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.)

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

No Comment March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm

Scott Horton Debates John Rizzo on Democracy Now!

On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
Post
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Article
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
Criticism
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

 
“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today