The Mystery of Being - Vol. 1

The Mystery of Being - Vol. 1

The Mystery of Being - Vol. 1

The Mystery of Being - Vol. 1

Excerpt

First of all, and very sincerely and heartily, I would like to thank the University of Aberdeen for my appointment. As Gifford Lecturer here, I am following in the footsteps of many other thinkers, representing various national cultures, all men of honourable note in the history of philosophy; and as I prepare to make my own contribution, I cannot help being overcome by a feeling almost of awe. Also, of course, I have to get over a certain initial diffidence; is it not a little futile, really, and more than a little rash, to set out to expound one more philosophical doctrine, when there are so many philosophical doctrines already? I fancy that every speculative thinker, however solid he may believe the grounds of his thinking to be, does harbour, somewhere deep down in him, a sceptic--a sceptic to whom the history of philosophy looks rather like the solemn setting up of rows of ninepins, so that they may be neatly knocked down! That way of looking at things is tempting, no more; it is tempting, and for philosophy it is in a sense the temptation--just as for man in general suicide is that. It is a kind of suicide, too.

The fact is, moreover, that something systematic; something which would be, strictly speaking, my system; some organic whole of which I could, in successive lectures, anatomize the structural details, pointing out its superiorities, to name only two of my most distinguished forerunners, to the systems of Bergson and Whitehead--all that is just what I do not intend to lay before you. When I called these lectures a search for, or an investigation into, the essence of spiritual reality, I was not choosing words at random. From my point of view such a term as search or investigation--some term implying the notion of a quest--is the most adequate description that can be applied to the essential direction of philosophy. Philosophy will always, to my . . .

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