Translation:Writings of Novalis/Pollen

Novalis Schriften, Volume 2  (1907)  by Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, edited by Jakob Minor, translated from German by Wikisource
Original work published in 1798



Friends, the soil is poor, we must scatter an abundance of seed
that we may thrive on a moderate harvest.

1. We look for the unconditioned everywhere and only ever find things.

2. Expression by tones and strokes is a marvelous abstraction. Three letters express God to me; a few strokes a million things. How easy the operation of the universe becomes here, how intelligible the concentricity of the spirit world! Grammar is the dynamic of the spirit realm. A word of command moves armies; the word freedom, nations.

3. The political world is the body, which is animated by the beautiful world, the social world. It is its essential voice.

4. Apprenticeship years are for the poetic novice, academic years for the philosophical. The academy should be a completely philosophical institution: only one faculty; the whole establishment organized for the stimulation and practical exercise of the power of thought.

5. Apprenticeship years in their preeminent sense are the years of apprenticeship in the art of living. Through systematically arranged experiments, one learns its principles and obtains the proficiency to act on them at will.

6. We will never fully comprehend ourselves, but we will and can do much more than comprehend ourselves.

7. Certain restraints resemble the fingerings of a flute player who, in order to produce different tones, presently closes one opening and then almost immediately afterwards another, appearing to make arbitrary sequences of silent and sonorous expression.

8. The difference between delusion and truth lies in the difference of their functions for life. Delusion lives away from the truth; truth has its life within itself. One eradicates delusion as one eradicates diseases, and the delusion is therefore nothing but logical inflammation or decay, enthusiasm or philistinism. The former usually leaves behind an apparent deficiency in the power of thought, which is not improved through anything except a diminishing series of incitations, or compulsory treatments. This often results in a misleading volatility, those grave symptoms of revolution that can only be dispelled by an increasing series of drastic methods. Both dispositions will only be changed through chronic, strictly followed cures.

9. The entirety of our perception is like the eye. The objects must pass through opposing media to appear correctly on the pupil.

10. Experience is the test of the rational and also the other way around. The inadequacy of mere theory in application, about which the practical person often comments, is found reciprocally in the rational application of mere experience, and will be clearly enough noticed by the true philosopher, though with a self-restraint due to the inevitability of the outcome. The practical person therefore rejects mere theory entirely without considering how problematic the answer to the question might be: "Whether the theory exists for the sake of application or the application for theory?"

11. The highest is the most comprehensible, the next, the most indispensable.[1]

12. Miracles are in a reciprocal relationship with the effects of natural law: they constrain one another and together form a whole. They are united, and they transmute one another. No miracles without natural law and vice versa.

13. Nature is the enemy of everlasting possessions. With inexorable laws, it destroys all signs of property; obliterates all characteristics of social arrangements. The earth belongs to all generations; everyone is entitled to all of it. Those who came earlier through this accident of primogeniture do not deserve preference.—Property rights come to an end at a fixed time. Amelioration and deterioration are subject to immutable conditions. But if the body is an asset solely by which I acquire my rights as a active citizen of the earth, then I cannot lose myself through the forfeiture of this asset. I lose nothing but my place in this school of princes, and step into a higher corporate body, where my beloved classmates follow me.

14. Life is the beginning of death. Life is for death's sake. Death is the end and beginning at the same time, separation and closer interconnection to the self at the same time. The reduction is completed through death.

[2]15. Philosophy also has its blossomings. These are thoughts that one doesn't always know whether they should be called beautiful or witty.

16. Imagination situates the future world for us either into the heights, or into the depths, or into metempsychosis. We dream of traveling through the universe: isn't that because the universe is in us? We do not know the depths of our minds.—The secret path goes within. Eternity, with its worlds, the future and the past, is in us or nowhere. The outside world is the shadow world, throwing its shadow into the realm of light. At this time it admittedly appears so dark, lonely, formless less inside, but how completely different it will appear to us when this eclipse has passed and the shadow of the body has passed away. We will savor it more than ever because our spirit has hungered.

17. Darwin makes the observation that we are less blinded by the light upon awakening when we have dreamed of visible objects. Therefore, blessed are those who have dreamed of sight here! They will be able to bear the glory of that yonder world sooner.

18. How can a person have a sense of something if he does not have the seed of it in him? What I am meant to understand must develop organically in me; and what I seem to learn is only nourishment, the incitation of the organism.

19. The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Wherever they interpenetrate, it is at every point of intersection.

