But it has been necessary, for the benefit of the social order, to convert religion into a kind of police system, and hence hell. Oriental or Greek Christianity is predominantly eschatological, Protestantism predominantly ethical, and Catholicism is a compromise between the two, although with the eschatological element predominating. .
The most authentic Catholic ethic, monastic asceticism, is an ethic of eschatology, directed to the salvation of the individual soul rather than to the maintenance of society. And in the cult of virginity may there not perhaps be a certain obscure idea that to perpetuate ourselves in others hinders our own personal perpetuation? .
The real sin — perhaps it is a sin against the Holy Ghost for which there is no remission — is the sin of heresy, the sin of thinking for oneself. The saying has been heard before now, here in Spain, that to be a liberal — that is, a heretic — is worse than being an assassin, a thief, or an adulterer. The gravest sin is not to obey the Church, whoseprotects us from reason. .
And why be scandalized by theof a man, of the Pope? What difference does it make whether it be a book that is infallible — the Bible, or a society of men — the Church, or a single man? Does it make any essential change in the rational difficulty? And since the infallibility of a book or of a society of men is not more rational than that of a single man, this supreme offense to the eyes of reason has to be postulated. .
It is the vital asserting itself, and in order to assert itself it creates, with the help of its enemy, the rational, a complete dogmatic structure, and this the Church defends against rationalism, against Protestantism, and against Modernism. The Church defends life. It stood up against , and it did right; for his discovery, in its inception and until it became assimilated to the general body of human knowledge, tended to shatter the anthropomorphic belief that the universe was created for man. It opposed , and it did right, for Darwinism tends to shatter our belief that man is an exceptional animal, created expressly to be eternalized. And lastly, , the first Pontiff to be proclaimed infallible, declared he was irreconcilable with the so-called modern civilization. And he did right. .
...as the great Unitarian preacherpointed out, that in France and Spain there are multitudes who have proceeded from rejecting Popery to absolute atheism, because "the fact is, that false and absurd doctrines, when exposed, have a natural tendency to beget skepticism in those who receive them without reflection. None are so likely to believe too little as those who have begun by believing too much." Here is, indeed, the terrible danger of believing too much. But no! the terrible danger comes from another quarter — from seeking to believe with the reason and not with the life. .
The Catholic solution of our problem, of our unique vital problem, the problem of the immortality and eternal salvation of the soul, satisfies the will, and therefore satisfies life; but the attempt to rationalize it by means of a dogmatic theology fails to satisfy the reason. And reason has its exigencies as imperious as those of life. It is no use seeking to force ourselves to consider as super-rational what clearly appears to us to be contra-rational... Infallibility, a notion oforigin, is in its essence a rationalistic category. .
In books of psychology written from the spiritualist point of view, it is customary to begin the discussion of the existence of the soul as a simple substance, separable from the body, after this style: There is in me a principle which thinks, wills and feels... Now this implies a begging of the question. For it is far from being an immediate truth that there is in me such a principle; the immediate truth is that I think, will and feel. And I — the I that thinks, wills and feels — am immediately my living body with the states of consciousness which it sustains. It is my living body that thinks, wills and feels. .
To say that everything is idea or that everything is spirit, is the same as saying that everything is matter or that everything is energy, for if everything is idea or spirit, just as my consciousness is, it is not plain why the diamond should not endure for ever, if my consciousness, because it is idea or spirit, endures forever. .
And if the immortality of the soul had been unable to find vindication in rational , neither is it satisfied with pantheism. To say that everything is God, and that when we die, we return to God, or more accurately, continue in Him, avails our longing nothing; for if this indeed be so, then we were in God before we were born, and if we die we return to where we were before being born, then the human soul, the individual consciousness, is perishable. And since we know very well that God, the personal and conscious God of Christian monotheism, is simply the provider, and above all the guarantor, of our immortality, pantheism is said, and rightly said to be merely atheism disguised; and in my opinion, undisguised. .
Neither is the longing for immortality saved, but rather dissolved and submerged, by agnosticism, or the doctrine of the unknowable. ...The unknowable, if it is something more than the merely hitherto unknown, is but a purely negative concept, a concept of limitation. And upon this foundation no human feeling can be built up. .
A terrible thing is intelligence. It tends to death as memory tends to stability. The living, the absolutely unstable, the absolutely individual, is strictly unintelligible. Logic tends to reduce everything to identities and genera, to each representation having no more than one self-same content in whatever place, time or relation it may occur to us. And there is nothing that remains for two successive moments of its existence. My idea of God is different each time that I conceive it. Identity, which is death, is the goal of the intellect. The mind seeks what is dead, for what is living escapes it; it seeks to congeal the flowing stream in blocks of ice; it seeks to arrest it. In order to analyze a body it is necessary to extenuate or destroy it. In order to understand anything it is necessary to kill it, to lay it out rigid in the mind. .
Just as eunuchs will never know aesthetics as applied to the selection of beautiful women, so neither will pure rationalists ever know ethics, nor will they ever succeed in defining happiness, for happiness is a thing that is lived and felt, not a thing that is reasoned or defined. .
Philosophy and religion are enemies, and because they are enemies they have need of one another. There is no religion without some philosophical basis, no philosophy without roots in religion. ... the attacks which are directed against religion from a presumed scientific or philosophical point of view are merely attacks from another but opposing religious point of view. .
