The Beautiful Soul ration, come together, and man acts with passion and

Kant rejected the lowest level of feeling, utter heter- joy on the basis of reason. At the level of reason we

onomy; but his view of the emotions remained trap- can trust in our feelings confidently, because duty has

ped on the level of the Understanding. And just as become our very nature and our will determines

man on the level ofheteronomy is inclined to blindly necessity. Only thus are we free.

submit to the rule of his impulses, so on the level of The person who has attained this state of moral

Understanding he characteristically finds himself beauty, says Schiller, possesses a beautiful soul (sch_'ne

caught in a dichotomy between the Understanding's Seele). It is the same concept that Plato terms the

capacity for lawful thought and a completely sepa- "golden soul," the condition about which Nicholas

rate, infantile emotionality,

of Cusa says: He who acts on the basis of reason and

Kant, who after all was a very moral man, reproduces God's primaryquality, His creativecapacattempted

to resolve the dichotomy through the ity, as an imago viva, a living replica of God, becomes

categorical imperative. For Kant, freedom and neces- himself a second God. Schiller, the master of poetic

sity are not identical, but form an antinomy; and in composition, calls this the state wherein one has

doubtful cases, morality demands that man fulfill "taken God into his will."

necessity at the expense of freedom. The man for whom the Kantian antinomies no

Schiller, for whom moral beauty was the pinnacle longer hold true, the schb'neSeele, is the creative genius

of human character, found Kant's rigid ethics some- who in one sweep possesses all the endowments of

what repellent. In "On Grace and Dignity" ("rOber individual human nature: "For if genius is to unite

Anmut und Wfirde") he asks how an individual's the individual impressions it has received from infi-

Gemfit, his soul, can be constituted so that it not only nitely manifold reality, it must proceed according to

harmonizes with beauty, but brings beauty into exist- objective laws under the difficult to perceive but

ence. This cannot be done by altogether suppressing unfailing influence of pure reason."

sensuousness, as Kant demanded. Beauty, the expres- For Kant, genius is a mystical concept. In his

sion of absolute self-development and self-determi- worst work, his Critique ofJudgment, he goes so far as

nation, can exist only where nature retains its free- to maintain that genius has no place at all in science;

dom. Wherever sensuousness is suppressed, however, at most, genius exists within the domain of art. As

reason must deal with its stubborn resistance through Heine accurately observed, Kant had one fundamensubstantial

force and compulsion, tal problem: he was not a genius.

On the other hand, unconditional rule by the By contrast, Schiller states that"our pure spiritual

instincts is equally impossible; man's moral sense, nature is endowed with a sensuous one, not in order

which uniquely distinguishes him from all other to throw if off like a burden or strip it away like a

living creatures, would rise up in revolt. Above all, coarse husk--no, but to unite it most intimately with the

man's aesthetic sense--which is never satisfied by higher self." And further, on Kant's method: "In the

mere matter, but finds delight in freely developed Kantian moral philosophy the idea of duty is set forth

form--would turn away in loathing from a prospect with such harshness that a weak mind could easily be

involving only carnal appetites, tempted to seek moral perfection through a morose,

It is interesting to note that Schiller compares the monastic asceticism."

first alternative suppressing material desire--with Kant is like the monk who has to muster all his

an oppressive monarchy; the second, rule by the moral energy to suppress his evil fantasies, who

instincts, he calls an equivalent form of despotism, shudders at sensuousness because for him it seems

only this time administered by many heads rather dirty, and who therefore never thinks it possible to

than one--namely, by the most degraded classes. Here develo p the emotions through education from the

Schiller has taken the argument developed in Kant's level of sensual appetite to the level of reason. What

essay "Toward Perpetual Peace" that Lockean abso- a contrast with Schiller, who knew this process of

lutism and Rousseauvian democracy are merely two development as clearly as he knew the means of

sides of the same coin, and applied it to the deficiencies achieving it! Schiller explains that it is a question of

of Kant's own theory,

using education to accustom and instruct the impulses

Having, so to speak, used Kant's own categories to the demands of reason, while at the same time

to reject the ethics of both absolutism and democracy, reason must be ready constantly to seize the reins

Schiller discusses the higher condition in which free- whenever the impulses want to rebel against it.

dom and necessity no longer represent an antinomy. The education of men to reason must proceed in

In this state, reason and sensuousness, duty and inspi- tandem with the education of the feelings to reason.

30 June 1980 / CAMPAIGNER

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