20. It may certainly be called a philosophical friendship when there is an alternation between absolute understanding and absolute non-understanding in the communication of thoughts. Are not both of us better off? And is the life of a thinking person anything else than an inner symphilosophy?

21. Genius is the ability to talk about imaginary objects as if they were real, and to act upon them as if they are. Thus the talent to represent, to accurately observe, to effectively describe the observation, is different than genius. Without this talent, one sees only half and is only half a genius; one can have a disposition for genius, which in the absence of that talent, never develops.

22. The most arbitrary prejudice is to deny a person's ability to be outside oneself, to be with an awareness beyond the senses. A person is able to be a supersensible being at any moment. Without this he would not be a citizen of the world, he would be an animal. Admittedly, level-headedness, self-understanding, is difficult in this state as it so incessantly, so necessarily, connected with the alteration of our normal state. But the more we are able to be conscious of this state, the livelier, more powerful, and more compelling is the conviction that arises from it; belief in true revelations of the spirit. It is not seeing, hearing, feeling; It is more than all three combined, more than all of the three: a perception of immediate certainty, a vision of my most true, most unique life. Thoughts transform themselves into laws, the wishes into fulfillments. For the shallow person, the reality of this moment is an article of faith. The phenomenon is particularly striking at the sight of certain human figures and faces, especially when beholding certain eyes, certain facial expressions, certain gestures, when hearing certain words, when reading certain passages, by looking over when looking at certain aspects of life, the world and fate. Very many coincidences, certain natural events, special times of the year and day, give us such experiences. Certain moods are especially favorable to such revelations. Most are fleeting, some linger, a few stay. There is a great deal of difference between people here. One has more of a propensity for revelation than another. One has more feeling, another more understanding for them. The latter will always remain in its soft light, while the first has only a shimmering, but more lucid and multifarious, inspiration. This ability is likewise able to induce a disorder, which indicates either an excess of feeling and a lack of understanding or an excess of understanding and a lack of feeling.

23. Shame is certainly a feeling of profanation. Friendship, love, and piety should be treated with secrecy. One should only talk about it in rare, familiar moments, tacitly agreeing to it. Much is too delicate to be thought, even more to be discussed.

24. Self-renunciation is the source of all humiliation, just as, on the contrary, it is the basis of all true elevation. The first step is to look inwards, to examine ourselves in isolation. Whoever stops here is only half turned. The second step must be an effective look outwards, automatic, careful observation of the outside world.

25. One who does not want to portray anything more than his experiences or his favorite objects, he that cannot convince himself to study with diligence and taking the time to characterize a completely foreign uninteresting object, will never achieve anything excellent as an artist. The artist must be able and willing to depict everything. This gives rise to the great style of representation that one rightly admires in Goethe.

26. Once one has the passion for the Absolute and cannot cannot put it away: there is no way out, but to constantly contradict oneself and to bring together opposing extremes. After all, the principle of contradiction inevitably arises, and one can only choose to make oneself suffer because of it or desire to ennoble its necessity through the acknowledgement of free action.

27. One notices a remarkable trait of Goethe in his interconnection of small, insignificant incidents with important events. He seems to have no other intention than to occupy the imagination in a poetic way with a mysterious game. Here as well, this unique genius of nature has come upon its trail and has noticed a nice trick. That ordinary life is full of related coincidences. They make up a game that, like all games, come down to surprise and deception.

Many of the expressions of everyday life are observations on these inverted relationships. So, for example, bad dreams mean good fortune; the announcement of death a long life; a hare that runs across the path, misfortune. Almost all of the common folk's superstitions are based on interpretations of this game.

28. The highest task of education is to take control of one's transcendental self to be at the same time the "I" of one's ego. The lack of appreciation and understanding for others is less strange. Without a perfect self-understanding one will never learn to truly understand others.

29. Humor is an arbitrarily assumed style. The arbitrariness is its piquancy: Humor is the result of a free mixing of the conditioned and the unconditioned. Through humor, that which is peculiarly conditioned becomes universally interesting and obtains objective worth. Where imagination and judgment meet, wit arises; where rationality and arbitrariness come together, humor. Light banter belongs to humor, but it is one degree lower: it is no longer purely artistic, and much more limited. What Fr. Schlegel so distinctly characterizes as irony is, in my opinion, nothing other than the result, the characteristic of discretion, the true presence of spirit. Schlegel's irony seems to me to be genuine humor. Several names are beneficial to an idea.

