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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s

Author(s): Carl Friedrich Goeschel and T. R. Vickroy
Source: TheJ ournal of SpeculativePhilosophy, Vol. 11, No. 1 (January, 1877), pp. 65-72
Published by: Penn State University Press
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By Ca r l Fr iedr ic h Go esc h el .
Translated irom the German by T. R. Vic k r o y. (1st Ed., 1835, Berlin).
For many centuries the human understanding has diligently
sought to establish scientifically the doctrine of the Existenceof
God. Hitherto, however, it has found only three proofs, which
cannot produce a true conviction unless the mind is already con
vinced, or some additional proofs are adduced. It is proper how
ever to qualify this statement, since to these three proofs, called
philosophical proofs, a fourth, namely, the historical proof, is to
be added.
So it is with the proofs for the immortality of the human soul,
which, like th proofs for the existence of God, have been called
in question through the Kantian Critique, and hence require re
examination. It has not yet become quite clear however, just
in what precise manner the so-called proofs for the persistence of
the human soul stand in all respects in analogical relation to the
proofs for the existence of God. The two classes of proofs are still
in opposition foe one to the other, being mutually exclusive : in
order that they may appear in their connection, the one must be
interpreted in the light of the other. It is worth our while to
understand them more thoroughly, and hence it is especially nec
essary that we become conscious of the trichotomy in the proofs
for the immortality of the human soul, which formerly as well as
now is demanded externally and historically in the proofs for the
existence of God.
In the next place we have however to remark that here too the
historical proof is to be added 5 for under the consensus gentium
is to be understood the majority (ol ixoXXol)) not all men individu
ally, but the greater part of mankind. For example, the mate
rialists count as little in regard to immortality as the atheists do
in regard to the divine existence. The Atomists, Democritus and
Epicurus, the one having lived before and the other after Anaxa
goras, are outvoted, for Anaxagoras has penetrated to the
c XI 5
5 *
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06 TheImmortality of theHuman Soul.
idea of Spirit. And Titus Lucretius Carus, in his enthusiasm
for death, in his resignation to the soothing negation of restless
life, in his zeal against all being and life and their tedious iramor-
mortalities, valiantly sings his immortal Hymn to Nature,7 which
as the culmination of materialism, has been aptly called the pro
logue to Christianity; nevertheless, as Goethe says, he is like a cer
tain field marshal, who, full of rage, at a critical moment in the
battle, cried out to his retreating soldiers ; Ye dogs, do you
want to live forever! But the latter did not on this account throw
their lives away. If now such Roman hero voices must them
selves die away amid the preponderating multitude, how much
more the voice of a weak, angry, trembling stammerer ? The Ro
man stands yet at least undaunted at the fire, like Mucius Scae-
vola, and lets his best part, his right haud, complacently burn.
He calmly trusts to the quiet of the dead ; he despises the pain
and tumult of life, of which the selfish Ego is the sting,
and he knows no other hope. Hence he is exalted by his con
viction, and who can misunderstand the truth which here
in lies hidden ! If he cannot outvote us, how much less can
Pliny the Elder, who, in spite of all his meritorious learning,
through the openness of his gross sensual materialism, with his
almost passionate scorn against the immortality of the soul above
and the body under the light earth, himself becomes an object of
sport; neither can we be outvoted by La Mettrie, who himself
trembles before that death, which as materialist he must teach!
I11 order to learn the materialism in which mankind is unsus
pectingly involved, although they allow it also again to be
overcome by a stronger faith in spirit in order to learn it in
its noble naturalness and ingenuousness, it is worth while enpas
sant to read the apostrophe of Pliny against the puerilia de-
liniineuta, which in the original, favor immortality. The argu
ment itself is just as puerile as the representation that he
makes of the object which he confutes. He asks, For what then
is the soul without eyes and ears to be used, if she can neither
taste nor smell ! and where finally shall room be found for so
many shades f Not less worthy of remark is La Mettries rela
tion to his own doctrine: he hiriiself confesses that his doctrine
is unable to elevate him above the fear of death. He says : I
confess to myself that all my philosophy cannot keep me from
regarding death as the direst necessity of nature ; hence I would
forever destroy the afflicting idea/ Truly it is even nature,
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TheImmortalityof theHuman Soul. 07
which, iu its individualization, in its separation from the idea,
does not satisfy the spirit!
It is not at all strange that the majority have recoiled from
materialism and at all times have turned away from it, and
through matter have gained intimations of spirit! This majority
desire never to lay aside mortality (avida nunquam desi*
nere mortalitas): the mortality never sated of life, which, with
all its childish conceptions, in the end anticipates the truth and
wrests the victory from it. And what else is that shudder in the
presence of the dead, with which also the consciousness of the
soul of unconscious nature shall expire,what else is this than the
outer witness that death is incompatible with the nature of man?
and the essence of man is his inner nature, the soul. Upon this
also rests the universal voice which protests against the death of
the soul.
History attributes the teaching of the doctrine of immortal-
mortality to various persons. Eusebius says that Moses, through
the traditional lore which he had mastered, was the first to pro
pound this grand doctrine. Herodotus attributed it to the Egyp
tians 5 Pausanius to the Chaldeans and Magi of India. Diogenes
Laertius imputes it to Thales, while Cicero says that Pherecydes,
a pupil of Thales, and others say that Pythagoras, a pupil of
Pherecydes, was the first who taught and published the doctrine
of the immortality of the soul. Be this as it may, there is no
doubt that a direct conviction, presentiment, emotion or faith, as
a remaining heavenly spark of life in each man, has always pre-
ceeded this doctrine of the understanding. For the soul feels
herself immortal, whether she can prove it or not; just as soon
as the soul awakes from her unconscious natural life, she feels
immortality stirring within her; faith, hope and thought awake
with consciousness. According to Hegel, and he too is one who
is 110 longer here,* the pyramids and mummies of Egypt are con
tributions to the historical argument for the immortality of the
human soul. They are memorials of a belief in personal persist
encesymbols which make perceptible to the senses outwardly
the inner truth, the perpetuity of spirit. In a symbolic manner
they preserve the body as the tenantless house of the soul, just
as the soul in herself, as in her own house, is kept and preserved.
It is the spirit of man himself, which seeks to snatch away the body
*Hegel died shortly previous to this, in 1831.[Ed.
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68 TheImmortality of theHuman Soul.
as its organ, from the power of nature even after death, and here
with in natnre itself proves the dominion of spirit over nature. All
funeral ceremonies, all care of the dead, likewise testify to a be
lief in immortality, since thereby the body, even in its exanima
ted condition, is honored as the precious casket of the spirit.
So mighty is this truth in its immediateness that it keeps itself
undecayed under manifold decompositions, while philosophers
and anti-philosophers, in overwhelming majority, adopt it
in all times. Even Peter Pomponatius, although he had
threaded every labyrinth of doubt, and, according to Aristo
telian principles had methodically proved their indemonstrabil-
ity, with all his numerous predecessors and followers, must nev
ertheless believe it. And Plotinus, who himself cannot think
any personality, any self-consciousness in the Godhead Himself,
nevertheless, according to Platonic principles, is compelled to
prove the persistence of self-consciousness in man, in which in
the highest degree he vindicates in man what he could not dis
cern in the Godhead Himself. His last words were, uTry to fol
low up the divine in us to the divine in all. (TTetpdadurbtv rjfilv
dhov dvayeiv rrpbc t o ev tg5 ixdvTt delov) : his meaning was not
to descend but to rise into the All.
Even in our time the historical proof remains unimpaired, how
ever much it is daily torn asunder. How shocking it is to learn
of a certain sect in New York, who have at once renounced theo
retically and practically, the Godhead, morality, and immortality!
For if it truly follows that in giving up one truth, all truths are
abandoned, how shocking it is that man can endure this conse
quence in untruth! and it is even more deplorable to think that
this sect has for its author, the tenderest and most susceptible
part of humanity, namely a woman, an English woman, a Miss
Wright. But admitting that it is true that of the 200,000 souls in
New York, 20,000 confess a belief in such a horrible nihilism,
who would therefore gainsay reason, since there are so many
lunatic asylums f And of these 20,000 deathless souls, will there
then no one be converted from the death of the soul to the life of
the spirit T*
So much for the historical proof of immortality. It rests upon
the universal conviction which obtrudes itself immediately upon
*Such is the impression made in 1834 by an account of the doings of
Frances Wright (DArusmont) in this country in (1825).Ed.
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TheImmortality of theHuman Soul. 69
the human spirit, whose footprints may be closely followed
through all times and among all nations. To this proof even
Cicero appealed, because it had descended from antiquity. He
says: For antiquity which was nearer to the beginning and the
divine race, perhaps discerned this better than they perceived
those things which were right.77 The immediateness of the con
viction gives it this weight. As we know by reason that the
gods are by nature what we suppose they are, so by the consent
of all nations we perceive that souls persist: where they remain
and what they are is to be learned by reason/
According to this the conviction is extended to time as well as
to place; it rests upon its immediacy; on the other hand,
it is reason which helps forward this common sense. Yet
weightier than the history of the historical proofs, is thus
far the history of the philosophy of the immortality of the soul,
which attaches itself immediately to the historical proof, and to
the democratic element of this proof adds the aristocratic ele
ment. This is the moment to which we here direct our attention.
The third moment might be called the monarchical, which in this
case is the first, for it is what is laid down in divine revelation,
and will be furnished throughout all time. While this immediate
revelation continually unfolds itself, it comes to pass that it pro
duces the true faith, which, as a living principle, i>roduces the
democratic and aristocratic moments, purifying and making them
But we abide by the philosophical doctrine of immortality.
And here it is first of all the history, again, which we must
first examine. As a true history of philosophy, such a his
tory must at the same time be a philosophy of this
history. But there are yet many things wanting before
we can attain to it. Even the most deserving works of this kind
contain only scanty preparations and insufficient materials. It
were necessary to go back everywhere to the fountain itself, to
the one next the stream which it forms, in order to be able to
follow it thoroughly in its course through all its meanderings
In the next place, it might be necessary to find out the chief
current in this stream of intermingling proofs, and to hunt up
the chief proof in which all other ideas are concentrated, in their
difference as well as in their connection. These chief proofs of a
preceding philosophy should be capable of becoming valid as the
outlines of a future history of the doctrine of immortality:
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70 TheImmortality of theHuman Soul.
but they should also be vouchsafed a definite basis (Haltpunkt),
in which also the present stand point of speculative philosophy
in relation to immortality may be unfolded, in order to be
able in this to view in a new light the underlying forms of proof.
Hence our first step might be to seek to understand these
proofs in their connected organism, to unfold them one after an
other in their characteristics, and to hunt up in the history of
philosophy her traditional proofs for .the persistence of the hu
man soul. The second step might be, that we add to this first
step the results of speculative philosophy in our time, and in
thought further to unfold and challenge them, but at all events
we should endeavor to derive principles out of speculative phil
osophy and a method in accordance with this lofty science. The
third step should be that, enriched by this intellectual vision and
endowed with a newly acquired insight, we should look back
upon the preceding steps of human investigation, so that in con
clusion we may give an account of the factors and of their re
But there is yet at the very threshold another consideration
which confronts us for which the statement itself contains the
cause. Wherefore is a more painstaking mediation needed, if
the truth is given to us in advance without mediation ? Why do
we need to seek after a truth in the possession of which we al
ready find ourselves ? What does the historical inquiry about
the refinements of other seekers profit us in the end, if the his
tory, the immediate conviction of the happy who have found the
jewel without seeking, descends to us through all time ?
In human life and thought there are not seldom moments in
which wonder seizes us that man will take such great pains to
prove himself and his Author, as if the seeking and the sought
must not both already be present in order to become the seeking
and the sought. Who does not know the heights of conscious emo
tion in which moments nothing is so certain to man as the exist
ence or presence of the Eternal God, in whom he knows himself
secured and sheltered ! And yet we must then again confess,
that we do not yet truly know aright how we are with God and
ourselves, until after that we take a view of ourselves. With
David we soon find God everywhere : 44 Whither shall I go from thy
spirit or whither shall I flee from thy presence. (Ps. cxxxix :7).
And with Job we soon find him nowhere: Behold I go forward,
but he is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive him.
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TheImmortality of theHuman Soul. 71
(Job xxxii :8). If we are not always certain of God, how can we
at all times be certain of ourselves f In relation to ourselves,
nothing exercises us more than death, the world to come, aud
futurity. Oftentimes the feeling seems to rise to an inner exper
ience, the representation to a conception, but before we can seize
it, the wings of the soul again grow weary and sink, as if they
could not sustain themselves at so great a height.
Among the sketches of Moritz Retzsch, there is one, called
Pegasus in the Yoke, in which the hippogriff, loosed from the
yoke at command of a heavenly youth, tears itself away from the
earth, and as a spirit, as a god, mounts into the blue depths above,
and, before the sight can follow it, sweeps away and disappears;
so that, although we may be affected by the sight, yet we can
scarcely refrain from laughing, as soon as we let our glance de
scend to the farmer who, in spite of its useless wings, had invest
ed his cash in the animal, and no longer doubting looks gaping
after the wonderful animal, as it does not go forward in the right
way. It is not to be misapprehended that to man, unmindful of
his immortal soul, under the clogs of the body, all presentiment
seems to depart from the sphere to which the winged horse has
departed, in which it finds its native element, and for the first
time again in freedom, breathes afresh. If it falls, will it not
be dashed to pieces, or if it Hies ever higher and higher, being
freed from all weight, will it not melt in illimitable space and
finally be completely volatilized ? However much we may laugh,
we are all very closely related to this honest husbandman, who
represents the naivest immediateness, aud, like a raw recruit,
holds this clod or matter generally for the main point, for the
condition of all being and life, for the ground and base of all
reality. First of all we are also almost in the same condition as
this farmer was, when we stand at a deathbed and must witness
how the soul frees herself from the yoke, the body, and unseen
disappears. We might station sentinels to watch when, how or
where she really comes out and whither she goes, or whether
she departs at all, or at the same time goes down with the body*
At least Mephistopheles must confess that the thing has its diffi
culties :
From day to day when ? where ? and how ?
Enstamps dull care upon my brow;
So much the if absorbs my thought
That deaths fell power is brought to nought.'
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72 Does theMindEver Sleepf
In this manner the end leads to the beginning. Each man
goes to meet it, and looks back to another; so it seems that
man, although he may stand in the midst of life and thought,
begins anew to learn God and himself thoroughly where possible.
So it is also explained why man, in accordance with his middle
place, seeks the proof to what already is, what he has and what
he feels, and, in this doctrine, must ever undertake the problem
Then many a day one teacheth you
What at a single stroke ye do:
How each to eat and drink is free
And needful still is one! twol three!
Finally, the more present, the more assured the immediate cer
tainty which precedes the mediated cognitions, proofs and appre
hensions is, the more vivid will they be; the more lively the cer
tainty is, the more will the indwelling life, as the life of the spirit,
show itself in mediated thought. For the true life of immediate
conviction consists even in this onward movement to mediation,
which is thought. Immediate faith itself, in which feeling comes
to its own content, and finds also the name for the thing which
is given to man, that it should be happy in him, consists essen
tially in this, that he grows in knowledge and in thinking he
progresses and mediates himself more and more. Like David
the Christian must groan first to become a child in Christ and
then a man, to die with Christ first in order afterward to live
with Him.
Remark, by theEditor. The foregoing is the introduction to the treatise
on human immortality by Goeschel, (17811860) perhaps the most enlightened*
of Hegels disciples. It is supposed that Goeschel is the one exception that
Hegel made to his general statement that none of his disciples understood him.
It is related that Hegel always met Goeschel with a warm pressure of the
By E. M. Chesley.
1. What is mind ?
Mind may possibly be regarded as having been gradually
evolved by and through the countless forces and instrumentalities
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Author(s): Karl Friedrich Goeschel and T R Vickroy
Source: The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 11, No. 2 (April, 1877), pp. 177-197
Published by: Penn State University Press
Stable URL:
Accessed: 12/06/2014 12:27
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 177
I t is not possible to go into particular departments of the uni
versity course of study and erect as it were the whole edifice
from the foundation stone, without at the same time following
the branches of science itself and constructing from them the or
ganic whole.
I shall accordingly be obliged next to present the inter-connec
tion of all sciences among themselves and the objectivity which
this internal organic unity has received from the external organ
ization of universities.
In a measure this outline might take the place of a general en
cyclopaedia of science, but as I never consider these purely in
themselves, but always in special relation to my lecture, a sys
tem of knowledge derived in the strictest manner from the high
est principles cannot be expected. In these lectures I cannot
exhaust my subject. This can be done only in actual construc
tion and demonstration. 1 shall leav3 unsaid much which per
haps deserves to be said, but on the other hand I shall avoid say
ing anything which were better unsaid, either on its own account
or because of the time and the present condition of science.
Translated lrom the German of Karl Friedrich Goeschel, by T R Vi c k r o y .
I t may be presumed as known that the three intellectual proofs
for the existence of God, with which philosophy has so long bus
ied itself, have but recently been proved in their necessary un
foldings and scientific statement. Better known is the relation
between beingand thought, from which these proofs are unfolded,
or from whose unfoldings they proceed, since, in the first place,
out of this outer, objective, substantial existence of the world,
a deduction is made of the creative thoughts as a ground under
lying this existence, which creative thought shows itself as the
power and wisdom manifest in being, and hence as the absolute
12 XI12
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178 TheImmortality of theSoul.
being, and then conversely deduces the existence of God in his
absolute perfection from his subjective thought or idea of God.
The proofs for the existence of God are, in the first place,
transitions from what is most immediate to what is most remote:
they are means of elevation to God, or guides which from vari
ous sides point toward the goal. They may therefore differ as
widely as the points of departure vary. So far these ways and
means of elevation to God are infinite in number. But as surely
as they all belong to being and thought, so surely must there be
a law dwelling in them. They are reducible to a three fold deter
mination, but first of all to a two-fold determination, because they
progress and rise either from objective existence to absolute be
ing, which herewith is thinking-being, or they rise from the sub
jective conception of God, which as subjective still lacks reality,
to the absolute conception of God, to whom belongs also objective
existence. The first of these two paths divides again into two, since
it sets out from the world; and the world in its externality has a
two fold deficiency which it seeks to supply: might and light,
necessity and freedom.
The world is many, God is all, Almighty. The world is object,
limited, dependent, God is the absolute subject, limiting, indepen
dent, Wisdom. In the world being and thought are dirempted; in
God they are united, and this union is Love. So likewise the
three proofs of the divine existence refer to the trinity of God,
which from time immemorial has been conceived as Omnipotence,
Wisdom and Love.
It cannot fail (to be apparent) that all relations develop in
their intention in this triplicity, and that these relations are pre
sented by general categories in successive series.
God is Being, Essence, and Idea. God shows himself first as
being in his omnipotence and necessity; as thought in his wis
dom and freedom; and lastly as both being andthought in his
love. First of all however the connection of these three proofs
of the divine existence is to be seized.
1. The world, as it exists, is immediate, consequently it is contin
gent, i. e., it does not have its ground in itself. The truth of the
contingent is the necessary; this is the immanent ground or the
omnipotence of being, the Godhead. As the ground of the world
and of every creature is not to be found in the world itself, for
even man himself does not have the condition of himself in his
own power, so this ground of the world must lie outside of the
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 179
world, and hence in God; and the ground of God is God himself,
wherewith unconditioned being shows itself as immanent thought.
This is the cosmological proof ex contingentia mundi.
2. But as the world externally, tirst of all immediate or acciden
tal, is without beginning, so internally it is mediated, orderly ar
ranged, only that the lirst self-moving member is wanting. Or, in
other words : the world as it is, is created for a purpose. Hence
it points to a creator creating for purposes; that is to say, to a
rational Author. More definitely it points to an Essence, which
not only determines the world but is also self-determining; for
otherwise it could not be the highest Essence. Thus the world
points back to God. This is the teleological or physico-theological
proof, derived from the constitution of the world. This proof
presupposes still more definitely the harmony between the sub
jective law of thought and the objective law of being, but with
out proving the presupposition; and this defect of proof is that
to which the Critique of Pure Reason is directed. This leads to
the third proof.
3. This, according to which the conception of the most perfect
being itself implies the objective existence of the same, since
without the addition of existence this would not be the most per
fect being. I think, therefore I am; for thinking comprehends in
itself being: I, the finite spirit, think the -infinite, absolute
spirit; and therefore he is as well within me, thinking and
thought, as external to me, independent of me. This is the on
tological proof, which conversely deduces from the absolute idea
the existence of the same, because the former as absolute is here
and now, and hence contains being in itself, as conception it com
prehends within itself existence.
With these simple statements we may now pause and examine
whether in lifce manner also the proofs for theimmortality of the
human soul can be analyzed, or unfolded and united. The object
of this proof is the soul, or the finite spirit, more particularly the
future of the soul. The inquiry therefore is, first, whether from
her present existence and principally whether from her theoretic
or objective existence, her indestructibility has been deduced;
secondly, whether from her practical or subjective existence, from
her inner nature, we may infer the persistence of her inner activ
ity : and thirdly, whether from the conception of the soul, from
her own thinking itself, it can be and actually is shown that im
mortality essentially belongs to the soul.
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180 TheImmortality of theSoul.
I f the current proofs for the immortality of the human soul
in their dogmatic form are not speculative, it nevertheless belongs
to philosophy to show their speculative content, for herein alone
can lie the systematic statement of thefee proofs in their neces
sity. But, in the first place, we may abstract from these proofs,
as we find them formulated in the history of philosophy, in order
to see whether of themselves they are analogically unfolded out of
the proofs for the existence of God. In the next place, it might
be considered whether human investigation takes the same course
in the psychological sphere which we already see lying before us
in the theological sphere.
As the soul somehow exists, she is contingent or immediate;
that is she is placed midway without mediation, and so being
midway she seeks mediation not alone externally, in order to
come to God, but also internally, in order to come to herself. The
soul in her immediateness appears as consciousness, that is as
being which reflects itself into itself, and, as this being in itself
shows itself in its unity. And this unity, a closed circle in itself,
is not subject to division and destruction or change, and is
hence imperishable.
As the soul is determined, so likewise she feels herself deter
mined by a conscious purpose; more definitely speaking this pur
pose is self-determination; as an inner nature the soul feels her
self at the same time destined for self-determination. As the
soul in this points back to a determining being (creator), so also
she in herself points to a self-determined inner nature. Herein
the soul finds herself in a contradiction. She is destined for
self-determination, the development of which is infinite. Self
determination in general belongs to the sphere of the infinite.
Hence in this existingcapacity lor self-determination lies the se
curity for the future'; the future is wrapped up in the very nature
of the soul.
The third argument runs: since namely the conception of eter
nity, of infinite persistence, dwells in the soul, its reality also
dwells there. The soul thinks, which means that she is infinite :
she thinks her persistence and cannot think otherwise, conse
quently reality must also belong to this persistence.
Herewith the desired analogy between the theological and psy
chological spheres seems to be unexpectedly confirmed, but we
must examine this point more closely in order to keep the ap
pearance of arbitrariness at a distance.
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 181
1. The first proof for the existence of God was, that the world
as contingent and immediate, has its ground and beginning not in
itself and not from itself. Therefore the world points to a begin
ning which lies outside of and above the world, and at the same
time is in itself, which is not contingent, not merely immediate,
but is mediated in itself, and is therefore necessary. This begin
ning is thus the absolute inuer nature, the inner nature of itself
and the inner nature of the world. Through this the world sub
sists in God, who is her creative inner natupe : but the world now
seeks her created inner nature: her externality i)oints to her
inner nature, as already existing. The inner nature of the world
is man ; the inner nature of man is the soul. Is not the germ
of nature in the heart of man! As internality the soul is op
posed to the externality of the world. As external the world
is multiplicity, changeable, divisible, material; on the contrary,
as internal, the soul is oneness, unchangeable, indivisible, and
immaterial. In its very nature the outer passes over into other,
for the nature of the outer is otherness: on the contrary, as the
adversary of change, the inner is not dissolved, for its nature is
to be itself. Hence it transpires that the world which heretofore
came to its absolute ground, now also comes to its created ground,
that is, to its inner nature, as to its vivifying principle, which as
inner is simple, and as simple is indestructible.
2. The thorough going conformity to a purpose or design of the
world, which we perceive as outward, heretofore led with con
straining necessity to an absolute and unconditioned principle,
determining all things according tcf its purposes, which we find
only in God; but it also at the same time points toward the pur
pose for which it is determined. As it appears to us, it is first
of all the outer world : we have in this a phenomenal manifesta
tion of the divine purpose. As external world its function is to
utter this internal purpose: we find this to be the. case also actu
ally throughout all spheres of nature and through all interven
ing circles of these spheres; everywhere there is a struggle to
unfold the inner:
Organism consists in this: as the world progresses from
step to step, in each cycle, a deeper phase of the internal is at
tained, but this internal is first fully reached in man. The final
goal of the world is the human soul; it is the nature of the soul
to be self: the aim and purpose of the soul, as it is defined to be,
is self-end. Herein is the soul, as the true end which God has
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182 TheImmortality of theSoul.
willed in the creation, the image of God, actual, infinite. The
aim to be Self is infinite; since this aim lies in the soul, she is
capable of being infinite. The capacity warrants the reality, for
otherwise God could not attain his ends.
3. And finally, if we could abstract from the external world
still we should find God as independent of his own creation, yet
possessed of existence in accordance with the thought of the
most perfect being, which we saw could not be perfect if it lack
ed existence. Thus also, even if we could and would abstract
from the existence and constitution of the soul, and from her
simplicity and infinite nature, in the conception of persistence we
find the reality of persistent warranted, for this thought of per
sistence, as a feeling, a perception and finally as a conception,
actually exists, and so truly exists that its opposite cannot be
With the conception of persistence, consequently the persist
ence of the soul itself is actual. The soul however is nothing
else than self-consciousness: she persists if self-consciousness
In accordance with this it is the human soul or the finite spirit
in which the world, according to its immediateness finds media
tion and according to its determinateuess, its determination. Ac
cording to its innermost essence, this mediation is indestructible
and this determination is infinite. And as the conception of ab
solute spirit proclaims the existence of God, and reveals the es
sence of God, so also the conception of finite spirit as spirit is
hereby first explained, but also through this the conception of its
persistence indwelling in the finite spirit, is given and warranted
in its reality.
We have now arrived at that point in the discussion wherein it
is meet to present systematically the proofs for the immortality
of the human soul or of finite consciousness, as they are recorded
and laid down in the pages of the history of philosophy, in order
to know them more definitely in their primitive form and definite
content, and afterwards to unfold them in especial relation to the
proofs for the existence of God.
In the multiplicity of the proofs for the existence of God and
for the immortality of man, it results in general that one leads to
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 183
the others, and each requires to be carried farther, because it
does not suffice by itself. Another characteristic of this plural
ity of proofs is, that we may think it simultaneously or in suc
cession. In the next place this observation is also confirmed
through the content of each proof.
But it is also true that each particular proof is intended to be
complete by itself. Everybody intends with his proof to com
plete the demonstration. And this happens because the expres
sion of the proof falls short of the intention of the prover, and
because he ascribes to his proof things which he has not really
uttered, but are only in his mind, and yet which are necessary to
the completion of the proof. That the subject moreover ascribes
to its demonstration also what it lacks, is explained by the con
sideration that this deficiency lies hidden not in the subject alone
but also in the proof itself, as the germ of the following unde
veloped proof. When however the same proof, which satisfies
the prover, proves nothing for another, this arises from the fact
that others do ndt see the complement of the proof either in it
as germ, or feel it in themselves, or, at all events, will not recog
nize what is meant until it is also expressed. This is the first
But in this only one side of the demonstration, only the prelim
inary phases thereof are hinted at. The truth lies not only in
the subject as its meaning, through which it becomes conviction,
but it also lies in the object itself: the object has already its truth
in itself: therefore the truth of the object itself is forced upon
the subject, and the latter is vanquished by the former, and con
vinced. This is the second point. The third is however the
proof itself, in which subject and object are united: but they are
moreover only externally united, not mutually inter penetrated:
for the third proof, which is to overcome this dualism, is as a
proof itself yet an external one.
So much as an introduction to the proofs for immortality, which
we shall now proceed to treat in their historical completeness.
1. The soul is simple, for the being of the soul is nothing else than
thought, and thought consists in the unity of the manifold.
Through its simplicity it is distinguished from its external body,
from all externality, to which extension is attributed, while sim
plicity consists in intensity. Simplicity is more definitely imma
teriality, and this is internality. This internality or simplicity is
the criterion of the supersensuous or the immaterial, just as ex
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184 TheImmortality of theSoul.
tension is the criterion of the sensuous or the material. As in-
ternality, simplicity is more definitely this, to-wit: it moves in
and by itself and it is not moved by'another.
I f now the soul is simplethis is the first premiseit is not
subject to any change, neither in space, for it is not extended, it
occupies no space, nor in time in successive degrees, for the sim
ple is not a series, but in all time simple. What the soul experi
ences in the body it experiences not in itself, but its simplicity is
unharmed under the temporary load of the body, as long as it is
united with it.
From the simplicity of the soul it accordingly follows that it
cannot change into another. I t cannot get loose from itself, since
as a simple it cannot decompose: it must therefore remain what
it is. Death is separation, and is therefore the very opposite of
the essence of the soul: death cannot touch the soul, since the
latter is indissoluble. The motto of death is : divide and con
quer. Death reigns only where it can sunder and separate:
therefore death has no power over the soul, for it is in itself in
dissolubly one, therefore immortal, for indissoluble and immortal
are one.
Hence in the popular philosophy this simplicity has been char
acterized negatively as indivisibility, or also as persistency, in
which view the soul itself is treated as an external object, which
ought not to be done so long as it is simple. . On the contrary,
speculative philosophy conceives simplicity as internality. Ar
istotle conceives it as the self-moving essence, and on this ac
count as simple. (De Anima, I I I .4). But the oldest traces of
this psychology are found in Heraclitus, who declares the driest
soul to be the ripest, and dates the proper life of the same from
the death of the body, for it is the body which keeps the soul
from its fellowship with God. According to the testimony of
Aristotle, the psychology of Anaxagoras is more definite, for he
recognized the soul as well in its simplicity as in its immanent
In like manner Cicero seeks to unite both phases of the ar
gument : u Since the nature of the soul is simple, it cannot be
dissolved, because, if it cannot be divided it cannot be destroy
ed. I t lies actually already in this simplicity that the soul sub
sists in itself, nor has its principle of motion in another, be
cause it moves itself. (De Senect. Sect. 78). Consequently the
soul has no external principle, 44which (as Goethe says) only im
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The Immort al i t y of the Soul . 1S5
pinges upon it from without/ St. Augustine (De Civit. Dei XL,
10., De Spirit. An., cap. 24). I f the soul had another, foreign
principle outside of itself, only then would it be dependent, and
would therefore be subject to change. But as simple it is in
itself and indestructible.
This proof, based on the simplicity of the soul, is also treated
by Socrates both in Platos Phredo and also in the Phsedrus, but
Plato is careful not to define the soul dogmatically after the man
ner of a thing imaged in the mind, as a finite existence, but spec
ulatively as the thinking activity itself, through which procedure
this proof is lifted into its higher category. First of all however
this proof belongs to conception (which thinks in images); ac
cording to what this proof declares, it takes the soul as the tliing-
in-itself. Wherefore it is named the metaphysical proof; it would
be more proper to name it the theoretical proof, since the soul as
object is placed over against it, without being one with i t: it is
therefore par excellencedogmatic.
I t is well to mark that this proof from the contingent existence
of the soul, as it finds itself immediately as simple in time, infers
in a consequent manner, its existence out of time, and from death,
by which the body through divisibility is subdued, infers immor
tality which pertains to the soul by reason of its indivisibility.
As far as this proof evidently corresponds with the cosmological
proof for the existence of God, which irom contingent existence
infers eternal being, so far it is par excellencethe psychological
proof for immortality.
In the Phredo, Simmias seeks to refute the premise which as
serts simplicity as supersensuous, with the example of the lyre;
but he is obliged to confess that the harmony which the lyre pro
duces, although it is invisible, is not therefore supersensuous ; it
is dependent upon the instrument and does not have its principle
in itself, while the soul precedes the body as principle of the lat
ter and of itself. (Hegel WW., XIV., 214). J ust as little also
could Kant confute this time-honored proof with the category of
intensive quantity; for this category of degree, according to which
the soul is to fade away and vanish, as light, and heat, and sound,
applies only to finite, sensuous magnitudes, but not to the simple,
hence not to the supersensuous and infinite. (Hegels Logik, I I I .
304, and Hegel WW., I I I ., 260, V. 268-9). Kant has therefore
actually said no more than Simmias, nor more than Lucretius, who
long before him called attention to the diminution of mental
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186 TheImmortality of theSoul.
power with the age of the body, and also long before him was re
futed by Anti-Lucretius. (Cardinalis Melch. de Polignac: Opus
posthumum). Do you then place the divine art of music in the
resonant shell ? and do you think that the instrument, and he
who uses it, the artist, are one and the same ? This is the rela
tion that subsists between the spirit and the body. I t is not
this special instrument, not the external instrument, to which
the artist is bound.
The empirical observation, that the soul wanes in the body, and
with it, till it finally burns out like a candle, from which La Mettrie,
together with all materialists, infers the mortality of the soul
this fact of experience, which also strikes down the most exalted
spiritualism, can hence only prove the participation of the soul
in the ills of the body during its connection with the body. Thai
is to say: the soul diminishes only outwardly, but it itself is not
outward; it itself does not expire, burn out, but this its external-
ization burns out after it has served its purpose.
Thus the butterfly is imprisoned in the chrysalis, and its wiugs
are folded up until the chrysalis bursts. Plato in the Phsedo also
treats of this confinement and redeliverance. The body is the
instrument of the soul, but also its temporary restraint; hence
while the body serves the soul it likewise limits it; if the ser
vant becomes weak, the mastery also suffers thereby. With the
dissolution of the body the soul becomes free again ; now it
rouses itself again to lift and move its pinions once more.
Wherefore we often see the soul in the most vigorous power when
the body dies; often in the last moments of the dying hour we
are permitted to see the spirit yet again in all its supremacy and
independence. Schubert, (in the Christoterpe for the year 1834),
has furnished us with two illustrious examples of this kind.
They are derived from ancient times, and concern the Emperor of
Morocco, Muley Maluk, and the Bishop of Caesarea, Basil the
Great; the last moments of both these men were the most lumin
ous points of their whole busy lives, wherein the might of the
spirit unfolded itself in the most glorious and the most independ
ent way. In them we may visibly see what otherwise invisibly
transpires in the hour of death.
Nevertheless we must confess that this last highest outbeam-
ing of the soul at the moment of its separation and release from
the body which fades and sinks down while-the soul mounts up,
only evinces its difference from the body and its superiority over
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 187
it, but does not therefore of itself prove the immortality of the
human soul. Should not this fact also serve this purpose: even
while this phenomenon of itself, as a sensuous phenomenon, does
not prove immortality, on the other hand it is by this shown that
the waning of the soul with the decease of its external organ
cannot prove the mortality of the soul. This serves only to re
fute the refutation of the preceding proof.
As often happens, we have by this descended into the purely sen
suous sphere, while we wished to defend the supersensuous es
sence of the soul. Kants intensive magnitude, which belongs to
this sphere, contains the immediate occasion of this descent;
hence it also misses the speculative content of the proof to
which it is opposed, and is directed only against the dogmatic
form of the same. In regard to the substance of the proof itself
it stands in much the same relation to Kants refutation as exists
in the case of Kants procedure against the ontological proof for
the existence of God, which Kant meant to invalidate but really
has not invalidated by the renowned example of the $100, the
thought of which is not equivalent to the possession of the same,
and which may be thought just as well on the debit side of the
ledger as on the credit side. For the assumed discrimination of
the conception of a thing from its existence, which he pictured in
the sum of $100, is valid only of the finite, sensuous thing, or
generally of things, while in fact the difference of the finite as
opposed to the actual, infinite or absolute, consists precisely in
this discrepancy between the conception and its reality.
I f the soul is truly simple, it is also as little exposed to a grad
ual diminishing as to division : it is no mere thing, it is inter-
nality, and as internal is not subject to the sensuous conception
of a separation of the inner from the outer, but the internal has
the external in and by itself.
So much for the first, for the so-called metaphysical proof for
the immortality of the human soul, which is the rational, and as
rational, is simple. The Critique of Pure Eeason has shattered
or rather annulled this proof only in respect to its dogmatic form,
according to which the soul is treated as thing. And this is the
immortal service of the critical philosophy, to have overthrown
the dogmatic form of modern philosophy, and herewith again to
have paved the way for the speculative comprehension.
2. But further, the soul, as it is, is constituted and destined for
ends, which being infinite can never be attained here nor in time.
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188 The Immort al i t y of the Soul.
Consequently there belongs to the essential nature of the soulr
eternal persistence which can alone adequately respond to its
wants In its infinite destiny by which it is also a determining
First Cause, infinite persistence is as surely appointed to it, as
that God himself is eternal and cannot contradict himself. uLife
is short, but art is long.
Here belongs also the notion of the education of mankind,
which rests upon the infinite capacity of the development of finite
spirit, and has been more definitely demonstrated by Lessing.
For the spirit of man neither the present nor any other time is
sufficient, but only the fullness of time, the actual infinity, in
which the soul alone finds satisfaction and sufficiency.
I t is well to observe that the destiny of the inner man, if it is
also thought as complete, can be complete only in so far as the
soul attains the infinite, in which its destiny subsists. But the
soul would moreover not yet have attained the infinite as its end,
if it should again cease its possession of it, if it does not retain,
the goal for which it was destined.
