The World as Will and Representation/Supplements to the Third Book

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Supplements to Third Book

" St is similto spectator* est, quod ab omni separatus spectaculum videt.*

O0PNEKHAT, vol. i. p. 304.


SUPPLEMENTS TO THE THIRD BOOK.

CHAPTER XXIX. 1

ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE IDEAS.

THE intellect, which has hitherto only been considered in its original and natural condition of servitude under the will, appears in the third book in its deliverance from that bondage ; with regard to which, however, it must at once be observed that we have not to do here with a lasting emancipation, but only with a brief hour of rest, an exceptional and indeed only momentary release from the service of the will As this subject has been treated with sufficient fulness in the first volume, I have here only to add a few supplementary remarks.

As, then, was there explained, the intellect in its activity in the service of the will, thus in its natural function, knows only the mere relations of things ; primarily to the will itself, to which it belongs, whereby they become motives of the will ; but then also, just for the sake of the completeness of this knowledge, the relations of things to each other. This last knowledge first appears in some extent and importance in the human intellect; in the case of the brutes, on the other hand, even where the intellect is considerably developed, only within very narrow limits. Clearly even the apprehension of the relations which things have to each other only takes place,

1 This chapter is connected with 30-32 of the first volume.


122 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXIX.

indirectly, in the service of the will. It therefore forma the transition to the purely objective knowledge, which is entirely independent of the will ; it is scientific knowledge, the latter is artistic knowledge. If many and various relations of an object are immediately apprehended, from these the peculiar and proper nature of the object appears ever more distinctly, and gradually constructs itself out of mere relations : although it itself is entirely different from them. In this mode of apprehension the subjection of the intellect to the will at once becomes ever more indirect and less. If the intellect has strength enough to gain the preponderance, and let go altogether the relations of things to the will, in order to apprehend, instead of them, the purely objective nature of a pheno menon, which expresses itself through all relations, it also forsakes, along with the service of the will, the apprehension of mere relations, and thereby really also that of the individual thing as such. It then moves freely, no longer belonging to a will. In the individual thing it knows only the essential, and therefore its whole species; consequently it now has for its object the Ideas, in my sense, which agrees with the original, Platonic meaning of this grossly misused word ; thus the perma nent, unchanging forms, independent of the temporal exis tence of the individuals, the species rerum, which really constitute what is purely objective in the phenomena. An Idea so apprehended is not yet indeed the essence of the thing in itself, just because it has sprung from know ledge of mere relations ; yet, as the result of the sum of all the relations, it is the peculiar character of the thing, and thereby the complete expression of the essence which exhibits itself as an object of perception, comprehended, not in relation to an individual will, but as it expresses itself spontaneously, whereby indeed it determines all its relations, which till then alone were known. The Idea is the root point of all these relations, and thereby the complete and perfect phenomenon, or, as I have expressed


ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE IDEAS. 123

it in the text, the adequate objectivity of the will at this grade of its manifestation. Form and colour, indeed, which in the apprehension of the Idea by perception are what is immediate, belong at bottom not to the Idea itself, but are merely the medium of its expression; for, strictly speaking, space is as foreign to it as time. In this sense the Neo-Platonist Olympiodorus already says in his commentary on Plato s Alcibiades (Kreuzer s edition of Proclus and Olympiodorus, vol. ii. p. 82): "TO etSo? fjieraSeScoKe pev rrjs /J,op<j>r)<; ry v\rj apepes Be ov nereXafiev eg avri)? TOV Beaarrarov : " i.e., the Idea, in itself unextended, imparted certainly the form to the matter, but first assumed extension from it. Thus, as was said, the Ideas reveal not the thing in itself, but only the objective character of things, thus still only the phenomenon; and we would not even understand this character if the inner nature of things were not otherwise known to us at least obscurely and in feeling. This nature itself cannot be understood from the Ideas, nor in general through any merely objective knowledge ; therefore it would remain an eternal secret if we were not able to approach it from an entirely different side. Only because every knowing being is also an in dividual, and thereby a part of nature, does the approach to the inner being of nature stand open to him in his own self-consciousness, where, as we have found, it makes itself known in the most immediate manner as will.

Now what the Platonic Idea is, regarded as a merely objective image, mere form, and thereby lifted out of time and all relations that, taken empirically and in time, is the species or kind. This, then, is the empirical correlative of the Idea. The Idea is properly eternal, but the species is of endless duration, although its appearance upon one planet may become extinct. Even the names of the two pass over into each other : iBea, et8o<?, species, kind. The Idea is the species, but not the genus: therefore the species are the work of nature, the genera the work of man ; they are mere conceptions. There are species


124 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXIX.

naturales,l>ut ou]y genera logica. Of manufactured articles there are no Ideas, but only conceptions; thus genera logica, and their subordinate classes are species logicce. To what is said in this reference in vol. i. 41, I will add here that Aristotle also (Metaph. i. 9 and xiii. 5) says that the Platonists admitted no ideas of manufactured articles : " oiov oiKia, KCU SctfcrvXios, wv ov fyaaiv ewat, eiBrj " ( Ut domus et annulus, quorum ideas dari negant). With which compare the Scholiast, p. 562, 563 of the Berlin quarto edition. Aristotle further says (Metaph. xi. 3) : " a\\ eiTrep (Supple., eiBrj ecr-u) ^TTL ra>v (frvaei (etnv) 810 Srj ov /ea/rt9 o IlXartov efa, on etBij ecrrt o-rrotra <f>vaei " (Si quidem idea sunt, in iis sunt, qua natura fiunt : propter quod non male Plato dixit, quod species eorum sunt, qua natura sunt). On which the Scholiast remarks, p. 800 : "/cat TOVTO apecrtcei tcai avrots rot? ra? tSea? depevois" TCOV yap VTTO re^v^ yivo^evwv iSea? eivai OVK eXeyov, a\\a rtov VTTO <j>vaa>s " (Hoc ctiam ipsis ideas statuentibus placet : non enim artefactorum ideas dari ajebant, sed natura pro- creatorum). For the rest, the doctrine of Ideas originated with the Pythagoreans, unless we distrust the assertion of Plutarch in the book, De placitis philosophorum, L. i. c. 3.

The individual is rooted in the species, and time in eter nity. And as every individual is so only because it has the nature of its species in itself, so also it has only tem poral existence because it is in eternity. In the following book a special chapter is devoted to the life of the species! In 49 of the first volume I have sufficiently brought out ^the difference between the Idea and the conception. Their resemblance, on the other hand, rests upon the fol lowing ground: The original and essential unity of an Idea becomes broken up into the multiplicity of individual things through the perception of the knowing individual, which is subject to sensuous and cerebral conditions. But that unity is then restored through the reflection of the reason, yet only in abstracto, as a concept, universale, which indeed is equal to the Idea in extension, but has assumed


ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE IDEAS. 125

quite a different form, and has thereby lost its perceptible nature, and with this its thorough determinateness. In this sense (but in no other) we might, in the language of the Scholastics, describe the Ideas as universalia ante rem, the conceptions as universalia post rem. Between the two stand the individual things, the knowledge of which is possessed also by the brutes. Without doubt the realism of the Scholastics arose from the confusion of the Platonic Ideas, to which, since they are also the species, an objec tive real being can certainly be attributed, with the mere concepts to which the Eealists now wished to attribute such a being, and thereby called forth the victorious oppo sition of Nominalism.


( 126 )


CHAPTER XXX. 1

ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE.

THE comprehension of an Idea, the entrance of it into our consciousness, is only possible by means of a change in us, which might also be regarded as an act of self-denial ; for it consists in this, that knowledge turns away altogether from our own will, thus now leaves out of sight entirely the valuable pledge intrusted to it, and considers things as if they could never concern the will at all. For thus alone does knowledge become a pure mirror of the objec tive nature of things. Knowledge conditioned in this way must lie at the foundation of every genuine work of art as its origin. The change in the subject which is required for this cannot proceed from the will, just because it con sists in the elimination of all volition ; thus it can be no / act of the will, i.e., it cannot lie in our choice. On the I contrary, it springs only from a temporary preponderance / of the intellect over the will, or, physiologically considered, \ from a strong excitement of the perceptive faculty of the brain, without any excitement of the desires or emotions. To explain this somewhat more accurately I remind the reader that our consciousness has two sides ; partly, it is a consciousness of our own selves, which is the will ; partly a consciousness of other things, and as such primarily, knowledge, through perception, of the external world, the apprehension of objects. Now the more one side of the whole consciousness comes to the front, the more the other side withdraws. Accordingly, the consciousness of other things, thus knowledge of perception, becomes the more

1 This chapter is connected with 33-34 of the first volume*


ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE. 127

perfect, i.e., the more objective, the less we are conscious of ourselves at the time. Here exists an actual antago nism. The more we are conscious of the object, the less we are conscious of the subject ; the more, on the other hand, the latter occupies our consciousness, the weaker and more imperfect is our perception of the external world. The state which is required for pure objectivity of perception has partly permanent conditions in the per fection of the brain and the general physiological qualities favourable to its activity, partly temporary conditions, inasmuch as such a state is favoured by all that increases the attention and heightens the susceptibility of the cere bral nervous system, yet without exciting any passion. One must not think here of spirituous drinks or opium ; what is rather required is a night of quiet sleep, a cold bath, and all that procures for the brain activity an un forced predominance by quieting the circulation and calm ing the passions. It is especially these natural means of furthering the cerebral nervous activity which bring it about, certainly so much the better the more developed and energetic in general the brain is, that the object sepa rates itself ever more from the subject, and finally intro duces the state of pure objectivity of perception, which of itself eliminates the will from consciousness, and in which all things stand before us with increased clearness and distinctness, so that we are conscious almost only of them and scarcely at all of ourselves ; thus our whole conscious ness is almost nothing more than the medium through which the perceived object appears in the world as an idea. Thus it is necessary for pure, will-less knowledge that the consciousness of ourselves should vanish, since the consciousness of other things is raised to such a pitch. For we only apprehend the world in a purely objective manner when we no longer know that we belong to it ; and all things appear the more beautiful the more we are conscious merely of them and the less we are conscious of ourselves. Since now all suffering proceeds from the will,


128 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXX.

which constitutes the real self, with the withdrawal of this side of consciousness all possibility of suffering is also abolished ; therefore the condition of the pure objectivity of perception is one which throughout gives pleasure ; and hence I have shown that in it lies one of the two con stituent elements of aesthetic satisfaction. As soon, on the other hand, as the consciousness of our own self, thus subjectivity, i.e., the will, again obtains the upper hand, a proportional degree of discomfort or unrest also enters; of discomfort, because our corporealness (the organism which in itself is the will) is again felt ; of unrest, because the will, on the path of thought, again fills the conscious ness through wishes, emotions, passions, and cares. For the will, as the principle of subjectivity, is everywhere the opposite, nay, the antagonist of knowledge. The greatest concentration of subjectivity consists in the act of will proper, in which therefore we have the most distinct con sciousness of our own self. All other excitements of the will are only preparations for this ; the act of will itself is for subjectivity what for the electric apparatus is the passing of the spark. Every bodily sensation is in itself an excitement of the will, and indeed oftener of the noluntas than of the wluntas. The excitement of the will on the path of thought is that which occurs by means of motives ; thus here the subjectivity is awakened and set in play by the objectivity itself. This takes place when ever any object is apprehended no longer in a purely objective manner, thus without participation in it, but, directly or indirectly, excites desire or aversion, even i it is only by means of a recollection, for then it acts as a motive in the widest sense of the word.

I remark here that abstract thinking and reading, which are connected with words, belong indeed in the wider sense to the consciousness of other things, thus to the objective employment of the mind ; yet only indirectly, by means of conceptions. But the latter are the artificial product of the reason, and are therefore already a work


ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE. 129

of intention. Moreover, the will is the ruler of all abstract exercise of the mind, for, according to its aims, it imparts the direction, and also fixes the attention ; therefore such mental activity is always accompanied by some effort; and this presupposes the activity of the will. Thus com plete objectivity of consciousness does not exist with this kind of mental activity, as it accompanies the aesthetic apprehension, i.e., the knowledge of the Ideas, as a con dition.

In accordance with the above, the pure objectivity of perception, by virtue of which no longer the individual thing as such, but the Idea of its species is known, is conditioned by the fact that one is no longer conscious of oneself, but only of the perceived objects, so that one s own consciousness only remains as the supporter of the \ objective existence of these objects. What increases the difficulty of this state, and therefore makes it more rare, is, that in it the accident (the intellect) overcomes and annuls the substance (the will), although only for a short time. Here also lies the analogy and, indeed, the re lationship of this with the denial of the will expounded at the end of the following book. Although knowledge, as was shown in the preceding book, is sprung from the will and is rooted in the manifestation of the will, the organism, yet it is just by the will that its purity is disturbed, as the flame is by the fuel and its smoke. It / ; depends upon this that we can only apprehen,d the. purely- J~: objective nature of things, the Ideas which appear in f them, when we have ourselves no interest in them, be- * cause they stand in no relation to our will. From this, again, it arises that the Ideas of anything appeal to us mo*e easily from a work of art than from reality. For what we behold only in a picture or in poetry stands outside all possibility of having any relation to our will ; for in itself it exists only for knowledge and appeals im mediately to knowledge alone. On the other hand, the apprehension of Ideas from reality assumes some measure

VOL. III.


130 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXX.

of abstraction from our own volition, a rising above its in terests which demands a special power of the intellect. In ,aJugh degree, and for some duration, this belongs only to x genius; Vhich consists indeed in this, that a greater measure of -the power of knowledge exists than is required for the /service of an individual will, and this surplus becomes free, and now comprehends the world without reference j to the will. Thus that the work of art. facilitates. so greatly, the apprehension of the Ideas* in which aesthetic satis- jaction consists, depends not merely upon the fact that art, by giving prominence to what is essential and eliminating what is unessential, presents the things more distinctly and characteristically, but just as much on the fact that the absolute silence of the will, which is demanded for the purely objective comprehension of the nature of the things, is attained with the greatest certainty when the perceived object itself lies entirely outside the province of things which are capable of having a relation to the will, because it is nothing real, but a mere picture. Now this holds good, not only of the works of plastic and picto rial art, but also of poetry ; the effect of which is also conditioned by indifferent, will-less, and thereby purely objective apprehension. It is exactly this which makes a perceived object picturesque, an event of actual life poeti cal ; for it is only this that throws over the objects of the real world that magic gleam which in the case of sensibly perceived objects is called the picturesque, and in the case of those which are only perceived in imagination is called the poetical. If poets sing of the blithe morn ing, the beautiful evening, the still moonlight night, and many such things, the real object of their praise is, un known to themselves, the pure subject of knowledge which is called forth by those beauties of nature, and on the appearance of which the will vanishes from con sciousness, and so that peace of heart enters which, apart from this, is unattainable in the world. How otherwise, for example, could the verse


ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE. 131

  • Nox erat, et ccelo fulgebat luna, sereno,

Inter minora sidera,"

affect us so beneficently, nay, so magically ? Further, that the stranger or the mere passing traveller feels the picturesque or poetical effect of objects which are unable to produce this effect upon those who live among them may be explained from the fact that the novelty and complete strangeness of the objects of such an indifferent purely objective apprehension are favourable to it. Thus for example, the sight of an entirely strange town often makes a specially agreeable impression upon the traveller, which it by no means produces in the inhabitant of it ; for it arises from the fact that the former, being out of all relation to this town and its inhabitants, perceives it purely objectively. Upon this depends partly the pleasure of travelling. This seems also to be the reason why it is sought to increase the efi ect of narrative or dramatic works by transferring the scene to distant times or lands : in Germany, to Italy or Spain; in Italy, to Germany, Poland, or even Holland. If now perfectly objective, in tuitive apprehension, purified from all volition, is the condition of the enjoyment of aesthetic objects, so much the more is it the condition of their production. Every good picture, every genuine poem, bears the stamp of the frame of mind described. For only what has sprung from perception, and indeed from purely objective perception,/ or is directly excited by it, contains the living germ from* which genuine and original achievements can grow up: not only in plastic and pictorial art, but also in poetry nay, even in philosophy. The punctum saliens of ever/ beautiful work, of every great or profound thought, is a purely objective perception. Such perception, however, is absolutely conditioned by the complete silence of the will, which leaves the man simply the pure subject of knowledge. The natural disposition for the predominance of this state is genius.

With the disappearance of volition from consciousness.


133 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXX.

the individuality also, and with it its suffering and misery, is really abolished. Therefore I have described the pure subject of knowledge which then remains over as the eternal eye of the world, which, although with very diffe rent degrees of clearness, looks forth from all living crea tures, untouched by their appearing and passing away, and thus, as identical with itself, as constantly one and the same, is the supporter of the world of permanent Ideas, i.e., of the adequate objectivity of the will ; while the individual subject, whose knowledge is clouded by the individuality which springs from the will, has only parti cular things as its object, and is transitory as these them selves. In the sense here indicated a double existence may be attributed to every one. As will, and therefore as individual, he is only one, and this one exclusively, which gives him enough to do and to suffer. As the purely ob jective perceiver, he is the pure subject of knowledge in whose consciousness alone the objective world has its existence ; as such he is all things so far as he perceives them, and in him is their existence without burden or inconvenience. It is his existence, so far as it exists in his idea; but it is there without will. So far, on the other hand, as it is will, it is not in him. It is well with every one when he is in that state in which he is all things ; it is ill with him when in the state in which he is exclusively one. Every state, every man, every scene of life, requires only to be purely objectively apprehended and be made the subject of a sketch, whether with pencil or with words, in order to appear interesting, charming, and enviable; but if one is in it, if one is it oneself, then (it is often a case of) may the devil endure it. Therefore Goethe says

" What in life doth only grieve us, That in art we gladly see."

There was a period in the years of my youth when I was always trying to see myself and my action from without, and picture it to myself; probably in order to make it more enjoyable to me.


ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE. 133

As I have never spoken before on the subject I have just been considering, I wish to add a psychological illus tration of it.

In the immediate perception of the world and of life we consider things, as a rule, merely in their relations, consequently according to their relative and not their absolute nature and existence. For example, we will regard houses, ships, machines, and the like with the thought of their end and their adaptation to it; men, with the thought of their relation to us, if they have any such ; and then with that of their relations to each other, whether in their present action or with regard to their position and business, judging perhaps their fitness for it, &c. Such a consideration of the relations we can follow more or less far to the most distant links of their chain : the consideration will thereby gain in accuracy and extent, but in its quality and nature it remains the same. It is the consideration of things in their relations, nay, by means of these, thus according to the principle of sufficient reason. Every one, for the most part and as a rule, is given up to this method of consideration ; indeed I believe that most men are capable of no other. But if, as an exception, it happens that we experience a momentary heightening of the intensity of our intuitive intelligence, we at once see things with entirely different eyes, in that we now appre hend them no longer according to their relations, but according to that which they are in and for themselves, and suddenly perceive their absolute existence apart from their relative existence. At once every individual repre sents its species; and accordingly we now apprehend the universal of every being. Now what we thus know are the Ideas of things ; but out of these there now speaks a higher wisdom than that which knows of mere relations. And we also have then passed out of the relations, and have thus become the pure subject of knowledge. But what now exceptionally brings about this state must be internal physiological processes, which purify the activity


134 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXX.

of the brain, and heighten it to such a degree that a sudden spring-tide of activity like this ensues. The external con ditions of this are that we remain completely strange to the scene to be considered, and separated from it, and are absolutely not actively involved in it.

In order to see that a purely objective, and therefore correct, comprehension of things is only possible when we consider them without any personal participation in them, thus when the will is perfectly silent, let one call to mind how much every emotion or passion disturbs and falsifies our knowledge, indeed how every inclination and aversion alters, colours, and distorts not only the judg ment, but even the original perception of things. Let one remember how when we are gladdened by some for tunate occurrence the whole world at once assumes a bright colour and a smiling aspect, and, on the contrary, looks gloomy and sad when we are pressed with cares ; also, how even a lifeless thing, if it is to be made use of in doing something which we abhor, seems to have a hideous physiognomy; for example, the scaffold, the fortress, to which we have been brought, the surgeon s cases of instruments ; the travelling carriage of our loved one, &c., nay, numbers, letters, seals, may seem to grin upon us horribly and affect us as fearful monstrosities. On the other hand, the tools for the accomplishment of our wishes at once appear to us agreeable and pleasing ; for example, the hump-backed old woman with the love- letter, the Jew with the louis d ors, the rope-ladder to escape by, &c. As now here the falsification of the idea through the will in the case of special abhorrence or love is unmistakable, so is it present in a less degree in every object which has any even distant relation to our will, that is, to our desire or aversion. Only when the will with its interests has left consciousness, and the intellect freely follows its own laws, and as pure subject mirrors the objective world, yet in doing so, although spurred on by no volition, is of its own inclination in the highest


ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE. 135

state of tension and activity, do the colours and forms of things appear in their true and full significance. Thus it is from such comprehension alone that genuine works of art can proceed whose permanent worth and ever renewed approval arises simply from the fact that they express the purely objective element, which lies at the foundation of and shines through the different subjective, and there fore distorted, perceptions, as that which is common to them all and alone stands fast; as it were the common theme of all those subjective variations. For certainly the nature which is displayed before our eyes exhibits itself very differently in different minds; and as each one sees it so alone can he repeat it, whether with the pencil or the chisel, or with words and gestures on the stage. Objectivity alone makes one capable of being an artist ; but objectivity is only possible in this way, that the intellect, separated from its root the will, moves freely, and yet acts with the highest degree of energy.

To the youth whose perceptive intellect still acts with fresh energy nature often exhibits itself with complete objectivity, and therefore with perfect beauty. But the pleasure of such a glance is sometimes disturbed by the saddening reflection that the objects present which exhibit themselves in such beauty do not stand in a personal relation to this will, by virtue of which they could interest and delight him ; he expects his life in the form of an interesting romance. " Behind that jutting cliff the well- mounted band of friends should await me, beside that waterfall my love should rest; this beautifully lighted build ing should be her dwelling, and that vine-clad window hers; but this beautiful world is for me a desert!" and soon. Such melancholy youthful reveries really demand something exactly contradictory to themselves ; for the beauty with which those objects present themselves depends just upon the pure objectivity, i.e., disinterestedness of their percep tion, and would therefore at once be abolished by the relation to his own will which the youth painfully misses,


1 36 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXX.

and thus the whole charm which now affords him plea sure, even though alloyed with a certain admixture of pain, would cease to exist. The same holds good, more over, of every age and every relation ; the beauty of the objects of a landscape which now delights us would vanish if we stood in personal relations to them, of which we remained always conscious. Everything is beautiful only so long as it does not concern us. (We are not speaking here of sensual passion, but of aesthetic pleasure.) Life is never beautiful, but only the pictures of life are so in the transfiguring mirror of art or poetry ; especially in youth, when we do not yet know it. Many a youth would receive great peace of mind if one could assist him to this knowledge.

