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Im höchsten Schmerz tritt zuweilen eine Paralysis der Empfindsamkeit ein. Die Seele zersetzt sich. Daher der tödliche Frost, die freie Denkkraft, der schmetternde unaufhörliche Witz dieser Art von Verzweiflung. Keine Neigung ist mehrvorhanden; der Mensch steht wie eine verderbliche Macht allein. Unverbunden mit der übrigen Welt verzehrt er sich allmählich selbst, und ist seinem Prinzip nach Misanthrop und Misotheos.
In cases of intense pain sometimes an emotional paralysis sets in. The soul begins to disintegrate. This explains the deadly frost, the free style of thinking, the incessant blaring wit of this sort of despair. No affinity remains; the human being stands alone as a perishable force. Set loose from the balance of the world he slowly begins to consume himself, and he is in principle a misanthrope and a misotheos [enemy of god].
–Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg (Novalis), Blüthenstaub-Fragment No. 75 (1798) in: Briefe und Werke, vol. 3, p. 71 (1943)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Estimated number of people who watched a live Webcast of a hair transplant last fall:
A rancher in Texas was developing a system that will permit hunters to kill animals by remote control via a website.
A man in Japan was arrested for stealing a prospective employer’s wallet during a job interview, and a court in Germany ruled that it is safe for a woman with breast implants to be a police officer.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."