Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
Without admitting divine intervention in the affairs of humanity
we cannot regard "power" as the cause of events.
Power, from the standpoint of experience, is merely the relation
that exists between the expression of someones will and the execution
of that will by others.
To explain the conditions of that relationship we must first
establish a conception of the expression of will, referring it to
man and not to the Deity.
If the Deity issues a command, expresses His will, as ancient
history tells us, the expression of that will is independent of time
and is not caused by anything, for the Divinity is not controlled by
an event. But speaking of commands that are the expression of the will
of men acting in time and in relation to one another, to explain the
connection of commands with events we must restore: (1) the
condition of all that takes place: the continuity of movement in
time both of the events and of the person who commands, and (2) the
inevitability of the connection between the person commanding and
those who execute his command.
Only the expression of the will of the Deity, not dependent on time,
can relate to a whole series of events occurring over a period of
years or centuries, and only the Deity, independent of everything, can
by His sole will determine the direction of humanitys movement; but
man acts in time and himself takes part in what occurs.
Reinstating the first condition omitted, that of time, we see that
no command can be executed without some preceding order having been
given rendering the execution of the last command possible.
No command ever appears spontaneously, or itself covers a whole
series of occurrences; but each command follows from another, and
never refers to a whole series of events but always to one moment only
of an event.
When, for instance, we say that Napoleon ordered armies to go to
war, we combine in one simultaneous expression a whole series of
consecutive commands dependent one on another. Napoleon could not have
commanded an invasion of Russia and never did so. Today he ordered
such and such papers to be written to Vienna, to Berlin, and to
Petersburg; tomorrow such and such decrees and orders to the army, the
fleet, the commissariat, and so on and so on--millions of commands,
which formed a whole series corresponding to a series of events
which brought the French armies into Russia.
If throughout his reign Napoleon gave commands concerning an
invasion of England and expended on no other undertaking so much
time and effort, and yet during his whole reign never once attempted
to execute that design but undertook an expedition into Russia, with
which country he considered it desirable to be in alliance (a
conviction he repeatedly expressed)--this came about because his
commands did not correspond to the course of events in the first case,
but did so correspond in the latter.
For an order to be certainly executed, it is necessary that a man
should order what can be executed. But to know what can and what
cannot be executed is impossible, not only in the case of Napoleons
invasion of Russia in which millions participated, but even in the
simplest event, for in either case millions of obstacles may arise
to prevent its execution. Every order executed is always one of an
immense number unexecuted. All the impossible orders inconsistent with
the course of events remain unexecuted. Only the possible ones get
linked up with a consecutive series of commands corresponding to a
series of events, and are executed.
Our false conception that an event is caused by a command which
precedes it is due to the fact that when the event has taken place and
out of thousands of others those few commands which were consistent
with that event have been executed, we forget about the others that
were not executed because they could not be. Apart from that, the
chief source of our error in this matter is due to the fact that in
the historical accounts a whole series of innumerable, diverse, and
petty events, such for instance as all those which led the French
armies to Russia, is generalized into one event in accord with the
result produced by that series of events, and corresponding with
this generalization the whole series of commands is also generalized
into a single expression of will.
We say that Napoleon wished to invade Russia and invaded it. In
reality in all Napoleons activity we never find anything resembling
an expression of that wish, but find a series of orders,
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