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the arrival of accuracy and intelligence. “He shall be as a god to me, who can rightly divide and define.”
This defining is philosophy. Philosophy is the account which the human mind gives to itself of the constitution of the world. Two cardinal facts lie forever at the base; the one, and the two. — 1. Unity, or Identity; and, 2. Variety. We unite all things by perceiving the law which pervades them ; by perceiving the superficial differences and the profound resemblances. But every mental act, — this very perception of identity or oneness, recognizes the difference of things. Oneness and otherness. It is impossible to speak or to think without embracing both.
The mind is urged to ask for one cause of many effects; then for the cause of that; and again the cause, diving still into the profound : self-assured that it shall arrive at an absolute and sufficient one, — a one that shall be all. “In the midst of the sun is the light, in the midst of the light is truth, and in the midst of truth is the imperishable being,” say the Vedas. All philosophy, of East and West, has the same centripetence. Urged by an opposite necessity, the mind returns from the one to that which is not one, but other or many; from cause to effect; and affirms the necessary existence of variety, the self-existence of both, as
each is involved in the other. These strictly, blended elements it is the problem of thought to separate and to reconcile. Their existence is mutually contradictory and exclusive; and each so fast slides into the other that we can never say what is one, and what it is not. The Proteus is as nimble in the highest as in the lowest grounds ; when we contemplate the one, the true, the good, as in the surfaces and extremities of matter.
In all nations there are minds which incline to dwell in the conception of the fundamental Unity. The raptures of prayer and ecstasy of devotion lose all being in one Being. This tendency finds its highest expression in the religious writings of the East, and chiefly in the Indian Scriptures, in the Vedas, the Bhagavat Geeta, and the Vishnu Purana. Those writings contain little else than this idea, and they rise to pure and sublime strains in celebrating it.
The Same, the Same : friend and foe are of one stuff; the ploughman, the plough and the furrow are of one stuff ; and the stuff is such and so much that the variations of form are unimportant. “You are fit” ( says the supreme Krishna to a sage) “to apprehend that you are not distinct from me. That which I am, thou art, and that also is this world, with its gods and heroes and mankind. Men contexnplate distinctions, because they are stupefied
with ignorance.” “ The words I and mine constitute ignorance. What is the great end of all, you shall now learn from me. It is soul, — one in all bodies, pervading, uniform, perfect, preeminent over nature, exempt from birth, growth and decay, omnipresent, made up of true knowledge, independent, unconnected with unrealities, with name, species and the rest, in time past, present and to come. The knowledge that this spirit, which is essentially one, is in one's own and in all other bodies, is the wisdom of one who knows the unity of things. As one diffusive air, passing through the perforations of a flute, is distinguished as the notes of a scale, so the nature of the Great Spirit is single, though its forms be manifold, arising from the consequences of acts. When the difference of the investing form, as that of god or the rest, is destroyed, there is no distinction.” “ The whole world is but a manifestation of Vishnu, who is identical with all things, and is to be regarded by the wise as not differing from, but as the same
as themselves. I neither am going nor coming ; · nor is my dwelling in any one place; nor art thou, thou; nor are others, others; nor am I, I.” As if he had said, · All is for the soul, and the soul is Vishnu; and animals and stars are transient paintings; and light is whitewash; and durations are deceptive; and form is imprisonment; and heaven
itself a decoy. That which the soul seeks is reso lution into being above form, out of Tartarus and out of heaven, — liberation from nature.
If speculation tends thus to a terrific unity, in which all things are absorbed, action tends directly backwards to diversity. The first is the course or gravitation of mind; the second is the power of nature. Nature is the manifold. The unity absorbs, and melts or reduces. Nature opens and creates. These two principles reappear and interpenetrate all things, all thought; the one, the many. One is being; the other, intellect: one is necessity; the other, freedom : one, rest; the other, motion : one, power; the other, distribution: one, strength; the other, pleasure: one, consciousness ; the other, definition: one, genius; the other, talent: one, earnestness ; the other, knowledge: one, possession; the other, trade : one, caste; the other, culture : one, king; the other, democracy: and, if we dare carry these generalizations a step higher, and name the last tendency of both, we might say, that the end of the one is escape from organization, — pure science; and the end of the other is the highest instrumentality, or use of means, or executive deity.
Each student adheres, by temperament and by habit, to the first or to the second of these gods of the mind. By religion, he tends to unity ; by in.
tellect, or by the senses, to the many. A too rapid unification, and an excessive appliance to parts and particulars, are the twin dangers of speculation.
To this partiality the history of nations corre. sponded. The country of unity, of immovable institutions, the seat of a philosophy delighting in abstractions, of men faithful in doctrine and in practice to the idea of a deaf, unimplorable, immense fate, is Asia; and it realizes this faith in the social institution of caste. On the other side, the genius of Europe is active and creative : it resists caste by culture ; its philosophy was a discipline ; it is a land of arts, inventions, trade, freedom. If the East loved infinity, the West delighted in boundaries.
European civility is the triumph of talent, the extension of system, the sharpened understanding, adaptive skill, delight in forms, delight in manifestation, in comprehensible results. Pericles, Athens, Greece, had been working in this element with the joy of genius not yet chilled by any foresight of the detriment of an excess. They saw before them po sinister political economy; no ominous Malthus; no Paris or London ; no pitiless subdivision of classes, — the doom of the pin-makers, the doom of the weavers, of dressers, of stockingers, of carders, of spinners, of colliers; no Ireland; no Indian