Why has the sight of the full moon such a beneficent, quieting, and exalting effect? Because the moon is an object of perception, but never of desire :

" The stars we yearn not after Delight us with their glory." G.

Further, it is sublime, i.e., it induces a lofty mood in us, because, without any relation to us, it moves along for ever strange to earthly doings, and sees all while it takes part in nothing. Therefore, at the sight of it the will, with its constant neediness, vanishes from consciousness, and leaves a purely knowing consciousness behind. Per haps there is also mingled here a feeling that we share this sight with millions, whose individual differences are therein extinguished, so that in this perception they are one, which certainly increases the impression of the sub lime. Finally, this is also furthered by the fact that the moon lights without heating, in which certainly lies the reason why it has been called chaste and identified with Diana. In consequence of this whole beneficent impression upon our feeling, the moon becomes gradually our bosom friend. The sun, again, never does so ; but is like an over- plenteous benefactor whom we can never look in the face.


ON THE PURE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE. 137

The following remark may find room here as an addi tion to what is said in 38 of the first volume on the aesthetic pleasure afforded by light, reflection, and colours. The whole immediate, thoughtless, but also unspeakable, pleasure which is excited in us by the impression of colours, strengthened by the gleam of metal, and still more by transparency, as, for example, in coloured win dows, and in a greater measure by means of the clouds and their reflection at sunset, ultimately depends upon the fact that here in the easiest manner, almost by a physical necessity, our whole interest is won for know ledge, without any excitement of our will, so that we enter the state of pure knowing, although for the most part this consists here in a mere sensation of the affection of the retina, which, however, as it is in itself perfectly free from pain or pleasure, and therefore entirely without direct influence on the will, thus belongs to pure knowledge.


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CHAPTER XXXI.

ON GENIUS.

WHAT is properly denoted by the name genius is the predominating capacity for that kind of knowledge which has been described in the two preceding chapters, the knowledge from which all genuine works of art and poetry, and even of philosophy, proceed. Accordingly* since this has for its objects the Platonic Ideas, and these are not comprehended in the abstract, but only perceptibly, the essence of genius must lie in the perfection and energy of the knowledge of perception. Corresponding to this, the works which we hear most decidedly designated works of genius are those which start immediately from perception and devote themselves to perception ; thus those of plastic and pictorial art, and then those of poetry, which gets its perceptions by the assistance of the ima gination. The difference between genius and mere talent makes itself noticeable even here. For talent is an excel lence which lies rather in the greater versatility and acuteness of discursive than of intuitive knowledge. He who is endowed with talent thinks more quickly and more correctly than others ; but the genius beholds another world from them all, although only because he has a more profound perception of the world which lies before them also, in that it presents itself in his mind more objectively, and consequently in greater purity and dis tinctness.

1 This chapter is connected with 36 of the first volume.


ON GENIUS. 139

The intellect is, according to its destination, merely the medium of motives ; and in accordance with this it origi nally comprehends nothing in things but their relations to the will, the direct, the indirect, and the possible. In the case of the brutes, where it is almost entirely confined to the direct relations, the matter is just on that account most apparent: what has no relation to their will does not exist for them. Therefore we sometimes see with sur prise that even clever animals do not observe at all some thing conspicuous to them; for example, they show no surprise at obvious alterations in our person and surround ings. In the case of normal men the indirect, and even the possible, relations to the will are added, the sum of which make up the total of useful knowledge ; but here also knowledge remains confined to the relations. There fore the normal mind does not attain to an absolutely pure, objective picture of things, because its power of perception, whenever it is not spurred on by the will and set in motion, at once becomes tired and inactive, because it has not enough energy of its own elasticity and without an end in view to apprehend the world in a purely objective manner. Where, on the other hand, this takes place where the brain has such a surplus of the power of ideation that a pure, distinct, objective image of the external world exhibits itself without any aim ; an image which is useless for the intentions of the will, indeed, in the higher degrees, dis turbing, and even injurious to them there, the natural disposition, at least, is already present for that abnormity which the name genius denotes, which signifies that here a genius foreign to the will, i.e., to the I proper, as it were coming from without, seems to be active. But to speak with out a figure : genius consists in this, that the knowing faculty has received a considerably greater development than the service of the will, for which alone it originally appeared, demands. Therefore, strictly speaking, physiology might to a certain extent class such a superfluity of brain activity, and with it of brain itself, among the monstra per exces-


HO THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

sum, which, it is well known, it co-ordinates with monstra per defectum and those per situm mutatum. Thus genius consists in an abnormally large measure of intellect, which can only find its use by being applied to the universal of existence, whereby it then devotes itself to the service of the whole human race, as the normal intellect to that of the individual. In order to make this perfectly compre hensible one might say: if the normal man consists of two-thirds will and one-third intellect, the genius, on the contrary, has two-thirds intellect and one-third will. This might, then, be further illustrated by a chemical simile : the base and the acid of a neutral salt are distinguished by the fact that in each of the two the radical has the converse relation to oxygen to that which it has in the other. The base or the alkali is so because in it the radical predominates with reference to oxygen, and the acid is so because in it oxygen predominates. In the same way now the normal man and the genius are related in respect of will and intellect. From this arises a thorough distinction between them, which is visible even in their whole nature and behaviour, but comes out most clearly in their achievements. One might add the diffe rence that while that total opposition between the chemi cal materials forms the strongest affinity and attraction between them, in the human race the opposite is rather wont to be found.

The first manifestation v. hich such a superfluity of the power of knowledge calls forth shows itself for the most part in the most original and fundamental knowledge, i.e., in knowledge of perception, and occasions the repetition of it in an image ; hence arises the painter and the sculptor. In their case, then, the path between the apprehension of genius and the artistic production is the shortest ; there fore the form in which genius and its activity here exhibits itself is the simplest and its description the easiest. Yet here also the source is shown from which all genuine pro ductions in every art, in poetry, and indeed in philosophy,


ON GENIUS. 141

have their origin, although in the case of these the process is not so simple.

Let the result arrived at in the first book be here borne in mind, that all perception is intellectual and not merely sensuous. If one now adds the exposition given here, and, at the same time, in justice considers that the philo sophy of last century denoted the perceptive faculty of knowledge by the name " lower powers of the soul," we will not think it so utterly absurd nor so deserving of the bitter scorn with which Jean Paul quotes it in his " Vor- schule der ^sthetik" that Adelung, who had to speak the language of his age, placed genius in "a remarkable strength of the lower powers of the soul." The work just referred to of this author, who is so worthy of our admira tion, has great excellences, but yet I must remark that all through, whenever a theoretical explanation and, in general, instruction is the end in view, a style of exposition which is constantly indulging in displays of wit and hurrying along in mere similes cannot be well adapted to the purpose.

It is, then, perception to which primarily the peculiar and true nature of things, although still in a conditioned manner, discloses and reveals itself. All conceptions and everything thought are mere abstractions, consequently partial ideas taken from perception, and have only arisen by thinking away. All profound knowledge, even wisdom properly so called, is rooted in the perceptive apprehension of things, as we have fully considered in the supplements to the first book. A perceptive apprehension has always") been the generative process in which every genuine work ( of art, every immortal thought, received the spark of life. 1 All primary thought takes place in pictures. From con-/ ceptions, on the other hand, arise the works of mere talent, the merely rational thoughts, imitations, and indeed all that is calculated merely with reference to the present need and contemporary conditions.

But if now our perception were constantly bound to the


142 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

real present of things, its material would be entirely under the dominion of chance, which seldom produces things at the right time, seldom arranges them for an end and for the most part presents them to us in very defective examples. Therefore the imagination is required in order to complete, arrange, give the finishing touches to, retain, and repeat at pleasure all those significant pictures of life, according as the aims of a profoundly penetrating knowledge and of the significant work whereby they are to be communicated may demand. Upon this rests the high value of imaginaP tion, which is an indispensable tool of genius. For only by virtue of imagination can genius ever, according to the requirements of the connection of its painting or poetry or thinking, call up to itself each object or event in a lively) image, and thus constantly draw fresh nourishment from the primary source of all knowledge, perception. The man who is endowed with imagination is able, as it were, to call up spirits, who at the right time reveal to him the truths which the naked reality of things exhibits only weakly, rarely, and then for the most part at the wrong time. Therefore the man without imagination is related to him, as the mussel fastened to its rock, which must wait for what chance may bring it, is related to the freely moving or even winged animal. For such a man knows nothing but the actual perception of the senses : till it comes he gnaws at conceptions and abstractions which are yet mere shells and husks, not the kernel of know ledge. He will never achieve anything great, unless it be in calculating and mathematics. The works of plastic and pictorial art and of poetry, as also the achievements of mimicry, may also be regarded as means by which those who have no imagination may make up for this defect as far as possible, and those who are gifted with it may facilitate the use of it.

Thus, although the kind of knowledge which is peculiar and essential to genius is knowledge of perception, yet the special object of this knowledge by no means consists of


ON GENIUS. 143

the particular things, but of the Platonic Ideas which manifest themselves in these, as their apprehension was analysed in chapter 29. Always to see the universal in" I the particular is just the fundamental characteristic of \ genius, while, the, normal man knows in the particular only the particular as such, for only as such does it belong to the actual which alone has interests for him, i.e., relations to his will. The degree in which every one not merely thinks, but actually perceives, in the par ticular thing, only the particular, or a more or less universal up to the most universal of the species, is the measure of his approach to genius. And correspond ing to this, only the nature of things generally, the universal in them, the whole, is the special object of genius. The investigation of the particular phenomena is the field of the talents, in the real sciences, whose special object is always only the relations of things to each other. What was fully shown in the preceding chapter, that the apprehension of the Ideas is conditioned by the fact that the knower is the pure subject of knowledge, i.e., that the will entirely vanishes from consciousness, must be borne in mind here. The pleasure which we have in many of Goethe s songs which bring the landscape before our eyes, or in Jean Paul s sketches of nature, depends upon the fact that we thereby participate in the objectivity of those minds, i.e., the purity with which in them the world as idea separated from the world as will, and, as it were, entirely emancipated itself from it. It also follows from the fact that the kind of knowledge peculiar to genius is essentially that which is purified from all will and its relations, that the works of genius do not proceed from intention or choice, but it is guided in them by a kind of instinctive necessity. What is called the awaking of genius, the hour of initiation, the moment of inspira tion, is nothing but the attainment of freedom by the intellect, when, delivered for a while from its service under the will, it does not now sink into inactivity or


I 4 4 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

lassitude, but is active for a short time entirely alone and spontaneously. Then it is of the greatest purity, and becomes the clear mirror of the world; for, completely severed from its origin, the will, it is now the world as idea itself, concentrated in one consciousness. In such moments, as it were, the souls of immortal works are be gotten. On the other hand, in all intentional reflection the intellect is not free, for indeed the will guides it and prescribes it its theme.

The stamp of commonness, the expression of vulgarity, which is impressed on the great majority of countenances consists really in this, that in them becomes visible the strict subordination of their knowledge to their will, the firm chain which binds these two together, and the im possibility following from this of apprehending things otherwise than in their relation to the will and its aims. On the other hand, the expression of genius which consti tutes the evident family likeness of all highly gifted men consists in this, that in it we distinctly read the liberation, the manumission of the intellect from the service of the will, the predominance of knowledge over volition ; and because all anxiety proceeds from the will, and knowledge, on the contrary, is in and for itself painless and serene, this gives to their lofty brow and clear, perceiving glance, which are not subject to the service of the will and its wants, that look of great, almost supernatural serenity which at times breaks through, and consists very well with the melancholy of their other features, especially the mouth, and which in this relation may be aptly de scribed by the motto of Giordano Bruno : In tristitia hila- ris, in hilaritate tristis.

The will, which is the root of the intellect, opposes itself to any activity of the latter which is directed to anything else but its own aims. Therefore the intellect is only capable of a purely objective and profound comprehension of the external world when it has freed itself at least for a while from this its root. So long as it remains bound


ON GENIUS. I4S

to the will, it is of its own means capable of no activity, but sleeps in a stupor, whenever the will (the interests) does not awake it, and set it in motion. If, however, this happens, it is indeed very well fitted to recognise the re lations of things according to the interest of the will, as the prudent mind does, which, however, must always be an awakened mind, i.e., a mind actively aroused by volition; but just on this account it is not capable of comprehend ing the purely objective nature of things. For the willing and the aims make it so one-sided that it sees in things only that which relates to these, and the rest either dis appears or enters consciousness in a falsified form. For example, the traveller in anxiety and haste will see the Rhine and its banks only as a line, and the bridges over it only as lines cutting it. In the mind of the man who is filled with his own aims the world ap pears as a beautiful landscape appears on the plan of a battlefield. Certainly these are extremes, taken for the sake of distinctness; but every excitement of the will, however slight, will have as its consequence a slight but constantly proportionate falsification of know ledge. Thejworid can L only appear in its true colour and form, in its whole and correct significance, when the intellect, devoid of willing, moves freely over the objects, and without being driven on by the will is yet energetically active. This is certainly opposed to the nature and determination of the intellect, thus to a certain extent unnatural, and just on this account exceedingly rare ; but it is just in this that the essential nature of genius lies, in which alone that condition takes place in a high degree and is of some duration, while in others it only appears approximately and exceptionally. I jtake it to be in the sense expounded here that Jean Paul \rorschuk der jflsmdik, 12) p^ces the, es_sence of ^genius Jn reflective- ness. The normal man is sunk^in the whirY and tumult" of life, to which he belongs through his will; his intellect is filled with the things and events of life ; but he does


VOL. in.


I 4 6 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

not know these things nor life itself in their objective significance ; as the merchant on Change in Amsterdam apprehends perfectly what his neighbour says, but does not hear the hum of the whole Exchange, like the sound of the sea, which astonishes the distant observer. From the genius, on the contrary, whose intellect is delivered from the will, and thus from the person, what concerns these does not conceal the world and things themselves ; but he becomes distinctly conscious of them, he appre hends them in and for themselves in objective perception ; in this sense he is reflective.

It is reflectiveness which enables the painter to repeat the natural objects which he contemplates faithfully upon the canvas, and the poet accurately to call up again the concrete present, by means of abstract conceptions, by giving it utterance and so bringing it to distinct con sciousness, and also to express everything in words which others only feel. The brute lives entirely without reflec tion. It has consciousness, i.e., it knows itself and its good and ill, also the objects which occasion these. But its knowledge remains always subjective, never becomes objective; everything that enters it seems a matter of course, and therefore can never become for it a theme (an object of exposition) nor a problem (an object of medita tion). Its consciousness is thus entirely immanent. Not certainly the same, but yet of kindred nature, is the con sciousness of the common type of man, for his appre hension also of things and the world is predominantly subjective and remains prevalently immanent. It appre hends the things in the world, but not the world; its own action and suffering, but not itself. As now in innumerable gradations the distinctness of consciousness rises, reflectiveness appears more and more ; and thus it is brought about little by little that sometimes, though rarely, and then again in very different degrees of distinctness, the question passes through the mind like a flash, " What is all this ? " or again, " How is it really fashioned ? " The


ON GENIUS.


first question, if it attains great distinctness and con tinued presence, will make the philosopher, and the other, under the same conditions, the artist or the poet. There fore, then, the high calling of both of these has its root in the reflectiveness which primarily springs from the distinct ness with which they are conscious of the world and their own selves, and thereby come to reflect upon them. But the whole process springs from the fact that the intellect through its preponderance frees itself for a time from the will, to which it is originally subject.

The considerations concerning genius here set forth are connected by way of supplement with the exposition con tained in chapter 21, of the ever wider separation of the will and the intellect, which can be traced in the whole series of existences. This reaches its highest grade in genius, where it extends to the entire liberation of the intellect from its root the will, so that here the intellect becomes perfectly free, whereby the world as idea first attains to complete objectification.

A few remarks now concerning the individuality of genius. Aristotle has already said, according to Cicero (Tusc., i. 33), " Omnes ingeniosos melancholicos esse; " which without doubt is connected with the passage of Aristotle s " Prcblemata," xxx. i. Goethe also says : My poetic rap ture was very small, so long as I only encountered good but it burnt with a bright flame when I fled from threaten ing evil. The tender poem, like the rainbow, is only drawn on a dark ground ; hence the genius of the poet loves the element of melancholy."

This is to be explained from the fact that since the will constantly re-establishes its original sway over the intel lect, the latter more easily withdraws from this under unfavourable personal relations; because it gladly turns from adverse circumstances, in order to a certain extent to divert itself, and now directs itself with so much the greater energy to the foreign external world, thus more illy becomes purely objective. Favourable personal


I4 8 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

relations act conversely. Yet as a whole and in general the melancholy which accompanies genius depends upon the fact that the brighter the intellect which enlightens the will to live, the more distinctly does it perceive the misery of its condition. The melancholy disposition of highly gifted minds which has so often been observed has its emblem in Mont Blanc, the summit of which is for the most part lost in clouds ; but when sometimes, especi ally in the early morning, the veil of clouds is rent and now the mountain looks down on Chamounix from its height in the heavens above the clouds, then it is a siht at which the heart of each of us swells from its pro- foundest depths. So also the genius, for the most part melancholy, shows at times that peculiar serenity already described above, which is possible only for it, and springs from the most perfect objectivity of the mind. It floats like a ray of light upon his lofty brow : In tristitia hilans, in hilaritate tristis.

All bunglers are so ultimately because their intellect, still too firmly bound to the will, only becomes active when spurred on by it, and therefore remains entirely in its service. They are accordingly only capable of personal aims. In conformity with these they produce bad pictures, insipid poems, shallow, absurd, and very often dishonest philosophemes, when it is to their interest to recommend themselves to high authorities by a pious disingenuousness. Thus all their action and thought is personal. Therefore they succeed at most in appropriating what is external, accidental, and arbitrary in the genuine works of others as mannerisms, in doing which they take the shell instead of the kernel, and yet imagine they have attained to every thing, nay, have surpassed those works. If, however, the failure is patent, yet many hope to attain success in the end through their good intentions. But it is just this good will which makes success impossible ; because this only pursues personal ends, and with these neither art nor poetry nor philosophy can ever be taken seriously.


ON GENIUS. 149

Therefore the saying is peculiarly applicable to such per sons : " They stand in their own light." They have no idea that it is only the intellect delivered from the government of the will and all its projects, and therefore freely active, that makes one capable of genuine productions, because it alone imparts true seriousness ; and it is well for them that they have not, otherwise they would leap into the water. The good will is in morality everything; but in art it is nothing. In art, as the word itself indicates (Kunst), what alone is of consequence is ability (Konneri). It all amounts ultimately to this, where the true serious ness of the man lies. In almost all it lies exclusively in their own well-being and that of their families ; there fore they are in a position to promote this and nothing else ; for no purpose, no voluntary and intentional effort, imparts the true, profound, and proper seriousness, or makes up for it, or more correctly, takes its place. For it always remains where nature has placed it; and without it everything is only half performed. Therefore, for the same reason, persons of genius often manage so badly for their own welfare. As a leaden weight always brings a body back to the position which its centre of gravity thereby determined demands, so the true serious ness of the man always draws the strength and attention of the intellect back to that in which it lies ; everything else the man does without true seriousness. Therefore only the exceedingly rare and abnormal men whose true serious ness does not lie in the personal and practical, but in the objective and theoretical, are in a position to apprehend what is essential in the things of the world, thus the highest truths, and reproduce them in any way. For such a seriousness of the individual, falling outside himself in the objective, is something foreign to the nature of man, something unnatural, or really supernatural: yet on ac count of this alone is the man great; and therefore what he achieves is then ascribed to a genius different from himself, which takes possession of him. To such a man


ISO THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

his painting, poetry, or thinking is an end; to others it is a means. The latter thereby seek their own things, and, as a rule, they know how to further them, for they flatter their contemporaries, ready to serve their wants and humours ; therefore for the most part they live in happy circumstances ; the former often in very miserable cir cumstances. For he sacrifices his personal welfare to his objective end ; he cannot indeed do otherwise, because his seriousness lies there. They act conversely; therefore they are small, but he is great. Accordingly his work is for all time, but the recognition of it generally only begins with posterity : they live and die with their time. In general he only is great who in his work, whether it is practical or theoretical, seeks not his own concerns, but pursues an objective end alone ; he is so, however, even when in the practical sphere this end is a misunderstood one, and even if in consequence of this it should be a crime. That he seeJcs not himself and his own concerns, this makes him under all circumstances great. Small, on the other hand, is all action which is directed to personal ends ; for who ever is thereby set in activity knows and finds himself only in his own transient and insignificant person. He who is great, again, finds himself in all, and therefore in the whole: he lives not, like others, only in the micro cosm, but still more in the macrocosm. Hence the whole interests him, and he seeks to comprehend it in order to represent it, or to explain it, or to act practically upon it. For it is not strange to him ; lie feels that it concerns him. On account of this extension of his sphere he is called great. Therefore that lofty predicate belongs only to the true hero, in some sense, and to genius : it signifies that they, contrary to human nature, have not sought their own things, have not lived for themselves, but for all. As now clearly the great majority must constantly be small, and can never become great, the converse of this, that one should be great throughout, that is, constantly and every moment, is yet not possible


ON GENIUS.

" For man is made of common clay, And custom is Ms nurse."

Every great man must often be only the individual, have only himself in view, and that means he must be small Upon this depends the very true remark, that no man is a hero to his valet, and not upon the fact that the valet cannot appreciate the hero ; which Goethe, in the "Wahlverwandhschaften" (vol. ii. chap. 5), serves up as ap idea of Ottilie s.

Genius is its own reward : for the best that one is, one must necessarily be for oneself. " Whoever is born with a talent, to a talent, finds in this his fairest existence," says Goethe. When we look back at a great man of former times, we do not think, " How happy is he to be still admired by all of us ! " but, " How happy must he have been in the immediate enjoyment of a mind at the surviving traces of which centuries revive themselves!" Not in the fame, but in that whereby it is attained, lies the value, and in the production of immortal children the pleasure. Therefore those who seek to show the vanity of posthumous fame from the fact that he who obtains it knows nothing of it, may be compared to the wiseacre who very learnedly tried to demonstrate to the man who cast envious glances at a heap of oyster-shells in his neighbour s yard the absolute uselessness of them.

According to the exposition of the nature of genius which has been given, it is so far contrary to nature, inas much as it consists in this, that the intellect, whose real destination is the service of the will, emancipates itself from this service in order to be active on its own account. Accordingly genius is an intellect which has become untrue to its destination. Upon this depend the dis advantages connected with it, for the consideration of which we shall now prepare the way by comparing genius with the less decided predominance of the intellect.

