevailingly theoretical and desirous of learn 
ing, is followed by the restless, now stormy, now melan 
choly, period of youth, which afterwards passes into the 
vigorous and earnest age of manhood. Just because that 
impulse pregnant with evil is wanting in the child is 
its volition so adapted and subordinated to knowledge, 
whence arises that character of innocence, intelligence, 
and reasonableness which is peculiar to the age of child 
hood. On what, then, the likeness between childhood and 
genius depends I scarcely need to express further : upon 
the surplus of the powers of knowledge over the needs of the 
will, and the predominance of the purely intellectual activity 
which springs from this. Really every child is to a cer 
tain extent a genius, and the genius is to a certain extent-a~- 
child. The relationship of the two shows itself primarily 
in the naivete* and sublime simplicity which is character 
istic of true genius ; and besides this it appears in several 
traits, so that a certain childishness certainly belongs to 
the character of the genius. In Riemer s " Mittheilungen 
uber Goethe" (vol. i. p. 184) it is related that Herder and 
others found fault with Goethe, saying he was always a 
big child. Certainly they were right in what they said, 
but they were not right in finding fault with it. It has 
also been said of Mozart that all his life he remained a 
child (Nissen s Biography of Mozart, p. 2 and 529). 
Schlichtegroll s " Nehrology" (for 1791, vol. ii. p. 109) 
says of him : " In his art he early became a man, but in 
all other relations he always remained a child." Every 
genius is even for this reason a big child; he looks out 
into the world as into something strange, a play, and 
therefore with purely objective interest. Accordingly 


he has just as little as the child that dull gravity of 
ordinary men, who, since they are capable only of subjec 
tive interests, always see in things mere motives for their 
action. Whoever does not to a certain extent remain 
all his life a big child, but becomes a grave, sober, tho 
roughly composed, and reasonable man, may be a very 
useful and capable citizen of this world; but never a 
genius. In fact, the genius is so because that predomi 
nance of the sensible system and of intellectual activity 
which is natural to childhood maintains itself in him in 
an abnormal manner through his whole life, thus here 
becomes perennial. A trace of this certainly shows 
itself in many ordinary men up to the period of their 
youth ; therefore, for example, in many students a purely 
intellectual tendency and an eccentricity suggestive of 
genius is unmistakable. But nature returns to her track ; 
they assume the chrysalis form and reappear at the age 
of manhood, as incarnate Philistines, at whom we are 
startled when we meet them again in later years. Upon 
all this that has been expounded here depends Goethe s 
beautiful remark: "Children do not perform what they 
promise ; young people very seldom ; and if they do keep 
their word, the world does not keep its word with them " 
(Wahherwandtschaften, Pt. i. ch. 10) the world which 
afterwards bestows the crowns which it holds aloft for 
merit on those who are the tools of its low aims or know 
how to deceive it. In accordance with what has been 
said, as there is a mere beauty of youth, which almost 
every one at some time possesses (beautS du didble), so 
there is a mere intellectuality of youth, a certain mental 
nature disposed and adapted for apprehending, under 
standing, and learning, which every one has in childhood, 
and some have still in youth, but which is afterwards lost, 
just like that beauty. Only in the case of a very few, the 
chosen, the one, like the other, lasts through the whole life ; 
so that even in old age a trace of it still remains visible : 
these are the truly beautiful and the men of true genius. 


The predominance of the cerebral nervous system and 
of intelligence in childhood, which is here under con 
sideration, together with the decline of it in riper age, 
receives important illustration and confirmation from the 
fact that in the species of animals which stands nearest 
to man, the apes, the same relation is found in a striking 
degree. It has by degrees become certain that the highly 
intelligent orang-outang is a young pongo, which when 
it has grown up loses the remarkable human look oi its 
countenance, and also its astonishing intelligence, because 
the lower and brutal part of its face increases in size, 
the forehead thereby recedes, large cristce, muscular de 
velopments, give the skull a brutish form, the activity of 
the nervous system sinks, and in its place extraordinary 
muscular strength develops, which, as it is sufficient for 
its preservation, makes the great intelligence now super 
fluous. Especially important is what Fre d. Cuvier has 
said in this reference, and Flourens has illustrated in a 
review of the " Histoire Naturelle " of the former, which 
appeared in the September number of the " Journal des 
Savans" of 1839, and was also separately printed with 
some additions, under the title, " Resume analytique des 
observations de FT. Cuvier sur Vinstinct et I intelligence des 
animaux" p. Flourens, 1841. It is there said, p. 50: 
" L intelligence de I orang-outang, cette intelligence si deve- 
loppde, et de"velopp6e de si bonne heure, ddcroit avec Pdge. 
L orang-outang, lorsgu tt est jeune, nous ttonne par sa pe ne - 
tration, par sa ruse, par son adresse ; V orang-outang, devenu 
adulte, n est plus gu un animal grassier, brutal, intraitable. 
Et il en est de tous Us singes comme de V orang-outang. 
Dans tous, I intelligence de croit d, mesure gue les forces 
s accroissent. L animal gui a le plus $ intelligence, n a toute 
cette intelligence gue dans le jeune age." Further, p. 87 : 
" Les singes de tous les genres offrent ce rapport inverse de 
I dge et de V intelligence. Ainsi, par exemple, VEntelle 
(espece de guenon du sous-genre des Semno-pitheques et I un 
des singes vdntrts dans la religion des Brames) a, dans le 


jeune dge, le front large, le museau pen saillant, le crdnt 
eleve, arrondi," etc. Avec I dge le front disparait, recule, 
le museau proe mine ; et le moral ne change pas moins que 
le physique: I apathie, la violence, le besoin de solitude, 
remplacent la penetration, la docilite", la confiance. " Ces 
differences sont si grandes" dit Mr. Fre"d. Cuvier, " gue dans 
lhabitude oil nous sommes de juger des actions des animaux 
par les ndtres, nous prendrions le jeune animal pour un 
individu de I dge, oil toutes les qualite s morales de I espece 
sont acquises, et I Entelle adulte pour un individu qui 
n aurait encore que ses forces physiques. Mais la nature 
n en agit pas ainsi avec ces animaux, qui ne doivent pas 
sortir de la sphere e troite, qui leur est fixfo, et d qui il suffit 
en quelque sorte de pouvoir miller A leur conservation. Pour 
cela I intelligence e"tait ne cessaire, quand la force n existait 
pas, et quand celle-ci est acquise, toute autre puissance perd 
de son utilite 1 ." And p. 1 1 8 : " La conservation des especes ne 
repose pas moins sur les qualite s intellectuelles des animaux, 
gue sur leurs qualites organiques." This last confirms my 
principle that the intellect, like the claws and teeth, ia 
nothing else than a weapon in the service of the will 



THE health of the mind properly consists in perfect re 
collection. Of course this is not to be understood as 
meaning that our memory preserves everything. For the 
past course of our life shrinks up in time, as the path of 
the wanderer looking back shrinks up in space: some 
times it is difficult for us to distinguish the particular 
years ; the days have for the most part become unrecog 
nisable. Really, however, only the exactly similar events, 
recurring an innumerable number of times, so that their 
images, as it were, conceal each other, ought so to run 
together in the memory that they are individually un 
recognisable ; on the other hand, every event in any way 
peculiar or significant we must be able to find again in 
memory, if the intellect is normal, vigorous, and quite 
healthy. In the text I have explained madness as the 
broken thread of this memory, which still runs on regularly, 
although in constantly decreasing fulness and distinct 
ness. The following considerations may serve to confirm 

The memory of a healthy man affords a certainty as to 
an event he has witnessed, which is regarded as just as 
firm and sure as his present apprehension of things; 
therefore, if sworn to by him, this event is thereby estab 
lished in a court of law. On the other hand, the mere 
suspicion of madness will at once weaken the testimony 

1 This chapter is connected with the second half of 36 of the first volume. 


of a witness. Here, then, lies the criterion between the 
healthy mind and insanity. Whenever I doubt whether 
an event which I remember really took place, I throw 
upon myself the suspicion of madness : unless it is that 
I am uncertain whether it was not a mere dream. If 
another doubts the reality of an event, related by me as 
an eye-witness, without mistrusting my honesty, then 
he regards me as insane. Whoever comes at last, through 
constantly recounting an event which originally was 
fabricated by him, to believe in it himself is, in this one 
point, really insane. We may ascribe to an insane person 
flashes of wit, single clever thoughts, even correct judg 
ments, but his testimony as to past events no man will 
consider valid. In the Lalita-vistara, well known to be 
the history of Buddha Sakya-Muni, it is related that 
at the moment of his birth all the sick became well, all 
the blind saw, all the deaf heard, and all mad people 
"recovered their memory." This last is mentioned in 
two passages. 1 

My own experience of many years has led me to the 
opinion that madness occurs proportionally most fre 
quently among actors. But what a misuse they make of 
their memory ! Daily they have to learn a new part or 
refresh an old one ; but these parts are entirely without 
connection, nay, are in contradiction and contrast with 
each other, and every evening the actor strives to forget 
himself entirely and be some quite different person. This 
kind of thing paves the way for madness. 

The exposition of the origin of madness given in the 
text will become more comprehensible if it is remembered 
how unwillingly we think of things which powerfully 
injure our interests, wound our pride, or interfere with 
our wishes ; with what difficulty do we determine to lay 
such things before our own intellect for careful and serious 
investigation ; how easily, on the other hand, we uncon- 

1 Rgya Tcher Rol Pa, Hist, de Bouddka Chakya Mowni, trad, du Tib&avn, 
p. Foncaux, 1848, ja. 91 et 99. 


sciously break away or sneak off from them again ; how, 
on the contrary, agreeable events come into our minds of 
their own accord, and, if driven away, constantly creep in 
again, so that we dwell on them for hours together. In 
that resistance of the will to allowing what is contrary to 
it to come under the examination of the intellect lies the 
place at which madness can break in upon the mind. 
Each new adverse event must be assimilated by the in 
tellect, i.e., it must receive a place in the system of the 
truths connected with our will and its interests, whatever 
it may have to displace that is more satisfactory. "When 
ever this has taken place, it already pains us much less ; 
but this operation itself is often very painful, and also, in 
general, only takes place slowly and with resistance. How 
ever, the health of the mind can only continue so long as 
this is in each case properly carried out. If, on the con 
trary, in some particular case, the resistance and struggles 
of the will against the apprehension of some knowledge 
reaches such a degree that that operation is not performed 
in its integrity, then certain events or circumstances be 
come for the intellect completely suppressed, because the 
will cannot endure the sight of them, and then, for the 
sake of the necessary connection, the gaps that thus arise 
are filled up at pleasure ; thus madness appears. For the 
intellect has given up its nature to please the will : the 
man now imagines what does not exist. Yet the madness 
which has thus arisen is now the lethe of unendurable 
suffering ; it was the last remedy of harassed nature, i.e., 
of the will. 

Let me mention here in passing a proof of my view 
which is worth noticing. Carlo Gozzi, in the " Monstro 
turchino," act i. scene 2, presents to us a person who has 
drunk a magic potion which produces forgetfulness, and 
this person appears exactly like a madman. 

In accordance with the above exposition one may thus 
regard the origin of madness as a violent " casting out of 
the mind " of anything, which, however, is only possible 


by " taking into the head " something else. The converse 
process is more rare, that the " taking into the head " comes 
first, and the " casting out of the mind " second. It takes 
place, however, in those cases in which the occasion of 
insanity is kept constantly present to the mind and can 
not be escaped from ; thus, for example, in the case of 
many who have gone mad from love, erotomaniacs, where 
the occasion of their madness is constantly longed after j 
also in the case of madness which has resulted from the 
fright of some sudden horrible occurrence. Such patients 
cling, as it were, convulsively to the thought they have 
grasped, so that no other, or at least none opposed to it, 
can arise. In both processes, however, what is essential 
to madness remains the same, the impossibility of a uni 
formly connected recollection, such as is the basis of our 
healthy and rational reflection. Perhaps the contrast of 
the ways in which they arise, set forth here, might, if 
applied with judgment, afford a sharp and profound prin 
ciple of division of delusions proper. 

For the rest, I have only considered the physical origin 
of madness, thus what is introduced by external, objective 
occasions. More frequently, however, it depends upon 
purely physical causes, upon malformations or partial dis 
organisation of the brain or its membranes, also upon the 
influence which other parts affected with disease exercise 
upon the brain. Principally in the latter kind of madness 
false sense-perceptions, hallucinations, may arise. Yet the 
two causes of madness will generally partake of each 
other, particularly the psychical of the physical. It is 
the same as with suicide, which is rarely brought about 
by an external occasion alone, but a certain physical dis 
comfort lies at its foundation ; and according to the degree 
which this attains to a greater or less external occasion 
is required ; only in the case of the very highest degree is 
no external occasion at all required. Therefore there is 
no misfortune so great that it would influence every one 
to suicide, and none so small that one like it has not already 


led to it. I have shown the psychical origin of madness as, 
at least according to all appearance, it is brought about in 
the healthy mind by a great misfortune. In the case of 
those who are already strongly disposed to madness physi 
cally a very small disappointment will be sufficient to 
induce it. For example, I remember a man in a mad 
house who had been a soldier, and had gone out of his 
mind because his officer had addressed him as Erl In 
the case of decided physical disposition no occasion at all 
is required when this has come to maturity. The madness 
which has sprung from purely psychical causes may, per 
haps, by the violent perversion of the course of thought 
which has produced it, also introduce a kind of paralysis 
or other depravity of some part of the brain, which, if 
not soon done away with, becomes permanent. Therefore 
madness is only curable at first, and not after a longer 

Pinel taught that there is a mania sine delirio, frenzy 
without insanity. This was controverted by Esquirol, and 
since then much has been said for and against it. The 
question can only be decided empirically. But if such a 
state really does occur, then it is to be explained from the 
fact that here the will periodically entirely withdraws 
itself from the government and guidance of the intellect, 
and consequently of motives, and thus it then appears as 
a blind, impetuous, destructive force of nature, and accord 
ingly manifests itself as the desire to annihilate every 
thing that comes in its way. The will thus let loose is 
like the stream which has broken through the dam, the 
horse that has thrown his rider, or a clock out of which 
the regulating screws have been taken. Yet only the 
reason, thus reflective knowledge, is included in that 
suspension, not intuitive knowledge also ; otherwise the 
will would remain entirely without guidance, and con 
sequently the man would be immovable. But, on the 

1 In German inferiors are sometimes addressed as Er instead of Sic. 


contrary, the man in a frenzy apprehends objects, for he 
breaks out upon them ; thus he has also consciousness of 
his present action, and afterwards remembrance of it. 
But he is entirely without reflection, thus without any 
guidance of the reason, consequently quite incapable of 
any consideration or regard for the absent, the past, or the 
future. When the attack is over, and the reason has re 
gained its command, its function is correct, because here 
its proper activity has not been perverted or destroyed, 
but only the will has found the means to withdraw itself 
from it entirely for a while. 

C 173 ) 



WHAT contributes among other things to make the sight 
of a beautiful landscape so exceedingly delightful is the 
perfect truth and consistency of nature. Certainly nature 
does not follow here the guidance of logic in the connec 
tion of the grounds of knowledge, of antecedents and con 
sequences, premisses and conclusions ; but still it follows 
what is for it analogous to the law of causality in the visible 
connection of causes and effects. Every modification, even 
the slightest, which an object receives from its position, 
foreshortening, concealment, distance, lighting, linear and 
atmospheric perspective, &c., is, through its effect upon 
the eye, unerringly given and accurately taken account 
of: the Indian proverb, "Every corn of rice casts its 
shadow," finds here its confirmation. Therefore here 
everything shows itself so consistent, accurately regular, 
connected, and scrupulously right ; here there are no eva 
sions. If now we consider the sight of a beautiful view, 
merely as a brain-phenomenon, it is the only one among 
the complicated brain-phenomena which is always abso 
lutely regular, blameless, and perfect ; all the rest, espe 
cially our own mental operations, are, in form or material, 
affected more or less with defects or inaccuracies. From 
this excellence of the sight of beautiful nature, is the har 
monious and thoroughly satisfying character of its impres 
sion to be explained, and also the favourable effect which 

1 This chapter is connected with 38 of the first volume, 


it has upon our whole thought, which in its formal part 
thereby becomes more correctly disposed, and to a certain 
extent purified, for that brain-phenomenon which alone 
is entirely faultless sets the brain in general in perfectly 
normal action; and now the thought seeks to follow 
that method of nature in the consistency, connected 
ness, regularity, and harmony of all its processes, after 
being brought by it into the right swing. A beautiful 
view is therefore a cathartic of the mind, as music, 
according to Aristotle, is of the feeling, and in its presence 
one will think most correctly. 

That the sight of a mountain chain suddenly rising 
before us throws us so easily into a serious, and even 
sublime mood may partly depend upon the fact that the 
form of the mountains and the outline of the chain arising 
from it is the only constantly permanent line of the land 
scape, for the mountains alone defy the decay which 
soon sweeps away everything else, especially our own 
ephemeral person. Not that at the sight of the mountain 
chain all this appeared distinctly in our consciousness, but 
an obscure feeling of it is the fundamental note of our 

I would like to know why it is that while for the 
human form and countenance light from above is alto 
gether the most advantageous, and light from below 
the most unfavourable, with regard to landscape nature 
exactly the converse holds good. 

Yet how aesthetic is nature ! Every spot that is en 
tirely uncultivated and wild, i.e., left free to itself, how 
ever small it may be, if only the hand of man remains 
absent, it decorates at once in the most tasteful manner, 
clothes it with plants, flowers, and shrubs, whose unforced 
nature, natural grace, and tasteful grouping bears witness 
that they have not grown up under the rod of correction 
of the great egoist, but that nature has here moved freely. 
Every neglected plant at once becomes beautiful. Upon 
this rests the principle of the English garden, which is as 


much as possible to conceal art, so that it may appear as 
if nature had here moved freely ; for only then is it per 
fectly beautiful, i.e., shows in the greatest distinctness the 
objectificaton of the still unconscious will to live, which 
here unfolds itself with the greatest naivete", because the 
forms are not, as in the animal world, determined by ex 
ternal ends, but only immediately by the soil, climate, 
and a mysterious third influence on account of which so 
many plants which have originally sprung up in the 
same soil and climate yet show such different forms and 

The great difference between the English, or more cor 
rectly the Chinese, garden and the old French, which is 
now always becoming more rare, yet still exists in a few 
magnificent examples, ultimately rests upon the fact that 
the former is planned in an objective spirit, the latter 
in a subjective. In the former the will of nature, as it 
objectifies itself in tree and shrub, mountain and waterfall, 
is brought to the purest possible expression of these its 
Ideas, thus of its own inner being. In the French garden, 
on the other hand, only the will of the possessor of it is 
mirrored, which has subdued nature so that instead of its 
Ideas it bears as tokens of its slavery the forms which 
correspond to that will, and which are forcibly imposed 
upon it clipped hedges, trees cut into all kinds of forms, 
straight alleys, arched avenues, &c. 

< J76 ) 



^\ \ 

Not merely philosophy but also the fine arts work at \ 
bottom towards the solution of the problem of existence. Jj 
For in every mind that once gives itself up to the purely 
objective contemplation of nature a desire has been ex 
cited, however concealed and unconscious it may be, ta 
comprehend the true nature of things, of life and existence. j 
For this alone has interest for the intellect as such, i.e., \ 
for the pure subject of knowledge which has become free 
from the aims of the will ; as for the subject which knows 
as a mere individual the aims of the will alone have 
interest. On this account the result of the purely ob 
jective apprehension of things is an expression more of 
the nature of life and existence, more an answer to the 
question, " What is life ? " Every genuine and successful 
work of art answers this question in its own way with 
perfect correctness. But all the arts speak only the naive 
and childish language of perception, not the abstract ancr 
serious language of reflection ; their answer is therefore a 
fleeting image : not permanent and general knowledge. 
Thus for perception every work of art answers that 
question, every painting, every statue, every poem, every | 
scene upon the stage : music also answers it ; and indeedJ 
more profoundly than all the rest, for in its language, 
which is understood with absolute directness, but which 
is yet untranslatable into that of the reason, the inner 

1 This chapter is connected with 49 of the first volume, 


^?$8Ifi. 9* all life and existence expresses itself. Thus all 
the other arts hold up to the questioner a perceptible imao-e, 
and say, " Look here, this is life." Their answer, how 
ever correct it may be, will yet always afford merely a 
temporary, not a complete and final, satisfaction. For 
they always give merely a fragment, an example instead 
of the rule, not the whole, which can only be given in the 
universality of the conception. For this, therefore, thus for 
reflection and in the abstract, to give an answer which 
just on that account shall be permanent and suffice for 
always, is the task of philosophy. However, we see here 
upon what the relationship of philosophy to the fine arts 
rests, and can conclude from that to what extent the 
capacity of both, although in its direction and in secondary 
matters very different, is yet in its root the same. 

Every work of art accordingly really aims at showing us 
life and things as they are in truth, but cannot be directly 
discerned by every one through the mist of objective and 
subjective contingencies. Art takes away this mist. 

The works of the poets, sculptors, and representative 
artists in general contain an unacknowledged treasure of 
profound wisdom ; just because out of them the wisdom 
of the nature of things itself speaks, whose utterances 
they merely interpret by illustrations and purer repetitions. 
On this account, however, every one who reads the poem 
or looks at the picture must certainly contribute out of 
his own means to bring that wisdom to light ; accordingly 
he comprehends only so much of it as his capacity and 
culture admit of ; as in the deep sea each sailor only lets 
down the lead as far as the length of the line will allow. 
Before a picture, as before a prince, every one must stand, 
waiting to see whether and what it will speak to him ; and, 
as in the case of a prince, so here he must not himself ad 
dress it, for then he would only hear himself. It follow 
from all this that in the works of the representative arts all 
truth is certainly contained, yet only virtualiter or impli- 
cite; philosophy, on the other hand, endeavours to supplv 
VOL. in. M 


the same truth adualiter and explicite, and therefore, in thia 
sense, is related to art as wine to grapes. What it promises 
to supply would be, as it were, an already realised and 
clear gain, a firm and abiding possession ; while that which 
proceeds from the achievements and works of art is one 
which has constantly to be reproduced anew. Therefore, 
however, it makes demands, not only upon those who pro 
duce its works, but also upon those who are to enjoy them 
which are discouraging and hard to comply with. There 
fore its public remains small, while that of art is large. 

The co-operation of the beholder, which is referred to 
above, as demanded for the enjoyment of a work of art, 
depends partly upon the fact that every work of art can 
only produce its effect through the medium of the fancy ; 
therefore it must excite this, and can never allow it to be 
left out of the play and remain inactive. This is a con- 
dition of the sesthetic effect, and therefore a fundamental 
law of all fine arts. But it follows from this that, through 
the work of art, everything must not be directly given to 
the senses, but rather only so much as is demanded to 
lead the fancy on to the right path ; something, and ^ 
indeed the ultimate thing, must always be left over for ) 
the fancy to do. Even the author must always leave 
something over for the reader to think ; for Voltaire has 
very rightly said, " Le secret d etre ennuyeux, cest de tout 
dire." But besides this, in art the best of all is too spiritual 
to be given directly to the senses ; it must be born in the 1 
imagination of the beholder, although begotten by the j 
work of art. It depends upon this that the sketches of } 
great masters often effect more than their finished pio- 
tures ; although another advantage certainly contributes 
to this, namely, that they are completed offhand in the 
moment of conception ; while the perfected painting is 
only produced through continued effort, by means of 
skilful deliberation and persistent intention, for the in 
spiration cannot last till it is completed. From the 
fundamental aesthetical law we are speaking of, it is 


further to be explained why wax figures never produce 
an aesthetic effect, and therefore are not properly works 
of fine art, although it is just in them that the imitation 
of nature is able to reach its highest grade. For they 
leave nothing for the imagination to do. Sculpture gives 
merely the form without the colour ; painting gives the 
colour, but the mere appearance of the form ; thus both 
appeal to the imagination of the beholder. The wax 
figure, on the other hand, gives all, form and colour at 
once; whence arises the appearance of reality, and the 
imagination is left out of account. Poetry, on the con 
trary, appeals indeed to the imagination alone, which it 
sets in action by means of mere words. 

An arbitrary playing with the means of art without a 
proper knowledge of the end is, in every art, the fundamen 
tal characteristic of the dabbler. Such a man shows him 
self in the pillars that support nothing, aimless volutes, 
juttings and projections of bad architecture, in the mean 
ingless runs and figures, together with the aimless noise 
of bad music, in the jingling of the rhymes of senseless 
poetry, &c. 

It follows from the preceding chapter, and from my whole 
view of art, that its aim is the facilitating of the knowledge 
of the Ideas of the world (in the Platonic sense, the only 
one which I recognise for the word Idea). The Ideas, how- \ 
ever, are essentially something perceptible, which, there 
fore, in its fuller determinations, is inexhaustible. 
communication of such an Idea can therefore only take 
place on the path of perception, which is that of art. Who- 
ever, therefore, is filled with the comprehension of an 
Idea is justified if he chooses art as the medium of its com 
munication. The mere conception, on the other hand, is 
something completely determiuable, therefore exhaustible, 
and distinctly thought, the whole content of which cau be 
coldly and dryly expressed in words. Now to desire to 
communicate such a conception by means of a work of art 
is a very useless circumlocution, indeed belongs to that 


playin^ with the means of art without knowledge of its 
end which has just been condemned. Therefore a work 
of art which has proceeded from mere distinct conceptions 
is always ungenuine. If now, in considering a work of 
plastic art, or in reading a poem, or in hearing a piece of 
music (which aims at describing something definite), we 
see, through all the rich materials of art, the distinct, 
limited, cold, dry conception shine out, and at last come 
to the front, the conception which was the kernel of this 
work, the whole notion of which consequently consisted 
in the distinct thinking of it, and accordingly is absolutely 
exhausted by its communication, we feel disgusted and 
indi-nant, for we see ourselves deceived and cheated out of 
our interest and attention. We are only perfectly satislSS 
by the impression of a work of art when it leaves some- 
thin" which, with all our thinking about it, we cannot bring 
down to the distinctness of a conception. The mark of that 
hybrid origin from mere conceptions is that the author of 
a work of art could, before he set about it, give in distinct 
words what he intended to present ; for then it would have 
been possible to attain his whole end through these words. 
Therefore it is an undertaking as unworthy as it is absurd 
if as has often been tried at the present day, one seeks 
to reduce a poem of Shakspeare s or Goethe s to the abstract 
truth which it was its aim to communicate. Certainly the_ 
artist ought to think in the arranging of his work ; but only 
that thought which was perceived before it was thought has 
afterwards, in its communication, the power of animating or 
rousino- an d thereby becomes imperishable. We shall not 
refrain from observing here that certainly the work which 
is done at a stroke, like the sketches of painters already 
referred to, the work which is completed in the inspiration 
of its first conception, and as it were unconsciously dashed 
off, like the melody which comes entirely without reflec 
tion and quite as if by inspiration, and finally, also the 
lyrical poem proper, the mere song, in which the deeply 
felt mood of the present, and the impression of the sur- 


foundings, as if involuntarily, pours itself forth in words, 
whose metre and rhyme come about of their own accord 
that all these, I say, have the great advantage of being 
purely the work of the ecstasy of the moment, the inspira 
tion, the free movement of genius, without any admixture 
of intention and reflection ; hence they are through and 
through delightful and enjoyable, without shell and kernel, 
and their effect is much more inevitable than that of the 
greatest works of art, of slower and more deliberate exe 
cution. In all the latter, thus in great historical paintings,] 
in long epic poems, great operas, &c., reflection, intention, ; 
and deliberate selection has had an important part ; under- ( , 
standing, technical skill, and routine must here fill up the i 
gaps which the conception and inspiration of genius has ( 
left, and must mix with these all kinds of necessary sup- \ 
plementary work as cement of the only really genuinely . 
brilliant parts. This explains why all such works, only 
excepting the perfect masterpieces of the very greatest 
masters (as, for example, " Hamlet," " Faust," the opera of 
"Don Juan"), inevitably contain an admixture of some 
thing insipid and wearisome, which in some measure 
hinders the enjoyment of them. Proofs of this are the 
" Messiah," " Gerusalemme liberata," even "Paradise Lost" 
and the "^Eneid;" and Horace already makes the bold 
remark, " Quandoque dormitat bonus Homerus." But that 
this is the case is the consequence of the limitation of 
human powers in general. 

The mother of the useful arts is necessity ; that of the 
fine arts superfluity. As their father, the former have 
understanding ; the latter genius, which is itself a kind of 
superfluity, that of the powers of knowledge beyond the 
measure which is required for the service of the will 

( 182 ) 



IN accordance with the deduction given in the text of the 
pure aesthetics of architecture from the lowest grades of 
the objectification of the will or of nature, the Ideas of 
which it seeks to bring to distinct perception, its one con 
stant theme is support and burden, and its fundamental 
law is that no burden shall be without sufficient support, 
and no support without a suitable burden ; consequently 
that the relation of these two shall be exactly the fitting 
one. The purest example of the carrying out of this 
theme is the column and entablature. Therefore the 
order or columnar arrangement has become, as it were, the 
thorough bass of the whole of architecture. In column 
and entablature the support and the burden are completely 
separated ; whereby the reciprocal action of the two and 
their relation to each other becomes apparent. For cer 
tainly even every plain wall contains support and burden ; 
but here the two are still fused together. All is here sup 
port and all is burden ; hence there is no aesthetic effect. 
This first appears through the separation, and takes place in 
proportion to its degree. For between the row of columns 
and the plain wall there are many intermediate degrees. 
Even in the mere breaking up of the wall of a house by 
windows and doors one seeks at least to indicate that 
separation by flat projecting pilasters (antce) with capitals, 
which are inserted under the mouldings, nay, in case of 
need, are represented by mere painting, in order to in- 

1 This chapter is connected with 43 of the first volume. 


dicate in some way the entablature and an order. Keal 
pillars, and also consoles and supports of various kinds, 
realise more that pure separation of support and burden 
which is striven after throughout by architecture. In 
this respect, next to the column with the entablature, but 
as a special construction not imitating it, stands the vault 
with the pillar. The latter certainly is far from attaining 
to the aesthetic effect of the former, because here the 
support and the burden are not purely separated, but are 
fused, passing over into each other. In the vault itself 
every stone is at once burden and support, and even the 
pillars, especially in groined vaulting, are, at least appa 
rently, held in position by the pressure of opposite arches ; 
and also just on account of this lateral pressure not only 
vaults but even mere arches ought not to rest upon columns, 
but require the massive four-cornered pillars. In the row 
of columns alone is the separation complete, for here 
the entablature appears as pure burden, the column as 
pure support. Accordingly the relation of the colonnade 
to the plain wall may be compared to that which would 
exist between a scale ascending in regular intervals and a 
tone ascending little by little from the same depth to the 
same height without gradation, which would produce a 
mere howl. For in the one as in the other the material is 
the same, and the important difference proceeds entirely 
from the pure separation. 

Moreover, the support is not adapted to the burden 
when it is only sufficient to bear it, but when it can do 
this so conveniently and amply that at the first glance we 
are quite at ease about it. Yet this superfluity of support 
must not exceed a certain degree ; for otherwise we will 
perceive support without burden, which is opposed to the 
sesthetic end. As a rule for determining that degree the 
ancients devised the line of equilibrium, which is got by 
carrying out the diminution of the thickness of the column 
as it ascends till it runs out into an acute angle, whereby 


the column becomes a cone ; now every cross section will 


leave the lower part so strong that it is sufficient to sup 
port the upper part cut off. Commonly, however, one 
builds with twentyfold strength, i.e., one lays upon every 
support only ^yth of the maximum it could bear. A glar 
ing example of burden without support is presented to the 
eye by the balconies at the corners of many houses built 
in the elegant style of the present day. We do not see 
what supports them; they seem to hang suspended, and 
disturb the mind. 

That in Italy even the simplest and most unornamented 
buildings make an aesthetic impression, while in Germany 
this is not the case, depends principally upon the fact that 
in Italy the roofs are very flat. A high roof is neither 
support nor burden, for its two halves mutually support 
each other, but the whole has no weight corresponding to 
its extension. Therefore it presents to the eye an ex 
tended mass which is entirely foreign to the aesthetic end, 
serves merely a useful end, consequently disturbs the 
former, of which the theme is always only support and 

The form of the column has its sole ground in the fact 
that it affords the simplest and most suitable support. 
In the twisted column inappropriateuess appears as if 
with intentional perversity, and therefore shamelessness : 
hence good taste condemns it at the first glance. The 
four-cornered pillar, since the diagonal exceeds the sides, 
has unequal dimensions of thickness which have no end 
as their motive, but are occasioned by the accident of 
greater feasibleness ; and just on this account it pleases 
us so very much less than the column. Even the hexa 
gonal or octagonal pillar is more pleasing, because it 
approaches more nearly to the round column ; for the 
form of the latter alone is exclusively determined by the 
end. It is, however, also so determined in all its other 
proportions, primarily in the relation of its thickness to 
its height, within the limits permitted by the difference 
of the three columnar orders. Therefore its diminution 


from the first third of its height upwards, and also a 
slight increase of its thickness just at this place (entasis 
vitr.), depends upon the fact that the pressure of the 
burden is greatest there. It has hitherto been believed 
that this increase in thickness was peculiar to the Ionic 
and Corinthian columns alone, but recent measurements 
have shown it also in the Doric columns, even at Peestum. 
Thus everything in the column, its thoroughly determined 
form, the proportion of its height to its thickness, of both 
to the intervals between the columns, and that of the 
whole series to the entablature and the burden resting upon 
it, is the exactly calculated result of the relation of the 
necessary support to the given burden. As the latter is 
uniformly distributed, so must also the support be ; there 
fore groups of columns are tasteless. On the other hand, 
in the best Doric temples the corner column comes some 
what nearer to the next ones, because the meeting of the 
entablatures at the corner increases the burden ; and in this 
the principle of architecture expresses itself distinctly, that 
the structural relations, i.e., the relations between support 
and burden, are the essential ones, to which the relations 
of symmetry, as subordinate, must at once give way. 
According to the weight of the whole burden generally 
will the Doric or the two lighter orders of columns be 
chosen, for the first, not only by the greater thickness, 
but also by the closer position of the columns, which is 
essential to it, is calculated for heavier burdens, to which 
end also the almost crude simplicity of its capital is suited. 
The capitals in general serve the end of showing visibly 
that the columns bear the entablature, and are not stuck 
in like pins ; at the same time they increase by means of 
their abacus the bearing surface. Since, then, all the 
laws of columnar arrangement, and consequently also the 
form and proportion of the column, in all its parts and 
dimensions down to the smallest details, follow from the 
thoroughly understood and consistently carried out con 
ception of the amply adequate support of a given burden, 


thus so far are determined a priori, it comes out clearly 
how perverse is the thought, so often repeated, that the 
stems of trees, or even (which unfortunately even " Vitru- 
vius," iv. i, expresses) the human form has been the 
prototype of the column. For if the form of the column 
were for architecture a purely accidental one, taken from 
without, it could never appeal to us so harmoniously and 
satisfactorily whenever we behold it in its proper sym 
metry; nor, on the other hand, could every even slight 
disproportion of it be felt at once by the fine and culti 
vated sense as disagreeable and disturbing, like a false 
note in music. This is rather only possible because, 
according to the given end and means, all the rest is 
essentially determined a priori, as in music, according 
to the given melody and key, the whole harmony is essen 
tially so determined. And, like music, architecture in 
general is also not an imitative art, although both are 
often falsely taken to be so. 

^Esthetic satisfaction, as was fully explained in the 
text, always depends upon the apprehension of a (Platonic) 
Idea. For architecture, considered merely as a fine art, 
the Ideas of the lowest grades of nature, such as gravity, 
rigidity, and cohesion, are the peculiar theme; but not, 
as has hitherto been assumed, merely regular form, pro 
portion, and symmetry, which, as something purely geo 
metrical, properties of space, are not Ideas, and therefore 
cannot be the theme of a fine art. Thus in architecture 
also they are of secondary origin, and have a subordinate 
significance, which I shall bring out immediately. If it 
were the task of architecture as a fine art simply to 
exhibit these, then the model would have the same effect 
as the finished work. But this is distinctly not the case ; 
on the contrary, the works of architecture, in order to 
act aesthetically, absolutely must have a considerable size ; 
nay, they can never be too large, but may easily be too 
small. Indeed ceteris paribiis the aesthetic effect is in 
exact proportion to the size of the building, because 


only great masses make the action of gravitation apparent 
and impressive in a high degree. But this confirms my 
view that the tendency and antagonism of those funda 
mental forces of nature constitute the special sesthetical 
material of architecture, which, according to its nature, 
requires large masses in order to become visible, and 
indeed capable of being felt. The forms in architecture, 
as was shown above in the case of the column, are pri 
marily determined by the immediate structural end of 
each part. But so far as this leaves anything undeter 
mined, the law of the most perfect clearness to perception, 
thus also of the easiest comprehensibility, comes in ; for 
architecture has its existence primarily in our spatial 
perception, and accordingly appeals to our a priori faculty 
for this. But these qualities always result from the 
greatest regularity of the forms and rationality of their 
relations. Therefore beautiful architecture selects only 
regular figures composed of straight lines or regular curves, 
and also the bodies which result from these, such as cubes, 
parallelopipeda, cylinders, spheres, pyramids, and cones ; 
but as openings sometimes circles or ellipses, yet, as a 
rule, quadrates, and still oftener rectangles, the latter of 
thoroughly rational and very easily comprehended re 
lation of their sides (not, for instance, as 6:7, but as 
I : 2, 2 : 3), finally also blind windows or niches of regular 
and comprehensible proportions. For the same reason it 
will readily give to the buildings themselves and their 
large parts a rational and easily comprehended relation of 
height and breadth ; for example, it will let the height 
of a faqade be half the breadth, and place the pillars so 
that every three or four of them, with the intervals be 
tween them, will measure a line which is equal to the 
height, thus will form a quadrate. The same principle of 
perceptibility and easy comprehension demands also that 
a building should be easily surveyed. This introduces 
symmetry, which is further necessary to mark out the 
work as a whole, and to distinguish its essential from its 


accidental limitation ; for sometimes, for example, it is 
only under the guidance of symmetry that one knows 
whether one has before one three buildings standing 
beside each other or only one. Thus only by means of 
symmetry does a work of architecture at once announce 
itself as individual unity, and as the development of a 
central thought. 

Now although, as was cursorily shown above, architecture 
has by no means to imitate the forms of nature, such as 
the stems of trees or even the human figure, yet it ought 
to work in the spirit of nature, for it makes the law its 
own, natura nihil agit fnistra, nihilque supervacaneum, 
et quod commodissimum in omnibus suis operationibus 
sequitur, and accordingly avoids everything which is even 
only apparently aimless, and always attains the end in 
view in each case, whether this is purely architectonic, i.e., 
structural, or an end connected with usefulness, by the 
shortest and most natural path, and thus openly exhibits 
the end through the work itself. Thus it attains a certain 
grace, analogous to that which in living creatures consists 
in the ease and suitableness of every movement and 
position to its end. Accordingly we see in the good 
antique style of architecture every part, whether pillar, 
column, arch, entablature, or door, window, stair, or 
balcony, attain its end in the directest and simplest 
manner, at the same time displaying it openly and 
naively; just as organised nature also does in its 
works. The tasteless style of architecture, on the con 
trary, seeks in everything useless roundabout ways, 
and delights in caprices, thereby hits upon aimlessly 
broken and irregular entablatures, grouped columns, 
fragmentary cornices on door arches and gables, meaning 
less volutes, scrolls, and such like. It plays with the 
means of the art without understanding its aims, as chil 
dren play with the tools of grown-up people. This was 
given above as the character of the bungler. Of this 
kind is every interruption of a straight line, every altera- 


tion in the sweep of a curve, without apparent end. On 
the other hand, it is also just that naive simplicity in the 
disclosure and attainment of the end, corresponding to the 
spirit in which nature works and fashions, that imparts 
such beauty and grace of form to antique pottery that it 
ever anew excites our wonder, because it contrasts so ad 
vantageously in original taste with our modern pottery, 
which bears the stamp of vulgarity, whether it is made of 
porcelain or common potter s clay. At the sight of the 
pottery and implements of the ancients we feel that if 
nature had wished to produce such things it would have 
done so in these forms. Since, then, we see that the 
beauty of architecture arises from the unconcealed exhibi 
tion of the ends, and the attainment of them by the 
shortest and most natural path, my theory here appears 
in direct contradiction with that of Kant, which placei 
the nature of all beauty in an apparent design without 
an end. 

The sole theme of architecture here set forth support 
and burden is so very simple, that just on this account 
this art, so far as it is a fine art (but not so far as it serves 
useful ends), is perfect and complete in essential matters, 
since the best Greek period, at least, is not susceptible of 
any important enrichment On the other hand, the 
modern architect cannot noticeably depart from the rules 
and patterns of the ancients without already being on the 
path of deterioration. Therefore there remains nothing 
for him to do but to apply the art transmitted to 
him by the ancients, and carry out the rules so far as is 
possible under the limitations which are inevitably laid 
down for him by wants, climate, age, and country. For 
in this art, as in sculpture, the effort after the ideal unites 
with the imitation of the ancients. 

I scarcely need to remind the reader that in all 
these considerations I have had in view antique archi 
tecture alone, and not the so-called Gothic style, which 
is of Saracen origin, and was introduced by the Goths 


in Spain to the rest of Europe. Perhaps a certain beauty 
of its own kind is not altogether to be denied to this 
style, but yet if it attempts to oppose itself to the 
former as its equal, then this is a barbarous presumption 
which must not be allowed for a moment. How benefi 
cently, after contemplating such Gothic magnificence, does 
the sight of a building correctly carried out in the antique 
style act upon our mind ! We feel at once that this alone 
is right and true. If one could bring an ancient Greek be 
fore our most celebrated Gothic cathedrals, what would he 
say to them ? Bapffapoi ! Our pleasure in Gothic works 
certainly depends for the most part upon the association of 
ideas and historical reminiscences, thus upon a feeling which 
is foreign to art. All that I have said of the true esthetic 
end, of the spirit and the theme of architecture, loses in 
the case of these works its validity. For the freely lying 
entablature has vanished, and with it the columns : support 
and burden, arranged and distributed in order to give 
visible form to the conflict between rigidity and gravity, 
are here no longer the theme. Moreover, that thorough, 
pure rationality by virtue of which everything admits of 
strict account, nay, already presents it of its own accord 
to the thoughtful beholder, and which belongs to the 
character of antique architecture, can here no longer be 
found ; we soon become conscious that here, instead of it, 
a will guided by other conceptions has moved ; therefore 
much remains unexplained to us. For only the antique 
style of architecture is conceived in a purely objective spirit ; 
the Gothic style is more in the subjective spirit. Yet as 
we have recognised the peculiar aesthetic fundamental 
thought of antique architecture in the unfolding of the 
conflict between rigidity and gravity, if we wish to dis 
cover in Gothic architecture also an analogous funda 
mental thought, it will be this, that here the entire 
overcoming and conquest of gravity by rigidity is sup 
posed to be exhibited. For in accordance with this the 
horizontal line which is that of burden has entirely 


vanished, and the action of gravity only appears indirectly, 
disguised in arches and vaults, while the vertical line 
which is that of support, alone prevails, and makes pal 
pable to the senses the victorious action of rigidity, in 
excessively high "buttresses, towers, turrets, and pinnacles 
without number which rise unencumbered on high. While 
in antique architecture the tendency and pressure from 
above downwards is just as well represented and exhibited 
as that from below upwards, here the latter decidedly 
predominates; whence that analogy often observed with 
the crystal, whose crystallisation also takes place with 
the overcoming of gravity. If now we attribute this 
spirit and fundamental thought to Gothic architecture, 
and would like thereby to set it up as the equally justified 
antithesis of antique architecture, we must remember 
that the conflict between rigidity and gravity, which the 
antique architecture so openly and naively expresses, is 
an actual and true conflict founded in nature ; the entire 
overcoming of gravity by rigidity, on the contrary, remains 
a mere appearance, a fiction accredited by illusion. Every 
one will easily be able to see clearly how from the 
fundamental thought given here, and the peculiarities 
of Gothic architecture noticed above, there arises that 
mysterious and hyperphysical character which is attri 
buted to it. It principally arises, as was already men 
tioned, from the fact that here the abitrary has taken the 
place of the purely rational, which makes itself known 
as the thorough adaptation of the means to the end. 
The many things that are really aimless, but yet are so 
carefully perfected, raise the assumption of unknown, 
unfathomed, and secret ends, i.e., give the appearance of 
mystery. On the other hand, the brilliant side of Gothic 
churches is the interior; because here the effect of the 
groined vaulting borne by slender, crystalline, aspiring 
pillars, raised high aloft, and, all burden having dis 
appeared, promising eternal security, impresses the mind ; 
while most of the faults which have been mentioned lie 


upon the outside. In antique buildings the external side 
is the most advantageous, because there we see better 
the support and the burden ; in the interior, on the other 
hand, the flat roof always retains something depressing 
and prosaic. For the most part, also, in the temples of 
the ancients, while the outworks were many and great, the 
interior proper was small. An appearance of sublimity 
is gained from the hemispherical vault of a cupola, as 
in the Pantheon, of which, therefore, the Italians also, 
building in this style, have made a most extensive use. 
What determines this is, that the ancients, as southern 
peoples, lived more in the open air than the northern 
nations who have produced the Gothic style of archi 
tecture. Whoever, then, absolutely insists upon Gothic 
architecture being accepted as an essential and authorised 
style may, if he is also fond of analogies, regard it as the 
negative pole of architecture, or, again, as its minor key 
In the interest of good taste I must wish that great wealth 
will be devoted to that which is objectively, i.e., actually, 
good and right, to what in itself is beautiful, but not to 
that whose value depends merely upon the association 
of ideas. Now when I see how this unbelieving age so 
diligently finishes the Gothic churches left incomplete by 
the believing Middle Ages, it looks to me as if it were 
desired to embalm a dead Christianity. 

( 193 ) 



IN sculpture beauty and grace are the principal things ; 
but in painting expression, passion, and character predomi 
nate ; therefore just so much of the claims of beauty must 
be neglected. For a perfect beauty of all forms, such as 
sculpture demands, would detract from the characteristic 
and weary by monotony. Accordingly painting may also 
present ugly faces and emaciated figures ; sculpture, on 
the other hand, demands beauty, although not always 
perfect, but, throughout, strength and fulness of the 
figures. Consequently a thin Christ upon the Cross, 
a dying St. Jerome, wasted by age and disease, like 
the masterpiece of Dornenichino, is a proper subject 
for painting ; while, on the contrary, the marble figure 
by Donatello, in the gallery at Florence, of John the 
Baptist, reduced to skin and bone by fasting, has, in 
spite of the masterly execution, a repulsive effect. From 
this point of view sculpture seems suitable for the affirma 
tion, painting for the negation, of the will to live, and 
from this it may be explained why sculpture was the art 
of the ancients, while painting has been the art of the 
Christian era. 

In connection with the exposition given in 45 
of the first volume, that the discovery, recognition, and 
retention of the type of human beauty depends to a 
certain extent upon an anticipation of it, and therefore in 

1 This chapter is connected with 44-50 of the first volume. 


part has an a priori foundation, I find that I have yet to 
bring out clearly the fact that this anticipation never 
theless requires experience, by which it may be stirred up; 
analogous to the instinct of the brutes, which, although 
guiding the action a priori, yet requires determination 
by motives in the details of it. Experience and reality 
present to the intellect of the artist human forms, which, 
in one part or another, are more or less true to nature, as 
it were asking for his judgment concerning them, and 
thus, after the Socratic method, call forth from that 
obscure anticipation the distinct and definite knowledge 
of the ideal Therefore it assisted the Greek sculptors 
very much that the climate and customs of their country 
gave them opportunity the whole day of seeing half- 
naked forms, and in the gymnasium entirely naked forms. 
In this way every limb presented its plastic significance 
to criticism, and to comparison with the ideal which lay 
undeveloped in their consciousness. Thus they constantly 
exercised their judgment with regard to all forms and limbs, 
down to their finest shades of difference ; and thus, little 
by little, their originally dull anticipation of the ideal 
of human beauty was raised to such distinct consciousness 
that they became capable of objectifying it in works of 
art. In an entirely analogous manner some experience is 
useful and necessary to the poet for the representation of 
characters. For although he does not work according to 
experience and empirical data, but in accordance with the 
clear consciousness of the nature of humanity, as he finds 
it within himself, yet experience serves this conscious 
ness as a pattern, incites it and gives it practice. Accord 
ingly his knowledge of human nature and its varieties, 
although in the main it proceeds a priori and by antici 
pation, yet first receives life, definiteness, and compass 
through experience. But, supporting ourselves upon the 
preceding book and chapter 44 in the following book, 
we can go still deeper into the ground of that marvel 
lous sense of beauty of the Greeks which made them 


alone of all nations upon earth capable of discovering the 

true normal type of the human form, and accordingly 

of setting up the pattern of beauty and grace for the 

ition of all ages, and we can say: The same thin* 

LCD, if it remains unseparated from the tmtt w& 
sexual instinct with its discriminating selection, i* 
svwd love (which it is well known was subject amon* 
Greeks to great aberrations), becomes, if by the 
presence of an abnormally preponderating intellect it 
separates.itself from the will and yet remains active the 

live sense of leauty of the human form, which now 
lows itself primarily as a critical artistic sense, but can 
rise to the discovery and representation of the norm of 
all parts and proportions; as was the case in Phidias 
Praxiteles, Scopas, &c. Then is fulfilled what Goethe 
makes the artist say 

" That I with mind divine 
And human hand 
May be able to form 
What with my wife, 
As animal, I can and must.* 

And again, analogous to this, that which in the poet if it 
remained unseparated from the will, would give only 
worldly prudence, becomes, if it frees itself from the wffl 
by abnormal preponderance of the intellect, the capacity 
tor objective, dramatic representation. 

Modern sculpture, whatever it may achieve, is still 
analogous to modern Latin poetry, and, like this, is a 
child of imitation, sprung from reminiscences. If it pre 
sumes to try to be original, it at once goes astray, efpe- 
cially upon the bad path of forming according to natu^ 
as it lies before it, instead of according to the proportions 

the ancients. Canova, Thorwaldsen, and manvothers 

may oe compared to Johannes Secundus and Owenus. 

t is the same with architecture, only there it is founded 

m the art itself, the purely aesthetic part of which is 

small compass, and was already exhausted by the 


ancients; therefore the modern architect can only distin 
guish himself in the wise application of it ; and he ought 
to know that he removes himself from good taste just 
so far as he departs from the style and pattern of the 

The art of the painter, considered only so far as it aims 
at producing the appearance of reality, may ultimately be 
referred to the fact that he understands how to separate 
purely what in seeing is the mere sensation, thus the 
affection of the retina, i.e., the only directly given effect, 
from its cause, i.e., the objective external world, the per 
ception of which first rises in the understanding from 
this effect; whereby, if he has technical skill, he is in a 
position to produce the same effect in the eye through 
an entirely different cause, the patches of applied colour, 
from which then in the understanding of the beholder 
the same perception again arises through the unavoidable 
reference of the effect to the ordinary cause. 

If we consider how there lies something so entirely 
idiosyncratic, so thoroughly original, in every human 
countenance, and that it presents a whole which can only 
belong to a unity consisting entirely of necessary parts, 
by virtue of which we recognise a known individual out 
of so many thousands, even after long years, although 
the possible variations of human features, especially of 
one race, lie within very narrow limits, we must doubt 
whether anything of such essential unity and such great 
originality could ever proceed from any other source than 
from the mysterious depths of the inner being of nature ; 
but from this it would follow that no artist could be 
capable of really reproducing the original peculiarity of 
a human countenance, or even of composing it according 
to nature from recollection. Accordingly what he pro 
duced of this kind would always be only a half true, nay, 
perhaps an impossible composition; for how should he 
compose an actual physiognomical unity when the prin 
ciple of this unity is really unknown to him ? Therefore, 


in the case of every face which has merely been imagined 
by an artist, we must doubt whether it is in fact a 
possible face, and whether nature, as the master of all 
masters, would not show it to be a bungled production by 
pointing out complete contradictions in it. This would, 
of course, lead to the principle that in historical paintings 
only portraits ought to figure, which certainly would then 
have to be selected with the greatest care and in some 
degree idealised. It is well known that great artists have 
always gladly painted from living models and introduced 
many portraits. 

Although, as is explained in the text, the real end^o 
painting, as of art in general, is to make the comprehension 
of the (Platonic) Ideas of the nature of the world easier 
for us, whereby we are at once thrown into the state of 
pure, i.e., will-less, knowing, there yet belongs to it besides 
this. an-.icdepeH4ent. beauty of its own, which is produced 
by the mere harmony of the colours, the pleasingness of 
the -grouping, the happy distribution of light and shade, 
and .the tone of the whole picture. This accompanying 
subordinate kind of beauty furthers the condition of pure 
knowing, and is in painting what the diction, the metre, 
and rhyme are in poetry; bot^ are npjb. what is essential, 
but what acts first and immediately. 

rhave some further evidence to give in support of my 1 
judgment given in the first volume, 50, oi^tl.ie_ina.dmis- allegory in painting. In the Borghese palace 
at Eome there is tHe following picture by Michael Angelo 
Caravaggio : Jesus, as a child of about ten years old, treads 
upon the head of a serpent, but entirely without fear and 
with great calmness ; and His mother, who accompanies 
Him, remains quite as indifferent. Close by stands St. 
Elizabeth, looking solemnly and tragically up to heaven. 
Now what could be thought of this kyriological hiero 
glyphic by a man who had never heard anything about 
the seed of the woman that should bruise the head of the 
serpent ? At Florence, in the library of the palace Rio 


cardi, we find the following allegory upon the ceiling, 
painted by Luca Giordano, which is meant to signify 
that science frees the understanding from the bonds of 
ignorance : the understanding is a strong man bound with 
cords, which are just falling off; a nymph holds a mirror 
in front of him, another hands him a large detached wing ; 
above sits science on a globe, and beside her, with a globe 
in her hand, the naked truth. At Ludwigsburg, near 
Stuttgart, there is a picture which shows us time, as 
Saturn, cutting off with a pair of shears the wings of 
Cupid. If this is meant to signify that when we grow old 
love proves unstable, this no doubt has its truth. 

The following may serve to strengthen my solution of 
the problem as to why Laocoon does not cry out. One 
may practically convince oneself of the faulty effect of the 
representation of shrieking by the works of the plastic 
and pictorial arts, which are essentially dumb, by a pic 
ture of the slaughter of the innocents, by Guido Reni, 
which is to be found in the Academy of Arts at Bologna, 
and in which this great artist has committed the mistake 
of painting six shrieking wide-open mouths. Let any one 
who wants to have this more distinct think of a panto 
mimic representation on the stage, and in one of the 
scenes an urgent occasion for one of the players to shriek ; 
if now the dancer who is representing this part should 
express the shriek by standing for a while with his mouth 
wide open, the loud laughter of the whole house would 
bear witness to the absurdity of the thing. Accordingly, 
since the shrieking of Laocoon had to be avoided for 
reasons which did not lie in the objects to be represented, 
but in the nature of the representing art, the task thus 
arose for the artist so to present this not-shrieking as to 
make it plausible to us that a man in such a position 
should not shriek. He solves this problem by repre 
senting the bite of the snake, not as having already 
taken place, nor yet as still threatening, but as just 
happening now in the side; for thereby the lower part 


of the body is contracted, and shrieking made impossible. 
This immediate but only subordinate reason was correctly 
discovered by Goethe, and is expounded at the end of the 
eleventh book of his autobiography, and also in the paper 
on Laocoon in the first part of the Propylsea ; but the ulti 
mate, primary reason, which conditions this one, is that 
which I have set forth. I cannot refrain from remarking 
that I here stand in the same relation to Goethe as with 
reference to the theory of colours. In the collection of 
the Duke of Aremberg at Brussels there is an antique 
head of Laocoon which was found later. However, the 
head in the world-renowned group is not a restored one 
which follows from Goethe s special table of all the resto 
rations of this group, which is given at the end of the 
first volume of the Propylsea, and is also confirmed by the 
fact that the head which was found later resembles that of 
the group very much. Thus we must assume that another 
antique repetition of the group has existed to which the 
Aremberg head belonged. In my opinion the latter excels 
both in beauty and expression that of the group. It has 
the mouth decidedly wider open than in the group, yet 
not really to the extent of shrieking. 

( 200 ) 



I MIGHT give it as the simplest and most correct definition 
of poetry, that it is the art of bringing the imagination 
into play by means of words. How it brings this to pass 
I have shown in the first volume, 51. A special con 
firmation of what is said there is afforded by the following 

/ O 

passage in a letter of Wieland s to Merck, which has since 
then been published : " I have spent two days and a half 
upon a single stanza, in which the whole thing ultimately 
depended upon a single word which I wanted and could 
not find. I revolved and turned about the thing and my 
brain in all directions, because naturally, where a picture 
was in question, I desired to bring the same definite vision, 
which floated before my own mind into the mind of my 
reader also, and for this all often depends, ut nosti, upon a 
single touch or suggestion or reflex" (Briefe an Merck, 
edited by Wagner, 1835, p. 193). From the fact that the 
imagination of the reader is the material in which poetry 
exhibits its pictures, it has the advantage that the fuller 
development of these pictures and their finer touches, take 
place in the imagination of every one just as is most suit 
able to his individuality, his sphere of knowledge, and his 
humour, and therefore move him in the most lively manner ; 
instead of which plastic and pictorial art cannot so adapt 
itself, but here one picture, one form, must satisfy all. And 
yet this will always bear in some respect the stamp of the 
individuality of the artist or of his model, as a subjective 

1 This chapter is connected with 51 of the first volume. 


or accidental and inefficient addition; although always 
less so the more objective, i.e., the more of a genius, 
the artist is. This, to some extent, explains why works of 
poetry exercise a much stronger, deeper, and more uni 
versal effect than pictures and statues ; the latter, for the 
most part, leave the common people quite cold ; and, in 
general, the plastic arts are those which have the weakest 
effect. A remarkable proof of this is afforded by the 
frequent discovery and disclosure of pictures by great 
masters in private houses and all kinds of localities, 
where they have been hanging for many generations, not 
buried and concealed, but merely unheeded, thus without 
any effect. In my time (1823) there was even discovered 
in Florence a Madonna of Raphael s, which had hung for a 
long series of years on the wall of the servants hall of a 
palace (in the Quartiere di S. Spirito) ; and this happens 
among Italians, the nation which is gifted beyond all 
others with the sense of the beautiful. It shows how 
little direct and immediate effect the works of plastic and 
pictorial art have, and that it requires more culture and 
knowledge to prize them than the works of all other arts. 
How unfailingly, on the contrary, a beautiful melody that 
touches the heart makes its journey round the world, and 
an excellent poem wanders from people to people. That 
the great and rich devote their powerful support just to 
the plastic and pictorial arts, and expend considerable 
sums upon their works only ; nay, at the present day, an 
idolatry, in the proper sense of the term, gives the value 
of a large estate for a picture of a celebrated old master 
this depends principally upon the rarity of the master 
pieces, the possession of which therefore gratifies pride; 
and then also upon the fact that the enjoyment of them 
demands very little time and effort, and is ready at any 
moment, for a moment ; while poetry and even music 
make incomparably harder conditions. Corresponding to 
this, the plastic and pictorial arts may be dispensed with ; 
whole nations for example, the Mohammedan peoples 


are without them, but no people is without music and 

But the intention with which the poet sets our imagina 
tion in motion is to reveal to us the Ideas, i.e., to show us 
by an example what life and what the world is. The first 
condition of this is that he himself has known it ; accord 
ing as his knowledge has been profound or superficial so 
will his poem be. Therefore, as there are innumerable 
degrees of profoundness and clearness in the comprehen 
sion of the nature of things, so are there of poets. Each of 
these, however, must regard himself as excellent so far as 
he has correctly represented what he knew, and his picture 
answers to his original : he must make himself equal with 
the best, for even in the best picture he does not recognise 
more than in his own, that is, as much as he sees in nature 
itself ; for his glance cannot now penetrate deeper. But the 
best himself recognises himself as such in the fact that he 
sees how superficial was the view of the others, how much 
lay beyond it which they were not able to repeat, because 
they did not see it, and how much further his own glance 
and picture reaches. If he understood the superficial poets 
as little as they do him, then he would necessarily despair ; 
for just because it requires an extraordinary man to do 
him justice, but the inferior poets can just as little esteem 
him as he can them, he also has long to live upon his 
own approval before that of the world follows it. Mean 
while he is deprived even of his own approval, for he is 
expected to be very modest. It is, however, as impossible 
that he who has merit, and knows what it costs, should 
himself be blind to it, as that a man who is six feet high 
should not observe that he rises above others. If from 
the base of the tower to the summit is 300 feet, then cer 
tainly it is just as much from the summit to the base. 
Horace, Lucretius, Ovid, and almost all the ancients have 
spoken proudly of themselves, and also Dante, Shakspeare, 
Bacon of Verulam, and many more. That one can be a 
great man without observing anything of it is an ab- 


surdity of which only hopeless incapacity can persuade 
itself, in order that it may regard the feeling of its own 
insignificance as modesty. An Englishman has wittily 
and correctly observed that merit and modesty have 
nothing in common except the initial letter. 1 I have 
always a suspicion about modest celebrities that they 
may very well be right ; and Corneille says directly 

" La fausse humilite ne met plus en credit : 
Je sais ce que je vaux, et crois ce qu on. m en dit." 

Finally, Goethe has frankly said, "Only good-for- 
nothings are modest." But the assertion would be still more 
certain that those who so eagerly demand modesty from 
others, urge modesty, unceasingly cry, " Only be modest, 
for God s sake, only be modest ! " are positively good- 
for-nothings, i.e., persons entirely without merit, manu 
factures of nature, ordinary members of the great mass of 
humanity. For he who himself has merit also concedes 
merit understands himself truly and really. But he 
who himself lacks all excellence and merit wishes there 
was no such thing: the sight of it in others stretches 
him upon the rack ; pale, green, and yellow envy consumes 
his heart: he would like to annihilate and destroy all 
those who are personally favoured ; but if unfortunately 
he must let them live, it must only be under the con 
dition that they conceal, entirely deny, nay, abjure their 
advantages. This, then, is the root of the frequent eulo 
gising of modesty. And if the deliverers of these eulogies 
have the opportunity of suppressing merit as it arises, or 
at least of hindering it from showing itself or being known, 
who can doubt that they will do it? For this is the 
practice of their theory. 

Now, although the poet, like every artist, always brings 
before us only the particular, the individual, what he has 

1 IiichtenbeTgC VermisckteSchrif- Leszczynski as having said, "La 
ten," new edition, Gottingen, 1884, modestie devroit ftre la vertu de ceux, 
vol. iii. p. 19) quotes Stanislaus a qui Its autres manquent." 


known, and wishes by his work to make us know, is the 
(Platonic) Idea, the whole species ; therefore in his images, 
as it were, the type of human characters and situations 
will be impressed. The narrative and also the dramatic 
poet takes the whole particular from life, and describes it 
accurately in its individuality, but yet reveals in this 
way the whole of human existence; for although he 
seems to have to do with the particular, in truth he is 
concerned with that which is everywhere and at all times. 
Hence it arises that sentences, especially of the dramatic 
poets, even without being general apophthegms, find fre 
quent application in actual life. Poetry is related to 
philosophy as experience is related to empirical science. 
Experience makes us acquainted with the phenomenon 
in the particular and by means of examples, science 
embraces the whole of phenomena by means of general 
conceptions. So poetry seeks to make us acquainted 
with the (Platonic) Ideas through the particular and by 
means of examples. Philosophy aims at teaching, as a 
whole and in general, the inner nature of things which 
expresses itself in these. One sees even here that poetry 
bears more the character of youth, philosophy that of 
old age. In fact, the gift of poetry really only nourishes 
in youth : and also the susceptibility for poetry is often 
passionate in youth : the youth delights in verses as such, 
and is often contented with small ware. This inclination 
gradually diminishes with years, and in old age one prefers 
prose. By that poetical tendency of youth the sense of 
the real is then easily spoiled. For poetry differs from 
reality by the fact that in it life flows past us, interest 
ing and yet painless ; while in reality, on the contrary, so 
long as it is painless it is uninteresting, and as soon as 
it becomes interesting, it does not remain without pain. 
The youth who has been initiated into poetry earlier than 
into reality now desires from the latter what only the 
former can achieve ; this is a principal source of the dis 
comfort which oppresses the most gifted youths. 


Metre and rhyme are a fetter, but also a veil which the 
poet throws round him, and under which he is permitted 
to speak as he otherwise dared not do ; and that is 
what gives us pleasure. He is only half responsible for 
all that he says ; metre and rhyme must answer for the 
other half. Metre, or measure, as mere rhythm, has its 
existence only in time, which is a pure perception a 
priori, thus, to use Kant s language, belongs merely to 
pure sensibility ; rhyme, on the other hand, is an affair 
of sensation, in the organ of hearing, thus of empirical 
sensibility. Therefore rhythm is a much nobler and more 
worthy expedient than rhyme, which the ancients accord 
ingly despised, and which found its origin in those im 
perfect languages which arose from the corruption of 
earlier ones and in barbarous times. The poorness of 
French poetry depends principally upon the fact that it is 
confined to rhyme alone without metre, and it is increased 
by the fact that in order to conceal its want of means it 
has increased the difficulty of rhyming by a number of 
pedantic laws, such as, for example, that only syllables 
which are written the same way rhyme, as if it were for 
the eye and not for the ear that the hiatus is forbidden ; 
that a number of words must not occur ; aud many such, 
to all of which the new school of French poetry seeks to 
put an end. In no language, however, at least on me, does 
the rhyme make such a pleasing and powerful impression 
as in Latin ; the rhymed Latin poems of the Middle Ages 
have a peculiar charm. This must be explained from the 
fact that the Latin language is incomparably more perfect, 
more beautiful and noble, than any modern language, and 
now moves so gracefully in the ornaments and spangles 
which really belong to the latter, and which it itself 
originally despised. 

