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    时间:<2020-07-11 22:57:40 作者:Uv上網賺錢IG3 浏览量:9777



    【冷过敏=全球百科】Wherefore a holy law forbids that Being


    In ethics, the dependence of Lucretius on his master is not less close than in physics. There is the same inconsistent presentation of pleasure conceived under its intensest aspect,103 and then of mere relief from pain, as the highest good;197 the same dissuasion from sensuality, not as in itself degrading, but as involving disagreeable consequences;198 the same inculcation of frugal and simple living as a source of happiness; the same association of justice with the dread of detection and punishment;199 the same preference—particularly surprising in a Roman—of quiet obedience to political power;200 finally, the same rejection, for the same reason, of divine providence and of human immortality, along with the same attempt to prove that death is a matter of indifference to us, enforced with greater passion and wealth of illustration, but with no real addition to the philosophy of the subject.201

    In reasoning up from the world to its first cause, we were given to understand that the two were related to one another as contradictory opposites. The multiple must proceed from the simple, and existence from that which does not exist. But the analogies of material production now suggest a somewhat different view. What every power calls into existence is an image of itself, but the effect is never more than a weakened and imperfect copy of its original. Thus the universe appears as a series of diminishing energies descending in a graduated scale from the highest to the lowest. Here, again, bad science makes bad philosophy. Effects are never inferior to their causes, but always exactly equal, the effect being nothing else than the cause in another place or under another form. This would be obvious enough, did not superficial observation habitually confound the real320 cause with the sum of its concomitants. What we are accustomed to think of as a single cause is, in truth, a whole bundle of causes, which do not always converge to a single point, and each of which, taken singly, is, of course, inferior to the whole sum taken together. Thus when we say that the sun heats the earth, this is only a conventional way of speaking. What really does the work is a relatively infinitesimal part of the solar heat separately transmitted to us through space. Once neglect this truth, and there is no reason why effects should not exceed as well as fall short of their causes in any assignable proportion. Such an illusion is, in fact, produced when different energies converge to a point. Here it is the consequent and not the antecedent which is confounded with the sum of its concomitants, as when an explosion is said to be the effect of a spark.It was not, however, in any of these concessions that the Stoics found from first to last their most efficient solution for the difficulties of practical experience, but in the countenance they extended to an act which, more than any other, might have seemed fatally inconsistent both in spirit and in letter with their whole system, whether we choose to call it a defiance of divine law, a reversal of natural instinct, a selfish abandonment of duty, or a cowardly shrinking from pain. We allude, of course, to their habitual recommendation of suicide. ‘If you are not satisfied with life,’ they said,31 ‘you have only got to rise and depart; the door is always open.’ Various circumstances were specified in which the sage would exercise the privilege of ‘taking himself off,’ as they euphemistically expressed it. Severe pain, mutilation, incurable disease, advanced old age, the hopelessness of escaping from tyranny, and in general any hindrance to leading a ‘natural’ life, were held to be a sufficient justification for such a step.71 The first founders of the school set an example afterwards frequently followed. Zeno is said to have hanged himself for no better reason than that he fell and broke his finger through the weakness of old age; and Cleanthes, having been ordered to abstain temporarily from food, resolved, as he expressed it, not to turn back after going half-way to death.72 This side of the Stoic doctrine found particular favour in Rome, and the voluntary death of Cato was always spoken of as his chief title to fame. Many noble spirits were sustained in their defiance of the imperial despotism by the thought that there was one last liberty of which not even Caesar could deprive them. Objections were silenced by the argument that, life not being an absolute good, its loss might fairly be preferred to some relatively greater inconvenience.73 But why the sage should renounce an existence where perfect happiness depends entirely on his own will, neither was, nor could it be, explained.


    Mendicant prophets go to rich men’s doors and persuade them that they have a power committed to them of making atonement for their sins or those of their fathers by sacrifices or charms.... And they produce a host of books ... according to which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour,155 and are equally at79 the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.156

