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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

Says Schelling in the Medical Annual



The writings of this period are:--"_Philosophy and Religion_," 1804. "_Exposition of the true relation of the Philosophy of Nature to the improved Theory of Fichte_," 1806; "_Medical Annual_" (published in company with _Marcus_) 1805-1808.--As has already been said, the absolute and the universe were, on the standpoint of indifference, identical. Nature and history were immediate manifestations of the absolute. But now Schelling lays stress upon the difference between the two, and the independence of the world. This he expresses in a striking way in the first of the above named writings, by placing the origin of the world wholly after the manner of New-Platonism, in a breaking away or a falling off from the absolute. From the absolute to the actual, there is no abiding transition; the origin of the sensible world is only conceivable as a complete breaking off _per saltum_ from the absolute. The absolute is the only real, finite things are not real; they can, therefore, have their ground in no reality imparted to them from the absolute, but only in a separation and complete falling away from the absolute. The reconciliation of this fall, and the manifestation of God made complete, is the final cause of history. With this idea there are also connected other representations borrowed from New-Platonism, which Schelling brings out in the same work. He speaks

in it of the descent of the soul from intellectuality, to the world of sense, and like the Platonic myth he allows this fall of souls to be a punishment for their selfhood (pride); he speaks also in connection with this of a regeneration, or transmigration of souls, by which they either begin a higher life on a better sphere, or intoxicated with matter, they are driven down to a still lower abode, according as they have in the present life laid aside more or less of their selfhood, and become purified in a greater or less degree, to an identity with the infinite; but we are especially reminded of New-Platonism by the high place and the mystical and symbolical significance, which Schelling gives in this work to the Greek mysteries (as did Bruno), and the view that if religion would be held in its pure ideality, it can only exist as exoteric, or in the form of mysteries.--This notion of a higher blending together of religion and philosophy goes through all the writings of this period. All true experience, says Schelling in the "_Medical Annual_," is religious. The existence of God is an empirical truth, and the ground of all experience. True, religion is not philosophy, but the philosophy which does not unite in sacred harmony, religion with science, were unworthy of the name. True, I know something higher than science. And if science has only these two ways open before it to knowledge, viz., that of analysis or abstraction, and that of synthetic derivation, then we deny all science of the absolute. Speculation is every thing, _i. e._ a beholding, a contemplation of that which is in God. Science itself has worth only so far as it is speculative, _i. e._ only so far as it is a contemplation of God as he is. But the time will come when the sciences shall more and more cease, and immediate knowledge take their place. The mortal eye closes only in the highest science, where it is no longer the man who sees, but the eternal beholding which has now become seeing in him.

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