To serious consideration it might almost appear as high 
treason against our reason that even the slightest violence 
should be done to a thought or its correct and pure ex 
pression, with the childish intention that after some 


syllables the same sound of word should be heard, or 
even that these syllables themselves should present a 
kind of rhythmical beat. But without such violence very 
few verses would be made ; for it must be attributed to 
this that in foreign languages verses are much more 
difficult to understand than prose. If we could see into 
the secret workshops of the poets, we would find that 
the thought is sought for the rhyme ten times oftener 
than the rhyme for the thought; and even when the 
latter is the case, it is not easily accomplished without 
pliability on the part of the thought. But the art of verse 
bids defiance to these considerations, and, moreover, has all 
ages and peoples upon its side, so great is the power which 
metre and rhyme exercise upon the feeling, and so effec 
tive the mysterious lenocinium which belongs to them. 
I would explain this from the fact that a happily rhymed 
verse, by its indescribably emphatic effect, raises the feel 
ing as if the thought expressed in it lay already pre 
destined, nay, performed in the language, and the poet 
has only had to find it out. Even trivial thoughts receive 
from rhythm and rhyme a touch of importance ; cut a 
figure in this attire, as among girls plain faces attract the 
eye by finery. Nay, even distorted and false thoughts gain 
through versification an appearance of truth. On the 
other hand, even famous passages from famous poets 
shrink together and become insignificant when they are 
reproduced accurately in prose. If only the true is 
beautiful, and the dearest ornament of truth is nakedness, 
then a thought which appears true and beautiful in prose 
will have more true worth than one which affects us in 
the same way in verse. Now it is very striking, and well 
worth investigating, that such trifling, nay, apparently 
childish, means as metre and rhyme produce so powerful 
an effect. I explain it to myself in the following manner : 
That which is given directly to the sense of hearing, thus 
the mere sound of the words, receives from rhythm and 
rhyme a certain completeness and significance in itself 


for it thereby becomes a kind of music ; therefore it seems 
now to exist for its own sake, and no longer as a mere 
means, mere signs of something signified, the sense of the 
words. To please the ear with its sound seems to be its 
whole end, and therefore with this everything seems to be 
attained and all claims satisfied. But that it further con 
tains a meaning, expresses a thought, presents itself now 
as an unexpected addition, like words to music as an un 
expected present which agreeably surprises us and there 
fore, since we made no demands of this kind, very easily 
satisfies us; and if indeed this thought is such that, in 
itself, thus said in prose, it would also be significant, then 
we are enchanted. I can remember, in my early child 
hood, that I had delighted myself for a long time with the 
agreeable sound of verse before I made the discovery 
that it all also contained meaning and thoughts. Accord 
ingly there is also, in all languages, a mere doggerel poetry 
almost entirely devoid of meaning. Davis, the Sinologist, 
in the preface to his translation of the " Laou-sang-urh" 
or "An Heir in Old Age" (London, 1817), observes that the 
Chinese dramas partly consist of verses which are sung, 
and adds : " The meaning of them is often obscure, and, 
according to the statements of the Chinese themselves, the 
end of these verses is especially to flatter the ear, and the 
sense is neglected, and even entirely sacrificed to the har 
mony." Who is not reminded here of the choruses of 
many Greek tragedies which are often so hard to make 

The sign by which one most immediately recognises the 
genuine poet, both of the higher and lower species, is the 
unforced nature of his rhymes. They have appeared of 
themselves as if by divine arrangement; his thoughts 
come to him already in rhyme. The homely, prosaic man 
on the contrary, seeks the rhyme for the thought; the 
bungler seeks the thought for the rhyme. Very often one 
can find out from a couple of rhymed verses which of the 
two had the thought and which had the rhyme as its 


father. The art consists in concealing the latter, so that 
such lines may not appear almost as mere stuffed out 

According to my feeling (proofs cannot here be given) 
rhyme is from its nature binary : its effect is limited to one 
single recurrence of the same sound, and is not strengthened 
by more frequent repetition. Thus whenever a final syl 
lable has received the one of the same sound its effect is 
exhausted ; the third recurrence of the note acts merely as 
a second rhyme which accidentally hits upon the same 
sound, but without heightening the effect ; it links itself 
on to the existing rhyme, yet without combining with it 
to produce a stronger impression. For the first note does 
not sound through the second on to the third : therefore 
this is an aesthetic pleonasm, a double courage which is of 
no use. Least of all, therefore, do such accumulations of 
rhymes merit the heavy sacrifices which they cost in the 
octave rhyme, the terza rima, and the sonnet, and which 
are the cause of the mental torture under which we some 
times read such productions, for poetical pleasure is im 
possible under the condition of racking our brains. That 
the great poetical mind sometimes overcomes even these 
forms, and moves in them with ease and grace, does not 
extend to a recommendation of the forms themselves, for 
in themselves they are as ineffectual as they are difficult. 
And even in good poets, when they make use of these forms, 
we frequently see the conflict between the rhyme and the 
thought, in which now one and now the other gains the 
victory ; thus either the thought is stunted for the sake of 
the rhyme, or the rhyme has to be satisfied with a weak 
d peu prte. Since this is so, I do not regard it as an 
evidence of ignorance, but as a proof of good taste, that 
Shakspeare in his sonnets has given different rhymes to 
each quatraine. At any rate, their acoustic effect is not 
in the least diminished by it, and the thought obtains its 
rights far more than it could have done if it had had to 
be laced up in the customary Spanish boots, 


It is a disadvantage for the poetry of a language if it 
has many words which cannot be used in prose, and, 
the other hand, dare not use certain words of prose The 
former is mostly the case in Latin and Italian poetry and 
the latter in French, where it has recently been very aptly 
called, La tyeulerie de la, la,ng M fr m9 aue;" both are to 
be found less in English, and least in German. For such 
words belonging exclusively to poetry remain foreign to 
our heart, do not speak to us directly, and therefore leave 
cold. They are a conventional language of poetry, and 
as it were mere painted sensations instead of real ones- 
they exclude genuine feeling. 

The distinction, so often discussed in our own day be 
tween da^c and romantic poetry seems to me ultimately 
to depend upon the fact that the former knows no other 
motives than those which are purely human, actual, and 
natural; the latter, on the other hand, also treats artiucial 
conventional, and imaginary motives as efficient. To such 
belong the motives which spring from the Chnstian mythus 
also from the chivalrous over-strained fantastical law of 
honour, further from the absurd and ludicrous Germanl 
hnsban veneration of women, and lastly from dotin" 
and mooning hyperphysical amorousness. But even in tta 
be t poete of the romantic class, e.y., in Calderon, we can 
see to what ridiculous distortions of human relations and 
human nature these motives lead. Not to speak of the 

^l" m m 7 t0 Sueh pieces as "* 

< curto (The worst is not always certain), and 

rero dnelo & pa ^ " (Ihe last dud ^ >: 

z:tr 7v j espada: with the ei ~ s 

the, B ,s here furtuer associated the scholastic subtility so 
oim appearing ,n the conversation which at that time 
belonged to the mental culture of the higher clasps 
How decidedly advantageous, on the contrary Is the 
posnion of the poetry of the ancients, whteh always 
remains true to nature; and the result is that claTca 
poetry has an unconditional, romantic poetry only a 


conditional, truth and correctness; analogous to Greek 
and Gothic architecture. Yet, on the other hand, we 
must remark here that all dramatic or narrative poems 
which transfer their scene to ancient Greece or Eome 
lose by this from the fact that our knowledge of anti 
quity, especially in what concerns the details of life, is 
insufficient, fragmentary, and not drawn from perception. 
This obliges the poet to avoid much and to content him 
self with generalities, whereby he becomes abstract, and 
his work loses that concreteness and individualisation 
which is throughout essential to poetry. It is this which 
gives all such works the peculiar appearance of empti 
ness and tediousness. Only Shakspeare s works of this 
kind are free from it ; because without hesitation he has 
presented, under the names of Greeks and Romans, 
Englishmen of his own time. 

It has been objected to many masterpieces of lyrical 
poetry, especially some Odes of Horace (see, for example, 
the second of the third book) and several of Goethe s 
songs (for example, "The Shepherd s Lament"), that 
they lack proper connection and are full of gaps in 
the thought. But here the logical connection is inten 
tionally neglected, in order that the unity of the funda 
mental sensation and mood may take its place, which 
comes out more clearly just by the fact that it passes 
like a thread through the separate pearls, and brings 
about the quick changes of the objects of contemplation, 
in the same way as in music the transition from one 
key to another is brought about by the chord of the 
seventh, through which the still sounding fundamental 
note becomes the dominant of the new key. Most dis 
tinctly, even exaggeratedly, the quality here described is 
found in the Canzone of Petrarch which begins, "Mai 
non vo piu cantar, com io soleva" 

Accordingly, as in the lyrical poem the subjective ele 
ment predominates, so in the drama, on the contrary, 
the objective element is alone and exclusively present. 


Between the two epic poetry in all its forms and modi- \ 
fications, from the narrative romance to the epos proper, ; 
has a broad middle path. For although in the main it 
is objective, yet it contains a subjective element, appearing 
now more and now less, which finds its expression in the 
tone, in the form of the delivery, and also in scattered 
reflections. We do not so entirely lose sight of the poet 
as in the drama. 

The end of the drama in general is to show us in an 
example what is the nature and existence of man. The 
sad or the bright side of these can be turned to us in it, 
or their transitions into each other. But the expression, 
" nature and existence of man," already contains the germ 
of the controversy whether the nature, i.e., the character, 
or the existence, i.e., the fate, the adventures, the action, 
is the principal thing. Moreover, the two have grown > 
so firmly together that although they can certainly be 
separated in conception, they cannot be separated in the 
representation of them. For only the circumstances, the 
fate, the events, make the character manifest its nature, 
and only from the character does the action arise from 
which the events proceed. Certainly, in the representa 
tion, the one or the other may be made more prominent ; 
and in this respect the piece which centres in the char 
acters and the piece which centres in the plot are the 
two extremes. 

The common end of the drama and the epic, to exhibit; - 
in significant characters placed in significant situations, 
the extraordinary actions brought about by both, will be 
most completely attained by the poet if he first intro 
duces the characters to us in a state of peace, in which 
merely their general colour becomes visible, and allows 
a motive to enter which produces an action, out of which 
a new and stronger motive arises, which again calls forth 
a more significant action, which, in its turn, begets new 
and even stronger motives, whereby, then, in the time 
suitable to the form of the poem, the most passionate 


excitement takes the place of the original peace, and in 
this now the important actions occur in which the quail- 
ties of the characters which have hitherto slumbered are 
brought clearly to light, together with the course , 

VV Great poets transform themselves into each of the per 
sons to be represented, and speak out of each of them 
like ventriloquists ; now out of the hero, and immediately 
afterwards out of the young and innocent maiden, with 
equal truth and naturalness : so Shakspeare and Goethe. 
Poets of the second rank transform the principal person 
to be represented into themselves. This is what Lyron 
does and then the other persons often remain . (less, 
us is the case even with the principal persons in t 
works of mediocre poets. 

Our pleasure in tragedy belongs, not to the sense of the 
beautiful, but to that of the sublime ; nay, it is the highest 
rade of this feeling. For, as at the sight of the sublime 
"in nature we turn away from the interests of the will, m 
order to be purely perceptive, so in the tragic catastrophe 
W e turn away even from the will to live. In tragedy the 
terrible side of life is presented to us, the wail of humanity, 
the reign of chance and error, the fall of the just, tue 
triumph of the wicked; thus the aspect of the world 
which directly strives against our will is brought befo re 
our eyes. At this sight we feel ourselves challenged to 
turn away our will from life, no longer to will it or love 
it But just in this way we become conscious that then 
there still remains something over to us, which we abso 
lutely cannot know positively, but only negatively as 
that which does not will life. As the chord of the 
seventh demands the fundamental chord; as the colour 
red demands green, and even produces it in the eye ; s 
every traced/demands an entirely different kind ot exist- 
ence another world, the knowledge of which can only be 
aiven us indirectly just as here by such a demand In the 
moment of the tragic catastrophe the conviction becomes 


more distinct to us than ever that life is a bad dream 
from which we have to awake. So far the effect of the 
tragedy is analogous to that of the dynamical sublime for 
like this it lifts us above the will and its interests, and 
puts us m such a mood that we find pleasure in the sio-ht 
of what tends directly against it. What gives to all 
tragedy, in whatever form it may appear, the peculiar 
tendency towards the sublime is the awakenin^ O f the 
knowledge that the world, life, can afford usno true 
pleasure, and consequently is not worthy of our attach 
ment. In this consists the tragic spirit: it therefore 
leads to resignation. 

I admit that in ancient tragedy this spirit of resi^na- 
tion seldom appears and is expressed directly. CEdlpus 
Colonus certainly dies resigned and willing ; yet he is com 
forted by the revenge on his country. Iphigenia at Aulis 
is very willing to die ; yet it is the thought of the welfare 
>f (rreece that comforts her, and occasions the change 
of her mind, on account of which she willingly accepts 
the death which at first she sought to avoid by any means 
Cassandra, in the Agamemnon of the great ^Eschylus 
ies willingly, apwrco fro, (1306); but she also is com 
torted by the thought of revenge. Hercules, in the Tra- 
chmiae, submits to necessity, and dies composed, but not 
resigned. So also the Hippolytus of Euripides, in whose 
case it surprises us that Artemis, who appears to comfort 
him, promises him temples and fame, but never points 
him to an existence beyond life, and leaves him in death 
as all gods forsake the dying : in Christianity they come 
him; and so also in Brahmanism and Buddhism al 
though in the latter the gods are really exotic Thus 
Hippolytus, like almost all the tragic heroes of ths 
ancients, shows submission to inevitable fate and the^ 
inflexible will of the gods, but no surrender of the will t<A 
live itself. As the Stoic equanimity is fundamentally dis 
tinguished from Christian resignation by the fact that it 
caches only patient endurance and composed expectation 



of unalterably necessary evil, while Christianity teaches 
renunciation, surrender of the will; so also the tragic 
heroes of the ancients show resolute subjection under the 
unavoidable blows of fate, while Christian tragedy, on the 
contrary, shows the surrender of the whole will to live, 
joyful forsaking of the world in the consciousness of its 
worthlessness and vanity. But I am also entirely of 
opinion that modern tragedy stands higher than that of 
the ancients. Shakspeare is much greater than Sophocles ; 
in comparison with Goethe s Iphigenia one might find 
that of Euripides almost crude and vulgar. The Bacchse 
of Euripides is a revolting composition in favour of the 
heathen priests. Many ancient pieces have no tragic 
tendency at all, like the Alcestis and Iphigenia in Tauris 
of Euripides ; some have disagreeable, or even disgusting 
motives, like the Antigone and Philocteles. Almost all 
show the human race under the fearful rule of chance 
and error, but not the resignation which is occasioned by 
it, and delivers from it. All because the ancients had not 
yet attained to the summit and goal of tragedy, or indeed 
of the view of life itself. 

Although, then, the ancients displayed little of the 
. spirit of resignation, the turning away of the will from 
life, in their tragic heroes themselves, as their frame of 
mind, yet the peculiar tendency and effect of tragedy 
remains the awakening of that spirit in the beholder, the 
calling up of that frame of inind, even though only 
temporarily. The horrors upon the btage hold up to him 
the bitterness and worthlessness of life, thus the vanity of 
all its struggle. The effect of this impression must be 
that he becomes conscious, if only in obscure feeling, that 
it is better to tear his heart free from life, to turn his 
will from it, to love not the world nor life ; whereby then 
in his deepest soul, the consciousness is aroused that for 
another kind of willing there must also be another exist 
ence. For if this were not so, then the tendency of 
tragedy would not be this rising above all the ends and 


good things of life, this turning away from it and its seduc 
tions, and the turning towards another kind of existence, 
which already lies in this, although an existence which 
is for us quite inconceivable. How would it, then, in 
general, be possible that the exhibition of the most ter 
rible side of life, brought before our eyes in the most 
glaring light, could act upon us beneficently, and afford 
us a lofty satisfaction ? Fear and sympathy, in the ex 
citement of which Aristotle places the ultimate end of 
tragedy, certainly do not in themselves belong to the 
agreeable sensations : therefore they cannot be the end, 
but only the means. Thus the summons to turn away 
the will from life remains the true tendency of tragedy, 
the ultimate end of the intentional exhibition of the 
suffering of humanity, and is so accordingly even where 
this resigned exaltation of the mind is not shown in the 
hero himself, but is merely excited in the spectator by the 
sight of great, unmerited, nay, even merited suffering. 
Many of the moderns also are, like the ancients, satisfied 
with throwing the spectator into the mood which has been 
described, by the objective representation of human mis 
fortune as a whole ; while others exhibit this through the 
change of the frame of mind of the hero himself, effected 
by suffering. The former give, as it were, only the pre 
misses, and leave the conclusion to the spectator ; while the 
latter give the conclusion, or the moral of the fable, also, 
as the change of the frame of mind of the hero, and even 
also as reflection, in the mouth of the chorus, as, for 
example, Schiller in " The Bride of Messina : " " Life is not 
the highest good." Let me remark here that the genuine 
tragic effect of the catastrophe, thus the resignation and 
exaltation of the mind of the hero which is brought about 
by it, seldom appears so purely motived and so distinctly 
expressed as in the opera of " Norma," where it comes in in 
the duet, " Qual cor tradisti, gual cor perdesti," in which the 
change of the will is distinctly indicated by the quietness 
which is suddenly introduced into the music. In general, 


this piece regarded apart altogether from its excellent 
music, aiid also from the diction which can only be that 
of a libretto, and considered only according to its motives 
and its inner economy is a highly perfect tragedy, a true 
pattern of tragic disposition of the motives, tragic progress 
of the action, and tragic development, together with the 
effect of these upon the frame of mind of the hero, raising 
it above the world, and which is then also communicated 
to the spectator; indeed the effect attained here la the 
less delusive and the more indicative of the true nature 
of tragedy that no Christians, nor even Christian ideas, 
appear in it. 

The neglect of the unity of time and place with which 
the moderns are so often reproached is only a fault when 
it goes so far that it destroys the unity of the action; 
for then there only remains the unity of the principal 
character, as, for example, in Shakspeare s " Henry VIII." 
But even the unity of the action does not need to go so 
far that the same thing is spoken of throughout, as in 
the French tragedies which in general observe this so 
strictly that the course of the drama is like a geometrical 
line without breadth. There it is constantly a case of 
"Only get on! Pensez a wire affaire!" and the thing 
is expedited and hurried on in a thoroughly business 
fashion, and no one detains himself with irrelevances 
which do not belong to it, or looks to the right or the 
left. The Shakspearian tragedy, on the other hand, is 
like a line which has also breadth : it takes time, exspa- 
tiatur : speeches and even whole scenes occur which do 
not advance the action, indeed do not properly concern 
it, by which, however, we get to know the characters or 
their circumstances more fully, and then understand the 
action also more thoroughly. This certainly remains the 
principal thing, yet not so exclusively that we forget that 
in the last instance what is aimed at is the representation 
1 of human nature and existence generally. 

The dramatic or epic poet ought to know that he is 


fate, and should therefore be inexorable, as it is ; also 
that he is the mirror of the human race, and should 
therefore represent very many bad and sometimes pro 
fligate characters, and also many fools, buffoons, and 
eccentric persons ; then also, now and again, a reasonable, 
a prudent, an honest, or a good man, and only as the 
rarest exception a truly magnanimous man. In the 
whole of Homer there is in my opinion no really magna 
nimous character presented, although many good and 
honest. In the whole of Shakspeare there may be perhaps 
a couple of noble, though by no means transcendently 
noble, characters to be found ; perhaps Cordelia, Corio- 
lanus hardly more ; on the other hand, his works swarm 
with the species indicated above. But Iffland s and Kot- 
zebue s pieces have many magnanimous characters ; while 
Goldoni has done as I recommended above, whereby he 
shows that he stands higher. On the other hand, Schiller s 
" Minna von Barnhelm " labours under too much and too 
universal magnanimity ; but so much magnanimity as the 
one Marquis Posa displays is not to be found in the whole 
of Goethe s works together. There is, however, a small 
German piece called "Duty for Duty s Sake" (a title 
which sounds as if it had been taken from the Critique of 
Practical Reason), which has only three characters, and 
yet all the three are of most transcendent magnanimity. 

The Greeks have taken for their heroes only royal 
persons ; and so also for the most part have the moderns. 
Certainly not because the rank gives more worth to him 
who is acting or suffering ; and since the whole thing is 
just to set human passions in play, the relative value of 
the objects by which this happens is indifferent, and pea 
sant huts achieve as much as kingdoms. Moreover, civic 
tragedy is by no means to be unconditionally rejected. 
Persons of great power and consideration are yet the best 
adapted for tragedy on this account, that the misfortune 
in which we ought to recognise the fate of humanity) 
must have a sufficient magnitude to appear terrible to the 


spectator, whoever he may be. Euripides himself says, 
" <j>ev, <f>ev, TO. fieya\a, fieyaka KCLI Trao-^et Kaica " (Stdb. Flor., 
vol. ii p. 299). Now the circumstances which plunge a 
citizen family into want and despair are in the eyes of 
the great or rich, for the most part, very insignificant, and 
capable of being removed by human assistance, nay, some 
times even by a trifle : such spectators, therefore, cannot 
be tragically affected by them. On the other hand, the 
misfortunes of the great and powerful are unconditionally 
terrible, and also accessible to no help from without ; for 
kings must help themselves by their own power, or fall. 
To this we have to add that the fall is greatest from a 
height. Accordingly persons of the rank of citizens lack 
height to fall from. 

If now we have found the tendency and ultimate 
intention of tragedy to be a turning to resignation, to the 
denial of the will to live, we shall easily recognise in its 
opposite, comedy, the incitement to the continued assertion 
of the will. It is true the comedy, like every representa 
tion of human life, without exception, must bring before 
our eyes suffering and adversity ; but it presents it to us 
as passing, resolving itself into joy, in general mingled 
with success, victory, and hopes, which in the end pre 
ponderate ; moreover, it brings out the inexhaustible 
material for laughter of which life, and even its adversities 
themselves are filled, and which under all circumstances 
ought to keep us in a good humour. Thus it declares, in 
the result, that life as a whole is thoroughly good, and 
especially is always amusing. Certainly it must hasten 
to drop the curtain at the moment of joy, so that we may 
not see what comes after; while the tragedy, as a rule, 
so ends that nothing can come after. And moreover, if 
once we contemplate this burlesque side of life somewhat 
seriously, as it shows itself in the naive utterances and 
gestures which trifling embarrassment, personal fear, 
momentary anger, secret envy, and many similar emo 
tions force upon the forms of the real life that mirrors 


itself here, forms which deviate considerably from the type 
of beauty, then from this side also, thus in an unexpected 
manner, the reflective spectator may become convinced 
that the existence and action of such beings cannot itself 
be an end; that, on the contrary, they can only have 
attained to existence by an error, and that what so exhibits 
itself is something which had better not be. 

( 220 ) 



IN the passage of the first volume referred to below I 
have fully shown that more is achieved for our knowledge 
of mankind by poetry than by history, and why this is 
so ; inasmuch as more real instruction was to be expected 
from the former than from the latter. Aristotle has also 
confessed this, for he says : " teat, <j>i\ocro<j)(aT6pov KCU, (TTTOV- 
Saiorepov Tronjcri*; icrro/wa? etrriv " (et res magis philosophica, 
et melior poesis est quam historia*), De poet., c. 9. Yet, 
in order to cause no misunderstanding as to the value of 
history, I wish here to express my thoughts about it. 

In every class and species of things the facts are 
innumerable, the individuals infinite in number, the 
variety of their differences unapproachable. At the first 
glance at them the curious mind becomes giddy; how 
ever much it investigates, it sees itself condemned to 
ignorance. But then comes science : it separates the 
innumerable multitude, arranges it under generic concep 
tions, these again under conceptions of species, whereby 
it opens the path to a knowledge of the general and 
the particular, which also comprehends the innumerable 
individuals, for it holds good of all without one being 
obliged to consider each particular for itself. Thus it 
promises satisfaction to the investigating mind. Then all 

1 This chapter is connected with liar significance, of the first word 

51 of the first volume. comes out with more than ordinary 

* Let me remark in passing that distinctness ; it signifies that which 

from this opposition of Trot^ats and is made, invented, in opposition to 

origin, and also the pecu- what is discovered. 


sciences place themselves together, and above the real 
world of individual things, as that which they have 
divided among them. Over them all, however, moves 
philosophy, as the most general, and therefore important, 
rational knowledge, which promises the conclusions for 
which the others have only prepared the way. History 
alone cannot properly enter into that series, since it can 
not boast of the same advantage as the others, for it 
lacks the fundamental characteristic of science, the sub 
ordination of what is known, instead of which it can only 
present its co-ordination. Therefore there is no system 
of history, as there is of every other science. It is there 
fore certainly rational knowledge, but it is not a science. 
For it never knows the particular by means of the general, 
but must comprehend the particular directly, and so, as 
it were, creeps along the ground of experience ; while the 
true sciences move above it, because they have obtained 
comprehensive conceptions by means of which they 
command the particular, and, at least within certain 
limits, anticipate the possibility of things within their 
sphere, so that they can be at ease even about what may 
yet have to come. The sciences, since they are systems 
of conceptions, speak always of species ; history speaks of 
individuals. It would accordingly be a science of indivi 
duals, which is a contradiction. It also follows that the 
sciences all speak of that which always is: history, on 
the other hand, of that which is once, and then no more. 
Since, further, history has to do with the absolutely parti 
cular and individuals, which from its nature is inexhaus 
tible, it knows everything only imperfectly and half. 
Besides, it must also let itself be taught by every new 
day in its trivial commonplaceness what as yet it did not 
know at all. If it should be objected that in history also 
there is subordination of the particular under the general, 
because the periods, the governments, and other general 
changes, or political revolutions, in short, all that is given 
in historical tables, is the general, to which the special 


subordinates itself, this would rest upon a false compre 
hension of the conception of the general. For the general 
in history here referred to is merely subjective, i.e., its 
generality springs merely from the inadequacy of the 
individual knowledge of the things, but not objective, i.e., 
a conception in which the things would actually already 
be thought together. Even the most general in history 
is in itself only a particular and individual, a long period 
of time, or an important event ; therefore the special is 
related to this as the part to the whole, but not as the 
case to the rule ; which, on the contrary, takes place in 
all the sciences proper because they afford conceptions 
and not mere facts. On this account in these sciences 
by a correct knowledge of the general we can determine 
with certainty the particular that arises. If, for example, 
I know the laws of the triangle in general, I can then 
also tell what must be the properties of the triangle laid 
before me; and what holds good of all mammals, for 
example, that they have double ventricles of the heart, 
exactly seven cervical vertebrae, lungs, diaphragm, bladder, 
five senses, &c., I can also assert of the strange bat which 
has just been caught, before dissecting it. But not so in 
history, where the general is no objective general of the 
conception, but merely a subjective general of my know 
ledge, which can only be called general inasmuch as it is 
superficial. Therefore I may always know in general of the 
Thirty Years War that it was a religious war, waged in 
the seventeenth century ; but this general knowledge does 
not make me capable of telling anything more definite 
about its course. The same opposition is also confirmed 
by the fact that in the real sciences the special and indi 
vidual is that which is most certain, because it rests upon 
immediate apprehension ; the general truths, again, are only 
abstracted from it ; therefore something false may be more 
easily assumed in the latter. But in history, conversely, 
the most general is the most certain; for example, the 
periods, the succession of the kings, the revolutions, wars, and 


treaties of peace ; the particulars, again, of the events and 
their connection is uncertain, and becomes always more so 
the further one goes into details. Therefore history is the 
more interesting the more special it is, but the less to 
be trusted, and approaches then in every respect to the 
romance. For the rest, what importance is to be attached 
to the boasted pragmatic teaching of history he will best 
be able to judge who remembers that sometimes it was 
only after twenty years that he understood the events of 
his own life in their true connection, although the data 
for this were fully before him, so difficult is the combina 
tion of the action of the motives under the constant inter 
ferences of chance and the concealment of the intentions. 
Since now history really always has for its object only the 
particular, the individual fact, and regards this as the ex 
clusively real, it is the direct opposite and counterpart of 
philosophy, which considers things from the most general 
point of view, and has intentionally the general as its 
object, which remains identical in every particular ; there 
fore in the particular philosophy sees only the general, and 
recognises the change in its manifestation as unessential : 
(frt\oKa6o\ov yap 6 ^tXocro^o? (generalium amator philo 
sophies). While history teaches us that at every time 
something else has been, philosophy tries to assist us to 
the insight that at all times exactly the same was, is, and 
shall be. In truth, the essence of human life, as of nature 
in general, is given complete in every present time, and 
therefore only requires depth of comprehension in order 
to be exhaustively known. But history hopes to make up 
for depth by length and breadth ; for it every present time 
is only a fragment which must be supplemented by the 
past, the length of which is, however, infinite, and to which 
again an infinite future is joined. Upon this rests the 
opposition between philosophical and historical minds ; 
the former want to go to the bottom, the latter want to go 
through the whole series. History shows on every side 
only the same under different forms; but whoever does 


not come to know this in one or a few will hardly attain 
to a knowledge of it by going through all the forms. The 
chapters of the history of nations are at bottom only dis 
tinguished by the names and dates ; the really essential 
content is everywhere the same. 

Now since the material of art is the Idea, and the 
material of science the concept, we see both occupied with 
that which always exists and constantly in the same 
manner, not something which now is and now is not, now 
is thus and now otherwise ; therefore both have to do with 
that which Plato set up as the exclusive object of real 
rational knowledge. The material of history, on the other 
hand, is the particular in its particularity and contingency, 
which at one time is, and then for ever is no more, the 
transient complexities of a human world moved like clouds 
in the wind, a world which is often entirely transformed 
by the most trifling accident. From this point of view 
the material of history appears to us as scarcely a worthy 
object of the serious and painful consideration of the 
human mind, the human mind which, just because it is so 
transitory, ought to choose for its consideration that which 
passes not away. 

Finally, as regards the endeavour specially introduced 
by the Hegelian pseudo-philosophy, everywhere so pernici 
ous and stupefying to the mind to comprehend the history 
of the world as a planned whole, or, as they call it, "to 
construe it organically," a crude and positive realism lies at 
its foundation, which takes the phenomenon for the inner 
being of the world, and imagines that this phenomenon, its 
forms and events, are the chief concern ; in which it is 
secretly supported by certain mythological notions which 
it tacitly assumes : otherwise one might ask for what 
spectators such a comedy was really produced. For, since 
only the individual, and not the human race, has actual, 
immediate unity of consciousness, the unity of the course 
of life of the race is a mere fiction. Besides, as in nature 
only the species are real, and the genera are mere abstrac- 


tions, so in the human race only the individuals and their 
course of life are real, the peoples and their lives mere 
abstractions. Finally, constructive histories, guided by a 
positive optimism, always ultimately end in a comfortable, 
rich, fat State, with a well-regulated constitution, good 
justice and police, useful arts and industries, and, at the 
most, in intellectual perfection ; for this, in fact, is alone 
possible, since what is moral remains essentially unaltered. 
But it is the moral element which, according to the testi 
mony of our inmost consciousness, is the whole concern : 
and this lies only in the individual as the tendency of his 
will. In truth, only the life of each individual has unity, 
connection, and true significance : it is to be regarded as 
an instruction, and the meaning of it is moral. Only the 
incidents of our inner life, since they concern the will, 
have true reality, and are actual events ; because the will 
alone is the thing in itself. In every microcosm lies the 
whole macrocosm, and the latter contains nothing more 
than the former. Multiplicity is phenomenal, and ex 
ternal events are mere configurations of the phenomenal 
world, and have therefore directly neither reality nor 
significance, but only indirectly through their relation to 
the wills of the individuals. The endeavour to explain 
and interpret them directly is accordingly like the en 
deavour to see in the forms of the clouds groups of men 
and animals. What history narrates is in fact only the 
long, heavy, and confused dream of humanity. 

The Hegelians, who regard the philosophy of history as 
indeed the chief end of all philosophy, are to be referred 
to Plato, who unweariedly repeats that the object of 
philosophy is that which is unchangeable and always 
remains, not that which now is thus and now otherwise. 
All those who set up such constructions of the course of 
the world, or, as they call it, of history, have failed to 
grasp the principal truth of all philosophy, that what is is 
at all times the same, all becoming and arising are only 
seeming ; the Ideas alone are permanent ; time ideal. This 

VOL. in. p 


is what Plato holds, this is what Kant holds. One ought 
therefore to seek to understand what exists, what really 
is, to-day and always, i.e., to know the Ideas (in Plato s 
sense). Fools, on the contrary, imagine that something 
must first become and happen. Therefore they concede to 
history the chief place in their philosophy, and construct 
it according to a preconceived plan of the world, according 
to which everything is ordered for the best, which is then 
supposed finaliter to appear, and will be a glorious thing. 
Accordingly they take the world as perfectly real, and 
place the end of it in the poor earthly happiness, which, 
however much it may be fostered by men and favoured by 
fate, is a hollow, deceptive, decaying, and sad thing, out of 
which neither constitutions and legal systems nor steam- 
engines and telegraphs can ever make anything that is 
essentially better. The said philosophers and glorifiers of 
history are accordingly simple realists, and also optimists 
and eudsemonists, consequently dull fellows and incarnate 
Philistines ; and besides are really bad Christians, for the 
true spirit and kernel of Christianity, as also of Brahmauism 
and Buddhism, is the knowledge of the vanity of earthly 
happiness, the complete contempt for it, and the turning 
away from it to an existence of another, nay, an opposite, 
kind. This, I say, is the spirit and end of Christianity, the 
true " humour of the matter ; " and not, as they imagine, 
monotheism ; therefore even atheistic Buddhism is far more 
closely related to Christianity than optimistic Judaism or 
its variety Islamism. 

A true philosophy of history ought not therefore to con 
sider, as all these do, what (to use Plato s language) always 
becomes and never is, and hold this to be the true nature of 
things ; but it ought to fix its attention upon that which 
always is and never becomes nor passes away. Thus it 
does not consist in raising the temporal ends of men to 
eternal and absolute ends, and then with art and imagina 
tion constructing their progress through all complications ; 
but in the insight that not only in its development, but in 


its very nature, history is mendacious ; for, speaking of 
mere individuals and particular events, it pretends always 
to relate something different, while from beginning to end 
it repeats always the same thing under different names 
and in a different dress. The true philosophy of history 
consists in the insight that in all these endless changes 
and their confusion we have always before us only the 
same, even, unchanging nature, which to-day acts in the 
same way as yesterday and always ; thus it ought to recog 
nise the identical in all events, of ancient as of modern 
times, of the east as of the west ; and, in spite of all differ 
ence of the special circumstances, of the costume and the 
customs, to see everywhere the same humanity. This identi 
cal element which is permanent through all change consists 
in the fundamental qualities of the human heart and head 
many bad, few good. The motto of history in general 
should run: JEadem, sed aliter. If one has read Hero 
dotus, then in a philosophical regard one has already studied 
history enough. For everything is already there that 
makes up the subsequent history of the world : the efforts, 
action, sufferings, and fate of the human race as it proceeds 
from the qualities we have referred to, and the physical 
earthly lot. 

If in what has been said we have recognised that 
history, regarded as a means for the knowledge of the 
nature of man, is inferior to poetry ; then, that it is not in 
the proper sense a science; finally, that the endeavoui 
to construct it as a whole with beginning, middle, and 
end, together with a significant connection, is vain, and 
based upon misunderstanding: it would look as if we 
wished to deny it all value if we did not show in what 
its value consists. Eeally, however, there remains for it, 
after this conquest by art and rejection by science, a quite 
special province, different from both, in which it exists 
most honourably. 

What reason is to the individual that is history to the 
human race. By virtue of reason, man is not, like the 


brute, limited to the narrow, perceptible present, but also 
knows the incomparably more extended past, with which 
it is linked, and out of which it has proceeded ; and only 
thus has he a proper understanding of the present itself, 
and can even draw inferences as to the future. The 
brute, on the other hand, whose knowledge, devoid of 
reflection, is on this account limited to the present, even 
when it is tamed, moves about among men ignorant, dull, 
stupid, helpless, and dependent Analogous to this is the 
nation that does not know its own history, is limited to 
the present of the now living generation, and therefore 
does not understand itself and its own present, because it 
cannot connect it with a past, and explain it from this j 
still less can it anticipate the future. Only through his 
tory does a nation become completely conscious of itself. 
Accordingly history is to be regarded as the rational con 
sciousness of the human race, and is to the race what the 
reflected and connected consciousness is to the individual 
who is conditioned by reason, a consciousness through the 
want of which the brute is confined to the narrow, per 
ceptible present. Therefore every gap in history is like a 
gap in the recollective self-consciousness of a man ; and in 
the presence of a monument of ancient times which has 
outlived the knowledge of itself, as, for example, the 
Pyramids, or temples and palaces in Yucatan, we stand as 
senseless and stupid as the brute in the presence of the 
action of man, in which it is implicated in his service ; or 
as a man before something written in an old cipher of his 
own, the key to which he has forgotten ; nay, like a som 
nambulist who finds before him in the morning what he 
has done in his sleep. In this sense, then, history is to 
be regarded as the reason, or the reflected consciousness, 
of the human race, and takes the place of an immediate 
self-consciousness common to the whole race, so that only 
by virtue of it does the human race come to be a whole, 
come to be a humanity. This is the true value of history, 
and accordingly the universal and predominating interest 


in it depends principally upon the fact that it is a personal 
concern of the human race. Now, what language is for 
the reason of individuals, as an indispensable condition of 
its use, writing is for the reason of the whole race here 
pointed out; for only with this does its real existence 
begin, as that of the individual reason begins first with 
language. Writing serves to restore unity to the con 
sciousness of the human race, which is constantly inter 
rupted by death, and therefore fragmentary ; so that the 
thought which has arisen in the ancestor is thought out by 
his remote descendant ; it finds a remedy for the breaking 
up of the human race and its consciousness into an innumer 
able number of ephemeral individuals, and so bids defiance 
to the ever hurrying time, in whose hand goes forgetful- 
ness. As an attempt to accomplish this we must regard 
not only written, but also stone monuments, which in part 
are older than the former. For who will believe that those 
who, at incalculable cost, set in action the human powers 
of many thousands for many years in order to construct 
the pyramids, monoliths, rock tombs, obelisks, temples, 
and palaces which have already existed for thousands of 
years, could have had in view the short span of their own 
life, too short to let them see the finishing of the construc 
tion, or even the ostensible end which the ignorance of 
the many required them to allege ? Clearly their real 
end was to speak to their latest descendants, to put them 
selves in connection with these, and so to establish the 
unity of the consciousness of humanity. The buildings of 
the Hindus, the Egyptians, even the Greeks and Eomans, 
were calculated to last several thousand years, because 
through higher culture their horizon was a wider one ; 
while the buildings of the Middle Ages and of modern 
times have only been intended, at the most, to last a few 
centuries ; which, however, is also due to the fact that 
men trusted more to writing after its use had become 
general, and still more since from its womb was born the 
art of printing. Yet even in the buildings of more recent 


times we see the desire to speak to posterity ; and, there 
fore, it is shameful if they are destroyed or disfigured in 
order to serve low utilitarian ends. Written monuments 
have less to fear from the elements, but more to fear from 
barbarians, than stone ones ; they accomplish far more. 
The Egyptians wished to combine the two, for they 
covered their stone monuments with hieroglyphics, nay, 
they added paintings in case the hieroglyphics should no 
longer be understood. 

( 231 ) 



THE outcome, or result, of my exposition of the peculiar 
significance of this wonderful art, which is given in the 
passage of the first volume referred to below, and which 
will here be present to the mind of the reader, was, that 
there is indeed no resemblance between its productions 
and the world as idea, i.e., the world of nature, but yet 
there must be a distinct parallelism, which was then also 
proved. I have yet to add some fuller particulars with 
regard to this parallelism, which are worthy of attention. 
The four voices, or parts, of all harmony, the bass, the 
tenor, the alto, and the soprana, or the fundamental note, 
the third, the fifth, and the octave, correspond to the four 
grades in the series of existences, the mineral kingdom, 
the vegetable kingdom, the brute kingdom, and man. 
This receives an additional and striking confirmation in 
the fundamental rule of music, that the bass must be at a 
much greater distance below the three upper parts than they 
have between themselves ; so that it must never approach 
nearer to them than at the most within an octave of them, 
and generally remains still further below them. Hence, 
then, the correct triad has its place in the third octave 
from the fundamental note. Accordingly the effect of 
extended harmony, in which the bass is widely separated 
from the other parts, is much more powerful and beautiful 
than that of close harmony, in which it is moved up nearer 
to them, and which is only introduced on account of the 

1 This chapter is connected with 52 of the first volume. 


limited compass of the instruments. This whole rule, 
however, is by no means arbitrary, but has its root in the 
natural source of the tonal system; for the nearest con 
sonant intervals that sound along with the fundamental 
note by means of its vibrations are the octave and its 
fifth. Now, in this rule we recognise the analogue of the 
fundamental characteristic of nature on account of which 
organised beings are much more nearly related to each 
other than to the inanimate, unorganised mass of the 
mineral kingdom, between which and them exists the 
most definite boundary and the widest gulf in the whole 
of nature. The fact that the high voice which sings the 
melody is yet also an integral part of the harmony, and 
therein accords even with the deepest fundamental bass, 
may be regarded as the analogue of the fact that the same 
matter which in a human organism is the supporter of 
the Idea of man must yet also exhibit and support the 
Ideas of gravitation and chemical qualities, that is, of the 
lowest grades of the objectification of will. 

That music acts directly upon the will, i.e., the feelings, 
passions, and emotions of the hearer, so that it quickly 
raises them or changes them, may be explained from the 
fact that, unlike all the other arts, it does not express the 
Ideas, or grades of the objectification of the will, but 
directly the will itself. 

As surely as music, far from being a mere accessory of 
~ poetry, is an independent art, nay, the most powerful of all 
the arts, and therefore attains its ends entirely with means 
of its own, so surely does it not stand in need of the words 
of the song or the action of an opera. Music as such 
knows the tones or notes alone, but not the causes which 
produce these. Accordingly, for it even the human voice 
is originally and essentially nothing else than a modified 
tone, just like that of an instrument ; and, like every other 
tone, it has the special advantages and disadvantages 
which are a consequence of the instrument that produces 
it. Now, in this case, that this same instrument, as the 


organ of speech, also serves to communicate conceptions 
is an accidental circumstance, which music can certainly 
also make use of, in order to enter into a connection with 
poetry ; but it must never make this the principal matter, 
and concern itself entirely with the expression of what for 
the most part, nay (as Diderot gives us to understand in 
Le Neveu de Eameau), essentially are insipid verses. The 
words are and remain for the music a foreign addition, of; 
subordinate value, for the effect of the tones is incompar 
ably more powerful, more infallible, and quicker than 
that of the words. Therefore, if words become incorpo 
rated in music, they must yet assume an entirely subordi 
nate position, and adapt themselves completely to it. But 
the relation appears reversed in the case of the given 
poetry, thus the song or the libretto of an opera to which 
music is adapted. For the art of music at once shows in : 
these its power and higher fitness, disclosing the most pro- \ 
found ultimate and secret significance of the feeling ex 
pressed in the words or the action presented in the opera, 
giving utterance to their peculiar and true nature, and 
teaching us the inmost soul of the actions and events 
whose mere clothing and body is set before us on the stage. 
With regard to this superiority of the music, and also 
because it stands to the libretto and the action in the 
relation of the universal to the particular, of the rule to 
the example, it might perhaps appear more fitting that the 
libretto should be written for the music than that the 
music should be composed for the libretto. However, in 
the customary method, the words and actions of the libretto 
lead the composer to the affections of the will which lie 
at their foundation, and call up in him the feelings to be 
expressed ; they act, therefore, as a means of exciting 
his musical imagination. Moreover, that the addition of 
poetry to music is so welcome to us, and a song with 
intelligible words gives us such deep satisfaction, depends 
upon the fact that in this way our most direct and most 
indirect ways of knowing are called into play at once and 


in connection. The most direct is that for which music 
expresses the emotions of the will itself, and the most in 
direct that of conceptions denoted by words. When the 
language of tiie feelings is in question the reason does not 
willingly sit entirely idle. Music is certainly able with 
the means at its own disposal to express every move 
ment of the will, every feeling ; but by the addition of 
words we receive beside* this the objects of these feelings, 
the motives which occasion them. The music of an opera, 
as it is presented in the score, has a completely indepen- 
dent, separate, and, as it were, abstract existence for itself, 
to which the incidents and persons of the piece are foreign, 
and which follows its own unchanging rules ; therefore it 
can produce its full effect without the libretto. But this 
music, since it was composed with reference to the drama, 
is, as it were, the soul of the latter ; for, in its connec 
tion with the incidents, persons, and words, it becomes 
the expression of the inner significance of all those inci 
dents, and of their ultimate and secret necessity which 
depends upon this significance. The pleasure of the spec 
tator, unless he is a mere gaper, really depends upon an 
indistinct feeling of this. Yet in the opera music also 
shows its heterogeneous nature and higher reality by its 
entire indifference to the whole material of the incidents ; 
in consequence of which it everywhere expresses the 
storm of the passions and the pathos of the feelings in the 
same way, and its tones accompany the piece with the 
same pomp, whether Agamemnon and Achilles or the 
dissensions of a bourgeois family form its material. For 
only the passions, the movements of the will, exist for it, 
~and, like God, it sees only the hearts. It never assimilates 
itself to the natural ; and therefore, even when it accom 
panies the most ludicrous and extravagant farces of the 
comic opera, it still preserves its essential beauty, purity, 
and sublimity ; and its fusion with these incidents is un 
able to draw it down from its height, to which all absur 
dity is really foreign. Thus the profound and serious 


significance of our existence hangs over the farce and the 
endless miseries of human life, and never leaves it for a 

If we now cast a glance at purely instrumental music, 
a symphony of Beethoven presents to us the greatest con 
fusion, which yet has the most perfect order at its foun 
dation, the most vehement conflict, which is transformed 
the next moment into the most beautiful concord. It is 
rerum concordia discors, a true and perfect picture of the 
nature of the world which rolls on in the boundless maze 
of innumerable forms, and through constant destruction 
supports itself. But in this symphony all human passions 
and emotions also find utterance ; joy, sorrow, love, hatred, 
terror, hope, &c., in innumerable degrees, yet all, as it 
were, only in abstracto, and without any particularisa- 
tion ; it is their mere form without the substance, like 
a spirit world without matter. Certainly we have a 
tendency to realise them while we listen, to clothe them 
in imagination with flesh and bones, and to see in them 
scenes of life and nature on every hand. Yet, taken 
generally, this is not required for their comprehension or 
enjoyment, but rather imparts to them a foreign and 
arbitrary addition : therefore it is better to apprehend 
them in their immediacy and purity. 

Since now, in the foregoing remarks, and also in the 
text, I have considered music only from the metaphysical 
side, that is, with reference to the inner significance of its 
performances, it is right that I should now also subject to 
a general consideration the means by which, acting upon 
our mind, it brings these about ; therefore that I should 
show the connection of that metaphysical side of music, 
and the physical side, which has been fully investigated, 
and is well known, I stare from the theory which is 
generally known, and has by no means been shaken by 
recent objections, that all harmony of the notes depends 
upon the coincidence of their vibrations, which when two 
notes sound together occurs perhaps at every second, or 


at every third, or at every fourth vibration, according to 
which, then, they are the octave, the fifth, or the fourth of 
each other, and so on. So long as the vibrations of two 
notes have a rational relation to each other, which can 
be expressed in small numbers, they can be connected 
together in our apprehension through their constantly 
recurring coincidence : the notes become blended, and are 
thereby in consonance. If, on the other hand, that relation 
is an irrational one, or one which can only be expressed 
in larger numbers, then no coincidence of the vibrations 
which can be apprehended occurs, but obstrepunt sibi per- 
petuo, whereby they resist being joined together in our 
apprehension, and accordingly are called a dissonance. 
Now, according to this theory, music is a means of making 
rational and irrational relations of numbers comprehen 
sible, not like arithmetic by the help of the concept, 
but by bringing them to a knowledge which is perfectly 
directly and simultaneously sensible. Now the connec 
tion of the metaphysical significance of music with this 
its physical and arithmetical basis depends upon the fact 
that what resists our apprehension, the irrational relation, 
or the dissonance, becomes the natural type of what resists 
" our will ; and, conversely, the consonance, or the rational 
" relation, which easily adapts itself to our apprehension, 
becomes the type of the satisfaction of the will. And 
further, since that rational and irrational element in the 
numerical relations of the vibrations admits of innumer 
able degrees, shades of difference, sequences, and variations, 
by means of it music becomes the material in which all 
the movements of the human heart, i.e., of the will, move 
ments whose essential nature is always satisfaction and 
dissatisfaction, although in innumerable degrees, can be 
faithfully portrayed and rendered in all their finest shades 
and modifications, which takes place by means of the, 
invention of the melody. Thus we see here the move 
ments of the will transferred to the province of the mere 
idea, which is the exclusive scene of the achievements of 


the fine arts, for they absolutely demand that the will 
itself shall not interfere, and that we shall conduct our 
selves as pure knowing subjects. Therefore the affections 
of the will itself, thus actual pain and actual pleasure, 
must not be excited, but only their substitutes, that which 
is agreeable to the intellect, as a picture of the satisfaction 
of the will, and that which is more or less repugnant to it, 
as a picture of greater or less pain. Only thus does music 
never cause us actual sorrow, but even in its most melan 
choly strains is still pleasing, and we gladly hear in its 
language the secret history of our will, and all its emo 
tions and strivings, with their manifold protractions, hin 
drances, and griefs, even in the saddest melodies. When, 
on the other hand, in reality and its terrors, it is our will 
itself that is roused and tormented, we have not then to 
do with tones and their numerical relations, but are rather 
now ourselves the trembling string that is stretched and 

But, further, because, in consequence of the physical 
theory which lies at its foundation, the musical quality 
of the notes is in the proportion of the rapidity of their 
vibrations, but not in their relative strength, the musical 
ear always follows by preference, in harmony, the highest 
note, not the loudest. Therefore, even in the case of the 
most powerful orchestral accompaniment, the soprano 
comes out clearly, and thus receives a natural right to 
deliver the melody. And this is also supported by its 
great flexibility, which depends upon the same rapidity 
of the vibrations, and shows itself in the ornate pas 
sages, whereby the soprano becomes the suitable repre 
sentative of the heightened sensibility, susceptible to 
the slightest impression, and determinable by it, con 
sequently of the most highly developed consciousness 
standing on the uppermost stage of the scale of being. 
Its opposite, from converse causes, is the bass, inflexible, 
rising and falling only in great intervals, thirds, fourths, 
and fifths, and also at evejy step guided by rigid rules. 


It is therefore the natural representative of the inorganic 
kingdom of nature, which is insensible, insusceptible to fine 
impressions, and only determinable according to general 
laws. It must indeed never rise by one tone, for example, 
from a fourth to a fifth, for this produces in the upper 
parts the incorrect consecutive fifths and octaves ; there 
fore, originally and in its own nature, it can never present 
the melody. If, however, the melody is assigned to it, 
this happens by means of counterpoint, i.e., it is an inverted 
bass one of the upper parts is lowered and disguised as 
a bass ; properly speaking, it then requires a second funda 
mental bass as its accompaniment. This unnaturalness of 
a melody lying in the bass is the reason why bass airs, 
with full accompaniment, never afford us pure, undisturbed 
pleasure, like the soprano air, which, in the connection of 
harmony, is alone natural. We may remark in passing 
that such a melodious bass, forcibly obtained by invertion, 
might, in keeping with our metaphysic of music, be com 
pared to a block of marble to which the human form has 
been imparted: and therefore it is wonderfully suitable to 
the stone guest in " Don Juan." 

But now we shall try to get somewhat nearer the 
foundation of the genesis of melody, which can be accom 
plished by analysing it into its constituent parts, and in 
any case will afford us the pleasure which arises from 
bringing to abstract and distinct consciousness what every 
one knows in the concrete, so that it gains the appearance 
of novelty. 

Melody consists of two elements, the one rhythmical, the 
other harmonious. The former may also be described as 
the quantitative, the latter as the qualitative element, since 
the first is concerned with the duration, and the second 
with the pitch of the notes. In the writing of music the 
former depends upon the perpendicular, and the latter 
upon the horizontal lines. Purely arithmetical relations, 
thus relations of time, lie at the foundation of both; in 
the one case the relative duration of the notes, in the other 


the relative rapidity of their vibrations. The rhythmical 
clement is the essential ; for it can produce a kind of 
melody of itself alone, and without the other, as, for 
example, on the drum ; yet complete melody requires both 
elements. It consists in an alternating disunion and re 
conciliation of them, as I shall show immediately; but 
first, since I have already spoken of the harmonious 
element in what has been said, I wish to consider the 
rhythmical element somewhat more closely. 

Rhythm is in time what symmetry is in space, division 
into equal parts corresponding to each other. First, into 
larger parts, which again fall into smaller parts, sub 
ordinate to the former. In the series of the arts given 
by me architecture and music are the two extreme ends. 
Moreover, according to their inner nature, their power, 
the extent of their spheres, and their significance, they are 
the most heterogeneous, indeed true antipodes. This op 
position extends even to the form of their appearance, for 
architecture is in space alone, without any connection 
with time ; and music is in time alone, without any con 
nection with space. 1 Now hence springs their one point 
of analogy, that as in architecture that which orders and 
holds together is symmetry, in music it is rhythm, and thus 
here also it holds true that extremes meet. As the ulti 
mate constituent parts of a building are the exactly similar 
stones, so the ultimate constituent parts of a musical com 
position are the exactly similar beats ; yet by being weak 
or strong, or in general by the measure, which denotes the 
species of time, these are divided into equal parts, which 
may be compared to the dimensions of the stone. The 
musical period consists of several bars, and it has also two 
equal parts, one rising, aspiring, generally going to the 

1 It would be a false objection be just as false to say that poetry, as 

that sculpture and painting are also speech, belongs to time alone : this 

merely in space ; for their works are is also true only indirectly of the 

connected, not directly, but yet in- words; its matter is all existent, thus 

directly, with time, for they represent spatial, 
life, movement, action. And it would 


dominant, and one sinking, quieting, returning to the 
fundamental note. Two or several periods constitute a 
part, which in general is also symmetrically doubled by 
the sign of repetition ; two parts make a small piece of 
music, or only a movement of a larger piece; and thus a 
concerto or sonata usually consists of three movements, 
a symphony of four, and a mass of five. Thus we see the 
musical composition bound together and rounded off as a 
whole, by symmetrical distribution and repeated division, 
down to the beats and their fractions, with thorough sub 
ordination, superordination, and co-ordination of its mem 
bers, just as a building is connected and rounded off by 
" its symmetry. Only in the latter that is exclusively in 
| space which in the former is exclusively in time. The 
""mere feeling of this analogy has in the last thirty years 
called forth the oft-repeated, daring witticism, that archi 
tecture is frozen music. The origin of this can be traced 
to Goethe ; for, according to Eckermann s " Conversa 
tions," vol. ii. p. 88, he said : " I have found among my 
papers a page on which I call architecture a rigidified 
music ; and really there is something in it ; the mood 
which is produced by architecture approaches the effect of 
music." Probably he let fall this witticism much earlier 
in conversation, and in that case it is well known that 
there were never wanting persons to pick up what he so 
let fall that they might afterwards go about decked with 
it. For the rest, whatever Goethe may have said, the 
analogy of music and architecture, which is here referred 
by me to its sole ground, the analogy of rhythm with sym 
metry, extends accordingly only to the outward form, and 
by no means to the inner nature of the two arts, which is 
entirely different. Indeed it would be absurd to wish to 
put on the same level in essential respects the most limited 
and the weakest of all the arts, and the most far-reaching 
and powerful. As an amplification of the analogy pointed 
out, we might add further, that when music, as it were in 
a fit of desire for independence, seizes the opportunity of 


a pause to free itself from the control of rhythm, to launch 
I into the free imagination of an ornate cadenza, such a 
piece of music divested of all rhythm is analogous to the 
rum which is divested of symmetry, and which accord 
ingly may be called, in the bold language of the witticism 
a frozen cadenza. 

After this exposition of rhythm, I have now to show how 
the nature of melody consists in the constantly renewed 
disunion and reconciliation of the rhythmical, and the har 
monious elements of it. Its harmonious element has as 
is assumption the fundamental note, as the rhythmical 
element has the species of time, and consists in a wander 
ing rom it through all the notes of the scale, until by 
shorter or longer digressions it reaches a harmonious 
nterval generally the dominant or sub-dominant, which 
affords it an incomplete satisfaction; and then follows 
by a similarly long path, its return to the fundamental 
iote with which complete satisfaction appears. But both 
must so take place that the attainment of the interval 
referred to and the return to the fundamental note corre- 
;ond with certain favourite points of the rhythm, other 
wise it wHl not work. Thus, as the harmonious succession 
>f Bounds requires certain notes, first of all the tonic, next 
it the dominant, and so on, so rhythm, on its part 
requires certain points of time, certain numbered bars and 
certain parts of these bars, which are called strot or 
good beats or the accented parts of the bar, in opposition 
to the weak or bad beats, or unaccented parts of The ba r 
Now the disunion of these two fundamental elements 

j.1 - n .-i . * \ji uiio its satis- 

that of the other is not; and their reconciliation 

consists in tins, that both arp oofiofl/-,^ 

uui/ja cue bdtisneoi at once and tn 

gether. That wandering of the notes until they find a 
more or less harmonwus interval must so take place that 
tins znterval as attained only after a definite numbe of 
bars and also at an accented part of the bar, and in thl 
wa^becomes for it a kind of resting-point ; and similarl/ 



the return to the keynote must take place after a liko 
number of bars, and also at an accented part of the bar, 
and thus complete satisfaction is then attained. So long 
as this required coincidence of the satisfaction of both 
elements is not attained, the rhythm, 011 the one hand, 
may follow its regular course, and, on the other hand, the 
required notes may occur often enough, but yet they will 
remain entirely without that effect through which melody 
arises. The following very simple example may serve to 
illustrate this : 

Here the harmonious sequence of notes finds the keynote 
just at the end of the first bar; but it does not receive any 
satisfaction from this, because the rhythm is caught at the 
least accented part of the bar. Immediately afterwards, 
in the second bar, the rhythm has the accented part of the 
bar, but the sequence of notes has arrived at the seventh. 
Thus here the two elements of melody are entirely dis 
united ; and we feel disquieted. In the second half of the 
period everything is reversed, and in the last note they 
are reconciled. This kind of thing can be shown in every 
melody, although generally in a much more extended form. 
Now the constant disunion and reconciliation of its two 
elements which there takes place is, when metaphysically 
considered, the copy of the origination of new wishes, and 
"then of their satisfaction. Thus, by flattery, music pene 
trates into our hearts, for it presents the image of the 
complete satisfaction of its wishes. More closely con 
sidered, we see in this procedure of melody a condition 
which, to a certain extent, is inward (the harmonious) 
meet with an mitward condition (the rhythmical), as if by 
an accent, which is certainly brought about by the com 
poser, and which may, so far, be compared to rhyme in 
poetry. But this is just the copy of the meeting of our 


wishes with the favourable outward circumstances which 
are independent of them, and is thus the picture of hap 
piness. The effect of the suspension also deserves to be 
considered here. It is a dissonance which delays the 
final consonance, which is awaited with certainty ; and 
thus the longing for it is strengthened, and its appear 
ance satisfies all the more. Clearly an analogue of the 
heightened satisfaction of the will through delay. The 
complete cadence requires the preceding chord of the 
seventh on the dominant ; because the most deeply felt 
satisfaction and the most entire relief can only follow the 
most earnest longing. Thus, in general, music consists of 
a constant succession of more or less disquieting chords, 
i.e., chords which excite longing, and more or less quiet 
ing and satisfying chords ; just as the life of the heart 
(the will) is a constant succession of greater or less 
disquietude through desire and aversion, and just as 
various degrees of relief. Accordingly the harmonious 
sequence of chords consists of the correct alternation of 
dissonance and consonance. A succession of merely con 
sonant chords would be satiating, wearisome, and empty, 
like the languor produced by the satisfaction of all wishes. 
Therefore dissonances must be introduced, although they 
disquiet us and affect us almost painfully, but only in order 
to be resolved again in consonances with proper prepara 
tion. Indeed, in the whole of music there are really only two 
fundamental chords, the dissonant chord of the seventh 
and the consonant triad, to which all chords that occur 
can be referred. This just corresponds to the fact, that 
for the will there are at bottom only dissatisfaction and 
satisfaction, under however many forms they may present 
themselves. And as there are two general fundamental 
moods of the mind, serenity, or at least healthiness, and 
sadness, or even oppression, so music has two general 
keys, the major and the minor, which correspond to these, 
and it must always be in one of the two. But it is, in 
fact, very wonderful that there is a sign of pain which is 


neither physically painful nor yet conventional, but 
which nevertheless is suitable and unmistakable: the 
minor. From this we may measure how deeply music 
is founded in the nature of things and of man. With 
northern nations, whose life is subject to hard conditions, 
especially with the Russians, the minor prevails, even in 
the church music. Allegro in the minor is very common 
in French music, and is characteristic of it ; it is as if one 
danced while one s shoe pinched. 

I add further a few subsidiary remarks. When the key 
note is changed, and with it the value of all the intervals, 
in consequence of which the same note figures as the 
second, the third, the fourth, and so on, the notes of the 
scale are analogous to actors, who must assume now one 
r6le, now another, while their person remains the same. 
That the actors are often not precisely suited to ^these 
rdles may be compared to the unavoidable impurity of 
every harmonic system (referred to at the end of 52 of 
the first volume) which the equal temperament has intro 

Perhaps some may be offended, that, according to this 
metaphysic of it, music, which so often exalts our minds, 
which seems to us to speak of other and better worlds 
than ours, yet really only flatters the will to live, because 
it exhibits to it its nature, deludes it with the image of its 
success, and at the end expresses its satisfaction and con 
tentment. The following passage from the " Vedas " may 
serve to quiet such doubts : " fitanand sroup, quod forma 
gaudii est, rov pram Atma ex hoc dicunt, quod quocunque 
loco gaudium est, particula e gaudw ejiis est " (Oupnekkat, 
vol L p. 405 ; et iterum, vol. ii. p. 215). 

Supplements to tfje jFourtjj Book. 

" Tons In hommcs dtsirent uniquement de se dflivrer de la mart Us ne 
tavcntpas se dttivrer de la vie." 

Lao-tsen-Tao-te-Kiny, ed. STAN. JDLIEN, p. 184. 




THE supplements to this fourth book would be very con 
siderable if it were not that two of its principal subjects 
which stand specially in need of being supplemented -the 
freedom of the will and__frhft fa"ndaf-.i*>n nf fikbjg.^- j^v**, 
on the occasion of prize questions being set by two Scandi 
navian Academies, been fully worked out by me in the 
form of a monograph, which was laid before the public in 
the year 1841 under the title, "The Two Fundamental 
Problems of Ethics." Accordingly I assume an acquaint 
ance on the part of my readers with the work which has 
just been mentioned, just as unconditionally as in the 
supplements to the second book I have assumed it with 
regard to the work "J)n the Will in Nature." In general 
I make the demand that whoever wishes to make himself 
acquainted with my philosophy shall read every line of 
me. For I am no voluminous writer, no fabricator of com- 
pendiums, no earner of pecuniary rewards, not one whose 
writings aim at the approbation of a minister ; in a word, 
not one whose pen is under the influence of personal ends. 
I strive after nothing but the truth, and write as the an 
cients wrote, with the sole intention of preserving my 
thoughts, so that they may be for the benefit of those 
who understand how to meditate upon them and prize 


them. Therefore I have written little, but that little 
with reflection and at long intervals, and accordingly I 
have also confined within the smallest possible limits 
those repetitions which in philosophical works are some 
times unavoidable on account of the connection, and from 
which no single philosopher is free ; so that by far the 
most of what I have to say is only to be found in one 
place. On this account, then, whoever wishes to learn 
from me and understand me must leave nothing unread 
that I have written. Yet one can judge me and criticise 
me without this, as experience has shown ; and to this 
also I further wish much pleasure. 

Meanwhile the space gained by the said elimination of 
two important subjects will be very welcome to us. For 
since those explanations, which every man has more at 
heart than anything else, and which therefore in every 
system, as ultimate results, form the apex of its pyramid, 
are also crowded together in my last book, a larger space 
will gladly be granted to every firmer proof or more accu 
rate account of these. Besides this we have been able to 
discuss here, as belonging to the doctrine of the " assertion 
of the will to live," a question which in our fourth book 
itself remained untouched, as it was also entirely neglected 
by all philosophers before me : it is the inner significance 
and real nature of the sexual love, which sometimes rises 
to a vehement passion a subject which it would not have 
been paradoxical to take up in the ethical part of philo 
sophy if its importance had been known. 




DEATH is the true inspiring genius, or the muse of 
philosophy, wherefore Socrates has defined the latter 
as Bavarov fj,e\err}. Indeed without death men would 
scarcely philosophise. Therefore it will be quite in order 
that a special consideration of this should have its place 
here at the beginning of the last, most serious, and most 
important of our books. 

The brute lives without a proper knowledge of death ; 
therefore the individual brute enjoys directly the absolute 
imperishableness of the species, for it is only conscious 
of itself as endless. In the case of men the terrifying 
ceri^intyjofjdeath necessarily entered With reason. But 
as everywhere in nature with every evil a means of 
cure, or at least some compensation, is given, the same 
reflection which introduces the knowledge of death also 
assists us to metaphysical points of view, which comfort 
us concerning it, and of which the brute has no need and 
is incapable. All religious ant^hilosopmcaj^systemsltre 
principally directed to this end^lmd are thus primarily 
the antidote to the certainty of death, which the reflective 
reason procluces out of its own means. Yet the degree in 
which they attain this end is very different, and certainly 
one religion or philosophy will, far more than the others, 
enable men to look death in the face with a quiet glance. 

1 This chapter is connected with 54 df the first volume. 


Brahmanism and Buddhism, which teach man to regard 
himself as himself, the original being, the Brahm, to which 
all coming into being and passing away is essentially 
foreign, will achieve much more in this respect than such as 
teach that man is made out of nothing, and actually begins 
at birth his existence derived from another. Answering 
to this we find in India a confidence and a contempt for 
death of which one has no conception in Europe. It is, 
in fact, a hazardous thing to force upon a man, by early 
imprinting them, weak and untenable conceptions in this 
important regard, and thereby making him for ever in- 
r capable of taking up correct and stable ones. For example, 
to teach him that he recently came out of nothing, and 
i consequently through an eternity has been nothing, but 
I yet for the future will be imperishable, is just the same as 
to teach him that although he is through and through the 
\ work of another, yet he will be held responsible through 
\ all eternity for his actions. If, then, when the mind 
j ripens and reflection appears, the untenable nature of 
I such doctrines forces itself upon him, he has nothing 
better to put in its place, nay, is no longer capable of 
understanding anything better, and thus loses the comfort 
which nature had destined for him also, as a compensation 
for the certainty of death. In consequence of such a pro 
cess, we see even now in England (1844), among ruined 
factory hands, the Socialists, and in Germany, among 
ruined students, the young Hegelians, sink to the abso 
lutely physical point of view, which leads to the result : 
edite, bibite, post, mortem nulla voluptas, and so far may be 
defined as bestialism. 

However, after all that has been taught concerning death, 
it cannot be denied that, at least in Europe, the opinion of 
men, nay, often even of the same individual, very fre 
quently vacillates between the conception of death as abso 
lute annihilation and the assumption that we are, as it 
were, with skin and hair, immortal. Both are equally 
false : but we have not so much to find a correct mean as 

ON DEATH. 2 si 

rather to gain the higher point of view from which such 
notions disappear of themselves. 

In these considerations I shall first of all start from 
the purely empirical standpoint. Here there primarily 
lies before us the undeniable fact that, according to the 
natural consciousness, man not only fears death for his 
own person more than anything else, but also weeps 
violently over the death of those that belong to him, and 
indeed clearly not egotistically, for his own loss, but out 
of sympathy for the great misfortune that has befallen 
them. Therefore he also censures those who in such a 
case neither weep nor show sadness as hard-hearted and 
unloving. It is parallel with this that revenge, in its 
highest degree, seeks the death of the adversary as the 
greatest evil that can be inflicted. Opinions change with 
time and place ; but the voice of nature remains always 
and everywhere the same, and is therefore to be heeded 
before everything else. Now here it seems distinctly to 
say that death is a great evil. In the language of nature 
death means annihilation. And that death is a serious 
matter may be concluded from the fact that, as every one 
knows, life is no joke. We must indeed deserve nothing 
better than these two. 

In fact, the fear of death is independent of all know 
ledge; for the brute has it, although it does not know 
death. Everything that is born brings it with it into the 
world. But this fear of death is a priori only the reverse 
side of the will to live, which indeed we all are. There 
fore in every brute the fear of its destruction is inborn, 
like the care for its maintenance. Thus it is the fear of 
death, and not the mere avoidance of pain, which shows 
itself in the anxious carefulness with which the brute 
seeks to protect itself, and still more its brood, from every 
thing that might become dangerous. Why does the brute 
flee, trembling, and seek to conceal itself ? Because it is 
simply the will to live, but, as such, is forfeited to death, 
and wishes to gain time. Such also, by nature, is man! 


