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answers lie hid in the abyss of being. These specific feelings have their root in as many exclusive acts of being.
"C. Finally, the multiplication of genera is due to abstract thought, which, nevertheless, is based on the intrinsic order of being, when it distinguishes different things in it, but, in so far as it separates them and considers them apart, operates according to its own subjective laws.
“Genera which are formed according to some purely mental principle ought to be called, not genera, but classes " (Theosophy, vol. v. pp. 384-386).
It is needless to add that it is one of St. Thomas' favourite doctrines, derived from Aristotle, that matter is the principle of individuation. See Sum. Theol., i. q. 3, art. 3, c.; q. 54, art. 3, 2 m.; q. 56, art. 1, 2 m.; q. 75, arts. 4 and 5, c. ; 9. 85, art. 1, c. ; q. 86, arts. I and 3, C., etc., etc.
When we refer the perception of bodies and of When may ourselves to universal being, and then compare the that lige objects of the two perceptions, we find that the Exo mututwo limit each other and our mind adds the nega- each
ally limit tions and distinctions. Then the corporeal world other? may be called non-Ego (the concept of the Ego is, indeed, much more complicated; but we will not stop here to explain minutely its formation); then we may say that the Ego and non-Ego mutually limit each other; then, when we perceive the Ego, we shall negate body, and vice versa.
Probably no one, except Hegel, ever denied that all negation presupposes a previous affirmation ; but it was a great merit on Rosmini's part to have shown that an affirmation does not, as such, include a negation. The
affirmations of intuition and perception are made without any implied negations, and it is only when we have had several perceptions, and begin to reflect upon and compare them, that their difference induces us to introduce negation. Hence, the perception of the external world by no means includes a negation of the Ego ; nor does the perception of the Ego include a negation of the external world. Only when the two are thought together, reflected upon, and compared, does the one become the negation of the other. It was the failure to see this that enabled Hegel to find a starting-point for his Logic. Had he seen that the thought of being does not imply or involve the thought of nothing, he would never have been able to lay the first stone of that huge constructive abuse of negation.
A further reflection is necessary, if we wish to reason from the finite to the infinite. In this case, the attention of the mind must not fix itself
upon what distinguishes the Ego from the non-Ego, but must consider what they have in common, i.e. their limitation, and so from the thought of the finite, contingent, etc., ascend to the infinite, necessary, etc. Hence, to ascend to the thought of the infinite, necessary, and absolute, I do not require the two perceptions, but I may reach it equally well by setting out from either of them, since each is limited, contingent, and relative. Therefore, that act of the mind by which I ascend to the infinite is not primitive perception. It is not even that reflection whereby I compare the perception of the Ego with the perception of the non-Ego; but it is a reflection in which, from the limits of either the Ego or the non-Ego indifferently, I leap into the infinite.
One learns how valuable such a result as this is, by seeing what strange conclusions persons come to, who have not reflected on the source and nature of our concept of the infinite. Max Müller, for example, holds that we perceive the infinite with our senses. In answer to the question, how a being with only five senses, which supply him with knowledge of only finite things, comes to think or speak of anything not finite or infinite, he says, “I answer without fear of contradiction (!) that it is his senses which give him the first impression (!) of infinite things, and supply him in the end with an intimation of the infinite. Everything of which his senses cannot perceive a limit is to a primitive savage, or to any man in an early stage of intellectual activity, unlimited or infinite. Man sees; he sees to a certain point, and there his eyesight breaks down. But exactly where his sight breaks down, there presses upon him, whether he likes it or not, the perception of the unlimited or the infinite. It may be said that this is not perception, in the ordinary sense of the word. No more it is, but still less is it mere reasoning. In perceiving the infinite, we neither count, nor measure, nor compare, nor name. We know not what it is, but we know that it is, and we know it, because we actually feel it and are brought in contact with it. If it seems too bold to ny that man actually sces the infinite, let us say that he suffers from the invisible, and this invisible is only a special name for the infinite” (Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 27). In other words, where the finite ceases to make an impression on man, there he is brought into contact with the infinite, a perception of it presses on him, and he suffers from it. Now, what sort of contact is possible with the infinite as infinite? How can a perception press? And if it could, what kind of pressure would it have to exert in order to give a sense of the infinite ? What would have to be the nature of suffering in order that it should seem the infinite ? It is true that, where sight breaks down, one
suffers from a sense of incapacity ; but the question is, why does one posit, on that account, anything beyond what he sees. Sense feels what it feels and no more. It is intelligence with its infinite ideal object that comes in and declares that there is no end to being. It need hardly be said that Max Müller has no notion of what constitutes perception, or of what is meant by the infinite. The invisible a special name for the infinite ! It follows that total darkness is the infinite! How blessed are the blind !
The supreme principle of all our reasoning.
We know the relations of perceived beings, therefore, through reflection, in that we refer them to universal being, and observe how nearly they approach its fulness or how much they fall short of it. Thus is discovered the fountain of all reasonings and the supreme principle on which they all rest. If we try to formulate this principle, it will take this form : The human mind, knowing the essence of being, affirms being in feeling; then, drawing a comparison and referring the affirmed being to the essence of being, it knows its conditions, limits, and relations. Afterwards, by means of new reflections, it refers, in the same way, the cognitions arrived at to the essence of being, and thus draws from it ever new cognitions.
The principle of substance one of the conditions of real being fall
Let us stop and consider the conditions of perceived beings. The conditions under which real beings subsist are of two kinds : those which fall under perception, and those which fall
under reasoning. By the former, I mean those ing under which render real being capable of being per- tion. ceived. Among these is the principle of substance, which we must now explain.
Substance Rosmini defines as "that energy whereby a being and all that it includes actually exist,” or “that energy in which is based the actual existence of a being (New Essay, vol. ii. $ 587). As his doctrine in regard to it involves one of the cardinal points of his system, it will be necessary to devote some space to it.
“Let us see, then," he says, “in how many ways the mind conceives this energy ; and, to see this, let us analyze its concept. In this we may note two elements: first, the act of existence, or that energy whereby a being exists; second, the being itself which exists (essence). This distinction is made only through abstraction ; but abstraction is precisely what we require in this case, because we are dealing with what takes place in the mind, and not with what takes place outside of it. . ..
"What, then, are the modes which our idea of substance may assume?
"(1) We may think the energy whereby beings exist universally, that is, by thinking not any particular being, but merely any possible being ; not fixing any determination, but supposing it determined in that mode which is necessary in order that it may exist. This is the idea of substance in general.
“ (2) We may think the energy of a being furnished with some generic determination. This is the idea of generic substance.
“ (3) We may think the aforesaid energy of a determinate being specifically; that is, we may think the actual existence which the individual of a determinate species may have, thinking in that idea the complete individual, furnished with all that it requires in order to exist, that is, with all its common, as well as with all its
proper, marks. When the mind has succeeded in thinking the possibility