The intellect of the normal man, strictly bound to the service of the will, and therefore really only occupied


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with the apprehension of motives, may be regarded as a complex system of wires, by means of which each of these puppets is set in motion in the theatre of the world. From this arises the dry, grave seriousness of most people, which is only surpassed by that of the brutes, who never laugh. On the other hand, we might compare the genius, with his unfettered intellect, to a living man playing along with the large puppets of the famous puppet-show at Milan, who would be the only one among them who would understand everything, and would therefore gladly leave the stage for a while to enjoy the play from the boxes ; that is the reflectiveness of genius. But even the man of great understanding and reason, whom one might almost call wise, is very different from the genius, and in this way, that his intellect retains a practical tendency, is concerned with the choice of the best ends and means, therefore remains in the service of the will, and accordingly is occupied in a manner that is thoroughly in keeping with nature. The firm, practical seriousness of life which the Romans denoted gravitas presupposes that the intellect does not forsake the service of the will in order to wander away after that which does not concern the will ; therefore it does not admit of that separation of the will and the intellect which is the con dition of genius. The able, nay, eminent man, who is fitted for great achievements in the practical sphere, is so precisely because objects rouse his will in a lively manner, and spur him on to the ceaseless investigation of their relations and connections. Thus his intellect has grown up closely connected with his will. Before the man of genius, on the contrary, there floats in his objective com prehension the phenomenon of the world, as something foreign to him, an object of contemplation, which expels his will from consciousness. Eound this point turns the distinction between the capacity for deeds and for works. The latter demand objectivity and depth of knowledge, which presupposes entire separation of the intellect from


ON GENIUS. 153

the will ; the former, on the other hand, demands the application of knowledge, presence of mind, and decision, which required that the intellect should uninterruptedly attend to the service of the will. Where the bond be tween the intellect and the will is loosened, the intellect, turned away from its natural destination, will neglect the service of the will ; it will, for example, even in the need of the moment, preserve its emancipation, and per haps be unable to avoid taking in the picturesque im pression of the surroundings, from which danger threatens the individual. The intellect of the reasonable and under standing man, on the other hand, is constantly at its post, is directed to the circumstances and their requirements. Such a man will therefore in all cases determine and carry out what is suitable to the case, and consequently will by no means fall into those eccentricities, personal slips, nay, follies, to which the genius is exposed, because his intellect does not remain exclusively the guide and guardian of his will, but sometimes more, sometimes less, is laid claim to by the purely objective. In the con trast of Tasso and Antonio, Goethe has illustrated the opposition, here explained in the abstract, in which these two entirely different kinds of capacity stand to each other. The kinship of genius and madness, so often observed, depends chiefly upon that separation of the intellect from the will which is essential to genius, but is yet contrary to nature. But this separation itself is by no means to be attributed to the fact that genius is accompanied by less intensity of will ; for it is rather distinguished by a vehement and passionate character; but it is to be explained from this, that the practically excellent person, the man of deeds, has merely the whole, full measure of intellect required for an energetic will while most men lack even this ; but genius consists in a completely abnormal, actual superfluity of intellect, such as is required for the service of no will On this account the men of genuine works are a thousand times rarer than


154 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

the men of deeds. It is just that abnormal superfluity of intellect by virtue of which it obtains the decided pre ponderance, sets itself free from the will, and now, forget ting its origin, is freely active from its own strength and elasticity ; and from this the creations of genius proceed.

Now further, just this, that genius in working consists of the free intellect, i.e., of the intellect emancipated from the service of the will, has as a consequence that its pro ductions serve no useful ends. The work of genius is music, or philosophy, or paintings, or poetry ; it is nothing to use. To be of no use belongs to the character of the works of genius ; it is their patent of nobility. All other works of men are for the maintenance or easing of our existence; only those we are speaking of are not; they alone exist for their own sake, and are in this sense to be regarded as the flower or the net profit of existence. Therefore our heart swells at the enjoyment of them, for we rise out of the heavy earthly atmosphere of want. Analogous to this, we see the beautiful, even apart from these, rarely combined with the useful. Lofty and beau tiful trees bear no fruit; the fruit- trees are small, uo-lv cripples. The full garden rose is not fruitful, but the small, wild, almost scentless roses are. The most beautiful buildings are not the useful ones ; a temple is no dwelling- house. A man of high, rare mental endowments com pelled to apply himself to a merely useful business, for which the most ordinary man would be fitted, is like a costly vase decorated with the most beautiful painting which is used as a kitchen pot ; and to compare useful people with men of genius is like comparing building-stone with diamonds. Thus the merely practical man uses his intellect for that for which nature destined it, the comprehension of the relations of things, partly to each other, partly to the will of the knowing individual. The genius, on the other hand, uses it, contrary to its destination, for the compre hension of the objective nature of things. His mind, therefore, belongs not to himself, but to the world, to the


ON GENIUS. 155

illumination of which, in some sense, it will contribute. From this must spring manifold disadvantages to the indi vidual favoured with genius. For his intellect will in general show those faults which are rarely wanting in any tool which is used for that for which it has not been made. First of all, it will be, as it were, the servant of two masters, for on every opportunity it frees itself from the service to which it was destined in order to follow its own ends, whereby it often leaves the will very inopportunely in a fix, and thus the individual so gifted becomes more or less useless for life, nay, in his conduct sometimes reminds us of madness. Then, on account of its highly developed power of knowledge, it will see in things more the universal than the particular ; while the service of the will principally requires the knowledge of the particular. But, again, when, as opportunity offers, that whole abnor mally heightened power of knowledge directs itself with all its energy to the circumstances and miseries of the will, it will be apt to apprehend these too vividly, to behold all in too glaring colours, in too bright a light, and in a fearfully exaggerated form, whereby the individual falls into mere extremes. The following may serve to explain this more accurately. All great theoretical achieve ments, in whatever sphere they may be, are brought about in this way : Their author directs all the forces of his mind upon one point, in which he lets them unite and concentrate so strongly, firmly, and exclusively that now the whole of the rest of the world vanishes for him, and his object fills all reality. Now this great and powerful concentration which belongs to the privileges of genius sometimes appears for it also in the case of objects of the real world and the events of daily life, which then, brought under such a focus, are magnified to such a monstrous extent that they appear like the flea, which under the solar microscope assumes the stature of an elephant. Hence it arises that highly gifted individuals sometimes are thrown by trifles into violent emotions of


l$6 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

the most various kinds, which are incomprehensible to others, who see them transported with grief, joy, care, fear, anger, &c., by things which leave the every-day man quite composed. Thus, then, the genius lacks soberness, which simply consists in this, that one sees in things nothing more than actually belongs to them, especially with reference to our possible ends ; therefore no sober- minded man can be a genius. With the disadvantages which have been enumerated there is also associated hyper-sensibility, which an abnormally developed nervous and cerebral system brings with it, and indeed in union with the vehemence and passionateness of will which ia certainly characteristic of genius, and which exhibits itself physically as energy of the pulsation of the heart. From all this very easily arises that extravagance of disposition, that vehemence of the emotions, that quick change of mood under prevailing melancholy, which Goethe has presented to us in Tasso. What reasonable ness, quiet composure, finished surveyal, certainty and proportionateness of behaviour is shown by the well- endowed normal man in comparison with the now dreamy absentness, and now passionate excitement of the man of genius, whose inward pain is the mother s lap of immortal works ! To all this must still be added that genius lives essentially alone. It is too rare to find its like with ease, and too different from the rest of men to be their companion. With them it is the will, with him it is knowledge, that predominates; therefore their pleasures are not his, and his are not theirs. They are merely moral beings, and have merely personal relations ; he is at the same time a pure intellect, and as such belongs to the whole of humanity. The course of thought of the intellect which is detached from its mother soil, the will, and only returns to it periodically, will soon show itself entirely different from that of the normal intellect, still cleaving to its stem. For this reason, and also on account of the dissimilarity of the pace, the former is not adapted


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157


for thinking in common, i.e., for conversation with the others : they will have as little pleasure in him and his oppressive superiority as he will in them. They will therefore feel more comfortable with their equals, and he will prefer the entertainment of his equals, although, as a rule, this is only possible through the works they have left behind them. Therefore Chamfort says very rightly : " H y a pen de vices qui empdchent un homme d avoir beaucoup d amis, autant que peuvent le faire de trap grandes qualit^s." The happiest lot that can fall to the genius is release from action, which is not his element, and leisure for production. From all this it results that although genius may highly bless him who is gifted with it, in the hours in which, abandoned to it, he revels unhindered in its delight, yet it is by no means fitted to procure for him a happy course of life ; rather the contrary. This is also confirmed by the experience recorded in biographies. Besides this there is also an external incongruity, for the genius, in his efforts and achievements themselves, is for the most part in contradiction and conflict with his age. Mere men of talent come always at the right time ; for as they are roused by the spirit of their ago, and called forth by its needs, they are also capable only of satis fying these. They therefore go hand in hand with the advancing culture of their contemporaries or with the gradual progress of a special science : for this they reap reward and approval. But to the next generation their works are no longer enjoyable; they must be replaced by others, which again are not permanent. The genius, on the contrary, comes into his age like a comet into the paths of the planets, to whose well-regulated and comprehensible order its entirely eccentric course is foreign. Accordingly he cannot go hand in hand with the existing, regular progress of the culture of the age, but flings his works far out on to the way in front (as the dying emperor flung his spear among the enemy), upon which time has first to overtake them. His relation


158 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

to the culminating men of talent of his time might be expressed in the words of the Evangelist: " O icaipos o eyu.09 OV7TCO 7rap(mv 6 8e Kaipo? 6 u/ierepo? iravrore ecrriv eroi/io?" (John vii. 6). The man of talent can achieve what is beyond the power of achievement of other men, but not what is beyond their power of apprehension : therefore he at once finds those who prize him. But the achievement of the man of genius, on the contrary, tran scends not only the power of achievement, but also the power of apprehension of others ; therefore they do not become directly conscious of him. The man of talent is like the marksman who hits a mark the others cannot hit ; the man of genius is like the marksman who hits a mark they cannot even see to; therefore they only get news of him indirectly, and thus late; and even this they only accept upon trust and faith. Accordingly Goethe says in one of his letters, " Imitation is inborn in us ; what to imitate is not easily recognised. Rarely is what is excellent found; still more rarely is it prized." And Chanifort says : " // en est de la valeur des kommes comme de celle dcs diamans, qui d une certaine mesure de grosseur, de purete, de perfection, ont un prix fixe, et marque", mais qui, par-deld cette mesure, restent sans prix, et ne trouvent point d acheteurs." And Bacon of Veruhim has also expressed it : " Infimarum virtutum, apud vulgus, laus est, mediarum admiratio, supremarum sensus nullus" (De augm. sc., L. vi. c. 3). Indeed, one might perhaps reply, Apud vulgus ! But I must then come to his assistance with Machiavelli s assurance : " Nel mondo non & se non volgo ; " l as also Tliilo (Ueber den Ruhm) remarks, that to the vulgar herd there generally belongs one more than each of us believes. It is a consequence of this late recognition of the works of the man of genius that they are rarely enjoyed by their contemporaries, and accordingly in the freshness of colour which synchronism and presence imparts, but, like figs and dates, much more in a dry than in a fresh state.

1 There is nothing else in the world but the vulgar.


ON GENIUS.


59


If, finally, we consider genius from the somatic side, we find it conditioned by several anatomical and physiolo gical qualities, which individually are seldom present in perfection, and still more seldom perfect together, but which are yet all indispensably required ; so that this explains why genius only appears as a perfectly isolated and almost portentous exception. The fundamental con dition is an abnormal predominance of sensibility over irritability and reproductive power ; and what makes the matter more difficult, this must take place in a male body. (Women may have great talent, but no genius, for they always remain subjective.) Similarly the cerebral system must be perfectly separated from the ganglion system by complete isolation, so that it stands in complete opposi tion to the latter ; and thus the brain pursues its parasitic life on the organism in a very decided, isolated, power ful, and independent manner. Certainly it will thereby very easily affect the rest of the organism injuriously, and through its heightened life and ceaseless activity wear it out prematurely, unless it is itself possessed of energetic vital force and a good constitution : thus the latter belong to the conditions of genius. Indeed even a good stomach is a condition on account of the special and close agreement of this part with the brain. But chiefly the brain must be of unusual development and magnitude, especially broad and high. On the other hand, its depth will be inferior, and the cerebrum will abnormally preponderate in proportion to the cerebellum. Without doubt much depends upon the configuration of the brain as a whole and in its parts ; but our knowledge is not yet sufficient to determine this accurately, although we easily recognise the form of skull that indicates a noble and lofty intelligence. The texture of the mass of the brain must be of extreme fineness and perfection, and consist of the purest, most concentrated, tenderest, and rnost excitable nerve-sub stance ; certainly the quantitative proportion of the white to the grey matter has a decided influence, which, how-


160 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

ever, we are also unable as yet to specify. However, the report of the post-mortem on the body of Byron 1 shows that in his case the white matter was in unusually large pro portion to the grey, and also that his brain weighed six pounds. Cuvier s brain weighed five pounds ; the normal weight is three pounds. In contrast to the superior size of the brain, the spinal cord and nerves must be unusually thin. A beautifully arched, high and broad skull of thin bone must protect the brain without in any way cramping it. This whole quality of the brain and nervous system is the inheritance from the mother, to which we shall return in the following book. But it is quite insufficient to pro duce the phenomenon of genius if the inheritance from the father is not added, a lively, passionate temperament, which exhibits itself somatically as unusual energy of the heart, and consequently of the circulation of the blood, especially towards the head. For, in the first place, that turgescence peculiar to the brain on account of which it presses against its walls is increased by this ; therefore it forces itself out of any opening in these which has been occasioned by some injury ; and secondly, from the requisite strength of the heart the brain receives that internal move ment different from its constant rising and sinking at every breath, which consists in a shaking of its whole mass at every pulsation of the four cerebral arteries, and the energy of which must correspond to the here increased quantity of the brain, as this movement in general is an indispens able condition of its activity. To this, therefore, small stature and especially a short neck is favourable, because by the shorter paih the blood reaches the brain with more energy ; and on this account great minds have seldom large bodies. Yet that shortness of the distance is not indispensable ; for example, Goethe was of more than middle height. If, however, the whole condition connected with the circulation of the blood, and therefore coming

1 In Medwin s " Conversations of Lord Byron," p. 333.


ON GENIUS. 1 61

from the father is wanting, the good quality of the brain coming from the mother, will at most produce a man of talent, a fine understanding, which the phlegmatic tem perament thus introduced supports; but a phlegmatic genius is impossible. This condition coming from the father explains many faults of temperament described above. But, on the other hand, if this condition exists without the former, thus with an ordinarily or even badly constructed brain, it gives vivacity without mind, heat without light, hot-headed persons, men of unsupportable restlessness and petulance. That of two brothers only one has genius, and that one generally the elder, as, for example, in Kant s case, is primarily to be explained from the fact that the father was at the age of strength and passion only when he was begotten; although also the other condition originating with the mother may be spoiled by unfavourable circumstances.

I have further to add here a special remark on the childlike character of the genius, i.e.> ou a certain resem blance which exists between genius and the age of child hood. In childhood, as in the case of genius, the cerebral and nervous system decidedly preponderates, for its de velopment hurries far in advance of that of the rest of the organism ; so that already at the seventh year the brain has attained its full extension and mass. Therefore, Bichat says: "Dans I enfance le systeme nerveiujc, compart au musculaire, est proportionellement plus considerable que dans tons les dyes suivans, tandis que par la suite, la plus- part des autres systemes prddominent sur celui-ci. On sait que, pour bien voir les nerfs, on cJwisit toujours les enfans " (Le la vie et de la mort, art. 8, 6). On the other hand, the development of the genital system begins latest, and irritability, reproduction, and genital function are in full force only at the age of manhood, and then, as a rule, they predominate over the brain function. Hence it is expli cable that children, in general, are so sensible, reasonable, desirous of information, and teachable, nay, on the whole

VOL. ill. L


1 62 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

are more disposed and fitted for all theoretical occupation than grown-up people. They have, in consequence of that j | course of development, more intellect than will, i.e., than j | inclinations, desire, and passion. For intellect and brain / j are one, and so also is the genital system one with the mosr vehement of all desires : therefore I have called the latter the focus of the will. Just because the fearful activity of this system still slumbers, while that of the brain has already full play, childhood is the time of innocence and happiness, the paradise of life, the lost Eden on which we look longingly back through the whole remain ing course of our life. But the basis of that happiness is that in childhood our whole existence lies much more in knowing than in willing a condition which is also sup ported from without by the novelty of all objects. Hence in the morning sunshine of life the world lies before us so fresh, so magically gleaming, so attractive. The small desires, the weak inclinations, and trifling cares of child hood are only a weak counterpoise to that predominance of intellectual activity. The innocent and clear glance of children, at which we revive ourselves, and which some times in particular cases reaches the sublime contempla tive expression with which Eaphael has glorified his cherubs, is to be explained from what has been said. Ac cordingly the mental powers develop much earlier than the needs they are destined to serve ; and here, as every where, nature proceeds very designedly. For in this time of predominating intelligence the man collects a great store of knowledge for future wants which at the time are foreign to him. Therefore his intellect, now unceasingly active, eagerly apprehends all phenomena, broods over them and stores them up carefully for the coming time, like the bees, who gather a great deal more honey than they can consume, in anticipation of future need. Cer tainly what a man acquires of insight and knowledge up to the age of puberty is, taken as a whole, more than all that he afterwards learns, however learned he may be-


ON GENIUS. 163

come ; for it is the foundation of all human knowledge. Up till the same time plasticity predominates in the child s body, and later, by a metastasis, its forces throw themselves into the system of generation; and thus with puberty the sexual passion appears, and now, little by little, the will gains the upper hand. Then childhood, which is prevailingly theoretical and desirous of learn ing, is followed by the restless, now stormy, now melan choly, period of youth, which afterwards passes into the vigorous and earnest age of manhood. Just because that impulse pregnant with evil is wanting in the child is its volition so adapted and subordinated to knowledge, whence arises that character of innocence, intelligence, and reasonableness which is peculiar to the age of child hood. On what, then, the likeness between childhood and genius depends I scarcely need to express further : upon the surplus of the powers of knowledge over the needs of the will, and the predominance of the purely intellectual activity which springs from this. Really every child is to a cer tain extent a genius, and the genius is to a certain extent-a~- child. The relationship of the two shows itself primarily in the naivete* and sublime simplicity which is character istic of true genius ; and besides this it appears in several traits, so that a certain childishness certainly belongs to the character of the genius. In Riemer s " Mittheilungen uber Goethe" (vol. i. p. 184) it is related that Herder and others found fault with Goethe, saying he was always a big child. Certainly they were right in what they said, but they were not right in finding fault with it. It has also been said of Mozart that all his life he remained a child (Nissen s Biography of Mozart, p. 2 and 529). Schlichtegroll s " Nehrology" (for 1791, vol. ii. p. 109) says of him : " In his art he early became a man, but in all other relations he always remained a child." Every genius is even for this reason a big child; he looks out into the world as into something strange, a play, and therefore with purely objective interest. Accordingly


164 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

he has just as little as the child that dull gravity of ordinary men, who, since they are capable only of subjec tive interests, always see in things mere motives for their action. Whoever does not to a certain extent remain all his life a big child, but becomes a grave, sober, tho roughly composed, and reasonable man, may be a very useful and capable citizen of this world; but never a genius. In fact, the genius is so because that predomi nance of the sensible system and of intellectual activity which is natural to childhood maintains itself in him in an abnormal manner through his whole life, thus here becomes perennial. A trace of this certainly shows itself in many ordinary men up to the period of their youth ; therefore, for example, in many students a purely intellectual tendency and an eccentricity suggestive of genius is unmistakable. But nature returns to her track ; they assume the chrysalis form and reappear at the age of manhood, as incarnate Philistines, at whom we are startled when we meet them again in later years. Upon all this that has been expounded here depends Goethe s beautiful remark: "Children do not perform what they promise ; young people very seldom ; and if they do keep their word, the world does not keep its word with them " (Wahherwandtschaften, Pt. i. ch. 10) the world which afterwards bestows the crowns which it holds aloft for merit on those who are the tools of its low aims or know how to deceive it. In accordance with what has been said, as there is a mere beauty of youth, which almost every one at some time possesses (beautS du didble), so there is a mere intellectuality of youth, a certain mental nature disposed and adapted for apprehending, under standing, and learning, which every one has in childhood, and some have still in youth, but which is afterwards lost, just like that beauty. Only in the case of a very few, the chosen, the one, like the other, lasts through the whole life ; so that even in old age a trace of it still remains visible : these are the truly beautiful and the men of true genius.


ON GENIUS. X 65

The predominance of the cerebral nervous system and of intelligence in childhood, which is here under con sideration, together with the decline of it in riper age, receives important illustration and confirmation from the fact that in the species of animals which stands nearest to man, the apes, the same relation is found in a striking degree. It has by degrees become certain that the highly intelligent orang-outang is a young pongo, which when it has grown up loses the remarkable human look oi its countenance, and also its astonishing intelligence, because the lower and brutal part of its face increases in size, the forehead thereby recedes, large cristce, muscular de velopments, give the skull a brutish form, the activity of the nervous system sinks, and in its place extraordinary muscular strength develops, which, as it is sufficient for its preservation, makes the great intelligence now super fluous. Especially important is what Fre d. Cuvier has said in this reference, and Flourens has illustrated in a review of the " Histoire Naturelle " of the former, which appeared in the September number of the " Journal des Savans" of 1839, and was also separately printed with some additions, under the title, " Resume analytique des observations de FT. Cuvier sur Vinstinct et I intelligence des animaux" p. Flourens, 1841. It is there said, p. 50: " L intelligence de I orang-outang, cette intelligence si deve- loppde, et de"velopp6e de si bonne heure, ddcroit avec Pdge. L orang-outang, lorsgu tt est jeune, nous ttonne par sa pe ne - tration, par sa ruse, par son adresse ; V orang-outang, devenu adulte, n est plus gu un animal grassier, brutal, intraitable. Et il en est de tous Us singes comme de V orang-outang. Dans tous, I intelligence de croit d, mesure gue les forces s accroissent. L animal gui a le plus $ intelligence, n a toute cette intelligence gue dans le jeune age." Further, p. 87 : " Les singes de tous les genres offrent ce rapport inverse de I dge et de V intelligence. Ainsi, par exemple, VEntelle (espece de guenon du sous-genre des Semno-pitheques et I un des singes vdntrts dans la religion des Brames) a, dans le


1 66 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXI.

jeune dge, le front large, le museau pen saillant, le crdnt eleve, arrondi," etc. Avec I dge le front disparait, recule, le museau proe mine ; et le moral ne change pas moins que le physique: I apathie, la violence, le besoin de solitude, remplacent la penetration, la docilite", la confiance. " Ces differences sont si grandes" dit Mr. Fre"d. Cuvier, " gue dans lhabitude oil nous sommes de juger des actions des animaux par les ndtres, nous prendrions le jeune animal pour un individu de I dge, oil toutes les qualite s morales de I espece sont acquises, et I Entelle adulte pour un individu qui n aurait encore que ses forces physiques. Mais la nature n en agit pas ainsi avec ces animaux, qui ne doivent pas sortir de la sphere e troite, qui leur est fixfo, et d qui il suffit en quelque sorte de pouvoir miller A leur conservation. Pour cela I intelligence e"tait ne cessaire, quand la force n existait pas, et quand celle-ci est acquise, toute autre puissance perd de son utilite 1 ." And p. 1 1 8 : " La conservation des especes ne repose pas moins sur les qualite s intellectuelles des animaux, gue sur leurs qualites organiques." This last confirms my principle that the intellect, like the claws and teeth, ia nothing else than a weapon in the service of the will


CHAPTER XXXII. 1

ON MADNESS.

