The Aufklarung

How Enlightened are you?

Reason is only fit to embroil all and call every thing in question; it has no sooner reared a fabric but it suggests the means to destroy it. It is an arrant Penelope who unravels all in the night that she had spun by day.  Historical and Critical Dictionary Vol IV, Pierre Bayle 1647-1706

western schism

The three branches of Christendom in Western Europe.

  • Leonhard Euler 1707-1783 The Watchmaker Universe 1760

If I have a book that thinks for me, a pastor who acts as my conscience, a physician who prescribes my diet, and so on–then I have no need to exert myself. I have no need to think, if only I can pay; others will take care of that disagreeable business for me. Those guardians who have kindly taken supervision upon themselves see to it that the overwhelming majority of mankind–among them the entire fair sex–should consider the step to maturity, not only as hard, but as extremely dangerous.

  • Enlightenment, By Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770-1831 From The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807

If I put my trust in any one, his certitude of, himself is for me the certitude of myself; I know my self-existence in him, I know that he acknowledges it, and that it is for him both his purpose and his real nature. Trust, however, is belief, because its consciousness has a direct relation to its object, and thus sees at once that it is one with the object, and in the object.

Further, since what is object for me is something in which I know myself, I am at the same time in that object really in the form of another self-consciousness, i.e. one which has become in that object alienated from its own particular individuation, from its natural and contingent existence, but which partly continues therein to be self-consciousness, and partly is there an essential consciousness just like pure insight.

Pure thought of this nature can place man in the stream of a cosmic life, deliver him from everything that is pettily human, and by the opening up of an eternal and infinite life, vouchsafe him complete rest and blessedness.

Two fundamentally different modes of Philosophizing have long prevailed, and have divided Philosophers into two general classes. Aristotle and Plato, — Bacon and Descartes, — Locke and Leibnitz, — the Scotch and English on the one hand, and the modern Germans with some of the recent French on the other, — represent the two classes.

The first consider the human mind as born without knowledge, and as incapable of originating any knowledge, from itself, or by the mere exercise of its own powers. It must, they say, receive, from without, the subject matter of all knowledge; and this it does, especially, through the senses. Reflection on its own sensations and perceptions, gives form and consistency to the given matter derived from without; and thus leads to that true and perfect knowledge of things which is properly called philosophy. —

The other class of philosophers do not deny, that the bodily senses are an inlet of knowledge; and that reflection on our sensations and perceptions will give form and consistency to this sort of knowledge. But, say they, this is not properly philosophical knowledge; it is merely empirical knowledge, or knowledge derived from sensations and experience.

From the Journal of Speculative Philosophy October 1, 1886

01. O my Son, write this first Book, both for Humanity sake, and for Piety towards God.
80. What is God? The immutable or unalterable Good.
81. What is Man? An unchangeable Evil.
120. And judge of this by thy self, command thy Soul to go into India, and sooner then thou canst bid it, it will be there.


  • Thomas Hobbs 1588-1679, Behemoth, published posthumously in 1681, it was written in 1668

To the Right Honourable Sir Henry Bennet, Baron of Arlington My Lord,

I present your Lordship with four short dialogues concerning the memorable civil war in his Majesty’s dominions from 1640 to 1660. The first contains the seed of it, certain opinions in divinity and politics. The second hath the growth of it in declarations, remonstrances, and other writings between the King and Parliament published. The two last are a very short epitome of the war itself, drawn out of Mr. Heath‘s chronicle. There can be nothing more instructive towards loyalty and justice than will be the memory, while it lasts, of that war. Your Lordship may do with it what you please. I petition not to have it published. But I pray your Lordship not to desist to be favourable as you have been, to me that am,

My Lord, Your Lordship’s most humble and obliged servant, Thomas Hobbes

The doctrine of the universal spirit is good in itself, for all those who teach it admit in fact the existence of a Divinity; whether they believe this universal spirit to be supreme, in which case they hold it to be God himself, or whether they believe, like the Cabbalists, that God has created it.

