The reason I cannot really say that I positively enjoy nature is that I do not quite realize what it is that I enjoy. A work of art, on the other hand, I can grasp. I can — if I may put it this way — find that Archimedian point, and as soon as I have found it, everything is readily clear for me. Then I am able to pursue this one main idea and see how all the details serve to illuminate it. .
To understand oneself in existence is the Christian principle, except that this self has received much richer and much more profound qualifications that are even more difficult to understand together with existing. The believer is a subjective thinker, and the difference, is only between the simple person and the simple wise person. Here again the oneself is not humanity in general, subjectivity in general, and other such things, whereas everything becomes easy inasmuch as the difficulty is removed and the whole matter is shifted over into the shadow play of abstraction. **Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, Vol. I, Hong p. 353 .
The immediacy of falling in love recognizes but one immediacy that is ebenburtig (of equal standing), and this is a religious immediacy; falling in love is too virginal to recognize any confidant other than God. But the religious is a new immediacy, has reflection in between-otherwise, paganism would actually be religious and Christianity not. That the religious is a new immediacy every person easily understands who is satisfied with following the honest path of ordinary common sense. And although I imagine I have but few readers, I confess nevertheless that I do imagine my readers to be among these, since I am far from wanting to instruct the admired ones, who make systematic discoveries a la , who have left their good skin in order to put on the “real appearance.” .
he [Goethe] expressly laments that the age and he as a part of it have become depressed by reading English authors-Young, for example. Well, why not? If one is so constituted, one can become depressed by listening to a sermon, if it really has substance, as Young has, but Young is far from depressing. .
What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is thatwills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find awhich is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die. .
You friendly genii, who protect all innocent love, to you I commit all endowments of my mind and soul; guard the questing thoughts that they may be found worthy of the subject; fashion my soul into a harmonious instrument, let the soft breezes of eloquence blow over it, send the refreshment and blessings of fruitful moods! You righteous spirits, who guard the boundaries in the realms of the beautiful, watch over me, that I do not in a moment of unclarified enthusiasm and a blind zeal to exalt Don Juan above all, do it wrong, disparage it, make it something other than what it is, which is the highest! You powerful spirits, you who know and understand the hearts of men, stand my me that I may catch the reader, not in the net of passion, nor by the artfulness of eloquence, but by the eternal truth of . .
The meaning lies in the . Hence the book’s joyous giving of itself. Here there are no worldly “mine” and “thine” that separate and prohibit appropriating what is the neighbor’s. Admiration is in part really envy and thus a misunderstanding; and criticism, for all its justification, is in part really opposition and thus a misunderstanding; and recognition in a mirror is only a fleeting acquaintance and thus a misunderstanding-but to see correctly and not want to forget what the mirror is incapable of effecting, that is the appropriation, and the appropriation is the reader’s even greater, is his triumphant giving of himself. .
Take a book, the poorest one written, but read it with the passion that it is the only book you will read-ultimately you will read everything out of it, that is, as much as there was in yourself, and you could never get more out of reading, even if you read the best of books. .
In Stages on Life’s Way (p. 342) it says: “It is spirit to ask about two things. (1) Is what is being said possible? (2) Am I able to do it? It is to lack spirit to ask about two things: (1) Did it actually happen? (2) Has my neighbor done it; has he actually done it? In asking with regard to my own actuality, I am asking about its possibility, except that this possibility is not esthetically and intellectually disinterested but is a thought-actuality that is related to my own personal actuality-namely that I am able to carry it out. The how of the truth is precisely the truth. .
People know everything, and in order not to stop with that, they know also that they are not to do the least of what they know, because with the aid of external knowledge they are in seventh heaven, and if one must begin to do it, one will become a poor, wretched existing individual who stumbles again and again and progresses very slowly from year to year. .
Where is the boundary for the single individual in his concrete existence between what is lack of will and what is lack of ability; what is indolence and earthly selfishness and what is the limitation of finitude? For an existing person, when is the period of preparation over, when this question will not arise again in all its initial, troubled severity; when is the time in existence that is indeed a preparation? Let all the dialecticians convene-they will not be able to decide this for a particular individual in concreto. .
