Page:Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1889) Vol 2.djvu/67

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

In our last lecture we set forth the principle directly opposed to that of the Third Age which we have undertaken to characterize,—the principle of the Life according to Reason;—this, namely,—that the personal life of man should be devoted to the Life of the Race, or, as we further defined this expression, to Ideas; and we found it desirable to prolong our consideration of this principle, as one of the more luminous points in our inquiry. I proposed, in the first place, to show you by your own nature, that you could not help approving, admiring, and respecting in the highest degree the sacrifice of the enjoyments of life for the realization of an Idea; that hence a principle upon which this judgment was founded must exist indestructibly within you; a principle namely to this effect,—that the personal life ought to be given up for the Idea; and that, strictly speaking, personal existence is not, since it should thus be sacrificed; while, on the contrary, the life in the Idea alone is, since it alone ought to be maintained. I explained this expected admiration on your part by this proposition: All life necessarily loves itself, and therefore the Life according to Reason must love itself, and, as the only true and real Life, must love itself with a love far exceeding all other love. Now the Life according to Reason may exist and be known