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human nature what is called conscience,' or the knowledge of what is right, coupled with the incitement to act up to it.
If this so - - called conscience be instinctive in its suggestions, a life conducted under its guidance may be highly correct and virtuous, but it does not give occasion to the appellation of a philosophy, being perhaps all the happier for not deserving the name.
Philosophical life-guidance comes into play when the suggestions of the instincts and sentiments, one and all, are either set aside or fail to give the needful direction, and when the intellect of man brings into the field the same powers of investigation as have been successful in building up the theoretical and practical sciences, and by the application of those powers devises a scheme of human life such as to give to each impulse a measured scope consistent with the highest good of the whole. It is the intervention of the philosophising intelligence that makes life philosophical. If a man trained in the scientific study of some department of nature or mind applies his faculties to the study of the course of human life, with the view of avoiding, as far as possible, its ills, and multiplying what is good in it, and if he arrives at general principles appealing to the intelligence of others, and in all respects similar to the principles of physics, of mind, of jurisprudence, or of logic, he is a philosopher of life, and his listeners, and all who act upon his principles, may be distinguished by the saine honourable appellation. When we depart from the primitive device of choosing a king passion, and introduce the speculative and scientific intelligence into the conduct of our lives, we make a step exactly identical with the interposition of scientific laws and scientific reasonings into agriculture, navigation, or the administration of justice. The first attempts at such a method may be abortive and bad, like the first theories of the heavenly bodies, or of the phenomena of life; moreover, inferences made in this way may be less safe than the suggestions of the king passion, but nevertheless the attempts themselves are commendable.
The earliest approach to this kind of philosophy is found in the prudential and wise maxims, sayings, and proverbs current among all nations; exercises of the observing and generalising intellect no doubt, but so imperfectly executed that they can no more be called science than the primitive literature of the medical, or any other difficult art, can be so called. The intellect at work in their case has not been the intellect trained and skilled, and made aware of the necessity of looking at what is not before the common eye.
Systems of life deserving of the name of philosophy come into view about the same period as systems of the world. As we designate by this term the cosmical speculations of the greatest Greek intellects from the sixth century before Christ, so we find among the same individual minds the first efforts to array the march of human life according to methods devised by the exercise of abstract intelligence; and such methods, either promulgated in naked theory or reduced to practice, we call philosophies of life. The notion of a summum bonum or maximum of happiness always implies an attempt at the scientific consideration of the question of life. We shall endeavour to illustrate this part of the subject by a brief allusion to some of the most noted systems of life that have been held up as of the philosophical kind.
The epoch of Socrates marks the commencement of various branches of philosophy, and among others the department of life - philosophy; and posterior to his date we shall find genuine examples presented both in the speculative and practical world.
The Cynics. - The Cynic philosophy, which was essentially practical in the sense of being related to the conduct of life, was originated by one of the followers of Socrates, named Antist es. he character of the sect is, however, more popularly judged of by the anecdotes told of its most prominent member, commonly called Diogenes the Cynic. The great idea of the founder consisted in laying down the broad principle, that virtue was self-sufficient for conferring happiness, to the exclusion of the sensual delights and bodily gratifications. But by virtue, in the mouth of a pupil of Socrates, must be understood not merely rectitude of conduct in the whole of the relations of life, but also the pursuit of knowledge and philosophy, or the active employment of the intellect in its proper sphere. In fact the pleasures of intellect were to be substituted for the pleasures of sense, and the indulgences of the body suppressed in order to support the wear and tear of a life of mental occupation.
