20 | CR Book VIII, Chapter 2

contradictories, opposites, and incompatibles. Later chapters will show
that contradictions are in reality no obstacles to union. Far from
avoiding combination, opposites seek it. Those combinations between
A and B are incompatible which either destroy what A and B are, or
in which A and B, when brought together, will not co-operate, and we
will not thus elicit a new side to their nature. Various degrees of
incompatiblity come out in grafting and pollinating. As regards
incompatibles, the practical mind tends to impoverish the latent wealth
of the being of things by a restricted vision of the range of their
possibilities. The fallacy of unconcreteness too often makes us assume
that, if an event is impossible under certain conditions, it will be
impossible under all conditions.

Chapter 2 - Properties belong to a subject. We can neither say
what the subject is, nor how it binds the properties together, nor how
predications can do justice to it. Since separate subjects are thus
untenable, all things are essentially one.

Taking the colour of a leaf, we cannot decide where it belongs to,
whether to the leaf, or to the mind, or top the light, or to the optical
system, or to the total situation with all its conditions, or nowhere at all.

The grammatical structure of some languages suggests that
predicates belong to some subject, while the sentences of other languages
cannot be easily and smoothly translated into predications. European
philosophers took the grammatical structure of the languages of the
first type as a reflection of the structure of reality itself. The concluded
that, since sentences are usually predications, the subject of belonging
will be the same as the subject of predications. We thus search for a
subject of predications which is supposed to bind a collection, or multi-
plicity, of attributes together into a unity. Individual subjects turn out to
be abstractions, the undifferentiated concrete subjects ("this here")
are all alike, or nothing, as far as the intellect is concerned, and the
differentiated concrete subject is the totality of all things, or all things as
one. As isolated in abstraction, "substances" have been regarded as
the causes of a thing's unity. If the whole being of a substance consists
in being that to which attributes belong, each substance is nothing in
particular, empty in itself, and it is difficult to see how a multiplicity of
substances can arise. The classical assumption of separate "substances"
merely restates the thoughtless commonsense view, without clarifying
or substantiating it, confuses the thing with the word, is no more than a
temporary habit of thought, and overestimates the independence of
things when ascribing to them a self-subsistence (existence in and by
themselves) which is belied by closer observation. The distinction of
things into substances and attributes which "belong" to them, is also
a projection of the social institution of private property, and it is as valid
as its social basis. All that appears in the way of objective units is no
more substantial than a tolerably regular sequence of events, which are
more or less contiguous in space-time.

Our personality has some permanence and unity, as manifested in
memory, pain, resonsibility, self-respect, self-maintenance, habitual
routine, and character.* One has attempted to find a basis for this unity
in a common ingredient, an actual self to which, as to a separate subject,
our actions belong. The pure Ego has, however, not yet been isolated as

*Book I, Chapter 1