The greatest evil, the worst that can anywhere threaten, is 
death; the greatest fear is the fear of death. Nothing 
excites us so irresistibly to the most lively interest as 
danger to the life of others ; nothing is so shocking as an 
execution. Now the boundless attachment to life which 
appears here cannot have sprung from knowledge and 
reflection ; to these it rather appears foolish, for the objec 
tive worth of life is very uncertain, and at least it remains 
doubtful whether it is preferable to not being, nay, if 
experience and reflection come to be expressed, not being 
must certainly win. If one knocked on the graves, and 
asked the dead whether they wished to rise again, they 
would shake their heads. Such is the opinion of Socrates 
in " Plato s Apology," and even the gay and amiable Vol 
taire cannot help saying, "On aime la vie; mais le ndant 
ne laisse pas tfavoir du Ion; " and again, "Je ne sais pas C6 
que cest que la vie dtemelle, mais celle-ci est une mauvaise 
plaisanterie." Besides, life must in any case soon end ; so 
that the few years which perhaps one has yet to be,vanish 
entirely before the endless time when one will be no more. 
Accordingly it appears to reflection even ludicrous to be 
so anxious about this span of time, to tremble so much if 
our own life or that of another is in danger, and to com 
pose tragedies the horror of which has ite strength in. .the 
fear of dpq,t,h r {That, powerful attachment to life is there- 
ore irrational and blind ; it can only be explained from 
the fact that our whole inner nature is itself will to live, 
to which, therefore, life must appear as the highest good, 
however embittered, short, and uncertain it may always 
be ; and that that will, in itself and originally, is uncon 
scious and blind. Knowledge, on the contrary, far from 
being the source of that attachment to life, even works 
against it, for it discloses the worthlessnesjpjj.ife jl ,jajah^ 
thus comkits tin- fear <>f d.-ath. When it conquers, and 
accordingly the. man faces death courageously and com 
posedly, this is honoured as great and noble, thus we hail 
then the triumph of knowledge over the blind will to live, 

ON DEATH. 253 

which is yet the kernel of our own being. In the same 
way we despise him in whom knowledge is defeated in 
that conflict, and who therefore clings unconditionally to 
life, struggles to the utmost against approaching death, and 
receives it with despair ; J and yet in him it is only the 
most original being of ourselves and of nature that ex 
presses itself. We may here ask, in passing, how could 
this boundless love of life and endeavour to maintain it in 
every way as long as possible be regarded as base, con- 
temptible, and by the adherents of every religion as 
unworthy of this, if it were the gift of good gods, to be 
recognised with thankfulness ? And how could it then 
seem great and noble to esteem it lightly ? Meanwhile, 
what is confirmed by these considerations is (i.) that 
the will to live is the inmost nature of man ; (2.) that in 
itself it is unconscious and blind ; (3.) that knowledge is 
an adventitiojis principle, which is originally foreign to 
the will ; (4.) that knowledge conflicts with the will, and 
that our judgment applauds the victory of knowledge over 
the will. 

If what makes death seem so terrible to us were the 
thought of not being, we would necessarily think with 
equal horror of the time when as yet we were not. For it 
is irrefutably certain that not being after death cannot be 
different from not being before birth, and consequently 
is also no more deplorable. A whole eternity has run 
its course while as yet we were not, but that by no 
means disturbs us. On the other hand, we find it 
hard, nay, unendurable, that after the momentary inter 
mezzo of an ephemeral existence, a second eternity should 
follow in which we shall no longer be. Should, then, 
this thirst for existence have arisen because we have 
now tasted it and have found it so delightful ? As was 
already briefly explained above, certainly not ; far sooner 

1 In gladiatoriis pugnis timidos et animosos, et se acriter ipsos morti 
tuppliaes, et, ut viwe liceat, obsecran- offerentes servare cupimus (Cic. pro 
tea etiam odisse solemus ; fortes et MUone, c. 34). 


could the experience gained have awakened an infinite 
longing for the lost paradise of non-existence. To tho 
hope, also, of the immortality of the soul there is always 
added that of a " better world " a sign that the present 
world is not much good. Notwithstanding all this, the 
question as to our state after death has certainly been dis 
cussed, in books and verbally, ten thousand times oftener 
than the question as to our state before birth. Yet theo 
retically the one is just as near at hand and as fair a 
problem as the other ; and besides, whoever had answered 
the one would soon see to the bottom of the other. We 
have fine declamations about how shocking it would be to 
think that the mind of man, which embraces the world, 
and has so many very excellent thoughts, should sink 
with him into the grave ; but we hear nothing about this 
mind having allowed a whole eternity to pass before it 
came into being with these its qualities, and how the 
world must have had to do without it all that time. Yet 
no question presents itself more naturally to knowledge, 
uncorrupted. by- the. will, than this : KIL infinite time has- 
passed before my birth ; what was I during this timej 
Metaphysically, it might pernaps be answered, " I was 
always I ; that is, all who during that time said I, were just 
I." But let us look away from this to our present entirely 
empirical point of view, and assume that 1 did not exist at 
all. Then I can console myself as to the infinite time 
after my death, when I shall not be, with the infinite time 
when I already was not^as a_ well-accustomed, and indeed 
very, comfortable, state; For the" eternity Hp&rt&pbst wit 
out me can be just as little fearful as the eternity a parte 
ante without me, since the two are distinguished by 
nothing except by the interposition of an ephemeral 
dream of life. All proofs, also, for continued existence 
after death may just as well be applied in partem ante, 
where they then demonstrate existence before life, in the 
assumption of which the Hindus and .Buddhists therefore 
show themselves very consistent. Kant s ideality of time 

ON DEATH. 255 

alone solves all these riddles. But we are not speaking 
of that now. This, however, results from what has been 
said, that to mourn for the time when one will be no 
more is just as absurd as it would be to mourn over the 
time when as yet one was not; for it is all the same 
whether the time which our existence does not fill is 
related to that which it does fill, as future or as past. 

But, also, regarded entirely apart from these temporal 
considerations, it is in and for itself absurd to look upon 
not being as an evil ; for every evil, as every good, presup 
poses existence, nay, even consciousness: but the latter 
ceases with life, as also in sleep and in a swoon ; therefore 
the absence of it is well known to us, and trusted, as con 
taining no evil at all : its entrance, however, is always an 
affair of a moment. From, this point of view Epicurus 
considered death, and therefore quite rightly said, " 6 dava- 
TO<? fjirjBev 7rpo9 ^fta? " (Death does not concern us) ; with 
the explanation that when we are death is not, and when 
death is we are not {Diofj. Laert., x. 27). To have lost 
what cannot be missed is clearly no evil. Therefore ceas 
ing to be ought to disturb us as little as not having been. 
Accordingly from the standpoint of knowledge there ap 
pears absolutely no reason to fear death. But conscious 
ness consists in knowing; therefore, for consciousness 
death is no evil. M^miaKJvi^is^je,ally_not this knowing 
part of our .&y& that fears death, but the fuga mortis pro 
ceeds entirely and alone .from, the blind will, of. which 
everythipfi ^yjflg * fillp.d To this, however, as was 
already mentioned above, it is essential, just because it is 
will to live, whose whole nature consists in the effort after 
life and existence, and which is not originally endowed 
with knowledge, but only in consequence of its objectifica- 
tion in animal individuals. If now the will, by means of 
knowledge, beholds death as the end of the phenomenon 
with which it has identified itself, and to which, therefore, 
it sees itself limited, its whole nature struggles against it 
with all its might. Whether now it has really something 


to fear from death we will investigate further on, and will 
then remember the real source of the fear of death, which 
has been shown here along with the requisite distinction 
j)f_the willing and the knowing part of our nature. 

Corresponding to this, then, what makes death so ter 
rible to us is not so much the end of life for this can 
appear to no one specially worthy of regret but rather 
the destruction of the organism; really becjjiSjSLJihi 
the will itself exhibiting itself as bodyi But we only 
really feel this destruction in the evils of disease or of old 
age; death itself, on the other hand, consists for the subject 
only in the moment when consciousness vanishes because 
the activity of the brain ceases. The extension of the 
stoppage to all the other parts of the organism which fol 
lows this is really already an event after death. Thus death, 
in a subjective regard, concerns the consciousness alone. 
Now what the vanishing of this may be every one can to 
ascertain extent judge of from going to sleep ; but it is 
still better known" to whoever has really fainted, for in 
this the transition is not so gradual, nor accompanied by 
dreams, but first the power of sight leaves us, still fully 
conscious, and then immediately the most profound un 
consciousness enters ; the sensation that accompanies it, 
so far as it goes, is anything but disagreeable ; and without 
doubt, as sleep is the brother of death, so the swoon is 
its twin-brother. Even violent death cannot be painful, 
for even severe wounds are not felt at all till some time 
afterwards, often not till the outward signs of them are 
observed. If they are rapidly mortal, consciousness will 
vanish before this discovery ; if they result in death later, 
^then it is the same as with other illnesses. All those 
/ also who have lost consciousness in water, or from cliar- 
\ coal fumes, or through hanging are well known to say that 
j it happened without pain. And now, finally, the death 
"\ which is properly in accordance with nature, death from 
old age, euthanasia, is a gradual vanishing and sinking 
out of existence in an imperceptible manner. Little by 



ON DEATH. 257 

little in old age, the passions and desires, with the suscep 
tibility for their objects, are extinguished; the emotions 
no longer find anything to excite them ; for the power of 
presenting ideas to the mind always becomes weaker, its 
images fainter; the impressions no longer cleave to us, 
but pass over without leaving a trace, the days roll ever 
faster, events lose their significance, everything grows 
pale. The old man stricken in years totters about or 
rests in a corner now only a shadow, a ghost of his former 
self. What remains there for death to destroy? One 

day a sleep is his last, and his dreams are . They 

are the dreams which Hamlet inquires after in the famous 
soliloquy. I believe we dream them even now. 

I have here also to remark that the maintenance of the 
life process, although it has a metaphysical basis, does not 
go on without resistance, and consequently not without 
effort. It is this to which the organism yields every 
night, on account of which it then suspends the brain 
function arid diminishes certain secretions, the respiration, 
the pulse, and the development of heat. From this we 
may conclude that the entire ceasiug of the life process 
must be a wonderful relief to its motive force ; perhaps 
this has some share in the expression of sweet content 
ment on the faces of most dead persons. In general the 
moment of death may be like the moment of awaking 
from a heavy dream that has oppressed us like a night 

Up to this point the result we have arrived at is that 
death, however much it may be feared, can yet really be 
no evil. But often it even appears as a good thing, as 
something wished for, as a friend. All that have met 
with insuperable obstacles to their existence or their 
efforts, that suffer from incurable diseases or inconsolable 
griefs, have as a last refuge, which generally opens to 
them of its own accord, the return into the womb of 
nature, from which they arose for a short time, enticed 
by the hope of more favourable conditions of existence 

VOL. in. B 


than have fallen to their lot, and the same path out of 
which constantly remains open. That return is the cessio 
lonorum of life. Yet even here it is only entered upon 
after a physical and moral conflict: so hard does one 
strangle against returning to the place from which one 
came out so lightly and readily, to an existence which 
has so much suffering and so little jlea^rej^uiffer. The 
HlnduTgiven^^oor^6T"Heath, Yama, two faces ; one very 
fearful and terrible, and one very cheerful and benevolent. 
This partly explains itself from the reflections we have 
just made. 

At the empirical point of view at which we still stand, 
the following consideration is one which presents itself of 
its own accord, and therefore deserves to be accurately 
defined by illustration, and thereby referred to its proper 
limits. The sight of a dead body shows me that sensi 
bility, irritability, circulation of the blood, reproduction, 
&c., have here ceased. I conclude from this with certainty 
that what actuated these hitherto, which was yet always 
something unknown to me, now actuates them no longer, 
thus has departed from them. But if I should now wish 
to add that this must have been just what I have known 
only as consciousness, consequently as intelligence (soul), 
this would be not only an unjustified but clearly a false 
conclusion. For consciousness has always showed itself 
to me not as the cause, but as the product and result 
of the organised life, for it rose and sank in conse 
quence of this in the different periods of life, in health 
and sickness, in sleep, in a swoon, in awaking, &c., thus 
always appeared as effect, never as cause of the organised 
life, always showed itself as something which arises and 
passes away, and again arises, so long as the conditions of 
this still exist, but not apart from them. Nay, I may also 
have seen that the complete derangement of consciousness, 
madness, far from dragging down with it and depressing 
the other forces, or indeed endangering life, heightens 
these very much, especially irritability or muscular force, 

ON DEATH. 259 

and rather lengthens than shortens life, if other causes 
do not come in. Then, also : I knew individuality as a 
quality of everything organised, and therefore, if this is a 
self-conscious organism, also of consciousness. But there 
exists no occasion now to conclude that individuality was 
inherent in that vanished principle, which imparts life 
and is completely unknown to me ; all the less so as I see 
that everywhere in nature each particular phenomenon is 
the work of a general force which is active in thousands of 
similar phenomena. But, on the other hand, there is just 
as little occasion to conclude that because the organised 
life has ceased here that force which hitherto actuated it 
has also become nothing ; as little as to infer the death of 
the spinner from the stopping of the spirming-wheel. If 
a pendulum, by finding its centre of gravity, at last comes 
) rest, and thus its individual apparent life has ceased 
no one will imagine that gravitation is now annihilated 
but every one comprehends that, after as before, it is active 
m innumerable phenomena. Certainly it mi^ht be ur<r e d 
against this comparison, that here also, in this pendulum 
gravitation has not ceased to be active, but only to mani 
fest its activity palpably; whoever insists on this may 
think, instead, of an electrical body, in which, after its 
discharge, electricity has actually ceased to be active 
I only wished to show in this that we ourselves recognise 
in the lowest forces of nature an eternity and ubiquity 
with regard to which the transitory nature of their fleeting 
phenomena never makes us err for a moment. So much 
the less, then, should it come into our mind to regard the 
ceasing of life as the annihilation of the living principle 
and consequently death as the entire destruction of the 
man. Because the strong arm which, three thousand 
years ago, bent the bow of Ulysses is no more no reflec 
tive and well-regulated understanding will regard the 
force which acted so energetically in it as entirely anni- 
ulated, and therefore, upon further reflection, will also 
tot assume that the force which bends the bow to-day first 


began with this arm. The thought lies far nearer us, that 
the force which earlier actuated the life which now has 
vanished is the same which is active in the life which now 
flourishes : nay, this is almost inevitable. Certainly, how 
ever, we know that, as was explained in the second book, 
only that is perishable which is involved in the causal 
series ; but only the states and forms are so involved. On 
the other hand, untouched by the change of these which 
is introduced by causes, there remain on the one side 
matter, and on the other side natural forces : for both are 
the presupposition of all these changes. But the principle 
of our life we must, primarily at least, conceive as a force 
of nature, until perhaps a more profound investigation 
has brought us to know what it is in itself. Thus, taken 
simply as a force of nature, the vital force remains entirely 
undisturbed by the change of forms and states, which the 
bond of cause* and effect introduces and carries off again, 
and which alone are subject to the process of coming into 
being and passing away, as it lies before us in experience. 
Thus so far the imperishable nature of our true being can 
be proved with certainty. But it is true this will not 
satisfy the claims which are wont to be made upon proofs 
of our continued existence after death, nor insure the 
consolation which is expected from such proofs. How 
ever, it is always something ; and whoever fears death as 
an absolute annihilation cannot afford to despise the per 
fect certainty that the inmost principle of his life remains 
untouched by it. Nay, the paradox might be set up, that 
that second thing also which, just like the forces of nature, 
remains untouched by the continual change under the 
guidance of causality, thus matter, by its absolute per 
manence, insures us indestructibility, by virtue of which 
whoever was incapable of comprehending any other 
might yet confidently trust in a certain imperishableness. 
"What!" it will be said, "the permanence of the mere 
dust of the crude matter, is to be regarded as a con 
tinuance of our being?" Oh! do you know this dust, 

ON DEATH. 261 


then ? Do you know what it is and what it can do ? 

Learn to know it before you despise it. / This matter 
which now lies there- as dust and ashes will soon, dis 
solved in water, form itself as a crystal, will shine as 
metal, will then emit electric sparks, will by means of its 
galvanic intensity manifest a force which, decomposing 
the closest combinations, reduces earths to metals ; nay, it 
will, of its own accord, form itself into plants and animals, 
and from its mysterious womb develop that life for the 
loss of which you, in your narrowness, are so painfully 
anxious. Is it, then, absolutely nothing to continue to 
exist as such matter ? IsTay, I seriously assert that even 
this permanence of matter affords evidence of the in 
destructibility of our true nature, though only as in an 
image or simile, or, rather, only as in outline. To see this 
we only need to call to mind the explanation of matter 
given in chapter 24, from which it resulted that mere 
formless matter this basis of the world of experience 
which is never perceived for itself alone, but assumed as 
constantly remaining is the immediate reflection, the 
visibility in general, of the thing in itself, thus of the will. 
Therefore, whatever absolutely pertains to the will as such 
holds good also of matter, and it reflects the true eternal 
nature of the will under the image of temporal imperishable- 
ness. Because, as has been said, nature does not lie, no 
view which has sprung from a purely objective comprehen 
sion of it, and been logically thought out, can be absolutely 
false, but at the most only very one-sided and imperfect. 
Such, however, is, indisputably, consistent materialism ; 
for instance, that of Epicurus, just as well as the absolute 
idealism opposed to it, like that of Berkeley, and in gene 
ral every philosophical point of view which has proceeded 
from a correct appergu, and been honestly carried out. 
Only they are all exceedingly one-sided comprehensions, 
and therefore, in spite of their opposition, they are all 
true, each from a definite point of view; but as soon as 
one has risen above this point of view, then they only 


appear as relatively and conditionally true. The highest 
standpoint alone, from which one surveys them all and 
knows them in their relative truth, but also beyond this, m 
their falseness, can be that of absolute truth so far as this 
is in general attainable. Accordingly we see, as was shown 
above, that in the very crude, and therefore very old, point 
of view of materialism proper the indestructibility of our 
true nature in itself is represented, as by a mere shadow of 
it, the imperishableness of matter ; as in the already higher 
naturalism of an absolute physics it is represented by the 
ubiquity and eternity of the natural forces, among which 
the vital force is at least to be counted. Thus even^these 
.sriidfi. pninte of ^dew^qmtain the assertion tha^he_lrving 
f being suffe"rirno abaolutTanniflJi^ion ^o^phdeath. but 
continues to exist in mi.l with the whole of n;r ,; . 

Tho considerations which have brought us to this point, 
and to which the further explanations link themselves on, 
started from the remarkable fear of death which fills all 
living beings. But now we will change the standpoint 
and consider how, in contrast to the individual beings, the 
whole of nature bears itself with reference to death. In 
doing this, however, we still always remain upon the 
ground of experience. 

Certainly we know no higher game of chance than that 
for death and life. Every decision about this we watch 
with the utmost excitement, interest, and fear ; for in our 
eyes all in all is at stake. On the other hand, nature, 
which never lies, but is always straightforward and open, 
speaks quite differently upon this theme, speaks like 
Krishna in the Bhagavadgita. What it says is: The 
death or the life of the individual is of no significance. It 
expresses this by the fact that it exposes the life of every 
brute, and even of man, to the most insignificant accidents 
without coming to the rescue. Consider the insect on 
your path ; a slight, unconscious turning of your step is 
decisive as to its life or death. Look at the wood-snail, 
without any means of flight, of defence, of deception, of 

ON DEATH. 263 

concealment, a ready prey for all. Look at the fish care 
lessly playing in the still open net ; the frog restrained by 
its laziness from the flight which might save it ; the bird 
that does not know of the falcon that soars above it ; the 
sheep which the wolf eyes and examines from the thicket. 
All these, provided with little foresight, go about guile 
lessly among the dangers that threaten their existence 
every moment. Since now nature exposes its organisms, 
constructed with such inimitable skill, not only to the 
predatory instincts of the stronger, but also to the blindest 
chance, to the humour of every fool, the mischievousness 
of every child without reserve, it declares that the anni 
hilation of these individuals is indifferent to it, does it no 
harm, has no significance, and that in these cases the effect 
is of no more importance than the cause. It says this 
very distinctly, and it does not lie ; only it makes no 
comments on its utterances, but rather expresses them in 
the laconic style of an oracle. If now the all-mother 
send . s , fort k ,h. er children without protection to a thousand 
threatening dangers, this can only be because she knows 
that if they fall they fall back into her womb, where they 
are safe ; therefore their fall is a mere jest, Nature does 
not act otherwise with man than with the 

,fcre its declaration extends also, to man/: the life and 
death of tho-Judividual are indifferent toJ,^ w 4^of3mgR? , 
in a certain. .sejas.e,. they ought also tVbe .indifferentTo fi us, 
%. w - e - ourselves .are indeed, imturej Certainly, if only "we" 
saw deep enough, we would agree with nature, and regard 
life and death as indifferently as it does. Meanwhile, by 
means of reflection, we must attribute that carelessness and 
indifference of nature towards the life of the individuals to 
the fact that the destruction of such a phenomenon does 
not in the least affect its true and proper nature. 

If we further ponder the fact, that not only, as we 
have just seen, arej^fe_a^^death ...daReiident uDpn the, 
most^tnfling__apQJ4ftnts, but that the existence of the 
organised being in general is an ephemeral one, that 


animal and plant arise to-day and pass away to-morrow, 
and birth and death follow in quick succession, while to 
the unorganised things which stand so much lower an 
incomparably longer duration is assured, and an infinite 
duration to the absolutely formless matter alone, to which, 
indeed, we attribute this a priori, then, I think, the 
thought must follow of its own accord, even from the 
purely empirical, but objective and unprejudiced compre 
hension of such an order of things, that this is only a 
superficial phenomenon, that such a constant arising and 
passing away can by no means touch the root of things, 
but can only be relative, nay, only apparent, in which the 
true inner nature of that thing is not included, the nature 
which everywhere evades our glance and is thoroughly 
mysterious, but rather that this continues to exist un 
disturbed by it ; although we can neither apprehend nor 
conceive the manner in which this happens, and must 
therefore think of it only generally as a kind of tour de 
passe-passe which took place there. For that, while what 
is most imperfect, the lowest, the unorganised, continues 
to exist unassailed, it is just the most perfect beings, the 
living creatures, with their infinitely complicated and in 
conceivably ingenious organisations, which constantly arise, 
new from the very foundation, and after a brief span of 
time absolutely pass into nothingness, to make room for 
other new ones like them coming into existence out of 
nothing this is something so obviously absurd that it 
can never be the true order of things, but rather a mere 
veil which conceals this, or, more accurately, a pheno 
menon conditioned by the nature of our intellect. Nay, 
the whole being and not being itself of these individuals, 
in relation to which death and life are opposites, can 
only be relative. Thus the language of nature, in which 
it is given us as absolute, cannot be the true and ulti 
mate expression of the nature of things and of the order 
of the world, but indeed only a patois du pays, i.e., some 
thing merely relatively true, something to be under- 

ON DEATH. 265 

stood cum grano sails, or, to speak properly, something con 
ditioned by our intellect ; I say, an immediate, intuitive 
conviction of the kind which I have tried to describe in 
words will press itself upon every one ; i.e., certainly only 
upon every one whose mind is not of an utterly ordinary 
species, which is absolutely only capable of knowing the 
particular simply and solely as such, which is strictly 
limited to the knowledge of individuals, after the manner 
of the intellect of the brutes. Whoever, on the other 
hand, by means of a capacity of an only somewhat higher 
power, even just begins to see in the individual beings 
their universal, their Ideas, will also, to a certain extent, 
participate in that conviction, and that indeed as an 
immediate, and therefore p-prta.-?^ ^nmrVinny IB fnrT] 
it is also only small, limited minds that fear death 
quite seriously as their annihilation, and persons of de 
cidedly superior capacity are completely free from 
terrors./ Plato rightly bases the whole of philoso 
phy upon the knowledge of the doctrine of Ideas, i.e., 
upon the perception of the universal in the particu 
lar. But the conviction here described, which proceeds 
directly from the comprehension of nature, must have 
been exceedingly vivid in those sublime authors of the 
Upanishads of the Vedas, who can scarcely be thought 
of as mere men, for it speaks to us so forcibly out of an 
innumerable number of their utterances that we must 
ascribe this immediate illumination of their mind to the 
fact that these wise men, standing nearer the origin of 
our race in time, comprehended the nature of things more 
clearly and profoundly than the already deteriorated race, 
OLOL vvv fiporoi CLO-IV, is able to do. But certainly their 
comprehension is assisted by the natural world of India, 
which is endowed with life in a very different degree from 
our northern world. However, thorough reflection, as pur 
sued by Kant s great mind, leads by another path to the 
same result, for it teaches us that our intellect, in which 
that phenomenal world which changes so fast exhibits 


itself, does not comprehend the true ultimate nature of 
things, but merely its phenomenal manifestation, and 
indeed, as I add, because it is originally only destined to 
present the motives to our will, i.e., to be serviceable to it 
in the pursuit of its paltry ends. 

Let us, however, carry our objective and unprejudiced 
consideration of nature still further. If I kill a living 
creature, whether a dog, a bird, a frog, or even only an 
insect, it is really inconceivable that this being, or rather 
the original force by virtue of which such a marvellous 
phenomenon exhibited itself just the moment before, in 
its full energy and love of life, should have been annihi 
lated by my wicked or thoughtless act. And again,^on 
the other hand, the millions of animals of every kind 
which come into existence every moment, in infinite 
variety, full of force and activity, can never, before the 
act of their generation, have been nothing at all, and, 
have attained from nothing to a.n._abaoliitP beginning. J If 

now in this way I see one of these withdraw itself from 
my sight, without me knowing where it goes, and. jmQt&er 
appear without me knowing whence it comesj if, more 
over, both have the same form, the same nature,. tlfe _same 
character, and only not the same matter, which yetjluring 
their existence they continually throw off and renew; 
then certainly the assumption, that that which .vanishes 
and that which appears in its place are one and the same^ 
which has only experienced a slight alteration, a renewal 
of the form of its existence, and that consequently death 
is for the species what sleep is for the individual; this 
assumption, I say, lies so close at hand that it is.impos/: 
sible not to light upon it,\unless the mind, perverted in 
early youtn by the imprinting of false views, hurries it ; 
outV the way, even from a distance, with superstitious 
fear. But the opposite assumption that the birth of an 
animal is an arising out of nothing, and accordingly that 
its death is its absolute annihilation, and this with the 
further addition that man, who has also originated out 

ON DEATH. 267 

of nothing, has yet an individual, endless existence, and 
indeed a conscious existence, while the dog, the ape, the 
elephant, are annihilated by death, is really something 
against which the healthy mind revolts and which it must 
regard as absurd. If, as is sufficiently often repeated, the 
comparison of the results of a system with the utterances 
of the healthy mind is supposed to be a touchstone of its 
truth, I wish the adherents of the system which was 
handed down from Descartes to the pre-Kantian eclectics, 
nay, which even now is still the prevailing view of the 
great majority of cultured people in Europe, would apply 
this touchstone here. 

Throughout and everywhere the true symbol of nature 
is the circle, because it is the schema or type of recurrence. 
This is, in fact, the most universal form in nature, which 
it carries out in everything, from the course of the stars 
down to the death and the genesis of organised beings, 
and by which alone, in the ceaseless stream of time, and 
its content, a permanent existence, i.e., a nature, becomes 

If in autumn we consider the little world of insects, 
and see how one prepares its bed to sleep the long, rigid 
winter-sleep ; another spins its coccoon to pass the winter 
as a chrysalis, and awake in spring rejuvenated and per 
fected ; and, finally, how most of them, intending them 
selves to rest in the arms of death, merely arrange with 
care the suitable place for their egg, in order to issue forth 
again from it some day renewed ; this_is_ nature s great 
doctrine_of immortality, which seeks to teach us that" there 
is_no_ .radical .difference r^pw*^^uTHe 
one .endangers existence just as little as jth.e,..other. The 
care with which the insect prepares a cell, or hole, or nest, 
deposits its egg in it, together with food for the larva that 
will come out of it in the following spring, and then 
quietly dies, is just like the care with which in the even 
ing a man lays ready his clothes and his breakfast for the 
next morning, and then quietly goes to sleep; and at 


bottom it could not take place at all if it were not that 
the insect which dies in autumn is in itself, and according 
to its true nature, just as much identical with the one 
which is hatched out in the spring as the man who lies 
down to sleep is identical with the man who rises from it. 
If now, after these considerations, we return to our 
selves and our own species, then cast our glance for 
ward far into the future, and seek to present to our minds 
the future generations, with the millions of their indi 
viduals in the strange form of their customs and pursuits, 
and then interpose with the question : Whence will all 
these come ? Where are they now ? Where is the fertile 
womb of that nothing, pregnant with worlds, which still 
conceals the coming races ? Would not the smiling and 
true answer to this be, Where else should they be than 
there where alone the real always was and will be, in the 
present and its content ? thus with thee, the foolish ques 
tioner, who in this mistaking of his own nature is like the 
leaf upon the tree, which, fading in autumn and about to 
fall, complains at its destruction, and will not be consoled 
by looking forward to the fresh green which will clothe 
the tree in spring, but says lamenting, " I am not these ! 
These are quite different leaves!" Oh, foolish leaf! 
Whither wilt thou ? And whence should others come ? 
Where is the nothing whose abyss thou f earest ? Know 
thine own nature, that which is so filled with thirst for 
existence ; recognise it in the inner, mysterious, germi 
nating force of the tree, which, constantly one and the 
same in all generations of leaves, remains untouched by 
all arising and passing away. And now, olij irep <j)v\\a>v 
761/677, rourjBe KO.I avSpcw (Qualis foliorum generatio, talis 
et hominum). Whether the fly which now_ buzzes round 
me goes to sleep in the evening, and buzzes again to 
morrow, or dies in the evening, and in spring another fly 
buzzes which has sprung from its egg : that is in itself 
the same thing ; but therefore the knowledge which ex 
hibits this as two fundamentally different things is not 

ON DEATH. 269 

unconditioned, but relative, a knowledge of the pheno 
menon, not of the thing in itself. In the" morning the fly 
exists again; it also exists again in the spring. What 
distinguishes for it the winter from the night? In 
Burdach s "Physiology/ vol. i. 275, we read,"Till ten 
o clock in the morning no Cercaria ephemera (one of the 
infusoria) is to be seen (in the infusion), and at twelve 
the whole water swarms with them. In the evening they 
die, and the next morning they again appear anew." So it 
was observed by Nitzsch six days running. 

So everything lingers but a moment, and hastens on to 
death. The plant and the insect die at the end of the sum 
mer, the brute and the man after a few years : death reaps 
uuweariedly. Yet notwithstanding this, nay, as if this 
were not so at all, everything is always there and in its 
place, just as if everything were imperishable. The plant 
always thrives and blooms, the insect hums, the brute and 
the man exist in unwasted youth, and the cherries that 
have already been enjoyed a thousand times we have 
again before us every summer. The nations also exist 
as immortal individuals, although sometimes their names 
change; even their action, what they do and suffer, is 
always the same ; although history always pretends to relate 
something different : for it is like the kaleidoscope, which 
at every turn shows a new figure, while we really always 
have the same thing before our eyes. What then presses 
itself more irresistibly upon us than the thought that that 
arising and passing away does not concern the real nature 
of things, but this remains untouched by it, thus is im 
perishable, and therefore all and each that wills to exist 
actually exists continuously and without end. Accord 
ingly at every given point of time all species of animals, 
from the gnat to the elephant, exist together complete. 
They have already renewed themselves many thousand 
times, and withal have remained the same. They know 
nothing of others like them, who have lived before them, 

2 ;o FOURTH 

I " 

or will live after them j it_ is the species which always 
lives, and itt-fcke consciousness of the imperishable nature 
of the species and their identity with it , the w jndiyj.duals 
cheerfully exist./ The will to live manifests itself in an 
endless present, because this is the form of the life of 
the species, which, therefore, never grows old, but remains 
always young. Death is for it what sleep is for the in 
dividual, or what winking is for the eye, by the absence 
of which the Indian gods are known, if they appear in 
human form. As through the entrance of night the world 
vanishes, but yet does not for a moment cease to exist, 
so man and brute apparently pass away through death, 
and yet their true nature | continues^ jugt^ as^ undisturb ed^ 
by it. f 1 te1Tus""nbw u tnirik of thatalternat^ 

birth as infinitely vapid vibrations, and we have before 

us the enduring object! fication of the will, the permanent 

Ideas of being, fixed like the rainbow on the waterfall. 

This is temporal immortality. In consequence of jthis,, 

notwithstanding thousands of years of death and decay, 

\ nothing has been lost, not an atom of the matter, still less 

\ anything of the inner being, that exhibits itself as nature. 

I Therefore every moment we can cheerfully cry, j jtn spite 

Lof time, death, and decay, we are still all tog^JjierP ^^ 

Perhaps we would have to except whoever haHonce 

said from the bottom of his heart, with regard to this 

"ame " I want no more." But this is not yet the place 


to speak of this. 

But we have certainly to draw attention to the fact 
that the pain of birth and the bitterness of death are the 
two constant conditions under which the will to live 
maintains itself in its objectification, i.e., our inner nature, 
untouched by the course of time and the death of races, 
exists in an everlasting present, and enjoys the fruit of the 
assertion of the will to live. This is analogous to the fact 
that we can only be awake during the day on condition 
that we sleep during the night ; indeed the latter is the 

ON DEATH. 271 

commentary which nature offers us for the understanding 
of that difficult passage. 1 

For the substratum, or the content, TrX^/jtu/ia, or the 
material of the present, is through all time really the same. 
The impossibility of knowing this identity directly is just 
time, a form and limitation of our intellect. That on 
account of it, for example, the future event is not yet, 
depends upon an illusion of which we become conscious 
when that event has come. That the essential form of 
our intellect introduces such an illusion explains and 
justifies itself from the fact that the intellect has come 
forth from the hands of nature by no means for the appre 
hension of the nature of things, but merely for the appre 
hension of motives, thus for the service of an individual and 
temporal phenomenon of will. 2 

Whoever comprehends the reflections which here oc 
cupy us will also understand the true meaning of the 
paradoxical doctrine of the Eleatics, that there is no 
arising and passing away, but the whole remains immov 
able : " nap/j,evi&r)<> teat MeAicrcro<? avypovv yevecnv tcai 
(f>8opav, 8ta ro vo{j,it;tv TO irav a/civrjTOv " (Parmenides et 
Melissus ortum et interitum tollebant, guoniam nihil moveri 
putabant), Stdb. Ed., i. 21. Light is also thrown here 
upon the beautiful passage of Empedocles which Plutarch 
has preserved for us in the book, " Adversus Coloten" 
c. 12: 

1 The suspension of the animal as they successively present thern- 

functions is sleep, that of the organic selves in the course of time and differ- 

functions is death. ence of places, in the most checkered 

a There is only one present, and multifariousness and variety, as at 

this is always : for it is the sole form once and together, and always present 

of actual existence. One must at- in the Nunc stans, while it is only 

tain to the insight that the past is apparently that now this and now 

not in itself different from the pre- that is ; then what the objectifica- 

sent, but only in our apprehension, tion of the will to live really means 

which has time as its form, on ac- will bo understood. Our pleasure 

count of which alone the present also in yenrc painting depends prin- 

exhibits itself as different from the cipally upon the fact that it fixes the 

past. To assist this insight, imagine fleeting scenes of life. The dogma 

all the events and scenes of human of metempsychosis has proceeded 

life, bad and good, fortunate and from the feeling of the truth which 

unfortunate, pleasing and terrible has just been expressed. 


" Nrjiriot ov jap ff<j)tv &o\i%o<f>pove<? euri 
Ol Si) ryiveo-Qai Trapo? OVK eov \7riovcri } 
H Tfc Kara6vr]crKiv KCLI ej;o\\vcrQat arravrir]. 
OVK av avijp roiavra cro<o9 <ppecrt fjuavrevaairo, 
f /2? o<j)pa /J,ev re {Siaxri (TO $r) fiiorov Ka\ov<ri), 
Totypa ftev ovv eicriv, Kai a<f>iv napa Seiva icai eaO\a 
IIpiv re irayev re ftporot, icat, errei \vdev, ovSev ap ei 

(Stulta, et prolixas non admittentia euros 

Pectora : gui srperant, existere posse, quod ante 

Nonfuit, aut ullam rem pessum protinus ire; 

Non animo prudens homo quod prcesentiat ullus, 

Dum vivunt (namque hoc vital nomine signant}, 

Sunt, et fortuna turn conflictantur utraque : 

Ante ortum nihil est homo, nee post funera quidquam.) 

The very remarkable and, in its place, astonishing pas 
sage in Diderot s "Jacques le fataliste" deserves not less 
to be mentioned here : " Un chdteau immense, au fron- 
tispice duquel on lisait : Je n appartiens d personne, et 
fappartie?is a tout le monde : vousj^j^z^a^nt^oji^..d ,y 
entrer, vous y serez encore, quand vous en sortircz. " 

Certainly in the- sense in which, when he is begotten, 
the man arises out of nothing, he becomes nothing through 
death. But really to learn to know this " nothing " would 
be very interesting ; for it only requires moderate acute- 
ness to see that this empirical nothing is by no means 
absolute, i.e., such as would in every sense be nothing. 
We are already led to this insight by the observation 
that all qualities of the parents recur in the children, thus 
have overcome death. Of this, however, I will speak in a 
special chapter. 

There is no greater contrast than that^between_ the 
ceaseless~5igTit of time, which carries its whole content 
with it, and the rigid immobility of what is actually pre 
sent, which at all times is one and the same. And if from 
this point of view we watch in a purely objective manner 
the immediate events of life, the Nunc stans becomes clear 

ON DEATH. 273 

and visible to us in the centre of the wheel of time. To 
the eye of a being of incomparably longer life, which at 
one glance comprehended the human race in its whole 
duration, the constant alternation of birth and death 

would present itself as a continuous vibration, and accord 
ingly it would not occur to it at all to see in this an ever 
new arising out of nothing and passing into nothing ; but 
just as to our sight the quickly revolving spark appears 
as a continuous circle, the rapidly vibrating spring as a 
permanent triangle, the vibrating cord as a spindle, so to 
this eye the species would appear as that which has being 
and permanence, death and life as vibrations. 

We will have false conceptions of the indestructibility of 
our true nature by death, so long as we do not make up 
our minds to study it primarily in the brutes, but claim 
for ourselves alone a class apart from them, under the 
boastful name of immortality. But it is this pretension 
alone, and the narrowness of view from which it proceeds, 
on account of which most men struggle so obstinately 
against the recognition of the obvious truth that we are 
essentially, and in the chief respect, the same as the 
brutes ; nay, that they recoil at every hint of our relation 
ship with these. But it is this denial of the truth which 
more than anything else closes against them the path to 
real knowledge of the indestructibility of our nature. For 
if we seek anything upon a wrong path, we have just on 
that account forsaken the right path, and upon the path 
we follow we will never attain to anything in the end but 
late disillusion. Up, then, follow the truth, not according 
to preconceived notions, but as nature leads ! First of al 
learn to recognise in the aspect of every young animal the 
existence of the species that never grows old, which, as a 
reflection of its eternal youth, imparts to every individual 
a temporary youth, and lets it come forth as new and 
fresh as if the world were of to-day. Let one ask himself 
honestly whether the swallow of this year s spring is abso 
lutely a different one from the swallow of the first spring 

VOL. in. g l 


and whether really between the two the miracle of the 
creation out of nothing has repeated itself millions of 
times, in order to work just as often into the hands of 
absolute annihilation. I know well that if I seriously as 
sured any one that the cat which now plays in the yard 
is still the same one which made the same springs and 
played the same tricks there three hundred years ago, he 
would think I was mad ; but I also know that it is much 
madder to believe that the cat of to-day is through and 
through and in its whole nature quite a different one from 
the cat of three hundred years ago. One only requires 
truly and seriously to sink oneself in the contemplation of 
one of these higher vertebrates in order to become dis 
tinctly conscious that this unfathomable nature, taken as 
a whole, as it exists there, cannot possibly become nothing ; 
and yet, on the other hand, one knows its transitoriness. 
This depends upon the fact that in this animal the in 
finite nature of its Idea (species) is imprinted in the 
finiteness of the individual. For in a certain sense it is of 
course true that in the individual we always have before 
us another being in the sense which depends upon the 
principle of sufficient reason, in which are also included 
time and space, which constitute the principium individua- 
tionis. But in another sense it is not true in the sense 
in which reality belongs to the permanent forms of things, 
tho Ideas alone, and which was so clearly evident to Plato 
that it became his fundamental thought, the centre of his 
philosophy ; and he made the comprehension of it the cri 
terion of capacity for philosophising in general. 

As the scattered drops of the roaring waterfalj^change 
with lightning rapidity, while the rainbow, whose sup- 
porter tKey are, remains immovably at rest, quite un- 
toucEed by that ceaseless change, so every" Tdea, i.e., 
every species of living creature remains quite untouched 
by the continual change of its individuals. But it is the 
Idea, or the species in which the will to live is really 
rooted, and manifests itself ; and therefore also the will 


2 2L5i uly conce ed in the continuance of the species 
For example,-fhe li6ns which are born " and "di"e " are" Me 
the drops of the waterfall; but the Uonitas, the Idea or 
form of the lion, is like the unshaken rainbow upon it 
Therefore Plato attributed true being to the Ideas alone* 
fcc,to the species; to the individuals only a ceaseless 
arising and passing away. From the profound conscious 
ness of his imperishable nature really springs also the 
confidence and peace of mind with which every brute and 
even human individual, moves unconcernedly alone* amid 
a host of chances, which may annihilate it any moment 
and, moreover, moves straight on to death : out of its eyes 
however, there shines the peace of the species, which that 
death does not affect, and does not concern Even to 
man this peace could not be imparted by uncertain and 
changing dogmas. But, as was said, the contemplation of 
every animal teaches that death is no obstacle to the 
kernel of life, to the will in its manifestation. What an 
unfathomable mystery lies, then, in every animal ! Look 
the nearest one ; look at your dog, how cheerfully and 
peacefully he lives ! Many thousands of dogs have had 
to die before it came to this one s turn to live. But the 
death of these thousands has not affected the Idea of the 
dog; it has not been in the least disturbed by all that 
Therefore the dog exists as fresh and endowed 
with primitive force as if this were its first day and none 
could ever be its last; and out of its eyes there shines 
he indestructible principle in it, the archaus. What 
then, has died during those thousands of years ? Not the 
dog-it stands unscathed before us; merely its shadow, its 
image in our form of knowledge, which is bound to time 
Yet how can one even believe that that passes away 
which for ever and ever exists and fills all time ? Cer 
tainly the matter can be explained empirically; in pro 
portion as death destroyed the individuals, generation 
produced new ones. But this empirical explanation is 
an apparent explanation : it puts one riddle in the 


place of the other. The metaphysical understanding of 
the matter, although not to be got so cheaply, is yet the 
only true and satisfying one. 

Kant, in his subjective procedure, brought to light the 
truth that time cannot belong to the thing in itself, be 
cause it lies pre-formed in our apprehension. Now death 
is the temporal end of the temporal phenomenon ; but as 
soon as we abstract time, there is no idiger any end, and 
this word has lost all significance. But I, here upon the 
objective path, am trying to show the positive side of the 
matter, that the thing in itself remains untouched by 
time, and by that which is only possible through time, 
arising and passing away, and that the phenomena in 
time could not have even that ceaselessly fleeting exist 
ence which stands next to nothingness, if there were not 
in them a kernel of the infinite. Eternity is certainly a 
conception which has no perception as its foundation; 
accordingly it has also a merely negative content; it 
signifies a timeless existence. Time is yet merely an 
imao-e of eternity, o %poi>o<? dicwv rov aleovos, as Plotinus 
has it ; and in the same way our temporal existence is a 
mere image of our true nature. This must lie in eternity, 
just because time is only the form of our knowledge ; but 
on account of this alone do we know our own existence, 
and that of all things as transitory, finite, and subject to 

In the second book I have shown that the adequate 
objectivity of the will as the thing in itself, at each of its 
grades, is the (Platonic) Idea ; similarly in the third book 
that the Ideas of things have the pure subject of know 
ledge as their correlative ; consequently the knowledge of 
them only appears exceptionally and temporarily under 
specially favourable conditions. For individual know 
ledge, on the other hand, thus in time, the Idea presents 
itself under the form of the species, which is the Idea 
broken up through its entrance into time. Therefore the 
species is the most immediate objectification of the thing 

ON DEATH. 277 

in itself, i.e., of the will to live. The inmost nature 
of every brute, and also of man, accordingly lies in the 

species.;. .thus the will to liye x which is so powerfully 
active, is rooted in this, not really in. m th.e.--kiiid,ual. 
On the other haud^^EMEEe" individual alone lies the 
immediate consciousness : accordingly it imagines itself 
different from the species, and therefore fears death. The 
will to live manifests itself in relation to the individual 
as hunger and the fear of death : in relation to the species 
as sexual instinct and passionate care for the offspring. 
In agreement with this we find nature, which is free from 
that delusion of the individual, as careful for the main 
tenance of the species as it is indifferent to the destruc 
tion of the individuals : the latter are always only means, 
the former is the end. Therefore a glaring contrast 
appears between its niggardliness in the endowment of 
the individuals and its prodigality when the species is 
concerned. In the latter case from one individual are 
often annually obtained a hundred thousand germs, and 
more ; for example, from trees, fishes, crabs, termites, and 
many others. In the former case, on the contrary, only 
barely enough in the way of powers and organs is given 
to each to enable it with ceaseless effort to maintain its 
life. And, therefore, if an animal is injured or weakened 
it must, as a rule, starve. And where an incidental 
saving was possible, through the circumstance that one 
part could upon necessity be dispensed with, it has been 
withheld, even out of order. Hence, for example, many 
caterpillars are without eyes ; the poor creatures grope in 
the dark from leaf to leaf, which, since they lack feelers, 
they do by moving three-fourths of their body back and 
forward in the air, till they find some object. Hence 
they often miss their food which is to be found close by. 
But this happens in consequence of the lex parsimonice 
nativrce, to the expression of which natura nihil facit 
supervacaneum one may add et nihil largitur. The same 
tendency of nature shows itself also in the fact that the 


more fit the individual is, on account of his age, for the 
propagation of the species, the more powerfully does the 
vis naturae medicafrix manifest itself in him, and there 
fore his wounds heal easily, and he easily recovers from 
diseases. This diminishes along with the power of genera 
tion, and sinks low after it is extinct ; for now in the 
eyes of nature the individual has hecome worthless. 

If now we cast another glance at the scale of existences, 
with the whole of their accompanying gradations of con 
sciousness, from the polyp up to man, we see this wonder 
ful pyramid, kept in ceaseless oscillation certainly by the 
constant death of the individuals, yet by means of the 
bond of generation, enduring in the species through the 
infinite course of time. While, then, as was explained 
above, the objective, the species, presents itself as inde 
structible, the subjective, which consists merely in the self- 
consciousness of these beings, seems to be of the shortest 
duration, and to be unceasingly destroyed, in order, just 
as often, to come forth again from nothing in an incom 
prehensible manner. But, indeed, one must be very 
short-sighted to let oneself be deceived by this appear 
ance, and not to comprehend that, although the form of 
temporal permanence only belongs to the objective, the 
subjective, i.e., the will, which lives and manifests itself in 
all, and with it the subject of the knowledge in which all 
exhibits itself, must be not less indestructible ; because 
the permanence of the objective, or external, can yet only 
be the phenomenal appearance of the indestructibility of 
the subjective or internal ; for the former can possess 
nothing which it has not received on loan from the latter ; 
and cannot be essentially and originally an objective, a 
phenomenon, and then secondarily and accidentally a sub 
jective, a thing in itself, a self-consciousness. For clearly 
the former as a manifestation presupposes something which 
manifests itself, as being for other presupposes a being 
for self, and as object presupposes a subject; and not 
conversely: because everywhere the root of things must 


lie in that which they are for themselves, thus in the sub 
jective, not in the objective, i.e., in that which they are 
only for others, in a foreign consciousness. Accordingly 
we found in the first book that the right starting-point for 
philosophy is essentially and necessarily the subjective, 
te .~, the idealistic starting-point ; and also that the oppo 
site starting-point, that which proceeds from the objective, 
leads to materialism. At bottom, however, we are far 
more one with the world than we commonly suppose : its 
inner nature is our will, its phenomenal appearance is 
OUT idea. For any one who could bring this unity of being 
to distinct consciousness, the difference between the con 
tinuance of the external world after his death and his 
OWL continuance after death would vanish. The two 
would present themselves to him as one and the same ; 
oay, he would laugh at the delusion that could separate 
them. FpjL.Jih.e_ understanding of the indestructibility of 
our .jnature coincfdes^witE Ibhat of tjie>.,lde&tity,, of,,, the 
macrocosm and the microcosm. Meanwhile one may 
obtain light upon what is said here by a peculiar experi 
ment, performed by means of the imagination, an experi 
ment which might be called metaphysical. Let any one 
try to present vividly to his mind the time, in any case 
not far distant, when he will be dead. Then he thinks 
himself away and lets the world go on existing ; but soon, 
to his own astonishment, he will discover that he was 
nevertheless still there. For he intended to present the 
world to his mind without himself; but the ego is the 
immediate element in consciousness, through which alone 
the world is brought about, and for which alone it exists. 
This centre of all existence, this kernel of all reality, is 
to be abolished, and yet the world is to go on existing ; 
it is a thought which can be conceived in the abstract, 
but not realised. The endeavour to accomplish this, the 
attempt to think the secondary without the primary, the 
conditioned without the condition, that which is sup 
ported without the supporter, always fails, much in the 


same way as the attempt to think an equilateral, right- 
angled triangle, or a destruction or origination of matter, 
and similar impossibilities. Instead of what was intended, 
the feeling here presses upon us that the world is not 
less in us than we in it, and that the source of all reality 
lies within us. The result is really this : the time wheii 
I shall not be will objectively come ; but subjectively ft 
can never come. It might therefore, indeed, be asked, 
how far every one, in his heart, actually believes in a 
tiling which he really cannot conceive at all ; or whether, 
ince the profound consciousness of the iudestructiblensss 
of our true nature associates itself with that merely 
intellectual experiment, which, however, has already been 
made more or less distinctly by every one, whether, I 
say, our own death is not perhaps for us at bottom the 
most incredible thing in the world. 

The deep conviction of the indestructibleness of our 
nature through death, which, as is also shown by the 
inevitable qualms of conscience at its approach, every one 
carries at the bottom of his heart, depends altogether upon 
the consciousness of the original and eternal nature of our 
being: therefore Spinoza expresses it thus: " Sentimus, 
experimurgiw, nos ceternos esse." For a reasonable man 
can only think of himself as imperishable, because he 
thinks of himself as without beginning, as eternal, in fact 
as timeless. Whoever, on the other hand, regards him 
self as having become out of nothing must also think 
that he will again become nothing ; for that an eternity 
had passed before lie was, and then a second eternity had 
begun, through which he will never cease to be, is a 
monstrous thought. Eeally the most solid ground for 
our immortality is the old principle : " Ex nihilo nihil Jit, 
et in nihilum nihil potest reverti." Theophrastus Para 
celsus very happily says (Works, Strasburg, 1603, vol. ii. 
p. 6): "The soul in me has arisen out of something; 
therefore it does not come to nothing; for it conies out 
of something." He gives the true reason. But whoever 

ON DEATH. 281 

regards the birth of the man as his absolute beginning 
must regard death as his absolute end. For both are 
what they are in ** ***** flmp ; pnngpqn ftT1 |^r7^Y P r, Q 
can only~think of himself us immortal so far as he_also 
tnlixks of himself as unborn, and in the same sense. What 
birth is, that also is death, according to its nature and 
significance : it is the same line drawn in two directions. 
If the former is an actual arising out of nothing, then 
the latter is also an actual annihilation. But in truth 
it is only by means of the eternity of our real being that 
we can conceive it as imperishable, and consequently this 
imperishableness is not temporal. The assumption that 
man is made out of nothing leads necessarily to the 
assumption that death is his absolute end. Thus in this 
the Old Testament is perfectly consistent ; for no doctrine 
of immortality is suitable to a creation out of nothing. 
New Testament Christianity has such a doctrine because 
it is Indian in spirit, and therefore more than probably 
also of Indian origin, although only indirectly, through 
Egypt. But to the Jewish stem, upon which that Indian 
wisdom had to be grafted in the Holy Land, such a 
doctrine is as little suited as the freedom of the will to 
its determinism, or as 

"Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam 
Jungere si velit." 

It is always bad if one cannot be thoroughly original, and 
dare not carve out of the whole wood. Brahmanism and 
Buddhism, on the other hand, have quite consistently, 
besides the continued existence after death, an existence 
before birth to expiate the guilt of which we have this 
life. Moreover, how distinctly conscious they were of the 
necessary consistency in this is shown by the following 
passage from Colebrooke s " History of the Indian Philo 
sophy " in the " Transac. of the Asiatic London Society, 
vol. i. p. 577: "Against the system of the Bhagavatas 
which is but partially heretical, the objection upon which 


the chief stress is laid by Vyaso is, that the soul would 
not be eternal if it were a production, and consequently 
had a beginning." Further, in Upham s "Doctrine of 
Buddhism," p. no, it is said: "The lot in hell of impious 
persons called Deitty is the most severe : these are they 
who, discrediting the evidence of Buddha, adhere to the 
heretical doctrine that all living beings had their begin 
ning in the mother s womb, and will have their end in 

Whoever conceives his existence as merely accidental 
must certainly fear that he will lose it by death. On the 
other hand, whoever sees, even only in general, that his 
existence rests upon some kind of original necessity 
will not believe that this which has produced so wonder 
ful a thing is limited to such a brief span of time, but 
that it is active in every one. But he will recognise his 
existence as necessary who reflects that up till now, when 
he exists, already an infinite time, thus also an infinity of 
changes, has ran its course, but in spite of this he yet 
exists; thus the whole range of all possible states has 
already exhausted itself without being able to destroy his 
existence. // he could ever not be, he woidd already not 

^^ Mi .^^^HiHMMMMniHnHHiMMHMM^HMH^MMHHHBV IH> ^ n ^V* l ^ M "* !_ \ 

fa now. For the infinity of the time that has already 
elapsed, with the exhausted possibility of the events in 
it, guarantees that what exists, exists necessarily. There 
fore every one must conceive himself as a necessary being, 
i.e., as a being whose existence would follow from its true 
and exhaustive definition if one only had it. In this line 
of thought, then, really lies the only immanent proof of the 
imperishableness of our nature, i.e., the only proof of this 
that holds good within the sphere of empirical data. In 
this nature existence must inhere, because it shows itself 
as independent of all states which can possibly be intro 
duced through the chain of causes ; for these states have 
already done what they could, and yet our existence has 
remained unshaken by it, as the ray of light by the storm 
wind which it cuts through. If time, of its own resources, 

ON DEATH. 283 

could bring us to a happy state, then we would already 
have been there long ago ; for an infinite time lies behind 
us. But also: if it could lead us to destruction, we 
would already have long been no more. From the fact 
that we now exist, it follows, if well considered, that we 
must at all times exist. For we are ourselves the nature 
which time has taken up into itself in order to fill its 
void ; consequently it fills the whole of time, present, past, 
and future, in the same way, and it is just as impossible 
for us to fall out of existence as to fall out of space. 
Carefully considered, it is inconceivable that what once 
exists in all the strength of reality should ever become 
nothing, and then not be, through an infinite time. Hence 
has arisen the Christian doctrine of the restoration of all 
things, that of the Hindus of the constantly repeated 
creation of the world by Brahma, together with similar 
dogmas of the Greek philosophers. The great mystery 
of our being and not being, to explain which these and all 
kindred dogmas have been devised, ultimately rests upon 
the fact that the same thing which objectively constitutes 
an infinite course of time is subjectively an indivisible, 
ever present present : but who comprehends it ? It has 
been most distinctly set forth by Kant in his immortal 
doctrine of the ideality of time and the sole reality of the 
thing in itself. For it results from this that the really 
essential part of things, of man, of the world, lies per 
manently and enduringly in the Nunc stans, firm and 
immovable; and that the change of the phenomena and 
events is a mere consequence of our apprehension of them 
by means of our form of perception, which is time. Ac 
cordingly, instead of saying to men, "Ye have arisen 
through birth, but are immortal," one ought to say 
to them, "Ye are not nothing," and teach them to un 
derstand this in the sense of the saying attributed to 
Hermes Trismegistus, " To jap ov det evrai " (Quod enim 
est, erit semper), Stob. Eel, i. 43, 6. If, however, this 
does not succeed, but the anxious heart raises its old 


lament, " I see all beings arise through birth out of 
nothing, and after a brief term again return to this ; my 
existence also, now in the present, will soon lie in the 
distant past, and I will be nothing!" the right answer is, 
" Dost thou not exist ? Hast thou not within thee the 
valuable present, after which ye children of time so eagerly 
strive, now within, actually within ? And dost thou un 
derstand how thou hast attained to it? Knowest thou 
the paths which have led thee to it, that thou canst know 
they will be shut against thee by death ? An existence 
of thyself after the destruction of thy body is not con 
ceivable by thee as possible; but can it be more incon 
ceivable to thee than thy present existence, and how thou 
hast attained to it ? Why shouldst thou doubt but that 
the secret paths to this present, which stood open to thee, 
will also stand open to every future present ? " 

If, then, considerations of this kind are at any rate 
adapted to awaken the conviction that there is something 
in us which death cannot destroy, this yet only takes 
place by raising us to a point of view from which birth is 
not the beginning of our existence. But from this it 
follows that what is proved to be indestructible by death 
is not properly the individual, which, moreover, as having 
arisen through generation, and having in itself the qualities 
of the father and mother, presents itself as a mere differ 
ence of the species, but as such can only be finite. As, in 
accordance with this, the individual has no recollection of 
its existence before its birth, so it can have no remem 
brance of its present existence after death. But_eyery 
one places his ego in consciousness ; this seems to him 
therefore to be bound to individuality, with which, besides, 
everything disappears which is peculiar to him, as to this, 
and distinguishes him from others. His continued exist 
ence without individuality becomes to him therefore indis^ 
tinguishable from the continuance of other beings, and he 
sees his ego sink But whoever thus links his existence ta 
the identity of consciousness, and therefore desires an en,d- 



less existence after death for this, ought to reflect that he 
can certainly only attain this at the price of just as endless 
a past before birth. Tor since he has no remembrance of an 
existence before birth, thus his consciousness begins with 
birth, he must accept his birth as an origination of his 
existence out of nothing. But then he purchases the end 
less time of his existence after death for just as long a time 
before birth ; thus the account balances without any profit 
for him. If, on the other hand, the existence which death 
leaves untouched is different from that of the individual 
consciousness, then it must be independent of birth, just 
as of death ; and therefore, with regard to it, it must be 
equally true to say, < I will always be," and "I have 
always been;" which tTien giVes two infinities for one. 
But the great equivocation Wily lies in the/word "I," as 
any one will see at once whd remembers tfie contents of 
our second book, and the separation which is made there of 
the willing from the knowin^part of our nature. Accord 
ing as I understand this word I can pay, Death is my 
complete end;" or, "This my personal phenomenal exist 
ence is just as infinitely small a part of my true nature as 
I am of the world." But the I"Js the dark point in 
consciousness, as on the retina "fife exact point at which 
the nerve of sight enters is blind, as the brain itself is 
entirely without sensation, the body of the sun is dark, 
and the eye sees all except itself. Our faculty of know 
ledge is directed entirely towards without, in accordance 
with the fact that it is the product of a brain function, 
which has arisen for the purpose" of mere self-mainte 
nance, thus Of the flftfl.rr.Ti far pnnriflljfflfiflfr an( j thn mtpfi 
9lES-ntoefore ...every one ^^^SSEflD 
; individual as it presents itself in external perception. If, 
o^e other Tiand, he could bring to consciousness what 
he ., ls be sides and beyond this, then he would willingly 
3.. U P his individuality, smile at the tenacity of his 
attachment to it, and say, " What is the loss of this indi 
viduality to me, who bear in myself the possibility of 




innumerable individualities^ He would see that even if a 
continued existence oTEisindividuality does not lie before 
him, it is yet quite as good as if he had such an existence, 
because he carries in^ hjm^ejj; CQmplete^comjpfiftsation for .it^ 
j f] * a^tvurn VAJ I i t. may further be taken into consideration 

that . the individuality of most men is so miserable and v 
worthless that with it they truly lose nothing, and that 
that in them which may still have some worth is the 
universal human element ;| brut to thtS"TBipe*rtS?lal)l6rre9fr" 
tan B e~prcmi^eor Imleeol, even the rigid unalterableness 
and essential limitation of every individual would, in the 
case of an endless duration of it, necessarily at last pro 
duce such great weariness by its monotony that only to 
be relieved of this one would prefer to become nothing. 
To desire that the individuality should be immortal really 
means to wish to perpetuate an error infinitely. For at 
bottom every individuality is really only a special error, a 
false step, something that had better not be ; nay, some 
thing which it is the real end of life to bring us back 
from. This also finds confirmation in the fact that the 
great majority, indeed really all men, are so constituted 
that they could not be happy in whatever kind of world 
they might be placed. In proportion as such a world 
excluded want and hardship, they would become a prey to 
ennui, and in proportion as this was prevented, they would 
fall into want, misery, and suffering. Thus for a blessed 
condition of man it would be by no means sufficient that 
he should be transferred to a " better world," but it would 
also be necessary that a complete change should take place 
in himself ; that thus he should no longer be what he is, 
and, on the contrary, should become what he is not. But 
for this he must first of all cease to be what he is : this 
desideratum is, as a preliminary, supplied by death, the 
moral necessity of which can already be seen from this 
point of view. To be transferred to another world and to 
have his whole nature changed are, at bottom, one and 
the same. Upon this also ultimately rests that depen- 

ON DEATH. 287 

dence of the objective upon the subjective which the 
idealism of our first book shows. Accordingly here lies 
the point at which the transcendent philosophy links itself 
on to ethics. If one considers this one will find that the 
awaking from the dream of life is only possible through 
the disappearance along with it of its whole ground-warp 
also. But this is its organ itself, the intellect together with 
its forms, with which the dream would spin itself out with 
out end, so firmly is it incorporated with it. That which 
really dreamt this dream is yet different from it, and alone 
remains over. On the other hand, the fear that with death 
all will be over may be compared to the case of one who 
imagines in a dream that there are only dreams without a 
dreamer. But now, after an individual consciousness has 
once been ended by death, would it even be desirable that 
it should be kindled again in order to continue for ever ? 
The greater part of its content, nay, generally its whole 
content, is nothing but a stream of small, earthly, paltry 
thoughts and endless cares. Let them, then, at last be 
stilled ! Therefore with a true instinct, the ancients in 
scribed upoii their gravestones : Securitati perpetuce ; or 
Bonce guieti. But if here, as so often has happened, a 
continued existence of the individual consciousness should 
be desired, in order to connect with it a future reward or 
punishment, what would really be aimed at in this would 
simply be the compatibility of virtue and egoism. But 
these two will never embrace : they are fundamentally 
opposed. On the other hand, the conviction is well 
founded, which the sight of noble conduct calls forth, that 
the spirit of love, which enjoins one man to spare his 
enemy, and another to protect at the risk of his life some 
one whom he has never seen before, can never pass away 
and become nothing. 

The most thorough answer to the question as to the 
continued existence of the individual after death lies in 
Kant s great doctrine of the ideality of time, which just 
here shows itself specially fruitful and rich in conse- 


quences, for it substitutes a purely theoretical but well- 
proved insight for dogmas which upon one path as upon 
the other lead to the absurd, and thus settles at once the 
most exciting of all metaphysical questions. Beginning, 
ending, and continuing are conceptions which derive their 
significance simply and solely from time, and are therefore 
valid only under the presupposition of this. But time has 
no absolute existence ; it is not the manner of being of the 
thing in itself, but merely the form of our knowledge of our 
existence and nature, and that of all things, which is just 
on this account very imperfect, and is limited to mere phe 
nomena. Thus with reference to this knowledge alone do 
the conceptions of ceasing and continuing find application, 
not with reference to that which exhibits itself in these, 
the inner being of things in relation to which these concep 
tions have therefore no longer any meaning. For this shows 
itself also in the fact that an answer to the question which 
arises from those time-conceptions is impossible, and every 
assertion of such an answer, whether upon one side or the 
other, is open to convincing objections. One might indeed 
assert that our true being continues after death because 
it is false that it is destroyed ; but one might just as well 
assert that it is destroyed because it is false that it con 
tinues : at bottom the one is as true as the other. Ac 
cordingly something like an antinomy might certainly be 
set up here. But it would rest upon mere negations. In 
it one would deny two contradictorily opposite predicates 
of the subject of the judgment, but only because the 
whole category of these predicates would be inapplicable 
to that subject. But if now one denies these two predi 
cates, not together, but separately, it appears as if the con 
tradictory opposite of the predicate which in each case is 
denied were proved of the subject of the judgment. This, 
however, depends upon the fact that here incommensurable 
quantities are compared, for the problem removes us to a 
scene where time is abolished, and yet asks about temporal 
properties which it is consequently equally false to attri- 

ON DEATH. 2 g 9 

bute to, or to deny of the subject. This just means the 
problem is transcendent. In this sense death remains a 


we can 

, ute- 

tion that, as phenomenon, man Is certainly perisTmW"Eu 
yet his true being will not be involved; m this. Thus this 
true being is indestructible, although, on account of the 
mnation of time-conceptions which is connected with 
it, we cannot attribute to it continuance. Accordingly wa 
would be led here to the conception of an indestructibility 
which would yet be no continuance. Now this is a con, 
ception which, having been obtained on the path of abstrac* 
ion, can certainly also be thought in the abstract but yet 
cannot be supported by any perception, and consequently 
cannot really become distinct; yet, on the other hand we 
nust here keep in mind that we have not, like Kant, abso 
lutely given up the knowledge of the thing in itself but 
know that it is to be sought for in the will. It is true 
that we have never asserted an absolute and exhaustive 
knowledge of the thing in itself, but rather have seen very 
well that it is impossible to know anything as it is abso 
lutely and m itself. For as soon as I know, I have an 
ea ; but this idea, just because it is my idea, cannot be 
identical with what is known, but repeats it in an entirely 
different form, for it makes a being for other out of a beinc, 
for self, and is thus always to be regarded as a pheno! 
menal appearance of the thing in itself. Therefore for a 
knovnng consciousness, however it may be constituted 
there can be always only phenomena. This is not entirely 
obviated even by the fact that it is my own nature which 
s known; for, since it falls within my knowing conscious- 
ness, it is already a reflex of my nature, something diffe 
rent from this itself, thus already in a certain degree 
phenomenon. So far, then, as I am a knowing being I 

have even in my own nature really only a phenomenon- 
*o far on the other ^^ j am d 


itself, I am not a knowing being. For it is sufficiently 
proved in the second book that knowledge is only a secon 
dary property of our being, and introduced by its animal 
nature. Strictly speaking, then, we know even our own 
will always merely as phenomenon, and not as it may be 
absolutely in and for itself. But in that second book, and 
also in my work upon the will in nature, it is fully 
explained and proved that if, in order to penetrate into the 
inner nature of things, leaving what is given merely in 
directly and from without, we stick to the only phenome 
non into the nature of which an immediate insight from 
within is attainable, we find in this quite definitely, as the 
ultimate kernel of reality, the will, in which therefore we 
recognise the thing in itself in so far as it has here no 
longer space, although it still has time, for its form conse 
quently really only in its most immediate manifestation, 
and with the reservation that this knowledge of it is still 
not exhaustive and entirely adequate. Thus in this sense 
we retain here also the conception of will as that of the 
thing in itself. 

