THE THIRD CANON OF THOUGHT
A KEY TO THE ENIGMAS OF THE WORLD
Intelligence and life. Life and knowledge. Intellect and emotions. Emotion as an instrument of knowledge. The evolution of emotions from the standpoint of knowledge. Pure and impure emotions. Personal and super-personal emotions. The elimination of self-element as a means of approach to true knowledge. 'Be as little children. . . .' 'Blessed are the pure in heart. . . .' The value of morality from the standpoint of knowledge. The defects of intellectualism. 'Dreadnoughts' as the crown of intellectual culture. The dangers of moralism. Moral aestheticism. Religion and an as organized forms of emotional knowledge. The knowledge of GOD and the knowledge of BEAUTY.
The MEANING OF LIFE -this is the eternal subject of human speculations. All philosophical systems, all religious teachings strive to find and give men an answer to the question: what constitutes the meaning of life? Some say that the meaning of life lies in our enjoyment of it 'while waiting for the final horror of death'. Others say that the meaning of life consists in self-improvement and creating for oneself a better future beyond the grave, or in future lives. A third group say that the meaning is in the approach to non-being. The fourth say that the meaning lies in the perfection of the race, in the 'ordering of life on earth'. The fifth deny all possibility of looking for a meaning, and so on.
All these explanations suffer from one defect - they all try to find the meaning of life outside it -either in the future of mankind, or in the problematical existence after death, or in the evolution of the Ego through long successive reincarnations - always in something outside the present life of man. But if, instead of speculating, men would simply look within themselves, they would see that in actual fact the meaning of life is not, after all, so obscure. IT CONSISTS IN KNOWLEDGE. All life, by all its facts, events and accidents, agitations and attractions always leads us to the KNOWLEDGE OF SOMETHING. All life experience is KNOWLEDGE. The strongest emotion in man is a yearning for the unknown. EVEN IN LOVE, the strongest attraction to which everything else is sacrificed, is the attraction of the unknown, the NEW -curiosity.
The Persian poet-philosopher Al-Ghazzali says: 'The highest function of man's soul is the perception of truth.'*
In the beginning of this book INNER LIFE and THE OUTER WORLD were recognized as existing. The world is everything that exists. The function of inner life may be defined as the realization of existence.
Man realizes his existence and the existence of the world of which he is a part. His relation to himself and to the world is called knowledge. The broadening and deepening of the relation to oneself and the world is a broadening of knowledge.
All the mental faculties of man, all the elements of his inner life sensations, representations, concepts, ideas, judgments, conclusions, feelings, emotions, even creation -all these are the instruments of knowledge which we possess.
Feelings -from the simple emotions to the highest, such as aesthetic, religious and moral emotions - and creation, from the creation of a savage fashioning himself a stone hatchet, to the creation of Beethoven, are means of knowledge. Only to our narrow HUMAN view do they seem to serve other purposes - the protection of life, the creation of something, or enjoyment. In actual fact all this serves knowledge.
Evolutionists, the followers of Darwin, will say that the struggle for existence and the selection of the fittest have created the mind and feeling of the modern man - that mind and feeling serve life, protect the life of separateindividuals or of the species and that, apart from this, in themselves, theyhave no meaning. To this one can oppose the same argument as was used against the idea of the mechanicalness of the universe. Namely, if intelligence exists, then nothing exists except intelligence. The struggle for existence, and the survival of the fittest, if they in truth play such a role in the creation of life, are also not accidents, but products of an intelligence WHICH WE DO NOT KNOW. And, like everything else, they serve KNOWLEDGE.
But we do not realize, do not see the presence of intelligence in the phenomena and laws of nature. This happens because we always study not the whole but a part, and we do not see the whole we wish to study. But studying the little finger of a man we cannot see the intelligence of the man. The same refers to nature. We always study the little finger of nature. If we realize this and understand that EVERY LIFE IS THE MANIFESTATION OF A PART OF SOME WHOLE, Only then a possibility opens of knowing that whole.
In order to know the intelligence of a given whole, one should
* Al-Ghazzali, 'The Alchemy of Happiness'.
understand the character of that whole, and its functions. Thus the function of man is knowledge and self-knowledge. But without understanding 'man' as a whole, it is impossible to understand his function.