30. That which is insignificant, common, raw, ugly, immoral becomes socially acceptable through wit alone. It exists, as it were, only for the sake of wit: its purpose is wit.

31. One must treat the common, if one is not common oneself, with the effort and lightness from which gracefulness arises, and one must find nothing more curious than the common, and to have sought out and requited this sense of curiousness. In this way a person who lives on a completely different plane so assuages ordinary natures that they can have no suspicions toward him and consider him nothing more than what they call genial.

32. We are on a mission: we are called to cultivate the earth.

33. If a spirit appeared to us, we would immediately take possession of our own spirituality: we would be inspired through both ourselves and the spirit at the same time. Without inspiration, there is no spiritual revelation. Inspiration is both revelation and counter-revelation, a dedication and an annunciation, at the same time.

34. A person lives, continues to act only in the idea, in the memory of his existence. For now, there is no other means of spiritual action in this world. Therefore, it is an obligation to think of the deceased. It is the only way to be in communion with them. God himself does not work with us in any other way than through this faith.

35. Interest is the participation in the suffering and action of a being. I take an interest in something if it knows how to evoke participation from me. No interest is more interesting than that which one takes in oneself; just as the foundation for a remarkable friendship and love is the participation that a person excites in me when he is preoccupied with himself, who by his notice, so to speak, invites me to partake in his business.

36. Who may have invented wit? Any quality brought consciousness, the conduct of our spirit is a newly discovered world in the truest sense.

37. The spirit only ever appears in a strange, aetherial form.

38. At present, the spirit only stirs here and there: when will the spirit as a whole stir? When will humanity as a whole begin to reflect on itself?

39. The person exists in truth. If he reveals the truth, he reveals himself. He who betrays the truth is betraying himself. We are not talking about lying here, but about acting against conviction.

40. There is no wit in serene souls. Wit indicates a disturbed balance: it is the consequence of the disruption and at the same time the means of creation. Passion has the greatest wit. The state of the dissolution of all relationships, despair or spiritual death is most terrifyingly witty.

41. We cannot hear enough, cannot speak enough about a beloved object. We look forward to every new, apt, and exalting word. It is not up to us that is does not become the object of all objects.

42. We hold on to lifeless matter because of its connections, its fixed forms. We love the material insofar as it belongs to a beloved being, bears its mark, or is similar to it.

43. A true club is a mixture of institute and society. It has a purpose, like the institute; but not a determinate one, rather, a free indeterminate one: humanity in general. All aims are sincere; the society is absolutely joyful.

44. The objects of social entertainment are nothing but a means of stimulation. This determines their choice, their variation, and their treatment. Society is nothing but communal life: an indivisible thinking and feeling person. Each person is a miniature society.

45. To return to oneself, means for us, to abstract ourselves from the outside world. Earthly existence is analogically known as inner contemplation by the spirits, a going inside oneself, an immanent activity. Thus, earthly life arises from a primordial reflection, a primitive turning inward, a gathering in of oneself, that is as free as our reflection. Conversely, spiritual life in this world arises from breaking through that primitive reflection. The spirit unfurling itself once more, goes out from itself again, transmutes a part of this reflection again, and at this moment says "I" for the first time. One sees here, how relative going-out and going-in are. What we call going-in is actually going-out, a reacceptance of the original form.

46. ​​Couldn't something be said regarding the everyday people who have been so maligned recently? Doesn't the greatest power belong to persistent mediocrity? And should a person be more than just one of the popolo?

47. Wherever there is a real inclination to reflect, not just to think this or that thought, there is also progressivity. Very many scholars do not have this inclination. They have learned to conclude and to infer, like a cobbler's shoemaking, without ever having an idea or trying to find the reason for a thought. Nevertheless, there is no other way to well-being. For many, this inclination only lasts a short while. It develops and then over the years declines, frequently with the discovery of a system that they only sought out to be further relieved from the trouble of cogitating.

48. Error and prejudice are burdens, an indirect agent of stimulation for the self-directed, who are equal to any burden. For the weak they are positively debilitating agents.

49. The people is an idea. We should become one people. A perfect person is a microcosm of the people. Real popularity is humanity's ultimate goal.

