P.-J. Proudhon, “Psychology” (1838)

Examining myself, therefore, upon this charge of Fourierism, and endeavoring to refresh my memory, I find that, having been connected with the Fourierists in my studies and my friendships, it is possible that, without knowing it, I have been one of Fourier’s partisans. Jérôme Lalande placed Napoleon and Jesus Christ in his catalogue of atheists. The Fourierists resemble this astronomer: if a man happens to find fault with the existing civilization, and to admit the truth of a few of their criticisms, they straightway enlist him, willy-nilly, in their school. Nevertheless, I do not deny that I have been a Fourierist; for, since they say it, of course it may be so. But, sir, that of which my ex-associates are ignorant, and which doubtless will astonish you, is that I have been many other things,—in religion, by turns a Protestant, a Papist, an Arian and Semi-Arian, a Manichean, a Gnostic, an Adamite even and a Pre-Adamite, a Sceptic, a Pelagian, a Socinian, an Anti-Trinitarian, and a Neo-Christian; in philosophy and politics, an Idealist, a Pantheist, a Platonist, a Cartesian, an Eclectic (that is, a sort of juste-milieu), a Monarchist, an Aristocrat, a Constitutionalist, a follower of Babeuf, and a Communist. I have wandered through a whole encyclopædia of systems. Do you think it surprising, sir, that, among them all, I was for a short time a Fourierist? For my part, I am not at all surprised, although at present I have no recollection of it.— Proudhon, Letter to M. Blanqui on Property

Proudhon admitted, in his Second Memoir on Property, to the most diverse range of early intellectual influences, but we have very little documentation of the period prior to The Celebration of Sunday and What is Property? There are some writings on linguistics, often focused on biblical topics, and some interesting items of correspondence, but they haven’t received much attention. I have been aware of this particular manuscript for several years, but, like most of the early works, it has been hard to place in the context of his later works.

I started translating it as a bit of a lark and as a break between other projects. I was interested in seeing how Proudhon tackled the question of psychology, but I expected the work to be quite distinct in approach from the later works. As it turns out, there are at least some clear points of contact between in and some passages in “Principles of the Philosophy of Progress” that I have looked at recently.

For this translation I was working from scans of the handwritten manuscripts, so a certain number of words remain unreadable. I’ve marked gaps with brackets ([   ]). It is also possible that there are still transcription errors, leading to errors in translation, although I have taken quite a bit of care to check things over. More than others of my “Working Translations,” I would consider this a document to use with caution. For the two tables, I have done my best to reproduce the relations of the elements on the page, but, again, there may be opportunities to clarify and correct things in the future.

Explanatory table for Proudhon's "Psychology" (1838)

This is the most complete and exact map that has been drawn of the human soul to date; consequently, and if our title is true, it is the system of the world. Any man can grasp the whole of it, but no one has sounded its depths. Let’s give some commentary.

Any man who is at all familiar with current philosophical studies will see in the table above and in the arrangement of the lines and columns such a learned order and such marvelous relationships that he will not be long in discovering all the truth it contains. God alone can make his work this beautiful and harmonious: man can only glimpse it.

Man is a phenomenal being: his life is only an apparition, whose beginning and end, abruptly blocked by a cloud, offer an impenetrable enigma. The two extreme points of our existence touch on the infinite, the inscrutable. What is the body? What is life? What is the mind? We don’t know. Essences, causes and forces hide behind the scenes; we see of being only its modes, its attributes, its ideas and its operations. Likewise what is hell, beatitude, God? We know nothing more about them: they are postulates of our reason, of our earthly condition and of our consciousness. They are beliefs that our minds are not free to reject or accept, which we understand in relation to our own being, rather than understanding their absolute necessity. They are, finally, ideas, just as necessary and primordial in the mind, as independent of its acquiescence, and as compelling for the will, as the categories of understanding and sensibility.

In this table, each term in the third column supposes or supplements the corresponding terms, which are placed on the same horizontal line as the first two. Each term in the second column supposes the one in the first and leads to the one in the third. Thus the Mind manifests itself only in the condition of Life, just as, in order to show itself, the latter requires a Body, which it organizes and animates. On the other hand, the Body can exist without Life, and Life without the Mind. This first observation already places us in the presence of infinite and still unperceived marvels and makes us feel the need for a new science in physiology and psychology.

