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This first strophe of "The Artists," its striking The differentiated, the concrete, contains truth

beauty notwithstanding, is nothing other than a state- only by virtue of the whole. It is not statically

relent of a musical theme whose development proceeds conjoined to the whole like Kant's thing-in-itself; on

through the composition of the poem. The literal the contrary, it is the expression and concretization of

content of the initial theme is beautiful and true, but is a universalprocess, in which the concrete phenomenon

not itself the substanceof the strophe--it is merely the _ represents merely the mediation point of a universal

artistically selected predicate for the poet's real inten- moving toward a higher universal.

tion, as we shall see. Yet the choice of this particular In the "World History" this is identified as the

theme--perfectly suited to the exceedingly rich com- only principle that can lead to an adequate compreposition

that emerges out of it, because it anticipates hension of the historical process. The fact that man

in embryo the entire later development--already tells can reflect self-consciously upon history "is perhaps

us everything essential about the person who chose it. the result of all the world's previous occurrences: no

It is a universal instance of the poet's world-outlook; less than all world history would be necessary in order

it is, in a certain sense, the first delicate imprint of his to explain this single moment."

soul. Once we have understood that we owe our

capacity to self-consciously reflect on our own devel-

Schiller's Philosophy opment to a never-ending, advancing process, then

"The Artists" belongs among Schiller's so-called this knowledge also makes us responsible to not

philosophical poems, and it is precisely .this category become the end product of this process, but to carry

of Gedanken-Dichtung, by its nature forever inaccessi- it further to higher levels. "Within us must burn a

ble to Goethe, in which Schiller reached supreme noble striving for the rich legacy of truth, morality

mastery. To really grasp Schiller's poetry, however, and freedom we have received from past generations,

it is first necessary to investigate the poet's philosoph- and we must in turn hand it down, richly augmented, to

ical knowledge. Only in this way will the origins of the generations to come, so that we, too, make a

the higher levels of poetry become intelligible, contribution with the means at our disposal."

Schiller's image of the world, as reflected in "The Man is indeed the only living being with the

Artists" and all his other works, is so strictly Neopla- capacity to conceive of himself engaging in this

tonic in the sense of Cusa and Leibniz that one can infinite universalizing process. This affords him a

scarcely imagine how many authors could label him quality of freedom which distinguishes him from all

a Kantian or a follower of Rousseau--providing one other creatures; but it also burdens him with the

leaves out of account these authors' epistemological necessity of constantly taking heed of this position.

confusion or their political motives.

The individual who denies this relationship fore-

Schiller proceeds from a unity of existence, in swears being, as Cusa says. "A soul which loves only

which every particular, each predicate, has neither itself is a floating atom in a boundlessly empty space,"

meaning nor truth-content in itself. It is the prior writes Schiller in his TheosophiedesJulius.

existence of the universal within the particular which The universe is thus a whole in which each

gives the particular its relatedness and, with it, truth, specific being is manifested only through a more or

Nicholas of Cusa, who Schiller apparently knew only less implicit otherness. Schiller's universe is anything

indirectly through Giordano Bruno, developed the but static: both nature and the human species particisame

argument in his De non aliud: Without the Non- pate in a never-ending process of perfection. This

Other in the Other, the Other would be nothing but process is not linear on the contrary, Schiller repeatchaotic

flux, which no concept could comprehend, edly speaks of a process of self-ordering, self-devel-

This Neoplatonic conception of the universal's pri- opment, from a state of relative chaos to a state of

mary truth above any possible predicates is the foun- organic self-determination and harmony.

dation of all Schiller's work, and we wish to single In nature, this ordering process takes place organout

only a few aspects of this idea in order to clarify ically, provided that "nature's handiwork" is not

the argument. In one of the "Devotional Mottoes" disrupted, so that all potential avenues of develop-

("Votivtafeln") we find: ment can unfold fully, allowing the most highly

ordered state to be attained in accordance with the

Truth law of necessity. Schiller calls this state of nature

She is but One for all men, yet each seesher beauty. The same self-perfecting process takes place at

differently; a higher level for human beings, the only creatures

The Different proves that she still remains One. endowed with reason. To the extent that an individ-

CAMPAIGNER/June 1980 23

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