Diogenes, the practical Cynic, is represented as ostentatiously despising all the comforts and pleasures of common life, and deriving satisfaction from the inward feelings of pride and the sense of superiority to his fellows; which satisfaction was still farther enhanced by the luxurious exercise of jeering at the weaknesses of everybody around him. Such a man could easily rise superior to all worldly disadvantages and risks, and effectually clear his mind of anxieties for the future. Subsisting upon small means, he could treat himself to a life of ease, and in this particular rival the proudest sons of fortune. We are by no means to look upon such a man as one wilfully depriving himself of the delights of existence, and turning his back on the bounties of nature. In fact, he uses an independent judgment in choosing his own pleasures, instead of following the herd, or living as his father did before him. With a natural constitution not very susceptible to the delights of warmth and repletion, full of pride and egotism, and delighting in the sport of uttering sarcasms, such a man would find the Cynic life exactly suited to his dispositions ; and, except in the point of sneering at others, he would be fully entitled to make it his choice.
The Cynic system of life, although not very remarkable for its originality, or its difference from the unconscious creed of a limited class of men in all ages, was so far a philosophical system that it resulted from the speculative turn given by Socrates to ethical inquiries. It was his practice to insist on obtaining a true abstract definition of all the leading notions involved in human conduct, in place of the vague associations attached to them in the popular mind. He made a constant practice of investigating What is piety? What is impiety? What is the honourable and the base ?-and other similar questions. Men who knew these matters he accounted good and honourable; men who were ignorant of them he assimilated to slaves.
When Socrates thus commenced to insist on a rigorous analysis of the conceptions of human conduct, and on reducing them to verbal definitions that would each include a class of cases strictly of a kind, and exclude all that were not of the kind, although liable to be accounted such by the
fallaciousness of superficial appearances, he rendered the study of human duties and the art of living for the first time philosophical; and the doctrinal Cynicism of Antisthenes was one of the results of the system. The natural connection, however, is not so evident as in the subsequent systems.
The Stoics.-Zeno, the founder of the Stoical sect, was more than a century posterior to Socrates. The general temper of Stoicism is allied to the Cynical system, but carried out into a far greater doctrinal development. The Stoic had calmly surveyed human nature, human life, and man's position in the universe, and derived from thence a series of considerations and rules suitable to his guidance under all circumstances. Setting out from the assumption that self-love and the highest good of existence were the great ultimate motives of action, an enumeration was made of the objects of choice and of the objects of rejection and avoidance. These objects of choice and preference had a gradation of worth or an order of precedence: not only was health preferable to strength, and good name to power, but the interest of the many was greater than the interest of the few ; hence we ourselves being but units of the human race, and mere atoms in the grand machine of Providence, our personal likings must give way to the good of the race or the purposes of creation at large. To this view the Stoic added a profound belief in the perfect government of the world, and in everything being for the best; and enjoined an entire submission of spirit to all the events of life. To make this submission total and complete, it was desirable to cultivate a temper of rigid indifference to good and evil—a disposition not elated by good fortune nor depressed by adversity : this formed the apathy or sang froid which was the point of practical discipline or moral restraint peculiar to the Stoical system.
Although the greatest good of being in general was a higher interest than the good of any individual man, yet it was in every one's option to consider his whole position in life as an object of rejection, and to reject it accordingly; that is, embrace a voluntary death. At no time, however, was this extreme measure common among the members of the sect.
It is never to be forgotten that in the times when this philosophy prevailed, there was little security for the permanency of any individual's lot; and that in men's calculations for the future, the chances of the worst evils that could befall their temporal condition had to be contemplated. These contingencies give a meaning and a significance to the Stoical cultivation of an apathetic temper, such as could preserve the mind unmoved in the most trying moments of life.
The contemplation of the scheme and order and beneficence of the universe was prescribed as the habitual exercise of the Stoical intellect; both to give that occupation for the rational faculties of men, which no Greek system ever omitted, and to cultivate the requisite submission to the decrees of Providence. Instead of permitting the thoughts to be engrossed with the vulgar interests of life, they were to be continually dwelling on philosophical truth, and on the large speculations and doctrines comprehending the universe and its Creator.