50. Every stage of education begins with childhood. Thus, the most educated, wordly person is very similar to the child.

51. Every beloved object is the center of a paradise.

52. The interesting thing is what sets me in motion, not for my own sake, but only as an agent, as a part, The classical doesn't bother me at all; it affects me only indirectly through myself. To me, it is not classical as such unless I establish that it would not affect me unless I am inspired myself to produce exactly the same for myself; or unless I break off a piece of myself, and let this seed develop in a unique way before my eyes. Development often needs only a moment and coincides with the sensual perception of the object, so that I see an object before me in which the ordinary object and the ideal, interpenetrate, forming just one wonderful individual.

53. Finding formulas for individual art forms, only through which their proper meaning can be understood, is the business of the art critic, whose work prepares the history of art.

54. The more confused a person is- one often calls these confused minds dimwits- the more he can accomplish through diligent self-study; on the other hand, well-ordered minds must strive to become true scholars, thorough encyclopedists. In the beginning, confused minds have to struggle with mighty obstacles, which they penetrate only slowly, they learn to work with difficulty: but then they are also lords and masters forever. The well-ordered mind take things in rapidly, but they also go out rapidly. He soon reaches the second stage: but he usually stops there. The last steps are difficult for him, and he can seldom convince himself to shift from having a certain degree of master to being a beginner again. The state of being confused indicates an abundance of strength and ability, but inadequate circumstances; certainty of of the right conditions, economic assets and strength. That is why the confused mind is so progressive, so perfectable, whereas the ordinary mind ceases and becomes Philistine. Order and certainty alone is not clarity. Through self-examination the confused mind comes to that heavenly transparency, to that self-enlightenment, which the ordered mind so seldom attains. True genius connects these extremes. It shares the rapidity of the latter with the with the last and fullness of the former.

55. The individual is only interested; therefore everything classical is not individual.

56. The true letter is poetic in nature.

57. Wit, as the principle of relationships, is also the menstruum universale. The admixtures of wit are, for example, Jew and cosmopolitan, childhood and wisdom, robbery and generosity, virtue and hetaireia, abundance and the naive lack of judgement and etc.

58. A person appears most praiseworthy when his first impression is the impression of an absolutely witty thought: in particular, to be both spirit and a unique individual at the same time. Each outstanding person must seem as if the spirit, which idealistically parodies the visible appearance, floats through him. For some people it is as if this spirit's visible appearance was incised in their face.

59. The social instinct is the organizational instinct. Here, through this spiritual assimilation out of common elements, a good society often emerges around a spirit-filled person.

60. The interesting thing is the material substance that moves around beauty. Where there is spirit and beauty, the best of all natures accumulate in concentric waves.

61. The German has long been the little boy, Billy. But he will soon become an adult, the William of all Williams. He is doing what many stupid children are supposed to do: he come into his own life and be wise when his early-bloomer siblings have long since rotted away and he is now the sole master of the house.

62. The best thing about scholarly knowledge is its philosophical ingredient, it is like life in the organic body. If one de-philosophizes this knowledge: what is left? Earth, air and water.

63. To be human is a humorous role.

64. Our old nationality was, it seems to me, really Roman. Naturally, we came into being just like the Romans

Naturally, since we came into being just in the same way as the Romans; the name, Roman Empire, would thus truly be a good coincidence rich in meaning. Germany is Rome as a country. A country is a big place with its gardens. Perhaps its Capitol could be determined by honking of geese before the Gauls. The instinctive universal politics and tendency of the Romans also lie within the German people. The best that the French have achieved in the Revolution is a bit of being German.

65. Courts of justice, theater, the royal court, church, government, public meetings, academies, colleges, etc., are, as it were, the special, internal organs of the mystical individual of the state.

66. All the coincidences of our life are materials from which we can make what we want. Whoever has much spirit makes much of his life. For the completely spiritual person, every acquaintance, every incident, would be the first link in an infinite series, the beginning of an infinite novel.

67. The noble merchant spirit, the real wholesale trade, only flourished in the Middle Ages and especially during the German Hanseatic League. The Medicis, the Fuggers, were merchants as they should be. Our merchants as a whole, not excluding the largest, are nothing but shopkeepers.

68. A translation is either grammatical, or transformative, or mythical. Mythical translations are translations of the highest style. They represent the pure, perfect character of the individual work of art. They do not give us the actual work of art, but the ideal of it. I believe that there is still no complete example of it. However, one meets clear hints of it in the spirit of certain reviews and descriptions of artworks. It takes a mind in which the poetic spirit and the philosophical spirit have permeated each other in all their fullness. Greek mythology is in part one such translation of a national religion. The modern Madonna is such a myth as well.

Grammatical translations are the translations in the ordinary sense. They require a great deal of learning, but only discursive ability.

