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pearance at least of propriety, artificial good nature. This excellent quality itself sometimes shoots us beyond the mark, and shows the truth of those lines in Horace:
«Insani sapiens nomen ferat, æquus iniqui,
Ultra quam satis est, Virtutem si petat ipsam.”
Instances of this will be naturally produced where we show the deviations from those rules which we shall now attempt to lay down.
As this good breeding is the art of pleasing, it will be first necessary with the utmost caution to avoid hurting or giving any offense to those with whom we converse. And here we are surely to shun any kind of actual disrespect, or affront to their persons, by insolence, which is the severest attack that can be made on the pride of man, and of which Florus seems to have no inadequate opinion when, speaking of the second Tarquin, he says: in omnes superbia (quæ crudelitate gravior est bonis) grassatus. He trod on all with insolence, which sits heavier on men of great minds than cruelty itself. If there is any temper in man which more than all others disqualifies him for society, it is this insolence or haughtiness, which, blinding a man to his own imperfections, and giving him a hawk's quick-sightedness to those of others, raises in him that contempt for his species which inflates the cheeks, erects the head, and stiffens the gait of those strutting animals who sometimes stalk in assemblies for no other reason but to show in their gesture and behavior the disregard they have for the company. Though to a truly great and philosophical mind it is not easy to conceive a more ridiculous exhibition than this puppet, yet to others he is little less than a nuisance; for contempt is a murderous weapon, and there is this difference only between the greatest and weakest man when attacked by it, that in order to wound the former, it must be just; whereas, without the shields of wisdom and philosophy, which God knows are in the possession of very few, it wants no justice to point it, but is certain to penetrate, from whatever corner it comes. It is this disposition which inspires the empty Cacus to deny his acquaintance, and overlook men of merit in distress; and the little silly, pretty Phillida, or Foolida, to stare at the strange creatures round her. It is this temper which constitutes the supercilious eye, the reserved look, the distant bow, the scornful leer, the affected astonishment, the loud whisper, ending in a laugh directed full in the teeth of another. Hence spring, in short, those numberless offenses given too frequently, in public and private assemblies, by persons of weak understandings, indelicate habits, and so hungry and foulfeeding a vanity, that it wants to devour whatever comes in its way. Now, if good breeding be what we have endeavored to prove it, how foreign, and indeed how opposite to it, must such a behavior be! and can any man call a duke or a duchess who wears it well bred? Or are they not more justly entitled to those inhuman names which they themselves allot to the lowest vulgar? But behold a more pleasing picture on the reverse. See the Earl of C- , noble in his birth, splendid in his fortune, and embellished with every endowment of mind; how affable! how condescending! himself the only one who seems ignorant that he is every way the greatest person in the room.
But it is not sufficient to be inoffensive — we must be profitable servants to each other; we are, in the second place, to proceed to the utmost verge in paying the respect due to others. We had better go a little too far than stop short in this particular. My Lord Shaftesbury hath a pretty observation, that the beggar, in addressing to a coach with, “My lord,” is sure not to offend, even though there be no lord there; but, on the contrary, should plain “Sir” fly in the face of a nobleman, what must be the consequence ? And, indeed, whoever considers the bustle and contention about precedence, the pains and labors undertaken, and sometimes the prices given, for the smallest title or mark of pre-eminence, and the visible satisfaction betrayed in its enjoy. ment, may reasonably conclude this is a matter of no small consequence. The truth is, we live in a world of common men, and not of philosophers; for one of these, when he appears (which is very seldom) among us, is distinguished, and very properly too, by the name of an odd fellow; for what is it less than extreme oddity to despise what the generality of the world think the labor of their whole lives well employed in procuring? We are therefore to adapt our behavior to the opinion of the generality of mankind, and not to that of a few odd fellows.
From the essay on «Conversation.”
DRNST KUNO BERTHOLD FISCHER, one of the most distinguished * German thinkers of the nineteenth century. was born at
Sandewalde, Silesia, July 23d, 1824. His « History of Modern Philosophy,” 1852–77, won him the respect of thinkers both in Europe and America. It is a work of deep and varied learning, especially notable among books of its class for the lucidity of its style and the clearness of its definitions,— illustrated when he defines the desire for salvation as the desire for freedom from our own worldly and selfish nature” and identifies it as the master motive both of philosophy and religion. His earliest work as a philosophical teacher was done at Heidelberg, but in 1853 he was silenced” by the authorities of that university. He taught at Berlin and Jena until 1872, when he generously accepted an invitation from Heidelberg to return and fill its chair of Philosophy. Among his writings are «Diotima, the Idea of the Beautiful,” “Lessing's Nathan, the Wise,) ) and “Spi. noza's Life and Character.” His greatest work, «The History of Modern Philosophy,” is notable in its art of construction as in its style. It is a series of monographs or essays, each complete individually, while all support and complement each other.