In order to understand what is our mind, the function of which is knowledge, it is necessary to make clear our relation to life.
In Chapter 10 an attempt was made (based on an analogy with the world of imaginary two-dimensional beings), to define life as motion in a spherehigher in comparison with a given sphere. From this point of view every separate life is, as it were, the manifestation in our sphere of a part of one of the intelligences of another sphere. These intelligences seem to look in on us by means of lives which we see. When a man dies, one eye of the universe closes, says Fechner. Every separate human life is a moment of the life of the great being which lives in us. Every separate life of a tree is a moment of the life of the being of the species or the variety. The intelligences of these higher beings do not exist independently of the lower lives. They are two sides of one and the same thing. Each single human mind, in some other section of the world may produce the illusion of many lives.
It is very difficult to illustrate this by an example. But if we take Hinton's spiral, passing through a plane, and a point running in circles on the plane (Chapter 6, pp. 52-3) and suppose that the spiral is the mind, then the movingpoint of intersection of the spiral with the plane would represent a life. This example illustrates the possible relation between mind and life.
Life and mind seem to us different and separate from one another, because we do not know how to look, how to see. And this in its turn is due to the fact that it is very hard for us to get out of the framework of our divisions. We see the life of a tree, this tree. And if we are told that the life of the tree is a manifestation of some mind, we understand it to mean that the life of this tree is a manifestation of the mind of this tree. This, of course, is an absurdity resulting from our three-dimensional thinking, the 'Euclidean mind'. The life of this tree is a manifestation of the mind of the species or the variety, or perhaps of the intelligence of the whole vegetable kingdom.
In the same way our individual lives are manifestations of some greatintelligence. Proof of this is found in the fact that our lives have no meaningwhatever apart from the process of acquiring knowledge. And a thoughtful man ceases to feel painfully the absence of meaning in life only when he realizes this and begins to strive consciously in that direction which he was unconsciously following before.
Moreover, this acquisition of knowledge, which constitutes our function in the world, is achieved not only by our intellect, but by our whole organism, all our body, all our life and the whole life of the human society, by its organizations, institutions, the whole culture and the whole civilization, by all we know in mankind and even more so by what we do not know. And we get to know that which we deserve to know.
If we say about the intellectual side of man that its purpose is the acquisition of knowledge, this will not evoke any doubt. All are agreed that man's intellect, with all its subordinate functions, exists for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, although very often the faculty of knowledge is regarded as subordinate. But as regards the emotions: joy, sorrow, anger, fear, love, hate, pride, compassion, jealousy; as regards the sense of beauty, aesthetic sense and artistic creation; as regards moral sense; as regards all religious emotions: faith, hope, veneration and so on, as regards all human activity, things are not so clear. As a rule we do not see that all emotions and all human activity serve knowledge. In what way can fear or love or work serve knowledge? It seems to us that by emotions we feel, by work we create. Feeling and creation seem to us something different from knowledge. Concerning work, creation, the making of something, we are rather apt to think that they require knowledge and if they serve it, do so only indirectly. In the same way we cannot understand how religious emotions can serve knowledge.
Usually the emotional is opposed to the intellectual: 'heart' is opposed to 'reason'. 'Cold reason' or intellect is placed on one side, and on the other side: feelings, emotions, artistic sense; then, again quite separately, moral sense, religious feeling, 'spirituality'.
The misunderstanding here lies in the interpretation of the words intellect and emotion.
Between intellect and emotion there is no sharp distinction. Intellect, taken as a whole, is also emotion. But in ordinary conversational language and in 'conversational psychology' reason is opposed to feeling; then comes will, placed as a separate and independent faculty; moralists place moral sense as something quite apart; religious people place spirituality or faith as something entirely separate.