The transforming translations, if they are to be genuine, include the highest poetic spirit. They slip easily into travesty, like Bürger's Homer in Iambic, Pope's Homer, and French translations as a whole. The true translator of this kind must in fact be the artist himself, and be able to give the idea of the whole in one way or another. He must be the poet of the poet, allowing himself to express his own and the poet's particular idea at the same time. The genius of humanity stands in a similar relationship with every individual human being.

Not just books, anything can be translated in these three ways.

69. In the greatest pain there sometimes comes a paralysis of sensitivity. The soul dissolves. Hence the deathly chill, the unconstrained thoughts, and the blaring, unending wit of this kind of despair. There is no longer any inclination; a person stands alone like a pernicious power. Unconnected with the rest of the world, he gradually consumes himself and his principle is misanthropy and misotheism.

70. Our language is either mechanical, atomistic or dynamic. The genuinely poetic language should, however, be organic and lively. How often does one feel the poverty of words to hit on several ideas in a single stroke.

71. Poets and priests were one in the beginning, and only they only separated in later times. But the real poet is always a priest, just as the real priest always remains a poet. And shouldn't the future restore the old state of things?

72. Writings are the thoughts of the state, the archives its memory.

73. The more our senses are refined, the more capable they become of distinguishing between individuals. The ultimate sense would be the highest receptivity to an individual nature. The talent of fixating on the individual is in accordance with one's relative skill and energy. When the will expresses itself in relation to this sense, the passions for or against individualities arise: love and hate. One owes the mastery of acting out one's own role for oneself to the orienting of these senses through prevailing reason.

74. Nothing is more indispensable to true religiosity than an intermediary link that connects us with the divinity. A person absolutely cannot stand in a direct relation to it. In the choice of this intermediary the person must be perfectly free. The slightest compulsion in this harms his religion. The choice is characteristic, and therefore educated people choose more or less the same intermediary, on the other hand the uneducated person's choice will be determined by chance. But because so few people are capable of a free choice at all, some intermediaries will become more common; be it by chance, by association, or by their particular sense of decency. In this way, national religions arise. The more independent the person becomes, the more the quantity of the intermediary decreases, the quality improves, and its relation to oneself become more diverse and more sophisticated: fetishes, stars, animals, heroes, idols, gods, a god-man. One soon sees how relative these choices are, and is driven unaware to the idea that the essence of religion does not depend on the characteristics of the mediator, but merely consists in the idea of the mediator, in its relationship to oneself.

It is idolatry in the broader sense when I actually regard this mediator as God himself. It is irreligion if I do not accept a mediator at all; in this respect superstition and idolatry- unbelief or theism, which one may also label ancient Judaism- are both irreligion. On the other hand, atheism is only a negation of all religion in general, and therefore has nothing to do with religion. True religion is that which embraces that mediator as the mediator, beholds it as the agent of the divine so to speak, as its sensual manifestation. In this respect the Jews at the time of the Babylonian captivity acquired a genuinely religious tendency, a religious hope, a belief in a future religion which in a miraculous way transformed them from the ground up, and with the most remarkable endurance preserved them down to our times.

On closer examination, however, true religion appears again to be divided antinomically into pantheism and monotheism. I am using a license here in that I do not take pantheism in the ordinary sense, but understand it as the idea that everything can be an agent of divinity, can be a mediator, by my elevation of it: just as monotheism, on the contrary, indicates a belief that there is only one such agent bestowed for us in the world, one alone that is appropriate to the idea of ​​a mediator, and through which God alone lets himself be heard, which I am compelled to choose for myself: for without which monotheism would not be true religion.

As incompatible as the two seem to be, their union can be brought about if the monotheistic mediator is made the mediator of the mediating world of pantheism, and the latter is, as it were, centered through former, so that both make each other necessary in different ways.

The prayer, or the religious thought, therefore consists of a three-fold ascending, indivisible abstraction or positing. Every object can be a temple to the religious person in the sense of the augurs. The spirit of this temple is the omnipresent high priest, the monotheistic mediator, who alone stands in direct relationship with the divinity.

75. The basis of all eternal connection is an absolute tendency in all directions. The power of the hierarchy, the true freemasonry, and the invisible covenant of true thinkers rests on this. Herein lies the possibility of a universal republic which the Romans had begun to realize up to the emperors. Augustus first abandoned this foundation, and Hadrian completely destroyed it.

76. The leader, the first official of the state, has almost always been confused with the representative of the genius of humanity, which belongs to the unity of society or the people.