In all placers equidistant from the center of our globe, the force of gravity is nearly equal. Matter is indeed entirely passive, and can’t either tend or draw, with regard unto other bodies, no more than it can move itself. It is not essential to matter to be either at rest or in motion: but though there is in matter a vis inertia, by which all bodies resist, to the utmost of their power, any change of their state, whether at rest or motion.

The Aufklärung was an essentially German school of rationalist philosophy that began in 1706 when Christian Wolff (1679–1754) was appointed professor of mathematics at Halle-Wittenberg University.

Happiness consists in the gratification of certain affections, appetites, passions, with objects which are by nature adapted to them.  Self-love may indeed set us on work to gratify these, but happiness or enjoyment has no immediate connection with self-love, but arises from such gratification alone.  Love of our neighbour is one of those affections.  This, considered as a virtuous principle, is gratified by a consciousness of endeavouring to promote the good of others, but considered as a natural affection, its gratification consists in the actual accomplishment of this endeavour.  Now indulgence or gratification of this affection, whether in that consciousness or this accomplishment, has the same respect to interest as indulgence of any other affection; they equally proceed from or do not proceed from self-love, they equally include or equally exclude this principle.  Thus it appears, that benevolence and the pursuit of public good hath at least as great respect to self-love and the pursuit of private good as any other particular passions, and their respective pursuits.

The Moravian Brotherhood proper had an independent origin in the ministry of Christian David, a zealous evangelist, seceder from the Roman to the Lutheran Church. This man gathered a band of followers in Lusatia, and initiated in 1722 a settlement on one of the estates of Count Zinzendorf.

Mr. Locke says “The will is perfectly distinguished from desire.” To talk of the determination of the will, supposes an effect, which must have a cause. To appear good to the mind is the same as to appear agreeable or seem pleasing to the mind. When a drunkard chooses to drink then this action appears to his mind more agreeable and pleasing that letting it alone. The word necessary, impossible etc, are used in controversies about free-will and moral agency and therefore the sense in which they are used should be clearly understood.

  • Voltaire 1694-1778

If suicide be criminal, it must be a transgression of our duty either to God, our neighbour, or ourselves. To prove that suicide is no transgression of our duty to God, the following considerations may perhaps suffice. In order to govern the material world, the almighty Creator has established general and immutable laws, by which all bodies, from the greatest planet to the smallest particle of matter, are maintained in their proper sphere and function. To govern the animal world, he has endowed all living creatures with bodily and mental powers; with senses, passions, appetites, memory, and judgment, by which they are impelled or regulated in that course of life to which they are destined.

The voluntary divestiture of man’s animal part can be called self-murder, only then when it is shown that such an act is criminal. A crime which may be perpetrated, either simply on our own person, or also at the same time and by consequence upon the person of another, e. g. as when one in pregnancy kills herself. Self-destruction is a crime—murder.

Suicide may no doubt be considered as the transgression of the duty owed by any one to his fellow-men; as a violation of the conjugal obligations incumbent upon spouses; as a disregard of the duty owed by a subject to his government (the state); or, lastly, as a dereliction of one’s duty to God, the person quitting without his permission the post entrusted to him by God in the world. But none of these amount to the crime of murder; and the question at present to be considered is, whether or not deliberate self-destruction is a violation of man’s duty towards himself.

As far as I know, none but the votaries of monotheistic, that is to say, Jewish religions, look upon suicide as a crime. Suicide, as I have said, is actually accounted a crime; and a crime which, especially under the vulgar bigotry that prevails in England, is followed by an ignominious burial and the seizure of the man’s property; and for that reason, in a case of suicide, the jury almost always brings in a verdict of insanity. Now let the reader’s own moral feelings decide as to whether or not suicide is a criminal act.