Likewise, there is no Consciousness without Activity or energy of its own, and without a faculty of sensing external objects. Without sensibility, activity would sleep in eternal rest: some external cause must awaken it and draw it from its numbness, so that it sets itself in motion and distinguishes itself from what it is not. On the other hand, we see by several physical phenomena that sensibility does not necessarily lead to activity, nor activity to the feeling of the self: the living beings of the two kingdoms [1] are not always endowed with activity because of their sensibility, and vice versa. The plants show us in varying degrees the union of the two preceding faculties without consciousness: proof that all the faculties are independent and that they are only to be supposed in a given order.

Likewise, without Memory, there is no Imagination: the first is the ability to retain images and ideas; the second is the ability to combine them and draw new ideas and images from them. But, also, without Imagination, there is no Liberty or faculty to choose and to deliberate: for how can one deliberate if one cannot grasp the relationships? How can one prefer without reasons? Liberty, the faculty of suspending determination until sufficient knowledge (or knowledge judged sufficient) is obtained, includes all the operations of the mind designated under the names of comparison, reflection, reasoning and judgment. Why does it make errors? Because it judges on the relations of the imagination, which, [         ] by sensibility, listens too much to passion, neglects experience, and does not maintain its composure. In practice, for example, the imagination values pleasure, which diminishes the horror of vice, deceives regarding the punishment, and man is guilty. In the end, if liberty presupposes imagination and the latter memory, it is not the case that memory necessarily presupposes imagination, nor the latter liberty. A great memory often exists alongside a weak imagination; and the example of madmen proves only too well that an abundance of imagination does not lead to liberty either. This faculty begins the distinction between man and brute.

Let us pass on to the categories, or general principles of all our knowledge. There is much that I could say here. I can only give a summary of my whole doctrine.

Categories of sensibility. I have retained this designation provided by Kant, however incorrect it may be. The categories of our reason correspond to the two orders of our faculties, which is something that Kant did not even suspect. Yet that is all the truth there is in his definition. — His first fundamental idea is that of space or extension; the second that of time. It is easy to see why Time is given after Space: if nothing existed in space but a mind devoid of sensations and having no other idea and other feelings than those of the self; there was no time, for it, since [ ] neither change nor succession, either outwardly or in its ideas, it would not understand time. Time therefore presupposes space; though space does not necessarily presuppose time. So also number presupposes time, although time does not necessarily presuppose number. Indeed, to have the idea of numbers, one must have that of two things, or of two infants, or of two worlds, etc., all things that can only be furnished by space or time. But if space was empty, or if it did not attract change to itself, in short, if time were only a still eternity, there would be no number. And this is true not only of the order in which our ideas are acquired, but also of the very nature of things.

Categories of understanding: these are the categories that correspond to our faculties; Seconds. — it is useless for me to insist from now on: everyone can now reason as I have and develop that reasoning much better. Every cause is a substance, but every substance is not necessarily a cause: every relation between two beings or two attributes is produced by a cause; it is the much-repeated argument of the watch that presupposes the watchmaker: but not every cause presupposes the relationship; in other words: a cause can lack its goal or its effect, or even remain inactive, in which case it is only potential, or simply substance.