It is often said: reason conquered feeling; will conquered desire; the sense of duty overcame passion; spirituality conquered intellectuality; faith conquered reason. But all these are wrong expressions of conversational psychology, just as incorrect as the expressions 'sunrise' and 'sunset'. In the soul of man there is nothing but emotions or their harmonious co-existence. This was clearly realized bySpinoza when he said that an emotion can be overcome only by another, stronger emotion, and by nothing else. Reason, will, sense of duty, faith, spirituality, conquering some other emotion, can only conquer it by the emotional element contained in them. The ascetic who kills all desires and passions in himself, kills them by his desire for salvation. A man who renounces all worldly pleasures, renounces them for the sake of enjoying his sacrifice, his renunciation. A soldier who dies at his post through a sense of duty or habit of obedience does so because the emotion of devotion or faithfulness, or customary passivity are stronger in him than all the rest. A man whose moral sense tells him that he must overcome his passion, does so because moral sense (i.e. a certain emotion) is stronger in him than his other feelings, other emotions. Actually, all this is as clear and simple as the day,and people get muddled only because, in calling different degrees of one and the same thing by different names, they begin to see fundamental differences where the difference is only that of degree.
Will is the resultant of desires. We call strong-willed a man whose will follows a definite line without deviation from it, and we call weak-willed a man whose will follows a zig-zag course, deviating now in one, now in another direction under the influence of every new desire. But this does not mean that will and desire are two opposite things. On the contrary, they areone and the same thing, because will is built up of desires.
Reason cannot conquer feeling, because feeling can only be conquered byfeeling. Reason can only provide thoughts and images which would evoke feelings, and these conquer the feeling of the given moment. Spirituality is not something opposed to 'intellectuality' or 'emotionality'. It is only THEIR HIGHER FLIGHT. Reason has no bounds. Limitation is a characteristic that belongs only to the human 'Euclidean' mind - the intellect separated from emotions.
What then is reason?
Reason is the inner side of the life of every given being. In the livingkingdom of the earth, in all the animals lower than man, we see a passive reason. But with the appearance of concepts reason becomes active, and a part of it begins to work as intellect. An animal lives by sensations and emotions. In an animal the intellect is only in an embryonic state, as an emotion of curiosity, the pleasure of knowing.
In a man the growth of reason consists in the growth of the intellect and in the accompanying growth of higher emotions: aesthetic, religious, moral which, as they grow, become more and more intellectualized; moreover, simultaneously with this the intellect becomes impregnated with emotionality and ceases to be 'cold'. Thus 'spirituality' is the merging together of the intellect and the higher emotions. The intellect is spiritualized from the emotions; the emotions are spiritualized from the intellect.
The functions of reason are not limited, but the human intellect does not often rise to its highest form. At the same time, it would again be incorrect to say that the highest human form of knowledge will no longer be intellectual, but will be something different; only this higher reason is entirely unrestricted by logical concepts and the Euclidean sphere. We shall hear a great deal about this from the side of mathematics which has actually transcended the domain of logic long ago. But it transcended it with the help of the intellect. New perception grows on the soil of the intellect and the higher emotions, but is not created by them. A tree grows from the earth, but is not created by the earth. A seed is necessary. This seed may or may not be in the soul. When it is there, it may be made to sprout or it may be choked; when it is not there, nothing else can take its place. And a soul (if it may be called soul) deprived of this seed, i.e. incapable of feeling and reflecting the world of the miraculous, will never produce a living shoot but will always reflect only the phenomenal world.
At the present stage of his development, while man learns to know many things by means of the intellect, he also knows a great many things through emotions. Emotions are in no way instruments of feeling for the sake of feeling; they are all -instruments of knowledge. By every emotion man learns to know something he cannot know without its help - something he cannot know by any other emotion or by any effort of the intellect. If we consider the emotional nature of man as limited by itself, as serving life without serving knowledge, we shall never understand its true content and significance. Emotions serve knowledge. There are things and relations which can be known only emotionally and only through a given emotion.
To understand the psychology of gambling it is necessary to feel the emotions of a gambler; to understand the psychology of the hunt it is necessary to feel the emotions of the hunter; the psychology of a man in love is incomprehensible to a man who is indifferent; the state of mind of Archimedes when he jumped out of the bath is incomprehensible to the placid citizen who thinks him insane; the feelings of a traveller, breathing in the sea air and gazing at the vast expanse of the sea, are incomprehensible to a man content with his sedentary life. The feelings of a believer are incomprehensible to an unbeliever, and the feelings of an unbeliever are incomprehensible to a believer. The reason why men understand one another so little is that they always live by different emotions. And they understand one another only when they happen simultaneously to experience identical emotions. Popular wisdom is well aware of this fact: 'A FULL MAN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND A HUNGRY ONE', it says; 'a drunken man is no companion for a sober one'; 'birds of a feather flock together'.