Therefore that is also only a species of this proof, in which it
among other things is applied to moral compensation, to the rec
ompense of good and evil according to the principle of justice.
In so far God is presupposed as absolute justice.
Here belongs the proof derived from consciousness, as the im
mediate expression of the soul,a proof which Kant included
under the form of a postulate, because he would not acknowledge
it except as demanded by consciousness, and he found the sub
jectivity of this demand necessary to be constantly put forward
for the avoidance of all self-deception. I t is well worthy of re
mark how in accordance with this, Kant, in the midst of his op
position to dogmatism, against which he fortified himself step by
step, remained involved in the dogmatic mode of apprehension ;
for he still regarded the soul as a thing, as the thing-in-itself,
to which the designation of u subject could not be attributed as
an objective quality, while yet to the soulTnothing can be more
appropriate than to be subject, self-consciousness, or, in a prac
tical relation, conscience.
But leaving this out of view, this is the proof which Kant has
admitted in another form. J . G. Fichte also confesses : uMan
must have an end transcending this life. Fichte finds this end
in the will; but the Ego of this will seems destined to go down
before the moral order of the world.
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 189
This very proof is also otherwise more used than any other in
the various applications. Upon the ethico-religious basis of this
proof rests also the simple protestation, in which the self-con
sciousness utters itself, and which no one can entirely deny:
u However low and mean I am, so at least now and then every
one feels, 4*yet there is something godlike, immortal and imper
ishable in me, in my Ego, namely the Ego itself.7 So the
soul in its innermost being affirms: herein, in immediate feel
ing, it expresses the presence of its futurity: in its existing im
perishableness, it feels its futurity.
First of all moreover the proof in its dogmatic statement is di
rected to the future, as the world to come, which as yet does not
exist: it infers this from the capacity of the soul for it, and from
the constitution and destination of the soul.
Cicero says that the soul is directed more to the future than to
the present. That the sotil goes to the future, lies already im
bedded in the concept of all activity, and in the concept of self
activity, which accompanies the self. uHe plants trees which
profit another generation ; why does he look to this future gene
ration, if after generations do not pertain to him VJ (Tusc. disp.
I., 14).
The death of children, the dying of youth in the midst of their
first unfolding, the setting amid the rising, the breaking down of
the strongest activity in the midst of the course, has also helped
to strengthen this proof. In Platos PhsedO, (Sect. 72 to 78), in a
seemingly opposite direction, Socrates arrives at the same proof,
in which pre-existence is inferred from the circumstance of learn
ing, which is nothing but reminiscence, and from pre-existence is
inferred post-existence, or the future destiny of the soul. Pre
existence is itself nothing felse than the presupposition of a de
sign, for which the soul, i. e., the internal, exists, i. e., it is exter
nal and persists internally. These ends, for which the soul ex
ists, require in themselves the past in their origin or motive, just
as .well as they require the present for their completion in the
future: just as everything which is determined presupposes a
whence as a determining, and a whither, as an aim or limit. Hence
reminiscence is nothing else than the energy with which the indi
vidual soul becomes that for itself which it actually (actu) is in
itself, and must have been potentially before. (Hegel WW.,
XIV., 203-213). *
Upon this jointly depends the idea of creation in general, and
1 3
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190 TheImmortality of theSoul.
the relation of creation to an actual creator. Since God is ap
prehended as the unconditioned infinite being, hence as the abso
lute spirit, creation also, as the work of infinite spirit, is infinite,
i. e., spirit, i. e., it is conditioned in its origin, infinite in its be
coming, but finite in its being, or in a word it is the finite spirit,
i. e., an infinite striving after God. God is infinite being, the cre
ated spirit is an infinite becoming: God is absolute spirit; man
is finite spirit. In this finitude, which dwells in the created in
finity as its limit, is also explained the idea of matter, as the
outer, herewith the multiplicity of creation is set over against the
unity of God, as well as in the becoming of the organism within
its limits evermore transfigured in accordance with its principle.
And upon this is grounded the so-called physiological proof of
immortality so much sought for, before and after Sulzer, which
admits that there is in the soul a truly fixed but essentially
pertaining self-progressive form of finitude or limitation, and from
this limit in its continual assimilation and penetration, inference is
made of the infinite capacity of the soul for development. The
human soul contains this proof in adjectoin its predicate.
Above all, it is the inner, higher improvement, the perfectibil
ity, to which this proof points. Thence also is explained the
higher elevation of the soul, by which betimes in the moment of
death it exults over the future. In Platos Phsedo there is espe
cially an allusion made to the beautiful simile of the swan, which
before death sings its most charming and lovely song, not per
haps out of fear in the presence of death, as mankind are wont
to think, but with an ardent longing after eternal life, with a pre
sentiment of the higher good itself, and in the joy of now de
parting and coming to God, of now attaining its proper end, its
true life element.
I t is ever the same proof which we have traced under its man
ifold metamorphoses: it is known under the name of moral or
practical, and has been popular especially since the time of Spal
ding, J erusalem, Mendelssohn, Kaestner, Kampe, J acob, and
Sintenis. In so far as this proof goes over from the adaptation
of the soul to its attainment, it is teleological; it corresponds to
the teleological proof for the existence of God. And as this last
is also apprehended as physico-theological, so also the moral
proof has been apprehended as theological not only in its rela
tion to God, but also as physiological in the organic progression
of the finite spirit and its analogy to the natural organism, and it
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 191
might be termed anthropological. In the ultimate analysis this
proof rests upon the idea of creation, hence upon the presuppo
sition of God as the creator, just as all conscious teleology pre
supposes the theological principle, the consciousness of absolute
personality. Hence also the purposes, which we read in the
human soul and which we know as the bases of this proof, have
likewise been seized as the purposes of God, which are met in his
works and follow from the same.
Herewith the concrete forms of this soul-proof change only
the more: until the present time they have run together in a
confused manifoldness. But if we now inquire more particularly
we shall have in the moral proof as heretofore in the metaphysi
cal proof, essentially but two steps to distinguish. In its dog
matic statement the proof is primarily based upon the future, as
upon the beyond which as yet is not; there lies an inliuity of
purpose at the basis of it, which never can be attained, since in
finity itself is not yet mediated in itself. The truth of this view
however consists in this, that the future is found in the progres
sive present and is discerned as already existing, whence also in
finity no longer consists in this, that the end can never be com
pletely attained, but much more in this, that the soul cannot
cease attaining it, while a finite end, if it is attained, ceases,
hence also limit and end are demanded reciprocally by speech.
In relation to the metaphysical or theoretical proof, the moral
or practical is pre-eminently the higher step : it lies already in
the naming, that the former begins to consider the soul as object,
the latter on the contrary as subject; in the former the soul is
first of all seized as thing, in the latter as activity; in the theo
retical proof immortality consists in this, that the soul first of
all as simple remains unchanged, what it is, while in the moral
proof it does not remain stationary but progresses without losing
its identity. And if in the next place, in the higher apprehen
sion of the first proof, since it rests upon the simplicity of the
soul, it has self-consciousness of the same as its essence for its
basis, so now also the second proof in its statement, since it
rests upon the infinite destiny of the soul, recognizes the con
sciousness of God, which dwells in the soul as the higher princi
ple. Upon this height Anselm seized the religious-moral proof.
(Monolog., C. 66-72). For since the soul, for itself mortal, comes
through thinking into a conscious relation to God, as eternal per
sonality, its finite individuality is also secured from perishing.
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192 TheImmortality of theSoul.
It has found its principle in which it cannot perish. The linger
of God has touched it, and thus it subsists in the Eternal. Ver
ily a/ saying runs through time that the finite creature, if it sees
God, must die; but the truth is, that only its mere finitude per
ishes. Only that which is finite in the soul perishes. To this is
attached that higher truth, according to which the intuition of
eternal Godhead invests him who intuites with immortality.
Well does the Psyche shrink and quake before the aspect of God,
with whom she has been connected hitherto, though invisible.
This first glimpse of comprehension brings it into fearful ne
cessity and labor in the service of an angry goddess; but it is
love which is angry, and the end is that in*a broader consequence
that intuition of the supreme God is invested with immortality.
Immortality is deification (Goettlichkeit). First through this
inward repletion with God the abstract infinity of persistence
rises to the concrete infinity of the presence.
Hence it appears clearer and clearer how it is that the moral
proof as well as the physiological and physico-theological proofs
depend upon the consciousness of God, in which the soul truly
subsists. According to the metaphysical proof the soul is
through its moral nature, and through the will of God which we
read in the soul, already sheltered from death.
According to the first proof God could, if he would, still de
stroy the soul, (so has onfe actually expressed it); according to
the second proof, God will not do itGods will is expressed in
the soul and the will of God is indestructible. In the Timaeus,
as well as in other relations, Plato teaches the same.
The most perfect work in the creation of God, unfolding suc
cessively all the moments of being and thought, is the image of
God, the creator. The image of God is the created God, which,
elevated above all other works of creation, in this cannot perish,
and cannot be overcome and annihilated by any other being, ex
cept alone the being which is over him, namely, by God. God
could do it, but he will not, because it is a contradiction to the
most perfect creator to destroy his most perfect creation.
But before we proceed further, in order to find the essential
transition, we must more definitely examine the two previously
named proofs, in the process underlying them as a ground. I t is
therefore to be kept in mind that all proof, according to the rela
tion of being and thought, in which it moves, points to a double
mode of finding the transition from one to the other. For in
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 193
stance, it either proceeds from a given existence and infers from
its quality or constitution its necessary sequence, which has no
sensuous existence but is based only upon the necessity of think
ing, and must actually be; or it proceeds viceversafrom the sub
jective concept of persistence with which it formerly concluded,
as its point of beginning, and infers in the next place from its ne
cessity to its reality. Both these proofs, which have been hith
erto considered, belong to the first way; for they proceed from
the position that the soul exists, and draw inferences from its na
ture. The soul exists ; according to its essence it is composed of
self-consciousness or of thought; as thinking, the soul, accord
ing to its objective side, is simple, hence indestructible; accord
ing to its subjective side or according to its intensive fullness, it
has an infinite destiny, and participates in infinity. Thought as
quality, is therefore attributed to the soul, and in its result on
the one side, is simplicity; from which it follows that the soul can
not be changed; on the other side is the intensive capacity for infin
ity, from which it follows that the soul must persist. In both
cases the transition is made from the what and how of its exist
ence, to its complete ideal, to what belongs to its totality. Be
sides this there remains yet the other mode of proof, which in
troduces the third sphere of the psychological process.
The idea of persistence, inasmuch as it is necessary, leads only
logically to reality itself. Ratiocination is itself nothing else
than the constraining power which dwells' in the inner necessity
of the idea. The idea of persistence is moreover necessary, be
cause its opposite cannot be thought, because the entire exter
mination of the determinations of being is simply incompatible
with thought.
That the negation of persistence is unthinkable, has this ground
and purpose, that the cancelling in which it is posited, instantly
annuls itself, for it is the very essence of negation that it negates
itself, whereby the negated being is again restored. As being
belongs to being, so being belongs also to thought. Upon this
negation of negation hence rests the proof of the idea of persist
ence in its further unfolding and higher statement.
I t now becomes necessary that we pursue more definitely the
concreter statements of this to the illustrating of this thir^proof.
From the idea of persistence follows its actuality, for the soul
as spirit is this idea itself. The soul thinks persistence, and
1 3 * XI13
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194 TheImmortality of theSoul.
should it not have it 1 Can thinking thought be and yet be with
out being? Vice versa, it cannot think annihilation, and nothing
is more foreign to the soul, nothing is more out of harmony with
thought than nothing, pure nothing, nothing as nothing; and is
this unthinkable nothing to be the destiny and the outcome of
thought 1or is thought, which is one with the soul, to become
the thought of another, the thought which rests upon self-con
sciousness, to be without self-consciousness t
We cannot think that anywhere a particle of dust in the mate
rial world perishes : how much less can a soul perish in the world
of spirit!
Everything endures, so teaches the concept with constraining
necessity. Everything remains what it is, uninjured notwith
standing its further perfection and transformation. Dust remains
dust, what is divisible remains divisible, i. e., indifferent to its
other being, indifferent to its dissolution ; and yet the soul is not
to remain what it is, spirit is not to remain spirit, i. e., be self
consciousness, indivisible, contradicting its dissolution ?
For the material, its other being is no disadvantage, hence it
also suffers no damage, no destruction, in its transition into other:
for the spirit, there is on the contrary annihilation in the destruc
tion of its self hood, which it cannot of course suffer, since it can
not endure annihilation.
The wave remains what it is, although it sinks away into the
sea; the wave is afterwards as before selfless. And is not the
self to remain what it is, namely, self!
Persistence is necessary, since in thinking itself, as the inner
most oneness of being, it is indestructible. Xon-being hence is
as incompatible with thought as with,being. Since I am, I can
not also not be. Upon this truth also Sternes oft repeated apos
trophe to death is wrecked, but it is also ingenious and suggestive:
I would be a fool to fear thee, O death, says the Ego, 44for so
long as I am, thou art not, and if thou art, I am not.
In this alternative it is presupposed that death could be ; but
this presupposition is instantly annulled, for death consists pre
cisely in non-being, so that death itself is not.
But to death its non-being is scarcely methodically shown,
since it nevertheless comes, as if nothing had happened to it, and
laughs at the artificial proof, which is to kill death itself, and
seizes him who had hitherto disputed him away, so much the
more chillingly with his ice-cold hands.
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 195
Hence death announces itself to the senses as the negation of
life. Now follows however also likewise from this negation the
further negation which death has in itself; and this further nega
tion, the negation of death, is the renewal of life, the new life,
which now verifies itself as imperishable, for it arises from the
absolute negation with which death is overcome. This is the
negation which according to its own essence inflicts upon itself
what it has in itself. The conception, and with the conception
the reality of persistence depends upon this. The first ground
in Platos Phsedo which Socrates renders prominent for proving
immortality, in the course of his conversation shortly before his
own death, also depends upon this. Everything originates from
its contrary and from what it is not. From the negation of life
proceeds the opposite of this negation. As death arises from life,
so life again comes from death. Contraria fiunt e contrariis.
Life affirms itself; death negates itself. Death moreover affirms
life, since death negates itself. I t transforms the nayof death
into the yeaof life.
This proof also draws support from language: we express it
unconsciously. In the first place language itself cannot forbear
ascribing to the past an essential befng. Language also shows
itself in this respect as the utterance of spirit, which thinks for
us, and before we are conscious of it. From this circumstance are
explained the many attempts to develop, in a methodical manner
out of language, thought and the entire content of philosophy,
or truth in the system of its particular elements.
The expressive emblem in the sphere of this proof is the Phoe
nix, which from its own ashes rises again. So we read especially
in the Christian Platonic Dialogue which J Eneas of Gaza wrote
on the subject of immortality. The bird Phoenix is said to live
five hundred years, and then dying and wholly decaying it re
turns to life.
Moreover the name of the proof is self-evident: it is in its es
sence the logical, more definitely the ontological, because it vin
dicates to the logical its reality. Likewise it is clear that it cor
responds to the ontological proof for the existence of God, since
from the necessary conception of persistence is deduced its real
ity, from the concept of negation, which is death, the negation of
this negation is deduced, or from the contrary of persistence, the
contrary of the contrary is deduced, frdm nothing to the nothing
of death, to the nothing which is not, in unceasing progress.
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I t remains that we pursue further the conception of persist
ence, in order to learn how this third proof unites in itself the
two preceding proofs, since these proofs become in it transparent
toward each other. The persistence or the imperishableness,
from the conception of which the third proof proceeds, is in re
spect to the soul, of which it is predicated, or to which it is trans
ferred, to be apprehended as the persistence of self-conscious
ness. Self-consciousness however was the foundation of the first
proof, to which the conception of persistence as self-conscious
ness developed itself in its necessity. The necessity of persist
ence has its ground in the very essence of self-consciousness,
which at first was apprehended as simple, and now has become
adequate to the ideal.
The persistence of self-consciousness is in the next place fur
ther defined in relation to God as personal imperishableness. The
conception of personal imperishableness accordingly has its deep
est ground in the conception of absolute personality, which, as
the consciousness of God indwelling in the soul was the founda
tion of the second proof for immortality, and through this the
conception of a personal persistence gets its final substantiation,
its irrefutable necessity. Hence the conception of personal im
perishableness is necessary, since the conception of absolute per
sonality is necessary. Man cannot fail of personal imperisha
bleness, since he cannot free himself from absolute eternity, from
God. In the sphere of the third proof, both these sides, which
shape first both spheres of proof, are united and concentrated.
The concrete conception of persistence mediates the double rela
tion of the soul to itself and to God. Hence in the first place
the ontological proof for the personal persistence of the soul
comes forth in its deepest signification, as in its innermost rela
tion to the theological sphere, particularly to the ontological
proof for the existence of God. This last proof shows itself
identical with the first. I t vindicates the conception of an eter
nal essence, and in the next place in relation to the finite spirit,
the idea of imperishableness, and the reality of personal imper
In proving the necessity of imperishableness, personal imper
ishableness for sclf-consciousness is also proved as necessary, for
there is 110 other imperishableness for self-consciousness than the
personal. The ontological proof, which belongs to the theologi
cal province, comes generally first through its relation to the
196 TheImmortality of theSoul.
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TheImmortality of theSoul. 197
finite spirit, hence in the psychological sphere, to its complete
content. The meaning is this : the finite spirit which thinks God,
and ascribes to this thought of God in its essential content, the
necessary reality belonging to it, finds itself by means of this
thought in a thinking, i. e., a self-conscious relation to the eternal
essence, whose reality is hereby warranted. The reality of this
relation to the eternal essence of God consists moreover essen
tially in the imperishableness of the self-conscious knowledge of
God, upon which the ontological proof for personal immortality,
since it harmonizes both the foregoing proofs, rests in its last
analysis. Personal immortality is to be verbally translated as
self-conscious knowledge of God in the finite spirit. The onto
logical proof, as its name would indicate, proceeds from thinking,
to which it attributes being. Thought is : hence moreover its
existence is thereby expressed. Its actuality consists, according
to its essence, in the infinity reflected into itself. This is the first.
The second is that thinking itself relates just as well to God.
Since in this his self-consciousness widens into God-conscious-
ness, it presupposes the inner union with its object upon which
the third proof rests. Thinking consists essentially in this inner
union, through which it is purified as well as preserved. Hence
Marsilius Ficinus says : u The human soul is immortal, because
it cleaves to the divine.77 And Cardan confesses: I have
known the immortality of the human soul not now first but al
ways, for I feel sometimes that the intellect is so possessed of
God, that we see that we are again one with him.77 As often as
we feel or perceive our innermost s6ul in its sensual relation to
God and to itself, just so often do we feel or perceive also its im
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Author(s): Karl Friedrich Goeschel and T. R. Vi ckroy
Source: The J our nal of Specul ati ve P hi l osophy, Vol. 11, No. 4 (October, 1877), pp. 372-389
Published by: Penn State University Press
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372 The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
The steps are but the steps, slippery their selves
And in themselves of no account. Enjoy
Thou me, and let my will be thine alone.
Herein is peace divine, and the great life
That is the all------: Shakespeare and Socrates,
And poets old, prophets and saintly priests,
The woods, the sea, the glory of the stars,
Man and the life of man, in streets, in fields,
Children and the woman by the hearthLove !
Nor doubt but He, J esus of Nazareth,
Will make thee sweet in life, and in death mine.
Come thou to me through Him! come thou in prayer
Come, when thy heart is weak and fails thee, Come!
Brute is the world in externality,
And blind, still stumbling in contingency ;
But I , even I , am L ord: I will control
The monstrous masses as they wheel, and check
Them there, and smooth the pillow for thy head,
Make thou thyself but minebut mein Prayer!
Translated from the German of Karl Friedrich Goeschel, by T. R. Vi c k r o y.
Hitherto we have examined the historical traditional proofs
for immortality, and have seen how they are developed from one
another and follow one upon another. From step to step we
have seen how they complete and fulfil, transform and penetrate
the conception underlying them as a ground, and at the same
time complete and perfect it and raise it to an adequate form. I n
order to point out in a word the progress of this proof, according
to its growing content, it can be said that it advances from the
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
immortality of the human soul to immortality itself. For its
way is this that it pursues the immortality of the human soul
fi r st in its objective and secondly in its subjective relation%until
it finally, in the ontological proof, grasps the unity of both of
the hitherto one-sided notions, and hence of the true idea itself.
I t is not without good reason that the immortality of the human
soul, or the personal persistence of man without qualification is
briefly named immortality, and under immortality everywhere
nothing else is understood but the immortality of the human
soul. For so much is already clear: that the conception of im
mortality applies only to self-consciousness, only to the per
son, and includes personality in itself, since everything else is
indifferent to it; since personality consists even in this, to be
other, to be also the non-self, hence in its nature change is an
nulled, and just for this reason it finds its general self-preserva
tion in phenomena that continually present new phases. Fur
ther discussions concerning the inner agreement of the proofs of
immortality will be brought up further on.
We have moreover seen how the proofs of immortality thus
far presented correspond throughout to the proofs for the exist
ence of God, and how both spheres, member for member, are
I n the first proof, God, like the soul, was objecti ve, consequently
he was inferred from, just as the duration of the soul is inferred
from its simplicity.* As the existence of God as opposed to the
contingent existence of the world, reveals itself in its necessi ty,
so also the necessity of its persistence is revealed also in the
contingent existence of the soul ; the soul cannot be destroyed*
Again, in the second proof, God like the soul was subj ect, conse
quently it, as the principle determining things according to a
purpose, is the absol ute reason, the soul as determined to this infi
nite purpose, is the created reason, which, as such, as refiected-
into-self, is infinite, since an internality is attained by it in the
form of reason. I n the third proof, God like the soul is the true
ideal itself; God the creating, the soul the created; existence
and internality is apprehended in it, hence it is actual, and in
consequence this real i ty is i mperi shabl e. I t is so nevertheless
with this difference, that God i s actual, while on the contrary,
the finite spirit becomes actual, that is, it persists. With God is
the eternal now, with man the becoming, that is, the future.
With the accession of power the soul becomes a being, more
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374 The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
definitely an objective somewhat, and external being is ascribed
to the soul as persisting. Upon this already rests the first, im
mediate, yet crude notion, which conceives the soul as a thi ng,
as an external individual, like a stone which one picks up in or
der to examine its properties. With this, however, the further
stages in the development of the proof already mentioned are not
I n like manner in the second proof, with the accession of Rea
son, a subjective internal being with progressive development is
ascribed to the soul. This is itself a progress in the more defi
nite knowledge of the soul, but this internality is, as yet, only
the antithesis of an objective world. Since it always refers to
the future, it belongs to the sensuous phase of thought, although
the imagination struggles with the forces of externality because
it feels itself hampered by it. I n the third proof, finally the soul
attains to its actual i ty through an insight into its nature, hence
to the true character of its persistence; but this truth is yet so
far only a formal one, inasmuch as thought as yet only i nfers its
existence, and its complete actuality. And furthermore this
proof does not belong here, inasmuch as the unity of thought
and being upon which the proof rests is first a mere assumption,
just as also the unity of the soul and of life itself, upon which
actuality depends, is a mere assumption in this proof.
Hitherto the complete resemblance of the theological and psy
chological processes of proof have also verified themselves from
step to step. But now a difference between these proofs pre
sents itself. I t is evident that there can be no question of the
difference between the objects of these proofs, for this is acknowl
edged from the beginning. Without this real difference we
could not speak of their resemblance. But there is also in the
development of the proofs themselves, more than one difference
to be pointed out.
The first difference is this, that the theological proof conducts
us to God's existence, and infers the existence of an absolnte
spirit. On the other hand, in the psychological province, the ex
istence of a finite spirit is the fact from which we start, and upon
which we base our argument to prove the eternal duration of this
existence. I t is evident therefore, that the premises from which
we start and the conclusion at which we arrive, are different in
the two proofs. But this difference vanishes i f we leave words
and take up the consideration of the subject itself. As regards
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul . 375
the starting point, it is properly the existence of God, his exter
nal existence in the world, from which the two first theological
proofs start; otherwise it would be impossible to reach the di
vine existence. The existence of God is his external being, but
he according to his nature is not external. The existence of God
is consequently in this externality nothing else than the antithe
sis of absolute spirit, that is to say, the world, whose existence
was the premise from which we started. As regards the conclu
sion or the goal of the theological proof, it is, properly speaking,
not the existence, but the actuality of God. From his existence,
from his externalization, which is the world, inferences are made
to his absolute,reality, to the actualitythe idea.
So also in the psychological scope. From the immediate ex
istence of the soul, in which the soul itself is not yet developed
into identity with itself, its truth and actuality are deduced, in
which the soul at last becomes identified with itself, or at
least from step to step seeks to become like itself, [i. e.,
to realize its ideal self]. This reality of the soul is
expressed as becoming, hence as persistence or as immortal
ity. Without this persistence, which first of all is posited
in the future, the actuality of the soul is not thinkable, for actu
ality is precisely this, not only to be now, but to be [in all time].
Herein the first seeming difference is again cancelled.
The second difference consists in this, that the third proof, in
so far as it relates to God, from the conception of God, in so far
as it on the contrary points towards the immortality of the soul,
does not arise from the conception of the soul but from the con
ception of persistence. But it does not remain here as differ
ent; for, in the first case, it is really the conception of ab
solute spirit, to whose perfection existence belongs; and in the
second place, it is the conception of finite spirit for whose per
fection infinite persistence is required. Therefore in the capac
ity for improvement there lies also the necessity of persistence
in such a manner in the finite spirit that it cannot think the con
trary, as it cannot exist. With this the second difference is also
A third difference could be found in this, that the discussions
about the essence and qualities of the soul, precede the proofs for
the immortality of the human soul, while the discussions about
. the being and attributes of the first cause in his existence seem
to follow the proof for the existence of God.
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
The objective immateriality (simplicity, indivisibility), the sub
jective infinitude of the soul, and the conception of persistence
are there first established, in order that persistence may be de
duced from it. Here first, on the contrary, existence seems to
be proved, before we can further deduce from it Omnipotence,
Wisdom and Love. But we need to examine seriously the i f
and the how, or the that and the what, to separate existence and
its attributes, in order to convince ourselves of its insepara
bleness. One inquiry presupposes the other, and goes hand in
hand with it. The third difference vanishes also herewith
without further discussion.
We shall further on be able more definitely to enter upon the
investigation which concerns the discussion of the divine being,
in order to compare more accurately also the phases in the
proofs for the divine being with those for human immortality
developing themselves differently to the same end.
So much for the present about the internal affinity of both
series of proof. The further consideration of these and of the
arrangement of individual, separate proofs, is postponed for the
On the contrary it is now asked whether and in how far with
the three previously considered proofs for immortality as laid
down in the history of thought, the whole realm of proof on this
subject is exhausted in this, or whether there are more proofs to
be found: whether thought in so far as the same consists of
proofs, has with this been exhausted, or whether yet other mode&
of proof are accessible.
The historical proof has already been mentioned in the intro
duction, hence it is here excluded. We shall later consider its
proper position.
Aside from this we have already seen that the many proofs in
the third have one origin. I n the third all were transfigured to
gether. Herewith multiplicity is finally disposed of. We cannot
yet exactly see which way is left after the soul has been consid
ered in two aspects, and finally from its total ideain order to
attain to the conviction of its persistence.
We have also moreover further seen that within each sphere of
proof definite steps [develope themselves from one another, to
which yet an indefinite multitude of different modes of view and
inferences are joined. Add to this, that within the same proofs
not only their different stages but also the different proofs join
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul . 377
and intermingle, and by this the number of proofs is still in
creased, until finally a countless multitude of the most different
views arise, regarding which it may be said, that they conflict
among themselves without final disentanglement, clearing up,
and unification.
I t would be even as instructive as it is interesting to hunt up
and examine the whole literature of this discipline in ancient
and modern times in consecutive order, to the end that we might
discover the confirmation of what has been said, in most won
derful colorings. I t lies also in the immediate human interest of
the doctrine that its literature is broader and more copious than
any other. Up to the latest times, popular philosophy has
poured into it all her fancies, opinions, purposes, feelings and
convictions. Greek philosophy, especially that of Plato and Ar
istotle, had already attained such extension in the Neo-Platonic
and Scholastic, as well as in modern philosophy, particularly
that of Descartes and Spinoza, and that of the following centu
ries, that it scarcely availed to subordinate its material ^and to
retain the widening stream in its channel. However, the sphere
of proof itself is completely exhausted in the three branches be
fore mentioned.
Thus Marsilius Ficinus, in the fifth book of his Platonic The
ology, enumerates fifteen grounds for immortality, and again in
the seventh book ten grounds for the immateriality of the hu
man soul, from which again immortality is derived. To these
fifteen proofs the most important of the first sphere of proofs
(The soul) Anima (1) per se movetur et in circulum, (2) stat
per substantiammanet licet moveatur,(3) materise dominatur,
(4) est a materia libera, (5) individua, (6) esse suum habet in sua
essentia, (7) esse proprium habet et nunquam a sua forma disce-
dit, (8) sibi per se convenit esse, nam quod sibi hseretper se, non
separatur a se ipso, (9) non componitur ex aliqua potentia, in
quam possit resolvi, (10) non habet in se potentiam ad non esse.
But these judgments extend over, in part, to the higher spheres,
for example, the tenth into the third : it is generally more easy in
most propositions to reduce all distinctions to the dead level of
tautology than to define properly the difference. As the soul
per se est, stat, movetur, so is it also (11) per se vita, with which
the idea of the soul itself approaches the second cycle of proof:
here belong also more or less the further characteristics, as (12)
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378 The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul
haeret divinis, (13) per se refertur ad Deum (14) esse a Deo
accipit sine medio, by which the system of Creationism of the
soul is acknowledged against Traducianism. On the contrary, it
belongs to the third sphere of proof, if it is stated as follows:
(15) vita prsestantior est corpore, (for it is added to it): corpus
ipsum nunquam desinit esse corpus, quanto minus vita, quae est
per se ? The self less remains what it is, how much more the
self? So also Raymond of Sabund in his natural theology,
(tit. 207), finds five grounds for the immortality of the human
soul, but he himself reduces them to three relations. By com
paring man to other creatures, in reference to others, in relation
to the external world, the soul is nothing else but simple: this is
one. By comparing man to God, according to its divine charac
teristic, the soul is immortal, (1) because the soul can be under
obligation to the immortal and infinite God, (2) because to God
alone glory, to man usefulness; the human soul is the casket, in
which God glorifies himself, and (3) from the nature of liberty,
which requires recompense: this is the second. By comparing
man to himself, in relation to himself, is the soul immortal, be
cause persistence is inherent in it, for a thing lasts as long as its
function: this means, speculatively expressed, nothing else than
that self-consciousness and God-consciousness as a unity (not
sameness) essentially dwells in the soul; this is the third. From
this likewise the position and consequent order of these three re
lations are justified, in which we consequently again recognize
our three proofs in the previously considered succession. I n
general we may say, besides, of such categories of relation, that
they lack not only the adequate categories of thinking,.but
also the characteristic categories of being, hence they, limited
to the category of relation, come into an uncertain fluctuation,
and cannot take up into themselves their chosen content.
So much the more important however are the discussions in
the patristic and scholastic philosophy concerning the cardinal
question, whether the soul is vitality or vitalized, that is, whether
thj soul is life itself or the effect of life, and in how far it could
be life itself although created. These discussions are important,
since the immortality of the soul rests upon them. So says St.
Ambrose (Specul. Naturale, lib. 24, c. 14), and St. Yincent re
peats it in connection with the opposing grounds.
The soul is incapable of death, since it is life, and through this
Is the contrary of death. The soul is the life of the body and its
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The I mmortal i ty of the Soul . 379
own life, nor is it susceptible of death, just as beat cannot per
mit snow, nor light darkness. But just for this reason it is
asked, whether the soul is independent life : the discussions on
this touch throughout all three spheres of proof. I n the
first stage, independence is maintained as objective simplicity; in
the second this abstraction is denied and the soul subsists only
through its relation to God, until finally in the third stage both
moments grow together into a concrete unity, and the independ
ent persistence mediates itself as constantly progressive creation.
Everywhere we are led back to this triplicity of proof. The
triplicity is this, in which the infinite multiplicity completes
itself; in which the difference in the two is made clear, that is,
the infinite multiplicity is once for all overcome, and is hence me
diated to a unity. Also the history of thought appears to us to
point to no fourth proof.
I t need not be regarded as inappropriate here, to (jonsult
poetry also, for poetry is the mirror in which all thoughts
of the time concenter and are reflected, and as rays of light,
break up into the manifold. The proper object of poetry is
man in all his relations and circumstances. The immortality
of man has more than once been the particular subject of
didactic poems. I taly has her Palearius in Latin; England
has her Browne in Latin (I saak Hawkins Browne) and her
Sir J ohn Davies in English. France has her Polignac in Latin
and her Delille in French. N ot has Germany remained silent.
Palearius found his death in fire at the stake, and his
immortality in his poem. As Lucretius Ode to Nature closes
the olden time, so the poem of Aonius Palearius closes mediaeval
times. I n him we can see, as in a mirror, the various proofs
passing in panoramic view before us. I n the first book the exis
tence of the eternal Godhead in his trinity is shown, for upon the
eternity of God depends the immortality of man, since human
personality depends upon absolute personality. The second book
makes clear the distinction between soul and mind [ani ma and
mens']. We see the mind increase and diminish with the body;
but the soul persists amid the change. The soul power is
the same in youth and age, always and everywhere distributing
itself through the whole body, nothing is mixed, nothing is con
creted from the elements.
The soul is the reflection-into-itself; consequently externality
is removed. Returning again and again, she measures her cir
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380 The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
cle or orbi t; capable of cognizing God, the eternal, she lives a
God like life, repeating in herself color, and form, and features.
She affirms her difference from the body, as well as her dominion
over it: We see how the soul rules over the entire body. Yea,
she is mightiest when she frees herself from the body!
Do you not see that the more the soul frees herself from the
body, the more mightily she prevails ? And as she mounts the
ether to the upper world without a leader, she trusts in herself,
and breaks to pieces the fetters of the body and the dark
She is nothing whatever external, and hence cannot go oat into
anything external. She cannot lose herself. Tell me, whither
does the soul then go, and whither does she depart when she ex
pires ?
She can see what 110 eye sees, i. e., she can think, conceive,
comprehend the universal.
Do you not also see what the perception of things signifies!
She can even comprehend the contradictory. Add to this also
that what are in constant strife among themselves have not the
power to strive against the soul: what one calls cold and the
other hot, she presently comprehends both in one.
The soul can comprehend the infinite : How could that which
grasps and measures the infinite, be finite and go to ruin in death?
The soul can enter everything, permeate everything : Yea,
she forms herself, and expresses herself in every form, and as
the father of all things, she permeates all things.
To this is to be added her longing after imperishability. For
such longing is not inserted in vain in human desire. Therefore
nothing could be so wretched as the highest work of creation, i f
she should nevertheless be destined to dissolution.
Alas! i f the last glimmer of life despoils everything, how un
happy would mankind be! I t would be cruel injustice, not a
sweet nourisher, but spiteful fatality.
But her infinite speed is also a warrant for her infinity, through
which she is able at once to wander through all time and space :
What is quicker than thought ?
The soul wanders through all pathways, she investigates
everything, she measures everything in her flight, much quicker
than a swift current of air. See ! now she hastens to the shores
where the sun sinks into the ocean, now to the treasures and peo-
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul . 381
pies of the East. She wanders through all lands and the track
less wastes of the sea, through the air and the skies.
The soul penetrates the future, since the future belongs to her.
u The power is not mortal which is thus able to know the fu
The last is also this,and of this the third book treatsthat
the future as righteousness, for the restoration of justice, with
which this life closes as with a discord, is demanded in a manner
that cannot be refused.
What is determined to him as wages certainly awaits this in
the fixed order of certain penalty. This is justice, as God
the requiter administers it. For right as it is here adminis
tered by men, does not full}7satisfy justice.
This is the principal content of a poem now no longer read
[Palearius : Three books on I mmortality of the Soul]. I t begins
with the power of simple self-consciousness, which in every as
pect it endeavors to make harmonize with the religious conscious
ness, upon which the universal belief of mankind in persist
ence rests. I t contains consequently a series of energetic
pictures, which for the most part in sensuous expressions wit
ness for the supersensuousness or immateriality of the soul, but
also otherwise do not overleap the limits of the already devel
oped spheres of proof.
I n the same vein, but really in narrower limits does Polig-
nacs Anti-Lucretius move. I n the fifth book upon immortality
he comes to confute Lucretius, Spinoza and Locke. The Carte
sian philosophy is here rendered in verse. The proofs themselves
rest upon the dualism to which Descartes had found the solution.
Body and soul are in such manner separated that their connec
tion is only to be explained by the continual influence of God.
u What bond unites natures so unlike.
This corresponds to occasionalism. Surely it is the Godhead
himself who has united the soul with the body, otherwise they
could not in any way be united.
The grounds of these proofs belong to the sphere of the first
and second proofs. The poet collects them finally, when he
prepares to disclose the mystery of the connection between
soul and body.
Great things this song unfolds. And i f I do not err the proofs .
^until now are >three. One is that the soul alone is able to move
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382 The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul
the body. Then it follows that the souls of men are not woven
of parts, that their nature is indissoluble, and that they live for
ever. Finally, whatever the will plans and does, this is done
with the perfect freedom of the mind. Matter does not coerce the
union, nor with oppressing weight of fate does the dark power of
nature, but the mind freely takes up or deserts the object of its ap
plication. Therefore so long as the body with its organs cleaves to
the spirit, the soul can merit wages and earn punishment, and at
the end of the course of the fleeting years of life, the pure and
perfectly just await an endless life.