In the state everything is the acting of a show, the life of the people is a drama; hence the spirit of the people must also be displayed. This visible spirit either comes, as in the millennial kingdom, without our intervention, or it is chosen unanimously by loud or silent consent.[3]

It is an irrefutable fact that most of the princes were not really princes, but usually more or less a kind of representative of the genius of their time, and that most of the time the government was as reasonably, in subordinate hands.

A perfect representative of the genius of humanity the real priest and the poet could easily be the poet κατ 'εξοχην.

77. Our everyday life consists of nothing but sustaining, recurring activities. This circle of routines is only the means to a principle medium, our mundane existence in general, which is mixed together from multifarious ways of existing. Philistines only live a day-to-day life. The principle means that appears to be their singular purpose. They do all this for the sake of mundane life; as it seems, and which their own utterances must make apparent. They only dabble in poetry under the call of necessity because they are used to a certain time out from their daily routine. As a rule, this time out occurs every seven days and could be called a poetic septan fever. Work is suspended on Sundays, they live a little better than usual and this Sunday intoxication ends with a somewhat deeper sleep than usual; therefore also everything runs at a faster pace on Mondays. Their parties de plaisir must be conventional, ordinary, fashionable, but they also digest their enjoyment, like everything, tediously and punctiliously.

The Philistine attains the greatest degree of his poetic existence on a journey, a wedding, an infant baptism, and in church. Here his wildest wishes are satisfied and often exceeded.

Their so-called religion acts like an opiate: irritating, numbing, relieving pain from weakness. Their morning and evening prayers, like breakfast and supper, are necessary to them. They cannot leave them anymore. The coarse Philistine imagines the joys of heaven under the image of a church festival, a wedding, a trip or a ball: the sublimated one turns heaven into a sumptuous church with beautiful music, lots of pomp, with chairs for the common groundling, and chapels and galleries for the distinguished.

The worst of them are the revolutionary Philistines, to which also the dregs of the aimlessly-wandering minds, the greedy race, belongs. Gross self-interest is the necessary result of impoverished narrow-mindedness. The sensation of the moment is the liveliest, the highest one for a wretch. He doesn't know anything higher than this. No wonder that his intellect, trained by external circumstances, is only the crafty slave of such an obtuse master, and only contemplates and cares for his own lusts.

78. In the early times of the discovery of the faculty of judgement, every new judgment was a find. The value of this find rose, the more applicable, the more fruitful this judgment was. Sentences that now seem very common to us now were the results of an unusual degree of intellect. One had to summon genius and perspicacity in order to find new relationships by means of the new tool. Its application to the most curious, most interesting, and most universal aspects of humanity must have aroused deep admiration and attracted the attention of all good minds. This is how those gnomic masses came into being, which have been so highly valued through all times and by all the people of the nation. It is quite possible that a time will come when they all are so ordinary, as like proverbs are now, and new, more sublime discoveries occupy humanity's restless spirit that our present ingenious discoveries would meet a similar fate in the course of time.

79. A law is, by the concept itself, effective. An ineffective law is not a law. Law is a causal concept, a combination of power and thought. Hence one is never conscious of a law as such. Insofar as one thinks of a law, it is only a proposition, that is, a thought connected with a capability. A resistant, a persistent thought is a striving thought and mediates the law and its pure concept.

80. An excessively large servitude toward the bodily organs would be dangerous to earthly existence. The spirit in its current state would make destructive use of it. A certain density of the organ prevents the mind from excessively arbitrary activity, and provokes it toward regulated cooperation, which is appropriate for the earthly world. It is an imperfect state of affairs in itself that this relationship binds the spirit too exclusively to this world. Therefore it is terminated according to the its principle.

81. Jurisprudence corresponds to physiology, Morality to psychology. The laws of reason regarding jurisprudence and moral theory, when transformed into natural laws, give the principles of physiology and psychology.

82. Flight of public spirit is death.

83. In most religious systems we are regarded as organs of the divinity which, when they do not respond to the impulsions of the whole, even if they do not deliberately operate against the laws of the whole but only go their own want as they don't want to be members, will be medically treated by the divinity and be painfully healed or even cutoff.

84. Each specific incitation discloses a specific meaning. The newer it is, the more unpolished, but all the more stronger; the more precise, the more polished, the more multifaceted it becomes, all the more weaker. In this way, the first thought of God aroused an extreme emotion in the whole individual; thus, the first idea of philosophy, of humanity, the universe, etc.