THE CENTRAL PROBLEM OF THE WORLD'S LIFE
W E OURSELVES are the world. Our natural love of self and w our natural understanding are also the world; they are
fundamentally powers of the world, since without them there is no world which we conceive or desire. And just this world which is identical with ourselves, which we ourselves are in a certain sense, is, in the ideal of the Stoics, Epicureans, Skeptics, so little overcome that it is rather deified in it. To get rid of this world, of this our own nature which is of the world, which is indeed experienced as evil, to free ourselves thoroughly from it, to fling away and break through this self that takes us prisoner and holds us down,- this is now the problem of philosophy and, at the same time, the longing of all who are sensible of the calamities of the time, and the deep inner ruin of man. This ardent desire for freedom from our own worldly and selfish nature is the desire for salvation; and so it is an absolutely religious motive which now animates philosophy; and urges it directly towards human redemption. It seeks the way to this goal; it aims itself to be the means of salvation; it announces itself as a doctrine of salvation. In this spirit and in this motive must we judge its conceptions and its effects. Its problem is the last of antiquity,—the salvation of the world. What it would call into life is a world religion; and it seeks to attain it, first, through a purification of the old faith in the gods; and second, through a restoration of it. With this thought it prepares for, and goes to meet, Christianity, contends and struggles with it for the victory, which it finally loses. But the idea of a world-saving religion was received in, and nourished by, the consciousness of the Grecian world; and when aspiring Christianity broke through the limits of Judaism to work for the salvation of the world, it found here the most fruitful soil.
That desire for salvation which animated the last philosophy of antiquity, and determined its mode of thought, consists in the effort of man to get rid of the world, to escape from the world, or, what is the same thing, to unite himself with a Being who is entirely aloof from the world of the senses, free from its limits and evils. The standpoint of this philosophy, therefore, requires, in the strictest sense of the word, the oppositeness of God to the world. To satisfy this desire of human salvation, God cannot be transcendent enough, or enough opposed to the world. Exactly because of his aloofness from the world, exactly because he is free from everything from which man desires to be free, does he become an object of religious aspiration. And exactly for this reason is there in the conception of a great chasm between God and the world a religious satisfaction. God must be so conceived that man can say to himself: “If I were with him I should be happy. In his presence there is nothing of that which disturbs and oppresses me.” The dualistic mode of conception is, therefore, a characteristic of this philosophy, and the fundamental cause of it is absolutely religious. God here stands opposite the world, not as the principle of order in the presence of chaos, not as the moving purpose in the presence of the moved cosmos, but as the principle of blessedness in opposition to the principle of evil. He is not a principle for the explanation of things, but the ideal of man striving for salvation. Religious aspiration widens to the uttermost the chasm between God and the world; at the same time it desires their union. But how is this union possible ? Certainly not by natural, therefore only by supernatural means: on the part of God by supernatural revelation; on the part of man by supernatural intuition,— by inner, mysterious, illumination. The highest state possible to man is now regarded not as self-sufficiency or independence, but enthusiasm, a being filled by God. This state has nothing in common with the natural reason, and is not attainable by it. It is mysterious, and the philosophy which seeks this state is mystical. It is a wonderful exaltation in which philosophy now participates, and which tears it away from its natural consciousness,- a state of ecstasy which cannot arise by natural means, but rather suddenly comes and vanishes like a moment of divine illumination. Of himself, man cannot produce this state; he can only experience it, and, so far as in him lies, make himself ready to receive it by a constant purification of his life, a continued renunciation of the world, and control the natural desires, even to the extremest abstinence. ...
The Platonic conception of the archetypal world includes the human archetype as the intelligible ground of our existence, and the goal of our becoming. In the presence of this archetype, we can only understand our earthly existence, our embodiment in the material world, as a fall of the soul, which is guilty of desire, and our return to that archetype is only possible by means of a purification, which overcomes desire in our minds. But if this is the goal of man, should it not also be the goal of the world, this salvation of man from the world ? Here the Platonic philosophy appears in its religious significance; and, from this point, it gives rise to, and explains, the religious state of mind and mode of thought which characterized Greek philosophy in the last centuries of its existence. The logos now appears as the worldsaving principle, as the divine thought of the salvation of the world, in which the secret, i. e., the inmost purpose of creation is contained, as the real motive of creation, as the creative word of God. The word is realized in man who overcomes the world, or restores in himself the pure archetype of man.
Now the Grecian and Jewish problems of salvation come in contact, and show in very many kindred conceptions their religious affinity. That rests in the thought of the logos, this in the