The Essays on Aesthetics Part II

 

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Frederick Schiller

The Essays on Aesthetics

Volume II

On the aesthetic education of the human being

On the national scene considered as a moral institution

What can a national scene really achieve?

 

 

 

 

A translation by J. Marc Rakotolahy

 

From the same author:

The essays on aesthetics

The short stories

The essays on literary style

The essays on the sublime

The essays on governance and human society

The Thirty-Year War

The secession of the united Netherlands

from Spanish ruling

The Pitaval casebook

The historical essays

The poems

 

 

Frederick Schiller

The Essays on Aesthetics

Volume II

On the aesthetic education of the human being

On the national scene considered as a moral institution

What can a national scene really achieve?

 

A translation by J. Marc Rakotolahy

 

 

Part II

(continued)

Aesthetics on the national level

 

 

Frederick Schiller

On the Aesthetic Education

of the Human Being

Letter #1

Allow me to present to you, in a series of letters, the results of my researches about Art and the Beautiful. I strongly feel not only the importance, but also the appeal and the dignity of this endeavour. I will discuss about a subject, which has an immediate relationship to the best part of our happiness, and also a not so distant relationship to the moral nobility of human nature.

I feel honoured to present the subject of Beauty to a heart which feels and exerts fully its power, and will perform the most difficult part of my duty in a research in which one is just often constrained to focus on sentiments as much as on principles.

What I ask you as a favour, you act upon me generously as a duty, and what I only indulge in as an inclination, you grant to me as a merit. The freedom of proceeding which you prescribed is not a constraint, but much more a need for me. Not very used to employ academic formats, I will hardly run the danger of committing an offence to good taste by abusing them.

My ideas, which are born more from my own monotonous company than from a rich experience of the world or from readings, will not deny their origin; they will rather be guilty of any possible mistake, but not of sectarianism, and would rather fall because of their own weakness than keep themselves rightfully through authority and external influences.

Furthermore, I will not hide from you that the following affirmations rely mostly upon Kantian principles; however, later on in the course of this presentation, if they should remind you of some other specific philosophical school, please do not blame these principles, but rather my incapacity. For, indeed, expressing your intellectual freedom should not do me any harm. Your opinions will provide me with the very facts with which I will carry on; your own ability to think freely will dictate the laws after which I should be proceeding.

About these ideas, which prevail in the practical part of the Kantian system, are the philosophers only divided; however, the people whom I trust to prove them to me, have always been unanimous. Should one only free these ideas from their technical forms, then they will appear like the old claims of common reason, and like facts of the moral instinct which the wise Nature has assigned as guardian to the human being until a clearer insight emancipates him.

However, it is precisely this technical form, which makes Truth conceivable to intelligence, which hides it again to the feeling; for, unfortunately, intelligence must first destroy an object's inner sense, if it wants to make this object its own.

Hence, the same way as the sculptor, the philosopher only finds by dissecting his subject, the link to the free-willed Nature; and by torturing Art, the work of the same free-willed Nature.

In order to seize its fugitive appearance, he must confine it in the observance of rules, tear its beautiful body into concepts, and contain its lively spirit within a reduced framework of words. Is it then a wonder that people do not find any more the original natural feeling in such a replicate, and that Truth seems only to be a paradox in the reports of the analyst?

Allow me also to bring more clarifications to the matter, when the following inquiries should be shifting the focus from their subject; that is, whenever the following inquiries should be depriving the subject of any sense while actually seeking to understand it better.

What is valid for moral experiences must in still higher degrees be valid for the appearance of Beauty. Its whole magic lies in its mystery, and with the necessary union of its elements, is its existence also put to an end.

 

Letter #2

Should I not be making a better use of the freedom, which you have granted me, otherwise than occupying your attention on the scene of beautiful Art?

Is it not, at least, uncommon to look for the aesthetic world in law books, knowing that the moral world offer occasions for a much closer interest; and to ask, so forcefully, the philosophical spirit of inquiry, through the conditions of time, to busy itself solely with the most perfect of all artworks: the construction of a true political freedom?

I do not want to live in another era, or work for another person. One is a good citizen of his time as well as of his state; and if it will be found inappropriate, indeed, unwanted to exclude oneself from the customs and habits of the circle in which one lives, why should one be less concerned in granting a voice to the choice of this circle concerning the need and taste of our time?

This voice seems not, however, by any means, to fall out to the advantage of Art; at least, not to the one into which my inquiries will be alone concentrated. The course of events has given the genius of time a direction which menaces to distance him even more from the Art of the Ideal. This one must abandon reality, and must elevate himself beyond need with the convenient boldness; for Art is a daughter of Freedom, and it will receive its prescriptions from spiritual necessity, not from material relief.

Now, however, necessity is prevailing, and it bends the sunken mankind under its tyrannical yoke. Utility is the great idol of the time, to which all forces should be devoted, and all talents pay homage. On this horrible scale, the spiritual merit of Art does not have any weight; and deprived of any encouragement, it disappears from the noisy market of our century. Even the philosophically inquisitive spirit snatches one after the other the domains of predilection of the capacity of conceptualization, and the limits of Art become narrower, the more science enlarges its own.

The prospects of the philosopher, as well as of the man of the world, are full of expectations and are fixed on the political scene, as each one believes that the great destiny of mankind will be discussed there. Does it not betray a base indifference to the well being of society not to take part in this general discussion?

Hence, the more closely concerned is anyone who calls himself a human being with this great legal debate - because of its content and its consequences -, the more it must, because of the manner how it is dealt, be of particular interest to any freethinker.

A question, which otherwise would be answered only through the blind law of the strongest, is now, as it seems, made dependent upon the jurisdiction of pure reason, and he who is always capable to put himself in the centre of generality, and to raise his individual person to the human genre, may consider himself as the possessor of this jurisdiction of Reason, the same way as he is, at the same time, a human being and a citizen of the world; and sees himself more or less developing towards success. It is, hence, not only his own concern which will come under scrutiny during this great legal debate; it should also be concerning laws which he, as a reasonable spirit, is capable and even authorised to pronounce.

How pleasing it will be for me to delve into such a subject with a person who is an intelligent thinker as much as a liberal world citizen, and to reach decisions together with a person whose heart devotes itself to the well-being of mankind with such a beautiful eagerness!

How pleasantly surprising it is for me, in regard the great difference of social condition, and the wide gap which relationships in the real world make necessary, to encounter on such outcome your intellectually unprejudiced spirit!

As I resist this alluring temptation, and pursue the inquiry about the beauty of Freedom, I do not really believe that I can excuse this penchant, but rather can only justify myself through principles.

I hope to convince you that this matter is lesser foreign to the need than to the taste of our century, indeed, in order to solve every political problem through experience, people must take the aesthetic way, for it is Beauty, through which one comes to Freedom.

However, this proof cannot be brought about, without me reminding you of the principles, through which Reason, in general, proceeds in a political legislation.

 

Letter #3

Nature did not start with the human being any better than it did with its other works: it handles matters for him, whenever he, as free intelligence, cannot yet handle them by himself.

However, he is a human being, precisely because he settles not with what sheer Nature has made of him, but rather possesses the capacity which Nature has anticipated in him, to redo backwards through Reason, the steps of his conception, to change the work of necessity into a work of his free choice, and to raise the physical necessity into a moral one. He awakes from his rational sleep, recognizes himself as human, sees around and finds himself - within the state.

The constraint of needs has already overwhelmed him before he, in his freedom, could have chosen being in the state; necessity has already put him into this same condition, according to the mere laws of Nature, before he could act according to the laws of Reason. However, being in this state of necessity, which was only produced by his natural determination, and also was only prepared for it, he can and could not be happy as a moral person – and it would have been worst for him, if he could have been happy in such a state!

For, by not accepting this state, he abandons, hence, with the same rights with which he is human, the domination of a blind necessity, the same way as he has separated himself in so many other instances from this necessity through his freedom, the same way as he, to give just an example, has diffused through morality and ennobled through Beauty, the common character which the sensual need has imprinted in him.

Hence, he carries, in an artificial manner, his childhood into his adulthood, forms for himself in his ideas a natural condition which, in truth, is not proven to him through experience, but rather, is made necessary to him by his reasonable determination; provides himself in this ideal condition a final purpose, which he could not know in his mere natural condition, and a choice which he previously was not capable of, and proceeds not otherwise than as if he is starting his life again from the beginning, and exchanged with clear insight and free resolution, the original state of servility with the state of independence.

No matter how elaborately and firmly the blind fortuity has grounded its work in him, no matter how arrogantly it also affirms it, and no matter with which appearances of venerability it may surround itself – he may consider it, through this operation, only as totally non-existent; for, the work of blind forces possesses not any authority, before which Freedom needed to bend, and hence, everything must accommodate to the highest, final goal which Reason has established in his personality.

In this manner, results and justifies itself the quest of a grown, mature people to transform its natural state into a moral one.

This natural state (as can be called any political body which receives, originally, its directions from forces, not from laws) contradicts, now, truly the moral human being, to whom mere conformity to law should serve as precept; but this state is simply sufficient for the physical human being who gives himself laws in order to accommodate himself with forces.

Now is, however, the physical human being real, and the moral one is only problematic. Should Reason abolish, hence, the natural state, as it must necessarily do, if it wants to put its own state in place; hence, Reason ventures to have the physical and real human being instead of the problematic, moral one; hence, it ventures to set the existence of society on the path of a simply possible (even if it is, at the same time, morally necessary) ideal of society.

Reason takes from the human being something that he really possesses, and without which he possesses nothing, and so, it makes him foresee something that he could and should possess; and should Reason have expected too much from the human being, hence, it would, in exchange for a Humanity, which still lacks him and which can lack him, regardless of his existence, also deprive him, even, of the means available in the animal state which, hence, is the condition of his humanity.

Before he had time to hold himself firmly within law with his willpower, Reason has taken from under his feet the means made available to him by Nature. However, a great debate still remains, as the physical society may not cease, at any moment in time, while the moral one still forms itself in the idea; as the human being may not endanger his existence for the sake of human dignity.

When the artist has to improve a clockwork mechanism, he stops the wheel machinery; but the living clock engineering of the state must be improved while it ticks, and in this case, it means, replacing the wheel while it rotates.

One must, hence, for the enduring progress of society, find a support which makes it independent from the natural state which was meant to be dissolved.

This support finds itself not in the natural character of the human being, who is egoist and violent, and aims much more to destruct than to maintain society; it can be found equally less in his moral character, which, supposedly, should first be educated, and which, because it is free and never comes into appearance, can never be affected by legislation and can never be relied upon with certainty.

The need to separate arbitrariness from the physical character, and Freedom from the moral character; to agree the physical character with laws, and to make the moral character dependent upon impressions; to distance somehow the physical character from the material, and to bring somehow the moral character closer to it, are derived from this supposition, and will produce a third character, which is related to both, allowing a transition from being under the domination of blunt forces to living under the prevalence of laws, and without hindering the development of his moral character, will serve much more as a moral pledge for the invisible morality.

 

Letter #4

So much is certain: only by accepting the burden of such character can a people insure a harmless change of state according to moral principles, and also only such a character can vouch for its duration. By the establishment of a moral state, the law of morals will be relied upon as an effective power, and the free willpower will be pulled into the realm of causes where everything hangs upon one another with strict necessity and constancy. We know, however, that the determination of the human being will always remain fortuitous, and that only in the Absolute Being does the physical necessity meet the moral one.

Hence, if one should rely upon the moral attitude of the human being as natural successes, hence, this phenomenon must be Nature, and the human being must already be led through his impulses to such a process which can, always, only result into making him a moral character.

The willpower of the human being stays, however, completely free between duty and inclination, and in the majestic right of his own person, physical constraint can and may not take hold. He should still keep this capacity of making choice, and nevertheless be a reliable part of the causal link of forces; this can be only tackled, throughout, if the effects of both motives fall out perfectly equal in the realm of appearances and, despite the difference in form, the material of his willpower remains itself; hence, his impulses are enough in agreement with his reason, in order to validate a universal legislation.

Every individual human being, can one say, carries in himself, according to his condition and determination, a purely idealistic human being, whose great duty it is to agree all the subsequent changes of his existence with his everlasting unity.

The pure human being, who is to recognize himself more or less distinctively in every subject, will be represented through the state, through the objective and equally canonical form, in which the multiplicity of subjects seek to unite.

Now, however, two different manners of thinking are emerging, as the human being in time meets the human being in idea, equally in as many manners, as the state can affirm itself in the individuals:

either in the fact that as the pure human being suppresses the empirical one, the state abolishes the individuals, or in the fact that as the individual becomes state, the human being in time ennobles himself into the human being in idea.

In truth, this difference in the evaluation vanishes if it is unilateral and moral; for Reason is satisfied, only if its law prevails without condition: however, in the full anthropological evaluation, where the form counts as much as the content, and where, at the same time, the lively feeling has a voice; there, the same difference will be even more obvious.

Reason requires, in truth, unity, while Nature requires variety, and the human being will claim to be from both legislations. The law of the first one is conveyed to him through an incorruptible conscience, the law of the other through an enduring feeling. In that sense, it will always be an indication of a still insufficient formation, if the moral character can affirm itself only with the sacrifice of the natural one, and the constitution of a state will still be very imperfect, if it is only capable to produce unity through the abolition of diversity.

The state should not honour only the objective and general, but also the subjective and specific character in the individual, and, while it enlarges the invisible realm of moral, it should not desert the realm of appearances.

When the mechanical artist lays his hand on a shapeless mass, in order to give it the form of his choice, he does not hesitate to exercise power upon it; for Nature, with which he works upon, earns for itself not any respect, and he prefers not to proceed on the whole for the sake of the parts, rather on the parts for the sake of the whole.

When the beautiful artist lays his hand on the same mass, hence, he does equally not much hesitate to exercise power upon it, only he avoids showing it. The material, with which he works, he respects not more than the mechanical artist; however, the eye which protects the freedom of this material, he will seek to deceive through an apparent softness of action toward the material.

It is really otherwise with the pedagogical and political artist, who makes of the human being, at the same time, his material and his duty. Here the goal returns to the material, and only because the whole serves the parts, may the parts accommodate the whole.

With a completely different consideration than the one which every beautiful artist uses as a pretext against the material, the statesman must approach his material, not really subjectively and with a deceiving effect in mind, but rather he must protect objectively and for the inner being, its particularity and personality.

However, precisely because the state should be an organization which forms itself through itself and for itself, hence, it can also only become real, so far as the individual parts have agreed to the idea of unity.

Because the state serves as representative of the pure and of the objective humanity in the midst of its citizens, hence, it will have to observe the same pure or objective relationship, towards the citizens, in which they stand for themselves, and can honour their subjective humanity only in so far as this humanity is elevated into the objective one.

Would the inner human being be united with himself, hence, he will also save his particularity by generalizing to the highest degree his attitude, and the state becomes really, hence, just the disposer of his beautiful instincts, just the distinctive formulation of his inner legislation.

If, to the contrary, in the character of a population the subjective human being is opposed to the objective one in such a contradiction, that only the oppression of the first one can procure victory over the last one; hence, the state will also apply, against the citizen, the severe seriousness of the law, and in order not to be the victim, the state must, without much care, remove such an hostile form of individuality.

The human being can be compared, however, in a dual manner: either to a wild man, if his feelings prevail over his principles; or to a barbarian, if his principles disturb his feelings. The wild man despises Art and recognizes Nature as his unlimited territory, the barbarian derides and dishonours Nature, however, despicable as the wild man, he pursues frequently enough in this direction, to be slave of his slaves.

The educated man makes of Nature his friend, and honours its freedom, while really dominating its arbitrariness. If, Reason brings in the physical society its moral unity; hence, it may not harm the diversity of Nature.

If Nature strives to affirm its diversity in the moral construction of society, hence, any interruption of the moral unity may not happen through the process; the victorious societal form rests equally far from uniformity and confusion.

Integrity must be found, hence, in the character of the people who should be capable and worthy to exchange the state of necessity into the state of freedom.

 

Letter #5

Does the current century, the events of the present show us this character? I directed my attention, at once, to the most noticeable subjects among the detailed depictions of our time.

It is true, the prospect is mentally pleasing, as arbitrariness is unmasked, and even if it still has any power, its disadvantages, hence, does not confer it any more dignity; the human being is waken up from his long indolence and self-deception, and with a convincing assertiveness, he demands the resuscitation of his incompressible rights.

However, he demands them not bluntly, he stands up powerfully, on all sides, to take what according to his opinion, has been refused him with injustice. The edifice of the natural state vacillates, its tender foundations weaken, and a physical possibility seems given, to put law on the throne, to honour the human being, finally, as his own goal and to make of true freedom the basis of any political affiliation. Vain hope! The moral possibility is lacking, and the moment of aspiration only finds an unwelcoming generation.

If the human being depicts himself in his acts, then, what form of Humanity do we see reflected in the drama of the current time! Here rapture, there exhaustion: the two extremes of human decadence both united in a time span!

In the lower and populous classes; displayed to us are raw, unruly impulses which are liberated from the dissolved bound of citizenry order, and which rush, with indocility, to their wild satisfaction. It may happen that the objective humanity has had cause to complain about the state, however, the subjective one must still honour the state institutions.

May people reproach to the state, that it has put aside the dignity of human nature, while it was defending only its own existence? That it hurried to differentiate through the force of gravity, and to bind through the power of cohesion when the educating power was still not conceivable?

The solution to this matter is already contained in its justification. The freed society, instead of hurrying upwards into the organic life, falls back into the realm of the elementary.

On the other side, the civilized classes give us the still distasteful view of indolence and depravity of the character, which upsets even more, because culture itself is its source. I remember not any more which old or new philosopher made the remark, that the nobler the man, the more horrible it is to observe his decadence; however, one will also find this destruction true in the moral field.

The son of Nature becomes, when he loses control, a furious person, the progeny of art, for his part, becomes a despicable person.

The enlightenment of intelligence, of which the refined classes boast about not really with injustice, shows, in general, so little of an ennobled influence in the attitudes, that it reinforces much more the corruption through maxims. We deny to Nature its rightful spheres, in order to experience its tyranny in the moral field, and while we accept reluctantly its impressions, we adopt our principles from it.

The affected decency of our customs refuses to Nature a forgivable and initial voice in order to give it, in our materialistic ethics, the influential and last voice. In the midst of the most refined company, has egoism founded its system, and if we do not adjoin a sociable heart inside it, we experience all the rebuffs and torments of a society. Our free judgement we submit to its despotic opinion, our feeling to its bizarre purposes, our willpower to its seduction, only our arbitrariness we affirm against its holy rights.

Unfortunately, proud self-reliance contracts the heart of a man of the world while it, often, still beats sympathetically in the unrefined man of Nature, and consequently, as in a burning city, everyone seeks only to save his or her miserable possession from devastation while in the midst of society.

One believes to find protection against society’s aberrations only in a complete desertion of sentimentality, and the joke which chastises the exalted person often in a salutary manner in society, discredits with equal disregard the noblest feeling.

Culture, instead of setting us into freedom, only develops new needs with every available force which it entertains in us; the bounds of physical life grip us always increasingly in an alarming manner, so that the fear of losing something override even the ardent impulse for improvement; and the maxim of servile obedience is valued as the highest wisdom in life in society.

Hence, one sees the spirit of time wavering between falseness and roughness, between affected and true Nature, between superstition and moral scepticism, and it is really the balance of all these awful things among each other which sets, sometimes, their limits.

 

Letter #6

Did I really exaggerate these depictions of our era? I agree not with this idea, but rather with this other one: that I have proved too much with my depictions.

You will agree with me that they draw closer, in truth, to the state of the present Humanity; however, they draw closer, generally, to all the people who are conceived in culture, because, without exception, they must first depart from Nature through reasonable interpretation, before they can get back to it through Reason.

However, by looking attentively at the character of time, the contrast encountered between the current form of Humanity and the former ones, particularly that of the Greeks, will put us effectively into surprise.

The grandeur of our education and refinement, of which we prevail rightfully against every real expression of Nature, cannot even set us at par with the Greek nature which combined in itself all the charms of Art and the dignity of wisdom, without, hence, as our nature, be the victim of the same.

The Greeks shame us not only through a simplicity which is foreign to our time, but they are, at the same time, our rivals, and indeed, often our originator in the namely ascendancies with which we care to comfort ourselves over the unnatural character of our morals.

We see them, concurrently, as achieved form and achieved envelope, as philosophy and formation, as tender and energetic; uniting the youth of fantasy with the maleness of Reason into a superb Humanity. In those days of beautiful awakening to all intellectual forces, the mind and the spirit were still not rigorously separated in their character; for any argument to separate them in hostility and to determine their marks, still had not any appeal to them.

Poetry has not yet courted wit, and speculation has not yet dishonoured itself through subtlety. Both could, in case of emergency, exchange their duties because each, only in its own manner, honoured Truth.

No matter how Reason has ascended so highly, it is always pulled down to the material, and no matter how Reason discerned so finely and sharply, it has never done so through adulteration. It scrutinized, in truth, human Nature and projected it, magnified, in its superb circle of Greek Gods; however, through that, it tore not the human Nature into pieces, but rather assembled them together differently so that the whole Humanity could see itself in all the individual Gods.

How differently it is with us the Moderns! With us, the image of the human genre is also projected in greater scope in individuals; however, in fragments, not in transformed combinations, so much that one must look from one individual to the others, in order to comprehend the totality of the human genre.

One would be almost enticed to affirm that our mental forces manifest themselves so separately in experience, the same way as the psychologist differentiated each individual in its presentation; and we see not really individual subjects, but rather whole classes of humans who only deploy a portion of their dispositions, while the remaining ones, like undeveloped adolescents, hardly make a pale impression.

I do not recognize the ascendancies that the current human gender, considered as a whole and in matter of intellectual capacity, may affirm before the best examples from Antiquity; however, the question is not only about the whole gender as rivalry among close members must begin, and as each organization must also dare to measure itself with others. Which individual, modern person may come forward to fight man to man against the individual Athenian, and claim of coming from a better Humanity?

How would this disadvantaging relationship with the individuals well be of advantages to the human genre? Why would the individual Greek qualify himself as representative of his time, and why dares not this the individual, modern person?

Because the uniting Nature gave the first one his forms, while the ever discerning intelligence gave the last one his. It was culture itself which incurred these wounds to the new Humanity.

As soon as, on one side, extensive experience and determined thinking made necessary a precise separation of the sciences, and on the other side, the complicated clockwork of the state made necessary a rigorous separation between the classes and the professions; hence, the inner union of human nature broke also up, and a corrupting fight divided its harmonious forces.

The intuitive and speculative minds are separated, now, with hostility, each intentioned at its respective fields, which respective borders each, now, started to watch with mistrust and jealousy against the other; and in the sphere upon which each one exercises its authority, arises also a new master who, not seldom, sees to put an end, through submission, the remaining dispositions available in their corresponding sphere.

While, on one hand, the abundant capacity of conceptualization brought down the laborious inculcations from intelligence; on the other hand, the spirit of abstraction consumes the fire on which the heart had warmed itself, and with which fantasy should also inflame itself.

This quake, which Art and Learning started in the inner human being, was also made perfect and general in the new spirit of government.

It was, indeed, not to be expected that the simple organization of the first republics would survive even the simplicity of the primitive morals and interrelationships; however, instead of climbing to a higher animal life, it sank down to a common and rough mechanism.

This protector of Nature existing in the Greek states, where every individual enjoyed an independent life and if need be, could become an entity by himself, now, has made place to an artful clockwork, where from the clockwork, infinitely more numerous, but however, lifeless parts formed a mechanical life within the entity.

Then, the state and the church were separated, the same way as laws were from morals; leisure would be separated from work the same way as the means were from the goal, and the merit from the reward.

Eternally enchained to only an individual, small fragment of the whole, the human being only forms himself as fragment; eternally hearing only the monotonous sound of the Dades surrounding his ears, never developing the harmony of his existence, and instead of imprinting Humanity in his own nature, he becomes only an image of his own activities, of his own science.

However, even this profligate, fragmentary link, which still ties the individual members to the whole, depends not upon the forms which they give themselves spontaneously (for how might people entrust their freedom to such an artificial and shady clockwork?), but rather it will be prescribed to them with scrupulous rigour through a formula in which free insight is limited.

The lifeless symbol of a letter represents an active intelligence, and an exercised memory guides more securely than genius and sentiment.

If the common organization, as is the state, makes of administration the standard for everyone; if it honours in one of its citizen only the memory, in another one only the synoptic intelligence, in a third one only the mechanical skill; if it insists, on one hand, indifferently, to the detriment of character, only on knowledge; on the other, it stimulates the greatest complexity of intelligence against the orderly spirit and lawful behaviour; if it knows, concurrently, to drive these individual skills towards an equally great intensity, while neglecting their extension; may it still surprise us, then, that the remaining mental dispositions be neglected, in order to devote all due cares to the unique dispositions which honour and reward?

In truth, we know that the forceful genius adjusts not to the limits of his profession the limits of his activity; however, the average talent devotes entirely the whole profligate sum of his force to the profession which is allocated to him, and he must already not be a common mind, in order, regardless of his profession, to be still capable of appreciating something else apart from it.

Even so, it is seldom a good recommendation for the state when forces override instructions, or when the higher spiritual need of a genius is a rival to its office. So jealous is the state to remain the sole owner of the people who serve it, that it will easily resort to share (and who can blame it?) its men with a Venus Cythera rather than a Venus Urania.

