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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 Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
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
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
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
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

Pre-eminence Of Consciousness

But we have already spent too much time over this naive mode of looking at
things, which, though it professes to place things in their true light, in
reality distorts them and turns them upside down. As if this world of the
external and material, all these bodies and forces, were our first and
most direct data, and were not really all derived from, and only
discoverable by, consciousness. We have here to do with the ancient view
of all philosophy and all reflection in general, although in modern days
it has taken its place as a great new discovery even among naturalists
themselves, by whom it is extolled and recognised as "the conquest of
materialism." Such exaggerated emphasis tends to conceal the fact that
this truth has been regarded as self-evident from very early times.

What is a body, extension, movement, colour, smell and taste? What do I
possess of them, or know of them, except through the images, sensations
and feelings which they call up in my receptive mind? No single thing
wanders into me as itself, or reveals itself to me directly; only through
the way in which they affect me, the peculiar changes which they work in
me, do things reveal to me their existence and their special character. I
have no knowledge of an apple-tree or of an apple, except through the
sense perceptions they call up in me. But these sense perceptions, what
are they but different peculiar states of my consciousness, peculiar
determinations of my mind? I see that the tree stands there, but what is
it to see? What is the perception of a colour, of light, of shade, and
their changes? Surely only a peculiar change of my mind itself, a
particular state of stimulus and awareness brought about in myself. And in
the same way I can feel that the apple lies there. But what is the
perception of resistance, of hardness, of impenetrability? Nothing more
than a feeling, a change in my psychical state, which is unique and cannot
be described in terms of anything but itself. Even as regards "attraction
and repulsion," external existence only reveals itself to us through
changes in the mind and consciousness, which we then attribute to a cause
outside ourselves.

It is well enough known that this simple but incontrovertible fact has
often led to the denial of the existence of anything outside of ourselves
and our consciousness. But even if we leave this difficult subject alone,
it is quite certain that, if the question as to the pre-eminence of
consciousness and its relation to external things is to be asked at all,
it should be formulated as follows, and not conversely: "How can I,
starting from the directly given reality and certainty of consciousness
and its states, arrive at the certainty and reality of external things,
substances, forces, physics and chemistry?"

Next: Creative Power Of Consciousness

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