Page:Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1889) Vol 2.djvu/139

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The Third Age has now been described in its fundamental character,—as an Age which accepts nothing but what it understands;—and its leading conception in this process of understanding has been sufficiently set forth as that of mere sensuous Experience. From this fundamental principle of the Age we have deduced the distinction between a Learned and an Unlearned Class, and the constitution of these two classes, both in themselves and in their relation to each other. In addition to this we have shown historically, in our last lecture, that this relation has not always existed as at present; how and in what way it has arisen and become as it now is;—and also how this relation must exist in the following Age,—that of Reason as Knowledge.

Now we have formerly remarked, in our general survey of this subject, that such an Age of mere naked Experience and of empty Formal Knowledge does by its very nature stir up opposition, and bears within its own breast the germs of a reaction against itself. Let us take up this remark in the lecture of to-day, and pursue it somewhat further. It cannot be but that single individuals,—either because they actually feel the dreary barrenness and emptiness of the results of such a principle, or else moved by the mere