The conception of ceasing to be is certainly applicable 
to man as a phenomenon in time, and empirical know 
ledge plainly presents death as the end of this temporal 
existence. The end of the person is just as real as was 
its beginning, and in the same sense as before birth we 
were not, after death we shall be no more. Yet no more 
can be destroyed by death than was produced by birth; 
thus not that through which birth first became possible. 
In this sense natus et denatus is a beautiful expression. 
But now the whole of empirical knowledge affords us 
merely phenomena; therefore only phenomena are in 
volved in the temporal processes of coming into being and 
passing away, and not that which manifests itself in the 
phenomena, the thing in itself. For this the opposition 
of coming into being and passing away conditioned by 
the brain, does not exist at all, but has here lost meaning 
and significance. It thus remains untouched by the 

ON DEATH. 291 

temporal end of a temporal phenomenon, and constantly 
retains that existence to which the conceptions of be 
ginning, end, and continuance are not applicable. But 
the thing in itself, so far as we can follow it, is in every 
phenomenal being the will of this being : so also in man. 
Consciousness, on the other hand, consists in knowledge. 
But knowledge, as activity of the brain, and consequently 
as function of the organism, belongs, as has been suffi 
ciently proved, to the mere phenomenon, and therefore 
ends with this. The will alone, whose work, or rather 
whose image was the body, is that which is indestructible. 
The sharp distinction of will from knowledge, together 
with the primacy of the former, which constitutes the 
fundamental characteristic of my philosophy, is therefore 
the only key to the contradiction which presents itself in 
so many ways, and arises ever anew in every consciousness, 
even the most crude, that death is our end, and that yet 
we must be eternal and indestructible, thus the sentimus, 
experimurque nos ceternos esse of Spinoza. All philosophers 
^^?lMJ^^i:.Jhev place the_metaphysical t tEa.j|i- 
destructible, the eternal ele wnt in man in the intellect. 
It lies exclusively in the will, which is entirely different 
from the intellect, and alone is original The intellect, as 
was most fully shown in the second book, is a secondary 
phenomenon, and conditioned by the brain, therefore be 
ginning and ending with this. The will alone is that 
which conditions, the kernel of the whole phenomenon, 
consequently free from the forms of the phenomenon to 
which time belongs, thus also indestructible. Accord 
ingly with death consciousness is certainly lost, but not 
that which produced and sustained consciousness ; life is 
extinguished, but not the principle of life also, which 
manifested itself in it. Therefore a sure feeling informs 
every one that there is something in him which is ab 
solutely imperishable and indestructible. Indeed the 
freshness and vividness of memories of the most distant 
time, of earliest childhood, bears witness to the fact that 


something iii us does not pass away with time, does not 
grow old, but endures unchanged. But what this im 
perishable element is one could not make clear to oneself. 
It is not consciousness any more than it is the body upon 
which clearly consciousness depends. But it is just that 
which, when it appears in consciousness, presents itself 
as will. Beyond this immediate manifestation of it we 
certainly cannot go ; because we cannot go beyond con 
sciousness ; therefore the question what that may be 
when it does not come within consciousness, i.e., what it 
is absolutely in itself, remains unanswerable. 

In the phenomenon, and by means of its forms, time 
and space, as principium individuationis, what presents 
itself is that the human individual perishes, while the 
human race, on the contrary, always remains and lives. 
But in the true being of things, which is free from these 
forms, this whole distinction between the individual and 
the race also disappears, and the two are immediately one. 
The whole will to live is in the individual, as it is in 
the race, and therefore the continuance of the species 
is merely the image of the indestructibility of the iudi- 

V w */ 


Since, then, the infinitely important understanding of 
the indestructibility of our true nature by death depends 
entirely upon the distinction between phenomenon and 
thing in itself, I wish now to bring this difference into 
the clearest light by explaining it in the opposite of death, 
thus in the origin of the animal existence, i.e., generation. 
For this process, which is just as mysterious as death, 
presents to us most directly the fundamental opposition 
between the phenomenal appearance and the true being 
of things, i.e., between the world as idea and the world as 
will, and also the entire heterogeneity of the laws of these 
two. The act of procreation presents itself to us in a 
twofold manner : first, for self-conciousness, whose only 
object, as I have often shown, is the will, with all ita 
affections ; and then for the consciousness of other things, 

ON DEATH. 293 

i.e., the world of idea, or the empirical reality of things. 
Now, from the side of the will, thus inwardly, subjectively, 
for self-consciousness, that act presents itself as the most 
immediate and complete satisfaction of the will, i.e., as 
sensual pleasure. From the side of the idea, on the other 
hand, thus externally, objectively, for the consciousness of 
other things, this act is just the woof of the most cunning 
of webs, the foundation of the inexpressibly complicated 
animal organism, which then only requires to be developed 
to become visible to our astonished eyes. This organism, 
whose infinite complication and perfection is only known 
to him who has studied anatomy, cannot, from the side of 
the idea, be otherwise conceived and thought of than as a 
system devised with the most ingenious forethought and 
carried out with the most consummate skill and exactness, 
as the most arduous work of profound reflection. But 
from the side of the will we know, through self-conscious 
ness, the production of this organism as the work of an 
act which is exactly the opposite of all reflection, an 
impetuous, blind impulse, an exceedingly pleasurable 
sensation. This opposition is closely related to the in 
finite contrast, which is shown above, between the ab 
solute facility with which nature produces its works, 
together with the correspondingly boundless carelessness 
with which it abandons them to destruction, and the 
incalculably ingenious and studied construction of these 
very works, judging from which they must have been 
infinitely difficult to make, and their maintenance should 
have been provided for with all conceivable care; while 
we have the opposite before our eyes. If now by this 
certainly very unusual consideration, we have brought 
together in the boldest manner the two heterogeneous 
sides of the world, and, as it were, grasped them with one 
hand, we must now hold them fast in order to convince 
ourselves of the entire invalidity of the laws of the pheno 
menon, or the world as idea, for that of will, or the thing 
in itself. Then it will become more comprehensible to us 


that while on the side of the idea, that is, in the pheno 
menal world, there exhibits itself to us now an arisin<* 
out of nothing, and now an entire annihilation of what 
has arisen, from that other side, or in itself, a nature 
lies before us with reference to which the conceptions of 
arising and passing away have no significance. For, by 
going back to the root, where, by means of self-conscious 
ness, the phenomenon and the thing in itself meet, we 
have just, as it were, palpably apprehended that the two 
are absolutely incommensurable, and the whole manner of 
being of the one, together with all the fundamental laws 
of its being, signify nothing, and less than nothing, in the 
other. I believe that this last consideration will only be 
rightly understood by a few, and that it will be displeasing 
and even offensive to all who do not understand it, but I 
shall never on this account omit anything that can serve 
to illustrate my fundamental thought. 

At the beginning of this chapter I have explained that 
the great clinging to life, or rather fear of death, by no 
means springs from knowledge, in which case it would be 
the result of the known value of life ; but that that fear 
of death has its root directly in the will, out of the 
original nature of which it proceeds, in which it is entirely 
without knowledge, and therefore blind will to live. A,s 
we are allured into life by the wholly illusory inclination 
to sensual pleasure, so we are retained in it by the fear 
of death, which is certainly just as illusory, Both spring 
directly from the will, which in itself is unconscious. If, 
on the contrary, man were merely a knowing being, then 
death would necessarily be to him not only indifferent, 
but even welcome. The reflection to which we have 
here attained now teaches that what is affected by death 
is merely the knowing consciousness, and the will, on the 
other hand, because it is the thing in itself, which lies 
at the foundation of every phenomenon, is free from all 
that depends upon temporal determinations, thus is also 
imperishable. Its striving towards existence and mani- 

ON DEATH. 295 

festation, from which the world results, is constantly 
satisfied, for this accompanies it as the shadow accom 
panies the body, for it is merely the visibility of its 
nature. That yet in us it fears death results from the 
fact that here knowledge presents its existence to it as 
merely in the individual phenomenon, whence the illusion 
arises that it will perish with this, as my image in a 
mirror seems to be destroyed along with it if the mirror 
is broken ; this then, as contrary to its original nature, 
which is a blind striving towards existence, fills it with 
horror. From this now it follows that that in us which 
alone is capable of fearing death, and also alone fears it, 
the will, is not affected by it; and that, on the other 
hand, what is affected by it and really perishes is that 
which from its nature is capable of no fear, and in 
general of no desire or emotion, and is therefore indif 
ferent to being and not being, the mere subject of know 
ledge, the intellect, whose existence consists in its relation 
to the world of idea, i.e., the objective world, whose cor 
relative it is, and with whose existence its own is ulti 
mately one. Thus, although the individual consciousness 
does not survive death, yet that survives it which alone 
struggles against it the will. This also explains the 
contradiction that from the standpoint of knowledge 
philosophers have always proved with cogent reasons that 
death is no evil ; yet the fear of death remains inevitable 
for all, because it is rooted, not in knowledge, but in the 
will. It is also a result of the fact that only the will, 
arid not the intellect, is indestructible, that all religions 
and philosophies promise a reward in eternity only to the 
virtues of the will, or heart, not to those of the intellect, 
or head. 

The following a.v g.1o .MTYfi tr> illustrate this con- 

^^^^^^^MMHMMMiMi^^M M^MM*** 1 

sidratijjLrThe will, which constitutes our true being, is 
fof a simple* nature : it merely wills, and does not knew. 

*-ffr. , . -vs^VMii4jguw i **^*>i^n>jywKJeW 30 ;i -*J . **0W *"* ***WN 

The subject of knowledge, on the other hand, is a secondary 
phenomenon, arising from the objectification of the will; 


it is the point of unity of the sensibility of the nervou,s 
system, as it were the focus in which the rays of the 
activity of all the parts of the brain unite. With this, 
then, it must perish. In self-consciousness, as that which 
alone knows, it stands over against the will as its spectator, 
and, although sprung from it, knows it as something 
different from itself, something foreign to it, and conse 
quently also only empirically, in time, by degrees, in its 
successive excitements and acts, and also learns its deci 
sions only a posteriori, and often very indirectly. This 
explains the fact that our own nature is a riddle to us, i.e., 
to our intellect, and that the individual regards itself as 
having newly arisen and as perishable ; although its true 
nature is independent of time, thus is eternal. As now 
the will does not know, so conversely the intellect, or the 
subject of knowledge, is simply and solely knowing, with 
out ever willing. This can be proved even physically in 
the fact that, as was already mentioned in the second 
book, according to Bichat, the various emotions directly 
affect all parts of the organism and disturb their functions, 
with the exception of the brain, which can only be affected 
by them very indirectly, i.e., just in consequence of those 
disturbances (De la vie et de la mort, art. 6, 2). But 
from this it follows that the subject of knowledge, for 
itself and as such, cannot take part or interest in any 
thing, but for it the being or not being of everything, nay, 
even of its own self, is a matter of indifference. Now 
why should this purely neutral being be immortal ? It 
ends with the temporal manifestation of the will, i.e., the 
individual, as it arose with it. It is the lantern which is 
extinguished when it has served its end. The intellect, 
like the perceptible world which exists only in it, is a 
mere phenomenon ; but the finiteness of both does not 
affect that of which they are the phenomenal appearance. 
The intellect is the function of the cerebral nervous 
system ; but the latter, like the rest of the body, is the 
objectivity of the will. Therefore the intellect depends 

ON DEATH. 297 

upon the somatic life of the organism ; but this itself 
depends upon the will. The organised body may thus, 
in a certain sense, be regarded as the link between the 
will and the intellect ; although really it is only the will 
itself exhibiting itself spatially in the perception of the 
intellect. Death and birth are the constant renewal of 
the consciousness of the will, in itself without end and 
without beginning, which alone is, as it were, the substance 
of existence (but each such renewal brings a new pos 
sibility of the denial of the will to live). Consciousness 
is the life of the subject of knowledge, or the brain, and 
death is its end. And therefore, finally, consciousness is 
always new, in each case beginning at the beginning. 
The will alone is permanent ; and, moreover, it is it alone 
that permanence concerns ; for it is the will to live. 
The knowing subject for itself is not concerned about 
anything. In the ego, however, the two are bound up to 
gether. In every animal existence the will has achieved 
an intellect which is the light by which it here pursues 
its ends. It may be remarked by the way that the fear 
of death may also partly depend upon the fact that the 
individual will is so loath to separate from the intellect 
which has fallen to its lot through the course of nature, 
its guide and guard, without which it knows that it is 
helpless and blind. 

Finally, this explanation also agrees with the common 
place moral experience which teaches us that the will 
alone is real, while its objects, on the other hand, as 
conditioned by knowledge, are only phenomena, are only 
froth and vapour, like the wine which Mephistopheles 
provided in Auerbach s cellar : after every sensuous plea 
sure we also say, " And yet it seemed as I were drinking 

The terrors of death depend for the most part upon the 
false illusion that now the ego vanishes and the world 
remains. But rather is the opposite the~case; the world 
vanishes, but the inmost kernel of the ego, the supporter 


and producer of that subject, in whose idea alone the 
world has its existence, remains. With the braiu the 
intellect perishes, and with the intellect the objective) 
world, its mere idea. I That in other brains, afterwards aa 
before, a similar world lives and moves is, with reference 
to the intellect which perishes, a matter of indifference. 
If, therefore, reality proper did not lie in the will, and if 
the moral existence were not that which extends beyond 
death, then, since the intellect, and with it its world, is 
extinguished, the true nature of things in general would 
be no more than an endless succession of short and 
troubled dreams, without connection among themselves; 
for the permanence of unconscious nature consists merely 
in the idea of time of conscious nature. Thus a world- 
spirit dreaming without end or aim, dreams which for the 
most part are very troubled and heavy, would then be all 
in all. 

When, now, an individual experiences the fear of death, 
we have really before us the extraordinary, nay, absurd* 
spectacle of the lord of the worlds, who fills all with his 
being, and through whom alone everything that is has its 
existence, desponding and afraid of perishing, of sinking 
into the abyss of eternal nothingness; while, in truth, all 
is full of him, and there is no place where he is not, no 
being in which he does not live ; for it is not existence 
that supports him, .but he that supports existence. Yet it 
is he who desponds in the individual who suffers from the 
fear of death, for he is exposed to the illusion produced by 
the principium individuationis that his existence is limited 
to the nature which is now dying. This illusion belongs 
to the heavy dream into which, as the will to live, he has 
fallen. But one might say to the dying individual : " Thou 
ceasest "to be something which thou hadst done better 
never to become." 

So long as no denial of the will takes place, what death 
leaves untouched is the germ and kernel of quite another 
existence, in which a new individual finds itself again, so 

ON DEATH. 299 

fresh and original that it broods over itself in astonish 
ment. What sleep is for the individual, death is for the 
will as thing in itself. It would not endure to continue 
the same actions and sufferings throughout an eternitv 
without true gain, if memory and individuality remained 
to it. It flings them off, and this is lethe ; and through 
this sleep of death it reappears refreshed and fitted out 
with another intellect, as a new being " a new dav 
tempts to new shores." 

As the self-asserting will to live man has the root oLJiis. 
existence in the species. } Accordingly death is the loss of 

/one indivitruairty-3jia~TFie assumption of another, conse-/ 
quehtly a change of individualitv under the exclusive! 

} guidance of one s own will. F Tor "in this alone lies the 
Sstgrnal power which couIcTpfoduce its existence with its 
ego, yet, on account of its nature, was not able to maintain 
it in existence. For death is the dtmenti which the 
essence (essentia) of every one receives in its claim to exist 
ence (existentia), the appearance of a contradiction which 
lies in every individual existence : 

" For all that arises 
Is worthy of being destroyed." 

But an infinite number of such existences, each with its ego, 
stands within reach of this power, thus of the will, which, 
however, will again prove just as transitory and perish 
able. Since now every ego has its separate consciousness, 
that infinite number of them is, with reference to such an 
ego, not different from a single one. From this point of view 
it appears to me not accidental that cevum, almv, signifies 
both the individual term of life and infinite time. Indeed 
from this point of view it may be seen, although indis 
tinctly, that ultimately and in themselves both are the 
same ; and according to this there would really be no dif 
ference whether I existed only through niy term of life or 
for an infinite time. 

Certainly, however, we cannot obtain an idea of all that 


is said above entirely without time-concepts; yet when 
we are dealing: with the thing in itself these ought to be 

o o o 

excluded. But it belongs to the unalterable limitations 
of our intellect that it can never entirely cast off this 
first and most immediate form of all its ideas, in order 
to operate without it. Therefore we certainly come here 
upon a kind of metempsychosis, although with the im 
portant difference that it does not concern the whole 
tyvxy, not the knowing being, but the will alone ; and 
thus, with the consciousness that the form of time only 
enters here as an unavoidable concession to the limitation 
of our intellect, so many absurdities which accompany the 
doctrine of metempsychosis disappear. If, indeed, we now 
call in the assistance of the fact, to be explained in chapter 
43, that the character, i.e., the will, is inherited from the 
father, and the intellect, on the other hand, from the mother, 
it agrees very well with our view that the will of a man, 
in itself individual, separated itself in death from the 
intellect received from the mother in generation, and in 
accordance with its now modified nature, under the 
guidance of the absolutely necessary course of the world 
harmonising with this, received through a new generation 
a new intellect, with which it became a new being, which 
had no recollection of an earlier existence ; for the intellect, 
which alone has the faculty of memory, is the mortal part 
or the form, while the will is the eternal part, the sub 
stance. In accordance with this, this doctrine is more 
correctly denoted by the word palingenesis than by me 
tempsychosis. These constant new births, then, constitute 
the succession of the life-dreams of a will which in itself 
is indestructible, until, instructed and improved by so 
much and such various successive knowledge in a con 
stantly new form, it abolishes or abrogates itself. 

The true and, so to speak, esoteric doctrine of Buddhism, 
as we have come to know it through the latest investiga- 

o <-> 

tions, also agrees with this view, for it teaches not metemp 
sychosis, but a peculiar palingenesis, resting upon a moral 

ON DEATH. 301 

basis which it works out and explains with great pro 
fundity. This may be seen from the exposition of the 
subject, well worth reading and pondering, which is given 
in Spence Hardy s " Manual of Buddhism," pp. 394-96 
(with which compare pp. 429, 440, and 445 of the same 
book), the confirmation of which is to be found in Taylor s 
" Prdbodh Chandro Day a," London, 1812, p. 35; also in 
Sangermano s " Burmese Empire," p. 6, and in the "Asiatic 
Researches," vol. vi. p. 179, and vol. ix. p. 256. The very 
useful German compendium of Buddhism by Koppen is 
also right upon this point. Yet for the great mass of 
Buddhists this doctrine is too subtle ; therefore to them 
simple metempsychosis is preached as a comprehensible 

Besides, it must not be neglected that even empirical 
grounds support a palingenesis of this kind. As a matter 
of fact there does exist a connection between the birth of 
the newly appearing beings and the death of those that 
are worn out. It shows itself in the great fruitfulness of 
the human race which appears as a consequence of de 
vastating diseases. When in the fourteenth century the / 
black death had for the most part depopulated the old 
world, a quite abnormal fruitfulness appeared among tha 
human race, and twin-births were very frequent. The 
circumstance was also very remarkable that none of the 
children born at this time obtained their full number of 
teeth ; thus nature, exerting itself to the utmost, was 
niggardly in details. This is related by F. Schnurrer, 
" Chronik der Seuchen," 1825. Casper also, " Ueber die 
wahrscheinliche Lebensdauer des Menschen," 1835, confirms 
the principle that the number of births in a given popu 
lation has the most decided influence upon the length of 
life and mortality in it, as this always keeps pace with 
the mortality : so that always and everywhere the deaths 
and the births increase and decrease in like proportion ; 
which lie places beyond doubt by an accumulation of 
evidence collected from many lands and their various 


provinces. And yet it is impossible that there can be a 
physical causal connection between my early death and 
the fruitfulness of a marriage with which I have nothing 
to do, or conversely. Thus here the metaphysical appears 
undeniably and in a stupendous manner as the im 
mediate ground of explanation of the physical. Every 
new-born being indeed comes fresh and blithe into the 
new existence, and enjoys it as a free gift : but there 
is, and can be, nothing freely given. Its fresh existence 
is paid for by the old age and death of _a__worn-out exist 
ence which has perished, but which contained the inde- 


structible seed out of which this new existence has arisen : 

/ ./AV-.HIU- ^ J am^^MMi^mmBP^Bi^tmmnwni^BMMMBM^M^fr 

they are one being. To show the bridge between the two 
would certainly be the solution of a great riddle. 

The great truth which is expressed here, has never been 
entirely unacknowledged, although it could not be reduced to 
its exact and correct meaning, which is only possible through 
the doctrine of the primacy and metaphysical nature of the 
will and the secondary, merely organic nature of the intel 
lect. We find the (infitofi. ,Ut. JMfiiafi^gte^ springing 
from the earliest and noblest ages of the human race, always 
spread abroad in the earth as the belief of the great 
majority of mankind, nay, really as the teaching of all 
religions, with the exception of that of the Jews and the 
two which have proceeded from it : in the most subtle 
form, however, and coming nearest to the truth, as has 
already been mentioned, in Buddhism. Accordingly, while 
Christians console themselves with the thought of meeting 
again in another world, in which one regains one s com 
plete personality and knows oneself at once, in those 
other religions the meeting again is already going on now, 
only incognito. In the succession of births, and by virtue 
of metempsychosis or palingenesis, the persons who now 
stand in close connection or contact with us will also be 
born along with us at the next birth, and will have the 
same or analogous relations and sentiments towards us as 
now, whether these are of a friendly or a hostile descrip- 



tion. (Of., for example, Spence Hardy s " Manual of 
Buddhism," p. 162.) Recognition is certainly here limited 
to an obscure intimation, a reminiscence which cannot be 
brought to distinct consciousness, and refers to -an in 
finitely distant time ; with the exception, however, of 
Buddha himself, who has the prerogative of distinctly 
knowing his own earlier births and those of others ; as 
this is described in the " Jataka." But, in fact, if at favour 
able moment one contemplates, in a purely objective 
manner, the action of men in reality; the intuitive con 
viction is forced upon one that it not only is and remains 
constantly the same, according to the (Platonic) Idea, but 
also that the present generation, in its true inner nature, 
is precisely and substantially identical with every gene 
ration that has been before it. The question simply 
is in what this true being consists. The answer which 
my doctrine gives to this question is well known. The 
intuitive conviction referred to may be conceived as 
arising from the fact that the multiplying-glasses, time 
and space, lose for a moment their effect. With refer 
ence to the universality of the belief in metempsychosis, 
Obry says rightly, in his excellent book, " Du Nirvana 
Indien" p. 13: " Gette vieille croyance a fait le tour du 
monde. et dtait tellement rdpandue dans la haute antiquitt, 
qu vn docte Anglican Vavait jugte sans pdre, sans m&re, et 
sans gdnfoloffie" (Ths. Burnet, dans Beausobre, Hist, du 
Manichdisme, ii. p. 391). Taught already in the " Vedas," 
as in all the sacred books of India, metempsychosis is well 
known to be the kernel of Brahmanism and Buddhism. 
It accordingly prevails at the present day in the whole 
of non-Mohammedan Asia, thus among more than half 
of the whole human race, as the firmest conviction, 
and with an incredibly strong practical influence. It 
was also the belief of the Egyptians (Herod., ii. 123), 
from whom it was received with enthusiasm by Orpheus. 
Pythagoras, and Plato : the Pythagoreans, however, spe 
cially retained it. That it was also taught in the mysteries 


of the Greeks undeniably follows from the ninth book of 
Plato s " Laws" (pp. 38 and 42, ed. Bip.) Nemesius indeed 
(De not. horn., c. 2) says : " Koivrj pev ovv vravre? E\\r)ve<;, 
ol Tt]v tyv-xrjv aOavdTOV a,7ro<j)r)vafj,6voi, rrjv iLerevawnaTaKTiv 
So<yfjiaTiov(Ti,." (Communiter igitur omnes Greed, qui ani- 
mam immortalem statuerunt, earn de uno corpore in aliud 
transferri censuerunt.) The " Edda " also, especially in 
the " Voluspa," teaches metempsychosis. Not less was it 
the foundation of the religion of the Druids (Cces. de bello 
Gall, vi. ; A. Pictet, Le mystere des Bardes de I ile de Bre- 
tagne, 1856). Even a Mohammedan sect in Hindostan, 
the Bohrahs, of which Colebrooke gives a full account in 
the "Asiatic ^Researches," vol. vii. p. 336 sqq., believes in 
metempsychosis, and accordingly refrains from all animal 
food. Also among American Indians and negro tribes, 
nay, even among the natives of Australia, traces of this 
belief are found, as appears from a minute description 
given in the Times of 2Qth January 1841 of the execu 
tion of two Australian savages for arson and murder. It 
is said there : " The younger of the two prisoners met his 
end with a dogged and a determined spirit, as it appeared, 
of revenge ; the only intelligible expressions made use of 
conveyed an impression that he would rise up a white 
fellow, which it was considered strengthened his resolu 
tion." Also in a book by Ungewitter, " Der Welttheil 
Australien" it is related that the Papuas in Australia 
regarded the whites as their own relations who had re 
turned to the world. According to all this, the belief in 
metempsychosis presents itself as the natural conviction 
of man, whenever he reflects at all in an unprejudiced 
manner. It would really be that which Kant falsely asserts 
of his three pretended Ideas of the reason, a philosopheme 
natural to human reason, which proceeds from its forms ; 
and when it is not found it must have been displaced by 
positive religious doctrines coming from a different source. 
I have also remarked that it is at once obvious to every 
one who hears of it for the first time. Let any one only 

ON DEATH. 30 - 

observe how earnestly Lessing defends it in the last seven 
paragraphs of his " Erzieliung des Menschengeschlechts." 
Lichtenberg also says in his " Selbstcharacteristik : " "I 
cannot get rid of the thought that I died before I was 
born." Even the excessively empirical Hume says in his 
sceptical essay on immortality, p. 23 : " The metempsy 
chosis is therefore the only system of this kind that 
philosophy can hearken to." 1 What resists this belief, 
which is spread over the whole human race and com 
mends itself alike to the wise and to the vulgar, is 
Judaism, together with the two religions which* have 
sprung from it, because they teach the creation of man 
out of nothing, and he has then the hard task of linking 
on to this the belief in an ondless existence a parte post. 
They certainly have succeeded, with fire and sword in 
driving out of Europe and part of Asia that consoling 
primitive belief of mankind ; it is still doubtful for how 
long. Yet how difficult this was is shown by the oldest 
Church histories. Most of the heretics were attached to 
this primitive belief ; for example, Simonists, Basilidians 
Valentinians, Marcionists, Gnostics, and Manich^eans! 
The Jews themselves have in part fallen into it, as 
Tertullian and Justinus (in his dialogues) inform us ID 
the Talmud it is related that Abel s soul passed into the 
body of Seth, arid then into that of Moses. Even the pas 
sage of the Bible, Matt. xvi. 13-15, only obtains a rational 
meaning if we understand it as spoken under the assump 
tion of the dogma of metempsychosis. Luke, it is true 
who also has the passage (ix. 18-20), adds the words Jn 
W rtov apxaimv aveary, and thus attributes to 

OWn land > in consequence of 



j , .-is> o^uvjituu. .Lnev are enr.irp v i 

and writers of England were sionless, coldly rational n??st 

rescued from destruction, when in tions of the two sublet ; named. 


the Jews the assumption that such an ancient prophet 
can rise again body and all, which, since they know that 
he has already lain between six and seven hundred years 
in his grave, and consequently has long since turned to 
dust, would be a palpable absurdity. In Christianity, 
however, the doctrine of original sin, i.e., the doctrine of 
punishment for the sins of another individual, has taken 
the place of the transmigration of souls and the expiation 
in this way of all the sins committed in an earlier life. 
Both identify, and that with a moral tendency, the exist 
ing man with one who has existed before ; the transmigra 
tion of souls does so directly, original sin indirectly. 

Death is the great reprimand which the will to live, or 
more especially the egoism, which is essential to this, 
receives through the course of nature ; and it may be 
conceived as a punishment for our existence. 1 It is the 
painful loosing of the knot which the act of generation 
had tied with sensual pleasure, the violent destruction 
coming from without of the fundamental error of our 
nature : the great disillusion. We are at bottom some 
thing that ought not to be : therefore we cease to be. 
Egoism consists really in the fact that man limits all reality 
to his own person, in that he imagines that he lives in 
this alone and not in others. Death teaches him better, 
for it destroys this person, so that the true nature of 
man, which is his will, will henceforth live only in other_ 
individuals ; while his intellect, which itself belonged only 
to the phenomenon, i.e., to the world as idea, and was^ 
merely the form of the external world, also continues to 
exist in the condition of being idea, i.e., in the objective^ 
being of things as such, thus also only in the existence of 
what was hitherto the external world. His whole "ego 
thus lives from this time forth only in that which he 
had hitherto regarded as non-ego : for the difference be 
tween external and internal ceases. We call to mind 

1 Death says : Thou art tne pro- have been ; therefore to expiate it 
duct of an act which should not thou must die. 

ON DEATH. 307 

here that the better man is he who makes the least differ 
ence between himself and others, does not regard them as 
absolute non-ego, while for the bad man this difference is 
great, nay, absolute. I have worked this out in my prizn 
essay on the foundation of morals. According to what was 
said above, the degree in which death can be regarded as 
the annihilation of the man is in proportion to this differ 
ence. But if we start from the fact that the distinction 
of outside me and in me, as a spatial distinction, is only 
founded in the phenomenon, not in the thing in itself, 
thus is no absolutely real distinction, then we shall see 
in the losing of our own individuality only the loss of a 
phenomenon, thus only an apparent loss. However much 
reality that distinction has in the empirical consciousness, 
yet from the metaphysical standpoint the propositions, 
" I perish, but the world endures," and " The world perishes 
but Ijmdure." arp qft Bottom not raally rUffi.^ _ 

But, besides all this, death is the great opportunity no 
longer to be I ; to him who uses it. During life the will 
of matt is without freedom i his action takes place with 
necessity upon the _ "basis of his unalterable character in the 
chain of motives. Buj^^grjone remembers much that 
he has done, and on account of which he is by no means 
satisfied with himself. If now he were to go on living he 
would go on acting in the same way, on account of tlje 
unalterable nature of his character. Accordingly he must 
cease to be what he is in order to be able to arise out of 

a new and different being,. . 

.- g vlff. e ^aiMICT!(**U T*""^ 1 " 

as ; tne will again becomes 

lies M the J&sg,jipt in the 
nodus cordis, dissolvuntur omnes dulthtbiones, 
ejusque opera evanescunt," is a very celebrated saying of 
the Vedas, which all Vedantic writers frequently repeat. 1 
Death is the moment of that deliverance from the one- 

1 Sancara, s. de tkeolof/umenis Ve- 387 et p. 78; Colebrooke s "Miscel- 
danticorum, ed. F. H. H. Wiudisch- laneous Essays," vol. i. p. 363. 
mann, p. 37 ; " Oujmekhat," voL i. p. 


sidedncss of an individuality which does not constitute the 
inmost kernel of our being, but is rather to be thought of 
as a kind of aberration of it. The true original freedom re- 
enters at this moment, which, in the sense indicated, may 
be regarded as a restitutio in integrum. The peace and 
quietness upon the countenance of most dead persons 
seems to have its origin in this. Quiet and easy is, as a 
rule, the death of every good man : but to die willingly, to 
die gladly, to die joyfully, is the prerogative of the re 
signed, of him who surrenders and denies the will to live. 
For only he wills to die really, and not merely appa 
rently, and consequently he needs and desires no continu 
ance of his person. The existence which we know he 
willingly gives up : what he gets instead of it is in our 
eyes nothing, because our existence is, with reference to 
that, nothing. The Buddhist faith calls it Nirvana, 1 i.e., 

i The etymology of the word Nir- into Mongolian by a phrase which 

vana is various!/ given. Accord- signifies " departed from misery 

in- to Colebrooke(" Transact, of the " escaped from misery Accord- 

loyal Asiat. Soc," vol. i. p. 5^6) ing to the learned lee tare. - oT the 

it comes from va, "to blow," like same in the St. Petersburg Aca- 

JheTnd, and the prefixed negative demy. Nirvana L, the opposite of 

U and thus signifies a calm, but Sanfara, which is the world of con- 

an adjective "extinguished." stant re-birth, of longings and 

Obry, also, Da Nirvana Indien, p. 3, desires, of illusion of the senses and 

says " Nirvanam en Sanscrit signifie changing forms, of being born grow. 

a la lettre extinction, tcUe que celU ing old, becoming sick, and dying 

tonfeu." According to the "Asiatic In the Burmese langu age t he word 

Journal " vol xxiv. p. 735, the word Nirvana, according to the analogy 

fs really Neravana, from ncra, of other Sanscrit words, becomes 

"without," and w "life," and transformed into Niebar , and 1 is 

the meaning would be annihilate. translated by ^Pj*^*"^*. 

Tn "Eastern Monachism," bySpence See Sangennano s " Description of 

Hardy, p. 295, Nirvana is derived the Burmese Empire, translated 

from m "sinful desires," with by Tandy, Rome, 1833 ,8 [27. ^ 

the negative nir. J. J. Schmidt, in the first edition of 1819 I 

his translation of the history of the wrote N.eban, because we then 

Eastern Mongolians, says that the knew Buddhism only from meagre 

Sanscrit word Nirvana is translated accounts of the Burmese. 

309 ) 



IN the preceding chapter it was called to mind that the 
(Platonic) Ideas of the different grades of beings, which 
are the adequate objectification of the will to live, exhibit 
themselves in the knowledge of the individual, which is 
bound to the form of time, as the species, i.e., as the suc 
cessive individuals of one kind connected by the bond 
of generation, and that therefore the species is the Idea 
(6/809, species) broken up in time. Accordingly the true 
nature of every living thing lies primarily in its species : 
yet the species again has its existence only in the indi 
viduals. Now, although the will only attains to self-con 
sciousness in the individual, thus knows itself immediately 
only as the individual, yet the deep-seated consciousness 
that it is really the species in which his true nature 
objectifies itself appears in the fact that for the individual 
the concerns of the species as such, thus the relations of 
the sexes, the production and nourishment of the offspring 
are of incomparably greater importance and consequence 
than everything else. Hence, then, arises in the case of 
the brutes, heat or rut (an excellent description of the 
vehemence of which will be found in Burdach s " Physio 
logy," vol. i. 247, 257), and, in the case of man, the 
careful and capricious selection of the other individual for 
the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, which can rise to 
the height of passionate love, to the fuller investigation of 
which I shall devote a special chapter : hence also, finally 
the excessive love of parents for their offspring. 


In the supplements to the second book the will was 
compared to the root and the intellect to the crown of the 
tree; and this is the case inwardly or psychologically. 
But outwardly or physiologically the genitals are the 
root and the head the crown. The nourishing part is 
certainly not the genitals, but the villi of the intestines : 
yet not the latter but the former are the root ; because 
through them the individual is connected with the species 
in which it is rooted. For physically the individual is a 
production of the species, metaphysically a more or less 
perfect picture of the Idea, which, in the form of time, 
exhibits itself as species. In agreement with the relation 
expressed here, the greatest vitality, and also the decrepi 
tude of the brain and the genital organs, is simultaneous 
and stands in connection. The sexual impulse is to be 
regarded as the inner life of the tree (the species) upon 
which the life of the individual grows, like a leaf that is 
nourished by the tree, and assists in nourishing the tree ; 
this is why that impulse is so strong, and springs from 
the depths of our nature. To castrate an individual means 
to cut him off from the tree of the species upon which 
he grows, and thus severed, leave him to wither : hence 
the degradation of his mental and physical powers. That 
the service of the species, i.e., fecundation, is followed 
in the case of every animal individual by momentary 
exhaustion and debility of all the powers, and in the 
case of most insects indeed by speedy death, on account 
of which Celsus said, " Seminis cmissio est partis animce 
jadura ; " that in the case of man the extinction of the 
generative power shows that the individual approaches 
death ; that excessive use of this power at every age 
shortens life, while, on the other hand, temperance in this 
respect increases all the powers, and especially the mus 
cular powers, on which account it was part of the training 
of the Greek athletes ; that the same restraint lengthens 
the life of the insect even to the following spring; all 
this points to the fact that the life of the individual is 


at bottom only borrowed from the species, and that all 
vital force is, as it were, force of the species restricted by 
being clammed up. But this is to be explained from 
the fact that the metaphysical substratum of life reveals 
itself directly in the species and only by means of this 
in the individual. Accordingly the Lingam with the 
Yoni, as the symbol of the species and its immortality, is 
worshipped in India, and, as the counterpoise of death, is 
ascribed as an attribute to the very divinity who presides 
over death, Siva. 

But without myth or symbol, the vehemence of the 
sexual impulse, the keen intentness and profound serious 
ness with which every animal, including man, pursues its 
concerns, shows that it is through the function which 
serves it that the animal belongs to that in which really 
and principally its true being lies, the species; while all 
other functions and organs directly serve only the indivi 
dual, whose existence is at bottom merely secondary. In 
the vehemence of that impulse, which is the concentra 
tion of the whole animal nature, the consciousness further 
expresses itself that the individual does not endure, and 
therefore all must be staked on the maintenance of the 
species, in which its true existence lies. 

To illustrate what has been said, let us now imagine a 
brute in rut, and in the act of generation. We see a 
seriousness and intentness never known in it at any other 
time. Now what goes on in it ? Does it know that it 
must die, and that through its present occupation a new 
individual, which yet entirely resembles itself, will arise 
in order to take its place ? Of all this it knows nothing, 
for it does not think. But it is as intently careful for the 
continuance of the species in time as if it knew all that. 
For it is conscious that it desires to live and exist, and 
it expresses the highest degree of this volition in the 
act of generation ; this is all that then takes place in 
its consciousness. This is also quite sufficient for the 
permanence of the kind ; just because the will is the 


radical and knowledge the adventitious. On this account 
the will does not require to be guided by knowledge 
throughout; but whenever in its primitive originality it 
has resolved, this volition will objectify itself of its own 
accord in the world of the idea. If now in this way it is 
that definite animal form which we have thought of that 
wills life and existence, it does not will life and existence 
in general, but in this particular form. Therefore it is tlie 
sight of its form in the female of its species that stimu 
lates the will of the brute to the act of generation. This 
volition of the brute, when regarded from without and 
under the form of time, presents itself as such an animal 
form maintained through an infinite time by the con 
stantly repeated replacement of one individual by another, 
thus by the alternation of death and reproduction, which 
so regarded appear only as the pulse-beats of that form 
(tSea, et So?, species) which endures through all time. They 
may be compared to the forces of attraction and repulsion 
in which matter consists. That which is shown here in 
the brute holds good also of man ; for although in him the 
act of generation is accompanied by complete knowledge 
of its final cause, yet it is not guided by this knowledge, 
but proceeds directly from the will to live as its concentra 
tion. It is accordingly to be reckoned among instinctive 
actions. For in reproduction the brute is just as little 
guided by knowledge of the end as in mechanical in 
stincts; in these also the will manifests itself, in the 
main, without the mediation of knowledge, which here, as 
there, is only concerned with details. Reproduction is, to 
a certain extent, the most marvellous of all instincts, and 
its work the most astonishing. 

These considerations explain why the sexual desire has 
a very different character from every other ; it is not only 
the strongest, but even specifically of a more powerful 
kind than any other. It is everywhere tacitly assumed as 
necessary and inevitable, and is not, like other desires, a 
matter of taste and disposition. For it is the desire which 


even constitutes the nature of man. In conflict with it no 
motive is so strong that it would be certain of victory. It 
is so pre-eminently the chief concern that no other plea 
sures make up for the deprivation of its satisfaction ; and, 
moreover, for its sake both brute and man undertake 
every danger and every conflict. A very naive expression 
of this disposition is the well-known inscription on the 
door of ihefornix at Pompeii, decorated with the phallus : 
" Heic habitat felicitas : " this was for those going in naive, 
for those coming out ironical, and in itself humorous. On 
the other hand, the excessive power of the sexual passion is 
seriously and worthily expressed in the inscription which 
(according to Theon of Smyrna, De Musica, c. 47), Osiris 
had placed upon the column he erected to the eternal 
gods : " To Eros, the spirit, the heaven, the sun, the moon, 
the earth, the night, the day, and the father of all that 
is and that shall be;" also in the beautiful apostrophe 
with which Lucretius begins his work : 

" jffineadum genetrix, hominum divomque voluptas, 
Alma Venus cet." 

To all this corresponds the important rdle which the 
relation of the sexes plays in the world of men, where it 
is really the invisible central point of all action and 
conduct, and peeps out everywhere in spite of all veils 
thrown over it. It is the cause of war and the end of 
peace, the basis of what is serious, and the aim of the 
jest, the inexhaustible source of wit, the key to all 
allusions, and the meaning of all mysterious hints, of all 
unspoken offers and all stolen glances, the daily medita 
tion of the young, and often also of the old, the hourly 
thought of the unchaste, and even against their will the 
constantly recurring imagination of the chaste, the ever 
ready material of a joke, just because the profoundest 
seriousness lies at its foundation. It is, however, the 
piquant element and the joke of life that the chief con 
cern of all men is secretly pursued and ostensibly ignored 


as much as possible. But, in fact, we see it every moment 
seat itself, as the true and hereditary lord of the world, 
out of the fulness of its own strength, upon the ancestral 
throne, and looking down from thence with scornful 
glances, laugh at the preparations which have been made 
to bind it, imprison it, or at least to limit it and wherever 
it is possible to keep it concealed, or even so to master 
it that it shall only appear as a subordinate, secondary 
concern of life. But all this agrees with the fact that 
the sexual passion is the kernel of the will to live, and 
consequently the concentration of all desire ; therefore in 
the text I have called the genital organs the focus of 
the will. Indeed, one may say man is concrete sexual 
desire ; for his origin is an act of copulation and his wish 
of wishes is an act of copulation, and this tendency alone 
perpetuates and holds together his whole phenomenal 
existence. The will to live manifests itself indeed pri 
marily as an effort to sustain the individual ; yet this is 
only a step to the effort to sustain the species, and the 
latter endeavour must be more powerful in proportion as 
the life of the species surpasses that of the individual in 
duration, extension, and value. Therefore sexual passion 
is the most perfect manifestation of the will to live, its 
most distinctly expressed type; and the origin of the 
individual in it, and its primacy over all other desires 
of the natural man, are both in complete agreement with 

One other remark of a physiological nature is in place 
here, a remark which throws light upon my fundamental 
doctrine expounded in the second book. As the sexual 
impulse is the most vehement of desires, the wish of 
wishes, the concentration of all our volition, and accord 
ingly the satisfaction of it which exactly corresponds to 
the individual wish of any one, that is, the desire fixed 
upon a definite individual, is the summit and crown of 
his happiness, the ultimate goal of his natural endeavours, 
with the attainment of which everything seems to him to 


have been attained, and with the frustrating of which 
everything seems to him to have been lost : so we find, 
as its physiological correlative, in the objectified will, 
thus in the human organism, the sperm or semen as the 
secretion of secretions, the quintessence of all animal 
fluids, the last result of all organic functions, and have 
in it a new proof of the fact that the body is only the 
objectivity of the will, i.e., is the will itself under the 
form of the idea. 

With reproduction is connected the maintenance of the 
offspring, and with the sexual impulse, parental love ; 
and thus through these the life of the species is carried 
on. Accordingly the love of the brute for its young has, 
like the sexual impulse, a strength which far surpasses 
that of the efforts which merely concerns itself as an 
individual. This shows itself in the fact that even the 
mildest animals are ready to undertake for the sake of 
their young even the most unequal battle for life and 
death, and with almost all species of animals the mother 
encounters any danger for the protection of her young, 
nay, in many cases even faces certain death. In the 
case of man this instinctive parental love is guided and 
directed by reason, i.e., by reflection. Sometimes, how 
ever, it is also in this way restricted, and with bad charac 
ters this may extend to the complete repudiation of it. 
Therefore we can observe its effects most purely in the 
lower animals. In itself, however, it is not less strong in 
man ; here also, in particular cases, we see it entirely 
overcome self-love, and even extend to the sacrifice of 
life. Thus, for example, the French newspapers have just 
announced that at Cahors, in the department of Lot, a 
father has taken his own life in order that his son, who 
had been drawn for military service, should be the eldest 
son of a widow, and therefore exempt (Galignanis Mes 
senger of 22d June 1843). Yet in the case of the lower 
animals, since they are capable of no reflection, the in 
stinctive maternal affection (the male is generally ignorant 


of his paternity) shows itself directly and unsophisticated, 
and therefore with perfect distinctness and in its whole 
strength. At bottom it is the expression of the conscious 
ness in the brute that its true being lies more immediately 
in the species than in the individual, and therefore, when 
necessary, it sacrifices its life that the species may be main 
tained in the young. Thus here, as also in the sexual impulse, 
the will to live becomes to a certain extent transcendent, for 
its consciousness extends beyond the individual, in which 
it is inherent, to the species. In order to avoid expressing 
this second manifestation of the life of the species in a 
merely abstract manner, and to present it to the reader 
in its magnitude and reality, I will give a few examples 
of the extraordinary strength of instinctive maternal 

The sea-otter, when pursued, seizes its young one and 
dives with it ; when it comes up again to take breath, 
it covers the young one with its body, and receives the 
harpoon of the hunter while the young one is escaping. 
A young whale is killed merely to attract the mother, 
who hurries to it and seldom forsakes it so long as it still 
lives, even although she is struck with several harpoons 
(Scoresby s " Journal of a Whaling Voyage ; " from the 
English of Kreis, p. 196). At Three Kings Island, near 
New Zealand, there are colossal seals called sea-elephants 
(phoca proboscidea). They swim round the island in regu 
lar herds and feed upon fishes, but yet have certain terrible 
enemies below water unknown to us, by whom they are 
often severely wounded ; hence their swimming together 
requires special tactics. The females bring forth their 
young upon the shore ; while they are suckling them, which 
lasts from seven to eight weeks, all the males form a circle 
round them in order to prevent them, driven by hunger, 
from entering the sea, and if this is attempted they pre 
vent it by biting. Thus they all fast together for between 
seven and eight weeks, and all become very thin, simply 
in order that the young may not enter the sea before they 


are able to swim well and observe the necessary tactics 
which are then taught them with blows and bites (Frey- 
cinet, Voy. aux, teives Avstrales, 1826). We also see here 
how parental affection, like every strong exertion of the 
will (cf. chap. xix. 6), heightens the intelligence. Wild 
ducks, white-throats, and many other birds, when the 
sportsman comes near their nest, fly in front of him with 
loud cries and flap about as if their wings were injured, in 
order to attract his attention from their young to themselves. 
The lark tries to entice the dog away from its nest by 
exposing itself. In the same way hinds and does induce 
the hunter to pursue them in order that their young may 
not be attacked. Swallows have flown into burning houses 
to rescue their young or perish with them. At Delfft, in 
a great fire, a stork allowed itself to be burnt in its nest 
rather than forsake its tender young, which could not yet 
fly (Hadr. Junius, Descriptio Hollandice). Mountain-cocks 
and woodcocks allow themselves to be taken upon the nest 
when brooding. Muscicapa tyrannus protects its nest with 
remarkable courage, and defends itself against eagles. An 
ant has been cut in two, and the fore half been seen to 
bring the pupse to a place of safety. A bitch whose 
litter had been cut out of her belly crept up to them 
dying, caressed them, and began to whine violently only 
when they were taken from her (Burdach, Physiologie aLt 
Erfahrungswissenschaft, vol. ii. and iii). 



THE most ordinary experience teaches that in generation 
the combined seed of the parents not only propagates the 
peculiarities of the species, but also those of the individual, 
as far as bodily (objective, external) qualities are concerned, 
and this has also always been recognised 

"Naturae tequitur semina quisque suce." 


Now whether this also holds good of mental (subjective, 
internal) qualities, so that these also are transmitted by 
the parents to the children, is a question which has 
already often been raised, and almost always answered in 
the affirmative. More difficult, however, is the problem 
whether it is possible to distinguish what belongs to the 
father and what to the mother, thus what is the mental 
inheritance which we receive from each of our parents. If 
now we cast upon this problem the light of our fundamen 
tal knowledge that the will is the true being, the kernel, 
the radical element in man, and the intellect, on the other 
hand, is what is secondary, adventitious, the accident of 
that substance ; before questioning experience we will 
assume it as at least probable that the father, as sexus 
potior and the procreative principle, imparts the basis, the 
radical element, of the new life, thus the will, and the 
mother, as sexus sequior and merely conceiving principle, 
imparts the secondary element, the intellect ; that thus the 
man inherits his moral nature, his character, his inclina 
tions, his heart, from the father, and, on the other hand, the 


grade, quality, and tendency of his intelligence from the 
mother. Now this assumption actually finds its continua 
tion in experience ; only this cannot be decided by a physi 
cal experiment upon the table, but results partly from the 
careful and acute observation of many years, and partly 
from history. 

One s own experience has the advantage of complete 
certainty and the greatest speciality, and this outweighs 
the disadvantage that arises from it, that its sphere is 
limited and its examples not generally known. There 
fore, primarily, I refer every one to his own experience. 
first of all let him consider himself, confess to himself 
his inclinations and passions, his characteristic errors and 
weaknesses, his vices, and also his excellences and virtues, 
if he has any. Then let him think of his father, and he 
cannot fail to recognise all these characteristic traits in 
him also. On the other hand, he will often find his 
mother of an entirely different character, and a moral 
agreement with her will very seldom occur, indeed only 
through the exceptional accident of a similarity of the 
character of the two parents. Let him make this exami 
nation, for example, with reference to quick temper or 
patience, avarice or prodigality, inclination to sensuality, 
or to intemperance, or to gambling, hard-heartedness or 
kindliness, honesty or hypocrisy, pride or condescension, 
courage or cowardice, peaceableness or quarrelsomeness, 
placability or resentfulness, &c. Then let him make the 
same investigation with regard to all those whose characters 
and whose parents he has accurately known. If he pro 
ceeds attentively, with correct judgment, and candidly, the 
confirmation of our principle will not be lacking. Thus 
for example, he will find the special tendency to lie, 
which belongs to many men, equally present in two 
brothers, because they have inherited it from the father ; 
on this account also the comedy, " The Liar and his Son," 
is psychologically correct. However, two inevitable limi 
tations must here be borne in mind, which only open 


injustice could interpret as evasions. First, pater semper 
incertus. Only a decided physical resemblance to the 
father removes this limitation ; a superficial resemblance, 
on the other hand, is not sufficient to do so ; for there is 
an after-effect of earlier impregnation by virtue of which 
the children of the second marriage have sometimes still 
a slight resemblance to the first husband, and children 
begotten in adultery to the legitimate father. Such an 
after-effect has been still more distinctly observed in the 
case of brutes. The second limitation is, that in the son 
the moral character of the father certainly appears, yet 
under the modification which it has received through 
another and often very different intellect (the inheritance 
from the mother), and thus a correction of the observation 
becomes necessary. This modification may be important 
or trifling in proportion to that difference, but it can never 
be so great that the fundamental traits of the paternal 
character do not always appear under it recognisably 
enough, like a man who has disguised himself by an 
entirely different kind of dress, wig, and beard. For ex 
ample, if by inheritance from the mother a man is pre 
eminently endowed with reason, thus with the power of 
reflection and deliberation, the passions inherited from his 
father are partly bridled by this, partly concealed, and 
accordingly only attain to a methodical, systematic, or 
secret manifestation, and thus a very different pheno 
menon from that of the father, who perhaps had only a 
very limited mind, will then result ; and in the same way 
the converse case may occur. The inclinations and pas 
sions of the mother, on the other hand, do not reappear at 
all in the children, often indeed their opposite. 

Historical examples have the advantage over those of pri 
vate life of being universally known ; but, on the other hand, 
they are of course impaired by the uncertainty and frequent 
falsification of all tradition, and especially also by the fact 
that as a rule they only contain the public, not the private 
life, and consequently only the political actions, not the 


finer manifestations of character. However, I wish to 
support the truth we are speaking of by a few historical 
examples, to which those who have made a special study 
of history can no doubt add a far larger number of equally 
pertinent cases. 

It is well known that P. Decius Mus sacrificed his life 
for his country with heroic nobleness ; for, solemnly com 
mitting himself and the enemy to the infernal deities, 
with covered face he plunged into the army of the Latins. 
About forty years later his son, of the same name, did 
exactly the same thing in the war against the Gauls (Liv. 
viii. 6 ; x. 28). Thus a thorough proof of the Horatian 
fortes creantur fortibus et lonis : the converse of which is 
thus given by Shakspeare 

w Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base." 

CYMBELINB, iv. 2. 

Early Eoman history presents to us whole families whose 
members in long succession distinguished themselves by 
devoted patriotism and courage ; such were the gens Fabia 
and the gens Fabricia. Again, Alexander the Great was 
fond of power and conquest, like his father Philip. The 
pedigree of Nero which, with a moral intention, Suetonius 
(c. 4 et 5) gives at the beginning of his sketch of this 
monster is very well worth considering. It is the gens 
Claudia he describes, which flourished in Eome through 


six centuries, and produced not only capable, but arrogant 
and cruel men. From it sprang Tiberius, Caligula, and 
finally Nero. In his grandfather, and still more strongly 
in his father, all those atrocious qualities show themselves, 
which could only attain their perfect development in Nero, 
partly because his higher position afforded them freer scope, 
partly because he had for his mother the irrational Bac 
chante, Agrippina, who could impart to him no intellect to 
bridle his passions. Quite in our sense, therefore, Suetonius 
relates that at his birth prcesagio fuit etiam Domitii, patris, 
vox, inter gratulationes amicorum, negantis, quidquam ex se 


et Agrippina, nisi detestabile et malo publico nasci potuisse. 
On the other hand, Cimon was the son of Miltiades, and 
Hannibal of Hamilcar, and the Scipios make up a whole 
family of heroes and noble defenders of their country. 
But the son of Pope Alexander VI. was his hideous image, 
Caesar Borgia. The son of the notorious Duke of Alba 
was just as cruel and wicked a man as his father. The 
malicious and unjust Philip IV. of France, who is specially 
known by his cruel torture and execution of the knights 
templars, had for his daughter Isabella, wife of Edward 
II. of England, who rebelled against her husband, took 
him prisoner, and after he had signed his abdication, since 
the attempt to kill him by ill-usage was unsuccessful, 
caused him to be put to death in prison in a manner 
which is too horrible for me to care to relate. The blood 
thirsty tyrant and defensor fidei, Henry VIII. of England 
had a daughter by his first marriage, Queen Mary, equally 
distinguished for bigotry and cruelty, who from her 
numerous burnings of heretics has won the name of Bloody 
Mary. His daughter by his second marriage, Elizabeth, 
received an excellent understanding from her mother, 
Anne Boleyn, which prevented bigotry and curbed the 
parental character in her, yet did not do away with it ; 
so that it still always shone through on occasions, and dis 
tinctly appeared in her cruel treatment of Mary of Scot 
land. Van Geuns 1 tells a story, after Marcus Donatus, 
of a Scotch girl whose father had been burnt as a high 
way robber and a cannibal when she was only one year 
old. Although she was brought up among quite different 
people, there developed in her the same craving for 
human flesh, and being caught in the act of satisfying 
it, she was buried alive. In the Freimuthigen of the 
1 3th July 1821 we read that in the department of Aube 
the police pursued a girl because she had murdered 
two children, whom she ought to have taken to the 

1 " Disputatio de corporttm habitudine, animce, hvgusque virium indict." 
Harderov., 1789, 9. 


foundling hospital, in order to keep the little money given 
to the children. At last the police found the girl on the 
road to Paris, near Eomilly, drowned, and her own father 
gave himself up as her murderer. Finally, let me mention 
a couple of cases which have occurred recently, and have 
therefore only the newspapers as their vouchers. In 
October 1836 a Count Belecznai was condemned to death 
in Hungary because he had murdered an official and 
severely wounded his own relations. His elder brother 
was executed earlier as a patricide, and his father also 
had been a murderer (Frankfurter Postzeitung of the 
26th October 1836). A year later the youngest brother 
of this Count, in the same street where the latter had 
murdered the official, fired a pistol at the steward of his 
estates, but missed him (Frankfurter Journal, i6th Sep 
tember 1837). In the Frankfurter Postzeitung of the igth 
November 1857 a correspondent in Paris announces the 
condemnation to death of a very dangerous highway 
robber, Lemaire, and his companions, and adds: "The 
criminal tendency seems hereditary in his family and in 
those of his confederates, as several of their race have 
died on the scaffold." It follows from a passage in the 
Laws of Plato that similar cases were already known in 
Greece (Stol. Flor., vol. ii. p. 213). The annals of crime 
will certainly have many similar pedigrees to show. The 
tendency to suicide is specially hereditary. 

On the other hand, when we see the excellent Marcus 
Aurelius have the wicked Commodus for a son, this does 
not not lead us astray ; for we know that the Diva Faus 
tina was a uxor in/amis. On the contrary, we mark this 
case in order in analogous cases to presume an analogous 
reason ; for example, that Domitian was the full brother 
of Titus I can never believe, but that Vespasian also was 
a deceived husband. 

Now, as regards the second part of the principle set up 
thus the inheritance of the intellect from the mother, this 
enjoys a far more general acceptance than the first part, 


which in itself appeals to the liberum arbitrium indif- 
ferentice, while its separate apprehension is opposed by 
the doctrine of the simplicity and indivisibility of the 
soul. Even the old and popular expression " mother- 
wit" shows the early recognition of this second truth, 
which depends upon the experience both with regard to 
small and great intellectual endowments, that they are 
the possession of those whose mothers proportionately 
distinguished themselves by their intelligence. That, on 
the other hand, the intellectual qualities of the father are 
not transmitted to the son is proved both by the fathers 
and the sons of men distinguished by the most eminent 
faculties, for, as a rule, they are quite ordinary men, with 
out a trace of the paternal mental gifts. But if now an 
isolated exception to this experience, so often confirmed, 
should appear ; such, for example, as is presented by Pitt 
and his father, Lord Chatham, we are warranted in as 
cribing it to accident, nay, obliged to do so, although, on 
account of the exceptional rarity of great talents, it ia 
certainly an accident of a most extraordinary kind. Here, 
however, the rule holds good : it is improbable that the 
improbable never happens. Besides, great statesmen (as 
was already mentioned in chapter 22) are so just as much 
through the qualities of their character, thus through what 
is inherited from the father, as through the superiority 
of their mind. On the other hand, among artists, poets, 
and philosophers, to whose works alone genius is properly 
ascribed, I know of no case analogous to that. Raphael s 
father was certainly a painter, but not a great one ; Mo 
zart s father, and also his son, were musicians, but not great 
ones. However, it is indeed wonderful that the fate which 
had destined a very short life to both of these men, each 
the greatest in his own sphere, as it were by way of com 
pensation, took care, by letting them be born already in 
their workshop, that, without suffering the loss of time in 
youth which for the most part occurs in the case of other 
men of genius, they received even from childhood, through 


paternal example and instruction, the necessary introduc 
tion into the art to which they were exclusively destined. 
This secret and mysterious power which seems to guide 
the individual life I have made the subject of special 
investigations, which I have communicated in the essay, 
" Ueber die scheiribare Absichtlichkeit im Schicksale des 
Einzelnen " (Parerga, vol. i.). It is further to be observed 
here that there are certain scientific occupations which 
certainly presuppose good native faculties, yet not those 
which are really rare and extraordinary ; while the prin 
cipal requirements are zealous efforts, diligence, patience, 
early instruction, sustained study, and much practice. From 
this, and not from the inheritance of the intellect of the 
father, the fact is to be explained that, since the son always 
willingly follows the path that has been opened up by the 
father, and almost all businesses are hereditary in certain 
families, in some sciences also, which before everything 
demand diligence and persistence, individual families can 
show a succession of men of merit ; such are the Scaligers, 
the Bernouillis, the Cassinis, the Herschels. 

The number of proofs of the actual inheritance of the 
intellect of the mother would be much greater than it 
appears if it were not that the character and disposition of 
the female sex is such that women rarely give public 
proof of their mental faculties ; and therefore these do not 
become historical, and thus known to posterity. Besides, 
on account of the weaker nature in general of the female 
sex, these faculties themselves can never reach the grade 
in them to which they may afterwards rise in the son ; 
thus, with reference to themselves, we have to estimate 
their achievements higher in this proportion. Accordingly 
in the first instance, only the following examples present 
themselves as proofs of our truth. Joseph II. was the 
son of Maria Theresia. Cardanus says in the third 
chapter, " De vita propria : " " Mater mea fuit memoria et 
ingenio pollens." J. J. Eousseau says in the first book 
of the " Confessions : " " La leaute" de ma mire, son 


esprit, ses talents, die en avait de trop brillans pour son 

Mat," &c., and then quotes some delightful lines of hers. 

D Alembert was the illegitimate son of Claudine de 

Tencin, a woman of superior mind, and the author of 

several romances and similar works, which met with 

great approbation in her day, and should even still be 

enjoyable (see her biography in the " Matter fur littera- 

rische Unterhaltung" March 1845, Nos. 71-73). That 

Buffon s mother was a remarkable woman is shown by 

the following passage from the " Voyage a Montbar, par 

He rault de Sechelles," which Flourens quotes in his " His- 

toire des travaux de Buffon" p. 288 : " Buffon avait ce 

principe qu en ge ne ral les enfants tenaient de leur mere 

leurs qualite s intellectuelles et morales : et lorsqu il I avait 

de veloppe dans la conversation, il en faisait sur-le-champ 

I application d lui-m^me, enfaisant un doge pompeux de sa 

mere, qui avait en effet, beaucoup d esprit, des connaissances 

e tandues, et une tSte tres Hen organised" That he includes 

the moral qualities is an error which is either committed 

by the reporter, or depends upon the fact that his mother 

had accidentally the same character as himself and his 

father. The contrary of this is shown in innumerable cases 

in which the mother and the son have opposite characters. 

Hence the greatest dramatists could present, in Orestes and 

Hamlet, mother and son in hostile conflict, in which the 

son appears as the moral representative and avenger of 

his father. On the other hand, the converse case, that the 

son should appear as the moral representative and avenger 

of the mother against the father, would be revolting and, 

at the same time, almost absurd. This depends upon the 

fact that between father and son there is actual identity 

of nature, which is the will, but between mother and son 

there is merely identity of intellect, and even this only in 

a conditioned manner. Between mother and son the 

greatest moral opposition can exist, between father and 

son only an intellectual opposition. From this point of 

view, also, one should recognise the necessity of the Salic 


law : the woman cannot carry on the race. Hume says 
iii his short autobiography : " Our mother was a woman 
of singular merit." It is said of Kant s mother in the 
most recent biography by F. W. Schubert : " According to 
the judgment of her son himself, she was a woman of 
great natural understanding. For that time, when there 
was so little opportunity for the education of girls, she 
was exceptionally well instructed, and she also continued 
later to care for her further education by herself. In the 
course of walks she drew the attention of her son to all 
kinds of natural phenomena, and tried to explain to him 
through them the power of God." What a remarkably 
able, clever, and superior woman Goethe s mother was is 
now universally known. How much she has been spoken 
of in literature ! while his father has not been spoken of at 
all ; Goethe himself describes him as a man of subordi 
nate faculties. Schiller s mother was susceptible to poetry, 
and made verses herself, a fragment of which will be found 
in his biography by Schwab. Burger, that genuine poetic 
genius, to whom perhaps the first place after Goethe among 
German poets belongs for compared with his ballads those 
of Schiller seem cold and laboured has given an account 
of his parents which for us is significant, and which 
his friend and physician, Althof repeats in his biography 
which appeared in 1798, in these words: "Burger s father 
was certainly provided with a variety of knowledge after 
the manner of study prevalent at the time, and was also a 
good, honourable man ; but he loved his quiet comfort and 
his pipe of tobacco so much, that, as my friend used to 
say, he had always first to pull himself together if he was 
going to apply himself for a quarter of an hour or so to 
the instruction of his son. His wife was a woman of extra 
ordinary mental endowments, which, however, were so 
little cultivated that she had scarcely learnt to write legibly. 
Burger thought that with proper culture his mother would 
have been the most famous of her sex, although he several 
times expressed a strong disapproval of different traits of 


her moral character. However, he believed that he inherited 
from his mother some mental gifts, and from his father 
an agreement with his moral character." "Walter Scott s 
mother was a poetess, and was in communication with the 
wits of her time, as we learn from the obituary notice of 
Walter Scott in the Globe of 24th September 1832. That 
poems of hers appeared in print in 1789 I find from an 
article entitled " Mother- wit," in the Blatter fur littera- 
rische Unterhaltung of 4th October 1841, published by 
Brockhaus, which gives a long list of clever mothers of 
distinguished men, from which I shall only take two: 
" Bacon s mother was a distinguished linguist, wrote and 
translated several works, and in all of them showed learn 
ing, acuteness, and taste. Boerhave s mother distinguished 
herself through medical knowledge." On the other hand, 
Haller has preserved for us a strong proof of the inherit 
ance of the mental weakness of the mother, for he says : " E 
ditabus patriciis sororibus, 6b divitias maritos nactis, quum 
tamen fatuis essent proximce, novimus in nobilissimas gentes 
nunc a seculo retro ejus morbi manasse semina, ut etiam in 
quarta generatione, quintave, omnium posterorum aliqui 
fatui supersint " (Elementa physiol., Lib. xxix. 8). Also, 
according to Esquirol, madness is more frequently in 
herited from the mother than the father. If, however, it 
is inherited from the father, I attribute this to the dis 
position of the character whose influence occasions it. 

It seems to follow from our principle that sons of the 
same mother have equal mental capacity, and if one should 
be highly gifted the other must be so also. Sometimes 
it is so. Examples of this are the Carracci, Joseph and 
Michael Haydn, Bernard and Andreas Romberg, George 
and Frederic Cuvier. I would also add the brothers 
Schlegel, if it were not that the younger, Friedrich, made 
himself unworthy of the honour of being named along with 
his excellent, blameless, and highly distinguished brother, 
August Wilhelm, by the disgraceful obscurantism which 
in the last quarter of his life he pursued along with Adam 


Miiller. For obscurantism is a sin, possibly not against 
the Holy Spirit, but yet against the human spirit, which 
one ought therefore never to forgive, but always and 
everywhere implacably to remember against whoever has 
been guilty of it, and take every opportunity of showing 
contempt for him so long as he lives, nay, after he is dead. 
But just as often the above result does not take place ; for 
example, Kant s brother was quite an ordinary man. To 
explain this I must remind the reader of what is said in 
the thirty-first chapter on the physiological conditions of 
genius. Not only an extraordinarily developed and abso 
lutely correctly formed brain (the share of the mother) is 
required, but also a very energetic action of the heart to 
animate it, i.e., subjectively a passionate will, a lively 
temperament: this is the inheritance from the father. 
But this quality is at its height only during the father s 
strongest years ; and the mother ages still more quickly. 
Accordingly the highly gifted sons will, as a rule, be the 
eldest, begotten in the full strength of both parents ; thus 
Kant s brother was eleven years younger than him. Even 
in the case of two distinguished brothers, as a rule, the 
elder will be the superior. But not only the age, but 
every temporary ebb of the vital force or other disturbance 
of health in the parents at the time when the child is 
begotten may interfere with the part of one or other, 
and prevent the appearance of a man of eminent talent, 
which is therefore so exceedingly rare a phenomenon. It 
may be said, in passing, that in the case of twins the 
absence of all the differences just mentioned is the cause 
of the quasi-identity of their nature. 

If single cases should be found in which a highly gifted 
son had a mother who was not mentally distinguished 
at all, this may be explained from the fact that this 
mother herself had a phlegmatic father, and on this ac 
count her more than ordinarily developed brain was not 
adequately excited by a corresponding energy of the 
circulation a necessary condition, as I have explained 


above in chapter 31. Nevertheless, her highly perfected 
nervous and cerebral system was transmitted to the son, 
in whose case a father with a lively and passionate 
disposition and an energetic action of the heart was 
added, and thus the other physical condition of great 
mental power first appeared here. Perhaps this was 
Byron s case, since we nowhere find the mental advantages 
of his mother mentioned. The same explanation is also 
to be applied to the case in which the mother of a son of 
genius who was herself distinguished for mental gifts had 
a mother who was by no means clever, for the father of 
the latter has been a man of a phlegmatic disposition. 