THE health of the mind properly consists in perfect re collection. Of course this is not to be understood as meaning that our memory preserves everything. For the past course of our life shrinks up in time, as the path of the wanderer looking back shrinks up in space: some times it is difficult for us to distinguish the particular years ; the days have for the most part become unrecog nisable. Really, however, only the exactly similar events, recurring an innumerable number of times, so that their images, as it were, conceal each other, ought so to run together in the memory that they are individually un recognisable ; on the other hand, every event in any way peculiar or significant we must be able to find again in memory, if the intellect is normal, vigorous, and quite healthy. In the text I have explained madness as the broken thread of this memory, which still runs on regularly, although in constantly decreasing fulness and distinct ness. The following considerations may serve to confirm this.

The memory of a healthy man affords a certainty as to an event he has witnessed, which is regarded as just as firm and sure as his present apprehension of things; therefore, if sworn to by him, this event is thereby estab lished in a court of law. On the other hand, the mere suspicion of madness will at once weaken the testimony

1 This chapter is connected with the second half of 36 of the first volume.


168 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXII.

of a witness. Here, then, lies the criterion between the healthy mind and insanity. Whenever I doubt whether an event which I remember really took place, I throw upon myself the suspicion of madness : unless it is that I am uncertain whether it was not a mere dream. If another doubts the reality of an event, related by me as an eye-witness, without mistrusting my honesty, then he regards me as insane. Whoever comes at last, through constantly recounting an event which originally was fabricated by him, to believe in it himself is, in this one point, really insane. We may ascribe to an insane person flashes of wit, single clever thoughts, even correct judg ments, but his testimony as to past events no man will consider valid. In the Lalita-vistara, well known to be the history of Buddha Sakya-Muni, it is related that at the moment of his birth all the sick became well, all the blind saw, all the deaf heard, and all mad people "recovered their memory." This last is mentioned in two passages. 1

My own experience of many years has led me to the opinion that madness occurs proportionally most fre quently among actors. But what a misuse they make of their memory ! Daily they have to learn a new part or refresh an old one ; but these parts are entirely without connection, nay, are in contradiction and contrast with each other, and every evening the actor strives to forget himself entirely and be some quite different person. This kind of thing paves the way for madness.

The exposition of the origin of madness given in the text will become more comprehensible if it is remembered how unwillingly we think of things which powerfully injure our interests, wound our pride, or interfere with our wishes ; with what difficulty do we determine to lay such things before our own intellect for careful and serious investigation ; how easily, on the other hand, we uncon-

1 Rgya Tcher Rol Pa, Hist, de Bouddka Chakya Mowni, trad, du Tib&avn, p. Foncaux, 1848, ja. 91 et 99.


ON MADNESS. 169

sciously break away or sneak off from them again ; how, on the contrary, agreeable events come into our minds of their own accord, and, if driven away, constantly creep in again, so that we dwell on them for hours together. In that resistance of the will to allowing what is contrary to it to come under the examination of the intellect lies the place at which madness can break in upon the mind. Each new adverse event must be assimilated by the in tellect, i.e., it must receive a place in the system of the truths connected with our will and its interests, whatever it may have to displace that is more satisfactory. "When ever this has taken place, it already pains us much less ; but this operation itself is often very painful, and also, in general, only takes place slowly and with resistance. How ever, the health of the mind can only continue so long as this is in each case properly carried out. If, on the con trary, in some particular case, the resistance and struggles of the will against the apprehension of some knowledge reaches such a degree that that operation is not performed in its integrity, then certain events or circumstances be come for the intellect completely suppressed, because the will cannot endure the sight of them, and then, for the sake of the necessary connection, the gaps that thus arise are filled up at pleasure ; thus madness appears. For the intellect has given up its nature to please the will : the man now imagines what does not exist. Yet the madness which has thus arisen is now the lethe of unendurable suffering ; it was the last remedy of harassed nature, i.e., of the will.

Let me mention here in passing a proof of my view which is worth noticing. Carlo Gozzi, in the " Monstro turchino," act i. scene 2, presents to us a person who has drunk a magic potion which produces forgetfulness, and this person appears exactly like a madman.

In accordance with the above exposition one may thus regard the origin of madness as a violent " casting out of the mind " of anything, which, however, is only possible


170 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXII .

by " taking into the head " something else. The converse process is more rare, that the " taking into the head " comes first, and the " casting out of the mind " second. It takes place, however, in those cases in which the occasion of insanity is kept constantly present to the mind and can not be escaped from ; thus, for example, in the case of many who have gone mad from love, erotomaniacs, where the occasion of their madness is constantly longed after j also in the case of madness which has resulted from the fright of some sudden horrible occurrence. Such patients cling, as it were, convulsively to the thought they have grasped, so that no other, or at least none opposed to it, can arise. In both processes, however, what is essential to madness remains the same, the impossibility of a uni formly connected recollection, such as is the basis of our healthy and rational reflection. Perhaps the contrast of the ways in which they arise, set forth here, might, if applied with judgment, afford a sharp and profound prin ciple of division of delusions proper.

For the rest, I have only considered the physical origin of madness, thus what is introduced by external, objective occasions. More frequently, however, it depends upon purely physical causes, upon malformations or partial dis organisation of the brain or its membranes, also upon the influence which other parts affected with disease exercise upon the brain. Principally in the latter kind of madness false sense-perceptions, hallucinations, may arise. Yet the two causes of madness will generally partake of each other, particularly the psychical of the physical. It is the same as with suicide, which is rarely brought about by an external occasion alone, but a certain physical dis comfort lies at its foundation ; and according to the degree which this attains to a greater or less external occasion is required ; only in the case of the very highest degree is no external occasion at all required. Therefore there is no misfortune so great that it would influence every one to suicide, and none so small that one like it has not already


ON MADNESS. 171

led to it. I have shown the psychical origin of madness as, at least according to all appearance, it is brought about in the healthy mind by a great misfortune. In the case of those who are already strongly disposed to madness physi cally a very small disappointment will be sufficient to induce it. For example, I remember a man in a mad house who had been a soldier, and had gone out of his mind because his officer had addressed him as Erl In the case of decided physical disposition no occasion at all is required when this has come to maturity. The madness which has sprung from purely psychical causes may, per haps, by the violent perversion of the course of thought which has produced it, also introduce a kind of paralysis or other depravity of some part of the brain, which, if not soon done away with, becomes permanent. Therefore madness is only curable at first, and not after a longer time.

Pinel taught that there is a mania sine delirio, frenzy without insanity. This was controverted by Esquirol, and since then much has been said for and against it. The question can only be decided empirically. But if such a state really does occur, then it is to be explained from the fact that here the will periodically entirely withdraws itself from the government and guidance of the intellect, and consequently of motives, and thus it then appears as a blind, impetuous, destructive force of nature, and accord ingly manifests itself as the desire to annihilate every thing that comes in its way. The will thus let loose is like the stream which has broken through the dam, the horse that has thrown his rider, or a clock out of which the regulating screws have been taken. Yet only the reason, thus reflective knowledge, is included in that suspension, not intuitive knowledge also ; otherwise the will would remain entirely without guidance, and con sequently the man would be immovable. But, on the

1 In German inferiors are sometimes addressed as Er instead of Sic. Trt.


172 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXII.

contrary, the man in a frenzy apprehends objects, for he breaks out upon them ; thus he has also consciousness of his present action, and afterwards remembrance of it. But he is entirely without reflection, thus without any guidance of the reason, consequently quite incapable of any consideration or regard for the absent, the past, or the future. When the attack is over, and the reason has re gained its command, its function is correct, because here its proper activity has not been perverted or destroyed, but only the will has found the means to withdraw itself from it entirely for a while.


C 173 )


CHAPTEK XXXIII. 1

ISOLATED REMARKS ON NATURAL BEAUTY.

WHAT contributes among other things to make the sight of a beautiful landscape so exceedingly delightful is the perfect truth and consistency of nature. Certainly nature does not follow here the guidance of logic in the connec tion of the grounds of knowledge, of antecedents and con sequences, premisses and conclusions ; but still it follows what is for it analogous to the law of causality in the visible connection of causes and effects. Every modification, even the slightest, which an object receives from its position, foreshortening, concealment, distance, lighting, linear and atmospheric perspective, &c., is, through its effect upon the eye, unerringly given and accurately taken account of: the Indian proverb, "Every corn of rice casts its shadow," finds here its confirmation. Therefore here everything shows itself so consistent, accurately regular, connected, and scrupulously right ; here there are no eva sions. If now we consider the sight of a beautiful view, merely as a brain-phenomenon, it is the only one among the complicated brain-phenomena which is always abso lutely regular, blameless, and perfect ; all the rest, espe cially our own mental operations, are, in form or material, affected more or less with defects or inaccuracies. From this excellence of the sight of beautiful nature, is the har monious and thoroughly satisfying character of its impres sion to be explained, and also the favourable effect which

1 This chapter is connected with 38 of the first volume,


174 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIII.

it has upon our whole thought, which in its formal part thereby becomes more correctly disposed, and to a certain extent purified, for that brain-phenomenon which alone is entirely faultless sets the brain in general in perfectly normal action; and now the thought seeks to follow that method of nature in the consistency, connected ness, regularity, and harmony of all its processes, after being brought by it into the right swing. A beautiful view is therefore a cathartic of the mind, as music, according to Aristotle, is of the feeling, and in its presence one will think most correctly.

That the sight of a mountain chain suddenly rising before us throws us so easily into a serious, and even sublime mood may partly depend upon the fact that the form of the mountains and the outline of the chain arising from it is the only constantly permanent line of the land scape, for the mountains alone defy the decay which soon sweeps away everything else, especially our own ephemeral person. Not that at the sight of the mountain chain all this appeared distinctly in our consciousness, but an obscure feeling of it is the fundamental note of our mood.

I would like to know why it is that while for the human form and countenance light from above is alto gether the most advantageous, and light from below the most unfavourable, with regard to landscape nature exactly the converse holds good.

Yet how aesthetic is nature ! Every spot that is en tirely uncultivated and wild, i.e., left free to itself, how ever small it may be, if only the hand of man remains absent, it decorates at once in the most tasteful manner, clothes it with plants, flowers, and shrubs, whose unforced nature, natural grace, and tasteful grouping bears witness that they have not grown up under the rod of correction of the great egoist, but that nature has here moved freely. Every neglected plant at once becomes beautiful. Upon this rests the principle of the English garden, which is as


ISOLATED REMARKS ON NATURAL BEAUTY. 175

much as possible to conceal art, so that it may appear as if nature had here moved freely ; for only then is it per fectly beautiful, i.e., shows in the greatest distinctness the objectificaton of the still unconscious will to live, which here unfolds itself with the greatest naivete", because the forms are not, as in the animal world, determined by ex ternal ends, but only immediately by the soil, climate, and a mysterious third influence on account of which so many plants which have originally sprung up in the same soil and climate yet show such different forms and characters.

The great difference between the English, or more cor rectly the Chinese, garden and the old French, which is now always becoming more rare, yet still exists in a few magnificent examples, ultimately rests upon the fact that the former is planned in an objective spirit, the latter in a subjective. In the former the will of nature, as it objectifies itself in tree and shrub, mountain and waterfall, is brought to the purest possible expression of these its Ideas, thus of its own inner being. In the French garden, on the other hand, only the will of the possessor of it is mirrored, which has subdued nature so that instead of its Ideas it bears as tokens of its slavery the forms which correspond to that will, and which are forcibly imposed upon it clipped hedges, trees cut into all kinds of forms, straight alleys, arched avenues, &c.


< J76 )


CHAPTEE XXXIV. 1

ON THE INNER NATUEE OF ART.

^\ \

Not merely philosophy but also the fine arts work at \ bottom towards the solution of the problem of existence. Jj For in every mind that once gives itself up to the purely objective contemplation of nature a desire has been ex cited, however concealed and unconscious it may be, ta comprehend the true nature of things, of life and existence. j For this alone has interest for the intellect as such, i.e., \ for the pure subject of knowledge which has become free from the aims of the will ; as for the subject which knows as a mere individual the aims of the will alone have interest. On this account the result of the purely ob jective apprehension of things is an expression more of the nature of life and existence, more an answer to the question, " What is life ? " Every genuine and successful work of art answers this question in its own way with perfect correctness. But all the arts speak only the naive and childish language of perception, not the abstract ancr serious language of reflection ; their answer is therefore a fleeting image : not permanent and general knowledge. Thus for perception every work of art answers that question, every painting, every statue, every poem, every | scene upon the stage : music also answers it ; and indeedJ more profoundly than all the rest, for in its language, which is understood with absolute directness, but which is yet untranslatable into that of the reason, the inner

1 This chapter is connected with 49 of the first volume,


ON THE INNER NATURE OF ART. 177

^?$8Ifi. 9* all life and existence expresses itself. Thus all the other arts hold up to the questioner a perceptible imao-e, and say, " Look here, this is life." Their answer, how ever correct it may be, will yet always afford merely a temporary, not a complete and final, satisfaction. For they always give merely a fragment, an example instead of the rule, not the whole, which can only be given in the universality of the conception. For this, therefore, thus for reflection and in the abstract, to give an answer which just on that account shall be permanent and suffice for always, is the task of philosophy. However, we see here upon what the relationship of philosophy to the fine arts rests, and can conclude from that to what extent the capacity of both, although in its direction and in secondary matters very different, is yet in its root the same.

Every work of art accordingly really aims at showing us life and things as they are in truth, but cannot be directly discerned by every one through the mist of objective and subjective contingencies. Art takes away this mist.

The works of the poets, sculptors, and representative artists in general contain an unacknowledged treasure of profound wisdom ; just because out of them the wisdom of the nature of things itself speaks, whose utterances they merely interpret by illustrations and purer repetitions. On this account, however, every one who reads the poem or looks at the picture must certainly contribute out of his own means to bring that wisdom to light ; accordingly he comprehends only so much of it as his capacity and culture admit of ; as in the deep sea each sailor only lets down the lead as far as the length of the line will allow. Before a picture, as before a prince, every one must stand, waiting to see whether and what it will speak to him ; and, as in the case of a prince, so here he must not himself ad dress it, for then he would only hear himself. It follow from all this that in the works of the representative arts all truth is certainly contained, yet only virtualiter or impli- cite; philosophy, on the other hand, endeavours to supplv VOL. in. M


I 7 8 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIV.

the same truth adualiter and explicite, and therefore, in thia sense, is related to art as wine to grapes. What it promises to supply would be, as it were, an already realised and clear gain, a firm and abiding possession ; while that which proceeds from the achievements and works of art is one which has constantly to be reproduced anew. Therefore, however, it makes demands, not only upon those who pro duce its works, but also upon those who are to enjoy them which are discouraging and hard to comply with. There fore its public remains small, while that of art is large.

The co-operation of the beholder, which is referred to above, as demanded for the enjoyment of a work of art, depends partly upon the fact that every work of art can only produce its effect through the medium of the fancy ; therefore it must excite this, and can never allow it to be left out of the play and remain inactive. This is a con- dition of the sesthetic effect, and therefore a fundamental law of all fine arts. But it follows from this that, through the work of art, everything must not be directly given to the senses, but rather only so much as is demanded to lead the fancy on to the right path ; something, and ^ indeed the ultimate thing, must always be left over for ) the fancy to do. Even the author must always leave something over for the reader to think ; for Voltaire has very rightly said, " Le secret d etre ennuyeux, cest de tout dire." But besides this, in art the best of all is too spiritual to be given directly to the senses ; it must be born in the 1 imagination of the beholder, although begotten by the j work of art. It depends upon this that the sketches of } great masters often effect more than their finished pio- tures ; although another advantage certainly contributes to this, namely, that they are completed offhand in the moment of conception ; while the perfected painting is only produced through continued effort, by means of skilful deliberation and persistent intention, for the in spiration cannot last till it is completed. From the fundamental aesthetical law we are speaking of, it is


ON THE INNER NATURE OF ART. 179

further to be explained why wax figures never produce an aesthetic effect, and therefore are not properly works of fine art, although it is just in them that the imitation of nature is able to reach its highest grade. For they leave nothing for the imagination to do. Sculpture gives merely the form without the colour ; painting gives the colour, but the mere appearance of the form ; thus both appeal to the imagination of the beholder. The wax figure, on the other hand, gives all, form and colour at once; whence arises the appearance of reality, and the imagination is left out of account. Poetry, on the con trary, appeals indeed to the imagination alone, which it sets in action by means of mere words.

An arbitrary playing with the means of art without a proper knowledge of the end is, in every art, the fundamen tal characteristic of the dabbler. Such a man shows him self in the pillars that support nothing, aimless volutes, juttings and projections of bad architecture, in the mean ingless runs and figures, together with the aimless noise of bad music, in the jingling of the rhymes of senseless poetry, &c.

It follows from the preceding chapter, and from my whole view of art, that its aim is the facilitating of the knowledge of the Ideas of the world (in the Platonic sense, the only one which I recognise for the word Idea). The Ideas, how- \ ever, are essentially something perceptible, which, there fore, in its fuller determinations, is inexhaustible. communication of such an Idea can therefore only take place on the path of perception, which is that of art. Who- ever, therefore, is filled with the comprehension of an Idea is justified if he chooses art as the medium of its com munication. The mere conception, on the other hand, is something completely determiuable, therefore exhaustible, and distinctly thought, the whole content of which cau be coldly and dryly expressed in words. Now to desire to communicate such a conception by means of a work of art is a very useless circumlocution, indeed belongs to that


,8o THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIV.

playin^ with the means of art without knowledge of its end which has just been condemned. Therefore a work of art which has proceeded from mere distinct conceptions is always ungenuine. If now, in considering a work of plastic art, or in reading a poem, or in hearing a piece of music (which aims at describing something definite), we see, through all the rich materials of art, the distinct, limited, cold, dry conception shine out, and at last come to the front, the conception which was the kernel of this work, the whole notion of which consequently consisted in the distinct thinking of it, and accordingly is absolutely exhausted by its communication, we feel disgusted and indi-nant, for we see ourselves deceived and cheated out of our interest and attention. We are only perfectly satislSS by the impression of a work of art when it leaves some- thin" which, with all our thinking about it, we cannot bring down to the distinctness of a conception. The mark of that hybrid origin from mere conceptions is that the author of a work of art could, before he set about it, give in distinct words what he intended to present ; for then it would have been possible to attain his whole end through these words. Therefore it is an undertaking as unworthy as it is absurd if as has often been tried at the present day, one seeks to reduce a poem of Shakspeare s or Goethe s to the abstract truth which it was its aim to communicate. Certainly the_ artist ought to think in the arranging of his work ; but only that thought which was perceived before it was thought has afterwards, in its communication, the power of animating or rousino- an d thereby becomes imperishable. We shall not refrain from observing here that certainly the work which is done at a stroke, like the sketches of painters already referred to, the work which is completed in the inspiration of its first conception, and as it were unconsciously dashed off, like the melody which comes entirely without reflec tion and quite as if by inspiration, and finally, also the lyrical poem proper, the mere song, in which the deeply felt mood of the present, and the impression of the sur-


OJV THE INNER NATURE OF ART. 181

foundings, as if involuntarily, pours itself forth in words, whose metre and rhyme come about of their own accord that all these, I say, have the great advantage of being purely the work of the ecstasy of the moment, the inspira tion, the free movement of genius, without any admixture of intention and reflection ; hence they are through and through delightful and enjoyable, without shell and kernel, and their effect is much more inevitable than that of the greatest works of art, of slower and more deliberate exe cution. In all the latter, thus in great historical paintings,] in long epic poems, great operas, &c., reflection, intention, ; and deliberate selection has had an important part ; under- ( , standing, technical skill, and routine must here fill up the i gaps which the conception and inspiration of genius has ( left, and must mix with these all kinds of necessary sup- \ plementary work as cement of the only really genuinely . brilliant parts. This explains why all such works, only excepting the perfect masterpieces of the very greatest masters (as, for example, " Hamlet," " Faust," the opera of "Don Juan"), inevitably contain an admixture of some thing insipid and wearisome, which in some measure hinders the enjoyment of them. Proofs of this are the " Messiah," " Gerusalemme liberata," even "Paradise Lost" and the "^Eneid;" and Horace already makes the bold remark, " Quandoque dormitat bonus Homerus." But that this is the case is the consequence of the limitation of human powers in general.

The mother of the useful arts is necessity ; that of the fine arts superfluity. As their father, the former have understanding ; the latter genius, which is itself a kind of superfluity, that of the powers of knowledge beyond the measure which is required for the service of the will


( 182 )


CHAPTER XXXV. 1

ON THE AESTHETICS OF ARCHITECTURE.

IN accordance with the deduction given in the text of the pure aesthetics of architecture from the lowest grades of the objectification of the will or of nature, the Ideas of which it seeks to bring to distinct perception, its one con stant theme is support and burden, and its fundamental law is that no burden shall be without sufficient support, and no support without a suitable burden ; consequently that the relation of these two shall be exactly the fitting one. The purest example of the carrying out of this theme is the column and entablature. Therefore the order or columnar arrangement has become, as it were, the thorough bass of the whole of architecture. In column and entablature the support and the burden are completely separated ; whereby the reciprocal action of the two and their relation to each other becomes apparent. For cer tainly even every plain wall contains support and burden ; but here the two are still fused together. All is here sup port and all is burden ; hence there is no aesthetic effect. This first appears through the separation, and takes place in proportion to its degree. For between the row of columns and the plain wall there are many intermediate degrees. Even in the mere breaking up of the wall of a house by windows and doors one seeks at least to indicate that separation by flat projecting pilasters (antce) with capitals, which are inserted under the mouldings, nay, in case of need, are represented by mere painting, in order to in-

1 This chapter is connected with 43 of the first volume.


ON THE AESTHETICS OF ARCHITECTURE. 183

dicate in some way the entablature and an order. Keal pillars, and also consoles and supports of various kinds, realise more that pure separation of support and burden which is striven after throughout by architecture. In this respect, next to the column with the entablature, but as a special construction not imitating it, stands the vault with the pillar. The latter certainly is far from attaining to the aesthetic effect of the former, because here the support and the burden are not purely separated, but are fused, passing over into each other. In the vault itself every stone is at once burden and support, and even the pillars, especially in groined vaulting, are, at least appa rently, held in position by the pressure of opposite arches ; and also just on account of this lateral pressure not only vaults but even mere arches ought not to rest upon columns, but require the massive four-cornered pillars. In the row of columns alone is the separation complete, for here the entablature appears as pure burden, the column as pure support. Accordingly the relation of the colonnade to the plain wall may be compared to that which would exist between a scale ascending in regular intervals and a tone ascending little by little from the same depth to the same height without gradation, which would produce a mere howl. For in the one as in the other the material is the same, and the important difference proceeds entirely from the pure separation.

