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LIFE AND WRITINGS OF COLERIDGE.
The philosophical system of Coleridge this second variety of pantheism, which is may be popularly characterized as that of derived from a too exclusive study of the Plato, or rather of the later Platonists, phenomena of life. The first is the panwith the refinements and additions of the theism of the Buddists, and perhaps very more correct science of the moderns. To generally of the modern democratic French distinguish it from pantheistic systems, it philosophy, which carries all existence will be necessary to give some idea of these ; back to universal negation, and infinite characterizing each in the fewest words night. The second has its defenders possible.
among the Brahmins, and some modern To begin, then, with the pantheism of poets, who confound the Divine Energy Spinoza. In this system of ideas we find with Life Energy, and reduce all things to in the first place, all substance, and all the a chaos of impulses. This last system powers of nature, comprehended in a di- seems to be peculiarly a growth of imagivine unity, and created of one essence nation, as the other is of understanding. with it—nay, totally confounded with it. By a skillful use of the understanding, God is everything, and everything is in a faculty which will be found on the strictand of Deity. Now, of this scheme, we est examination to deal only in lines, limobserve ; first, that the author of it does its, relations, and generally in the negative not provide for the separate being of souls, class of abstractions; a modern philosobeings, profound sources, reason, and pher, Kant, has shown, in his critic of the rest. These are only certain forms Puré Reason, that it produces nothing, of one universal substance, out of which makes no positive additions to truth, esalso were derived the atoms of matter and tablishes no premises, and finally proves the principles of life.
nothing without the aid of certain premiThe Understanding, upon which this ses or assumptions furnished by Reason or idea is begotten by speculative reason, be- experience. By demolishing the pretening itself of a negative character, dealing, sions of the old logic, which made as indeed, solely in negations, cannot work though it would increase the quantity of outside the region of necessitated matter, truth by working over and over the same nor by any striving enter into that of life, meager' abstractions, or assumptions, this much less into that of souls ; and is lim- philosopher cleared the ground for the resited to the final conception of a certain toration of the true and only philosophy of absolute nothing—the “ Ancient Night” | Reason. of primeval theology.
He had shown that the understanding The next species of Pantheism, and is a merely analytical organ of the intelliwhich was an almost universal attendant of gence; that it does not furnish ang heathenism, refers all things, Reason and thing; that it is an organ used merely to the soul included, to an UNIVERSAL LIFE, analyze, to classify, to show the necessary or self-willed principle—which produces relations of things and events. He sepaBeings and Existences by resolving itself rated and defined the modes of its operainto them-by “hatching" them within tions, in the various conceptions of cause, itself. This is the physiological pantheism and of concurrence ; of a substance and of the inferior Brahmins. The pantheism its properties; in numbers and in geomeof Spinoza, arising upon an exclusive con- trical relations ; in the abstract conceptions templation of the laws of matter and me- of time, space, and substance; and conchanism, is thus strongly in contrast with | cluded by demonstrating, that our knowledge of right and wrong, of good and objective condition, as distinguished from evil
, &c. proceeds neither from imagina- the meditative or subjective. tion, experience, nor understanding, but The subjective condition, again, is when from a higher source, which he did not at- we meditate with a consciousness that our tempt to characterize or define. He was ideas are not real, but proceed from our content simply to indicate its existence. own interior selves.
Kant also showed that no reliance can Again ; when we meditate on the perbe placed on experience, or in other words, ception of an object, we find that we are on the use of perception, for the proof of any engaged with images, only, lying in the orabsolute truth. That either absolute truth gans of perception. The organs of perwas a nonentity, and quite impossible, or it ception, when in a healthy state, have must be attained by some other process than images in them only while the senses are the working of mere understanding upon in connection with external nature ; it is experience. Every empirical conclusion, with these images that the thinking and that is to say, every conclusion from expe- meditative faculty has to content itself. rience, he showed must have its exceptions ; If the reader will weigh the matter paand that no man can know when it may tiently in his mind, he may perhaps, by this happen to him, that the best experience of distinction of Subject and object, underhis life may be bettered by farther expe- stand the most difficult things. To recaprience. Nothing in regard to right and italate: wrong can be demonstrated, unless we ad- 1. The real outside things and events of mit the existence of a faculty for it, lying nature, produce certain effects of light, coin the superior mind. This faculty, or lor, touch, &c., upon the bodily senses. power, may be named Reason.
