seen in all circumstances, will is
believed in as a cause in general; the ego is taken for granted, the
ego as Being, and as substance, and the faith in the ego as substance
is projected into all things--in this way, alone, the concept "thing"
is created. Being is thought into and insinuated into everything as
cause; from the concept "ego," alone, can the concept "Being" proceed.
At the beginning stands the tremendously fatal error of supposing the
will to be something that actuates,--a faculty. Now we know that it
is only a word. Very much later, in a world a thousand times more
enlightened, the assurance, the subjective certitude, in the handling
of the categories of reason came into the minds of philosophers as a
surprise. They concluded that these categories could not be derived
from experience,--on the contrary, the whole of experience rather
contradicts them. _Whence do they come therefore?_ In India, as in
Greece, the same mistake was made: "we must already once have lived
in a higher world (--instead of in a much lower one, which would have
been the truth!), we must have been divine, for we possess reason!"
... Nothing indeed has exercised a more simple power of persuasion
hitherto than the error of Being, as it was formulated by the Eleatics
for instance: in its favour are every word and every sentence that we
utter!--Even the opponents of the Eleatics succumbed to the seductive
powers of their concept of Being. Among others there was Democritus in
his discovery of the atom. "Reason" in language!--oh what a deceptive
old witch it has been! I fear we shall never be rid of God, so long as
we still believe in grammar.
People will feel grateful to me if I condense a point of view, which
is at once so important and so new, into four theses: by this means
I shall facilitate comprehension, and shall likewise challenge
_Proposition One._ The reasons upon which the apparent nature of "this"
world have been based, rather tend to prove its reality,--any other
kind of reality defies demonstration.
_Proposition Two._ The characteristics with which man has endowed
the "true Being" of things, are the characteristics of non-Being, of
_nonentity._ The "true world" has been erected upon a contradiction of
the real world; and it is indeed an apparent world, seeing that it is
merely a _moralo-optical_ delusion.
_Proposition Three._ There is no sense in spinning yarns about another
world, provided, of course, that we do not possess a mighty instinct
which urges us to slander, belittle, and cast suspicion upon this life:
in this case we should be
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