And hence, gradually, the individual, concrete life will consume itself in order for the abstraction of the whole to continue its needy existence, and the state remains eternally foreign to its citizens, because it never had a feeling for them.

Constrained to simplify the emergence of diversity among its citizens through classification, and to welcome Humanity not otherwise than through second class representations, the ruling element loses, finally, really and totally, sight of its citizens, because it mistakes the state hence constituted really for just a pale creature of intelligence; hence, the ruled cannot otherwise than welcome with indifference the laws which are so little focussed upon them.

Finally, disgusted at having to maintain a relationship, which the state will make really not easy, the positive society breaks up into a morally natural state (as is already for a long time, the destiny of most European states), where the public might is just considered as an additional party, hated and duped by the ones who made it necessary, and only considered by those who can do without it.

Could Humanity with this double power which presses on it both from inside and outside, well take another direction than the one it really took?

While the speculative spirit strived for permanent possessions in the realm of ideas, it must become a foreigner in the sensible world, and lose matter over form.

The rational spirit, integrated into a uniform circle of objects and in this way, even more narrowed into formulas, must have been seeing the free whole diminishing and being impoverished concurrently as its sphere.

As the speculative spirit sought to model the real after the conceivable, and to elevate the subjective conditions of its presentational capacity into the constitutive laws valid for something to exist; hence, the rational spirit rushed into the opposing extreme by evaluating all experiences, in general, according to a particular fragment of experience, and by adjusting the rules of its function without any nuances.

The first one must be subject to an empty subtlety, while the other is prey to a pedantic limitation, because the first one stood for the individual parts too highly, while the second one stood too deeply for the whole. However, the disadvantage of this spiritual direction did not limit itself really to knowledge and production; it extended itself, also, into nothing less than feeling and action.

We know that the degree of mental sensibility depends upon the liveliness, while its breadth, upon the extent of the capacity of conceptualization.

Now, however, the overweight of analytical capacity must rob fantasy, necessarily, of its force and intensity, and a restricted sphere of objects must diminish its richness.

The abstract thinker has really, often, for that matter a cold heart, because he dissects the impressions which, hence, move the soul only as a whole emotionally; the tradesman has really often a narrow heart, because his capacity of conceptualization, incorporated into the uniform circle of his profession, cannot enlarge itself to another external type of presentation.

I was consigned to uncover the disadvantaging direction of the character of time and its sources, not to show the advantaging one, through which Nature made this same direction better. I will very much confide to you that the individual can receive so little good from this dismemberment of his existence and, yet, the human genre cannot make progress in any other manner.

The appearance of Greek humanity was indisputably a culmination from which it can neither be maintained nor improved. It cannot either be maintained, because intelligence, through the resources which it already had, inevitably must have been constrained to separate itself from sentiment and intuition, and strive for the distinctiveness of knowledge; nor be improved, because only a determined degree of clarity can exist together with a determined abundance and warmth.

The Greeks have reached this degree, and if they wanted to progress toward a higher level of education; hence, they must have, as we, given up the wholeness of their existence, and follow Truth on separated ways.

In order to develop the various dispositions in the human beings, there was not any other way than to confront them with each other. This antagonism of the forces is the great instrument of culture, but also only the instrument; for as long as this instrument lasts, is the human being still heading toward culture.

Knowing that in the individual human being forces isolate themselves, and that each one assumes an exclusive legislation; hence, they individually stay in opposition with the truth of the matter; and constrain the common sense, which otherwise would rest with indolent sufficiency on the external appearance, to get into the essence of the topic.

While pure intelligence usurped an authority in the sensible world, and while the empirical intelligence is preoccupied in submitting it to the conditions of experience, both dispositions would educate one another to the most possible level of development, and produce the full extent of their spheres.

While, on one hand, the capacity of conceptualization, through its arbitrariness, dares to dissolve the world order; on the other, it constrains Reason to reach the highest sources of knowledge, and to call the law of necessity to help against it.

While unilateralism in the exercise of forces leads, actually, the individual inevitably to error, it leads the human genre to Truth.

Only by gathering the whole energy of our spirit into a focal point, and by pulling together our whole existence into a unique force, can we give, so to speak, wing to this individual force, and lead it in an artificial manner well beyond the limits which Nature seems to have set for it.

Hence, it is certain that the individual human beings taken altogether, with the vision which Nature has provided them, would never have been able to look at a satellite of Jupiter which the telescope of the astronomer discovered; in the same way, it is agreed that the human intellectual capacity would have never established for itself an analysis of the infinite, or a critique of the pure reason, if it has not isolated, so to speak, individually the denominated subjects pertaining to Reason, from any other matter, and has armed its view through the most exerted abstraction, for the absolute.

However, will such an individual, in matter of pure intelligence and pure intuition, so to speak, well be capable of a liberated spirit, well be capable to exchange the rigorous chains of logic with the free course of poetical capacity, and to seize the individuality of everything with a faithful and uncorrupted sense?

Here, Nature also sets to the universal genius a limit which he cannot over cross, and Truth will still make martyrs, so long as Philosophy must still have as most distinguished function the prevention against error.

No matter how much, hence, may the whole world win through this separated formation of human forces; hence, it is undeniable that individuals, who encounter this formation, suffer under the curse of this universal purpose.

Through exercises, athletic bodies are given a form, however, only through the free and uniform game of the limbs is Beauty achieved. In the same way, in truth, the strain of individual spiritual forces can produce something extraordinary; however, only the consistent use of all these same forces can produce happy and perfect human beings.

And in what relationship with the past and coming generations do we stand, hence, if the education of human nature has made necessary such a sacrifice? We have been the servants of Humanity, we have done for millennia the slave-work for it, and our mutilated nature bears the shaming traces of this servitude – in order for the coming human genre to devote itself in salutary idleness for its moral health and the development of its Humanity! Can, however, the human being be well determined to renounce to some of his goals? Should Nature, in pursuing its goals, rob us of a perfection which Reason prescribes to us through its own goals?

It must, hence, be false that the formation of the individual forces makes necessary the sacrifice of their totality, or if the law of Nature still strove so much for that end, hence, the capacity to produce again through a higher aptitude this totality in our nature, which Art has destroyed, must stay with us.

 

Letter #7

Should this outcome be expected maybe from the state? That is not possible, for the state as it is now created, has provoked evil, and as Reason surrenders itself to the idea that instead of being able to create this better Humanity, it must itself, first, be grounded upon it. And, hence, the previous researches have led me back again to the point from which they have put me away for some time.

The current era, far from showing us this form of Humanity, which is being recognized as a necessary condition for a moral improvement of the state, shows us much more immediately the contrary.

Hence, should the following principles, which I have established, be correct, and should the experience confirm my depictions of the present situation, hence, one must hold every attempt to change the state, so long, as disadvantageous, and every hope based upon it, so long, as chimerical, until the separation in the inner human being is again abolished, and his nature is developed enough completely, to be the artist of his own creation, and to vouch for its reality in the political creation of Reason.

Nature shows in advance, through its physical creation, the way which we must take in the moral creation. Not until the battle of elementary forces in the lower organization is appeased, can one uphold oneself to the noble formation of the physical man.

In the same way, the dispute of the elements, the conflict of blind impulses must also be calmed, for the time being, in the ethical man, and the awful opposition must have ceased in him, before one may favour the emergence of diversity in him.

On the other side, the independence of his character must be secured, and the submission to foreign despotic forms must have made room for a decent freedom, before one may submit the diversity in him to the unity of the ideal.

Where the natural man still misuses lawlessly his arbitrariness, there, may one hardly show him his freedom; where the artificial man still uses little of his freedom, there, one may not take from him his arbitrariness.

The gift of liberal principles becomes a betrayal to the whole if it associates itself with a still budding force, and provides enforcement to an already over-powering Nature; in the second case, the law of harmony becomes tyranny against the individual if it associates itself with an already prevailing weakness and physical limitation and, hence, removes the last glowing spark of autonomy and property.

The character of time must erect itself first, hence, from its deep depreciation, in the second case, get rid of the blind power of Nature and in the first one, return to its simplicity, truth and abundance – a century long task indeed.

In the meantime, I admit very well, some research can succeed individually; however, for the whole, nothing will be improved through this way, and the contradiction in people’s attitudes will prove surely against the unity of the maxims. One will honour, in other parts of the world, the Humanity in the Blackman and in Europe, others will still disgrace it in the thinker.

The old principles will remain, however, they will bear the structure of the century, and philosophy will lend its name to an oppression which the church otherwise authorized.

Frightened by Freedom which announces itself always as a foe in its first attempts, one will throw himself, on one hand, into the arms of a comfortable servitude, and in the other, will jump into the free, unconstrained natural condition as he is brought into desperation by a pedantic protection.

The usurpation will act upon the weakness of human nature, while the insurrection will act upon the dignity of the same human nature, until finally, in the meantime, the great master of all human passions, the blind power, appears; and the apparent fight of the principles is decided, in the same way as a vulgar fistfight.

 

Letter #8

Should philosophy retreat, without courage and hopelessly, from this territory? While the dominance of forms extends itself in every direction, should the most important of all goods be left to the formless fortuity?

Should the conflict of blind forces last eternally in the political world, and should the social law never win over the hostile egoism? Nothing less! Reason will not even immediately seek the battle with this rough power which resists its weapons, and will even actively summon, no lesser than the son of Saturn in the Iliad, onto the dark scene.

However, among the fighters, the most dignified is chosen, he is granted, as Zeus with his grandchild, a divine weapon, and brings about, through his conquering force, the great decisive victory. Reason has performed what it can, when it finds and exposes a law; the courageous willpower and the lively feeling must execute it.

If Truth should keep the victory in the fight against forces, hence, it must, first, become itself force, and present an impulse to its advocate, in the realm of appearances; for impulses are the unique active forces in the world of sentiments.

Should it have, until now, so little proved of its winning force, hence, it lies not upon intelligence, which Truth knew not to unveil, but rather on the heart, which closed itself to Truth, and upon the impulse, which did not act for Truth, to prove this force.

Then, why do we still have such a widespread prevalence of prejudices and a concealment of the mind from the light which philosophy and experience projected?

Our century is enlightened, which means that new knowledge has been discovered and openly disseminated; which would be enough to improve, at least, our practical principles; in addition, the spirit of free exploration has distracted the concept of delusion, which for a long time has hindered the way to Truth, and prepared the foundation upon which fanaticism and deceit have built their throne; moreover, Reason has purified itself from semblance and deceitful complexity, and finally, Philosophy itself, which, first, made us disloyal to Nature, calls us loudly and forcefully back into its midst – how is it then, that we are still such Barbarians?

Hence, since we cannot blame this situation on things, then, it must be something in the minds of the human beings that gets in the way of admitting Truth, even if it stood out so clearly and even if it is so forcefully convincing.

An old wise man has already sensed this mental block, and put it in the much meaningful expression: sapere aude. Dare to be wise.

Courage lies in fighting against the hinders which the indolence of Nature as well as the cowardice of the heart oppose to this instruction. Not without reason does the old myth allows the goddess of wisdom to rise, in full attire, to Jupiter’s heights; for her first ploy is already an act of great courage.

Already at birth, she faces, in order to exist, a hard battle with sense which did not want to pull her from her sweet rest. Most human beings will be too tired and exhausted by the struggle against necessity, that they would not be convinced of a new and hard battle with error. Lucky enough that they could escape the bitter trouble of thinking, they let others, voluntarily, lead the tutelage over their concepts.

And it may also happen that needs of a higher sort arise in him, hence, he seizes with a yearning belief the principles which the state and the church keep ready for him in such case.

When these unfortunate men earn our compassion, hence, our rightful consideration goes to the one who succeeded to extirpate a better fortune from the yoke of needs, but who still bends under the burden of his own choice. These persons prefer the radiance of Truth, which chases the pleasant illusion from their dreams, to the daylight of darker concepts where one enjoys livelier the feelings; and where fantasy shapes for itself, according to its predilection, generous forms.

They have founded the whole construction of their fortune precisely on these deceptions, which should scatter the hostile light of knowledge; and they should be treasuring so much a truth which begins, hence, to take away from them anything that possesses value. They must have been already wise, in order to value Truth: Truth which the person who gave philosophy its name, already felt.

However, it is not enough that only, so far, intellectual enlightenment deserves consideration; as such enlightenment reflects on character; then it also, certainly, comes from the character, because the way to the mind must be opened through the heart.

The formation of the capacity to feel is, hence, the pressing need of the time, not only because they become a means to make more efficient the improved insight for life, but rather more precisely, because it initiates into an improved insight.

 

Letter #9

However, maybe, is there here a vicious circle? The theoretical culture should cause the practical one, and should the practical culture, hence, be the condition of the theoretical? Any improvement in the political field should start with the refinement of the character, however, how can this character be refined under the influence of a barbaric state constitution?

Hence, one must, for this purpose, search for a tool which the state provides not, and for that end, must discover resources which can keep themselves pure and true from any political corruption. Now, I come to the point which all my former explanations have tended.

This tool is the beautiful Art; these resources open themselves to the immortal models of Art. Art, the same way as Science, is freed from anything that is positive, and that leads to human conventions; and both enjoy an absolute immunity from the arbitrariness of the human being. The political legislator can obstruct the artistic domain; however, by doing so, he cannot influence anything happening there.

He can ban the advocate of Truth, however, Truth persists, and he can underestimate the artist; however, Art he cannot falsify. In truth, nothing is more common than having both Science and Art pay homage to the spirit of time, and having the creating taste receive its law from the judging taste. Wherever the character will be strict and hardened, there we see Science severely watching its borders, and Art enters into the burdensome chains of rule; wherever the character sleeps and dissolves itself, there will Science strive to please, and Art to enjoy.

During centuries, philosophers as well as artists have busied themselves instilling Truth and Beauty into the depths of Humanity; the first ones perish for it, however, the second ones fight with their own indestructible vitality to make them prevail. The artist is, in truth, the son of his time, but it would be very unfortunate for him, if he is, simultaneously, its infant or really still, its protégé.

A charitable divinity severs; in the meantime, the child from his mother’s bosom, feeds him with the milk of a better time, and lets him, far away under the Greek skies, mature into adulthood. If he, then, has become a man; hence, he returns, as a foreign form, into his century; however, not in order to please the century with his appearance, but rather more in a dreadful manner, like Agamemnon’s son, in order to purify it.

He will take, in truth, substance from the present; however, will borrow form from a nobler time, indeed, beyond any time, in the absolutely unalterable unity of his existence.

Here, from the pure ether of his demonic nature streams the source of Beauty, untouched by the corruption of generations and time which deeply roll under it in dim swirl. Mood can impair his substance, the same way as it has ennobled him; however, the chaste form is protected from its changes.

The Roman of the first century have, already for long, knelled before his emperor, even when the pillars in the city were still standing; the temples were still sacred to his eyes, even when the gods have been, already for long, matter for laughter; and the atrocities of a Nero and Commodius have disgraced the noble style of the edifice which gave its consent to such atrocities.

Humanity has lost its dignity, however, Art has saved and secured it within meaningful stone works, Truth outlasts deception, however from the reproduction, the original will be produced again.

The same way as noble Art survived noble nature; hence, it also progressed, in an educating and stimulating manner, ahead of it with all enthusiasm. Before Truth sends its winning light into the depths of the heart, the poetical force catches its radiances, and the summit of Humanity will already shine when the moisture of the night is still hovering in its valleys.

How does the artist prevent himself from the corruptions of his time which surround him? By disregarding the judgements they may proffer. He envisions upwards to his dignity and law, but not downwards to happiness and need.

Equally free from the vain activity, which would like very much to imprint its trail in the fugitive instant, as from the impatiently exalted spirit, which applies the measures of the absolute to the unachieved creation of time, he leaves to intelligence which here is intrinsic, the sphere of the real; he, however, strives to produce the ideal from the union of the possible with the necessary. This, he expresses in Illusion and Truth; this, he expresses in the plays of his capacity of conceptualization, and in the earnestness of his acts; this, he expresses in any sensible and spiritual form, and it projects itself silently in the infinite time.

However, the creative calmness and the great, patient ability to engrave this ideal into a hidden stone, or to put it into useful words, and to trust the faithful hands of time, is not given to anyone to whom this ideal glows in the soul. Much too anxious in order to wander through this calm means, the divine creative impulse relies often, immediately, on the present and on the active life, and endeavours to change the formless substance of the moral world.

The misfortune of humankind where he belongs, speaks powerfully to the sensitive human being, even more compelling its humiliation: enthusiasm is unleashed in him, and this pressing demand strives, within forceful souls, impatiently for acts. However, he also asked himself: does these disorders in the moral world offend his reason, and not rather hurt his self-centredness?

Should he not know it yet, then he will recognize it in the zeal with which he presses for determined and immediate actions. The purely moral impulse is geared towards the absolute; for it, there is not any time, and the future becomes to him present, as soon as future must develop itself necessarily from the present.

Before a reason without any limitation, the direction is, at the same time, the completion, and the way is already behind as soon as it is begun. Hence, I will answer the young amateur of Truth and Beauty who will learn from me that he has enough to do with the noble impulse inside him, despite all the resistances of the century: give the world in which you are active, a direction towards the good, and the peaceful regularity of time will bring it a further development.

You have given the world this direction when you, as a learning person, elevate its thoughts into the necessary and the eternal; when you transform, by action or by education, the necessary and the eternal into a subject of its impulses.

The edifice of illusion and arbitrariness will fall, and it must fall; it is already fallen, as soon as you are sure that it leans towards the inner, but not only the outer human being.

The winning Truth constructs itself inside the shameful stillness of your mind; bring it outside yourself into Beauty, so that not only thoughts pays homage to it, but rather also, that sense also seizes its appearance lovingly. And, if it does not happen to you to receive from reality the model that you should give to the world, hence, you should rather not dare to be amidst its delicate society, until you are in your heart assured of an idealistic effect.

Live with your century, but be not its creature; lead your contemporaries, however, to what they need, not what they praise.

Without sharing their guilt, share with noble resignation their punishments, and bend yourself with freedom under the yoke which they cannot do without and yet, badly endure.

Through the constant courage with which you disdain their fortune, you will prove them that it is not by cowardice that you are submitting yourself to their misery. Think of them, as what they should be, if you have to act upon them; however, think of them, as what they really are, if you will be asked to act for them.

Their approval you should seek through their dignity, however, when judging upon their unworthiness, take into account also their fortune; hence, will your nobility awake their own, on one hand, and their dishonour will not annihilate your purpose on the other.

The seriousness of your principles will chase them away from you, but in the game, bear with them still, for their taste is chaster than their heart, and in such case, you must catch the shy, fugitive impression being produced. Their maxims, you will freely challenge, their acts freely condemn, but against their idleness, you can oppose your constructing hand.

Chase arbitrariness, frivolity, roughness from their amusements, hence, you will also divert these traits, unnoticed, from their actions; and finally, remove them from their dispositions. Wherever you find these traits, surround them with nobility, with greatness, with spiritual forms; include around them the symbols of excellence, until appearance overcomes reality, and Art defeats Nature.

 

Letter #10

Hence, you are in agreement with me on this subject, and from the content of my previous letters, are convinced that the human being can remove himself from his determination in two opposing ways; that our century really wanders on two wrong directions, and is prey on one hand to roughness, on the other to slumber and bewilderment. From these double aberrations, it can be led back through Beauty. How can, however, the beautiful culture, at the same time, convene in itself both opposing weaknesses, and unite two contradicting specificities?

Can it ordain Nature in the wild man, and liberate it in the barbarian? Can it, simultaneously, restrain and set free, and when it performs not really both, how can such a great act as is the education of Humanity, reasonably be expected from it?

In truth, one must have heard already with weariness the affirmation, that the developed feeling for Beauty refines the morals; hence, there seems no need for any more new proofs. One finds in everyday experience examples of people in whom clarity of understanding, energy of feelings, liberality and even dignity of conduct are almost throughout linked with a formed taste, and usually, people link the contrary with an uneducated taste.

Man relies, confidently enough, on the example of the most civilized of all nations in Antiquity, in which the feeling of Beauty, at the same time as their civilization, has reached its highest development, and also relies on the opposed example, on those, partly wild, partly barbaric peoples, who because of their insensitivity to Beauty, suffer of a raw or hence, austere character.

Nevertheless, it happens, sometimes, to intellectual persons either to dispute such facts, or to doubt the regularity of the hence derived conclusions. They are thinking really not so badly about the roughness which people reproach to the uneducated peoples, and not advantageously about the refinement which people value in the civilized ones.

Already in Antiquity, there were men who held beautiful culture for nothing less than a good deed, and yet, were very much enticed to deny the arts of conceptualization entry into their republic. I talk not of the ones who really offend the goddesses of graciousness, because they never experienced their favours, but rather of the ones who knew not any other value standards than producing effort for gain and substantial proceeds – how could they be capable of dignifying the tranquil work of taste on the outer and inner human being, and not put in evidence, beyond the fortuitous disadvantages of the beautiful culture, their essential advantages?

The human being without any form considers every grace in rhetoric as corruption, every refinement in his surrounding as disguise, any delicateness and greatness in conduct as exaltation and affectation.

He cannot forgive the favourite of the Graces that this favourite, as a member of society, is welcome in all circles, as a tradesman leads everyone with his projects, as a writer, imprints the whole century with his spirit, while he, a victim of diligence, with all his knowledge, cannot even capture attention, cannot even displace any stone.

As it was never allowed him to learn this genius's secret of being pleasant, hence, nothing else is left him than to lament the confusion of human nature which pay homage more to appearance than to essence. However, there are respectful voices which proclaim against the effects of Beauty, and are ready, from experience, to be against it on the basis of appalling reasons.

“It is undeniable”, they say, “that the stimuli of beautifulness can perform in good hands laudable objectives, however, it is not in contradiction with its essence to say, that in the wrong hands, it can perform just the contrary, and use its spirit-inhibiting force to induce error and injustice.”

“Precisely because taste pays attention only to form and never to content; hence, it gives the mind, in the end, the dangerous direction of neglecting, in general, all the realities; and of neglecting Truth and Morality to the advantage of the appealing envelope. All the specific differences of the subject are lost, and it is bluntly the appearance which determines its value.”

“How many capable men”, they continue, “will not be withdrawn from their serious and strenuous efficiency by the seducing power of Beauty, or at least, be led to handle it superficially! How many weak minds will, for that reason, really disagree with the building of citizenry institutions, because they loved the poet's fantasy in presenting a world in which everything happens differently; where any convenience does not bind the opinions, where any Art does not oppress Nature. What dangerous dialectic have the passions learned, ever since they blister in the poets' depictions, painted with the most shining colours, and ever since they regularly enter the ring for a battle with laws and duties?

What good has society won, now that Beauty edicts laws to a society which otherwise would be ruled by Truth, and that the outside expression decides of the respect which should only be tied to merit?

It is true that now, one sees flourishing all the virtues which make up a pleasant effect in appearance, and provide a value in society; however, one sees also all excesses prevailing, and all vices quivering; excesses and vices which accommodate themselves with a beautiful envelope.

It must already arouse our reflection the observation that people find nearly in every period of History, where Arts blossom and taste rules, see Humanity also sinking, and people also cannot show a unique example in a population where a higher degree and a great generalization of aesthetic culture were going hand in hand with political freedom and citizenry virtue; where beautiful customs go together with good customs, and where the refining of conduct is in accord with Truth itself.

So long as Athens and Sparta affirmed their independence, and instated respect for laws as foundation of their constitutions, taste was still not mature; Art was still in its infancy, and a lot was still lacking for Beauty to prevail in the minds.

In truth, the art of poetry had already done a sublime journey; however, only under the impulsion of the Genius, from whom we know that this impulsion will, at most, near the limits of roughness, and is a light which shines well in darkness; a fact which, hence, testifies much more against the taste of the era than for it.

As the golden era of Arts took place under Pericles and Alexander, and the domination of taste is spread, in general, one finds not any more the force and freedom of Greece: eloquence has falsified Truth; wisdom has offended people in the mouth of a Socrates, and virtue in the life of a Phocion.

The Romans, we know, must have first built their power during the citizen wars, and weakened it in oriental abundance, have bent themselves under the domination of a fortunate dynasty, before we see Greek Art triumph over the rigidity of their character.

The Arabs did also not open themselves to the dawn of culture, until the energy of their bellicose spirit was put to rest under the sceptre of the Abbasids. In the new Italy, beautiful Art did not appear until the sumptuous union of the Lombards was torn apart, until Florence was submitted to the Medicis, and until the spirit of independence, everywhere in this courageous city, has made place to a weaker humility.

It is almost superfluous to remind still of the example of new nations which relations to refinement increased as their independence ended. Whenever we direct our eyes in the past, there, we find that taste and freedom flee one another, and that Beauty only grounds its prevalence on the downfall of heroic virtues.

And hence, is the energy of the character, with which the aesthetic culture usually will be acquired, the most efficient tool of any human greatness and excellence which lack cannot be compensated, even by any such great advantage.

Would people keep themselves uniquely to what previous experiences taught them about the influence of Beauty; hence, one cannot be very encouraged in the act of expressing feelings, feelings which are so dangerous to the true human culture; and one would rather do without the fusing power of Beauty, risking the danger of being rough and hard than seeing oneself be surrendered to its dormant effects for the sake of refinement.

But, maybe is experience not the tribunal, before which a question like this lets itself be settled; before people concede weight to its credentials, it must be first set without doubt, that it is Beauty itself, of which we talk about, and against which this example gives evidence to.

