Book I: Metaphysics of Knowledge.

Chapter I: The Spiritual Principle in Knowledge and Nature.

§ 50.

Mere feeling, then, as a matter unformed by thought, has no place in the world of facts, in the cosmos of possible experience. any obstacle which it seemed to present to a monistic view of that world may be allowed to disappear. We may give up the assumption that it needs to be accounted for as a product of things-in-themselves; or that, if not accounted for in this way, it still remains an unaccountable opposite to thought and its work. Feeling and thought are inseparable and mutually dependent in the consciousness for which the world of experience exists, inseparable and mutually dependent in the constitution of the facts which form the object of that consciousness. Each in its full reality includes the other. It is one and the same living world of experience which, considered as the manifold object presented by a self-distinguishing subject to itself, may be called feeling, and, considered as the subject presenting such an object to itself, may be called thought. Neither is the product of the other. It is only when by a process of abstraction we have reduced either to something which is not itself, that we can treat either as the product of anything, or apply the category of cause and effect to it at all. For that category is itself their product. Or rather, it represents one form of the activity of the consciousness which in inseparable union they constitute. The connexion between a phenomenon and its conditions is one that only obtains in and for that consciousness. No such connexion can obtain between that consciousness and anything else; which means that the consciousness itself, whether considered as feeling or considered as thought, being that by means of which everything is accounted for, does not in turn admit of being accounted for, in the sense that any whence or why can be assigned for it. (§ 50 ¶ 1)

Any constituent of the world of possible experience we can account for by exhibiting its relation to other constituents of the same world; but this is not to account for the world itself. We may and do explore the conditions under which a sentient organism is formed, and the various forms of molecular action by which particular sensations on the part of such an organism are elicited. We may ascertain uniformities in the sequence of one feeling upon anothe. In the life of the individual and the race we may trace regular histories of hte manner in which a particular way of thinking has been affected by an earlier, and has in turn affected a later way; of the determination of certain ideas by certain emotions, and of certain emotions by certain ideas. But in all this we are connecting phenomena with phenomena within a world, not connecting the world of phenomena with anything other than itself. We are doing nothing to account for the all-uniting consciousness which alone can render these sequences and connexions possible, for which alone they exist, and of which the action in us alone enables us to know them. We can indeed show the contradictions involved in supposing a world of phenomena to exist otherwise than in and for consciousness, and upon analysis can discern what must be the formal characteristic of a consciousness for which a system of related phenomena exists. So far we can give an account of what the world as a whole must be, and of what the spirit that constitutes it does. But just because all that we can experience is included in this one world, and all our inferences and explanations relate only to its details, neither it as a whole, nor the one consciousness which constitutes it, can be accounted for in the ordinary sense of the word. They cannot be accounted for by what they include, and being all-inclusive--at any rate so far as possible experience goes--there remains nothing else by which they can be accounted for. And this is equally true of consciousness as feeling and of consciousness as thought, for each in its reality involves the other. (§ 50 ¶ 2)