No Comment, Quotation — February 17, 2008, 12:18 am

Wackenroder on Human Commonality in Art

tetschen-altar

[D]em ewigen Geiste löst sich alles in Harmonie auf; er weiß, daß ein jeder die Sprache redet, die Er ihm angeschaffen hat, daß ein jeder sein Inneres äußert wie er kann und soll; — wenn sie in ihrer Blindheit unter einander streiten, so weiß und erkennt Er, daß für sich ein jeglicher Recht hat; er sieht mit Wohlgefallen auf jeden und auf alle, und freut sich des bunten Gemisches. . . Ihm ist der gotische Tempel so wohlgefällig als der Tempel des Griechen; und die rohe Kriegsmusik der Wilden ist Ihm ein so lieblicher Klang, als kunstreiche Chöre und Kirchengesänge.

Und wenn ich nun von Ihm, dem Unendlichen, durch die unermeßlichen Räume des Himmels, wieder zur Erde gelange, und mich unter meinen Mitbrüdern umsehe,–ach! So muß ich laute Klagen erheben, daß sie ihrem ewigen großen Vorbilde im Himmel so wenig ähnlich zu werden sich bestreben. . .

O so ahndet euch doch in die fremden Seelen hinein, und merket, daß ihr mit euren verkannten Brüdern die Geistesgaben aus derselben Hand empfangen habt!

The Eternal Spirit knows that each individual speaks the language which He has provided him, that each expresses his innermost in the fashion in which he can and should, and that all dissolves into harmony; — if they clash in their blindness among one another, then He knows and recognizes, that each has his right; He looks with satisfaction upon each and all, and He is pleased with the colorful mixture. . . To him the Gothic temple may be just as pleasing as a Greek temple; and the raw martial music of the savages is just as pleasing a tone as the artistic chorals and church hymns.

And when I turn from Him, the Eternal, passing through the unmeasurable rooms of heaven, back to the earth, and find myself once more in the company of my fellow brothers,–ah! How loudly must I complain that they give so little effort to be like their eternal great model in heaven. . .

If you penetrate into foreign spirits then take notice that you take your intellectual gifts from the same hands as they.

Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, Herzensergießungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders, „Einige Worte über Allgemeinheit, Toleranz und Menschenliebe in der Kunst“ (1797) in: Sämtliche Werke und Briefe, vol. 1, pp. 87-88 (S. Vietta ed. 1991)(S.H. transl.)

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

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In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

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