85. The most intimate community of all knowledge, the scientific republic, is the great aim of the learned.

86. Shouldn't the distance of a particular field of knowledge from universal knowledge, and thus the rank of fields of knowledge from one another, be calculated according to the number of its principles? The fewer principles, the higher the field of knowledge.

87. One usually understands the artificial better than the natural. There is more intellect involved in the simple than in the complex, but less talent.

88. Tools empower the human being. It can be said that the human being knows how to create a world; he only lacks the appropriate apparatus, the proportional armature of his sensory equipment. The beginning is there. The principle of a warship lies in the idea of ​​the master shipbuilder, who is able to embody this idea through a great number of people and appropriate tools and materials, while through all this he makes himself, as it were, into an enormous machine. Thus the idea of ​​a moment often required enormous organs, enormous masses of matter, and man is therefore, where not in actu, at least in potentia a creator.

89. In every contact a substance arises, the effect of which lasts as long as the contact. This is the reason for all synthetic modifications of the individual. But there are one-sided and reciprocal contacts. The former establish the latter.

90. The more ignorant one is by nature, the more capacity one has for knowledge. Every new realization makes a much deeper, more vivid impression. One notices this clearly when entering a science. That is why through studying too much one can lose a capacity. It is a kind of first innocence that actively opposes ignorance. This latter is a lack of knowing due to a lack, the latter from overabundance of knowledge. The latter tends to have the symptoms of skepticism. But it is an inauthentic skepticism due to an indirect weakness in our cognitive abilities. One is not capable of penetrating the substance or fully enlivening its particular form: a plastic power is not enough. This is the way that the inventive spirit of young people and enthusiasts, as well as the fortuitous attainment by the ingenious beginner or layperson, can easily be explained.

91.  The construction of worlds does not sate the deep urgent need for meaning:
But a loving heart satisfies the aspiring spirit.

92. We are in relationships with all parts of the universe, just as with the future and past. It depends only on the direction and duration of our attention which relationship we want to develop especially well, which relationship should become especially meaningful and effective for us. A true method for this practice should be nothing less than that long-desired artistry in inventiveness; it may well be more than this. At every hour, a person proceeds according to its laws and the possibility of discovering them through ingenious self-observation is beyond doubt.

93. The historian organizes historical entities. The data of history are the material the historian gives form through animation. Hence history too is subject to the principles of animation and organization in general, And unless these principles are present in the first place, there are no genuine historical artifacts, only traces here and there of accidental stimulations where involuntary creative power has prevailed.

94. Almost all genius has hitherto been one-sided, the result of a pathological constitution. One type has too much to external, the other too much internal sense. Nature has seldom achieved a balance between the two, a complete, genius-like constitution. By chance a ideal proportion often arose, but this could never be permanent because it was not grasped and fixed by the mind: it remained a result of fortuitous moments. The first genius to penetrate itself found here the archetypal seed of an immeasurable world; it made a discovery that must have been the strangest in world history, for a whole new epoch of mankind begins with it, and only at this stage does true history of all kinds becomes possible: for the path that has been covered up to this point now becomes a unique, perfectly explicable whole. That place beyond the world is revealed, and Archimedes can have his promise fulfilled.

95. Before abstraction, everything is one, but a one like chaos; after abstraction, everything is united again, but this union is a free association of independent, self-determined beings. A heap has become a society, the chaos has been transformed into a diverse world.

96. If the world is, so to speak, a precipitate from human nature, then the world of gods is a sublimation of it. Both happen uno actu. No precipitation without sublimation. What agility is lost over there, is gained over here.

97. Where there are children, there is a golden age.

98. Security in oneself and the unseen powers was the basis of spiritual countries in the past.

99. The course of approximation is composed of increasing progressions and regressions. Both retard, both accelerate, both lead to the goal. So it seems in a novel when the poet appears to nearly approach the goal, he soons retreats, and is never nearer when seeming to be furthest away.

100. A criminal cannot complain of injustice if treated harshly and inhumanely. His crime was an entry into the realm of violence, of tyranny. Moderation and proportion do not exist in this world, so the disproportionate nature of the countermeasures should not be strange to him.

101. Mythology contains the history of the archetypal world; it understands past, present and future.

102. If the spirit consecrates it, every genuine book is a bible. But a book is seldom written for the book's sake, and if the spirit is a precious metal, most books are debased coinage. Of course, every useful book must at least be of a strong alloy. The pure precious metal is of no use in trade and exchange. Many true books are like gold nuggets in Ireland. For many years they only serve as weights.