The inharmonious, disproportionate, ambiguous element 
in the character of most men might perhaps be referred 
to the fact that the individual has not a simple origin, but 
derives the will from the father and the intellect from the 
mother. The more heterogeneous and ill-adapted to each 
other the two parents were, the greater will that want of 
harmony, that inner variance, be. While some excel 
through their heart and others through their head, there 
are still others whose excellence lies in a certain harmony 
and unity of the whole nature, which arises from the fact 
that in them heart and head are so thoroughly adapted 
that they mutually support and advance each other ; 
which leads us to assume that the parents were peculiarly 
suited to each other, and agreed in an exceptional 

With reference to the physiological side of the theory 
set forth, I wish now to mention that Burdach, who erro 
neously assumes that the same psychical qualities may 
be inherited now from the father, now from the mother, 
yet adds (Physiologie ah Erfahrungswissenschaft, vol. i. 
306) : " As a whole, the male element has more influence 
in determining the irritable life, and the female element, 
on the other hand, has more influence on the sensibility." 
What Linne* says in the " Systema natures," Tom. i. p. 8, 
is also in point here : " Mater prolifera promit, ante genera- 


tionem, vivum compendium medullare novi animalis sui- 
que simillimi, carinam Malpighianam dictum, tanquam 
plumulam vegetabilium : hoc ex genitura Cor adsociat rami- 
ficandum in corpus. Punctum emin saliens ovi incubantis 
avis ostendit primum cor micans, cerebrumque cum medulla : 
corculum hoc, cessans a frigore, excitatur calido halitu, pre- 
mitque bulla aerea, sensim dilatata, liquores, secundum 
canales Jluxiles. Punctum vitalitatis itaque in mventibus 
est tanquam a prima creatione continuata medullaris vitw 
ramificatio, cum ovum sit gemma medullaris matris a 
primordio viva, licet non sua ante proprium cor paternum. 

If we now connect the conviction we have gained here 
of the inheritance of the character from the father and 
the intellect from the mother with our earlier investiga- 


tion of the wide gulf which nature has placed between 
man and man in a moral as in an intellectual regard, and 
also with our knowledge of the absolute unalterableness 
both of the character and of the mental faculties, we 
shall be led to the view that a real and thorough improve 
ment of the human race might be attained to not so 
much from without as from within, thus not so much by 
instruction and culture as rather upon the path of genera 
tion. Plato had already something of the kind in his 
mind when in the fifth book of his Republic he set forth 
his wonderful plan for increasing and improving his class 
of warriors. If we could castrate all scoundrels, and 
shut up all stupid geese in monasteries, and give persons 
of noble character a whole harem, and provide men, and 
indeed complete men, for all maidens of mind and under 
standing, a generation would soon arise which would 
produce a better age than that of Pericles. But, without 
entering into such Utopian plans, it might be taken into 
consideration that if, as, if I am not mistaken, was actually 
the case among certain ancient nations, castration was 
the severest punishment after death, the world would be 
delivered from whole races of scoundrels, all the more cer 
tainly as it is well known that most crimes are committed 


between the age of twenty and thirty. 1 In the same way, 
it might be considered whether, as regards results, it would 
not be more advantageous to give the public dowries which 
upon certain occasions have to be distributed, not, as is 
now customary, to the girls who are supposed to be the 
most virtuous, but to those who have most understanding 
and are the cleverest ; especially as it is very difficult to 
judge as to virtue, for, as it is said, only God sees the 
heart. The opportunities for displaying a noble character 
are rare, and a matter of chance ; besides, many a girl has 
a powerful support to her virtue in her plainness ; on the 
other hand, as regards understanding, those who them 
selves are gifted with it can judge with great certainty 
after some examination. The following is another prac 
tical application. In many countries, among others in 
South Germany, the bad custom prevails of women carry 
ing burdens, often very considerable, upon the head. This 
must act disadvantageous^ upon the brain, which must 
thereby gradually deteriorate in the female sex of the 
nation ; and since from that sex the male sex receives its 
brain, the whole nation becomes ever more stupid ; which 
in many cases is by no means necessary. Accordingly 
by the abolition of this custom the quantum of intelli 
gence in the whole nation would be increased, which 
would positively be the greatest increase of the national 

But if now, leaving such practical applications to others, 
we return to our special point of view, the ethico-meta- 
physical standpoint since we connect the content of 
chapter 41 with that of the present chapter the following 

1 Lichtenberg says in his rmscel- it is not propagated. Moreover, the 

laneous writings (Gb ttingen, iSoi, courage ceases, and since the sexual 

vol. ii. p. 447) : " In England it was passion so frequently leads to thefts, 

proposed to castrate thieves. The this cause would also disappear. The 

proposal is not bad : the punish- remark that women would so much 

ment is very severe ; it makes per- the more eagerly restrain their hus- 

sons contemptible, and yet leaves bands from stealing is roguish, for 

them still fit for trail; s ; and if as things are at present they risk 

stealing is hereditary, in this way losing them altogether. " 


result will present itself to us, which, with all its tran 
scendence, has yet a direct empirical support. It is the same 
character, thus the same individually determined will, that 
lives in all the descendants of one stock, from the remote 
ancestor to the present representative of the family. But 
in each of these a different intellect is given with it, thus a 
different degree and a different kind of knowledge. Thus 
in each of these life presents itself to it from another side 
and in a different light : it receives a new fundamental view 
of it, a new instruction. It is true that, since the intellect 
is extinguished with the individual, that will cannot sup 
plement the insight of one course of life with that of another. 
But in consequence of each fundamentally new view of life, 
such as only a renewed personality can impart to it, its 
willing itself receives a different tendency, thus experiences 
a modification from it, and what is the chief concern, the 
will, has, in this new direction, either to assert life anew or 
deny it. In this way does the arrangement of nature of an 
ever- changing connection of a will with an intellect, which 
arises from the necessity of two sexes for reproduction, be 
come the basis of a method of salvation. For by virtue of 
this arrangement life unceasingly presents new sides to 
the will (whose image and mirror it is), turns itself about, as 
it were, without intermission before its sight, allows different 
and ever different modes of perception to try their effect 
upon it, so that upon each of these it must decide for asser 
tion or denial, both of which constantly stand open to it 
only that, if once denial is chosen, the whole phenomenon 
ceases for it with death. Now because, according to this, 
it is just the constant renewal and complete alteration of 
the intellect for the same will which, as imparting a new 
view of the world, holds open the path of salvation, and 
because the intellect comes from the mother, the profound 
reason may lie here on account of which all nations (with 
very few and doubtful exceptions) abominate and forbid 
the marriage of brothers and sisters, nay, even on account 
of which sexual love does not arise at all between brothers 


and sisters, unless in very rare exceptions, which depend 
upon an unnatural perversity of the instinct, if not upon 
the fact that one of the two is illegitimate. For from a 
marriage of brothers and sisters nothing could proceed 
but constantly ever the same will with the same intellect, 
as both already exist united in both the parents, thus the 
hopeless repetition of the phenomenon which has already 

But if now, in the particular case and close at hand, we 
contemplate the incredibly great and yet manifest differ 
ence of characters find one so good and philanthropic, 
another so wicked, nay, ferocious ; again, behold one just, 
honest, and upright, and another completely false, as a sneak, 
a swindler, a traitor, an incorrigible scoundrel there dis 
closes itself to us a chasm in our investigation, for in vain 
we ponder, reflecting on the origin of such a difference. 
Hindus and Buddhists solve the problem by saying, " It 
is the consequence of the deeds of the preceding courses 
of life." This solution is certainly the oldest, also the most 
comprehensible, and has come from the wisest of mankind; 
but it only pushes the question further back. Yet a more 
satisfactory answer will hardly be found. From the point 
of view of my whole teaching, it remains for me to say that 
here, where we are speaking of the will as thing in itself, 
the principle of sufficient reason, as merely the form of 
the phenomenon, is no longer applicable ; with it, how 
ever, all why and whence disappear. Absolute freedom 
just consists in this, that something is not subject at all 
to the principle of sufficient reason, as the principle of all 
necessity. Such freedom, therefore, only belongs to the 
thing in itself. And this is just the will. Accordingly, in 
its phenomenal manifestation, consequently in the Operari, 
it is subject to necessity ; but in the Esse, where it has 
determined itself as thing in itself, it is free. Whenever, 
therefore, we come to this, as happens here, all explana 
tion by means of reasons and consequents ceases, and 
nothing remains for us but to say that here manifests itself 


the true freedom of the will, which belongs to it because 
it is the thing in itself, which, however, just as such, is 
groundless, i.e., knows no why. But on this account all 
understanding ceases for us here, because all our under 
standing depends upon the principle of sufficient reason, 
for it consists in the mere application of that principle. 



" Ye wise men, highly, deeply learned, 
Who think it out and know, 
How, when, and where do all things pair 1 
Why do they kiss and love ? 
Ye men of lofty wisdom, say 
What happened to me then ; 
Search out and tell me where, how, when, 
And why it happened thus." 


THIS chapter is the last of four whose various reciprocal 
relations, by virtue of which, to a certain extent, they con- 
situte a subordinate whole, the attentive reader will recog 
nise without it being needful for me to interrupt my 
exposition by recalling them or referring to them. 

We are accustomed to see poets principally occupied 
with describing the love of the sexes. This is as a rule 
the chief theme of all dramatic works, tragical as well as 
comical, romantic as well as classical, Indian as well as 
European. Not less is it the material of by far the largest 
part of lyrical and also of epic poetry, especially if we 
class with the latter the enormous piles of romances which 
for centuries every year has produced in all the civilised 
countries of Europe as regularly as the fruits of the earth. 
As regards their main contents, all these works are 
nothing else than many-sided brief or lengthy descriptions 
of the passion we are speaking of. Moreover, the most 
successful pictures of it such, for example, as Eomeo and 
Juliet, La Nouvelle Hfloise, and Werther have gained 


immortal fame. Yet, when Eochefoucauld imagines that 
it is the same with passionate love as with ghosts, of which 
every one speaks, but which no one has seen ; and Lich- 
tenberg also in his essay, " Ueber die Macht der Hebe," 
disputes and denies the reality and naturalness of that 
passion, they are greatly in error. For it is impossible 
that something which is foreign and contrary to human 
nature, thus a mere imaginary caricature, could be un- 
weariedly represented by poetic genius in all ages, and 
received by mankind with unaltered interest ; for nothing 
that is artistically beautiful can be without truth : 

<l Rien n est beau que le vra/i; le vrai seul est aimable." 


Certainly, however, it is also confirmed by experience, 
although not by the experience of every day, that that 
which as a rule only appears as a strong yet still control 
lable inclination may rise under certain circumstances to a 
passion which exceeds all others in vehemence, and which 
then sets aside all considerations, overcomes all obstacles 
with incredible strength and perseverance, so that for its 
satisfaction life is risked without hesitation, nay, if that 
satisfaction is still withheld, is given as the price of it. 
Werthers and Jacopo Ortis exist not only in romance, but 
every year can show at least half a dozen of them in 
Europe : Sed ignotis perierunt mortibus illi ; for their sor 
rows find no other chroniclers than the writers of official 
registers or the reporters of the newspapers. Yet the 
readers of the police news in English and French journals 
will attest the correctness of my assertion. Still greater, 
however, is the number of those whom the same passion 
brings to the madhouse. Finally, every year can show 
cases of the double suicide of a pair of lovers who are 
opposed by outward circumstances. In such cases, how 
ever, it is inexplicable to me how those who, certain of 
mutual love, expect to find the supremest bliss in the en 
joyment of this, do not withdraw themselves from all con- 



nections by taking the extremest steps, and endure all 
hardships, rather than give up with life a pleasure which 
is greater than any other they can conceive. As regards 
the lower grades of that passion, and the mere approaches 
to it, every one has them daily before his eyes, and, 
as lon as he is not old, for the most part also in his 

So then, after what has here been called to mind, no 
one can doubt either the reality or the importance of the 
matter ; and therefore, instead of wondering that a philo 
sophy should also for once make its own this constant 
theme of all poets, one ought rather to be surprised that 
a thing which plays throughout so important a part in 
human life has hitherto practically been disregarded by 
philosophers altogether, and lies before us as raw material. 
The one who has most concerned himself with it is Plato, 
especially in the "Symposium" and the "Phsedrus." 
Yet what he says on the subject is confined to the sphere 
of myths, fables, and jokes, and also for the most part con 
cerns only the Greek love of youths. The little that Kous- 
seau says upon our theme in the " Discours sur I indgalitt" 
(p. 96, ed. Bip.) is false and insufficient. Kant s explanation 
of the subject in the third part of the essay, " Ueber das 
Gefuhl desSchonen und Erhdbenen" (p. 435 seq. of Eosen- 
kranz s edition), is very superficial and without practical 
knowledge, therefore it is also partly incorrect. Lastly, 
Platner s treatment of the matter in his " Anthropology " 

( J 347 se ?-) ever y one w iU fi n( * dull an( ^ shadow- O n 
the other hand, Spinoza s definition, on account of its 
excessive naivete", deserves to be quoted for the sake of 
amusement: "Amor est titillatio, concomitante idea causce 
extemce (Eth. iv., prop. 44, dem.} Accordingly I have no 
predecessors either to make use of or to refute. The sub 
ject has pressed itself upon me objectively, and has entered 
of its own accord into the connection of my consideration of 
the world. Moreover, least of all can I hope for approba 
tion from those who are themselves under the power of 


this passion, and who accordingly seek to express the 
excess of their feelings in the sublimest and most ethereal 
images. To them my view will appear too physical, too 
material, however metaphysical and even transcendent it 
may be at bottom. Meanwhile let them reflect that if the 
object which to-day inspires them to write madrigals and 
sonnets had been born eighteen years earlier it would 
scarcely have won a glance from them. 

For all love, however ethereally it may bear itself, is 
rooted in the sexual impulse alone, nay, it absolutely is 
only a more definitely determined, specialised, and indeed 
in the strictest sense individualised sexual impulse. If 
now, keeping this in view, one considers the important 
part which the sexual impulse in all its degrees and 
nuances plays not only on the stage and in novels, but 
also in the real world, where, next to the love of life, it 
shows itself the strongest and most powerful of motives, 
constantly lays claim to half the powers and thoughts of 
the younger portion of mankind, is the ultimate goal of 
almost all human effort, exerts an adverse influence on 
the most important events, interrupts the most serious 
occupations every hour, sometimes embarrasses for a 
while even the greatest minds, does not hesitate to intrude 
with its trash interfering with the negotiations of states 
men and the investigations of men of learning, knows 
how to slip its love letters and locks of hair even into 
ministerial portfolios arid philosophical manuscripts, and 
no less devises daily the most entangled and the worst 
actions, destroys the most valuable relationships, breaks 
the firmest bonds, demands the sacrifice sometimes of life 
or health, sometimes of wealth, rank, and happiness, nay, 
robs those who are otherwise honest of all conscience, 
makes those who have hitherto been faithful, traitors; 
accordingly, on the whole, appears as a malevolent demon 
that strives to pervert, confuse, and overthrow everything ; 
then one will be forced to cry, Wherefore all this noise ? 
Wherefore the straining and storming, the anxiety and 


want ? It is merely a question of every Hans finding 
his Grethe. 1 Why should such a trifle play so important 
a part, and constantly introduce disturbance and confusion 
into the well-regulated life of man ? But to the earnest 
investigator the spirit of truth gradually reveals the 
answer. It is no trifle that is in question here ; on the 
contrary, the importance of the matter is quite propor 
tionate to the seriousness and ardour of the effort. The 
ultimate end of all love affairs, whether they are played 
in sock or cothurnus, is really more important than all 
other ends of human life, and is therefore quite worthy 
of the profound seriousness with which every one pursues 
it. That which is decided by it is nothing less than the 
composition of the next generation. The dramatis personce 
who shall appear when we are withdrawn are here deter 
mined, both as regards their existence and their nature, by 
these frivolous love affairs. As the being, the existentia, 
of these future persons is absolutely conditioned by our 
sexual impulse generally, so their nature, essentia, is deter 
mined by the individual selection in its satisfaction, i.e., 
by sexual love, and is in every respect irrevocably fixed 
by this. This is the key of the problem : we shall arrive 
at a more accurate knowledge of it in its application if we 
go through the degrees of love, from the passing inclina 
tion to the vehement passion, when we shall also recognise 
that the difference of these grades arises from the degree 
of the individualisation of the choice. 

The collective love affairs of the present generation 
taken together are accordingly, of the whole human race, 
the serious meditatio compositionis generationis futures, e 
qua iterum pendent innumerce generationes. This high 
importance of the matter, in which it is not a question of 
individual weal or woe, as in all other matters, but of the 
existence and special nature of the human race in future 
times, and therefore the will of the individual appears 

1 I have not ventured to express myself distinctly here : the courteous 
reader must therefore translate the phrase into Aristophanic language. 


at a higher power as the will oLthe^apaciei^ -this it is 
on which the pathetic and sublime elements in affairs 
of love depend, which for thousands of years poets have 
never wearied of representing in innumerable examples ; 
because no theme can equal in interest this one, which 
stands to all others which only concern the welfare of 
individuals as the solid body to the surface, because it 
concerns the weal and woe of the species. Just on this 
account, then, is it so difficult to impart interest to a 
drama without the element of love, and, on the other 
hand, this theme is never worn out even by daily use. 

That which presents itself in the individual conscious 
ness as sexual impulse in general, without being directed 
towards a definite individual of the other sex, is in itself, 
and apart from the phenomenon, simply the will to live. 
But what appears in consciousness as a sexual impulse 
directed to a definite individual is in itself the will to 
live as a definitely determined individual. Now in this 
case the sexual impulse, although in itself a subjective 
need, knows how to assume very skilfully the mask of an 
objective admiration, and thus to deceive our conscious 
ness ; for nature requires this stratagem to attain its ends. 
But yet that in every case of falling in love, however 
objective and sublime this admiration may appear, what 
alone is looked to is the production of an individual of a 
definite nature is primarily confirmed by the fact that 
the essential matter is not the reciprocation of love, but 
possession, i.e., the physical enjoyment. The certainty of 
the former can therefore by no means console us for the 
want of the latter ; on the contrary, in such a situation 
many a man has shot himself. On the other hand, 
persons who are deeply in love, and can obtain no return 
of it, are contented with possession, i.e., with the physical 
enjoyment. This is proved by all forced marriages, and 
also by the frequent purchase of the favour of awoman, 
in spite of her dislike, by large presents or other sacrifices, 
nay, even by cases of rape. That this particular child 


shall be begotten is, although unknown to the parties con 
cerned, the true end of the whole love story ; the nian- 
iie-r in which it is attained is a secondary consideration. 
Now, however loudly persons of lofty and sentimental 
soul, and especially those who are in love, may cry out 
here about the gross realism of my view, they are yet in 
error. For is not the definite determination of the in 
dividualities of the next generation a much higher and 
more worthy end than those exuberant feelings and super 
sensible soap bubbles of theirs? Nay, among earthly 
aims, can there be one which is greater or more important ? 
It alone corresponds to the profoundness with which 
passionate love is felt, to the seriousness with which it 
appears, and the importance which it attributes even to 
the trifling details of its sphere and occasion. Only so 
far as this end is assumed as the true one do the diffi 
culties encountered, the infinite exertions and annoyances 
made and endured for the attainment of the loved object, 
appear proportionate to the matter. For it is the future 
generation, in its whole individual determinateness, that 
presses into existence by means of those efforts and toils. 
Nay, it is itself already active in that careful, definite, 
and arbitrary choice for the satisfaction of the sexual 
impulse which we call love. The growing inclination of 
two lovers is really already the will to live of the new 
individual which they can and desire to produce; nay, 
even in the meeting of their longing glances its new life 
breaks out, and announces itself as a future individuality 
harmoniously and well composed. They feel the longing 
for an actual union and fusing together into a single 
being, in order to live on only as this ; and this longing 
receives its fulfilment in the child which is produced by 
them, as that in which the qualities transmitted by them 
both, fused and united in one being, live on. Conversely, 
the mutual, decided and persistent aversion between a 
man and a maid is a sign that what they could produce 
Would only be a badly organised, in itself inharmonious 


and unhappy being. Hence there lies a deeper meaning 
in the fact that Calderon, though he calls the atrocious 
Semiramis the daughter of the air, yet introduces her 
as the daughter of rape followed by the murder of the 

But, finally, what draws two individuals of different 
sex exclusively to each other with such power is the will 
to live, which exhibits itself in the whole species, and 
which here anticipates in the individual which these two 
can produce an objectification of its nature answering to 
ibs aims. This individual will have the will, or character, 
from the father, the intellect from the mother, and the 
corporisation from both; yet, for the most part, the figure 
vill take more after the father, the size after the mother, 
according to the law which comes out in the breeding of 
hybrids among the brutes, and principally depends upon 
the fact that the size of the foetus must conform to the 
size of the uterus. Just as inexplicable as the quite special 
individuality of any man, which is exclusively peculiar 
to him, is also the quite special and individual passion 
of two lovers ; indeed at bottom the two are one and the 
same: the former is explicite what the latter was impli- 
cite. The moment at which the parents begin to love each 
other to fancy each other, as the very happy English 
expression has it is really to be regarded as the first ap 
pearance of a new individual and the true punctum salient 
of its life, and, as has been said, in the meeting and fixino- 
of their longing glances there appears the first germ ol 
the new being, which certainly, like all germs, is gene- 
rally crushed out. This new individual is to a certain 
extent a new (Platonic) Idea ; and now, as all Ideas strive 
with the greatest vehemence to enter the phenomenal 
world, eagerly seizing for this end upon the matter which 
the law of causality divides among them all, so also 
does this particular Idea of a human individuality strive 
with the greatest eagerness and vehemence towards its 
realisation in the phenomenon. This eagerness and vehe- 


mence is just the passion of the two future parents for 
each other. It lias innumerable degrees, the two extremes 
of which may at any rate be described as AQpo&trr) irav^rj- 
/w-o? and ovpavia ; in its nature, however, it is everywhere 
the same. On the other hand, it will be in degree so mucL 
the more powerful the more individualised it is ; that is, the 
more the loved individual is exclusively suited, by virtue 
of all his or her parts and qualities, to satisfy the desire 
of the lover and the need established by his or her own indi 
viduality. What is really in question here will become 
clear in the further course of our exposition. Primarily 
ind essentially the inclination of love is directed to health, 
strength, and beauty, consequently also to youth ; because 
the will first of all seeks to exhibit the specific character 
of the human species as the basis of all individuality : 
ordinary amorousness (A^poBirij Trai/S^o?) does not go 
much further. To these, then, more special claims link 
themselves on, which we shall investigate in detail further- 
on, and with which, when they see satisfaction before 
them, the passion increases. But the highest degrees 
of this passion spring from that suitableness of two indi 
vidualities to each other on account of which the will, 
i.e., the character, of the father and the intellect of 
the mother, in their connection, make up precisely that 
individual towards which the will to live in general which 
exhibits itself in the whole species feels a longing pro 
portionate to this its magnitude, and which therefore 
exceeds the measure of a mortal heart, and the motives of 
which, in the same way, lie beyond the sphere of the 
individual intellect. This is thus the soul of a true and 
great passion. Now the more perfect is the mutual 
adaptation of two individuals to each other in each of the 
many respects which have further to be considered, the 
stronger will be their mutual passion. Since there do 
not exist two individuals exactly alike, there must be for 
each particular man a particular woman always with 
reference to what is to be produced who corresponds 


most perfectly. A really passionate love is as rare as the 
accident of these two meeting. Since, however, the pos 
sibility of such a love is present in every one, the repre 
sentations of it in the works of the poets are comprehen 
sible to us. Just because the passion of love really turns 
about that which is to be produced, and its qualities, and 
because its kernel lies here, a friendship without any 
admixture of sexual love can exist between two young 
and good-looking persons of different sex, on account of 
the agreement of their disposition, character, and mental 
tendencies ; nay, as regards sexual love there may even be 
a certain aversion between them. The reason of this is to 
be sought in the fact that a child produced by them would 
have physical or mental qualities which were inhar 
monious; in short, its existence and nature would not 
answer the ends of the will to live as it exhibits itself in 
the species. On the other hand, in the case of difference of 
disposition, character, and mental tendency, and the dis 
like, nay, enmity, proceeding from this, sexual love may 
yet arise and exist ; when it then blinds us to all that ; 
and if it here leads to marriage it will be a very unhappy 

Let us now set about the more thorough investigation 
of the matter. Egoism is so deeply rooted a quality of 
all individuals in general, that in order to rouse the 
activity of an individual being egoistical ends are the 
only ones upon which we can count with certainty. Cer 
tainly the species has an earlier, closer, and greater claim 
upon the individual than the perishable individuality 
itself. Yet when the individual has to act, and even 
make sacrifices for the continuance and quality of the 
species, the importance of the matter cannot be made so 
comprehensible to his intellect, which is calculated merely 
with regard to individual ends, as to have its propor 
tionate effect. Therefore in such a case nature can only 
attain its ends by implanting a certain illusion in the 
individual, on account of which that which is only a 


good for the species appears to him as a good for himself, 
so that when he serves the species he imagines he is 
serving himself; in which process a mere chimera, which 
vanishes immediately afterwards, floats before him, and 
takes the place of a real thing as a motive. This illusion 
is instinct. In the great majority of cases this is to be 
regarded as the sense of the species, which presents what 
is of benefit to it to the will. Since, however, the will 
has here become individual, it must be so deluded that 
it apprehends through the sense of the individual what 
the sense of the species presents to it, thus imagines 
it is following individual ends while in truth it is pur 
suing ends which are merely general (taking this word 
in its strictest sense). The external phenomenon of 
instinct we can best observe in the brutes where its 
rdle is most important ; but it is in ourselves alone that 
we arrive at a knowledge of its internal process, as of 
everything internal. Now it is certainly supposed that 
man has almost no instinct ; at any rate only this, that 
the new-born babe seeks for and seizes the breast of its 
mother. But, in fact, we have a very definite, distinct, 
and complicated instinct, that of the selection of another 
individual for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, a 
selection which is so fine, so serious, and so arbitrary. 
With this satisfaction in itself, i.e., so far as it is a sensual 
pleasure resting upon a pressing want of the individual, 
the beauty or ugliness of the other individual has nothing 
to do. Thus the regard for this which is yet pursued 
with such ardour, together with the careful selection 
which springs from it, is evidently connected, not with the 
chooser himself although he imagines it is so but with 
the true end, that which is to be produced, which is to re 
ceive the type of the species as purely and correctly as 
possible. Through a thousand physical accidents and moral 
aberrations there arise a great variety of deteriorations of the 
human form ; yet its true type, in all its parts, is always 
again established : and this takes place under the guidance 


of the sense of beauty, which always directs the sexual 
impulse, and without which this sinks to the level of a 
disgusting necessity. Accordingly, in the first place, every 
one will decidedly prefer and eagerly desire the most beau 
tiful individuals, i.e., those in whom the character of the 
species is most purely impressed ; but, secondly, each one 
will specially regard as beautiful in another individual 
those perfections which he himself lacks, nay, even those 
imperfections which are the opposite of his own. Hence, 
for example, little men love big women, fair persons like 
dark, &c. &c. The delusive ecstasy which seizes a man 
at the sight of a woman whose beauty is suited to him, and 
pictures to him a union with her as the highest good, is 
just the sense of the species, which, recognising the distinctly 
expressed stamp of the same, desires to perpetuate it with 
this individual. Upon this decided inclination to beauty 
depends the maintenance of the type of the species : 
hence it acts with such great power. We shall examine 
specially further on the considerations which it follows. 
Thus what guides man here is really an instinct which 
is directed to doing the best for the species, while the man 
himself imagines that he only seeks the heightening of his 
own pleasure. In fact, we have in this an instructive 
lesson concerning the inner nature of all instinct, which, 
as here, almost always sets the individual in motion for 
the good of the species. For clearly the pains with which 
an insect seeks out a particular flower, or fruit, or duno-, or 
flesh, or, as in the case of the ichneumonidae, the larva of 
another insect, in order to deposit its eggs there only, and 
to attain this end shrinks neither from trouble nor danger, 
is thoroughly analogous to the pains with which for his 
sexual satisfaction a man carefully chooses a woman with 
definite qualities which appeal to him individually, and 
strives so eagerly after her that in order to attain this end 
he often sacrifices his own happiness in life, contrary to all 
reason, by a foolish marriage, by love affairs which cost 
him wealth, honour, and life, even by crimes such as 


adultery or rape, all merely in order to serve the species in 
the most efficient way, although at the cost of the individual, 
in accordance with the will of nature which is everywhere 
sovereign. Instinct, in fact, is always an act which seems 
to be in accordance with the conception of an end, and yet 
is entirely without such a conception. Nature implants 
it wherever the acting individual is incapable of under 
standing the end, or would be unwilling to pursue it. 
Therefore, as a rule, it is given only to the brutes, and 
indeed especially to the lowest of them which have least 
understanding ; but almost only in the case we are here 
considering it is also given to man, who certainly 
could understand the end, but would not pursue it with 
the necessary ardour, that is, even at the expense of his 
individual welfare. Thus here, as in the case of all 
instinct, the truth assumes the form of an illusion, in 
order to act upon the will. It is a voluptuous illusion 
which leads the man to believe he will find a greater 
pleasure in the arms of a woman whose beauty appeals to 
him than in those of any other ; or which indeed, exclu 
sively directed to a single individual, firmly convinces 
him that the possession of her will ensure him excessive 
happiness. Therefore he imagines he is taking trouble 
and making sacrifices for his own pleasure, while he does 
so merely for the maintenance of the regular type of the 
species, or else a quite special individuality, which can 
only come from these parents, is to attain to existence. 
The character of instinct is here so perfectly present, 
thus an action which seems to be in accordance with the 
conception of an end, and yet is entirely without such a 
conception, that he who is drawn by that illusion often 
abhors the end which alone guides it, procreation, and 
would like to hinder it ; thus it is in the case of almost 
all illicit love affairs. In accordance with the character 
of the matter which has been explained, every lover will 
experience a marvellous disillusion after the pleasure he 
has at last attained, and will wonder that what was so 


longingly desired accomplishes nothing more than every 
other sexual satisfaction ; so that he does not see himself 
much benefited by it. That wish was related to all his 
other wishes as the species is related to the individual, 
thus as the infinite to the finite. The satisfaction, on the 
other hand, is really only for the benefit of the species, 
and thus does not come within the consciousness of the 
individual, who, inspired by the will of the species, here 
served an end with every kind of sacrifice, which was 
not his own end at all. Hence, then, every lover, after 
the ultimate consummation of the great work, finds him 
self cheated ; for the illusion has vanished by means of 
which the individual was here the dupe of the species. 
Accordingly Plato very happily says: "rjSow) cnravTfov 
aXa^ovecrrarov " (voluptas omnium maxime vaniloqua), 
Phileb. 319. 

But all this reflects light on the instincts and mecha 
nical tendencies of the brutes. They also are, without 
doubt, involved in a kind of illusion, which deceives them 
with the prospect of their own pleasure, while they work 
so laboriously and with so much self-denial for the species, 
the bird builds its nest, the insect seeks the only suitable 
place for its eggs, or even hunts for prey which, unsuited 
for its own enjoyment, must be laid beside the eggs as 
food for the future larvae, the bees, the wasps, the ants 
apply themselves to their skilful dwellings and highly 
complicated economy. They are all guided with certainty 
by an illusion, which conceals the service of the species 
under the mask of an egotistical end. This is probably 
the only way to comprehend the inner or subjective 
process that lies at the foundation of the manifestations 
of instinct. Outwardly, however, or objectively, we find 
in those creatures which are to a large extent governed 
by instinct, especially in insects, a preponderance of the 
ganglion system, i.e., the subjective nervous system, over 
the objective or cerebral system; from which we must 
conclude that they are moved, not so much by objective, 


proper apprehension as by subjective ideas exciting 
desire, which arise from the influence of the ganglion 
system upon the brain, and accordingly by a kind of 
illusion ; and this will be the physiological process in the 
case of all instinct. For the sake of illustration I will men 
tion as another example of instinct in the human species, 
although a weak one, the capricious appetite of women 
who are pregnant. It seems to arise from the fact that the 
nourishment of the embryo sometimes requires a special 
or definite modification of the blood which flows to it, 
upon which the food which produces such a modification 
at once presents itself to the pregnant woman as an 
object of ardent longing, thus here also an illusion arises. 
Accordingly woman has one instinct more than man ; and 
the ganglion system is also much more developed in the 
woman. That man has fewer instincts than the brutes 
and that even these few can be easily led astray, may be 
explained from the great preponderance of the brain in 
his case. The sense of beauty which instinctively guides 
the selection for the satisfaction of sexual passion is led 
astray when it degenerates into the tendency to pederasty ; 
analogous to the fact that the blue-bottle (Musca wmitoria), 
instead of depositing its eggs, according to instinct, in 
putrefying flesh, lays them in the blossom of the Arum 
dracunculus, deceived by the cadaverous smell of this 

Now that an instinct entirely directed to that which is 
to be produced lies at the foundation of all sexual love 
will receive complete confirmation from the fuller analysis 
of it, which we cannot therefore avoid. First of all we 
have to remark here that by nature man is inclined to 
inconstancy in love, woman to constancy. The love of 
the man sinks perceptibly from the moment it has obtained 
satisfaction ; almost every other woman charms him more 
than the one he already possesses ; he longs for variety. 
The love of the woman, on the other hand, increases just 
from that moment. This is a consequence of the aim of 


nature which is directed to the maintenance, and therefore 
to the greatest possible increase, of the species. The man 
can easily beget over a hundred children a year; the 
woman, on the contrary, with however many men, can 
yet only bring one child a year into the world (leaving 
twin births out of account). Therefore the man always 
looks about after other women ; the woman, again, sticks 
firmly to the one man ; for nature moves her, instinctively 
and without reflection, to retain the nourisher and pro 
tector of the future offspring. Accordingly faithfulness 
in marriage is with the man artificial, with the woman 
it is natural, and thus adultery on the part of the woman 
is much less pardonable than on the part of the man, 
both objectively on account of the consequences and also 
subjectively on account of its unnaturalness. 

But in order to be thorough and gain full conviction 
that the pleasure in the other sex, however objective it 
may seem to us, is yet merely disguised instinct, i.e., sense 
of the species, which strives to maintain its type, we must 
investigate more fully the considerations which guide us 
in this pleasure, and enter into the details of this, rarely as 
these details which will have to be mentioned here may 
have figured in a philosophical work before. These con 
siderations divide themselves into those which directly 
concern the type of the species, i.e., beauty, those which 
are concerned with physical qualities, and lastly, those 
which are merely relative, which arise from the requisite 
correction or neutralisation of the one-sided qualities and 
abnormities of the two individuals by each other. We 
shall go through them one by one. 

The first consideration which guides our choice and 
inclination is age. In general we accept the age from the 
years when menstruation begins to those when it ceases, 
yet we give the decided preference to the period from the 
eighteenth to the twenty-eighth year. Outside of those 
years, on the other hand, no woman can attract us : an 
old woman, i.e., one who no longer menstruates, excites our 


aversion. Youth without beauty has still always attrao 
tion ; beauty without youth has none. Clearly the un 
conscious end which guides us here is the possibility of 
reproduction in general : therefore every individual loses 
attraction for the opposite sex in proportion as he or she 
is removed from the fittest period for begetting or con 
ceiving. The second consideration is that of health. 
Acute diseases only temporarily disturb us, chronic dis 
eases or cachexia repel us, because they are transmitted 
to the child. The third consideration is the skeleton, 
because it is the basis of the type of the species. Next 
to age and disease nothing repels us so much as a deformed 
figure ; even the most beautiful face cannot atone for it ; 
on the contrary, even the ugliest face when accompanied 
by a straight figure is unquestionably preferred. Further, 
we feel every disproportion of the skeleton most strongly ; 
for example, a stunted, dumpy, short-boned figure, and 
many such ; also a halting gait, where it is not the result 
of an extraneous accident. On the other hand, a strik 
ingly beautiful figure can make up for all defects : it 
enchants us. Here also comes in the great value which 
all attach to the smallness of the feet : it depends upon 
the fact that they are an essential characteristic of the 
species, for no animal has the tarsus and the metatarsus 
taken together so small as man, which accords with his 
upright walk ; he is a plantigrade. Accordingly Jesus 
Sirach also says (xxvi. 23, according to the revised trans 
lation by Kraus) : " A woman with a straight figure and 
beautiful feet is like columns of gold in sockets of silver." 
The teeth also are important ; because they are essential 
for nourishment and . quite specially hereditary. The 
fourth consideration is a certain fulness of flesh ; thus a 
predominance of the vegetative function, of plasticity ; 
because this promises abundant nourishment for the 
foetus ; hence great leanness repels us in a striking degree. 
A full female bosom exerts an exceptional charm upon 
the male sex; because, standing in direct connection with 


the female functions of propagation, it promises abundant 
nourishment to the new-born child. On the other hand, 
excessively fat women excite our disgust: the cause is 
that this indicates atrophy of the uterus, thus barrenness ; 
which is not known by the head, but by instinct. The 
last consideration of all is the beauty of the face. Here 
also before everything else the bones are considered ; 
therefore we look principally for a beautiful nose, and a 
short turned-up nose spoils everything. A slight inclina 
tion of the nose downwards or upwards has decided the 
happiness in life of innumerable maidens, and rightly so, 
for it concerns the type of the species. A small mouth, 
by means of small maxillae, is very essential as specifically 
characteristic of the human countenance, as distinguished 
from the muzzle of the brutes. A receding or, as it were 
cut-away chin is especially disagreeable, because mentum 
prominulum is an exclusive characteristic of our species. 
Finally comes the regard for beautiful eyes and forehead ; 
it is connected with the psychical qualities, especially the 
intellectual which are inherited from the mother. 

The unconscious considerations which, on the other 
hand, the inclination of women follows naturally cannot 
be so exactly assigned. In general the following may be 
asserted : They give the preference to the age from thirty 
to thirty-five years, especially over that of youths who yet 
really present the height of human beauty. The reason is 
that they are not guided by taste but by instinct, which 
recognises in the age named the acme of reproductive 
power. In general they look less to beauty, especially of 
the face. It is as if they took it upon themselves alone to 
impart this to the child. They are principally won by 
the strength of the man, and the courage which is con 
nected with this ; for these promise the production of 
stronger children, and also a brave protector for them. 
Every physical defect of the man, every divergence from 
the type, may with regard to the child be removed by the 
woman in reproduction, through the fact that she herself 
VOL. III. z 


such relative considerations is much more definite, decided, 
and exclusive than that which proceeds merely from the 
absolute considerations ; therefore the source of really 
passionate love will lie, as a rule, in these relative con 
siderations, and only that of the ordinary and slighter 
inclination in the absolute considerations. Accordingly 
it is not generally precisely correct and perfect beauties 
that kindle great passions. For such a truly passionate 
inclination to arise something is required which can 
only be expressed by a chemical metaphor : two persons 
must neutralise each other, like acid and alkali, to a 
neutral salt. The essential conditions demanded for this 
are the following. First: all sex is one-sided. This 
one-sidedness is more distinctly expressed in one indivi 
dual than in another; therefore in every individual it 
can be better supplemented and neutralised by one 
than by another individual of the opposite sex, for each 
one requires a one-sidedness which is the opposite of 
his own to complete the type of humanity in the new 
individual that is to be produced, the constitution of 
which is always the goal towards which all tends. Phy 
siologists know that manhood and womanhood admit of 
innumerable degrees, through which the former sinks to 
the repulsive gynander and hypospadseus, and the latter 
rises to the graceful androgyne ; from both sides complete 
hermaphrodism can be reached, at which point stand 
those individuals who, holding the exact mean between 
the two sexes, can be attributed to neither, and conse 
quently are unfit to propagate the species. Accordingly, 
the neutralisation of two individualities by each other, of 
which we are speaking, demands that the definite degree 
of his manhood shall exactly correspond to the definite 
decree of her womanhood; so that the one-sidedness of 
each exactly annuls that of the other. Accordingly, the 
most manly man will seek the most womanly woman, and 
vice versd, and in the same way every individual will seek 
another corresponding to him or her in degree of sex. 


Now how far the required relation exists between two 
individuals is instinctively felt by them, and, together 
with the other relative considerations, lies at the founda 
tion of the higher degrees of love. While, therefore, the 
lovers speak pathetically of the harmony of their souls, 
the heart of the matter is for the most part the agree 
ment or suitableness pointed out here with reference to the 
being which is to be produced and its perfection, and which 
is also clearly of much more importance than the harmony 
of their souls, which often, not long after the marriage, 
resolves itself into a howling discord. Now, here come 
in the further relative considerations, which depend upon 
the fact that every one endeavours to neutralise by means 
of the other his weaknesses, defects, and deviations from 
the type, so that they will not perpetuate themselves, 
or even develop into complete abnormities in the child 
which is to be produced. The weaker a man is as re 
gards muscular power the more will he seek for strong 
women ; and the woman on her side will do the same. 
But since now a less degree of muscular power is natural 
and regular in the woman, women as a rule will give 
the preference to strong men. Further, the size is an 
important consideration. Little men have a decided in 
clination for big women, and vice versa; and indeed in a 
little man the preference for big women will be so much 
the more passionate if he himself was begotten by a big 
father, and only remains little through the influence of 
his mother ; because he has inherited from his father the 
vascular system and its energy, which was able to supply 
a large body with blood. If, on the other hand, his father 
and grandfather were both little, that inclination will 
make itself less felt. At the foundation of the aversion 
of a big woman to big men lies the intention of nature to 
avoid too big a race, if with the strength which this 
woman could impart to them they would be too weak to 
live long. If, however, such a woman selects a big hus 
band, perhaps for the sake of being more presentable in 


society, then, as a rule, her offspring will have to atone 
for her folly. Further, the consideration as to the com 
plexion is very decided. Blondes prefer dark persons, or 
brunettes ; but the latter seldom prefer the former. The 
reason is, that fair hair and blue eyes are in themselves 
a variation from the type, almost an abnormity, analogous 
to white mice, or at least to grey horses. In no part of 
the world, not even in the vicinity of the pole, are they 
indigenous, except in Europe, and are clearly of Scandi 
navian origin. I may here express rny opinion in passing 
that the white colour of the skin is not natural to man, 
but that by nature he has a black or brown skin, like our 
forefathers the Hindus; that consequently a white man 
has never originally sprung from the womb of nature, and 
that thus there is no such thing as a white race, much 
as this is talked of, but every white man is a faded or 
bleached one. Forced into the strange world, where he 
only exists like an exotic plant, and like this requires in 
winter the hothouse, in the course of thousands of years 
man became white. The gipsies, an Indian race which 
immigrated only about four centuries ago, show the tran 
sition from the complexion of the Hindu to our own. 1 
Therefore in sexual love nature strives to return to dark 
hair and brown eyes as the primitive type ; but the white 
colour of the skin has become a second nature, though 
not so that the brown of the Hindu repels us. Finally, 
each one also seeks in the particular parts of the body 
the corrective of his own defects and aberrations, and 
does so the more decidedly the more important the part 
is. Therefore snub-nosed individuals have an inexpres 
sible liking for hook-noses, parrot-faces ; and it is the 
same with regard to all other parts. Men with excessively 
slim, long bodies and limbs can find beauty in a body 
which is even beyond measure stumpy and short. The 
considerations with regard to temperament act in an 

1 The fuller discussion of this sub- vol ii. 92 of the first edition (second 
ject will be found in the "Parerga," edition, pp. 167-170). 


analogous manner. Each will prefer the temperament 
opposed to his own ; yet only in proportion as his one is 
decided. Whoever is himself in some respect very per 
fect does not indeed seek and love imperfection in this 
respect, but is yet more easily reconciled to it than others : 
because he himself insures the children against great 
imperfection of this part. For example, whoever is him 
self very white will not object to a yellow complexion; 
but whoever has the latter will find dazzling whiteness 
divinely beautiful. The rare case in which a man falls 
in love with a decidedly ugly woman occurs when, besides 
the exact harmony of the degree of sex explained above, 
the whole of her abnormities are precisely the opposite, 
and thus the corrective, of his. The love is then wont to 
reach a high degree. 

The profound seriousness with which we consider and 
ponder each bodily part of the woman, and she 011 her 
part does the same, the critical scrupulosity with which 
we inspect a woman who begins to please us, the capri- 
ciousness of our choice, the keen attention with which the 
bridegroom observes his betrothed, his carefulness not to 
be deceived in any part, and the great value which he 
attaches to every excess or defect in the essential parts, 
all this is quite in keeping with the importance of the end. 
For the new being to be produced will have to bear 
through its whole life a similar part. For example, if 
the woman is only a little crooked, this may easily impart 
to her son a hump, and so in all the rest. Consciousness 
of all this certainly does not exist. On the contrary, 
every one imagines that he makes that careful selection 
in the interest of his own pleasure (which at bottom can 
not be interested in it at all) ; but he makes it precisely 
as, under the presupposition of his own corporisation, is 
most in keeping with the interest of the species, to main 
tain the type of which as pure as possible is the secret 
task. The individual acts here, without knowing it, by 
order of something higher than itself, the species ; hence 


the importance which it attaches to things which may 
and indeed must be, indifferent to itself as such. There 
is something quite peculiar in the profound unconscious 
seriousness with which two young persons of opposite 
sex who see each other for the first time regard each 
other, in the searching and penetrating glance they cast 
at one another, in the careful review which all the fea 
tures and parts of their respective persons have to endure. 
This investigating and examining is the meditation of the 
genius of the species on the individual which is possible 
through these two and the combination of its qualities. 
According to the result of this meditation is the degree 
of their pleasure in each other and their yearning for 
each other. This yearning, even after it has attained a 
considerable degree, may be suddenly extinguished again 
by the discovery of something that had previously re 
mained unobserved. In this way, then, the genius of the 
species meditates concerning the coming race in all who 
are capable of reproduction. The nature of this race is 
the great work with which Cupid is occupied, unceasingly 
active, speculating, and pondering. In comparison with 
the importance of his great affair, which concerns the 
species and all coming races, the affairs of individuals in 
their whole ephemeral totality are very trifling ; therefore 
he is always ready to sacrifice these regardlessly. For he 
is related to them as an immortal to mortals, and his 
interests to theirs as infinite to finite. Thus, in the con 
sciousness of managing affairs of a higher kind than all 
those which only concern individual weal or woe, he 
carries them on sublimely, undisturbed in the midst of 
the tumult of war, or in the bustle of business life, or 
during the raging of a plague, and pursues them even into 
the seclusion of the cloister. 

We have seen in the above that the intensity of love 
increases with its individualisation, because we have 
shown that the physical qualities of two individuals can 
be such that, for the purpose of restoring as far as possible 


the type of the species, the one is quite specially and 
perfectly the completion or supplement of the other, which 
therefore desires it exclusively. Already in this case a 
considerable passion arises, which at once gains a nobler 
and more sublime appearance from the fact that it is 
directed to an individual object, and to it alone ; thus, as it 
were, arises at the special order of the species. For the 
opposite reason, the mere sexual impulse is ignoble, be 
cause without individualisation it is directed to all, and 
strives to maintain the species only as regards quantity, 
with little respect to quality. But the individualising, 
and with it the intensity of the love, can reach so high a 
degree that without its satisfaction all the good things in 
the world, and even life itself, lose their value. It is then 
a wish which attains a vehemence that no other wish ever 
reaches, and therefore makes one ready for any sacrifice, 
and in case its fulfilment remains unalterably denied, may 
lead to madness or suicide. At the foundation of such an 
excessive passion there must lie, besides the considerations 
we have shown above, still others which we have not thus 
before our eyes. We must therefore assume that here not 
only the corporisation, but the will of the man and the 
intellect of the woman are specially suitable to each other, 
in consequence of which a perfectly definite individual can 
be produced by them alone, whose existence the genius of 
the species has here in view, for reasons which are inac 
cessible to us, since they lie in the nature of the thing in 
itself. Or, to speak more exactly, the will to live desires 
here to objectify itself in a perfectly definite individual, 
which can only be produced by this father with this 
mother. This metaphysical desire of the will in itself 
has primarily no other sphere of action in the series of 
existences than the hearts of the future parents, which 
accordingly are seized with this ardent longing, and now 
imagine themselves to desire on their own account what 
really for the present has only a purely metaphysical end, 
i.e., an end which lies outside the series of actually existing 


things. Thus it is the ardent longing to eiiter existence 
of the future individual which has first "become possible 
here, a longing which proceeds from the primary source of 
all being, and exhibits itself in the phenomenal world as 
the lofty passion of the future parents for each other, pay- 
in^ little regard to all that is outside itself ; in fact, as an 

O O 

unparalleled illusion, on account of which such a lover 
would give up all the good things of this world to enjoy 
the possession of this woman, who yet can really give him 
nothing more than any other. That yet it is just this 
possession that is kept in view here is seen from the fact 
that even this lofty passion, like all others, is extinguished 
in its enjoyment to the great astonishment of those who 
are possessed by it. It also becomes extinct when, through 
the woman turning out barren (which, according to Hufe- 
land, may arise from nineteen accidental constitutional 
defects), the real metaphysical end is frustrated ; just as 
daily happens in millions of germs trampled under foot, 
in which yet the same metaphysical life principle strives 
for existence ; for which there is no other consolation 
than that an infinity of space, time, and matter, and con 
sequently inexhaustible opportunity for return, stands open 
to the will to live. 

The view which is here expounded must once have been 
present to the mind of Theophrastus Paracelsus, even if 
only in a fleeting form, though he has not handled this 
subject, and my whole system of thought was foreign to 
him ; for, in quite a different context and in his desultory 
manner, he wrote the following remarkable words : " Hi 
sunt, quos Deus copulavit, ut earn, quce fuit Urice et David ; 
quamvis ex diamttro (sic enim sibi humana tnens persuadebat) 
cum justo et legitimo matrimonio pugnaret hoc. . . . sed 
propter Safamoncm, QUI ALIUNDE NASGI NON POTUIT, nisi ex 
Bathseba, conjuncto David semine, qiiamvis meretrice, con- 
junxit eos Deus " (De vita longa, i. 5). 

The longing of love, the i/j,epo<t, which the poets of all 
a^es are unceasingly occupied with expressing in innumer- 


able forms, and do not exhaust the subject, nay, cannot do 
it justice, this longing, which attaches the idea of endless 
happiness to the possession of a particular woman, and un 
utterable pain to the thought that this possession cannot be 
attained, this longing and this pain cannot obtain their 
material from the wants of an ephemeral individual ; but 
they are the sighs of the spirit of the species, which sees 
here, to be won or lost, a means for the attainment of its 
ends which cannot be replaced, and therefore groans deeply. 
The species alone has infinite life, and therefore is capable 
of infinite desires, infinite satisfaction, and infinite pain. 
But these are here imprisoned in the narrow breast of a 
mortal. No wonder, then, if such a breast seems like to 
burst, and can find no expression for the intimations of in 
finite rapture or infinite misery with which it is filled. 
This, then, affords the materials for all erotic poetry of a 
sublime kind, which accordingly rises into transcendent 
metaphors, soaring above all that is earthly. This is the 
theme of Petrarch, the material for the St. Preuxs, 
Werthers, and Jacopo Ortis, who apart from it could not 
be understood nor explained. For that infinite esteem for 
the loved one cannot rest upon some spiritual excellences, 
or in general upon any objective, real qualities of hers ; for 
one thing, because she is often not sufficiently well known 
to the lover, as was the case with Petrarch. The spirit of 
the species alone can see at one glance what worth she has 
for it, for its ends. And great passions also arise, as a 
rule, at the first glance : 

" Who ever loved that loved not at first sight 1 " 

SHAKSPEARE, "As You Like it," iii. 5. 

In this regard a passage in the romance of " Guzman de 
Alfarache" by Mateo Aleman, which has been famous for 
250 years, is remarkable: "No es necessario, para que uno 
ame, quepase distancia de tiempo, que siga discurso, ni haga 
election, sino que, con aquella primera y sola vista, concurran 
jitntamente cierta correspondencia 6 consonancia, 6 lo que acd 


solemos vulgarmente decir, una confrontation de sangre, u 
que por particular influxo suelen mover las estrellas" (For 
one to love it is not necessary that much time should 
pass, that he should set about reflecting and make a choice; 
but only that at that first and only glance a certain cor 
respondence and consonance should be encountered on 
both sides, or that which in common life we are wont to 
call a sympathy of the blood, and to which a special influ 
ence of the stars generally impels), P. ii. lib. iii. c. 5. 
Accordingly the loss of the loved one, through a rival, or 
through death, is also for the passionate lover a pain that 
surpasses all others, just because it is of a transcendental 
kind, since it affects him not merely as an individual, but 
attacks him in his essentia cetema, in the life of the species 
into whose special will and service he was here called. 
Hence jealousy is such torment and so grim, and the sur 
render of the loved one is the greatest of all sacrifices. A 
hero is ashamed of all lamentations except the lamenta 
tion of love, because in this it is not he but the species 
that laments. In Calderon s " Zenobia the Great " there 
is in the first act a scene between Zenobia and Decius in 
which the latter says : 

" Cielos, luego tu me quieres ? 
Perdiera cien mil victorias, 
Volvidrame," &c. 

(Heaven ! then thou lovest me ? For this I would lose 
a thousand victories, would turn about, &c.) 

Here, honour, which hitherto outweighed every interest, 
is beaten out of the field as soon as sexual love, i.e., the 
interest of the species, comes into play, and sees before it 
a decided advantage; for this is infinitely superior to 
every interest of mere individuals, however important it 
may be. Therefore to this alone honour, duty, and fidelity 
yield after they have withstood every other temptation, 
including the threat of death. In the same way we find 
in private life that conscientiousness is in no point so 
rare as in this: it is here sometimes set aside even by 


persons who are otherwise honest and just, and adultery 
is recklessly committed when, passionate love, i.e., the in 
terest of the species, has mastered them. It even seems 
as if in this they believed themselves to be conscious of 
a higher right than the interests of individuals can ever 
confer ; just because they act in the interest of the species. 
In this reference Chamfort s remark is worth noticing : 
" Quand un homme et une femme out Vun pour I autre une 
passion violente, il me semble toujours que quelque soient les 
obstacles qui les se parent, mi mari, des parens, etc., les deux 
amans sont Vun a I autre, de par la Nature, qu ils s appar- 
tiennent de droit divin, malgrt les lois et les conventions 
humaines." Whoever is inclined to be incensed at this 
should be referred to the remarkable indulgence which 
the Saviour shows in the Gospel to the woman taken in 
adultery, in that He also assumes the same guilt in the 
case of all present. From this point of view the greater 
part of the " Decameron " appears as mere mocking and 
jeering of the genius of the species at the rights and 
interests of individuals which it tramples under foot. 
Differences of rank and all similar circumstances, when 
they oppose the union of passionate lovers, are set aside 
with the same ease and treated as nothing by the genius 
of the species, which, pursuing its ends that concern in 
numerable generations, blows off as spray such human laws 
and scruples. From the same deep-lying grounds, when 
the ends of passionate love are concerned, every danger 
is willingly encountered, and those who are otherwise 
timorous here become courageous. In plays and novels 
also we see, with ready sympathy, the young persons who 
are fighting the battle of their love, i.e., the interest of the 
species, gain the victory over their elders, who are thinking 
only of the welfare of the individuals. For the efforts of 
the lovers appear to us as much more important, sublime, 
and therefore right, than anything that can be opposed 
to them, as the species is more important than the indivi 
dual. Accordingly the fundamental theme of almost all 


comedies is the appearance of the genius of the speciea 
with its aims, which are opposed to the personal interest 
of the individuals presented, and therefore threaten to 
undermine their happiness. As a rule it attains its end, 
which, as in accordance with poetical justice, satisfies the 
spectator, because he feels that the aims of the species are 
much to be preferred to those of the individual. There 
fore at the conclusion he leaves the victorious lovers 
quite confidently, because he shares with them the illusion 
that they have founded their own happiness, while they 
have rather sacrificed it to the choice of the species, against 
the will and foresight of their elders. It has been 
attempted in single, abnormal comedies to reverse the 
matter and bring about the happiness of the individuals 
at the cost of the aims of the species; but then the 
spectator feels the pain which the genius of the species 
suffers, and is not consoled by the advantages which are 
thereby assured to the individuals. As examples of this 
kind two very well-known little pieces occur to me: "La 
reine de i6ans," and " Le marriage de raison." In tragedies 
containing love affairs, since the aims of the species are 
frustrated, the lovers who were its tools, generally perish 
also; for example, in "Borneo and Juliet," "Tancred," 
"Don Carlos," " Wallenstein," "The Bride of Messina," 
and many others. 

The love of a man often affords comical, and sometimes 
also tragical phenomena; both because, taken possession 
of by the spirit of the species, he is now ruled by this, and 
no longer belongs to himself : his conduct thereby becomes 
unsuited to the individual. That which in the higher grades 
of love imparts such a tinge of poetry and sublimeness to 
his thoughts, which gives them even a transcendental and 
hyperphysical tendency, on account of which he seems to 
lose sight altogether of his real, very physical aim, is at 
bottom this, that he is now inspired by the spirit of the 
species whose affairs are infinitely more important than 
all those which concern mere individuals, in order to found 


under the special directions of this spirit the whole exist- 
ence of an indefinitely long posterity with this individual 
and exactly determined nature, which it can receive only 
from him as father and the woman he loves as mother 
and which otherwise could never, as such, attain to exist 
ence, while the objectification of the will to live expressly 
demands this existence. It is the feeling that he is acting 
in affairs of such transcendent importance which raises 
the lover so high above everything earthly, nay, even 
above himself, and gives such a hyperphysical clothino- to 
his very physical desires, that love becomes a poetical 
episode even in the life of the most prosaic man ; in which 
last case the matter sometimes assumes a comical aspect. 
That mandate of the will which objectifies itself in the 
species exhibits itself in the consciousness of the lover 
under the mask of the anticipation of an infinite blessed 
ness which is to be found for him in the union with this 
female individual. Now, in the highest grades of love 
this chimera becomes so radiant that if it cannot be 
attained life itself loses all charm, and now appears so 
joyless, hollow, and insupportable that the disgust at it 
even overcomes the fear of death, so that it is then some 
times voluntarily cut short. The will of such a man has 
been caught in the vortex of the will of the species, or this 
has obtained such a great predominance over the indivi 
dual will that if such a man cannot be effective in the 
first capacity, he disdains to be so in the last. The indi- 
vidual is here too weak a vessel to be capable of endurin 
the infinite longing of the will of the species concentrated 
upon a definite object. In this case, therefore, the issue 
is suicide, sometimes the double suicide of the two lovers- 
unless, to save life, nature allows madness to intervene 
which then covers with its veil the consciousness of that 
hopeless state. No year passes without proving the reality 
of what has been expounded by several cases of all these 

Not only, however, has the unsatisfied passion of love 


sometimes a tragic issue, but the satisfied passion also 
leads oftener to unhappiness than to happiness. For its 
demands often conflict so much with the personal welfare 
of him who is concerned that they undermine it, because 
they are incompatible with his other circumstances, and 
disturb the plan of life built upon them. Nay, not only 
with external circumstances is love often in contradiction, 
but even with the lover s own individuality, for it flings 
itself upon persons who, apart from the sexual relation, 
would be hateful, contemptible, and even abhorrent to the 
lover. But so much more powerful is the will of the 
species than that of the individual that the lover shuts 
his eyes to all those qualities which are repellent to him, 
overlooks all, ignores all, and binds himself for ever to the 
object of his passion so entirely is he blinded by that 
illusion, which vanishes as soon as the will of the species 
is satisfied, and leaves behind a detested companion for 
life. Only from this can it be explained that we often see 
very reasonable and excellent men bound to termagants 
and she-devils, and cannot conceive how they could have 
made such a choice. On this account the ancients repre 
sented love as blind. Indeed, a lover may even know 
distinctly and feel bitterly the faults of temperament and 
character of his bride, which promise him a miserable life, 
and yet not be frightened away : 

" I ask not, I care not, 

If guilt s in thy heart, 
I know that I love thee 
Whatever thou art." 

For ultimately he seeks not his own things, but those of a 
third person, who has yet to come into being, although he 
is involved in the illusion that what he seeks is his own 
affair. But it is just this not seeking of one s own things 
which is everywhere the stamp of greatness, that gives to 
passionate love also a touch of sublimity, and makes it a 
worthy subject of poetry. Finally, sexual love is com 
patible even with the extremest hatred towards its object : 


therefore Plato has compared it to the love of the wolf for 
the sheep. This case appears when a passionate lover, in 
spite of all efforts and entreaties, cannot obtain a favour 
able hearing on any condition: 

" I love and hate her." 

SHAKSPEARE, Oymb., Hi. 5. 

The hatred of the loved one which then is kindled some 
times goes so far that the lover murders her, and then him 
self. One or two examples of this generally happen every 
year; they will be found in the newspapers. Therefore 
Goethe s lines are quite correct : 

" By all despised love ! By hellish element ! 
Would that I knew a worse, that I might swear by ! " 

It is really no hyperbole if a lover describes the coldness of 
his beloved and the delight of her vanity, which feeds on 
his sufferings, as cruelty ; for he is under the influence of 
an impulse which, akin to the instinct of insects, compels 
him, in spite of all grounds of reason, to pursue his end 
unconditionally, and to undervalue everything else : he 
cannot give it up. Not one but many a Petrarch has there 
been who was compelled to drag through life the unsatis 
fied ardour of love, like a fetter, an iron weight at his foot, 
and breathe his sighs in lonely woods ; but only in the one 
Petrarch dwelt also the gift of poetry ; so that Goethe s 
beautiful lines hold good of him : 

" And when in misery the man was dumb 
A god gave me the power to tell my sorrow." 

In fact, the genius of the species wages war throughout 
with the guardian geniuses of individuals, is their pursuer 
and enemy, always ready relentlessly to destroy personal 
happiness in order to carry out its ends ; nay, the welfare of 
whole nations has sometimes been sacrificed to its humours. 
An example of this is given us by Shakspeare in " Henry 
VI.," pt. iii., act 3, sc. 2 and 3. All this depends upon 

VOL. III. 2 A 


the fact that the species, as that in which the root of our 
being lies, has a closer and earlier right to us than the 
individual ; hence its affairs take precedence. From the 
feeling of this the ancients personified the genius of the 
species in Cupid, a malevolent, cruel, and therefore ill- 
reputed god, in spite of his childish appearance ; a capri 
cious, despotic demon, but yet lord of gods and men : 

" 2u 5 w Gewv rvpavve 
(Tu, deorum hominumque tyranne, Amor I) 

A deadly shot, blindness, and wings are his attributes. 
The latter signify inconstancy ; and this appears, as a rule, 
only with the disillusion which is the consequence of satis 

Because the passion depended upon an illusion, which 
represented that which has only value for the species as 
valuable for the individual, the deception must vanish 
after the attainment of the end of the species. The spirit 
of the species which took possession of the individual 
sets it free again. Forsaken by this spirit, the individual 
falls back into its original limitation and narrowness, and 
sees with wonder that after such a high, heroic, and infinite 
effort nothing has resulted for its pleasure but what 
every sexual gratification affords. Contrary to expecta 
tion, it finds itself no happier than before. It observes 
that it has been the dupe of the will of the species. 
Therefore, as a rule, a Theseus who has been made happy 
will forsake his Ariadne. If Petrarch s passion had been 
satisfied, his song would have been silenced from that time 
forth, like that of the bird as soon as the eggs are laid. 

Here let me remark in passing that however much my 
metaphysics of love will displease the very persons who are 
entangled in this passion, yet if rational considerations in 
general could avail anything against it, the fundamental 
truth disclosed by me would necessarily fit one more than 
anything else to subdue it. But the saying of the old 
comedian will, no doubt, remain true : " Quce res in se 


negue consilium, ncque modum halet ullum, earn consilio 
rcgere nori potes." 

Marriages from love are made in the interest of the 
species, not of the individuals. Certainly the persons con 
cerned imagine they are advancing their own happiness ; 
but their real end is one which is foreign to themselves, 
for it lies in the production of an individual which is only 
possible through them. Brought together by this aim, 
they ought henceforth to try to get on together as well 
as possible. But very often the pair brought together 
by that instinctive illusion, which is the essence of pas 
sionate love, will, in other respects, be of very different 
natures. This comes to light when the illusion vanishes, 
as it necessarily must. Accordingly love marriages, as a 
rule, turn out unhappy; for through them the coming 
generation is cared for at the expense of the present. 
" Quien se casa por amores, ha de vivir con do! ores " (Who 
marries from love must live in sorrow), says the Spanish 
proverb. The opposite is the case with marriages con 
tracted for purposes of convenience, generally in accordance 
with the choice of the parents. The considerations prevail 
ing here, of whatever kind they may be, are at least real, 
and cannot vanish of themselves. Through them, however, 
the happiness of the present generation is certainly cared 
for, to the disadvantage of the coining generation, and not 
withstanding this it remains problematical. The man who 
in his marriage looks to money more than to the satisfac 
tion of his inclination lives more in the individual than 
in the species; which is directly opposed to the truth; 
hence it appears unnatural, and excites a certain con 
tempt. A girl who, against the advice of her parents, 
rejects the offer of a rich and not yet old man, in order, 
setting aside all considerations of convenience, to choose 
according to her instinctive inclination alone, sacrifices 
her individual welfare to the species. But just on this 
account one cannot withhold from her a certain approba 
tion; for she has preferred what is of most importance, 


and has acted in the spirit of nature (more exactly, of the 
species), while the parents advised in the spirit of indivi 
dual egoism. In accordance with all this, it appears as if 
in making a marriage either the individual or the interests 
of the species must come off a loser. And this is generally 
the case ; for that convenience and passionate love should go 
hand in hand is the rarest of lucky accidents. The physical, 
moral, or intellectual deficiency of the nature of most men 
may to some extent have its ground in the fact that mar 
riages are ordinarily entered into not from pure choice and 
inclination, but from all kinds of external considerations, 
and on account of accidental circumstances. If, however, 
besides convenience, inclination is also to a certain extent 
regarded, this is, as it were, an agreement with the genius 
of the species. Happy marriages are well known to be 
rare ; just because it lies in the nature of marriage that its 
chief end is not the present but the coming generation. 
However, let me add, for the consolation of tender, loving 
natures, that sometimes passionate sexual love associates 
itself with a feeling of an entirely different origin real 
friendship based upon agreement of disposition, which yet 
for the most part only appears when sexual love proper is 
extinguished in its satisfaction. This friendship will then 
generally spring from the fact that the supplementing and 
corresponding physical, moral, and intellectual qualities of 
the two individuals, from which sexual love arose, with 
reference to the child to be produced, are, with reference 
also to the individuals themselves, related to each other in 
a supplementary manner as opposite qualities of tempera 
ment and mental gifts, and thereby form the basis of a 
harmony of disposition. 

The whole metaphysics of love here dealt with stands 
in close connection with my metaphysics in general, and 
the light which it throws upon this may be summed up 
as follows. 

