1. However we increase our knowledge of the conditions of space in which a man is placed, that knowledge can never be complete since the number of these conditions is infinitely great, seeing that space is in finite. And so long as not all the conditions that may influence a man are defined, the circle of necessity is not complete, and there is still a loophole for free will.
2. Though we may make the period of time intervening between an act and our criticism of it as long as we choose, that period will be finite, and time is infinite, and so in this respect too the circle of necessity is not complete.
3. However easy the chain of causation of any act may be to grasp, we shall never know the whole chain, since it is endless, and so again we cannot attain absolute necessity.
But apart from that, even if, reducing the minimum of free will till it is equivalent to nil, we were to admit in some caseas, for instance, that of a dying man, an unborn babe, an idiota complete absence of free will, we should in so doing have destroyed the very conception of man, in the case we are examining; since as soon as there is no free will, there is no man. And therefore the conception of the action of a man subject only to the law of necessity, without the smallest element of free will, is as impossible as the conception of a completely free human action.
Thus to conceive a human action subject only to the law of necessity without free will, we must assume a knowledge of an infinite number of conditions in space, an infinitely long period of time, and an infinite chain of causation.
To conceive a man perfectly free, not subject to the law of necessity, we must conceive a man outside of space, outside of time, and free from all dependence on cause.
In the first case, if necessity were possible without free will, we should be brought to a definition of the laws of necessity in the terms of the same necessity, that is, to mere form without content.
In the second case, if free will were possible without necessity, we should come to unconditioned free will outside of space, and time and cause, which by the fact of its being unconditioned and unlimited would be nothing else than content without form.
We should be brought in fact to these two fundamental elements, of which mans whole cosmic conception is made upthe incomprehensible essence of life and the laws that give form to that essence.
Reason says: 1. space with all the forms given it by its visibilitymatteris infinite, and is not thinkable otherwise.
2. Time is infinite movement without one moment of rest, and it is not otherwise thinkable.
3. The connection of cause and effect has no beginning, and can have no end.
Consciousness says: 1. I alone am, and all that exists is only I; consequently I include space.
2. I measure moving time by the unchanging moment of the present, in which alone I am conscious of myself living; consequently I am outside of time, and
3. I am outside of cause, since I feel myself the cause of every phenomenon of my life.
Reason gives expression to the laws of necessity. Consciousness gives expression to the reality of free will.
Freedom unlimited by anything is the essence of life in mans consciousness. Necessity without content is mans reason with its three forms of thought.
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