103. Some books are longer than they seem. Indeed they have no end. The boredom they arouse is truly absolute and infinite. Messrs. Heydenreich, Jacob, Abicht and Pölitz have provided outstanding examples of this kind. Here is a stock that anyone can enlarge from their own acquaintances with similar works.

104. There are many anti-revolutionary books that have been written for the revolution. But Burke wrote a revolutionary book against the revolution.

105. Most observers of the revolution, especially the bright and distinguished, have pronounced it a life-threatening and contagious disease. They have stopped at the symptoms, throwing them together and interpreting them in various ways. Some thought it was just a local illness. The most ingenious opponents urged castration. They clearly noted that this illness was nothing but a crisis in the onset of puberty.

106. Would it not be wonderful to be the contemporary of a truly great man! The current majority of cultivated Germans do not share this opinion. They think is it sufficient to deny all greatness and follow the planned system. If the Copernican system was not so firmly established, it would be very comfortable for them to turn the sun and stars into will-o-wisps and to make the earth the entire universe. That is why Goethe, who is now the true governor of the poetic spirit on earth, is treated as meanly as possible and viewed disdainfully when he does not satisfy their expectations for typical amusement and momentarily confounds them. An interesting symptom of this direct weakness of the soul is the reception that Herrmann and Dorothea has generally received.

107. Geognostics believe that the physical center of gravity lies underneath Fez and Morocco. Goethe, an anthrognostic, conjectures in Meister that the intellectual center of gravity lies beneath the German Nation.

108. Up to now it has been impossible to describe people because one did not know what a person was. Once one knows what a person is, one will also be able to describe individuals genetically.

109. Nothing is more poetic than remembrance and the anticipation or imagination of the future. The ideas of the past draw us towards death, toward flying away. The ideas of the future[4] drive us toward enlivenment, toward embodying, toward an assimilative activity. Hence all memory is melancholy, all anticipation joyful. The former moderates an excess of liveliness, the later vivacity, the latter enhances a too-feeble sense of life. The ordinary present integrates past and future through constraints. Contiguity emerges, crystallization through consolidation. There is however a a spiritual present, which brings both into an identity through dissolution, and this mixture is the element, the atmosphere of the poet.[5]

110. The human world is the organ of social relationships for the gods. Poetry unites them, like us.

111. What appears absolutely peaceful is that which is absolutely immovable with respect to the external world. As diverse as its changes may be, it always remains peaceful in relation to the external world. This principle applies to all self-modifications. That is why the beautiful appears so peaceful. Everything beautiful is a self-enlightened, complete individual.

112. Every human personality brings to life a unique budding in the viewer. This makes this perception endless, it is connected with the feeling of an inexhaustible power, and that is why it so absolutely enlivening. By looking at ourselves, we enliven ourselves. Without this manifest and tangible immortality we would not be able to truly think.

This observable inadequacy of the earthly bodily structure to be the expression and organ of the indwelling spirit is the indefinite, impelling thought thought that becomes the basis of all genuine thoughts, the cause for the evolution of intelligence, that urges us toward the presupposition of an intelligible world and an unending series of expressions and institutions for every spirit, whose exponent or root is its individuality.

113. The more narrow-minded a system, the more it will please the worldly wise. Thus the system of the materialists, the teaching of Helvetius, and also Locke, received the greatest approval among this class. So now Kant will still find more followers than Fichte.

114. The art of writing books has not yet been invented. But it is about to be invented. Fragments of this kind are literary seeds. Certainly there may be a few unproductive grains amongst them: yet if only a few of them sprout forth!

  1. These handwritten words follow: Only through the defamiliarization of ourselves, weaning ourselves from ourselves, something incomprehensible arises here, which is unfathomable to the self.
  2. The fragments in fine print come from Friedrich Schlegel.
  3. In handwriting is the following:
    There are here interesting characteristics from history, e.g.:In India there are some places where the commander and priest have been separated and the commander has to play two roles. The priest does not have to make us crazy.
    It follows Fragment No. 71.
  4. A fragment of a poetic draft, in the style of the Hymn to the Night, reads: Gentle and vast is the passage of history: A holy veil covers it for the uninitiated; but that soul which fate calls forth from the gentle rivulet of its source, sees it in divine beauty with the magical mirror.
  5. In handwriting follows: Non-spirit is matter.
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This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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