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where he does not rise to the poetical level, he displays a higher quality of wisdom than Rousseau. At his best he shows an ethical realism worthy of Dr. Johnson, though in his attitude towards tradition he is less Johnsonian than Socratic. Like Socrates he saw on what terms a break with the past may be safely attempted. “Anything that emancipates the spirit,” he says, "without a corresponding growth in self-mastery, is pernicious." We may be sure that if the whole modern experiment fails it will be because of the neglect of the truth contained in this maxim. Goethe also saw that a sound individualism must be rightly imaginative. He has occasional hints on the role of illusion in literature and life that go far beneath the surface.
Though the mature Goethe, then, always stands for salvation by work, it is not strictly correct to say that it is work only according to the natural law. In Goethe at his best the imagination accepts the limitations imposed not merely by the natural, but also by the human law. However, we must admit that the humanistic Goethe has had few followers either in Germany or elsewhere, whereas innumerable persons have escaped from the imaginative unrestraint of the emotional romanticist, as Goethe himself likewise did, by the discipline of science.
The examples I have chosen should suffice to show how my distinction between two main types of imagination the ethical type that gives high seriousness to creative writing and the Arcadian or dalliant type that does not raise it above the recreative level - works out in practice. Some such distinction is necessary if we are to understand the imagination in its relation to the human law. But in order to grasp the present situation firmly we need
also to consider the imagination in its relation to the natural law. I have just said that most men have escaped from the imaginative anarchy of the emotional romanticist through science. Now the man of science at his best is like the humanist at his best, at once highly imaginative and highly critical. By this coöperation of imagination and intellect they are both enabled to concentrate effectively on the facts, though on facts of a very different order. The imagination reaches out and perceives likenesses and analogies whereas the power in man that separates and discriminates and traces causes and effects tests in turn these likenesses and analogies as to their reality: for, we can scarcely repeat too often that though the imagination gives unity it does not give reality. If we were all Aristotles or even Goethes we might concentrate imaginatively on both laws, and so be both scientific and humanistic: but as a matter of fact the ordinary man's capacity for concentration is limited. After a spell of concentration on either law he aspires to what Aristotle calls “relief from tension.” Now the very conditions of modern life require an almost tyrannical concentration on the natural law. The problems that have been engaging more and more the attention of the Occident since the rise of the great Baconian movement have been the problems of power and speed and utility. The enormous mass of machinery that has been accumulated in the pursuit of these ends requires the closest attention and concentration if it is to be worked efficiently. At the same time the man of the West is not willing to admit that he is growing in power alone, he likes to think that he is growing also in wisdom. Only by keeping this situation in mind can we hope to understand how
emotional romanticism has been able to develop into a vast system of sham spirituality. I have said that the Rousseauist wants unity without reality. If we are to move towards reality, the imagination must be controlled by the power of discrimination and the Rousseauist has repudiated this power as “false and secondary." But a unity that lacks reality can scarcely be accounted wise. The Baconian, however, accepts this unity gladly. He has spent so much energy in working according to the natural law that he has no energy left for work according to the human law. By turning to the Rousseauist he can get the "relief from tension" that he needs and at the same time enjoy the illusion of receiving a vast spiritual illumination. Neither Rousseauist nor Baconian carry into the realm of the human law the keen analysis that is necessary to distinguish between genuine insight and some mere phantasmagoria of the emotions. I am speaking especially, of course, of the interplay of Rousseauistic and Baconian elements that appear in certain recent philosophies like that of Bergson. According to Bergson one becomes spiritual by throwing overboard both thought and action, and this is a very convenient notion of spirituality for those who wish to devote both thought and action to utilitarian and material ends. It is hard to see in Bergson's intuition of the creative flux and perception of real duration anything more than the latest form of Rousseau's transcendental idling. To work with something approaching frenzy according to the natural law and to be idle according to the human law must be accounted a rather one-sided view of life. The price the man of to-day has paid for his increase in power is, it should seem, an appalling superficiality in dealing
with the law of his own nature. What brings together Baconian and Rousseauist in spite of their surface differences is that they are both intent on the element of novelty. But if wonder is associated with the Many, wisdom is associated with the One. Wisdom and wonder are moving not in the same but in opposite directions. The nineteenth century may very well prove to have been the most wonderful and the least wise of centuries. The men of this period — and I am speaking of course of the main drift — were so busy being wonderful that they had no time, apparently, to be wise. Yet their extreme absorption in wonder and the manifoldness of things can scarcely be commended unless it can be shown that happiness also results from all this revelling in the element of change. The Rousseauist is not quite consistent on this point. At times he bids us boldly set our hearts on the transitory. Aimez, says Vigny, ce que jamais on ne verra deux fois. But the Rousseauist strikes perhaps a deeper chord when looking forth on a world of flux he utters the anguished exclamation of Leconte de Lisle: Qu'est-ce que tout cela qui n'est pas éternel? Even as one swallow, says Aristotle, does not make a spring, so no short time is enough to determine whether a man deserves to be called happy. The weakness of the romantic pursuit of novelty and wonder and in general of the philosophy of the beautiful moment - whether the erotic moment or the moment of cosmic revery — is that
1 After telling of the days when "il n'y avait pour moi ni passé ni avenir et je goûtais à la fois les délices de mille siècles," Saint-Preux concludes: “ Hélas! vous avez disparu comme un éclair. Cette éternité de bonheur ne fut qu'un instant de ma vie. Le temps a repris sa lenteur dans les moments de mon désespoir, et l'ennui mesure par longues années le reste infortuné de mes jours" (Nouvelle Héloïse, Pt. 111, Lettre vi).
it does not reckon sufficiently with the something deep down in the human breast that craves the abiding. To pin one's hope of happiness to the fact that "the world is so full of a number of things" is an appropriate sentiment for a “Child's Garden of Verse.” For the adult to maintain an exclusive Bergsonian interest in the perpetual gushing forth of novelties” would seem to betray an inability to mature. The effect on a mature observer of an age so entirely turned from the One to the Many as that in which we are living must be that of a prodigious peripheral richness joined to a great central void.
What leads the man of to-day to work with such energy according to the natural law and to be idle according to the human law is his intoxication with material success. A consideration that should therefore touch him is that in the long run not merely spiritual success or happiness, but material prosperity depend on an entirely different working. Let me revert here for a moment to my previous analysis: to work according to the human law is simply to rein in one's impulses. Now the strongest of all the impulses is the will to power. The man who does not rein in his will to power and is at the same time very active according to the natural law is in a fair way to become an efficient megalomaniac. Efficient megalo mania, whether developed in individuals of the same group or in whole national groups in their relations with one another, must lead sooner or later to war. The efficient megalomaniacs will proceed to destroy one another along with the material wealth to which they have sacrificed everything else; and then the meek, if there are any meek left, will inherit the earth.
"If I am to judge by myself,” said an eighteenth