To all this, someone is sure to object that life ought to subject itself to reason, to which we will reply that nobody ought to do what he is unable to do, and life cannot subject itself to reason. "Ought, therefore can," some Kantian will retort. To which we shall demur: "Cannot, therefore ought not." And life cannot submit itself to reason, because the end of life is living and not understanding. .
In the most secret chamber of the spirit of him who believes himself convinced that death puts an end to his personal consciousness, his memory, for ever, and all unknown to him perhaps, there lurks a shadow, a vague shadow, a shadow of uncertainty, and while he says within himself, "Well, let us live this life that passes away, for there is no other!" the silence of this secret chamber speaks to him and murmurs, "Who knows!... " These voices are like the humming of a mosquito when the south-west wind roars through the trees in the wood; we cannot distinguish this faint humming, yet nevertheless, merged in the clamor of the storm, it reaches the ear. .
There may be a rationalist who has never wavered in his conviction of the mortality of the soul, and there may be a vitalist who has never wavered in his faith in immortality; but at the most this would prove that just as there are natural monstrosities, so there are those who are stupid as regards heart and feeling, however great their intelligence, and those who are stupid intellectually, however great their virtue. But, in normal cases, I cannot believe those who assure me that never, not in a fleeting moment, not in the hours of direst loneliness and grief, has this murmur of uncertainty breathed upon their consciousness. .
I do not understand these men who tell me that the prospect of the yonder side of death has never tormented them, that the thought of their own annihilation never disquiets them. For my part I do not wish to make peace between my heart and my head, between my faith and my reason — I wish rather that there should be war between them. .
I know that all this is dull reading, tiresome, perhaps tedious, but it is all necessary. And I must repeat once again that we have nothing to do with a transcendental police system or with the conversion of God into a great Judge or Policeman — that is to say, we are not concerned with heaven or hell considered as buttresses to shore up our poor earthly mortality, nor are we concerned with anything egoistic or personal. It is not I myself alone, it is the whole human race that is involved, it is the ultimate finality of all our civilization. I am but one, but all men are I's. .
I will not say that the more or less poetical and unphilosophical doctrines that I am about to set forth are those which make me live; but I will venture to say that it is my longing to live and to live for ever that inspires these doctrines within me. And if by means of them I succeed in strengthening and sustaining this same longing in another, perhaps when it is all but dead, then I shall have performed a man's work, and above all, I shall have lived. In a word, be it with reason or without reason or against reason, I am resolved not to die. And if, when at last I die out, I die altogether, then I shall not have died out of myself — that is, I shall not have yielded myself to death, but my human destiny shall have killed me. Unless I come to lose my head, or rather my heart, I will not abdicate from life — life will be wrested from me. .
And if it is grievous to be doomed one day to cease to be, perhaps it would be more grievous still to go on being always oneself, and no more than oneself, without being able to be at the same time other, without being able to be at the same time everything else, without being able to be all. .
Consciousness (conscientia) is participated knowledge, is co-feeling, and co-feeling is com-passion. Love personalizes all that it loves. Only by personalizing it can we fall in love with an idea. And when love is so great and so vital, so strong and so overflowing, that it loves everything, then it personalizes everything and discovers that the total All, that the Universe, is also a person possessing a Consciousness, a Consciousness which in its turn suffers, pities, and loves, and therefore is consciousness. And this Consciousness of the Universe, which a love, personalizing all that it loves, discovers, is what we call God. .
And thus the soul pities God and feels itself pitied by him; loves Him and feels loved by Him, sheltering its misery in the bosom of the eternal and infinite misery, which, in eternalizing itself and infinitizing itself, is the supreme happiness itself. .
"The bitterest sorrow that man can know is to aspire to do much and to achieve nothing"... sorelates that a Persian said to a Theban at a banquet (book ix., chap. xvi.). And it is true. With knowledge and desire we can embrace everything , or almost everything; with the will nothing, or almost nothing. And contemplation is not happiness — no! not if this contemplation implies impotence. And out of this collision between our knowledge and our power pity arises. .
Proceeding from ourselves, from our own human consciousness, the only consciousness which we feel from within and in which feeling is identical with being, we attribute some sort of consciousness, more or less dim, to all living things, and even to the stones themselves, for they also live. And the evolution of organic beings is simply the struggle to realize fullness of consciousness through suffering, a continual aspiration to be others without ceasing to be themselves, to break and yet to preserve their proper limits. .
In fact, for a voluntarist like , a theory so sanely and cautiously empirical and rational as that of , left out of account the inward force, the essential motive, of evolution. For what is, in effect, the hidden force, the ultimate agent, which impels organisms to perpetuate themselves and to fight for their persistence and propagation? Selection, adaptation, heredity, these are only external conditions. This inner, essential force has been called will on the supposition that there exists also in other beings that which we feel in ourselves as a feeling of will, the impulse to be everything, to be others as well as ourselves yet without ceasing to be what we are. .
Imagination, which is the social sense, animates the inanimate and anthropomorphizes everything; it humanizes everything and even makes everything identical with man. And the work of man is to supernaturalize Nature — that is to say, to make it divine by making it human, to help it to become conscious of itself, in short. The action of reason, on the other hand, is to mechanize or materialize. .
The only way to give finality to the world is to give it consciousness. For where there is no consciousness there is no finality, finality presupposing a purpose. And... faith in God is based simply upon the vital need of giving finality to existence, of making it answer to a purpose. We need God, not in order to understand the why, but in order to feel and sustain the ultimate wherefore, to give a meaning to the Universe. .
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