Categories of Art. The third category of our understanding was designated by Romiguière under the name of sentiment-rapport: The mind, through this feeling or this categorical form, has the faculty of imagining on the spot the pure or ideal form of any object that falls under its observation. Thus, it is not true, as has often been taught, that the feeling of beauty arises from multiplied comparisons. At most they tend to exercise taste and to suggest several varieties of ideal, but as any given object is only susceptible to one ideal, it is this ideal that the mind reaches on the spot. Example: I see a roughly round piece of wax: my mind instantly corrects this defect in the roundness, and immediately imagines the perfect roundness, which nevertheless it cannot realize by all the means at its disposal, and which physical nature never presents to it. The color of this wax is white: but this whiteness is tracked with some stains: the mind erases the stains, the black and purple spots, etc. and arrives at pure whiteness. (Physics proves that there is no such thing as a pure, perfect white.) It understands spontaneously that the ball of wax being, by destination and nature, round and white, anything that is too much or too little of these two qualities is a defect, an imperfection. — It is according to this principle that it conceives the ideal of the most complicated creatures, man for example. It is not true that it is necessary to have a large number of men in order to have the ideal of beauty: the ideal, I repeat, cannot be grasped from instances of relations: the sight of several handsome men confirms the categorical judgment of the mind by experience, and corrects it when it wanders or is mistaken, which often attracts, but it cannot extend or magnify the ideal; it can only love the varieties of ideal: for example, the ideal of a dark-haired man of average height, or a blond and tall man; a light and graceful young man like the Apollo, or a muscular athlete like Hercules. Then the combination to various degrees of all these ideals can produce others more or less pleasant (because not every ideal is pleasant and beautiful, it is as I said, the pure form of an object given, a form which never exists naturally): it is this mixture of different natures, which one ordinarily sees in the reality of things, and which forms the principal object of art. It is thus that Praxiteles painted, it is said, his Venus. Art is therefore the reproduction of an ideal.

(See Kant’s logic.)

Now the mind conceives the ideal under three conditions: Unity: all roundness, color, etc. Is only imperfect, as in the ball of wax, because it is not one. There are bumps and dips, unevenness, etc. in the roundness: spots, shades, lines or dots in the color: there is no longer unity. — Variety: Any object that is susceptible of only one quality, such as roundness or whiteness, and consequently of only one ideal, is not yet an object of art: it is quite simply an object of mathematics, of physics or chemistry, etc. Likewise a detached sound, however sweet and pleasant it may seem to the ear, is not music: it requires succession, mixture or harmony of shapes, colors, sounds, flavors, etc. to constitute the beautiful in art. But this variety will be all the more beautiful, as the different shapes, colors, etc. are themselves purer, which is to say more one. — Harmony: The mixture, union, succession or assortment of forms, colors, sounds, etc. should not be done at random, but according to certain proportion, symmetry, etc. which are related to the cause and the goal, and which, assembled, themselves produce a new unity. It is therefore true that harmony necessarily presupposes variety; and variety, unity (in species). But it is as clear that unity does not necessarily engender variety, nor the latter harmony.

Categories of language. Noun, to designate things (substances and qualities): Verb, to designate their action as (causes); Relation, to indicate the link or harmony they have between them. Language expressing only what the mind perceives, we must find in analysis the categories of understanding, sensibility, etc. The study of grammar therefore offers a means of determining the categories. This is the method that I shall use: it is surer than that of Kant. (See Bergmann.)

Categories of concupiscence. Here many phenomena manifest themselves. If man were not endowed with reason, he would follow his inclinations and his instincts like the animals, that is to say spontaneously, with brutality, without delicacy or refinement. But reason reveals to him in everything the beautiful, the ideal: and his soul, placed under this powerful seduction, constantly seeks to produce it and knows how to appropriate it. Thus the man embellishes his hut, he bakes the wheat and ferments the grapes; knows how to distinguish a young and beautiful woman from an old and wrinkled one. Besides, he loves beauty, grandeur for himself; he wants to take precedence, distinguish himself, command, etc. Consequently, man seeks refinement in the satisfaction of all his passions: he wants to have the most beautiful hut, the most beautiful palace, the most beautiful clothing, the most beautiful woman, etc. and he wants all these objects more than any other. — In love, he is no longer satisfied with coitus, with a dirty and brutal coupling: he seeks to prolong his enjoyment; he caresses his senses and his organs; he admires himself and he admires and contemplates his female: he becomes intoxicated with voluptuousness, etc. It is to achieve these ends that he seeks to make himself master of things and men; that he makes himself owner of goods and tyrant of wills: and when the [   ] is no longer sufficient for him then he has recourse to cunning, lies, fraud, perjury: he deceives, distorts the truth; and [  ] the beautiful and the true for a time, until he has obtained what he desires. Such is the simple and clear explanation of the origin of evil, of sin, of inequality of conditions, of wars, etc., etc.

