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

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
What the Camera Saw·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“They shot him behind the left ear, and he fell.”
Post
The Glitch in the Video-Game Graveyard·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Rolls of toilet paper Chicago’s city government has produced this year from recycled City Hall wastepaper:

19,000

Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.

Russia lost, then regained, contact with a satellite carrying five geckos sent to copulate in zero gravity.

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