But of still weightier import is the Latin poem of I zaak Hawk
ins Browne. I t is important on account of its content, since it
brings together in relation to the immortality of the soul all the
rays of philosophy from more than a thousand years of its his
tory, and seizes the individual moments of proof with freshness
and vivacity. I t is also important on account of the time in
which it was written, which had to grapple with the most boldly
expressed doubt,for it was contemporary with Bolingbroke (11751)
and Hume (fl776) [ Essays on Suicide and I mmortality].
Against the former the poet defends in a lengthy Latin poem the
personality of absolute spirit and the immortality of finite
spirit. The son after the death of his father has communicated
to us a portion of this apology. But the poem on immortality
lies completely before us. I t begins in the most vital part with
the question, from which all the branches of the moral proofs of
immortality are developed. They are such questions as al
ready have their answer in themselves: What end does such
a seed of the divine mind serve, i f it cannot grow and bear the
fruit which exists as a germ within i t i
This proof is seized in its profundity. And in what else does
the deeper ground and the content of immortality consist, in what
else does the intensity and the intention of the personal persist
ence of the finite spirit consist than in reminiscence wrhich
points not only backwards but also forwards ? The middle state
in which the soul finds itself, the position between its past and
its future, or rather not the middle state, but the interval which
separates it from its origin and its destination, is a condition
which is not adequate to its ideal.
But so long as life lasts, (we call it life i f it is concealed in the
dark shell of the body) the living power of the spirit is benumbed,
and cannot expand the wings freely for its upward flight. Y et
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul . 383
many vestiges of its origin remain. For whence otherwise orig
inates reminiscence ? Does not the mind arrange everything in one
so skillfully and lay it aside again for a purpose ?
This reminiscence is the chief power of spirit: but the same
spirit is in every line of the anti-Lucretian verses in all its force, in
all its works, in all its aims and manifestations brought forward to
testify that here is more than nature in all her glory. This of
itself leads back into the content of the first proof.
And whence is the miracle of spirit? Does not power dwell
in it free and independent, elevated above all intermixture with
matter'? He is yet conscious of himself, wills, wills not, hates
and loves, fears and hopes, and enjoys himself and is afflicted by
his own inner power, for to thought the body is always subser
But the more the superiority and dominion of the mind is evi
dent and is reflected in illustrious individual examples, the more
closely does it approach the historical proof for immortality.
u Who does not feel in his innermost being that in his death
something of himself survives? I t is an inward testimony. Of
this all antiquity testifies. The public voice proclaims it. No
people are plunged into darkness so profound that they do not look
beyond the grave in expectation of a future. Thus widely the
powers of the world to come operate.
Among other things are also the Egyptian pyramids. u I mper
ishable stand the colossal pyramids. Not less the mummies
with all manner of embalming and picturing. Upon the mum
my is traced the likeness of the living. So deep inborn in each
is the hope, so firm is the trust that after the dissolution in death
our better part persists, which no natural force can overcome,
no tooth of time destroy. And funeral services of all descrip
tions. What do funeral obsequies mean? What is the sig
nificance of the anxious care over the dead and the elabo
rate structure of the sepulchre? i f they are not the expressive
witness of universal belief in immortality, the speaking prdof of
immortality itself held forth ?
But as this proof, on the one hand presses forward with the
constraining force of a conviction, so, on the other hand, it has
its difficulties. I t is not everybodys affair. I ts difficulty lies in
its sensuousness, in externality or materiality, from which we are
unable to separate ourselves. Nevertheless the universal author
ity of conviction, the forcing to a faith in persistence is yet
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384 The I mmortal i ty of the Soul .
mightier; it overcomes all difficulties which the senses offer.
Before faith will give up immortal life, she prefers to admit crude
images of sense perception, with their fables of Orcusand Hades
in order merely to maintain the concrete self. Since it is so difficult
for the soul to think herself as existing without the body, to sep
arate the mind from what is tangible, the childish thought of the
people lends to it the form of the body/
So far the poem. Now it appeals to Socrates, particularly to
the conversation of the Grecian sage before his death, for thence
all the proofs accessible to human reason are taken. But now
also the poet has recourse to the light of revelation, which like
sunrise on the heights illumines all darkness, overcomes all doubt.
Yet this light was previously announced in the wonderful proph
ecies of the Roman poet Yirgil. Yet these prophecies them
selves are looked upon as rays cast back from that light, which
have astonished many centuries ! Of this the poem treats, mov
ing on in Virgilian verse.
The fullness of time now brings to us what we long to see,
help from above and the advent of God.
With the mentioned light of revelation however, the grasp of
human reason is only still more required and empowered to de
velop light from light, and to develop itself in the light.
Therefore we despise not the aid which reason affords us.
The way which thought takes, i f it advances from step to step,
leads just as well to the connection of the soul with the body,
which is not to be ignored, as to the separation of the
soul from the body, to the independence of the soul from the body
in this separation. For however inward also the connection is,
namely the bond between the soul and the body, yet the duration
of the soul in itself, the connection with itself, is more secure,
namely, indissoluble.
Hence it is not to be denied that the spirit unites itself with
the body in many ways; this is the characteristic of the recipro
cal bond. But also the spirit which is far removed from na
ture, shows itself not identical with it, though nature often
proves itself sprung from a divine stock.
This superiority and freedom of the mind unfolds itself in the
final weakness of the body. The overcoming life of the soul
often raises itself most conspicuously in the moment of death.
I f in the approach of death, the members grow stiff, there
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
the lightning of the spirit raises itself higher: full of God the
soul shines forth.7
I n the second book of this remarkable poem the moral proof
especially is more particularly carried out. The various sides of
this proof are examined : the objections to it are answered. And
as in all times morality itself has declared against the moral
proof, so here it is opposed to it. I t does this daily in trite forms
of expression.
But you complain that he is moved by the hope of reward,
not by love for the good, nor by a sense, for the right and the
truth holds to duty. For his virtue is sordid who does light that
he may receive a reward after death.
To this indomitable pride of duty which glories in its disinter
estedness and simultaneously is wrapped up in its own self
praise, the answer is easily given. I t touches at once the third
So be it! Yet he would be bad, who does not cling to this,
who does not hold fast in view the goal which his vocation pre
scribes for him, who from his innermost longing raised above the
earthly, does not soar up in intense desire to behold the everlas
ting beauty.
I t is so easy to comprehend that not the purpose, but the kind
of purpose, not the reward in itself but the sordid view of it,
can pervert virtue unto her opposite. Virtue consists in this,
that a man follows his heavenly calling. But i f ethics will de
clare him only to be good and virtuous, who follows no other end,
and demands no other reward than to end self less, so be i t ! No
thing further follows from it than that our moral objector need
not give himself such immaculate and virtuous airs, and on ac
count of this, hope also deliverance from the body of this death,
in order to see God and to enjoy God, for the reward is like the
vocation, no other than to see God as Le is.
Finally all proofs are collected for a better survey. He who
is able to think purely and to will, this spirit is not woven out of
earthly material, but is something-for-itself, independent, immor
tal. But God could extinguish it 1 So be it! God could do it,
he could do it if it were the divine will, but he wills it not. For
verily the power of cognition, which comprehends so many
things, which reaches out beyond this life, verily the thirst of the
eternal, which the earthly never can sate, and the desire of our
2 5 K I 25 '
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386 The I mmortal i ty of the Soul .
soul which deeply moves within us, aspiring after the perfect, are
not in vain.
So much from the well-nigh forgotten poems of the past. We
have in this found in the mirror of poesy, exactly what expresses
outwardly the inner content of philosophy. While philosophy
has to struggle with the contrast between the inner and the outer
or between the soul and the body, to know it in its necessity and
to transform it into a unity, poetry on the other hand utters
thoughts in mental pictures, and on the contrary reflects ideas into
feelings, in order to do justice to the external and internal.
They are the same notions and feelings which up to our times
have transmitted themselves in the most varied forms, improved
in manifold ways and connected with each other without adding
any new content to it.
Here is likewise opened the wide sea of popular philosophy,
in which thought evermore goes to ruin, and through extension
loses its proper nerve and germ. I t is evident that we cannot
follow this exercise farther into detail. I t is nevertheless impor
tant to mention Mendelssohn who in his Phaedo sought to unite
the metaphysical and moral proof for reciprocal support. This
Phaedo of Mendelssohn since 1767 has maintained a lasting and
wide spread fame. During this time it has been more convenient
and more accessible than the Platonic Phaedo. I t seems as i f no
anti-Phaedo, no Critique of Pure Reason would be able to displace
it, for it has in its content an invisible ally which contends for it.
Also more recently many have followed it. And so it happens
that in one time, where on the one side the understanding through
the defeat of its dogmatic process, on the other side the rich
content of faith in the first form of i,ts immediateness, the credo
itself had lost its credit, where it was neither awakened on ac
count of a deeper speculative founding nor on account of a liv
ing mystical mode of comprehension, all three proofs in their ac
cessible stages according to the manner of cultivated feelings
have been connected with each other. For feeling faithfully
holds its power among men, even when all higher and more per
fect faculties of spirit rest as paralyzed. Of this union of
intellectual proofs in the form of feeling, Tiedges Urani a partic
ularly treats. This book was read as much in its time as Men
delssohns Phaedo, and since both books only touch the surface,
they enjoyed a common popularity. I n the same category, only
with a more clearly marked determination, belong J ohn Paul
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul . 387
Richters Campaner-Thal and Selina, without mentioning his
innumerable predecessors and followers. One more popular exper
iment succeeds another. Each one supposes that he has found
something new, for each one has a different statement of the same
proof, and each proof has different sides.
Of late, Sir Humphrey Davys Consolations in Travel, or the
Last Days of a Philosopher, have been translated into German.
These Consolations contain many historical and physiological
observations, including meditations upon the Proteus Angui nus,
upon respiration, and upon immortality. While these reflections
seek to discover the secret of spirit which everywhere proclaims
itself, they bring it nearer to feeling, which in the presence of all
visible, inexorable perishableness, longs for the invisible and the
Herewith at once seems to struggle forth at last out of the full
ness of feeling still another new content for an intellectual proof.
This proof consists in this, that the invisible and unchangeable
are deduced from the visible and transient, and this proof further
rests upon negation, which also appertains to the changeable.
But with this also this view goes over to the third proof and in
its result to the first, which turns on the simplicity and invisibil
ity of the soul, and seeks to derive logically from these its un
changeableness in opposition to the changeableness of all visible
things. This view, upon closer analysis, is seen to proceed
from the two proof-spheres.
Such combinations of different proofs are partly involuntary,
partly premeditated. But there lies in them this defect, that
what there lacks in the individual proofs to produce conviction
must be made up through the combination or completed through
the feeling. Hence it also happens that, in order to cover the
baldness of the understanding and to gain for it a content where it
is lacking,one mixes everything with everything else and stirs them
together in the most affecting manner. And yet in such commix
ture and confusion is expressed not only the actual combination
of individual proofs which mutually support each other, but also
the deep longing of the human spirit, demanding the co-operation
of all spiritual powers for its conviction, although sometimes one
and sometimes the other prevails.
On the other hand, in despair of all intellectual proofs, some
have indeed wished to vindicate not only immediate faith, but
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388 The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
also natural feeling, as immediate certainty, and to give it the
preference over all mediation, since the latter and the knowledge
proceeding from it, seems to consist precisely in those proofs and
to remain externally in these. As we find the existence of God
elevated above all proof, the essence of God above all existence,
so we also find the persistence of the personal subject immedi
ately certain, since the medium of proof is according to the view
which it holds, and is not adequate^to its task, and hence cannot
answer to an inner conviction.
I n this we are now drawn to the last inquiry in this part of our
work. I t is asked whether the force of the proof does actually
lie in the previously considered proofs for immortality. The
question has likewise been put in such a manner as to inquire
whether the immortality of the humau soul can be demonstrated.
So much have we already seen, that the agreement of thought
and being lies at the bottom of all the proofs in their various
shapes and applications]; for these rest upon the laws of thought
which are applied to the present and future being of the soul.
This agreement is however as yet an unproved presupposition.
The proofs rest consequently upon a ground which is not stead
fast, and itself is now wanting in inner justification. Hence the
agreement of thought and being must first be proved, which is
not possible in this method of proof, since each proof presuppo
ses this agreement, while the proof itself is realized only through
thought [and not through being]. Or it must be able to vindi
cate the being of thought itself, or it must show thought and its
persistence to be independent of being itself, or in fine the duality
between being and thought must be cancelled. However within
the sphere of this proof it has not yet been done, although we
have made the speculative content as conspicuous as the same
can now be made in its highest development.
Hence so long as these proofs remain dogmatic proofs, that isr
so long as they rest upon the dualism, and the agreement of both
sides is only presupposed, so long as external demonstrations,
they cannot produce any i nner conviction. On that account one
generally is understood to be in agreement with a dualistic stand
point. One says, k4Our views are so and so, but who will give us
a warranty that objective validity may also belong to them VJ And
moreover whatever may be in this critical doubt, this much is
evident, that the dogmatic procedure itself demands it in ad*
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The I mmor tal i ty of the Soul .
vance, since it itself rests upon this dualism, and yet does not
apply to it. Thus if, like every other external object, the soul be
treated as a thing, exi stence will be ascribed to the soul just as
it is imputed to every other thing; and to this external objective
mental picture there is again applied a predicate which does not
apply to a thing, but belongs only to the personal subject, vi z.:
simplicity, immateriality. Or the soul is comprehended as sub
ject, but to this subject is attributed as essential a property
which does not belong to things, viz.: persistence, futurity. Or
a subjective conception is applied to the soul, as i f it were a
thing. I n all three cases, the process of a presupposed dualistic
notion is not adequate and is not correspondent to the being of
the soul itself. Nay, on the one hand, the whole conception of
being in all its external dimensions seems indeed to correspond
to the soul as to thought, in so far as the soul exists, although
the very question is, whether the soul exists; but on the other
hand, it is not at all satisfactory. Exi stence seems to belong to
the soul, but its essence and completeness do not consist in
this. For the soul is essentially this: 44to be for itself and not
for another being [i. e., dependent on it], and therefore primarily
it is never an object at all, still less a thing-in-itself. (Schell-
ings Philos. Writings, I ., 224).
I n this the dogmatic process appears also again to be vindica
ted. For i f both being and thought inhere in the soul in a unity,
so it appears also to be fitting that the dogmatic psychology ap
plies to its object both determinations, since it not only deduces
futurity from present existence, from outward objective being, but
also from the nature of this existence, from the internality of be
ing. This only is wanting to the dogmatic procedure, (1) that
it does not justify i tself; (2), secondly, that its conclusions, its
goal, does not elevate itself above the sphere of being itself, in
asmuch as it is seized simply as future being. The principal de
fect however is, that the relation between being and thought re
mains unexplained. From this it seems again to follow that the
proofs heretofore considered, i f they are speculatively compre
hended, lead to an actual knowledge and conviction, only that in
being so comprehended they cease more and more to be dogmati c
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The Journal o f Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 2 (April, 1883), pp. 154-162
Published by: Penn State University Press
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154 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
Ch a pt e r II.1
Personality, or the Immanent Development o f the Soul and its
As the crowning result of the labor of all previous periods,,
philosophy has at last discovered its true method, and therein
attained the one form adequate to its content. It is true that the
critical philosophy arraigned the dogmatic procedure, and exposed
its inadequacy, yet this same critical philosophy fell into the
dogmatism it denounced, and the dogmatic method of demonstrar
tion (in part under the altered name of construction) prevailed
until philosophy attained insight into the genetic development of
the idea. Even now the speculative method is grossly misunder
stood ; it is still to many an insoluble enigma that the content
should be developed from the concept from the concept mean
ing to them just as much as, and not one whit more than, the old
a priori. In the worst case of all, however, are those who, under
standing the open secret quite as little as others, yet insist upon
their own comprehension. The philosophy which has not only
recognized the inadequacy of a method based upon the dualism
between Being and Thought, but has also substituted for it the
progressive development of the concept or notion growing out of
and moving towards the identUy of subject and object, is, by
such as these, harangued and tutored, and condescendingly urged
.to consider the wonderful fact that a formal or subjective logic is
not adequate to objective reality and true conviction, and that
this subjective logic must, therefore, be supplemented by objec
tive experience. Thereupon this experience is interpolated ex
tempore instead of being included as method in the identity of
Being and Thought, and developed and mediated in the develop
ment of the concept or notion. The object is not something
1[The introduction and first chapter of this work were translated by Mr. T. R. Vick>
roy, and published in volume xi (pages 65, 177, 872) of this journal.E d.]
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The Immortality of the Soul. 15&
different from its concept or notion, but one with it; hence, the
object develops in and through itself, and through this devel
opment comes to its experience. Methodically pursuing and
following the object, we experience it in ourselves. How this
may be more definitely understoodhow the self-developing, pro
gressive movement from the concept identical with its object, or
from the object identical with its concept, which the subject looks
upon and follows, reveals itself as the most vital experiencewe
shall learn in the progress of the task which we have set ourselves,
and we shall also see clearly how this movement differs in the
sharpest manner from the dogmatic method of proof of which
dualism is the root, and which (whether interposed a 'priori or a
posteriori), being transcendental, is necessarily external.
Critical philosophy reproached dogmatism for presupposing
without proof the agreement of thought and its object, and this
reproach was deserved. It then sought to show that this agree
ment could not be proved ; the attempt was, however, an utter
failure, and the proposition that the unity of Thought and Being
could not be demonstrated proved to be itself undemonstrable.
It is most remarkable that this critical philosophy, while challeng
ing and censuring the presupposition of the as yet unproved iden
tity of Being and Thought, itself presupposes, without demonstra
ting, the duality of subject and object. With the recognition of
this defect, progressive philosophy learns to presuppose nothing,,
neither to assume anything nor to accept anything as already
settled, but to investigate and discover how everything given
immediately develops and mediates itself. In this manner we see
Being develop itself logically out of Nothing, through Becoming,
to the Notion or Comprehension and the Absolute Idea, and
then conversely find these several steps, moments, or categories
outside of and beside each other in whatever is immediately
given. This done, we are at home everywhere in general, for we
have learned to complete the circle from any given point of its
circumference. It may be objected that, in the Logic, Thought
immediately presupposes and postulates itself; we answer that
thought is immediate only in so far as it is its own mediation.
Therefore, it is the beginning which realizes and confirms itself
in its development, and in itself it both finds and surmounts
being. That thought is its own mediation is no ground for rec
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ognizing something different from thought as prior to thought,
but, on the contrary, this self-mediation forces us to recognize
thought as the true beginning from which Being develops itself
into Comprehensionherewith proving, also, that being pertains
to Comprehension.
This general course of development once mastered, any special
experience in any sphere of the real world will reveal itself as a
necessary internal development of the thought of the given object,
and with ever new astonishment we shall be confirmed in the
recognition that in whatever is immediate may be found, though
in manifold and varied forms, the same moments or categories
which revealed themselves on the plane of pure thought.
The given object in our present investigation is the human soul.
It is given as Thought, and can, therefore, still less than other given
objects, withdraw itself from the categories of Thought. We shall,
however, not make even this presupposition, but shall simply ob
serve how; the soul develops in itself. We shall take the soul as it
isabstracting nothing from itimputing to it no foreign or exter
nal element. The command laid upon Philosophy, says a great
master, is like the Saviours command to the rich youth, who, hear
ing it, went away sorrowful. Pure philosophj' thrives only under
poverty and restraint; like the nun, it is bound by the three mo
nastic vows.
If, then, the soul develops according to its own essential nature,
and, in obedience to its own laws, moves forward to its immortality,
it cannot be reproached with having borrowed help from something
external whose accord with its nature must be demonstrated. The
critical consideration whether the categories, as subjective forms,
can be held valid in the object has certainly no validity in the
psychological sphere, because here the subject is unquestionably
its own object. The more rigorously, therefore, in this sphere
must the demand be insisted upon that there shall be no transition
as in a demonstration from one to the other in order to bind to
gether in thought things which exist as separate ; but that, on the
contrary, the one shall produce in and out of itself its own deter
The question whether the soul persists presupposes the progres
sive development of the soul. For, if the soul does not progress
neither can it perish; it remains as it is and what it i s : having
156 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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The Iinmortality of the Soul. 157
permanence, can it lack continuance? If, on the contrary, the
soul progresses, it does not remain as it is, and, therefore, it be
hooves us to see if it remains what it isthat is to say, whether,
under changes in its modes of manifestation, its essence remains
Evidently all turns upon the mediatorial question of how the
soul develops or progresses. In the answer to this, the immediate
questions of whether or not the soul progresses, and whether or
not it persists, are also answered. Just on this account we must
postpone these immediate questions which insist on fixing, in
advance, the end of an untravelled road, and confine ourselves to
the concrete question of how the soul develops and unfolds. We
shall follow the soul in its own path; thus following, we shall
learn whither the path tends.
Herewith we are directed into the path of experience. As we
know the soul first under the form of its immediate existence, so
we can follow its progressive development and note the various
phases of its manifestation. There is no ground for presupposing
a difference between Being and its experience; rather the experi
ence develops itself out of Being as Being develops itself out of
thought. We might, however, move from Thought as our start
ing-point, in order therein to recognize the same categories. No
matter how we begin, whether we move from the accidental and
immediatei. e., from a given objector whether we start with
the Universali.e., with Thoughteverywhere, in the most dis
tinct and varied spheres, we shall find the same progressive move
ment.* The universal particularizes itself in differences which
then again mediate themselves in unity. The comprehension or
concept dirempts itself in itself into subject and object in order to
annul this separation in their identification. The subjective con
cept divides itself in judgments that it may reunite with itself in
the syllogism. The first phase is the immediate unity and total
ity ; the second, the self-diremption of this totality into being and
essence, outward and inward; the third is the transfiguration of
the difference into unity. Thus man, too, is first a single and
undivided essence ; but he dirempts himself into outward and in
ward, body and soul, and this diremption occurs not only in thought
through reflection, but also in fact through death. The final phase
would be the transfigured unity of soul and body; this is the res-
1 1
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urrection in the *Spirit. Upon this insight rests the trichotomy
of the New Testament, which ascribes to man body, soul, and
spirit, and to the Godhead ascribes three persons.
In our present inquiry, however, the starting-point is not man ;
he has served us only as the example of a universal law of de
velopment. Not man in his totality is our starting-point, but a
part of man, itself first abstracted through reflectionnamely, the
soul of manbut the entire soul. Neither is resurrectjon our
goal, for we must seek our goal, not assume it. Nevertheless, as
resurrection is the ultimate truth and goal of the soul, it is obvi
ous that from the beginning of our inquiry some kind of persist
ency conformable to the essence of the soul must be presupposed.
It is obvious, also, that in the idea of resurrection there is im
plied, as a necessary condition, the perpetuity of the body in a
manner corresponding to its conception or notion, which is that
of externality or otherness. Thus much, therefore, may be pre
supposed; namely, that the immortality of the human soul has
for its starting-point the soul itself, while the resurrection of the
body, as well as its reunion with the soul, has for its starting-point
the total man.
The human soul, then, is our initial point. Let us ask, first,
whether in the soul, considered as a totality, may be discerned
progress through the ever-rccurring moments of unity, self-separa
tion, and self-identification. As a totality, the soul, in its imme
diacy, is homogeneous and undivided, but just from this it follows
that the soul sunders, distinguishes, separates itself from itself, in
order to realize its unity. As Thought, the soul, in its immediacy,
is blank, potential thoughtthought without distinction and with
out reflection. In the second stage or moment, thought distin
guishes itself from being ; thought and being are opposed to each
other until thought becomes conscious of being. As Being, the
soul, in its immediacy, is Thought sunk in the Material, and the
Material is Being in which thought lies concealed and undeveloped.
In this immediacy, the soul has unity only because it is unconscious
and undeveloped, and, in this indifference and unconsciousness, it
contradicts its own essential nature. In the second phase, this
unconscious being of the soul having, as individual, completed the
spheres of being, develops itself into consciousness in that Being:
since as individual it reflects itself after its self-separation both in
158 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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The Immortality of the Soul. 159
itself and in its other it falls into self-difference ; Consciousness is
this difference itself, for self-consciousness necessarily implies con
sciousness of all that through self-separation is made other than
self. The third phase demands that this divided consciousness
annul its tension, therein realizing a mediated unity ; in so far as it
recognizes itself not only in itself, but in its other, it attains unity
with its other, and therein realizes itself as Spirit.
The progressive movement of the soul can, accordingly, be indi
cated in three wordsSoul, Consciousness, and Spirit or Indi
vidualSubject and Identity of the Subject with the Object.
But the question arises, What have we thereby gained ? Can we
abstract the meaning of our formulated statement ? Are we able
to show how the content of these several moments is self-unfold
ing and self-revealing ?
Primarily, it may be mentioned that in this division the Aristo
telian doctriue of three souls seems to be realized in its underlying
truth. The first is the nutritive Soul {f} dpe7TTifcrj yfrvxv)^ found in
and identical with the life of the plant. The second is the life of
the animal or the sensitive Soul aiadrjTLKr) yfrvxv) > this sen
sitive Soul in human life comes to consciousness through reflect
ing itself in itself, and thus finding the internal in itself. The
third is the rational Soul (rj vorjriKtj which rises out of
human consciousness, and, identifying itself with its object realizes
itself as Spirit. (Aristot., De Anima, ii, 2, 3, 4; iii, 12, 13.)
As man develops himself in body, soul, and spirit, so the soul,
abstracted from its sensible, tangible body, passes through phases
of development corresponding to body, soul, and spirit. That is
to say, the soul in its first phase is an immediate totality; in its
second phase it estranges itself from itself, making itself its own
object; in its third phase it penetrates to the identity of sub
ject and object. Thus the soul is first its own body or its own
foundation ; it serves itself without distinguishing itself from the
body. With the act of distinguishing comes also synthesis; this
is the soul which, distinguishing and uniting, holds sway over
body and spirit. The third is the actually mediated unity, which,
rising above body and soul, includes and transfigures both.
To this trichotomy is related that into which Plato analyzed
both the individual Soul and the State. First is the bodythat
which obeys and serves the basis of all further development, t o
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brtOvfjurfTtKov tj 'Xprj/jLaTioTL/cbv; the second, or the mean between the
first and last, is the Soul, or that which simultaneously sunders and
reunites, called t o dvfiutov fj dvfio-eiSes and iirLtcovpi/cov; the third
is the spirit, or the mean above the first* and second, the unity of
both, or Reason, t o Xoyurrucop, o Now. In so far as the soul is
thought as abstracted frbm its external body, its body subsists
through its (souls) individuality ; its soul is its self-consciousness,
with which are necessarily bound up the consciousness of its ob
ject and its own distinction, therefrom; the third is Reason, or
the Spirit which takes up into itself and mediates both the pre
ceding phases of development. The first is Hypothesis, the sec
ond Antithesis and Synthesis, the third Thesis: or, 1, Soul; 2,
Consciousness as distinguishing and uniting; 3, Spirit or Reason.
The development of the soul into consciousness, and of conscious
ness into spirit, is experimentally confirmed : it is in general rep
resented as an awakening. Even the rudest empirical theories
of the soul teach something of this awakening; but the truth of
this phenomenon, the content of this observation, is not brought
to light. To us, however, this progress of the soul, through its own
self-diremption into inner and outer and conscious mediation, has
revealed and vindicated itself as the universal dialectic of imme
That the soul in its progressive movement develops from itself,
receiving into itself nothing foreign and external, is proved in the
end by the fact that the soul, in its highest perfection as spirit,
has no other content than before. The nature of the soul, after
as before its development, consists in the identity of thought
and the object of thought. The perfection of the soul is simply
the mediation of this unity and its elevation -into consciousness.
The child longs for and tries to grasp the moon, because he feels
it as his object, and dependent on himself; this is the souls im
mediate unity with its other. The youth recognizes the differ
ence from and the elevation above himself of what seemed before
one with him and subject to him ; finally, the man comprehends
that the star which the child tried to seize with his hands is but a
single moment in the totality of spirit.
Through this same organic process of estrangement, and its re
moval, the immediate unity of love comes to its rational media
tion or idea. The realized idea of love is marriage. Parallels
160 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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The Immortality of ike Soul. 161
and symbols of marriage are found throughout the spheres of
spirit. Unity is followed by separation, separation by reunion,
betrothal, marriage. We discern these organic moments in the
tender and significant myth which closes the old world and opens
the new; this myth belongs essentially to the history of the doc
trine of immortality. In it we see how Psyche, the kings daugh
ter, outgrows her origin and breaks loose from i t ; how, like Iphi-
genia, she is exposed by her own parents; how she is rescued and
borne away by Zephyr, and transplanted immediately into imme
diate relation or spontaneous union with the all-unifying Spirit of
love. She rests in love, in inmost oneness with the unseen and
invisible God. But there comes a moment of temptationtemp
tation which she does not resist. She is enticed by the longing to
know. She steps out of innocence and unconsciousness not only
into knowledge, but into alienation. She feels the misery and
degradation of estrangement; she knows the bitterness of slavery,
and in the sweat of her face performs her cruel tasks. But she
has also the hope of deliverance; she struggles to cancel differ
ence and annul separation, thus reuniting herself with the alien
ated Spirit of love. He, in the distance, is still near her; in the
supreme moments of trial, he sustains her. At last she is con
scious of reconciliation and deliverance; the bridegroom comes;
love realizes itself in marriage; the marriage is ratified in heaven,
and the bride receives immortality, for immortality consists in
this marriage of the mortal and the divine.
In this ancient myth, the development of the soul through its
successive grades is embodied and illustrated : but the content of
the soul is not disclosed ; the determinations remain abstract; the
result unmediated. For logical development, we have compounded
with a poetic myth ; immortality does not seem to develop itself,
but to be bestowed from without. We have followed the course
of development in time, and seen it attain its crowning result.
The soul is at the goal of the race; and this may involve the de
struction of the soul. As the soul has risen out of immediate
unconscious unity, shall it not complete the circle of its life by
return into the same? Is this final rest the reconciliation which
follows the long and weary struggle?
So it appears: the souls movement, which we have traced
empiricallv, does not necessitate the immortality of the soul*
1 1 * XVII11
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Completing itself in time, it needs no eternal continuance. This
appearance will, however, at once negate itself, for it is based npon
the outward course of development, and has taken no cognizance
of the content of this development. Tie next step, therefore, is
to consider the various stages of the souls movement with refer
ence to their content, and its unfolding, in order to determine if
anything further follows from it.
To exhibit the nature of the soul involves, according to Plato,
a long and divine investigation. This investigation is, however,
nothing external, but consists in the immanent self*development
of the soul into Spirit, which is the realized idea of the soul. The
investigation is a long one, because it implies this internal realiza
tion; and, if the soul is immortal, its immortality consists in its
development into spirit, in its exhibition of the idea of the soul
through making explicit all that this idea implies. This develop
ment can only be called di/vine in so far as the Godhead is its
beginning and its end. To experience its length, we must travel
again, with slow and carefully considered steps, the road over
which we have already rapidly passed. We often gain more by
repeating a journey than in making it for the first time. With
reference to our beginning, we must at first place it in the soul,
for it belongs to the thought of immanent development that noth
ing shall be given from without; the initial question must, there
fore, be what the soul can find in itself. The end of the course in
which the soul moves we may name, in advance, the Spirit; but
we must inquire, definitely what is the Spirit, and how, follow
ing the movement of the soul, we can find its beginning and its
end in God.
162 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The Journal o f Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 3 (July, 1883), pp. 246-263
Published by: Penn State University Press
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246 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
C h a p t e r I I (Continued).
Personality, or the Immanent Development of the Soul and its
1. A t the very first the soul is seized as fortuitous, ungrounded
unity, placed in the outward world, immersed in its own outer
body; consciousness is apprehended as the distinction or diremp-
ticn into inward and outward, the Ego and the non-Ego, the
knowing of self and its other; spirit is seized as the mediated
necessary unity of the Ego and the non-Ego developed out of the
double consciousness and grounded in itself. The task to which
we now address ourselves is to learn more definitely the content
of these different stages, and simultaneously to search out, step by
step, what occurs in the progressive unfolding of the soul, and how
in this unfolding the content of the soul is revealed.
2. I t is not a brilliant paradox, but the simple truth, that the
immortality of the soul demands the death of the soul. The
soul, as souli . e., the soul in its immediate undeveloped phase
must die like the body; as soul, the soul cannot persist. The
soul must not love its life, but give up its life, in order to win it
again as thought in Reason. I ts life is the naivete of immediate
unity, which, having no consciousness of otherness, neither knows
nor fears anything external to itself. I ts death is the resurrec
tion of consciousness; henceforth it is burdened with its other;
unity is shattered, opposition is given with object; upon the one
side is the Ego, upon the other the non-Ego; thus consciousness is
itself double and contradictory; consciousness of itself and con
sciousness of its other. Herewith, however, consciousness transfig
ures itself. For in knowing tlie other it cancels its separation from
the other; the other of which it is conscious belongs to it quite
as well as the self of which it is conscious. Through insight into
the I dentity or Continuity of subject and object the conflict ot
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consciousness is overcome, and the death of consciousness is the
birth of the spirit. Spirit is the transfiguration of consciousness;
the reconciliation of subject and object. I n the spirit, soul and
consciousness are born again, and this new birth is a transforma
tion in which the self-consciousness in consciousness is both posi
tively and negatively cancelled.
3. I n exact accord with this double-dying is the famous, but
grossly misunderstood, distinction of Aristotle between the mortal
y/rvx^} and the immortal vovs ; for the vovs is realized only as the
external existence of the tyvxn is annulled. I ts reality is thought;
this reality is immortality, for death lies not before it, but be
hind it.
4. I t is worthy of remark that the oldest Greek fathers, J us
tin Martyr, Tatianus, and Theophilus, in accord with the scrip-
turartrichotomy of body, soul, and spirit, promulgated the identi
cal doctrine of the soul which we have been defending, and
recognized the same categories, though they seized them under
the form of sensuous representation. They taught mortalem est
animam ; notwithstanding, they rightly opposed the heathen, who,
seeming to propound the same doctrine, meant the annihilation of
the spirit and denied the persistence of self-consciousness. There
fore the fathers added, a but the soul ( \ j ) shall rise again with
a mortal body, for the spirit is imperishable and gives life (irvevfia
a<f>dapTOP f a o i r o i o v v ) .
5. Throughout it is the spirit which, first in the phase of exist
ence, and then in that of consciousness, invisibly rules the soul
until finally it realizes itself and manifests itself in its own proper
image. First it appears as soul in and with the body, hence as
individual: this is the anthropological sphere. I n the second
sphere, that of phenomenology, it appears as subject, hence as
consciousness. The subject is distinguished from the simple indi
vidual in that the latter only reproduces the species, while the
former is subject only in so far as it is a self. But is not the
subject, like the individual, subordinate to the otherness to which
it opposes itself ? We behold it die as the soul enters its third
phase ; the only question is, what elements of the previous phases
does this third phase take up into itself? A t first we recognize
in the souls progress and transition only this much, that in the
third or psychological sphere the spirit appears in its own proper
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 247
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image, for it has transcended the external, which stood opposed to
it, and has reconciled and taken up its object into itself. There
fore it can have lost nothing of its essential nature; it must have
saved out of its first period its individuality, out of the second
period its self-consciousness; it has mediated both individuality
and self-consciousness, and added to them all that they lacked.
Thus as Spirit it is all in al l ; the realized form of the Universal, it
is conscious at last of the wealth it has always possessed.
6. We have now attained a point of view from which, in accord
with the content of the Spirit, we can pursue our inquiry into the
further destiny of the Spirit. I ts beginning was immediate; that
is to say, it came to the knowledge of itself and of its other with
out knowing how it came; whence it came it knows not even yet.
Although it has found a beginning in itself as individual, yet this
very beginning, through its contingency and immediacy, points to
an origin outside of itself. As this contingent beginning led to
thought, it must have come out of thought. Consciousness can
not rise out of the unconscious. Because the spirit is thinking
activity, it is able to trace itself back to its immediate origin.
And conversely this immediate origin points necessarily to an ul
timate origin in thought. I t is worthy of remark also that the
I ndividual does not make his beginning; he only finds it in him
self; this beginning points, therefore, to a higher origin. But
this is as yet not found, nay, rather, it is found in the Result.
7. As realized in spirit, the soul has cancelled the opposition of
subject and object. I t has mediated itself through its other
taken up its other into itself. The end it has thus attained is,
however, only a relative, and corresponding to the relative begin
ning from which it moved. I ts final end and ultimate origin
must lie in this other through which it has mediated itself. For
obviously this other, considered relatively to the spirit, is either
subordinate to it or equal with it (in both of which cases opposi
tion cannot be cancelled in identity and the beginning remains
unfound); or finally it is that in which the spirit (which up to
this point has progressively developed itself before us), moving
backward, finds its originmoving forward, finds its goal.
8. I f the spirit is a mediated somewhat, and has become con
scious of this mediation, it must recognize itself more definitely ,as
finite spirit, and its other, through which it is mediated, as Abso
248 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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lute Spirit. I t cannot really recognize itself as spirit without
recognizing itself as finite spi ri t: as finite spirit its nature is its
relationship to Absoluts Spirit, in which it finds its condition and
its truththat without which it could not be and that toward
which it endlessly strives.
9. The soul is now spirit, i. e., it has developed itself into Con
scious UnitjTwith God and the World; it is, however, finite spirit,
for it finds its beginning as something given, and has its begin
ning in time. The Absolute Spirit posits itself from eternity;
the finite spirit is through the Absolute Spirit.