Evil or disorder develops in three forms: property is the principle of all evil: it is for himself, for his own well-being, for his personal satisfaction, that man wants beauty, and that he seeks to appropriate it: it is to then satisfy his animal appetites, which have become more ardent and more violent through the excitement produced by the gift of reason, and the knowledge of beauty in the things. Man is therefore owner, thief, and tyrant; he is a brigand, homicide and assassin. — His lust knows no bounds: it extends not only to the enjoyment of women, but of everything. We know the results. If he were not selfish, furious in the personal desire to enjoy, he could admire the woman; but he would not seduce her, he would not ruin her. Lust therefore presupposes selfishness: but selfishness can exist without the love of woman; eg. in miserliness, failure, etc.  — Finally, cunning and lies suppose on the part of an intelligence naturally in love with truth — since the true is the beautiful, and since it is for the possession of the beautiful that it becomes selfish and luxurious — lies, we say, assume selfishness and lust, as their two determining causes. Without them, lies would not exist: but they can exist without lies. . . .

Categories of morality. 2nd revelation. All the categories of reason constitute in the human soul what I call the first revelation. With the first and second faculties — 1° Sensibility, Activity, Consciousness; 2° Memory, Imagination, Freedom — man is still only an animal: he is what all animals are, endowed with inclinations and a spontaneity. He doesn’t yet have reason; now this reason is neither an acquisition nor a natural development of the individual: it is an illumination, a consummation of thought on the part of a being external to the individual, but endowed itself with thought; it is a revelation. The child left to itself will remain an animal, and would never attain reason. (Ex. the deaf-mutes. We are mistaken on their account; because they are, like us, capable of receiving the light, we have believed that reason was natural to them as we still believe it is in us.) In short, a reasonable being is needed to make reason emerge in another soul: there must be the intention to communicate the light in the revealer; the one to whom it is revealed must be attentive, if his his attention is to be aroused by any sign whatever. Only man can make a sign to man, and make himself understood: only man understands man.

The second revelation, necessitated and brought about by the disorder of the soul placed under the influence of the beautiful ideal, is that of the moral categories, which are the foundation and the principle of all human laws. They follow one another in the same order as the categories of concupiscence: since they are opposed to them. Incidentally, it is improper that I say categories of concupiscence, although man only seems to sin in the three forms: the results of concupiscence are only negations, and in no way positive ideas. The first moral law is that of disinterestedness: it forbids wanting anything for oneself, and more than others. It is this intense feeling that we embrace in the presence of theft and violence. But what no philosopher has done (except Jesus Christ) is to declare that property, usury, and theft are the same thing, and form [an equation]. I will demonstrate it. This categorical law also includes the principle of Justice, or Equality in all things: goods, honors, dignities, pleasures, enjoyments, etc. — The second moral law is that of Modesty and Temperance. It forbids, both in marriage and outside of marriage, any act of impurity: masturbation, fornication, sodomy, etc., etc.; excess in conjugal pleasures, uncouthness in caresses, etc., etc. It is with the revelation of this law that is born in the heart of the man that exquisite feeling, LOVE. Love is what is most opposed to the vice of impurity. Paint here a picture of this vice, and of Love. Finally the third moral category deal with the lie; it is the profound horror that all men feel for duplicity, and perjury, and deceit. Moral categories are feelings rather than ideas: they only become ideas through study and practice. The application of these three categorical laws in all cases of life, and in all forms of society, constitutes two sciences: Casuistry and Politics.

Finally, a last observation to make is the inequality of our errors with respect to any of these three laws. There is only one voice to reprove lying and fraud: these feelings are one of the main sources of what is called honor in France: the law of chastity has no dogmatic and ostensible enemies, but everyone violates it  [    ]; finally the laws have consecrated the vice of property and of tyranny, while punishing it in its crudest and most barbarous forms.

Categories of religion or society. Every law needs a sanction, every creation an end, every organism its destination; to everything its complement. Man and society having their own laws, and forming an organism in the world, also have their destination and complement; and knowledge [   ] been [   ]. God, the other life, are revealed to us like all moral categories: no use of reason can emerge until then. But once it has the idea of it, it understands its necessity for us, it sees the reason for it with the whole; it cannot not admit them: God and future life are for it therefore propositions of a truth as absolute as necessarily true as this: the whole is greater than its parts; the straight line is the shortest path to point to point.