In this mutual understanding, or in the illusion of a mutual understanding from being immersed in similar emotions, lies one of the main charms of love. Guy de Maupassant expressed this very well in his short sketch 'Solitude'. In this same illusion lies the secret of the power of alcohol over human souls, because alcohol produces the illusion of communion of souls and stimulates fantasy simultaneously in two or more people.
Emotions are the stained-glass windows of the soul, coloured windows, through which the soul looks at the world. Each of these windows helps to discover certain colours in the object under examination, but at the same time it conceals the contrasting ones. Consequently the saying is quite correct that a one-sided emotional illumination can never give a right idea of an object. Nothing gives one such a clear idea of things as the emotions, and nothing misleads one as much as the emotions.
Each emotion has its own purpose of existence; but the cognitive value of emotions is different. There are emotions which are necessary, important, indispensable for a life of knowledge -and there are emotions which hinder rather than help understanding.
Theoretically all emotions serve knowledge: all emotions arise as a consequence of the cognition of one or another thing. Let us take one of the most elementary emotions, say the EMOTION OF FEAR. Undoubtedly there are relations which can be known only through fear. A man who has never experienced fear will never understand many things in life and in nature; he will not understand many of the principal motives of the life of mankind. What else but the fear of hunger and cold forces the majority of men to work? He will fail to understand a great many relations in the animal kingdom. For instance, he will never understand the essence of the relationship of mammals to reptiles. A snake evokes a feeling of repulsion and fear in all mammals. Through this repulsion and fear a mammal learns to know the nature of the snake and the relation of that nature to its own, and the knowledge it thus gains is quite correct, but strictly personal, only from its own point of view. What the snake is in itself -not in the philosophical sense of a thing in itself, but simply from the point of view of zoology (and not from the point of view of a man or an animal whom
the snake has bitten or may bite) - this MAY BE KNOWN ONLY
BY THE INTELLECT.
Emotions are connected with the different 'I's of our mental life. An emotion which looks exactly the same at the first glance, may be connected with very small 'I's or with very big 'I's. And, in accordance with this, the role and significance of that emotion in man's life may be very different. The establishment of a permanent 'I' is hindered
principally by a constant changing of emotions, each of which calls itself 'I' and strives to seize power over man. And this is a particularly great hindrance when emotions arise and develop in those realms of the inner life which are connected with a certain kind of self-awareness or self-affirmation. These are the so-called personal emotions.
The sign of the growth of the emotions is their liberation from the personal element and their transition to higher planes. The liberation from personal elements enhances the cognitive power of emotions, because the more personal elements there are in an emotion, the more capable it is of leading into delusion. A personal emotion is always biased, always unfair, if only for the reason that it opposes itself to everything else.
Thus the cognitive power of an emotion is proportionately greater when a given emotion contains less self-element, i.e. when there is a stronger realization that the given emotion is not 'I'.
We have seen earlier in studying space and its laws that the evolution of knowledge consists in a gradual withdrawal from oneself. Hinton expresses it very well. He says all the time that only by withdrawing from self do we begin to understand the world as it is. The whole system of mental exercises with multi-coloured cubes, worked out by Hinton, aims at the training of a consciousness which will look at things not from a pseudo-personal point of view:
When we study a block of cubes [say a cube composed of 27 smaller cubes], we first of all learn it by starting from a particular cube, and learning how all the others come with regard to that. We learn the block with regard to this axis, so that we can mentally conceive the disposition of every cube as it comes regarded from one point of view. Next we suppose ourselves to be in another cube at the extremity of another axis; and looking from this axis, we learn the aspects of all the cubes, and so on. . . . In this way we get a knowledge of the block of cubes. Now to get a knowledge of humanity ... it is by acting with regard to the view of each individual that a knowledge is obtained.
