Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

felt soniething of this. We found that Cousin, because we are not sufficiently we could take part in the affairs of our acquainted with Hegel's own system, fellow-men, in the church, in the state, to be able to rely on our own underor the neighborhood, only at the ex. standing of it; and because, from what pense of systematic consistency; and we know of M. Cousin, we feel always under his influence, we found ourselves assured that a system of philosophy, as becoming cold and indifferent, regard- it has passed through his hands and ing all things as alike worthy, and received his approbation, has come to assuming the only wise way to be to us in its least objectionable form. let all things come and go without in The Rationalistic Theory assumes terposing to hasten or retard, to make that whatever enters into human histhem better or worse. It was detect- tory, necessarily pre-exists in the huing this tendency in ourselves, that man intelligence. The whole life of alarmed us, and made us feel how im- humanity in time and space, consists in potent was the eclecticism we were developing or actualizing in its deeds professing. Away with it, we said, on the ideas of its intelligence. All these the new waking-up of the soul; let us ideas, however manifold and diverse have a philosophy that requires us to they may appear to the superficial obdo somewhat, and that can tell us server, are reducible to three categories, what to do,-a philosophy that ex 1. The idea of the infinite; plains the past only to enlighten and 2. The idea of the finite; to quicken us in regard to our future 3. The idea of the relation of the two. action, or let us have none. God's These three ideas are the constituent curse, and man's curse too, on each and elements of human intelligence, of the every system of philosophy that is reason-of reason, intelligence in itself, merely retrospective. But enough. M. therefore of God; and are in fact God. Jouffroy has gone where, we doubt They being essential in the original not, he will learn that indifferency is ground and cause of all things, must not the sublime of philosophy, and be reproduced in all things. God where he will see that all truth is live can create only according to the laws ing, and that whoso has found it, has of his own intelligence, that is to say, always his eyes turned towards the only according to the three ideas named. future, and his heart towards the con- Hence creation taken as a whole and in tinued progress of his race, for whom detail can be nothing but a manifestahe will live and toil, and if need be, tion of the infinite, the finite, and their die in exile or dungeon, on scaffold or relation. Of course, then, humanity

in its life can only develope, manifest or actualize the same. Certainly you can find nothing in creation not found in God the creator. In the Creator is

found only these three ideas. There Similar, under more than one aspect, is nothing but these three ideas to be to the theory just discussed, is that of found in creation. Nothing can be M. Cousin, developed in his Cours de found in the history of humanity, not l'Histoire de la Philosophie, Professé à to be found in humanity itself; and as la Faculté des Lettres, 1828, trans. nothing but these three ideas can be lated for the American public by Mr. found in humanity, it follows that noLinberg, and published in Boston in thing but these three ideas can be found 1932; a theory which we denominate in the history of humanity. We know the RATIONALISTIC, because it assumes now, à priori, what we are to look for the point of departure of human histo- in the history of mankind. ry to be in the spontaneous development If the whole life of humanity conof ideas, or perhaps more strictly accu- sist in developing these three ideas, we rate, in the development of the Imper. may ask, does it develope them simul. sonal Reason.

taneously or successively? They all The theory which we are now about coexist in all epochs, but the human race to examine is in its more essential fea- developes them under the predominance tures borrowed from Hegel, between first of one, then another, and then the whom and M.Cousin there was a warm last. The predominance of one does personal regard and friendship; but we not exclude, but subordinates the other shall set it forth as we have it from M. two, and always is one or another pre

cross.

III. RATIONALISTIC THEORY.

dominant. The predominance of an and explains what is already in the idea constitutes an epoch. As there memory of the individual or in that of are three ideas, so must there be three the race. Hence, all the facts of history epochs in the life of humanity, that is must pre-exist in the Spontaneous Into say, in history; and as there are only telligence, that is to say, in the Imperthree ideas, so can there be only three sonal Reason. Hence, all the facts of epochs. The life of humanity is all em- human history must be impersonal in braced, then, within three epochs which, their principle and origin. Then, again, from the predominance of the one or the human race, in its various and the other idea, are termed,

complex life in space and time, must 1. The epoch of the infinite;

be considered merely as the medium 2. The epoch of the finite;

through which, without any agency of 3. The epoch of the relation of the two. its own, Spontaneous Intelligence, that But in what order does humanity de- is to say God, is exhibiting or actualizvelope these ideas?. It does it in the ing the three original Ideas of which order we have named. The life of the we have spoken. race begins under the predominance of It will be seen that this gives 10 the the idea of the infinite; it then passes facts of human history an impersonal under the predominance of the finite, character. For this impersonal characand then having exhausted both the in- ter M. Cousin very earnestly contends. finite and the finite as separate, exclu- As all the events which transpire do sive elements, it seeks to unite the two, really come from the impersonal reason, and bring about union and peace. that is to say, from God, it follows that Hence Eclecticism.

