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phers call the epistemological problem. This problem, though it cannot be solved abstractly and metaphysically, can be solved practically and in terms of actual conduct. Inasmuch as modern philosophy has failed to work out any such solution, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that modern philosophy is bankrupt, not merely from Kant, but from Descartes.

The supreme maxim of the ethical positivist is: By their fruits shall ye know them. If I object to a romantic philosophy it is because I do not like its fruits. I infer from its fruits that this philosophy has made a wrong use of illusion. "All those who took the romantic promises at their face value," says Bourget, “rolled in abysses of despair and ennui." 1 If any one still holds, as many of the older romanticists held, that it is a distinguished thing to roll in abysses of despair and ennui, he should read me no further. He will have no sympathy with my point of view. If any one, on the other hand, accepts my criterion but denies that Rousseauistic living has such fruits, it has been my aim so to accumulate evidence that he will be confronted with the task of refuting not a set of theories but a body of facts. My whole method, let me repeat, is experimental, or it might be less ambiguous to say if the word were a fortunate one, experiential. The illustrations I have given of any particular aspect of the movement are usually only a small fraction of those I have collected — themselves no doubt only a fraction of the illustrations that might be collected from printed sources. M. Maigron's investigation 2 into the fruits of romantic living suggests the large additions that might be made to these printed sources from manuscript material.

My method indeed is open in one respect to grave misunderstanding. From the fact that I am constantly citing passages from this or that author and condemning the tendency for which these passages stand, the reader will perhaps be led to infer a total condemnation of the authors so quoted. But the

1 Essay on Flaubert in Essais de Psychologie contemporaine. 2 Le Romantisme et les mours (1910).

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inference may be very incorrect. I am not trying to give rounded estimates of individuals - delightful and legitimate as that type of criticism is — but to trace main currents as a part of my search for a set of principles to oppose to naturalism. I call attention for example to the Rousseauistic and primitivistic elements in Wordsworth but do not assert that this is the whole truth about Wordsworth. One's views as to the philosophical value of Rousseauism must, however, weigh heavily in a total

judgment of Wordsworth. Criticism is such a difficult art ! because one must not only have principles but must apply

them flexibly and intuitively. No one would accuse criticism at ir present of lacking flexibility. It has grown so flexible in fact as

to become invertebrate. One of my reasons for practicing the present type of criticism, is the conviction that because of a lack of principles the type of criticism that aims at rounded estimates of individuals is rapidly ceasing to have any meaning.

I should add that if I had attempted rounded estimates they would often have been more favorable than might be gathered from my comments here and elsewhere on the romantic leaders. One is justified in leaning towards severity in the laying down of principles, but should nearly always incline to indulgence in the application of them. In a sense one may say with Goethe that the excellencies are of the individual, the defects of the age. It is especially needful to recall distinctions of this kind in the case of Rousseau himself and my treatment of him. M. Lanson has dwelt on the strange duality of Rousseau's nature. "The writer," he says, "is a poor dreamy creature who approaches action only with alarm and with every manner of precaution, and who understands the applications of his boldest doctrines in a way to reassure conservatives and satisfy opportunists. But the work for its part detaches itself from the author, lives its independent life, and, heavily charged with revolutionary explosives which neutralize the moderate and conciliatory elements Rousseau has put into it for his own satisfaction, it exasperates and inspires revolt and fires enthu

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siasms and irritates hatreds; it is the mother of violence, the source of all that is uncompromising, it launches the simple souls who give themselves up to its strange virtue upon the desperate quest of the absolute, an absolute to be realized now by anarchy and now by social despotism." 1 I am inclined to discover in the Rousseau who, according to M. Lanson, is merely timorous, a great deal of shrewdness and at times something even better than shrewdness. The question is not perhaps very important, for M. Lanson is surely right in affirming that the Rousseau who has moved the world and that for reasons I shall try to make plain — is Rousseau the extremist and foe of compromise; and so it is to this Rousseau that as a student of main tendencies I devote almost exclusive attention. I am not, however, seeking to make a scapegoat even of the radical and revolutionary Rousseau. One of my chief objections, indeed, to Rousseauism, as will appear in the following pages, is that it encourages the making of scapegoats.

