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Der Mensch besweiset Reflexion, wenn die Kraft seiner Seele so frei würket, daß sie in dem ganzen Ocean von Empfindungen, die sie durch alle Sinnen durchrauschet, eine Welle, wenn ich so sagen darf, absondern, sie aushalten, die Aufmerksamkeit auf sie richten, und sich bewußt sein kann, daß sie aufmerke. Er beweiset Reflexion, wenn er aus dem ganz schwebenden Traum der Bilder, die seine Sinne vorbeistreichen, sich in ein Moment des Wachens sammlen, auf Einem Bilde freiwillig verweilen, es in helle, ruhigere Obacht nehmen, und sich Merkmale absondern kann, daß dies der Gegenstand und kein andrer sei. Er beweiset also Reflexion, wenn er nicht bloß alle Eigenschaften, lebhaft oder klar erkennen; sondern eine oder mehrere als unterscheidende Eigenschaften bei sich anerkennen kann… wodurch geschahe die Anerkennung? Durch ein Merkmal, was er absondern mußte und was, als Merkmal der Besinnung, deutlich in ihn fiel. Wohlan! Lasset uns ihm das ?????? zuruffen! Das erste Merkmal der Besinnung war Wort der Seele! Mit ihm ist die Menschliche Sprache erfunden!
Man demonstrates reflection when the power of his soul comports itself so freely that it can segregate from the whole ocean of sensitivities which course through his senses one single wave, if I may put it this way, and he can suspend this wave, draw attention upon it, and be conscious of this process. He demonstrates reflection when from the entire wavering dream of images that courses through his senses he can gather himself in a moment of calm and focus on one image, observing it in clear and quiet contemplation, and abstracting from it the qualities which show that this and nothing else is the object. He thus demonstrates reflection when he can not only perceive all the qualities vividly or clearly; but rather when he can recognize one or several of them as distinguishing characteristics… Now how, exactly, did he arrive at this recognition? Through a characteristic that he had to abstract, and which, as an element of the conscious, struck him clearly. Well, then, let us exclaim eureka! The first characteristic of consciousness was the language of the soul! In this way, human language came into being.
–Johann Gottfried Herder, Über den Ursprung der Sprache, pt I (1772) in: Werke in vier Bänden, vol. 2, pp. 276-77 (W. Pross ed. 1987)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
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.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”