This seems, however, to suppose of a concept of Beauty which has another source than experience, because through the same concept, it should be recognized, if what is meant by beautiful in experience, bears this name really rightfully.

This purely reasonable concept of Beauty, if as such it is being demonstrated, must be sought, hence – because it cannot be created from real case; but rather, first, be reported to us, and then lead our judgment to every real case – can be sought on the way to Abstraction, and can already be followed by the possibility of a sensibly reasonable Nature; in a word: Beauty must allow itself to be demonstrated as a necessary condition of Humanity.

We must evermore elevate ourselves to the pure concept of Beauty, and there, experience shows only individual conditions of individual human beings, but never once of the whole Humanity; hence, we must, from these conditions of Beauty’s individual and changing ways of appearing, seek to discover the absolute and permanent, and through the rejection of all fortuitous limits, we must seek to empower ourselves from the necessary conditions of its existence.

In truth, this transcendental way will withdraw itself, for a long time, from us, out in the comfortable circle of appearances and in the lively presence of a thing, and will rest on the bare scenery of remote concepts – but we still strive for a permanent basis of knowledge which nothing should any more put in doubt, and he who dares not to go beyond reality will never find Truth.

 

Letter #11

When abstraction has ascended so high, as it always can; hence, it has reached the level of the last two concepts with which it must stay, and which limits it must recognize.

Abstraction differentiates in the human being a part which is permanent and another one which changes. The permanent it calls its person, the changing it calls its condition.

Person and condition – the self and its determinations – which we think ourselves in the necessary existence as one and the same, are eternally two different things in the finite world. In any persistence of the person, the condition changes; in any change of the condition, the person persists.

We go from rest to action, from affection to indifference, from agreement to contradiction, but we always exist, and what absolutely proceeds from ourselves, remains.

In the absolute subject alone are all the determinations also persisting with personality, because these determinations originate from personality. Anything that ever shows divinity is such, because it is divine: consequently, anything that ever shows eternity is such, because it is eternal.

There, in the human being, as finite being, person and condition are different; hence, neither the condition can be founded in the person, nor can the person be founded in the condition. Would the last supposition be true, then, the person must be changing himself, would the first one be true, then, the condition must persist; hence, in any case, either the personality or the finality cease. It is not because we think, want, feel, that we exist; it is not because we exist, think and want, that we feel. We exist because we are; we feel, think and want because outside us there is still something else.

The person, hence, must be his or her own foundation, for the permanent can not originate from change; and hence, we have in anything permanent, the idea of the absolute, which existence is founded in itself, that is Freedom. The condition must have a foundation; it must be so, as it results not through the person, hence, it is not absolute; and so we have in change the condition of any dependent existence, or existence in process, time.

“Time is the condition of any existence in process” is an identical sentence, for it says nothing else than: “result is the condition showing that something has taken place.” The person, who reveals him- or her-self in the eternally persisting I, and only in this one, cannot become, not start in time, because, rather more, he returns time in its beginning, because perseverance must be laid as the ground to transformation.

Something must be able to transform itself, if transformation should occur; this something can, hence, not already be transformation itself. While we say, the flower blooms and fades away, we give the flower a permanent state through this transformation, and we hold it, so to speak, true for a person to whom both these conditions are revealed.

That the human being develops himself, first, is not an objection, for the human being is not essentially only person, he is rather a person who finds himself in a determined condition. Every condition, however, every determined existence takes form in time, and hence, so must also be the case for the human being as phenomenon, to have a beginning, even if the pure intelligence is eternal in him.

Without time, which means, without allowing the being to develop, he would never be a determined being; his personality would exist, in truth, potentially, but not actually. Only through the result of his presentations, can the persisting conscience of himself become appearance.

The material for activity, hence, or the reality which the highest intelligence creates from itself, the human being, first, must receive and in truth, he receives it as something settled outside him, in Space, and as something changing inside him, in Time, on the way to perception.

The transforming substance within himself accompanies his never transforming self – and the prescription which is given to him through his reasonable nature, is to remain steadily himself throughout all the changes; to make all the perceptions into experience, that is, into the unity of knowledge, and to make each of his manner of appearing in time, into a law valid for all times.

Only while he transforms himself, he exists; only while he remains untransformed, he exists. The human being, presented in his completeness, was, consequently, the persisting unity, who in the floods of transformations, remains eternally the same.

Now, even if he cannot become an infinite being, a divinity, hence, one must call divine the tendency which has the most specific sign of divinity, that is the absolute pronouncement of the capacity (reality of anything possible) and the absolute unity of appearances (necessity of anything real) as its unending duty.

The human being, undoubtedly, carries in his personality the predisposition for divinity; the way to divinity, if one can call it a way which never leads to the goal, is opened to him in the senses. His personality, considered for itself alone and independently from any sensible substance, is really the predisposition for a possible infinite expression; and so long as he sees not and feels not, he is still nothing more than form and empty capacity.

His sensibility, considered alone and separated from any independence of the spirit, can do nothing more than make him into substance, substance without which he is only form, however, by any means, sensibility cannot unite substance with him. As long as he feels bluntly, desires bluntly, and acts only because of blunt desires, is he still nothing else than world, if we understand under this name bluntly formless content of time.

In truth, it is only his sensibility which makes his capacity into an acting force, but it is only his personality which makes his acts truly his own. In order to be only world, he must share the form of the substance; in order not to be bluntly form, he must give a reality to the predisposition which he carries in himself.

He makes the form real when he creates time and when he opposes transformation against persistence, when he opposes the world’s diversity to the eternal unity of his conscience; he forms substance when he abolishes time again, affirms persistence in change, and makes the diversity of the world submissive to the unity of his conscience of himself.

Two opposing demands on the human being are now derived from the two fundamental laws of the sensibly reasonable Nature. The first one compels onto absolute reality: he should make into world anything that is only form, and bring all his dispositions into appearance; the second one presses onto absolute formality: he should eliminate anything that is bluntly world, and bring harmony into all of his transformations; in other words: he should exteriorize anything inner and give form to anything exterior. Both duties, taken in their highest completion, lead back to the concept of divinity, from which I started.

 

Letter #12

The completion of this double task of bringing the necessary in us into reality, and submitting the real outside us under the laws of necessity, we will compel under two opposing forces which people call very adequately impulses, because they drive us to realize their object.

The first of these impulses, which I will call the sensible one, arises from the physical existence of the human being, or from his sensible nature, and is solely devoted to put him within the limits of time, and to make him into substance, but not to give him substance, because for that purpose a free activity already belongs to the person, an activity which acquires substance, and from which perseverance differentiates itself.

Substance, however, means here, nothing more than transformation, or reality which time only fulfils; in addition, this impulse demands that there be transformation, that time has content. This condition of the mere completed time means feeling, and it is through it alone that the physical existence proclaims itself. As everything that is in time exists one after the other; hence, consequently, something exists in exclusion of everything else.

If someone produces a sound from an instrument, among all the sounds that the instrument possibly can provide, only this unique one is real; if someone feels the present, the whole unlimited possibility of his determinations is limited to this unique kind of existence.

Wherever this impulse, hence, acts exclusively, there exists necessarily the highest limitation; the human being is, under this condition, nothing more than a greatness of unity, a fulfilled moment of time – or more precisely, he is not, for his personality is abolished, so long as the feeling dominates him, and time takes hold further of him.

So far as the human being is finite, the territory of this impulse expands; and as any form appears only in a substance, as anything absolute appears only through the medium of limits, hence, it is, indeed, the sensible impulse to which, finally, the whole appearance of Humanity is bonded. However, even if he alone favours and develops the foundation of Humanity, hence, it is he alone who makes its completion impossible. With a sturdy tie, he enchains the higher striving mind to the sensible world, and from its freest wandering in infinity, he calls back Abstraction into the limits of the present.

Reflection, in truth, may leave him momentarily, and a determined willpower may set its demands against it winningly; however, the suppressed Nature soon returns back in its rights, in order to press onto the reality of existence, onto the content of our knowledge, and onto the goal of our dealings.

The second of these impulses, which people can call the formal impulse, comes from the absolute existence of the human being, or from his reasonable Nature, and is strived to set him in freedom, to bring harmony in the different forms of his appearance, and to affirm his person throughout all the changes of condition.

As, now, the last impulse, as an absolute and undivided unity, can never be in contradiction with itself, as we, in eternity, remain ourselves; hence, can the same impulse which compels onto the affirmation of personality, never demand anything else than what it must demand to any expression of eternity; it decides, hence, for always, as it decides for now, and commands for now, what it commands for always.

It covers, consequently, the whole sequence of time which means: it abolishes time, it abolishes transformation, it wants the real to be necessary and eternal, and the eternal and necessary to be real; in other words: it compels on Truth and rightfulness. When the first one gives only cases, hence, the other one gives laws – laws for every judgment when it comes to knowledge, laws for any willpower when it comes to acts.

Now, is it because we recognize a subject that we add an objective validity to a condition of our subject, or is it because we proceed from knowledge that we make of the objective a basis for the determination of our condition? In both cases, we pull this condition from the jurisdiction of time, and concede it a reality for all men and all times; that is, generality and necessity. The feeling can only say: it is true for this subject and in this moment, and in another moment, another subject may come which may take back the substantiation of the current sentiment.

However, if we suppose that reflection decides only once that so it is, hence, it decides for always and eternally; and all the validity of its pronouncement is itself hidden in the personality which is defiance to any change. The inclination can only say: it is good for your individual and for your current need, but your individual and your current need will split further with transformation, and what you currently ardently desire, may later be the subject of your disgust.

If, however, the moral feeling says: it should be so, hence, it decides for always and eternally – if you recognize Truth, because it is Truth and exercise Justice, because it is Justice, hence, you have made of an unique case, a law for all cases, have treated a moment in your life as eternity.

Wherever, hence, the formal impulse takes control, and deals with the pure object in us; there is the highest extension of the being achieved; there, all the limits disappear; there, the human being has elevated himself from the greatness of unity, under which the insufficient sense has limited him, into the ideal of unity which encompasses under itself the whole realm of appearances.

We are in this operation not any more in time, but rather time is in us with its entire, endless sequence. We are not any more individuals, but rather represent the human genre; the verdict of all the spirits is proclaimed through ours, the choice of all the hearts is represented through our act.

 

Letter # 13

At first sight, nothing seems more opposed to one another than the tendencies of these two impulses, in the sense that while the first one coerces for transformation, the other one presses for preservation.

And, hence, it is these two impulses which create the concept of Humanity, and a third, basic impulse which could be conciliating the previous two, is simply an unthinkable concept. How will we produce again the unity of human nature which seems completely rescinded through this original and radical opposition?

It is true, their tendencies are in contradiction, but what is worth being remarked is that they contradict not in the same object, and two concepts which cannot meet with one another in the same object, cannot also confront one another.

The sensible impulse demands, in truth, transformation; however, it demands not that the transformation extends itself also to the person and its territory; it demands not that a change of principles occurs.

The formal impulse pushes towards unity and perseverance – but it will not demand that with the person, the condition also persists, it will not compel that there be an identity with the sentiment.

They are, hence, not opposed to Nature, and if they, anyway, appear so, hence, they have become so, first, through a free violation of Nature, while they do not understand themselves, and confuse their spheres of action.

To watch over and to secure the borders of these two impulses is the duty of culture which, hence, owes equal justice to both, and it is concerned not only about affirming the reasonable impulse against the sensible one, but rather also the sensible against the reasonable. Its duty is, hence, double: firstly: to protect sensibility against the interference of Freedom; secondly: to secure the personality against the power of sentiment. The first one, it reaches through the formation of the capacity to feel, the second one through the formation of the reasonable capacity.

Since the world, as an extension in time, is change; hence, the perfection of its capacity, which links the human being to the world, must be, at most, changeability and expansion.

As a person is someone who exists within change, hence, the perfection of his ability, which should oppose itself to change, must be, at most, autonomy and intensity.

The more diversely sensitivity structures itself, the more sensitive this same one is, and the more it offers latitude for the appearances, the more world the human being seizes, the more talent he develops in himself; the more force and depth the personality gains, the more freedom Reason gains, the more aspect of the world the human being conceives, the more form he creates outside himself.

His culture will, hence, be made up, firstly, of creating the most diverse emotions in relation to the world for the sensitive capacity, and of carrying passivity to the highest degree on the sentimental side; secondly, of acquiring for the determining capacity the highest independence from the sensitive one, and of carrying to the highest degree the activity on the reasonable side.

Where both particularities unite, there, the human being will relate the highest autonomy and Freedom with the highest abundance from life, and, instead of losing them in the world, rather more pull them in the entire infinity of their appearances, and submit the human reason to unity.

This relationship, now, can act in reversely in the human being, and hence, fail his determination in a jointly manner.

He can put the intensity which the acting force demands, on distress, anticipate through the substantial impulse the formal one, and convert the sensitive capacity into the determining one. He can assign expansion, which burdens the passive force, to the active one; can anticipate through the formal impulse, the substantial one, and can put the determining capacity under the sensitive one.

In the first case, he will never be himself, in the second, he will never be someone else, and precisely because in both cases he is none of both, consequently he is worthless.

Would the sensible impulse be, namely, determining; would sense decide of the legislator, and would the world oppress the person, hence, the person ceases, in the same relationship, to be object as he becomes power.

As soon as the human being is only a content of time, hence, he is not content, and he has, consequently, also not any content. With his personality, his condition is also put to an end, because both are reciprocal concepts, because change demands recurrence, and the limited reality demands infinity.

Would the formal impulse be sensitive, i.e. the mental power anticipates the sentiment, and would the person be substituting himself to the world, hence, the person ceases, in the same relationship, to be an autonomous force and a subject, as he forces through in place of the object, because recurrence demands change, and the absolute reality demands delimitations for its pronouncement.

As soon as the human being is only form, hence, he has not any form, and with the condition, consequently, the person is also abolished. In a word: only so far as he is autonomous, is reality external to him, is he receptive; only so far as he is receptive, is reality in him, is he a thinking power. Both impulses have also delimitation and, so far as they will be thought of as energies, then, necessarily as a restriction, for the first one, because it enters not in the territory of legislation, for the second one, because it enters not in the territory of sentiment.

The first one may be a restrain of the sensible impulse but, by any means, not the effect of a physical incapacity and a dullness of the sensation which everywhere only serves contempt; it must be an act of Freedom, an activity of the person, which through its moral intensity moderates the sensible one, and through prevalence of the impressions, removes depth from them, in order to give them a surface. The character must determine its limits according to temperament; for, sense may only lose itself in spirit.

This curtail of the formal impulse may equally less be the effect of a spiritual incapacity, and a respite of the intellectual or willpower capacity which would be humiliating Humanity. Abundance of sentiments must be its honourable source; sensibility itself must affirm with conquering force its territory, and must contradict the power which the spirit could be well causing it through its predominant activity. In a word: personality must keep the substantial impulse, and sensitivity, the formal impulse or Nature in its pertaining limits.

 

Letter #14

We are, now, led to discuss the concept of such a reciprocal effect between the two impulses where the effectiveness of the one, at the same time, grounds and limits the effectiveness of the other, and where each one individually, directly through that fact, demands for its highest pronouncement that the other be active.

This reciprocal relationship of both impulses is truly a duty of Reason which the human being is only capable of performing in the completion of his existence. It is, in the strictest sense of the word, the idea of his humanity to be within an infinity which he can always approach closer with time, but which he can never once reach.

“He should not strive to form at the cost of reality, and not strive to reality at the cost of form; much more, he should seek the absolute being through a determined one, and the determined being through an infinite one. He should compare himself to a world, because he is a person, and should be a person, because a world is opposed to him. He should feel, because he is self conscious, and should be self conscious, because he feels.”

That he should really be conform to this idea, consequently, is he, in the full sense of the word a human being, however, he can never bring it in experience, as long as he is only excluding one of these impulses, or only satisfies one according to the other: for so long as he only feels, his person or his absolute existence remains his, and, so long as he only thinks, his existence in time, or his condition remains a secret to him.

If there were cases where he made this double experience concurrently, where he would, at the same time, be conscious of his freedom, and feel his existence where he simultaneously felt himself as material, and learned to know himself as spirit, hence, he would have in these cases, and simply only in these ones, a complete vision of his humanity, and the subject, which this vision has created in him, would serve to him as symbol of his achieved determination, consequently (because this is to be reached only in the entirety of time), to an exhibition of infinity.

Supposing that cases of this kind could be happening in experience, hence, they would be awakening a new impulse in him which precisely because the two others act together in him; each one, considered individually, is opposed to the other, and would be rightfully called a new impulse.

The sensible impulse wants that there be change, that time has a content; the formal impulse wants that time be handled, that there be not any change. This first impulse in which both act in conjunction (for the present, allow me to call it playful impulse; for it is so for me, until I will justify myself later about this calling), the playful impulse, hence, would be directed there, to abolish time in time, to unite becoming with absolute being, to unite change with identity.

The sensible impulse will be determined, it will receive its object; the sensible impulse will determine itself, it will produce its object; the playful impulse, hence, will strive to receive the same way as it has been itself produced, and hence, to produce, the same way as sense strives to receive.

The sensible impulse excludes from its object any autonomy and freedom, the formal impulse excludes from its, any dependence, any submissiveness. The exclusion of freedom is only a physical necessity; the exclusion of submissiveness is a moral one. Both impulses compel, hence, the mind; the first one through the laws of Nature, the other one through the laws of Reason. The playful impulse, hence, in which both impulses act in concurrence, will compel the mind, at the same time, morally and physically; it will, hence, because it abolishes any fortuity, also abolish any coercion, and put the human being in freedom physically as well as morally.

If we embrace with passion someone who deserves our contempt, hence, we feel embarrassingly the coercion of Nature. If we have enmity against someone who did not show us respect, hence, we feel embarrassingly the coercion of Reason. As soon as that person, simultaneously, has aroused an interest for our inclination and earned our respect, hence, disappears the constraint of sentiment as well as the constraint of Reason, and we start to love that someone, which means that we are playing concurrently with our inclination and our respect.

While the sensible impulse compels us further physically, and the formal impulse further morally; hence, the first one allows our formal condition to be fortuitous, while the other one allows our material one to be fortuitous; it means that it is fortuitous whether our fortune will be in accord with our perfection, or whether the second impulse will be in accord with the first one.

The playful impulse, hence, in which both act together, will make fortuitous simultaneously our formal and material condition, simultaneously our perfection and our felicity, it will, hence, abolish again fortuity in both, precisely because it makes both fortuitous, and because with necessity disappears also fortuity, it will abolish fortuity in both, consequently, bring form in the substance, and reality in form.

In the same amount with which it acquires its dynamic influence from sentiments and affects, it will agree them with the ideas of Reason, and in the same amount with which it expresses its moral compel to the laws of Reason, it will reconcile them with the sensible interest.

 

Letter #15

I am reaching ever closer the goal which I have led you towards on a less travelled road. Allow me to pursue even further the progress, so that an even freer field of understanding will be accessible to us, and maybe, a bright prospect will reward the difficulties of the road.

The subject of sensible impulse, expressed in a general concept, is called life, taken in its widest significance; a concept which translates in its meaning all the material existence, and all the immediate present.

The subject of formal impulse, expressed in a general concept, is called figure in the general as well as in the specific meaning; a concept which encompasses under itself all the formal conditions of something, and all its relations to the intellectual power.

The subject of playful impulse, presented into a general pattern, could also mean lively figure, a concept which is used for all the aesthetic conditions of appearances, and in a word, designates what people call, in its widest meaning, Beauty.

Through this explanation, if it was one, Beauty will neither be stretched to the whole territory of the lively, nor only included in it.

A block of marble, even if it is and remains lifeless, can become, nevertheless, lively figures through the work of the architect and the sculptor; a human being, in that sense, no matter how he lives and has form, is still not a lively figure.

From this fact, we derive that his figure is life, and that his life is figure. As long as we think only about his figure, it is lifeless, sheer abstraction; as long as we feel it only, then his life is without any figure, just only impression.

Only while his form lives in our sentiment, and his life takes form in our understanding, is he a lively figure; and this will be the case whenever we judge him beautiful.

However, even if we know how to define the components which in their combination produce Beauty, it still does not explain, in any way, its genesis; for in order to do so, it would be required that the human being conceives himself this combination which remains still incomprehensible to us, as is, generally, incomprehensible any reciprocal action between the finite and the infinite.

Reason makes this demand on transcendental grounds: there should be cohesion between formal and substantial impulse, which means that it is a playful impulse, because only the unity of reality with form, the unity of fortuity with necessity, the unity of submissiveness with Freedom completes the concept of Humanity.

It must make this demand, because it is Reason, because it still compels its existence to the achievement and to the elimination of any limits; any exclusive activity of one or the other impulse, however, leaves the human nature incomplete, and is the foundation of a limit in itself.

Therefore, we soon make the following judgement: Humanity should exist; and it has also established a law for itself: there should be Beauty. Experience can prove to us, if a Beauty there is, and we will know it, as soon as it has instructed us, if there is Humanity. But how can there be a Beauty, and how can Humanity be possible, if neither Reason nor experience can teach them to us?

The human being, we know, is neither exclusively matter, nor exclusively spirit. Beauty, as achievement of his humanity, can, hence, neither only be exclusively life, as is being affirmed by talented observers who rely too specifically on reports provided from experiences, and from which the taste of time would very much like to pull it from; nor can it be exclusively figure, as is being judged by speculative, worldly wise men who are too far removed from experience, and by reasoning artists who allow themselves, in the explanation of the same phenomenon, to be directed markedly by the need of art: it is the common object of both impulses, that is, of the playful impulse.

This name justifies perfectly the language use which attributes to the word play anything that is neither subjectively, nor objectively fortuitous, and hence, compels neither externally nor internally.

As the mind finds itself in a cheerful, central point between law and need before the manifestation of the beautiful, hence, it is precisely because it shares itself between both that it evades the constraint of the one and the other.

It is serious with its demands for substantial impulse as well as for formal impulse, because the first one relates, through knowledge, to reality, while the second to the necessity of something; because both, hence, through action, are directed to Truth and perfection, the first one by the preservation of life, the second by the protection of dignity.

However, it is indifferent to life as soon as dignity also interferes in, and does not need duty any more as soon as inclination intervenes; in this same way, the mind envisages freer and calmer the reality of something, its material truth as soon as such a formal truth encounters the law of necessity, and feels not itself any more distraught by Abstraction as soon as the immediate apparition can accompany it.

In a word: when it has something in common with ideas in general, reality loses its earnestness, and becomes smaller, and when it encounters sentiment, necessity gets rid of its earnestness, because it becomes lighter.

Have you not, however, already for long, been seeking to oppose my views on the subject? Would the beautiful not be humiliated, as now, people make of it a blunt play, and equates it with frivolous subjects which have always been in possession of this name?

Does it not contradict the concept of Reason and the dignity of Beauty, which will be, hence, considered as an instrument of culture, to limit it bluntly to a play; and does it not contradict the experimental concepts of the play, which can exist with the exclusion of any taste, to limit it only to Beauty?

But, what means, therefore, a mere play, now that we know, that among all the human circumstances, immediately the play and only the play makes him complete, and unfolds at once his double nature?

What you call limitation in your presentation of the matter, I call extension in mine which I have justified through proofs. I would also say in return, hence, much more: the human being is only earnest with the pleasant, with the good, with the perfect; but he plays with Beauty. Indeed, we may not remind ourselves, here, of the games which are going on in real life, and which usually tends only to very material subjects, but in real life, we would also seek in vain Beauty, of which the discourse is about here.

The real accessible Beauty is worth the real, accessible playful impulse; but through the ideal of Beauty which Reason establishes, an ideal of the playful impulse is also given, ideal which people should have before their eyes in all their plays.

One will never err if one seeks the human being’s ideal of Beauty on the namely course which he takes to satisfy his playful impulse.

If the Greek nations, during the battle games in Olympia, enjoyed the bloodless competition of force, speed, dexterity, and appreciated the noble contest of talents; and if, to the contrary, the Roman people allowed battles to continue until the death of a succumbed gladiator, or of his Libyan adversary; hence, it becomes conceivable to us from this unique trait, that we must look for the ideal figures of a Venus, of a Juno, of an Apollo not in Rome, but rather in Greece.

Now, however, Reason speaks: the Beautiful should not only be life, and not only be real figure, but rather also be lively form; that is, Beauty, in the sense that Beauty dictates voluntarily to the human being the double law of absolute formality and absolute reality.

The following remark should also be made: people should only be playing with Beauty, and should only with Beauty be playing.

Hence, to finally state it hastily: the human being plays only, whenever he is, in the full meaning of the word, human; and he is only totally human, whenever he plays.

This sentence, which in this moment may appear paradoxical, will have a great and deep meaning, if we first should consider using it upon the double earnestness that duty and destiny represent; it will carry then, this I promise you, the whole construction of aesthetic Art, and the even more difficult art of living.

But this sentence is also only unexpected in science; for long, it lived and acted in Art, and in the feeling of the Greeks who were their most distinguished master; only that they located up in Olympus, a play that should be occurring down on earth.

Led by Truth itself, they let earnestness and work, which furrow the cheeks of the mortals, as well as the vain lust, which smoothes the emptiness of expression, disappear from the forehead of the holy gods, set the eternally happy people free from the chains linked to every goal, every duty, every care; and made idleness and indifference part of the envied fate of divine status: a truly human name to qualify the freest and most sublime being.