2. These effects, though they pass in Just as the eye is sensible to light, and through separate channels of sense, are light itself is also an affection of the eye ; reunited into perfect images of things and and if certain properties had not been com- events by the organs of perception. municated to the eye, light would not have 3. The various images thus formed in been perceived ; so the properties of ob- perception, are the materials upon which jects would not give rise to the perceptions understanding and imagination exercise of things and events, had not the organ of their powers, and from which they abstract perception, and that of understanding, been their ideals, their experiences, their fancies, internally fitted for their several functions. and their memories.
But things and events in the mental or- The perception perceives mediately, gan itself, are a mere image, and not the through the various organs of sense ; so that, real outside things and events. Just as
Just as for example, in looking at a ball of gold, the physiological effect of light is not the there enters into the eye, not gold, but a same with that mechanical light, or cause yellow color ; and in touching it, the sense of light, which lies in luminous objects. receives, not gold, but a certain heaviness, The ideas of events and things formed in &c., &c., and the reunion of these senthe mind, belong to the subject—that is, suous properties in the perception, gives a to the mind itself ; when on the contrary, notion of a ball of gold as a thing, and of the perceptive and understanding faculties its motion as an event. Both the thing and are actually engaged with nature, when the the event, as images, lie merely in pereye sees, the ear hears, the perception re- ception, just as the image of the moon, and ceives,and the understanding kens things and not the moon itself, lies in the eye. Kant's events, looking as it were into nature, and conclusion from this train of reasoning, was, nature penetrating into them, the effects of that we do not ken or perceive things in all things entering so together into the soul, themselves—we do not understand or know, as to create there lively images, which move or get abstract notions of the moon, butonly with the objects. As images in the came- of an image of the moon, formed in perra move with the movement of their ex- ception—we do not understand motions of ternal objects, there is then a vital and bodies, but only images of such motions effective communication between the soul formed in the perception. and nature, through the joint functions of Nevertheless, by an exercise of another perceiving and knowing : and this is the and quite superior faculty, a faculty of de
termining relations, we know that the men- of Intellect, forms true ideals of human tal image must correspond with its objects; beings, or of persons really existing. And we therefore act upon the evidences of it follows, that the proofs for the exsense as true; and are thus kept in active istence of human souls, and human perand constant relation with the unknown sons, are of presicely the same character real world about us.
and validity with those for the existence of Our animal faculty of perception pre- wood, stone or metal, or of any object or sents images of things and events as they motion in nature. pass before us.
It is truly astonishing, that the philosoAt the same time our understanding pher who discovered this method of prorshows us that the course and order of these ing the existence of things, (the only one things and events is governed by certain of the least value,) and who applied it to laws, and orderly recurrences. The ab- idea of material objects and events, should stract laws appearing to the understanding, never have pushed its application to that correspond with certain real laws, existing of rational beings. in nature ; for, if things in nature agree One of the most satisfactory results of with images in perception, laws in nature this method of reasoning, is that it preagree with laws in understanding. cludes all discussion concerning the exis
It is necessary here to observe, that tence of things. Things do exist, most Kant does not advance this proof. He indubitably, in the mind; so dó laws contents himself with showing that the so of nature, and ideas of souls, and all as called “laws of nature,” are in under- beings of the mind merely; but when it standing; but he did not seem to perceive is perceived that they have a practical effithat their existence in nature also, is de- cacy, when it is seen that by Reason we monstrable by the same argument which converse, and receive answers through our shows the existence of real things in na- senses, corresponding with the ideas to ture; an argument which he, himself, was which we gave utterance, a necessity forces the first to use among the moderns. us to believe in the existence of other be
To carry this argument a step higher. ings like ourselves. And when, carrying The superior Reason, which is able, as out certain cogitated laws, we cause the every one knows, to make use both of un- powers of nature to serve us by those laws, derstanding and imagination at the same a necessity arises for believing that these time ; that Power, finding in Imagination laws of nature” in the mind, stand for certain images of life, force, power, beauty, laws of real nature without.
