« IndietroContinua »
Inseparability of intellectual from intuitiv knowledge.
THE two forms of knowledge, aesthetic and intellectual
Criticism of the negations of this thesis.
rather than physiological machines, as the old spiritualists - maintained, are questions that do not concern us here.
When the philosopher talks of animal, brutal, impulsive, instinctive nature and the like, he does not base himself on such conjectures as to dogs or cats, lions or ants; but upon observations of what is called animal and brutal in man : of the animal side or basis of what we feel in ourselves. If individual animals, dogs or cats, lions or ants, possess something of the activity of man, so much the better, or so much the worse, for them. This means that in respect to them also we must talk, not of “nature " as a whole, but of its animal basis, as being perhaps larger and stronger in them than the animal basis of man. And if we suppose that animals think and form concepts, what kind of conjecture would justify the assertion that they do so
without corresponding expressions 2 Analogy with man, knowledge of the spirit, human psychology, the instrument of all our conjectures as to animal psychology, would constrain us on the contrary to suppose that if they think in any way, they also somehow speak. Another objection is derived from human psychology, and indeed literary psychology, to the effect that the concept can exist without the word, for it is certainly true that we all know books well thought and ill written : that is to say, a thought which remains beyond the expression, or notwithstanding faulty expression. But when we talk of books well thought and ill written, we cannot mean anything but that in such books are parts, pages, periods or propositions well thought and well written, and other parts (perhaps the least important) ill thought and ill written, not really thought and so not really expressed. Where Vico's Scienza nuova is really ill written, it is also ill thought. If we pass from the consideration of big books to a short sentence, the error or inaccuracy of such a contention will leap to the eyes. How could a single sentence be clearly thought and confusedly written ? All that can be admitted is that sometimes we possess thoughts (concepts) in an intuitive form, which is an abbreviated or rather peculiar expression, sufficient for us, but not sufficient to communicate it easily to any other given person or persons. Hence it is incorrect to say that we have the thought without the expression ; whereas we should rather say that we have, indeed, the expression, but in such a form that it is not easy to communicate it to others. This, however, is a very variable, relative fact. There are always those who catch our thought on the wing, prefer it in this abbreviated form, and would be wearied by the greater development of it required by others. In other words, the thought considered abstractly and logically will be the same ; but aesthetically we are dealing with two different intuitionexpressions, into which different psychological elements enter. The same argument suffices to destroy, that is, to interpret correctly, the altogether empirical distinction between an internal and an external language.
The most lofty manifestations, the summits of in- Art and tellectual and of intuitive knowledge shining from afar, “” are called, as we know, Art and Science. Art and Science, then, are different and yet linked together; they meet on one side, which is the asthetic side. Every scientific work is also a work of art. The aesthetic side may remain little noticed when our mind is altogether taken up with the effort to understand the thought of the man of science and to examine its truth. But it is no longer unnoticed when we pass from the activity of understanding to that of contemplation and see that thought either develop itself before us, limpid, exact, well-shaped, without superfluous or insufficient words, with appropriate rhythm and intonation; or confused, broken, embarrassed, tentative. Great thinkers are sometimes called great writers, while other equally great thinkers remain more or less fragmentary writers even if their fragments have the scientific value of harmonious, coherent, and perfect works.
We pardon thinkers and men of science their literary mediocrity. The fragments, the flashes, console us for the whole, because it is far easier to recover the wellarranged composition from the fragmentary work of genius, to liberate the flame latent in the spark, than to achieve the discovery of genius. But how can we pardon mediocre expression in pure artists 2 “Mediocribus esse poetis non di, non homines, non concessere columnae.” ! The poet or painter who lacks form, lacks everything, because he lacks himself. Poetical material permeates the souls of all : the expression alone, that is to say, the form, makes the poet. And here appears the truth of Content and the view which denies all content to art, just the in- £o tellectual concept being understood as content. In this Prose and sense, when we take “content” as equal to “concept "* it is most true, not only that art does not consist of content, but also that it has no content.
The distinction between poetry and prose also cannot
be justified, save as that between art and science. It
was seen in antiquity that such distinction could not be
founded on external elements, such as rhythm and metre,
or on rhymed or unrhymed form ; that it was, on the
contrary, altogether internal. Poetry is the language of
feeling, prose of the intellect ; but since the intellect is * also feeling, in its concreteness and reality, all prose has > āşīāsāīside.
The relation The relation between intuitive knowledge or exof first and
second degree. # and intellectual knowledge or concept, between and science, poetry and prose, cannot be otherwise
efined than by saying that it is one of double degree. e first degree is the expression, the second the concept : the first can stand without the second, but the second cannot stand without the first. There is poetry without prose, but not prose without poetry. Expression, indeed, a is the first affirmation of human activity. Poetry is “ the mother tongue of the human race ’’; the first men “were by nature sublime poets.” We assert this in another way, when we observe that the passage from Soul to spirit, from animal to human activity, is effected by means of language. And this should be said of intuition or expression in general. But to us it appears somewhat inaccurate to define language or expression as an intermediate link between nature and humanity, as though it were a mixture of both. Where humanity appears, the other has already disappeared ; the man who expresses himself, certainly emerges from the state of nature, but T he really does emerge: he does not stand half within and half without, as the use of the phrase “intermediate link" would imply. Non-existence The cognitive spirit has no form other than these two. | ... Expression and concept exhaust it completely. The ge. - - - - - whole speculative life of man is spent in passing from one to the other and back again. Historicity. Historicity is incorrectly held to be a third theoretical ...” form. Historicity is not form, but content : as form, it difference is nothing but intuition or aesthetic fact. History does from art. not seek for laws nor form concepts; it employs neither