[An egotist may be compared with a man who knows the cube only from one point of view.]
Those who feel superficially with a great many people, are like those learners who have a slight acquaintance with a block of cubes from many points of view. Those who have some deep attachments, are like those who know them well from one or two points of view. . . .
And after all, perhaps, the difference between the good and the rest of us, lies in the former being aware. There is something outside them which draws them to it, which they see while we do not.*
Just as it is wrong in relation to oneself to evaluate everything from the point of view of one emotion, opposing it to all the rest, so it is wrong in relation to the world and to people to evaluate everything from the point of view of some one accidental 'I' of one's own, opposing the self of a given moment to all the rest.
Thus the problem of right emotional knowledge is to feel in relation to people and the world from a point of view other than the personal. And the wider the circle for which a given person feels, the deeper the knowledge which his emotions give. But not all emotions are capable in equal measure of being freed from self-elements. There are emotions which by their very nature divide, estrange, alienate, make a man feel himself as someone apart, separate; such are hate, fear, jealousy, pride, envy. These are emotions of a material order, making one believe in matter. And there are emotions which unite, bring together, make a man feel a part of some large whole; such are love, sympathy, friendship, compassion, love of one's country, love of nature, love of mankind. These emotions lead a man out of the material world and show him the truth of the world of fantasy. Emotions of the second order are more easily freed from selfelements than emotions of the first order. Although at the same time there can be quite an impersonal pride - pride in some heroic deed performed by another man. There may even be an impersonal envy, when we envy a man who has conquered himself, conquered his personal desire to live, sacrificed himself for something which everybody considers to be right and just and yet which other people cannot bring themselves to do; dare not even think about through weakness, through attachment to life. There may be an impersonal hatred -hatred of injustice, violence, anger against stupidity, against dullness; aversion to foulness, to hypocrisy. These feelings undoubtedly lift up and purify man's soul and help him to see things which he would not otherwise see.
Christ driving the money-changers out of the temple or expressing
* C. H. Hinton, A New Era of Thought, London, George Allen & Unwin, 1910, pp. 77, 78.
his opinion of the Pharisees was not at all meek or mild. And there are cases where meekness and mildness are not a virtue at all. Emotions of love, sympathy, pity are very easily transformed into sentimentality, into weakness. And in this form they naturally serve only absence of knowledge, i.e. matter. The difficulty of dividing emotions into categories is increased bythe fact that all emotions of the higher order, without exception, can also be personal, and then their effect is no different from that of the other category.
There exists a division of emotions into PURE and IMPURE. We all know this, we all use these words, but we understand very little what this means. Indeed, what does 'pure' or 'impure' mean in relation to feeling?
Ordinary morality divides emotions, a priori, into pure and impureaccording to external traits, just as Noah divided animals in his ark. Moreover, all 'carnal desires' are relegated into the category of the IMPURE. In reality, however, 'carnal desires' are, of course, as pure as everything else in nature. Nevertheless there actually are pure and impure emotions. We are well aware that there is truth in this division. Where is it then? What does it mean?
An examination of emotions from the point of view of knowledge can alone give a key to this problem.
An impure emotion is exactly the same as a dirty glass, dirty water or an impure sound, i.e. an emotion which is not pure, which contains foreign matter or a sediment, or echoes of other emotions; IMPURE-MIXED. An impure emotion gives an obscured, not pure knowledge, just as a dirty glass gives a confused image. A pure emotion gives a clear, pure image of the knowledge which it is intended to transmit.
This is the only possible solution of the problem. The main obstacle which prevents us from arriving at this solution is the usual moral tendency which has divided emotions a priori into 'moral' and 'immoral'. But if we try for a moment to discard the usual moral framework, we shall see that the matter is much more simple, that there are no emotions impure in their nature, and that every emotion may be either pure or impure according to whether it contains an admixture of other emotions or not.
There may be pure sensuality, the sensuality of the 'Song of Songs', which passes into the sensation of cosmic life and enables one to hear the beatingpulse of Nature. And there may be impure sensuality, mixed with other emotions, good or bad from the moral point of view, but equally making sensuality turbid.