We have seen that the careful selection for the satisfac 
tion of the sexual impulse, a selection which rises through 


innumerable degrees up to that of passionate love, de 
pends upon the highly serious interest which man takes 
in the special personal constitution of the next generation. 
Now this exceedingly remarkable interest confirms two 
truths which have been set forth in the preceding chap 
ters, (i.) The indestructibility of the true nature of 
man, which lives on in that coming generation. For 
that interest which is so lively and eager, and does not 
spring from reflection and intention, but from the in 
most characteristics and tendencies of our nature, could 
not be so indelibly present and exercise such great power 
over man if he were absolutely perishable, and were 
merely followed in time by a race actually and entirely 
different from him. (2.) That his true nature lies more 
in the species than in the individual. For that interest 
in the special nature of the species, which is the root of 
all love, from the passing inclination to the serious passion, 
is for every one really the highest concern, the success or 
failure of which touches him most sensibly ; therefore it 
is called par excellence the affair of the heart. Moreover, 
when this interest has expressed itself strongly and 
decidedly, everything which merely concerns one s own 
person is postponed and necessarily sacrificed to it. 
Through this, then, man shows that the species lies closer 
to him than the individual, and he lives more immediately 
in the former than in the latter. Why does the lover 
hang with complete abandonment on the eyes of his 
chosen one, and is ready to make every sacrifice for her ? 
Because it is his immortal part that longs after her; while 
it is only his mortal part that desires everything else. 
That vehement or intense longing directed to a particular 
woman is accordingly an immediate pledge of the inde 
structibility of the kernel of our being, and of its continued 
existence in the species. But to regard this continued 
existence as something trifling and insufficient is an error 
which arises from the fact that under the conception of 
the continued life of the species one thinks nothing more 


than the future existence of beings similar to us, but 
in no regard identical with us; and this again because, 
starting from knowledge directed towards without, one 
takes into consideration only the external form of the 
species as we apprehend it in perception, and not its 
inner nature. But it is just this inner nature which lies 
at the foundation of our own consciousness as its kernel, 
and hence indeed is more immediate than this itself, and, 
as thing in itself, free from the principium individuationis, 
is really the same and identical in all individuals, whether 
they exist together or after each other. Now this is the 
will to live, thus just that which desires life and con 
tinuance so vehemently. This accordingly is spared and 
unaffected by death. It can attain to no better state 
than its present one ; and consequently for it, with life, 
the constant suffering and striving of the individuals is 
certain. To free it from this is reserved for the denial 
of the will to live, as the means by which the individual 
will breaks away from the stem of the species, and sur 
renders that existence in it. We lack conceptions for 
that which it now is ; indeed all data for such conceptions 
are wanting. We can only describe it as that which is 
free to be will to live or not. Buddhism denotes the 
latter case by the word Nirvana, the etymology of which 
was given in the note at the end of chapter 41. It is 
the point which remains for ever unattainable to all 
human knowledge, just as such. 

If now, from the standpoint of this last consideration, 
we contemplate the turmoil of life, we behold all occupied 
with its want and misery, straining all their powers to 
satisfy its infinite needs and to ward off its multifarious 
sorrows, yet without daring to hope anything else than 
simply the preservation of this tormented existence for a 
short span of time. In between, however, in the midst of 
the tumult, we see the glances of two lovers meet long 
ingly: yet why so secretly, fearfully, and stealthily? 
Because these lovers are the traitors who seek to per- 


petuate the whole want and drudgery, which would other 
wise speedily reach an end ; this they wish to frustrate, 
as others like them have frustrated it before. This con 
sideration already passes over into the subject of the 
following chapter. 1 

[ J The appendix to this chapter hauer s general principles, the wide 

was added only in the third edition prevalence of the practice of pede- 

of the German, and is meant to ex- rasty, among different nations and in 

plain, in consistency with Schopen- different ages. It is omitted. Trs.] 

( 376 ) 



IF the will to live exhibited itself merely as an impulse to 
self-preservation, this would only be an assertion of the 
individual phenomenon for the span of time of its natural 
duration. The cares and troubles of such a life would not 
be great, and consequently existence would be easy and 
serene. Since, on the contrary, the wilL_gdlls life abso- 
lutelyi and for jdl_time, it exhibits itself also as sexual 
impulse, which has in view an endless series of genera 
tions. This impulse does away with that carelessness, 
serenity, and innocence which would accompany a merely 
individual existence, for it brings unrest and melancholy 
into the consciousness ; misfortunes, cares, and misery into 
the course of life. If, on the other hand, it is volun 
tarily suppressed, as we see in rare exceptions, then this 
is the turning of the will, which changes its course. The 
will does not then transcend the individual, but is abol 
ished in it) [Yet this can only take place by means of 
the individual doing painful violence to itself/ If, how 
ever, it does take place, then the freedom from care and 
the serenity of the purely individual existence is restored 
to the consciousness, and indeed in a higher degree. On 
the other hand, to the satisfaction of that most vehement 
of all impulses and desires is linked the origin of a new 
existence, thus the carrying out of life anew, with all its 
burdens, cares, wants, and pains ; certainly in another 

s%~~~~~ " "TO 

individual ; yet if the two who are different in the phe- 
*c^^> i j j> i 

i#fr * */* 
This chapter is connected with 60 of the first volume. 


nomenon were so absolutely and in themselves, where 
would then be eternal justice J| Life presents itself as a 
problem, a task to be worked out, and therefore, as a rule, 
as a constant conflict with necessity. Accordingly every 
one tries to get through with it and come off as well as 
he can. He performs life as a compulsory service which 
he owes. But who has contracted the debt ? His beget 
ter, in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure. Thus, because 
the one has enjoyed this, the other must live, suffer, and 
die. However, we know and look back here to the fact 
that the difference of the similar is conditioned by space 
and time, which in this sense I have called the principium 
individuationis. Otherwise eternal justice could not be 
vindicated. Paternal love, on account of which the father 
is ready to do, to suffer, and to risk more for his child 
than for himself, and at the same time knows that he 
owes this, depends simply upon the fact that the begetter 
recognises himself in the begotten.4 

The life of a man, with its endless care, want, and suffer 
ing, is to be regarded as the explanation and paraphrase of 
the act of procreation, i.e., the decided assertion of the will 
to live ; and further, it is also due to this that he owes to 
nature the debt of death, and thinks with anxiety of this 
debt. Is this not evidence of the fact that our existence 
involves guilt ? At any rate, we always exist, subject to the 
periodical payment of the toll, birth and death, and succes 
sively partake of all the sorrows and joys of life, so that 
none can escape us : this is just the fruit of the assertion 
of the will to live. Thus the fear of death, which in spite 
of all the miseries of life holds us firmly to it, is really 
illusory; but just as illusory is the impulse which has 
enticed us into it. This enticement itself may be seen 
objectively in the reciprocal longing glances of two lovers; 
they are the purest expression of the will to live, in its 
assertion. How soft and tender it is here ! It wills well- 
being, and quiet pleasure, and mild joys for itself, for 
others, for all. It is the theme of Anacreou. Thus by 


allurements and flattery it makes its way into life. But 
when once it is there, misery introduces crime, and crime 
misery ; horror and desolation fill the scene. It is the 
theme of ^Eschylus. 

But now the act through which the will asserts 
itself and man arises is one of which all are, in their 
inmost being, ashamed, which they therefore carefully 
conceal ; nay, if they are caught in it, are terrified as if 
they had been taken in a crime. It is an action of which 
in cold reflection one generally thinks with dislike, and in 
a lofty mood with loathing. Eeflections which in this 
regard approach the matter more closely are offered by 
Montaigne in the fifth chapter of the third book, under the 
marginal heading : " Ce que c est que I amour" A peculiar 
sadness and repentance follows close upon it, is yet most 
perceptible after the first performance of the act, and in 
general is the more distinct the nobler is the character. 
Hence even Pliny, the pagan, says : Jfomini tantum 
2Jrimi coitus pcenitentia, augurium scilicet vitce, a posnitenda 
origine " (Hist. Nat., x. 83). And, on the other hand, in 
Goethe s " Faust," what do devil and witches practise and 
sing of on their Sabbath ? Lewdness and obscenity. And 
in the same work (in the admirable " Paralipomena " to 
" Faust ") what does incarnate Satan preach before the as 
sembled multitude ? Lewdness and obscenity. But simply 
and solely by means of the continual practice of such an 
act as this does the human race subsist. If now optimism 
were right, if our existence were to be thankfully recog 
nised as the gift of the highest goodness guided by 
wisdom, and accordingly in itself praiseworthy, com 
mendable, and agreeable, then certainly the act which 
perpetuates it would necessarily have borne quite another 
physiognomy. If, on the other hand, this existence is a 
kind of false step or error ; if it is the work of an origin 
ally blind will, whose most fortunate development is that 
it conies to itself . in order to abolish itself ; then the act 


which perpetuates that existence must appear precisely as 
it does appear. 

With reference to the first fundamental truth of my 
doctrine, the remark deserves a place here that the shame 
mentioned above which attaches to the act of generation 
extends even to the parts which are concerned in this, 
although, like all other parts, they are given us by nature. 
This is again a striking proof that not only the actions 
but even the body of man is to be regarded as the mani 
festation, the objectification, of his will, and as its work. 
For he could not be ashamed of a thing which existed 
without his will. " 

The act of generation is further related to the world, as 
the answer is related to the riddle. The world is wide in 
space and old in time, and of an inexhaustible multiplicity 
of forms. Yet all this is only the manifestation of the will 
to live ; and the concentration, the focus of this will is 
the act of generation. Thus in this act the inner nature 
of the world expresses itself most distinctly. In this 
regard it is indeed worth noticing that this act itself is 
also distinctly called "the will" in the very significant 
German phrase, " Er verlangte von ihr, sie sollte ihm zu 
Willen sein" (He desired her to comply with his wishes). 
As the most distinct expression of the will, then, this 
act is the kernel, the compendium, the quintessence of 
the world. Therefore from it we obtain light as to the 
nature and tendency of the world: it is the answer to 
the riddle. Accordingly it is understood under " the tree 
of knowledge," for after acquaintance with it the eyes of 
every one are opened as to life, as Byron also says : 

" The tree of knowledge has been plucked, all s known." 

Don Juan, i. 128. 

It is not less in keeping with this quality that it is the 
great appyrov, the open secret, which must never and 
nowhere be distinctly mentioned, but always and every 
where is understood as the principal matter, and is there- 


fore constantly present to the thoughts of all, wherefore 
also the slightest allusion to it is instantly understood. 
The leading part which that act, and what is connected 
\vith it, plays in the world, because love intrigues are 
everywhere, on the one hand, pursued, and, on the other 
hand, assumed, is quite in keeping with the importance 
of this punctum saliens of the egg of the world. The 
source of the amusing is simply the constant concealment 
of the chief concern. 

But see now how the young, innocent, human intellect, 
when that great secret of the world first becomes known 
to it, is startled at the enormity ! The reason of this is 
that in the long course which the originally unconscious 
will had to traverse before it rose to intellect, especially 
to human, rational intellect, it became so strange to itself 
that it no longer knows its origin, that pcenitenda origo, 
and now, from the standpoint of pure, and therefore 
innocent, knowing, is horrified at it. 

Since now the focus of the will, i.e., its concentration 
and highest expression, is the sexual impulse and its satis 
faction, this is very significantly and naively expressed 
in the symbolical language of nature through the fact 
that the individualised will, that is, the man and the 
brute, makes its entrance into the world through the door 
of the sexual organs. 

The assertion of the will to live, which accordingly 
has its centre in the act of generation, is in the case of 
the brute infallible. For the will, which is the natura 
naturans, first arrives at reflection in man. To arrive at 
reflection means, not merely to know the momentary 
necessity of the individual will, how to serve it in the 
pressing present as is the case with the brute, in pro 
portion to its completeness and its necessities, which go 
hand in hand but to have attained a greater breadth of 
knowledge, by virtue of a distinct remembrance of the 
past, an approximate anticipation of the future, and 
thereby a general survey of the individual life, both one s 


own life and that of others, nay, of existence in general. 
Eeally the life of every species of brute, through the 
thousands of years of its existence, is to a certain extent 
like a single moment ; for it is mere consciousness of the 
present, without that of the past and the future, and con 
sequently without that of death. In this sense it is tq_ 
be regarded as a permanent moment, a Nunc stans. jlfere 
we see, in passing, most distinctly that in general the 
form of life, or the manifestation of the will with con 
sciousness, is primarily and immediately merely the pre 
sent. Past and future are added only in the case of man, 
and indeed merely in conception, are known in abstracto, 
and perhaps illustrated by pictures of the imagination. 
Thus after the will to live, i.e., the inner being of nature, 
in the ceaseless striving towards complete objectifi cation 
and complete enjoyment, has run through the whole series 
of the brutes, which often occurs in the various periods 
of successive animal series each arising anew on the same 
planet, it arrives at last at reflection in the being who 
is endowed with reason, man. Here now to him the 
thing begins to be doubtful, the question forces itself 
upon him whence and wherefore all this is, and chiefly 
whether the care and misery of his life and effort is really 
repaid by the gain ? " Le jeu vaut-U Uen la chandelle?" 
Accordingly here is the point at which, in the light of 
distinct knowledge, he decides for the assertion or denial 
of the will to live ; although as a rule he can only bring 
the latter to consciousness in a mythical form. We have 
consequently no ground for assuming that a still more 
highly developed objectification of the will is ever reached, 
anywhere; for it has already reached its turning-point 

( 382 ) 



AWAKENED to life out of the night of unconsciousness, the 
will finds itself an individual, in an endless and boundless 
world, among innumerable individuals, all striving, suffer 
ing, erring ; and as if through a troubled dream it hurries 
back to its old unconsciousness. Yet till then its desires 
are limitless, its claims inexhaustible, and every satisfied 
desire gives rise to a new one. No possible satisfaction in 
the world could suffice to still its longings, set a goal to 
its infinite cravings, and fill the bottomless abyss of its 
heart. Then let one consider what as a rule are the 
satisfactions of any kind that a man obtains. /^Jor the 
most part nothing more than the bare maintenance of 
this existence itself, extorted day by day with unceasing 
trouble and constant care in the conflict with want, and 
with death in prospect/ Everything in life shows that 
earthly happiness is destined to be frustrated or recognised 
as an illusion. The grounds of this lie deep in the nature 
of things. Accordingly the life of most men is troubled 
and short. Those who are comparatively happy are so, 
for the most part, only apparently, or else, like men of 
long life, they are the rare exceptions, a possibility of 
which there had to be, as decoy-birds. Life presents 
itself as a continual deception in small things as in great. 
Tf it has promised, it does not keep its word, unless to 

- This chapter is connected with volume of the " Parerga and Para- 
56-59 of the first volume. Also lipomena " should be compared with 
chapters II and 12 of the second it. 


show how little worth desiring were the things desired : thus 
we are deluded now byjhope, now by what was hoped foTT 
If it has given, it did so in order to take. The enchantment 
of distance shows us paradises which vanish like optical 
illusions when we have allowed ourselves to be mocked by 
them. Happiness accordingly always lies in the future, 
or else in the past, and the present may be compared to a 
small dark cloud which the wind drives over the sunny 
plain: before and behind^ it all is bright, only it itself 
always casts a shadow. ^The present is therefore always 
insufficient; but the future is uncertain, and the past irre 
vocable. Life with its hourly, daily, weekly, yearly, little, 
greater, and great misfortunes, with its deluded hopea 
and its accidents destroying all our calculations, bears 
so distinctly the impression of something with which we 
must become disgusted, that it is hard "to conceive how 
one has been able to mistake this and allow oneself to 
be persuaded that life is there in order to be thankfully 
enjoyed, and that man exists in order to be happy. 
Rather that continual illusion and disillusion, and also 
the nature of life throughout, presents itself to us as 
intended and calculated to awaken the conviction that 
nothing at all is worth our striving, our efforts and 
struggles, that^all jgood things are vanity, the world in 
all its ^oST^^^S^^^^^^^Iflieas which does 
not cover its expenses j^so that our will may turn away 
from IE/ _ 


The way in which this vanity of all objects of the will 
makes itself known and comprehensible to the intellect 
which is rooted in the individual, is primarily time. It is 
the form by means of which that vanity of things appears as 
their perishableness; for on account of this all our pleasures 
and joys disappear in our hands, and we afterwards ask 
astonished where they have remained. That nothingness 
itself is therefore the only objective element in time, i.e., 
that which corresponds to it in the inner nature of things^ 
thus that of which it is the expression. Just on this 


account time is the a priori necessary form of all our 
perceptions ; in it everything must present itself, even 
we ourselves. Accordingly, first of all, our life is like 
a payment which one receives in nothing but copper 
pence, and yet must then give a discharge for : the copper 
pence are the days ; the discharge is death. For at last 
time makes known the judgment of nature concerning 
the work of all the beings which appear in it, in that 
it destroys them : 

" And rightly so, for all that arises 
Is worthy only of being destroyed. 
Hence were it better that nothing arose." 

Thus old age and death, to which every life necessarily 
hurries on, are the sentence of condemnation on the will 
to live, coming from the hands of nature itself, and which 
declares that this will is an effort which frustrates itself. 
" What thou hast wished," it says, " ends thus : desire 
something better." Hence the instruction which his life 
affords to every one consists, as a whole, in this, that the 
objects of his desires continually delude, waver, and fall, 
and accordingly bring more misery than joy, till at last the 
whole foundation upon which they all stand gives way, 
in that his life itself is destroyed and so he receives the 
last proof that all his striving and wishing was a per 
versity, a false path : 

" Then old age and experience, hand in hand, 
Lead him to death, and make him understand, 
After a search so painful and so long, 
That all his life he has been in the wrong." 

We shall, however, enter into the details of the matter, 
for it is in these views that I have met with most contra 
diction. First of all, I have to confirm by the following 
remarks the proof given in the text of the negative nature 
of all satisfaction, thus of all pleasure and all happiness, 
in opposition to the positive nature of pain. 

We feel pain, but not painlessness ; we feel care, but 


not the absence of care ; fear, but not security. We feel 
the wish as we feel hunger and thirst ; but as soon as it 
has been fulfilled, it is like the mouthful that has been 
taken, which ceases to exist for our feeling the moment it 
is swallowed. Pleasures and joys we miss painfully when 
ever they are wanting ; but pains, even when they cease 
after having long been present, are not directly missed, 
but at the most are intentionally thought of by means of 
reflection. For only pain and want can be felt positively, 
and therefore announce themselves ; well-being, on the 
other hand, is merely negative. Therefore we do not 
become conscious of the three greatest blessings of life, 
health, youth, and freedom, so long as we possess them, 
but only after we have lost them ; for they also are nega 
tions. We only observe that days of our life were happy 
after they have given place to unhappy ones. In pro 
portion as pleasures increase, the susceptibility for them 
decreases : what is customary is no longer felt as a plea 
sure. Just in this way, however, is the susceptibility for 
suffering increased, for the loss of what we are accustomed 
to is painfully felt. Thus the measure of what is neces 
sary increases through possession, and thereby the capacity 
for feeling pain. The hours pass the quicker the more 
agreeably they are spent, and the slower the more pain 
fully they are spent; because pain, not pleasure, is the 
positive, the presence of which makes itself felt. In the 
same way we become conscious of time when we are 
bored, not when we are diverted. Both these cases prove 
that our existence is most happy when we perceive it 
least, from which it follows that it would be better not to 
have it. Great and lively joy can only be conceived as 
the consequence of great misery, which has preceded it ; 
for nothing can be added to a state of permanent satisfac 
tion but some amusement, or the satisfaction of vanity. 
Hence all poets are obliged to bring their heroes into 
anxious and painful situations, so that they may be able 
to free them from them. Dramas and Epics accordingly 

VOL. III. 2 B 


always describe only fighting, suffering, tormented men; 
and every romance is a rareeshow in which we observe 
the spasms and convulsions of the agonised human 
heart. Walter Scott has naively expressed this aesthetic 
necessity in the conclusion to his novel, " Old Mortality." 
Voltaire, who was so highly favoured both by nature 
and fortune, says, in entire agreement with the truth 
proved by me : " Le bonheur riest qu un reve, et la douleur 
est re elle." And he adds : " H y a quatre-vingts ans 
qiw je Tdprouve. Je riy sais autre chose que me rdsigner, 
et me dire gue les mouches sont ndes pour etre mangles 
par les araiyrUes, et les hommes pour tre dfo&res par les 

Before so confidently affirming that life is a blessing 
worth desiring or giving thanks for, let one compare 
calmly the sum of the possible pleasures which a man can 
enjoy in his life with the sum of the possible sorrows 
which may come to him in his life. I believe the balance 
will not be hard to strike. At bottom, however, it is quite 
superfluous to dispute whether there is more good or evil 
in the world : for the mere existence of evil decides the 
matter. For the evil can never be annulled, and conse 
quently can never be balanced by the good which may 
exist along with it or after it. 

" Jfille piacei 3 non vagliono wn tormento" Petr. 
(A thousand pleasures are not worth one torment.) 

For that a thousand had lived in happiness and pleasure 
would never do away with the anguish and death-agony 
of a single one ; and just as little does my present well- 
being undo my past suffering. If, therefore, the evils in the 
world were a hundred times less than is the case, yet their 
mere existence would be sufficient to establish a truth 
which may be expressed in different ways, though always 
somewhat indirectly, the truth that we have not to rejoice 
but rather to mourn at the existence of the world ; that 
its non-existence would be preferable to its existence; 


that it is something which at bottom ought not to be, &c., 
&c. Very beautiful is Byron s expression of this truth : 

" Our life is a false nature, tis not in 
The harmony of things, this hard decree, 
This uneradicable taint of sin, 
This boundless Upas, this all-blasting tree 
Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be 

The skies, which rain their plagues on men like dew 

Disease, death, bondage all the woes we see 

And worse, the woes we see not which throb through 
The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new." 

If the world and life were an end in themselves, 
and accordingly required theoretically no justification and 
practically no indemnification or compensation, but existed, 
for instance, as Spinoza and the Spinozists of the present 
day represent it, as the single manifestation of a God, who, 
animi causa, or else in order to mirror himself, undertook 
such an evolution of himself; and hence its existence 
neither required to be justified by reasons nor redeemed 
by results ; then the sufferings and miseries of life would 
not indeed have to be fully equalled by the pleasures 
and well-being in it; for this, as has been said, is 
impossible, because my present pain is never abolished 
by future joys, for the latter fill their time as the 
former fills its time : but there would have to be abso 
lutely no suffering, and death also would either have not 
to be, or else to have no terrors for us. Only thus would 
life pay for itself. 

But since now our state is rather something which had 
better not be, everything about us bears the trace of this, 
just as in hell everything smells of sulphur for every 
thing is always imperfect and illusory, everything agree 
able is displaced by something disagreeable, every enjoy 
ment is only a half one, every pleasure introduces its own 
disturbance, every relief new difficulties, every aid of our 
daily and hourly need leaves us each moment in the 
lurch and denies its service, the step upon which we place 


our foot so often gives way under us, nay, misfortunes 
great and small are the element of our life ; and, in a 
word, we are like Phineus, whose food was all tainted and 
made uneatable by the harpies. 1 Two remedies for this 
are tried: first, evXafteia, i.e., prudence, foresight, cun 
ning ; it does not fully instruct us, is insufficient, and 
leads to defeat. Secondly, the stoical equanimity which 
seeks to arm us against all misfortunes by preparedness 
for everything and contempt of all : practically it becomes 
cynical renunciation, which prefers once for all to reject 
all means of relief and all alleviations it reduces us to 
the position of dogs, like Diogenes in his tub. The truth 
is, we ought to be wretched, and we are so. The chief 
source of the serious evils which affect men is man him 
self: homo homini lupus. Whoever keeps this last fact 
clearly in view beholds the world as a hell, which sur 
passes that of Dante in this respect, that one man must 
be the devil of another. For this, one is certainly more 
fitted than another; an arch-fiend, indeed, more fitted than 
all others, appearing in the form of a conqueror, who 
places several hundred thousand men opposite each other, 
and says to them : " To suffer and die is your destiny ; now 
shoot each other with guns and cannons," and they do so. 
In eneral, however, the conduct of men towards each 
other is characterised as a rule by injustice, extreme un 
fairness, hardness, nay, cruelty: an opposite course of 
conduct appears only as an exception. Upon this depends 
the necessity of the State and legislation, and upon none 
of your false pretences. But in all cases which do not lie 
within the reach of the law, that regardlessness of his 
like, peculiar to man, shows itself at once ; a regardless- 
ness which springs from his boundless egoism, and some 
times also from wickedness. How man deals with man 
is shown, for example, by negro slavery, the final end of 
which is sugar and coffee. But we do not need to go so far : 

1 All that we lay hold of resists us because it has its own will, which 
must be overcome. 


at the age of five years to enter a cotton-spiiming or other 
factory, and from that time forth to sit there daily, first 
ten, then twelve, and ultimately fourteen hours, perform 
ing the same mechanical labour, is to purchase dearly the 
satisfaction of drawing breath. But this is the fate of 
millions, and that of millions more is analogous to it. 

We others, however, can be made perfectly miserable by 
trifling misfortunes ; perfectly happy, not by the world. 
Whatever one may say, the happiest moment of the happy 
man is the moment of his falling asleep, and the unhappiest 
moment of the unhappy that of his awaking. An indirect 
but certain proof of the fact that men feel themselves un 
happy, and consequently are so, is also abundantly afforded 
by the fearful envy which dwells in us all, and which in 
all relations of life, on the occasion of any superiority, of 
whatever kind it may be, is excited, and cannot contain 
its poison. Because they feel themselves unhappy, men 
cannot endure the sight of one whom they imagine happy; 
he who for the moment feels himself happy would like to 
make all around him happy also, and says : 

" Que tout le monde id soit heureux de ma joie." 

If life were in itself a blessing to be prized, and de 
cidedly to be preferred to non-existence, the exit from it 
would not need to be guarded by such fearful sentinels as 
death and its terrors. But who would continue in life as 
it is if death were less terrible ? And again, who could 
even endure the thought of death if life were a pleasure ! 
But thus the former has still always this good, that it is 
the end of life, and we console ourselves with regard to 
the suffering of life with death, and with regard to death 
with the suffering of life. The truth is, that the two in 
separably belong to each other, for together they consti 
tute a deviation from the right path, to return to which 
is as difficult as it is desirable. 

If the world were not something which, expressed prac 
tically, ought not to be, it would also not be theoretically 


a problem ; but its existence would either require no 
explanation, inasmuch as it would be so entirely self- 
evident that wonder concerning it or a question about it 
could arise in no mind, or its end would present itself 
unmistakably. Instead of this, however, it is indeed an 
insoluble problem ; for even the most perfect philosophy 
will yet always contain an unexplained element, like an 
insoluble deposit or the remainder which the irrational 
relation of two quantities always leaves over. Therefore 
if one ventures to raise the question why there is not 
rather nothing than this world, the world cannot be 

o * -. 

justified from itself, no ground, no final cause of its 
existence can be found in itself, it cannot be shown that 
it exists for its own sake, i.e., for its own advantage. In 
accordance with my teaching, this can certainly be ex 
plained from the fact that the principle of its existence is 
expressly one which is without ground, a blind will to 
live, which as thing in itself cannot be made subject to 
the principle of sufficient reason, which is merely the form 
of the phenomenon, and through which alone every why 
is justified. But this also agrees with the nature of the 
world, for only a blind will, no seeing will, could place 
itself in the position in which we behold ourselves. A 
seeing will would rather have soon made the calculation 
that the business did not cover the cost, for such a mighty 
effort and struggle with the straining of all the powers, 
under constant care, anxiety, and want, and with the 
inevitable destruction of every individual life, finds no 
compensation in the ephemeral existence itself, which is so 
obtained, and which passes into nothing in our hands. 
Hence, then, the explanation of the world from the Anaxa- 
gorean vovs, i.e., from a will accompanied by knowledge, 
necessarily demands optimism to excuse it, which accord 
ingly is set up and maintained in spite of the loudly cry 
ing evidence of a whole world full of misery. Life is 
there given out to be a gift, while it is evident that every 
one would have declined such a gift if he could have seen 


it and tested it beforehand ; just as Lessing admired the 
understanding of his son, who, because he had absolutely 
declined to enter life, had to be forcibly brought into it 
with the forceps, but was scarcely there when he hurried 
away from it again. On the other hand, it is then well 
said that life should be, from one end to the other, only a 
lesson ; to which, however, any one might reply : " For this 
very reason I wish I had been left in the peace of the 
all-sufficient nothing, where I would have had no need of 
lessons or of anything else." If indeed it should now be 
added that he must one day give an account of every hour 
of his life, he would be more justified in himself demand 
ing an account of why he had been transferred from that 
rest into such a questionable, dark, anxious, and painful 
situation. To this, then, we are led by false views. For 
human existence, far from bearing the character of a gift, 
has entirely the character of a debt that has been con 
tracted. The calling in of this debt appears in the form 
of the pressing wants, tormenting desires, and endless 
misery established through this existence. As a rule, the 
whole lifetime is devoted to the paying off of this debt ; 
but this only meets the interest. The payment of the 
capital takes place through death. And when was this 
debt contracted ? At the begetting. 

Accordingly, if we regard man as a being whose exist 
ence is a punishment and an expiation, we then view 
him in a right light. The myth of the fall (although 
probably, like the whole of Judaism, borrowed from the 
Zend-Avesta: Bundahish, 15), is the only point in the 
Old Testament to which I can ascribe metaphysical, 
although only allegorical, truth ; indeed it is this alone 
that reconciles me to the Old Testament. Our existence 
resembles nothing so much as the consequence of a false 
step and a guilty desire. New Testament Christianity, the 
ethical spirit of which is that of Brahmanism and Buddhism, 
and is therefore very foreign to the otherwise optimistic 
spirit of the Old Testament, has also, very wisely, linked 


itself on precisely to that myth : indeed, without this it 
would have found no point of connection with Judaism at 
all. If any one desires to measure the degree of guilt with 
which our existence is tainted, then let him look at the 
suffering that is connected with it. Every great pain, 
whether bodily or mental, declares what we deserve: for 
it could not come to us if we did not deserve it. That 
Christianity also regards our existence in this light is 
shown by a passage in Luther s Commentary on Galatians, 
chap. 3, which I only have beside me in Latin : " Sumus 
autem nos omnes corporibus et rebus subjecti Didbolo, et 
hospites sumus in mundo, cujus ipse princeps et Deus est. 
Ideo pands, quern edimus, potus, quern bibimus, vestes, quibus 
utimur, imo aer et totum quo vivimus in carne, sub ipsius 
imperio est" An outcry has been made about the melan 
choly and disconsolate nature of my philosophy ; yet it lies 
merely in the fact that instead of inventing a future hell as 
the equivalent of sin, I show that where guilt lies in the 
world there is also already something akin to hell; but 
whoever is inclined to deny this can easily experience it. 

And to this world, to this scene of tormented and 
agonised beings, who only continue to exist by devouring 
each other, in which, therefore, every ravenous beast is 
the living grave of thousands of others, and its self-main 
tenance is a chain of painful deaths ; and in which the 
capacity for feeling pain increases with knowledge, and 
therefore reaches its highest degree in man, a degree 
which is the higher the more intelligent the man is ; to 
this world it has been sought to apply the system of 
optimism, and demonstrate to us that it is the best of 
all possible worlds. The absurdity is glaring. But an 
optimist bids me open my eyes and look at the world, 
how beautiful it is in the sunshine, with its mountains and 
valleys, streams, plants, animals, &c. &c. Is the world, 
then, a rareeshow ? These things are certainly beautiful 
to look at, but to be them is something quite different. 
Then comes a teleologist, and praises to me the wise 

arrangement bv virtue of which it is taken care that the 

o > 

planets do not run their heads together, that land and sea 
do not get mixed into a pulp, but are held so beautifully 
apart, also that everything is neither rigid with continual 
frost nor roasted with heat ; in the same way, that in con 
sequence of the obliquity of the ecliptic there is no eternal 
spring, in which nothing could attain to ripeness, &c. &c. 
But this and all like it are mere conditiones sine quibus 
non. If in general there is to be a world at all, if its 
planets are to exist at least as long as the light of a 
distant fixed star requires to reach them, and are not, like 
Lessing s son, to depart again immediately after birth, 
then certainly it must not be so clumsily constructed that 
its very framework threatens to fall to pieces. But if one 
goes on to the results of this applauded work, considers 
the players who act upon the stage which is so durably 
constructed, and now sees how with sensibility pain 
appears, and increases in proportion as the sensibility 
develops to intelligence, and then how, keeping pace with 
this, desire and suffering come out ever more strongly, 
and increase till at last human life affords no other 
material than this for tragedies and comedies, then who 
ever is honest will scarcely be disposed to set up halle 
lujahs. David Hume, in his " Natural History of Eeligion," 
6, 7, 8, and 13, has also exposed, mercilessly but with 
convincing truth, the real though concealed source of 
these last. He also explains clearly in the tenth and 
eleventh books of his "Dialogues on Natural Eeligion," 
with very pertinent arguments, which are yet of quite a 
different kind from mine, the miserable nature of this 
world and the untenableness of all optimism; in doing 
which he attacks this in its origin. Both works of Hume s 
are as well worth reading as they are unknown at the pre 
sent day in Germany, where, on the other hand, incredible 
pleasure is found, patriotically, in the most disgusting 
nonsense of home-bred boastful mediocrities, who are pro 
claimed great men. Hamann, however, translated these 


dialogues ; Kant went through the translation, and late in 
life wished to induce Hamann s son to publish them 
because the translation of Plainer did not satisfy him (see 
Kant s biography by F. W. Schubert, pp. 8 1 and 165). 
From every page of David Hume there is more to be 
learned than from the collected philosophical works of 
Hegel, Herbart, and Schleiermacher together. 

The founder of systematic optimism, again, is Leibnitz 
whose philosophical merit I have no intention of denying 
although I have never succeeded in thinking myself into 
the monadology, pre-established harmony, and identitaa 
indiscernibiliuin. His "Nouveaux essays sur I entendement " 
are, however, merely an excerpt, with a full yet weak 
criticism, with a view to correction, of Locke s work which 
is justly of world- wide reputation. He here opposes Locke 
with just as little success as he opposes Newton in the 
"Tentamen de motuum ccelestium causis," directed against 
the system of gravitation. The " Critique of Pure Eeason " 
is specially directed against this Leibnitz- Wolfian philo 
sophy, and has a polemical, nay, a destructive relation to 
it, just as it is related to Locke and Hume as a continua 
tion and further construction. That at the present day 
the professors of philosophy are on all sides engaged in 
setting Leibnitz, with his juggling, upon his legs again, 
nay, in glorifying him, and, on the other hand, in depre 
ciating and setting aside Kant as much as possible, has 
its sufficient reason in the primum vivere ; the " Critique 
of Pure Eeason " does not admit of one giving out Juda- 
istic mythology as philosophy, nor of one speaking, without 
ceremony, of the " soul " as a given reality, a well-known 
and well-accredited person, without giving account of how 
one arrived at this conception, and what justification one 
has for using it scientifically. But primum vivere, deinde 
philosophari I Down with Kant, vivat our Leibnitz ! To 
return, then, to Leibnitz, I cannot ascribe to the The odice e, 
as a methodical and broad unfolding of optimism, any 
other merit than this, that it gave occasion later for 


the immortal " Candide" of the great Voltaire; whereby 
certainly Leibnitz s often-repeated and lame excuse for 
the evil of the world, that the bad sometimes brings about 
the good, received a confirmation which was unexpected 
by him. Even by the name of his hero Voltaire indicates 
that it only requires sincerity to recognise the opposite of 
optimism. Eeally upon this scene of sin, suffering, and 
death optimism makes such an extraordinary figure that 
one would be forced to regard it as irony if one had 
not a sufficient explanation of its origin in the secret 
source of it (insincere flattery, with insulting confidence in 
its success), which, as was mentioned above, is so delight 
fully disclosed by Hume. 

But indeed to the palpably sophistical proofs of Leibnitz 
that this is the best of all possible worlds, we may seriously 
and honestly oppose the proof that it is the worst of all 
possible worlds. For possible means, not what one may 
construct in imagination, but what can actually exist and 
continue. Now this world is so arranged as to be able to 
maintain itself with great difficulty ; but if it were a little 
worse, it could no longer maintain itself. Consequently 
a worse world, since it could not continue to exist, is 
absolutely impossible : thus this world itself is the worst 
of all possible worlds. For not only if the planets were 
to run their heads together, but even if any one of the 
actually appearing perturbations of their course, instead 
of being gradually balanced by others, continued to 
increase, the world would soon reach its end. Astronomers 
know upon what accidental circumstances principally the 
irrational relation to each other of the periods of revolu 
tion this depends, and have carefully calculated that it 
will always go on well ; consequently the world also can 
continue and go on. We will hope that, although Newton 
was of an opposite opinion, they have not miscalculated, 
and consequently that the mechanical perpetual motion 
realised in such a planetary system will not also, like the 
rest, ultimately come to a standstill. Again, under the firm 


crust of the planet dwell the powerful forces of nature 
which, as soon as some accident affords them free play, 
must necessarily destroy that crust, with everything living 
upon it, as has already taken place at least three times 
upon our planet, and will probably take place oftener 
still. The earthquake of Lisbon, the earthquake of 
Haiti, the destruction of Pompeii, are only small, play 
ful hints of what is possible. A small alteration of the 
atmosphere, which cannot even be chemically proved, 
causes cholera, yellow fever, black death, &c., which carry 
off millions of men ; a somewhat greater alteration would 
extinguish all life. A very moderate increase of heat 
would dry up all the rivers and springs. The brutes have 
received just barely so much in the way of organs and 
powers as enables them to procure with the greatest 
exertion sustenance for their own lives and food for their 
offspring ; therefore if a brute loses a limb, or even the 
full use of one, it must generally perish. Even of the 
human race, powerful as are the weapons it possesses in 
understanding and reason, nine-tenths live in constant 
conflict with want, always balancing themselves with 
difficulty and effort upon the brink of destruction. Thus 
throughout, as for the continuance of the whole, so also 
for that of each individual being the conditions are barely 
and scantily given, but nothing over. The individual life 
is a ceaseless battle for existence itself ; while at every 
step destruction threatens it. Just because this threat is 
so often fulfilled provision had to be made, by means of 
the enormous excess of the germs, that the destruction of 
the individuals should not involve that of the species, for 
which alone nature really cares. The world is therefore 
as bad as it possibly can be if it is to continue to be at 
all. Q. E. D. The fossils of the entirely different kinds 
of animal species which formerly inhabited the planet 
afford us, as a proof of our calculation, the records of 
worlds the continuance of which was no longer possible, 


and which consequently were somewhat worse than the 
worst of possible worlds. 

Optimism is at bottom the unmerited self-praise of the 
real originator of the world, the will to live, which views 
itself complacently in its works ; and accordingly it is 
not only a false, but also a pernicious doctrine. For it 
presents life to us as a desirable condition, and the happi 
ness of man as the end of it. Starting from this, every one 
then believes that he has the most just claim to happiness 
and pleasure ; and if, as is wont to happen, these do not 
fall to his lot, then he believes that he is wronged, nay, 
that he loses the end of his existence ; while it is far more 
correct to regard work, privation, misery, and suffering, 
crowned by death, as the end of our life (as Brahmanism 
and Buddhism, and also genuine Christianity do) ; for it 
is these which lead to the denial of the will to live. In 
the New Testament the world is represented as a valley 
of tears, life as a process of purifying or refining, and the 
symbol of Christianity is an instrument of torture. There 
fore, when Leibnitz, Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, and Pope 
brought forwaxd optimism, the general offence which it 
gave depended principally upon the fact that optimism is 
irreconcilable with Christianity ; as Voltaire states and 
explains in the preface to his excellent poem, " Le desastre 
de Lisbonne," which is also expressly directed against 
optimism. This great man, whom I so gladly praise, in 
opposition to the abuse of venal German ink-slingers, is 
placed decidedly higher than Eousseau by the insight to 
which he attained in three respects, and which prove the 
greater depth of his thinking : (i) the recognition of the 
preponderating magnitude of the evil and misery of exist 
ence with which he is deeply penetrated ; (2) that of the 
strict necessity of the acts of will ; (3) that of the truth of 
Locke s principle, that what thinks may also be material : 
while Eousseau opposes all this with declamations in his 
" Profession de foi du mcaire Savoyard," a superficial Pro 
testant pastor s philosophy ; as he also in the same spirit 


attacks the beautiful poem of Voltaire which has just been 
referred to with ill-founded, shallow, and logically false 
reasoning, in the interests of optimism, in his long letter 
to Voltaire of i8th August 1756, which is devoted simply 
to this purpose. Indeed, the fundamental characteristic 
and the irpwrov i/reuSo? of Rousseau s whole philosophy is 
this, that in the place of the Christian doctrine of original 
sin, and the original depravity of the human race, he 
puts an original goodness and unlimited perfectibility of 
it, which has only been led astray by civilisation and its 
consequences, and then founds upon this his optimism 
and humanism. 

As in " Candide " Voltaire wages war in his facetious 
manner against optimism, Byron has also done so in his 
serious and tragic style, in his immortal masterpiece, 
" Cain," on account of which he also has been honoured 
with the invectives of the obscurantist, Friedrich Schlegel. 


If now, in conclusion, to confirm my view, I were to give 
what has been said by great men of all ages in this anti- 
optimistic spirit, there would be no end to the quotations, 
for almost every one of them has expressed in strong lan 
guage his knowledge of the misery of this world. Thus, 
not to confirm, but merely to embellish this chapter, a few 
quotations of this kind may be given at the end of it. 

First of all, let me mention here that the Greeks, far as 
they were from the Christian and lofty Asiatic conception 
of the world, and although they decidedly stood at the 
point of view of the assertion of the will, were yet deeply 
affected by the wretchedness of existence. This is shown 
even by the invention of tragedy, which belongs to them. 
Another proof of it is afforded us by the custom of the 
Thracians, which is first mentioned by Herodotus, though 
often referred to afterwards the custom of welcoming the 
new-born child with lamentations, and recounting all the 
evils which now lie before it; and, on the other hand, 
burying the dead with mirth and jesting, because they are 
no longer exposed to so many and great sufferings. In a 


beautiful poem preserved for us by Plutarch (De audiend. 
poet, in fine} this runs thus : 

" TOK $>wra. Opj)veu>, ei j Ixr tpxerai /coxa 
Tov 5 oD ffavovra KOI rovuv TrraviLevo* 
Xai/xwras fv<f>ijfju>vvras finrefjiTeiv Sop-wr." 

(Lugere genitum, tanta qui intrant mala : 
At morte si quis finiisset miseriat, 
Hunc laude amicos atque Icetitia exsequi.) 

It is not to be attributed to historical relationship, but 
to the moral identity of the matter, that the Mexicans 
welcomed the new-born child with the words, " My child, 
thou art born to endure ; therefore endure, suffer, and 
keep silence." And, following the same feeling, Swift (as 
"Walter Scott relates in his Life of Swift) early adopted 
the custom of keeping his birthday not as a time of joy 
but of sadness, and of reading on that day the passage of 
the Bible in which Job laments and curses the day on 
which it was said in the house of his far her a man-child 
is born. 

Well known and too long for quotation is the passage 
in the " Apology of Socrates," in which Plato makes this 
wisest of mortals say that death, even if it deprives us of 
consciousness for ever, would be a wonderful gain, for a 
deep, dreamless sleep every day is to be preferred even to 
the happiest life. 

A saying of Heraclitus runs : " Tq> ovv ftiw ovofui fiev 
/Sto?, p>yov 8e 0avaro<;." (Vitce n&mcn quid-em est vita, opus 
autem mors. Etynwlogicum magnum, voce Btos; also 
Eustath. ad Iliad., L p. 31.) 

The beautiful lines of the " Theogony " are famous : 

ertxdoviotffu apurror, 
|eoj i)f\iov 

d brut wKHrra. riAas AiSao 
Kai neiaOa 

(Optima sors homini natum non esse, nee unquam 
Adspexitse diem, flammiferumgue jubar. 
Alttra jam genitum demitti protinus Oreo, 
Et pressum midta merger* corpus Aumo.) 


Sophocles, in " (Edipus Colonus" (1225), has the follow 
ing abbreviation of the same : 

" MJ; (pwai rov airavra vt- 
KQ \oyov TO 5 eiret <pavy, 
fjijva.1 KfiOev, odev irep T/KCJ, 
7ro\i> devrepov, ws Ta^iora." 

(Natum non esse sortes vincit alias omnes : proximo, autem est, ubi quis 
in lucent editus fuerit, eodem redire, unde venit, quam otierime.) 

Euripides says : 

" Has 5 o5w>7poj tos avOptairur, 
K OVK fffri irovuv avairavffis." 

(Omnis hominum vita cst plena, dolore, 
Nee datur laborum remissio.) 

HIPPOL, 189. 

And Homer already said : 

" Ow fJ.ev yap n von effriv cftvpWTepov avSpos 
HavTttiv, Offffa de yatav eiri irveei re KO.I tpirei." 

(Non enim quidquam alicubi est calamitosius homine 
Omnium, quotquot super terram spirantque et moventur.) 

II. xvii. 446. 

Even Pliny says : " Quapropter hoc primum quisque in 
remediis animi sai habeat, ex omnibus bonis, quce ho/nini 
natura tribiiit, nullum melius esse tempestiva morte " (Hist. 
Nat. 28, 2). 

Shakspeare puts the words in the mouth of the old 
king Henry IV. : 

" O heaven ! that one mi^ ht read the book of fate, 
And see the revolution of the times, 

how chances mock, 

And changes fill the cup of alteration 

With divers liquors ! O, if this were seen, 

The happiest youth, viewing his progress through, 

What perils past, what crosses to ensue, 

Would shut the book, and sit him down and die." 

Finally, Byron : 

"Count o er the joys thine hours have seen, 
Count o er thy days from anguish free, 
And know, whatever thou hast been, 
Tis something better not to be." 


Baltazar Gracian also brings the misery of our existence 
before our eyes in the darkest colours in the " Criticon," 
Parte i., Crisi 5, just at the beginning, and Crisi 7 at the 
end, where he explicitly represents life as a tragic farce. 

Yet no one has so thoroughly and exhaustively handled 
this subject as, in our own day, Leopardi. He is entirely 
filled and penetrated by it : his theme is everywhere the 
mockery and wretchedness of this existence ; he presents 
it upon every page of his works, yet in such a multiplicity 
of forms and applications, with such wealth of imagery 
that he never wearies us, but, on the contrary, is through 
out entertaining and exciting. 

VOL. m. 2 c 

( 402 ) 



HEKE is the great gap which occurs in these supplements, 
on account of the circumstance that I have already dealt 
with moral philosophy in the narrower sense in the two 
prize essays published under the title, "Die Grundprobleme 
der Ethik" an acquaintance with which is assumed, as I 
have said, in order to avoid useless repetition. Therefore 
there only remains for me here a small gleaning of isolated 
reflections which could not be discussed in that work, 
the contents of which were, in the main, prescribed by 
the Academies ; least of all those reflections which de 
mand a higher point of view than that which is common 
to all, and which I was there obliged to adhere to. Ac 
cordingly it will not surprise the reader to find these 
reflections here in a very fragmentary collection. This 
collection again has been continued in the eighth and ninth 
chapters of the second volume of the Parerga. 
V That moral investigations are incomparably more 
difficult than physical, and in general than any others, 
results from the fact that they are almost immediately 
concerned with the thing in itself, namely, with that 
manifestation of it in which, directly discovered by the 
light of knowledge, it reveals its nature as witL[ Physical 
truths, on the other hand, remain entirely in^he province 
of the idea, i.e., of the phenomenon, and merely show how 
the lowest manifestations of the will present themselves 
in the idea in conformity to law. Further, the considera- 

1 This chapter is connected with 55, 62, 6j of the first volume. 


tion of the world from the physical side, however far and 
successfully it may be pursued, is in its results without 
any consolation for us : on the moral side alone is con 
solation to be found; for here the depths of our own 
inner nature disclose themselves to the consideration. 

But my philosophy is the only one which confers upon 
ethics its complete and whole rights; for only if the true 
nature of man is his own will, and consequently he is, in 
the strictest sense, his own work, are his deeds really 
entirely his and to be ascribed to him. On the other 
hand, whenever he has another origin, or is the work of a 
being different from himself, all his guilt falls back upon 
this origin, or originator. For operari sequitur esse. 

To connect the force which produces the phenomenon 
of the world, and consequently determines its nature, with 
the morality of the disposition or character, and thus to 
establish a moral order of the world as the foundation of 
the physical, this has been since Socrates the problem of 
philosophy. Theism solved it in a childish manner, which 
could not satisfy mature humanity. Therefore pantheism 
opposed itself to it whenever it ventured to do so, and 
showed that nature bears in itself the power by virtue of 
which it appears. With this, however, ethics had neces 
sarily to be given up. Spinoza, indeed, attempts here and 
there to preserve it by means of sophistry, but for the 
most part gives it up altogether, and, with a boldness 
which excites astonishment and repugnance, explains the 
distinction between right and wrong, and in general be 
tween good and evil, as merely conventional, thus in itself 
empty (for example, Eth. iv., prop. 37, schol. 2). After 
having met with unmerited neglect for more than a 
hundred years, Spinoza has, in general, become too much 
esteemed in this century through the reaction caused by 
the swing of the pendulum of opinion. All pantheism 
must ultimately be overthrown by the inevitable demands 
of ethics, and then by the evil and suffering of the world. 
If the world is a theophany, then all that man, or even 


the brute, does is equally divine and excellent; nothing 
can be censurable, and nothing more praiseworthy than 
the rest : thus there is no ethics. Hence, in consequence 
of the revived Spinozism of our own day, thus of pan 
theism, the treatment of ethics has sunk so low and 
become so shallow that it has been made a mere instruc 
tion as to the proper life of a citizen and a member of a 
family, in which the ultimate end of human existence is 
supposed to consist : thus in methodical, complete, smug, 
and comfortable philistinism. Pantheism, indeed, has only 
led to such shallow vulgarisms through the fact that (by a 
shameful misuse of the e quovis lignofit Mercurius) a com 
mon mind, Hegel, has, by the well-known means, been 
falsely stamped as a great philosopher, and a herd of his 
disciples, at first suborned, afterwards only stupid, received 
his weighty words. Such outrages on the human mind do 
not remain unpunished : the seed has sprouted. In the 
same spirit it was then asserted that ethics should have 
for its material not the conduct of individuals, but that 
of nations, that this alone was a theme worthy of it. 
Nothing can be more perverse than this view, which rests 
on the most vulgar realism. For in every individual ap 
pears the whole undivided will to live, the thing in itself, 
and the microcosm is like the macrocosm. The masses 
have no more content than each individual. Ethics is con 
cerned not with actions and their results, but with willing, 
and willing itself takes place only in the individual. Not 
the fate of nations, which exists only in the phenomenon, 
but that of the individual is decided morally. Nations are 
really mere abstractions ; individuals alone actually exist. 
Thus, then, is pantheism related to ethics. But the evil 
and misery of the world are not in accord even with 
theism; hence it sought assistance from all kinds of 
evasions, theodicies, which yet were irretrievably over- 
thrown by the arguments of Hume and Voltaire. Pan 
theism, however, is completely untenable in the presence 
of that bad side of the world. Only when the world is 


regarded entirely from without and from the physical 
side alone, and nothing else is kept in view but the 
constant restorative order, and the comparative imperish- 
ableness of the whole which is thereby introduced, is it 
perhaps possible to explain it as a god, yet always only 
symbolically. But if one enters within, thus considers 
also the subjective and moral side, with its preponderance 
of want, suffering, and misery, of dissension, wickedness, 
madness, and perversity, then one soon becomes conscious 
with horror that the last thing imaginable one has before 
one is a theophany. I, however, have shown, and especially 
in my work " Ueber a^nWitte^ 

thattEe force which worksand acts in nature is identical 
with the will JiT us. Thereby the moral order of the 
worj.o[Js2BroughFjnto direct^ connectmn^jwitli_the_J orce 
which produces the_phenQmenon-j3fjthe^ world. For^the 
phenomenon of the will must exactly_correspond to its 
nature. Upon_thig_depend3 the expnsit.inn^-rJ eternal 
justice given in 63 and 64 of the first volume, and the 
world, although^ "subsisting_by_ its L_own__ power, receives 
throughout a moroLtelldmicy. Accordingly the problem 
which has been discussed from the time of Socrates is 
now for the first time really solved, and the demand of 
thinking reason directed to morality is satisfied. Yet I 
have never professed to propound a philosophy which 
leaves no questions unanswered. In this sense philo 
sophy is really impossible : it would be the science of 
omniscience. But est quadam prodire tenus, si non datur 
ultra : there is a limit to which reflection can penetrate 
and can so far lighten the night of our existence, although 
the horizon always remains dark. /Mv_doctrine reaches 
thisjimit in the_will_tojiye. which in its own manifestation 
asserts or denies itself] To wish, however, to go beyond 
this is, in my eyes, fike wishing to fly beyond the atmos 
phere. We must stop there ; even although new problems 
arise out of those which have been solved. Besides this, 
however, we must refer to the fact that the validity of 


the principle of sufficient reason is limited to the pheno 
menon; this was the theme of my first essay on that 
principle, which was published as early as 1813. 

I now go on to supplement particular points, and shall 
begin by supporting, with two passages from classical 
poetry, my explanation of weeping given in 67 of the 
first volume, that it springs from sympathy the object of 
which is one s own self. At the end of the eighth book 
of the " Odyssey," Ulysses, who in all his many sorrows is 
never represented as weeping, bursts into tears, when, still 
unknown, he hears his early heroic life and deeds sung 
by the bard Demodocus in the palace of the Phseacian 
king, for this remembrance of the brilliant period of his 
life contrasts with his present wretchedness. Thus not 
this itself directly, but the objective consideration of it, 
the picture of his present summoned up by his past, 
calls forth his tears ; he feels sympathy with himself. 
Euripides makes the innocently condemned Hypolytus, 
bemoaning his own fate, express the same feeling : 

$>ev 10 ijv /j,avrov TrpocrfiXeTreiv evavTiov 
crTavO\ to? eSatcpvs, oia ma^yo^v Kaica" (1084). 

(Hen, si liceret mihi, me ipsum extrinsecus spectare, quant- 
operc deflerem mala, quw palior.) 

Finally, as a proof of my explanation, an anecdote may 
be given here which I take from the English journal 
The Herald of the 1 6th July 1836. A client, when he 
had heard his case set forth by his counsel in court, 
burst into a flood of tears, and cried, " I never knew I 
had suffered half so much till I heard it here to-day." 

I have shown in 55 of the first volume how, notwith 
standing the unalterable nature of the character, i.e., of the 
special fundamental will of a man, a real moral repentance 
is yet possible. I wish, however, to add the following expla 
nation, which I must preface by a few definitions. Inclina 
tion is every strong susceptibility of the will for motives of 
a certain kind. Passion is an inclination so strong that 


the motives which excite it exercise a power over the will, 
which is stronger than that of every possible motive that 
can oppose them ; thus its mastery over the will becomes 
absolute, and consequently with reference to it the will is 
passive or suffering. It must, however, be remarked here 
that passions seldom reach the degree at which they fully 
answer to the definition, but rather bear their name as mere 
approximations to it : therefore there are then still counter- 
motives which are able at least to restrict their effect, if 
only they appear distinctly in consciousness. The emotion 
is just as irresistible, but yet only a passing excitement of 
the will, by a motive which receives its power, not from a 
deeply rooted inclination, but merely from the fact that, 
appearing suddenly, it excludes for the moment the 
counter-effect of all other motives, for it consists of an 
idea, which completely obscures all others by its excessive 
vividness, or, as it were, conceals them entirely by its too 
close proximity, so that they cannot enter consciousness 
and act on the will, whereby, therefore, the capacity for 
reflection, and with it intellectual freedom, is to a certain 
extent abolished. Accordingly the emotion is related to 
the passion as delirium to madness. 

Moral repentance is now conditioned by the fact that 
before the act the inclination to it did not leave the intel 
lect free scope, because it did not allow it to contemplate 
clearly and fully the counter-motives, but rather turned it 
ever anew to the motives in its own favour. But now, 
after the act has been performed, these motives are, by 
this itself, neutralised, and consequently have become in 
effective. Now reality brings before the intellect the 
counter-motives as the consequences of the act which have 
already appeared ; and the intellect now knows that they 
would have been the stronger if it had only adequately 
contemplated and weighed them. Thus the man becomes 
conscious that he has done what was really not in accor 
dance with his will. This knowledge is repentance, for he 
has not acted with full intellectual freedom ; for all the 


motives did not attain to efficiency. What excluded the 
motives opposed to the action was in the case of the 
hasty action the emotion, and in the case of the deliberate 
action the passion. It has also often depended upon the 
circumstance that his reason certainly presented to him the 
counter-motives in the abstract, but was not supported by 
a sufficiently strong imagination to present to him their 
whole content and true significance in images. Examples 
of what has been said are the cases in which revenge, 
jealousy, or avarice have led to murder. After it is com 
mitted they are extinguished, and now justice, sympathy, 
the remembrance of former friendship, raise their voices 
and say all that they would have said before if they had 
been allowed to speak. Then enters the bitter repentance, 
which says, " If it were not done it would never happen." 
An incomparable representation of this is afforded by the 
old Scottisli ballad, which has also been translated by 
Herder, "Edward, Edward." In an analogous manner, 
the neglect of one s own good may occasion an egotistical 
repentance. For example, when an otherwise unadvisable 
marriage is concluded in consequence of passionate love, 
which now is extinguished just by the marriage, and for 
the first time the counter-motives of personal interest, 
lost independence, &c., &c., come into consciousness, and 
speak as they would have spoken before if they had been 
allowed utterance. All such actions accordingly spring 
from a relative weakness of intellect, because it lets itself 
be mastered by the will, just where its function as the pre 
senter of motives ought to have been inexorably fulfilled, 
without allowing itself to be disturbed by the will. The 
vehemence of the will is here only indirectly the cause, in 
that it interferes with the intellect, and thereby prepares 
for itself repentance. The reasonableness of the character 
araMppoavvr), which is opposed to passionateness, really con 
sists in this, that the will never overpowers the intellect 
to such an extent as to prevent it from correctly exercising 
its function of the distinct, full, and clear exposition of the 


motives in the abstract for the reason, in the concrete for 
the imagination. Now this may just as well depend upon 
the moderation and mildness of the will as upon the 
strength of the intellect. All that is required is that the 
latter should be relatively strong enough for the will that 
is present, thus that the two should stand in a suitable 
relation to each other. 

The following explanations have still to be added to 
the fundamental characteristics of the philosophy of law 
expounded in 62 of the first volume, and also in my prize 
essay on the foundation of morals, 17. 

Those who, with Spinoza, deny that there is a right 
apart from the State, confound the means for enforcing the 
right with the right itself. Certainly the right is insured 
protection only in the State. But it itself exists indepen 
dently of the State. For by force it can only be suppressed, 
never abolished. Accordingly the State is nothing more 
than an institution for protection, which has become neces 
sary through the manifold attacks to which man is exposed, 
and which he would not be able to ward off alone, but only 
in union with others. So, then, the aims of the State are 

(i.) First of all, outward protection, which may just as 
well become needful against lifeless forces of nature or 
wild beasts as against men, consequently against other 
nations ; although this case is the most frequent and im 
portant, for the worst enemy of man is man : homo homini 
lupus. Since, in consequence of this aim, nations always 
set up the principle, in words if not with deeds, that they 
wish to stand to each other in a purely defensive, never in 
an aggressive relation, they recognise the law of nations. 
This is at bottom nothing but natural law, in the only 
sphere of its practical activity that remains to it, between 
nation and nation, where it alone must reign, because its 
stronger son, positive law, cannot assert itself, since it 
requires a judge and an executive. Accordingly the law of 
nations consists of a certain degree of morality in the deal 
ings of nations with each other, the maintenance of which 


is a question of honour for mankind. The bar at which 
cases based on this law are tried is that of public opinion. 

(2.) Protection within, thus protection of the members 
of a State against each other, consequently security of 
private right, by means of the maintenance of an honest 
state of things, which consists in this, that the concen 
trated forces of all protect each individual, from which 
arises an appearance as if all were honest, i.e., just, thus as 
if no one wished to injure the others. 

But, as is always the way in human affairs, the removal 
of one evil generally opens the way for a new one ; thus 
the granting of that double protection introduces the need 
of a third, namely : (3.) Protection against the protector, i.e., 
against him or those to whom the society has transferred 
the management of the protection, thus the guarantee of 
public right. This appears most completely attainable by 
dividing and separating from each other the threefold 
unity of the protective power, thus the legislature, the 
judicature, and the executive, so that each is managed by 
others, and independently of the rest. The great value, 
indeed the fundamental idea of the monarchy appears to me 
to lie in the fact that because men remain men one must 
be placed so high, and so much power, wealth, security, 
and absolute inviolability given him that there remains 
nothing for him to desire, to hope, and to fear for himself ; 
whereby the egoism which dwells in him, as in every one, 
is annihilated, as it were, by neutralisation, and he is now 
able, as if he were no longer a man, to practise justice, 
and to keep in view no longer his own but only the public 
good. This is the source of the seemingly superhuman 
nature that everywhere accompanies royalty, and distin 
guishes it so infinitely from the mere presidency. There 
fore it must also be hereditary, not elective ; partly in order 
that no one may see his equal in the king; partly that 
the king himself may only be able to provide for his suc 
cessors by caring for the welfare of the State, which is 
absolutely one with that of his family. 


If other ends besides that of protection, here explained, 
are ascribed to the State, this may easily endanger the 
true end. 

According to my explanation, the right of property 
arises only through the expenditure of labour upon things. 
This truth, which has already often been expressed, finds 
a noteworthy confirmation in the fact that it is asserted, 
even in a practical regard, in a declaration of the American 
ex-president, Quincey Adams, which is to be found in the 
Quarterly Review of 1840, No. 130; and also in French, in 
the " Bibliotlieque universelle de Gfen&ve," July 1840, No. 55. 
I will give it here in German (English of Quarterly He- 
view) : " There are moralists who have questioned the right 
of the Europeans to intrude upon the possessions of the 
aboriginals in any case, and under any limitations what 
soever ; but have they maturely considered the whole 
subject ? The Indian right of possession itself stands, 
with regard to the greatest part of the country, upon a 
questionable foundation. Their cultivated fields, their con 
structed habitations, a space of ample sufficiency for their 
subsistence, and whatever they had annexed of themselves 
by personal labour, was undoubtedly by the laws of nature 
theirs. But what is the right of a huntsman to the forest 
of a thousand miles over which he has accidentally ranged 
in quest of prey ? " &c. In the same way, those who in 
our own day have seen occasion to combat communism 
with reasons (for example, the Archbishop of Paris, in his 
pastoral of June 1851) have always brought forward the 
argument that property is the result of work, as it were 
only embodied, work. This is further evidence that the 
right of property can only be established by the applica 
tion of work to things, for only in this respect does it find 
free recognition and make itself morally valid. 

An entirely different kind of proof of the same truth is 
afforded by the moral fact that while the law punishes 
poaching just as severely as theft, and in many countries 
more severely, yet civil honour, which is irrevocably lost 


by the latter, is really not affected by the former ; but the 
poacher, if he has been guilty of nothing else, is certainly 
tainted with a fault, but yet is not regarded, like the thief, 
as dishonourable and shunned by all. For the principles 
of civil honour rest upon moral and not upon mere positive 
law ; but game is not an object upon which labour is be 
stowed, and thus also is not an object of a morally valid 
possession : the right to it is therefore entirely a positive 
one, and is not morally recognised. 

According to my view, the principle ought to lie at the 
basis of criminal law that it is not really the man but only 
the deed which is punished, in order that it may not 
recur. The criminal is merely the subject in whom the 
deed is punished, in order that the law in consequence of 
which the punishment is inflicted may retain its deterrent 
power. This is the meaning of the expression, " He is 
forfeited to the law." According to Kant s explanation, 
which amounts to a jus talionis, it is not the deed but the 
man that is punished. The penitentiary system also 
seeks not so much to punish the deed as the man, in 
order to reform him. It thereby sets aside the real aim 
of punishment, determent from the deed, in order to 
attain the very problematic end of reformation. But it is 
always a doubtful thing to attempt to attain two different 
ends by one means : how much more so if the two are in 
any sense opposite ends. Education is a benefit, punish 
ment ought to be an evil ; the penitentiary prison is 
supposed to accomplish both at once. Moreover, however 
large a share untutored ignorance, combined with outward 
distress, may have in many crimes, yet we dare not regard 
these as their principal cause, for innumerable persons 
living in the same ignorance and under absolutely similar 
circumstances commit no crimes. Thus the substance of 
the matter falls back upon the personal, moral character ; 
but this, as I have shown in my prize essay on the free 
dom of the will, is absolutely unalterable. Therefore 
moral reformation is really not possible, but only deter- 


merit from the deed through fear. At the same time, the 
correction of knowledge and the awakening of the desire 
to work can certainly be attained ; it will appear what 
effect this can produce. Besides this, it appears to me, from 
the aim of punishment set forth in the text, that, when 
possible, the apparent severity of the punishment should 
exceed the actual : but solitary confinement achieves the 
reverse. Its great severity has no witnesses, and is by no 
means anticipated by any one who has not experienced 
it ; thus it does not deter. It threatens him who is 
tempted to crime by want and misery with the opposite 
pole of human suffering, ennui : but, as Goethe rightly 

" When real affliction is our lot, 
Then do we long for ennui." 

The contemplation of it will deter him just as little as 
the sight of the palatial prisons which are built by honest 
men for rogues. If, however, it is desired that these 
penitentiary prisons should be regarded as educational 
institutions, then it is to be regretted that the entrance 
to them is only obtained by crimes, instead of which it 
ought to have preceded them. 

That punishment, as Beccaria has taught, ought to bear 
a proper proportion to the crime does not depend upon the 
fact that it would be an expiation of it, but rather on 
the fact that the pledge ought to be proportionate to the 
value of that for which it answers. Therefore every one is 
justified in demanding the pledge of the life of another as 
a guarantee for the security of his own life, but not for 
the security of his property, for which the freedom, and 
so forth, of another is sufficient pledge. For the security 
of the life of the citizens capital punishment is therefore 
absolutely necessary. Those who wish to abolish it should 
be answered, " First remove murder from the world, and 
then capital punishment ought to follow." It ought also 
to be inflicted for the clear attempt to murder just as for 


murder itself ; for the law desires to punish the deed, not 
to revenge its consequences. In general the injury to be 
guarded against affords the right measure for the punish 
ment which is to be threatened, but it does not give the 
moral baseness of the forbidden action. Therefore the law 
may rightly impose the punishment of imprisonment for 
allowing a flower-pot to fall from a window, or impose 
hard labour for smoking in the woods during the sum 
mer, and yet permit it in the winter. But to impose 
the punishment of death, as in Poland, for shooting an 
ure-ox is too much, for the maintenance of the species of 
ure-oxen may not be purchased with human life. In 
determining the measure of the punishment, along with 
the magnitude of the injury to be guarded against, we 
have to consider the strength of the motives which impel to 
the forbidden action. Quite a different standard of punish 
ment would be established if expiation, retribution, jus 
talionis, were its true ground. But the criminal code ought 
to be nothing but a register of counter-motives for possible 
criminal actions : therefore each of these motives must 
decidedly outweigh the motives which lead to these actions, 
and indeed so much the more the greater the evil is which 
would arise from the action to be guarded against, the 
stronger the temptation to it, and the more difficult the 
conviction of the criminal ; always under the correct 
assumption that the- will is not free, but determinable by 
motives ; apart from this it could not be got at at all. 
So much for the philosophy of law. 