The material constraints of natural rules, as well as the spiritual constraints of morals laws have lost themselves in their higher concept of necessity which covered both worlds, at the same time, and from the unity of this double necessity, true Freedom followed first from them.

Enthused by this spirit, they removed from the traits of their ideal, at the same time as the inclination, also any trace of the willpower; or better, they made both unknown, because they knew how to bond both in the most inner union.

It is neither grace nor dignity which speaks to us with the wonderful face of a Ludovisi Juno; it is none of both, because it is, at the same time, both. While the goddess forces our veneration, the godlike woman inflames our love; but while we devote ourselves to dissolve the celestial charm, the vision of celestial self-command frightens us again.

The whole figure rests and resides in itself, it is a completely finished creation, and as if it were on the other side of Space where there is not any surrender, not any resistance; there, there is not a power which struggles against others; there, there is not any frail spots through where temporality could be entering.

Seized and pulled without any resistance on one side, kept at a distance on the other, we find ourselves, simultaneously, in the highest state of rest and the highest state of liveliness, and then, emerges this wonderful emotion for which intelligence has not any concept and language not any name.

 

Letter #16

From the interaction of two opposed impulses, and the relationship of two opposed principles, we have seen emerging the Beautiful which highest ideal is to be sought in the most possible perfect union and equilibrium of reality and form.

This equilibrium remains, however, always an idea which can never really be realized. In reality, a surplus of one element over the other will always remain, and the highest that experience can perform will take place in a variation between both principles, where sometimes reality, sometimes form is prevailing.

Beauty in idea is, hence, eternally only an indivisible, unique Beauty, because there can only be a unique equilibrium; Beauty in experience, to the contrary, will eternally be a two sided Beauty, because a variation of the balance can be obtained in a double manner, namely, by opting for one side or the other.

I have made the remark in one of the former letters, and it also proceeds from the connection of the previous ones with a rigorous necessity, that from the Beautiful, at the same time, is expected a dissolving and an exerting effect: a dissolving one, in order for the sensible as well as the formal impulse to fill the space within the other's borders; an exerting one, in order for both impulses to conserve their forces.

These two ways of acting should, however, according to the idea of Beauty, simply be unique. They should dissolve, since they exerted both natures uniformly, and should exert, since they dissolved both natures uniformly.

While it also sets into activity the formal impulse at the same time as the essential impulse, it has removed both of their limits; by keeping both within one another’s limits; it has also given both the respective freedom. This already proceeds from the concept of interaction in which the parts require mutually and necessarily each other, and will be required by each other, and which purest product is Beauty.

However, experience does not offer to us any example of such a perfect reciprocal effect, but rather every time, more or less, the excess will institute a deficiency, and the deficiency will be the ground for an excess.

Hence, what will differ only in their presentation in the ideal Beauty, is different according to their existence in the experimental Beauty.

The ideal Beauty, although indivisible and simple, shows in its various relationships a fusing as well as an energetic particularity; in experience there is a fusing and an energetic Beauty.

So it is, and so it will be in all the cases, whenever the absolute is situated within the limits of time, and whenever ideas about Reason should be realized in Humanity.

Hence, the thoughtful human being thinks about Virtue, Truth, and Felicity; while the active human being will only exercise virtues, will just seize Truth, and will just appreciate the happy days. To bring the second one back to the first one, i.e. to consign morality in place of morals, knowledge in place of discoveries, felicity in place of happiness; is the responsibility of the physical and moral education; to make from beauties, Beauty, is the duty of aesthetic education.

The energetic Beauty can protect the human being very little from a certain remnant of roughness and rudeness, as the fusing Beauty can protect him from a certain degree of weakness and nervousness.

For, as it is the effect of the first one to strain the mind in the physical aspect as well as in the moral, and to increase its speed; hence, it happens only much too easily that the resistance of the temperament and the character lessens the sensitivity for impressions;

that the tender Humanity also experiences oppression which raw Nature should only be experiencing;

and that raw Nature shares a winning force which should only be valid for the free person;

in that respect, people find in the age of power and abundance, the true greatness of presentation, together with the truly gigantic and the truly adventurous, and find sublime attitude together with the most shameful outbreaks of passion;

consequently, people will find Nature in the age of rule and form, as often oppressed as prevailing, as often wounded as overwhelming.

And because the effect of the fusing Beauty is to bring the mind together into the moral as well as the physical realms; hence, it happens also very easily that with the power of desires, the energy of feelings will also be suffocated, and that the character also experiences a loss of strength which only passion should be experiencing: in this respect, in the so-called refined society, people will often degenerate delicateness into weakness, surface into platitude, correctness into emptiness, liberality into fortuity, lightness into frivolity, rest into apathy, and see the most despicable caricature nearing the most wonderful humanism.

For the human being under either the material or formal constraints, hence, the fusing Beauty is a need; for he is, already for long, touched by greatness and force, before he begins to be sensitive to harmony and graciousness.

For the human being under the indulgence of taste, the energetic Beauty is a need; because he forfeits only very willingly a power which he brought over from the state of wildness into the state of refinement.

And for the moment, I believe, this contradiction, which people care to bring in the judgements of the human being about the influence of Beauty and in the appreciation of aesthetic culture, will be explained and abolished.

This contradiction is explained, as soon as people remind themselves, that there is in an experience a twofold Beauty, and that these two parts of Beauty affirm together the whole human genre which each individual part is only capable to prove in a specific manner.

This contradiction is abolished, as soon as people differentiate the double need of Humanity, to which this double Beauty corresponds. Both parts will apparently, hence, be right, if they, first, only understand what kind of Beauty and what form of Humanity they each have in mind.

I will pursue in the course of my inquiries the way which Nature successfully took with the human being in the aesthetic domain, and make it also mine; and will elevate myself, in the same way as Beauty, to the concept of human genre.

I will prove the effects of the fusing Beauty on the exerted human being, and the effects of the energetic one on the dissipated human being, in order, finally, to eliminate the two opposing sorts of Beauty in the unity of the ideally beautiful, the same way as these two opposing forms of Humanity vanish in the unity of the ideal human being.

 

Letter #17

So long as the matter is generally about deriving the general idea of Beauty from the concepts of human nature, we may not remind ourselves of any other limits of human nature than the obvious ones which are grounded in the essence of the same human nature, and which are inseparable from the concept of the finite.

Unconcerned about the fortuitous limitations, which it would like to suffer in the real appearance, we created the concept of the same human nature immediately from Reason as source of any necessity, and with the ideal of Humanity, the ideal of Beauty was also simultaneously given.

Now, however, we come down from the region of ideas to the showplace of reality in order to meet the human being in a determined condition; consequently, among the limitations which flow not only originally from his concept, but rather from external circumstances and from a fortuitous use of his freedom.

However, no matter in how many multiple manners the idea of Humanity may be limited in him; hence, the blunt content of the same Humanity teaches us already, that in total, only two opposed deviations can occur from it. Should his perfection lie, namely, in the agreeing energy of his sensible and spiritual forces; hence, he can lack this perfection only either through a lack of agreement, or through a lack of energy.

Before we have questioned, hence, the proofs of experience concerning it, we are already certain, through sheer reason, that we will find the real, and consequently, limited human being, either in this condition of exhaustion, or in a condition of serenity; depending on whether the unilateral activity of individual forces disturbs the harmony of his existence, or the unity of his nature itself is grounded on the uniform quiescence of his sensible and spiritual forces.

Both opposed limits will, as should now be proved, be abolished through Beauty which in the exerted human being produces again harmony, while in the dissipated human being it produces again energy; and in this manner, their nature leads back accordingly from the limited condition to an absolute one, and makes of the human being a completed whole in himself.

It denies, hence, in reality not in any way the concept which we seized from it in speculation; only that it has unequally lesser room in reality than in speculation, where we should be using it in relation to the pure concept of Humanity.

As experience shows him, Beauty finds in the human being an already corrupted and opposing substance which deprives it much of its ideal perfection, as he interferes with his individual condition.

In reality, Beauty will present itself, in that respect, everywhere only as a specific and limited specie, never as a pure genre; it will remove from the exerted minds their freedom and diversity; it will remove from the

dissipated ones their lively force; to us, however, who have, now, been more trustful with its true character, this opposing appearance will not confuse.

Far from determining its concept from individual experiences as multitude of critics do, and to make them responsible for the shortcomings which people point out as being under the influences of these individual experiences, we know much more that it is the human being who carries over to Beauty the imperfections of his individual, which through his subjective limitation stays unceasingly in the way of its completion, and reduces its absolute ideal into two limited forms of appearance.

For an exerted mind, the fusing Beauty would be affirmed, and for a dissipated one, it is the energetic Beauty. Exerted, however, I call the human being, if he finds himself under the constraints of sentiments, as well as under the constraints of concepts.

Any exclusive prevalence of one of his two principal impulses is for him a state of constraint and violence; and Freedom lies only in the reciprocal action of his two natures.

The person who is dominated unilaterally by feelings, or is exerted sensibly, will be dissipated and set free through form; the person who is dominated unilaterally by laws, or is exerted spiritually, will be dissipated and set free through the material.

The fusing Beauty, in order to perform this double duty sufficiently, will appear, hence, in two different shapes.

It will, firstly, as resting form, soften the wild life, and will clear the way from sentiments to thoughts; it will provide, secondly, as lively image, the remote form with a sensible power, it will lead back concept to manifestation, and law to feeling.

It performs the first service to the natural man, the second one, to the affected man. However, because it commands not really freely, in both cases, over its substance, but rather depends on the one which commands either its formless Nature, or its counter-nature Art; hence, it will still carry, in both cases, traces of its origins, and will diffuse itself, in the second case, more in material life, and in the first case, more in sheer remote form.

To provide us with a concept of how Beauty can be a means used to lift this double strain; we must seek the origin of the same Beauty in the human mind itself. Please, resolve yourself, hence, for a short visit in the realm of speculation, in order to abandon it afterwards for always, and advance with ever more determined steps into the field of experience.

 

Letter #18

Through Beauty, the sensible human being will be led to form and to thinking; through Beauty the spiritual human being will be led back to material, and be returned to the sensible world.

From this seems to follow, that there must be a medium state between material and form, between submissiveness and activity, and that only Beauty brings us into this state. Most people develop this concept really from Beauty, as soon as they have started to reflect over its effects, and experience also confirm this view.

On the other side, however, nothing is more illogical and contradicting than such a concept, as the interval between material and form, between passiveness and activity, between feeling and thinking is infinite, and simply cannot be mediated.

How do we solve, now, this contradiction? Beauty mediates these two opposing states of feeling and thinking, and, hence, there is simply not any intermediary state between both. The first one is ascertained through experience, while the other one is ascertained immediately through Reason.

This is the specific point which, finally, amounts to the whole question over Beauty, and, hence, we have succeeded to solve this problem satisfactorily, at the same time, we have found the way which leads us through the whole labyrinth of Aesthetics.

It is depending, however, in this case, on two highly different operations which in this research must necessarily support each other. Beauty, it is understood, links together two conditions which are opposed to one another, and can never be united. We must start from this opposition; we must understand and recognize it in its whole purity and rigorousness, so that both conditions differ on the most determining aspect; otherwise, we meddle, but do not unite.

Secondly, it means that Beauty joins these two opposed conditions, and disposes, hence, of the opposition. But because both conditions remain eternally opposed to one another; hence, they are not joined otherwise than when they are abolished.

Our second occupation is, hence, to make this combination perfect, to lead it throughout so purely and completely that both conditions disappear totally in a third one, and not any trace of the separation is perceptible in the whole; otherwise, we isolate but do not unite.

All disagreements which have prevailed sometimes in the philosophical world over the concept of Beauty, and still partially prevail today, have not any other origin than either with people who did not start the inquiry from a properly rigorous differentiation, or people who did not lead the inquiry into a completely pure correlation.

The persons, among philosophers, who trust blindly the course of their feeling in the reflection over this subject, cannot expect a concept from Beauty, because they differentiate not, in the sum of all the sensible impressions, anything individual.

The other persons, who take exclusively intelligence as guide, can never receive a concept from Beauty, because they see, in the total of the same Beauty, nothing else than the parts, and spirit and material, in their most perfect unity, remain eternally unknown to them.

The first ones feared to abolish Beauty dynamically, that is, as acting force, when they should only be separating what is combined in a feeling; the others feared to abolish Beauty logically, that is, as concept, when they should only be concentrating themselves on what is, hence, separated in the mind.

The first ones will equally think of Beauty, through the way it acts; the second ones will let it act, in the way it is conceived.

Both must, hence, lack Truth: the first ones, because they imitate it with their limited intellectual capacity concerning the infinite Nature; the others, because they want to limit the infinite Nature according to their intellectual laws.

The first ones feared, through a too severe partition of Beauty, to deprive it from its freedom; the others feared to destroy the determination of its concept through a really audacious combination.

The first ones think not, however, that freedom, in which they put rightfully the existence of Beauty, is not lawlessness, but rather harmony of laws, it is not fortuity, but rather the highest inner necessity; the others think that the determination, which they demand with equal right from Beauty, consists not of the exclusion of certain realities, but rather of the absolute inclusion of all, that it is, hence, not limitation, but rather infinity.

We will avoid the obstacles upon which both have failed, if we begin with the two elements in which Beauty parts with intelligence, but lift ourselves, afterwards, up to the pure aesthetic unity, through which it acts, and in which both these states completely disappear.

 

Letter #19

Two different conditions of passive and active determinability can be mainly differentiated in the human being, and equally many conditions of passive and active determination.

The explanation of this sentence leads us most rapidly to the goal. The condition of the human spirit before any determination, which will be given to it through the sensible impressions, is a determinability without any limit. The endlessness of Space and Time is devoted to its capacity of conceptualization for free use, and because, according to the supposition, nothing is settled in this broad range of all possible occurrences; consequently, nothing is also excluded, hence, one can call this condition of non-determination, an empty endlessness which, by any means, is not to be confused with an endless emptiness.

Now, his sense should be emotionally moved, and should only retain a unique reality from the endless number of possible determinations. A presentation should take place inside his mind. What was nothing more than an empty capacity in the precedent condition of blunt determinability, will become, now, an acting force which received a content at the same time; however, it keeps, as acting force, a border, as it, as blunt capacity, was without any borders.

Hence, reality is there, but endlessness is lost. In order to describe a figure in space, we must border the endless space, in order to present ourselves a change in time; we must divide the totality of time.

We succeeded, hence, only to access reality through limitations, only to access a position, or a real hold through negation or deduction, only to access determination through abolition of our free determinability. But, in eternity, any reality would not proceed from a sheer exclusion; and in eternity, any presentation would not proceed from a sheer sensible sentiment, if something were not existing from which something can be deducted, if from an absolute intellectual act, negation does not relate to something positive, and if from refutation comes not opposition; this intellectual action is called judging or thinking, and its result is thought.

Before we can determine a point in space, there is not, in general, space for us; but without the absolute space we would never be any more capable of determining a point. It is the same with time. Before we can have a moment, there is not, in general, any time left to us; but without the eternal time, we would never be having a presentation of a moment. We succeeded, hence, indeed, only through the part to access the whole, only through the whole to the unlimited; but we succeeded also only through the whole to the part, only through the unlimited to the limit.

If, now, it can be affirmed of the Beautiful that it allows the human being to have a transition from feeling to thinking; hence, this is, by any means, not to be understood as if the Beautiful could be filling the gap which separates feeling and thinking, submissiveness and activity; this gap is endless and in eternity, without the intermediation of a new and independent capacity, anything general cannot proceed from the individual, anything necessary cannot proceed from the fortuitous.

Thought is the immediate action of this absolute capacity which, in truth, must be released through the sense, in order to manifest itself; however, its manifestation depends so little on sensibility, that it is made known much more through opposition to this capacity.

The autonomy which it cares for, excludes any foreign influence, not so much, because it helps the process of thinking (which contains an evident contradiction), but bluntly, because it creates freedom for the intellectual capacities to manifest themselves according to their own laws; Beauty can become a means used to lead the human being from material to form, from sentiments to laws, from a limited to an absolute being. This, however, supposes, that the freedom of the intellectual capacities could be hampered, an assertion which the concept of independent capacity seems to dispute.

A capacity, namely, which receives nothing more from outside than the substance of its own act, can only be hindered through removal of the substance; hence, can only be hindered negatively through its act, and it is misjudging the nature of a spirit, when man adds strength to sensible passions in order to be able to oppress positively the freedom of the mind.

In truth, experience establishes many examples where the forces of Reason seem oppressed to the same extent as the sensible forces act passionately; but instead, by diverting this weakness of the spirit from the strengths of the affect, one must explain this predominating strengths of the affect, much more, through this weakness of the spirit; for, the sense cannot otherwise than present a power against the human being, so far as the spirit has failed to prove itself as such.

While I seek to find, however, through an explanation, a plan, I have, as it seems, changed for another one, and by doing so, have saved the mental autonomy, only at the cost of its unity. For, how can the mind be, at the same time, ground for inactivity and activity, if it is not itself divided, if it is not in opposition with itself?

Here, we must remind ourselves, now, that we have the finite, but not the infinite spirit ahead of us. The finite spirit is the one which becomes active not otherwise than through submissiveness, succeeds only through limits to reach the absolute, only, so far as it receives, handles and forms substance.

Such a spirit will combine, hence, the impulse according to form, or to the absolute, combine the impulse according to substance or limits, as such are the conditions without which it neither have, nor could be satisfying the first impulse. In what respect could two so opposed tendencies exist together in the same existence, is a duty which, in truth, can put the metaphysician, but not the transcendental philosopher in embarrassment.

This last one dispenses not, by any means, himself of explaining the possibility of something, but rather, he is satisfied with instituting the knowledge from which the possibility of the experience will be conceived. And as experience would be less likely to be possible without this opposition in the mind as without its absolute unity, hence, he establishes both concepts with a perfect authority, and the necessary conditions of experience, without having to care further about its suitability.

This cohabitation of two basic impulses contradicts not, by any means, the absolute unity of the spirit, as soon as people only differentiate it from these two impulses.

Both impulses exist and act, in truth, within the spirit but spirit itself is neither material nor form, neither sensibility nor Reason, the impulses, which allow to deal with the human spirit only there where its method agrees with Reason, and where this method contradicts Reason, only explain the spirit as passive, seem not always prudent to have.

Each of these two basic impulses strives, as soon as it has matured, after Nature and necessarily after its satisfaction; but precisely, because both are necessary, and both strive for opposing objects; hence, this double coercion cancel mutually, and the willpower affirms a perfect freedom between both.

Hence, it is the willpower which behaves towards both impulses as a power (as foundation of reality), but none of both can behave as a power for itself, against the other. Through the most positive drive for justice, which he lacks not really, the violent person will not be kept from doing injustice, and, through the most energetic research for enjoyment, the courageous person will not break with his principles.

There is in the human being not any other power than his willpower, and only what abolishes the human being, death and any dispossession of conscience, can abolish the inner freedom. A necessity outside us determines our condition and our life within time, through the means of sensible sentiment. This necessity is really not arbitrary, and hence, we must endure it, as it will be acted upon us.

In the same way, a necessity in ourselves opens our personality, during the realization of this sensible sentiment and through opposition to it, for conscience cannot depend on willpower which it only supposes. This original pronouncement of personality is not our merit, and the lack of it is not our fault. Only from the one who is conscious, can Reason, which means absolute consistency and universality of conscience, be demanded; before that, he is not human, and any act of Humanity cannot be expected from him.

Now, the metaphysician can explain very little the limits which the free and independent spirit suffers through sentiment, the physician conceives equally very little the endlessness which reveals itself in the personality during the realization of these limits.

Neither abstraction nor experience leads us back to the source from which flow our concepts of generality and necessity; since each deprives the observer of its early appearance in time and the metaphysical researcher of its insubstantial origin.

But it is enough when self-consciousness is there, and together with its immutable unity, the law of unity is established for everything that is devoted to the human being, and to everything that should exist through him, that should be set up to his recognition and endeavours.

The concepts of Truth and rightness are already exhibited to people in their age of reason as unavoidable, non-falsifiable and inconceivable, and one notices the notion of eternal in time, and that of the necessity in the succession of fortuity without knowing from where and how it was formed.

Hence, sentiment and self-consciousness arise completely without the support of a subject, and each origin lies equally on this side, on our willpower, as well as on the other side of our circle of knowledge. Should, however, both be real and should the human being have, through the means of sentiment, the experience of a determined existence, should he have made, through self-consciousness, the experience of his absolute existence, hence, both of his two basic impulses also become active with their subjects.

The sensible impulse awakes with the experience of life (with the beginning of the individual), the reasonable with the experience of law (with the beginning of personality), and now, only, after both came into existence, is his humanity built. Until this is happening, everything happens in him according to the law of necessity, now, however, the hand of Nature abandons him, and it is his duty to affirm Humanity which Nature has put and opened in him.

As soon as, namely, two opposed basic impulses are active in him, hence, both lose their coercion, and the opposition of these two necessities is at the origin of freedom.

 

Letter # 20

That Freedom cannot be prompted, emerges already much in evidence from its concept; that Freedom itself is an act of Nature (this word taken in its widest meaning), but not the work of the human being; and the assertion that it, hence, can also be advanced and hampered through natural means, follows also necessarily from the previous affirmation.

Freedom shows, first, its origin if the human being is complete, and his two impulses have developed; it must, hence, be lacking as long as he is incomplete, and one of the two impulses is excluded; and it must be produced again, through everything that gives him back his completeness.

Now, in the whole human genre as well as in the individual human being, a moment actually emerges where the human being is still not complete, and only one of the impulses is exclusively active in him. We know that he begins only with life in order to finish with form, that he earlier is more an individual than a person; that he departs from the limits to head towards the endless.

The sensible impulse comes, hence, into effect earlier than the reasonable one, because sentiment precedes conscience; and in this priority of the sensible impulse, we find an indication about the whole history of human freedom.

For there is, now, a moment where the vital impulse, because the formal impulse acts still not oppositely to it, acts as Nature and as necessity; where sensibility is a power, because the human being has still not completely developed; for if he were developed, he would know that in him, there is not any other power than the willpower.

However, the intellectual condition for which the human being should be aiming, now, Reason should, immediately in return, be a power, and a logical or moral necessity should be introduced in place of this physical one. This power of sentiment must, hence, be destroyed, before law can be brought to it.

It is, hence, not enough that something, which did not exist before, begins to exist; something, which existed before, must cease to exist. The human being cannot immediately pass from feeling to thinking; he must take a step back, because only while a determination will be abolished again, can the determination opposed to it be introduced. He must, hence, instantaneously free himself from any determination, and put himself into a condition of sheer determinability, in order to exchange submissiveness into autonomy, to exchange a passive determination into an active one.

He must return, in a certain manner, to this negative condition of the sheer non-determination, in which he found himself before something made an impression on his sense.

This condition, however, was in terms of content completely empty, and now what matters is to unite the same non-determination, and an equally unlimited determinability with the greatest possible countenance, because something positive should follow immediately from this condition.

The determination, which he felt through sensation, must be applied, hence, because he may lose reality; at the same time, however, it must, so far as it is delimitation, be abolished, because an unlimited determinability should take place.

The duty is, hence, at the same time, to destroy and to conserve the determination of the condition which only is possible in a unique manner: that one opposes it to another determination. The two sides of a balance remain in equilibrium whenever they are empty; they remain, however, still in equilibrium whenever each contains the same weight.

The mind goes, hence, from sentiment to thought through an intermediate mood in which sensibility and reason are, at the same time, active; precisely for that reason, however, their determining power cancel each other, and through an opposition, cause a negative effect.

This intermediate mood in which the mind compels neither physically nor morally, and hence, is active on both sides, deserves preferably to be called a free mood, and when one calls the condition of sensible determination, physical, and calls the condition of reasonable determination only but logical and moral; hence, one must call this condition of real and active determinability the aesthetic one.

A human being can be agreeable to us through his courtesy; he can make us think with his conversation; he can impose respect to us through his character; finally, independently of all these, without possibly taking into consideration, when judging him, neither a law, nor an objective, he can also please us with his sheer appearance, and through his sole manner of appearing. In this last quality, we judge him aesthetic.

Hence, there is an education about health, an education about insight, an education about morality, an education about taste and Beauty. This last one has the intention to form the whole of our sensible and spiritual forces in the most possible harmony.

Because, for now, one is led by false taste, and ascribed even more through a false reasoning to this error, to remove the concept of arbitrariness very much from the concept of aesthetics; hence, I still remark here in vain (even if these letters about aesthetic education deal with almost nothing else than refuting this error), that the mind acts in the aesthetic state, in truth, freely and in the highest degree, freely of any constraint, but, by any means, not free from any law; and that this aesthetic freedom differentiates itself from the logical necessity in the willpower, only in the sense that laws, to where consequently the mind is led, will not be solicited, and because these laws do not encounter any resistance, they are not perceived as coercion.

 

Letter #21

There is, as I have remarked in the beginning of the previous letter, a double condition of determinability and a double state of determination. Now, I can explain this sentence distinctively. The mind is determinable, bluntly, so far as it, overall, is not determined; it is however still determinable, so far as it is not exclusively determined, that is, it is not limited in its determination.

The first condition is only non-determination (it is without limits, because it has not any reality); the second one is aesthetic determinability (it has not any limits, because it unites all realities). The mind is determined, so far as it, in general, is only limited; it is, however, also determined so far as it limits itself on its own absolute capacity.

