Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
conceive of a man being free we must
imagine him outside space, which is evidently impossible.
(2) However much we approximate the time of judgment to the time
of the deed, we never get a conception of freedom in time. For if I
examine an action committed a second ago I must still recognize it
as not being free, for it is irrevocably linked to the moment at which
it was committed. Can I lift my arm? I lift it, but ask myself:
could I have abstained from lifting my arm at the moment that has
already passed? To convince myself of this I do not lift it the next
moment. But I am not now abstaining from doing so at the first
moment when I asked the question. Time has gone by which I could not
detain, the arm I then lifted is no longer the same as the arm I now
refrain from lifting, nor is the air in which I lifted it the same
that now surrounds me. The moment in which the first movement was made
is irrevocable, and at that moment I could make only one movement, and
whatever movement I made would be the only one. That I did not lift my
arm a moment later does not prove that I could have abstained from
lifting it then. And since I could make only one movement at that
single moment of time, it could not have been any other. To imagine it
as free, it is necessary to imagine it in the present, on the boundary
between the past and the future--that is, outside time, which is
(3) However much the difficulty of understanding the causes may be
increased, we never reach a conception of complete freedom, that is,
an absence of cause. However inaccessible to us may be the cause of
the expression of will in any action, our own or anothers, the
first demand of reason is the assumption of and search for a cause,
for without a cause no phenomenon is conceivable. I raise my arm to
perform an action independently of any cause, but my wish to perform
an action without a cause is the cause of my action.
But even if--imagining a man quite exempt from all influences,
examining only his momentary action in the present, unevoked by any
cause--we were to admit so infinitely small a remainder of
inevitability as equaled zero, we should even then not have arrived at
the conception of complete freedom in man, for a being uninfluenced by
the external world, standing outside of time and independent of cause,
is no longer a man.
In the same way we can never imagine the action of a man quite
devoid of freedom and entirely subject to the law of inevitability.
(1) However we may increase our knowledge of the conditions of space
in which man is situated, that knowledge can never be complete, for
the number of those conditions is as infinite as the infinity of
space. And therefore so long as not all the conditions influencing men
are defined, there is no complete inevitability but a certain
measure of freedom remains.
(2) However we may prolong the period of time between the action
we are examining and the judgment upon it, that period will be finite,
while time is infinite, and so in this respect too there can never
be absolute inevitability.
(3) However accessible may be the chain of causation of any
action, we shall never know the whole chain since it is endless, and
so again we never reach absolute inevitability.
But besides this, even if, admitting the remaining minimum of
freedom to equal zero, we assumed in some given case--as for
instance in that of a dying man, an unborn babe, or an idiot--complete
absence of freedom, by so doing we should destroy the very
conception of man in the case we are examining, for as soon as there
is no freedom there is also no man. And so the conception of the
action of a man subject solely to the law of inevitability without any
element of freedom is just as impossible as the conception of a
mans completely free action.
And so to imagine the action of a man entirely subject to the law of
inevitability without any freedom, we must assume the knowledge of
an infinite number of space relations, an infinitely long period of
time, and an infinite series of causes.
To imagine a man perfectly free and not subject to the law of
inevitability, we must imagine him all alone, beyond
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