Moreover, the support is not adapted to the burden when it is only sufficient to bear it, but when it can do this so conveniently and amply that at the first glance we are quite at ease about it. Yet this superfluity of support must not exceed a certain degree ; for otherwise we will perceive support without burden, which is opposed to the sesthetic end. As a rule for determining that degree the ancients devised the line of equilibrium, which is got by carrying out the diminution of the thickness of the column as it ascends till it runs out into an acute angle, whereby

  • /

the column becomes a cone ; now every cross section will


184 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXV.

leave the lower part so strong that it is sufficient to sup port the upper part cut off. Commonly, however, one builds with twentyfold strength, i.e., one lays upon every support only ^yth of the maximum it could bear. A glar ing example of burden without support is presented to the eye by the balconies at the corners of many houses built in the elegant style of the present day. We do not see what supports them; they seem to hang suspended, and disturb the mind.

That in Italy even the simplest and most unornamented buildings make an aesthetic impression, while in Germany this is not the case, depends principally upon the fact that in Italy the roofs are very flat. A high roof is neither support nor burden, for its two halves mutually support each other, but the whole has no weight corresponding to its extension. Therefore it presents to the eye an ex tended mass which is entirely foreign to the aesthetic end, serves merely a useful end, consequently disturbs the former, of which the theme is always only support and burden.

The form of the column has its sole ground in the fact that it affords the simplest and most suitable support. In the twisted column inappropriateuess appears as if with intentional perversity, and therefore shamelessness : hence good taste condemns it at the first glance. The four-cornered pillar, since the diagonal exceeds the sides, has unequal dimensions of thickness which have no end as their motive, but are occasioned by the accident of greater feasibleness ; and just on this account it pleases us so very much less than the column. Even the hexa gonal or octagonal pillar is more pleasing, because it approaches more nearly to the round column ; for the form of the latter alone is exclusively determined by the end. It is, however, also so determined in all its other proportions, primarily in the relation of its thickness to its height, within the limits permitted by the difference of the three columnar orders. Therefore its diminution


ON THE AESTHETICS OF ARCHITECTURE. 185

from the first third of its height upwards, and also a slight increase of its thickness just at this place (entasis vitr.), depends upon the fact that the pressure of the burden is greatest there. It has hitherto been believed that this increase in thickness was peculiar to the Ionic and Corinthian columns alone, but recent measurements have shown it also in the Doric columns, even at Peestum. Thus everything in the column, its thoroughly determined form, the proportion of its height to its thickness, of both to the intervals between the columns, and that of the whole series to the entablature and the burden resting upon it, is the exactly calculated result of the relation of the necessary support to the given burden. As the latter is uniformly distributed, so must also the support be ; there fore groups of columns are tasteless. On the other hand, in the best Doric temples the corner column comes some what nearer to the next ones, because the meeting of the entablatures at the corner increases the burden ; and in this the principle of architecture expresses itself distinctly, that the structural relations, i.e., the relations between support and burden, are the essential ones, to which the relations of symmetry, as subordinate, must at once give way. According to the weight of the whole burden generally will the Doric or the two lighter orders of columns be chosen, for the first, not only by the greater thickness, but also by the closer position of the columns, which is essential to it, is calculated for heavier burdens, to which end also the almost crude simplicity of its capital is suited. The capitals in general serve the end of showing visibly that the columns bear the entablature, and are not stuck in like pins ; at the same time they increase by means of their abacus the bearing surface. Since, then, all the laws of columnar arrangement, and consequently also the form and proportion of the column, in all its parts and dimensions down to the smallest details, follow from the thoroughly understood and consistently carried out con ception of the amply adequate support of a given burden,


186 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXV.

thus so far are determined a priori, it comes out clearly how perverse is the thought, so often repeated, that the stems of trees, or even (which unfortunately even " Vitru- vius," iv. i, expresses) the human form has been the prototype of the column. For if the form of the column were for architecture a purely accidental one, taken from without, it could never appeal to us so harmoniously and satisfactorily whenever we behold it in its proper sym metry; nor, on the other hand, could every even slight disproportion of it be felt at once by the fine and culti vated sense as disagreeable and disturbing, like a false note in music. This is rather only possible because, according to the given end and means, all the rest is essentially determined a priori, as in music, according to the given melody and key, the whole harmony is essen tially so determined. And, like music, architecture in general is also not an imitative art, although both are often falsely taken to be so.

^Esthetic satisfaction, as was fully explained in the text, always depends upon the apprehension of a (Platonic) Idea. For architecture, considered merely as a fine art, the Ideas of the lowest grades of nature, such as gravity, rigidity, and cohesion, are the peculiar theme; but not, as has hitherto been assumed, merely regular form, pro portion, and symmetry, which, as something purely geo metrical, properties of space, are not Ideas, and therefore cannot be the theme of a fine art. Thus in architecture also they are of secondary origin, and have a subordinate significance, which I shall bring out immediately. If it were the task of architecture as a fine art simply to exhibit these, then the model would have the same effect as the finished work. But this is distinctly not the case ; on the contrary, the works of architecture, in order to act aesthetically, absolutely must have a considerable size ; nay, they can never be too large, but may easily be too small. Indeed ceteris paribiis the aesthetic effect is in exact proportion to the size of the building, because


ON THE ESTHETICS OF ARCHITECTURE. 187

only great masses make the action of gravitation apparent and impressive in a high degree. But this confirms my view that the tendency and antagonism of those funda mental forces of nature constitute the special sesthetical material of architecture, which, according to its nature, requires large masses in order to become visible, and indeed capable of being felt. The forms in architecture, as was shown above in the case of the column, are pri marily determined by the immediate structural end of each part. But so far as this leaves anything undeter mined, the law of the most perfect clearness to perception, thus also of the easiest comprehensibility, comes in ; for architecture has its existence primarily in our spatial perception, and accordingly appeals to our a priori faculty for this. But these qualities always result from the greatest regularity of the forms and rationality of their relations. Therefore beautiful architecture selects only regular figures composed of straight lines or regular curves, and also the bodies which result from these, such as cubes, parallelopipeda, cylinders, spheres, pyramids, and cones ; but as openings sometimes circles or ellipses, yet, as a rule, quadrates, and still oftener rectangles, the latter of thoroughly rational and very easily comprehended re lation of their sides (not, for instance, as 6:7, but as I : 2, 2 : 3), finally also blind windows or niches of regular and comprehensible proportions. For the same reason it will readily give to the buildings themselves and their large parts a rational and easily comprehended relation of height and breadth ; for example, it will let the height of a faqade be half the breadth, and place the pillars so that every three or four of them, with the intervals be tween them, will measure a line which is equal to the height, thus will form a quadrate. The same principle of perceptibility and easy comprehension demands also that a building should be easily surveyed. This introduces symmetry, which is further necessary to mark out the work as a whole, and to distinguish its essential from its


188 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXV.

accidental limitation ; for sometimes, for example, it is only under the guidance of symmetry that one knows whether one has before one three buildings standing beside each other or only one. Thus only by means of symmetry does a work of architecture at once announce itself as individual unity, and as the development of a central thought.

Now although, as was cursorily shown above, architecture has by no means to imitate the forms of nature, such as the stems of trees or even the human figure, yet it ought to work in the spirit of nature, for it makes the law its own, natura nihil agit fnistra, nihilque supervacaneum, et quod commodissimum in omnibus suis operationibus sequitur, and accordingly avoids everything which is even only apparently aimless, and always attains the end in view in each case, whether this is purely architectonic, i.e., structural, or an end connected with usefulness, by the shortest and most natural path, and thus openly exhibits the end through the work itself. Thus it attains a certain grace, analogous to that which in living creatures consists in the ease and suitableness of every movement and position to its end. Accordingly we see in the good antique style of architecture every part, whether pillar, column, arch, entablature, or door, window, stair, or balcony, attain its end in the directest and simplest manner, at the same time displaying it openly and naively; just as organised nature also does in its works. The tasteless style of architecture, on the con trary, seeks in everything useless roundabout ways, and delights in caprices, thereby hits upon aimlessly broken and irregular entablatures, grouped columns, fragmentary cornices on door arches and gables, meaning less volutes, scrolls, and such like. It plays with the means of the art without understanding its aims, as chil dren play with the tools of grown-up people. This was given above as the character of the bungler. Of this kind is every interruption of a straight line, every altera-


ON THE AESTHETICS OF ARCHITECTURE. 189

tion in the sweep of a curve, without apparent end. On the other hand, it is also just that naive simplicity in the disclosure and attainment of the end, corresponding to the spirit in which nature works and fashions, that imparts such beauty and grace of form to antique pottery that it ever anew excites our wonder, because it contrasts so ad vantageously in original taste with our modern pottery, which bears the stamp of vulgarity, whether it is made of porcelain or common potter s clay. At the sight of the pottery and implements of the ancients we feel that if nature had wished to produce such things it would have done so in these forms. Since, then, we see that the beauty of architecture arises from the unconcealed exhibi tion of the ends, and the attainment of them by the shortest and most natural path, my theory here appears in direct contradiction with that of Kant, which placei the nature of all beauty in an apparent design without an end.

The sole theme of architecture here set forth support and burden is so very simple, that just on this account this art, so far as it is a fine art (but not so far as it serves useful ends), is perfect and complete in essential matters, since the best Greek period, at least, is not susceptible of any important enrichment On the other hand, the modern architect cannot noticeably depart from the rules and patterns of the ancients without already being on the path of deterioration. Therefore there remains nothing for him to do but to apply the art transmitted to him by the ancients, and carry out the rules so far as is possible under the limitations which are inevitably laid down for him by wants, climate, age, and country. For in this art, as in sculpture, the effort after the ideal unites with the imitation of the ancients.

I scarcely need to remind the reader that in all these considerations I have had in view antique archi tecture alone, and not the so-called Gothic style, which is of Saracen origin, and was introduced by the Goths


190 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXV.

in Spain to the rest of Europe. Perhaps a certain beauty of its own kind is not altogether to be denied to this style, but yet if it attempts to oppose itself to the former as its equal, then this is a barbarous presumption which must not be allowed for a moment. How benefi cently, after contemplating such Gothic magnificence, does the sight of a building correctly carried out in the antique style act upon our mind ! We feel at once that this alone is right and true. If one could bring an ancient Greek be fore our most celebrated Gothic cathedrals, what would he say to them ? Bapffapoi ! Our pleasure in Gothic works certainly depends for the most part upon the association of ideas and historical reminiscences, thus upon a feeling which is foreign to art. All that I have said of the true esthetic end, of the spirit and the theme of architecture, loses in the case of these works its validity. For the freely lying entablature has vanished, and with it the columns : support and burden, arranged and distributed in order to give visible form to the conflict between rigidity and gravity, are here no longer the theme. Moreover, that thorough, pure rationality by virtue of which everything admits of strict account, nay, already presents it of its own accord to the thoughtful beholder, and which belongs to the character of antique architecture, can here no longer be found ; we soon become conscious that here, instead of it, a will guided by other conceptions has moved ; therefore much remains unexplained to us. For only the antique style of architecture is conceived in a purely objective spirit ; the Gothic style is more in the subjective spirit. Yet as we have recognised the peculiar aesthetic fundamental thought of antique architecture in the unfolding of the conflict between rigidity and gravity, if we wish to dis cover in Gothic architecture also an analogous funda mental thought, it will be this, that here the entire overcoming and conquest of gravity by rigidity is sup posed to be exhibited. For in accordance with this the horizontal line which is that of burden has entirely


ON THE AESTHETICS OF ARCHITECTURE. 191

vanished, and the action of gravity only appears indirectly, disguised in arches and vaults, while the vertical line which is that of support, alone prevails, and makes pal pable to the senses the victorious action of rigidity, in excessively high "buttresses, towers, turrets, and pinnacles without number which rise unencumbered on high. While in antique architecture the tendency and pressure from above downwards is just as well represented and exhibited as that from below upwards, here the latter decidedly predominates; whence that analogy often observed with the crystal, whose crystallisation also takes place with the overcoming of gravity. If now we attribute this spirit and fundamental thought to Gothic architecture, and would like thereby to set it up as the equally justified antithesis of antique architecture, we must remember that the conflict between rigidity and gravity, which the antique architecture so openly and naively expresses, is an actual and true conflict founded in nature ; the entire overcoming of gravity by rigidity, on the contrary, remains a mere appearance, a fiction accredited by illusion. Every one will easily be able to see clearly how from the fundamental thought given here, and the peculiarities of Gothic architecture noticed above, there arises that mysterious and hyperphysical character which is attri buted to it. It principally arises, as was already men tioned, from the fact that here the abitrary has taken the place of the purely rational, which makes itself known as the thorough adaptation of the means to the end. The many things that are really aimless, but yet are so carefully perfected, raise the assumption of unknown, unfathomed, and secret ends, i.e., give the appearance of mystery. On the other hand, the brilliant side of Gothic churches is the interior; because here the effect of the groined vaulting borne by slender, crystalline, aspiring pillars, raised high aloft, and, all burden having dis appeared, promising eternal security, impresses the mind ; while most of the faults which have been mentioned lie


I 9 2 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXV.

upon the outside. In antique buildings the external side is the most advantageous, because there we see better the support and the burden ; in the interior, on the other hand, the flat roof always retains something depressing and prosaic. For the most part, also, in the temples of the ancients, while the outworks were many and great, the interior proper was small. An appearance of sublimity is gained from the hemispherical vault of a cupola, as in the Pantheon, of which, therefore, the Italians also, building in this style, have made a most extensive use. What determines this is, that the ancients, as southern peoples, lived more in the open air than the northern nations who have produced the Gothic style of archi tecture. Whoever, then, absolutely insists upon Gothic architecture being accepted as an essential and authorised style may, if he is also fond of analogies, regard it as the negative pole of architecture, or, again, as its minor key In the interest of good taste I must wish that great wealth will be devoted to that which is objectively, i.e., actually, good and right, to what in itself is beautiful, but not to that whose value depends merely upon the association of ideas. Now when I see how this unbelieving age so diligently finishes the Gothic churches left incomplete by the believing Middle Ages, it looks to me as if it were desired to embalm a dead Christianity.


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CHAPTEE XXXVI.1

ISOLATED REMARKS ON THE ESTHETICS OF THE PLASTIC AND PICTORIAL ARTS.

IN sculpture beauty and grace are the principal things ; but in painting expression, passion, and character predomi nate ; therefore just so much of the claims of beauty must be neglected. For a perfect beauty of all forms, such as sculpture demands, would detract from the characteristic and weary by monotony. Accordingly painting may also present ugly faces and emaciated figures ; sculpture, on the other hand, demands beauty, although not always perfect, but, throughout, strength and fulness of the figures. Consequently a thin Christ upon the Cross, a dying St. Jerome, wasted by age and disease, like the masterpiece of Dornenichino, is a proper subject for painting ; while, on the contrary, the marble figure by Donatello, in the gallery at Florence, of John the Baptist, reduced to skin and bone by fasting, has, in spite of the masterly execution, a repulsive effect. From this point of view sculpture seems suitable for the affirma tion, painting for the negation, of the will to live, and from this it may be explained why sculpture was the art of the ancients, while painting has been the art of the Christian era.

In connection with the exposition given in 45 of the first volume, that the discovery, recognition, and retention of the type of human beauty depends to a certain extent upon an anticipation of it, and therefore in

1 This chapter is connected with 44-50 of the first volume. VOL. III.


I 9 4 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVI.

part has an a priori foundation, I find that I have yet to bring out clearly the fact that this anticipation never theless requires experience, by which it may be stirred up; analogous to the instinct of the brutes, which, although guiding the action a priori, yet requires determination by motives in the details of it. Experience and reality present to the intellect of the artist human forms, which, in one part or another, are more or less true to nature, as it were asking for his judgment concerning them, and thus, after the Socratic method, call forth from that obscure anticipation the distinct and definite knowledge of the ideal Therefore it assisted the Greek sculptors very much that the climate and customs of their country gave them opportunity the whole day of seeing half- naked forms, and in the gymnasium entirely naked forms. In this way every limb presented its plastic significance to criticism, and to comparison with the ideal which lay undeveloped in their consciousness. Thus they constantly exercised their judgment with regard to all forms and limbs, down to their finest shades of difference ; and thus, little by little, their originally dull anticipation of the ideal of human beauty was raised to such distinct consciousness that they became capable of objectifying it in works of art. In an entirely analogous manner some experience is useful and necessary to the poet for the representation of characters. For although he does not work according to experience and empirical data, but in accordance with the clear consciousness of the nature of humanity, as he finds it within himself, yet experience serves this conscious ness as a pattern, incites it and gives it practice. Accord ingly his knowledge of human nature and its varieties, although in the main it proceeds a priori and by antici pation, yet first receives life, definiteness, and compass through experience. But, supporting ourselves upon the preceding book and chapter 44 in the following book, we can go still deeper into the ground of that marvel lous sense of beauty of the Greeks which made them


ON THE PLASTIC AND PICTORIAL ARTS. 195

alone of all nations upon earth capable of discovering the

true normal type of the human form, and accordingly

of setting up the pattern of beauty and grace for the

ition of all ages, and we can say: The same thin*

LCD, if it remains unseparated from the tmtt w& sexual instinct with its discriminating selection, i* svwd love (which it is well known was subject amon* Greeks to great aberrations), becomes, if by the presence of an abnormally preponderating intellect it separates.itself from the will and yet remains active the

live sense of leauty of the human form, which now lows itself primarily as a critical artistic sense, but can rise to the discovery and representation of the norm of all parts and proportions; as was the case in Phidias Praxiteles, Scopas, &c. Then is fulfilled what Goethe makes the artist say

" That I with mind divine And human hand May be able to form What with my wife, As animal, I can and must.*

And again, analogous to this, that which in the poet if it remained unseparated from the will, would give only worldly prudence, becomes, if it frees itself from the wffl by abnormal preponderance of the intellect, the capacity tor objective, dramatic representation.

Modern sculpture, whatever it may achieve, is still analogous to modern Latin poetry, and, like this, is a child of imitation, sprung from reminiscences. If it pre sumes to try to be original, it at once goes astray, efpe- cially upon the bad path of forming according to natu^ as it lies before it, instead of according to the proportions

the ancients. Canova, Thorwaldsen, and manvothers

may oe compared to Johannes Secundus and Owenus.

t is the same with architecture, only there it is founded

m the art itself, the purely aesthetic part of which is

small compass, and was already exhausted by the


I 9 6 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVI.

ancients; therefore the modern architect can only distin guish himself in the wise application of it ; and he ought to know that he removes himself from good taste just so far as he departs from the style and pattern of the Greeks.

The art of the painter, considered only so far as it aims at producing the appearance of reality, may ultimately be referred to the fact that he understands how to separate purely what in seeing is the mere sensation, thus the affection of the retina, i.e., the only directly given effect, from its cause, i.e., the objective external world, the per ception of which first rises in the understanding from this effect; whereby, if he has technical skill, he is in a position to produce the same effect in the eye through an entirely different cause, the patches of applied colour, from which then in the understanding of the beholder the same perception again arises through the unavoidable reference of the effect to the ordinary cause.

If we consider how there lies something so entirely idiosyncratic, so thoroughly original, in every human countenance, and that it presents a whole which can only belong to a unity consisting entirely of necessary parts, by virtue of which we recognise a known individual out of so many thousands, even after long years, although the possible variations of human features, especially of one race, lie within very narrow limits, we must doubt whether anything of such essential unity and such great originality could ever proceed from any other source than from the mysterious depths of the inner being of nature ; but from this it would follow that no artist could be capable of really reproducing the original peculiarity of a human countenance, or even of composing it according to nature from recollection. Accordingly what he pro duced of this kind would always be only a half true, nay, perhaps an impossible composition; for how should he compose an actual physiognomical unity when the prin ciple of this unity is really unknown to him ? Therefore,


ON THE PLASTIC AND PICTORIAL ARTS. 197

in the case of every face which has merely been imagined by an artist, we must doubt whether it is in fact a possible face, and whether nature, as the master of all masters, would not show it to be a bungled production by pointing out complete contradictions in it. This would, of course, lead to the principle that in historical paintings only portraits ought to figure, which certainly would then have to be selected with the greatest care and in some degree idealised. It is well known that great artists have always gladly painted from living models and introduced many portraits.

Although, as is explained in the text, the real end^o painting, as of art in general, is to make the comprehension of the (Platonic) Ideas of the nature of the world easier for us, whereby we are at once thrown into the state of pure, i.e., will-less, knowing, there yet belongs to it besides this. an-.icdepeH4ent. beauty of its own, which is produced by the mere harmony of the colours, the pleasingness of the -grouping, the happy distribution of light and shade, and .the tone of the whole picture. This accompanying subordinate kind of beauty furthers the condition of pure knowing, and is in painting what the diction, the metre, and rhyme are in poetry; bot^ are npjb. what is essential, but what acts first and immediately.

rhave some further evidence to give in support of my 1 judgment given in the first volume, 50, oi^tl.ie_ina.dmis- _slbJejaess..pf allegory in painting. In the Borghese palace at Eome there is tHe following picture by Michael Angelo Caravaggio : Jesus, as a child of about ten years old, treads upon the head of a serpent, but entirely without fear and with great calmness ; and His mother, who accompanies Him, remains quite as indifferent. Close by stands St. Elizabeth, looking solemnly and tragically up to heaven. Now what could be thought of this kyriological hiero glyphic by a man who had never heard anything about the seed of the woman that should bruise the head of the serpent ? At Florence, in the library of the palace Rio


io8 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVI.

cardi, we find the following allegory upon the ceiling, painted by Luca Giordano, which is meant to signify that science frees the understanding from the bonds of ignorance : the understanding is a strong man bound with cords, which are just falling off; a nymph holds a mirror in front of him, another hands him a large detached wing ; above sits science on a globe, and beside her, with a globe in her hand, the naked truth. At Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, there is a picture which shows us time, as Saturn, cutting off with a pair of shears the wings of Cupid. If this is meant to signify that when we grow old love proves unstable, this no doubt has its truth.