There may be pure sympathy — and there may be sympathy mixed with calculation to receive something for one's sympathy. There may be puredesire to know, a thirst for knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and there may be a pursuit of knowledge led by considerations of profit and gain to be derived from this knowledge.
In their external manifestations pure and impure emotions may differ verylittle. Two men may play chess and be quite alike in their outward behaviour, but one may be driven by ambition, desire of victory, and he will be full of different unpleasant feelings towards his opponent -apprehension, envy of a clever move, vexation, jealousy, animosity, or anticipation of his winnings;but another may simply try to solve the complicated mathematical problem before him, without giving a thought to his opponent.
The emotion of the first will be impure if only because too much is mixed with it. The emotion of the second will be pure. The meaning of this is, of course, perfectly obvious.
Examples of such a division of outwardly similar emotions may be constantly seen in artistic, literary, scientific, social and even in spiritual and religious activities of men. In all domains only complete victory over the self-element leads man to a right knowledge of the world and himself. All emotions coloured by the SELF-ELEMENT are like concave, convex or distorting glasses which refract the rays incorrectly and so distort the imageof the world.
Thus the problem of emotional knowledge consists in a corresponding preparation of the emotions which serve as instruments of knowledge.
'Become as little children . . .' and 'Blessed are the pure in heart. . . .' These words of the Gospels speak, first of all, about the purification of emotions. It is impossible to know rightly through impure emotions. Therefore, in the interests of a right knowledge of the world and oneself, the work of purification and elevation of emotions should go on in man.
This last brings us to a totally new view of morality. Morality, the aim of which consists precisely in establishing a system of right relationship to emotions and in assisting their purification and elevation, ceases to be in our eyes a tedious and self-contained exercise in virtue. Morality is a form of aesthetics.
That which is not moral is first of all not aesthetic, because it is not coordinated, not harmonious.
We see all the enormous significance morality can have in our life; we see the significance morality has for knowledge because there are emotions through which we gain knowledge, and there are emotions by which we are led astray. If morality can indeed help us to discriminate between them, then its value is incontestable precisely from the point of view of knowledge.
The psychology of our ordinary conversational language knows very well that malice, hatred, anger BLIND a man, DIM his reason; it knows that fear DRIVES ONE INSANE, and so on and so on.
But we also know that every emotion may serve knowledge and absence of knowledge.
Let us take an emotion, valuable and capable of a very high evolution, such as pleasure in activity. This emotion is a powerful moving force in culture, it serves the perfectioning of life and the development of all the higher capacities of man. But the same emotion is also the cause of an endless series of errors and faux pas which mankind commits and for which it has afterwards to pay bitterly. In the excitement of activity man easily tends to forget the aim for the sake of which he started to act; to take the very activityfor the aim; and for the sake of preserving the activity to sacrifice the aim. This can be seen especially clearly in the activity of various religious trends. Having started in one direction a man, without noticing it, turns in the opposite direction and very often heads towards the abyss thinking that he is scaling the heights.
Nothing is more contradictory, more paradoxical than a man absorbed in activity. We are so used to 'man' that his extraordinary perversions do not strike us as strange.
Violence in the name of freedom. Violence in the name of love. PreachingChristianity sword in hand. The stakes of the Inquisition to the glory of a God of Mercy. The oppression of the freedom of thought and speech on the part of ministers of religion. All these are utter absurdities of which only men are capable.
A right understanding of morality, not as it is but as it should be, could save us to a great extent from such perversions of thought. Altogether, there is very little morality in our life. European culture has followed the path of intellectual development. The intellect invented and organized without thinking of the moral meaning of its activity, and this led to the result that the crown of European culture is the 'Dreadnought'.