And when, &c., and in understanding certain laws, and perceiving the color of an object, we put necessities; will, by the union of both, at- forth the finger and feel its hardness, we tain the ideas of rational beings existing conclude with certainty, that the image in out of itself; in other words, it will attain the perception, of a thing possessing hardto a knowledge of creatures like itself, liva ness, is the proof of the presence of a ing out of itself. Ideas indeed of an im- something in nature. The mind, of course, mensely abstract and elavated order—but in these natural operations, must be sound which are so necessary to us, one person and healthy, and not metaphysically or cannot speak rationally to another except otherwise disjointed. through the possession of them.
The expression used by Kant, that we Thus it is found, that as the knowledge of know nothing of the nature of things in the existence of things and events in nature, themselves,” is meant only to convey the is through a perception which reassembles fact that all our knowledge is of a seconand combines the sensuous impressions from dary character, and not, as Divinity may be things ; as the existence of " laws of na- supposed to know itself, by being the same ture," and of qualities of beauty and with itself. The image in the mind is not grace, comes through understanding and the real thing out of the mind. imagination, forming abstractions, which How the mind is able to form this idea are the counterparts of certain otherwise of things and events as they are in, and unknown realities in nature; so the Rea- | the same as they are out of the mind, is son, assembling together, the images and perhaps the most curious and instructive abstractions given to it by those powers part of the speculation. For, we have
first to know, that the imperial lord and doth she establish her Faith in a Personsovereign ruler of our faculties, the Reason ; ality as the author of it, and her reasonings the same which, when employed about the are based on the same certainty which affairs of life, leads to prudential and eco- enables the left foot to follow the right, to nomical results, and employed in affairs of wit, the certainty that the mind is in harcourage and the heart, to the conclusions mony with the universe, and can form and practice of honor and courtesy ; this within itself a true representation of the same faculty, employed on the experience Unseen. offered it by imagination and understand- Yet it is perhaps necessary in this coning, produces from them philosophic or nection to pay respect to logic in its naruniversal ideas—as of a soul, a first cause, rowest sense, so far as to make a brief de-' &c., &c.
fence of the method of the argument—a In this process the Reason first considers method peculiar to philosophy, and by which things as they move and live, and are modern science has made all its discovefreely actuated and appear, as the Imagi- ries-we mean the method of analogy. nation takes them from nature. It then The judgment operates by three distinct considers their abstract relations in the modes or faculties—as first, by syllogism; of Understanding. That is, by negatives, which the principle is the determination of lines, limits, necessities, measures, divi- a species under its genus, &c. : second, by sions, contrasts, concurrences, causes, and arguing from cause-and-effect—as that the all the unities and diversities. Out of same cause shall always produce the same these two, the scientific and the imagina- effect; and lastly by analogies—as when tive, Reason constructs its philosophy, or we say, that the same order or system of idea of the universe.
things, discovers the same principle conAnd now says Reason to itself, I know, trolling them—a species of reasoning which that as in my inferior kingdom of intelli- has a double certainty and value, from its gence, whenever there are two faculties, embracing the principle both of the syllothere is a third superior one, which unites gism and that of cause. Yet the miseraand forces them to harmonize, in short as ble logic of the last century, warns us in I myself am able to harmonize science and a very affectedly wise style against the imagination, and passion, and prudence, danger of too free a use of the argument and affection, and make out of them all a of analogy. When one sees the greatest abharmonious and rational world, there must surdities stilted along upon syllogistic and be behind all the phenomena, and laws, cause-and-effect argument-one's fear of and necessities, and forces, of nature, ani- too free use of analogy is very much abamate and inanimate, a harinonizing and ted. Not staying here to develope the enperfectly universal power, standing in such tire system of the logic of analogy, we relation to the universe, as I stand in my need only advert to the fact that every little kingdom of mind. And as I judged successful scientific or psychological specuthat things intrinsic—things in nature, must lation will be found to rest upon it, and if be judged by the images of these, which I any peculiarity of method can be attribusee in my perception and intelligence, --50 ted to modern logic, as distinguished from must this universal, harmonizing, ruling, the syllogistic of the scholastics, and the and creating power—this Infinite, this Om-cause-and-effect of the mechanical deists, nipotent “ Deity,” (for that is the name it is the analogic of the moderns, preemiI give it,) be imaged as resembling myself nent, as including and subordinating the -1 have no other means of imaging it, others. Of this method and its abuses, and I am as well justified in thinking it a we may take another opportunity to treat Personality, a Personal God, as in think at large. ing that things and events in nature resem- The conclusions of all analogical philoble the images in my perception, by which sophy may be summed up in a paragraph, I know them; or their laws, the laws in my that spirit is before matter in the order of intellect by which I judge them; or their being; that phenomena in perception, and beauty, the beauty in my imagination by laws and principles in intellect are true which I attribute beauty to them.” So analogues of certain realities in universal doth Reason meditate on the world, and so nature ; that as there is a particular life of NO. VI. NEW SERIES.