The following may serve to strengthen my solution of the problem as to why Laocoon does not cry out. One may practically convince oneself of the faulty effect of the representation of shrieking by the works of the plastic and pictorial arts, which are essentially dumb, by a pic ture of the slaughter of the innocents, by Guido Reni, which is to be found in the Academy of Arts at Bologna, and in which this great artist has committed the mistake of painting six shrieking wide-open mouths. Let any one who wants to have this more distinct think of a panto mimic representation on the stage, and in one of the scenes an urgent occasion for one of the players to shriek ; if now the dancer who is representing this part should express the shriek by standing for a while with his mouth wide open, the loud laughter of the whole house would bear witness to the absurdity of the thing. Accordingly, since the shrieking of Laocoon had to be avoided for reasons which did not lie in the objects to be represented, but in the nature of the representing art, the task thus arose for the artist so to present this not-shrieking as to make it plausible to us that a man in such a position should not shriek. He solves this problem by repre senting the bite of the snake, not as having already taken place, nor yet as still threatening, but as just happening now in the side; for thereby the lower part


ON THE PLASTIC AND PICTORIAL ARTS. 199

of the body is contracted, and shrieking made impossible. This immediate but only subordinate reason was correctly discovered by Goethe, and is expounded at the end of the eleventh book of his autobiography, and also in the paper on Laocoon in the first part of the Propylsea ; but the ulti mate, primary reason, which conditions this one, is that which I have set forth. I cannot refrain from remarking that I here stand in the same relation to Goethe as with reference to the theory of colours. In the collection of the Duke of Aremberg at Brussels there is an antique head of Laocoon which was found later. However, the head in the world-renowned group is not a restored one which follows from Goethe s special table of all the resto rations of this group, which is given at the end of the first volume of the Propylsea, and is also confirmed by the fact that the head which was found later resembles that of the group very much. Thus we must assume that another antique repetition of the group has existed to which the Aremberg head belonged. In my opinion the latter excels both in beauty and expression that of the group. It has the mouth decidedly wider open than in the group, yet not really to the extent of shrieking.


( 200 )


CHAPTER XXXVII.1

OX THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY.

I MIGHT give it as the simplest and most correct definition of poetry, that it is the art of bringing the imagination into play by means of words. How it brings this to pass I have shown in the first volume, 51. A special con firmation of what is said there is afforded by the following

/ O

passage in a letter of Wieland s to Merck, which has since then been published : " I have spent two days and a half upon a single stanza, in which the whole thing ultimately depended upon a single word which I wanted and could not find. I revolved and turned about the thing and my brain in all directions, because naturally, where a picture was in question, I desired to bring the same definite vision, which floated before my own mind into the mind of my reader also, and for this all often depends, ut nosti, upon a single touch or suggestion or reflex" (Briefe an Merck, edited by Wagner, 1835, p. 193). From the fact that the imagination of the reader is the material in which poetry exhibits its pictures, it has the advantage that the fuller development of these pictures and their finer touches, take place in the imagination of every one just as is most suit able to his individuality, his sphere of knowledge, and his humour, and therefore move him in the most lively manner ; instead of which plastic and pictorial art cannot so adapt itself, but here one picture, one form, must satisfy all. And yet this will always bear in some respect the stamp of the individuality of the artist or of his model, as a subjective

1 This chapter is connected with 51 of the first volume.


ON THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY. 201

or accidental and inefficient addition; although always less so the more objective, i.e., the more of a genius, the artist is. This, to some extent, explains why works of poetry exercise a much stronger, deeper, and more uni versal effect than pictures and statues ; the latter, for the most part, leave the common people quite cold ; and, in general, the plastic arts are those which have the weakest effect. A remarkable proof of this is afforded by the frequent discovery and disclosure of pictures by great masters in private houses and all kinds of localities, where they have been hanging for many generations, not buried and concealed, but merely unheeded, thus without any effect. In my time (1823) there was even discovered in Florence a Madonna of Raphael s, which had hung for a long series of years on the wall of the servants hall of a palace (in the Quartiere di S. Spirito) ; and this happens among Italians, the nation which is gifted beyond all others with the sense of the beautiful. It shows how little direct and immediate effect the works of plastic and pictorial art have, and that it requires more culture and knowledge to prize them than the works of all other arts. How unfailingly, on the contrary, a beautiful melody that touches the heart makes its journey round the world, and an excellent poem wanders from people to people. That the great and rich devote their powerful support just to the plastic and pictorial arts, and expend considerable sums upon their works only ; nay, at the present day, an idolatry, in the proper sense of the term, gives the value of a large estate for a picture of a celebrated old master this depends principally upon the rarity of the master pieces, the possession of which therefore gratifies pride; and then also upon the fact that the enjoyment of them demands very little time and effort, and is ready at any moment, for a moment ; while poetry and even music make incomparably harder conditions. Corresponding to this, the plastic and pictorial arts may be dispensed with ; whole nations for example, the Mohammedan peoples


202 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

are without them, but no people is without music and poetry.

But the intention with which the poet sets our imagina tion in motion is to reveal to us the Ideas, i.e., to show us by an example what life and what the world is. The first condition of this is that he himself has known it ; accord ing as his knowledge has been profound or superficial so will his poem be. Therefore, as there are innumerable degrees of profoundness and clearness in the comprehen sion of the nature of things, so are there of poets. Each of these, however, must regard himself as excellent so far as he has correctly represented what he knew, and his picture answers to his original : he must make himself equal with the best, for even in the best picture he does not recognise more than in his own, that is, as much as he sees in nature itself ; for his glance cannot now penetrate deeper. But the best himself recognises himself as such in the fact that he sees how superficial was the view of the others, how much lay beyond it which they were not able to repeat, because they did not see it, and how much further his own glance and picture reaches. If he understood the superficial poets as little as they do him, then he would necessarily despair ; for just because it requires an extraordinary man to do him justice, but the inferior poets can just as little esteem him as he can them, he also has long to live upon his own approval before that of the world follows it. Mean while he is deprived even of his own approval, for he is expected to be very modest. It is, however, as impossible that he who has merit, and knows what it costs, should himself be blind to it, as that a man who is six feet high should not observe that he rises above others. If from the base of the tower to the summit is 300 feet, then cer tainly it is just as much from the summit to the base. Horace, Lucretius, Ovid, and almost all the ancients have spoken proudly of themselves, and also Dante, Shakspeare, Bacon of Verulam, and many more. That one can be a great man without observing anything of it is an ab-


ON THE ESTHETICS OF POETRY. 203

surdity of which only hopeless incapacity can persuade itself, in order that it may regard the feeling of its own insignificance as modesty. An Englishman has wittily and correctly observed that merit and modesty have nothing in common except the initial letter. 1 I have always a suspicion about modest celebrities that they may very well be right ; and Corneille says directly

" La fausse humilite ne met plus en credit : Je sais ce que je vaux, et crois ce qu on. m en dit."

Finally, Goethe has frankly said, "Only good-for- nothings are modest." But the assertion would be still more certain that those who so eagerly demand modesty from others, urge modesty, unceasingly cry, " Only be modest, for God s sake, only be modest ! " are positively good- for-nothings, i.e., persons entirely without merit, manu factures of nature, ordinary members of the great mass of humanity. For he who himself has merit also concedes merit understands himself truly and really. But he who himself lacks all excellence and merit wishes there was no such thing: the sight of it in others stretches him upon the rack ; pale, green, and yellow envy consumes his heart: he would like to annihilate and destroy all those who are personally favoured ; but if unfortunately he must let them live, it must only be under the con dition that they conceal, entirely deny, nay, abjure their advantages. This, then, is the root of the frequent eulo gising of modesty. And if the deliverers of these eulogies have the opportunity of suppressing merit as it arises, or at least of hindering it from showing itself or being known, who can doubt that they will do it? For this is the practice of their theory.

Now, although the poet, like every artist, always brings before us only the particular, the individual, what he has

1 IiichtenbeTgC VermisckteSchrif- Leszczynski as having said, "La ten," new edition, Gottingen, 1884, modestie devroit ftre la vertu de ceux, vol. iii. p. 19) quotes Stanislaus a qui Its autres manquent."


204 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

known, and wishes by his work to make us know, is the (Platonic) Idea, the whole species ; therefore in his images, as it were, the type of human characters and situations will be impressed. The narrative and also the dramatic poet takes the whole particular from life, and describes it accurately in its individuality, but yet reveals in this way the whole of human existence; for although he seems to have to do with the particular, in truth he is concerned with that which is everywhere and at all times. Hence it arises that sentences, especially of the dramatic poets, even without being general apophthegms, find fre quent application in actual life. Poetry is related to philosophy as experience is related to empirical science. Experience makes us acquainted with the phenomenon in the particular and by means of examples, science embraces the whole of phenomena by means of general conceptions. So poetry seeks to make us acquainted with the (Platonic) Ideas through the particular and by means of examples. Philosophy aims at teaching, as a whole and in general, the inner nature of things which expresses itself in these. One sees even here that poetry bears more the character of youth, philosophy that of old age. In fact, the gift of poetry really only nourishes in youth : and also the susceptibility for poetry is often passionate in youth : the youth delights in verses as such, and is often contented with small ware. This inclination gradually diminishes with years, and in old age one prefers prose. By that poetical tendency of youth the sense of the real is then easily spoiled. For poetry differs from reality by the fact that in it life flows past us, interest ing and yet painless ; while in reality, on the contrary, so long as it is painless it is uninteresting, and as soon as it becomes interesting, it does not remain without pain. The youth who has been initiated into poetry earlier than into reality now desires from the latter what only the former can achieve ; this is a principal source of the dis comfort which oppresses the most gifted youths.


ON THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY. 205

Metre and rhyme are a fetter, but also a veil which the poet throws round him, and under which he is permitted to speak as he otherwise dared not do ; and that is what gives us pleasure. He is only half responsible for all that he says ; metre and rhyme must answer for the other half. Metre, or measure, as mere rhythm, has its existence only in time, which is a pure perception a priori, thus, to use Kant s language, belongs merely to pure sensibility ; rhyme, on the other hand, is an affair of sensation, in the organ of hearing, thus of empirical sensibility. Therefore rhythm is a much nobler and more worthy expedient than rhyme, which the ancients accord ingly despised, and which found its origin in those im perfect languages which arose from the corruption of earlier ones and in barbarous times. The poorness of French poetry depends principally upon the fact that it is confined to rhyme alone without metre, and it is increased by the fact that in order to conceal its want of means it has increased the difficulty of rhyming by a number of pedantic laws, such as, for example, that only syllables which are written the same way rhyme, as if it were for the eye and not for the ear that the hiatus is forbidden ; that a number of words must not occur ; aud many such, to all of which the new school of French poetry seeks to put an end. In no language, however, at least on me, does the rhyme make such a pleasing and powerful impression as in Latin ; the rhymed Latin poems of the Middle Ages have a peculiar charm. This must be explained from the fact that the Latin language is incomparably more perfect, more beautiful and noble, than any modern language, and now moves so gracefully in the ornaments and spangles which really belong to the latter, and which it itself originally despised.

To serious consideration it might almost appear as high treason against our reason that even the slightest violence should be done to a thought or its correct and pure ex pression, with the childish intention that after some


206 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

syllables the same sound of word should be heard, or even that these syllables themselves should present a kind of rhythmical beat. But without such violence very few verses would be made ; for it must be attributed to this that in foreign languages verses are much more difficult to understand than prose. If we could see into the secret workshops of the poets, we would find that the thought is sought for the rhyme ten times oftener than the rhyme for the thought; and even when the latter is the case, it is not easily accomplished without pliability on the part of the thought. But the art of verse bids defiance to these considerations, and, moreover, has all ages and peoples upon its side, so great is the power which metre and rhyme exercise upon the feeling, and so effec tive the mysterious lenocinium which belongs to them. I would explain this from the fact that a happily rhymed verse, by its indescribably emphatic effect, raises the feel ing as if the thought expressed in it lay already pre destined, nay, performed in the language, and the poet has only had to find it out. Even trivial thoughts receive from rhythm and rhyme a touch of importance ; cut a figure in this attire, as among girls plain faces attract the eye by finery. Nay, even distorted and false thoughts gain through versification an appearance of truth. On the other hand, even famous passages from famous poets shrink together and become insignificant when they are reproduced accurately in prose. If only the true is beautiful, and the dearest ornament of truth is nakedness, then a thought which appears true and beautiful in prose will have more true worth than one which affects us in the same way in verse. Now it is very striking, and well worth investigating, that such trifling, nay, apparently childish, means as metre and rhyme produce so powerful an effect. I explain it to myself in the following manner : That which is given directly to the sense of hearing, thus the mere sound of the words, receives from rhythm and rhyme a certain completeness and significance in itself


ON THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY. 207

for it thereby becomes a kind of music ; therefore it seems now to exist for its own sake, and no longer as a mere means, mere signs of something signified, the sense of the words. To please the ear with its sound seems to be its whole end, and therefore with this everything seems to be attained and all claims satisfied. But that it further con tains a meaning, expresses a thought, presents itself now as an unexpected addition, like words to music as an un expected present which agreeably surprises us and there fore, since we made no demands of this kind, very easily satisfies us; and if indeed this thought is such that, in itself, thus said in prose, it would also be significant, then we are enchanted. I can remember, in my early child hood, that I had delighted myself for a long time with the agreeable sound of verse before I made the discovery that it all also contained meaning and thoughts. Accord ingly there is also, in all languages, a mere doggerel poetry almost entirely devoid of meaning. Davis, the Sinologist, in the preface to his translation of the " Laou-sang-urh" or "An Heir in Old Age" (London, 1817), observes that the Chinese dramas partly consist of verses which are sung, and adds : " The meaning of them is often obscure, and, according to the statements of the Chinese themselves, the end of these verses is especially to flatter the ear, and the sense is neglected, and even entirely sacrificed to the har mony." Who is not reminded here of the choruses of many Greek tragedies which are often so hard to make out?

The sign by which one most immediately recognises the genuine poet, both of the higher and lower species, is the unforced nature of his rhymes. They have appeared of themselves as if by divine arrangement; his thoughts come to him already in rhyme. The homely, prosaic man on the contrary, seeks the rhyme for the thought; the bungler seeks the thought for the rhyme. Very often one can find out from a couple of rhymed verses which of the two had the thought and which had the rhyme as its


2 o8 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

father. The art consists in concealing the latter, so that such lines may not appear almost as mere stuffed out boutsrimgs.

According to my feeling (proofs cannot here be given) rhyme is from its nature binary : its effect is limited to one single recurrence of the same sound, and is not strengthened by more frequent repetition. Thus whenever a final syl lable has received the one of the same sound its effect is exhausted ; the third recurrence of the note acts merely as a second rhyme which accidentally hits upon the same sound, but without heightening the effect ; it links itself on to the existing rhyme, yet without combining with it to produce a stronger impression. For the first note does not sound through the second on to the third : therefore this is an aesthetic pleonasm, a double courage which is of no use. Least of all, therefore, do such accumulations of rhymes merit the heavy sacrifices which they cost in the octave rhyme, the terza rima, and the sonnet, and which are the cause of the mental torture under which we some times read such productions, for poetical pleasure is im possible under the condition of racking our brains. That the great poetical mind sometimes overcomes even these forms, and moves in them with ease and grace, does not extend to a recommendation of the forms themselves, for in themselves they are as ineffectual as they are difficult. And even in good poets, when they make use of these forms, we frequently see the conflict between the rhyme and the thought, in which now one and now the other gains the victory ; thus either the thought is stunted for the sake of the rhyme, or the rhyme has to be satisfied with a weak d peu prte. Since this is so, I do not regard it as an evidence of ignorance, but as a proof of good taste, that Shakspeare in his sonnets has given different rhymes to each quatraine. At any rate, their acoustic effect is not in the least diminished by it, and the thought obtains its rights far more than it could have done if it had had to be laced up in the customary Spanish boots,


ON THE ESTHETICS OF POETRY. 2O g

It is a disadvantage for the poetry of a language if it has many words which cannot be used in prose, and, the other hand, dare not use certain words of prose The former is mostly the case in Latin and Italian poetry and the latter in French, where it has recently been very aptly called, La tyeulerie de la, la,ng M fr m9 aue;" both are to be found less in English, and least in German. For such words belonging exclusively to poetry remain foreign to our heart, do not speak to us directly, and therefore leave cold. They are a conventional language of poetry, and as it were mere painted sensations instead of real ones- they exclude genuine feeling.

The distinction, so often discussed in our own day be tween da^c and romantic poetry seems to me ultimately to depend upon the fact that the former knows no other motives than those which are purely human, actual, and natural; the latter, on the other hand, also treats artiucial conventional, and imaginary motives as efficient. To such belong the motives which spring from the Chnstian mythus also from the chivalrous over-strained fantastical law of honour, further from the absurd and ludicrous Germanl hnsban veneration of women, and lastly from dotin" and mooning hyperphysical amorousness. But even in tta be t poete of the romantic class, e.y., in Calderon, we can see to what ridiculous distortions of human relations and human nature these motives lead. Not to speak of the

^l" m m 7 t0 Sueh pieces as "*

< curto (The worst is not always certain), and

rero dnelo & pa ^ " (Ihe last dud ^ >:

z:tr 7v j espada: with the ei ~ s

the, B ,s here furtuer associated the scholastic subtility so oim appearing ,n the conversation which at that time belonged to the mental culture of the higher clasps How decidedly advantageous, on the contrary Is the posnion of the poetry of the ancients, whteh always remains true to nature; and the result is that claTca poetry has an unconditional, romantic poetry only a


2io THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

conditional, truth and correctness; analogous to Greek and Gothic architecture. Yet, on the other hand, we must remark here that all dramatic or narrative poems which transfer their scene to ancient Greece or Eome lose by this from the fact that our knowledge of anti quity, especially in what concerns the details of life, is insufficient, fragmentary, and not drawn from perception. This obliges the poet to avoid much and to content him self with generalities, whereby he becomes abstract, and his work loses that concreteness and individualisation which is throughout essential to poetry. It is this which gives all such works the peculiar appearance of empti ness and tediousness. Only Shakspeare s works of this kind are free from it ; because without hesitation he has presented, under the names of Greeks and Romans, Englishmen of his own time.

It has been objected to many masterpieces of lyrical poetry, especially some Odes of Horace (see, for example, the second of the third book) and several of Goethe s songs (for example, "The Shepherd s Lament"), that they lack proper connection and are full of gaps in the thought. But here the logical connection is inten tionally neglected, in order that the unity of the funda mental sensation and mood may take its place, which comes out more clearly just by the fact that it passes like a thread through the separate pearls, and brings about the quick changes of the objects of contemplation, in the same way as in music the transition from one key to another is brought about by the chord of the seventh, through which the still sounding fundamental note becomes the dominant of the new key. Most dis tinctly, even exaggeratedly, the quality here described is found in the Canzone of Petrarch which begins, "Mai non vo piu cantar, com io soleva"

Accordingly, as in the lyrical poem the subjective ele ment predominates, so in the drama, on the contrary, the objective element is alone and exclusively present.


ON THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY. 211

Between the two epic poetry in all its forms and modi- \ fications, from the narrative romance to the epos proper, ; has a broad middle path. For although in the main it is objective, yet it contains a subjective element, appearing now more and now less, which finds its expression in the tone, in the form of the delivery, and also in scattered reflections. We do not so entirely lose sight of the poet as in the drama.

The end of the drama in general is to show us in an example what is the nature and existence of man. The sad or the bright side of these can be turned to us in it, or their transitions into each other. But the expression, " nature and existence of man," already contains the germ of the controversy whether the nature, i.e., the character, or the existence, i.e., the fate, the adventures, the action, is the principal thing. Moreover, the two have grown > so firmly together that although they can certainly be separated in conception, they cannot be separated in the representation of them. For only the circumstances, the fate, the events, make the character manifest its nature, and only from the character does the action arise from which the events proceed. Certainly, in the representa tion, the one or the other may be made more prominent ; and in this respect the piece which centres in the char acters and the piece which centres in the plot are the two extremes.

The common end of the drama and the epic, to exhibit; - in significant characters placed in significant situations, the extraordinary actions brought about by both, will be most completely attained by the poet if he first intro duces the characters to us in a state of peace, in which merely their general colour becomes visible, and allows a motive to enter which produces an action, out of which a new and stronger motive arises, which again calls forth a more significant action, which, in its turn, begets new and even stronger motives, whereby, then, in the time suitable to the form of the poem, the most passionate


2,2 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

excitement takes the place of the original peace, and in this now the important actions occur in which the quail- ties of the characters which have hitherto slumbered are brought clearly to light, together with the course ,

VV Great poets transform themselves into each of the per sons to be represented, and speak out of each of them like ventriloquists ; now out of the hero, and immediately afterwards out of the young and innocent maiden, with equal truth and naturalness : so Shakspeare and Goethe. Poets of the second rank transform the principal person to be represented into themselves. This is what Lyron does and then the other persons often remain . (less, us is the case even with the principal persons in t works of mediocre poets.

Our pleasure in tragedy belongs, not to the sense of the beautiful, but to that of the sublime ; nay, it is the highest rade of this feeling. For, as at the sight of the sublime "in nature we turn away from the interests of the will, m order to be purely perceptive, so in the tragic catastrophe W e turn away even from the will to live. In tragedy the terrible side of life is presented to us, the wail of humanity, the reign of chance and error, the fall of the just, tue triumph of the wicked; thus the aspect of the world which directly strives against our will is brought befo re our eyes. At this sight we feel ourselves challenged to turn away our will from life, no longer to will it or love it But just in this way we become conscious that then there still remains something over to us, which we abso lutely cannot know positively, but only negatively as that which does not will life. As the chord of the seventh demands the fundamental chord; as the colour red demands green, and even produces it in the eye ; s every traced/demands an entirely different kind ot exist- ence another world, the knowledge of which can only be aiven us indirectly just as here by such a demand In the moment of the tragic catastrophe the conviction becomes


ON THE ESTHETICS OF POETRY. 2I3

more distinct to us than ever that life is a bad dream from which we have to awake. So far the effect of the tragedy is analogous to that of the dynamical sublime for like this it lifts us above the will and its interests, and puts us m such a mood that we find pleasure in the sio-ht of what tends directly against it. What gives to all tragedy, in whatever form it may appear, the peculiar tendency towards the sublime is the awakenin^ O f the knowledge that the world, life, can afford usno true pleasure, and consequently is not worthy of our attach ment. In this consists the tragic spirit: it therefore leads to resignation.