In my prize essay on the freedom of the will (p. 50 seq.} 
I have proved the originality and unalterableness of the 
inborn character, from which the moral content of the 
course of life proceeds. It is established as a fact. But 
in order to understand problems in their full extent it is 
sometimes necessary to oppose opposites sharply to each 
other. In this case, then, let one recall how incredibly great 
is the inborn difference between man and man, in a moral 
and in an intellectual regard. Here nobleness and wis- 


dom; there wickedness and stupidity. In one the good 
ness of the heart shines out of the eyes, or the stamp of 
genius is enthroned in his countenance. The base physiog 
nomy of another is the impression of moral worthlessness 
and intellectual dulness, imprinted by the hands of nature 
itself, unmistakable and ineradicable ; he looks as if he 
must be ashamed of existence. But to this outward ap 
pearance the inner being really corresponds. We cannot 
possibly assume that such differences, which transform 
the whole being of the man, and which nothing can 
abolish, which, further, in conflict with Ms circumstances, 
determine his course of life, could exist without guilt or 
merit on the part of those affected by them, and be merely 
the work of chance. Even from this it is evident that the 
man must be in a certain sense his own work. But now, 
on the other hand, we can show the source of these differ 
ences empirically in the nature of the parents ; and be 
sides this, the meeting and connection of these parents 
has clearly been the work of the most accidental circum 
stances. By such considerations, then, we are forcibly 
directed to the distinction between the phenomenon and 
the true being of things, which alone can contain the 
solution of that problem. The thing in itself only reveals 
itself by means of the forms of the phenomenon ; there 
fore what proceeds from the thing in itself must yet 
appear in those forms, thus also in the bonds of causality. 
Accordingly it will present itself to us here as a myste 
rious and incomprehensible guidance of things, of which 
the external empirical connection would be the mere tool. 
Yet all that happens appears in this empirical connection 
introduced by causes, thus necessarily and determined 
from without, while its true ground lies in the inner 
nature of what thus manifests itself. Certainly we can 
here see the solution of the problem only from afar, and 
when we reflect upon it we fall into an abyss of thought 
as Hamlet very truly says, " thoughts beyond the reaches 
of our souls." In my essay in the first volume of the 


Parerga " On the Appearance of Intention in the Fate of 
Individuals " I have set forth my thoughts upon this 
mysterious guidance of things, a guidance which indeed 
can only be conceived symbolically. 

In 14 of my prize essay on the foundation of morals 
there will be found an exposition of egoism, as regards 
its nature ; and the following attempt to discover its root 
may be looked upon as supplementary to that paragraph. 
Nature itself contradicts itself directly, according as it 
speaks from the individual or the universal, from within 
or from without, from the centre or the periphery. It 
has its centre in every individual ; for each individual ia 
the whole will to live. Therefore, even if this individual 
is only an insect or a worm, nature itself speaks out of it 
thus : " I alone am all in all : in my maintenance every 
thing is involved ; the rest may perish, it is really nothing." 
So speaks nature from the particular standpoint, thus 
from the point of view of self-consciousness, and upon 
this depends the egoism of every living thing. On the 
other hand, from the universal point of view, which is 
that of the consciousness of other things, that of objective 
knowledge, which for the moment looks away from the 
individual with whom the knowledge is connected, from 
without then, from the periphery nature speaks thus: 
"The individual is nothing, and less than nothing. I 
destroy millions of individuals every day, for sport and 
pastime : I abandon their fate to the most capricious and 
wilful of my children, chance, who harasses them at 
pleasure. I produce millions of new individuals every 
day, without any diminution of my productive power; 
just as little as the power of a mirror is exhausted by the 
number of reflections of the sun, which it casts on the 
wall one after another. The individual is nothing." Only 
he who knows how to really reconcile and eliminate this 
patent contradiction of nature has a true answer to the 
question as to the perishableness and imperishableness of 
his own self. I believe I have given, in the first four 


chapters of this fourth book of the supplements, an ade 
quate introduction to such knowledge. What is said 
above may further be illustrated in the following manner. 
Every individual, when he looks within, recognises in his 
nature, which is his will, the thing in itself, therefore that 
which everywhere alone is real. Accordingly he conceives 
himself as the kernel and centre of the world, and regards 
himself as of infinite importance. If, on the other hand, he 
looks without, then he is in the province of the idea the 
mere phenomenon, where he sees himself as an individual 
among an infinite number of other individuals, accordingly 
as something very insignificant, nay, vanishing altogether. 
Consequently every individual, even the most insignificant, 
every I, when regarded from within, is all in all ; regarded 
from without, on the other hand, he is nothing, or at least 
as good as nothing. Hence upon this depends the great 
difference between what each one necessarily is in his own 
eyes and what he is in the eyes of others, consequently the 
egoism with which every one reproaches every one else. 

In consequence of this egoism our fundamental error 
of all is this, that with reference to each other we are 
reciprocally not I. On the other hand, to be just, noble, 
and benevolent is nothing else than to translate my meta 
physics into actions. To say that time and space are mere 
forms of our knowledge, not conditions of things in them 
selves, is the same as to say that the doctrine of metemp 
sychosis, " Thou shalt one day be born as him whom 
thou now injurest, and in thy turn shalt suffer like injury," 
is identical with the formula of the Brahmans, which has 
frequently been mentioned, Tat twam asi, " This thou 
art." All true virtue proceeds from the immediate and 
intuitive knowledge of the metaphysical identity of all 
beings, which I have frequently shown, especially in 22 
of my prize essay on the foundation of morals. But just 
on this account it is not the result of a special pre 
eminence of intellect ; on the contrary, even the weakest 
intellect is sufficient to see through the principium indivi- 

VOL. III. 2 D 


duationis, which is what is required iii this matter. Ac 
cordingly we may find the most excellent character eveu 
in the case of a very weak understanding. And further, 
the excitement of our sympathy is accompanied by no 
exertion of our intellect. It rather appears that the 
requisite penetration of the principium indimduationis 
would be present in every one if it were not that the will 
opposes this, and by virtue of its immediate mysterious 
and despotic influence upon the intellect generally pre 
vents it from arising ; so that ultimately all guilt falls 
back upon the will, as indeed is in conformity with the 

The doctrine of metempsychosis, touched on above, de 
viates from the truth merely through the circumstance that 
it transfers to the future what already is now. It makes my 
true inner nature exist in others only after my death, while, 
according to the truth, it already lives in them now, and 
death merely removes the illusion on account of which I am 
not aware of this ; just as an innumerable host of stars con 
stantly shine above our heads, but only become visible to 
us when the one sun near the earth has set. From this 
point of view my individual existence, however much, like 
that sun, it may outshine everything, appears ultimately 
only as a hindrance which stands between me and the 
knowledge of the true extent of my being. And because 
every individual, in his knowledge, is subject to this hin 
drance, it is just individuation that keeps the will to live 
in error as to its own nature ; it is the Maya of Brahmanism. 
Death is a refutation of this error, and abolishes it. I 
believe that at the moment of death we become conscious 
that it is a mere illusion that has limited our existence to 
our person. Indeed empirical traces of this may be found 
in several states which are related to death by the aboli 
tion of the concentration of consciousness in the brain, 
among which the magnetic sleep is the most prominent ; 
for in it, if it reaches a high degree, our existence shows 
itself through various symptoms, beyond our persons and 


in other beings, most strikingly by direct participation 
in the thoughts of another individual, and ultimately even 
by the power of knowing the absent, the distant, and even 
the future, thus by a kind of omnipresence. 

Upon this metaphysical identity of the will, as the 
thing in itself, in the infinite multiplicity of its pheno 
mena, three principal phenomena depend, which may be 
included under the common name of sympathies: (i) 
sympathy proper, which, as I have shown, is the basis of 
justice and benevolence, caritas ; (2) sexual love, with 
capricious selection, amor, which is the life of the species, 
that asserts its precedence over that of the individual; 
(3) magic, to which animal magnetism and sympathetic 
cures also belong. Accordingly sympathy may be defined 
as the empirical appearance of the metaphysical identity 
of the will, through the physical multiplicity of its pheno 
mena, whereby a connection shows itself which is entirely 
different from that brought about by means of the forms 
of the phenomenon which we comprehend under the prin 
ciple of sufficient reason. 

( 420 ) 



MAN has his existence and being either with his will, i.e., 
his consent, or without this ; in the latter case an existence 
so embittered by manifold and insupportable sufferings 
would be a flagrant injustice. The ancients, especially the 
Stoics, also the Peripatetics and Academics, strove in vain 
to prove that virtue sufficed to make life happy. Expe 
rience cried out loudly against it. What really lay at the 
foundation of the efforts of these philosophers, although 
they were not distinctly conscious of it, was the assumed 
justice of the thing ; whoever was without guilt ought to 
be free from suffering, thus happy. But the serious and 
profound solution of the problem lies in the Christian doc- 
trine that works do not justify. Accordingly a man, even 
if he has practised all justice and benevolence, conse 
quently the ayadov, honestum, is yet not, as Cicero 
imagines, culpa omni carens (Tusc., v. i.) ; but el delito 
mayor del hombre es hdber nacido (the greatest guilt of 

I man is that he was born), as Calderon, illuminated by 

,.( * Christianity, has expressed it with far profounder know- 

le"3ge than these wise men. Therefore that man comes into 

the world already tainted with guilt can appear absurd 

only to him who regards him as just then having arisen 

. out of nothing and as the work of another. In conse- 
quence of tf^jguilt, then, which must therefore have pro- 

1 This chapter is connected with of the second volume of the Parerga 
68 of the first volume. Chapter 14 should also be compared with it. 


ceeded from his will, man remains rightly exposed to 
physical and mental suffering, even if he has practised all 
those virtues, thus is not happy. This follows from the 
eternal justice of which I have spoken in 63 of the first 
volume. That, however, as St. Paul (Eom. iii. 21), Augus 
tine, and Luther teach, works cannot justify, inasmuch 
as we all are and remain essenTIaTIy~sTnners, ultimately 
rests upon the fact that, because operari sequitur esse, if we 
acted as we ought, we would necessarily be as we ought. 
But then we would require no salvation from our present 
condition, which not only Christianity but also Brahman- 
ism and Buddhism (under the name which is expressed 
in English lay final emancipation) present as the highest 
goal, i.e., we would not need to become something quite 
different from, nay, the very opposite of what we are. - 
Since, however, we are what we ought not to be, we also 
necessarily do what we ought not to do. Therefore we 
need a complete transformation of our mind and nature ; 
i.e., the new birth, as the result of which salvation appears. 
Although the guilt lies in action, operari, yet the root 
of the guilt lies in our essentia et existentia, for out of these 
the operari necessarily proceeds, as I have shown in the 
prize essay on the freedom of the will. Accordingly our 
one_true sin is really original sin. Now the Christian myth 
makes original sin first arise after man came into exist 
ence, and for this purpose ascribes to him, per impossibile, 
a free will. It does this, however, simply as myth. The 
inmost kernel and spirit of Christianity is identical with 
that of Brahmanism and Buddhism; they all teach a 
great guilt of the human race through its existence itself, ... V 
only that Christianity does not proceed directly and 
frankly like these more ancient religions : thus does not 
make the guilt simply the result of existence itself, but 
makes it arise through the act of the first human pair. ^(C 
This was only possible under the fiction of a liberum arbi- 
trium indifferentice, and only necessary on account of the 
Jewish fundamental dogma, in which that doctrine had 


here to be implanted. Because, according to the truth, the 
corning into existence of man himself is the act of his free 
will, and accordingly one with the fall, and therefore the 
original sin, of which all other sins are the result, appeared 
already with the essentia and existentia of man ; but the 
fundamental dogma of Judaism did not admit of such an 
explanation. Thus Augustine taught, in his books De 
libero arbitrio, that only as Adam before the fall was 
man guiltless and possessed of a free will, but for ever 
after is involved in the necessity of sin. The law, o 
vofj,o<?, in the BiblicaJ sense, always demands that we 
: . shall change our doing, while our being remains un 
changed. But because this is impossible, Paul says that 
no man is justified by the law ; only the new birth in 

..A Jesus Christ, in consequence of the work of grace, on ac 
count of which a new man arises and the old man is 
abolished (i.e., a fundamental change of mind or conver 
sion), can transfer us from the state of sinfulness into that 
of freedom and salvation. This is the Christian myth with 
reference to ethics. But certainly the Jewish theism, 
upon which it was grafted, must have received wonderful 
additions to adapt itself to that myth. In it the fable of 
the fall presented the only place for the graft of the old 
Indian stem. It is to be attributed just to that forcibly sur 
mounted difficulty that the Christian mysteries have re 
ceived such an extraordinary appearance, conflicting with 
the ordinary understanding, which makes proselytising 
more difficult, and on account of which, from incapacity to 
comprehend their profound meaning, Pelagianism, or at 
the present day Rationalism, rises against them, and seeks 
to explain them away, but thereby reduces Christianity to 

But to speak without myth : so long as our will is the 
\ same, our world can be no other than it is. It is true 

\ all wish to be delivered from the state of suffering and 
death; they would like, as it is expressed, to attain to 
eternal blessedness, to enter the kingdom of heaven, only 


not upon their own feet; they would like to be carried 
there by the course of nature. That, however, is impos 
sible. Therefore nature will never let us fall and become 
nothing ; but yet it can lead us nowhere but always again 
into nature. Yet how questionable a thing it is to exist 
as a part of nature every one experiences in his own life 
and death. Accordingly existence is certainly to be 
regarded as an erring, to return from which is salvation : 
it also bears this character throughout. It is therefore 
conceived in this manner by the ancient Samana religions, 
and also, although indirectly, by real and original Chris 
tianity. Even Judaism itself contains at least in the fall 
(this its redeeming feature) the germ of such a view. Only 
Greek paganism and Islamism are entirely optimistic: 
therefore in the former the opposite tendency had to find 
expression at least in tragedy ; but in Islamism, which is 
the worst, as it is the most modern, of all religions, it 
appeared as Sufism, that very beautiful phenomenon, which 
is completely of Indian spirit and origin, and has now 
continued for upwards of a thousand years. Nothing can, L 
in fact, be given as the end of our existence but the* 
^knowledge that we had better not be. This, however, is 
the most important of all truths, which must therefore 
be expressed, however great the contrast in which it 
stands with the European manner of thought of the pre 
sent day. On the other hand, in the whole of non- 
Mohammedan Asia it is the most universally recognised 
fundamental truth, to-day as much as three thousand 
years ago. 

If now we consider the will to live as a whole and 
objectively, we have, in accordance with what has been 
said, to think of it as involved in an illusion, to escape ^ 
from which, thus to deny^jtswhol^exjstin^je^deavpur, is 
what all religions denote by self-renunciation, dbnegatio 
sui ipsius ; for the .true self is the will to live. The 
moral virtues, "tlius justice and benevolence, since if they 
are pure they spring, as I have shown, from the fact that 


the will to live, seeing through the principium indivi- 
duationis, recognises itself in all its manifestations, are 
accordingly primarily a sign, a symptom, that the self-mani 
festing will is no longer firmly held in that illusion, bub 
the jlisjUusiojQj already begins to take place; so that one 
might metaphorically say it already flaps its wings to fly 
away from it. Conversely, injustice, wickedness, cruelty 
are signs of the opposite, thus of the deep entanglement 
x) in that illusion. Secondly, however, these virtues are a 
nieansof advancingself-renunciation,a,nd accordingly the 
denialjjf the will tolive. For true integrity, inviolable 
justice, this first and most important of cardinal virtues, 
is so hard a task that whoever professes it unconditionally 
and from the bottom of his heart has to make sacrifices 
that soon deprive life of the sweetness which is demanded 
to make it enjoyable, and thereby turn away the will 
from it, thus lead to resignation. Yet just what makes 
integrity honourable is the sacrifices which it costs; in 
trifles it is not admired. Its nature really consists in 
this, that the just man does not throw upon others, by 
craft or force, the burdens and sorrows which life brings 
frith it, as the unjust man does, but bears himself what 
falls to his lot ; and thus he has to bear the full burden 
\of the evil imposed upon human life, undiminished. 
^A^ustic^ thereby becomes a means of advancing the denial 
oilhe will to live, for want and suffering, those true con 
ditions of human life, are its consequence, and these lead 
to resignation. Still more quickly does the virtue of 
benevolence, caritas, which goes further, lead to the same 
result; for on account of it one takes over even the 
sufferings which originally fell to the lot of others, there 
fore appropriates to oneself a larger share of these than in 
the course of things would come to the particular indivi 
dual. He who is inspired with this virtue has recognised 
his own being in all others. And thereby he identifies 
his own lot with that of humanity in general ; but this is a 
hard lot, that of care, suffering, and death. Whoever, then, 


by renouncing every accidental advantage, desires for him 
self no other lot than that of humanity in general cannot 
desire even this long. The clinging to life and its plea 
sures must now soon yield, and give place to a universal 
renunciation ; consequently the denial of the will will 
take place. Since now, in accordance with this, poverty, 
privation, and special sufferings of many kinds are intro 
duced simply by the perfect exercise of the moral virtues, 
asceticism in the narrowest sense, thus the surrender of all 
possessions, the intentional seeking out of what is disagree 
able and repulsive, self-mortification, fasts, the hair shirt, 
and the scourge all this is rejected by many, and per 
haps rightly, as superfluous. Justice itself is the hair 
shirt that constantly harasses its owner and the charity 
that gives away what is needed, provides constant fasts. 1 
Just on this account Buddhism is free from all strict and 
excessive asceticism, which plays a large part in Brah- 
manism, thus f rom intentional self-mortification. It rests 
satisfied with the celibacy, voluntary poverty, humility, and 
obedience of the monks, with abstention from animal food, 
as also from all worldliness. Since, further, the goal to 
which the moral virtues lead is that which is here pointed 
out, the Vedanta philosophy 2 rightly says that after the 
entrance of true knowledge, with entire resignation in its 
train, thus the new birth, then the morality or immorality 
of the past life is a matter of indifference, and uses here 
also the saying so often quoted by the Brahmans : " Fin- 
ditur nodus cordis, dissolvuntur omnes duhitationes, ejusque 
opera evanescunt, viso supremo illo " (Sancara, sloca 32). 

1 If, on the contrary, asceticism is ferred to this fourth motive had to 

admitted, the list of the ultimate be passed over in silence, for the 

motives of human action, given in question asked was stated in the 

my prize essay on the foundation of spirit of the philosophical ethics pre- 

morals, namely : ( i ) our own good, vailing in Protestant Europe. 

(2) the ill of others, and (3) the 2 Of. F. H. H. Windischinann a 

good of others, must be supple- Sancara, sive de theologumenis Ve- 

mented by a fourth, our own ill ; danticorum, pp. 116, 117, 121 ; and 

which I merely mention here in also Oupnekhat, vol. i. pp. 340, 356, 

passing in the interests of syste- 360. 
matic consistency. In the essay re- 


Now, however objectionable this view may be to many, to 
whom a reward in heaven or a punishment in hell is a 
much more satisfactory explanation of the ethical signi 
ficance of human action, just as the good Windischmann 
rejects that doctrine, while he expounds it, yet whoever is 
able to go to the bottom of the matter will find that in 
the end it agrees with that Christian doctrine especially 
urged by Luther, that it is not works but only the faith 
^ which enters through the work of grace, that saves us, 
and that therefore we can never be justified by our 
. deeds, but can only obtain the forgiveness of our sins 
through the merits of the Mediator. It is indeed easy to 
see that without such assumptions Christianity would 
have to teach- infinite punishment for all, and Brahman- 
ism endless (re-birthg for all, thus no salvation would be 
reached by eitherr" The sinful works and their conse 
quences must be annulled and annihilated, whether by 
extraneous pardon or by ^6jeilteaQfifiLflf_a_hfitter know 
ledge ; otherwise the world could hope for no salvation ; 
afterwards, however, they become a matter of indifference. 
This is also the fieravoia teat, afacns a/Aapriwv, the an 
nouncement of which the risen Christ exclusively imposes 
upon His Apostles as the sum of their mission (Luke xxiv. 
47). [""The moral virtues_are really not_the ujjimatejendjait 

j}nly a step towardlTit. This step is signified in the Christian 
myth by the eating of the tree^of the knowledge of gqojf and 
evil, with which moniljresponsibility enters, together with 
original sin. The latter jxleffis in truth the assertion oftHe 
jwill to_live : the denial of the willjo live, in consequence 
of the appearance^of a better knowledge, is, on the other 
handjSalvation. Between thesejtwo, then,lies the sphere 
o mbralit yj-i it accompanies man asjajight^upon his path 
fromTthenassertion to the denial of the will, or, mythically, 
from original sin to salvationj:hrougli faith in tnlTmedia- 

Ttion of_the incarnate God^Avator) ; or,jwcording to the 
teaching of the Vedas, through all re-births, which are the 
\j/ coiisequeuce of J/he^works in each case^untirTIght khotf"- 


ledge appears, anoVvvith^ it salvation (final emancipation), 
Mokscha, i.e., reunion with" Brahma, The Buddhists, 
however, with Dfiifegt honesty, only indicate the matter 
negatively, bv\N"irva5ai which is the negation of this 

O J <_ *I * __ZZZ^^ -_ -i -I 

worlS7~orof Sansara. If Nirvana is defined as nothing, 

this~Trnly~Tneans that the~"Bansara contains no single ^ 
element which could assist the definition or construction 
of Nirvana: iTusT onlihisTaccount the Jainas, who differ 
from the Buddhists only in name, call the Brahmans who 
believe in the Vedas Sabdapramans, a nickname which 
is meant to signify that they believe upon hearsay what 
cannot be known or proved ("Asiat. Eesearches," vol. vi. 
p. 474). 

W]ien certain ancient ^phjlosophjers^suchj.? Orpheus, the 
Pythagoreans, and Plato (e.g., in the " Phsedo," pp. 151, 183 
seq., Bip.; and see Clem. Alex, strom., iii. p. 400 se$.), just 
like the Apostle Paul, lamentjthe junipn of joul and^bpdy, 
and desire to_be freed-^from it, we understand the real 
and true meaning_of this complaint, since we have recog- 
niseHjjn the_se^cpndjbook, that the bodyjs thejwill itself, 
obj_ectively_perceived as ajphenomenon injspace.^ <^ 

In the hour of death it is decided whether the man 
returns into the womb of nature or belongs no more to 

nature at all, but : for this opposite we 

lack image, conception, and word, just because these are 
all taken from the objectificatiou of the will, therefore 
belong to this, and consequently can in no way express 
the absolute opposite of it, which accordingly remains for 
us a mere negation. However, the death of the individual 
is in each case the unweariedly repeated question of 
nature to the will to live, " Hast thou enough 1 Wilt 
thou escape from me 1 " In order that it may occur often 
enough, the individual life is so short. In this spirit are 
conceived the ceremonies, prayers, and exhortations of the 
Brahmans at the time of death, as we find them preserved 
in the Upanischad in several places ; and so also are the 
Christian provisions for the suitable employment of the 


hour of death by means of exhortation, confession, com 
munion, and extreme unction: hence also the Christian 
prayers for deliverance from sudden death. That at the 
present day it is just this that many desire only proves 
that they no longer stand at the Christian point of view, 
which is that of the denial of the will to live, but at that 
of its assertion, which is the heathen point of view. 

But he will fear least to become nothing in death who 
has recognised that he is already nothing now, and who 
consequently no longer takes any share in his individual 
phenomenon, because in him knowledge has, as it were, 
burnt up and consumed the will, so that no will, thus no 
desire for individual existence, remains in him any more. 

Individuality inheres indeed primarily in the intellect ; 
and the intellect, reflecting the phenomenon, belongs to 
the phenomenon, which has the principium individuationis 
as its form. But it inheres also in the will, inasmuch as 
the character is individual: vehe_ijliaia,cteritself is 
abolished in the denial of 

*^ ._ . ~^- 

inheres in the will onlyjn. its assertion, 
Even the holiness which is connected with every purely 
moral action depends upon the fact that such an action 
ultimately springs from the immediate knowledge of the 
numerical identity of the inner nature of all living things. 1 
But this identity only really exists in the condition of 
the denial of the will (Nirvana), for the assertion of the 
will (Sansara) has for its form the phenomenal appearance 
of it in multiplicity. [Assertion of the will to live, the 
- phenomenal world, thecftversity of all beings, indivi 
duality, egoism, hatred, wickedness, all spring from one 
_fiotj and so also, on the other hand, do the world as 
thing in itself, the identity of all beings, justice, bene 
volence, the denial of the will to live. If now, as I have 
sufficiently proved, even the moral virtues spring from the 
consciousness of that identity of all beings, but this lies, 
not in the phenomenon, but only in the thing in itself, in 

1 Cf. Die beidcn Grundprobleme der Etkik, p. 274 (second edition, p. 271). 


the root of all beings, the moral action is a momentary 
passing through the point, the permanent return to which 
is the denial of the will to live. 

It follows, as a deduction from what has been said, that 
we have no ground to assume that there are more perfect 
intelligences than that of human beings. For we see that 
even this degree of intelligence is sufficient to impart to 
the will that knowledge in consequence of which it denies 
and abolishes itself, upon which the individuality, and 
consequently the intelligence, which is merely a tool of 
individual, and therefore animal nature, perish. This 
will appear to us less open to objection if we consider 
that we cannot conceive even the most perfect intelli 
gences possible, which for this end we may experiment 
ally assume, existing through an endless time, which would 
be much too poor to afford them constantly new objects 
worthy of them. .Because the nature of all_things js__at 
.bottom one, all knowledge of them is necessarily tautolo 
gical. If now this nature once becomes comprehended, as 
by those most perfect intelligences it soon would be com 
prehended, what would then remain but the wearisomeness 
of mere repetition through an infinite time ? Thus from 
this side also we are pointed to the fact that the end of 
aUintelligence can only be reaction upon the will ; since, 
ho weyerrall willing is an "error, it rejnainsjbhe last jyork 
of_intelligence_ to abolish the willing, whose ends khad 
hitherto served. Accordingly even the most perfect in 
telligence possible can only be a transition step to that to 
which no knowledge can ever extend: indeed such an 
intelligence can, in the nature of things^only__assume the 
position of the moment of the attainment of perfect 

~In agreement with all these considerations, and also 
with what is proved in the second book as to the origin of 
knowledge in the will, the assertion of which it reflects in 
fulfilling the sole function of knowledge, that of being 
serviceable to the ends of the will, while true salvation 


lies in its denial, we see all religious at their highest 
point pass over into mysticism and mysteries, i.e., into 
darkness and veiled obscurity, which for knowledge 
signify merely an empty spot, the point where knowledge 
necessarily ceases ; therefore for thought this can only be 
expressed by negations, but for sense perception it is 
indicated by symbolical signs ; in temples by dim light 
and silence ; in Brahmanism indeed by the required 
suspension of all thought and perception for the sake of 
sinking oneself profoundly in the grounds of one s own 
being, mentally pronouncing the mysterious Oum. 1 Mysti 
cism in the widest sense is every guidance to the immediate 
consciousness of that to which neither perception nor 
conception, thus in general no knowledge extends. The 
mystic is thus opposed to the philosopher by the fact that 
he begins from within, while the philosopher begins from 
without. The mystic starts from his inner, positive, 
individual experience, in which he finds himself to be the 
eternal and only being, &c. But nothing of this is com 
municable except the assertions which one has to accept 
upon his word ; consequently he cannot convince. The 
philosopher, on the other hand, starts from what is common 
to all, from the objective phenomenon which lies before 
all, and from the facts of consciousness as they are pre 
sent in all. His method is therefore reflection upon all 

1 If we keep in view the essential and consequently no more knowledge, 
immanence of our knowledge and of just because there is no more will, 
all knowledge, which arises from the the service of which is the sole 
fact that it is a secondary thing destiny of knowledge, 
which has only appeared for the Now, whoever has comprehended 
ends of the will, it then becomes this will no longer regard it as be- 
explicable to us that all mystics of yond all measure extravagant that 
all religions ultimately attain to a Fakirs should sit down, and, con- 
kind of ecstasy, in which all and templating the tip of their nose, 
every knowledge, with its whole seek to banish all thought and per- 
fundamental form, object and sub- ception, and that in many passages 
ject, entirely ceases, and only in this of the Upanischads instructions are 
sphere, which lies beyond all know- given to sink oneself, silently and 
ledge, do they claim to have reached inwardly pronouncing the mysteri- 
their highest goal, for they have then ous Oum, in the depths of one s own 
attained to the sphere in which there being, where subject and object and 
is no longer any subject and object, all knowledge disappear. 


this, and combination of the data given in it : accordingly 
he can convince. He ought therefore to beware of fall 
ing into the way of the mystics, and, for example, by the 
assertion of intellectual intuitions or pretended immediate 
apprehensions of the reason, to seek to make a vain show 
of positive knowledge of that which is for ever inacces 
sible to all knowledge, or at the most can be indicated by 
means of a negation. The value and worth of philosophy 
lies in the fact that it rejects all assumptions which can- 
1 not be established, and takes as its data only what can 
Ibe certainly proved in the world given in external J3gr- 
jception, in the forms of apprehension of this world, which 
^re constitutive of our intellect, and in the consciousness 
of one s own self which is common to all. Therefore it 
must remain cosmology, and cannot become theology. Its 
theme must limititseIF"to the world ; to express in all 
aspects what this ts, what it is in its inmost nature, is all 
that it can honestly achieve. Now it answers to this 
that my system when it reaches its highest point assumes 
a negative character, thus ends with a negation. It can 
here speak only of what is denied, given up : but what is 
thereby won, what is laid hold of, it is obliged (at the 
conclusion of the fourth book) to denote as nothing, and 
can only add the consolation that it is merely a relative, 
not an absolute nothing. For if something is none of all 
the things which we know, it is certainly for us, speaking 
generally, nothing. But it does not yet follow from this 
that it is absolutely nothing, that from every possible 
point of view and in every possible sense it must be 
nothing, but only that we are limited to a completely 
negative knowledge of it, which may very well lie in 
the limitation of our point of view. Now it is just here 
that the mystic proceeds positively, and therefore it is 
just from this point that nothing but mysticism remains. 
However, any one who wishes this kind of supplement to 
the negative knowledge to which alone philosophy can 
guide him will find it in its most beautiful and richest form 


in the Oupnekhat, then also in the Enneads of Plotinus, 
in Scotus Erigena, in passages of Jakob Bohm, but espe 
cially in the marvellous work of Madame de Guion, Les 
Torrens, and in Angelus Silesius ; finally also in the poems 
of the Sufis, of which Tholuk has given us a collection 
translated into Latin, and another translated into German, 
and in many other works. The Sufis are the Gnostics of 
Islam. Hence Sadi denotes them by a word which may 
be translated " full of insight" Theism, calculated with 
reference to the capacity of the multitude, places the 
source of existence without us, as an object. All mysti 
cism, and so also Sufisin, according to the various degrees 
of its initiation, draws it gradually back within us, as the 
subject, and the adept recognises at last with wonder and 
delight that he is it himself. This procedure, common 
to all mysticism, we find not only expressed by Meister 
Eckhard, the father of German mysticism, in the form of 
a precept for the perfect ascetic, " that he seek not God 
outside himself " (Eckhard s works, edited by Pfeiffer, vol. 
i. p. 626), but also very naively exhibited by Eckhard s 
spiritual daughter, who sought him out, when she had 
experienced that conversion in herself, to cry out joyfully 
to him, " Sir, rejoice with me, I have become God " (loc. 
cit., p. 465). The mysticism of the Sufis also expresses 
itself throughout precisely in accordance with this spirit, 
principally as a revelling in the consciousness that one 
is oneself the kernel of the world and the source of all 
existence, to which all returns. Certainly there also 
often appears the call to surrender all volition as the only 
way in which Deliverance from individual existence and_ 
its suffering is possible, yet subordinated and required as 
easyT^ Tn thp. myatim sTn nf t.hp. Hindus, on the 

other hand, the latter side comes out much more strongly, 
and in Christian mysticism it is quite predominant, so 
that pantheistic consciousness, which is essential to all 
mysticism, here only appears in a secondary manner, in 
consequence of the surrender of all volition, as union with 


God. Corresponding to this difference of the conception, 
Mohammedan mysticism has a very serene character, 
Christian mysticism a gloomy and melancholy character, 
while that of the Hindus, standing above both, in this 
respect also holds the mean. 

Quietism, i.e., surrender of all volition, asceticism, i.e., 
intentional mortification of one s own will, and mysticism, 
i.e., consciousness of the identity of one s own nature with 
that of all things or with the kernel of the world, stand 
in the closest connection ; so that whoever professes one 
of them is gradually led to accept the others, even against 
his intention. Nothing can be more surprising than the 
agreement with each other of the writers who present 
these doctrines, notwithstanding the greatest difference of 
their age, country, and religion, accompanied by the firm 
certainty and inward confidence with which they set forth 
the permanence of their inner experience. They do not 
constitute a sect, which adheres to, defends, and propagates 
a favourite dogma once laid hold of ; indeed the Indian, 
Christian, and Mohammedan mystics, quietists, and ascetics 
are different in every respect, except the inner significance 
and spirit of their teaching. A very striking example of 
this is afforded by the comparison of the Torrens of Madame 
de Guion with the teaching of the Vedas, especially with 
the passage in the Oupnekhat, vol. i. p. 63, which con 
tains the content of that French work in the briefest 
form, but accurately and even with the same images, and 
yet could not possibly have been known to Madame de 
Guion in 1680. In the " Deutschen Theologie" (the only 
unmutilated edition, Stuttgart, 1851) it is said in chapters 
2 and 3 that both the fall of the devil and that of 
ntaam consisted in the fact that the one as the other 

ascribed to himself the I_and me. the mine and to me, 
and on p. 89 it is said: "In true love there remains 
neither I nor me, mine, to me, thou, thine, and the like." 
Now, corresponding to this, it is said in the "Kural," 
from the Tamilian by Graul, p. 8 : " The passion of the 

VOL. III. 2 E 



^mineydirected outwardly, and that of the \Fjdirected 
inwardly, cease " (cf. ver. 346). And in the "Manual of 
Buddhism by Spence Hardy, p. 258, Buddha says: "My 
disciples reject the thoughts I am this, or this is mine." 
In general, if we look away from the forms which are 
introduced by external circumstances and go to the bottom 
of the matter, we will find that Sakya Muni and Meister 
Eckhard teach the same ; only that the former dared to 
express his thoughts directly, while the latter is obliged to 
clothe them in the garments of the Christian myth and 
adapt his expressions to this. He carries this, however, 
so far that with him the Christian myth has become little 
more than a symbolical language, just as the Hellenic myth 
became for the Neo-Platoiiists : he takes it throughout 
allegorically. In the same respect it is worth noticing 
that the transition of St. Francis from prosperity to the 
mendicant life is similar to the still greater step of Buddha 
Sakya Muni from prince to beggar, and that, corresponding 
to this, the life of St. Francis, and also the order he founded, 
was just a kind of Sanuyasiism. Indeed it deserves to be 
mentioned that his relationship with the Indian spirit 
appears also in his great love for the brutes and frequent 
intercourse with them, when he always calls them his 
sisters and brothers ; and his beautiful Cantico also bears 
witness to his inborn Indian spirit by the praise of the 
sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, the water, the fire, and 
the earth. 1 

Even the Christian quietists must often have had little 
or no knowledge of each other ; for example, Molinos and 
Madame de Guion of Tauler and the "Deutsche Theologie" 
or Gichtel of the former. In any case, the great difference 
of their culture, in that some of them, like Molinos, were 
learned, others, like Gichtel and many more, were the 
reverse, has no essential influence upon their teaching. 

1 S. Bonaventurce vita S. Francisci, editi da Schlosser e Steinle., Franco- 
ch. 8. K. Hase, " Franz von Assist," forto, 8.M., 1842. 
ch. 10. " / cantici di S, Francesco," 


Their great internal agreement, along with the firmness 
and certainty of their utterances, proves all the more that 
they speak from real inward experience, from an experience 
which certainly is not accessible to all, but is possessed 
only by a few favoured individuals, and therefore has 
received the name of the work of grace, the reality of 
which, however, for the above reasons, is not to be 
doubted. But in order to understand all this one must 
read the mystics themselves, and not be contented with 
second-hand reports of them; for every one must him 
self be comprehended before one judges concerning him. 
Thus to become acquainted with quietism I specially 
recommend Meister Eckhard, the "Deutsche Theologie," 
Tauler, Madame de Guion, Antoinette Bourignon, the 
English Bunyan, Molinos, 1 and Gichtel. In the same 
way, as practical proofs and examples of the profound 
seriousness of asceticism, the life of Pascal, edited by 
Reuchlin, together with his history of the Port-Eoyal, and 
also the Histoire de Sainte Elisabeth, par le comte de 
Montalemlert, and La vie de Rancd, par Chateaubriand, are 
very well worth reading, but yet by no means exhaust all 
that^ is important in this class. Whoever has read such 
writings, and compared their spirit with that of ascetism 
and quietism as it runs through all works of Brahmanism 
and Buddhism, and speaks in every page, will admit that 
every philosophy, which must in consistency reject that 
whole mode of thought, which it can only do by explain 
ing the representatives of it to be either impostors or mad 
men, must just on this account necessarily be false. But 
all European systems, with the exception of mine, find 
themselves in this position. Truly it must be an extra 
ordinary madness which, under the most widely different 
circumstances and persons possible, spoke with such agree- 

1 Michcdis de Molinos manuductio verses pieces concernant le quittisme, 

tpiritualis; hispanice 1675, {tafoe oa Molinos et ses disdpUs. Amstd, 

>eo, latine 1687, gallice in libra non 1688. 
adeo raro, cui titulus : Rccueil de di- 


ment, and, moreover, was raised to the position of a chief 
doctrine of their religion, by the most ancient and numer 
ous peoples of the earth, something like three -fourths 
of all the inhabitants of Asia. But no philosophy can 
leave the theme of quietism and asceticism undecided 
if the question is proposed to it ; because this theme is, 
in its matter, identical with that of all metaphysics and 
ethics. Here then is a point upon which I expect and 
desire that every philosophy, with its optimism, should 
declare itself. And if, in the judgment of contemporaries, 
the paradoxical and unexampled agreement of my philo 
sophy with quietism and asceticism appears as an open 
stumbling-block, I, on the contrary, see just in that 
agreement a proof of its sole correctness and truth, and 
also a ground of explanation of why it is ignored and kept 
secret by the Protestant universities. 

For not only the religions of the East, but also true 
Christianity, has throughout that ascetic fundamental char 
acter which my philosophy explains as the denial of the will 
to live ; although Protestantism, especially in its present 
form, seeks to conceal this. Yet even the open enemies of 
Christianity who have appeared in the most recent times 
have ascribed to it the doctrines of renunciation, self-denial, 
perfect chastity, and, in general, mortification of the will, 
which they quite correctly denote by the name of the " anti- 
cosmic tendency" and have fully proved that such doctrines 
are essentially proper to original and genuine Christi 
anity. In this they are undeniably right. But that they 
set up this as an evident and patent reproach to Chris 
tianity, while just here lies its profoundest truth, its high 
value, and its sublime character, this shows an obscuring 
of the mind, which can only be explained by the fact that 
these men s minds, unfortunately like thousands more at 
the present day in Germany, are completely spoiled and 
distorted by the miserable Hegelisrn, that school of dulness, 
that centre of misunderstanding and ignorance, that mind- 
destroying, spurious wisdom, which now at last begins to 


be recognised as such, and the veneration of which will 
soon be left to the Danish Academy, in whose eyes even 
that gross charlatan is a summus philosophies, for whom it 
takes the field : 

" Car Us suivront la creance et estude, 
De I ignorante et sotte multitude, 
Dont le plus lourd sera re$u pourjuge." 


In any case, the ascetic tendency is unmistakable in the 
genuine and original Christianity as it developed in the 
writings of the Church Fathers from its kernel in the New 
Testament ; it is the summit towards which all strives 
upwards. As its chief doctrine we find the recommenda 
tion of genuine and pure celibacy (this first and most 
important step in the denial of the will to live), which is 
already expressed in the New Testament. 1 Strauss also, 
in his "Life of Jesus" (vol. i. p. 618 of the first edition), 
says, with reference to the recommendation of celibacy 
given in Matt. xix. 1 1 seq., " That the doctrine of Jesus may 
not run counter to the ideas of the present day, men have 
hastened to introduce surreptitiously the thought that 
Jesus only praised celibacy with reference to the circum 
stances of the time, and in order to leave the activity of 
the Apostles unfettered ; but there is even less indication 
of this in the context than in the kindred passage, I Cor. 
vii. 25 seq.; but we have here again one of the places 
where ascetic principles, such as prevailed among the 
Essenes, and probably still more widely among the Jews, 
appear in the teaching of Jesus also." .Jhis ascetic ten- 
jjency^appears more decidedly later than at the beginning, 
when Christianity, still seeking adherents, dared not pitch 
its demands too high ; and by the beginning of the third 
century it is expressly urged. Marriage, in genuine Chris 
tianity, is merely a compromise with the sinful nature of 
man, as a concession, something allowed to those who lack 

1 Matt. xix. II seq. ; Luke xx. ( i f hess. iv. 3 ; I John iii. 3) ; Rev. 
35-37 ; i Cor. vii. i-n and 25-40 xiv. 4. 


strength to aspire to the highest, an expedient to avoid 
greater evil : in this sense it receives the sanction of the 
Church in order that the bond may be indissoluble. But 
celibacy and virginity are set up as the higher consecra 
tion of Christianity through which one enters the ranks of 
the elect. Through these alone does one attain the victor s 
crown, which even at the present day is signified by the 
wreath upon the coffin of the unmarried, and also by that 
which the bride lays aside on the day of her marriage. 

A piece of evidence upon this point, which certainly 
comes to us from the primitive times of Christianity, is 
the pregnant answer of the Lord, quoted by Clemens 
Alexaudrinus (Strom, iii. 6 et 9) from the Gospel of the 
Egyptians : " Ty JaXeo/^ 6 rcvpios TrvvOavopevrj, /-te^/H 
TTore tfaz/aro? Kr^vaei ; yue^pt? av, enrev, v^is, at yvvaitce*!, 
TiKrere" (Salomes interroganti " quousgue vigebit mors?" 
Dominus " quoadusque" inquit " vos, mulieres, paritis"). 
"Tovr <rri, /iexpi<i av at 7ri0vfj.iai evepywai" (Hoc est, 
quamdiu operdbuntur cupiditates}, adds Clement, c. 9, with 
which he at once connects the famous passage, Korn. v. 
12. Further on, c. 13, he quotes the words of Cassianus : 

s, irore yvfoaijo-erai ra Trepi wv 
rjpero, e<f>rj 6 tcvpios, Orav rr)<; aia-^vv^ evBvfia Trar^^re, 
teat orav ryevr)Tai ra Svo ev, icai TO appev yttera r^ 0rj\eca<f 
ovre appev, ovre 6rj\v " (Cum interrogaret Salome, quando 
cognoscentur ea, dc quibus interrogabat, ait Dominus: 
" quando pudoris indumentum conculcaveritis, et quando duo 
facto fucrint unum,ct masculum cum famina nee masculum 
nee fcemineum "), i.e., when she no longer needs the veil of 
modesty, since all distinction of sex will have disappeared. 
With regard to this point the heretics have certainly 
gone furthest : even in the second century the Tatianites or 
Encratites, the Gnostics, the Marcionites, the Montanists, 
Valentinians, and Cassians ; yet only because with reckless 
consistency they gave honour to the truth, and therefore, in 
accordance with the spirit of Christianity, they taught per 
fect continence ; while the Church prudently declared to be 


heresy all that ran counter to its far-seeing policy. Augus 
tine says of the Tatianites : "Nuptias damnant, atque omnino 
pares eas fornicationibus aliisque corruptionibusfaciunt : nee 
recipiunt in suum numerum conjugio utentem, sive marem, 
sivefoeminam. Non vescuntur carnibus, easque abominantur. 
(De hceresi ad quod vult Deum. hcer., 25.) But even the 
orthodox Fathers look upon marriage in the light indicated 
above, and zealously preach entire continence, the ayveta. 
Athanasius gives as the cause of marriage : Ori vrromrr- 
ecr/Aev ry rov rrporraropos KaraSt/cy . . . 67rtSrj 6 

oveoTro? rov 6eov r)V, TO /ATJ Sia ya/mov 
KCLI <j>dopa<; r) Se irapa^aa-^ TT;? evro~kr]s rov 

Sia TO avo^aai rov ASa/j,. (Quid subjacemus 
condemnationi propatoris nostri ; . . . nam finis, a Deo 
prcelatus, erat, nos non per nuptias et corruptionem fieri : 
sed transgressio mandati nuptias introduxit, propter legis 
violationem Adce. Exposit. in psalm. 50). Tertullian calls 
marriage genus mali inferioris, ex indulgentia ortum (De 
pudicitia, c. 16) and says : " Matrimonium et stuprum est 
commixtio carnis ; scilicet cujus concupiscentiam dominus 
stupro adcequavit. Ergo, inquis, jam et primas, id est unas 
nuptias destruis ? Nee immerito : quoniam et ipsce ex eo 
constant, quod est stuprum (De exhort, castit., c. 9). Indeed, 
Augustine himself commits himself entirely to this doc 
trine and all its results, for he says : " Naoi quosdam, qui 
murmurent : quid, si, inquiunt, omnes velint ab omni con- 
cubitu abstinere, unde subsistet genus humanum ? Utinam 
omnes hoc vellent ! dumtaxat in caritate, de corde puro 
et conscientia bona, et fide non field : multo citius Dei 
civitas compleretur, ut acceleraretur terminus mundi " (De 
bono conjugali, c. 10). And again: "Non vos ab hoc 
studio, quo multos ad imitandum vos excitatis, frangat 
querela vanorum, qui dicunt : quomodo subsistet genus 
humanum, si omnes fuerint continentes? Quasi propter 
aliud retardetur hoc seculum, nisi ut implcatur prcedestina- 
tus numerus ille sanctorum, quo citius impleto, profecto nee 
terminus seculi differ etur (De bono individuitatis, c. 23). 


One sees at once that he identifies salvation with the end 
of the world. The other passages in the works of Augus 
tine which bear on this point will be found collected in 
the " Confessio Augustiniana e D. Augustini operibus com- 
pilata a Hieronymo Torrense" 1610, under the headings 
De matrimonio, De ccelibatu, &c., and any one may convince 
himself from these that in ancient, genuine Christianity 
marriage was only a concession, which besides this was 
supposed to have only the begetting of children as its end, 
that, on the other hand, perfect continence was the true 
virtue far to be preferred to this. To those, however, who 
do not wish to go back to the authorities themselves I 
recommend two works for the purpose of removing any 
kind of doubt as to the tendency of Christianity we are 
Bpeaking about: Carove , " Ueber das Colibatgesetz" 1832, 
and Lind, " De ccelibatu Christianorum per tria priora 
secula," Havnice, 1839. It is, however, by no means the 
views of these writers themselves to which I refer, for 
these are opposed to mine, but solely to their carefully 
collected accounts and quotations, which deserve full 
acceptance as quite trustworthy, just because both these 
writers are opponents of celibacy, the former a rational 
istic Catholic, and the other a Protestant candidate in theo 
logy, who speaks exactly like one. In the first-named 
work we find, vol. i. p. 166, in that reference, the follow 
ing result expressed : " In accordance with the Church 
view, as it may be read in canonical Church Fathers, 
in the Synodal and Papal instructions, and in innumer 
able writings of orthodox Catholics, perpetual chastity is 
called a divine, heavenly, angelic virtue, and the obtain 
ing of the assistance of divine grace for this end is made 
dependent upon earnest prayer. We have already shown 
that this Augustinian doctrine is by Canisius and in the 
decrees of the Council of Trent expressed as an unchanging 
belief of the Church. That, however, it has been retained as 
a dogma till the present day is sufficiently established by 
the June number, 1831, of the magazine " Der Katlwlik." 


It is said there, p. 263 : " In Catholicism the observance 
of a perpetual chastity, for the sake of God, appears as in 
itself the highest merit of man. The view that the ob 
servance of continual chastity as an end in itself sanctifies 
and exalts the man is, as every instructed Catholic is 
convinced, deeply rooted in Christianity, both as regards 
its spirit and its express precepts. The decrees of the 
Council of Trent have abolished all possible doubt on this 
point. ... It must at any rate be confessed by every un 
prejudiced person, not only that the doctrine expressed 
by " Der Katholik " is really Catholic, but also that the 
proofs adduced may be quite irrefutable for a Catholic 
reason, because they are drawn so directly from the 
ecclesiastical view, taken by the Church, of life and its 
destiny." It is further said in the same work, p. 270: 
" Although both Paul calls the forbidding to marry a false 
doctrine, and the still Judaistic author of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews enjoins that marriage shall be held in honour 
by all, and the bed kept undefiled (Heb. xiii 4), yet the 
main tendency of these two sacred writers is not on that 
account to be mistaken. Virginity is for both the perfect 
state, marriage only a make-shift for the weak, and only 
as such to be held inviolable. The highest effort, on the 
other hand, was directed to complete, material putting off 
of self. The self must turn and refrain from all that 
tends only to its own pleasure, and that only temporarily." 
Lastly, p. 288 : "We agree with the Abbe* Zaccaria, who 
asserts that celibacy (not the law of celibacy) is before 
everything to be deduced from the teaching of Christ and 
the Apostle Paul." 

What is opposed to this specially Christian view is 
everywhere and always merely the Old Testament, with 
its jravra Ka\a \iav. This appears with peculiar distinct 
ness from that important third book of the Stromata of 
Clement, where, arguing against the encratistic heretics 
mentioned above, he constantly opposes to them only 
Judaism, with its optimistic history of creation, with which 


the world-denying tendency of the New Testament is 
certainly in contradiction. But the connection of the 
New Testament with the Old is at bottom only external, 
accidental, and forced ; and the one point at which Chris 
tian doctrine can link itself on to the latter is only to be 
found, as has been said, in the story of the fall, which, 
moreover, stands quite isolated in the Old Testament, and 
is made no further use of. But, in accordance with the 
account in the Gospels, it is just the orthodox adherents 
of the Old Testament who bring about the crucifixion of 
the founder of Christianity, because they find his teaching 
in conflict with their own. In the said third book of the 
Stromata of Clement the antagonism between optimism 
with theism on the one hand, and pessimism with ascetic 
morality on the other, comes out with surprising distinct 
ness. This book is directed against the Gnostics, who 
just taught pessimism and asceticism, that is, eyKpareia 
(abstinence of every kind, but especially from all sexual 
satisfaction) ; on account of which Clement censures them 
vigorously. But, at the same time, it becomes apparent 
that even the spirit of the Old Testament stands in this 
antagonism with that of the New Testament. For, apart 
from the fall, which appears in the Old Testament like a hors 
d osuvre, the spirit of the Old Testament is diametrically 
opposed to that of the New Testament the former opti 
mistic, the latter pessimistic. Clement himself brings this 
contradiction out prominently at the end of the eleventh 
chapter (7rpoo-a7roTeivo/j.vov TOV Hav\ov rq> Kpiarrj K. r. X.), 
although he will not allow that it is a real contradic 
tion, but explains it as only apparent, like a good Jew, 
as he is. In general it is interesting to see how with 
Clement the New and the Old Testament get mixed up 
together ; and he strives to reconcile them, yet for the most 
part drives out the New Testament with the Old. Just at 
the beginning of the third chapter he objects to the Mar- 
cionites that they find fault with the creation, after the 
example of Plato and Pythagoras; for Marcion teaches 


that na.ture is bad, made out of bad materials (<f>v<n,s /carer), 
e/c re v\r)s tcarcy?) ; therefore one ought not to people this 
world, but to abstain from marriage (/ATJ /3ov\,o/j,evoi rov 
KOafJiov a-vfATrXypovv, aTre^ecrdai yapov). Now Clement, to 
whom in general the Old Testament is much more con 
genial and convincing than the New, takes this very 
much amiss. He sees in it their flagrant ingratitude to 
and enmity and rebellion against him who has made 
the world, the just demiurgus, whose work they them 
selves are, and yet despise the use of his creatures, in 
impious rebellion " forsaking the natural opinion " (avrt- 
raa-a-o/jievot, T TroirjTr) r(t> cr<o)z>, . . . eyKparets rrj 7rpo9 rov 
jT67roir]KOTa eyOpq, f^rj j3ov\o/J,evot ^prjadaf, rot? vir avrov 
KTiadeicriv, . . acreftei deofia-^ta rwv Kara (frvcriv erco-ravTes 
\oyi(TfJia)i ; ). At the same time, in his holy zeal, he will not 
allow the Marcionites even the honour of originality, but, 
armed with his well-known erudition, he brings it against 
them, and supports his case with the most beautiful quota 
tions, that even the ancient philosophers, that Heracli- 
tus and Empedocles, Pythagoras and Plato, Orpheus and 
Pindar, Herodotus and Euripides, and also the Sibyls, 
lamented deeply the wretched nature of the world, thus 
taught pessimism. Now in this learned enthusiasm he 
does not observe that in this way he is just giving the 
Marcionites water for their mill, for he shows that 

" All the wisest of all the ages " 

have taught and sung what they do, but confidently and 
boldly he quotes the most decided and energetic utterances 
of the ancients in this sense. Certainly they cannot lead 
him astray. Wise men may mourn the sadness of exist 
ence, poets may pour out the most affecting lamentations 
about it, nature and experience may cry out as loudly as 
they will against optimism, all this does not touch our 
Church Father: lie holds his Jewish revelation in his 
hand, and remains confident. The demiurgus made the 
world. From this it is a priori certain that it is excellent, 


and it may look as it likes. The same thing then takes 
place with regard to the second point, the ejfcpareia, 
through which, according to his view, the Marcionites show 
their ingratitude towards the demiurgus (a^apiareiv r<p 
Sr)/juovp<yw) and the perversity with which they put from 
them all his gifts (81 avrtra^iv 7rpo9 rov Srj/jbiovpjov, 
rrjv xprjcnv roiv Kocr/j,iK(ov Trapairovjjievoi). Here now 
the tragic poets have preceded the Encratites (to the 
prejudice of their originality) and have said the same 
things. For since they also lament the infinite misery of 
existence, they have added that it is better to bring no 
children into such a world ; which he now again supports 
with the most beautiful passages, and, at the same time, 
accuses the Pythagoreans of having renounced sexual 
pleasure on this ground. But all this touches him not ; 
he sticks to his principle that all these sin against the 
demiurgus, in that they teach that one ought not to 
marry, ought not to beget children, ought not to bring 
new miserable beings into the world, ought not to pro 
vide new food for death (81 eyrcpareias ao-e/3ov<n, ei? re rrjv 
KTiaw Kai rov dyiov 8r}fiiovpjov, rov TravroKparopa ftovov 
6eov, feat, 8i8acrKova-i, f^rj Seiv TrapaSe^eadai <ya/J,ov tccu rcai- 
BoTrouav, /j,r)8e avreiacvyeiv ra> Koapw ^varv^riaovra^ erepovs, 
firjSe eTrt-^opijyeiv davarw rpo^v c. 6). Since the learned 
Church Father thus denounces e^/Kpareia, he seems to have 
had no presentiment that just after his time the celibacy 
of the Christian priesthood would be more and more intro 
duced, and finally, in the eleventh century, raised to the 
position of a law, because it is in keeping with the spirit 
of the New Testament. It is just this spirit which the 
Gnostics have grasped more profoundly and understood 
better than our Church Father, who is more Jew than 
Christian. The conception of the Gnostics comes out 
very clearly at the beginning of the ninth chapter, where 
the following passage is quoted from the Gospel of the 
Egyptians : Avros enrev 6 ScoTijp, rfkdov Kara\v<rai TO. 
epya rtjs 6i]\eia<i 6r)\eias jj,ev, 1-779 evrt^u/ata? epya Se, 


<yeve<riv KCLI <j>0opav (Ajunt enim dixisse Servatorem : " veni 
ad dissolvendum opera femince ; " femince quidem, cupidi- 
tatis ; opera autem, generationem et interitum) ; but quite 
specially at the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of 
the fourteenth chapter. The Church certainly was obliged 
to consider how to set a religion upon its legs that could 
also walk and stand in the world as it is, and among men ; 
therefore it declared these persons to be heretics. At the 
conclusion of the seventh chapter our Church Father 
opposes Indian asceticism, as bad, to Christian Judaism; 
whereby the fundamental difference of the spirit of the 
two religions is clearly brought out. In Judaism and 
Christianity everything runs back to obedience or dis 
obedience to the command of God : vTraKoi) /cai Trapaicoi) ; 
as befits us creatures, rj^iv, rot? 7re7r\aa-/j,evoi<$ viro T??? rov 
IlavTOKpaTopos /3ov\r)a-co<; (ndbis, qui Omnipotentis volun- 
tate efficti sumus), chap. 14. Then comes, as a second duty, 
\arpeveiv 6ey ^rnvrt, to serve God, extol His works, and 
overflow with thankfulness. Certainly the matter has a 
very different aspect in Brahmanism and Buddhism, for 
in the latter all improvement and conversion, and the 
only deliverance we can hope for from this world of 
suffering, this Sansara, proceeds from the knowledge of 
the four fundamental truths: (i) dolor; (2) doloris ortus; 
(3) doloris inter itus; (4) octopartita via ad doloris seda- 
tionem (Dammapadam, ed. Fausboll, p. 35 et 347). The 
explanation of these four truths will be found in Bournouf, 
Introduct. d I hist. du Buddhisme," p. 629, and in all 
expositions of Buddhism. 

In truth, Judaism, with its iravra icaka \iav, is not re 
lated to Christianity as regards its spirit and ethical 
tendency, but Brahmanism and Buddhism are. But the 
spirit and ethical tendency are what is essential in a 
religion, not the myths in which these are clothed. I 
therefore cannot give up the belief that the doctrines of 
Christianity can in some way be derived from these primi 
tive religions. I have pointed out some traces of this in 


the second volume of the Parerga, 179 (second edition, 
1 80). I have to add to these that Epiphanias (Hceretic. 
xviii.) relates that the first Jewish Christians of Jeru 
salem, who called themselves Nazarenes, refrained from 
all animal food. On account of this origin (or, at least, 
this agreement) Christianity belongs to the ancient, true 
and sublime faith of mankind, which is opposed to the false, 
shallow, and injurious optimism which exhibits itself in 
Greek paganism, Judaism, and Islamism. The Zend religion 
holds to a certain extent the mean, because it has opposed 
to Ormuzd a pessimistic counterpoise in Ahrimau. From 
this Zend religion the Jewish religion proceeded, as J. G. 
Ehode has thoroughly proved in his book, "Die heilige Sage 
des Zendvolks ; " from Ormuzd has come Jehovah, and from 
Ahriman, Satan, who, however, plays only a very subordinate 
role in Judaism, indeed almost entirely disappears, whereby 
then optimism gains the upper hand, and there only re 
mains the myth of the fall as a pessimistic element, which 
certainly (as the fable of Meschia and Meschiane) is 
derived from the Zend-Avesta. Yet even this falls into 
oblivion, till it is again taken up by Christianity along 
with Satan. Ormuzd himself, however, is derived from 
Brahmanism, although from a lower region of it ; he is no 
other than Indra, that subordinate god of the firmament 
and the atmosphere, who is represented as frequently in 
rivalry with men. This has been very clearly shown by 
J. J. Schmidt in his work on the relation of the Gnostic- 
theosophic doctrines to the religions of the East. This 
Indra-Ormuzd-Jehovah had afterwards to pass over into 
Christianity, because this religion arose in Judgea. But 
on account of the cosmopolitan character of Christianity 
he laid aside his own name to be denoted in the language 
of each converted nation by the appellation of the super 
human beings he supplanted, as 0eo9, Deus, which comes 
from the Sanscrit Deva (from which also devil comes), or 
among the Gothico- Germanic peoples by the word God, 
Gott, which comes from Odin, Wodan, Guodan, Godan. 


In the same way he assumed in Islainism, which also 
sprang from Judaism, the name of Allah, which also 
existed earlier in Arabia. Analogous to this, the gods of 
the Greek Olympus, when in prehistoric times they were 
transplanted to Italy, also assumed the names of the 
previously reigning gods : hence among the Romans Zeus 
is called Jupiter, Hera Juno, Hermes Mercury, &c. In 
China the first difficulty of the missionaries arose from 
the fact that the Chinese language has no appellation of 
the kind and also no word for creating ; for the three 
religions of China know no gods either in the plural or 
in the singular. 1 

However the rest may be, that Travra KaXa \iav of the 
Old Testament is really foreign to true Christianity ; for 
in the New Testament the world is always spoken of as 
something to which one does not belong, which one does 
not love, nay, whose lord is the devil. 2 This agrees with 
the ascetic spirit of the denial of one s self and the over 
coming of the world which, just like the boundless love of 
one s neighbour, even of one s enemy, is the fundamental 
characteristic which Christianity has in common with 
Brahmanism and Buddhism, and which proves their 
relationship. There is nothing in which one has to dis 
tinguish the kernel so carefully from the shell as in 
Christianity, Just because I prize this kernel highly I 
sometimes treat the shell with little ceremony; it is, 
however, thicker than is generally supposed. 

Protestantism, since it has eliminated asceticism and its 

1 Cf. " Ueber den Willen in der utterably shallow view of life, go so 
Natur," second edition, p. 124 ; far that they actually falsify this 
third edition, p. 135. text in their translations. Thus H. 

2 For example, John xii. 25, 31, A. Schott, in his new version given 
xiv. 30, xv. 18, 19, xvi. 33 ; Col. with the Griesbach text of 1805, has 
ii. 20 ; Eph. ii. 1-3 ; I John ii. translated the word i<off/j.os, John 
15-17, iv. 4, 5. On this opportunity xv. 18, 19, by Judcci, i John iv. 4, 
one may see how certain Protestant by profani homines ; and Col. ii. 20, 
theologians, in their efforts to mis- aToixeia TOV Kocr/Aov by elements Ju- 
interpret the text of the New Tes- daica ; while Luther everywhere 
tament in conformity with their renders the word honestly and cor- 
rationalistic, optimistic, and un- rectly by " Welt " (world). 


central point, the meritoriousness of celibacy, has already 
given up the inmost kernel of Christianity, and so far 
is to be regarded as a falling away from it. This has 
become apparent in our own day by the gradual transition 
of Protestantism into shallow rationalism, this modern 
Pelagianism, which ultimately degenerates into the doc 
trine of a loving father, who has made the world, in order 
that things may go on very pleasantly in it (in which 
case, then, he must certainly have failed), and who, if one 
only conforms to his will in certain respects, will also 
afterwards provide a still more beautiful world (with 
regard to which it is only a pity that it has such a fatal 
entrance). That may be a good religion for comfortable, 
married, and enlightened Protestant pastors ; but it is no 
Christianity. Christianity is the doctrine of the deep 
guilt of the human race through its existence alone, and 
the longing of the heart for deliverance from it, which, 
however, can only be attained by the greatest sacrifices 
and by the denial of one s own self, thus by an entire 
reversal of human nature. Luther may have been per 
fectly right from the practical point of view, i.e., with 
reference to the Church scandal of his time, which he 
wished to remove, but not so from the theoretical point 
of view. The more sublime a doctrine is, the more it 
is exposed to abuse at the hands of human nature, 
which, on the whole, is of a low and evil disposition: 
hence the abuses of Catholicism are so much more 
numerous and so much greater than those of Protes 
tantism. Thus, for example, monasticism, that metho 
dical denial of the will practised in common for the 
sake of mutual encouragement, is an institution of a 
sublime description, which, however, for this very reason 
is for the most part untrue to its spirit. The shocking 
abuses of the Church excited in the honest mind of 
Luther a lofty indignation. But in consequence of this 
he was led to desire to limit as much as possible the 
claims of Christianity itself, and for this end he first 


confined it to the words of the Bible; but then, in his 
well-meant zeal, he went too far, for he attacked the very 
heart of Christianity in the ascetic principle. For after 
the withdrawal of the ascetic principle, the optimistic 
principle soon necessarily took its place. But in religions, 
as in philosophy, optimism is a fundamental error which 
obstructs the path of all truth. From all this it seems to 
me that Catholicism is a shamefully abused, but Protes 
tantism a degenerate Christianity ; thus, that Christianity 
in general has met the fate which befalls all that is noble, 
sublime, and great whenever it has to dwell among men. 

However, even in the very lap of Protestantism, the 
essentially ascetic and encratistic spirit of Christianity 
has made way for itself ; and in this case it has appeared 
in a phenomenon which perhaps has never before been 
equalled in magnitude and defiuiteness, the highly re 
markable sect of the Shakers, in North America, founded 
by an Englishwoman, Anne Lee, in 1774. The adherents 
of this sect have already increased to 6000, who are 
divided into fifteen communities, and inhabit a number of 
villages in the states of New York and Kentucky, espe 
cially in the district of New Lebanon, near Nassau village. 
The fundamental characteristic of their religious rule of 
life is celibacy and entire abstention from all sexual satis 
faction. It is unanimously admitted, even by the English 
and Americans who visit them, and who laugh and jeer 
at them in every other respect, that this rule is strictly 
and with perfect honesty observed ; although brothers and 
sisters sometimes even occupy the same house, eat at the 
same table, nay, dance together in the religious services in 
church. For whoever has made that hardest of all sacri 
fices may dance before the Lord; he is a victor, he has 
overcome. Their singing in church consists in general of 
cheerful, and partly even of merry, songs. The church- 
dance, also, which follows the sermon is accompanied by 
the singing of the rest. It is a lively dance, performed 
in measured time, and concludes with a galop, which is 

VOL. ill. 2 F 


carried on till the dancers are exhausted. Between each 
dance one of their teachers cries aloud, " Think, that ye 
rejoice before the Lord for having slain your flesh; for 
this is here the only use we make of our refractory limbs." 
To celibacy most of the other conditions link themselves on 
of themselves. There are no families, and therefore there 
is no private property, but community of goods. All are 
clothed alike, in Quaker fashion, and with great neatness. 
They are industrious and diligent : idleness is not endured. 
They have also the enviable rule that they are to avoid 
all unnecessary noise, such as shouting, door-slamming, 
whip-cracking, loud knocking, &c. Their rule of life has 
been thus expressed by one of them : " Lead a life of 
innocence and purity, love your neighbours as yourself, 
live at peace with all men, and refrain from war, blood 
shed, and all violence against others, as well as from all 
striving after worldly honour and distinction. Give to 
each his own, and follow after holiness, without which no 
man can see the Lord Do good to all so far as your 
opportunity and your power extends." They persuade no 
one to join them, but test those who present themselves 
by a novitiate of several years. Moreover, every one is 
free to leave them ; very rarely is any one expelled for 
misconduct. Adopted children are carefully educated, 
and only when they are grown up do they voluntarily 
join the sect. It is said that in the controversies of their 
ministers with Anglican clergy the latter generally come 
off the worse, for the arguments consist of passages from 
the New Testament. Fuller accounts of them will be 
found particularly in Maxwell s " Run through the United 
States," 1841; also in Benedict s "History of all Eeli- 
gions," 1830; also in the Times, November 4, 1837, 
and in the German magazine Columbus, May number, 
1831. A German sect in America, very similar to them, 
who also live in strict celibacy and continence, are the 
Rappists. An account of them is given in F. Loher s 
"Geschichte und Zustande der Deutschen in Amerika" 1853. 


In Eussia also the Easkolniks are a similar sect. The 
Gichtelians live also in strict chastity. But among the 
ancient Jews we already find a prototype of all these 
sects, the Essenes, of whom even Pliny gives an account 
(Hist. Nat., v. 15), and who resembled the Shakers very 
much, not only in celibacy, but also in other respects ; for 
example, in dancing during divine service, which leads to 
the opinion that the founder of the Shakers took the 
Essenes as a pattern. In the presence of such facts as 
these how does Luther s assertion look : " Ubi natura, 
quemadmodum a Deo nobis insita est, fertur ac rapitur, 
FIERI NULLO HOBO POTEST, ut extra matrimonium caste 
vivatur " ? (Catech. maj.} 

Although Christianity, in essential respects, taught only 
what all Asia knew long before, and even better, yet for 
Europe it was a new and great revelation, in consequence 
of which the spiritual tendency of the European nations 
was therefore entirely transformed. For it disclosed to 
them the metaphysical significance of existence, and there 
fore taught them to look away from the narrow, paltry, 
ephemeral life of earth, and to regard it no longer as an 
end in itself, but as a condition of suffering, guilt, trial, 
conflict, and purification, out of which, by means of moral 
achievements, difficult renunciation, and denial of oneself, 
one may rise to a better existence, which is inconceivable 
by us. It taught the great truth of the assertion and 
denial of the will to live in the clothing of allegory by 
saying that through Adam s fall the curse has come upon 
all, sin has come into the world, and guilt is inherited by 
all; but that, on the other hand, through the sacrificial 
death of Jesus all are reconciled, the world saved, guilt 
abolished, and justice satisfied. In order, however, to un 
derstand the truth itself that is contained in this myth 
one must not regard men simply in time, as beings inde 
pendent of each other, but must comprehend the (Platonic) 
Idea of man, which is related to the series of men, as 
eternity in itself is related to eternity drawn out as time ; 


hence the eternal Idea man extended in time to tlie series 
of men through the connecting bond of generation appears 
again in time as a whole. If now we keep the Idea of 
man in view, we see that Adam s fall represents the finite, 
animal, sinful nature of man, in respect of which he is a 
finite being, exposed to sin, suffering, and death. On the 
other hand, the life, teaching, and death of Jesus Christ 
represent the eternal, supernatural side, the freedom, the 
salvation of man. Now every man, as such and potentid, 
is both Adam and Jesus, according as he comprehends 
himself, and his will thereupon determines him ; in con 
sequence of which he is then condemned and given over 
to death, or saved and attains to eternal life. Now these 
truths, both in their allegorical and in their real accepta 
tion, were completely new as far as Greeks and Komans 
were concerned, who were still entirely absorbed in life, 
and did not seriously look beyond it. Let whoever doubts 
this see how Cicero (Pro Cluentio, c. 61) and Sallust (Catil., 
c. 47) speak of the state after death. The ancients, 
although far advanced in almost everything else, remained 
children with regard to the chief concern, and were 
surpassed in this even by the Druids, who at least taught 
metempsychosis. That one or two philosophers, like 
Pythagoras and Plato, thought otherwise alters nothing as 
regards the whole. 