  • An universal history: in twenty-four volumes. Translated from the German of Johannes von Müller, 1752-1809

Between the earliest epoch to which the Mosaic records refer, and the promulgation of the Hebrew law, which comprises the most ancient history that has reached our times, and is confirmed by accounts that may be regarded as nearly contemporary, a space of 4114 years intervened and from the latter era to the French Revolution, another of 3400.

europe-1815

Germany has in the middle of the past and the commencement of the present century established a literature, which has not failed to attract the attention and admiration of the rest of the civilized world. But the Teutonic dialect stood apart from the great family of the other European idioms. It is only of late that the neighbors of Germany have discovered the richness of its literature.

Juno: I allow you should govern by laws, whose objects is the general good.
Jupiter: The general good – a fine word – and who will give them these laws?
Juno: O! these Themis has published long ago to all the earth, Where is the people so barbarous as not to know the universal laws of justice and equity.

This is a revision of my doctoral dissertation. The Linguistic Foundations of Hamann’s Concept of Unity written in 1950 at the University of Chicago under Professor Wilhelm Puak, The Hegelian view of Hamann. Hamann’s emphasis on linguistics. Revelation within a framework of time and space.


Immanuel Kant 1724-1804, Supposed Beginning of the History of Man

To strew conjectures in the course of a history, in order to fill up a gap in the narrative, may be regarded as allowable; since that which went before, as remote cause, and that which came after, as effect, may furnish a tolerably safe guide to the discovery of the intermediate causes, and thus make the transition intelligible. But to create a history entirely out of conjecture, seems to be little better than laying the plan of a novel.

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi 1743-1819 is ranked, and justly, among the philosophers of modern Germany, although his philosophy, far from shaping itself into a system, denies, – and that denial  may be regarded as one of its leading characteristics, – on philosophical grounds, the possibility of a system, and maintains, that any system of philosophy carried to its legitimate results must lead to fanaticism. He vindicated the affective part of man’s nature, which the Kantian exaltation of pure reason had seemed to disparage, at least to neglect, and gave to feeling its due place and authority as a medium and interpreter of truth.


The school of Pforta retained many traces of its monkish origin: the teachers and pupils lived in cells, and the boys were allowed to leave the interior only once a-week, and that under inspection, to visit a particular play-ground in the neighborhood. When Fichte was thirteen years of age, Fichte entered this seminary.

I must, however, remind my reader that the “I” who speaks in the book is not the author himself, but it is his earnest wish that the reader should himself assume this character, and that he should not rest contented with a mere historical apprehension of what is here said, but really and truly, during reading, hold converse with himself, deliberate, draw conclusions, and form resolutions, like his representative in the book, and, by his own labour and reflection, developed out of his own soul, and build up within himself, that mode of thought the mere picture of which is laid before him in the work.

Consciousness is confined to imaging, but liberated from being, which being is for that very reason transferred to an external object; and hence our knowledge begins necessarily with the consciousness of an external object; for it could not begin lower and yet remain knowledge.

If people are so anxious to retain that favorite expression, “philosophy.” and to continue to glory in the celebrity of a “philosophical mind,” “philosophical lawyer,” “philosophical historian,” “philosophical newspaper-writer” etc., let them adopt my repeated proposition, that scientific philosophy should abandon the name “philosophy,” and assume the name “science of knowledge.”


  • Locke, by Alexander Campbell Fraser (1819-1914)
  • Berkeley, by Alexander Campbell Fraser (1819-1914)
  • Goethe, by Abraham Hayward (1801-1884)
  •  Hegel, by Edward Caird (1835-1908)

The spirit of improvement is abroad upon the earth. It stimulates the hearts and sharpens the faculties not of our fellow citizens alone, but of the nations of Europe and of their rulers. While dwelling with pleasing satisfaction upon the superior excellence of our political institutions, let us not be unmindful that liberty is power; that the nation blessed with the largest portion of liberty must in proportion to its numbers be the most powerful nation upon earth, and that the tenure of power by man is, in the moral purposes of his Creator, upon condition that it shall be exercised to ends of beneficence, to improve the condition of himself and his fellow men.   John Quincey Adams, State of the Union Address December 6, 1825


We shall proceed in the following to discuss the realized idea of religion, or which the idea has become its own object of contemplation.

