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of moving the soul as much, or even more, than the real presence of the object imitated.
The aim of the musician and his art is to excite in the soul emotions and feelings which have a general analogy with those which would be caused by physical and moral objects, the immense variety of which does not admit of the production of an exact imitation.
In the dramatic art, the object or aim of tragedy is, by means of the situations and sentiments which it imitates, powerfully to affect the imagination of the spectator, which, being moved, works upon the passions of pity and terror by the natural and necessary effect of the sympathy subsisting between the faculties of the soul.
The chief aim of oratory is to persuade rather than to convince, and to incline the auditors to what is just, though often contrary to their opinions and their passions.
The course usually pursued in the sciences, and in cominon life, not being directed towards a fixed object, is in this case, as Bacon observes, but a perpetual turning round, an agitation without aim or end. It is of importance in every kind of study, labour, and action, to keep an aim steadily in view, and to take for that aim practice and results.
The law of aims is of general application, like that of the point of support and all the preceding laws.
The aim is the goal or point of arrival towards which we tend, as the point of support or base is the point of departure. These two laws are closely connected with one another.
The law of the point of support, that of causes, and the two laws of the chain and of gradation, teach us in every undertaking and every thing to watch with care over its commencement and its progress, which is frequently imperceptible ; and the law of aims warns us to consider the end.
We ought always to know exactly the point from which we set out, and to ask ourselves what point we are desirous of arriving at. But, in order to attain the end or aim which we propose to ourselves, we ought to study and employ the means capable of conducting to it. We should apply the principles of Aristotle's philosophy, which consists almost entirely of considerations on ends and means, and on their mutual and necessary connection. Too often we are desirous of attaining an end, without possessing the means, which ought always to be proportionale to it. We wish to produce an effect without having studied its law of production. It is a mistake
arising from ignorance or disregard of the great law of generation or causes, the law of
proportions, and the law of aims. In all the operations of which the universe is the theatre, the author of nature has invariably a determinate aim, a fixed point at which he arrives by several different ways. He makes a great number of means concur in one result. He always combines variety in the means with unity in the end.
Every science, every action of human life, ought, in like manner, to have a positive and determined aim. It is in the study and judicious choice of these different kinds of aims, which vary according to the science or thing with which we are engaged, and in pursuing the best way to to attain them, that the exercise of reason chiefly consists. *
* Our transient life on earth is but an and proportioned to the nature of the thinking principle which is manifested in us, to the extent and activity of our conceptions, and to the boldness and insatiability of our desires. Our imaginations and our souls require a wider career, an aim more lofty and more conformable to our destination, which death seems to hide from our feeble vision, but which a secret instinct seems to reveal to us. The law of aims, duly considered, leads us then, like the other laws, to the cheering hope of a future life, the noble prerogative of an immortal soul.
Montesquieu observes, that the laws, in their most extensive signification, are the necessary relations which arise out of the nature of things." He thus points out their source very accurately; but I will venture to assert that he bas not defined their essence, and what they really are, with equal precision. The laws which really spring from the nature of things are rules of action, or the rules according to which bodies act. This definition, as well as that of Montesquieu, correctly applies to each of our general laws. All these laws, which fit, as it were, into one another, , appear to form a vast whole, and to furnish solid bases and well-cemented foundations. They mutually join and link into one another: they furnish each other with reciprocal points of support. The want of a point of support is a necessary relation, which springs from the nature of bodies, and is applicable to all beings. It is a general rule, to which we ought to conform our actions, by always giving to them a solid base and a rational and useful aim. The aim is also a kind of point of support, towards which we direct our
These laws proceed by gradation, and conduct us from the known to the unknown; gradation, though frequently imperceptible to our view, or apparently very sudden and rapid, being a necessary relation, common to all the operations of nature and of man. They are like distinct and luminous points, the union of which composes a great mass of truths and a kind of central focus. They make beneficial and productive exchanges between one another; and to enable us to advance in a gradual but sure manner towards a clearly indicated end (the improvement of our faculties by a better employment of our time, or happiness); they furnish us with instruments, levers, methods, and means of direction and operation in the three departments, physical, moral, and intellectual, which embrace man and the universe.
These general laws are susceptible of being studied and observed in all the sciences, in all situations, and especially in the moral and political relations, and in society. We meet with them every where : their action is universal ; and they are never violated with impunity. Each in his sphere may examine, verify, and take them for rules and guides. Private and common lise, public affairs, political events, legislation, diplomacy, commerce, agriculture, manufactures, the mechanical aris, the military art, medicine,