10. We took the soul as we found it for our initial point. We
found that the soul had a beginning in its own nature and de
veloped itself out of itself. This nature of the soul was, however,
something given ; thus really we plunged at once in medias res /
we had not the ultimate or primitive origin of the soul: this ulti
mate origin can only be the final result, which, moving from our
given starting point, we shall attain. Beholding the soul deter
mine itself successively as I ndividual, as Subject, and as Spirit,
wTe are led to the ultimate Ground or Origin which we presup
posed in the earlier stage of our inquiry.
11. J ust because the ultimate ground of finite being is Absolut
Being, we must, from any given starting-point, reach Absolute
Being. The soul does not develop arbitrarily into something dif
ferent from itself, but moves from its finite beginning toward the
Absolute Beginning, which is also its origin and goal. The im
plicit idea of the finite spirit is Mediation, i. e., identity with and
through the Absolute Spiri t; to make this implicit idea explicit
is the souls development. The finite spirit is in the Absolute
Spirit, and the Absolute Spirit in the finite.
12. The ground of the finite spirit is the Absolute Spirit, and
the Absolute Spirit is the spirit which has its ground in itself.
That which is its own ground must be also the ground of the finite
or dependent, whence it follows that the finite spirit partakes of
the Infinite Spirit.
13. The recognition of God as Absolute Spirit, or Causa Sui, is
not simply a formal postulatei. e., it is not a postulate which
lacks reality and with which we try to satisfy ourselves merely
because we can go no farther. I t is not a fiction of the mind set
up as a tranquillizing conclusion to the endless, restless series of
The Development of the Soul a/nd its Immortality. 249
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Thought. Rather has our inquiry yielded the result that in the
finite spirit God realized himself, for the development of finite
spirit ends with the recognition of God as the Absolute Spirit,
whose presupposition is necessary to its own being as spirit.
14. The spirit is that which is Causa Suii. e., the spirit can
have its presupposition only in spirit. The presupposition of finite
spirit is therefore necessarily Absolute Spirit. I t follows that the
Absolute Spirit produces itself in itself in the same manner in
which the spirit made in its image develops itself.
15. The deeper insight is this, that from eternity to eternity
God produces himself in Himself, in that out of the Universal
through the Particular he becomes Individual. The I ndividual
is so entirely the truth of the Universal and the Particular that
they both become I ndividual through an individualizing or de
termining process. For both Universal and Particular are limited,
determined, or individualized by the J imit which separates them
from the I ndividual, or rather from eternity to eternity they de
termine themselves through this limit as individual. Secondly,,
the individual is Spirit by means of union with subjectivity from
everlasting to everlasting: for Spirit is the truth of individuality
and subjectivity in the sense that these latter are complete only in
their union as Spirit. Thirdly, Spirit as such is not only a Total
ity complete in itself, but it is reflected as a totality in each of the
Moments of its Self-determining activity. Each of the Moments
of the Total is therefore itself a totality penetrated by and mir
roring the whole. Through this reflection the spirit realizes itself
or determines itself as personality. To recapitulate: The finite
depends upon and implies the I nfinite. The I nfinite has the
form of self-relation *or Universality. The Universal is the true
I ndividual. The I ndividual has the form of self-conscious Spirit.
The realization of self-conscious spirit is Absolute Personality.
Personality is inclusivenesstransparencythat which penetrates
all and is penetrated by all.
16. Thus the ternary process of life develops itself three times
within the essence of God, therein cancelling numerical differ
ence. I n its first phase it appears as Universal, Particular, and
I ndividual; in its second phase, as I ndividual, Subject, and Per
son ; in the third and final phase, as that which determines itself
in itselfas that which is determined by itself, and as self-com
250 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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municating person proceeding again out of this determination.
Herein God realizes himself as Absolute Spirit, which is its own
object, and which realizes this object through itself.
17. Consequently the Absolute Spirit not only engenders him
self within himself, but also creates outside of himself his complete
image. This image, through the force of his absolute personality,
he penetrates and concretely realizes. This perfect image is the
finite spirit.
18. The finite spirit is also spirit; it is essentially spirit; con
sequently it proceeds from spiriti. ., from the Absolute Spirit.
I t is the created image of God. The finite spirit, as spirit, par
takes of the Absolute Spiri t; it differs from the latter in that it is
created and finite. Like the Creator, it is a selfbut a created
self. This implies that its destiny is to realize itself through a
progressive self-unfolding. To this end the first requisite io per
sonality, or the flowing union of the finite with the I nfinite Spirit.
This personality is seized as the Unity of Thought or Spirit
Spirit is one; that is to say, f i r s t . Spirit is the only reality;
outside of it there is nothing real. Second. Spirit itself is Unity ;
for, as there is nothing outside of spirit, spirit cannot be outside
of itself. Spirit is not a number, to be distinguished from a pre
ceding or following number; so it is contradictory to speak of a
plurality of spirits coexistent or successive. As personal, spirit
is always emphatically one and the same. Upon this insight rests
the philosophy of Aristotle, and upon the gross misapprehension
of this insight rests the absurd accusation brought against him,
that he attributed to the whole of humanity a single soul, con
ceived as existing external to all men, and yet the common prop
erty of all.
19. As, in accordance with the foregoing, the finite spirit is pro
gressively united with the Absolute Spirit, which is its ground, it
necessarily ascribes to itself pre-existence, or, rather, an essence
prior to existence. Through this essence it must have developed
out of the Universal, through the particular into the I ndividual,
before beginning the individual development which up to this
point we have considered.
20. Held under the form of sensuous representation, pre-exist
ence involves the contradiction of existing before existence. The
speculative content of the doctrine, however, is, that pre-existence
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refers to the essence back of manifestation, the pure being back
of existencethe existence which underlies self-recognizing Being.
The truth of pre-existence is therefore essence, or rather poten
tiality in God. Hence a procession out of God, which as proces
sion is existence, or the eternally spoken Word. This processioti
may be indicated as follows: Moving from God it manifests itself
first as Universal or the undetermined unity of Being and Naught
thence it passe3 through the particular, which is Becoming, into
Existence. God thinks it, and it is done! The next step is, that
Existence should become Conscious Being, or, in other words, that
phenomenal existence should move forward into actuality.
21. Creation is essentially that which is brought forth out of
what is not, or pure being; more adequately grasped, Creation is
Been to be divine in its origin. Creation must, however, not be
identified with God; it is rather the negation of the divine essence,
the contradiction of himself which God produces out of himself:
J ust on this account, however, it is not the abstract contradiction
0/ , but the immanent contradiction in God. Inasmuch as Crear
tion is essentially the externalization of God, his revelation of
himself outside of himself, it follows that, as existence, it is not
eternal, for only God is eternal in his existence. Consequently,
the contradiction of the divine essence must exist under the form
of time, although this contradiction as immanent essence is itself
eternal. I t is therefore as essential to creation to have a begin
ning in time as it is essential to God to have realized himself from
all eternity.
22. From this it follows that the soul of man, being finite spirit,
and belonging to creation, has as phenomenon its beginning in time.
As essence, however, before its Manifestation in time it was inherent
potentiality in God.
23. From this insight follows still another result. I f the soul,
as phenomenon, had its beginning in time, i t must, as phenomenal
and external, have its end in time. So much follows logically
from our premise (and nothing more); and, though this result was
limited in a former stage of our inquiry, it is our duty to re-state
it here in the light of the deeper insight and more adequate deter
mination to which we have now attained. Only the phenomenal
existence of the soul has an end, and it has this end only in time,
for only time ends; as the beginning of this existence in time finds
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its origin backward in eternity, so its end in time flows forward
and melts into eternity. I ts origin in eternity was pure being and
essence; the end of the soul as phenomenal existence must, on the
contrary, be the content which it has developed out of its essence
and existence.
24. All turns, therefore, upon the question whether the devel
oped content of the soul is identical with the pure being in which,
before existence, it originated. Pure being is, however, nothing
but undeveloped being: therefore, the end of the soul is the nega
tion of this beginning, for Soul realized is being developed into
Self-conscious Spirit. We must therefore say that what the soul
receives from eternity undeveloped it takes back developed into
eternity. Time, which lies between, is the developing process,
and this development follows necessarily from the idea of created
beingwhich has defined itself as being externalized or projected
in time.
25. I t has now become more glaringly evident that the immor
tality of the soul depends upon the content it develops and reveals
in time. This renews the question, I n what does this content con
sist ? The cogency of this question is now definitely apprehended :
we must therefore study it more closely, and we are able to do this
because we have found in Gods self-revealing process the same
categories through which the content of the soul develops itself.
26. The implicit being of the soul first realizes and reveals itself
as I ndividuality. To us, therefore, the soul appears first under
the form of I ndividuality; we recognize it first as Being which
is for itself. The content of this first determination is as follows :
As being for self, the soul, like every other object, is an individual;
as soul it is the individual, the principle or essence of all individu
ality, the germ of individualization or determination, the indivisi
ble itself, simplicity and unity. This is the first relationship of
the soulits relationship to the world. The soul is to the world
as unity to the manifoldrather it is the unity which includes this
manifold in itself.
27. Through this reflection of the individual by the world is
tested whether the soul has its own true being in itself; i. e.,
whether it also reflects itself in itself. The soul meets the test by
developing itself into consciousness: the I ndividual becomes Sub
ject. As subject, it is conscious not only of itself, but of its other;
f 7
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it knows this other as other, and therefore knows the difference
between itself and tlie other. As result of this first contradiction,
it becomes conscious of contradiction in each of the moments of
the contradiction, separating itself first into body and soul, and
secondly distinguishing in its other subject and object. Thus con
sciousness finds itself in its other, and its other in itself. The
subject not only finds the object in itself, but also finds the sub
ject outside of itself, and the truth or outcome of this subject in
the highest or Absolute Subject. Thus self-consciousness culmi
nates in the consciousness of God ; herewith the soul enters into its
relationship to God. But this relationship is still burdened with
alien elements; consciousness is still divided against itself and the
contradiction unsolved.
28. Inasmuch as consciousness holds in itself not only self but
the other of self, herein uniting the contradictory, inasmuch as it
finds the other in itself, and itself in the other, thus identifying the
opposites, inasmuch as finally it finds the Source and the outcome
of itself in the other, viz., in the Absolute Consciousness thus tran
scending the contradiction, its process is one in which the contra
diction posited is progressively annulled. The subject itself is
finally penetrated by the Absolute Spirit to which originally it
opposed itself; thus it rises into personality which must verify it
self as penetrability. Thus the subject as person attains to partici
pation with that which was formerly opposed i t; thus the soul
develops itself through consciousness into spirit which is essentially
to be f or the Spirit. Spirit as such is subject and object; it has
no subject and no object but itself. There remains, therefore,
nothing but Spirit. What is not Spirit is not actual, but only a
moment of actuality, a vanishing element in the total self-mani
festation of Spirit. Herein lies the distinction between Nature
and the Spirit. Nature manifests in isolation and fragmentariness
that which Spirit holds in indivisible Unity. Spirit is one; it
grasps even Nature as a totality, which Nature itself can never do.
29. Through this identity of the human Spirit, the original
identity within the Absolute Spirit is realized or brought to con
sciousness. On the other hand, the difference out of which spirit
proceeded is both negatively and positively cancelled. Both these
results are mediated through Personality, which, sounding forth
from God, rings through the Universe, and, resounding from the
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finite Spirit, penetrated by the Spirit of God, echoes through all
the Spheres of Creation.
30. The soul is created by God; that is, it is externalized
posited as existence*. This is its first phase. I t is, however,
created to be Spirit, or, in other words, determined to be self-de
termining. Therefore, it develops itself out of the conditions of
creature, out of the passive determination of existence, more exactly
out of being for self, or individuality, to consciousness; out of con
sciousness into Spirit, or Being in and for itself. This path which
moves from creation, which in its turn moves from God, leads
necessarily back to God, for, as God is Spirit, the goal of Creation
must be also Spirit. Herein this path of the souls development
is seized as a Regressus or return into God. I t is, however, also,
80 far as it3 content is concerned, a progress, for the soul does not
return into the essence under the form of which it was from eter
nity in God, neither does it return to the form of its own imme
diate existence in time, but it returns to God as the complete reali
zation of what it was created to be, in that, through this return into
God, it comprehends its own idea, and progressively unfolds it
without losing, in any phase of its development, a single element
of its realization.
31. The development of the soul is therefore not concluded with
its return as Spirit into God; rather, it is essential to the idea of
Spirit that, through its individuality, it is and remains distinct
from God and from all creation ; that, through its subjectivity, it
is and remains conscious of itself, of God, and of all being ; finally,
through its personality it annuls its limitations, and, without detri
ment to its finitude, persists and progresses into the infinite. The
persistence of individuality and subjectivity is also demanded by
the very idea of personality, which, as inclusiveness, implies, not
only the negative cancelling of finitude, but the taking up of fini
tude into itself.
32. I n the light of our attained insight we are now able to de
fine more adequately the difference between the immediate unity
of the soul in its first appearance, and the mediated unity which
the finite spirit in its complete development proves itself to be.
The immediate unity of the Soul is not pure immediateness, for
the former implies at least the soul, while the latter is utterly de
void of any determination. Pure immediateness is the uneon-
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 255
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scions abstraction from all distinction or determination ; it is the'
undetermined void.. When, however, the soul is seized in its im
mediate unity, this unity may be more adequately defined as the
simplicity attributed to the soul, in so far as the soul remains after
all manifoldness recognized as externality has been consciously
abstracted. To this simplicity we are led by the abstraction from
otherness, which necessarily grows out of the recognition of other
ness. For, when otherness emerges, we can at first transcend i t
only by abstracting from it, thus conquering a footing outside of
it through which we secure ourselves against it.1 Simplicity,
therefore, is attributed to the soul in consequence of a previous
abstraction from otherness based upon an antecedent recognition
of otherness. Hence it is a mediated immediateness, and we
understand by simplicity that final inwardness which remains after
all that is outward has been abstracted, the last retreat into which
the soul as essence retires. Mediated unity, on the contrary, does
not abstract from otherness in order to preserve itself, but it pene
trates and includes its other as it is itself penetrated and included-
The immediate unity of the soul is itself still something external,
for it is that contradiction of the external which still feels the pres
sure of externality; the mediated unity, on the contrary, is imma
nent, for the outward belongs to it.
33. Thus far, in speaking of the other with which the individual
spirit identifies itself, we have referred to"essential being as mani
fested in Nature, in the world of spirits and in God. We must,
however, also include otherness in the individual spirit itself *
This other, which belongs immediately to the individual spirit, is
the body. Spirit, in this aspect, is the identity of body and soul*
34. I n speaking of the body of the soul we 'must again distin
guish between the external body, from which the soul can separate
itself, and the internal body, from which the soul, being simple,
cannot separate itself, because it is immanent in the soul. I t is
through this body that the soul is f o r itself \ and distinguishes it
self from others. This body is also the souls mediation, for with
out an individuality of its own it could not ascend through con-'
sciousness to that identity of subject and object in which it com
pletes and reveals itself as spirit.
256 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
1 A6s pot xov <rrw.
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35. Through the abstraction of all that was bodily we attributed
to the soul, in the first moment of its movement, individuality, or
rather the principle of all individuality. This individuality is,
as it were, the protection of the souls identity throughout the
different phases of the souls self-externalization. As mentioned,
we seized individuality first by abstracting the body. I n the
final phase of development, on the contrary, it is the body which
realizes and protects individuality and distinguishes one essential
being from another. For the body is otherness1or negation, and,
as result of the identity of the inward and outward negation, is
shown to be implicit in the soul.
36. We have now a more adequate knowledge of the content
which has developed itself in and from the soul. I t is the spirit.
And spirit consists, on the one hand, in the identity of the soul
with its body, and, on the other, in the identity of the spirit itself
with its object. I t is through the identity of the soul with its
body that the soul preserves its individuality and its subjectivity
in its personality. I t is through the identity of the spirit with
its object that the spirit preserves its personality in its freedom.
This result must be comprehended word by word, and in the
exact definition of each particular word ; only thus will it be rec
ognized not as a formal result, but as the organic content both of
that original development whose course we have retraced, and of
the new development whose goal we have anticipated in intro
ducing the element of freedom into the idea of Spirit. For the
moment, however, we must concentrate our attention on the dif
ference between the identity of the soul with its negation and the
identity of the spirit with its negation. The former is the Spirit
in itself, the latter the Spirit outside of itself. I n itself and out of
itself it is, however, always the same spirit.
37. I t has been said that from the personality of the finite spirit
follows its freedom. To distinguish personality from the individu
ality and subjectivity included in it, we have defined it as pene
trability. Penetrability is that quality through which the finite
spirit enters into inward union and vital interaction with the
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 257
1The German word Andei'sseyn has been rendered otherness in this translation.
The reader will gather the import of the term from the context. The object in con
sciousness is the otherness or other-being of the subject; Nature is otherness to God.
1 7 * X V I I 17
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Absolute Spirit, and through this Absolute Spirit into union and
interaction with tfye whole created universe. Thus, nothing re
mains external, or rather alien, to the spirit. Through personali
ty, matter itself is penetrated by the spirit, which in the disjecta
membra of the material world recognizes itself. By virtue of this
personality, therefore, the finite spirit is seized as the totality of
all its moments which in Nature lie outside of each other, and are
united only in spirit. The spirit recognizes in its object itself as
other, herein cancelling alienation and revealing the nature of the
object. The spirit penetrates all because it is itself penetrated
by the 'Absolute Spirit. Personality is, therefore, the outcome
of continuity or stability, the transfiguration of identity, and
the cancelling of contradiction in both a negative and positive
38. The essence of freedom is, therefore, identical with personali
ty ; freedom is included in and conditioned by the person. Freedom
of the spirit may be defined negatively as the negation of any
limiting or determining power alien to the spi ri t; positively con
ceived, it is the power of self-determination. Through personality
freedom is mediated in the finite spirit. For, though the finite
spirit is determined by the Highest Spirit, which herein manifests
itself as highest, yet this determining spirit relatively to the deter
mined spirit is not an external, objective, alien force, but, only
through its personality, Absolute Spirit. Personality belongs to
the Absolute Spirit and to the finite Spirit. I n the former it
is immediately active, in the latter, in its first phase, it is passive.
Hence, conformably to the essence of personality, there follow
reciprocal action and reaction. Consequently, it is no alien force
which acts upon the finite spirit.
39. The possession of freedom is the guarantee of immortality;
this is the logical result of the process of development. The in
dividuality of the soul and the consciousness of the subject are
preserved in the personality of the finite spirit through the free
dom demanded by personality. On the negative side, freedom
implies the disappearance of the negative power which threatened
persistence; on the positive side, it implies that the soul, as finite
spirit, is self-determining, because determined by spirit. The con
tinuous action of the Absolute Spirit upon the finite spirit must
make the latter increasingly self-determining. The complete
258 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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penetration of the finite spirit by the Absolute Spirit would be
the finite spirits complete self-determination.
40. While, therefore, personality is secure from destruction and
certain of persistence through the freedom which belongs to its
idea, it also guards and maintains within itself individuality, or
indivisibility, and consciousness. For it is implied in personality
that the moments out of which it emerges (I ndividuality and
Consciousness) shall each be included in their essence, though
transfigured in their form, just as the idea of spirit includes essen
tially these same moments apprehended as soul and subject. The
indivisible has become penetrable, the individual has become per
son, but that which penetrates through and through is not some
thing alien and inimical to the individual; consequently, it is
not destructive of individuality. I n other words, individuality
could only be submerged in its abstract opposite; but this enemy
has disappeared, for what is is individual. So consciousness
could lose itself only in its opposite, abstract being, but conscious
ness has emerged from being; it is developed beingthe truth or
outcome of being; it is penetrated by being; it has coalesced
indissolubly with being; therefore, consciousness can go over
only into universal consciousness, and in this it becomes clearer
and purer, like color in the light.
4^1. The persistence of the human soul has proved itself to be
essentially personal persistencei. e., the finite spirit, as pene
trating and penetrated, is in both active and passive union with its
other or the Absolute Spirit. The activity of the finite spirit is,
therefore, one of Erinnerung.1 Recollection is twofold: it looks
backward and moves forward; it presupposes a source which it
remembers and demandsa goal toward which all its activity
shall tend. I t is, therefore, both the internal principle of the
developing soul and the ultimate result of this development, viz.,
immortality itself. There is no point of time in which the soul
cannot remember a preceding poi nt; hereupon rests the Platonic
psychology. There is, likewise, no point of time in which the
soul attains to perfect and complete recollection. Such a point
would be the temporal end of the soul; this temporal end would,
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 259
1Erinnerung means recollection, and in this place also a deepening of the soul in
self-knowledgeit is a sort of descent into ones self.
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however, be eternity, i. e., the totality of all moments as actu
ality. The reason that much seems accidental to the understand
ing is one and the same with the reason that so much slips out of
the memory. Contingency is negated only through the appre
hension of continuity, and things forgotten corne again to the
recollection only when all things are seen in connection, aa
moments in an inclusive process. From time to time there seems
to float before us, out of a primeval past, vague visions of things
known and unknown ; try as we may, we cannot make the vision
definite. Much of the past, which once was near and vivid, melts
into unconsciousness; much of the future, which tried to come to
us and could not, recedes into the invisible distance; but if we
have forever lost the one, shall we never grasp the other?
42. I t is worthy of remark, for it will aid us to orient ourselves,
that freedom, immortality, and Erinnerung are the more exact
determinations of personality which develop themselves out of
its contents and exhibit the relations of the finite spirit with itselfT
and to all that is other than itself. Thus, too, the prophetic long
ing of feeling to meet its loved ones beyond the grave, the hope
guaranteed by faith of conscious reunion before the throne of God,
determines itself in personality as a mediated concept. As faith
is not ashamed of the Gospel, so philosophy is not ashamed of the
childish representation of this reunion, but, in face of the sneer
and jeer of pantheism, seeks its ideal development. This childish
representation is one stage of the development, though a low
stage. The spirit transcends it as it learns to distinguish the false
from the true selfhood.
43. But in mortality there is not complete penetration, for the
body unpenetrated by spirit decays. This is one side of death;
the other is, that penetration becomes complete in the resurrection,
which is nothing else than the penetration of the body, the final
cancelling of contingency, and the transition to an eternally pro
gressive reflection and reciprocal penetration.
44. The resurrection is the consummation of the souls beatitude,
for it leaves nothing foreign and impenetrable to the soul standing
over against the soul. The last enemy has been destroyed.
Herein, however, blessedness is only negatively defined. Posi
tively defined, blessedness is not the pure light, but the fulness of
colors in the light and their reciprocal interpenetration ; in
260 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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other words, the transfiguration of the body with the soul in the
spirit. There shall come a time, and it shall be for all time, when
one person shall, literally, be within another; when each one of
us shall read in the other the hidden secret which, as yet, we
know not even in ourselves. All shall be transparent. Now, the
soul is clearer than the bodymens notior corpore the soul is
transparent, the body opaque. But the time shall come when
the body shall be completely penetrated, and one with the Soul
in the Spirit.
45. As the spirit, in the process of self-development and self
realization, moves through three spheres, and only in the third
sphere attains its adequate form, so in each sphere it moves
through three phases, the third of which always includes the other
two, and therein develops (though always within the limits of
the special sphere) the enduring germ of immortality.
That what has been said may grow clearer, we must now again
(as demanded by the spirally progressive movement of the idea)
circle around our course from its remote beginning, thus develop
ing a fresh content and a further completeness.
46. I n the Anthropological Sphere the soul moves through its
natural existence or corporeality, and through its yet dreaming
internality, to its actuality which is attained when internality
comes to itself in the body. This Actuality is the unity and
individuality of the soul, manifested feeling. Feeling is, there
fore, the imperishable basis of being in and by self.
I n the sphere of phenomenology, the subjectivity which results
from feeling dirempts itself into the double consciousness, whose
unity is the Reason of the Subject. Reason is thus the persist
ence of being for self.
I n the psychological sphere, the Spirit, which is the Concrete
realization of Reason, moves through its theoretical sphere in
which the object acts upon it, and through its practical sphere in
which it acts upon the object, to its truth or actuality, which
proves itself to be Personality. Personality consists in the active
and passive participation of the soul with the body in the Spirit,
and als5 in the communion of the finite Spirit with the Absolute
Spirit, and with all other Spirits.
47. With Personality is bound up, on the one side, Erinnerung,
as the outcome of Feeling, and, on the other side, Freedom, as the
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 261
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outcome of Reason. The outcome of feeling is the unity of the
soul with its body in the Spirit, whence follows I mmortality; the
outcome of Reason is the participation of the Spirit in the cor
poreal externality of Creation in which consists the Resurrection.
Both presuppose the Absolute Personality, and, consequently^
imply the beatitude of the soul as the corporeality of the Spirit
in the service of God.
48. The destiny of man, conformably to the idea of Creation
and its preservation, is essentially personali. e., man is called to
communion with God and with Creation. I n so far as he, being
created, is not yet thoroughly participative, he is, nevertheless,
capable of participation or Person in the process of becoming.
He loses the power of participation only in so far as he, in virtue
of the indwelling freedom of the Person, opposes himself to it,
falls VLW&yfrom it, and obdurately persists in this fallen condition.
49. Obdurate persistence in isolation is evil; it is the opposite
of participation, which is good. I t is defined more accurately as
the flesh i . e., the relationship of the body to the soul has been
reversed; the body rules instead of serving; it hardens and
obscures the soul, instead of allowing itself to be penetrated by
the soul.
I t has been stated that in Personality the unity of the soul
with the body in the Spirit is bound up as Erinnerung, and the
unity of the spirit with creation in the Creator is bound up as free
dom, whence flow the immortality of the soul and the resurrection
of the body. Conversely, there is bound up with obdurate isola
tion, on the one side, the rejection or expulsion of the soul from
participation, or, in other words, conflict between the soul and
body in the flesh ; and, on the other side, slavery and disobedience,
or conflict between the flesh and the spirit. From the enduring
discord between body and soul follow the progressive mortality
and impenetrability of the soul; from persistent alienation or
isolation results an endless future, already begun, of damnation in
slavery and disobedience. I t is the flesh or the rebellious and
obdurate body which, reversing the relationship between soul
and body, darkens and degrades both; the servant, to his own
shame, makes himself master; the master falls into disgraceful
slavery, until the Redeeming Personality, descending in the form
of graee, ultimately lightens even this darkness and penetrates
262 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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Facts of Consciousness. 263
even this impenetrability, and restores to the soul blessedness, to
the body true corporeality, i. e., the freedom of obedience. For
corporeality is obedience, and, when the body has become one
with the soul in personality, obedience is converted, through par
ticipation with God and creation, into freedom.
P a r t S econ d . Concerning the Practical Faculty.
C h a p t e r V I I .
We have elaborated three main parts of the objective representa
tion of the world: a system of Egos, a system of organized bodies
of these Egos, and a sensuous world. Bat our previous assertions
involved still another, fourth, point. We have stated that not only
the body of a rational being, but also the product of its activity,,
must be perceivable, and perceivable as such, by all other rational
beings; and this absolute perception of the products of free beings,
as such, belongs to the objective representations of the world.
This perceptibility of the products, etc., we have established as a
mere naked fact of consciousness.
We have, thus, the problem left us: to explain the possibility of
this fact from the totality of consciousness, and thereby to make
it a part of the system of that consciousness, since we do not
conceive consciousness as a mere collection of separate phenomena,
but as one in itself connected phenomenon.
1. Let us first determine the fact still closer.
The individual does not, in point of fact, act as an individual,
but as the one l i fe; his self-determination to act is, as we have
seen, a renunciation of his individuality, which rests upon the
mere free conception, and a self-abandonment to the objective
external power, which is the power of the one Life. Hence it is
not the individual, but the one life, which acts.
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The Journal o f Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 1884), pp. 21-37
Published by: Penn State University Press
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The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 21
( C h a p t e r I I Concluded.)
Personality, or the Immanent Development of the Soul and its
50. Such is the concrete content into which the soul develops
itself, attaining, through personality, freedom of the Spirit, and
with this freedom gaining not only immortality, but also the resur
rection and transfiguration of the body. We must, however, keep
in mind that we reach this result only when recognizing the soul
as a Self. We seek and find the ground and goal of selfhood in the
Absolute Self. The soul from which the process of development
immediately moves is itself immediately given. We took the
soul as we found it, immediately in time, and the Spirit into
which the soul developed itself was finite, just because it devel
oped itself from a given point. The whole course of development
lacked ground and guarantee; the individual was without soul
consciousness without a subject; the personality of the finite
spirit lacked origin and destinybeginning and endits Alpha
and its Omega. We could find both only in a Being who should
be the Absolute Realization of all the moments which we had dis
covered successively in finite and posited forms in the develop
ment of the Spirit. That which is given is explained only through
a Giver who is in Himself and has developed out of Himself all
that He gives: the g i v e n cannot be explained through emanation,
for the unconscious activity presupposed in emanation cannot pro
duce what it has not in itself; the given is, however, explained
through Creation, and Creation presupposes the Creator. This
Creator is the Absolute Spirit, who from eternity, to eternity
determines Himself from Himself; this self-determination reveals
itself as the Trinity, in which the Absolute Spirit, apprehended as
Absolute Personality, mediates itselfin which also the idea of
Creation finds its truth, and the Created Spirit its interpretation
.and transfiguration.
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The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
I n accordance with this view, the Trinity is the immanent con
dition of the absolute self-conditioned personality of God; the
Absolute Personality of God is the condition of Creation, and
hence, also, of the created personality of the finite spirit; the
personality of the finite spirit (which herein proves itself the inde
pendent reflection of the Absolute) is the condition of the freedom
of the finite spirit; the freedom of the finite spirit in the Absolute
Spirit is the condition of its personal imperishability.
Notwithstanding this chain of connections and dependences, we
are able to proceed immediately from the Soul: the Soul develops
itself into Spirit and points of itself to God. This seeming para
dox is solved by the insight that the Soul in its immediacy has in
itself as its dowry the witness of the Absolute Spiritthat it ex
ists in communion with this Spirit, draws its nourishment from
this Spirit, and manifests the richness and fulness of this Spirit
just in proportion as it develops itself. This realization or medi
ation is, therefore, itself a proof of the Divine Creationmore
definitely of the continuously progressive Creation, i. e., the pene
trative participation of the Absolute with the finite spirit. I n so
far as this participation has been interrupted on the human side,
the act of progressive Creation manifests itself as deliverance and
reconciliation through the condescension of God to the finite
spirit which is thus recalled to life in Him after becoming, through
its fall, subject unto death. Creation has not once been, but it is ;
it is essentially continuous, progressive, personal, participative;
hence it implies preservation, renewal, and communion.
The crucial insight of Philosophy is the identity of the imma
nent movement of the concept with experience. This is the stone
of stumbling and rock of offence on which the many are wrecked,
or before which they stand paralyzed. This identity grows clear
only through apprehension of the Personality of Thought, i . e.y
through the insight that Thought in all of its moments partici
pates in the Absolute Spirit and in all Creation. Only through
this insight can we explain how, from any given moment of
Thought, there may develop the empty, accidental, arbitrary,
intermediate phases of apostasyfor each moment, being pene
trative and participative, is in continuous relation with all the
moments of Being and Thought.
According to an old fancyembodied most purely in the great
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poem of Dantewhat man does not yet know he shall learn in
the vision and recognition of God. I n the same sense it is true
that all is determined in the coficursus Dei, and this ooncursus
Dei, in a fallen world, manifests itself in the Redemption.
We are now at the end of that process of development which
has led us from immediate existence to Actuality or Individual
Totality; from Being to Thoughtfrom the Individual to the
Person, and which, moving on from the Person, has borne us up
ward and backward to Absolute Personality. Everything, how
ever, depends upon seizing that focal point from which flashes at
once the inmost comprehension, and upon attaining that specula
tive insight in which the truth is perfectly mirrored. Nothing,
therefore, is so imperative as adequate apprehension of the rela
tionship between Being and Thought, and correct valuation and
distinction of the categories which develop themselves in these dif
ferent spheres. The main obstacle to Knowledge of God and of
the Soul lies in the fact that even in Thought we are hampered by
Being and the categories of Being. Thence it is that we inquire
so anxiously if Existence necessarily belongs to the Absolute
Thought which we call God, and doubt whether the Existing
Thought or Thinking Soul is secure of this existence in the fu
ture. On the one hand, Existence as extended in space and time
is so mighty and overwhelming that, in its infinite dispersion, it
seems to threaten all consciousness, and, in its infinite expansion, to
attack all individuality. On the other hand, it is so reliable and
so real that, without it, it wrould seem Thought cannot be. This
is the magic power wielded over us by Being as opposed to
Thought. We are all like poor Lenette, who, after listening to
the Astronomic discourses of her would-be philosophic husband,
complained that he made the stars seem so large that she could
not hold them in her little heart and head; and, when he held
forth on Pneumatology, declared in her distress that he made
souls seem so small that she had to stretch them all out of joint
to have anything left of them. Such witchcraft does Being
exert over Thought that, though the latter includes and concen
trates within itself the whole expanse of Being, it is, nevertheless,
on the one hand, startled and terrified by Being, and, on the other
hand, feels itself dependent upon Being. Therefore, it is impera
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 23
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tive that we learn to know Thought as well as Being. We liave
already characterized it as the internality and truth of Being,
and have recognized existence in its externality as only a single
Moment of Thought, which, in its isolation, is negated in the
totality of momentsi. e., in Thought itself.
I f only we were able to realize that Thought is the purest
transfiguration and clearest self-explication of Beingthat in it
Being comes to itself by turning itself inside out, and reflecting
itself in itself; if we could become conscious of Thought in its
height and depth and fulness, we could never question whether
to this inmost Thought belonged the outwardness of Being.
Neither could we, after such a recognition, stumble over the criti
cal doubt whether Thought as subjective and Being as objective
could really coincide. Nor, again, could we ever deny to human
thought the power to recognize truth, for we should know that
Thought is One. Consequently, human thought is not simply
human, but of and from God. And, through Personality or the
power of participation, mediated in the individual man.
We have followed the Soul in its upward path ; we have noted
its immediate origin in Being ; we have seen it rise out of Being
into Consciousness or subjactive thought; we have rejoiced in
its culmination as Spirit in total Thoughthow can we then still
anxiously doubt and question whether Thought, in that future
which it includes within itself, shall still have the existence out
of whose externality it has ascended, and whose limits it has
annulled ? How, indeed, unless we resemble the worthy country
man, who, gazing thoughtfully at the ascending'Pegasus, mourns
the plough-horse now forever lost ?
But not only is the objective validity of thought often made de
pendent upon its external existence instead of its immanent idea
but the withdrawal from thought of external existence is claimed
to threaten its subjective validity, and to snatch away the think
ing Subject. We reply, simply, He who has learned to think
Thought as the coming to itself of Being (and what is thought if
i t be not this) can never doubt that the thinking subject belongs
essentially to and is inseparable from Thought; without the
thinking subject, Thought cannot be.
Y et, even with this insight, we frankly confess that the main
difficulty is not overcome. This difficulty lies, as has been said,
The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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not in Thought, but in the Crude Being which is blindly and in
voluntarily shoved under Thought. I t is necessary that this diffi
culty, upon which really rests the whole doubt of personal immor
tality, be clearly set before the mind, in order that we may read
its refutation in that progressive development of the Soul which
has been already traced.
Herein lies the doubt. Being is and shall forever be; there
will always be existence, and this existence will realize and repro
duce itself in individuals. I t is always the same Being, but that
which exists is not the same; out of the infinite womb of Being
are born forever fresh individuals; the river of Being flows on
forever, but never for a moment are its waters the same. So too
is it with thought. Thought thinks, and shall think forevermore;
or, to put it in other words, just as Being develops itself ever
explicitly in individuals, so does it ever return upon itself implicitly
in Thought. With this Thought there shall be always a thinker;
as the process of Being demands objective individuals, so with
Thought is bound up the thinking subject. But, as there is
change in the individual objects which are the bearers of Being,
so there is change in the Subjects which are the bearers of
Thought. True, the thinking subject is the conditio sine qua non
of Thought, just as Being demands the object in order to become
Existence; but these subjects which emerge from Thought just
as objects emerge from Being are, no more than the latter, neces
sarily persistent.
What answer can we make to this objection ? I n how far is
this doubt which distinguishes between Being and Thought, and
acknowledges the distinction, open to the charge of being still
clouded and hampered by the Externality of Being ?
The whole doubt is based upon a supposed analogy between
Being and Thought: its procedure appears reasonable and just.
I t will concede to Thought just as much right as to Being, but not
one whit more.
Our first question, therefore, is whether this analogy is really
carried out with the intended fairness and justicewhether as
much has been conceded to Thought and the Thinker as to Being
and the natural object.
I n the transmutation of material object there is preservation of
the species, but not of the individual. But what matters this to
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 25
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26 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
an object which is an element merely and not a self; which in
change changes only for the subject, and which itself is indifferent
to change, as it belongs to and is dependent upon the externality
which changes it. I t becomes another for the subject; for itself
it is essentially the same as before ; it resembles its earlier form of
being, as the body of the man resembles the body of the child.
If, however, a thinking subject changes into another, it loses its
all in losing its Self. The nature of the thinking subject is to be
subjectto be selfto be one and the same. The nature of the
objects of being is, on the contrary, only to be object. If* the
subject is changed, it is destroyed, whereas the change of the
object is the realization of its nature. To be just, therefore, the
assumed analogy between Being and Thought must concede to
the subject that in such process of change as accords with its na
ture it shall remain itsdf, just as the object in its own manner
retains its essential identity under all changes of form. I n every
modification to which the external object is subjected it remains
thing; before and after each change it is dependent upon ex
ternal conditions ; its nature is stamped upon it from without, and
it is only a negative element in an inclusive totality. So, in
every change experienced by the subject, the subject must remain
itself it may vary its manifestation, but its essence must be self
But doubt is not yet silenced, and with renewed energy it now
directs its attack against the complaining subject. Dare the rich
man complain of death because it takes from him his wealth, while
from the miserable wretch who has nothing it takes nothing ?