Many people think in this way, and because of this take a negative attitude to all culture. But this also is unfair. Besides the 'Dreadnought', Europeanthought has produced much that is useful and valuable, much that makes life easier. The working out of principles of freedom and justice; the abolition of slavery (though nominal); in many spheres, victory over hostile nature; means of disseminating thought, the press; the miracles of modern medicine and surgery -all these are undoubtedly real achievements and must be taken into consideration. But there is no morality in them, i.e. no truth but, on the contrary, a great many lies. We are satisfied with principles as principles, lulled by the thought that one day they will be applied to life, and we are in no way surprised or disturbed by the fact that, while we evolve beautiful principles, the whole of our life (i.e. the life of cultured humanity) goes in the opposite direction. A cultured European invents with equal ease a machine-gun and a new surgical apparatus. European culture started with the life of a savage, as though taking this life for a pattern and beginning to develop all its sides, without thinking of their moral value. The savage smashed the head of his enemy with a simple club. We have invented very complicated devices for the same purpose which are capable of smashing simultaneously hundreds and thousands of heads. Flying, about which men dreamed for thousands of years, has been achieved, and used first of all for the purposes of war.
Morality should have been the co-ordination of all sides of life, i.e. of the actions of man and humanity with the higher emotions and the higher attainments of the intellect. From this point of view it becomes clear why it has been said earlier that morality is a form of aesthetics. Aesthetics -the sense of beauty, is the sense of the relationship of parts to the whole, the need for a certain harmonious relationship. And morality is the same. Actions, thoughts and feelings are not moral when they are uncoordinated, inharmonious with the higher understanding and higher sensations accessible to man. The introduction of morality into our life would make it less paradoxical, less contradictory, more logical and, above all, more civilized, because now our vaunted civilization is very much compromised by the 'Dreadnought', i.e. by wars and all that is connected with them, as well as by many things in 'peace-time', such as capital punishment, prisons and so on.
Morality or moral aesthetics, in the sense in which it is taken here, is indispensable for us. Without it we forget too easily that the word has, after all, some relation to the deed. We are interested in a great many things, we probe into many things, but, for some reason, we completely fail to notice the lack of correspondence between our spiritual life and our life on earth. So we live in two lives: in one of them we are excessively strict with ourselves, we carefully analyse every idea before voicing an opinion about it; in the other, on the contrary, we very easily allow all kinds of compromises, very easily fail to see what we do not wish to see. And we are reconciled to this division. It is as if we do not even find it necessary to carry out our high ideas in practice, as if we almost make a principle out of this division between the 'real' and the "spiritual'. The result is all the monstrosities of modern life -all the infinite falsification of our life -falsification of the press, of art, the theatre, science, politics; falsification which stifles us like some foul morass but which we ourselves create because we ourselves, and no one else, are servants and vassals of this falsification. We are not conscious of the necessity to carry out our ideas in practice, to introduce them into our everyday activity, and we admit the possibility of this activity being contrary to our spiritual aspirations. In other words, we admit the possibility of it following one of the stereotyped patterns, the harm of which we recognize but for which no one of us individually holds himself responsible, because he has not created them himself. We have no sense of personal responsibility, no courage, not even any consciousness of the need for them. All this would have been very sad, and hopelessly sad, if the concept 'we' were in actual fact so indisputable. In reality, however, the correctness of the very term 'we' is subject to grave doubts. The enormous majority of the population of the earthly globe is actually engaged in destroying, distorting and falsifying the ideas of the minority. The majority has no ideas of its own. It is incapable of understanding the ideas of the minority and, left to itself, it is inevitably bound to distort and destroy. Imagine a zoo full of apes. A man is working in the zoo. The apes observe his movements and try to imitate him. But they can only imitate the external movements; the purpose and meaning of these movements are hidden from them. Therefore, their movements will have quite a different result. And if the apes manage to get out of the cage and get hold of the man's tools, they may destroy all the work of this man and do a lot of harm to themselves. But they will never be able to create anything. Consequently, a man would make a great mistake if he spoke of their 'work' and referred to them as 'we'. Creation and destruction - or rather ability to create or ability only to destroy -are the two main signs of the two types or two races of man.
