Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
have been possible to retain
the old conception of the movements of the bodies, but without
disproving it, it would seem impossible to continue studying the
Ptolemaic worlds. But even after the discovery of the law of
Copernicus the Ptolemaic worlds were still studied for a long time.
From the time the first person said and proved that the number of
births or of crimes is subject to mathematical laws, and that this
or that mode of government is determined by certain geographical and
economic conditions, and that certain relations of population to
soil produce migrations of peoples, the foundations on which history
had been built were destroyed in their essence.
By refuting these new laws the former view of history might have
been retained; but without refuting them it would seem impossible to
continue studying historic events as the results of mans free will.
For if a certain mode of government was established or certain
migrations of peoples took place in consequence of such and such
geographic, ethnographic, or economic conditions, then the free will
of those individuals who appear to us to have established that mode of
government or occasioned the migrations can no longer be regarded as
And yet the former history continues to be studied side by side with
the laws of statistics, geography, political economy, comparative
philology, and geology, which directly contradict its assumptions.
The struggle between the old views and the new was long and
stubbornly fought out in physical philosophy. Theology stood on
guard for the old views and accused the new of violating revelation.
But when truth conquered, theology established itself just as firmly
on the new foundation.
Just as prolonged and stubborn is the struggle now proceeding
between the old and the new conception of history, and theology in the
same way stands on guard for the old view, and accuses the new view of
In the one case as in the other, on both sides the struggle provokes
passion and stifles truth. On the one hand there is fear and regret
for the loss of the whole edifice constructed through the ages, on the
other is the passion for destruction.
To the men who fought against the rising truths of physical
philosophy, it seemed that if they admitted that truth it would
destroy faith in God, in the creation of the firmament, and in the
miracle of Joshua the son of Nun. To the defenders of the laws of
Copernicus and Newton, to Voltaire for example, it seemed that the
laws of astronomy destroyed religion, and he utilized the law of
gravitation as a weapon against religion.
Just so it now seems as if we have only to admit the law of
inevitability, to destroy the conception of the soul, of good and
evil, and all the institutions of state and church that have been
built up on those conceptions.
So too, like Voltaire in his time, uninvited defenders of the law of
inevitability today use that law as a weapon against religion,
though the law of inevitability in history, like the law of Copernicus
in astronomy, far from destroying, even strengthens the foundation
on which the institutions of state and church are erected.
As in the question of astronomy then, so in the question of
history now, the whole difference of opinion is based on the
recognition or nonrecognition of something absolute, serving as the
measure of visible phenomena. In astronomy it was the immovability
of the earth, in history it is the independence of personality--free
As with astronomy the difficulty of recognizing the motion of the
earth lay in abandoning the immediate sensation of the earths
fixity and of the motion of the planets, so in history the
difficulty of recognizing the subjection of personality to the laws of
space, time, and cause lies in renouncing the direct feeling of the
independence of ones own personality. But as in astronomy the new
view said: "It is true that we do not feel the movement of the
earth, but by admitting its immobility we arrive at absurdity, while
by admitting its motion (which we do not feel) we arrive at laws,"
so also in history the new view says: "It is true that we are not
conscious of our dependence, but by admitting our free will we
arrive at absurdity, while by admitting our dependence on the external
world, on time, and on cause, we arrive at laws."
In the first case it was necessary to renounce the consciousness
of an unreal immobility in space and to recognize a motion we did
not feel; in the present case it is similarly necessary to renounce
a freedom that does not exist, and to recognize a dependence of
which we are not conscious.
War And Peace page 727