Condorcet, never gives in to Herder's tendency to- lawfulness that man does not determine. Man's emoward

cultural relativism, and does not fallprey to any tions are still infantile, he loves only himself. This

of the methodological errors Hegel committed later sensuous greed is the lowest level of human intellecon.

tual quality, the state of the greatest disorganization,

In contrast to Hegel, whose theory of history of utter heteronomy.

suffersfrom, among other things, the irreconcilability Yet even in this lowest state man is already

between the unending cycle of nature and human human, and is therefore distinguished from all other

history viewed as a process of self-perfection, Schiller living beings by virtue of his reason.

proceeds from the Neoplatonic idea that the human What, for Schiller, is the engine of progress

mind is the microcosm wherein all the laws of the which has led humanity out of this condition? (It

universe's macrocosm are reflected homologously. In should be noted in this connection that Engels was a

the "World History" Schiller speaks of the "unalter- totally unpoetic person who, in his Dialecticsof Nature,

able unity of natural laws with the human spirit," and struck upon the outrageous idea that man was able to

it is precisely this unity that enables man to arrive at differentiate himself from other hominid species owtrue

judgments about world history, ing merely to the growth of his thumb in a position

Just as human individuals are destined to perfect opposite to his fingers, so that he could use his hand as

themselves, so too does human history have as its a tool. If Engels were right, then all the great goals

teleological goal the self-development of the species for which men have lived and died through the

from its original domination by the senses to the level millennia, all the great works of art, Rembrandt's

of reason. Reading the "World History," or any of paintings and Beethoven's music, would have been

Schiller's other historical treatises, one can only mar- hinged on this opposition of the thumb. And had the

vel that British commentators, and even a few writers thumb grown in the other direction, the whole of

in East Germany, could have thought that Schiller humanity would never have existed.)

was influenced by Rousseau,

It is necessary to keep in mind that Schiller grew

As the "World History" states very clearly: up in a period and in a political climate where the

various offshoots of British empiricism reflected in

The discoveries made by our European voy- Engel's theory had just begun flooding the continent.

agers on far-flung oceans and distant coasts pro- The Karlsschule, in which the Black Guelph ruler

vide us with a drama as illuminating as it is Prince Karl-Eugen of Baden-W_irttemberg forcibly

entertaining. They show us populations scattered enrolled Schiller, was almost exclusively 8-ominatecl

around us at the most diverse levels of develop- by the ideas of Locke, Hobbes, Hume and Thomas

ment, like children of different ages gathered Reid. It is entirely thanks to Schiller's very fortunate

around an adult who, through their example, childhood that his Neoplatonic world outlook was

recalls what he himself used to be and how he already in place by the time he entered this school;

emerged. A wise hand seems to have preserved long before he encountered the writings of Leibniz or

these primitive tribes for us until the time when other Neoplatonics, by force of his own reason he

we should have moved far enough ahead in our was able to reject British empiricism as false.

own culture to usefully apply this discovery to It was primarily through his teacherJakob Friedour

own selves, and through this mirror recon- rich Abel that Schiller became acquainted with the

struct the lost beginnings of our species.Yet what British empiricists. It was at this school, where petty

a shameful and wretched picture these peoples intellects succumbed to indoctrination--the Brotgegive

us of our childhood! And we are still not lehrten (professional scholars) Schiller so desl_ised,

looking at the lowest stage; man's beginnings who s_udied merely so as to earn a living one aay

were even more contemptible. We find these that the varieties of empiricism and materialism were

human beings already organized as peoples, as served up, only to incite Schiller and challenge him

political entities:butbeforethismankindfirsthad to examine their truth-content, in order then to

to make an extraordinary effort to lift itself counterpose them to Neoplatonic conceptions. For

toward political community, anyone with a mystified image of genius--"Sure,

geniuses are just born geniuses"--nothing could be

In the first phase of history, then, man's condition more worthwhile than to"study how Schiller develis

contemptible; Schiller rightly compares it with the o ed into a genius.

phases of childhood. For human history begins wholly P Schiller developed a rigorous method for his own

subject to necessity, like an infant concerned only self-development, which is nothing less than strugwith

satisfying its instincts. Whether bodily needs are gling daily to determine truth, deliberately provoking

fulfilled depends primarily on accident, that is, on a mental crises in order to force further development. It

CAMPAIGNER/June 1980 25

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