Materialism makes God the product of weakness or fear, of pleasure or selfish hope, or avarice and tyranny.

In the germ are contained all the determinations of the tree – its whole nature, its kind of sap, its ramifications – but not in such a manner that through a microscope one could see in  the germ miniature twigs and leaves; the content is there spiritually.

The two definitions; Man is good by nature; is not divided in himself, but his essence and concept is, that he is good by nature and that he is in harmony and peace with himself; on the other side we find: man is bad by nature.

Aristotle seizes an object in its ground; this gives us the time-honored antimony or twofold point of view arising from the opposition of the category of necessity to that of conformity to end.

As to Bruno’s thoughts themselves – Jacobi has presented them in such a form as to imply that the doctrine of one living Being, a World-soul, permeating all things, and constituting the life of all, was something peculiar to Bruno, a special distinction of his. Bruno asserted, first, the unity of life and the universality of the World-soul, and secondly, the present, indwelling Reason. But in this he was far from being original.

It was chiefly through the text (Luke 11.13), “Your Father in Heaven shall give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him,” that he was roused to the thought that in order to know the truth he should, in simplicity of spirit, earnestly and continually pray, seek and knock, until he, then on his wanderings with his master, should, through the passing of the Father into the Son according to the Spirit, be carried over into the holy Sabbath and glorious day of rest of souls, and that thus his prayer should be answered.

“From such a revelation of the forces in which the will of the Eternal One views itself, flows the understanding and the knowledge of the Aught – the Ego – because the eternal Will contemplates itself in the Aught, or Ego.” Aught is a pun on the word naught; for, although it is the negative, it is at the same time the contrary of naught, since the aught – the somewhat – is the Ego of self-consciousness.

We can declare Love to be the universal content of the Romantic in its religious circle. Still, love first acquires its true ideal form when it expresses the affirmative, immediate reconciliation of the spirit.

In the first place, we have before us Independence of Character. But this is a particular, definite individual, who, with his own peculiar characteristics and aims, is secluded within himself, within his own world.

All objects have their value, from the highest regions and weightiest interests to the most insignificant and nonessential – as, in Hamlet, the night-watch near the king’s castle; in Romeo and Juliet, the domestics; just as in the religious circle of Romantic Art, with the birth of Christ and the adoration  of the kings, ox and ass, crib and straw must not be omitted. And thus it proceeds throughout, so that even in art the word is fulfilled: That which is abased shall be exalted.

In the Orient, if man suffers and is unhappy, he accepts this as an irrevocable decree of destiny. He rests there, firm in himself, without appearing crushed or insensible, and without sadness or melancholy.

The most celebrated paradox of Hegel states that thought and being are one. His second is, Whatever is, is rational. Third, Being and Nothing are the same. And lastly, The Principles of Contradiction and Excluded Middle are not absolute laws of thought or of existence.

Anyone who has studied Hegel, knows that this dialectic method with thesis, antithesis and solution — the dialectic method, with the metamorphosis of its negativity — imparts the common stamp to all his writings, and forms the imposing architecture of his entire system. Gradually the authority of Hegel’s Logic grew, and persons often expressed themselves to the effect that only the weak-minded and the slothful-minded, who feared and shunned the dialectic labor of thought, doubted Hegel’s philosophy. It was considered the initiation into the secrets of the thinking world of spirit.

  • bacons-fruit

Positivism has gradually taken possession of the preliminary sciences of Physics and Biology, and in these the old system no longer prevails. I believe that my work on Positive Philosophy has so far supplied what was wanting. I think it must now be clear to all that the Positive spirit can embrace the entire range of thought without lessening, or rather with the effect of strengthening its original tendency to regulate practical life. And it is a further guarantee for the stability of the new intellectual synthesis that Social science, which is the final result of our researches, gives them that systematic character in which they had hitherto been wanting, by supplying the only connecting link of which they all admit.

