Book I: Metaphysics of Knowledge.

Chapter I: The Spiritual Principle in Knowledge and Nature.

§ 49.

In the second of the forms in which the question before us admits of being presented--Can sensation exist as an independent element in a consciousness to which facts can appear?--it has been virtually answered in being answered in the first. To that thinking subject, whose action is the universal bond of relation that renders facts what they are, their existence and their appearance must be one and the same. their appearance, their presence to it, is their existence. Feeling can no more be an independent element in that subject, as the subject to which they appear, than it can be an independent element in it, as the subject through whose action they exist. It is true on the one hand, as has just been admitted, that in a great part of our lives we feel without thinking and without any qualification of our feelings by our thoughts; while yet, on the other hand, we are subjects to whom facts can appear, who are capable of conceiving a word of phenomena. But just so far as we feel without thinking, no world of phenomena exists for us. The suspension of thought in us means also the suspension of fact or reality for us. We do not cease to be facts, but facts cease to exist for our consciousness. However then we may explain the merely temporary and interrupted character of the action of thought upon feeling in us, that temporary character affords no reason why we should hesitate to deny that feeling unqualified by thought can be an element in the consciousness which is necessary to there being such a thing as a world of phenomena. (§ 49 ¶ 1)