The rich and happy man loses much in death which the man who
is poor and miserable does not lose. Y et who would venture to
arraign death for equalizing the inequalities of human life? I n
the beginning men were equalin the grave they are equal again !
The poor man loses less than the rich, but then during life the
poor man had less than the rich. So death robs the subject of
consciousness, but cannot take consciousness from the natural ob
ject which never had it. I ts procedure is not, therefore, unjust,
and Subject and Individual become equal as they sink back into
universal Being.
I n vain we reply to Doubt that the rich and the poor, being
both men, are in their essence alike, while the subject and the
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natural individual are essentially unlike; consequently, that the
equalizing process which is just in the one case is unjust in the
other. Boldly comes the startling answer that Being is the com
mon mother of life and thoughtthe common source of all indi
viduality and all subjectivity. As the rich and the poor, the happy
and the wretched, are alike men, so nature and spirit, individuality
and subjectivity, are alike the issue of Being. Being externalizes
itself in Things which return again into Being as they proceeded
from i t; Being concentrates and comes to a consciousness of itself
in subjects, which in like manner emerge from and sink back into
Making this declaration, scepticism pleads guilty to and is con
victed of the error of which we had accused it. Our accusation
was that scepticism always implies Being as the infinite Substance
and the ultimate source of all things ; that to the sceptic Being is
the fountain whence and the bottomless gulf whither all things
flowthe womb and the grave of life. Thought is, in his appre
hension, only a mode of universal Being; out of Being come both
the natural individual and the conscious subject, and back into
Being shall each return. This is the plague-spot of doubtthe
cancer which eats away the life of thought. I ts medicine and cure
is Speculative Philosophy, which, as immanent Logic, recognizes,
not in Being but in Thought, the ground of all natural objects
and of all conscious subjects ; which sees that it is Thought from
whose fulness Being is projected as an isolated radius or single
moment, and that this single moment comes to its actuality only
in connection with all the other moments of the inclusive Totality.
Thus Logic proves to be the Monism of Thought, and culminates
in concrete Theology, wherein Thought reveals itself as Absolute
Personality, which, adequately apprehended, is the Trinity.
Through this insight we strike at the very root of doubt; we
storm scepticism in its last intrenchment. But though the sud
den revolution by which Thought is posited as the ground of
Being may paralyze the sceptic who has always instinctively pos
ited Being as the ground of thought, the paralysis is only for a
moment, and thus accepting as a fact the reproach hurled upon
it, doubt hurls it back upon Speculative Philosophy. The re
proach was that scepticism made of Being the Alpha and the
Omega, or, to state it more concretely, that it deified nature a&
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 27
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ultimate source and final goalthat it gave no honor to the Tri
une God, into whose Absolute Consciousness finite consciousness
returns, not only without loss, but accentuated and glorified, while
this same human consciousness is stifled and drowned by return
into Being. This is the accusation now hurled back upon Specu
lative Philosophy, with the claim that she herself in her Logic
derived everything from Being, in her Physics derived every
thing from Nature, and thus herself thinks Thought as a Mode
of Being. Paragraphs and pages are pointed out to convince
her that she derives from Being, becoming, existence, being for
self, essence and phenomenon, manifestation and reality, and,
finally, the Idea itself in its subjectivity, objectivity, and absolute
ness. The Idea which has thus slowly emerged from the depths
of Universal Being she then salutes as Spirit, and claims for it
eternal persistence. But if this Spirit has developed itself out of
Nature, must it not return into Nature? Does not Philosophy
itself demand this circular course in which the end meets the be
ginning \ I n the process of Philosophy does not everything rise
out of and sink back into Being ? Have we not ourselves seen
the soul awake out of an individual existence which was sunk in
the materialhas it not arisen before our eyes out of the state of
unconscious identity with the all into the freedom and conscious
unity of the Spirit ? Dare the soul, then, deny its origin ? Is
not this origin denied unless the soul returns into it as its goal ?
Vainly we remind our antagonist that from our contingent
and immediate beginning in Being we were led back to the true,
Self-Mediated Origin, out of whose Absolute Personality was
wrested the personality of the finite Spirit in its identity with free
dom and immortality. Herein is the reply of scepticism ; you
abandon and deny the very logic and philosophy which you claim
thus to further and expand; it is time that you should recognize
that this difference between your principle and your result, your
beginning and your end, is the culmination of a progress devel
oped, not, as you assert, out of your principle, but in contradiction
to it. This is the final word of doubt. I t abandons its own prin
ciple. that everything is developed from Being ; but it claims as
result of the long conflict that it has also forced Speculative Phi
losophy to a surrender.
What shall we say ? Has Speculative Philosophy done her
28 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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work in the world by bringing to light the Supremacy of Thought,
and shall she now, blushing and speechless, surrender her assaulted
principle, and, giving glory to the truth, admit the newly found
answer to the old enigma to be indeed the Solvent Word ? What
concerns us all is that truth should prevail. Truth is saved when
the Supremacy of Thought is vindicated ; why, then, should we
not rejoice in the new discovery as though it were our own ?
Why do we still cling to a form over which, in spite of variations,
Being predominates in the beginning and at the end ?
The question rises, Is this so ? May not the attack upon that
Logic which develops itself from Being rest upon a misapprehen
sion %
The immediate starting-point and principle of Philosophy is
Being. But, if Philosophy does not misunderstand herself, this
means nothing else than that to Thought its own being is first, or
Being is Thought in its first immediacy. Consequently, Thought
is its own prius and its own principle, for it is Thought which
recognizes in Being its own first crude determination. Being is
that which is first thought by Thought. Consequently, Thought
as implicit is its own principle. Being is only the first chaotic
abstract object of Thought, and belongs itself to Thought. From
Being, or rather from itself through Being, Thought develops
its richer and fuller determinations until in the concrete self-reali
zation of the Idea it concentrates in itself the determinations
which it has successively developed. Thus Thought is the I dentity
and Totality of all its determinations, of which determinations
the first and crudest is Being. Thought is not merely the Total
ity, but as such also the I dentity of its determinations. Thought
is consequently not the mechanical conglomeration of these sepa
rate moments, but it is the unity prismatically reflected in their
various categories.
I t may, indeed, be urged that in this sense all methodsthat of
Spinoza equally with that of Descarteshave presupposed Thought,
for, no matter what may be posited as a first principle, it is al
ways Thought which posits it. The emphatic difference between
Philosophy of immanent thought and its predecessors lies in the
fact that they were not conscious of their fundamental presuppo
sition, whereas the Philosophy of Implicit Thought knows itself
as its own fundamental principle. That the Logic which moves
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 29
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30 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
from Being is conscious of Thought as its underlying pregnant
principle, is proved by its culmination in the Monism of Thought,
for Spirit is essentially this Being for the Spirit. The history of
Philosophy is the external confirmation of the insight that all
methods of philosophythe crudest as well as the most complete
have the same ultimate ground. They fail, however, to recog
nize this ground, and therefore wreck themselves upon Being,
which, as thus apprehended, is isolated in its own exclusiveness,
whereas, seen in the light of the Idea, it reveals itself as a radius
of the infinite circle of Thought.
Scepticism thinks all things under the form of time, hence it
thinks them as isolated and successive. But, as only Thought really
is, Being cannot be apprehended as isolated and sundered from
Thought, but only as included in Thought. I n the form of Rep
resentation, therefore, it may be said that Being will perish but
Thought shall abide, and with Thought the threefoldness that is
in Thought, viz. : Body, Soul, and SpiritIndividuality, Subjec
tivity, and Personality. I n other words, Being shall come to it
self; it shall not be simple externality, but shall prove itself to
belong to the Internal. I f, therefore, earlier in the process of de
velopment, we defined Thought as the coming to itself of Being,
this did not imply, as the sceptic claims, that Being was the source
of Thought, or that Thought originated in the withdrawal of Be
ing from externality into the Internal. This were impossible, for
the outward has no inward ; on the contrary, it is the inward which
has an outward. The process of development, therefore, demands
that Thought asprius shall externalize itself in Being, thus mak
ing itself its own^object, and, through this self-separation, returning
into itself enriched.
Thus, by an apparently different path, we have attained again
the same result. The Alpha and Omega is not Being, but
Thought, more definitely the Absolute, personal consciousness of
God. From this divine consciousness, as it is revealed to the finite
consciousness, all thought proceeds, and into this divine conscious
ness shall all thought return. The process of the finite conscious
ness is to know itself first in identity with beingthen to sunder
itself in soul and body, self and its otherand, finally, as person
participating in and penetrated by God and creation, to be con
scious that it is saved and glorified in the divine life.
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By the path which we have just traversed we have also attained
to more adequate apprehension of Beingmere Being is only ex
ternal. Positing it as first principle, we learn its dangers; search
ing for its hidden depths, we learn its emptiness.
I t is henceforth clear that this external Being, to which we
cling so desperately, as though without it we were nothing, is, in
its abstraction, exactly the negation of the Ego, that which would
destroy the Ego were it not transcended by the Ego. I n this
transcendence Being vanishes in Thoughti . e., its particularity
as such is cancelled in the Totality. Therefore, it is evident that
all denial of immortality in its ultimate analysis is grounded in
the assumption, consciously or unconsciously expressed or implied,
that Being has the ascendency over Thought, Nature the suprema
cy over Spirit. I n a word, all denial of personal immortality is
denial of Spirit in its essential idea, whether it be in the crude
form of the famous System of Nature and of the Natural Laws
of the Physical and Moral Worlds, or in the more subtile systems
of thinkers who abhor Holbach, La Grange, and Mirabeau. J ust
as certain is it, on the contrary, that the guarantee of Immortality
is the Supremacy of Thought, and that only from Thought could
proceed the development of the Finite Spirit into its Essential
I t should not be ignored that the pantheistic-materialistic
struggle against the persistence of individuality (in its ancient
as well as in its modern and fashionable forms) rests solely
upon the presupposed superiority of Being. To set up the empty
Category of Being as the first principle of the world is necessarily
to reduce consciousness to a vanishing mode of Being, to make it
the transient expression of a blind activity into which it shall be
reabsorbed. To follow step by step the pantheistic procedure is
most instructive, as quite unconsciously it testifies to that very
priority of Thought over Being which it assails. I ts result is that
in the very moment when the subject, in order to escape from the
empty and evil Self, generously sinks itself in Abstract Being, it,
nevertheless, thanks to its imperishable persistence, emerges again
as the conditio sine qua non of the system.1 For only Thought
can be the object of Thought; to think Being abstracted from
Thought is as impossible as to think Nothing.
1 Cf. Schelling, Phil. Schrift., I., 168, 169.
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 31
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32 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
Hence follows a second result. As we cannot think Being
without implying Thought, so we cannot think Nothing without
implying Beingfor to think nothing is not to be and not to
think. Thence it follows that those who hold to personal immor
tality, whether with prophetic feeling, realized faith, or conscious
insight, hold on also to Being. Thought rules Being, but Being
insists upon being included in Thought. This Being is not, how
ever, crude external Being, but that inward Being which belongs
to Thought as the body belongs to the Soul, which finds in the
Spirit its adequate form, and therein, glorified and transfigured,
celebrates its realized unity with Thought.
Here rises before us another cliff upon which the thought of
immortality is often wrecked. The first rock of danger was
BeingAbstract Being, presupposed as Origin and End of All.
Being, thus apprehended, is Nature, Body, the material and finite.
The other rock is Abstract ThoughtThought empty and non
existent; that false infinitude which lacks the finite; which ad
mits no Body and no Being, and herein, surrendering the con
sciousness which is bound up with the finite, destroys itself. Upon
the first rock was wrecked Spinoza, though through the mighty
working of the subject within him he was saved from entire de
struction. Upon the second rock Schelling was nearly stranded,
but with a final effort he called up all his strength and steered
away to safer shores. His moment of danger was when claiming
that consciousness could not be thought save in relation to the
body and to finite conditions generally, and therefore belonged
to the passing time. He gave his verdict against individual per
sistence, which he denounced as prolonged mortality, and appre
hended eternity as pure timeless infinitude in Grod. True eter
nity is, however, the fulfilment and realization of the Infinite
the Unity of the Infinite and Finite, to which alone belongs Ac
tuality. Eternity is not timeless, but the Unity of all the mo
ments of time. This Eternity manifests itself in Thought:
Thought includes and subordinates Being; the Spirit is neither
soul nor body, neither infinite nor finite, but the Unity or Actuali
ty of these in themselves false and untenable determinations.
Recently Schelling has recognized anew that the ultimate truth
is the subject which, triumphing over all, maintains itself,55and
proposes an empirical development from what is. This is exactly
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what has been done by Philosophy, following the method of logi
cal development and organization. What is, is Thought: this
Thought begins with Being, and in its progressive development
carries Being in and along with itself. As the categories unfold,
Thought shines through them more and more clearly as that all-
encroaching subjectivity which claims all that is external as its
own, and therein conquers and cancels externality; its ultimate
and adequate form is personality, which consciously includes Body
and Soul in the Spirit, and realizes itself in a vital, transparent,
participative Unity.
Thus Being belongs to Thought as the Body to the Soul. This
is, however, not limited Being, but the full and complete Being
which at once has been, is, and shall be. Being only is when it
exists at once in all of its dimensions. Therefore even La Mettrie
confesses : In one sense I cease to be whenever I think that I
shall not be. He should have added: In one sense I cease to
think whenever I think that I shall not think. For it is Thought
which includes in itself the scattered dimensions of Being, and
knows that each requires all the others. I lence thought contains
within itself the witness of its imperishability; in its essence
Thought is nothing but imperishability.
The Soul which thinks, really thinks, must also really be. The
Actuality of Thought expressed in terms of Being is the Totali
ty of all its Moments, but, as realized in the highest category or
form of Thought itself, it is Personality. Self-consciousness is not
extinguished, but accentuated and transfigured in the Conscious
ness of God and of Creation. Being personal, the Soul is imper
R e m a r k .
The soul develops itself out of itself into the finite Spirit, which
only knows itself to be immortal as it realizes itself in Personality
as this finite Personality is actual and immortal only through
the Absolute Personality. The Absolute Personality of God is
the Actuality of Absolute Thought; it is therefore not only the
goal in which the finite Spirit, as though having at last found its
element, comes to itself, but it is also the ground which preceded
the development that begins with the human soul. Herein the
genetic principle of Philosophy is indicated as Logic, which Prin
ciple, being absolute, must be identical with its Result. As this
3 * X V I I I 3 '
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 33
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The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
principle is the focus of all true knowledge, any little cloud which
darkens or obscures it will project long and heavy shadows over
all the developments of Philosophy. Such spots and shadows
have their sole source in the position usurped by Being relatively
to Thought, for it is Being which clouds and obscures Thought
until it is wholly penetrated by Thought. The philosophy of the
day is widely obscured by these threatening shadows. Therefore
it were well for us to linger yet awhile by the fundamental prin
ciple of Logic: this will also tend to a more complete illumina
tion of the question with which we are immediately occupied.
Thought is the genetic principle, the privs tempore et dignitate ;
it is not only the goal, but also the origin of all that is. Being,
on the contrary, is the starting-point of the undeveloped finite;
consequently, the first phase of the secondary process of develop
ment ; more definitely, the beginning of Creation, which itself is
a result. Being, as such, includes its development which pre
ceded Being as absolute in Absolute Thought. Thus, Being, with
its implicit content, is in creation just as Thought is in Creation;
but it has priority only relatively to the thought of the finite
Spirit, 'vhieh being its content unfolds from i t; relatively to the
Absolute Thought, Being is secondary, conditioned, created. Prop
erly ape* dang, even in the first relationship Heing, us posited by
Thought, is itself Thought, though relatively to .Realized Thought
i. Thought in its crudest, most immediate form. Thus, Abso
lute Thought is the original creative power; as Absolute it is
realized, onsequently precedes the absolute realization of the un
developed finite which first develops in creation. And as this
Thought is the ultimate origin, so is it the ultimate goal, hence
the all in al l ; therefore Creation, which, as externalization, begins
with Being, develops itself in Man (who is rhe internality of
Creation), into Thought, and therein unites and transfigures all
its isolated moments.
This is the all-leavening, all-generative truth ! Thought is the
PrincipleBeing the beginning of the self-externalization of
Thought, the ground that the Principle posits in Creation, and,
conformably to its implicit content, develops into Thought. With
out this truth there can be no absolute knowledge and no Chris
tian consciousness. As absolute, Thought is also absolute in its
development, or, from all Eternity, Realized Thought. In the
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beginning, with Thought, was the Word or Realized Thought.
J ohn, i, 1.
For us the presupposition of Spirit is Nature; yet Spirit is also
the reality and outcome of NatureSpirit is the only truththe
one reality. Spirit is the Absolute Prius of Nature. Thought is
the actuality of Being.
Consequently, it is only in the sphere of time that Being-with-
Self precedes Being-for-Self, and Being-for-Self precedes Being-
with-and-for-Self. As the different moments of Being-with Self
and Being-for-Self in truth belong to and penetrate each other,
and their apparently fixed isolation is attributable only to Nature
in its exclusiveness or space in its discreteness, so the precedence
and succession of the three essential moments of Thought is only
the finite process in time. Thq prius of time is the Absolute in
which the three already named categories do not follow each
other, but interpenetrate each other. Each, in fact, belongs to the
Other; or, more definitely, Each is the Other.
From this insight is developed the highest Idea as the Light of
Absolute Personality in its realization, and this is the Trinity.
According to this view, the Father is not merely Being-with-Self,
but the Being-with-Self of God, or, in other words, the Being-with
Self of the Being-with-and-for-Self; i. e., Absolute Being with Self.
So the Son is not exclusively for himself the Being-for-Self, but
Absolute Being-for-Selfthe Being-for-Self of God ; hence, the
Being-for-Self of Being-with-and-for-Self: finally, the Spirit is not
simply the realized Being-with-and-for-Self, but inasmuch asBeing-
witli-and-for-Self being absolute and conditioned only by itself is
from Eternity in God, it necessarily from Eternity belongs to the
Being-with-Self of God in the Father and the Being-for-Self of
God in the Son, just as in the Spirit it proceeds from the two
above-named determinations, and this not in time, but from Eter
nity. I t may, indeed, be said that the first and second persons
of the Godhead are realized through the Third, but this is only
stating that the Trinity is essential to the Absolute Idea of God
without therein implying a prius and posterius tempore, or hinting
of a privative separation.
The Absolute is, according to its idea, essentially Thought, and,
as such, personal, penetrating, and penetrated; hence it is itself
in each of its momentsi. e., in each of its moments it is abso
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 35
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lute, personal, wholly itself, One ! This oneness is, however, when
adequately apprehended, oneness with its other, and is therefore
only explainable and realizable through the Idea of Personality.
On the other hand, the Self-immanenceof Absolute Personality is
only realized in the Trinity, and without this absolute personality
the idea of Creation, despite all artificial props, sinks inevitably
into the Conception of Emanation, or an active process, wherein
forms arise only to vanish. Again, in the idea of Creation, the
Absolute Personality of God is revealed and confirmed, being
grounded not in Creation, but in the presupposed Creator. From
anv other standpoint the idea of God is grounded in the created
human Soul, and the human Soul is grounded in Natural Being.
Complete this process with the insight that the attained indepen
dence of the human Soul can be perpetuated only in personality,
and the connection is again restored, the circle again rounded to
a whole.
I t must, of course, be admitted that the finite (hence the hu
man) is an essential moment in the immanent unity of the self
generation of God; this immanent humanity of God is, however,
to be distinguished from the created man ; it is, as eternally self
generated, distinguished from its own incarnation in time.
Likewise the body is an essential moment in the Unity of the
created finite Spirit; this essential body is, however, to be distin
guished from its external, visible, and tangible manifestation, of
which it, like its own immanent soul,* is independent.
In the light of these results it grows ever clearer that all prog
ress in philosophy depends upon insight into the nature of the
true first Principle. I f philosophy sets up Being, as Thales set up
Water, as the origin and end of all, it swallows up in this empty
universal all personality, absolute and finite, eternal and immortal;
it rises into self-conscious Individuality, which, as a mode of Being,
is submerged in Universal Being, and it finds in Water its death. If,
on the contrary, philosophy finds its Alpha and Omega in Thought,
which is at once that which posits and that which is posited, the
active principle of Being whose passivity is within itself, then Being
subsides into a Moment of Thought, and Nature into a Moment
of the Spirit. With Thought is set up as first Principle, instead
of an Abstract Universal, the Individual more definitelyPer
sonality, in which the Individual becomes Universal; hence Abso
The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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lute Personality posited by itself. As ultimate Origin and end,,
Thought is Absolute Personalityi. e., Thought thinks itself and
posits itself in itself; it is, therefore, its own Subject and Sub
strate, its own image and object, and its own mirror ; and it is all
these three in one. Being: is an immanent integral moment of
o &
Thought and of all the personified forms of Thoughta moment
whose isolation is negated in the Totality wherein Being itself is
organically preserved. Further, Thought proceeds out of this im
manence, and brings forth its single moments in succession. This
is the Creation whose successive phases are described by Moses.
These moments are externalized that they may develop themselves
in time, and thus not fall back into Thought as into a gloomy
grave, but, transfigured and glorified, move forward in Thought
as their illuminating element; Creation, which appears first as the
Contradiction of God, being herein transformed into his image
i. e., finite personality.
So much by way of general explanation and indication. We
have rejected not only the fatal results of pantheism, but also its
apparently harmless principle. To set this principle clearly in
the light and exhibit its radical defects has been our main object.
To this end an open avowal of our owTn philosophic faith was
necessary. We have made it frankly, knowing that the more ex
plicit the confession the more definite will be the expression of
opposing views, and the more clearly differences are stated the
sooner will the reconciling truth be found. Our antagonists can
only gainsay our results by renouncing the principle of Thought,
throwing themselves in the arms of Being and resting on her
bosom until, in the fulness of time, they are delivered by the
The Development of the Soul and its Immortality. 37
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The Journal o f Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 2 (April, 1885), pp. 172-189
Published by: Penn State University Press
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fathers. The exquisite climate of Japan may in like manner have
occasioned the bright, careless, happy disposition of the Japanese.
But perhaps you are impatient at such discussion about the
probable natural origin of different temperaments, and prefer some
old-aunt-of-the-tiniverse theory by which every people simply
has its inborn character given to it from time to time, and thats
all. Yet I will say, the fact that these and kindred speculations
have excited acrimonious pietistic opposition and frequent accusa
tion of gross materialism is remarkable, considering that in reality
they not only lead to the finest spiritual views and create new in
centives and guides to the highest morality, but even give grounds
for a literal and rational belief in many or all of the principal re
ligious dogmas, which must otherwise be mysteries to the devout
and stumbling-blocks or superstitions to skeptics and infidels.
172 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
Ch a p t e r III.
On the Triplicity of the Proofs of Immortality in the Light
of Speculation.
Casting another backward glance at the path over which we
have travelled, we discover that, from the immanent movement of
Thought from Being to the Notion and the unfolding of finite
Spirit out of Soul into Personality, there falls a light which illu
minates and transfigures the three original external proofs of im
mortality. These proofs rest upon discursive thought, which tries
vainly to organize its scattered stores; therefore, in themselves,
they bring no conviction of truth. The successive is never the in
clusive and penetrative. This discursive Thought first attains
organic unity in the immanent development of the Notion ; hence
it arises that these same proofs, seen in the light of speculative
philosophy, really produce Conviction. This speculative light
radiates from the elevation of Being (in whose sphere the three
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dogmatic proofs darkly struggle) into Thought. This done, the
Categories of Being and Essence are transfigured into their Truth
contained in the Categories of the Notion.
It is evident to the most superficial observation that the sim
plicity which is the basis of the metaphysical proof corresponds to
the Individuality of the soul whence proceeds its immanent move
ment; that the capacity for infinite development and the destiny
to infinite ends, of which the soul, according to the moral proof,
is conscious, corresponds to the consciousness of the subject into
which the soul awakes; and that the thought of persistence, which
is the basis of the ontological proof, finds its analogy in the Spirit,
in whose participative Personality the Soul realizes its notion. It
is true that in the first proof consciousness is presupposed, for only
from consciousness can simplicity be deduced ; it is, however, only
presupposed, and not developed. In the series of proofs, as in the
immanent movement of the notion, this development falls within
the second sphere, and consists in that diremption of consciousness
wherein self and its other fall apart, and yet both are known
as content of consciousness. This is the transition to the third
sphere. Thus far the speculative movement of the idea offers
nothing new, either in its content or in its successive phases; it
places us, however, upon a new standpoint, whence we look at,
arid into, and through the heretofore scattered and isolated proofs.
Another difference lies in the fact that, whereas each proof in
its dogmatic form is exclusive and self-sufficient from the specula.,
tive standpoint, it is seen to go over into the succeeding proof.
The content of each proof sinks, therefore, into an organic phase
of truth, and, if taken alone out of this organic unity, proves noth
ing. The movement is dialectical ; the discovered proof contra
dicts and annuls itself. In the immediate form in which it is
posited it is not true, and in its development it exhibits its own
insufficiency. This dialectic must now be more attentively con
sidered, for it is the intrinsic though unrecognized cause of the
doubt which the separate proofs have left behind them. The ne
gation involved in the isolated proof is felt, but the positive truth,
veiled in the inadequate form, is ignored.
Therefore it becomes our duty to notice how the several con
ceptions which underlie the dogmatic proofs of immortality are
transformed when received in the light of the speculative method
1 2
Ooeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 173
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174 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
and how the dialectic movement of these proofs brings out their
relationship to each other.
The first point to be noted is, that the simplicity of the soul,
which is the basis of the first proof, is not able to maintain itself
when confronted with the thought to which it nevertheless belongs,
and is therefore really negated in the second proof.
Though the soul, being simple, is indivisible, and consequently
can neither separate itself from itself nor go out of itself, its es
sential destiny is to go over into that which is not Jtself; for, be
its end knowledge or activity, each equally necessitates the aliena
tion of the soul from itself.
In the first proof the soul, as simple, is dry and arid; in the
second it becomes fluid in its forward movements. In the same
manner the content of the second proof is negated in the third, in
that therein the diremption into Subject and Object, Thought and
Being, is cancelled. The Subject becomes conscious of the Object
as well as of itself, whence results the content of the third proof,
according to which each is in the other, and to Thought (which is
Persistence) is ascribed Being (which is Persistence). Stated dif
ferently : According to the first proof the soul persists in itself,
and all its movement is from and within itself; yet, according to
the second, having become self-conscious, it lives and has its Being
in God, and its movement is not from itself, but from God ; finally,
in the third proof God and the Soul are mediated in the Spirit,
and the estrangement between them forever cancelled.
But though in this transition negation has declared itself, there
must be recognized simultaneously the positive moment, i . e., the
form in which the Content of the negated proofs is still preserved.
Thus, the underlying truth of simplicity is revealed in Individu
ality ; for Individuality is that Unity which in its diremption
maintains its integrity. Similarly, the implicit truth of destina
tion (i . ., the souls capacity for and destiny to high ends) be
comes explicit in Consciousness, which, knowing both itself and its
other, feels itself to be active and passive, subjective and objective.
Finally, the presupposed immediate Unity of Thought and Being
is mediated in the Personality of the Spirit.
After these general statements we shall venture to dwell freely
upon the isolated proofs. Ultimately we shall doubtless find a
point toward \frhich our scattered thoughts will converge.
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The first crude representation of simplicity is so barren, so un
productive, so unthinkable that no man can persevere in holding
it. That the soul, being simple, cannot die we willingly concede,
for the simple is dead, and what is dead cannot die. The char-
acteristic.of life is self-alienation. The truth of simplicity is there
fore the unity of its varied determinations. The unity really
underlies the dogmatic conception of simplicity. Wolf detines
simplicity as vis or primary force. This force, according to him,
is the Representative Activity which manifests itself in different
faculties (facultates), and, without detriment to its unity, exerts
itself in different directions.
Again, when the soul, in virtue of its simplicity, is characterized
as immaterial, the first conscious meaning is that the soul is dis
possessed of the body and its independence of the body is de
clared. But without a body the soul cannot exist; the truth is
that the soul has its real body in itself, that body and soul are
one in the Spirit because both are of the Spirit.
In predicating immateriality of the soul, we therefore really
declare only that the soul is not subject to matter. This predica
tion, moreover, is wholly negative; we have neither explained
what the soul is, if it is not material, nor have we defined matter
itself. When Idealism says, The soul is spirit, animus est spiritus,
it understands by spirit only that it is not matter. Spirit is the
opposite of matter, but the validity of matter is as little contested
by Idealism as by Materialismthe difference between the two
schools of thought being that Materialism ascribes the sole supre
macy to matter, while Idealism confesses a belief in dualism. But
in dualism thought can find no rest; moreover, it demauds to know
what matter is. Thought struggles to free itself from matter ; this
is the deep internal significance of the conception of immateriality.
Thought first contests the supremacy of matter, then its validity.
In the course of this contest it falls upon many different concep
tions which are far more than fancies of the imagination.
Matter is the limit temporarily allotted in thought to the finite
spirittherefore darkness is its nature. This more adequate defi
nition of matter has also the great significance that it finds in mat
ter the negation which was ascribed to the soul when the latter
was characterized as immaterial. With this definition, in fact, the
whole battle is won if its meaning is really apprehended and de
Ooeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 175
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veloped. The forms of representation will, however, vary until
they culminate in the adequate concept.
In the development of this definition, matter is first character
ized as the difference between the infinite and finite spirits, for the
former includes its limit and the latter does not. This impenetra
ble limit of the finite spirit is what we call matter.
Again, in the variation of views which have not ripened into in
sight, matter is defined as the illusory image conjured up by the
understanding in lieu of the thing-in-itself ; this latter it can
never find, as it lies beyond the subjective sphere.
Finally, matter is characterized as soul in the process of becom
ing; this dead soul during its slow self-transfiguration serves the
living soul, through whose reaction it is quickened into conscious
In all these representations the body is negatively but not posi
tively cancelled. They are forms which, though developed from
the presupposed immateriality of the soul, yet seek to rise above
the dogmatic dualistic standpoint upon which the conception of
immateriality immediately rests. They contest that validity and
authority of matter which idealism left unimpeached; they as
cribe reality exclusively to the soul, and thus reduce matter to
negation. Their inadequacy results from the fact that they appre
hend this negation only in its alienation from positive reality.
Ultimately the truth grows clear which is hinted in all these
representations. This truth is the monism of the spirit, according
to which the spirit is seized, not as the synthesis of body and soul,
but as the unity of these two moments. Thus the abstract nega
tive conception of immateriality leads ultimately to the concrete
notion of the spirit.
It is a most instructive and noteworthy fact that even those
systems of thought which move not from Thought or the Subject,
but from Substance or Being, are forced involuntarily to admit
this immateriality. Under this head must be classed the well-
known proposition of Spinoza in the Ethics : Mens humana non
potest cum corpore absolute destrui sed ejus aliquid remanet quod
aetemum est. Under this proposition stands its mathematical
demonstration, together with a scholium, according to which indeed
the existentia mentis ceases with the body, but the essentia mentis,
as an intellectus in Deo conceptus, persists in God to all eternity.
176 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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It must be admitted tbat with the existentia mentis perish Repre
sentation (imaginatio) and Re-coUection (recordatio rerum praeteri-
tarurn), both of which are apprehended as dependent upon the
body. Consciousness, on the contrary, is somewhat illogically pre
This loss of existence and recollection is the logical result of a
system which apprehends God as Being or Substance, and therein
cedes to Being the supremacy and priority over Thought. With
such a presupposition it is forced to concede that the starting-
point of the finite spirit is also its goalto declare that nothing is
accomplished by existence in time, and to assert that the soul shall
return to God in the same form of essentia mentis in which it was
originally in God. This is the radical insufficiency of this stage
of thought; the consciousness retained in God its radical incon
sistencyan inconsistency, however, which is unavoidable, because
the spirit, in virtue of its absolute freedom, as often as it is re
nounced, instinctively asserts anew its own validity. It is worthy
of remark that Spinoza seizes Thought as simple because he op
poses it to Extension, and that he grasps both Thought and Exten
sion as attributes of substance, whereas the thinking Being and
the extended object are, in his view, only modes or affections of
these attributes.
When Spinoza attempts to explain the difference between the
esse essentiae and the esse existentiae he involuntarily substitutes
Thought for substance as the ground of the esse essentiae, but
while so doing still holds Thought apart from the subject de
manded by and inseparable from Thought. With him, too, exist
ence is externality, or extension and essence, simplicity or thought.
The esse existentiae to him is ipsa rerum existentia extra Deum et
in se considerata quae tribuitur rebus postquam a Deo creatae sunt.
All finite beings without distinction are therein apprehended as
external, i . e., as Things; simultaneously'the idea of emanation is
substituted for that of creation, the esse essentia signifying the
thought in God which is eternal, modus quo res creatae in Deo
concipiuntur. Thus even this original and highest Being of the
essentia55 falls within the range of Speculative Knowing, which
is tertium genus cognitionis sub specie aeternitatis. 55
In illustration of the difference between the esse essentia and
the esse existentia Spinoza instances the work of art whose es-
1 2 * XIX 1 2
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 177
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sence is vitally persistent in the mind of the artist, whereas its
existence is projected and disjoined from thought, and is thus
purely external. In this separation from /the creative thought it
may easily be destroyed while the essence survives in the imagi
nation of the artist. This illustration ignores the fact that God
is thought as the subject who thinks the creature, or, to express it
passively, as the subject by whom the creature is thought. From
this insight follows the eternity of created personalitythat is to
say, when the creature is thought by the creator as thinking, the
creature must also think, because it is not only thought by God,
but, by the Thinker, thought as thinking. For this same reason
the creature thinks God, or (expressing it passively to make it
more clear) God, the Thinking Being, is reciprocally thought by
the creature who is thought as thinking. Thus thought and think
ing the creature endures in eternity because it is once and for all
thought by God. Moreover, it endures as it is thought, viz., as
thinking; and it thinks God, i . 0., the Eternal Personality God
is, thought by the creature because it is thought by God. Thus
Spinozas own illustration, logically completed, leads to personal
persistence, though, in the view of Spinoza himself, personal per
sistence, together with all representation and recollection, dis
solves in infinite substance.
It would seem that even Dante fears to lose recollection as he
plunges his soul into the depths of the glory of God.
Because iQdrawing near to its desire
Our intellect engulfs itself so far
That after it the memory cannot go.
But the great poet of Christianity recovers the memory, both
of things human and of things divine, and reproduces for us in
the thirty-three Cantos of the Paradiso the content of recol
lection. Lethe blots out only the nugatory, vain, and unreal
memory of Sin, while Eunoe, upon the souls entrance into Para
dise, restores to consciousness all good deeds done, and renews
and vivifies the power of memory. Thereafter, as it advances
through the realm of light, the Spirit is increasingly illuminated
until, penetrated by the vision of God in the glory of his threefold
Being, it knows itself as Gods-eternal image.
Returning to the immateriality of the soul, let us say once more
that its outcome is the finite spirit, and this finite spirit is the
178 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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identity of the soul with its body. The body is immanent in the
soul; it ie not bestowed upon the soul from without; it is the
extemalization of the soul, and it has to be in the soul in order
to come forth out of the soul. Hence it is indestructible. This
is the outcome of the metaphysical proof.
It may be said that the soul is its own body, its own organ, and
again that its body is itself. The external body of the soul ia
its v\rj, the internal body its wro/cel/jLevov. Plato says in the
Phaedrus : u The soul resembles the united power of the chariot
and of the driver who sits thereon and guides it. The chariot ia
the inner body of the soul, the driver is the soul of the soul; the
union of the two is not to be grasped as a synthesis but as one
force, hence as unity.
The soul, as spirit, is consequently indivisibly one with its in
ward body, L e., the soul has its individual form though it sepa
rate from its outward body, as our eyes see it do. As far as we
can trust our eyes, this separation is not to be denied, but we can
trust our eyes only in so far as that which transpires in death is vis
ible, *0 parai Se ovB avrrj yfrvxh*(Xenoph. Memorab., iv, 3,14.)
Animus autem solus, nec quum adest, nec quum discedit apparet.
Cicero, De Senect., c. 2 2 . Visibility is limited, however, to
the outward bodyhence the soul separates itself from its body
only in so far as the body is purely external, only in so far as the
body being visible is already different from the soul; or, in other
words, only in so far as the body is the other of the soul. Death
actualizes what is already ideally contained in the distinction be
tween body and soul. As all nature is the other of soul, so is the
body which pertains to nature its other. Death is the consumma
tion of this thought, for death consists only in the souPs separa
tion from its other, that through separation this other may be
identified with soul. Upon this identification rests the conception
of resurrection; the body which, as external and only external, is
deserted by the soul, shall be again united with the soul, or, in
other words, its externality shall be dissolved in the soul.
It is not and should not be said that the body leaves the soul,
but that the soul leaves the body; 17 - ^tryj) Karakehrei to acofia.
Xenoph. Cyrop., viii, 7. Therefore it is in the soul that the
body finds itself. This is the resurrection, and its presupposition is
the immortality of the soul. Its first phase is that the soul, being
Ooeschd on the Immortality of the Soul. 179
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independent of its external body, being indeed its own body, is
victorious over death; its second phase is the resurrection and
transfiguration of tlje outward body into reunion with the soul.