In the first case, it finds itself when it feels; in the second one, when it thinks. Hence, what thinking is in regard to determination; is also what aesthetic constitution is in regard to determinability; the first one is limitation from an inner, endless force; the second one is a negation coming from the inner, endless abundance.

Hence, the same way as feeling and thinking affect emotionally one another at a unique point, knowing that the mind determines both conditions, knowing that the human being is, in an exclusive manner, something - either an individual or a person -, however, otherwise, they separate one another in infinity:

hence, the aesthetic determinability joins directly the blunt non-determination at a unique point; in the sense that both exclude any determined existence, because in all the remaining points, such as nothing and everything, they are eternally different.

If, hence, the last one, from lack of non-determination, is presented as an empty endlessness, hence, the aesthetic freedom of determination, which is the real counterpart of the same endlessness, will be considered as a fulfilled endlessness; a presentation which coincides most precisely with the one taught by the preceding inquiries.

In the aesthetic condition is the human being, hence, nil, in so far as one looks only at an individual result, but not at the whole capacity; and considers only the lack of every particular determination in him. In that respect, one must perfectly acknowledge this lack which the Beautiful and the mood, into which it conveys our mind, hold for completely indifferent and unfruitful, in regard to knowledge and dispositions.

You are perfectly right, for Beauty gives not simply any single result neither for intelligence, nor for willpower, it leads not to any single goal, neither intellectually, nor morally, it finds not any individual truth, helps us not to fill any individual duty and it is, in a word, equally inept to ground the character, and to clear the mind.

In the aesthetic culture lies, hence, the personal value of a human being or his dignity, so far as, only these can depend on himself, so far as only these can still completely be undetermined, and for the moment,

nothing is reached further than what precisely is made possible to him by Nature, to make of himself what he wants – that the freedom to be what he wants to be, is completely reinstated.

Precisely through that, however, something endless is reached. For, as soon as we remind ourselves that this freedom would be immediately removed from him through the unilateral coercion of Nature in feeling, and through the exclusive legislation of Reason in thinking; hence, we must consider the capacity which will be reinstated in him in the aesthetic disposition, as the highest of all donations, as the donation of Humanity.

Indeed, he possesses this Humanity, according to the aptitude, already before any determined condition which he can come across to, but he loses it, according to the act, with every determined condition in which he comes across to, and Humanity must be, every time, reinstated anew to him through aesthetic life, whenever he should be undergoing an incompatible condition.

It is, hence, not really poetically allowed, but rather philosophically correct when people call Beauty our second creator. For if Beauty also makes only possible Humanity to us, and if it is left to our remaining free willpower to make the extent of its reality, hence, Beauty has, indeed, in common with our original creator, Nature, to share with us in the same way nothing more than the capacity to reach Humanity, the use of the same capacity is left only but to our own willpower determination.

 

Letter #22

Hence, if the mental aesthetic disposition must be considered void, as soon as one directs, namely, his attention on individual and determined acts; hence, it is to be viewed again, in other regards, as a condition of the highest reality, so far as one views, in such disposition, the absence of any limit, and the sum of the forces which are active jointly within.

Hence, one can little blame the people who hold the aesthetic condition for the most fruitful in regard to knowledge and morality. They are perfectly right; for a state of mind, which conceives within itself the whole of Humanity, according to this capacity, must also necessarily enclose every individual manifestation of the same Humanity; a state of mind, which removes any limit from the whole of human nature, must also necessarily remove these limits from every individual manifestation of the same Humanity.

Precisely because it takes not exclusively in protection any individual function of Humanity; hence, it is favorable, indifferently, to anyone of these functions, and only for this reason, it favors not, indeed, any individual function in particular, because it is the basis for everything else to be possible.

All the other exercises give to the mind, somehow, a particular fate, but they also set for it, by this fact, a particular limit; the aesthetic disposition alone leads toward the unlimited.

Every other condition in which we can come across to, leads us back to a previous one, and requires us to solve a following one; only the aesthetic is a whole in itself, as it unites all the conditions of its origins and its continuity.

Only in this condition, we feel separated from time; and our humanity manifests itself with purity and integrity, as it has still not experienced any rupture due to the influence of external forces.

Whatever flatters our senses in the immediate sentiment, is what opens our soft and flexible mind to every impression; but makes us also, in the same degree, less capable to effort. Whatever extends our intellectual capacities, and invites us to encompass abstract concepts, is what reinforces our spirit to be capable to any kind of contradiction; but it also hardens it in the same extent, and robs us equally of much sensibility as it helps us acquire a greater independence.

Precisely for that reason, the first as the second condition leads, finally, necessarily to creation, because substance cannot do for long without plastic force, because force cannot do for long without the force of the docile substance.

Should we have given ourselves, to the contrary, to the enjoyment of an authentic Beauty; hence, we are in such a moment master of our submissive and active forces in equal measure, and with equal ease, we will turn ourselves to earnestness and to play, to rest and to movement, to yieldingness and to resistance, to abstract thinking and to contemplation.

This high constancy and freedom of the spirit, linked with force and vigor, is the disposition in which an authentic artwork should put us into, and there is not any other secure criterion for judging the truly aesthetic object than this disposition.

Should we find ourselves after an enjoyment of this kind, in a mood for a specific way of feeling, or preferably of acting, and after another enjoyment, to the contrary, in an awkward and gloomy mood; hence, this is an unmistakable proof that we have not experienced a pure aesthetic act; either with the subject, or with our way of feeling, or with both at the same time (as almost always is the case).

As in reality, any pure aesthetic effect is not encountered (for the human being can never escape the dependence upon forces); hence, the perfection of an artwork can consist only of its greater closeness to any ideal of aesthetic purity, and in every freedom which one may raise it into; hence, we will leave it, always in a particular disposition, and towards a specific direction.

The more general, now, is the disposition, and the lesser limited is the direction, which our mind will be given itself through a determined artistic genre and through a determined product from the same arts, the nobler is this genre, and the more perfect is such a product. One can attempt this with works from different arts, and with different works of the namely art.

We part from a concert of beautiful music with an enthusiastic sentiment, from a reading of beautiful poem with an animated capacity of conceptualization, from a vision of a beautiful image and construction with awakened understanding; however, he who would invite us, immediately after a highly musical enjoyment, to abstract thinking, he who would require us, immediately after a highly poetical enjoyment, to a regular occupation of the everyday life, he who would require an effort, immediately after the appreciation of beautiful paintings and sculptures, of our capacity of conceptualization, and would like to surprise our feeling; such a person would not appropriately choose his or her time.

The reason is that even the most spiritual music always stays in greater affinity, through its material, with sense than the true aesthetic freedom can ever afford; because the happiest poem always have more participation in the arbitrary and fortuitous plays of imagination, as its medium than the inner necessity of the truly Beautiful can authorize; because the most perfect image, and maybe, this is mostly the cases, also edges on the limit of serious science through the determinability of its concept.

Though these particular affinities disappear with every higher degree, which a work reaches from these three artistic genres, and though it is a necessary and natural consequence of their completion, that without the displacement of their objective borders, the different arts always have the same effect on the mind.

Music, in its highest refinement, must be figure and acts upon us with the calm power of Antiquity; plastic art in its highest completion must be music, and move us emotionally through immediate, sensible presence; poetry in its most perfect formation must seize us powerfully, the same way as the art of sound; however, it must surround us, the same way as plastic art does, with restful clarity.

In those traits precisely, the perfect style reveals itself in every Art, in which it knows to extend its specific limits further; without, in the process, abolishing its specific preferences; and through a wise use of its specificity, it shares its more general character.

And the artist must overcome through the act, not only the limits which the specific character of his artistic genre brings with itself, but also the ones which are dependent on the particular substance with which he works.

In a truly beautiful artwork, the content should do nothing and the form everything; for through form alone, the whole of the human being will be impacted; to the contrary, through content, will the individual forces only be impacted.

The content, no matter how sublime and comprehensive it may also be; hence, has every time a limited effect on the spirit, and only from form is true aesthetic freedom to be expected.

In that respect, hence, the specific secret of the master’s art consists in consuming the substance through form; and the more imposing, measured and seductive the substance is in itself, the more specific the form comes across with its effect, or the more the observer is enticed to immediately agree with the substance, even more triumphant is the art which compels this form, and affirms its prevalence over this substance.

The mind of the viewers and listeners must remain completely free and intact; it must leave the magic circle of the artist, pure and perfect as if it has just left the hands of the Creator.

The most frivolous subject must be so treated that we felt like immediately ignoring it, in order to set ourselves into the most rigorous earnestness. The most earnest substance must be so dealt that we keep the capacity to exchange it immediately with the easiest games.

The arts of the affect, of which tragedy is, are to be treated seriously: for firstly there are not any completely free arts, as they all stay under the servitude of a particular goal (the pathetic), and because no true art connoisseur may deny that works, even of this class, are the more perfect as they spare the freedom of the mind even in the midst of the highest affective storms.

There is a beautiful art of passion; but a beautiful, passionate art is in itself a contradiction, for the inevitable effect of Beauty is freedom from passions.

Not lesser contradicting is the concept of a beautiful teaching (didactic) or improving (moral) Art; for nothing disputes more the concept of Beauty than giving a determined tendency to the mind.

It proves not always, though, of formlessness in the works, when it acts only on its content; it can often testify, equally, of a lack of form in the person who is judging. Should this one be either too tense, or too inactive, should he be used, either only to agree with intelligence, or only with senses; hence, he will also, in the happiest entirety, hold only on to the parts and, in the most beautiful form, hold only on to the matter.

Only sensitive for the unprocessed element, he must first destroy the aesthetic organization of a work, before he can find an enjoyment in it, and he must carefully polish the individual character which the master has dissolved with infinite artistry in the harmony of the whole. His interest in that matter, either morally or physically, is simply to produce directly what it should be, aesthetic it is not.

Such readers enjoy a serious and pathetic poetry like a preach, and a naïve or humorous poetry like an intoxicating drink; and they were tasteless enough to demand a literary construction from a tragedy and epic drama, even if it were also a “Messiade”; hence, they will take an Anacreon or Catullus song infallibly for a nuisance.

 

Letter # 23

I resume my research at the point, where I have left it, only in order to use the previously established assertions on the practising Art, and on the judgement of its works.

The transition from the passive condition of feeling to the active condition of thinking and willing, happens, hence, not otherwise than through an intermediate condition of aesthetic freedom, and even if this condition, by itself, decides nothing about either our insights or our sentiments, consequently, leaves really and totally problematical our intellectual and moral value; yet, it is the necessary condition under which alone we can succeed to have an insight and a mindset.

In a word: there is not any other way to make the sensible man reasonable than to make him previously aesthetic. However, would you object to me, should this mediation be, all the way through, indispensable? Should not Truth and duty be already able by themselves and through only themselves to find an access into the sensible man?

On this, I must answer: they only cannot, they should really simply thank their determining force, and nothing would be contradicting my previous affirmations more than when they seem to take the opposing opinion under protection.

It has been extensively proven that Beauty is inconsequential for either intelligence or willpower; that it mingles itself not with any mental or decisional process; that it only shares with both a capacity, but throughout determines nothing about the real use of this capacity.

Over this assertion, stumbles every external help, and the purely logical form, the concept, must immediately speak to intelligence; while the purely moral form, the law, must address itself immediately to the willpower.

However, that Beauty can only perform this in general; that there is, in general, only a pure form for the sensible human being; this, I affirm, must first be made possible through the aesthetic disposition of the mind.

Truth is not something that can be felt from outside, the same way as with reality, or the sensible existence of some thing; it is something that the intellectual force brings forward autonomously and in its freedom, and this autonomy, this freedom is indeed, precisely, what we miss in this sensible human being.

The sensible human being is already (physically) determined, and has consequently not any more free determinability: this lost determinability he must necessarily, first, recover, before he can exchange the passive determination with an active one.

He can, however, not otherwise recover it than by either losing the passive determination which he already had, or keeping already in himself the active determination which he should be reaching to. Should he also only lose the passive determination, hence, he would also lose, at the same time, with the same determination, the possibility of having an active one, because thought needs a body; and form can only be realized in a substance.

He will, hence, contain the last one already in himself, he will be determined, at the same time, passively and actively, which means, he must become aesthetic. Through the aesthetic mental disposition, hence, the autonomy of Reason would already be opened on the field of sensibility, the power of sentiment would have already broken its own inner limits, and the physical human being would be already so much refined, that for the moment, the spiritual human being, according to the laws of freedom, needs only to develop from the physical one.

The step from the aesthetic condition to the logic and moral one (from Beauty to Truth and to duty) is in this respect, incessantly much easier than was the step from the physical condition to the aesthetic one (from the really blind life to form). This step, the human being can accomplish only through his freedom, as he needs only to take, and not to give; to individualize only his nature, not to extend it; the aesthetically determined human being will, in general, judge worthily and in general, deal worthily, as soon as he wants to.

Nature must ease for him the step from raw material to Beauty, where a whole new activity should be opened to him, and his willpower cannot command anything over a disposition which, indeed, first, has given existence to willpower. In order to lead the aesthetic human being to insight and great sentiments, one may give him nothing more than important occasions; in order, precisely, for the sensible human being to keep this ability, one must first change his nature.

In the first case, often, nothing else than a sublime situation (which acts immediately on the capacity of the willpower) is needed in order to make of him a hero and a wise man; but for the second one, one must, first, relocate him under another sky.

It is one of the most important duties of culture to submit the human being, already in his sheer physical life, to form and to make him aesthetic, so far as the realm of Beauty can always reach, because only from the aesthetic, and not from the physical can the moral condition develop itself.

Should the human being possess, in any individual case, the capacity to make of his judgement and willpower into a judgement and willpower of the whole human genre; should he find in any limited existence the transition to the infinite, should he be able to find the impulse, in a dependent condition, to vie for autonomy and Freedom, hence, it must be arranged that, at any time, he is not only an individual and only serve the laws of Nature.

Should he be capable and skilled, from the narrow circle of Nature’s objectives to elevate himself to the circle of Reason’s, hence, he must already, within the first circle, be proficient for the second one, and must have already led his physical determination with a certain freedom of spirit, that is, according to the laws of Beauty.

And, in truth, he can do this without, at all, contradicting his physical goal. The demands of Nature to him prevail only on his acts, on the content of his acts; the manner, how he acts, the form of these acts, is really not determined through the goals of Nature.

The demands of Reason, to the contrary, are directed rigorously towards the form of his activity. It is, hence, very necessary for his moral determination that he be pure morally, that he proves an absolute autonomy, but it is indifferent to his physical determination whether he is pure physically, or whether he behaves absolutely in submissiveness.

In regard to this last concern, it is left, hence, really to his arbitrariness, whether he will perform them really as a sensible being and as a force of Nature (as a force namely, which only acts depending on how he is submitted to these demands of Reason), or whether he will perform them, at the same time, as an absolute force, as a reasonable being, and it may be well irrelevant to whichever of both his dignity corresponds more.

Furthermore, no matter how much it lowers and shames him to act from sensible drives, in cases where he should have been determined by the pure motives of duty; it honours and ennobles him so much to strive for lawfulness, for harmony, for non-restriction, in such cases where the common human being only satisfies his allowed demands.

In a word: in the realm of Truth and Morality, the sentiment may not determine anything; but in the surroundings of felicity, form may exist and the playful impulse may command. Hence, here, already, on the indifferent field of physical life, the human being must start his moral life; still in his submissiveness, he must begin his autonomy, still inside his sensible limits, he must begin the freedom of his reason.

He must already surrender his tendencies to the law of his willpower; he must play, if you should allow me the expression, war against the material within its own borders, so that he is dispensed to fight on the sacred ground of Freedom against this terrible enemy; he must learn to desire in a nobler way, so that he does not have to become sublime.

This will be performed through aesthetic culture which submits anything that is neither laws of Nature which oblige the human arbitrariness, nor laws of Reason, to the laws of Beauty; and in the form, which the aesthetic culture gives to the outer life, already opens the inner one.

 

Letter # 24

There are three different phases or levels of development which the individual human being as well as the whole human genre must go through necessarily, and in a determined order, if it should fulfil the full circle of its determination.

Through fortuitous causes which lie either in the influence of the external thing, or in the free arbitrariness of the human being, in truth, each of these individual periods can sometimes be prolonged, sometimes be shortened, but none can really be ignored, and also the order, in which they follow one another, cannot be reversed either through Nature or through willpower.

The human being in his physical condition suffers really under the power of Nature, he gets rid of this power himself in the aesthetic condition, and he dominates it in the moral condition.

What is the human being before Beauty unleashed in him the free interest for everything, and before restful form softens his wild life? He would only be a person, who is eternally uniform in his goals, eternally changing in his judgements, selfish without being himself, unconstrained without being free, slave without serving any rule.

In this era, the world is to him only a destiny, but still not subject; everything has only an existence for him, so far as it creates for him an existence; what does not either give or take him something, is really not concrete for him. Every appearance stands before him individually and isolated, just like he also finds himself in the rank of creation.

Everything that exists; exists for him through the directive of the moment: every change is really a new creation for him; to the necessary in him, the corresponding external necessity, which binds the changing shapes together to form a universe, is lacking; and while the individual moment and shape vanishes, the law of this mechanism holds firmly onto the scene.

In vain, does Nature present its rich variety before his sense; he sees in its splendid abundance nothing more than his loot, in its power and greatness nothing more than his enemy.

Either he runs into the subjects, and will tear them apart in yearning; or the subjects coerce in him in a destructive manner, and he repulses them in abomination. In both cases, his relationship to the sensible world is an instantaneous emotion, and is eternally frightened of its affluence, restlessly tormented by the commanding need, he finds rest nowhere else than in tiredness, and he finds limits nowhere else than in the exhausted yearning.

The powerful chest and the forceful mark of the Titans

Are, in truth, his assured parts of the inheritance;

A God forged a solid band around his forehead:

He hid Counsel, Temperance, Wisdom

And Patience from his shy, dark eyes.

Every yearning becomes rage in him,

And his rage spreads without restraint all around.

(Iphigenia in Tauris)

Unaware of his human dignity, he is even more unable to honour it in others, and conscious of his particularly developed avidity, he fears it in every creature that looks similar to him.

Never has he seen others in himself, only himself in others, and society, instead of stretching him to the human genre, contains him only narrower and narrower in his individual.

In this dull limitation, he wanders through the darkness of life, until a favourable Nature do away with the burden of substance from his dismal thoughts, reflection itself differentiates him from things, and finally, subjects show him the gleam of conscience.

This condition of unrefined Nature is not proved, indeed, as it is depicted here, in any specific people and era; it is only an idea, but an idea which agrees with experience in individual traits most precisely. The human being, can one say, has never completely been in this animal condition, but it has also never really fled from it.

Also in the rawest subjects, one finds unmistakable traces of the freedom of Reason; in the same way, we can find, among the most educated people, instances which remind us of this gloomy natural condition. It was once specific to the human being to unite in his nature the highest and the lowest, and if his dignity rests upon the strict difference he makes of the highest from the lowest, hence, his felicity rests upon a skilful removal of this difference.

Culture, which should bring his dignity into harmony with his felicity, will have to care also for the highest purity of each of both principles in its most inner blend. The first appearance of Reason in the human being is, for that reason, still not the beginning of his humanity. This will be decided, first, through his freedom, and Reason begins, then, when he makes limitless his sensible dependence; a phenomenon which to me, because of its importance and generality, seems still not properly developed.

Reason, we know, emerges in the human being through his demand to recognize the absolute (established and necessary in itself) which, as it cannot be performed in an individual condition of his physical life, demands him to abandon really and totally the physical, and to rise up to ideas from a limited reality.

However, even if the true sense of this demand is for him to tear apart the limits of time, and to advance from the sensible world, upward into the world of ideal; hence, it can lead, because of a misunderstanding (hardly avoidable in this era of prevailing sensibility), to the physical life, and press the human being into the most terrible submission instead of making him independent.

And hence, so it is also in the act. On the wings of the capacity of conceptualization, the human being abandons the narrow limits of the present where the blunt animal state contains him, in order to strive forward to an unlimited future; but, before his wandering imagination opens itself to infinity; his heart has not ceased to live individually, and to serve the moment.

In the middle of his animal state, the impulse for the absolute surprises him; and as in this darkened condition all his strivings only gear towards the material and the instantaneous, and are limited only to his individual; hence, he will liberate in each demand only his individual, instead of generalizing it, will expand it to infinity, will strive for a barren substance instead of for form, will strive for the eternally enduring transformation instead of the unchangeable, and will strive for an absolute assurance of his temporal existence.

The namely impulse, which is applied on his thinking and acting, should lead to Truth and Morality, however brings, now, in relation to his submissiveness and perception, nothing else than an unlimited demand, nothing else than an absolute need.

The first fruits, which he harvested in the spiritual realm, are, hence, worry and fear; both are acts of Reason, not of sensibility, but of Reason which is in command of its subject, and uses its imperative immediately on the substance.

Fruits of this tree are all absolute organizations of felicity; they may take the current day, or the whole life or, whatever it takes in order to make of nothing something honourable, the whole eternity as their subject. An unlimited duration of the being and well being, only for the sake of the being and well being, is really an ideal of yearning within a demand which can only be expressed by someone who is in the absoluteness of a striving animal state.

Hence, he loses only the happy limitation of the animal state, before which he possesses, now, only the unenviable advantage - without winning in this way something for his humanity through a manifestation of Reason - of losing, by striving for the distant future, the possession of the present, without, hence, seeking in the whole unlimited, distant future nothing else than the present.

But, when Reason itself lays not its hands on its object, and makes not any mistake concerning the question; hence, sensibility will still, for a long time, be misleading the answer. As soon as the human being has started to use his intelligence, and to associate appearances with causes and goals; hence, Reason coerces, in line with its concept, towards an absolute association and an absolute foundation.

In order only to be able to raise such a demand, the human being must have already stepped out of sensibility; but it is precisely this demand which Reason serves in order to grasp the fugitive impression. Here, the point was namely the one where he must have really and totally abandoned the sensible world, and rise up to the pure realm of ideas; for intelligence remains eternally within the reasonable, and asks eternally further questions, without ever getting into the last one.

As, however, the human being of which, here, the talk will be about, is still not capable of such an abstraction; hence, what he finds not in his sensible circle of knowledge, and seeks not yet beyond it in pure reason, he will seek, still, in his sentimental circle, and will find it according to its semblance.

Sensibility shows him, in truth, nothing about what his own foundations were, and from what law was produced; but it shows him something that knows not any foundation, and respects not any law. As he, hence, cannot bring to rest the ever inquiring mind through to a last and internal foundation; hence, he brings it, at least, to silence on the basis of being unfounded, and the blind material coercion remains inside as he may still not be able to seize the sublime necessity of Reason.

Because sensibility knows not any other goal than its privileges, and feels not itself propelled by any other force than blind fortuity; hence, he makes of the first one the determiner of his actions; and of the second the ruler of the world.

Even the sacred in the human being, the moral law, cannot escape this misrepresentation in the first of his appearance in sensibility. As it speaks only forbiddingly and against the interest of his sensible selfishness; hence, it must appear to him, so long, as something foreign, as he has still not succeeded to look at this egoism as foreign, and at the disposition of Reason as his true self. He feels, hence, really the chain which the last one has put onto him, not the endless liberation which it has obtained from him.

Without guessing in himself the dignity of the legislator, he senses only the constraint and the weak disobedience of the subservient person. Because the sensible impulse precedes the moral one in his experience; hence, he gives the law of necessity a beginning in time, a positive origin, and through the misfortune of all errors, he makes of the permanent and eternal in himself an accident of the past.

He persuades himself to consider the concepts of right and wrong as statutes, to consider the concepts which would be introduced through willpower, not the ones that are valid in him and for eternity. Through the explanation of the individual phenomenon of Nature, he seeks to step out of Nature, and seeks outside it, what can only be found in its inner regularity; in the same way, he steps out of Reason through the explanation of moral, and forfeits his humanity, while he seeks divinity.

It is not any wonder then, that a religion which would be promoted with the rejection of his humanity, accepts such a derivation as worthwhile, when he only clings to laws which did not bound for eternity, and which are also not kept binding absolutely and in all eternity.

He has not to do, here, with a sacred, but only with a powerful existence. His God-worshipping spirit is, hence, fear which lowers him, not respect which elevates him in his own consideration.

Even if these multiple deviations of the human being from the ideal of his determination, cannot happen altogether in the same period, in the sense that the same ideal has so many substances to wander through from thoughtlessness to error, from absence of willpower to corruption of willpower; hence, everything belong to the realm of physical conditions, because in everything, the vital impulse plays the master over the formal impulse.

Now, it may be that Reason has really still not spoken in the human being, and the realm of the physical still prevails in him with blind necessity, or that Reason has still not enough united with the senses, and the realm of the moral still serves that of the physical: hence, in both cases, the uniquely powerful principle in him is a material one, and the human being, at least according to his last tendency, is a sensible being; with the unique difference that he, in the first case, is an unreasonable being, in the second one is a reasonable animal.

He should, however, be none of both, he should only be human, Nature should not rule over him exclusively, and Reason should not rule absolutely. Both legislations should perfectly exist, one independently from the other, and yet be perfectly united.

 

Letter #25

So long as the human being, in his early physical conditions, encompasses the sensible world really submissively, really with sensitivity, he is still totally in conformity with these conditions, and precisely because he, himself, is only world; hence, for him, to conceive any other world is still not possible.

