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Positivism, Materialism, or something of the Vedantists themselves.
sort. But if, then, we call God infinite, Man then being disproved, God the Person
how are we to regard man, and Satan? (the disappears for ever, and becomes Atman,
latter, at the very least, surely no integral Pleroma, Ain Soph, what name you will,
part of him). The fallacy lies not in my infinite in all directions and in all categories
demonstration (which is also that of ortho-  to deny one is to destroy the entire argu-
doxy) that a finite God is absurd, but in the ment and throw us back on to our old
assumption that man has any real force.1 Dvaitistic bases.
In our mechanical system (as I have hinted I entirely sympathise with my unhappy
above), if one of the forces be infinite, the friend Rev. Mansel, B.D.,2 in his piteous and
others, however great, are both relatively pitiful plaints against the logical results of
and absolutely nothing. the Advaitist School. But, on his basal
In any category, infinity excludes finity, hypothesis of an infinite God, infinite space,
unless that finity be an identical part of that time, and so on, no other conclusion is
infinity. possible. Dean Mansel is found in the im-
In the category of existing things, space possible position of one who will neither give
being infinite, for on that hypothesis we are up his premisses nor dispute the validity of
still working, either matter fills or does not his logical processes, but who shrinks in
fill it. If the former, matter is infinitely horror from the inevitable conclusion; he
great; if the latter, infinitely small. Whether supposes there must be something wrong
the matter-universe be 1010000 light-years in somewhere, and concludes that the sole use
diameter or half a mile makes no difference; it of reason is to discover its own inferiority
is infinitely small in effect, Nothing. to faith. As Deussen3 well points out, faith
The unmathematical illusion that it does in the Christian sense merely amounts to
exist is what the Hindus call Maya.
1
If, on the other hand, the matter-universe is
The conception of Satan as a positive evil
infinite, Brahm and God are crowded out, and force; the lower triangle of the Hexagram.
2
Encyclopedia Britannica, Art. Meta-
the possibility of religion is equally excluded.
physics.
1 3
Lully, Descartes, Spinoza, Schelling. See  The Principles of Metaphysics. Mac-
their works. millan.
93
AN ESSAY IN ONTOLOGY
being convinced on insufficient grounds.1 revert to the most elementary ideas of canni-
This is surely the last refuge of incompetence. bal savages, challenge all the most vital
But though, always on the original hypo- premisses and axiomata that have passed
thesis of the infinity of space, &c., the Ad- current coin with philosophy for centuries,
vaitist position of the Vedantists and the and present my theory.
great Germans is unassailable, yet on practical I clearly foresee the one difficulty, and will
grounds the Dvaitists have all the advantage. discuss it in advance. If my conclusions on
Fichte and the others exhaust themselves this point are not accepted, we may at once
trying to turn the simple and obvious posi- get back to our previous irritable agnosti-
tion that:  If the Ego alone exists, where is cism, and look for our Messiah elsewhere.
any place, not only for morals and religion, But if we can see together on this one point,
which we can very well do without, but for I think things will go fairly smoothly after-
the most essential and continuous acts of life? wards.
Why should an infinite Ego fill a non-existent Consider1 Darkness ! Can we philosophi-
body with imaginary food cooked in thought cally or actually regard as different the dark-
only over an illusionary fire by a cook who is ness produced by interference of light and
not there ? Why should infinite power use such that existing in the mere absence of light ?
finite means, and very often fail even then? Is Unity really identical with .9 recurring?
What is the sum total of the Vedantist Do we not mean different things when
position ?   I am an illusion, externally. we speak respectively of 2 sine 60 and
In reality, the true  I am the Infinite, of ?
3
and if the illusionary  I could only realise Charcoal and diamond are obviously dif-
Who  I really am, how very happy we ferent in the categories of colour, crystallisa-
should all be ! And here we have Karma, tion, hardness, and so on; but are they not
rebirth, all the mighty laws of nature operat- really so even in that of existence ?
ing nowhere in nothing ! The third example is to my mind the best.
There is no room for worship or for morality 2 sine 60 and are unreal and therefore
3
in the Advaitist system. All the specious
never conceivable, at least to the present
pleas of the Bhagavad-Gita, and the ethical
constitution of our human intelligences.
works of Western Advaitist philosophers,
Worked out, neither has meaning; un-
are more or less consciously confusion of
worked, both have meaning, and that a
thought. But no subtlety can turn the
different meaning in one case and the other.
practical argument; the grinning mouths of
We have thus two terms, both unreal,
the Dvaitist guns keep the fort of Ethics,
both inconceivable, yet both representing
and warn metaphysics to keep off the rather
intelligible and diverse ideas to our minds
green grass of religion.
(and this is the point !) though identical in
That its apologists should have devoted
reality and convertible by a process of reason
so much time, thought, scholarship and in-
which simulates or replaces that apprehen-
genuity to this question is the best proof of
sion which we can never (one may suppose)
the fatuity of the Advaita position.
attain to.
There is then a flaw somewhere. I boldly
Let us apply this idea to the Beginning
take up the glove against all previous wisdom,
of all things, about which the Christians
lie frankly, the Hindus prevaricate, and the
1
Or, as the Sunday-school boy said:  Faith
1
is the power of believing what we know to be Ratiocination may perhaps not take us
untrue. I quote Deussen with the more far. But a continuous and attentive study of
pleasure, because it is about the only sentence these quaint points of distinction may give
in all his writings with which I am in accord us an intuition, or direct mind-apperception
. A.C. of what we want, one way or the other. A.C.
94
Buddhists are discreetly silent, while not When Buddha was asked how things came
contradicting even the gross and ridiculous to be, he took refuge in silence, which his
accounts of the more fantastic Hindu disciples very conveniently interpreted as
visionaries. meaning that the question tended not to
The Qabalists explain the  First Cause 1 edification.
by the phrase:  From 0 to 1, as the circle
I take it that the Buddha (ignorant, doubt-
opening out into the line. The Christian
less, of algebra) had sufficiently studied
dogma is really identical, for both conceive
philosophy and possessed enough worldly
of a previous and eternally existing God, [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]