    【冷过敏=全球百科】The great religious movement of the sixth and fifth centuries—chiefly represented for us by the names of Pythagoras, Aeschylus, and Pindar—would in all probability have entirely won over the educated classes, and given definiteness to the half-articulate utterances of popular tradition, had it not been arrested prematurely by the development of physical236 speculation. We showed in the first chapter that Greek philosophy in its earliest stages was entirely materialistic. It differed, indeed, from modern materialism in holding that the soul, or seat of conscious life, is an entity distinct from the body; but the distinction was one between a grosser and a finer matter, or else between a simpler and a more complex arrangement of the same matter, not between an extended and an indivisible substance. Whatever theories, then, were entertained with respect to the one would inevitably come to be entertained also with respect to the other. Now, with the exception of the Eleates, who denied the reality of change and separation altogether, every school agreed in teaching that all particular bodies are formed either by differentiation or by decomposition and recomposition out of the same primordial elements. From this it followed, as a natural consequence, that, although the whole mass of matter was eternal, each particular aggregate of matter must perish in order to release the elements required for the formation of new aggregates. It is obvious that, assuming the soul to be material, its immortality was irreconcilable with such a doctrine as this. A combination of four elements and two conflicting forces, such as Empedocles supposed the human mind to be, could not possibly outlast the organism in which it was enclosed; and if Empedocles himself, by an inconsistency not uncommon with men of genius, refused to draw the only legitimate conclusion from his own principles, the discrepancy could not fail to force itself on his successors. Still more fatal to the belief in a continuance of personal identity after death was the theory put forward by Diogenes of Apollonia, that there is really no personal identity even in life—that consciousness is only maintained by a perpetual inhalation of the vital air in which all reason resides. The soul very literally left the body with the last breath, and had a poor chance of holding together afterwards, especially, as the wits observed, if a high wind happened to be blowing at the time.However, as we have seen, he is not above turning it against Mill. The drift of his own illustration is not very clear, but we suppose it implies that the matron unconsciously frames the general proposition: My remedy is good for all children suffering from the same disease as Lucy; and with equal unconsciousness reasons down from this to the case of her neighbour’s child. Now, it is quite unjustifiable to call Mill’s analysis superficial because it leaves out of account a hypothesis incompatible with the nominalism which Mill professed. It is still more unjustifiable to quote against it390 the authority of a philosopher who perfectly agreed with those who disbelieve in the possibility of unconscious knowledge,286 and contemptuously rejected Plato’s opinion to the contrary. Nor is this all. The doctrine that reasoning is from particulars to particulars, even when it passes through general propositions, may be rigorously deduced from Aristotle’s own admissions. If nothing exists but particulars, and if knowledge is of what exists, then all knowledge is of particulars. Therefore, if the propositions entering into a chain of reasoning are knowledge, they must deal with particulars exclusively. And, quite apart from the later developments of Aristotle’s philosophy, we have his express assertion, that all generals are derived from particulars, which is absolutely incompatible with the alleged fact, that ‘all knowledge, all thought, rests on universal truths, on general propositions; that all knowledge, whether “deductive” or “inductive,” is arrived at by the aid, the indispensable aid, of general propositions.’ To Aristotle the basis of knowledge was not ‘truths’ of any kind, but concepts; and in the last chapter of the Posterior Analytics he has explained how these concepts are derived from sense-perceptions without the aid of any ‘propositions’ whatever.From this grand synthesis, however, a single element was omitted; and, like the uninvited guest of fairy tradition, it proved strong enough singly to destroy what had been constructed by the united efforts of all the rest. This was the sceptical principle, the critical analysis of ideas, first exercised by Protagoras, made a new starting-point by Socrates, carried to perfection by Plato, supplementing experience with Aristotle, and finally proclaimed in its purity as the sole function of philosophy by an entire school of Greek thought.

    The religious revival initiated by Augustus for his own purposes was soon absorbed and lost in a much wider movement, following independent lines and determined by forces whose existence neither he nor any of his contemporaries could suspect. Even for his own purposes, something more was needed than a mere return to the past. The old Roman faith and worship were too dry and meagre to satisfy the cravings of the Romans themselves in the altered conditions created for them by the possession of a world-wide empire; still less could they furnish a meeting-ground for all the populations which that empire was rapidly fusing into a single mass. But what was wanted might be trusted to evolve itself without any assistance from without, once free scope was given to the religious instincts of mankind. These had long been kept in abeyance by the creeds which they had originally called into existence, and by the rigid political organisation of the ancient city-state. Local patriotism was adverse to the introduction of new beliefs either from within or from without. Once the general interests of a community had been placed under the guardianship of certain deities with definite names and jurisdictions, it was understood that they would feel offended at the prospect of seeing their privileges invaded by a rival power; and were that rival the patron of another community, his introduction might seem like a surrender of national independence at the feet of an alien conqueror. So,203 also, no very active proselytism was likely to be carried on when the adherents of each particular religion believed that its adoption by an alien community would enable strangers and possible enemies to secure a share of the favour which had hitherto been reserved for themselves exclusively. And to allure away the gods of a hostile town by the promise of a new establishment was, in fact, one of the stratagems commonly employed by the general of the besieging army.312