Stoicism was therefore, in its whole method and aim, a true example of a life philosophy. The Epicureans.—Epicurus, the contemporary of Zeno, has given his
name to a system of life likewise derived from philosophical reasonings, and starting from an analysis and enumeration of the primary objects of desire, but differing from the other in several essential particulars. Both systems recognise human wellbeing as the end of living; but Epicurus, by taking a peculiar view of the elements of happiness, was led into conclusions widely different from the Stoical maxims. His examination of the human constitution led him to affirm that all pleasures and pains whatsoever took their rise in the body, and consequently that any species of enjoyment was but a form of bodily gratification. The pleasures of the mind were but reminiscences or anticipations of the pleasures of the body, and formed a peculiar class of those pleasures, distinguished by their greater extent and permanence, or by covering, as it were, a larger surface of life. Hence an actual bodily sensation, pleasurable or painful, was itself nothing in comparison of those recollections and hopes that made up the great bulk of human consciousness. The business of life consisted in choosing the least evils and the greatest good; which would imply the avoiding of such pleasures and the courting of such ills as were indispensable to the permanent good condition of the bodily consciousness. * Ease of body and security or tranquillity of mind constituted the most perfect state of human nature, the most complete happiness which man was capable of enjoying. The cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice were not desirable on their own account—they were but means of contributing to this flow of serene and tranquil existence. Religious terrors, so incompatible with this end, were to be surmounted by adopting a correct view of the machinery of the universe; and the system of Epicurus was the atomic theory started by the philosopher Democritus, which excluded an intelligent Creator, and supposed the world brought into its present shape by the conflux of a vast body of primeval atoms possessed of the properties and powers requisite to enable them to fill their places in the great machine.
Epicurus, therefore, was peculiar in his analysis of human nature, and differed from the Stoics and from other philosophers also in this—that they considered virtue desirable on its own account, and that man being born for action, his happiness must consist not merely in the agreeableness of his passive sensations, but also in the propriety of his active exertions.'
EUROPEAN INTERCOURSE WITH JAPAN.
many respects analogous to that of Great Britain with respect to the European continent. It extends from the 31st to the 42d degree of north latitude, and from the 157th to the 175th degree of east longitude ; or, in other words, lies in the very heart of the temperate zone. În conformity, however, with a natural law not easy to be explained, its climate is far more rigorous than that of countries lying farther west at the same distance from the equator. The same remark indeed applies to the eastern edge of all known continents, which has been found to be much colder than that lying towards the west.
The empire of Japan is composed of three main islands with innumerable smaller ones, which, studding the sea along its coasts, render navigation difficult, and in some measure, therefore, defend it from the sudden attacks of foreigners. Some protection also is derived from the rough and boisterous character of the sea itself, which, vexed by storms and beset with sunken rocks and shallows, suggests the idea of extreme danger to mariners, especially since the period at which, by an inhospitable decree of the government, strangers from all parts of the world were forbidden to touch upon its shores. Its external aspect is bleak and forbidding. In some places precipitous cliffs rise frowning from the water to a great height; while elsewhere chains of mountains, seemingly smitten with eternal barrenness, suggest the idea of a hungry, desolate, and repulsive region.
On a nearer approach it is discovered that whatever may be the qualities of the soil, the Japanese are not a people to abandon it to nature. With industry and pains incredible they cultivate the face of the most rugged seaward mountains, carrying up their fields and plantations terrace above terrace to their summits, and thus extorting subsistence from districts the least susceptible of improvement. Many attribute their persevering energy to the pressure of extreme poverty, which renders incessant toil necessary; but it is far more natural to believe that the Japanese are constitutionally energetic, and that to them, as to their neighbours the Chinese, active employment is a sort of necessity.
Though still so little known to the populations of the West, the existence of the Japanese islands was revealed to Europe towards the close of the thirteenth century by the great Venetian traveller Marco Polo, who left his native country in the year 1275, and after traversing Western Asia and No. 93.