It is the disorder that brought the law: the repression of the disorder will therefore proceed the religion and the laws. Thus the Penalty, or Penance, the necessity of atonement is an idea or feeling that is revealed 1st: this idea gives nothing more. Penance includes several things: satisfaction or reparation towards the offended and towards society, expiation on the part of the offender. The expiation takes place by punishments or penalties, intellectual as well as moral and physical: prison, (death?), fasting, sequestration, excommunication, monitoring, etc. — (See the [   ] of Beccaria?) But the repression of evil and its penalty for the crime is nothing but negative; the category of penance forbids and orders nothing; it does not suppose the following category, that of Sanctification. Man must not only abstain from evil, but make himself perfect; not only so he may be punished if he sins, but so he will be happy when he is faithful: the reward supposes the punishment, although the converse is not true. If, in an atmospheric heat of 19 degrees, I touch the flame, I burn myself: if I move away from it, I do not gain in happiness what I would have obtained in suffering in the first case. If I throw myself into the thorns, I will be stuck: if I follow my path quietly, I do not feel as a result a sensation opposite to the sting. The happiness of the virtuous man begins with religion and social relations: the fulfillment of civil and religious duties, and the exercise of social functions. The religious feeling is revealed after the feeling of atonement. But neither gives us God. — GOD is the last revelation made to man: it is the supreme reason, the guarantee of all our experiences, and the foundation of certainty. With the idea of God, of a judge who punishes, of a king rewards, of a providence that oversees, we know that our most secret deeds are known, and that if they escape the knowledge of men, they will be found. Here begins for us the infinite: the preceding categories seem to be prolonged to the loss of vie : the expiation on earth corresponds to an ultra-worldly expiation; visible religion reveals itself as beatitude to come: God himself appears to us in his triple form, etc. Thus the penalty of our codes is the first part of the chapter of the atonement, of which the seond [   ] place for us in an unknown future: civil society is the preamble of a celestial society: the idea of an intelligent power that watches over us, chastises us or protects us, is linked to that of a God possessed, loved, the sovereign good of our hearts, and infinite light of our reason.

Continuation of the Psychological Table.

Thus God is the last term to which our science can arrive, as he is the complement, the final reason for all the others. In the order of acquisition of our knowledge, from the first term, body, to the penultimate, beatitude, nothing directly gives or supposes God; on the contrary, it is the idea of God that presupposes all that precedes it: this conclusion is the most extraordinary that philosophy has ever been able to arrive at. Thus all the theistic philosophers, who wanted to prove God by the order in nature and by going back from the created to the uncreated, took the thing backwards: it is not thus that ideas are given to us, sme final cause may well be supposed for any creature, for any phenomenon: experience teaches us thus. But what is the end for which things have made and undergone their phenomena? That is what neither the observation of their nature, nor that of their phenomena, can teach us. Why does matter exist, for what purpose? Matter and all its properties — extension, figure, etc. — can’t teach us. The end of matter is the exercise of a new principle, Life. Why does life exist? Why does it animate matter? Nothing can teach us this except the fact itself: it is so that the mind may appear. I divine the same of all of the trinities in the chart. This new, inexhaustible matter, of the greatest fecundity. Why atonements? Why penalties? The end is so far removed here from the means that it seems to contradict it; in order to obtain bliss, beatitude, love. Wasn’t the atonement enough? Is it not natural that what has been forfeited should not be redressed? Without it being able to claim anything more, a reward? No, that is not so. This category by itself does not give the following one, although it prepares it, for the reason that the end alone supposes the means, but that the means does not indicate the end. In the same way beatitude is the means by which God unites all beings, and manifests himself to them (this is why it is said that men do not see God): but beatitude does not leave [divine] God. God is therefore at the top of the pyramid, he is the keystone: it is he who supposes all things, it is for him that everything is done; it is he who explains everything, and nothing explains or indicates him. Positioned as we are, we can only see things upside down: bodies and phenomena first, intelligible, moral and social laws; punishments and rewards, and finally God. But the natural order is completely opposite: the synthesis begins with God, principle of everything, and ends with matter, extreme terms of creation, place of appearance, condition of exercise, and determination of all our ideas. Let’s explore this idea further.