Only, when he considers a world outside himself, in his aesthetic stand, or puts it outside himself, and separates it from his personality, is a world appearing to him, because he has ceased to agree with it.

Examination (reflection) is the first liberal relationship of the human being to the universe which surrounds him. If curiosity conceives its subject immediately; hence, scrutiny retreats afar from it, and makes it, precisely through that distance, its true and irrefutable property which it keeps away from passion.

The necessity of Nature, which prevailed in him with full power in the condition of the blunt sentiment, depletes reflection in him, a temporary peace takes place in the sense where time itself, the eternally changing movement, stays still; while the scattered rays of conscience gather themselves, and an imitation of infinity, which is form, reflects itself on the ephemeral foundation.

As soon as there is light in the human being, there is also not any more darkness outside him; as soon as there is calmness in him, a storm takes place in the universe, and the disputing forces of Nature find rest within distinct borders.

Hence, it is not a wonder that the ancient poetries talk about this great event inside the human being as a revolution in the outside world, and that they represent thought, which prevails over the laws of time, with the image of Zeus ending the realm of Saturn.

From the state of being Nature’s slave, so long as he only feels its effects, the human being becomes its legislator as soon as he thinks of it. Nature, which was once prevailing over him only as power, stays, now, before his judging view as object.

What is object to him has not any power over him, for in order to be his object, something must experience his own power. So far as he gives form to the material, and so long as he gives form, he is impervious to its effects; for nothing can harm more a spirit than what robs it of its freedom, and the human being proves, indeed, his freedom when he shapes the formless matter.

Only where the mass prevails heavily and formlessly, and its dim contours fluctuates within uncertain borders, has fear its place; the human being is superior to any terrible act of Nature, as soon as he knows to give it a form, and he knows to transform it into his object.

The same way as he started to affirm his autonomy against Nature as appearance; hence, he affirms also against Nature his dignity as power, and with a noble freedom, he acts against his gods.

They have dropped for him the masks of the ghost with which they have frightened his childhood, and have surprised him with his own image, in the sense that they become his presentation. The divine monster of the oriental legends, which administers the world with the blind forces of the beast of prey, comes out in the Greek fantasy within the friendly contour of Humanity, the kingdom of the Titans falls, and the endless force is restrained through the endless form.

However, while I only sought an exit from the material world and a transition in the spiritual world, the free course of my capacity of conceptualization had led me already in the middle of the last one. Beauty, which we are seeking, lies already behind us; and we have skipped over it in the sense that we leaped from the blunt life immediately to the pure figure and the pure object.

Such a leap is not in human nature, and in order to keep steps with this one, we will have to return again to the sensible world. Beauty is, however, the work of the free examination, and we get, with it, into the world of ideas, but what should be well remarked is that we do so without abandoning the sensible world, as happened in the knowledge of Truth.

This is the pure product of the separation from anything that is material and fortuitous; it is the pure object in which any limit of the subject may not remain; and it is the pure autonomy without the addition of submissiveness. In truth, there is also a way back to sensibility even from the highest level of abstraction, for, thought moves the inner sentiment, and the presentation of logical and moral unity changes into a feeling of sensible accord.

However, if we are enjoying knowledge; hence, we differentiate very precisely our presentation from our sentiment, and consider this last one as something fortuitous which could well be ignored, without for that reason, ceasing knowledge and considering as if Truth were not Truth.

But a really vain enterprise it would be to want to separate this relation of the sentimental capacity from the presentation of Beauty; that would not be enough, for us to think of the first one as the effect of the second, but rather to consider both, at the same time, and reciprocally as cause and effect.

In our enjoyment of knowledge, we differentiate without effort the transition from activity to submissiveness, and remark distinctively that the first one is over when the last one steps in.

In our appreciation of Beauty, to the contrary, it is not allowed to differentiate such succession between activity and submissiveness, and the reflection dissolves, here, so perfectly with the feelings that we believe to sense the form immediately.

Beauty is, hence, in truth, a subject for us, because reflection is the condition under which we have a feel for it; at the same time, however, it is a state of our being, because the feeling is the condition under which we have a presentation of Beauty.

It is, hence, in truth, form, because we observe it; at the same time, however, it is life, because we feel it. In a word: Beauty is, at the same time, our condition and our act. And precisely because it is both at the same time, hence, it serves us as a convincing proof that submissiveness, in any case, excludes not activity; that the material, in any case, does not exclude the form; that the limitation, in any case, does not exclude infinity; that consequently, through the necessary physical dependence of the human being, by any means, his moral freedom will not be abolished.

Beauty proves this, and I must add that Beauty alone can prove it to us. For, as in the enjoyment of Truth, or the logical unity, sentiment is not necessarily united with thoughts, but rather follows them fortuitously; hence, thoughts can prove to us, only, that a reasonable Nature can follow a sensible Nature, and vice versa; not that they are absolutely and necessarily to unite.

Rather more, it must directly be concluded, in return, from this exclusion of the feeling, so long as it will be thought; and from this exclusion of the thought, so long as it will be felt; that both natures are incompatible, as the analysts, also, really do not have a better proof of the practicability of pure reason in Humanity than holding that it is forbidden.

As now, however, in the enjoyment of Beauty or aesthetic unity, a real union and exchange of material with form and of submissiveness with activity happens beforehand; consequently, because the union of both natures, the implementation of the endless in the finite can occur; hence it proves that the most sublime Humanity is possible.

We may not, any more, be embarrassed, hence, to find a transition from the sensible dependence to the moral freedom through Beauty, the case is proven that the last one can exist perfectly together with the first one; and that the human being, in order to prove himself as spirit, needs not to desert the material.

Should he, however, be free already in community with sensibility, as teaches us the fact about Beauty, and Freedom is something absolute and irrational, as its concept infers necessarily; hence, the question cannot be any more, how he succeeded to elevate himself from the state of limitation to that of the absolute, to oppose sensibility in his thoughts and willpower, as this is already happening in Beauty.

In a word: the question cannot be any more how he goes from Beauty to Truth; as this capacity lies already in the first one, but rather how he heads himself from a common reality to an aesthetic one, how he heads himself from real, vital feelings to feelings of Beauty.

 

Letter #26

As the aesthetic mental disposition, as I have developed in the previous letters, gives its origin to Freedom; hence, it is easy to foresee that it cannot come from itself and, consequently, cannot have moral origin.

It must be a gift of Nature; the favours of fortuity alone can break the chain of physical state, and can lead the wild man to Beauty.

The seed of the last one will develop equally less where a scant Nature robs the human being of every pleasure, and where a disappearing Nature absolve him of each of his own effort; where the dull sensibility feels not any need, and where the violent desire finds not any satiety.

Not there, where the human being keeps himself in caves, in a troglodytic manner; where he is eternally individual, and never finds Humanity outside himself, also not there, where he errs nomadically with great troops, where he is eternally only a number and finds never Humanity in himself – there alone, where he speaks calmly to himself in his own hut and, when he comes out of it, speaks to the whole human genre, there alone, will his lovely bud of Humanity blossom.

There, where a light ether opens the sense to every silent emotion, and a luxuriant substance stimulates an energetic warmth – where the realm of undiscerning measure is already fallen into the lifeless creation, and the winning form ennobles also the lowest natures – there in the happy relationships and in the blessed zone, where activity only leads to enjoyment, and enjoyment only leads to activity, where even the sacred order flows from life, and where from the law of order develops only life – where the capacity of conceptualization flees eternally reality, and therefore, never goes astray from Nature – here alone will sense and spirit, sensitive and forming power develop in the happy symmetry which is the soul of Beauty and the condition of Humanity.

And what phenomenon announces the entry of the wild man into Humanity?

So far as we have researched in History, it is the same phenomenon in all popular roots from which are originating the deference to the animal state: the delight in improved appearance, the fancy for prettiness and for play. The highest stupidity and the highest intelligence have in common a certain affinity, in the sense that both only seek the real, and are completely insensitive for the sheer aspect.

Only through the immediate, sensible presence of an object, will the first one be severed from its rest, and only through the return of his concepts to the causes of the experience will the last one be brought to rest; in a word, stupidity cannot elevate itself beyond reality, and intelligence cannot remain under Truth.

So far as the need for reality and the attachment to the real are only consequences of a deficiency, the indifference toward reality and the interest for aspect is a true improvement of Humanity, and a decisive step towards culture. For the first one, it testifies of an external freedom: for so long as need commands and need compels, the capacity of conceptualization is linked with solid chains to the real; only when need is relieved, can its unreserved capacity develop.

It testifies, however, of an inner freedom, because it lets us see a force which, independently from an external substance, sets itself into movement, and possesses enough energy to repel the compelling material.

The reality of something is its (the thing's) own work; the aspect of something is the work of the human being, and a mind that feasts on aspect, already does not amuse itself on the aspect which it feels, but rather on the one which it produces.

It is self-explanatory that, here, the talk is only about aesthetic aspect which people differentiates from reality and Truth, and not about the logical aspect which people confuses with it – which people love, consequently, because it is aspect, and not because they hold it for something better.

Only the first one is play, the last one is only treachery.

To make the aspect of the first kind prevailing for something, can never once prejudice Truth, because people never run the danger of concealing Truth beneath the same appearance which, hence, is the unique manner how Truth can be damaged; to despise it, means despising, in general, all beautiful Art which essence is aspect.

Though it sometimes crosses his mind to carry his zeal up to such an intolerable point into reality, and to utter a contemptuous judgement about the whole art of the beautiful aspect, because it is only aspect; this, however, crosses his mind only if he reminds himself of the above stated affinity.

I will take once again a specific occasion to speak about the necessity to have limits in beautiful appearance. It is Nature itself which lifts the human being from reality to aspect, while it endows him with two meanings; it is Nature itself which leads him really through the aspect to the knowledge of the real.

To the eye and the ear, the gripping material seems already devoid of meaning, and the object turns away from us, so much that we indulge immediately into animal senses.

What we see through the eye is different from what we feel; for our intelligence leaps beyond the light directly to the subjects. The subject of sensitivity is a force which we bear; the subject of eye and ear is a form which we create. So long as the human being is still a wild man, he enjoys everything really with his sentimental senses which only serve, during this period, the sense of the aspect. He elevates himself either really not to the vision, or he satisfies not himself, hence, with the same.

As soon as he begins to enjoy with the eye, and the vision demands from him an independent value; hence, is he already aesthetically free, and the impulse for play has unfolded itself.

Immediately, in the same way as the playful impulse sets itself into move which finds pleasure with the aspects; hence, the imitating formative impulse, which deals with aspect as with something independent, will also follow it.

As soon as the human being has gone so far as differentiating appearance from reality, form from body; hence, he is also in a state to separate these from him, for he has already completed this step, in the sense that he has already differentiated himself from them.

The capacity to possess the imitating art is, in general, given with the capacity to possess form; the urge for the same lies on another aptitude which I need not here to deal with. How early or how late should the aesthetic artistic impulse develop itself; that will depend only on the degree of love, which the human being is capable of, to remain with mere aspect.

Since every real existence proceeds from Nature as a foreign power; every aspect, however, originally proceeds from the human being, as a presenting subject; hence, he uses only his absolute right of property, if he removes aspect from existence, and with the same aspect, reacts according to his own laws.

With unrestrained freedom, he can reunite what Nature has separated as soon as he can only conceive it somewhere, and separate what Nature has united as soon as he can only separate it in his intelligence.

Nothing may be more sacred to him, here, than his own law, as soon as he is only attentive to the marking which separates his territory from the essence of something else, or from the territory of Nature.

This human right of prevalence, he exercises in the art of aspect, and the more severely he separates, here, the “my” from the “your”, the more carefully he separates form from existence, the more he knows to give the same independence, the more he will not only expand the realm of Beauty, but also rather will even keep watch over the borders of Truth; for he cannot clear aspect from reality without, at the same time, making reality free from aspect.

However, he simply possesses this sovereign right only in the world of aspect, in the meaningless realm of capacity of conceptualization, and only so long as he only abstains himself steadfastly in the theoretical domain, to declare himself an existence from it, and so long as he renounces in the practical domain, to give himself through it an existence.

You see from here that the poet trespasses, in equal manner, his borders when he instates his ideal existence, and when he aims with that for a determined existence. For he cannot bring both into state otherwise than while he neither over crosses his poet’s right, seizes through the ideal the territory of experience, and moderates himself through the blunt possibility of determining the real existence; nor gives up his poet’s right, allows experience to be seized in the territory of the ideal, and limits the possibility on the conditions of reality.

Only so far as it is sincere (rejects formally any pretence to reality), and only so far as it is independent (does without any assistance of reality), is aspect aesthetic. As soon as it is insincere, and reality is feigned; and as soon as it is impure, and reality is missing in its act, it is nothing more than a minor tool used for material goals, and can prove nothing for the freedom of the spirit.

By the way, it is really not necessary that the subject, in which we find a beautiful aspect, be without reality, if only our judgement about it takes not any consideration of this reality; for so far as this consideration is taken; is it not aesthetic.

An alive, feminine Beauty will, indeed, please us just as well, and maybe a little more than something of equal beautifulness, but only painted; however, in so far as the first one pleases us better than the last one, it pleases not any more as an independent aspect, it pleases not any more the pure aesthetic feeling: this feeling may also please the alive only as appearance, and may also please the real only as idea; but, indeed, it demands an unequally higher degree of beautiful culture, only to sense pure aspect in the living than for life to do without aspect.

In whichever individual human being, or whole people one may find the sincere and independent aspect; there, one may discharge spirit and taste, and any form of excellence related to them; there, one will see the ideal, the real life governing, will see honour triumph over possession, thought over pleasure, dream of immortality over existence.

There, the public mood will be the unique terrible thing, and there, an olive wreath will be a higher honour than a crimson dress. Powerlessness as well as chaos resort only to false and needy aspect, and the individual human being as well as whole populations who either “produces reality through the help of aspect, or (aesthetic) aspect through the help of reality” – both are well linked – prove simultaneously of their moral unworthiness, and of their aesthetic incapacity.

To the question: “To what extent may there be aspect in the moral world?”, hence, the answer is as short and brief as this: so far as there is aesthetic aspect, which means, aspect which will neither represent reality, nor needs to be represented by it.

Aesthetic aspect can never be dangerous to the genuineness of the morals, and where one finds it otherwise, there, will be concluded without any difficulty that the aspect was not aesthetic.

Only a foreigner in a beautiful company, for example, will take expressions of courtesy, which are only a general form, as marks of personal affection, and when he will be deceived, he will blame the subterfuge.

However, also, only a stupid person will, in a beautiful company, call falsehood to help in order to be courteous, and flatter in order to be pleasant. To the foreigner, it lacks still the sense of independent aspect, and he can only, in that aspect, give it a meaning through Truth; to the stupid person, it lacks reality, and he would very much like to replace it by aspect.

Nothing is more usual to hear than the complaint from certain trivial critiques of our time, who state that seriousness is disappearing from the world, and that existence would be neglected over aspect.

Even if I feel not compelled to justify our time against this reproach; hence, it results already from the further extension, which these severe moral judges give to their accusation, sufficiently forth that they blame the century not only for the false, but rather also for the sincere aspect; and even the exceptions, which they still make in favour of Beauty, pertain more to the reliant than to the independent aspect.

They attack not only the deceiving cover up which hides the truth which is assumed to represent reality; they are also all upset against the charitable aspect which fills out emptiness, and covers misery; they are also all upset against the ideal aspect which ennobles a common reality.

The falseness of the morals offends rightly its severe feeling of Truth; it’s only pitiful that they also account courtesy in this falseness.

It displeases them that the outside lustre darkens so often the true merit; but it vexes them not lesser that one demands also aspect from merit, and allows not a fortuitous form to the inner countenance.

They miss the sincerity, the uprightness and the sturdiness of the previous times’ manners, but they would also like to see again introduced the acuteness and the vigour of the earlier manners, the rigidity of the ancient forms and the former, divine abundance.

They prove, through judgements of this manner, of a consideration for the substance itself, of which Humanity is not worth, Humanity which should appreciate much more the material only so far as it is more in a state to receive figure, and to broaden the realm of ideas.

Of such disposition, the taste of the century needs not, hence, to hear much about, if otherwise, taste consists only of a better instance. Not that we put a value on the aesthetic aspect (we have, already for long, not done this very often), but rather that we have still not brought it to pure aspect, that we have not enough separated yet the being from appearance, and through that have eternally laid down these two borders, this is what a rigorous assessor of Beauty can reproach to us.

This reproach, we will deserve so long as we cannot enjoy the beautifulness of the lively Nature, without coveting it, cannot admire the beautifulness of the imitating art, without asking for its finality; as we still not concede to the capacity of conceptualization a particular, absolute legislation, and through the respect, which we show for its works, we reflect its dignity.

 

Letter #27

Please, do not have any fear for reality and Truth, if the high concept, which I have established in the preceding letters from aesthetic aspect, should be generalized. It will not be generalized, so long as the human being is still not enough educated in order to make an abuse of it; and should it be generalized, hence, it could be acted upon only through a culture which, at the same time, would make impossible any abuse.

Striving for an independent aspect demands more capacity for abstraction, more freedom of the heart, more energy of the willpower than the human being needs to define himself vis-à-vis reality, and he must have already achieved all these previous steps before arriving at this precise one.

How bad he would already be, hence, when he would be heading into the ideal, in order to spare himself the way to reality and Truth!

From aspect, as it is conceived here, we would like not to fear very much for the sake of reality; but the more might have to be feared from reality for the sake of aspect. Enchained to the material, the human being has let aspect, already for a long time, to only serve his goal, before conceding to it a specific personality in the Art of the ideal.

He needed to perform a total revolution in his whole manner of feeling, a revolution without which he would also not find himself at all on his way to the ideal. Wherever we discover in someone, hence, traces of an uninterested, free appreciation of pure aspect; there, we can conclude that such person has undergone a radical change in his nature, and that a specific beginning of Humanity has started in him.

Traces of this kind can really already be found, hence, in the first rough attempt, which he makes for the beautification of his being, even running the danger, in doing so, of worsening it according to the sensible countenance.

As soon as he started, in general, only to prefer figure over substance, and to dare give reality to aspect (which he, however, must recognize for itself), hence, his animal circle is broken, and he finds himself on a course which does not have any end.

Not satisfied alone with what Nature do, and what need demands, he requires abundance, in the beginning only an abundance of substance, to hide covetousness of its limits, to secure future satisfaction beyond the current needs; soon, however, he also requires an abundance beyond the substance, an aesthetic addition, to meet the demands of the formal impulse, to increase satisfaction beyond every need.

While he only gathers provisions for a future use, and already experiences satisfaction during its built up; hence, he leaps, in truth, beyond the current moment, but without over leaping time in general; he enjoys more, but he enjoys not otherwise. While he brings, however, at the same time, the figure in his enjoyment, and notices the forms of the subject which satisfy his desires, he has increased his enjoyment not only in range and degree, but rather has also ennobled it in the manner.

In truth, Nature has already given relief to the unreasonable person and, has scattered a glimmer of Freedom in the dark, animal life. When hunger does not bother the lion, and any beast of prey does not provoke it into battle; hence, the idle strength creates for itself a subject; it fills the echoing desert with courageous roaring, and enjoys its opulent force in aimless efforts.

The insect swarms happily in the sunlight; it is, surely, also not the voice of greed which we hear in the melodic rhythm of the bird song. Undeniably, Freedom is under these movements, but not freedom from need in general, only freedom from a determined need, freedom from an external need.

An animal works when need is the mainspring of its activity, and it plays when opulence of force is this mainspring; it plays when the abundant life itself sways it into activity. Such an opulence of forces is noticeable even in the inactive Nature, and a laxity of determination which, in this material sense, could very well be called play.

The tree carries numerous seeds, which become rancid if undeveloped, and stretches out numerous roots, branches and leaves which will be used for its nourishment as well as for the preservation of its individual life and that of its genre. What it gives back, unused and intact, to the realm of the elements from its extravagant abundance; may refute the idea of an existence of life spent in jubilant activity.

Hence, Nature gives us, already in its material realm, a preview of Infinity and, here, partly, it recalls the chains which it really and totally got rid of in the realm of form.

From the constraint of need or physical earnestness, it takes, through the constraint of abundance or physical play, the transition to the aesthetic play, and before it raises beyond the constraint of every goal into the upper freedom of the Beautiful, it approaches this independence, at least from afar, already in free movement which is itself a goal and a means.

As the bodily tool, hence, the capacity of conceptualization also has, in the human being, its free movement and its material play, in which it, without any relation to figure, enjoyed only its own arbitrariness and its absence of constraint.

So far as it really still mixes not itself with form in this game of fantasy, and an unconstrained consequence of images decides of its whole attraction, they belong only to his animal life, even if they can come from the human being alone, and prove only his liberation from every external sensible constraint, without, still, allowing to conclude about an independent, forming power in him.

From this game of free succession of ideas, which is really still of a material kind, and justifies itself from the real laws of Nature, the capacity of conceptualization makes, finally, in the quest for a free form, the leap to the aesthetic plays.

A leap must one call it, because, here, a real, new force is assumed to be in action; for here, for the first time, the legislating spirit mixes itself with the action of a blind instinct, submits the arbitrary process of the capacity of conceptualization to its immutably eternal unity, puts its independence in the variable and his infinity in the sensible.

However, so long as the raw Nature, which knows not any other law than to rush restlessly from one transformation to another; is still too powerful, it will strive against this necessity through its unstable arbitrariness, strive against this constancy through its unrest, strive against this independence through its neediness, strive against this sublime simplicity through its insufficiency.

The aesthetic impulse for play, in its first quest, will still hardly be recognizable, hence, as the sensible one, with its obstinate mood and its wild desires, incessantly mixes in among them. In that respect, we see the new and the surprising, the colorful, the adventurer and the bizarre, the violent and the wild first take hold of the raw taste, and then, flee before nothing more than simplicity and calmness.

It forms grotesque figures, loves rash transitions, lush forms, glaring contrasts, bright lights rather than a pathetic song.

This aesthetic impulse is what is beautiful to the raw taste, in this period; only what excites, what provides substance, but excites into an autonomous resistance; however, provides substance for a possible formation, otherwise things would not even be Beautiful for the raw taste.

With the form of its judgement is, hence, a remarkable transformation coming first; it seeks these subjects, not because they give to it something to suffer about, but rather because they give it something to deal with; they please to it, not because they come across a need, but rather because they perform sufficiently a law which, even if it is still soft, means something to it.

Soon, the aesthetic impulse is not any more satisfied that things are pleasant, it wants itself to please, in the beginning, in truth, only through what pertains to it, and finally, through what it is.

What it possesses, what it yields, may not only carry in itself the traces of the servitude, the fearful form of its goal; besides the service, for which it is there, it must reflect, at the same time, the spiritual understanding which thought it, the loving hand which carried it out, the intact and free spirit which chose and established it.

That is why the ancient German selected bright animal furs, wonderful antlers, delicate horns, and the Caledonian chooses the neatest shells for their celebrations.

Now, even the weapons are not any more mere subjects of terror, but rather also of appreciation; and the adorned swordholder will not be less noticed than the sword’s dangerous edge it contains. Still not happy of bringing an aesthetic abundance to what is necessary, the freer playful impulse gets rid, finally, of the chains of necessity, and the Beautiful becomes for its own sake an object of its striving.

He adorns himself. His free amusements will be included in his needs, and the unnecessary gives him almost the best part of his joys. In the same way, the form approaches him gradually from outside, in his habitation, home devices, and clothing; hence, it begins finally to take possession of him, and in the beginning, to change only the outside, but at the end, also the inner human.

The unbridled leap of joy becomes dance, the formless gesture becomes a graciously harmonious language of gesture; the complicated intensity of the sensation develop themselves, begin to obey the rhythm, and bend themselves to the song. If the Trojan army stormed out in the battlefield, with resounding shouts, immediately into a line of cranes, hence, the Greek army would approach silently and with noble pace the same battlefield.

In the first case, we see only the excess of blind forces, in the second, the victory of form and the simple majesty of law. A more beautiful necessity binds, now, the genders together, and the heart watches over marriage which desire would only maintain moodily and variably.

Relieved from its somber chains, the calmer eye seizes the figure, the soul sees the soul, and a selfish exchange of desires becomes a generous exchange of fondness. Desire grows and raises itself into love, the same way as Humanity opens itself to its subject, and the enjoyment of a vile favor will be disdained for sense in order to fight a noble victory over willpower.

The need to please leads the power of taste to endure a tender trial; desire it can rob, but love must be a gift.

To be worth this higher price, it can only struggle through form and not through material. It must cease to resort to feeling as force, and to face intelligence as appearance; it must allow Freedom, because it wants to please Freedom.

The same way as Beauty settles Nature’s dispute in its most simple and purest example, in the eternal principle of the genders, hence, it settles it, or at least, aims to settle it also in the complicated totality of society and according to the model of free union which it links, there, between the masculine force and the feminine tenderness, to reconcile all softness and violence in the moral world.

Now, the weak becomes sacred, and the unrestrained strength is dishonoring; the injustice of Nature will be improved through the generosity of chivalrous manners. The person to whom any power may not frighten, the gracious blush of shame will disarm, and tears will put an end to an anger which any blood could not absolve.

Even hatred pays attention to the tender voice of honor, the sword of the victorious spares the disarmed enemy, and the foreigner enjoys a warm hospitality on the fearful coasts where, otherwise, only murder would welcome him.

