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But whatever be the value of these various hypotheses to explain the mode of evolution, the important qualities in a modern metaphysician are the recognition of the existence of such a thing as a social consciousness at all, a "better self" which is above the individual; and the recognition of the fact that this social consciousness, like all other living things, is in a condition not statical and fixed, but dynamical and perpetually developing. These two essential qualities of the metaphysician we have seen that Mr. Arnold possesses. He has, too, the flexibility and delicacy of touch which are required in dealing with a moving object like thought without interrupting or obscuring its movement. He has, moreover, an indispensable pre-requisite of the metaphysician, which Plato had to perfection, and that is humour; the gift" of imaginatively acknowledging the multiform aspects of the problem of life, and of thus getting itself unfixed from its over-certainty, of smiling at its over-tenacity," the gift which makes a man shrink from treating any idea "as too serious a thing, and giving it too much power." Humour, in this sense, is indispensable to the metaphysician because he has to deal with thoughts which occupy at one time the whole field of consciousness and determine for the nonce all our mental operations, and then grow old and effete, and have to be frankly given up, as a new synthesis looms into view. It is to be lamented that Hegel had not this gift of humour: few Germans have: they are too serious; they think the results they get far too final; and it is a quality conspicuously absent from Hegel's followers.
But there is a not less indispensable habit of the metaphysician which Mr. Arnold has not, and that is strictness— sureness of touch in handling his ideas-what Aristotle calls oopía. In the preface to his latest work Mr. Arnold makes himself merry at the expense of the German
1 "Culture and Anarchy," p.147.
2 Ibid. p. 229.
critics for their "vigour and rigour;" and no doubt Germans have not that gift of imaginative detachment from their ideas which is required in a critic. They make too much of them, and carry them out to ridiculous extremes. But still, somewhat of this rigour is wanted if we would find our way through the maze of metaphysical ideas prevalent at any given period of the world, if we would not be "manacled and hoodwinked" by them, as I shall try to show in the sequel that Mr. Arnold frequently is. Metaphysic, Aristotle tells us, is the strictest-akpißeσrárn—of all the sciences, and the habit which shall give us this power of accuracy is oopia, the habit which we praise when we say of Pheidias that he was Aloupyòç σopós, a finished sculptor. It is the Fertigkeit, the complete mastery of means, which gives the sureness and freedom of handling characteristic of the true artist. That Mr. Arnold has not this sureness and freedom in the handling of ideas of the social consciousness, and that these ideas consequently play fast and loose with him, and, while keeping him in a state of irritable watchfulness, lead him treacherously into all sorts of quagmires, I shall show in a subsequent paper.
A PLEA FOR METAPHYSIC.
AN attentive reader of my first paper on this subject will at least have drawn from it one conclusion. He will have understood that metaphysical ideas, when regarded from the point of view of development, become something quite different from what they are usually held to be. He will have seen that the idea of evolution has indeed transformed the whole aspect of this science, as it has transformed, or is transforming, all the other departArist., "Eth.," vi. 7.
1 "God and the Bible," Preface, p. viii.
ments of human knowledge. We saw, too, that this side of evolution is itself the latest of our metaphysical ideas, and that its genesis may be traced back continuously through a long pedigree of increasingly simpler forms of synthesis, up to the primordial synthesis of "Being,” or the mere correlation of subject and object, which arises in the dawn of moral and rational experience, when man, hitherto an unconscious part of the Universe, is first aware of detachment from it, and of its standing over against him, and of himself standing over against it. "Oh, Dieu! est-il bien vrai que j'existe ?" It is instructive to look back upon what metaphysic was before it thus transformed itself in the light of its latest synthesis. Here is Auguste Comte's description of it :
In the theological stage, the human mind, seeking the essential nature of beings, the first and final causes (the origin and purpose) of all effects-in short, absolute knowledge -supposes all phenomena to be produced by the immediate action of supernatural beings.
