Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
ancient times has been presented in its whole tremendous significance.
The problem is that regarding man as a subject of observation from
whatever point of view--theological, historical, ethical, or
philosophic--we find a general law of necessity to which he (like
all that exists) is subject. But regarding him from within ourselves
as what we are conscious of, we feel ourselves to be free.
This consciousness is a source of self-cognition quite apart from
and independent of reason. Through his reason man observes himself,
but only through consciousness does he know himself.
Apart from consciousness of self no observation or application of
reason is conceivable.
To understand, observe, and draw conclusions, man must first of
all be conscious of himself as living. A man is only conscious of
himself as a living being by the fact that he wills, that is, is
conscious of his volition. But his will--which forms the essence of
his life--man recognizes (and can but recognize) as free.
If, observing himself, man sees that his will is always directed
by one and the same law (whether he observes the necessity of taking
food, using his brain, or anything else) he cannot recognize this
never-varying direction of his will otherwise than as a limitation
of it. Were it not free it could not be limited. A mans will seems to
him to be limited just because he is not conscious of it except as
You say: I am not free. But I have lifted my hand and let it fall.
Everyone understands that this illogical reply is an irrefutable
demonstration of freedom.
That reply is the expression of a consciousness that is not
subject to reason.
If the consciousness of freedom were not a separate and
independent source of self-consciousness it would be subject to
reasoning and to experience, but in fact such subjection does not
exist and is inconceivable.
A series of experiments and arguments proves to every man that he,
as an object of observation, is subject to certain laws, and man
submits to them and never resists the laws of gravity or
impermeability once he has become acquainted with them. But the same
series of experiments and arguments proves to him that the complete
freedom of which he is conscious in himself is impossible, and that
his every action depends on his organization, his character, and the
motives acting upon him; yet man never submits to the deductions of
these experiments and arguments. Having learned from experiment and
argument that a stone falls downwards, a man indubitably believes this
and always expects the law that he has learned to be fulfilled.
But learning just as certainly that his will is subject to laws,
he does not and cannot believe this.
However often experiment and reasoning may show a man that under the
same conditions and with the same character he will do the same
thing as before, yet when under the same conditions and with the
same character he approaches for the thousandth time the action that
always ends in the same way, he feels as certainly convinced as before
the experiment that he can act as he pleases. Every man, savage or
sage, however incontestably reason and experiment may prove to him
that it is impossible to imagine two different courses of action in
precisely the same conditions, feels that without this irrational
conception (which constitutes the essence of freedom) he cannot
imagine life. He feels that however impossible it may be, it is so,
for without this conception of freedom not only would he be unable
to understand life, but he would be unable to live for a single
He could not live, because all mans efforts, all his impulses to
life, are only efforts to increase freedom. Wealth and poverty, fame
and obscurity, power and subordination, strength and weakness,
health and disease, culture and ignorance, work and leisure, repletion
and hunger, virtue and vice, are only greater or lesser degrees of
A man having no freedom cannot be conceived of except as deprived of
If the conception of freedom appears to reason to be a senseless
contradiction like the possibility of performing two actions at one
and the same instant of time, or of an effect without a cause, that
only proves that consciousness is not subject to reason.
This unshakable, irrefutable consciousness of freedom,
uncontrolled by experiment or argument, recognized by all thinkers and
felt by everyone without exception, this consciousness without which
no conception of man is possible constitutes the other side of the
Man is the creation of an all-powerful, all-good, and all-seeing
God. What is sin, the conception of
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