The properties of matter being given, joined in the following two principles life, mind: all our being, our ideas, our inclinations, follow from it. Matter is, and it is extended: hence our categorical ideas of space and substance. As extended and figured, it gives all mathematical ideas: it is what is the reason for the properties of numbers. Why in an arithmetic progression, is the sum of the extremes equal to that of the means? because if, two equal longs being given, ═════, we break both, ── ─ / ─ ──, and place the two halves of one beside the two halves of the other, ══ ══, the two lengths always remain equal. The properties of numbers in proportion then only serve to name the relation in which all these fragments can be among themselves: it is the abstract view by which the mind speaks what it sees. — Likewise the laws of geometric proportion correspond to this other geometric property of the material: two wholes being given equal, if we divide one into 4 parts, and the other into 10, 20 or 100, the two wholes remain equal: which states arithmetically thus: 2 : 4 :: 5 : 10 : that is to say that two wholes being each as 20; if one is divided into two, and the other into four: 1° the two wholes will always be equal; 1° two parts of the 2nd will be equivalent to the part of the first, and vice versa, etc. — In the powers of numbers, see a similar analogy: the arithmetic unit corresponds to a material molecule (I suppose this molecule of cubic figure): the root indicates the quantity of these units that one must take to form a volume; I call this root length; the square is the base, and the cube the perfect solid. Ex. unit/1, length/5, square/25, cube/125. Now it happens that if I take this cube or solid, made up of 125 molecules, to form a new solid of which it will itself be the unit, and if I use it to form a fourth solid, I will always find that each solid is made up of 4 elements: the unit, the length, the [. ] measure; the square and the cube. (Similarly in numbers the [. ] multiplied by itself to infinity gives multiples which [. ] 4 in 4 are numbers [. ]) Why are there numbers that cannot be divided exactly? Perhaps because matter is not infinitely divisible. It is the notion of extent and shape that, combined with that of number and perceived by consciousness, gives rise to the categorical idea of substance: the idea of movement or of time, like the idea of cause, perceived by the same faculty, and number gives the ratios. But I encroach on the second part of the demonstration of the chart. Before getting there, I will point out that the generic series of all orders of categories gives the genealogical order of the sciences (compare it with that of Alembert):

If all that I have said so far is true, such a succession of sciences carries with it its own demonstration.

Now consider our table in the order of development of each column, from top to bottom. We are going to see that from one term to another the analogy and the generation is such that it is impossible to disturb anything without breaking the harmony of the whole and throwing it into chaos.

1st column.

Body: first principle, visible and tangible, inert, passive, place and condition of all phenomena (substratum).

Sensibility: source of all perceptions, foundation of knowledge, passive faculty, matrix, receptacle, condition sine qua non of all ideas and faculties.

Memory: storehouse of ideas; power to preserve and reproduce them; purely officious, servant, and so to speak wholly substantial faculty, charged with giving material to the mind.

Space, extent, figure.
5° Substance-attribute.
} Most basic categories of all; those without which the others are not possible, and cannot be conceived; though the former, as I said, does not give the latter. Show by reasoning that man being body and substance, extent, shape and subject, the categories of space and substance are necessary laws of his understanding.

6° Noun-adjective. What is used in languages to designate things: this grammatical category arises from that of substance-space.

7° Unity. In art, what constitutes the object of art and the basis of its beauty, is that it is one; that it is itself and none other.

Property, theft, tyranny. This category is given by the feeling of individuality, by selfishness. It is the transformation of all substantial ideas into passion.

Equality, disinterestedness. This is the corrective for the previous category: a confused feeling, born of a principle necessarily opposed to matter, contrary to physiological development.

10° Punishment, penitence, expiation. Hell. First term of the development by categories of the Sanction, or law of society and religion. Punishment attacks the culprit in his being, in his freedom, his goods, his faculties: it is a deprivation of existence. The beginning is made in this world, and is prolonged beyond.

2nd column.

Life. 2nd principle, active, but blind; engine and organizer of matter or of the body.

2° Activity. This second of the primary faculties is nothing else than the necessary attribute of the vital principle; as extension and impenetrability are the essential properties of bodies. It is through it that the perceptions, sensations and feelings provided by the sensibility will be elaborated and implemented.

3° Imagination. Active and creative faculty; power of combination, of invention.

