Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
In actual life each historic event, each human action, is very clearly
and definitely understood without any sense of contradiction, although
each event presents itself as partly free and partly compulsory.
To solve the question of how freedom and necessity are combined
and what constitutes the essence of these two conceptions, the
philosophy of history can and should follow a path contrary to that
taken by other sciences. Instead of first defining the conceptions
of freedom and inevitability in themselves, and then ranging the
phenomena of life under those definitions, history should deduce a
definition of the conception of freedom and inevitability themselves
from the immense quantity of phenomena of which it is cognizant and
that always appear dependent on these two elements.
Whatever presentation of the activity of many men or of an
individual we may consider, we always regard it as the result partly
of mans free will and partly of the law of inevitability.
Whether we speak of the migration of the peoples and the
incursions of the barbarians, or of the decrees of Napoleon III, or of
someones action an hour ago in choosing one direction out of
several for his walk, we are unconscious of any contradiction. The
degree of freedom and inevitability governing the actions of these
people is clearly defined for us.
Our conception of the degree of freedom often varies according to
differences in the point of view from which we regard the event, but
every human action appears to us as a certain combination of freedom
and inevitability. In every action we examine we see a certain measure
of freedom and a certain measure of inevitability. And always the more
freedom we see in any action the less inevitability do we perceive,
and the more inevitability the less freedom.
The proportion of freedom to inevitability decreases and increases
according to the point of view from which the action is regarded,
but their relation is always one of inverse proportion.
A sinking man who clutches at another and drowns him; or a hungry
mother exhausted by feeding her baby, who steals some food; or a man
trained to discipline who on duty at the word of command kills a
defenseless man--seem less guilty, that is, less free and more subject
to the law of necessity, to one who knows the circumstances in which
these people were placed, and more free to one who does not know
that the man was himself drowning, that the mother was hungry, that
the soldier was in the ranks, and so on. Similarly a man who committed
a murder twenty years ago and has since lived peaceably and harmlessly
in society seems less guilty and his action more due to the law of
inevitability, to someone who considers his action after twenty
years have elapsed than to one who examined it the day after it was
committed. And in the same way every action of an insane, intoxicated,
or highly excited man appears less free and more inevitable to one who
knows the mental condition of him who committed the action, and
seems more free and less inevitable to one who does not know it. In
all these cases the conception of freedom is increased or diminished
and the conception of compulsion is correspondingly decreased or
increased, according to the point of view from which the action is
regarded. So that the greater the conception of necessity the
smaller the conception of freedom and vice versa.
Religion, the common sense of mankind, the science of jurisprudence,
and history itself understand alike this relation between necessity
All cases without exception in which our conception of freedom and
necessity is increased and diminished depend on three considerations:
(1) The relation to the external world of the man who commits the
(2) His relation to time.
(3) His relation to the causes leading to the action.
The first consideration is the clearness of our perception of the
mans relation to the external world and the greater or lesser
clearness of our understanding of the definite position occupied by
the man in relation to everything coexisting with him. This is what
makes it evident that a drowning man is less free and more subject
to necessity than one standing on dry ground, and that makes the
actions of a man closely connected with others in a thickly
populated district, or of one bound by family, official, or business
duties, seem certainly less free and more subject to necessity than
those of a man living in solitude and seclusion.
If we consider a man alone, apart from his relation
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