If someone were to expound that godliness is to belong to childhood in the temporal sense and thus dwindle and die with the years as childhood does, is to be a happy frame of mind that cannot be preserved but only recollected; if someone were to expound that repentance as a weakness of old age accompanies the decline of one’s powers, when the senses are dulled, when sleep no longer strengthens but increases lethargy-this would be ungodliness and foolishness. .
The only person I actually manage to learn anything from is a long way from being in my service. Yet we have a secret understanding. He knows everything; he is perhaps the most dependable of all. Fortunately he hates me. If possible, he will torture me-indeed, that I understand. He never says anything directly, never mentions any names, but he tells me such strange stories. At first, I did not understand him at all, but now I know that he is talking about her but using fictitious names. He believes I have sufficient imagination to understand every illusion, and this I do, but I also have enough sense to pass it off as nothing. Yet I must count on his being malevolent. .
In the New Testament sense, to be a Christian is, in an upward sense, as different from being a man as, in a downward sense, to be a man is different from being a beast. A Christian in the sense of the New Testament, although he stands suffering in the midst of life’s reality, has yet become completely a stranger to this life; in the words of the Scripture and also of the Collects (which still are read-O bloody satire!-by the sort of priests we now have, and in the ears of the sort of Christians that now live) he is a stranger and a pilgrim-just think, for example of the late Bishop Mynster intoning, “We are strangers and pilgrims in this world”! A Christian in the New Testament sense is literally a stranger and a pilgrim, he feels himself a stranger, and everyone involuntarily feels that this man is a stranger to him. .
The religious does not dare to ignore what occupies other people’s lives so very much, what continually comes up again every day in conversations, in social intercourse, in books, in the modification of the entire life view, unless the Sunday performances in church are supposed to be a kind of indulgence in which with morose devoutness for one hour a person buys permission to laugh freely all week long. … it shows far greater respect for the religious to demand that it be installed in its rights in everyday life rather than affectedly to hold it off at a Sunday distance. .
The result of an education by novels and romances can be two-fold. Either the individual sinks deeper and deeper into illusion, or he emerges from it and loses faith in the illusion, but gains a belief in mystification. In the illusion the individual is hidden from himself; in mystification, he is hidden from others, but both cases are results of a romantic training. .
It occurs to me that artists go forward by going backward, something which I have nothing against intrinsically when it is a reproduced retreat — as is the case with the better artists. But it does not seem right that they stop with the historical themes already given and, so to speak, think that only these are suitable for poetic treatment, because these particular themes, which intrinsically are no more poetic than others, are now again animated and inspirited by a great poetic nature. In this case the artists advance by marching on the spot. — Why are modern heroes and the like not just as poetic? Is it because there is so much emphasis on clothing the content in order that the formal aspect can be all the more finished? .
My demand of life is this-that it would make it clear whether I was trapped in self-delusion or I loved faithfully, perhaps more faithfully than she [Regine]. How long I must persevere is not known. Even if the age of oracles vanished long ago, there is still one thing of which the simplest and the most profound person must, if he talks about it, talk mysteriously-that is: time. Without a doubt it is the most difficult mystery, just as it is also supposed to be the most profound wisdom, to arrange one’s life as if today were the last day one lives and also the first in a sequence of years. .
One person talks day in and day out in general assemblies and always about what the times demand, yet not repetitiously in a Cato-like, tedious way, but always interestingly and intriguingly he follows the moment and never says the same thing; at parties, too, he imposes himself and doles out his fund of eloquence, at times with full even measure, at times heaped up, and always to applause; at least once a week there is something about him in the newspaper; also at night he bestows his favors, on his wife, that is, by talking even in his sleep about the demands of the times as if he were at the general assembly. Another person is silent before he speaks and goes so far that he does not speak at all; they live the same length of time-and here the question of the result is raised: Who has more to recollect? .
The veritably great is common property for everybody, a peasant goes to Tribler’s Widow, or to a ballad seller in Halmtorvet, and reads it half aloud to himself at the at the very time Goethe is composing a . And indeed this folk-book merits attention, for it has what one appreciates above all as an honorable quality in wine, it has bouquet, it is an excellent bottling from the Middle Ages, and as one opens it, it bubbles forth so spicy, so sparkling, so characteristically fragrant, that one is quite strangely affected. .