That great fundamental truth, then, which is contained 
in Christianity, as in Brahmanism and Buddhism, the 
need of deliverance from an existence which is given up 
to suffering and death, and the attainableness of this by 
the denial of the will, thus by a decided opposition to 
nature, is beyond all comparison the most important truth 
there can be ; but, at the same time, it is entirely opposed 
to the natural tendency of the human race, and in its 
true grounds it is difficult to comprehend ; as indeed all 
that can only be thought generally and in the abstract 
is inaccessible to the great majority of men. Therefore 
for these men there was everywhere required, in order to 


bring that great truth within the sphere of its practical 
application, a mythical vehicle for it, as it were a recep 
tacle, without which it would be lost and dissipated. 
The truth had therefore everywhere to borrow the garb 
of the fable, and also constantly to endeavour to connect 
itself with what in each case was historically given, 
already familiar, and already revered. What sensu pro- 
prio remained inaccessible to the great mass of man 
kind of all ages and lands, with their low tone of mind, 
their intellectual stupidity and general brutality, had, 
for practical purposes, to be brought home to them sensu 
allegorico, in order to become their guiding star. So, then, 
the religions mentioned above are to be regarded as the 
sacred vessels in which the great truth, known and 
expressed for several thousand years, indeed perhaps since 
the beginning of the human race, which yet in itself, for 
the great mass of mankind always remains a mystery, is, 
according to the measure of their powers, made accessible 
to them, preserved and transmitted through the centuries. 
Yet, because all that does not through and through consist 
of the imperishable material of pure truth is subject 
to destruction, whenever this fate befalls such a vessel, 
through contact with a heterogeneous age, its sacred con 
tent must in some way be saved and preserved for man 
kind by another. But it is the task of philosophy, since 
it is one with pure truth, to present that content pure 
and unmixed, thus merely in abstract conceptions, and 
consequently without that vehicle, for those who are cap 
able of thinking, who are always an exceedingly small 
number. It is therefore related to religions as a straight 
line to several curves running near it: for it expresses 
sensu proprio, thus reaches directly, what they show in 
veiled forms and reach by circuitous routes. 

If now, in order to illustrate what has just been said 
by an example, and also to follow a philosophical fashion 
of my time, I should wish perhaps to attempt to solve 
the profoundest mystery of Christianity, that of the 


Trinity, in the fundamental conception of my philosophy, 
this could be done, with the licence permitted in such 
interpretations, in the following manner. The Holy 
Ghost is the distinct denial of the will to live : the man 
in whom this exhibits itself in concrete is the Son ; He is 
identical with the will which asserts life, and thereby 
produces the phenomenon of this perceptible world, i.e., 
with the Father, because the assertion and denial are 
opposite acts of the same will whose capability for both 
is the only true freedom. However, this is to be regarded 
as a mere lusus ingenii. 

Before I close this chapter I wish to adduce a few 
proofs in support of what in 68 of the first volume I 
denoted by the expression Aevrepos TT\OV<;, the bringing 
about of the denial of the will by one s own deeply felt 
suffering, thus not merely by the appropriation of the 
suffering of others, and the knowledge of the vanity and 
wretchedness of our existence introduced by this. We 
can arrive at a comprehension of what goes on in the 
heart of a man, in the case of an elevation of this kind and 
the accompanying purifying process, by considering what 
every emotional man experiences on beholding a tragedy, 
which is of kindred nature to this. In the third and 
fourth acts perhaps such a man is distressed and dis 
turbed by the ever more clouded and threatened happi 
ness of the hero ; but when, in the fifth act, this happi 
ness is entirely wrecked and shattered, he experiences 
a certain elevation of the soul, which affords him an 
infinitely higher kind of pleasure than the sight of the 
happiness of the hero, however great it might be, could 
ever have given. Now this is the same thing, in the 
weak water-colours of sympathy which is able to raise a 
well-known illusion, as that which takes place with the 
energy of reality in the feeling of our own fate when it is 
heavy misfortune that drives the man at last into the 
haven of entire resignation. Upon this occurrence de 
pend all those conversions which completely transform 


men such as are described in the text. I may give here 
in a few words the story of the conversion of the Abbe 
Bance", as it is strikingly similar to that of Eaymond Lully, 
which is told in the text, and besides this is memorable 
on account of its result. His youth was devoted to en 
joyment and pleasure; finally, he lived in a relation 
of passion with a Madame de Montbazon. One evening, 
when he visited her, he found her room empty, in disorder 
and darkness. He struck something with his foot; it was 
her head, which had been severed from the trunk, because 
after her sudden death her corpse could not otherwise be 
got into the lead coffin that stood beside it. After over 
coming an immense sorrow, Bance 1 now became, in 1663, 
the reformer of the order of the Trappists, which at that 
time had entirely relaxed the strictness of its rules. He 
joined this order, and through him it was led back to that 
terrible degree of renunciation which is still maintained at 
ths present day at La Trappe, and, as the methodically 
carried out denial of the will, aided by the severest renun 
ciation and an incredibly hard and painful manner of life, 
fills the visitor with sacred awe, after he has been touched 
at his reception by the humility of these genuine monks, 
who, emaciated by fasting, by cold, by night watches, 
prayers and penances, kneel before him, the worldling 
and the sinner, to implore his blessing. Of all orders of 
monks, this one alone has maintained itself in perfection 
in France, through all changes ; which is to be attributed 
to the profound earnestness which in it is unmistakable, 
and excludes all secondary ends. It has remained un 
touched even by the decline of religion, because its root 
lies deeper in human nature than any positive system of 

I have mentioned in the text that this great and rapid 
change of the inmost being of man which we are here 
considering, and which has hitherto been entirely neglected 
by philosophers, appears most frequently when, with full 
consciousness, he stands in the presence of a violent and 


certain death, thus in the case of executions. But, in 
order to bring this process much more distinctly before 
our eyes, I regard it as by no means unbecoming to the 
dignity of philosophy to quote what has been said by 
some criminals before their execution, even at the risk of 
incurring the sneer that I encourage gallows sermons. I 
certainly rather believe that the gallows is a place of 
quite peculiar revelations, and a watch-tower from which 
the man who even then retains his presence of mind 
obtains a wider, clearer outlook into eternity than most 
philosophers over the paragraphs of their rational psycho 
logy and theology. The following speech on the gallows 
was made on the I5th April, 1837, at Gloucester, by a 
man called Bartlett, who had murdered his mother-in-law: 
" Englishmen and fellow countrymen, I have a few words 
to say to you, and they shall be but very few. Yet let me 
entreat you, one and all, that these few words that I shall 
utter may strike deep into your hearts. Bear them in 
your mind, not only now while you are witnessing this 
sad scene, but take them to your homes, take them, and 
repeat them to your children and friends. I implore you 
as a dying man one for whom the instrument of death is 
even now prepared and these words are that you may 
loose yourselves from the love of this dying world and its 
vain pleasures. Think less of it and more of your God. 
Do this : repent, repent, for be assured that without deep 
and true repentance, without turning to your heavenly 
Father, you will never attain, nor can hold the slightest 
hope of ever reaching those bowers of bliss to which I 
trust I am now fast advancing " (Times, i8th April 1837). 
Still more remarkable are the last words of the well- 
known murderer, Greenacre, who was executed in London 
on the 1st of May 1837. The English newspaper the Post 
gives the following account, which is also reprinted in 
Galignani s Messenger of the 6th of May 1837: "On the 
morning of his execution a gentleman advised him to put 
his trust in God, and pray for forgiveness through the 


mediation of Jesus Christ. Greenacre replied that for 
giveness through the mediation of Christ was a matter of 
opinion ; for his part, he believed that in the sight of the 
highest Being, a Mohammedan was as good as a Christian and 
had just as much claim to salvation. Since his imprisonment 
he had had his attention directed to theological subjects, and 
he had become convinced that the gallows is a passport to 
heaven." The indifference displayed here towards positive 
religions is just what gives this utterance greater weight, 
for it shows that it is no fanatical delusion, but individual 
immediate knowledge that lies at its foundation. The fol 
lowing incident may also be mentioned which is given by 
Galignani s Messenger of the I5th August 1837, from the 
Limerick Chronicle: "Last Monday Maria Cooney was 
executed for the revolting murder of Mrs. Anderson. So 
deeply was this wretched woman impressed with the 
greatness of her crime that she kissed the rope which 
was put round her neck, while she humbly implored the 
mercy of God." Lastly this : the Times, of the 2Qth April 
1845 gives several letters which Hocker, who was con 
demned for the murder of Delarue, wrote the day before 
his execution. In one of these he says : " I am persuaded 
that unless the natural heart be broken, and renewed by 
divine mercy, however noble and amiable it may be 
deemed by the world, it can never think of eternity with 
out inwardly shuddering." These are the outlooks into 
eternity referred to above which are obtained from that 
watch-tower ; and I have had the less hesitation in giving 
them here since Shakspeare also says 

" Out of these convertites 
There is much matter to be heard and learned:" 

As You Like it, last scene. 

Strauss, in his " Life of Jesus," has proved that Chris 
tianity also ascribes to suffering as such the purifying 
and sanctifying power here set forth (Leben Jesu, vol. i. 
ch. 6, 72 and 74). He says that the beatitudes in the 
Sermon on the Mount have a different sense in Luke (vi. 


21) from that which they have in Matt. (v. 3), for only the 
latter adds TO> irvevfiarL to fiaxaptoi 61 TTTW^OI, and rrjv 
&ircaio<rvv7)v 10 Tretvwvres. Thus by him alone are the 
simple-minded, the humble, &c., meant, while by Luke are 
meant the literally poor ; so that here the contrast is that 
between present suffering and future happiness. With the 
Ebionites it is a capital principle that whoever takes his 
portion in this age gets nothing in the future, and con 
versely. Accordingly in Luke the blessings are followed 
by as many ovai, woes, which are addressed to the rich, 61 
7r\ov<rioi, the full, 64 efj-TreTrXijcrfievoi, and to them that laugh. 
6t yeXcavres, in the Ebionite spirit. In the same spirit, he 
says, p. 604, is the parable (Luke xvi. 19) of the rich man 
and Lazarus given, which nowhere mentions any fault of 
the former or any merit of the latter, and takes as the stan 
dard of the future recompense, not the good done or the 
wickedness practised, but the evil suffered here and the good 
things enjoyed, in the Ebionite spirit " A like estima 
tion of outward poverty," Strauss goes on, " is also attri 
buted to Jesus by the other synoptists (Matt. xix. 16; 
Mark x. 17 ; Luke xviii 18), in the story of the rich 
young man and the saying about the camel and the eye of 
a needle." 

If we go to the bottom of the matter we will recognise 
that even in the most famous passages of the Sermon on 
the Mount there is contained an indirect injunction to 
voluntary poverty, and thereby to the denial of the will 
to live. For the precept (Matt. v. 40 seq.) to consent un 
conditionally to all demands made upon us, to give our 
cloak also to him who will take away our coat, &c., 
similarly (Matt. vi. 25-34) tn e precept to cast aside all 
care for the future, even for the morrow, and so to live 
simply in the present, are rules of life the observance of 
which inevitably leads to absolute poverty, and which 
therefore just say in an indirect manner what Buddha 
directly commands his disciples and has confirmed by 
his own example: throw everything away and become 


bhikkhu, i.e., beggars. This appears still more decidedly 
in the passage Matt. x. 9-15, where all possessions, even 
shoes and a staff, are forbidden to the Apostles, and they 
are directed to beg. These commands afterwards became 
the foundation of the mendicant order of St. Francis 
(Bonaventurce vita S. Francisci, c. 3). Hence, then, I say 
that the spirit of Christian ethics is identical with that 
of Brahmanism and Buddhism. In conformity with the 
whole view expounded here Meister Eckhard also says 
(Works, vol. i p. 492) : " The swiftest animal that bears 
thee to perfection is suffering." 



! THERE is only one inborn error, and that is, that we 
exist in order to be happy. It is inborn in us because 
it is one with our existence itself, and our whole being 
is only a paraphrase of it, nay, our body is its monogram. 
We are nothing more than will to live and the successive 
satisfaction of all our volitions is what we think in the 
conception of happiness. 

As long as we persist in this inborn error, indeed even 
become rigidly fixed in it through optimistic dogmas, the 
world appears to us full of contradictions. For at every 
step, in great things as in small, we must experience that 
the world and life are by no means arranged with a view 
to containing a happy existence. While now by this the 
thoughtless man only finds himself tormented in reality, in 
the case of him who thinks there is added to his real pain 
the theoretical perplexity why a world and a life which 
exist in order that one may be happy in them answer their 
end so badly. First of all it finds expression in pious 
ejaculations, such as, "Ah! why are the tears on earth 
so many ? " &c. &c. But in their train come disquieting 
doubts about the assumptions of those preconceived opti 
mistic dogmas. One may try if one will to throw the 
blame of one s individual unhappiness now upon the 
circumstances, now upon other men, now upon one s own 
bad luck, or even upon one s own awkwardness, and may 
know well how all these have worked together to produce 
it ; but this in no way alters the result that one has 


missed the real end of life, which consists indeed iu being 
happy. The consideration of this is, then, often very 
depressing, especially if life is already on the wane; 
hence the countenances of almost all elderly persons wear 
the expression of that which in English is called dis 
appointment. Besides this, however, hitherto every day 
of our life has taught us that joys and pleasures, even if 
attained, are in themselves delusive, do not perform what 
they promise, do not satisfy the heart, and finally their 
possession is at least embittered by the disagreeables that 
accompany them or spring from them ; while, on the 
contrary, the pains and sorrows prove themselves very 
real, and often exceed all expectation. Thus certainly 
everything in life is calculated to recall us from that 
original error, and to convince us that the end of our 
existence is not to be happy. Indeed, if we regard it 
more closely and without prejudice, life rather presents 
itself as specially intended to be such that we shall not 
feel ourselves happy in it, for through its whole nature it 
bears the character of something for which we have no 
taste, which must be endured by us, and from which 
we have to return as from an error that our heart may be 
cured of the passionate desire of enjoyment, nay, of life, 
and turned away from the world. In this sense, it would 
be more correct to place the end of life in our woe than 
in our welfare. For the considerations at the conclusion 
of the preceding chapter have shown that the more one 
suffers the sooner one attains to the true end of life, and 
that the more happily one lives the longer this is delayed. 
The conclusion of the last letter of Seneca corresponds 
with this : bonum tune kabebis tuum, quumTintelliges infeli- 
cissimos esse f dices ; which certainly seems to show the 
influence of Christian ity. The peculiar effect of the tragic 
drama also ultimately depends upon the fact that it shakes 
that inborn error by vividly presenting in a great and 
striking example the vanity of human effort and the 
nothingness of this whole existence, and thus discloses the 



profound significance of life ; hence it is recognised as the 
sublimest form of poetry. Whoever now has returned by 
one or other path from that error which dwells in us 
a priori, that -rrpwrov -^evSos of our existence, will soon 
see all in another light, and will now find the world in 
harmony with his insight, although not with his wishes. 
Misfortunes of every kind and magnitude, although they 
pain him, will no longer surprise him, for he has come to 
see that it is just pain and trouble that tend towards the 
true end of life, the turning away of the will from it. 
This will give him indeed a wonderful composedness in 
all that may happen, similar to that with which a sick 
person who undergoes a long and painful cure bears the 
pain of it as a sign of its efficacy. In the whole of human 
existence suffering expresses itself clearly enough as its 
true destiny. Life is deeply sunk in suffering, and cannot 
escape from it; our entrance into it takes place amid 
tears, its course is at bottom always tragic, and its end 
still more so. There is an unmistakable appearance of 
intention in this. As a rule man s destiny passes through 
his mind in a striking manner, at the very summit of his 
desires and efforts, and thus his life receives a tragic 
tendency by virtue of which it is fitted to free him from 
the passionate desire of which every individual existence 
is an example, and bring him into such a condition that he 
parts with life without retaining a single desire for it and 
its pleasures. Suffering is, in fact, the purifying process 
through which alone, in most cases, the man is sanctified, 
.., is led back from the path of error of the will to live. 
In accordance with this, the salutary nature of the cross 
and of suffering is so often explained in Christian books 
of edification, and in general the cross, an instrument of 
suffering, not of doing, is very suitably the symbol of the 
Christian religion. Nay, even the Preacher, who is still 
Jewish, but so very philosophical, rightly says : " Sorrow 
is better than laughter : for by the sadness of the coun- \ 
tenance the heart is made better " (Eccles. vii. 3). Under 


the name of the Bevrepos 7rX,ov? I have presented suffer 
ing as to a certain extent a substitute for virtue and holi 
ness ; but here I must make the bold assertion that, 
taking everything into consideration, we have more to 
hope for our salvation and deliverance from what we 
suffer than from what we do. Precisely in this spirit 
Lamartine very beautifully says in his " Hymne d, la 
douleur" apostrophising pain : 

" Tu me traites sans doute en favori des deux, 
Car tu n dpargnes pas les larmes d mes yeux. 
Eli bien ! je les refois comme tu les envoies, 
Tes maux seront mes biens, et tes soupirs mes joies. 
Je sens qu il est en toi, sans avoir combattu, 
Une vertu divine au lieu de ma vertu, 
Que tu n es pas la mart I dme, mais sa me, 
Que ton bras, en frappant, gue rit et vivifie." 

If, then, suffering itself has such a sanctifying power, 
this will belong in an even higher degree to death, which 
is more feared than any suffering. Answering to this, a 
certain awe, kindred to that which great suffering occa 
sions us, is felt in the presence of every dead person, 
indeed every case of death presents itself to a certain 
extent as a kind of apotheosis or canonisation ; therefore 
we cannot look upon the dead body of even the most 
insignificant man without awe, and indeed, extraordinary 
as the remark may sound in this place, in the presence of 
every corpse the watch goes under arms. Dying is cer 
tainly to be regarded as the real aim of life : in the 
moment of death all that is decided for which the whole 
course of life was only the preparation and introduction. 
Death is the result, the Etsumd of life, or the added up 
sum which expresses at once the instruction which life 
gave in detail, and bit by bit ; this, that the whole striv 
ing whose manifestation is life was a vain, idle, and self- 
contradictory effort, to have returned from which is a 
deliverance. As the whole, slow vegetation of the plant 
is related to the fruit, which now at a stroke achieves a 


hundredfold what the plant achieved gradually and bit 
by bit, so life, with its obstacles, deluded hopes, frustrated 
plans, and constant suffering, is related to death, which at 
one stroke destroys all, all that the man has willed, and 
so crowns the instruction which life gave him. The com 
pleted course of life upon which the dying man looks 
back has an effect upon the whole will that objectifies 
itself in this perishing individuality, analogous to that 
which a motive exercises upon the conduct of the man. 
It gives it a new direction, which accordingly is the moral 
and essential result of the life. Just because a sudden 
death makes this retrospect impossible, the Church regards 
such a death as a misfortune, arid prays that it should be 
averted. Since this retrospect, like the distinct fore 
knowledge of death, as conditioned by the reason, is 
possible only in man, not in the brute, and accordingly 
man alone really drinks the cup of death, humanity is 
the only material in which the will can deny itself and 
entirely turn away from life. To the will that does not 
deny itself every birth imparts a new and different intel 
lect, till it has learned the true nature of life, and in con 
sequence of this wills it no more. 

In the natural course, in age the decay of the body 
coincides with that of the will. The desire for pleasures 
soon vanishes with the capacity to enjoy them. The 
occasion of the most vehement willing, the focus of the 
will, the sexual impulse, is first extinguished, whereby 
the man is placed in a position which resembles the state 
of innocence which existed before the development of the 
genital system. The illusions, which set up chimeras as 
exceedingly desirable benefits, vanish, and the knowledge 
of the vanity of all earthly blessings takes their place. 
Selfishness is repressed by the love of one s children, by 
means of which the man already begins to live more in 
the ego of others than in his own, which now will soon be 
no more. This course of life is at least the desirable one ; 
it is the euthanasia of the will. In hope of this the Brah- 


man is ordered, after he has passed the best years of his 
life, to forsake possessions and family, and lead the life 
of a hermit (Menu, B. 6). But if, conversely, the desire 
outlives the capacity for enjoyment, and we now regret 
particular pleasures in life which we miss, instead of 
seeing the emptiness and vanity of all ; and if then gold, 
the abstract representative of the objects of desire for 
which the sense is dead, takes the place of all these 
objects themselves, and now excites the same vehement 
passions which were formerly more pardonably awakened 
by the objects of actual pleasure, and thus now with 
deadened senses a lifeless but indestructible object is 
desired with equally indestructible eagerness ; or, also, if, 
in the same way, existence in the opinion of others takes 
the place of existence and action in the real world, and 
now kindles the same passions ; then the will has become 
sublimated and etherealised into avarice or ambition; 
but has thereby thrown itself into the last fortress, in 
which it can only now be besieged by death. The end of 
existence has been missed. 

All these considerations afford us a fuller explanation of 
that purification, conversion of the will and deliverance, 
denoted in the preceding chapter by the expression 
Sevrepos 7rXoi? which is brought about by the suffering 
of life, and without doubt is the most frequent. For it is 
the way of sinners such as we all are. The other way, 
which leads to the same goal, by means of mere know 
ledge and the consequent appropriation of the suffering 
of a whole world, is the narrow path of the elect, the 
saints, and therefore to be regarded as a rare exception. 
Therefore without that first way for most of us there would 
be no salvation to hope for. However, we struggle against 
entering upon it, and strive rather to procure for ourselves 
a safe and agreeable existence, whereby we chain our will 
ever more firmly to life. The conduct of the ascetics is 
the opposite of this. They make their life intentionally 
as poor, hard, and empty of pleasure as possible, because 

VOL. III. 2 G 


they have their true and ultimate welfare in view. But 
fate and the course of things care for us better than we 
ourselves, for they frustrate on all sides our arrangements 
for an Utopian life, the folly of which is evident enough 
from its brevity, uncertainty, and emptiness, and its con 
clusion by bitter death ; they strew thorns upon thorns in 
our path, and meet us everywhere with healing sorrow, 
the panacea of our misery. What really gives its won 
derful and ambiguous character to our life is this, that 
two diametrically opposite aims constantly cross each other 
in it; that of the individual will directed to chimerical 
happiness in an ephemeral, dream-like, and delusive exist 
ence, in which, with reference to the past, happiness and 
unhappiness are a matter of indifference, and the present 
is every moment becoming the past; and that of fate 
visibly enough directed to the destruction of our happi 
ness, and thereby to the mortification of our will and the 
abolition of the illusion that holds us chained in the bonds 
of this world. 

The prevalent and peculiarly Protestant view that the 
end of life lies solely and immediately in the moral virtues, 
thus in the practice of justice and benevolence, betrays 
its insufficiency even in the fact that so miserably little 
real and pure morality is found among men. I am not 
speaking at all of lofty virtue, nobleness, magnanimity, 
and self-sacrifice, which one hardly finds anywhere but in 
plays and novels, but only of those virtues which are the 
duty of every one. Let whoever is old think of all those 
with whom he has had to do ; how many persons will he 
have met who were merely really and truly honest ? Were 
not by far the greater number, in spite of their shame 
less indignation at the slightest suspicion of dishonesty or 
even untruthfulness, in plain words, the precise opposite ? 
Were not abject selfishness, boundless avarice, well-con 
cealed knavery, and also poisonous envy and fiendish 
delight in the misfortunes of others so universally 
prevalent that the slightest exception was met with 


surprise? And benevolence, how very rarely it extends 
beyond a gift of what is so superfluous that one never 
misses it. And is the whole end of existence to lie in 
such exceedingly rare and weak traces of morality ? If 
we place it, on the contrary, in the entire reversal of this 
nature of ours (which bears the evil fruits just mentioned) 
brought about by suffering, the matter gains an appearance 
of probability and is brought into agreement with what 
actually lies before us. Life presents itself then as a 
purifying process, of which the purifying lye is pain. If 
the process is carried out, it leaves behind it the previous 
immorality and wickedness as refuse, and there appears 
what the Veda says : " Finditur nodus cordis, dissolvuntur 
omnes dubitationes, ejusque opera evanescunt." As agreeing 
with this view the fifteenth sermon of Meister Eckhard 
will be found very well worth reading. 




AT the conclusion of my exposition a few reflections 
concerning my philosophy itself may find their place. 
My philosophy does not pretend to explain the existence 
of the world in its ultimate grounds : it rather sticks to 
the facts of external and internal experience as they are 
accessible to every one, and shows the true and deepest 
connection of them without really going beyond them 
to any extra-mundane things and their relations to the 
world. It therefore arrives at no conclusions as to what 
lies beyond all possible experience, but affords merely an 
exposition of what is given in the external world and in 
self-consciousness, thus contents itself with comprehend 
ing the nature of the world in its inner connection with 
itself. Tt is consequently immanent, in the Kantian sense 
of the word. But just on this account it leaves many 
questions untouched ; for example, why what is proved as 
a fact is as it is and not otherwise, &c. All such questions, 
however, or rather the answers to them, are really tran 
scendent, i.e., they cannot be thought by the forms and 
functions of our intellect, do not enter into these ; it is 
therefore related to them as our sensibility is related to 
the possible properties of bodies for which we have no 
senses. After all my explanations one may still ask, for 
example, whence has sprung this will that is free to 
assert itself, the manifestation of which is the world, or 
to deny itself, the manifestation of which we do not 
know. What is the fatality lying beyond all experience 
which has placed it in the very doubtful dilemma of 
either appearing as a world in which suffering and death 


reign, or else denying its very being ? or again, what can 
have prevailed upon it to forsake the infinitely preferable 
peace of blessed nothingness? An individual will, one 
may add, can only turn to its own destruction through 
error in the choice, thus through the fault of knowledge ; 
but the will in itself, before all manifestation, conse 
quently still without knowledge, how could it go astray 
and fall into the ruin of its present condition ? Whence 
in general is the great discord that permeates this world ? 
It may, further, be asked how deep into the true being of 
the world the roots of individuality go ; to which it may 
certainly be answered : they go as deep as the assertion of 
the will to live ; where the denial of the will appears they 
cease, for they have arisen with the assertion. But one 
might indeed even put the question, " What would I be 
if I were not will to live ? " and more of the same kind 
To all such questions we would first have to reply that the 
expression of the most universal and general form of our 
intellect is the principle of sufficient reason ; but that just 
on this account that principle finds application only to the 
phenomenon, not to the being in itself of things. Yet all 
whence and why depend upon that principle alone. As a 
result of the Kantian philosophy it is no longer an ceterna 
veritas, but merely the form, i.e., the function, of our intel 
lect, which is essentially cerebral, and originally a mere 
tool in the service of the will, which it therefore presup 
poses together with all its objectifications. But our whole 
knowing and conceiving is bound to its forms ; accordingly 
we must conceive everything in time, consequently as a 
before and after, then as cause and effect, and also as above 
and below, whole and part, &c., and cannot by any means 
escape from this sphere in which all possibility of our 
knowledge lies. Now these forms are utterly unsuited to 
the problems raised here, nor are they fit or able to com 
prehend their solution even if it were given. Therefore 
with our intellect, this mere tool of the will, we are every 
where striking upon insoluble problems, as against the 


walls of our prison. But, besides this, it may at least be 
assumed as probable that not only for us is knowledge of 
all that has been asked about impossible, but no such 
knowledge is possible in general, thus never and in no 
way ; that these relations are not only relatively but abso 
lutely insusceptible of investigation ; that not only does 
no one know them, but that they are in themselves 
imknowable, because they do not enter into the form of 
knowledge in general. (This corresponds to what Scotus 
Erigena says, de mirdbili divina ignorantia, qua Deus 
non intelligit quid ipse sit. Lib. ii.) For knowableness in 
general, with its most essential, and therefore constantly 
necessary form of subject and object, belongs merely to 
the phenomenal appearance, not to the being in itself of 
things. Where knowledge, and consequently idea, is, 
there is also only phenomenon, and we stand there 
already in the province of the phenomenal ; nay, know 
ledge in general is known to us only as a phenomenon 
of brain, and we are not only unjustified in conceiving it 
otherwise, but also incapable of doing so. What the world 
is as world may be understood : it is phenomenal manifes 
tation ; and we can know that which manifests itself in it, 
directly from ourselves, by means of a thorough analysis 
of self-consciousness. Then, however, by means of this 
key to the nature of the world, the whole phenomenal 
manifestation can be deciphered, as I believe I have suc 
ceeded in doing. But if we leave the world in order to 
answer the questions indicated above, we have also left 
the whole sphere in which, not only connection according 
to reason and consequent, but even knowledge itself is 
possible ; then all is instabilis tellus, innabilis unda. The 
nature of things before or beyond the world, and con 
sequently beyond the will, is open to no investigation ; 
because knowledge in general is itself only a phenomenon, 
and therefore exists only in the world as the world exists 
only in it. The inner being in itself of things is nothing 
that knows, no intellect, but an unconscious; knowledge is 


only added as an accident, a means of assistance to the 
phenomenon of that inner being, and can therefore appre 
hend that being itself only in proportion to its own nature, 
which is designed with reference to quite different ends 
(those of the individual will), consequently very imperfectly. 
Here lies the reason why a perfect understanding of the 
existence, nature, and origin of the world, extending to its 
ultimate ground and satisfying all demands, is impossible. 
So much as to the limits of my philosophy, and indeed of 
all philosophy. 

The ev teat irav, i.e., that the inner nature in all things 
is absolutely one and the same, my age had already 
grasped and understood, after the Eleatics, Scotus Erigena, 
Giordano Bruno, and Spinoza had thoroughly taught, and 
Schelling had revived this doctrine. But what this one 
is, and how it is able to exhibit itself as the many, is a 
problem the solution of which is first found in my philo 
sophy. Certainly from the most ancient times man had 
been called the microcosm. I have reversed the pro 
position, and shown the world as the macranthropos : 
because will and idea exhaust its nature as they do that 
of man. But it is clearly more correct to learn to under 
stand the world from man than man from the world ; for 
one has to explain what is indirectly given, thus external 
perception from what is directly given, thus self-conscious 
ness not conversely. 

With the Pantheists, then, I have certainly that kv icai 
trav in common, but not the irav deos ; because I do not 
go beyond experience (taken in its widest sense), and still 
less do I put myself in contradiction with the data which 
lie before me. Scotus Erigena, quite consistently with the 
spirit of Pantheism, explains every phenomenon as a theo- 
phany ; but then this conception must also be applied to 
the most terrible and abominable phenomena. Fine theo- 
phanies ! What further distinguishes me from Pantheism 
is principally the following, (i). That their 0eo<? is an x, 
an unknown quantity ; the will, on the other hand, is of 


all possible things the one that is known to us most 
exactly, the only thing given immediately, and therefore 
exclusively fitted for the explanation of the rest. For 
what is unknown must always be explained by what is 
better known ; not conversely. (2). That their 8eo<; 
manifests himself animi causa, to unfold his glory, or, 
indeed, to let himself be admired. Apart from the vanity 
here attributed to him, they are placed in the position of 
being obliged to sophisticate away the colossal evil of the 
world ; but the world remains in glaring and terrible con 
tradiction with that imagined excellence. With me, on 
the contrary, the ivill arrives through its objectification 
however this may occur, at self-knowledge, whereby its 
abolition, conversion, salvation becomes possible. And 
accordingly, with me alone ethics has a sure foundation 
and is completely worked out in agreement with the sub 
lime and profound religions, Brahmanism, Buddhism, and 
Christianity, not merely with Judaism and Mohammedanism. 
The metaphysic of the beautiful also is first fully cleared 
up as a result of my fundamental truth, and no longer re 
quires to take refuge behind empty words. With me alone is 
the evil of the world honestly confessed in its whole magni 
tude : this is rendered possible by the fact that the answer 
to the question as to its origin coincides with the answer 
to the question as to the origin of the world. On the other 
hand, in all other systems, since they are all optimistic, 
the question as to the origin of evil is the incurable 
disease, ever breaking out anew, with which they are 
affected, and in consequence of which they struggle along 
with palliatives and quack remedies. (3.) That I start 
from experience and the natural self-consciousness given to 
every one, and lead to the will as that which alone is meta 
physical ; thus I adopt the ascending, analytical method. 
The Pantheists, again, adopt the opposite method, the 
descending or synthetical. They start from their #609, 
which they beg or take by force, although sometimes 
under the name substantia, or absolute, and this unknown 


is then supposed to explain everything that is better 
known. (4.) That with me the world does not fill the 
whole possibility of all being, but in this there still re 
mains much room for that which we denote only negatively 
as the denial of the will to live. Pantheism, on the other 
hand, is essentially optimism : but if the world is what is 
best, then the matter may rest there. (5.) That to the 
Pantheists the perceptible world, thus the world of idea, 
is just the intentional manifestation of the God indwell 
ing in it, which contains no real explanation of its appear 
ance, but rather requires to be explained itself. With me, 
on the other hand, the world as idea appears merely per 
accidens, because the intellect, with its external perception, 
is primarily only the medium of motives for the more 
perfect phenomena of will, which gradually rises to that 
objectivity of perceptibility, in which the world exists. 
In this sense its origin, as an object of perception, is really 
accounted for, and not, as with the Pantheists, by means 
of untenable fictions. 

Since, in consequence of the Kantian criticism of all 
speculative theology, the philosophises of Germany al 
most all threw themselves back upon Spinoza, so that the 
whole series of futile attempts known by the name of the 
post- Kantian philosophy are simply Spinozism tastelessly 
dressed up, veiled in all kinds of unintelligible language, 
and otherwise distorted, I wish, now that I have ex 
plained the relation of my philosophy to Pantheism in 
general, to point out its relation to Spinozism in particu 
lar. It stands, then, to Spinozism as the New Testament 
stands to the Old. What the Old Testament has in com 
mon with the New is the same God-Creator. Analogous to 
this, the world exists, with me as with Spinoza, by its 
inner power and through itself. But with Spinoza his 
substantia ceterna, the inner nature of the world, which he 
himself calls God, is also, as regards its moral character 
and worth, Jehovah, the God-Creator, who applauds His 
own creation, and finds that all is very good, travra Ka\a 


\iav. Spinoza has deprived Him of nothing but person 
ality. Thus, according to him also, the world and all in 
it is wholly excellent and as it ought to be: therefore 
man has nothing more to do than vivere, agere, suum Esse 
conservare ex fundamento proprium utile qitcerendi (Eth., iv. 
pr. 67) ; he is even to rejoice in his life as long as it lasts ; 
entirely in accordance with Ecclesiastes ix. 7-10. In 
short, it is optimism : therefore its ethical side is weak, as 
in the Old Testament ; nay, it is even false, and in part 
revolting. 1 With me, on the other hand, the will, or the 
inner nature of the world, is by no means Jehovah, it is 
rather, as it were, the crucified Saviour, or the crucified 
thief, according as it resolves. Therefore my ethical 
teaching agrees with that of Christianity, completely and 
in its highest tendencies, and not less with that of Brah- 
manism and Buddhism. Spinoza could not get rid of the 
Jews ; quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem. His 
contempt for the brutes, which, as mere things for our 
use, he also declares to be without rights, is thoroughly 
Jewish, and, in union with Pantheism, is at the same 
time absurd and detestable (Eth., iv., appendix, c. 27). 

TXT"* 1~ 11 1 f** 

With all this Spinoza remains a very great man. But in 
order to estimate his work correctly we must keep in view 
his relation to Descartes. The latter had sharply divided 
nature into mind and matter, i.e., thinking and extended 
substance, and had also placed God and the world in com 
plete opposition to each other ; Spinoza also, so long as he 
was a Cartesian, taught all that in his " Cogitatis Meta- 
physicis" c. 12, i. I., 1665. Only in his later years did he 
see the fundamental falseness of that double dualism ; and 
accordingly his own philosophy principally consists of the 
indirect abolition of these two antitheses. Yet partly to avoid 
injuring his teacher, partly in order to be less offensive, he 

Unusquisque tantum juris habet, definetur (Eth. iv , pr. 37 schol i) 

quantum potentid valet ( Tract, pol., c. Especially chap. 16 of the Tractatut 

2 8). Fides alicui data tamdiu theologico-politicus is the true com- 

rata manet, quamdiu ejus, qui fidem pendium of the immorality of Spin- 

dedit, non mutatur voluntas (fbid., oza s philosophy. 
1 2 ). Umuscujusque jus potentid ejus 


gave it a positive appearance by means of a strictly dog 
matic form, although its content is chiefly negative. His 
identification of the world with God has also this negative 
significance alone. For to call the world God is not to 
explain it: it remains a riddle under the one name as 
under the other. But these two negative truths had value 
for their age, as for every age in which there still are con 
scious or unconscious Cartesians. He makes the mistake, 
common to all philosophers before Locke, of starting from 
conceptions, without having previously investigated their 
origin, such, for example, as substance, cause, &c., and in 
such a method of procedure these conceptions then receive 
a much too extensive validity. Those who in the most 
recent times refused to acknowledge the Neo-Spinozisin 
which had appeared, for example, Jacobi, were principally 
deterred from doing so by the bugbear of fatalism. By 
this is to be understood every doctrine which refers the 
existence of the world, together with the critical position 
of mankind in it, to any absolute necessity, i.e., to a neces 
sity that cannot be further explained. Those who feared 
fatalism, again, believed that all that was of importance 
was to deduce the world from the free act of will of a 
being existing outside it ; as if it were antecedently certain 
which of the two was more correct, or even better merely 
in relation to us. What is, however, especially assumed 
here is the non datur tertiwn, and accordingly hitherto every 
philosophy has represented one or the other. I am the 
first to depart from this ; for I have actually established 
the Tertium : the act of will from which the world arises 
is our own. It is free ; for the principle of sufficient 
reason, from which alone all necessity derives its signifi 
cance, is merely the form of its phenomenon. Just on this 
account this phenomenon, if it once exists, is absolutely 
necessary in its course ; in consequence of this alone we 
can recognise in it the nature of the act of will, and 
accordingly eventucditer will otherwise. 




Edited by FRAUENSTADT. The First Edition appeared 
in 1813). 

THIS essay is divided into eight chapters. The first is intro 
ductory. The second contains an historical review of pre 
vious philosophical doctrines on the subject. The third 
deals with the insufficiency of the previous treatment of the 
principle, and prescribes the lines of the new departure. 
The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh treat of the four classes 
of objects for the subject, and the forms of the principle of 
sufficient reason which respectively characterise these classes. 
The eighth contains general remarks and results. It will be 
convenient to summarise these chapters severally. 


Schopenhauer points out that Plato and Kant agree in 
recommending, as the method of all knowledge, obedience to 
two laws : that of Homogeneity, and that of Specification. 
The former bids us, by attention to the points of resemblance 
and agreement in things, get at their kinds, and combine 
them into species, and these species again into genera, until 
we have arrived at the highest concept of all, that which 
embraces everything. This law being transcendental, or an 
essential in our faculty of reason, assumes that nature is in 


harmony with it, an assumption which is expressed in the old 
rule : Entia prceter necessitatem non esse multiplicanda. The 
law of Specification, on the other hand, is stated by Kant in 
these words : Entium varietates non temere esse minucndas. 
That is to say, we must carefully distinguish the species which 
are united under a genus, and the lower kinds which in their 
turn are united under these species ; taking care not to make 
a leap, and subsume the lower kinds and individuals under the 
concept of the genus, since this is always capable of division, 
but never descends to the object of pure perception. Plato 
and Kant agree that these laws are transcendental, and that 
they presuppose that things are in harmony with them. 

The previous treatment of the principle of sufficient reason, 
even by Kant, has been a failure, owing to the neglect of the 
second of these laws, It may well be that we shall find that 
this principle is the common expression of more than one funda 
mental principle of knowledge, and that the necessity, to which 
it refers, is therefore of different kinds. It may be stated in 
these words : Nihil est sine ratione cur potius sit, quam non sit. 
This is the general expression for the different forms of the 
assumption which everywhere justifies that question " Why ?" 
which is the mother of all science. 


Schopenhauer in this chapter traces historically the forms 
in which the principle had been stated by his predecessors, 
and their influence. He points out that in Greek philosophy 
it appeared in two aspects that of the necessity of a ground 
for a logical judgment, and that of a cause for every physical 
change and that these two aspects were systematically con 
founded. The Aristotelian division, not of the forms of the 
principle itself, but of one of its aspects, the causal, exempli 
fied a confusion which continued throughout the Scholastic 
period. Descartes succeeds no better. His proof of the 
existence of God that the immensity of His nature is a 
cause or reason beyond which no cause is needed for His 
existence, simply illustrates the gross confusion between cause 


and ground of knowledge which underlies every form of this 
ontological proof. " That a miserable fellow like Hegel, 
whose entire philosophy is nothing but a monstrous ampli 
fication of the ontological proof, should dare to defend this 
proof against Kant s criticism of it is an alliance of which the 
ontological proof itself, little as it knows of shame, might 
well feel ashamed. It is not to be expected I should speak 
respectfully of people who have brought philosophy into dis 
respect." Spinoza made the same confusion when he laid it 
down that the cause of existence was either contained in the 
nature and definition of the thing as it existed, or was to be 
found outside that thing. It was through this confusion of 
the ground of knowledge with the efficient cause that he 
succeeded in identifying God with the world. The true 
picture of Spinoza s " Causa sui " is Baron Munchhausen en 
circling his horse with his legs, and raising himself and the 
horse upwards by means of his pigtail, with the inscription 
" Causa sui " written below. Leibnitz was the first to place 
the principle of sufficient reason in the position of a first 
principle, and to indicate the difference between its two 
meanings. But it was Wolff who first completely dis 
tinguished them, and divided the doctrine into three kinds : 
prindpium fiendi (cause), prindpium essendi (possibility), and 
principium cognoscendi. Baumgarten, Reimarus, Lambert, and 
Platner added nothing to the work of Wolff, and the next 
great step was Hume s question as to the validity of the 
principle. Kant s distinction of the logical or formal principle 
of knowledge Every proposition must have its ground ; from 
the transcendental or material principle, Every thing must 
have its ground was followed out by his immediate suc 
cessors. But when we come to Schelling we find the proposi 
tion that gravitation is the reason and light the cause of things, 
a proposition which is quoted simply as a curiosity, for such a 
piece of nonense deserves no place among the opinions of 
earnest and honest inquirers. The chapter concludes by 
pointing out the futility of the attempts to prove the principle. 
Every proof is the exhibition of the ground of a judgment 
which has been expressed, and of which, just because that 
ground is exhibited, we predicate truth . The principle of 


sufficient reason is just this expression of the demand for such 
a ground, and he who seeks a proof, i.e., the exhibition of a 
ground for this principle itself, presupposes it as true, and so 
falls into the circle of seeking a proof of the justification of 
the demand for proof. 


In the third chapter Schopenhauer points out that the two 
applications of the principle of sufficient reason distinguished 
by his predecessors, to judgments, which must have a ground, 
and to the changes of real objects, which must have a cause, 
are not exhaustive. The reason why the three sides of a 
certain triangle are equal is that the angles are equal, and this 
is neither a logical deduction nor a case of causation. With 
a view to stating exhaustively the various kinds into which 
the application of the principle falls it is necessary to deter 
mine the nature of the principle itself. All our ideas are 
objects of the subject, and -all objects of the subject are our 
ideas. But our ideas stand to one another as a matter of fact 
in an orderly connection, which is always determinable a 
priori in point of form, and on account of which nothing that 
is in itself separate and wholly independent of other things 
can be the object of our consciousness. It is this connection 
which the principle of sufficient reason in its generality ex 
presses. The relations which constitute it are what Schopen 
hauer calls its root, and they fall into four classes, which are 
discussed in the four following chapters. 


In the fourth chapter Schopenhauer deals with the first 
class of objects for the subject and the form of the principle 
of sufficient reason which obtains in it. This first class is that 
of those complete ideas of perception which form part of our 
experience, and which are rei erable to some sensation of our 
bodies. These ideas are capable of being perceived only 
under the forms of Space and Time. If time were the only 
form there would be no coexistence, and therefore no per- 


sistence. If space were their only form there would be no 
succession, and therefore no change. Time may therefore be 
defined as the possibility of mutually exclusive conditions of 
the same thing. But the union of these two forms of exist 
ence is the essential condition of reality, and this union is the 
work of the understanding (see " World as Will and Idea," 
vol. i. 4, and the table of predicables annexed to vol. ii., chap- 
4). In this class of objects for the subject the principle of 
sufficient reason appears as the law of causality or the principle 
of sufficient reason of becoming, and it is through it that all 
objects which present themselves in perception are bound 
together through the changes of their states. When a new 
state of one or more objects makes its appearance it must 
have been preceded by another on which it regularly follows. 
This is causal sequence, and the first state is the cause, the 
second the effect. The law has thus to do exclusively with 
the changes of objects of external experience, and not with 
things themselves, a circumstance which is fatal to the validity 
of the cosmological proof of the existence of God. It follows 
also from the essential connection of causality with succession 
that the notion of reciprocity, with its contemporaneous 
existence of cause and effect, is a delusion. The chain of 
causes and effects does not affect either matter, which is that in 
which all changes take place, or the original forces of nature, 
through which causation becomes possible, and which exist 
apart from all change, and in this sense out of time, but which 
yet are everywhere present (e.g., chemical forces , see supra, voL 
i., 26). In nature causation assumes three different forms ; 
that of cause in the narrow sense, of stimulus, and of motive, 
on which differences depend the true distinctions between 
inorganic bodies, plants, )and animals. It is only of cause 
properly so called that Newton s third law of the equality of 
action and reaction is true, and only here do we find the 
degree of the effect proportionate to that of the cause. The 
absence of this feature characterises stimulation. Motive 
demands knowledge as its condition, and intelligence is there 
fore the true characteristic of the animal. The three forms 
are in principle identical, the difference being due to the 
degrees of receptivity in existence. What is called freedom 


of the will is therefore an absurdity, as is also Kant s 
" Practical Reason." These, results are followed by an exa 
mination of the nature of vision, which Schopenhauer sums 
up in these words : "I have examined all these visual pro 
cesses in detail in order to show that the understanding is 
active in all of them, the understanding which, by apprehend 
ing every change as an effect and referring it to its cause, 
creates on the basis of the a priori and fundamental intuitions 
or perceptions of space and time, the objective world, that 
phenomenon of the brain, for which the sensations of the senses 
afford only certain data. And this task the understanding 
accomplishes only through its proper form, the law of causality, 
and accomplishes it directly without the aid of reflection, 
that is, of abstract knowledge through concepts and words, 
which are the material of secondary knowledge, of thought, 
thus of the Reason." " What understanding knows aright is 
reality; what reason knows aright is truth, i.e., a judgment 
which has a ground ; the opposite of the former being illu- 
Bion (what is falsely perceived), of the latter error (what is 
falsely thought)." All understanding is an immediate appre 
hension of the causal relation, and this is the sole function of 
understanding, and not the complicated working of the twelve 
Kantian Categories, the theory of which is a mistaken one. 
A consequence of this conclusion is, that arithmetical processes 
do not belong to the understanding, concerned as they are 
with abstract conceptions. But it must not be forgotten that 
between volition and the apparently consequential action of 
the body there is no causal relation, for they are the same 
thing perceived in two different ways. Section 23 contains a 
detailed refutation of Kant s proof of the a priori nature of 
the causal relation in the " Second Analogy of Experience " 
of the Critique of Pure Reason, the gist of the objection being 
that the so-called subjective succession is as much objective 
in reality as what is called objective by Kant : " Phenomena 
may well follow one another, without following from one 



The fifth chapter commences with an examination of the 
distinction between man and the brutes. Man possesses 
reason, that is to say, he has a class of ideas of which the 
brutes are not capable, abstract ideas as distinguished from 
those ideas of perception from which the former kind are 
yet derived. The consequence is, that the brute neither 
speaks nor laughs, and lacks all those qualities which make 
human life great. The nature of motives, too, is different 
where abstract ideas are possible. No doubt the actions 
of men follow of necessity from their causes, not less than 
is the case with the brutes, but the kind of sequence 
through thought which renders choice, i.e., the conscious 
conflict of motives, possible is different. Our abstract ideas, 
being incapable of being objects of perception, would be 
outside consciousness, and the operations of thought would 
be impossible, were it not that they are fixed for sense by 
arbitrary signs called words, which therefore always indi 
cate general conceptions. It is just because the brutes are 
incapable of general conceptions that they have no faculty of 
speech. But thought does not consist in the mere presence 
of abstract ideas in consciousness, but in the union and 
separation of two or more of them, subject to the manifold 
restrictions and modifications which logic deals with. Such 
a clearly expressed conceptual relation is a judgment. In 
relation to judgments the principle of sufficient reason is valid 
in a new form : that of the ground of knowing. In this form 
it asserts that if a judgment is to express knowledge it must 
have a ground ; and it is just because it has a ground that it 
has ascribed to it the predicate true. The grounds on which 
a judgment may depend are divisible into four kinds. A 
judgment may have another judgment as its ground, in which 
case its truth is formal or logical. There is no truth except 
in the relation of a judgment to something outside it, and 
intrinsic truth, which is sometimes distinguished from ex 
trinsic logical truth, is therefore an absurdity. A judgment 
may also have its ground in sense-perception, and its truth is 
then material truth. Again, those forms of knowledge which 


lie in the understanding and in pure sensibility, as the condi 
tions of the possibility of experience, may be the ground of a 
judgment which is then synthetical a priori. Finally, those 
formal conditions of all thinking which lie in the reason may 
be the ground of a judgment, which may in that case be called 
metal ogically true. Of these metalogical judgments there are 
four, and they were long ago discovered and called laws of 
thought, (i.) A subject is equal to the sum of its predi 
cates. (2.) A subject cannot at once have a given predicate 
affirmed and denied of it. (3.) Of two contradictorily opposed 
predicates one must belong to every subject. (4.) Truth is 
the relation of a judgment to something outside it as its suffi 
cient reason. Reason, it may be remarked, has no material 
but only formal truth. 


The third class of objects for the subject is constituted by 
the formal element in perception, the forms of outer and inner 
sense, space and time. This class of ideas, in which time and 
space appear as pure intuitions, is distinguished from that other 
class in which they are objects of perception by the presence 
of matter which has been shown to be the perceptibility of 
time and space in one aspect, and causality which has become 
objective, in another. Space and time have this property, 
that all their parts stand to one another in a relation in 
which each is determined and conditioned by another. This 
relation is peculiar, and is intelligible to us neither through 
understanding nor through reason, but solely through pure 
intuition or perception a priori. And the law according to 
which the parts of space and time thus determine one another 
is called the law of sufficient reason of being. In space every 
position is determined with reference to every other position, 
so that the first stands to the second in the relation of a con 
sequence to its ground. In time every moment is conditioned 
by that which precedes it. The ground of being, in the form 
of the law of sequence, is here very simple owing to the cir 
cumstance that time has only one dimension. On the nexus 


of the position of the parts of space depends the entire 
science of geometry. Ground of knowledge produces conviction 
only, as distinguished from insight into the ground of being. 
Thus it is that the attempt, which even Euclid at times makes, 
to produce conviction, as distinguished from insight into the 
ground of being, in geometry, is a mistake, and induces aver 
sions to mathematics in many an admirable mind. 


The remaining class of objects for the subject is a very 
peculiar and important one. It comprehends only one object, 
the immediate object of inner sense, the subject in volition 
which becomes an object of knowledge, but only in inner 
sense, and therefore always in time and never in space ; and 
in time only under limitations. There can be no knowledge 
of knowledge, for that would imply that the subject had 
separated itself from knowledge, and yet knew knowledge, 
which is impossible. The subject is the condition of the exist 
ence of ideas, and can never itself become idea or object. It 
knows itself therefore never as knowing, but only as willing. 
Thus what we know in ourselves is never what knows, but 
what wills, the will. The identity of the subject of volition 
with the subject of knowledge, through which the word " I " 
includes both, is the insoluble problem. The identity of the 
knowing with the known is inexplicable, and yet is imme 
diately present. The operation of a motive is not, like that of 
all other causes, known only from without, and therefore 
indirectly, but also from within. Motivation is, in fact, 
causality viewed from within. 


In this, the concluding chapter, Schopenhauer sums up his 
results. Necessity has no meaning other than that of the 
irresistible sequence of the effect where the cause is given. 
All necessity is thus conditioned, and absolute or uncon 
ditioned necessity is a contradiction in terms. And there is a 


fourfold necessity corresponding to the four forms of the 
principle of sufficient reason: (i.) The logical form, accord- 
mg to the principle of the ground of knowledge; on account 
of which, if the premisses are given, the conclusion follows. 
(2.) The physical form, according to the law of causality ; on 
account of which, if the cause is given, the effect must follow. 
(3.) The mathematical form, according to the law of being ; 
on account of which every relation expressed by a true geo- 
metrical proposition is what it is affirmed to be, and every 
correct calculation is irrefutable. (4.) The moral form, on 
account of which every human being and every brute must, 
when the motive appears, perform the only act which accords 
with the inborn and unalterable character. A consequence of 
this is, that every department of science has one or other of the 
forms of the principle of sufficient reason as its basis. In con 
clusion, Schopenhauer points out that just because the prin 
ciple of sufficient reason belongs to the a priori element in 
intelligence, it cannot be applied to the entirety of things, to 
the universe as inclusive of intelligence. Such a universe is 
mere phenomenon, and what is only true because it belongs 
to the form of intelligence can have no application to in 
telligence itself. Thus it is that it cannot be said that the 
universe and all things in it exist because of something else. 
In other words, the cosmological proof of the existence of God 
is inadmissible. 


ABORIGINALS, interference with, iii. 


Absolute, conception of, has reality 
only in matter, ii. 94 ; how not 
to be conceived, ii. 94 ; misuse 
of, ii. 94, 215, 216, 393. 
Abstract, idea, knowledge, depen 
dent on idea of perception, L 45, 
62, 53, ii. 258 ; insufficiency of, 
i. 72, ii. 248-251 ; opposite^ of 
idea of perception, i. 7 ; philo 
sophy must not start from, ii. 
261 seq. ; relation to intuitive 
knowledge, ii. 54, 55, 91 ; use of, 
ii. 235, 238. 

Absurd, sphere of, ii. 242 ; supre 
macy of, i. 418. 
Academies, relation of, to great 

men, ii. 496. 

Accident. See Substance. 
Actors, why madness common 

among, iii. 168. 
Adultery, iii. 351, 364, 365. 
^Eschylus, iii. 213, 378. 
.(Esthetic mode of contemplation, 

i. 253 seq., iii. 127 seq. 
Agamemnon, i. 199, iii. 213. 
Alemann, Matteo, iii. 363. 
Alfieri, i. 247. 
Allegory, nature of, use and abuse 

in art, i. 305-313. 
America, compared with Old World 

in physical regard, iii. 57, 58. 
Ampere, iii. 44. 
Anacreon, iii. 377. 
Analytical method, ii. 309. 
Anatomy, what it teaches, iii. 38 ; 
value of comparative anatomy, i. 
187, iii. 84. 
Anaxagoras, Hi. 2, 34, 73, 390. 

Ancients, the, their architecture 
iii. 185, 188, 190 ; defects in 
religion, iii. 452; freedom of 
thought, ii. 394 ; inferiority of 
tragedy, iii. 213, 214 ; historians, 
i. 317, 318 ; philosophy, ii. 400 ; 
sculpture, i. 269, 291. 
Angelus Silesius, i. 167, 492, iii. 


Anger, evidence of primacy of will, 
ii. 442 ; psychological effect of, 
ii. 429. 

Animals, lower, distinctive charac 
teristics of animal life, i. 25, ii 
228, 232; essential identity with 
man, i. 192; difference from 
man, i. 45, 47, 112, see Man; 
do not laugh, ii. 280 ; nor weep, 
i. 486; naivete of, i. 204; no 
passions proper, iii. 16 ; no know 
ledge of death, iii. 249 ; yet fear 
death, iii. 251 ; right of man 
over, i. 481 n. 
Animal magnetism, iii. 76, 418, 


Anselm of Canterbury, ii. 125, 126. 
Anticipation in art, i. 287, 288 ; in 

nature, iii. 103, 104. 
Antinomies, criticism of Kantian, 
i, 39, ii. 107 seq.; the two of 
natural science, i. 37 seq. 
Antisthenes, i. 115, ii. 357. 
Anwari Soheili, ii. 283. 
Airajuyri and e-irayuyrj, ii. 290. 
Apollo Belvedere, i. 230. 
Apperception, transcendental unity 

of, ii. 333. 

A priori knowledge, meaning and 
explanation of, ii. 33 ; directness, 
necessity, and universality of, 

i [In preparing this Index Frauenstadt s Schopenhauer- Lexikon has been freely 
used. Tn.] 



i. 88 ; table of prcedicabilia a 
priori, ii. 221 ; the basis of onto 
logy, ii. 220. 
Apuleius, ii. 352. 

Architecture, its problem as a fine 
art, i. 276 ; solution of problem, 
i. 277 seq., iii. 182 teq.; beauty 
and grace in, i. 277, iii. 188, 189 ; 
combines beauty with usefulness, 
L 2SO ; its relation to litfht, i. 
279, 280 ; to music, iii. 239 teq.; 
to plastic arts and poetry, i. 280; 
its effects dynamical as well as 
mathematical, i. 279; compari 
son of antique and Gothic, iii. 

Aristippus, ii. 319, 363. 
Aristo of Chios, ii. 319. 
Aristocracy of intellect, ii. 342. 
Aristotle, his logic, i. 62 ; on scien 
tific knowledge, i. 95 ; his forma 
substantialis, i. 186; on essen 
tial conflict in nature, i. 192; his 
method, i. 239; on Platonic Ideas, 
i. 273, iii 124 ; on derivation of 
1707?, L 378 ; his style, ii. 21 ; 
denies reciprocity, ii. 66 ; on the 
necessary and contingent, ii. 70 ; 
contented with abstract concep 
tions, ii. 71 ; on quality and quan 
tity, ii. 76 ; his categories, ii. 85 ; 
on existence as subject, ii. 101 ; on 
infinity of world in space, ii. 110 ; 
atomism not necessary, ii. Ill ; 
infinity potentia not actu, ii. 115 
refutation of ontological proof, 
ii. 129 ; v ovs wpa.KTi.K03 of, ii. 133 ; 
the seat of the virtues, ii. 137 ; 
treatment of art, ii. 153; an in 
finitely large body immovable, 
ii. 203 ; relation of number and 
time, ii. 205 ; Topi of, ii. 212 ; 
division of causes, ii. 217 ; on 
pure matter, ii. 219 ; on origin 
of things, ii. 220 ; real things and 
conceptions, ii. 244 ; meaning of 
his nihil est in inttllectu nisi quod 
ante Juerit in sensu, ii. 258 ; 
eight spheres of, ii. 265 ; rhetorics 
of, ii. 285 ; his eiro-ywyi; and 
<nrayuyij. ii. 290 ; his syllogistic 
figures, ii. 297 ; analysis of syllo 
gisms, ii. 303 ; on the prudent 
man, ii. 347 ; his ethics eudaj- 
monistic, ii. 349 ; wonder the 
origin of philosophy, ii. 360 ; 

view of the Sophists, ii. 862 ; 
necessity of metaphysics, ii. 379; 
on invertebrate animals, ii. 481 ; 
on plants, iii. 34 ; difference be 
tween efficient and final cause, 
iii. 82 ; his freedom from phy- 
sico-theology, iii. 94; merits of 
his teaching as to organised and 
unorganised nature, iii. 95 ; na 
ture a demon, iii. 106 ; music a 
cathartic of the feelings, iii. 174 ; 
poetry better than history iii. 
Arithmetic, depends on a priori 

intuition of time, i. 99, ii. 204. 
Arrian, ii. 355 seq. 
Art, source and aim of, i. 238, 239, 
286 seq., iii. 126, 179; object of, 
see Idea ; subject of, see Genius ; 
relation to and difference from 
philosophy, iii. 176, 177, 178; 
contrasted with history, i. 298, 
315, iii. 224 ; inborn and ac 
quired, i. 252 ; the two extremes 
in series of, i. 274 seq., 280 ; 
value and importance of, i. 345, 
346, iii. 132 ; opposition between 
useful and fine, iii. 181. 
Art, works of, tendency of, iii. 177 ; 
relation of conception to execu 
tion of, iii. 180; the abstract 
concept barren in, i. 303, 304 
iii. 179, 180; why Idea more 
easily comprehended in than in 
nature, i. 252, iii. 132 ; co-opera 
tion of the beholder required for 
enjoyment of, iii. 177 ; why they 
do not give all to the senses, iii. 
178 seq.; superiority of those 
dashed off in moment of concep 
tion, iii. 178, 180. 
Asceticism, its source, i, 490 seq.; 
its way of manifesting itself i 
492, 493, 506, iii. 425 ; identity 
of its spirit in different countries 
and religions, i. 502, 503, iii. 433 ; 
difference of spirit of cynicism 
ii. 352, 353. 

Assertion, definition of, ii. 308. 
Association of ideas, its root, ii. 
324 ; kinds of, ii. 324 ; apparent 
exceptions to law of, ii. 327 ; the 
will secretly controls the law of 
ii. 328. 

Astronomy, what it teaches, iii. 37 ; 
source of its certainty and com- 



prehensibility, i. 86 ; its method, 
i. 87 ; Ptolemaic, i. 64. 

Athanasius, iii. 439. 

Atheism, what strengthens the re 
proach of, ii. 379 ; not necessarily 
materialism, ii. 131, 132. 

Atom, assumption of, not necessary, 
iii. 44 seq. ; has no reality, ii. 
223 ; defence of, from porosity 
refuted, iii. 47. 

Attraction and repulsion, forces of, 
constitute space-occupation, ii. 

Augustine, recognises identity of 
all things with will, i. 165 ; cause 
of beauty of vegetable world, i. 
260 n. ; on original sin, i. 524 ; 
the will not free, i. 525 ; dog 
matics of, i. 525 n. ; brghmer 
of Scholasticism, ii. 12 ; on moral 
systems of ancients, ii. 349 ; 
spirit of his anti-Pelagianism, ii. 
368, iii. 421 ; on affections of 
will, ii. 412 n. ; his de civit. Dei, 
iii. H7n. 

Autobiography. See Biography. 

Avarice, the vice of old age, iii. 

Avatar, iii. 426. 

Axiom, definition, ii. 308. 

BACON, his conception of philosophy, 
i. 109 ; all movement preceded 
by perception, i. 137 n. ; on 
atheism, ii. 131 ; his philoso 
phical method, ii. 212 ; on the 
intellect, ii. 433 ; his moral 
character, ii. 447 ; influence of 
climate upon intellect, iii. 18 ; 
rejected teleology, iii. 91 ; on 
final causes, iii. 93 ; on Democ- 
ritus, iii. 95 ; on rarity of genius, 
iii. 158. 

Basilidians, iii. 305. 
Bass. See Music. 
Baumgarten, his aesthetics, ii. 153. 
Beard, its efficient and final cause in 

man, iii. 88. 

Beauty, the beautiful, two elements 
of, i. 270 ; source of pleasure in, 
i. 253 seq. ; everything beauti 
ful, i. 271 ; why one thing more 
beautiful than another, i. 272 ; 
distinguished from grace, i. 289 ; 
distinguished from the sublime, 
L 270 ; effect of natural beauty, 

i. 255, iii. 173, 174; beauty in 
art. See Painting, Sculpture, &c. 
Beccaria, iii. 413. 

Being, as the most general concep 
tion, ii. 236 ; in the professorial 
philosophy, ii. 288 ; relation of 
thought to. See Thing in it 
self; limitation of individual 
being the cause of philosophy, i. 
135 ; contrast of seeing and 
being, iii. 392. 
Bell, Sir Oh., i. 133, iii. 6. 
Benedict, iii. 450. 

Berkeley, on rareness of thought, i. 
50; his idealism, ii. 15, 29, 41, 
163, 165, 175, iii. 59, 261. 
Bhagavad-gita, i. 366, iii. 75, 262. 
Bible, one metaphysical truth in 
Old Testament, iii. 423 ; ascetic 
spirit of New Testament, iii. 437, 
458 seq.; opposition of Old and 
New Testaments, i. 420, iii. 281, 
441, 445 ; its historical material 
unsuited for paintings, i. 300. 
Bichat, " Sur la vie et la mart," ii. 
470, 488 ; on circulation of blood, 
ii. 478 ; on organic and animal 
life, ii. 489 ; only animal life can 
be educated, ii. 491 ; Flourens 
attack on, ii. 494 seq.; nervous 
and muscular systems in chil 
dren, iii. 161 ; effect of emotions 
on organism, iii. 296. 
Bio, on relation of science and philo 
sophy, ii. 319. 

Biography, superiority to history, 
i. 319 seq.; difficulty of dissimu 
lating in autobiographies, i. 320. 
Biot, on colour rings, ii. 338. 
Blood, the primitive fluid of or 
ganism, ii. 478-481. 
Body, the, an object among objects, 
i. 5, 14, 23, 25, 129, ii. 167; its 
identity with will, i. 129 seq.; 
137-142, ii. 428, 468, 471-493 ; 
relation of physiological and 
metaphysical explanations of, i. 
139 seq., ii. 492, 493 ; its design, 
i. 140 seq. ; knowledge of, key to 
nature of things, i. 136, 141 seq.; 
criticism of antithesis of body 
and soul as two substances, ii. 
101-104, 378, iii. 11. 
Bb hm, Jakob, everything half dead, 
i. 191; "Zte signatura rerum," 
L 284 n., iii. 432. 



Bolingbroke, iii. 397. 
Books, not so instructive as reality, 
ii. 244, 245 ; why they cannot 
take the place of experience, ii. 
248, 249. 

Boswcll, his Life of Johnson, ii. 446. 
B.mreguon, Antoinette, iii. 435. 
Brahmanism, recognises no begin 
ning of world, ii. 94, 95, 108, 
109 ; teaches metempsychosis 
iii. 303. 

Brain, metaphysically considered, 
ii. 468, 485, 486 ; physiologically 
considered, its origin and func 
tion, ii. 411, 462, 463, 470, iii. 
9 ; its share in perception, ii. 
185; its relation to the ganglia, 
ii. 483 ; the seat of motives, ii. 
473 ; develops with organism, ii. 
416, iii. 13, 14; as necessary for 
thought as stomach for digestion, 
ii. 237 ; the regulator of the will, 
ii. 470 ; the condition of self- 
consciousness, iii. 12 seq. ; influ 
ence of its development upon 
intellect at different periods of 
life, ii. 425, 454 seq. ; necessity 
of sleep for, ii. 464 ; effect of 
over-work on, ii. 255, 256 ; its 
variation in man the cause of 
individual character, i. 171 ; its 
activity in dreams, ii. 464 ; the 
brain of genius, iii