Idea of time and movement. The preceding faculties, and their principle, necessarily give rise to this categorical idea: this is so striking that there is no room for discussion. Category given by sensation.

Idea of cause or force. This idea is given by the feeling of the self, which knows itself to be active, willing, imagining, moving, and creating.

Verb. The word that in language expresses the action of substances.

Variety. Absolute unity without variety produces only immobility, death. Variety is change; it is movement; it is life.

Voluptuousness, lust, intemperance. This anemic passion is given by the exuberance of life, exalted by knowledge, and tends to spread and to enjoy itself without moderation, at risk to itself.

Chastity, continence. Corrective of the preceding, given by a principle contrary to the vital principle, and of an entirely opposite nature. (See, consequently, 1st col. 9°) Without life, activity, imagination, and strength, without the knowledge of beauty in art and nature, there is no passion, no desire, no lust, finally no love, the highest expression and synthesis of the two terms Pleasure and Modesty; synonymous with Chastity. Similarly, in the first column, the passion for property, united to its corrective, understandings, honor of theft and injustice (there is no longer name), gives for synthesis, the equality.

10° Worship, religion, beatitude. Religion and social relations on earth are but the exercise of love and its various manifestations; in the next life, it will become bliss.

3rd column.

Mind. Third principle, motionless, impassive; seeing, feeling, perceiving, directing; light. (Synonymy, intelligence.)

Consciousness. Necessary faculty, essential property of the self-knowing mind.

Liberty. Power to say yes or no; me and other; one and two.

} The mind cannot be conceived without these two fundamental properties [consciousness and liberty]. Freedom is in some way the proper name of the mind;  [                                     ].

Number. This category belongs to the mind, by the previous definition. Unity, the most intelligible, the most anti-concrete idea, engenders plurality.

Relation. An essentially intellectual idea, like  number. Relationships create nothing, but the mind’s own views.

Harmony. This word is only the synonym of the previous one.

Account. Part of discourse, serving to designate the relationships between things: it consists of words diverted from their minimal, or verbal, meaning and taken abstractly. (This category should be placed before the previous one.)

Misrepresentation, cunning. This vice is the auxiliary of the two categorical vices that precede it. It consists in obscuring, denying, or confusing the true relations of things, for the benefit of selfishness and lust. It is the sin against the Holy Spirit. Its corrective is [truthfulness.]

Truthfulness. Natural inclination of the mind, fortified by a new feeling, not given by the mind, which by its nature is indifferent to truth or falsity. The mind sees, calculates, combines, observes, judges, distinguishes, without any interest for itself. Selfish and luxuriant passions alone can around interest in the yes and the no. The feeling called truthfulness or candor is independent of the nature of the mind when the mind knows; it is satisfied: its passion goes no further; and there is no other. The need to know that it feels is completely selfish (it often appears so among scholars): iy has a horror of ignorance for itself; but with regard to others, it willingly makes a game of deceiving. Cunning is one of its amusements. The synthesis of cunning and truth is candor.

10° God. Destiny of the mind; reason of all things; universal law; principle most related to what we call the Spirit, Being distinct from matter, and from the vital principle; most extreme, loftiest, most [   ] of our intelligence. Relationship, of relationships, cause of all harmony, source of truth, author of the moral law and sanction: it is in it that the mind rests, after the painful journey it has made from cause to cause, from idea to idea, from postulate to postulate, etc.

Some doctors do not accept the vital principle, such as M. [François] Magendie: but all the arguments fall before this consideration of Cuvier, which no fact refutes: “Life exerting over the elements that are at each moment part of the living body and on those it attracts thereto, an action contrary to what ordinary chemical affinities would produce without it, it rejects the notion that it can itself be produced by these affinities, and yet we do not know any other force in nature capable of bringing together previously separated molecules.”

M. Dutrochet believed he had managed to produce a muscle, by subjecting albumen to an electric current: he had seen a trembling pellucida, and concluded from this: here are fibers that “curl up.” He was made to see that he was mistaking the passive for the reflected.

In the same way we deny the intelligent principle: although the vital principle does not produce it, it is this second fact that has not been perceived and disentangled by anyone.


[1] Presumably the Animal and Vegetable kingdoms of Linnaeus.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.