individuals are in no way personally But does the human race commence responsible for the events which may its life by freely, voluntarily undertak- happen, whatever their character or ing to develope the idea of the Infinite ? tendency. Nay, why speak of indiviNot at all. Reason is impersonal, ob-duals ? ' Individuality is always perjective, not me. It has, as we have sonal, and there is nothing personal in seen in Jouffroy, a twofold activity, history. History knows no individuals; that of Spontaneity and that of Reflec- it knows only causes, only ideas; and tion. The spontaneous activity of the individuals and nations have no reality, Reason, is an activity in which human no significance for the historian, but as personality, human will or freedom they represent certain ideas or causes. does not intervene. We, properly When iwo armies meet, what see we? speaking, in spontaneity are not active, Two masses of individuals collected but passive; we are seized and carried and drawn up? Not at all. There away by a force not our own, which is are no men there. There are only two out of us at the same time that it is in opposing ideas there, which have met us, and is in us without being us; and to decide on the battle-field which shall a force which we are impoient to resist, be permitted to rule the future of huand of which we can give no account. manity. In fact, in the last analysis, this force, Excluding in this way all intervention or the agency at work, is that of the of human personality, we must look Infinite and Eternal God, who himself upon a nation or a people merely as carries us away whithersoever and representing the Idea; never as obtain. howsoever he pleaseth, or rather not ing an idea, and by its own free activi. as he pleaseth, but according to the ty, under a sense of its own moral inward' necessity of his own being. responsibility, consciously, with fore. The Reflective activity of Reason or thought laboring to carry it out, or to Intelligence, is reason or intelligence realize it in all the details of practical subjected to the intervention of human life. The force or agency observable freedom, and therefore, to human in- in the life of the nation is always back firmity.

of the nation, acting out through the We have seen that all the facts of nation, never the real agency of the human history must pre-exist in the nation itself. It is a foreign power, Intelligence; but in which form ? The acting in and through it, ruling over Spontaneous, or the Reflective ? Not and subjecting all its phenomena ; so the Reflective, as we have seen in com- that the idea given, we can tell beforementing on M. Jouffroy, certainly, for hand what will be the life of the nation reflection only turns back, contemplates, or the facts of its history.

In the same way, too, we must re- agency from all intervention in the gard great men, heroes, philosophers, production of the phenomena of human statesmen. These are ‘not, as we history. M. Cousin unquestionably assometimes fancy, great personalities, seris human freedom, but he in reality, but merely the representatives of ideas notwithstanding some attempts to the or epochs, and instead of giving pre- contrary, recognizes it only in the dominance to an idea which has been sphere of reflection. The whole of revealed to them and not to the mass, human history originates in the Intelliand thus founding an epoch in history, gence, so far as it has a human origin they merely reflect betier than any of at all; not in the reflective intellitheir contemporaries the idea already gence, but in the spontaneous, which, dominant in all hearts, and working as while it is human, is not human. a sort of welt-geist, in the whole com- No man is or can be more particular to munity. We may indeed study an age, admonish us that reflection originates or a country, in iis great men; but not nothing. Nay, the whole of his system because these men create the character of ontology rests upon the assunued fact of the age or country, impressing upon that the agency at work in the spontait, as it were, the stamp of their own neous reason is not nie.

All that repersonality, but because they sum up, flection can do, that is, human agency are the résumés of its dominant ideas properly so called, is to cast iis eye and tendencies. Thus, Alexander does over the past, clear up, explain and lenot invade Asia, and with his handful gitimate what has been. Certain it is, of Greeks put an end to the power of then, that according to this theory, the the “Great King;" it is the Idea or facts of human history have their origin Spirit of the Greek people, incarnating in an extra-human source, and thereitself in Alexander, ihat does it. That fore that individuals and nations can do Idea or Spirit is great, and reveals to nothing to direct, to impede, to hasten, you the character of the Greek people; or to retard the march of events. but Alexander himself, as a personality, It is the vice of this theory, that by was a very pitiable concern, killing, excluding human personality from hisover his cups, his best friend, and dying tory, it annihilates humanity itself. himself in a drunken bout.