Persian aggression, then, is to be regarded as chiefly meant to check a seditious form of propagandism. But, however legitimate on grounds of its own, it was directly antagonistic to the general interests of Humanity, then represented by the Western home of free thinkers. The Persian theocracy might entirely disappear, as the Chaldean theocracy had just done, and as also did even the Egyptian theocracy, without serious injury to the fundamental progress of the race.

The name of Count Henry de Saint-Simon has attracted far more attention since his death than during his life. It has become associated with a singular sect of religious and social innovators, who entertained the Parisians, for a few years, with long beards and grotesque costumes, and concerning whose morality certain sinister rumours were current.

English readers, who are not very curious in such matters, probably heard of him for the first time in connection with M. Comte, and the impression produced was probably unfavourable. His disciples have claimed for him the merit of being the founder of the Positive Philosophy, while those of Comte declare that he was incapable of even understanding it.


The sum of all that is purely objective in our knowledge we may call Nature; while the sum of all that is subjective may be designated the Ego, or Intelligence. These two concepts are mutually opposed.

The Christian missionaries who came to India thought they brought unheard-of tiding to the inhabitants when they taught that the God of the Christians had become man. But the Hindoos were not surprised; they by no means denied the incarnation of God in Christ, and only thought it strange that what had taken place but once in Christianity took place often and continuously with them.

Schelling, 15 Nov. 1841 Berlin Lecture on Philosophy of Revelation

It is now forty years, since I succeeded in turning over a new leaf in the history of philosophy. According to the natural order of things, a younger man, and one more equal to the task, should occupy this place instead of me. Let him come! I shall rejoice to make room for him.

Schelling, On the Study of History and Jurisprudence

The German writers of history, with their pragmatical spirit, are, as a rule, in the condition of “Famulus,” in Goethe’s Faust: “What they call The Spirit of the Times, is their own spirit, in which the times are reflected.”

God, in nature, becomes exoteric, the ideal appears through another than itself, through a being; but only in so far as this being is taken for the essence, the symbol independent of the idea, is the divine truly exoteric, but according to the idea it is esoteric. In the ideal world the divine unveils itself and is the open mystery of the divine kingdom.

If it is the task of Transcendental Philosophy to subordinate the Real to the Ideal, it is, on the other hand, the task of Natural Philosophy to explain the Ideal by the Real. The two sciences are therefore but one science, whose two problems are distinguished by the opposite directions in which they move; moreover, as the two directions are not only equally  possible, but equally necessary, the same necessity attaches to both in the system of knowing.

Ideas are the souls of things, as things are the bodies of ideas; in this relationship the former are necessarily infinite, the latter finite. But the infinite and the finite can never become one, except through internal and essential identity.

The enthusiasm of the age for chemistry made it the principle of all organic phenomena, and reduced life itself to a chemical process.

It was not Bacon, as is generally taught, but Rene Descartes who was the father of the new philosophy, and we shall clearly show here the German philosophy descended from him. The Schoolmen formed in secret a philosophic opposition to the Church, but in public they pretended the utmost deference to it; in many cases they fought for it; in grand processions they paraded in its train, as did the French deputies of the Opposition in the solemnities of the restoration. This comedy of the Schoolmen lasted more than six centuries, becoming all the time more trifling. By destroying Scholasticism Descartes also destroyed the superannuated opposition of the Middle Age.

europe-1748

Europe 1748

Opposition between soul and matter is not opposition of the quality of substances; it is opposition of our mode of viewing them. Vital forces do not exist unconditionally, and there is nothing similar to them in the simple quality of substances. Psychology exhibits a preeminent internal culture in the example of the soul.

Reading forces alien thought upon the mind – thoughts which are as foreign to the drift and temper in which it may be for the moment, as the seal is to the wax on which it stamps its imprint.The mind is thus entirely under compulsion from without; it is driven to think this or that, though for the moment it may not have the slightest impulse or inclination to do so. But when a man thinks for himself, he follows the impulse of his own mind, which is determined for him at the time, either by his environment or some particular recollection.