Morality is necessary to 'man'. Only from the point of view of morality is it possible to distinguish unhesitatingly between the work of man and the activity of apes. At the same time, nowhere do delusions spring up more easily than in the domain of morality. Engrossed in his own morality and moral preachings a man forgets the aim of moral perfection, forgets that the aim consists in knowledge. He begins to see the aim in morality itself. Then there takes place an a priori division of emotions into good and bad, 'moral' and 'immoral'. At the same time, a correct understanding of the aim and significance of emotions is completely lost. A man is engrossed in his 'goodness'; he wants all the others to be as 'good' as himself or as the remote ideal he sets himself. The result is enjoyment of morality for the sake of morality, or a kind of moral sport -exercise of morality for morality's sake. This stops all thought. A man begins to be afraid of everything. Everywhere, in all manifestations of life he begins to see something 'immoral', threatening to cast him or other people down from the height to which they have risen or may rise. He develops a highly suspicious attitude to other people's morals. In the heat of proselytizing, wishing to spread his moral views, he begins to regard with definite enmity all that is not in accord with his morality. All this becomes 'black' in his eyes. Starting from complete freedom, he very easily convinces himself, by means of a few compromises, that it is necessary to fight against freedom. He already begins to admit a censorship of thought. A free expression of opinions opposed to his own seems to him inadmissible. All this may be done with the best intentions, but we all know very well what it leads to.
No tyranny is more fierce than the tyranny of morality. Everything is sacrificed to it. And, naturally, nothing blinds one more than such a tyranny, such a 'morality'.
And yet humanity needs morality, but of quite a different kind - a morality based on real data of higher knowledge. Humanity is passionately seeking it and perhaps will find it. Then, on the basis of this new morality a great division will take place, and the few who will be able to follow it will begin to rule the others, or will go away altogether. In any case, owing to the new morality and the forces it will bring in, contradictions of life will disappear and the biped animal, constituting the majority of mankind, will no longer be able to pose as man.
The organized forms of intellectual knowledge are: science, based on observation, calculation and experience, and philosophy, based on the speculative method of reasoning and deduction.
The organized forms of emotional knowledge are: religion and art. Religious teachings, taking on the character of 'cults' and thus departing from the original 'revelation' upon which they were founded, are entirely based on the emotional nature of man. Majestic temples, the gorgeous vestments of priests and clergymen, the pomp of religious rituals, processions, sacrifices, singing, music, dances - the aim of all these things is to incite a certain emotional state, to evoke in man certain definite feelings. Religious myths, legends, stories of the lives of godsand saints, prophecies, apocalypses, when they lose their original purpose of serving knowledge, pursue the same aim -they all act on imagination, on feeling.
The purpose of all this is to give man a God, to give him morality, that is, to make accessible to him a definite knowledge of the hidden side of the world. Religion may deviate from its true aim, it may serve earthly interests and aims. But its origin lies in the search for truth and for God.
Art serves beauty, i.e. a particular kind of emotional knowledge. Art finds this beauty in everything and makes a man feel it and thus know. Art is a powerful instrument for the knowledge of the noumenal world: mysteries, one deeper and more amazing than the other, become revealed to man's vision if he holds the magic key. But the mere thought that this mystery is not for knowledge but for enjoyment destroys all the enchantment. As soon as art begins to enjoy the beauty already found, instead of seeking new beauty, all progress is checked, and art becomes transformed into a useless aestheticism surrounding man with a wall and preventing him from seeing further. The search for beauty is the aim of art, just as the search for God and truth is the aim of religion. Like art, religion no longer progresses when it ceases to seek God and truth and begins to think that it has found them. This idea is expressed in the Gospels: 'Seek . . . the kingdom of God and his righteousness. . . .'It does not say you will find, but only, seek.
Science, philosophy, religion and art are forms of knowledge. The method of science is observation, calculation, experience; the method of philosophy is speculation; the method of religion and art is moral or aesthetic emotional suggestion. But science, philosophy, religion and art really begin to serve true knowledge only when they begin to manifest intuition, i.e. the sensingand finding of some inner qualities in things. Actually one may say -and perhaps it will be most correct - that the aim of even purely intellectual scientific and philosophical systems is not at all to give men certain information, but to raise man to a height of thought and feeling where he himself can pass to the new and higher forms of knowledge, to which art and religion are closest.
Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the very division of science, philosophy, religion and art shows their incompleteness. A complete religion embraces religion, art, philosophy and science; a complete art embraces art, philosophy, science and religion; complete science, complete philosophy will embrace religion and art. A religion contradicting science and a science contradicting religion are equally false.