Humanity lives only in individuals-as Finally, as all comes from the Im- we have shown in our essay on the personal Reason, which in the last community system--and individuals analysis is the word of God, nay, God are all entire in their personality. If himself, we must absolve history from we assert the impotency of individuals, all blame, and accept whatever has of personalities, we necessarily assert been as that which must be, which had the impotency of humanity. If we asa right to be, and to be just what, when, sert the impotency of humanity, it is and where it was. The nation, party, idle to talk of the history of humanity. cause, idea, at any time or in any coun- Humanity itself disappears, and with try, triumphing, triumphs by Divine it disappear all the events of history. right. So no more sympathy with the We could not, if this theory were emdefeated, the conquered; no more re- braced, feel ourselves responsible begrets; might gives right; and success yond the sphere of our individuality; is the stamp of merit.

We must feel that our good and evil This theory, which we have but could not go beyond ourselves, and in slightly indicated, but which, we pre- no way affect the course of history. sume, most of our readers are already Our existence in this case would, as M. familiar with, for it is not now that M. Cousin has himself said in speaking of Cousin is for the first time to be intro- old pantheistic India, cease to be taken duced to the American public, it will seriously, and all things would appear be seen differs from that of M. Jouffroy to us of equal worth, or worthlessness. only in its greater profoundness, sys. We should fall into a state of absolute tematic harmony, and in its more clear indifferency, smoke our pipe, and and distinct assertion of the imperson- say, “God is great, what is written ality of the Spontaneous Intelligence. will be.” M. Cousin, as well as JoufIt is by this clear, distinct, unequivocal froy, seems to have felt this. He is a assertion, rendered even more liable man of an active temperament, of great than M. Jouffroy's system, if possible, energy, and noble sympathies, and yet to the objection of excluding human he has no answer to the question,

What shall I do? He says, humanity out triumphant from the battle of has done, humanity is doing, or rather, Waterloo, and which was destined to God in humanity is doing so and so; rule the future of humanity, and bebut pray, M. Cousin, tell me what yond which there was nothing to be oughi humanity to do, and I as an in- obtained, nor even desired! Here, dividual manifestation of humanity ? however good an historian eclecticism No answer? We have interrogated might be, it at least proved itself no your writings, we have questioned in prophet. But we see here, M. Cousin all lights, in all moods, and demanded applying to France what Hegel applies of them in all tones an answer to this to Prussia, and with equal logic and question, and we have found only this truth. An Englishman in 1832, might cold, heartless answer, “Do nothing; have done the same for England, and fold thy hands and leave thyself to be maintained that all the past, God and borne onward by the irresistible current nature, all the powers of the Universe of the spontaneous reason. Sup- had been engaged solely in drawing up pose I resist, and seek to withstand and carrying through Parliament, the this current ? “Do so if you will, it Reform Bill; and we good Americans makes no difference. The current flows as we are, might grow eloquent in on, and you with it, whether willingly describing the Mayflower as a résumé or unwillingly.” Carlyle's doctrine of of all the past, and as freighted with Hero-worship, which concentrates all all the future of humanity; or leaving humanity in personalities, and reduces the Mayflower, transfer ourselves to all history to biography, equally objec- the Hall of Independence and say, here tive as it is for a contrary reason, is yet is what the pasi has been laboring to infinitely more vital, and therefore infi- bring forth; or we may come to the nitely less harmful in its influence than Convention which framed our Federal this rationalistic pantheism.

Constitution and say the same thing; Then, again, the view which this doc- or to a still later day, an event of a trine leads us to take of the plan all his- different order, point to the pages of tory has been realizing is anything but our own Journal, and exclaim with faitering. That plan dwindles down in- just pride, Behold here in this Demoto a petty affair which seems, to ordinary cratic Review what God, man and minds at least, altogether unworthy of nature have conspired to produce, and even human wisdom, to say nothing of which contains the last word they have Divine Wisdom. If we may believe uttered, or have to utter. According Hegel, the father of the docirine, the to the view we are considering, we infinite God and all his works, through may as well say of one event as of all the past, have been engaged ex- another, it is that for which all the pressly in preparing and founding the past has labored, Prussian monarchy, and his gracious majesty Frederic William is the last