    The rift within the lute went on widening till all its music was turned to jarring discord. With the third great Attic dramatist we arrive at a period of complete dissolution.71 Morality is not only separated from mythological tradition, but is openly at war with it. Religious belief, after becoming almost monotheistic, has relapsed into polytheism. With Euripides the gods do not, as with his predecessors, form a common council. They lead an independent existence, not interfering with each other, and pursuing private ends of their own—often very disreputable ones. Aphrodite inspires Phaedra with an incestuous passion for her stepson. Artemis is propitiated by human sacrifices. Hêrê causes Heraclês to kill his children in a fit of delirium. Zeus and Poseid?n are charged with breaking their own laws, and setting a bad example to mortals. Apollo, once so venerated, fares the worst of any. He outrages a noble maiden, and succeeds in palming off her child on the man whom she subsequently marries. He instigates the murder of a repentant enemy who has come to seek forgiveness at his shrine. He fails to protect Orestes from the consequences of matricide, committed at his own unwise suggestion. Political animosity may have had something to do with these attacks on a god who was believed to side with the Dorian confederacy against Athens. Doubtless, also, Euripides disbelieved many of the scandalous stories which he selected as appropriate materials for dramatic representation. But a satire on immoral beliefs would have been unnecessary had they not been generally accepted. Nor was the poet himself altogether a freethinker. One of his latest and most splendid works, the Bacchae, is a formal submission to the orthodox creed. Under the stimulus of an insane delusion, Pentheus is torn to pieces by his mother Agavê and her attendant Maenads, for having presumed to oppose the introduction of Dionysus-worship into Thebes. The antecedents of the new divinity are questionable, and the nature of his influence on the female population extremely suspicious. Yet much stress is laid on the impiety of Pentheus, and we are clearly intended to consider his fate as well-deserved.The physics of Stoicism was, in truth, the scaffolding rather than the foundation of its ethical superstructure. The real foundation was the necessity of social existence, formulated under the influence of a logical exclusiveness first introduced by Parmenides, and inherited from his teaching by every system of philosophy in turn. Yet there is no doubt that Stoic morality was considerably strengthened and steadied by the support it found in conceptions derived from a different order of speculations; so much so that at last it grew to conscious independence of that support.

    【冷过敏=全球百科】Another form of naturalistic religion, fitted for universal acceptance by its appeals to common experience, was the worship of the Sun. It was probably as such that Mithras, a Syro-Persian deity, obtained a success throughout the Roman empire which at one time seemed to balance the rising fortunes of Christianity. Adoration of the heavenly bodies was, indeed, very common during this period, and was probably connected with the extreme prevalence of astrological superstition. It would also harmonise perfectly with the still surviving Olympian religion of the old Hellenic aristocracy, and would profit by the support which philosophy since the time of Socrates had extended to this form of supernaturalist belief. But, perhaps, for that very reason the classes which had now216 become the ultimate arbiters of opinion, felt less sympathy with Mithras-worship and other kindred cults than with the Egyptian mysteries. These had a more recognisable bearing on their own daily life, and, like the Chthonian religions of old Greece, they included a reference to the immortality of the soul. Moreover, the climate of Europe, especially of western Europe, does not permit the sun to become an object of such excessive adoration as in southern Asia. Mithras-worship, then, is an example of the expansive force exhibited by Oriental ideas rather than of a faith which really satisfied the wants of the Roman world.Before entering on our task, one more difficulty remains to be noticed. Plato, although the greatest master of prose composition that ever lived, and for his time a remarkably voluminous author, cherished a strong dislike for books, and even affected to regret that the art of writing had ever been invented. A man, he said, might amuse himself by putting down his ideas on paper, and might even find written178 memoranda useful for private reference, but the only instruction worth speaking of was conveyed by oral communication, which made it possible for objections unforeseen by the teacher to be freely urged and answered.117 Such had been the method of Socrates, and such was doubtless the practice of Plato himself whenever it was possible for him to set forth his philosophy by word of mouth. It has been supposed, for this reason, that the great writer did not take his own books in earnest, and wished them to be regarded as no more than the elegant recreations of a leisure hour, while his deeper and more serious thoughts were reserved for lectures and conversations, of which, beyond a few allusions in Aristotle, every record has perished. That such, however, was not the case, may be easily shown. In the first place it is evident, from the extreme pains taken by Plato to throw his philosophical expositions into conversational form, that he did not despair of providing a literary substitute for spoken dialogue. Secondly, it is a strong confirmation of this theory that Aristotle, a personal friend and pupil of Plato during many years, should so frequently refer to the Dialogues as authoritative evidences of his master’s opinions on the most important topics. And, lastly, if it can be shown that the documents in question do actually embody a comprehensive and connected view of life and of the world, we shall feel satisfied that the oral teaching of Plato, had it been preserved, would not modify in any material degree the impression conveyed by his written compositions.