I admit that in ancient tragedy this spirit of resi^na- tion seldom appears and is expressed directly. CEdlpus Colonus certainly dies resigned and willing ; yet he is com forted by the revenge on his country. Iphigenia at Aulis is very willing to die ; yet it is the thought of the welfare >f (rreece that comforts her, and occasions the change of her mind, on account of which she willingly accepts the death which at first she sought to avoid by any means Cassandra, in the Agamemnon of the great ^Eschylus ies willingly, apwrco fro, (1306); but she also is com torted by the thought of revenge. Hercules, in the Tra- chmiae, submits to necessity, and dies composed, but not resigned. So also the Hippolytus of Euripides, in whose case it surprises us that Artemis, who appears to comfort him, promises him temples and fame, but never points him to an existence beyond life, and leaves him in death as all gods forsake the dying : in Christianity they come him; and so also in Brahmanism and Buddhism al though in the latter the gods are really exotic Thus Hippolytus, like almost all the tragic heroes of ths ancients, shows submission to inevitable fate and the^ inflexible will of the gods, but no surrender of the will t<A live itself. As the Stoic equanimity is fundamentally dis tinguished from Christian resignation by the fact that it caches only patient endurance and composed expectation

"


214 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

of unalterably necessary evil, while Christianity teaches renunciation, surrender of the will; so also the tragic heroes of the ancients show resolute subjection under the unavoidable blows of fate, while Christian tragedy, on the contrary, shows the surrender of the whole will to live, joyful forsaking of the world in the consciousness of its worthlessness and vanity. But I am also entirely of opinion that modern tragedy stands higher than that of the ancients. Shakspeare is much greater than Sophocles ; in comparison with Goethe s Iphigenia one might find that of Euripides almost crude and vulgar. The Bacchse of Euripides is a revolting composition in favour of the heathen priests. Many ancient pieces have no tragic tendency at all, like the Alcestis and Iphigenia in Tauris of Euripides ; some have disagreeable, or even disgusting motives, like the Antigone and Philocteles. Almost all show the human race under the fearful rule of chance and error, but not the resignation which is occasioned by it, and delivers from it. All because the ancients had not yet attained to the summit and goal of tragedy, or indeed of the view of life itself.

Although, then, the ancients displayed little of the . spirit of resignation, the turning away of the will from life, in their tragic heroes themselves, as their frame of mind, yet the peculiar tendency and effect of tragedy remains the awakening of that spirit in the beholder, the calling up of that frame of inind, even though only temporarily. The horrors upon the btage hold up to him the bitterness and worthlessness of life, thus the vanity of all its struggle. The effect of this impression must be that he becomes conscious, if only in obscure feeling, that it is better to tear his heart free from life, to turn his will from it, to love not the world nor life ; whereby then in his deepest soul, the consciousness is aroused that for another kind of willing there must also be another exist ence. For if this were not so, then the tendency of tragedy would not be this rising above all the ends and



ON THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY. 21$

good things of life, this turning away from it and its seduc tions, and the turning towards another kind of existence, which already lies in this, although an existence which is for us quite inconceivable. How would it, then, in general, be possible that the exhibition of the most ter rible side of life, brought before our eyes in the most glaring light, could act upon us beneficently, and afford us a lofty satisfaction ? Fear and sympathy, in the ex citement of which Aristotle places the ultimate end of tragedy, certainly do not in themselves belong to the agreeable sensations : therefore they cannot be the end, but only the means. Thus the summons to turn away the will from life remains the true tendency of tragedy, the ultimate end of the intentional exhibition of the suffering of humanity, and is so accordingly even where this resigned exaltation of the mind is not shown in the hero himself, but is merely excited in the spectator by the sight of great, unmerited, nay, even merited suffering. Many of the moderns also are, like the ancients, satisfied with throwing the spectator into the mood which has been described, by the objective representation of human mis fortune as a whole ; while others exhibit this through the change of the frame of mind of the hero himself, effected by suffering. The former give, as it were, only the pre misses, and leave the conclusion to the spectator ; while the latter give the conclusion, or the moral of the fable, also, as the change of the frame of mind of the hero, and even also as reflection, in the mouth of the chorus, as, for example, Schiller in " The Bride of Messina : " " Life is not the highest good." Let me remark here that the genuine tragic effect of the catastrophe, thus the resignation and exaltation of the mind of the hero which is brought about by it, seldom appears so purely motived and so distinctly expressed as in the opera of " Norma," where it comes in in the duet, " Qual cor tradisti, gual cor perdesti," in which the change of the will is distinctly indicated by the quietness which is suddenly introduced into the music. In general,


216 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

this piece regarded apart altogether from its excellent music, aiid also from the diction which can only be that of a libretto, and considered only according to its motives and its inner economy is a highly perfect tragedy, a true pattern of tragic disposition of the motives, tragic progress of the action, and tragic development, together with the effect of these upon the frame of mind of the hero, raising it above the world, and which is then also communicated to the spectator; indeed the effect attained here la the less delusive and the more indicative of the true nature of tragedy that no Christians, nor even Christian ideas, appear in it.

The neglect of the unity of time and place with which the moderns are so often reproached is only a fault when it goes so far that it destroys the unity of the action; for then there only remains the unity of the principal character, as, for example, in Shakspeare s " Henry VIII." But even the unity of the action does not need to go so far that the same thing is spoken of throughout, as in the French tragedies which in general observe this so strictly that the course of the drama is like a geometrical line without breadth. There it is constantly a case of "Only get on! Pensez a wire affaire!" and the thing is expedited and hurried on in a thoroughly business fashion, and no one detains himself with irrelevances which do not belong to it, or looks to the right or the left. The Shakspearian tragedy, on the other hand, is like a line which has also breadth : it takes time, exspa- tiatur : speeches and even whole scenes occur which do not advance the action, indeed do not properly concern it, by which, however, we get to know the characters or their circumstances more fully, and then understand the action also more thoroughly. This certainly remains the principal thing, yet not so exclusively that we forget that in the last instance what is aimed at is the representation 1 of human nature and existence generally.

The dramatic or epic poet ought to know that he is


ON THE AESTHETICS OF POETRY. 217

fate, and should therefore be inexorable, as it is ; also that he is the mirror of the human race, and should therefore represent very many bad and sometimes pro fligate characters, and also many fools, buffoons, and eccentric persons ; then also, now and again, a reasonable, a prudent, an honest, or a good man, and only as the rarest exception a truly magnanimous man. In the whole of Homer there is in my opinion no really magna nimous character presented, although many good and honest. In the whole of Shakspeare there may be perhaps a couple of noble, though by no means transcendently noble, characters to be found ; perhaps Cordelia, Corio- lanus hardly more ; on the other hand, his works swarm with the species indicated above. But Iffland s and Kot- zebue s pieces have many magnanimous characters ; while Goldoni has done as I recommended above, whereby he shows that he stands higher. On the other hand, Schiller s " Minna von Barnhelm " labours under too much and too universal magnanimity ; but so much magnanimity as the one Marquis Posa displays is not to be found in the whole of Goethe s works together. There is, however, a small German piece called "Duty for Duty s Sake" (a title which sounds as if it had been taken from the Critique of Practical Reason), which has only three characters, and yet all the three are of most transcendent magnanimity.

The Greeks have taken for their heroes only royal persons ; and so also for the most part have the moderns. Certainly not because the rank gives more worth to him who is acting or suffering ; and since the whole thing is just to set human passions in play, the relative value of the objects by which this happens is indifferent, and pea sant huts achieve as much as kingdoms. Moreover, civic tragedy is by no means to be unconditionally rejected. Persons of great power and consideration are yet the best adapted for tragedy on this account, that the misfortune in which we ought to recognise the fate of humanity) must have a sufficient magnitude to appear terrible to the


2i8 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVII.

spectator, whoever he may be. Euripides himself says, " <j>ev, <f>ev, TO. fieya\a, fieyaka KCLI Trao-^et Kaica " (Stdb. Flor., vol. ii p. 299). Now the circumstances which plunge a citizen family into want and despair are in the eyes of the great or rich, for the most part, very insignificant, and capable of being removed by human assistance, nay, some times even by a trifle : such spectators, therefore, cannot be tragically affected by them. On the other hand, the misfortunes of the great and powerful are unconditionally terrible, and also accessible to no help from without ; for kings must help themselves by their own power, or fall. To this we have to add that the fall is greatest from a height. Accordingly persons of the rank of citizens lack height to fall from.

If now we have found the tendency and ultimate intention of tragedy to be a turning to resignation, to the denial of the will to live, we shall easily recognise in its opposite, comedy, the incitement to the continued assertion of the will. It is true the comedy, like every representa tion of human life, without exception, must bring before our eyes suffering and adversity ; but it presents it to us as passing, resolving itself into joy, in general mingled with success, victory, and hopes, which in the end pre ponderate ; moreover, it brings out the inexhaustible material for laughter of which life, and even its adversities themselves are filled, and which under all circumstances ought to keep us in a good humour. Thus it declares, in the result, that life as a whole is thoroughly good, and especially is always amusing. Certainly it must hasten to drop the curtain at the moment of joy, so that we may not see what comes after; while the tragedy, as a rule, so ends that nothing can come after. And moreover, if once we contemplate this burlesque side of life somewhat seriously, as it shows itself in the naive utterances and gestures which trifling embarrassment, personal fear, momentary anger, secret envy, and many similar emo tions force upon the forms of the real life that mirrors


ON THE MSTHETICS OF POETRY. 219

itself here, forms which deviate considerably from the type of beauty, then from this side also, thus in an unexpected manner, the reflective spectator may become convinced that the existence and action of such beings cannot itself be an end; that, on the contrary, they can only have attained to existence by an error, and that what so exhibits itself is something which had better not be.


( 220 )


CHAPTER XXXVIII. 1

ON HISTORY.

IN the passage of the first volume referred to below I have fully shown that more is achieved for our knowledge of mankind by poetry than by history, and why this is so ; inasmuch as more real instruction was to be expected from the former than from the latter. Aristotle has also confessed this, for he says : " teat, <j>i\ocro<j)(aT6pov KCU, (TTTOV- Saiorepov Tronjcri*; icrro/wa? etrriv " (et res magis philosophica, et melior poesis est quam historia*), De poet., c. 9. Yet, in order to cause no misunderstanding as to the value of history, I wish here to express my thoughts about it.

In every class and species of things the facts are innumerable, the individuals infinite in number, the variety of their differences unapproachable. At the first glance at them the curious mind becomes giddy; how ever much it investigates, it sees itself condemned to ignorance. But then comes science : it separates the innumerable multitude, arranges it under generic concep tions, these again under conceptions of species, whereby it opens the path to a knowledge of the general and the particular, which also comprehends the innumerable individuals, for it holds good of all without one being obliged to consider each particular for itself. Thus it promises satisfaction to the investigating mind. Then all

1 This chapter is connected with liar significance, of the first word

51 of the first volume. comes out with more than ordinary

  • Let me remark in passing that distinctness ; it signifies that which

from this opposition of Trot^ats and is made, invented, in opposition to

origin, and also the pecu- what is discovered.


ON HISTORY. 221

sciences place themselves together, and above the real world of individual things, as that which they have divided among them. Over them all, however, moves philosophy, as the most general, and therefore important, rational knowledge, which promises the conclusions for which the others have only prepared the way. History alone cannot properly enter into that series, since it can not boast of the same advantage as the others, for it lacks the fundamental characteristic of science, the sub ordination of what is known, instead of which it can only present its co-ordination. Therefore there is no system of history, as there is of every other science. It is there fore certainly rational knowledge, but it is not a science. For it never knows the particular by means of the general, but must comprehend the particular directly, and so, as it were, creeps along the ground of experience ; while the true sciences move above it, because they have obtained comprehensive conceptions by means of which they command the particular, and, at least within certain limits, anticipate the possibility of things within their sphere, so that they can be at ease even about what may yet have to come. The sciences, since they are systems of conceptions, speak always of species ; history speaks of individuals. It would accordingly be a science of indivi duals, which is a contradiction. It also follows that the sciences all speak of that which always is: history, on the other hand, of that which is once, and then no more. Since, further, history has to do with the absolutely parti cular and individuals, which from its nature is inexhaus tible, it knows everything only imperfectly and half. Besides, it must also let itself be taught by every new day in its trivial commonplaceness what as yet it did not know at all. If it should be objected that in history also there is subordination of the particular under the general, because the periods, the governments, and other general changes, or political revolutions, in short, all that is given in historical tables, is the general, to which the special


222 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVIII.

subordinates itself, this would rest upon a false compre hension of the conception of the general. For the general in history here referred to is merely subjective, i.e., its generality springs merely from the inadequacy of the individual knowledge of the things, but not objective, i.e., a conception in which the things would actually already be thought together. Even the most general in history is in itself only a particular and individual, a long period of time, or an important event ; therefore the special is related to this as the part to the whole, but not as the case to the rule ; which, on the contrary, takes place in all the sciences proper because they afford conceptions and not mere facts. On this account in these sciences by a correct knowledge of the general we can determine with certainty the particular that arises. If, for example, I know the laws of the triangle in general, I can then also tell what must be the properties of the triangle laid before me; and what holds good of all mammals, for example, that they have double ventricles of the heart, exactly seven cervical vertebrae, lungs, diaphragm, bladder, five senses, &c., I can also assert of the strange bat which has just been caught, before dissecting it. But not so in history, where the general is no objective general of the conception, but merely a subjective general of my know ledge, which can only be called general inasmuch as it is superficial. Therefore I may always know in general of the Thirty Years War that it was a religious war, waged in the seventeenth century ; but this general knowledge does not make me capable of telling anything more definite about its course. The same opposition is also confirmed by the fact that in the real sciences the special and indi vidual is that which is most certain, because it rests upon immediate apprehension ; the general truths, again, are only abstracted from it ; therefore something false may be more easily assumed in the latter. But in history, conversely, the most general is the most certain; for example, the periods, the succession of the kings, the revolutions, wars, and


ON HISTORY. 223

treaties of peace ; the particulars, again, of the events and their connection is uncertain, and becomes always more so the further one goes into details. Therefore history is the more interesting the more special it is, but the less to be trusted, and approaches then in every respect to the romance. For the rest, what importance is to be attached to the boasted pragmatic teaching of history he will best be able to judge who remembers that sometimes it was only after twenty years that he understood the events of his own life in their true connection, although the data for this were fully before him, so difficult is the combina tion of the action of the motives under the constant inter ferences of chance and the concealment of the intentions. Since now history really always has for its object only the particular, the individual fact, and regards this as the ex clusively real, it is the direct opposite and counterpart of philosophy, which considers things from the most general point of view, and has intentionally the general as its object, which remains identical in every particular ; there fore in the particular philosophy sees only the general, and recognises the change in its manifestation as unessential : (frt\oKa6o\ov yap 6 ^tXocro^o? (generalium amator philo sophies). While history teaches us that at every time something else has been, philosophy tries to assist us to the insight that at all times exactly the same was, is, and shall be. In truth, the essence of human life, as of nature in general, is given complete in every present time, and therefore only requires depth of comprehension in order to be exhaustively known. But history hopes to make up for depth by length and breadth ; for it every present time is only a fragment which must be supplemented by the past, the length of which is, however, infinite, and to which again an infinite future is joined. Upon this rests the opposition between philosophical and historical minds ; the former want to go to the bottom, the latter want to go through the whole series. History shows on every side only the same under different forms; but whoever does


224 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVIII.

not come to know this in one or a few will hardly attain to a knowledge of it by going through all the forms. The chapters of the history of nations are at bottom only dis tinguished by the names and dates ; the really essential content is everywhere the same.

Now since the material of art is the Idea, and the material of science the concept, we see both occupied with that which always exists and constantly in the same manner, not something which now is and now is not, now is thus and now otherwise ; therefore both have to do with that which Plato set up as the exclusive object of real rational knowledge. The material of history, on the other hand, is the particular in its particularity and contingency, which at one time is, and then for ever is no more, the transient complexities of a human world moved like clouds in the wind, a world which is often entirely transformed by the most trifling accident. From this point of view the material of history appears to us as scarcely a worthy object of the serious and painful consideration of the human mind, the human mind which, just because it is so transitory, ought to choose for its consideration that which passes not away.

Finally, as regards the endeavour specially introduced by the Hegelian pseudo-philosophy, everywhere so pernici ous and stupefying to the mind to comprehend the history of the world as a planned whole, or, as they call it, "to construe it organically," a crude and positive realism lies at its foundation, which takes the phenomenon for the inner being of the world, and imagines that this phenomenon, its forms and events, are the chief concern ; in which it is secretly supported by certain mythological notions which it tacitly assumes : otherwise one might ask for what spectators such a comedy was really produced. For, since only the individual, and not the human race, has actual, immediate unity of consciousness, the unity of the course of life of the race is a mere fiction. Besides, as in nature only the species are real, and the genera are mere abstrac-


ON HISTORY. 225

tions, so in the human race only the individuals and their course of life are real, the peoples and their lives mere abstractions. Finally, constructive histories, guided by a positive optimism, always ultimately end in a comfortable, rich, fat State, with a well-regulated constitution, good justice and police, useful arts and industries, and, at the most, in intellectual perfection ; for this, in fact, is alone possible, since what is moral remains essentially unaltered. But it is the moral element which, according to the testi mony of our inmost consciousness, is the whole concern : and this lies only in the individual as the tendency of his will. In truth, only the life of each individual has unity, connection, and true significance : it is to be regarded as an instruction, and the meaning of it is moral. Only the incidents of our inner life, since they concern the will, have true reality, and are actual events ; because the will alone is the thing in itself. In every microcosm lies the whole macrocosm, and the latter contains nothing more than the former. Multiplicity is phenomenal, and ex ternal events are mere configurations of the phenomenal world, and have therefore directly neither reality nor significance, but only indirectly through their relation to the wills of the individuals. The endeavour to explain and interpret them directly is accordingly like the en deavour to see in the forms of the clouds groups of men and animals. What history narrates is in fact only the long, heavy, and confused dream of humanity.

The Hegelians, who regard the philosophy of history as indeed the chief end of all philosophy, are to be referred to Plato, who unweariedly repeats that the object of philosophy is that which is unchangeable and always remains, not that which now is thus and now otherwise. All those who set up such constructions of the course of the world, or, as they call it, of history, have failed to grasp the principal truth of all philosophy, that what is is at all times the same, all becoming and arising are only seeming ; the Ideas alone are permanent ; time ideal. This

VOL. in. p


226 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVIII.

is what Plato holds, this is what Kant holds. One ought therefore to seek to understand what exists, what really is, to-day and always, i.e., to know the Ideas (in Plato s sense). Fools, on the contrary, imagine that something must first become and happen. Therefore they concede to history the chief place in their philosophy, and construct it according to a preconceived plan of the world, according to which everything is ordered for the best, which is then supposed finaliter to appear, and will be a glorious thing. Accordingly they take the world as perfectly real, and place the end of it in the poor earthly happiness, which, however much it may be fostered by men and favoured by fate, is a hollow, deceptive, decaying, and sad thing, out of which neither constitutions and legal systems nor steam- engines and telegraphs can ever make anything that is essentially better. The said philosophers and glorifiers of history are accordingly simple realists, and also optimists and eudsemonists, consequently dull fellows and incarnate Philistines ; and besides are really bad Christians, for the true spirit and kernel of Christianity, as also of Brahmauism and Buddhism, is the knowledge of the vanity of earthly happiness, the complete contempt for it, and the turning away from it to an existence of another, nay, an opposite, kind. This, I say, is the spirit and end of Christianity, the true " humour of the matter ; " and not, as they imagine, monotheism ; therefore even atheistic Buddhism is far more closely related to Christianity than optimistic Judaism or its variety Islamism.

A true philosophy of history ought not therefore to con sider, as all these do, what (to use Plato s language) always becomes and never is, and hold this to be the true nature of things ; but it ought to fix its attention upon that which always is and never becomes nor passes away. Thus it does not consist in raising the temporal ends of men to eternal and absolute ends, and then with art and imagina tion constructing their progress through all complications ; but in the insight that not only in its development, but in


ON HISTORY. 227

its very nature, history is mendacious ; for, speaking of mere individuals and particular events, it pretends always to relate something different, while from beginning to end it repeats always the same thing under different names and in a different dress. The true philosophy of history consists in the insight that in all these endless changes and their confusion we have always before us only the same, even, unchanging nature, which to-day acts in the same way as yesterday and always ; thus it ought to recog nise the identical in all events, of ancient as of modern times, of the east as of the west ; and, in spite of all differ ence of the special circumstances, of the costume and the customs, to see everywhere the same humanity. This identi cal element which is permanent through all change consists in the fundamental qualities of the human heart and head many bad, few good. The motto of history in general should run: JEadem, sed aliter. If one has read Hero dotus, then in a philosophical regard one has already studied history enough. For everything is already there that makes up the subsequent history of the world : the efforts, action, sufferings, and fate of the human race as it proceeds from the qualities we have referred to, and the physical earthly lot.

If in what has been said we have recognised that history, regarded as a means for the knowledge of the nature of man, is inferior to poetry ; then, that it is not in the proper sense a science; finally, that the endeavoui to construct it as a whole with beginning, middle, and end, together with a significant connection, is vain, and based upon misunderstanding: it would look as if we wished to deny it all value if we did not show in what its value consists. Eeally, however, there remains for it, after this conquest by art and rejection by science, a quite special province, different from both, in which it exists most honourably.

What reason is to the individual that is history to the human race. By virtue of reason, man is not, like the


228 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVIII.

brute, limited to the narrow, perceptible present, but also knows the incomparably more extended past, with which it is linked, and out of which it has proceeded ; and only thus has he a proper understanding of the present itself, and can even draw inferences as to the future. The brute, on the other hand, whose knowledge, devoid of reflection, is on this account limited to the present, even when it is tamed, moves about among men ignorant, dull, stupid, helpless, and dependent Analogous to this is the nation that does not know its own history, is limited to the present of the now living generation, and therefore does not understand itself and its own present, because it cannot connect it with a past, and explain it from this j still less can it anticipate the future. Only through his tory does a nation become completely conscious of itself. Accordingly history is to be regarded as the rational con sciousness of the human race, and is to the race what the reflected and connected consciousness is to the individual who is conditioned by reason, a consciousness through the want of which the brute is confined to the narrow, per ceptible present. Therefore every gap in history is like a gap in the recollective self-consciousness of a man ; and in the presence of a monument of ancient times which has outlived the knowledge of itself, as, for example, the Pyramids, or temples and palaces in Yucatan, we stand as senseless and stupid as the brute in the presence of the action of man, in which it is implicated in his service ; or as a man before something written in an old cipher of his own, the key to which he has forgotten ; nay, like a som nambulist who finds before him in the morning what he has done in his sleep. In this sense, then, history is to be regarded as the reason, or the reflected consciousness, of the human race, and takes the place of an immediate self-consciousness common to the whole race, so that only by virtue of it does the human race come to be a whole, come to be a humanity. This is the true value of history, and accordingly the universal and predominating interest


ON HISTORY. 229

in it depends principally upon the fact that it is a personal concern of the human race. Now, what language is for the reason of individuals, as an indispensable condition of its use, writing is for the reason of the whole race here pointed out; for only with this does its real existence begin, as that of the individual reason begins first with language. Writing serves to restore unity to the con sciousness of the human race, which is constantly inter rupted by death, and therefore fragmentary ; so that the thought which has arisen in the ancestor is thought out by his remote descendant ; it finds a remedy for the breaking up of the human race and its consciousness into an innumer able number of ephemeral individuals, and so bids defiance to the ever hurrying time, in whose hand goes forgetful- ness. As an attempt to accomplish this we must regard not only written, but also stone monuments, which in part are older than the former. For who will believe that those who, at incalculable cost, set in action the human powers of many thousands for many years in order to construct the pyramids, monoliths, rock tombs, obelisks, temples, and palaces which have already existed for thousands of years, could have had in view the short span of their own life, too short to let them see the finishing of the construc tion, or even the ostensible end which the ignorance of the many required them to allege ? Clearly their real end was to speak to their latest descendants, to put them selves in connection with these, and so to establish the unity of the consciousness of humanity. The buildings of the Hindus, the Egyptians, even the Greeks and Eomans, were calculated to last several thousand years, because through higher culture their horizon was a wider one ; while the buildings of the Middle Ages and of modern times have only been intended, at the most, to last a few centuries ; which, however, is also due to the fact that men trusted more to writing after its use had become general, and still more since from its womb was born the art of printing. Yet even in the buildings of more recent


230 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXVIII.

times we see the desire to speak to posterity ; and, there fore, it is shameful if they are destroyed or disfigured in order to serve low utilitarian ends. Written monuments have less to fear from the elements, but more to fear from barbarians, than stone ones ; they accomplish far more. The Egyptians wished to combine the two, for they covered their stone monuments with hieroglyphics, nay, they added paintings in case the hieroglyphics should no longer be understood.