the individual, this is only a spark from as Paley, Hume, and D'Alembert. "The the universal life of the world ; and as there imaginative bias, on the contrary, may be is a rational soul of the individual, this is best seen in Cudworth, Taylor the Platononly a spark from the Universal Person, ist, and poetico-philosophic minds generally the I Am: that the world is both appear- This latter order give an undue predomiance and substance, but that substance can nance to the imaginative, and neglect the be perceived only by appearance, and verification and correction of their theoknown only through intellect.*
ries by an application to facts. We need not name these universal spe
With the few minds who have shown an cies, lives, laws, and powers in nature, of equal mastery of the powers, both of analwhich the ideas in our Reason are the true ysis and of imagination, it is necessary to images or representatives—we need not rank Coleridge among the English, and name them angels, devils, good spirits, bad Kant among the Germans. These minds, spirits, &c., as Swedenborg has done, un- modelled by nature to a comprehensive and less it suits our style or our fancy to do universal shape, easily understood the writhis. By individualizing them, we impair tings of Plato and Bacon, in whom this our ideas of them; and then begins some- double character is most remarkable, and, thing very like polytheism
either by freely receiving the ideas of those The philosophical works of Coleridge writers, and of others still more venerable, may be considered, together, as a series of or by originating the same in themselves, treatises, sentences, aphorisms, and argu- they have re-created philosophy for the ments, arranged with very little order, moderns. looking to the developement of the philo- Yet it will be impossible for us to unsophical idea of reason, by profound anal- derstand these men, or their philosophy, ogies.
until we in some measure understand the The German mind, above all others, aims which actuated them. They regarded discovers an aptitude for analogical reason- knowledge as, in its highest sense, identical ings, as is proved by the general character with power. The knowledge of a nation of their science, and the so called symbol- they believed to be the fountain of its greatical character of their fiction; and Cole- ness, always remembering that the word ridge has been called a German from the knowledge,” thus used, has a moral sigsame peculiarity; but before pronouncing nificance. The knowledge which they reColeridge a German, we must prove him garded, was the knowledge of knowledges, infected with the faults, as well as the ex- that kind which is universal and productive cellencies, of the German mind. We must of new inventions and useful projects. A show him pantheistic, and devoid of the knowledge which is able, upon occasion, to idea of a Personal Deity and a divinely found the constitution of a new State or constituted state, which we believe is quite to reform that of an old one; to revive the impossible. On the contrary, his works ancient purity of religion by a return to overflow with the consciousness of these, its first principles; to exalt and harmonize and the endeavor to awaken his country- the manners, and render society more humen to a realizing of their meaning seems mane and considerate. This was the suto have been the sole aim, if it had an aim, perior kind of knowledge, the true Science of his life.
of humanity, of which they endeavored to Philosophy has always shown two differ- express the Ideas. By, and through these ent tendencies, according as the analytic Ideas, they communicated the seeds of the or the imaginative minds of the age have same to other minds. All language was shaped it. The analytic bias may be traced considered by them as the vehicle of this to a predominance of the understanding, kind of knowledge, and to the Faculties or faculty of limits, conditions, negations, which gather it up in experience and give and necessities, appearing in such writers it utterance in acts and words, they gave
the name of Reason, or the PERSON, —or *i.e. understanding, imagination, affection, &c. the Image of the Person of God.
J. D. w.