In the metaphysical stage, which is only a modification of the first, the mind supposes, instead of supernatural beings, abstract forces, veritable entities (that is, personified abstractions), inherent in all beings; and capable of producing all phenomena. What is called the explanation of phenomena is, in this stage, a mere reference of each to its proper entity." 1
It is clearly this old metaphysic, untransformed by the principle of evolution, that Mr. Arnold also clearly has in his mind when, in the second chapter of "God and the Bible," he treats metaphysicians to the following smart little fusillade :
Continuo auditæ voces vagitus et ingens.
At the mention of that name metaphysics, essence, existence, substance, finite and infinite, cause and succession, something and nothing, begin to weave their eternal dance before us! with the confused murmur of their combinations
"The Positive Philosophy," freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau (Trübner, 1875), vol. i. p. 2.
filling all the region governed by her, who, far more indisputably than her late-born rival, political economy, has earned the title of the dismal science.1
What I complain of in these words is not that they are too strong, but that they are not half strong enough. Let me recommend to Mr. Arnold's attention the terms in which another great religious reformer, Luther, speaks of the philosophical synthesis of the epoch in his time just about to expire. The Schoolmen are, for Luther, "locusts, caterpillars, frogs, lice." And of Aristotle, the father of Scholasticism, says Luther, as recently quoted by Mr. J. W. Draper :2
Truly a devil, a horrid calumniator, a wicked sycophant, a prince of darkness, a real Apollyon, a beast, a most horrid impostor on mankind, one in whom there is scarcely any philosophy, a public and professed liar, a goat, a complete epicure, this twice execrable Aristotle.
Looked at critically, these two forms of words, Mr. Arnold's and Luther's, are only a deeply moved way of saying" the synthesis of the immediate past has become insufficient for the present expansion of experience. This ardour of denunciation in fact occupies in the minds of religious reformers the place which we have seen that humour occupies in a philosopher like Plato; it is an imaginative way of detaching oneself from ideas by which one feels oneself to be dominated. Luther, as we know, was dominated, notably in his doctrine of consubstantiation, by the ideas of the "twice execrable Aristotle ;" and we shall find in the sequel, I think, that Mr. Arnold is himself also, like St. Anthony in the desert, dominated by a whole swarm of detached and insubordinate metaphysical entities, buzzing about his head, and keeping him a stranger to "that serenity which," he tells us, "comes from having made order among ideas." Any one who has travelled in a hot country knows what it is 1 "God and the Bible," p. 58.
2 "The Conflict between Religion and Science" (King, 1875), p. 215.
to rise in the night and search diligently for the booming mosquito which has invaded our curtained bed and then, when all is done, and the gauze closely drawn again, what it is to find that our pains have but prevented his escape, and that the obnoxious insect is shut in with us instead of being shut out, and is booming above, and settling on us as before. This is, I fear, to some extent the diagnosis of Mr. Arnold's symptoms with respect to metaphysical ideas, and is the real cause of his pathetic complaints. But there is another point of view from which his denunciation of metaphysic may be regarded. In "Culture and Anarchy," as we have seen, he was remonstrating with the Philistine Liberal, and in "St. Paul and Protestantism" with the religious Philistine, and is driven by the exigences of his argument to fall back upon the standpoint of modern metaphysic, of the Zeit-Geist and the "better self"-i.e., upon the historical evolution of the collective consciousness. But now in "Literature and Dogma," and in "God and the Bible," he has taken in hand to reason with the irreligious and anxious-to-bescientific Philistine; and by sympathizing with him in his fixed ideas, by descending to his level, and by using his own language, to convince him, if it may be, that there is after all something in religion worthy of at least a portion of his attention. "Lo! I have a controversy with the nations," Mr. Arnold seems to say: "behold, I will plead with all flesh."
It is doubtless well to reason with the Philistines, whether they be religious or irreligious, to try to bring home to them the importance of culture; it is well to show them that religion is an indestructible and necessary element of true culture; but it does not do to take. them too much into our confidence, lest we become unwarily partakers of their crimes. And when he depreciates philosophy, to please and flatter the middle-class mind, Mr. Arnold should beware lest he be carried too far away from the main stream and vital movement of the