Each being is assigned only to himself, and the one who takes care to remain here has a solid foundation to walk on that will not shame him. If he then deliberates with himself about what he will, how far he wills, if by virtue of this deliberation he begins slowly and silently, his earnestness will not be put to shame. If, on the other hand, it pleases a man to wax serious in thought of what he will do for others, this demonstrates that basically he is a fool whose life is and remains a jest despite looks and gestures and powerful eloquence and careful theatrical postures, the existence of which means nothing except insofar as with the assistance of irony there can be a little amusement out of it. .
“When the world commences its drastic ordeal, when the storms of life crush youth’s exuberant expectancy, when existence, which seemed so affectionate and gentle, changes into a pitiless proprietor who demands everything back, everything that it gave in such a way that it can take it back-then the believer most likely looks at himself and his life with sadness and pain, but he still says, “There is an expectancy that the whole world cannot take from me; it is the expectancy of faith, and this is victory. I am not deceived, since I did not believe that the world would keep the promise it seemed to be making to me, my expectancy was not in the world but in God.” .
For whoever has what he has from the God himself clearly has it at first hand; and he who does not have it from the God himself is not a disciple. Let us assume that it is otherwise, that the contemporary generation of disciples had received the condition from the God, and that the subsequent generations were to receive it from these contemporaries -- what would follow? .
What kind of authority is it that dares to thrust itself between me and my bride, the bride I myself have chosen and who has chosen me. And this authority will command her to be faithful to me-does she need, then, a command-and what if she would be faithful to me only because a third party, whom she loved more than me, commanded it! And it orders me to be faithful to her-do I need to be ordered, I who belong to her with my whole soul! And this authority determines our relation to each other; it says that I am to order and she to obey; but what if I do not want to order, what if I feel too inferior for that? No, her I will obey; for me her hint is my command but I will not submit to an alien authority. .
The state really does not need to penalize bachelors; life itself punishes the person who deserves to be punished, for the person who does not make a resolution is a poor wretch of whom it must be said in the sad sense: He does not come under judgment. I do not speak this way because I am envious of those who do not will to marry; I am too happy to envy anyone, but I am zealous for life. I return to what I said before, that resolution is a person’s highest ideality. I shall now attempt to develop how the resolution most formative of the individuality must be constituted, and I rejoice in thinking that marriage is precisely so constituted, which, as stated, I assume for the time being to be a synthesis of falling in love and resolution. .
Knowledge can in part be set aside, and one can then go further in order to collect new; the natural scientist can set aside insects and flowers and then go further, but if the existing person sets aside the decision in existence, it is eo ipso lost, and he is changed. .
In the external, patience is some third element that must be added, and, humanly speaking, it would be better if it were not needed; some days it is needed more, some days less, all according to fortune, whose debtor a person becomes, even though he gained ever so little, because only when he wants to gain patience does he become one’s debtor. .
Man is a synthesis of psyche and body, but he is also a synthesis of the temporal and the eternal. In the former, the two factors are psyche and body, and spirit is the third, yet in such a way that one can speak of a synthesis only when the spirit is posited. The latter synthesis has only two factors, the temporal and the eternal. Where is the third factor? And if there is no third factor, there really is no synthesis, for a synthesis that is a contradiction cannot be completed as a synthesis without a third factor, because the fact that the synthesis is a contradiction asserts that it is not. What, then, is the temporal? .
Anxiety and nothing always correspond to each other. As soon as the actuality of freedom and of spirit is posited, anxiety is canceled. But what then does the nothing of anxiety signify more particularly in paganism. This is fate.is a relation to spirit as external. It is the relation between spirit and something else that is not spirit and to which fate nevertheless stands in a spiritual relation. Fate may also signify exactly the opposite, because it is the unity of necessity and accidental. … A necessity that is not conscious of itself is eo ipso the accidental in relation to the next moment. Fate, then, is the nothing of anxiety. .
One sticks one’s finger into the soil to tell by the smell in what land one is: I stick my finger in existence — it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How came I here? What is this thing called the world? What does this world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the world? Why was I not consulted, why not made acquainted with its manners and customs instead of throwing me into the ranks, as if I had been bought by a kidnapper, a dealer in souls? How did I obtain an interest in this big enterprise they call reality? Why should I have an interest in it? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am to be compelled to take part in it, where is the director? I should like to make a remark to him. Is there no director? Whither shall I turn with my complaint? .
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