Amidst the most terrible realm of forces, and amidst the sacred realm of laws, the aesthetic formative impulse builds, unnoticed, a third, happier realm, that of play and aspect, wherein it removes from the human being the chains of any relationship, and relieves him from anything that is called constraint, in the physical as well as in the moral domain.

In the dynamic state of rights, when the human being meets the other human being as force and limits his act – when he opposes to him, in the ethical state of duties, the majesty of laws, and enchains his drive; hence, he may in the circle of beautiful transition, in the aesthetic state appear only to him as figure, face him only as object of free play.

To give Freedom through Freedom is the fundamental of this realm. The dynamic state can make society only possible while he tames Nature through Nature; it can make the ethical state only (morally) necessary, while it submits the individual willpower to that of society; the aesthetic state alone it can really make necessary, because it performs the willpower of society through the nature of the individual.

When already the need compels the human being in society, and Reason consigns in him societal principles, hence, Beauty alone can give him a societal character. Taste alone brings harmony in society, because it grounds harmony upon the individual. All other forms of presentation separate the human being, because they ground themselves exclusively either on the sensible, or on the spiritual part of his existence; only the beautiful presentation makes a whole of him, because both his natures must agree to such unity.

All other forms of participation separate society, because they relate exclusively either to the personal disposition to comprehend, or to the personal skill of the individual member, hence, relate to the differentiating element between humans; only the beautiful participation unites society, because it relates to what is common to everyone.

The sensible joy, we enjoy only as individual, without having the human genre, which is in us, take part in it; we cannot, hence, extend our sensible joys to the general, because we cannot make our individuality general.

The joys of knowledge, we enjoy only as human genre, and while we remove carefully every trace of the individual from our judgement; we cannot make, hence, the joy we derive from Reason common, because we cannot exclude the traces of the individual from the judgements of others, in the same way, we cannot exclude it from our judgement.

The Beautiful alone we enjoy as individual and as genre, at the same time, which means as representatives of the human genre. Sensible goodness can only make a person fortunate, as it founds itself on dedication which always brings with itself exclusivity; it only can make this person fortunate, hence, unilaterally happy, because personality does not share anything in it.

The absolute goodness can make happy only under conditions which are, in general, not to be taken for granted; for Truth is only the price of renunciation, and a pure heart only believes in a pure willpower.

Beauty alone pleases the entire world, and every existence forgets its own limits, so long as it experiences its magic. Any preference, any despotism will not be tolerated, so far as taste rules, and the realm of beautiful aspect extends.

This realm extends upwards to where Reason prevails with absolute necessity, and where anything that is material ceases; it extends downwards where the impulse of Nature reigns with coercion, and the form has still not begun; indeed, even on these most external borders, where the legislating power is taken from him, taste lets not itself, hence, get rid of the legislating power.

The unsociable desire must renounce to its egoism, and the pleasantness, which otherwise would only attract sense, must also throw the net of grace over the spirit. Duty, the severe voice of necessity, must transform its formulation of reproach which only justifies the resistance, and must honor the willing Nature through a noble capacity.

From the mysteries of science, taste leads knowledge under the open sky of common sense, and changes what was to be found only in schools into a common good for the whole human society.

In its territory, the most powerful genius must also reach his height, and must pull confidently downward the childish sense. Force must allow itself to be bound by the goddesses of kindness, and the defiant lions obey the bridle of a cherub.

For that end, it stretches its soft veil beyond physical need, which in its bare figure harms the dignity of free spirit, and hides to us its dishonoring relationship with substance, with a charming illusion of Freedom.

Hence, stimulated by taste, the insidious way of rewarding people is torn apart; and touched by its stick; the chains of dependence upon the lifeless as well as the living creatures fall down. In the aesthetic state, everyone is – including the person who is just considered as a serving tool - a free citizen who has equal rights with the noblest, and intelligence which bends forcefully the abiding mass under its objectives, must, here, ask about its determination.

Here, hence, in the realm of aesthetic aspect, the ideal of equality will be fulfilled which the enthusiast would like very much to see realized according to the existence; and if it is true that the beautiful manners mature in the proximity of the throne earliest and most perfectly; hence, here, the kind providence, which seems to delimit the human being often only, for that reason, into reality, must have also recognized it, in order to drive it into an ideal world.

However, should such a state of beautiful aspect also be existing, and where is it to be found?

According to need, it exists in every finely disposed soul; according to act, people would like very well to find it only in a few exquisite circles, such as the pure church and the pure republic where not the spiritless imitation of foreign morals, but rather a beautiful Nature serves as a guide for the behavior; where the human being goes through the most complicated relationship with a bold simplicity and a calm innocence, and neither has to offend the freedom of others in order to affirm his, nor has to throw away his dignity in order to show grace.

 

Frederick Schiller

On the use of the national scene as a moral institution

(Note of the translator: This treatise as well as “What can a national scene in good standing really perform?” have been lectured during the public session of the Electorate Palatinate German Society in Mannheim in the same year of 1784. Some passages in these two treatises are similar.)

 

On the use of the national scene as a moral institution

An encompassing, irresistible inclination for anything new and extraordinary, a longing to feel oneself in a passionate condition, has given its origin to theatre according to Sulzer.

Exhausted by the higher striving of the spirit, tired of the uniform, often discouraging occupations of his profession and saturated with sensuality, the human being must have felt emptiness in his existence, which was contrary to the eternal tendency for activity.

Our nature, equally incapable to endure further longer the animal condition as to pursue further the finer works of understanding, demanded an intermediary condition, which could unite both contradicting extremes, alleviate the difficult extension into a sweet harmony, and ease the alternate transition from one condition to the other.

In general, it is the aesthetic sense, or the feeling for the Beautiful which performs these exercises.

As a wise legislator’s first duty must be to choose the highest of two actions, however, he will not only rejoice about having disarmed the tendencies of his people; he will also, if at all possible, use the same tendencies as tools for a higher plan, and be striving to transform them into sources of felicity, and in that respect, he chose above all theatre, which opens an infinite circle to the spirit longing for activity, nurtures every spiritual force, without straining a single one, and unites the formation of understanding, and that of the heart with the most noble entertainment.

The person, who first made the remark, that religion is the surest foundation of a state – that without it, laws would lose even their force, has maybe, without wanting it or knowing it, defended theatre from its most noble side.

Precisely this weakness, this wavering particularity of the political laws, which makes religion indispensable to the state, determines also the moral influence of theatre.

Laws, would he be saying, evolve around only forbidden duties; religion extends its movements into real acts.

Laws prevent only actions, which dissolve the cohesion of society, to happen; religion commands such actions which make this cohesion smoother.

The first ones prevail only over the visible manifestations of the willpower; only acts are submissive to them; the last one pursues further its jurisdiction even into the most hidden angle of the heart, and follows thought into its most inner source.

Laws are smooth and supple, and are as unpredictable as mood and passion; religion binds strictly and eternally.

If we, now, however, would be supposing, what is never more, if we grant to religion this great power over each human heart, will or can it carry education to its completion? Religion (I separate here its political from its divine side) works, generally, more on the sensible part of the people, it works maybe in the domain of the sensible alone so infallibly.

Its power is there, if we take this power from the sensible domain; then, how does theatre perform its effect? Religion is for the major part of humans nothing more than depictions of fantasy, riddles without solutions, remote images of horror and temptations, if we consume its images, its problems, if we destroy its depictions of heaven and hell.

What a reinforcement it would be for religion and laws, if they enter in union with theatre, where there is appearance and lively presence, where vice and virtue, happiness and sorrow, silliness and wisdom in thousand depictions pass comprehensibly and truly on to humans, where providence resolves its riddles, develops its ties before the eyes, where the human heart confesses its quietest emotions about the tortures of passion, where all the masks fall, all the makeup disappears, and Truth, unerringly, holds its trial the same way as Rhadamanthus did.

The jurisdiction of theatre begins where the territory of the worldly laws ends.

When Justice is blinded by gold, and revels in rewarding vice, when the outrages of the mighty ridicule its helplessness, and human fear binds the poor to obey authority, then theatre takes the sword and the balances, and roots out vices from the terrible tribunal.

The whole realms of fantasy and History, of past and future are under its commands. Horrendous criminals, who rot already for a long time in their tombs, will now be summoned by the powerful call of poetry, and repeat a shameful life in order to give a visible lesson before posterity.

Helpless as a shadow in a concave mirror, the fears of their century pass before our eyes, and with eager repulsion we curse their memories.

If morality is not any more taught, if religion does not find any more belief, if law does not exist any more, Medea will still look at us, when she staggers down the steps of the palace, and commits, now, the infanticide.

Salutary shivers will seize Humanity, and in the stillness, each one will now value his good conscience, when Lady Macbeth, a dreadful sleep-walker, washes her hands, and calls for all the scents of Arabia to consume the horrible smell of murder.

So certainly as visible exhibition acts more powerfully than lifeless letter symbols and cold tale, so certainly acts theatre deeper and more enduringly than moral and laws.

However, here, it only supports the worldly justice; a wider domain is still opened to theatre. Thousand vices, which this one (worldly justice) bears unpunished, theatre punishes; thousand virtues, which this one keeps silent, will be recommended on stage.

Here, it accompanies wisdom and religion. From this pure source, it creates its teachings and models, and envelopes the severe duty with attractively suitable clothes.

With such honest sentiments, resolutions, passions, theatre expands our soul; with such divine ideals it recommends us to strive for!

When the friendly August, as great as his gods, reaches his hand to the traitor Cinna, who already meant to utter the deadly judgement on his lips, and says: “Let us be friends, Cinna!”; who, among the audience, would not, at the moment, very well compare his willingness to shake hand with his deadly enemy with the acts of the divine Romans?

When Franz von Sickigen, on the way of disciplining a Prince, and of fighting under foreign commands, unexpectedly looks behind him, and sees the smoke rising from his premises where wife and child were left behind helpless, and when he goes on with, in order to keep his word, how great did I find the human being, there, and how despicable and lowly did I find the dreadful and insuperable destiny!

Vices depict themselves so unattractively in the terrible mirror of theatres the same way as virtue do so kindly!

When the helpless, childish Lear in the middle of a stormy night, in vain knocks at the home of his daughter; when he scatters his white hair in the air, and tells about the raging elements, how unnatural his Regan has become; when his outraging pain, finally, streams out in these terrible words: “I gave you everything!”; how abominable does not ingratitude appear to us there? How warmly do we not then praise respect and childlike love!

However the circle of action of the stage stretches still further.

Also there, where religion and laws care to join our human feelings with their dignities, the stage is still concerned with our education.

The fortune of any society will be troubled equally by silliness than by crimes and vices.

Theatre teaches a lesson, which is as old as the world, which states that in the fabric of human matters, often the biggest weights hang on the smallest and weakest threads and, if we append every action back to its source, we must smile ten times, before we once complain.

My list of villains becomes shorter every day, as I grow older, and my register of fools more complete and longer.

If the whole moral responsibility of one gender springs out from one and the same source, if all the tantalizing extremes born from vice, which were once stigmatized to this gender, are only altered forms, are only higher degrees of a specificity, which we all uniformly, finally, kindly mock and love, why would not Nature be taking the same ways with the other gender?

I know only of one secret in order to keep the human being from declining, and this secret is to protect his heart against weaknesses.

We can also expect a major part of this action of protection to be performed by theatre.

It is theatre which turns a mirror to the great class of fools, and shames with salutary mockery their multitude forms.

What theatre acted upon through emotion and terror, it performs, in this case, (faster maybe and more infallibly) through joke and satire.

If we would undertake to appreciate comedy and drama according to the standards of the sought for effect, hence, maybe, would experience give precedence to the first one.

Derision and despise hurt the pride of the human being more sensitively than detestation can torture his conscience.

Before anything impressive, our cowardice makes us crawl; however, precisely this cowardice delivers us to the spear of satire.

Law and conscience protect us often from crimes and vices; derision demands a specifically finer sense, which we exercise nowhere more than before the scene.

We may authorize a friend to affect our heart and our morals; however, it costs us effort to forgive him a unique laughter directed at us.

Our offences can bear an inspector and a judge, our bad habits hardly a witness.

Theatre alone can mock our weaknesses, because it spares our sensitivity, and ignore the guilty fools. Without becoming red of shame, we see our masks falling in the mirror of theatre; and secretly, we thank it for the soft admonition.

However, its wonderful array of actions extends far greater.

Theatre is more effective than any other official administration can be; it is a school of practical wisdom, a guide through the citizen’s life, an infallible key to the most secretive accesses to the human soul.

I admit that the selfishness and dullness of conscience of the spectators destruct not seldom its best action, that still thousand vices affirm themselves with outrageous intentions before its mirror, that thousand good feelings fall back fruitless on the cold heart of the spectator.

I am even of the opinion that maybe Molière’s Harpagon has still not improved the practice of any usurer, that the suicide of Beverley retracted still very few of his consorts from the terrible mania of gambling, that the unfortunate story of Karl Moor’s robbery will not make more secure the country roads; however, if we limit also this great action of theatre, if we want to be so unfair so as to discard it completely; how much remains infinitely from its influence?

If the scene neither wipes out, nor lessens the sum of all vices, has it not initiated us with them? With these vicious people, with these silly people we must live.

We must avoid, or face them; we must contain them, or be subject to their effects.

Now, however, they surprise us not any more. We are ready for their assaults. Theatre has revealed to us the secret to identify and make them auspicious

It removed the artificial mask from the hypocrite, and revealed the net which cunningness and intrigue has woven around us.

It pulled deceit and forgery from the sinuous labyrinth, and openly showed their horrible face.

Maybe the dying Sarah did not fear a seducer, maybe all the depictions of punished seduction did not deter the fervour of this seducer, and maybe, even the sly actress is now anxious to prevent his action seriously; fortunately enough, sincere innocence, now, knows the traps of the seducer, the stage has taught her to distrust his vows, and to tremble before his insisting prayers.

Theatre makes us attentive not only to humans and human character, but also to destinies; and teaches us the great art of bearing them.

In the fabric of our life, chance and careful planning play an equally great role: we are guided by a plan, while we must abide blindly to chance.

It’s fair enough that when the inevitable fate hits us, it will find us really not without composure, when our courage, our intelligence, at one time, is already used to similar situations, and when our heart has already hardened itself to such knock.

Theatre shows us multiple scenes of human sufferings. It pulls us artificially into unknown mortifications, and grants us the momentary suffering with tearful eyes, and a marvellous awakening to the lessons of courage and experience.

With theatre, we follow the abandoned Ariane through the empty, resounding island of Naxos; with theatre, we descend together with Ugolino from the hunger tower, step onto the horrible scaffold, and surrender ourselves to the formal hour of death.

On stage, we hear what our soul felt during still moments, the loud and undeniable confirmation of the surprised Nature. Under the vault of the towers, the deceived favourite learns that he does not have the favours of his queen any more.

Now, as he should die; his unreliable, sophistic wisdom leaves the frightened Moor.

Eternity relieves a dead person from revealing secrets, which any living person might not know, and yet, the confident villain still mislays his very last atrocious ambush, because he knows that tombs can still betray.

However, not enough that theatre informs us about the destinies of Humanity, it teaches us to be fair when facing misfortune, and to forge ahead with indulgence beyond it.

Then only, when we measure the depths of human mortifications, may we pronounce a judgement over them.

No crime is more shameful than stealing; however, do we not all pour tears of compassion with our condemnation, when we lose ourselves in the terrible drive which led Edward Ruhlberg to perform the act?

Suicide will be loathed, in general, as an outrage; however, if compelled by the menaces of an angry father, compelled by love, by the prospect of the horrible cloister walls, Marianne drinks the poison; who, among us, will first condemn the regrettable sacrifice of an atrocious interdiction?

Humanity and Tolerance begin to be the prevailing spirit of our time; their rays penetrate even the courtrooms and still further: in the heart of our princes.

How much of this divine work is due to our national stages? Are they not the instruments which informed the human being about other human beings, and uncovered the secret apparatus which plays with him?

A remarkable class of human being has cause to be more thankful than others for the national scene. Only here, on stage, can the greats of the world hear, what they seldom or never hear – Truth; what they never or seldom see, they see here – the Human being.

So great and diverse is the merit of the better stages concerning the moral formation; nothing minor is entrusted to them concerning the whole enlightenment of mind. Precisely here, in these higher spheres, the great ruler, the passionate patriot knows, ever since, really to use this kind of enlightenment.

He glances through the human genre, compares people with other peoples, centuries with other centuries, and finds, how slave-like the great mass of people lies prisoner of the chains of prejudices and opinions, which eternally worked against its felicity.

The pure rays of Truth only enlighten few individual minds, who maybe bought this small win at the expense of a whole life.

In what manner can the wise legislator make the nation involved? Theatre is the common channel, in which the light of wisdom flows into the better, intellectual portion of people, and from there, it spreads itself into the whole state in gentle rays.

More appropriate concepts, sounder principles, purer feelings flow from here through all the vessels of the people; the cloud of barbarism, of obscure superstition disappear, the night gives way to the victorious light. Among so many wonderful fruits of the better stages, I will only pick two.

How common has become, only since a few years, the tolerance of religions and sects? Until Nathan the Jew and Saladin the Saracen shame us, and taught us the divine teaching that our devotion to God is really not so dependent upon our illusions about God; until Joseph the Second fought the terrible Hydra of pious hatred, theatre has planted Humanity and goodness in our heart, the horrible depictions of pagan priestly rage taught us to avoid religious hatred; in this terrible mirror of theatre has Christianity washed off its stains.

With equally successful results, the mistakes of education would be corrected by theatre; the play, where this remarkable theme will be dealt with, is awaited eagerly.

Not any occasion is so important to the state than the one provided by theatre, because of its consequences, and yet, not any occasion is so abandoned, so unlimitedly entrusted to the illusion, to the frivolity of the citizen, than is this one.

Only theatre could convey the message of unfortunate sacrifice, made because of neglected education, in so movingly shaking depictions to the citizen; here, the stubborn principles of our fathers could be refuted; here, the reasonable principles of our mothers could rather be learned.

False concepts mislead an educator’s best heart; the more dangerously, if they are bragged still methodically, and ruin systematically the tender interest in philanthropies and educational matters.

In no lesser manner – the head and guardian of the state already understood this – in theatre, reprimands emerge from the opinions of the nation about the government and the rulers.

The legislating power spoke, here, through foreign symbols to the subject; it took responsibility of his complaints, before they become too loud, and circumscribed his suspicion, without appearing to do so.

Even industriousness and spirit of invention could and would catch fire before the scene, if the poets held it as being worth the effort of being patriotic about these issues, and if the state would condescend to hear them.

I can, here, impossibly ignore the great influence which a well standing stage would have on the spirit of the nation.

I call the national spirit of a people, the similarity and agreement of opinions and inclinations for subjects which it thinks and feels differently from another nation.

It is only possible to the stage to cause this accord in a high degree, because it wanders through the whole territory of human conscience, creates all the situations in life, and shines through in all the corners of the heart, because it unites all conditions and classes in itself, and has the clearest way to the mind and the heart.

If in all our plays a main feature prevails, if our poets are unanimous, and would be forging a steady link to this end – if severe selection would guide their works, if their depictions would be consecrated only to popular subjects – in a word, if we experienced what it is to have a national scene, then, we would also become a nation.

What linked people with each other so strongly in Greece? What drove the people so irresistibly to act according to its scene? Nothing else than the patriotic content of the plays, the Greek spirit, the great, overpowering interest for the state, for the better human beings, that was exhaled in the Greek people.

Still another merit has the stage, a merit, which I, now, bring into play the more voluntarily, because the proceedings against its persecutors are already won. Until now, some people demonstrated that the essential effect of theatre on morals and Enlightenment was doubtful. Even its opponents concede that, among all the inventions of luxury, and all the dispositions for societal amusement, theatre has the preference. However, what it performs here, is more important than what people normally believe.

The human Nature, on one hand, does not bear to be uninterruptedly and eternally subject to the torture of activities; and on the other hand, the attractions of the senses disappear as soon as they are satisfied.

The human, cluttered by animal pleasure, tired by the long effort, tormented by the eternal drive for activity, craves for better, more exquisite amusements, or loses himself dissolutely into wild distractions which accelerate his fall and disturb the stillness of society. Bacchantic joys, corrupting games, thousand furies, which idleness produced, are inevitable, if the legislator of this popular tendency knows not to influence it correctly.

The tradesman is in danger of expiating with a deadly spleen, a life, which he, otherwise, sacrifices to the state so generously; the scholar is in danger of sinking down into a dull doctrinaire; the mass is in danger of regressing into the animal state. Theatre is the foundation which pairs amusement with teachings, rest with effort, and entertainment with education, where any spiritual force is dispensed for the advantage of another, where amusement will not be obtained at the expense of the whole.

If sorrow troubles the heart, if dim mood poisons our lonely hours, if the world and the profession disgust us, if thousand vices press on our soul, and our irritability menaces to suffocate under the incessant work of our activity, hence, the stage welcomes us; in this artificial world, we dream of the real one, we will reinvent ourselves in retrospective, our sentiment grows, salutary passions shake our slumbering nature, and carry our blood into fresher excitement.

The unfortunate person expresses his own grieves with the ones he sees on stage; the fortunate person becomes more sober, and the confident person becomes more concerned about other people. The sensitive weakling toughens himself into a man; the raw brute begins, here, for the first time to feel.

And then, finally, what a triumph for you, Nature! So often brought down, so often revived Nature! What a triumph for you, Nature!, when humans from all circles, territories and conditions, shed every chain of artistic pretence and fashion, get rid of every pressure of destiny, through an encompassing sympathy, fraternize and dissolve themselves again into a single gender, forget themselves and the world, and get near their heavenly origin.

Every individual enjoys the ravishments which fall back upon him, strengthened and improved by the observations of the multitude, and his bosom aspires, now, only to a sentiment; it is this one: to be a human being.

 

Frederick Schiller

What can a national scene in good standing really achieve?

 

What can a national scene in good standing really achieve?

When the natural pride – so I call the endorsed assessment of our particular value – should leave us without any relationship to the citizen’s life, hence, the first among these relationships probably is that we answer, beforehand, the question whether the occupation, to which we, now, devote the best part of our spiritual force, is related to the dignity of our spirit, and fulfils the rightful pretence of the whole to our contribution.

You should always prepare yourself for the highest extension of your forces, for only their most noble use can insure greatness. The more sublime is the goal toward which we are striving; and the broader, the more encompassing the circle in which we are acting; then the greater increases our courage, the purer becomes our self confidence, and the more independent it is from the opinion of the world.

Then, only when we have decided by ourselves who we are, and who we are not; are we relieved from the danger of suffering from other people’s judgment: to be excited by their signs of admiration, or to be put down by their despise.

Why is it then, however, - this remark has pressed me ever since I observed human beings – why is it that the pride that people take from an office, is so voluntarily in reverse relationship with the true service they contribute? Why is it that most office holders double their demands on society in the same degree as their influence on the same society decreases?

How modest seems often the minister who manages the reins of the country tax income, and who sees through the great government system with gigantic power, beside the little joker who puts his prescriptions on paper! How modest seems the great scholar who broadens the limits of the human thinking, and keeps alight the torch of Enlightenment toward many parts of the world, compared to the dull pedant who only looks after his in-quatro books!

People condemn the young man who, pressed by an inner force, exits the narrow confinement of a scientific interest pursued only for subsistence, and follows the call of God who is in him. Is that the revenge of the small mind on the genius whom they have discouraged to pursue this higher goal?

Maybe they really account the effect of revenge so highly, because it turned out so sour in themselves? Dullness, industriousness and scholarly exertion will be appreciated, rewarded and admired under the honourable names of precision, earnestness and profoundness. Nothing is more known, and at the same time, nothing is simply enough to bring the healthy reason to shame than the irreconcilable hatred, the proud despise, with which university faculties look down upon free arts; and these relationships endure, until erudition and taste, Truth and Beauty, embrace one another like two reconciled daughters.

It is easy to see how much this remark is coherent with the question: „What effect does the stage have?” The highest and ultimate demand, which the philosopher and legislator can only make to a public institution, is that it constitutes an incitement to general happiness. What preserves the duration of physical life, will always be his first concern; the same way as what ennobles Humanity from within its existence, even if his highest need as physical human being is more common and more pressing; his need as spirit is more preferable, more inexhaustible.

He, who, indisputably, can also prove that theatre has an effect on the human and popular education, has decided of its rank besides the most important state institutions.

The dramatic art assumes more responsibility than any other of its sisters. The highest product of this artistic genre is maybe, also, the highest product of the human spirit. Whether with the depiction of the physical attraction phenomena, or with Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, it sees that in the balance, where the higher spirits judge the human ones, the needle will turn around the same mathematical point, when the matter is settled; and should not the most incorruptible judge, posterity, decide about this?

Why should people not be preoccupied, before anything else, about insuring the dignity of art, which exercise occupies all the forces of the soul, of the spirit and of the heart? It is a crime against oneself, it is a murder of talent, when the namely measure of capacity, which would have been fruitful to the highest interest of Humanity, will be ungratefully wasted in a lesser important subject.

Do people still doubt that (dramatic) Art originate from heaven? Are all your alleged influences really only beautiful chimeras of your admirers? Is Humanity not your debtor? Oh! Then, tear your immortal laurel, Thalia, let your trumpet be silenced about her, eternal Fama! This much admired Iphigenia was nothing else than a weaker result of your creator who forgot his dignity; the praised Hamlet was nothing else than an insult to the majesty of the poet against the heavenly genius.