“While man exclaims, 'see all things for word of creation and progress; ac

my use,' cording to M. Cousin, God in creation See man for mine,' exclaims the pamper'd and providence, humanity in its al

goose ; ternate passage from the development And just as short of reason he must fall, of one 'Idea to that of another, has Who thinks all made for one, not one had in view nothing more nor less than

for all." the preparing and establishing of the Charter which his most Christian Ma. But this theory is not only impotent jesty, Louis XVIII., was pleased to before the future, it does not suffice grant to his loving Frenchmen, the even to explain the past. The human solution, by “superior wisdom,” ac race, it is assumed, is always engaged cording to our philosopher, of the in the development of either the idea problem which had hitherto baffled of the infinite, that of the finite, or in the wisest of statesmen, the profound- fine that of the relation of the two. est of philosophers, nay the utmost Be it so. The race began with the inpowers of humanity itself

, both spon- finite, and the old Indian world gives taneous and reflective. But, alas, for us an example of what is the characthe prophetic power of philosophers, ter of the race subjugated by the domithe " three days” of July, 1830, over nant thought of the Infinite. It then turned this charter which had come passes to the finite. The character.

istics of this epoch we find in the Gre- still another with the relation of the cian states between the Homeric two. But we ask the same questions epoch and that of Alexander. Then here that we have already asked. Acit passes under the Idea of Relation, cording to the principles of the theory, which creates an epoch extending from the people developing the infinite in the death of Alexander to the down- one series should repeat without variafall of the western Roman empire. tion the life of the people who develThen commences a new series, in oped the same idea in another series, which the human race passes again which is never the case. Modern Gersuccessively, in the same order, under many does not repeat ancient India, the dominion of the same ideas. From Paris does not repeat Alexandria, nor the sixth century to the sixteenth, that Rome; London does not repeat Tyre, is from the establishment of the bar. Carthage, or Athens. Why not, if the barians on the ruins of the Empire to same idea predominates in the one as the Reformation, a period of about in the other ? one thousand years, the Idea of the We ought, it is true, to take into Infinite predominates; from the Refore our view, climate and geographical mation to the end of the French Revo- position. “Give me,” says Cousin, lution, at Waterloo, the Idea of the "the geography of a people, and I Finite is in the ascendant; since then, will give you its history: Very well. we of the nineteenth century have is not the geography of Egypt what it passed under the idea of Relation, and was under the Pharaohs?' Is its hisconsequently are in the last epoch of tory the same? Is not the geography the series, which is that of reconcilia- of Greece what it was in the days of tion, peace, union, Eclecticism. Miltiades, Pericles, Plato, and Alexan

Now, if this be so, will M. Cousin der? Is there no difference in the facts tell us, how he accounts for the differ- of the history of modern Greece and ence we assuredly find between these those of the history of ancient Greece? epochs in the second series from the Alas, of Greece nothing but its physicorresponding epochs in the first? If cal conditions remain : the facts of history depend on the predominant idea of the epoch it concerns, -“ All, all, except their sun, is set.” then should the history of the middle ages be precisely a reproduction of the Of Rome, too, may we not ask the history of ancient India. But such is same? There sits she on her yellow by no means the case. The difference Tiber, as of old, and Italy lies under between the middle ages in Europe, the same serene sky, and along the and ancient India, so far as regards same valleys and mountains, and is facts, events, all the details of public washed by the same seas; and yet and private life, is greater than the who hears any longer in her silent differences between the middle ages, streets the heavy tramp of the old Roand the epoch of the finite which fol- man soldier? Where are her Scipios, lowed the Reformation. Now, these her Gracchi, and her Cæsars? Jerudifferences are inexplicable on the salem lies too in the same latitude, has hypothesis in question. This hypothe. the same geographical position as in sis has excluded human personality; the days of David, Solomon, Ezra, and it also excludes providence, save as it Herod. Has no change come over the comes to us through the spontaneous spirit or the body of its bistory ? These Reason, which is always the same, changes, which make up the commonoperating not by volition, but by an in- place of sophomoric declamation, and herent necessity; consequently it re- from which even the poet draws no cognizes no cause for these differences, little of his pathos, are unaccountable and therefore must deny them, which in the hypothesis we are considering. it cannot do, or it must admit its own Nor is it true that great men, heroes, inadequacy.

philosophers, statesmen, are merely the But not only the Race itself passes representatives of the dominant ideas successively under the dominion of of their epochs. They found epochs, these three Ideas in time, but it passes they do not represent them. Popular under them in space.

That is, while men, “great popularities,” as the one people is developing the infinite, French call them, we admit, echo another is engaged with the finite, and merely the dominant views and feel

« AnteriorContinuar »