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AUTONOMY OF SPIRIT.

Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Genius
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
Heredity
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Immortality
Individual Development
Individuality
Intuitions Of Reality
Irritability
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Mysticism
Natural Selection
Naturalism
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Parallelism
Personality
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Self-consciousness
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Underivability
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
Weismannism
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook



Autonomy Of Spirit








The aim of our study has been to define our attitude to naturalism, and to
maintain in the teeth of naturalism the validity and freedom of the
religious conception of the world. This seemed to be cramped and menaced
by those "reductions to simpler terms" which we have already discussed.

But one of these reductions, the most important of all, we have not yet
encountered, and it remains to be dealt with now. In comparison with this
one all others are relatively unimportant, and it is easy to understand
how some have regarded the problem of the relations of the naturalistic
and the religious outlook as beginning at this point, and have neglected
everything below it. For we have now to consider the attempt of naturalism
to "reduce" spirit itself to terms of nature, either to derive it from
nature, or, when that is recognised as quite too confused and impossible,
to make it subject to nature and her system of laws, or to similar laws,
and thus to rob it of its freedom and independence, of its essential
character as above nature and free from it, and to bring it down to the
level of an accompanying shadow or a mere reverse side of nature. The
aggressive naturalism which we have discussed has from very early times
exercised itself on this point, and has instinctively and rightly felt
that herein lies the kernel of the whole problem under dispute. It has for
the most part concentrated its interest and its attacks upon the
"immortality of the soul." But while this was often the starting-point,
the nature of soul, and spirit, and consciousness in general have been
brought under discussion and subjected to attacks which sought to show how
vague and questionable was the reality of spirit as contrasted with the
palpable, solid and indubitable reality of the outer world. Prominence was
given to the fact that the spiritual side of our nature is dependent on
and conditioned by the body and bodily states, the external environment,
experiences and impressions. These were often the sole, and always the
chief subjects of the doctrine of the vulgar naturalism. But the same is
true of the naturalism of the higher order, as we described it in Chapter
II. In order to acquire definite guiding principles of investigation, it
makes the attempt to find the true reality of phenomena in the mechanical,
corporeal, physiological processes, and to take little or no account of
the co-operation, the interpolation, the general efficiency of sensation,
perception, thought, or will, and to treat them as though they were a
shadow and accompaniment of reality, but not as an equivalent, much less a
preponderating constituent of it. Out of these fundamental principles of
investigation, and out of the opposition and doubt with which the
spiritual is regarded, there is compounded the current mongrel naturalism,
which, without precision in its ideas, and without any great clearness or
logical consequence in its views, is thoroughly imbued with the notion
that that only is truly real which we can see, hear, and touch--the solid
objective world of matter and energy, and that "science" begins and ends
with this. As for anything outside of or beyond this, it is at most a
beautiful dream of fancy, with which it is quite safe to occupy oneself as
long as one clearly understands that of course it is not true. "Nature" is
the only indubitable reality, and mind is but a kind of lusus or luxus
naturae, which accompanies it at some few places, like a peculiarly
coloured aura or shadow, but which must, as far as reality is concerned,
yield pre-eminence to "Nature" in every respect.

The religious conception is deeply and essentially antagonistic to all
such attempts to range spirit, spiritual being, and the subjective world
under "nature," "matter," "energy," or whatever we may call what is
opposed to mind and ranked above it in reality and value. The religious
conception is made up essentially of a belief in spirit, its worth and
pre-eminence. It does not even seek to compare the reality and origin of
spirit with anything else whatever. For all its beliefs, the most sublime
and the crudest alike, conceal within them the conviction that
fundamentally spirit alone has truth and reality, and that everything else
is derived from it. It is a somewhat pitiful mode of procedure to direct
all apologetic endeavours towards the one relatively small question of
"immortality," thus following exactly the lines usually adopted by the
aggressive exponents of naturalism, and thus allowing opponents to dictate
the form of the questions and answers. It is quite certain that all
religion which is in any way complete, includes within itself a belief in
the everlastingness of our spiritual, personal nature, and its
independence of the becoming or passing away of external things. But, on
the one hand, this particular question can only be settled in connection
with the whole problem, and, on the other hand, it is only a fraction of
the much farther-reaching belief in the reality of spirit and its
superiority to nature. The very being of religion depends upon this. That
it may be able to take itself seriously and regard itself as true; that
all deep and pious feelings, of humility and devotion, may be cherished as
genuine and as founded in truth; that it behoves it to find and experience
the noble and divine in the world's course, in history and in individual
life; that the whole world of feeling with all its deep stirrings and
mysteries is of all things the most real and true, and the most
significant fact of existence--all these are features apart from which it
is impossible to think of religion at all. But they all depend upon the
reality, independence and absolute pre-eminence of spirit. Freedom and
responsibility, duty, moral control and self-development, the valuation of
life and our life-work according to our life's mission and ideal aims,
even according to everlasting aims, and "sub specie aeterni," the idea of
the good, the true and the beautiful--all things apart from which religion
cannot be thought of--all these depend upon spirit and its truth. And
finally "God is Spirit": religion cannot represent, or conceive, or
possess its own highest good and supreme idea, except by thinking in terms
of the highest analogies of what it knows in itself as spiritual being and
reality. If spirit is not real and above all other realities; if it is
derivable, subordinate and dependent, it is impossible to think of
anything whatever to which the name of "God" can be given. And this is as
true of the refined speculations of the pantheistic poetic religions, as
of the idea of God in simple piety. The interest of religion as against
the claims of naturalism includes all this. And it would be doing the
cause of religion sorry service to extract from this whole some isolated
question to which the mood of the time or traditional custom has given
prominence. Our task must be to show that religion maintains its validity
and freedom because of the truth and independence of spirit and its
superiority to nature.

It is, of course, impossible to give an exhaustive treatment of this
problem in a short study like this. The answer to this question would
include the whole range of mental science with all its parts and branches.
Mental science, from logic and epistemology up to and including the moral
and aesthetic sciences, proves by its very existence, and by the fact that
it cannot be reduced to terms of natural science, that spirit can neither
be derived from nor analysed into anything else. And it is only when we
have mastered all this that we can say how far and how strongly knowledge
and known realities corroborate religion and its great conclusions as to
spirit and spiritual existence, how they reinforce it and admit its
validity and freedom. Since this is so, all isolated and particular
endeavours in this direction can only be a prelude or introduction, and a
more or less arbitrary selection from the relevant material of facts and
ideas. And nothing more than this is aimed at in the following pages.





Next: Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual

Previous: How All This Affects The Religious Outlook



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