No other art has been – so far as I know – more talked and written about than this one; more judged than this one. The world has, in drama more than anywhere else, divided itself into partisans of its divinisation and damnation, and hence, the truth about it is wasted through exaggeration. The hardest attack which it must be suffering happened from a side, from which such attack was not expected.

The lightness, the brazenness, even the atrocity of the person who exercises it, cannot fall upon Art as a burden. Most of their dramatic depictions, and even the most praised ones, what else are they, people say, than their secret poison mixtures, their artificially adorned vices, and their soft or great expression of virtues?

Our representatives for Humanity, our artists, how often are they not the brand of the name they carry, how often are they not the parodies of their ordained office, how often are they not the residue of Humanity? As for our famous schools of morals, how often are they not the last refuge of satisfied luxury? How often do they not constitute an ambush for the petulant and the satire? How often did this highly divine Thalia turn out to be only fooling the people, or flattering a very small throne?

All these proclamations are irrefutably true, yet none of them concerns the stage. For, it was the religion of Christ which was the rallying motto on the field as massacres were committed in America.

To honour the religion of Christ, Damien and Ravaillac committed murders, and Charles the Ninth shot at the fugitive Huguenots in Paris. To whom, however, will it befall to chastise the most gentle of any religion for a shameful act, a religion from which raw wildness would also solemnly be separated?

In the same way, Art may less compensate for the fact that it constitutes not in Europe the importance that it had in Asia; that it constitutes not in the XVIIIth Century what it was in the times of Aspasia and Pericles. It is enough that Art has once occupied such a place, and that the nation, in which it bloomed, still now is our model. However, I pursue the examination further.

A general, indisputable hang for anything new and extraordinary, a demand to feel oneself into a passionate condition, has, according to the expression of Sulzer, brought about theatre.

Created from the higher efforts of the spirit which was tired from the uniform, often demoralising occupations of profession, and saturated with sensibility, the human being must have felt an emptiness in his existence, which was contrary to the eternal impulse for activity.

Our nature, equally incapable to endure further longer the animal condition as to pursue further the finer works of understanding, demanded an intermediary condition, which could unite both contradicting extremes, alleviate the difficult extension into a sweet harmony, and ease the alternate transition from one condition to the other.

In general, it is the aesthetic sense, or the feeling for the Beautiful which performs these exercises.

As a wise legislator’s first duty must be to choose the highest of two actions, however, he will not only rejoice about having disarmed the tendencies of his people; he will also, if at all possible, use the same tendencies as tools for a higher plan, and be striving to transform them into sources of felicity, and in that respect, he chose above all theatre, which opens an infinite circle to the spirit longing for activity, nurtures every spiritual force, without straining a single one, and unites the formation of understanding, and that of the heart with the most noble entertainment.

The person, who first made the remark, that the most stable pillar of the state is religion, that without it, laws lose even their force, has maybe, without wanting or knowing it, defended the stage from its noblest side. Precisely this insufficiency, this staggering specificity of the political laws, which makes religion indissoluble from the state, determines also the whole influence of the stage.

Laws, he would be arguing, only revolve around negative duties. Religion commands such duties, which make the state more acceptable.

The first one only prevail over the public manifestations of willpower, only acts are subject to them – the second one pursues its jurisdiction even in the most hidden corner of the heart, and chases thoughts even in its most inner source. Laws are even and supple, changeable as mood and passion, religion binds severely and eternally.

If we, now, however, would be supposing, what is never more, if we grant to religion this great power over each human heart, will or can it carry education through to its completion? Religion (I separate here its political from its divine side) works, generally, more on the sensible part of the people, it works maybe in the domain of the sensible alone so infallibly.

Its power is there, if we take this power from the sensible domain; then, how does theatre perform its effect? Religion is for the major part of humans nothing more than depictions of fantasy, riddles without solutions, remote images of horror and temptations, if we consume its images, its problems, if we destroy its depictions of heaven and hell.

What a reinforcement it would be for religion and laws, if they enter in union with theatre, where there is appearance and lively presence, where vice and virtue, happiness and sorrow, silliness and wisdom in thousand depictions pass comprehensibly and truly on to humans, where providence resolves its riddles, develops its ties before the eyes, where the human heart confesses its quietest emotions about the tortures of passion, where all the masks fall, all the makeup disappears, and Truth, unerringly, holds its trial the same way as Rhadamanthus did.

The jurisdiction of theatre begins where the territory of the worldly laws ends.

When Justice is blinded by gold, and revels in rewarding vice, when the outrages of the mighty ridicule its helplessness, and human fear binds the poor to obey authority, then theatre takes the sword and the balances, and roots out vices from the terrible tribunal.

The whole realms of fantasy and History, of past and future are under its commands. Horrendous criminals, who rot already for a long time in their tombs, will now be summoned by the powerful call of poetry, and repeat a shameful life in order to give a visible lesson before posterity.

Helpless as a shadow in a concave mirror, the fears of their century pass before our eyes, and with eager repulsion we curse their memories.

If morality is not any more taught, if religion does not find any more belief, if law does not exist any more, Medea will still look at us, when she staggers down the steps of the palace and commits, before us, the infanticide.

Salutary shivers will seize Humanity, and in the stillness, each one will now value his good conscience, when Lady Macbeth, a dreadful sleep-walker, washes her hands, and calls for all the scents of Arabia to consume the horrible smell of murder.

Who among us did not watch trembling, who was not penetrated with an ardent dedication to virtue, with a passionate abhorrence for vice, as, distressed by dreams of eternity, doomed by the fear of a nearing judgment, Franz von Moor awaked from his slumber, and in order to overcome the thunder of his own arisen conscience, denied God from creation, indulge himself, breathlessly, into a last prayer, and then took a deep breath while proffering outrageous swearing?

It is not an exaggeration when people affirm that these depictions established on the stage are, finally, in unity with the morality of the common man, and in individual cases, determine his sentiment. I, myself, have been, more than once, the witness of people conveying their whole disgust of crimes through insult: the human being is a Franz Moor.

These impressions are indelible, and with the softest emotion, they resurrect in the heart of the human being whole artistic depictions as surely as from the grave. The same was as a visible exhibition acts more powerfully than symbolic letters and cold tales, so certainly the stage acts deeper and more enduringly than morality and laws.

However, in this case, it supports only the worldly justice; a wider field is still opened to theater. Thousand vices which the worldly justice bears unpunished, stage punishes; thousand virtues which the worldly justice keeps silent about, will be recommended by the stage. In this case, it accompanies wisdom and religion. From this pure source, it creates its teachings and models, and covers the severity of the duty with an attractive, luring gown. Does it not fill our soul with such marvellous sentiments, resolutions, and passions, does it not present to us divine ideals for striving!

When the kind August, as great as his Gods, reaches the hand of the traitor Cinna, who already meant to speak the deadly sentence, and says: “Let us be friends, Cinna!” Who among the audience, will not want to shake, at the moment, voluntarily the hand of his enemy, in order to equal the divine Romans?

When Franz von Sickigen, on the way of disciplining a prince and of fighting under foreign commands, unexpectedly looks behind him, and sees the smoke rising from his premises where wife and child were left behind helpless, and when he goes on with, in order to keep his word, how great did I find the human being, there, and how despicable and lowly did I find the dreadful and insuperable destiny!

Virtues depict themselves attractively the same way as vices horribly, in its fearful mirror.

When the helpless, childish Lear knocks, in the stormy night, in vain, at the house of his daughter, when he pulls his white hair, and tells the raging elements, how unnatural his Regan has become, when his furious pain streams, finally, from him in these terrible words: “I gave you everything!”, how revolting does not ingratitude appear to us, there? How solemnly do we not praise respect and filial love!

Our stage has still a great conquest outstanding, of whose importance, first, success will speak about. Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, so far as I can remember, has still not appeared on any German stage, and, so certainly, I seek out in the whole Shakespeare repertoire not any other play, where he stood before me more truthfully, where he spoke louder and more eloquently, where I learned more wisdom in life than in Timon of Athens. It is truly doing a service to Art, to dig up this gold vein.

However, the stage’s circle of action stretches still further. Also there, where Religion and laws care to accompany the human sentiments under their dignity; is theatre still engaged in our education.

The fortune of any society will be troubled equally by silliness than by crimes and vices.

Theatre teaches a lesson, which is as old as the world, which states that in the fabric of human matters, often the biggest weights hang on the smallest and weakest threads and, if we append every action back to its source, we must smile ten times, before we once complain.

My list of villains becomes shorter every day, as I grow older, and my register of fools more complete and longer.

If the whole moral responsibility of one gender springs out from one and the same source, if all the tantalizing extremes born from vice, which were once stigmatized to this gender, are only altered forms, are only higher degrees of a specificity, which we all uniformly, finally, kindly mock and love, why would not Nature be taking the same ways with the other gender?

I know only of one secret in order to keep the human from declining, and this secret is to protect his heart against weaknesses.

We can also expect a major part of this action of protection to be performed by theatre.

It is theatre which turns a mirror to the great class of fools, and shames with salutary mockery their multitude forms.

What theatre acted upon through emotion and terror, it performs, in this case, (faster maybe and more infallibly) through joke and satire.

If we would undertake to appreciate comedy and drama according to the standards of the sought for effect, hence, maybe, would experience give precedence to the first one.

Derision and despise hurt the pride of a human being more sensitively than detestation can cause torture to his conscience.

Before anything impressive, our cowardice makes us crawl; however, precisely this cowardice delivers us to the spear of satire.

Law and conscience protect us often from crimes and vices; derision demands a specifically finer sense, which we exercise nowhere more than before the scene.

We may authorize a friend to affect our heart and our morals; however, it costs us effort to forgive him a unique laughter directed at us.

Our offences can bear an inspector and a judge, our bad habits hardly a witness.

Theatre alone can mock our weaknesses, because it spares our sensitivity, and will ignore the guilty fools. Without becoming red of shame, we see our masks falling in the mirror of theatre; and secretly, we thank it for the soft admonition.

However, its greater circler of action is still not ended.

Theatre is more effective than any other official administration can be; it is a school of practical wisdom, a guide through the citizen’s life, an infallible key to the most secretive accesses to the human soul.

I admit that selfishness and dullness of conscience in the spectators destruct not seldom its best action, that still thousand vices affirm themselves with outrageous intentions before its mirror, that thousand good feelings fall back fruitless on the cold heart of the spectator.

I am even of the opinion that maybe Molière’s Harpagon has still not improved the practice of any usurer, that the suicide of Beverley retracted still very few of his consorts from the terrible mania of gambling, that the unfortunate story of Karl Moor’s robbery will not make more secure the country roads; however, if we limit also this great action of theatre, if we want to be so unfair so as to discard it completely; does not a lot more remain infinitely from its influence?

If the scene neither wipes out, nor lessens the sum of all vices, has it not initiated us with them? With these vicious people, with these silly people we must live.

We must avoid them or face them; we must bury them, or be subject to them. Now, however, they surprise us not any more. We are prepared for their attacks.

Theatre has revealed to us the secret to find and to make them harmless. It removed from the hypocrite the artificial mask, and discovered the net, with which cunningness and intrigue enmeshed us.

It pulled deceit and forgery from the sinuous labyrinth, and openly showed their horrible face to us. Maybe the dying Sarah did not fear a seducer, maybe all the depictions of punished seduction did not deter the fervour of this seducer, and maybe, even the sly actress is anxious to prevent his action seriously; fortunately enough, sincere innocence, now, knows the traps of the seducer, the stage has taught her to distrust his vows, and to tremble before his insisting prayers.

Theatre makes us attentive not only to humans and human character, but also to destinies; and teaches us the great art of bearing them.

In the fabric of our life, chance and careful planning play an equally great role: we are guided by a plan, while we must abide blindly to chance.

It’s fair enough that when the inevitable fate hits us, it will find us really not without composure, when our courage, our intelligence, at one time, is already used to similar situations, and when our heart has hardened itself already to such knock.

Theatre shows us multiple scenes of human sufferings. It pulls us artificially into unknown mortifications, and grants us a momentary suffering with tearful eyes, and a marvellous awakening to the lessons of courage and experience.

With theatre, we follow the abandoned Ariane through the empty, resounding island of Naxos; with theatre, we descend together with Ugolino from the hunger tower, step onto the horrible scaffold, and surrender ourselves to the formal hour of death.

Here, we hear what our soul felt in softer guesses: the surprised Nature being loudly and irrefutably confirmed. Under the vault of the tower, the fooled lover learns that he has lost the favour of his queen. Now, as he should die, his unfaithful sophistic wisdom flees the fearful Moor.

Eternity relieves a dead person from revealing secrets, which any living person might not know, and yet, the confident villain still mislays his very last atrocious ambush, because he knows that tombs can still betray.

However, it is not enough that the stage announces to us together with destinies, Humanity, it teaches us also to be equitable with the unfortunate person, and judge them with indulgence. Then, only, when we measure the depths of his embarrassments, may we pronounce the judgment about him.

No crime is more shameful than stealing; however, do we not all shed a tear of compassion in our condemning sentence, when we get ourselves into the terrible urge, in which Edward Ruhlberg accomplishes the act?

Suicide will be despised, in general, as an outrage; when, however, urged from the menaces of a furious father, urged by love, by the perspective of the terrible cloister walls, Marianne drinks the poison, what kind of person, among us, will be the first to condemn the disheartening victim of a perverted principle?

Humanness and tolerance begin to be the dominating spirit of our time; their rays are thrown upon courts and much further, into the heart of our princes. What share in this divine work do we not owe to our national scenes? Are they not the ones which made the human being known to the other human beings, and discovered the universal wheel mechanisms, after which he acts?

A remarkable class of human beings has cause, to be more thankful than any others to theatre. In theatre only, the greats of the world hear, what they never or seldom hear – Truth; what they never or seldom see, they see here – the human being.

So great and multiple is the merit of the better stage concerning moral education, no less than the whole enlightenment of people’s intelligence is attributed to it. Precisely here, in this higher sphere, the great mind, the ardent patriot knows, first, really to make use of it.

He throws a look through the human genre, compares people with other people, centuries with centuries, and finds, how slave-like the greater mass of the people lies imprisoned in the chains of prejudice and of opinion, which work against their felicity – that the purer rays of Truth enlighten only a few individual minds, who acquired this small gain, maybe, at the expense of a whole life.

How can the wise legislator make available to the whole nation the same rays of truth?

The national scene is the common channel through which the light of wisdom streams down from the intellectual portion of the population, and from which milder rays are shed to the whole state.

More appropriate concepts, sounder principles, purer feelings flow from here through all the vessels of the people; the cloud of barbarism, of obscure superstition disappear, the night gives way to the victorious light. Among so many wonderful fruits of the better stages, I will only pick two.

How generalized has been, only since a few years, the tolerance of religions and sects?

Not until Nathan the Jew and Saladin the Saracen shamed us; and the divine teaching preached to us that devotion to God is really not dependent upon our ideas about God, not until Joseph the Second fought the fearful Hydra of pious hatred, did theatre implant humanness and softness into our heart; the abominable depictions of pagan priestly fury teach us to avoid religious hatred

It is in this terrible mirror that Christianity washed off its stains.

With equally fortunate success, mistakes in education would be corrected through theatre; the play where this remarkable theme will be treated is still eagerly expected.

Not any occasion is so important to the state than the one provided by theatre, because of its consequences, and yet, not any occasion is so abandoned, so unlimitedly entrusted to the illusion, to the frivolity of the citizen, than this one.

Only theatre could convey the message of unfortunate sacrifice made because of neglected education in so movingly shaking depictions to the citizen; here, the stubborn principles of our fathers could be refuted; here, the reasonable principles of our mothers could rather be learned.

False concepts mislead an educator’s best heart, the more dangerously, if they are bragged still methodically; and ruin systematically the tender interest in philanthropies and educational matters.

The currently prevailing excitement, to play with the creations of God as if they were items displayed in a Christmas market, this famous recklessness to transform the human being and to make him similar to Deucalion, (with the difference indeed, that people, now, make stone from human being, the same way as Deucalion made human beings from stones) deserved, more than any other excess of Reason, to experience the scourge of satire.

Not a lesser matter is expressing itself – the head and the guardian of state understood it – through theatre: theatre is to express the nation’s opinions and reprimand about government and regents.

The legislating power spoke, here, through foreign symbols to the subject; it took responsibility of his complaints, before they become too loud, and circumscribed his suspicion, without appearing to do so.

Even industriousness and spirit of invention could and would catch fire before the scene, if the poets held it worth the effort to be patriotic about them, and the state would condescend to hear them.

I can, here, impossibly ignore the great influence which a well standing stage would have on the spirit of the nation.

I call the national spirit of a people, the similarity and agreement of opinions and inclinations for subjects which it thinks and feels differently from another nation.

It is only possible to the stage, to cause this accord in a high degree, because it wanders through the whole territory of human conscience, creates all the situations in life and shines through in all the corners of the heart, because it unites all conditions and classes in itself, and has the clearest way to understanding and the heart.

If in all our plays a main feature prevails, if our poets are unanimous, and would be forging a steady link to this end – if severe selection would guide their works, if their depictions would be consecrated only to popular subjects – in a word, if we experienced what it is to have a national scene, then, we would also become a nation.

What linked people with each other so strongly in Greece? What drove the people so irresistibly to act according to its scene? Nothing else than the patriotic content of the plays, the Greek spirit, the great, overpowering interest for the state, for the better human beings, that was exhaled in the Greek people.

Still another merit has the stage, a merit, which I, now, bring into play the more voluntarily, because the proceedings against its persecutors are already won.

Until now, some people demonstrated that the essential effect of theatre on morals and Enlightenment was doubtful. Even its opponents concede that, among all the inventions of luxury, and all the dispositions for societal amusement, theatre has the preference. However, what it performs here, is more important than what people normally believe.

The human Nature, on one hand, does not bear to be uninterruptedly and eternally subject to the torture of activities; and on the other hand, the attractions of the senses disappear as soon as they are satisfied.

The human, burdened by animal pleasure, tired by the long effort, tormented by the eternal drive for activity, craves for better, more exquisite amusements, or loses himself dissolutely into wild distractions which accelerate his fall and disturb the stillness of society. Bacchantic joys, corrupting games, thousand furies, which idleness produced, are inevitable, if the legislator of this popular tendency knows not to influence it correctly.

The tradesman is in danger of expiating with a deadly spleen, a life, which he, otherwise, sacrifices to the state so generously; the scholar is in danger of sinking down into a dull doctrinaire; the mass is in danger of regressing into the animal state. Theatre is the foundation which pairs amusement with teachings, rest with effort, and entertainment with education, where any spiritual force is dispensed for the advantage of another, where amusement will not be obtained at the expense of the whole.

If sorrow troubles the heart, if dim mood poisons our lonely hours, if the world and the profession disgust us, if thousand vices press on our soul, and our irritability menaces to suffocate under the incessant work of our activity, hence, the stage welcomes us; in this artificial world, we dream of the real one, we will reinvent ourselves in retrospective, our sentiment grows, salutary passions shake our slumbering nature, and carry our blood into fresher excitement.

The unfortunate person expresses his own grieves with the ones he sees on stage; the fortunate person becomes more sober, and the confident person becomes more concerned about other people. The sensitive weakling toughens himself into a man; the raw brute begins, here, for the first time to feel.

And then, finally, what a triumph for you, Nature! So often brought down, so often revived Nature! What a triumph for you, Nature!, when humans from all circles, territories and conditions, shed every chain of artistic pretence and fashion, get rid of every pressure of destiny, through an encompassing sympathy, fraternize and dissolve themselves again into a single gender, forget themselves and the world, and get near their heavenly origin.

Every individual enjoys the ravishments which fall back upon him, strengthened and improved by the judgments of the multitude, and his bosom aspires, now, only to a sentiment; it is this one: to be a human being.

 

Glossary

Anacreon:Greek lyric poet, born in Teos (560-478 BC). His works celebrated pleasures with a gracious and lively style.

August:Roman Emperor, grand-nephew of Julius Caesar. After his victory upon Marc Anthony in Actium, became Emperor and imposed reforms which created the most glorious era for Rome.

Catullus: Latin poet born in Verona (87-54 BC), author of many ardent poems inspired by the famous Lesbie whose real name was Claudia Metulla.

Commodius: Roman emperor (161-192 BC), son of Marcus Aurelius. Famous for his cruelty, he was altogether poisoned and strangled.

Dade: Proto-Indo-European vowel and resonant which was contracted to form the new Indo-Aryan sounds.

Hydra:    Snake with seven heads which could grew again unless someone could cut them all together.

Lombards: Germanic people, established between the Elbe and the Oder, who invaded Italy in the 6th Century to found there a powerful state until Charlemagne defeated them in 774.

Medea: Princess from Colchid who followed Jason and had children with him. She murdered them after Jason abandoned her. She is renowned in Antiquity for being a magician and a sorceress.

Medicis: Rich and influent family from Florence which spread its economic ties in all the major cities of Europe during the Renaissance. It stretched its territory over Tuscany which they defended against the enlargement of the Habsburg and Bourbon influences.

Messiade: Epic poem made of 20 songs by Klopstock. It reached a classic perfection with its versification and rhythm. It celebrates the birth of the man God, his passion, his ascension.

Phocion: General and orator from Athens, member of the aristocratic party (around 400-317 BC) famous for his disinterest, and falsely condemned to drink a deadly poison.

Rhadamanthus: One of the three judges in Hell, son of Zeus and brother of Minos. He was known for his acute sense of fairness.

Venus Cythera: Cythera: Island where Venus had a magnificent temple. It is associated with enchantment. It is the Land of Love.

Venus Urania: Urania: Muse of astronomy and geometry. It is associated with geometric precision and perfection.

 

 

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1772.Against his will and that of his parents, he is enrolled in the military academy of the Duke of Wurttemberg in Ludwigsburg, as cadet.

1774.His parents sign a bond linking their son to the service of the Duke. During these years, he will be subjected to several physical and moral mistreatments. However, he still secretly hopes to become a Lutheran pastor.

As the years go by, he would finally give up this idea as no theology classes would be allowed in the academy.

He would then, still secretly, prepare himself to become a writer. In parallel with his formal study, he would read as much as he can the great classic works. It is during this time that he also discovers the great thinkers of Enlightenment.

From 1777 on, he works on “The robbers”, his play about the emancipation from the traditional conception of rule and order.

1780.Schiller graduates as a medical officer, only after submitting his third dissertation, and is appointed regiment physician. The Duke would refuse him the right to carry a weapon as a further sign of humiliation.

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1781.With the help of friends, he prints his work, and soon, the play is rehearsed in Mannheim, without the consent of the Duke of Wurttemberg.

1782.He would be put in jail for insubordination. To avoid further punishment, and to assert his choice to become a writer, he flees the city of Stuttgart with his friend Streicher in direction of Mannheim.

1782-84.For almost three years, he would live as a fugitive, fleeing from one place to another, experiencing sickness and deprivation, to secure his life. He authored three plays during this period: “Fiesco”, “Intrigue and Love” and “Don Carlos”.

He is acquainted with many young ladies and his reputation as a romantic writer is established.

1785.He leaves Mannheim to join Korner and his group of friends, in Leipzig and then, in Dresden. He composes during this period “Ode to Joy” and other short stories among which “Lost honor” and “The mind reader”.

1787-88.Deceived by the turn of events, he decides to head to Weimar where the spirit of Wieland, of Herder and Goethe reign supreme. He composes the “Gods of Greece”, a poem about the power structure he found in Saxony. Weimar has just risen from the ashes, and yet, intends to play an important role in the Prussian plan.

No position would be offered to him, and he decides, at the suggestion of his friend Wolzogen, to visit the family Lengefeld in Rudolstadt.

It is in this city where he would meet Goethe for the first time. He finishes “The secession of the united Netherlands from Spanish ruling”. At the end of this year, he is appointed History Professor at Iena University.

1790.Schiller is confirmed as a counselor to the Dukedom of Saxony. Against the advice of his friends, among whom Korner, he marries, almost in secrecy, Charlotte Lengefeld.

1791.He will be often sick, and would have to cease practicing his profession. It is during this time that he begins to dissect the ideology of Emmanuel Kant.

1793.He endeavors to summarize his latest philosophical research in his famous essays, “On Grace and Dignity”, “On the Sublime” and “On the aesthetic education of the human being”.

1793.He finally returns to his homeland, 11 years after his escape, where his first son Charles would be born. He sees his father again, after so many long years.

1796.He writes, together with Goethe, the “Xenien”, and hence, prepares the groundwork for a national grouping of new, enlightened representatives.

1797.Schiller's prolific year where he would compose so many stunning ballads and songs. His interest for esoteric subjects would also increase due to his circle of friends in Iena. This interest would surprise many observers as he previously derided about esoterism.

1798.His ballads, “The diver”, “The glove”.... are published in the “Muse's Almanac”. The acknowledgment of his talent as a poet is unanimous.

It is from this year that his opponents become vocal, as they augur his inevitable rise to the higher sphere.

1799.He finishes “Wallenstein”, the story of the first person in History to become supreme commander of the armies and also political leader, and begins “Mary Stuart”. He earns additional recognition for the emotionally tense quality of his dramas. He settles with his family in Weimar, the center of the Saxon power.

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1800.Schiller does not feel at ease in Weimar despite his intensive literary and theatrical work. The clouds of war are ever hovering over this city.

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