St. Anselm wished to render an account to himself of his faith, and to know and understand the reasons for believing in God. He did not doubt the existence of God; he indeed held that God cannot be thought not to be; he did not seek to know the arguments which prove that God is, that he might believe, but that he might the better know and understand what he already believed. We believe that we may understand, and we cannot understand unless we believe — a great truth which modern speculators do not recognize. They reverse the process, and seek to know that they may believe, and hold that the first step to knowledge is to doubt or to deny.

The wish of aufklarung. Stastics have thrown more light on the study of human nature than all the science put together. In spite of the cry: Light, light! All around remains obstinately dark. Annihilate an atom and you and annihilate the universe.    Henry Thomas Buckle 1821-1862

In comparing man with the other animals, we need not enter here into the physiological questions whether the difference between the body of an ape and the body of a man is one of degree or of kind. However that question is settled by physiologists, we need not be afraid.

If Locke is right in considering the having general ideas as the distinguishing feature between man and brutes, and if we ourselves are right in pointing to language as the one palpable distinction between the two, it would seem to follow that language is the outward sign and realization of that inward faculty which is called the faculty of abstraction, but which is better known to us by the homely name of reason.

ecce-homo-ecce-deus

  • Robert Louis Stevenson 1850-1894, Four Reformers

Four reformers met under a bramble bush. They were all agreed the world must be changed. “We must abolish property,” said one.

“We must abolish marriage,” said the second.

“We must abolish God,” said the third.

“I wish we could abolish work,” said the fourth.

“Do not let us get beyond practical politics,” said the first. “The first thing is to reduce men to a common level.”

“The first thing,” said the second, “is to give freedom to the sexes.”

“The first thing,” said the third, “is to find out how to do it.”

“The first step,” said the first, “is to abolish the Bible.”

“The first thing,” said the second, “is to abolish the laws.”

“The first thing,” said the third, “is to abolish mankind.”

 Fable IX
The Novels and Tales of Robert Louis Stevenson: Weir of Hermiston. The plays. Fables. v. 21. Scribner’s 1896

  • Leo Tolstoy 1828-1910, Bethink Yourselves!


Lecture by Manly P. Hall 1901-1990 on The Vision of Hermes Trismegistus  Reason and the Enlightenment   This takes you back to the top of the page to the 1886 and the Divine Pymander.

morphine


Ecce homo, said Friedrich Neitzche of himself: behold the man! This time, no longer God who becomes man to make him divine, but man who makes himself God to usurp his place and who wishes to be his own god. We are surprised at first, for he bears no resemblance to the fantastic beast of the Apocalypse. However, like it he has a number, and it is a human number. On the body of a man, a man’s head with a hard, willful chin, a broad intellectual forehead crowned with blasphemies, and in his beautiful eyes the anguish of insanity. His name is none of those which they had told us. He does not call himself Laiteinos, Evanthas but Zarathustra, and behold he speaks like the one of whom St. Paul formerly prophesied, who will go so far as to sit “in God’s temple, and proclaim himself as God”. (II Thess. ii, 4).

drige-overdose-deaths-2003-2014

Women in Latin America: legal rights and restrictions 1948 Government Printing Office

There are five countries of America in which the husband is exempt from criminal responsibility if he kills his wife on surprising her in the act of adultery; one in which the father is not punished by law, or is subject only to a minimum penalty, if in similar circumstances he kills a young daughter less than 21 years of age who lives in the paternal household. Again, there are five countries in which the elemental right of inviolability of correspondence does not hold true for married women. The punishments of imprisonment and fine do not apply to the husband in regard to papers or letters of the wife, and under certain circumstances he is often authorized to open communications which she addresses to other persons.

Women have access to all national universities. Colombia in 1938 was the last country to open the doors of the universities to women. In three American Republics women do not yet enjoy the same privileges as men in practicing some professions; in one of these Republics they are not able to participate in the very important field of law. In the eight countries I have visited there are women lawyers, and in Brazil particularly there was a surprising number. This may be due partly to the fact that until fairly recently Brazil did not have a college of liberal arts in the university, so that young women who went to the university had to study for a profession, and a number chose law.

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