1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Tu Ne Cede Malis

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School for 30 years

Search Mises.org
The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science
Ludwig von Mises

3
Necessity and Volition

1. The Infinite

Negation, the notion of the absence or nonexistence of something or of the denial of a proposition, is conceivable to the human mind. But the notion of an absolute negation of everything, the representation of an absolute nothing, is beyond man's comprehension. So is the notion of the emergence of something out of nothing, the notion of an absolute beginning. The Lord, teaches the Bible, created the world out of nothing; but God himself was there from eternity and will be there in eternity, without a beginning and without an end.

As the human mind sees it, everything that happens, happens to something that existed before. The emergence of something new is seen as the evolution—the coming to maturity—of something that was potentially already present in what existed before. The totality of the universe as it was yesterday included already potentially the totality of the universe as it is today. The universe is an all-comprehensive context of elements, a continuity stretching back and forward into infinity, an entity to which to ascribe either an origin or an end is beyond the mental capacity of man.

Everything that is, is such as it is and not something different, because what preceded it was of a definite shape and structure and not of a different shape and structure.

We do not know what a superhuman, wholly perfect mind would think about these issues. We are merely men equipped with a human mind and cannot even imagine the potency and capacity of such a more perfect mind, essentially different from our mental powers.

Previous Page * Next Page

Table of Contents