As Psyche is the soul and Eros the spirit, so the nymph Calypso
is the soul, the earthly man Ulysses the body, and the island of
Ogygia the earthly dwelling-place. The separation of the lovers
is death; death consists in the dissolution of their union, but does
not imply that the separated lovers cease to exist. Rather, after
the separation, Eros watches and protects, Psyche labors and
serves, Calypso waits and weeps, and Ulysses is tossed upon
strange seas and wanders through strange lands, just as the body
after death is scattered in its atoms and transmuted into varying
forms. Reunion is resurrection in the Spirit. Therefore the res
urrection is only understood when it is apprehended as the trans
figuration and penetration of the body by the soul in the spirit.
The truth of this conception may be more definitely developed
from the genetic idea of externality. Externality is nothing else
than the isolation and mutual exclusion of the particular moments
of the notion, the unity and totality of which is the Spirit. Out
ward phenomena are thus the dismembered elements of the in
ternal, self-active, and poetic. The body represents the isolated
moments of the individual soul, as nature represents the isolated
moments of humanity. These moments are, however, still ex
ternal to the soul. This externality, which is visibility, in death
ceases as appearance/i>r the soul; the visible is that which is only
a fleeting show; death is f or the soul the dissolution, or rather the
transfiguration, of the external. But even after death the realm
of appearance endures; for itself and for those who remain behind
the external body is still external. Its real transformation falls,
therefore, in the future, and is conceived as resurrection and
glorification of the flesh. Through this resurrection the verifica
tion becomes complete of the unity of the soul as spirit with its
so-called body, according to the ground and final end of time,
and of its distinctness from the body only in so far as the latter is
appearancei. e., semblance which alone has visibility. The ex
ternal separation of death takes place in the same nioment in
which the soul as spirit internalizes its body. This internalization
is itself the cessation of externality.
In this development of simplicity and of difference the origi
180 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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nally abstract and barren conception of simplicity realizes a rich
and pregnant content. The richer any given thought, the less will
it at first be comprehended; the fuller its content, the more diffi
cult for it to gain complete self-mastery. Therefore, with minds
illuminated by this insight into unity and distinction, it is inter
esting to look back upon precedent conceptions, and particularly
is it delightful to glance into that crystalline mirror of scholastic
thought which we inherit from Dante, even though we may not
pause adequately to develop its content. In the Purgatorio,
canto xviii, 49, Virgil teaches as follows :
Every substantial formthat segregate
Frommatter is and with it is united,
Specific power has in itself collected,
Which without act is not perceptible.
Still more definitely Statius ( Purgatorio, xxv, 37-108) de
velops, in speaking of the creation of the soul (from which later
developed Occasionalism and Preformationism), the inseparability
of the divine and the human as united in the spirit, and also (Tra-
ducianismus Corporis, from which later arose the system of Epi
genesis) the separability of the external body until its transfigura
tion. The generation and birth of each man is an act of divine
creation. He who has advanced so far in thought that he finds the
dogmatic-i. e., external and sensible demonstration of Statius
inadequate, may ascend through the simile of the mirror into which
the argument rises in lines 22-27, and the simile of the shadow
with which it culminates in lines 100-108, into that speculative
reflection of the external in the internal through which philosophy
in these modem days has renewed its youth. This speculative in
sight consists in the apprehension of what seems to happen ex
ternallyi. e., to pass before the observing subject as the inner self
movement of the subject itself, which herein becomes visible to the
subject in the object as in a mirror.
And wouldst thou think how at each tremulous motion
Trembles within a mirror thine own image;
That which seems hard would mellow seemto thee.
Simplicity, Unity, Internality, are different grades of one quality.
Language has one word for ev and ip.
Herewith the metaphysical or theoretical, which may also be
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 181
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called the objective, proof realizes more and more its implicit
truth; this truth is the moral or practical, more adequately the
subjective proof; besides these two proofs there can be but one
other which shall include them both. We, however, are still oc
cupied with the first proof, which culminates in the immediate
unity cf the soul and the body. This unity involves the unity of
life; there is not another life beyond the grave, but it is this life
which continues, just as it is this ego which endures and not
another. Herewith otherness, both in the individual and ex
ternal to the individual, is completely cancelled, and thus per
sonality is realized, externality dissolved, and limit annulled, both
in the positive and negative sense. Thus it happens that each
finds place in the other, as Dante too experiences with astonishment
( Purgatorio, ii, 34 et seq.), for the one thing necessary is not
place, but the unity of space and time, of the body and the soul.
Through this aperqu, ^Eneas of Gaza was able to refute the
doubt where place could be found for so many millions of souls.
In those dwelling-places of intelligible essences (i .., of souls)
there is no scantiness of room, but a perfect abundance of it, for
all are one. Each one fills the entire space and at the same time
admits into itself all the others (i. e.r interpenetrates each and is
interpenetrated by all), and no one excludes any other or in any
way impedes it as material bodies are wont to do.(.^En. Gaza,
According to the metaphysical proof, the soul is further as
monad, in itself and through itself, self-active and self-determin
ing; thus it completes itself into a circle. Hence is deduced its
imperishability. This self-determination is, however, negated in
the moral proof, according to which the soul in its immediacy is
determined, and this determination is not through itself. We find
the soul, as created, determined by God and determined to ends;
though this prescribed destiny in relation to which the soul is
passive is nothing else than that the soul shall actively develop it
self. In other words, the soul is determined to be self-determining.
The moral proof thus deduces from determination the same re
sult which the metaphysical proof deduced from simplicity, i. e.,
from the opposite of determination. The solution of this contra
diction is as follows: The soul is determined by God, hence has
not its ground in itself, yet the soul is self-determining, and de
182 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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rives its essence from no other essence. These seemingly clashing
statements contain in reality no contradiction, for God is not an
Essence alien to the soul, but the Absolute Spirit, which, as per
sonal or penetrative and self-communicative, creates and preserves
the finite spirit, which latter, penetrated and penetrating, manifests
itself also as personal. Persistence itself is nothing but continuous
creation, whose presupposition is the personality of the absolute
spirit and whose result is the personality of the finite spirit. The
creature continuously creates its existence and its thought out of
the Creator, the spirit out of the Spirit; or, as Spinoza says, The
Creatio Dei demands the Concursus Dei. To this he clearly and
truly adds: u Nullam rem creatam su&naturd ne momento quidem
posse existere, sed continuo a l^eo procreari.
The first proof affirms as Aristotle also teaches: Anima per se
vitam habet. The second affirms as the Greek fathers of the Church
particularly taught: Anima non per se vitam habet, sed percipit
ex conjunctione cum spiritu, fonte vitae aeternae. Thus, too, the
Scriptures teach (1 Tim. vi, 16) that only God has immortality
in Himself with Christ, who as one with the Father in the Holy
Spirit is Himself the Kesurrection and the Life (John xi, 25).
Man receives immortality. He that believeth in me, says Christ,
though he die yet shall he live, as the branch lives if it abide in
the vine, but withers if it is torn from the vine. He who is called
to communion with God in Christ can never die, for as personal
he participates in the imperishable personality of the Absolute
Thus from the creation of God results its progressive continu
ance as concursus Dei continuus. This Continuous activity of the
Absolute Spirit is the source of the continuous activity and devel
opment of the finite Spirit; the activity of the latter is only pos
sible as result of the activity of the former, and is mediated in the
notion personality. The unity of the two is the immortality of
the soul, the finite spirit progressively developing itself in itself
through a constant influx from the everlasting fountain of the
divine life and thought. This is the content of the second proof
which herewith has taken up the first proof into itself, or rather
this is the outcome of the second proof which transcends itself as
it consciously unites the content of the first proof with its own.
The first point is that the soul exists, consequently that the soul
Ooeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 183
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is created. Its creation presupposes the intellectus in Deo con-
ceptus, and this demands as consequence the concursus Dei con-
tinuus. That is to say: The thought of God is creation, and the
creation of God is eternal. He spake and it was done, writes
the Psalmist, and the Preacher adds: I know that whatsoever God
doeth it shall be forever. The Absolute Spirit thinks the finite
spirit, or rather finite spirits (for finitude implies plurality), and
this thought is their creation: the Absolute Spirit remembers the
hosts of finite spirits who, during the long course of history, have
vanished from this earthly scene, and this remembrance is their
preservation. Gods creation never ceases; He who creates up
holds his creation; He preserves each object in the mode corre
sponding to its nature, maintains each species in its appropriate
category, and yet transfigures all the separate moments through
organic membership in the totality.
The remembrance and preservation of departed spirits in the
Absolute Spirit could not be if these spirits themselves were not.
As the thought of God, being itself living, creates life; so the per
petual remembrance of God maintains life. The vital concept of
the Absolute is a reciprocal concept, and implies that, inasmuch
as God remembers finite spirits, these finite spirits must remem
ber him, and in him remember themselves. The outward mani
festation of the spirits of men outwardly vanishes, but the spirits
themselves, upheld and transfigured in the Absolute Spirit, live in
the life of God. If, then, the Absolute Life consists in conscious
ness, all that is maintained in this life must be also conscious. On
its external side the history of what has been closes in the grave
yard, but history comprehended opens our ears to the cry of the
prophet, O ye dry bones, hear the voice of the Lord ! Resur
rected humanity is the actuality, the truth, and the surety of Gods
throne; without it God would be lifeless isolation. For all who can
truly re-think this thought the meaning is this: that the Absolute
Idea preserves itself in its actuality, certainty, and truth only in so
far as finite spirits are preserved and perfected in their self-con
sciousness in this absolute life of God. The truth and majesty of
Gods throne demand the assembling of the children of men for
his footstool. He who is sure of God is sure of his own life in
God. The certainty of the conviction of immortality tests the
depth of insight into the nature of Absolute Spirit.
184 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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Such is the ultimate development of the second proof in its
transition into the third. This is the profound truth in which
Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit finds its infinite culmination. 1
Because man is created to be spirit he is created to be immortal.
Hinc clare sequitur, says Spinoza himself, animam immor-
talem esse? u Consequently, he adds, none but God can de
stroy the soul. This can only mean that God has the physical
power to enter into contradiction with his own creation, in which
his expressed will is the persistence of the Spirit. This, again, is
only saying that God can contradict and retract his own will.
Such an ascription of simple physical power to the Godhead is an
unthinking and unthinkable contradiction. Most significant is it
that this has been recognized by that great thinker who moves
from the being of substauce in that he claims to recognize the
Will of God as natural reason in nature itself. Here, again, the
Spirit shows itself under the inadequate presupposition; it is
not in nature but in the creation of the human spirit, or in thought
itself, that Spinoza reads the Word of God.
Leges autem illae naturae sunt Decreta Dei lumine naturali
revelata. Decreta deinde Dei immutabilia esse jam demonstravi-
mus. Ex quibus omnibus dare concludimus, Deum suam immu-
tabilem voluntatem circa durationem animarum hominibus non
tantum revelatione sed etiam lumine naturali patefecisse.
The lumen naturale is in this sense, as creation itself, the first
Nec obstat, he continues, si aliquis objiciat, Deum leges
illas naturales aliquando destruere ad effieienda miracula: nam
plerique ex prudentioribus Theologis concedunt, Deum nihil con
tra naturam agere [for Creation is his Will] sed supra naturam,
hoc est, ut ego explico, Deum multas etiam leges operandi habere,
quas humano intellectui non communicavit, quae si humano intel
lects communicatae essent, aeque naturales essent, quam caeterae.
Unde liquidissime constat, mentes esse immortales.
We have now arrived at a point where we may touch more
definitely a question which runs secretly through the whole his
tory of the doctrine of immortality, and which throughout is met
1Nothing is more misunderstood in the much misunderstood philosophy than the
sublime conclusion of that vast cathedral structure which Hegel built for our age in his
Phenomenology of Spirit.
Ooeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 185
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186 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
by an unexpressed answer. This question is whether the immor
tality of man can be recognized immediately by the light of na
ture or only in the light of the special divine revelation through
the Word of God. We are pointed toward the answer by the
second proof of immortality, which goes back to God and reads
the Will of God in the nature of the finite spirit. Our whole
present explanation is, in fact, nothing more than an answer to
the question concerning the source of our knowledge. The first
necessity is that we should make the question itself clear to our
minds. This done, the answer is ready. The question is whether
the immortality of man can be recognized in the creation of man
alone. This question contains the presupposition that creation
is something once done and finished, and that man once created is
emancipated. In other words, creation is conceived as an accom
plished fact and not as a continuing process. With such a crea
tion and such a naturea creation which has ceased to be, and a
nature which, having lost its source, has lost its lifenot only the
demonstration of immortality but immortality itself is impossible.
If, however, we apprehend creation as progressively continuous,
and in this continuous creation recognize the persistence of the
finite spirit, we do not get this knowledge from nature, but from
the source of natureviz., from the Spirit of God, which is pro
gressively revealed in creation. The concept of a progressively
continuous creation includes the revelation of the Absolute Spirit
in the finite : this creatio continua manifests itself as Providence,
and after the fall (i. 0., the actual abstraction from the continuous
creation) as Redemption, which is therefore apprehended as a
second creation. A perpetually flowing stream of water is mani
festly unthinkable without a perpetual source; the stream may
be cut off from its source, but, by as much of flowing water as it
contains, it is nevertheless united with it. In the same way, by
as much light as remains in fallen man, his reason is united with
the Spirit of God and his nature still in relation with its su
pernatural origin. We must therefore affirm that the personal
immortality of man can only be recognized in its participation
with the personality of the Absolute Spirit; this participation is
recognized only'in the progressively continuous creation and reve
lation of God, and this revelation after mans alienation from God
is recognized only in Redemption, Gods second act of condescend-
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ing grace. Herein is cancelled the confusing difference between
an immortalitas naturd taught by the first proof, and the immor
talitas gratid upon which the second proof essentially rests. So
far as the natural creation still endures it endures through the
continuity of its relationship with Godi . e., through the grace
of God.
With this continuous creation and revelation is given the con
cept of immortality from which the third proof deduces the being
of immortality. In the light of speculation, however, it has be
come clear that the Notion or Thought as Spirit is itself the high
est, the eternal and indestructible. It therefore needs not the
imputation of Being as something external to itself in order to be.
It is merely a proof of the power which natural Being has usurped
over the natural man, and herewith over the naturalized reason of
Thought. When fettered by sensuous modes of thinking, we still
desire something fixed and tangible to which Thought or Con
sciousness may attach itself. All such sensuous thinking implies
that thought in itself is notthat only in the tiXr) can it find its
inro/ceiftevov, and that it needs matter for its support just as the
Hebraic Yocal, which Spinoza compares with the soul, demanded
a fulcrum external to itself as its body.
Thought, however, is really so little dependent upon Being that
the truth rather is that eternal persistence belongs essentially to
and is immanent in Thought. This is the distinctive content of
the third proof. Spinoza touches this third proof when he teaches
that the idea of persistency as well as that of progressive develop
ment, under varying modifications of the form of existence, is im
mediately necessary to the soul, while the idea of its destruction is
wholly alien to and contradictory of its substance. He expresses
this proof negatively when he says: N ullam nos ideam habere,
qu& concipiamus substantiam destrui. To deny to Thought its
persistence is nothing more nor less than to deny persistence to
the persistent. Therefore the positive statement is as follows:
Homo, cum se sub aeternitatis specie contempletur, se aeternum
esse scit. The scientia aeternitatis is herewith also essentia aeterna.
It is most remarkable that Spinoza again and again ascribes the
eternity which he finds as idea in consciousness not to conscious
ness itself, but to Being. Throughout his system is manifest with
reciprocal overthrow and destruction the conflict of Being and
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 187
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Thought. The truth is that the being of persistence is not some
thing external added to the notion of persistence, but, just as being
is contained in consciousness, it dwells within the concept of per
sistence as its determination.
The explicit content of the third proof is that in Consciousness
is contained all Beingthat all that is is preserved in Thought
and included in the Notion. As the Subject is preserved in Per
sonality, so the Natural Individual is preserved in the Species, for
in the Notion nothing is lost. Augustine says: u Si nulla essentia,
in quantum essentia est, aliquid habet contrarium, multo minus
habet contrarium prima ilia essentia, quae dicitur veritas, in quan
tum essentia est. Primum autem verum est. Omnis essentia non
ob aliud essentia est, nisi quia est. Esse autem non habet con
trarium, nisi non esse: unde nihil est eesentiae contrarium. Nullo
modo igitur res ulla esse potest contraria illi substantiae, quae
maxime ac primitus est.(Augustine, uDe immort. animae, 1
liber unus, c. 1 2 .)
Relatively to the third proof there is still one observation to be
made. It would be wonderful if it had not been urged against
the triplicity of the proofs of immortality that the essential con
tent of the third proof falls into the much-articulated sphere of
the second proof. The essential basis of the second proof is that
the soul, in its most specific determination, is stamped with the seal
of immortality, or, in a word, is itself the embodied concept of im
mortality. Upon this concept also rests the third proof. In so far
the two proofs agree; their difference lies in the fact that in the
second proof the concept as concept is not explicit, but the capa
city for infinite development is grasped as objective quality of the
existent soul; or, again, reminiscence is apprehended as the inborn
knowledge of an eternal past, and from this eternal past is inferred
an endless future. The process here moves from past to future
being; in other words, from the nature of being is deduced its
future. In the third proof, on the contrary, the concept of per
1Besides this bookwhich contains an entire series of proofs of immortality, although
in fact they are all contained substantially in the above-discussed triplicity of proofs
should be mentioned the dialogue Be Quantitate animat, as of importance in the history
of the doctrine of immortality. It mentions seven grades or stations through which the
soul is developed before it comes to God and dwells with him. The last station is the
mansion of contemplatio Dei apod Deum See also the writing of Augustine Be
spiritu et anima.
188 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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Immortality of the Individual. 189
sistence is comprehended as Thought, and from this transition is
made to the Being of persistence or to the actuality of the con
cept; the movement, therefore, is from subjective thought to its
objective reality. A similar difference is found between the teleo-
ological and ontological proofs of the existence of God : the former
finds God as subject in the objective world, in that from the reality
of the object, apprehended as creation, it deduces the reality of the
subject apprehended as Creator; the latter thinks God and moves
from the thought to its actualization, from that which is necessary
to Thought to that which necessarily exists. The outcome of this
proof is the concept of Thought which includes Being, and does not
have to seek it elsewhere. Thus, too, the first proof coincides with
the third in that both rest upon unity : their difference lies in the
fact that the immediate unity of the first proof is mediated in the
I. Introduction.
1. Our argument for immortality will be based chiefly on psy
chology. The proofs on which most men rely for their convic
tion that they will continue their individual existence after death
we therefore pass over.
The proofs that we omit from our discussion are
a. The return to life of those who have dieda resurrection
in the bodynotably the example which the Christian Church
teaches as the basis of its faith and as the symbol of the resurrec
tion of the individual man.
b. The physical manifestation of individuality after death by
the exertion of power to control matter, or to materialize in tem
porary bodies as in cases of reported modern and ancient spirit
1Read at the Concord School of Philosophy, August 1, 1884.
* As, for example, Tertuilian, De Anima, Cap. ix; 1 Sam. xxviii, 115.
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The J our nal of Specul ati ve P hi l osophy, Vol. 19, No. 3 (J uly, 1885), pp. 299-310
Published by: Penn State University Press
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other thing. Their thoughts are mostly confined to the needs of
the body; and it is reasonable that pure and spotless thoughts be
the reward of cares more noble. I t is true that children and
savages have the mind less altered by customs, but they also have
it nurtured by the teaching, which gives attention. I t would be
an inappropriate endowment that the brightest lights should
better shine in the mind of those who less deserve them, and who
are enveloped in thick clouds. I would not have you, then, glory
too much in ignorance and barbarism, since you are as learned
and as clever as you are, Philalethes, as well as your excellent
author; that would be lowering the gifts of God. Some one will
say that the more ignorant you are the more you approach the
advantage of a block of marble or of a piece of wood, which are
infallible and sinless. But, unfortunately, it is not by ignorance
that you approach this advantage; and, as far as you are capable
of knowledge, you sin in neglecting to acquire it, and you will
err so much the more easily the less information you possess.
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 299
C h apter I I I (Continued).
The Tri pl i ci ty of the P r oofs of I mmortal i ty i n the l i ght of
We have seen how the current proofs of immortality are re
flected and transfigured in the light of speculation. The most sig
nificant feature of our investigation, however, is that we have found
the threads of this development in the very system which seems
most antagonistic to personal immortality. That Spinoza himself
has forged for us the arms with which we combat pantheism is
overwhelming testimony to the inextirpability of the concept of
I t is also remarkable that while Leibnitz, like Epicurus, moves
from atoms as his starting-point, he reaches a result diametrically
opposed to that of the ancient philosopher in that he proves per
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sonal immortality from the indivisible internality of the Monad.
Not less noteworthy is it that in the system of Leibnitz the three
proofs develop out of and successively to each other. Leading
first from the compound to the simple, Leibnitz begins the de
velopment of his system with the content of the first proof; he
then leads us through the varied orders and series of monads to
the rational Monad, and finally to the divine primitive Monad, in
which all things live and move and have their being (the kernel
of the second proof), wherefore throughout creation nothing can
perish (and here we reach the third proof). I mmediately there
is attributed to each Monad certa quaedain avrdpKeca; then it is
recognized that originally this autarky belongs only to the primi
tive Monad, and created monads exist as continual divinitatis
fulgurationes, and are preserved through continuous creation. The
consequence is that nothing perishes. Nequeunt monades interire
nisi per annihilationem. But such annihilation would be anni
hilation of the divine will, and thus we reach the final result, viz.,
quodlibet animal, quamvis machina ipsius saepiusex parte pereat,
animaque involucra organica vetera relinquat, vel nova capiat,
esse indestructibile. I t may be added that the Monad theory of
Leibnitz which moves through the complete cycle of the proofs of
immortality has recently taken on flesh and bone and appeared
in concrete poetic form in the Conversations of Goethe with
An evident result of our investigation up to this point is that,
on the one hand, the first proof of immortality, commonly called
the metaphysical proof, is the basis of all the subsequent proofs,
and that on the other it requires these subsequent proofs for its
own development and completion. I t is clear also that within its
own sphere the content of the first proof has two apparently
antagonistic sides. The one is that the soul as immaterial is ex
hibited in independence and separability from its external body,
and is thus withdrawn from the power of death. But this very
independencs of a visible external and tangible body presupposes
in the soul a separating and self-limiting moment, and this mo
ment is the body which the soul has in itself. The second phase
of the first proof is, therefore, that immanent unity and insepara
bility of the soul and the body which is indispensable if the soul
after separation from its external body is to persist in its indi
300 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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vidual form. The soul must be different from its external body,
but indissolubly one with its internal body if after death it is to
preserve its individuality and substantiality. When Philo, essay
ing to demonstrate immortality, rests the whole weight of his
argument upon the separability of the reasonable God-conscious
soul from the body which fetters and clogs it, he necessarily pre
supposes in the soul an immanent organ, and implies the insepa
rability of the soul from its inmost bond. The second moment
eads immediately to immortality; the first mediately through its
content to resurrection, which in its first phase is concerned with
that external body which has been given over to death. The
death of the body is nothing more than the continuance of the
disjectio membrorum, the sensible completion of that schism in
which the whole creation travails and groans. We may see also
in the philosophy of Philo how the content of the first proof leads
over to the second. He claims immortality only for the yfrvxv
XoyitcT), ButvorjTLKt), because this is divine, and as divine free. The
source of this divinity and freedom is the spirit of God breathed
by God into man, whom he thus created in his own image. There
fore the destiny of man is to behold God. So, too, teaches Plo
tinus. According to this insight, on the one hand the separation
of the soul from the body develops to reunion of soul and body by
means of the resurrection ; and, on the other hand, the indivisible
Being-for-self or individuality of the soul in its internal body, in
that it wakes and ascends into consciousness, leads in its progress
ive course to communion with God, and consequently to that per
sonality of the spirit without which communion is unthinkable,
and the vision of God, remaining external, contradicts itself.
As we trace the progressive movement of proof through its
various phases, it is most important that we seize definitely and
clearly its physiological aspect and significance. The develop
ment of the soul is essentially physiological; it is constituted, in
fact, by the relationship of the soul to the body. The soul does
not abstractly develop itself, but it develops, transforms, and
penetrates its body and its relationship to the body. For this
reason, the crown of physiological development is personality.
We recognize the physiological principle in the second phase of
the first proof which is the first mark of the advancing move
ment; the physiological principle emerges simultaneously with
2 0
Geosehel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 301
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the corporeality of the soul. Most significant in this connection
i6the procedure of the school of Wolf, which, in the sphere of the
metaphysical proof, does not rest in an abstract and formal unity,
but, moving forward at once to the corporeality of the soul,
grounds the persistence of self-consciousness primarily in the
souls physiological development. The abstract simplicity of the
soul is, of course, the starting-point. Anima est ens simplex:
from this follows the incorruptibility of the soul. This incor
ruptibility of the soul is, however, no voucher for the persistenc
of self-consciousness. Self-consciousness rests upon the union of
the soul with its inborn body; this inborn body Wol f indicates
by a special word in order to distinguish it from the external
body, which is merely its palpable manifestation, and he appre
hends the soul in its marriage with this inborn body as person.
The presupposition of this union is the creation which renews
itself in each generation and birth, and accompanies each freshly
begotten soul throughout life and beyond death; the incarna^
tion of the soul is an act of creation, in whose uninterrupted con
tinuance consists the physiological process. I mmediately, ex sua
natura, in virtue of its simplicity, the soul is imperishable; but its
indissoluble union with its body follows, not from its nature, but
from the concept of creation or from the nature of God, who must
so perpetuate the soul as he has created the soul. The death of
the body must therefore not be apprehended as the disembodying
of the soul. The soul does not become bodiless when it leaves
the body soulless. As consciousness rests upon the union of the
soul with its organ, the body, the persistence of consciousness, or,
more definitely, reminiscence (recordatio), may now be physiologi
cally explained. Death is followed by ever deeper inter-penetra
tion of body and soul; the result of this conformably with self-
revealing physiological laws in that reminiscence, together with
all its representations and images, grows ever clearer, more
definite, and more luminous. Thus, in virtue of its perfectibility,
the soul mounts from light to light. Herewith we are already in
the sphere of the second proof, which completes itself in the third
through the concept of personality.
The physiological principle of the process of proof moves from
the connection of the psychic and somatic moments which condi
tions consciousness and culminates with the unity of these mo-
302 Ths J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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ments in the concept of personality. The phases of the move
ment are, first, pre-existence; or, better] still, essence; second,
creation and generation, through which the divine and the
human, the infinite and the finite, merge in one; third, perfecti
bility, which, and that too in the form of consciousness, is an in
dispensable stipulation of the union between the infinite and finite*
Adequately apprehended, this perfectibility is the development of
the created spirit through which it becomes what it is created to
be. I n this power of development is, however, necessarily in
cluded the possibility of lapse. The soul must develop itself by
its own activity into the image of God; yet it can do this only by
constantly drawing freely power from God. Obviously, in the
course of its self-development, it may tear itself away from God
and may persist in this fallen state of subjective isolation until
divine power condescends to a second act of creative grace. The
culminatiou is always personality, by means of which perfecti
bility completes itself without ceasing to be, and finds peace
without sinking into sleep. With reference to these representa
tions and conceptions, we have already referred to Dante, Pur-
gatorio, xviii, 49; xxv, 37.
I n our own day the validity of this physiological considera
tion has been profoundly discussed on many sides. Finally Schu
bert has gone straight to the kernel of the whole matter and
given us a history of the soul replete with suggestive reflections
and profound insights. From the surface of appearance he finds
a path into the hidden depths of existence; from abstract, color
less light he leads us into night and mystery, into the very essence
of Being. Through the profound darkness Faith, with her torch,
leads the way, and we emerge at last out of night into the morn
ing, where the truth we have wrested from the gloom reflects
itself in a thousand shining forms. Night is the mother of light,
the body of translucent color. Without descending into the
darkness we can never mount to the li^ht. What is still neces
sary is that the rich material which Schubert has accumulated
should be inwardly digested; that with a deeper plunge into the
hidden world of miracles we may find a fairer morning and gaze
with clearer eyes while the crimson glow of the sunrise grows
into the perfect day.
We have already indicated how the triplicity of the proofs of
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 303
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304 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
immortality is repeated and transfigured in the immanent de
velopment of the concept of the soul. This triplicity rests/first,
upon the simplicity of the soul; second, upon its infinity; third,
upon thought. So, in the development of the concept, the soul
reveals itself first as individual, or the one in opposition to its
other; second, as consciousness of itself and of its other; hence,
consciousness of God; third, as spirit in its personalityi. e., in
the identity or mediation of self with its other i n the individual.
This triplicity develops of itself from the position in which
we find the soul. This position is the middle point between two
extremes. As we find the soul, the soul already is; what the
soul has been, lies, as essence, behind i t ; what the soul shall be,
lies, as actuality, before it.
The question of the immortality of the soul is therefore immedi
ately a question asked by the present of the future. Therefore
in our investigation we first essayed to follow the forward move
ment of the soul toward its culmination in the finite spirit,
starting with it from that middle point of time in which it is
placed. And as the present asked the question, so in the present
we found its answer; the present answered instead of the future
by becoming itself the future it questioned. Upon this procedure
rests in its final ground the so-called metaphysical proof of the
personal persistence of the soul, for this proof seizes the soul in its
immediacy and seeks for it in the future what it lacks in the
present. A parallel to this process is found in the cosmological
proof of the existence of God, which, seizing the world in its im
mediacy, seeks what it lacks in the highest essence. The nature
of the world is to seek that which fulfils and explains itthat
without which it is nothing. The fi r st longing aspiration after
God seeks him i n the futur e, because it has not found him now,
because it misses him here.
The path of the soul out of the present into the future is scarcely
trodden ere it points from the future into the past, which is the
background and ultimate presupposition of the soul. Thus, in
its second phase, the question of immortality is addressed by the
present to the past; the essential basis of the present and future is
sought in what has been. Thus, the finite spirit, which was the
actualization and unveiling of the soul, pointed us back to that
Absolute Spirit which was prior to the .finite Spirit and as Abso
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lute ever is and shall be. I n the Absolute Spirit we found the
origin or essence of the pre-existent internality of the soul, which,
by means of extemalization or existence, passes over to the future
of the soul in God. The same path from the present into the
past and through the past into the future may be detected in the
moral proof of immortality, for this leads from the nature of the
soul as determined to the determining essence, which is both the
presupposition of the souls existence and the guarantee of the
souls immortality. We find in the finite spirit power over all the
dimensions of time. Memory guards the content of the past.
Reminiscence makes this past content present. I n reminiscence
Plato finds the pledge of that self-conscious future to which it
bears a content. Whence comes reminiscence unless from the
Essence which has been? To what end is reminiscence given if
not lor the time which shall be ? Similarly the physico theological
proof of the existence of God leads not only from the conditioned
to the prior unconditioned, but also from the contingent existence
of the world to the essential nature of the world, and from this to
its aboriginal determining principle. Thus, originating in reflec
tion upon the nature of the world, the search for God in its second
phase lool csfor him in the past as the Absolute F i r st.
But the question with regard to the persistence of the human
soul grows keener and more pressing in its forward movement. I f
in its importunity it turned first from the present to the future, or
to that post-existence with which it was immediately concerned ;
if, next, it addressed the future mediately through the past, with
out which as essence it could have neither completion nor fulfil
ment, it turns finally to the totality of time, which is the media
tion of the present; to the unity of the three dimensions of time
penetrated by the concept of Spirit, sub specie aeternitatis; to the
outcome of time, which reveals itself as eternity. I t was thus that
in our investigation of the souls development we attained ulti
mately the concept of Absolute Personality, which, penetrating
all time, was, is, and shall be, and from this insight pressed on to
the nature of conditioned personality, which, according to its es
sence, includes in itself with the present both the future and the
past. Crudely parallel with this movement was the process of the
third proof of immortality, which found in Thought itself the
pledge of its persistence, because it includes in the present all the
' 1 X I X 20
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 305
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dimensions of time. So, too, the ontological proof of the existence
of God found the existence of the Perfect Being included in the
concept of the Perfect Being. Perfection implies that nothing
is lackingthat all moments of the Totality are simultaneously
presenthence eternity. The present is only complete when it
includes the past and the future. Where life feels the joy of
living, the past endures, the future hastens, and the moment is
The spirit is immortal because it is eternal, and it is eternal
because it has the form of infinitude. I ts so-called future is only
the concrete realization of its infinite form. J ust as the essence,
oval a, was and is now t o t I rjv elvai , so is it also present as future:
the first is also the last, t cX o?. The infinite first attains its truth
and actuality through the fact that it is complete or totality,
and has done with further growth. As complete it is not only
past, but also present. Entelechy, or perfection, is essentially en-
delechy, or persistence. This is the outcome of all demonstration.
The immortality of the soul must therefore not be conceived as
something which shall be hereafter; it is the present quality of
the soul. The spirit is eternal, therefore present; the spirit is
present, therefore already eternal. This inherent eternity of the
spirit in its first phase is the I ndividuality of the soul; its second
phase is the unrealized ideal, which emerges from the discord of
consciousnessi . e<, that the spirit should not remain in its first
state of nature, but should become what by its essential nature it
is destined to be; in the third phase it realizes its own image and
becomes like unto itself. I t is evident that the first of these phases
corresponds to the metaphysical proof, the second to the moral
proof, the third to the ontological proof, the concept of the spirit
itself, which is mediated only through Personality.
I t has therefore been said with truth that*the determinations of
time, through whose epochs moves the process of the souls devel
opment, are themselves only the moments of the spirit which in
its self-generation perpetuates its identity with itself through the
unity of its content with its form. With this insight the triplicity
of development receives additional confirmation.
I n accordance with this attained result of our investigation, the
immortality of the soul is grasped as the outcome and actuality of
the soul, and the future as the concrete present. This outcome
306 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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develops itself first out of the being of the individual; second,
out of the essence of the Subject; finally, out of thought itself,
which alone is real, and as spirit is personality.
I n its ultimate analysis the whole process of proof rests upon
the three words : Cogito, ergo sum. The content of this statement
is, however, developed through its various stages; the present tense
of Being made fruitful by Thought has its development in itself.
The first and obvious meaning of the statement is this: the soul
thinks, therefore it is simple, and as simple it is unchangeable
the same to-morrow as to-day. I ts deeper meaning is diremption ;
the soul thinks, therefore it is infinite; it thinks itself and that
which is other than itself, hence God; the soul thinks and is
thought'it is thought by the thinking subject as subject. Oo-
gito, ergo cogitor; cogitor, ergo sum. The soul is, and the object
of the soul is y both think and both are thought. The ultimate
meaning is thought itself, which includes being; the reasonable
is the actual; spirit is of and for the spirit.
I t may be mentioned here that in dogmatic philosophy not
only the existence, but also the essential nature of God is sought
and indicated in three different ways. These ways are known
as via negationis, causalitatis, and eminentiae. There are implicit
in them essentially the same categories which we have discovered
in the proofs of the existence of God and of the actuality of the
Soul. We find them also as Reality, Negation, and Limitation in
the Kantian Table of categories under the head of Quality. The
parallelism of these methods of ascent toward the nature of God
with the theological proofs of existence and the psychological
proofs of immortality needs only to be indicated.
I n the cosmological proof, by the method of negation is de
duced, from what the world is not and has not in itself, an exist
ence outside of the world. The teleological proof, like the argu
ment from Causality, deduces the presupposition of the world
from the nature of the world. Finally, the ontological proof in
accord with the method eminentiae infers the reality of perfec
tion from its concept.
The same correspondence may be traced in the psychologi
cal sphere. Analogically with the method of negation the meta
physical proof ascribes to the soul the future it lacks, deducing the
reality of this future out of what the soul as yet is not but in ac
Ooeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 307
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cordance with the concept of simplicity should be. Moreover, we
are really led to this simplicity or immateriality of the soul itself
by the path of negation, for we find the soul immediately im
mersed in matter, and we reason from fhe contradiction between
this condition of the soul and its essential nature to its imma
teriality, inferring its internality from its externality and deduc
ing the imperishability of the internal from the transcience of the
external. The moral proof, on the contrary, infers from the po
tentiality of the soul its realization, and therein accords with the
method of causality which, from what is, reasons backward to a
cause corresponding to the effect, and forward to.a goal corre
sponding to origin and development. Out of this twofoldness
of the law of Causality is developed the double form of the moral
proof which, as we have seen, leads from existence backward to
pre-existence or the essence before existence, and forward to post
existence or the Actuality after existence. The odev lies as Ori
gin behind; the ov ev/caf as goal before; but as the Good both
are one. Finally, the ontological proof of immortality develops
by the path of Eminence ; the eminence of being is being in
all its dimensions; the outcome of this pregnant being is thought.
Thought is the Alpha and Omega of Being.
From these remarks it is clear that all these varied forms of
proof differ in their content only because they develop separately
the existence and the nature of God, and similarly seek the im-
immortality of the soul as distinct from the nature of the soul.
According to this content must be determined the relationship of
the varied forms of proof. Being and Essence are so related that
only in the unity of both can be found the truth of each.
Before continuing the development of our subject it may be
well to mention a construction of the sonl which proceeds from
the critical philosophy, and which merits the greater consideration,
because it not only unconsciously includes the three dogmatic
spheres of proof, but also from the present standpoint of philoso
phy finds its justification in the immanent development of the
goul. This construction attributes to the soul, without detriment
to its unity, two distinct elements; these elements are defined as
expansive and attractive force, as relationship to the object and to
the subject, more briefly still as impulse and sense. The unity of
these two elements is the truth of both. They are real and active
308 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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only in their synthesis or dynamic unity. Out of their relation
ship are developed, according to the category of quantity, the three
principal powers of the soul: Representation, in which the pre
ponderating element is sense; as Appetite, wherein the balance in
clines to the side of outward impulse; and Feeling, wherein neither
element outweighs the other. From this same relationship are
developed, according to the category of quality, the three different
stages of unfolding upon which rests the perfectibility of the
human soul.