( 231 )


CHAPTER XXXIX. 1

ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC.

THE outcome, or result, of my exposition of the peculiar significance of this wonderful art, which is given in the passage of the first volume referred to below, and which will here be present to the mind of the reader, was, that there is indeed no resemblance between its productions and the world as idea, i.e., the world of nature, but yet there must be a distinct parallelism, which was then also proved. I have yet to add some fuller particulars with regard to this parallelism, which are worthy of attention. The four voices, or parts, of all harmony, the bass, the tenor, the alto, and the soprana, or the fundamental note, the third, the fifth, and the octave, correspond to the four grades in the series of existences, the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, the brute kingdom, and man. This receives an additional and striking confirmation in the fundamental rule of music, that the bass must be at a much greater distance below the three upper parts than they have between themselves ; so that it must never approach nearer to them than at the most within an octave of them, and generally remains still further below them. Hence, then, the correct triad has its place in the third octave from the fundamental note. Accordingly the effect of extended harmony, in which the bass is widely separated from the other parts, is much more powerful and beautiful than that of close harmony, in which it is moved up nearer to them, and which is only introduced on account of the

1 This chapter is connected with 52 of the first volume.


232 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

limited compass of the instruments. This whole rule, however, is by no means arbitrary, but has its root in the natural source of the tonal system; for the nearest con sonant intervals that sound along with the fundamental note by means of its vibrations are the octave and its fifth. Now, in this rule we recognise the analogue of the fundamental characteristic of nature on account of which organised beings are much more nearly related to each other than to the inanimate, unorganised mass of the mineral kingdom, between which and them exists the most definite boundary and the widest gulf in the whole of nature. The fact that the high voice which sings the melody is yet also an integral part of the harmony, and therein accords even with the deepest fundamental bass, may be regarded as the analogue of the fact that the same matter which in a human organism is the supporter of the Idea of man must yet also exhibit and support the Ideas of gravitation and chemical qualities, that is, of the lowest grades of the objectification of will.

That music acts directly upon the will, i.e., the feelings, passions, and emotions of the hearer, so that it quickly raises them or changes them, may be explained from the fact that, unlike all the other arts, it does not express the Ideas, or grades of the objectification of the will, but directly the will itself.

As surely as music, far from being a mere accessory of ~ poetry, is an independent art, nay, the most powerful of all the arts, and therefore attains its ends entirely with means of its own, so surely does it not stand in need of the words of the song or the action of an opera. Music as such knows the tones or notes alone, but not the causes which produce these. Accordingly, for it even the human voice is originally and essentially nothing else than a modified tone, just like that of an instrument ; and, like every other tone, it has the special advantages and disadvantages which are a consequence of the instrument that produces it. Now, in this case, that this same instrument, as the


ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC. 233

organ of speech, also serves to communicate conceptions is an accidental circumstance, which music can certainly also make use of, in order to enter into a connection with poetry ; but it must never make this the principal matter, and concern itself entirely with the expression of what for the most part, nay (as Diderot gives us to understand in Le Neveu de Eameau), essentially are insipid verses. The words are and remain for the music a foreign addition, of; subordinate value, for the effect of the tones is incompar ably more powerful, more infallible, and quicker than that of the words. Therefore, if words become incorpo rated in music, they must yet assume an entirely subordi nate position, and adapt themselves completely to it. But the relation appears reversed in the case of the given poetry, thus the song or the libretto of an opera to which music is adapted. For the art of music at once shows in : these its power and higher fitness, disclosing the most pro- \ found ultimate and secret significance of the feeling ex pressed in the words or the action presented in the opera, giving utterance to their peculiar and true nature, and teaching us the inmost soul of the actions and events whose mere clothing and body is set before us on the stage. With regard to this superiority of the music, and also because it stands to the libretto and the action in the relation of the universal to the particular, of the rule to the example, it might perhaps appear more fitting that the libretto should be written for the music than that the music should be composed for the libretto. However, in the customary method, the words and actions of the libretto lead the composer to the affections of the will which lie at their foundation, and call up in him the feelings to be expressed ; they act, therefore, as a means of exciting his musical imagination. Moreover, that the addition of poetry to music is so welcome to us, and a song with intelligible words gives us such deep satisfaction, depends upon the fact that in this way our most direct and most indirect ways of knowing are called into play at once and


234 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

in connection. The most direct is that for which music expresses the emotions of the will itself, and the most in direct that of conceptions denoted by words. When the language of the feelings is in question the reason does not willingly sit entirely idle. Music is certainly able with the means at its own disposal to express every move ment of the will, every feeling ; but by the addition of words we receive beside* this the objects of these feelings, the motives which occasion them. The music of an opera, as it is presented in the score, has a completely indepen- dent, separate, and, as it were, abstract existence for itself, to which the incidents and persons of the piece are foreign, and which follows its own unchanging rules ; therefore it can produce its full effect without the libretto. But this music, since it was composed with reference to the drama, is, as it were, the soul of the latter ; for, in its connec tion with the incidents, persons, and words, it becomes the expression of the inner significance of all those inci dents, and of their ultimate and secret necessity which depends upon this significance. The pleasure of the spec tator, unless he is a mere gaper, really depends upon an indistinct feeling of this. Yet in the opera music also shows its heterogeneous nature and higher reality by its entire indifference to the whole material of the incidents ; in consequence of which it everywhere expresses the storm of the passions and the pathos of the feelings in the same way, and its tones accompany the piece with the same pomp, whether Agamemnon and Achilles or the dissensions of a bourgeois family form its material. For only the passions, the movements of the will, exist for it, ~and, like God, it sees only the hearts. It never assimilates itself to the natural ; and therefore, even when it accom panies the most ludicrous and extravagant farces of the comic opera, it still preserves its essential beauty, purity, and sublimity ; and its fusion with these incidents is un able to draw it down from its height, to which all absur dity is really foreign. Thus the profound and serious


ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC. 235

significance of our existence hangs over the farce and the endless miseries of human life, and never leaves it for a moment.

If we now cast a glance at purely instrumental music, a symphony of Beethoven presents to us the greatest con fusion, which yet has the most perfect order at its foun dation, the most vehement conflict, which is transformed the next moment into the most beautiful concord. It is rerum concordia discors, a true and perfect picture of the nature of the world which rolls on in the boundless maze of innumerable forms, and through constant destruction supports itself. But in this symphony all human passions and emotions also find utterance ; joy, sorrow, love, hatred, terror, hope, &c., in innumerable degrees, yet all, as it were, only in abstracto, and without any particularisa- tion ; it is their mere form without the substance, like a spirit world without matter. Certainly we have a tendency to realise them while we listen, to clothe them in imagination with flesh and bones, and to see in them scenes of life and nature on every hand. Yet, taken generally, this is not required for their comprehension or enjoyment, but rather imparts to them a foreign and arbitrary addition : therefore it is better to apprehend them in their immediacy and purity.

Since now, in the foregoing remarks, and also in the text, I have considered music only from the metaphysical side, that is, with reference to the inner significance of its performances, it is right that I should now also subject to a general consideration the means by which, acting upon our mind, it brings these about ; therefore that I should show the connection of that metaphysical side of music, and the physical side, which has been fully investigated, and is well known, I stare from the theory which is generally known, and has by no means been shaken by recent objections, that all harmony of the notes depends upon the coincidence of their vibrations, which when two notes sound together occurs perhaps at every second, or


236 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

at every third, or at every fourth vibration, according to which, then, they are the octave, the fifth, or the fourth of each other, and so on. So long as the vibrations of two notes have a rational relation to each other, which can be expressed in small numbers, they can be connected together in our apprehension through their constantly recurring coincidence : the notes become blended, and are thereby in consonance. If, on the other hand, that relation is an irrational one, or one which can only be expressed in larger numbers, then no coincidence of the vibrations which can be apprehended occurs, but obstrepunt sibi per- petuo, whereby they resist being joined together in our apprehension, and accordingly are called a dissonance. Now, according to this theory, music is a means of making rational and irrational relations of numbers comprehen sible, not like arithmetic by the help of the concept, but by bringing them to a knowledge which is perfectly directly and simultaneously sensible. Now the connec tion of the metaphysical significance of music with this its physical and arithmetical basis depends upon the fact that what resists our apprehension, the irrational relation, or the dissonance, becomes the natural type of what resists " our will ; and, conversely, the consonance, or the rational " relation, which easily adapts itself to our apprehension, becomes the type of the satisfaction of the will. And further, since that rational and irrational element in the numerical relations of the vibrations admits of innumer able degrees, shades of difference, sequences, and variations, by means of it music becomes the material in which all the movements of the human heart, i.e., of the will, move ments whose essential nature is always satisfaction and dissatisfaction, although in innumerable degrees, can be faithfully portrayed and rendered in all their finest shades and modifications, which takes place by means of the, invention of the melody. Thus we see here the move ments of the will transferred to the province of the mere idea, which is the exclusive scene of the achievements of


ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC. 237

the fine arts, for they absolutely demand that the will itself shall not interfere, and that we shall conduct our selves as pure knowing subjects. Therefore the affections of the will itself, thus actual pain and actual pleasure, must not be excited, but only their substitutes, that which is agreeable to the intellect, as a picture of the satisfaction of the will, and that which is more or less repugnant to it, as a picture of greater or less pain. Only thus does music never cause us actual sorrow, but even in its most melan choly strains is still pleasing, and we gladly hear in its language the secret history of our will, and all its emo tions and strivings, with their manifold protractions, hin drances, and griefs, even in the saddest melodies. When, on the other hand, in reality and its terrors, it is our will itself that is roused and tormented, we have not then to do with tones and their numerical relations, but are rather now ourselves the trembling string that is stretched and twanged.

But, further, because, in consequence of the physical theory which lies at its foundation, the musical quality of the notes is in the proportion of the rapidity of their vibrations, but not in their relative strength, the musical ear always follows by preference, in harmony, the highest note, not the loudest. Therefore, even in the case of the most powerful orchestral accompaniment, the soprano comes out clearly, and thus receives a natural right to deliver the melody. And this is also supported by its great flexibility, which depends upon the same rapidity of the vibrations, and shows itself in the ornate pas sages, whereby the soprano becomes the suitable repre sentative of the heightened sensibility, susceptible to the slightest impression, and determinable by it, con sequently of the most highly developed consciousness standing on the uppermost stage of the scale of being. Its opposite, from converse causes, is the bass, inflexible, rising and falling only in great intervals, thirds, fourths, and fifths, and also at evejy step guided by rigid rules.


238 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

It is therefore the natural representative of the inorganic kingdom of nature, which is insensible, insusceptible to fine impressions, and only determinable according to general laws. It must indeed never rise by one tone, for example, from a fourth to a fifth, for this produces in the upper parts the incorrect consecutive fifths and octaves ; there fore, originally and in its own nature, it can never present the melody. If, however, the melody is assigned to it, this happens by means of counterpoint, i.e., it is an inverted bass one of the upper parts is lowered and disguised as a bass ; properly speaking, it then requires a second funda mental bass as its accompaniment. This unnaturalness of a melody lying in the bass is the reason why bass airs, with full accompaniment, never afford us pure, undisturbed pleasure, like the soprano air, which, in the connection of harmony, is alone natural. We may remark in passing that such a melodious bass, forcibly obtained by invertion, might, in keeping with our metaphysic of music, be com pared to a block of marble to which the human form has been imparted: and therefore it is wonderfully suitable to the stone guest in " Don Juan."

But now we shall try to get somewhat nearer the foundation of the genesis of melody, which can be accom plished by analysing it into its constituent parts, and in any case will afford us the pleasure which arises from bringing to abstract and distinct consciousness what every one knows in the concrete, so that it gains the appearance of novelty.

Melody consists of two elements, the one rhythmical, the other harmonious. The former may also be described as the quantitative, the latter as the qualitative element, since the first is concerned with the duration, and the second with the pitch of the notes. In the writing of music the former depends upon the perpendicular, and the latter upon the horizontal lines. Purely arithmetical relations, thus relations of time, lie at the foundation of both; in the one case the relative duration of the notes, in the other


ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC. 239

the relative rapidity of their vibrations. The rhythmical clement is the essential ; for it can produce a kind of melody of itself alone, and without the other, as, for example, on the drum ; yet complete melody requires both elements. It consists in an alternating disunion and re conciliation of them, as I shall show immediately; but first, since I have already spoken of the harmonious element in what has been said, I wish to consider the rhythmical element somewhat more closely.

Rhythm is in time what symmetry is in space, division into equal parts corresponding to each other. First, into larger parts, which again fall into smaller parts, sub ordinate to the former. In the series of the arts given by me architecture and music are the two extreme ends. Moreover, according to their inner nature, their power, the extent of their spheres, and their significance, they are the most heterogeneous, indeed true antipodes. This op position extends even to the form of their appearance, for architecture is in space alone, without any connection with time ; and music is in time alone, without any con nection with space. 1 Now hence springs their one point of analogy, that as in architecture that which orders and holds together is symmetry, in music it is rhythm, and thus here also it holds true that extremes meet. As the ulti mate constituent parts of a building are the exactly similar stones, so the ultimate constituent parts of a musical com position are the exactly similar beats ; yet by being weak or strong, or in general by the measure, which denotes the species of time, these are divided into equal parts, which may be compared to the dimensions of the stone. The musical period consists of several bars, and it has also two equal parts, one rising, aspiring, generally going to the

1 It would be a false objection be just as false to say that poetry, as

that sculpture and painting are also speech, belongs to time alone : this

merely in space ; for their works are is also true only indirectly of the

connected, not directly, but yet in- words; its matter is all existent, thus

directly, with time, for they represent spatial, life, movement, action. And it would


240 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

dominant, and one sinking, quieting, returning to the fundamental note. Two or several periods constitute a part, which in general is also symmetrically doubled by the sign of repetition ; two parts make a small piece of music, or only a movement of a larger piece; and thus a concerto or sonata usually consists of three movements, a symphony of four, and a mass of five. Thus we see the musical composition bound together and rounded off as a whole, by symmetrical distribution and repeated division, down to the beats and their fractions, with thorough sub ordination, superordination, and co-ordination of its mem bers, just as a building is connected and rounded off by " its symmetry. Only in the latter that is exclusively in | space which in the former is exclusively in time. The ""mere feeling of this analogy has in the last thirty years called forth the oft-repeated, daring witticism, that archi tecture is frozen music. The origin of this can be traced to Goethe ; for, according to Eckermann s " Conversa tions," vol. ii. p. 88, he said : " I have found among my papers a page on which I call architecture a rigidified music ; and really there is something in it ; the mood which is produced by architecture approaches the effect of music." Probably he let fall this witticism much earlier in conversation, and in that case it is well known that there were never wanting persons to pick up what he so let fall that they might afterwards go about decked with it. For the rest, whatever Goethe may have said, the analogy of music and architecture, which is here referred by me to its sole ground, the analogy of rhythm with sym metry, extends accordingly only to the outward form, and by no means to the inner nature of the two arts, which is entirely different. Indeed it would be absurd to wish to put on the same level in essential respects the most limited and the weakest of all the arts, and the most far-reaching and powerful. As an amplification of the analogy pointed out, we might add further, that when music, as it were in a fit of desire for independence, seizes the opportunity of


ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC. 24 ,

a pause to free itself from the control of rhythm, to launch I into the free imagination of an ornate cadenza, such a piece of music divested of all rhythm is analogous to the rum which is divested of symmetry, and which accord ingly may be called, in the bold language of the witticism a frozen cadenza.

After this exposition of rhythm, I have now to show how the nature of melody consists in the constantly renewed disunion and reconciliation of the rhythmical, and the har monious elements of it. Its harmonious element has as is assumption the fundamental note, as the rhythmical element has the species of time, and consists in a wander ing rom it through all the notes of the scale, until by shorter or longer digressions it reaches a harmonious nterval generally the dominant or sub-dominant, which affords it an incomplete satisfaction; and then follows by a similarly long path, its return to the fundamental iote with which complete satisfaction appears. But both must so take place that the attainment of the interval referred to and the return to the fundamental note corre-

ond with certain favourite points of the rhythm, other

wise it wHl not work. Thus, as the harmonious succession >f Bounds requires certain notes, first of all the tonic, next it the dominant, and so on, so rhythm, on its part requires certain points of time, certain numbered bars and certain parts of these bars, which are called strot or good beats or the accented parts of the bar, in opposition to the weak or bad beats, or unaccented parts of The ba r Now the disunion of these two fundamental elements


j.1 - n .-i . * \ji uiio its satis-

that of the other is not; and their reconciliation

consists in tins, that both arp oofiofl/-,^

uui/ja cue bdtisneoi at once and tn

gether. That wandering of the notes until they find a more or less harmonwus interval must so take place that tins znterval as attained only after a definite numbe of bars and also at an accented part of the bar, and in thl wa^becomes for it a kind of resting-point ; and similarl/

Q


24 2 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

the return to the keynote must take place after a liko number of bars, and also at an accented part of the bar, and thus complete satisfaction is then attained. So long as this required coincidence of the satisfaction of both elements is not attained, the rhythm, 011 the one hand, may follow its regular course, and, on the other hand, the required notes may occur often enough, but yet they will remain entirely without that effect through which melody arises. The following very simple example may serve to illustrate this :



Here the harmonious sequence of notes finds the keynote just at the end of the first bar; but it does not receive any satisfaction from this, because the rhythm is caught at the least accented part of the bar. Immediately afterwards, in the second bar, the rhythm has the accented part of the bar, but the sequence of notes has arrived at the seventh. Thus here the two elements of melody are entirely dis united ; and we feel disquieted. In the second half of the period everything is reversed, and in the last note they are reconciled. This kind of thing can be shown in every melody, although generally in a much more extended form. Now the constant disunion and reconciliation of its two elements which there takes place is, when metaphysically considered, the copy of the origination of new wishes, and "then of their satisfaction. Thus, by flattery, music pene trates into our hearts, for it presents the image of the complete satisfaction of its wishes. More closely con sidered, we see in this procedure of melody a condition which, to a certain extent, is inward (the harmonious) meet with an mitward condition (the rhythmical), as if by an accent, which is certainly brought about by the com poser, and which may, so far, be compared to rhyme in poetry. But this is just the copy of the meeting of our


ON THE METAPHYSICS OF MUSIC. 243

wishes with the favourable outward circumstances which are independent of them, and is thus the picture of hap piness. The effect of the suspension also deserves to be considered here. It is a dissonance which delays the final consonance, which is awaited with certainty ; and thus the longing for it is strengthened, and its appear ance satisfies all the more. Clearly an analogue of the heightened satisfaction of the will through delay. The complete cadence requires the preceding chord of the seventh on the dominant ; because the most deeply felt satisfaction and the most entire relief can only follow the most earnest longing. Thus, in general, music consists of a constant succession of more or less disquieting chords, i.e., chords which excite longing, and more or less quiet ing and satisfying chords ; just as the life of the heart (the will) is a constant succession of greater or less disquietude through desire and aversion, and just as various degrees of relief. Accordingly the harmonious sequence of chords consists of the correct alternation of dissonance and consonance. A succession of merely con sonant chords would be satiating, wearisome, and empty, like the languor produced by the satisfaction of all wishes. Therefore dissonances must be introduced, although they disquiet us and affect us almost painfully, but only in order to be resolved again in consonances with proper prepara tion. Indeed, in the whole of music there are really only two fundamental chords, the dissonant chord of the seventh and the consonant triad, to which all chords that occur can be referred. This just corresponds to the fact, that for the will there are at bottom only dissatisfaction and satisfaction, under however many forms they may present themselves. And as there are two general fundamental moods of the mind, serenity, or at least healthiness, and sadness, or even oppression, so music has two general keys, the major and the minor, which correspond to these, and it must always be in one of the two. But it is, in fact, very wonderful that there is a sign of pain which is


244 THIRD BOOK. CHAPTER XXXIX.

neither physically painful nor yet conventional, but which nevertheless is suitable and unmistakable: the minor. From this we may measure how deeply music is founded in the nature of things and of man. With northern nations, whose life is subject to hard conditions, especially with the Russians, the minor prevails, even in the church music. Allegro in the minor is very common in French music, and is characteristic of it ; it is as if one danced while one s shoe pinched.

I add further a few subsidiary remarks. When the key note is changed, and with it the value of all the intervals, in consequence of which the same note figures as the second, the third, the fourth, and so on, the notes of the scale are analogous to actors, who must assume now one r6le, now another, while their person remains the same. That the actors are often not precisely suited to ^these rdles may be compared to the unavoidable impurity of every harmonic system (referred to at the end of 52 of the first volume) which the equal temperament has intro duced.

Perhaps some may be offended, that, according to this metaphysic of it, music, which so often exalts our minds, which seems to us to speak of other and better worlds than ours, yet really only flatters the will to live, because it exhibits to it its nature, deludes it with the image of its success, and at the end expresses its satisfaction and con tentment. The following passage from the " Vedas " may serve to quiet such doubts : " fitanand sroup, quod forma gaudii est, rov pram Atma ex hoc dicunt, quod quocunque loco gaudium est, particula e gaudw ejiis est " (Oupnekkat, vol L p. 405 ; et iterum, vol. ii. p. 215).