05y | CR Book I, Chapter 4

different rules - on an initiation, on magical qua-
lifications, on membership or a hereditary group.

Ever since Aristole, it has been usual among
philosophers, to derive a kind of spurious detach-
ment from words used according to the rules of
logic. These words were taken for pure concepts,
self-sufficient and independent of their environ-
ment and the concrete circumstances of their app-
lication, immutable and identical. The thought which
they express is then assumed to be in direct con-
tact with the world as it really is. Apart from
the conceit of theoreticians, there is no reason
why such assumptions should have been made. It
seems more sane to treat the use of abstract
words as one mode of expressing experience of re-
ality, on a level with many others, and not detach-
able from the blemishes of its particularity. App-
lying the law of the unity of opposites to the
total situation or process, one easily sees that
the very width of the all-embracing abstract-
ions to which the symbols point is balanced by an
almost all-excluding specialisation on the part
of the man who uses them. The vast expanse of ab-
stractions touches the earth and life only at one
very small and narrow point, and the smallness of
that point is as much worthy of emphasis as is the
vastness of the expanse. Because 'being' and 'self-
hood' can be applied to everything, they are not to
be received by everybody. They can mean something
only to a few, and these few need them only
because they are in some ways more maladapted
than others, because in some directions they have
more obstacles to overcome. One should not assume
that the representation of realities as adopted
here is in any way more adequate by itself
then others. It is only more congenial to some
people, to a small minority who, as minorities do,
are only too apt to regard themselves as the
chosen few.

One should thus frequently consider the dangers
and shortcomings of philosophical thought as such.
Without the driving force of psychasthenia behind
it, abstract thought would come to a standstill.
It requires the perpetual stimulus of doubt, which
is an obstacle to concentrated contemplation. The
theoretician is always either ill at ease, or into-
xicated. His calm is disturbed by the unrest of
hunting for solutions, and the solicitude of coll-
ecting data. Because abstract thought springs