The first stage is the period of I ndividuality or sense, which is
followed by the period of Understanding, to which succeeds the
period of Reason. The object of the first period is the sensible;
the object of the last period is the supersensible or infinite; the
middle period oscillates between the two. Omitting much inter
esting detail which belongs to this peculiar standpoint, we recog
nize in its outline, first, the unity of the different determinations
of the soul, or simplicity, apprehended as the unity of the internal
and the external, of the soul and its immanent body; second,
the diremption of this unity, recognized quantitatively in the out
wardly directed Appetite, and qualitatively in the Understanding,
which vibrates between the internal and the external, and, while
separating, seeks to unite them; third, mediated unity appre
hended quantitatively in Feeling, which is seized not as the
neutralization, but as the equalization of the two elements, and
qualitatively in Reason, to which belongs Will as distinguished
from Appetite. Reason, in distinction from I ndividuality, is
grasped as Universality. Universality is literally the unity medi
ated through the circular development of the Concept or Motion.
We have already recognized the truth of this Universality as Per
sonality, just as the truth of sensuousness is I ndividuality, and the
truth of Understanding the duplex nature of Consciousness.
From the standpoint of this ingenious conception of the nature
and activity of the soul it may be said that the first or theoretical
proof relates to the soul in its narrowest sense, the second or
practical proof to the body, also in its narrowest sense, while the
third, or ontological proof, includes body and soul, being and
thought, the ov and the \ 0709. The object of the first proof is the
simple, internal, the essentialthe intensive being of force as
feeling; the object of the second proof is the expansion of force,
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 309
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the impulse outward. The first proof is theoretical because it
apprehends its object according to its nature; the second proof is
practical because its attention is directed to the body of its object,
or, in other words, to its active manifestation. As externalization,
the body is essentially the practical direction of the soul, the deed
of thought, as the soul is the thought of thought. I n the light
of speculative philosophy, soul and body are revealed as the mo
ments of the spirit, neither of which is independent of the other.
The soul, as interna], is the calm, in itself inactive centre; the
body, as externalization of this internality, is activity. This in
sight confirms the validity of the former as the theoretical, and of
the latter as the practical moment. The soul is the calm, con
templative ruling moment; the body the active, effective, serving
moment. Neither is independent of the other, for creation, as the
active corporeality of the Supreme Principle, itself participates in
this principle.
310 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
[We reprint the following remarkable article on Goethes Elective Af
finities from The Index of J une 12, 1879. E d.]
The central idea of the Elective Affinities is the sanctity, of the mar
riage relation. What God or Fate hath joined together, let no man
put asunder is the lesson to be learned in this most moral of moral
tales. With a skilful hand Goethe has laid bare the inmost recesses of
the human heart, held up to view its loves, its passions, and its weakness,
and shown too its superhuman strength, its firmness, and its nobility.
He brings before us a couple, happy in their relation to each other as
husband and wife. No strong, passionate sentiment binds them together;
their tastes are similar, their friendship sincere; and this friendship and
similarity of tastes they mistake for conjugal love. Meanwhile Charlotte,
the prudent, discreet wife, all unconsciously finds herself in love with and
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The Journal o f Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 20, No. 1 (January, 1886), pp. 88-104
Published by: Penn State University Press
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of Speculative Philosophy.
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able in all directions, and therefore presupposes motion ; and that
the so-called infinity and infinite divisibility of space are the ina
bility of the mind to perceive or imagine a space which is not
bounded by circumjacent space and ideally divisible, just as we
cannot conceive a number which is not susceptible both of increase
and diminution.
88 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
Ch a p t e r I I I (Concluded).
The Triplicity of the Proofs of Immortality.
We have authenticated historically the relative order of the
theological and psychological proofs, and justified this order in the
development of thought. I t remains necessary to consider the
position of Consciousness, for it is in Consciousness that we find
the above-mentioned order of proof. The spires of a cathedral
shift with the varying standpoint of the beholder; may not the
position of the proofs vary with the standpoint of the thinker be
fore whose mental gaze they are unfolded ?
The conscious starting-point of the process of proof is the differ
ence between the visible and invisible, between being and essence,
body and soul. Underlying this starting-point is the implicit pre
supposition of the difference between subject and object. Other
ness is already recognized, and the proofs of personal immortality
arise in the effort to protect the Individual as Monad from this
otherness. Hence the standpoint of Reflection or difference is
implied in the whole process of proof both in the theological and
psychological spheres, as well as in the development of the con
cept of the soul itself from Individuality to Personality. With
reflection, philosophy, in its dialectic form, begins, and through
this dialectic comes to more profound analysis and more inclusive
insights. From the standpoint of reflection the starting-point is
the near and visible object, and from this transition is made to the
object invisible and remote; the mediation consists in the progress
from the determined to the self-determining, from that which is
willed to Absolute Will. The last and highest point reached s
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the interpenetrating identity of opposites, with which the stand
point of dualism is annulled, since it ascribes objective reality to
the notion which is still subjective.
Philosophy, as Phenomenology, necessarily begins with the
standpoint of Reflection. The beginning of the development of
humanity, however, lies back of Reflection. As we fix our eyes
upon this more remote beginning, the standpoint of Reflection
becomes the second in order, and the relative position of the three
proofs is also reversed. Henceforth the first is second, and the
last is first. The starting-point is found in the sphere of the onto
logical proof, which, abstracted from the external scholastic form
belonging to developed reflection, and particularly to dogmatism,
finds its ultimate ground and unconscious presupposition in the
immediate unity of the subjective and objective concept. The
unity here referred to is the first immediate unity which precedes
all difference, not the secondary immediate unity, which, in the
progressive development of ,tlie concept, is found on both sides of
the first explicit difference, and resolved by further analysis into
secondary difference. Thus, after the first distinction of soul from
body, the soul is apprehended as an immediate unity, which again
breaks into difference in Consciousness. In other words, the soul
is first apprehended as unity in its distinction from the body.
Therefore the soul is a secondary unity, i. e., its distinction from
the bv)dy logically precedes its recognition as unity. In its next
phase the soul, as consciousness, has its difference in itself. This
is the secondary difference. In the development of man the start
ing-point is the primary unity and undivided Totality of body and
soul. This condition corresponds with the ontological proof ; the
ov and the X070? are still one ; man is still one with his life; death
cannot conquer life, but life remains after death. Thus Thales
could say : o Oavaros ovSev 8ia<f)epei In this condition,
however, the immediate conviction neither needs nor seeks proof.
Upon this standpoint the idea of God and the idea of immortality
are not distinguished from their reality; born in the thinking sub
ject, they commend themselves immediately as having objective
validity. The ontological proof, therefore, in its immediate form,
corresponds with the historic proof considered in the Introduction ;
it is this moment also, which, apparently shattered by the Under^
standing, glides, nevertheless, through all the thorny paths into*
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 89*
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90 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
which the soul wanders, and, unseen, performs its duty. I t helps
us while we scorn it, and supports us while we tread it under foot.
I t has been already said that the weight of the historic proof is
found in the intuitive conviction of the majority of mankind; it
may now be added that its energy is verified in the Plus which
belongs to positive faith in its opposition to the negativity of
empty doubt.
Granting, then, that the starting-point of development is the
immediate unity of being with the future, of Thought with its
Actuality, it follows that its second phase is the Proof; this is the
standpoint of Reflection or Difference, whose two sides are in the
theological sphere, the cosmological and teleological proofs, and in
the psychological sphere the metaphysical and moral proofs. In
general, proof first appears in the stage of Reflection ; it is the
effort to unite the two sides of a dirempted unity; its starting-
point is Being, which, as objectively given, is again differentiated,
the process of proof moving forward on the one hand directly
from Being to its Actuality, and 011 the other hand from Being
backward to Essence, and thence to the future of this past.
Evidently, therefore, within the domain of proof the third
member is wanting, for the third member has become the first, and
the first and second members fall together as the opposite sides of
the second sphere. Only through speculative insight into the im
manent movement of the Concept is the dogmatic process of proof
transformed and completed by the addition of the third moment.
This speculative development comprehends within itself the pre
ceding stages of the Spirit, and attains, finally, Mediated Unity,
or Personality. In this consummation of the process of devel
opment is first made explicit the meaning of the statement that
the soul is one with its body, and that the life of the soul is one.
The soul anticipates not another life, but the development, re
newal, and transfiguration of this life; the soul does not go over
into something else, but in otherness remains itself. Only by go
ing back of Consciousness is the true beginning found, the ground
of experience discovered, and the whole sphere of thought in its
complete Articulation surveyed. Grounded beneath and realized
above, the proofs appear in a new light, and, as we trace their
shining outlines, we know that the future and complete history of
the doctrine of immortality will recognize within the spheres of
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Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 91
the separate proofs the same triplicity which we have striven to
show in the totality of proof.
I t is also worthy of mention that, having assigned to Conscious
ness the second place in the order of development, we recognize in
history the foundation, in the continuous process of history the
development, and in comprehended history the culmination of the
doctrine of immortality or science of the finite spirit. History
has no object other than Thought.
Relatively to our present standpoint the succession and connec
tion of the proofs in Platos Phsedo are most remarkable. Soc
rates starts from negation, or, more definitely, from the conception
of death, and shows that throughout the realm of existence nega
tion negates itself; that everywhere life rises triumphant out of
death, and asserts itself as persistence. In that existence affirms
itself it has the supremacy over death, which denies itself. The
correspondence with the ontological proof is evident (sections 70
72). Next arises spontaneously the second proof (section 72 et seq),
which, originating from reminiscence, points through this faculty
to the past of the soul, and then infers the capacity and des
tiny of the soul to develop this past which has no beginning
through a future which has no end. As life is in contradiction to
death, as self-affirmation is relatively to negation, such is the
reminiscence of the soul relatively to the infinite and increas
ing past which lies behind the soul. In both these proofs the
soul is seized in its relationship to what is other than the soul;
the third proof seizes the soul in its relationship to itself, and from
the power of reminiscence deduces internality or simplicity (sec
tion 77).
Thus the indicated reversal of the order of the three proofs of
immortality is found also in Plato. Not only does the content
of the third proof apprehended as the first moment precede the
first and second proofs, but these also change their position rela
tively to each other.
Whoever has carefully followed the course of development up
to this point must have observed an apparent transformation of
the first two proofs. Originally, Simplicity, which was the un
derlying ground of the first proof, was grasped as the existence of
the soul, and the teleological determination which was the ground
of the second proof was apprehended as the nature of the
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soul. Next, without reversal of the relative order of the two
proofs, the nature of the soul was found in the content of the first
proof, and its existence or corporeality relegated to the content of
the second proof. Finally, when the realized content of the third
proof revealed itself as the ultimate starting-point and final goal
of the process of proof, the other proofs fell together in the second
sphere, and, as belonging to the same sphere, first asserted and
then reversed their position. The central point of this total move
ment is the relationship between Existence and Essence; its various
phases are explained by the mutation and confusion of this rela
tionship, and the explanation of this confusion lies in the nature
of Reflection. This reflection first seizes the internality in which
it reflects itself as existencein fact, as the real and indestructible
existence saved out of the first diremption. Renewed reflection
sunders this existence and finds in its determination its essence ;
in its further progress it finds the essence of determination to be
self-realization or incarnation. Herewith the moment of exist
ence becomes persistent in the second proof, and essence as moment
retreats into the first proof.
In the Phaedo, after the gradual exposition above referred
to, the first proof is more clearly defined as ontological, and the
second stands out more and more boldly as the practical proof.
In section 95 Socrates returns to the conceptions of origin and
decay, and shows that they belong to Nature or Being. Spirit,
howTever, is higher than Nature; therefore Anaxagoras is com
mended, though in him the Spirit is still hampered by Being.
Finally, Socrates grasps the soul, not as a thing, but in the
totality of its form. The total form or concept of the soul is life,
or, more adequately, Thought. The concept cannot be the oppo
site of itself; what is, is either living or dead; life cannot be also
death ; the one excludes the other; this is the argumentum ex-
clusi tertii (sections 102-105). Thus, while in the earlier part of
the conversation Socrates taught that everything proceeds from
its opposite, and life rises triumphantly out of death, he now, in
antagonism to Nature, demonstrates in the Logos exactly the re
verseviz., that what is cannot be or become its own opposite.
This apparent contradiction in his teaching is solved in section
105, wherein he shows that change belongs only to Nature, or the
external appearance of things, while duration and unchangeable-
92 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 93
ness belong to the Concept. This Conceptthe Logosis the
true Actuality, B v t w o p ; to it alone belongs reality. Such is
Platos Ontology! In the sphere of manifestation we see the
warm grow cold and the living creature die; but, in the Con
cept, warmth can never take up cold in itself; life cannot be
also death. The soul is this total Concept of life. With this in
sight the apparent*contradiction is so completely solved that we
even find the ground of that external appearance within whose
sphere positive Being arises out of the Negation of Being. This
ground is the vital Concept which, dwelling within the object,
excludes its own opposite. This is one of Platos most profound
insights; from it he passes to the poetic conception of Metemp
sychosis. In the same way he returns, finally, to the second
proof, which, developed out of reminiscence, leads from the past
into the future; reminiscence mediates the conception of reward
and punishment (section 107); herewith the second proof shows
itself to be the practical proof.
Herewith the whole course of the souls thought of itself is com
pletely changed. And what we discover in the universal history
of philosophy is repeated step by step, though more rapidly and
invisibly, in the experience of each philosophic thinker. Each in
dividual must relive the whole history of philosophy. The begin
ning is always the same: Thought outgrows and awakes from the
immediate unity and certainty which, in its ontological truth, is
subsequently expressed in the historic proof. This is the first
dualismBeing and Non-BeingLife and Death. I t may, there
fore, be said that Thought proceeds from Being, but it is from
Being in its universality; more definitely, from the triumph of
Being over Non-Being, for out of Non-Being, in all the transfor
mations which we call death, Being emerges victorious and imper
ishable. Next, as in the Phsedo, Reflection turns upon the one
side toward Being in its subjectivity, or, in other words, toward
Thought in past and future infinity (this is the ratio cognoscendi
in its subjectivity), and upon the other side toward Being in its
objectivity, the nature of which, recognized as simplicity, proves
finally to be Thought itself (this is the ratio essendi in its objec
tivity). The consummation of development is the comprehension
and inclusion in the Concept, i. e., in the Concept to which be
longs Being, more definitely in Consciousness, the Being that
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knows, and the Knowing that is, the Thought which is one with
its Actuality. In the Phsedo there is transition from the Ioni
an Nature-Philosophy to Thoughtviz., to 1/0O9, and with this to>
Such is the course of Consciousness; but thereupon arises an
observation which the candid mind cannot ignorean objection
which, though abrupt and seemingly accidental, demands serious
attention. The beating pulse of this objection isdeath! Who
is he that, searching for immortality, dares to ignore death ?
I t is, indeed, with death that we begin the investigation of that
which is the contradiction of death. Here is the starting-point of
Socrates; he looks full in the eyes of the death which faces him.
Death is the origin of the doctrine of immortality! The doc
trines of the imperishability of being and the immortality of con
sciousness are equivalent to an open declaration of war against
death, but this very declaration implies that death stands ready
and armed upon the battle-field. Being and Non-Beingthe liv
ing Soul and Deathmeet in mortal conflict. Who can deny
that death has entered into the world ? Who can deny that it
has found a place in the consciousness of man? Homo mortis
sibi conscius! With this admission would seem bound up the
final and irrevocable overthrow of the ontological proofthat
proof upon which rests the whole psychological process of proof
that proof with which the struggle began and with which it
had seemed victoriously to end. For the ground of this proof is
the ineradicable Concept of persistence, the testimony of con
sciousness to its own imperishability; and now, alas! death has
stolen into this consciousness, and, like a gnawing worm, threat
ens to destroy its flower and fruit! All is vanity! all passes
away! Man himself is conscious of death! Herewith human
Consciousness contradicts itself as life and death contradict
each other, tor in man there dwell together the consciousness of
death and the consciousness of the impossibility of death. The
former rests upon mans alienation from the Absolute Life and
Consciousness, the latter is grounded in that Union with the Ab
solute Life which is revealed in Creation and in the uninterrupted
active continuance of Creation.
Herewith all contradictions are finally solved ! For, if the
consciousness of death finds its explanation in alienation from the
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divine lifeif sin, and sin only, is the sting of deaththen Re
demption is the source of a fresh and self-renewing life. We
must, therefore, not overlook the fact that this truth is the ulti
mate, though long unrecognized, ground, origin, and end of the
psychological process of proof. The consciousness of personal im
perishability and the imperishability of personal consciousness is,
in truth, nothing but the subjective consciousness of participation
with God through the Redemption, or, in general, the Concept of
Personality. The outcome of the ontological proof is thus the
central fact of the Christian revelation ; it is, therefore, both dog
matic and ethical, or the unity of the objective and subjective
the theoretical and practical proofs. Its utterance is nothing
other than u O death, wrhere is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy
victory ?
As consciousness in general, as well as the consciousness of imper
ishability in particular, bears in itself the proof of imperishability,
so the indwelling consciousness of sin and death, far from contra
dicting immortality, is correctly apprehended as the lever of life,
and the very first factor of the proof of immortality. Conscious
ness finds a limit in its object only in so far as it transcends this
object. I t would not be conscious of its object if it experienced
no opposition from this object, and it wrould not feel this opposi
tion if its force did not reach beyond the object. Hereupon rests,
in general, the moral proof, and hereupon rests also that form of
the moral proof which is developed out of the consciousness of death.
Consciousness of death points beyond life and beyond nature, for
this consciousness is the exclusive privilege of man ; it is the bless
ing bestowed in the curse pronounced after the fall. I t points to
the freedom of the human will, wherein is expressed mans di
vinity; it points backward to freedom, for the consciousness of
death is one with the consciousness of guilt; it points forward to
freedom, for it admonishes man to turn to a new life. Hence
it points to the concept of justice, which develops from the con
cept of freedom, and to the truth of persistence, which develops
from the concept of justice.
I t may be said that man knows himself to be immortal just
because he is conscious of death; for to be conscious of death is
to know death as a limit, and to know a limit is to transcend it.
This development belongs to the second sphere of proof, but it goes
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 95
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The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
over through this into the third proof, because from the conscious
ness of death follows the consciousness of its opposite, or the con
cept of imperishability, the one, indeed, being identical with the
other. By a similar process the first proof discovers the imma
teriality of the soul; the soul is immaterial because it is conscious
of matter. Finding its limit in matter, it logically transcends
this limit.
Thus the argument against immortality derived from the con
crete representations of death and of the consciousness of death
is not only refuted by these same representations, but is chal
lenged thereby to self-comprehension and insight, to a richer un
folding of its content, and to a more profound explanation of the
doctrine of immortality. The ultimate result is that mortality is
the path to immortality.
In thus assuming the burden of its own Apologetics, philosophy
not only instructs others, but enriches itself. I t finds renewal in
the freshness of concrete representation, and gains strength and
versatility through the manifold vicissitudes of the strife. This
result, however, will not satisfy philosophy itself; rather, in pro
portion to its exoteric expansion, will it feel the need of esoteric
development. The deeper its penetration into all spheres of mani
festation, the more surely it realizes that it must collect and orient
itself. The esoteric movement in philosophy consists in following
out the adequate logical categories, in tracing the total concepts
of particular appearances, and in seeking for the primitive
phenomena so variously reflected in the sphere of representa
tion. Without this esoteric activity, each argument, in its refu
tation, leads to a new objection, and we are ceaselessly whirled
around in the infinitude of particulars which the representation
Thus, out of the brilliant refutation of the argument from the
consciousness of death rises the fresh objection that, if conscious
ness of an object proves superiority over it, then man, being con
scious of God, must be superior to God. To this, without tran
scending the sphere of representation, it may be immediately an
swered that the consciousness of an object does not prove abstract
and unconditioned superiority to it, but the consciousness of an
object transcends this object only in so far as the latter is opposed
to the former, or is, in other words, mere object. In such a case
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Consciousness takes up its object as a moment of itself. But if,
on the contrary, the object of consciousness is not merely object,
but also subject, then we have Consciousness opposed to Conscious
ness, life to life. Herewith opposition is transformed into recipro
cal relationship, and only from the further determinations of these
related consciousnesses can we learn how far either one transcends
or is subordinate to the other. The application of this remark is
evident. In so far as death is merely the object and contradiction
of life and consciousness, it is transcended by Consciousness, which
therein proves itself immortal. But, when the object of Con
sciousness is Self-Consciousness itself, Consciousness is identical
with its object, and, when the object is Absolute Self-Conscious
ness, the reciprocal relationship consists in the participation of
the finite consciousness through Personality in the Absolute Con
In what has been said we may find also a path to the most uni
versal category which underlies the conception of death. Death
isNegation. Negation is the universal truth of death ; in Nega
tion death finds its speculative significance. In this universality
as Negation death moves through all phases of the doctrine of im
mortality. This insight casts a new light upon that path of psy
chological development which we have retraced so many times.
First, Negation appears as death, hence as the contradiction of
life and consciousnessbut in the felt ascendancy of life and con
sciousness this death itself dies. This is the standpoint of the im
mediate certainty of persistence after death. Next, Negation ap
pears transformed as matter (externality, plurality), in which form
it is again negated by the Soul, which herewith recognizes itself as
immaterial (internal, simple). Its next disguise isfinitude, against
which, in protracted struggle, Thought proves its own infinitude.
Finally, Negation appears in its own form, with which it at
once negates itself. With this Negation of Negation, Being and
Thought atiirrn themselves as Spirit. The Negation of Negation
is the end of all Negation and the absorption of all deaththe
self-affirmation and the self-perpetuation of Consciousness. Even
this result, however, is abstract and unsatisfactory until vitalized
in the concept of continuous creation, and quickened through
that communion with the Creator without which man can neither
be nor think himself. Finally, Continuous Creation, adequately ap-
7 XX7 1 J ^
Qoeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 97
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98 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
prehended, is that Redemption and Reconciliation through which
alone the personality of man is secure.
As we now again glance backward upon the original order of
the successive grades of consciousness, and try to recall their ob
jective image as an illustration of internal development, there
arises spontaneously the remembrance of that transcendental sche
matism wherein Kant sought to exhibit the presumptive paralo
gism in rational psychology. The truth of this schema is found
in our original order of succession. In the critical deduction, too,
the starting-point is immediate unityit is seized as Substance in
its unity with the subject. The soul is this substance or base of
the body, and herewith immateriality. The truth of matter is the
immaterial. The second phase is the difference into w^hich the
original unity breaks; therefore this second phase has two sides
or limbs, for substance as regards its quality is simple, and a
monad, and consequently incorruptible; and its identity as intel
lectual substance gives, in Kants phraseology, the conception of
personality or consciousness of itself and of its other. The third
stage in which the tension of the two sides is cancelled is, accord
ing to Kants terminology, Spirituality, or Immortality, and im
plicit in it is the truth which we have learned to know as the
Personality of the spirit in its living Actuality. The truth is
therefore this, that to Thought the immediate unity of Substance
breaks into Individuality and Subjectivity, and from this diremp-
tion returns to a higher unity in the Spirit.
We must not overlook the fact that the psychological schema
traced and explained in the Critique of Pure Reason, while it is
based immediately upon the triplicity of the Category of relation,
rests also upon the fourfoldness of the Table of Categories, its
middle term being double. Upon this basis of Relation rests also
the psychological development in Dr. K. Ph. Fischers recent work
on the u Science of Metaphysics a volume which, as the result of
reverent yet independent investigation, challenges our warmest
thanks and admiration, while its incompleteness needs to be men
tioned in the interest of philosophic truth. Developing the soul
in its threefold relationship to itself, to the world and to God, Dr.
Fischer fails to comprehend that relationship to God and to the
world are really the two sides of the middle sphere of proof,
while the final and inclusive sphere demands recognition of the
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identity of the finite and Absolute spirits. I t is characteristic of
piety, in its less developed though still praiseworthy forms, to in
sist that philosophy shall culminate in God, and that religion, as
the relationship of man to God, shall mark the highest stage of
insight. The truth, however, is that God in his objectivity is not
the final goal of Thought, as the Israelitish faith is not the high
est religion. The consummation and the crown of Thought is
God in his Personality, or that participative identity of the Abso
lute Spirit with the finite Spirit which in the form of feeling is
love, and in the form of Thought is Absolute Recognition. The
soul cries out not for God in his abstraction and isolation, but for
God, in Christ, through the Spirit.
In the order of human development the starting-point is the
Ego in itself ; in virtue of its unconscious objectivity, it is still one
with God and with the world. In the next stage the Ego appears
in its separation from God and from the world. On one side
stands the individual man ; on the other side stands God ; beneath
man is nature, and beside him his brother man. Finally, the Ego
reappears in Godin that communion with God whose solution is
In man the Ego is first and last, the Alpha and the Omega.
With this egoism is seized in its barren abstraction, but the abstrac
tion is at once negated, the brittle isolation annulled ! The
answer to the enigma is found, and this answer is Personality.
The concept of personality casts the final light upon the efforts
of the Understanding to prove personal persistence. In this light
egoism is transfigured and glorified, and the living truth which
underlies pantheistic self-renunciation revealed. We can, there
fore, only repeat that as the truth of Being is Self-Consciousness, so
the Actuality of Self-Consciousness is Personality. And while on
the one hand, in the consummation of development, all the dem
onstrations of the Understanding are focalized in the Concept ot
Personality, this same concept is, on the other hand, the implicit
ground of every proof; it is the unexpressed and unrecognized
presupposition which gives convincing force to the partial utter
ances of the separate proofsthe truth which overpowers and con
vinces before it is named and known. Naturally, therefore, the
necessary result of progressive development has been the increas
ing recognition of the Concept of Personality as the Principle of
Goe8chel on the Immortality of the Soul. 99
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Psychology. Upon this recognition are based all those recent psy
chological investigations which seize the soul speculatively as
immortal or actual. All these investigations agree in calling
experience to the aid of abstract thought in order thereby to dis
cover the content of the given form, and thus attain to concrete
truth. Experience is apprehended as externalized thought or as
the material provided by Absolute Thought for the purposes of
development and actualization. Through insight into this expe
rience we learn the form of the Spirit in its particular manifesta
I t is interesting to notice that these speculative essays, while
grounded in the same principle, develop in two different directions.
On the one hand we have the ^Esthetico-religious doctrine of
immortality represented particularly by C. H. Weisse, and on the
other the Physio-theological doctrine of immortality, the most
noted exponent of which is J . H. Fichte.
The iEsthetico-religious Anthropology begins by rejecting the
abstract and unpicturable conception of the soul as separate from
the body. Vindicating the corporeality of the soul, it vindicates its
immortality, and, though there is nothing new in its fundamental
conception, it is original in the results which it develops from this
conception. Conformably with its theory, it announces itself not
as a psychological but as an anthropological system. I t finds the
general concept of Corporeality in logical Thought, but does not
find therein its concrete truth; it turns, therefore, to the concrete
intellectual contemplation of corporeality, w^hich, as the finite in
identity with the Infinite, or as the body in immediate union with
the Spirit, is the phenomenon of Beauty. Thus, corporeality,
u through the indwelling of the Absolute Spirit, is stamped with
immortality. This concrete intellectual contemplation, it is next
declared, goes hand in hand with experience ; we have it by living
it. By means of such experience u the higher corporeality shows
itself not unrelated to the present mortal and transitory copore-
ality. This relationship is mediated in Absolute Corporeality,
which is defined as the creative power that renews all created
corporeality. This corresponds essentially wTith the thought of
continuous creation. In the nature of creation is expressed its
purpose, which purpose leads by the teleological path to personal
immortality ; this immortality is possible only through the persist
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ence of the same body, and therefore presupposes between death
and the resurrection an intermediate state in which the soul is not
bodiless. Corporization is the indispensable condition of personi
fication ; its presupposition is that creative force of Absolute Per
sonality which itself is presuppositionless. Through experience
thus contemplated it grows clear, also, that the purpose of crea
tion, which is imperishability, is disturbed by sin; through sin
death has entered into the world. This original purpose of crea
tion will be restored when death is overcome, and to overcome
death God must be made flesh, and communicate eternal life to
the world.
Again we observe that the starting-point is the unity of the
Soul with the body in the Spirit. The distinctive peculiarity of
this system is, that it rejects all abstraction and makes explicit
the full validity of that corporeality in which the Soul is realized
as Spirit. This development moves principally within the sphere
of the second proof in both its theological and teleological direc
tions. I t teaches that the Spirit is individual and personal in
proportion to what it possesses of the substance of the Absolute
and Eternal; u for this substance, far from robbing it of Person
ality, really first forms it into Personality, and is able, under all
conditions to generate anew that body with whicli it cannot dis
Very similar is the procedure of the physiological or anthropo
logical-theological method. Fully equipped, logically and onto
logically, it traces experimentally all particularly given analogies,
obtains information from physiology and physiognomy, from phre
nology and craniology, from animal magnetism and somnambu
lism, and follows all the footprints of organism in order to conquer
for corporeality on all sides that which justly belongs to it. The
truth is, that the body is the expression of the Soul as individual.
Granted that the ground and essence of all reality is the Soul, the
indestructible basis of the manifold is the Simple. This u Simple
is the Monad of Leibnitz and the dynamic quality of Her-
bart. Adequately apprehended, it is nevertheless, in time and
space, a soul and body ; it is the embodied Idea. Hereupon rests
all generation which throughout all its stages is nothing but the
self-projection of the Idea which thus actually begins to be, and
out of darkness emerges into light. Thus originates the Monad,
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 101
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and its body, of which the external palpable body is merely the
manifestation. Death is the separation of the internal body of the
Soul from its outlived husk, and the process of death is far more
gradual than is generally supposed.
One cannot fail to recognize that this development emanates
from the content of the first proof, and finds its completion in the
sphere of the second proof. With respect to the latter, the first
point to be noticed is, that Consciousness has a night-side, out of
which it develops continuously toward the light. In this life
the night-side is never wholly overcome; therefore Consciousness
demands a further development; only under the condition of per
sistence can Consciousness realize itself by turning all its dark
ness into light. This is that teleological moment of the second
proof which rests upon the principle of perfectibility. This in
sight does not, however, exclude the possibility of the destruction
of Consciousness, for when Consciousness has realized all its poten
tialities, and thus fulfilled the purpose of Creation, why should it
not pass away ? This doubt finds its solution in the theological
phase of the second proof. Through it we learn that the finite
spirit, begotten by God, is appointed to participation with God;
we are taught this through the revelation made in the incarnation
of God. God has revealed himself in the fleshcorporeality and
finitude are impregnated with God. The spiritual bread of life
(pabulum mentis) is God in his revelation. This bread of life is
inexhaustible, consequently the finite spirit is imperishable. Its
nourishment can never fail, and nourishment is the physiological
condition of persistence.
So much with regard to the two speculative developments of
Personality, which, in accordance with its own Concept, includes
bodily persistence. In both, the night-side of Consciousness is ex
perimentally verified. In their detail much is left undeveloped,
and there remain many interwoven conceptions which lack trans
parency and mediation. In the discussion of the where of the
Soul after death (with Fichte), we become involved in conceptions
which involuntarily suggest Philos spirits of the air. This ques
tion, together with many others, demands more definite develop
ment. But, notwithstanding all their defects, these speculative
developments have incontestably one distinctive merit. They ex
hibit, more clearly than has ever been done before, the moment of
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Corporeality ; they seize this moment aesthetically, and, by the aid
of analogies, follow it out physiologically, showing conclusively
that the body is the immanent organ of the Soul, identical with its
Content, and penetrated by the Spirit.
i t may, perhaps, be helpful to refer in this connection to the
views of immortality and resurrection which are developed in that
Dialogue of J Eneas of Gaza, known under the name of Theo
phrastus.55 According to this dialogue, the Soul, as reasonable
XoyiKi] and morally free, is immortal through its communion with
God, and the body of this soul, through participation with the
soul, SmTTjv rfj? yjrvxfjs Koivcoviav, is withdrawn from the power of
death, which prevails only over what is devoid of reason and con
sciousness. For,55he continues, our soul is immortal; coming
into union with the body, it leaves in it the germ of immortality.
And the greatest of all these creations or begettings on the part of
the Demiurgus is man. Hence there is nothing that belongs to
the essence of man that can perish entirely.5
This concept of soul-permeated corporeality has, however, its
presupposition in Personality: this Personality we have recog
nized as the concrete concept of the Spirit; only in the light of
this concept is the body transfigured and transparent. This trans
parent corporeality in its final analysis is the obedience of the
body to the soul in the spiritan obedience which is free because
identical with that which determines it. The final consummation
is the obedience of creation toward God in God. Therefore it has
been said that all the paths of God end in corporeality.
, Upon this fundamental insight rest the confessions of Heinrich
Steffens, published about four years since, though, being derived
from experience and meditation, they present this insight only in
its crude, immediate form. The life of nature throughout all its
degreesso runs the confessionpoints both backward to the
mystery of its beginning, and^forward to its final purpose. All
organization, throughout the spheres of nature, consists both in
the externalization of a hidden internality and in the fusion of the
external with this internality, or, in other words, both in the in
carnation of souls and the permeation and transfiguration of
bodies. No body, no soul; no corporeality, no spirituality.55 In
time the present is the central point; without a past there is no
present; without a future there is no actuality. And as all that
Goeschel on the Immortality of the Soul. 103
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exists exists in this middle point of time, so man is the middle
point of this constantly appearing creation. In the complete
integrity of his existence lies a past which was before all ap
pearance, and a future which shall be after all appearance. The
former is the night, or body ; the latter is the light, or soul; the
unicn of the two is life.
Such are the reflections through which we are led to the con
cept of Personality. Personality consists both in the incarnation
of the soul, through which is attained Individuality, and in the
penetration of the body by the soul, wherewith the soul stamps the
body as its possession. Personality consists, therefore, in the fusion
of body and soulhuman personality in accordance with its con
cept in the complete unity and purity of human existence. But
just for this reason human personality finds its ground and goal
in the Absolute Personality of God, and the ground and goal of
renewal after its purity has been darkened in the incarnation of
God. By this human personality is proved immortal.
As the rays of light are refracted in each eye, and, without
disturbing, intersect each other ; as in every melody waves of sound
pierce and thrill through each other, and, while separate, are yet
inwardly unitedso, had humanity kept its first estate, would each
human personality live in and with all others, each separate per
sonality confirming and strengthening all others, and being by all
others strengthened and confirmed, while all together swelled the
harmony of an ever-blessed existence. And even though original
purity has been clouded and mankind subsists no longer in this
transparent and harmonious personality, though nature and body
have become impenetrable and the Soul impure, the germ of Per
sonality, the germ of penetrability (i. e., mutual participation]
and of purification, has never perished. I t must be presup
posed in each, and union with it is the sure road to blessedness.
I t takes place through union with Christ as a fact of experience,
and by this He puts on the form of man and becomes personal.
Personality is the end of the journey toward God.
104 The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
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p e n n s t a t e u r i n e i s i t y p i e s s
Source: The J our nal of Specul ati ve P hi l osophy, Vol. 20, No. 3 (J uly, 1886), pp. 310-329
Published by: Penn State University Press
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310 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
{Concl uded.)
C h a p t e r I Y .
The Essenti al Moments of the Spi ri t.
Before concluding our discussion of the subject of immortality
we should fix our eyes more directly upon the essential moments
1The work of Goeschel completed in this number of the J o u r n a l may be considered
as the best exposition of the right wing of the Hegelian schoola school that held
speculative philosophy to be the same in content with evangelical Christianity, though
very different in form.
For convenience, we give here the references to the numbers in which the portions of
the translation already published, may be found: Vol. xi, pp. 65, 17V, 372; vol. xvii,
pp. 154, 246; vol. xviii, p. 21; vol. xix, pp. 172, 299; vol. xx. pp. 88, 314.
According to Ludwig Noack ( Philosophic Geschichtliches L exikon), Karl Fried
rich Goeschel was born in 1784 at Langensalza, in Thiiringen; educated at the gymna
sium at Gotha; studied jurisprudence at Leipzig, 1803 to 1807; became attorney-at-law
in Langensalza in 1807; became Oberlandesgerichtsrath at Naumburg in 1817; assist
ant minister of justice at Berlin in 1834; a member of the Obercensur collegiums in
1839; counsellor of state and president of the Consistorium for the Saxon province in
Magdeburg in 1845 ; on account of his stiff adherence to old Lutheran doctrines, he was
placed on the retired list in 1848; returned to Berlin in 1849; to Naumburg again in
1861; died there in 1862.
The following excerpts will furnish matter of interest to those who wish to know
more of his life, and of the estimate that Hegel and some of his disciples placed on his
wor k:
Fr om Erdmann's Grundrixs d<r Gesehichte der P hl l osophi e(Berl i n, 1806.)
Page 615, vol. i i Karl Friedrich Goeschel, who had already proved his acquaint
ance with Hegels writings in an anonymous treatise which was very highly prized by
Daub, published in 1829 a book entitled Aphorismen iiber Nichtwissen und Absolutes
Wisser, a work to which he attached his initials only. Hegel greeted this work with a
thankful pressure of the hand ( dankbaren Hiindedruck), and excerpted some sen
tences from it verbally to use in his encyclopedia as his own. Goeschel applied next
the principles of this philosophy to questions of jurisprudence, as appears in his
Zerstreuten Blattern (3 vols., 1832-1842).
