No Comment, Quotation — January 25, 2008, 12:00 am

Novalis’s Weltschmerz

novalis

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.)

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