Page:Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1889) Vol 2.djvu/101

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The principle of the Third Age,—that Age which we have undertaken to describe,—is now sufficiently apparent:—this, namely,—to accept nothing whatever but that which it understands. The Comprehensible is its highest Idea;—it is thus Scientific in its form; and any complete delineation of it must commence with a description of its Scientific position, because it here becomes most clear and intelligible to itself; and from this, its best defined point, all its other characteristics may most readily be deduced.

In our last lecture, we described this Scientific position in the first place as regards its form,—that is, by means of certain general and fundamental peculiarities which are visible in all its phenomena, and which spring directly from its essential characteristic—its incapacity for the Idea. The Idea, we said, was the source of all power; this Age must therefore necessarily be feeble and powerless:—the Idea was the source of a perennial satisfaction; this Age must therefore be conscious of an emptiness which it endeavours to supply by means of Wit, although this is unattainable by it. To-day we desire to present you with a concise description of this Scientific position itself as it actually exists.

In the first place, let me remark what I have already mentioned in passing on a previous occasion, but here de-