Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

bodies are particular thoughts of the universal; each has a power of action, special and universal, according to its nature and mass. Every visible particular mass is a finite body of thought, and only in part a physical force, for internally it is spiritual and infinite in relation to all other bodies throughout universal space. This, according to Stirling, was the philosophical view of Kepler in reference to his three famous laws. Kepler says: The motion of the earth, which Copernicus had proved by mathematical reasons, I wanted to prove by physical, or if you prefer it, metaphysical.' He and Hegel were of one mind, they both sought to see in it a whole, a system, a one of reason.' His' highest wish was to find within, the God whom he found everywhere without.' With him God was at once within and without, the universe was a system of thinking reason, and the Force was in its essence universal thought. It was only physical in so far as the physical was physical was a real, external side of thought, and it was metaphysical in so far as self-consciousness was the internal side of thought. (Mathematically, it seems that Kepler was very much inferior to Newton.) Dr. Stirling says: 'Newton was undoubtedly by much the greatest physicomathematical thinker that ever lived.'


Newton's formula was, without doubt, a very great achievement and a distinct step in advance, but it may be questioned whether it was equal to the discovery of the three laws of Kepler. It is admitted that Newton's famous law of gravitation was derived from Kepler's laws.' It may be well to place them together in contrast. First, Newton's: 'Every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle with a force varying inversely as the square

of the distance between them, and directly as the mass of the attracting particle.' Second, Kepler's: 'Every body moves in an elliptical orbit, the line joining it with the sun sweeps over equal areas in equal times and always in the proportion of the cubes of the distances to the squares of the times.' According to the law of reason it was, in a certain sense, a great advance in physical science to introduce the Idea of Force, but to explain the Force as physical only, instead of spiritual, was a backward movement as regards pure reason and Bible teaching, since the Bible teaches that God is the one universal spiritual power in Nature. The Idea of Force had really never been absent from men's minds, only now it was supposed to be a sort of rational physical force immediately present in Nature, not however as the direct manifestation of the spirtual presence of God, but rather as a Power in matter independent of the direct control of God, or rather, tending to render a belief in Him unnecessary.


As yet, neither the nature of matter, nor its relation to Spirit, nor the logic of thought in its essential quality and relation to both matter and spirit, had been philosophically explored. Hence arose the old antagonism between reason and faith. Religion was named faith, and Reason became mere free thinking; nay, worse, religion and faith became identical with superstition, fraud, oppression, licentiousness and the grossest tyranny under the name of Christianity. So faith was not faith, religion was not religion, and reason was not reason; yea, Christianity was not Christianity; all four became falsely named. Kant's Copernican Metaphysic in his transcendental logic was the first dim recognition that the Idea of Force

in nature was spiritual-was thought (this was logically completed by Hegel and Stirling); for Kant's idea that objects must conform to thought, and not thought to objects, implies necessarily that the force is spiritual.


We have stated that sense-thought and reasonthought are, at bottom, one; and that one is Ego, the middle term, which unites and comprehends the two in one. Time, space and matter are nothing but three external elements of thought in concrete unity, and, at the same time, they are manifestations of inner living thought. We know nothing of space as merely abstract; it is only known in the concrete unity of light, darkness, colour, air, and material extension in sense-thought in its unity with selfconscious reason-thought, and that because Ego is the infinite and absolute concrete notion-the term of both greatest extension and greatest intension. Externality and internality are everywhere in absolute identity in thought. Time is its absolute activity and is the eternal now, while space is the everywherepresence of thought; for time and space are a unity of difference and identity in the absolute Ego; and the finite times and finite spaces are determined by the motions of the particular bodies of the Ego. Light is the most immaterial form of matter, and most closely approximates to the conscious form of thought, since light possesses neither gravity or weight. It is the great revealer of Nature, thus 'God is light, and in Him is no darkness.' It is sound philosophy to say that God clothes Himself in light.' Air and water are external media of smell, taste and sound, in the three forms of sense-thought in man. Heat

is a state of matter as a mode of motion pertaining to the general mechanism of Nature, for universal Nature is in a constant state of action and re-action. The forming and dissolving of bodies is in constant process. Elasticity is inherent in all material bodies. Centripetal and centrifugal action express more definitely the free motion of the heavenly bodies, but the secret and source of all movement, and of repulsion and attraction in thought, can only be found in the logical dialectic of the Ego; or as Dr. Stirling says: "The virtue within is the necessity of reason; the virtue without is the necessity of its own contingency.'


A universal that is not the concrete infinite of thought is not in truth universal, for I can only have a true conception of the universal because my thought is itself infinite. My only immediate sure knowledge of the infinite is the knowledge of my own thought and being. Of universal gravitation as something merely physical, I have no knowledge either by sense-perception or by reason-thought. The knowledge of my thought's own self is based on intuition, reflection and logical reason, and is infinite because the Infinite I is in thought essentially identical with the Finite I.

In spite of the special influence of the doctrines of the Reformation, ever since what is currently named the resurrection of the sciences, exclusive attention to and scientific research into the so-called forces of Nature, chemical, physical, electrical, and the forces of gravity have largely pushed God and religious thought aside, or into a region supposed to be beyond the sphere of human thought. Indeed, the name Nature has largely supplanted that of God.


Such a view of Nature overlooks the fact that all that is, is an essential, infinite, universal, connective tissue of thought, which is the logical necessity contained in the very Idea and Being of God, and that is equally the same logical necessity and dialectic substance of man's own thought and reason. I know what universal thought is, even in its infinite particularity, because it is actually present in my individual self-consciousness, but I do not know in the least what universal gravitation or any other force is, if it is assumed to be something separate and distinct from the essence of conscious reason-thought; for I can form no conception of what such something is. If possible, it is more vague and empty than Kant's fiction of an unknown thing in itself. I know what reason-thought in a book is, and equally well what reason-thought in Nature or in any work of Art is, but I also know with equal certainty that neither the book nor Nature, nor the work of Art, is conscious of the reason-thought that is inherent in it; and I am quite sure that neither the one nor the other created itself. Such creations are necessarily the work of self-conscious persons who are in thought infinite. The book is the work of a man made in the image of God, but I know that birds and bees, etc., are not persons, however skilfully their work may be done. The thought of birds, bees and ants is very limited; it is not infinite, like the thought of man. Nature, however, is not the work of man, but of God, and as much excels the work of man as man's work excels that of bees and ants, yet the element of reason pervades all, and is manifest even in trees and stones. Sense-thought in man is finite, like sense-thought in animals; it is limited on all

« AnteriorContinuar »