Page 624. To the defence of Hegel against the writings of Weisse stood up the
man whom the mentioned hand-pressure of the master had so ennobled in the eyes of
the school of Hegel that they greeted his book with joy after looking for it with breath
less interest. Goeschels Monismus des Gedankens (Naumburg, 1832), which claimed
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Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 311
of the spirit considered as essential relationships. It is indispen
sable that these essential relationships be both distinguished and
to be an apology of the existing philosophy at the grave of its founder, sought to prove
to Weisse that he had fallen into dualism, which is the arch enemy of all philosophy.
For his separation of the formal from the real sciences separates form and content
that is to say, thinking and beingwhile the recent philosophy had held fast to the
unity of these, and had claimed for our thinking the place of a rethinking of the creat
ive thought. Since Hegels method is the self-forming of the content, it has refuted
both materialism and formalism, each of which falls into dualism.
Page 652. The question of immortality was treated in detail by Goeschel in his
work entitled Von den Beweissen fur die Unsterblichkeit, u. s. w. (Berlin, 1835), in
which he characterized three chief proofs parallel with the three proofs of the existence
of God. These three proofs correspond also to the three stages: individual, subject,
and spirit (institutional life of man). The fact that many have attacked only the out
work of this book, the eloquent Easter sermon which Goschel inserted as his preface,
and the appendix in which he printed extracts from Hegels works, and among them
one passage which had been wrongly inserted in Hegels works by his editor, does not
speak well for the thorough study of a treatise in every way remarkable. Goschel
seemed particularly well pleased with his preface, for he followed it with another book
as commentary Die Siebenfaeltige Osterfrage (Berlin, 1837).
Page 656. Against Strausss L ife of J esus Goschel wrote an essay entitled
First and L ast: A Confession of Faith on the part of Speculative Philosophy, which
contained the chi ef thoughts that were expanded in his Contributions to Speculative
Theol ogy (Berlin, 1838), in which he sought to prove that, as an empire realizes its
unity only through the monarch, so humanity receives its unity only through a primitive
man ( Urmensch ), who constituted a part of ^God and at the same time lived sole in
created humanity.
Page 657. Strauss replied in 1837 in the third number of his Streitschriften.
He said that the school of Hegel, like the French Parliament, had two sides. On the
left side, hi msel f; on the right, Goschel, Gabler, Bruno Bauer; Rosenkranz in the
Goeschels Aphorisms on Agnosticism and Absolute K nowing was reviewed in
1829 in the J ahrbiicher fiir Wissenschaftlicher Kritik by Hegel himself. I n his col
lected works, Vol. XVI I , page 148, at the close of the critique, he says that he greets in
this book the aurora of coming reconciliation between faith and science. I t is an
evidence of the depth of mind that it can bring the categories of the mere understanding
to the bar of thoughtthose categories which the evangelical Christians sometimes use
with double inconsistencysiding with rationalism against speculative philosophy, and
at the same time condemning the use of those categories. Rationalism is the antipode of
speculative philosophy as well as of faith. I t deals with the shallow doctrines of the
understanding which constitute its self-styled illumination; as the author of this treat
ise (Goeschel, page 82) assures us, doctrines fast on the decline, but struggling might
ily in their death-throes. I f the command to avoid all the appearances of evil often
holds us back from good, or at least from fitting deeds, and even causes us to do harm,
the danger of an appearance of partisanship shall not prevent me from glad acknowl
edgment of the help which this book gives to the cause of truth, nor in behalf of specu-
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combined, for clear insight demands that no one of them shall be
merged in another; if each one is not explicit, recognition is cloud
ed, conviction imperilled, and peace of heart destroyed. Through
the adequate apprehension of these relations our intellectually
attained results will be harmonized with the natural needs of the
The first point to be noticed is, that the finite spirit, despite its
finitude, manifests itself in its independence or indivisibility in
itself. This, however, is only the first moment of its Concept; the
other moment is that relationship to others whose culmination is
subsistence in God. With this it becomes active movetur et se
movet. The union of these two moments is the thirdthe partici
pation of the finite Spirit with the Absolute Spiritfor Spirit is
of the Spirit. This union is the concrete Unity which presup
poses the destruction of the two included moments, as relation
ships. It is this dualism of the moments which we wish now to
consider more attentively.
The indissolubility of the Spirit in itself is the immanent unity
of the soul and its internal body in the Spirit. This Concrete
Unity is the realized truth of abstract simplicity. In other words,
the Spirit gets its Content and its form as its two moments out of
lative philosophy thus served by the work, from thankfully pressing the hand of the
author, who is unknown to me personally.
Again, in his lectures on the Proofs of the Existence of God ( Phil, of Religion,
vol. ii, page 394), he notices the same work again, and says of i t : This work is as
deep in its Christian faith as in its speculative philosophy. I t brings into the light all
the points of view and devices which the understanding urges against the theory of
Christianity, and replies to all the attacks which agnosticism has brought against philoso
phy. I t explains in detail the causes of the misapprehension of the pious mind which
fails to apprehend the truth, and sides with rationalism in adopting the principle of ag
nosticism, and makes common cause with it against philosophy. What the author says
on the self-consciousness of God and of his self-knowing in man, as well as of mans
self-knowing in God, concerns directly the point of view here taken on the proofs of
Gods existence. I t treats this theme with speculative depth and thoroughness, and ex
poses the false views that have been advanced against Philosophy and Christianity.
Goeschel himself, in the preface of his work on the Unity of the System of Thought
( Monismus des Gedankens), a work directed, as above stated, against Weisse, says
that it was written in the same month (November, 1831) in which Hegel died. I had
hoped with these pages to greet the living Hegel, whom I had never met personal ly; I
hoped to become acquainted with him face to face, and to take his hand thankfully, I
who had received his loving hand-pressure from a distancebut it was otherwise or
dained, and these leaves now fall upon his grave.E d i t o r J . S. P.
312 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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itself. The unity of the two moments is shown in the fact that,
according to the varying position of Consciousness, the soul of the
Spirit appears now as the Content,and now as the formative activ
ity ; and in like manner the body of the Spirit shows itself now
as form and again as content or material. The form has its con
tent, and the content has its form in itself. As soon as we truly
comprehend this unity, we have attained the standpoint of specu
lative philosophy, but not before. Thereafter we wonder that the
speculative concept of Unity is so incomprehensible to the major
ity of minds, and we grow impatient over what seems to us wilful
blindness. It is universally admitted to be conceivable and com
prehensible that to each clod and stone belong by nature the two
moments, content and form, material and shape. Yet it is declared
incomprehensible that to the living spirit should belong its two
moments, body and soul; it is denied that body and soul are both
of the Spirit, and hence that each is in identity with the other.
This indivisibility or unity of the soul is Individuality, which,
in its distinction from natural individuality, is more definitely de
lined as Subjectivity, and approved as the inalienable possession of
the Spirit. Thus far the unity of the subject is only in itself; it
is still only relationship to its own internal body, and not relation
ship to anything other than itself. The nature of Spirit is, indeed,
defined to be for Spirit; in its own body it is its own object; it
has not, however, as yet been proved to be for itself in relation
ship to others; its unity and individuality as subject is thus only
its first side.
The other side of the individual Spirit is its participation with
God and with the world, developed out of its relationship to
otherness by means of the double Consciousness. This participa
tion we have already comprehended in the Concept of personality
or individual penetrability. Personality is the outcome of Con
tinuity or stability, the latter being the abstract and the former
the concrete Concept. Personality is therefore not to be seized
as penetrability in the sense of mere porosity, but as i ndi vi dual
penetrability, i .e., a participation in which individuality is main
tained. Thus, the first relationship of individuality is contained
in the second ; without the former the latter cannot be. Protected
by the Concept of Personality against pantheism, we m.ay now
venture with Spinoza to represent the participation of the finite
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 813
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Spirit with God as Concur sus D ei and as Creati o Conti nua: the
Concept of Creation in its distinction from emanation of itself ex
cludes pantheism. This progressive Creation is the Eternal fount
ain of lifethe condition of all personal persistence. From con
tinuous participation with God follows also the participation of
the finite Spirit with the total Creation, and from the participa
tion of each individual follows again the peculiar relationship of
each particular individual to his environment. This relationship,
which appears simultaneously with Consciousness, is, in its com
pletion and transfiguration, the resurrection, understanding thereby
not merely relationship to the outward body, but with this also
relationship to the whole Creation and to God himself. In the
concept of Personality there is realized in the relationship of the
Subject to God and to the World the same truth which was real
ized in Individuality in its relationship to the soulviz., that the
nature of Spirit is to be for the Spirit.
We have now considered the two essential moments of the Spirit
(the moment of self-conscious Individuality, and the moment of
Personality) as relationships of the Spirit to itself and to others; it
remains now to consider the relationship of these two relation
ships to each other, in order that each may receive its due signifi
The question is: How is the relationship of the Spirit to itself
related to its relationship to others, and vi ce ver sa f
Who does not feel that each human heart, in its inmost depths,
longs equally for both relationships, pants for them as the heart
pants for the water-brooks, yearns for them as each creature
yearns for its own elemant? According to this feeling, the rela
tionship of both relationships would seem to be equal; each is in
the other; Individuality is mediated in Personality, and Person
ality in Individuality; herewith they are negatively cancelled as
two relationships, and positively cancelled as one relationship.
Cor nostrum, i nqui etum est, donee requi escat i n Te, Domi ne !
The heart longs to rest in God, and at the same time to be con
scious of this rest in God. Moreover, the heart longs for Gods
consciousness of its conscious rest in him. Without the one the
other is unthinkable. The death of a particular person as indi
vidual is, therefore, only the life of the individual hid with Christ
in God; it is not only hiddeni . e., invisible Spiritbut, as hidden
314: The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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with Christ in God, it is forever secure; being invisible, it is
secure from the transitoriness of visible Being; it is hidden in
God and not in the World; it is not Being immersed in Being,
but Consciousness in Consciousness; the particular man is hid
with Christ the God-inan in God, and herewith his personal iden
tity is transfigured as Being-for-self is transfigured in Being-in-and-
for self. Death is cheered by the promise of Christ: Because I
live ye shall live also. Absolute Personality is the life of the Spirit;
hence it is the condition of finite personality, which, as created
and contingent, receives the life of the Spirit from the Absolute
Self-mediated Personality, first, through the condescension of God
in creation, wherein he breathed into mans nostrils the breath
of life; second, through Redemption or Second Creation, wTherein
God not only condescends to men, but becomes himself incarnate
in the flesh; finally, through the progressive continuance of both
Creations, the realized promise of Matthew, xxviii, 20 : Lo, I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Through crea-
ation and redemption, the grace of God, which is the stream of
eternal life, flows uninterruptedly into the finite Spirit. God is
not the God of the dead, but of the living; in that He is life, the
creature lives in him ; in that He is Absolute Consciousness, the
finite Consciousness is maintained and transfigured in him: God
is all in all, because all is in him. The concept of Personality
demands the maintenance of self-conscious individuality ; it is the
key of the apparent paradoxI live, yet not I, but Christ liveth
in me. The finite Ego is swallowed up not in Being, but in Ab
solute Consciousness. This is the underlying truth of Absorption.
K aT 7r60rj o davar os ek vi kos. That which is absorbed or swal
lowed up is Death ; negation is negated ; the abstraction of mere
Being-for-self is cancelled, but Being-for-self is retained as a
moment of the Totality. Death is negatively negated, nega
tively annulled or swallowed up in the victory which is the posi
tive annulment or absorption of the subject.
It is easy to see that these moments of Individuality and Per
sonality exist only in and through each other. Difference or In
dividuality is paralyzed without Personalitythat is, w ithout inter
penetrative participationfor, lacking this, it lacks that from
which as individual it distinguishes itself; in the same way Per
sonality without Individuality is voidTfor it lacks that which pene
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 31 &
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trates and is penetrable. He who loses one moment of the Spirit
loses both moments, and loses the Spirit itself. I f we give up
individuality, we run into pantheism ; if we fail to recognize Per
sonality,^we fall involuntarily into Egoistic dualism.
The underlying truth of pantheism is the surrender of the ab
stract ego, the mere self; this self-renunciation gives pantheism
its moral significance, but does not render it less unthinkable. For
the untruth of pantheism is that, in renouncing the selfish ego, it
surrenders also that real selfhood in which consists the essential
nature of spirit. Egoistic dualism, on the other hand, holds fast
by the truth of selfhood; its defect is that it clings also to the ab
stract self. Dualism lacks the moment of mediating and permeat
ing communion. Pantheism lacks the moment of self-conscious
Individuality. Therefore Plato justly replies to the pantheistic
morality of abstract self-renunciation that the longing for personal
immortality is most intense in the noblest men, and is the witness
of their heavenly calling.
Individuality cannot be saved without Personality, and Person
ality cannot realize its concept without the self-consciousness of
the individual. Hence it is that the separate demonstrations of
Immortality in their isolation prove nothing, but produce convic
tion when in their union all the preceding moments become ex
plicit in the all-including mediatorial concept of Personality. In
absolute Personality alone is all personal life realized and perpetu
In the dualism of the moments of the finite spirit lies the ex
planation of mans twofold longing to be himself and to be in
Godto be particular and universal, individual and personal. In
this same dualism is grounded all that doubt of personal persist
ence which now and then overwhelms each man in presence of the
transi tori ness wherein the individual vanishes and only the species
is preserved. "Within the human spirit one of its two moments
always preponderates over the other. When in its compelling
force Individuality asserts its supremacy, the finite spirit finds
itself in its indestructible simplicity cutoff from universality. In
this abstraction it is not adequate to itself, yet escape therefrom
seems to involve the loss of self. On the other hand, when this
universality for which the spirit pants asserts its abstract suprem
acy, the self is freed from the pain and torment of isolation and
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breathes its proper air; yet at once it seems to vanish like the soli
tary dewdrop that slips into the ocean and, sacrificed to its own
longing for universality, is submerged in the abstract universal.
Here at last we discover the Scylla and Charybdis of all doubt;
we have chased doubt to its last hiding-place; we have tracked
self-impeaching thought to its ultimate retreat. I l i nc i l l ae l acr y-
mae ! The crater of all doubt, the fountain of all tears shed for
doubt, is the disproportion of the moments of the spirit relatively
to each other. Until this muddy fountain is purified, doubt can
never be wholly overcome.
It is necessary to our more complete comprehension that we
should recognize the distinct yet united moments of the spirit in
their activity in life and thought, for in this activity lies their ac
tuality. Actuality has already been defined as the Totality of its
moments. This Totality proves itself vital in that its moments
work in and through each other, thus manifesting and realizing
their mutual participation.
As we reflect upon Individuality and grasp its relationship to
Personality as its Actuality, we observe that from this Actuality
arise three relationships which develop in succession from each
other. The conscious difference which we have called the Indi
viduality of the Subject begets discipline or restraint toward
others. This discipline is based upon relationship to the other of
the subject, who as Individual has also the right to be for self.
Herewith discipline is not only genetically explained, but also jus
tified as commandment, for though the other is not alien to it, is
yet distinct from the Conscious Subject; otherwise Individuality
would not be actual in Personality. From this discipline is de
veloped, secondly, respect for and fear of others and reverence for
God ; for though in Personality God is not alien to man, nor the
individual man alien to his brother-man, there remains, neverthe
less, the difference according to which man knows God as above
and his neighbor as beside him. In that discipline deters and fear
restrains through persistence of the moment of difference, there
arises in the consciousness of the individual P ai n at the separation
from others. This Pain will never be entirely lost, because the
longing for others in which it is rooted will never be entirely
stilled. The Moment of Difference, which is the ground of this
longing, though transfigured, must persist eternally in Personality.
2 1
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 317
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The difference between the three relationships which arise out
of the Activity of Individuality in its relation to Personality may
be more adequately defined as follows: Discipline is the limit,
which, though penetrated, is not wiped out. Fear is the other
which lies beyond this limit, whether above, beneath, or beside the
subject. Pain is the persistent difference between natures essen
tially one.
On the other hand, there arise from the participation of the
Individual writh others, more definitely from Personality, three
relationships in which Personality proves itself active and actual
in relation to the Individuality of Consciousness. In these rela
tionships the three above mentioned are harmonized. The first
is Freedom, which opposes itself to Discipline and Restraint. It
recognizes in its limit the law before which Discipline bows, but
it penetrates this limit through recognition of its identity with its
other. The second is Love, which stands over against Fear. It
conquers in Fear not an enemy, but a sister; it conquers without
taking the life of the conquered. The third is J oy, which smiles
in the face of Pain; this J oy consists essentially in the conquest
of Pain, and therefore cannot do without Pain.
I f we now grasp together these separate relationships we appre
hend the totality of the moments which are active in Individu
ality as Sorrow. This Sorrow we recognize also in God, for as In
dividual, God is separate and apart from the Individuality of the
creatures whom nevertheless He loves. Creation is seized, there
fore, as the first passion of God. The totality of the moments in
which Personality is active and actual is, on the contrary, to be
apprehended as Predominant Blessedness. This triumphant
Blessedness flows from God into and through all souls; it con
sists in thisthat God, conformably with his Personality, pene
trates, permeates, and hence personifies the Creature. The soul
of Creation is therefore the finite spirit or man, whose body is
From the concept of Individuality, in its increasing degrees of
activity and actuality, results the more adequate definition of
Representation which is perpetuated in the total Concept, in the
same manner as Individuality is therein positively cancelled. Cor
respondingly, there results from the concept cff Personality the
more definite apprehension of the inclusive concept or absolute
318 The J ournal of Speculative Philosophy.
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Knowledge. To know and to be a person is one and the same;
each pre-supposes the individuality of the Subjecteach consists
in participation. The difference between absolute Knowledge
in God and in the finite spirit, as well as the difference between
absolute Knowledge in different men, results from the different
Individuality. The absolute Knowledge of God is immediately
activethe absolute knowledge of man, in its first phase, is pas
sive and communicated. The Knowledge of God is absolute be
cause it is the absolute Subject that knows; the Knowledge of
Man is Absolute because of the Absoluteness of its Object. An
absolute object demands and necessitates absolute recognition.
This is the eternal difference between absolute Knowledge in the
Creator and in the creature ; the Blessed participate in the recog
nition of the Absolute Subject through recognition of the Abso
lute Object; they know what God thinks and knows in that
they read it in his revelation, into which as into u mirror they
eternally gaze.
To this persistent difference between the knowing of the Abso
lute Spirit and that of the finite spirit must be added, for the mo
ment, a distinction born of the more adequate apprehension of
knowledge itself. True knowledge consists essentially in the
negation of what is casual and contingent, and demands that all
particular moments shall meet in the totality of the Concept.
Contingencies, as such, are themselves the negation of continuity
and coherence, whence it is evident that the negation of these
negations is the restoration of continuity. In this restored Con
tinuity or concrete concept the separate Moments are positively
perpetuated, but cancelled so far as regards their abstraction and
isolation. I f Knowledge in general consists in the cancelling of
the accidental and immediate, it follows that the knowledge of
God is absolute or perfect knowledge, in that therein all con
tingencies are negated, all forms of immediacy cancelled, and each
particular comprehended in the totality. The Knowledge of Man,
on the other hand, is absolute only in so far as in Reason is given
the power to solve and cancel the fortuitous ; the solution begins
to be actual when the apparently casual and isolated elements of
Knowledge are recognized as single notes of the universal har
monyMoments as yet unpenetrated of the inclusive totality, and
wlien there exists in Consciousness the conviction that what seems
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 319
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to be accidental is not really so, and that what is negated in- the
Concept is only the contingency of the apparently contingent.
I f we now seek to define logically the moments which we
have characterized as discipline and freedom, fear and love, pain
and joy, sorrow and blessedness, representation and concept,
we may say, in a single word, that representation is the moment
of transcendence, and the concept the moment of immanence.
Ther e i s no i mmanence wi thout tr anscendence, and no tr anscend
ence wi thout i mmanence / the unity of the two in which each is
negatively and positively cancelled isPersonality.
Insight into these fundamental relationships is indispensable to
those who wish to orient themselves in Philosophy. The many
are wrecked by Knowledge because they do not know what
Knowledge is, and therefore are not able to apprehend definitely
the relationship of the finite spirit to Knowledge. There is some
thing really touching in the misconceptions which clog and per
vert thought in this our day, and by which earnest but darkeued
minds are constantly incited to fresh attacks against Philosophy.
Many of these attacks are pure in aim and honest in motive^-
and we should gladly hold them guiltless of their misconceptions
did we not realize that ignorance itself is guilt, and not to learn
to recognize ones ignorance is spiritual obduracy.
To escape this stultifying ignorance, let us learn to comprehend
soul and bodythe internal and the external bodylight and
shadowthe subject and its otherthe particular and the uni
versal, more and more completely in their identity and in their
difference. Grasping them thus, we shall understand their ideal
solution in the concept of personality, and their persistent in
vincibility in the concept of individuality, and shall be able to
represent vitally Absolute Knowledge in God and man in accord
with the very definite distinction which flows from the Concept
of the Spirit. Whoever will weigh and ponder the determinations
of these Concepts, as we have striven concisely to indicate them,
will find that through the determination of limit, as applied to the
Concept of Individuality, the validity of externality, as renuncia
tion, is restored both in its objective necessity as Other-being and
in its subjective aspect as patience and self-denial. Other-being is
the indelible limit which even Mysticism recognizes in the ad
mission of discipline, but it is the limit over which participation
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manifests itself universally as predominant. Upon this dualism
of the two poles, as distinct Moments, rests that concrete unity
which is not singularity but actual, i . e., personal community.
Fundamentally, this dualism is nothing else than the antithesis of
Being and Thought, the former being the external, the latter the
internalthe union of the two the living Concept.
It is not difficult to see the relationship of this explanation to
the doctrine of immortality. Its kernel lies in the ever-penetrated
yet ever-abiding limit which isolated the individual; the penetra
tion is eternal because the limit abides, and the eternal duration is
perfection, because it is the finite that is penetrated in the infinite.
In intimate connection with this insight is the ever-recurring
question with regard to the seat of the soul. Ordinarily this
question is supposed to refer to the position of the soul in the
external body, but if it has any real significance its content must
relate to the ultimate concept of the soul, and be verified in all the
successive stages through which this concept develops.
The underlying ground of the question with regard to the seat
of the soul is the conception of space. Space is, however, exclu
sively a category of Being, Externality, Corporeality, Matter.
The soul, however, as Thought is opposed to Being, as internality
is opposed to externality, as immaterial is opposed to matter, and
as soul is opposed to body; therefore, the question contains an
obvious contradiction. Neither position in space nor a seat in
the material body can be ascribed to the soul, because the soul
transcends space and proves itself independent of the external
body. .
It is important, however, to remark that the contradiction lies
only in the assumed relationship of the soul to space, and does not
inhere in the question with regard to the seat of the soul. The
conception of a seat of the soul, however, involves in itself the
contradiction of presupposing space as its externality, and then
of abstracting and withdrawing itself from space. The contradic
tion inheres quite as much in the conception of the soul itself as
in the conception of the seat of the soul. The soul as inward has
seat or locality relatively to the outward, or rather as the inward;
in the outward the soul is its own seat. Hence the soul, like ex
ternality, manifests itself as a Moment of the-Whole. The Whole
is the Spirit to which soul and bodv, space and position, inward
2 1 * XX21 "
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and outward, belong as moments; these moments are negatively
and positively cancelled in Personality as the contradiction of
position and space is solved in movement. As we ascribe to the
finite spirit a soul or Individuality, so we mast ascribe to it in
each stage of development a seat, i . e., a position relatively to all
other spirits and to God. Of this position as external, death is
the external destruction.
It is worthy of remark that the external life of the individual is
dependent upon individual organism; this organism again rests
upon the conflict between position and space, soul and body, in
ward and outward; finally, this conflict results from the union of
these antithetical moments. When the union is dissolved and
separation occurs, the struggle is overbut the end of the strug
gle is also the ending of life. Death approachesu The clock
stands still, the hand falls! All is over! All overnay, this is
the utterance of folly. To be all over is to be pure nothing, and
pure nothing is not.
The souls doubt of its own immortality is grounded in the
question of the seat of the soul. Where is this seat? No one
knows and no one can know, for position is the negation of the
space in which it is sought. Wherever it may be, to the soul it is
always a stone of stumbling, because it is not only a contradiction
in itself, but through this contradiction leads thought over into
the physiological sphere. The physiological standpoint is the one
most dangerous to psychology. Involuntarily we shiver to hear
that the life of the spirit is dependent on brain and nerves, stomach
and intestines, heart and blood, lungs and breath ; a shudder creeps
over us when it is whispered that all the thoughts and impulses of
the spirit cling to a few feeble filaments, and perish if these be
injured or destroyed; we grow faint and giddy in presence of
that gloomy and mysterious force of Nature to which the most
brilliant aspirations of the spirit seem to succumb.
And yet, in so doing, Thought but starts back affrighted from
the view of its own categories. The seat of the soul is the here
and now ; the here and now are realized only when the here is
110 longer here and the now no longer now, but both move for
ward. The here in its essential nature is the inward of the out
ward, therefore it celebrates its victory in death, wherein the out
ward is transformed.
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Death is logically necessary, for contradiction must be sdlved,
and to all conflict there is a goal. In that the soul eliminates
from itself the external that separates it from itself, it enters into
relationship with that sphere of externality which does not separate
it from itself. This is the region where position is transfigured
into individuality, and space into personality, and wherein indi
viduality and personality are no longer antithetic, like position
and space, but are mutually conditioned and affirmed. Here at
last the contradiction is solved, and the relationship of the physio
logical to the psychological sphere discovered.
In these two moments of Individuality and PersonalityBeing-
for-self and Being-in-and-for-selfthe relationship of the theologi
cal and psychological spheres comes also more clearly to light.
Immortality demands, 011 the one hand, that the individual shall
persist in his being-for-self, and, on the other hand, that, in order
to this self-persistence, he shall be personali . e., mi st be in pene
trating and penetrated communion with the Absolute Spirit.
Where shall we find the guarantee of conditioned personality save
in Absolute Personality? How can I be if God is not?
The underlying ground of the conception of Immortality in its
first phase is the preservation of individuality. It is, however,
soon discovered that this individuality, in its immediate abstract
form, cannot be perpetuated, and that only through its constant
renewal and regeneration in personalityi . 0., through participa
tion with Godis it secure against extinction. Hereupon are
grounded all representations of mortality in the soul and the per
sistence of the samethe former in its outcome relating to the
transfiguration of the Soul in Personality; the latter to the awak
ening of the Soul into Spirit. All psychological investigation
leads over into the theological sphere, because the finite spirit
points forever to the Absolute Spirit. The intellectual proofs of
the existence of God are, first of all, sighs of the soul for commun
ion with God. The need of this communion incites the question
with regard to the existence and revelation of God: My soul
tliirsteth for God, for the living God ; when shall I come and
appear before God ? The question is twofold, referring to God
and to me, demanding that God shall be, and that I shall appear
before Him. This is the double goal of all theological demon
stration : to see Godto know Godto experience in self Gods
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 323
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actuality and activitythis is the consummate longing and strug
gle of man. And what is knowing God other than knowing ones
self to be in communion with God ?
This relationship of participation between man and God is,
however, grounded solely in the personality belonging to the Cre
ator and through Him communicated to man. The eternal per
sonality of God is the source of the immortal personality of man.
Were the human spirit incapable of recognizing God, it would be
incapable of immortality. Immortality and the knowledge of
God are one and the same; both are the inheritance of humanity.
As Dante says ( Paradiso iv, verse 124):
Well I perceive that never sated is
Our intellect unless the Truth illume it*
Beyond which nothing true expands itself.
It rests therein, as wild beast in his lair,
When it attains i t ; and it can attain i t ;
If not, then each desire would frustrate be.
Thus both forms of proof in their content and consummation
meet in the confident assurance, 1 shall see God, whom I shall
see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. In
order to see God, the subject is as necessary as God himself-the
subject sees because it is seen; God is seen because He sees.
Hence, passivity exists in God in so far as He is seen, but this
passivity is at once annulled, for the seeing of the subject is in
God, from God, and through God. The result is always the same :
the finite spirit finds its actuality and immortality in communion
with the Absolute Spirit. It doth not yet appear what we shall
be, but the highest consummation is always that we shall see God
as He is. Hence, we are like unto God, and, like Him, of imper
ishable nature. In the vision of God man attains his imperishable
goal, or the actuality of that image of God in which he is created.
Toward this vision consciously and unconsciously is directed all
the thought, all the imagination, and all the aspiration of the soul.
Yet this future blessedness is only certain in so far as it is present,
and it is present only when, like Dante, we climb to the heights
of Paradise, and taste beforehand the joys of heaven in the recog
nition of God.
To the general question of immortality may now be added the
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special question with regard to the condition of the soul after death
and before and after the resurrection of the body. Thus far we
have in appearance occupied ourselves solely with the whether,
and have held in abeyance the how of immortality. It needs,
however, but a single glance to convince us that in answering the
whether we answer the how. Immortality, or the individual per
sistence of the soul, can be verified only as the personal participa
tion of the finite spirit with the absolute spirit. As thus defined,
the whether and how of immortality are identical. The condition
of the soul after death consists in its personal relationship to that
Absolute Personality which we have already learned to know in
its essential relationship to individuality. We have also discussed
in some measure the difference in this relationship before and after
the resurrection of the body. This doctrine of the resurrection
of the bt)dy is, in general, most sensuously apprehended by those
who reject it as sensuous; they would not reject it had they not
first misunderstood it. It is a doctrine which deals not with the
flesh, but with the transfiguration and resurrection of the flesh ;
not with the external, but with the passing away of externality;
not with the other , but with the appropriation and inclusion of
the other. It is marvellous that, while no doctrine of Scripture
or the Church tends so directly as this to the overthrow of the
flesh, there is no doctrine to which fleshliness has been so widely
and persistently imputed. Its true meaning might easily be in
ferred from its position in our confessions of faith. It belongs to
the third article of faith, which relates to the spirit; this article
teaches the unity of the body with the soul in the finite spirit, and
the communion of the finite spirit with the absolute spirit and
with his church. It needs really but very little reflection to be
convinced that those who declare the resurrection of the body in
compatible with a spiritual faith have themselves imagined the
flesliliness which they first impute to and then blame upon the
doctrine. While, on the one hand, it is cruel and despotic to vio
late the freedom of reason by insisting upon the formal acceptance
of an unmediated truth, it is, on the other hand, to be deplored
and denounced when reason cuts itself off from that progressive
mediation which its nature demands, persists in darkness by clos
ing its eyes to the light and contemptuously rejecting what it does
net understand, loses the truth it might have learned to know.
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 325
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The question is so important and yet so neglected that it is
well worth our while to bring it clearly before us. It is with this
doctrine as with the doctrine of the Trinity, the glory of which,
according to Dante ( Paradiso, xxxiii, 76-81, 112, sq.), bewilders
only those who avert their gaze from it.
In an earlier stage of our inquiry we learned to grasp resurrec
tion as the transfiguration not only of the external body but of
all externality. The transfiguration of the body is not possible
without the transfiguration of Nature; the one implies and de
mands the other. Hence, resurrection in the more adequate
development of its content is the transfiguration of the original
relationship of each finite subject to all other finite subjects, to
Nature and to God. Under this original relationship is under
stood the position of the particular subject appointed in accord
with its aboriginal essence in God, partially and externally real
ized during our earthly life in consciousness and transfigured
after death into that shining, translucent limit which ever distin
guishes without isolating the particular subject. This definite
position or relation of each particular subject is conditioned both
by the persistence of the particular body with all its organs and
by the perpetuation of the particular environment, for both body
and environment are contained in the definite, complete, and
peculiar relationship of each individual. To this relationship
belong even the wedding robe of pale-green silk, embroidered
with gold and silver leaves, which yonder shall become the heav
enly raiment, and the jewelled nosegay stolen by a cruel thief,
and which even now is catching the light of the stars that it
may sparkle more brilliantly when placed as a diadem on the
brow of the bride. u Why is this face mine, and why should the
soul speak through these eyes, unless this face and these eyes
were my souls permanent possession ? All our discoveries
shall be guarded above. Our fancies and imaginations shall be
the hangings which will adorn our heavenly habitations.
It seems like a jest that Goethes mother cannot forget her
bridal dress, but hopes to have it again in heaven, together with
her stolen nosegay ; but even such things as these belong to that
individual relationship which can suffer no loss and whose integ
rity will never be impaired. It is this relationship which is purified
and transfigured in the resurrection. As in its externality on this
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side the grave it is movable and vet remains the same, so on the
other side, in its progressive internality, it will become penetrable
without ceasing to be the same. That movableness is externally
what personality is internally, we have already learned through
development of the antithesis between space and position.
From these suggestions, which we shall not attempt to develop
in detail, the difference in the condition of the soul between death
and the resurrection and after the resurrection may readily be
apprehended. This difference has already been defined : it lies in
the concept of perfection first realized in the resurrection, though
ideally given in the Spirit. This concept negates the representa
tion of the abstract infinitea representation already shattered
by the reflection that in each Moment of Becoming already lies
Being; and in continuous thinking, Thought develops itself out
of itself.
It has also been already shown that the soul as spirit is its own
body ; therefore atter death it can not be bodiless. Hence all
representations of the soul after death, as in a temporary state
of sleep or dreams, together with all the images which cluster
about a Hades or intermediate state of the soul, must be relegated
1 o
to the sphere of ingenious fancies and understood as dreams of
the soul which has not yet awakened into spirit. Implicit in
these dreams and fancies, however, is the germ of a vital truth
the truth, that the soul as such dies .to be born again as Self-Con
sciousness; and the double consciousness herewith given, dying of
its own dialectic, awakes regenerate through the identity of con
sciousness into the Personality of the Spirit.
Hence it follows that the soul is not first separated from the
body through death, but is already separated from it by Self-Con
sciousness. Death only actualizes the separation which conscious
ness has recognized. Hence it follows further that the soul, in
that it separates itself from its eternal body first through con-
sciouness and then through death, has its limit or body in itself,
and retains this immanent body both in consciousness and in
death, which only realizes what consciousness implies. Hence
again it results, first, that the soul through death develops to a
higher perfection than it possessed in life, because in death sepa
ration or complete Self-Consciousness is achieved, and thus the
transfiguration of and reunion with otherness is prepared ; second,
Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 32T
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that the soul attains its consummation in the resurrection be
cause therein Personality as penetration of all otherness is com
pletely actualized. The external body in its relationship to the
subject is distinguished from all other bodily or natural external
ity only as the shirt is distinguished from the coat.
So much with regard to the condition of the soul after death
and before and after the resurrection. The next point to be con
sidered is the condition of the body after death and before and
after the resurrection. Separated from the soul, the body sepa
rates from itself, and only when this division and dissolution is
complete, only when its decomposition is entire, can it reunite
with itself in the soul by which it is penetrated and through
which it is glorified.
Herewith, at least, we have found the adequate categories which
shall be our guides in that further development that Absolute Sci
ence, far from excluding, inaugurates and compels. That our
hearts may be still more strengthened within us, let us reflect
for still a single moment upon that individuality of Self-Conscious
ness which is perpetuated in personal participation.
The beautiful image of two drops of water which in the mo
ment of contact melt into one is a touching symbol of that mo
ment of communion for which each subject in his isolation longs.
It expresses, however, rather the longing for communion than the
truth of communion, for in it, instead of participation, we have
intermixtureinstead of communio, confusio. What is lacking is
the personal communion gleaming with the rays of individuality.
But the Kingdom of Nature offers other analogies in which are
reflected the relationships of personal communion in the Kingdom
of the Spirit. Plato in the u Timaeus bids us notice that as colors
are most brilliant in the light, so the individuality of the body is
heightened when penetrated by the soul. In light both the dif
ference and the community of colors are preserved; each color
has light for its soul and darkness for its body; each separate
color sparkles and burns more brightly as it is more deeply pene
trated by the universal light. And not only in universal light are
the particular colors preserved and intensified; they perpetuate
themselves also in their ethereal interfusioneach giving to the
other richness no one in the others losing itself. Only when
mixed with earthy substances do they in their union decompose
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Goeschel on the I mmortality of the Soul. 329
into dull gray ; only when fallen from their first estate do they
need purification ; before reunited with the heavenly colors they
can glow and sparkle in the penetrating light.
Suggestive and interesting as these analogies may be, they are,
nevertheless, very dangerous. Taken from the realm of Nature,
they can correspond only externally with the realm of Spirit.
Only the external image of the Actual can ever be sensuously
represented. What constitutes the truth of the Actual is that it
cannot be represented, but must ever be revealed only to pure
thought. It is therefore hazardous to develop these sensuous sym
bols in detail. Nevertheless, we shall permit ourselves to draw
one single parallel.
Colors are three, but the gradations of each color and the tran
sitions from one color into another are numberless, and yet not
without law. Above, these colors focalize in glowing purple, be
low they concentrate in living green. Purple is the royal color,
the ethereal identity and totality of all colors; green is its coun
terpart or earthy imagethe second identity of colors. Green
points upward to red as the world points upward to God and the
soul of man points upward to the Absolute Spirit. Again, the
colors which are one in red, into which purple decomposes and
from which, it creates itself anew, are yellow and blue, soul and
body. Yellow is the concrete light, blue is the concrete darkness,
and it is these two colors which focalize above in purple, meet be
low in green, and in their original unity kindle and burn as red.
It is marvellous that the poet of the Divina Commedia has
chosen this image of color to symbolize the beatific vision of the
Holy Trinity wherein the pilgrim recognizes the uncreated origi
nal of the created image, and out of whose eternal fulness he drinks
in renewal and immortality. As the concrete unity of substance
and light, body and soul, color is not only the third and inclusive
moment of its concept, but this third moment in its concrete
unity is itself again threefold.
Within the deep and luminous subsistence
Of the High Light appeared to me three circles,
Of threefold color and of one dimension,
And by the second seemed the first reflected
As I ris is by I ris, and the third
Seemed fire that equally from both is breathed.
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