If I am opposed to Rousseauism because of its fruits in experience, I try to put what I have to offer as a substitute on the same positive basis. Now experience is of many degrees: first of all one's purely personal experience, an infinitesimal fragment; and then the experience of one's immediate circle, of one's time and country, of the near past and so on in widening circles. The past which as dogma the ethical positivist rejects, as experience he not only admits but welcomes. He can no more dispense with it indeed than the naturalistic positivist can dispense with his laboratory. He insists moreover on including the remoter past in his survey. Perhaps the most pernicious of all the conceits fostered by the type of progress we owe to science is the conceit that we have outgrown this older experience. One should endeavor, as Goethe says, to oppose to the aberrations of the hour, the masses of universal history. There are special reasons just now why this background to which one appeals should not be merely Occidental. An increas

* Annales de la Société Jean-Jacques Rousseau, VIII, 30–31.

ing material contact between the Occident and the Far East is certain. We should be enlightened by this time as to the perils of material contact between men and bodies of men who have no deeper understanding. Quite apart from this consideration the experience of the Far East completes and confirms in a most interesting way that of the Occident. We can scarcely afford to neglect it if we hope to work out a truly ecumenical wisdom to oppose to the sinister one-sidedness of our current naturalism. Now the ethical experience of the Far East may be summed up for practical purposes in the teachings and influence of two men, Confucius and Buddha.1 To know the Buddhistic and Confucian teachings in their true spirit is to know what is best and most representative in the ethical experience of about half the human race for over seventy generations.

A study of Buddha and Confucius suggests, as does a study of the great teachers of the Occident, that under its bewildering surface variety human experience falls after all into a few main categories. I myself am fond of distinguishing three levels on which a man may experience life — the naturalistic, the humanistic, and the religious. Tested by its fruits Buddhism at its best confirms Christianity. Submitted to the same test Confucianism falls in with the teaching of Aristotle and in general with that of all those who from the Greeks down have proclaimed decorum and the law of measure. This is so obviously true that Confucius has been called the Aristotle of the East. Not only has the Far East had in Buddhism a great religious movement and in Confucianism a great humanistic movement, it has also had in early Taoism ? a movement that in its attempts to work out naturalistic equivalents of humanistic or religious insight, offers almost startling analogies to the movement I am here studying.

" I should perhaps say that in the case of Buddha I have been able to consult the original Pali documents. In the case of Confucius and the Chinese I have had to depend on translations.

* See appendix on Chinese primitivism.



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Thus both East and West have not only had great religious and humanistic disciplines which when tested by their fruits confirm one another, bearing witness to the element of oneness, the constant element in human experience, but these disciplines have at times been conceived in a very positive spirit. Confucius indeed, though a moral realist, can scarcely be called a positivist; he aimed rather to attach men to the past by links of steel. He reminds us in this as in some other ways of the last of the great Tories in the Occident, Dr. Johnson. Buddha on the other hand was an individualist. He wished men to rest their belief neither on his authority ' nor on that of tradition.? No one has ever made a more serious effort to put religion on a positive and critical basis. It is only proper that I acknowledge my indebtedness to the great Hindu positivist: my treatment of the problem of the One and the Many, for example, is nearer to Buddha than to Plato. Yet even if the general thesis be granted that it is desirable to put the “law for man" on a positive and critical basis, the question remains whether the more crying need just now is for positive and critical humanism or for positive and critical religion. I have discussed this delicate and difficult question more fully in my last chapter, but may give at least one reason here for inclining to the humanistic solution. I have been struck in my study of the past by the endless self-deception to which man is subject when he tries to pass too abruptly from the naturalistic to the religious level. The world, it is hard to avoid concluding, would have been a better place if more persons had made sure they were human before setting out to be superhuman; and this consideration would seem to apply with special force to a generation like the present that is wallowing in the trough of naturalism. After all to be a good humanist is merely to be

1 See, for example, Majjhima (Pāli Text Society), 1, 265. Later Bud. dhism, especially Mahāyāna Buddhism, fell away from the positive and critical spirit of the founder into mythology and metaphysics.

? Buddha expressed on many occasions his disdain for the Vedas, the great traditional authority of the Hindus.

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